News and Analysis (4/19/19)

April 19th, 2019

Candidate Trump correctly stated that American Middle East policy “made the Middle East more unstable and chaotic than ever before” but on Tuesday he “vetoed a resolution to do exactly that”:

“[O]wnership of about 90 percent of land in the eastern part of the city is not listed in the Israel Land Registry, Consequently, Palestinian … [landowners] cannot submit applications for construction permits”:

The winner’s choice of a running mate intolerant of “Shiites, Ahmadiyya Muslims, LGBTQ people, and more … shows how … Islamic credentials have become central to authority and credibility in Indonesian politics“:

Designed “to target Muslims, especially Muslim women wearing the hijab or niqab, … in also condemning kippot, the bill inadvertently calls attention to the profound affinity between Islam and Judaism”:

500 were placed in administrative detention, which allows detainees to be held indefinitely without charge or trial”:

“Intelligence officials reportedly were concerned about the report’s framing, saying they suspected it was painting Iran in a deliberately unflattering light rather than providing an objective assessment” …

… meanwhile, designating the IRGC a foreign terrorist organization threatens “the passage of bills that would have Iran meet international standards for combating money laundering and terrorism financing”:

“We do not have free media. We have a state-run TV and radio. If we had 500 media outlets, cyberspace would not have been so congested. [People resort to cyberspace] because they have no other place”–Rouhani …

… like criminalizing women who wear no headscarf, criminalizing those who don’t “is an extreme form of gender-based discrimination and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment that deeply damages women’s dignity”:

“Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said relations with Turkey are the best they’ve been in decades, while Rouhani struck a conciliatory tone amid Saudi and Emirati flood aid”:

“I think as the world increasingly becomes more polarized, there’s more people willing to listen to Palestinians”–Journalist and filmmaker Mariam Shahin:

News and Analysis (4/16/19)

April 16th, 2019

“A fire broke out at Al-Marwani Prayer Room in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound yesterday, at the same time as the world watched Paris’ iconic Notre Dame Cathedral engulfed in flames”:

“Omar was arguably incautious with her choice of words… , but those who dragged her for this were engaged in ‘patriotic correctness,’ a right-wing variety of political correctness”:

“The counsel informed the bench that Muslim women were allowed to enter a mosque at the holy Mecca and also in Canada”:

The Urdu language Pakistani program aired in Britain contained vicious, unsubstantiated and even absurd (e.g., that the repressed Ahmadis enjoy a favored status over other Muslims in Pakistan) allegations:

“For the first time ever in the Israeli prisons, Israel agreed on installing payphones in the prisoners’ cells” to allow them to speak to their families after they threatened to escalate the no-food strike to a no-water strike:

“Amnesty International decried the ‘mockery of justice’ and ‘mass arbitrary denaturalisation'”:

U.S. blindness to the reality of Israeli occupation and to Palestinian politics means it cannot succeed in resolving the conflict:

“Airbnb cannot wash its hands by donating profits from unlawful settlement listings. So long as they continue to broker rentals on land stolen from Palestinians … they remain complicit in the abuses”:

Netanyahu’s “idea is to promote the lie that Iran could be hiding evidence of a nuclear project to back up the president’s statements about how we can’t trust intelligence sources or the IAEA”:

News and Analysis (4/14/19)

April 14th, 2019

The attacker was charged “with simple assault, harassment, cyber harassment and disorderly conduct” but the victim has also been punished:

Political loss in big city municipalities threatens “the large patronage networks and clientelist financial structure that offers highly lucrative contracts to [Erdogan’s] cronies, including the media sector”:

A synagogue backed out as conference venue after an article charged “that some of the groups and speakers at the event have a ‘disturbing’ history of anti-Muslim and anti-gay rhetoric, and support for far-right causes”:

An authentic representation of American Muslim life that is above all funny, Hulu’s Ramy could be “could grow into one of those cultural mainstays viewers can’t stop talking about”:

Inspired by Trump’s reckless policy, the Iranian “Parliament passed an emergency bill requesting that countries that arrest U.S troops should hand them over to Iran to face trial as terrorists”:

“Netanyahu engineered a deal that will end up bringing the overtly racist and fascist Jewish Power party—whose members advocate the expulsion of Palestinians—into the next government if he forms it”:

Trita Parsi explains why the neocons are not only “pushing a clueless Trump closer to open conflict with Iran” but “will entrap future administrations … in a no-win enmity with Iran”:

Her lawyer says the supreme leader has pardoned her from the one year sentence for protesting mandatory hijab law:

The responses to the posts of the group of young people trying to speak out online about their desire to live freely are too hostile to be believable. Are they bots? Salaries employees of an Israeli ministry? Kahane supporters?”

News and Analysis (4/11/19)

April 11th, 2019

Trump’s unprecedented classification of a governmental entity as a terrorist organization not only threatens the stability of the region …

… and overlooks that “Iran has not posed a serious terror threat to the United States since the 1980s” …

… with Pompeo flaunting his ignorance by asserting a link between al-Qaeda and Iran in front of a Congressional committee …

…it also overlooks “that Trump ‘was a knowing partner in a likely Iranian Revolutionary Guard money-laundering scheme'” …

… and lays “the groundwork for a military strike – using the 2001 law as justification” and for an illegal war:

On the bright side by declaring the IRG a terrorist organization the Trump administration negates the only valid argument against declaring the IDF a terrorist organization:

Judiciary Committee members wept “during the testimony of Mohammad Abu-Salha, whose daughters and son-in-law were gunned down in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 2015″ six weeks after their wedding”:

The Act repeals all versions of Trump’s Muslim ban and prohibits religious discrimination in immigration “and restores the separation of powers by limiting overly broad executive authority to issue future travel bans” …

… and could end the irony of a ban that prevents an American-born Department of Defense employee from reuniting with “his wife, a Syrian native stranded in Turkey”:

All adult Uighers in Xinjiang are expected to undergo what police call “health checks”, which involve “collecting several types of biometric data, including DNA, blood type, fingerprints, voice recordings and face scans”:

News and Analysis (4/8/19)

April 8th, 2019

How and why the Saudis are changing their tactics for controlling the Islamic resurgence from donations promoting reactionary extremism to commercial investment promoting quietest conservatism:

The saber-rattling dance before the war:

“A handful of Muslims took a stand during the hundred days of slaughter. Their stance inspired thousands of Rwandans to become Muslim in what was once called Africa’s most Catholic country”:

The sacrilegious execution of Domineque Ray is only the tip of a very ugly iceberg:

Islamophobia trumps capitalism as a “French value”: elected officials are outraged by Decathalon’s defense of free markets, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion:

“I’ve never questioned my faith. I tend to question other religious leaders. … We’re stuck in the middle between two communities that cannot …even correspond with one another without being heard. It’s very frustrating” …

… yet sex-reassignment surgery has been legal in Iran since Ayatollah, Khomeini, moved by a trans woman’s plight “issued a fatwa allowing the procedure, which a cleric later compared to changing wheat into bread”:

“We will move to the next stage, the imposing of Israeli sovereignty” — Netanyahu:

“Haftar, with arms support from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, launched a military operation to recapture Tripoli from the GNA” which is a “recognised member of the Arab League and the” UN:

News and Analysis (4/5/19)

April 5th, 2019

Brunei is characterized by a lavish lifestyle for the sultan and “Shellfarism” for the masses …

… Gulf state welfarism stands in the way of “copying China’s model of economic growth while tightening political control”:

“In what is now a region-wide phenomenon, moderation became a rhetorical tool to wield against opposition and consolidate state power”:

“American hackers who once worked for U.S. intelligence agencies helped the United Arab Emirates spy on … Arab media figures during” its 2017 confrontation with Qatar:

Twelve years ago she would have banned the niqab, but after seeing how “debates on how Muslim women dress or don’t dress really excite racists and Islamophobes … I’m not on either side. I’m on the women’s side”:

“The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran declined to comment. Iran has said the site is a carpet-cleaning facility. Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment”:

New Zealand has gotten high marks in the aftermath of the Christchurch massacre, but racism and threats that have forced organizers to drop a Muslim prayer for security reasons are cause for “disgust”:

An Iranian company is proposing a blockchain solution to Iran’s (and the world’s) traffic congestion problems but needs to register the ICO in another country “because such offerings are currently illegal in Iran”:

The festival includes the documentary that follows the then professor at a Christian university, during a “firestorm that ensued following her social media post stating that Muslims and Christians worship the same God”:

News and Analysis (4/2/19)

April 2nd, 2019

“137 states bilaterally recognize Palestine.” The “City Council’s leadership team … decided to remove [the Councilman who refuses to recognize this fact] from the immigration committee”:

“The plea bargain also requires Martinez-Torres to answer any questions from the victim’s family during the next year … [in the hope of helping] settle … whether the attack was motivated by anti-Muslim hate”:

Accusations that young children have thrown stones notwithstanding, B’Tselem says that Israeli authorities holding them alone without notifying parents “speaks volumes as to the moral blindness afflicting them” …

… “There are days that I couldn’t sleep. In particular when the municipality demolished houses. How can … we who suffered from discrimination over centuries … discriminate other people. No, it’s impossible”:

“Israeli soldiers invaded … various parts of the occupied West Bank, searched and ransacked homes and workshops, and abducted eleven Palestinians, in addition to shooting one during ensuing protests”:

“That a small group managed to force the women out of the main campus is a sad commentary on the administration. … [S]tudents of the women’s college … are an equal part of the AMU … [and have] an equal right over it”:

“The total obliteration of Muslim representation from the largest state in” India shows that the “fight to save secular principles and practices … is a fight that secular Hindus cannot win on their own”:

“Javad Zarif tweeted late Monday that America’s ‘maximum pressure’ policy on Iran” that prevents “Iran from acquiring badly needed … relief helicopters … ‘isn’t just economic warfare; it’s economic TERRORISM'”:

With no clear grounds for the charge, Britain, France and Germany are accusing Iranian development of missile technology for space and non-nuclear purposes of being “inconsistent with a UN resolution”:

“We found a lot of solidarity from our friends at groups like Jewish Voices for Peace and If Not Now and others who have said that people are actually diluting real anti-Semitism by equating all criticism of Israel with” it:

News and Analysis (3/30/19)

March 30th, 2019

” Israeli forces on Saturday used live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas on the protesters, killing three 17-year-old boys, and wounding at least 207 people”:

“HijrahFest is like a pious version of the US’ SXSW where, instead of music, 12,000 festivalgoers network, explore a Muslim-themed trade show … and attend Quranic studies guided by the hijrah community’s top preachers”:

From Asad to MbS, “Arab governments spend millions of dollars on research to shape Western thinking about domestic political activists opposing their rule, some of whom are religious” — Foreign Policy report:

“Amnesty International’s director for French-speaking Canada, said the bill contravenes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees freedom of thought, conscience and religion”:

“[T]he first female president of the Islamic Society of North America” says Muslim women are “shedding that narrow congregational model [inherited form the West] and also rediscovering our history”:

Racists are surprised. The most common first “names in the database” did not include Muhammad, but were “Michael, Daniel, Andreas, Sascha, Thomas, Christian, Manuel, Patrick, David, Jens, Justin, and Sven”:

The judge “found no proof, as required under a 2013 decision … that the services were a substantial factor in the attacks, and that the plaintiffs’ injuries were a reasonably foreseeable consequence”:

Cracks in the Wall: Beyond Apartheid in Palestine/Israel.

March 30th, 2019

[This is a summary of author Ben White‘s remarks at an Arab Center of Washington DC round table about his book Cracks in the Wall: Beyond Apartheid in Palestine/Israel. held on March 29, 2019. It is not a transcript, but a summary of my impressions of his presentation and the discussion.]

There is a de facto single apartheid state in all of Palestine, but the good news is the cracks in the wall developing internationally. I myself favor a single democratic state, but I will focus on the cracks in the wall that reflect trends that go a way back, not only changes in how jews see themselves, but how the Palestinians are being seen. J street, JVP, If Not Now, etc. are important developments. We are witnessing the ending of the era of bipartisan support for Israel. There is a huge change and now a big disparity in how the grass roots in each party see Israel. From 2014 to 2017 Israel dropped on the survey of American allies from 6th to 16th, but more importantly the disparities between the two parties widened. This phenomena can be seen in other countries where even liberals and progressives have become more critical of Israel while Israel right had become more willing to collaborate with far right parties abroad. The third factor is how the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has grown. It’s economic impact has been marginal, but it has changed the discourse and given activists a way to get on board. It says this is ultimately about rights.

It is vital to express how little is on the table for Palestinians across the Israeli political spectrum. The mainstream spectrum has only three offers for the Palestinians: the status quo, annexation, or separation. The last group is too often mistaken for viable peace partners but they provide no timetable for a Palestinian state and set conditions that make its realization impossible. The blue and white list has hardly spoken about this issue and Benny Ganz kicked off his campaign by boasting about how many Palestinians he has killed in the Gaza Strip. The parties differ about what to do about the fact that there are Palestinians in the land but their fundamental assumptions are all the same.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad: You made a profound point about how the effect of the BDS movement on the discourse has been more important than its economic impact. I invite you to comment on the narrower issue of how the attempts to suppress the BDS movement by executive orders and legislation provokes a backlash as Americans realize that these attacks on First Amendment rights demonstrate that Israel threatens democracy in America as well as in Israel/ Palestine.

Ben White. It not only threats to freedom of speech but is a sign of weakness. The Jewish nationality law was in part a reaction to Palestinian demands to equal national rights, but it has dragged into the spotlight the same type of reaction. Such acts produce conversations that their movers eventually wish they hadn’t started. As the supporters of Israeli apartheid realize this, new non binding resolutions are being introduced to silence the free speech objections, but their impacts are still provocative.

For a number of years the UK had a conveyor belt theory of terrorism that nonviolent extremists would eventually become terrorists, resulting in the PREVENT policy that institutionalizes Islamophobia. I believe that in the UK you must make case by case decisions as to whether to push back or just go in with work at hand.

There is no JVP in Britain because it is a much smaller community in Britain. There are smaller groups. JVP is unique in the world. There is a kind of J Street equivalent but it is smaller and doesn’t do lobbying as internal conversation.

The BDS in South Africa in South Africa was different in that it had a simple end point: one person one vote. The Palestinian situation is more complex, but I see an advantage to the difference. This BDS movement is about ending one’s own complicity in the oppression. As and when there are significant developments in the Palestinian movement, there will be a ceiling on the impact of the BDS movement, but it’s ingenuity is in taking the political issues off the table and focusing on human rights.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute
www.minaret.org

News and Analysis (3/28/19)

March 28th, 2019

It is disturbing that even in the 21st century some Virginians cant morally distinguish killing chickens for food from enslaving humans for the color of their skin:

“CelebrateMercy, has over the past two years given $115,000 to vandalized Jewish cemeteries and memorials …, and facilitated the donation of around $238,000 to the Tree of Life … Congregation in Pittsburgh”:

“[B]ased upon the separation of state and society, … [Islam] brought down the walls separating regional civilizations … and gave birth to some of [its] most celebrated historical figures in culture, science, and art”:

Her message to the hypocrites in office: “You cannot march with us against the Muslim Ban as you condemn Congresswoman Omar and sign off large military packages to an apartheid state” …

… “[T]he idea of Muslims and Jews as naturally opposed is an extension of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, in hopes to reduce the political conflict to a religious one …. [and to] pit Muslims and Jews against one another”:

“[I]n feminist circles… [t]here is seldom more than one Muslim woman in the room, much less a black Muslim woman. These spaces lack a fundamental understanding of Muslimah agency” …

… and “there are only 3 Muslim MEPs out of a total of 751. And since they are all men, Muslim women are invisible in the EU parliament (with the exception of some of the cleaners)”:

“Her intimate portraits highlight Muslim women of all ages, backgrounds, and careers …  to combat stereotypical and monolithic representations of Muslim women and create a space of inclusion and belonging”:

“Issa Amro … was arrested by Palestinian security forces … after  criticizing the Palestinian authorities on Facebook for arresting a journalist in Hebron who had been critical of President Mahmoud Abbas”: