Friday, August 29, 2014

Khaled Abu Toameh: Is the Gaza War Really Over?

by Khaled Abu Toameh

It is important to note that these cease-fire demands are not part of Hamas's or Islamic Jihad's overall strategy, namely to have Israel wiped off the face of the earth.
Many foreign journalists who came to cover the war in the Gaza trip were under the false impression that it was all about improving living conditions for the Palestinians by opening border crossings and building an airport and seaport. These journalists really believed that once the demands of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are accepted, this would pave the way for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
To understand the true intention of Hamas and its allies, it is sufficient to follow the statements made by their leaders after the cease-fire announcement this week. To his credit, Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas's leader, has never concealed Hamas's desire to destroy Israel.
Hamas and its allies see the war in the Gaza Strip as part of there strategy to destroy Israel. What Hamas and its allies are actually saying is, "Give us open borders and an airport and seaport so we can use them to prepare for the next war against Israel."

Statements made by Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders and spokesmen following the announcement of the long-term cease-fire agreement with Israel this week serve as a reminder of their true intentions and strategy.

Over the past two months, the two groups, together with several armed factions in the Gaza Strip, repeatedly announced that their main goal was to end the "siege" on the Gaza Strip and build their own airport and seaport.

During the cease-fire talks in Cairo, the Palestinian groups repeatedly and stubbornly insisted that complying with these demands, along with opening all the border crossings with the Gaza Strip, was the only way to end the violence and achieve a long-term cease-fire with Israel.

However, it is important to note that these cease-fire demands are not part of Hamas's or Islamic Jihad's overall strategy, namely to have Israel wiped off the face of the earth.

Hamas and its allies in the Gaza Strip are not only fighting for an airport and seaport. Nor are they fighting only for the reopening of all border crossings with Israel and Egypt.

During this war, many seem to have forgotten that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are actually fighting to "liberate Jerusalem and all Palestine." The two groups have never recognized Israel's right to exist and continue to oppose any attempt to make peace with the "Zionist entity."

Many foreign journalists who came to cover the war in the Gaza Strip were under the false impression that it was all about improving the living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by opening border crossings and building an airport and seaport. These journalists really believed that once the demands of Hamas and Islamic Jihad are accepted, this would pave the way for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Yet these journalists, like many others in the international community, failed to look at the bigger picture or take into consideration the context of conflict. Moreover, most of them did not even seem to be listening to what Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been stating before and after the war -- that their real goal is to "liberate all Palestine."

Operation Protective Edge may have ended, but the dream to destroy Israel is still alive. Even if Hamas and Islamic Jihad eventually get their own airport and seaport, it is obvious that the two groups are now more determined than ever to pursue their fight to eliminate Israel, especially in light of the fact that they feel they have emerged from the war triumphant.

Masked Hamas gunmen celebrate their "victory" over Israel before the international media this week. (Image source: Facebook/Palestinian Information Center)

The Egypt-brokered cease-fire may achieve some calm for Israelis and Palestinians in the foreseeable future, particularly in the aftermath of the severe blow Hamas and Islamic Jihad suffered as a result of Israel's massive military operation.

Indeed, Hamas and its allies will now be busy rebuilding the damage in the Gaza Strip. But they will also continue to raise new generations of Palestinians on glorification of terrorism and jihad, with the hope of achieving the destruction of Israel, which they view as an alien body planted by colonialist powers in the Middle East.

To understand the true intentions of Hamas and its allies, it is sufficient to follow the statements made by their leaders after the cease-fire announcement earlier this week. Evidently, these statements show that Hamas and Islamic Jihad see their "victory" in the Gaza Strip as a first step toward "liberating all Palestine." They also show that these groups intend to use the new cease-fire to continue preparations and amass more weapons for what they call "the mother of all battles - liberating Palestine."

Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shalah was one of the first figures to spell out his organization's real intentions. Hours after the cease-fire announcement, the Lebanon-based Shalah declared: "The war is not over. It will continue in other means and methods."

He went on to warn Palestinians against resuming negotiations with Israel, saying the Oslo Accords were now "buried under the rubble of the Gaza Strip" and Palestinians should as of now only endorse the "path of resistance."

The following day, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh crawled out of the bunker he had retreated to during the war to declare that "Gaza is now preparing for the battle of comprehensive liberation."

He told Hamas supporters during a "victory" rally in Gaza City that "Gaza has paved the way for reaching Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque."

To his credit, Haniyeh has never concealed Hamas's desire to destroy Israel. Only days before the war, he said in a speech before schoolchildren attending a Hamas summer camp that his movement's strategy "is to liberate the land of Palestine." He added: "Whether we are in the (Palestinian) government or outside, we will continue to educate and call for the liberation of all Palestine and the establishment of a Palestinian state on all the land of Palestine."

For those who do not know, Haniyeh is in fact just repeating Hamas's charter, which does not accept Israel's right to exist on any part of what is perceived as Muslim-owned land.

Another Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar, went even farther by calling for the establishment of a "Palestine Liberation Army" in wake of the "victory" scored by his movement and other Palestinian groups during the war.

Further evidence that this war was not about border crossings or improving living conditions of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip was also provided by a spokesman for Hamas and several Palestinian groups that participated in the fighting against Israel.

At a press conference one day after the cease-fire announcement, Abu Obaida, spokesman for Hamas's armed wing, Izaddin al-Qassam, declared: "Gaza won because it has revived the hopes of 1.5 billion Arabs and Muslims that the road to Jerusalem is now open and all we need is to be united and have a will."

So for Hamas and its allies, the war in the Gaza Strip is not just about the closure of border crossings or freedom of movement. Instead, they see the war in the Gaza Strip as part of their strategy to destroy Israel. What they are actually saying is, "Give us open borders and an airport and seaport so we can use them to prepare for the next war against Israel."

Khaled Abu Toameh


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Lebanese Journalist: ISIS 'Was Produced By A Very Ill And Weak Arab Body Politic'


In an article titled "Enough Lies, the Arab Body Politic Created the ISIS Cancer," senior Lebanese journalist Dr. Hisham Melhem, who is Al-Arabiya's Washington bureau head and a correspondent for the Lebanese daily Al-Nahar, comes out against the prevalence of conspiracy theories in the Arab world, which, he says, are the Arabs' way of evading responsibility and blaming their problems on others. He focuses on the phenomenon of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS), pointing out that Arabs deal with its atrocities by either denying them or accusing various forces – whether the U.S., Israel or Iran – of creating this organization. After bringing examples, including even from his own paper Al-Nahar, he goes on to explain that the rise radical Islam is the result of decades of tyranny under which Arab societies became "politically and intellectually arid." "The ugly truth," he concludes, "is that the ISIS cancer was produced by a very ill and weak Arab body politic."

The following are excerpts from his article, which was posted August 16, 2014 on Al-Arabiya's English-language website.[1]

Hisham Melhem 

"Conspiracy Theories Usually Reign In Undemocratic Societies Lacking Transparent Institutions"

"Most people are averse to introspection, and rarely engage in self-criticism. Arabs are no different. However, the political culture that developed in the Arab World in the last 60 years, particularly in countries ruled by autocratic regimes, shifted blame from their catastrophic failures in governance to other external, sinister forces. For these countries, self-criticism has become next to impossible.

"Over time, this legacy has created fertile terrain for conspiracy theories, delusions, self-deception, paranoia and xenophobia. If you read an Arab newspaper or many a website in the region, you will invariably encounter some of these symptoms. Admittedly, sometimes they can be entertaining, but in most cases they are downright ugly, reflecting deep pathologies of fear."

"Conspiracy theories usually reign in undemocratic societies lacking transparent institutions, free and vibrant media, and a political culture that does not shy away from dealing with issues that some may consider taboo. Clinging to conspiracy theories, particularly in times of challenge and uncertainty, becomes attractive because it relieves the believers of any sense of responsibility for what is taking place in their midst, [allowing them to blame it on] hidden and powerful forces beyond their control... Denial of reality and/or responsibility is the other side of conspiracy theories. In this manufactured world others, usually conniving, ill-intentioned and cunning, are behind our travails and not us... Of course, conspiracy theories also exist in open and democratic societies, but they are usually confined to fringe groups..."

Arabs Claim That "ISIS Was Made Everywhere Except In Syria Or Iraq Or By Arabs Generally"

"The shocking and unbridled savagery of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which morphed recently into the Islamic State, is a case in point. The unimaginable brutality of this latest manifestation of Political Islam in the Arab world is too much to bear for many Muslim Arabs. So they either deny the atrocities, claiming that Muslims would never commit such heinous acts (even while the perpetrators of the crimes [themselves] assert that their violence is [meant] to spread their puritanical twisted version of Islam), or resort to the easier option and pick one of the many conspiracy theories that are being peddled by Intelligence agencies, political groups, journalists, or self-appointed guardians of religious sects and ethnic groups...

"Even before its swift and bloody [takeover] of one third of Iraq, [which involved] uprooting and killing Christians and Yazidis and occupying Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, [Arabs claimed that] ISIS was made everywhere except in Syria or Iraq or by Arabs generally. Depending on one’s sectarian background or political leanings, ISIS for many was made in America with a little help – as usual – from the Israelis; others, especially those who loath the Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah axis would say with equal certainty that ISIS was made in Iran, with the conniving of the Syrian regime. But those who support the Iranian-led axis would assert unequivocally that ISIS was made by the U.S. in collaboration with a Gulf state, take your pick: Saudi Arabia or Qatar or even Turkey.

"In this twisted political environment, evidence or proof to buttress an argument are not necessary or are flimsy at best, and when the conspiracy is denied, the denial is considered proof. Since conspiracy theories are usually based on imagined causes and effects and by pointing to those who benefit from a development or an event, it becomes self-evident to some to claim that, just because the Assad regime has diabolically benefitted from the war ISIS has waged against the Free Syrian Army and/or other Islamist opposition groups, then Assad is either behind ISIS or is conniving with it directly and operationally. The recent fighting between ISIS and Assad’s forces in Eastern Syria shows that there is no validity to such claims.

"Those who claim Iran is behind ISIS, because Tehran wants to break up Iraq or keep it in [a state of] perpetual struggle, don’t like to entertain a simpler view which asserts that Iran’s national interests are better served by a stable and allied Iraq that would be dependent on Iran or [would] float in Iran’s political orbit, a reality that would allow Iran to extent its influence from the Gulf to the Mediterranean...

"It is true that Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar have provided arms and funds to Syrian opposition groups, including an array of Islamist organizations in addition to Turkey. [But] the large sums of money given by wealthy individuals from the Gulf as aid, which may have reached the extremists including [the Jabhat] Al-Nusra Front and ISIS early on, does not mean that the Gulf States created ISIS, since these states have already designated ISIS as a terrorist organization. Moreover, they are preventing their nationals from joining the 'Jihad' in Syria and Iraq, and are cooperating with the U.S. Treasury Department to prevent the transfer of funds from private bank accounts in Western countries. Recently, the U.S. Treasury Department  designated three Kuwaiti ISIS financial supporters as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.

"With ISIS's stunning [advances] in Iraq, which forced the Obama Administration to launch limited air strikes against ISIS military formations... a new conspiracy theory about the origin and evolution of ISIS swept the region, alleging this time that no less an authority than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is asserting that ISIS was made in America... Even by the low standards of conspiracy theories in the Middle East this one was particularly jarring..."

The Rise Of The Islamists Is The Result Of Decades Of Tyranny

"Those who have a more charitable view of the prevalence of conspiracy theories in the ME would point out that, since the Second World War, the U.S. and its allies did engage in clandestine activities and conspiracies, including fomenting coups, influencing elections and collaborating with unsavory characters in the name of combating communism and radicalism, and that the invasion of Iraq was based on baseless allegations regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction and [other] lies. That is all true, but that does not excuse the wide tendency of many Arabs, including journalists and government officials, to believe in outlandish conspiracies without bothering to present evidence...

"Ever since the 1967 Arab defeat in the war with Israel, Arab politics have been influenced and mostly shaped by various stripes of Islamists, including the radical and violent groups that constitute the antecedent of Al-Qaeda and ISIS... The rise of the Islamists, such as [Tunisia's]  Al-Nahda, the Muslim Brotherhood, the various Salafists, [Egypt's] Jama’a Islamiya, Hizbullah, Hamas and later Al-Qaeda and ISIS has been facilitated by the depredations of the 'secular' Arab regimes, the military strongmen and the one party rule, particularly the depravities of the Baath Party in both Syria and Iraq.

"Over [the] decades, the societies of Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Algeria, Yemen, Libya and later on Tunisia have been thoroughly wrecked by the brutality and corruption of these regimes. Arab societies gradually became politically and intellectually arid. Progressives, leftists, liberals and enlightened nationalists who [had] dominated political life in many of these societies for decades were hunted, intimidated and deprived of forming any kind of independent political organization. Civil society was gutted, particularly in Syria and Iraq, where the ruling elites controlled every aspect of social and economic life... In the meantime, the Islamists, many of whom were also subjected to the same treatment; either went underground or managed through charities and the Mosque to maintain some political viability and a modicum of organization...

"ISIS Is The First Modern Terrorist Organization That Acts As A Cult"

"It is no longer very useful to talk about Syria and Iraq as unitary states, because many people involved in the various struggles there don’t seem to share a national narrative. It is instructive to observe that those who are ruling Damascus and Baghdad don’t seem to be extremely moved to do something about a force that eliminated their national boundaries and in the process occupied one third of each country and is bent on creating a puritanical Caliphate stretching from Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean. ISIS is exploiting the rage and alienation of the minority Arab Sunni Iraqis by the increasing sectarian policies pursued by Nouri Maliki for 8 years, just as it is exploiting the anger of the Majority Sunni Arabs in Syria who have been marginalized by the Assad dynasty for more than 40 years.

"For the time being, ISIS will benefit from this deep Sunni disaffection, and time will tell when its growing nihilism and barbaric ritual killings will drive people to rebel against it. ISIS is Al-Qaeda on steroids. ISIS’s standards of depravity (mass executions, beheading, and crucifixions) puts it way beyond the Taliban in Afghanistan. ISIS is the first modern terrorist organization that acts as a cult, and [is] led by a leader who acts like a leader of a secret death cult society, a modern day version of 12th century Hassan-i Sabbah, the Ismaili Persian leader of a small group of zealots sometimes referred to as Hashashin, or 'Assassins,' who waged a campaign of violence and terror from his mountain redoubt in Northern Persia against the Seljuk Turks. The difference now is that ISIS is not ensconced in a mountain redoubt, but has established a primitive form of governance, with bureaucracies, tax collection and religious courts infamous for meting out horrific death sentences.

"ISIS may be the reject of Al-Qaeda, but like Al-Qaeda, it is the illegitimate child of modern political Islam that grew and expanded in what the Arabs refer to as an 'embracing environment.' The ugly truth is that the ISIS cancer was produced by a very ill and weak Arab body politic."


[1], August 16, 2014. The text was lightly edited for clarity.



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1,400 Child Victims of Muslim Rape Gangs Discovered in Rotherham, UK

by Jamie Glazov

A horrifying news report in The Telegraph has confirmed that 1,400 children were discovered as victims of Muslim rape gangs and prostitution rings in Rotherham, UK, while authorities and child protection services turned a blind eye in order to avoid being called “racist.”

Daniel Greenfield’s blog at The Point deals with this shameful, outrageous and terrifying story: “UK Police Arrested Parents Trying to Stop Muslims from Raping their Children.”

On this occasion, Frontpage is re-running The Glazov Gang’s special 2-part series with Gavin Boby of the Law and Freedom Foundation, on this horrifying reality of Muslim rape gangs in the UK and how the Left is facilitating their vicious and barbaric crimes against helpless young girls. The series crystallizes why the horrible details emerging about the discovered 1,400 children victims in Rotherham was a Muslim crime the Left allowed to occur.

In Part I, Boby shares his battle against “Muslim Rape Gangs in the U.K.” and in Part II, he discusses his report on this horrifying phenomenon, ‘Easy Meat,‘ and takes us “Inside the World of Muslim Rape Gangs”:

Part I:

Part II:

Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in Russian, U.S. and Canadian foreign policy. He is the author of the critically acclaimed and best-selling, United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror. His new book is High Noon For America. He is the host of Frontpage’s television show, The Glazov Gang, and he can be reached at Visit his site at


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Ari Soffer: Bibi Lost the Battle - But Israel can Win the War

by Ari Soffer

Despite Hamas losing the military battle, the Israeli government turned victory into defeat. And yet, there is a glimmer of hope amid the darkness, if only the Israeli people will take on their political elite.

As yesterday's "open-ended ceasefire" between Israel and Gazan terrorist groups finally took effect, it was clear that the Islamists, led by Hamas, had suffered a serious humiliation.

From the rubble of Gaza, all the false and painfully predictable bravado could not disguise the fact that Hamas had gone from brazenly rejecting a return to the terms of the 2012 ceasefire which followed Operation Pillar of Defense, to running back to the negotiating table with its tail between its legs to accept an identical proposal just weeks later.

Those familiar with the comical propensity of Arab leaders to miraculously convert military defeat into glorious success know that even if he had been the only man left standing in Gaza, Mahmoud al-Zahar would have given the very same victory speech - and his boss, Khaled Meshaal, would still have maintained his stubborn insistence that Hamas keep on fighting, sitting far from the battlefield in the comfort of Qatar.

50 days of fighting cost the lives of 2,144 Gazans (according to Hamas's own estimates), roughly half of them terrorists, and in a ground operation which lasted just two weeks the IDF succeeded in destroying more than 30 "terror tunnels" into Israel which had taken Hamas two years, and a huge price in both blood and treasure, to construct. Not to mention the massive damage wrought to the military and civilian infrastructure in Gaza - which were often one and the same thing thanks to Hamas and Islamic Jihad's cynical use of human shields - by a blistering campaign of airstrikes.

The extent of Operation Protective Edge - which surpassed both Pillar of Defense and Cast Lead in its scope and severity - took both groups by surprise, as did the effectiveness of the Iron Dome missile defense system, which was nothing short of miraculous. But what shook them the most was Israel's ability to assassinate some of their top leaders (that is, those who weren't cowering under Shifa Hospital in Gaza). 

Just how shaken they were could be seen in the aftermath of Israel's strike, late last week, which eliminated three senior leaders of Hamas's military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades. The assassination triggered a hysterical response, with Gaza's Islamist rulers summarily executing more than 25 suspected informants and arresting at least 150 others in a desperate bid to discover how on earth Israel had managed to locate and kill them as they met in a top secret bunker some 30 meters underground. And yet, just days later, Hamas's top financial official was eliminated as well.

And even if al-Qassam Brigades' head, Mohammed Deif, survived the airstrike which targeted him, as Hamas is alleging (though providing suspiciously little evidence of), Israel's ability to track him down despite his best efforts to remain in the shadows revealed just how much of an edge Israeli intelligence has over Hamas.

In contrast, after firing or otherwise losing roughly three quarters of their rocket arsenals, and after effectively sending dozens of operatives to their deaths in futile "commando-style" attacks into Israel, the Islamists did not succeed in bringing Israel to its knees. Without minimizing the tragedy of the 70 Israelis killed - most of whom were soldiers who fell bravely during fierce house-to-house fighting inside Gaza - it is clear that Israel was capable of standing strong for much, much longer than they had expected. Far from crumbling as Hamas had hoped, public support for the war never faltered.

Indeed, the Prime Minister's Office is correct in stating that Hamas came away with nothing. Perhaps Meshaal, Haniyeh and co. should have taken a lesson from Israel's folly during the Second Lebanon War, during which the Olmert government set an unrealistic target of "destroying Hezbollah" that it didn't even bother formulating into a coherent strategy, and as a result, despite the effective deterrence achieved in the north following the war, came out looking like losers.

Similarly, Hamas's absurd demands, including a total lifting of the blockade on Gaza (which it didn't get), the building and opening of sea and airports (which it didn't get), and the release of hundreds of terrorist prisoners (which it didn't get) were always a recipe for failure.

In contrast, this time the Israeli government did not talk about "destroying" or "overthrowing" Hamas from the outset. Limited objectives were set which granted the political and military leadership the time and space to both get the job done in the first place without undue pressure, and have time to spare to decide on its next steps.

And yet, the ceasefire is chiefly an Israeli failure precisely for that reason.

The valiant residents of southern Israel have endured an unimaginable measure of suffering for the past decade, and this current flare-up, like those before it, threatened to push them beyond breaking point. But it was a suffering they were willing to endure, if only the government would commit to finally performing its duty to them and ending the rocket menace once and for all.

Similarly, the courageous soldiers of the IDF fought valiantly, and 64 of them gave their lives to ensure that Jewish life could continue in the land of Israel and the people of the south could finally live in peace.

Instead, by agreeing to a ceasefire, Netanyahu snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in pursuit of the one thing he treasures most: the status quo.

The working-class residents of southern Israel have once again been treated like second class citizens and, worse, mere cannon-fodder for the "stability" which the elites so dearly treasure. A "stability" and "status-quo" which alleviates the dreaded "international pressure", and all but guarantees that the "drip-drip" of rocket fire will begin once more in months, a year, three years, or maybe a little longer - but only on Sderot, Netivot and Be'er Sheva, not Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. No, that won't happen for even longer still and when it does, the elites will relieve their guilty consciences by deluding themselves that they are experiencing even a fraction of the suffering they perpetuated for their brethren in the south.

What's more, you can be sure that Hezbollah, Iran, the Islamic State and various other regional foes will be paying close attention to how this conflict has played out. Some days ago, one government insider insisted to me that the entire conflict was a "test-balloon" for Iran to both probe Israel's defenses and political resilience in the face of attack, as well as the loyalty and effectiveness of its proxies in Gaza. If that is the case they will have looked on with astonishment and glee at how a government backed by a remarkably resilient people, a brave army and exceptional military and intelligence capabilities caved in to international pressure to avoid winning.

Of course, the price of "winning" would have been high, potentially costing the lives of hundreds of soldiers. It would also have posed tough questions about what to do with Gaza's civilian population once the terrorists had been comprehensively wiped out, and dealt a death-blow to the failed "two-state" paradigm which drove Israel to withdraw from Gaza in the first place. 

But here's the thing: victories don't tend to come cheap.

And let's dismiss for a moment the option of invading Gaza to root-out terrorism there for good: why wasn't the government even able or willing to leverage its position of military strength to gain the return of the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oren Shaul?

By perversely shunning victory out of fear, simply to preserve the status quo as soon as possible, Netanyahu and all those who pushed for a ceasefire were simply echoing the sentiments of that iconic Israeli failure, Ehud Olmert, who set the tone for post-Zionist sentiment by (in)famously declaring that "We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies."

There is, however, one silver-lining to all of this.

It can be seen in the unprecedented national unity and resilience of the past few months. It can be seen in the plummeting popularity of the prime minister after agreeing to the truce. It can also be seen in the frustrated response to Bibi's decision by the residents of southern Israel in particular who, in a remarkable show of defiance, are refusing to return home despite empty guarantees of security and more promises of "economic incentives", exhibiting their utter mistrust and contempt for their would-be "guarantors".

Most of all, it can be seen in the way the best of the best of Israel's men were willing lay down their lives, transcending the myopic politics of their leaders for the sake of their land and their nation. 

The people of Israel were robbed of victory, but they can take it back by rejecting those who - now as so many times in the past - have led this country aimlessly and without vision, desperate to survive just one more day but without recognizing that in a region where only the strongest survive they are dragging us, inch by painful inch, towards defeat.

Ari Soffer


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Michael Curtis: A Global Epiphany on ISIS

by Michael Curtis

It took only a moment for the whole world to become aware of the savagery and the delight in the slaughter of human beings by Islamist extreme groups.  That moment was the display of a skilled video of a masked jihadist in black clothes apparently preparing the brutal beheading of James Foley, the 40-year-old American photo-journalist, on August 19, 2014.

The whole world has been horrified by the insane, uncivilized behavior of ISIS (or ISIL) and its rejoicing in its deranged conduct.  There could be no better illustration of the sadistic nature and the level of barbarity of the Islamic jihadists, ISIS, and others.  Yet curiously, previous public displays of that barbarity attracted little, if any, notice by the Western media and political leaders in the U.S. and Europe.  Earlier in August, the ISIS terrorists released another video portraying a number of their group preparing to slaughter with knives some Syrians, associated with the Free Syrian Army, who were tied up. This video was almost wholly ignored by the Western media, as were the killings by ISIS of hundreds of people, attacks on minority groups, and instillation of a doctrinal Islamic state, a modern caliphate based on sharia law.

The Western countries have reacted with some strong verbal language and mild military action to the murder of Foley.  British Prime Minister David Cameron asserted that Islamic jihadism is not a distant problem, but rather “our concern here and now.”  President Barack Obama spoke of the United States being “relentless” in reacting to ISIS and also ordered air strikes in northern Iraq against ISIS to stop its advance.  In addition, the revelation that a considerable contingent of Europeans, and some Americans, have joined ISIS, and other Islamist jihadists, and that the murderer of Foley is reputed to be a 23-year-old London rapper of Egyptian origin, has been a wake-up call to Western security services about security in their own countries.

It is heartening that Middle Eastern, as well as Western, countries have realized the danger to their countries, have condemned the atrocities, and are preparing to react to them.  Countries not always friendly to each other or to the West are beginning to line up.  They now recognize that the mujahedeen fighters in Afghanistan, the jihadists in Algeria and Iraq, the Muslim Brotherhood, Boko Haram in Nigeria, and Hamas in the Gaza Strip all have the same disregard for human life and are characterized by inhumane zealotry.

Saudi Arabia has for some time been concerned by the growing power of ISIS, and of radical Sunnis (takfirism).  Its grand mufti, Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, now refers to ISIS as enemy number one, against which decisive measures must be taken.  The country has already pledged $100 million to combat terrorism in the Middle East.  Kuwait has closed the Islamic charities that it believes give money to the jihadists.  Western observers have long known this to be the case.

Tactical alliances in the Middle East are forever changing.  The Kurdish group PKK, formerly regarded as a terrorist organization, is welcomed by the U.S. and the EU, as helpful in fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.  Turkey, which has allowed most of ISIS's supplies to come through its territory, has, at least temporarily, been less hostile to the Kurds in the north of its country.  The loathsome Bashar al-Assad Syrian regime has been bombing ISIS bases in Syria.  Even Qatar, a country that has substantially funded terrorist groups, is now reconsidering its aid to them.

Prime Minister Cameron insisted that immediate action is essential to stem the onslaught of the exceptional dangerous terrorist movement.  There is no choice but to rise to the challenge.  He might have gone farther and looked to Israel as the example showing the way to meet and overcome the challenge.

In this necessary battle against the evil forces of ISIS and of Islamic jihadists, aspects of Israeli behavior against aggression may be useful, even if used as a metaphor.  One of the elements of that behavior, used first to deal with attacks on Jews in prewar Europe and now incorporated into the training of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), is Krav Maga (Contact Combat).

This form of combat was devised by a Jewish man named Imrich Lichtenfeld, born in Budapest, who lived in Bratislava (Slovakia) as a champion boxer and wrestler.  Disturbed by the prevalent anti-Semitism in the 1930s, he worked out street-fighting tactics to deal with Fascist and Nazi assaults against Jews, and the anti-Semitic thugs.  He left for Palestine before the Second World War and taught his system to the IDF.  Krav Maga can best described as a combination of wrestling, boxing, Muay Thai, Kung fu, and Savate. It is a combination of kicks, strikes, and different forms of punches.

What is important are the principles of Krav, which, using it as a metaphor, are valuable for peace in the Middle East.  Individuals must first avoid confrontation and should remove themselves from danger.  They must then try to de-escalate any verbal interaction or dispute.  If these do not succeed, the individuals, or Israel, must start a process not only of self-defense against all variety of attacks, but also of a vigorous counter-offensive as soon as possible.  The tactics include hitting as hard as you can, neutralizing the enemy as soon as possible, using what you can to get the upper hand, and maintaining awareness of surroundings.  They also entail learning to understand the psychology of confrontation, and identification of potential threats before they occur.

The actress Jennifer Lopez was one of the celebrities who trained for a number of months in the art of Krav Maga.  She obtained better starring roles in her movies as a result.  The Western countries should now adopt the principles of Krav and take part, if not always star, in the fight against Islamist jihadists.

Michael Curtis


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Al-Qaeda Advances to Israel's Northern Border

by Carol Brown

Israelis are not happy with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And they shouldn’t be.

The headline at Israel National News reads: “Majority of Israelis Think Israel Didn't Win Gaza Operation”

Journalist Ari Yashar writes:
Poll: 59% say op. not a success, as Netanyahu's approval rating nose-dives further to a paltry 32%; majority oppose ceasefire.  snip
Clearly the disappointment is not directed at the IDF, which 83% of the public said it was satisfied with - instead Israelis apparently are severely dissatisfied with the political echelon, and Netanyahu at its head.  (snip)
Criticism has been pouring in from all corners over Netanyahu's apparent unwillingness to take decisive action against Hamas and return security to residents of the south.
Two Israelis in Kibbutz Nirim were killed by mortar fire an hour before the 7 p.m. Tuesday ceasefire, as Hamas terrorists launched a final barrage that lasted up till 15 minutes after the ceasefire went into effect.
Former MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari picked apart Netanyahu's leadership of the operation on Tuesday night, slamming him for "holding negotiations under fire with a gang of terrorists" - something which Netanyahu swore he would not do a mere two weeks ago.
Ben-Ari likewise quoted Netanyahu, who referenced the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terror group in Iraq and Syria saying "Hamas is ISIS, ISIS is Hamas." Following through on Netanyahu's comparison, Ben-Ari said "that means that Netanyahu held negotiations with ISIS."
Like the majority of Israelis, I’ve been scratching my head trying to figure out Netanyahu’s strategy. He has talked tough, but then he has seemed to back down from his own words.

At the same time, world condemnation of Israel was ramping up to overflowing levels of hatred during this recent war with Hamas – a war one could argue Hamas won on several levels.  

On the other hand, the world condemns Israel not matter what she does, so it seems there is no winning. In which case, best to defend the nation in the strongest way possible. And from where I sit (as neither a politician nor a military strategist), it’s not clear Netanyahu has done that.

And now, in addition to dealing with Hamas, their missiles, their lethal force, their psychological warfare, and successful PR campaign, al Qaeda is just over the Syrian border.

We cannot afford to take our eyes off of Israel. She is on the bleeding edge of the fight against Islamic jihad. And while I have doubts about how Netanyahu has handled the threat from Hamas this summer, I agree with him that “Hamas is ISIS, ISIS is Hamas.”

And al-Qaeda.

And Hezb’allah.

And Boko Haram.

And al-Nusra.

And all the rest.

The advance against Israel is an ultimate advance against the United States. She is like the first wave of troops that get sent into battle. If she goes down, we’re up next.

Carol Brown


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Notable Names Missing from Hollywood Letter Supporting Israel

by Elise Cooper

Israel has been fighting not only a war with Gaza, but a public relations battle as well.  Many have been rightly asking, Where are the Hollywood supporters of Israel who happen to be Jewish?  Some of the biggest, most prominent Israel supporters who are also Jewish have remained silent – specifically Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Barbra Streisand.  They do not hesitate to speak out on supporting Democrats and their causes, yet they have remained missing in action regarding the latest Gaza conflict. 

There have been too few in Hollywood who are willing to stand up for what Israel is doing, but many have spoken out against Israel.  Spanish filmmaking icon Pedro Almodovar and hundreds of other Spanish artists joined actors Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem by signing a letter, accusing Israel of Genocide.  They stated that Israel "humiliates, detains, and tramples on the rights of the Palestinian population in all of the West Bank every day, also causing many deaths.”  The letter also referred to the Israel Defense Forces as the "Israel Occupation Forces."

Did the prominent Jews in Hollywood mentioned above denounce this?  No.  It was actor Jon Voight who responded, “The Palestinians elected Hamas, a terrorist organization, and they immediately began firing thousands of rockets into Israel. I am asking all my peers who signed that poison letter against Israel to examine their motives. Can you take back the fire of anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world now? You should hang your heads in shame. You should come forth with deep regrets for what you did – and ask for forgiveness from the suffering people in Israel.”

More Hollywoodites have expressed solidarity with the Palestinians, including Rihanna, Jonathan Demme, and Selena Gomez.  Leave it to comedian Joan Rivers to say it like it is: “If New Jersey were firing rockets into New York, we would wipe them out. If we heard they were digging tunnels from New Jersey to New York, we would get rid of Jersey. Where did she [Gomez] go to college? Ask her if she knows how to spell 'Palestinian.’"

Radio talk show host Howard Stern had stood solidly with Israel.  “If you are anti-Israel, you are anti-America," Stern declared last month on his Sirius XM show.  “It’s the only democracy over there.  It’s the only friend we have who’s willing to fight and stand up for what’s right."  And he has asked the question publicly many of us are wondering privately: “I don’t know why more prominent Hollywood people don’t speak out about what’s going on there.  They’re all afraid.”

Well, maybe not everyone is afraid to remain silent.  On August 23, an ad in the Hollywood Reporter, signed by more than 190 Hollywood notables, issued a pro Israel statement against Hamas.  Among those signers were Actors Kelsey Grammer, Sarah Silverman, Minnie Driver, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Seth Rogen, Josh Charles, and Tony Goldwyn; showrunners Aaron Sorkin, Diane English, Mayim Bialik, Doug Ellin and Greg Berlanti; directors Ivan Reitman and William Friedkin; producers Avi Arad, Scooter Braun, Jerry Weintraub, Avi Lerner; execs Ryan Kavaunagh, Sherry Lansing, and Amy Pascal; and mogul Haim Saban.  The statement read in part, "While we stand firm in our commitment to peace and justice, we must also stand firm against ideologies of hatred and genocide which are reflected in Hamas' charter, Article 7 of which reads, 'There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!' The son of a Hamas founder has also commented about the true nature of Hamas. Hamas cannot be allowed to rain rockets on Israeli cities, nor can it be allowed to hold its own people hostage. Hospitals are for healing, not for hiding weapons. Schools are for learning, not for launching missiles. Children are our hope, not our human shields."

Yet, as notable as this is, even more notable are the names not present.  Barbra Streisand has been a strong supporter of Israel.  During the 1967 War she made a speech at the Hollywood Bowl “Rally For Israel’s Survival.”  She saluted “Israel At Thirty” by singing the Hatikva in 1978 and in June 2013 visited Israel while performing in a number of concerts.  So why her silence now, when Israel needs supporters more than ever?

Steven Spielberg is known for his film Schindler’s List, which is about someone speaking out and taking action in the face of adversity.  Maybe Spielberg needs to take a lesson from his own script.  Where is the person who, in 2006, during the Second Lebanon War, donated to Israel one million dollars?

Maybe those who say they support Israel should understand that silence in this case is not golden.  Israel is being blamed for a war she did not start.  They must understand that Israel is dealing with an enemy who will not rest until it violently eradicates the Jewish State.  They need to look in the mirror and think about the words of Golda Meir, who, although addressing the European Ministers, could easily have been addressing the Hollywood Jews today about their silence: “In doing so, it brought shame upon itself.  Oh, what a victory for terrorism this is.”

Elise Cooper writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.


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American ISIS Supporter Plotted to Blow Up ‘Zionist’ Day Care

by Lloyd Billingsley


In March Frontpage profiled Californian Nicholas Michael Teausant, indicted for attempting to support ISIS, a foreign terrorist organization. Teausant remains in custody but recently granted an enlightening interview to Sam Stanton and Denny Walsh of the Sacramento Bee.

In March Teausant was en route to Canada and near the border texted a friend who told him “if I get myself out of the country everything will be taken care of, they’ll pay for me to go over there, they’ll give me a gun.” He had been in the National Guard but had not brought along a weapon. His friend also told him “They’ll give me everything I could possibly want. They’ll take care of my family, and that I can always come back to America when this is over.” The friend turned out to be an FBI informer, and that led to his arrest.

“I’m not going to say that I’m completely innocent and I have no fault in this,” Teausant told the reporters. “Some of it is my fault, yes. But then again I also feel that if the informant hadn’t come along I would have just been making idle boasts and I wouldn’t have done anything.” But there’s more to the story.

Teausant told the reporters that while living in Montana he met a beautiful Muslim woman who would speak only to Muslim men. That spurred his interest in Islam, but it wasn’t only romantic. The zealous convert came to believe his daughter’s day care center was “Zionist.” He wanted to blow it up but claims he told the informant he would only bomb the place when nobody was there. Teausant doesn’t recall discussing any bomb attacks in Los Angeles but on fighting overseas he showed good recall. The newly minted Muslim soon became convinced that the government of Syria needed to be taken down.

“I wanted to go help fight for these people because the New Hampshire slogan is ‘Live Free or Die,’” he told the Bee reporters. “In 1775, we rebelled against Britain because we felt we were being tyrannized and conquered, so we wanted our own freedom. So I felt like I could try and help with that, and give the people freedom that they were fighting for.”

In May his lawyers argued that he would never make it to Syria and never provide support for anyone. He now tells the Bee his support for ISIS was the informer’s suggestion and that “at the time they were not doing the brutal stuff that they’re doing now,” adding that he is “absolutely abhorred at that Foley thing. I did not see that coming.”

That is a stretch, even for someone reportedly diagnosed with schizophrenia. That “Foley thing” would be a beheading, something Islamic jihadists have been doing for centuries for such offenses as being non-Muslim. So despite claims he is “kind of like a cracked egg,” the authorities are sticking to their guns. They told reporters that they reviewed all the evidence, conducted the investigation properly, and are prosecuting the case by the book.

Teausant’s case has drawn no comment from Mohamed Abdul Azeez, leader of the Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims (SALAM) Islamic Center and frequently interviewed in the local press. The SALAM center co-hosts events with CAIR and in 2009 Abdul Azeez was the recipient of the FBI’s community service award “for preventing violence, creating understanding, bringing people together.”
Last year after the Tsarnaev brothers bombed the Boston Marathon Abdul Azeez lamented the “explosions in Boston,” but told reporters “I don’t want to have to apologize for any crime that’s been committed.” The California Muslim leader said “I feel similar to a gun owner worried about gun laws all the time because people are shooting people, or a Jew who has to worry about the atrocities being committed in Israel.”
The articulate Abdul Azeez, who holds degrees from Ohio State and the University of Chicago, has remained quiet about Boko Haram in Nigeria and the beheading of James Foley by ISIS. Meanwhile, Nicholas Teausant, who wanted to support ISIS and blow up a “Zionist” day care center, remains upbeat.

“Even if they gave me the maximum 15 years I’d come out of prison at 35,” he told the Bee reporters. “That still leaves me the rest of my life to go to college and get a Ph.D., do what I want and be with my family.”

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and From Mainline to Sideline. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Reason and many other publications.


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

Sorry to Remind You, but Golda Meir Was Right - Part II of IV

by Burak Bekdil

A front-page headline was particularly revealing: They (Israel) bombed a mosque in Gaza! Including the exclamation mark!
A quick internet search, if you typed "mosque bombing Shiite-Sunni," would give you 782,000 results on July 16.
Why did we not hear one single Turkish voice protest the death of 300,000 Muslims in Darfur?
Hamas's Charter is must-read fun.

Jihadists keep on saying that "they love death more than we love life." Good for them.

Then there are the proxy jihadists. In 2012, Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps commander, Mohammad Ali Jafari, said that, "Iran provided the Palestinian organizations the technology to produce Fajr-5 and other missiles, and they can now produce these missiles themselves in large quantities." Apparently, Iran will fight Israel down to the last Palestinian. And so will Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the Sunni mullah. It's one of the rare qualities Sunni and Shiite Islamists feature: They have an obsession about fighting Israel at times when their Sunni and Shiite militants are not busy killing each other.

A recent front-page headline in Turkey's flagship newspaper, Hürriyet, was particularly revealing: They (Israel) bombed a mosque in Gaza! Including the exclamation mark! Yes, the exclamation mark, at times when sectarian mosque bombing is so routine that it cannot find even a few column inches of space in Muslim newspapers. A quick internet search, if you typed the words "mosque bombing Shiite-Sunni," would give you 782,000 results on July 16.

But again, the "they-(Israel)-bombed-a-mosque" shock on Muslim faces is not too unfamiliar. From my column on June 3, 2010, "Why is Palestine 'a second Cyprus' for Turks?":
"But why do the Turks have the 'Palestine fetish' even though most of them can't point the Palestinian territories out on a map? Why did they not raise a finger when, for instance, the mullahs killed dissident Iranian Muslims? Why did the Turks not raise a finger when non-Muslim occupying forces killed a million Iraqi Muslims? Why did we not hear one single Turkish voice protesting the deaths of 300,000 Muslims in Darfur?
"Subconsciously (and sadly) the Muslim-Turkish thinking tolerates it if Muslims kill Muslims; does not tolerate it but does not turn the world upside down when Christians kill Muslims; pragmatically ignores it when too-powerful Christians kill Muslims; but is programmed to turn the world upside down when Jews kill Muslims."
What else, other than that hatred, could bring two otherwise unmatchable people into precisely the same line of thinking? One is an Egyptian cleric with the typical bigotry of an Egyptian cleric; and the other is a Turkish-Kurdish female singer who burst onto the pop song scene along with a life full of scandals, including drug abuse and a conviction.

Muhammad al-Zoghbi, the Egyptian cleric, said in a May 3 television interview that, "not a single Jew will remain on the face of this earth." The TV program's theme was, "The war on the Jews, their annihilation or the eradication of their country." But here comes into the picture the charter of the organization Mr. Erdoğan does not hide his deep admiration for: Hamas.

Hamas's charter is must-read fun. My favorite section prophesizes that: "The Day of Judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews, when the (last) Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say, 'O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'"

Mr. al-Zoghbi's interviewer must be an intellectual man, as he asked the cleric if the section about speaking trees and stones was an allegorical expression, to which Mr. al-Zoghbi replied: "Whoever says this is an allegory (that trees and stones will speak) is wrong. The trees will actually talk. And the walls as well."

But Yıldız Tilbe, the Turkish-Kurdish pop star, is apparently less patient than waiting for the moment when the trees and stones will guide Muslims to the last standing Jew so that they can kill him. Hers is a nostalgic, probably too-difficult-to-fulfil wish, unless Arabs, Turks or her Kurdish kin invent the time machine.

On her Twitter account last week, she wrote: "May God bless Hitler. He did far less (than he should have)." And that: "It will be Muslims again who will bring the end of Jews." To which the honorable mayor of Ankara, Melih Gökçek replied: "I applaud you."

(to be continued)

Burak Bekdil, based in Ankara, is a Turkish columnist for the Hürriyet Daily News and a Fellow at the Middle East Forum. This article was originally published in slightly different for form on July 18 in the Hürriyet Daily News.

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A Pro-Hamas Left Emerges

by Jeffrey Herf

On July 31, 2014, a group of left-leaning historians called "Historians Against the War" posted an open letter to President Obama denouncing Israel's actions in the Gaza War and calling for a cut-off of American military assistance to Israel. On August 13, the letter was posted on the website of the History News Network. On August 13, the signers reported that "in less than twenty-four hours over two hundred US, based [sic] historians had signed the letter." This remarkable turnout depended on the mobilization of an already existing network of an academic Left that emerged in opposition to the war in Iraq and that stays in touch via a website called "The Hawblog." On August 14, the blog announced that more than a thousand historians had signed the statement, including a large number from Mexico and Brazil.

With a brief and unconvincing effort to sound balanced, the statement deplored "the ongoing attacks against civilians in Gaza and in Israel" but then turned its fire on Israel for what it called "the disproportionate harm that the Israeli military, which the United States has armed and supported for decades, is inflicting on the population of Gaza." The signers were "profoundly disturbed that Israeli forces are killing and wounding so many Palestinian children." They found "unacceptable the failure of United States elected officials to hold Israel accountable for such an act" and demanded "a cease-fire, the immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza and a permanent end to the blockade so that its people can resume some semblance of normal life." Further, they urged the President to suspend U.S. military aid to Israel until there is assurance that it will no longer be used for the commission of "war crimes." "As historians," they concluded, "we recognize this as a moment of acute moral crisis in which it is vitally important that United States policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict change direction."

It is old news that an academic tenured Left has a foothold in departments of history in the United States, as well as in Latin America. Also familiar is the deception involved in presenting oneself as "against war," as if those who disagree are "for" war, and as if the issue were one of war or peace rather than anything that has to do with the substance of the conflict. Nor is it surprising that left-of-center academics are largely hostile to Israel. Hostility to Israel became a defining element of what it means to be left-wing since the early 1950s in the Communist states, and since the late 1960s for the Left in Western Europe, the United States, and the Third World as well.

Nor is it even surprising that the signers conclude, before they can possibly have access to the evidence needed to reach this judgment, that Israel has engaged in "war crimes." The indictment of Israel before the facts are in, based on the reports of biased and often intimidated journalists, has been par for the course since the 1960s and has been a major theme of public discussion at least since the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. It has also been standard operating procedure for the anti-Israeli majority in the UN General Assembly since the 1960s—yet in this case even UN officials, no constant friends of Israel, have intimated that Hamas is guilty of war crimes both by intentionally targeting Israeli civilians and by using the people of the Gaza Strip as human shields.

Reaching such conclusions on the basis of media reports would be, one would think, less common among professional historians who are trained to follow rigorous standard rules of evidence. In fact, in the name of a political goal these academics have abandoned the standards of their profession. The evidence to support this conclusion is hard to avoid.

First, demands for a ceasefire before Israel had completed destruction of the tunnels Hamas was using to infiltrate Israel, or before it was able to destroy Hamas rocket launchers, fit a familiar pattern of attacking Israel's efforts to defend itself while ignoring the reasons why those actions are necessary. Similarly, second, as they have done before, indignant signers say nothing about the obvious fact that the Gaza war began with acts of aggression by Hamas, that by July 31 at least 1,500 rockets had been fired at Israel, and by August 13, the number was over 3,000. Third, and remarkably, in a statement about a war begun by Hamas the word "Hamas" does not even appear.

Finally, the signers called for ending the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza and stopping American military support for Israel in the midst of the Gaza war as Hamas was still firing rockets. This too was not surprising, coming as it did from an academic Left that largely views the exercise of American military power in world affairs as an evil to be categorically opposed rather than as a necessary part of preserving a set of key alliances and providing a global common security good. To call for an end to military aid to Israel obviously helps its enemy, Hamas. It is also worth noting what the signers did not mention: the demilitarization of Hamas, for example, which Israel and, surprisingly, even the sobered leaders of the European Union have made a condition for lifting the blockade.

The historians' demands were, in short, essentially the same as those made by Hamas. Satisfying these demands constituted its definition of victory: Lift the blockade without demilitarization, put Israel in the dock for alleged war crimes, and preserve Hamas's arsenal so it could continue to threaten Israel.

The interesting and historically significant aspect of these historians' response to Hamas's war of aggression is that it offers clear and depressing evidence of a change in the meaning of leftist ideology and politics. The leftism of the Historians Against the War statement reflects an opposition to some reactionary movements but not others. Movements of the extreme Right that are anti-Semitic, sexist, homophobic, and, of course, anti-democratic are acceptable so long as they aim to destroy the state of Israel and attack "U.S. imperialism." This soft spot for reactionary Islamist ideology is partly the result of years of denial and timidity in the face of bogus accusations of "Islamophobia." The moods expressed in the historians' statement lead to forgiveness for sins committed by those attacking Israel—sins that would be denounced if they came from political currents in Europe and the United States.

In politics, we distinguish between subjective intentions and objective consequences. Subjectively, the signers present themselves as simple people on the side of the angels. They merely oppose "disproportionate" loss of civilian life and Israel's "war crimes" in Gaza. Yet the signers are sophisticated intellectuals, and many are veteran senior scholars who understand very well that "objectively" the impact of their statement is to assist Hamas in winning what it would define as victory in the war it launched against Israel. The signers know very well that Hamas uses the civilian population as human shields and displays the deaths of civilians as a major strategy in its effort to defeat Israel in the court of world public opinion, erode Israel's standing in Europe, and perhaps even break or weaken the alliance with the United States. As objective partisans of one side of the conflict, they are fine with all that.

Some critics of the statement have pointed out that the vast majority of the signers have no expertise in the Middle East, which is true enough. Yet it takes no expertise in the Middle East to read and interpret the Hamas Covenant of 1988. (I did so in an essay for this magazine.) The Hamas Charter has been available at the Yale Law School's Avalon Project website for at least a decade. The Hamas authors wrote very clearly. At that website, the signers, some of whom included historians of modern European and German history, could read the Hamas authors' selections from the Koran and Muslim commentaries to offer theological justifications for raw, murderous Jew-hatred. They could read the Hamas authors' repetition of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. They would see that Hamas has no interest whatsoever in a two-state solution but has from its origins been dedicated to the destruction of the State of Israel by war. With a few mouse clicks, they could read a document that included phrases, some word for word, that would remind them of the rhetoric and propaganda of the fascists and Nazis that some of these historians have written about for decades.

"A refusal to speak frankly about the ideas animating Hamas and other Islamist terrorist organizations has become a litmus test for left-wing identity."

The signers of the "Historians Against the War" statement about the Gaza war can take one of only two positions. The first would be an argument from ignorance; that is, that they had not read the Hamas Covenant and have paid no attention to Hamas' repeated declarations of intent to destroy the state of Israel and to its numerous expressions of open Jew-hatred, even though they are readily available on the internet in English. Yet as the signers are speaking "as historians," it would be insulting to suggest that they have no idea that Hamas is inspired by a kind of religious fanaticism that in every other context they find repellent.

So let's give the signers the benefit of the doubt and make the second assumption, that the signers are sophisticated and well-informed, that they have read the Hamas Covenant, have followed Hamas's repeated expressions of Jew-hatred, and understand that Hamas has used the years since it seized power in Gaza to buy rockets, train young men how to use them, and spent millions on tunnel construction that could have been used instead to build schools, hospitals, and housing for the civilians population in Gaza. What, then, is the meaning of these historians' letter? It is that the "Hawblog" statement of July 31 was not a statement "against war"; it was objectively and, for some, subjectively an effort in favor of the war that Hamas launched against Israel.

The emergence of this objectively pro-Hamas and pro-war Left is an historically significant event. It breaks with both the self-understanding and public image of a Left that carried a banner of anti-fascism. It rests on a double standard of critique, a critical one applied to the extreme Right in the West and another, apologetic standard applied to similarly based rightist Islamist movements.

For this historian, the "Historians Against the War" statement of summer 2014 recalls the policy of the Comintern during the Hitler-Stalin pact of 1939–1941. In that two-year period, as Hitler invaded and occupied all of continental Europe except the Soviet Union, and island Britain fought on alone, the Communist Parties denounced "Anglo-American imperialism", called Franklin Roosevelt a "war monger" for aiding Britain and abandoned verbal attacks on Nazi Germany. The Communist Parties only returned to the previous anti-fascist stance of the Popular Front era because Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. Had Hitler not invaded the Soviet Union, presumably the Communists Parties would have opposed a strictly Anglo-American attack on Nazi Germany.

The years of the Hitler-Stalin pact offer an often forgotten and embarrassing case of the Left making common cause objectively with fascism and Nazism. It was only in the aftermath of the Soviet Union's massive contribution to the defeat of Nazism that "anti-fascism" again became embedded in the Left's essence and public presentation. The "Historians against the War" statement of July 31 revives the spirit of the infamous years of 1939-41, but does so with a confidence that many decades of Communist and Western leftist attacks on Israel and on Zionism, along with expressions of "solidarity with the Palestinian people," has fostered. The habits of mind and emotion cultivated in the Western Left in the era of the secular PLO's terrorist campaigns of the 1960s to 1980s have remained strikingly intact, even though the terror now comes from the Islamist extreme Right rather than the extreme Left.

"It was probably only a matter of time before seven decades of leftist antagonism to Israel would lead to waging political warfare in support of an organization known for terrorist attacks against civilians, religious fanaticism, and anti-Semitism of a most foul and familiar sort. In summer 2014, that moment has arrived."

Efforts by the literary scholar Judith Butler several years ago to include Hamas in the camp of the global Left illustrated a lack of historical knowledge that is simply not acceptable among professional historians. But Procrustean distortion in the name of a cause is apt to overwhelm any fealty to professional standards among ideologues of all stripes. In every sense of the word, Hamas is an organization of the extreme Right and rejects all of the values that at one point defined leftist politics ever since the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and large parts of the secular Left of the 20th century. This summer, the "Hawblog" group statement has offered support to an organization that has attacked the values that used to define the Western Left and made hatred of the Jews as Jews and the destruction of the Jewish state its primary goals. If these scholars have any criticisms of Hamas at all, they did not voice them at a time when doing so mattered.

It was probably only a matter of time before seven decades of leftist antagonism to Israel would lead to waging political warfare in support of an organization known for terrorist attacks against civilians, religious fanaticism, and anti-Semitism of a most foul and familiar sort. In summer 2014, that moment has arrived.

And "So what?" it might be asked. What does it matter that the academic Left yet again criticizes Israel and supports the aims of its enemies? In fact, it matters quite a bit, because political struggles are ultimately battles about ideas and their meaning. What begins in the universities and enjoys the prestige associated with them filters into journalism, the highbrow journals of opinion, the editorials of the media, and the policy think tanks in Washington. In the process, it fosters at best a language of moral equivalence regarding Israel and Hamas. It is also reflected in courses taught in the universities, which in turn have an impact on coming generations. A refusal to speak frankly about the ideas animating Hamas and other Islamist terrorist organizations has become a litmus test for left-wing identity. The fear of being called "Islamophobic" or "right-wing" has the effect of silencing criticism among liberals who don't want to field criticism on their left.

Moreover, now that the Republican Party's traditional support for vigorous American leadership is under challenge from a neo-isolationist right, it is all the more important that centrists in the Democratic Party recognize and vigorously respond to the challenge from an effectively pro-Hamas left. We need a renewed "militant democracy" in the center of American politics and intellectual life, one that fights totalitarian ideologies and movements no matter their source. Both within the academy and in the world of politics and policy in Washington, it is essential that there be much more frank speech about the nature of groups such as Hamas. There are some welcome signs that some in the political establishment are finding their voices about these issues. In the academy the voices of "Historians Against the War" are not a majority, but they shout the loudest and are well organized. For those of us in the academy who take a different view, it would be most helpful if more of our political leaders would also speak frankly on these matters. The arrows of influence in the history of ideas and politics can flow in both directions. It is important that they do so.

Jeffrey Herf is distinguished university professor in the department of history at the University of Maryland in College Park and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is the author most recently of Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World (Yale University Press, 2009). His essay "In Their Own Words, Why They Fight: Hamas' All Too-Little Known Fascist Charter" can be found here. His essay "At War with Israel: East Germany's Enthusiastic Support for Soviet Policy in the Middle East" is forthcoming in the Journal of Cold War Studies.


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