Saturday, August 23, 2014

Michael Curtis: Obama Must Resist ISIS and Hamas

by Michael Curtis

As a result of the videotaped brutal beheading of the American journalist James Foley by the terrorist group ISIS or ISIL, the political leaders of the Western world are beginning to see the light through the glass, if darkly.  All responsible leaders now recognize that Islamic militant and extremist organizations are ruthless, have surprisingly sophisticated military units, and relish a fanaticism and mindset that is unacceptable in the civilized world.
United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has characterized the ISIS group as “barbaric.”  British Prime Minister David Cameron has understood the world is in a generational struggle against a “poisonous and extremist ideology” that needs to be fought.  
Part of that struggle has meant that the U.S. has sent American military advisors to help Iraqi and Kurdish forces battle the terrorists, and has delivered air strikes for humanitarian reasons to help the thousands of Yazidis who were forced to flee from the ISIS and were stranded on a mountaintop.  European countries have sent some military supplies to Kurds fighting in Iraq.

The essential questions are two: the nature of the struggle that must be fought and whether the opponents of Islamic extremism have the political will to defend democratic values and way of life.  It was not reassuring that both the U.S. and British leaders, after strong speeches castigating the terrorist threat, quickly left to continue their vacations.  President Obama went to tear round a game of golf on Martha’s Vineyard, and Prime Minister Cameron, who had been distressed by the apparent British accent of Foley’s executioner, left after 19 hours in London, only to return to a seaside resort in Cornwall.

While the Western world now recognizes the seriousness of the Islamist threat, its leaders still do not understand that the menace is not simply ISIS or ISIL, and the so-called caliphate state it has created, but is embodied in other Islamist groups.  The most blatant is Hamas in the Gaza Strip with its mission to kill all Jews and destroy the State of Israel.  We now know that American, British, and other European young men, perhaps because they are mentally unhinged or have an image of their self-importance, have enrolled in ISIS.  It seems logical to assume that some individuals from those countries have joined Hamas as well.

Everyone sickened by ISIS’s acts of genocide and ruthless destruction, and now the brutal beheadings of Foley and others, should be equally horrified by the disregard of human life demonstrated by Hamas.  The comparison between ISIS and Hamas in their objectives, their apocalyptic vision, and ruthlessness, show their similarity: differences are a matter of degree.  Understandably, less attention has been paid to Hamas activities than to ISIS since the murder of Foley.  Yet, on August 22, 2014, Hamas executed 18 Palestinians in Gaza suspected of “collaboration with Israel.”  Seven of them were executed in public exhibition in a Gaza square; their heads were covered and their hands were tied. 

Hamas supporters echo its bloodthirsty behavior.  A demonstration on July 20, 2014 in Miami, Florida, mostly sponsored by a number of Muslim associations, supposedly about the Gaza war, flaunted the slogan “We are jihad…we are Hamas.”  The response to support of Hamas, and to anti-Semitic attitudes and behavior has been shown by two events in London in August 2014.

Courage was shown by vigorous public protests in challenging prejudice in these two events, admittedly less dramatic than the events relating to ISIS.  Both protests were successful in shaming the perpetrators of injustice.  The first was the strong reaction against the London Tricycle Theater for causing the cancellation of the U.K. Jewish Film Festival, ostensibly because the festival had received the token sum of $2,000 from the Israeli Embassy in London to help its expenses.  This event was a Jewish one,  not an Israeli one.  As a result of the protests, the Tricycle reversed its bigoted decision, though it was too late to include the UKJFF in its program.

The second event concerned the action by one of the London branches of the Sainsbury supermarket chain of 1,200 stores, the third largest chain and one that accounts for 16 percent of the market share.  The manager had removed kosher products, fish and meat, most of which came from the U.K. and Poland, not Israel, from its shelves, fearing a pro-Hamas demonstration against the shop.  Again, after a strong protest against this prejudicial anti-Semitic action, the head of Sainsbury rescinded the action and pledged that it would not happen again.  The manager of the branch store confessed he had made an error of judgment.

The problem is that it was more than an item of bad judgment.  It was succumbing to hatred and bigotry.  Not even a rocket scientist could trace the link between kosher fish and meat, especially that not coming from Israel, and Israeli actions against Hamas aggression from the Gaza Strip.

What is important is that this bigotry and the nonexistent link is being propounded irresponsibly by people who should know better, and who have been rightfully reprimanded for their bigotry after protests were made.  One can take three examples of such people.  One is Shabana Mahmoud, Member of Parliament for Birmingham Ladywood.  Mahmoud is not simply a Labour MP, but is the Shadow Treasury Minister, one of the leaders of the opposition Labour Party, and one of the first two female Muslims to be elected to the House of Commons.  

Mahmoud has made no secret of her views on Israel, including the view that Israeli settlements are illegal.  Nor has she refrained from aggressive activity, taking part on August 2, 2014 in a protest in Birmingham calling for boycott of Israeli goods.  She bragged that “we laid down in the street and we laid down inside Sainsbury’s…our action closed down the store for five hours at peak time on a Saturday.”  She is perhaps the only female MP who has laid down her body, if not her life, for her cause.

Mahmoud is following the even more aggressive action of George Galloway, the flamboyant and controversial MP who was thrown out of the Labour Party and then founded his own party, the Respect Party, which he represents as MP for Bradford in the House of Commons.  Galloway, a fervent critic of Israel, has long made irresponsible statements, some insulting to Jews.  In 2009, he said, “[T]he Palestinian people in Gaza are the new Warsaw Ghetto, and those who are murdering them are the equivalent of those who murdered the Jews in Warsaw in 1943.”

In his most recent speech in Bradford in August 2014, he declared that the city would not have any Israeli goods, Israeli services, Israeli academics, or Israeli tourists.  Again, it is encouraging that protests against this bigotry led to his being interviewed by the Leeds police.  The matter has now been referred to the Crown Prosecution Service for its consideration.

In the city of Bradford, more than one quarter of the population identity as Muslim, a proportion that has been increasing.  It contains the largest proportion of people of Pakistani ethnic origin in any city in England.  David Ward, a Liberal Democrat, and the MP for another of the parliamentary constituencies in Bradford, is conscious of this statistical fact.  Ward is an incorrigible critic of Israel.  In July 2013 he asked, “[H]ow long can the apartheid State of Israel last?”  Though reprimanded by the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ward continued his diatribe in November 2013 stating that Israel should never have been created.

Ward’s hostility is relentless, and borders, though he is careful in this matter, on anti-Semitism.  Referring to the Holocaust, he observed, “[T]he suffering by the Jews has not transformed their views on how others should be treated.”  Ward was temporarily suspended by his party for offensive remarks, but his comment in July 2014 was defiant: “The big question is, if I lived in Gaza would I fire a rocket? Probably yes…ich bin ein Palestinian.”  His view of the hostilities waged against Israel is based on his view: “Israel continues to oppress the Palestinian people.”  Whether Ward is anti-Semitic or not, his views are morally abhorrent and irresponsible with his implied parallel between the Holocaust and Israeli policies, and are a disgrace to any kind of rational political discourse.  It is appropriate that his political party is considering disciplining him.

The brutality of ISIS must be ended, and so must Hamas’s aggression against the State of Israel, and the accompanying disease of anti-Semitism.  Palestinians, including people from Fatah and the Palestinian Authority as well as Hamas, are prone to compare actions of Israel with those of the Nazis.  Speeches by their leaders and news reports speak of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza as a Holocaust, and of the Israeli Nazi mentality.  This rhetoric provides the excuse for Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens, and for anti-Semitic actions.

American and European leaders are dramatically aware of the horror of ISIS and are preparing to take some further action against its rise.  They must now assess the aggressive nature of Hamas and act accordingly.  Both ISIS and Hamas must be defeated.

Michael Curtis


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Hamas is wearing itself out

by Prof. Eyal Zisser

Believing Israelis are desperate for calm, Hamas leaders felt they had nothing to lose by continuing to fire and that they would eventually be able to bring Israel to its knees and exact an exorbitant price for stopping the conflict. This tactic failed.

Hamas supporters carry the body of Raed Al-Attar, one of three top senior Hamas commanders killed in Israeli airstrikes
Photo credit: EPA

Prof. Eyal Zisser


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Caroline Glick: Understanding the Israeli-Egyptian-Saudi Alliance

by Caroline Glick

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post
Hamas’s war with Israel is not a stand-alone event. It is happening in the context of the vast changes that are casting asunder old patterns of behavior and strategic understandings as actors in the region begin to reassess the threats they face.

Hamas was once funded by Saudi Arabia and enabled by Egypt. Now the regimes of these countries view it as part of a larger axis of Sunni jihad that threatens not only Israel, but them.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and its state sponsors Qatar and Turkey, are the key members of this alliance structure. Without their support Hamas would have gone down with the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt last summer. As it stands, all view Hamas’s war with Israel as a means of reinstating the Brotherhood to power in that country.

To achieve a Hamas victory, Turkey, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood are using Western support for Hamas against Israel. If the US and the EU are able to coerce Egypt and Israel to open their borders with Gaza, then the Western powers will hand the jihadist axis a strategic victory.

The implications of such a victory would be dire.

Hamas is ideologically indistinguishable from Islamic State. Like Islamic State, Hamas has developed mass slaughter and psychological terrorization as the primary tools in its military doctrine. If the US and the EU force Israel and Egypt to open Gaza’s borders, they will enable Hamas to achieve strategic and political stability in Gaza. As a consequence, a post-war Gaza will quickly become a local version of Islamic State-controlled Mosul.

In the first instance, such a development will render life in southern Israel too imperiled to sustain. The Western Negev, and perhaps Beersheba, Ashkelon and Ashdod, will become uninhabitable.

Then there is Judea and Samaria. If, as the US demands, Israel allows Gaza to reconnect with Judea and Samaria, in short order Hamas will dominate the areas. Militarily, the transfer of even a few of the thousands of rocket-propelled grenades Hamas has in Gaza will imperil military forces and civilians alike.

IDF armored vehicles and armored civilian buses will be blown to smithereens.

Whereas operating from Gaza, Hamas needed the assistance of the Obama administration and the Federal Aviation Administration to shut down Ben-Gurion Airport, from Judea and Samaria, all Hamas would require are a couple of hand-held mortars.

Jordan will also be directly threatened.

From Egypt’s perspective, a Hamas victory in the war with Israel that connects Gaza to Sinai will strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamic State and other allies. Such a development represents a critical threat to the regime.

And this brings us to Islamic State itself. It couldn’t have grown to its current monstrous proportions without the support of Qatar and Turkey.

Islamic State is obviously interested in expanding its conquests. Since it views itself as a state, its next move must be one that enables it to take over a national economy. The raid on Mosul’s central bank will not suffice to finance its operations for very long.

At this point, Islamic State wishes to avoid an all-out confrontation with Iran, so moving into southern Iraq is probably not in the cards. US forces in Kuwait, and the strength and unity of purpose of the Jordanian military, probably take both kingdoms off Islamic State’s chopping block for now.

This leaves Saudi Arabia, or parts of it, as a likely next target for Islamic State expansion.

Islamic State’s current operations in Lebanon, which threaten the Saudi-supported regime there, indicate that Lebanon, at a minimum, is also at grave risk.

Then there is Iran. Iran is not a member of the Sunni jihadist axis. But when it comes to Israel and the non-jihadist regimes, it has cooperated with it.

Iran has funded, trained and armed Hamas for the past decade. It views Hamas’s war with Israel in the same light as it viewed its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah’s war with Israel eight years ago.

Both in Iraq and Syria, Iran and Islamic State have shown little interest in making one another their primary target. Turkey and Qatar have often served as Iran’s supporters in the Sunni world.

This is the context in which Israel is fighting its war with Hamas. And due to this context, two interrelated strategically significant events have occurred since the war began.

The first relates to the US.

The Obama administration’s decision to side with the members of the jihadist axis against Israel by adopting their demand to open Gaza’s borders with Israel and Egypt has served as the final nail in the coffin of America’s strategic credibility among its traditional regional allies.

As the US has stood with Hamas, it has also maintained its pursuit of a nuclear deal with Iran. The US’s position in these talks is to enable the mullocracy to follow North Korea’s path to a nuclear arsenal. The non-jihadist Sunni states share Israel’s conviction that they cannot survive a nuclear armed Iran.

Finally, President Barack Obama’s refusal to date to take offensive action to destroy Islamic State in Iraq and Syria demonstrates to Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states that under Obama, the US would rather allow Islamic State to expand into their territory and destroy them than return US military forces to Iraq.

In other words, Obama’s pro-Hamas-, pro-Iran- and pro-Muslim Brotherhood-axis policies, along with his refusal to date to take effective action in Iraq and Syria to obliterate Islamic State, have convinced the US’s traditional allies that for the next two-and-a-half years, not only can they not rely on the US, they cannot discount the possibility of the US taking actions that harm them.

It is in the face of the US’s shift of allegiances under Obama that the non-jihadist Sunni regimes have begun to reevaluate their ties to Israel. Until the Obama presidency, the Saudis and Egyptians felt secure in their alliance with the US. Consequently, they never felt it necessary or even desirable to consider Israel as a strategic partner.

Under the US’s strategic protection, the traditional Sunni regimes had the luxury of maintaining their support for Palestinian terrorists and rejecting the notion of strategic cooperation with Israel, whether against Iran, al-Qaida or any other common foe.

So sequestered by the US, Israel became convinced that the only way it could enjoy any benefit from its shared strategic interests with its neighbors was by first bowing to the US’s long-held obsession with strengthening the PLO. This has involved surrendering land, political legitimacy and money to the terror group still committed to Israel’s destruction.

The war with Hamas has changed all of this.

The partnership that has emerged in this war between Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia is a direct consequence of Obama’s abandonment of the US’s traditional allies. Recognizing the threat that Hamas, as a component part of the Sunni jihadist alliance, constitutes for their own regimes, and in the absence of American support for Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have worked with Israel to defeat Hamas and keep Gaza’s borders sealed.

Most Israelis have yet to grasp the strategic significance of this emerging alliance. This owes in large part to the Left’s domination of the public discourse.

The Israeli Left sees this new partnership. But it fails to understand its basis or significance. For the Left, all developments lead to the same conclusion: Whatever happens, Israel must strengthen the PLO by strengthening Palestinian Authority Chairman and PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas.

Failing to recognize the basis for Israel’s emerging strategic partnership, led by Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, the Left is advocating using our new ties with Saudi Arabia and Egypt as a means of strengthening Abbas by organizing a regional peace conference.

What they fail to understand is that such a move would destroy the partnership.

Israel’s strategic cooperation with Egypt and Saudi Arabia owes to their shared interests. It cannot extend beyond them. And they have no shared interests in regard to the PLO.

Threatened by the axis of jihad, no Muslim government can be seen publicly with Israelis. Asking Egyptian and Saudi leaders to have their pictures taken with Israelis is like asking them to sign their own death warrants.

Moreover, Israel’s required end-state in negotiations with the PLO – defensible borders and recognition of its sovereign rights to Jerusalem – is something that no Muslim regime can publicly accept – especially now.

So far from building on our new cooperative relationship, if the government heeds the Left’s advice and uses our incipient ties with the Saudis and Egyptians to strengthen the PLO, it will highlight and exacerbate conflicting interests and so destroy the partnership.

Moreover, the fact is that the PLO can play no constructive role for any of the sides in weakening our common foes. As he has for the past decade, during the current war Abbas has demonstrated that he is utterly worthless in the fight against the forces of jihad – both of the Sunni and Shi’ite variety.

At least for the duration of Obama’s presidency the interests that Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel share in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons and defeating the Muslim Brotherhood/Islamic State as military and political threats can only be advanced through joint action.

The Obama administration would have forced Israel to bow to Hamas’s demands weeks ago if the Egyptians and Saudis hadn’t opposed a Hamas victory.

Without Israeli military action, Iran will become a nuclear power. In light of the US’s backing of Iran’s nuclear program, such an Israeli operation is effectively impossible without regional support.

As to Islamic State, right now the US is interested in cooperating with Iran in fighting the barbaric force.

In exchange for Iranian cooperation, the US is liable to cede Basra and the Shatt al-Arab to Iran.

Effective cooperation between Israel, the Kurds and the Sunnis could contain, and perhaps defeat, Islamic State while reducing Iran’s chances of securing the strategically vital waterway.

Since the emerging partnership between Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia is a direct result of the Obama administration’s destruction of US strategic credibility, it is fairly clear that if properly managed, it can last until January 2017. Until then, in all likelihood, the US will be unwilling and unable to rebuild its reputation.

And until then, the parties are unlikely to find alternative means of securing their interests that are more effective than joint action.

Given the stakes, and the complementary capabilities of the various parties, Israel’s primary task today must be to work quietly and diligently with the Saudis and Egyptians to expand on their joint achievements in Gaza.

The Israeli-Egyptian-Saudi alliance can ensure that all members survive the Obama era. And if lasts into the next administration, it will place all of its members on more secure footing with the US, whether or not a new administration decides to rebuild the US alliance structure in the Middle East.

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit


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Dutch Official Calls ISIS "A Zionist Plot"

by Evelyn Markus

The charge of "Islamophobia" is being used to silence people, so that any opposition will be neutralized before it can even start.

On Tuesday last week, Yasmina Haifi, an official at the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism in the Netherlands, tweeted: "ISIS has nothing to do with Islam. It is a preconceived plan of Zionists who want to deliberately make Islam look bad."

For the past ten years, Ms. Haifi has been a senior staff member at the human resources department of the Ministry of Security and Justice. For the past two years she has also worked as a project leader at two of the Ministry's subsidiaries, the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism and the National Cyber Security Center.

The outcry from the general public that followed her remarks initially did little to make her take back her words. The next day, however, she deleted the tweet, saying: "Realise the political sensitivity in relation to my work. This was never my intention." The same day, Haifi told national broadcast Radio 1 that she had no idea her comments would cause such an upheaval. "I assumed I was living in a democratic country," she said. "Apparently freedom of speech in the Netherlands applies to particular groups and not to others."

Haifi said she had based the information on "multiple sources from the internet." These consisted of a supposed statement by Edward Snowden, that the Mossad and the U.S. created ISIS. A simple background search would have shown this to be a firmly debunked hoax which was created by Iranian authorities. Even Snowden himself vehemently denies ever having said anything about ISIS.

The black flag of jihad -- the flag of ISIS -- is displayed by demonstrators in the Netherlands.

Nevertheless, when confronted by journalists with the true nature of the spurious Snowden report, Haifi persisted and maintained that there was ample evidence to prove that the link between ISIS and Zionists did exist.

Haifi was suspended on Wednesday. "She will not be coming back to this job. Never," Dutch Security and Justice Minister Opstelten said on Friday, adding he was shocked by the content of the tweet. 'What someone's personal opinion is, is not my business," the minister told Dutch media. "It is about what you make public when you are a civil servant." Opstelten said that, "the ministry is looking into other measures."

Yasmina Haifi
No firm statement, however, was made that Haifi would be excluded from all government positions. Vice Premier Asscher (from Haifi's own Labor Party) said: "When I heard it, it made me sick to my stomach." Asscher called the conspiracy theory "classically anti-Semitic" and "extremely shocking." He added that "the stupidity of the comment was immeasurable." Prime Minister Mark Rutte called her remarks "asinine".

The truly shocking part of this story is not that Ms. Haifi faithfully regurgitates all too familiar Islamist anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, but that someone with such radical, conspiratorial and anti-Semitic views can be employed by the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism. Something is evidently seriously wrong there with the screening of employees. There is widespread concern that many others with equally radical views were employed there and elsewhere in the security apparatus.

The defiant and self-assured tone of Haifi suggests that she was in no way apprehensive about the backlash from her words and the effect that could have on her career, and that she felt comfortable in her decision to utter them.

What is worrisome is what remarks such as those reveal about the social and professional climate at the Ministry. It is hard to believe that Haifi's conspiratorial and anti-Semitic views were not to some degree common knowledge among her co-workers, and possibly shared by many.

In addition to her career within the executive, Haifi is also a prominent member of the Labor Party. She was a member of the city council of The Hague from 1994 to 1998, and since 2011 has served as a talent recruiter and talent coach for the party's branch at The Hague. The city, which is also the seat of government in the Netherlands, has the country's most sizeable population of immigrants from Islamic countries; and Haifi functioned as one of its most vocal representatives. It is not clear how many people of a similar mindset she recruited into the Dutch Labor Party.

As co-founder of the action committee "Herstel het Vertrouwen" ["Restore Trust"] against "ethnic profiling" by the police in The Hague, Haifi enjoys sizeable backing from the Islamic immigrant community there: within a matter of days 5,600 people "liked" a Facebook page supporting Haifi. Not surprisingly, this page too is filled with conspiratorial and anti-Semitic views while at the same time bemoaning the unfair and discriminatory treatment meted out to Haifi for speaking "the truth."

Haifi's comments come at a time when widespread anti-Semitism among Muslims has become painfully visible. In the past months in The Hague, three pro-Gaza rallies have taken place, all of which have featuring ISIS flags, along with signs in Arabic calling to "Kill all Jews," and a quote from the hadith [the acts and sayings of Muhammad] that, "There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him." The police were remarkably reluctant to arrest the protesters.

Despite the discriminatory and conspiratorial nature of Haifi's statements, the leadership of the Labor party, which has always presented itself as the champion of the victims of discrimination, has not ousted or suspended her. They have only announced they will "talk with Ms. Haifi" about her tweet.

The reluctance thoroughly to screen Muslim security officials, the reluctance of the Dutch authorities to see the genocidal terrorist group ISIS for what it is, and the reluctance to fire Ms. Haifi from all her government and party positions, all illustrate how the charge of "Islamophobia" is being used as a political weapon -- to silence people so that any opposition will be neutralized before it can even start.

Dr. Evelyn Markus, who emigrated from the Netherlands to the United States in 2006, is frequently published in newspapers throughout the Netherlands.


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Why Iraq is Doomed

by Rick Moran

Shiite militiamen burst into a Sunni mosque yesterday and sprayed automatic gunfire into the crowd. At least 70 Sunnis were killed and dozens wounded.

In response, the Sunni bloc has pulled out of talks to form a government:

Sunni lawmakers quit talks on forming a new Iraqi government after gunmen killed scores of worshipers at a Sunni mosque in a province neighboring Baghdad, sending sectarian tensions soaring.
The discussions in Baghdad sought to build an administration representing Iraq’s religious and ethnic groups after years of Shiite dominance, with a goal of sapping support among some Sunnis for Islamist State extremists who have seized swaths of the country’s north.
While Kurdish and Iraqi forces backed by U.S. airstrikes have regained some territory lost to the jihadists, President Barack Obama has made more extensive U.S. military aid conditional on creation of such an “inclusive” central government in Baghdad.
Basem al-Samarraei, deputy governor of Diyala province, said the mosque attack in the village of Bani Wais that killed at least 73 people was carried out by members of a Shiite militia after a gathering of Shiites was targeted by roadside bombs.
The casualties at the mosque included the local imam, women and children who were killed as they tried to save relatives from the gunfire, eyewitness Mahmoud al-Shimmary said in a telephone interview.
Hours later, Sunni politicians withdrew from the talks with Shiite Prime Minister-designate Haidar al-Abadi, lawmaker Talal al-Zuba’ay said by phone, in a major blow to reconciliation efforts. He said security forces had barred rescue teams attempting to reach the mosque.
“These Shiite militias are massing across the country and killing people based on their identity,” Zuba’ay said. “What is happening will create a volcano that once it explodes, no one will be able to stop.”
When IS was rampaging across Iraq with little resistance from the army, Shiite leaders called for a volunteer army to defend their holy sites in the south. More than 200,000 Iraqi Shiites answered the call. They haven't done much in the field against IS, but they have certainly made their mark against unarmed Sunnis. 

The Kurds are defending their homeland, but given the political stalemate in Baghdad, you have to wonder if they will fight IS to save Iraq. Supporting the government hasn't done the Sunnis any good. The Kurds may retire behind their defensive lines and leave Baghdad to its own devices - both militarily and politically.

Rick Moran


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Seize the Moment

by Avi Dichter

By the time the Shin Bet security agency began training its sights on Hamas military wing commander Mohammed Deif, he had already orchestrated deadly attacks against Israelis. Most attacks involved suicide bombers who blew themselves up on Israeli buses -- a modus operandi that was still in its infancy at the time. 

Deif's right-hand man was Yihye Ayash, who was dubbed "the engineer" by Israel. He was based in Samaria. This deadly duo -- where Gaza meets Judea and Samaria -- managed to kill and maim hundreds of Israelis over a short period of time. 

In 1995, Ayash had the feeling that he was being watched and fled to the Gaza Strip, where Deif provided him with safe haven. Eight months later, Ayash was assassinated. A cellphone he was using had been rigged with explosives and detonated in the midst of a conversation with his father. 

Deif was in Israeli crosshairs several hours later, but the government said, "eliminating one terrorist leader is enough, let's call it a day." 

The mission was a no-go. Had the security forces gotten the green light, he would have been taken out well before he could climb up the rungs of leadership.

If our lives were a Western, they would smack of "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," except that in Gazan theaters this would be adapted into "The Bad, the Terrible and the Brutal." 

The "Bad" is on full display when Hamas fires rockets -- thousands have already hit Israeli towns and cities. The "Brutal" part is evident in the way they kill those who allegedly collaborate with Israel. Such individuals include those who helped place the explosives in the Ayash's "cellbomb" or those who allegedly tipped Israelis off on the whereabouts of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin before his assassination in January 2004. Yassin tried to cast himself as a Mother Teresa on a wheelchair even as he relayed orders instructing Deif and his fellow terrorists Salah Shehade and Ahmed Jabari to kill many Jews and quite a few Palestinians. 

The assassinations were a major security breach for Hamas' internal security apparatus. They must be very antsy now. 

The attack on Deif, followed by the elimination of Hamas' top operatives in southern Gaza Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Mohammed Barhoum and Raed al-Attar, show that the Shin Bet had managed to follow their every move and keep track of what they were doing. The Israeli Air Force, acting on intelligence from the IDF and the Shin Bet, tied up the remaining loose ends. 

Having said all that, Israelis should be aware of the fact that targeted killings are just one means of achieving deterrence. They are not supposed to make or break a campaign. Yes, they hurt Hamas by depriving it of the stamina it needs to fight us. They may peel off some bark, but that is not enough to cut down the tree. If Israel wants to deny Hamas its capacity to perpetrate terrorism, it must destroy its military infrastructure. Once that has been taken care of, the task of demilitarizing Gaza would become a whole lot easier. 

The legitimacy lent to the Israeli operation in Gaza over the past six weeks has been sky high. We must seize the moment, we do not need more Israeli fatalities as a pretext for a Gaza invasion to root out terrorism. It is time for the Gaza sequel to Operation Defensive Shield.

Avi Dichter


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Is CAIR Lying about a Rally for Hamas?

by Daniel Pipes

CAIR should be treated as a marginal and despised group like the Ku Klux Klan or the Nation of Islam.

A "Stop the Bloodshed in Gaza" rally in downtown Miami on July 20 featured aggressive Islamist chants typical of anti-Israel events. In English, the demonstrators yelled "We are Hamas!" and "We are Jihad!" (as can be seen and heard here). In Hebrew, a Hamas partisan screamed at an Israel-supporter, "Son of a bitch" and "Go to Hell!" and made an obscene arm gesture. In Arabic, the crowd chanted the infamous "Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jew, Muhammad's army will return" (a reference to a massacre of Jews under the auspices of Islam's prophet in A.D. 629).

As I say, just a typical anti-Israel demonstration, and far from the worst. Typical – except that some of its sponsors desperately seek respectability.

In a July 23 report on the demonstration, investigative researcher Danielle Avel posted a scan of a glossy paper flier advertising the event, listing its seven sponsors:
American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Florida, Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Syrian American Council of South Florida (SAC), American Muslims for Emergency & Relief (AMER), and American Muslims Foundation.
The event's Facebook page lists a coalition of eight organizations, some of which overlap with those on the flier:
Join us & spread the word! In coordination with our coalition: Al-Awda Coalition, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)-FL, POWIR, Broward Green Party, CAIR, National Lawyers Guild (South Florida), Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) - FAU, and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) - FIU.
Two groups in particular, CAIR and ICNA, caught Avel's eye because they aspire to invitations to the White House, appearances on network television and at leading universities, and other signs of public acceptance. What took place in Miami, she correctly noted, reveals their true extremism.

Six days later, on July 29, CAIR's Florida chapter responded with a denial:
CAIR-Florida was not part of, did not plan, did not sponsor, did not participate in, and had absolutely nothing to do with the July 20 rally. If any document lists CAIR-Florida as a sponsor of the event, that listing was included without CAIR-Florida's permission.
I doubt the veracity of this denial for several reasons.
  • CAIR's mendacity is so widespread that I have an entire bibliography of my writings exposing the reasons not to trust it.
  • The flier, of which I have a copy, twice states that Sofian Zakkout organized the rally. Zakkout is so close to CAIR, he's effectively a staff volunteer: he coordinates with it, is quoted by it, seeks help from it, and is listed as a contact by it. (For more on Zakkout, see Avel's exposé.) A year earlier, he listed CAIR's Florida branch on another rally flier. It beggars the imagination that he would list CAIR without authorization.
  • The Facebook page still lists CAIR as a sponsor, two weeks after CAIR's statement of denial.
  • Perhaps CAIR seeks to conceal the truth through semantics. Both the national organization (on the Facebook page) and the Florida chapter (on the flier) are listed as sponsors. The July 29 statement only denies permission from the latter, not the former. It is more than credible that CAIR national gave its permission to be listed as a sponsor while CAIR's Florida chapter did not.
Given these facts, I disbelieve CAIR's statement.

I do believe it sponsored the vile event in Miami; that its denial of that sponsorship is false; and that the despicable words at the Miami rally revealed the true face of CAIR.

CAIR must not be validated by invitations and appearances. It should be treated as a marginal and despised group like the Ku Klux Klan or the Nation of Islam.

Daniel Pipes ( is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2014 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.


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Video: Jamie Glazov Confronts Taqiyya in Omaha


Watch Frontpage Editor Jamie Glazov‘s showdown with Dr. Naser Z. Alsharif, Director of the Middle East Cultural and Educational Services, over the Muslim Brotherhood’s malicious gambit within the Tri-Faith Initiative. The event was hosted by the Global Faith Institute in Omaha on August 7.

(To read about the Tri-Faith Initiative, click here; to watch Mark Christian discuss the Muslim Brotherhood charade, click here).


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Daniel Gordis: So How Is Hamas Different From Islamic State, Israel Wonders?

by Daniel Gordis

Hat Tip: Sefton Bergson

It would have been hard to imagine that Islamic State’s brutal execution of American freelance photojournalist James Foley would worsen the Israeli public's assessment of the U.S.'s role in the Gaza conflict. But listen to the chatter in cafes and on the checkout line in the market, and it seems that it may have done just that. 

When the war died down and the cease-fires began, the reservists started to return home. One of them, a student of ours at Shalem College in Jerusalem, had been in the thick of it. When he finally got out for good and came back to campus, I found him in the student lounge, shook his hand and asked, “How are you?” 

He looked at me for a moment, exhausted, and replied, “Tell me, what happened to America?”

The question of “What happened to America?” is very much on the minds of Israelis these days. Taxi drivers, commonly cited barometers of public opinion in these parts, have a simple explanation: “Obama hates Bibi.” 

It’s not only the drivers. YNet, Israel’s popular news website, ran an article with the headline, “It May Not Be Possible to Repair the Netanyahu-Obama Relationship.”

In reality, matters are less simple. U.S. presidents and Israeli prime ministers have often been at odds. John F. Kennedy harbored no love for David Ben-Gurion. George H.W. Bush detested Yitzhak Shamir. During the peace negotiations with Egypt, Jimmy Carter apparently told his wife that Menachem Begin was a psycho, while toward the end of his life Begin refused to even see Carter. 

So why all the hand-wringing about the U.S.-Israel relationship now? Many Israelis sense that something deeper than usual is at play. America, they say, has lost the ability to see this particular conflict with any moral clarity. 

It is for that very reason that Israelis have taken great interest in Obama calling Islamic State a “cancer” after the gruesome beheading of Foley. Haaretz, Israel’s left-leaning daily and “paper of record,” gave the "Islamic State is a cancer" story top play in both its Hebrew and English editions. So, too, did the Web-based Times of Israel. When Islamic State executes an innocent American -- befuddled Israelis noticed -- Obama has the capacity for outrage and moral clarity. But in Israel’s conflict, even though Hamas is sworn on Israel’s destruction and has been killing innocent Israelis for years, the best that Obama has been able to utter is the standard “Israel has a right to defend itself.” 

Is this moral obtuseness, many Israelis wonder, or is there something more pernicious at play? Israelis still remember the days when then-senator and presidential candidate Obama sounded different. In 2008, Obama said in Sderot, Israel: “The first job of any nation state is to protect its citizens. And so I can assure you that if … somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”

That is exactly what Israelis have been doing, for weeks now, with questionable success. But U.S. diplomats and politicians have tried, for the most part, to calm the waters by treating Israel and Hamas as two morally equivalent opponents. Why is Islamic State a “cancer” while Hamas is a legitimate partner in a Palestinian unity-government, about which U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, “We will work with it as we need to”? 

At first, many Israelis assumed that Obama just didn’t get it, or that he simply lacked the capacity to say anything negative about an Islamic terror organization. Now that they know otherwise, Obama’s rhetoric about this region feels much less benign. 

Until a few days ago, rumor had it that Kerry would soon be back in this region as part of a charm offensive with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in tow, to prove to Israelis that the U.S. has their backs. The trip may or may not happen anytime soon, given the resumption of hostilities. But even if it does, given the stark difference between Obama’s language about Islamic State’s beheading of Foley and Hamas’s relentless attacks on Israeli cities, few Israelis seem in the mood to be charmed. To use the language of the Talmud, they’re essentially asking, “Why was James Foley’s blood any redder than ours?” 

To contact the editor responsible for this article: Zara Kessler at

Daniel Gordis


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Mordechai Kedar: Israeli Arabs in Search of Identity

by Mordechai Kedar

The Balad Party – inherently – cannot identify with the Jewish State, despite its having members sitting in the Knesset.

It should be recalled that the party's founder, Azmi Bishara, visited Syria and Lebanon, meeting Hezbollah representatives there. He was put on trial for that in Israel and was acquitted due to his parliamentary immunity.

His student and fellow party member, Hanin Zoabi, took part in the Marmara flotilla, an act designed to show solidarity with the Hamas terrorist entity in Gaza.

Another party member, Said Nafa, a member of the Druze religion, steadfastly refused to enlist in the army, and founded an NGO that acts – within legal parameters, naturally – to end the compulsory draft for Druze living in Israel. The Balad party platform (par. 11) says: "Balad will act against the policy of drafting Arabs into the army, and against the propaganda in Arab schools and society that encourages enlistment".

The platform further says (par. 4): "Arab citizens of Israel are part of the Palestinian people and the Arab Nation when it comes to their cultural and national identities."  

Par. 2 states the party platform goal – the elimination of the Zionist character of the State of Israel. "Balad will fight to change the State of Israel to a democratic state for all its citizens – Jews, Arabs and others, for the application of civil and human rights on an entirely egalitarian basis for all citizens of the state, without any discrimination based on nationality, religion or gender".

In the lectures he gave abroad, Azmi Bishara took pains to stress that the "occupation" does not only apply to the areas Israel conquered in 1967 during the Six Day War, but to the areas Israel controls since 1948, meaning the Galilee, Sharon Valley and the Negev, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Beer Sheva. All of them are "occupied" and therefore illegitimate, according to the party, the very existence of Israel is illegitimate, and therefore it must be ended.

This leads to the conclusion that the Balad Party – inherently – cannot identify with the Jewish State, despite its having members sitting in the Knesset, the institution that most clearly expresses the sovereignty of the state and its definition as the national democratic home of the Jewish people. As a result, Balad party members are obsessed with finding an identity for themselves in geographic proximity to the State of Israel.

The Islamic world is not a potential environment for Balad because the party distances itself from religious identity, it has a Christian – Azmi Bishara, its founder – a Muslim (Hanin Zoabi and Wasil Taha) and a Druze (Said Nafa), so it does not wish to have Islamic identity as its focal point. Hanin Zoabi's presence on the Marmara flotilla was due to her identification with the "Palestinian people imprisoned in the largest prison in the world" as she explained at the time.

For this reason, Balad has two possibilities with which to identify: the greater Arab nation and the nearer Palestinian circle, both of which are problematic. The "Palestinian nation" is polarized and split between the PLO and its attached organizations on the one hand – and on the other hand, there is Hamas, a religious Islamist terror organization that abhors the Gaza Christians and gained control of Gaza by engaging in a bloody murder spree against the PLO's security forces.

The PLO still seems the natural candidate, but connecting with them might make Israeli Arab citizens subordinate to the PLO and its agenda and Israeli Arab citizens have rejected that possibility out of hand. They refuse to give up Israeli citizenship, do not want to join the Palestinian State that the PLO wishes to establish in Judea and Samaria, and do not want to be represented by the PLO vis a vis Israel.  That explains why Balad is not interested in total identification with the PLO, because the party cannot identify fully with an entity that its voters do not wish to be part of.

The only possibility that remains is the Greater Arab Nation, but this too, presents difficulties. Quite a few people in the Arab world see the Arab MK's as traitors to the Arab Nation – how can they be part of the Zionist Knesset and be loyal to the Arab Nation? This outlook is not limited to the MK's but includes the entire Israeli Arab sector: one of the popular names in the Arab world for Israeli Arab citizens is "Arab al-Zibda" – Arabs made of whipped cream because they live the good life in democratic Israel and do not aspire to return to being part of the Arab world.

The heads of Balad did not hide their desire to be considered an integral part of the Arab Nation.  That explains Bishara's visit to Syria and his participation in official ceremonies to memorialize Hafez el Assad. His connecting  with Nasrallah – the super star of the Arab Nation after the 2006 war – was meant to create a link for Balad with the fighting Arabs who garnered success.

Zoabi and Zahalka's visits – along with tens of Israeli Arab public figures – in Libya and the warm meeting they had with Qaddafi, the mass murderer, can be seen in the framework of their search for an authentic Arab "father", one that can give them Arab wings that will kosher them in Arab eyes and remove the guilt for sticking to their Israeli citizenship and their seats in the Israeli Knesset, padded as they are with hefty salaries, pensions and other benefits.

The last three years have witnessed double edged and diametrically opposite activities as far as the psychological connection of Israeli Arabs to the Arab environment goes. On the one hand, the Arab elite held hopes for the rise of legitimate, democratic regimes in the years 2011-12, knowing that if the Arab countries become democracies, Israel will not be able to call itself the only democracy in the Middle East and this would make it easier for them to identify with modern Arab democracies. And if as a result of democracy's spread  in the Arab world, Israel is accepted as a state with the right to exist – with which one can live in peace – Israeli Arab citizens would shed their guilt at making their peace with her. .

Except that the reality was very different. Instead of an Arab Spring, the Middle East has been subjected to an Islamic winter. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood's rule lasted just one year and a regime with a religious Islamist character was not to Balad's liking.

In Syria, instead of a democracy run by Assad, they were presented with a murky swamp of blood, tears and flames along with the radical Islamist slogans of Jebhat al Nusra. And if that were not enough, the last few months have seen half of Syria and a third of Iraq fall under the control IS and the rule of  Caliph  Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whose unadulterated form of ancient Islam is forced on everyone in the conquered areas. The methods are the ones used by Islam in its early years: persecution of Shiites, beheadings, forced islamization, the sale of women in the slave market and mass forced exile resulting in death by starvation.

Balad cannot live with that or identify with it. The "renewed" Arab world is not a source of identity for a political party looking for light and life outside of Israel and finding only darkness and death. In this period of general loss of identity, party members have no choice but to turn to Qatar, the only Arab state that provides a real challenge to Israel due to the funding it provides for Hamas, there to meet with the "great light" of the party, Azmi Bishara, in order to look for a new identity figure that can replace the fallen idols.

I do not agree with the criticism hurled at the Balad party MK's for visiting Qatar. This visit is born of a heavy feeling of loneliness brought on by the collapse of the Palestinian dream, deep disappointment with the hoped-for "Arab Spring" and the anxiety brought on by the growing feeling that more and more Israeli Arabs prefer to remain Israeli citizens in the long run, with all the attendant problems and all the complaints of discrimination, racism and being pushed to the sidelines – complaints that have more than a kernel of truth.

This feeling of losing their way pushes the Balad MK's into making unfortunate statements: Hanin Zoabi said that the men who kidnapped and murdered the three boys, Gil-ad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach Hy"d, are not terrorists. What was she attempting to say? That they are ordinary people who acted properly? Suitably? Does that mean that Zoabi thinks that an Arab who kidnaps and murders young boys is a normative human being?

It seems to me that there has never been such a collectively damning, insulting and infuriating statement about the Israeli Arab population or that of Judea and Samaria – and this from a woman who claims to represent the Arab citizens of Israel.

The Israeli Arab population of Israel deserves better representation, people who are more worthy of leadership and who will put the welfare of Israel's Arab citizens at the top of their list of interests, instead of searching for virtual identity figures in areas where identity is blurred, reality is bitter and evil, violence surges, terror rules and the future is shrouded in fog.

Mordechai Kedar


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