End of an Era for the Muslim Brotherhood?

Death-toll-up-to-14-in-massive-Egypt-protests-Morsi-given-deadline-450x345By :

Reprinted from Al-Monitor.

The interim Egyptian government is threatening to ban the Muslim Brotherhood and place it on the terrorist organization list in Egypt. Blaming a defiant Brotherhood for the deadly confrontations, attacks on churches, police stations and government buildings, Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi proposed dissolving the group. The Brotherhood’s assets may be confiscated, operations prohibited and membership criminalized. This move could usher in mass arrests of members countrywide. If considered a terrorist organization, the Brotherhood will be excluded from the political process. How did we get to this point and what does this mean to hopes of returning to calm and an end to violence in Egypt.

Few people know that the Muslim Brotherhood organization had always been banned in Egypt since 1948. After several assassinations and bombings which took the lives of several prime ministers, judges and even disavowed members of the Brotherhood itself. The long list included Ahmed Maher, al-Nokrashy, al-Khazendar and Fayez Halawa. In 1954, the Brotherhood made an attempt on Gamal Abdel Nasser, then Egypt’s prime minister. Following that, many of theBrotherhood leaders were arrested and received long prison and even death sentences. In the 1970s, Sadat allowed the Brotherhood and Islamists to regroup in an effort to use them against Nasserists and socialists as the group had been used in the 1940s, against communism. It was ironic for Sadat to be killed at the hands of Islamists in 1981. Most Islamist terrorist organizations that  exist in the world today are spin-offs of the Brotherhood which was never legally resurrected since the 1950s. In Egypt, the Brotherhood started again to operate as a clandestine organization owning businesses, manipulating unions and syndicates, operating charities often linked to mosques and also having its own militias. Money poured from local and overseas operations which the Brotherhood had in 80 countries. Despite having no legal political party, the Brotherhoodwas allowed by the Mubarak regime to field candidates in parliamentary elections since 1983. In 2005, it managed to get around 20% of the seats.

After the January 2011 revolution, the Muslim Brotherhood was allowed to form a political party, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), without being asked to review the legal, or rather illegal, status of its clandestine cancerous operations. Combining a legal party with a secret international organization, meant that the Brotherhood could have the best of both worlds and enjoy tremendous financial and organizational advantages over its political competitors. Utilizing the Brotherhood’s strong organizational capabilities and vast financial resources, FJP managed to get 46% of the parliament’s seats and their presidential candidate, Mohammed Morsi, earned 25% of the votes in the first round and 52% in the run off. Here is where things get a little weird.

Even after the Brotherhood reached power, it made no effort to legalize its operations, or even separate the FJP from the Brotherhood. The spiritual leader of the Brotherhood, which had no legal standing as a political party, or any legal entity for that matter, continued to set the political directions of the country, meet with foreign leaders, direct the parliament and tellMorsi what to do. Gradually, Egyptians realized that the illegal Muslim Brotherhood organization was the real ruler of Egypt while Morsi was no more than a façade, a mere representative of that organization in the presidency. Protests would often chant for the downfall of the “Morshed”, Mohamed Badei, the supreme guide of the Brothers, now in custody under investigation for his alleged role in ordering the killing of protesters, and not Morsi, whom as they came to discover was a puppet figure at best. In March 2013, after tremendous public pressure, the Brothers filed to register a charity under the name “The Muslim Brotherhood.” But on the books, none of the businesses owned by the Brotherhood appeared on record, since it is illegal in Egypt for political parties or NGOs to own businesses.

Can the government dissolve the Brotherhood? In practical terms, the government cannot dissolve the Brotherhood’s real organization, as opposed to the façade FJP or the newly-formed dummy NGO, because the real organization has no legal status, books or registration of any kind. All of its assets are owned and/or registered in someone else’s name, usually that of a trusted member. Like mafia organizations, it is usually difficult to track what a secret underground organization does or holds. All the government can do is investigate these businesses and associations and review their books. The government can, however, dissolve FJPif evidence suggested it engaged in violence or illegal activities.

Read more at Front Page

As Egypt erupts, U.S. dithers

egypt-unrestBy :
Egypt’s security forces have now moved decisively to eliminate Muslim Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo, producing the bloodshed foretold by daily confrontations between the Brotherhood’s supporters and opponents. Six weeks after the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, Egypt remains deeply and violently divided — and American policy is confused and irresolute.

While confusion and irresolution are nothing new to the Obama administration, this is not the place to dither or make strategic mistakes. We must define precisely what U.S. priorities are in light of Egypt’s strategic significance, and given the potential for protracted hostilities there between armed combatants.

By identifying our interests, we can concentrate our energies and resources on advancing them in practical ways, avoiding an essentially academic debate over issues we can’t significantly influence. Because our resources are not unlimited, we have to focus our political time and attention, as well as our more tangible assets and capabilities, where they can do the most good.

First, Egypt’s continued adherence to the 1979 Camp David peace agreements with Israel is essential. Anwar Sadat’s courageous decision to negotiate directly with Israel was critical not only to establishing this foundation of America’s overall Middle East policy, but also evidenced Egypt’s momentous shift, after the death of longtime dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser, away from the Soviet Union. Sadat’s sea change in allegiance provided an opening the U.S. used to undermine Moscow’s extensive regional influence, and was an early sign that the Cold War was entirely winnable.

In 1981, the Muslim Brotherhood assassinated Sadat for his troubles, reflecting that then, as now, the Brotherhood has only contempt for Egyptian leaders who seek peace with Israel. If Morsi had enjoyed only a slightly longer tenure in office, he would likely have abrogated Camp David entirely. The treaty’s demise would have even further reduced U.S. influence throughout the Middle East, renewed opportunities for anti-American, anti-Israeli radicals and increased threats to friendly Arab regimes prepared to live with Egyptian (and Jordanian) peace treaties with Israel. Make no mistake, if Washington takes Camp David for granted, it will disappear, and quickly.

Second, the economically vital Suez Canal runs through Egypt. If passage is blocked, as it was in the 1956 Suez Canal crisis, or for years after the 1967 Six-Day War, Europe and America will suffer, and so will Egypt. Already, 21/2 years of domestic instability have made the Sinai Peninsula a haven for terrorists and devastated Egypt’s economy, with both foreign investment and tourism revenues plummeting.

Until political stability is restored, the nation’s Gross Domestic Product will continue eroding, impoverishing the entire society and further straining already weakened social cohesion.

What Washington needs to do is clear. U.S. policy should be to support only Egyptian leaders unambiguously committed to Camp David, both to its terms and to its broader regional significance. And we must assist those who place highest priority on repairing Egypt’s badly weakened economy and securing its international economic obligations, particularly safe transit through the Suez Canal.

Both Egypt’s military and its “pro-democracy” elements support Camp David, while the Brotherhood does not. There is, accordingly, no reason to advocate including the Brotherhood into a “coalition” form of government or, frankly, to welcome them into the political process at all.

Read more at New York Daily News

 

Mubarak’s Muslim Brotherhood Prophecy

mubarakGatestone Institute, by Raymond Ibrahim:

Violence must always be presented as a product of political oppression, and Islamists as the misunderstood victims.

In a video of Hosni Mubarak when he was still Egypt’s president, the strategies of which he accuses the Muslim Brotherhood have come to pass. What follows are Mubarak’s words from a conference in Egypt (date unknown; author’s translation):

So they [Brotherhood and affiliates] took advantage of the economic situation by handing out money — to one man, 100 Egyptian pounds, or about $30 dollars, [saying,] “Here take this bag of glycerin and throw it here,” or do this or that — to create a state of instability in Egypt. And these groups — do not ever believe that they want democracy or anything like that. They are exploiting democracy to eliminate democracy. And if they ever do govern, it will be an ugly dictatorship. …. Once a foreigner told me, “Well, if that’s the case, why don’t you let them form parties?” I told him, “They’d attack each other.” He said, “So let them attack each other.” I came to understand that by “attack each other” he thought I meant through dialogue. For years, we have been trying to dialogue with them, and we still are. If the dialogue is limited to words, fine. But when the dialogue goes from words to bullets and bombs… [Mubarak shakes his head, and then provides anecdotes of the Egyptian police and security detail being killed by Brotherhood and affiliates. These anecdotes include one about how 104 policemen were killed in 1981, and one about how one officer was shot by MB while trying to save a boy’s life.] The point is, we do not like bloodshed, neither our soldiers’ nor our officers’. But when I see that you are firing at me, trying to kill me—well, I have to defend myself. Then the international news agencies go to these [Islamist] groups for information, and they tell them, “They are killing us, they are killing us!” Well, don’t you [news agencies] see them killing the police?! I swear to you, not one of the police wants to kill them—not one of us. Then they say, “So, Mr. President, you gave orders to the police to open fire indiscriminately?”—I cannot give such an order, at all. It contradicts the law. I could at one point be judged [for it].

Consider Mubarak’s exchange with “a foreigner,” who interpreted Mubarak’s “they’d attack each other” in apparently Western political terms of “dialogue.” The habit of projecting Western approaches onto Islamists—who ironically represent the antithesis of the West—is one of the chief problems causing the West to be blind to reality, one which insists that violence must always be presented as a product of political oppression, and Islamists as the misunderstood victims.

Whatever one thinks of Hosni Mubarak, the following three points he makes have proven true:

  1. Mubarak: “And these groups—don’t ever believe that they want democracy or anything like that. They are exploiting democracy to eliminate democracy. And if they ever do govern, it will be an ugly dictatorship.” Quite so. While paying lip service to democracy, once the Brotherhood came into power under former President Muhammad Morsi, they became openly tyrannical: Morsi gave himself unprecedented powers for an Egyptian president, appointed Brotherhood members to all important governmental posts, “Brotherhoodizing” Egypt (as Egyptians called it), and quickly pushed through a Sharia-heavy constitution. Under Morsi’s one year of rule, many more Christians were attacked, arrested, and imprisoned for “blasphemy” than under Mubarak’s thirty years.
  2. Mubarak: “Then the international news agencies go to these groups [Brotherhood] for information, and they tell them, ‘they are killing us, they are killing us!’ Well, don’t you [new agencies] see them killing the police?!” Now that the Brotherhood has been ousted and is promoting terrorism in Egypt—especially against its Christian minority—trying to push the nation into an all-out civil war, they are in fact feeding the international media the old lie that they are innocent, peaceful victims in an attempt to garner Western sympathy.
  3. Mubarak: “They took advantage of the economic situation by handing out money.” Funded by rich Wahhabi states, the Islamist organizations bought their way into Egyptian society and power. Prior to elections, they paid—bribed—Egyptians to vote for them; and after their ousting, they are paying people—along with beatings and forms of coercion—to stay with them in Rad’a al-Adawiya Square, and provide them with numbers, seemingly for practical and propagandistic purposes.

In Egypt, however, where the Muslim Brotherhood was born, one soon learns that, when “dialogue” does not go the way Islamists want it to, it’s back to terrorism. This requires a more realistic approach, or, in the words of Mubarak, a man who, like his predecessors, especially Gamal Abdel Nasser, is intimately acquainted with the Brotherhood: “When I see that you are firing at me, trying to kill me—well, I have to defend myself.”

Raymond Ibrahim is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War in Christians (published by Regnery in cooperation with Gatestone Institute, April 2013). He is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum.

CAIR amplifies its message on website promoting Islamist ideologue Sayyid Qutb

Center For Security Policy, By Adam Savit:

This week, CAIR’s (Council on American-Islamic Relations) “American Muslim News Brief”– a publication distributed by mass-email– linked to a piece entitled “Challenges Test American Muslims” at OnIslam.net.  The piece is full of standard CAIR boilerplate, quoting Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper on supposed “Islamophobia machines” and the “virtual cottage industry of Islam-bashers and fearmongers.”

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cair_qutb

However, lurking alongside the “Islamophobia” story on the front page was an article that might raise more eyebrows: “End of a Homosexual Town (True Story).”  It is a theological commentary on the Islamic version of the story of Lot, even featuring a detailed consideration of bodily fluids.

What the casual reader may not notice is that the article is an antique.  The author is Sayyid Qutb, billed benignly as “Muslim Intellectual – Egypt.”  OnIslam.net does not mention that Qutb was a leading member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, author of the seminal Islamist workMilestones, a key intellectual inspiration for al-Qaeda, and was eventually put to death in 1966 for plotting the assassination of secular Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser.

OnIslam.net seems to have great affection for the inflammatory works of Qutb.  In fact it has published more than 100 of his treatises going back to 2006.

One would think that CAIR– at pains to disassociate itself from anything Muslim Brotherhood-related since it was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation/Hamas terrorist funding trial– would be more careful about who it goes to for positive press.

CAIR’s message amplification via Islamist intermediaries is not limited to Sunni Muslim Brotherhood media outlets.  CAIR has also been known to cross the sectarian divide in utilizing Shi’a Islamist television.  In 2011, I documented for Breitbart’s Big Peace that 22 of the 30 videos on CAIR’s YouTube channel that featured CAIR talking heads were produced by PressTV, the state-owned English language propaganda arm of the Iranian government.

CAIR’s currency relies on a slick media image that features style over substance, and slippery platitudes over truthful answers.  The more the American public becomes educated about theirbackground associations, the less credibility their surface messages will hold.

Arab Rage, Unrest and Anti-Americanism Is Nothing New

egyptian-protesters-stones-gesture2By :

The delivery of tanks and F-16s to Egypt, originally promised to the Mubarak regime, but now forwarded to Morsi and the Brotherhood, is the latest phase of U.S. engagement with a Middle East in turmoil. Though all kinds of nasty and brutal individuals are still in charge, and though the thrust of the Arab world remains anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian and anti-American, the official line of our prescient government is that all this is an extension of the “Arab Spring” and, despite setbacks, is tending towards greater democracy in the Arab world.

We are, under Obama, supposedly the good guys because we generally support “democracy.”  What appears to be developments that are cancerous and threaten world peace, should be seen as just another Excedrin headache for our sincere, hardworking, compassionate, and all-knowing leaders.  After all, our President has an intuitive sense of the Muslim mind.  He can reconcile us with those who appear to be irreconcilable.

Stories are written as though the events in the Middle East, the turmoil and barbaric upheavals, were something new.   When the dust settles, we shall presumably see a more benign and tractable community of interests in the Arab world.  If anti-Americanism and anti-infidel expressions are reflected in Algeria, Libya, Syria, Mali, or Egypt, they are reflective of a new more harmonious relationship with us reflective of the influence of our balanced and giving President.

In fact, we see a deep-seated anti-American and anti-Western “rage” going back to Gamal Abdel Nasser with the closing of the Suez Canal and alignment with the Communist bloc.  Following Nasser, the assassination of his successor, President Sadat of Egypt, was clearly a rejection of the American-brokered Camp David Accords that led to the Egyptian recognition of the State of Israel.  There is a direct line from the deposing of Pres. Mubarak to that long-ago assassination. Therefore, Mubarak’s deposing was not pro-democratic, but anti-American at its heart.

Read more at Front Page

The Truth About the Wave of Anti-American Demonstrations

by Barry Rubin:

Most of the debate over the current wave of anti-American demonstrations in the Middle East is, to be frank, pretty silly. It disregards both historical experience and basic political sense. Consider the following points:

–There have been several such waves before, notably over Salman Rushdie, the 2001 attacks, and the “Danish cartoons.” Leaving some death and destruction in their wake, these waves of demonstrations then fade away, bringing no significant political change. No amount of apology and groveling had any perceivable positive effect. This one will also end soon, but the battle for political power in each country continues, as does the decline in American credibility and influence.

–The causes of these demonstrations are not some act of Islamophobia, but the agitation of revolutionary Islamist groups that work systematically every day to build anti-Americanism, hatred of the West, and the loathing of Jews and Christians.

–As long as free speech exists in the West, there will always be events that provide pretexts for outrage. Radical Islamists will make sure that even the most obscure of events can be used. It has also been shown how things that happen in the West are deliberately distorted. For example, Danish Islamic clerics added cartoons that had nothing to do with those published by a Danish magazine to intensify anger and hatred.

–The task is not to stamp out “Islamophobia” any more than Soviet Communist or German Nazi propaganda could be dealt with by proving the West didn’t hate workers or did hate Jews. The problem is not some cultural misunderstanding or Western fault, but an ideology seeking to seize state power. That ideology and its many sympathizers and even a lot of its local enemies know that building hysterical hatred against America and the West, Christians, Jews, and Israel benefit them.

This is nothing new. I’ve seen the documents in which the U.S. government decided not to publicize the Nazi ties of some Middle Eastern leaders including Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. And the CIA decided (in 1950) not to pursue the Palestinian Arab leader Amin al-Husaini for war crimes, though he had been a close collaborator of Hitler. Why? Because it was concluded that such information might make them more, not less, popular.

–Examining the current developments, the precise situation in every country is different:

In Libya, the radical Islamists want to overturn a U.S.-sponsored government that will not give them a full Sharia state and which they see as a sell-out. The government doesn’t like the anti-American attacks, but its armed forces and administration are heavily infiltrated by radical Islamists, so it is not a dependable protector for the very Americans who put it in power.

In Tunisia, a country that is relatively secular by Arabic-speaking standards, the most extreme Islamists are especially frustrated. They are strong enough to cause trouble but not strong enough to pose a serious challenge to power. The Muslim Brotherhood controls the government but is in a serious coalition with moderates and is being cautious as a result. This makes the radicals all the more provocative. And since the Brotherhood, in part, sympathizes with them, it will not fully crack down.

In Egypt, the radicals are a front for the Muslim Brotherhood government. The Obama administration has taught them that radicalism and anti-Americanism pay, or at least cost nothing. The Brotherhood regime would like to figure out a way to prove it hates the United States without any cost. Now it knows how to do so. Let the radicals go into the embassy with no interference by the security forces, and the Obama administration will still give it $1.6 billion (including security assistance to an army now controlled by the Brotherhood!), help it buy two German submarines, plan to cancel $1 billion in debt, and make its president an honored guest at the White House. Since what the radicals do doesn’t injure the regime’s interest, it will let them do what they want. The Brotherhood will even join in the demonstrations. There’s nothing to lose.

In other places the goal is to build the revolutionary Islamist movement. And when everyone forgets about this silly little video there will be more pretexts: American support for governments including those of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Israel; anniversaries of past events; terrorists being held in prison; politicized Muslim religious festivities.

–The very numerous Islamists and lots of mainstream Muslim clerics and intellectuals stir up hatred of the West every day even when you aren’t watching. You see the demonstrations outside the embassies but you do not see the lessons in the classrooms, the sermons in the mosques, the articles on the websites, and all of the myriad ways that hatred is spread and radicalization carried out. And virtually no one dares dissent — or they would be quickly shouted down and threatened with death — except in the little ghetto enclaves of liberals and in the few more balanced newspapers and less radical television stations.

There is no end to their list of grievances. You can’t deny them an opportunity to make anti-Western, anti-American, and anti-Christian propaganda because they will find one or invent one. You cannot appease someone who is totally determined never to be appeased and who prefers to advance step by step to total power, the fundamental transformation of their societies, the destruction of Israel, and the expulsion of the United States and all of its interests in the area stretching from Morocco through Indonesia

And as the Westerners waste time, ink, and conscience on “What did we do wrong?” and “Why do they hate us?” and “How can we prove we really love Muslims?” the radicals go on arming and organizing. The ultimate irony is that even if America gives them guns (Libya, Syria) and money (Egypt, Pakistan), or intervenes diplomatically on their behalf (Gaza Strip), or proclaims them the absolute best of buddies (Turkey), this will make not one iota of difference.

Read more at PJMedia

 

 

Tariq Ramadan and the Islamization of Europe

By Jacob Thomas/June Engdahl:

…Ramadan and other serious Islamic scholars, enjoying the benefits of that heritage, are offering Islam as an alternative to the West’s loss of faith and excess worldliness. Western leaders, in the name of political correctness, denigrate their own honorable traditions — both religious and secular. Sensitivity to its past mistakes lingers even after they have been remedied. The many past and present benefits the West has brought to mankind are ignored. Tolerance has lost its true meaning of allowing for all ideas to get an airing. It has been replaced with a definition of tolerance that allows only for ideas that are currently politically correct. How convenient for Tariq Ramadan’s purposes is such a society so guilt-ridden and infected with political correctness that it often stands wide-eyed and accepting of the alternative, absolutist faith that is Islam.

It is well known that political correctness is pervasive on both sides of the Atlantic in all aspects of society. The liberal intelligentsia in government, academia and the professions has determined what kind of discourse is reasonable and appropriate and what is not. They are becoming ever more self-consciously cautious in all they say about Islam and what they will tolerate others saying about it. The same self-censorious attitude prevails in much of the Western mainline media. Fear of being charged with Islamophobia by the reigning principalities and powers is stronger than the love of truth.

But there are still many who do not abide by the strictures of political correctness. Thanks to the Internet, many in the closed world of the Islamic Ummah can read online in their native Arabic, the works of secular reformist thinkers. Topics of great interest are discussed with utter frankness, unrestrained from the usual governmental controls that suffocate the freedom of the conventional print press.

An article I recently found in Al-Awan[1] which was actually written just over three years ago (26 August 2009) is a good example of positive trends from secular Arab intellectuals. The writer is a member of “The Secular Center for the Study of Islamics,” and his topic was the role of Tariq Ramadan, in “The Islamization of Europe.” He has very perceptive things to say about this very influential shaper of the West’s understanding of Islam. They are still pertinent today.

Before I present his remarks, and make some reflections on them, a little background on Tariq Ramadan is in order for those not yet familiar with his Islamic pedigree.

He is a direct descendent of Hassan al-Banna, whose legacy is unparalleled in the modern history of Islam.[2] Al-Banna may be regarded as the father of Political Islam. Some of his followers over the years engaged in assassinations of prominent Egyptian leaders.

Two years after Colonel Gamal abdul-Nasser toppled the monarchy in July, 1952; the Muslim Brotherhood attempted his assassination as he was delivering a speech in Alexandria, in October, 1954. It was foiled and the organization was banned, and many of its members were given long prison sentences. Others managed to flee to Europe and America, where they continued their subversive activities in the promotion of their radical agenda.

One of those young members of the banned organization, Said Ramadan (pronouncedSa’eed) who found refuge in West Germany, was a son-in-law of Hassan al-Banna. Eventually, Said settled in Switzerland, where his son Tariq was born! The role of Said in the “importation” of radical Islam to Europe after the Second World War is detailed in a fascinating book, “A Mosque in Munich,” by the investigative journalist and author, Ian Johnson. A review of the book, “Will Islamic infiltration of Europe Succeed in Transforming it into the House of Islam?[3] was posted on this website and may be accessed on the link mentioned in the endnote.

After settling in Switzerland, Said Ramadan continued his activities as a shrewd propagandist for Islam. With an evident seriousness of purpose, he named his son Tariq after the North African Muslim leader Tariq ibn Ziyad, who led his armies in the crossing of the narrow strait between Africa and Europe, and began the conquest of Spain in 710 A.D. The strait was named Gibraltar, the westernized term for Jabal Tariq, i.e.Tariq’s Mountain. Thus Islam gained a foothold in southwestern Europe which lasted until 1492!

Tariq Ramadan is certainly unique. Living in the liberal, secular West and dealing with both it and the harsh, exclusive, often irrational dictates of his Islamic faith is a huge challenge. Will he succeed in bringing his forebears’ goals to fruition? He has shown up in cartoons with a forked tongue. What he says in lectures depends on whether his audience is Western or Muslim. Many Western academic institutions, often recipients of largesse from Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern money, promote him on their campuses and on the lecture circuit.

Read more at Islam Watch

 

The war against the Jews

by Efraim Karsh
Israel Affairs
July 2012, pp. 319-343

The sustained anti-Israel de-legitimization campaign is a corollary of the millenarian obsession with the Jews in the Christian and the Muslim worlds. Since Israel is the world’s only Jewish state, and since Zionism is the Jewish people’s national liberation movement, anti-Zionism—as opposed to criticism of specific Israeli policies or actions—means denial of the Jewish right to national self-determination. Such a discriminatory denial of this basic right to only one nation (and one of the few that can trace their corporate identity and territorial attachment to antiquity) while allowing it to all other groups and communities, however new and tenuous their claim to nationhood, is pure and unadulterated anti-Jewish racism, or anti-Semitism as it is commonly known.

By any conceivable standard, Israel has been an extraordinary success story: national rebirth in the ancestral homeland after millennia of exile and dispersion; resuscitation of a dormant biblical language; the creation of a modern, highly educated, technologically advanced, and culturally and economically thriving society, as well as a vibrant liberal democracy in one of the world’s least democratic areas. It is a world leader in agricultural, medical, military, and solar energy technologies, among others; a high-tech superpower attracting more venture capital investment per capita than the United States and Europe; home to one of the world’s best health systems and philharmonic orchestras, as well as to ten Nobel Prize laureates. And so on and so forth.

Why then is Israel the only state in the world whose right to exist is constantly debated and challenged while far less successful countries, including numerous “failed states,” are considered legitimate and incontestable members of the international community? The answer offered by this article is that this pervasive prejudice against Israel, the only Jewish state to exist since biblical times, is a corollary of the millenarian obsession with the Jews in the Christian and the Muslim worlds.

On occasion, notably among devout and/or born again Evangelical Christians, this obsession has manifested itself in admiration and support for the national Jewish resurrection in the Holy Land. In most instances, however, anti-Jewish prejudice and animosity, or anti-Semitism as it is commonly known, has served to exacerbate distrust and hatred of Israel. Indeed, the fact that the international coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the libels against Zionism and Israel, such as the despicable comparisons to Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa, have invariably reflected a degree of intensity and emotional involvement well beyond the normal level to be expected of impartial observers would seem to suggest that, rather than being a response to concrete Israeli activities, it is a manifestation of long-standing prejudice that has been brought out into the open by the vicissitudes of the conflict.

Read the rest at Middle East Forum

Efraim Karsh is research professor of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at King’s College London, principal researcher of the Middle East Forum (Philadelphia) and author, most recently, of Palestine Betrayed (Yale University Press, 2010).

Lessons on the Long Road to Hijab

By Raymond Ibrahim for Jihad Watch:
Elections.jpg

The above caricature, which first appeared on CagleCartoons.com, has been making the rounds on the Arabic blogosphere, and points to how democratic elections are serving to Islamize Egypt: average women enter the ballot box—“overseen” by the Muslim Brotherhood—only to emerge thoroughly veiled, thoroughly Islamized.

Speaking of veils and the Brotherhood, here’s an interesting video of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser (1956-1970), showing just how much times have changed.

Speaking before a large assembly, Nasser told of how back in 1953 he wanted to cooperate with the Muslim Brotherhood, and met with its leader. (Nasser eventually learned that the only response to the Brotherhood is suppression, not cooperation, a lesson John Kerry and others in the current administration would do well to consider.)

According to Nasser, the very first demand of the Brotherhood leader was for the hijab to return to Egypt, “for every woman walking in the street to where a headscarf.”

The audience erupted in laughter at this, then, ludicrous demand; one person hollered “Let him wear it!” eliciting more laughter and applause.

Nasser continued by saying he told the Brotherhood leader that if they enforced the hijab, people would say Egypt had returned to the dark ages (to more laughter), adding that Egyptians should uphold such matters in the privacy of their own homes.

But the Muslim Brotherhood leader informed him that, as Egypt’s president, Nasser himself must enforce the hijab, to which Nasser replied:

Sir, I know you have a daughter in college—and she doesn’t wear a headscarf or anything! [laughter] Why don’t you make her wear the headscarf? [laughter] So you can’t make one girl, your own daughter, wear it, and yet you want me to go and make ten million women wear it?!” [burst of laughter and applause]

na09ju-nasser.jpg

Gamel Abdel Nasser and wife Tahia, back in an era when the idea of institutionalizing the hijab provoked laughter and ridicule

 

Half a century later and none of this is a laughing matter: the hijab, if not the full burqa, is commonplace in Egypt, even as the Muslim Brotherhood—who for decades were banned and imprisoned for trying to return Egypt to an Islamic dark age—are now poised to govern the nation, all under U.S. tutelage.

As Sheikh Osama al-Qusi recently said, the great “mistake” of Nasser’s successor, president Anwar Sadat, was

not that he released these groups [Muslim Brotherhood] from the prisons after Gamal Abdel Nasser had incarcerated them; but rather for giving them the green light to work in all fields of Egyptian society, thinking he would use them to get rid of his Socialist and Communist opponents. So he permitted them to work in trade unions, school unions—giving them every opportunity to hold official positions [Emphasis added].

 

In other words, Sadat’s great mistake—which cost him his life—is that he conferred a degree of legitimacy on the Muslim Brotherhood, thereby allowing them to worm their way into Egyptian society.

At any rate, such is the way of time: left unchecked, what was once ludicrous to suggest—for instance, the Brotherhood’s 1953 request “for every woman walking in the street to where a headscarf”—slowly and gradually becomes part of the culture.

It is for this reason that Sharia poses a threat to the West—not because it will be imposed on Westerners, but rather because, little by little, decade after decade, aspects of it may gradually worm their way in.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.