Debate on Israel’s right to exist

Southampton University wants to debate Israel’s right to exist. But that right is sacred

It is one thing to disagree with the policies of a government but quite another to question the right of the nation it represents to exist at all. And yet this happens all the time to Israel


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed that boycotts against Israel are anti-Semitic Photo: Menahem Kahana/Getty

Reprinted from The Telegraph.UK

By Tim Stanley

8:54AM GMT 13 Mar 2015

The University of Southampton is hosting a conference to discuss Israel’s legal right to exist. Quote:

Quote The conference aims to explore the relatedness of the suffering and injustice in Palestine to the foundation and protection of a state of such nature and asks what role International Law should play in the situation.

A local MP has asked for the event to be dropped, as does a petition. The university insists that academic freedom should be respected and the conference organisers say they mean no mischief. One of the hosts, Professor Oren Ben-Dor, is Israeli-born. He has previously written that Israel is an apartheid state and has been since inception. He is living proof that you can be sceptical about Israel without necessarily being anti-Semitic. Some of its loudest critics are living contradictions.

JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

The conference should go ahead. Academics should be free to debate anything so long as they don’t incite violence. But I hope the following points are considered.


1. It is true that Israel was a state created where no such state had existed before. But so was Iraq, Syria, Uganda and Togo. They were all products of decolonisation, all lines drawn on a map by a bureaucrat with a pencil and ruler. Why, pray, does no one debate the legal foundations of the existence of Nigeria? It is controversial enough. It comprises various tribes and religions with terrible unease, so much so that a near genocidal war was conducted to subjugate its southeastern portion. Yet no one questions its legality.

2. It is true that Israel’s foundation involved the displacement of a settled people. This was in many cases tragic and led to injustices that cry out for resolution. But they are not unique. When the states of India and Pakistan were created, their subjects trekked across the subcontinent to resettle in one country or another – causing the deaths of thousands and wars for decades to come. Likewise, the Amerindians were displaced by European colonists. Where is the wailing and gnashing of teeth over them on Sunday morning talk shows or in student unions?

3. It is true that Israel’s contemporary borders were framed by conflict and remain controversial. Again, who wouldn’t want to see them settled in a manner that provides peace and security for all? But where is the conference questioning the legality of North Korea’s existence and condemning its terrorist attacks on the South? Or a conference challenging Rwanda over its policy towards Hutu migrants and its alleged support for rebel movements in eastern Congo?

Many nations began with ethnic groups displaced or crammed together within borders drawn by a bureaucrat (MAS PIETROSON)

In short, what is it about Israel that makes people debate its “legality” so much more often than they do that of other states? Why is it held to such an impossible standard? Why do its critics regard it as unique among newborn states struggling to survive?

Continue reading

Posted in Education, Judaism, Middle East Report, Opinion, Recent Posts | Comments Off

More proof for Einstein theory

Israeli Scientists Prove Einstein’s 100-Year-Old Theory

Beyond confirming the General Theory of Relativity, the observation rules out one of the interesting ideas concerning the unification of General Relativity and Quantum Theory.

By: Jspace Staff

March 17, 2015



One hundred years after Albert Einstein formulated the Theory of Relativity, an international team has proposed another experimental proof. In a paper published today in Nature Physics, researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Open University of Israel, Sapienza University of Rome, and University of Montpellier in France, describe a proof for one of the theory’s basic assumptions: the idea that all light particles, or photons, propagate at exactly the same speed.

The researchers analyzed data, obtained by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, of the arrival times of photons from a distant Gamma-Ray Burst. The data showed that photons traveling for billions of years from the distant burst toward Earth all arrived within a fraction of a second of each other.

This finding indicates that the photons all moved at the same speed, even though different photons had different energies. This is one of the best measurements ever of the independence of the speed of light from the energy of the light particles.

Beyond confirming the General Theory of Relativity, the observation rules out one of the interesting ideas concerning the unification of General Relativity and Quantum Theory. While these two theories are the pillars of physics today, they are still inconsistent and there is an intrinsic contradiction between the two that is partially based on Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle that is at the heart of Quantum Theory.

One of the attempts to reconcile the two theories is the idea of “space-time foam.” According to this concept, on a microscopic scale space is not continuous, and instead it has a foam-like structure. The size of these foam elements is so tiny that it is difficult to imagine and is at present impossible to measure directly. However light particles that are traveling within this foam will be affected by the foamy structure, and this will cause them to propagate at slightly different speeds depending on their energy.

Continue reading

Posted in Education, Middle East, Recent Posts, Science | Comments Off

Hamas rebuilds naval terror unit

Hamas’ revamped naval commandos could pose a problem for Israel

Although all unit members were killed during last summer’s infiltration attempt at Zikkim, Hamas viewed this as a massive achievement and subsequently trained a new force whose role will be to carry out mass attacks on the Israeli home front.

Alex Fishman, YNetnews, March 14, 2015

Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas has completed the reconstruction of its naval commando force, consisting of dozens of trained divers, in order to hit strategic sites, Israeli and others’, in the Mediterranean Sea.

With the development of its underwater unit, Hamas aims to compensate for the failure of the offensive tunnels from the Gaza Strip, which it rules, which were supposed to reach into Israel. From just a handful, the force has grown into many dozens of fighters trained to strike the Israeli home front via abductions and killings.

Hamas’s operational approach sees the naval commandos as one long “tunnel”, extending from Gaza in Israel’s south to Rosh Hanikra in the north, through which it could hit any target along the entire Israeli coast. These could be strategic objectives such as power plants, coal terminals, gas rigs and so on. However, using Operation Protective Edge as a model, it seems that Hamas is training its commandos to create a continuous shockwave for Israeli society through the mass murder of civilians and soldiers.

Hamas' infiltration attempt at Zikim during Protective Edge (Photo: IDF)
Hamas’ infiltration attempt at Zikim during Protective Edge (Photo: IDF)

The Israeli defense establishment sees the strengthening of Hamas’ underwater activity – through the establishment of a large and professional commando unit – as one of the main lessons Hamas took from last summer’s conflict.

The Hamas commandos’ successful penetration a kilometer deep within Israeli territory, near Kibbutz Zikkim, is one of the organization’s major achievements during the 50 days of fighting, as this was the only time when Hamas special unit members managed to infiltrate Israel. If not for Israeli intelligence, it is likely the commando unit would have been able to penetrate the community or a nearby IDF base and carry out the mass murder it wanted.

Continue reading

Posted in Middle East Report, News Articles, Recent Posts | Comments Off

Israel still needs Bibi

Israel’s elections; a Win-Win scenario is wishful thinking

Ron Jager, March 15, 2015

The writer, a 25-year veteran of the I.D.F., served as a field mental health officer. Prior to retiring in 2005, served as the Commander of the Central Psychiatric Military Clinic for Reserve Soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty, he provides consultancy services to NGO’s implementing Psycho trauma and Psycho education programs to communities in the North and South of Israel. Today Ron is a strategic advisor at the Office of the Chief Foreign Envoy of Judea and Samaria To contact:

Most critics of Prime Minister Netanyahu have been promoting in recent weeks an election strategy that recommends voting for center left political parties under the assumption that there are no longer any real differences in terms of security and defense issues between center left and the Likud. These home grown critics, many of them former Army Generals or former Security/Defense officials and in many instances funded by American Jewish liberals have claimed that even center left parties can make the right decisions when Israel’s security needs are challenged. Only this past week the Israel Democratic Institute release a poll conducted on her behalf claiming that an overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews do not believe that a change in leadership will have an effect on the peace process.

In response to this non-stop campaign that has delegated Israel’s strategic challenges low on the list of national priorities and instead focused in on the perceived failures of Netanyahu’s social and economic policies; the Israeli electorate has been inundated and forced-fed by a steady diet of malicious slandering of Netanyahu and his family, or has been forced to listen to day in and day out about the so-called housing crisis, and always handy is the false claim of Israel’s soaring cost of living. It really seems as if Netanyahu and the Likud party can do no right, it’s as if nothing over the past six years during Netanyahu’s incumbency can be considered positively or even mildly successful.

At this critical junction as we approach the national elections within a few days, the overall picture looks pretty gloom. For those of us who do not buy into the wishful thinking and political naivety of the center left political parties, it’s important to remind ourselves that the Israeli public has not voted for dramatic change except in the wake of significant blows to the status quo. In the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War and the coming of age of Sephardi Jews, the Likud was swept into power 1977; after the first intifada and the Russian wave of immigrants swung the pendulum back to Labor in 1992; after the onset of the second intifada gave the Likud a comeback in 2001. Since 2009, and in response to the missile threat coming from the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip, Netanyahu has become been one of Israel’s longest serving Prime Ministers.

Continue reading

Posted in Middle East Report, Opinion, Recent Posts | Comments Off

US is wrong on Iran

Iran’s nuclear sunset: A strategically fatal deal

Friday, 6 March 2015 , Al Arabiya


Majid Rafizadeh

The marathon nuclear negotiations are approaching a “historic” stage of potentially entering into a strategically-catastrophic agreement, as the six world powers (known as the P5+1; the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China) and Iran are shaping the final nuclear deal with reports of adding a “sunset” clause.
The additional clauses of the final nuclear deal fundamentally move away from what the major key player, the United States, originally demanded at the beginning of the talks.
While the Obama administration attempts to add to its Middle Eastern achievements and project a picture that nuclear talks are progressing, the Iranian nuclear team has managed to obtain an unprecedented level of compromises from the White House, removing crucial restrictions against Iran’s nuclear program, ensuring the lifting of sanctions as well as the ultimate legal right and international legitimacy to become a nuclear threshold state.

The sunset position will ensure that Iran will be a nuclear state after the 10 year period, assuming that Tehran will not covertly violate the rules during the agreement


More fundamentally, the objectives of halting Iran’s nuclear program permanently have altered into limiting Iran’s nuclear ambitions for a period of time while removing the sanctions, and ultimately rewarding Tehran with this sunset period.

The sunset clause: The end to non-proliferation

The primary objective of the nuclear talks was to halt Iran’s nuclear program permanently, hence eliminating the possibility of a nuclear arms race in the region, and removing the strategic threat that a nuclear armed Iran might pose in the region through it regional hegemonic ambitions, shifting the balance of power and creating new alliances.
Nevertheless, the Obama administration compromised on the original demand, and accepted a deal which will limit Tehran’s nuclear program for approximately 20 years. However, the Iranian nuclear team was capable of obtaining more compromises. As the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told the Council on Foreign Relations, “Let’s establish a mechanism for a number of years. Not 10, not 15 — but I’m willing to live with less.” The U.S. began showing signs to accept the period of 15, 10, or even less years.
More fundamentally, the “sunset” notion will be the most crucial victory that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Rowhani administration have scored in the agreement. The sunset period will allow the Islamic Republic to resume enriching uranium at a level they desire, spin as many advanced centrifuges as they want, make its reactors fully operational, build new heavy water reactors, produce as much fuels as it desires for its reactors, and maintain higher uranium enrichment capability with no restriction after the period of the agreement. In fact, Khamenei needs such an agreement which would allow Iran to enrich uranium, lift the sanctions, and empower Iran simultaneously. After the agreement Iran will be rewarded with an unrestricted industrialized, high level enrichment nuclear program. In the world of geopolitics, 10 or 15 year agreements are considered very brief.

Continue reading

Posted in Middle East Report, Monotheistic Religions, Opinion, Recent Posts | Comments Off

Obama is wrong on Iran and Netanyahu


Netanyahu is right to be concerned about Iran

Reprinted from Daily Alert, Friday February 27, 2015


  • A Deal with Iran Must Not Come at Any Price – Editorial
    Sadly, the straws in the wind suggest that a bad deal on Iran’s nuclear ambitions is a real possibility. A leak to the Associated Press raises the possibility that America would phase out all sanctions if Iran were to accept temporary constraints on its nuclear program for the next 10 or 15 years.
        If the West lifts sanctions and allows Iran’s leaders to fill their coffers with oil revenues, in return for graciously agreeing to defer their ambition to be a nuclear threshold state until somewhere between 2025 and 2030, then that would not be good enough. The whole point of this immense diplomatic effort was to remove the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran for the foreseeable future. Simply deferring that possibility by a decade or so – and then leaving the future leaders of the West to deal with the consequences – would be cowardly and unconscionable.
        That is particularly true when Iran’s own difficulties are weighed in the balance. Sanctions and a collapsing oil price have combined to crush the Iranian economy. The result is that Iran’s morally bankrupt “Supreme Leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, needs a nuclear deal far more than we do. Now is exactly the moment for the West to show more steel. (Telegraph-UK)
  • The Fatal Flaw in the Iran Deal – Charles Krauthammer
    News leaked Monday that President Obama had accepted the Iranian demand that any restrictions on its program be time-limited. After which, the mullahs can crank up their nuclear program at will and produce as much enriched uranium as they want. Sanctions lifted. Restrictions gone. Nuclear development legitimized. A few years of good behavior and Iran would be home free. The agreement thus would provide a predictable path to an Iranian bomb. Indeed, a flourishing path, with trade resumed, oil pumping and foreign investment pouring into a restored economy.
        Meanwhile, Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program is subject to no restrictions at all. Why is Iran building them? Their only purpose is to carry nuclear warheads. Such an agreement also means the end of nonproliferation. When a rogue state defies the world, continues illegal enrichment and then gets the world to bless an eventual unrestricted industrial-level enrichment program, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is dead and regional hyperproliferation becomes inevitable.
        The deal now on offer to the ayatollah would confer legitimacy on the nuclearization of the most rogue of rogue regimes: radically anti-American, deeply jihadist, purveyor of terrorism from Argentina to Bulgaria, puppeteer of a Syrian regime. In fact, the Iranian regime just this week, at the apex of these nuclear talks, staged a spectacular attack on a replica U.S. carrier near the Strait of Hormuz.
        There is a third choice in addition to appeasement or war. Don’t give away the store. Keep the pressure, keep the sanctions. Indeed, increase them. After all, previous sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table, and that was before the collapse of oil prices, which would now vastly magnify the economic effect of heightened sanctions. Congress is proposing precisely that. We are on the cusp of an epic capitulation. History will not be kind. (Washington Post)
  • Converting the Ayatollahs – David Brooks
    Western diplomats have continually projected pragmatism onto their ideological opponents. They have often assumed that our enemies are driven by the same sort of national interest calculations that motivate most regimes. They have assumed that economic interests would trump ideology and religion – that prudent calculation and statecraft would trump megalomania. They assumed that Islamic radicals could not really want to send their region back into the 12th century.
        The Obama administration is making a similar projection today. It is betting that Iran can turn into a fundamentally normal regime, which can be counted upon to put GDP over ideology and religion and do the pragmatic thing.
        Obama has made a series of stunning sacrifices in order to get a nuclear agreement. All of this might be defensible if Iran is really willing to switch teams, if religion and ideology played no role in the regime’s thinking. But it could be that Iran finances terrorist groups and destabilizes regimes like Yemen’s and Morocco’s for a reason. It could be that Iranian leaders are as apocalyptically motivated, paranoid and dogmatically anti-American as their pronouncements suggest they are. Do we really want a nuclear-capable Iran in the midst of all that?
        If the Iranian leaders believe what they say, then U.S. policy should be exactly the opposite of the one now being pursued. Instead of embracing and enriching Iran, sanctions should be toughened to further isolate and weaken it. Instead of accepting a nuclear capacity, eliminating that capacity should be restored as the centerpiece of American policy. Instead of a condominium with Iran that offends traditional allies like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel, the U.S. should build a regional strategy around strengthening relations with those historic pillars. (New York Times)
  • Why Israel Is Fighting Obama’s Iran Deal – Michael Crowley
    Concerns that a final deal restricting Iran’s nuclear program will “sunset” any agreement as early as 2025 have thrown a new jolt into Israeli officials. “Ten years is nothing. It’s tomorrow from our point of view,” said Yaakov Amidror, who served as national security adviser to Netanyahu. “It’s a license for Iran to be a threshold nuclear state.” “When do bad people become good people? When a time is over – or when they change?”
        Critics say that after the expiration of any deal, Iran would be free to produce as much fuel for nuclear weapons as it likes. Citing reports of a 10-15-year sunset period at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Tuesday, the panel’s top Democrat, Robert Menendez, called that “a matter of time that is far less than anyone envisioned.” Obama officials deny that any specific sunset clause has been agreed to in the talks.
        “We certainly can’t know what Iran will look like in 10 to 15 years,” said Gary Samore, who handled the Iran nuclear portfolio in the Obama White House until 2013. A 10-year time frame would be a “catastrophic mistake,” said Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations. Iran is “a system permeated by ideology, so Khamenei dying tomorrow is not likely to change the system dramatically.”  (Politico)
  • Deterring an Iranian Nuclear Breakout – Robert Einhorn
    To deter Iran’s leaders from making the decision to break out of an agreement and produce nuclear weapons, any deal should meet three requirements. First, it should have rigorous monitoring measures to convince Iran that any attempt to violate and break out of the agreement at either declared or covert sites would be detected very quickly. This would require intrusive verification provisions that go beyond the measures contained in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s additional protocol, including frequent access to centrifuge production facilities, detailed reporting of nuclear-related procurement and robust inspection procedures.
        Second, the accord should ensure that the time Iranians would need to produce one bomb’s-worth of weapons-grade uranium would be long enough to enable the U.S. to intervene decisively to stop them. The Obama administration is seeking to increase this “breakout time” from the current two-to-three months to at least one year. Getting to one year would depend on a package of interrelated constraints, including on the number and type of operating centrifuges and the amount of enriched uranium Iran would be allowed to retain.
        Third, it is necessary to convince Iran’s leaders not only that breakout would be detected promptly, but also that they would face a harsh international response that would prevent their breakout from succeeding. To supplement any agreement, the Obama administration should collaborate with its international partners and the Congress on contingency plans – including both economic and military options – to ensure that the threat of a decisive response to a breakout attempt is credible. The writer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, served on the U.S. delegation to the Iran nuclear negotiations from 2009 to 2013. (New York Times)
  • Nuclear Deal Would Allow Revolutionary Guards to Continue Terrorist Activities – Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi
    The future nuclear deal is about to grant Iran entry back into the heart of the international theater, without having to meet even minimal admission requirements outside the nuclear context. It will allow the Revolutionary Guards to continue their extensive terrorist activities, without inhibitions, restrictions, or supervision by any international forum. The writer is a professor of international relations at the University of Haifa. (Israel Hayom)
    Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress
  • Speech of the Year – Editorial
    Speeches by foreign leaders to Joint Meetings of Congress are routine events, and often among the more forgettable. So it might have been with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress next Tuesday. But leave it to the political wizards of the Obama Administration to turn it into the global diplomatic event of the year.
        This week the Administration unleashed a withering personal and political attack that is unprecedented against a close ally. National Security Adviser Susan Rice even said the speech is “destructive of the fabric of the relationship” between Washington and Jerusalem. That’s some claim against one speech, and it’s worth asking why the Administration has gone to such extraordinary lengths to squelch it. Mr. Netanyahu is expected to make the case against President Obama’s looming nuclear deal with Iran, and perhaps the Administration knows how vulnerable it is to such a critique.
        The Prime Minister did nothing more than accept an invitation from a co-equal branch of government, with its own important foreign-policy role. If there is partisanship here, it is from a president whose Iran policy is no longer trusted by much of his own party.
        Israelis are naturally wary of becoming estranged from their most important ally. Then again, Israelis are even more wary of a nuclear Iran. The trashing of Mr. Netanyahu has done nothing but increase public interest in his speech. Recent polling finds Americans overwhelmingly in favor of giving the Israeli leader a fair hearing in Congress. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Rumsfeld: I’m Amazed at How the White House Is Handling Netanayu’s Invitation to Speak to Congress – Boaz Bismuth
    Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Israel Hayom that the focus on Netanyahu’s visit rather than on his message is an “unfortunate distraction” from the important issue – the Iranian threat. “Iran is a critical issue and Israel is an important ally, and there is nothing inappropriate at all for the speaker to invite the prime minister or for the prime minister to come over. Historically he is a good friend of the U.S….and I find it stunning to see the comments out of the White House on this issue.”
        “They have said things that are undiplomatic and inconsistent with the relationship between our two countries and its importance, and I can’t imagine that, among the American people, it will affect our relationship adversely in any way. I’m really amazed at the rudeness, at the undiplomatic way this administration is handling this issue.”
        “It is unfortunate because it damages, or appears to damage, the relationship with an important ally for the United States. I think it is exactly what the Iranians are happy to hear – it has to be encouraging for them. But it is also unprofessional.”  (Israel Hayom)
  • Posted in Middle East Report, News Articles, Recent Posts | Comments Off

    Egyptians flee Libya

    Egyptians in Libya – to flee or to stay?

    By Tom Westcott, February 27, 2015

    Reprinted from IRIN News service

    Photo: Mohamed Ben Khalifa/IRIN

    Egyptian workers held in a detention centre for illegal immigrants near Misrata on board a bus to Tunisia, from where they will be flown home.

    TRIPOLI, 27 February 2015 (IRIN) – The roundabouts in the Libyan capital of Tripoli have long been a place for Egyptians to find work. Every day, carpenters, builders, plumbers and decorators sit and wait, each man carrying the tools of his trade to make it easier for prospective employers.

    Nowadays there are no Egyptians. Last week the Islamic State (IS) in Libya released a video showing the beheading of 20 Egyptian Coptic Christians and a Ghanaian. Since then, over 25,000 Egyptians have returned, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while hundreds of detained irregular migrants have been released from jail. Egyptians have reported an uptick in attacks – at one roundabout, a Libyan man was shot dead for trying to prevent a group of men harassing Egyptian workers.

    But for some, the prospect of returning to a life in poverty in their home country makes staying on in Libya’s warzone a risk they are willing to take.

    Revenge and revenge again

    Libya is split between two rival parliaments and governments – the internationally-recognised ones in the eastern towns of Tobruk and Beida, and rival breakaway institutions, led by the Libya Dawn movement in the capital Tripoli. 

    The situation for Egyptians is worse in the west. The prime minister for the Tripoli-based government Omar Al-Hassi has urged all Egyptians to leave Libya, according to the state news agency LANA, admitting his government’s security authorities are unable to guarantee Egyptians’ safety. There are no firm figures for how many Egyptians are in Libya, with estimates ranging from 40,000 to over 100,000.

    Continue reading

    Posted in Islam, Middle East Report, Monotheistic Religions, News Articles, Recent Posts | Comments Off

    Jihadists don’t stem from poverty

    Empowering Jihad: The Deadly Myth of a ‘Root Cause’

    Blaming Islamist horrors on poverty only obscures the true problem: Jihadists are driven by an ideology — one that yearns to “restore” a mythical caliphate, one governed by the most austere version of Sharia law.

    by Phyllis Chesler
    The New York Post
    February 26, 2015


    Reports that “Jihadi John,” the British-accented narrator of ISIS snuff videos, is Mohammed Emwazi — an educated young man from a middle-class background — ought to put the final stake in the pretense that poverty and a lack of education and opportunity fuel Islamist hate.

    This mistaken idea seems to be Obama administration policy.

    Marie Harf, the US Department of State deputy spokesperson, recently said:

    We cannot win this war by killing [jihadists]. We need to go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups, whether it is lack of opportunity for jobs. . . We can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance. We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people.

    Of course, the news about “Jihadi John” is only the latest evidence to the contrary. These terrorists are often well educated and even wealthy. Osama bin Laden certainly was.

    Many Islamist terrorists are physicians: Maj. Nidal Hasan (the Fort Hood shooter) and al Qaeda’s current leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

    “Lady Al Qaeda” Aafia Siddiqui (the terrorist whom ISIS wanted to trade for James Foley, then for Steven Sotloff) was a scientist.

    Terrorists are often well educated and well-to-do.

    Mohammed Atta, the leader of the 9/11 crew, was an engineer and the son of a solidly middle class family. Another engineer: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Underwear Bomber, who is the son of a wealthy Nigerian businessman.

    William A. Wulf, former president of the National Academy of Engineering, has noted, “In the ranks of the captured and confessed terrorists, engineers and engineering students are significantly overrepresented.”

    Dr. Marc Sageman, a former CIA officer with a PhD from NYU as well as his MD, is the author of the landmark 2003 study “Understanding Terror Networks.”

    This found that “two-thirds of al Qaeda’s members had a university education” and that “the vast majority of terrorists came from solid, middle-class backgrounds; their leadership hailed from the upper middle class. They came from caring, intact families.”

    Blaming Islamist horrors on poverty only obscures the true problem: Jihadists are driven by an ideology — one that yearns to “restore” a mythical caliphate, one governed by the most austere version of Sharia law.

    Continue reading

    Posted in Islam, Middle East Report, Opinion, Recent Posts | Comments Off