Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Article from Clifford May

Academic PC at Brandeis silences Muslim dissident Hirsi Ali

April 16, 2014  •  The Washington Times

Remember when colleges prided themselves on the diligence and depth of their research? Frederick Lawrence, president of Brandeis University, apparently does not.

He offered an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Then, at the last minute, he rescinded the offer because, he claims, he became aware of "past statements" by her "inconsistent with Brandeis University's core values." Hey, scholar-in-chief, ever hear of Google?

Ms. Hirsi Ali, of course, is an intrepid women's rights advocate who has focused on Muslim women, raising questions, as she has phrased it, on "the role of Islam in legitimizing" female genital mutilation, "honor killings," forced marriages, wife beating and other abuses.

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Latest Article from Soeren Kern

US Government Promoting Islam in Czech Republic

April 14, 2014  •  Gatestone Institute

The Czech government has approved a new project aimed at promoting Islam in public elementary and secondary schools across the country.

The project—Muslims in the Eyes of Czech Schoolchildren—is being spearheaded by a Muslim advocacy group and is being financed by American taxpayers through a grant from the US Embassy in Prague. (The US State Department is also promoting Islam in other European countries.)

The group says the Czech Ministry of Education has authorized it to organize lectures and seminars aimed at "teaching Czech schoolchildren about Islamic beliefs and practices" and at "fighting stereotypes and prejudices about Muslims."

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Latest Article from Michael Freund

Passover blood libels, then and now

April 13, 2014  •  The Jerusalem Post

Passover is a festival of redemption, a day when we celebrate our forefathers' exodus from Egypt and the start of their collective journey to the Promised Land.

Nowadays, it is a time when families typically come together around the Seder table, enjoy each other's company and revel in the abundant rituals and symbolism.

But during the Middle Ages, the holiday unfortunately came to be associated with an entirely different theme, one that has bedeviled the Jewish people for nearly nine centuries and has recently been making a bit of a comeback: the infamous blood libel.

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Latest Article from Judith Miller

review of The Unknown Known

April 8, 2014  •  Tablet Magazine

Errol Morris Talked to Rumsfeld for 33 Hours. All He Got Was 'The Unknown Known.'

Errol Morris tweets. When he's not creating Oscar-winning documentaries, writing long-form essays and books, two of which are coming out in paperback later this year, making over a thousand often fabulous commercials for Apple, Taco Bell, Exxon, Acura, Citibank, Southern Comfort, and dozens of other companies listed on his website, he has found time to post 3,220 tweets in just over 15 months. Morris has 46,500 followers—not exactly Lindsay Lohan's 8 million, but a respectable cult following. Lohan claims to follow 319 people. Morris follows no one.

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Latest Article from Jonathan Schanzer

Turkey's Teflon Don

March 31, 2014  •  Foreign Policy

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan triumphantly addressed thousands of supporters last night from the balcony of his party's headquarters in the capital of Ankara. He thanked his supporters for "protect[ing] the ideal of a great Turkey," and promised to deal decisively with his enemies. Despite a litany of leaks that raised questions of corruption within the top ranks of his government, Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) secured a comfortable victory in the country's municipal elections, which were largely viewed as a referendum on Erdogan himself.

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Latest Article from Tevi Troy

Obama's "Last Campaign": Pop Culture Push for Health Law

March 22, 2014  •  RealClearPolitics

President Obama recently went on the "Ellen" TV show to encourage people to sign up for health insurance at HealthCare.gov. The interview lacked the humor of last week's "Between Two Ferns" interview with Zach Galifianakis, but it was part of the same concerted strategy: to use pop culture venues to push the Affordable Care Act.

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Latest Article from Soner Cagaptay

#TwitterBan Is Bad for Erdogan and Turkey

March 20, 2014  •  Policy Alert

On March 20, one day after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened "to root out Twitter," Turkish users were inexplicably blocked from accessing the popular social media site. According to the New York Times, the prime minister's office issued a statement that the decision to ban Twitter was imposed due to the site's "lack of cooperation after four local courts ruled that certain content must be removed."

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Latest Article from Anna Borshchevskaya

Echoes of the Past

March 20, 2014  •  The Washington Free Beacon

Analysts drew comparisons between Vladimir Putin and Adolf Hitler following the Russian president's speech announcing the annexation of Crimea March 18.

Putin, in a speech characterized as forceful and angry, told the assembled Russian leadership at the Kremlin that Crimea was rightfully a part of Russia, not Ukraine.

"In people's hearts and minds, Crimea has always been an integral part of Russia. This firm conviction, based on truth and justice, was unshakeable and passed from generation to generation," said Putin, "What do we hear from our colleagues in Western Europe and North America? They tell us that we are violating the norms of international law."

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Latest Article from Asaf Romirowsky

It's always 'Groundhog Day' with the Israeli-Palestinian 'peace process'

March 19, 2014  •  The Washinton Examiner

The 1993 movie "Groundhog Day," in which the character played by Bill Murray relives the same day over and over again, is an apt description of official Palestinian attitudes toward Israel and the peace process.

The repeated Palestinian rejection of Israeli overtures raises the stakes and draws ever more attention to seducing the Palestinians to participate in talks. The "peace process" movie plays like a repeating loop, with new scenes punctuated by years and shifts in the political winds but without progress. The fatigue associated with this demand for peace circumvents any historical knowledge of the Middle East.

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Latest Article from Jeff M. Smith

Andaman and Nicobar Islands: India's Strategic Outpost

March 18, 2014  •  The Diplomat

Missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 has acquainted the world with a long-forgotten corner of the Indian Ocean: the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (ANI). Known to few outside India, the island chain constitutes a valuable geopolitical asset for that country and is positioned to play a pivotal role in any maritime competition between India and China in the 21st century. In December 2012, I traveled to the ANI to conduct research for my new book, Cold Peace: China-India Rivalry in the 21st Century. Here's what I found.

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Latest Article from Ilan Berman

Putin's Costly Ukraine Policy

March 18, 2014  •  The Moscow Times

There's no question that the Kremlin's policy toward Ukraine is paying concrete dividends, at least in Russia. On March 7, tens of thousands of people rallied in Moscow's Red Square to support the Kremlin's expanding control over Crimea and formally incorporating the peninsula into the Russian Federation. Russian officials have taken up the call. In her recent meeting with the chairman of Crimea's parliament, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko pledged that "if the decision is made, then Crimea will become an absolutely equal subject of the Russian Federation." But what is less well understood is how much Russia's policy on Ukraine will end up costing the country and its people.

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Latest Article from Michael Rubin

Is Talking the Shortest Path to War?

February 19, 2014  •  The American

On January 21, 2013, President Barack Obama outlined his vision for his second term and legacy, saying, "We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully — not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear." His desire to engage was both genuine and in alignment with long-held conventional wisdom among senior statesmen. A half century worth of experience, however, does not support the thesis that diplomacy with rogue regimes or terrorist groups brings peace. Rather, diplomacy misapplied can be the shortest path to war.

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Latest Article from Jeff Stier

Blowing smoke over e-cig ad

February 3, 2014  •  New York Post

One of Sunday's most controversial Super Bowl ads came with the message "Friends don't let friends smoke." Bizarrely, it's organized anti-smokers in the public-health establishment who want the commercial banned.

The line comes in an ad for the NJOY King, an electronic cigarette produced by Scottsdale, Ariz.-based NJOY. The commercial shows people helping each other in situations like moving a couch up a flight of stairs or helping a friend in a bar fight. Then one man starts to light up a cigarette, only for his friend to offer him an NJOY King.

For most people, the message is clear: If someone close to you smokes cigarettes, try recommending they switch to a smoke-free alternative.

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