“Selling a House to a Jew is a Betrayal of Allah”

A Palestinian Muslim who commits the “crime” of selling property to Jews should not expect to be buried in an Islamic cemetery. Marriage to local Palestinians will no longer be an option for this criminal’s family members, and any weddings the family makes will have no guests attending.

Both the living and the dead, then, will pay the price for such “treason.”

This is only a sampling of the punitive measures that will now be faced by Palestinian residents of Jerusalem who are involved in real estate transactions with Jews.

The latest measures were recently announced by a group of Palestinian activists in east Jerusalem, as part of a renewed campaign against Palestinians who are found guilty of selling a home or plot of land to a Jewish individual or organization.

The campaign, which has received the blessing of senior Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas officials, comes in the context of Palestinian efforts to thwart Israeli efforts to “Judaize” Jerusalem. It is also part of the belief that the entire land is Muslim-owned and no Muslim is entitled to give up even one inch of it to a non-Muslim. In other words, it is forbidden for a Muslim to sell his home or land to a Jew or Christian.

This campaign has raised fears that Palestinians may resume extrajudicial executions of suspected land dealers.


Strategic Outlook for Saudi Arabia and Iran

Following the announcement of Saudi Arabia’s “Vision 2030” Economic Plan by Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman on April 25, King Salman announced a reshuffling of the government. The reshuffling was clearly orchestrated by the Deputy Crown Prince and reflects his agenda. This shuffle probably is not the last word even in the near term; the changes in the government strengthen the political position of Mohammad bin Salman, because the new ministers owe him their posts, and through them he will strengthen his hold on the levers of government, especially in the economic sphere. His next step may be to move to neutralize Prince Mitab bin Abdullah, the minister in charge of the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) and a close ally of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Nayef. He could do this by absorbing SANG into the Ministry of Defense.

Such a step would probably not sit well with many of the members of the royal family; however, if Mohammad bin Salman takes such a step, it will only be with the consent of his father, King Salman, and none would actively oppose him. Such a step would have significant ripple effects; international influence in Saudi Arabia has focused for decades on acquiring sectorial influence in the various centers of power of the Kingdom – the different factions of the royal family, the business sector, the army, the SANG etc. The continuing concentration of power in the hands of Mohammad bin Salman will reduce the political relevance of many of these assets of international players and they will be obliged to restructure their connections and sources of information on the politics and economic decision making of the Kingdom.


Father of slain Muslim soldier rebukes Trump at DNC

It is not surprise that the Washington Post is thrilled about Khizr Khan’s “brutal repudiation of Donald Trump,” even though Khan, not quite accurately, claims that Trump wants to “ban us from this country.” Trump has said nothing about banning Muslim citizens of the U.S. from the country, only about a temporary moratorium on immigration from terror states.

In any case, all the effusive praise being showered on Khizr Khan today overlooks one central point: he is one man. His family is one family. There are no doubt many others like his, but this fact does not mean that there is no jihad, or that all Muslims in the U.S. are loyal citizens.

Also, does any other demographic have as high a rate of treason as Muslims in the U.S. military? In 2003, a convert to Islam, Sgt. Hasan Akbar, murdered two of his commanding officers in Kuwait. In 2009, Major Nidal Malik Hasan murdered 13 Americans at Fort Hood.

Other than those attacks, a Muslim in the U.S. Navy discussed sniper attacks on military personnel. A Muslim U.S. naval engineer allegedly gave an Egyptian agent information on how to sink a U.S. carrier. In 2015, a Muslim National Guard soldier in Illinois planned an Islamic State jihad attack against a U.S. military base. Last February, a U.S. Army enlistee who vowed to “bring the Islamic State straight to your doorstep” pleaded guilty to attempting to detonate a car bomb at Fort Riley military base in Kansas. Just days ago, a U.S. Air Force veteran was convicted of trying to join the Islamic State.


Paul Simon: Still Crazy After All These Years

On “Wristband,” the first single from Stranger to Stranger, Paul Simon’s 13th solo album, Simon sings about being lost. This is not a new theme for him. It goes back as far as “Hello, darkness, my old friend.” And this is not a serious allegory on the level of his canonical songs from decades ago, including “America,” which he recently donated to the presidential campaign of fellow New York Jew Bernie Sanders, also 74—in an ad that was reprised at the Democratic National Convention this week. This isn’t about the meaning of our nation or love or anything deep. It is about being locked out of your own concert. The show must go on, but you are the show, and a 6-foot-8 bouncer tells the 5-foot-1 Simon that he can’t go on at all. “I don’t need a wristband,” sings Simon in mock umbrage. “My ax is on the bandstand, my band is on the floor.” All of this is powered by a Latin-tinged upright bass and eccentric Afro beat. And the inimitably neurotic humor of Simon.

Yes, he definitely belongs there, but why is he locked out? Perhaps he’s finally had enough. Simon says that whenever he finishes an album, he considers never making another one again. But Simon is now in his seventh decade, and he has to wonder. He knows his voice has held up remarkably well, that his search for new harmonies (in Harry Partch’s microtonal instruments—based on 43 tones instead of 12—which he uses on a few songs on this album) and unexpected rhythms and new rhymes could conceivably keep going on for a while. But he’s been thinking of the pop song form since he was around 13 and fell in love with doo-wop harmonies, and that was quite a while ago now. (When Simon received the Gershwin Award from the Library of Congress he found, in Simon’s father’s handwriting, the copyright for his very first song, “The Girl For Me,” from this period.) Should the rest of his life be dictated by his adolescent dreams? Simon has said that he wants to look into some spiritual form of expression that doesn’t involve songs.


Defiant Merkel cuts short holiday to defend response to attacks

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her leadership style on Thursday after she remained on vacation this week following Islamist attacks in Germany that critics have blamed on her open-door refugee policy.

Interrupting her holiday to hold a news conference, Merkel batted away questions about why she had not visited the scene of any of five attacks committed since July 18 that have left 15 people dead — including four attackers — and dozens injured.

“A decision has to be taken on this each time and perhaps some members of the public have a different view to the way I decided to do things,” she told a news conference, adding that she would attend a memorial ceremony on Sunday in Munich.

Munich was the scene of the bloodiest of the attacks, in which an 18-year-old German-Iranian gunman killed nine people. Merkel faced criticism on social media after failing to react until the next day, 17 hours after U.S. President Barack Obama.

“I have the feeling that I acted responsibly and correctly and no other feeling,” she told Thursday’s packed news conference, condemning two attackers who were refugees for mocking Germany and the other refugees.