Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hard-Nosed Campus Group Softens Tactics

Naomi Zeveloff

Universities are, for the most part, not hostile environments for Jewish students. Large campus events in support of Israel can be counterproductive. And using federal civil rights laws to protect Jewish students from anti-Israel activity could create a backlash against them.

These are just a few of the surprising highlights in a new report from an organization previously known for its take-no-prisoners style of Israel advocacy.

The Boston-based David Project, one of a handful of Jewish groups devoted to campus activism on Israel, made a name for itself eight years ago when it produced the film “Columbia Unbecoming,” alleging that Columbia University was a hotbed of anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic activity. But now the group seems to have distanced itself from its aggressive approach. The David Project’s new agenda focuses on selling Israel rather than on reaming out its critics.
This new posture has been welcomed by groups such as Hillel, the national campus network of Jewish student centers. But The David Project’s original backers deride this softer strategy as a misguided approach for addressing the situation faced by pro-Israel Jewish students on campus.

“Sometimes, challenging Israel’s detractors is warranted,” said Executive Director David Bernstein, who took the helm in 2010. “But we also know that the goal of The David Project is to reach and work with as many Jewish students and professionals as possible. That takes a thoughtful approach to Israel.”

The David Project’s report, released on February 8, paints a nuanced picture of the challenges Israel faces on campus. Called “A Burning Campus? Rethinking Israel Advocacy at America’s Universities and Colleges,” the paper claims that universities are host to the worst anti-Israel behavior in America, even as the American public, more broadly, is supportive of the Jewish state.

But veering from the Israel advocacy world’s frequent position, the report makes a strong distinction between “anti-Israelism” and anti-Semitism on campus. Conflating the two does not “jive” with the experience of Jewish students who feel largely comfortable in American universities, the report warns. The problem, it stresses, is not anti-Semitism; it’s a “drip-drip negativity” about Israel that, Bernstein said, threatens to erode support over the long term.

“The chief concern, therefore, is not the welfare of Jewish students,” the report states, “but that a pervasively negative atmosphere will affect the long-term thinking of current college students, negatively affecting strong bipartisan support for Israel.”

The way the new David Project sees it, a subtle problem deserves a subtle response. Rather than counter anti-Israel speech on campus with flashy events featuring big-name speakers, the group proposes a kind of pro-Israel diplomacy in which students “map” their campuses to find and influence thought leaders — namely, other students and faculty members.

“There is a serious cost that we pay in both giving [Israel’s critics] more attention than they deserve and in sounding shrill ourselves,” Bernstein said.

The David Project’s original founders are appalled by this approach.

“Unless you expose and humiliate and taunt and legally threaten and politically challenge the use of the podium as propaganda, and unless you fight the cultural relativist paradigm where no one is allowed to say ‘Hey, that’s a lie’ — unless you bring this out in a public way for the public to see, then you have a problem,” said Charles Jacobs, one of the group’s two co-founders. Jacobs, who left the organization in 2008 to start Americans for Peace and Tolerance, a group focused on radical Islam, said that The David Project’s new strategy leaves a gaping hole in the aggressive Israel advocacy world.

This view was echoed by Avi Goldwasser, the group’s other co-founder, who produced “Columbia Unbecoming.” “They do a good job of educating students, and they feel their strength is in diplomacy,” said Goldwasser, who left the organization in 2005. “Diplomacy by itself can never win. It is only effective in combination with other, more aggressive approaches.”

Bernstein, The David Project’s executive director, countered that his organization was, in fact, filling another void on campus. “Most organizations have been engaging in name and shame,” he said, “but very few have been doing proactive relationship-building on campus.”

The David Project’s gentler tone reflects the change in leadership at the organization. Founded in 2002, The David Project was the brainchild of Jacobs, who had formerly worked at the right-wing media watchdog group Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting. Jacobs saw The David Project as an answer to the mainstream Jewish community’s reluctance to respond aggressively to what he calls the “Muslim-left” anti-Israel alliance on campus. While Israel’s detractors portrayed the Palestinians as “David” and the Israelis as “Goliath,” Jacobs sought to flip this notion on its head. Zooming out, he said, the greater Arab world is the “Goliath” and Israel is “David”: hence, The David Project.
In 2004, The David Project stirred up controversy with its production of “Columbia Unbecoming.” The 40-minute film featured testimony from Jewish students at Columbia University who claimed they felt intimidated by heated criticism of Israel from teachers in the school’s Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures Department. Columbia created an ad-hoc grievance committee in response to the film, which found no evidence of anti-Semitic statements made by faculty. One professor, Joseph Massad, was found, in a specific episode, to have “exceeded commonly accepted bounds” of behavior. Massad denied the incident had taken place in news reports at the time.

Shortly after, The David Project turned its sights on the Islamic Society of Boston, which was planning a mosque in the Roxbury neighborhood. The mosque’s developers filed a defamation suit against The David Project after the group charged the project had terrorist ties. Ultimately, the society dropped its suit.

Still, many in the Jewish community wondered what a pro-Israel campus advocacy group was doing taking on a mosque. In 2008, Jacobs and The David Project parted ways, and Jacobs initiated a new multifaith organization to confront Islamic radicalism. “I wanted to leave The David Project to do its good work unencumbered,” Jacobs said. “It can’t do everything.”

Jacobs’s stated reasons for leaving were corroborated by individuals involved with The David Project who said that the organization wanted to stick to its mission as a campus education and advocacy group.

In 2010 The David Project hired Bernstein, former Washington director of the American Jewish Committee. Bernstein has set his sights on mainstreaming the organization, commissioning Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications — which represents left-of-center groups, like J Street and mainstream groups, like Hadassah and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism — to tout his new report about Israel on campus.

According to the group’s tax forms, the number of employees at the organization has ranged from 20 in 2007, Jacobs’s last full year at the organization, to 35 in 2010, the most recent year for which data are available. There was a spike to 61 employees in 2008 that David Project officials say was a reporting error. Public support dropped from $4.6 million in 2007 to $3.8 million in 2010.

Bernstein’s arrival at the organization was a welcome sign for Hillel, which now collaborates with The David Project after having a policy of “live and let live” with the group during Jacobs’s administration.
“The David Project is trying to ensure that their content and messaging will be accessible for this generation,” said Wayne Firestone, Hillel’s national director.

Contact Naomi Zeveloff at or on Twitter @naomizeveloff

Friday, February 24, 2012

Obama Dividend Tax Would Devastate Retirees

Henry J. Reskey

Buried within President Barack Obama’s 2013 budget is a proposal to triple the tax rate on corporate dividends which now stands at 15 percent, a move that would have a severe effect on retirees, The Wall Street Journal notes in an editorial.

Obama is proposing to raise the dividend tax rate to the higher personal income tax rate of 39.6 percent, according to the Journal. The rate jumps to 41 percent with the planned phase-out of deductions and exemptions and then hits 44.8 percent with the 3.8 percent investment tax surcharge in Obamacare.

“Of course, the White House wants everyone to know that this new rate would apply only to those filthy rich individuals who make $200,000 a year, or $250,000 if you're a greedy couple. We're all supposed to believe that no one would be hurt other than rich folks who can afford it,” the Journal wrote.
. “The truth is that the plan gives new meaning to the term collateral damage, because shareholders of all incomes will share the pain. Here's why. Historical experience indicates that corporate dividend payouts are highly sensitive to the dividend tax. Dividends fell out of favor in the 1990s when the dividend tax rate was roughly twice the rate of capital gains.”

When the rate fell to 15 percent in 2003, dividends reported on tax returns nearly doubled to $196 billion from $103 billion the year before the tax cut, and by 2006, dividend income had grown to nearly $337 billion, The Journal wrote. Economists who examined dividend payouts came to the conclusion that the tax cut played a significant role in the increase in dividend payouts.

“If you reverse the policy, you reverse the incentives,” the Journal wrote. “The tripling of the dividend tax will have a dampening effect on these payments.

“Who would get hurt? IRS data show that retirees and near-retirees who depend on dividend income would be hit especially hard. Almost three of four dividend payments go to those over the age of 55, and more than half go to those older than 65, according to IRS data.”

The Journal concluded that “all American shareholders would lose” as the taxes would make stocks less valuable and prices would fall, causing a sell-off and noting that 51 percent of adults hold shares of stock today either directly or through mutual funds.

“Tens of millions more own stocks through pension funds. Why would the White House endorse a policy that will make these households poorer? Seldom has there been a clearer example of a policy that is supposed to soak the rich but will drench almost all American families.”

© Newsmax. All rights reserved

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Is Egypt about to Elect an Islamist President?

Barry Rubin

Registering to run for president of Egypt will begin March 10. The military moved it up from April 15 to show that it is handing over power to the civilians. As I've said before, I've never seen any evidence that the army is not going to turn over control of the country to a new, elected president. All of the mass media and political hysteria to the contrary, the generals don't want to hold onto the government.

Has the Brotherhood's success in parliamentary elections gone to its head? Has the weak international response to its ascendancy emboldened the Islamists to seek total power now rather than go slow and be patient? It's starting to look that way. ABarry Rubin

Registering to run for president of Egypt will begin March 10. The military moved it up from April 15 to show that it is handing over power to the civilians. As I've said before, I've never seen any evidence that the army is not going to turn over control of the country to a new, elected president. All of the mass media and political hysteria to the contrary, the generals don't want to hold onto the government.

Has the Brotherhood's success in parliamentary elections gone to its head? Has the weak international response to its ascendancy emboldened the Islamists to seek total power now rather than go slow and be patient? It's starting to look that way.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Obama’s Epic Screw-Up

Michael Gerson
Columnist for Washington Post

Some of them are now suggesting that his contraceptive mandate on religious institutions was a skilled political stratagem. “I’ve found by observing this president closely for years,” argues Andrew Sullivan, “that what often seem like short-term tactical blunders turn out in the long run to be strategically shrewd. And if this was a trap, the religious right walked right into it.” Religious conservatives are now identified, he says, with “opposition to contraception.” Republicans have achieved “fusion with the Vatican.” Obama is evidently playing the very deep game. Consider the implications of this praise. It means that Obama assaulted the core beliefs of some of his fellow citizens in order to lure them into politically self-destructive behavior. The president is willing to trifle with the constitutional rights of religious people in order to get a rise out of them. In this scenario, Obama is a Machiavellian monster, undeserving of high office.

But I don’t think Sullivan’s indictment is accurate. These events have all the hallmarks of an epic White House screw-up. The policy resulted from an internal debate in which the vice president and the chief of staff took the other side. Liberal true believers won out. The announcement was fumbled. The White House was shocked by the breadth and intensity of opposition.

It is difficult to imagine that Obama desired criticism from Democratic officeholders and candidates, including a former head of the Democratic National Committee. Or a bridge burning with Catholic bishops shortly before an election. Or a promise of civil disobedience from the most prominent evangelical pastor in America, Rick Warren.

The initial policy was a disaster. The partial retreat was more skilled. Obama’s goal was not resolution but obfuscation. (as usual). The contraceptive mandate was shifted from Catholic employers to insurance companies. Instead of being forced to buy an insurance product that violates their beliefs, religious institutions will be forced to buy an insurance product that contributes to the profits and viability of a company that is federally mandated to violate their beliefs. Creative accounting, it seems, can cover a multitude of sins.

But an indirect requirement is less aggressive and humiliating than a direct one. This has become just another in a series of business mandates under Obamacare — motivating eventual repeal instead of civil disobedience. And religious people could easily respond to overreach with overreach. Some conservatives argue that any business — not just religious hospitals and charities — should be able to withhold contraceptive coverage because of the beliefs of its owner. This is probably a bridge too far in our current cultural and political context. The defense of religious freedom unites. Opposition to contraception divides.

Obama has partially defused a crisis of his own creation. But some effects of his blunder will linger.

First, Obama has made clear who is part of his ideological coalition and who is not. Discussions on the structure and restructuring of the contraceptive policy were conducted between the administration and pro-choice and feminist groups. The people most directly affected by the mandate — particularly the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops — were not in the room. The administration engaged in no substantive consultation with Catholic bishops, who were only called to receive pronouncements. Interest group liberalism is alive and well in the Obama White House.

Second, the administration has consistently adopted and applied a view of religious liberty so narrow it imposes almost no limits on federal action. In the Hosanna-Tabor Supreme Court case, the Justice Department argued that there should be no “ministerial exception” at all — a contention the court dismissed as “amazing.” The modified contraceptive mandate still presupposes that religious liberty only applies to institutions whose primary purpose is worship, leaving every other religious institution vulnerable to future regulation.

Third, Obama has surrendered his main political appeal to religious voters from the last election — his embrace of faith-based social service providers. Any attempt to repeat this outreach will seem absurdly disconnected from reality.

Fourth, with a single miscalculation, Obama has managed to unite economic and social conservatives in outrage against government activism and energize religious conservatives in a way Mitt Romney could never manage. Culture war debates in America are evenly divided. But the objects of culture war aggression do not easily forget.

If Obama is playing a political chess game, he has just sacrificed his queen, a rook and all his bishops. It would have to be a deep game indeed.

50 American Chalutzim Leave for Palestine


The first American group of "chalutzim," which sailed yesterday on the "Mauretania" for Palestine, was honored by the Zionists of New York City Tuesday night at a farewell reception in the Jewish Club. The group consists of fifty men and women. Several hundred people were present at the reception.

The principal speakers were Dr. Shmarya Levin, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and Rabbi Gold. Dr. Levin, in the course of his talk, expressed the opinion that six million Jews of Eastern Europe are doomed to perish. He advised the American "chalutzim" to "write good letters home, though without exaggerations," assuring them that no matter what hardships they may have to endure in Palestine as pioneers, they will nevertheless feel happy. Dr. Wise expressed confidence that England has already recognized its mistakes in Palestine and will soon rectity them, and said that the Jews will not surrender under threats of force. "Palestine is not only a refuge for the Jewish homeless, but also, and more so, for Jewish homelessness," he said.

Judge Bernard Rosenblatt presided at the reception.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Terrorists to Retain Half their National Insurance Benefits

A7 News
Gil Ronen

The Knesset's Labor, Welfare and Health Committee voted Monday in favor of a bill that would cut 50 percent off National Insurance benefits to citizens involved in serious terrorist crimes. Government lawyers had opposed cutting off all benefits to terrorists and the formulation is presented as a compromise between the state lawyers and the bill's initiators, MKs David Rotem and Robert Ilatov of Yisrael Beitenu.

The bill would reduce by 50 percent the stipends to Israeli citizens who were involved in terror activity and sentenced to at least ten years in jail for it.

The stipends that will be slashed are those for people suffering from work-related disabilities, accident insurance, unemployment benefits, bankruptcy, old age pension and surviving relative stipends. It will be brought before the plenum for its first reading. MK Rotem said Monday, "This is a compromise I had no choice but to agree to. The original bill I submitted included a complete cutoff of stipends to anyone who was convicted [of terrorism]. The will to protect the state's citizens is not met with true understanding by all of the advisors in the government's ministries. When one seeks to harm terrorists, 'constitutional problems' crop up. The bill we have before us is better than nothing."

Attorney Shai Somech of the Justice Ministry told MKs who voted on the bill that "the use of stipends as a means of punishment creates constitutional and legal difficulties." In addition, he said, "punishment meted out after the jail sentence has been served and the fact that the more a person is needy, the more severely he will be punished – these are also problems. Even so, the bill's wording is acceptable to us despite the difficulties."

Uri Eldar of the Socialist Education Fund expressed opposition to the bill. "What will happen to a person who does not receive stipends after he completes serving his punishment? He will reach the welfare authorities and a social worker will have to take care of him, so what have we saved here? We need to act as a civilized country."

Welfare Committee Chairman MK Chaim Katz summed up the debate. "The blood of Israel's citizens cannot be shed freely. Let the terrorists see this and know that their old age and welfare may be damaged, and they will be deterred from terrorist activity," he said.

‘Jews are like the canary in the coal mine’

Still reeling from Yale’s decision to shutter his center for the study of anti-Semitism, Charles Small warns that the West is disregarding one of the fastest-growing threats to its core system of values — hatred of Jews in the Islamic world
By Elie Leshem February 20, 2012

Dr. Charles Small is in the market for a new home. In the months since Yale University pulled the plug on the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism, which he had been presiding over since 2006, Small has been scouring the East Coast of the United States for a campus to host his institute.

Yale’s decision to shutter YIISA in June 2011 was met with a spate of responses, as well as a spirited and sometimes-vociferous debate between advocates of the move and detractors. At the time, Small told the Yale Daily News that “radical Islamic and extreme left-wing bloggers” were to blame for the “bad publicity” that ultimately led to Yale’s decision. The sentiment echoed those of American Jewish Committee director David Harris and Abe Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defmation League, who derided Yale for creating the impression that ”the anti-Jewish forces in the world achieved a significant victory.” But while supporters of the institute maintained that Yale had capitulated to pressure from elements threatened by YIISA’s continuing focus on Islamic manifestations of anti-Semitism, Yale insisted that the move was the inevitable result of YIISA’s “failure to meet the university’s high standards for research and instruction.” Others claimed that the initiative had sealed its own fate by losing sight of its raison d’être and engaging in advocacy rather than pure scholarship.

In a recent meeting in Jerusalem, Small rejected any attempt to challenge YIISA’s academic credentials, decrying the current atmosphere in the United States and some of the trends — and individuals – he felt had been involved in Yale’s decision.

“I think we were engaging in issues that some people, for their own agendas, didn’t want us to engage in,” Small said. “People accused us of being advocates, but those who were accusing us are themselves advocates. I think our record stands for itself… and we’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far.”

Asked to elaborate on the motives and identities of the people in question, Small recalled a large conference held by YIISA in August 2010 under the heading “Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity,” that some have cited as the “last straw” that led to YIISA’s closure.

‘The US administration seems to be siding with the Muslim Brotherhood, riding the wave of radical Islam, instead of confronting its human rights abuses’

“The plenary sessions in the first days were dedicated to looking at anti-Semitism in the Middle East, and there were people at Yale who thought that if you critically examine these issues, you’re somehow making excuses for Israel, or you’re a Likud member or a Bush supporter. It’s ridiculous,” Small said.

“It’s part of a general atmosphere in the United States,” he continued. “The US Administration seems to be siding with the Muslim Brotherhood, riding the wave of radical Islam, instead of confronting its human rights abuses and its skewed worldview when it comes to the rights of citizens; and it’s becoming increasingly clear that we’re going to reap the ‘rewards’ of this error for generations if this continues.”
Advocacy or scholarship

In the wake of YIISA’s closure, one of the most prominent figures to cast doubt on the academic value of its activities was Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt, who had participated in some of YIISA’s earlier events. In an opinion piece in The Jewish Daily Forward, Lipstadt equated YIISA’s programs with a recent inflation of “advocacy and polemics” at some Middle East Studies departments in US universities, concluding that Small and YIISA had “entered a zone in which advocacy masquerades as scholarship.”

Small, for his part, doesn’t mince words when it comes to Lipstadt and others in “liberal elitist institutions, in academia, or in the media,” who, he says, are burying their heads in the sand and refusing to acknowledge the gravity of the threat emanating from the Muslim Brotherhood and Tehran.

More specifically, he said, “You have people like [New York Times columnist] Thomas Friedman… defending this worldview in the [Obama] administration; you have Deborah Lipstadt in Haaretz, using the words ‘hysterical’ and ‘neurotic’ … when referring to people who are very concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism, i.e., Iran and radical Islam. She accused Jews in Israel and in the United States, who are concerned and even alarmed, of being hysterical and neurotic.”
Debroah Lipstadt (photo credit: Courtesy of Emory University)

Debroah Lipstadt (photo credit: Courtesy of Emory University)

Noting her recent appointment to the Holocaust Memorial Council by US President Barack Obama, Small cited Lipstadt as an example of intellectuals, journalists, and scholars who are “close to Obama’s administration and are doing his dirty work.”

And this at a time, he said, “when there are radical Islamists, the Iranian revolutionary regime and the Brotherhood in Egypt, that are not only Holocaust deniers; they’re holocaust advocates.”

Did Small believe that something had been changing in the approaches of scholars such as Lipstadt, who has been engaging anti-Semitism for decades and was even taken to court by Holocaust denier David Irving following the publication of her book, “Denying the Holocaust,” in 1996?

“I can’t get inside these people’s heads, but I think it’s a so-called ‘liberal’ worldview,” he said. “I consider myself a liberal, politically and intellectually, and to me a liberal is someone who believes in strong notions of citizenship; in the equality of all citizens under one legal system; in the rights of minorities, women, and gay people; in pluralism and workers’ rights.”

At the same time, he noted, “These people are connected to Obama and share his vision that through engagement and by being, in a way, reconciliatory, things will change… In a sense Israel is getting in the way of the realization of this worldview, and I think that rather than attack the problem and care about human rights and the rights of women, gay people, and religious minorities… perhaps it’s easier for them to blame Israel.”

Responding by email to Small’s statements, Deborah Lipstadt praised some of the work done by Charles Small and YIISA’s, allowing that the initiative had done “many very good things,” although “at times it crossed the line from academia to advocacy.”

Lipstadt maintained that she had “never said that contemporary anti-Semitism is not a real threat in certain places,” and noted that during the Haaretz interview cited by Small, she had stressed that it was, in fact, a “real danger.”

However, Lipstadt added, “I also said that there is a heightened fear in the Jewish community that often becomes hysteria, and that there are people who play upon these fears… I don’t believe we accomplish anything by branding people and calling them names.”

Thomas Friedman could not be reached for comment.
The canary in the coal mine

Small seemed taken aback when asked whether Israel could be undermining its own cause or cheapening the memory of the fallen by evoking the Holocaust as a point of reference in warning of the magnitude of the threat emanating from Tehran.

“The discourse on anti-Semitism, politically and academically, is astounding,” he replied. “The very fact that you’re even asking me this question is interesting in and of itself. Would educated people, when they meet a South African, say, ‘It’s been 20 years since apartheid — shut up about apartheid’? I don’t think anyone would have the audacity and insensitivity to tell a South African who had lived through a crime against humanity that it’s time to be quiet.”

‘Why are Israelis silent? I would say that we, in Israel, are too silent; never mind the West’

Jews are like “the canary in the coal mine,” Small added. “Anti-Semitism is a deep, deep hatred, and once we permit this hatred to exist or target one group, it’ll only be a matter of time before other groups are targeted. And mark my words: If the Muslim Brotherhood rises to power and governs — and it looks like they will to some extent, depending on their relations with the Egyptian military — watch the rights of women, watch the rights of gay people, watch the Coptic community.

“And yet, the issue of their hatred of the Other is not being dealt with because it’s anti-Semitism, because people don’t want to hear about it. And to be honest, I’m surprised that the Israeli government does not speak out loud and clear about this social movement that is rising to power, which is antidemocratic and anti-Semitic, and which will violate human rights.

“Why are Israelis silent? I would say that we, in Israel, are too silent; never mind the West. And it’s interesting, why people like Thomas Friedman and Deborah Lipstadt actually blame the Jews for the issues in various areas; it’s fascinating, worthy of study.”

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Arab Rioters Stone Temple Mount Tourists after Muslim Incitement

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
A7 News

Dozens of Arab stoned tourists and police on the Temple Mount Sunday morning, a day after a former Muslim Mufti warned of a possible “break-in” by Jews.

Police arrested three of the stone-throwers, and no one was injured. The holy site remains open to visitors.

Police closed the Temple Mount to non-Muslims one day last week after an apparent political prank that featured posters of Jewish Leadership faction leader Moshe Feiglin calling for the destruction of Arab mosques on the Temple Mount and building the Third Temple. Sunday’s violence may have been prompted by a sermon on Saturday by former Jerusalem mufti Ekrema Sabri, who warned that alleged Israeli extremists “might implement their threats to break into the Al-Aqsa mosque tomorrow (Sunday) morning.”

He urged all Arabs and Muslims to save the Al-Aqsa mosque and support the people of Jerusalem in dealing with what he called the “Israeli conspiracy against the city and its holy places.”

Ekrema Sabri was appointed by former PA Chairman Yasser Arafat as the Mufti of Jerusalem and also served as the supreme religious authority in the PA.

During the Al-Aqsa or Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War that began in 2000, Sabri expressed support for terrorist suicide attacks, and police questioned him a year layer after he met in Lebanon with Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

Anti-Jewish incitement by the Palestinian Authority has increased markedly in the past year as the PA continues to try to claim sovereignty over the site, the holiest place in Judaism.

Many Muslim clerics have preached that Jews have no connection to the site and that the First and Second Temples never existed.

The Palestinian Authority has removed tons of dirt from the Temple Mount compound in an effort to prevent discoveries that would reveal artifacts from the era of the Jewish Temples.

The State Dept has embraced the Islamist Agenda at home and abroad

What this means is that the Obama administration has made a strategic decision to join forces with the Islamists rather than fight them. This policy has serious implications for America at home and abroad. It also has serious implications for Israel. It means that America will restrain Israel from besting the Islamists and will favour the Islamists over Israel. It is no accident that the Islamists are now in power in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt or that the The US has fully embraced Islamist Erdogan of Turkey and is supporting the advent of the MB in Syria. Nothing could be more ominous. Ted Belman A note from Investigative Project on Terrorism Executive Director Steven Emerson:

Please take the time to read this very important story written by a courageous Egyptian liberal intellectual about the Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood lobbies in Washington and the Obama Administration’s secret collaboration with these pro-terrorist, anti-Western, anti-women, anti-American and anti-Semitic organizations. This is one of the most important articles I have read in years.

It was just revealed two days ago that FBI Director Mueller secretly met on February 8 at FBI headquarters with a coalition of groups including various Islamist and militant Arabic groups who in the past have defended Hamas and Hizballah and have also issued blatantly anti-Semitic statements. At this meeting, the FBI revealed that it had removed more than 1000 presentations and curricula on Islam from FBI offices around the country that was deemed “offensive.” The FBI did not reveal what criteria was used to determine why material was considered “offensive” but knowledgeable law enforcement sources have told the IPT that it was these radical groups who made that determination. Moreover, numerous FBI agents have confirmed that from now on, FBI headquarters has banned all FBI offices from inviting any counter-terrorist specialists who are considered “anti-Islam” by Muslim Brotherhood front groups.

The February 8 FBI meeting was the culmination of a series of unpublicized directives issued in the last three months by top FBI officials to all its field offices to immediately recall and withdraw any presentation or curricula on Islam throughout the entire FBI. In fact, according to informed sources and undisclosed documents, the FBI directive was instigated by radical Muslim groups in the US who had repeatedly met with top officials of the Obama Administration to complain, among other things, that the mere usage of the term of “radical Islam” in FBI curricula was “offensive” and ‘racist.” And thus, directives went out by Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Mueller to censor all such material. Included in the material destroyed or removed by the FBI and the DOJ were power-points and articles that defined jihad as “holy war” or presentations that portrayed the Muslim Brotherhood as an organization bent on taking over the world—a major tenant that the Muslim Brotherhood has publicly stated for decades.

During the next several months, the IPT will be releasing a series of major investigative reports revealing the secret infiltration by and collaboration with radical Islamic organizations by the Obama administration that has spread to the National Security Council, the Dept of Justice, the FBI, the Dept of Homeland Security, the CIA and the State Department as well as local law enforcement.

Islamist Lobbies’ Washington War on Arab and Muslim Liberals

by Essam Abdallah
The Cutting Edge News

The most dramatic oppression of the region’s civil societies and the Arab Spring is not by means of weapons, or in the Middle East. It is not led by Gaddafi, Mubarak, Bin Ali, Saleh, or Assad. It is led by the powerful Islamist lobbies in Washington DC. People may find my words curious if not provocative. But my arguments are sharp and well understood by many Arab and middle eastern liberals and freedom fighters. Indeed, we in the region, who are struggling for real democracy, not for the one time election type of democracy have been asking ourselves since January 2011 as the winds of Arab spring started blowing, why isn’t the West in general and the United States Administration in particular clearly and forcefully supporting our civil societies and particularly the secular democrats of the region? Why were the bureaucracies in Washington and in Brussels partnering with Islamists in the region and not with their natural allies the democracy promoting political forces?

Months into the Arab Spring, we realized that the Western powers, and the Obama Administration have put their support behind the new authoritarians, those who are claiming they will be brought to power via the votes of the people. Well, it is not quite so.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Nahda of Tunisia, the Justice Party of Morocco and the Islamist militias in Libya’s Transitional National Council have been systematically supported by Washington at the expense of real liberal and secular forces. We saw day by day how the White House guided carefully the statements and the actions of the US and the State Department followed through to give all the chances to the Islamists and almost no chances to the secular and revolutionary youth. We will come back to detail these diplomatic and financial maneuvers which are giving victory to the fundamentalists while the seculars and progressives are going to be smashed by the forthcoming regimes.

In the US, there are interests that determine foreign policy. And there are lobbies that put pressure to get their objectives met in foreign policy. One of the most powerful lobbies in America under the Obama Administration is the Muslim Brotherhood greater lobby, which has been in action for many years. This lobby has secured many operatives inside the Administration and has been successful in directing US policy towards the Arab world. Among leading advisors sympathetic to the Ikhwan is Daliah Mogahed (Mujahid) and her associate, Georgetown Professor John Esposito. Just as shocking, there is also a pro-Iranian lobby that has been influencing US policy towards Iran and Hezbollah in the region.

One of the most important activities of the Islamist lobby in the US is the waging of political and media wars on the liberal Arabs and Middle Eastern figures and groups in America. This battlefield is among the most important in influencing Washington’s policies in the Arab world. If you strike at the liberal and democratic Middle Eastern groups in Washington who are trying to gain support for civil societies in the region, you actually win a major battle. You will be able to influence the resources of the US Government to support the Islamists in the Middle East and not the weak democrats. This huge war waged by the Islamist lobbies in America started at the end of the Cold war and continued all the way till the Arab spring. The two main forces of this lobby are the Muslim Brotherhood fronts and the Iranian fronts. According to research available in the US, the Ikhwan fronts such as CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations), led by Hamas supporter Nihad Awad, as well as the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Islamic Society of North America, and others waged their political war to block the representatives of Arab liberals and Muslim moderates from making their case to the American public. The Iranian lobby, exemplified by the National Iranian American Committee (NIAC), led by Trita Parsi, has been hitting at Iranian exiles.

Since the 1990s CAIR and its allies have attacked Copts, Southern Sudanese, Lebanese, Syrian reformers, Assyrians and Chaldeans, and Muslim dissidents in the United States. The Ikhwan of America demonized any publication, book, article, or interview in the national media or local press raising the issue of secular freedoms in the Middle East. The Islamists wanted to eliminate the liberal cause in the Arab world and replace it with the cause of the Islamists. What is also shocking is that CAIR and its allies stood by the oppressive regimes and visited them, claiming they speak on behalf of the peoples. CAIR and the Brotherhood fronts in America destroyed systematically every project that would have defended the seculars and liberals originating from the Middle East. The notorious and well-funded Islamists of the US allowed no book, documentary, or show on the liberals in Arab civil societies to see the light.

Thanks to this powerful lobbying campaign, the American public was not given a chance to learn about the deep feelings on the youth in the region. Americans were led to believe that all Muslims, all Arabs and all Middle Easterners were a strange species of humans who cannot appreciate freedom. Instead, the American Islamists, helped by apologists on the petrodollars payrolls, convinced the mainstream media that the Arab world has authoritarians and Islamists only.

Dr Shawki Karas, president of the American Coptic Association, told me in the late 1990s how he was harassed by Islamist activists for speaking up against the Mubarak regime and the Muslim Brotherhood in America. He was threatened with losing his job at the college where he taught. Reverend Keith Roderick, who has assembled a coalition of more than 50 group rights from the Muslim world, was severely attacked by the Islamists and was threatened to be removed from his church position. Muslim American leaders who are conservative and secular, such as Dr Zuhdi Jasser, were crucified by CAIR and the Brotherhood for daring to challenge the Party line of the Isl.amists in America and claiming that the Jihadists are the problem in the region. Muslim liberal dissidents such as Somali Ayan Hirsi Ali, Saudi Ali al Yammi, Syrian Farid Ghadri, Iranian Manda Ervin, and many others were trashed by the Islamist lobbies to block them from defending the causes of secular liberty in the US. Egyptian liberals as well as seculars and democracy activists from Iraq, Sudan, Syria, and other countries have been attacked by CAIR and allies. The pro-Iranian lobby targeted most Iranian-American groups and tried to discredit them, particularly with the rise of the Green Revolution in Iran. By smearing the Muslim liberal exiles, the Islamists were trying to destroy their causes in the mother countries. In the 1990s and the years that followed 9/11 the region’s dictators supported the efforts by Islamist lobbies to crush the liberal exiles. The Mubarak, Bashir, Gaddafi, Assad, and Khomeinist regimes fully supported the so-called Islamophobia campaign waged by CAIR and its Iranian counterpart NIAC against dissidents for calling for secular democracy in the region. The dissidents were accused of being pro-Western by both the Islamists and the dictators.

The Islamist lobbies also severely attacked members of the US Congress such as Democrats Tom Lantos, who has since passed away, Eliot Engel, Howard Berman, Gary Ackerman, and Joe Lieberman as well as Republicans Frank Wolfe, Chris Smith, Trent Franks, John McCain, Rick Santorum, and Sam Brownback for their efforts in passing legislative acts in support for democracy and liberty in the Middle East. CAIR and NIAC heavily savaged President Bush’s speeches on Freedom Forward in the Middle East, deploying all the resources they had to block US support to liberal democrats in the region. Islamist lobbies in Washington are directly responsible for killing any initiative in the US Government to support Darfur, southern Sudan, Lebanon, the Kurds, liberal women in the Muslim world, and true democrats in the Arab world and Muslim Africa.

In the think tank world, CAIR and its allies aggressively attacked scholars who raised the issue of persecution against seculars or minorities in the Arab world and Iran. Among those attacked were Nina Shea and Paul Marshal from the Hudson Institute and the founder of an anti-slavery group, Dr Charles Jacobs, who was exposing the Sudan regime for its atrocities.

Last but not least is the Islamists’ relentless campaign to stirke at top scholars who advise Government and appear in the media to push for democratic liberation in the region. The vast and vicious attacks leveled against Professor Walid Phares—initially by CAIR’s Nihad Awad and then widened by pro-Hezbollah and Muslim Brotherhood operatives online—has revealed to Arab and Middle Eastern liberal and seculars how ferocious is the battle for the Middle East in the US.

Phares’s books, particularly the latest one, The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East (2010), hit the Islamist agenda hard by predicting the civil society revolts in the Middle East and then predicting how the Islamists would try to control them. Phares was attacked by an army of Jihadist militia online like no author since Samuel Huntington in the 1990s.

As a freedom activist from the Middle East, Mustafa Geha, wrote, Phares is a hero to Muslim liberals. Along with dissidents, lawmakers, experts, and human rights activists, Phares is a force driving for a strategic change in US foreign policy towards supporting secular democracies in the region.

This explains why the Islamists of America are fighting the battle for the forthcoming regimes with all the means they have.

Dr. Essam Abdallah is an Egyptian liberal intellectual who teaches at Ain Shams University and writes for the leading Arab liberal publication Elaph.