Saturday, December 21, 2013

"Moderate" MPAC peddles fake anti-Israel Gaza flood story originally pushed by Hamas

Jihad Watch


No surprise here. On September 11, 2001, Salam al-Marayati, founder and executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), appeared on a radio show in Los Angeles to discuss the jihad attacks in New York and Washington, and said: “If we’re going to look at suspects, we should look to the groups that benefit the most from these kinds of incidents, and I think we should put the state of Israel on the suspect list because I think this diverts attention from what’s happening in the Palestinian territories so that they can go on with their aggression and occupation and apartheid policies.”

These remarks are not anomalous for al-Marayati, who has claimed that the jihad terrorist group Hizballah is working for “liberation and resistance,” and has refused to call it a terrorist group. Likewise, al-Marayati has said optimistically that Hizballah’s Sunni counterpart Hamas will eventually gain acceptance:
Yesterday’s terrorists in the Middle East are today’s leaders. The PLO is the number one example of this. … The PLO 35 years ago was considered a terrorist organization, nobody should deal with them. … But they became the people in authority, in Palestine, today. So Hamas today, the way it’s being viewed, is exactly how the PLO was viewed 30 years ago. And in fact, even Hamas in terms of its social and educational operations is doing exactly what the PLO was doing 35 years ago, as well as its quote unquote military operations....
MPAC is widely regarded as a “moderate” Muslim organization, and has even sponsored a “National Anti-Terrorism Campaign” ostensibly dedicated to helping Muslims help law enforcement officials root jihad terrorists and their sympathizers out of Muslim communities in the U.S. Or at least that’s what the mainstream media assumed that the campaign was dedicated to doing; in reality, however, it was much less concerned with identifying jihadists within American Muslim communities than with shielding Muslims from uncomfortable attention from law enforcement
"MPAC Peddles Debunked Gaza Dam Story," from IPT News, December 20:
The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) is promoting a story accusing Israel of opening a dam during a freak winter storm, causing massive flooding in the Gaza Strip. "On Monday, Israel opened the Wadi Sofa dam in the south Gaza Strip that flooded Gazan towns and displaced approximately 10,000 Gazans from their homes leading the United Nations to label it a "disaster area," the article says.
MPAC posted the article Friday and also sent it on the group's email list.
The problem is that the dam doesn't seem to exist, and the story, originally pushed by Hamas, was debunked days ago by the Times of Israel.
A spokesman for Israel's Water Authority told the newspaper that the story is "baseless and false" and that Israel has no dams in that area. The flooding is real, but caused by overflowing reservoirs after 10 inches of rain fell in a three-day period. That's 60 percent of the normal annual rainfall in the area.
While the dam story first came from Hamas's Disaster Response Committee chairman, the Times' story quotes Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook acknowledging Israel tried to help in the storm's wake.
"The Zionists, of course, have taken advantage of the situation, sending some pumps and supplies which they had deprived the besieged Gaza Strip of," Marzook wrote on his Facebook page Sunday.
This isn't the first time MPAC burned itself by promoting questionable material. Last year, it linked to an article defending convicted terrorist Tarek Mehanna, arguing he was a victim of "a hysterical witch-hunt for 'radical' Muslims." Mehanna's conviction for providing support to al-Qaida and conspiring to commit murder abroad was upheld last month by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Massachusetts.
He traveled to Yemen in hopes of receiving jihad training. When that didn't work, he returned to Massachusetts and posted translations of material supporting al-Qaida and "Salafi-Jihadi perspectives."
Evidence showed Mehanna's work was "in response to Al-Qa'ida's call," prosecutors wrote, "and that he was pleased to be associated with Al-Qa'ida through his work."
Past MPAC position papers criticized American terrorist designations for Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and called the 1983 Hizballah bombing of a U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon during a peacekeeping operation, "exactly the kind of attack that Americans might have lauded had it been directed against Washington's enemies."
MPAC enjoys good relations with the White House and other politicians and is considered influential on policy. It's a wonder, given the organization's reckless tendency to embrace terror suspects and promote baseless allegations.

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