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December 27, 2014 / 5 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Der Spiegel’

Can’t Say Terrorism, Can’t Say War on Terror, Islamist Now a No-No

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

It seems to have started during the spring of 2009, when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano first appeared in her new role at a congressional hearing.

Some close listeners of her testimony realized that while Napolitano was head of the U.S. government’s cabinet-level department created specifically in response to the terrorist attacks against this country on September 11, 2001, the word “terrorism” never crossed her lips.

The English online version of the German newspaper Der Spiegel interviewed Napolitano shortly after her maiden congressional speech, and asked her about that glaring inconsistency.

Napolitano explained that by substituting the phrase “man-made disaster” for “terrorism,” the Obama administration was demonstrating “that we want to move away from the politics of fear.”

In the four years since the word “terrorism” was dropped from the play list, several other terms or words have been placed on the “no speak list.”

For example, during the George W. Bush administration the U.S. was fighting something called “the war on terror.”  But “terror” and “war” are both such negative terms that the Obama administration gave it the heave-ho,  replacing it with “overseas contingency operations.”

This week a new change in parlance was introduced.  Although the U.S. government is not responsible for this change, it will have at least as enormous an impact on how we speak as if it were ordered from the White House, probably even greater.

The Associated Press Stylebook is an extensive compilation of standardized terminology, abbreviations, capitalizations and other information journalists use to convey information.  It is the most widely-used resource for journalists, and therefore the way in which it chooses to define words or concepts has an enormous ripple effect on the public’s understanding of many subtle and not so subtle issues.  The Stylebook also plays a major role in determining when, whether and how new words or concepts enter the general lexicon.

For example, in the 2010 edition of the AP Stylebook, a new section was added on social media, for the first time addressing how “Twitter” and “Facebook” can be used by journalists and therefore how it will be introduced to consumers of news.  That new section also was responsible for officially transforming the word website from a two-word phrase to one word.

From a report in Politico on Friday, April 6, we learned there’s more change afoot.  While there has already been some discussion of the change in reference to “illegal aliens” to “undocumented workers,” another change has thus far received less attention.  This changed has been traced directly to campaigning by the Council on American-Islamic Relations against the use of a term it described as pejorative.

In a January CAIR press release, the organization which describes itself as a Muslim civil rights group, but which government officials have described as a front-group for Hamas, was unhappy with the way the AP Stylebook defined “Islamist.”

The AP added the term “Islamist” to its Stylebook in 2012.  The term was defined:

Islamist—Supporter of government in accord with the laws of Islam. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi.

CAIR found that definition objectionable, and urged the AP to drop the term from its Stylebook.

The AP went even further.

Although “Islamist” is still a defined term in the AP Stylebook, reporters are now admonished not to use it to mean something objectionable.  The entry for “Islamist” now reads, with emphasis added by Politico:

An advocate or supporter of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam. Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists. Where possible, be specific and use the name of militant affiliations: al-Qaida-linked, Hezbollah, Taliban, etc. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi.

CAIR issued a press release Friday, April 5, welcoming the change by AP, and calling the Stylebook revision a “step in the right direction.”

Der Spiegel: Online Jihad Cool, Getting Cooler

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Jihad marketers are making militant Islam cool, according to a new article in Germany’s Der Spiegel newspaper.

Berlin hip-hop artist Deso Dogg has catapulted to fame since taking the name Abu Malik and switching from rap songs like “Gangxta” to Anasheed – Islamic vocals in which he promotes the tenets of jihadist Islam.

To such a degree has Deso Dogg/Abu Malik (given name: Denis Cuspert) garnered a cult following, that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Berlin has requested that three of his songs be labeled harmful to minors due to their inciting nature

His rise to fame is just one example of ways jihadist Islam has taken to the internet to promote its message, according to a new study by the Berlin-based Foundation for Science and Politics, an advising body to the German government.

According to the Der Spiegel report, the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), the worldwide jihad promotion oranganization, was established only at the end of 2005 in Germany, and was quickly utilized by sympathizers of al-Qaida.

Its German leader, Mohamed Mahmoud, was arrested for a GIMF video threatening attacks on Germany and Austria in 2007, and was released in September 2011.

Yet after serving his jail time, Mahmoud continued in his mission, joining forces with Abu Malik to transform the western German city of Solingen’s mosque, the Millatu Ibrahim Mosque, into a nationally-known organization center for Salafist Muslims.

They set up professional, sophisticated websites drawing on youth culture to sell the Islamic message online.

And though Germany could systematically shut down those sites, the Foundation for Science and Politics says it may be too late to stem the tide of Jihad on the web.  According to the organization, Mahmoud’s jail time only serves to impress consumers of his product, and has led to the up-cropping of many smaller follower sites and blogs.

And now that Mahmoud and Cuspert have gone into hiding in the wake of a ban on Millatu Ibrahim Salafist meetings and police pressure against violent acts by Islamic groups in Germany, the two are underground heroes whose periodic online messages draw the excitement of a growing group of adherents.

While authorities can trace and infiltrate jihadist movements more readily online, the anonymity and ease of conversation has led to jihad’s greater cohesion and emboldenment.  No solution to the swell of jihad online has been found.

Report: Iran Planning Massive Oil Spill in Strait of Hormuz

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Iran may purposefully contaminate the waters of the Strait of Hormuz by performing an oil spill, according to a report in the German weekly Der Spiegel on Sunday.

The plan, codenamed “Murky Waters”, would block oil shipping routes in the Gulf. It would also drive up oil prices and force the west into an emergency cleanup in cooperation with Iran, which would likely reduce sanctions on the country.

The decision whether to implement the plan rests with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.  It is the brain child of Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander General Mohammed Ali Jafari and Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi.

Will the Greek Revolution Spread to the Rest of Europe?

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

After Greece’s second parliamentary election this year (June 2012), there was a collective sigh of relief in Europe. The political parties that negotiated the bailouts of Greece in 2010 and 2011 had secured a majority in the new parliament and formed a government that was committed to avoiding a Greek default. Europe’s political leaders could now hasten to damp down the next brush fire in the Eurozone, the crisis of the Spanish banks.

What those political leaders overlooked was that the Greek political scene has undergone a revolution.

To be precise, Greece’s conservative New Democracy party (ND) had narrowly defeated SYRIZA, the leftist alliance, and formed a government with the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), its old rival, and the Democratic Left.

SYRIZA had campaigned for repudiation of what Greeks call “the memorandum” (to mnimonio), that is, the program of drastic financial measures to which the preceding Greek governments had agreed in exchange for the bailouts.

Other parties in the new parliament also opposed the memorandum: the veteran Greek Communist Party and, on the right, the chauvinist Independent Greeks and the New Dawn. This last is a party whose symbols and manifestations are unashamedly reminiscent of Nazism. In the elections of 2012, it succeeded in supplanting LAOS, a religious nationalist party.

So what is the revolution? Ever since the restoration of Greek democracy in 1974, the New Democraty party and Panhellenic Socialist Movement had dominated parliament and alternated in government. Between them, they regularly held over 80% of the seats. That constant of Greek politics has vanished. Now the New Democracy party is challenged on the right and the Panhellenic Socialist Movement has been eclipsed by SYRIZA, which exemplifies the Trotskyite doctrine of permanent revolution.

SYRIZA sympathizers are prominent in violent and destructive demonstrations. Their baleful influence in Greek universities, which they have turned into permanent bases of operations, was recently documented in the Times Higher Education Supplement. Not surprisingly, the dedicated website permanentrevolution.net urged the Greeks to vote SYRIZA.

Compare the results of the Greek elections from October 2009 and those recently held June 2012. (There was also a May 2012 election, but that can be seen as merely transitional.) Note that the Greek electoral law sets aside a number of the 300 seats in the parliament as a bonus for the party that polls highest. The remaining seats are divided in proportion to the votes cast among those parties which receive at least 3% of the total votes.

In October 2009 the result in seats and percentages was as follows:

Panhellenic Socialist Movement 160 (43.92%, plus a bonus of 40), New Democracy party 91 (33.47%); Communists 21 (7.54%); LAOS 15 (5.63%); and SYRIZA 13 (4.60%). By contrast, the election of June 2012 went as follows:

New Democracy party 129 (29.66%, plus a bonus of 50); SYRIZA 71 (26.89%); Panhellenic Socialist Movement 33 (12.28%); Independent Greeks 20 (7.51%); Communists 12 (4.50%); Golden Dawn 18 (6.92); and Independent Left 17 (6.26%). The figures speak for themselves. SYRIZA, coming from almost nowhere, has largely supplanted the Panhellenic Socialist Movement on the left. Considering that in the election of March 2007, the New Democracy party won 152 seats (41.83%, bonus of 40), the right has also been seriously split. Indeed, the New Democracy party “won” the latest election with a smaller percentage of votes than when the percentage it received when it lost in 2009. MOST PEOPLE will conclude that this is a purely Greek phenomenon, reflecting the dire situation of the Greek state and economy. They could not be more wrong. The Netherlands has one of the three strongest economies in the Eurozone, up along with Germany and Finland. Nevertheless, the same fundamental shift in the political landscape is underway there.

The Dutch parliament has two chambers; the more important second chamber has 150 seats. For decades, most of them were won by three parties: the conservative Christian Democrats (CDA), the Liberals (VVD) and the Labor Party (PvdA). In the election of June 2010, the CDA went down from 41 to 21 seats, losing out to its upstart rival on the right, the Freedom Party (PVV) of Geert Wilders, which jumped from 15 to 24 seats.

Another election is scheduled for September 12, 2012. Recent opinion polls suggest that the Christian Democrats will drop further, to a humiliating 13 seats. But the big surprise is that on the left the Labor party will drop from 30 to 15-17, while its rival, the Socialist Party (SP), will jump from 15 to 38.

The Circumcision Debate in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Monday, July 30th, 2012

A German regional court held at the end of June that circumcision of males, practiced by Jews and Muslims, is a “bodily injury” of the child and punishable as a crime. German political leaders reacted against the opinion, and the probability that it would portray today’s Germany in a negative light. The court order will likely be nullified definitively by the German parliament and constitutional court, but anti-circumcision policies have spread to Switzerland and Austria as well.

A month later, on July 20, the German federal parliament, the Bundestag, passed a resolution calling for the protection of the rights of Jewish and Muslim parents to circumcise of their male offspring with medically-qualified personnel. A draft law guaranteeing these religious liberties has been proposed for introduction this autumn.

The action by German politicians was followed, however, by news that two medical institutions in Switzerland, the Children’s Hospital in Zurich and the St. Gallen teaching hospital, decided temporarly to suspend circumcision of infants unless medically necessary.

Then, on July 24, came an order by Markus Wallberg, governor of the western Austrian province of Vorarlberg, also prohibiting the circumcision of males for non-medical reasons in all public hospitals, pending clarification of the German situation.

The Cologne case originated in November 2010, when a four-year old Muslim boy was circumcised at a clinic in the city, on the request of his parents. After two days, because the child was bleeding, the parents took him to the emergency room at the University Hospital of Cologne.

The public prosecutor in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia filed a complaint against the doctor who performed the procedure. The lower, district court determined in June 2012 that the doctor was blameless, and the doctor was acquitted. The district court held that circumcision was a form of “bodily injury,” but was justified by the approval of the parents, the cultural prevalence of circumcision among Muslims, and evidence of medical advantages among circumcised males.

Medical researchers have affirmed that circumcised males are less susceptible to sexually-transmitted diseases and to penile cancer. Der Spiegel acknowledged that “It remains undisputed that circumcision leads to better hygiene and can also be helpful in preventing some forms of cancer,” but noted that while common in the U.S., Israel, Muslim countries, and elsewhere, male circumcision is less widespread in Europe. Currently, about 55 percent of newborns in the U.S. are circumcised. Only 11 percent of German males are circumcised.

The public prosecutor in North Rhine-Westphalia appealed and the case was moved up to a regional court. The regional court also rejected the charge against the doctor in the matter, ruling that the “grey area” of legal uncertainty about male circumcision left the practitioner innocent. The judges, however, reaffirmed that, as a precedent for the future, circumcision was a form of “bodily injury” that was not justified by the parents’ wishes, and was unnecessary for the health of the child.

The regional court determined that the child’s “right to physical integrity” was more important than the constitutionally-guaranteed religious rights of the parents. The judges held that the religious freedom of parents, and their right to decide how to raise their children, would not be restricted if they were compelled to wait until the child himself decided whether he wanted to be circumcised. As described by the German weekly Der Spiegel, the court concluded that “a child’s right to self-determination should come first.”

The regional court opinion did not apply to the whole of Germany. But the Berlin Jewish Hospital announced that in accord with the law, it would suspend circumcision for religious purposes.

The controversy brought universal condemnation of Germany by Jewish and Muslim representatives, who were joined by Christian religious leaders in condemning the court action. Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that the criminalization of circumcision could make Germany a “laughing-stock” of the world. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle pointed out that it would harm Germany’s efforts to present itself as a tolerant country. Many commentators agreed that the court opinion was especially problematic because of Germany’s history of anti-Jewish genocide during World War II.

Religious leaders were more severe in their comments. Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis, called the court decision the worst attack on Jews in Germany since the Holocaust. Noting that the opinion was based on the ostensible rights of the child, Rabbi Goldschmidt warned that “the language of the human rights” is a new medium for anti-Jewish prejudice.

Report: Germany was Warned a Month Before ‘72 Olympics Attack

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Germany was warned about a possible terror attack against Israeli athletes one month before the Munich Olympics in 1972, Der Spiegel reported.

The weekly magazine reported Sunday on its website that despite solid warnings of an attack plan which were received a month before the Games, no action was taken.

The Palestinian terrorists, for example, were able to walk by the apartments of the Israeli athletes without being stopped.

Der Spiegel also reported that German police had prepared possible scenarios for a terror attack at the Games, including one that dealt specifically with a Palestinian attack on the Olympic village, but after the attack the police said there were no written documents of the preparations and German authorities tried to cover up their failures.

The story is based on reports of the post-attack inquiry minutes from German Cabinet meetings and documents from government bodies obtained by Der Spiegel.

Passover 2012 Blood Libel: Gunter Grass Poem Accusing Israel of Threatening Iran

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Günter Grass, Germany’s most celebrated living author and the 1999 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, became the center of a news hurricane in Germany on Wednesday, after he published a poem titled “What must be said,” in which he blames Israel for destabilizing world peace with its plots against Iran.

In the poem, published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung and other European newspapers, Grass calls for an “unhindered and permanent monitoring of Israel’s nuclear potential and Iran’s nuclear facility through an international entity that the government of both countries would approve.”

“‘What must be said’ is a thinly veiled version of another phrase that Germans who don’t hold a Nobel Prize for Literature like to use when they’re sitting around in the pub, setting the world to rights,” wrote Sebastian Hammelehle in Der Spiegel. “It can be loosely translated as: ‘There’s no law against saying that…’”

The 84-year-old leftist author says in his new poem that he worried that Israel “could wipe out the Iranian people” with a “first strike” due to the threat it perceives in the Iranian nuclear program.

“Why do I only say now, aged and with my last ink: the atomic power Israel is endangering the already fragile world peace?” asks Grass, and answers that Nazi Germany’s “incomparable” crimes against Jews and his own fear of accusations of anti-Semitism have kept him from openly criticizing the Jewish State.

Except that, according to Grass, “tomorrow could already be too late” and Germany could become a “supplier to a crime” – a reference to the sale last month of a sixth German-made nuclear-capable Dolphin-class submarine to Israel.

“I admit: I will be silent no longer, because I am sick of the hypocrisy of the West,” wrote Grass.

In 2006, Grass admitted in an interview that he had joined the Waffen-SS as a teenager at the end of World War II, and was accused at the time of having hidden the truth for decades while at the same time pointing the finger at others for hiding their Nazi past.

Critics have countered that the Iranian regime is threatening world peace. The German media reported that the Central Council of Jews in Germany called the text “an aggressive pamphlet of agitation,” and that Hermann Grohe, the general secretary of Germany’s leading party, the Christian Democratic Union, was horrified by the tone and orientation of the poem.

Prominent German Jewish columnist Henryk M. Broder, writing in the daily Die Welt, accused Grass of being ” the prototype of the educated anti-Semite, who is well-meaning when it comes to Jews. Haunted by feelings of guilt and shame and also driven by the desire to settle history, he is now attempting to disarm the ’cause of the recognizable threat.’”

“Grass has always had a problem with Jews but he has never articulated it as clearly as with this ‘poem’,” Broder suggested

In a 2001 interview with Der Spiegel, Grass said: “Israel doesn’t just need to clear out of the occupied areas, the appropriation of Palestinian territory and its Israeli settlements are also a criminal activity. That not only needs to be stopped – it also needs to be reversed. Otherwise there will be no peace.”

Henryk Broder said at the time that Grass’s statement was “no less than a demand for Israel to not just cede Nablus and Hebron, but also Tel Aviv and Haifa. Grass does not differentiated between the ‘occupied areas’ of 1948 and those of 1967… By calling the ‘appropriation’ of Palestinian territories a ‘criminal act,’ Grass shares the same view as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”

In response to the publication Wednesday, the Israeli Embassy in Berlin Deputy Chief of Mission Emmanuel Nahshon issued a statement that put Grass’s effort in the proper calendrical context: “What must be said is that it is a European tradition to accuse the Jews before the Passover festival of ritual murder. Earlier, it was Christian children whose blood the Jews allegedly used to make their unleavened bread, but today it is the Iranian people that the Jewish state allegedly wants to annihilate. What also must be said is that Israel is the only state in the world whose right to exist is openly doubted. That was true on the day of its founding and it remains true today. We want to live in peace with our neighbors in the region. And we are not prepared to assume the role that Günter Grass is trying to assign to us as part of the German people’s efforts to come to terms with the past.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/passover-2012-blood-libel-gunter-grass-poem-accusing-israel-of-threatening-iran/2012/04/04/

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