Mike Pompeo Rejects One of the Myths of the Palestinian Refugees

Jan. 19 2021

Since the beginning of the year, the outgoing secretary of state has been using his Twitter account to tout his department’s various accomplishments during his tenure. Among these, notes Jimmy Quinn, lay an important statement explaining the 2018 decision to cease funding the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA): “it’s estimated [that less than] 200,000 Arabs displaced in 1948 are still alive and most others are not refugees.” Quinn explains:

UNRWA serves Palestinian refugees exclusively—it says that there are 5.8 million of them in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and “Palestine”—and it’s the only organization within the UN system that focuses on a specific set of refugees. (All other refugee groups are handled by the UN high commissioner for refugees.) It’s a testament to the UN’s single-minded obsession with criticizing Israel.

The UN’s inflated statistic comes from the fact that it counts as a refugee anyone with a paternal ancestor who fled the territory of Mandatory Palestine in 1947 or 1948, whereas when dealing with any other conflict, neither the UN nor international law consider refugee status heritable. Quinn continues:

[Thus] the U.S. government’s estimate, as the outgoing secretary of state notes, is that the actual number of refugees is less than 200,000. . . . And despite what skeptics of the current administration’s foreign policy may think, this isn’t a Trump-era fabrication. In fact, the figure appears to come from a report completed during the Obama administration that has remained classified in the years since.

To a domestic audience, this figure will play a role in the future debate over U.S. support for UNRWA, which is facing a significant budget shortfall. Before the Trump administration cut off funding for the agency, the United States [contributed] about a quarter of its budget. With a new president set to take office, there could well be a return to the status quo. . . . The disclosure of the number of people that can truly be considered refugees should make anyone think twice.

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Read more at National Review

More about: Mike Pompeo, Palestinian refugees, U.S. Foreign policy, UNRWA

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter