It has now been five years since the sentencing of the Holy Land Five: Muslim-American humanitarians who were falsely convicted of providing “material support for terrorism” because of their charitable work in Palestine. To mark the occasion, the daughters of the Holy Land Five have produced a powerful video message featuring the families of those imprisoned, as well as people around the world, expressing solidarity with the innocent men.
Alas the overtly politicised case against the Holy Land Five is only one among many. Since 11 September 2001, there have been numerous legal efforts to criminalise compassion in the US, ultimately denying Muslim-Americans of the right to freely practice their religion.
Founded in 1989, the Holy Land Foundation was once the largest Islamic charity in the US. The Texas-based foundation helped to raise funds for people misplaced by both natural and man-made disasters, focusing primarily on Palestinian refugees living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as well as in the neighbouring countries, but also helping both American and international victims of tornadoes, earthquakes and floods. The Foundation even assisted the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
However three months after the 11/9 attacks, the US government suddenly designated the Holy Land Foundation as a terrorist organisation, closing down the charity and seizing all its assets. Federal prosecutors accused the foundation and its members of providing financial assistance to individuals and organisations linked to Hamas, claiming that this constituted “material support for terrorism” as stipulated in the USA PATRIOT Act. The government based its case on the twisted logic that the money the foundation was sending to zakat associations in Gaza to build hospitals and feed the poor relieved the social organisations affiliated with Hamas of carrying out this responsibility.
None of the zakat associations were listed as “Specially Designated Nationals” (SDNs) at the time of the alleged offence. The US Treasury Department considers SDNs to be criminal actors and thus “their assets are blocked and US persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them.” But it did not matter because the government has consistently adopted a loose interpretation of the material support clause to target Muslim-Americans, often using ex post facto relationships to prove that suspects are, according to President George W. Bush’s Executive Order 13224 of September 24, 2001, “otherwise associated with” terrorists.
While the US government does indeed classify Hamas as an SDN, the Islamist movement is not at all connected to Al-Qaeda or the attacks on 11/9 which precipitated the closure of the Holy Land Foundation. After all, the Foundation had been operating since 1989, so why else would the government wait twelve years to target the charity except to conflate all Muslims with terrorism after 11/9, creating a climate of fear that would lead Americans to support the so-called war on terror and the US-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. President Bush even called the closure of the Foundation “another step in the war on terrorism”.
Leading up to the trial, the government amassed an amazing 197 counts against six members of the Holy Land Foundation, many of them trumped up criminal charges. However, in 2007 the case ended in mistrial for five of the defendants, with one defendant being found not guilty of all but one charge against him, for which the jury was deadlocked.
Nevertheless, the government refused to drop its case, and a retrial was ordered in late 2008 against the Holy Land Five: Ghassan Elashi, co-founder and chairman of the board; Shukri Abu-Baker, president and CEO; Mohammad El-Mezain, co-founder and the California office representative; Mufid Abdulqader, volunteer fundraiser and Abdulrahman Odeh, the New Jersey office representative.
For the 2008 retrial, the government dropped almost half of the original charges and called an anonymous Israeli intelligence expert as a witness, who according to Mondoweiss testified that he knew the defendants had ties to Hamas because he “could smell Hamas”. Several lawyers have noted that the use of an anonymous witness was a legal first, and clearly violates the defendants’ sixth amendment right to face their accusers in court.
Needless to say, in the second trial the Holy Land Five were found guilty of every criminal charge that was brought against them. They were given draconian sentences of between 15 and 65 years in prison, a devastating punishment for them and their families.
In addition to putting the Holy Land Five in jail for what could possibly be the rest of their lives, according to the New York Times the government also “publicly named more than 300 individuals and American Muslim organisations as ‘unindicted co-conspirators’, without allowing them to hear the evidence against them or defend themselves in court.”
So much for innocent until proven guilty.
The Holy Land Five tried to appeal their convictions, but the US Supreme Court declined their final appeal in 2012. They have now exhausted all their legal options. Four of the five men are currently imprisoned in a severely restricted facility for prisoners deemed to be “security threats” known as the Communications Management Unit (CMU). After 11/9 two CMUs were built, one in Indiana and the other in Illinois, and the vast majority of prisoners in both are Muslims. Most prisoners have extremely limited contact with the outside world, including their families. American public radio station NPR has called the CMUs “Guantanamo North” and the Nation magazine describes them as “Gitmo in the Heartland.”
To date, the US government still has not published a list of approved Islamic charities, probably because the current ambiguity allows federal officials to selectively pursue politically motivated cases. This has had a chilling effect on charitable giving.
The Holy Land Foundation case did inspire one Washington-based group called the American Task Force on Palestine to come up with a list of acceptable projects for individuals and charities to support in Palestine, which have all been vetted by the US Agency for International Development. Unsurprisingly, the American Task Force on Palestine has been described by one Palestinian-American writing for Al-Jazeera as “a Washington organisation designed to promote a particular line on Palestine. The group is tasked with feeding the State Department palatable fictions – like, ‘two states for two peoples’. In return, organisation heads are invited to dinners with important people.”
The overt politicisation of the American judiciary to deny Muslims in America of their rights is not exclusive to individuals and charities working in Palestine. Since 11/9, thousands of Muslim-Americans have been detained, deported or profiled, even though very few are ever prosecuted in the courts, and dozens of Islamic charities have been either closed down or financially disabled, creating a climate of fear that denies Muslim-Americans of the right to give to charity, rendering them unable to practice zakat, one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
Similar to the Holy Land Foundation, many of the individuals and charities that have been targeted were singled out to justify foreign invasions. When President Bush addressed a joint session of Congress on 20 September 2001 to declare, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists,” the “us” he was referring to was not the American people, but American empire. He was saying that you must support our foreign invasion and occupation, otherwise you will be criminalised. And in fact, Muslims in America were never even given a choice, because the government had already started to reproduce a particular typology of Muslims-as-terrorists. As scholar Mustafa Bayoumi has argued, immigrant males from targeted countries were obliged to “misidentify from the Muslim-as-terrorist figure” or else face the consequences, a typology repeatedly emphasized in the media.
For example, in February 2003, Dr Rafil Dhafir, a prominent Iraqi-American oncologist and respected imam living in Central New York, was arrested because his charity Help the Needy was sending humanitarian aid to Iraq, including money to build mosques, parcels of food and medical supplies, all of which allegedly violated the UN sanctions, measures which Dennis Halliday, the former UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, says killed around one million Iraqis. Although the FBI had kept Dhafir under surveillance since at least 1997, Help the Needy was never prevented from delivering the supposedly illegal aid to Iraq. Instead, the charity openly carried out its operations until 85 agents went to Dhafir’s home to arrest him only weeks before the launch of the US-led invasion of Iraq. The same morning he was arrested, around 150 Muslim contributors to the charity living in Central New York were also questioned by various government agencies.
To dispel any doubts about this case being linked to the invasion of Iraq, former Attorney General John D. Ashcroft referred to Dhafir as a terrorist when he was apprehended, a charge repeated by former New York Governor George Pataki. The Washington Post called Dhafir a “high profile suspect” and reported that: “A federal prosecutor suggested that an Arab engineer who was a friend of Dhafir’s might be proficient in fashioning ‘dirty bombs’.”
However when Dhafir finally went to trial, he was only accused of white-collar crimes, with the most serious counts being related to money-laundering. He did not face any charges of terrorism. Nevertheless, by then the US had already invaded Iraq in the name of fighting the war on terror. The reason for Dhafir’s “high profile” arrest was already a moot point, and the alleged terrorist was only found guilty of criminal activity. However, we was given a harsh sentence of 22 years in prison and was initially placed in the CMU prison in Indiana. He has since been transferred to a lower security facility.
Although it was not mentioned at all during the trial because the information was sealed, during the sentencing the prosecution suggested that the government had evidence that while volunteering with Doctors Without Borders in Afghanistan during the 1980s, Dhafir had met with a member of the mujahedin who later became a supporter of Al-Qaeda, leaving out the context of Washington’s financial and military support for the mujahedin at that time.
Indeed the National Security Division of the Department of Justice subsequently listed the case against Dhafir and his charity as a successful terrorist prosecution. He too has lost every judicial appeal, exhausting all his legal options for seeking justice.
Numerous other Islamic charities have also been targeted since 11/9. These include Benevolence International Foundation, Global Relief Foundation, Kind Hearts USA and Islamic American Relief Agency. The witch hunt even led the American Civil Liberties Union to release a report in 2009 entitled “Blocking Faith, Freezing Charity“.
In 2006 the FBI raided the Michigan offices of Life for Relief and Development, a large and highly regarded Islamic charity, on the eve of Ramadan, the holy month when Muslims fast and make considerable charitable contributions. The charity was reportedly under investigation in connection with its activities in Iraq. Despite having its property seized, the case against the charity was ultimately closed and it was allowed to remain open. Nevertheless, the timing of the raid had already achieved a wider purpose.
In another timely coincidence, on the first day of the 2007 trial against the Holy Land Foundation, federal agents raided the offices of the Michigan-based branch of the Al-Mabarrat Association, a charity affiliated with the late Ayatollah Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah in Lebanon, as well as the offices of the Goodwill Charitable Organization, also connected to Lebanon. The US Treasury Department accused the latter of having ties to Hizbullah’s Martyr’s Foundation, an organisation already on the SDN list. The same day, the FBI searched a number of local businesses and homes, again traumatising the community. Subsequently the Goodwill Charitable Organization was shut down and also listed as an SDN. However the FBI allowed Al-Mabarrat Association’s Michigan offices to remain open.
It is important to note that while each case is uniquely tragic, non are unusual. There have been many other domestic victims of the US war on terror, including many Islamic charities. Indeed these coordinated and well-publicised actions against both Muslims and Islamic charities have successfully created a climate of fear that makes it extremely difficult for Muslims in America to give or perform charity, thus criminalising compassion and denying Muslim-Americans of their constitutionally guaranteed right to freely practice their religion.
It is widely known that Israel and its allies spend millions of dollars to promote Zionism on college and university campuses across the US. Zionist organisations fund student groups like Hillel, the largest Jewish campus organisation in the world, as well as sponsor American Jewish students to travel or study abroad in Israel through programmes like Bithright Israel and MASA Israel Journey.
Israel and its allies also spend vast resources organising pro-Zionist speaking tours, both on and off college and university campuses. The Jewish National Fund works with an extensive list of Zionist scholars and professionals to, as it proudly states, “Bring the Israel experience to your next meeting, community event or conference.” Furthermore, while a doctoral student at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in Central New York, I was told that the Israeli embassy regularly contacted the administration, as well as the directors of selected programmes, to pressure them to schedule an event featuring the Israeli Ambassador to the US.
However, perhaps less is known about how Israeli universities are actively involved in institutionalising Zionism in the American academy, mainly in the form of collaborative research programmes that legitimise the right of powerful states to illegally invade and occupy Muslim and Arab lands by equating the resulting struggle for liberation with terrorism.
My own university is complicit in this project to normalise invasion and occupation through collaborative programmes with Israeli universities. In Fall 2007, our graduate magazine featured an article entitled “Trying to Change the Rules” that focused on several collaborative projects related to a partnership between the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT) at Syracuse University’s respected College of Law and the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) located at the Interdisciplinary Centre (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel.
The IDC is one of Israel’s most influential security institutes and is thought to have extremely close connections to the Israeli government and military. Indeed the chairman of the ICT Board of Directors, Shabtai Shavit, is the former head of the Mossad.
The collaboration between the IDC and Syracuse University started in 2005 and expanded after Israel’s 2006 War against Lebanon. The heads of INSCT and the ITC, along with the former dean of the Maxwell School, who had previously worked for the US Department of Defence, all agreed that the existing rules of war no longer applied to the dominant forms of warfare in the 21st century, which they described as “asymmetric” because most conflicts today are conducted between state and nonstate actors that have vastly different military capabilities. The three decided that “someone should attempt to update” the rules of war and that INSCT, in partnership with the Israelis, was “well-positioned to take that on”. This resulted in a five-year collaborative research project called “New Battlefields/Old Laws” that included a two-way student exchange programme.
While most wars today are indeed “asymmetric”, it is because many of them are also illegal and should never have been allowed to happen in the first place. According to international human rights law, the case can be made that the recent wars waged by the US and Israel are all illegal, not only for being disproportionate responses to real or perceived threats, especially those that were manufactured, but also for intentionally blurring the distinction between combatants and civilians.
Israel’s 2006 war against Lebanon was waged after Hizbullah launched an ambush against Israeli soldiers, capturing two of them in the hopes of negotiating a prisoner exchange, and killing three. During the subsequent aggression, Agence France Presse reports that 1,287 Lebanese died, nearly all civilians, and 4,054 were wounded. Israeli forces intentionally inflicted severe damage to civilian infrastructure including: the Rafik Hariri International Airport; various ports; a lighthouse in Ras Beirut; bridges, roads and factories throughout the country; ambulances and relief trucks; schools, orphanages and hospitals; mosques and community centres; mobile telephone and television stations; as well as fuel containers and service stations. During the final three days of fighting, and despite the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 calling for an immediate cessation of the hostilities, Israel dropped up to four million cluster bomblets in southern Lebanon, and over one million remained unexploded, prompting charges from the UN’s humanitarian chief that Israel employed a “completely immoral” use of cluster bombs during the conflict. According to Lebanon’s Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour, more than 400 Lebanese have been victims of these unexploded cluster munitions since the cease-fire, 115 of them under the age of 18.
On the other side, 116 Israeli soldiers were killed as well as 43 civilians, and Israel suffered severe damage to civilian infrastructure including a post office and two hospitals.
The disproportionality here is nothing less than shocking, and all the more so since it was intentional. During the war, the Israeli military employed what it called “the Dahiyah Doctrine”, named after the residential areas in southern Beirut that Israeli forces indiscriminately destroyed on the basis that “they were also used as Hizbullah command-and-control centres, and were built over Hizbullah bunkers.” In October 2008, Israeli Major General Gadi Eizenkot threatened that: “What happened in the Dahiyah quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases.”
One Israeli journalist writing for Yedioth Ahronoth summed up this strategy as follows: “In practical terms, the Palestinians in Gaza are all Khaled Mashaal [the exiled leader of Hamas]; the Lebanese are all Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah [the secretary general of Hizbullah]; and the Iranians are all Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [the former president of the Islamic Republic of Iran].”
This strategy, which resulted in mass death and destruction, clearly violates the principles of war in regards to proportionality and distinction, and thus is illegal.
Nevertheless, Israeli occupation forces used the same strategy during Israel’s 2008-2009 assault against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, resulting in the deaths of 1,389 Palestinians, more than half of whom were civilians and 318 of whom were minors under the age of 18. In addition, more than 5,300 Palestinians were wounded. According to the Israeli rights group B’tselem, “Israel also caused enormous damage to residential dwellings, industrial buildings, agriculture and infrastructure for electricity, sanitation, water, and health, which was already on the verge of collapse prior to the operation” due to the Israeli siege. The aggression targeted 18 schools, including eight kindergartens, with at least 262 others damaged. Israel also destroyed more than 3,500 residential dwellings, leaving more than 20,000 Palestinians homeless.
Inside Israel, Hamas rockets killed three Israeli civilians during the offensive and one member of the security forces. According to the UN, 518 Israelis were injured. Newspapers reported that 28 Israelis were made homeless, and over 1,000 claims were filed relating to damaged property.
Again, the disproportionate results of the aggression clearly indicate that Israel violated the principles of war in regards to proportionality and distinction. And when wars are illegal, they constitute crimes.
Nevertheless, Syracuse University still decided that Israel, an occupying power, was legally and ethically qualified to help devise new rules of war. Of course, this should not be surprising in the context of US empire. When accepting his Nobel Peace Prize, President Barack Obama described the 2002 invasion of Afghanistan as a just war, even though none of the hijackers on 11 September 2001 were of Afghan origin. Thus despite not being responsible for perpetrating the 11/9 attacks, around 15,000 Afghans have died as a result. That is some twisted conception of justice.
All of this is actually connected. According to the IDC web site, Syracuse University has developed “a joint study and research programme in counterterrorism policy, homeland security and American domestic and foreign policy,” drawing parallels between the experiences of confronting Palestinian resistance to occupation and Al-Qaeda acts of terrorism.
It is not incidental that professors from Syracuse University also regularly participate in the annual counterterrorism conference at Herzliya. According to the New York writer Ira Glunts, “One of the conference days always falls on 11 September. This, of course, is timed perfectly to make the case that Israel’s battle against terrorism became America’s battle as a result of the World Trade Centre attack.”
However it is important to note that Syracuse University is not alone in partnering with Israeli universities to normalise the occupation. Earlier this month, the Electronic Intifada reported that Palestine solidarity activists in the US “are campaigning against plans by Texas A&M University to take over a college in Nazareth, the city in present-day Israel with the highest number of Palestinian citizens.” According to journalist Patrick Strickland, “Texas A&M, the sixth largest university in the US, intends to raise $70 million to assume control of the Nazareth Academic Institute.”
In October, Texas Governor Rick Perry, who campaigned for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 and is likely to campaign again, announced the new programme alongside the chancellor of Texas A&M while the two were meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem. As Strickland points out, “John Hagee, a right-wing Christian Zionist pastor leading the lobby group Christians United for Israel, is also involved in the project.”
Haaretz notes that while the college in Nazareth was established in 2010 specifically to serve the Arab population, it has suffered from a lack of state funds, thus college officials “welcomed the prestigious American university’s entry into the picture.” After all, although Arabs comprise 20 per cent of the Israeli population, they are only 11 per cent of its student body. However the Jerusalem Post indicates that, “The new institution, to be called the Peace Campus, will promote coexistence for the sake of education with a student population combining Arab, Jewish and foreign students.”
Indeed, as the Daily Beast reports, Manuel Trajtenberg, the chair of Israel’s Planning and Budgeting Committee for the Council for Higher Education, explained that he anticipates significant student interest: “Of course, we would appeal to potential students in the area, but also Jewish Israelis of all sorts.” If the goal here is not yet clear, Emily L. Hauser also draws attention to the involvement of Hagee, who once described Adolf Hitler as a hunter sent by God to “chase the Jewish people back to the land”. Additionally, Hagee has raised tens of millions of dollars “for projects in Israel and for Jewish settlements in the West Bank.” Peace Campus suddenly looks a lot like Oslo.
As Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, remarked, this is “another colonial project by Israel-to further colonize our space, whatever space is left of the Palestinian space within the state of Israel.”
Of course it is not always necessary to send American students, professors and investment to Israel in order to benefit Zionism. In September, the Electronic Intifada reported that the New York City Council has “approved a lease for Cornell University to build a major applied science engineering campus in partnership with the Haifa-based Israel Institute of Technology (better known as Technion). The 2.1 million square foot, taxpayer-funded project is to be located on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, a strip of largely residential land between Manhattan and Queens.”
As scholar Terri Ginsberg points out: “A closer look at the corporations affiliated with Technion, some of which have expressed interest in this entrepreneurial venture, indicates that the project’s aims may be more sinister. These corporations have developed weapons and surveillance technology used by Israel to deny Palestinians their fundamental human rights.” She adds that Technion “has a history of cooperating with Israel’s arms industry and of helping to develop a bulldozer designed specifically for use in demolishing Palestinian homes.”
It is important to note that UK universities are not immune to this trend either. For example, the Electronic Intifada reported in September that the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) at King’s College London “was established as a partnership between the IDC in Herzliya” and other Israeli universities. Unsurprisingly, the majority of ICSR’s projects focus on the various expressions of “Islamic radicalism” without any mention of Zionist extremism. Even its project on North America and Europe only focuses on radicalism in Muslim communities.
All of these examples illustrate how the Zionist occupation uses the Western academy in a variety of ways to reproduce itself not only in Palestine, but also beyond.
Johannesburg – In a desperate attempt to swing Western nations’ public opinion against Iran, Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu – widely viewed in Muslim society as a major villain in promoting Islamophobia – has yet again resorted to vile anti-Islam rhetoric.
In step with an inglorious record of Zionist-colonialism, the bigotry inherent in his irrational utterances raises the specter of an ugly, emotive campaign of renewed Islam-bashing. At an event at Tel Aviv University that was also attended by French President Francois Hollande, Netanyahu contrasted “progressive Israel” with “oppressive” aspirations of “radical Islam”, which he claimed was attempting to take humanity back to the “Dark Ages.”
This brazen assault is a remarkable display by a personality who arrogantly believes that the world is beholden to him. It is symbolic of the regime he leads and represents. The notion that Israel is able to do as it pleases without any accountability to the international community is increasingly turning into a major source of irritation and embarrassment for many of its allies.
Netanyahu regards himself as a modern-day savior of Jews and in order to do so keeps unleashing his bitterness and hatred of Islam. He does so also to ensure that Israel’s enemy is clearly defined. It’s a ridiculous situation that in today’s enlightened era a rightwing leader such as him is able to spew venom and incite anti-Muslim sentiments, safe in the knowledge that neither the USA nor the UN is able to touch him.
While he continues to rant and rave about “radical Islam” he puts his hope on the gullibility of people, expecting that Israel’s hardline repressive policies against Palestinians will evoke sympathy rather than censure. It remains a misplaced expectation and reflects adversely on the fact that Netanyahu is as out of touch with reality as PW Botha (Groot Krokodil) was during his reign as apartheid South Africa’s chief.
This episode is certainly not isolated from Netanyahu’s past. He has a history of fuelling hatred against Islam and has done so by dividing Muslims into various camps and categories. As a leading Islamophobia ideologue he can claim “success” if it’s the correct term one may use to describe his influence on America’s neoconservative movement and the range of wars spawned by them across the Muslim world.
Netanyahu may be the premier of Israel, but he remains a central figure in US politics via the disproportionate dominance of AIPAC-influenced legislation in both the Senate and Congress. From the Clinton era’s “Omnibus Counter-Terrorism Act” to George Bush’s infamous “War on Terror”, Netanyahu and his rightwing gang has ensured that Palestine’s freedom struggle is criminalized as terrorism. The arguments advanced to pigeon-hole groups such as Hamas and Hizbullah as terror outfits, have had a disastrous consequence in America. On the one hand, US taxpayers have had to fund their domestic law enforcement agencies to prosecute Palestinians on behalf of Israel. On the other hand, the bastion of freedom and democracy has also had to contend with managing inter-faith relations to prevent anti-Islam sentiments from resembling anarchy in the streets.
Though some hasbara enthusiasts may find it extremely tough to admit, I’m not surprised that every element of Israel’s grip on the lives and destiny of Palestinians resembles apartheid in South Africa. And similarities can justifiably be extended to the personalities who executed apartheid policies. From Verwoerd to Vorster and Botha one will have very little difficulty to recast them as Ben-Gurion to Begin and Netanyahu. It’s truly a gallery of rogues. The Zionist cast has in fact outstripped their apartheid partners and led by Netanyahu seem hell bent to continue excelling in land theft, occupation, war crimes, apartheid barriers, weapons of mass destruction, detention without trial and Islamophobia.
How far will he be allowed to go in his wild pursuit of war is anyone’s guess. What is clear though is that Netanyahu is increasingly behaving and sounding like an idiot whose conduct is not only becoming a source of embarrassment for global Jewry, but also makes Israel’s western allies cringe.
Follow Iqbal Jassat on Twitter: @ijassat
With few people being aware of it, the state of Israel has established key outposts in Boston, Massachusetts. It is customary for other countries to maintain embassies and consulates in large cities in the US, but in Boston, Israel, in addition to its consulate, and on top of its Anti-Defamation League and its Combined Jewish Philanthropies, also has two unique, nationally known organizations working especially for its interests. They are CAMERA – the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America – and the David Project Center for Jewish Leadership.
There is no listing on CAMERA’s web site of the individuals involved in it, and no address is given other than a Boston post office box. CAMERA describes itself as “a media-monitoring, research and membership organization devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East.”(1) “Accurate and balanced,” as the terms are used here, means pro-Israel and anti-Arab. For example, recent articles up on CAMERA’s web site attack authors who have seen fit to “malign” the mortally stricken Ariel Sharon for his involvement in the 1982 massacres at Sabra and Shatila. CAMERA is an organization of thought police for Israel which comes down with both feet on any publication that contradicts Zionist dogma. Public butchers like Ariel Sharon are in need of vigilant propagandists because their crimes are so obvious. This is also the case for Israel as a whole, with its murdering of Palestinian children, its constant land confiscation, its uprooting of olive trees, its stealing of resources, its program of slow genocide.
Is there any other nation on earth that has such structures built into US society? Do the French, for example, have people watching everything that’s printed about France, and jump on anyone who’s “anti-French”? Burundi and Paraguay have about the same population size as Israel (about 6 million). Would we expect either of these countries to have as much sway over what is said about it in US journals as Israel does? Yet Israel somehow has the ability and the resources to do this.
The second outpost, the David Project, has a web site which also lists a Boston post office box, and names one Charles Jacobs as its president. The site says that “by promoting a fair and honest understanding of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the David Project leads the ideological effort against the forces intent on defaming, weakening and destroying the Jewish State.”(2) Examples of “fair and honest” reporting of the Arab side of the “Arab-Israeli conflict” are non-existent on this web site. In its “Campus support” section, the David Project declares that it “serves as a resource for pro-Israel campus activism.” So, we see again that “fair and honest” simply means “pro-Israel.”
The David Project’s first major action was blocking an endowment for a chair in Islamic Studies at the Harvard Divinity School. The Project’s “Director of Campus Strategy,” Rachel Fish, based this 2003 smear campaign on the fact that the money for the endowment was to come from the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, whose Zayed Center, according to the Project, “promoted anti-American, anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic writings and lectures.” Did the David Project Director of Campus Strategy, in the interest of fairness and balance, raise any questions about the endowment of the chair of Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard, occupied by torture advocate Alan Dershowitz? No. The Project couldn’t even come up with an obvious human rights issue like Pentagon funding for weapons research at MIT. It attacked funding for a chair in Islamic studies because it did not want students of Islam to have either a voice or respectability at Harvard or in the Boston area.
After successfully blocking the Harvard endowment, the David Project went on in late 2004 to produce the movie “Columbia Unbecoming” which targets Professor Joseph Massad of Columbia University’s Department of Middle East studies for allegedly intimidating pro-Israel students. M. Junaid Alam, current editor of Lefthook, describes one of the Columbia students who made charges against Massad: a “student who was a lead organizer for the film, Ariel Beery, boasts an impressive resume: he served as a spokesman for the Israeli military, is the head of the on-campus Zionist group, and is also an agent and informer for Daniel Pipes’ notorious CampusWatch.org website, where students are encouraged to ‘report’ their professors’ political views if they are deemed insufficiently servile to the conservative party line.”(3) A total of eleven articles by Ariel Beery appear on Daniel Pipes’ witch-hunting “Campus Watch,” an organization which says it is devoted to “monitoring Middle East studies on campus.”(4) Like Campus Watch, the David Project claims that it “serves as a resource for pro-Israel campus activism.” But, as Alam points out, such advocacy is in conflict with its claim elsewhere to fairness and honesty. Among other obvious biases in “Columbia Unbecoming,” Massad is given no chance for a rebuttal. The movie has been called a right wing attack on academic freedom and the 1st Amendment right to free speech. But it’s more than that. It’s an attack on the fact that Zionist oppression of Palestine is real. The right wing attack on Ward Churchill at the University of Colorado is much the same – an apparent assault on academic freedom is really an assault on an articulation of the fact of US crimes of genocide. It’s an assault on the truth waged for ideological ends.
A film crew from the David Project didn’t just happen to be strolling through the Columbia Campus and witness alleged abuse of Israeli students. The production of “Columbia Unbecoming” has every appearance of having been planned in advance, from Zionist activist “victims” to dissemination of a finished product which the David Project disingenuously claims it never meant for public viewing. Israel is clearly aware that it is losing the propaganda battle on US campuses. Since it is unable to match its opponents argument for argument, it instead attacks their integrity.
In other cases, Zionists attempt to protect Israel by posing as the strongest advocates for “peace.” One example is the Israel Project, based in Washington and Jerusalem. The Israel Project commissioned a study which found that:
“Never in the modern history of the Jewish state has there been more outspoken public opposition on the ELITE college campuses to the basic principles and tenets of Israel. To be brutally frank, if current trends are not averted, America’s core commitment to and alliance with Israel may not survive.”
The researcher recommended the following response:
“The only way for Israel to create sympathy is to be the side working hardest for peace. The best case for Israel is to demonstrate that she is willing to go twice as far as her neighbors to establish peace.”(5)
The strategy that devolves from this is to co-opt peace and justice organizations on college campuses with the message of Israel’s benevolence, while the David Project’s strategy is to simply attack individuals and organizations who might be in a position to counter such propaganda.
The David Project’s newest cause is to block the continued construction of a mosque being built by the Islamic Society of Boston in Roxbury. The mosque is 85% completed. The David Project opposes the mosque because of “Saudi Arabia funding hatred of infidels, Christians, [and] Jews, in American mosques”, and says that “various individuals who have been affiliated and directly involved with the Islamic Society of Boston (‘ISB’) have defended acts of terrorism, and have publicly engaged in the worst sort of anti-Semitic and other hate speech.”(6,7)
Of course, the accusations are part of wider Israeli and US government attacks on Arabs and Muslims being carried out directly, and with open brutality, in Palestine and Iraq. The David Project’s defamation of the Islamic Society of Boston was created by people opposed to Muslims as Muslims, for purely political ends.
Given the history of US genocide in Iraq over the past 15 years, and the fact that the dominant religion in the US is Christianity, one could make a good case that Christians are heavily involved in terrorism. Yet it would be unthinkable to oppose the construction of an Episcopal Church in Boston. Would a Catholic church be opposed because certain priests had been found to be pedophiles? Would a synagogue be opposed because of support among rabbis for a foreign state founded on genocide against the Palestinian people? But somehow people find it legitimate to say that a mosque might be connected to “terrorists” and therefore should not be built. What country in the Arab world has caused as much mayhem, murder, and suffering in recent world history as the US? Yet the dominant culture in the US feels it is in a position to question Arabs.
In the past year, the David Project joined forces in the anti-mosque effort with, among others, former CNN reporter Steve Emerson, who made the ridiculous 1994 “documentary” Terrorists Among Us: Jihad In America. The Islamic Society of Boston has filed a libel suit against Emerson, the David Project, the right wing Boston Herald, Fox News, Dennis Hale, and others for mounting an intentional smear campaign for the purpose of preventing the mosque from being completed. Dennis Hale, a Boston College professor, is president of the Judeo-Christian Alliance, an initiative of the David Project. From the umbrella of the David Project, he heads a front group called “Citizens for Peace and Tolerance.”(8)
Boston has a recent history of persecution of supporters of Palestine. The well-known Boston activist Amer Jubran is one example. In 2000 Jubran was arrested at a legal protest of an “Israel Independence Day” celebration in Brookline, a city adjacent to Boston. The Brookline police were paid $10,600 by the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Israeli Consulate to cover the event. The Brookline police who arrested Jubran were in contact with the Israeli Consulate prior to the arrest. The charges were either invented or pre-arranged. It is important to remember here that the Israeli Consulate represents a foreign government. It is not appropriate for a police force in a US city to be employed by, advised by, or report to, a foreign government. Blindness to this issue is part of US politics from Boston to the national level in Washington, where Israel and AIPAC get away with what would be called gross political interference, infiltration, bribery, and espionage if it were any other country. Others have commented on Israel’s status as a 51st state, but Connecticut or New Hampshire would not be able to bend politics in Massachusetts in this way, and all of these states together would not be able to match Israel’s power in Washington. It might be more accurate to say that Israel is a meta-state, a state above others, which takes from and manipulates the US polity as it sees fit.
In November 2002 Amer Jubran was arrested again, this time without any charges at all, two days after leading a march organized by the New England Committee to Defend Palestine. He was ultimately harassed out of the country by court proceedings under the Department of Homeland Security. At that time, mass arrests of Arab and Muslim immigrants were being motivated nationwide by Justice Department Zionists John Ashcroft and Michael Chertoff. Without question, Boston Zionists were behind the order to have Jubran “removed,” just as he was earlier in Brookline. The judge in the case, Leonard Shapiro, had the gall to declare that the two-year, million dollar investigation of Jubran was about alleged immigration issues and was not a political trial.
A second example is Jaoudat Abouazza, another Palestinian who, for his attempts to organize a protest of a June 2002 “Israel Independence Day” celebration in Boston Common, was arrested on phony charges by Cambridge police, subjected to torture in the Bristol County Jail (involuntary extraction of four teeth without anaesthesia), and ultimately deported to Canada. Abouazza’s treatment was meant to send a message to the Arab American community in Boston to stay off the streets. This was during the time of Sharon’s “Operation Defensive Shield” in Palestine, which had brought many Arab Americans to the streets in protest. Abouazza was betrayed in his court case by the head of the Boston ACLU, who personally visited him in jail, saw the evidence of his torture, and did nothing about it. With few exceptions the liberal legal establishment turned its back on the Homeland Security attacks on Arabs and Muslims, both in Boston and the country as a whole.
A final example is Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner. In October 2005, speaking at a rally for the renewal of the Voting Rights Act, Turner pointed out the irony of people supporting voting rights in the US while the US provides generous funding to Israel, which openly deprives Palestinians of voting rights. Turner was immediately called on the carpet for this by a local newspaper, The Jewish Advocate, and by the New England Anti-Defamation League (ADL). In a letter responding to the ADL, Turner said, “a great injustice is being perpetrated against the Palestinians. I believe that all human beings of conscience have a responsibility to speak out and demand an end of our federal government’s support of its perpetuation.” He included a postscript to his letter, stating flatly: “you have no right to label someone as prejudiced or Anti Semitic because you disagree with their views on Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.” This sentiment expresses the feelings of many, many people concerned about the oppression of Palestine who are fed up with being intimidated by this one cheap argument over and over again when they express this concern.
Chuck Turner is a very popular and well-liked African American leader in Boston. The ADL has a special record of conflict with African American leaders who cross the line by criticizing Israel as he did. The ADL mounted a notorious attack on Amiri Baraka for his October 2001 poem, “Somebody Blew Up America”, which asked a hundred questions about who may have been involved in 9/11, and which did not exclude Israel. In the poem Baraka asks, “Who know why Five Israelis was filming the explosion /And cracking they sides at the notion.”(9)
In October 2002, Baraka responded to the ADL smear campaign against him by reminding readers that in the 1960′s Stokeley Carmichael (later Kwame Ture) of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was denounced by the ADL for calling Zionism “the enemy of humanity.” Baraka reminded readers of ADL accusations of “Black anti-Semitism” leveled at the Black liberation movement when it criticized Israel’s support for Apartheid South Africa. He recalled ADL’s position against affirmative action. He also recalled the AIPAC/ADL campaign against the Congresswoman from Georgia, Cynthia McKinney.(10)
Others have documented the ADL’s spying on and collecting dossiers not only on black liberation and anti-Apartheid groups but the American Indian Movement, Central America solidarity groups, Pacifica, ACT UP, Arab Americans, and supporters of Palestine. In an article in The Village Voice in 1993 Robert I. Friedman points out that right wing hate groups were not the ADL’s first concern: he quotes an ADL official who stated that “the real danger to Jews is posed not by the right — but by a coalition of leftists, blacks, and Arabs, who in his view threaten the fabric of democracy in America, as well as the state of Israel.”(11)
Zionists in the US have a long history of working in the civil rights movement or with groups on the Left as long as they kept Israel out of the discussion. Israel was not discussed during the days of rage against the Vietnam war. Nor during the wars in Central America. Nor during the beginning of the devastation of Iraq in 1991. Israel is explicitly not discussed today from the stage of rallies hosted by the national peace organization, United for Peace with Justice. Until they were exposed in 1993, and perhaps afterward, spies for the ADL actively infiltrated Left and Arab American organizations in order to collect intelligence and to report people to both local authorities and to foreign governments, like South Africa and Israel. In one or two cases, activists who the ADL informed on were killed. Today the ADL’s main business is to ally with causes for social justice to make sure that the people who work in these causes either avoid or stay “on message” when it comes to the question of human rights violations in Israel – a monstrosity not to be discussed.
The ADL today has a law enforcement training program for police in cities all over the US. In April, 2004 the ADL held a training session for Boston area campus police on “responding to hate crimes and also instances when activism and expression become intimidation, harassment, and threats.”(12) Note the special attention to “activism.” Boston police have also had tête-à-têtes with Israeli police. In one meeting, said Boston Police Chief James Hussey, the Israeli police “were able to share with our intelligence people and some of the people out in the streets the issues that they deal with,” (13) Another program was set up in 2002 by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs to send US police to Israel.(14) Because of its alleged security failures on 9/11, an Israeli was called in to handle security at Boston’s Logan Airport, his main qualification being Israel’s supposed special knowledge of the ways of terrorists.
The ADL claims to work in support of civil rights for everyone. It has sponsored “No Place for Hate Programs” in cities and towns throughout the United States. But under cover of a slogan which no one would think to oppose (who is for hate?), it is ironically doing just what it says it’s against: promoting hatred of a defined minority group – Arabs and Muslims in the US – and ultimately defending racist Israel as it attempts to get rid of the same people in Palestine. The ADL program should be titled, “No Place For Hate, Unless You’re Arab.” The final irony is that the protesters against defamation are themselves the defamers. The David Project, for example, is not for fairness and honesty; it’s out to make Arab Americans look bad, and to stop them from having a voice. What a convenient setup: define criticism of Israel as hate speech, outlaw hate speech, and thereby outlaw criticism of Israel. In fact, defense of Israel becomes a righteous cause. ADL agitation in this area is a direct service to another country. Town boards voting to become “No Place For Hate” communities are unaware that the ADL is a political action organization serving some very ugly Zionist interests.
The David Project’s president, Charles Jacobs, is also on the Board of Directors of another organization, with headquarters on Tremont Street in downtown Boston – the American Anti-Slavery Group. On the internet the organization is known as “iAbolish.com.” The American Anti-Slavery Group says that it works “to abolish modern-day slavery around the world, focusing primarily on systems of chattel slavery in Sudan and Mauritania.”(15) The American Anti-Slavery Group’s connection to Israel seems to be that it provides a platform for Charles Jacobs to criticize Arabs in Sudan, and Arabs in general (an important part of the Zionist project) as roundabout support for Israel. For Zionism to work, and for Israel to be seen as a legitimate state, the Arab world must be seen as second class, connected to terrorism, and fatally opposed to decent western values. In the case of the Columbia campus, the Boston mosque, and Sudan, Jacobs uses the same subterfuge as the ADL: Zionism under the cover of civil rights. Students should be treated fairly, terrorism should not be involved in faith, and slavery is an abomination, so listen to the rest of our message – Israel is a struggling democracy, a David fighting Goliath in modern times, and anyone who says otherwise is really a hater of Jewish people.
In a 2003 article for MIT’s Thistle, Aimée Smith covers a talk on Sudan given by Charles Jacobs. She quotes the reaction of a female Muslim student attendee who described the talk at length:
“Dr. Jacobs’ talk expressed blatantly racist and anti-Islamic views. In fact, I have never seen Islamophobia exuded so blatantly at a public forum at MIT, nor such racist views aired at a panel discussion on human rights. Dr. Jacobs’ topic was child slavery in Sudan and he started off by speaking about the Arab Muslims in Sudan’s north conducting their interpretation of a jihad against the Black Christians in the south. He then offered a theory on why the situation wasn’t receiving sufficient international attention. It was because a white race wasn’t the perpetrator of this crime. The West tends to get more agitated about a human rights issue, he argued, when they feel that they are somehow responsible for it.”
“White people, he continued, tend to be more concerned in general about human rights abuses than others. Waving his arm around the room, he said, ‘see, most of you at this event are white people.’”
“After this Dr. Jacobs forgot about Sudan entirely and set into the Muslim world with gusto. He named a few Islamic countries and began elaborating on human rights abuses there. Now, ever since that ill-fated day two years ago, I (and many other Muslims) have been trying to come to terms with the bitter reality that it is becoming increasingly acceptable to publicly make negative, sweeping statements about Islam. According to Dr. Jacobs, however, it has become ‘taboo’ in the West to criticize Islam and the Muslims. Well, he sure smashed his imagined taboos to bits. The way he went on, it was clear he believed that human rights abuses occur only in Muslim countries – he didn’t cite the example of a single non-Muslim country. At about this point I got so disgusted that I had to walk out, along with another Muslim student… I suppose Dr. Jacobs thought that being non-white, we were just bored of all this human rights talk.”(16)
Coincidentally, Thistle columnist Aimée Smith was arrested twice at MIT for her “activism” on campus – once for leafleting and once for talking back to a cop. The first arrest was in June 2004, just two months after the ADL campus training session. Ms. Smith was well known on the MIT campus as an activist for Palestine. Both arrests were ultimately thrown out of court.
An added incentive to the American Anti-Slavery Group campaign against Arabs in Sudan is its ability, by making it look like Arabs are attacking Africans in Sudan, to divide African Americans from Arabs in the US. Not clearly understood by many people is the fact that both parties in the Sudan dispute are dark-skinned, that the slavery which does exist in Sudan is of a much different kind than that in the US in the 18th and 19th century, and that it is a problem exacerbated by US interference and agitation in that country in the first place. Furthermore, neither Zionists nor the US are anywhere near having the moral standing to criticize Sudan, considering their behavior in their own countries, and in the rest of the world. The US simply does not have humanitarian goals in the world, despite its rhetoric. However, African Americans are obviously sensitive to the issue of slavery, and have been recruited by the Anti-Slavery Group. In August 2004, for example, the actor Danny Glover was arrested in front of the Sudan embassy in Washington, D.C. as an Anti-Slavery Group supporter. Most likely without their knowing it, African Americans, and alleged Sudanese victims, have lent support to what is at bottom a far-removed Zionist cause.
The American Anti-Slavery Group, already inside the US power structure, garners additional approval from that structure by lending support to US government efforts to divide Sudan in order to gain access to oil supplies in Darfur. In the 1990′s, Jimmy Carter remarked that “the people in Sudan want to resolve the conflict. The biggest obstacle is US government policy. The US is committed to overthrowing the government in Khartoum. Any sort of peace effort is aborted, basically by policies of the United States… Instead of working for peace in Sudan, the US government has basically promoted a continuation of the war.” (17)
Israel benefits from Zionist spin on the story of slavery in Sudan by being able to point to this spin and say, “Why pick on us?” Writing for the Palestine Solidarity Review Fall 2005 issue, Shemon Salam says of the US-based campaign to divest from Sudan,
“a sincere divestment campaign would have to function on a principled basis of being against colonialism, empire (which would include the Israeli and U.S. regimes) and racism; something which Zionists cannot but fail to do considering the basic tenets of Zionism are in direct contradiction with anti-racism and anti-imperialism. Having a historical record of collaboration with Nazism, Fascism, and U.S. empire, Zionism has proven itself no friend to these democratic principles . . . ”(18)
In short, Zionists choose to exploit Sudan in order to set themselves up as the winners in a competition of greater and lesser racists.
Finally, the position of Dr. Steven Steinlight as executive director of the American Anti-Slavery Group should be noted.(19) A former Director of National Affairs of the American Jewish Committee, Dr. Steinlight shines a light on what is called in Israel “the demographic problem” but in this case as it relates to the United States. In an unbelievably racist October 2001 essay, “The Jewish Stake in America’s Changing Demography,” Steinlight says that it’s time for the Jewish community of America to “stop censoring ourselves” and openly deal with the threat posed to Jewish power if US immigration policy allows a bunch of Arabs, Mexicans and Third World peoples to cross the border. The threat? – an insufficient understanding, on their part, of Jewish history.
In Steinlight’s own words:
“Will a country in which enormous demographic and cultural change, fueled by unceasing large-scale non-European immigration, remain one in which Jewish life will continue to flourish as nowhere else in the history of the Diaspora? In an America in which people of color form the plurality, as has already happened in California, most with little or no historical experience with or knowledge of Jews, will Jewish sensitivities continue to enjoy extraordinarily high levels of deference and will Jewish interests continue to receive special protection? Does it matter that the majority non-European immigrants have no historical experience of the Holocaust or knowledge of the persecution of Jews over the ages and see Jews only as the most privileged and powerful of white Americans? Is it important that Latinos, who know us almost entirely as employers for the menial low-wage cash services they perform for us (such a blowing the leaves from our lawns in Beverly Hills or doing our laundry in Short Hills), will soon form one quarter of the nation’s population?”
As for Muslims:
“Far more potentially perilous, does it matter to Jews and for American support for Israel when the Jewish State arguably faces existential peril that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the United States? That undoubtedly at some point in the next 20 years Muslims will outnumber Jews, and that Muslims with an “Islamic agenda” are growing active politically through a widespread network of national organizations?”
Asians are also a problem:
“For perhaps another generation, an optimistic forecast, the Jewish community is thus in a position where it will be able to divide and conquer and enter into selective coalitions that support our agendas. But the day will surely come when an effective Asian-American alliance will actually bring Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, Koreans, Vietnamese, and the rest closer together.”
Steinlight tops off his paranoid rant by suggesting that Latinos may be conspiring in a “reconquista” or re-conquering of the US Southwest – yet another threat to Jewish power. For a good education in Zionist racism, Steinlight’s essay can be found at the web site of the Center for Immigration Studies.(20) Probably because of his obviousness, Steinlight is not listed in the “Who We Are” section of the American Anti-Slavery’s “iAbolish” website.
Denunciations of and divestment from Sudan have become part of polite political discourse from University administrations to the halls of Congress thanks to organizations like the American Anti-Slavery Group. In April 2004 Harvard University made a decision to divest from a company called PetroChina because of its involvement with Sudan. But divestment from companies that do business with Israel is quite another matter. In 2004, when the Somerville, Massachusetts Board of Aldermen was asked to divest town funds connected to Israel, it was called an attack on Jewish people, a case of anti-Semitism. The Israeli Consul General – that is, a representative of a foreign government from the Israeli consulate in Boston – was called in. ADL also got involved, and the divestment resolution finally failed. Its failure was not due to right wing Zionism. It was due to progressive liberalism. The first Alderman to speak against the divestment resolution did so not on the basis that Israel had to be supported, but on the basis of an argument that to be fair the Board needed to hear “both sides of the story.” This argument could not be opposed by decent folk – progressives and liberals would be horrified at being called unfair. For the sake of fairness, the resolution was tabled, Zionists were invited in, and being “fair” to a racist state won the day. Liberalism became the means for an attack on the truth that the history of Zionism in Palestine is a history of genocide. The right couldn’t have dreamed of a better subterfuge than the one the left obligingly handed them.
In fact, there is a right and wrong. In the case of Zionist oppression of the Palestinians, ideas like “hearing both sides, appreciating complexity, understanding competing rights, showing tolerance, having fairness and balance” are all code words which provide a cover for the weak to sell out the oppressed. They do so because of their fear of the oppressor. The words are a cover for the ignoring of an ugly, ongoing crime. They’re also a cover for what even a small child could see is the truth of the matter – a child especially, because she hasn’t been inundated with a lifetime of sugar-coated, official-sounding lies.
Where is Zion? Originally it was an actual place – a mountain in Al Quds, or Jerusalem. Then it became a mythical promised land. To African slaves in the US it was a future with freedom from bondage, and a Christian heaven. To Rastafarians, it is a place in Africa to which they will return. But Zion as a promised land has also been co-opted by thieves like the European colonial settlers in North America, who thought the land they stole from indigenous nations was given to them through “manifest destiny.” To the European colonial settlers in Palestine, hijacking the Hebrew myth, Zion was the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, stolen from another indigenous people. The flag set up by these settlers to create a state on the land they stole has two blue lines. These lines symbolize yet another, more ambitious Zion, occupying all the land between the Nile in Egypt and the Euphrates in Iraq.
The only Zion colonial imperialists have really managed to create is a place in people’s minds where truth is defined by might, the motives of might are presented in fine Enlightenment language as velvet lies, and those they oppress and steal from suffer almost without recognition. Such is the case of Iraq and Afghanistan and a multitude of other countries at the hand of the US, and of Palestine at the hand of Israel. The US and Israel are the same thing; both got where they are through lying. When it comes down to it, their Zion turns out to be a totalitarian state founded on the corruption of terms like “equality, civil rights, peace, and tolerance.”
An internal memo from the union that represents pilots for US Airways claims there have been “several cases recently” throughout the airline industry of what the union believes are “dry-runs” for potential attacks with or on an aircraft.
The memo – released sometime just before September 11, 2013 – from the US Airline Pilots Association states “there have been several cases recently throughout the (airline) industry of what appear to be probes, or dry-runs, to test our procedures and reaction to an in-flight threat.”
The union memo, titled “9/11 Security Update,” went on to detail one “typical example” that happened on a US Airways flight to Orlando International Airport (MCO) originating at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Washington, DC.
“A group of Middle-Eastern males boarded in DCA. Shortly after takeoff, one got up and ran from his seat in coach towards the flight deck door. He made a hard left and entered the forward lav, where he stayed for a considerable length of time! While he was in there, the others got up and proceeded to move about the cabin, changing seats, opening overhead bins, and generally making a scene. They appeared to be trying to occupy and distract the flight attendants.
Both US Airways and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) verified the incident.
The TSA responded to the original story with a statement, saying it “takes all reports of suspicious activity on board aircraft seriously,” and that “the matter required no further investigation at this time.”
One skeptical US House member, however, called for further review of the event.
“Any suspicious reported incident of this nature should be properly investigated,” said Congressman John Mica (R), who represents area north of Orlando. “It is government’s obligation and responsibility to remain vigilant. While the specifics of the US Air incident are not public, federal authorities must review the matter.”
The union memo was obtained and reported by WTSP in Tampa Bay.
At least one unnamed Federal Air Marshal was interviewed for the original WTSP story and a follow-up published Friday morning.
The source said the TSA’s motivations should be received with suspicion.
“They’re liars. They’re flat out liars.”
According to WTSP, the Air Marshal and other airline employees said several flights they have worked on have been the target of “dry-runs,” no matter what the TSA reports.
The security update memo followed the first DCA-to-MCO example with “another interesting twist to this case,” according to its authors.
“It just so happens that on the return flight from MCO – DCA, with the same flight number, a group of 8 Middle Eastern females — concealed in full burkas — were in the boarding area for the flight to DCA. This flight did not have a (Federal Air Marshal) team, even though it was supposed to have a significant VIP aboard. (He was rebooked when all these details were made known to his security detail.)
A pilot for Delta Airlines who is also chairman of the Aviation Security Committee for the Air Line Pilots Association, International – a pilots union for many North American airlines, not including US Airways – told WTSP any belief that another major attack on or with an aircraft will not happen again “is very foolish.”
The events of 9/11 were “an incredible attack on us. It was very well orchestrated and they’re going to try it again… 100 percent, no question in my mind. They’re going to try it again,” said Wolf Koch.
The union memo urges aircraft crews to be aware of safety protocols.
“ALWAYS, ALWAYS use the cart as a barrier when the flight deck door is opened in flight because, ladies and gentlemen, if a bad guy gets into the cockpit (it only takes 2 seconds!) and another 9/11 happens — its GAME, SET and MATCH in favor of the bad guys!”
One airline ground crew member told WTSP ground crews are not screened and could plant bombs or weapons in a lavatory, for example.
“We could just carry our backpacks right through the turn style (sic) gate and could have anything we wanted to put on that plane.”
The memo includes inflammatory and political commentary that appear to be meant to motivate union members to stay vigilant.
“Islamic terrorists have a thing about significant dates, and it just so happens that the 12th anniversary of 9/11 is in a few days. Do you remember that day? You can bet The Enemy does. Remember Benghazi? That’s when the US was attacked again on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. (And no, it was not about an anti-Muslim video.)
“Right now the Middle East is burning as the ‘Arab Spring’ turns into the Arab Winter and the conflagration is consuming an entire region of the world. Tensions are high — and that is when bad things happen. Whatever the US does in the Middle East will be used as an excuse to kill Americans. As always, but especially now, keep the safety of your passengers and crew a top priority. Don’t cut corners.”
Brothers and Sisters In The Struggle For Peace and Justice,
On September 11th, will you stand in peace with us?
Event: MAMAF – Million American March Against Fear on 9/11/13
AMPAC – The American Muslim Political Action Committee AMPAC in cooperation and solidarity with PANDAA – People Against the National Defense Authorization Act, AMA – American Muslim Alliance, AMT – American Muslim Task Force, NDPAAC – National Democratic Party Asian American Caucus, NYDPAAC – New York Democratic Party Asian American Caucus, NABAB – North American Bangladeshi Association for Bangladesh, MDPAAC – Missouri Democratic Party Asian American Caucus, CLA – Community Leadership Affairs, SACC – South Asian Chamber of Commerce, Mosque Care, DC Area 9/11 Truth Movement, A&E – Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth Movement, OWS Movement, MAS Freedom – Muslim American Society, MMAT – Muslim Marching Against Terrorism, MD Rabbi Alam – the Founder of AMPAC, Richard Gage – the Founder of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth Movement, Dr. Kevin Barrett – the National Spokesperson for Muslim Think Tank, Imam Mahdi Bray the National Executive Director of MAS Freedom, and The March Against Drones (MAD) will be gathering on the National Mall, and then launching a march on the halls of power.
We invite you to stand with and join us to Rally Against Fear at 12 noon on The National Mall, then the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the White House, to hold truth to power at the three major branches of American government.
We ask all individuals and organizations working for peace to attend this collective action to tell our Government leaders we want transparency and policies of peace. In the past 12 years since 9/11 the United States government as failed to protect and promote Constitutional liberties and human life, here and abroad. We feel that accountability in government has been ignored and the time has arrived to collectively speak truth to power.
Speaking will be experts and individuals on the lack of transparency and questions plaguing 9/11, steady erosion of domestic civil liberties, drone policy and the very dire effect of these on of plight of American Muslims here at home, and Muslim communities globally in the scope of U.S. imperialism, and the modern face of resistance to unmanned aerial surveillance and warfare.
At 2:00 pm we will embark from the Rally Against Fear, and onto the March Against Drones. The march will go from the rally point between 7th and 14th Streets on the National Mall to the Capitol building, around the Capitol, and onto the street between the Supreme Court and Congress. We will rally there, in the streets, for about 15 minutes, and then we will continue. We will take Constitution to Pennsylvania Avenue and down to the White House, where we will rally again in the street between Lafayette Park and the North Lawn.
This will be a professional, positive, and proactive event for the whole family, as we expect very soon for the National Park Service to grant us the permit we requested. At 2:00 pm we will embark from the Rally Against Fear, and onto the March Against Drones. The march will go from the rally point between 7th and 14th Streets on the National Mall to the Capitol building, around the Capitol, and onto the street between the Supreme Court and Congress. We will rally there, in the streets, for about 15 minutes, and then we will continue. We will take Constitution to Pennsylvania Avenue and down to the White House, where we will rally again in the street between Lafayette Park and the North Lawn.
We will have water available for anyone that needs it, we know it is a healthy march, but we feel it will call due attention to the issues at hand, and that it is worth the challenge. We hope you do too, and we sincerely hope you bring your good energy, your friends and family as well, and you stand up and speak out with us. Love, light, and solidarity to you!
MD Rabbi Alam – Founder, AMPAC
Isa Hodge – Chief of Operation MAMAF (AMPAC)
Chris Phillips – DC Area Organizer
Darrell Willis – Directors Marching Against Drones
Greg Boyd – Executive Member DC Area 9/11 Truth Movement
Daniel Johnson – Founder, PANDA
Michael T. Leslie – AMPAC Texas Organizer
Dr. Kevin Barrett – National Spokesman, Muslim Think Tank
Richard Gage – Founder, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth
Imam Mahdi Bray – Executive Director, MAS Freedom
Abu Zafor Mahmood – National Political Director, NABAB
Derron Black AKA Shahid Abdullah – Founder, Alpha Male Nation
Ishaq Beg – Executive Member, AMA, AMPAC Florida Organizer
Angela Habibullah - Attorney-at-Law, Executive Member, Mosque Care
Amanda Buckner – AMPAC South Carolina Organizer
Will Coley – AMPAC Tennessee Organizer, M4L – Muslim for Libertry
Syed Asif – South Asian Chamber of Commerce, MO
Florentino Camacho Jr. – Latinos for MAMAF
Ruby Al-sous – Women Co-Chair, Missouri Democratic Party Asian American Caucus
Dr. Talat Khan – AMPAC California Organizer
Sam Khan – AMPAC New Jersey Organizer
Anwarul Haque – AMPAC Atlanta Organizer
Joe D’Angalo – AMPAC Chicago Organizer
Imam Hanif Khalil – AMPAC Kansas Organizer
Chris Hemmer – AMPAC New York Organizer
PressTVGlobalNews | June 24, 2013
The ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has shocked the world and drawn attention to rising Islamophobia in Asia. Now Muslims in Sri Lanka are under dire threat as well.
The similarities with Myanmar are striking and foreboding. Buddhist monks are at the forefront of the rising hatred, the government is taking sides against Muslims and attacks have begun.
Full scale violence is threatening to break out to create another catastrophe for Muslims in the region. There have already been a series of attacks on mosques and Muslim places of work.
Hard line, ultra nationalist groups led by Buddhist monks such as Buddhist Strength Force (BBS) and Sinhala Echo preach the same message as those of the Buddhist Rakhine in Myanmar: “Muslims are taking over, they are building too many mosques and are trying to destroy our culture.”
On this week’s INFocus we document the rising crisis in Sri Lanka and attempt to bring the world’s attention to the issue before it’s too late.
The Sri Lankan Defense Secretary recently gave his support to the monks. “It is the monks who protect this country, religion and race” he stated.
He also cautioned the ultra nationalist groups not to promote “communal hatred.” But this communiqué was delivered in English, not in Sinhala.
On this week’s INFocus, which is a sequel for last week’s episode, we try to understand the reason behind this rising hatred and where the blame truly lies.
Officials in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine have placed a two-child limit for Muslim Rohingya couples in a gross violation of fundamental human rights and amid accusations of ethnic cleansing against the community.
Local authorities said on Saturday that the new measure will be exercised in the townships of Buthidaung and Maundaw, where about 95 percent of the population are Muslim.
Rakhine state spokesman, Win Myaing, said the measure was enacted a week ago, and was meant to stem population growth in the Muslim community.
Human rights groups say the policy makes Myanmar the only country in the world to impose such a restriction on a religious group.
They also warn that the new move will serve to fan the flames of sectarian violence in Myanmar.
Human Rights Watch has accused Rakhine authorities of fomenting an organized campaign of “ethnic cleansing” against the Rohingya Muslims.
Thousands of Rohingyas are deprived of citizenship rights due to the policy of discrimination that has denied them the right of citizenship and made them vulnerable to acts of violence and persecution, expulsion, and displacement.
The Myanmar government has so far refused to extricate the stateless Rohingyas in Rakhine state from their citizenship limbo, despite international pressure to give them a legal status.
The extremists frequently attack Rohingyas and have set fire to their homes in several villages in Rakhine. Myanmar Army forces allegedly provided the fanatics containers of petrol for torching the houses of Muslim villagers, who are then forced to flee.
Hundreds of Rohingyas are believed to have been killed and thousands displaced in recent attacks by extremists, who call themselves Buddhists.
Rohingyas are said to be Muslim descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali, and Pathan origin, who migrated to Myanmar as early as the 8th century.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage
The UK Independence Party has gone from being a joke in the British political landscape to the fourth – or even third – best-supported party after their gains in the recent local elections, where they won a quarter of seats they had sent out a candidate to seize.
Here is a review on the newly-emerging far-right party, which has been repeatedly accused of racism, anti-Islamic bias and lobbying in favor of the Zionists in the British establishments and internationally.
UKIP has been a pro-Israeli regime propagandist and has been lobbying for an end to what it claims to be a despicable anti-Semitism in European history.
The party considers the regime as a victim versus the Palestinian and Middle Eastern resistance movements and considers the Israeli regime’s frequent aggressions against Palestinian civilians in line with Tel Aviv’s right to defend itself.
The party also frowns on the idea of punishing the regime through sanctions or cancellation of trade ties for disproportionate use of force against Palestinians and war crimes in the Gaza Strip, including the 2008 Gaza War in which the regime massacred over 1,000 Palestinians.
The party has also claimed that “Israel has maintained an impeccable human rights record” and has set up a “Friends of Israel” fan club in a bid to secure “true friendship” with Tel Aviv.
This is while, the party’s secretary Michael Zuckerman has boasted of “tremendous support for Israel within UKIP”.
In return for its efforts, UKIP leader Nigel Farage has earned the title of “a good friend of Israel” from Zionist media.
On the other hand, UKIP is understandably an outspoken enemy of Iran, against which it is prepared to use “military means”, and its Commons Norwich North once candidate Glen Tingle has said Britain “should blow them [Iran] up”.
UKIP European Parliament member Gerard Batten has also leveled accusations of terrorism and non-civilian nuclear work against Iran, labeling the country as “barbaric, pro-terrorist and anti-Semitic”.
UKIP has also pledged to provide strategic military support to any party that enters a conflict with Iran over its nuclear program, if the party comes to lead the British government.
This is while, Farage almost u-turned on that attitude in an interview in October 2012 saying Britain needs to sit down and talk with Iran over its nuclear program.
Farage has criticized the Iraq war, because of the waste of money and British soldiers’ lives to destabilize a Middle Eastern country, and also, because the invasion served Iran by removing Iraq’s former dictator Saddam, who had fought an imposed war against Iran between 1980 and 1988.
In the same interview on Iran, he also went on to describe the military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq as achieving absolutely “nothing”.
UKIP has been probably most notorious in its Islamophobic attitudes.
Back in May 2012, a candidate for UKIP compared Islam’s holy book Qur’an to Adolf Hitler’s political manifesto Mein Kampf, saying Muslims are “Fascist”.
This comes as Fascism has been the word used by UKIP opponents to describe its political creed especially after UKIP parliament candidate Steve Moxon embraced Norwegian mass-murderer Andres Breivik as a sensible and “convincing” anti-Islam “scholar”.
Meanwhile, UKIP’s former leader Lord Pearson notoriously invited Dutch MP Geert Wilders to the House of Lords to show his sacrilegious anti-Islam film to the British peers while the party’s 2011 candidate for Leicester South parliamentary by-election, Abhijit Pandya, once labeled Islam as “morally flawed and degenerate”.
Farage, himself, was one of the lead campaigners in 2010 for imposing a ban on the Islamic veil, known as burqa, also dismissing the application of Islamic Sharia Law in British major cities as “most certainly … not desirable”, though he has recently tried to distance himself from such comments, considering future expediency.
While the UKIP’s direct attacks on Islam have decreased recently in a bid to appeal to more British voters, the party’s continued Islamophobic approach was exposed by the militant English Defense League back in April after the EDL revealed on Facebook that they enjoy a mutual stance with UKIP on hatred of Islam.
EDL leader Tommy Robinson also explicitly said in an interview on April 4 that he supports UKIP and would vote for them, laying bare UKIP’s true anti-Islam nature.
And finally on Falklands, there is nothing to choose between UKIP and other major British political parties as they welcomed the result of the recent Falklands Islands referendum, with deputy party leader Paul Nuttal saying it led to a “resounding” result that “should surely put an end to Argentina’s frankly arrogant and unfounded claims” over the South Pacific territory.
As documented by the Associated Press and other journalists, the NYPD has built a program dedicated to the total surveillance of Muslims in the greater New York City era.
Officers have routinely monitored restaurants, bookstores and mosques and created detailed records of innocent conversations they’ve both had with individuals and eavesdropped on.
The NYPD has also sent paid infiltrators into mosques, student associations and beyond to take photos, write down license plate numbers and keep notes on people for no reason other than because they are Muslim.
Partnering civil rights attorneys filed papers in federal court seeking to stop the NYPD from creating dossiers on innocent Muslim New Yorkers and end the Police Department’s ability to initiate investigations into Muslim New Yorkers when there is no belief that they have engaged or are about to engage in unlawful activity or an act of terrorism.
The filing is part of the Handschu v. Special Services Division proceeding, a decades-old federal case that has produced a series of court orders regulating NYPD surveillance of political and religious activity.
- New York Muslims protest police surveillance (alethonews.wordpress.com)
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman doesn’t understand how on earth the Boston bombers could rationalize their act of violence–and believes that some aspects of Muslim culture must answer for it.
According to reports of the interrogation of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the brothers were motivated in part by the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And this has the Times columnist scratching his head about the problem with Muslims:
This is a popular meme among radical Muslim groups, and, to be sure, some Muslim youths were deeply angered by the U.S. interventions in the Middle East. The brothers Tsarnaev may have been among them.
But what in God’s name does that have to do with planting a bomb at the Boston Marathon and blowing up innocent people? It is amazing to me how we’ve come to accept this non sequitur and how easily we’ve allowed radical Muslim groups and their apologists to get away with it.
A simple question: If you were upset with U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, why didn’t you go out and build a school in Afghanistan to strengthen that community or get an advanced degree to strengthen yourself or become a math teacher in the Muslim world to help its people be less vulnerable to foreign powers? Dzhokhar claims the Tsarnaev brothers were so upset by something America did in a third country that they just had to go to Boylston Street and blow up people who had nothing to do with it (some of whom could have been Muslims), and too often we just nod our heads rather than asking: What kind of sick madness is this?
Friedman goes on to claim that we “must ask a question only Muslims can answer,” which is: “What is going on in your community that a critical number of your youth believes that every American military action in the Middle East is intolerable and justifies a violent response?”
It is worth asking questions about how different communities or societies react to violence. After the 9/11 attacks, the United States bombed and occupied Afghanistan, based on the argument that the government of that country had tolerated the presence of Al-Qaeda and thus must bear the retribution. As a result, many thousands of people who had nothing to do with terrorism were killed.
Or on to the invasion of Iraq, which was sold as part of a “Global War on Terror” following the 9/11 attacks as well, even though there was never a connection between Iraq and the terrorist attacks. So why did the United States invade Iraq? Tom Friedman explained it to Charlie Rose on May 30, 2003.
To Friedman, there was a “terrorist bubble” in that part of the world, and “we needed to go over there and take out a very big stick…and there was only one way to do it.” He added:
What they needed to see was American boys and girls going house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, and basically saying: “Which part of this sentence don’t you understand? You don’t think, you know, we care about our open society, you think this bubble fantasy, we’re just gonna to let it grow? Well, Suck. On. This.” That, Charlie, is what this war is about. We could have hit Saudi Arabia; it was part of that bubble. Could have hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we could.
What kind of sick madness is this?