The arson attack against a mosque in the village of Tuba Zanghariya in Northern Israel has been widely condemned throughout the world. Israel’s government and the Jewish state’s president also condemned the despicable incident, which has garnered wide attention in the international press, and both of its chief rabbis have gone to the mosque to express their sorrow.
But a Jaffa synagogue that was struck by a Molotov cocktail on Saturday after Arab protests against the Netanyahu government cannot expect the same solicitude. Nor should we anticipate a similar outpouring from Palestinian Authority figures after swastikas were painted on the Jewish shrine of the Tomb of Joseph in Nablus last week.
The assassination of a Kurdish opposition leader in Syria may lead to more violence as protests against the Assad regime escalate. But it should also serve as a reminder of the hypocrisy of much of the world’s attitudes about the Middle East.
While most of the world has been obsessing about the alleged wrongs of the Palestinians, few seem to think it’s worth caring about the fact Kurds remain the object of violent suppression in both Syria and Turkey. Yet as we saw this past week, when Russia and China vetoed United Nations resolutions condemning the crackdown against dissent in Syria, few among the globe’s chattering classes seem willing to condemn any nation in the world other than Israel. Nor do many seem concerned with the plight of any national or ethnic group demanding sovereignty or rights other than those seeking to do so at the expense of the globe’s only Jewish state.
The New York Times engages in some scare-mongering today about a drone ams race. Scott Shane notes correctly other nations such as China are building their own drones and in the future U.S. forces could be attacked by them–our forces will not have a monopoly on their use forever. Fair enough, but he goes further, suggesting our current use of drones to target terrorists will backfire:
If China, for instance, sends killer drones into Kazakhstan to hunt minority Uighur Muslims it accuses of plotting terrorism, what will the United States say? What if India uses remotely controlled craft to hit terrorism suspects in Kashmir, or Russia sends drones after militants in the Caucasus? American officials who protest will likely find their own example thrown back at them.
“The problem is that we’re creating an international norm” — asserting the right to strike preemptively against those we suspect of planning attacks, argues Dennis M. Gormley, a senior research fellow at the University of Pittsburgh and author of Missile Contagion, who has called for tougher export controls on American drone technology. “The copycatting is what I worry about most.”
Robert Jeffress is a prominent Southern Baptist pastor. He’s also a prime example of why people of the Christian faith are sometimes embarrassingly unequipped for American politics.
Jeffress has created quite a stir by declaring Mormonism is a “cult” and because Mitt Romney is a Mormon, evangelical Christians should support Texas Governor Rick Perry over the former Massachusetts governor. That’s not the only reason evangelical Christians should support Perry over Romney, Jeffress argued, but it’s a key one.
Marc Lynch, a partisan professor who blogs at Abu Aardvark; Gregory Johnson, a Ph.D. candidate who studies Yemen (a country in which I have spent considerable time), Blake Hounshell, an editor at Foreign Policy; and other analysts tweeted to take issue with my post on Friday questioning both what Tawakkul Karman’s affiliation with the Yemeni Islamist party Islah means, as well the co-founder of that party’s work for al-Qaeda. Alas, they avoid addressing the questions at hand and instead substitute snarky and ad hominem attacks. Attacking the messenger rather than the message is a time-worn strategy to avoid debating issues on their merits.
As Thomas von der Osten-Sacken from the German NGO Wadi, which has been at the forefront of both Arab democracy issues and the fight against female genital mutilation, notes, a member of the Nobel Committee which awarded the prize made clear Karman’s affiliation with a Muslim Brotherhood party was key to the committee’s decision. From an Associated Press story: “Thorbjoern Jagland, who heads the five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee, told AP that including Karman in the prize is ‘a signal that the Arab Spring cannot be successful without including the women in it.’” He also said Karman belongs to a Muslim movement with links to the Muslim Brotherhood, “which in the West is perceived as a threat to democracy.” He added that “I don’t believe that. There are many signals that, that kind of movement can be an important part of the solution.’”
In 2007, Mike Huckabee sent a not-so-subtle signal to evangelical voters about Mitt Romney’s suitability to be president when he made a disparaging remark about Mormonism and then ran ads touting his own Christianity during the Republican primaries. Four years later, the same prejudice raised its head when Pastor Robert Jeffress, a Rick Perry supporter who introduced him at the Values Voter Summit on Friday, declared that Romney’s faith was a “cult” and stated it was acceptable for voters to prefer or reject a candidate based on his faith.
While the Perry campaign has sought to disassociate itself from these remarks, the question today is whether the Texas governor’s faltering presidential campaign will seek to take advantage of Jeffress’ opening up of the issue of Romney’s religion. Perry’s choice will tell us a lot about who he is as a man.