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October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘speech’

Egyptian Reporter Defaces Subway ‘Anti-Savage’ Ad, Sprays an Opponent, Gets Arrested (Video)

Friday, September 28th, 2012

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?”

Obama at the UN: A Speech That Has Nothing to Do with Either his Policies or the Real Middle East

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Visit Rubin Reports.

President Barack Obama’s speech is a fascinating document. The theme is this: absolutely nothing can go wrong with political change in the Middle East and that the United States helps moderate forces, defined as anyone who isn’t actively trying to kill Americans. The fact that some-to-many of those revolutionary forces favor killing Americans is outside his purview. And the fact that his policy has supported militantly anti-democratic groups far more than the (far weaker) moderate ones is airbrushed away.

That’s not to say there weren’t good-sounding formulations in his speech. Either due to a learning process, the impact of events, or–most likely–the immediacy of an American presidential election to whose voters he is actually addressing himself—you decide—Obama hit some of the right notes also. The problem is the isolation of this soaring rhetoric from his actual policies. That’s what’s important here, not the discussion about the video and its relationship to the rioting which has drawn literally all of the attention in analyzing the speech.

By the way, what’s really amazing, but no one has noted, is that almost every word of the speech could have been given by President George W. Bush. Obama has totally accepted the dangerous “neo-conservative” approach to the region despite the fact that this label makes his supporters foam at the mouth.

In basic terms, Obama urged the world to support the good people and not the bad people. Why should the U.S. ambassador to Libya be killed? After all, Obama claims, “He supported the birth of a new democracy” and was allegedly in Benghazi to review plans for a new cultural center and a modernized hospital. “Chris was killed in the city he helped to save,” said the president. Yet the most powerful force in the Middle East views his actions not as saving the city but as delivering it to U.S. control.

The anti-American riots were “an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded – the notion that people can resolve their differences peacefully; that diplomacy can take the place of war; and that in an interdependent world, all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens….Today, we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations.”

That passage is unintentionally funny. After all, for decades violence and intolerance has been central at the U.N. and this will continue to be true. Indeed, the Obama Administration has supported many of these forces of violence and intolerance or, in other places, not stood up to them. After all, the minister of railroads in Pakistan, a country which has received billions in aid by the Obama Administration, has just offered a reward for murdering an American citizen without fear of any consequences for his regime. Amidst a thousand other examples that gives a sense of the reality of the contemporary situation compared to Obama’s rhetoric.

Obama says that the United States “has supported the forces of change” in the Arab Spring. But he does not evaluate these forces. The old regimes were tyrannical but what will replace them? Well, to prove he doesn’t comprehend there is a serious battle within the “forces of change” Obama could actually say:

We again declare that the regime of Bashar al-Assad must come to an end so that the suffering of the Syrian people can stop, and a new dawn can begin.

A new dawn? Almost a century ago, revolutionaries were overthrowing the czar, widely viewed in the West as the world’s worst tyrant, and it was assumed that whatever happened would mark the beginning of a new dawn. Thirty years ago, those assumptions were repeated with Iran, where the world’s worst tyrant was supposedly being overthrown and the result had to be a “new dawn.” Each of these events generated massive sufferings and several wars.

The implication is that Obama believes that all change is good; that nothing can be worse in the region. This is a very dangerous conclusion, especially about the Middle East. It is not a strategy but merely a tossing of the dice in a casino where the dice are very crooked indeed.

Mocking Muhammad Is Not Hate Speech

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

To stop Islamist violence over perceived insults to Muhammad, I argued in a FoxNews.com article on Friday [also republished on the JewishPress.com], editors and producers daily should display cartoons of Muhammad “until the Islamists get used to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.”

This appeal prompted a solemn reply from Sheila Musaji of The American Muslim website, who deemed it “irresponsible and beyond the pale.” Why so? Because, as she puts it, “The solution to escalating violence and hate speech is not more hate speech.”

Hate speech, legal authorities agree, involves words directed against a category of persons. Here’s a typical definition, from USLegal.com: “incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and the like.”That sounds sensible enough. But does mocking Muhammad, burning a Koran, or calling Islam a cult constitute hate speech? And what about the respectful representations of Muhammad in the buildings of the U.S. Supreme Court or the New York State Supreme Court? Even they caused upset and rioting.

Attacking the sanctities of a religion, I submit, is quite unlike targeting the faithful of that religion. The former is protected speech, part of the give and take of the market place of ideas, not all of which are pretty. Freedom of speech means the freedom to insult and be obnoxious. So long as it does not include incitement or information that urges criminal action, nastiness is an essential part of our heritage.

On a personal note, I have had to learn to live with torrents of vulgar venom, in speech and in pictures alike, from those who disagree with me; you don’t hear me whining about it. More broadly, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, and other faith communities in the West have learned since the Enlightenment to endure vicious lacerations on their symbols and doctrines.

If proof be needed, recall Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi, Andres Serrano’s Piss Christi, and Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary. Or the avalanche of antisemitic cartoons spewing from Muslims.

For an over-the-top recent example, The Onion humor website published a cartoon under the heading, “No One Murdered Because of This Image.” It shows Moses, Jesus, Ganesha, and Buddha in the clouds, engaged in what the caption delicately understates as “a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity.” As the Onion mock-reportingly but accurately goes on, “Though some members of the Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths were reportedly offended by the image, sources confirmed that upon seeing it, they simply shook their heads, rolled their eyes, and continued on with their day.”

I asked for the cartoons to be published again and again to establish that Islamists must not chip away at the freedom to mock and insult by hiding behind bogus claims of incitement. Name an instance, Ms Musaji, when biting remarks about Muhammad, the Koran, or Islam have led to riots and murders by non-Muslims against Muslims?

I cannot think of a single one.

When attacks on Muslims take place, they occur in response to terrorism by Muslims; that’s no excuse, to be sure, but it does indicate that violence against Muslims has no connection with lampooning Muhammad or desecrating Korans. Muslims need to grow thick skins like everyone else; this is one of the by-products of globalization. The insulation of old is gone for good.

To make matters worse, Islamists tell us Be Careful with Muhammad! and threaten those with the temerity to discuss, draw, or even pretend to draw the prophet of Islam, even as they freely disparage and insult other religions. I can cite many examples of actors, satirists, artists, cartoonists, writers, editors, publishers, ombudsmen, and others openly admitting their intimidation about discussing Islamic topics, a problem even Ms. Musaji herself has acknowledged.

To cool the temperature, Muslims can take two steps: end terrorism and stop the rioting over cartoons and novels. That will cause the antagonism toward Islam built up over the past decade to subside. At that point, I will happily retract my appeal to editors and producers to flaunt offensive cartoons of Muhammad.

Originally published at Foxnews.com on Sept. 24, 2012. See also Danielpipes.org.

Abbas Endorses Dershowitz’s Settlement Freeze Offer – Someone Should Tell the Settlers

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Meeting Monday evening with about 10 Jewish leaders, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas endorsed Prof. Alan Dershowitz’s formula for returning to talks with Israel, participants said.

Abbas also told Jewish leaders that his U.N. speech would show greater sensitivity to Jewish and Israeli concerns.

All top Jewish organizational leaders declined to participate in the Abbas meeting, reportedly at the request of the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has discouraged Jewish meetings with Abbas until he gives up demanding a settlement freeze as a precondition for returning to talks.

Well, we needn’t worry about that any longer.

Both Abbas and his senior negotiator, Saeb Erekat, reacted with keen interest to a proposal that Dershowitz first made in January – that Abbas agree to resume negotiations as long as Israel freezes settlements once the talks start.

No Jewish leader at the Monday meeting proposed a freeze on Arab construction in the PA, to coincide with freezing Jewish construction.

Abbas signed a copy of the proposal, and Dershowitz said he would make the case again to Israel that it should agree to its terms.

Think of it as a holiday gift for the half million or so settlers in Judea and Samaria, who would be given, once again, the opportunity to live in more intimate quarters as their families keep growing.

The last time Israel suspended settlement building for 10 months, in 2010, it took Abbas nine months to return to talks, and he left as soon as the freeze was over.

Under Dershowitz’s formula, Abbas would be obliged to be at the table as soon as the freeze began.

Timing is everything.

The meeting was under the auspices of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. The center was established by Slim Fast Foods former Chairman S. Daniel Abraham and the late Utah Congressman Wayne Owens.

Perhaps those crammed quarters in the frozen settlements won’t seem as crammed if they all consumed more Slim Fast…

Among those who did attend the meeting, besides Big Idea Man Dershowitz, were CMEP director Robert Wexler—who is a top Jewish surrogate for President Obama, and Peter Joseph, who heads the Israel Policy Forum.

On July 13 the Israel Policy Forum sent a letter signed by 41 prominent American Jewish leaders and philanthropists that urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to adopt the Levy commission’s findings, which legalized the vast majority of Jewish outposts east of the “green line.”

Turns out Dershowitz was the right-winger in that room…

Dershowitz told Haaretz that the PA president promised to make “a positive statement” about the connection between Israel and the Jewish people during his Thursday address to the United Nations General Assembly.

Participants described Abbas as emphasizing what he said was the urgent need to return to talks with Israel because of protests and fighting roiling the Arab world and because of increased tensions with Iran. He asked his Jewish interlocutors why Israel was demanding that he recognize Israel as a Jewish state when he had repeatedly recognized its legitimacy.

He was told that insensitivity to Jewish claims helped fuel the demand, and was reminded that last year in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, he noted only Muslim and Christian claims.

Abbas told the group to watch for his speech to the General Assembly, scheduled for Thursday at noon, saying that he would also note Jewish claims.

The office of the Palestinian representative in Washington would only confirm that the meeting with the Jewish leaders took place and that aspects of what was discussed would be featured in Abbas’ speech.

Among the Jewish leaders who declined to attend, representatives of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee either did not return requests for comment or declined comment.

The Israeli Embassy did not return a request for comment.

According to Haaretz, Abbas has assured President Obama’s Administration that he would not press for a General Assembly vote on the Palestinian request for non-state recognition before the upcoming November 6 presidential elections.
The JTA’s Ron Kampeas contributed to this report.

The MTA’s ‘Demeaning’ Double Standard

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

It took a federal judge to get New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority to allow ads to run on buses calling for support of Israel against terrorist attacks. Though a year ago the MTA accepted an ad sponsored by an anti-Israel group calling for an end to military aid to Israel, it initially refused to permit display of an ad sponsored by a pro-Israel group that read, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man./ Support Israel/Defeat Jihad.”

The MTA rejected the ad, finding that it violated one of the MTA’s written advertising standards that prohibits ads with “information that demean[s] an individual or group of individuals on account of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, age disability or sexual orientation.”

The MTA’s refusal to permit the ad led to a lawsuit brought by the sponsoring group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, claiming a violation of its right to free speech.

An MTA official, Jeffrey Rosen, told the judge that the MTA’s decision was based on its position that the ad used the words “savage” and “Jihad” to identify those who fail to support Israel and this “demeans a group (or groups) of individuals on account of their religion, national origin, or ancestry, including Palestinians or other Arabs or Muslims who do not share AFDI’s views on Israel.”

Though the judge held that the references were reasonably understood to mean Muslims and Arabs, he nonetheless held that the MTA’s “demeaning” standard was too loose and provided no objective guidance as to what was permissible and what was not and allowed the MTA to pick and choose the kind of speech it would allow.

He went on to give examples of ads that were allowed in the past which were clearly uncomplimentary to individuals and groups. This state of affairs was incompatible with the constitutional notion that government may not censor speech, he said.

Those who chafe at the high-handed way New York City officials often take positions in the exercise of their official duties that go out of their way to accommodate and identify with Muslim and Arab sensitivities, should certainly welcome this decision.

Actually, in the light of the recent anti-American rioting in Benghazi, Cairo, Tunis and other Muslim/Arab venues, all Americans should welcome anything that militates against the notion of granting the slightest legitimacy to those outrages and the people who perpetrate them.

Abbas Says He Will Go Ahead with UN Bid Speech

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated on Wednesday that he will deliver a speech at the General Assembly of the United Nations to ask for recognition of Palestine as a non-member state, Ma’an reported.

The comments, which were posted on the president’s Facebook page, added that the speech would most likely take place on September 27.

“As in every year I will be tell the whole world about the suffering of my people under the Israeli occupation and its settlements, settler attacks and violations on a daily basis which contradict the United Nations and international law,” the comments said.

“We are determined despite all pressure and I am confident that you will all support my request.”

Abbas also announced that he will make a 10-day visit to Turkey in the coming week, noting that the country has always supported the Palestinian cause.

The United States opposed Abbas’ 2011 bid for UN membership, which got stuck at the Security Council, where the US has veto power.

Meanwhile, Maariv reported, citing Palestinian sources, that Abbas is planning to retire and has instructed his aids to find a replacement by the time he is back from the U.S.

Google Will Not Take Down Anti-Muslim ‘Trailer,’ But Restricts Access to Muslims

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Google has rejected a White House request to remove the anti-Muslim video ‘trailer’ of a supposed full length, anti-Muslim movie titled “Innocence of Muslims,”” from YouTube, but is restricting access to it in certain countries.

The White House said on Friday that it had asked YouTube, the online video sharing site, to review whether the video violated its terms of use. Google owns YouTube.

YouTube said in a statement Friday that the video is “clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube.”

The short film denigrates the Prophet Muhammad, portraying him as a blood thirsty womanizer and pedophile. It ignited mob violence against U.S. and other Western missions around the Muslim world.

“We work hard to create a community everyone can enjoy and which also enables people to express different opinions,” the YouTube statement said. “This can be a challenge because what’s OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere. This video — which is widely available on the Web — is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube. However, we’ve restricted access to it in countries where it is illegal such as India and Indonesia as well as in Libya and Egypt, given the very sensitive situations in these two countries. This approach is entirely consistent with principles we first laid out in 2007.”

YouTube’s community guidelines say the company encourages free speech and defends everyone’s right to express unpopular points of view. But YouTube says it does not permit hate speech.

“‘Hate speech’ refers to content that promotes hatred against members of a protected group,” the guidelines say. “Sometimes there is a fine line between what is and what is not considered hate speech. For instance, it is generally okay to criticize a nation, but not okay to make insulting generalizations about people of a particular nationality.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/google-will-not-take-down-anti-muslim-trailer-but-restricts-access-to-muslims/2012/09/16/

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