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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Ed Koch’

Three Cheers For Ray Kelly And The NYPD

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

According to an Associated Press story in the February 24 Daily News, “Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly dispatched his detectives to surveil every Muslim-owned business and community center in Newark [in] the clearest sign yet that the NYPD’s fight against terrorism has gone terribly awry.”

This has set off a debate on police tactics and surveillance of the Muslim community by U.S. law enforcement agencies.

I have full confidence in Police Commissioner Kelly and believe that whatever police surveillance he directs is done in accordance with the laws that govern what police can do to protect the people of New York City from terrorist attacks.

Instead of saying “the NYPD’s fight against terrorism has gone terribly awry,” I would say the efforts and tactics of the NYPD have been hugely successful and the NYPD, Commissioner Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg should be congratulated and supported.

The tactics used by the NYPD must conform to the guidelines first laid out in a federal case that are now referred to as the Handschu agreement. Wikipedia describes the Handschu agreement as follows:

According to the terms of the agreement, purely political activity can only be investigated by the Public Security Section (PSS) of the NYPD’s Intelligence Division, and then only when the Section suspects criminal activity. When the PSS does suspect criminal activity on the part of political groups, it must obtain a warrant from the three-person Handschu Authority, a commission made up of two deputy commissioners and a mayor-appointed civilian. The agreement also prohibits indiscriminate police videorecording and photographing of public gatherings when there is no indication that unlawful activity is occurring. The department is also prohibited from sharing information pertaining to political activity with other law enforcement agencies unless those agencies agree to abide by the terms of the Handschu agreement. The court order mandates the compiling of annual, publicly-available reports listing the surveillance requests made by the NYPD and the number of such requests granted.

On some occasions, a police officer or program may go too far in carrying out surveillance, in which case, the recourse is to apply to a federal court for relief. As far as I know, those who have criticized the police commissioner – unfairly in my opinion – have not availed themselves of that right and opportunity.

Those seeking to reduce America’s concern about Islamic terrorism had to be elated by an article in The New York Times on February 8 by Scott Shane. According to Shane, “A feared wave of homegrown terrorism by radicalized Muslim Americans has not materialized, with plots and arrests dropping sharply over the two years since an unusual peak in 2009, according to a new study by a North Carolina research group.” The article continued: “Charles Kurzman, the author of the report for the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, called terrorism by Muslim Americans ‘a minuscule threat to public safety.’ Of about 14,000 murders in the United States last year, not a single one resulted from Islamic extremism, said Mr. Kurzman, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina.”

I obtained a copy of Professor Kurzman’s report. Its thrust is that Muslim-American involvement in terrorist-related activity is far less than was expected by U.S. government officials.

With respect to the actual number of Muslim-Americans involved in terrorism, Kurzman writes that “the number of Muslim-Americans who have responded to these calls [to engage in domestic terroism] continues to be tiny, when compared with the population of more than 2 million Muslims in the United States and when compared with the total level of violence in the United States, which was on track to register 14,000 murders in 2011.”

Equating terrorism with criminality is ridiculous. They have no relationship to one another. Criminality is generally for the purpose of enrichment of oneself by breaking the law. Modern day terrorism seeks to achieve political or military goals by the use of indiscriminate terror directed primarily at innocent civilians. Further, terrorists seek to demoralize their victims and enhance their perceived power by the destruction of iconic projects, buildings such as the World Trade Center towers, subway systems in large cities such as London and Madrid, and world famous bridges such as the Brooklyn Bridge (not attacked, but surveyed for attack).

So to refer to 14,000 murders in 2011 committed by criminals compared with a far lesser number killed by terrorists in any year since 9/11 is ridiculous.

In addition, no matter how good our intelligence services are – and they’ve uncovered and convicted since 9/11 about 200 Muslim-Americans – in all probability the number of undetected plots and conspirators are surely several times the number detected. Surely by aggressively – but within the law – monitoring the activities of suspected places and groups, in which terrorism may be discussed, we will prevent more attacks against us.

Times Columnist Kristof Shows His True Colors

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

I read Nicholas D. Kristof’s New York Times column of October 6 with its headline “Is Israel Its Own Worst Enemy?” and concluded on finishing it that it is Kristof who is truly an enemy of Israel.

As is fashionable nowadays, Kristof blames Israel for the lack of progress in the peace process with the Palestinians, claiming, “Nothing is more corrosive than Israel’s growth of settlements.”

Why? One million, five hundred thousand Muslims live in Israel. Why do the Palestinian Authority and its supporters like Kristof believe the West Bank should be “Judenrein” or that Jews may not live in a part of Jerusalem when they have lived in all parts of Jerusalem for 3,000 years until the Jordanians drove them out in 1948?

Why, when a two-state solution comes into being and borders are agreed upon and Jews are located on the Palestinian side, shouldn’t Jews have the choice of remaining on as Palestinian citizens or resident aliens or leaving?

Nothing offended me more and showed Kristof’s true colors and antagonism to Jews than his claim that the Obama administration “humiliated itself” at the UN by making it clear it will veto any effort to create a Palestinian state outside of direct negotiations between the parties. What is humiliating about insisting that the Palestinians recognize the state of Israel and negotiate all of their differences?

Is Kristof implying that Obama is being pressed into taking that stance against his will, or against the will of the American people? Is he implying that the Jews forced him into taking that position?

Kristof calls for the pre-1967 borders with land swaps. Does he tell us how that is possible when Hamas believes it is entitled to occupy Tel Aviv and its charter states that every Jew entering Palestine after 1917 must be expelled? Has Kristof ever criticized Hamas’s charter and its numerous acts of terrorism intended to accomplish this goal?

Kristof criticizes the fact that Israeli citizens have become more conservative on “border[s] and land issues.” Why shouldn’t they? Former Israeli prime ministers Ehud Barack and Ehud Olmert offered to settle borders giving the Palestinian state 97 percent of the West Bank, which they rejected.

Many supporters of Israel believe Palestinians are not interested in a two-state solution, one Jewish and one Palestinian, but seek instead a return of Palestinians to Israel so as to ultimately overwhelm the Jewish state and make it a Muslim state. Has Kristof ever addressed that possibility?

The criticism Kristof lodges against Hamas is limited to “And Hamas not only represses its own people, but also managed to devastate the peace movement in Israel. That’s the saddest thing about the Middle East: hardliners like Hamas empower hardliners like Mr. Netanyahu.”

As Ronald Reagan once said, “There he goes again,” equating terrorists with Israeli “hardliners.” Surely, Kristof knows the difference.

The Israelis have concluded, and I agree, that the Palestinian leadership does not want peace. Within the last two weeks, the Quartet asked both parties to go back to the negotiating table and talk without preconditions. The Israeli prime minister immediately said “anywhere, anyplace.” The president of the Palestinian Authority said “no” unless Israel agrees to a settlement freeze and negotiates based on indefensible 1967 borders.

Has Kristof criticized Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, for his refusal?

In his column, Kristof urges Palestinian women to engage in civil disobedience that could, he knows, end in violence and be met, he says, with “tear gas and clubbing,” ending with “videos promptly posted on YouTube.”

So there we have it. Kristof wants a physical confrontation or have the state of Israel and its military lay down their arms and submit to threats of violence rather than defend their people. What an outrage. I have no doubt he is repelled by the deaths of innocent civilians in Syria at the hands of the Syrian army, yet he expresses no qualms at what would follow to the Jews of Israel were Arab armies or terrorists to enter a vanquished Israel.

Kristof attacks Israel for “burning bridges” with Turkey. I believe it is Turkey that has effectively declared war on Israel. Turkey recently expelled Israel’s ambassador and Turkey’s prime minister said he will send Turkey’s navy to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, a blockade a UN commission has just said is legal under international law and intended to prevent the Hamas government in Gaza from bringing even more rockets and other arms from Iran into Gaza.

Palin Has Defeated Her Unfair Critics

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

As I see it, in the current battle for public opinion Sarah Palin has defeated her harsh and unfair critics.

After the January 8 shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the murder of six others in Tucson, Arizona, some television talking heads and members of the blogosphere denounced her and held her in part responsible for creating a climate of hatred that resulted in the mass attacks.

An example is Joe Scarborough and his crew on the “Morning Joe” show, which I watch and generally enjoy every morning at 6:30 when I rise to start the day. Because Palin designated Congresswoman Giffords and others for defeat in the November elections by the use of crosshairs on website maps of the Congressional districts, they blamed Palin for creating an atmosphere that caused Jared Loughner (whom everyone now recognizes as being mentally disturbed) to embark on the shooting and killing spree.

Then reason set in, led by President Obama in a widely-lauded speech in Tucson. Most commentators did an about-face, recognizing that the lack of civility in both speech and actions by politicians, particularly in Washington, were not the cause of the shootings. A friend of the shooter said he had no interest in politics or talk radio. Insanity was the cause of his vicious acts, not political rhetoric.

While the charge of responsibility against Palin was dropped, the Scarborough crew continued to assail her for defending herself by stating that she had been the subject of a blood libel. Her critics were incensed that she should use the term “blood libel.” That was the description given by Jews to the charge of  Christian clergy who falsely accused Jews of killing Christian children in order to make matzah during the Passover holiday. That libelous accusation was intended by those using it to cause pogroms that killed and injured thousands of Jews. That same charge – blood libel – is now repeated by the media in Arab countries to stir up the anger of the Arab street against the Jews in Israel. The libel continues to do damage.

Today the phrase “blood libel” can be used to describe any monstrous defamation against any person, Jewor non-Jew. It was used by Ariel Sharonwhen he was falsely accused of permitting the Lebanese Christian militia to kill hundreds of defenseless and innocent Muslim men, women and children in Lebanese refugee camps. The killings were monstrous and indefensible revenge for earlier killings by Muslims of innocent Christian civilians.

Time magazine published a story implying that Sharon was directly responsible for the massacres. He sued the magazine. At trial it was determined that the magazine story included false allegations, but since Sharon was a public figure, he received no monetary damages.

How dare Sarah Palin, cried the commentators, use that phrase to describe the criticism of her by those who blamed her for creating the atmosphere that set Loughner off in his murderous madness. Some took the position that it proved their ongoing charges that she is not an intelligent person and probably did not know what the phrase meant historically. In my opinion, she was right to denounce her critics and use “blood libel” to describe the unfair criticism that she had been subject to.

Why do I defend Palin in this case? I don’t agree with her political philosophy: She is an arch-conservative; I am a liberal with sanity. But all of us have an obligation, particularly those in politics and public office, to denounce, when we can, the perpetrators of horrendous libels and stand up for those falsely charged. We should denounce unfair, false and wicked charges not only when they are made against ourselves, our friends or our political party but against those with whom we disagree.

If we are to truly change the poisonous political atmosphere that we all complain of, including those who create it, we should speak up for fairness when we can.

In the 2008 presidential race when Sarah Palin’s name was first offered to the public by John McCain as his running mate, I said at the time that she “scared the hell out of me.” My reference was to the content of her remarks, not to her power to persuade voters.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/palin-has-defeated-her-unfair-critics/2011/01/19/

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