Jordan’s Legal Jihad

Jordan’s Legal Jihad

By Stephen Brown
FrontPageMagazine.com | 7/3/2008

In a brazen attempt to stifle free speech in the West, a Jordanian court recently summoned twelve European citizens to answer criminal charges of blasphemy and inciting hatred.

 

Among those sought by the court is Geert Wilders, the Dutch liberal politician who made the anti-Islamist film, Fitna. Released last March, the Dutch MP’s production caused an uproar in Islamic countries, since it equated Islam with violence. Now a Middle Eastern court would like to prosecute Wilders for the “crime.” (Ironically, a Dutch court dropped charges against him for inciting hatred against Muslims with his film the day before the Jordanian court issued its subpoena.)

 

The Jordanian court’s move is only the most ambitious attempt to silence debate about Islam. Until now, the preferred strategy has been to file civil lawsuits in western courts to intimidate critics. The latest version of what may be called the legal jihad is even more disturbing.

 

In one subpoena, issued in early June, the Jordanian court ordered ten Danish newspaper editors to travel to Jordan for the “crime” of having republished the “Mohammad cartoons” last February. The cartoons, first published in 2005, were also greeted with disturbances in Muslim lands. Seventeen Danish newspapers republished the controversial cartoons as a response to the discovery of an Islamist plot to murder Kurt Westergaard. Westergaard, a caricaturist, drew the most famous of those cartoons in the form of Mohammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban, for which he is also included in the summons.

 

This new campaign of intimidation against the West is being mounted by a Jordanian organization calling itself “Messenger of Allah Unite Us”, which is made up of “… media outlets, professional associations, parliamentarians and thousands of volunteers.” This organization, according to one account, arose as a “civilized response” to the Mohammad cartoons’ republication in 17 Danish papers last winter, after which it took the matter to a Jordanian court and successfully had charges pressed against the Danes, and later against Wilders.

 

The subpoenas will be sent to the twelve Europeans through their embassies in Jordan. If they do not appear within 15 days, the Messenger of Allah group says it will seek international arrest warrants through Interpol.

 

But while Denmark and Holland will not forcibly send innocent citizens to Jordan, this new, “legal jihad” tactic of criminalizing those believed to have insulted Islam constitutes a threat on an unprecedented level against freedom.

 

Citizens of western countries who criticize Islam, and are even willing to face lawsuits in civil courts their own countries for doing so, may now exercise restraint if they risk facing criminal charges in a Muslim country. Especially if the charge is blasphemy and it is being tried by a sharia court, which can impose a death sentence (The Danes and Wilders, a Jordanian lawyer said, are facing a maximum of three years in jail).

 

As well, critics of Islam who have outstanding warrants against them from courts in Muslim countries will have their freedom of movement restricted, since travel abroad will now be problematic. Wilders expressed this sentiment, saying he will be careful when he travels now. Such targeted individuals, like Wilders, will obviously have reservations travelling to a third country where Jordan could file an extradition application or may already have an extradition treaty in place.

 

But what is most disturbing is that an Islamic country would dare subpoena citizens of another state for an action not committed within its borders but in a land where no laws were broken. Besides being meant as a weapon of intimidation, this tactic also represents a frightening extension of Islamic law into the heart of western countries.

 

But perhaps most ominously, this incredibly brazen measure shows that even a small Islamic country like Jordan has no fear of Europe. And, indeed, no retaliatory response met the Jordanian court’s action against European citizens.

 

Europe’s appeasement is also evident in the second part of Messenger For Allah group’s anti-blasphemy campaign. This part calls for a commercial boycott of all Danish and Dutch products in Jordan and of anything associated with the two countries, such as airlines and shipping companies. The boycott campaign actually began late last February but was suspended due to the losses Jordanian importers were incurring that had large stocks of unsold Danish and Dutch products.

 

The boycott, however, was resumed June 10. One million posters containing the logos of banned Dutch and Danish products will eventually hang in Jordanian businesses under the title “Living Without It.” The boycott will also be spread by television and radio ads, t-shirts, and bumper stickers.

 

Dutch and Danish companies were instructed they could get their products off the boycott list if they, essentially, betrayed their nations’ values and their countrymen. The affected companies, according to The Jordan Times, were told to denounce the Dutch film and the Danish cartoons in the media both in Jordan and in at least one publication in their own country, support the Jordanian legal action taken against Wilders and the Danish newspaper people as well as the creation of an international anti-blasphemy law.

 

Several companies have already complied. When informed of the stipulation that requires a denunciation be published in a Dutch newspaper, a spokesman for a Dutch food company that exports to Jordan said his company “…would print it if needed.”

 

But such groveling will only buy these companies a little time, as another Dutch company discovered. It had immediately distanced itself from Wilders and Fitna after the film’s release last March but still had products placed on the boycott posters.

 

The Dutch government did not fare much better in its appeasement efforts. One Dutch embassy official in Jordan said he was surprised his country was included in the boycott in the first place since his government had already printed statements in the Jordanian press distancing itself from Wilders’ film.

 

And, naturally, the Jordanian blackmailers’ demands have not stopped. Only last week, Dutch and Danish companies were told to put the boycott posters up in their own countries if they did not want their products blacklisted.

 

Perhaps to further intimidate Holland’s and Denmark’s populations, the Jordanians are also claiming their boycott campaign is causing these countries huge financial losses of over four billion Euros in four months. A Danish official, however, says that is ridiculous since his country only exported about $50 million worth of goods to Jordan in 2007.

 

The overall goal of the Messenger of Allah group’s legal and commercial campaign against the two European states, it says, is the enactment of “a universal law that prohibits the defamation of any prophet or religion”, especially of the Prophet Mohammad. Islamic countries are already pushing for such a law at the United Nations.

 

“The boycott is a means but not an end,” said Zakaria Sheikh, a spokesperson for Messenger of Allah Unite Us. “We are not aiming at collective punishment, but when the Danish and Dutch people put pressure on their governments to support the creation of an international law, we are achieving our goal.”

 

Well, there you have it. The Muslim organization wants Denmark and Holland not just to muzzle themselves but to help it muzzle the rest of the world as well.

 

But just the opposite should occur. All western countries should help put a muzzle on Jordan’s ridiculous campaign to squelch free speech, meddle in the internal affairs of two sovereign, western states and intimidate their citizens. In terms of financial measures, Denmark, showing its usual mettle, has already led the way when it told the Sudan it would have to repay a $500 million debt the Scandinavian country was considering cancelling, if it joined the boycott.

 

It should also be pointed out in the West that Jordan, which is demanding respect for its religion, does not respect other religions equally. While the practice of other faiths is not forbidden in the Middle Eastern country, none are allowed to proselytize, and converts from Islam to other religions are prosecuted by Jordanian sharia courts.

 

Moreover, the Jordanians should be told that if they want to extradite inciters of hatred to their courts, then citizens of their country, and of other Islamic countries for that matter, who have advocated killing Jews and other the infidels will be extradited to face western courts. In the end, if legal jihad is not recognized as the danger to the West that it is, and vigorously opposed, it will wind up punishing more than just two small European countries.


Stephen Brown is a columnist for Frontpagemag.com. A scholar and former news reporter, his field of expertise is Muslim forced marriages and honor killings. Email him at alsolzh@hotmail.com.

The insidious wiles of foreign influence

 

July 03, 2008

The insidious wiles of foreign influence

Unfortunately as we celebrate July 4th this year, many of Americans feel that nothing we say or do will make any difference anymore. Jeff Lewis says “National Sovereignty and Liberty Begin with You” and “you need only to look at what our forefathers managed to accomplish in the name of sovereignty and liberty.” That’s called a pep talk folks and many Americans need that right now.

The United States of America is a great nation, with an almost miraculous beginning, a magnificent ‘experiment’ in Freedom which is a beyond what anyone could have dreamed. We are still an experiment in a way, still taking one step at a time. We have to make sure that there are more steps forward than there are steps backward.

Much like in 1775, our government elites today have aligned themselves with special and foreign interests, neglecting the rights and the will of the American people. The debt we owe our posterity is equaled only by the debt we owe our own fathers and forefathers for the fruits of the liberty tree they planted, watered, and protected on our behalf. It has been said that if we fail to learn the lessons history offers, that we are doomed to repeat its mistakes. I suggest that there are parts of America’s history that warrant repeating. When nearly half of the U.S. Senate, despite the overwhelming outcry of the American people, still votes to undermine the Constitution, our sovereignty, and our prosperity as evidenced by the votes for Senate Bills 1348 and 1639, and when the President ignores the will of the people, referring to patriotic Americans as vigilantes, the time is nigh for a renewed pledge. [snip]

 

“Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.” – President George Washington – 1796 [snip] (continue reading)

Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Jeff Lewis is a combat veteran of the Persian Gulf War and the national director of Federal Immigration Reform & Enforcement (FIRE). E-mail him at Jeff@FIRECoalition.com

Protecting this nation from foreign enemies is key to the future of America the Beautiful. Michael Cutler discusses this Washington Times article which deals with the creation of a task multi-agency task force to target violent gangs operating in the United States.

I am also a bit dismayed that the article appears to downplay the issue of the involvement of illegal aliens in such violent gangs.More than ten years ago I was among the first federal agents in New York to initiate an investigation into MS-13

Those who purport to be advocates for “immigrant rights” should be the most vociferous proponents of having ICE participate in such task force investigations into violent gangs, who not only threaten the safety of members of the communities in the United States where they ply their “trades,” but often threaten to kill the family members back home of immigrants who live in the United States. (continue reading)

Business a/k/a money, seems to influence decisions made in Washington more than the voice of We The People — money from American businesses, certain ‘individuals’, and foreign money all skew the actions of Congress. Securing our borders and protecting the United States isn’t about race, or color, it’s about security. Terrorists still want to enter the United States, they still want to harm Americans here and abroad.

What can We the People do?  Vote the bums out comes to mind.  If Washington will not listen to our voices, let them eat the static of our actions in the voting booth.  We the People need to join together as ONE, like minded Americans voting deciding once and for all — to take a big step forward for FREEDOM, SECURITY, and INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS.  The Founding Fathers would be proud.

Freedom

Other reading:

Obama Gives Vets and Military Families the Middle Finger, Stands With Code Pink, Stop the ACLU

ACLU And EFF Sue Justice Department To Uncover Records Of Cell Phone Tracking, Stop the ACLU

One Village at a Time – American Forces in Afghanistan

Abdelmalek Droukdal, leader of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, gave what is thought to be his first interview with a Western journalist to the New York Times, warned that his group “will not hesitate” to target US interests across the world — “Everyone must know that we will not hesitate in targeting it whenever we can and wherever it is on this planet.

Don’t believe the MSM: San Fran is still an illegal alien sanctuary

Hussein to Vets And Military Families: **** You! I’m Standing By Jodie Evans And Code Pink – With Video

Colombian Hostage Rescue Boosts Uribe

Colombian Hostage Rescue Boosts Uribe

Rick Moran

With a plan that no doubt will quickly make it as a plot for a film about this improbable rescue, the Colombian military rescued former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three Americans who worked for contractors as well as 11 Colombian soldiers from the clutches of the terrorist/revolutionary group FARC:

 

In what Colombian officials called an elaborate ruse, commandos deceived a rebel unit entrusted with the prized hostages into turning them over in a grassy field deep in southeastern Guaviare province. The prisoners, who included 11 Colombian soldiers, were then flown to freedom in what amounted to a powerful blow to a fast-waning insurgency.
By late afternoon, the hostages were transported to the main military air base in Bogota, the Colombian capital, where they were reunited with relatives as a military band played the national anthem.
Betancourt, wearing a floppy jungle hat, the kind of flimsy rubber boots worn by guerrillas, and a white flower in her braided hair, stepped off a plane and into the waiting arms of her mother, Yolanda Pulecio. She then addressed well-wishers in comments carried on national television, praising Colombia’s military for “an impeccable operation.”
“God, this is a miracle. Such a perfect operation is unprecedented,” said Betancourt, 46, an author and former presidential candidate taken prisoner by rebels in 2002.

The Americans, who had been held longer than any other American captives around the world, had been held by FARC who were hoping to exchange them for rebel prisoners in Colombia.

Betancourt, who holds dual French-Colombian citizenship, had been the subject of international efforts to free her for years. Her rescue was perhaps the biggest coup of the day as the Colombian military not only carried out a picture perfect operation, but also made FARC look ridiculous, weak, and on the way out at the same time.

The operation will also boost the popularity of America’s best friend in the region, Colombian President Álvaro Uribe whose efforts against FARC in recent months have brought the insurgency to its knees. Many rebels are simply giving up and going home while the military has taken a toll of high level FARC officials and officers. It is an insurgency on the wane.

Just good news all around from Colombia.

The friends of Barack Obama

The friends of Barack Obama

http://patdollard.com/2008/07/the-friends-of-hussein-the-video/

Thomas Lifson
Would you accept a dinner invitation from Bernadine Dohrn and her husband Bill Ayers? Check out what your hostess said about dining etiquette on this independent video.

The video raises some other intersting questions. Obama supporters will call it guilt by association, but it seems to me that when you don’t know someone very well, you have every right to judge a person by his associates.

Hat tip: Paul Budine

Obama Vs. McCain: The Wisdom Factor

Obama Vs. McCain: The Wisdom Factor

By Kyle-Anne Shiver

As an over-50, female Boomer, I have watched, with terrific amusement, Barack Obama’s arrogant strutting of his stuff on the campaign stump.  He reminds me of a young bull, all pumped up with pride, ready to charge with lightning speed, not too sure where his target is, but fired up and ready to ram it down wherever his raging eye lands next.   

And near about every time our young, studly bull, Barack, makes one of his unscripted charges, he tends to land in a big pile of rhetorical manure.  Some folks call these “gaffes.”  Others call them something a bit more smelly.  That’s Barack, all right, a young bull blinded by his own strength.
Then, there’s my man, McCain.

 

He’s the older, wiser bull in this contest. 

 

Been around, he has.  Been around enough to know better than to go charging — without thinking first.

 

Rarely do I repeat any of my husband’s good-ole-boy humor, at least not in public, but he told me a good one recently that seems oh-so-appropriate to this campaign we’ve got going.  So, I’ll bend my rule and clean it up a bit for mixed company.

 

Two bulls are grazing at the top of a country hill, one young, the other getting on up there, way up there in bull-years.  The two bulls are gazing down the hill at a whole herd of heifers, a mighty tempting sight to a couple of studly bulls.

 

Young bull says to the old guy:  “Hey!  Let’s charge down there and sow a few oats with one of those heifers.  I see one that looks like real easy picking’s.  Real easy.”

 

The young bull is so full of himself now, stamping those itchy hooves, can’t wait to start his charge.

 

Old bull is still just grazing, idly giving the young bull a wise, shrewd eyeful.

 

Old bull to young bull:  “What you say we just mosey on down this hill, take our own sweet time, and sow some oats with every last one of ‘em.”

 

Now, things like foreign policy and meeting with terrorist dictators is quite a bit trickier than “sowing oats” with sweet young females, and I do believe, dear readers, that you get my drift here.

 

Two Young Bulls:  Barack and Jack

 

A lot of folks are comparing Barack to JFK, another young guy who captured the imagination of America. 

 

I was ten years old that year, 1960, already more than a little interested in politics, and the grown-up conversations that inevitably centered around the contest between the young, handsome, well-connected John Kennedy and the old grouch, Richard Nixon.  I still remember that televised debate and how my mother reacted, mesmerized by the young bull, while my father lamented the 19th Amendment.

 

The two things I do remember so vividly about Kennedy’s presidency, besides the horror of his assassination, were the fact that my mother secretly told me she voted for him (in spite of my father’s insistence that she not) and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

 

The movie, later made about the crisis, Thirteen Days, paints a decent portrait of how the young Kennedy brothers managed to finagle our way out of the threatened nuclear standoff with the USSR, but says nearly nothing about how we got into such a horrific mess in the first place.

 

Young bull, Jack Kennedy, was no more shy about his campaign pledge to “negotiate” than is Barack Obama today.  Jack Kennedy seemed to think the USSR was going to be easy picking’s for his smooth-as-silk oratory.  One of the most memorable, rhetorical bits from Kennedy’s inaugural address was this beautifully delivered nugget:

 

“Let us never negotiate out of fear.  But let us never fear to negotiate.”

 

And, though it is sad to say, John Kennedy actually knew a great deal more about failed efforts in the realm of “talking” to our enemies (Kennedy’s thesis was entitled, “Appeasement at Munich.”) than does Barack Obama.  Kennedy also had military experience, actual combat experience in WWII.  Still, he made a crucial blunder in his very first year that, even though nuclear war was averted, nevertheless caused enormous setbacks to the free world and emboldened our strongest enemy, the USSR.

 

Even though the disastrous (for the U.S.) meeting between Kennedy and Khrushchev was, at the time, not given full disclosure in the press, details have been brought to light since that make it downright ludicrous for Barack Obama, Columbia and Harvard grad, to connect his own foreign policy illusions to those of JFK.

 

When even the New York Times deems the comparison foolhardy, you can take it to the bank.  As this editorial reminds us, “Kennedy Talked, Khrushchev Triumphed.”  The young bull, Kennedy, remarked after the meeting, “He beat the hell out of me,” he being the old bull, Khrushchev.  The NYT called the face-to-face meeting “a move that would be recorded as one of the more self-destructive American actions of the cold war, and one that contributed to the most dangerous crisis of the nuclear age.”                 

 

Not only did the Soviets, almost immediately, begin building the Berlin Wall, which arrogantly and cruelly separated families, friends and lovers for more than a generation, they started their fateful buildup of nuclear weapons right in our own backyard, Cuba, thus setting the infamous Thirteen Days into motion, and nearly causing an somewhat premature defeat in the Cold War to the most ruthless, bloodthirsty regime in modern history, the United Soviet Socialist Republic. 

 

So much for young bulls in the theatre of national security. 

 

I thought I might lose my lunch in May, when Barack Obama told a group of enthralled voters in Oregon that the “tiny Country” Iran, isn’t a threat to America.  For a man with all those fancy college degrees, he doesn’t seem to know much.  No wonder European leaders are beginning to get nervous about Obama’s prospects of success, and no wonder, too, that the IslamoFascists are salivating over the same prospect..

 

Young bull, Barack, though, isn’t a bit ready to back down on his pledge to meet with all of our enemies without pre-conditions, face-to-face, within the first year of his presidency.  He has even countered objections to his naiveté, comparing himself to Kennedy again:

 

“If George Bush and John McCain have a problem with direct diplomacy led by the president of the United States, then they can explain why they have a problem with John F. Kennedy, because that’s what he did with Khrushchev.”

 

Now, I don’t know what you’re thinking, dear readers, but the word, “brilliant,” is not what comes to my mind, when hearing this.
Old Bull, McCain

 

John McCain’s response to Obama’s apparent diplomatic delusions concerning our enemies, especially Iran, was pretty darned swift for an old bull.  First, he gave a succinct, but searing summation of the numerous threats posed by Iran under the current regime, giving special note to the fact that Iran’s president routinely defames Israel as a “stinking corpse,” and demands her annihilation. 

 

Then McCain proceeded to remind the young bull, Obama, of the supreme challenge we face in the world today, namely keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorist regimes.  Since Iran publicly defies the world community on a regular basis by steadfastly refusing to give up these nuclear ambitions, and since Iran is the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world, McCain eloquently charged that the threat posed by the Iranians is “anything but tiny.”

 

Not bad for an old bull.  Wisdom often keeps one’s feet out of the figurative manure, and helps one to set his sights on the greater objective.    

 

Fighting a real war against real enemies, and then being imprisoned by those enemies for five years and suffering the substantial after effects for a lifetime, has made John McCain, I surmise, much, much more mindful of the perils of speaking without thinking, and mindful too of the need for extensive “pre-conditions” before offering the international prestige of our Presidency to a little tyrant, intent upon using our good will against us.

 

McCain, in his remarks aimed at Obama’s Iranian tomfoolery, also ticked off the reasons why the young bull’s approach would bring some dire consequences to the interest of peace. 

 

“An ill conceived meeting between the President of the United States and the President of Iran, and the massive world media coverage it would attract, would increase the prestige of an implacable foe of the United States, and reinforce his confidence that Iran’s dedication to acquiring nuclear weapons, supporting terrorists and destroying the State of Israel had succeeded in winning concessions from the most powerful nation on earth. And he is unlikely to abandon the dangerous ambitions that will have given him a prominent role on the world stage.”

 

By the time November 4 rolls around, I suspect that nearly all voters over the age of 30, save the most leftist among us, will decide that competence and wisdom trump fancy-footwork oratory.  We’ve all seen the bravado of young bulls here and there, throughout our lifetimes, and some get along on words and strutting for quite a while, but we all know too, that sooner or later every single one of those young ‘uns gets a mighty humbling comeuppance, usually at the hands of an older and wiser, tougher-than-nails bull, like John McCain.

 

As for me, bearing in mind what happened during those scary Thirteen Days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, I would much rather Obama get his comeuppance from John McCain in a bloodless election, than from Ahmadinejad in a nuclear showdown. 

 

Healthy respect and learning from historical mistakes is one of the hallmarks of maturity.  It isn’t fear; it’s wisdom. 

 

It’s 3 a.m. in the White House.  Who do we want picking up that phone?

 

Definitely, McCain.  Some changes, we’re far, far, far, far better off without.

 

Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  She welcomes your comments at kyleanneshiver.com/. 

Is Iraq a Jewish Conspiracy?

Is Iraq a Jewish Conspiracy?

By Vasko Kohlmayer
FrontPageMagazine.com | 7/3/2008

Last week on Time Magazine’s website Joe Klein wrote this about why America is in Iraq today:

The notion that we could just waltz in and inject democracy into an extremely complicated, devout and ancient culture smacked – still smacks – of neocolonialist legerdemain. The fact that a great many Jewish neoconservatives – people like Joe Lieberman and the crowd over at Commentary – plumped for this war, and now for an even more foolish assault on Iran, raised the question of divided loyalties: using U.S. military power, U.S. lives and money, to make the world safe for Israel.

In other words, America has been manipulated into the war by Jews. Lumping together the liberal Lieberman with Jewish neoconservatives raises the spectre of a pervasive plot that transcends even the ideological schisms within the American Jewry. To some this may sound all too plausible, since according to the stereotype Jews always band together to take advantage of the society in which they live. This time they are using America’s military assets and lives for the benefit of their Israeli brethren.

Some things apparently never change. In the 1930s Adolf Hitler kept telling everyone who would listen that Jews had dragged Germany into War World I in order to advance their own interests.

Many believed then — and today similar accusations still find eager hearers. Intimations that the Iraq War is the result of a Jewish plot are not confined only to the far fringes, but are bandied around even by such media pundits as Pat Buchanan and Chris Matthews.

But those who entertain conspiratorial suspicions would do well to consider this: Most American Jews oppose this war. In 2005 the Annual Survey of Jewish Public opinion found that 70 percent of Jews in America disapproved of the Iraq war. Two years later a Gallup poll found that 77 percent believed the war was a mistake. As a point of comparison, only 52 percent of the American public held this belief at the time.

Last year Gallup – after carrying out an in-depth analysis of survey data from the previous two years – concluded that “among the major religious groups in the United States, Jewish Americans are the most strongly opposed to the Iraq war.” So palpable is this opposition that in February of 2007 Israel’s oldest daily Haaretz ran on its website a post titled Why Do American Jews Oppose The Iraq War More Than Everybody Else?

Many American Jews feel very strongly on this point. Last year at the launch of a grassroots organization called Jews against the War dedicated to “ending the Iraq war and preventing one with Iran,” one of its spokesmen, Aryeh Cohen, said this:

We couldn’t continue to remain silent on one of the most catastrophic, immoral and tragic foreign policy decisions in the history of our country.

Opposition to the war is also evident on the highest levels of the very government whose strings are allegedly pulled by the Jewish cabal. Out of thirteen senators with Jewish roots only three have been consistently supportive of the war effort. Five went against the overwhelming majority to oppose the joint Congressional resolution to authorize the use of military force against Iraq. Barbara Boxer later said that it was the “the best vote of my life.”

Jewish support for the war is even more tepid in the House. Out of more than thirty Jewish congressmen, one would be hard pressed to find a single stalwart supporter of the Iraq enterprise.

Not only do most of Jewish lawmakers oppose war, but some of them are among its fiercest critics. Senator Russ Feingold, for instance, has repeatedly and scathingly denounced the administration’s Iraq policies and called not only for censuring the President but also those who advised him.

Many prominent Jewish figures outside the government have likewise voiced their strong opposition. Noam Chomsky, one of the world’s leading academics, has referred to the war as a criminal enterprise. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said that “Iraq may end up being one of the worst disasters in American foreign policy.” The financier George Soros has poured millions of dollars of his own money into groups and organization that seek to reverse the administration’s policies in Iraq.

The insinuation that the Iraq War is the product of some Jewish conspiracy simply does not square with reality. The evidence consistently shows that American Jews are divided on the merits of this conflict with a majority leaning against it. If anything, it would be more reasonable for the conspiracy-minded to suspect a plot in the opposite direction.

But contradicting evidence is not the only thing that escapes the notice of conspiracy theorists. There is great irony in the fact that some of the most articulate and passionate opponents of the war belong to the very group accused of promoting it.

Rather than their ties to Israel, the best predictor of Jewish people’s reaction to the war is party affiliation. Most of those who identify themselves as Democrats tend to oppose it, while those who are Republican tend to support it. We can see this dynamic played out almost perfectly in Congress — with Senator Lieberman as a notable exception.

The War on Terror is complicated enough even without the distraction of far-fetched conspiracy theories. Rather than sidetracking ourselves with meritless insinuations, we would do better to focus our energies on tackling the existential threat before us.

The Fourth of July: A Day of Mourning?

The Fourth of July: A Day of Mourning?

By Mark D. Tooley
FrontPageMagazine.com | 7/3/2008

Should Christians mourn on July 4, given what a disaster the United States has been for the world? Much of the Religious Left thinks so!

Undoubtedly speaking for many left-wing seminary faculty and clergy, Ted Smith of Vanderbilt University penned an editorial for this month’s Christian Century magazine called: “The Fourth of July: How Does a Christian Celebrate?”

The answer from Smith is: very carefully, if at all. He recalls the early misgivings he had about Independence Day when he was a young staffer at the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs in 1989. The horror of it all smacked him like a hot skillet.

“We were training death squads to terrorize people in El Salvador, selling weapons to Iran to fund a revolution against the democratically elected government of Nicaragua, trading freely with an apartheid-dominated South Africa, and propping up a vicious dictator in Iraq named Saddam Hussein. And that was just our foreign policy.”

Smith’s memories are darkly stained by his far left ideology. His recollection of “death squads” refers to successful U.S. support for the elected, Christian Democratic regime in El Salvador, which was attempting to survive against a Soviet-supported Marxist insurgency. His recollection of U.S. weapons sales to Iran was a misbegotten attempt to bolster Iranian “moderates” and free U.S. hostages in Lebanon. His citation of the “democratically elected” regime in Nicaragua refers to the Marxist Sandinistas, who seized and retained power at the point of a gun. His memory of U.S. trade with Apartheid era South Africa does not include the partial U.S. sanctions imposed n 1986, nor the fact that by 1989, under newly elected President Frederik De Klerk, Apartheid was already crumbling. By “propping up” Saddam Hussein, he means that the U.S., along with other Western and Arab countries, tilted towards Iraq against the Ayatollah’s Iran, whose war with Iraq had ended in 1988, thanks partly to the U.S. naval presence in the Persian Gulf.

Note that Smith, in his historical review, omits any mention of the most historically significant event of 1989: the collapse of the Soviet Union’s occupation of Eastern Europe after 44 years, thanks partly to U.S. perseverance during the Cold War.

Smith goes on to describe the nightmares at home in America: “We had millions—millions!—of people with unlivable housing or no housing at all. Some of them came to the patio of the bar [where Smith had a part time job during his State Department stint] and asked for food. A crack epidemic raged. The president had won the election in large part by playing on white Americans’ fears of African-American men and promising to get tough. It is tempting to blame one party or one politician for these failings. But the years since that summer have made clear just how deeply and widely they are woven into the life of our nation.”

In fact, while Smith remembers only homelessness, a favorite media preoccupation during the Reagan years, by 1989, the U.S. had had 6 years of robust economic growth, falling unemployment and reduced poverty. His recall of a supposedly racist election refers presumably to television ads about the furloughing of killer/rapist Willie Horton that an independent agency ran to benefit the campaign of George H.W. Bush against Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.

“This was not the nation I had marched for as a child,” Smith somberly remembers. “Instead of shining like a city on a hill, we were acting in ways that could not survive disclosure. Forgetting our faith that all people are created equal, we were undertaking policies that sought to widen and legitimate inequalities of many kinds.” By 1996, convinced that the founding ideals of the U.S. intrinsically perpetuated “inequality,” Smith stoically refused to celebrate Independence Day altogether: “I celebrated the Fourth like a Puritan of the old school celebrated Christmas: I went about my business as conspicuously as I could. I prayed for the country and then did my daily work as pastor. I questioned not just whether the U.S. was living up to its ideals, but whether those ideals were worth living up to at all. I still do.”

Smith recounts, later in 2003, when asked by Emory University to advise on whether or how the 4th of July might be celebrated, he realized that “we cannot invent new lives that are completely outside of or apart from this nation.” He told the Emory students that he would “love my country like I love my family—as that which has been given to me to nurture, chastise, wrestle with, care for, raise up, suffer beside, celebrate with, and love.” That year, Smith “tried to celebrate the Fourth as a chastened, realist, radical, democratic Christian.”

Thank goodness Smith gave the go ahead for Emory students to honor Independence Day! Today, he “would not want to renounce any of these celebrations of the Fourth,” or “other faithful attempts to mark this day.” What are these other “attempts”? He does not explain but suggests that “our separate stumblings through the Fourth” are a beautiful constellation that is “complex” and “plural.” Who knew that July 4th could be such a byzantine labyrinth of emotions and anxieties?

At least Smith has abandoned his full throttle boycott of American Independence Day, despite his dreadful memories of America’s crimes during the 1980’s. No doubt other, less temperate, seminary professors will grimly acknowledge the 4th of July only as a sad day of mourning for all of America’s genocides and thefts. But the vast majority of America’s Christians, unencumbered by far-left seminary indoctrinations, will robustly celebrate God’s blessing upon their nation.


Mark D. Tooley directs the United Methodist committee at the Institute on Religion and Democracy.