* Israel’s “Lost tribe of Obama” celebrates by slaughtering goats
* Poll: Only 19% of Americans say Israeli-Palestinian peace should top Obama’s priorities
1. Afghan schoolgirls blinded with acid for not wearing full burqua
2. A 13-year-old, stoned to death for being raped
3. Cairo protest over repeated Saudi whipping of doctor
4. Saudi official: Ok to kill owners of “immoral TV”
5. Fayad fails to mention Judaism among faiths devoted to Jerusalem
6. Baghdad’s Jews on edge of extinction
7. Oxford students in “dress like a greedy Jew” party row
8. Christmas is scrapped in Oxford
9. UC Berkeley: pro-Israel students called “Nazis” and “dogs,” assaulted on campus
10. London University event likens Gaza to Warsaw Ghetto
11. A mentally impaired young British man groomed into becoming a suicide bomber
12. Only 19% of Americans say Israeli-Palestinian peace should top Obama’s priorities
13. Israel’s “Lost tribe of Obama” celebrates by slaughtering goats
14. Song of the day
[All notes below by Tom Gross]
AFGHAN SCHOOLGIRLS BLINDED WITH ACID FOR NOT WEARING FULL BURQUA
(First published by myself on NRO on Friday, Nov. 14)
Lately it has become popular among some elite European opinion-makers to call for the abandonment of Afghanistan to the Taliban. For example, yesterday Britain’s BBC and Sky News both carried stories attempting to put pressure on the British government to withdraw troops.
It is worth reminding people exactly what abandoning Afghanistan to the Taliban means. Yesterday, three Afghan schoolgirls suffered serious burns when attackers sprayed acid in their faces as they walked to school in Kandahar. The attackers ripped off the girls’ headscarves before the attack, while other schoolgirls wearing the full-length burqua accompanying them were left untouched.
(For picture of one of the schoolgirls sprayed with acid being treated in Kandahar hospital, see here.)
Girls were banned from going to school under the Taliban regime between 1996 and 2001. Since then, Taliban attackers have killed dozens of teachers and students and torched many school buildings in an attempt to close down the schools for girls that reopened after George W. Bush liberated Afghanistan.
Last week the BBC broadcast an hour of propaganda, on its “World Have Your Say question-and-answer session with the Taliban.” The BBC presenter opened the program by saying (apparently in all earnestness): “Everybody is asking... what do the Taliban want?” He went on, “What can we do to make you the Taliban feel less threatened?”
A 13-YEAR-OLD, STONED TO DEATH FOR BEING RAPED
(First published by myself on NRO on Saturday Nov. 1)
She was 13. She was gang raped. And her punishment for this “adultery” was to be stoned to death last week on the orders of an Islamic court in Somalia by dozens of men in a stadium packed with 1,000 spectators.
But why does MSNBC call the perpetrators “militants” rather than murderers?
And why is this story on several prominent websites today, including Fox News, but it is nowhere to be found today on The New York Times’s website? Is The New York Times really “The paper of record” that it claims to be?
The murdered girl’s name was Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow. Let us try to remember it.
CAIRO PROTEST OVER REPEATED SAUDI WHIPPING OF DOCTOR
In a rare public protest, a group of demonstrators in Cairo last Tuesday called for the release of an Egyptian doctor sentenced by a court in Saudi Arabia to 15 years in jail and 1,500 lashes. The lashes, due to be carried out in stages over a considerable period of time, are almost impossible for any human being to bear, and several fellow doctors said it would be difficult for the condemned doctor, Raouf Amin, to survive.
The head of the Egyptian Union of Human Rights handed a petition to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak asking him to intervene in Amin’s case.
A Saudi judge said Amin was responsible for a Saudi princess becoming a drug addict while under his medical supervision. Amin’s son told The Egyptian Daily News that the woman was already addicted to painkillers before he began treating her. When Amin appealed against his sentence, it was doubled to its current level. Some of his relatives in Egypt have suffered a breakdown at the thought of his having to endure such a punishment.
SAUDI OFFICIAL: OK TO KILL OWNERS OF “IMMORAL TV”
I don’t think we’ll be seeing “MTV Saudi Arabia” anytime soon.
MSNBC reports that Saudi Arabia’s top judiciary official has issued a religious decree ruling it permissible to kill the owners of satellite TV networks that broadcast “immoral content.” The 79-year-old Sheikh Saleh al-Lihedan said that satellite channels had led to “deviance in thousands of people.”
Many of the most popular Arab satellite networks – which include channels showing music videos – are owned by Saudi princes and well-connected Saudi businessmen. Al-Lihedan did not specify any particular channels.
Al-Lihedan is chief of the kingdom’s highest tribunal, the Supreme Judiciary Council.
FAYAD FAILS TO MENTION JUDAISM AMONG FAITHS DEVOTED TO JERUSALEM
“Jerusalem is holy to two religions, Islam and Christianity,” Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad told the UN-organized interfaith peace conference last Wednesday night. (Fayad is regularly described as a “moderate” and “pragmatist” in western media.)
Israel has complained that Fayad failed to mention the importance of Israel’s capital to Judaism, the only religion for which Jerusalem is the most important city.
The forum had earlier been addressed by Israeli President Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni
HAMAS FIRES HEAVIER ROCKETS AT ISRAEL
Meanwhile, rockets continue to rain down on southern Israel. Several Israelis were injured, including children and an 80-year-old woman. The rockets fired included several advanced Grad-type missiles. During the “ceasefire” Hamas has been able to smuggle in or manufacture greater range rockets. For the first time yesterday residents of Ashdod, which lies south of Tel Aviv, held “Code Red” drills in city schools.
On Sunday, after an intelligence operation, a member of the Tanzim unit of the “moderate” Fatah movement was arrested at a warehouse in Nablus where he was manufacturing explosive belts for use in suicide attacks.
BAGHDAD’S JEWS ON EDGE OF EXTINCTION
There are only eight Jews left in Baghdad, reports the Reuters news agency from Iraq.
It is unusual for international news agencies to write about the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arab countries.
In its piece, Reuters notes that Iraq’s Jewish community dates from biblical times. According to Charles Tripp’s History of Iraq, the country was home to 117,000 Jews in 1947. Under Ottoman rule, and well into the first half of the 20th century, Jews made up 20 percent of the population of Baghdad.
“Speaking in fluent English, an ex-accountant who was interviewed – one of Baghdad’s last Jews – launches into a description of the Baghdad of his youth, one of the Muslim world’s most cosmopolitan cities. He recites the names of legendary social clubs where Jews, Christians and Muslims mingled in better days, with music and whisky and parties that ran through the night,” reports Reuters.
OXFORD STUDENTS IN “DRESS LIKE A GREEDY JEW” PARTY ROW
Oxford University has launched an investigation after students allegedly held a party at which they were told to arrive dressed as Orthodox Jews carrying bags of money.
The party, held last Wednesday, has been condemned by the Jewish community as “blatantly anti-Semitic,” according to The Guardian’s education supplement.
A spokesman for the Union of Jewish Students in the UK said: “The actions of a few students have caused real offence. We are appalled that in 2008 old myths and anti-Semitic stereotypes are still appearing among supposedly educated students.”
Some Jewish students at Oxford say they were feeling “isolated and vulnerable”.
“Other students wouldn’t dare stereotype Black or Muslim students in this way,” said one.
Oxford University issued a statement saying “the university unreservedly condemns racial stereotyping.”
CHRISTMAS IS SCRAPPED IN OXFORD
Council leaders in Oxford have decided to ban the word Christmas from this year’s festive celebrations to make them more “inclusive”. But its decision to rename the series of Christmas events the “Winter Light Festival” has been criticized even by non-Christian religious leaders.
Sabir Hussain Mirza, chairman of the Muslim Council of Oxford, told The Observer newspaper: “This is the one occasion which everyone looks forward to in the year. Christians, Muslims and other religions all look forward to Christmas. I’m angry and very, very disappointed. Christmas is special and we shouldn’t ignore it.”
Rabbi Eli Bracknell, of Oxford, said: “It’s important to maintain a traditional British Christmas. Anything that waters down traditional culture and Christianity in the UK is not positive for the British identity.”
One dissenting council member said: “There’s going to be a Christmas tree, and even if the lights are called something else, to me they will be Christmas lights.”
UC BERKELEY: PRO-ISRAEL STUDENTS CALLED “NAZIS” AND “DOGS,” ASSAULTED ON CAMPUS
A group of pro-Palestinian students disrupted an Israeli hip-hop concert at the campus of the University of California at Berkeley on Thursday night.
Students attending the concert were assaulted. One concertgoer suffered concussion after receiving blows to the back of his head.
Police were called in and arrested the leader of the anti-Israel group, Husam Zakharia, and other members of his group, charging them with battery.
According to press reports, the anti-Israel students shouted curses throughout the incident, calling the pro-Israel students “Nazis” and “dogs,” and threatening to kill them.
Jewish organizations have requested that the University of California “take a unified stand against the continued harassment of Jewish and pro-Israel students on campus.”
LONDON UNIVERSITY EVENT LIKENS GAZA TO WARSAW GHETTO
An event titled “From the Warsaw Ghetto to the Gaza Ghetto” took place last Wednesday at Goldsmith’s College at the University of London. Goldsmith’s was recently “twinned” with Al-Quds University in Jerusalem.
Among the speakers at the event was Suzanne Weiss, a member of the Toronto-based group “Jews against Zionism” that encourages boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Weiss claimed that Israel “uses many of the methods of Nazism to oppress the Palestinians.” Weiss was joined by Palestinian academic Ghada Ageel, a virulently anti-Israeli politics lecturer at Exeter University, who is often a guest “expert” on the BBC.
In case anyone needs reminding (as some London university students obviously do) the ghetto in the Polish capital, established in October 1940, constituted less than three square miles. Over 400,000 Jews were then crammed into it, about 30 percent of the population of Warsaw. 254,000 were sent to Treblinka where they were exterminated. Most of the rest were murdered in other ways. The ghetto was completely cleared of Jews by the end of May 1943.
A MENTALLY IMPAIRED YOUNG BRITISH MAN GROOMED INTO BECOMING A SUICIDE BOMBER
A mentally impaired Muslim convert, Nicky Reilly, has pleaded guilty to attempted murder and preparing to commit acts of terrorism. The young man was groomed on the internet by Muslim extremists, who encouraged him to carry out a suicide bomb attack at a busy restaurant in Exeter in southwest England.
According to his family, Nicky had been “radicalized” and “brainwashed” by two men who claimed to be linked with Al-Qaeda. Reilly’s plan failed when one of the homemade bombs exploded in his hands as he assembled them in a toilet cubicle.
ISRAEL’S “LOST TRIBE OF OBAMA” CELEBRATES BY SLAUGHTERING GOATS
(First published by myself on NRO on Nov. 13)
8,000 Bedouin Arabs in northern Israel are the latest to stake their claim to be “the lost tribe of Obama.” A sheikh in the Galilee says he has evidence that he and his family are “linked by blood” to the new President.
“We knew about it years ago but we were afraid to mention it because we didn’t want to influence the election,” said Abdul Rahman Sheikh Abdullah, a 53-year-old local council member in the small Bedouin village of Bir al-Maksour.
Following Obama’s election victory, Sheikh Abdullah handed out sweets and huge dishes of baklava traditional honey-sweetened pastries to everyone in the area, and plans to hold a large party next week at which he will slaughter a dozen goats to feed the village.
It is true that many African migrant workers were brought to the Galilee by rich Arab sheikhs in the 1930s. One of those men was a relative of Barack Obama’s Kenyan grandmother, Sheikh Abdullah maintains.
“The sheikhs from all the villages are talking about it. There’s a whole delegation of Druze leaders coming from the Golan Heights to congratulate us,” he said.
POLL: ONLY 19% OF AMERICANS SAY ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE SHOULD TOP OBAMA’S PRIORITIES
Ha’aretz reports that only 6 percent of Americans think the U.S. should favor the Palestinians in Middle East peace talks, according to a new poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.
66 percent of those polled on Nov. 4 said the U.S. should support Israel in the peace process. (80 percent of Republican voters and 59 percent of Democrats took this position.)
Only 19 percent thought “making peace between Israel and the Palestinians” should be among President-elect Barack Obama’s top foreign policy priorities.
Almost two-thirds of Americans said they were more concerned about the nuclear standoff with Iran; some 72 percent of those polled agreed with the statement that “even with all the problems that America faces at home now, we must still work hard to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.”
SONG OF THE DAY
In an effort to counterbalance some of the often highly depressing stories posted in these dispatches, I occasionally try and attach some light items too.
Here is Louis Armstrong singing the classic “Dream a little dream of me.”
For me, Louis Armstrong was one of the greatest American artists – in any of the arts – of the twentieth century. He was also something which great artists aren’t very often, a wonderfully warm and attractive personality.