As a looney lefitist in the NY vandalizes approved ads in the subway, under the guise of “freedom of expression” (while not allowing others to freely express themselves), her message is very clear.
She sides with the savages. She finds it offensive that Jihad is considered “savage.” Savages are those who murder in the name of Jihad; those that murdered the U.S. Ambassador to Libya are savages, those that attacked the World Trade Center are savages, those that stab to death Israeli infants and blow up buses are savages. That’s Jihad.
Mona Eltahawy is an extremely well-spoken, Egyptian-American journalist who has become the g0-to speaker for comments on the Middle East in general, and on Egypt and Women’s issues in particular. A speaker who stays on message no matter what is being asked, Eltahawy’s theme is: former Egyptian President Hosnai Mubarak and those who supported him are always bad, Muslims seeking to control their own destiny are always good and should be supported in the name of freedom and democracy, no matter how reprehensible their actions. Over the past few years Eltahawy has regularly been represented as an expert on such media outlets as CNN, the Guardian (UK), The New York Times and the Washington Post.
Eltahawy was arrested Wednesday evening, September 26, in a New York City subway station because she insisted free speech included her right to deface an ad espousing a message with which she disagreed – Pamela Geller’s anti-Jihad ad discussed and shown here. She also insisted her free speech right extended to spraying toxic paint on a woman, Pamela Hall, who tried to interfere with Eltahawy’s efforts to deface Geller’s ad. And then Eltahawy blamed Hall for interfering with her free speech rights and accused the arresting police officers of interfering with her “non-violent” protest, thereby engaging in anti-democratic activity.
It appears Eltahawy has a singularly self-focused understanding of freedom and democracy. Given her limitations, it is problematic that so many media outlets rely on Eltahawy as an “expert.” It is possible that given her criminal activity Wednesday evening, some will see her convoluted views of reality as casting doubts on past Eltahawy discourses.
The journalist’s inability to recognize why her activity was criminal and subverted the First Amendment, simply because Geller’s anti-Jihad ad constituted speech with which she didn’t agree, is telling.
But this isn’t the first time Eltahawy’s view of reality has been refracted through her own, narrow prism.
Eltahawy is best known for being an ardent activist for women’s rights, a dangerous and valiant effort for a Muslim. She has written about the enormously high percentage of women who have been sexually assaulted in Egypt, as many as 80 percent, and that four out of five Egyptian women have reported being sexually assaulted.
Although Eltahawy has been highly critical and very vocal about the subjugation of women under Islam, when that view bumps up against her global recognition as an articulate spokesperson for the revolutionary Arab Spring, a disconnect takes place.
In the context of the anti-Jihad ads which she defaced, Eltahawy expressed outrage over the use of the term “savage,” to describe Jihadi activity. In her view, the use of the word savage was an insult because she interpreted it to refer to all Muslims. While defacing the ad, she told Hall, who tried to prevent the ad from being damaged, that she was protesting racism, and that Hall was defending racism.
But Eltahawy described Muslims who sexually assaulted and beat her last winter as a “pack of wild animals.” So, was her anger over the use of the term savage, when she described wild, violent Muslims as “wild animals” hypocritical? Not necessarily, because her criticism of the Egyptian police is consistent with her world view. There were numerous reports of women assaulted by the civilian crowds, the revolutionaries, in Tahrir Square, during the Arab spring. And it is in commenting on those assaults that Eltahawy’s hypocrisy is made clear.
Perhaps the best known, to western audiences, of sexual assaults by the Arab spring activists, is the assault on CBS’s Lara Logan. Logan was brutally physically and sexually assaulted by those demonstrating in Tahrir Square crowds in February, 2011.
When Eltahawy was asked to comment on CTV News on the attacks on Logan, she “unequivocally condemned” the violence experienced by Logan. However, the focus of her ire was always pointed back at the Mubarak regime, which was, she said, “known for targetting women.”
Eltahawy even went so far as to insinuate that Logan’s story was in some ways questionable, or at least an anomaly. She also deflected the responsibility for the attack on unnamed others.
“Women I know said it was the safest area in Cairo,” Eltahawy said of Tahrir Square during the demonstrations. But after Mubarak, the area was “open to all, so we don’t know who else was there.”
Pamela Hall is pressing charges against Eltahawy. Her clothing and her bags were damaged by the paint. When reached by The Jewish Press, Hall said she knew who Eltahawy was as soon as she saw her, but she was “surprised” to see her spray painting the ad.
According to Hall, using “paint is a much more serious act than slapping a sticker up and walking away. What was she thinking?”
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, who of Israel’s pre-eminent haredi rabbis, issued a public notice on Sunday urging owners of iPhones to burn their devices, comparing the popular cell phones to weapons of war.
The ban on iPhone products was published on the front page of the popular haredi paper Yated Ne’eman. The edict stated that not only is it forbidden for Jews to possess an iPhone, but that it is also not permitted to sell the phone to non-Jews, citing a Jewish law forbidding the sale of weapons to non-Jews. The only solution – burning the device.
Rabbi Kanievsky’s ruling came after he was approached by businessman asking his opinion about the phones. The Eda Haredit has also condemned iPhones and all other smart phones.
Smartphone devices have been condemned by many hareidi rabbis due to the ease of using the internet privately, taking part insocial media, and accessing pornography sites.
Members of the hareidi public have been encouraged by their leaders to use “kosher cell phones” which have no internet or text message capability.
In a strongly worded letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton, eight members of congress have demanded that a request to release Omar Abdel-Rahman from federal prison be rejected. Abdel-Rahman, known as the “blind sheikh,” inspired the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and is serving a life sentence for his role in a plot to conduct assassinations and destroy bridges, tunnels and other landmarks in New York City.
It is believed that the unrest blanketing much of the Middle East last week was inspired at least in part by the demands that the Blind Sheikh be released, and that any consideration of such a request was inspired by an effort to quell the widespread anti-American fury.
The letter sent by Representative Pete King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security and seven other key members of congressional leadership warned of the consequences of appeasing terrorism through such a blatant act of submission:
Succumbing to the demands of a country whose citizens threaten our embassy and the Americans serving in it would send a clear message that acts of violence will be responded to with appeasement rather than strength….The release of Abdel-Rahman or any terrorist who plots to kill innocent Americans would be seen for what it is – a sign of weakness and a lack of resolve by the United States and its President.
In addition to Rep. King, the letter was signed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith; House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers; House Committee on Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon; House Committee on Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers; House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Chairman Frank Wolf; and House Appropriations Subcommittee on State of Foreign Operations Chairwoman Kay Granger.
The administration has not yet formally responded to the letter, according to Rep. King’s communications officer.
The full text of the congressional letter follows.
September 19, 2012
The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530
The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
U.S. Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Attorney General Holder and Secretary Clinton,
We are concerned about recent reports that the Obama administration is considering the release of Omar Abdel-Rahman, better known as the “blind sheikh,” to the custody of Egypt for humanitarian and health reasons. If these reports are true, such considerations would be extremely disconcerting as release of this convicted terrorist should not happen for any reason.
The blind sheikh inspired the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, ordered the 1997 massacre of Western tourists at Luxor, Egypt, and issued the Islamic religious ruling that Osama bin Laden relied upon to justify the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. He is serving a life sentence at a federal penitentiary, for seditious conspiracy to wage war upon the United States, based on his role in a 1993 plot to conduct assassinations and destroy bridges, tunnels and other landmarks in New York City. The blind sheikh was the first person convicted under this statute since the Civil War. Nonetheless, the newly-elected government in Egypt has indicated that his release is amongst its top foreign policy priorities.
While considerations regarding the blind sheikh’s release would be disturbing in any context, they are particularly alarming given recent events. The 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks was marked by the assassination of America’s ambassador to Libya and an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Egypt. The violence in Egypt has been attributed, in part, to that government’s demands for the blind sheikh’s release.
Succumbing to the demands of a country whose citizens threaten our embassy and the Americans serving in it would send a clear message that acts of violence will be responded to with appeasement rather than strength. The blind sheikh should remain in federal prison.
The release of Abdel-Rahman or any terrorist who plots to kill innocent Americans would be seen for what it is — a sign of weakness and lack of resolve by the United States and its President.
We request a briefing this week by representatives from each of your Departments on the accuracy of recent reports and the status of any negotiations with Egypt. We look forward to your immediate response.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a Rosh Hashanah youtube message yesterday highlighting his government’s achievements throughout the year, displaying one government achievement per month.
Examples given in the video include the return of Gilad Shalit, increasing funding for education allowing children to attend school from age three, and allowing other companies to use cell phone infrastructure, adding several new cell phone companies to the market with significantly lower prices.
Soon after the attacks on American embassies in Egypt and Libya, Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan criticized President Obama for lacking a clear and forceful message to the world.
And while Romney was criticized for bringing up the President’s shortcomings, the latest example of how that criticism was right on the money comes from the mixed messages being sent by Victoria Nuland of the State Department (who always seems to be tasked with explaining the explainable, such as how the U.S. position on status of Jerusalem “has not changed”) and Obama himself.
Yesterday President Obama told the Spanish-language Telemundo television channel that Egypt was neither an ally nor a foe of the United States, and that the determination would be based on the Egypt’s response to the attack on the embassy and on its willingness to maintain the peace treaty with Israel. (Video here).
Later in the day, Nuland said the opposite, confirming repeatedly that Egypt was indeed an American ally – a “major non-NATO ally” (though she wouldn’t comment on what the President said). Check out the video below.
A White House spokesperson also confirmed that Obama was not signalling a change in Egypt’s status. This is yet another example of how Obama can have his cake and eat it to by acting tough on Egypt in public, but not actually doing anything to back it up. (Precisely his strategy for Iran, saying the U.S. will not accept a nuclear-armed Iran, but refusing to delineate any red lines for Iran’s nuclear program).
Ally or not, as Barry Rubin noted, the U.S. has offered to forgive $1 billion in Egyptian debt (the debt is over $3 billion total) as part of a $4.8 billion International Monetary Fund loan which the administration lobbied for, Obama helped them acquire two German submarines over Israel’s objections, while their Islamist President received an invitation to the White House, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed that Morsi was “his own man,” i.e., someone the U.S. could do business with.
Many passages in the Torah appear at first glance to be repetitious. Often, each iteration has a unique and deep message. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, finds such a case (in the passage of the Blessings and Curses) in the Torah’s instruction to keep Hashem’s commandments and walk in His ways.
Also in the passage of the Blessings and Curses, Rabbi Miller highlights the great blessing of a long life.
“And all these blessings shall come upon you, and they shall overtake you” (28:2). One of the greatest puzzles of the Torah is the lack of more open mention of the reward of the Afterlife. Rambam (Teshuvah 9:1) declares that the rewards foretold in the Torah for obeying the commandments are solely in this life, but the true reward is reserved for the Afterlife. But the reward of a long, peaceful life is bestowed for the purpose of being enabled to achieve more perfection by performing the commandments (“A mitzvah brings on a mitzvah” – Avos 4:2) and thereby becoming eligible for even greater happiness in the Afterlife.
The opportunity to achieve perfection is available solely in this physical existence; and though the happiness of the Afterlife is the end-purpose of Creation, that happiness is in proportion to the perfection achieved in this physical existence. Thus, a long life of peaceful and prosperous conditions is the supreme blessing, because in illness or poverty or with the tribulations of wartime, men cannot accomplish so readily the great achievements for which they would merit the higher status of the most virtuous in the life of eternal existence.
“If you will keep the commandments of Hashem your G-d, and you will walk in His ways” (28:9). This is not a rhetorical repetition, but two separate statements: keep His commandments and, in addition to keeping the commandments, study the ways of Hashem as demonstrated in the Torah or in the events of history or of the phenomena of Creation and emulate these ways by our own behavior.
One example of these ways is taught in the Torah when Moshe said, “Let me know Your ways” (Shemos 33:13) – at which time Hashem revealed His thirteen ways (ibid. 34:6-7). Also: “Behold, to Hashem your G-d belong the heavens and the heavens above the heavens.… Only in your Fathers did Hashem delight, to love them” (Devarim 10:14-15), which demonstrates that the ways of the fathers were pleasing in the eyes of Hashem. Thus we are obliged to love the ways of Abraham and Yitzchak and Yaakov, as described in the Torah, and we must walk in those ways.
We read, “He does justice for the orphan and the widow, and He loves a ger” (ibid. 10:18) and many similar instances of His ways. “Who is a G-d like You, that pardons iniquity and passes over the transgressions of the remnants of His heritage. He does not retain his anger forever, for He desires kindliness. He will again have compassion upon us, He will conceal our iniquities, and He will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. You will give faithfulness to Jacob, mercy to Abraham, as You swore to our fathers from the days of old” (Michah 7:18-20).
From these verses the Tomer Devorah has drawn up a list of character traits and attitudes, which we are obliged to learn and to emulate in accordance with this mitzvah of “You should walk in His ways.” These are not optional forms of piety or exceptional excellence; everyone is required to fulfill them because of the mitzvah “to walk in His ways.”
In addition to these examples of Hashem’s ways, we are required also to learn His ways that are demonstrated by the wonders of Hashem’s creation. The rain comes to supply water to drink and to cause the earth to produce food. The fruit trees produce attractive and luscious delicacies. The winds convey the rain clouds over the continents. Clothing is supplied by sheep’s’ wool and flax and cotton plants. Hundreds of remedies are derived from plants. The body heals itself in countless wondrous ways, most of us are born without any one of the thousands of birth defects that could have occurred.
Wherever we look, we see the kindliness of the Creator, which He showers upon man. Thus the attitude and the practice of kindness are “ways” of Hashem, which we must study and emulate. “Their G-d hates immorality” (Sanhedrin 93a); therefore we must hate immorality. “Hashem loves the righteous” (Tehillim 146:8) and Hashem loves Israel (10:15); we must emulate Him.