Banning the World Cup, Israeli wine labels, and other items

June 14, 2006

CONTENTS

1. “Made in Israel-occupied Syrian territories”
2. Islamists ban World Cup
3. Double standards for “targeted assassinations”
4. Hamas leader carries millions in suitcase
5. Swiss intelligence foils plan to fire rocket at El Al plane
6. “Palestinian Hamas denies statement mourning Zarqawi” (Reuters, June 9, 2006)
7. “Kidnapped American released unharmed” (Jerusalem Post, June 11, 2006)
8. “Hamas working on adding toxic chemicals to bombs” (Ha’aretz, June 6, 2006)
9. “Terrorists planned to hit Israeli airliner with rocket” (Daily Telegraph, June 9, 2006)
10. “Poll: Most Israelis oppose convergence” (Ha’aretz, June 9, 2006)
11. “Survey shows Muslim women want right to vote” (AFP, June 10, 2006)
12. “German Jews elect woman as leader” (Reuters, June 7, 2006)


[Note by Tom Gross]

“MADE IN ISRAEL-OCCUPIED SYRIAN TERRITORIES”

Systembolaget, Sweden’s state-owned alcohol retail monopoly, has labeled Israeli wines made in the Golan as “made in Israel-occupied Syrian territories.” Systembolaget has one of the most extensive catalogues of alcoholic beverages in the world.

A spokesman for Systembolaget, Bjorn Rydberg, told the Jerusalem Post that the decision was made after clients complained about the previous label, which stated the wine was Israeli. The company then consulted with the Swedish Foreign Ministry who recommended the new label.

In April, Sweden pulled out of a European military exercise due to Israeli participation. In May, Sweden hosted Hamas minister Atef Adwan. Adwan, who was invited by local politicians, was granted a visa to visit Sweden, which he then also used to visit other European countries.

Systembolaget’s decision is “upsetting and unfair,” said Annelia Enochson, from Sweden’s Christian Democratic Party. “It means Israel receives special treatment, and it also politicizes the state-owned alcohol company.”

It is reported today that Systembolaget may now be reconsidering their decision, and will instead sell the Israeli-produced wine without a label of where it was produced.

ISLAMISTS BAN WORLD CUP

Hundreds of Somalis have protested in the capital Mogadishu against moves by sharia courts to stop them watching the ongoing soccer World Cup. Scores of young men set fire to tyres after Islamist gunmen pulled the plug on makeshift cinemas airing the soccer tournament. Two people were injured when militia tried to break up the demonstrations.

The soccer tournament had drawn huge crowds to television screens set up under trees and iron-sheeted shacks, providing some escape from the tension that has gripped Mogadishu since Islamists seized control there last week. Hundreds have been killed in recent weeks.

Similar moves last November by Islamist militia to close cinemas and video stores in Mogadishu on the basis that they are “unIslamic,” triggered heavy fighting that killed at least 12 people and wounded more than 20.

DOUBLE STANDARDS FOR “TARGETED ASSASSINATIONS”

Following the “targeted assassination” by U.S. forces in Iraq last week of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz (a subscriber to this list) pointed out on an American blog that the international community was again employing double standards against Israel.

“The same technique that has been repeatedly condemned by the international community when Israel has employed it against terrorists who have murdered innocent Jews,” was all of a sudden being welcomed, he said.

Dershowitz points out that “If it is argued that Sheikh Yassin was merely a spiritual leader of Hamas (a total lie since he explicitly authorized numerous terrorist acts), then it must be noted that one of the people targeted by the United States was Sheikh Abd-al-Rahman, who was also described as a ‘spiritual advisor.’”

(For more on this point, see NY Times public editor: Paper wrong to say Yassin was a “spiritual leader” May 3, 2004.)

Dershowitz sums up his argument saying “All decent people must insist on a single standard of judging tactics such as targeted killing. It is nothing short of bigotry to approve this tactic when used by the United States and Great Britain but to condemn it when it is used by Israel.”

It should also be pointed out that a woman and child were among those killed in the strike against Zarqawi, and this was barely mentioned in most western media, in stark contrast to when civilians have died when Israel has targeted terrorists. For more on Zarqawi, see the first article below.

HAMAS LEADER CARRIES MILLIONS IN SUITCASE

Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar, of Hamas, returned to the Gaza Strip today with a suitcase full with $20 million in cash, Palestinians officials told the Associated Press a short time ago.

It is not known how much of this will be used to purchase and manufacture weapons. The source of Zahar’s money isn’t yet known. During his recent trip, Zahar traveled to Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, China, Pakistan, Iran and Egypt.

Also today, a Hamas operative was shot and killed outside his home in the Gaza town of Khan Yunis after Hamas gunmen shot a security commander loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The local security commander, Rifat Kulab, was shot seven times during an ambush on his car in the town. Hamas accused Fatah of the shooting.

A total of 22 people have been killed in Hamas-Fatah fighting in recent weeks.

SWISS INTELLIGENCE FOILS PLAN TO FIRE ROCKET AT EL AL PLANE

Attached below are articles on various topics. One of them reports that Swiss intelligence has confirmed that it foiled a plan to fire a rocket at an El Al flight over Switzerland. In other terrorism-related news, Ha’aretz reports that Hamas terrorists have experimented with adding toxic chemicals to bombs to cause even greater damage to their Israeli victims.

In an update to the recent dispatch titled “Not statesmanship, but stupidity” (June 1, 2006), a recent poll suggests that 56 percent of Israelis now oppose Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s convergence plan.

Another poll by Gallup has revealed that Muslim women believe they should have the rights to vote, work outside the home and serve in the highest levels of government. The poll results came out only days after the Central Council of Jews in Germany elected 73-year-old Charlotte Knobloch as its president.

I attach seven articles below, with summaries first for those that do not have time to read them in full.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

HAMAS: “ZARQAWI WAS A SYMBOL OF RESISTANCE”

“Palestinian Hamas denies statement mourning Zarqawi” (Reuters, June 9, 2006)

The ruling Palestinian faction Hamas has denied issuing a statement mourning the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, but at the same time hailed him as a symbol of resistance.

Reuters received a statement on Thursday saying that Hamas mourned Zarqawi, killed in a strike north of Baghdad by U.S. warplanes on Wednesday. Sami Abu-Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said that “Hamas did not issue any statement in this regard.”

He also said that Hamas “reiterates its supportive position to all liberation movements and foremost the Iraqi liberation movement, for which Zarqawi was one of the symbols in the face of the American occupation.”…

 

FISHBEIN RELEASED BECAUSE HE WAS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN

“Kidnapped American released unharmed” (Jerusalem Post, June 11, 2006)

The American student, who was kidnapped by gunmen while having coffee at a Nablus coffee shop (in the West Bank), has been transferred to Israeli army protection. He was reported to be in “good condition.”

On Saturday night, IDF officials said a tape had reached various news outlets showing the 20-year-old exchange student of holding photo identification and saying that he had been abducted. On the tape, the student said that his captors would kill him if Israel did not release Palestinian prisoners.

Al-Jazeera reported that Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed the kidnapping. It appeared that his abductors agreed to release Fishbein, who is from the Bronx, because he was an American who did not hold Israeli citizenship… He is a student at Brown University, where he is majoring in Political Science and Anthropology. From August-December 2005, he studied at the American University in Cairo…

 

HAMAS EXPERIMENTING TO ADD TOXIC CHEMICALS TO BOMBS

“Hamas operatives working on adding toxic chemicals to bombs” (Ha’aretz, June 6, 2006)

Hamas operatives in the West Bank have experimented with adding toxic chemicals to their bombs, security sources have told Haaretz. The sources said the experiments have involved relatively simple chemicals, and as far as is known, the organization is not yet able to integrate such agents into its bombs effectively. However, they said, Hamas’ West Bank cells include several skilled bombmakers who are investing great effort in trying to upgrade their weapons.

The organization also is amassing large stocks of explosives so operatives will be ready to launch attacks immediately should its leadership decide to end the security “lull,” the sources added…

“They have no intention of repeating what they’ve done in the past,” he continued. “The tendency is to prepare ‘mega-attacks’ that would create a new balance” of power with Israel.

 

TERRORISTS PLANNED TO FIRE ROCKET AT EL AL PLANE

“Terrorist gang planned to hit Israeli airliner with rocket” (Daily Telegraph, June 9, 2006)

Swiss intelligence agents foiled a plot to shoot down an Israeli airplane, the country’s federal prosecutor said. Several North African members of an alleged terrorist cell were arrested. Intelligence services believed terrorists planned to fire a rocket at an El Al flight over Switzerland in December…

One member had been in contact with Mohamed Achraf, a North African Muslim extremist extradited from Switzerland to Spain in April 2005 for allegedly plotting to blow up Spain’s highest court. Osama bin Laden’s al-Qa’eda network claimed responsibility for a similar attack in 2002 on an Israeli plane carrying 261 people…

 

POLL: MOST ISRAELIS OPPOSE CONVERGENCE

“Poll: Most Israelis oppose convergence” (Ha’aretz, June 9, 2006)

Some 56 percent of Israelis oppose Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s convergence plan, according to a new Ha’aretz-Dialog poll. The poll results were released as Olmert was meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan, who also reportedly opposes the plan…

Despite the widespread opposition to the plan, however, 51 percent of the public said they believed that it would be implemented, compared to only 32 percent who thought that it would not be carried out. This belief was shared by both supporters and opponents of the plan…

Abdullah, for his part, expressed grave concern about Olmert’s plan to unilaterally draw Israel’s border if efforts to resume peace talks failed, saying that such a move could undermine Jordan’s stability by driving Palestinian refugees into Jordan or empowering Islamic militants inside the kingdom.

Olmert tried to reassure the king by promising that any future moves regarding Israel’s final borders would be made in consultation with Jordan, as well as with Egypt and the United States, since Jordanian stability is also an Israeli interest…

 

MUSLIM WOMEN WANT RIGHT TO VOTE

“Survey shows Muslim women want right to vote” (AFP, June 10, 2006)

Muslim women do not mind the veil but want to vote as they wish, according to a survey released this week, in which respondents did not feel oppression in Muslim countries.

Lebanon had the highest proportion of women who feel they should be allowed to make their own decisions on voting, at 97 percent, followed by Egypt and Morocco, each at 95 percent. Lowest was Pakistan, with 68 percent, according to the Gallup poll…

Although women largely said they should be able to work outside the home and serve in the highest levels of government, they linked sexual equality with the West: 78 percent in Morocco, 71 percent in Lebanon and 48 percent in Saudi Arabia. However, when asked what they least admired about the West, they said moral decay, promiscuity and pornography, which degraded women…

 

GERMAN JEWS ELECT WOMAN AS NEW LEADER

“German Jews elect woman as leader” (Reuters, June 7, 2006)

The Central Council of Jews in Germany have elected 73-year-old Charlotte Knobloch as its president, the first time a woman has been chosen leader of Germany’s Jewish community. The council says it represents some 110,000 Jews, more than half of the estimated 200,000 Jews believed to be living in the country that once tried to wipe them out.

Knobloch was born in the southern German city of Munich and survived the Holocaust by living with a Catholic family in Franconia… She succeeds Paul Spiegel, who died in April after a long battle with leukemia. The other candidate for the council presidency was Salomon Korn, the Polish-born son of a rabbi…



FULL ARTICLES

HAMAS DENIES STATEMENT MOURNING AL-ZARQAWI

Palestinian Hamas denies statement mourning Zarqawi
Reuters
June 9, 2006

today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyid=2006-06-09T102206Z_01_L09462827_RTRUKOC_0_US-MIDEAST-HAMAS-ZARQAWI.xml&src=rss&rpc=22

The ruling Palestinian faction Hamas on Friday denied issuing a statement mourning the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, but hailed him as a symbol of resistance to occupation.

Reuters received a statement on Thursday saying that Hamas mourned Zarqawi, killed in a strike north of Baghdad by U.S. warplanes on Wednesday.

Sami Abu-Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said on Friday that “Hamas did not issue any statement in this regard.”

He also said that Hamas “reiterates its supportive position to all liberation movements and foremost the Iraqi liberation movement, for which Zarqawi was one of the symbols in the face of the American occupation.”

Hamas, an Islamic militant group, took over the Palestinian government in March after winning elections.

It is formally committed to destroying the Jewish state, but has said it could follow a long term truce if Israel withdraws from the occupied West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem, captured in the 1967 war, following a pullout from the Gaza Strip last year.

Hamas, branded a terrorist organization by the United States and Europe, has in the past distanced itself from violence blamed on al-Qaeda, though it has used similar suicide tactics during a Palestinian uprising.

The Hamas government has been under a world financial boycott that has crippled the Palestinian Authority economically in a bid to pressure it to recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept past accords.

 

KIDNAPPED AMERICAN STUDENT RELEASED UNHARMED

Kidnapped American released unharmed
JPost staff and AP
The Jerusalem Post
June 11, 2006

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1149572654519&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

“I had the feeling they were in over their heads,” Benjamin Bright-Fishbein told Israeli security officials after he was released by the Palestinians who had abducted him in Nablus overnight Saturday.

The American student, who was kidnapped by gunmen while having coffee at a Nablus coffee shop, was transferred to the IDF at Hawarah checkpoint. He was reported to be in “good condition.”

Earlier Saturday night, IDF officials said a tape had reached some news outlets showing the 20-year-old exchange student at the Hebrew University of holding photo identification and saying that he had been abducted in the West Bank city. On the tape, the student said that his captors would kill him if Israel did not release Palestinian prisoners, Army Radio reported.

Al-Jazeera reported that Fatah-affiliated Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades claimed the kidnapping.

It appeared that his abductors agreed to release Fishbein because he was an American who did not hold Israeli citizenship.

Fishbein remained in police custody early Sunday, where he contacted his family in the United States and was being questioned about the incident.

Fishbein had recently finished a brief internship at the Jerusalem Post.

Hailing from the Bronx, Benjamin Bright-Fishbein graduated Horace Mann High School in 2003, continuing on to Brown University, where he is majoring in Political Science and Anthropology.

From August-December 2005, he studied at the American University in Cairo before moving across the Canal for another semester abroad, this one at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Bright-Fishbein also has an extensive background in theater and writing. During high school, he was heavily involved with his school’s theater company as Technical Director. At Brown, he wrote opinion columns for the Brown Daily Herald as well as contributing to the “Brown Daily Squeal,” a political blog on campus.

His interests include “acting, writing inflammatory columns in the midst of a homogenous political culture, and being the guy with the multi-tool at the exact right moment.”

 

HAMAS TO ADD TOXIC CHEMICALS TO THEIR BOMBS

Hamas operatives working on adding toxic chemicals to bombs
By Amos Harel
Ha’aretz
June 6, 2006

www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/723309.html

Hamas operatives in the West Bank have experimented with adding toxic chemicals to their bombs, security sources told Haaretz Monday.

The sources said the experiments have involved relatively simple chemicals, and as far as is known, the organization is not yet able to integrate such agents into its bombs effectively. However, they said, Hamas’ West Bank cells include several skilled bombmakers who are investing great effort in trying to upgrade their weapons.

The organization also is amassing large stocks of explosives so operatives will be ready to launch attacks immediately should its leadership decide to end the security “lull,” the sources added.

“Thus far, members of its military wing have not received any orders to commit attacks, since a return to terror at this time would not serve the Palestinian Authority’s Hamas government,” one said. However, he added, they have been instructed to prepare attacks that can be launched the instant the order is given.

“They have no intention of repeating what they’ve done in the past,” he continued. “The tendency is to prepare ‘mega-attacks’ that would create a new balance” of power with Israel.

Currently, Hamas’ West Bank cells are focusing mainly on buying arms, training operatives, setting up explosives factories and conducting experiments. However, a few cells – mainly in the southern West Bank, around Hebron and Bethlehem – are continuing to carry out small-scale attacks. These cells are only loosely connected to the organization’s leadership in Damascus and Gaza, and as long as they keep a relatively low profile and do not claim responsibility for their attacks in Hamas’ name, the leadership does not interfere. One such cell was arrested early this year after murdering six Israeli civilians near Gush Etzion and Hebron.

In Gaza, Hamas operatives often assist attacks carried out by Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees. The rockets fired at Sderot last week, for instance, were made by Hamas, and “rebellious” members of the organization helped launch them. The Shin Bet security service also accused senior Hamas operatives of having helped the Popular Resistance Committees prepare a attack in April at the Karni crossing between Gaza and Israel. That plan was foiled by PA security personnel.

There is also one type of attack to which Hamas’ leadership has given its unequivocal blessing: attempts to kidnap Israeli soldiers or civilians for use in negotiations over the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

Senior operative arrested

The Shin Bet and police arrested a senior Hamas operative in Ramallah two weeks ago who was responsible for planning several “mega-attacks.” The arrest was made public Monday.

Ibrahim Hamed heads Hamas’ military wing in the West Bank. His planned attacks included attempts to blow up railway tracks and an attempted bombing of the Pi Glilot gas storage facility.

Two of his assistants were also arrested in Ramallah Sunday.

 

SWISS FOIL PLOT TO SHOOT DOWN ISRAELI AIRPLANE

Terrorist gang planned to hit Israeli airliner with rocket
The Daily Telegraph
June 9, 2006

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/06/09/wswiss09.xml

Swiss intelligence agents foiled a plot to shoot down an Israeli aeroplane, the country’s federal prosecutor said yesterday.

Several North African members of an alleged terrorist cell were arrested.

Intelligence services believed terrorists planned to fire a rocket at an El Al flight over Switzerland in December.

The prosecutor’s office said the gang members were identified in early 2005 and lived off the profits of a series of robberies in Zurich and elsewhere.

It dismissed media reports that agents had seized a rocket-propelled grenade, surface-to-air missile or explosives. But prosecution officials claimed the gang had links to terrorist groups in Spain and France.

One member had been in contact with Mohamed Achraf, a North African Muslim extremist extradited from Switzerland to Spain in April 2005 for allegedly plotting to blow up Spain’s highest court.

Osama bin Laden’s al-Qa’eda network claimed responsibility for a similar attack in 2002 on an Israeli plane carrying 261 people.

Two shoulder-fired rockets were aimed as the plane flew over Mombassa, Kenya, but they missed their target.

 

56 PERCENT OF ISRAELIS OPPOSE OLMERT’S CONVERGENCE PLAN

Poll: Most Israelis oppose convergence
By Ha’aretz Correspondents and AP, By Yossi Verter, Aluf Benn and Jack Khoury
Ha’aretz
June 9, 2006

www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/724830.html

Some 56 percent of Israelis oppose Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s convergence plan, according to a new Haaretz-Dialog poll. The poll results were released as Olmert was meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan, who also reportedly opposes the plan.

The poll, which questioned a representative sample of 515 respondents, found that only 37 percent of Israelis support the plan, which calls for a massive unilateral withdrawal in the West Bank, while 7 percent are undecided. Unsurprisingly, most of the supporters were people who had voted for one of the two main coalition parties, Kadima and Labor. But a whopping 83 percent of people who voted for Shas, the third-largest coalition party, said that they oppose the plan.

Despite the widespread opposition to the plan, however, 51 percent of the public said they believed that it would be implemented, compared to only 32 percent who thought that it would not be carried out. This belief was shared by both supporters and opponents of the plan.

At his meeting with Abdullah yesterday, which took place at the king’s palace in Amman, Olmert assured the Jordanian leader that Israel would prefer to reach a negotiated solution with the Palestinians and promised to meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas soon. Only if a negotiated solution proved impossible would Israel proceed with unilateral steps, he said.

But according to Israeli sources, Olmert also told the king that if Jordan really wanted serious negotiations between the sides, it must work with the Egyptians and help to create a partner. “Pressure the Palestinians to accept the Quartet’s principles [recognizing Israel, abandoning terror and accepting previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements] and to implement the road map [peace plan], and we’ll begin negotiations immediately,” the Israeli prime minister said.

Abdullah, for his part, expressed grave concern about Olmert’s plan to unilaterally draw Israel’s border if efforts to resume peace talks failed, saying that such a move could undermine Jordan’s stability by driving Palestinian refugees into Jordan or empowering Islamic militants inside the kingdom.

Olmert tried to reassure the king by promising that any future moves regarding Israel’s final borders would be made in consultation with Jordan, as well as with Egypt and the United States, since Jordanian stability is also an Israeli interest.

During a private meeting that lasted about 45 minutes, the two leaders also discussed issues such as strategic cooperation between Israel and Jordan and the assassination of Iraqi terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi earlier in the day. After the private meeting, they held a working meeting with their aides, with this session focusing primarily on economic issues, such as free trade manufacturing zones and the construction of a joint airport that would serve both Eilat and Aqaba.

After the meeting, the leaders gave brief statements to the press. The statements contained no references either to the killing of Zarqawi or the convergence plan, however, and they declined to take questions from reporters.

Flanked by Israeli and Jordanian flags on a hot day outside the palace, Abdullah said that there could be no substitute for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We emphasized Jordan’s position that a two-state solution is the only solution that we should seek. It is a solution that must be achieved through bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that are based on the road map,” the king said, referring to an internationally backed peace plan outlining steps for the creation of a Palestinian state.

Jordan, he added, had promised to help Israel and the Palestinians to achieve peace, and he and Olmert had agreed to stay in close contact for this purpose over the coming weeks.

Abdullah also expressed concern over the “deteriorating economic and humanitarian situation” in the Palestinian Authority following a crippling economic aid boycott of the Hamas-led government. “We expressed Jordan’s desire for all parties to work together to guarantee the resumption of assistance to the Palestinian people,” he said.

Olmert reiterated Israel’s commitment to the road map, adding: “Political stalemate in the Middle East is bad for Israel, bad for the Palestinians and bad for Jordan and the region. It is essential to avoid stagnation.

“I assured His Majesty that I intend to meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in order to encourage the process that will enable us to make progress in accordance with the road map,” he continued.

Olmert also said that Israel would not oppose any humanitarian aid that Jordan chose to deliver to the Palestinians, and that he was “encouraged” by Jordan and Israel’s mutual “commitment against global terror.”

After speaking, the two leaders shook hands, smiled and re-entered the palace together.

Prior to their meeting, both leaders were engaged in trying to drum up support among other world leaders for their respective positions on the convergence plan. Both recently visited Washington to lobby U.S. President George Bush on the issue; Abdullah has also been in touch with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whom Olmert met with earlier this week. In addition, Abdullah traveled to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday in an apparent effort to coordinate a moderate Arab front regarding Israel-Palestinian relations, which have worsened since Hamas assumed power in the PA.

 

MUSLIM WOMEN SAY THEY WANT RIGHT TO VOTE

Survey shows Muslim women want right to vote
Agence France Presse (AFP)
June 10, 2006

www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=73082

Muslim women do not mind the veil but want to vote as they wish, according to a survey released this week, in which respondents did not feel oppression in Muslim countries.

Lebanon had the highest proportion of women who feel they should be allowed to make their own decisions on voting, at 97 percent, followed by Egypt and Morocco, each at 95 percent. Lowest was Pakistan, with 68 percent, according to The New York Times reporting on a Gallup poll.

None of the 8,000 women surveyed even mentioned the use of the headscarf or the full-length burqa in open-ended questions, the Times said.

Despite the suffragist leanings, Muslim women set aside their own issues and said their countries had greater problems, such as violent extremism, corruption and lack of unity among Muslim countries.

Although women largely said they should be able to work outside the home and serve in the highest levels of government, they linked sexual equality with the West: 78 percent in Morocco, 71 percent in Lebanon and 48 percent in Saudi Arabia, the New York daily reported.

However, when asked what they least admired about the West, they said moral decay, promiscuity and pornography, which degraded women.

A majority of the women said that economic or political advancement in Muslim countries would notimprove with the adoption of Western values, the survey said, according to the New York daily.

Individual face-to-face interviews were conducted among 8,000 women in 2005 for “What Women Want: Listening to the Voices of Muslim Women,” part of The Gallup World Poll, a project to canvass 95 percent of the world’s people.

Overwhelming majorities of the women said the best aspect of their cultures was their countries’ “attachment to moral and spiritual values,” the Times said of the poll.

“Women’s empowerment has been identified as a key goal of US policy in the region,” said Dalia Mogahed, of The Gallup World Poll.

However, Mogahed said that what Muslim women really want has not been plumbed.

Egyptian-born Mogahed wears a headscarf, and said Muslim women have not been brainwashed, according to the Times.

She cited as proof statements of the respondents that they deserved certain rights.

“In every culture there is a dominant narrative, and in many cases it is constructed by people in power who happen to be men,” she was quoted as saying in the Times.

 

GERMAN JEWS ELECT A WOMAN AS THEIR NEW LEADER

German Jews elect woman as leader
Holocaust survivor Charlotte Knobloch is first woman to been chosen leader of Germany’s Jewish community
Reuters
June 7, 2006

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3260031,00.html

The Central Council of Jews in Germany elected 73-year-old Charlotte Knobloch as its president on Wednesday, the first time a woman has been chosen leader of Germany’s Jewish community.

The council says it represents some 110,000 Jews, more than half of the estimated 200,000 Jews believed to be living in the country that once tried to wipe them out.

Knobloch became vice president of the council in 1997 and was named vice president of the New York-based World Jewish Congress in 2005.

She was born in the southern German city of Munich and survived the Holocaust by living with a Catholic family in Franconia.

Knobloch was the daughter of well-known Munich lawyer Fritz Neuland. After World War Two, Knobloch had intended to immigrate to the United States but settled back in Munich instead.

Knobloch has called for a ban on right-wing extremist parties in Germany, including the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD). She has also criticized Berlin for not being forceful enough in its fight against neo-Nazi extremism.

State’s support

She succeeds Paul Spiegel, who died in April after a long battle with leukaemia. The other candidate for the council presidency was Salomon Korn, the Polish-born son of a rabbi.

Spiegel signed an accord in January 2003 with then German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder which gave the council the same legal status as the country’s main churches and annual government support of three million euros.

At the time of the council’s founding in 1950, there were only 15,000 Jews left in Germany. In 1933 – the year Adolf Hitler took power – there were an estimated 600,000 Jews in Germany.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.