The SPLC Gets Its Comeuppance

Once a highly regarded American organization devoted to monitoring and combating neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has in recent years adopted an ever-broadening definition of what it considers bigotry. Its list of ostensible bigots includes such figures as the sociologist Charles Murray, the ethicist Christina Hoff Sommers, and the former presidential candidate Ben Carson. After it labeled Quilliam, a British organization dedicated to combating radical Islam, and its founder, Maajid Nawaz, as “anti-Muslim extremists,” Nawaz retained a team of libel lawyers. The SPLC recently settled, paying him $3.375 million and apologizing. Douglas Murray comments:

Two years ago, the SPLC published one of its typically poorly put-together hack jobs. It described this one grandiloquently as a “field guide to anti-Muslim extremists.” Like their opposite numbers in the UK (the misleadingly titled “Hope Not Hate”), the SPLC has decided in recent years that it has the ability to judge not merely what is a correct interpretation of Islam and what is an incorrect interpretation of Islam, but also (mirabile dictu) who may criticize Islam with some legitimacy and who may not. In both cases the general sense is given off that in fact nobody can criticize any aspect of Islam legitimately without being named in a “field guide” put together by a gaggle of people who are overfunded and underinformed.

Even by its own standards the SPLC’s 2016 report was more than usually sloppy. For among the many other people they incorrectly labeled “anti-Muslim extremists,” the SPLC listed Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Which, given that Hirsi Ali was born a Muslim and Nawaz still is a Muslim, is really the sort of thing would give any sensible person pause. Or, to put it another way, how many more [non-white] people do the white far-leftists at the SPLC have to target before having to put themselves on one of their piss-poor “field guides”? . . .

A “designation” by the SPLC that a Muslim reformer is in fact, secretly or otherwise, an “anti-Muslim extremist” is the sort of thing that might scare away all but the most robust and rigorous foundations and individuals from supporting said outfit. The SPLC’s actions were also a serious warning note sounded against any other Muslims keen to get into the realm of counter-extremism. After all, now they must know that if they do dedicate their lives and careers to the cause of battling the extremists in their faith, then they not only face the potential retributions of the jihadists—as Nawaz has done—but the anathematizing and target-selection practices of the SPLC. . . .

Every person who wishes for a cleaner debate on the issues around Islamic extremism (issues that the SPLC has again shown itself wholly uninterested in exploring) will welcome the news [of the award and apology to Nawaz and Quilliam]. Everybody who has seen through the baleful effect that the SPLC has had on public life will rejoice with Nawaz and Quilliam in their victory over an entity many hundreds of times better endowed than they are.

Read more at National Review

More about: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ku Klux Klan, Moderate Islam, Politics & Current Affairs

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security