Thursday, June 30, 2011

Perry Takes on Holder and the Gaza Flotilla

Roger L Simon

He hasn’t declared his candidacy yet, but Texas Governor Rick Perry pulled on his cowboy boots and waded into the presidential area of foreign affairs this week, sending a strongly worded letter to Eric Holder urging the attorney general to investigate violations of U. S. law by organizers of the Gaza flotilla.

According to numerous recent media reports,American citizens and organizations, together with a coalition of violent anti-Israel organizations from other countries, have organized efforts to breach Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip as early as this week. According to those reports, as well as information alleged in a lawsuit recently filed by Dr. Alan J. Bauer and his attorney, Robert J. Tolchin, and additional information provided by Shurat HaDin: at least to of the participating ships – The Audacity of Hope (DL 2894 AF) and The Challenger II (DL 8172 AC) – are registered in Delaware; The Audacity of Hope? What’s going on here? Is Perry challenging Obama and making a direct play for the Jewish vote, where the president every day seems more vulnerable? Or is the Texas governor expressing genuine concern for Israel at a time when the Jewish state is increasingly subject to many forms of attempted delegitimization, including the flotilla?

In a telephone conversation with PJ Media, longtime Perry adviser David Carney insisted the governor’s support of Israel is not politically motivated and comes from deep feelings for the country Perry developed after several visits. On those visits he met with terror victims, including children, and also with the attorneys at Shurat HaDin (the Israel Law Center). He was particularly impressed by the unique approach of those attorneys, who have successfully found ways to fight terror through the legal system.

In his letter to Holder, the governor specifies the U. S. laws which he thinks are being violated by the American individual and corporate participants in the flotilla:

The acts of funding, supporting, organizing and engaging in these efforts appears to constitute participation in a naval expedition against a people with whom the United States is at peace, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 960; the furnishing of a vessel with the intent that it be employed to commit hostilities against a people with whom the United States is at peace, in violation 18 U. S. C. 962; and the provision of material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2339. See, e.g., Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, 130 S. Ct. 2705 (2010).

As of now, PJ Media has no word of a response by Holder to the letter or whether the attorney general has any intention of launching an investigation into the Delaware registration of the Flotilla boats or any of the other related matters detailed by Perry, such as the role of the Washington D. C.-based Immarsat corporation in providing satellite navigation services for the flotilla boats.

What we do have at this point, via this letter, is a window into how a potential Perry administration would handle the situation in the Middle East. It certainly would be wildly different from the Obama administration. It’s also highly unlikely the prime minister of our most steadfast ally would be left standing humiliated in the White House while the president withdraws for a private dinner.

Financial Links Uncovered between Hamas and Gaza Flotilla Organizers


According to Israeli Military Intelligence, the terrorist organization Hamas and several organizations behind the 2011 Gaza flotilla have similar funding sources. Three Islamic charity funds from the Hamas-affiliated Charity Coalition directly fund Hamas and some of the organizations connected to the 2011 Gaza flotilla (see below list of organizations).
The European Campaign to End the Siege (ECESG)

ECESG, one of the flotilla’s leading organizers, is a UK-based umbrella organization of more than thirty Europe-based organizations; it openly supports Hamas. Most of its organizations — founded as Muslim Brotherhood branches in Europe — are participating in the 2011 Gaza flotilla. Israeli military sources found that some of these umbrella organizations are sponsors of Hamas terror activity in the Gaza Strip. ECESG Chairman Dr. Arafat Madi Mahmoud Shukri also serves as chairman of the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC). Due to PRC’s flagrant links to Hamas, it was declared illegal in Israel.
Droit Pour Tous and ABSPP

In addition to ECESG, the Switerzland-based Droit Pour Tous organization and the Italy-based group ABSPP are openly and intimately involved in Hamas charity efforts as well as efforts to illegally break the lawfully enforced naval blockade on Gaza.

Holland's Hamas leader is brain behind Dutch flotilla'


'De Telegraaf' report says Amin Abu Rashid spotted training with Gaza-bound crew in Greece, helped organize majority of flotilla funding; Edelstein: Hamas participation shows intention to provoke.

Hamas leader from Holland Amin Abu Rashid has been seen in recent days training with a Gaza-bound flotilla crew in Greece, according to a report by Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf on Thursday.

Rashid, described as the "brain" behind the flotilla, helped arrange the purchasing of the Dutch boat expected to be used in the expedition, De Telegraaf reported. Rashid also allegedly organized the majority of the funding for the flotilla, the report said.

The participation of a Hamas member in the Gaza-bound flotilla proves that the flotilla does not have humanitarian intent, but is actually a provocation and a terror operation, Public Affairs and Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein said in response to the report.

"The participation of Hamas member Amin Abu Rashid in the flotilla, who is known for fundraising money for Hamas terror operations, is clear proof that this is not a humanitarian flotilla, but a provocation and a terror operation in disguise of a flotilla," Edelstein said.

Click for full Jpost coverage

"In the previous flotilla, Abu Rashid expressed his intentions to clash with IDF soldiers and we must take into account that this will be his intention in the current flotilla. Israel is prepared for every scenario and the world's countries must now reinforce the country seven-fold," the minister added.

An Open Letter to Alice Walker and Her Fellow Flotilla Travelers

Richard L. Cravatts, PhD

You recently wrote an essay, “Why I’m Sailing to Gaza,” in which you tried to defend the indefensible; namely, your intention to violate international law by attempting to penetrate Israel’s legal blockade of Gaza, purportedly for the purpose of delivering aid to the suffering Gazans—although in this case the aid was only a cache of letters of solidarity and the true purpose of your voyage is a misguided, self-aggrandizing incitement designed to ultimately reflect badly on Israel. You are a writer and know that words are important and can be powerful, but you are best known for your works of fiction and evidently have failed to come to grips with the facts, the historical realities of the Israeli/Arab conflict. Your obsession with exculpating the Arabs from any responsibility for their condition and statelessness, and your habit of singularly condemning Israel for all the defects in the region, is disingenuously framed with your fatuous comparisons between the conditions in Gaza and those experienced by blacks in the Jim Crow south. While you give some credit to two “good” Jews, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, who you have to admit put themselves at risk by participating in, and dying for, the American civil rights struggle in the 1960s, you and your fellow activists regularly try to frame the Palestinian issue in the context of race, with Israel as a racist regime that humiliates, segregates, and discriminates against hapless, victimized Arabs on racial grounds, in your contorted view a system equivalent to apartheid. The “good Jews” of the civil rights era, you insinuate, have been replaced by the “bad Jews” of the brutal, colonial, occupying Israel.

You ignore, of course, the reality that citizens of Israel are not all white, that some Israelis have skin darker than yours. More importantly, Israel’s non-Jewish citizens, twenty percent of its population, enjoy more civil and human rights than they would ever enjoy were they to live in the surrounding Arab countries you fail to criticize, not to mention in Gaza itself.

The reason that Schwerner and Goodman, as well as many other like-minded, committed activists, fought segregation in the South during the civil rights era was the fact that blacks were American citizens, that there, indeed, was a system of institutionalized racism in sections of the country, and that it was morally abhorrent for a certain class of Americans to be denied their fundamental human and civil rights based on the color of their skin.

For you to try to frame the situation in Gaza and the West Bank as analogous to the segregation in 1960s America is both absurd and abhorrent. Palestinians are not citizens of Israel and Israel has no responsibility to afford them the protections and benefits it does offer Israeli citizens in a Western-style democracy with open and elections, a free press, and rule of law. But even more to the point, what you and your fellow critics of Israel habitually do is to ignore the reason that a blockade of Gaza exists in the first place, or why, similarly, the security barrier had to be built in the West Bank, and why there are checkpoints, roadblocks, and other security measures in place inside of Israel and in the territories.

The reason is not, as you would like to believe, that “white” Israelis are oppressing “colored,” perennially-victimized Palestinians and walling them out based on their race. In your Manichean world view that is a familiar, though defective, way to frame the issue. The actual reason that a blockade exists, and that the security fence had to be constructed, was that Palestinians were, and are, relentlessly intent on murdering Jews. Israel left Gaza completely in 2005 and would be totally uninvolved with it today were it not for the inconvenient fact you overlook that, since that disengagement, Hamas has seen fit to barrage southern Israeli towns with the full intention of murdering Jewish civilians as they sleep, shop, pray, or work.

So by challenging the legality of the blockade, are you and your fellow flotilla travelers proclaiming that the continuing, barbaric attempts by Hamas to kill Jews are morally acceptable, or, as you are fond of saying, just? If you stand in solidarity with Hamas, as Noam Chomsky coddles up to Hezbollah in an equally ghoulish ideological alliance, do you feel inoculated from any moral judgment of you simply because you believe that standing up for the perceived victim is always the just thing to do? What you seem unwilling, or incapable, of doing is accepting the fact that Israel’s so-called “brutal occupation” and its military incursions—now and in previous conflicts— were necessitated by Arab aggression and terrorism, and the use of force has not been a random occurrence based on the whims of a sadistic Israeli military.

“One child must never be set above another,” you wrote in justifying your participation in the flotilla, “even in casual conversation, not to mention in speeches that circle the globe.” But setting one child above another is precisely what you and your fellow pro-Palestinian activists regularly do when you enshrine the Palestinian cause and continue to seek the weakening and destruction of Israel by supporting those who would, given the chance, eliminate it. You clearly have no concern at all for the Israeli children of Sderot, Ashkelon, Ashod, and other southern Israeli towns where some 10,000 Qassam rockets and mortars have rained down since 2005, launched from Gaza by Hamas with the specific intent to randomly murder Jewish children in schoolyards, synagogues, or as they sleep. And those children everywhere you profess to care about must not include children living in the town of Sderot, for example, where one third of 13 to 18 year-olds have trauma-related learning disorders. Are there letters of solidarity for them in the cargo of your humanitarian flotilla?

The reason the “good Jews” you described were willing to fight hard against segregation in America is that there were clear moral principles at stake and it was the appropriate and just thing to do. And African Americans were not launching rockets into Birmingham neighborhoods. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his followers were not strapping bombs to their chests and immolating themselves and innocent civilians on crowded buses in Selma. Ministers in Jackson, Mississippi churches were not giving weekly sermons exhorting congregants to despise white people, to consider them subhuman monsters, and to martyr themselves by murdering white people randomly wherever they could find them.

Your own obsession with the human rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people, and your comment that you seek “justice and respect” for Palestinian children alone, indicates that you and your fellow flotilla activists have already decided which children are deserving and which are not. True justice would be justice for Israelis and Palestinians alike, each with sovereign nations living “side by side in peace,” but that is not your concern at all. Your evident contempt for Israel’s right to self-determination, or even its right to protect the lives of its citizens— the purpose of the blockade you so cavalierly and recklessly intend to violate—demonstrates quite clearly that the safety and human rights of Jews are irrelevant to your world view in which the only individuals deserving of justice are those who you and other “progressives” define as victims, including your favorite Third World victim of the moment, the Palestinians.

And those Palestinian children you pretend to care for so deeply, those children “whose impoverished, terrorized, segregated existence” you evidently believe to be solely the fault of Israel’s, what circumstances of their lives are the direct result of the culture and ideology of the Palestinian Arabs themselves? Is any part of the Palestinians’ lives their own responsibility, or is all of their existence defined by the Jewish occupation, dispossession, and brutality, that banality of evil you apparently can see in no other state on earth than in Israel? You have obviously overlooked the pathologies of Palestinian society, crystallized and made more malevolent by the rule of Hamas itself, in which Palestinian children are inculcated, nearly from birth, with seething, blind, unrelenting, and obsessive hatred of Jews and the 'Zionist regime,' so that kindergartners graduate with blood-soaked hands while toting plastic AK 47s and dedicate their lives to jihad, and older children are recruited to hide explosives on their bodies to transform themselves into shahids—a new generation of kindling for radical Islam's cult of death.

Parents of these children you care so much about, in fact, glorify death and martyrdom and seek the death of their children if they distinguish themselves by murdering Jewish civilians. Hamas also broadcasts children’s TV shows with animal characters who repeat hateful propaganda about Israel, and who encourage children to attack and kill Jews, behavior you failed to condemn as you boarded your ship, “The Audacity of Hope.” Perhaps among your letters of solidarity that you carry on your ego-laden flotilla might be letters to Palestinian parents that suggest that textbooks their children use in school that depict Jews as apes and pigs, that erase Israel from history and geography books, that demonize Israelis in particular and Jews in general as subhuman monsters who are swindlers, thieves, and murderers may not be conducive to raising a new generation of Palestinian citizens eager to, or capable of, ever living in peace with Israel, regardless of where the eventual borders are.

You also made the breathtaking statement in a recent interview that you “think Israel is the greatest terrorist in that part of the world,” and that you “think in general, the United States and Israel are great terrorist organizations themselves.” No, democracies that are attacked by enemies, either in conventional or asymmetrical warfare, are within their legal rights as sovereign nations to defend themselves and not allow their citizens to be harmed—by whatever means necessary and governed by the rules of warfare. Self-defense is not terrorism. The Hamas thugocracy of Gaza, on the other hand, that group whose aspirations and ideologies apparently you embrace, are in fact terrorists, which is precisely why they have been designated as such by U.S., Israel, the EU, Canada, and Japan. The group was founded for one purpose: not, as you like to believe in your rapturous affinity for revolutionary movements, for helping Palestinians to achieve statehood, but for the particular purpose of exterminating Jews. Their charter articulates very clearly Hamas’ belief that “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it," and that "The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” That you and the other flotilla participants so proudly proclaim your solidarity for the Gazans who are ruled by this genocidal group is yet another reminder of how self-defined activists like you inhabit a morally-inverted universe where any behavior by the weak against the powerful is acceptable in your pursuit of social justice.

It is interesting, though, that you are silent, for instance, on the genocidal murder by Janjaweed Arabs and Muslims in Darfur of some 300,000 Christian and animist blacks since 2003, as well as the rape and displacement of hundreds of thousands more victims, but you singularly and regularly condemn Israel’s efforts to defend its populace from unrelenting attacks. Have you sent letters of support to innocents oppressed and slaughtered by the government in Khartoum?

No, it is only Israel that you and your like-minded “progressives” prefer to slander, demonize, and seek to weaken with your relentless attacks on its very right to survive. Attacking Israel takes no courage, and you pay no price for it in the court of world opinion. In fact, in the salons of the West and among the chattering class with whom you roam, it is something of badge of honor to despise Israel and exalt the oppressed Palestinians and you can shroud your true enmity toward Jews with a pompous moral self-righteousness. “We must do everything in our power to cease the behavior that makes children everywhere feel afraid,” you wrote in justifying your flotilla participation, and if you truly believe that, perhaps you might consider doing your part to insure that Israeli children, too, will not have to live in a world where they must “feel afraid” in their daily lives because they are surrounded by people who want to kill them simply because they are Jews.

Richard L. Cravatts, PhD, director of the Communications Management Program at Simmons College, is the author of the forthcoming book, Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s Jihad Against Israel & Jews.

Religious extremism and the Jewish state

Isi Leibler
June 30, 2011

The demonstration that erupted in Jerusalem over the "arrest" of Rabbi Dov Lior, a right-wing religious nationalist leader has the potential of developing into another major crisis. With regard to the challenges currently confronting the nation, this could not have happened at a worse time. Let me say at the outset that in this case, law enforcement officers utterly mishandled this issue and stand accused of applying double standards. Israeli academics have called for the boycott of their country, identified with our enemies and even endorsed harming settlers under the bogus pretext of academic freedom. Radical Israeli Arabs undermine the state as a matter of routine. Yet such acts have not led to arrests. Surely if treasonable statements do not lead to prosecution - and I believe they should - distasteful, racist and extremist rabbinical proclamations do not warrant being treated with greater severity.

Most of the nation is disgusted by the extremist outbursts by rabbinical zealots. This certainly applies to most observant Israelis who are particularly appalled and shamed when a religious leader like Rabbi Lior endorses racism and bigotry.

Needless to say, the media have a penchant for sensationalizing these issues. In this case, the central issue was Rabbi Lior's endorsement of the controversial tract Torat Hamelech, which suggested that killing innocent civilians in wartime to prevent Jewish casualties is a justified preventative measure. It was not, as implied by the media, a blanket incitement to kill non-Jews.

Nevertheless, most Israelis regard the manner in which these concepts were expressed to be inhuman and offensive and would expect them to be condemned by responsible rabbinical personalities - a number of whom did so. However regrettable Rabbi Lior's endorsement of this extremism may be, it surely does not place him in the same category of those endorsing acts of terror against Israelis, but Rabbi Lior was detained while the police have never acted against the latter.

THAT SAID, if the president and the prime minister can be detained for investigation there is no reason why a rabbi cannot.

Nobody, least of all a person who is halachically bound to observe the laws of the state, can place himself above the law even under circumstances in which the police erred and deserve condemnation for applying double standards.

The subsequent riots that took place outside the Supreme Court and the physical threats directed against deputy state prosecutor Shai Nitzan, who required special police protection after bullying from right-wing extremists, were disgusting and reflect adversely on the entire national religious community.

There is a worrying trend emerging on the fringes of the national religious sector, spearheaded by a number of extremist rabbis and religious political leaders who have decided to follow in the footsteps of their haredi counterparts, resorting to street violence as a vehicle to promote their views.

This is the antithesis of the traditional religious Zionist approach, which prided itself on avoiding polarization and focused rather on building bridges between the secular and religious streams of society. In contrast, the extremists are dividing the country and creating an odious image that will impact on all religious Jews and has the potential of inflicting enormous damage on Israeli society.

Every religion has the potential for extremism and incorporates texts that can be misinterpreted. Today's Islam is dominated by the most ruthless extremists of our time, who display utter contempt towards the sanctity of human life in the name of religion.

All forms of extremism must be resisted but religious fanaticism - the belief in the entitlement to suspend the laws of society and conventional morality because one is the instrument of the Almighty - can (and has in the past) resulted in the perpetration of terrible evil.

As Jews, dispersed and persecuted for nearly 2000 years, we have good reason to identify with the downtrodden, the weak and minorities. This also encouraged us to emphasize the moral aspects of the Torah that highlight our obligation to provide hospitality and kindness to the stranger in our midst.

Alas, in our homeland, we are now witness to noisy fringe groups emerging from within the religious national framework, brainwashed by rabbinical zealots, isolated from the reality of the world and often poisoned by the hatred radiating from the Arabs surrounding them. There are some who have convinced themselves that God granted them the authority to override the laws of the land in order to promote their messianic nationalist objectives.

The response must be the consistent application of the rule of law to all. But the real challenge rests not with the law enforcement officials, but with mainstream religious leaders who are principally responsible for the erosion and distortion of traditional religious values.

It is disgraceful that not a single rabbi or religious Zionist Knesset member had the courage to speak up and point out that rabbis are also subject to the law of the land. Their deafening silence alienates not only secular Israelis, but also inflicts enormous damage on the morale of the silent majority of religious Zionists who bitterly oppose such fanaticism and are totally committed to Israel as a Jewish democratic state. They are recognized as being amongst the most dedicated members of Israeli society as exemplified by their positive contribution to all areas of civic responsibility and the role they have assumed as one of the most constructive elements within the IDF.

The time has come for the moderate Zionist rabbis and laymen to stand up and be counted by condemning religious extremists and marginalizing them from the mainstream. This is not a question of harnessing rabbis to toe a political line. As a religious Zionist raised in the tradition of torah im derech eretz (bible and moral behavior), I would certainly not entrust the spiritual welfare and education of my children or grandchildren to the likes of Rabbi Lior, who describe the murderer Baruch Goldstein as a saint. It also saddens me that a rabbi with such outlandish views can be the spiritual leader of a major community and head a hesder yeshiva.

Israel has a responsibility to ensure that any rabbi funded by the state is committed to the central values of Judaism and pledges support for a democratic Jewish state. Rabbis promoting extremism should not be entrusted to act as spiritual leaders and must be denied the opportunity of poisoning the minds of future generations.

4 Hizbullah Terrorists Indicted for Hariri Murder in Lebanon

David Lev

Four top Hizbullah terrorists have been indicted by the Hague-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon for the murder of former President Rafik al-Hariri, a Lebanese television station said Thursday. The indictments were issued minutes after the conclusion of a meeting between Lebanese officials and members of the Special Tribunal.

The four were named as Assad Sabra, Hassan Issa, Salim Ayache and Moustaf Badredin, all top terrorists in Hizbullah's Lebanese organization. They are currently in hiding, and security officials are on the lookout for them. Security has also been increased at the offices of Lebanon's Prosecutor General, Sayyed Merza, whose office issued the indictments Hizbullah had no official comment, but in the past has threatened heavy violence in the event any of its members were indicted for the February 2005 murder of Hariri, who was killed when a large bomb exploded near the car he was riding in during a motorcade near the city's waterfront.

Rafik Hariri's son, Saad, who is a former Prime Minister of Lebanon, praised the indictments, saying that they “offer a new chapter of truth. After long years of patience, waiting and continued national struggle, the indictment in the assassination crime of Martyr Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and his companions was announced today. Today, we witness together a distinctive historic moment in the political, judicial, security and moral life of Lebanon.” He called for a swift arrest and trial, and urged the government to continue cooperating with the tribunal, “and not to evade pursuing the accused and handing them over to justice, which is a guarantee of democracy and stability.”

Meanwhile, Samir Geagea, who was an ally of Hariri's and represents many of the country's Christians, called for calm. “We need to look at the accused as a person rather than link them with their party, sect, or country that he belongs to. I ask leaders… to act wisely, calmly and quietly away from any tensions and overreactions and merely follow the developments of the tribunal.”

Lebanon's government will issue an official statement on the indictments Friday, a government source said.

Syrian strongman Bashar Assad has warned against blaming Hizbullah for the assassination of Hariri.

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U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Leader Seeks Virginia House Seat

Bridges TV Had Ties to Both U.S. Muslim Brotherhood And U.S. Government

ISNA Responds to Wife Beheading by U.S. Muslim Leader

New U.S. Office of Muslim Brotherhood News Portal Interviews U.S. Congresswoman

Global Muslim Brotherhood Leaders Extol Jihad in Gaza

Egyptian Cleric Tied to Global Muslim Brotherhood Praises Hamas and Violent Jihad

U.S. Army War College Professor Says Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas are Moderates

Will Obama comply with demands from the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood coalition?

Global Brotherhood Frames Israel Actions as "War on Gaza," Nazi Theme Frequently Employed

Global Muslim Brotherhood Reacts to Israeli Airstrikes on Gaza – Part Two

Global Muslim Brotherhood Reaction to Israeli Airstrikes in Gaza

Georgetown Academic Unaware of Global Muslim Brotherhood Key Facts

Minnesota School Tied to Muslim Brotherhood Fights Ordered Changes

The Seattle Plot: Jihadists Shifting Away From Civilian Targets?


Scott Stewart

On June 22 in a Seattle warehouse, Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif pulled an unloaded M16 rifle to his shoulder, aimed it, and pulled the trigger repeatedly as he imagined himself gunning down young U.S. military recruits. His longtime friend Walli Mujahidh did likewise with an identical rifle, assuming a kneeling position as he engaged his notional targets. The two men had come to the warehouse with another man to inspect the firearms the latter had purchased with money Abdul-Latif had provided him. The rifles and a small number of hand grenades were to be used in an upcoming mission: an attack on a U.S. Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) in an industrial area south of downtown Seattle.

After confirming that the rifles were capable of automatic fire and discussing the capacity of the magazines they had purchased, the men placed the rifles back into a storage bag intending to transport them to a temporary cache location. As they prepared to leave the warehouse, they were suddenly swarmed by a large number of FBI agents and other law enforcement officers and quickly arrested. Their plan to conduct a terrorist attack inside the United States had been discovered when the man they had invited to join their plot (the man who had allegedly purchased the weapons for them) reported the plot to the Seattle Police Department, which in turn reported it to the FBI. According to the federal criminal complaint filed in the case, the third unidentified man had an extensive criminal record and had known Abdul-Latif for several years, but he had not been willing to undertake such a terrorist attack.

While the behavior of Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh in this plot demonstrates that they were amateur “wannabe” jihadists rather than seasoned terrorist operatives, their plot could have ended very differently if they had found a kindred spirit in the man they approached for help instead of someone who turned them into the authorities. This case also illustrates some important trends in jihadist terrorism that we have been watching for the past few years as well as a possible shift in mindset within the jihadist movement.


First, Abu-Khalid Abdul-Latif and Walli Mujahidh, both American converts to Islam, are prime examples of what we refer to as grassroots jihadists. They are individuals who were inspired by the al Qaeda movement but who had no known connection to the al Qaeda core or one of its franchise groups. In late 2009, in response to the success of the U.S. government and its allies in preventing jihadist attacks in the West, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) began a campaign to encourage jihadists living in the West to conduct simple attacks using readily available items, rather than travel abroad for military and terrorism training with jihadist groups. After successes such as the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting, this theme of encouraging grassroots attacks was adopted by the core al Qaeda group.

While the grassroots approach does present a challenge to law enforcement and intelligence agencies in that attackers can seemingly appear out of nowhere with no prior warning, the paradox presented by grassroots operatives is that they are also far less skilled than trained terrorist operatives. In other words, while they are hard to detect, they frequently lack the skill to conduct large, complex attacks and frequently make mistakes that expose them to detection in smaller plots.

And that is what we saw in the Seattle plot. Abdul-Latif had originally wanted to hit U.S. Joint Base Lewis-McChord (formerly known as Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base), which is located some 70 kilometers (44 miles) south of Seattle, but later decided against that plan since he considered the military base to be too hardened a target. While Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh were amateurs, they seem to have reached a reasonable assessment of their own abilities and which targets were beyond their abilities to strike.

Another trend we noted in this case was that the attack plan called for the use of firearms and hand grenades in an armed assault, rather than the use of an improvised explosive device (IED). There have been a number of botched IED attacks, such as the May 2010 Times Square attack and Najibullah Zazi’s plot to attack the New York subway system.

These were some of the failures that caused jihadist leaders such as AQAP’s Nasir al-Wahayshi to encourage grassroots jihadists to undertake simple attacks. Indeed, the most successful jihadist attacks in the West in recent years, such as the Fort Hood shooting, the June 2009 attack on a military recruitment center in Little Rock, Ark., and the March 2011 attack on U.S. troops at a civilian airport in Frankfurt, Germany, involved the use of firearms rather than IEDs. When combined with the thwarted plot in New York in May 2011, these incidents support the trend we identified in May 2010 of grassroots jihadist conducting more armed assaults and fewer attacks involving IEDs.

Another interesting aspect of the Seattle case was that Abdul-Latif was an admirer of AQAP ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki. Unlike the Fort Hood case, where U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan had been in email contact with al-Awlaki, it does not appear that Abdul-Latif had been in contact with the AQAP preacher. However, from video statements and comments Abdul-Latif himself posted on the Internet, he appears to have had a high opinion of al-Awlaki and to have been influenced by his preaching. It does not appear that Abdul-Latif, who was known as Joseph Anthony Davis before his conversion to Islam, or Mujahidh, whose pre-conversion name was Frederick Domingue Jr., spoke Arabic. This underscores the importance of al-Awlaki’s role within AQAP as its primary spokesman to the English-speaking world and his mission of radicalizing English-speaking Muslims and encouraging them to conduct terrorist attacks in the West.


Once again, in the Seattle case, the attack on the MEPS was not thwarted by some CIA source in Yemen, an intercept by the National Security Agency or an intentional FBI undercover operation. Rather, the attack was thwarted by a Muslim who was approached by Abdul-Latif and asked to participate in the attack. The man then went to the Seattle Police Department, which brought the man to the attention of the FBI. This is what we refer to as grassroots counterterrorism, that is, local cops and citizens bringing things to the attention of federal authorities. As the jihadist threat has become more diffuse and harder to detect, grassroots defenders have become an even more critical component of international counterterrorism efforts. This is especially true for Muslims, many of whom consider themselves engaged in a struggle to defend their faith (and their sons) from the threat of jihadism.

But, even if the third man had chosen to participate in the attack rather than report it to the authorities, the group would have been vulnerable to detection. First, there were the various statements Abdul-Latif made on the Internet in support of attacks against the United States. Second, any Muslim convert who chooses a name such as Mujahidh (holy warrior) for himself must certainly anticipate the possibility that it will bring him to the attention of the authorities. Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh were also somewhat cavalier in their telephone conversations, although those conversations do not appear to have brought them to the attention of the authorities.

Perhaps their most significant vulnerability to detection, aside from their desire to obtain automatic weapons and hand grenades, would have been their need to conduct preoperational surveillance of their intended target. After conducting some preliminary research using the Internet, Abdul-Latif quickly realized that they needed more detailed intelligence. He then briefly conducted physical surveillance of the exterior of the MEPS to see what it looked like in person. Despite the technological advances it represents, the Internet cannot replace the physical surveillance process, which is a critical requirement for terrorist planners. Indeed, after the external surveillance of the building, Abdul-Latif asked the informant to return to the building under a ruse in order to enter it and obtain a detailed floor plan of the facility for use in planning the attack.

In this case, the informant was able to obtain the information he needed from his FBI handlers, but had he been a genuine participant in the plot, he would have had to have exposed himself to detection by entering the MEPS facility after conducting surveillance of the building’s exterior. If some sort of surveillance detection program was in place, it likely would have flagged him as a person of interest for follow-up investigation, which could have led authorities back to the other conspirators in the attack.

A New Twist

One aspect of this plot that was different from many other recent plots was that Abdul-Latif insisted that he wanted to target the U.S. military and did not want to kill people he considered innocents. Certainly he had no problem with the idea of killing the armed civilian security guards at the MEPS — the plan called for the attackers to kill them first, or the unarmed still-civilian recruits being screened at the facility, then to kill as many other military personnel as possible before being neutralized by the responding authorities. However, even in the limited conversations documented in the federal criminal complaint, Abdul-Latif repeated several times that he did not want to kill innocents. This stands in stark contrast to the actions of previous attackers and plotters such as John Allen Mohammed, the so-called D.C. sniper, or Faisal Shahzad, who planned the failed Times Square attack.

Abdul-Latif’s reluctance to attack civilians may be a reflection of the debate we are seeing among jihadists in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan and even Algeria over the killing of those they consider innocents. This debate is also raging on many of the English-language jihadist message boards Abdul-Latif frequented. Most recently, this tension was seen in the defection of a Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan faction in Pakistan’s Kurram agency.

If this sentiment begins to take wider hold in the jihadist movement, and especially the English-speaking jihadist community in the West, it could have an impact on the target-selection process for future attacks by grassroots operatives in the West. It could also mean that commonly attacked targets such as subway systems, civilian aircraft, hotels and public spaces will be seen as less desirable than comparably soft military targets. Given the limitations of grassroots jihadists, and their tendency to focus on soft targets, such a shift would result in a much smaller universe of potential targets for such attacks — the softer military targets such as recruit-processing stations and troops in transit that have been targeted in recent months.

Removing some of the most vulnerable targets from the potential-target list is not something that militants do lightly. If this is indeed happening, it could be an indication that some important shifts are under way on the ideological battlefield and that jihadists may be concerned about losing their popular support. It is still too early to know if this is a trend and not merely the idiosyncrasy of one attack planner — and it is contrary to the target sets laid out in recent messages from AQAP and the al Qaeda core — but when viewed in light of the Little Rock, Fort Hood and Frankfurt shootings, it is definitely a concept worth further examination.

Obama to establish formal contacts with Muslim Brotherhood

Jihad Watch

The Muslim Brothers "must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions." -- "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America," by Mohamed Akram, May 19, 1991..

One might think, in light of that, that this was an example of the old adage, Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. But it isn't. It is cluelessness and capitulation, and more fantasy-based policymaking -- as epitomized by the "intelligence" chief James Clapper, who claimed that the Brotherhood was "largely secular."

"Exclusive: U.S. to resume formal Muslim Brotherhood contacts," by Arshad Mohammed for Reuters, June 29 (thanks to all who sent this in):

(Reuters) - The United States has decided to resume formal contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday, in a step that reflects the Islamist group's growing political weight but that is almost certain to upset Israel and its U.S. backers.
"The political landscape in Egypt has changed, and is changing," said the senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "It is in our interests to engage with all of the parties that are competing for parliament or the presidency." [...]

Elliott Abrams, a deputy national security adviser handling Middle East affairs under former President George W. Bush, said he favored dropping the ban on formal contacts -- but approaching any actual dealings with great caution.

Abrams said positions espoused by some Brotherhood members -- such as favoring religious tests for public office, questioning the rights of women and limiting freedom of religion or speech -- were "anathema" to the United States.

The group says it wants a civil state based on Islamic principles, but talk by some members of an "Islamic state" or "Islamic government" have raised concerns that their goal is a state where full Islamic sharia law is implemented. The group says such comments have been taken out of context.

Of course! Aren't they always?

"It's critical ... that we make it very, very clear to Egyptians, if we are going to do a meeting, that we are no less opposed to the ideas they represent," Abrams said, noting that there are splits among Brotherhood members.
"We have to think about whether we can use meetings to deepen those splits and to help, quietly, those who are trying to moderate the positions of the Brotherhood," he added, saying the United States should choose its interlocutors with care and that the talks need not be conducted by the U.S. ambassador.

The U.S. official who declined to be identified said U.S. diplomats "will continue to emphasize the importance of support for democratic principles and a commitment to nonviolence, and respect for minority and women's rights in conversations with all groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood."

Yeah, that'll work.

Leave Me Alones vs Make It Betters

Daniel Greenfield

The two streams in American politics are not liberal vs conservative, they can be roughly defined as "Leave Me Alone" vs "Make It Better". Leave Me Alone seeks personal independence, self-reliance and freedom from interference. Make It Better believes in the progressive betterment of society through regulation, intervention and education.

Most people associate the "Leave Me Alones" with conservatism and the "Make It Betters" with liberalism. That's partly true, but not entirely. The hijacking of liberalism and the Democratic party by the radical left has them into the standard bearers of a ruthless "Make It Better" agenda. But "Make It Better" is found often on the right as well. The loss of the cultural war to the left has pushed conservatives into a defensive position. And the ascension of the left has moved it into a state of permanent aggression. "Leave Me Alone" is defensive. It creates boundaries and asks that they be respected. "Make It Better" is offensive, it pushes through individual boundaries in the name of the greater good. Neither of these are purely moral positions. Rather they are preferential positions. "Leave Me Alone" can turn a blind eye to evil with long term consequences. "Make It Better" sometimes brings positive change. But like any course of positive action, "Make It Better" is more likely to be associated with negative consequences.

The difference between "Leave Me Alone" and "Make It Better" is cultural. It's in the way we prefer to live and how we see other people. To "Leave Me Alones", other people are either good or bad. But to the "Make It Betters", everyone is in a gray area and in need to enlightenment. "Leave Me Alones" trust people more as individuals, while being suspicious of groups. "Make It Betters" think of groups as more moral than individuals.

"Make It Betters" judge people by their web of interconnections. The interconnectedness is their way of morality. The more involved with others someone is, the better of a person they are. By contributing to the whole, they demonstrate selflessness. Their understanding of morality is purely external, as shown by interaction with others. It is why "Make It Betters" are often unable to process how one of them could possibly be guilty of a crime, when he is so involved in helping others. They derive their sense of moral worth from group participation, which makes self-examination difficult for them. Dissatisfied with the group, they often search for happiness and pursue self-improvement, but lack the internal moral code that makes either one truly possible.

"Leave Me Alones" see morality as internal. A matter of character. Public interactions can reveal character, but are also dominated by social pressures. "Leave Me Alones" distrust those who make a show of their social morality. To them external morality is often a cover for private sin. They are prone to self-examination and have a keen awareness of their failings. And suspect that everyone else also has a similar mismatch between their outer and inner selves.

The "Make It Betters" are hierarchical, as all social movements must be. Their movements promote equality through brotherhood, but as in any movement, function defines status. Inequality is the impetus for their movements, and by pledging to remedy this inequality, they also acknowledge it and enshrine it. By taking on the role as the uplifters, they elevate themselves to a higher status, and unconsciously seek to maintain their superior role in relation to those they wish to uplift. If actual equality occurs, they feel lost for equality removes their status as the uplifters.

Moral "Make It Better" movements typically assign blame for the inequality to the unequal, and political "MIB" movements assign it to those in power. Moral movements call on the unequal to improve themselves. Political movements call on those in power to stop oppressing them. Both approaches are incomplete and opportunistic. But in both cases the "Make It Betters" take on the role of intercessors for a portion of their community, their country or the world.

The "Leave Me Alone" ideal is the cave. A private place with a single defensible approach (and maybe a well hidden back exit). The "Make It Better" ideal is the beehive, buzzing with progressive activity and constantly making it better. But "Leave Me Alones" are actually often better community members because they understand boundaries, while the "Make It Betters" are too often afflicted with egotism, neediness, martyrdom and a collection of neuroses.

The "Leave Me Alones" are often accused of being dysfunctional members of the community, but it is more accurate to say that the "Make It Betters" are often dysfunctional as individuals. They have never learned how to be alone with themselves or to accept the inevitable aspects of life-- and need a group to give them what they cannot give themselves. They cannot live on their own terms, and must live through others instead.

The "Leave Me Alones" accept the reality of the world. The "Make It Betters" deny it. They deny death by seeking immorality through the group. They deny human fallibility by their constant programs of collective betterment. They have made the group their god, and they kill and die for it. If the LMA's can be accused of selfishness, the MIB's are guilty of a much more pervasive and unthinking selfishness. Their religion is social progress and they deny the right of anyone to dissent from the worship of their faith. LMA's are capable of private and mob cruelty, but it is MIB's who routinely enshrine that cruelty into law in the name of the greater good.

Of course few people or movements are purely one thing or another. Most are a mixture of the two. The difference is usually one of proportion. People have their own preferred mix of independence and interdependence that they want to practice on their own terms. And this is a "Leave Me Alone" approach.

The American tradition has a strong bias toward independence. Our myths, from the minute man to the cowboy to the superhero, are about vigilantes. Lone wolves who fight for what's theirs or stand up for what's right. While in other countries, liberators often overshadow revolutions, here George Washington may be the nation's greatest figure, but he still stands in the shadow of what was genuinely a popular revolution. No American leader's cult of personality has ever been allowed to overshadow the nation's achievements.

Even our collectivist movements are forced to resort to this tradition, framing a collectivist agenda in terms of individuals who make a difference by breaking from the herd and acting on their own initiative. The American psyche is resistant to stories of any other kind. They can be told, but they don't persist. The American Hero is still the individual, who remains suspicious of authority and willing to speak up where others remain silent.

But politics favors the "Make It Better" agenda. For it is an agenda, rather than the absence of. It is a difficult thing to set a man to the task of opposing change. It is much easier to make him an agent of change. For change has momentum. Its opposition has the potential energy of the backlash, but it has the kinetic energy of a progressive agenda. Those who want to make things better carry more weight in public debates than those who wish to be left alone. And the MIB's are usually better organized, for organization is in the nature of what they do.

The American narrative began with those who wanted to be left alone. Religious dissenters looking to practice their faith in an empty land without a state church. Planters and merchants looking for a place that had room for them and their ambitions. Farmers who wanted scarce land in a continent full of it.

Each confrontation between the authorities back home, their governors here, and the people brought the inevitable clash nearer. Bacon's Rebellion in 1676, was a forewarning of 1776. But the very act of rebellion required increasing organization. And so the Whiskey Rebellion that came in the aftermath of independence. And those post-independence clashes foreshadowed the Civil War and the present day conflict between the individual and the state. Each triumph of centralization solidified the narrative of union. The need of the central government to be able to set laws and have them obeyed in the name of the greater good-- trumping all else.

If the "Leave Me Alones" feel that their backs are to the wall, they are right. The exponential growth of the state, backed by high speed transportation, instant communications, massive data processing and storage, over increasingly dense populations leads to an irresistible conclusion. Dense populations are more unstable. And population growth means that the state has constant justifications for expansion. The rapid pace of change creates dislocation, which leads to economic downturns, unemployment and cultural change. All of these lead to further instability, violence and the breakdown of families and communities.

The Tea Party movement is driven by "Leave Me Alone" rhetoric, but it is up against a political system in which is government an enterprise with the need to create demand for its services. "Leave Me Alone" is also a service, and there are politicians and lobbies who have made careers on promising to provide it. But they can never succeed, or else they would be out of business. To successfully fight for political change is to bring a constituency into being, along with all the infrastructure that comes with it. It is the first step to going from LMA to MIB. In a democracy, to successfully resist the system is to become part of the system. To go from shooting at Redcoats at the Battle of Lexington, to shooting at farmers over Whiskey excise taxes.

The American narrative is still on the side of those who want to be left alone, even if the media and the cultural establishment is not. It is the romantic ideal at the heart of the American experience. But is freedom possible without a frontier, and can we fight to be left alone, without becoming what we are fighting against? The coming years will answer those questions in ways we cannot die, but must learn from.

Confronting our subversive institutions

Worth another read:



Just as Israelis are denied their right to an open, objective public discourse due to the radical Left’s predominance in the media, so American Jews are denied their right to disown J Street due to the radical leftist American Jews’takeover of key US Jewish umbrella groups.

Shimon Schiffer and Nahum Barnea are both senior political commentators for Yediot Aharonot, Israel’s largest circulation newspaper. They are both also leftist extremists. In their articles in last Friday’s weekend edition of Yediot they demonstrated how their politics dictate their reporting – to the detriment of their readers and to Israeli democracy. They also demonstrated the disastrous consequences of the Left’s takeover of predominant institutions in democratic societies. Schiffer’s column centered on thesubversive behavior of President Shimon Peres and ran under the headline,“Subversive for Peace.”

Schiffer published top secret documents chronicling Peres’s long history of abusing his office to subvert Israel’s lawful governments and obstruct their policies.

Schiffer’s article opened with an account of Peres’s current moves to undermine Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s foreign policy. According to Obama administration officials, during his recent meeting with US President Barack Obama, which preceded Netanyahu’s stormy visit last month, Peres and Obama agreed that a future deal between Israel and the Palestinians must be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps involving Israeli withdrawals from areas that have been under its sovereignty since 1949. While he acknowledged that Netanyahu completely opposes these parameters and would openly oppose them if Obama adopted them publically, Peres embraced them.

His message to the US leader was clear: Work with me and we’ll get Israeli withdrawals.

Work with the elected leader of Israel and you’ll get nowhere.

Schiffer then showed that Peres’s behavior is nothing new. Using classified documents from 1987 and 1988 when Peres served as foreign minister under then prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, Schiffer reported that during that time, Peres conspired with then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to defeat Likud in the 1988 elections. Peres also tried to convince the Reagan administration to disassociate with Shamir and deal only with him. His efforts were honorably rebuffed by then secretary of state George Schultz who reportedly told Peres that he could not ignore the elected leader of Israel.

Schiffer reported that Peres successfully collaborated with Mubarak to undermine Shamir’s policy goal of retaining Israel’s control over Taba in the post-Camp David implementation talks.

Finally, Schiffer reported that in the summer of 1987, unbeknownst to Shamir, Peres dispatched Avraham Tamir, then Foreign Ministry director general, to Mozambique to meet secretly with PLO leader Yasser Arafat. At the time Israelis were prohibited by law from maintaining any contact whatsoever with PLO members. So not only was Tamir’s meeting an act of gross insubordination and subversion. It was a crime.

Peres’s arguably treasonous behavior was not the only scandal Schiffer

Specifically, in his discussion of Tamir’s illegal meeting with Arafat, Schiffer admitted that Tamir “told me at the time,” about the meeting.

What this means is that one of Israel’s most powerful reporters knew 24 years ago that the director general of the Foreign Ministry was sent by the foreign minister to conduct an illegal meeting with Israel’s sworn enemy behind the back of the prime minister. And he opted not to report the story. He decided that Peres’s moves to empower Israel’s sworn enemies against the expressed wishes of the prime minister and of the general public were more important than the public’s right to know what he was doing. And so he hid the information from the public. For 24 years.

Imagine how different subsequent events might have turned out if Schiffer had fulfilled his professional duty and informed the public in 1987 that Peres was engaged in illegal activities whose expressed aim was the overthrow of the elected leader of the country and the empowerment of Israel’s worst enemy.

IN COMPARISON to Schiffer’s double whammy, Barnea’s article on Friday was nothing special. But it was a representative sample of Israel’s most esteemed political commentator’s consistent moves to distort current events in a manner that adheres to his radical politics.

Barnea opened his essay with asympathetic depiction of a delegation of five anti-Israel US Congressmen organized by the anti-Israel lobby J Street. Barnea then attacked Netanyahu and his ministers for refusing to meet with the delegation.

From reading his column, you’d never guess that the members of the delegation were among Israel’s most outspoken opponents on Capitol Hill. And from reading Barnea, you wouldn’t know that J Street is an anti-Israel lobby, which among other things, has urged Obama not to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel for allowing Jews to build on their property in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria; lobbied Congress not to pass a resolution condemning Palestinian anti-Jewish incitement following the massacre of the Fogel family; and lobbied Congress not to pass sanctions against Iran.

What you would learn from reading Barnea’s article is that Israelis shouldn’t take heart from the overwhelming support we receive from Congress because the thirty-odd standing ovations Netanyahu received were nothing more than political theater.

The underlying message of Barnea’s piece was clear. Israel’s supporters in Congress are not really supporters, they’re just afraid of angering the all-powerful AIPAC. And obviously, if we have no real friends, then anyone telling us to stand strong is a liar and an enemy and what we really need to do is learn to love J Street and its anti-Israel Congressmen who share Barnea’s agenda.

It doesn’t matter to Schiffer and Barnea that the majority of the public opposes their views. It doesn’t matter that the government’s policies more or less loyally represent the positions of the public that democratically elected it. As Schiffer demonstrated by failing for 24 years to report Peres’s behavior and as Barnea showed by failing to inform the public about the nature of J Street and its anti-Israel Congressional delegation, radical leftist writers exploit their power to dictate the contours of the public discourse to advance their political agenda. And it doesn’t bother them at all that advancing their personal politics involves actively undermining the very mission of a free press – to enable the free flow of information to the public.

THE BEHAVIOR of the likes of Peres, Schiffer and Barnea is not unique to the Israeli Left. It characterizes the behavior of much of the American Jewish Left as well. There, as here, radical activists and ideologues have taken over mainstream institutions and transformed them into mouthpieces for their extremist policies.

Take the local Jewish Community Relations Councils in the US for example.

The JCRC’s are supposed to be local umbrella organizations that conduct community events and other activities aimed at advancing the interests, concerns and values of the members of their local Jewish communities. But like the Israeli media, many of the local chapters of the JCRC have been taken over by radical leftists who do not share and indeed seek to undermine the interests, concerns and values of their local Jewish communities.

Last week, Andrea Levin, the executive director and president of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle Eastern Reporting in America (CAMERA), published an article in Boston’s Jewish Advocate exposing how Boston’s JCRC’s leadership unlawfully and secretly brought J Street into the umbrella organization and then, when it was caught, used unethical means to gain approval after the fact for their actions. As a comprehensive survey of American Jewish views on Israel carried out last month by CAMERA demonstrated conclusively, the vast majority of American Jews oppose all of J Street’s positions on Israel and the Middle East.

But just as Israelis are denied their right to an open and objective public discourse due to the radical Left’s predominance in the media, so American Jews are denied their right to disown J Street due to the radical leftist American Jews’ takeover of key US Jewish umbrella groups and institutions.

Another depressing instance of this pattern just occurred at the Union of Reform Judaism with the nomination and election of Rabbi Richard Jacobs to serve as its president. Whereas outgoing president Eric Yoffie referred to J Street’s anti- Israel positions on Operation Cast Lead as “morally deficient, profoundly out of touch with Jewish sentiment and also appallingly naïve,” Jacobs serves on J Street’s Rabbinic Cabinet. He also serves on the New Israel Fund’s board.

When a group of Reform activists called Jews Against Divisive Leadership (JADL) published ads in Jewish papers signed by a hundred Reform rabbis, their actions met with condemnation by URJ’s leadership and even with calls to blacklist the signatories.

The younger generation of radical American Jewish activists on college campuses is following the same course.

Following Yale’s decision last week to close its institute for the study of anti- Semitism, recent Yale alumni Matthew Knee wrote a post at the Legal Insurrection blog claiming that Yale’s Students for Israel group is dominated by anti- Israel activists.

So too, at Berkeley, Hillel has been penetrated by anti-Israel organizations, which like J Street pretend to be pro-Israel when in fact they promote anti- Israel activities including economic warfare against Israel. The situation at Berkeley is so bad that members of the Hillel-affiliated Kesher Enoshi were key activists in the campaign to divest Berkeley’s holdings from Israeli companies.

As the URJ’s threat to blacklist JADL members indicates, there is only one effective response to the radicalization of mainstream institutions: the creation of new, actually representative institutions that will compete with and eventually replace those that have been subverted.

In Israel this means creating alternative media organs through the Internet and other outlets to end the radical Left’s monopoly on information dissemination and engage in a discourse that reflects reality, engages the majority and upholds the rule of law.

In the US it means establishing new umbrella groups that represent the majority and deny membership to marginal groups that represent next to no one.

In Israel, independent Internet journalist Yoav Yitzhak just announced an initiative to form a new journalists union that will represent reporters and writers who have no voice in the leftist dominated Press Council. Initiatives like Latma, the satirical media criticism website I founded two years ago, have rapidly become major voices in the national discourse. Like people everywhere, when given the opportunity, Israelis seek out information sources that inform rather than indoctrinate and empower rather than demoralize them.

In the US, last October frustrated activists in the Indianapolis Jewish community disenfranchised by the farleft agenda of the local JCRC founded JAACI, the Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana to serve as a new umbrella organization for the community.

Dedicated mainly to giving voice to the Jewish community’s deep concern and support for Israel, JAACI’s formation fomented an exodus of local Jewish groups and synagogues from the JCRC. When given an option to participate in a more representative organization, the local Jews grabbed it.

The ability of institutional leaders– whether Jewish professionals or journalists – to ignore their responsibility to serve those they claim to represent is not due primarily to their formidable resources. It is due to our willingness to put up with their behavior. If we want to have institutions that represent and serve us, we have to take the initiative and build them ourselves.

Another Tack: Remember the tsunami of 1949

Sarah Honig

Fear-mongering is largely the forte of the fringes. When it infects the mainstream, however, we ought to get seriously worried.

This denotes a successful scare-job by forces who, in the words of America’s immortal satirist H. L. Mencken, aim “to keep the populace alarmed – and hence clamorous to be led to safety – by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” There’s therefore more than ample cause for concern when Ehud Barak conjures up tsunami images to warn us that we’re about to be inundated if we don’t heed him. It’s even more disconcerting that he infects others, who then wail, panic-stricken, about the imperative to stem the tide with yet more conciliatory concessions.

This doesn’t augur well. Appeasement never solves problems. It doesn’t even facelift tarnished reputations. It inevitably makes bad situations immeasurably worse.

To be sure, what we may face in the UN come September will be unpleasant. No joy will be instilled in our hearts when the General Assembly’s automatic Israel-bashing majority votes in favor of Palestinian statehood within the 1967 lines – in flagrant disregard of what led up to 1967 and what later followed.

Yet we needn’t quake and shiver in our sandals. We have been through worse.

If we survived the seismic surge of 1947- 1949, September should be a walk in the park. Even back then – just before and after Israel’s birth – our political landscape abounded with Barak sorts. They, too, were prone to getting cold feet.

If it were up to them, Israeli independence wouldn’t have been declared when it was. History’s one-off opportunity was seized only thanks to David Ben-Gurion’s pluck and outright bossiness. Without him, this singular chance might well have been missed.

Likewise, if not for Ben-Gurion, Jerusalem wouldn’t have become the Jewish state’s capital. The 1947 UN partition plan earmarked a status of corpus separatum (separate entity) for Jerusalem, to be overseen by international administrators.

Since the Arabs had already violently rejected the Partition Resolution, besieged Jerusalem, conquered and occupied parts of it, expelled all Jews from the Old City and demolished sacred Jewish sites, Ben- Gurion saw no logic in unilateral Israeli adherence to impotent UN proclamations.

On December 5, 1949, five days before the UN General Assembly was to reiterate the internationalization of Jerusalem (and kick off preparations to take control), Ben- Gurion defiantly declared Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Without trepidation he told the Knesset: “We consider it inconceivable that the UN would attempt to sever Jerusalem from the State of Israel or infringe upon Israel’s sovereignty in its eternal capital…

“Jewish Jerusalem will never accept alien rule after thousands of its youths liberated their historic homeland for the third time, redeeming Jerusalem from destruction and vandalism.

“We do not judge the UN, which did nothing when member-nations of the UN declared war on its resolution of 29 November 1947, trying to prevent the establishment of Israel by force, to annihilate the Jewish population in the Holy Land and to destroy Jerusalem, the holiest city of the Jewish people.

“Had we not been able to withstand the aggressors who rebelled against the UN, Jewish Jerusalem would have been wiped off the face of the earth, the Jewish population would have been eradicated and the State of Israel would not have arisen.

“Thus, we are no longer morally bound by the UN resolution of November 29, since the UN was unable to implement it.

“…The attempt to sever Jewish Jerusalem from the State of Israel will not advance the cause of peace in the Mideast or in Jerusalem itself. Israelis will give their lives to hold onto Jerusalem, just as the British would for London, the Russians for Moscow and the Americans for Washington.”

The UN remained impervious. On December 10, 1949, its General Assembly voted by a whopping majority (38-14, with seven abstentions) to uphold its 1947 resolution and place Jerusalem under the auspices of a UN Trusteeship Council, to be governed by the council’s own appointees.

That was the tsunami of 1949. It threatened to engulf fledgling Israel. But Ben-Gurion didn’t lose his cool.

Instead of bowing to pressure, he mounted the Knesset podium yet again to repeat what he had enunciated a mere few days earlier: “We cannot assist in the forcible separation of Jerusalem, which would unnecessarily and unjustifiably violate the historical and natural rights of the Jewish people.”

He assertively stressed that “the State of Israel has had, and will always have, only one capital – eternal Jerusalem. This was so 3,000 years ago and so it will be, we believe, to the end of time.”

Ben-Gurion then put to the plenum’s vote his proposal to transfer the Knesset and the government from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It was approved.

The 1949 tsunami didn’t swallow little Israel up. The resolution remained as another testament to the UN’s self-accentuated irrelevance. Most foreign embassies remained in Tel Aviv, but no foreign overlords were installed in Jerusalem. We were far more vulnerable then.

There literally wasn’t enough food to feed the population. We weren’t the world’s darlings even when we fought for our very lives three years post-Holocaust.

During their entire long UN-flouting invasion of newborn Israel, the Arabs were actively aided and abetted by the Brits, while the Americans slapped an arms embargo on us. The UN, which didn’t stop the concerted multi-state Arab assault, found nothing better to do than send observers to keep tabs on “illegal” Israeli moves.

Yet little embattled Israel didn’t cower.

This is something for successful, strong Israel to remember. Current tsunami alarms are being raised by obsessive Osloites with political axes to grind, who anyhow serially advocate Israeli retreats under all circumstances and pretexts.

What’s forecast for September is more akin to an extortion threat than a horrific cataclysm. It’s quite likely that the UN will adopt another in a dishonorable list of declarative anti-Israel resolutions. But that won’t necessarily make it a tsunami (just as the November 10, 1975, Zionism-is-racism resolution didn’t).

Not all tsunami predictions unavoidably result in deadly deluges.

If our knees don’t buckle, we won’t fall and won’t be swept away.

Remember: The last person who wants the IDF out of Judea and Samaria is Mahmoud Abbas. He knows that the immediate upshot would be his brutal ouster and a Hamas takeover. Besides, Abbas doesn’t control the entire area the UN purports to sign over to him. Nevertheless, hardly exuding liberal pluralism, he repeatedly stipulates that the territories must be absolutely judenrein. Will the UN help him evict 660,000 Israelis from parts of Jerusalem and beyond?

It didn’t the last time the Palestinians declared independence (November 15, 1988). On December 15, 1988, another tsunami-like UN majority (104-36) recognized that Palestinian state. Palestinian embassies mushroomed everywhere. We weren’t swept away.

We won’t be this September, either, on condition that we don’t scare ourselves to death. Mass-hysteria can turn a trickle into a tidal torrent.

A Major U.S. Policy Shift Toward the Muslim Brotherhood Disguised

Barry Rubin

Here’s the headline: “U.S. to resume formal Muslim Brotherhood contacts.” But that’s not true. In fact, as the Reuters article itself admits there have never been “formal” contacts before but only informal ones. Let’s examine the language, which stems from a “senior U.S. official” to see what the Obama Administration thinks about the Muslim Brotherhood.

“A step that reflects the Islamist group’s growing political weight but that is almost certain to upset Israel and its U.S. backers.”

Note how it is portrayed as an Israel-related issue.
Won’t it upset people who care about U.S. interests? Won’t it upset Egyptian Christians? The Saudis and Jordanians and other relatively moderate Arab regimes? Won’t it upset Muslims who oppose revolutionary Islamism? We are supposed to believe that only Israel and the Jews will be upset about the Obama Administration moving closer to a radical antisemitic, anti-Christian, anti-American, anti-Western, pro-terrorist group that wants to repress women, kill gays, and overturn pretty much every existing government in the region. But just those Jews and their friends will be upset. You know, just like in the 1930s when certain people said that opposition to the totalitarian threat of those years was just coming from the Jews.

Reuters portrays the Brotherhood, as do many, as “a group founded in 1928 that seeks to promote its conservative vision of Islam in society.” Conservative? You mean they are like the Republican Party? You mean they are for the status quo? And of course one of the things they did since 1928 was to ally with Nazi Germany and the Brotherhood continues to voice the same political line toward Jews that it did back then

We are also told that the Brotherhood “long ago renounced violence as a means to achieve political change in Egypt….” This is simply not true. The Brotherhood merely temporarily renounced violence within Egypt because they knew that any resort to it would get them wiped out by the regime and the army. They postponed using violence until the revolutionary era arrived. Of course, if they can take over Egypt without violence they are happy to do so.

But there’s more. Every day for decades the Brotherhood has supported violence against Israel. It has supported violence against Americans in Iraq, and on various other fronts. Why is this so hard to see?

“The result has been a dilemma for the Obama administration. Former officials and analysts said it has little choice but to engage the Brotherhood directly, given its political prominence after the February 11 downfall of former President Hosni Mubarak.”

That is arguably true but by recognizing the Brotherhood and having contacts with it, the Obama Administration also makes a unilateral concession encouraging the Brotherhood. People who know the Middle East understand how this works: Soon many Egyptians will say (as they said in Iran and as they now say in Turkey) that the United States wants the Islamists to win.

But, the article continues:

“U.S. President Barack Obama will surely face criticism for engaging with the Brotherhood, even tentatively.” And who do they go to, Middle East analysts who can explain why this is dangerous? No, to the head of AIPAC in order to perpetuate the theme that this is merely a problem with the Jewish lobby! And who is presented to refute this? Former American diplomats. So it is the people who know versus the Jews.

And what are we told about the Brotherhood’s goals? This:

“The group says it wants a civil state based on Islamic principles, but talk by some members of an `Islamic state or `Islamic government’ have raised concerns that their goal is a state where full Islamic sharia law is implemented. The group says such comments have been taken out of context.”

“Some members” include the leader and deputy leader of the group. It is apparently too much trouble to read and quote what Brotherhood officials say, or their publications openly state, or their political platform calls for. Never are these statements fully quoted. Always they are dismissed as insignificant, like the statements of the late Usama bin Ladin once were.

Moreover, Egypt under Mubarak could be reasonably said to be a “civil state based on Islamic principles.” And since “Islamic principles” are mandated by Allah democracy is ultimately unacceptable since no human vote could alter those principles. How can an elected parliament pass a law limiting a man to one wife, or accepting religious conversion, outlawing amputations, or maintaining peace with Israel—to cite just a few examples—since those are “Islamic principles,” at least under the interpretation of Islam held by the Brotherhood.

So we just can’t tell if the Muslim Brotherhood wants a radical Islamist state before it takes power” Just like it was presumably a mystery about what Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini wanted to do in Iran, the Taliban in Afghanistan, Hizballah in Lebanon, and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

And finally the article doesn’t even mention the most important development in U.S.-Muslim Brotherhood relations during that group’s eighty-year history: President Barack Obama’s explicit (and uninvited) statement accepting the Brotherhood being in government. U.S. policy is paving the way for a radical, possibly Islamist, Egypt. It is a catastrophic strategy.

Comment: This is policy gone wrong. It is obvious that this Administration is ignorant, naive or is intentionally undermining the USA position within the world of terrorism. You decide which one.

Egypt's Military and Upcoming Elections


Last night clashes broke out in Tahrir Square between youth pro-democracy activists and Egyptian security forces. The event is a reminder that the political situation in Egypt is far from settled, as the ruling military Council decides whether or not to move the country forward towards elections in September. When the Egyptian military forced out former President Hosni Mubarak in February its mission was very clear: to preserve the military regime that has existed in Egypt since the days of Gamal Abdel Nasser. That remains the military’s objective today. The Egyptian military is currently faced with a dilemma. It wants to quit governing Egypt and go back to its old job of simply ruling it. In order to do this it has committed to holding democratic elections in the country. The question now is whether or not to hold them in September, as currently promised, or to postpone them towards a later date.

There are two camps in Egyptian politics when it comes to this issue. The first are the Islamists, most notably the Muslim Brotherhood. The second camp are the pro-democracy youth activists, who organized most of the demonstrations in January and February. No matter what the military decides to do, it will risk upsetting one of these two camps.

The first camp, the Islamists, most notably the Muslim Brotherhood, want the elections to be held as promised, in September. This is because the brotherhood is currently the most organized political force in Egypt, but the brotherhood wants to take it slow. It has vowed not to run for more than 49 percent of all the parliamentary seats in Egypt and it has also promised not to put forward a candidate for the presidency. However, the brotherhood still feels that the earlier the vote the better. Other salafist groups in Egypt, which have been allowed to form political parties for the first time in Egyptian history, feel the same. This will give them an advantage when it comes time for rewriting Egypt’s constitution after the elections are held.

On the other side of this divide are the pro-democracy activists that organized most of the demonstrations in January and February. These people are collectively referred to at times as the January 25 movement, but to call it a movement blurs the reality. These people are highly divided, and there is no one group that has emerged over the others that would clearly garner a large number of seats in an election that would be held in September. So they argue that they need more time. This, they say, will be the only way in which they can get more organized to effectively combat the Islamist forces running in the election. That’s why one of their core demands is that the elections be postponed and the constitution be rewritten first. These are the ones that were clashing with security forces last night in Tahrir Square and they are also the ones that are currently calling for regime change.

The military, unsurprisingly, is on edge because of this, especially in light of the fact that the January 25 movement leaders are calling for a return to the sit-ins in Tahrir Square that we saw in January and February. July 8 is the day that they have chosen, and though there have been large demonstrations in Tahrir since the fall of Mubarak, the military is concerned that these protests could be even larger and risk triggering a return to the instability that the Egypt saw in the beginning part of 2011.

Looking ahead, here is the Egyptian military’s dilemma in a nutshell. If it holds the elections on time, it risks giving the Islamists significant political space at the expense of the more secular forces who say they need more time to organize. Or the military could use the instability in the streets as a pretext for delaying the elections, catering to the demands of those who are calling for regime change, yet who could create more competition for the Islamists. At this point it’s not even clear that the military regime itself knows what it will decide.