Iran’s Fellow Travelers at the New York Times 

Tourists walk on a platform at a station in Tehran after arriving in the Iranian capital on a luxury train from Budapest on October 27, 2014. The tourists from Germany, Russia, Switzerland, Denmark, Britain, Australia, Spain, Singapore and Turkey spent two weeks visiting Tabriz, Zanjan, Yazd, Isfahan, Shiraz before arriving in Tehran for their flight back to Istanbul, on a trip reportedly costing up to $31,000. AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

For $7,000, the newspaper’s journalists will serve as tour guides to the Islamic Republic. (Evin Prison is not on the itinerary.)

James Kirchick writes: On Nov. 23, the New York Times published its latest of more than half-a-dozen articles pleading for the Iranian government to release Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post’s Tehran correspondent who was imprisoned on charges of espionage more than 16 months ago. “Western officials hoped that the nuclear agreement would usher in a new era of broader cooperation with Iran,” the editorial board wrote. “But as they begin taking steps to ease economic sanctions on Iran, as called for in the deal, the treatment of Mr. Rezaian has intensified their concerns about whether Iran can be trusted to fulfill its nuclear commitments.”

The editorial’s most recent admonishment, like those that preceded it, managed to elide some relevant details about the newspaper’s relationship to the subject matter. First, the Times editorial board would clearly count as a member of any group looking forward to “a new era of broader cooperation with Iran.” Second, the Times has done far more than merely “hope” for such cooperation. While the newspaper has been demanding the release of an American journalist — one now facing a prison sentence of indeterminate length — some of its own journalists, under the auspices of their employer, have been engaging in a commercial enterprise that benefits his captors.

“Tales from Persia” is the exotic name the Times has given to the 13-day getaway to Iran it operates. For $7,195 (not including airfare), participants are invited to join columnist Roger Cohen, editorial board member Carol Giacomo (who is leading the trip that is currently ongoing), or Paris correspondent Elaine Sciolino and hear their insights about “the traditions and cultures of a land whose influence has been felt for thousands of years.” The itinerary for the seven upcoming departures promises “beautiful landscapes, arid mountains and rural villages.” Needless to say, Evin Prison, where the Iranian government houses political prisoners and Rezaian continues to languish, is not among the stops, though a visit to the home of the late Ayatollah Khomeini is. Read the rest of this entry »


Ann Has a Fan in Tehran: Khamenei Joins Coulter in Lamenting GOP Pandering

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[Also see David French‘s Ann Coulter Panders to ‘Cuckservative’-Obsessed White Nationalists — While She Denounces GOP Pandering]

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Source: The Times of Israel


French Prime Minister: ‘The Charge of ‘Islamophobia’ is Used to Silence People’

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Manuel Valls argues that the accusation of Islamophobia is often used as a weapon by Islamism’s apologists

 writes: The prime minister of France, Manuel Valls, has emerged over the past tumultuous week as one of the West’s most vocal foes of Islamism, though he’s actually been talking about the threat it poses for a long while.

“Anti-Muslim feeling appears to be more widespread than anti-Jewish feeling across much of France, but anti-Jewish feeling has been expressed recently (and not-so-recently) with far more lethality, and mainly by Muslims.”

During the course of an interview conducted before the Charlie Hebdo attacks, he told me—he went out of his way to tell me, in fact—that he refuses to use the term ‘Islamophobia’ to describe the phenomenon of anti-Muslim prejudice, because, he says, the accusation of Islamophobia is often used as a weapon by Islamism’s apologists to silence their critics.

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Most of my conversation with Valls was focused on the fragile state of French Jewryhere is my post on his comments, which included the now-widely circulated statement that, “if 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France”—and I didn’t realize the importance of his comment about Islamophobia until I re-read the transcript of our interview.

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“It is very important to make clear to people that Islam has nothing to do with ISIS,” Valls told me. “There is a prejudice in society about this, but on the other hand, I refuse to use this term ‘Islamophobia,’ because those who use this word are trying to invalidate any criticism at all of Islamist ideology. The charge of ‘Islamophobia’ is used to silence people.”

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“It is very important to make clear to people that Islam has nothing to do with ISIS. There is a prejudice in society about this, but on the other hand, I refuse to use this term ‘Islamophobia,’ because those who use this word are trying to invalidate any criticism at all of Islamist ideology.”

Valls was not denying the existence of anti-Muslim sentiment, which is strong across much of France. In the wake of the Charlie Hebdoattack, miscreants have shot at Muslim community buildings, and various repulsive threats against individual Muslims have been cataloged. President Francois Hollande, who said Thursday that Muslims are the “first victims of fanaticism, fundamentalism, intolerance,” might be overstating the primacy of anti-Muslim prejudice in the current hierarchy of French bigotries—after all, Hollande just found it necessary to deploy his army to defend Jewish schools from Muslim terrorists, not Muslim schools from Jewish terrorists—but anti-Muslim bigotry is a salient and seemingly permanent feature of life in France. Or to contextualize it differently: Anti-Muslim feeling appears to be more widespread than anti-Jewish feeling across much of France, but anti-Jewish feeling has been expressed recently (and not-so-recently) with far more lethality, and mainly by Muslims.

“Can hostility to the various related ideologies of Islamism—ideologies rooted in a particular reading of Muslim texts, theology, and history—be properly defined as Islamophobic?”

It appears as if Valls came to his view on the illegitimacy of ‘Islamophobia’ after being influenced by a number of people, including and especially the French philosopher Pascal Bruckner and the writer (and fatwa target) Salman Rushdie. Rushdie, along with a group of mainly Muslim writers, attacked the use of the term ‘Islamophobia’ several years ago in an open letter: “We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of ‘Islamophobia’, a wretched concept that confuses criticism of Islam as a religion and stigmatization of those who believe in it.”

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“We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of ‘Islamophobia’, a wretched concept that confuses criticism of Islam as a religion and stigmatization of those who believe in it.”

Bruckner argued that use of the word ‘Islamophobia’ was designed to deflect attention away from the goals of Islamists: “[I]t denies the reality of an Islamic offensive in Europe all the better to justify it; it attacks secularism by equating it with fundamentalism. Above all, however, it wants to silence all those Muslims who question the Koran, who demand equality of the sexes, who claim the right to renounce religion, and who want to practice their faith freely and without submitting to the dictates of the bearded and doctrinaire.”

[Also see – REPEAL THEM NOW: Hate-Speech Codes Won’t Protect Europe From Violence]

It is difficult to construct a single term that captures the variegated expressions of a broad prejudice. ‘Anti-Semitism,’ of course, is a terribly flawed term to describe anti-Jewish thought or behavior, and not only because it was invented by an actual hater of Jews, Wilhelm Marr, to prettify the base hatred to which he subscribed. Read the rest of this entry »


Jeffrey Goldberg: Europe Is Under Siege

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The Charlie Hebdo massacre represents a direct attack on perhaps the most crucial Western ideal.

 writes: The European Parliament complex in Brussels, where I happen to be sitting at the moment, is meant to be a monument to post-World War II continental ideals of peaceable integration, tolerance, free speech, and openness. All of these notions seem to be under attack at once, and what is striking to me, as a relatively frequent visitor to Europe over the past year, is that not many people—until a few hours ago, at least—seem to believe that their union, and their basic freedoms, are under threat.

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The massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo falls into the category of events that are shocking in their intensity and brutality, but not at all surprising. This attack, which killed at least 12 people, including journalists and two police officers, was utterly, completely predictable.prisoners-goldberg

[Check out Jeffrey Goldberg’s book “Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror” at Amazon]

The brittle, peevish, and often-violent campaign to defend the honor of Allah and his prophet (both of whom, one might think, are capable of defending themselves with lightning bolts and cataclysmic floods and such, should they choose to be offended by cartoons) has been pursued in earnest since the 1989 Iranian-led crusade (I use the word advisedly) to have Salman Rushdie murdered for writing a book. In 2011, of course, the offices of Charlie Hebdo were firebombed—the equivalent of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, an attack that should have told us more about long-term jihadist intentions than it unfortunately did.

Anti-Israel demonstrators atop a Trafalgar lion (Luke MacGregor/Reuters )

Anti-Israel demonstrators atop a Trafalgar lion (Luke MacGregor/Reuters )

And Europe has had specific, sometimes fatal, warnings about the capabilities and desires of jihadists in recent months—the car attacks in France, conducted by men shouting “Allahu Akbar,” and, most obviously, the assault on the Jewish Museum in Brussels last May, in which four people were murdered, allegedly by Mehdi Nemmouche, a French citizen of Algerian origin who apparently spent time in the Middle East in the employ of ISIS. Read the rest of this entry »


How to Answer the Paris Terror Attack

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The West must stand up for freedom—and acknowledge the link between Islamists’ political ideology and their religious beliefs

Ayaan Hirsi AliAYAAN - FEB28 - Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali talks about her autobiography. tb (Photo by Tony Bock/Toronto Star via Getty Images) By: Tony Bock Collection: Toronto Star writes: After the horrific massacre Wednesday at the French weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, perhaps the West will finally put away its legion of useless tropes trying to deny the relationship between violence and radical Islam.

“How we respond to this attack is of great consequence. If we take the position that we are dealing with a handful of murderous thugs with no connection to what they so vocally claim, then we are not answering them.”

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This was not an attack by a mentally deranged, lone-wolf gunman. This was not an “un-Islamic” attack by a bunch of thugs—the perpetrators could be heard shouting that they were avenging the Prophet Muhammad. Nor was it spontaneous.

[Order Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s book “Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations” from Amazon]

It was planned to inflict maximum damage, during a staff meeting, with automatic weapons and a getaway plan. It was designed to sow terror, and in that it has worked.

“We have to acknowledge that today’s Islamists are driven by a political ideology, an ideology embedded in the foundational texts of Islam. We can no longer pretend that it is possible to divorce actions from the ideals that inspire them.”

The West is duly terrified. But it should not be surprised.

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If there is a lesson to be drawn from such a grisly episode, it is that what webelieve about Islam truly doesn’t matter. This type of violence, jihad, is what they, the Islamists, believe.51b6YKbnkjL._SL250_

[Order Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s book “Infidel” from Amazon]

There are numerous calls to violent jihad in the Quran. But the Quran is hardly alone. In too much of Islam, jihad is a thoroughly modern concept. The 20th-century jihad “bible,” and an animating work for many Islamist groups today, is “The Quranic Concept of War,” a book written in the mid-1970s by Pakistani Gen. S.K. Malik. He argues that because God, Allah, himself authored every word of the Quran, the rules of war contained in the Quran are of a higher caliber than the rules developed by mere mortals.

“Islam, with 1,400 years of history and some 1.6 billion adherents, should be able to withstand a few cartoons by a French satirical magazine. But of course deadly responses to cartoons depicting Muhammad are nothing new in the age of jihad.”

In Malik’s analysis of Quranic strategy, the human soul—and not any physical battlefield—is the center of conflict. The key to victory, taught by Allah through the military campaigns of the Prophet Muhammad, is to strike at the soul of your enemy. And the best way to strike at your enemy’s soul is through terror. Terror, Malik writes, is “the point where the means and the end meet.” Terror, he adds, “is not a means of imposing decision upon the enemy; it is the decision we wish to impose.”

 “The more we oblige, the more we self-censor, the more we appease, the bolder the enemy gets.”

Those responsible for the slaughter in Paris, just like the man who killed the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004, are seeking to impose terror. And every time we give in to their vision of justified religious violence, we are giving them exactly what they want. Read the rest of this entry »


WSJ: ‘Jihadists Target Western Principles of Free Speech and Religious Pluralism’

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Heavily armed gunmen on Wednesday infiltrated the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper in Paris, murdering at least 12 people, including its editor, before fleeing. The deadliest terror attack on French soil in more than a decade is a fresh reminder that the war on Islamist terror is far from won, and that jihadists are bent on eradicating the heritage of Western freedom.

Charlie Hebdo was founded in 1970, and the left-wing weekly has always been an equal-opportunity offender. Its politics and taste aren’t ours, but from Jesus to Michael Jackson and from 9/11 to the Pope, nothing has been off-limits.

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“Wednesday’s attack also demonstrates again that violent Islam isn’t a reaction to poverty or Western policies in the Middle East. It is an ideological challenge to Western civilization and principles, including a free press and religious pluralism.”

That mocking spirit extended to Islam, and the paper drew the ire of Muslim fanatics for poking fun at the Prophet Muhammad. The newspaper in 2006 reprinted the Muhammad cartoons first published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. In response, the grand mosque of Paris and other French Muslim organizations unsuccessfully sued Charlie Hebdo for “racism.”

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“The murder of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists is merely the latest evil expression of a modern arc of Islamist violence against Western free speech that stretches back to Ayatollah Khomeini ’s 1989 fatwa calling for the killing of novelist Salman Rushdie.”

In 2011 terrorists firebombed Charlie’s offices after the announcement of a “Shariah Hebdo.” (See the cover nearby: “100 lashes if you don’t die laughing.”) A subsequent cover depicted a cartoonist passionately kissing a Muslim man with the headline: “Love Is Stronger Than Hate.” Charlie Hebdo moved to a new office, but police protection failed to stop the terrorists who on Wednesday were heard shouting “we have avenged the prophet!”

Henry Jackson Society Associate Director Douglas Murray on the Islamist terror attack on the Paris-based satirical magazine and the murder of 12 innocents.

Read the rest of this entry »


Israel Must Be ‘Eliminated’

Netanyahu has to take Iran’s words seriously. Why doesn’t Obama?

“To see what is in front of ones nose needs a constant struggle.”—George Orwell

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the United Nations today, which also happens to be Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. The timing is apt because when it comes to Iran and Israel, the hardest thing for some people to see or hear is what Iranian leaders say in front of the worlds nose.

“Iran has been around for the last seven, 10 thousand years. They [the Israelis] have been occupying those territories for the last 60 to 70 years, with the support and force of the Westerners. They have no roots there in history,” Mr. Ahmadinejad told reporters and editors in New York on Monday.

“We do believe that they have found themselves at a dead end and they are seeking new adventures in order to escape this dead end. Iran will not be damaged with foreign bombs. We dont even count them as any part of any equation for Iran. During a historical phase, they [the Israelis] represent minimal disturbances that come into the picture and are then eliminated.”

Note that word—”eliminated.” When Iranians talk about Israel, this intention of a final solution keeps coming up. In October 2005, Mr. Ahmadinejad, quoting the Ayatollah Khomeini, said Israel “must be wiped off the map.” Lest anyone miss the point, the Iranian President said in June 2008 that Israel “has reached the end of its function and will soon disappear off the geographical domain.”

He has company among Iranian leaders. In a televised speech in February, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called Israel a “cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut,” adding that “from now on, in any place, if any nation or any group that confronts the Zionist regime, we will endorse and we will help. We have no fear of expressing this.

“Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, chief of staff of the armed forces, added in May that “the Iranian nation is standing for its cause that is the full annihilation of Israel.”

This pledge of erasing an entire state goes back to the earliest days of the Iranian revolution. “One of our major points is that Israel must be destroyed,” Ayatollah Khomeini said in the 1980s.

Former Iranian President Akbar Rafsanjani—often described as a moderate in Western media accounts—had this to say in 2001: “If one day, the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, then the imperialists strategy will reach a standstill because the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything. However, it will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.”

So for Iran it is “not irrational” to contemplate the deaths of millions of Muslims in exchange for the end of Israel because millions of other Muslims will survive, but the Jewish state will not.The worlds civilized nations typically denounce such statements, as the U.S. State Department denounced Mr. Ahamadinejads on Monday. But denouncing them is not the same as taking them seriously…

via Review & Outlook– WSJ.com