Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Ayaan Hirsi Ali - Vetting for ideology

So if he says these are the seven countries that I am going to impose a temporary travel ban on until we have sorted out a vetting system, and that is vetting for ideology, then I don’t see any problem with that 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Dutch go to the polls on Wednesday, March 15

You look at the BBC today and you can't believe that George Orwell once worked there.


It's tough to be Moroccan in the Netherlands. Just ask the BBC.

From the moment it became clear that the ongoing Islamization of the Western world was a potential disaster of historic proportions, the mainstream media – in their perverse effort to defend the indefensible and keep the cart careening downhill – have been making use of shameless sentiment to overcome the plain facts. One of the first examples of this practice that I can recall was way back in 2003, when the big, bad Norwegian government put resident terrorist Mullah Krekar through the first of what would turn out to be many deportation scares. Since Krekar, back in his homeland of Iraq, had been responsible for the violent deaths of innumerable innocents – children included – it wasn't an easy proposition to try to whip up sympathy for him (although, heaven knows, some media tried).
Instead, many reporters chose the family angle: Krekar might be a bad guy, but what about his poor wife and kids? Repeatedly, the papers ran tearful close-ups of Krekar's wife and pictures of her and Krekar embracing. VGran a whole story about the intelligence services' confiscation of her beloved cookbook, which had been in the family for generations and which contained the recipes of all of Krekar's favorite foods. Dagbladet, for its part, ran a report whose headline told us that when Krekar's kids heard on TV that Daddy had been released from custody and was headed home, they kissed the TV screen. It was Dagbladet, too, that published one of the great sob stories of all time. The headline: “My children are waiting every single day to hear from Papa.” The first sentences: “Mullah Krekar's wife (39) is scared. For her four children, and for the future.”
And so on. You get the idea. If you're trying to obscure the truth, defend the indefensible, and smear the good guys, go for sheer, unadulterated bathos. So it is that as the clock ticks down to the March 15 parliamentary elections in the Netherlands (which, as it happens, I write about in this week's National Review), Anna Holligan of the BBC – in an effort to paint Geert Wilders, head of the Freedom Party (PVV), as a racist hatemonger – kicked off a March 7 article from The Hague by focusing on one of the Dutch Moroccans whom Wilders, as she put it, had “accused...of making the streets unsafe.” Needless to say, Holligan didn't talk to one of the majority of Dutch Moroccan males who have dropped out of school and are living on social welfare benefits; nor did she buttonhole one of the nearly 50% of young Dutch Moroccan males who have rap sheets.
No: she talked to a young lady named Hafsa Mahraoui, who, in “trendy black trainers and matching hijab,” is “the quintessential image of modern Muslim woman.” (Yes, nothing says “modern” like a hijab.) Mahraoui, Holligan reported, thinks of herself as “a true Amsterdam girl.” But life has been tough for her lately: “the tone of the campaign” has brought her down. “They say Islam isn't normal, it doesn't belong in Dutch society, and that being hijabi means I am an oppressed person,” Mahraoui lamented. “It's tiring because we are always in the spotlight and you have to defend yourself.” As if all this weren't terrible enough, Mahraoui complained – and she clearly meant this to be understood as an example of the way Dutch people treat Muslims – that her headscarf had been “ripped off just after the murder of the film-maker Theo van Gogh.” Supposedly, the memory still makes her shudder. Not the memory of the murder, mind you: the memory – the more than twelve-year-old memory – of having her headscarf yanked off.
Thus does the murder of Theo van Gogh become a passing reference in a story about Dutch people purportedly making life tough for Muslims.
Never mind the murder itself, which happened on a busy Amsterdam street and was committed by one Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch-born man of Moroccan parentage who, before the murder, had been considered by friends and acquaintances to be a fully integrated member of Dutch society. (Indeed, he might well have described himself as “a true Amsterdam boy.”) Yes, it's regrettable that somebody (allegedly) yanked off Mahraoui's headscarf. But it's quite a bit more regrettable that, simply because Theo van Gogh had released a short film drawing attention to the systematic oppression and brutal abuse of women under Islam, Bouyeri, who had been born and bred in the Netherlands, was moved to shoot him eight times, slit his throat in an attempt to decapitate him, stab him in the chest, and then used a second knife to pin to his chest an open letter addressed to van Gogh's film collaborator, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The letter praised Allah and Muhammed, quoted extensively from the Koran, and concluded: “I know for sure, O America, you will go down. I know for sure, O Europe, you will go down. I know for sure, O Holland, you will go down. I know for sure, O Hirsi Ali, you will go down. I know for sure, O unbelieving fundamentalist, you will go down.”
It is the murder of Theo van Gogh, and not some random act of hijab-pulling, that is the ultimate emblematic act of the Netherlands in our time. But you'd never know it to read the BBC or other major Western media.
If Holligan had been more honest – and braver – she wouldn't have presented, as if it were unassailable truth, Hafsa Mahraouri's view of Dutch people as hijab-pulling bigots and of Dutch Moroccans as innocent victims of their prejudice. She would instead – or, at least, in addition – have spoken with somebody like 57-year-old Salman Ezzammoury, a Muslim apostate who immigrated to the Netherlands from Morocco at the age of 23 and who, in a recent interview, painted  a picture of the Dutch that is the exact opposite of Hafsa's. Ezzammoury considers the Netherlands prachtig – a word that can be translated as “splendid,” “magnificent,” “exquisite,” “wonderful” – and regards the Dutch as “tolerant and kind.” The only people in his orbit who aren't tolerant and kind are – guess who? – his Muslim neighbors. Raised (as he puts it) to see all non-Muslims as enemies who must be killed, Dutch Muslims deliberately isolate themselves from Dutch society – while the Dutch, in their naivete, provide them every opportunity to spread their “evil” ideas. What does Ezzammoury think of Geert Wilders? Well, said Ezzamoury, “he shouts a little too much,” and he's a conservative, whereas Ezzammoury himself is a man of the left – but at bottom, he pronounced, he and Wilders share “the selfsame ideology.”
So who interviewed this courageous gentleman, this former Muslim who's knowledgeable – and refreshingly forthright – about both Islam and the Dutch? The New York Times? The Guardian? CNN? Guess again: his interview appeared in a local newspaper in Barneveld, a town of 30,000 in the largely rural province of Gelderland. Laurent Obertone made the point about his own country, France, in his 2013 book La France Orange Mécanique,and it holds true for many other countries as well, the Netherlands included: when you want to know the facts about the dread impact of Islam on the West, don't bother looking in major national media; go to the regional press, where obscure, underpaid reporters who don't belong to the politically correct elite will give you glimpses of the truth that their big-time, big-city colleagues – people like the BBC's Anna Holligan – do their best to keep out of the public eye.

Saturday, March 11, 2017


At a memorial service in the Foreign Ministry this week marking the 25th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29 people, Prime Minister Netanyahu is trying to put the Islamic Republic back on the international agenda.

rvice in the Foreign Ministry this week marking the 25th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29 people, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made one remark that goes a long way toward explaining what is driving his diplomatic agenda.

“One of our security agencies estimates that over 80% of Israel’s fundamental security problems stem from Iran,” he said.

Iran, and not the Palestinians. Iran, and no other. Hezbollah, for instance, stems from Iran.

And this assessment is why the Palestinians, indeed the whole issue of the West Bank and a diplomatic process, are taking a back seat in his mind.

Following Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20, there were all kinds of expectations on the Right – including among most Likud MKs – that Netanyahu would push hard for the new president to carry out his campaign pledge to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and that he would work hard to get the Americans to alter their reflexively negative stance toward settlement construction.

He hasn’t.

Regarding the embassy issue, one senior Likud official said that the person who is keeping that issue somewhat alive in Washington – although much of the momentum has been lost – is Sheldon Adelson.

And, the official continued, Netanyahu is opposed to moves within his own party to support a bill that would annex Ma’aleh Adumim. The reason: It would not significantly have that much of an impact, and it would deflect attention from Iran, the major source of Israel’s security concerns.

Netanyahu has turned a deaf ear to the arguments that the annexation of Ma’aleh Adumim would significantly change the conversation regarding a final deal with the Palestinians; that it would strengthen Israel’s grip on Jerusalem; and that it would show that Israel is no longer just going to sit around and wait for the Palestinians to agree to come around and negotiate.

One of the reasons Netanyahu is opposed, the senior Likud official said, is that he doesn’t want anything to hurt his ability to get Washington to focus on Iran. Despite the premier’s opposition, however, Bayit Yehudi and Likud MKs may very well push the bill through the Knesset, just as was done with the Settlements Regulation Law, legalizing a number of outposts.

Iran, not the settlements or the Palestinians, is the diplomatic issue at the forefront of Netanyahu’s mind. He has said in private meetings in recent weeks that there is now a much less forgiving attitude in Washington toward Iran, and that this could be harnessed to moving other countries to take a much more hardline approach toward the Islamic Republic – not necessarily to cancel the Iranian nuclear deal, but at least to check Tehran’s aggressive and destabilizing behavior in the region.

Netanyahu believes there is a different approach to Iran now in Washington, and also to some degree in Britain. Even Australia – which has been keen on normalizing relations with Iran, partly in the hope that it will then take back a few thousand Iranian refugees knocking on its doors – made some murmurings in the direction of checking Iran’s regional moves during Netanyahu’s recent visit to Sydney.

The day after Trump was inaugurated in January, Netanyahu posted a video on Facebook. What was telling about the video was that it did not deal with the Palestinians or the settlements, but with Iran.

Once the Iranian nuclear deal was finally passed in the summer of 2015, Netanyahu took a much lower public profile on Iran. He fought US president Barack Obama intensely over the deal, but when it was not held up by Congress, Netanyahu’s tactic changed from trying to block it, to quietly working with the US to ensure that Iran lived by its commitments under it.

That lower profile on Iran ended the day Trump came into office. From that moment, Netanyahu pursued a policy of again trying to shine the limelight on Iran. It started with that first Facebook video, and has continued unabated for the last two months in various speech and public statements he has made.

“Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, advancing its ballistic missile program in defiance of Security Council resolutions and sowing instability in the region surrounding us. The regime in Tehran aspires to plant its flag atop the ruins of the free world. It continues to threaten to annihilate Israel,” he said at the Foreign Ministry memorial ceremony for those killed in the embassy blast in Argentina.

“We will not back down. We will continue to build up our strength. Since the attack in Argentina, Israel has become much more powerful. We have become a global leader in intelligence, counter-terrorism and cyber. We have armed ourselves with first-rate weapons systems and flight systems, the best in the world.

Israel has become a great force, and this force mobilizes others to challenge the threat posed by Iran. We will continue to decisively confront the aggression of Iran and its proxies,” he continued.

While this may sound like more of the same old, tired rhetoric against Iran, it should not be summarily dismissed, because it is a fair gauge of what is propelling Netanyahu’s diplomatic agenda.

His critics will say that he is again raising the Iranian threat to distract from his domestic political woes stemming from the various police investigations against him. But to hear the prime minister speak, the threat of Iran is very real.

The threat, however, has shifted. When he speaks of Iran now, it is no longer of a concern that the country will immediately make a dash and reach a point where it has the wherewithal to create a nuclear bomb. The nuclear deal has moved the immediacy of that threat from a few months to between 10 and 15 years. Or, as he told his Australian hosts during meetings in Sydney two weeks ago, “The nuclear deal ensures no bomb today, but a hundred a decade from now.”

Now Jerusalem’s concern has to do with Iranian designs in Syria – the reason the prime minister flew Thursday for a day to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Netanyahu told the cabinet this week that the efforts to formulate an agreement in Syria will be at the center of his conversation with Putin.

As the UN-led Syria peace talks are proceeding, Iran – Netanyahu said – is trying to establish itself permanently in Syria within the context of a possible overall agreement. He said it is trying to establish a military presence on the ground and at sea, and also gradually trying to open a front against Israel on the Golan Heights.

One senior diplomatic official said that Iran is looking already to “formalize agreements” with Syrian President Bashar Assad – who owes his survival in no small degree to Tehran – that will grant concessions to Iran inside Syria.

Everything that enlarges Iran’s footprint inside Syria is very troublesome to Israel, the senior diplomatic official said, because it brings Iran directly to Israel’s doorstep. And this time not as a proxy – like Hezbollah – but as Iran: its own army, its own navy.

Netanyahu traveled to Moscow on Thursday – accompanied by the head of Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi – to raise the alarm with Putin. For if Assad owes his survival in part to Iran, he owes an even bigger debt to Russia, which actively intervened in the war in his behalf in the fall of 2015, effectively changing the tide of the battle. In Jerusalem’s view, Russia’s voice will be critical in shaping the terms of any deal in Syria, and Netanyahu wants to ensure that Putin knows clearly that Israel is completely and unequivocally opposed to any permanent Iranian presence in Syria.

This, for Netanyahu, is now his top diplomatic priority – far outpacing the Palestinian issue. Because, as he said at the Foreign Ministry, Iran is responsible for 80% of Israel’s security problems.