Netanyahu ‘spat in our face,’ White House officials say

Obama-angry-10

Netanyahu ‘spat in our face,’ White House officials say

PM ‘will pay price’ for spat over Congress address; Obama said to have asked him to tone down pro-sanctions rhetoric; Wash. Post: Kerry’s enthusiasm for defending Israel may wane

BY TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF January 23, 2015, 9:21 am 330

NEWSROOM

The White House’s outrage over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to speak before Congress in March — a move he failed to coordinate with the administration — began to seep through the diplomatic cracks on Friday, with officials telling Haaretz the Israeli leader had “spat” in President Barack Obama’s face.

“We thought we’ve seen everything,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed senior US official as saying. “But Bibi managed to surprise even us.

“There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price,” he said.

Officials in Washington said that the “chickenshit” epithet — with which an anonymous administration official branded Netanyahu several months ago — was mild compared to the language used in the White House when news of Netanyahu’s planned speech came in.

net

In his address the Israeli leader is expected to speak about stalled US-led nuclear negotiations with Iran, and to urge lawmakers to slap Tehran with a new round of tougher sanctions in order to force it to comply with international demands. The Mossad intelligence service on Thursday went to the rare length of issuing a press statement to deny claims, cited by Kerry, that its chief Tamir Pardo had told visiting US politicians that he opposed further sanctions.

Haaretz reported that Obama had personally demanded that Netanyahu tone down his pro-sanctions rhetoric in a phone call between the two last week. The president has said a sanctions bill would cripple negotiations with Iranian leaders at a critical stage, and has threatened to veto such a bill should it come through.

The Washington Post reported that Netanyahu’s apparent disrespect for the US leadership was particularly offensive to Secretary of State John Kerry, who over the past month had made frenzied efforts on Israel’s behalf on the world stage — making dozens of calls to world leaders to convince them to oppose a UN Security Council resolution which would have set a timeframe for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

“The secretary’s patience is not infinite,” a source close to Kerry told the Post. “The bilateral relationship is unshakable. But playing politics with that relationship could blunt Secretary Kerry’s enthusiasm for being Israel’s primary defender.”

The White House said Thursday that Obama would not meet with Netanyahu when he travels to Washington, with a spokeswoman citing a “long-standing practice and principle” by which the president does not meet with heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections. Kerry will also not meet with Netanyahu.

Netanyahu will be in Washington in part for a March 3 address to a joint session of Congress. House Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu to speak to Congress without consulting the Obama administration.

The White House initially reacted icily to Netanyahu’s plans to address Congress, an appearance apparently meant to bolster opposition to a nuclear deal with Iran as it is currently shaping up, as well as opposition to new sanctions against Tehran.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest suggested Wednesday that Netanyahu and Boehner had broken with protocol in not informing Obama of the prime minister’s travel plans.

“We haven’t heard from the Israelis directly about the trip at all,” he said, adding the White House would “reserve judgment” about any possible face-to-face meeting until explanations are made.

white house

“The typical protocol would suggest that the leader of a country would contact the leader of another country when he is traveling there. That is certainly how President Obama’s trips are planned,” explained Earnest.

“So this particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol.”

Speaking several hours after Earnest, top US diplomat Kerry said Netanyahu was welcome to give a speech at “any time” in the United States. But Kerry agreed it had been a “little unusual” to hear about the Israeli leader’s speech to US Congress next month from the office of Boehner and not via the usual diplomatic channels.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, leader of the House Democrats, said that Boehner blundered when he invited Netanyahu to address Congress amid sensitive negotiations about Iran’s nuclear program and in the shadow of Israel’s elections.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, meets with US president Barack Obama, at the White House, Washington DC on October 01, 2014. (Photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO)

“If that’s the purpose of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit two weeks before his own election, right in the midst of our negotiations, I just don’t think it’s appropriate and helpful,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday at her weekly news conference. The speech, Pelosi suggested, could give Netanyahu a political boost in elections a few weeks later and inflame international talks aimed at stopping Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel is scheduled to hold elections on March 17.

Netanyahu confirmed Thursday that he would address Congress in early March. He was initially slated to speak on February 11, but changed the date so he could attend the AIPAC conference.

“The Prime Minister is expected to arrive in the US at the beginning of March and will also participate in the AIPAC conference,” read a statement from the PMO. “The speech in front of both houses of Congress will give the prime minister the opportunity to thank President Barack Obama, Congress, and the American people for their support of Israel.

“I look forward to the opportunity to express before the joint session Israel’s vision for a joint effort to deal with [Islamist terrorism and Iran’s nuclear program], and to emphasize Israel’s commitment to the special bond between our two democracies,” Netanyahu said, according to the statement.

Israel and the United States are close allies, but personal relations between Obama and Netanyahu have reportedly deteriorated over the years.

The pair have publicly clashed over Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and about how to tackle Iran’s disputed nuclear program.

Obama’s allies fear Netanyahu’s March trip could be used by Israel and by Republicans to rally opposition to a nuclear deal, undercutting years of sensitive negotiations just as they appear poised to bear fruit.

In November the already faltering ties between the leaders were served a new blow when an anonymous US official was quoted calling Netanyahu a “chickenshit” in an article published by journalist Jeffrey Goldberg in the American magazine The Atlantic. The article portrayed the rift between the United States and Israel as a “full-blown crisis.”

Obama blames Europe not Muslims for terrorism

Europe needs to better integrate Muslim communities: Obama

PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2015 2:42 AM
US President Barack Obama answers questions at a press conference in the East Room of the White House on Jan 16, 2015, in Washington, DC. — PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Europe must do more to better integrate its Muslim communities, and not “simply respond with a hammer”, US President Barack Obama said Friday in the wake of last week’s terror attacks in France.

“Our biggest advantage, major, is that our Muslim populations – they feel themselves to be Americans,” Obama told a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

“There are parts of Europe in which that’s not the case. And that’s probably the greatest danger that Europe faces… it’s important for Europe not to simply respond with a hammer and law enforcement and military approaches to these problems.”

Related:

slander

Obama Will Never Stand With Figures Who Insult Muslims

By Jim Geraghty

January 13, 2015 10:19 AM

Why didn’t President Obama go to Paris?

Monday brought a lot of quickly discarded excuses. 1) The excuse that the United States was adequately represented, as suggested by Kerry’s claim that critics were “quibbling” because the U.S. ambassador attended. White House press secretary Josh Earnest eventually retreated on that one. 2) The claim that there were security concerns, which suggested the security measures taken to protect the French president, U.K. prime minister, and Israeli prime minister were somehow insufficient. Also note that the entire point of the march was to send a message to the world that leaders will not be intimidated by extremists who threaten to kill them. 3) Complete and total staff incompetence: “White House aides were so caught off guard by the march’s massive size and attention that they hadn’t even asked President Barack Obama if he wanted to go.”

The simplest explanation — and one that doesn’t contradict option 3 — is that President Barack Obama doesn’t want to put his personal stature and credibility on the line to support something like Charlie Hebdo. Since those awful attacks, we’ve witnessed a lot of allegedly intellectual leftists offer versions of “the attacks were terrible, but —” and then explaining why Hebdo was offensive, hate speech, and unnecessary provocation, foolish, etc., and imply that the magazine isn’t really worth defending and that the world would be a better place if these immature, impudent cartoonists would stop making fun of one of the world’s great religions.

There’s very little evidence to suggest that Obama disagrees with this progressive intellectual reaction, that while satire of Islam is theoretically legal, the consequences of enraging Muslims is too much trouble and risk to be worthwhile. We saw this in the response to Hebdo before, and the infamous YouTube video that the administration cited as a scapegoat for the Benghazi attacks. To a lot of progressives, while depicting Muhammad or mocking Islam shouldn’t be banned, it should be discouraged, and a presidential appearance at that rally and march would be too close to an official endorsement of the magazine and its contents.

As then–White House press secretary Jay Carney put it in 2012 while discussing the French magazine’s Muhammad cartoons:

We don’t question the right of something like this to be published; we just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it. And I think that that’s our view about the video that was produced in this country and has caused so much offense in the Muslim world.

Obama would never support going into a magazine and shooting people. But he’s afamously thin-skinned public figure who thinks he has a particularly powerful connection and understanding of the Muslim world because he spent some childhood years in Indonesia. He is so mono-focused on “de-escalating” tensions with the Muslim world that he thinks about how he would advise ISIS. The last thing President Obama is going to do is take some sort of personal action that indicates a real show of solidarity with cartoonists who offend Muslims.

 

Duke backs down, cancels Muslim call to prayer from chapel tower

 Duke copy

Duke backs down, cancels Muslim call to prayer from chapel tower

by Todd Starnes

Duke University has abandoned its plan to transform the bell tower on the Methodist school’s neo-gothic cathedral into a minaret where the Muslim call to prayer was to be publicly broadcast.

“Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students,” university spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said in a statement. “However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect.”

Duke University draws fire as it announces weekly Muslim call to prayer

Starting this Friday, Duke University plans to have a regular Muslim call to prayer on campus. Most students support religious diversity, but off-campus critics are concerned by what it symbolizes.

Christian Science Monitor

As of Friday, residents of Durham, N.C., near the Duke University Chapel bell tower will now hear the tones of a male Muslim Students Association member chanting the Muslim “adhan” or “call to prayer” at 1 p.m. each week.

 “On campus among students and faculty the response has been overwhelmingly positive,“ says Duke spokesman Keith Lawrence in a phone interview.

And… unleash the ignorant haters! (I think this is great) — Muslim call to prayer to sound at Duke University http://t.co/imWV0M2BTK— Emily (@expatemily) January 14, 2015

“Those responding from the outside, particularly on social media like Twitter, have been mixed with some negativity that has begun to feed off of itself,” Mr. Lawrence adds.

I wonder how Duke or atheist would feel if Christians wanted to recite the lords prayer once a week?… http://t.co/J09Ojp5ScA— Bill LuMaye Show 850 (@BillLuMaye) January 14, 2015

Via @WRAL: Muslim call to prayer to sound at Duke University http://t.co/Vw97l0tjQc More capitulating. The sound of Satan. WHY?— A Mountain (@annie_amountain) January 14, 2015

The chant, which announces the start of the group’s jummah prayer service, which takes place in the chapel basement each Friday at 1 p.m., lasts about three minutes and will be moderately amplified, according to a Duke University press release.

Imam Adeel Zeb, Muslim chaplain at Duke says in a phone interview that the addition of the chant was in the works months prior to the militant Islamist attacks on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and are in no way in response or politically motivated.

Muslim students at Duke are supported by the university through the Office of Student Affairs’ Muslim Life department, which hosts religious services, community service projects, and interfaith events. The Center for Muslim Life provides on-campus social and spiritual meeting spaces for students as well as opportunities for counseling and advising.

“This is not about politics,” Mr. Zeb says. “This is part of Duke’s mission to promote religious diversity on campus.”

Zeb adds that he “did not hesitate for a moment” or waver at all in the plan following the Paris attacks or after learning about negative feedback on Twitter.

“As always, I advise my students to respond to negativity by being very positive and loving in their character,” Zeb says. “It is a tradition and an honor to carry on the chant and call to prayer.”

“Duke is in the minority for having he call to prayer,” Zeb says. “I don’t know of many others doing it.”

He adds that the service is open to the public,

The words will be chanted in Arabic, then spoken in English by either male or female students over the public address system, according to Zeb who offers the following English translation of the Adhan:

God is Most Great. God is Most Great.

God is Most Great. God is Most Great.

I bear witness that there is none worthy of being worshipped except God.

I bear witness that there is none worthy of being worshipped except God.

I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.

I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.

Come to prayer. Come to prayer.

Come to Success. Come to Success.

God is Most Great. Allah is Most Great.

There is none worthy of being worshipped except God.

Zeb says that he has spent the past week training seven male students in the proper intonation, rhythm, and pronunciation of the chant. The adhan is traditionally performed by males unless it is a call to an all-female gathering, in which case, Zeb says, a woman would call the adhan.

“The adhan is the call to prayer that brings Muslims back to their purpose in life, which is to worship God and serves as a reminder to serve our brothers and sisters in humanity,” Zeb explains. “The collective Muslim community is truly grateful and excited about Duke’s intentionality toward religious and cultural diversity.”

“This opportunity represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke’s mission,” Christy Lohr Sapp, the chapel’s associate dean for religious life and a Christian, is quoted in a press release. “It connects the university to national trends in religious accommodation.”

Maher on Islam: “When There’s This Many Bad Apples, There’s Something Wrong With The Orchard”

bill-maher

Maher on Islam: “When There’s This Many Bad Apples, There’s Something Wrong With The Orchard”

HBO’s Bill Maher discusses the Paris terror attack and the threat of radical Islam with author Salman Rushdie, who received a fatwa from Ayatollah Khomeini, businesswoman and political commentator Carly Fiorina, and Democratic strategist Paul Begala.

Maher listed off some of the major attacks pulled off by Muslim extremists since 9/11 saying, “when there’s this many bad apples, there’s something wrong with the orchard.”

“We tend to forget how often it happens and we’re Americans so we don’t want to single out people, but when you look at that list just since 9/11. We had the Madrid bombings in ’04; London in ’05; Mumbai; the Kenyan mall attack; Benghazi, which was one of 20 cities that erupted when that movie the Innocence of Muslims was on the internet; ISIS; Boko Haram, who killed an entire village this week; Pakistan this year, last year, killing all those kids at school; Canada, the parliament; Australia, that guy,” Maher said.

Maher also cited a report 60 Minutes did last fall on Muslim men accosting female Londoners about the way they dressed.

Relevant transcript below:

BILL MAHER, “REAL TIME” HOST: This was kind of a dark week for humor and for free speech and make no mistake about it our very way of life is threatened and under attack. But, you know me, I’m a cockeyed optimist. I want to look on the bright side and actually I feel like there was a bright side this week. I saw a reaction from non-Muslims and Muslims alike that I’ve never seen before when s— like this went down. Do you think we’ve reached a tipping point where people have just had enough of this s—?…

MAHER: We tend to forget how often it happens and we’re Americans so we don’t want to single out people, but when you look at that list just since 9/11. We had the Madrid bombings in ’04; London in ’05; Mumbai; the Kenyan mall attack; Benghazi, which was one of 20 cities that erupted when that movie the Innocence of Muslims was on the internet; ISIS; Boko Haram, who killed an entire village this week; Pakistan this year, last year, killing all those kids at school; Canada, the parliament; Australia, that guy.

And that’s just the terrorists, let’s not forget also governments. That’s the thing that I think gets lost. It’s inside the establishment and it’s outside. Saudi Arabia today, a blogger gets a 1,000 lashes —

RUSHDIE: They flogged the blogger for saying something that a priest didn’t like.

MAHER: Right.

FIORINA: And let’s not forget Syria slaughtering 300,000 of their own citizens.

MAHER: Right, but I mean like Turkey. The president of Turkey said, “Women are not equal to men. Our religion has a defined position for women, motherhood.”

I can’t imagine a Western government leader saying that. And what we’ve said all along is, and have been called bigots for it, is when there’s this many bad ideas, there’s something wrong with the orchard…

MAHER: There should be a distinction because obviously the vast majority of Muslims would never do anything like this, but they share bad ideas. This is the thing that caused the big raucous when Ben Affleck was here was that Sam Harris said Islam is the motherlode of bad ideas and everyone went f—ing nuts on this side of the panel. But it is!

The guy who shot up — these two guys who shot up the cartoonist the other day they were avenging the prophet when they did it. A bad idea. To martyrdom, a bad idea. Women as second class citizens, a bad idea. And unfortunately the terrorists and the mainstream share a lot of these bad ideas.

In a related story:

Ohio Man Arrested for Alleged ISIS-Inspired Attack Plot on US Capitol

PHOTO: A flag of the Islamic State is seen on the other side of a bridge at the front line of fighting between Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Islamist militants in Rashad, on the road between Kirkuk and Tikrit, Sept. 11, 2014.

The FBI has arrested an Ohio man for allegedly plotting an Islamic State-inspired attack on the U.S. Capitol, where he hoped to set off a series of bombs aimed at lawmakers, whom he allegedly considered enemies.

Christopher Lee Cornell -– also known as Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah -– was arrested earlier today on charges of attempting to kill a U.S. government official.

ISIS: Trail of Terror
U.S.Homeland Warns of ISIS Retaliation in US by Sympathizers
Tracking ISIS: Homegrown Terror Threat

Government documents say the FBI first noticed Cornell after he voiced support for violent “jihad” on a Twitter account.

Further investigation revealed his intent to attack the U.S. Capitol, and he planned to detonate pipe bombs there and open fire on any employees and officials after the bombs went off, according to government documents.

The FBI and Department of Homeland security issued a bulletin to law enforcement agencies across the country, notifying them of the case.

“The alleged activities of Cornell highlight the continued interest of US-based violent extremists to support designated foreign terrorist organizations overseas, such as ISIL, by committing terrorist acts in the United States,” the bulletin read. “Terrorist group members and supporters will almost certainly continue to use social media platforms to disseminate English language violent extremist messages.”

Obama Will Never Stand With Figures Who Insult Muslims

slander

Obama Will Never Stand With Figures Who Insult Muslims

By Jim Geraghty

January 13, 2015 10:19 AM

Why didn’t President Obama go to Paris?

Monday brought a lot of quickly discarded excuses. 1) The excuse that the United States was adequately represented, as suggested by Kerry’s claim that critics were “quibbling” because the U.S. ambassador attended. White House press secretary Josh Earnest eventually retreated on that one. 2) The claim that there were security concerns, which suggested the security measures taken to protect the French president, U.K. prime minister, and Israeli prime minister were somehow insufficient. Also note that the entire point of the march was to send a message to the world that leaders will not be intimidated by extremists who threaten to kill them. 3) Complete and total staff incompetence: “White House aides were so caught off guard by the march’s massive size and attention that they hadn’t even asked President Barack Obama if he wanted to go.”

The simplest explanation — and one that doesn’t contradict option 3 — is that President Barack Obama doesn’t want to put his personal stature and credibility on the line to support something like Charlie Hebdo. Since those awful attacks, we’ve witnessed a lot of allegedly intellectual leftists offer versions of “the attacks were terrible, but —” and then explaining why Hebdo was offensive, hate speech, and unnecessary provocation, foolish, etc., and imply that the magazine isn’t really worth defending and that the world would be a better place if these immature, impudent cartoonists would stop making fun of one of the world’s great religions.

There’s very little evidence to suggest that Obama disagrees with this progressive intellectual reaction, that while satire of Islam is theoretically legal, the consequences of enraging Muslims is too much trouble and risk to be worthwhile. We saw this in the response to Hebdo before, and the infamous YouTube video that the administration cited as a scapegoat for the Benghazi attacks. To a lot of progressives, while depicting Muhammad or mocking Islam shouldn’t be banned, it should be discouraged, and a presidential appearance at that rally and march would be too close to an official endorsement of the magazine and its contents.

As then–White House press secretary Jay Carney put it in 2012 while discussing the French magazine’s Muhammad cartoons:

We don’t question the right of something like this to be published; we just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it. And I think that that’s our view about the video that was produced in this country and has caused so much offense in the Muslim world.

Obama would never support going into a magazine and shooting people. But he’s afamously thin-skinned public figure who thinks he has a particularly powerful connection and understanding of the Muslim world because he spent some childhood years in Indonesia. He is so mono-focused on “de-escalating” tensions with the Muslim world that he thinks about how he would advise ISIS. The last thing President Obama is going to do is take some sort of personal action that indicates a real show of solidarity with cartoonists who offend Muslims.

Reprisals Feared as Charlie Hebdo Publishes New Muhammad Cartoon

Continue reading the main storyVideo

Charlie Hebdo Editors Explain New Cover

 

The editors of the satirical newspaper discussed the cover of the first issue after the attack on their offices, which depicts the Prophet Muhammad crying.

 

PARIS — Muslim groups and scholars in France and elsewhere voiced concerns on Tuesday that a satirical newspaper’s first cover since the attack on its journalists last week could ignite dangerous new passions in a debate pitting free speech against religious doctrine.

One of Egypt’s highest Islamic authorities, Dar al-Ifta, warned that the new cartoon, depicting the Prophet Muhammad, would exacerbate tensions between the secular West and observant Muslims. Death threats circulated online against the surviving staff members of the newspaper, Charlie Hebdo.

The offices of the newspaper were attacked last Wednesday in apparent retaliation for routinely publishing cartoons lampooning Muhammad. Some interpretations of Islamic law forbid images of the prophet.

Survivors of the attack had said they would proceed with their next issue and again depict Muhammad.

The cover of the new issue — already widely seen on the Internet — will be published on Wednesday in a print run of up to three million copies, compared with a typical print run of 60,000 copies. It shows Muhammad displaying the slogan that has become the symbol of resistance to Islamic militants: “Je Suis Charlie,” or, “I am Charlie.” He is shown weeping under a headline that reads: “All is forgiven.”

Muslim organizations in France issued a joint statement on Tuesday expressing concern about the “numerous anti-Muslim acts observed these days,” and calling on the authorities to guarantee the security of mosques.

The statement on Tuesday also commented on the new Charlie Hebdo cover, urging French Muslims to “remain calm and avoid emotive or incongruous reactions incompatible with dignity,” while “respecting freedom of opinion.”

In Egypt, Dar al-Ifta, which issues religious edicts, called on the French government to “announce their rejection of this racist act that attempts to raise religious strife and sectarianism, and deepen hatred.”

The blunt admonition, from a pillar of the mainstream Sunni Muslim establishment in the Arab world’s most populous country, recalled the pronouncements of Egyptian clerics in 2006 when cartoons depicting Muhammad were published in European newspapers, prompting a massive outpouring of protest — some of it violent — in many parts of he Muslim

Read why Obama and White house deliberately snubbed the Paris Rally

Obama’s Paris snub wasn’t an oversight

BY BYRON YORK | JANUARY 12, 2015 | 4:33 PM

The uproar over whether President Obama or another top administration official should have attended the massive unity rally in Paris has obscured an important point about the White House’s reaction to the latest terror attacks in Europe. The administration no-shows were not a failure of optics, or a diplomatic misstep, but were instead the logical result of the president’s years-long effort to downgrade the threat of terrorism and move on to other things.

“The analogy we use around [the White House] sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama told the New Yorker magazine in a January 2014 interview. The president was referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria but was also suggesting in a broader sense that a number of post-9/11 offshoot terrorist organizations aren’t worth the sort of war-footing mobilization that took place in the George W. Bush years.

Seven months earlier, Obama made an extended case for downgrading the terrorist threat in a May 23, 2013, speech at the National Defense University. He mentioned al Qaeda 24 times in the speech and argued that America’s victory over the organization behind 9/11 was nearly complete.

“Today, the core of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on a path to defeat,” Obama said. “Their remaining operatives spend more time thinking about their own safety than plotting against us.”

Yes, there will be threats in the future, Obama acknowledged, but they will be smaller. “We must take these threats seriously, and do all that we can to confront them. But as we shape our response, we have to recognize that the scale of this threat closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11.”

The implication of Obama’s speech was that Americans must live with a certain level of threat, as long as it does not approach 9/11 levels, and otherwise just move on.

Meanwhile, the White House from nearly the beginning of the president’s term made clear it did not want to refer to Islamic jihad as either Islamic or jihad. In 2010, a New York Times article noted that top White House officials “have made a point of disassociating Islam from terrorism in public comments, using the phrase ‘violent extremism’ in place of words like ‘jihad’ and ‘Islamic terrorism.’ ”

Obama’s supporters, weary of Bush’s focus on terrorism and eager to tackle a variety of domestic issues, cheered the president on. After the Defense University speech, the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson wrote, “President Obama wisely avoided the phrase ‘mission accomplished’ in his major speech last week about the ‘war on terror,’ but columnists aren’t obliged to be so circumspect: It is time to declare victory and get on with our lives.”

Fast forward to January 2015. The attackers at Charlie Hebdo magazine and the Hyper Cacher kosher market in Paris would undoubtedly qualify as JV-level terrorists under Obama’s new classification. But their work was enough to shock Europe and motivate more than a million people to gather behind dozens of heads of state at the unity rally Sunday.

Is that what getting on with our lives means?

The White House reaction to the attacks in France, going back to the first reports of shots fired at Charlie Hebdo, has been noticeably subdued. Obama had scheduled last week as a time to roll out some upcoming State of the Union proposals in trips to Michigan, Arizona and Tennessee. When world events intruded, the president stubbornly stuck to his schedule, mentioning France only briefly before introducing his plan for free tuition at community colleges.

Then came the unity march. No, it was not essential that Obama himself attend. But there’s no doubt he should have sent Vice President Joe Biden — why is there a VP, if not to go to big foreign events? — or at least Secretary of State John Kerry.

Even as the march wound its way through Paris, the White House sent out yet another sign of its unseriousness. On Sunday morning, the press office announced the president will host a “Summit on Countering Violent Extremism” on Feb. 18. The plan is to bring together “social service providers, including education administrators, mental health professionals, and religious leaders, with law enforcement agencies to address violent extremism as part of the broader mandate of community safety and crime prevention.”

As the world watched images of black-clad, AK-47-wielding terrorists killing Parisians, Obama proposed to meet the threat with social service providers.

So when the president chose not to attend the Paris march, nor to send the Vice President or Secretary of State, the problem wasn’t a tin-ear sense of public relations. It was Obama’s actual attitude toward the terror threat facing not only Europe but the United States. We’ve dealt with the big stuff, Obama has declared, now let’s move on.

It sounded good — until the bullets started flying.

Obama, Biden, Holder, top U.S. officials no-shows at Paris unity rally

Obama, Biden, Holder, top U.S. officials no-shows at Paris unity rally

FRANCE-ATTACKS-CHARLIE-HEBDO-DEMO  SD285

The U.S. attorney general, in Paris for a terrorism summit with French President Francois Hollande, did not join world leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for the march and rally that drew a million people days after 12 were shot at satirical paper Charlie Hebdo. Others such as Obama and Vice President Biden were also not in attendance.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Published: Sunday, January 11, 2015, 2:18 PM
U.S. Attorney Gen. Eric Holder (l.) was in France, but did not go to the the massive unity rally in Paris on Sunday.

OLIVIER HOSLET/EPA

More than 40 European leaders and almost every French official turned out forthe massive unity rally in Paris Sunday — but there was no sign of the U.S.

Neither President Obama or Vice President Biden made the trip to Paris, although dozens of other world leaders and officials put ceremony aside and jostled for space amid the crowds in a stirring show of support against terrorism.

The U.S. did send Attorney General Eric Holder to attend a pre-march terrorism summit convened by French President Francois Hollande.

President  Obama was apparently not in France, though his public schedule was empty the day of the massive gathering.
President Obama was apparently not in France, though his public schedule was empty the day of the massive gathering.

KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS

Holder, 63, joined with Hollande in condemning the recent Paris attacks in the strongest possible terms and said the U.S. will hold another terrorism summit in D.C. in February.

But his support apparently stopped there — because he wasn’t seen at the emotional “Je Suis Charlie” rally afterward that attracted 1.3 million. Across France, nearly 4 million people turned out in similar demonstrations.

As chanting spectators filled the Place de la Republique, the only U.S. dignitary present was the U.S. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley.

Vice President Joe Biden also did not attend the rally.
Vice President Joe Biden also did not attend the rally.

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

“Attorney General Holder — a Cabinet level official — is representing the United States at the security meetings in Paris today. He is joined by the DHS Deputy Secretary (Alejandro) Mayorkas. The United States is represented at the march by Ambassador Hartley,” a senior Obama administration official said.

The lack of U.S. leadership was glaringly apparent as Hollande linked arms with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, and dozens of other world leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

But an administration official said Obama had made his support known in other ways.

“As far as public signs of French solidarity from the U.S. — don’t forget several public statements from the President, his call to Hollande and a condolence stop to the French embassy,” the official said.

From left:  Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, France's President Francois Hollande and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel.PHILIPPE WOJAZER/APFrom left: Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, France’s President Francois Hollande and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.

It’s not clear why America’s President didn’t attend. Obama’s public schedule was empty Sunday, as was that of Vice President Joe Biden, one of the president’s most frequent surrogates.

Secretary of State John Kerry — a natural stand-in given his love of all things French and fluency in the language — was in India on Sunday, meeting with the Prime Minister to set the stage for President Obama’s visit there in a few weeks.

Islamophobia Is a Myth

Islamophobia Is a Myth

Why do liberals fear the working class and ignore anti-Semitic murder? Because they are bigots.

The British press has never seemed as out of touch as it is today. All our broadsheet papers are packed with pleas to the people of France, and other European populations, not to turn into Muslim-killing nutjobs in response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre. The Guardian frets over “Islamophobes seizing this atrocity to advance their hatred.” The Financial Times is in a spin about “Islamophobic extremists” using the massacre to “[challenge] the tolerance on which Europe has built its peace.” One British hack says we should all “fear the coming Islamophobic backlash.” And what actually happened in France as these dead-tree pieces about a possible Islamophobic backlash made their appearance? Jews were assaulted. And killed. “Don’t attack Muslims,” lectures the press as Jews are attacked.

Across Europe, among the right-thinking sections of society, among the political classes, the response to the massacre of the cartoonists and satirists has been the same: to panic about how Them, the native masses, especially the more right-wing sections of the French population, might respond to it. The blood on the floor of theCharlie Hebdo offices was still wet when brow-furrowed observers started saying: “Oh no, the Muslims! Will they be attacked?” It’s the same after every terrorist attack: from 9/11 to 7/7 in London to last year’s Sydney siege to Paris today: Liberals’ instant, almost Pavlovian response to Islamist terror attacks in the West is to worry about a violent uprising of the ill-educated against Muslims. The uprising never comes, but that doesn’t halt their fantasy fears. What’s it all about?

 The unreal, unhinged nature of this elite preemption of mass Muslim-bashing has been thrown into sharp relief by the foul events in Paris over the past few days. The massacre of journalists by Islamists was followed today by a violent hostage-taking in a kosher shop in Port de Vincennes by a gunman reported to be part of the same small cell of Islamic extremists from which the Kouachi brothers, who shot up Charlie Hebdo, sprung. Why invade a kosher shop? Well, it’s very likely there will be Jews in there, and if there’s one thing Islamists love more than executing those who insult their prophet, it’s attacking Jews. The kosher-shop siege and hostage situation is now over, and while the information coming out of France is sketchy, Reuters says four of the hostages — who may well have been Jews — are dead. So the gulf between the fears of he multicultural elite and the reality on the ground in France is colossal. “Leave Muslims alone,” they plead as the news wires report that four kosher shoppers have been killed. Many European observers seem far more exercised about the possibility of Islamophobic violence than they are by the reality of anti-Semitic violence.

It’s not surprising that there is such a gaping chasm between liberals’ hand-wringing over a potential violent and sweeping Islamophobic backlash and what is actually happening in France and elsewhere. Because the idea of Islamophobia has always been informed more by the swirling fantasies and panics of the political and media elites than by any real, measurable levels of hate or violence against Muslims. Yes, some dud grenades were thrown into the courtyard of a mosque in the French city of Le Mans after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, though mercifully they didn’t explode and no one was around to be injured. That is a foul act and the person or people who did it should be found and punished. But fears about widespread anti-Muslim violence, about the spread of toxic Islamophobic hate through the streets and in workplaces, are unfounded, because their driving force is the anti-natives, anti-pleb prejudices of the elites rather than any hard evidence of extreme hostility to Muslims.

Liberals’ angst about violent anti-Muslim uprisings always proves to be empty. So after the 7/7 Tube and bus attacks in London, there were wide and wild warnings of a violent backlash against the Muslims of Britain. Journalists predicted bloodshed. National Health Service workers were encouraged to keep their eyes peeled — ie. spy — for any signs of anti-Muslim agitation among their patients. But there was no spike in anti-Muslim crimes. According to Crown Prosecution Service crime figures for 2005–06, covering the months after 7/7, only 43 religiously aggravated crimes were prosecuted in that period, and only 18 of those crimes were against Muslims. “The fears of a [post-7/7] rise in offences appears to be unfounded,” the Director of Public Prosecutions later admitted.

After the Boston Marathon bombings there were loads of media panic about the“ignorance and prejudice [that arise] in the aftermath of a terrorist attack” and concern that Muslims in America would get it in the neck. But Muslims have not been assaulted en masse by stupid Americans in recent years, including in the wake of 9/11. According to federal crime stats, in 2009 there were 107 anti-Muslim hate crimes; in 2010, there were 160. In a country of 330 million people, this is exceptionally low. After the Lindt café siege in Sydney at the end of last year, there was once again heated fear on the pages of the broadsheets about dumb Aussies going crazy and attacking brown people. Nothing happened. No mob emerged. Muslims were not attacked.

Islamophobia is a myth. Sure, some folks in Europe and elsewhere no doubt dislike Muslims, just as other losers hate the Irish or blacks or women. But the idea that there is a climate of Islamophobia, a culture of hot-headed, violent-minded hatred for Muslims that could be awoken and unleashed by the next terror attack, is an invention. Islamophobia is a code word for mainstream European elites’ fear of their own populations, of their native hordes, whom they imagine to be unenlightened, prejudiced, easily led by the tabloid media, and given to outbursts of spite and violence. The thing that keeps the Islamophobia panic alive is not actual violence against Muslims but the right-on politicos’ ill-founded yet deeply held view of ordinary Europeans, especially those of a working-class variety, as racist and stupid. This is the terrible irony of the Islamophobia panic: The fearers of anti-Muslim violence claim to be challenging prejudice but actually they reveal their own prejudices, their distrust of and disdain for those who come from the other side of the tracks, read different newspapers, hold different beliefs, live different lives. They accuse stupid white communities of viewing Muslims as an indistinguishable mob who threaten the fabric of European society, which is exactly what they think of stupid white communities.

– Brendan O’Neill is editor of the London-based online magazine Spiked and a founder of Free Speech Now! Read his free-speech manifesto here.

Don’t Blame the Charlie Hebdo Mass Murder on ‘Extremism’

Don’t Blame the Charlie Hebdo Mass Murder on ‘Extremism’
Intolerance for free expression is rooted in classical Islam.

Image from video footage of the attackers.
Andrew C. McCarthy

There are now at least twelve confirmed dead in the terrorist attack carried out by at least three jihadist gunmen against the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo. While it practices equal-opportunity satire, lampooning Islam has proved lethal for the magazine, just as it has for so many others who dare to exercise the bedrock Western liberty of free expression.Charlie Hebdo’s offices were firebombed in 2011 over a caricature of Mohammed that depicted him saying, “100 lashes if you don’t die from laughter.”

The cartoon was obviously referring to sharia, Islam’s legal code and totalitarian framework. Don’t take my word for it. Just flip through Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, the authoritative sharia manual. You will find a number of offenses for which flagellation is the prescribed penalty.

To take just a couple of examples, “the penalty for drinking is to be scourged forty stripes,” although the caliph (the Islamic ruler) is authorized to increase this to 80 stripes — although he must pay an indemnity if death results. . . . Pretty moderate, right? (Reliance, p. 617, sec. o16.3.) For adultery “the penalty consists of being scourged one hundred stripes” — and that’s if the adulterer “is not considered to have the capacity to remain chaste” (e.g., if she “is prepubescent at the time of marital intercourse).” “If the offender is someone with the capacity to remain chaste, then he or she is stoned to death.” (Reliance, p. 610, sec. o12.2.)

What Charlie Hebdo has satirized is a savage reality. That reality was visited on the magazine again today. As night follows day, progressive governments in Europe and the United States are already straining to pretend that this latest atrocity is the wanton work of “violent extremists,” utterly unrelated to Islam. You are to believe, then, that François Hollande, Barack Obama, David Cameron, and their cohort of non-Muslim Islamophiles are better versed in sharia than the Muslim scholars who’ve dedicated their lives to its study and have endorsed such scholarly works asReliance.

Let me repeat what I have detailed here before: Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State did not make up sharia law. Islam did. We can keep our heads tucked snug in the sand, or we can recognize the source of the problem.

As I detailed in Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy, the literalist construction of sharia that Islamic supremacists seek to enforce is “literal” precisely because it comes from Islamic scripture, not from some purportedly “extremist” fabrication of Islam. Moreover, this “classical sharia” is enthusiastically endorsedin principle by several of the most influential institutions in the Islamic Middle East, which explains why it is routinely put into practice when Islamists are given — or seize — the opportunity to rule over a territory.

Reliance is not some al-Qaeda or Islamic State pamphlet. It is a renowned explication of sharia’s provisions and their undeniable roots in Muslim scripture. In the English translation, before you get to chapter and verse, there are formal endorsements, including one from the International Institute of Islamic Thought — a U.S.-based Muslim Brotherhood think tank begun in the early Eighties (and to which American administrations of both parties have resorted as an exemplar of “moderation”). Perhaps more significantly, there is also an endorsement from the Islamic Research Academy at al Azhar University, the ancient seat of Sunni learning to which President Obama famously turned to co-sponsor his cloyingly deceptive 2009 speech on relations between Islam and the West.

In their endorsement, the al-Azhar scholars wrote:

We certify that the . . . translation corresponds to the Arabic original and conforms to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni Community. . . . There is no objection to printing it and circulating it. . . . May Allah give you success in serving Sacred Knowledge and the religion.

There could be no more coveted stamp of scholarly approval in Islam.

Charlie Hebdo, of course, is in the business of cartoon caricature for satirical purposes. That is a time-honored method of expression, political and otherwise, in the West. That is in stark contrast to how such expression is viewed by Islam. Here, as I summarized in my book Spring Fever – quoted verbatim and supported by citations — is what Reliance has to say about such visual art forms:

It is forbidden to make pictures of “animate life,” for doing so “imitates the creative act of Allah Most High”; “Whoever makes a picture, Allah shall torture him with it on the Day of Judgment until he can breathe life into it, and he will never be able to.” (Reliance w50.0 & ff.)

Nor is visual depiction alone in drawing sharia’s wrath. “Musical instruments of all types are unlawful.” As Reliance elaborates, singing is generally prohibited (for “song makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water does herbage”), and “on the Day of Resurrection Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress.” There is an exception, though: If unaccompanied by musical instruments, song and poetry drawn from Islamic scripture and encouraging obedience to Allah are permissible. Ironically, although music is generally forbidden, dancing is permissible “unless it is languid, like the movements of the effeminate.” (Reliance r40.0 &ff.)