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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

Kerry, in Memory Lapse, Backs New Egyptian Elections

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday urged that the Egyptian military regime, which it blessed for getting rid of Mohammed Morsi, hold elections like those of last year, when Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi won and was blessed by the Obama administration.

The elections followed the revolution against Hosni Mubarak, whom Washington had blessed for years as its closest ally in the Middle East except for Israel.

“The United States strongly supports the Egyptian people’s hope for a prompt and sustainable transition to an inclusive, tolerant, civilian-led democracy,” Kerry told reporters in Washington.

The State Dept. has a short memory, which apparently is part of its curriculum for learning the Middle East.

Every American administration for years had known that Mubarak was a ruthless autocrat. But as he long as maintained stability, profited from U.S. arms sales and limited his anti-Israel positions to speeches for the masses, everyone was happy – except the Egyptians.

After Mubarak’s goon squads murdered nearly 1,000 people opposing his regime, President Barack Obama turned his back on Mubarak and hastened his departure, as would any country that favors human rights.

Then the United States misread the Arab street for a change. Just as the State Dept. under the Bush administration failed to realize that the Hamas terrorist organization would win the Palestinian Authority’s first and last democratic elections eight years ago, the Obama administration did not realize that after Mubarak comes the radical Muslim Brotherhood.

Instead of standing up for human rights and condemning the fiercely anti-Israeli and anti-Christian group, Washington embraced it, figuring it’s best to make friends with those in power in order to tell them what to do. But it seems that the world does not always act as the United States wants.

Those warm embraces and blessings lasted for less than year. While the State Dept. spent months of pretending that Morsi was instituting reforms while it ignored his actions in the opposite direction, the Egyptians had enough and launched  the country’s second Arab Spring rebellion in two years.

The State Dept. backed the ouster of Morsi, despite his having been democratically elected, and gave its blessings to the army, which it was sure would serve only as an interim government.

Here is a statement that could have been made during the rebellion against the Mubarak regime: “We and others have urged the government to respect the rights of free assembly and of free expression, and we have also urged all parties to resolve this impasse peacefully and underscored that demonstrators should avoid violence and incitement.”

That actually was said on Wednesday by Kerry, who condemned the same army he backed a month ago.

“The United States strongly condemns today’s violence and bloodshed across Egypt,” he said. “It’s a serious blow to reconciliation and the Egyptian’s people’s hopes for a transition towards democracy and inclusion.”

More accurately, it is a blow to the United States, which just can’t get it right in the Middle East, let alone Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Violence is simply not a solution in Egypt or anywhere else,” he said, ignoring the fact the violence is a way of life in most Arab countries, where “might is right.” The  Arab Spring revolutions have shown that there is a choice.

One option is a ruthless autocratic regime that suppress freedom, beats up anyone who says “boo” and also maintains stability, especially for the rich ruling class.

The other option is mass violence and instability.

According to Kerry, “Violence only impedes the transition to an inclusive civilian government, a government chosen in free and fair elections that governs democratically, consistent with the goals of the Egyptian revolution.”

That brings him to the logical conclusion that elections are needed. The sooner they come, the more violent they will be.

Kerry concluded his remarks with what should be viewed as a worrisome statement: “The United States remains at the ready to work with all of the parties and with our partners and with others around the world in order to help achieve a peaceful, democratic way forward.”

The video below  shows some of Wednesday’s violence. It is more or less a replay of Mubarak’s violence in 2011. In between, there were elections, which were both the outcome and precursor of violence.

Iranians Citizens Increasingly Support Peace with Israel

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Contrary to mainstream media reports, momentum for peaceful relations with the State of Israel is building among the Iranian people.

“I think there are many Iranians who live for the day that Iran has diplomatic relations with Israel,” says Mahyar Shams Ahmadi, who was born in Tehran 28 years ago but now lives in Toronto. “In my view, if you just look at relations between Iran and Israel, it is clear that it is in fact the ruling regime in Iran that is preventing diplomatic relations.”

Ahmadi is inspired by the high-tech advances and Western-style democracy that Israeli society has achieved.  “Israel is already serving as a model for Iran, and other countries, on how to treat women and minorities,” he says. “Much like Canada, Israel does not oppress its citizens and allows them to think freely without fear of being persecuted no matter what your religion or beliefs are.”

Ahmadi criticizes Iranian leadership’s view of Israel as “little Satan” to the US’ “big Satan.” He says he is embarrassed and saddened that the present Iranian government remains opposed to Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations. “Even with a new president, it is evident that Iran’s government hasn’t changed at all, and it is no surprise that Iran still continues to fail to live up to their international obligations,” he said.

Other Iranians are a bit more optimistic. “I think that the prospect of Israeli-Iranian relations will look good within the near future, either through the collapse of the regime, or by reform of Iranian politics,” says Pedram, an Iranian presently living in Stockholm, Sweden. “The Iranian and Jewish people have thousands of years of cultural and historical connection with each other and it cannot be broken just because we have an oppressive regime at the moment. I can with strong confidence say that the overwhelming majority of Iranians, both inside and outside the country, strongly support not only peace with Israel but also better relations in general.”

Recently, Iranian film director Mohsen Makhmalbaf visited Israel as a guest of honor at the Jerusalem Film Festival. He received an award for his efforts to promote freedom and democracy in Iran and hosted a film screening of his recent film The Gardener, which was the first Iranian film to be filmed in Israel in decades. A number of his other films were also highlighted at the Jerusalem Film Festival. Crowds of Israelis honored him with standing ovations. Makhmalbaf was the first high-profile Iranian artist and former revolutionary to visit the Jewish state since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.

By defying the BDS Movement and pro-regime forces inside the Islamic Republic, who forced the Iranian Cinema Association to boycott Makhmalbaf’s films, the director risks a prison sentence if he returns to Iran.

Still, Makhmalbaf says he is  “proud to have paved the way for Iranian cinema in Israel. Boycotting and writing statements does not solve anything. It only leads to war. We have to get to know each other through art, literature, and cinema, so we can become friends and end the hostility. That’s the reason I filmed my latest movie ‘The Gardener’ in Israel.” And, he adds, he hopes that someday soon, Israeli filmmakers will be able to shoot films in Iran.

Remarkably, more than 80 Iranian scholars, opposition group members, and human rights activists openly declared their support of his decision to come to Israel.

Visit United with Israel.

Anti-Circumcision Group to Picket ACLU’s Marriage Equality Rally

Monday, July 15th, 2013

San Francisco anti-circumcision activists are planning to picket a campaign for marriage equality by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU )in Oakland Wednesday evening because the civil liberties group opposes circumcision bans.

The reasoning is based not only on mixing apples and oranges but also making them equal, just like boys and girls are born equal – from top to bottom.

Here is a civil liberties group campaigning for equality in marriage but is being picketed because it does not support the argument that there should be gender equality in the law that protects girls from circumcision.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California has organized a screening of “The Campaign,” and members of Bay Area Intactivists said they will protest outside the event venue” to condemn the ACLU’s work denying boys equal protection from genital mutilation.”

The ACLU’s sin, in the eyes of anti-circumcision activists, is that it argued that the San Francisco Male Genital Mutilation Bill a ballot initiative two years ago to restrict non-therapeutic circumcision to consenting adults  violated the right of parents to have their sons circumcisions, according to Jewish law.

The ballot proposal never even reached the voting booths because  a San Francisco judge ruled that state law preempts the city from regulating medical professionals.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Loretta Giorgi removed the measure from the ballot in her order, stating, “The [California state] statute speaks directly to the issue of local regulation of medical procedures and leaves no room for localities to regulate in this area.”

But if you already are going to change the facts of life and disregard certain bodily differences between girls and boys, then why stick to other facts?

IntactNews, which reports on the “genital integrity movement,” reported that the removal of the proposal from the ballot was “squelching democracy by denying voters their voice.”

In other words, democracy is when you win and it is anti-democratic when you lose.

Once that reasoning can be understood, everything becomes clear.

Federal law protects girls from genital mutilation. IntactNews points out that the law does not stipulate any “religious or cultural exceptions.” If there are any readers who know of a religion that considers circumcision of girls a mitzvah, please raise your hand.

Following the court ruling striking the anti-circumcision proposal from the ballot, California passed a law making it illegal for local authorities to ban or restrict circumcisions. The ACLU backed the law, making it persona non grata for the activists.

By the way if you want to demonstrate against the ACLU next week, be warned that, according to Intact, “a limited number of signs will be available [but] you are also welcome to bring your own sign.”

Egyptian Army to Morsi: You’re No Longer the President

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Al Ahram reports that a source close to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said that the Egyptian Army informed Morsi at 7 pm on Wednesday, that he is no longer the president of Egypt.

The Egyptian Army is carrying out a “full military coup” and the army has placed a travel ban on the country’s embattled President Mohamed Morsi, officials told the AP.

The coup came at the end of the 48 hours Egypt’s army gave Morsi to respond to the demands of protesters who have filled the country’s streets in recent days.

The streets of Cairo were jammed again on Wednesday, with competing pro- and anti-Morsi rallies.

In a statement posted on the Egyptian Presidency Facebook page, Essam El-Haddad, Egypt’s national security adviser called the on-going situation “a full military coup,” and warned that it will only lead to more violence.

“Today only one thing matters. In this day and age no military coup can succeed in the face of sizeable popular force without considerable bloodshed. Who among you is ready to shoulder that blame?” he wrote.

Gen. Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi said the military was fulfilling its “historic responsibility” by ousting Morsi, who was elected only a year ago. Morsi failed to meet the people’s expectations, most notably on economic issues, and the crowds took him down. Now these same crowds erupted victoriously as the announcement was made.

Ahead of the statement, troops moved into key positions around the capital and surrounded a demonstration by Morsi’s supporters in a Cairo suburb. Citing an unnamed presidential source, the state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported that “the General Command of the Armed Forces told President Morsi around 7 PM (1 PM) that he is no longer a president for the republic.”

Morsi offered to form an interim coalition government “that would manage the upcoming parliamentary electoral process, and the formation of an independent committee for constitutional amendments to submit to the upcoming parliament,” he said in a posting on his Facebook page. He noted that hundreds of thousands of supporters and protesters had packed plazas around the country, and he urged that his countrymen be allowed to express their opinions through the ballot box.

But as night fell Wednesday, troops surrounded a pro-Morsi demonstration at a Cairo mosque and took control of a key bridge across the Nile River. Gehad El-Haddad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, reported via Twitter that tanks were on the streets.

Democracy à la Islamists Points to Civil War

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Mohammed Morsi and Egypt’s military leader both are ready to die rather than surrender as the military shows all signs of taking over the government while pro and anti-Morsi groups show all signs of being prepared to fight a civil war.

“We swear to God to sacrifice with our blood for Egypt and its people against any terrorist, extremist or ignoramus,” said  military leader Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi saying they were prepared to die for their causes. “We swear to God to sacrifice with our blood for Egypt and its people against any terrorist, extremist or ignoramus,” al-Sisi said in a statement. “Long live Egypt and its proud people.”

Morsi, supported by the radical Islamic Muslim Brotherhood party, which goes by the lovely-sounding name of the Freedom and Justice party, told Egyptians, “I am prepared to sacrifice my blood for the sake of the security and stability of this homeland,” the president said.

No one wanted to whisper the words “civil war” in Syria last year but that is what has happened, two years after then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Syrian President Bassar al-Assad a “reformer.”

One years after Morsi won Western-style democratic elections in Egypt and was escorted by President Barack Obama to the altar of democracy, Egypt faces a military coup. Whether or not it happens or not does not make any difference as far as law and order are concerned. Violence is certain in any case.

Muslim Brotherhood leaders reportedly are training for war. More than 20 people have been killed and hundreds have been injured in clashes this week.

Assad has used his vast military power to annihilate tens of thousands of civilians and rebels, but the Egyptian army will not have that privilege.

Its power and the skills of its soldiers are a gift from to the United States, which built and trained the Egyptian military for 30 years.

“One of the potentially big problems with this scheduled coup (for the Egyptian armed forces, anyway) is that American officials are warning that such an event will automatically cause the United States to cut off all military aid,” Foreign Policy reported Wednesday.

With or without a coup, blood will be spilled.

“To the coup supporters, our blood will haunt you, and you will pay an expensive price for every spilled drop of our blood,” stated a sign by a mob supporting Morsi and armed with clubs, ready to carry out their threat.

Islamists  quoted by The New York Times underscore the inherent contradiction between the concept of Western democracy and radical Islam.

“We don’t believe in democracy to begin with; it’s not part of our ideology. But we accepted it and we followed them and then this is what they do,” the newspaper  quoted an Islamist described as  a trader and named Mohammed Taha. “They’re protesting against an elected democracy.”

“This is a conspiracy against religion. They just don’t want an Islamist group to rule,” his friend told the newspaper.

On the other side of the field of battle are those against Morsi, such as Mohammed Saleh, a laborer, who told the Times, “God willing, there will be no Muslim Brother left in the country today. Let them get exiled or find rocks to hide underneath like they used to do, or go to prisons, it doesn’t matter. No such a thing as ‘an Islamist party’ shall exist after today.”

Chaos in Egypt: Obama Backed Another Wrong Horse

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

The Egyptian army military announced on Tuesday it will establish an interim regime if Mohammed Morsi cannot come to an agreement with opposition forces by Wednesday night, a virtual impossibility.

The army insisted it is not intending to rule the country, but in effect it plans to unilaterally dissolve the legislature and appoint Egypt’s chief justice to head Egypt, a threat that has sent the Obama administration running in all directions.

President Barack Obama is suffering another foreign policy flop in the Middle East, where he and his officials previously gave its total support to the Palestinian Authority, which then turned its back on the United States “peace process.” Washington backed Syrian President Bassar al-Assad at the beginning of the protest movement there more than two years ago, and officials insist on making peace with Taliban terrorists.

And now, one year after having excitingly knighting Morsi as the democratic leader of Egypt following the American-backed ouster of Hosni Mubarak, the Obama administration is frantic at the prospect of another military regime controlling the military aid that Washington offers Cairo.

Violence in Egypt continues. Four more people were killed in clashes on Tuesday. The Muslim Brotherhood has brought out tens of thousands of supporters, many of them armed with clubs, to march in support of him while millions of demonstrators maintain that the only compromise Morsi can make with them is to resign.

The chaos in Cairo is mirrored in Washington.

The Obama administration has suggested to Morsi that he call for early elections, according to officials who spoke on anonymity.

“No, No,” said the State Dept. Nothng of the sort. “The reports that we have been urging early elections are inaccurate,” State spokesman Jen Psake told reporters Tuesday.

President Obama said in Tanzania during the last part of his current  trip to Africa, “Our commitment to Egypt has never been around any particular individual or party. Our commitment has been to a process.”

Really?

The Obama administration was so enamored by the Arab Spring rebellion against the Mubarak regime that it  voted to end a stable and corrupt regime for one that has turned out to be unstable and corrupt.

“The U.S. government’s attitude has been we would deal with a democratically elected government,” Obama said Tuesday. “Democracy is not just about elections — it’s also about how are you working with an opposition?”

Give the United States a democracy, and everything will be just fine.

It is not only the Obama administration that has made democracy unsafe for the Middle East. The Bush administration was not better, having patted itself on the back for introducing democratic elections to the Palestinian Authority as a model for other Arab countries in the region.

And Hamas capped off the model with a parliamentary victory. The terrorist organization then gave the United States a lesson in democracy, Middle East style, and staged a military coup to oust the Fatah party, headed by chairman Mahmoud Abbas, from Gaza.

In Egypt, it is déjà vu. In Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where demonstrators accused the United States three years of backing the dictatorship of Mubarak, a sign declared that the U.S. president supports “dictator Morsi.”

The prospects of a military regime scare the Obama administration no less than Morsi’s staying in power and leading the country into civil war.

The Pentagon provides Egypt with $1.3 billion a year in military sales, a gift for Cairo’s signing a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. The military aid has emboldened the Egyptian to stand up to Morsi. On the other hand, as Politico noted on Tuesday, the Pentagon can threaten the military with a halt in aid if it pulls off a coup.

But in the Middle East, “negotiations” are ultimatums,” a “peace treaty” is a “piece of paper, and an “interim regime” is a “coup.”

A coup? God forbid.

“The beliefs and the culture of the Armed Forces do not allow pursuit of a ‘coup’ policy,” the military said, adding the military acts only “with the will of the great Egyptian people and their ambitions towards change and reform.”

 

Knesset Bills Would Define Israel as Jewish State

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Two bills submitted to the Knesset on Tuesday would legislate Israel’s Jewish character and as a democratic state.

A bill proposed by coalition chairman Likud Knesset Member Yariv Levin and Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked would create a Basic Law declaring that Israel is the national home of the Jewish people and does not recognize it as a national homeland of any other people. It confirms that Israel is a democracy and says that the country will uphold the rights of all of its citizens no matter what religion.

The bill submitted by Ruth Calderon of the Yesh Atid Party calls for the Declaration of Independence to be adopted as Basic Law. According to the Declaration of Independence, Israel is defined as a democratic state of the Jewish people.

A similar bill was proposed in the last Knesset by former lawmaker Avi Dichter of the Kadima party, though that bill called for Hebrew to be the country’s only official language.

The political significance of the bills would be to preclude any possibility for Israel to accede to Palestinian Authority demands that the country allow the immigration of approximately five million Arabs who live in foreign countries and claim Israel as their home.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/knesset-bills-would-define-israel-as-jewish-state/2013/06/26/

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