Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

The Natural Rights Of Life, Liberty And The Pursuit Of Gay Marriage

by Bob Livingston on Friday, August 29th, 2014

This is article 62 of 63 in the topic Gay Rights
The Natural Rights Of Life, Liberty And The Pursuit Of Gay Marriage

THINKSTOCK

Whenever a group or class of people is given special “rights” (which aren’t really rights, but privileges), the real natural rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are turned on their ears and shoved down the memory hole. In other words, the rights of the one are secondary to the “rights” of the other simply because one subgroup of individuals has been granted special privileges that never before existed.

Take the case in New York of a Catholic couple who had $13,000 extorted from them by the state of New York (not to mention thousands of dollars in legal fees over two years), were forced to undergo and subject their staff to a state-sponsored re-education camp and were ordered to prominently display on their property a propaganda message contrary to their belief system, all for the “crime” of declining to host a wedding on their farm. The wedding, if it can be called such, was for a lesbian couple.

But this was not just any lesbian couple looking for a wedding locale. This was a lesbian couple fishing for a free wedding and seeking to be offended — or, in their minds, deprived of their rights. The couple secretly recorded the conversation in which their request to have the wedding conducted on the farm — which serves the dual purpose of being a place for events and Robert and Cynthia Gifford’s home — was declined and then quickly ran off to the New York State Division of Human Rights to proclaim they had been aggrieved.

Never mind that the Giffords, while declining to host the wedding, offered to the couple the option of visiting the farm to discuss handling the reception. And never mind that the Giffords had recently hosted a birthday party for the adopted child of a lesbian couple, indicating they held no special animus toward homosexuals. The Giffords’ decision to decline to host the wedding — which was contrary to their faith because they believe God ordained marriage to be a union of one man and one woman — led New York’s DHR to determine they were insensitive and discriminatory and must be punished (discriminated against) and re-educated (brainwashed).

This sort of discrimination (depriving one of his natural rights) against the one on behalf of the other — especially if the other happens to be homosexual — is becoming more common by the day. In St. Paul, Minnesota, the misnamed Minnesota Department of Human Rights recently went after the owners of a lodge after they turned down a request to host a gay wedding — again because it violated their religious beliefs. In order to settle the complaint, the owners of Rice Creek Hunting and Recreation, Inc. had to pay for the couple’s wedding and reception at another location. So apparently in America now, if you are gay and persistent, you can eventually force someone you don’t know and don’t like and who is offended by what you do to pay for your wedding, all in the name of equality and fairness and anti-discrimination.

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Why Won’t Putin Help Middle East Christians?

by Cliff Kincaid on Monday, August 25th, 2014

This is article 1230 of 1244 in the topic International

An article titled, “Iraq’s Christians See Putin As Savior,” appeared on the website of The Daily Beast in late June. It was picked up by literally dozens of “news” sites all over the Internet, contributing to the perception that Russia was actually prepared to do something on behalf of these Christians and other minorities.

The article referred to “Russia’s increasingly cozy relationship with Middle Eastern Christians” and included a photo of Putin under a halo.

But when the Christians in Iraq actually needed some help, it was the U.S. and Britain which intervened on their behalf. Humanitarian aid was delivered to the minority religious groups under attack, and air strikes were conducted against the terrorists. Later, France and Australia joined in the effort.

The Christian “Stand Firm in Faith” website asks, “So where is President Putin now that Christians are being wiped out in Iraq?”

“So now Putin keeps his shirt on?” writer Timothy Fountain asked.

The latter is a reference to the many photos of a shirtless Putin. He has been shirtless on a horse, holding a rifle and fishing.

Walter Hickey at Business Insider had published “39 Photos That Prove Vladimir Putin Is The Most Badass Leader In The World.” These photos also showed Putin firing weapons, on a motorcycle, and in a race car.

But this tough guy hasn’t lifted a finger of behalf of persecuted Christians in Iraq.

While some argue with justification that the U.S. effort has not been enough and too slow, I searched the website of the Russian Embassy in Washington to see if there was an announcement of Russia participating in, or offering the delivery of, aid to Christians and others in Iraq—and could find nothing.

There is no evidence that the “international partners” helping Christians and other minorities in Iraq include Russia. Instead, Putin has been trying to sneak “humanitarian aid” into Ukraine, to benefit the Russian terrorists who shot down the Malaysian airliner with nearly 300 passengers.

One can search the Internet and find all kinds of stories about how Putin is not only defending Christians but is supposed to be a Christian himself. A story carried by the Christian Post said, “Putin has long been a supporter of Christianity and Christian values within Russia. He has called for the Church to play a larger role in citizens’ social lives, better religion classes in schools, and television programs emphasizing religious values.”

Some other stories include:

  • “Pope, Putin Summit to Benefit Christians” from Newsmax
  • “Vladimir Putin, Christian Crusader?” from The American Conservative, and written by Patrick J. Buchanan
  • “Putin Policies Aim to Defend Christian Beliefs” from the Liberty Voice blog
  • “Vladimir Putin is a Christian Man” from The Daily Stormer (an anti-Semitic site)
  • “US threatened by Russia’s Christianity” from the Russian Pravda
  • “Russia will develop as democratic state, defend Christian values—Putin” from the Voice of Russia
  • “Putin promises to protect Christianity worldwide” from Russia Today

The Timothy Fountain article noted that “Just over two years ago, Russia’s President received a briefing from Metropolitan Hilarion, the foreign relations representative of the Russian Orthodox Church.” Putin was told, “Every five minutes one Christian was dying for his or her faith in some part of the word.”

After hearing several examples of the persecution of Christians, Putin replied with an offer of help and said, “You needn’t have any doubt that that’s the way it will be.”

It turns out that the source of the report about Putin vowing to defend Christians around the world was Russia Today (RT), the well-known disinformation outlet for Russian propaganda.

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Freedom OF Religion, Not Freedom FROM Religion

by Alan Caruba on Sunday, August 24th, 2014

This is article 184 of 184 in the topic US Constitution
By Alan Caruba
The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution do not abandon religion, they embrace it. They do not, however, require that Americans believe in God, nor punish them for failing to do so.
Central to the liberties enshrined in these documents is the belief that they come from a higher power and America exists because of that belief. Without it there would have been no America. There are those among us who insist that, as a nation, we abandon faith in God and, if we do, America will cease to be a power for good in the world.
When Thomas Jefferson presented the Declaration to those who would pledge their lives and their sacred honor to achieve independence from England John Adams asked that it include the words “They are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” after the phrase “all men are created equal” and Benjamin Franklin agreed, suggesting that “with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence” be added as well.” In their 2004 book, “Under God” by Toby Mac and Michael Tait, said “The changes demonstrated Congress’s strong reliance upon God—as delegates added the words “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude of our intentions.”
Aware of the dangers inherent in a state religion, the First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” followed by freedom of speech, the press, and the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievance.” There is no state religion in America, but reflecting the values that created it, its leaders have always acknowledged a greater power than government, the belief in God.
There would be no America if the Pilgrims who established Plymouth, Massachusetts had not left England in the quest for their right to worship as they wished, reflecting the Protestant Reformation. Another early settlement, Jamestown, was a business venture by investors to obtain wealth. Jamestown failed and Plymouth is with us today.
I am not a religious person per se, but I do believe in God. Always have and always will. I don’t insist that anyone else has to and neither do our founding documents. They do, however, acknowledge God and sought His protection to create a new nation; a republic with clearly stated protections for all its citizens.
There are, however, those who insist that any reference to God be removed from public documents and recognition. The leader among them is the Freedom From Religion Foundation and their most recent lawsuit is against the U.S. Treasury Department claiming they are discriminating against non-believers by including the phrase “In God We Trust” on the nation’s currency. Their claim is that the government is prohibited from endorsing religion over non-religion.
“In God We Trust” on U.S. coins was first approved by Congress during the Civil War in 1864. In 1956, Congress passed a resolution to recognize the words officially as the national motto, replacing the de facto phrase, “E Pluribus Unum” and it has appeared on U.S. currency since 1957.
The Foundation’s intention is to make any acknowledgement of God illegal by any public institution.

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Tender Hearts & Soft-Boiled Brains" and "Death & Taxes

by Burt Prelutsky on Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

We Americans like to think of ourselves as 320 million humanitarians. While it’s true that we tend to be charitable, even going so far as to help our enemies around the world when they’re hit by a natural disaster, sometimes our better nature flies in the face of commonsense.

For instance, in recent weeks, we have welcomed thousands of Central Americans into the U.S. and then transported them around the country even though we know that many of them suffer from chicken pox and tuberculosis. In the old days, when America actually had borders and a sense of self-preservation, even legal immigrants were turned away if they were found to have communicable diseases. In some cases, sick children were separated from their nuclear families and sent back to their relatives in Europe and Asia until they were healthy enough to return.

Now we go so far as to allow those suffering from Ebola to be brought back from West Africa. While it’s true that the doctor and the nurse in question are not only both Americans, but are heroic examples of humanity, having become infected while treating others who had the disease, it is sheer insanity that they were brought home to be treated. If they could treat others in Africa, there was no sensible reason they couldn’t have been treated there, rather than risk introducing the disease to North America.

Speaking of the Central American border-crashers, George Will has pointed out that there are 3,143 counties in the United States, and then used that number to suggest how easily we could accommodate the newcomers, as if the solution to the problem was to simply divide the 65,000 kids, dispersing, say 20 or so to each county. For my part, I think there is more than enough empty space between George’s ears where we could safely stash them.

What I would be willing to consider is dropping those kids off at the White House and at the homes of Hollywood and Manhattan liberals who are sobbing into their crying towels over their plight. That way these select few could adopt, feed, house and school, the kiddies on their own, without expecting the American taxpayer to pick up the tab for these mini-freeloaders.

Speaking of kids, I have come to the conclusion that the move over the past few decades to remove competition from sporting events involving youngsters, lest anyone come to regard himself as a winner or, worse yet, a loser, has infected our military. Whereas in the distant past, we waged wars with the idea of winning them and making our enemies say “Uncle!” we now play for ties, lest others think badly of us or are embarrassed for having lost.

Speaking of the military, I am in no way an isolationist, but I think before we enter into defense treaties with other nations, we require that they maintain the largest military they can possibly afford. If they’re going to keep relying on our military to protect them, thus treating us as mercenaries, we should send them a monthly invoice, payable on demand. At least that way, we could afford to restore the military force that our own gutless administration, using sequester as an excuse, has decimated.

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What is Wrong with ISIS, is What is Wrong with Islam

by Daniel Greenfield on Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

This is article 780 of 793 in the topic Terrorism

Know your enemy. To know what ISIS is, we have to clear away the media myths about ISIS.

ISIS is not a new phenomenon.

Wahhabi armies have been attacking Iraq in order to wipe out Shiites for over two hundred years. One of the more notably brutal attacks took place during the administration of President Thomas Jefferson.

That same year the Marine Corps saw action against the Barbary Pirates and West Point opened, but even Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore and Howard Zinn chiming via Ouija board would have trouble blaming the Wahhabi assault on the Iraqi city of Kerbala in 1802 on the United States or an oil pipeline.

Forget the media portrayals of ISIS as a new extreme group that even the newly moderate Al Qaeda thinks is over the top, its armies are doing the same things that Wahhabi armies have been doing for centuries. ISIS has Twitter accounts, pickup trucks and other borrowed Western technology, but otherwise it’s just a recurring phenomenon that has always been part of Islam. Sunnis and Shiites have been killing each other for over a thousand years. Declaring other Muslims to be infidels and killing them is also a lot older than the suicide bomb vest.

Al Qaeda and ISIS are at odds because its Iraqi namesake had a different agenda. Al Qaeda always had different factions with their own agendas. These factions were not more extreme or less extreme. They just had different nationalistic backgrounds and aims.

The Egyptian wing of Al Qaeda was obsessed with Egypt. Bin Laden was obsessed with Saudi Arabia. Some in Al Qaeda wanted a total world war. Others wanted to focus on taking over Muslim countries as bases. These differences sometimes led to threats and even violence among Al Qaeda members.

Bin Laden prioritized Saudi Arabia and America. That made it possible for Al Qaeda to pick up training from Hezbollah which helped make 9/11 possible. This low level cooperation with Iran was endangered when Al Qaeda in Iraq made fighting a religious war with Shiites into its priority.

That did not mean that Bin Laden liked Shiites and thought that AQIQ was “extreme” for killing them. This was a tactical disagreement over means.

During the Iraq War, Bin Laden had endorsed Al Qaeda in Iraq’s goal of fighting the Shiite “Rejectionists” by framing it as an attack on America. AQIQ’s Zarqawi had privately made it clear that he would not pledge allegiance to Osama bin Laden unless the terrorist leader endorsed his campaign against Shiites.

Bin Laden and the Taliban had been equally comfortable with Sipahe Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi which provided manpower for the Taliban while massacring Shiites in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Last year LEJ had killed over a hundred Shiite Hazaras in one bombing.

The narrative that ISIS was more extreme than Al Qaeda because it killed Shiites and other Muslims doesn’t hold up in even recent history.

The media finds it convenient to depict the rise of newly extremist groups being radicalized by American foreign policy, Israeli blockades or Danish cartoons. A closer look however shows us that these groups did not become radicalized, rather they increased their capabilities.

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Genocide! A Christian Holocaust

by Alan Caruba on Monday, August 18th, 2014

This is article 1227 of 1244 in the topic International
Syrian victims of Islamic State slaughter
By Alan Caruba
In the last century and now this one, I have lived long enough to have been alive when the Nazis killed six million European Jews and another five million other “enemies of the state” that included unionists, homosexuals, Seventh Day Adventists, and any others that ran afoul of that hateful and hate-filled regime.
There were genocides in the last and this century. The killing of Kurds by Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator who used poison gas—a weapon of mass destruction—against them is largely forgotten by everyone but the Kurds.
In the 1990s there was a genocide in Rwanda by the Tutsi tribe against the Hutu people. Hundreds of thousands were killed, most by machete. Reportedly rape, mutilation, and the deliberate spread of disease were also used against them. The final body count was estimated by some at well over a million.
In the Middle East, the Islamic Ottoman Empire whose final years were directed from what is now modern-day Turkey was responsible for the Armenian Genocide that began in 1915. The Armenians were a Christian minority and what is occurring in the land claimed by the new Islamic State (IS) reflects the same barbarity that afflicted and killed between 600,000 and 1.8 million Armenians.
In Europe following the fall of the Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia, thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Serbs were “ethnically cleansed” between 1990 and 1995. Some twenty thousand were killed.
And now the fanatical Islamic State that stretches from areas of northern Syria through much of northern Iraq, just outside of Baghdad, is waging a systematic and utterly barbaric genocide of the area’s Christians. They are killing Muslims too.
And what is the world doing? Virtually nothing.
The President of the most militarily powerful nation on Earth has dropped some “humanitarian” aid to thousands of Yazidis, an ancient, little known group driven from their homes in northern Iraq where they have lived for hundreds of years. Thousands of Christians were driven from Mosul. There has been an increase in U.S. air attacks on IS forces, but a far greater effort will be needed to destroy this evil entity.
Nigerian Christians killed by Boko Haram

In Nigeria, Boko Haram, an Islamist terrorist group, is slaughtering thousands.

The Islamic State is now the most militarily powerful force in the Middle East and one of the most wealthy. It threatens the Kurds who have finally begun to receive weapons from the U.S.
What President Obama should be doing is orchestrating a military coalition just as George H.W. Bush did to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, but the fact is that Europe is fearful of participating because it is now home to a large population of Muslims.

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The Fat Lady Is Practicing Her Scales

by Burt Prelutsky on Monday, August 18th, 2014

I don’t think there is any way to overestimate the importance of the mid-term elections. Although I wish I could view the world through non-partisan eyes, Barack Obama and Harry Reid have conspired to make that impossible. I’m just hoping that a sufficient number of Americans come out of their collective coma before the fat lady has a chance to warble “Nearer My God to Thee” at this nation’s funeral.

The trouble is that we have a president who seems to lie awake nights trying to come up with new ways to destroy America. For openers, he is terrified — partly because of his liberal base and partly because of his own questionable background — to be confrontational towards the Islamists who are enthusiastically waging war on us and our allies. So even as he does the right thing in Iraq by trying to prevent the barbarians from exterminating Christians and Kurds, he keeps assuring those who are out to create a caliphate that we are limiting our response.

His defenders like to say that he is thoughtful and deliberate, seemingly slow to act only because he is so concerned with nuance, so profoundly aware of the possible consequences of taking action. What makes that analysis so comical is that when Hamlet behaved exactly the same way, most people wrote it off as pathological indecision at best, cowardice at worst. It’s also worth noting that, thanks to Hamlet’s constant dithering, everyone is dead by the end of Act V.

For anyone who is curious what this impending caliphate would look like, they merely have to consider the fact that these savages are beheading children; turning captured women into sex slaves, much as the Japanese did during World War II; and committing genocide with a relish unseen since the days when Nazi Germany was running its gas ovens 24/7.

Instead of doing everything in his power to defeat pure evil, Obama prefers to remind us that Bush’s war in Iraq was a disaster. He happens to be right, but for the wrong reason. The war was a blunder not so much because we waged it or because we failed to find weapons of mass destruction, but because George Bush insisted that our actual mission was to bring democracy like a gift box of chocolates to that misbegotten land, and because he kept repeating the moronic message that Islam is a religion of peace as if he were a parrot gone berserk.

I do not believe that the majority of Americans are as weary of war as they are of squandering billions of dollars and thousands of military lives in the naïve hope that at the conclusion of hostilities, our sworn enemies will like us, when the aim should be that they, along with every other potential foe, fear us.

I believe that if Obama unleashed our full military might on the Islamic State or whatever these creeps are calling themselves this week, and turning the sand these monsters stand on into glass, most Americans would stand up and cheer.

I also believe that it is time that our politicians quit pretending that there are good Muslims and bad Muslims.

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How to Write About Israel

by Daniel Greenfield on Sunday, August 17th, 2014

This is article 1226 of 1244 in the topic International

Writing about Israel is a booming field. No news agency, be it ever so humble, can avoid embedding a few correspondents and a dog’s tail of stringers into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, to sit in cafes clicking away on their laptops, meeting up with leftist NGO’s and the oppressed Muslim of the week.

At a time when international desks are being cut to the bone, this is the one bone that the newshounds won’t give up. Wars can be covered from thousands of miles away, genocide can go to the back page, but, when a rock flies in the West Bank, there had better be a correspondent with a fake continental accent and a khaki shirt to cover it.

Writing about Israel isn’t hard. Anyone who has consumed a steady diet of media over the years already knows all the bullet points. The trick is arranging them artistically, like so many wilted flowers, in the story of this week’s outrage.

Israel is hot, even in the winter, with the suggestion of violence brimming under the surface. It should be described as a “troubled land.” Throw in occasional ironic biblical references and end every article or broadcast by emphasizing that peace is still far away.

It has two types of people; the Israelis who live in posh houses stocked with all the latest appliances and the Arabs who live in crumbling shacks that are always in danger of being bulldozed. The Israelis are fanatical, the Arabs are passionate. The Israelis are hate-filled, while the Arabs are embittered. The Israelis have everything while the Arabs have nothing.

Avoid mentioning all the mansions that you pass on the way to interviewing some Palestinian Authority or Hamas bigwig. When visiting a terrorist prisoner in an Israeli jail, be sure to call him a militant, somewhere in the fifth paragraph, but do not mention the sheer amount of food in the prison, especially if he is on a hunger strike. If you happen to notice that the prisoners live better than most Israelis, that is something you will not refer to. Instead describe them as passionate and embittered. Never ask them how many children they killed or how much they make a month. Ask them what they think the prospects for peace are. Nod knowingly when they say that it’s up to Israel.

Weigh every story one way. Depersonalize Israelis, personalize Muslims. One is a statistic, the other a precious snowflake. A Muslim terrorist attack is always in retaliation for something, but an Israeli attack is rarely a retaliation for anything. When Israeli planes bomb a terrorist hideout, suggest that this latest action only feeds the “Cycle of Violence” and quote some official who urges Israel to return to peace negotiations– whether or not there actually are any negotiations to return to.

Center everything around peace negotiations. If Israel has any domestic politics that don’t involve checkpoints and air strikes, do your best to avoid learning about them. Frame all Israeli politics by asking whether a politician is finally willing to make the compromises that you think are necessary for peace. Always sigh regretfully and find them wanting. Assume that all Israelis think the same way.

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"It’s Chinatown"

by Burt Prelutsky on Friday, August 15th, 2014

This is article 1228 of 1244 in the topic International

At the end of the movie, “Chinatown,” when the rich, powerful and totally depraved Noah Cross drags his granddaughter away in order to use and abuse her as he used and abused his own daughter, the private eye, J.J. Gittes, tries to stop him. But he’s held back by a friend, who says, “Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.” And although at the time they are standing in the middle of a street located in L.A.’s Chinatown, what he’s really saying is that some things never change, that those in power are always corrupt and, tragically, that corruption always triumphs at the end of the day.

If the movie had been made in 2014 rather than 40 years ago, he might have said, “Forget it, Jake, it’s Washington,” and conveyed the same cynical message.

Recently, the IRS agreed, on behalf of the atheist group Freedom from Religion, to go after churches that they feel have gotten too involved in politics, and should therefore face forfeiture of their tax-exempt status. But how involved is obviously less important than who’s involved.

For instance, when the Catholic Church pushes for amnesty on behalf of illegal aliens, 99% of whom just happen to be Catholics and are likely to fill its pews and collection plates, not to mention the ranks of the Democrats, I have a feeling the Church is not likely to be reprimanded by Obama’s IRS. And when at election time, black Baptist ministers pick up a few extra bucks by renting out their pulpits to leftwing candidates, I don’t think they have to worry about Eric Holder’s Justice Department lowering the boom.

One would have thought that America would have recognized what a terrible idea it was to join the United Nations back in 1945. After all, it had been less than ten years earlier that Haile Selassie, the leader of Ethiopia, had gone before the League of Nations, the precursor of the U.N., to plead for the world’s help in fending off the invading Italian forces. Predictably, the League, a pipedream of the vile Woodrow Wilson, did nothing. On his way out the door, Selassie uttered the ominous warning: “Today, it’s us; tomorrow, it will be you.”

As he foretold, World War II was waiting in the wings, even as Neville Chamberlin promised “Peace in our time” and the isolationists in the U.S. had us twiddling our thumbs for an additional three years until the Japanese foolishly dragged us into the fray by demolishing our fleet at Pearl Harbor.

That is why I get so annoyed when people like Rand Paul suggest that we keep our noses out of foreign affairs and others insist that Americans are sick and tired of waging war. I could be mistaken, but what I think Americans are sick and tired of is rushing off to defend one sect of Muslims being attacked by some other sect, and settling for cease-fires instead of actually winning wars by defeating the enemy.

That’s not to suggest we should keep our hands off the Middle East. For one thing, we have an ally in that part of the world, Israel, with whom we share a great deal, including civilized values, human rights and common enemies. What we shouldn’t do is what George W.

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The UNRWA is Hamas

by Daniel Greenfield on Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

This is article 1220 of 1244 in the topic International

The UNRWA is on the front lines of the Hamas War in Gaza. In the headlines, its schools are forever being fired on or found to be stockpiling rockets. If individual Gazans are being used as human shields, the UNRWA often seems as if it is one big organizational human shield.

But the UNRWA isn’t Hamas’ human shield. The UNRWA is Hamas.

The “UN” part of the UNRWA, the blue logos and symbols, fool us into thinking of it as an international humanitarian organization. But the UNRWA in Gaza functions as a large Palestinian Arab organization with a smattering of foreign supervisory staff.

And those foreign staffers often tend to leave during a conflict.

The UNRWA is not an international organization operating in the Middle East. Effectively it’s a local Arab Muslim organization funded and regulated internationally. Since the UNRWA classifies 80% of Gazans as “refugees”, it administers the biggest welfare state in the world on their behalf. Like the Palestinian Authority, the UNRWA’s welfare state is run locally and funded internationally.

The UNRWA is the biggest employer in the West Bank and Gaza after the Palestinian Authority and the vast majority of its employees are “locally recruited”. Varying figures place the share of local employees at between 90 and 99 percent.

Even though there are more Arab Muslims living in the West Bank than in Gaza, there are more “official” refugees in Gaza, which means that more UNRWA funding and efforts are directed there. The UNRWA only runs 96 schools in the West Bank, but it runs 245 schools in Gaza. It employs less than 3,000 education staffers in the West Bank, but over 10,000 in Gaza.

Why does Hamas, which is obsessed with brainwashing the next generation into martyrdom, allow a foreign organization to run an educational system for 232,000 pupils?

It’s because in Gaza, Hamas and the UNRWA are the same thing.

The UNRWA’s Gaza staff has its own union. In the 2012 election, a pro-Hamas bloc won the support of most of the union with 25 out of 27 seats on a union board.

When there was talk of reforming the UNRWA by removing Hamas members from its ranks, the editor of a Hamas paper wrote that, “Laying off the agency employees because of their political affiliation means laying off all the employees of the aid agency, because…they are all members of the ‘resistance,’ in its various forms.”

The official word from Hamas was that it and the UNRWA are the same thing. The UNRWA’s vast majority of locally sourced Gazans are part of Hamas.

The UNRWA does not see that as a problem.

“I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll,” a former UNRWA Commissioner General said, “and I don’t see that as a crime.”

“Hamas as a political organization does not mean that every member is a militant, and we do not do political vetting and exclude people from one persuasion as against another,” he said.

Also if the UNRWA fired Hamas members from its Gaza staff, it would have no one left.

Hamas control over the UNRWA in Gaza is reflected in the schools which promote Islamic terrorism. It’s unsurprising that UNRWA schools have repeatedly become flashpoints in conflicts between Israel and Hamas.

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