Archive for the ‘Jews’ Category

Ridiculous items in stimulus plan

February 2, 2009

So much for the new bipartisanship.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed President Obama’s $819 billion economic stimulus bill pretty much along party lines, with the exception of 11 Democrats who voted against the plan.

The House Bill:
Stimulus: Some Loony Spending Requests in Obama Plan

By Ruben Navarrette
For CNN

After the vote, Obama said he hoped to “continue to strengthen” the bill as it made its way through the Senate.

I’d settle for removing more of the ridiculous items that House Democrats slipped into the legislation to advance their sociopolitical agenda. Like $350 million for child care on military bases. Or $335 million to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

In normal economic times, there might not be anything wrong with this. But these aren’t normal times. And these politically motivated giveaways do nothing to fight the recession.

Another such item, which was removed from the bill, was a plan to spend more than $200 million on birth control funding as a way of stimulating the economy.

Who could possibly defend such a thing? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi concocted an argument that was ridiculous and offensive. In fact, the argument was so bad that it might have single-handedly led to the demise of the funding, which some conservatives considered a giveaway to Planned Parenthood.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/0
2/02/navarrette.stimulus/index.html

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“Death to America, Death to Israel,” Iran Rallies Behind Ayatollah Khomeini

January 31, 2009

In Iran today, the great anti-American religious leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was honored and celebrated in the usual way: with street marches and slogans most Americans and Jews would find offensive.

President Obama’s outreach and hope of a new relationship between the U.S. and Iran was not yet apparent in Tehran’s streets.

“We will guard the great legacy and principles of Imam Khomeini,” vowed Khamenei on another banner of his mentor who died in 1989.

“The Islamic revolution is the result of sacrifices made by martyrs,” read a banner inscribed with one of Khomeini’s famous quotes.

AFP said a group of hardline Basij militia on Friday washed Khomeini’s tomb with rose water — an Iranian custom to honour the dead — and the grave was later strewn with flowers, state television said.

This year’s anniversary celebrations come barely four months before a presidential election in Iran, with Ahmadinejad seeking re-election for another four year term.

Without George W. Bush to burn in effigy the anti-Americanism of the event was lessened but still present.

Iran’s Ahmadinejad: Barack Obama should apologise for 60 years of ‘crimes’

January 28, 2009

In his own way of saying “thank you” to Barack Obama for his expressed respect for Muslims on Al-Arabiya , President Ahmadinejad has an idea or two for the new American president….

*****

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad demanded on Wednesday that US President Barack Obama apologise for the “crimes” committed by the United States against Iran over the past 60 years.

By The Telegrapn (UK)

The hardline leader also called on Washington to withdraw its troops from across the world as a proof of Mr Obama’s commitment to change.

“You were standing against the Iranian people in the past 60 years,” Mr Ahmadinejad said during an address in the western region of Khermenshah that was broadcast by state television.

Barack Obama should apologise for 60 years of 'crimes'

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the advocates of change must ‘stop supporting the Zionists, outlaws and criminals’ Photo: REUTERS

“Those who speak of change must apologise to the Iranian people and try to repair their past bad acts and the crimes they committed against Iran.”

As to the troops, he said he expected two kinds of “deep and fundamental” change.

“Meet people, talk to them with respect and put an end to the expansionist policies. If you talk about change it must put an end to the US military presence in the world, withdraw your troops and take them back inside your borders.”

Mr Ahmadinejad said the advocates of change must “stop supporting the Zionists, outlaws and criminals”.

He called on the United States to “stop interfering in other people’s affairs”.

He also said the US government should “let the American people decide their own future … Stop pressuring them,” he added, without saying what he was referring to.

Mr Ahmadinejad said he welcomed change but the “change has to be fundamental”.

Related:
 Iran Says Again, Holocaust a ‘Big Lie’

Iran Will Have Nuke This Year?

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/n
orthamerica/usa/barackobama/4370711/Mah
moud-Ahmadinejad-Barack-Obama-should-apo
logise-for-60-years-of-crimes.html

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

Iran Says Again, Holocaust a ‘Big Lie’

January 27, 2009

Iran’s government spokesman on Tuesday branded the Holocaust a “big lie” created to place the Islamic republic’s arch-foe Israel in the Middle East, the state IRNA news agency reported.

“The Holocaust is a concept coming from a big lie in order to settle a rootless regime in the heart of the Islamic world,” Gholam Hossein Elham told a conference on Gaza in central Iran’s religious city of Qom.

It was not the first time an Iranian official has questioned the massacre of Jews by Nazis in World War II.

Iran does not recognise Israel, and since his election in 2005 President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has attracted international condemnation by repeatedly predicting that the Jewish state is doomed to disappear.

In late 2005 Ahmadinejad branded the Holocaust a “myth.” His comment was followed by a conference in Tehran in 2006 that brought together Holocaust deniers and revisionists.

A mass-circulation Iranian newspaper also staged a controversial cartoon competition on the subject.

In September last year a group of Iranian Islamist students unveiled a book mocking the Holocaust and filled with anti-Semitic stereotypes and revisionist arguments.

The United Nations designated January 27 as international Holocaust memorial day in 2005, marking the date Soviet troops liberated the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, in Poland.

From AFP and AP

Gaza Causes Friction in France, Where Muslims Have “No Chance”

January 26, 2009

Many Muslims in France, especially new immigrants,  are unemployed and not included in the society or the economy.

“We Muslims have no chance here,” one man told us.

That may be why the recent fighting between Hamas and Israel has cause some disagreements as well as some new thinking in France.

The U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) says, “The recent conflict in Gaza touched nerves in France, which is home to Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim communities. Despite the cease-fire in Gaza, many say the fighting there has done lasting damage to relations between Muslims and Jews in France.”

Go to NPR and hear their broadcast:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.
php?storyId=99861094&ft=1&f=1004

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Related:

France Looking to Screen Immigrants Using DNA

By Peter Allen
Daily Mail (UK)

France’s hard-line new immigration minister is set to implement legislation that would allow DNA testing of new arrivals, he has said.

Eric Besson, who was appointed this month, said the tests would establish which  foreigners were claiming visas by making up family ties with those already settled in the country.

Civil liberties groups have reacted furiously to the controversial government scheme, which was approved by the French parliament 15 months ago but does not come into effect until the appropriate Minister has signed the legislation. 

Protests had delayed that move until now.
.
But Mr Besson said he wanted to give it  the ‘green light’, confirming that a ministerial meeting would be held on the subject ‘in a few days’.

He added: ‘If the decree is accepted, I will scrupulously respect all individual liberties. It’s not my obsession. ”

The tests will be for applications for visas of more than three months when  there are doubts about an immigrant’s birth or marriage certificates.

The move would allow officials to ‘propose’ to applicants that they take a test at their own expense to prove a biological link with other family members.

A recent report said there was often doubt over the authenticity of papers in family  applications for visas.

It claimed that in African countries such as Senegal, Ivory Coast and Togo up  to 80 per cent of birth and marriage certificates were forged.

Government statistics show there are 23,000 immigration cases a year where visa  applications involve children, meaning DNA tests could become widespread.

But immigrant welfare groups said the plan was unacceptable…..

Read the rest:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-11
27823/Illegal-immigrants-DNA-tested-new-crackdo
wn-France.html

Gaza Fight Thunders Across Middle East, Britain, France, Media

January 26, 2009

The guns are silent, or nealy so, in Gaza as Hamas and Israel try to make an agreement and forge a way ahead.

But in many parts of the world, people are choosing sides and discussing who is right, what is justice and how to respond to the Gaza fight.

In the Middle East, leaders in Egypt and Saudi Arabia are telling people to keep an open mind.  But thousands marched in pro-Hamas rallies in Lebanon and other Middle East countries.

In London yesterday, thousands protested the BBC for not showing a video asking for aid contributions for Gazans.  The BBC sid it wanted to stay impartial; but BBC Persian was closed in Iran where the government said it was pro-Israel.

In the media world, any nation seeming to take a side, like the BBC and Sky news, is gaining criticism and scorn.

In France, Jews and Muslims are trying to live together.  But the battle of Gaza has spilled into France….

NPR says, “The recent conflict in Gaza touched nerves in France, which is home to Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim communities. Despite the cease-fire in Gaza, many say the fighting there has done lasting damage to relations between Muslims and Jews in France.”

Go to NPR and hear their broadcast:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.
php?storyId=99861094&ft=1&f=1004

Related:
Sky News joins BBC in not broadcasting Gaza aid appeal

BBC Insists It Is Not The “Barack Broadcasting Channel”

BBC In Hot Water; Accused Of Not Helping Victims

Obama Inauguration: No Rabbis, Priests

January 20, 2009

Inauguration audiences on Tuesday will hear the new President deliver the most anticipated Inaugural Address since John F. Kennedy. They’ll hear the Queen of Soul sing and Yo-Yo Ma play. They’ll listen to hear if Rick Warren gets preachy when he prays. But there’s one thing they won’t hear: Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha’olam.

That’s because for the sixth straight presidential Inauguration, rabbis won’t have a place on the dais. And the Jewish faith isn’t the only religious tradition that continues to be snubbed. Since 1985, only Evangelical Protestants have played a part in the swearing-in ceremony. That will continue again this year when megachurch pastor Warren delivers the invocation and the Rev. Joseph Lowery, an African-American Evangelical, offers the benediction. At a time when the United States is more religiously diverse than at any other point in its history, and Obama’s entire campaign was built on the notion of a newfound inclusiveness and multiculturalism, it seems a glaring omission. (See TIME’s special report on civil rights and the Obama presidency.)

Time Magazine

The recent Evangelical Protestant monopoly began in 1989, when George H.W. Bush asked Billy Graham to deliver both the invocation and benediction (the opening and closing prayers) at his Inauguration. Graham did the same for Bill Clinton in 1993 and again in 1997. The decision to delegate the religious role to Graham seemed a reasonable alternative to filling the stage with an ever-growing number of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu and Baha’i clergy. The famous Evangelist regularly topped the list of people Americans most admired, and he prayed in fairly broad terms, referring just to “God” and using the formulation “I pray” instead of “we pray” to make clear that he was not imposing his Christian prayer on the entire citizenry. (Read Obama’s words on his Christian faith.)

But the absence of non-Christian religious leaders was felt even more deeply starting in 2001, when Graham’s son Franklin ended his invocation with an exclusive statement: “We … acknowledge you alone as our Lord, our Savior and our Redeemer. We pray this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit.” This was not a prayer offered on behalf of all Americans but on behalf of Christians alone. It bookended George W. Bush’s Inauguration with a benediction by Kirbyjon Caldwell that declared, “We respectfully submit this humble prayer in the name that’s above all other names, Jesus the Christ,” and instructed, “Let all who agree say ‘Amen.’ ” If you didn’t agree, there was apparently nothing for you to do but shuffle your feet.

For non-Christians, but particularly for Jews who had gotten used to having a place on the dais, the development was deeply disturbing. After all, traditionally, the religious roster at presidential swearing ins looked something like the set-up to an old joke: “A priest, a pastor and a rabbi walk into an Inauguration …” Rabbis prayed at a majority of Inaugurations that took place between 1949 and 1985, as did Catholic priests.

It is true that Jewish religious leaders weren’t on the dais in 1937, when Franklin D. Roosevelt first introduced the tradition of an Inaugural prayer. Up until then, presidential Inaugurations did not include prayers. Instead, the vice-presidential swearing in took place at a separate ceremony in the Senate chambers, after which the Senate chaplain usually offered a prayer. Roosevelt decided to merge the two events and brought the chaplain along to participate as well. But in a shrewd political maneuver, Roosevelt also opened up a second religious slot on the program for Father John Ryan, an influential figure in Catholic social teaching and a prominent supporter of the New Deal. As Mark Silk, professor of religion at Trinity College, has written, Ryan was not only known as “the Right Rev. New Dealer,” but he was also the most effective critic of Father Charles Coughlin, the notorious right-wing, anti-Roosevelt priest. Ryan’s participation in the Inauguration helped insulate Roosevelt against Coughlin’s attacks and shore up the growing – and critical – voting bloc of Catholic Democrats.

Related:
Obama Didn’t Need Rick Warren for Prayer; Others Abound

 Obama’s Path to Faith Was Eclectic, Diverse

Why Israel Can’t Make Peace With Hamas

January 14, 2009

Like Hezbollah, Hamas believes that God is opposed to a Jewish state in Palestine.

By Jeffrey Goldberg
The New York Times
.
IN the summer of 2006, at a moment when Hezbollah rockets were falling virtually without pause on northern Israel, Nizar Rayyan, husband of four, father of 12, scholar of Islam and unblushing executioner, confessed to me one of his frustrations.

We were meeting in a concrete mosque in the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza. Mr. Rayyan, who was a member of the Hamas ruling elite, and an important recruiter of suicide bombers until Israel killed him two weeks ago (along with several of his wives and children), arrived late to our meeting from parts unknown.

He was watchful for assassins even then, and when I asked him to describe his typical day, he suggested that I might be a spy for Fatah. Not the Mossad, mind you, not the C.I.A., but Fatah.

What a phantasmagorically strange conflict the Arab-Israeli war had become! Here was a Saudi-educated, anti-Shiite (but nevertheless Iranian-backed) Hamas theologian accusing a one-time Israeli Army prison official-turned-reporter of spying for Yasir Arafat’s Fatah, an organization that had once been the foremost innovator of anti-Israeli terrorism but was now, in Mr. Rayyan’s view, indefensibly, unforgivably moderate.

In the Palestinian civil war, Fatah, which today controls much of the West Bank and is engaged in intermittent negotiations with Israel, had become Mr. Rayyan’s direst enemy, a party of apostates and quislings. “First we must deal with the Muslims who speak of a peace process and then we will deal with you,” he declared.

But we spoke that day mainly about the hadith, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, that specifically concerned Jews and their diverse and apparently limitless character failings.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/14/opi
nion/14goldberg-1.html?_r=1

For Barack Obama, Middle East Pressure Cooker Intensifies With Each Unchecked Israeli Move

January 4, 2009

With global respect for the United States at an all time low and hopes in Barack Obama at an all time high, how much more pressure and drama can a new President of the United States tolerate?

Well, Israel, the Middle East and George W. Bush are adding fuel to the proverbial fire.

An Israeli tank enters the Gaza Strip from Israel on a combat mission, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. Israeli ground troops and tanks cut swaths through the Gaza Strip early Sunday, bisecting the coastal territory and surrounding its biggest city as the new phase of a devastating offensive against Hamas gained momentum. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Photo: AP

Bush’s totally unbowed support for Israel and his deaf ear to pressure from the Arab world has resulted in gridlock in the United Nations Security Council.  It now looks as if the U.N. may not even consider another cease-fire proposal between Israel and Hamas until Tuesday.

The U.S. has blocked two previous cease-fire resolutions.

Many nations would like to see Isreal ordered to agree to a cease fire; but U.S. non-compliance has allowed Isreal to forge ahead in its air, and now ground, assault upon Gaza.

For right or wrong, the U.S. position on Israel is under siege: putting even more pressure on Barack Obama to come up with a solution more people can agree to in the Middle East after he is inaugurated on January 20, 2009.

Maybe Mr. Obama can still replace Rick Warren with a Muslim for the invocation….

Related:
 Gaza, Israel Highlight Stark Obama, Bush Differences

 Arab Nations Enraged At U.S. On Gaza, Palestinian Deaths
.
Gaza: International Community Allowing Isreal To Bleed Hamas?
.
Gaza and Obama’s “Deafening Silence:” Arabs and Muslims Wonder

In this Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008 file photo, Pastor Rick Warren ... 
Rick Warren: Needs an all inclusive prayer…. and a very big rug….

Arab Nations Urged To Cut Off Oil to Isreal, Allies

January 4, 2009

An Iranian military commander called on Islamic countries to cut oil exports to Israel’s supporters in response to the Jewish state’s offensive in Gaza, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.

IRNA said commander Bagherzadeh described oil as “one of the powerful elements of pressure” on the Jewish state’s Western backers in the “unequal war” faced by Palestinians in the coastal strip.

“Pointing at Westerners’ dependence on the Islamic countries’ oil and energy resources, he (Bagherzadeh) called for cutting the export of crude oil to the Zionist regime’s supporters the world over,” IRNA said, referring to Israel.

Reuters

IRNA gave only the commander’s last name but it may have been referring to Mirfeysal Bagherzadeh, a brigadier-general of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards. There was no immediate comment from other Iranian officials.

Iran, which often rails against the United States and Israel, is the world’s fourth-largest oil producer and a leading member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Top exporter Saudi Arabia is a U.S. ally.

Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants battled in Gaza on Sunday after Israeli troops and tanks invaded the coastal enclave in the most serious fighting in the conflict in decades.

Read the rest:
http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnDAH452978.html

Israeli artillery fire shells towards the Gaza Strip. Thousands ... 
Israeli artillery fire shells towards the Gaza Strip. Thousands of Israeli troops backed by scores of tanks are battling Hamas fighters in Gaza fields and roads, surrounding the battered territory’s main city on a mission to end militant rocket attacks.(AFP/Shay Shmueli)