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May 27, 2016 / 19 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘U.S. State Department’

Courage? The State Department?

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

America has been pursuing a policy ever since 9/11 to honor what it perceives as moderate Muslims.

This policy, at present failed, would make sense if such moderate Muslims were pro Western freedoms, pro peace with Israel, anti Sharia, or would stand up to Islamic jihad. Regrettably, Muslims and former Muslims who do stand up to Islamism have been ignored; those embraced by the West are almost always anti-American and anti-Jew, and even make excuses for jihad and terrorism.

The most recent instance is Samira Ibrahim, an Egyptian national, nominated — and then withdrawn — by the U.S. State Department for its prestigious “International Women of Courage Award.” In its pursuit to appease Muslims, regardless of ideology, the U.S. ignored Ibrahim’s extreme hatred of the U.S. and Israel, and her celebration of 9/11 and terrorism. Yes, Ibrahim was courageous for filing a lawsuit against the Egyptian military for undergoing a virginity test, but that so called courage should be viewed in the right context.

After the revolution, Egypt was extremely embarrassed by an international uproar over the virginity test of about 21 young women who were demonstrating in Tahrir Square. That came in the wake of the brutal sexual assault of the CBS reporter Lara Logan. Egyptian government officials, many of whom are consumed with appearing democratic and civilized before the West, initially denied the story but then admitted it. That embarrassment was what encouraged some female victims to file a lawsuit, which the government allowed them to win in order to save face and prove to the West it had achieved a democracy after the revolution. Ms. Ibrahim was somewhat courageous for winning a lawsuit against the Egyptian military; however, that lawsuit should never have risen to the level of becoming an icon to be honored by the U.S .State Department. Officials in the State Department, thinking no one was looking into her background, perhaps including them, ignored who Ms. Ibrahim really was.

Ms. Ibrahim’s views are no breakthroughs of courage against the real problems of the Muslim world: her head covering remains a symbol of her defense of Sharia. She has never demonstrated against the forced virginity checks that occur daily in Egypt at almost all weddings to make sure the bride is a virgin. As a child in Egypt, I attended weddings where the bride’s virginity blood was on display on a white handkerchief while guns were shot to celebrate the blessed event proving the family’s pride in their daughter’s virginity. Neither did Ibrahim lead a movement in Egypt against female genital mutilation or the Egyptian marriage contract, which asks the bride to sign a paper before the marriage stating she is a virgin.

There is also no feminist movement in Egypt lead by Ibrahim, against the barbaric honor killings of girls found not to be virgins; that is perhaps because all are either dead or have undergone reconstructive virginity surgery, a popular procedure for girls who must save their necks.

While many Muslims today are starting to speak against the brutality of Sharia laws which cause “virginity tests” in the first place, Ibrahim never speaks ill of Sharia, or condemns its laws against women and non-Muslims. Ibrahim is, however, a very vocal anti-American, who celebrated the anniversary of 9/11 as well as violence and terror against Israelis. What courage is it if the majority of Egyptians shares her feelings? What courage did our State Department think it was celebrating?

After failing to receive the Award, Ibrahim blamed the Zionist lobby in America; her “logic” is popular in Egypt, where people blame all ills on Jews. It is a sad fact that Ibrahim’s views actually do represent the majority of the so-called moderate Muslims everywhere. Such moderate Muslims, who are demonstrating today against the Morsi government, are no less anti-American than the radicals. As a matter of fact many of them wish to resume hostilities against Israel and believe that Morsi caved to the American pressure; they are now accusing him of being a puppet of the U.S. just like his predecessor. The sad truth is that most so-called “moderate” Muslims could be as anti-American and anti-Semitic as Al Qaeda. That is why the U.S. should be vastly more cautious and realistic in taking sides at all in the Middle East.

Nonie Darwish

The Samira Ibrahim Affair

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

This isn’t a big story, but it has some interesting aspects.

In observance of International Women’s Day today, Michelle Obama and John Kerry will be recognizing 9 International Women of  Courage, including — posthumously — the anonymous victim of the infamous Delhi rape.

There were to be ten honorees, but one of them, Samira Ibrahim of Egypt was caught sending several vicious tweets, one calling the terrorist bombing of a bus full of Israelis in Bulgaria “sweet news,” one quoting Hitler approvingly, and even one celebrating the anniversary of 9/11. When the State Department put her award on hold, she at first (unconvincingly) claimed her account had been hacked, but then said “I refuse to apologize to the Zionist lobby in America regarding my previous anti-Zionist statements under pressure from American government therefore they withdrew the award.”

Despite hating Jews and the United States, Ibrahim certainly was courageous. She was originally picked because she sued the Egyptian government when they performed a degrading “virginity test” on her after she was arrested for protesting in Tahrir Square, and forced them to end the “tests.” And of course, she is not  afraid of the “Zionist lobby” either.

If we include Ibrahim, five out of the initially ten women selected are Muslims, possibly illustrating the importance the State Department attaches to establishing good relations with the people who, more than anyone else in the world, want to kill Jews and Americans.

But it is not surprising that — especially in Egypt — they had a hard time finding someone who did not share the common prejudices.

Let’s understand that Egypt, which has rendered itself almost entirely free of Jews (it’s estimated that there were less than 100 in 2004), is nevertheless a nation obsessed with hatred of Jews.

When non-Jewish journalist Lara Logan was swarmed and sexually attacked in Tahrir Square in 2011, the crowd shouted “Jew!” They also decorated pictures of Hosni Mubarak with the star of David. Egyptian T.V. often casts Jews as villains, and recently presented a series based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Hitler’s Mein Kampf, in Arabic, is a bestseller in Egyptian bookstores (I mentioned that one of Ibrahim’s tweets quoted Hitler).

It isn’t just Egypt. They would have had a hard time in the “advanced” nation of Turkey, too:

A study by Turkey’s Hrant Dink Foundation has found that Jews have become the main object of hate speech in the country, followed by Armenians, Christians, and Greeks.

I bet it would have been much easier to find a courageous Israeli woman, perhaps one who lives in the southern part of Israel and who has been subjected to rocket bombardments day after day and year after year, who doesn’t hate Arabs, Egyptians or Turks. But that wouldn’t help the message, which is that the U.S. is a friend to the oppressed; and by definition an Israeli can’t be oppressed, she can only be an oppressor.

One more interesting connection: The New York Times blogger Robert Mackey, known for his anti-Zionist take, asked Samuel Tadros, who originally broke the Ibrahim story, whether he was a Coptic Christian and if this could have influenced his reporting.

The mind boggles. If a Coptic academic sees and translates a Jew-hating or anti-American tweet, is his reporting thereof invalid? Is everything now ethnically relative?

Visit Fresno Zionism.

Vic Rosenthal

Egypt Teeters on Bankruptcy, Promises Reforms and Gets US Money

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry carried his “cash for promises” plan to Egypt on Sunday, granting the stumbling Muslim Brotherhood regime $190 million immediately following Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s “promises” to carry out economic and political reforms.

The money is part of $450 million commitment by the Obama administration to help out the regime, whose economy is in shambles two years after the Arab Spring rebellion resulted in the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Kerry explained that Cairo needs the money now because of the country’s “extreme needs” and that Mori’s promises to enact reforms, which he promised to do when elected last year. Instead, he tried to usurp even more power for himself while the post-Mubarak economy disintegrated.

The new Secretary of State is outdoing his predecessors in his optimism. He said that the American government also is setting up a separate $60 million funds for direct support to Egyptian businessmen and young people.

Morsi’s promises will satisfy conditions for a $4.8 billion in loans from the International Monetary Fund loans, according to Kerry. Two of those conditions are to raise taxes and reduced energy subsidies.

With parliamentary elections coming up in April, those moves would infuriate an already angry public.

The loans are considered to be a seal of approval that Egypt is on the way to recovery.

Kerry has called his 11-day junket to nine countries a “listening tour.” and said in Cairo, “I emphasize again, as strongly as I can, we’re not here to interfere, I’m here to listen.”

However, not everyone wants to talk to Kerry. Several opposition parties refused to meet with hymn because of the Obama administration’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood regime. Even before the regime took over, President Barack Obama broke precedent by sending American officials, including then-Senator Kerry, to meet with Muslim Brotherhood officials, who formerly had been blackballed.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr welcomed Kerry as “friend” and said Egypt has certain expectations from the United States, such as to make sure that to “rid the Middle East area from nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction in genera.” That is diplomatic language for forcing Israel to own up to its nuclear capacity and to surrender them – at the same Iran is playing for time in its race for a nuclear weapon, which presumably would be aimed at Israel.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Will Kerry Search for His Roots in Israel?

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Newly-crowned Secretary of the Peace Process John Kerry, a great-grandson of a European Jew whose son converted to Catholicism, is to visit Israel later this month.

Egypt also is on his agenda, according to CNN.

Kerry sounds as if wants to out do Hillary Clinton, repeating last week the decade-old mantra that “time is running out for the two-state solution.”

If Kerry cannot find the pot at the end of the rainbow in Jerusalem and Ramallah, he might want to start from “go,” which in his case would be looking for his Jewish roots.

No one was surprised more than Kerry himself in 2004 when it was revealed to him that his great-grandfather was Jewish.

The new Secretary of State is a third generation “Irish Catholic,” but that is about as far it goes. His great-grandfather, a master brewer, was married to a nice Jewish girl. After her death, he married another nice Jewish girl, who moved from Moravia to Vienna after her husband passed away.

Their two son, Frederich (Fritz) and Otto found that the easiest way to fight anti-Semitism was to convert. Already having turned their back on their Jewish heritage, they dropped the name Kohn and “decided” on a new name by letting a pencil drop on a map. The Irish county of Kerry “won,” and that became the brothers’ family name. So much for their “Irish” roots.

Fred Kerry, two of whose nephews and nieces were part of the 6 million who were slaughtered in the Holocaust, married a Jew, who was John Kerry’s grandmother. She as well as their son also were baptized Catholics, the family moved to the United States and shed their Jewish roots.

For whatever reason, although his twisted path easily could be considered a contributing cause, Fritz, or Fred, committed suicide. Among his survivors were his six-year-old son Richard, who grew up as a good American and served in the U.S. Army and worked in the State Department.

Richard married into big money  – his wife inherited part of the Forbes fortune –  and his son John followed his path into the Army and public service.

The rest is modern history. John Kohn, that is Kerry, now is responsible for handling foreign policy.

However, “once a Jew always a Jew,” as many Holocaust victims and survivors discovered after trying to hide their Jewish identity or convert.

Just ask the HelpFreetheEarth website, which among other things, states, “Zionists are fanatical extremists who believe they have a god-given right to the “promised land” that stretches from the Nile to the Euphrates rivers as mentioned in the Judeo–Christian Bible.”

The website calls Kerry the “New Secretary Of Hate” who actually is a “German Jew pretending to be Irish Catholic.”

When he visits Israel, Kerry will undoubtedly visit the Holocaust Museum, a requisite for foreign dignitaries.

He won’t find a key to the Peace Process there, but maybe he will start thinking about his real roots.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

White House Response to Morsi’s Vitriol Reveals Its Policy Rationale

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

When it came to light that Egypt’s new president had made blatantly antisemitic (in the Western context today they could also be called racist) remarks, it finally became necessary–albeit only when the New York Times covered a story (putting it in the most apologetic light, by the way) that’s been evident during many years–for the U.S. government to reluctantly and grudgingly remark on these statements, through the medium of spokesman Jay Carney. A State Department statement said that Morsi’s saying he is against intolerance was an important first step and expected him to show that he believed in religious tolerance.

My problem in dealing with such statements is that they are seen as isolated acts. As I’ve been writing now for about 30 years, the Muslim Brotherhood has always talked this way as do Hamas, Hizballah, the Ba’th Party, the Iranian regime, and many—though not all—Arab intellectuals, journalists, politicians and journalists in living memory. In fact, already a new Morsi statement has surfaced, “We must nurse children on hatred towards Jews.” Note he did not add, until I become president and then we can start teaching them to live in peace with others of different faiths.

It isn’t just pathetic but also weird that educated Euro-North Americans who are eager to destroy the career of anyone who has ever uttered a single sentence that was or can be portrayed as hate speech will accept those who issue whole reams of the stuff. What is truly ridiculous about this kind of controversy is the outrage or apologia over one statement. In fact, Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood leadership including leading figures in the ruling party have made hundreds of radical statements. They are either ignored or explained away as insignificant.

Here are just two from the very top of the organization.

First, Khairat El Shater, the Brotherhood’s Deputy General Guide said in April 2012: “Our main and overall mission as Muslim Brothers is to empower God’s Religion on Earth…and to [establish] the subjugation of people to God on Earth.”

Second, Muhammad Badi, the Brotherhood’s head, explained in his September 2010 speech which virtually announced the launching of the revolution to overthrow the Mubarak regime: “…the factors that will lead to the collapse of the United States are much more powerful than those that led to the collapse of the Soviet empire….The United States is now experiencing the beginning of its end, and is heading towards its demise….”

Yet people who point to the Brotherhood’s radical history, extremist statements, and intolerant behavior now in a systematic way are ridiculed. We aren’t even hearing the pragmatic-sounding argument: “Of course, these people are extremist, totalitarian, and anti-American but we have to deal with them. ” No, what we are getting instead is: “They aren’t really extremist, totalitarian, or anti-American and we prefer to deal with them because they are moderate and a bulwark against the Salafists.”

All three of the top foreign policy appointments just made by President Barack Obama–John Kerry as secretary of state; Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, and John Brennan as CIA director–strongly endorse that latter stance. Indeed, Brennan practically created it.

The White House’s response to Morsi’s remarks was in the framework of that approach, condemning the language of one particular statement while praising Morsi for some things he’s done. He is praised for not abrogating the Egypt-Israel peace treaty–yet–and for helping get a ceasefire in the latest Israel-Hamas war. It is good that Morsi helped U.S. goals in that case but since he was, in effect, doing even more to help his ally Hamas, one should be entitled to a certain element of cynicism. The Egyptian regime is apparently blocking some–not all–of the weapons going into Gaza because a direct confrontation with Israel is not in its interests. Of course, direct confrontation with Israel (after 1973) wasn’t in Egyptian, Syrian, or Iraqi interests either. That’s why they used terrorist group clients to do the job.

But the main problem with the White House response is not that it was too weak but that it deals with calling Jews the offspring of pigs and monkeys against whom eternal war must be waged as entirely isolated from any analysis or policy consideration. None of these factors are considered as part of the Egyptian president’s and Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology and worldview.

Barry Rubin

UN Handing Assad $519M in ‘Humanitarian Aid’

Monday, January 21st, 2013

There’s no doubt about it, with grinding poverty and homelessness, medical needs soaring and the sheer cost of having to bury tens of thousands of people who’ve been slaughtered make Syria an obvious candidate for humanitarian aid.

But.

Does it really make sense to transfer more than $519,000,000 worth of international aid to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, when nearly every major world leader has predicted the imminent dismemberment of the Assad regime, if not the man himself?

Assad’s own mother has fled the country, following his sister Bushra who moved to Dubai, according to news reports.  They do not intend to return anytime soon, as Bushra has already enrolled her five children in a Dubai school. Bushra’s husband was killed in a bombing raid on July 18.  Since the fighting began, more than 600,000 Syrians have fled the country, many of the wealthy emigrating to Dubai.

If your only point of reference is the January 19 UN document explaining the rationale for the transfer to Syria of more than $500,000,000, you would be hard pressed to understand exactly what is happening in that country that has caused the huge increase in need for humanitarian aid.  The deaths of more than 60,000 in less than two years, which most people call the Syrian Civil War, are instead referred to in UN-speak as “the events in Syria since March, 2011,” or, sometimes, as “the current events.”

According to the United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), the Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan for Syria contemplates the transfer of $519,627,047 to cover the period of January 1, 2013 to the end of June, 2013. The reason for this new assistance plan is that the “indirect effects of the current events threaten a second major category of Syrians due to multiple effects of the current events.”  These include:

primarily: the aggravation of poverty; damage to housing and infrastructure including water and power utilities, schools, medical and other social service facilities, industrial and agricultural infrastructure (including fertilizer production and pharmaceutical industry); shortages of fuels, which affect the whole economy, including electricity and water supplies as well as transportation; disruptions to telecommunications; a rapid shrinkage of the private sector and most importantly the informal sector that employs a large proportion of the population leading to livelihood losses and rising unemployment, including in industry, agriculture and tourism; unsafe movement on major routes in the country and across borders is hindering internal and external transit and trade and inflating prices; the rising costs of imports due to devaluation of the local currency.

Oh, and the UN report also points out – by name – that “economic sanctions is further aggravating the situation.”

Incredibly, the report states that it “aims at supporting the Government of Syria’s [that’s the Assad regime] efforts in providing humanitarian assistance to the affected populations.”  Most people in Syria believe it is the Assad regime that has created the huge increase in need for humanitarian assistance.

In addition to desperately needed food, medicine and medical equipment, and “appropriate emergency services,” the UN Plan has as one of its four objectives: “Support the government in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of critical infrastructure and vital public services affected by the current events through rapid repairs.”

Does it really make sense to hand over money to make rapid repairs to the infrastructure of a country that is in the process of blowing itself to bits?  Just last week two bombs exploded at the University of Aleppo, killing nearly 100 students, wounding dozens more and destroying several buildings.  The State Department condemned the despicable attack, laying the blame squarely on the Syrian regime.

And yet, the UN is planning on dispatching to Assad more than $500,000,000, to use either as bribes or perhaps for more weapons, or perhaps for humanitarian needs, but surely not for those who oppose the regime. But, in true Middle Eastern form, the need to bestow dignity and honor, even when it is ludicrous to do so, is employed by the UN.  The money is being handed over to the Assad regime.

All humanitarian assistance is, and will continue to be, delivered with full respect to the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic during the implementation of this Response Plan.  Decisions on strategic or logistical issues including field office locations should be done after formal consultations with the government in order to receive the clearance and accreditation.

With all due respect, that’s nuts.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

New ‘Judea and Samaria’ Passport Stamp Drives Arabs and the AP Nuts

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

In what appears to be a recent change of events, the passports of non-Israelis who enter the areas of Judea and Samaria are now being stamped with “Judea & Samaria Only” “visitors permit,” whereas until fairly recently those passports were stamped with “Palestinian Authority Only” stamps.

There has been a hysterical response to this by such anti-Israel activists as Ali Abunimah, the founder and editor of the “Electronic Intifada,” an online media outlet dedicated to attacking Israel, the “Zionist entity.”

It would not be such a big deal if it were only the virulently anti-Israel fringe who read the Electronic Intifada who complained about the change.  But, incredibly, the issue has now been taken up by international media outlets such as the Associated Press who have been badgering the spokesperson for the U.S. State Department about the change.

During the press conference on Tuesday, December 4, the AP’s State Department correspondent Matt Lee repeatedly badgered Deputy State Department Spokesperson Mark C. Toner about the matter.  Lee parroted Abunimah’s over-the-top characterization of the stamp, and demanded to know what the U.S. is going to do about Israel’s “creeping annexation” over what he insisted Toner acknowledge was “occupied territory.”

The reporter compared what he considered to be a lackluster response to the concern expressed by the U.S. when the Chinese government began issuing passports in which maps showed Chinese ownership over disputed maritime territory.  Toner resisted the comparison, but ultimately relented and assured the AP reporter that he would “look into it,” and then “report back.”

The source of the concern, the Electronic Intifada, is so hostile to Israel that it describes the change in Israeli stamp policy in this way:

‘Judea and Samaria’ is the Jewish nationalist name Israel gives to the occupied West Bank to reinforce its bogus claims to the territory and to give them a veneer of historical and religious legitimacy.

The latest change is further proof, if it were needed, that Israel is, without announcing it, implementing a racist one-state solution where there is no such thing as a Palestinian state and even the ‘Palestinian Authority’ has been erased.

Of course, Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron in Hebrew) are the terms which have been used to refer to these areas throughout history.   It has only been since the 1960’s that the term “West Bank” began to be used to refer to that area.

Here is the full exchange at the State Dept. briefing on Tuesday, December 4, 2012:

QUESTION: The Israeli Interior Ministry today announced that they’re also – they approved, or they are about to build 1,600 units. It’s the Ramat Shlomo settlement. It was actually launched during the Vice President’s visit to Jerusalem back in 2010 and you guys stopped it. Today, they – so do you have a comment on that?

Mark C. Toner, Deputy Department Spokesman: Well, you won’t be surprised if – I’d just refer you to our statement yesterday, which is that these kinds of actions are unproductive and don’t help get the parties back to the negotiating table, which is our ultimate goal.

QUESTION: Okay, but this seems to be like a daily event now. We might expect tomorrow there’s going to be another settlement and so on, and you will continue to refer to your statement of the day before yesterday?

MR. TONER: Well, our position – as we said, we made it very clear yesterday in our statement, but our position has not changed, and we continue to convey that to the Israeli Government.

QUESTION: Okay. So you have no intention of, let’s say, following suit with the – with your –

MR. TONER: Said, we see you –

QUESTION: – allies, Australia, and others to call the Israeli ambassador and tell him that in person?

MR. TONER: Well, Said, we’re in almost – well, we are in daily contact with the Israeli Government through our mission in Israel, and we’re going to convey what we’ve – privately as well as what we’ve conveyed publicly.

QUESTION: I have one last question on – if you indulge me – on the West Bank. The Israelis now are stamping visitors’ passports, American visitors and others, when they enter the West Bank as Judea and Samaria. Are you concerned about that? Did you express your concern to the Israelis?

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/new-judea-and-samaria-passport-stamp-drives-arabs-and-the-ap-nuts/2012/12/05/

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