I have often wondered why a people that professes itself, as the prophet Isaiah said (Isaiah 49:6), to be “a light unto the Nations” — something that it manifestly is, as any objective study of its world-benefitting discoveries and humane military practices would demonstrate – is so often a darkness unto itself.
“A sitting governor facing 109 years in prison because he threatened to veto funding to a drunk district attorney’s public integrity unit? Really? No one disputes that the law gives the governor the power to veto funding – period end of the story.” In last night’s ‘Justice,’ Judge Jeanine Pirro blasted the indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, saying, “Nothing about this indictment makes sense.” Watch her entire opening statement.
ISIS’ barbarism in Syria and Iraq has gotten so bad that even the Vatican has signaled that military action may be necessary. And Down Under, Bishop Anba Suriel, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the diocese of Melbourne, denounced the terrorist group in no uncertain terms and urged Australia, and the world, to act before “such fundamentalisms infects the entire world.”
“The world watches in silence as the last Christians are expelled from Mosul, Iraq in one of the most merciless and barbaric acts of genocide we have seen in the 21st Century,” Suriel, who was born in Egypt, said in a statement last week.
Dismantling UNRWA requires the approval of the United Nations General Assembly, making it unlikely. But if donor countries were to reprogram their funds, first by demanding that the PA take over UNRWA’s employees and responsibilities, the effect would be the same. In 2010, Canada shifted its contributions away from UNRWA, sending a strong message about the organization.
The rivers of blood that have stained British streets up until now will turn into a raging torrent when the young battle hardened jihadists, trained in the latest terrorist techniques, return to Great Britain from the war zones around the world and turn their attention to their home turf. These jihadists are fanatics who hate England with a passion, their blood lust is insatiable and they will not settle back into routine life when they return from the battlefield.
Some Some people are fascinated by anti-heroes. What’s it like, being a terrorist? What’s the making of a mass murderer?
I’ve always been fascinated by heroes. Helen Keller. Nelson Mandela. And more recently, counter-jihadis.
Who are these people who recognize the dangers of Islam when most people keep saying that all religions are basically the same? Who are these people who dare to speak out when most people stay silent and fearful?
About a year ago, I set out to interview some of them – including Valerie Price, who heads ACT! for Canada.
What’s she like? First, she’s about the most unlikely counter-jihadi you can find. An interior decorator who loves lush decor and safe-looking images of leopards. A breast cancer survivor who has raised almost a million dollars to help survivors.
And then, at the invitation of a friend, she went to listen to Brigitte Gabriel of ACT! for America. And the direction of Valerie’s life changed. She was deeply touched by Brigitte’s message, and decided to act.
Along with a friend, she started ACT! for Canada. It began with 5 people around a dining room table. By now, ACT has hosted a series of well-known counter-jihadis from around the world, including Gavin Boby, the British lawyer known as the Mosque Buster for his string of successes blocking mosque-building applications. (Why block such applications? Because of the harassment and intimidation of non-Muslims associated with mosques.) In addition to the expected criticism from Muslim groups, Valerie had to stand up to pressure from counter-terrorist people who found him too controversial – and she didn’t cave in.
Valerie subscribes to almost every counter-jihad blog, and from that mass of information, she culls a weekly newsletter that now goes out to almost 1500 people.
She has also travelled to a string of conferences and conventions to meet leading counter-jihadis. Recently, when a friend had given her a fabulous gift, a ticket to Bette Midler, Valerie had a hard time going because she found out that a favorite counter-jihadi would be speaking that day. (But she did go and loved the Bette Midler show.)
Is there anything in Valerie’s history that could explain the sudden shift in her life?
She was a handful as a child, ever ready to run away from home.
She came from little money, but became a decorator to the wealthy.
She was a willful young woman – a wife who planned a holiday without informing her husband. It didn’t occur to her that she should need to ask permission.
She divorced and stayed friends with her ex.
She remarried – a loving close marriage.
She’s a star in Beauty and the Breast – during the filming of which, as someone who has had a double mastectomy, she pulled off her top on the spur of the moment.
What in there made her prone to counter-jihadism?
First, her willfulness, strong-mindedness. She was never one to go along for the sake of going along.
Passion. She hasn’t just surfed on life. She deeply cares. She married for love, left the marriage when it was no longer right for her, remarried because it was right for her. She has, at least somewhat, been able to listen to herself.
Willingness to act. Running away as a child. Responding to Brigitte Gabriel’s message. Valerie isn’t someone who just thinks about doing things.
Courage. Leaving a financially comfortable marriage. Using her own name in her counter-jihad work. It takes courage to speak out about the dangers of Islam and Islamisation. To speak out under one’s own name takes even more courage.
Willingness to be un-nice. Valerie didn’t worry about her mother’s feelings when running away as a child. Now she doesn’t worry about hurting the feelings of Muslims by mentioning not so nice things about their religion.
(Valerie also has a very nice side – very caring and compassionate. And she’s ready to admire people – so she admired Gavin, as well as liked him. She also admires Tommy Robinson, Frank Gaffney, etc. But she’s not all nicety-nice. In a word, she’s not a wimp.)
There is also the ability to see. In a world rife with political correctness, Valerie was open to seeing the reality of Islam. I don’t know what in her past gave Valerie that ability. Most likely, the ability comes from other strengths – like having the courage to see, the strong-mindedness to recognize what she was seeing, and the capacity to be un-nice.
The many images of leopards in Valerie’s home come to mind. The leopards on the walls look quiet. I know they are strong. Much power.
For more about Valerie Price,
I am proud of many Canadian achievements: the discovery of insulin for the treatment of diabetes; the mapping of the visual cortex of the brain; the creation of Canadarm; our foundational role in establishing the United Nations. Canada was the first country in the world to propose an international treaty to ban the use of land mines.
However, I am not proud of the creation of Israeli Apartheid Week, another Canadian domestic product now exported worldwide; in fact I am horrified by it.
Background of Israeli Apartheid Week
Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) was launched in 2005 at the University of Toronto and is now international in scope. The IAW website states that in the year 2012, 215 cities in the world held events to teach about so-called “Zionist racism” and to build momentum for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which encourages companies to divest from Israel and seeks to establish trade and other sanctions against the country.
According to Catherine Chatterley, founding director of the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, the primary purpose of Israeli Apartheid Week is to gain support for the isolation and delegitimization of the one democratic state in the Middle East.
The title of Israeli Apartheid Week strategically evokes the South African struggle against Apartheid in order to secure moral legitimacy for the anti-Israel cause. Because South African apartheid was based on an indefensible white-supremacist ideology, anti-Israel activists are now keen to draw (false) parallels between South Africa and Israel in order to bolster the perception that Israel is a racist and imperialist entity. According to Chatterley, “If Israel can be characterized as the new South Africa, it will have fewer and fewer supporters.”
Although it claims to be a teaching event, Israeli Apartheid Week is not really about education at all, but about the indoctrination of students, through emotional manipulation and misinformation, to oppose the very existence of the Jewish state. As Chatterley points out, “If the goal were actual education and informed discussion about the Arab-Israeli conflict, IAW programming would incorporate competing points of view. All subjects central to the conflict would be on the agenda — such as the many wars fought by Arab armies against Israel, the historical and contemporary arguments of Arab nationalism, the Islamization of the conflict itself, and, the very real question of whether anyone in the region actually wants to accept the existence of a Jewish State.”
Instead, however, IAW promotes falsehoods about Israeli “occupation” of a pre-existent Arab state called Palestine (which never existed) and about Israeli oppression of Palestinians. IAW promotes the myth that Palestinians are the innocent victims of Israeli aggression while neglecting to note the numerous occasions on which Arabs have rejected both peace and the opportunity to build a state in a portion of what was once British-mandate Palestine. See Joe King’s Mid-East Deception for a point-by-point rebuttal of the many myths about Israel and the conflict.
What is necessary on university campuses, according to Chatterley, is “high-quality academic programming” to counter Israeli Apartheid propaganda. “I would suggest,” she states, “that it is fundamentally irresponsible to allow IAW and its supporters to re-define Zionism as a racist form of European colonialism when in actual fact it is an emancipatory movement for Jewish self-determination.”
The Creation of Israel Truth Week
Israel Truth Week is a response to Chatterley’s call. Israel Truth Week was “born of Nazi occupied Holland and the Caledonia crisis,” says founder Mark Vandermaas, who was adopted at the age of six by a Dutch couple who had survived the Nazi occupation of Holland. He grew up hearing about the plight of Jews under the Nazis, and as a result forged a deep connection with the Holocaust. Later, as a member of the Canadian Forces, he served with a United Nations peacekeeping force in the Middle East. But it was his experience with the violence and breakdown of law and order against the residents of Caledonia that galvanized him to action on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people.
Mark has observed IAW with disquiet over the years: the last straw for him was a Jewish student event at Western University in London, Ontario in which the police stood by while Jewish students were harassed and intimidated. For Mark, that was the catalyst for the creation of Israel Truth Week.
Last year, at the University of Manitoba, the Students’ Union became the first in North America to ban Israeli Apartheid Week on campus and strip the group “Students Against Israel Apartheid” (SAIA) of official student group status. While some disagree with this action on the grounds that “hate speech” should still be protected, free speech – my personal stance – the controversy motivated the following individuals and organizations to come together to combat the distortions of Israeli Apartheid Week. In addition to the founder, Mark Vandermaas (www.IsraelTruthWeek.org), the following are community partners:
· Valerie Price, ACT! For Canada (www.actforcanada.ca)
· Never Again Group of Hamilton, Ontario
· Cathy Lanyard, President, Canadian Friends of ALYN Hospital (www.alynus.org/israeltruthweek)
· Meir Weinstein of the Jewish Defence League (www./jdl-canada.org)
· Salomon Benzimra & Goldi Steiner, Canadians for Israel’s Legal Rights (www.cilr.org)
· Shobie Kapoor of The Canadian Patriotic Society (www.canadianpatrioticsociety.com)
· Gary McHale, Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality (email@example.com)
Our purpose and aims are to involve students on campuses across the country to oppose anti-Semitism and to share the truth of Israel. We aim to dispel myths, to educate about Israel’s struggles and enormous achievements, and to engage with the reality of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
“Israel was not created in order to disappear – Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom.”
~ President John F. Kennedy ~
The dangers to journalists in Russia are well known. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented 56 journalists killed since 1992, and other commentators say the number is much higher. But one does not normally consider the possibility of an assassination of an American journalist.
Michael Mahon Hastings, aged 33, died in a fiery car crash on June 18, 2013. Against his parents’ wishes, his charred remains were cremated almost immediately and sent home in an urn. Speculation about the nature of his death—was it an accident or a targeted assassination?—has been rampant since then.
A Renegade Journalist
Michael Hastings came to fame in June, 2010 with “The Runaway General,” a tell-all Rolling Stone profile of General Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of NATO’s security forces in Afghanistan. The article garnered Hastings a prestigious Polk Award for revealing McChrystal’s contempt for many in the Obama administration and driving home the unwinnable nature of the war. In Hastings’ words, whatever happened under McChrystal’s watch in Afghanistan, it would be “more like Vietnam than Desert Storm.”
The article reportedly made Hastings powerful enemies inside the United States military, and drew attention to the hopeless reality of Afghanistan, where the United States had committed itself to a counter-insurgency that looked suspiciously like the kind of open-ended nation-building that President Obama had promised to avoid. The article led to McChrystal’s being dismissed from his post.
Hastings had a thorough contempt for journalistic customs, including objectivity, which he dismissed as a fallacy. He was a liberal who shared the anti-war, anti-Republican sentiments of his generation. But having crusaded to spare the nation another Republican presidency, he was shocked by revelations of the Nixonian nature of the Obama regime. In “Why Democrats Love to Spy on Americans,” his last published article, he denounced Democratic two-facedness on civil liberties, focusing on the nature of the National Security Agency’s “massive domestic spy program” and charging that President Barack Obama was responsible for a surveillance operation that appeared to “dwarf any of the spying scandals that broke during the Bush years.” He also detailed how “transparency supporters, whistleblowers, and investigative reporters have been viciously attacked by the Obama administration and its allies in the FBI and DOJ.”
Those who knew Hastings knew that “the shadowy world of intelligence and off-the-record American aggression was a favorite topic.” But his investigations began to cause him acute uneasiness, as fear increased that he himself was coming under scrutiny. Just hours before his death, he sent an email to friends and colleagues warning of FBI interest in his work. He cautioned that if federal authorities tried to interview “close friends and associates,” it would be “wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news gathering practices or related journalism issues.” He also stated that he was “onto a big story” and needed “to go off the rada[r] for a bit.”
He had made contact with Wikileaks attorney Jennifer Robinson a few weeks before his death, furthering speculation that he sought protection from a potential government investigation.
On August 13th, it was revealed in the newsmagazine The Blaze that the target of Hastings’ latest exposé was CIA Director John Brennan. The “big story” Hastings was working on appears to have been Brennan’s witch hunt of investigative journalists.
In the early morning hours of June 18, Hastings was killed when his Mercedes Benz smashed into a tree on Highland Avenue in Los Angeles. Despite the LAPD’S categorization of the accident as bearing “no evidence of foul play,” two of Hastings’ friends, Jason Leopold and Ryan Shapiro, have sought details about it through a Freedom of Information Act warrant. The Los Angeles Coroner’s Office has reported evidence of drugs in his system, including amphetamines and marijuana, but suggests the drugs were not responsible for the fiery crash. Many questions about the accident disturb Hastings’ friends and associates.
Evidence Suggesting Assassination
Contrary to reports by authorities justifying the immediate cremation, Hastings’ body was not charred beyond recognition. An eyewitness said that although the face was burned, the body was “completely intact, not burned in any way.”
The Police and Firefighters in the area were reputedly given a gag order and told not to talk to the media about the death.
While some reports claimed the road Hastings was driving on was narrow or steeply curved, it is in fact a straight freeway. A significant piece of evidence is the absence of skid marks when the car made its 60-degree turn into a palm tree. This fact has led some, including security analyst Richard Clarke, to conclude that the car may have been subject to a “cyber-attack.” Clarke, a former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism, told The Huffington Post that it is possible for intelligence agencies to seize remote control of a car. The fact that Hastings never applied the brakes indicates that he did not have control.
Moreover, recently released surveillance camera footage of the crash shows three massive explosions before the vehicle came to a stop, fueling speculation that some kind of incendiary device may have triggered the blasts. In at least three 9-1-1 calls, witnesses reported very loud explosions accompanying the crash. The intensity of the fire has led some analysts to allege that an accelerant must have been used.
“No matter how you slice this particular pie, a Mercedes is not just going to explode into flames without a little assistance,” writes freelance journalist Jim Stone. “Car fires in new cars happen for three main reasons — running the engine out of oil, running the engine out of coolant, or after an absolutely huge car-mangling accident […]. And for all 3 of those normal reasons, which account for virtually all car fires in modern cars, the fire would have started in the engine compartment, progressed slowly, and scorched the hell out of the paint before ever reaching the gas tank. That clean paint is the ‘be all, tell all.’ Michael Hastings was murdered, and the rest is detail.”
Allegations of assassination are generally attributed to conspiracy theorists, and of course the web is alive with scoffers in this case; nonetheless, the evidence that has emerged is troubling. Michael Hastings lived in my building from 1991to 1994 when his parents, Brent and Molly Hastings, came to Montreal from Malone, N.Y. to further their medical degrees. The personal connection makes the story of a promising young journalist’s death even more poignant for me.
Rest in peace, Michael. May we one day know the truth.