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Sunday, November 29, 2009


Palestinian Media Watch

Israel poisoned Arafat
PA libel lives on
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

The PA has been disseminating the libel that Israel poisoned Yasser Arafat since Arafat's death five years ago. This accusation was reiterated this month at events commemorating the anniversary of his death.

At an official Fatah-PLO commemoration of the anniversary of Arafat's death, held in Beirut and broadcast live on PA TV, Fatah Central Committee member Sultan Abu Al-Einein said:

"They [Israelis] killed the Shahid (Martyr) Yasser Arafat by poisoning, under the pretext of [fighting] terror."

[PA TV (Fatah), Nov. 15, 2009]

To view Sultan Abu Al-Einein accusing Israel of poisoning Arafat, click here.

Earlier this year, MP and senior Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan also accused Israel of killing the former PA Chairman:

"I think that we're at the end of a process of abuse of the [Fatah] movement. Israel started it with the ruining of the Fatah movement and the ruining of the Palestinian Authority and its institutions, and the killing of Chairman Yasser Arafat."
[PA TV (Fatah), July 22, 2009]

To view Muhammad Dahlan charging Israel with killing Arafat, click here.

Earlier this week, PMW reported on another official PA commemoration of Arafat's death in Ramallah. It featured prerecorded hate messages from Palestinian children, including the repeated accusation that Israel poisoned Arafat.

To view PMW's bulletin on Palestinian children's hate speech, click here.

The following is the transcript of excerpts of the children's hate speech at the PA's official Arafat memorial:

Ceremony host: "Blessings to Yasser Arafat, and here are messages from the children of Palestine."

Boy: "I was very, very sad when Arafat died as a Shahid (Martyr), because he was a good man and he was a fighter. He did things through struggle, he participated in the struggle and did not make peace and so on. He wanted to fight."

Boy 2: "He [Arafat] stood up to all the enemies and was not afraid of anyone. And anyone who approached - he managed to stop him. All the Jews and the Israelis and the people who are against us, were afraid of him. When he died, he died of poisoning."

Girl wearing pendant in the shape of Israel: "I say that he died from poisoning by the Jews. That's what I say."

Boy 3: "Arafat used to say: "They want me dead, they want me prisoner, but I say to them: Martyr! Martyr! Martyr!"

Girl 2: "He [Arafat] was our former president. He was under siege in Ramallah, and when he was under siege we were very upset. The Jews poisoned him and I hate them very much. Allah will repay them what they deserve."

Boy 4: "He [Arafat] died from poisoning by the Jews. Well, I don't know what he died from, but I know it was by the Jews."

Boy 5: "They destroyed his whole house and he was left in one room and in the end the Jews poisoned him and blamed someone else."
[PA TV (Fatah), Nov. 10, 2009]

To view PMW's bulletin documenting five years of the ongoing libel that Israel murdered Arafat, click here.


USAID helping facilitate Palestinian terrorism

Israel Today Staff - Nov 19, 2009
Israel Today

Billions of dollars of US taxpayers' money have been used to advance the cause of Palestinian terror groups against Israel by raising a new generation of young Arabs ready to be recruited for "martyrdom."

In an interview with Arutz 7 Radio, journalist David Bedein said his recent investigations had revealed that Palestinian school textbooks continue to praise the use of terrorist violence against Jews and to deny the legitimacy of the State of Israel.

Those textbooks and the schoolhouses where they are used have been largely paid for by USAID, an American government-funded international aid program that has pumped $2.4 billion into the Palestinian Authority over the past decade.

According to USAID, those funds have been used to "reduce poverty, improve health and education, create jobs and advance democracy." But a USAID official admitted to Bedein that his agency does not check the PA school curriculum it is funding to make sure it complies with the terms of the US-backed peace process.

Incitement to hatred and the encouragement of violence in school textbooks is a violation of Israel's existing agreements with the Palestinians and the US-authored "Road Map" to peace.

Several high-ranking US congressional leaders as well as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have chided the Palestinians in the past over the venomous textbooks, but have thus far failed to take any punitive action, or to at least reduce pressure on Israel until the Palestinians comply with their peace commitments.

USAID says it plans to invest another $153 million in US taxpayers' money into the Palestinian education system in 2010.

Arab journalist: Khaled Abu Toameh

By David Suissa
The Jewish Journal

It’s not that I get tired of listening to Jewish speakers. More often than not, they motivate and inspire me. Whether I agree with them or not, there’s a familiarity, a connection. I learn from my people and I embrace their diversity.

But no matter how diverse, it’s still the same Jewish tent.

That’s why it was so fascinating the other night to listen to someone who describes himself as an Israeli-Arab-Muslim-Palestinian. His look, his dress, his accent and body language all felt different. His mother’s “large clan,” he said, lives in Ramallah, where he visits almost every day from his home in Jerusalem. I could easily imagine him drinking tea and eating hummus with them.

The man was Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, and he spoke at the home of Steve and Rita Emerson in Westwood.

Toameh has been reporting on Arab affairs for close to 30 years, for both Jewish and Arabic media. There’s a quiet nonchalance about him, an old-school Middle Eastern dignity. Even when he says something familiar, it sounds different coming from him.

Toameh is in the middle of a U.S. tour sponsored by StandWithUs and was in Los Angeles for their annual “Israel in Focus” weekend conference, which gathers student activists from around the world. Of course, he wouldn’t have been chosen if his views toward the Jewish state weren’t sympathetic.

But when Toameh spoke, what stood out was not that he is pro-Israel, but that he is pro-Palestine.

For example, he spoke about the virulent anti-Israel atmosphere he is seeing on U.S. college campuses, about which, he observed, “there is sometimes more sympathy for Hamas than I see in Ramallah.”

When he asked these students, “What makes you pro-Palestinian?” the answers were usually the same: “Israel is an apartheid state, Israel is a violent occupier, etc.”

“But that’s anti-Israel,” he challenged them. “That’s not pro-Palestine. I’m pro-Palestine. What makes you pro-Palestine?

“If you’re really pro-Palestine, come help us instead of just spewing poison about Israel. Come teach my people democracy. Instead of Israel Apartheid Week, why don’t you have Palestine Democracy Week?”

There was something authentic and disarming about him. His words didn’t smell like propaganda or activism. He spoke for moderate Palestinians like himself, and he spoke from his heart, not from talking points.

He brought up a private meeting he’d had with President Obama a couple of years ago, while Obama was still a U.S. senator. Toameh told Obama that the key obstacle to peace is the hatred and incitement to violence that prevails throughout Palestinian society — in schools, the media and mosques — and is endorsed by the Palestinian leadership.

Commenting on the charge of incitement, Obama asked: “Is it true?” and later asked: “What can we do about it?”

Toameh suggested that the United States and other donor countries should predicate aid to the Palestinians on their stopping the incitement, to which Obama responded, “Isn’t this political extortion?”

Toameh clearly thinks not. He thinks it is in the interest of the Palestinians to stop incitement, and he shared an Arab perspective on the subject.

“Look at the language that is now flying back and forth between Hamas and Fatah,” he said. “It’s the same poison you hear about the Jews: sons of pigs, infidels, etc. Incitement has spread and backfired on the Palestinians.”

This incitement has also hurt the Palestinians’ ability to make peace: “How do you tell people to make peace with the people you’ve called monsters and sons of pigs?”

Toameh sees no hope in the “top down” approach to peace. The soil is too rotten, he says. The Arab moderates have been undermined. “If I go to Ramallah and talk about Palestinian concessions on the right of return, I’ll get shot in five minutes.”

He says the Palestinians “already got their two-state solution — Gaza and the West Bank,” and if it weren’t for the Israeli presence in the West Bank, “Hamas would take over and Mahmoud Abbas would be lynched.”

But lest you think there was no ray of hope in this Arab gentleman, he closed by discussing the people who he believes hold the key to an eventual peace between Jews and Arabs.

The Arab citizens of Israel.

“They are the ones who can build a bridge between Jews and Arabs,” Toameh said. “They know what democracy is. They know about a free press and about freedom of religion. They know both sides.”

He acknowledged the many obstacles — mutual mistrust, dual loyalties, Muslim radicalization, etc. — but he says Israel has no choice. If it wants a peaceful future, it must do a better job of embracing its Arab citizens.

The fact that some of them are becoming more radical is an even bigger incentive to embrace the moderates and preempt further radicalization.

It’s true, he said, that Arabs have it better in Israel than anywhere else in the Middle East. But that’s not the point. Israel must see its Arab minority not as a threatening nuisance that must be tolerated and contained, but as potential allies who can eventually help bring peace to the Holy Land.

From your mouth to Allah’s ears, Mr. Toameh.

David Suissa is the founder of OLAM magazine. You can read his daily blog at suissablog.comand e-mail him at

Filed under Israel, Incitement, Arab - Israeli Relations, Anti-Israel, Palestinian, StandWithUs, Fatah, Advocacy Training on Wednesday, November 18, 2009



The Treasury guys must be panicking. They just issued $81 billion in new U.S. Treasury securities. Also, they just piled a record $25 billion more in 10-year notes onto the auction block in early November.

That’s on top of the record $123 billion in Treasury notes they just issued on October 27th.

Now why are they issuing all these Treasuries?

In a word, DEBT.

Geithner and his debt squad are now on the hook to pay for the $1.42 TRILLON budget deficit recorded on September 30th.

They’re also responsible for the $9.1 TRILLION deficit expected over the next decade.

Of course, that’s on top of the $12 TRILLION in public debt that we already owe. And the $11.9 TRILLION in outstanding Treasury securities that Uncle Sam still has to pay back investors.

It’s enough to make you want to gag.

How do you think they’re going to pay investors back for all those Treasuries?

They’ll ask their buddies at the Fed to print more dollars.

Or they’ll ask the Fed to buy those Treasuries outright, if they don’t sell. (The Fed has been doing this for quite some time by the way.)

How does the Fed have money to do this? They print more dollars… devaluing every single dollar in your bank account while they’re at it.
Do You Have $344,000 to Pay Uncle Sam? Well You Should.

You see most people have no idea what the U.S. government owes on “unfunded obligations”. That’s government-ese for entitlement programs like Medicare, Social Security, etc.

Right now, the total unfunded obligations sits at $106 Trillion dollars! That’s 780% MORE than the “national debt.”

Now, let’s do a little math…

If you charged Americans for the national debt, each citizen would have to shell out $38,940. If you just charged taxpayers, that tab would climb to $104,000 per person.

Our nation’s Total Assets now stand at $74 Trillion dollars, or $240,000 per citizen.

Now add in the “unfunded obligations” at $106 Trillion, and every citizen would have to shell out $344,000 to keep us afloat.

In other words…as a country, we are flat-broke!

By the way, if you don't believe me, you can go to the National Debt Clock website and see for yourself. But I warn you don’t go there if you have a weak stomach.

Now, the Reserve Bank of India may be one of the few central banks to publicly dis the dollar this year. But the world’s leaders have been doing that more and more lately.

Here’s a quick recap of what’s been happening this year…

* In March, China's central bank head Zhou Xiaochuan posted an essay on the web that displayed his discontent with the world’s reserve currency. “An international reserve currency should not be tied to the interests and economic conditions of any one country.”

* In July, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pulled out a sample coin for the new “united future world currency” from his pocket at the G-8 meeting, to show his support for a new reserve currency.

* In September, the UN wrote a report that called to replace the U.S. dollar with an artificial currency in global trading. They wrote, “Replacing the dollar with an artificial currency would solve some of the problems related to the potential of countries running large deficits and would help stability.”

* Just this week, World Bank President, Robert Zoellick said that with China’s growth trend, the Chinese yuan could develop as an alternative to the U.S. dollar as a global reserve currency in 15 years.

All these comments have helped push the dollar lower this year on various occasions.

Now it’s India’s turn to make a public announcement against the dollar.

Up until now, the India’s government has only been somewhat critical of the U.S. dollar. Then last week, India’s central bank decided to take this public step of announcing its purchase of gold for its reserve.

World Currency Watch
98 S.E. 6th Ave, Suite 2
Delray Beach, FL 33483
Phone: 1 800-682-1472
Fax: 561-272-5427


The Global Islamic population is approximately 1,200,000,000

ONE BILLION TWO HUNDRED MILLION or 20% of the world's population.

They have received the following Nobel Prizes:
> Literature:
> 1988 - Najib Mahfooz
> Peace:
> 1978 - Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat
> 1990 - Elias James Corey
> 1994 - Yaser Arafat:
> 1999 - Ahmed Zewai
> Economics:
> (zero)

> Physics:

> (zero)

> Medicine:

> 1960 - Peter Brian Medawar
> 1998 - Ferid Mourad

The Global Jewish population is approximately 14,000,000
Only FOURTEEN MILLION or about 0.02% of the world's population.

They have received the following Nobel Prizes:

> Literature:
> 1910 - Paul Heyse
> 1927 - Henri Bergson
> 1958 - Boris Pasternak
> 1966 - Shmuel Yosef Agnon
> 1966 - Nelly Sachs
> 1976 - Saul Bellow
> 1978 - Isaac Bashevis Singer
> 1981 - Elias Canetti
> 1987 - Joseph Brodsky
> 1991 - Nadine Gordimer World
> Peace:
> 1911 - Alfred Fried
> 1911 - Tobias Michael Carel Asser
> 1968 - Rene Cassin
> 1973 - Henry Kissinger
> 1978 - Menachem Begin
> 1986 - Elie Wiesel
> 1994 - Shimon Peres
> 1994 - Yitzhak Rabin
> Physics:
> 1905 - Adolph Von Baeyer
> 1906 - Henri Moissan
> 1907 - Albert Abraham Michelson
> 1908 - Gabriel Lippmann
> 1910 - Otto Wallach
> 1915 - Richard Willstaetter
> 1918 - Fritz Haber
> 1921 - Albert Einstein
> 1922 - Niels Bohr
> 1925 - James Franck
> 1925 - Gustav Hertz
> 1943 - Gustav Stern
> 1943 - George Charles de Hevesy
> 1944 - Isidor Issac Rabi
> 1952 - Felix Bloch
> 1954 - Max Born
> 1958 - Igor Tamm
> 1959 - Emilio Segre
> 1960 - Donald A. Glaser
> 1961 - Robert Hofstadter
> 1961 - Melvin Calvin
> 1962 - Lev Davidovich Landau
> 1962 - Max Ferdinand Perutz
> 1965 - Richard Phillips Feynman
> 1965 - Julian Schwinger
> 1969 - Murray Gell-Mann
> 1971 - Dennis Gabor
> 1972 - William Howard Stein
> 1973 - Brian David Josephson
> 1975 - Benjamin Mottleson
> 1976 - Burton Richter
> 1977 - Ilya Prigogine
> 1978 - Arno Allan Penzias
> 1978 - P eter L Kapitza
> 1979 - Stephen Weinberg
> 1979 - Sheldon Glashow
> 1979 - Herbert Charles Brown
> 1980 - Paul Berg
> 1980 - Walter Gilbert
> 1981 - Roald Hoffmann
> 1982 - Aaron Klug
> 1985 - Albert A. Hauptman
> 1985 - Jerome Karle
> 1986 - Dudley R. Herschbach
> 1988 - Robert Huber
> 1988 - Leon Lederman
> 1988 - Melvin Schwartz
> 1988 - Jack Steinberger
> 1989 - Sidney Altman
> 1990 - Jerome Friedman
> 1992 - Rudolph Marcus
> 1995 - Martin Perl
> 2000 - Alan J. Heeger
> Economics:
> 1970 - Paul Anthony Samuelson
> 1971 - Simon Kuznets
> 1972 - Kenneth Joseph Arrow
> 1975 - Leonid Kantorovich
> 1976 - Milton Friedman
> 1978 - Herbert A. Simon
> 1980 - Lawrence Robert Klein
> 1985 - Franco Modigliani
> 1987 - Robert M. Solow
> 1990 - Harry Markowitz
> 1990 - Merton Miller
> 1992 - Gary Becker
> 1993 - Robert Fogel
> Medicine:
> 1908 - Elie Metchnikoff
> 1908 - Paul Erlich
> 1914 - Robert Barany
> 1922 - Otto Meyerhof
> 1930 - Karl Landsteiner
> 1931 - Otto Warburg
> 1936 - Otto Loewi
> 1944 - Joseph Erlanger
> 1944 - Herb ert Spencer Gasser
> 1945 - Ernst Boris Chain
> 1946 - Hermann Joseph Muller
> 1950 - Tadeus Reichstein
> 1952 - Selman Abraham Waksman
> 1953 - Hans Krebs
> 1953 - Fritz Albert Lipmann
> 1958 - Joshua Lederberg
> 1959 - Arthur Kornberg
> 1964 - Konrad Bloch
> 1965 - Francois Jacob
> 1965 - Andre Lwoff
> 1967 - George Wald
> 1968 - Marshall W. Nirenberg
> 1969 - Salvador Luria
> 1970 - Julius Axelrod
> 1970 - Sir Bernard Katz
> 1972 - Gerald Maurice Edelman
> 1975 - Howard Martin Temin
> 1976 - Baruch S. Blumberg
> 1977 - Roselyn Sussman Yalow
> 1978 - Daniel Nathans
> 1980 - Baruj Benacerraf
> 1984 - Cesar Milstein
> 1985 - Michael Stuart Brown
> 1985 - Joseph L. Goldstein
> 1986 - Stanley Cohen [& Rita Levi-Montalcini]
> 1988 - Gertrude Elion
> 1989 - Harold Varmus
> 1991 - Erwin Neher
> 1991 - Bert Sakmann
> 1993 - Richard J. Roberts
> 1993 - Phillip Sharp
> 1994 - Alfred Gilman
> 1995 - Edward B. Lewis

> The Jews are NOT promoting brain washing children in military training
> camps, teaching them how to blow themselves up and cause maximum deaths of
> Jews and other non-Muslims!
> The Jews don't hijack planes, nor kill athletes at the Olympics, or blow
> themselves up in German restaurants. There is NOT one single Jew that has
> destroyed a church. There is NOT a single Jew that protests by killing people.
> The Jews don't traffic slaves, nor have leaders calling for Jihad and
> death to all the Infidels.
> Perhaps the world's Muslims should consider investing more in standard
> education and less in blaming the Jews for all their problems.
> Muslims must ask 'what can they do for humankind' before they demand that
> humankind respects them!!
> Regardless of your feelings about the crisis between Israel and the
> Palestinians and Arab neighbors, even if you believe there is more culpability
> on Israel 's part, the following two sentences really say it all:
> 'If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more
> violence.
> If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel '!


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Trade Issues

November 19, 2009

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Despite President Obama's pledge to listen more carefully to foreign countries, his Administration has ignored pleas to move forward on trade issues, a refusal that drew strong criticism from several foreign leaders during Obama's recent Asia trip. Although the Obama Administration pays lip service to free trade, it has allowed a strategically important trade agreement with South Korea to be held hostage to a single industrial sector: automotives, says Bruce Klingner, a Senior Research Fellow for Northeast Asia in the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation.

The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would increase U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by at least $10 billion. It would be both an economic stimulus package and a jobs creation program without requiring any additional government spending or adding to the U.S. deficit. Yet the Obama Administration and Congress continue to allow the agreement to languish in limbo, says Klingner.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke extolled the virtues of the South Korea FTA, but both declared that it would have to wait in favor of pursuing President Obama's domestic political agenda:

* The Obama Administration and Congress have complained about an unequal playing field for sales of U.S. autos to South Korea but reject the very agreement that would remedy the problem.
* However, the two years since the June 2007 signing of the FTA exposed the falsehoods of the auto sector's blaming others for its poor competitiveness: GM and Chrysler did not go bankrupt as the result of South Korean non-tariff barriers.

As the Obama Administration and Congress have dithered, the world has not stood still, says Klingner:

* South Korea ratified an FTA with India and initialed an agreement with the European Union.
* In recent years, China, Japan and the European Union (EU) have all surpassed the United States as South Korea's major trading partners.
* Even Democratic Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) lambasted the Obama Administration for lacking a "comprehensive trade agenda."
* The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimated that failure to implement the FTA while America's trading partners go forward with their Korean FTAs would lead to a decline of $35.1 billion in U.S. exports and a loss of 345,000 jobs.

Source: Bruce Klingner, "Trade Dispute Undercuts Obama's Korea Trip," Heritage Foundation, WebMemo No. 2702, November 17, 2009.

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Daily Policy Digest

November 19, 2009


Tort law is intended to fairly compensate those who have been wrongly harmed. But according to "An Empire Disaster," a report released this week by the Pacific Research Institute, lawsuit abuse is rampant in New York State. For too long, New York's tort system has been exploited by personal-injury lawyers and plaintiffs looking for a big payday no matter how crazy the claim, say Lawrence J. McQuillan, director of business and economic studies at the Pacific Research Institute, and Mark Kriss, executive director of New Yorkers for Lawsuit Reform.

According to the U.S. Tort Liability Index, New York has the second-highest annual tort losses of any state, the fourth-worst tort-litigation risks, and the third-worst tort system in the country. Tort lawsuits cost the state's economy more than $16 billion in 2006. In 2008, New York City alone spent more than half a billion dollars in tort payments.

The need for tort reform in New York is undeniable, say McQuillan and Kriss:

* A good place to start would be to cap jury awards for impossible to quantify noneconomic damages for "mental distress" and "pain and suffering."
* New York also needs structural reforms that target appeal bonds, class actions, labor law sections 240 and 241 regarding elevation-related accidents, and attorney/state contracts.
* Other key reform areas include juries, e-discovery, product liability, design liability, asbestos, "venue shopping" (gaming the system by filing suit in a friendly jurisdiction), frivolous lawsuits, and evidence and witness standards.

Lawsuit reform would jump-start the state's economy and make it more competitive. According to the Pacific Research Institute, if such reforms were put in place, New York would:

* Create at least 86,000 new jobs.
* Increase state output $17 billion annually.
* Boost state tax revenues by more than $1 billion a year.
* Raise the income of every New Yorker by more than $2,600 a year.
* Attract new customers and entrepreneurs to the state.
* Cut insurance premiums up to 16 percent per annum.

Source: Lawrence J. McQuillan and Mark Kriss, "To revive New York's economy, attack lawsuit abuse," New York Daily News, November 18, 2009.

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Happy Fhanksgiving

> May your stuffing be tasty
> May your turkey be plump,
> May your potatoes and gravy
> Have never a lump.
> May your yams be delicious
> And your pies take the prize,
> And may your Thanksgiving dinner
> Stay off your thighs!
> Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
> Happy Thanksgiving!!!


* NOVEMBER 18, 2009, 4:49 P.M. ET

Another Vast Jewish Conspiracy

British media and society are gripped by lies about a "secret" Israel lobby controlling foreign policy.


Here is a small selection of events that have taken place in Britain since the end of Israel's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza earlier this year.

The government has imposed a partial arms embargo on Israel and failed to vote against the Goldstone report in the U.N . The charities War on Want and Amnesty International U.K. have both promoted a book by the anti-Israeli firebrand Ben White, tellingly called "Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide." The Trades Union Congress at its annual conference has called for boycotts of Israeli products as well as a total arms embargo.

In the media, the Guardian newspaper has stepped up its already obsessive campaign against the Jewish state to the extent that the paper's flagship Comment is Free Web site frequently features two anti-Israeli polemics on one and the same day. The BBC continues to use its enormous influence over British public opinion to whitewash anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in the Middle East. Its Web site, for example, features a profile of Hamas that makes no mention of the group's virulent hatred of Jews or its adherence to a "Protocols of Zion"-style belief in world-wide Jewish conspiracies.

Readers may be surprised to learn, therefore, that the British media and political establishment is apparently cowering under the sway of a secretive cabal of Zionist lobbyists who have all but extinguished critical opinions of Israel from the public domain.

Such charges have been aired to mass critical acclaim this week in a landmark documentary, "Inside Britain's Israel Lobby," on Channel 4—the same outlet that offered Iran's Holocaust-denying president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an uninterrupted, seven-minute propaganda slot on Christmas Day last year.

The makers of the documentary—top Daily Mail columnist Peter Oborne and TV journalist James Jones—have also written about their program in the Guardian. Both furiously deny that they are peddling conspiracy theories. But the mindset we are dealing with was neatly exposed by the authors' own explanation on how their suspicions were aroused that something sinister is at work in the corridors of British power.

It all transpired, they told readers ominously, during an address earlier this year by Conservative Party leader David Cameron at a dinner hosted by the Conservative Friends of Israel.

"The dominant event of the previous 12 months had been the Israeli invasion of Gaza," they wrote. "We were shocked Cameron made no reference in his speech to the massive destruction it caused, or the 1,370 deaths that resulted, or for that matter the invasion itself. Indeed, our likely future prime minister went out of his way to praise Israel because it 'strives to protect innocent life.' This remark was not intended satirically."

Since it is inconceivable, the authors obviously believe, that anyone could honestly credit Israel with anything other than the most damnable motives it must therefore follow that those who do in fact praise the Jewish state must be being paid or bullied into doing so.

If you think this all sounds familiar, you'd be right. Messrs. Oborne and Jones produced an extensive pamphlet accompanying the documentary, which openly claimed inspiration from none other than John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, authors of "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy"—another conspiracy theory alleging malign Zionist influence in the United States.

But if Messrs. Mearsheimer and Walt at least felt the need to dress up their polemic in pseudo-academic wrapping paper, the sheer amateurishness of the British documentary they inspired is breathtaking. There was the endless superimposition of the Israeli Star of David on to the British flag, which, along with some absurdly melancholic background music, was presumably designed to prepare viewers for an astonishing series of revelations. But of course such revelations actually never materialized.

It turns out from the documentary itself that the allegedly secretive Jewish donors have been quite open in declaring their interests in accordance with the law. One of them, Poju Zabludowicz, the billionaire funder of the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) is good friends with Madonna—not exactly the kind of company you'd choose if you were trying to hide behind a veil of obscurity.

Much is also made of the influence of Friends of Israel groupings in the British Parliament. Such allegations are, of course, rendered ridiculous with a moment's reflection on the countervailing influence of vast amounts of Arab oil money, not to mention the fact that membership in such groups for many parliamentarians is either purely formal or outright meaningless. Michael Ancram, for example, a former Northern Ireland minister and a member of Conservative Friends of Israel for more than 30 years, is famous for calling for talks with Hamas.

Given the paucity of the arguments, it would be tempting to dismiss the whole thing as unimportant. Would that we could. The documentary has already provoked a torrent of abuse against British Jews, not least on Channel 4's widely read Web site, whose moderators have seen fit to approve dozens of postings about the Zionist lobby's "seditious behavior," its "disgusting attack on British democracy," "the hand of global Zionism at work," and several along the lines of the following, which said flatly: "We want our country back. The agents of a foreign power embedded at all levels of our government and politics need flushing out."

If this sort of language takes hold, a bad situation in Britain may be about to get a whole lot worse.

Jewish leadership organizations have long feared accusations of divided loyalty between Britain and Israel and, ironically given the charges now being made against them, are frequently criticized in their own communities for failing to be sufficiently robust in Israel's defense. The risk is that some may now be panicked into silence.

Non-Jews who call for a more reasoned discussion of Israel—already a small and diminishing group in Britain—will likely face additional slanders against their integrity: Since there is supposedly no reasonable case to be made in favor of the Jewish state, we must have sold out to the "Lobby." Such calumnies cannot be allowed to stand. Now more than ever, the forces of reason and decency must continue the fight to be heard.

Mr. Shepherd is director of International Affairs at the Henry Jackson Society. His new book, "A State Beyond the Pale: Europe's Problem With Israel," has just been published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson.




By Maayan Jaffe
Baltimore Jewish Examiner

“It is very important to have people on campuses all across America that are willing to defend Israel rationally and when necessary,” said Brooke Katz, junior, the newly selected StandWithUs Emerson Fellow at Johns Hopkins.

Katz and Seth Finkelstein, a junior at the University of Maryland, are among the 38 college students chosen out of more than 120 by StandWithUs this year to educate about Israel on their campuses. The program is funded by philanthropists Rita and Steve Emerson.

Both Katz and Finkelstein have been involved with Israel activism for the past several years. Katz is a member of the Coalition of Hopkins Activists for Israel. Finkelstein is on the board of TERPAC, Maryland’s Israeli culture group. Katz said she sees Israel being attacked more often “than most people would care to admit.” She applied for the fellowship to make a difference.

Neither Maryland nor Hopkins have a reputation for virulent anti-Israel sentiment. Nonetheless, the students feel their role is essential. Finkelstein said that while there is a huge pro-Israel movement at U of M, there is also a big anti-Israel movement. Recently, a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine emerged. Last year, students participated in Palestine Solidarity Week. Finkelstein said his role is to show the Israeli side.

At Hopkins, the anti-Israel sentiment emerges more on a person-to-person scale, explained Katz. It’s quiet, but there’s an undertone.
“Last year we surveyed 500 students at Hopkins to find out how much they knew about Israel. … A handful of people responded in a very negative manner and those responses were terrifying,” she said.

Katz, originally from New York, also spoke about a “secret” Web site on campus where students can post anonymous messages.

“There have been incidents when kids published such anti-Israel and anti-Jewish things,” said Katz. “There needs to be a point person on campus to defend Israel in these instances.”

As part of the fellowship, Katz and Finkelstein were trained to run pro-Israel events on their campuses. They began by attending an August conference in Los Angeles, learning skills and facts to help them clarify Israel’s image. Throughout the year, they’ll be able to network with other fellows across the country.

Finkelstein, originally from Philadelphia, said one of his goals is to shine positive light on Israel, highlighting the country’s technological advances, robust cultural experience and superb level of human rights. He calls it “seeing Israel beyond the conflict” and plans to host speakers and run programs that will achieve this aim.

Katz already launched events to this effect. Earlier this year, she brought three participants of Israel’s “Kochav Nolad” (the popular TV series equivalent to “American Idol”).

“We brought kids on campus to this fun night to see who Israelis really are. People got a feel for how diverse Israel is,” she said, noting that the performers consisted of an Israeli named Moran, a Russian immigrant and an Ethiopian immigrant. “Israel needs to show its face and not just its military.”

At the end of the year, the students will be eligible to join StandWithUs' Taglit Birthright Israel trip or to be chosen to intern at the StandWithUs office in Israel.
"It's important to hear both sides," said Finkelstein. "I am trying to be an educated voice."


First-Ever Conference on Arab’s Anti-Jewish Sexual Harassment

by IsraelNN Staff

( A panel of experts and activists assembled at Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv Sunday, the International Day for Combating Violence against Women, to discuss one feminist topic that leftist feminists do not talk about: nationalistic sexual harassment by Arabs.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar of Bar Ilan University provided a short history of women's objectification in Islamic culture, from the days of Mohammed to the current mass rape in Darfur. He explained that from its outset, Islam allowed “mut'ah” marriages, a form of temporary marriage for pleasure, which enables a man to marry a woman for a period of time that can be measured in hours or even minutes, solely for the purpose of his gratification. This form of marriage is still allowed among Shi'ite Muslims, he said.

Jurist and journalist Daphne Netanyahu explained to the audience, which was made up mostly but not solely of women, that feminism was developed by the Left and is the successor to communism. She said that feminism, like communism, is opposed to nationalism and it expects a Jewish woman to identify with an Arab woman who raised her son to be a terrorist more than she identifies with her own husband, father or son.

Likud Knesset Member Tzipi Hotobeli told the gathering that several months ago she was invited, as the chairman of the Knesset Committee for Advancement of Women's Status, to visit a hostel in Jerusalem for Jewish women who had left abusive relationships with Arabs. She met a group of 20 women aged 15 to 30, and discovered to her surprise that these women had not come from “peripheral” areas but from central Israel.

She also visited a religious group in Yafo, where Arabs frequently threaten their Jewish neighbors, and learned of a growing phenomenon of Jewish girls in the central Yafo High School who are seduced by Arabs and marry into Islam.

Anat Cohen of Hevron told of a repeated pattern of sexual harassment of women in Hevron by Arabs as part of an ongoing campaign aimed at intimidation and humiliation of the Jews. She said that she had turned to the police and repeatedly demanded, in vain, that they do something about the problem. When an Arab accosts a Jewish woman and a Jewish man intervenes to protect her, the police arrest the Jew and not the Arab, she said.

Gil Ronen, who heads the Familists organization, spoke of a leftist-feminist “mafia” in academia and the press which censors all attempts to challenge its absolute authority on all matters pertaining to men, women and the relations between them. The right wing, he says, needs to take back morality, because “he who controls morality controls the country.”

Amit Barak of the growing student movement Im Tirtzu told stories similar to Cohen's regarding Upper Nazareth – a town founded to create a Jewish presence in a predominantly Arab environment. Gradually, he said, Arabs are moving into the town and Jews are moving out. The daily threat of harassment which women face when walking down the street in Nazareth Illit is a major consideration causing many families to leave, he explained.

Attorney Tamar Har-Paz of the Zionist Women's Forum, the group that organized the panel, said that it intends to fight for recognition by the establishment and to seek funding for its activity. One idea the group would like to advance involves the creation of neighborhood patrols to give Jewish women and men greater safety in the streets of the mixed cities.

Toward a Sustainable Immigration Policy

Posted: 22 Nov 2009 07:37 PM PST BY SULTAN
While the rising threat of terrorism, violence and honor killings produced by Muslim immigration tends to be in the news lately, the problems produced by immigration are not limited solely to Islam. The problem of Muslim immigration was created by a larger trend in First World immigration policies that favors bringing in cheap labor for short term commercial and political gain. Such immigration policies however are seriously damaging to the nations that utilize them and cannot be sustained. So what we must do is look for a sustainable immigration policy.

The first principle we need to begin with is that immigration should be in a nation's interest. While this seems self-evident, it is a principle that has gone by the wayside. For a clear example of what that leads to, consider Obama's move to allow people infected with AIDS to freely enter the United States. Clearly the entry of people with a deadly communicable disease for which there is no cure into the United States is not in our interest. It is actually quite dangerous to us and offers us no benefits whatsoever to outweigh the risks. There are numerous examples in our immigration policy are less graphic but ultimately just as destructive.

Beginning with the principle that immigration must be in the nation's interest, we now need a standard for measuring whether a particular form of immigration is in our interest or not.

The ideal form of immigration is one that benefits both the host country and the immigrants themselves. Immigration that benefits only the host country is slavery. Immigration that benefits only the immigrants is parasitism. The ideal is a mutual exchange of benefits between the immigrants and their new country. And we can begin by measuring that exchange through simple statistics by breaking down the impact of a particular immigration population in simple dollar terms.

This can be done simply by taking a particular population of immigrants and balancing their contributions in the form of taxes against the social expenditures they create through social services, crime, terrorism and public assistance. Through this method any immigrant population can be broken down into a dollar amount, which can then be contrasted and compared with other immigrant populations, as well as with the native population, to arrive at a chart that shows on the financial level which immigrants offer more benefits versus losses. Such figures should be assessed for first, second and if possible, third generation immigrants, to study the extent to which absorption improves those numbers or worsens them. Further in depth studies would look at regional differences which could allow for a greater fine tuning of immigrant acceptance from urban vs rural areas, to educated professionals vs industrial workers, for religious vs secular and so on and so forth, making it possible to produce questionnaires that would allow a country to reap the maximum possible benefit from immigrants, with the minimum possible loss.

Once this is done, it becomes possible to specifically assess the consequences for local and national economies of giving preference to one immigrant population over another. If we can break down the cost of say bringing in 2000 immigrants from Ireland vs 2000 immigrants from Belize, or 2000 immigrants from Venezuela vs 2000 immigrants from China-- we will be much closer to forming a rational immigration policy. And by presenting statistics in literal dollar amounts, a compelling interest based argument can be made for reforming immigration by making it sustainable.

The next step is to go beyond simple dollar amounts and to look at a nation's overall statistics, its total and per capita GDP, literacy rate, teenage pregnancies, domestic abuse, crime rates, and so on, and look to see which immigrant populations raise our statistics, and which lower them. The ideal form of immigration increases our statistics, or at least maintains them in place, but does not lower them. Again this needs to be studied across multiple generations to see the impact that absorption has on these numbers. An immigrant population that lowers these numbers not only in the first generation, but in the second and the third as well, is as unsustainable as a smokestack spewing poison into the air.

Then there is the cultural question. Population migrations are nothing new in human history. Most countries are made up of a mix of peoples blending together over time through migrating populations. But while some such migrations are generally positive, others are generally negative. Whether a population migration is even feasible depends on how much room there is. 19th century America was able to absorb large numbers of immigrants in ways that 21st century America cannot because it lacks the same amount of open space. With the 20th century's suburbanization, that enabled the immigration and population movements of the 20th century reaching their limit in America, immigration creates crammed urban centers. And without "room to grow", immigration can destabilize and displace the existing native population. This creates an atmosphere charged with violence that easily lead to rioting and social conflict. A situation only worsened by groups with high birth rates moving to cities that are already bursting at the seams.

A sustainable immigration policy balances out immigration from population groups with high birth rates, by reducing their numbers in favor of immigration from population groups with lower birth rates-- in order to create a balance between them. Thus if immigrants from Country X have an average birth rate of 5 children and immigrants from Country Y have an average birth rate of 3 children, bringing in 2000 immigrants from Country and Country X is not parity. Instead it favors Country X in the second generation, when its immigrants might number 5000, while the immigrants from Country Y will only number 3000. The quotas for particular immigration populations would have to be set based on their projected numbers in the second generation, rather than the first generation.

This brings us to the question of immigration quality over quantity. Big business and many politicians who depend on immigrant votes want immigration quantity, which translates into cheap labor and voting blocs for their political machines. However on a national level what is needed is not immigration quantity, but immigration quality.

Cheap labor is extremely seductive, which is why even pro-business conservatives are reluctant to cut back immigration to sustainable levels. Only when there is an economic downturn, do they jump on the immigration bandwagon. Businesses argue that they need cheap labor to maintain their domestic industries, and while this is a compelling argument for many, the fact of the matter is that cheap labor jobs wind up being more expensive than outsourcing, because immigration quantity carries a higher cost for the ordinary taxpayer, than the company simply packing up shop and taking a few native jobs abroad.

Virtually every major social problem in the First World today can be traced to the desire for cheap labor. From gang rapes in California to Islamism in London, from suicide bombings in Israel to drug dealing in Sydney, from riots in Paris to honor killings in Sweden, the common element in these social problems is that they are caused by people who were brought in because they were once considered cheap labor. But cheap labor quickly turns out not to be so cheap after all.

The same big companies that complain about high taxes and socialism, seem to have no understanding whatsoever that when you import hundreds of thousands of immigrants, legal or illegal, they will have to pay the price for them sooner or later. Capitalism may rely on cheap labor, but cheap labor inevitably leads to socialism, because importing a population incapable of caring for itself, will require the government to step in sooner or later.

While we believe in free enterprise, that means responsible free enterprise. A factory that pours toxic waste into a river is not behaving responsibly and is not serving the public good. Similarly an industry that uses cheap immigration to cut costs while dumping ten times those same costs on the taxpayer, a cost that they themselves will ultimately have to make up down the road, is not behaving responsibly. The allegiance of American business must be to America, just as English businesses must be to England and so on and so forth. A loyal business does not act against the national interest, but seeks to work within a sustainable immigration policy for the larger national benefit, a benefit that will also accrue to it as well.

Immigration quality focuses on maintaining sustainable immigration, while immigration quantity provides mass without sustainability. Few First World countries can really afford immigration quantity anymore, yet virtually all of them continue to emphasize quantity over quality, thereby creating a cycle in which low quality immigration produces social problems that require government intervention, thereby raising taxes and requiring more cheap labor to try and fill the birth rate shortfall created by trying to impose a growing government burden on a shrinking number of workers. Eventually the entire socialist Ponzi Scheme collapses into either major reforms or a dark age, but by then much of the damage has already been done.

While immigration remains an important resource, it must be the product of a rational policy. And a rational immigration policy can only be a sustainable immigration policy. Real immigration reform is not immigration permissiveness, but sustainability that balances immigration against domestic growth, seeks to maximize the beneficial quality of immigration, rather than cheap labor quantity, and works to maintain the quality of life and the culture of its citizens, rather than disrupting it and displacing them. Sustainable immigration is the only answer to out of control immigration pollution.



Travesty in New York

Charles Krauthammer - Nov 20, 2009

WASHINGTON -- For late-19th-century anarchists, terrorism was the "propaganda of the deed." And the most successful propaganda-by-deed in history was 9/11 -- not just the most destructive, but the most spectacular and telegenic.

And now its self-proclaimed architect, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, has been given by the Obama administration a civilian trial in New York. Just as the memory fades, 9/11 has been granted a second life -- and KSM, a second act: "9/11, The Director's Cut," narration by KSM.

September 11, 2001 had to speak for itself. A decade later, the deed will be given voice. KSM has gratuitously been presented with the greatest propaganda platform imaginable -- a civilian trial in the media capital of the world -- from which to proclaim the glory of jihad and the criminality of infidel America.

So why is Attorney General Eric Holder doing this? Ostensibly, to demonstrate to the world the superiority of our system where the rule of law and the fair trial reign.

Really? What happens if KSM (and his co-defendants) "do not get convicted," asked Senate Judiciary Committee member Herb Kohl. "Failure is not an option," replied Holder. Not an option? Doesn't the presumption of innocence, er, presume that prosecutorial failure -- acquittal, hung jury -- is an option? By undermining that presumption, Holder is undermining the fairness of the trial, the demonstration of which is the alleged rationale for putting on this show in the first place.

Moreover, everyone knows that whatever the outcome of the trial, KSM will never walk free. He will spend the rest of his natural life in U.S. custody. Which makes the proceedings a farcical show trial from the very beginning.

Apart from the fact that any such trial will be a security nightmare and a terror threat to New York -- what better propaganda-by-deed than blowing up the entire courtroom, making KSM a martyr and making the judge, jury and spectators into fresh victims? -- it will endanger U.S. security. Civilian courts with broad rights of cross-examination and discovery give terrorists access to crucial information about intelligence sources and methods.

That's precisely what happened during the civilian New York trial of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers. The prosecution was forced to turn over to the defense a list of two hundred unindicted co-conspirators, including the name Osama bin Laden. "Within ten days, a copy of that list reached bin Laden in Khartoum," wrote former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, the presiding judge at that trial, "letting him know that his connection to that case had been discovered."

Finally, there's the moral logic. It's not as if Holder opposes military commissions on principle. On the same day he sent KSM to a civilian trial in New York, Holder announced he was sending Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, mastermind of the attack on the USS Cole, to a military tribunal.

By what logic? In his congressional testimony Wednesday, Holder was utterly incoherent in trying to explain. In his Nov. 13 news conference, he seemed to be saying that if you attack a civilian target, as in 9/11, you get a civilian trial; a military target like the Cole, and you get a military tribunal.

What a perverse moral calculus. Which is the war crime -- an attack on defenseless civilians or an attack on a military target such as a warship, an accepted act of war which the U.S. itself has engaged in countless times?

By what possible moral reasoning, then, does KSM, who perpetrates the obvious and egregious war crime, receive the special protections and constitutional niceties of a civilian courtroom, while he who attacked a warship is relegated to a military tribunal?

Moreover, the incentive offered any jihadi is as irresistible as it is perverse: Kill as many civilians as possible on American soil and Holder will give you Miranda rights, a lawyer, a propaganda platform -- everything but your own blog.

Alternatively, Holder tried to make the case that he chose a civilian New York trial as a more likely venue for securing a conviction. An absurdity: By the time Obama came to office, KSM was ready to go before a military commission, plead guilty and be executed. It's Obama who blocked a process that would have yielded the swiftest and most certain justice.

Indeed, the perfect justice. Whenever a jihadist volunteers for martyrdom, we should grant his wish. Instead, this one, the most murderous and unrepentant of all, gets to dance and declaim at the scene of his crime.

Holder himself told The Washington Post that the coming New York trial will be "the trial of the century." The last such was the trial of O.J. Simpson.
Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali

NEW YORK — The five men facing trial in the Sept. 11 attacks will plead not guilty so that they can air their criticisms of U.S. foreign policy, the lawyer for one of the defendants said Sunday.

Scott Fenstermaker, the lawyer for accused terrorist Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, said the men would not deny their role in the 2001 attacks but "would explain what happened and why they did it."

9/11 Terror Detainees Face Trial in N.Y.

The U.S. Justice Department announced earlier this month that Ali and four other men accused of murdering nearly 3,000 people in the nation's deadliest terrorist attack will face a civilian federal trial just blocks from the World Trade Center site.

Ali, also known as Ammar al-Baluchi, is a nephew of professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed .

Mohammed, Ali and the others will explain "their assessment of American foreign policy," Fenstermaker said.

"Their assessment is negative," he said.

Fenstermaker met with Ali last week at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. He has not spoken with the others but said the men have discussed the trial among themselves.

Fenstermaker was first quoted in The New York Times in Sunday's editions.

Critics of Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to try the men in a New York City civilian courthourse have warned that the trial would provide the defendants with a propaganda platform.

Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the Department of Justice, said Sunday that while the men may attempt to use the trial to express their views, "we have full confidence in the ability of the courts and in particular the federal judge who may preside over the trial to ensure that the proceeding is conducted appropriately and with minimal disrupton, as federal courts have done in the past."

Criticism and outrage continues to grow over Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) in a criminal court in New York. Joining the chorus of criticism is the former Chairman of the 9/11 Commission (see story below).

Last week, a “teachable moment” (to quote President Obama) occurred when Mr. Holder appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senator Lindsey Graham asked Mr. Holder if he could cite one prior case where an enemy combatant the likes of KSM had been tried in a criminal court.

I watched Mr. Holder’s response. (You can too by clicking here.) You would think he would have researched this prior to making his decision. You would think there was some precedent to justify this outrageous decision. You would think he would have been prepared to answer such an obvious question.

Instead, Holder stammered, hemmed and hawed. This was the proverbial “deer caught in the headlights” moment. Holder could only muster a tepid response that he would “have to look at that.” (In other words, he hadn’t!)

Senator Graham stepped in and informed Mr. Holder that there is not a single case precedent for the decision to try Mohammed in a criminal court.

Not one.

What’s more, Sen. Graham proceeded to ask Holder if he would try Osama bin Laden in a criminal court. Holder’s response was to evade and dodge giving a definitive answer.

There is no legal or logical justification for Holder’s decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in criminal court. So what is driving it?

The only answer I can conclude is the Obama administration’s political agenda. They want to “show the world” that we can conduct this case in a criminal court (a sentiment echoed by many Democrats on the Judiciary Committee during Holder’s appearance).

This begs the question: Why are we putting what the world thinks ahead of what’s in our national interest?

They are also playing to the politically correct, blame-America-first crowd that is quick to find fault with anything America does while excusing and rationalizing the cruelty and brutality of our enemies.

In other words, Holder’s decision was not based on legal precedent, sound legal reasoning, good policy, or what’s good for the country.

It was based on politics.
Former 9/11 Commission Chairman
Criticizes Plan for New York Trial


In this 2004 file photo, Thomas Kean is seen testifying on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo)

Thomas Kean, in his first public comments on the matter, criticizes Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to bring Sept. 11 defendants into civilian federal court, saying the trial would help Khalid Sheikh Mohammed fulfill his dreams of martyrdom in the eyes of the Muslim world.

The decision to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other alleged Sept. 11 conspirators to New York City for trial will only give the self-professed mastermind of the attacks the platform for "propaganda" that he wants, the chairman of the 9/11 Commission said Tuesday.

Thomas Kean, in his first public comments on the matter, criticized Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to bring the defendants into civilian federal court, saying the trial would help Mohammed fulfill his dreams of martyrdom in the eyes of the Muslim world.

"I worry a little bit about the decision, because it's what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed wants. I mean, he wants a forum," Kean told WNYC radio. "I think he wants to be a martyr, so I think he's going to use the trial as propaganda ... and I think he wants to be Che Guevara or something like that. He's going to try to be a hero to the Muslim world."

Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, joins a slew of other officials expressing concern about the decision.

New York Gov. David Paterson, a Democrat, said he would not have moved the suspects to New York for trial, while former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican, told "Fox News Sunday" that the move would only grant Mohammed's "wish."

Meanwhile, Holder defended his decision Tuesday, saying his team reviewed the potential downsides for such a trial but determined federal court was the best place to prosecute the suspects. Holder said he's confident the cases will be "successful."

On the same radio show with Kean, fellow 9/11 Commission member Richard Ben-Veniste backed up Holder's choice.

"This is a crime that warrants prosecution, and the American justice system is up to the task," he said.


Pro-Israel Canadians Strike Back with 'Buy-Cott' Campaign

by David Lev 'Buy-Cotters' Stand With Israel

Leftists and anti-Israel activists in Canada will be "celebrating" the United Nations' International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People November 28 with nationwide picketing of the country's MEC stores (Mountain Equipment Co-op), a 2.9 million member strong retail cooperative, that sells outdoor gear and clothing – while supporters of Israel hit back with increased efforts to promote a "buy-cott" of Israeli goods.

Leftist and anti-Israel groups have been using the Palestinian Solidarity Day as a springboard to punish Israel instead of seeking ways to improve the lives of Arabs living in Israel. Each year, groups in Canada hone in on a different business that buys from or otherwise has financial interests in Israel. The groups, under an umbrella organization called the "Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign," have targeted MEC this year because some of the products it sells – including underwear and hydration packs – are made in Israel, by a company called Source Vagabond (best-known for their "shoresh" sandals, popular among Israeli youth).

Demonstrations outside MEC stores will take place in the 12 cities in Canada where the large MEC branches are located, including Calgary, Toronto, Ottowa, Montreal, and Vancouver. Protestors will attempt to sign up shoppers on petitions calling for MEC to ban Israeli products, and the organization urges customers "write/fax/phone the board of MEC telling them of your actions and asking that MEC halt all dealings with Israeli companies."

The group has been targeting MEC not just in recent weeks but all year; at the company's annual meeting last April, boycott organizers tried to foist a resolution on the company forbidding it to buy Israeli products. That effort, as well as other attempts to impose a boycott on Israeli goods in Canada, was foiled by the Canada-Israel Commitee's "Buycott" campaign, which encourages Canadian consumers to buy Israeli goods.

In one recent incident in Toronto, the group says, anti-Israel groups began a campaign against Israeli wines before Passover .In response, the group said, "the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto led the way in a Buy-cott drive to purchase as much Israeli wine as possible. E-mails were sent out to thousands and the pro-Israel community mobilized to counter the boycott, with their wallets and purses. The result? Within half an hour, the liquor store at which the protestors called for a boycott was completely sold out of Israeli wine."

Ironically, a recent editorial in the Vancouver Sun said that urging MEC to boycott Israeli goods would end up hurting the very people the anti-Israel groups claim they want to help; a boycott would "penalize MEC, its Israeli suppliers and Palestinian subcontractors who work for Source Vagabond Systems."


David Hornik - Nov 20, 2009
FrontPage Magazine

Asked by Fox News in China what he thought of Israel's plans to build 900 housing units in the Gilo neighborhood in southeastern Jerusalem, President Obama responded:

"The situation in the Middle East is very difficult, and I've said repeatedly and I'll say again, Israel's security is a vital national interest to the United States, and we will make sure they are secure. I think that additional settlement building does not contribute to Israel's security. I think it makes it harder for them to make peace with their neighbors. I think it embitters the Palestinians in a way that could end up being very dangerous."

To most Israeli ears the statement is discordant. The avowal of commitment to Israel's security doesn't jibe with describing building in Gilo as "dangerously embittering" the Palestinians. Gilo, now a neighborhood of 40,000, was annexed by Israel in the aftermath of the 1967 war as part of the reunification of Jerusalem. Gilo is a fact; ordinary Israelis live in it, and calling them settlers would be laughable.

Not that Obama was breaking new ground in calling a Jewish Jerusalem neighborhood a settlement. Less than two years ago then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said of another such neighborhood, Har Homa, that "Har Homa is a settlement the United States has opposed from the very beginning" and that the United States "doesn't make a distinction" between settlement activity in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. Har Homa, however, only goes back to the 1990s and is a good deal smaller than Gilo. "Gilo" and "settlement" sounds even more jarring.

Nor was Obama, of course, alone in his statement; he was leading the international charge. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokeswoman said "such actions [as building in Gilo] undermine efforts for peace and cast doubt on the viability of the two-state solution." The British Foreign Office said that "Expanding settlements on occupied land in east Jerusalem makes [a] deal much harder. So this decision on Gilo is wrong and we oppose it." French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, in Israel for talks, also condemned the building plans.

And back in Washington, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the administration was "dismayed" and that both parties should avoid actions that could "preempt, or appear to preempt, negotiations."

Just as the official international reaction was unanimous in opposing the building, the internal Israeli reaction was unanimous in supporting it-and included leading figures from both the government and the opposition.

An aide to Prime Minister Netanyahu wrote in a message to reporters that "Construction in Gilo has taken place regularly for dozens of years and there is nothing new about the current planning and construction." Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin of Netanyahu's Likud Party said that "new demands of the type that the Americans are airing now, pushes us toward a red line that we cannot allow ourselves to cross, and is not legitimate. The right to build in all of unified Jerusalem is not questioned in Israel…." Tzipi Livni, opposition leader and head of the left-of-center Kadima Party, told Kouchner that "Gilo is part of the Israeli consensus…."

Nir Barkat, mayor of Jerusalem, was the least restrained, stating:

"Israeli law does not discriminate between Jews and Arabs and between east and west [Jerusalem]. The demand to specifically halt construction for Jews is not legal in the U.S. or in any other enlightened country in the world.

"I cannot imagine the American administration demanding a halt to construction in the U.S. based upon race, religion or sex, and the attempt to demand this of Jerusalem constitutes a double standard and is unacceptable. The Jerusalem Municipality will continue to enable construction in all parts of the city to both Arabs and Jews, with one law for all."

Why did Obama and the world's criticism evoke such strong, across-the-board indignation in Israel?

For one thing, it strikes at the core Jewish value of Jerusalem. From 1948 to 1967, when the city was divided, Israelis in West Jerusalem lived with sniper fire from Jordanian East Jerusalem. Jordan not only reneged on international undertakings to permit Israeli access to Jerusalem's Holy Basin, but desecrated and destroyed the synagogues there. Nevertheless, Israel implored Jordan not to enter the 1967 war-in vain. With united Jerusalem now in Israeli hands for forty-two years, only Israelis well to the Left are willing to countenance a redivision of the city into Arab and Jewish areas. Even under such an arrangement, neighborhoods like Gilo (and Har Homa) would remain intact and continue to grow. They are not up for discussion.

Such criticism also implies that no Israeli concessions can ever suffice. Netanyahu, a lifelong Likud figure commonly tagged as a "hawk" and "hardliner" abroad, has gone so far as to announce his preparedness for a Palestinian state (twenty years ago still a far-Left position in Israel) and for a freeze in construction throughout the West Bank. After Netanyahu had supposedly clarified with Obama that stopping construction in Jerusalem was farther than he or any Israeli prime minister could go, the president's reference to Gilo as an "additional settlement" where building "embitters the Palestinians" sounds to Israelis-whether or not it is intended as such-like contempt for their willingness to compromise and a message that not even their most basic rights are safe.

In a better world, the Israeli reaction would lead the administration to ask: is pushing Jews out of Jerusalem really an American interest, and is it consistent with American values? For how long do the Palestinians-who have flatly rejected every peace offer since 1937 and have refused even to negotiate with Israel since Obama has been in office-deserve such consideration? Is the pressure by the larger Muslim world to downgrade the Jewish connection to Jerusalem something the United States should submit to?
Posted: 21 Nov 2009 05:12 PM PST
The same media which can't be bothered to notice that there is a proxy war going on between Iran and Saudi Arabia in Yemen, with Saudi jets bombing civilian targets. Who have paid no attention whatsoever to a week of violence between Algerians and Egyptians that included stonings and death threats, are up in arms over the building of 900 housing units in the Gilo neighborhood in Jerusalem.

The Obama Administration and the media are naturally not upset by the Jerusalem municipality's decision to build 500 housing units for Arabs in Jerusalem. No they're upset by a private Jewish housing project built on privately owned land. And that double standard aptly conveys their premise that a Jewish house in Jerusalem is a "settlement", while an Arab house in Jerusalem is just a house. A Jewish home violates the "status quo" and is "unhelpful for peace", while an Arab home is just a home. There is of course a name for that sort of policy, it's one that Jimmy Carter who is still continuing his tour on behalf of Hamas knows quite well, Apartheid.

In response to the Nof Zion construction, Obama warned that, "additional settlement building does not contribute to Israel’s security".But Nof Zion is not about security, as much as it is about an overcrowded Jewish population in Jerusalem looking for someplace to live. When the Arabs seized half of Jerusalem in Israel's War of Independence, they forcibly expelled the Jewish population of Jerusalem in a brutal act of ethnic cleansing that goes ignored by the same leftists who focus on elderly Arab men waving keychains in the air. Homes belonging to Jewish families were replaced by Arab families, who in turn were not expelled when Israel liberated and reunited both halves of Jerusalem in 1967.

While countries such as England recognized Jordan's annexation of East Jerusalem, they have failed to recognize Israel's reunification of the city. This has led to the ongoing absurdity in which children born in Jerusalem are treated as stateless by the US government and the US embassy remains in Tel Aviv, while the US Consulate in East Jerusalem does its best to pretend that it's in the capital of Palestine, completely refusing to recognize Israel's existence.

Were security the issue, Gilo which faces the Arab towns of Beit Jala and Al Khader, and has been shot at repeatedly from them, would be a poor choice to live in. But Jerusalem is bulging at the seams. The price of housing has shot up, and while US Ambassador Richard H. Jones may have told Jewish residents of Jerusalem that "Sometimes people do have to move to a different location. They cannot always stay close to their families", the reality is that living next to their families is exactly what people want to do. Regardless of what the State Department thinks about the matter.

1800 years ago the Romans expelled the Jewish population of Jerusalem and renamed it Aelia Capitolina, a pagan city, and renamed Israel, Syria Palaestina. Today Obama and the State Department seem determined to do the very same thing. By calling a Jerusalem neighborhood, a "settlement", Obama is actively attacking the right of Jews to live in Jerusalem. If Jewish Jerusalem is a settlement, then effectively every other part of Israel where Jews live is a settlement too.

When even even liberal US news outlets such as CNN have described Gilo as a Jewish neighborhood, in contrast to radical left wing British outlets such as the BBC and Reuters, who branded it as a "settlement", Obama's shift is a deliberate one. Helpful as always, UN Secretary General Ki Ban Moonbat stepped in to denounce Gilo as a "settlement built on Palestinian land that undermines efforts for peace”. Considering that Gilo already holds a population of 50,000, the land was privately owned and the Jewish presence there goes back to the Book of Joshua, but the facts are no obstacle to the lies.

In Time Magazine, the increasingly unhinged Joe Klein claimed that Gilo "would be the capital of Palestine", with presumably a Hadrianiac or Jordanian style ethnic cleansing solution for the 50,000 Jews who live there right now. Not that I imagine that would stop him in the least, so long as he had someone else to do the dirty work for him.

But finally what is the basis for calling the Gilo neighborhood a "settlement"? The land on which Gilo was built was bought and owned by its Jewish residents. That land was occupied and seized by Jordan in 1948, until Israel liberated the territory in 1967. To call Gilo a "settlement", recognizes the Jordanian invasion and seizure of the land as legitimate, while treating the Jewish presence there as illegitimate.

And that is the real basis behind all this madness. The reason why a Jewish home in Jerusalem or anywhere in Israel is a settlement. To speak of "settlements" is to claim that the Jewish presence in Israel is illegitimate. And while some Israeli leftists may fondly imagine that settlers are religious Jews who live in caravans, as the case of Gilo once again demonstrates, all of Israel is a settlement.

And that is why as far as the world's diplomats are concerned, an Arab terrorist has more right to open fire on a Jewish family driving down the road, than the Israeli army has to shoot that same terrorist. And by giving in to US pressure to negotiate directly with the PLO, by signing the Oslo accords and by repeatedly agreeing to talk peace with Arafat and Abbas, the door was opened to greater and greater delegitimization of Israel.

Israel's global diplomatic position is far worse than it was 17 years ago. Israel's strategic position is far worse than it was 17 years ago. The most rabid bigotry and the ugliest incitement has become the norm, the sort of language you would once hear in Ridyah or Damascus has now become cocktail party chatter in London, Paris and Washington D.C. All of Israel's concessions have combined to put a gun to Jerusalem, and then to the rest of the land for a great going out of business, everything must go sale.

The case of Gilo is one more wake up call that not only our terrorist "peace partners", but even the so-called honest brokers of the world community do not believe that Jews have the right to live anywhere in Israel. Their backing of a Palestinian state has nothing to do with peace, as the fact that peace has failed to emerge over 17 years has not in any way dampened their ardor and enthusiasm for the project. Nor is it about a Two State Solution bringing regional stability. Even the dimmest paper pushers in the State Department and Foreign Ministry know that even were a Palestinian state to be created, the result would be more regional instability, not less. Only a One State Solution can succeed, and that solution is an Arab state and no Israel. The "Peace Process" and the "Two State Solution" are an incremental approach to bringing about that final solution.

The men and women who toiled and worked the land, who turned swamps and desert into farmland and cities, understood that if there was no room for Jews in Israel, there was no room for Jews

anywhere. Palestinian Islamic terrorism in turn is driven by the national and religious imperative to destroy the only non-Muslim country in the Middle East. And while America and Europe decry Israel's capital as a Jewish settlement, Muslim settlements are springing up in their own capitals. While the cocktail party chatter is that serving up Israel on a platter to the beast will keep them safe, the violence is already in their streets. The same violence that Israel was built as a refuge against. And if Israel falls, they will be the next item on the menu.


Syria's Path to Islamist Terror

by Michael Rubin
Middle East Quarterly
Winter 2010

While the Obama administration and congressional leaders may justify renewed engagement with Syria with their desire to jumpstart the Middle East peace process, they ignore the very issue that lies at the heart of the Syrian threat to U.S. national security: Syrian support for radical Islamist terror. This may seem both illogical and counterfactual given past antagonism between the 'Alawite-led regime and the Muslim Brotherhood, but there is overwhelming evidence that President Bashir al-Asad has changed Syrian strategic calculations and that underpinning terror is crucial to the foreign policy of the country.

On February 14, 2005, a huge bomb killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri as his motorcade drove through Beirut. All eyes fell on Damascus.[1] Syria's leaders had motive: Hariri was a prominent Lebanese nationalist who opposed their attempts to grant Lebanon's pro-Syrian president Émile Lahoud an unconstitutional third term. The Syrians had the means to carry out such an attack: Their army had occupied Lebanon for more than fifteen years. Syrian military intelligence (Shu'bat al-Mukhabarat al-'Askariya) operated freely throughout the tiny republic and maintained operational networks there.[2] Asad had actually threatened Hariri: Druze leader Walid Jumblatt reported that at a meeting with Asad and Hariri a few months before the latter's murder, Asad told him, "Lahoud is me … If you and [French president Jacques] Chirac want me out of Lebanon, I will break Lebanon," a remark Jumblatt interpreted as a death threat to Hariri.[3]

Following the assassination, Syria became an international pariah. U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan dispatched a fact-finding mission. This mission resulted in the establishment of an international, independent investigating commission headed initially by German judge Detlev Mehlis.[4] U.S. president George W. Bush and French president Jacques Chirac, two leaders whose views of the Middle East seldom coincided, agreed to isolate Syria diplomatically.[5] The State Department withdrew its ambassador, Margaret Scobey, and maintained only a lower-level diplomatic presence in Damascus. Under immense pressure, the Syrian army finally withdrew from Lebanon. But, over subsequent months and years, as Asad detected chinks in the West's diplomatic solidarity—and as U.S. members of Congress began to defy the White House and re-engage with Asad—the Syrian regime began to put cooperation with the U.N. investigators on the back burner. Today, Syrian cooperation with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the successor to the more ambitious Investigation Commission, is negligible.

Obama's Approach to Syria

Barack Obama campaigned on a platform which made engagement central to his foreign policy. "Not talking [to adversaries] doesn't make us look tough—it makes us look arrogant," he declared during his campaign.[6] In his inaugural address, he declared, "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."[7]

The Syrian regime signaled that it would accept Obama's offer, so long as the White House's hand preceded the unclenching of the Syrian fist. In a congratulatory telegram to Obama, the Syrian leader expressed "hope that dialogue would prevail to overcome the difficulties that have hindered real progress toward peace, stability, and prosperity in the Middle East."[8]

While the Syrian regime had yet to cooperate with the Hariri investigation, cease its sponsorship of and support for terrorism, stop interfering in Lebanon, or stop helping Hezbollah build up its rocket force, the Obama administration wasted little time in easing pressure on Damascus. This rush to dialogue was undertaken in order to create a more conducive atmosphere for engagement. On March 7, 2009, the State Department dispatched Jeffrey D. Feltman, assistant secretary of state and the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Syria in more than four years, to Damascus for talks with Syria's foreign minister.[9] The Obama administration called an abrupt end to the moratorium initiated during the Bush administration forbidding U.S. officials' attendance at Syrian embassy functions in Washington when it sent Feltman and senior National Security Council aides to Syrian National Day festivities.[10] Feltman's participation in the renewed engagement was particularly symbolic given his previous posting as ambassador to Lebanon during the Cedar Revolution of 2005 when he led the diplomatic charge to rid Lebanon of Syrian influence and troops.

On June 24, 2009, the State Department announced that it would once again nominate an ambassador for the U.S. embassy in Damascus.[11] Just over a month later, the Obama administration announced that it would ease sanctions on Syria. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly explained that "Senator [George] Mitchell [the president's Middle East envoy] told President Assad that the U.S. would process all eligible applications for export licenses as quickly as possible."[12]

While the easement did not include those sanctions imposed by Congress in the wake of Hariri's assassination, they, nonetheless, reflect the White House's desire to bring Syria in from the cold. Nor will Congress necessarily act as a check on this enthusiasm to roll back even those sanctions. Less than two years after Hariri's assassination, senators Arlen Specter (Democrat of Pennsylvania), Bill Nelson (Democrat of Florida), John Kerry (Democrat of Massachusetts), and Christopher Dodd (Democrat of Connecticut)[13] traveled to Syria to promote engagement. Four months later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also visited Asad for the same purpose, declaring, "The road to Damascus is a road to peace."[14]
Can Syria Be Divorced from Terrorism?

Flipping Syria away from its axis with Iran is a diplomatic priority for the Obama administration as it seeks to revitalize the Middle East peace process.[15] Many Western diplomats and analysts hoped that Syria would reform when the young, Western-educated Bashir al-Asad succeeded his hard-line father Hafiz as president of Syria in 2000. But the Damascus spring proved fleeting. Syria remained a police state at home and an enabler of terrorism abroad with

policies rooted firmly in rejection of Israel's right to exist and opposition to U.S. regional interests. Should Syria be flipped, the theory goes, not only would it mitigate the threat of Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda in Iraq, but it could enable Syria to join forces with Lebanon to make peace with Israel. According to Martin Indyk, director of the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution, "Syria is a strategic linchpin for dealing with Iran and the Palestinian issue. Don't forget, everything in the Middle East is connected."[16]

To seek a resolution to conflict in the Middle East is a noble goal. And yet, to base that deal on Syrian goodwill is not only naïve but requires a perception of Syria and its intentions that is seriously out-of- date. While many in Washington and other capitals continue to perceive Syria as a largely secular state with a leadership fundamentally hostile to radical Islam, today's Syrian leadership encourages both radical Islam and international Al-Qaeda.[17] The traditional assumption that support for extremist Islam is limited to Saudi Arabia and wealthy Persian Gulf financiers is no longer valid. Bashir al-Asad is playing a dangerous game, one that is not only inimical to U.S. interests in the short term but also employs a strategy that could undercut Syrian stability in the long term.

It was not long after the start of military operations against Iraq in March 2003 that the Pentagon grew concerned at Syrian support for the insurgency there. Speaking at a press conference held in Baghdad in 2004, Gen. Richard Myers, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, "There are other foreign fighters. We know for a fact that a lot of them find their way into Iraq through Syria for sure."[18] According to some estimates, perhaps 80 percent of foreign

fighters who infiltrated Iraq crossed the Syrian border.[19] These were disproportionately responsible for the most devastating suicide bombings in Iraq.[20] An Italian investigation of foreign fighter recruitment in Italy found that "Syria has functioned as a hub for an Al-Qaeda network."[21] Syrian president Asad repeatedly denied any involvement in facilitating terrorism in Iraq. In 2007, he told ABC's Diane Sawyer: "If you stoke [terrorism], it will burn you. So if we have this chaos in Iraq, it will spill over to Syria … So saying this [that Syria aids Iraq's insurgency], it's like saying that the Syrian government is working against the Syrian interest."[22]

Two common assumptions handicap an understanding of terrorist networks. The first is that Shi'i and Sunni groups or governments do not cooperate. Hence, some scholars argue that it is impossible that the Iranian regime could supply arms to the Taliban. In 2007, Juan Cole, a professor at the University of Michigan, wrote, "Among the more fantastic charges that Bush made against Iran was that its government was actively arming and helping the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. In fact, the Taliban are extremist Sunnis who hate and have killed large numbers of Shiites. Shiite Iran is unlikely to support them."[23] The evidence that they have done so, however, is overwhelming as U.S. forces have seized truckloads of Iranian weaponry en route to the Taliban.[24]

Another false argument—and one that applies specifically to Syria—is that secular regimes do not support radical Islamist groups. The Egyptian government, for example, has long turned a blind eye to the supply of Hamas terrorists through tunnels from Egyptian territory.[25] Libya, too, has engaged in the practice, supporting the Islamist terrorist group Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines even as Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi sought to present himself to the West as an ally in the fight against radical Islam.[26] To ensure U.S. national security, U.S. analysis must be based on reality rather than image. Despite Asad's stated animosity toward Islamist terrorism and his regime's trumpeting of its own vulnerability to radical Islamism, the Syrian record shows a willingness not only to tolerate but also to aid Islamist groups and assist Al-Qaeda violence.

The assumption that the Syrian government would not support Islamism is rooted in the regime's troubled history with radical Islam. The originally Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood established a branch in Syria in the late 1950s. The group remained quiet for two decades but, in 1979, it began to engage in terrorism, most famously when members of the group murdered several dozen 'Alawi military cadets near Aleppo.[27] Three years later, after some 200 Islamists staged an insurrection in Hama, Syria's fifth largest city, the Syrian military razed much of the city, killing between 10,000 and 20,000 civilians, including women and children. In the aftermath of Hama, many analysts note that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood renounced violence although only the most prescient Syria hands have observed that, behind the regime's veneer of secularism, Hafiz al-Asad subsequently sought to co-opt Islamism.[28]

In recent years, however, the Syrian government has blamed domestic terrorism on shadowy and often unnamed Islamist groups. In July 2005, the Syrian government returned alleged Islamist terrorists to Saudi Arabia and Tunisia[29] although, more often, Damascus has refused to extradite terrorists, suggesting that the decision to release is linked more to immediate diplomatic necessity rather than a principled commitment to combat terrorism. Still, the Syrian government has sought to project an image of victimization. In June 2006, Syria's tightly-controlled national television showed the aftermath of a gun battle in Damascus between Islamists and state security forces, suggesting that the government—normally secretive on security matters—wanted to cast itself as a victim of Islamism.[30] The Syrian government cited the September 27, 2008 car bombing in Damascus, which killed seventeen people, as an indication that Islamist terrorists—in this case it named Fatah al-Islam—had targeted the country for its cooperation with U.S. efforts to strengthen security along its border with Iraq.[31] Pointing the finger at Fatah al-Islam may also have been meant to deflect suspicion that the Syrian government had supported the group's activities in Lebanon. A precedent of staged violence, such as the attack on the Danish embassy in Damascus during the Muhammad cartoon crisis, suggests analysts should consider the possibility that other such incidents were also faked.[32] Asad's stated animosity toward radical Islam and Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups is mirrored in Al- Qaeda's traditional hatred of the 'Alawi regime in Syria. A year before the 9/11 attacks, a leading Al-Qaeda tactician, 'Umar 'Abd al-Hakim (better known by his nom de guerre Abu Mus'ab as-Suri) penned a lengthy polemic against the Syrian regime. Suri described the 'Alawis as heretics, fanatical Shi'a descended from Jews and Zoroastrians.[33] About Hama, he related not only how the "lives of more than 45,000 [sic] unarmed Sunni civilians were claimed" but also how the Syrian security forces continued to kill an additional 30,000 Sunni Muslims over the subsequent fourteen years.[34] After a rambling religious discourse on the meaning and necessity of jihad, Suri concluded, "It is not permissible for Muslims to stay under their ['Alawi] rule for one moment ...They must be pursued and killed to cleanse them from Greater Syria and the face of the earth. They should be killed as individuals and groups, and Sunni Muslims must ambush and kill them all."[35]

Such hatred is real, but in the Middle East alliances shift and enmity can be deferred. Enemies cooperate against those whom they consider a mutual threat. Iran and the Taliban—who hardly like each other and were on the verge of military conflict in 1998—nevertheless found themselves allied only a decade later in efforts to undermine U.S. stability efforts in Afghanistan. For all his diplomatic promises about non-cooperation with terrorists, the evidence that Bashir al-Asad aids and abets Al-Qaeda is damning.

Syrians in the Iraqi Insurgency

In September 2007, U.S. forces in the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, twelve miles from the Syrian border, discovered computers and a cache of documents that included the records of more than 600 foreign fighters who had infiltrated into Iraq between spring 2006 and summer 2007. The documents show a pattern of Syrian behavior at odds with the regime's public statements and diplomatic posture. While the records listed Syrian as the nationality of only forty-four of the foreign fighters—behind Saudis (237) and Libyans (111)—Syrians coordinated the insertion into Iraq of almost all the fighters listed.[36] The insertion of the Saudi terrorists is especially instructive as Saudi Arabia shares a lengthy and porous border with Iraq. The Saudi jihadists presumably choose to travel to Iraq through Syria because Asad tolerates what the Saudi leadership will not. It is also possible that the total Syrian numbers are underrepresented since Syrians formed a majority of the detainees held at Camp Bucca, the main U.S. detention camp in Iraq.[37]

The Syrian jihadists themselves come from across Syria although most originate in the inland Dayr az-Zawr region, which abuts Iraq. Still others come from Latakia, the home province of the Asad family, and from Damascus, Homs, and Aleppo.[38] At just thirty-four individuals, the sample size of Syrians whose hometown is listed in the Sinjar records is too small to draw definitive conclusions about the roots of all Syrian jihadists, but it is clear that the radicals come from all across the country.

The Sinjar records also detail recruitment methods. Those recruiting most jihadists were "ikhwan (brothers)," not necessarily Muslim Brotherhood (al-ikhwan al-muslimun) members, but rather those whom the recruits considered devout or to be members of radical groups. Friends and relatives also recruited young Syrians for terrorist missions in Iraq. Most damning for Syrian government denial of culpability for facilitating terror was the Sinjar record's notation that recruiters reached several Syrians through the Internet. Given strict Syrian monitoring of electronic communication, Syrian statements that they did not know of such recruiting activities on their soil are not credible.

Underlining the extent and intensity of these recruitment efforts was the fact that almost

two-thirds of the Syrian nationals who volunteered for jihad in Iraq—and all those who reported initial recruitment by the Internet—became suicide bombers.[39] The recruitment of suicide terrorists is complex. It requires psychological screening and indoctrination. If the Syrian government claims to be unaware of such activities in its own towns, cities, and mosques, then Syria's future stability cannot be assumed. It is far more likely that the Syrian regime chose to turn a blind eye to terrorist recruitment on its soil. Again, however, this Syrian blind eye should raise concerns about the country's future stability as it suggests a vulnerability to blowback should these same Islamist terrorists decide to return to Syria to take on the Asad regime.

The Syrian government's denials of facilitation for Islamist terror are less credible given the country's role as a transit point for radical fighters and arms. Almost all Saudis, Libyans, Egyptians, Algerians, Kuwaitis, Yemenis, and Moroccans transited Syria to reach Iraq. Syria is a police state. It is implausible that its government is unaware of the transit of large numbers of foreign nationals, some through Damascus International Airport, others across the border from Jordan and Turkey. Nor can the Syrian government simply blame spontaneous outrage at U.S. occupation of Iraq: Many of the foreign fighters who traversed Syria—and more than one-fifth of the Syrians represented in the Sinjar records—made cash contributions to Al-Qaeda in Iraq, often more than $1,000 and, in some cases, more than $10,000.[40] For an outraged jihadist to take a weapon and try to cross the border is one thing; to acquire information necessary to donate to Al-Qaeda and actually transfer the money takes more direction.

The underground railroad through Syria is lucrative not only to Al-Qaeda but also to many Syrians. Trafficking people across Syria's border with Iraq is a complex and lucrative business. Smugglers will bribe border guards and, depending upon the size of the operation, officials in Damascus. Taking individuals across the border requires false papers, and acquiring these depends on corruption in Syrian government offices. In order to smuggle sensitive cargo through border checkpoints, smugglers often require intelligence about shifts and rotations of personnel at the border. This, in turn, suggests the complicity of higher levels within the Syrian regime. Indeed, many Syrian intelligence officials accept money to turn the other way. While the Syrian government sought credit for the prevention of terrorist infiltration following the U.S. siege of Fallujah in the summer of 2004, jihadists and fixers established an elaborate network of safe houses on the Syrian side of the border to enable the flow of fighters into Iraq to continue.[41] After the capture of Fallujah, U.S. troops found photographs of the leader of the Jaysh Muhammad insurgent group meeting with a senior Syrian official. While officials refused to name the Syrian official, the Iraqi ambassador to Syria said that he had protested to the Syrian government.[42]

The Sinjar documents describe a network of Syrian coordinators who facilitate travel through Syria, receiving between $19 and $34,584 for their services, the differential apparently dependent both upon the nationality of the jihadis as well as the demands of specific Syrian fixers. Saudis paid, on average, $2,500. However, the different pricing schemes offered by various fixers suggest the parallel operation of multiple networks rather than a single, coordinated system.[43] While cross-border tribal links aided infiltration, so too apparently have security forces expelled from Lebanon. These latter augmented smuggling networks into Iraq in order to make up for income lost when Syrian forces withdrew from Lebanon.[44] Because the Syrian security forces are the domain of the 'Alawis, the involvement of the security forces in smuggling and in the "taxation" of smuggling suggests the direct complicity of the regime. Indeed on December 6, 2007, the U.S. Treasury Department designated seven individuals based in Syria as suppliers of financial support for the Iraqi insurgency. Six were members of the Syrian Baath Party.[45]

Matthew Levitt, a former FBI terrorist analyst and now a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, highlighted the case of an individual known as Fawzi al-Rawi. "The extent of the Syrian role in al-Rawi's activities is noteworthy," Levitt explained. "Al-Rawi was appointed to his position in the Syrian Ba'ath Party by Syrian president Bashir al-Asad in 2003." Levitt also noted that the Treasury Department found that Rawi "is supported financially by the Syrian Government, and has close ties to Syrian intelligence."[46]
Syrians in the International Jihad

The Asad regime's support for Al-Qaeda extends far beyond the Iraqi theater of operations. Ryan Mauro, assistant director of intelligence at The Counter Terrorism Electronic Warfare and Intelligence Centre, has observed: "Many international Al-Qaeda plots have Syrian links." He has also recounted Syrian links to Al-Qaeda attacks in Jordan and Morocco.[47] For example, the cell of Abu Mus'ab az-Zarqawi, leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, was based in Syria.[48] Zarqawi's group was responsible for the October 28, 2002 assassination of U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley in Amman, Jordan,[49] as well as numerous killings of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

It has been reported that at least one alleged bomber from the Groupe Islamique Combattant Marocain (a Moroccan Al-Qaeda affiliate that claimed responsibility for the May 2003 suicide attacks on restaurants, hotels, and the Belgian consulate in Casablanca) trained in Syria.[50] In 2004, foreign students enrolled in Islamic schools in Syria participated in terrorist bombings in Israel and Turkey.[51] Analysts might dismiss the attack on Israel as motivated by long-standing Syrian policies, but the attacks in Turkey occurred at a time when a sympathetic Turkish government was helping the regime in Damascus ease its international isolation. U.S. defense officials allege that Mustafa al-'Uzayti (Abu Faraj al-Libi), a senior Al-Qaeda official captured by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence on May 2, 2005, met several terrorists in Syria to plan attacks not only on the United States but also in Europe and Australia.[52] Jordanian authorities narrowly averted a massive chemical terrorist attack in downtown Amman, which the Jordanian authorities estimate might have killed 80,000 people.[53]

Following its 2005 expulsion from Lebanon, the Syrian regime used its connections to jihadists to attempt to destabilize the Lebanese government, sponsoring the Al-Qaeda affiliate Fatah al-Islam, which established itself in Nahr al-Barid, a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon. According to Lebanese government interrogation reports, captured jihadists reported links with Syrian intelligence.[54] Jihadist cells in Iraq also spoke casually of Syrian veterans of the Jund ash-Sham (Soldiers of Syria) in Lebanon.[55] Until an October 26, 2008 U.S. raid from Iraq killed him, Zarqawi's deputy, Sulayman Khaled Darwish (Abu 'l-Ghadiya), continued to receive safe haven in Syria.[56] Following Darwish's death, Sa'd al-Shammari took over his foreign fighter facilitation network and continued to operate it from inside Syria.[57] The list is long enough to suggest that a Syrian link to Al-Qaeda is more the rule than the exception. By providing a safe haven, the Syrian government is as complicit in assisting the terrorist group as was the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

The Duplicity of the Regime

There is a growing discrepancy between the image the Syrian regime seeks to convey—that it cooperates in the war on terrorism by cracking down on radical Islamists—and the reality, which is that senior Syrian officials coddle and protect radical Islamists and Al-Qaeda operatives. Ironically, reports from international organizations such as Amnesty International have provided the Syrian regime with unwitting international legitimacy by endorsing its claim to intolerance for radical Islamists. Amnesty criticized the regime for the arrest of twelve and for the incommunicado detention of ten alleged Islamists in Dayr az-Zawr and also complained about the imprisonment of an Islamist returned to Syria in a "suspected unlawful rendition to Syria by the U.S. authorities."[58] Such criticisms may be true, but without a proper context, they suggest that the regime exhibits complete hostility to Islamism.

In reality, Asad's position is more nuanced. The media plays its part in endorsing this carefully constructed image of the regime, which is accepted blindly by many journalists. The Economist, for example, cast doubt on the October 26, 2008 U.S. commando raid on a compound in Syria in which U.S. officials claim to have killed a senior Al-Qaeda figure. "What makes the raid odder still is that the Syrian authorities have themselves embarked on a nationwide confrontation with Al-Qaeda types in Syria,"[59] the magazine noted, apparently assuming the Syrian crackdown was more substance than show.

Lee Smith, a leading Syria analyst and scholar at the Hudson Institute, has speculated that any Syrian crackdown on foreign jihadists might be mere Machiavellian calculation. "Damascus has an important card to play against the Saudis, who fear that Syria is holding several hundred Saudi fighters in prison," he writes, adding, "Damascus could embarrass the Saudis by publicly announcing the existence of these extremists—or even worse, allow those jihadis to return home to fight the House of Saud."[60]

Asad's motivation may be multifaceted. Abdel Halim Khaddam, vice president under both Hafiz and Bashir al-Asad and now a leading opposition figure in exile, speculated that Bashir gambled that the popularity of enabling resistance outweighed the dangers of antagonizing the United States. "Fighting the Americans in Iraq is very dangerous … But it also makes Bashir popular. Under the banner of resistance, anything is popular."[61]

The 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran suggested that religious rule might be the wave of the future and not an ideal of the past. Three years later, Hafiz al-Asad's "Hama rules" (as columnist Thomas Friedman anointed the bloody crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood) were a wakeup call for Islamists. The fall of secular, nationalist governments rose to the top of their agenda, but the task would neither be preordained nor easy.

After Hafiz al-Asad reasserted his authority, the Syrian government quietly began to use religion to co-opt those who might otherwise be attracted to the Muslim Brotherhood and its message. The Syrian regime financed mosques, subsidized clerics, and broadcast more religious programming on the tightly-controlled state television.[62] Just as Saddam Hussein—once embraced in Western capitals for his staunch secularism and hostility to political Islam—found religion after his 1991 defeat in Operation Desert Storm, so, too, has the Asad regime cynically turned toward religion even as, like Saddam's regime, it seeks to maintain its image of hostility to radical Islam.

Speaking at a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference's Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Damascus on May 23, 2009, Bashir al-Asad endorsed the group's theme of "Promoting Islamic Solidarity," condemned the "ferocious campaign against Islam with the objective of tarnishing its image as a frame of reference in terms of the civilization and religion of our peoples," and beseeched the gathered Arab leaders to become more religiously conservative, declaring, "How can we defend a religion whose obligations we fail to carry out: these obligations of unifying our ranks and positions, stating the word of truth against the arrogant, and defending our honor and dignity against those who usurp them?"[63] Although Asad paid lip service to curtailing terrorism (albeit with rhetoric infused with moral relativism), his depiction of the threat posed to Islam by the West brought to mind the belligerent anti-Westernism of 'Abdullah 'Azzam, Osama bin Laden's intellectual mentor, more than it did the Arab nationalism of Gamal Abdel Nasser or Baath Party founder Michel 'Aflaq.

Syria is now behaving like Saudi Arabia did in the 1990s and early 2000s when it chose to export Islamist radicalism while denying its own culpability and its vulnerability to attacks from the same quarter. Asad should heed history, however. Just as an Al-Qaeda blowback struck Saudi Arabia in the end, so, too, could Damascus's coddling and support for jihad abroad come back to haunt Syria.

Indeed, this appears to be a possibility to which Al-Qaeda theoreticians are not blind. Among the documents found in the Sinjar cache was a lengthy and detailed tract examining the lessons learned from the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood's violent campaign in Syria. It found that the brotherhood lacked a comprehensive plan, was fractured into too many groups, failed to indoctrinate sufficiently, had weak public relations, and was too dependent on outsiders for resources.[64] Al-Qaeda blamed the failure of jihad in Syria up to Hama on failed Muslim Brotherhood leadership but found that "most of the base members, some of the mid level leaders, and maybe a few high level leaders are innocent and decent people … Those faithful were driven to the jihad with true resolve; they willed their leaders to act. Unfortunately all their efforts went in vain despite … the abundance of possibilities, and they set an example for 'Jihad Quality' by working diligently, persistently and silently, and by avoiding in-house and partisan bickering."[65] Al-Qaeda's analysts found the ground in Syria still fertile for jihad should Al-Qaeda spark a movement that had learned the lessons of the past.

The Obama administration may hope to cultivate Bashir al-Asad as a partner for peace, but diplomatic ambition should not trump reality. As Asad plays with fire, far more than Syria could get burned.

Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is a senior lecturer at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

[1] The New York Times, Feb. 16, 2005.
[2] Gary C. Gambill, "Syria after Lebanon: Hooked on Lebanon," Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2005, pp. 35-42.
[3] The New York Times, Mar. 20, 2005.
[4] UN S/RES/1595 (2005).
[5] The Times (London), Oct. 26, 2005.
[6] "Sen. Barack Obama Remarks on Iraq," Clinton, Iowa campaign stop, Sept. 12, 2007.
[7] Barack Obama, "Inaugural Address," The White House, Jan. 21, 2009.
[8] (Dubai), Nov. 8, 2008.
[9] Los Angeles Times, Mar. 8, 2009.
[10] Al-Quds al-Arabi (London), Apr. 22, 2009, BBC Worldwide Monitoring, trans.
[11], June 24, 2009.
[12] Agence France-Presse, July 28, 2009.
[13] Sen. Arlen Specter, "Why Congress Can and Must Assert Itself in Foreign Policy," Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 5, 2007.
[14] "The Truth about Syria," The Washington Post, Apr. 12, 2007.
[15] Seymour M. Hersh, "Syria, Israel, and the Obama Administration," The New Yorker, Apr. 6, 2009.
[16] Ibid.
[17] Ryan Mauro, "Has Damascus Stopped Supporting Terrorists?" Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2009, pp. 61-7.
[18] Gen. Richard Myers, chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander, Coalition Ground Forces, "Coalition Provisional Authority Briefing," Baghdad, Apr. 15, 2004.
[19] "Jihadist Blowback?" The Economist (London), Oct. 2, 2008.
[20] Brian Fishman, ed., Bombers, Bank Accounts & Bleedout: Al-Qa'ida's Road in and Out of Iraq (West Point, New York: Harmony Project, 2008), p. 6.
[21] The Los Angeles Times, Apr. 28, 2003, quoted in Matthew Levitt, "Foreign Fighters and Their Economic Impact: A Case Study of Syria and Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)," paper presented at "Foreign Fighter Problem" conference, Foreign Policy Research Institute, Washington, D.C., July 14, 2009.
[22] Diane Sawyer, "A Rare Interview with the Syrian President," ABC News Now, Feb. 5, 2007; "Syria's President Assad Speaks about Chaos in Iraq," NBC News transcripts, May 7, 2007; "Interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad," CBS Early Show, Sept. 7, 2007.
[23] Juan Cole. "U.S. Sanctions on Iran,", Oct. 26, 2007, accessed Aug. 7, 2009.
[24] Adm. Mike Mullen, Department of Defense briefing, Pentagon, Apr. 25, 2008; Frederick W. Kagan, Kimberley Kagan, and Danielle Pletka, Iranian Influence in the Levant, Iraq, and Afghanistan (Washington: American Enterprise Institute Press, 2008), p. 41.
[25] Doron Almog, "Tunnel-Vision in Gaza," Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2004, pp. 3-11.
[26] "Abu Sayyaf History," Center for Defense Information, U.S. Pacific Command, Mar. 5, 2002.
[27] Fouad Ajami, The Arab Predicament (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992), p. 215.
[28] Eyal Zisser, "Hafiz Al-Asad Discovers Islam," Middle East Quarterly, Mar. 1999, pp. 49-56.
[29] Agence France-Presse, July 25, 26, 2005.
[30] Associated Press, June 16, 2006.
[31] Associated Press, Sept. 28, 2008; "Jihadist Blowback?" The Economist.
[32] Agence France-Presse, Feb. 5, 2006.
[33] Abu Musab as-Suri, "The Confrontation between the Sunni population of ash-Sham against An-Nasiriyah, Crusaders, and Jews," June 22, 2000, p. 11, Harmony Database, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, document ID: AGFP 2002-600966.
[34] Ibid., pp. 24-6.
[35] Ibid., p. 62.
[36] Fishman, ed., Bombers, Bank Accounts & Bleedout, p. 3; Joseph Felter and Brian Fishman, "Becoming a Foreign Fighter: A Second Look at the Sinjar Records," in Fishman, ed., Bombers, Bank Accounts & Bleedout, p. 32.
[37] Felter and Fishman, "Becoming a Foreign Fighter," p. 36.
[38] Ibid., pp. 40-1.
[39] Ibid., pp. 45-6, 56-7.
[40] Ibid., pp. 47, 53.
[41] Anonymous, "Smuggling, Syria, and Spending," in Fishman, ed., Bombers, Bank Accounts & Bleedout, pp. 86-7, 90, 91.
[42] The Christian Science Monitor, Dec. 23, 2004.
[43] Felter and Fishman, "Becoming a Foreign Fighter," p. 48-9.
[44] Anonymous, "Smuggling, Syria, and Spending," p. 85.
[45] Levitt, "Foreign Fighters and Their Economic Impact."
[46] Ibid.; "Treasury Designates Individuals with Ties to Al Qaida, Former Regime," U.S. Treasury Press, Dec. 6, 2007.
[47] Mauro, "Has Damascus Stopped Supporting Terrorists?" p. 62.
[48] Secretary of State Colin Powell, remarks to the United Nations Security Council, Feb. 5, 2003.
[49] Jane's Security News (Surrey, U.K.), June 16, 2003.
[50] Emerson Vermaat, "Madrid Terrorists Possessed an Important Al-Qaeda Manual," Militant Islam Monitor, Feb. 20, 2007.
[51] Alfred B. Prados and Jeremy M. Sharp, "Syria: Political Conditions and Relations with the United States after the Iraq War," Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, Jan. 10, 2005.
[52] "Summary of Evidence for Combatant Status Review Tribunal—Al Libi, Abu Faraj," U.S. Department of Defense, Feb. 8, 2007.
[53] The Jordan Times (Amman), Feb. 16, 2006.
[54] Ar-Ra'y (Amman), June 8, 2007.
[55] "Husayn Cell/Network Status Update Report," Aug. 11, 2007, Harmony Database, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, Document #NMEC-2007-658086.
[56] Mauro, "Has Damascus Stopped Supporting Terrorists?" p. 62.
[57] Levitt, "Foreign Fighters and Their Economic Impact."
[58] "Syria," Amnesty International Country Report, 2009.
[59] "A Puzzling Raid," The Economist, Oct. 30, 2008.
[60] Lee Smith, "Damascus's Deadly Bargain," The New Republic, Nov. 14, 2008.
[61] Ibid.
[62] Prados and Sharp, "Syria."
[63] "Speech of President Bashar al-Assad," Council of Foreign Ministers, Organization of Islamic Conference, Damascus, May 23-25, 2009.
[64] "Chapter One: Observations on the Jihad Ordeal in Syria," AFGP-2002-600080, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, trans., accessed Sept. 22, 2009.
[65] "Chapter Two: Lessons Learned from the Armed Jihad Ordeal in Syria," AFGP-2002-600080, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, trans., accessed Sept. 22, 2009.