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A Saba answers his Granddaughter’s Concerns about the Threats to Israel

Earlier today, my granddaughter, Elana Lipkin, wrote me about her concerns about the media’s treatment and threats to Israel in this latest rocket war with Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza.  ‘Lana, as we call her, won a scholarship last summer from her local Jewish Federation to spend five weeks visiting concentration and death camps in the Czech Republic and Poland before  spending a month in Israel on a National Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) program.  ‘Lana is very active at her family temple frequently serving as a cantorial assistant during Friday evening services given her beautiful singing voice recognized in her high school and regional choral assemblies. She is also a talented dancer. We are very proud of her achievements, a credit to her parents and grandparents.

Elana and a friend donned IDF fatigues and got a taste of what it’s like to train for the IDF at the Gadna training center.

Elana and a friend donned IDF fatigues and got a taste of what it’s like to train for the IDF at the Gadna training center, July 2013.

Last summer, we posted on her prize winning essay and poetry after climbing up the snake path to the top of Masada overlooking the Dead Sea.  (See thisConnecticut Jewish Ledger article “KOLOT-Passing the Torch”). While in Israel, ‘Lana put in a brief training stint in a GADNA (youth battalion) where she learned firsthand what para-military training Israeli youths go through before entering the IDF.  That stint included her familiarization of weapons on a firing range.

The following is an exchange of email between ‘Lana and her Saba (grandfather in Hebrew) that might be used by other concerned supporters of Israel, when their children or grandchildren ask them to explain why this rocket war is happening?   Further, it also illustrates what they can do to support Israeli civilians and IDF service personnel, as well as, keep informed of developments in Operation Preventive Edge.

What follows is the exchange of emails between 17 year old ‘Lana and her Saba.

Lana’s email to Saba:

Hi Saba!

I know it’s fairly early there, but I’m sure you’re up already. The situation in Israel these past few days has really been worrying me. I care about Israel so deeply and it pains me to see it in danger. I am also bothered by the lies the media spreads and the ignorance of those around me regarding what’s actually occurring. I was wondering if you could do two things for me, first of all, I’d love any information you could give to me on the Operation going on right now. Second of all, do you know of anything I could possibly do to help Israel right now?
Thank you so much!

I love you very much and miss you lots, I hope you’re doing well.

-Lana

shabat shalom terrorism will not stop usMy Email to Lana:

Like you I am pained by the bias shown in the media towards the plight of Israel under the daily onslaught of literally hundreds of rockets launched from Gaza by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). These are foreign terrorists groups designated by our State Department and Israel whose charters seek the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel.  Hamas is an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza. The PIJ is backed by Iran.

As Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said:  “No other country lives under such a threat. Israel will not tolerate the firing of rockets on our cities and towns,” Prime Minister Benjamin Neyanyahu. We have therefore significantly expanded our operations against Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in Gaza.”

The IDF conducts daily air, naval and artillery attacks against hundreds of target in Gaza to destroy Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad rockets and launching sites while endeavoring to avoid civilian casualties.  Yesterday, cousins of mine and friends in Jerusalem were shocked by one of the longer range rockets that fell nearby in Ma’ale Adumim. Most disturbing were the two rockets fired from Lebanon by terrorist group Hezbollah that landed in northern Israel. That event may have caused Israelis in the north to seek safety in bomb shelters as they did during the Second Lebanon War in 2006.  Much of the Hamas and Hezbollah rockets used against Israel are supplied by Iran or manufactured locally. Your cousin’s United Synagogue Youth (USY) tour group may be prevented from traveling on to Israel from Europe as rockets are ranging on Ben Gurion Airport.

Yesterday, I posted an article on Operation Protective Edge– Is Iran Behind Rocket Blitz on Israel?– and will do more in the coming days. Israel may have to make the momentous decision to go into Gaza to destroy the rocket inventories, launching sites and command infrastructure.  This is a dangerous phase which could result in significant casualties to both civilians and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, as well as IDF forces and even Israeli civilians.
During Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, we wrote extensively about the experience of Zach Rowen – Taylor, a young American lonesome soldier who hailed from California and was among the elite Givati Brigade units that entered urban areas in northern Gaza.  We wrote him in a January 4, 2009, Iconoclast post, “A Proud American Mother of an IDF Soldier”.  I know as a former US Army officer that fighting in urban areas is grueling, dangerous and unfortunate casualties may mount.  But, Israel may have no choice but to do what Zach Rowen-Taylor and his mates in the Givati Brigade had to do in Operation Cast Lead.  Perhaps if Israel had stayed in Gaza in 2009, notwithstanding the inauguration of President Obama, it might have achieved victory against these terrorist groups with their arsenal of rockets. However, the reality was that arsenal was replenished by Iran and terrorist groups in the Sinai using smuggling tunnels below the Egyptian Gaza frontier.

Those smuggling tunnels were only closed off when Egypt’s military overthrew its former President Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader and Hamas supporter, last year. He was replaced by former Defense Minister and now President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.  He plugged up those smuggling tunnels preventing more weapons from Iran reaching Hamas and the PIJ and possibly stopping the flight of terrorist leaders from Gaza in the current Israeli Operation Preventive Edge.

Still Hamas and the PIJ have an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 Rockets including longer range rockets supplied by Iran before those tunnels were destroyed by Egypt. That means that this could be Israel’s longest war in Gaza, possibly exceeding the 22 days of Operation Cast Lead in 2009 and the eight days of Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, just 20 months ago. Hamas and the PIJ have positioned launching sites in schools, office buildings, and even residences using its civilians including children as human shields. Israel goes to great limits to avoid civilian causalities sent text message warnings on cells and even aerial missile “knocks” on roofs of suspected targets warning people to flee.  Fortunately, those dramatic Israel Iron Dome anti-rocket missile interceptions heading to strikes in population centers knock out terror rockets before they reach their targets. They have a 90% success rate.

Remember, Israel is America’s only reliable and democratic ally in the troubled Middle East. The vast majority of Americans support Israel because we share the same Judeo-Christian values.

For information on groups in Israel treating civilians, you might consult the website of American Friends of Magen David Adom.  One of the groups that provide social and other support for IDF soldiers is American Friends of LIBI. You might check out its Facebook page.   To keep abreast of developments in Operation Protective Edge, you might look at the Live blog at The Jerusalem Post.

Your commitment to Israel as a young Zionist is both heartfelt and refreshing among your generation of young American Jews.  You can act as a spokesperson in your community to provide the EMET- the truth about what Israel is facing.  Tonight at Kabbalat Shabbat services pray for the safety of Israel and its defenders the young men and women of the IDF on the frontlines defending this Jewish nation. You met them during your GADNA training last summer in Israel.

I thought the attached graphic sent to me by a colleague and intelligence expert, Ilana Freedman, whose son served in the IDF, might express the feelings of you and countless other Americans, Jewish and non-Jewish, who are supporters of Israel -The Eagle and the Flag.  Israel. It is the most ancient of Hebrew Prayers, the priestly benediction, as you know it.

Kol Hakavod (Outstanding), Ahava (Much Love) v Shabbat shalom (peaceful sabbath).  Am Yisrael Chai! (The People Israel Lives!)

Saba

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

Iran Behind the Rocket Blitz on Israel?

Last night, both Ilana Freedman and I briefed the state coordinators of the National Security Communications Strike Team (NSCST) on the strategic development in the latest rocket war on Israel from Gaza.  We were referring to the launch of several Syrian made and Iran supplied Khaibar M-302 rockets with  a range of 150 to 160  kms. Freedman notified the group in the briefing that the rockets launched from Gaza had ranged as far north Zikron Ya’akov 12 miles north of Tel Aviv.  Today, a rocket struck Ma’aleh Adumim where cousins live. That meant that nearly two thirds of Israel’s population, approximately 5 million, were at risk of strikes in the current rocket war by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad  (PIJ).  There are an estimated 10 to 12,000 rockets in possession of these terrorist groups in Gaza.

In March 2014, the Israeli Navy intercepted a Panamanian flagged vessel the Klos-C. The ship 40 of the M-302’s and a large quantity of 120mm mortar rounds and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition for AK-47 and Kalashnikov assault rifles.  They were displayed in the southern port city of Eilat on the Red Sea.  In the NSCST briefing, Lisa Benson noted that Eilat was very close to the Jordanian town of Ma’an where ISIS supporters have battled security forces.  Freedman and I noted that  40 of those M-302 rockets were shipped from Syria to Iran, put aboard the false-flagged  Klos-C, hidden underneath sacks of flour. The ship  sailed out  of a Persian Gulf port down  the Arabian sea to be off loaded at Port Sudan and trucked overland via Egypt and the Sinai into Gaza through smuggling tunnels.

Brig. Gen. (ret.) Uzi Rubin,  Israel ‘s missile defense architect, presented in an Israel Project interview the full capabilities of the Hamas/PIJ rocket inventory and capabilities.  Before its News had this summary drawn from the Yid with Lid blog:

General Rubin explained that Hamas has three families of weapons:

  • Home-made, short-range (10-12km) – mainly crude manufacture -in use for 13 years;
  • ·Factory-made Grad 122mm with 40 km range used to attack Beersheba and Ashdod;
  • Another is the 4-inch M-75 rocket probably designed for the Gaza factions with a range  from 75-80 kilometers. That is the one fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Also it seems the missile which landed near Hadera was a Syrian M-302 , with a potential range of  150 – 160 kilometers.

  • They also have tactical mortar bombs to distract  IDF troops  close to Gaza and to hit local villages;
  • After Pillar of Defense (Nov. 2012) it was easier for Hamas to smuggle in weapons via Sinai because Egypt was controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood. The materials and machinery for local rocket production was probably also smuggled in. It was an open route. A two-way route;
  • Rockets  were smuggled in from Iran and Syria. Remember the Klos C.  A Ship intercepted by the IDF which was carrying Iranian weapons meant for Gaza;
  • The locally-made rockets M-75s  are well made with components are smuggled in. These are almost factory like but they are not sophisticated. They have the range and the warhead but not the accuracy; and
  • Iron Dome is not the solution for everything. It only targets rockets that will hit populated areas.

Listen to The Israel Project interview with Dr. Rubin on this YouTube video:

The existence of the strategic M-302 rockets was the subject of a UN study released in May 2014 on the Klos-C weapons cargo.  The report proposed to the Security Council sanctions against Iran.  An NBC Report noted, “the Klos-C shipment traveled from the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas to the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, and from there in the direction of Port Sudan.” Whether those sanctions might be seriously adopted in the midst of the final days of negotiations by the P5+1 with the Islamic Regime seeking to achieve a final agreement on curtailing Iran’s nuclear program is moot. That leaves Israel to ponder what to do on its own, as the Administration in Washington suggests the myopic view that both sides restrain themselves from further violence.

This is the third day of Operation Protective Edge.  Israel’s Air Force and Navy have undertaken in excess of 500 strikes in Gaza.  It intercepted Hamas commando teams on Zikim Beach near an IDF Base in Israel. Rockets targted Israel’s nuclear Facility at Dimona and an IAF air base.  No Israeli civilian casualties have been incurred, while 53 deaths and  500 injuries have been reported by Hamas spokespersons in Gaza. That umbrella of protection for Israelis is a product of the 90% interception rate for Iron Dome batteries taking down potential rocket strikes against major population centers. This is coupled with the relative inaccuracy of locally made rockets in the Hamas/PIJ inventory.  The low number of Iron Dome interceptions is purposeful, as Israel’s Home Command adopted a strategy learned during Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012 to let Hamas/PIJ rockets harmlessly strike unpopulated areas.

Nonetheless, there appears to be resolve in Israel that this time the rocket war and the people behind it must be crushed.   That objective is not without significant costs in both blood and treasure given the difficulty pinpointing targets often hidden in schools, hospitals, office buildings and even homes in Gaza. As reported by Israel Hayom, a senior IAF officer said that they were not in possession of complete target intelligence as rocket launchings have originated in underground or disguised office buildings and even homes.  A BBC  world servicreport gave evidence of that when a barrage of likely Grad rockets erupted adjacent to their offices in Gaza.

Rubin made the point on the Israel Project  interview  that current launches of rockets from Gaza are below that experienced during the eight day Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012.  He commented that means that Israel could be in for a longer war than previously experienced. That led to the question of when might Israel launch ground operations in Gaza akin to that of Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009.  Freedman noted that the reserve call up of 40,000+  authorized by the Netanyahu security cabinet might be focused on reinforcing northern and Golan frontier borders and security in Judea and Samaria. Thus, freeing up regular IDF forces for actions in Gaza.  The necessity of ground operations to destroy the infrastructure of rocket inventory, launching sites and removal of Hamas and PIJ leadership was underscored in an Israel Hayom Op-ed by Maj. Gen. (ret.) Uzi DayanHe was  former IDF deputy chief of the general staff and former head of the National Security Council, “Ground operation necessary”. Dayan noted:

The purposes of Operation Protective Edge must be defined precisely: the toppling of the Hamas regime and the elimination of all rockets in Gaza.

Is it possible to defeat a terrorist group? Can these objectives be achieved using military force? The answer to both questions is yes. A terrorist group with a territorial base can be deterred by threatening its hold on that base. The destruction of Hamas governing infrastructure and the targeted killing or expulsion of Hamas leaders are attainable goals.

Will this require a ground operation? Will such an operation involve the loss of troops? Yes and yes. Every military commander knows the challenge is to fulfill the mission and protect soldiers, in that order. Our sensitivity regarding the lives of soldiers is an asset, but when it becomes the main consideration, this undermines the main mission of the IDF — providing security to the citizens of Israel.

[…]

Will we get stuck in the “Gaza mud”? No. But we will stay in the areas we capture to deal a lethal blow to terrorist groups, dismantle the rocket infrastructure and topple the Hamas government.

Hamas and the PIJ current rocket war is not the only threat facing Israel. There is the estimated 60,000 rockets/ missiles in fortified areas of Southern Lebanon held by Hezbollah.  Those fortified positions were designed by Iranian engineers with the aid of North Korean tunneling experts as Freedman has previously pointed out.  Further, the IDF Home Command has to be concerned about an even more formidable missile in Hezbollah’s inventory, the Syrian M-600. It has a range of 250 km sufficient to cover all of Israel and capable of carrying a full range of conventional and non-conventional warheads. That is not lost on Israel’s Home Command, they opened up shelters in the north.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the New English Review. The featured photos is of Syrian-made M-302 missiles captured by Israeli Naval commandos on display in Eilat March 2014. Source:  Ariel Schalit/AP.

“The Forces at Play” in the Palestinian Authority

‘Avenge’, ‘cycle’, ‘retaliation’, ‘disproportionate’.  Most media scripts of recent days could have been written by machines.  Three Israeli teenagers have been murdered, callously and ruthlessly.  Their abductions were barely covered by most of the non-Israeli press during the weeks in which they were missing.  But now that they have been confirmed dead the Western press really knows what to do and how to cover it.

As with the United Nations, and other international bodies, the story appears to start not when an outrage is perpetrated against Israelis but rather when Israel is thought to be considering a ‘response’.  So ‘calm’ was urged upon Israel by the UN while options were being ‘weighed up’.

And then we enter the period of ‘backlash’.

Unconnected to events in the West Bank, in recent days Israel has struck sites in the Gaza responsible for the ongoing barrage of rockets being fired into Southern Israel.  Does anyone other than Israel get accused of ‘pounding’ an enemy even when the action is targeted precision strikes?  Everything to do with Israel’s wars for security and survival is portrayed in this way.  And those in the West who are sanguine about this treatment when it is meted out to Israel need to reflect that this is the same situation in which they will find themselves when the time comes.

In the meantime, as we go through the latest replay of an endless media story it is all too easy to ignore the bigger movements which are going on behind this.  As we have often said here at HJS, the erasure of borders, the clarification of old alliances and revived fundamentalist hatreds are the real movements going on underneath the Middle East and North Africa region during this period.  And the events of recent days give a deep reminder of Israel’s long-term territorial questions.  ISIS – or the ‘Islamic State’ as it is now more simply known – is not only causing the Saudi Arabian army to mass on its own Iraqi border, but is attempting next to erase the borders of Jordan.  This should be a moment for specific clarity in a regional mess.

If the Palestinian Authority wants to achieve a state then it must show that its state would be law-abiding and peaceful.  In doing a unity deal with Hamas earlier this year, Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah showed that they were more interested in terror and annihilation than they were in peace. Fatah has tried to draw comparisons with the tragic murder of a Palestinian youth this week in Jerusalem to paint the Israeli government into a race to the bottom about which community should be more outraged. But this is nonsensical. Even if the worst fears are realised and extremist Israelis are found to have committed this act, the Israeli state cannot be held responsible for the acts of vigilantes. But the Palestinian Authority certainly can be for the behaviour of a constituent part of its leadership. And since Hamas is to blame for the killings of the Israeli teenagers, what does Fatah’s refusal to uncouple from it tell us?

Would a Hamas-Fatah state in the West Bank be a barrier to ISIS and ISIS-like organisations?  Or would it be a sponge for it?  Would it withstand the forces of the region or would it fall in step with them?  Given the responses of the Palestinian leadership in recent days, we have had an opportunity to stare into the future.  People often say that the window is closing on the two-state solution.  Unless something changes, this will become an inevitable conclusion.

IDF Raids Seek an American and Two Israelis Allegedly Abducted by Hamas

Saturday night, the IDF and Shin Bet arrested more than 80 Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad activists in Hebron in the disputed territories. This is in connection with the abduction of three youths, one American and two Israelis. The IDF has committed a paratroop brigade to the operation sealing off the area of the abduction. The IDF and Israel’s General Security Service (Shin Bet) launched a massive manhunt last Thursday for the alleged Hamas abductors of 16 year old American Naftali Frenkel and two Israelis, Gilad Shaar, 16 and Eyal Yifrach, 19. They were allegedly abducted while hitchhiking home from religious school in the Gush Etzion bloc between Bethlehem and Hebron.  According to a Washington Post report, one of the abductees got off a cell call saying, “we’ve been kidnapped”.

Hamas is believed to be behind their abduction.  At a Sunday Cabinet meeting, Israeli PM Netanyahu said:

Those who perpetrated the abduction of our youths were members of Hamas; the same Hamas that Abu Mazen (Abbas) made a unity government with. This has severe repercussions.

The WaPo report cited Israeli American Naftali Bennett, economics minister in the Netanyahu ruling coalition, saying: “We will respond with an iron fist to terror.”  Thousands of Israeli prayed for the safe return of the three youths at the Kotel, Western Wall, of the Temple in Jerusalem. The National Council of Young Israel in New York issued a call for a Prayer Service for the safe return outside the Israeli Consulate in Manhattan on Monday, June 16th. The announcement used the Twitter hashtag, #BringBackOurBoys.

Hamas issued a statement praising the abduction.   According to an updated report by The Daily Mail, Senior Hamas spokesperson, Sami Abu Zuhri in Gaza called the accusation by PM Netanyahu “silly”. Really?   While cooperating with the Palestinian security service, Israel also relies on their own resources in the West Bank to identify the abductors and the possible location of the three teens. This despite PA senior official Hanan Ashrawi cited  by The Daily Mail saying , “this is something we have no information on”.  However, what can you expect from the Palestinian unity government with Hamas.  Its Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah acknowledges that it has no control over Gaza.

Secretary of State Kerry issued a statement today saying:

The United States strongly condemns the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers and calls for their immediate release. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families. We hope for their quick and safe return home. We continue to offer our full support for Israel in its search for the missing teens, and we have encouraged full cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian security services. We understand that cooperation is ongoing.

We are still seeking details on the parties responsible for this despicable terrorist act, although many indications point to Hamas’ involvement. As we gather this information, we reiterate our position that Hamas is a terrorist organization known for its attacks on innocent civilians and which has used kidnapping in the past.

Three Israelis? Frankel is a US citizen. The Daily Mail noted Frankel’s mother’s   public message to her son that reflected the concerns of many Israelis and Americans:

Mommy and Daddy and your brothers love you until the end of the world and you should know that the people of Israel are doing all they can to bring you back home.

Israelis and Americans are more than concerned about the fate of three abductees given prior occurrences, including former IDF Sgt. Gilad Shalit snatched during a cross border raid in 2006 and released in an exchange for more than 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in 2011.

Then there is the case of 13 year old Israeli American Koby Mandell and Israeli Yosef Ishran abducted and murdered while on a hike in the disputed territories near the Israeli settlement of Tekoa in May 2001. Mandell’s family had made Aliyah to Israel in the mid-1990’s. The US Congress passed the Koby Mandell Act in 2004 that authorized the Justice Department to arrest foreigners, including Palestinians, who had murdered Americans overseas.  The Koby Mandell Foundation was established in his memory to provide bereavement counseling to the parents and widows of terrorist victims.

In 2012, 52 members of Congress signed a letter sponsored by the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) urging the Department of Justice’s Office for Justice of Victims of Overseas Terrorism (OJVOT), which was formed in 2005, to implement The Koby Mandell Act.  Sarah Stern of EMET said that the letter was to “ensure that the investigation and prosecution of terrorist attacks against American citizens overseas remain a high priority within the Department of Justice.”  Z Street, of which this writer is a board member, was one of several sponsors of the EMET letter to prod Attorney General Holder to recognize the responsibilities of OJVOT.

Sherri Mandell in a Jerusalem Post oped during the EMET 2012 campaign cited the dismal OJVOT track record since the law’s enactment in 2004:

The OJVOT is supposed to investigate, apprehend, indict, extradite and punish terrorists. At least 54 American citizens have been killed, and 83 wounded here in Israel. Neither the OJVOT nor the Department of Justice has done anything to enforce American law in these cases. The only terrorist prosecuted under the law was the killer of a Christian missionary in Indonesia. I’m happy that the killers were prosecuted, but still one wonders. Why is there no communication, investigation, prosecution, or indictment here in Israel? The OJVOT is supposed to protect us. Instead it neglects us.

We sincerely hope the massive IDF-Shin Bet dragnet can free American Naftali Frenkel, Israelis Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and capture their abductors. In view of the abject failure of the US government to pursue justice for the families of the US victims in Israel and the disputed territories, we trust the Israeli government can bring these perpetrators to justice.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

Florida: Hamas-linked CAIR attacks Republicans for featuring “extremist anti-Muslim speakers”

Shibly-300x198

Hassan Shibly, executive director for CAIR Florida.

And true to form, this entire article doesn’t mention CAIR’s ties to Hamas, or its fascist pattern of trying to get any and every speaker canceled if he or she dares to speak the truth about jihad and Islamic terror. Shelby Webb doesn’t see fit to mention, and may not even know, that CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case — so named by the Justice Department. CAIR operatives have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. Several former CAIR officials have been convicted of various crimes related to jihad terror. CAIR’s co-founder and longtime Board chairman (Omar Ahmad), as well as its chief spokesman (Ibrahim Hooper), have made Islamic supremacist statements. Its California chapter distributed the poster above telling Muslims not to talk to the FBI. CAIR has opposed every anti-terror measure that has ever been proposed or implemented.

Note also their use of the term “extremist,” which is the same word they use of jihad terrorists — thus equating the resistance to jihad terror with jihad terror itself, a particularly repulsive exercise in moral equivalence that the mainstream media has accepted with alacrity.

“Islamic group accuses Republicans of fostering anti-Muslim sentiment,” by Shelby Webb, Herald Tribune, April 24, 2014:

A Florida Islamic group is accusing some Republican Party lawmakers and local party organizations of fostering anti-Muslim sentiment.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, sent letters to almost every Republican Club or party extension in the state, asking the groups to stop bringing speakers who espouse anti-Islamic views. The letter said it represented the interests of more than 150,000 registered Florida Muslim voters.

Hassan Shibly, executive director for CAIR, based in Tampa, said such speakers not only inflame anti-Islam tensions but have also led to discriminatory legislation: namely Senate Bill 386, which would ban foreign laws from being enacted in Florida; and House Bill 921, which allows school districts to select textbooks instead of adhering to the statewide curriculum.

Shibly said the textbook debate came about after a parent in Volusia County became uncomfortable with the number of pages in a history textbook that described Islam and organized a protest to persuade the school district to stop using the book. The Volusia School District noted that there are many more references to Christianity in the textbook than there are to Islam.

Shibly said the letters were only sent to Republican lawmakers and groups because Republicans drafted and support these two bills and because no other party has invited anti-Islam speakers to give presentations.

“Our office has documented a pattern of local GOP organizations inviting extremist anti-Muslim speakers who promote fear and hatred of the entire Muslim faith and community, often under the pretense of targeting ‘radicals,’ ” Shibly wrote in the letter.

Sen. Nancy Detert, who represents Sarasota County and part of Charlotte County, refused to comment on the two bills and the letter sent out by CAIR.

“Why should I care about a letter sent out by someone I know nothing about? Is that really worth a story?” Detert said….

You should know.

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Iranian Rockets Bound for Gaza Terrorists Seized

Credit the Israeli Naval Commandos of Sayeret 13 and missile boats with another coup seizing the Panamanian flagged vessel, the KLOS-C packed with clearly marked Iranian M302 Rockets bound ultimately for Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza.  You may recall the Sayeret 13 boarded the Turkish ferry the Mavi Mamara in the May 2010 Free Gaza Flotilla.  This time Iran has used Syria for transshipment of a consignment of M302 rockets via Iraq in the Persian Gulf.  The raid on the KLOS-C occurred in the Red Sea  off Port Sudan just before off loading for shipment  to Gaza via  Salafist Jihadist helpers in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula .  The M302 rockets have a range of  200 KM threatening all of the populous central Israel.

Watch this IDF video of the KLOS-C seizure of Iranian M302 rockets:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/ob6X07EzuX8[/youtube]

The Jerusalem  and Washington  Post accounts note this most recent episode in a more than 14 year history of IDF seizures, a credit to diligent naval intelligence as well as Israel’s special operations prowess.  Here are some excerpts from the Washington Post report :

The ship, the KLOS C, was carrying Syrian-made M-302 rockets and was intercepted more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) south of Israel off the coasts of Sudan and Eritrea, military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner told reporters.

[…]

Previously, Gaza militants have only been able to reach about 50 miles (80 kilometers) into Israel with their homegrown M-75 missiles.  Hezbollah used M-302s in a 2006 war against Israel, the military said.

The operation, codenamed “Full Disclosure,” followed months of intelligence gathering. Lerner said the shipment originated in Syria. From there the weapons were flown to Iran and departed from the Bandar Abbas port. Lerner said the Iranians tried to “obscure their tracks” by shipping first via Iraq and then out to sea. The shipment was destined for Sudan, from where it was to be moved overland through Egypt to Gaza.

Lerner said the 17 crew members of the ship, flying under a Panama flag, were not suspects and were probably unaware of the content of their cargo. The vessel was being brought to the port of Eilat, Israel’s most southerly point, where the crew would be released and the cache unloaded. It was expected to arrive later this week.

The Washington Post chronicled the more than decade history of Israeli Naval seizures and air strikes against  Iranian weapons shipments to Gaza:

Three years ago, Israel seized the cargo ship Victoria loaded with weapons allegedly sent by Iran to Gaza , including land-to-sea missiles.

In November 2009, Israel took over the Iranian Francop vessel off the coast of Cyprus and captured hundreds of tons of rockets, missiles, mortars, grenades and anti-tank weapons on board that it said were headed to Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

Israel is also suspected of carrying out airstrikes in Sudan on arms shipments believed to be bound for Gaza. Israel has never confirmed carrying out the strikes.

In January 2002, Israeli forces stormed the Karine A freighter on the Red Sea, and confiscated what the military said was 50 tons of missiles, mortars, rifles and ammunition headed for the Gaza Strip.

In May 2001, Israel captured the vessel Santorini off its coastline, packed with explosives Israel said were being sent from Hezbollah to Palestinian militant groups.

The Jerusalem Post report drew attention to Iran’s use of Syria for transshipment of rockets and others strategic weapons to terrorist proxies in the Middle East:

The IDF Spokesman’s Unit said that the operation was made possible by inter-agency intelligence cooperation and the IDF’s enhanced capabilities. “This prevented the arrival of a shipment of deadly and advanced weapons, which was aimed at harming Israeli civilians, and intended to reach the terrorist organizations of the Gaza Strip who are waging confrontation against Israel.”

The spokesman added that special commando navy teams acted in accordance with international law during the raid and boarded the ship for armed searches before uncovering the rockets.

Iran flew the rockets to an Iranian air field, trucked them to a sea port, and shipped them to Iraq, where they were hidden in cement sacks.

The ship then set sail from Iraq to Port Sudan, near the Sudanese-Eritrean border, on a journey expected to last some ten days.

Had the shipment of rockets not been intercepted the rockets would likely have been unloaded in Egypt and taken by land over Sinai to smuggling tunnels into Gaza.

One day before reaching its destination, the Israel Navy pounced, raiding the vessel and bringing it under its full control. There were no injuries in the incident.

“We have certain proof that Iran was behind this,” a senior military source said.

“The final destination was the Gaza Strip, where Iran hoped to unload the rockets and transfer them to terrorist organizations,” he added.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and smaller groups are constantly working to build up their rocket arsenal, and are believed to have several thousand short range rockets that threaten southern cities and dozens of medium-range rockets that can reach greater Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.

By the end of 2013, Hamas was estimated by Israeli intelligence to possess 5000 short-range rockets and dozens of medium-range rockets, placing 70 percent of Israeli civilians in its range.

Gaza today has some 25,000 armed fighters. Of those, 16,000 belong to Hamas divisions. The Islamic Jihad has 5,000 fighters, split up into five divisions, and is armed with more than 2,000 rockets. Smaller terror groups have over 4,000 terrorists among their ranks, and are armed with dozens of rockets, as well as a large quantity of light arms.

In addition to replenishing its rocket arsenal, Hamas is trying to create capabilities to launch terror attacks, and possesses anti-aircraft missiles as well.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review. The featured composite photographic image is courtesy of CrownHeights.info.

Breaking: 13,000 high-school children graduate from Hamas paramilitary camps

Here in the U.S. we are proud of our children when they graduate from school. It means that they have an increased chance of a full, happy and prosperous life.

Graduation classes of the jihadist culture, however, are quite a different story, as the article below demonstrates.

The bottom line? The jihadist culture is one that values death over life. Therefore, it has no problem training children for suicide attacks. In fact, in their eyes it is something of which to be proud.

This is a culture that is fully committed – at all ages – to the destruction of Israel and the West.

HAMAS child soldier firing ak47

A child practices shooting at the ‘pioneers of liberation’ camp in Gaza. Photo credit: Hamas interior ministry website.

13,000 teens complete Hamas training camps to emulate ‘suicide martyrs’ by Elhanan Miller

The Hamas government in Gaza celebrated the graduation on Monday of paramilitary camps geared at training high-school children “to follow in the footsteps of the suicide martyrs.”

The camps, titled “the pioneers of liberation,” are run by Hamas’s ministries of education and interior. Some 13,000 students in grades 10-12 participated in the one-week training camps this year, compared to 5,000 last year when the program was launched, Israeli sources with knowledge of the program said.

The corps of instructors consists mainly of active members of Hamas’s security forces, and the curriculum includes weapons training, first aid, self defense, marching exercises and “security awareness” classes on identifying Israeli spies.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Interior Minister Fathi Hammad and Education Minister Usama Mzeini attended the graduation ceremony on Monday, each delivering fiery speeches stressing the importance of military training in developing a new generation of Palestinian combatants.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (center) attends the graduation ceremony in Gaza, January 13, 2014 (photo credit: Hamas interior ministry website)

“Beware this generation,” Haniyeh said, addressing Israel. “This is a generation which knows no fear. It is the generation of the missile, the tunnel and the suicide operations.”

The Hamas prime minister added that female trainers are also on staff “to oversee the training of the young women to follow in the footsteps of the female suicide operatives.”

Hammad, the interior minister, said the training was in preparation for the coming war with Israel.

“This generation is a sapling from God on earth. It will harvest the enemies of God and be the pride of all nations,” he said.

Hamdi Shaqura, deputy director of program affairs at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, a Gaza-based watchdog, said that his organization issued no statement on the training.

“To the best of my knowledge no other organization in Gaza issued a statement either,” he told The Times of Israel.

A child practices shooting at the ‘pioneers of liberation’ camp in Gaza (photo credit: Hamas interior ministry website)

Omar Dawabha, an eleventh-grader who took part in the training, was quoted on the website of Hamas’s interior ministry saying that “he learned how to safeguard our rights and principles.” Another student, Mohammed Abu Nar, addressed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem at the graduation ceremony.

“We are the pioneers of liberation, we are coming to purify you from the Zionists,” he said.

Elhanan Miller is the Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel.

Editorial: Florida libraries celebrating Muslim American Heritage Month

The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative was selected as one of 840 libraries and state humanities councils across the country to receive the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA). The endeavor aims to familiarize public audiences in the United States with the people, places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world.

The six library branches that received the bookshelf, which included 25 books, 3 films, and access for one year to Oxford Islamic Studies Online, will be offering related programming the week of October 6th to October 12th in celebration of Muslim American Heritage Month. Hillsborough County is the epicenter of this program in Florida offering Arabic calligraphy classes, books and films.

This celebration is an oxymoron. There is no American Muslim heritage. There is a Muslim heritage in Islam. All of the books and films are about Islam, not one is about a Muslim heritage in America.

One film Muslim Journeys is being shown at the John F. Germany Public Library on October 12th. It is about “an African-Muslim prince who was captured and sold into slavery in the American South.” However, there are no books on the reading list by South African-born Ronald Segal. According to Salon.com, “Segal is the author of 13 books including ‘The Anguish of India,’ ‘The Americans’ and ‘The Black Diaspora.’ In his latest book, ‘Islam’s Black Slaves: The Other Black Diaspora,’ he offers one of the first historical accounts of the Islamic slave trade.”

In an interview with Segal, Suzy Hansen from Salon.com writes, “Another slave trade, however, the Islamic one, remains a mysterious aspect in the history of the black diaspora. Fourteen centuries old, this version of slavery spread throughout Africa, the Middle East, Europe, India and China. It is the legacy of this trade that continues to ravage Sudan and Mauritania today.”

Hansen asks: How did the Atlantic and Islamic slave trades differ?

Segal’s “Islam’s Black Slaves” documents a centuries-old institution that still survives, and traces the business of slavery and its repercussions from Islam’s inception in the seventh century, through its history in China, India, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Libya, and Spain, and on to Sudan and Mauritania, where, even today, slaves continue to be sold.

Islam’s Black Slaves also examines the continued denial of the very existence of this sector of the black diaspora, although it survives today in significant numbers; and in an illuminating conclusion, Segal addresses the appeal of Islam to African-American communities, and the perplexing refusal of Black Muslim leaders to acknowledge black slavery and oppression in present-day Mauritania and Sudan.

Events in Nairobi, Egypt, Syria and across the Middle East and North Africa are not on the library reading list. There are no films or books about attacks by Muslims against their fellow Muslims, no discussion of Shariah laws and its impact on minorities and women and nothing about the ongoing slave trade operated by Muslims buying and selling black Africans.

Perhaps a more balanced approach to at least the slavery issue is in order?

VIDEO: The global threat of a Red (Marxist) on Green (Islamist) alliance

Tom Trento, National Security Expert, Director of The United West.

Tom Trento, National Security Expert, Director of The United West.

Tom Trento, Florida talk show host, author and internationally known speaker on national security issues, spoke at the Villages TEA Party on September 17th. The topic was the global threat facing the United States, our allies and Israel. Trento covered topics including Syria, Iran, the 9/11 remembrance and the threat to Western civilization posed by a new/old alliance. This Red (Marxist) and Green (Islamist) alliance has strengthened recently with the reemergence of the role of Russia in the Middle East.

Trento takes questions from the TEA Party members and put into perspective what is happening in this and previous administrations. Please watch Trento’s presentation (video courtesy of The United West):

ABOUT THE UNITED WEST:

The United West is dedicated to defending and advancing Western Civilization against the kinetic and cultural onslaught of Shariah Islam, so that America remains a land of freedom, justice and opportunity grounded in the principles of our Constitutional Republic.The United West has taken up this challenge because the ever increasing forces of darkness, whether political, social, or philosophical seek to destroy, subvert or subjugate all that Americans hold to be right and true.The United West will succeed in this mission by educating, training and activating Americans to stand on proven principles, guide public opinion and amend public policy so that leadership is selected on November 6, 2012 which affirm the canons of jurisprudence.

Specifically, TUW educates and activates freedom minded people, wherever they may live, to effectively develop strategies and tactics which propagate the exceptionalism of Western Civilization over against the totalitarian choke-hold of shariah Islam. Immediately, our objectives include the mobilization of Americans and Europeans to stand firmly for the defense and protection of the State of Israel.

The United West combines top-shelf academics with a military-grade activism to distinguish itself from every counter-jihad organization. There is no other nongovernmental organization like it, in the world. Visit TheUnitedWest.org to learn more.

One Florida man’s successful war against Al Jazeera

David Caton is soft spoken and looks like Clark Kent but to many he is Superman when it comes to taking on the Goliaths and winning. Caton is the Executive Director of the Florida Family Association (FFA).

David Caton is one man in Florida who has been single handedly waging a war against Al Jazeera.

Procter & Gamble products.

CurrentTV officially became Al Jazeera America and started airing Al Jazeera content on August 20, 2013. Because of the efforts of FFA all major companies except Procter & Gamble stopped advertising on CurrentTV before its official name change to Al Jazeera America. One hundred eighteen (118) companies stop advertising.

According to Caton, “Florida Family Association tapes ten hours of programing on Al Jazeera America every day. The Florida Family Association office communicates with each advertiser no less than once per week. This monitoring effort and contact with companies influenced 105 companies to stop advertising on Al Jazeera America.”

“Companies that continue to advertise after receiving emails from the Florida Family Association office are categorized as a major corporation, smaller company or non-profit organization (free) and rated from most frequent to least frequent.  Florida Family Association features the top advertisers in email campaigns and web articles.  Major companies were targeted one at a time because there were so few of them.  Some smaller companies, even with frequent ads, may never be targeted with a campaign because of their inferior reputation,” states Caton.

The Florida Family Association launched twelve email campaigns that were all successful in influencing the thirteen companies to stop advertising on Al Jazeera America thanks to thousands of emails sent by FFA supporters.  All of the following companies, targeted in an email campaign, stopped advertising:  ADT, Allstate, Chrysler Group (Dodge Dart, Fiat) E-Trade, Foster Grant, Hershey, KIA, Nestle (Gerber Life Insur. Co.), Pfizer, Reckitt Benckiser plc, Red Lobster and Reputation.com.

The power of the internet is not unlike Superman’s super powers.

Caton states, “Regardless of how much oil money Al Jazeera spends to keep their American channel alive corporate America must be vigorously challenged not to support the channel.”

ABOUT THE FLORIDA FAMILY ASSOCIATION:

The Florida Family Association is a national organization that is made up of thousands of supporters across America who share in the same goal of defending American values and improving America’s moral environment.  These supporters send more than one million emails every month to Corporate America officials associated with issues posted on this web site.  Florida Family Association’s accomplishments are a direct result of the dedicated people across the country who support the efforts of this organization.

RELATED:

Snowden Document: NSA Spied On Al Jazeera Communications – DER SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International

Egyptian Court’s Bold Move Against Al Jazeera

The following one hundred eighteen (118) companies stopped advertising on Al Jazeera America:

21st Century Insur. Co.
ABC network promotions
Acorn Stairlifts, Inc.
ADT
Allstar Products (Buyperfectpancake.com,Getforevercomfy.com, Sidesocket.com)
Allstate
American International Group (AIG Direct)
AmeriStar Tax Center
Amgen (Enbrel)
Anthony Huffman (Approvedcolleges.com)
Approved Colleges
Arriva Medical
BASF
Beachbody, LLC (P90X, Rockinbody.com, Try10now.com)
Beezid
Binder and Binder Law Firm
Blue Buffalo (True Blue Test)
Bosley Hair
Cancer Treatment Centers of America
Certified Financial Planner Board
(Letsmakeaplan.com)
Chrysler Corporation (Dodge Dart, Fiat)
Consumer Cellular (Exclusively at AARP)
Craftmatic Adjustable Beds
Credit Kharma
Custom Ink (Trycustomink.com)
Darden Restaurants (Red Lobster)
Denny’s,
DeVry University
Dollar Shave Club
Dr. Pepper (A&W Rootbeer, Dr. Pepper)
DreamBrands MDrive
E*Trade
Earth School  Educational Foundation(Carbonnationamovie.com)
EncoreDental (Ageon USA, Inc.)
Esurance
EveryMemorabilia.com,
Exceptional Products, Inc. (Getcellens.com)
Expedia.com
FabriClear
Fast Auto Loans, Inc.
Fernando Becattini (Getneaterneeder.com)
Floororthopedic.com
Foster Grant
General Mills (Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, Fiber One, Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamed Vegetables, Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Nature Valley Crunchy Granola, Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, Pillsbury Grand Biscuits, Pillsbury Toaster Strudel, Progresso Soup, Totino’s Pizza, Trix, Yoplait)
Global Wireless Entertainment (Skinit.com)
Greenlight Financial Services
Harvest Direct (Buycuttingedge.com, Go Go Pillow)
Healingsmith (Eczenil)
Heineken
Hershey
Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc. (AccuCheck)
Home Box Office (Strikeback on Cinemax)
Home Delivery Incontinent Supplies Company (HDIS.COM)
Honda North America
Hoveround
Hubbard Media Group (Reelz.com)
iCan Benefit
Ideastream Consumer Products
(Buymagictape.com)
IdeaVillage Products (Microtouchmax.com)
Ilva Saronna SPA (Disaronno)nvent Help
James C. Ferrell, PC
Jay Mebane (Getthunderleash.com)
Johnson & Johnson (Rogaine, Skinid)
JP Morgan Chase (Chase Ink)
KIA
Kiva Microfunds
LaserSpine Institute
Lawyers Works
Lesson Nine GmbH (Babbel.com)
Liberator Medical Holdings (cath.com)
Life Alert
Little Caesar
Luminosity
Marvel Enterprises, Inc. (X-Men Destiny)
Microsoft (Bing)
Microtouchmagic.com
Mr. Lid,
National Collector’s Mint
NBC network promotion
Nestle (Gerber Life Insur. Company)
News Corp. (The Following)
Oasis Legal Finance LLC
Pfizer
Plymouth Direct
PODS
Pulaski and Middleman, LLC (PMMESO.com)
Q.E.P., Inc. (Getinstagrip.com)
Quicken  Loans
Range Rover
Reckitt Benckiser, plc (Airwick, Cepacol, Clearasil, Delsym, Finish, Finish Power Up, Lime Away, Lysol, Mucinex, Resolve Bright and White, Resolve Easy Clean, Rid X, Scalpicin and Woolite),
Reputation.com
Samsung Electronics (Galaxy Note 10.1, Galaxy  Camera)
Scion (Toyota)
Select Quote
Senior Life Insur. Company
Shakespeare Co. LLC (Pivotrim.com)
Shell
Simplex Healthcare (Diabetescareclub.com)
St. Jude Children’s Hospital
State Farm
Steve Tolman (Buyeazycovers.com)
Sweetdreamblackberries.com
TD Ameritrade
The Weather Channel Reel Rivals promotion
Turner Broadcasting (CNN promos)
T-VScissors.com
United Benefits Direct
United Stated Department of
Energy (Energysaves.gov)
United States Marine Corps
United Way
Vapore (Trymypuremist.com)
Verizon
Viacom (Centric network, Star Trek into Darkness, WWZ)
Vistaprint
Wounded Warrior Project
Ziprecruiter.com

Advertising time as of August 20, 2013 was used for the following:

Percent of 
Subjects commercial time
Network and cable company promotions 18%
Free ads for non-profits
Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation 2%
Fannie Mae (Makinghomeaffordable.com) 1%
Habitat for Humanity 1%
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America IAVA 2%
Volunteers of America (Actionteam.org) 1%
   Total free ads 7%
Small companies
A Place for Mom 1%
CashAmerica International, Inc. (Cashnetusa.com) 7%
Connect America (Medical Alert) 3%
Consolidated Credit Counseling Services 1%
E. Kenneth Wall & Associates 2%
Endless Pools 3%
Guthy-Renker Corporation (Proactive and Mycleanpc.com) 23%
Hampton Direct (Chillow, WaxVac) 11%
Kowa Corp. (Okinawa Life) 2%
Neat Company (Tryneat.com) 2%
Radiancy (Trynono) 3%
REVshare (Tax10000.com) 1%
Swift Maintenance Supply (Flex seal) 4%
Telebrands (Aeroknife.com, Greatkitchensecrets.com,
      Kansascitypocketwatch.com, Orgreenic, Pestcures,
      Stone Wave Cooker) 7%
Wipenew.com 5%
   Total small companies 75%

 

Florida synagogue to host lobbyist for Islamic Republic of Iran

Robert Spencer from Jihad Watch reports:

Reza Aslan is a Board member of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC),which has been established in court as a lobbying group for the Islamic Republic of Iran. 

Said Michael Rubin: “Jamal Abdi, NIAC’s policy director, now appears to push aside any pretense that NIAC is something other than Iran’s lobby. Speaking at the forthcoming ‘Expose AIPAC’ conference, Abdi is featured on the ‘Training: Constituent Lobbying for Iran’ panel.”

According to Charles C. Johnson in the Daily Caller: “Iranian state-run media have referred to the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC) since at least 2006 as ‘Iran’s lobby’ in the U.S.” Iranian freedom activist Hassan Daioleslam “documented over a two-year period that NIAC is a front group lobbying on behalf of the Iranian regime.”NIAC had to pay him nearly $200,000 in legal fees after they sued him for defamation over his accusation that they were a front group for the mullahs, and lost. Yet Aslan remains on their Board.

Also, Aslan has tried to pass off Iran’s genocidally-minded outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a liberal reformer and has called on the U.S. Government to negotiate with Ahmadinejad himself, as well as with the jihad terror group Hamas.

Aslan has even praised the jihad terror group Hizballah as “the most dynamic political and social organization in Lebanon,” as well as the anti-Semitic, misogynist, Islamic supremacist Muslim Brotherhood, which is dedicated in its own words, according to a captured internal document, to “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within.” Aslan wrote: “The Muslim Brotherhood will have a significant role to play in post-Mubarak Egypt. And that is good thing.” Millions of Egyptians obviously disagree.

He has also applauded and called for denying the freedom of speech to those he hates.

So why is a synagogue in Florida giving him a platform?

Temple Judea: (561) 624-4633 Email: contact@gotj.org. Be polite, courteous and informative.

“Member Appreciation Event, Dr. Reza Aslan in honor of Rabbi Joel and Susan Levine,” from Temple Judea, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida:

Help us begin our year long journey of honoring Rabbi Joel and Susan Levine for their 32 years of service and create their legacy…

Kick off event Tuesday, October 8th
4:00 PM at Temple Judea
Our first scholar in residence presenting in honor of Rabbi Levine
Dr. Reza Aslan, an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, is the founder of AslanMedia.com, an online journal for news and entertainment about the Middle East and the world. Reza Aslan has degrees in Religions from Santa Clara University, Harvard University, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa, where he was named the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, and the Pacific Council on International Policy. He serves on the board of directors of the Ploughshares Fund, which gives grants for peace and security issues; Abraham’s Vision, an educational, conflict transformation organization for Israeli and Palestinian youths; PEN USA, which champions the rights of writers under siege around the world; and the Levantine Cultural Center, which builds bridges between Americans and the Arab/Muslim world through the arts. Aslan’s first book is the International Bestseller, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, which has been translated into thirteen languages, and named one of the 100 most important books .

Also, recalling Aslan’s recent arrogant and inaccurate touting of his own credentials on Fox, in praise of his even more inaccurate new book, I came across this in the Jihad Watch archives yesterday while working on my own new book. It seems as if Aslan has a long-standing habit of arrogantly citing his credentials as if they themselves proved what he was saying to be correct:

REZA ASLAN: There’s no such thing as values in Sharia law, that is what I was trying to explain, it’s understood in thousands of different ways by tens of thousands of different institutions, who really disagree with each other far more than they disagree with people of other religions, the values that you bring to Sharia are whatever values you yourself have, if you are a bigot, misogynist and a violent person, your interpretation of Sharia will be bigoted, violent and misogynistic, if you are a democrat and a pluralist and someone who is peace loving, that’s how you’ll see the Sharia.JENNY BROCKIE: Nonie, a response from you?

NONIE DARWISH: This is very evasive – Sharia law is a Malignant law, it’s totally based on the interpretation of the Koran and the Hajid [sic], and the way Islam and the profit [sic] lived. I don’t know understand why he’s white washing the meaning of Sharia – Sharia is a set of laws…..

REZA ASLAN: I’m a scholar of Sharia, that’s why.

Is there anything this intellectual and moral titan is not a scholar of? We know that Reza Aslan lies without any apparent pangs of conscience about the New Testamentpeople he hatesIsraeli “atrocities” (that will go over big at Temple Judea), the extent of Islamic supremacism in U.S. mosques, and about Muhammad’s career, and so there is no reason to assume that he will ever acknowledge that he is not the master of some subject or other.

EDITORS NOTE: Reza Aslan is the author of ZEALOT: The life and times of Jesus of Nazareth and No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam.

Florida Republican Club cancels speech on “radical Islam” – Speaker responds

Dr. Jonathan Matusitz

WDW – FL received a copy of the letter below, which was sent from Dr. Jonathan Matusitz to Peter Schorsch, Editor of the St. Petersburg Blog. Dr. Matusitz was schedule to speak at the Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee (PCREC) on Monday, June 10th. His appearance was cancelled due to pressure primarily from board member, Chris Latvala who posted an objection on his Facebook page.

Dr. Matusitz is an associate professor in the Nicholson School of Communication at the University of Central Florida (UCF). He studies globalization, culture, terrorism and health communication. On top of having 95 academic publications and over 100 conference presentations, he taught at a NATO-affiliated military base in Belgium in 2010.

The unedited letter follows:

Dear Peter Schorsch,

To my dismay, it is the first time that some Republicans have openly expressed their objection to my presentation on Islam. As a UCF faculty, I never intend to be controversial; rather, I try to be factual and 100% correct. If I didn’t think Islam poses a threat to Western civilization, then I would not stick my neck out by delivering public presentations on that subject. As Anna Phillips has aptly remarked in the Tampa Bay Times, I make a distinction between Islam (the threat) and the average Muslim (who is NOT the threat). What you also need to know is that, unlike other faiths, Islam is not just a religion; it is also a political system and global ideology. And, unfortunately, such political system and global ideology are profoundly anti-Western.

Based on your (and Chris Latvala’s) comments, you expressed concerns that my presentation on the “Islamic Threat to America” at the Republican Party of Pinellas County may hurt the election of local Republican candidates because (1) you think that my speech is not important to the mission of the party and (2) you think it may alienate Muslim voters as the purpose of my speech is to criticize Islam. It is obvious that both you and Chris would sacrifice pro-American conservative values in order to earn votes from people of all religions and creeds.

Please allow me to be clear: your strategy of earning votes from Muslims will not be efficient. Indeed, in regards to Muslim constituents themselves, for the past few decades, in the Western world, no matter what method Republicans and Conservatives have used to earn votes from Muslims, the vast majority of the latter have always voted for Democrat, Socialist, or left-wing parties. Below are statistics about Muslim votes in Western European countries and North America.

Muslim Vote in Western Europe

According to a poll conducted by France 24 (a French news channel), 95% of French Muslims voted for Ségolène Royal, the Socialist candidate, against Nicolas Sarkozy (http://www.france24.com/en/20120315-secular-france-religion-decisive-electoral-factor-muslim-jewish-vote-sarkozy-hollande)

According to a poll conducted by Le Figaro (a French newspaper), 93% of French Muslims voted for François Hollande, who became the Socialist President of France in 2012 (http://www.businessinsider.com/muslims-hollande-france-sarkozy-2012-5)

According to a poll conducted by The Guardian, only 16% of British Muslims tend to vote Conservative (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/feb/23/muslim-votes-tory-election)

According to The Position of Muslims in the Netherlands: Fact Book 2010, “Turks and Moroccans traditionally vote for left-wing parties” (p. 24) (http://www.forum.nl/Portals/International/english-pdf/Muslims-in-the-Netherlands-2010.pdf)

Muslim Vote in North America

According to a CAIR poll published on Fox News, 85% of American Muslims voted for Obama in the 2012 Presidential Elections (http://nation.foxnews.com/muslim-american-votes/2012/11/09/poll-85-american-muslims-voted-obama)

In the 2011 Canadian elections, only 12% of Canadian Muslims voted Conservative (http://www.dennisgruending.ca/2011/05/election-2011-political-and-religious-polarization/)

Peter, I just want to make sure that you clear out the misconceptions that you have about me. You referred to me as “controversial” and “apolitical,” and that is flat-out wrong.

Thank you for reading this.

Dr. Jonathan Matusitz

RELATED COLUMNS:

Republican Party of Pinellas County stifles free speech

“The Americans fear that their cultural barrier has been broken and now Jihad has become a normal career choice for any youthful American Muslim”

RELATED VIDEO: 

Panel Discussion – Radical Islam and U.S. National Security – Orlando, FL 4/20/2013. Frank Gaffney – Moderator, Pamela Geller, Jonathan Matusitz, and William J. Murray.

UPDATE: Black Friday For Israel (Video and Photos Added)

It is Black Friday, November 23, 2012. While many are going shopping a group of Floridians will be gathering at 3:00 p.m. EST in Sarasota for the Solidarity Demonstration for Israel.

Among them will be Pastor Paul Scheele. Pastor Paul, Senior Pastor at Congregational United Church of Christ, has been serving congregations for over 30 years, the last 10 years in Bradenton. Florida. He was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and left there in 1960 to enroll in the U.S. Navel Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. While at the Navel Academy, Pastor Paul felt a powerful call to Christian Ministry and transferred to Lakeland College, a church related school in Wisconsin.

Pastor Scheele gave WDW an exclusive interview explaining why he supports Israel:

The Solidarity sponsor is the Sarasota/Manatee Jewish Federation (JFED). According to the JFED website, “Israel, like any other country in the world, has the right to self-defense in light of rocket attacks aimed at harming and killing innocent civilians in their homes, schools and hospitals.”

“For most of us, red is the color of roses, but for almost 13 years, Color Red is the code for danger for more than one million Israelis living near the Gaza Strip. It means you have 15 seconds to find a secure location before missiles hit”, notes the JFED Israel Advocacy website.

Howard Tevlowitz, Executive Director of the JFED, stated in a recent email, “As most of us sleep soundly in our beds in Sarasota, Bradenton, Longboat Key, Venice, Northport and Siesta Key – millions of Israelis are now regularly passing the hours of darkness in fear.”

Tevlowitz wrote, “If Hamas has the best interests of the Palestinian people at heart, why do they engage in terrorism that is only counterproductive to peace? The answer is simple. Hamas targets Israel because it refuses to accept Israel’s existence as the democratic nation state of the Jewish people.”

UPDATE: The crowd at the Solidarity event was estimated at 500 people. Below are photos taken at the event. There were no counter protesters and the event was held peacefully and without incident. Attendees were of all faith, secular, all races and from all political parties.

View from stage.

View from back at the rally facing the stage

Supporters with signs

The JFED provided the below graphic to emphasize how vulnerable Israel is to rocket attack:

Click on map for larger view

Tevlowitz concludes by stating, “No government should, or would, tolerate a situation where nearly a fifth of its people – over one million – live under a constant threat of fire, including Israel. Just like any other country, Israel has the inalienable right — indeed the obligation — to defend its citizens from attack. Yet, inexplicably, some still question it.”

Exclusive interviews with SE Florida residents courtesy of METV and the JFED:

Gaza Déjà Vu

While everyone welcomes a cease fire between Hamas in Gaza and the Israelis, no one should expect it to last very long or that relations between the two will change. In point of fact, the Israelis struck a bargain with terrorists, not a nation-state.

Reflecting on the cease fire, David Singer, a lawyer, noted that “The document is not an Agreement, but merely an Understanding” and that “the parties to the Understanding are not specifically identified, nor has the document been signed by any parties that are supposed to be bound by the Understanding.” At best, the “Palestinian factions” who have the greatest interest in attacking Israel are not a party to the cease fire, nor is al Qaeda or Iran for whom Hamas is a proxy in Gaza as Hezbollah is one in Lebanon.

Israel has merely bought some time in which to determine what it will do next. Time is running out, not just in Gaza, but with regard to Iran’s nuclear program, deemed by observers to be mere months from being able to put a nuclear warhead on a missile and send it hurtling toward Israel to kill millions of its citizens and essentially destroying it as a viable nation.

If there is any good news out of the recent conflict, it is that its “iron Dome” defense system against rockets worked remarkably well. The bad news is that its enemies have learned that it can be overwhelmed if enough rockets are fired at the same time. Moreover, Iranian rockets have the capacity to hit Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum had some reflections on the Hamas-Israel hostilities, noting that “The old Arab-Israeli wars were military clashes; the recent ones are political clashes. The wars of 1948-49, 1967, and 1973 were life-and-death struggles for the Jewish state. But the wars of 2006, 2008-09, and now 2012 are media events in which Israeli victory on the military battlefield is foreordained and the struggle is to win public opinion.”

In the U.S. evangelical Christians are the largest group of supporters for Israel. Among those with far less sympathy for Israel are a significant percentage of Democrats and the first term of the Obama administration made it clear that the President is no friend to Israel. At one point he called for a return to the 1967 borders and opposed housing construction in Jerusalem. Dispatching Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to engineer a cease fire ensured that the U.S. would not be drawn into the conflict.

Many have expressed surprise that Egypt would take a significant role as a mediator, but few missed the fact that the U.S. was in a position to withhold $1.5 billion in foreign aid to Egypt whose economy is in serious trouble. Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s president has been traveling far and wide in the Middle East to secure aid, including from the Saudis, a leader of the Sunni majority of Islam, and always the hidden hand influencing events in the region, as well as the nation most fearful of the Shiite nation Iran.

Morsi has been walking the thin edge of a sword and a November 21 New York Times article spelled It out:

”Both sides in the conflict appear to be testing Egypt’s new leader. Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, is wondering how much support it may draw from its ideological cousins now that they control the Egyptian state, while Israel’s hawkish leadership seem to probe the depth of Mr. Morsi’s stated commitment to the peace treaty as well.”

“For Mr. Morsi, the test is forcing him to reconcile conflicting elements of his own persona: as the Islamist firebrand who has denounced the Israelis as ‘vampires’ for killing Palestinian civilians and lauded Hamas for resisting an illegal occupation, but also as the newly elected president promising stability, economic revival and friendly relations with Israel’s Western allies.”

Despite the Times reference to “an illegal occupation”, the fact is that Israel withdrew from Gaza in a “land for peace” effort that has clearly failed. Israel does not illegally occupy land that is rooted in the millennia of its existance.

Dr. Pipes reflected on the timing of Hamas’s ramping up of rocket attacks on Israel that had been going on for months. He conjectured that the last attacks were to “test the waters in the aftermath of Barack Obama’s reelection”, to “rouse public opinion against Israel and make it pay a price internationally”, “refute accusations by Palestinian Islamic Jihad that it has abandoned resistance”, and remind the Palestinian Authority, as it seeks statehood at the United Nations, who controls Gaza.”

The effort of Fatah, based in the West Bank after having been driven out of Gaza, to secure statehood went nowhere in the U.N. Indeed, the so-called Palestinians have never had anything but rhetorical support and have been dependent on a U.N. refugee agency for actual support. They constitute the oldest unresolved refugee population in the world.

In August 2010, The New York Times reported on a survey by Al Arabiya television network in which “a staggering 71 percent of the Arabic respondents have no interest in Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.”

It noted that “For example, it was common knowledge that the May 1948 pan-Arab invasion of the nascent state of Israel was more a scramble for Palestinian territory than a fight for Palestinian national rights” and that “from 1948 to 1967, when Egypt and Jordan ruled the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the Arab states failed to put these populations on the road to statehood.”

So, yes, while it’s a good thing that the rockets are not flying, the “Iron Dome” proved successful, and the Israeli Air Force was able to kill some of the militant leadership and degrade its arsenal and ability to proceed to some degree, the current cease fire is a largely meaningless “understanding.”
What remains to be understood is the unremitting hostility to Israel that exists throughout the Middle East and globally where anti-Semitism has existed for centuries. The Israelis have merely bought some time until the next attacks.

The wild card remains Israel’s need to attack Iran’s nuclear and military facilities. Only by inflicting major damage will Israel have any chance of survival. Long a nuclear nation, Israel must stop Iran from becoming one.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

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