From the Editor : Rael Jean Isaac

Orwell at DePaul

DePaul is a Catholic university in Chicago.  If there is anywhere that a student poster protesting abortion should be acceptable, this is the place.  Think again.  When the college Republican group sought to display a poster with the phrase “Unborn Lives Matter” DePaul’s President Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider said no.  He issued an open letter to the “DePaul community” declaring the poster constituted “bigotry under the cover of free speech” that “provokes the Black Lives Matter movement.”  Holtschneider concedes that “some people will say that DePaul’s stance unfairly silences speech to appease a crowd. Nothing can be further from the truth.”  In fact, nothing could be more spot on. As Charles Lipson says in “DePaul, Where Free Speech Comes to Die” “the DePaul President’s letter could have been drafted by Orwell’s Ministry of Truth.”

Just a few months ago, in July, the administration banned conservative (and strongly pro-Israel) writer Ben Shapiro from speaking on campus.  John Minster, a sophomore at the school and vice president of the College Republicans, says witheringly: “There is seemingly no step this cowardly administration won’t take to suppress free speech.”

B’tselem: A Lethal NGO

On Oct. 11, the director of B’tselem, a supposed civil rights group that is in fact an attack dog against Israel, spoke at a UN Security Council special session (convened by Egypt, Malaysia, Venezuela, Angola and Senegal).  He implored the UN to take “decisive international action” against Israel.  He made no mention of Palestinian Arab terror attacks or incitement.  NGO Monitor notes that this event “highlights the ways in which influential NGOs distort reality for ideological objectives and contribute to international political campaigns against Israel.”

Efforts in Israel five years ago to limit by legislation the amount of money an NGO can accept from a foreign government were unsuccessful. A more recent Israeli effort to force NGOS to acknowledge foreign government funding in their literature was also met by a torrent of protests.  (In the case of B’tselem over 64% of its funds come from governments, including the EU, and separately, France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland etc.)  NGO Monitor has fastened on another approach, saying “Instead of symbolic and punitive gestures that further polarize the discourse about political NGOs, the Israeli government and Members of Knesset should work with their counterparts in Europe to formulate clear guidelines that establish transparency in funding processes, and define the agendas and groups that are ineligible for government funding.”  It’s worth a try.


A Mosque in Romania

Writing for the Gatestone Institute, Soeren Kern points out that a lawsuit has been brought in Bucharest to annul the government’s grant of free city land for a mosque to be built by Turkey.  It is to be the largest mosque in Eastern Europe, second only to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. The original deal called for a “mutual exchange” in which Romania would build an Orthodox church in Istanbul while Turkey built the mosque in Bucharest. However in July 2015 then Prime Minister Victor Ponta explained that the Romanian government had abandoned the church project because it is “not allowed under Turkish law.” (No infidel worship wanted here.)  Ponta decided to go ahead anyway, on the ground that the mosque was a multicultural symbol of Romania’s acceptance of the Muslim community.

The mosque’s critics, 500 years of Ottoman domination of Rumania still in mind, counter the mosque is out of proportion to the size of Bucharest’s currently small Muslim population (and will encourage more Muslims to come), is a portent of Turkey’s efforts to expand its influence in the Balkans, and has less to do with worship than “marking the territory of their authority through a monument.” (This last is the charge of activist Ozgur Kazim Kivanc and reflects Turkish pursuit of the Islamic principle that once a land is Islamic, always Islamic.) The suit points out that adding insult to injury, “We consider the disposal of free land which, ironically, belonged to the family of Prince Constantin Brancoveanu, who was beheaded by the Turks on August 15, 1714, to be a betrayal of the Romanian people.”

Kern reports that an online survey by the mainstream newspaper Gandul found over 90% of the public opposed to the mosque project. Yet another sign of the gulf in Europe between rulers and ruled when it comes to Islam.

Meanwhile in Turkey the Erdogan government continually demonstrates just how much of a one-way street its mission to build mosques abroad is.  Turkey has arrested (and is expelling) American Pastor Andrew Brunson of the Resurrection Protestant Church and his wife Norine, who have lived in Turkey for twenty years.  The grounds?  They are “threatening the national security of Turkey” because they carried out “missionary activity and received money from abroad.” Over the last four years more than 100 Christian pastors and other religious officials have been deported from Turkey and banned from reentering.  Expert on Turkey Robert Jones in “Turkey Targets Christians” cites the 2015 Human Rights Violations Report by the Association of Protestant Churches which says that Protestants in Turkey are continually exposed to hate crimes, and physical and verbal assaults.


From Jobbik to Judaism

Israel is welcoming a most unusual immigrant. He is Csanad Szegedi, formerly vice president of Hungary’s bitterly anti-Semitic Jobbik Party and known for his incendiary attacks on Jews.  In 2012, after nine years in the party, he discovered that his mother, a software engineer, was born to Jewish parents. Szegedi quit Jobbik, visited Israel, became a religious Jew and has now made Aliya.


Attacking Israel for What Arabs Do

A sign of disintegrating support for Israel in the Democratic Party is the letter sent in June by 20 Democratic members of Congress to President Obama calling for appointment of a “Special Envoy for Palestinian Youth.”  The new propaganda gimmick is to focus on the alleged harm Israel causes to Arab children, who are being raised “under the constant fear of arrest, detention and violence at the hands of the Israeli military.”  No mention in the letter of the vicious incitement of Arab youth from kindergarten age on by the Palestinian Authority (see Palestinian Media Watch, passim) resulting in their recruitment as terrorists—and the attention this inevitably brings from the Israeli authorities.  Here is child abuse  in spades.  The charges in the letter are nonsense: the enlistment of members of Congress (from Moslem convert Keith Ellison to Oregon’s forever Congressman Peter DeFazio) is worrisome.


Amazing Israel

Normally we quote from Michael Ordman’s blog to list a few of Israel’s many accomplishments in the field of medicine. This month our source is Einat Paz-Frankel who writes of an important break-through in cancer research led by Yuval Shaked of the Technion in Haifa.  Shaked’s study team focused on how to explain why cancers so frequently recur—and how to prevent this.  A common theory has been that cancer cells develop internal resistance to treatment, overriding the toxic effects of the drug.  But the Shaked team found that “the body responds to chemotherapy the way it responds to trauma. This creates the effect of a double-edged sword: although chemotherapy kills cancer cells, it also causes the secretion of substances that confer resistance to the tumor.” Shaked reports that understanding the mechanisms that enhance the tumor and accelerate the spread of metastases “will enable us to develop methods to inhibit them.”

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Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Herbert Zweibon, Ruth King

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