Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Why doesn't the media cover Jihad attacks against Mid East Christians
The United Nations, Western governments, media, universities, and talking heads everywhere insist that Palestinians are suffering tremendous abuses from the state of Israel. Conversely, the greatest human rights tragedy of our time—radical Muslim persecution of Christians, including in Palestinian controlled areas—is devotedly ignored.
The facts speak for themselves. Reliable estimates indicate that anywhere from 100-200 million Christians are persecuted every year; one Christian is martyred every five minutes. Approximately 85% of this persecution occurs in Muslim majority nations. In 1900, 20% of the Middle East was Christian. Today, less than 2% is.
In one week in Egypt alone, where my Christian family emigrated, the Muslim Brotherhood launched a kristallnacht—attacking, destroying, and/or torching some82 Christian churches (some of which were built in the 5thcentury, when Egypt was still a Christian-majority nation before the Islamic conquests). Al-Qaeda’s black flag has been raised atop churches. Christians—including priests, women and children—have been attacked, beheaded, and killed.
Nor is such persecution of Christians limited to Egypt. From Morocco in the west to Indonesia in the east and from Central Asia to the north to sub-Saharan Africa to the south; across thousands of miles of lands inhabited by peoples who do not share the same races, languages, cultures, and/or socio-economic conditions, millions of Christians are being persecuted and in the same exact patterns.
Muslim converts to Christianity and Christian evangelists are attacked, imprisoned, and sometimes beheaded; countless churches across the Islamic world are being banned or bombed; Christian women and children are being abducted, enslaved, raped, and/or forced to renounce their faith.
Far from helping these Christian victims, U.S. policies are actually exacerbating their sufferings. Whether in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, or Syria, and under the guise of the U.S.-supported “Arab Spring,” things have gotten dramatically worse for Christians. Indeed, during a recent U.S. congressional hearing, it was revealed that thousands of traumatized Syrian Christians—who, like Iraqi Christians before them are undergoing a mass exodus from their homeland—were asking “Why is America at war with us?”
The answer is that very few Americans have any clue concerning what is happening to their coreligionists.
Few mainstream media speak about the horrific persecution millions of people are experiencing simply because they wish to worship Christ in peace.
There, is of course, a very important reason why the mainstream media ignores radical Muslim persecution of Christians: if the full magnitude of this phenomenon was ever know, many cornerstones of the mainstream media—most prominent among them, that Israel is oppressive to Palestinians—would immediately crumble.
Why? Because radical Muslim persecution of Christians throws a wrench in the media’s otherwise well-oiled narrative that “radical-Muslim-violence-is-a-product-of-Muslim-grievance”—chief among them Israel.
Consider it this way: because the Jewish state is stronger than its Muslim neighbors, the media can easily portray Islamic terrorists as frustrated “underdogs” doing whatever they can to achieve “justice.” No matter how many rockets are shot into Tel Aviv by Hamas and Hezbollah, and no matter how anti-Israeli bloodlust is articulated in radical Islamic terms, the media will present such hostility as ironclad proof that Palestinians under Israel are so oppressed that they have no choice but to resort to terrorism.
However, if radical Muslims get a free pass when their violence is directed against those stronger than them, how does one rationalize away their violence when it is directed against those weaker than them—in this case, millions of indigenous Christians?
The media simply cannot portray radical Muslim persecution of Christians—which in essence and form amount to unprovoked pogroms—as a “land dispute” or a product of “grievance” (if anything, it is the ostracized and persecuted Christian minorities who should have grievances). And because the media cannot articulate radical Islamic attacks on Christians through the “grievance” paradigm that works so well in explaining the Arab-Israeli conflict, their main recourse is not to report on them at all.
In short, Christian persecution is the clearest reflection of radical Islamic supremacism. Vastly outnumbered and politically marginalized Christians simply wish to worship in peace, and yet still are they hounded and attacked, their churches burned and destroyed, their women and children enslaved and raped. These Christians are often identical to their Muslim co-citizens, in race, ethnicity, national identity, culture, and language; there is no political dispute, no land dispute.
The only problem is that they are Christian and so, Islamists believe according to their scriptural exegesis, must be subjugated.
If mainstream media were to report honestly on Christian persecution at the hands of radical Islamists so many bedrocks of the leftist narrative currently dominating political discourse would crumble, first and foremost, the idea that radical Islamic intolerance is a product of “grievances,” and that Israel is responsible for all Jihadist terrorism against it.
Israel’s Identity as Jewish State at Heart of Mideast Conflict
Ah, the devious Benjamin Netanyahu! Just when we are on the cusp of a breakthrough in Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations, Israel’s slippery prime minister introduces a potential deal-breaker, in the form of insisting that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
That, in essence, is the narrative that has emerged over the past fortnight, as shaped by the tiresome pundits who spend their days forensically examining Netanyahu’s statements and actions. Writing in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Hussein Ibish, a faux moderate working for the American Task Force on Palestine, described the “Jewish state” negotiating theme as a “new demand” deliberately engineered to undermine what he termed “the greatest of Palestinian concessions, their 1993 recognition of the State of Israel.” Also in Haaretz, Peter Beinart, a professional Jewish critic of Israel, opined— without offering a scintilla of evidence—that what Netanyahu really wants is a Jewish state that rides roughshod over its non-Jewish minorities, so as to ensure that “Jewish political power trumps pretty much everything else.”
Ibish, Beinart, and their co-thinkers have made much of their dubious claim that Israel has never defined what a Jewish state means. For Ibish, the problem is that the Jewish state demand “suggests a trans-historical claim to this land on behalf of an entire but undefined ethno-religious group the world over”—this typically dense and obfuscatory language is Ibish’s way of arguing that he rejects Zionism. As for Beinart, the type of Jewish state he believes Netanyahu wants—one that will use any means to entrench its Jewish majority, and which regards democratic norms as an irritant—isn’t worth endorsing in the first place. In this, Ibish faithfully echoes Beinart, asserting that the PLO will never endorse a formula that cements “the restrictions Palestinian citizens of Israel now face.” (This, by the way, is the same logic that underpins Vladimir Putin’s declaration that he invaded Crimea to secure the rights of vulnerable Russian citizens facing vengeful Ukrainian nationalists.)
Once you cast aside these caricatures, though, two facts become clear.
Firstly, the demand for recognition of Israel’s status as a Jewish state is hardly new. The Israeli archivist Yaacov Lozowick has revealed that, within the context of negotiations with the Palestinians, the demand emerged as early as 2001, a few months into the second Palestinian intifada, articulated by a group of Israeli leftists, no less. Wrote Lozowick: “The Palestinians were willing to join in stating that there should be two independent states alongside one another, but the Israelis, alerted by the fiascos of Camp David and Taba to a nuance they had previously overlooked, demanded that the statement clearly say that Israel would be a Jewish state and Palestine an Arab one. The Palestinians refused. Jews, they said, are a religion, not a nationality, and neither need nor deserve their own state. They were welcome to live in Israel, but the Palestinian refugees would come back, and perhaps she would cease to be a Jewish state.”
This brings us to the second fact: rather than being an afterthought designed to derail negotiations, the Jewish state demand gets to the heart of this conflict. The Palestinians and the Arab states have never conceded that there is a legitimate connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel that is expressed through the reality of self-determination. Hence, a world of difference separates the moral recognition of Jewish national legitimacy from the tactical recognition, in 1993, of Israel as a state.
As Lozowick documented, and as Ibish implicitly acknowledged in his article, the Palestinians reject the idea of the Jews as a nation wholesale, whether that’s through the theological baggage of Islam, which recognizes the Jews only as a subordinate religious group, or the ostensibly secular reasoning of Ibish, which faithfully reflects the reactionary nineteenth century conception of the Jews as an unnatural, “non-organic” people whose claim to self-determination is necessarily based upon historical falsehoods.
And what is it, precisely, that is being rejected here? If you comb through the archive of Zionist writings, you will find that there are many definitions of what a Jewish state means. In my view, the most succinct and modest definition was coined by Leo Pinsker, a Russian Zionist who founded the group “Hovevei Zion,” or “Lovers of Zion.” In 1882, almost two decades before the first Zionist Congress, Pinker wrote a tract entitled “Autoemancipation” in which he pleaded, “Grant us but our independence, allow us to take care of ourselves, give us but a little strip of land like that of the Serbians and Romanians, give us a chance to lead a national existence.”
It is this Jewish desire to lead a normal national existence, like the “Serbians and Romanians,” that underpins both Zionism as an ideology and Israel as a Jewish state. In rejecting the Jewish ambition to be a nation like other nations, Israel’s opponents distort the debate by insinuating that the Jews—who aren’t really a proper nation anyway—want special treatment, even if that means trampling on the rights of the true indigents, the Palestinian Arabs.
For more than a century, Zionists have been countering these slanders. It looks like we will continue doing so for some time yet. And still they ask why there is no peace!
Islam, 'honor' violence, and the silence of the progressives
by Jeff Jacoby
"HONOR DIARIES" might not be coming to a theater near you, at least not if CAIR gets its way. The award-winning documentary about "honor" violence against girls and women in much of the Muslim world was released last month in honor of International Women's Day, and it didn't take long for the Council on American Islamic Relations to slap its all-purpose "Islamophobic!" label on it. The film has been shown in dozens of venues, but CAIR has raised enough of a stink to get screenings cancelled on several college campuses, including the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois.
CAIR — a front group for Islamist extremism that masquerades as a civil rights organization (its first executive director, Nihad Awad, was an open supporter of Hamas) — is good at raising stinks. Last week Brandeis University caved in to demands that it rescind its offer of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a heroic defender of women's rights in the Islamic world. With a life story that reads like a screenplay, Ali has personally experienced many of the evils she fights, including genital mutilation, forced marriage, and savage "honor" crimes. Her remarkable accomplishments should easily merit the honor of any university that upholds reason and intellectual diversity. But Brandeis apparently has different priorities now, like giving CAIR and the Islamophobia-phobes a veto over honorary degrees.
Ali was involved in making "Honor Diaries," which goes out of its way to convey respect for moderate Islam. It spotlights nine eloquent women with roots in the Islamic world, several of whom are devout Muslims — "Islam is my spiritual journey," says one — and all of whom are passionate about exposing the terrible abuses women and girls in many Muslim cultures suffer in the name of family honor. None thinks such horrors should be excused or neglected out of a misplaced cultural sensitivity or political correctness.
But it happens routinely. People prepared to label opposition to employer-paid contraceptives a "war on women" are generally much less willing to channel their outrage at the savagery of honor killings or child marriages in non-Western societies. "They fear treading on cultural toes," says Jasvinder Sanghera, one of the film's featured advocates. "We're constantly having to remind them that cultural acceptance does not mean accepting the unacceptable."
For Sanghera, who fled a forced marriage as a young teen, this is no abstract theory. She is haunted by the memory of her sister, Ravina, who committed suicide rather than "dishonor" her family by leaving the husband she was forced to marry. Also highlighted in the film is Raquel Saraswati, who embraces Islam as a source of strength and peace in her life, yet feels "afraid all the time" of the backlash against those who challenge "honor-based" violence against women.
Efforts by CAIR and its ilk to squelch honest discussion of such grave human-rights issues — and to demonize as "haters" and "Islamophobes" those who do — encapsulate the very perversity "Honor Diaries" seeks to expose: valuing the honor of a community more than a woman's life or voice. But does CAIR's shrill protest reflect what average citizens in Muslim countries think of such a documentary? Or does the "Honor Diaries" Arabic Facebook page, with 95,000 "likes" — and climbing?
Why aren't more progressives passionate about these issues?
I put that question to Nazie Eftekhari, an immigrant from Iran and another of the women "Honor Diaries" focuses on. A successful Minnesota health-care entrepreneur, Eftekhari unhesitatingly describes herself as a "bleeding-heart liberal" and a longtime Democratic Party voter, loyalist, and fund-raiser. She is as mystified as I am.
"The biggest human-rights crisis of our generation is the treatment of women in Muslim-majority countries, and we've applied a gag order to ourselves," she replies with unmistakable distress. "We won't talk about it. Where are my fellow liberals? Where are the feminists?"
In theocratic Iran today, Eftekhari says, the legal age of marriage for girls has been lowered to 9. Men can now marry their adopted daughters. "How can President Obama, who has two young daughters, not be making a huge issue of this?" she wants to know. "It's not marriage, it's statutory rape."
Eftekhari can't understand why so many progressive voices fall silent on an issue she thinks they should be raising the loudest. And she has only contempt for anyone who thinks it progressive to snub those — like Ayaan Hirsi Ali — who so bravely speak out: "Ali needs no degree or honor from Brandeis; she is a guiding light for the women who respect and honor her. But where will Brandeis go to get its respect and honor back?"
The Politics of Personal Distraction
Even Leftist intellectuals can't argue
If you’ve ever engaged in a debate with a progressive, you know first-hand the definition of futility. After a few minutes, they run out of whatever talking points they just read in Mother Jones or Salon, and out come the names. It used to take longer – there were even reported cases of debates reaching double-digits in minutes before the expletives and personal attacks began.
Cries of racism/sexism/homophobia used to be where Democrats ended up in a debate. Now, it’s where they start. What once was simply the last arrow in their quiver has turned into their favorite.
Now, the name-calling is the only arrow they use. It’s not by accident. After five and a half years of a Democratic president and liberal policies, the country is much worse off than before. Recessions come and go – it’s a fact of economics. They stick around only when government acts as if it can “fix” them. As we approach our fifth “Recovery Summer,” the economy is deeper into that ditch the president spoke of back in 2010. Democrats point to the stock market as proof of economic success but decry income inequality and systematically block Americans from investing a tiny portion of their Social Security in it to get their families a taste.
They care too much to set you free.
The failed progressive economic policies are but the tip of an iceberg of disaster, scandals and lies from which Democrats need people distracted if they are to have any hope of holding on to the Senate this fall. The media wants to play along and aid its fellow travelers, but reporters do have a job to do and time and column inches to fill, so a bone must be thrown.
Enter the “isms.”
In an act that should be classified as satire, Attorney General Eric Holder spoke this week to the National Action Network and claimed Republicans are subjecting him and the president to unprecedented mistreatment because they’re black. NAN is the shakedown wing of Al Sharpton’s empire. Sharpton is the preeminent race-baiter in the world today, with ruined lives, riots and a body count left in his wake. Once rightly a pariah for his hatred and corruption, the former FBI informant and MSNBC host’s annual conference is now such an important part of the progressive’s marketing strategy that it not only warranted a visit from the AG, but from the president himself.
Holder nailed himself to the victimhood cross in front of an audience assembled by a man who works in false charges of racism the way Michelangelo worked in marble. This wasn’t by accident.
The media ran with Holder’s lie without reporting on what precipitated it – his “abuse” at the hands of Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, the day before during a congressional hearing. Gohmert wants documents from the Justice Department so Congress can perform the oversight duty it used to do, and Holder is refusing. Considering Holder is currently in contempt of Congress for withholding other documents, there’s no reason to believe he’ll ever comply.
But the stories about Holder’s remarks to NAN didn’t bother delving into why he had his confrontation with Gohmert. They simply ignored that aspect of the exchange. Salon, in a particularly mindless piece of milk-bone journalism (which is saying something) claimed Holder went “off-script” with his victimhood claim. (I won’t link to it because why should I give them clicks they earn money from?) But Holder didn’t go off-script. Crying racism is the script – it is all they have left. That they make it and other cries of victimhood to people who truly have been victims of various “isms” in their lives illustrates just how despicable and desperate they are.
No philosophy has victimized, harmed, killed, imprisoned and ruined more lives than progressivism. It was born out of a sense of superiority – the thought that a few educated elites know better how other people should live their lives than those people themselves – and has used bullying, terror, murder, oppression and lies to advance it. Progressives bathed in Jim Crow and birth eugenics to breed “undesirable people” out of existence. Given there were more abortions of black babies in New York City than births in 2012, eugenics is alive and well, just simply rebranded.
But people aren’t taught the history or the present reality of the progressive philosophy. They know only what they hear in the media. Enter Hank Aaron.
Hank Aaron is a hero. He was one of the greatest baseball players ever, and still the home run king if you discount “juiced” round trippers. He went through an unimaginable Hell when he broke Babe Ruth’s record. Racists sent him death threats more disgusting than you can imagine, and he persevered. But he apparently didn’t learn from it.
This week Aaron compared Republican opposition to Obama’s agenda to the KKK.
What's amazing to me is how Aaron doesn't recognize that those Klansmen who were threatening his life were Democrats; the party of eugenics is the progressives. The message and methods have changed, but the objective hasn't. Slavery still exists, it's just now based on income rather than race. Government "largesse" is the new plantation and nearly half the people in the country live there, unaware they're stuck in Plato’s Cave.
Racism is alive and well today, and it lives where it was born – on the left. What's more racist than demanding a president, an attorney general, or anyone be treated differently, be deferred to, simply because of skin color? That's what they're arguing for, and that's the essence of racism. I'd believe Barack Obama and Eric Holder are the victims of racism if "A-hole" was a race. But it's not.
If progressives want to see racism, they need to find a reflective surface. While the media reports endlessly about an idiot Republican kissing a staffer, a Democrat representative in Illinois refers to a black conservative as "a half" black. She apologized "if she offended anyone," not for what she said or for being a disgusting human being. A Democrat in Alabama said Republicans would support abortion if their daughters got pregnant by a black man, then attacked interracial adoptive families. He hasn't apologized because he hasn't had to. He "votes right," so he can say disgusting things.
If you made this stuff up, you would me mocked as an absurdist. But if you truly believe it, if you believe in the superiority of the politician over the person, of the progressive agenda über alles, you get elected as a Democrat and/or a show on MSNBC.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.