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The trouble with “white Jews”

Okay, I’ll admit that I’m late to the party, but I’ve only recently discovered that in the US, it has become really fashionable to designate Jews as “white” and to castigate them for enjoying “white privilege” or even accuse them of “upholding white supremacy.” While I got immediately furious for reasons I’ll explain, it seems that if you are an American Jew who wants to be counted as broadly sympathetic to progressive causes, you better uncritically embrace your “whiteness” and ruefully ponder the attending privilege and the ways in which you might contribute to white supremacy.

Obviously enough, this discourse developed in the very specific context of American debates about race and inequality, and it reflects supposedly progressive ideas about intersectionality and identity politics according to which being “white” is something deeply shameful akin to the worst sins condemned by religions. As Andrew Sullivan recently put it in an interesting column on “America’s New Religions,” “the young adherents of the Great Awokening exhibit the zeal of the Great Awakening.”

So questioning woke dogma and rituals will inevitably incur the wrath of the faithful – which hasn’t deterred me from voicing my objections to the in my view rather pernicious designation of Jews as “white.” Obviously enough, “white” isn’t just meant to describe the tone of one’s skin, but it is also meant to identify an individual as part of a racist and exploitative system that keeps all POC (people of color) down.

It is of course true that in 21st century America, most Jews live relatively comfortable lives and face little discrimination, which is reflected in a Pew survey from 2013 that describes American Jews as “a comparatively well-educated, high-income group.” But it wasn’t all that long ago that American Jews were not “white” enough to dare speaking out forcefully for taking in those “white” European Jews trying to flee very white murderous Nazis intent on achieving their “final solution” to the “Jewish problem.” Yet at very same time that American Jews felt too powerless to campaign to help desperate European Jews, polls showed “that many Americans believed that Jews were too powerful in the United States.”

The idea that Jews are too powerful, and therefore a threat that has to be fought, is of course an old antisemitic canard – and it is precisely because fantasies about Jewish power have cost so many Jewish lives over the centuries that it is preposterous to suddenly designate Jews as “white,” thus magically transforming them into accomplices and beneficiaries of power structures that, until quite recently, cast Jews as despised and dangerous outsiders. Designating Jews as “white” also seems to suggest that as soon as there is a generation of Jews lucky enough not to share the experience of endless discrimination and persecution of previous generations, Jews are expected to feel guilty and share the blame for whatever discrimination and racism other groups continue to suffer. At the same time, the vigorous Jewish support for the Civil Rights movement and liberal/progressive politics can apparently be ignored.

Another obvious problem with designating Jews as “white” is the fact that those really obsessed with “whiteness” violently disagree – as sadly demonstrated again just some two months ago, when a white supremacist killed 11 people and wounded several others at a Pittsburgh synagogue. That’s why the African-American activist and researcher Eric Ward was right to argue that “the truth is that Jews are not ‘whites’ in the United States. If they were, they would not receive death threats, their houses of worship would not be targeted, their burial sites would not be desecrated.”

Ward also pointed out that the left’s insistence on designating Jews as “white” leads to a downgrading of antisemitism as a comparatively minor form of racism that after all targets a supposedly privileged group. Yet, Ward concluded that Jews have only “temporary access” to “white privilege,” and he as well as others have noted that it is often conditional on concealing their Jewishness.

One good example of how happy Jew-haters are to seize on this debate was provided by an incident at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in March 2017, when fliers were distributed on campus announcing in big bold letters: “Ending White Privilege Starts With Ending Jewish Privilege.” white jewish privilege

The validity of the claim that Jews enjoy “white privilege” is also undermined by the fact that according to FBI data on hate crimes, Jews have been for decades the most frequently targeted group per capita; e.g. in 2017, “Jews accounted for 60% of hate crimes motivated by religion of target, despite being just 2% of population.” Figures for 2018 indicate that nothing has changed for the better.

So whenever I get involved in one of those endless Twitter debates about the question if American Jews are really “white” or just “white passing” and how much “white privilege” they enjoy and whether they can be both upholding “white supremacy” and be targeted by it, I think to myself that Eric Ward was definitely right when he expressed impatience with “contemporary movement versions of identity politics … that are navel gazing and focused on picking the lint from our own bellybuttons.” It seems to me that the current obsession with intersectionality and identity politics results all too often in a toxic divisiveness that contributes nothing to building a better society.

Yet another problematic aspect of the counter-productive debate about the “whiteness” of American Jews is that it gets inevitably applied to Israeli Jews. So it’s a fairly good bet to expect people who like to hold forth about “white” American Jews to move effortlessly to denouncing Israel as an evil colonial enterprise led by Nazis who insist on “Jewish supremacy.” The staunchly left-wing Israeli historian and writer Gershom Gorenberg captured it very well when he commented on Twitter: “When it’s good to be white, we’re not. When … it’s bad to be white, we are. When it’s good to be European, we’re Levantines. When Europeans are colonialists, we’re colonialists. When they hate immigration, we brought immigrants. When they hate capitalists, we’re capitalists.”

Arab-Muslim fantasies about Israeli cowardice

I recently scrolled through the tweets of the popular Palestinian caricaturist Mohammed Saba`aneh, who makes his living by producing images that depict Israel and its military as brutal and bloodthirsty monsters.

Pal caricaturist Sabaaneh2Pal caricaturist Sabaaneh3Pal caricaturist Sabaaneh4

But given that Saba`aneh earns his money with images designed to show what monstrously cruel enemy the Palestinian face, I was astonished to see that he re-tweeted an obviously fake clip trying to ridicule Israeli soldiers as pathetic cowards, easily scared by a youngster with a giant Palestinian flag.

Pal caricaturist Sabaaneh1

The clip is obviously a particularly shoddy Pallywood production; its creators didn’t even try to dress up the actors posing as Israeli soldiers in anything resembling IDF uniforms and gear.

 

Yet this shoddy fabrication got more than 20.000 views; the original tweet garnered almost a thousand retweets and some 2000 “Likes”, and the responses included lots of “hahahah” and related emoji.

However, one response was somewhat incongruous – because if the Israelis are such cowards, how do they manage to be so powerful that it’s up to them to “allow” Trump “to be President for the TV” if he meets a list of “Zionist” demands???

Pakistani patriot antisemitism

It turns out that Zaid Zaman Hamid who posted the fake clip is apparently a rather popular Pakistani political commentator whose verified Twitter account has more than 180.000 followers – and rather unsurprisingly, he’s fond of conspiracy theories, including blaming Israel’s Mossad along with the CIA and India’s foreign intelligence agency for destabilizing Pakistan.

So again, this self-declared Pakistani “National Security Analyst” seems to believe that the Israelis are pathetic cowards but still manage to project their power far beyond Israel’s borders…

That’s what makes antisemtism so unique: its practitioners manage to believe both that Jews are despicably weak and cowardly, and at the same time so powerful that they can control anything they want all over the world — needless to say, always to the detriment of the world. 

  

Hating Jews and Israel: When David Duke agrees with Marc Lamont Hill, Linda Sarsour and Louis Farrakhan

It’s often said that Israel is a divisive issue – but Israel-haters from the far-right and the far-left actually find a lot of common ground when it comes to the world’s only Jewish state.

So David Duke – described by the ADL as “perhaps America’s most well-known racist and anti-Semite” – has decreed that “no decent person can disagree” with Marc Lamont Hill’s views on Israel. Hill is a far-left anti-Israel activist who thinks the Jewish state too evil to exist and wants it eliminated in favor of a “free Palestine from the river to the sea.”

ML Hill D Duke

And while Duke doesn’t think too much of Women’s March leader and prominent activist Linda Sarsour, he does think she’s absolutely right to believe Israel exerts undue influence on US politicians…

D Duke Sarsour

Last but not least, über-progressives Marc Lamont Hill and Linda Sarsour are both admirers of veteran Jew-hater and all-round bigot Louis Farrakhan. David Duke isn’t a big Farrakhan fan, but just like he appreciates Linda Sarsour for expressing disgust with Israel’s supposed influence on American politicians, he appreciates Farrakhan’s very similar sentiments.

D Duke Farrakhan

The left likes to pretend antisemitism is an exclusively right-wing phenomenon. But every time the left makes statements about the world’s only Jewish state that appeal to the likes of David Duke, it proves that contemporary left-wing antisemitism masquerades as “anti-Zionism” while faithfully reflecting “the tropes, images and ideas of classical antisemitism. In short, that which the demonological Jew once was, demonological Israel now is: uniquely malevolent, full of blood lust, all-controlling, the hidden hand, tricksy, always acting in bad faith, the obstacle to a better, purer, more spiritual world, uniquely deserving of punishment, and so on.”

Or, to put it differently: Jew-haters on the far-right still subscribe to the Nazi-slogan “the Jews are our misfortune” – which the far-left will readily condemn while chanting “the Jewish state is our misfortune.”

Update:

For people who argue that to point to David Duke’s endorsements for left-wing positions is just a spurious attempt to establish guilt by association, let’s hear it from Marc Lamont Hill: “The fact that David Duke is thanking Trump for his South Africa tweet says everything.”

So presumably, the fact that David Duke agrees with Marc Lamont Hill says everything… 

ML Hill D Duke 2

The endless hate for Israel at Human Rights Watch

I have documented the blatant bias against Israel that is openly displayed by Human Rights Watch (HRW) officials in several recent articles (see e.g. here and here).

However, it’s usually not possible to cite all the material that may be relevant in articles – they’re after all categorized as op-eds and can’t be endlessly long, even if you have tons of outrageous stuff.

Since I use Twitter a lot to check on the issues I work on, I’ve also tried to collect some of the material there (see e.g. here).

But the more I look at the conduct of HRW officials, the harder it becomes to avoid the conclusion that their unending and completely shameless display of hypocrisy, if not outright bigotry on Israel, is worth documenting more systematically.  

So here are just two of the recent examples.

A few days ago, Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of the HRW Middle East and North Africa Division, retweeted a cartoon by the notorious Carlos Latuff, who is a prolific producer of antisemitic images – one of which won him an award at an Iranian-sponsored “International Holocaust Cartoon Competition” in 2006.

The Latuff cartoon Whitson liked so much associates Israel prime minister Netanyahu with the assassination of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It is widely assumed that the assassination was ordered by the Saudi crown prince, and there is an energetic campaign initiated by the Washington Post (which hired Khashoggi a year ago) demanding a drastic downgrading of all dealings with the Saudis.

In my view, this campaign is in many ways hypocritical – whoever needed the assassination of Khashoggi to discover how dreadful the Saudi regime is shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Moreover, I think it’s very problematic that Khashoggi’s Islamist views are now not only whitewashed, but also mainstreamed.

But needless to say, Whitson enthusiastically supports this campaign; and equally needless to say, whoever can be tarred as a supporter of the Saudis is unspeakably evil. Neither Netanyahu nor other Israeli government officials have made statements regarding Khashoggi’s assassination and its political implications, but that doesn’t prevent types like Latuff and top HRW official Sarah Leah Whitson from trying to spread the idea that the world’s only Jewish state must surely be on the side of the evil ones.

SLW RTs Latuff Netanyahu Khashoggi MbS

Another very similar effort comes from veteran Israel-hater Glenn Greenwald in the wake of the recent Brazilian election won by Jair Bolsonaro, who is widely regarded as a right-wing populist and has been described as a Brazilian Trump.

As is customary, most political leaders will congratulate the winner of a democratic presidential election – here is e.g. a report on French President Emmanuel Macron’s congratulation.

But of course, the congratulation of Israel’s prime minister provides yet another irresistible opportunity to depict the Jewish state as an evil entity – both for Greenwald and Sarah Leah Whitson.

As Greenwald put it: “Like most fanatical far-right leaders, Bolsonaro loves Israel & craves closeness to it. With the western liberal world recognizing Israel for what it is and abandoning support, Israelis see an alliance with far-right nationalists as their key strategy.”

SLW RTs Greenwald Bolsonaro

 

Nariman Tamimi declares her solidarity with a murderous terrorist: “We are all Ahlam Tamimi”

B’Tselem, i.e. The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, recently wrote about the proceedings against Ahed and Nariman Tamimi, claiming that they are unfairly prosecuted because “the Tamimi family has long since become a symbol of unarmed Palestinian resistance to the occupation.” Powerful human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have made similar claims, implying that “Palestinian resistance” deserves support. This stance requires these organizations to cynically ignore or whitewash the Tamimis’ longstanding and openly acknowledged support for terrorism.

I have documented in great detail that for years, the Tamimis have glorified and incited terrorism, and that they hold family members who have committed terror attacks in high esteem. This is particularly true for Ahlam Tamimi, the mastermind and facilitator of the 2001 Sbarro bombing in Jerusalem that killed fifteen people including seven children and a pregnant woman, and left some 130 people injured; one young mother remained in a permanent vegetative state. Ahlam Tamimi has repeatedly boasted of the carnage she planned and helped perpetrate.

Given the current efforts to whitewash the Tamimis’ glorification of terror and their openly acknowledged association with, and admiration for, murderous terrorists, it is time to demonstrate that nothing has changed. It is particularly noteworthy that in the past year, Nariman Tamimi continued to advertise her admiration for Ahlam Tamimi. Below is a screenshot of some of Nariman  Tamimi’s Facebook photos posted in 2017. The five images marked with yellow circles show Ahlam Tamimi, the Sbarro massacre  mastermind and facilitator.

Nariman WeAreAllAhlam 2017

Since Nariman Tamimi can expect that most of her Facebook friends will know Ahlam Tamimi and share her appreciation of the murderous terrorist, some of the images were posted without comment (see e.g. this example archived here; the archived copy displays the link to the original post on top).

But one image, posted on March 16, 2017, shows a poster with Sbarro massacre mastermind and facilitator Ahlam Tamimi flashing a victory sign; the text calls for solidarity with her and reads in translation:

“Out of loyalty for the sacrifices of Ahlam, and emphasizing her right to wage resistance against the plundering occupier, and in rejection of the US demand to hand her over #All of us are_Ahlam_Tamimi. Take part in our campaign of solidarity with the liberated prisoner #All of us are_Ahlam_Tamimi. Today, Thursday at 7 pm – Be with us.”

Nariman Tamimi repeated the slogan in her own writing: “#All of us are_Ahlam_Tamimi”

Nariman WeAreAllAhlam poster 2017

Another image posted by Nariman Tamimi on March 15, 2017, shows Ahlam Tamimi with her husband Nizar Tamimi, who is Bassem Tamimi’s nephew and one of the terrorists involved in the killing and burning of Haim Mizrahi in 1993; at the time, this terror attack was seen as an attempt to derail the Oslo peace process.

Nariman Tamimi posted this photo with the chilling comment “#Ahlam_will triumph” – which is likely a reference to the publication of an FBI notice that included Ahlam Tamimi among the agency’s “Most Wanted” terrorists.

Nariman Ahlam will triumph

Ahlam Tamimi FBI Most Wanted

This is presumably the first time that Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem are enthusiastically campaigning for someone who has declared publicly for years that a murderous terrorist who is now on the FBI’s Most Wanted list should be viewed as an admirable hero who deserves full solidarity.

Yet, when these so-called human rights organizations insist that the Tamimis are a symbol of Palestinian “resistance,” they are entirely right. And no matter how much Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem may try to mislead, Nariman Tamimi – along with other members of the clan – has demonstrated over and over again that supporting this “resistance” is supporting terrorism.

Translations from Arabic courtesy of Ibn Boutros.

Al Jazeera needs help to see the difference between Malala and Ahed Tamimi (updated)

Al Jazeera – or at least Al Jazeera contributor Shenila Khoja-Moolji – is desperately clueless, stumped by the question: “Why is the West praising Malala, but ignoring Ahed?” So let’s help them out a bit.

Malala Yousafzai gained prominence as a teen blogger for BBC Urdu, where she described her life under the harsh rule of the fundamentalist Islamist Taliban. The Taliban eventually decided to target Malala. On October 9, 2012, “[a] masked gunman boards Malala’s school bus and asks for her by name. He shoots Malala in the head, neck and shoulder.”

As far as Ahed Tamimi is concerned, masked gunmen are great. In September, Ahed Tamimi posted a picture of gunmen masked with Palestinian keffiyeh scarves on her Facebook page and repeated the message written on the image in Arabic: “Tell the fighters all over the world that they are my friends.”

Ahed loves terrorists

So the masked gunman who shot Malala was someone Ahed would consider a friend.

Sadly, Ahed was brought up to consider masked gunmen as her “friends.”

Her father Bassem Tamimi has shared a propaganda video for the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, and his wife, i.e. Ahed’s mother Nariman, “liked” this video glorifying Hezbollah.

Bassem Nariman Tamimi like Hezbollah

Ahed’s father also “likes” the Hamas-affiliated jihadist Al-Qassam Brigades: as I documented some two years ago, Bassem Tamimi responded with a “Like” when someone praised a photo Ahed had posted on her Facebook page, showing her throwing rocks, with the short comment “Good ahed” accompanied by an image glorifying the Al-Qassam Brigades.

BTamimi likes AlQassam3

Then there’s the sad fact that Ahed has several relatives who are convicted terrorist murderers – and who are greatly admired by her family for the ruthless murders they perpetrated.

Here’s little Ahed back in 2012 when her uncle Nizar Tamimi – the murderer of Chaim Mizrahi – married her aunt Ahlam Tamimi – the proud mastermind and facilitator of the 2001 Sbarro massacre that claimed the lives of fifteen people, including seven children and a pregnant woman; some 130 people suffered injuries; one young mother was left in a permanent vegetative state.

Ahed at Ahlam Nizar Tamimi wedding1

Ahed’s mother Nariman Tamimi has surely taught her daughter that ruthless terrorist murderers like her aunt Ahlam are admirable rebels.

NTamimi rebels not terrorists

When Malala was shot by the Taliban gunman in October 2012, she was 15. She survived. Here you can read the story of Malka Chana Roth, a 15 year-old girl who didn’t survive the terrorist bombing Ahed’s aunt Ahlam Tamimi remains so proud of.

3 ATamimi laughs

This is how the Facebook page of Ahed’s aunt Ahlam looked before it was made private – it is adorned with images of the suicide bomber who carried out the terrorist bombing of the Sbarro restaurant exactly as Ahlam Tamimi had planned. Needless to say, Ahed and her parents and many other Tamimi family members are Facebook friends with their murderous terrorist relative.

Sbarro bomber FB page2

Ahed FB friend Ahlam

 

Ahed’s mother Nariman Tamimi has presumably also taught her daughter that the murder of teen girls brings honor to the cause the Tamimis are devoted to. In June 2016, Nariman Tamimi shared a Facebook post from another Tamimi family member to honor the teenaged Palestinian terrorist who had just killed the 13-year-old sleeping Hallel Yaffa Ariel after breaking into her home. As far as the Tamimis are concerned, the murder of Hallel Yaffa helped “to return to the homeland its awe/reverence.”

NTamimi cheers 13yo murder3

If Malala was an Israeli Jewish girl and the gunman who shot her was Palestinian, Ahed’s family would have cheered and considered him a hero who brought honor to their cause.

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It wouldn’t have been hard for the author of this Al Jazeera op-ed to find out what the Tamimis stand for – a few minutes of Googling could have gone a long way… That Shenila Khoja-Moolji either didn’t bother to inform herself about the Tamimis before writing about them, or decided to ignore their terrorist associations and sympathies, is noteworthy. Her Al Jazeera profile describes her as “a scholar of gender, Islam, and youth studies. She is the author of ‘Forging the Ideal Educated Girl’ forthcoming in June 2018.” On her Twitter account, she links to her page at the University of Pennsylvania.

Given Khoja-Moolji’s expertise – or at least interest – in “youth studies,” it is striking that she apparently sees no problem in the fact that Ahed has been sent out by her parents to try to provoke confrontations with Israeli soldiers since she was a little girl. An Avaaz petition for Ahed Tamimi – which at the time of this writing has more than 230,000 signatures – states: “Ahed’s been on the frontline defending Palestine since she was 7 years old.”

That is a good reminder of the long and sordid Palestinian tradition to abuse children as child soldiers. Perhaps Shenila Khoja-Moolji knows nothing about Palestinian child soldiers, but it would have been arguably very good if she had tried to find out a bit about it before praising Ahed Tamimi for her “substantial history of standing up against injustices.”

As I’ve shown, Ahed considers masked gunmen as her “friends,” and there’s another revealing indication of who might be her “friends” and indeed role models. A Twitter account set up recently to promote the Avaaz petition posted a tweet declaring: “Israel is dreading that Ahed is the next Leila Khaled, they will try to break her in anyway or shape. But what they forgot is to see the fierce and fearless & determine look through her blue eyes. #FreeAhedTamimi #FreeGeorgesAbdallah.”

It isn’t all that important if this Twitter account can be considered an “official” account sanctioned by the Tamimi family, because the images attached to the tweet are really worth a thousand words.

Ahed Leila Khaled Georges Abdallah

Ahed for terrorist G Abdallah

Ahed for terrorist G Abdallah2

So let’s recall who Leila Khaled and Georges Abdallah are.

Leila Khaled, with whom Ahed posed for a photo, is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The PFLP is notorious for having “pioneered such terror tactics as airline hijackings” and the group perpetrated “hundreds of terrorist attacks.” As Wikipedia puts it without a trace of irony, Leila Khaled “is credited as the first woman to hijack an airplane.”

If Ahed Tamimi wants to be “the next Leila Khaled,” we can only wonder and worry what pioneering acts of terror she will once be “credited” with.

Georges Abdallah, for whom Ahed campaigned alongside her father Bassem Tamimi, is “a Lebanese militant” who “was arrested in 1984 and sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for the 1982 murder of Lieutenant Colonel Charles R. Ray, who was an assistant US military attaché and murder of Israeli diplomat Yaakov Bar-Simantov outside his home in Paris on 3 April 1982, as well as involvement in the attempted assassination of former American consul in Strasbourg Robert O. Homme.”

I wonder when Malala (and her father) attended an event alongside a terrorist in order to campaign for another terrorist? Perhaps Shenila Khoja-Moolji will tell us in her next Al Jazeera column.

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Translations from Arabic courtesy of Ibn Boutrous. A previous shorter version of this post was first published at EoZ

Linda Sarsour’s white knights: Max Blumenthal, David Duke &Richard Spencer

It’s terrible. Every morning Linda Sarsour wakes up – and because she has apparently set Google alerts for her name, she wakes up to “a new headline, a new google alert.”  She finds it “exhausting,” “so damn exhausting.” Maybe cancel the Google alerts? Or maybe grow up and accept that newspapers have op-eds and that not every op-ed writer falls for your hypocrisy and bigotry???

complains abt criticism

But here’s the good news, dear Linda Sarsour: in the past few days, three sort of well-known guys came to your defense. Among those heroes was your fellow-Israel-hater – and award-winning antisemite – Max Blumenthal, who happily joined so many of your wonderful fans in denigrating the ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt, who had the temerity to doubt your absolutely FABULOUS credentials as an antisemitism expert. After all, the expertise you get from learning by doing is unbeatable, isn’t it…

And of course you love it when your fans stand up for you and tell Greenblatt that compared to you, he and his organization are just utterly clueless about antisemitism. I mean, the ADL has been fighting antisemitism, racism and bigotry for a century, but really, that means absolutely nothing, nothing at all if they can’t see that there’s no antisemitism expert as brilliant as you are, right?

MB defends Sarsour

Indeed, we should all remember that you never really liked the ADL. For example, you had a big problem with the ADL’s campaign against Hamas back in the summer of 2014; indeed, you condemned the ADL for “inciting hate here in the US” with this campaign. Absolutely right – why oh why should anyone hate a murderous Islamist terror organization like Hamas???

Attacks ADL anti-Hamas campaign 2014

And naturally, dear Linda Sarsour, you were appalled [archived] when the ADL’s Abraham Foxman condemned the kidnapping and murder of three teenaged Israeli students by Hamas terrorists: “The ADL should be the PDL (Pro Defamation League) – defaming Palestinians. Shame. Shame.” Again – absolutely right, of course!!! (Never mind some two decades worth of opinion surveys that document Palestinian support for terror…)

ADL defames Palestinians

Well, dear Linda Sarsour, there’s no doubt that Hamas fan Max Blumenthal fully agrees with you on all these issues.

But let’s have a quick look at the other two heroes who came to your defense. Admittedly, David Duke was a bit lukewarm, comparing you to a broken clock that is right twice a day…

David Duke defends Sarsour

But hey, I think David Duke and you could find a lot of common ground when it comes to the ADL – he would surely LOVE your witticism about the “Pro Defamation League” given that the ADL has described him as “perhaps America’s most well-known racist and anti-Semite”…

And let’s not forget that alt-rightist Richard Spencer also came to your defense – indeed, given your complaints about how exhausting you find it to get criticism, you’ll surely appreciate his thoughts about why you are so terribly unfairly criticized.

Richard Spencer defends Sarsour

Mea culpa, mea culpa is all I can say here: I’m afraid I was the first one to highlight this tweet of yours, along with a whole lot of similar ones…

But in any case, there can be little doubt that also Richard Spencer would just LOVE your “Pro Defamation League” quip – can you imagine that the evil ADL has accused him of trying “to mainstream racism and anti-Semitism”???

So you see, the ADL isn’t just defaming Palestinians – they’re also defaming the likes of David Duke and Richard Spencer, and of course, worst of all, they’re defaming you, dear Linda Sarsour!!! But isn’t it a consolation that you are in such great company???

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A previous version of this post was published on EoZ.

When an antisemitic picture from Michael Chikindas is worth a thousand words from Linda Sarsour

Michael Chikindas is a professor at Rutgers’ Department of Food Science who recently really made a name for himself thanks to numerous utterly bigoted posts on Facebook. The material was first exposed on the blog Israellycool and then reported by many other sites, including The Algemeiner and Tablet. The writer John-Paul Pagano, who authored the Tablet piece, also posted an archive with screenshots of the Facebook posts Chikindas shared with the world – though the professor apparently didn’t have many Facebook “friends” who noticed. Pagano later found additional bigoted posts from Chikindas on social media.

While most of the material is shockingly vile, I was particularly struck by one image – because it could have served as the perfect illustration of one of Linda Sarsour’s tweets that I documented earlier this year. As I noted back then, Sarsour wrote several tweets with a similar message, but the one I immediately recalled when I saw the Chikindas post is: “Homeless on the streets, Americans who haven’t recovered from natural disasters, unemployment, and we have extra $$$ for Israel. Smh. [Shaking my head].”

Chikindas greedy Jews

Chikindas Sarsour

The interesting point is of course that the image Chikindas posted will be recognized by most people as antisemitic, while the text Sarsour posted will be widely justified as legitimate criticism of US support for Israel. Some people will also argue that Sarsour didn’t blame Jews – not even “Zionists” – for the “extra $$$ for Israel” and that it is therefore completely unfair to compare her tweet with the vile image posted by Chikindas.

However, this argument works only if you look at this one tweet in isolation, because Sarsour posted plenty of tweets suggesting that Israel was either controlling or corrupting US lawmakers. As I pointed out in my documentation, Sarsour repeatedly insinuated that American politicians who back strong bonds between the US and Israel must be suspected of dual loyalties or corruption. Echoing the “Israel-firster” slurs – which caused much controversy a few years ago and were widely considered as reflecting antisemitic tropes – Sarsour suggested in July 2014 that “Israel should give free citizenship to US politicians. They are more loyal to Israel than they are to the American people.” At the end of last year, Sarsour reacted to a statement by Senator Lindsey Graham with the question “Are you a US Senator or do you work for Israel?”

Sarsour also repeatedly shared her conspiracy theories about AIPAC, i.e. the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Sarsour apparently believes that AIPAC lobbies to get the US to “revolve around Israel;” she therefore demanded in 2012: “Our country’s future should not revolve around #Israel. #aipac2012.” Sarsour also complained “#Election2012 issue priorities should be Jobs, jobs, jobs, immigration, and economy NOT #Israel. #AIPAC2012”.

In July 2014, Sarsour asserted that there was an “awkward moment when the White House goes off AIPAC script and says ‘Israel must end the occupation;’” according to Sarsour, this meant for the White House that “#theyareintroublenow.” When someone challenged her claim that the Obama administration was an “AIPAC puppet,” Sarsour insisted “that’s why we send $3 billion in military aid to Israel while Michigan/Detroit is bankrupt. Detroit doesn’t have AIPAC lobby.” It was hardly surprising when another Twitter user felt it was appropriate to affirm and illustrate the views Sarsour had expressed with an image that showed President Obama and the 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney licking the boots of “Rothschild.”

AIPAC script

Last year, when Hillary Clinton addressed AIPAC, Sarsour commented: “What was in Hilary’s goodie bag at AIPAC. Had to be real nice after that speech that almost bought her a prime minister seat in Israel.”

It is hard to imagine that someone who is as hyperactive politically as  Sarsour would not know that US support for Israel enjoys broad backing among Americans because Israel is widely regarded as “a clear strategic asset to the United States,” and the bilateral relationship is therefore widely regarded as based on “tangible, steadily increasing security and economic interests.”

Seen in this context, the message conveyed by Sarsour in her repeated efforts to suggest [http://archive.is/kZpAj] that US military assistance to Israel comes at the expense of health care, education funding and various other social benefits for US citizens is not that much different from the message Chikindas tried to convey with the vile image of a greedy Jew stealing money from an American family begging on the streets.

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Note: A previous version of this post was published at EoZ.

Omar Suleiman’s indirect response to my Algemeiner article

A few days ago, The Algemeiner published my article on Omar Suleiman, a very popular Palestinian-American imam whom Linda Sarsour has repeatedly praised – and who has also expressed admiration for her. When I researched Suleiman’s views on Israel and on Jews, I quickly found a lot of alarming material: he posted an image signaling support for the Muslim Brotherhood; he repeatedly called for another intifada and tried his best to incite religious passions; he also compared Israel to the Nazis and to Taliban-affiliated terrorists who had perpetrated a horrendous massacre in a school in Pakistan. But what shocked me most was listening to some of his religious teachings that are available on You Tube. The example I cited in the article was from a lecture series on the Bani Israel that he gave a few years ago, and in the introductory lecture, he very clearly blamed the Bani Israel – literally the “sons of Israel,” i.e. the Jews – for the fact that food decays. Quite obviously, this is no less pernicious than the medieval blood libel.

Now I just discovered that, without tagging me or linking to my article, he has posted a text on his Facebook page that seems to be an indirect response to my piece – and I have to say that I found much of it quite impressive, certainly compared to Linda Sarsour’s pathetic habit to dismiss all criticism as “alt-right” and “Islamophobic.” You can read Suleiman’s post here or in the screenshot below.

Omar Suleiman Algemeiner response

Of course, I did not ‘intentionally decontextualize’ anything Suleiman said or wrote. And I think it’s not convincing to describe the material I documented as ‘slip ups,’ since in most instances, he repeatedly expressed the same or similar views. I am also working on documenting some other material from Suleiman’s lectures that I found very disturbing and that in my view is central to the Muslim unwillingness to accept the legitimacy of a Jewish state in any borders.

It should go without saying that I do not “hate” Omar Suleiman, and I do not “want to bury” him in his “past mistakes.” But quite obviously, it can have far-reaching consequences when an imam who has more than a million followers on social media makes “mistakes” and writes things he now wishes he “never wrote.” Indeed, some of the things I exposed were “liked” or shared by tens of thousands of people.

But I found it moving and very dignified that Suleiman wrote:

“Maybe thats a lesson though that we need to always be more responsible with our words. That even before social media, your words were being recorded and saved. That everything you’ve ever said may have impacted someone for years after even if you moved on. That we should heed the prophetic advice to not say things today that we will have to apologize for tomorrow.

I pray that I’ve written and said more good than evil, and that my carefully archived scrolls will be a proof for me rather than against me.”

Suleiman is very young – just in his early thirties, and from what I’ve seen, I do think his record includes a lot of “good.” But as I’ve already noted, I still think that he also promotes some very problematic views which I plan to document further. If he wishes to clarify or revise his views, he has many platforms to do so. And he has already shown that he is sometimes willing to change: e.g., he seemed prepared to tone down his previous condemnation of homosexuality – though only he can know if it is out of conviction or because of political expediency. But if he revises some of the views I have documented, and still plan to document, I would regard this as a small, yet still hopeful, step that could only help to improve relations between Muslims and Jews not just in the US, but perhaps even in the Middle East. After all, Suleiman is young, clearly very talented and very ambitious, and if he were to revise some of his problematic views, he could become a moderating voice that is desperately needed when so many religious leaders are eager to incite their followers by demonizing the Jews and denying their long historical attachment and rights to the land of Israel.  

Update:

Several people have told me that they feel I’m too conciliatory here, because Suleiman after all did not explicitly renounce any of his views; one person also criticized that he didn’t delete any of the offensive posts I cited (and archived). But I think only time will tell if I was too conciliatory. Even if he deleted the posts I exposed, it wouldn’t change the fact that when he published them, many thousands of people read, liked and shared them, and the incitement can’t be undone. Yet, I think compared to the reaction Linda Sarsour regularly offers when she is facing criticism, Suleiman’s vague acknowledgment that he regrets some of the views he expressed, should be appreciated — though, to be sure, Sarsour is setting a very low bar.

The past can’t be undone, but if Suleiman will now avoid calling for another intifada and stop describing Israel in terms that echo the Nazi slogan “The Jews are our misfortune,” I for one would find that a very positive outcome, since the 1.2 million (and counting) people who follow him will not be poisoned by such incitement from a religious leader they adore. Incidentally, it is very interesting to check out the comments responding to his post: most people accept very graciously that the imam they admire expresses regret about going public with some unspecified views and that he simply encourages everyone to learn from what he presents as his own learning experience.  

Having said all this, I don’t have any illusions about how deep-seated Suleiman’s anti-Israel — and arguably anti-Jewish — resentments are. I have watched some of his relevant lectures and found it all in all a rather depressing experience. But more on this in a follow-up article later this month.

 

 

 

The hate preachers of Al Aqsa

In a commentary on the tense aftermath of the recent terror attack committed by three Arab Israeli Muslims coming from what is supposedly Islam’s “third holiest” site, David Horovitz rightly notes that the current status quo on the Temple Mount is in many ways “outrageous.” Towards the end of his column, Horovitz wonders if it was perhaps “a historic mistake” that shortly after Israel took over the Temple Mount in 1967, it returned control of the site to the Muslim authorities of the Waqf.

I think Horovitz’s column answers his question: yes, it was indeed a terrible historic mistake, because – as Horovitz himself explains – this naïve gesture of good will “has empowered a Palestinian and wider Muslim false narrative that asserts the Jews actually have no connection to the Mount, no history there, no legitimacy there — and by extension no sovereign legitimacy in Israel either. Why did defense minister Moshe Dayan’s concession on June 10, 1967, fuel that false narrative? Because, the way it was perceived in much of the Muslim world, the Jews could not and would not have relinquished their authority over the site if it truly constituted the most sacred physical focal point of their faith. Israel’s restraint […] in other words, has come to be regarded as proof of our illegitimacy.”

But the status quo on the Temple Mount is also outrageous for reasons I outlined in a recent EoZ post:

Since the Temple Mount is in the news again, it’s perhaps time to update a post I wrote some two years ago about the hate preachers who hold forth quite regularly at what is supposedly Islam’s “third holiest” site. Unfortunately, the mainstream media seem to have little interest in covering what Muslim worshippers attending the Al Aqsa mosque are told about how their faith relates to today’s world. And once you know what they’re being told, it’s clear that reporting it would be dreadfully “Islamophobic.”

Thanks to MEMRI, there is a large collection of translated clips that provide a revealing glimpse of the intense hatred that passes for pious Islamic teaching at the Al Aqsa mosque. I think it would be a great service to peace in the Middle East and beyond if MEMRI put all these clips together into one chilling documentary that should be shown around the world in order to perhaps shame the responsible Muslim authorities into putting an end to these vile outpourings. After all, the Temple Mount has been a symbol of Muslim fanaticism for decades – indeed, it soon will be a century since Haj Amin al Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who later gained notoriety as a Nazi collaborator, first incited murderous Muslim violence with his mendacious fabrications about “Zionist” plots to damage the site’s Islamic shrines. But when the evil Zionists took over the Temple Mount in 1967, they naively thought it would be a wonderful gesture of good will to promptly hand the control of the site back to the Muslim waqf.

Ever since, Israel has cravenly served as enforcer of a “status quo” that is dictated by frequent threats of massive Muslim violence and that helps to entrench Muslim supremacism: only Muslims can pray on the Temple Mount – which is Judaism’s holiest site – while Jews and Christians are at best allowed to visit at severely restricted hours under strict police surveillance. 

My disgust with this arrangement isn’t due to any religious belief or sentiments; rather, with each new Muslim riot or act of violence justified “in defense of Al Aqsa,” it seems increasingly clear to me that peace has to begin on the Temple Mount: as long as Muslims are violently opposed to recognizing the Jewish and Christian attachment to the site and refuse to accept equal rights for Jews and Christians on the Temple Mount, there won’t be peace. And as long as Muslim leaders insist on denying equal rights for Jews and Christians on the Temple Mount, they should be denounced as supporters of a vile “status quo” that inevitably disgraces the religion which demands it.

So let’s have a good look at the “status quo” on the Temple Mount.

A perfect example is a recent speech by Palestinian preacher Ali Abu Ahmad during a rally at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in early May. The short clip – which concludes with a “prayer” imploring Allah to help Muslims to destroy whomever they perceive as enemies and to “annihilate all the Jews” – will give you a good idea about the intense hatred and the murderous incitement that is a regular feature of speeches and sermons at Islam’s “third holiest” site.

Hate preachers 1              

Shocking, but unfortunately, a common occurrence at Al Aqsa – in June, a very similar “prayer” was led by Palestinian cleric Sheikh Nadhal Siam (Abu Ibrahim): “Oh Allah, enable us to slaughter the Americans!” Audience: “Amen!” Nadhal Siam: “And the Europeans!” Audience: “Amen!” Nadhal Siam: “And our criminal and treacherous [Arab] rulers!” Audience: “Amen!”

Just two weeks after Ali Abu Ahmad had prayed for Allah’s help to “annihilate all the Jews” in early May, he was at it again, denouncing Trump as “the White House Satan” who is eager to talk with Arab rulers “about moderate Islam.” And once again, this hate preacher implored Allah to “bestow upon us a rightly-guided Caliphate in the path of the Prophet soon. Oh Allah, annihilate Trump and the conspirators. Oh Allah, annihilate all the Jews.”

At the end of May, Palestinian cleric Sheikh Muhammad Ayed, (Abu Abdallah) enlightened his audience at the Al Aqsa Mosque about the confessions of “Jewish schemers” from “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”: “They are behind all the strife in the world. They cause all the killing, the slaughter, and the destruction everywhere.” He also got around to contemplating America’s fate: “First, the Caliphate will clip America’s nails and then move on to chopping off its hands. After we clip its nails, we will chop off its hands, and then we will chop off its feet and drive it out of our countries.”

Also in May, Palestinian cleric Sheikh ‘Abd Al-Salam Abu Al-‘Izz gave a speech at Al Aqsa that is fascinating in the context of the controversy about the meaning of “jihad” in the wake of Linda Sarsour’s call for “jihad” against Trump: “Many people say that Islam did not spread by the sword. They try to conceal Jihad for the sake of Allah as a means of spreading Islam. They say that the Muslims were only defending themselves, and that if they conquered some country or another, it was only in order to put an end to tyranny. […] Any system of governance in the world is tyranny against humanity, except Islam. If we look at it this way, we find that there is tyranny in every country. Let us not forget that the Quran makes it incumbent upon us to spread Islam through Jihad: ‘Fight the infidels who are near you, and let them find harshness in you.’ […] the Jihad continues as long as there are infidels who are not ruled by Islam. Thus, the jurisprudents defined the reason for Jihad as the existence of infidels.”

Incidentally, another Palestinian cleric who educated his audience at Al Aqsa about the meaning of “jihad” in January 2016 concluded: “The purpose of Jihad for the sake of Allah is to make His word reign supreme, and to conquer the world. Thus, the Prophet’s companions roamed the planet Earth in order to conquer it. The Islamic State, which will be established soon, Allah willing, should do the same. It must conquer Rome, Washington and Paris, Allah willing, by means of Jihad for the sake of Allah, in order to remove oppression, and to purify the land from the filth of polytheism.”

Now let me just list a few of the examples I covered in my post two years ago:

In an address at the Al Aqsa Mosque on February 18, 2015, Palestinian political researcher Ahmad Al-Khatwani  (Abu Hamza) urged his audience to “pray that Allah will enable the Muslims to wage war on America and against its true terrorism. May He grant victory to the Muslims, and may they raid America on its own land and the land of heresy everywhere.”

In March 2015, preacher Muhammad Abed delivered two sermons at the Al Aqsa Mosque anticipating the establishment of a global caliphate: “Oh how similar to the past is the present! Just like the ideology of the Prophet Muhammad laid siege to the Quraysh tribe, the Persians, and the Byzantines, today, the religion and ideology of Muhammad – including Islam’s men of Truth, the men of the Caliphate and of jihad – are laying siege to America […] They are laying siege to Europe and to the fabricated democracy, the great lie. […] Oh nation of Islam, only a real Caliphate is capable of satiating your hunger, of defending you and your honor, and of liberating your Al-Aqsa Mosque form the filth of the defilers. […] America will be trampled by the hooves of the horses of the Caliph of the Muslims, Allah willing. This is the promise of Allah.”

In a lecture at the Al Aqsa Mosque on May 29, 2015, Sheik Khaled Al-Maghrabi spoke at length about Jewish evil and justified the Holocaust: “Let us consider the Holocaust of the Israelites in Germany, and all the prior problems that they experienced throughout Europe. The Israelites were expelled from all the countries of Europe, and eventually, they were burned in Germany. Ask yourselves why. […] It was not only due to (Jewish) corruption. On Passover, every Israelite community would seek a small child and kidnap him. They would bring a barrel pierced by many needles, and would place the little child inside it. That way, the needles would pierce the child’s body. At the bottom of the barrel there would be a tap to drain the blood. Why would they collect the blood of the kidnapped child? Because Satan, or one of the other higher gods, said that if they wanted him to fulfill their desires, they would have to eat bread kneaded with children’s blood. […] On Passover, when they are not allowed to eat regular bread, they make their matzos. They would knead the dough for these matzos with children’s blood. When this was discovered, the Israelites were expelled throughout Europe. That was the beginning of the calamity of the Israelites in European countries. It got to the point where they were burned in Germany. It was because of all those things, because of their multiple kidnappings of children.”

In another frightening lecture bordering on madness, delivered at the Al Aqsa Mosque on July 4, 2015, Palestinian cleric Issam Amira told his audience: “An Islamic state is required to deliver the call for Islam to the whole world. Therefore, this state must be qualified for expansion, militarily, ideologically, economically, and geographically. […] Therefore, our main war is with whom? With the Byzantines, with America and Europe – with France, with Britain, with those places […] The Islamic Caliphate must be restored, so that it will lead the armies to war against the infidels. Then we will bring about a second battle of Badr, and a third, and a fourth… In order to achieve that, the activists must work, along with [all] Muslims, to establish the Islamic State. It also requires destroying all the entities in the Islamic world.”

In an address at the Al Aqsa Mosque on July 6, 2015, Sheik Muhammad Abed said: “From here, from the land of the Prophet’s nocturnal journey, armies will set out to conquer Rome, to conquer Constantinople once again, as well as its [modern] symbols, Washington and London. This is Allah’s promise to His Prophet: Islam will rule the entire Earth.”

During an address on July 24, 2015, Sheik Ahmad Al-Dweik told his audience at the Al Aqsa Mosque: “Allah has promised to restore the Islamic Caliphate […] The Caliphate will come to be, and the nuclear bomb will be produced. It will be the number one country in the world. It will fight the U.S. and will bring it down. [The Caliphate] will eliminate the West in its entirety.”

Finally, since Muslims now like to claim that the Al Aqsa Mosque is not just the gray-domed building, but extends to the entire Temple Mount, let’s end with an example that illustrates just how holy that area is to Muslims: almost exactly four years ago, in July 2013, Islamists held a rally there proudly displaying their murderous hatred for everyone and everything they don’t like: America, France, Rome, Britain, and of course the Jews. But as the examples listed in this post show, all the hate expressed at this rally has also often been expressed inside the mosque. And if this is what’s being preached at Islam’s supposedly “third holiest” site, one can only wonder what is being preached in mosques all over the world.

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