Friday, April 15, 2011

The Next Declaration of Palestinian Statehood


by Seth Mandel

On Tuesday, the United Nations published a report by its Middle East coordinator claiming that the Palestinian Authority is prepared to govern a state of its own, and that any challenges it faces would be the fault of the continued Israeli “occupation.”

The report is another step toward the declaration of a Palestinian state with the imprimatur of the United Nations. Just a few months ago the Palestinian leadership of Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad were threatening unilateral declaration through the UN Security Council, though that would be subject to an almost certain veto by the U.S. This time, the Palestinians are seriously floating a plan to call for a vote on statehood by the full General Assembly this coming September.

But as University of San Diego law professor Abraham Bell pointed out, this would not enable the Palestinians to avoid the American veto.

“Member states have to be recommended by the Security Council, and then after the Security Council recommends them, the General Assembly can then vote by two-thirds majority to accept them,” Bell said.

Bell said that if the U.S. vetoes the resolution at the Security Council, the Palestinian Authority would be denied statehood, but that in the General Assembly the Palestinians would likely have the votes for a supermajority. If the Palestinians get only the supermajority vote in the General Assembly, their status would not change one iota under international law. “It doesn’t make something that wasn’t a state into a state. And failure to win the vote, doesn’t make what is a state, not a state.”

But that doesn’t mean the Palestinians would gain nothing from the vote, even if the resulting resolution is nonbinding. The Heritage Foundation’s Brett Schaefer, author of ConUNdrum: The Limits of the United Nations and the Search for Alternatives, said that the Palestinians could still open certain legal doors with such a vote, and would certainly reap some diplomatic benefit from it.

“It’s obviously a political coup for the Palestinians, because what it does is it signals widespread recognition of them as an independent state,” Schaefer said. “It could lead to diplomatic recognition individually among states in increasing numbers. And it does give them more leverage over certain things including, potentially, joining the International Criminal Court, as a participant in that. That’s a double-edged sword. One ramification of that, should it happen, would be that any attacks that Israel launches on Palestinian territory could be subject to the jurisdiction of the ICC. However, the Palestinians themselves would also be subject to that jurisdiction. I think that the Palestinians would want to think long and hard about whether they’d want to subject themselves and the actions of Hamas, who operate in their territory, to that type of jurisdiction.”

Ironically, Bell said it is Hamas in Gaza that possess the legal prerequisites to form a state—not Fatah, which controls the West Bank and runs the PA.

“Hamas in Gaza has the legal ingredients, which are territory, a population, government, and a capacity to carry on foreign relations,” Bell said. “So if they declare themselves to be a state, I think they are a state. They don’t apparently have any interest. And then you have Fatah, which controls some authority in the West Bank, though under Israel, and I don’t think they have the ingredients. Do they have territory? It’s doubtful; they don’t really control exclusively any territory. Do they have a government? Yes, but it’s subordinate to Israel under the agreements. They have a population; they have the capacity to carry on foreign relations. So I think they’re missing ingredients. The General Assembly voting to say that they’re a state doesn’t make them actually one if they’re missing legal ingredients. And they’re the ones who are going to be pressing for this vote.”

Both Bell and Schaefer agreed that the vote would be designed to put diplomatic pressure on Israel. Bell referenced the vote the PLO called for in 1988, which was intended to pressure Israel into unilaterally relinquishing territory that UN member states now recognized as part of “Palestine.”

Amir Mizroch, former executive editor of the Jerusalem Post, believes it would accomplish just that—if the Palestinians invoked UNGA Resolution 377, also known as the “uniting for peace” resolution. It states that the General Assembly may take matters into its own hands if the Security Council fails to uphold its responsibilities to maintain peace. If the Palestinians won a GA vote after invoking 377, Mizroch wrote on his website, it would put Israel in an exceedingly difficult situation diplomatically.

“Right off the bat [Palestine] will claim that it is being occupied by another UN member state, and will seek Security Council action. At that point, Israel’s diplomatic wiggle room is dramatically reduced. The argument that the West Bank is disputed land and that the Jews have a historical claim to it is in dispute only amongst Israelis: the rest of the world does not prescribe to this claim in the least,” Mizroch wrote. “As free nations emerge all around us, Israel will be challenged to maintain its image of a stable democracy if it continues to keep the lid on Palestinian national aspirations. The cries of freedom all across the Middle East are authentic, and the Palestinians are part of this train whether the Israeli government likes it or not.”

But it will also create a political migraine for the United States, putting U.S. officials in what Schaefer said would be a “difficult diplomatic dilemma.” Unilateral measures complicate American mediation efforts. That’s why Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the UN, said in testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week that she believes “the tough issues between Israelis and Palestinians can be resolved only by direct negotiations between the parties—not in New York.”

“The United States would obviously work with other countries to make them aware of the kind of strain that this vote would place on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and would try to urge them to avoid that kind of a showdown that could ultimately undermine that effort rather than advance it,” Schaefer said.

But if anyone encouraged such unilateral moves, it was President Obama, according to Anne Bayefsky, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and leader of the institute’s Eye on the UN project. Bayefsky said Obama’s speech to the 2010 UNGA set an artificial deadline for the creation of a Palestinian state as September 2011, thus inspiring the Palestinians to call for this vote.

“If President Obama was serious about preventing such a unilateral declaration he could immediately take three steps,” Bayefsky said. “One, he could rescind his artificial deadline of September 2011 for Palestinian statehood that he set of his own volition in his 2010 General Assembly speech. Two, he would make it clear as a matter of urgency that such a declaration would result in an immediate and complete cessation of U.S. funding to UNRWA; UNRWA funding by U.S. taxpayers would necessarily cease since there would be no Palestinian refugees as they would all be citizens of Palestine. Three, he should make it clear to his Quartet partners that such a declaration would render the Oslo accords and the Roadmap null and void, since it would constitute a unilateral rejection by the Palestinian Authority of its obligations thereunder, thereby ending any obligations under prior agreements on Israel’s part as well.”

Bayefsky said the president has shown no signs of doing any of the above; unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state would therefore be on his shoulders.

Bell said that as much of a headache as it would be for the U.S., the American delegation would still vote no. The real target, therefore, would be Europe.

“It’s not U.S. pressure with the Palestinians that’s going to decide things, it’s U.S. pressure with Europe that’s going to decide things, because ultimately this is a Palestinian gambit to get Europe into a fight with Israel,” Bell said. “If it looks like it’s going to be successful, the Palestinians will go forward with it.”

Bell said the European countries have to do more than vote no—they have to signal to the Palestinians that a state can only come about through internationally recognized norms and law and not through political warfare or diplomatic maneuvering. He said the Europeans might be gun shy on such recognition after their experience with the break-up of Yugoslavia and the independence of the Balkan states that propelled the region into war.

“There is a danger in ratcheting up the political stakes in this way,” Bell said. “And I think the Europeans can understand that putting people into a corner where war is a possible result is not a good idea.”

Original URL: http://frontpagemag.com/2011/04/14/the-next-declaration-of-palestinian-statehood/

Seth Mandel

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Pro-Israel Penn State Students Assaulted for Putting up ‘Palestinian Wall of Lies’


by Emily Esfahani Smith

This article is reprinted from The Blaze.

The Collegian of Penn State reports:

A 10-by-10-foot sign drew conflict and crowds of more than 50 people outside the HUB-Robeson Center Thursday afternoon.

The sign, part of a demonstration by the Penn State chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, was titled “The Palestinian Wall of Lies.” It featured two large silhouettes of men with guns and outlined 10 “lies” the group believes Palestinians propagate.

YAF President Samuel Settle led the demonstration, handing out pamphlets and attempting to strike up conversation with passersby.

“Many people have hatred for Israel and that’s why this is important,” Settle (junior-political science and history) said. “People need to look at the facts.”

But the demonstration didn’t go without opposition.

One student — who fled the scene before providing comment — yelled obscenities at Settle and the rest of the group, calling it “terrible” and proceeding to kick the group’s box of handouts across the sidewalk.

Other students simply shook their heads. Some even laughed.

One student’s opposition to the sign took an aggressive turn. In the video below, a pro-Palestinian student gets into an argument with the YAF demonstrators about the sign. Near the end, the pro-Palestinian student’s frustration and anger reaches a bit of a boiling point, causing him to reach for the camera and then kick a box belonging to the YAF demonstrators across the quad-like area.



The YAF president, Samuel Settle, describes the incident in his own words:

Today, members of the Penn State Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) set up a Palestinian Wall of Lies outside of the HUB Student Center at the University Park campus. The demonstration began shortly before 1:00, and received an almost immediate hostile reaction from two nearby Arab students. The students described the Wall as “bullshit” and “a f***ing lie,” but were initially nonviolent.

Shortly afterwards, the Wall began attracting significant attention, including from a reporter and photographer with the Daily Collegian student newspaper. Most of the reception was positive; in particular, a group of Israeli students came around to express their support. At this point, one of the two Arab students came back around and began arguing with the YAFfers and Israelis, using abusive language and saying, “I have a problem with Israelis.”

The argument lasted for about 3 minutes, during which the aggressor became increasingly aggravated, ultimately demanding that the YAFfers stop filming him. His request was refused, at which point he lunged for, but missed, the camera I was holding. He then kicked over a crate full of YAF pamphlets and stormed off. A photographer from the Collegian was present at the time.Although this display was disappointing, it was not surprising. This was the only student to actually become violent, but many other students from the MSA came by at various points to verbally denounce the Wall, and often to personally insult those present. None of these people were able to point out a single error on the Wall, and they dispersed once it became clear that they were being filmed.

On whole, the event was a great success. As mentioned, with the exception of some MSA members, the Wall seemed to get a mostly positive reception. Several of the students indicated that they were extremely pleased to see a counter-balance to the anti-Israel narrative frequently promoted on campus.

Original URL: http://frontpagemag.com/2011/04/14/pro-israel-penn-state-students-assaulted-for-putting-up-%E2%80%98palestinian-wall-of-lies%E2%80%99/

Emily Esfahani Smith

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Israel Asks Turkey to Stop Gaza-Bound Flotilla


by AK Group

Israel has urged Turkey not to allow a human-rights organization to dispatch another aid convoy to Gaza, in a move to avert a repetition of last year's crisis on the Mavi Marmara aid ship.

"We have explained our views [on the new convoy campaign] to the Turkish government," Israeli Ambassador to Turkey Gaby Levy told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Tuesday. Levy gave this message verbally to Halit Çevik, deputy undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry, the Daily News has learned.

The ambassador emphasized that Israel has no problem with transporting humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip through legal means, praising the work that Türk Kızılay, the Turkish Red Crescent, is doing there.

"The passages to Gaza are open and there is a greater flexibility on the Israeli side. The quota for 220 trucks cannot even be reached as there is no need for more aid. Under these conditions, such an aid campaign could only be seen as provocation," Levy said.

Activists plan to send a new flotilla to break the blockade on Gaza by mid-June to commemorate the people who died in last year's mission and to give a sign to the Palestinians that they have not been forgotten.

Eight Turks and one American of Turkish descent were killed May 31, 2010, in an Israeli commando raid on the vessel Mavi Marmara, which was part of a convoy trying to take humanitarian aid to Gaza. Led by Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH), the ships had many Turkish and foreign activists as passengers.

The deadly raid strained Turkish-Israeli ties in an unprecedented way and caused Turkey to withdraw its ambassador from Tel Aviv. An international commission to investigate the incident was set up under the auspices of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon but it has not yet released its final report.

The new convoy is set to depart in mid-June, a couple of weeks after the anniversary of the raid, in consideration of the upcoming general elections slated for June 12 in Turkey.

According to Levy, the message to Turkey did not address what Israel's reaction would be if the new flotilla set sail for Gaza. "However, our position on this case is well known," he said. "International law permits countries to intervene with ships that could pose a threat to their national security."

A Turkish diplomat said Israel's request was noted at the Foreign Ministry without giving a clear reply to the ambassador. "The issue is still being evaluated," the diplomat said without further elaboration.

Israel launches international campaign

Levy said Israel has also communicated with some other countries from which activists plan to take part in the İHH campaign. Activists from Greece, France, the United States, Ireland and some other European countries have already announced their participation. Members of some Jewish groups critical of the Israeli government's polices also plan to be on board.

The ambassador said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has phoned the U.N. secretary-general, asking him to use the international body's influence to stop the campaign.

Turkey will likely keep a low profile in this year's flotilla campaign due to its reluctance to see a new crisis with Israel erupt and because the İHH and other Turkish civil-society organizations participating in the effort are more closely aligned with the Felicity Party (SP), and other conservative political parties, than with the ruling party.

Optimistic word for bilateral ties

Despite the negative developments, Levy expressed optimism about the future relationship between the two countries due to their history. "The number of Israeli tourists visiting Turkey has drastically decreased from approximately 500,000 to 120,000, but we are hopeful to mend the relationship," Levy said.

Emphasizing the fact that Kızılay's office in Israel was working very successfully in supplying humanitarian aid to Gaza, Levy said he had received a letter from the group's head only days after the flotilla crisis last year. According to Levy, Kızılay's chief thanked the Israeli government for allowing the group to extend Turkey's help to the Palestinian people.

Ambassador Levy eliminated speculations about his term in Turkey, saying that he will return to Israel this fall and will retire from diplomatic service. He said he had no information about his successor.

Original URL: http://www.hudson-ny.org/2038/israel-asks-turkey-to-stop-gaza-bound-flotilla

AK Group

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Surprise: Most of Israel's Pre 1967 Private Land Held by Arabs


by Gil Ronen

Arabs possess most of the private land in Israel, despite their composing only 20% of the population, a researcher revealed Thursday. The researcher referred to Israel including the Golan Heights and eastern Jerusalem, but not including Judea and Samaria, where Israeli sovereignty has not been formally applied yet.

Israel's territory is about 22 million dunams (four dunams make up about one acre). Of these, about 1.5 million dunams are privately owned. More than half of these 1.5 million dunams are owned by Arabs, according to Prof. Haim Zandberg, an expert on Israeli lands in the College for Administration. The rest of the land is owned by the State, the Jewish National Fund and the Development Authority, and managed by the Israel Lands Authority. Zandberg spoke at a study day on the Arab minority in Israel sponsored by the Israel Democracy Institute.

The statistic is explained by historical-legal technicalities from the days of the Ottoman Turkish Empire and British mandate who ruled in turn over the Land of Israel. They contradict the claim that Arabs suffer discrimination in the allocation of land.

Land set aside for construction in Israel makes up about 840,000 dunams, which is divided more or less proportionately between Jews and Arabs: 82% of the land has been allocated to Jewish construction and 18% to Arab construction.

Prof. Zandberg noted that the Bedouins in the Negev Desert possess a very large part of the Negev despite their relatively small numbers. Their population density is about 200 people per square kilometer, as compared to about 19,000 people per square kilometer in a dense Jewish urban center like Bnei Brak.

An Arab speaker, Dr. Yosef Jabbarin of Haifa University, claimed that Arabs are discriminated against by the Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Agency.

Original URL: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/143571

Gil Ronen

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France: Burqa Ban Goes Into Effect


by Soeren Kern

France's much-debated "burqa ban" entered into force on April 11. The new law, which prohibits the wearing of Islamic body-covering burqas and face-covering niqabs in all public spaces in France, comes amid rising frustration that the country's estimated 6.5 million Muslims are not integrating into French society.

With certain exceptions, anyone in France covering their face on the street and in parks, on public transportation, in public institutions such as train stations and town halls, and in shops, restaurants and movie theaters, will be subject to a fine of €150 ($215). Exceptions to the ban include the covering of one's face with a motorcycle helmet, sunglasses, a bandage, a welding mask, a fencing mask or a fancy dress mask.

More severe penalties are in store for those found guilty of forcing others to cover their faces by means of "threats, violence and constraint, abuse of authority or power for reason of their gender." Clearly aimed at Muslim fathers, husbands or religious leaders, anyone found guilty of forcing a woman to wear an Islamic veil against her will is subject to a fine of €30,000 ($43,000) and one year in jail, or €60,000 ($86,000) and up to two years in jail if the case involves a minor.

The ban does not apply in private homes, hotel rooms and office buildings, except for elevators, conference rooms and lobbies and/or other spaces open to the public. The law also defines the inside of an automobile as a private space exempt from the measure.

In a circular sent to prefects and police chiefs that explains how the new measure will be implemented, French Interior Minister Claude Guéant ordered police to enforce the law in a "determined and vigilant" manner, but to do so by using as much tact as possible, namely by trying to persuade rather than to coerce women to show their face for identity checks.

Guéant also stressed that the law is not to be applied near mosques, and that police do not have the right to forcibly remove a woman's veil. Instead, offenders should be warned that they can be taken to a police station to have their identities verified. In addition to imposing fines, police can also order veil-wearers to attend "citizenship" classes.

Although critics of the burqa ban -- which was approved overwhelmingly by the French Parliament in October 2010 -- say it stigmatizes Islam, the French government insists the law is designed to guarantee gender equality and reaffirm the secular values of the French state. In a separate circular issued in March, French Prime Minister François Fillon said he wanted to "solemnly reaffirm the values of the republic," and argued that "concealing the face … places the people involved in a position of exclusion and inferiority incompatible with the principles of liberty, equality and human dignity affirmed by the French Republic."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been far more outspoken in his support for the ban. He says the burqa is "a new form of enslavement that will not be welcome in the French Republic." Jacques Myard, a conservative member of parliament who supports the ban, says the burqa is a "shock" to French culture. "The face is a dignity of a person. The face is your passport. So when you refuse me to see you, I am a victim," he says.

Polls show that French citizens back the burqa ban by a margin of more than four to one. According to a survey conducted by the Washington, DC-based Pew Global Attitudes Project, 82% of French voters are in favour of the ban, while only 17% are not.

The new law comes into effect at a time when French voters are growing increasingly worried that the Muslim minority is building a parallel society in France. Picking up on the unease over the lack of Muslim integration, Sarkozy on February 10 denounced multiculturalism as a failure and said Muslims must assimilate if they want to be welcomed in France.

Then, on April 5, Sarkozy's center-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party held a controversial debate on the compatibility of Islam with the rules of the secular French Republic. The three-hour roundtable discussion, the title of which was altered to remove any reference to Islam, resulting in the anodyne "Secularism: To Live Better Together," was held at the upscale hotel Pullman Paris Montparnasse in the presence of some 500 religious leaders, legislators and journalists.

Organized by UMP leader Jean-François Copé, attendees discussed 26 ideas aimed at preserving France's secular character, enshrined in a 1905 law separating church and state. Participants discussed modern-day quandaries about issues such as halal food being served in schools and Muslims praying in the street when mosques are too crowded, as well as a proposal to enact a new law that would prohibit citizens from rejecting a public service employee because of their sex or religion. The idea, Copé said, was to prevent cases where "women, often under pressure from their husbands, refuse to be treated by a male doctor."

Other proposals discussed at the event include: banning the wearing of religious symbols such as Muslim headscarves or prominent Christian crosses by day care personnel; preventing Muslim mothers from wearing headscarves when accompanying children on school field trips; and preventing parents from withdrawing their children from mandatory subjects including physical education and biology.

Facing accusations from critics that the debate amounted to veiled Muslim-bashing, one of Copé's most senior UMP colleagues, Prime Minister Fillon, declined to take part in the event, warning that it risked "stigmatizing Muslims." Copé responded by saying the debate was "controversial but necessary," and accusing critics of being "in denial."

In any event, the tide of public opinion seems to be with Copé and those worried about the effects of runaway Muslim immigration. Recent polls show that up to two-thirds of French voters believe that "multiculturalism" and the integration of Muslims into society have failed. The twin issues of Islam and immigration have resulted in a surge of popularity for the far-right National Front party and its charismatic new leader, Marine Le Pen, who recently compared crowds of Muslims praying in the streets outside mosques to the Nazi occupation of France.

According to a recent survey by Ifop for the France-Soir newspaper, nearly 40% of French voters agree with Len Pen's views that Muslim prayer in the streets resembles an occupation. Moreover, a new opinion poll published by Le Parisien newspaper on March 8 shows that voters view Le Pen, who has criss-crossed the country arguing that France has been invaded by Muslims and betrayed by its elite, as the candidate best suited to fix the problem of Muslim immigration.

Sarkozy, whose popularity is at record lows just twelve months before the first round of the 2012 presidential election, has been spooked by Le Pen's advance in the opinion polls, which show her ahead of both Sarkozy and Socialist leader Martine Aubry. Sarkozy now seems determined not to allow Le Pen to monopolize the issue of Islam in France. He recently called Muslim prayers in the street "unacceptable" and said that the street cannot be allowed to become "an extension of the mosque."

He also fired Abderrahmane Dahmane, a Frenchman of Algerian descent he hired in January to promote "diversity," after the appointee openly attacked the president's views on Islam in France. Dahmane now says Muslims in France should wear a five-pointed green star to protest against what he called "the fascist climate that evokes the sombre history of the Occupation in France, which sent thousands of Jews by train to the death camps."

Some French commentators have pointed out the twisted irony of Muslims equating themselves to the Jews in the Holocaust, considering that Muslims for centuries imposed distinctive clothing on Jews and other non-Muslims, and served as the inspiration for the yellow Star of David that Nazis forced wartime Jews to wear..

The green star idea is "totally grotesque," says Richard Prasquier, head of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF), a Jewish umbrella group. Prasquier, who supported the April 5 debate as a valid response to the concerns of French voters, told Agence France-Presse: "It is unfortunately part of a wider movement that mixes everything up and makes everything equate to the Holocaust."

Original URL: http://www.hudson-ny.org/2037/france-burqa-ban

Soeren Kern

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Misprision of Treason: Top DOJ Officials Abandon CAIR Terror Financing Prosecutions


by Frank Gaffney, Jr.

It is a felony offense to know or have reason to know that seditious activity is underway and do nothing about it. The term used in the U.S. Code for such a crime is “misprision of treason.” Counterterrorism expert Patrick Poole reveals today that political appointees in the Obama-Holder Justice Department would appear, at a minimum, to be candidates for prosecution for obstruction of justice and perhaps guilty of violating this statute.

In a Pajamas Media article headlined “Did Obama and Holder Scuttle Terror Finance Prosecutions?”, Poole reports that two Justice Department sources confirm that the decision not to prosecute unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial was taken “at the top” of the department, not by the federal prosecutors in Dallas who had secured convictions of five HLF officials and had planned next to put away their helpmates.

As a result, one of the most prominent and problematic of those listed by the prosecution – the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas front known as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) – has not only been allowed to continue to run its influence operations in Washington and elsewhere across the country. It has been free to enjoy what is, if anything, even greater access to and influence over the Obama administration than it enjoyed during previous presidencies.

A book published late last year by Patrick Poole and eighteen other national security professionals, Shariah: The Threat to America, documents how such access advances the Muslim Brotherhood’s mission in this country of waging a kind of “grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.” As it happens, just yesterday, Chairwoman Sue Myrick (R-NC) convened the first of what she says will be a series of House Intelligence subcommittee hearings aimed at investigating the Brotherhood and its operations, here and abroad.

One of the most chilling passages of Poole’s article is a quote from a DoJ official who, on condition of anonymity, came forward with confirmation of this scandal:

This is a national security issue. We know that these Muslim leaders and groups are continuing to raise money for Hamas and other terrorist organizations. Ten years ago we shut down the Holy Land Foundation. It was the right thing to do. Then the money started going to KindHearts. We shut them down too. Now the money is going through groups like Islamic Relief and Viva Palestina. Until we act decisively to cut off the financial pipeline to these terrorist groups by putting more of these people in prison, they are going to continue to raise money that will go into the hands of killers. And until Congress starts grilling the people inside DOJ and the FBI who are giving these groups cover, that is not going to change. My biggest fear is that Americans are going to die and it will be the very Muslim leaders we are working with who will be directly or indirectly responsible.

It is high time Congress starts “grilling the people inside DOJ and the FBI who are giving these groups cover.” If the facts warrant impeachment and prosecution on misprision of treason or other grounds, so be it.

Original URL: http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/p18696.xml

Frank Gaffney, Jr.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

An Open Letter to President ObamaAn Open Letter to President Obama


by Isi Leibler

Dear Mr. President,

During your recent meeting with American Jewish communal leaders, you reassured them of "America's unshakable support for Israel's security, opposition to any effort to delegitimize it or single it out for criticisms, and commitment to achieve a peace that will secure the future for Arabs and Israelis alike."

Moreover, you reaffirmed your undertaking to keep US military aid at its current high levels.

On the eve of Pessah, when we celebrate our freedom from bondage, permit me to explain why, despite such assurances, most Israelis still harbor profound anxiety about your attitude toward our security.

I preface this with a reference to your disturbing remarks at the meeting, when you urged them to "search your souls" over whether Israel is genuinely serious about peace, and called on them to encourage us to take "bold steps." Many of us consider such remarks as exemplifying the moral equivalence you consistently apply to our defensive actions in relation to terror attacks, and your penchant for condemning us while largely ignoring Palestinian intransigency.

You appear to have endorsed the Arab narrative, which ignores the fact that it was the Jewish state that suffered aggression from its neighbors preceding the '67 war. You also seem to disregard the fact that the vast majority of Israelis today - including our prime minister - have no desire to rule over Arabs, and would dearly like to separate from them.

We may debate the amount of land beyond the 1949 armistice lines that Resolution 242 entitles us to retain, but the discussion is over minor percentages. Besides, two prime ministers offered the Palestinians over 90 percent of these territories - and were rebuffed.

TODAY OUR region is undergoing unprecedented upheaval. For years we have been confronting a xenophobic, Islamic Iran, on the eve of achieving nuclear status, which repeatedly declares its intention to wipe us off the face of the world.

Now the entire Arab world is in the throes of revolutionary turmoil. But far from emerging as free societies, new Arab regimes may prove to be even more committed to radical Islam than their corrupt predecessors. We fear that we will again be surrounded by fanatical rejectionist states committed to our destruction.

In this context, Mr. President, Israelis ask: What do you really expect of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his government? Bear in mind that unilateral withdrawal from Gaza led to increased missile attacks. And since your election, Israel has made all the concessions. Last year, under enormous pressure from you, Netanyahu took the unprecedented step of imposing a 10-month freeze on settlement construction, even in areas that will unquestionably remain part of Israel. He also committed the government to endorsing a two-state solution - a major policy reversal in his Likud party.

In contrast, beyond making duplicitous statements - concealed from their constituents - endorsing peace, the Palestinian leaders remained utterly intransigent, unwilling to compromise on a single issue, even refusing to negotiate.

In fact, following Al Jazeera disclosures of compromises allegedly reached during negotiations with prime minister Ehud Olmert, the PA leaders blatantly denied having offered any concessions.

Surely this suggests that when negotiating with Olmert, Abbas was either duplicitous or conscious that brainwashing his constituents to hate us had been so effective that any genuine Palestinian accommodation was inconceivable.

The incitement emanating from every level of Palestinian society continues unabated, with Abbas brazenly sanctifying terrorists and providing pensions for the families of those who murder Israeli civilians.

Besides, the PA has been adamant in its refusal to recognize us as a Jewish state. Indeed, whereas 20% of the population of Israel consists of Arab and Muslim citizens, our "moderate peace partner" has proclaimed that a Palestinian state would be judenrein, insisting that he would not tolerate the presence of a single Jew. Mr. President, can you ignore such blatantly racist remarks from a leader you repeatedly refer to as a moderate peace partner? Many of us believe that the principal objective of Abbas, like his Hamas kinsmen, is still the dissolution of Jewish sovereignty; that he is merely employing Yasser Arafat's tactics of extracting unilateral concessions and attempting to dismantle us in stages.

However, even if we accept your premise that Abbas is genuinely willing to make peace, can you, seriously visualize him having the power to deliver? Besides, you are aware that Hamas is a genocidal organization, committed to killing all Jews. Yet the man you insist is a moderate peace partner unequivocally repeats his desire to merge his PA with these Islamic psychopaths. Is it reasonable to expect us to support the creation of a neighboring state in which a dominant group remains proudly committed to our destruction?

AND FINALLY, Mr. President, a word about our right to defend ourselves. If authorities in Cuba or Mexico authorized missile launches targeting American citizens, would you call for restraint? Would you respond by merely bombing empty buildings? Would you apologize if innocent civilians employed as human shields became casualties in the course of efforts to forestall attacks on American citizens? Mr. President, over the 63 years since we achieved independence, despite continuous terrorist attacks and neighbors seeking our destruction, we have succeeded in creating a vibrant democratic state. It is thus unconscionable to apply moral equivalence between our efforts to protect our citizens, and those committing acts of terror.

When you urge your Jewish constituents to press Israel to make further unilateral concessions, it epitomizes the concerns we share about your inability to appreciate the perils we face. It also fuels our fear that you are contemplating further pressure on us to retreat behind the 1949 armistice lines - which would endanger our very existence.

I urge you to reinstate the principles outlined by the Bush administration. I refer to US rejection of the right of return for Palestinian refugees; recognition of demographic changes in relation to the major settlement blocs, not seeking to impose a return to the 1949 armistice lines; and support for defensible Israeli borders.

I believe I echo the vast majority of my fellow Israelis when I appeal to you to provide us with the confidence to move forward by taking these elements into account and review your current policy.

Original URL: http://wordfromjerusalem.com/?p=2905

Isi Leibler ileibler@netvision.net.il

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Iran's Ties With Venezuela: US Concerned, and Should Be


by Anna Mahjar-Barducci

The head of the US Southern Command, General Douglas Fraser, said - in a hearing at the US Senate Armed Services Committee on April 5th - the US is concerned about the weekly direct flights between Iran and Venezuela. There are good reasons to worry. Since 2007, the Venezuelan airline Conviasa covers the Caracas-Damascus-Tehran route, better known as the "Axis of Evil Express."

There main reason for concern is that there is a total lack of transparency on what and who is on board these flights. They could well be transporting terrorists and illicit weapons; Washington has reasonable doubt that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is building nuclear weapons and violating international sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

It was also reported recently that Venezuela is acquiring a serious arsenal from Russia and China. According to news items, Chavez has purchased weapons for the value of between $12 billion and $15 billion between 2005-2010.

In a hearing at the US House of Representative Armed Services on March 30th, Fraser said he was worried that the automatic weapons sold to Venezuela could end up in the wrong hands. "My biggest concern as for the supply of Russian weapons is the amount of automatic weapons provided to Venezuela and their potential use elsewhere," he stated.

Hypothetical scenarios of war could be against Colombia: pro-Chavez government spokespersons shave [have] been saying that the "empire," the United States, could attack Venezuela through a third country, Colombia. "We have to guarantee peace, because the Yankees have a plan to generate a war between Colombia and Venezuela, of course, to get rid of Chavez, and then the intervention," Chavez said during a television broadcast. In the meantime, the pro-Chavez media outlet, Aporrea, writes that Fraser's comments can be defined as pre-war statements between the US and Venezuela.

From the press:

  • US apprehensive of Iran-Venezuela ties
  • US concerned over relations between Iran and Latin America
  • Cooperation with Latin America is Iran's top priority
  • US concerned about lack of transparency in Iran-Venezuela flights
  • Venezuela, a major arms purchaser from Russia and China
  • Weapons' purchase from Russia
  • Weapons' purchase from China and Europe
  • Lack of transparency in arms purchases
  • "The United States can attack Venezuela through Colombia"
  • Iran's eagerness to further develop relations with Caracas
  • US Department of State to monitor energy agreements between Venezuela and Iran

April 7, 2011

US apprehensive about Iran-Venezuela ties

The head of the US Southern Command, General Douglas Fraser, said the US is concerned about the weekly direct flights between Iran and Venezuela. Fraser also alleged that those could be an opportunity for making military connections, after accusations made by Washington to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that he is building nuclear weapons and violating international sanctions against Iran's nuclear program.

The flights began in mid-2006, under an agreement between Venezuelan Conviasa and Iran Air. At the beginning, Iran Air operated the service, but only for two months. Then Conviasa took over, and since then it has continued flying from the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, to Tehran.

Relations between the two countries have tightened under Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who are united in their antagonism to the U.S. government. Venezuela and Iran plan jointly to produce everything from bricks to bicycles, and are also cooperating in the development of Venezuela's oil fields.

The oil-rich nations have announced a $2 billion joint fund to finance investments in Venezuela and Iran, as well as projects in other countries seeking to help thwart US domination. There are also plans to boost joint investments in infrastructure, social and energy projects.

Since 2007, Venezuelan airline Conviasa has been covering the Caracas-Damascus-Tehran route. At the end of 2009, a direct flight between the capitals of Venezuela and Iran was announced, which the Venezuelan government says is a leap forward in the growing relations between the two countries. Press TV (Iran)

April 6, 2011

US concerned over relations between Iran and Latin America

The United States has expressed concerns over the increasing relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Latin American countries. General Douglas Fraser, the head of the US Southern Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee […] that Iran has expanded its ties in Latin America beyond its close relationship with Venezuela, AFP reported.

Fraser said that Iran has nearly doubled the number of embassies and cultural centers in the region, adding that the number of Iran's embassies has gone up from six in 2005 to ten in 2010, and that it is also building cultural centres in 17 countries. He further pointed out that Iran hosted heads of states of three countries, Bolivia, Guyana and Venezuela, in the last year. […]

Last month, Washington warned Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez against "violating" sanctions on Iran; however, US officials noted that there was no evidence Venezuela had violated the sanctions.

Cooperation with Latin America is Iran's top priority

Last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Paraguayan counterpart Fernando Lugo Mendez discussed ways to expand relations between Tehran and Asuncion, and called for more cooperation between the two states.

President Ahmadinejad has expanded Iran's cooperation with many Latin American countries since he assumed office in 2005. The promotion of all-out cooperation with Latin American countries is now among the top priorities of the Islamic Republic's foreign policy.

According to statistics released by the International Monetary Fund, Iran's trade with Latin America has witnessed a considerable rise since 2008. Brazil is Iran's leading trade partner on the continent, followed by Argentina. Peru is also a major importer of Iranian products to the region, and the Islamic Republic's trade with Ecuador has soared. Tehran's trade with Venezuela is also on the rise. Iran has made significant gains in trade with other partners in the region, including Chile, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay. Press TV (Iran)

April 5, 2011

US concerned about lack of transparency in Iran-Venezuela flights

Since 2007, Venezuelan airline Conviasa covers the Caracas-Damascus-Tehran route. At the end of 2009, a direct flight between the capitals of Venezuela and Iran was announced The lack of transparency in the flights between Venezuela and Iran is a matter of concern for the United States, said […] Gen. Douglas Fraser, the head of the US Southern Command.

"I am concerned about the fact that there are flights between Iran and Venezuela on a weekly basis, and that visas are not required for entrance into Venezuela or Bolivia or Nicaragua," Fraser told the Senate Armed Services Committee, as reported by AFP. […] Fraser said that "close ties" between Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are still largely for diplomatic and commercial purposes. El Universal (Venezuela)

March 23, 2011

Venezuela, a major arms purchaser from Russia and China

Venezuela has been a major arms purchaser from Russia, China and other suppliers in the last five years, but has failed to acquire the necessary competence to deal with hypothetical conflicts, says a non-governmental organization specialized in security and defense.

This oil-producing country is one of the "big four" arms buyers in the region, along with Brazil, Colombia and Chile. "Venezuela has to maintain and renew obsolete weapons systems," Rocío San Miguel, head of Citizen Control for Security, Defense and the Armed Forces, told IPS.

To this end, the country may have spent or committed between $12 billion and $15 billion in the period 2005-2010. Purchases and orders from Russia alone have amounted to some $8.5 billion, according to San Miguel.[…]

[In March] the [Venezuelan] opposition in parliament sought to call Defense Minister General Carlos Mata to answer questions about arms acquisitions and other military issues, but the initiative was blocked by the lawmakers of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), who have a majority in Congress.

Ministers with responsibility for political and economic areas did appear in parliament to account for their actions, but they did not answer lawmakers' questions about military spending.

Weapons' purchase from Russia

Among the weapons systems bought in the last five years from suppliers in 14 countries for the 117,000 members of the armed forces in Venezuela, more than 30 were purchased from Russia and half a dozen from China. Purchases and orders from Moscow included 100,000 Kalashnikov 103 and 104 assault rifles, rifle and munitions factories, 5,000 Dragunov sniper rifles, 36 Sukhoi Su-30 fighter aircraft, 48 Mi-17 multi-purpose helicopters, 10 Mi-35 attack helicopters and five transport helicopters.

Also, 1,000 85mm RPG anti-tank rocket launchers, 1,000 IGLA portable anti-aircraft missile launchers, 92 medium T-52 tanks and 137 BMP and BTR infantry combat vehicles were bought. Acquisition of cannon, mortar, rocket and missile launcher systems have been announced, as well as submarines, more combat helicopters and amphibious aircraft.

Weapons' purchase from China and Europe

China supplied Venezuela with 25 K8 tactical training planes, 10 long-range mobile radar systems, and field and communications equipment. The acquisition of J-10 fighter planes has been announced.

Anti-riot trucks and light aircraft were also bought from Austria; command centers and electronic warfare control systems from Belarus, and pistols from Brazil. Anti-riot equipment, ships and launchers are being ordered from Spain, Cessna planes from the United States, gunpowder factories from Iran and naval cannons from Italy.

Hovercrafts have been ordered from the U.K., RBS-70 portable missile systems from Sweden (before the Swedish government imposed an arms embargo on Venezuela in 2006), and naval anti-aircraft systems from Switzerland.

Venezuela's traditional strategy has been to maintain diversified sources for military procurement. But left-wing President Hugo Chávez has changed the purchasing pattern, preferring China and Russia to traditional suppliers like the United States, France and Israel, as part of what he calls a new "multi-polar" geopolitical strategy.

Lack of transparency in arms purchases

In San Miguel's view, "the most serious issue is the lack of transparency in arms purchases; the amounts spent and the payments made; and the inconsistency between these acquisitions and the defense concept favored by the present government: a prolonged people's war."

She said the branches of the armed forces (army, air force, navy and national guard) compete for arms purchases, and that the army, where Chávez served until 1992, when as a lieutenant colonel he headed a failed military coup, nearly always wins. "Dysfunctional military purchases and allocations," San Miguel said, "translated into seriously questioned operational capacity, could have a historic cost if the nation turns out to be incapable, in spite of its substantial oil revenues, of providing itself with an adequate defense system."

"The United States can attack Venezuela through Colombia"

In her view, for Venezuela's traditional conflict hypotheses -- such as a possible war with neighboring civil war-torn Colombia -- the operational capacity of the armed forces and its relative combat power are at a low ebb. The expert stressed that "although Venezuela has shaken hands with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, the doctrine and discourse espoused by many pro-government spokespersons continues to be that the empire, the United States, can attack us through a third country, in this case Colombia. […] IPS, by Humberto Márquez

March 16, 2011

Iran's eagerness to further develop relations with Caracas

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a meeting with the Venezuelan Ambassador to Tehran, David Velasquez Caraballo, stressed Iran's eagerness to further develop relations with Caracas in all fields. "Expansion of Iran-Venezuela ties in all domains helps peace, stability and security in the world," Ahmadinejad said […]

During the meeting, he also said that independent nations and governments would not be deceived by Imperialism's plots. "Independent and justice-seeking nations and governments have been vigilant against Imperialism's plots and will not be deceived by them," Ahmadinejad added.

The Venezuelan ambassador, for his part, stressed boosting the bilateral ties, and said, "The Islamic Republic of Iran's Revolution and Venezuelan Revolution can put imperialism aside and design the clear future for the whole humanity."

Since taking office in 2005, the Iranian President has expanded Iran's cooperation with many Latin American states, including Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba. But the strong and rapidly growing ties between Iran and Venezuela have raised eyebrows in the US and its western allies since Tehran and Caracas forged an alliance against the imperialist and colonialist powers and are striving hard to reinvigorate their relations with the other independent countries that pursue a line of policy independent from the US.

US Department of State to monitor energy agreements between Venezuela and Iran

The US Department of State has announced that it would closely monitor the recent energy agreements between Venezuela and Iran. The US State Department's announcement came after Chavez, on a visit to Iran, signed a number of agreements focused on energy cooperation with Ahmadinejad.

Among the agreements signed were pacts for the formation of a joint oil shipping company and joint construction of petrochemical plants, as well as Venezuela's participation in the exploitation of Iran's South Pars gas field.

Under the shipping agreement, PDV Marina, Petroleos de Venezuela SA's shipping subsidiary, and Iran's IRISL Group, plan to create a maritime oil transport firm that will enable Caracas to sell more than 500,000 bbl of crude in Europe and Asia.

The two sides also reaffirmed an earlier agreement to build a refinery in Syria, Iran's main ally in the region. An agreement to build the refinery was first signed in 2007 with Iran, Venezuela, and Malaysia as partners. Fars News Agency (Iran)

Original URL: http://www.hudson-ny.org/2035/iran-ties-with-venezuela

Anna Mahjar-Barducci

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Middle East Mindset


by Mark Silverberg

It is now clear why Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority have refused negotiations with Israel for more than a year, even after Israel agreed to freeze Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem: they have been busy working behind the scenes with South American leaders to obtain a declaration of statehood for "Palestine." Abbas has reason to gloat. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina recently recognized "Palestine as a free and independent state based on its pre-1967 borders," and other South American countries have followed her lead.

Having failed to obtain an independence declaration at the U.N. Security Council, the PA is now preparing to bypass the Security Council and ask the General Assembly to invoke the precedent of the U.N. General Assembly's "Uniting for Peace" Resolution 377 (passed in 1950), which could allow that body to recommend collective action "if the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security". Such action would not only preempt the authority of the Security Council, but would pressure Israel into accepting Palestinian statehood without the Palestinians being required to honor their international commitments or to make any compromises or concessions.

Forgotten are UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, both passed in the wake of the Six-Day War (1967) and the Yom Kippur War (1973). These Resolutions acknowledged Israel's need for secure and recognized boundaries prior to any Israeli withdrawals. They now appear, however, to be irrelevant, raising the question: Why should Israel honor its international commitments with the Palestinians (such as those enshrined in the Oslo Accords) if international commitments made with Israel by the Palestinians are not honored as well?

The fact that the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States requires a "state" to have a permanent population, a defined territory over which it has control, a stable government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other states - and that "Palestine" does not qualify for statehood under any of these conditions is apparently unimportant to these countries in the General Assembly.

While most of the world ignored a similar declaration by the Palestinian National Council in Algeria in 1988, these new events are disturbing not simply because they contradict both the letter and spirit of the Oslo Accords and bypass existing UN Security Council Resolutions designed to do justice to both Israelis and Palestinians, but because they reinforce the myth that the creation of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza will satisfy the Palestinians and resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There is no historical, political and religious basis to believe this will be the case.

The Arabs have initiated six wars to exterminate Israel, and have lost all of them. So intense is the fear of Arab leaders that their own people will target them as the true source of their misery (as appears to be happening today throughout the Arab world); so intense is their hatred of Israel incited as it is by Al-Jazeera, al-Manar and countless other outlets; so humiliating is Israel's presence in their midst, that any compromise on core issues --such as settlements, borders, Jerusalem, a Palestinian right of return, and especially recognizing Israel as a Jewish state -- would be seen by the Arab street as a betrayal of unbearable magnitude. Arab and Muslim leaders understand that any compromise on these core issues would threaten their power and their lives.

Sixty-three years after Israel's establishment, Arabs who fled or left mandatory Palestine in 1948, and their descendants, who now number over five million, continue to live in the refugee camps of Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. There, they are enveloped with hatred for Israel, while being used by their Arab brethren, and given "permanent refugee status" by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency [UNRWA], where they are promised that one day they will return to their homes in "Palestine" [Israel]. At the entrance to the UNRWA-funded Aida Refugee Camp, established in Bethlehem in 1950, and where an estimated 3,000 Palestinians live, there is a gigantic key on which is written in English and Arabic: "Not for Sale." What is not for sale is all the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea -- that is, all of Israel -- which, they unapologetically state in their "moderate" Palestinian Charter, must never be abandoned in any peace agreement. On almost every house one can see graffiti showing an undivided Palestine.

As no Israeli government could allow an influx of millions of hostile Palestinians into its country, Israel's refusal to allow a complete "right of return" has become a useful pretext for continuing the conflict. The longer Israel can be used as a scapegoat, the better it serves Arab interests by re-directing their citizens' rage away from their own oppressive, corrupt and crushing governance. For this reason, at Taba (2001) and at Annapolis (2007), the Palestinian leadership, supported by the Arab and Muslim world, and rejected Palestinian statehood on more than 95% of the West Bank and Gaza rather than recognize Israel as a Jewish state and forego its "right of return." Even the Fatah Revolutionary Council, the ruling PLO Authority in the West Bank, has declared: "No to Israel as a Jewish state, no to interim borders, no to land swaps;" and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad refused to sign a meeting summary with the Israelis that accepted the concept of two-states-for-two-peoples.

Consequently, from the Arab perspective, there is no basis for compromise and nothing to negotiate with Israel except its demise. Recognizing Israel as a Jewish state would be the ultimate humiliation for the Arab world: any compromise by any Arab or Muslim leader on that subject would likely prove fatal, as it did with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

This uncompromising mindset also pervaded the Oslo "Peace Process." Despite eight years of direct negotiations with the Israelis, Arafat could not bring himself to make peace with Israel. As Richard Landes writes in "Augean Stables", Arafat acted with enormous reluctance, pocketing all he could, using the ceiling of Israel's last concession as the floor for the next; offering no concessions in return, and assuring the Arab street that signing the Oslo Agreement was merely a Trojan Horse, through which he planned to continue his 1974 Phased Plan for the dismantling and ultimate destruction of the Jewish state. For Arafat, the concessions were never real. In response to virtually universal condemnation from the Arab/Muslim world, he justified making the Agreements by stating: "I am hammering the first nail into the Zionist coffin." He equated the Accords with Mohammed's Treaty of Hudabiya with the Koreish tribe, which Mohammed maintained for only two years instead of the promised ten -- until his forces grew strong enough to crush the Koreish. Speaking in Johannesburg in 1993, after signing the Accords, Arafat assured his audience that Jerusalem, in the end, would be exclusively Muslim; that the only permanent state in present-day Israel would be the Arab state of Palestine, and that the "peace process" would end in the Palestinian conquest of Israel -- no surprise given that Fatah's constitution maintains to this day that "the struggle will not end until the elimination of the Zionist entity and the liberation of Palestine."

Similarly, Mahmoud Zahar, co-founder of Hamas, took pains to explain to Gazans that his commitment to an unofficial ceasefire with Israel should not be seen as an act of weakness, but as a tactic that would allow Hamas time to re-arm and re-organize for the coming war.

Intertwined with these overriding feelings of humiliation, hatred and fear should any compromise be reached on Israel's right to exist, are the principles of Islamic Shari'a law which provide for the subordination of women, the subordination of "unbelievers," death for apostasy, homosexuality, alleged adultery, cartoons ...," and so forth -- principles that flow through this conflict and that are downplayed by Western leaders as mere rhetoric. Recently, the Palestinian Authority's religious affairs official praised Palestinians who carry out ribat (religious war) against Israel; and the coordinator of the National Committee on Summer Camps told his local media that Palestinian summer camps instill in children the Palestinian culture "which unites the culture of resistance, the culture of stones and guns ... and the culture of shahada (martyrdom)."

Professor Robert Wistrich in his book, A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad leaves no doubt that the Arab and Muslim rejection of Israel is based in large measure on Islamic principles that permeate their societies. The treatment of Jews in Muslim lands throughout the centuries further confirms that this hostility toward Jews -- and the genocidal rhetoric and suicide bombers that flow from it -- cannot be separated from an enmity that began with Mohammed; was later encouraged by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (infatuated as he was with the Nazis and their propaganda); and is now aimed at Israel as a Jewish state.

Whatever points of ideology and tactics may divide the nominally secular Palestinian Authority from the religiously orthodox Hamas, both agree that Zionism is a "criminal conspiracy" against the Palestinian people; that Israel's creation is a satanic, imperialist plot that must be reversed, and that Palestine is, was, and always will be, indivisible Islamic land. Sermons urge believers to "Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them. Whenever you meet them, kill them." These are broadcast live, day-in and day-out on the PA's official TV channel. [see www.palwatch.org and www.MEMRI.org for documentation].

When Jews are discussed in PA textbooks, it is only to recite the same litany of their supposedly negative traits from the days of the Prophet to the present. On maps, Israel is portrayed as Palestine; Israeli cities are portrayed as Palestinian; and Zionism continues to be portrayed as a modern-day expression of the Jews' essential evil -- all of which raises the question: Can generations of Palestinians force-fed such beliefs ever set them aside to make a stable, long-lasting peace with Israel as a Jewish state within any borders?

These religious imperatives are, additionally, woven into the PLO Covenant (Charter) which sees Judaism as a religion, not a nationality. Although Israel, with all its flaws, represents the realization of a 3,800-year vision of Jewish nationalism, the Palestinian Charter alleges that Jews are not a nation, and it repudiates any claim Jews have to national self-determination or national sovereignty. Instead, it confers upon them the inferior religious status of second-class citizens under Islamic law.

Thus, from a theological perspective, the Arab street cannot accept the right of Jews to sovereignty on even one centimeter of land which, according to Islamic law, forms part of the Islamic waqf, or holy endowment. This law holds that any land that was ever under Muslim control must forever remain so, whether al-Andalus in Spain, or Israel under the Ottoman Turks.

What is also clear is that the Arab and Muslim narrative is focused on Jews, not just Israelis. Jonathan Kay writing in the National Post observes that "When Israeli planes smashed Egyptian airfields in the opening hours of the Six-Day War announcers on Radio Cairo took to the airwaves, calling on Arabs in neighboring countries to attack any Jews they could find. In the Libyan capital of Tripoli, then home to about 5,000 Jews, rioters responded with an orgy of murder, arson and looting that lasted three days. Even after the survivors had fled to Israel and the West, leaving Libya virtually free of Jews, the anti-Semitic bloodlust remained. It was "the unavoidable duty of the city councils," stated one Libyan newspaper, "to remove [Jewish] cemeteries immediately, and throw the bodies of the dead, which even in their eternal rest soil our country, into the depths of the sea ... Only then can the hatred of the Libyan people toward the Jews be satiated." Carrying this pathology forward, the idea of any compromise that would lead to a sovereign, independent Jewish state in the Islamic Middle East would seem a sweet, misguided wish.

This hatred is also reflected in constant Palestinian attempts to negate Jewish history by denying the Jewish people's ancient historical connection to the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, and Jewish historical sites in Judea and Samaria (including, but not limited to, Rachel's Tomb, the Cave of the Patriarchs at Machpelah and even the city of Hebron); the ludicrous claim that Abraham and Jesus were Palestinians; the claim that Islam represents the final and one true faith (Christianity and Judaism presumably being flawed precursors), and the utilization of the Palestinian Authority's educational system and media to deny Israeli legitimacy to any land at all -- not only by falsifying maps, but also by falsifying or destroying any archeological evidence of that history, such as the recent vandalism of Joshua's Tomb in the Samarian village of Timnat Heres. By vandalizing Jewish historical sites, they are making credible the myth they themselves have created that Israelis are mere "foreign occupiers," "modern-day Crusaders" and "imperialists," who have no legal or historical claim to "Palestine."

Then, of course, there is Palestinian and Arab television, such as Qatar's Al-Jazeera and Hezbollah's Al-Manar that continue to flood the Arab and Muslim world with a new variant of anti-Semitism in the form of fables that masquerade as reality. These fables not only include libels from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion - the notion that Jews use the blood of Arab children to make their Passover matzoh - but now also speak of plagues of vicious Israeli attack dogs descending upon Jericho to harass poor Palestinian Arabs; wild boars released by Israeli settlers to attack Palestinians and destroy their plants and crops in the northern West Bank during prayers; the use of Israeli trained rats to drive Arab residents from Jerusalem; and sharks released by the Israelis that attack tourists swimming off Egypt's Red Sea coast in order to weaken Egypt's thriving tourist industry. Of course, as Khaled Abu Toameh dryly writes, "it is still unclear" how these animals are trained to distinguish Arab victims from Jewish ones; but while people in the West might laugh at these libels, they are taken seriously in the Arab world where the media is tightly controlled by Arab governments --- the same governments that have declared that Israelis are responsible for the civil war in Lebanon; the division of Sudan; civil strife in Yemen, and the massacre of Christians and the persecution of Palestinians in Iraq.

Western journalists and non-governmental organizations who repeat and give weight to these lies do no honor to the values of their trade, their countries or those Arabs trying to rid their societies of such damage. Perhaps the ultimate source of Arab backwardness lies in the Arab and Muslim leaders' debasement of the minds of their own citizens by diagnosing every problem as caused by the Jews.

Under such circumstances, how can there be a lasting peace until this mindset changes? Thus, the paradigm floated by the U.S. and the Europeans of "two states for two peoples" is not only naive but dangerous: it not only fails to acknowledge that the Arabs will refuse to make peace with a sovereign Jewish state in their midst, but it also refuse to take into account that any Palestinian state established on the West Bank and Gaza will be a subterfuge for the outspoken Palestinian plan for the extermination of Israel -- phased or otherwise.

A 2009 poll showed that 71% of the Palestinians continue to consider it essential that their state consist of all Israel and the territories. More recently, a poll of Palestinian public opinion in the West Bank and Gaza, released by the Arab World for Research and Development in Ramallah, asked: "If Palestinian negotiators delivered a peace settlement that includes a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza, but had to make compromises on key issues (right of return, Jerusalem, borders, settlements) to do so, would you support the result?" 12% responded "Yes," while 85% responded "No." 65% said it was "essential" that any peace agreement include historic Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

This is what the Arab-Israeli conflict was about in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973; this is what the conflict is about today. Are we to believe that U.S., South American and European leaders are ignorant of these facts or willfully blind to them due to their own domestic and foreign agendas? The dispute is, was and always has been about the destruction of Israel as a sovereign Jewish state in the midst of the Islamic world. As such, Israel's return to the 1949 armistice lines (euphemistically referred to as "borders") will not mark the end of this conflict. On the contrary, a Palestinian state established on the West Bank and Gaza will serve as the staging area for even further aggression and destabilization in the region -- as promised in the Palestinian and Hamas Charters; in the Arab media, schools, summer camps, textbooks, and even crossword puzzles [www.palwatch.org and www.MEMRI.org].

The reality is that the Arab-Muslim world cannot openly acknowledge even the most basic facts underlying any two-state solution: the existence of a Jewish people; that Jewish temples have historically existed under independent Jewish sovereignty on that land for millenia, and that all Jewish rights to sovereignty -- legal, historical and moral -- are in no way inferior to those of the Palestinians. The establishment of a Palestinian state will not resolve these issues. It will only guarantee future wars.

Original URL: http://www.hudson-ny.org/2011/middle-east-mindset

Mark Silverberg

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Qaddafi’s Muslim-American Friends


by Ryan Mauro

Muammar Qaddafi’s willingness to slaughter his own people has long been known and is undeniable. It is hard to imagine that any human being would be willing to embrace him but the Nation of Islam and the Council on American-Islamic Relations did just that. Louis Farrakhan continues to even uphold him today, denying that he is guilty of any wrongdoing.

“You [Obama] can’t order him to step down, and get out—who the hell do you think you are, that you can talk to a man that built a country over 42 years, and ask him to step down and get out?” said Farrakhan when asked about U.S. involvement in the war in Libya.

He blamed the Zionists for leading President Obama to war, warning, “Don’t let these wicked demons move you in a direction that will absolutely ruin your future with your people in Africa and throughout the world.”

Farrakhan, whose organization has 20-50,000 members, even claimed that Qaddafi is innocent of charges against him. He said that the Libyan dictator was only “killing traitors” and “It’s a terrible thing for me to hear my brother called all these ugly and filthy names when I can’t recognize him as that.”

Qaddafi’s ties to the Nation of Islam go back decades to when he first loaned the organization $3 million in 1972 to purchase its headquarters in Chicago. Farrakhan admits that Qaddafi has loaned the group about $8 million total. In 1996, Qaddafi’s official news agency reported the two had established an alliance aimed at influencing the U.S. political system. “Our confrontation with America was like a fortress from outside, and today we found a breach to enter into this fortress and confront it,” it said. This alliance shouldn’t be surprising given Farrakhan’s rabidly anti-Semitic, anti-American preaching.

Farrakhan tells his followers that “Zionists dominate the government of the United States of America and her banking system” and refers to President Obama disparagingly as the “first Jewish president.” He says that Obama “was selected before he was elected. And the people that selected him were rich, powerful members of the Jewish community.”

Of course, Farrakhan says he isn’t an anti-Semite. He’s just exposing Satan. “Some of you think that I’m just somebody who’s got something out for the Jewish people. You’re stupid,” he said. “Do you think I would I waste my time if I did not think it was important for you to know Satan? My job is to pull the cover off of Satan so that he will never deceive you and the people of the world again.”

Farrakhan also preaches about the coming destruction of America for her alleged sins. In August 1997, he said, “A decree of death has been passed on America. The judgment of God has been rendered and she must be destroyed.” It is apparent that he sees this forthcoming destruction as a good thing, saying, “There is no wicked nation in the past that approaches the evil that is practiced in America on a daily basis.” And he believes that Muslims are the ones that are supposed to make this happen.

In 1996, an Iranian newspaper quoted him as saying during his visit, “God will destroy America by the hands of the Muslims…this is an honor God will bestow upon Muslims.” In Farrakhan’s world, contributing to the destruction of the U.S. is an “honor.” He will say that he doesn’t advocate violence, but he refers to Hezbollah as “freedom fighters,” justifies Qaddafi’s use of force, and has said, “We [blacks] are at war and we never stop fighting for justice. You must have forced…don’t drop your gun and don’t forget to squeeze.”

Qaddafi has also had ties to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a front for the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. In September 2009, the organization’s executive-director, Nihad Awad, spokesman Ibrahim Hooper and chairman Larry Shaw all met with Qaddafi after he spoke at the United Nations in New York. Awad called him a “world Islamic popular leader” and said that CAIR “appreciate[s] your efforts over the years, and wish also to extend your interest to Muslims in America, God willing.”

The organization asked Qaddafi to sponsor a plan to deliver one million copies of the Quran to Americans, including public officials and to make a donation to create the Muslim Peace Foundation. A letter from Awad to Qaddafi has also been published dated September 23, 2009 asking him for his support for the Muslim Peace Foundation. “I am pleased to send to Your Excellency in my name most solemn assurances of thanks and appreciation for the efforts you exert in the service of Islam, Muslims and all mankind through your initiative to teach Islam, spread the culture of Islam, and solve disputes, for which you are known internationally.”

CAIR has defended itself by saying no donation was ever received and that it has condemned his violent reaction to the popular uprising against him this year, but Qaddafi has a long and well-known history of human rights abuses, anti-Americanism and sponsorship of terrorism, including the Lockerbie bombing of 1988 that killed 270 people. It is unthinkable that CAIR was unaware of Qaddafi’s past when it was praising him and asking him for money.

Another prominent Muslim-American that has defended Qaddafi is Zaid Shakir, a frequent speaker at Muslim-American conferences like those put together by the Islamic Society of North America and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He is also a co-founder of Zaytuna University, the first accredited Islamic college in the country. In an article about the U.S. “pattern of demonization, destabilization and the invasion of hapless Third World nations,” Shakir said that “in the Muslim world, the demonization of Qaddafi preceded our bombardment of Libya in 1986.” Today, he speaks somewhat positively of the Libyan rebels but opposes the U.S.-led intervention, insinuating the U.S. and Europe have hidden motives for acting.

Qaddafi’s insanity and aggression has left him with few friends since coming to power. Lucky for him, there are groups like the Nation of Islam and the Council on American-Islamic Relations in the U.S. willing to overlook his transgressions in return for cash rewards.

Original URL: http://frontpagemag.com/2011/04/12/qaddafi%E2%80%99s-muslim-american-friends/

Ryan Mauro

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Mullahs Rescue Assad


by Ryan Mauro

The regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad is in big trouble. It has killed over 200 civilians since the anti-government uprising began, but the unrest is spreading across the country. Assad has been forced to turn to Iran for help, and now, the Reform Party of Syria has just revealed that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps is overseeing the effort to save the regime.

The Reform Party of Syria, a U.S.-based democratic opposition group, says that as of Monday, April 4, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps stationed in Syria (which it said is 10,000-strong) had gained authority over the efforts to put an end to the uprising. All of the top Syrian generals now report to the IRGC operating out of a command-and-control center inside a military base in Homs Province. The Iranians are said to be closely monitoring military and security leaders, especially Allawite generals that could lead a military coup.

The RPS also says that the IRGC is responsible for footage of alleged attacks on Syrian security personnel that was shown on state television. Assad is denying that his security forces are responsible for the deaths of protesters, instead attributing it to “armed gangs.” The regime has since claimed that these “gangs” are killing both protesters and members of the security forces — a lie meant to justify the use of force and deny responsibility for the death toll.

“In essence, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps now occupies Syria and has become its de facto ruler. Syria has become the 32nd province of Iran,” Farid Ghadry of the Reform Party of Syria said in a press release.

There were strong indications of Iranian involvement in the crackdowns on the protests when the uprising first gained steam. Eyewitnesses in Daraa, where the revolution began, said that some attackers were speaking in Farsi and others said they heard southern Lebanese accents, indicating the involvement of Hezbollah. On March 21, Turkish officials intercepted a secret Iranian arms shipment to Aleppo, Syria. The huge stockpile included “60 Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifles, 14 BKC/Bixi machine guns, nearly 8,000 rounds of BKC/AK-47 ammunition, 560 60-mm mortar shells, and 1,288 120-mm mortar shells.”

There is good reason for Assad to be worried enough to request Iranian intervention. The regime consists of Allawites, a minority that represents only 6 to 12 percent of the population. The 4th Armored Division, commanded by Maher Assad, Bashar’s brother, is the only unit fully staffed by Allawites. There are unconfirmed reports of clashes between Assad’s Allawite tribe and that of Ghazi Kanaan, the Interior Minister assassinated in 2006 who comes from a more powerful Allawite tribe.

Video has surfaced of a Syrian soldier in Banias who was shot by the security forces, and eyewitnesses have reported the shooting of soldiers who refused to attack protesters in the city. On April 11, 10 soldiers and officers were hung for disobeying orders to fire on citizens in Banias. State television predictably said they were killed by “armed gangs.” There have been unverifiable reports of friendly encounters between soldiers and protesters, and video has been posted of these positive interactions in Daraa. There is also footage of this happening in Inkhil and Jassem in late March.

The key question is what comes next. The Reform Party of Syria says that on April 8, the IRGC commanders in Syria decided that the demonstrations in Daraa must be violently put down in order to demoralize the opposition elsewhere in the country. It is possible that Assad and the IRGC have decided that it is best to keep out of the world’s headlines by only killing a limited number of people in one spot each day, but an all-out assault on Daraa is a distinct possibility.

There are strong indications that the Syrian regime is planning major action. The military has surrounded Daraa, and its communications have been cut off. The same has been done to Banias, where five tanks have been seen and the Allawite Shabbiha militia is reported to be deploying. The Syrian Republican Guard has been deployed to two towns in Homs where tanks have also been seen, and power and communication has been cut off in some areas. There are reports that in Aleppo, some roads have been closed, hundreds of Shabbiha have been mobilized, and several tanks have been seen at the western entrance.

It is apparent that the Syrian regime must take aggressive action far beyond what has been already been undertaken to ensure its survival. The protests every Friday significantly grow each week, with the citizens of more and more towns joining. Damascus is even becoming the scene of unrest, with the regime killing at least eight protesters in Douma earlier this month, which lies on the outskirts of the capital. On April 11, an estimated 1,500 students demonstrated at Damascus University and were met with gunfire that killed one student.

The Damascus Declaration organization is asking the international community to exert pressure on the Assad regime to stop the violence. It is specifically requesting that the Arab League place sanctions on it. The White House has finally issued a forceful condemnation of the violence, but the U.S. ambassador to Syria has yet to be recalled. Secretary of State Clinton’s remark that Assad is a “reformer” indicates the Obama administration still sees the Syrian regime as a government that can somehow be won over.

The news about the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ leading role in the effort to stamp out the uprising puts an end to the illusion about the nature of the Syrian regime. Assad presents a much greater threat to the West than Qaddafi does, yet the U.S. has been slow and weak in its response to the uprising. At the very least, the ambassador should be withdrawn. The U.S. should abandon the false belief that Assad’s regime can change.

Original URL: http://frontpagemag.com/2011/04/13/iran-comes-to-assad%E2%80%99s-rescue/

Ryan Mauro

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Keith Ellison's Slurs


by IPT News

His emotional testimony, choking back tears as he discussed a Muslim-American first-responder killed on 9/11, garnered national headlines last month for U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison.

But two days after a House committee hearing on Muslim radicalization, the Minnesota Democrat had a far more hostile tone. In a speech in Rochester Hills, Mich., Ellison made a series of personal attacks against three other witnesses who were on the opposite side of the issue.

    • He seemed to blame Melvin Bledsoe for the actions of his son Carlos, who stands accused of shooting and killing an Army private after converting to Islam and becoming radicalized.

    • A Somali-American who complained about interference from organized Islamist groups while trying to learn about a score of missing young men who turned up with a terrorist group in Somalia was there simply to "diss" the Muslim community in Minneapolis.

    • Zuhdi Jasser, a Phoenix physician who challenges the Islamist narrative, simply is out to make a buck, Ellison said.

His tearful tribute to Mohammed Salman Hamdani came before the House Homeland Security Committee and the national media drawn to the controversial hearing called by Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. Ellison's attacks on the other witnesses came before a friendlier and more partisan crowd, with sponsors that included the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

The hearing generated controversy because of its focus on radicalization solely among Muslims in America. Committee Democrats criticized King and the hearing's premise, with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas saying the proceedings placed the U.S. Constitution "in pain." California Rep. Jackie Speier dismissed the witness testimony as anecdotal.

Ellison's speech echoed that criticism, and he told his Michigan audience that if King "really was trying to learn something about violent radicalization, why wouldn't he include [as a witness] somebody who actually had something to say of value?" Ellison asked. Instead, he called "one guy… named Mr. Bledsoe, whose son I guess became a Muslim, went to Yemen, came back and killed some police officers (sic)."

Bledsoe dropped out of college shortly after his conversion to Islam in 2004. Muslim leaders in Nashville urged him to go to Yemen, long a hotbed of jihadist activity. In 2007 he traveled there, apparently to study under a radical imam.

He is accused of opening fire outside an Army recruiting office in Little Rock, Ark. in June 2009, killing one soldier, Pvt. William Long, and seriously wounding another, Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula.

In his testimony, Melvin Bledsoe recounted his son's descent into violence, saying the American people are largely unaware of the threat posed by Islamist radicalism. "There is a big elephant in the room, but our society continues not to see it," Bledsoe said.

After stating that he did not want to bring pain to a grieving parent, Ellison appeared to suggest that the bulk of the blame for Carlos Bledsoe's radicalization didn't lie with the jihadists who indoctrinated him, but with his father. Carlos "was in that man's house all his life. He's a Muslim for a few years. Enough said," Ellison said.

Melvin Bledsoe did not mince words when told about Ellison's comments during an interview with the Investigative Project on Terrorism. He dismissed Ellison's notion that radical Islam played no part in his son's actions. Carlos left the Bledsoe home in 2003, changed his name to Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad when he converted to Islam a year later, and spent extensive time in Yemen.

"They stole my son," Bledsoe said. "They raped his mind. They changed his thought, his behavior. They changed him from Carlos to Abdulhakim. I asked God to give me my son back."

Ellison is a "fool" and "liar" when he tries to deny the insidious nature of jihadist recruiting that is occurring in this country, Bledsoe said.

In his speech, Ellison expressed similar disdain for Abdirizak Bihi, a Somali American from Minneapolis who also testified. Bihi's teenage nephew Burhan Hassan was shot to death in Somalia in June 2009. Burhan was one of at least 20 Somali men and teenage boys from the Twin Cities area who have traveled to Somalia since 2007 to fight for the terrorist group al-Shabaab. The "only reason" Bihi was invited to testify was "because he's willing to diss the Somali and Muslim community in Minneapolis," Ellison said.

As part of his testimony, Bihi described how Islamist leaders discouraged people from cooperating with the investigation into the missing men. Talking to the FBI could get you sent to Guantanamo Bay, they said. And, there are consequences in the afterlife by being damned with "eternal fire and hell."

Ellison's harshest remarks were reserved for Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy - and like Bihi, a non-Islamist Muslim. Jasser was invited to testify "because he fits the narrative of people who want to defame you," Ellison told his Michigan audience.

Jasser's real goal, he suggested, was to criticize Muslims in order to enrich himself. Ellison said that "if you want to make some money talking about Muslims," follow the example of Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Hirsi Ali renounced her faith and has been highly critical of it in her writing. A good portion of her money goes to 24-hour-protection since her life was threatened in 2004. When filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered on an Amsterdam street, the killer tacked a note on him saying Hirsi Ali would be next. The two collaborated on "Submission," a short film protesting the treatment of women in Islam.

Ellison said: "You know, I think Zuhdi Jasser just said, 'Why should Ayaan Hirsi Ali make all the money'" criticizing Islam?

In a statement to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Jasser, a devout Muslim, said he was shocked by the carelessness of Ellison's statements. Ellison engaged in "fabrication and character assassination rather than" debate the issues put forward, Jasser wrote.

"Perhaps it is naïve of me to assume that a sitting member of Congress would maintain a degree of honesty and forthrightness commensurate with his office. Congressman Ellison's false and malignant attacks on my character and integrity speak volumes to the tactics used by leading Islamists in their efforts to marginalize dissent within our Muslim communities," Jasser wrote. "Mr. Ellison's behavior also demonstrates the mudslinging directed toward reform minded Muslims by some leading Muslims threatened by our ideas."

Another Ellison claim about Jasser "is a complete fabrication," said a Des Moines man who was involved in the incident. In October, Drake University hosted a forum on Islam. Ellison claimed that Jasser approached the congressman's son, who was president of the MSA at Drake, and "demanded" to be included in the "What it means to be an American Muslim" event.

Stanley Richards, a philanthropist and sponsor of the event, said that was not true. Jasser was the first person he contacted about attending the forum. Jasser's organization then invited the Drake Muslim Student Association to participate. Ellison's son "informed me that his board had voted not to participate" by sponsoring the forum or serving as a panelist, Richards said.

Ellison's son Isaiah did attend the forum, making statements and asking questions. "Ellison's son spoke with Jasser after the forum and had a respectful conversation," Richards wrote. Rep. Ellison was also invited to be a panelist but declined due to a scheduling conflict.

In his Michigan speech, Ellison claimed he had "gotten to know" Jasser and had had "debate[d]" him in the past. During an October 2009 Capitol Hill briefing on political Islam, the Minnesota congressman slandered Jasser as a bigot seeking to censor Islamists.

Jasser criticized groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for trying to discredit reports noting the connection between radical Salafism and support for jihad. He said that if Muslims want equal respect and credibility they must "stand for reform within our faith of laws that are still in the 15th and 16th centuries."

Ellison responded to Jasser's call for reform with an angry personal attack in which he virtually called him an Islamic "Uncle Tom."

"I think you give people license for bigotry," Ellison told Jasser. "I think people who want to engage in nothing less than Muslim-hating really love you a lot because you give them freedom to do that."

In Michigan, Ellison continued to mischaracterize Jasser's views and motives. Jasser advocates a "separation between mosque and state" and fights against "political Islam," the application of religious tenets into government and society as espoused by violent jihadists like al-Qaida to political movements like the Muslim Brotherhood.

"By the way, I don't believe that my faith as a Muslim should be politicized," Ellison said. "My faith is way bigger than politics, right? So I don't agree with, but I don't even know what he's even talking about quite frankly. I don't know what he means."

That's surprising, given that groups Ellison works closely with, including the Muslim American Society (MAS) was founded by Muslim Brotherhood members in the United States. MAS even paid for Ellison to travel to Mecca for the hajj in 2008.

Brotherhood bylaws show its adherence to political Islam, calling for "the need to work on establishing the Islamic State, which seeks to effectively implement the provisions of Islam and its teachings."

Court records show that CAIR, meanwhile, was created by a Hamas-support network in America created by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ellison repeatedly defended CAIR in his Michigan speech, saying it is "a legally operating organization" that would have been shut down had it done anything wrong. He failed to tell his audience that the FBI severed formal relations with CAIR nearly three years ago, due to questions about its founders' ties to the Hamas-support network known as the Palestine Committee. FBI Director Robert Mueller has repeated this position twice in the past month before congressional panels.

In court papers, prosecutors wrote that CAIR was "a participant in an ongoing and ultimately unlawful conspiracy to support a designated terrorist organization, a conspiracy from which CAIR never withdrew."

The Congressman cannot blame Jasser or the other witnesses for that.

Original URL: http://www.investigativeproject.org/2763/keith-ellison-slurs

IPT News

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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