Thursday, November 18, 2010

Is the Palestinian Authority Becoming an Islamic Theocracy?

by Khaled Abu Toameh

A Palestinian blogger faces life imprisonment for criticizing Islam on Facebook. The 26-year-old blogger, Waleed al-Husseini, was arrested recently by the Western-backed Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank.

His crime: He created a Facebook account named Allah and "insulted the divine essence."

Those who fund the Palestinian Authority must put pressure on its leaders to respect freedom of speech and refrain from imposing Islamic Sharia laws in the West Bank.

Otherwise, it will be only a matter of time before Palestinians in the West Bank are beheaded or have their hands amputated or are stoned to death for adultery and theft. If the Palestinian Authority is not made to understand the repercussions of its actions, the West Bank will be turned into another radical Islamic entity like the one that already exists in the Gaza Strip.

Al-Husseni, who is a Muslim from the city of Kalkilya, is accused of posting arguments in favor of atheism and describing the God of Islam as having the attributes of a "primitive Bedouin." According to Associated Press, he also called Islam a "blind faith that grows and takes over people's minds where there is irrationality and ignorance."

One could understand if this case happened in Iran, Saudi Arabia or the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. But the fact that it is happening under the Palestinian Authority, which claims to be a liberal and moderate regime, is extremely troubling.

If anything, this case shows that the Palestinian government is on its way to becoming an Islamic fundamentalist regime. The irony is that the young man was arrested for insulting Islam at a time when the Palestinian security forces are waging a massive crackdown on Hamas and Islamic Jihad supporters in the West Bank.

The arrest of al-Husseini is seen by some Palestinians as an attempt by Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad to appease Hamas. Others see the case as an attempt by the two men to show the Palestinians and the Arab and Islamic world that they are more Hamas than Hamas when it comes to "defending" Islam.

The arrest of the blogger coincided with the revival of "reconciliation" talks between Abbas's Fatah faction and Hamas in Syria. The two rival parties have been under heavy pressure from Palestinians to end their conflict and form a "national unity government."

Of course it is not all right to insult any religion, and there is nothing wrong with having laws that hold offenders accountable for such crimes. But by denouncing the Palestinian blogger as an infidel and threatening to sentence him to life in prison, the secular Palestinian government in the West Bank is acting as if it is in Tehran or in the Gaza Strip.

Khaled Abu Toameh

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

Britain Extends the White Flag of Surrender to Islamist Radicals

by A.Millar

"If we know anything," former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, once observed "we know that weakness is provocative." Mired in political correctness, Britain's "elites" apparently prefer to think of displays of weakness as "outreach."

Britain's "elites" seem not to notice Islamism, but prefer to believe that if those protesting against Islamism could be silenced, the problem of radical Islam would disappear. It was this mindset that saw parliament introducing a religious hate speech law, aimed at silencing criticism of Islam and Islamism, in the aftermath of the 7/7 bombings. Britain's establishment, in other words, has busied itself clearing a very large space in which the Islamists can operate.

Last month, the British coalition government unveiled The Strategic Defense and Security Review [pdf]. The defense budget will be slashed by 8% over the next four years. Britain's flagship HMS Ark Royal, Harrier jump jets, replacement Nimrod spy planes will be axed, as will 42,000 jobs in the armed forces and the Ministry of Defense .

The cuts are so severe that top military officers are said to be considering threatening resignation if the budget cuts go ahead as planned. US Secretary if Stare Hillary Clinton has also aired the US administration's concern over the size of the cuts.

The scrapping of the flagship aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal must surely have caused top navy brass to reflect on the decommissioning of the HMS Intrepid in 1982: only four months after decommissioning had begun, Argentina invaded the British territory of the Falklands Islands. In the ensuing 74-day war, Britain lost more than 250 servicemen, before reclaiming the territory.

Prior to the outbreak of conflict, it was almost universally believed that Britain could not defeat the Argentine forces. The HMS Intrepid had to be hurriedly brought back into commission, and sent to the Falklands to defend the islands.

Since British companies began oil exploration off the islands early in the year, Argentina has once again made clear its intention to bring them under Argentine sovereignty.

There is also the Spanish and British dispute over the British territory of Gibraltar.

Both are potentially serious situations, even if they do not rank very highly in the concerns of the British public. To them, unsurprisingly, terrorism is considered "a Tier One risk," if not the major threat to British security.

In the words of the Strategic Defense and Security Review: "The most significant terrorist threat to the UK and its interests overseas comes from the Al Qaeda senior leadership based in the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and their affiliates and supporters."

The risk sounds reassuringly far away.

It was, of course, intended to.

The sense that terrorism is a distant threat, however, is not only created by invoking the hinterlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan and "Al Qaeda senior leadership," but by the complete absence of an acknowledgment of the ideology behind the threat. Nowhere in the report is Islamism, or political Islam, mentioned.

Much of Europe is now openly, if reluctantly, acknowledging the problems wrought by political multiculturalism, not least of all how it has facilitated the rise of Islamic radicalism in European states.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said that multiculturalism has "utterly failed." However, Britain's "elite" – the government, media, and various protest groups – still insist on turning a blind eye to the new fascism. Rather than face down those calling for the destruction of Western civilization, their knee-jerk reaction appears to be to appease them.

Those who do speak up against Islamism are smeared. Some prominent anti-Islamist spokespeople claim also to have been threatened with arrest. With Britain's establishment afraid to mention Islamism, Islam's extremist radical adherents seem to have it easy in comparison to anti-Islamists.

Imagine what the group of Islamist radicals, calling itself Muslims Against Crusades, must have thought a few days ago. In Britain (as in Canada, New Zealand, and some other countries) it is a tradition to wear a poppy on November 11, to commemorate "Poppy Day," or what the Americans call "Armistice Day." The emblem comes from the poem In Flanders Fields by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (1872-1918) of the Canadian army, when Flanders had been the site of continual warfare during World War I, and Lt. McCrae had invoked the poppies that grew wild in its fields to suggest the scale of the fatalities there. The poppy, with its red petals, and black center, is also reminiscent of a wound by a gunshot, and, as such, is worn with a certain mixture of pride and humility.

About 50 members of Muslims Against Crusades [MAC] turned up in central London carrying the black flag of Islam and banners reading "Islam will dominate," "democracy go to Hell," and "Allah is our protector; you have no protector." They had come to burn a large poppy, a couple of feet square, and to disrupt the two minutes of silence for Britain's fallen soldiers.

The members of MAC began by shouting "Allahu Akbar," and continued to chant "British soldiers burn in Hell" throughout the two minutes. Over a loudspeaker, the leader of the organized mob gibed: "your dead are in fire, and our dead are in paradise." The group later posted a video of their disturbance.

Muslims Against Crusades appears to be the latest manifestation of al-Muhajiroun, an organization that has operated under various names – most recently as Islam4UK, headed by Anjem Choudary. It was officially banned in January, although Choudary was interviewed on the BBC Daily Politics show [video] the next day to discuss the ban, free speech, and his interest in transforming the UK into a state under Islamic sharia law. Since the emergence of MAC, Choudary has been careful not to be seen as its leader, making only the occasional cameo appearance, such as at a protest at the US embassy on 9/11, 2010, where MAC burned a US flag [video].

Al-Muhajiroun has been linked to one in seven terror-related convictions [pdf]; and MAC hardly disguises its militant Islamist agenda. Only a few months ago, the organization held a demonstration in central London, in which it called for Islamic sharia law to replace democracy in Britain [video] – "Whether you like it or not," as one of their placards read.

The day after Poppy Day, apparently a Conservative Party councilor, Gareth Compton, in Birmingham was arrested for posting on Twitter what he later described as an "ill-conceived attempt at humor," asking for a Muslim journalist to be stoned: "Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan't tell Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing really." If his "humor" is anything to go by, the councilor is crass, reckless, and stupid, and should, at the very least, be reprimanded by his party; but did his "tweet" sink to the level of a crime?

By contrast, after their demonstration of hatred for British troops, Britain, democracy, and so on, the police escorted members of MAC to the nearest public transport, apparently to ensure their safety. While escorted, the Islamists continued to wave their black flags and banners, apparently without complaint from the police.

The job of the police is to keep the peace and to protect the right of free speech, even of an organization such as MAC. No doubt protecting it leaves many officers with a bad taste in their mouths. The problem is not guaranteeing Islamists the same right to free speech as everyone else. The problem is that everyone else, and most especially those who demonstrate against Islamism, do not -- in flagrant examples of selective application of the law, and violations of equality under the law -- appear to be afforded the same level of protection.

When MAC agitates for sharia law, it is literally agitating for stoning, for the punishment of amputating the hand of thieves, and for the killing of himosexuals, and si forth. If the Caliphate they dream of were ever to be established, this group would be capable of stoning a female Muslim to death.

Arresting a dim-witted Conservative councilor, but not members of MAC, sends a message that can only embolden the UK's unsurprisingly ever-bolder Islamist contingent.

Since his organization was banned, Choudary has ramped up his rhetoric. He has been in contact with the militant Islamist group Revolution Muslim, based in New York; he told Reuters in September that the US was about ten years behind the UK in terms of Islamization, but that he believed that US-based groups were "on the verge of something big;" and he told CNN recently [video] that there are two camps in the world, one headed by president Obama, and the other headed by Osama bin Laden. "I am in the camp of the Muslims," Choudary proclaimed. "At the current time that is headed by Sheikh Osama bin Laden." Choudary insists that he is a peaceful admirer of al-Qaeda, although he cannot say the same for all of the young men he comes into contact with.

Choudary is happy to speak to them, and to represent bin Laden's "camp" in the UK. He is advertized as a speaker at the International Islamic Revival conference to be held in London on November 27. Other listed speakers include, among other oarticipants, Abdullah el-Faisal (accused of inspiring the Christmas day bomber), Omar Bakri Muhammad (probably via video link. Bakri Muhammad was recently sentenced in absentia in the Lebanon on terrorism charges), and Abu Izzadeen (recently released from prison in the UK, where he had been sentenced for terrorist fund raising).

With the British authorities arresting those protesting against Islamism – the ideology of promoting installing a Muslim Caliphate under sharia law, with or without terrorism, in Britain, the US, and around the globe – perhaps they might look at this group with a s little more seriousness. The government acknowledges that terrorism is a "Tier One" threat to the UK. Yet, the general, cultural surrender to political correctness, and to the raising of the black flag of Islam, gives the impression that the nation's "elites" have raised the white one.


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'Iranian Military Officers Won't Support Ahmadinejad'

by Ben Hartman

Dissident commander tells Paris crowd regime change must be internal process, says he backs "liberation" from the Islamic regime.

PARIS – Most Iranian military officers are not loyal to the regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and would not fight to protect the Islamic Republic, a former Iranian pilot who defected to France said on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Paris, Lieutenant Behzad Masoumi Legwan gave a speech saying: “It is a fact that the overwhelming majority of the officer corps are in no way obedient followers of the regime. On the contrary, they are looking for the first opportunity whereby they can openly display their true sentiments by standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Iran.”

Legwan added, “I and a significant segment of personnel and senior officers in the armed forces are in opposition to the Islamic Republic, and will never alter direction until such time that our nation has been liberated.”

The 39-year-old Legwan arrived in Paris earlier this month, over a year after he fled to Iraqi Kurdistan in September 2009. In Kurdistan, he made contact with representatives of the Green Wave Movement for Freedom of Iran and the Kurdish Democratic Party, who arranged for him to arrive safely in France.

Legwan was given refugee status by the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy, which also provided him with the necessary travel documents to make it to his new home.

Months later, he was joined in Paris by his wife, who was also given assistance by the French government.

Legwan and his wife have no children back in Iran, though the pilot did confirm that he still has many relatives in the country, whom he has not spoken to but who he assumes are in danger.

A spokesman for Green Wave said that Legwan and his wife are living under tight, round-the-clock security in Paris, though she would not comment on what, if any, role the French government plays in providing security for him.

During the press conference, the pilot related a harrowing story of repeated torture at the hands of Iranian security forces interrogators, who called him in for questioning on a number of occasions that began when he was accused of rebellion and sedition in 2001.

Before and following his eventual discharge in 2007, Legwan said he maintained contact with a network of dissenting military officers, who helped prepare him for his defection.

Though he had no clear figures on how large the network of dissident officers in Iran is, or how many support the cause, Legwan said through an interpreter that “for every official defector who makes it out, there are hundreds more back in Iran who feel the same and need our support.”

Legwan was joined on the podium by former consul of Iran in Oslo and executive director of Iranian Green Embassies Campaign Mohammed Reza Heydari, who defected to Norway in January 2010. Alongside the two dissidents was Amir Hossein Jahanchahi, the founding chairman of the Green Wave.

Jahanchahi minced no words in describing the global danger posed by the Iranian regime, whose president he likened to Hitler: “Iran is the root of all the problems in the region. All the conflicts in the region, including the Israel-Palestine conflict, Lebanese internal strife, and the Afghan and Iraqi wars all lead back to Iran.”

He added that Israel is in a lose-lose situation in regard to the Iranian nuclear program, saying “if Israel does not attack, there will be war; but if Israel does attack, it would be the biggest gift the Ahmadinejad regime could ever receive and would send the entire region into war.”

Jahanchahi accused the leaders of the West, in particular US President Barack Obama, of not understanding the severity of the situation in Iran, or the danger it poses to the entire world.

He added that the West “has no idea how many “Iranian agents are operating even just in Paris alone, and they aren’t necessarily Iranian or Shi’ite.”

Jahanchahi also said Western leaders are not doing enough to help the people of Iran bring about regime change, before adding that such change will and must be brought about internally by the Iranian people.

Ben Hartman

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U.S. Official: Israel Must Refrain From East Jerusalem Construction During Freeze

by Barak Ravid

Shas has said that it will oppose U.S. exchange offer if Jerusalem is included in the 90-day freeze; U.S. official: Whatever Netanyahu told Shas about Jerusalem is not true.

The United States will demand that Israel refrain from construction in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as part of a 90-day settlement freeze Secretary Hillary Clinton has requested in exchange for a package of incentives, a U.S. official told Haaretz on Thursday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scrambling to gather cabinet support for the settlement freeze. The ultra-Orthodox party Shas currently holds the balance of votes on the matter.

Eli Yishai and Benjamin Netanyahu

Eli Yishai and Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset.

Photo by: Emil Salman

Although the prime minister is unlikely to win their support, Shas ministers have said they will abstain in the vote, provided the final agreement specifically excludes East Jerusalem from the freeze.

Netanyahu met with Shas Chairman Eli Yishai and Minister Ariel Attias on Wednesday in a bid to convince them not to vote down the settlement freeze when the motion is brought to cabinet.

But the U.S. official told Haaretz that "If the moratorium deal goes through, we will continue to press for quiet throughout East Jerusalem during the 90 days, regardless of what Bibi [Netanyahu] is telling Shas now."

The official added that President Barack Obama had committed in an oral message to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last April that the U.S. expects both sides to refrain from "actions that would seriously undermine trust," including in East Jerusalem, and would respond with "steps, actions, or adjustments in policy" to any such provocative actions as long as negotiations are underway.

The U.S. administration has defined "actions that would seriously undermine trust" as including major housing announcements, demolitions, or evictions in East Jerusalem.

"This policy will continue if the negotiations resume under a 90-day moratorium and the Israelis know it", said the US official. "So whatever Bibi is telling Shas to reassure them about U.S. policy on East Jerusalem is not true."

Meanwhile, an official close to the Shas party said Thursday that Defense Minister Ehud Barak has promised to authorize construction of hundreds of apartments in the West Bank immediately after the U.S.-encouraged moratorium expires.

The Shas official said that party had received assurances that should it abstain from the cabinet vote, construction would take place in specifically ultra-Orthodox communities and other projects would be built in a settlement just outside Jerusalem.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been officially announced. The Defense Ministry couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Netanyahu said late Wednesday that he was close to reaching understandings on the agreement, and a U.S. official said that Washington was drafting a letter detailing understandings on the proposed 90-day moratorium. Netanyahu, who has said he would push hard to clinch a deal, also wants the U.S. letter to spell out that the proposed moratorium would be the last. A vote could come as early as Thursday, though officials said nothing had been scheduled by early morning. To entice the Israelis to sign on to the deal, the U.S. has proposed a package of incentives including a gift of 20 next-generation stealth fighter planes and U.S. pledges to veto anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations, Israeli officials have said.

During the 90-day freeze period, the U.S. hopes Israel and the Palestinians would make significant progress toward working out a deal on their future borders. With borders determined, Israel could then resume building on any territories it would expect to keep under a final peace deal.

Barak Ravid

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Israeli general: Iran Has Equipped Proxy's Rockets with Guidance Systems

by World Tribune

Officials and analysts said Iran and its allies in the Middle East have converted their unguided rockets into guided weapons. They said the conversion has transformed the rocket arsenals of Hamas, Hizbullah, Iran and Syria from what was termed a terror threat to a military threat.

"We are facing a significant leap in the projectile capability," Brig. Gen. Doron Gavish, chief of the Air Defense Command, said.

At an aerospace conference on Nov. 15, Gavish and leading defense executives and analysts asserted that Iran was converting its Scud-based missile and rocket arsenal into precision weapons, Middle East Newsline reported. They said the effort was facilitated by the availability of navigation and guidance systems based on the U.S.-based Global Positioning System and Glonass, the Russian acronym for GLObal NAvigation Satellite System.

"The enemy has achieved aerial supremacy without even having aircraft," Uzi Rubin, former head of the Israel Missile Defense Organization, said.

Rubin, regarded as a leading consultant on ballistic missiles, cited Iran's new rockets, which have been exported to Hizbullah and Syria. He said Iran's Fateh-110 rocket, with an enhanced range of 300 kilometers, has become fully-guided.

"There is guidance from launch, maybe throughout the entire flight," Rubin said.

As a result, officials and analysts said, Iran's new rockets could have a circle error of probability of up to 200 meters at a range of 90 kilometers. They said this would enable Hizbullah and Syria to strike Israeli critical facilities with dozens rather than hundreds of rockets.

Syria was also said to have been enhancing its Scud-D ballistic missile, tipped with a chemical warhead. Rubin said Syria, with technology from Iran and its allies, was believed to have reduced the Scud-D's circle error of probability from several kilometers to several hundred meters.

Rubin said Hizbullah and Syria have accumulated 13,000 missiles and rockets that could hit targets from Israel's northern border to the southern city of Beersheba

. Of those weapons, he said, 1,500 warheads could strike the Tel Aviv area. Hamas has also acquired rockets with a range to hit Tel Aviv.

"This is a revolution," Rubin said.

Officials said the new Iranian capability would force Israel to revise its missile defense doctrine. They said Israel was expected to deploy its multi-layered system by 2015.

"The new missile threat requires a revision of doctrine, and IMDO and the defense industries are working on this," Capt. Guy Aviram, a senior official in IMDO, said.

World Tribune

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Harper and Obama on Israel

by Isi Leibler

Having recently visited the US and Canada, I was left with a feeling of profound disquiet concerning the starkly contrasting attitudes toward Israel displayed by the leaders of these two neighboring countries.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has unquestionably emerged as Israel's greatest friend in the world, effectively assuming the role previously occupied by former Australian prime minister John Howard.

Harper's principled approach to Israel was demonstrated in an extraordinary address he gave in Ottawa to an interparliamentary conference for combating anti-Semitism. Courageously dismissing the traditional political correctness expressed by many liberals, who feel obliged to distance themselves from the Jewish state, Harper made it clear that under his leadership Canada would not "pretend" to be impartial on Israel even if that meant facing negative repercussions at the UN and other international organizations.

He said that the persecution of Jews had become a global phenomenon in which anti-Semitic ideologies targeted the Jewish people in their "homeland" and perversely exploited the "language of human rights to do so." He stressed that "while Israel is the only country in the world under attack, is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand.

"I know this because I have the bruises to show for it, that whether it is at the UN or any other international forum, the correct thing to do is simply to just go along with this anti-Israeli rhetoric, to pretend it is just about being evenhanded, and to excuse oneself with the label of ‘honest broker'... There are after all, a lot more votes in being anti- Israel than taking a stand.

"But as long as I am prime minister, whether it is at the UN or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand, whatever the cost. Not just because it is the right thing to do but because history shows us that the ideology of the anti-Israeli mob tells us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are a threat to us all."

Canada was in fact "punished" for its support of Israel when it was ignominiously defeated by Portugal, an almost bankrupt country, in its attempt to obtain a seat at the UN Security Council. All 57 seats of the Organization of the Islamic Conference opposed the Canadian nomination.

For some, Canada's defeat under such circumstances will be viewed as a badge of honor. But what made Canada's defeat even more outrageous was the role of the US. According to Richard Grenfell, a former press officer with the US mission to the UN, "US State Department insiders say that US Ambassador Susan Rice not only didn't campaign for Canada's election but instructed American diplomats to not get involved in the weekend leading up to the heated contest."

David Frum, a speechwriter to former president George W. Bush, also noted that "the US government has kept awfully quite about the suggestion that it went missing during the Security Council vote."

The US betrayal of its neighbor and long-standing ally is a chilling indication of the depths to which the Obama administration has stooped in its efforts to "engage" and appease Islamic and Third World rogue states.

Having joined the appallingly misnamed UN Human Rights Council dominated by dictatorships and Islamic nations, the US is now beginning to reap the harvest from this flawed policy. This was exemplified this month during the council's first "universal periodic review of human rights." In a session where US representative Esther Brimmer told the group that "it is an honor to be in the chamber," Cuba described the US blockade of Cuba as a "crime of genocide"; Iran, a country which stones women for adultery, urged the US "to combat violence against women"; and Libya complained about US "racism, racial discrimination and intolerance."

IN THE midst of this and despite repeated assurances concerning the "unbreakable bond of friendship" between the US and Israel, Obama is continuing to flex his muscles by beating up on Israel. Yet, his Middle East policies, which run counter to American public opinion, have failed disastrously, with US approval levels in the Muslim world even plummeting below 2008 levels.

Obama's most recent assault on Israel was conveyed from his childhood home, Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, the largest Islamic country in the world, which he praised as a model of tolerance worthy of global emulation.

While compared to Arab standards, Islamic Indonesia may be relatively tolerant, the president overlooked the recent opinion polls, in which 25 percent of the population expressed confidence in the leadership of Osama bin Laden, and that between 2004 and 2007, 110 Christian churches were closed due to pressure from local governments. In January of this year, 1,000 Muslims burned down two churches in Sumatra.

Needless to say, Indonesia does not recognize Israel, bans Israeli aircraft from flying over Indonesian territory and denies entry visas to Israeli citizens. It is especially galling that from such a country, Obama again saw fit to distance the US from Israel and aggressively condemn the Jewish state for building homes in the exclusively Jewish suburbs of its capital Jerusalem.

We must ask ourselves what endgame the US administration is pursuing. Obama knows that former prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinians everything and that they still refused to reach an accommodation because their ultimate objective remains the delegitimization of Jewish sovereignty. What they now seek is a non-demilitarized state based on the 1949 armistice lines to provide them or other Arab states with a launching pad to attack and destabilize Israel. Not surprisingly, the Europeans are more than happy to accept such a state of affairs. It would thus be catastrophic for the Obama administration to stand aside and enable this process to eventuate.

Yet, all indicators suggest that the Obama administration is determined to capitalize on Israel's international vulnerability. Despite the absence of any response from the Palestinians or the Arab world to Israel's 10-month settlement freeze, the US has literally bludgeoned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to breach his undertaking to the people of Israel and renew a settlement freeze, including areas that will undoubtedly remain in Israel.

Although on the surface the US appears to be offering incentives to Israel to persuade it to accede to its requests, anyone reading between the lines recognizes that nothing new is being offered. The exercise of the veto in the face of UN resolutions demonizing Israel and offering to maintain Israel's security needs have been fundamental tenets of the relationship between Israel and the US. In reality, Obama issued an ultimatum to Netanyahu by threatening to abandon Israel unless it capitulates to his demands.

Many of us today yearn for an American president who would be more considerate of our needs than the present incumbent. It would perhaps be an impossible dream to have someone of the caliber of Stephen Harper leading the US, but alas, today, we are becoming increasingly reconciled to the reality that the US president is no friend of Israel and is paving the way for an imposed settlement with potentially disastrous long-term repercussions on the security of our nation.

Isi Leibler

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Hizballah's Brash U.S. Supporters

by IPT News

(Part two of three) Green and yellow flags bearing an emblem of a hand grasping an assault rifle waved at a September rally in Washington. The flags of Hizballah, the Iranian-backed foreign terrorist organization, flying in the nation's capital, are a sign of defiance.

For a group responsible for more American deaths than any terrorist group other than al-Qaida, whose leaders continue to view America as the enemy, Hizballah enjoys surprisingly open support within pockets inside the United States.

From rallies like September's Al Quds Day protest featuring Hizballah flags and images of its leaders, to speeches endorsing its activity by national Islamist leaders, to a radical student movement that gives voice to its dogma, the Lebanese-based terrorist group that is considered an Iranian proxy is cast as a legitimate political player and heroic resistance movement.

In fact, the rally's purpose – honoring Al Quds Day – continues a legacy established 30 years ago by the late Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, a continuing source of inspiration to Hizballah.

Al Quds is an Arabic reference to Jerusalem and protests oppose Israel's control of the city. In addition to support for Hizballah, Al Quds rallies routinely feature incendiary rhetoric and call for Israel's destruction. The most recent event in Washington's Dupont Circle included a claim that the 9/11 attacks were a Zionist plot "in order to justify to occupy the land of the Muslims such as Afghanistan, such as Iraq, such as Pakistan, now moving on to the rest of the areas."

The Hizballah flag and images of the group's leaders, like Hasan Nasrallah, are ubiquitous at anti-Israel rallies throughout the country. A 2006 protest outside the Los Angeles Israeli consulate featured chants of "Long Live Hizballah." A 2000 rally in Lafayette Park featured the nation's most prominent Muslim political activist at the time garnering enthusiastic cheers when he asked the crowd if they supported the organization.

Ideological support for Hizballah in the United States, however, is not limited to flag waving and chanting.

U.S. government officials have accused one U.S. Muslim student group of providing intelligence to Hizballah's biggest financial and political supporter, Iran.

In 1987, a group of Persian speaking Muslims publicly pledged allegiance to the Iranian government and handed out literature written by the then- Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini during a conference in Dallas.

The group, the Muslim Students Association, Persian Speaking Group (MSA-PSG), is also known by its Farsi name, Anjoman Islamie.

Federal officials have repeatedly linked the group to Hizballah and the Iranian government. A 1994 FBI report on Hizballah activities in the U.S. obtained via the Freedom of Information Act said "Hizballah also is known to be in contact with the Anjoman Islamic [sic], an Iranian student group active in the United States."

In 1998 testimony before a U.S. Senate subcommittee, then-Chief of the International Terrorism Section of the FBI Dale Watson said that members of the Anjoman Islamie are heavily relied upon by the Iranian government "for low-level intelligence and technical expertise." Watson added that, "the Anjoman Islamie also provides a significant resource base which allows the government of Iran to maintain the capability to mount operations against the United States."

FBI Director Louis Freeh echoed Watson in testimony before the U.S. Senate in February of the following year. Freeh explained that American cells of Hizballah and other terrorist organizations revolve around collecting low-level intelligence and that Iran "relies heavily upon" students living in the United States for this type of information.

At a February 2009 event in California entitled "The 1979 Iranian Revolution and its Impact on the World," frequent MSA-PSG conference speaker Abdul Alim Musa, imam at Masjid al-Islam in Washington and founder of the As-Sabiqun movement, said Hizballah accomplished "the greatest, one of the greatest events of unity because it's a Shi'a organization, a movement that withstands all the pressure of bombing and killing and everything in Lebanon."

At a 1996 event in Johannesburg, South Africa, Musa defended Hizballah violence. "The minute the believers, the Hizballah, defend themselves after these crushing blows they are called terrorists, Musa said. "I think what happens a lot of times is they have a misnomer. They call the peace keepers, terrorists and the terrorist, peace keepers."

Hizballah has expressed its desire to export a Khomeini-style Islamic Revolution to Lebanon. According to the U.S. State Department, Iran continues to provide weapons, training and funding to Hizballah. The State Department website details that Hizballah is "closely allied with, and often directed by, Iran" and also receives political, diplomatic and organizational aid from Iran.

A 1985 Hizballah statement pledged loyalty to Iranian leadership. "We view the Iranian regime as the vanguard and new nucleus of the leading Islamic State in the world," the statement said. "We abide by the orders of one single wise and just leadership, represented by 'Wali Faqih' [rule of the jurisprudent] and personified by [Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah] Khomeini."

MSA-PSG convention rhetoric backs up Watson's assessment about the group's support for Iran. At the 2009 convention, Musa called the "survival of the Islamic Republic of Iran" the "greatest epic in modern, even ancient history." Musa added, "United States is going down. We're on the rise."

For the MSA-PSG's 2008 conference, Musa distributed a flyer calling for the importation of an Islamic revolution. "At this current stage, our quest is to emulate the life of our hero in contemporary times, Imam Khomeini, as we strive to establish the Islamic State of North America. His story is a story of ultimate success against unbelievable odds."

The flyer featured a quote from Khomeini, which in reads in part, "resolve to establish an Islamic government."

The MSA-PSG isn't the only student group hearing praise for Hizballah. At a 2008 Muslim Student Union event at the University of California, Irvine, Abdel Malik Ali, imam of Masjid al-Islam in California, called Hizballah "people with honor and respect. They're not going to allow themselves to be occupied, to be degraded, to be oppressed."

The most common argument for Hizballah support in the United States is summed up in the last part of Ali's statement. A campaign to cast the group as a legitimate political movement and as a "resistance movement" against Israeli threats runs throughout organized American Islamist organizations.

At the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)'s 2009 conference, guest speaker author Cathy Sultan was not challenged when she said "Hizballah still serves a role. I think that Lebanon is still under constant threat from its southern neighbor. And I see nothing wrong, as long as Hizballah abides by certain rules and regulations. I see no reason why Hizballah should not remain armed."

It's an argument advocates have been making for more than a decade.

Salam al-Marayati, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) executive director, said in a 2006 radio interview that Hizballah is "basically part of a resistance movement against Israeli aggression."

He made a similar argument on PBS' Newshour in 1999. "If the Lebanese people are resisting Israeli intransigence on Lebanese soil, then that is the right of resistance and they have the right to target Israeli soldiers in this conflict," he said. "That is not terrorism. That is a legitimate resistance."

In 1998, MPAC Senior Advisor Maher Hathout staunchly defended the militant group at the National Press Club. Hizballah, he said, "is fighting only for freedom, an organized army, limiting its operations against military people, this is a legitimate target against occupation."

In a 2003 policy paper, MPAC challenged whether the United States was correct in designating Hizballah as a terrorist group.

In a similar paper four years earlier, the defense of Hizballah as a liberation movement was taken further, with MPAC legitimizing the group's violent actions and kidnappings. For example, the 1983 bombing of U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon that killed 241 U.S. Marines was not terrorism, the 1999 MPAC policy paper asserted.

"Yet this attack, for all the pain it caused, was not in a strict sense, a terrorist operation. It was a military operation, producing no civilian casualties -- exactly the kind of attack that Americans might have lauded had it been directed against Washington's enemies," the report said.

Other supporters argue that Hizballah is a legitimate political party in Lebanon. Despite its ugly side, they say, Hizballah is a multi-faceted organization that also provides social services. "You may think of Hizballah as a terrorist organization, and certainly they have engaged in terrorist acts, but they are also the most dynamic political and social organization in Lebanon," writer and Muslim scholar Reza Aslan explained in a 2009 speech.

Likewise, CAIR-Michigan Executive Director Dawud Walid emphasized earlier this year to an audience at Washentenaw County Community College in Ann Arbor, that there are "different wings" of Hizballah. "They run schools, hospitals, humanitarian aid, and they have a military wing," he said. "But the whole organization has been lumped as a terrorism organization."

The U.S. Supreme Court specifically rejected the legitimacy of this argument in its opinion which recently upheld a federal statute which prohibits material support of any part of a designated terror organization:

"'[F]oreign organizations that engage in terrorist activity are so tainted by their criminal conduct that any contribution to such an organization facilitates that conduct.' ... 'Material support meant to 'promot[e] peaceable, lawful conduct,' ... can further terrorism by foreign groups in multiple ways.... Such support frees up other resources within the organization that may be put to violent ends. It also importantly helps lend legitimacy to foreign terrorist groups—legitimacy that makes it easier for those groups to persist, to recruit members, and to raise funds—all of which facilitate more terrorist attacks. 'Terrorist organizations do not maintain organizational 'firewalls' that would prevent or deter . . . sharing and commingling of support and benefits.' ... '[I]nvestigators have revealed how terrorist groups systematically conceal their activities behind charitable, social, and political fronts.' ... 'Indeed, some designated foreign terrorist organizations use social and political components to recruit personnel to carry out terrorist operations, and to provide support to criminal terrorists and their families in aid of such operations.'"

Holder et al. v. Humanitarian Law Project at al, 561 U.S. , ___, 130 S. Ct. 2705, 2725 (2010), (citations omitted).

See part one of our series here. In part three, we examine prosecutions of Hizballah supporters in the United States, from criminal operations to raise money to attempts to procure weapons and other tactical equipment.

IPT News

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

The World Turned Upside Down

by Mark Tapson

There are few more trenchant, fearless, and necessary cultural critics than Melanie Phillips. A columnist for London’s Daily Mail and winner of the 1996 Orwell Prize for journalism, she is the author of a number of books, most notably the brilliant Londonistan (2006), which chronicled the cultural decay that paved the way for England to become the epicenter of “Eurabia.”

Now her wide-ranging new book, The World Turned Upside Down, provocatively subtitled “The Global Battle Over God, Truth, and Power,” chronicles how the West has moved from the Enlightenment to the Age of Unreason, when rationality and truth have given way to ideology and propaganda. “Power,” she writes, “has now hijacked truth and made it subservient to its own ends. The result is a world turned upside down.”

I was honored to meet Melanie Phillips at her speaking engagement Monday at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons Hotel, and she graciously agreed to an interview.

MT: Ms. Phillips, you begin your new book by saying that on diverse issues ranging from Princess Diana to the war in Iraq to global warming, “society seems to be in the grip of a mass derangement.” What made you suspect that these random issues might be connected, and what explanation did you find for this phenomenon?

MP: Over many years, I wrote about a number of controversial issues which appeared to be all different from each other — ‘child-centered’ education theory, the consequences of divorce and lone parenthood, immigration, multiculturalism, minority rights, man-made global warming, the war in Iraq, Israel and the origin of the universe. Because they were all so disparate, it took me some time to realize that they had a couple of big things in common. They were fundamentally anti-west (yes, even the militant atheists who were after all gunning for the core beliefs of western civilization). And they were all issues on which, in the progressive circles that controlled public discourse, only one point of view was permitted. All dissent was mocked, vilified, and treated as totally beyond the pale. But since that dissent very often consisted of stating the facts in the face of ideology, prejudice or even – as with the deranged and obsessional hysteria against Israel – genocidal bigotry, reason itself along with the defense of life and liberty seemed to be turning into truths that dared not speak their name.

Please don’t mistake me – I’m not saying that there aren’t legitimate differences of opinion on such issues. But what I’m talking about goes beyond genuine disagreement. I’m talking about the sheer impossibility of bringing facts and evidence to the table, as it were, because the ‘progressives‘ hold that there simply cannot be any alternative to their ‘received truth’. They are in short impervious to reason, so that those who try to inject some evidence or alternative ways of thinking into the debate are demonized as evil or insane. These ideologies rest very often upon distortions, fabrications and lies, and yet intimidate opposition into silence. And that’s very frightening. It’s a totalitarian mindset.

At the same time, I also noticed that society seemed to be becoming generally more and more irrational. Emotion was increasingly taking the place of reason. There were displays of mass hysteria, as seen on the streets of Britain with the death of Princess Diana when epidemic ‘grief’ over someone no one knew other than through her carefully manipulated (and distorted) media image created an ugly mood that even threatened the monarchy itself. A very similar mass irrationality around a cult of personality onto whom people projected their hopes and fears took hold in America, when Barack Obama gained the Presidency having been portrayed, literally, as a second Jesus Christ – and during a campaign in which the copious evidence of his extremist background and associations was simply air-brushed out of the picture.

In addition, more and more people were subscribing to a range of weird and wacky beliefs, superstitions and cults, ranging from parapsychology, séances and ‘healing’ crystals to bizarre conspiracy theories involving the US government, UFOs and – almost invariably – the Jews.

I came to the conclusion that these apparently disparate issues and phenomena were intimately connected. Western society – particularly in Britain, but many of these trends were also on display in the US and other western countries – was just losing the plot wholesale. It seemed to be experiencing a wholesale repudiation of reason and progress, and was moving backwards into a darker, pre-modern pattern of anti-enlightenment and bigotry.

This was particularly striking, since western society tells itself that it is the very acme of reason – so much so that, particularly in Britain, progressives dismiss organized religion as just so much irrational mumbo-jumbo which stands in opposition to science, human rights and modernity. Yet these very people want to return the west to some pre-industrial nirvana of mud huts and communal living in order to ’save the planet’, take the side of jihadists who want to destroy human rights, and mount a kind of secular inquisition to destroy the careers and reputations of those who dare assert scientific evidence against ideological dogma.

I came eventually to the conclusion that, far from ushering in an age of perfect reason, equality and human rights, the secular onslaught against the Judeo-Christian heritage had seriously undermined rationality, the equal dignity of all human beings and their human rights. And indeed – curious as this may seem – at the very core of all these civilization-busting ideologies lies an animus against Jews, the religious codes of Judaism or the right to national self-realization of the Jewish people.

MT: You write that ordinary people seem to be more connected to reality, and that it is the intelligentsia who seem to be taking the most irrational and intolerant positions. What do you think accounts for this divide?

MP: On the issues of the day, it is the intelligentsia that sets the tone and content of the debate – and it’s the intelligentsia where the most irrational and bigoted views on these issues are to be found. That’s because the core of this phenomenon is the replacement of truth by ideology. Rather than following the evidence to arrive at a conclusion, ideology wrenches facts to fit a prior governing idea. Ideology is thus intrinsically inimical to both truth and reason.

It is the intelligentsia which is attracted to ideology – or the dogma of a governing idea. Non-intellectual people have little time for the rarefied world of theorizing, being generally too preoccupied with the daily grind of making a living. It is the universities where the ideologies of moral and cultural relativism and post modernism took an axe to the concepts of morality and objective truth; and so it is the intellectual classes – the supposed custodians of reason – who have turned into the destroyers of reason.

Moreover, the most highly educated are often the most high-minded. They therefore tend to be drawn towards theories promising utopia. But utopia never arrives. So frustrated utopians invariably create scapegoats upon whom to take out their anger. Hence the various secular inquisitions.

So the failure of the environmental vision of spiritual one-ness between man and nature has seen mankind blamed for despoiling the planet and imperiling the survival of life on earth. The failure to arrive at a perfect state of reason in which all injustice and suffering are ended has been blamed on religious believers. The failure of the apparatus of international law and human rights to prevent war and tyranny has been blamed on America. And the failure of the existence of Israel to bring about the end of ‘the Jewish problem’ has been blamed on those same Jews for its continuation.

MT: Speaking of “the Jewish problem,” you write at length about Jew-hatred in the book. Why is that so central to your argument?

MP: It’s important for two main reasons. First, because in our supposed ‘age of reason’ it is dismaying, to say the least, that open Jew-hatred has now become an apparently unexceptionable part of respectable discourse. Second, because the extraordinary conclusion I came to was that ideologies which would seem to have no connection at all to the Israel issue – such as environmentalism, moral relativism or scientism, for heaven’s sake – all turn out, when you scratch the surface, to have at their core a hatred of Judaism, Jewish moral precepts or Jewish peoplehood.

In other words, you can’t really understand the suicidal culture wars the west is waging against itself unless you understand the current eruption of Jew-hatred; and you can’t understand the current eruption of Jew-hatred unless you understand the suicidal culture wars the west is waging against itself.

MT: You note that the Enlightenment, which sought to sweep away all the problems of the world by freeing the intellect from religious suppression, has proven to be a failed utopian experiment. Where did the Enlightenment go wrong?

MP: It’s a mistake, I think, to assume that the Enlightenment was a homogeneous movement of thought. As Gertrude Himmelfarb has written, there were actually three Enlightenments – the English/Scottish, the French, and the American, and they were all different. While the English/Scottish Enlightenment thinkers were merely against clerical abuses but assumed the Judeo-Christian moral framework continued to set the ethical guidelines for society, French thinkers were against all religion.

What we are seeing today is the dominance of that French atheist position but also, even more important, the dominance of counter-Enlightenment thinking. This was embodied in the German Romantic movement which represented an onslaught against reason – and foreshadowed the totalitarian movements of the last century of which our current deformation of thinking, cultural totalitarianism, is but a mutant manifestation.

MT: Toynbee famously said that civilizations die by suicide, not murder. Are you optimistic or pessimistic that Western civilization can reverse its slide into unreason, re-embrace its Judeo-Christian values, and defend itself against the enemies of modernity and truth?

MP: Um… pass! Look, there are two historical examples that I have constantly in my mind. One is 18th century England, when people like me were sitting around in coffee-houses predicting the end of Britain because of the general culture of debauchery and moral collapse. Yet this turned into the 19th century, one of the greatest periods of British power in the whole of its history. So that’s one historical example. The other is ancient Rome – which collapsed.

So which will it be? Who can tell? Prediction is a mug’s game, is it not? The fact is that the ordinary people are beside themselves with anxiety and fury about the undermining and willed collapse by the intelligentsia of the culture to which they belong. Will they pull the west back from the edge of the cultural cliff? Who knows? All we can do is sound the alarm as loudly as we can.

Mark Tapson

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US State Dept: Israel Similar to Iran, Iraq and Sudan

by Chana Ya'ar

The U.S. State Department under Secretary Hillary Clinton claims that Israel violates religious freedom at the same level as Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan and China.

“Religious freedom can be restricted in a variety of ways, from the overt to the subtle,” explains the department's annual International Religious Freedom Report on 198 countries and territories surveyed by its foreign service personnel, released Wednesday for the period July 1, 2008 - June 30, 2009. A wide spectrum of efforts are used to undermine such rights, extending to multilateral, regional and global arenas, the report continues.

Part I of the Executive Summary discusses overall conditions during the reporting period in countries where “violations of religious freedom have been noteworthy.” Israel is listed among 30 nations selected for this category -- including Afghanistan, China, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen -- due to the emphasis of the Jewish State on maintaining the status quo with regard to respect for Jewish legal standards.

Israel's adherence to specific Jewish legal (halakhic) strictures are the basis for some of the American claims, though the State Department report does not note that non-adherence to these would violate Jewish religious freedoms. (For last year's State Department denunciation of Israel and responses, click here.)

The report complained, for instance, that three Messianic Jews were denied the right to immigrate to Israel during the reporting period. Other issues of contention included Israel’s unwillingness to recognize conversions performed in the country which do not meet criteria under Torah law, identification cards (Teudot Zehut) that differentiate between Jews and non-Jews, and the authority over marriages and burials exercised by the Chief Rabbinate, which is Orthodox.

All religions have freedom of worship in Israel -- unlike the other four countries mentioned above.

In addition, the report erroneously claimed that Israel extends protection only to Jewish holy sites, rather than to all holy sites as is mandated under the law. “The 1967 Protection of Holy Sites Law applies to holy sites of all religious groups within the country and in all of Jerusalem, but the Government implements regulations only for Jewish sites,” complained the report. “Non-Jewish holy sites do not enjoy legal protection under it because the Government does not recognize them as official holy sites."

Outright Lie

In fact, this last is an outright lie. Government security forces often prevent Jews from even approaching the Temple Mount, and numerous Jews have been arrested -- including a young bride and her father at one point -- for infractions as spurious as simply "moving their lips" on the site, because the area has been designated an official holy site for Muslims, where the Al-Aqsa mosque is located.

All Islamic sites are controlled by the Waqf, also known as the Islamic Religious Authority – due to the preference of the imams themselves, and under a special arrangement. Much damage has been caused and thousands of priceless artifacts from the First and Second Temple eras have been destroyed due to damage caused by construction near the Dome of the Rock mosque – which rests on the Temple Mount, where the Jewish Holy of Holies is located -- authorized by the Waqf.

Likewise the churches, which each fall under the authority of their own religious groups. For example, the Vatican controls its own churches, convents and monasteries, and even other properties. Israel has been involved in delicate talks with the Vatican over the issue of sovereignty of some 21 disputed properties in the Land of Israel for more than 11 years – and in fact, the Holy See has not even paid taxes on most of the properties.

To read the 2009 International Report on Religious Freedom's specific section on Israel, click here.

To read the U.S. State Department's full 2009 International Report on Religious Freedom, click here.

Chana Ya'ar

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Why Israel Shouldn’t Do Foolish Things

by Jennifer Rubin

The Palestinians’ response to the Obami-inspired 90-day settlement moratorium offer simply reinforces the foolishness of the endeavor:

An Arab League official said Monday that a possible three-month-long temporary freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank would be unlikely to be enough to prompt Palestinian and Arab support for Mideast peace talks.

“If the news is true about there being a settlement freeze that excludes Jerusalem and that takes the criticism off Israel, I cannot imagine that would be acceptable to the Palestinian side or the Arab side,” said Hesham Youssef, an official with the office of the secretary general of the Arab League.

Of course it’s not “enough.” It’s never enough. Meanwhile, the Palestinians’ own refusal to recognize the Jewish state (oh yes, that) goes unremarked upon. And no, Israel will get little or zero credit for knuckling under to another incarnation of the same fundamentally flawed approach, which has not only set back the cause of peace but also has diminished whatever semblance of credibility Obama has been able to cling to.

But does Israel still get the planes? No, seriously. If the “hardware” was the reward for Bibi putting his government at risk and reducing his own credibility (when Israel says “no,” does the government really mean no?), it seems only fair that Israel should get to keep the bribe planes. And what about the promised veto of anti-Israel resolutions? Bibi has now, it seems, established the precedent that the support of the U.S. in international bodies is a bargaining chip between the U.S. and the Jewish state.

Those cheering or excusing the latest effort to “rescue” the peace talks make a fundamental error. The U.S. is acting in foolish and desperate ways. Israel cannot afford to be either, or to convey to the Jewish state’s enemies, especially the Iranian regime, that it will be cowed by the U.S.’s pressure tactics. Israel must, even if the U.S. does not, convey that its oft-repeated positions are more than words. Call it linkage — but if Israel isn’t serious about a futile settlement extension, is it serious about more weighty matters?

Bibi, in essence, blinked –something for which he is certainly deserving of criticism. Is it hard navigating the waters with an American president as hostile as this one to the Jewish state? Sure, but indulging foolishness is not a recipe designed to help improve the security of the U.S. or Israel.

Jennifer Rubin

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Ending “the Occupation” Is Not a Palestinian Priority

by Evelyn Gordon

In yesterday’s post, I explained why a settlement freeze decreases Palestinian motivation to make a deal by ensuring that foot-dragging entails no price. But conventional wisdom on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would counter that this argument has an obvious flaw. Surely, its advocates would retort, Palestinians already have the strongest of all possible motivations to sign a deal quickly — their burning desire to end the hated occupation?

In fact, no. As a new poll by the Ramallah-based Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre reveals, the occupation is nowhere near the top of ordinary Palestinians’ priority list — and neither are the settlements or Jerusalem.

The number-one concern for ordinary Palestinians is the economy, cited by a plurality of 22.4 percent. In second place is Hamas-Fatah reconciliation, at 18 percent. The hated occupation was relegated to third place, with 15.5 percent, followed by “the siege on Gaza” (9.4 percent). The settlements and Jerusalem trailed far behind, at 6.6 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively.

This means that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has no incentive to make any kind of deal because ordinary Palestinians don’t care enough about ending “the occupation” to make them willing to swallow the concessions a deal will entail.

A 2001 poll found that a whopping 80 percent of Palestinians believe “the rights and needs of the Palestinian people” cannot be met as long as Israel exists, regardless of its borders. An agreement would thus require them to accept that their “rights and needs” will not be perfectly met. It would spell the end of long-cherished dreams like “returning” the refugees and their descendants to Israel, or otherwise turning back the clock.

But giving up a cherished dream is hard. Most people will do it only in exchange for a major improvement in reality. And if settlements and the occupation are not actually oppressive enough to rate as burning issues for ordinary Palestinians, a deal cannot produce the massive improvement in reality that would compensate for abandoning their dreams.

Moreover, a people that views Hamas-Fatah reconciliation as more important than ending the occupation is clearly not interested in a deal; given Hamas’s commitment to “armed struggle” and Israel’s ultimate eradication, reconciliation can only take place on terms that would preclude any agreement.

Abbas already appears to have made his choice. Even as he has adamantly refused to negotiate with Israel for the last two years, his Fatah party has been engaged in ongoing talks with Hamas. And at a meeting with Fatah leaders in Ramallah on Monday, he told them reconciliation with Hamas was “at the top of the PA’s agenda.”

Under intense pressure from Washington, he may nevertheless agree to go through the motions of talking with Israel. But anyone who expects a deal to emerge from these talks is deluding himself.

Evelyn Gordon

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The Contagion Spreads: Jew Attacked in Genoa by Palestinian, Italians Flee


By now, the relationship between anti-Israel propaganda and anti-Semitism is readily understood by everyone but the most evasive. Arab and Muslim extremists in the Middle East portray Israel as a monstrous nation and its inhabitants worthy targets of violence. It takes a while, but eventually, this hostility expresses itself in anti-Jewish incidents in Europe and to a lesser extent, in North America. Some people express outrage, but for the most part bystanders do nothing and in some instances, run away from the confrontation for fear of putting themselves in harm's way.

One recent manifestation of this process took place in Italy where an Israeli Jew, a student at Genoa University, was menaced by a Palestinian who apparently has done this sort of thing in the past. According to Ynet, his fellow students tried to protect him for a while, but eventually dissappeared in the face of the assault. The police refused to investigate the attack until pressed by Jewish community leaders. The student who was attacked is abandoned by most of his friends and condemned for calling the police:

"Only one lone Italian student came up to me and said that he was willing to testify to the police about what happened. All the rest – even the guy who shares my dorm room and witnessed the incident – saw everything but are afraid to be associated in the case. The house mother at the dorms came up to me and said, 'why are to turning to the police? It will ruin his life.' In her opinion, if I'm kicked out of the dorms it would be the best solution."

Robert Wistrich from Hebrew University in Jerusalem offers some insight into the process in a Nov. 15, 2010 interview in Arutz Sheva:

Wistrich explained that anti-Semitism today is directed not just towards Israel but towards Jews around the world. According to him, most people identify anti-Semitism with very obvious symbols and images, such as Nazis, fascist demonstrations, or calls to throw the Jews out of a particular country. However, as he explained, these images are much less visible today, and anti-Semitism in 2010 has changed its form. “In the last 40 years, the most dynamic form of anti-Semitism is the one that is transmitted through anti-Zionism and hatred of Israel,” explained Wistrich.

He believes that anti-Semitism based on hatred of Israel is easier to carry out since it is legal in most countries to say anything one wants against Israel and not be prosecuted by the law.

Addressing the question of whether differences exist between anti-Semitism of the past and modern anti-Semitism, Wistrich said that there are not many differences today, since boycotts of Jews which existed then and still exist now. “[A] boycott works first of all against the Jews who live in Israel and it works against Jews who are supportive of Israel. This is a clear continuity from the classic anti-Semitism that we knew in the past.”

The contagion spreads.


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An Extremist Sharia Makeover

by Joe Kaufman

For the past month-and-a-half, the Islamic Society of Milwaukee (ISM) has been sponsoring a program attempting to whitewash the effect that Sharia law, if implemented, would have on American society. Teaching the courses was Zulfiqar Ali Shah, an individual tied to various radical Muslim groups, including a Hamas charity. Does the ISM really believe that a known extremist can put a good face on Sharia, and what does this say about those who advocate for Sharia?

Sharia or Islamic law is the legal code which determines how Muslims lead their lives – for many, every aspect of their lives. Like any judicial code, it is subject to interpretation. It could deal with simple matters, such as how one makes monetary investments, or it could be used towards the most horrific practices of barbarity, as seen in numerous areas throughout the Muslim world.

Zulfiqar Ali Shah is the Religious Director of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee (ISM), located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Born in Pakistan, he obtained his Masters degree in Sharia law from Islamic University in Islamabad. He is what is known as a “Sharia scholar.” In fact, he is the former President of the now-defunct Sharia Scholars Association of North America (SSANA).

As such, one would think that Shah would be the perfect person to discuss the benefits – if there are any – that Sharia law can bring to Americans.

From October through November, 2010, that was Shah’s goal, in a six-week course that he led held at the Men’s Masjid of ISM, entitled ‘Is Islamic Shari’ah a Threat to America?’ However, when one looks at Shah’s background, one might not only view Sharia law as a threat, but they may view Shah as a threat, as well.

Prior to his employment at ISM, Shah was involved with a variety of Muslim extremist groups. One of them was the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the American arm of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the Muslim Brotherhood of Pakistan.

Shortly before till shortly after the September 11th attacks, ICNA was using the web to urge its followers to give “material support” to groups connected to al-Qaeda. Attached to this call for material support was a link to the main website that was raising funds and recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda and the Taliban,, a.k.a. Jihad in Chechnya. Also, on this same web page were links to the official websites of Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban.

Shah was the National President (Ameer) of ICNA, while this was going on.

In August 2006, ICNA was the top donor to JI’s main charity, the al-Khidmat Foundation (AKF), while AKF took a delegation to the home of the global head of Hamas, Khaled Mashaal, to hand deliver him six million rupees ($99,000). The purpose of the money was to provide assistance to Hamas for the perpetration of future terrorist attacks against Israelis, or in Mashaal’s words, to “wage jihad.”

Shah was the National President of ICNA, while this was going on, as well.

Between his terms as ICNA President, Shah became Chairman and CEO of the now non-existent (in part due to the efforts of this author) Universal Heritage Foundation (UHF), a 31-acre Islamic propagation center, located in Kissimmee, Florida, just minutes from Walt Disney World. Muzammil Siddiqi, the former National President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), another extremist Muslim organization, co-founded UHF with Shah.

One of the keynote speakers for the group’s December 2003 inaugural event (‘Islam for Humanity’) was supposed to be Abdur-Rahman al-Sudais, the chief cleric of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Past statements al-Sudais made, including his call for the murder of Jews, Christians and Americans, led to his appearance being cancelled and the venue being changed.

Shah, himself, has also been known to make offensive statements towards others. In June 2001, he stated about Jews, “If we are unable to stop the Jews now, their next stop is Yathrib (The Prophet’s city of Medina), where the Jews used to live until their expulsion by Prophet Muhammad. That’s the pinnacle of their motives.”

Shah is, as well, seen in video footage obtained by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) praising terror fighters (mujahideen) in Kashmir and calling for violent jihad, at a Cleveland, Ohio rally held in July 2001.

Another radical Muslim organization Shah was involved in was KindHearts, an Islamic “charity” that was established in January 2002 and was shut down by the FBI in February 2006. KindHearts was found to have provided more than $16 million to Hamas.

At the time that the doors of KindHearts’ offices were being padlocked and KindHearts’ funds were being frozen, Shah was acting President of the group’s South Asia Division.

While Shah’s credentials as a “Sharia scholar” may be exceptional, all of the above has shown that he is the last person to be lecturing Americans on what is good or not good for their country. Indeed, with his involvement in KindHearts alone, he probably shouldn’t be giving lectures anywhere, except behind prison bars.

Is Islamic Sharia a threat to America?

Maybe the answer lies with those who are teaching it.

Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate and the founder of CAIR Watch. He has been responsible for the closure of at least one terror-related charity and has convinced a number of government officials to shun the Hamas front group, CAIR. In June 2009, he won a lawsuit brought against him by seven Dallas-area radical Muslim organizations.

Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor assisted with this report.

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Collaborating With the Enemy in the War on Terror

by Rich Trzupek

The American Civil Liberties Union [1] (ACLU) and the Center for Constitutional Rights [2] (CCR) have injected themselves into the war on terror as never before, leaping to the defense [3] of the man often described as the spiritual leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula: Anwar Al-Awlaki. There’s little doubt that Al-Awlaki provided aid and inspiration to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian “underpants bomber,” and to the Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad. He has also called for the murder of civilians like Salman Rushdie and the young Seattle cartoonist who initiated “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.” Yet, despite the danger that Al-Awlaki continues to represent to the free world, the ACLU and the CCR filed suit in federal court to protect the radical cleric’s “rights.”

Al-Awlaki’s father, Nasser Al-Awlaki, asked the two groups for help after he learned that the Obama administration has targeted his son for assassination. Because the cleric was born in New Mexico, the ACLU and CCR maintain that he is entitled to due process in America’s legal system. Defending his organization’s decision to defend Al-Awlaki, Vincent Warren, the executive director of the CCR, said:

That’s what we do. We file lawsuits. …[W]e don’t believe the US should be wreaking violence for political reasons. It should be up to a court, not just the US government, to decide whether al-Awlaki poses a threat. The US should not be conducting the killing of US citizens outside the legal process, far away from any battlefield.

The proposition that the US is “wreaking violence for political reasons” is patently ludicrous. The United States is at war with a determined enemy and the fact that this particular conflict involves asymmetrical warfare does not relieve the president of the United States from his duties as commander in chief. Al-Awlaki isn’t “far away from any battlefield” because he and his fellow terrorists have defined the battlefield as the whole planet earth. Furthermore, the congressional war resolution passed on September 14, 2001 remains in force. That resolution authorizes the president to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against nations, organizations or persons that he deems to have helped bring about the 9-11 attacks and to use such measures to prevent future acts of international terrorism. Thus, when Al-Awlaki decided to join forces with al-Qaeda, he not only became an enemy of America, he forfeited his rights as an American. He’s a combatant.

Al-Awlaki is no more entitled to legal protections in a time of war than a Confederate soldier was in 1863. What the ACLU and the CCR are suggesting is the equivalent of requiring Union soldiers to obtain writs from a judge approving each and every target wearing a grey uniform before pulling a trigger at Gettysburg. In time of war, it is both the president’s right and his duty to decide how to prosecute that war and where to attack the enemy.

At least one CCR board member has gone public with her misgivings over the organization’s decision to take this case. Karima Bennoune, a law professor at Rutgers School of Law who is of Algerian descent, broke with the CCR on this issue. It should be noted that Bennoune leans far to the Left when it comes to prosecuting this war. She has supported CCR’s efforts to oppose both enhanced interrogation methods and rendition. Nevertheless, Bennoune had this to say [4] about her organization’s efforts to defend Al-Awlaki: “Anwar al-Awlaki is not a detainee; he is still at liberty and able to gravely harm others by inciting and advocating murder,” she said. Bennoune continued:

Since the inception of the case there has been increased mystification of who Anwar al-Awlaki is in liberal and human rights circles in the United States. This may in part have resulted from the fact that a highly reputable organization like CCR was willing to represent his interests, and described him only as “a Muslim cleric” or “an American citizen,” and repeatedly suggested that the government did not possess evidence against Awlaki.

Both the CCR and the ACLU have drifted well beyond their stated purpose over the years and their defense of Al-Awlaki is the latest example of this trend. Rather than defending the rights of all American citizens, both organizations now act as advocates for their preferred causes. For example, the ACLU uses some of its considerable resources to oppose the rights [5] of ordinary Americans to protest against mosques being built in their communities and to speak the truth about Islam. A statement by the ACLU asserts in part:

The Constitution guarantees the right of private citizens to protest, and the ACLU would vigorously defend that right if infringed by the government. But making Muslims – or any other religious group – feel unwelcome in local communities conflicts with our Founders’ vision of religious liberty and tolerance.

Yet the ACLU’s outrage here is clearly selective. Citizens stand up to make the reprehensible Westboro Baptist Church feel “unwelcome” all of the time. These Americans aren’t in conflict with the “Founders’ vision of religious liberty and tolerance.” Rather, they are standing up to a group of hateful bigots who are making a mockery of religious liberty and tolerance. Many Americans oppose the construction of mosques in their communities for the same reason. It is more and more apparent that Islam, even when presenting itself as “moderate,” is all too often a front for the Islamist program, which is fundamentally inconsistent with religious liberty and tolerance. Yet the ACLU seeks to deprive concerned Americans of the right to say so.

This is the very brand of Islam that Anwar Al-Awlaki believes in. He speaks for that portion of the worldwide Muslim community which believes that Islam and Islamic law must be the dominant forces in the world. Toward that end, Al-Awlaki, like all of his fellow true-believers, stands ready to lie, cheat, steal and murder to defeat anyone who gets in the way of his mission. At the top of that list stands a powerful and determined nation: the United States of America. When an individual is part of an organization that has publicly avowed its willingness to do anything in order to take down a nation, most reasonable people would conclude that such an organization is at war with that nation. When a top lieutenant in such an organization has planned attacks against that nation and has repeatedly called for even more attacks, most reasonable people would conclude that such a fellow is in fact an enemy soldier. It’s disturbing and sad that the ACLU and CCR have drifted so far to the Left that they are incapable of understanding this obvious truth. We can only hope that the courts, like Barack Obama and Karima Bennoune, recognize just how foolish and naïve efforts to defend an enemy like Anwar Al-Awlaki truly are.

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Rich Trzupek

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