On the Mideast and Betrayal

Iran Remains the Threat in the Middle East :: Middle East Forum.

A fascinating read generally by Professor Efraim Inbar of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. It is a short but poignant dip into understanding why focusing on ISIS as the main threat in the region may miss the real problem.

But apart from that, I read this passage with some fascination:

Moreover, many of the Arab states failed to modernize and deliver basic services, allowing for alternative Islamist structures to do a better job in providing education, medical and social work services to the impoverished masses.

If that sound familiar, the Palestinian Authority has been accused of the same. Inbar continues:

It is worth noting that the Muslim Brotherhood was established as early as 1928. Ever since, it has developed grassroots by trying to take care of the masses, while subverting the statist order in Muslim states with the goal of building a new Caliphate. Pan-Arabism – a popular ideological inclination among the Arab elites – also undermined the legitimacy of the statist order, reinforcing Pan-Islamist impulses.

All of this suggests something rather nefarious. It implies that there is an Arab elite that is cynically using the Arab refugees from Israel in an effort to drive the Jews out of the region, thus clearing the way for a Caliphate that includes Israeli territory. The Arab refugees (“Palestinians”) would get their own state for a brief moment, only to be absorbed into the new Caliphate, their rights forgotten.

That’s a nasty scenario, it borders on the aluminum-foil-yarmaluke-under-the-watch-cap paranoid, and I am not sure I buy it. But I will file it away, because it bears watching. As the region faces the triple threat of a resurgent Persian empire from Tehran, the scourge of ISIS, and the neo-Ataturkian ambitions of the Turks, I suspect fault lines long buried beneath a sea of anti-Zionism are about to rear their heads again.

 

Bolivia Becomes a Flyover Country

Bolivia declares Israel a ‘terrorist state’ ”
Via AP

The Times of Israel
July 31, 2014

I have a little list of places in the world to which I will not go. The primary basis of that list is the way Jews are treated in that country, or the way Israel is treated. The list includes places you would expect, like Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, and a few that you might not, including Malaysia and Brunei.

It was bad enough when President Evo Morales cut off diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009. By branding Israel a “terrorist state,” Morales only succeeds in proving that he is more interested in aligning himself with a leftist cause than he is pursuing a realistic, fact-based foreign policy.

That is not the sort of government into whose hands I am prepared to pass responsibility for my safety as a Jew, and I will offer a special prayer for our brethren who are there now, or whose duties carry them there.

Saudi King: Hamas Actions “Shameful”

Saudi King Publicly Blames Hamas for Gaza War
Thomas Rose
Breitbart.com
August 2, 2014

For anyone still under the impression that the entire Muslim world is lined up behind Hamas because of the “justness” of its cause; or for anyone who believes that Israel is at fault in this fight, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia would like to set the record straight.

In the harshest words ever used by a Saudi King to condemn any Palestinian “resistance” to what is routinely called “Zionist aggression,” King Abdullah’s statement said, “It is shameful and disgraceful that these terrorists are doing this in the name of religion, killing the people whose killing Allah has forbidden, and mutilating their bodies and feeling proud in publishing this.” 

The king went on to say of Hamas’ war against Israel, “They have distorted the image of Islam with its purity and humanity and smeared it with all sorts of bad qualities by their actions, injustice and crimes.”

Keep in mind two important facts: first, if Saudi Arabia had a dog in this fight, it was Hamas, not Israel, for all kinds of historic, religious, political and economic reasons. And yet King Abdullah apparently felt honor-bound to denounce Hamas publicly and unequivocally.

Second, King Abdullah did this at considerable risk to his person and his kingdom. The Islamist sharks have been circling in Saudi Arabia for a very long time, and this will undoubtedly add recruits to the ranks of the King’s foes. Ultimately, it may become a factor in the Kingdom’s downfall and its replacement by a fundamental Islamist regime.

Yet in a moment of clarity, the keeper of Islam’s holiest places felt compelled to risk it all – he felt doing so was that important. He felt that drawing a line between the true spirit of Islam and the dirty war Hamas was fighting – using its own children ass human shields, and placing their petty Jihad above the welfare of their own people –  was more important than his kingdom and his crown.

Let Hamas’ misguided supporters in the west consider that, and have a think on the meaning of “honor.”

In Denmark, Animals Come Before People

National Secular Society – Denmark bans religious slaughter.

Denmark has now added itself to the growing list of countries who have decided to restrict the practices of observant Judaism. What is most telling is this particular quote from the Danish agricultural and food minister, Dan Jørgensen:

However, defending the governments decision, Mr. Jorgensen told Denmark’s TV2 television that “animal rights come before religion.”

In other words, in Denmark, animals come before people. Better that every Jew and Muslim family be forced to leave Denmark than have one single animal be slaughtered according to the ancient laws of Kashrut and Halal.

It is increasingly apparent that Europe was never about freedom of religion. One can only wonder how long it will be before the country outlaws circumcision and distinctive religious apparel.

As to the practice of Kashrut, let me say only this: if science has proven that the current practice of shochet slaughter is not as compassionate as Talmud calls us to be, this is an occasion for us as Jews to consider submitting the question to our greatest Torah scholars: is it time for a change in Halachic practice?