Category: Israel

The Temple and Baptism for the Dead

By , February 22, 2012 11:47 am

I want to thank Daniel C. Peterson for pointing me (and you) to this video:

In turn, I’ll direct you to his blog where he discusses baptism for the dead. Petersen, by the way, is an Islamic scholar and teaches at BYU. You might be interested in his short book Muhammad: Prophet of God.

So Sally Denton’s Arguments Are Specious? Who Knew?

By , February 16, 2012 7:04 pm

To me–a Mormon–Protocol of the Elders by Yair Rosenberg is a welcome relief from the myriad uninformed, and sometimes deluded, stories by those who dare tell of–yea, expose–the mysterious world of Mormonism. Sally Denton is one of the latter and one who Rosenberg quotes a few times before he writes of her “specious argument.”

Tellingly, the sort of specious argument that Salon’s Denton makes about the perils of Mormon theocracy is exactly the sort of conspiracy theory that the same publication rightly denounces when it comes from Robert Spencer about Muslims and the threat of creeping Sharia. The latter narrative is clearly seen as false, but the equally problematic nature of the anti-Mormon argument is obscured by partisan blinders.

Sadly, Sally has been spreading her spurious conspiracy claptrap for some time now. I first heard of her when American Heritage magazine gave her the last few pages of one issue to peddle her poorly researched and very biased account of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. She now has a book out about how the Right plotted against FDR–and apparently loves to draw parallels between that day and this (she was on NPR peddling her book the other day–NPR! What were they thinking?). I guess America loves a secret exposed–so to speak. Just look at Sally’s bio at American Heritage:

Sally Denton is an investigative reporter and author who writes about America’s hidden history. She has written six books, including her most recent, Pink Lady: The Many Lives of Helen Gahagan Douglas, released in 2009. She was honored with the Woodrow Wilson Public Scholar Fellowship in 2010, and entered the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 2008. (emphasis mine)

Sorry, but you’re going to have to find links to Sally’s sad oeuvre by yourself. I’ve already given her more publicity than she deserves–and nobody reads my blog. I will, however, give you a link to a review of her very bad book on Mountain Meadows.

Did Obama Throw Israel or Palestine Under the Bus?

By , May 22, 2011 9:56 pm

Walter Russell Mead says it was Palestine and that all the bruhah about his Israel/Middle East speech is overblown or downright wrong. I agree. He writes:

On substantive grounds, it is hard to see what Obama’s critics have in mind. The US position is and has always been that the 1967 borders are the starting point for negotiations. UN Security Council Resolution 242, the basis for all negotiations on this question since it was passed in 1967, makes that very plain — although that resolution does not demand an Israeli withdrawal from all of the territory it conquered in the war. President Bush never deviated from this position; neither has President Obama. Israeli prime ministers including Likud prime ministers like Ehud Olmert have accepted this for years. This is standard diplospeak boilerplate. It is a non-statement, a platitude, even a bromide.

His post comes with a nifty little map of the controversy, courtesy of the CIA:

Mubarak Steps Down

By , February 11, 2011 10:01 am

And cedes power to the military. My wife thinks chaos will ensue. I’m more hopeful. Let’s pray I’m right, for Egypt’s sake. For Israel’s.

Speaking of the Middle East . . .

By , February 6, 2011 1:46 pm

You can find Al Jazeera English living streaming here. Now Frank Rich can sleep at night.

Nicholas Kristof Plays Edgar Bergen to His Egyptian Friend, Charlie McCarthy

By , February 6, 2011 1:24 pm

Where’s a friend, when you need a someone to bash Republicans. Civility being the rage and all in the United States, you go to Egypt, which is what New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof did when he reached out to “an old friend in Cairo” to reassure him that Egypt would not fall into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood if Mubarak exited stage right. That woman,

a woman with Western tastes that include an occasional glass of whiskey, . . . thought for a moment and said: “Yes, possibly. But, from my point of view, in America the Republican Party is bad for peace as well.”

But don’t stop there Nick, go for the throat–in your very next sentence,

If democracy gains in the Middle East, there will be some demagogues, nationalists and jingoists, just as there are in America and Israel, and they may make diplomacy more complicated.

I think this is what is called a tri-fecta: 1.) use a mouthpiece to bash your least favorite political party, 2.) make sure that bashing includes equating the Republican party with the Muslim Brotherhood, 3.) then make sure to chime in that there are “demagogues, nationalists, and jingoists” in American, just like those horrible Muslim Brotherhood guys who are busy making “diplomacy more difficult” (for the anointed one, I suppose).


Update: Stumbled upon this post by David Pryce-Jones, Anyone Here Been Raped & Speaks English? a post named after the book of the same title. Seemed an appropriate addendum.

Do We Want the Brotherhood to Take Over Mubarak’s Neighborhood?

By , February 5, 2011 10:21 pm

I support Israel, and I also support a foreign policy that would be more concerned with spreading democracy and freedom and less concerned with supporting corrupt and oppressive regimes in the name of stability. That said, I am not a foreign policy expert. And that said, I am in favor of Hosni Mubarak stepping down as quickly as possible, but no sooner than a transition plan is in place that would make it difficult or impossible for the Muslim Brotherhood to take power.

Why? Well, there’s this, from MEMRI, “excerpts from an interview with Muhammad Ghanem, Muslim Brotherhood representative in London, which aired on Al-Alam TV on January 30, 2011”:

Muhammad Ghanem: Hosni Mubarak and his regime are over, but he does not know it. In the beginning, we said that we wanted Hosni Mubarak to go. Now, we say that Hosni Mubarak, his VP, and prime minister must go. Now there are three of them.

In addition, the commanders of the army are still going back and forth to America. The American position has changed, and we hope that the position of the military will change as well, but reality proves that Hosni Mubarak will not leave unless he is forced to, that Omar Suleiman is more dangerous than Hosni Mubarak, and that the appointed prime minister… They all come from the military, and they share the same interests. Like we say in Egyptian Arabic: They will not bite one another.

I don’t want to speak ill of anyone, but Hosni Mubarak will not hesitate to kill the entire Egyptian people in order to remain in power. This is a maneuver of which we must beware. Hosni Mubarak is trying to stabilize his position. He is in Sharm Al-Sheik, protected by the Zionists, by the state of Israel. There is a helicopter ready to fly him to Israel.

We do not take the situation lightly. The situation is difficult. The Egyptian people will not allow anyone to rob them of their revolution. This blessed revolution will not subside. As the Egyptians are chanting: “We will not go away. This is our country. Mubarak should go.”


As for the possible return of the security forces – this is inconceivable. If the people see members of the security forces, they will kill them all. These security forces are not part of the Egyptian people. Their allegiance lies with Hosni Mubarak.


I am absolutely certain that this revolution will not die, and that the next step must be one of civil disobedience. This civil disobedience will generate strife among the Egyptians. This disobedience must include halting passage through the Suez Canal, stopping the supply of petroleum and natural gas to Israel, and preparing for war with Israel.


And this, excerpts from a sermon in which Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammad Badi urges jihad against the Zionists and U.S. infidels:

“According to the Islamic shari’a that Allah [has bequeathed] to mankind, the status of the Muslims, compared to that of the infidel nations that arrogantly [disdain] his shari’a, is measured in a kind of scale, in which, when one side is in a state of superiority, the other is in a state of inferiority…
“Many Arab and Muslim regimes have not managed to build up their peoples, due to their weakness and their dependence [on the West], and in many cases they have begun to work against the interests of the [Muslim] nation… The lands of the Arabs and of Islam are now plagued with problems because [the Arabs] have lost their [strength of] will, leaving it to the Zionist enemies and their supporters. [The Arab and Muslim regimes] have forgotten, or are pretending to have forgotten, that the real enemy lying in wait for them is the Zionist entity. They are aiming their weapons against their own peoples, while avoiding any confrontation with these Zionists and achieving neither unity nor revival for their nations. Moreover, they are disregarding Allah’s commandment to wage jihad for His sake with [their] money and [their] lives, so that Allah’s word will reign supreme and the infidels’ word will be inferior…
“Today the Muslims desperately need a mentality of honor and means of power [that will enable them] to confront global Zionism. [This movement] knows nothing but the language of force, so [the Muslims] must meet iron with iron, and winds with [even more powerful] storms. They crucially need to understand that the improvement and change that the [Muslim] nation seeks can only be attained through jihad and sacrifice and by raising a jihadi generation that pursues death just as the enemies pursue life.

Have I said that I’m not Islamophobic? I’m not. I am developing a phobia against the Muslim Brotherhood however.

For what it’s worth, I think the realist philosophy of foreign policy helped create this mess. Whenever I find myself advocating a more neoconservative policy, I have to remind myself that this mess wasn’t created in a day. It will take more than a few days, even years, to clean up. What bothers me is that innocent people suffer in the meantime.

What did Martin Luther King say? “justice too long delayed is justice denied.” The Egyptian people deserve true freedom and a democratic way of life. They may have to wait a bit longer to get it or lose it to the thugs who make up the Muslim Brotherhood. But what do I know?

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