In a season in which there is very little "peace on Earth" and even less "good will towards men," it is a particularly tough time for Jews, who may be finding it more and more difficult to tell who their real friends are.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta fired an unusually harsh salvo across the Israelis bow. In a speech at a Brookings Institution forum, he urged Israel to get to the "d--n table" for peace talks. It must have escaped Panetta's notice that the Palestinians are the ones refusing to come to the "d--n table" unless their unacceptable demands are met. These include, depending on the day, the cessation of construction projects, even on pre-1967 Israeli land, the so-called "right of return" of "Palestinian refugees," a concession by Israel to re-draw its borders to 1967 lines -- though such borders would be completely indefensible against an inevitable attack -- and the re-division of Jerusalem, which Israel rightly sees as its capital. Meanwhile, the Palestinian side concedes almost nothing and fulfills none of its promises. Neither is it held accountable for its behavior.
In a report appearing earlier today, Karl Ritter at the Associated Press wanted U.S. readers to know that the "radical right" in Europe is turning into a really big problem. Why, these people have the nerve to object to the fact that "Muslim immigrants are colonizing Europe with the tacit approval of left-wing political elites." "Colonization" seems to be an inaccurate word; substitute "taking control of portions of" and you've got it about right.
Ritter engages in the usual guilt by association as he tries to tie protest groups to Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, who killed no Muslims and was from all accounts I could find a loner. "Somehow," Ritter forgot to mention three specific items (there are probably more, but anyone following European news since the 2005 French riots should at least know about these) which represent clear evidence of attempts at de facto Muslim control: no-go zones, "honor killings," and the seemingly incurable wave of car burnings occurring continually throughout Europe. First, a few paragraphs from Ritter's report, with scare words bolded:
If you don't hear much about the Iranian mob which stormed the British embassy earlier today in future news reports, you can probably at least partially blame the Associated Press, which considers the event so unimportant that it's not even part of its main U.S. site's top ten world stories as of 10:25 p.m. (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes).
For those who are curious as to the identification of the ten stories considered more important, here they are:
On Monday, the Daily Kos covered the Saturday night GOP debate in Iowa with a typical headline "Republicans pander to American Taliban." (Who's doing the pandering? That's also the title of the latest book by Kos bloglord Markos Moulitsas.) Jed Lewison insisted Rick Santorum was Talibanesque when he said, in the Washington Post account: “As long as abortion is legal in this country... we will never have rest because that law does not comport with God’s law.”
Lewison proclaimed: "So the next time you hear Rick Santorum complain about government imposition of Sharia law, keep in mind that he doesn't have a problem with violating the separation of church and state. To him, the only thing that matters is whether the government is imposing his beliefs." (Italics in the original.) Blogs like Right Wing Watch (from People for the American Way) seized on the answer.
At the tail end of the second hour of the Diane Rehm Show on many NPR stations Friday, defense reporter James Kitfield of the National Journal broke out his outrage about the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, which was firebombed this week. Like Time's Bruce Crumley, Kitfield saved his outrage for the "irresponsible" satirists and all his sensitivity for the Muslims of France.
In the Huffington Post, French journalist Romina Ruiz-Goiriena complained that while "For many, the publication has been an iconic soapbox for the far French left since its creation in 1960," it failed to achieve what freedom should: "The issue was not thought-provoking; it simply contributed to burgeoning anti-Muslim sentiment. What it should have been doing was pushing the conversation forward to confront the seemingly dormant but rampant institutional bigotry. After all, is that not the point of having a free press tradition in the first place?"
Islamists firebombed a satirical newspaper in France named Charlie Hebdo. Time magazine, on its “Global Spin” blog, uncorked outrage – against the newspaper. Time’s Paris bureau chief Bruce Crumley blamed the “insolent” newspaper for the bombing. The headline was “Firebombed French Paper Is No Free Speech Martyr.” Ace of Spades says the URL suggests the original title may have been even worse: "Firebombed French Paper: A Victim of Islam, Or Its Own Obnoxious Islamaphobia?"
Don’t try telling Crumley that an omnidirectional print equivalent of South Park defines free speech: “As such, Charlie Hebdo has cultivated its insolence proudly as a kind of public duty—pushing the limits of freedom of speech, come what may. But that seems more self-indulgent and willfully injurious when it amounts to defending the right to scream ‘fire’ in an increasingly over-heated theater.”
The "mildly Islamist" party that won a plurality of votes in recent Tunisian elections is not a troubling sign, nor is the possibility that Egypt and Libya may be moving in an Islamist direction post-Qadhafi and Mubarak, Reza Aslan argued in a Sunday "Guest Voices" piece for WashingtonPost.com's "On Faith" section (emphases mine)
CNN tried to tie Jesus to a liberal movement on Wednesday as correspondent Carol Costello labeled various religious authorities as supporters of the "Occupy Wall Street" protests – even as she reported that protests became violent at "Occupy Oakland."
"'Occupy Oakland' protesters hurled paint at riot police, and riot police hurled tear gas. Jesus, here?" Costello asked during the 11 a.m. hour. "Yes. And the Vatican seems to be backing them up," she added. [Video below the break.]
The "moderate Islamist group" Ennahdha appears to have garnered the most support in last week's elections in Tunisia, Leila Fadel of the Washington Post reported in the October 25 paper.
Fadel noted that Ennahdha was "brutally repressed' during longtime dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's reign and insisted that the party now has broad appeal "not only [among] the religious but also socially conservative voters who saw it as an authentic Tunisian party that respects the Arab and Islamic character of the nation."
Yet nowhere in Fadel's story does the Post correspondent note that Ennahdha -- which means Renaissance in English -- supported the Islamic Revolution in Iran, has backed terrorism, and been generally anti-American in its rhetoric, Jerusalem Post's Oren Kessler noted yesterday:
Yesterday (since updated to early morning Monday), in what should be seen as a thoroughly embarrassing report -- but mostly won't be -- the Associated Press's Jay Lindsay in Boston, with help from Karen Matthews in New York, devoted almost 1,000 words to the involvement of various religious clerics in the ongoing Occupy Wall Street activities.
Before getting to their report, I'll bring readers up-to-date on the starkly irreligious, anti-religious, and, yes, downright sinful elements of Occupy Wall Street which Lindsay and Matthews chose to totally ignore in their report. The video involved comes from MinnesotaMajority.org, and follows the jump (Direct YouTube; HT Powerline; Warning - some strong language and disturbing images):
"Libya’s top leader declared the country officially 'liberated' Sunday from the four-decade rule of Moammar Gaddafi, pledging to replace his dictatorship with a more democratic but also a more strictly Islamic system," Washington Post staff writer Mary Beth Sheridan noted in the lead paragraph of her October 24 front-page article, "Libya declares liberation days after Gaddafi death."
Sheridan noted two possible significant policy changes that transitional leaders are examining: banning interest on housing loans and loosening the existing restrictions on Libyan men taking more than one wife.
Hundreds of Coptic Christians traveled to Washington D.C. yesterday "from as far as New York and Chicago" to call on President Obama to push Egypt's government to protect their brothers and sisters from persecution.
Kudos are in order for the Washington Post for devoting a 14-paragraph story on page B3 of the October 20 paper. Editors also published a large photo from the demonstration, headlined, "At the White House, Coptic Christians demand an end to 'horrible nightmare,'" on the front page of the Post to direct readers to the Metro section story.
Only at the self-described "Essential Global News Network" could the Sunday deaths in Egypt of 26 people, mostly Coptic Christians, be kept out of a story's headline and their mention deferred until the third paragraph.
But that's what readers will see in the four-paragraph grab which follows from a much longer item by the Associated Press's Maggie Michael yesterday:
At the top of Thursday's Anderson Cooper 360, CNN's Cooper ran his first critical "Keeping Them Honest" segment on GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain since he is "no longer a voice on the fringe." Cooper pulled up quotes Cain made months ago, using a "Think Progress" clip, in an effort to hold him accountable for months' worth of statements on Sharia law and Planned Parenthood, among other issues.
Meanwhile, on the same day, President Obama gave a press conference on his jobs bill that the AP found five factual problems with, but which merited only a brief segment on Thursday's Anderson Cooper 360. [Video below the break. Click here for audio.]
CBS's Jim Axelrod spotlighted a Michigan high school football team mostly made up of Muslim students on Friday's Early Show and trumpeted the "the strength of this diverse community." An array of student athletes and school officials from Fordson High School in Dearborn, Michigan fought against a phantom of "Islamophobia" that was only vaguely described.
In covering Fordson's custom of holding August practice from midnight to 4 am to be Ramadan-friendly, and despite playing video of students praying in Arabic while in their football uniforms, Axelrod didn't raise the usual ACLU-flagged church-state issues one might find a similar story on devout Christian students upsetting "diversity" in a school setting.
[Video clips from the segment available below the jump.]
Friday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC gave attention to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision to exclude all clergy from taking part in the upcoming commemoration of the 9/11 attacks. Substitute host Juan Williams introduced the segment.
The ongoing panic and paranoia about the Fundamentalist Menace continues with Frank Schaeffer and liberal media outlets. On Thursday, he appeared on the Ed Schultz radio show with guest host and trial lawyer Mike Papantonio, who tried to freshen up the fright-wig dialogue by bringing up the assassination of Abe Lincoln: "The South got pulled into the Civil War over religious politics. They murdered Abraham Lincoln, the people that murdered Abraham Lincoln under that conspiracy. They were zealot nuts."
When they talked about Byron York's question to Michele Bachmann in the Iowa debate if she was "submissive" to her husband, Schaeffer compared conservative Christian Republicans such as Perry and Bachmann to "fundamentalist" Muslims and Hindus who murder in the name of their religion:
This morning, in a series leading up to the 10th Anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the Denver Post begins a series on Muslims in America, with an article profiling some prominent members of the Denver Muslim community. Yours truly makes a cameo appearance, in the profile discussing a well-publicized 2008 primary race for the State House.
Rima Barakat-Sinclair's offenses against civility and the truth extend far beyond what was noted in the article, and include denying on air that the Hamas Charter called for the destruction of Israel, and the claim in a Jordanian newspaper interview that American support for Israel is a result of Jews like Rupert Murdoch (sic) investing in the media.
Live from the Iowa State Fair, CNN's Don Lemon asked Republican presidential nominee Herman Cain if he could win the Iowa vote for the Republican nomination and for president, given that Cain belongs to a "mostly-white party" and is campaigning in a "mostly-white state."
Lemon had said the two had a "passionate conversation" prior to going on air, where he asked Cain "do you think in a party – in a mostly-white party in a mostly-white state, did you really stand a chance, not only of a nomination, of becoming President?"
On Sunday morning, CNN featured Islam in its “Faces of Faith” segment in the 8 am hour. The guest who came on to describe Ramadan and how too many American Muslims don’t feel they are respected was...Maria Ebrahimji, CNN’s own Director of Network Booking. Apparently, Ebrahimji, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, has embraced her role as a Muslim advocate inside CNN:
CNN's Fareed Zakaria made it quite clear last summer that he supported the construction of the Ground Zero mosque. He was much more neutral in an interview with the mosque's developer Sunday, but was content to let his guest tell his side of the story without any scrutiny from the CNN host.
Although the once-proposed mosque is no longer making headlines, Zakaria decided anyway to feature the mosque's developer Sharif El-Gamal for a soft interview one year after the controversy ignited. El-Gamal received fawning coverage by CBS and NBC last summer for his work.
In an otherwise typically dismal column about President Barack Obama which is one part pity party and another part an attempt at building him a he-man reputation (not kidding), New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd describes an upcoming movie featuring the exploits of Navy SEAL Team 6 in the operation which killed Osama Bin Laden on May 1.
Dowd celebrates the fact that the movie's currently anticipated opening is October 12, 2012, describing it as "perfectly timed" and "just as Obamaland was hoping." She expects that it will "give a home-stretch boost to a campaign that has grown tougher," and "counter Obama’s growing reputation as ineffectual."
Here are the relevant paragraphs from Dowd's column, including reference to a New Yorker column about the operation which has become the subject of considerable controversy (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Most journalists would never correlate terrorism with Islam for fear of being criticized as Islamophobic, but now they are relishing in the opportunity to connect Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik to Christianity using a fairly weak link.
Breivik, who published a manifesto hours before his shooting spree, discussed his cultural connection to Christianity only as a vehicle by which he could accomplish his goal of a pure Nordic race. He even wrote, "I'm not going to pretend I'm a very religious person, as that would be a lie." Nevertheless, Breivik's supposedly radical Christian beliefs are making the headlines, instead of his truly radical belief of eliminating Muslims through modern eugenics.
At a hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security today about the radicalization of young Somali American Muslims by the al-Shabaab terrorist group, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said the committee should hold a hearing on “right-wing extremists” in the United States.
Jackson Lee used much of her allotted five minutes to question panelists with expertise on radicalization about the alleged hacking into telephones of 9-11 victims by the now-closed News of the World tabloid in England.
On Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed that Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik "seemed to be heavily influenced by some people in this country who write and blog about the perceived threat from Islam."
In the report that followed, correspondent Michael Isikoff noted how writings of Robert Spencer, the associate director of Stop the Islamization of America, were cited several times in Breivik's 1,500-page manifesto and declared that "some analysts say words can be weapons themselves." A sound bite was featured of Heidi Beirich of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center: "When you push the demonization of populations, you often end up with violence."
As the White House and Congress debate cuts in federal spending, millions of dollars are being funneled overseas to help build many Islamic mosques and structures.
An Atlanta television news station, WSB, reported that "the State Department is sending millions of dollars to save mosques overseas. This investment has received criticism as the United States makes an effort to slash nearly $4 trillion in government spending." The anchor noted that the U.S. Agency for International Development has granted copious funds for mosques in Cairo, Cyprus, Tajikistan and Mali.