Friday, June 29, 2018

In 1948, Palestinians lost land. But not to Israel

The May 9 The World article “A modest opening for new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem” described what the Palestinians call the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” as the anniversary of the date on which Palestinians “lost their land when the Israeli state was created in 1948.”

That is partially true: In the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, the Palestinians did in fact lose what was offered to them with the loss of the West Bank; the Palestinians did in fact lose what was offered to them with the loss of Gaza.

But the dark little secret that the manipulative sentence left out was that the Palestinians lost the West Bank not to Israel but to their land-grabbing brethren Jordan. And they lost Gaza not to Israel but to their land-grabbing brethren Egypt.

This set of facts is critical to assess what happened to the Palestinians and who is culpable. As most know, but The Post routinely omits, the war was started by the local Arabs and neighboring Arab countries. If the Palestinians had accepted the two-state solution of 1947, there would be no conflict today, and the two-state solution would be going on its 71st year.

The problem stems from the seminal point that the Palestinians have time and again refused the two-state solution and have continued this refusal to this day. Hopes and wishes by the media will not change this fact.

The empty words of peace by Palestinian leaders are in no way consistent with their actions. It’s time this is acknowledged. The truth may not bring peace, but culpability will shape world opinion and perhaps push the Palestinians to realize that their 70-year attempt to defeat Israel is over.


Cowardly European response to Terrorism

They have learned nothing from the failed attempts to appease Hitler. Hitler did not go away. Nor will the Muslims

The European Union lost €180 billion (USD $210 billion) in GDP due to terrorism between 2004 and 2016. The United Kingdom (€43.7 billion) and France (€43 billion) suffered the highest losses, followed by Spain (€40.8 billion) and Germany (€19.2 billion), according to a Rand Corporation study.

"Beyond those who have been directly physically affected by terrorist attacks, the extensive coverage of terrorist attacks through multiple media and social media channels has substantially increased the amount of people and companies that could be psychologically affected. This subsequently affects their economic behaviour".

New statistics have also come from the Britain's anti-terrorism office. 441 people have been arrested in the UK for terrorism in the last year alone, and 4,182 since the attacks of September 11, 2001. The threat of terrorism is exhausting Europe.

According to the Spanish "black book" of terrorism, 658 Europeans have been murdered in terror attacks on European soil, while 1,029 Europeans have been killed by them abroad. Half of the French army has been deployed within the French Republic to protect the civilian targets, such as schools, monuments, and religious sites. Europe's armies are exhausted from patrolling the streets, to the point that NATO planners now fear that, over time, European armies "may get better at guarding railway stations and airports than fighting wars". An officer who recently returned from Afghanistan for guard duty in Belgium said: "We are standing around like flowers pots, just waiting to be smashed". Germany also sent troops into the streets for the first time since the Second World War.

One has to ask: Is Europe really serious about its war on terror? The French magazine Causeur just called it "the Batman Syndrome":

"How can we respect a society that is too cowardly to fight those who threaten its citizens, and that demonstrates its weakness by systematically seeking appeasement at the price of the most unreasonable accommodations? It is the 'Batman syndrome': the hero refuses to kill, he systematically saves his enemy who escapes and kills new victims until the hero catches up with him, and so on."

France is now close to freeing at least 50 terrorists from prison. The UK is also due to free 80 Islamic fundamentalists from prison. According to a new French report, nearly 10% of the 512 prisoners incarcerated for terrorism are likely to be released by the end of 2018. Their release may well pose a major threat. Khamzat Azimov, a terrorist who stabbed a man to death and injured four other people with a knife in central Paris, was known to counter-terrorism forces. Belgium released from prison a terrorist who had gone on a "bloody rampage" in the city of Liege two days before he killed two policewomen and a passerby.

Unless it gets serious about arresting not only the terrorists but also their deadly ideology, Europe will not see the end of the jihadist siege. A few days after the attacks in Liege, France thwarted another jihadist plot "with either explosives or ricin, this very powerful poison". After that, there was another terror attempt to strike the French gay community.

"France is the priority target of the terrorism unleashed in Europe by conquering Islam" wrote Ivan Rioufol in Le Figaro.

"Since 2015, 247 people have been killed in France in attacks by Islamists. The 'knife intifada' is no longer reserved just for Israel. In Magnanville, a couple of policemen, Jean-Baptiste Salvaing and Jessica Schneider, were stabbed in front of their three year-old child. Father Jacques Hamel was slaughtered in his church. In Marseille, Laura and Maurane had their throats slashed. These crimes will continue so long as the Republic leaves the enemy in peace".

The level of threat in France remains alarmingly high. "9,157 people were subjected to at least one surveillance measure by the intelligence services in 2017 in the name of the prevention of terrorism", an official French report recently revealed. In 2017, 20 major terror attacks in France were foiled.

Regarding the West's current "war on terror," American historian Victor Davis Hanson wrote:

"The result is the present age of serial Punic conflict, perhaps intolerable to the psyche, but in amoral terms tolerable as long as casualties are kept to a minimum and defeat is redefined as acceptable strategic wisdom. In the past, such periods of enervating war have gone on for a century and more. Ultimately, they too end — and with consequences."

In the end, there might be still a region called "Europe", but it may no longer enfold European culture.


Anti-Christian bigotry in Massachusetts

by Jeff Jacoby

IF YOU WERE looking for someone to successfully manage a promising company, it would be hard to find a candidate with a better array of credentials and know-how than Andrew Bushell.

He's a natural-born entrepreneur, with wide and varied experience both in and out of the business world. He founded and successfully managed a $2.5 billion investment firm. He worked as a management consultant for McKinsey & Co. After 9/11, he took a hiatus from the high-pressure world of finance and venture capital, immersing himself instead in the high-pressure world of war-zone journalism to cover Afghanistan and Pakistan for The Economist. And when, after years abroad, he returned to his New England hometown, he came up with an idea for a unique local business: making and selling gourmet salt from Atlantic seawater. Like Bushell's other endeavors, the Marblehead Salt Company flourished, with annual sales growing at a 25 percent clip and the salt winning raves from foodies.

So when Bushell approached the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency last year with an application for loans to grow yet another Marblehead business venture — a craft brewery and taproom — officials might have been expected to welcome him with open arms. According to MassDevelopment's website, after all, the agency was created to "help foster real estate and business projects that generate economic benefits for local communities and the state." Given Bushell's stellar track record, financing for Marblehead Brewing Co. should have been a no-brainer.

It wasn't.

The brewery applied for two loans. It intended to use the funds from one to improve its property in downtown Marblehead, and the other to purchase additional brewing equipment, in order to increase production from 700 barrels of beer in 2018 to 2,500 barrels by 2023. MassDevelopment said no. It demanded that the brewery enlist private backers who would personally guarantee the repayment of any loans. Bushell and Marblehead Brewing did so, providing the state with guarantees equal to three times the value of the loans applied for. The state demanded that the company's brewing equipment, worth $1.6 million, be put up as collateral. Bushell agreed to that too.

And still the agency says no.

Why? Because Bushell — more accurately, Father Andrew Bushell — is an Orthodox Christian monk. And the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is flummoxed by a loan applicant whose business chops are everything a state development agency dreams of, but whose mission and appearance are not at all what it's used to.

Marblehead Brewing is a for-profit corporation. Like any other commercial brewery, it pays taxes and must keep its federal, state, and municipal licenses current. It won't survive if it can't turn a profit. But turning a profit isn't its highest purpose. Supporting the work of the church is.

Bushell is the 192nd chairman of the St. Paul's Foundation, a monastic Christian charity more than 1,000 years old. Under Bushell, it has focused in recent years on easing the misery of Syrian refugees, providing food for 2 million displaced people, and supplying hundreds of thousands of tents and blankets for the homeless. The foundation also supports the Guitars Project, a charitable endeavor that provides guitars and musical instruction to hundreds of mostly Muslim children in the Middle East who have been displaced by violence. (Profits from Marblehead Salt have been donated to local causes as well, including the Marblehead Festival of the Arts and the anti-addiction work of the Marblehead Health Department.)

Marblehead Brewing is located at the Shrine of St. Nicholas, the first Orthodox Christian church in Marblehead. The church and the brewpub share the same building — the drinking establishment with its tables and tap is in the front room; the church, complete with altar and icon, is in a more private interior space — but they are separate entities, with different tax ID numbers, bank accounts, and legal profiles. The brewery is a secular, for-profit business. The church and the foundation are nonprofit religious entities that are among Marblehead Brewing's shareholders. In launching a commercial brewery to sustain the work of his church, Bushell is following the classic example of Trappist and Benedictine monks who for centuries have supported themselves through brewing and winemaking.

MassDevelopment has no problem with beer companies. It has provided financing for quite a few of them, including Notch Brewing in Salem, Tree House Brewing in Charlton, and Night Shift Brewing in Everett. But a brewing company run by an Orthodox monk who wears a black cassock, lives under a vow of poverty, and has devoted his life — and exceptional business talents — to God appears to give state officials the heebie-jeebies. According to Bushell, agency officials have told him his loan will not be approved "because you're a church" and the state doesn't want to be in the position of suing a church if a loan weren't repaid. Through a spokeswoman, MassDevelopment declined to comment for this column.

Rejecting Bushell's application because of his religious vocation may well be illegal under the First Amendment. It is unquestionably short-sighted.

"Entrepreneurs come in many shapes and sizes, and not all fit the typical business model," says Glenn Hutchins, a tech investment superstar who is a director of the New York Fed and sits on the executive committee of the Boston Celtics. In a phone conversation the other day, Hutchins sang the praises of Bushell's beer, Marblehead Ale No. 2. He was even more enthusiastic about the monk's ability to "take a blank sheet and turn it into something impressive."

To a talented financier like Hutchins, hardheaded business acumen isn't to be discounted because it serves a larger, spiritual devotion. He knows better than to judge an entrepreneur by his cassock. If only Massachusetts bureaucrats were as clear-sighted.


Switzerland Welcomes Radicalization

There are approximately 250 mosques in Switzerland, but the authorities do not know who finances them. By rejecting the proposal compelling mosques to disclose who finances them, the Swiss authorities can now remain willfully blind.

Switzerland has just rejected a proposed law preventing mosques from accepting money from abroad, and compelling them to declare where their financial backing comes from and for what purpose the money will be used. According to the proposal, imams also would have been obliged to preach in one of the Swiss national languages.

While the proposal narrowly passed in the lower house of parliament already in September 2017, the upper house recently rejected it. The proposal was modeled on regulations in Austria, where already in 2015, a law banning foreign funding of religious groups was passed. The Austrian law aims to counter extremism by requiring imams to speak German, prohibiting foreign funding for mosques, imams and Muslim organizations in Austria, and stressing the precedence of Austrian law over Islamic sharia law for Muslims living in the country.

The Federal Council, which constitutes the federal government of Switzerland, was also against the proposal, and claimed that it constituted 'discrimination': "We must not discriminate against Muslim communities and imams and put them under general suspicion," Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said. The Federal Council noted that in Austria, Islam is officially recognized, whereas it is not in Switzerland. According to the Swiss government, therefore, the model applied in Austria does not apply to Switzerland, as "One cannot demand obligations without rights". Instead, the Federal Council evidently believes that the risks posed by extremist Islamist preachers and communities can be combated within existing law.

There are approximately 250 mosques in Switzerland, but the authorities do not know who finances them. The authorities have no jurisdiction to collect data on the financing of Muslim associations and mosques apart from exceptional cases in which internal security is threatened. By rejecting the proposal compelling mosques to disclose who finances them, the Swiss authorities can now remain willfully blind.

Several experts have pointed out the foreign Muslim networks at work in Switzerland. In 2016, Reinhard Schulze, professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Bern, pointed out that donations from the Muslim World League, based in Saudi Arabia, and other funds from Saudi Arabia were flowing to "those mosques and organizations that are open to the Wahhabi tradition". Another expert on Islam in Switzerland, Saïda Keller-Messahli, has spoken and written widely on how "Huge sums of money from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Turkey are flowing to Switzerland", and how the Saudi-based Muslim World League is behind "a whole network of radically-oriented mosques in Switzerland... with the clear intention of spreading Salafist thought here".

In addition to the Salafist influence, there are an estimated 35 Turkish mosques, financed by Turkey's official Religious Affairs Directorate, known as Diyanet. (Previous reports have mentioned 70 Turkish mosques in Switzerland).

According to a report published by Diyanet in 2017, Islam is "superior" to Christianity and Judaism and "Interfaith dialogue is unacceptable". Turkey supports the Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist off-shoot Hamas.

In fact, the building of another Turkish mosque was just given the go-ahead in the Swiss town Schaffhausen. The people behind it reportedly claim that the 1.5 million Swiss francs (approx. $1.5 million) will be collected locally, and not from Turkey, but the imams for the mosque will nevertheless be sent from Turkey.

None of these facts, however, appears to bother the Swiss government, which seems to want to continue the flow of foreign funding of mosques and Islamic centers into the country.

Above all, the Swiss government seems not to have considered the rights of Swiss non-Muslim citizens, who are the ones left to live with the consequences of the government's ill-thought-out policies.

One such consequence was recently on display in Swiss courts, as three board members of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (ISSC) were on trial for charges of having produced illegal propaganda for al-Qaeda and related organizations. One of them, Naim Cherni, was given a suspended prison sentence of 20 months for publishing an interview he conducted with Saudi cleric Abdullah al-Muhaysini in Syria in 2015, in which al-Muhaysini called on young Muslims in Europe to join the jihad. The two other board members, chairman Nicolas Blancho and Qaasim Illi, were acquitted.

In contrast to Switzerland, Austria recently announced plans to shut down seven mosques and expelling up to 60 imams belonging to the Turkish-Islamic Union for Cultural and Social Cooperation in Austria (ATIB), a Muslim group close to the Turkish government, on the grounds of receiving foreign funding.

The response from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman was that the policy was part of an "Islamophobic, racist and discriminatory wave" in Austria.

The strong message that the Swiss government is sending to those Muslim states and organizations that are fueling radicalization in Switzerland by funding Salafist, Turkish and other radical mosques, is that they are welcome to continue doing so; the Swiss government has no intention of stopping them, let alone asking any unpleasant questions. It might as well put up a sign, saying, "Radicalization Welcome"



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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