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Nancy Pelosi Claims Israeli ‘Annexation’ Will Harm American Security Interests

The story of her astonishing claim is at the Jerusalem Post here:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that she is “concerned” about a possible Israeli move to annex parts of the West Bank.

“Unilateral annexation puts the future at risk and undermines US national security interests,” she said in a webinar hosted by the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA). “It undermines our national security interests and decades of bipartisan policy. We always want it to be bipartisan,” she continued.

The extension of Israel’s sovereignty to the “West Bank” – the name Jordan gave in 1950 to those parts of Judea and Samaria it had managed to hold onto during the 1948-49 war – is based on the Palestine Mandate itself. That Mandate assigned to the future Jewish state all of the land from Mt. Hermon in the north, to the Red Sea in the south, and from the Jordan River in the west, to the Mediterranean in the east. At the end of Arab-Israeli hostilities in 1949, the Jordanian army remained in possession of part of Judea and Samaria; Jordan renamed that territory the “West Bank” in order to efface the Jewish connection to the land, much as the Romans nearly 2000 years before had replaced the name “Judea” with “Palestine.” When Israel took possession of the “West Bank” after the Six-Day War, this did not create its legal, historic, and moral claim to land where Jews had lived for 3,500 years, but allowed the Jewish state to finally enforce its preexisting claim.

A second, and independent source for the Jewish claim to extend its sovereignty to a considerable part of the “West Bank” is U.N. Resolution 242.

The chief drafter of Resolution 242 was Lord Caradon (Hugh M. Foot), the permanent representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations from 1964-1970. At the time of the Resolution’s discussion and subsequent unanimous passage, and on many occasions since, Lord Caradon always insisted that the phrase “from the territories” quite deliberately did not mean “all the territories,” but merely some of the territories:

Much play has been made of the fact that we didn’t say “the” territories or “all the” territories. But that was deliberate. I myself knew very well the 1967 boundaries and if we had put in the “the” or “all the” that could only have meant that we wished to see the 1967 boundaries perpetuated in the form of a permanent frontier. This I was certainly not prepared to recommend.

On another occasion, to an interviewer from the Journal of Palestine Studies (Spring-Summer 1976), he again insisted on the deliberateness of the wording. He was asked:

The basis for any settlement will be United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, of which you were the architect. Would you say there is a contradiction between the part of the resolution that stresses the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and that which calls for Israeli withdrawal from “occupied territories,” but not from “the occupied territories”?

Nota bene: “from territories occupied” is not the same thing as “from occupied territories” – the first is neutral, the second a loaded description. Lord Caradon answered:

“I defend the resolution as it stands. What it states, as you know, is first the general principle of inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war. That means that you can’t justify holding onto territory merely because you conquered it. We could have said: well, you go back to the 1967 line. But I know the 1967 line, and it’s a rotten line. You couldn’t have a worse line for a permanent international boundary. It’s where the troops happened to be on a certain night in 1948. It’s got no relation to the needs of the situation.

“Had we said that you must go back to the 1967 line, which would have resulted if we had specified a retreat from all the occupied territories, we would have been wrong.”

Note how Lord Caradon says that “you can’t justify holding onto territory merely because you conquered it,” with that “merely” applying to Jordan, but not to Israel, because of the Mandate’s explicit provisions allocating the territory known now as the “West Bank” to the Jewish state. Note, too, the firmness of his dismissal of the 1967 lines as nothing more than “where the troops happened to be on a certain night in 1948,” that is, nothing more than armistice lines and not internationally recognized borders.

Does Speaker Pelosi understand the legal, historic, and moral claims of Israel to Judea and Samaria (a/k/a the “West Bank)”? Does she understand the intent of the Mandate for Palestine, in recognizing those claims, and does she have a firm understanding of the territory that was included by the League of Nations in that Mandate? Does she comprehend, as well, the meaning of U.N. Resolution 242, which allows Israel to make territorial adjustments to ensure its own security? Is she aware that an American military mission, sent to Israel by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the orders of President Johnson, to study what territories, at a minimum, Israel would have to retain after the Six-Day War, reported back that Israel would need to keep the Jordan Valley and parts of the West Bank in order to slow down, or prevent, a possible invasion force from the east that could cut Israel in two at its narrowest point; within the 1949 armistice lines, Israel was only nine miles wide from Qalqilya to the sea.

Would comprehending the Mandate for Palestine (especially the Preamble, and Articles 4 and 6), and U.N. Resolution 242, make a difference to Nancy Pelosi? Would she be less quick to lecture Israel on not annexing territory in the West Bank, if she knew Israel had a perfect right to that territory – the Jordan Valley and the settlements – according to both the Mandate, and U.N. Resolution 242?

Pelosi’s bizarre claim is that any Israel “annexation” of territory would “harm America’s national security interests.” She has it exactly backwards. Any annexation by Israel of territory to which it is entitled, and which will increase the Jewish state’s ability to protect itself, will contribute to American national security. Deprived of control of the Jordan Valley, forced to surrender some of its settlements, Israel would be much more vulnerable to attack. And though Israel has never asked for a single American soldier to help defend it, unlike several Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, if it is squeezed back into something like the 1949 armistice lines – i.e., the pre-1967 lines which Abba Eban famously described as “the lines of Auschwitz” — that could make more likely the need, in some future war, for Israel to request American help. That’s not something either Israel, or America, wants. And if Israel were to be squeezed back into something like the 1949 armistice lines, and as a consequence was in danger, in case of war, of being cut in two by an invader from the East, does anyone doubt that if the Israelis ever felt their national survival was at stake, they would use some of their nuclear weapons as a last resort. Does Pelosi want to make such a possibility more likely?

Nancy Pelosi claims that Israel’s annexation of land in the West Bank will harm America’s national security interests; she has things backwards. The better able Israel is to defend itself, the less likely that it will ever have to ask for American aid. And what about the Arab states? Would they be angry with the United States if Israel held onto most or even all of the West Bank? We know that while the member states of the Arab League, for public consumption, have deplored Israeli “annexation,” behind the scenes several of these same states have expressed their support, more muted in some cases than in others, for the Trump Deal of the Century which allows for that Israeli annexation. The ambassadors of three Arab states — Bahrain, Oman, and the UAE – in a sign of support even attended the White House ceremony in which the Trump Plan was rolled out. Though Jordan has denounced any “annexation,” privately Jordanian officials have said they do not want the Palestinians to control the West Bank, for they fear a possible alliance of Palestinians on both sides of the Jordan against the Hashemite monarchy. Two other important Arab states, Egypt and, especially, Saudi Arabia, have lost interest in the “Palestinians” – Crown Prince Muhammad angrily told Mahmoud Abbas to “take whatever deal” he can that the Americans offer – and are more interested in Israeli help, including the sharing of its intelligence with them, in combating Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. When the Israelis were about to annex the Golan Heights, it was predicted that all hell would break loose in the Arab countries. Nothing happened. When Trump decided to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, we were again warned that Arabs and Muslims would be inflamed. Again nothing of the sort occurred.

Now we are being assured that if Israel annexes the Jordan Valley and the settlements, the Arabs will this time really rise up. Why should we believe it? Even in the West Bank, where Mahmoud Abbas insists he has now torn up all agreements with Israel, on the ground there is still security cooperation between the P.A. and Israel. On May 20 it was reported that an unnamed senior Palestinian official sent messages to the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service saying that some coordination would continue and that the Palestinian security organizations will continue to do their best to foil terror attacks against Israel. Even if cooperation really is ended, the official vowed that terror groups will not be permitted to act freely in areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority. So there is a lot less to Abbas’s threats to “end all cooperation with Israel” than meets the eye. Abbas knows how valuable is the intelligence the P.A. receives from Israel on its deadly rivals Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and their operatives in the West Bank. Will he really want to do without Israeli assistance that on several occasions has even helped to foil plots to murder him and his cronies?

What should Nancy Pelosi in decency do? She should study the Palestine Mandate and its maps. She should remember that even though the League of Nations dissolved in 1946, its successor organization, the United Nations, included in its Charter Article 80 (called the “Jewish people’s article”), which recognized the continuing validity of the Mandate for Palestine. And finally, she should study the text of U.N. Resolution 242, and the authoritative explanation of that text by its main drafter, Lord Caradon. Only when she has thoroughly digested the meaning of both the U.N. Resolution 242 and of the Mandate for Palestine, will she have earned the right to comment on what Israel “should” or “must” do.

She might then say, for example, that “I am well aware that Israel has a right to keep the entire West Bank if it so wishes. I do not challenge that right. But I challenge its wisdom. Wouldn’t it be better to keep the territories Israel currently controls, without a formal annexation that will merely serve to roil the Arab world?” I still think she’d be wrong, but at least she would no longer be outrageously, offensively, intolerably wrong.

The Speaker told participants that Democrats are taking “a great pride” in former president Barack Obama’s memorandum of understanding, which provides Israel with $38 billion worth of security assistance over a decade. “That’s our commitment. And we continue to have that,” she said. “It was signed in 2016 to help Israel defend itself in a variety of ways. And we stand committed to that, but we’re very concerned about what we see happening in terms of annexation.”

“I’m not a big fan of the Palestinian leadership in terms of their capability to be good negotiating partners,” she added. “I wish they could be better. But I think that everybody can be doing better in terms of that.” She also sent a barb to the Trump administration’s peace plan, saying that it has “nothing in common with the word peace or plan.”

Pelosi is “not a big fan of the Palestinian negotiating partners in terms of their capability to be good negotiating partners”? That’s a historic understatement. Mahmoud Abbas for the last twelve years refused outright to engage in any negotiations with Israel. He’s not been a “negotiating partner” at all. And in 2008, when he negotiated for the first and last time with the Israelis, he refused Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s offer of 94% of the West Bank, together with Israeli territory equivalent to 5.8% of the West Bank, and on top of that, Olmert also offered to relinquish Israeli control of the Old City to an international body. Abbas refused, and walked out. Pelosi should have told the truth: the Palestinians have shown themselves completely unwilling to seriously engage in negotiations with the Israelis.

Pelosi’s brusque dismissal of Trump’s peace plan — it has, she said, “nothing in common with the word peace or plan” – is intolerable. It is the first American effort that, had it been accepted, would have led to the creation of a Palestinian state, one which would include 97% of all the Palestinians living in the West Bank. For the first time in their history, the Palestinians would have a state. What’s more, according to the Trump Plan, the Palestinians would be given two large swathes of territory in Israel’s Negev, along the border with Egypt, to compensate for territory taken by Israel – as is its right under the Mandate – in the West Bank. Further, Gaza would be directly linked to the West Bank part of “Palestine” by traffic corridors. An enormous effort went into the Administration’s constructing a viable Arab state, consisting of contiguous territories in the West Bank where 97% of the Palestinians now live, and from which they would not have to move. Speaker Pelosi should look at all the work that went into carving out this state before so airily dismissing it.

Finally, in what is surely the most generous offer of aid in history, the Trump Administration promised that international donors would provide the state of Palestine with $50 billion dollars in aid; by comparison, the Marshall Plan allotted a total of $60 billion (in 2020 dollars) not for just one but for sixteen countries. Why does Nancy Pelosi say this carefully worked-out effort was not a “plan”? Has she looked at the maps, and seen with what care the Trump Administration managed to ensure that 97% of the Palestinians now in the West Bank would be included, in contiguous territories forming the state of Palestine, while 97% of the Israelis in the West Bank would be included, without having to move, in the state of Israel. It was a real feat of boundary-drawing. And why does Pelosi say the Trump Plan has nothing to do with “peace” when that is its main goal, to keep the peace between Palestinians and Israelis, by means of both the statehood and the prosperity– that $50 billion in aid — promised to the Palestinians, and through the demilitarization that would be required of the future state of “Palestine”?

American national security interests will not be harmed but enhanced if Israel and the Palestinians make peace, based on the Trump Plan, and if the Palestinians achieve a level of prosperity in their own state that they would not wish to endanger through war, while Israel’s deterrent power is increased by its permanent control, through annexation, of West Bank territories, and especially of the Jordan Valley, that can help prevent or slow down an invasion from the East. There may be a brief display of displeasure from the Arab street, if the Trump Plan is accepted, but in the corridors of power in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, and Oman, there will be quiet satisfaction that the Trump Plan has put paid to Palestinian irredentism, given the Palestinians a state of their own, and imposed demilitarization on that state. Israel, more secure than ever, can continue to help them deal with their real worries – the Muslim Brotherhood, the assorted terror groups including Hezbollah (Iran’s proxy), and Hamas (which is merely a branch of the Brotherhood), and above all, Iran.

It is difficult for many Democrats to admit that something good might actually come out of the White House, where they long ago consigned its occupant to the outer darkness. And who has the time to read all that stuff – the Mandate for Palestine, U.N. Resolution 242, Article 80 of the U.N. Charter – or learn about the history of the non-existent negotiations between Mahmoud Abbas and several different Israeli leaders? Who has the time to find out what the Arab leaders really want, which is not always what they say they want? It’s a lot to ask. But try, Speaker Pelosi. Just try.

COLUMN BY

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

The Muslim Brotherhood Operative on Facebook’s Content Oversight Board

PART I

When it comes to Islam, Facebook seems unable to get things right. It has made life more difficult for sober islamocritics such as Robert Spencer, censoring their content, while favoring those who attempt to deflect such criticism with charges of “racism” and “Islamophobia.”

Recently Mark Zuckerberg decided it would be a good thing – Diversity! Inclusivity! — to appoint the Yemeni journalist and political activist Tawakkol Karman to the Content Oversight Board of Facebook, a position where she will be well-placed to protect Islam and Muslims from their critics. It is not only those islamocritics who are up in arms at Karman’s appointment, but a great many Muslims are horrified as well. For Tawakkol Karman is not only a Muslim, but a fervent admirer of the Muslim Brotherhood.

To many around the world, Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Khalid Karman is known as the first Arab woman — and the second Muslim woman — to win a Nobel Prize, for Peace, in 2011. She won the prize for several reasons. First, there is her record of “activism,” which some may find underwhelming. In Yemen, she campaigned against systemic repression by the government, and demanded inquiries into corruption and other forms of social and legal injustice. In 2005, she founded an organization, Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC), to help train women in media skills, and to promote the work of female journalists in Yemen. WJWC also produces regular reports on human rights abuses in Yemen, so far documenting more than 50 cases of attacks and what it claims are unfair sentences against newspapers and writers. In 2007, Tawakkol began organizing weekly protests in Yemen’s capitol, Sana’a, against government mismanagement. She also shows up regularly at Change Square, where she holds court inside a tent when not haranguing her followers outside.

Karman is not shy about proclaiming her own greatness. At the “Official Website of Tawakkol Karman,” you will find listed (I haven’t corrected the English) some of her Outstanding Achievements:

  • The lady of year 2011 according to the readers and subscribers of Yahoo website;
  • One of the Top 100 Global Thinkers selected by the Foreign Policy Magazine;
  • Among the most strongest 100 Arab women;
  • Awarded the Courage Award by the Embassy of United States of America, Sana’a in 2008;
  • One of the seven women who change the history for the year of 2009;
  • Member of Transparency International’s Advisory Council;
  • Member of High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post 2015 Development;
  • She granted the honorary degree of doctor of law from Alberta University-Canada

It has been suggested that the main reason she was chosen to share the 2011 Peace Prize with two other women, both from Liberia — the Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leybah Gbowee, a “peace-and-women’s-rights-activist” – is that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee was that year under pressure to find a Muslim female recipient and Tawakkol Karman fit the bill, checking all the right boxes as a fighter “against governmental suppression” of dissent and as a “promoter of women’s rights.”

What the Nobel Peace Prize committee did not know, or did not care about, was that Karman held a senior position in Yemen’s Al-Islah Party, an affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood known for its extremist and violent agenda. In 2013, she was a strong supporter of Mohamad Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood member who became, briefly, the President of Egypt. She wrote an article in Foreign Policy about Egypt; her title says it all: “Mohamed Morsi is the Arab World’s Nelson Mandela.”

Aside from being a senior member of the Al-Islah Party, which had strong ties to the MB, Karman also had ties to the Brotherhood’s Yemeni branch, an Islamist movement founded by Abdul Majeed Al-Zindani, a man who appears in Washington’s Specially Designated Global Terrorist list. She claims to have severed those ties to the MB in Yemen, but many wonder whether her move was merely a cosmetic exercise to deceive gullible Westerners.

The story of Tawakkol Karman’s appointment to the Content Advisory Board at Facebook is at Arab News:

Unsurprisingly, Facebook’s choice has prompted outrage on social media networks, with many worried that it will bring the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideas right into the heart of the biggest social networking company in the world.

“She has not denounced the extremist ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of risk consultancy Cornerstone Global Associates, told Arab News.

On the contrary, there is everything [sic] to believe that she continues to espouse the hate speech that has been a mark of the Brotherhood in general.”

Given her prominent role in the revolution that toppled Yemen’s former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, Karman’s Nobel Prize is not without merit, say political analysts. But they add that her advocacy of extremist causes can hardly be glossed over.

“Karman was considered a symbol of the Yemeni revolution against the rule of Saleh, but over time she has become associated with intolerance, discrimination and lack of neutrality,” Hani Nasira, a terrorism and extremism expert, told Arab News.

Soon after Karman was awarded the Nobel Prize, she was invited to Doha and [was] personally congratulated by Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader and preacher of hate, whose fatwas call for suicide bomb attacks and who praises Hitler for “punishing” the Jews.

After conveying to her his message of “support” for the Yemeni people, Al-Qaradawi gave Karman a copy of his book, “Fiqh Al-Jihad,” as a gift.

Such easy rapport with a personality as controversial as Al-Qaradawi calls into question Karman’s political beliefs, despite her ostensible split with the Brotherhood’s Yemeni branch.

It also rings the alarm about the judgement of Facebook, a social networking behemoth that claims to be an unbiased arbiter of international political discourse.

Facebook has never been an “unbiased arbiter” when it comes to Islam. It has consistently privileged defenders of the faith, and made life difficult — by taking down posts or making them impossible to find – for islamocritics. It is not surprising that a Muslim Brotherhood admirer such as Tawakkol Karman would be appointed to Facebook’s Content Oversight Board; Facebook either does not know, or more likely does not care, about Karman’s dangerous liaisons.

“We understand that people will identify with some of our members and disagree passionately with others,” a Facebook Oversight Board spokesperson told Arab News.

Board members were chosen to represent diverse perspectives and backgrounds that can help with addressing the most significant content decisions facing a global community.”

Would Facebook place a strong supporter of President Trump on the Content Oversight Board, to increase its diversity and inclusivity? Or a supporter of Matteo Salvini in Italy, or of Marine Le Pen in France, or of Victor Orban in Hungary? What about a supporter of Prime Minister Netanyahu? No, I didn’t think so either. They’re all, you see, “extremists.” Unlike Tawakkol Karman.

Facebook declined to respond to specific questions regarding Karman’s links to extremist groups. But clearly the platform has put its credibility on the line by bringing her on board.

Facebook “risks becoming the platform of choice for extremist Islamist ideology,” Nuseibeh, who is also chair of UK-based nonprofit Muslims Against Anti-Semitism, told Arab News.

“With Karman’s appointment, Facebook’s argument that it is an impartial platform is severely weakened. There is no guarantee that Karman will not have a direct editorial influence on what Facebook allows to be published.

“Would Facebook, for example, appoint Aung San Suu Kyi, another Nobel laureate, to arbitrate in disputes over posts related to the Rohingya atrocities in Myanmar?”

Nuseibeh added: “Karman, to much of the world, is what Aung San Suu Kyi is to the Rohingyas.”

Karman’s abrasive personality became evident during the Arab Spring protests, which began with Tunisia’s “Jasmine Revolution” in 2011 before spreading out to other Arab countries including Yemen.

Previous Yemeni protest leaders who had aligned with her called her “dictatorial,” someone who went against the consensus of peaceful movements by urging young protesters to march on in the face of imminent danger.

“She called for that march, the police brutally attacked it and 13 people died,” one protest organizer who declined to be named told Reuters in 2011.

“She didn’t apologize for it and it really upset a lot of people.”

She was willing to sacrifice her young followers – sending them on a march that previous protest leaders opposed because of the “imminent danger” posed to the marchers by the police – for no other reason than to promote herself as a protest leader. Tawakkol Karman, of course, never marched in these protests; that would have been too dangerous.


PART II

Tawakkol Karman is a supporter of Qatar, the Arab world’s staunchest supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, and of Turkey, which under President Erdogan has become the other main promoter of the Brotherhood’s agenda..

In recent years, Karman’s utterances have tended to hew closely to the party line of her two leading patrons, Qatar and Turkey, while being reflexively critical of the actions of Saudi Arabia.

For instance, in an interview with the Saudi daily Al Riyadh in 2015, Karman praised the Arab coalition and its role in restoring the UN-backed government in Yemen.

She called it a “savior” and posed for a picture with President Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who she described as “the legitimate leader of the country.”

At that time she was supporting Saudi Arabia and UAE in the help they gave the internationally recognized government in Sana’a, led by Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi. But that did not last long.

A few years later, she suddenly changed her tone to accuse Saudi Arabia and the UAE of committing war crimes in Yemen, and demanded the toppling of regimes in Egypt and Bahrain.

It was no coincidence that all the four countries she denounced happened to have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, 2017, for its refusal to abandon support for extremists.

She turned on Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain for the same reason: all four had cut ties to Qatar, because that state had consistently shown support for the extremist Muslim Brotherhood, whose cause was also dear to Tawakkol Karman’s heart. Had Facebook known of her passionate attachment to the MB, would they have had second thoughts about naming her to the Content Oversight Board? One likes to think so.

“Karman’s loyalty to, and association with, governments that flout all norms of democracy, such as Qatar and Turkey, deprives her of any claim to neutrality and objectivity,” Nasira said.

Her political rhetoric encourages extremism, divisiveness and shunning of those who disagree with her current loyalties.

Numerous posts on her Twitter handle and Facebook page attest to her desire to see specific Arab governments destabilized and toppled.

She has called on Bahraini, Algerian and Tunisian citizens to revolt against their governments, and accused the Egyptian army of being full of terrorists.

Again, Karman is consistent in her support of the Muslim Brotherhood. Bahrain, Algeria, and Tunisia have all come down hard on the MB, and therefore, in her view, the people of those countries must overthrow their governments, and the rulers she deems insufficiently “Islamic” in their views. The Egyptian army, which is engaged in a endless battle with MB, is described – in Karman’s customary hyperbole – as “being full of terrorists.” The Egyptian army is ruthless, all right, in its pursuit of MB members, but no one could fairly describe it as “being full of terrorists.”

“Saudi Arabia should be worried. All the Gulf countries should be scared, except for Qatar,” Karman can be heard saying in an undated video clip broadcast by Yemen TV.

The Gulf Arabs should be “worried” about what? Karman means they should be worried about popular uprisings, for according to her, except for Qatar, they have lost the support of their people. No evidence is presented for this. There have been no popular protests against the governments in Saudi Arabia (save for a small group of Shi’a, who briefly rioted eight years ago), the Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, or elsewhere among the Gulf Arab states. There have been violent protests in Qatar, however, in 2019, by the migrant workers who could no longer stand the abuse they endured from their employers, nor could they tolerate the widespread practice of employers withholding their wages. Qatar’s reputation for such mistreatment apparently doesn’t bother that Nobel-winning “rights activist” Tawakkol Karman. As long as Qatar supports the MB, its abuse of foreign workers doesn’t concern her. Besides, those discontented foreign workers in Qatar are not Arabs, and Tawakkol Karman is both an Islamist and an Arab supremacist.

Karman’s unremitting hostility towards Saudi Arabia and the UAE has made her almost a natural choice for stewardship of the Qatari-funded and Turkey-based Belqees TV station.

The consensus view of many Middle East political observers is that Karman is an Islamist activist who is firmly embedded within regional and international networks backed by Qatar and Turkey.

“Karman is an extremely divisive figure whose judgement is severely impaired by her many years of (harboring) extreme political bias,” says Nuseibeh.

As for Facebook, the company “has only one choice to make and that is to sever all ties” with Karman, he told Arab News.

“If it doesn’t, Facebook would be on the side of promoters of hate speech, extremism and anti-Semitism.”

Facebook likely had no knowledge of Tawakkol Karman’s connection to Qatar and to the Muslim Brotherhood when it offered her a position on the Content Oversight Board. It’s a company worth $600 billion, but it couldn’t spare the money or take the time to conduct due diligence on Karman before appointing her to such an important post. It might have taken a Facebook employee five minutes – no more – to conduct an online search that would have revealed the disturbing sympathies of Tawakkol Karman for the Muslim Brotherhood. The company had decided it would be a good idea to have a Muslim and, even better, a Muslim woman – More Diversity! More Inclusivity! — on the Content Oversight Board as one of Facebook’s internal censors. Karman fit the bill. And she had won a Nobel Peace Prize. Mark Zuckerberg knows that Nobel Peace Prize winners are, by common consent, among our Great and Good. Yes, I grant you, there is Arafat… That’s all Facebook knew about her – Muslim, female, Nobel winner — and that was apparently all it needed to know. Muslim, female, Nobel winner — what’s not to like?

As an unswerving supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, Karman certainly is a promoter, as Ghanem Nuseibeh says, of “hate speech, extremism, and antisemitism.” Simply take a look at the best-known MB website, that of Hamas, which is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, for prompt confirmation of its “hate speech, extremism, and antisemitism.” Or consider Tawakkol Karman’s warm meeting in Doha with Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose fatwas call for suicide bomb attacks and who praises Hitler for “punishing” the Jews.

Is that what Mark Zuckerberg wants on his Content Oversight Board? Someone who admires a man who calls for suicide bomb attacks and praises Hitler for “punishing” the Jews? Or will there be signs of sanity yet, and an invitation withdrawn, from the head office at 1 Hacker Way in Menlo Park?

COLUMN BY

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Members of Congress and Their Highly Selective Indignation

Stephen Flatow notes that a letter signed several weeks ago by 60 members of Congress shocks the conscience, or should. Here is his story :

Did you hear the shocking news? Sixty Congress members just signed a letter demanding that the Federal government stop the dismantling of any illegally built homes that have been built by Arabs. But they did not object to Israel’s continuing policy of dismantling illegally built Jewish homes.

The letter demanded that the American government not allow American-made equipment it supplied to Israel to be used in what they called “the ongoing home demolitions” of Arab homes. There was no mention in the letter of the Israeli government’s dismantling of Jewish homes and settlements it deemed “illegal.” Nor was there any mention of the demolition of houses belonging to the families of terrorists as an effective way to discourage would-be terrorists.

Who would have thought that in this day and age, members of Congress would stoop so low as to make policy recommendations based on the idea that one specific ethnic group should be targeted?

We were supposed to have given up the old practice of making policies based on the color of people’s skin, rather than the content of their character. Images of George Wallace standing in that schoolhouse door were supposed to be just a bad memory. Yet here we are, in 2020, with 60 Democrats signing a letter that echoes the attitudes of those dark times.

J Street played a major role in organizing the Congressional letter. In a December 10 press release, the group announced that “J Street supporters across the country are contacting the offices of their members of Congress and urging them to sign on to this important and timely letter.”

The letter was sent to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on March 16, bearing the signatures of 60 members of Congress, all Democrats. They urged the US government to prevent Israel from using American-made equipment in “the ongoing home demolitions and forcible transfer of Palestinian civilians in the West Bank.”

The letter’s reference to “Palestinian civilians” indicates that J Street misled the members of Congress. Evidently, the J Streeters did not explain to potential signatories that house demolitions in Israel are not based on the race, religion, or ethnicity of the homeowners.

Israeli courts authorize dismantling illegally built homes on the basis of whether the homes were built illegally. The Israeli government does not have a policy of demolishing Palestinian homes. If it did, it would be doing quite a poor job of it, since 99.9% of Palestinian homes are still standing!

Both Jews and Arabs in the West Bank have illegally built homes. Some are on “state and waste” lands that are owned by the Israeli government, and from which permission for such building had not been obtained. In some cases Jewish settlers have wrongly claimed – as was the case with the settlement at Amona — to have bought the land they built on from Palestinians, claims that did not stand up in court. Individual houses, owned by Arabs and Jews – though mostly by the former – have been pulled down when the builders violated building codes so egregiously that only demolishment would discourage them, and warn others, from continuing to flout the law.

Clearly, J Street never informed these members of Congress that the Israeli government has been demolishing illegally built Jewish homes too.

On October 24, Israeli bulldozers destroyed two housing structures in the unauthorized Jewish community of Shevah Ha’aretz, near the town of Yitzhar. On November 26, the government sent tractors to level a Jewish housing structure near the community of Bat Ayin and to plow over an adjacent olive grove that had been planted by Israeli Jews and their Christian Zionist supporters. On January 15, the bulldozers were active in Yitzhar, destroying two more Jewish homes that were built illegally.

Had you heard or read about this Israeli destruction at Shevah Ha’aretz, near Bet Ayin, and at Yitzhar of Jewish houses that had been built illegally? No, of course not. It’s not something the Times or the Post or the BBC or any other part of the mainstream media would want brought to your attention. And while we hear constantly about the destruction of “Palestinian” olive trees by mad-dog Jewish settlers, have you ever heard of Israeli tractors plowing over an olive grove planted by Jews that the government considered “illegal”? No, you never have, until just now.

So why didn’t the Congressional letter ask Secretary Pompeo to make sure that no American-made bulldozers were used to smash those Jewish homes?

There are two possible answers.

One would be that those members of Congress are a bunch of racists who care only about the demolition of homes owned by one ethnic group and don’t care about the ones owned by another ethnic group.

But I don’t believe that. I believe that the signatories, except for a few die-hard Israel-haters such as Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, are simply unaware of the reality on the ground in Judea and Samaria. They are unaware because J Street misled them. J Street led them to think that the Israeli government has a racist policy of targeting Arab houses.Comment:

The Israeli government demolishes with equal firmness both Arab and Jewish houses that have been built illegally, or that for security reasons needs to be demolished. Some Arab homes have been built on state or waste land the Palestinians did not own. In other cases, demolitions may be carried out to enforce building codes and regulations that have been repeatedly flouted. The IDF also carries out house demolitions as a counter-insurgency measure to impede or halt militant operations. An Arab house may have been strategically built just above an Israeli settlement, from where those in the house could do the most damage to Jewish civilians living below. That could be grounds for its demolition.

House demolitions are also carried out to discourage terrorism. The demolition of houses belonging to the families of convicted terrorists is used both to punish terrorists and to deter future would-be terrorists, who might not want their families to suffer. As a policy, it seems to have worked, in significantly decreasing Palestinian terrorist attacks.

If J Street had fully informed these 60 Congresspeople about the situation, then the entire premise of the anti-Israel letter would have collapsed.

Racism has no place on Capitol Hill. There should be no discrimination between houses owned by Arabs or Jews, whites or blacks, or any other racial or ethnic groups.

J Street, the so-called “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby, should be ashamed of itself.

In 2005, the Israeli government demolished many houses of Israeli settlers who were transferred in accordance with the Israeli disengagement from Gaza. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said this was done by request of the Palestinian Authorities.

In addition to removing all traces of the Israeli settlements in Gaza, as demanded by the Palestinians, who might have used for their own purposes both the residential housing and the greenhouses left intact by Israelis, were they not so consumed with hate, Israel has routinely demolished “illegal” buildings put up by settlers in the West Bank — that is, “illegal” because their builders had failed to obtain permission from the Israeli state. Sometimes entire outposts have been demolished, if the Israeli government determines they were built “illegally.” Yet very little attention is given to these Israeli actions in the world media, for it would not do to deflect attention from what so many see as the only outrage, that committed by those oppressive Israelis, in destroying structures put up by the inoffensive Palestinians.

When Israel tears down “illegal” buildings or settlements put up by Jews, it does so either because the land on which the settlement was built turns out, according to scrupulous investigation by the Israeli officials, to be owned by Palestinians, or it is state land on which the Israeli government had refused to give permission for Jews to build. It may, for security reasons, want to prevent new Israeli settlements to be built too perilously close to Arab villages – given the enormous effort that might be necessary to defend their inhabitants in case of hostilities. Some settlements or outposts may actually weaken the state if they are likely to prove hellishly difficult to defend.

The government of Israel has not hesitated to remove settlers, and demolish their settlements if, after judicial decisions and appeals that go all the way up to the Supreme Court, they are given the go-ahead. Israeli decisions to demolish Arab structures are also subject to the same judgements and appeals.

In February 2017, Israeli forces began an operation to evacuate settlers from the West Bank outpost of Amona after the Supreme Court stated that it must be demolished by 8 February. According to the Supreme Court the outpost had been built on private Palestinian land settlers claimed they had bought; the land had been declared a “closed military area” by the government.

At Amona, it took thousands of Border Police to subdue a crowd of 10,000, who had come from all over Israel to protest the decision. But the sight of Israeli police violently subduing fellow Jews who were protesting the demolishment of Jewish homes did not make it to Western media; it didn’t fit the story that the media likes to present of ruthless Israelis demolishing, for no conceivable reason, Arab houses.

Perhaps some of those 60 Democratic Congressmen will take the time to find out more about the reasons for Israel’s demolishment of Jewish settlers’ houses, demolishments about which they appear not to have heard, which might provide them with a more nuanced view of the matter. And then they should have the decency to listen to the Israeli government’s explanation of the reasons for its demolition of a handful of Arab homes – an infinitesimal number, though you wouldn’t think so from the mainstream media reports — including gross violations of building codes, and erecting structures — without permission — on state and waste lands. Finally, the Congressmen should understand that demolishing the family homes of terrorists in order both to punish them and to discourage other would-be terrorists, does, in fact, work. It took the Israelis quite a while to fully comprehend, but now they do. They know that given their merciless and relentless enemy, there is no point in gentle persuasion or observing Marquess of Queensberry rules. This is the Middle East.

COLUMN BY

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Bernie Sanders On “That Right Wing” and “Racist” Israeli Government by Hugh Fitzgerald

At a town hall meeting in Nevada on February 18, Bernie Sanders delivered himself of some thoughts on what he described as Israel’s “right-wing” and “racist” government.

A report on that latest effort is here:

Senator Bernie Sanders says the United States must be “pro-Palestinian” as much as “pro-Israeli” and described the Israeli government as “right-wing” and “racist.”

Speaking during a televised town hall meeting in Nevada on Tuesday, the Democratic frontrunner for the US presidency said: “To be for the Israeli people and to be for peace in the Middle East does not mean that we have to support right-wing, racist governments that currently exist in Israel.”

But the American government has been “pro-Palestinian” for years; it has contributed billions in aid to the Palestinians, only to see much of that aid stolen by the leaders of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. It only stopped contributing to the Palestinians, and to UNRWA, when the Palestinians refused to end their “Pay-For-Slay” program, by which hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to the families of imprisoned or dead terrorists. And the U.S. also objected to UNRWA’s insistence that the descendants of the Palestinians who originally left Mandatory Palestine, and then Israel in the period 1947-1949, were also “refugees” and deserve international aid. Among the hundreds of millions of refugees since the beginning of World War II, only the Palestinians have been allowed to consider their refugee status as something that can be passed down through the generations.

The American government also objected to the extraordinary corruption and theft, whereby just two leaders of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal and Mousa Abu Marzouk, managed to make off with at least $2.5 billion apiece from the Hamas treasury, while some 600 lesser figures in Hamas, living in Gaza, became millionaires living in seaside villas. Yasser Arafat, of the PLO, managed to amass – according to American sources – between one and three billion dollars. The President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas and his sons Tareq and Yasser, have amassed a fortune of $400 million. Hanan Ashrawi, one of Abbas’s advisors, has a net worth of $46 million. Lesser figures in the P.A. have had to make do with tens of millions, or sometimes even millions. Still, for Palestinian leaders, it beats working.

Sanders apparently thinks the Likud is “right-wing” — one of his two favorite epithets for Israel — even though the party supports a welfare state that, in American terms, would be considered to be on the left. He fails to understand, too, that there is a nearly universal consensus among Israeli Jews that the country was right to annex the Golan for defensive purposes, and is justified in claiming an undivided Jerusalem as its capital. Israelis know, too, that control of the Jordan Valley is indispensable to the country’s defense against an invasion from the east, and that 460,000 Jews living in towns in the West Bank have a perfect right to be there, according to the Mandate for Palestine, which assigned to the future Jewish National Home all the territory from the Jordan River to the sea. Sanders has never given any sign that he has read, much less understood, the Mandate for Palestine, has never acknowledged the continuing relevance of that Mandate for the recognition of Israel’s rights today. He clearly has not read Article 80 of the U.N. Charter — known as the “Jewish People’s article” – by which the U.N accepted its responsibility to put into effect the Palestine Mandate’s provisions. Finally, Sanders has never mentioned U.N. Resolution 242, which established a second, independent justification for Israel holding onto those territories it won in the Six-Day War that Israel required for “secure and recognized boundaries.” Could it be that he doesn’t think the Mandate for Palestine, Article 80 of the U.N. Charter, and U.N. Resolution 242, don’t matter? How could he be so misinformed? Well, just look around at the political and media elites here and in Europe that appear, precisely, to ignore the Mandate, Article 80, and Resolution 242. Don’t confuse them with facts. Just repeat endlessly, with them, that Israel “must withdraw from occupied territories” to something close to the “1949 borders” (in truth, there were no borders established, only armistice lines, on the demand of the Arab states themselves), in order to bring about the “two-state solution.”

As for Sanders’ charge that the current Israeli government is “racist,” what is he talking about? Arab citizens of Israel have full equality with Jewish Israelis. They are members of the Knesset; they serve on the Supreme Court; they are high-ranking diplomats. They enjoy all the rights – freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, that other Israelis possess. The only difference is that they are not required to serve in the military, although they may volunteer to do so; there are now Arab and Druze officers in the I.D.F. There is hideous “racism” in the Middle East, but it is found among, and promoted by, the Muslim Arabs, not the Jews. The Muslims, after all, know from the Qur’an that they are the “best of peoples”(3:110) while the Jews, and other Infidels, are the “most vile of created beings.” (98:6).

The Qur’an contains many antisemitic verses, which have been usefully compiled by Robert Spencer: “The Qur’an depicts the Jews as inveterately evil and bent on destroying the wellbeing of the Muslims. They are the strongest of all people in enmity toward the Muslims (5:82); as fabricating things and falsely ascribing them to Allah (2:79; 3:75, 3:181); claiming that Allah’s power is limited (5:64); loving to listen to lies (5:41); disobeying Allah and never observing his commands (5:13); disputing and quarreling (2:247); hiding the truth and misleading people (3:78); staging rebellion against the prophets and rejecting their guidance (2:55); being hypocritical (2:14, 2:44); giving preference to their own interests over the teachings of Muhammad (2:87); wishing evil for people and trying to mislead them (2:109); feeling pain when others are happy or fortunate (3:120); being arrogant about their being Allah’s beloved people (5:18); devouring people’s wealth by subterfuge (4:161); slandering the true religion and being cursed by Allah (4:46); killing the prophets (2:61); being merciless and heartless (2:74); never keeping their promises or fulfilling their words (2:100); being unrestrained in committing sins (5:79); being cowardly (59:13-14); being miserly (4:53); being transformed into apes and pigs for breaking the Sabbath (2:63-65; 5:59-60; 7:166); and more.”

Bernie Sanders has never uttered a word about Muslim antisemitism. Is he afraid to confront the subject? Does he think it will go away if he refuses to discuss it? Has he not noticed the rise in antisemitism in Europe, largely attributable to the influx of millions of Muslims who bring with them, undeclared in their mental baggage, a deep and visceral hatred for Jews? Could it really be that he remains unaware of Muslim antisemitism? He never mentions the Palestinian (and other Arab) schoolbooks that drip with antisemitic venom, nor does he discuss those Palestinian children’s programs where sweet-faced Palestinian children, still in elementary school, chant their hatred for, and desire to kill, all Jews. Why not? Is it ignorance, or a desire by Bernie Sanders to protect the image of the Palestinians?

Sanders also spoke [at the town hall in Nevada] about the humanitarian crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip, where the youth unemployment rate is about 70 percent.

“Take a look at what’s going on in Gaza right now. You got youth unemployment, 70 percent, you know people can’t even leave the area,” he said.

Youth unemployment in Gaza is high for several reasons.

Mainly, there is the colossal corruption and mismanagement of the economy. Grasping Hamas leaders have been fixated on stealing money for themselves, money that was meant to improve the lives of all the Palestinians. A total of at least ten billion dollars has gone into the pockets of the late Yasser Arafat, Hamas leaders Khaled Meshaal, Mousa Abu Marzouk, Ismail Haniyeh, and 600 other second-tier leaders of Hamas, and in the P.A. gone to President Mahmoud Abbas and his two sons, Hanan Ashrawi, Saeb Erekat and others high up in the Palestinian Authority.

That money could have gone to vocational and professional training for young Gazans. It could have been used as seed money, too, to help the Gazans set up small businesses, or to invest in those that already exist but are starved for capital, so that they might expand. That would make a considerable dent in the numbers of those young Gaza’s who are currently unemployed. Sanders notes the 70% youth unemployment rate in Gaza, but has nothing to say about the reasons – which have to do with the grand theft by Hamas rulers uninterested in the plight of the people they presume to represent, as long as they and their families get theirs. The Hamas rulers have little ability to analyze and ameliorate the Strip’s economic problems. Government posts are distributed not to those who are the most capable economists and administrators, but to those whose loyalty to the leaders is assured. No wonder the Gazans have lost hope that their own Hamas-run government will help them.

Much of the aid money, too, both in Gaza and the West Bank, has gone into paying for weaponry of all kinds, and for the building of expensive terror tunnels. Those tunnels running from Gaza into Israel were built by Hamas, while those running from Lebanon into northern Israel were built by Hezbollah. These were enormously expensive to build and outfit with living quarters. All these terror tunnels have been located, and blown up, by the Israelis. A terrific waste of money that could have been used to build the Palestinian economy. Israel has tried to help the Palestinians — it left hundreds of greenhouses intact for the Palestinians of Gaza to take over once the Israelis left in 2005 — but the Gazans chose instead to destroy the greenhouses, stripping them of anything of value.

Bernie Sanders knows that the economy in Gaza is wretched, but does not see that wretchedness as the result of many bad decisions by the Palestinians themselves. It was a bad decision for Gazans ever to have allowed Hamas to be voted into power. This allowed the stupendous thefts by the new rulers, nearly seven billion dollars in aid money that was siphoned off for private gain by leaders of Hamas. In the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority, rulers also helped themselves to a total of several billion — they weren’t quite as adept as Hamas leaders at diverting aid money to themselves. It was a bad decision to spend so much of what aid money remained on arms, including rockets, and terror tunnels. Sanders should publicly recognize that the economic mess in Gaza is not the fault of Israel, but of the choices the Palestinians themselves have made.

If Hamas would stop firing its rockets into Israel, the Israelis have indicated they would lessen restrictions on the movement of Gazan workers into Israel, where even now tens of thousands of jobs in construction and agriculture remain to be filled. The Israelis are even more keen than Bernie Sanders is to relieve unemployment among Gazan youth, because they know that many of those unemployed young men listen to the siren songs of terrorist recruiters, and furnish the cannon fodder for terror attacks on Jewish civilians.

What American foreign policy has got to be about in the Middle East is bringing the Israelis, bringing the Palestinians together under the banner of justice.”

Sanders said: “It cannot just simply be that we’re just pro-Israel and we ignore the needs of the Palestinian people.”

The American government, Sanders needs to be reminded, has not been “just pro-Israel.” It was not “just pro-Israel” when, in 1956, President Eisenhower threatened to cut aid if Israeli troops did not withdraw from the Sinai. It was not “just pro-Israel” – in fact, was distinctly anti-Israel – when President Carter and National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski praised Sadat to the skies and exhibited a visceral dislike of Prime Minister Begin during the negotiations over the Camp David Accords; Carter always supported Sadat’s demands and belittled Begin’s attempts to explain Israel’s security needs; the result was the Camp David Accords, with Sadat – who was the one getting back all of the Sinai, territory Egypt had lost in its 1967 war of aggression – being heralded as a veritable Prince of Peace. Meanwhile, poor Begin, who was the one giving up “land for peace,” that is, tangible assets in exchange for a promise of peace, from Muslims who regard Muhammad’s Treaty of Al-Hudaibiyya, and subsequent breach of that treaty concluded with the Meccans in 628 A.D., as the model for all subsequent treaty-making, was depicted by Carter, Brzezinski, and much of the mainstream press as being “unreasonable” in his own modest demands, none of which were met. Nor was America “just pro-Israel” when Barack Obama was president. He repeatedly demonstrated his palpable want of sympathy for the Jewish state, especially when, at the U.N.’s Security Council, the American ambassador, Samantha Power, abstained for the first time, instead of voting against, a resolution calling Israeli settlements “illegal.”

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Helping Protect Itself Against Iran, Israel Helps Protect Many Others by Hugh Fitzgerald

Not long before tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran reached an unprecedented high point, with the possibility looming of a war that could engulf many other countries besides those two, Israel located a secret Iranian site in Beirut, right near the airport, in the midst of a heavily-populated area (surrounded by thousands of civilians, as a way to discourage Israeli air attacks). The site, according to Prime Minister Netanyahu, holds radioactive material and missiles. The Israelis, after all, have been running circles around the Iranians for years. They assassinated, one after the other, four key Iranian nuclear scientists right in the middle of Tehran. They concocted the fiendishly brilliant Stuxnet worm, the first computer program that caused real-world damage, for it sent messages to the computers it infected, the computers that were regulating Iran’s centrifuges, causing those computers to send messages that made the centrifuges speed up and destroy themselves and even damage other centrifuges. At the same time, other messages were sent back that the computer program was working perfectly.

The Israelis have destroyed, in Syria, hundreds of Iranian missiles, and have kept up the bombing of Iranian bases in Syria, and of Iranian soldiers on Syrian bases, preventing any kind of permanent Iranian outpost to be established. Some time ago Israeli agents carried out a night-time raid in a nondescript commercial district in Tehran, lasting six hours and 29 minutes, bringing away 50,000 pages of documents, and countless discs, which constituted the most important part of Iran’s secret nuclear archive, proving to the world that Iran had never abandoned its nuclear project, and had gotten much farther with it than the world previously believed.

In locating the site in Beirut, Israel again did not just itself but the entire Western world a great service. For the missiles whose guidance systems Iran is improving for Hezbollah, and the nuclear material that Iran is storing in Beirut, to be someday used either by its forces or possibly by Hezbollah, are not a threat only to Israel. Iran has designs on Yemen, as its proxy war against Saudi Arabia, that has already lasted several years, demonstrates. Iran would love to project and solidify Shi’a power in Yemen, right on the Arabian Sea, and to be able to threaten Saudi Arabia from the south, made easier by the porous border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Iran has a desire, too, to deal a direct blow to Saudi Arabia itself, as the richest and most powerful Sunni state, whose clerics talk of the Shi’a as if they were Infidels. That could mean supporting the discontented Shi’a in Saudi Arabia, some 15% of the population, almost all of whom are located in the Eastern Province, where the major oilfields are to be found. Iran also wants to take revenge on the United Arab Emirates, for helping to fight the Shi’a Houthis  in Yemen and, Iran now suspects, helping Arab separatists in Khuzestan, in southern Iran. Of course, Iran always proclaims as its chief enemy, more so even than Israel, the Great Satan, America. All of these countries have reason to be grateful to Israel for slowing down, for several years, Iran’s nuclear project. Stuxnet alone, a computer worm which destroyed 1,000 centrifuges at the Natanz Enrichment Plant, set back Iran’s nuclear project, according to the German scientist Ralph Langer, by as much as two years.

These acts of derring-do did not end there. Israeli agents managed to locate in a dusty part of Tehran the top secret Iranian nuclear archive, to break in, to blowtorch open the many steel doors, to go through the archives and select the huge amounts of material that they then spirited out of Iran to Israel. This archive offered proof to the world that the Iranians had continued to work on their nuclear project after they had supposedly stopped, and that they had gotten much farther along than anyone suspected.

During the last few years, the Iranians have tried to establish their own bases in Syria, and from there hoped both to threaten Israel from closer up than from Iran itself, and to supply Hezbollah with more advanced weapons. But no matter where they put those bases in Syria, and even when the Iranians tried to conceal themselves inside  Syrian bases, Israeli planes have always managed to find and to bomb them. And the Israelis have been staggeringly successful at interdicting Iranian weapons shipments meant for Hezbollah.

And now Israel has uncovered, and shown to the world, a secret Iranian facility near the airport in Beirut, which contains fissile material and machines to manufacture precision-guided missiles. At this point, the Iranians may wonder: do we empty the facility of its contents, or will Israel, with its uncanny spying ability, including eye-in-the-sky drones, be able to see everything that comes out of that building and where it is taken? And if, and when, these machines and that material are taken out of the facility, and are in the open, will it not be easier for Israel to bomb both? Perhaps, by making public its knowledge of this facility, the Israelis are hoping to lure the Iranians into doing just that. It is hard for the Iranians, who have so often been outsmarted by the Israelis, to know what to do. What can Israeli spy drones and spy planes and spy satellites and human spies, find out? Do the Iranians try to smuggle the material and machines out, or do they keep everything as it is, but move even more civilians into close proximity to the building, in the hope that this civilian presence will dissuade Israel from attacking it?

As the Iranians have discovered, to their great displeasure, wherever or whomever or whatever they try to hide from Israel, the Israelis always find them out. The Israelis identified, and then assassinated, four of Iran’s top nuclear scientists; they found, and sabotaged, the computers that controlled the centrifuges at Natanz, they found the secret nuclear archives in Tehran and spirited them away, they found and bombed Iranian bases in Syria, and they found, and showed to the world, the once-secret Iranian facility in Beirut. Iran’s rulers are surely in a quandary.

All of this limits Iran’s aggressive plans. Israel has accomplished these feats in order, of course, to protect itself. But the rest of the West, and some Arab states, too, should recognize that they also benefit from these fantastic acts of human and technological derring-do. Some, at least, from agents in Langley to princes in Riyadh, know enough to be grateful. And so should we.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Where Things Stand by Hugh Fitzgerald

More than 14 years have passed since Americans have had their attention forcefully fixed on the reality of Islamic terrorism. Until September 11, 2001, with the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, most people in America — and in Europe — could be forgiven for assuming that they would not become the targets of Arab – and Muslim – terror attacks. That was something for Israelis to worry about. And if they had not been guilty of what the Arabs saw as “occupation of Arab lands” (for decades the mantra justifying terrorist attacks on Israel), why should they be targeted?

That comforting assumption evanesced in the face of more attacks by Muslims on targets all over Europe: in Amsterdam, Theo van Gogh was killed for the crime of making Submission, a movie about Muslim women. In 2004 in Madrid, at Atocha Station, in the same year, Muslim bombs claimed Spanish victims, though Spain’s government had taken a largely pro-Arab line; in London, in 2005, innocents on both busses and the Underground were the victims of Muslim attacks, apparently because British troops were in Iraq and Afghanistan. In France, there have been murderous attacks on French Jews, not Israelis, including the attack on the Hyper Cacher, a kosher market. And there have been attacks on cartoonists, of various nationalities, who dared to mock Muhammad – the Charlie Hebdo staff in Paris was massacred, and in Denmark attempts – fortunately unsuccessful — were made on the life of Lars Vilks. In both cases the putative crime was “blasphemy.”

Not everyone was prepared to surrender: in the United States, Pamela Geller helped to organize a Draw-Muhammad contest in Texas, and for her pains now finds it necessary to be accompanied at all times by security guards. Indeed, one could fill up pages merely listing Muslim attacks either planned or carried out within Europe and North America; still other pages would be needed to list all the Muslim attacks on non-Muslim targets in such varied places as Mumbai, Beijing, and Bali. Clearly something larger than that Arab anger over Israeli “occupation” explains these worldwide attacks.

As more and more people in the West are beginning to realize, the “root cause” of all this violence by Muslims against non-Muslims is to be sought not in a local grievance, but in the ideology of Islam itself. The personal testimony of ex-Muslims such as Ibn Warraq and Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Ali Sina and Wafa Sultan, the analyses provided by Western students of Islam such as Robert Spencer and Bat Ye’or, have had their slow and steady effect. This small army of truth-tellers dissects the contents of the Qur’an and Sunnah (which consists, in written form, of both the Hadith and Sira), and for this have been described as “bigots,” but it becomes harder and harder to ignore or refute their evidence.

Among the learned analysts determined not to listen either to the apostates or to such people as Spencer, one comes immediately to mind. John Esposito, who created the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, associated with Georgetown, can be counted on to ignore the contents of Islam and to serve as an apologist. Alwaleed bin Talal, a Saudi prince, is now that Center’s main funder, and the Center itself was renamed the Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. Esposito has a long record of managing to find ways to ignore or dismiss the textual evidence that Spencer, Ibn Warraq, and others adduce from Qur’an and Hadith.

But money alone does not explain why so many people in the West have been so ready to ignore the evidence of Muslim malevolence, of widespread support for violent Jihad. Many In the West simply don’t want to see what is staring them in the face. For if Islam really does inculcate permanent hostility toward Infidels, what, then, is to be done about the tens of millions of Muslims already ensconced in Western lands? Could it really be that, as suggested by some, the adherents of Islam see the world as uncompromisingly divided between Dar al-Islam, the lands where Islam dominates and Muslims rule, and Dar al-Harb, the Domain of War, that part of the world which has not yet come under the sway of Islam and rule by Muslims? Could it really be that it is incumbent upon Muslims to wage Jihad, that is, the “struggle” to ensure that the whole world ultimately comes under the sway of Islam, so that Muslims rule everywhere? Even if that goal sounds fantastic to Infidels, there are enough Muslims, it seems, among the more than 1.2 billion in the world, who apparently do not agree, and are willing to keep trying. And the more their numbers increase inside Dar al-Harb, the greater the threat they pose.

Could it really be, after all, that Israel was only one target of Muslim aggression among many, in a much larger war, first to regain all the territories once in Muslim possession (Israel, Spain, the Balkans, Sicily) and then, after those re-conquests, to fulfill the duty to work to spread Islam until it everywhere dominated? And why did this explosion of violence begin not 50 or 100 years ago, but just in the last two decades?

A Saudi cleric, Dr. Nasser bin Suleiman Al-‘Omar, noted on Al-Jazeera TV on April 19, 2006:

The Islamic nation now faces a great phase of Jihad, unlike anything we knew fifty years ago. Fifty years ago, Jihad was attributed only to a few individuals in Palestine, and in some other Muslim areas.

How do things stand now, in 2015? The doctrine of Jihad wasn’t suddenly invented in the past fifty years. It’s been the same, more or less, for 1350 years. It had fallen into desuetude when Muslims felt themselves to be weak, but did not, and could not, disappear. What happened to make things so very different in recent decades? Some might point to the end of “colonialism.” They might note, for example, that the French, after forty years in Morocco and Tunisia, had withdrawn from both by the mid-1950s, and from Algeria in 1962. They might note that the British garrisons in Aden and elsewhere along the Persian Gulf had been withdrawn, largely for financial reasons, and that Saudi Arabia itself had never been subject to colonial rule. They might note the withdrawal of the British from India, and the creation of an Islam-centered state, in what was then West Pakistan (now Pakistan) and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). The Dutch abandoned their rule over Muslims in the East Indies (what is now Indonesia). But the end of colonial rule over Muslim peoples, more than a half-century ago, is not enough to explain the current violence and threats by Muslims worldwide.

Three developments explain the explosion of Islamic aggression in the last two decades, developments which permitted the Jihad to widen in scope and no longer be merely a small-scale Lesser Jihad against Israel:

1) First, there is the money weapon provided by the OPEC oil bonanza. Inshallah-fatalism and hatred of innovation (bida)—both tend to hinder economic development in Arab and Muslim countries. You are likely to put in less effort if, in the end, Allah decides the outcome. And Muslim distrust of innovation dampens the desire of individuals to jettison age-old methods and to introduce new ways of manufacturing and distribution. Muslim Arabs have acquired fantastic sums, nonetheless, because such acquisition required no effort on their part – it merely reflects an accident of geology. Since 1973, Arab and other Muslim-dominated oil states have received close to 25 trillion dollars from the sale of oil and gas to oil-consuming nations. This constitutes the greatest transfer of wealth in human history. The Muslim recipients did nothing to deserve this. Many interpreted the oil bonanza as a deliberate sign of Allah’s beneficence, inshallah-fatalism in their favor. That money did not just save them from poverty, but made many of them fabulously wealthy. And the higher prices that the OPEC cartel for a while managed to exact could even be interpreted as a kind of Jizyah, exacted from the Infidels.

What have the Arabs done with that twenty-five trillion dollars in OPEC money that they received over the past one-third century? They did not create paradises of artistic and scientific creation. Their peoples continue to rely on armies of wage-slaves to do the real work; in Qatar, for example, one-tenth of the population, the native Qataris, are serviced by foreign workers, Arab and non-Arab, who make up the remaining nine-tenths. Arab oil states have bought hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of Western arms. And this has created a network of middlemen, bribes-givers and bribes-takers, and Western hirelings involved not only in arms sales, but also in the business of supplying other goods and services to these suddenly rich oil states. And these people not unnaturally find ways to explain away or divert attention from the less pleasant aspects of the countries with which they are involved. Saudi Arabia, for example, has long enjoyed the support of powerful Western business interests for whom Saudi Arabia is a major client; these interests have a stake in continued good relations and are not about to let unpleasant truths (such as the hatred of Infidels found in Saudi schoolbooks) get too much attention. Thus has the oil money become the fabled “wealth” weapon of the Jihad, by which boycotts, and bribery, and the dangling of profitable contracts, contributed to creating a vast and loyal constituency among some influential and meretricious people in the capitals of the West.

How else have the Arabs spent that oil money? As mentioned above, on wage-slaves, those foreigners who, in Saudi or Qatar or the Emirates, arrive to do all the work. On palaces for the corrupt ruling families and their corrupt courtiers. On foreign real estate at the highest end, and luxury goods. It’s not only the ruling families who help themselves to the oil wealth – there’s so much to go around. Play your cards right and you could share that wealth, even if you are not a prince, princeling, or princelette of the Al-Saud family, but merely a lowly commoner. The original Bin Laden, founder of the clan, arrived in Saudi from Yemen, became a successful contractor, even won contracts for building in Mecca, and become fabulously rich. Courtiers such as the commoner Adnan Khashoggi began as a middleman in arms deals and made a fortune. Many started out as such fixers and middlemen in the Arab Gulf states and Saudi Arabia, and then metamorphosed into legitimate businessmen.

This creates a class of people who profit from, and support the regime. In the same way, the rich Arabs have created a lobby of Westerners, who divert attention from Islam’s tenets and teachings. The highly profitable contracts that have been given to Western businessmen for the construction of office parks, hospitals, apartment complexes, military cities have created a natural lobby in the West for Arabs and Muslims, consisting not only of those who receive such contracts, but also of others, including Western public relations experts, former government officials, journalists, academics, whose services are made available to the rich Arabs in presenting their case. Such institutions as the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, or, again, John Esposito’s Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, both in Washington and in England, such as the Arab Studies programs at Durham and Exeter and many departments of Islamic studies or Middle Eastern history, have been staffed by apologists for Islam. Columbia University offers a particularly egregious example.

Another product of the “wealth” Jihad are the thousands of mosques that Arab oil money pays for, in London and Rome and Paris, as in Niger and Pakistan and Indonesia. Much of that money comes from Saudi Arabia, whose clerics make sure that the mosques that are built, or that receive Saudi support, preach the stern Wahhabi version of Islam. It is the same for madrasas that receive Saudi subventions. And campaigns of Da’wa (the Call to Islam, particularly effective in Western prisons), too, often receive OPEC money.

2) The second development, observable at the same time as the oil money really began to flow into the countries of Western Europe, was demographic: millions of Muslim migrants have over the past four decades been allowed to enter Western Europe. These were mainly Pakistanis in England, Turks in Germany, Algerians in France, Moroccans in Spain, Indonesians in Holland, and in every country, assorted mix-‘n-match Muslims from all of these and still other places. They brought their wives; their families always became much larger than those of the non-Muslim natives. These Muslims could now enjoy Western medicine (lower rates of infant mortality), Western education, Western housing — free or greatly subsidized.

What Muslims brought undeclared in their mental baggage to the West –Islam itself — was not held up for close examination. And it was taken as an article of faith that nothing seriously prevented Muslims from integrating with the same ease as non-Muslim immigrants. Those who expressed doubts about this, who suggested that there might be special problems with Muslim immigrants — and these skeptics included both some who had been raised as Muslims (Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq) and non-Muslims (Bat Ye’or, Hans Jansen, Robert Spencer) who had studied Islam — were at first dismissed as bigots. But they could not be silenced. These informed commentators insisted that the belief-system of Islam, the system that suffuses the minds of Muslims wherever they are, has taught them to be hostile to Infidels, and should not be ignored. But many non-Muslims, at a loss as to what they might do with this knowledge, have willfully ignored Islamic doctrine. The notions that first, a Muslim’s true loyalty is to fellow members of theumma al-islamiyya, and second, that Jihad to spread Islam (so that ultimately Islam will everywhere dominate) is a duty incumbent on all Muslims, have not been taken seriously by those whose duty it is to protect and instruct us.

In recent years, an older generation of Western scholars of Islam and the Middle East has died or retired (one thinks of Bernard Lewis, A.K.S. Lambton, J. B. Kelly, Elie Kedourie, P. J. Vatikiotis); these people were critical both of Islam and of its apologists in the West. They have been replaced, in academic departments, by those who are often Muslims themselves or, if not Muslim, less critical, and more admiring of both. Their background and training were received from Arabists, and they were inclined to be apologists for Islam. Ibn Warraq once said that in his experience, many of those who choose to enter the fields of Islam and Middle Eastern history possess a pre-existing animus toward Jews, or toward the West itself, and are predisposed to find Islam attractive. He calls this “self-selection.” And then there is still sympathy for peoples from the “Third World” — never mind that Qataris, Kuwaitis, Saudis, Emiratis hardly qualify, given their fabulous unearned wealth.

The flow of Muslims into Europe has consisted mainly of Pakistanis to Great Britain, Moroccans and Turks to the Netherlands, Algerians and other maghrebins to France, Turks to Germany, Egyptians and Libyans to Italy. In 2015, they are now joined by Syrians (or “Syrians,” since many so identified in fact come from elsewhere), who are being admitted in huge numbers. They will swell Muslim millions already in the West. More than 800,000 of these “Syrians” are set to be received by Germany alone this year, thanks to Angela Merkel.

Demography is destiny. The greater the number of Muslims in Europe, the greater their political power becomes. Muslims have been attempting, unsurprisingly, to limit the ability of non-Muslims in Europe to enforce laws, or to enjoy freedoms, or to fashion foreign policies, to which Muslims might object. Think of the difficulties the French government still experiences in enforcing the no-hijab rule in state schools; think of the cartoonists in France and Denmark and elsewhere in Europe who now hold back on caricatures of Muhammad, fearful of meeting the same fate as theCharlie Hebdo staff. Jews in France are worried about their future; the spate of attacks by Muslims on Jews in France suggest they are right to worry. There has been a great increase in the numbers of French Jews going to Israel.

Meanwhile, Muslims continue to push for changes in the laic state. They still have not given up, for example, attempts to challenge the ban on the hijab in schools. And when cartoonists are killed for having “blasphemed” Muhammad, too many Muslims express not abhorrence but approval. Muslims recognize and are prepared to exploit the freedoms, political and civil, created by and for the Infidels, and are ready to exploit them to further their own, Muslim, ends.

For Western man, the legitimacy of any government depends on that government reflecting, however imperfectly, the will expressed by the people through elections. Islamic political theory is based on a very different idea: the legitimacy of government depends on the ruler being a Muslim, and the will to be expressed is that of Allah, as set down in written form in the Qur’an, and an additional fleshing-out of the Qur’an’s meaning comes through study of the Sunnah, that is, the practices of the earliest Muslims, derived from the Hadith and Sira, which become a kind of gloss on the Qur’an.

Western man exalts the individual; in Islam, it is the collective, the community of Believers. And the true object of worship in Islam turns out to be Islam itself; it is Islam itself that Believers must protect from attack. Morality in Islam is determined by what Muhammad said or did; he remains the Model of Conduct, the Perfect Man, and for all time. Those who assume that the millions of Muslims who have been allowed into Europe and North America are going to “integrate” into non-Muslim societies, societies with manmade laws quite different from the Sharia, without difficulty, fail to recognize that this would mean jettisoning much of Islam. It could require seeing Muhammad in a critical light, and doing away with Muslim supremacism. Is this conceivable? And it should not be forgotten that Muslims have a duty to conduct Da’wa, the Call to Islam, to promote Islam as the Truth.

3) The OPEC trillions from oil, and the Muslim migrant millions in the West, are two of the three significant developments that explain Muslim power today. The third development consists of the appropriation and effective use, by Muslims, of technological advances originating in the Western world, and therefore made by Infidels, that made it much easier to disseminate the Call to Islam to Infidels, and the full message of Islam to Believers worldwide, to spread the message of the most austere and implacable kind of Islam — Wahhabism — and even to recruit for Al Qaeda and ISIS (who would have thought that decapitation videos could serve as recruitment tools for those luring others to actively participate in violent Jihad?).

Without audiocassettes, without those taped sermons urging violence, Khomeini might never have been able to whip up, from his distant exile in Neauphle-le-Chateau in France, so many hundreds of thousands of fanatical followers in Iran. Without videocassettes, and satellite television channels and the Internet, it would have been much harder to spread Islamic propaganda, including that put out by Al Qaeda and ISIS. Decades ago, simple pious Muslims could conduct their lives without being whipped up to violent Jihad, aware that they needed to fulfill their five canonical daily prayers, but only vaguely aware of the duty to take part in Jihad. Thanks to the Internet, they are now much more aware of the extent of their duties as Muslims.

In summary: it is these three developments — first, the OPEC trillions, that have given the Arabs such wealth to influence everything from U.N. votes to Western economic interests; second, the Muslim migrant millions in the West who have become, in 2015, many millions; and third, the appropriation of Western technological advances to spread the message of Islam — that help explain the reappearance of Islam as a fighting faith that everywhere threatens non-Muslims. Muslims who just a century ago were deploring Muslim weakness and Western strength are now able to deploy vast financial power and use it to increase their political clout and to obtain arms. Muslims by the many millions are now settled in Dar Al-Harb, behind what they regard as enemy lines.

What will happen now to the Arab use of the “wealth” weapon? Advances in renewable energy (e.g., in solar collectors and wind farms), and the growing recognition that the use of oil has to diminish if climate warming is to be slowed down, may lessen the amount of money that flows to Muslim oil states. But those states already have money stockpiled that they can still use to buy arms and influence. And as we have seen, the Muslim presence in Europe continues to increase, especially with the influx of “Syrians”; the geert-wilders and marine-le-pens bravely keep up their warnings about the Muslim invasion, but continue to go largely unheeded by the main parties. It’s still easy to affix the word “bigot.” Still, reports from Germany suggest that Merkel’s admitting so many “Syrians” is meeting with increasing opposition.

ISIS, the Islamic State, came into existence because Sunni Muslims in Iraq and Syria believed that their governments – Shi’a-dominated in Iraq, Alawite-dominated in Syria – scanted Sunni interests in the distribution of the national spoils. Those in the West who thought that ISIS was a fleeting phenomenon, that the Shia-dominated Iraqi government would retake Mosul, that ISIS could not possibly hold the territories it seized in such rapid fashion, or would not be able to run the territories it had conquered as a real state, when it has both held those territories and has begun to organize them and assume the responsibilities of rule, should recognize how formidable ISIS has become. Its appeal is wide, as the tens of thousands of recruits, including doctors and engineers, who have arrived from abroad testify.

No Western government has yet dared to broadcast any information about the connection between the political, economic, social, and intellectual failures of Muslim societies and Islam itself. Indeed, one discovers that even in the West, deep behind enemy lines, in Dar al-Harb, Muslims are watching not the regular Western channels, but insisting on getting their news — in Dearborn as in the East End of London, and in the banlieues of Paris and Lyon and Marseille — from Al-Jazeera (owned by Qatar), Al-Manar (run by Hezbollah), and other Arab stations. Willingly, many Arab Muslims in the West choose to limit themselves to stations spouting Arab Muslim propaganda, for only these stations are “telling the truth.” The ability to modify the views of Muslims enjoying life in the West, so that they will no longer pose a threat to the non-Muslim order, is limited.

Islam is naturally totalitarian — a total belief-system that leaves no area of life untouched. It offers a Compleat Regulation of Life and Total Explanation of the Universe. Over many centuries when Muslims had no technological advances to appropriate from the Western world, nor the wealth with which to exploit those advances (and thus lacking the ability to spread the full doctrines of Islam throughout both Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb), Muslims were able to conduct their lives without necessarily being fully aware of, much less always following, at every step, all the teachings of Islam. But today’s technology makes things different. The full undiluted message of Islam, now easily available to those who might once have been ignorant or even unobservant Muslims, is available. Muslims everywhere know that the full teachings of Qur’an and Hadith are a mere click away, and the Internet makes the same undiluted message available to Infidels who are suffering from various degrees of disaffection with the modern world, the West, Kapitalism, The System, Amerika, call it what you will, and who may find Islam attractive.

For we have seen that Islam is a mental system that appeals to those who prefer to have a life totally regulated from above. They find it perfectly acceptable to take as a model a seventh-century Arab, who may or may not have existed (that doesn’t matter, as long as Muslims believe he existed), described in the Qur’an as uswa hasana (the Model of Conduct), and elsewhere as al-insan al-kamil (the Perfect Man). For the socially and psychically marginal among Infidels, for those yearning to suppress their own individuality in a larger group, the umma al-islamiyaa(Community of Islam) provides an instant community. Islam is just the thing. Western man, who has come to prize skepticism and individualism, may not understand its attraction. The convert to Islam, in or out of prison, does not deplore, but welcomes, his own submission to Islamic authority, is glad to be supplied with answers as to the conduct of life based on passages in the Qur’an or stories in the Hadith, and finds soothing the notion that Allah Knows Best. It makes life simpler. In other words, Western governments should not underestimate the attraction of Islam to non-Muslims, nor assume that Muslims in the West will forget their duty to conduct Jihad.

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