by Steven Emerson
Any doubt that this week's "Freedom Flotilla" to Gaza was about politics — and not about providing aid to needy Palestinians in Gaza — was erased Wednesday when Hamas leaders refused to let the flotilla's cargo in.
Among the reasons, Hamas doesn't want to give
It is the latest example of the fact that, while
Since Hamas' electoral victory in 2006, there have been many questions about how the designated terrorist group would govern. Fears that the militant organization would not moderate were validated when it violently seized control of territory from the Palestinian Authority in 2007 and became the de facto government of
All the while, American Islamist groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)—alleged champions of the Palestinian people who are more than happy to criticize Israel for what it views as similar acts of hostility— have sat on the sidelines while Hamas cracked down.
When it comes to Hamas aggression against the Palestinian people, the silence from American-Muslim organizations has been deafening.
While critics decry the Israeli blockade of
IGNORING HAMAS' OPPRESSIVE LAWS
Among the most repeated criticisms against the Israeli government is that the current political climate is analogous to apartheid
More recently, Hussam Ayloush, the Executive Director of CAIR-
"Imagine if Black African persons from
Although these groups are quick to denounce Israeli policies, they remain unwilling to do the same of Hamas. While the terrorist group ran, in part, on a platform to reform Fatah's corruption, since taking power it has forced restrictive provisions of Sharia on the residents of the Gaza Strip. Among the recent policies imposed by Hamas are bans on men working in women's beauty parlors, segregation of public beaches, and banning women from riding motorcycles.
IGNORING HAMAS' DESTRUCTIVE ECONOMIC POLICIES IN
CAIR and MPAC often blame the Israeli government for the bleak economic situation in the Gaza Strip. Frequently, this criticism takes the form of claims that
MPAC denounced Israeli defensive actions, saying:
"the collective punishment of
Similarly, CAIR announced:
"It is imperative that President Obama not only speak out strongly against this massacre of civilians but also demonstrate our nation's outrage at
While critical of
The response to this financial shortage has been disastrous for the Palestinian people. Unfair and strict tax laws have been implemented including a 60 percent tax on cigarettes, heavy taxes on property, and the seizure of more than a quarter of a million dollars from Arab Bank that had been frozen out of fear that it was funding terrorism.
Enforcement of these policies has been swift and harsh. Hamas has confiscated cigarettes and painkillers from Gaza shops and destroyed them, and jailed people who refused to comply with the newly imposed economic regulations.
Ignoring Hamas' Violent Oppression of Palestinians
Claiming concern for Palestinians, MPAC and CAIR have frequently accused
"The Israeli's have been maiming children, have been killing innocent people, have been bombing cities, no objection by the United States�all these things are happening, are happening in the name of the United States."
In a joint statement issued on May 20, 2004, American Muslim groups decried
But when Hamas engages in similar behavior? Silence.
More than simply imposing Sharia and strict financial regulations, Hamas has violently cracked down on the civilian population of the Gaza Strip. In March, Hamas executed two Palestinians who were suspected of "collaboration with
Most recently, and perhaps most controversially, Hamas has begun evicting
"They promised reform and change—instead they've destroyed our homes."
Contrast the willingness to criticize
Today, CAIR demands that President Obama condemn what it calls a massacre on the flotilla. It has never condemned Hamas or called on others to do so.In 2002, CAIR's Ibrahim Hooper was challenged to do just that, but refused saying "we're not in the business of condemning." As recent events suggest though, that's only half of the sentence. In reality, it concludes, "…unless it's against
Steven Emerson is an internationally recognized expert on terrorism and national security and considered one of the leading world authorities on Islamic extremist networks, financing and operations. He now serves as the Executive Director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, one of the world's largest archival data and intelligence institutes on Islamic and Middle Eastern terrorist groups.
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