Saturday, November 21, 2015

Who is Being Delusional?

Why the Palestinians are not interested in either peace or statehood.

November 20, 2015

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks with journalists at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah on October 6, 2015. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

On Tuesday night, Channel 10 broadcast an interview with PLO chief and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in which Abbas admitted publicly for the first time that he rejected the peace plan then prime minister Ehud Olmert offered him in 2008.

Olmert’s plan called for Israel to withdraw from the entire Old City of Jerusalem, including the Western Wall, and from 93.7 percent of Judea and Samaria. Olmert also offered sovereign Israeli territory to the Palestinians to compensate for the areas Israel would retain in Judea and Samaria.

Abbas said his rejection was unequivocal. “I didn’t agree. I rejected it out of hand.”

For years, the story of Abbas’s rejection of Olmert’s 2008 offer has been underplayed. Many commentators have insisted Abbas didn’t really reject it, but just failed to respond.

But now the truth is clear. Abbas is not interested either in peace or in Palestinian statehood.

Abbas’s many apologists in the Israeli Left insist that he didn’t reject the plan on its merits. Rather, they argue, Abbas rejected Olmert’s offer because, by the time Olmert made it, he was involved in criminal investigations that forced him to resign from office eight months later.

Hogwash, says former AP reporter Mark Lavie.

Following the interview’s broadcast, Lavie countered that if Abbas were truly interested in establishing an independent Palestinian state, he wouldn’t have cared about the political fortunes of the Israeli prime minister. He would have taken the offer and run, knowing that, as Olmert said, the likelihood that he’d get a similar offer in the next 50 years was nonexistent.

The most notable reaction to Abbas’s admission was the reaction that never came. The Israeli Left had no reaction to his interview.

Abbas is the hero of the Left.

He is their partner. He is their moderate. He is their man of peace. Abbas is the Palestinian leader to whom every leftist politician worth his snuff, from opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog to the Meretz Knesset faction make regular pilgrimages to prove their devotion to peace.

Their man in Ramallah received the most radical offer ever to see the light of day. And rather than accept it, he rejected it out of hand and refused to meet with Olmert ever again, and he openly admits it.

The Left’s non-response is not surprising. Abbas’s decision to end all speculation about whether or not he is a man of peace is merely the latest blow reality has cast on their two-state formula.

The Left’s policy of land for peace failed more than 15 years ago when Abbas’s boss, Yasser Arafat, preferred war to peace and initiated the worst campaign of terrorism that Israel had ever experienced.

Yet for the last 15 years, the Israeli “peace camp” has never wavered in its view that, despite it all, Israel must rid itself of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

Rather it members has grown angrier and angrier at their own people for abandoning them and less and less willing to agree that there is anything – including Israeli statehood itself – that is more important than giving up Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.

The Left’s reactionary position was on full display last Thursday at the annual “peace conference” hosted by the far left Haaretz newspaper.

Last year, the conference’s audience attacked Bayit Yehudi Party leader Naftali Bennett both verbally and physically when he presented his plan to apply Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria. This year it was Tourism Minister Yariv Levin’s turn to be assaulted.

Levin was subjected to constant catcalls from the audience, whose members called him “Goebbels” for arguing that the two-state formula has no chance of bringing peace and that the time has come to consider other options.

But Levin’s claims were simply common sense.

This week the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion published its most recent survey. The results were no surprise. Indeed, they were more or less consistent with historical survey results.

According to the PCPO data, 63 percent of Palestinians oppose holding peace talks with Israel.

58 percent think Mahmoud Abbas, whose term of office ended in 2009, should resign. A majority of Palestinians support a new assault or “intifada” against Israel and 42 percent of Palestinians support the use of terrorism against Israel.

Also this week, ahead of the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on Wednesday The Jerusalem Post published a new poll of Israeli public opinion.

According to the data, 46 percent of Israelis support a policy of separating from the Palestinians through the establishment of a Palestinian state. 35 percent of Israelis support applying Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria. For Israelis under 45, the numbers are reversed.

Today a majority of Likud Knesset members and all members of the Bayit Yehudi’s Knesset faction oppose Palestinian statehood and support applying Israeli law to all or parts of Judea and Samaria.

Rather than deal with the fact that neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis support their two-state model, the Left has decided to ignore both.

The Haaretz conference last week hosted a panel discussing whether the two state paradigm remains viable. In his remarks, Prof. Shlomo Ben-Ami, who served as foreign minister in 2000 during the failed Camp David peace summit, explained that given the Israeli and Palestinian publics’ rejection of the two-state formula, (but especially the Israeli rejection of it), the UN Security Council determine Israel’s final borders. In other words, from Ben-Ami’s perspective, withdrawing from Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria is more important than maintaining Israel’s independence and governing in accordance with the will of the people.

When the panel’s moderator expressed concern that the mass expulsion of Israelis from their communities in Judea and Samaria which the two-state formula requires would cause a civil war within Israeli society, Ben-Ami just shrugged his shoulders.

“I don’t delude myself. I never deluded myself that this would be a boy scout trip,” he said. “You can’t do this through consensus….Consensus is the great enemy of leadership.”

Ben-Ami continued, “War unites, peace divides…A leader who wants to make peace will always have a split nation behind him.”

MK Meirav Michaeli, who serves as the Zionist Union’s Knesset faction head, said for her part that the greatest obstacle to peace is Israel. Ever since Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, Israel hasn’t had a leader willing to do what it takes to make peace.

In Michaeli’s view, when the Left next forms a government, it will need to adopt – as is opening position in negotiations – the position that Israel shares responsibility for the fate of the so-called “Palestinian refugees.”

Michaeli explained, “Israel needs to be part of a coalition that will find a solution,” for the descendants of the Arabs that left Israel during the 1948- 1949 pan-Arab invasion of the nascent state of Israel.

Michaeli also insisted that Israel needs to stop demanding that the Palestinians recognize the Jewish state’s right to exist. Israel should suffice instead with a Palestinian acknowledgment that it does indeed exist.

It goes without saying that there has never been, and there never will be a majority of support in Israel either for Ben-Ami’s position or for Michaeli’s position. This is the reason that they prefer to ignore the Israeli people and wait for “the world” to save “the peace” for them.

This brings us to the 46 percent of Israelis who would like to separate from the Palestinians and let them have a state.

The only reason that a plurality of Israelis still supports a policy that has failed continuously for the past 15 years is because the Israeli Left has blocked all discussion of alternative policies.

Over the past 20 years, the Left has implemented three policy initiatives: the peace process with the PLO from 1993 to 2000, the unilateral withdrawal from south Lebanon in 2000 and the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. These policies never enjoyed the sustained support of the majority of the public.

To the extent they ever mobilized the temporary support of bare majorities of public, they did so only because the media campaigned continuously on behalf of these initiatives. Not only did key all the mass circulation newspapers and all major broadcast media outlets support these plans, they blocked all debate about them. Opponents were demonized as extremists.

And this brings us to the 35 percent of Israelis who support applying Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria.

It is this virtual blackout on coverage of opposing views that makes the results of the Post’s opinion poll remarkable. In the absence of almost any public discussion of the possibility of applying Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria aside from the self-generated publicity of advocates of the position, more than a third of Israelis overall, and a plurality of young Israelis supports it.

Over the past week, Netanyahu has been asked his opinion of the prospects for unilateral Israeli actions toward the Palestinians three times, once in Washington and twice in Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s responses have been enigmatic. But collectively they lend the clear impression that the premier does not support unilateral Israeli withdrawals from Judea and Samaria and at least in principle, does not oppose the sovereignty model.

In his remarks at the Post’s conference Wednesday, Netanyahu said cagily, “There are all sorts of unilateral moves in all sorts of directions. Wait and see. And they are not necessarily in the direction you think.”

Speaking to the Likud’s Knesset faction on Monday Netanyahu clarified his remarks on the subject last week in Washington saying, “I didn’t say unilateral withdrawals. I said unilateral steps. You can imagine what I mean – states are disintegrating and we will protect our interests.”

Sitting next to Ben-Ami at the Haaretz conference was the lone non-leftist on the panel. Halachic expert Malka Puterkovsky said that, in her view, Israel should apply its sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria. Doing so, she argued, will not risk Israel’s future as a Jewish state.

Both the audience and her fellow panelists reacted to her statements with a the same extreme hostility with which they responded to Bennet and Levin.

When Ben-Ami – the man who thinks it is more important for Israel to expel some 100,000 Israelis from their homes than avert a civil war, and prefers borders forced on Israel by the UN to Israeli democracy and independence – was asked his opinion of Puterovsky’s position, he called the notion of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria “delusional.”

We need to take Netanyahu’s coy responses to questions about unilateralism as an invitation to begin a serious public discussion of the option.

The public wants this discussion and we need this discussion.

As for how the peace camp will respond, well, there are worse things than having reactionaries call you “delusional.”

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Real Containment

By Mark Steyn
November 19, 2015

Islamist attacks from 9/11 to Paris bloodbath
In this Nov 14, 2015 picture people gather around a peace sign with Eiffel Tower, realized by candles, during a rally for the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris, in Lausanne, Switzerland. Banner in French reads : No to terrorism. Photo: Keystone via AP

Because (per Obama's latest complaint) of "how decentralized power is in this system", over 30 American governors have told the President they don't want him shipping battalions of "Syrian" "refugees" to their states. He, in turn, has sneered that his critics are scared of "widows and orphans". With his usual brilliant comic timing, he said this a couple of hours before a female suicide bomber self-detonated in St Denis.

Nonetheless, the presidential-gubernatorial split is an interesting development. Obama has responded with a brand new hashtag:#RefugeesWelcome. If you live in Hashtagistan, this is another great hashtag to add to such invincible hashtags as #PeaceForParis#JeSuisCharlie#UnitedForUkraine and, of course, #BringBackOurGirls. If you live in the real world, the magic hashtags don't seem to work so well, and these governors seem to think #RefugeesWelcome will perform no better for New Mexico and New Hampshire than the others have worked out for Paris, Ukraine and Boko Haram-infested West Africa.

So reality is not yet entirely irrelevant - and reality is on the march:

An Italian priest is fighting for his life in northern Bangladesh after being shot and seriously wounded by unidentified gunmen.
The attack on Wednesday is the latest in a series targeting foreigners in the country, which have been blamed on Islamic militant groups including Islamic State.
A Jewish teacher has reportedly been stabbed in Marseille by three people claiming to be ISIS supporters... The suspects, who were reportedly wearing ISIS badges, made anti-semitic comments before stabbing the teacher.
A married couple plotted an Isil suicide bombing of the London Underground or Westfield shopping centre around the tenth anniversary of the 7/7 suicide attacks, a court heard on Tuesday.
Mohammed Rehman, 25, and his wife Sana Ahmed Khan, 24, had enough bomb material to "cause multiple fatalities"...
Honduras Detains Five Syrians Said Headed To U.S. With Stolen Greek Passports
The man arrested Tuesday trying to enter Parliament carrying a hidden meat cleaver probably has mental illness and isn't a terrorist, the head of the RCMP said Wednesday.
Toronto man Yasin Mohamed Ali, 56, was arrested outside the Centre Block of Parliament in Ottawa and appeared in court Wednesday.
Hmm. "Mentally ill" "Toronto man"... But then, as John Kerry has assured us, all of the above is nothing to do with Islam. Objecting to mass murder in your country of nominal citizenship is alsonothing to do with Islam:
France: Only 30 Muslims Show Up For Rally Against Paris Jihad Attacks
What's the punchline? "...and seven of those were wearing suicide belts"?

ISIS is not itself the cause of the problem. What ISIS is is the most effective vehicle for the cause - which is Islamic imperialist conquest. What ISIS did in the Paris attacks was bring many disparate elements together - Muslims born and bred in France, Muslim immigrants to other European countries, recently arrived Muslim "refugees"... An organization that can command numerous assets of different status - holders of 11 different passports - and tie them all together is a formidable enemy. Playing whack-a-mole on that scale will ensure we lose, and bankrupt ourselves in the process.

Meanwhile, the caliphate is coining it: ISIS is the wealthiest terrorist organization in history, making billions of dollars a year from oil sales, bank raids, human smuggling, extortion and much else. So they have a ton of money with which to fund their ideological goals.

And yet, as I say, ISIS is merely the vehicle for the ideology, which in the end can only be defeated by taking it on. You can't drone the animating ideas away. And the biggest obstacle to a vigorous ideological pushback is the west's politico-media class - Obama, Kerry, Merkel, Cameron, Justin Trudeau, etc - who insist that Islam and immigration can never be a part of the discussion, and seem genuinely to believe that, say, more niqabs on the streets of western cities is a heartwarming testament to the vibrancy of our diversity, rather than a grim marker of our descent into a brutal and segregated society in which half the population will be chattels forbidden by their owners from feeling sunlight on their faces.

But best not to bring that up. So the attackers got suicide bombs to within a few yards of the French president. And a football match intended to show that European life goes on ended in cancellation, security lockdowns and the German chancellor being hustled away to safety. 
And the Belgian government has admitted it can no longer enforce its jurisdiction in parts of its own capital city within five miles of Nato headquarters... And yet, for all that, the European papers are surprisingly light on analyses of what's going on. The multiculti diversity omertà is ruthlessly enforced, and few commentators (and even fewer editors and publishers) want to suffer the taint of "Islamophobe!" or "Racist!" Easier just to run another piece on how heartwarming that Eiffel peace symbol is - as even my old friends at the Telegraph, a supposedly "right-wing" paper, did.

Responding to Steve Sailer's column "Four Ways To Save Europe", Kathy Shaidle comments:
Sailer assumes Europe wants to be saved.
Whereas Europe is like, "What black eye? No, I ran into a door. Everything's cool. You must be weird or something..."
Europe as a battered wife in denial - just like Tamerlan Tsarnaev's all-American hometown girl.

Meanwhile, during the moment of silence for the dead of Paris, Turkish soccer fans aren't shy about yelling "Allahu Akbar!". It was, in fact, the least silent "moment of silence" of all time. Euphemism, circumspection and self-censorship are strictly for the infidels.
So is the gubernatorial pushback (against a president who calls them bigots and racists) a sign that the sappy hashtags are having a harder time post-Paris? Or is it just a passing phase in the immediate aftermath of mass slaughter?

Donald Trump had a good line at his Massachusetts rally on Wednesday night:
ISIS is 'contained'? The only thing that's contained is us.
Whether that's true in America, it's certainly true of the European political discourse. And, unless that changes, in Sweden, Belgium, Austria and elsewhere, we are approaching a point of no return.

~On Thursday evening, I'll be checking in with Sean Hannity coast to coast on Fox News at 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific.

Obama's Phony War

November 19, 2015
President Obama addressed a news conference following a working session at the Group of 20 (G20) leaders summit in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, Turkey, on Monday. (Reuters)
Tell me: What’s a suicide bomber doing with a passport? He’s not going anywhere. And, though I’m not a religious scholar, I doubt that a passport is required in paradise for a martyr to access his 72 black-eyed virgins.
A Syrian passport was found near the body of one of the terrorists. Why was it there? Undoubtedly, to back up the ISIS boast that it is infiltrating operatives amid the refugees flooding Europe. The passport may have been fake, but the terrorist’s fingerprints were not. They match those of a man who just a month earlier had come through Greece on his way to kill Frenchmen in Paris.
If the other goal of the Paris massacre was to frighten France out of the air campaign in Syria — the way Spain withdrew from the Iraq war after the terrorist attack on its trains in 2004 — they picked the wrong country. France is a serious post-colonial power, as demonstrated in Ivory Coast, the Central African Republic and Mali, which France saved from an Islamist takeover in 2013.
Indeed, socialist President François Hollande has responded furiously to his country’s 9/11 with an intensified air campaignhundreds of raids on suspected domestic terrorists, a state of emergency and proposed changes in the constitution to make France less hospitable to jihad.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama, titular head of the free world, has responded to Paris with weariness and annoyance. His news conference in Turkey was marked by a stunning tone of passivity, detachment and lassitude, compounded by impatience and irritability at the very suggestion that his Syria strategy might be failing.
The only time he showed any passion was in denouncing Republicans for hardheartedness toward Muslim refugees. One hundred and twenty-nine innocents lie dead, but it takes the GOP to kindle Obama’s ire.
The rest was mere petulance, dismissing criticisms of his Syria policy as popping off. Inconveniently for Obama, one of those popper-offers is Dianne Feinstein, the leading Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. She directly contradicted Obama’s blithe assertion, offered the day before the Paris attack, that the Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIL) was contained and not gaining strength. “I have never been more concerned,” said Feinstein. “ISIL is not contained. ISIL is expanding.”
Obama defended his policy by listing its multifaceted elements. Such as, “I hosted at the United Nations an entire discussion of counterterrorism strategies and curbing the flow of foreign fighters.” An “entire” discussion, mind you. Not a partial one. They tremble in Raqqa.
And “We have mobilized 65 countries to go after ISIL.” Yes, and what would we do without Luxembourg?
Obama complained of being criticized for not being bellicose enough. But the complaint is not about an absence of bellicosity but about an absence of passion, of urgency and of commitment to the fight. The air campaign over Syria averages seven strikes a day. Seven. In Operation Desert Storm, we flew1,100 sorties a day. Even in the Kosovo campaign, we averaged 138. Obama is doing just enough in Syria to give the appearance of motion, yet not nearly enough to have any chance of success.
Obama’s priorities lie elsewhere. For example, climate change, which he considers the greatest “threat to our future.” And, of course, closing Guantanamo. Obama actually released five detainees on the day after the Paris massacre. He is passionate about Guantanamo. It’s a great terrorist recruiting tool, he repeatedly explains. Obama still seems to believe that — even as ISIS has produced an astonishing wave of terrorist recruitment with a campaign of brutality, butchery and enslavement filmed in living color. Who can still believe that young Muslims are leaving Europe to join the Islamic State because of Guantanamo?
Obama’s other passion is protecting Islam from any possible association with “violent extremism.” The Islamic State is nothing but “killers with fantasies of glory.” Obama can never bring himself to acknowledge why these people kill and willingly die: to advance a radical Islamist millenarianism that is purposeful, indeed eschatological — and appealing enough to have created the largest, most dangerous terrorist movement on Earth.
Hollande is trying to gather a real coalition to destroy the Islamic State, even as Obama touts his phony 65. For 11 post-World War II presidencies, coalition leading has been the role of the United States. Where is America today? Awaiting a president. The next president.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Lesson of Paris

November 17, 2015

Of all the commentaries on the Paris massacres I’ve read, the one that seems most perceptive is a piece by Judith Bergman for the Gatestone Institute titled “How Can Anyone Be Shocked?” Indeed. The attacks had all the inevitability of a Greek tragedy: they were entirely predictable. Nevertheless many reacted with “shock,” including Angela Merkel, David Cameron, and the Vatican.

As Bergman writes:

After 9/11 in the United States; the 2004 Madrid train bombings, which killed nearly 200 and wounded 2,000; and the 2005 attacks on London’s transit system, where 56 people were killed and 700 wounded, world leaders have no conceivable excuse left to be shocked and surprised at mass terrorism occurring in the midst of Western capitals.

In the unlikely case anyone should have missed those incidents, there have been several thousand other Islamic terror attacks—some big and some small—since 9/11. How, as Bergman asks, can anyone still be shocked?

The answer, I think, is that the people who are shocked are still clinging to a false narrative about Islam. The narrative says that Islam, like all other religions, is a religion of peace and that terror is a perversion of Islam’s true nature. This is part of a package of other connected narratives: that human nature is essentially good, that all people share universal values, and that with the passage of time we have all become far more enlightened than our ancestors.

As with other deeply held beliefs, facts that challenge the narrative tend to be ignored. When they are acknowledged, they are perceived as one-offs—disconnected events rather than threads in a pattern. The shocking thing for many is not that awful acts are being committed, but that their cherished narratives are being disconfirmed—over and over. Yet they’re not quite ready to rethink their assumptions.

What will it take to wake people up? It’s a question one often hears. The answer is that they will wake up when they pay attention to facts rather than narratives. Indeed, many have already come awake. These are usually people who aren’t deeply invested in fashionable thought systems and are thus able to brush aside the narratives pushed at them by opinion elites.

The problem lies with the opinion elites themselves. Ideas do matter to them—sometimes, more than facts. And to acknowledge the pattern would be to admit that they have been seriously mistaken. They will be the last to face reality because it would mean giving up the unreality of their suppositions about the world. So we can expect that they will continue for a long time to treat each new atrocity as an out-of-the-blue event with no rhyme or reason to it. For instance, as I write this I notice an AP report that starts off as follows: “The public may never know what motivated a 24-year-old Chattanooga man to kill four Marines and a sailor in an attack on Chattanooga’s US Naval and Marine Center last July.” Could Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez’s motive have had something to do with Islam? There is abundant evidence that it did. But the official upholders of the narrative can’t bring themselves to admit it.

Unfortunately, many Catholic leaders are invested in these same false narratives. The memes that are popular with the opinion elites are popular with them as well: that violence has nothing to do with Islam, that immigration is an unqualified good, and that all cultures share the same values.
The latest explanatory meme—one that likely will soon be echoed by some Catholic leaders—is that the violence in Europe has nothing to do with mass immigration. Thus, Germany’s interior minister, Thomas de Maiziere, has instructed Germans that they should not link the terror attacks to the immigrant influx. This despite the revelation that at least two of the Paris killers are believed to have come into Europe posing as refugees.

Of course, the longer that people in power indulge themselves in the narratives, the more carnage there will be. That’s because the actions that are necessary to stop the terror—profiling, monitoring of mosques, a halt to Muslim immigration, exposure of the fault lines in Islamic ideology—are prohibited by the narrative.

Meanwhile, self-destructive policies that flow from the narrative will continue. European leaders will continue to allow in unassimilable numbers of Muslim migrants in the name of “humane European values.” And Catholic bishops—some of them at least—will continue to applaud.

Recently, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops called for the US to take in 100,000 Syrian refugees. That’s a large number, and, as we can now see, it only takes a very small number of terrorists to create mass casualties. Eight jihadists in Paris killed more than 120 and wounded more than 350. In the 9/11 attack, 19 terrorists were responsible for the deaths of 3,000 people. And even though ISIS representatives have declared that they plan to take advantage of the refugee crisis by hiding among innocent refugees, the head of Homeland Security has said that we don’t “know a whole lot” about Syrian refugees seeking resettlement in the US.

The United States bishops, along with other Western leaders, seem to be welcoming in an almost inevitable disaster. For example, aside from the Paris attacks, the influx of migrants and refugees into Europe has already created a host of what seem to be insoluble problems: high rates of crime, disease, and violence, animosity between natives and migrants, and an increasing probability of open warfare in the streets. It takes a certain amount of hubris to keep calling for more immigration in the face of these realities.

As I said earlier, the whole thing is playing out like a Greek tragedy. And Greek tragedies, as we know, always begin with hubris—with leaders who are overly sure of themselves and their judgement. Our current tragedy seems to be moving inexorably toward its fated conclusion. Many of our leaders are being blind and foolish. Their policies, which are based on dreams, will almost certainly end in disaster. Yet no one seems able to change course. Like the characters in Oedipus Rex or The Bacchae, all seem fated to play their assigned roles up until the last bitter moment.
About the Author
William Kilpatrick

William Kilpatrick taught for many years at Boston College. He is the author of several books about cultural and religious issues, including Psychological Seduction, Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right from Wrong and, most recently, Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West. Professor Kilpatrick’s articles on cultural and educational topics have appeared in First Things, Policy Review, American Enterprise, American Educator, The Los Angeles Times, and various scholarly journals. His articles on Islam have appeared in Aleteia, National Catholic Register, Investor’s Business Daily, FrontPage Magazine, and other publications. Professor Kilpatrick’s work is supported in part by the Shillman Foundation. For more on his work and writings, visit his website,

France’s No-Go Zones: Assimilation-Resistant Muslims Are the Real Refugee Problem

By Andrew C. McCarthy — November 18, 2015

Hooded police officers appear to detain a man in  St Denis

Hooded police officers detain a man in Saint-Denis, near Paris. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

The jihad is raging in Paris. President Hollande repeatedly declares that France is at war, and press reporting has highlighted the French military’s combat operations against ISIS in Syria. 
But what the French are most worried about — and what the Obama-friendly media are happy to gloss over while the president is pushing to import thousands of Middle Eastern Muslims into our country — is fifth-column activity, meaning French Islamists supportive of violent jihadists.
Early Wednesday morning, French police conducted a raid in Saint-Denis, on the northern edge of Paris, where operatives of the jihadist enemy were holed up in an apartment. In the ensuing shootout involving several jihadists, Kalashnikovs were fired at police who stormed the hideaway. A woman detonated an explosive suicide vest. Several police were wounded; the woman and a male terrorist were killed.

Breaking reports indicate that the male may be Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the 27-year-old ISIS operative believed to be the mastermind of Friday’s mass-murder attacks. The woman is believed to be Abaaoud’s cousin.

So why did the jihadists end up in Saint-Denis? Because it is a notorious Islamic enclave, though you wouldn’t know it from the mainstream American media. The terrorists are in Saint-Denis because they know they have the support — or at least the indulgence — of a large, studiously assimilation-resistant Muslim population.

The New York Times describes the location where the terrorists dwelled as “the medieval heart of the northern Paris suburb of St.-Denis.” Its report on the raid elaborates that Saint-Denis is “a city of 118,000 people . . . known for its melting pot population and large Muslim community, as well as a Gothic basilica where many French monarchs are buried.” You get the impression that, notwithstanding a large number of Muslims, we’re talking about a diverse town redolent of French tradition and history.

Yet, we also discover that somehow, despite a continent-wide manhunt, Abaaoud and Salah Abdeslam, another jihadist complicit in Friday’s attacks, may have been in Saint-Denis all along.
The reason for this is implicit in the Times report, but you have to look hard:
Djamila Khaldi, a 54-year-old cashier who lives near the basilica, was preparing to take her daughter to the airport when the gunfire erupted. 
Ms. Khaldi said she was not surprised the police had tracked the suspects to the neighborhood. She said a friend of hers believed she had seen one of the wanted men, Salah Abdeslam, on Monday. “She was terrified, and she looked at another woman knowing that she recognized him too,” Ms. Khaldi said. “They did not dare to go to the police.”
But why not go to the police like good French citizens?

The Gatestone Institute’s Soeren Kern provides some insight. Earlier this year, he bored into the controversy over “no-go” zones in Europe and found academic research, directed by the highly respected political scientist Giles Kepel, which documents:
dozens of French neighborhoods “where police and gendarmerie cannot enforce the Republican order or even enter without risking confrontation, projectiles, or even fatal shootings.” Some of the most notorious no-go zone areas in France are situated in the department of Seine-Saint-Denis, a northeastern suburb (banlieue) of Paris that has one of the highest concentrations of Muslims in France.
Looking at the entire department of Seine-Saint-Denis (which includes the aforementioned suburb where the terrorists were staying), the research paper noted that, out of a population of 1.4 million, there are 600,000 Muslims, mostly immigrants from North and West Africa. Kern’s distillation of the paper’s conclusions is worth quoting at length:
Seine-Saint-Denis is divided into 40 administrative districts called communes (townships), 36 of which are on the French government’s official list of “sensitive urban zones” or ZUS [i.e., “no-go” zones.] . . .  [It] has one of the highest unemployment rates in France; more than 40% of those under the age of 25 are jobless. The area is plagued with drug dealing and suffers from some of the highest rates of violent crime in France. 
In October 2011, a landmark 2,200-page report, “Banlieue de la République” (Suburbs of the Republic) found that Seine-Saint-Denis and other Parisian suburbs are becoming “separate Islamic societies” cut off from the French state, and where Islamic Sharia law is rapidly displacing French civil law. The report said that Muslim immigrants are increasingly rejecting French values and instead are immersing themselves in radical Islam. . . .  
France — which now has 6.5 million Muslims (the largest Muslim population in the European Union) — is on the brink of a major social explosion because of the failure of Muslims to integrate into French society. . . . [T]he problem is being exacerbated by radical Muslim preachers, who are promoting the social marginalization of Muslim immigrants in order to create a parallel Muslim society in France that is ruled by Sharia law. 
The research was primarily carried out in the Seine-Saint-Denis townships of Clichy-sous-Bois and Montfermeil, two suburbs that were ground zero for Muslim riots in the fall of 2005, when Muslim mobs torched more than 9,000 cars.
The report described Seine-Saint-Denis as a “wasteland of de-industrialization” and said that in some areas, “a third of the population of the town does not hold French nationality, and many residents are drawn to an Islamic identity.” 
Another township of Seine-Saint-Denis is Aubervilliers. Sometimes referred to as one of the “lost territories of the French Republic,” it is effectively a Muslim city: more than 70% of the population is Muslim. Three quarters of young people under 18 in the township are foreign or French of foreign origin, mainly from the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa. French police are said to rarely venture into some of the most dangerous parts of the township.
Looking at France as a whole, Kern further observes that there has been no shortage of Internet traffic suggesting, for example, “the killing of France’s ambassadors, just as the manly Libyan fighters killed the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi.” The torching of automobiles that grabbed public attention in 2005 has settled into a commonplace rarely covered in the press, with as many as 40,000 cars burned annually.

Perhaps most alarmingly, more than a thousand French Muslims, more than from any other Western country, are estimated to have traveled to Syria to fight for ISIS. That means many will return to the country as trained, battle-hardened jihadists — just as one of last Friday’s attackers is suspected of having done.

Now, let’s move beyond direct ISIS participants and consider the ISIS support system. Recent polling found that 16 percent of French citizens express some degree of support for ISIS. That is alarming, but how surprised should we be to hear it? Nearly a decade ago, when the Muslim population was significantly smaller than it is now, Pew polling indicated that 35 percent of French Muslims believed suicide bombings of civilian targets to defend Islam could be justified at least some of the time (16 percent said “often or sometimes,” and 19 percent said “rarely”).

This last is the point to bear in mind as President Obama continues to demagogue opponents of his plan to keep importing thousands of refugees from Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Many Beltway Republicans miniaturize the problem this plan presents. Stating the obvious, they argue that our government cannot conceivably vet these immigrants. Therefore, the argument goes, we cannot figure out who is a legitimate refugee and who is an ISIS terrorist — like the suicide jihadist, believed to be from Syria, who recently entered Europe with the tide of immigrants and helped carry out last week’s attacks in Paris.

But identifying terrorists is not the half of it. The bigger challenge is the infiltration of a population of people schooled to resist assimilation. As I’ve explained a number of times, including in Islam and Free Speech (a Broadside published by Encounter Books after the Charlie Hebdo massacre), highly influential Islamic leaders are embarked on a conquest strategy referred to as “voluntary apartheid”: the establishment of sharia enclaves that would eventually merge into an Islamic state that dominates Europe and the United States.

Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, regarded by many, including the Muslim Brotherhood, as the world’s most respected sharia jurist, instructs Muslims that the “quest for an Islamic state” calls for integrating into Europe and then pressuring Western leaders to accept a Muslim “right to live according to our faith — ideologically, legislatively, and ethically.” The Organization of Islamic Cooperation — a bloc of 56 Muslim countries (plus the Palestinian Authority) — has decreed that “Muslims should not be marginalized or attempted to be assimilated, but should be accommodated.” Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Islamist president of Turkey who has systematically dismantled that country’s secular, pro-Western system, similarly pronounces that pressuring Muslims to assimilate in the West “is a crime against humanity.”

On immigration, our national-security challenge is not limited to keeping Islamist terrorists out. It demands the exclusion of populations that breed, encourage, aid, abet, and materially support Islamist terrorism, particularly Islamists themselves: Muslims who adhere to an interpretation of Islam that promotes the sharia system of governance. That interpretation is mainstream in the places from which Obama, Hillary Clinton, and other Washington politicians want us to accept immigrants by the thousand.

Like us, France has a big problem in Syria. Unlike us, France has a bigger problem in Saint-Denis. When we can see how that problem is rending French society, why would we voluntarily replicate it here?

 Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Anonymous at War

As the CIA goes begging tech titans for help, the hacker collective goes on offense.

By Kevin D. Williamson — November 18, 2015

When the hacker group Anonymous announced it was launching a campaign against the Islamic State (“These are not the 72 virgins they were expecting,” as one now immortal online quipster put it), something happened that was, in its way, remarkable: Most everybody took them seriously.

Anonymous has taken credit for eliminating some 3,800 pro-ISIS social-media accounts, and it has suggested that, as in its campaign against the rather less significant Ku Klux Klan, it will gather a great deal of real-world information on Islamic State sympathizers and confederates and make it public. In the case of the Klan, that would mean mainly exposure to social opprobrium; in the case of Islamic State groupies and co-conspirators, that could mean a great deal more.

Anonymous is a famously fractious coalition of individuals and factions with internal rivalries and disagreements — a collective front rather than a united front, as Jamie Condliffe put it in Gizmodo — but it is generally regarded as being reasonably good at what it does. Terrorist groups are critically dependent upon electronic communication for everything from recruitment and motivation to actual operations, and there is some reason to suspect that groups such as Anonymous will prove more adept at disrupting that communication than our conventional intelligence and law-enforcement forces have. The Islamic State isn’t really a state, yet; like al-Qaeda, it is a non-state actor, and it is likely that other non-state actors will be enormously important in countering it.

Compare Anonymous’s cocky declaration of war with the efforts of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and CIA Director John Brennan, who after the Paris attacks resumed their sad little campaign to convince Silicon Valley technology firms — sometimes bullying, sometimes wheedling — to simply design software and devices in such a way as to give government intelligence and law-enforcement operatives an easy “back door” into secure communication. Senator Feinstein is, incredibly enough, one of the most powerful people in the world, a senator representing the largest and wealthiest state in the most powerful country on earth, with the world’s greatest center of technological innovation in her constituency. Brennan directs the most fearsome public agency in the free world. And these two are forced to go pleading to the nerds at Apple to do their work for them.

The nerds aren’t budging. In a post published via Cyber Dust, a secure messaging app, Mark Cuban insisted: “I view encryption like many view the Second Amendment. Encryption is a fundamental underpinning of the freedom of speech.” Groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation frame the question as one of privacy and civil liberties.

But there’s a simple competence question, too: Can Uncle Stupid be trusted with a universal back door? There’s reason to think otherwise.

The recent hack of the Office of Personnel Management — probably the most significant data breach in history — was the result of defective practices and bureaucratic laziness, not the work of super-genius Bond villains abroad. The OPM brass and the rest of the federal ass-covering apparatus is going dark: An hour before a closed House Armed Services Committee oversight hearing on the OPM breach, representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, the OPM, and the Office of Management and Budget all suddenly said that they would refuse to permit their personnel to testify, because the testimony would be — get this — written down. 
Closed hearings of the committee are transcribed, and those transcripts are classified; a Capitol Hill source insists that this is no mere formality, that the records are stored and handled in a manner befitting their classified status. The Department of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence’s office both attended and made no objection to the transcription. Funny how the OPM suddenly gets security-conscious when its reputation is on the line.

Maybe somebody could just ask Anonymous who pillaged those OPM servers.

It’s helpful to think of the world as consisting of two distinct spaces: the political space and the non-political space. Political space here meaning formal government in both its elected and bureaucratic manifestations, and non-political space meaning basically everything else: private associations, businesses, churches, non-state terror cells, etc. It is an inescapable and irreversible aspect of our current social and economic realities that technological innovation (and well as simple affluence) has increased the power and expanded the operating scope of the non-political space vis-à-vis the political space, which is stuck in its 19th-century Bismarckian conception of how the world works, i.e., one big factory under a hierarchy of expert managers. Things like cheap, easy-to-use encryption, powerful new programming techniques, dirt-cheap processors, 3-D printing, and the rest have radically increased the power of those operating in the non-political space to shape the world for good and for evil.

Once, it took a nation-state — and not just any nation-state but a strong and credible one such as Germany — to be the government of France’s most critical threat. The Islamic State counts in its ranks a fair number of hardened war-fighters, but also a lot of dopey suburban kids from second-rate European cities who find themselves transfixed by a great transcendent idea that has, so far as their narrowly proscribed lives are concerned, no striking competitor.

Which is to say, the Islamic State and Anonymous have a great deal in common.

Somewhere back in the shadowy early history of the Internet, somebody with a radical idea in one part of the world started coordinating with a few scattered like-minded men on an online bulletin board, and at that moment we entered into a new kind of politics, even if it wasn’t obvious until 9/11. Anonymous isn’t a friend of the U.S. government, but, as Henry Kissinger said (echoing Charles de Gaulle before him), a nation doesn’t have friends, only interests. In the matter of the Islamic State, the interests of the U.S. government and the interests of Anonymous coincide. No doubt the same is true of organizations darker and more traditional than Anonymous in what they mean by “declaring war.” Like it or not, in the long term, collaboration with and between these groups is going to be an inevitable, and inevitably ugly, necessity.

The balance of power has shifted, and if politicians want to stay in the game as credible players, they are going to have to learn the new rules. Anonymous is going to war — what is the U.S. government doing?

— Kevin D. Williamson is National Review’s roving correspondent.