Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Has Obama and the Democratic ranks cut ties with Israel?

President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations Building on Sept. 21. | AP Photo

DECEMBER 7, 2011
Israel rift roils Democratic ranks
Two of the Democratic Party’s core institutions are challenging a bipartisan consensus on Israel and Palestine that has dominated American foreign policy for more than a decade.
The Center for American Progress, the party’s key hub of ideas and strategy, and Media Matters, a central messaging organization, have emerged as vocal critics of their party’s staunchly pro-Israel congressional leadership and have been at odds, at times, with Barack Obama’s White House, which has acted as a reluctant ally to Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israeli government.
The differences are ones of tone – but also of bright lines of principle – and while they have haven’t yet made any visible impact on Democratic policy, they’ve shaken up the Washington foreign policy conversation and broadened the space for discussing a heretical and often critical stance on Israel heretofore confined to the political margins.
The daily battle is waged in Media Matters’ emails, on CAP’s blogs, Middle East Progress and ThinkProgress and most of all on Twitter, where a Media Mattters official, MJ Rosenberg, regularly heaps vitriol on those who disagree as “Iraq war neocon liar” (the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg) or having “dual loyalties” to the U.S. and Israel (the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin). And while the Center for American Progress tends to walk a more careful line, warm words for Israel can be hard to find on its blogs.
Events of recent years such as GOP attacks on Obama as insufficiently loyal to Israel, Israel’s controversial raid on a Turkish ship bound for Gaza and debates over the Iranian nuclear program have deepened the divide between some on the Democratic left and the party’s mainstream foreign policy apparatus.
“Like segregation in the American South, the siege of Gaza (and the entire Israeli occupation, for that matter) is a moral abomination that should be intolerable to anyone claiming progressive values,” wrote Matt Duss, a CAP policy analyst and the director of Middle East Progress, last year, after an Israeli raid on a flotilla challenging the blockade of Gaza turned violent.
The two groups’ push is part of a larger revival of the liberal American Israel lobby, though one that has yet to make a policy impact. Stalwarts of the anti-settlement movement like Peace Now have new, more politically engaged counterparts like J Street and see their views reflected increasingly in the party’s central institutions. They represent – they hope – the Democratic Party’s future, if not its present, and have taken heart from recent criticism of Israel by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The shift is vividly reflected in the current debate over how the U.S. should handle the fledgling Iranian nuclear program. With both Obama and congressional Democrats working to increase pressure on what they view as alarming Iranian nuclear efforts, the Center for American Progress and Media Matters have made the case that both Iran’s belligerence and its level nuclear sophistication have been overstated – in some cases attacking hawkish hyperbole or Republican rhetoric, in others going after claims by the administration.
In one recent item, for instance, ThinkProgress National Security reporter Eli Clifton took issue with a Quinnipiac University poll that made reference to Iran’s “nuclear program.” The belief that such a program exists undergirds the Obama administration’s drive for sanctions, and was recently bolstered by a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which wrote of “increasing” concerns, though not definitive evidence.
Such assertions, and the resulting polling statistics, serve to tilt public opinion toward preemptive military action when intelligence reports paint a far more complex picture of Iran’s nuclear program and the extremely risky outcomes of an Israeli and/or U.S. airstrike,” Clifton wrote.
Another recent column on the CAP website, one of several to prompt behind-the-scenes outrage from the powerful pro-Israel group AIPAC, featured Eric Alterman accusing AIPAC of campaigning for war in Iran, which Alterman described as its “big prize.”
Over at Media Matters, Rosenberg, a former AIPAC staffer turned apostate, labels American Israel hawks “Israel-firsters” and recently blasted Rep. Brad Sherman, a California Democrat, for pushing a sanctions on Iranian civilian aviation that would be “the most ugly expression yet of this country’s almost bizarre obsession with punishing Iran, its people along with its government.” (Sherman spokesman Ben Fishel, a former Media Matters staffer, said the organization “would agree with” Sherman if it understood how civilian planes were being used to ferry arms to the Syrian government.)
ThinkProgress also scrambled to call into question an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi diplomats in the United States, though the charges were leveled by Attorney General Eric Holder, a longtime Democratic Party stalwart. “With analysts and the media still scratching their heads over what to make of a convoluted plot alleged to have been hatched by an Iranian American in collusion with Mexican drug cartels,” Clifton wrote, “[conservative think tanks] – along with their friends in Congress — are quickly declaring the end of diplomatic strategies to curb Iran’s nuclear program and regional ambitions.”
The villain: AIPAC. “It would appear that AIPAC is now using the same escalating measures against Iran that were used before the invasion of Iraq,” Clifton wrote in August.
Clifton’s post and others like it, two sources said, drew a furious reaction from the pro-Israel group, whose executives called CAP chairman John Podesta and other senior officials at the organization to complain.
“There’s two explanations here – either the inmates are running the asylum or the Center for American Progress has made a decision to be anti-Israel,” said Josh Block, a former spokesman for AIPAC who is now a fellow at the center-left Progressive Policy Institute. “Either they can allow people to say borderline anti-Semitic stuff” – a reference to what he described as conspiracy theorizing in the Alterman column – “and to say things that are antithetical to the fundamental values of the Democratic party, or they can fire them and stop it.” (Alterman called the charge "ludicrous" and "character assassination," noted that he is a columnist for Jewish publications, and described himself as a "proud, pro-Zionist Jew.")
An AIPAC spokesman, Ari Goldberg, declined to comment on CAP’s views. But the suggestion that AIPAC is leading an Iraq-style drive for war with Iran also angered leading Jewish Democrats, many of whom are close to AIPAC.
“There’s a great difference between the widespread concern for Iran within the Democratic and Jewish communities versus the far right. Some extreme right-wingers may be beating the drums for war, but the vast mainstream — certainly including AIPAC — is most definitely not,” said David Harris, the CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council, when asked about the AIPAC’s statements. He noted that even liberal, pro-Israel groups like Peace Now and J Street shy away from putting AIPAC at the heart of a pro-war cabal.
CAP officials have told angry allies that the bloggers don’t speak for the organization, and senior fellow Brian Katulis – whose work is more standard Clinton-Democrat fare – stressed that in an email.
Read more:

Bee's Notes:
While disturbing, this report should come as no surprise to Israel and its supporters.After all, haven't read from three major players in the Obama Administration within the last week, the heavy-handed, disrespectful remarks made to Israel, from Clinton, Panetta and the United States Ambassador to Belgium Gutman.

Panetta's anti-Israel remarks to a strong American ally, Israel, to "Get to the damn table" demonstrates the lack of respect towards PM Netanyahu from this administration.  The Obama administration refuses to place blame on the Palestinian Authority/PLO's for refusing to come to the "table" to discuss peace and throws all blame upon the State of Israel - just as the Arab nations blame Israel for its very existence.  Doubt my word?  Read the following, posted on the Palestinian Media Watch:.                    .PA official:
The PA recognizes that Israel exists
but utterly rejects Israel's right to exist

PA Ambassador to India, Adli Sadeq:
"[Israel] never had any shred of a right to exist"

This is suppose to be Israel's "peace" partner?!  An apology from Panetta and this administration would be meaningless; however, it would be nice to hear Panetta getting himself to a damn table with the Palestinians, just to see exactly who refuses peace, unless it is another piece of land of Israel's.  

Here's another example of exactly who is stalling any and all peace negotiations:
Israeli and Palestinian Statements about the "Damn Table", posted on Camera.

And lastly, but not least, Caroline Glick's observations on Israel remaining an "ally" with this present administration and the US: An ally no more

Americans Stand with Israel - Please Welcome a "New" Contributor

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dear Readers,

Changes are always welcome and it is a welcome "relief" to have a new contributor to add insight to this ongoing struggle to present up-to-date news that is normally not shared by our predominate main stream media.  Please join me in welcoming PippN to Americans Stand with Israel.  You should be hearing from him shortly.

Secondly, about a month ago, I announced that another new addition to this blog is a daily newspaper - The Bee Sting Daily.    While many of us are sleeping, this paper comes out at about 315 AM.  It has the latest news of the Middle East and around the world; links to great articles, videos, and authors.  Throughout the day, I then add more to it as the day progresses, to be sure our readers are not kept in the dark and as it would be impossible to post every article on "World News", including events in Washington, the newspaper gives us a better opportunity to share what's happening, without being tied to the computer 24-7.

While our main focus is on Israel, it is just as important for us to present both domestic and foreign policies of the present Administration, to which we make no apologies for revealing the fact that as strong patriots, our goal is to demonstrate the need to work diligently towards changing (yes, I'm using that word "change") the devastating outcome of the last elections and voting for the best of the GOP candidates in 2012.  

Americans need to rid ourselves of Obama's logo and lies, anti-American, anti-Israel policies and return the White House to "the people", under the Constitution of the United States. Congress has given a "free" pass to a man who is leading America down a very crooked path - time for renewal and I'm not talking about the socialistic "hope and change" promised by BHO.

Bee Sting

PLO and Israel: "On murderers and car theives" - by Fresno Zionism

December 7, 2011
On murderers and car theives
Akiva Eldar. Apparently he prefers murderers to car theives
Akiva Eldar. Apparently he prefers murderers to car theives
Ha’aretz writer Akiva Eldar described himself thus in a 2008 article:
The prominent Israeli columnist Nahum Barnea wrote in November 2000 (in a publication of the Israel Democracy Institute) that “there are Israeli reporters who do not pass the ‘lynch test.’” These, he wrote, are journalists who could not bring themselves to criticize the Arabs even when two Israelis were savagely murdered by a mob in Ramallah. Barnea, who last year was awarded the Israel Prize for journalism, went on to argue that our support for the Palestinian position is absolute. He concluded, “They have a mission.” I was honored to be mentioned as one of those journalists, alongside my fine colleagues Gideon Levy and Amira Hass.

What he wrote yesterday was even more revealing. In an article entitledAbbas should change his locks before next wave of Palestinian prisoners freed,” Eldar tells us that many of the Arab prisoners to be released in the second phase of the exchange for Gilad Shalit will be “car thieves and petty criminals.”
Now get ready … here is Eldar’s unique take on this:
After being compelled to give Hamas a healthy offering of security prisoners, including “heavy” terrorists, Netanyahu is determined this time to release a low-fat fare.
This isn’t the first time that Netanyahu is converting an agreement to release Palestinian prisoners into either a bonanza or boondoggle for the Palestinian leadership.Twelve years ago, during his first term as prime minister, Netanyahu sent Yasser Arafat mainly prisoners who were incarcerated for criminal – not security – offenses…
Abbas now claims that then prime minister Ehud Olmert promised him he would release two Fatah prisoners for every one prisoner returned to Hamas. Netanyahu suggests that Abbas go to Olmert and ask him for these prisoners.
Eldar is actually criticizing Netanyahu for cheating the PLO by not releasing more murderers! He seems to suggest that Netanyahu is behaving dishonorably toward Abbas by violating some kind of understanding.

Let’s remember that Israel is not releasing these prisoners, who by all rights should serve out their sentences, because it lost a bet on a football game to Hamas and the PLO. They are being released in payment of ransom, to free a kidnap victim who was held incommunicado for more than five years.
In a previous post, I suggested that we refer to the Shalit deal as a ‘jailbreak’ and not a prisoner exchange. There is no difference between this and a situation in which gang members free their confederates by holding a gun to the head of a hostage. The idea that one could behave dishonorably toward the gang in that situation is absurd.
This is so illogical, so crazy, that I looked more carefully at Eldar’s confessional 2008 article. What could make a Jewish Israeli, one who isn’t stupid, think like this?
There are many Jews who believe that there is no difference between Hebron and Tel Aviv, or between West and East Jerusalem. As far as they are concerned, the Land of Israel was promised solely to the People of Israel. Yet anyone who perceives the West Bank (and not “Judea and Samaria”) and East Jerusalem as occupied territories cannot accept the policies of Israel’s governments for the past forty years. Occupation does not have two sides. There is no symmetry between the occupier and the occupied. This is true even if the occupied fight the occupier with despicable and contemptuous methods.

There are two important threads here.
One is a deliberate blindness to historical facts. Why does he say “not Judea and Samaria?” These were the accepted names until 1950, when the Jordanians, having invaded and occupied the territory that formerly was part of the Palestine Mandate renamed them for political reasons.
Certainly there is a difference between Hebron and Tel Aviv, but the implication of Eldar’s statement is that the difference is that Jews may live in Tel Aviv and not Hebron. But — as Melanie Phillips has written — Jews lived in Hebron for centuries until they were expelled by a murderous pogrom in 1929, and then again by the Jordanians in 1948.

Prior to 1967, the last time these places were under Jewish control was that of King David. Afterwards, a succession of foreign conquerors — occupiers? — controlled them until, with the demise of the Ottoman Empire, the ‘international community’ recognized that a tiny piece of it, their historical home, could be set aside for the Jewish people.

Incidentally, at the same time, several Arab states were created out of former Ottoman colonies. None of them are free or democratic.

Since then, the Arab world — indeed, the Muslim world — has had no higher common purpose than to snuff out this tiny Jewish island in a sea of Arab and Muslim states. When President Roosevelt met with King Saud in February 1945, he was treated to a diatribe on the subject of Jewish immigration to Palestine. Why did Saud care so much about a territory that didn’t border Saudi Arabia at a time of geopolitical upheaval everywhere?
The reason is simple, and it is the same as what animates the conflict today: the possibility of Jewish control of ‘Arab (or Muslim) land’.

In other words, religious hatred and racism.
The second thread is what is called postcolonialism. This is the radical position that morality is politically determined. A ‘colonist’ or ‘occupier’, always European or North American in origin, oppresses a ‘colonized’ people. Because of the inherent power imbalance, the colonized people has a ‘right’ to ‘resist’ by any means available, even terrorism.

In addition to the logical incoherence of this idea — if morality is political, then it is not morality as we know it — the paradigm of European colonialism does not apply to Israel (nor to Israeli Jews, many of whom are of Middle Eastern origin). Indeed, if anyone was an oppressed people that overthrew a European colonial power and established self-determination in their homeland, it was the Jews of Palestine.
Eldar says that he is not opposed to the State of Israel, he just thinks “it [is] better to live in a small but beautiful country than in a large and ugly one.” But his postcolonialist argument leads to a slippery slope. What, indeed, is the difference between Hebron and Tel Aviv? How would he respond to the Arab argument that ‘the occupation’ began in 1948, not 1967?

Not only is he blind to history and ideologically impaired, he is entirely naive about the intentions of the PLO, with whom he wishes to make ‘peace’. He writes,
I have condemned those Israeli policies that reinforce Hamas and weaken the chances for a peaceful settlement: the faltering negotiations for a permanent agreement, the invasive layout of the separation fence, the hundreds of roadblocks and the dozens of illegal settlement outposts.
That was three years ago, but I would have hoped that by now he would understand that any agreement that Israel makes with the PLO will not be peaceful or permanent. And even that will be moot if Hamas replaces the PLO as ruler of the territories, quite likely if Israel withdraws.
Eldar’s ideology and lack of historical sense has led him to oppose his own, Jewish people in their struggle with those that hate and want to destroy them, so much so that he doesn’t see the irony in his call for Netanyahu to release murderers — one of those that Abbas would like to see out of jail is Marwan Barghouti, serving 5 life sentences for murder — instead of car thieves!

Who is Responsible for Muslim Violence? - by Sultan Knish

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Who is responsible for Muslim violence? Anyone but Muslims. When Howard W. Gutman, Obama's ambassador to Belgium, told his audience that Jews should be accepting responsibility for the violence practiced on them by Muslims, because it's their own damn fault for insisting on having a Jewish state, the State Department wasn't willing to stand behind his words, but neither did it disavow him.

Imagine for a moment if Howard W. Gutman had adjusted his red hipster glasses and told his audience that Muslims should take responsibility for Islamic terrorism . Hillary would have personally fired him, after yelling at him for a good thirty minutes, and Obama would have issued an apology to the Muslim world. Every newspaper column on both sides of the Atlantic would have spent the better part of the week denouncing Islamophobia and clucking over how mainstream intolerance has become.

The idea that Jews should take responsibility for the Muslim violence directed at them is mainstream, but the notion that Muslims should be taking responsibility for Islamic terrorism, even to the extent of condemning it is still one of those No-Go Zones. But is it more of a stretch to suggest that people should take responsibility for their own violence or for the violence directed at them?

This week there has been another related controversy when the Republican Jewish Coalition failed to invite Ron Paul to its forum. Ron Paul has repeatedly blamed American foreign policy for Al-Qaeda terrorism. He even described the original World Trade Center bombing as a "retaliation". In Paul's mind every act of Muslim violence against us is a response to some original sin that we committed against them. 

Paul's view is common on the left which calls every attack an opportunity for us to engage in deep soul searching until we can finally understand why Muslims hate us. But if we were to suggest that the next time our bombers fly over one of their cities, it's an opportunity for Muslims to engage in some soul searching and work out why that sort of thing keeps happening, that's another one of those completely inappropriate suggestions.

When Americans die, it's blowback. When Muslims die, it's more imperialistic warmongering by the running dog lackeys of the new world order. Muslims are responsible for nothing. We are to blame for everything. For what we do and for what they do.

Muslims are never told that a domestic policy discriminating against women and minorities, and a foreign policy based on supporting terrorists and then lying about it, might be causing them some blowback. Blowback is only for the CIA or the Mossad, it's never for the ISI or the Mukhbarats (who as we all know are pawns of the CIA and the Mossad anyway).

To the far left and the far right, Muslims are our abused stepchildren. If they act out, then it's because we didn't treat them the right way. If we had then we would have peaceful relations with them in accordance with the philosophies of progressive globalism or free market isolationism or platonian psychorealism.

Instead of treating Muslim civilizations as separate societies with their own concerns and priorities apart from us, Western liberals view Muslims as mirrors of their own society, identifying their anger as a symptom of some fault within ourselves. It never occurs to them that Muslim terrorism isn't a knee jerk response, it's an affirmative action carried out to promote the spread of their way of life. That it's a quasi-religious act with deep roots in Islamic history long predating the modern Western state.

The breadth of Islamic imperialism makes European imperialism look small and silly. Muslims ruled over major portions of Africa, Asia and the Middle East in places that Europeans rarely ventured for centuries. Islam conquered and held on to far more territory than Alexander or Rome, only the British Empire came anywhere close to its scope and did not manage to rule for a fraction of the time or convert as much of the native populace.

Talking about Islamic imperialism as if it were some sort of reflex reaction to Western support for the Shah or arms sales to Israel is so hopelessly stupid that it beggars belief, particularly when historians assert such a ridiculously narrow view of history. We might as well pretend that China is expanding its reach because it's angry over the Opium War or jet fighter sales to Taiwan.

Expansionism is a natural imperative of civilizations. Empires or the splintered leftovers of empires strive to reconstitute their glory days. The failure to understand that Muslims are more than the bastards of that brief window of European colonialism, they are the scattered and divided pieces of a religious civilization aspiring to a renewal of empire or caliphate is behind every stupid opinion on Islam. 

Refusing to acknowledge that Muslims are responsible for their own violence is a refusal to accept that they have their own agenda, an agenda that has little to do with the transnational imperatives of building a fairer world through secular international law. It's a refusal to treat them like people.

Treating them like abused children who have to be cadged into attending international therapy sessions with us is stupid and destructive. The Muslim world is destructive enough without being infantilized further. And the left has taken up the white man's burden in another form, treating the rest of the world as if it can't move on until the West atones for its sins.

The Muslim world has a booming population, a surplus birth rate, concentrations of wealth and a lot of spare weapons... and it's doing what comes naturally with those things, invading other countries with lower birth rates and trying to take them over. That has been the pattern of human civilizations long before the ivory tower and the academic text. It is sheer arrogance to imagine that it would change because the descendants of Richard the Lionheart, Philip II and Leopold V decided to practice war no more, except for humanitarian reasons. 

Who is responsible for all that? They are. Muslims are not robots or steel balls in a pinball machine, acts of violence, whether by individuals or entire countries are premeditated and have specific objectives. The bygone left insisted that a mugging was a reflex response to class distinctions, not a voluntary action by a living breathing human being. Now it acts as if Muslim terrorism is a reflex to another Jewish family moving into a house in Israel or some fellow torching a Koran.

This pernicious nonsense robs us of our rights to life and property in the name of appeasement and it robs Muslims of something even more precious, their own personhood. Muslims, like the rest of us, are moral actors, with the power to make choices and to accept their consequences. Every time the left acts as if Muslims don't have that ability, as if they are fuses that we light, they deny that Muslims are moral actors, rather than inert substances that are being acted upon.

Treating other people as extensions of ourselves is dysfunctional. Treating a billion people that way is dangerously delusional. But it's not a one-sided delusion.

To Muslims we are acting out our part in their apocalyptic endgame and to our cultural elites, they are acting out a role in our post-colonial narrative. The first step in breaking that cycle is to assert that they are responsible for their actions. That history did not begin in 1917 or 1948 and that it has moved on quite a bit since. We are not the prisoners of history, nor are we the jailers of the Muslim world. The only prison they are in is the one that they have built around themselves with a backward ideology.

We cannot meaningfully address the Clash of Civilizations until we recognize it for what it is, a natural and inevitable collision fueled by ideology and greed. And we cannot address the violence that it has brought to our shores until we hold those who carry out that violence and who support that violence responsible for their actions.

It is not enough to condemn terrorism. It is more important to assign responsibility to the actors and to discuss their motives. Anger alone does not make for a war. Resentment may fuel rebellions, but it doesn't extend to conquests. Nazi Germany wasn't simply angry over the aftermath of WWI, its leaders headed up an oligarchy that began by looting the Jews and then set out to loot all of Europe. The Soviet Union wasn't driven by class warfare or ideology alone, but by power and greed.

If all the theorists unknotted their keffiyahs for a moment and actually thought about what the Muslim world has to gain from Muslim violence, then they might actually have something rational to contribute to the conversation. Instead we get impassioned lectures on justice and dogmatic interpretations of what justice is.

When Howard Gutman justifies the beating of an 18 year old Jewish girl in Belgium by pointing to the settlements, it never seems to occur to him that the reason her attackers beat her is because they could. Because they wanted to beat someone. Her Jewish identity only meant that she was fair game, as Jews have been fair game for violence in the Muslim world for over a thousand years. It did not originate the violence, it only channeled it in a socially acceptable manner. Socially acceptable in the Muslim world and in the Obama Administration.

The Jihad is a socially acceptable channel for Muslim violence, for surplus populations and brewing violence, for the greed of those on top and their fear of those on the bottom. And yet Gutman isn't completely wrong.

We are responsible. Not for the violence, but for tolerating it. Bomb me once, shame on you. Bomb me three hundred times, shame on me. Not only do we tolerate Muslim violence, but we excuse it and we buy into the narrative of our attackers which they use to justify their actions. Instead of taking on the responsibility of ending their violence, we take on the responsibility for causing it, and thereby in the manner of the bullied with the bully, perpetuate the violence.

Only Muslims can end their violence at the source, but we can end it on the receiving end. We can't stop them from abusing women in their own country or minorities or animals, but we can stop them from abusing us. We can reject their narrative and stand up to their violence. We can say no to Mohammed and Gutman

From NY to Jerusalem,
Daniel Greenfield
Covers the Stories
Behind the News

Neo-Nazi Monopoly Features Death Camps

 Date Posted: 2011-12-06 20:15:51
A German neo-Nazi gang reportedly created a version of the game Monopoly in which death camps were substituted for railroads.pogro

The game, called Pogromly, also featured a swastika on the start square and offered players the chance to land on squares marked with the SS emblem. The board also included pictures of Hitler and sinister-looking Jews, The Telegraph reported.

The game was discovered in a garage used by the National Socialist Underground, which is accused in the ethnically motivated murder of 10 people. Bomb-making equipment and unused nail bombs also were found there.

From 2000 to 2011, the gang reportedly sold the game sets to raise revenue. The game is believed to be based on the events of Kristallnacht, the November 1938 Nazi pogrom against German Jews. 

"Holocaust survivors recoiled with horror at the sight of the Monopoly-like board game replete with swastikas, 'gasworks,' concentration camps, burning Israeli flags, and grotesque caricatures of Jews," Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said in a statement.

"The game itself is merely a trivial footnote to the monstrous crimes these individuals are charged with, but the visual impact made by this twisted theme on such an innocently remembered childhood item serves to punctuate the all-consuming hatred that drove these people."


Maldives Muslims Fight for the Right to Flog - by Daniel Greenfield

Posted by  Bio ↓ on Dec 7th, 2011

When the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay visited the Maldives, she wasn’t expecting to make much of a splash there. Officially the Republic of Maldives is a Constitutional democracy with open elections that any Muslim can vote in (not being a Muslim happens to be against the law in the Maldives). Unofficially it’s a paranoid theocracy based on Sharia law where an Indian teacher who drew a compass had to be hurriedly evacuated after students mistook it for a cross.
The United Nations Human Rights apparatus generally tries to avoid looking too closely at human rights in Muslim countries because it knows exactly what it will find. The Maldives is a case in point. So when Navi Pillay stopped by the Maldives she followed the formula to the letter, praising the human rights progress in the Maldives and after a few minutes of that, briefly suggested that perhaps they should stop flogging women accused of premarital sex.
Naturally Pillay did not put it as harshly as I just did. In her words, “The fact that people, especially women, are still flogged in the Maldives is a serious blot on the country’s otherwise increasingly positive and progressive image overseas.” But how progressive can a country be when it outlaws the practice of any religion besides Islam and holds blasphemy trials and where a judge ruled that four men who gang raped a 14 year old would not be imprisoned because the girl had reached the age of puberty?
Despite Pillay’s careful wording, Muslims in the Maldives reacted by holding a protest that accused her of being a “racist Zionist” out to undermine Islam. This was an unfortunate setback for Pillay who had spent a good deal of time condemning Israel, only to be accused of being a “racist Zionist” for suggesting that flogging women might be undermining the progressive image of a country where a cross shaped design on a water bottle is a major scandal.
Maldives’ Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem reassured his fellow Muslims that the government was not about to do anything crazy like ending the flogging of women. “”What’s there to discuss about flogging? There is nothing to debate about in a matter clearly stated in the religion of Islam. No one can argue with Allah. Our foreign ministry will not allow that to happen.”
That is literally true as arguing with Allah is against the law in the Maldives. Two years ago a drunk who tried arguing with Allah was sent to court and was forced to recite the Shahadah, the Islamic profession of faith. But Pillay had been careful not to argue with Allah. In her remarks she praised the Maldives for “reaching out in the Islamic world to promote dialogue on the compatibility of Islam and human rights” only to get a harsh reminder that in the real world Islam and human rights were as compatible as oil and water.
The Republic of Maldives, along with Libya, Cuba, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia is a member of the UN Human Rights Council, which has not been paying much attention to the right of women not to be flogged in the name of Allah, as it has to the right of Hamas members to blow up Israeli children. The Maldives had met most of the official benchmarks on human rights, so long as no one looked too closely at the fine print.
CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, had been ratified by the Republic of Maldives, with one very minor caveat. “The Government of the Republic of the Maldives reserves its right to apply article 16 of the Convention… without prejudice to the provisions of Islamic sharia, which govern all marital and family relations of the 100 per cent Muslim population of the Maldives.” Which is to say that the Maldives will only grant those rights to women that don’t conflict with a 7th century document that treats women as legal and moral inferiors. But from the UN point of view, that makes the Maldives better than the US which has not ratified CEDAW at all.
Pillay warned that the floggings leave the Republic of Maldives “in breach of its obligations under several international treaties”. Presumably she meant human rights conventions like CEDAW, which no Muslim country allows to override the Koran. And that’s truer than it was before the Arab Spring toppled some of the last governments which even bothered with the facade of secularism.
The cluelessness displayed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights went further as earlier in her remarks she described her “illuminating talks with members of the Human Rights Commission of Maldives”.  One of those commissioners, Sheikh Ahmed Abdul Kareem had declared a few years back that music was illegal and against Islam. Not any specific type of music… all music.
When a human rights commission member calls for banning all music that is the first hint that the commission may be running on a somewhat different understanding of human rights. Indeed the first mission of the Human Rights Commission of Maldives is to “protect, preserve and promote human rights in the Maldives in accordance with Islamic Shari’ah and the Constitution of the Maldives.” And if Sharia requires banning music, then protecting social order and religious unity by banning music is suddenly a human right.
It then follows that this is the recommendation of the Human Rights Commission of Maldives.
“When the number of people whose thinking and beliefs that contradict the beautiful Islamic principles are increasing, it is very important that the concerned government authorities bring out to the citizens the authentic information about religion (Islam) in a responsible manner. We would like to point out that, to save the society from religious divisions it is very important that the role played by the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs be broadened.”
Is saving society from “religious divisions” by expanding the powers of a theocratic body really what human rights are all about? But that is the way it is in the Maldives and throughout the Muslim world. The failure to recognize that truth is the major blind spot of the international organizations that have fallen for the farce of Muslim human rights created out of thin air and terminology.
While the UN has applauded the Potemkin villages of Maldives human rights agencies, not a single rape case was taken to court in four years despite numerous reports of rapes and gang rapes. But in one year alone, 146 women were flogged for the crime of premarital sex. The Sharia dominated system was unable to get around to convicting any rapists, but it managed to convict and flog over a hundred women.
These two statistics say all that needs to be said about human rights in the Maldives and the United Nations’ willful blindness in the face of real human rights abuses.
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Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.