Friday, January 12, 2007

Israel's Solidarity-with-al-Qaeda Left

1. The Israeli committee for solidarity with al-Qaeda now exists, or at
least that is what it should be called. On Jan. 11, Haaretz ran a guest Op-Ed
by Amnon Vidan, the Director of the Israeli branch of the rabidly
anti-Israel pro-terror organization Amnsety International. The entire
Op-Ed was an attack on the US for operating the Gitmo Bay camp in which
al-Qaeda terrorists are held. The Amnest chap wants the US to shut down
Guantanamo Bay. After all, the terrorists there did not get nice trials
with nice lawyers. Really, that is what he says.
In general, Herr Vidan is far more concerned with the "human rights" of
al-Qaeda terrorists than he is with those of the 911 victims. He cries at
night for the al-Qaeda victims of a criminal America.
(His piece in Hebrew is at
Here's my proposal. Let's ship all Amnesty International directors to
Gitmo to share cells with the terrorhoids there and collect some
first-hand information.

Meanwhile, here is Robert Pollack on what conditions at Gitmo are REALLY
like, from the Wall St Journal:
January 12, 2007
The Gitmo High Life
January 12, 2007; Page A12

For sheer irony it's hard to beat this week's spectacle of Cindy Sheehan
protesting the U.S. detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay -- from inside
the prison that is Cuba itself. It's not uncommon for asylum-seeking
Cubans to brave minefields and shark-infested waters to enter the U.S.
naval base, which five years ago this week also became home to many top
figures from al Qaeda and the Taliban.

That anniversary has brought forth predictable demands that Guantanamo be
closed from the self-styled human rights activists at Amnesty
International and other groups. But the world needs a place to hold al
Qaeda terrorists, who continue to strike in Europe, Iraq and Afghanistan
-- even if they have failed to hit the United States since 2001. And after
visiting Guantanamo just before Christmas, it was easy to understand why
Belgian Police official Alain Grignard (who came last year with a
delegation from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe)
was moved to declare it "a model prison, where people are better treated
than in Belgian prisons."

This is no less true of Camp Five, Gitmo's maximum security facility that
houses its most dangerous detainees. Modern and clean, it looks just like
a U.S. jail. Meals (I ate the same lunch the detainees did that day) are
high in caloric content, if not exactly gourmet. The average detainee has
gained 18 pounds. And in the interrogation room it's the Americans who may
have to suffer long hours in straight-back chairs, while the detainees --
I kid you not -- get a La-Z-Boy. I was shown a Syrian under interrogation
via closed circuit television. His questioners were two pleasant-looking
young women. He was smiling.

I'm not under the impression that these sessions are always fun and games.
But detainees in Defense Department custody are treated according to the
restrictive rules of the Army Field Manual, which bans all forms of
coercive interrogation. I double checked with the camp's lead
interrogator: other government agencies -- read CIA and FBI -- have to
follow those rules too. Not only does that mean no "torture" is going on.
Your average good-cop bad-cop routine isn't allowed. Cooperative detainees
get rewards like movies. "Harry Potter" is one of their favorites.

When it comes to medical care, almost no expense is spared -- as I
discovered after spotting an overweight man lounging in the rec yard of
Camp Five. "Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?" I inquired (he was some distance
away). "No, that's Paracha," came the somewhat exasperated reply.

Saifullah Paracha is a Pakistani businessman and media owner who claims
two meetings with Osama bin Laden were purely for journalistic interest.
He is believed to be an important figure in the case against Majid Khan,
one of the 14 "high value" detainees recently transferred to Gitmo from
CIA custody. Last year Mr. Paracha's son Uzair was sentenced to 30 years
in a U.S. prison for aiding an al Qaeda operative in a plot to bomb U.S.

Maybe terrorism is stressful work. But whatever the reason, the elder
Paracha also suffers from heart disease. So late last year -- at an
expense of some $400,000 -- the U.S. government flew down doctors and
equipment to perform cardiac catheterization. Mr. Paracha's response was
to refuse treatment and file a petition in U.S. federal court for transfer
to a hospital in the U.S. or Pakistan. At least his lawyers were frank
about their cynical motives: "His death in U.S. captivity would be a blow
to American prestige."

The medical care at Guantanamo seems state of the art. All detainees over
50 are offered colonoscopies; at least 16 have been performed. Gitmo's
psychiatrist told me that fewer that 1% of detainees suffer from mood
disorders, a rate lower than that of the general population. That would
appear to undercut claims that indefinite detention is itself a form of
"mental torture."

Guantanamo detainees don't lack for legal representation. A list of lead
counsel released this week in response to a Freedom of Information Act
request reads like a who's who of America's most prestigious law firms:
Shearman and Sterling; Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr; Covington &
Burling; Hunton & Williams; Sullivan & Cromwell; Debevoise & Plimpton;
Cleary Gottlieb; and Blank Rome are among the marquee names.

A senior U.S. official I spoke to speculates that this information might
cause something of scandal, since so much of the pro bono work being done
to tilt the playing field in favor of al Qaeda appears to be subsidized by
legal fees from the Fortune 500. "Corporate CEOs seeing this should ask
firms to choose between lucrative retainers and representing terrorists"
who deliberately target the U.S. economy, he opined.

None of the above is meant to suggest Guantanamo is a fun place. What
terrorist detention facility would be? (Base commander Adm. Harry Harris
rejects the term "prison," by the way: "We are not about punishment; we
are about keeping enemy combatants off the battlefield.") But the picture
of Guantanamo usually painted by the press and human-rights activists is a
terribly distorted one. Americans should rest assured that the men held
there are probably getting better treatment than they deserve.

Mr. Pollock is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board.

URL for this article:

2. Melanie Phillips:
The war within the west (6)

Posted By Melanie On January 10, 2007 @ 2:35 am In Diary Comments

The Wall Street Journal has a deserved reputation for intelligent,
well-informed opinion. So why has it suddenly published a piece of
unadulterated trash? An article it has published by an Israeli academic,
Fania Oz-Salzberger, is as ignorant as it is offensive. She claims that
European voices speaking up for Israel base their support on hatred of

Last September the European Coalition for Israel convened in Brussels, its
most prominent speakers lamenting the loss of European Jewry alongside the
rise of European Islam. The tone was belligerent, the linkage crude: .The
enemies of Israel are also a threat to Europe,. delegates were told. And
also: .In only two generations, most parts of Europe will be under Islamic
law.. Other self-declared friends grimly speak of Londonistan and augur
the coming of the European Caliphate. Such statements may reflect genuine
concern, but are disconcerting when made on European soil.

Unlike the late Oriana Fallaci, whose commitment to the Jews stemmed from
her heroic anti-Fascist youth, and whose harsh critique of Islam came from
an enraged liberal soul, many of these new friends are Muslim-bashers
first and Israel-backers second. Their blanket condemnation of Muslim
communities on their continent rings eerily familiar. Their sweeping
verdict against a whole civilization has that strange d.j. vu feel. And
their rather sudden nostalgia for Europe.s lost Jews is, I.m sorry to say,
far too late and somewhat suspect. As the Mishna wisely warns, .Any love
that depends upon some thing, when that thing is no more, the love is no
more.. You see, we have a very long experience with human relationships.

I, for one Israeli, would be grateful to my newfound buddies if their
sympathy for me did not rely on the trashing of another religion. Unlike
them, I.m touched by the sight of young Muslim women in European
university campuses. They remind my of my own grandmother, a student in
Prague who had to flee after the Nazi rise to power, and of all the other
young and hopeful Jews whose dreams and lives were shattered by the
European culture they so admired. I will therefore not solicit support
based on unqualified dislike of other human groups, least of all on the
continent that kicked out my grandparents.

Since (as far as I know) I am the sole author of a book entitled
Londonistan, these odious remarks leapt from the page. I reject absolutely
the charge that the defence of Israel is based on a hatred of Muslims. On
the contrary, the defence of Israel involves fighting Muslim hatred of
Israel and the Jews. In my book, I explicitly draw a distinction between
Islam and Islamism, precisely in order not to demonise those Muslims who
are genuinely committed against the ideology of hatred and conquest that
is driving the jihad. But the fact is that there are many Muslims in
Europe who are either jihadis themselves or who are consumed by hatred of
Jews, Israel, America and the west.

Disgracefully, Oz-Salzberger implies that those Europeans who are warning
about the jihad in their midst are the potential instigators of a second
European holocaust, this time against the Muslims. What pathological
inversion is this? The only holocaust presently on the horizon is the one
being planned by Muslims for the country of which Oz-Salzberger is a
citizen. Islamists declare openly that they want to destroy not merely
Israel but western civilisation, and subject Europe and the free world to
Islam. Vilifying as .Islamophobes. those who are warning of the advances
that this movement has already made and is continuing to make in Europe is
to vilify those who are warning against murderous tyranny, religious
conquest and genocide . and therefore effectively to take the side of
those who support murderous tyranny, religious conquest and genocide.

Her comparison of Jewish refugees from the Nazi Holocaust and young Muslim
women is particularly offensive. Certainly, many Muslims are perfectly
decent and honourable. But an awful lot are not. In Britain, opinion polls
of Muslims have shown that nearly half think 9/11 was a conspiracy between
the US and Israel, 46% think the Jewish community is .in league with the
Freemasons to control the media and police. and 37% think the Jewish
community in Britain is a legitimate target .as part of the ongoing
struggle for justice in the Middle East.. To equate such a community with
Jewish refugees like Oz-Salzberger.s grandmother, none of whom, it goes
without saying, harboured any such vicious prejudice towards the people
amongst whom they had come to live, is beyond grotesque. Those Jewish
refugees were the victims of murderous ethnic hatred; an alarming number
of European Muslims perpetrate precisely such hatred. Such an equation
reveals a level of moral, intellectual and political blindness which
desecrates the memory of the six million who perished . and certainly
denies the present suffering of European Jews such as those in France who
are being attacked and murdered by French Muslims. In such circumstances,
to say that those who support Jews against Muslim hatred are guilty of
.unqualified dislike of other human groups. is as incomprehensible as it
is disgusting. For it to be said, furthermore, by an Israeli Jew, using
the Holocaust to defame those who seek to defend against a second such
catastrophe the country that arose from its ashes, is a Jewish cultural

Oz-Salzberger goes on:

It may be our role to remind today.s Europeans of the medieval past, the
great centuries when Islam was young, tolerant to minorities and
philosophically minded. There would be no Maimonides, no glorious Sephardi
Jewish tradition, without the Arab world. Iran.s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may
be threatening the existence of Israel today, but no Muslim power has ever
dealt the Jews such calamities as brought upon them by Europe.

Dear oh dear. .Tolerant to minorities.? The idea that medieval Islam was a
kind of forerunner to John Locke is one of the ludicrous myths peddled by
the legion of third-rate revisionist historians of Islam who have
sanitised its history. Yes, it.s true that medieval Islamic rule did not
inflict upon the Jews horrors as great as those inflicted by medieval
Christendom. Unlike the Christians, the Muslims didn.t slaughter all the
Jews unless they converted; it only slaughtered some of them in periodic
pogroms. The .golden age. of Sephardi Jewry was a brief and atypical
affair. Even then, the Jews in Muslim lands were forced to live as
.dhimmi. or second class citizens: made to pay special taxes, to live
under a host of humiliating restrictions and to wear clothes designed to
single them out as a lowly caste.

Oz-Salzberger, let us remind ourselves, is the director of the Posen
Research Forum for Political Thought and senior lecturer at the faculty of
law and school of history at the University of Haifa. How can any
university employ such a person? She is a disgrace to academia.

Unfortunately, there are many like her throughout the Israeli
intelligentsia. As in Britain and Europe .maybe even more so .there tends
to be a knee-jerk vilification by many Israeli intellectuals of everyone
who does not subscribe to left-wing utopian idiocy, and as a result is
written off as racist, bigoted, Islamophobic and above all .right-wing..
In the Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick points out that the European
Coalition for Israel, which is defamed by Oz-Salzberger as .Islamophobic.,
in fact issued no diatribes against Islam at its conference; she suggests
that the reason for this attack on the ECI is simply that it is Christian.
That may be so. But the unhappy fact is that the proclivity for moral and
intellectual inversion, national self-loathing and consequent cultural
suicide which are the hallmark of the British and European elites is
prevalent in such circles in Israel too. It.s dangerous enough in Europe;
in Israel, beseiged by its destroyers and fighting for its survival, it is


Article printed from Melanie Phillips.s Diary:

URL to article:

3. Re-thinking Teddy:

4. Olmert's Moderate:

5. Double Standard Watch:

6. Don't call em settlers:

7. Tax Exempt Terror

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