We just commemorated Holocaust Remembrance Day and there were special services where a special Kaddish may have been recited and the names of the relatives of Congregants’ families are read. If the town or city has a Holocaust Memorial, then a flower lying may also be held. There are numerous and varied commemorative activities as there are congregations and memorials. There are also many contribution drives correlated with Holocaust Remembrance Day hoping to work on people’s consciences and memories to loosen their grip on their wallets. We figure these drives are more successful than similar such attempted during other weeks of the year as their supposition is likely correct. But all these services, prayers, flower lying, listing of names and all the other means of attempting to give relevance in our time to the memory of the Holocaust such that we can prevent a reoccurrence are less likely to serve…
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Palestinians living in refugee camps in the Arab world are facing ethnic cleansing, displacement, and death — but their leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are too busy tearing each other to pieces to notice or even, apparently, care much.
Between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas, it looks as if they are competing for the worst leadership, not the best. Clearly, neither regime gives a damn about the plight of their people in the Arab world.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is scheduled to visit Washington in the coming weeks for his first meeting with US President Donald Trump, spends most of his time abroad. There is hardly a country in the world that he has not visited since he assumed office in January 2005.
Hamas, for its part, is too occupied with hunting down Palestinians suspected of “collaboration” with Israel, and arming its members as massively as possible for war with Israel, to spend much time on the well-being of the two million people living under its thumb in the Gaza Strip. Hamas does have resources: its money is otherwise designated, however, to digging attack tunnels into Israel and smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip.
The globetrotting Abbas, treated to red-carpet receptions wherever he shows up, has no time to attend to his miserable people in the Arab countries. Abbas devotes more than 90 percent of his speeches to denunciations of Israel, uttering barely a word about the atrocities committed against his people in Syria, Lebanon, Libya and Iraq. The 82-year-old PA president is, as always, fully preoccupied with political survival.
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The presidential elections in Iran, scheduled for May 19, have observers wondering whether the “white turban” incumbent, Hassan Rouhani, will retain his position, or be defeated by his likely contender, the “black turban” mullah, Ebrahim Raisi, known for his key role in the 1988 massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners.
More importantly, the question on Western minds is how and in what way the Islamic Republic will be affected by either outcome.
The two periods in Iran’s recent history that need to be examined in order to answer this question are that of the tenure of former firebrand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005 to 2013), who also announced he is running again, and the one that has followed under Rouhani.
At the outset of the Ahmadinejad era, Iran’s GDP (using purchasing power parity) soared beyond $1 trillion, and two of the country’s greatest threats — Iraq under Saddam Hussein and Afghanistan under the Taliban — were eliminated. Both enabled Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to solidify his stronghold.
Midway through this period, however, Iran’s economy fell sharply. Iran became the country with the fifth highest inflation rate in the world. Iran fell into a serious recession, and millions of Iranians found themselves unemployed. All this was going on even before the international community imposed sanctions on the regime in Tehran.
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LONDON — In 2004, a young London Muslim lawyer named Sadiq Khan shared a platform with five political extremists at a meeting held by the Friends of Al-Aqsa, entitled “Palestine — The Suffering Still Goes On.”
The speakers included Daud Abdullah, who went on to lead a boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day in 2005 when he was deputy secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, and Dr. Azzam Tamimi, who once said he wanted Israel destroyed and replaced with an Islamic state.
As a leading British Jewish activist described it, the relationship in those days between Khan and the Jewish community was, “difficult… awkward, not comfortable.”
Fast-forward to today and the 46-year-old Khan is now the much-admired mayor of London whose most recent engagement with the Jewish community was an appearance — strongly applauded — at the annual Yom HaShoah ceremony in the capital.
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The Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) just published in February its yearly threat assessment. It concluded — as did its threat assessment for 2016 — that Norway might experience an Islamic terrorist attack from Islamic State (ISIS) sympathizers acting upon ISIS’s call to carry out independent attacks. The PST explains:
“These calls to action are one reason why we have seen an increase over the last few years in the number of lone terrorist attacks in the West. The likeliest scenario for a terrorist attack in a Western country is an ISIL-/AQ-inspired attack carried out with a simple weapon against a target with little or no protection”.
“Lone wolf” attacks are rightly described as an actual terrorist strategy, rather than what the media likes to describe as random “mental illness”. In addition, this threat assessment now fits all of Europe.
The PST goes on to warn:
“Immigration to Europe will influence the terrorist threat in various ways in the coming year. One of the problems we expect to face is the radicalization of asylum-seekers, migrants and illegal immigrants in Norway. Attempts may be made to radicalize members of these groups by other migrants at reception centers or by visitors. As in previous years, individuals who support and sympathize with extreme Islamist organizations will arrive in Norway in 2017”.
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