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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Did the Mossad kill Joerg Haider?

The body is still warm (relatively, that is), and some people already know the truth! Amazing.

I wouldn't link to the sources, but here are some exceptionally penetrating quotes:

The bottom line is he was a thorn in the side to the Neocons, to Israel, to the EU, to the WTO, and to the drive for one world government. So now he sleeps with Yitshak Rabin, Robert Maxwell, Olaf Palme, DC Madam, Danny Colasaro, Gary Webb, David Kelly, JFK, RFK, MLK.
I suspect the guy forgot to add GPS, IBM and KGB to that list. -
Continued here: Jewish Mossad killed Joerg Haider

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Middle East Muslims: US Crash is wrath of Allah

A Hamas spokesperson was more more explicit earlier, blaming the problem on the Jews. It must've been the Jews who jacked up the price of oil to $145 a barrel, right?
Last update - 17:06 11/10/2008       
Mideast Muslims: U.S. Financial crisis is divine punishment
By The Associated Press
We are witnessing the collapse of the American Empire," Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister in the Gaza Strip, told worshippers during Friday prayers. "What's going on in America is a result of the violation of the rights of people in Palestine, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Muslims around the world."
Haniyeh's comments followed those made by other regional leaders who have long had an antagonistic relationship with the U.S. and appear to be enjoying the country's troubles.
However, the financial meltdown has not left the region unscathed, with stock markets across the Middle East dropping more than 10 percent in the past week.
In an interview on Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described America's problems as a matter of chickens coming home to roost after years of exporting inflation and deficits to the rest of the world.
"Now the world capacity is full and these problems have returned to the U.S.," he said, adding "and finally they are oppressors, and systems based on oppression and unrighteous positions will not endure."
Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, a high level Iranian cleric, was blunter when he addressed worshippers on Oct. 3, describing the situation as God's punishment.
"We are happy that the U.S. economy is in anarchy and the anarchy is reaching Europe," said Jannati. "They are seeing the result of their own ugly doings and God is punishing them."
The Iranian government has said the financial crisis is not hurting Iran's economy. But the turmoil has helped drive the price of oil down more than 40 percent since record highs in July. The Iranian government relies on oil revenue for 80 percent of its budget.
Al-Qaida, America's arch-nemesis in the region, was one of the first to express satisfaction over the financial crisis in a half hour video message earlier in the month.

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Jewish and Arab leaders call for peace in Acco (Acre)

Last update - 18:24 11/10/2008       
Jewish, Arab leaders to renounce all acts of violence in bid to end Acre riots
By Jack Khoury, Jonathan Lis, Fadi Eyadat and Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondents
As police maintained a tense calm in the northern town of Acre, which has seen some of the worst clashes in years between Arab and Jewish residents over recent days, the city's Arab leaders met with senior police officials Saturday in efforts to resolve the escalating tensions.
Northern District Police Chief Shimon Koren met with Arab leaders after the violence raged for a fourth consecutive day, and the two sides decided to renounce all acts of violence and intimidation. The police plan to convene representatives of the Jewish sector as well in order to convey the condemnation of violence.
The riots erupted around midnight on Wednesday on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, when an Arab resident drove his car through a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, allegedly playing loud music in what Jewish residents called a deliberate provocation.
Much of Israel routinely shuts down for the Yom Kippur holiday, considered the holiest religious holiday in the Jewish faith. Most streets are empty, save for emergency vehicles.
The driver denied entering the neighborhood as a provocation, telling reporters he drove "slowly and carefully" to pick up his daughter from her fiance's home.
A group of Jewish residents then proceeded to assault the driver, sparking large-scale riots that lasted well into Saturday.
Israeli Arab MK and Acre resident Abbas Zakour said Saturday that representatives of the Arab public were set to publicly renounce the acts of the man who drove into a Jewish neighborhood on Yom Kippur, "even if he didn't intend to disrespect the Jews," in efforts to end the clashes. Zakour added that the man should have thought of other ways to get home other than driving through a Jewish neighborhood.
Public figures from both the Arab and Jewish sectors were planning to meet in Acre's old city Saturday evening in efforts to reach an agreement, and consequently issue a joint request to the city's mayor to reverse his decision to cancel the upcoming theater festival, held annually in the city over the Sukkot holiday.
Earlier Saturday, police forces securing the area arrested four rioters after two Arab-owned apartments were torched in the city. Two of those arrested were subsequently released due to their young age.
Meanwhile, Jewish hackers broke into a Hebrew-language Web site, smearing incitement calls against Arabs and urging Jews to boycott Arab-owned businesses.
So far in the rioting, some 40 shops and 100 cars have been damaged. Around 30 people have been arrested, 20 of whom are still in custody.
On Friday, dozens of Jewish rioters gathered in front of an Israeli Arab family's home on the city's Ahad Ha'am street, upon which a number of masked figures - apparently Arabs - were standing.
Large police forces succeeded in separating the sides, and later managed to enforce calm in the city, according to Israel Radio.
Earlier Friday, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter vowed that police would deal firmly with those responsible for inciting Wednesday night's riots.
"The inciters and perpetrators will be located and brought to justice," Dichter pledged.
He also blasted both Jews and Muslims for the incitement that led to the escalation of the riots. "We will check the calls in Mosques for the Arab public to go out onto the streets," Dichter said.
The minister stressed that comparing the riots to Kristallnacht - the 1938 "Night of Broken Glass" Nazi pogrom - displayed in the best case ignorance and in the worst, incitement.
He said: "Calls [by Jews] for residents to carry arms is in effect incitement for its own sake."
An Israel Police source said on Thursday that the police had no prior intelligence about the possibility of clashes between Jewish and Arab residents.
On Thursday evening, police faced off against hundreds of Jewish rioters chanting "death to Arabs" and trying to block the city's main thoroughfare. Border Police and officers on horse-back meanwhile tried to prevent the rioters from reaching the city center, where hundreds of Arab rioters had gathered.
Arabs and Jews hurled rocks at each other at the Acre train station and police used water hoses and tear gas to disperse them. In the Old City, Arabs threw stones and burned tires. Two people were reported injured, one by a police horse and the other by a stone to the head.
Police summoned reinforcements from other districts earlier Thursday in anticipation of a renewal of the violent clashes. Hundreds of police are now stationed in the city.

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Yom Kippur mayhem in Acco continues

The obnoxious Israeli tradition of stoning vehicles on Yom Kippur degenerated into a "race" riot in Acco. 
It has nothing to do with Zionism and nothing to do with religion or the Arab-Jewish conflict. It is just a custom of young hoodlums that evolved over the years. Anyone may be a victim. Victims of stonings are often pregnant women on the way to the hospital   
After hours of relative calm, Jewish youths begin to crowd in eastern neighborhood of city, prompting stone-throwing from many Arab residents; police detain nine residents, raid home from which stones were flung
Ahiya Raved
Latest Update:  10.10.08, 23:32 / Israel News
On a third successive night of rioting in Akko, Arabs threw stones at dozens of Jewish youths who formed a crowd in one of the city's eastern neighborhoods. Three people were injured, including a man who was walking his dog, who sustained a mild head injury from a stone that was flung at him.
Police detained five Jewish protestors and four Arabs, and began to disperse the remaining crowd with the help of stun grenades, tear gas, and water hoses. Officers also raided a home from which stones had been flung, detaining three family members found within.
Northern District Police stated that altogether 30 people have been arrested in relation to the riots since they first began on Yom Kippur Eve. 
Meanwhile Akko firefighters attempted to extinguish a large number of fires that were ignited in trash cans and wood piles throughout the city. In one instance the fire was reportedly near a gas leak, and vehicle arson was suspected.
At around 10 pm police reported the incident under control. However at around 11 pm further conflict developed near the Western Galilee College located in the northern part of the city, as well as near the bus terminal. Police reported that Jews and Arabs were throwing stones at each other in the area.

The incident commenced at around 9 pm, when dozens of Jewish youths began to crowd two of the neighborhood's main streets. Police barricaded the eastern entrance to the city, and deployed large SWAT and Border Guard forces armed with anti-protest equipment to the area.  
Wednesday's violence erupted after an Arab motorist entered a predominantly Jewish neighborhood on the holiest of Jewish days.
The incident quickly developed into a mass riot involving hundreds of people, during which dozens of cars and some 30 shops were vandalized. Three people, including the Arab motorist and a police officer, sustained light injuries.
The clashes between Arabs and Jews resumed Thursday evening, after Yom Kippur ended, as hundreds of Jews and Arabs demonstrated and confronted police near the train station in eastern Akko and near the city's northern housing projects.
Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni censured the Yom Kippur riots in Akko asserting, during a meeting with city mayor Shimon Lankry, that citizens cannot be allowed to take the law into their own hands.
"All Israeli citizens should respect the holy day of Yom Kippur when they are outside their home," she said Friday.
First Published:  10.10.08, 22:01

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Evils of Zionism

Here is something for the folks who write about the evils of Zionism all the time.
Last update - 23:20 10/10/2008       
Israel grants rare entry to cancer-stricken Iranian boy
By The Associated Press
A 12-year-old cancer-stricken Iranian boy arrived at an Israeli hospital on Friday for emergency treatment on his brain tumor.
The boy - who was identified only as Roy, to protect his privacy - was wheeled on a stretcher into the Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, after treatments in Iran and Turkey failed. His face was puffy, apparently due to the drugs administered to ease his pain.
Israel granted the child a special permit to enter the country and he arrived at Ben Gurion Airport on Friday. The rare arrangement was mediated by an Israeli businessman of Iranian origin. The boy was accompanied to the hospital by his father and veiled mother, who were also granted special entry permits into Israel.
Iran and Israel are bitter enemies and have no formal relations. Iran's president has denied the Holocaust and repeatedly called for Israel to be wiped off the map.
Sheba CEO Zeev Rotstein said it wasn't the first time Israeli doctors have treated children from adversarial states.
"We hope that with the love and affection we give these kids we are paving the way for at least some understanding between people," he said. "We can't change the politics. We are not politicians. We do this because we feel it is our job."
Israel is home to world-class hospitals and state-of-the-art medical technology.
Dr. Amos Toren, head of Sheba's Pediatric Hemato-Oncology Department, said his initial diagnosis was that the boy's year- old growth was the most aggressive tumor that exists among brain tumors.
"He is conscious and he can smile but it is hard," he said. "We will give him the most modern treatment possible and maybe we will be able to help him."
Rotstein said the child had been operated on before and may need another procedure in Israel.
"There are very limited things you can do," he said. "But if this kid has any chance, it is here."
He said the hospital kept the identities of patients from countries hostile to Israel secret, so that they would not face danger upon their return home. Iran and several other Middle East countries oppose any type of normalization with Israel.
Rotstein said he hoped treatments, like those of Roy, would help break down some of those barriers.
"As far as we are concerned, we are not involved in politics," he said. "He is from a country that doesn't really like our existence here, but I think part of our job is to prove to countries like Iran that we are here to help the regular people."

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Whose fault is intermarriage??

After I wrote Intermarriage is not the problem - Judaism is the problem I found the article below, which may - or may not have revealed another aspect of the question that is not generally considered (in Israel at least).
Jewish women are blaming the intermarriage problem on Jewish men, and Jewish men are blaming it on what?
Is there really something wrong with Jewish men? Or with Jewish women?
Is it true just in the Gola or is it a characteristic of Israelis too?
Ami Isseroff
Jewish Men Are From Mars...
by Julie Wiener
Special To The Jewish Week
While the rest of the country wonders if a (decidedly not Jewish) Republican hockey mom could become our first female vice president, I'm obsessing about gender in the Jewish community.
Last month I noted in this space that Jewish women and men who intermarry often do so for different reasons — the women because their efforts to find a Jewish husband are unsuccessful, the men because they are either avoiding Jewish women or simply don't see any value in marrying within the Tribe. I cited Brandeis professor Sylvia Barack Fishman's recent study, "Matrilineal Ascent/Patrilineal Descent," which revealed many of these gender disparities. I also pointed out that some prominent thinkers in the Jewish world are actually encouraging Jewish women driven by the biological clock 
 to intermarry rather than remain single.
After the column appeared, several intermarried Jewish women contacted me to say that they, like me, had initially wanted to marry a Jewish man, but didn't have much luck dating them.
"When I turned 30 I realized that I couldn't limit myself anymore," wrote one Manhattan woman. "My (non-practicing Methodist) husband of 2 years is the most compassionate, charitable, intellectually curious person I know — and those are the Jewish values I admire most."
Just as I was feeling pleased with myself for penning such an astute column, I began to wonder if I'd given Jewish men a fair shake. After all, they're hardly the only ones guilty of gender stereotyping.
The New York woman who praised my column noted that "the handful of Jewish men I dated seriously were commitment-phobes who are now (many years later) still unmarried or with non-Jewish women." And a friend married to a former Unitarian echoed this attitude, writing that the few Jewish men who were interested in her "were often so neurotic it was clear it wouldn't go past a few dates."
Mentioning that one's Jewish suitors tend toward the neurotic hardly makes one a bigot, yet it is interesting that comments like these frequently surface in conversations with intermarried and single Jewish women — and I must confess I've had similar thoughts at times myself.
But short of public service messages to convince Jewish men that Jewesses are really not too overbearing — alongside parallel ones extolling the brute strength and psychological resilience of Jewish men — can stereotypical attitudes be changed?
And did I, in last month's column, inadvertently overstate their whole influence on intermarriage trends?
When Rabbi Abraham Unger, a professor at Wagner College in Staten Island, wrote an op-ed in response to my piece — in which he said my contention is "that Jewish male attitudes toward Jewish women are largely to blame for intermarriage" — I wondered if I had accidentally "contended" something I don't actually believe.
I would never say Jewish male attitudes toward Jewish women are "largely to blame" for intermarriage, both because  I think gender stereotypes represent only one of many factors influencing American Jews' marriage choices, and also because using  the word "blame" implies that I think intermarriage is an inherently bad thing, something that can and should be prevented.
Yes, intermarriage is at times a symptom of — and can also be a factor in — an individual's disengagement from Jewish life, but the issue is in many ways a distraction from the main challenge the Jewish community faces (outside of the Orthodox world, at least): widespread lack of interest in or knowledge about Judaism.
And that's where, if Sylvia Fishman's study and my own anecdotal observations are to be believed, men and women really are different.
The problem, I've decided, isn't that Jewish men don't want to marry Jewish women. It's that, for whatever reason, they don't want to join synagogues, learn about Judaism or celebrate Jewish holidays, and they're apathetic about passing the traditions on to their children.
I'm generalizing here; of course there are numerous Jewish men out there who are passionate about Judaism.
But as Fishman's study notes, "nationally, girls and women outnumber men in weekly non-Orthodox worship services, in adult education classes, in volunteer leadership positions, and in Jewish cultural events."
It's not only intermarried Jewish men who tend to be disengaged from Jewish life. Large numbers of in-married ones are as well. The difference, however, is that a Jewish wife is more likely than a non-Jewish one to insist that the family participate in Jewish life and the children be given a Jewish education.
Amazingly, tens of thousands of gentile wives actually do insist that their families participate in Jewish life — often because they want their children exposed to religion and their Jewish husbands have vetoed Christianity.
The Jewish Outreach Institute's rapidly expanding network of Mothers Circle programs is doing an amazing job of giving such women the knowledge, confidence and resources to raise Jewish children — but it's an uphill battle when the non-Jewish parent is more enthusiastic about Judaism than the Jewish parent is.
 In one family I know, the wife is constantly nudging her Jewish husband to bring her to a seder; her husband told me she'll probably come check out Shabbat services on her own, but he's a little squeamish about them himself. Another friend, who took a Judaism course last year and who is contemplating conversion, told me a few months ago that the more "Jewish" she becomes, the more nervous her Jewish husband gets.
How to account for all these gentile women who are more enthused about Judaism than their Jewish husbands?
My friend has a theory. While Jewish men are often attracted to gentile women in part because these women represent to them a refreshing change from the Jewish community, the opposite holds true for their wives.
"We were attracted to them, in part, because we were attracted to Judaism," she explains.
"In the Mix" appears the third week of the month. For past columns go to E-mail

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Text of Clinton's speech that was not delivered at the Anti-Ahmadinejad Rally

When I published Governor Palin's speech about Iran that was not delivered, I did promise that if Hillary Clinton had prepared a statement for the September 22 anti-Ahmadinejad rally, I would circulate it.  This statement was publicized on September 22, but I missed it, and then it got lost in the "shuffle" until someone reminded me.  
Here is Senator Clinton's non-speech. It is good speech.
Better late than never.
Ami Isseroff

Clinton: We cannot permit Iran to acquire nuclear weapons

As thousands gather in New York today to stand united against the threat posed by Iran, I add my voice to all those speaking out to oppose the Iranian regime's support for global terror, pursuit of nuclear weapons, and abuse of human rights. As Iranian President Ahmadinejad travels to New York, once again using the General Assembly of the United Nations as the stage for his hateful propaganda against Israel and the United States, we must be clear and steadfast in our opposition to the message he carries, and the threat a nuclear-armed Iran would pose.

As we know too well, the president of Iran has made a series of incendiary, outrageous comments, questioning the Holocaust and calling for Israel to be wiped off the map. Israel's right to exist - and exist in safety and peace - must never be called in to question. To deny the Holocaust places the president of Iran in the company of the most despicable bigots and historical revisionists. He has also said, "The big powers are going down... a world without America and Israel is both possible and feasible."

President Ahmadinejad's despicable comments and support for terrorism are even more disturbing in the context of the regime's quest to acquire nuclear weapons. His anti-American, anti-Israeli rhetoric underscores the seriousness of the threat. Indeed, the International Atomic Energy Agency recently found that Iran is making significant progress on developing and operating its centrifuges necessary to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons, and that Iran continues to resist efforts to address substantively its alleged nuclear weapons-related work.

United States policy in this regard must be clear and unequivocal. We should not, cannot, must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons. In dealing with this threat, as I have said repeatedly, we must take no option off the table.

We must continue to keep the spotlight on Iran until it ends its anti-American and anti-Semitic policies of hate, ends its nuclear weapons program, and its sponsorship of terrorism. I commend all of those joining today to oppose the Iranian regime's policies and statements during President Ahmadinejad's visit.

Hillary Rodham Clinton
United States Senator

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Russia: No S-300 Missile Systems for Iran

Russia: No S-300 Missile Systems for Iran
By nabi abdullaev Defense News Published: 9 Oct 10:17 EDT (14:17 GMT)

MOSCOW - Russia will not sell sophisticated S-300 missile systems to Iran, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko told reporters here Oct. 9.

Asked whether Russia would supply S-300s, capable of tracking up to 100 targets while engaging 12 at a range of 120 kilometers, Nesterenko said Russia would not sell such weapon systems "to countries that are located, mildly speaking, in volatile regions."

Nesterenko was speaking two days after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow to convince him not to sell advanced weapon systems to Iran and Syria.

Should Russia sell S-300s to Iran, this would strongly raise the cost of an Israeli airstrike against Iran's nuclear facilities, an option considered by the Israeli and U.S. military planners.

Olmert told reporters after he emerged from talks with Medvedev that both sides agreed to "upgrade" their military cooperation but would not talk about whether the agreement related to the possible supply of S-300s to Iran.

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Russia might not sell S-300 defense to Iran

The problem with selling this system to Iran, is that if it is circumvented by Israel, the Russians will look extremely foolish.
Ami Isseroff
Last update - 13:44 09/10/2008       
Russia hints it won't sell advanced missiles to Iran
By The Associated Press
A Russian Foreign Ministry official is suggesting Moscow won't sell advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Iran.
Observers have said sophisticated S-300 missile systems could be used by Iran to defend military targets like the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant.
That would make any military strike more difficult, and Israel, the United States and other nations have pressured Russia not to sell such weapons to Iran, Syria or other nations that have threatened Israel.
Outgoing prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he discussed Russian weapons sales during a visit to Moscow this week.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko was asked by reporters Thursday whether Russia had promised Israel it would not sell weapons such as S-300s.
"We have declared more than once at the very highest political level that we do not intend to supply those types of armaments to countries located in regions that are, to put it mildly, uneasy," he said. "This is not in the interests of our country's policy or the interests of preserving stability in one region or another of the world."
He said Russia would make decisions on selling weapons systems based on both "preserving the balance of power in the given region, and taking into account the need to provide stability and security in the region."
Iran's president has vowed that Israel should be wiped off the map - and Israel fears that the nuclear program Iran says is to produce power is actually meant to manufacture weapons.

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Saudi op-ed protests against anti-Mickey Mouse crusade

This is not really about a mouse. It is about freedom:
This kind of hasty judgment reminds us that what we really miss in Saudi Arabia is the ability to discuss matters, and to have the right to disagree if we think differently on issues being discussed.
Amen brother!
Ami Isseroff
Death to Mickey Mouse!
Abeer Mishkhas |

A sheikh was recently on Al-Majd TV and spoke in great detail about rats. He went on and on about how bad rats and mice are, listing all the benefits gained by eliminating them. I don't know how informative that section of the sheikh's talk was but I am sure most people who were watching the program were either not listening or shaking their heads in disbelief. But the talk did not end with any obvious statements of harm caused by rats and mice; the sheikh continued by denouncing the fact that children these days are not getting the message about mice and rats because they have been influenced by Western cartoons that represent mice as funny and clever. Think Tom and Jerry and Mickey Mouse. To conclude and drive his point home he said, "They like Mickey Mouse whereas in reality Mickey Mouse should be killed." Thus ended the talk, and although it was as absurd as can be, it seems that such talks have become a normal thing on TV these days. As satellite channels proliferate, they pack their broadcasts with as much as they can of what they feel will attract viewers and religious programs are sure winners, especially in Ramadan.

The problem lies not only with the channels. Many of the programs often depend on people's calls and questions. Those questions can vary from asking for advice about a religious duty to asking the sheikh's opinion on any subject under the sun - hence the mouse question. On a panel of women scholars on an Egyptian channel last week, one of the interesting things the three women agreed upon was that some people ask for scholars' opinions on almost anything, whether it is a worthy matter or just a mundane everyday triviality. I have to say that those women's opinions were refreshing. They wanted people to stick to major, sensible and important issues. Which brings us back to the death sentence against Mickey Mouse.

This was not the first - and will not be the last - of verdicts that will make us question the person who issues it, or the stream of religious verdicts that almost everyone comes up with everyday and which have to be countered with questions, debates and discussions. We cannot just sit and listen and accept anything. When people hear these opinions, they rightly ask and question and criticize if need be. That is what reason dictates and it in no way contradicts faith. But this is not what a prominent Saudi scholar said last week. He actually demanded that journalists and writers who criticize or object to prominent Saudi scholars' pronouncements and fatwas be punished, and eventually sacked from their jobs. The punishment he asks for ranges from lashes to long imprisonment to firing them from their jobs.

I certainly understand that if a writer has insulted or lied about a sheikh or any other person, he must face the legal consequences of his actions. The offended party has the right to sue the offender and this is how it should be. But what the sheikh has asked for is simple punishment for even criticizing and questioning the opinions of religious scholars. With all due respect to the sheikh, I beg to differ. Criticism and debate does not mean that writers are crossing any lines; writers and journalists are citizens and are affected - like everyone else - by religious discourse, and if they choose to discuss a religious issue, or differ with a scholar that does not warrant that they be lashed, imprisoned or lose their jobs.

This kind of hasty judgment reminds us that what we really miss in Saudi Arabia is the ability to discuss matters, and to have the right to disagree if we think differently on issues being discussed. And as a reminder we mention a small incident from Islamic history. When the second caliph, Omar, said in one of his sermons that women should not ask for high dowries, a woman who was present raised her voice and disagreed with him and provided proof from the Qur'an in support of women's rights for dowries. What did Omar do? He acknowledged his mistake in front of everyone. Just a reminder!

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What should Jews do about mixed marriages?

Edgar Bronfman says Jews ought to recognize mixed marriages.
In an interview with Haaretz yesterday, Bronfman said: "Judaism must open up and fully accept families where one of the parents is not Jewish. If a revolutionary change is not made in the present rejectionist attitude toward mixed couples, the Jewish community in America will shrink and lose its influence, and American support for Israel will be in danger."
Clearly, the policy of anathemetizing such couples is not working. Mixed marriages happen. But perhaps there are other solutions.
Ami Isseroff

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Iran: More than words are needed

According to Ha'aretz:
Obama threatens dire consequences if Iran doesn't change ways
By Haaretz Service and News Agencies
U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama told an audience at the second U.S. presidential debate on Tuesday that he would deliver a tough and direct message to Iran that if they did not change their behavior there would be dire consequences.
Obama's opponent, Republican John McCain, reiterated that he would never allow a second Holocaust to take place, referring to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's threats to "wipe Israel off the map." The Republican candidate also repeated his criticism of Obama's willingness to hold direct negotiations with the Islamic republic, without preconditions.
Americans have funny notions about the world. Right after World War II, Harry S. Truman met Vyachselav Mototov and "gave him hell" over Soviet actions in virtually annexing Poland. Truman was evidently very surprised that his lecture did no good.  More than words is needed when dealing with such regimes.
Ami Isseroff

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Yom Kippur war files reveal same errors as made in 2006

It is sad that the same errors made in 1973 were evidently repeated in the Lebanon War of 2006.

Senior officials' testimony to commission investigating Yom Kippur War highlights issues much like those seen in Israel's most recent war
Amnon Meranda Latest Update:  10.07.08, 12:26 / Israel News 

Previously secret files from Agranat Commission were opened to the public Tuesday, almost 35 years after the commission was established to investigate the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War and examine the conduct of the military and political echelons.
The Israel Defense Force archives released 20 witness testimonies, among them that of former prime minister Ariel Sharon and former defense minister Moshe Dayan, both highlighting issues that came up in Israel's most recent war.

When asked about his division's movements on October 7 and 8, 1973, Sharon - who was then the commander of Reserves Armored Division 143 - criticized the IDF's general staff, with whom he had been fighting at the time.
"I wanted to emphasize that… something that was evident throughout the war and that caused grave damage in managing the war was the absence of senior officers from the field," Sharon said in his testimony.
"For example, look at the 8th, when there were two divisions in the field… The regional commander should have been there or, if not, then his deputy… someone to coordinate between the forces… Many mistakes were made because this didn't happen," he said.
Furthermore, Sharon claimed that senior officials were not interested in hearing feedback from their subordinates in the field. Tactically, he said, this lack of communication impacted the war effort.
"There were several occasions when not only were other people giving orders to your subordinates, but they were often doing so without your knowledge," Sharon elaborated.
Describing the widespread confusion, Sharon said he'd gotten the impression that "there was no clear picture of what was going on in the field."
Dayan relies on deterrence power
Then defense minister Moshe Dayan's testimony is similarly evocative of the criticism of Israel's latest conflict with Hizbullah: In his testimony, Dayan explained that his decision not to call up reserves soldiers on the eve of the war was based on an intelligence report from 5 months prior to its outbreak.
"We were fairly certain of our capabilities to hold off a first strike… We understood that the only difference would be a slight discrepancy in artillery power on the (southern) front. We felt that our capabilities, along with the airforce, would be enough to hold them off," he said.
On the eve of the war, Dayan explained in his testimony, the IDF Chief of General Staff sent up airplanes in order to try and deter the Syrians and the Egyptians. "We could not be sure that full scale war would erupt based on what we saw," he said, explaining his reluctance to call up reserve ground forces.
Elazar highlights Dayan's hesitation

Meanwhile, David Elazar, who was the IDF Chief of Staff at the time, recalled with censure how Dayan had refused his requests for a massive reserves call-up, agreeing only to draft airforce reservists and two armored divisions (one to the north and one to the south). Specifically, he said that Dayan refused to call up reservists to the Jordanian front.

Elazar also said that Dayan immediately took the idea of a preemptive strike off the table: "He said we couldn't allow such a thing this time," Elazar recounted in his testimony.

But he noted that the problems went beyond Dayan's hesitation. For example, referencing Dayan's idea of heading off an enemy strike, he stated that the two standing divisions in the north and south had been instructed to deploy in order to prevent enemy infiltration to Israel but, operatively, did not deploy as planned.

Yaron Druckman and Roei Mandel contributed to this report

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Bedouin decry Illegal Arab settlers in Israel

This is not a joke. According to Ha'aretz:
The Bedouin living in the Negev town of Rahat are worried by the influx of 4,000 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip who are living there illegally, Rahat's mayor said this week.
"The residents are worried," Talal al-Karnawi said. "One of the illegal residents could plan a terror attack, and from here he could reach any place in the country."
Over the last few years, the Bedouin town has become home to thousands of illegal residents from Gaza, Hebron, Bethlehem and Nablus. Many have taken the jobs of Bedouin residents and taken over commerce in the city.
But the greatest concern of the residents and mayor is that an illegal resident will turn out to be a terrorist whose actions tarnish Rahat and Bedouin in Israel.
"There are quite a few resident complaints about illegal residents involved in crime and theft," said al-Karnawi. "Some of the illegal residents come to provide for their families in a dignified way, but there are some youths who wander around the city and are involved in crime."
The mayor said he thinks the illegal Palestinians feel more secure not just in Rahat, but in any Israeli town where Arabs live. "They're simply looking for a city of refuge," he said.
Rahat resident Salam al-Hoziel has been speaking out about the illegal-resident phenomenon for a long time, and recently even sent letters on the matter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Public Security Minister Avi Dichter. The day is not far when that terror attack somewhere in Israel comes, he warns.
"They wander around the city, no one knows how many there are, where they come from or what they do at night," he said. "I am warning the State of Israel about their presence in Rahat."
According to Abu Sharib Diab, another resident: "I think the state needs to build them houses or tents and place a guard at the entrance. There are terrorists among the illegal residents, and we're scared they'll sully the name of Rahat."
But Rahat residents aren't concerned solely by the possibility of terrorism. Businessmen in the town say they have suffered heavy losses recently because the illegal residents smuggle goods into Rahat, damaging the economy.
OK, So why aren't they rounded up and kicked out?

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Hamas: Jews caused financial crisis

The Hamas financial expert explained it all:
The Hamas militant group on Tuesday accused the United States Jewish Lobby for fomenting the global financial crisis.
The crisis was the result of "bad administrative and financial management and a bad banking system put into place and controlled by the Jewish lobby," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said in a statement.
Barhum said that despite approving a bailout plan of $700 billion dollars, the U.S. government was ignoring the role of "the Jewish lobby that put the U.S. banking and financial sector into place."
This lobby, said Barhum, "controls the U.S. elections and defines the foreign policy of any new administration in a manner that allows it to retain control of the American government and economy."
If only the US had stuck to Sharia financing, this would never have happened, and the US would have a nice flourishing economy like that of Sudan or Yemen. There!  We knew it was the fault of the Jews, right?  And Snoopy the Goon exposed the Jewish - Iranian conspiracy, which is the real reason for the crash.   
Bravo for the moderate Hamas.
Ami Isseroff  

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Ariel Sharon told Yom Kippur war probe: Higher command was clueless

Last update - 12:14 07/10/2008       
In 1973, Ariel Sharon told war probe panel: Higher command was clueless
By Yuval Azoulay, Haaretz Correspondent
The Defense Ministry on Tuesday authorized the declassification of protocols investigating the failures of the Israel Defense Forces during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
The protocols relate to the deliberations of the Agranat Committee.
Among the testimonies released was that of former prime minister Ariel Sharon, who commanded the 53rd Division during the war, and fought against the Egyptian army in Sinai.
Adressing the committee on 29 July 1974, Sharon said that shortly after his arrival at the southern front, he told then GOC Southern Command Shmuel Gonen (Gorodish) that the higher command "had no idea of what's happening on the ground. I advised all the commanders to go down to the front to get a clearer idea of what's going on. The atmosphere in the war room was very gloomy because they were fully aware of the heavy losses we already incurred."

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The looming depression - Can the West be saved by the Gulf States?

Are Gulf states going to save the West? Their investments invited hysterical headlines about Arabs buying out America, but now their intervention may be helpful. They may have to invest, in order to protect their own investments.
Over the past year the hike in oil prices has aroused concern among many in the United States about the potential geopolitical implications of the increased economic clout of the Gulf states. The decision by the Gulf states to diversify their foreign assets and to use billions of petrodollars to buy Western stocks in various corporations and particularly in banks raised the concern that a foreign foothold in the large financial institutions and conglomerates is liable to become a means of political leverage. This concern led to the formulation of various regulations in the United States and several European countries to strengthen oversight of the activities of the foreign sovereign wealth funds.

            The public debate on the political effects of sovereign wealth funds from the Gulf that have become leading players in the capital markets would likely have received additional urgency were one of them to have bought a large chunk of stock in Lehman Brothers in an attempt to save it from collapse. In fact no such acquisition occurred, and judging from statements by fund managers from the Gulf, we will not be witness to moves similar to the ones that took place at the end of 2007 and in the first quarter of 2008, when capital funds and investment authorities in the Gulf injected more than $11 billion into Citi, Merrill Lynch, and UBS.

            Managers of sovereign wealth funds from the Gulf have declared that at present they are not interested in investing in the crisis-stricken American financial institutions. Indeed, it is not hard to comprehend why the Gulf governments have lost their enthusiasm for being the lender of last resort for a crumbling financial system. The drops in stock indices on the Gulf stock exchanges, the concern about a real crisis causing a worldwide decrease in oil demand, and certainly the losses incurred by the Gulf sovereign wealth funds as a result of their investments in financial institutions whose value dropped by dozens of percentage points have all amplified local criticism of the investment policies of the Gulf states over the last two years. The presidents of some of the large Gulf corporations have been wondering out loud why the very funds that hurried to supply liquidity to the American financial market are now dragging their feet in intervening in a significant way in local stock trading, at a time when the market needs liquidity and the indices are falling.

            This criticism may well affect the investment policies of the sovereign wealth funds, which are indeed likely to increase their involvement in local trade in the coming days, and in the long term, decide to allocate larger sources for investment in the local economy. Nonetheless, it would be a mistake to claim that the wealth funds in the Gulf are liable to lose their status as key players on the world markets. On the contrary, the financial system's thirst for liquidity may in fact increase their involvement.

            While oil prices have plummeted from their July high, the price of a barrel of oil is still much higher than the average price in the years 2002-2007, when the Gulf Cooperation Council members (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, and Qatar) increased their foreign assets by about 100 percent. However, even if the cost of oil drops by over 50 percent and is traded at under $50 per barrel, the Gulf states will continue to record surpluses in their current accounts, and will be able to direct billions of dollars towards increasing their foreign holdings.

            Because the sovereign wealth funds do not boast transparent management, it is impossible to know precisely how much money they manage. Most estimates by financial experts in the know put foreign assets in the hands of GCC members at about $2 trillion before the outbreak of the current crisis. This sum – among other assets – includes United States government bonds held by the central banks, as well as a string of financial assets with a higher risk premium managed separately by the government wealth funds.

            The anticipated difficulty of Western corporations suffering from the crisis in getting credit from the banks and the difficulty of raising money on the capital markets are likely to increase the wooing by companies throughout the world of Gulf wealth funds. Indications of this have been evident for some months now; certain multinationals, such as General Electric and Siemens, announced the launch of joint ventures with Gulf states, financed in part by capital held by government funds.

            Private institutions will be forced to compete for capital from the Gulf with the United States government, which needs to find sources for the $700 billion allotted for the emergency bailout package. Even before the crisis, senior members of the American administration made significant diplomatic efforts to ensure that the Gulf states remain interested in acquiring American government bonds and have no intention of surprising the United States with a unilateral announcement that the local currencies will no longer be linked to the dollar. These efforts will go into higher gear in the coming months.

            Last week some fund managers from the Gulf, when asked if they intend to acquire stock in financial institutions in the near future, noted that the hostility and suspicion encountered by their most recent investments in the financial sector curbed their appetite for investing in the West. The concern about legislation that might affect the ability of government funds to invest freely in the various markets is spurring interest in investment opportunities in the East. Nonetheless, the concern is not sufficiently grave to prevent them altogether from looking for good investments in the West, and it is indeed possible that in the near future investment opportunities will again stimulate their appetite for expanding their activities in the United States and Europe.

            Thus, one may assume that as in the past, in the coming months as well we will see many opinion pieces bearing headlines such as "Gulf Funds Buy the West," but certainly now the Gulf governments need not get worked up by such articles. Any attempt to curb or reduce their activity will be more difficult to execute because of the need for liquidity, and will run into vehement opposition on the part of the large corporations that will continue to be loyal advocates for the Gulf sovereign wealth funds.

            Many feel that deepening the economic interdependence between the West and Gulf states is the best insurance policy for continued political cooperation between the sides, because nations whose foreign asset values depend on economic performance in the US and Europe will not makes economic or political moves liable to undermine the stability of the West. Nonetheless, it is important to remember that this logic works both ways: the American administration's need to borrow money from the Gulf, and the political lobby that the Gulf is capable of building thanks to their foothold in influential corporations, is liable to reduce the American administration's room to maneuver when undertaking political moves not to the Gulf's liking.

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Egyptian police stop Muslim Brotherhood aid convoy to gaza.

Dozens of activists from Egypt's radical opposition Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, were arrested Monday after attempting to send a supply convoy to the blockaded Gaza Strip, the organization and Egyptian security officials said. In a novel twist, the secular Kifaya (enough!) movement had joined forces with the Muslim Brotherhood, perhaps signalling that "liberal democratic" forces in Egypt are no longer so interested in peace with Israel.

Abdel-Fatah Rizq, who was coordinating the convoy for the extremist group, claimed police arrested at least 50 activists when they tried to gather at the Journalists' Syndicate in downtown Cairo before making the 200 mile (300 kilometer) journey across the Sinai desert to the border.

"Activists from all over the provinces were planning on joining the convoy on its way through the Sinai to Rafah crossing," said Rizq. The Muslim Brotherhood Website claimed that some activists, including parliament members, slipped through security to reach Rafah on the border.

Police stated that  three members of the Brotherhood were arrested at the Suez Canal Sunday night while trying to reach the border. Other opposition movements had joined the Muslim Brotherhood for their protest and convoy.  In Rafah, another 14 activists from the secular Kifaya movement were arrested while staging a protest.

Organizers decided to halt the convoy in hopes of negotiating the release of the detainees, said Mahmoud el-Khodairy, a convoy coordinator and retired judge.

Sympathy for the Palestinians blockaded in Gaza by Egypt and Israel runs high among Egyptians, and especially the opposition, which periodically attempts to send food and medicine convoys to the border, partly to embarrass the government for its role in the blockade. The Egyptian government prohibits protest against the government, but encourages extremist attacks on Israel and on Jews in government and semi-governmental media. The Muslim Brotherhood was responsible for the murder of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and are natural allies of the Hamas, which is essentially an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

President Hosni Mubarak stated that Egypt would not reopen the crossing as long as Hamas controls Gaza.

"We are still committed to the 2005 agreement," Mubarak was quoted as saying on Monday. He was referring to the agreement under which the Palestinian authority, Israel and EU monitors were supposed to supervise the Rafah crossing.

On Monday, authorities opened the crossing to let 67 Palestinians returning from the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia back into Gaza.

Hamas wrested control of Gaza in June 2007, prompting the blockade by Israel and Egypt and the withdrawal of European monitors. Hamas and sympathizers have spread horror stories about "Gaza under siege," but photos show shops full of merchandize in Gaza.

Public demonstrations, other than those organized by the government,  are not tolerated in Egypt. Thousands of riot police and plainclothes officers surrounded the streets around the syndicate and chased activists into nearby buildings. Several journalists were detained and their cameras were confiscated.

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Ayatollah Jannati: U.S. Economic Woes 'Divine Punishment'

The Ayatollah forgot to mention 50% inflation in Iran last year...
October 3, 2008

No. 2070
Ayatollah Jannati In Iran Friday Sermon: U.S. Economic Woes 'Divine Punishment' – 'The Unhappier They [Americans] Become, The Happier We Get'; 'Americans Should Wait To Be Slapped In The Face By Islam, Muslims, And The Islamic Revolution'

In his October 3, 2008 Friday sermon at the Tehran University campus, Iranian Guardian Council secretary and interim Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said that Iran's enemies had targeted its economy, and that the U.S.'s economic crisis was "divine punishment" that had made Iranians very happy. Calling the U.S. presence on the Afghanistan and Pakistan borders a problem that "cannot be ignored." he said that Americans could expect to be "slapped in the face by Islam, Muslims, and the Islamic Revolution," and concluded his sermon by saying that since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, "drugs are being produced and distributed under U.S. supervision." [1]

Jannati: Iran Enemy Tactics Target Iranian Economy, Pit Sunnis Against Shi'ites, Undermine Iranian Officials

According to a report by the official Iranian news agency IRNA, Interim Tehran Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said today in his sermon that Iran's enemies have targeted its economy in vain hopes of countering the Islamic Republic.

IRNA said that Jannati told worshipers at the Tehran University campus that the enemies are bent on fanning economic crisis and problems, in a bid to confront Iran. He said that other enemy tactics included dividing Shi'ites and Sunnis and pitting Sunnis against Sunnis or Shi'ites against Shi'ites, and added that this policy is being pursued mostly in Iran and Iraq but also in other Muslim states.

Another enemy strategy, Jannati said, was distorting the image of Iranian officials. "They wish to undermine those who are backing the public and are trusted by them."

"We Are Happy That The U.S. Economy Has Come Across Difficulty... The Unhappier They Become, The Happier We Get"

Of the U.S.'s recent economic woes, Jannati said, "We are happy that the U.S. economy has come across difficulty. They are attesting unfavorable consequences of their conducts. They are experiencing divine punishment. We are happy over that. The unhappier they become, the happier we get, as they become happy as we get unhappy."

"Americans Should Wait To Be Slapped In The Face By Islam, Muslims, And The Islamic Revolution"

Jannati called the U.S. presence on the Afghanistan and Pakistan borders a problem that "cannot be ignored," saying, "They invade forcefully, refuse to observe any boundary, and are not committed to anything. They attack anywhere they wish; they kill anybody they want and consider anywhere as their property. Americans should wait to be slapped in the face by Islam, Muslims, and the Islamic Revolution."

In another part of his speech, Ayatollah Jannati hailed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his recent successful visit to the U.S. and speech at the U.N. General Assembly. "Anybody bravely raising the Islamic Republic and Revolutionary stances at the U.N. authoritatively and proudly, naming God, reciting the Koran, and citing the things that nobody dares to cite is worth admiration," he added.

He said that Ahmadinejad's announcement of support for the oppressed and for trying the U.S. for injustices it has committed, as well as his outlining if Iran's clear stances on Israel, are valuable subjects which deserve to be set as a precedent. He added that "Iranian ambassadors should honor the stance anywhere and should not show any weakness."

"Drugs Are Being Produced And Distributed Under U.S. Supervision"

To end his sermon, Ayatollah Jannati said that since the occupation of Afghanistan by the U.S., poppy cultivation has increased several times over, and drugs are being produced and distributed under U.S. supervision.

[1] IRNA (Iran), October 3, 2008.

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Fatwa Watch: Fatwa prohibiting voting for a Chistian Candidate in Sudan

The question is, whether people will follow the Fatwa or the columnist.
October 6, 2008 No. 2072
Sudanese Columnist Criticizes Fatwa Prohibiting Voting for a Christian Candidate

The unprecedented nomination of a Christian candidate for Sudan's presidential election, by the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, a party representing the former southern Sudan rebels, has caused public upheaval, and sparked numerous reactions in the Sudanese press.

In response to the party's nomination of its chairman Salva Kiir Miardit, the Sudanese daily
Al-Watan published a fatwa by Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hassan forbidding Muslims from voting for a non-Muslim candidate in any election, whether local or general.(1) In the Sudanese daily Al-Sahafa, columnist 'Omar Al-Qarai criticized the fatwa, as well as how the Sudanese ruling party exploits religion for political purposes.(2)

Following are excerpts from Al-Qarai's column:

"No One Has Noticed the Speciousness Of This Fatwa"

"The fatwa… [issued] by a religious scholar known from his appearances in the media, which bans a Muslim from voting for a non-Muslim in elections, has caused turmoil in the streets of Sudan. The reason for this is not [the ban's] religious import, but its political implications, and also [the fact that] its publication was timed, for propaganda purposes, to precede the upcoming elections.

"However, no one has noticed the speciousness of this fatwa. As a consequence of the 2005 peace agreement [between the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement], the Muslims in the North, including the sheikh who authored the fatwa, agreed that a non-Muslim should be appointed vice-president of the republic… This non-Muslim would bear responsibility at the highest level for the country and its residents, and in particular, for the Ministry of Religious Endowment, which appoints the imam preachers who issue such bizarre fatwas.

"If Islam does not allow voting for a non-Muslim to promote him to a position of power, why does it allow a non-Muslim to become a ruler without being voted in? Why does this sheikh speak to us about voting but fail to discuss the Islamic view of propitiating non-Muslims and accepting them as rulers over the Muslims?

"[Is it conceivable that] the author of this fatwa, and his superiors in the Ministry of Religious Affairs and in the Ministry of Religious Endowment, would obey this non-Muslim ruler and accept his authority, and then forbid us to vote for him?"

"The Fatwa Presupposes That... Justice, Loyalty, Honesty, Wisdom, Expertise, and [a Work Ethic] Cannot Be Found in a Non-Muslim... This Contradicts Our Practical Experience"

"According to the correct religious knowledge, which is based on the basic principles of Islam, this fatwa is a priori invalid; it clearly shows this mufti's ignorance of the veracity of religion and of the times in which we live. The fatwa's lack of validity stems from its premises, which are false both intellectually and traditionally. Indeed, the fatwa presupposes that the qualities of justice, loyalty, honesty, wisdom, expertise, and [work ethic] cannot be found in a non-Muslim. Consequently, he cannot be elected to conduct our affairs, nor can we accept his authority. This contradicts our practical experience, which shows that many non-Muslims are better qualified for [such positions] than Muslims, whether from a professional or ethical standpoint…

"When at the turn of the past century Imam Muhammad 'Abduh visited Britain, he made a famous remark: "In England, I found Islam but not Muslims, while in Egypt, I found Muslims but no Islam!" It is in non-Muslim countries, rather than in Muslim states, that 'Abduh found the characteristics of justice, loyalty, honesty, and responsibility, which justify the allocation of public offices to individuals…

"In Sudan, our brief experience with the national unity government(3) has shown that the government of southern Sudan has dealt with corruption, by investigating the incidents, meting out punishment to parties involved, and even firing several senior officials and appointing others in their place.

"As for the government of northern Sudan, although it is aware of corruption [in its midst], based on reports by the state comptroller, we have not heard of a single senior official who has been fired or tried on this charge. If so, which side is it proper for a citizen to vote for, if he wants a functional administration that acts for the good of the country, [disregarding] narrow personal interests?"

"Islamic Law… Permits Accepting Assistance from Non-Muslims in Performing Tasks For Which They Are More Qualified than Muslims"

"Perhaps this sheikh mufti is not familiar with, or does not accept, the Islamic knowledge that is rooted in basic principles. However, Islamic law [i.e. shari'a], compiled and interpreted by our ancestors in their books… permits accepting assistance from non-Muslims in performing tasks for which they are more qualified than Muslims.

"Our ancestors presented evidence to this effect from the [life of the] Prophet: When he and Abu-Bakr traveled from Mecca to Medina, they sought help from a polytheist who was expert in navigation.

"In the Islamic state, there were writers, accountants, and treasurers of Zoroastrian, Christian, or Jewish origin. If at that time, [people] had had to be voted in to these positions, the honest Muslims of early [generations] would have voted for capable non-Muslims, since they would have recognized their qualifications and trusted their loyalty and [moral] character."

This Fatwa "Has Nothing Whatsoever to Do With Islam – Rather, It Is One of the Pillars Supporting the Election Strategy"

"This ill-advised fatwa has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam. Rather, it is one of the pillars supporting the election strategy of the National Congress [Party, headed by Sudanese President 'Omar Al-Bashir]. With the approach of election day, we will probably hear of more fatwas of this kind, which exploit the religions feeling of several foolish citizens in order to sell them the National Congress Party's worthless wares.

"In the past, mosques have been taken advantage of by this party in the worst possible manner for propaganda purposes, with both subtle and direct appeals being made to the worshippers to vote for its representatives. [The preachers] linked support for the National Congress with a war for the sake of Allah, warning time and again that whoever did not vote for it was doomed to burn in Hell!...

"A religiously motivated internecine war is a dangerous weapon, which has divided many a country [in the past], and will divide Sudan [as well], if wise people fail to expunge religious extremism from the political process…"

(1) Al-Watan (Sudan), August 20, 2008.
(2) Al-Sahafa (Sudan), August 24, 2008.
(3) Following the signing of a peace agreement between the rebels of southern Sudan and the government, a national unity government was formed, incorporating the National Congress Party and Sudan's People's Liberation movement.

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Passing the buck: NATO Chief implies NATO won't stop Iran nukes.

According to a Reuters Report:
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said on Monday he was not certain the world can stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb.
Scheffer told a conference in southeast France that NATO did not have a direct role to play in the issue, but said he was worried that the United Nations had failed to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions.
"It is a major challenge to prevent Iran from continuing to strive to get the bomb," Scheffer told a World Policy Conference organized by France's IFRI foreign affairs think tank.
"I am not positive about the world being able to stop Iran from fulfilling its ambitions," he added.
Iran says its uranium-enrichment program is only for electricity generation, but is under United Nations' sanctions over past undeclared activity and its failure to prove its intentions are wholly peaceful.
The UN Security Council last month again ordered Iran to "comply fully and without delay" to demands it stop enrichment, but failed to introduce any new sanctions as sought by the United States and its Western European allies.
"My concern is that the Security Council, as we speak, is rather incapable of coming to further conclusions on further sanctions," Scheffer said.
"not posstive" about the world being able to stop Iran is an understatement. But what is missing is not ability, but will.
Why doesn't NATO have a "direct role" to play? Why is everyone passing the buck?
Ami isseroff

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The truth about Gaza Medical Referrals

This is the summary of a very long and important article that tells the truth about medical referrals by Israel for patients in the Gaza strip. It tells a very different story from the one presented by the UN Raporteur.
It is worth reading the whole document.
Ami Isseroff

Elihu D. Richter MD, MPH JCPA No. 567 1 October 2008

For several years, the Rapporteur to the UN Commission on Human Rights (now the UN Human Rights Council) and human rights groups have criticized the Israeli government and health care system for denying access to Gazans seeking to receive permits for care in hospitals in Israel, the PA and Jordan. Yet the data shows that the number of patients receiving permits for referrals to hospitals in Israel - or the PA or Jordan - increased by 45 percent from 4,932 in 2006 to 7,176 in 2007, and continued to increase in the first six months of 2008. These trends occurred despite a decline in entry approval rates, mostly because of security reasons.

The facts are that Israel has provided ever increasing numbers of approvals of permits since the Hamas takeover of Gaza, despite increasing rocket attacks on Israel's civilian population, including mortar and terror attacks directed at the Erez crossing used by patients. The premise that guides medical ethics is that there should not be even one death from delay, but sometimes the delays were related to problems of availability of beds, and at other times to security concerns. There were cases in which patients' deaths or complications were attributable to delays. But in other cases, deaths and complications were attributable to efforts to transfer to Israel critically ill or near terminal patients from Gaza whose care was deemed as bothersome or too costly. The longer term solution to the problem of delays associated with referrals is to promote medical capacity-building in Gaza's hospital and health care systems so that patients should not have to travel elsewhere for critical care. The mandate of the Rapporteur to the UN Commission on Human Rights has so far been restricted to reporting only on violations of human rights to life, safety, and access to health care of members of one national group, Palestinians, but not members of another group, Israelis. The result is a selective concern with the human rights of one that ignores assaults on the human rights of the other.

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Fatwa: Saudi women must cover one eye

Sheikh says women's modesty laws not stringent enough, revelation of both eyes causes 'corrupt behavior, conflicts with Islamic principles'
Smadar Peri
Published:  10.06.08, 13:57 / Israel News
A new prohibition may be added to the long list of those placed on women in Saudi Arabia: A new sentence according to Islamic law (fatwa) determines that women exiting the doorways of their homes must cover one of their eyes.
The array of prohibitions currently placed upon Saudi women includes forbiddance to leave home without a familial "patron," fraternize with men in public, drive a car, put makeup on and wear high heels.
The modesty squad on the streets of Saudi Arabia follows women whose abaya (long cloak) is too tight and likely to reveal their curves or those whose hair is visible through their veils.
A senior religious cleric in the country, Sheikh Muhammad al-Habadan demands that the rules of modesty be further enhanced.
In the new Islamic legal sentence, al-Habadan announced that when leaving their homes, women must keep only one eye revealed.
According to the sheikh, "revelation of both eyes behind the veil is likely to encourage women to put make-up on and accentuate their eyes. This is corrupt behavior which conflicts with Islamic principles."
So, how will the women conduct their daily lives with one eye?
According to al-Habadan, "when a woman goes out into the street or to a public place she will wear a veil and cover one eye with a piece of cloth.

"When she goes shopping and wants to assess a product, she will completely remove the piece of cloth and will be able to use both eyes for a limited amount of time."
In the United Nation's annual report on the state of women in the Arab world, over the past five years, Saudi women have been ranked as the most deprived and devoid of rights in Muslim society.

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Iran won't stop uraniam enrichment even if fuel supply is guaranteed

This AP report contradicts an earlier report that claimed Iran was ready to negotiate such an agreement. Evidently an Iranian spokesperson had made such a statement. It is probably not an accident.  The idea of such tactics is to keep the enemy guessing, and provide encouragement to moderates and false hope that an agreement can be reached without use of extreme measures.
Ami Isseroff
Last update - 16:03 05/10/2008       
Iran: We won't halt enrichment even if nuclear fuel supply guaranteed
By The Associated Press
Iran's official news agency says Tehran will not give up uranium enrichment even if the West guarantees a supply of nuclear fuel to the country.
Sunday's IRNA report quotes Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as saying Iran could not trust Western countries, especially the U.S., to provide nuclear support because they had backtracked on cooperation in the past.
Mottaki said Iran would continue to enrich uranium and would provide it to other countries under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The UN Security Council has passed sanctions against Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment. The U.S. and many of its allies fear Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons - a charge Tehran denies.
Iran last week said they would consider stopping sensitive uranium enrichment if guaranteed a supply of nuclear fuel from abroad.
For that to happen, United Nations inspectors would have to verify Iran's disputed nuclear program is wholly peaceful and a range of international sanctions against Tehran be lifted. There is little prospect of either on the horizon.
Iran has previously brushed off big power offers of an assured foreign fuel supply, possibly via a production centre under the impartial control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), if it renounced enrichment.
Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's ambassador to the UN nuclear watchdog, said the reason why the Islamic Republic was enriching uranium was the lack of a legally binding international accord on security of fuel supply.
Asked if with such a deal Iran would shelve enrichment, he said that arrangement would be a first step but it would have to be implemented, and Iran would need to retain some enrichment as a contingency in case supplies were cut.
"This is a first step ..., then the next step is to see it really implemented," he told reporters at a Brussels conference.
If this were carried out, "then Iran would be able to reconsider the position that we have now. The situation would be different, we would have to see", Soltanieh said.
"Plus every country has to be cautious to have as a contingency plan a fuel reserve in case of interruption."
Iran is trying to master nuclear fuel-cycle technology that could yield electricity - its stated goal - or give it the capability to make atom bombs if the process is adjusted, which Israel and Western powers suspect is Tehran's underlying purpose.
On Wednesday, the former head of the U.S. weapons-hunting team in Iraq said Iran is two years to five years away from being able to produce a nuclear weapon.
Tehran has defied UN resolutions demanding it suspend enrichment and withheld cooperation needed to resolve a UN nuclear watchdog probe into whether it researched ways to build bombs. Iran denies the charges but has not given backup evidence.
Soltanieh also said the West was trying to humiliate Iran by seeking to prevent it doing nuclear research and development.
Speaking at a think-tank in New York, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Iran would not be dragged down an "unending road" in dealings with the IAEA, adding Washington was perpetuating a "huge lie" about Iran's nuclear ambitions.
"For the United States, it is difficult to accept the peaceful nature of Iran's programme because once it accepts, it can no longer oppose," Mottaki told the Asia Society.
Iran says it has no intention of making atom bombs, noting its commitment to continued IAEA inspections of nuclear sites.
It also denies blocking the IAEA inquiry but says that inspectors, egged on Iran's arch-foe the United States, are seeking unacceptable access to purely conventional military sites whose exposure would jeopardise its security.
The IAEA and Western nations say Iran must grant such access to clear up intelligence allegations of military involvement in the nuclear program. More generally, Iran should stop limiting inspector movements to declared nuclear sites, they say.
"Iran [should] implement all transparency measures... required to build confidence... This will be good for Iran, good for the Middle East region and good for the world," IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei told the annual 145-nation assembly of the UN watchdog in Vienna this week.

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Livni: I oppose Olmert's peace plan

Livni says what everyone knows: Neither Israel nor the Palestinians are ready to make a deal.
Last update - 01:50 06/10/2008
Livni tells France's Kouchner: I oppose Olmert's peace plan
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent and News Agencies
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told her French counterpart Bernard Kouchner that she opposes the agreement in principle that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has offered Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
"I do not believe in far-reaching proposals and an attempt to expedite matters, especially in light of the political situation," Livni, the prime minister-designate, told Kouchner on Sunday.
In the morning, Kouchner met with Olmert, who said he was frustrated that Abbas had not accepted his proposal. "You've read what I said in the interview," Olmert told Kouchner, referring to his statements in Yedioth Ahronoth favoring concessions. "Still, the Palestinians do not want to sign."

Kouchner raised the matter later when he met with Livni and asked why she objects to Olmert's proposal. Olmert's plan proposes a comprehensive solution on borders and refugees and postpones a decision on Jerusalem.
Livni's explanation was a criticism of Olmert. "Abu Mazen [Abbas] in his present political situation cannot accept such an agreement," she said. "The political situation in Israel also does not allow it to be signed."
Livni also argued that blaming the Palestinians for refusing to accept Olmert's offer does no good. "We can say this is their fault - but what will that do?" she said. "We had the same thing after Camp David in 2000 and look where that got us."
Livni: Annapolis will continue, regardless of political upheaval
Earlier Sunday, in her first foreign policy address since winning the Kadima party primary, Livni voiced her commitment to continue peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
"Annapolis will continue," Livni said, referring to a U.S.-sponsored peace conference last November that restarted negotiations on a Palestinian state.
"Let us not allow dates or political changes to stand in our way," she said, in her address to Foreign Ministry conference on policy and strategy in Jerusalem.
"The point is to understand the required concessions in order to conduct a correct process," Livni said.
Sunday's conference marked the first of what is to be annual assessments of Israel's foreign policy, and was also attended by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki.

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Trial of moderate Muslim in Bangladesh goes on

Bangladesh journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is  on trial for his life, essentially because he spoke out against radical Islam. He was caught trying to travel to Israel, an "enemy" state. This "offence" carries a maximum jail sentence of six months. But Bangladesh radicals cooked up a stew of charges against him including treason and a court system sympathetic to the radicals has dragged the trial on for almost 5 years. The nature of the "trial" and the justice he is likely to get in Bangladesh is illustrated by the latest episode in Kafkaesque Bangladesh justice.
Ami Isseroff
Dhaka: October 5, 2008

Officer in Charge in Bangladesh Police and plaintiff and investigation officer in the Sedition, Treason and Blasphemy charges brought against Bangladeshi journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, Mohammed Abdul Hanif told the court of Metropolitan Session Judge, Mohammed Azizul Huq that Israel is an enemy state of Bangladesh.

Abdul Hanif was cross examined on Sunday by the counsel of Mr. Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, senior advocate of Bangladesh Supreme Court, Advocate Samarendra Nath Goswami, who is also the Secretary General of Bangladesh Minority Lawyer's Association [BMLA].

Counsel for Mr. Choudhury informed the court that, after arresting him on November 29 2003, he took him on remand and tortured him mercilessly and conspired to kill him in extra judicial killing. Once failed in this attempt he [Hanif] sent Shoaib Choudhury in the Cell 14 in Dhaka Central Jail [which is for mentally insane people and conspired to get him killed by the mentally insane people. Then he [Shoaib] was sent to Cell # 15, which is for hardened criminals where Hanif once again tried to get him killed through hired hooligans.

Mohammed Abdul Hanif has been assigned by the Bangladeshi government to be the plaintiff as well the investigation officer in the case, which is very irregular.

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Anti-Semitic candidate sacked in Canada for citing ZIM 9-11 hoax, Anti-Zionist cries foul

Canadian politician Lesley Hughes was justly removed as a Liberal Party candidate after it was discovered that she had written an anti-Semitic article (see Canada's Liberals sack candidate over anti-Semitic remarks) . What Leslie Hughes alleged in her article was an Anti-Semitic libel. She repeated the false claim that the ZIM corporation broke its lease a few days before the 9-11 attacks and quickly moved out of the World Trade Center. ZIM did not break its lease. The ZIM decision to move to Virginia had been made months before, and there were still ZIM personnel working in the World Trade Center in September 11, 2001.
The dismissal of Hughes brought howls about the "Israel Lobby" from "anti-Zionist" Henry Makow who howled at, "Jewish Lobby Vetoes Candidate for 9-11 Views."
Well yes, and if a politician had claimed that Africans are all thieves, they would be dismissed as well.
The ZIM hoax about 9-11 is featured on thousands of "anti-Zionist" Web sites.
As we say in Israel, "go try and prove that you don't have a sister." (Said in response to allegations about your sister's immoral occupation).
Ami Isseroff 

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Hezbollah: Israel is a cardboard state

Northern Commander Gadi Eisenkot's somewhat intemperate remarks about what Israel would do if Hezbollah starts another war were greeted with equally intemperate remarks by Hezbollah, which has evidently branched out into the West Bank. Arabs are convinced, or make believe they are convinced, that Israel is looking to start a war in the north to avenge the poor results of the Second Lebanon War.
Hizbullah says Israel a cardboard state

In interview with UAE newspaper, senior Lebanese organization member declares Jewish state 'will be destroyed by resistance fighters.' Responding to Northern Command chief's threats, he says 'Israel is frustrated over internal problems and is incapable of launching a new war'
Roee Nahmias
Published:  10.05.08, 09:28 / Israel News
Northern Command Chief Gadi Eisenkot's recent declarations in a Yedioth Ahronoth interview, that the Israel Defense Forces would respond in a disproportionate manner against villages from which Hizbullah fires missiles into Israel, have apparently not caused panic in the Lebanese organization.

A senior group member responded to the statements with contempt, saying he did not fear Israel's threats.
In an interview published Sunday in the United Arab Emirates-based al-Ittihad newspaper, the Hizbullah member said his organization was on the alert. He referred to Israel as "a cardboard country which will be destroyed by the resistance fighters, who achieved the grand victory against the entity robbing Palestine's land in the years 2000 and 2006."
He added that his oganization dose not believe Israel will launch an attack against Lebanon. "Israel is frustrated by many internal problems and is incapable of launching a new war against Lebanon," he said.

He went on to say that Major-General Eisenkot's remarks were a "media war."

The senior Hizbullah member repeated remarks made by his leader, Hassan Nasrallah, that whether Israel send five or eight divisions to Lebanon – they will all be destroyed.
Eisenkot told Yedioth Ahronoth that the next war, if and when it breaks out, must be determined fast, forcefully, and without being concerned about the global public opinion.

"We have the ability to do this. I have great power in relation to what we had before. I have no excuse not to fulfill the goals I am tasked with," he said.

"Hizbullah understand very well that firing from villages will lead to their destruction. Before Nasrallah issues an order to fire at Israel, he will have to think 30 times if he wants to destroy his basis of support in the villages. It's not a theoretic thing with him. The possibility of hurting the population is Nasrallah's main restraint and the reason for the calm in the past two years."

He noted that Israel's armament scope has grown hundredfold since the Second Lebanon War, more than two years ago.

Hizbullah brigades in Palestine?
The London-based Arabic-language al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Sunday that a new Palestinian organization, "The Hizbullah Brigades in Palestine," has announced its establishment.
According to a statement issued by the group, its members are dissidents of other Palestinian organizations aimed at "fighting the occupation." The organization claims to be a Sunni movement with no ties to Lebanon's Hizbullah, saying its goal is "jihad in the name of Allah and a war on the enemies of Islam."

The organization also said it will work "for the national Palestinian interest." The newspaper noted that the reliability of the statement could not be determined.

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