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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 [] 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.  


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.

Hate preachers 2

What CUNY role model Linda Sarsour really stands for

The zealotry of über-progressive students turning against their progressive professors has occasionally attracted coverage by the mainstream media. The most recent example is the bullying of Evergreen State College biology professor Bret Weinstein, who recounts his ordeal in the Wall Street Journal under the grim title “The Campus Mob Came for Me—and You, Professor, Could Be Next.” But as James Kirchick showed in a recent article, some universities actually encourage and reward this kind of behavior.

The City University of New York (CUNY) is arguably going to do its part when it honors Linda Sarsour by hosting her as a speaker at the commencement ceremony of the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy on June 1. While Sarsour has been described as “an arsonist in our midst,” criticism of the decision to invite the controversial activist was firmly rejected by CUNY chancellor James B. Milliken, who wrote that Sarsour was chosen “because of her involvement in public health issues in New York City and her position as a leader on women’s issues, including her role as co-chair of the recent Women’s March in Washington.” The chancellor also highlighted that “Ms. Sarsour has been recognized by President Obama at the White House as a ‘Champion of Change’ and was recently named one of Time magazine’s 100 leaders and Fortune magazine’s 50 global leaders.”

In short, as far as CUNY is concerned, it is fully justified to ignore all criticism of Sarsour and to present her as a role model for the university’s graduates.

As Michael D. Cohen of the Simon Wiesenthal Center acknowledged when he recently denounced Sarsour as “an arsonist in our midst,” she is “a brilliant tactician who manipulates the media to gain attention and sympathy for her cause.” One might add that the media love to be manipulated by her, without asking tough questions about what exactly Sarsour’s “cause” is and how she pursues it.

During one of the recent controversies, Sarsour declared that she wants to be judged by her own words, but it is abundantly clear that she also wants people to ignore plenty of her own words that actually tell us a lot about Sarsour’s “cause” and her activism.

So let’s look at a small sample of those of Sarsour’s own words that are arguably very revealing, even though she will lash out at anybody who quotes them to her.

Indeed, Sarsour was recently recorded berating a student who asked her about her notorious tweet from 2011, when she declared that prominent women’s right activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali and strident Islam critic Brigitte Gabriel “don’t deserve to be women;” therefore, Sarsour wished she “could take their vaginas away.” If we take Sarsour’s response to the student who asked about this tweet seriously, White men (capital W, please!) have no business being disturbed by her vile outburst – an answer that reflects the divisive identity politics Sarsour often employs when it suits her, while calling for unity and solidarity when this seems more opportune.

But as the Dartmouth students who enthusiastically applauded Sarsour’s put-down of their impertinent White male fellow student illustrated, many people are all too willing to ignore an obscene six-year-old tweet posted when Sarsour was almost 31 – not, as she falsely claimed, in her twenties. Moreover, in spring 2011, Sarsour reportedly already served as director of the Arab American Association of New York; she was also about to be named “a fellow at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service Women of Color Policy Network” and boasted about her excellent access to the Obama administration.   

And soon enough, Sarsour would also boast about being victorious over Hirsi Ali. In fall 2012, Sarsour was still jealously wondering “What does Ayaan Hirsi Ali got that I ain’t got? Front page covers and shit. #MuslimRage;” but by the spring of 2014, Sarsour was able to celebrate a blow against her nemesis, and she jubilantly announced on Twitter: “Online activism WINS again. @BrandeisU does the right thing and rescinds honorary degree 2 hatemonger Ayaan Hirsi Ali;” she also added: “Hats off 2 @BrandeisU 4 rescinding honorary degree 2 Ayaan Hirsi Ali. U have restored integrity of your institution;” and she thanked the university’s president: “Thank you @PresidentFred for making the right choice today and rescinding honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. We are all very grateful.”

on AHA

Isn’t it deeply ironic that CUNY would so strongly defend its decision to honor Sarsour who celebrated so enthusiastically when she and other activists succeeded in denying a similar honor to Ayaan Hirsi Ali?

Sarsour’s “#MuslimRage” was apparently not diminished by the fact that Hirsi Ali established a foundation that has been working since 2007 “to end honor violence [including Female Genital Mutilation] that shames, hurts or kills thousands of women and girls in the US each year, and puts millions more at risk;” the foundation also promotes “the belief that there is no culture, tradition or religion that justifies violence against women and girls.”

But very different from Hirsi Ali, Sarsour is eager to defend the conservative traditions of Muslim societies, even when they are clearly harmful to women. Sarsour has asserted that “shariah law is reasonable,” ignoring the widespread and well-documented human rights abuses committed in Muslim majority states in the name of sharia. Sarsour has even gone so far as to praise Saudi Arabia – where women are completely dependent on the whims of their male guardians: “10 weeks of PAID maternity leave in Saudi Arabia. Yes PAID. And ur worrying about women driving. Puts us to shame.”

Since Sarsour often emphasizes her Palestinian Muslim identity, it is also interesting to note how Palestinians view sharia. As documented in a Pew survey from 2013, 89% of Palestinians want sharia law; 66% endorse the death penalty for Muslims who convert to another religion; 76% support mutilation as a punishment for theft, and a shocking 84% want adulterers stoned to death. The survey also shows that less than half (about 45%) of Palestinian Muslims reject so-called “honor killings” as never justified, and 87% insist that a wife must always obey her husband.

Given that CUNY has explicitly stated that they want to honor Sarsour as a “leader on women’s issues,” it is also noteworthy that she has repeatedly defended arranged marriages like her own, in which her parents married her off at the age of 17. In late 2007, Sarsour told Al Arabiya News: “Every year, we see more than a hundred arranged marriages in our community alone […] In our community […] you not only have to find a spouse who is Arab and Muslim; that person also needs to be Palestinian and from the same village as you.” According to the reporter, “Women like Linda accept being set-up because they don’t really believe in ‘love story weddings’.” And as Sarsour reportedly added to explain the benefits of arranged marriages: “If I fight with my husband, I can always run to my father because he is the one who chose him for me.”

But Sarsour has also defended the practice recently: in an interview with the Mecca Post on March 8, 2017, which begins with a related question, Sarsour answered by asserting: “I feel I have become mature much earlier in life than may be other sisters who are still in high school or in college.”

Well, maybe CUNY should start a “Sarsour Program for Arranged Marriages” to benefit female students in their last year of high school?

The Mecca Post interview with Sarsour includes also plenty of other interesting material. She dismisses her critics as “right wing supremacists” who “engaged in alternative facts and false accusations” and asserts that “there really is nothing that they said that really is true.” She also confidently claims Jesus was “a Palestinian Jewish refugee” who is “very co-essential to us Muslims” but misunderstood by many “who call themselves Christians.” She then proceeds to press Islam’s founder into the service of her agenda, breathlessly describing Muhammad as her “inspiration”:

“he was an activist he was a human rights activist, he stood up for the poor, he wanted to stand up against tyrants and oppressors, he loved animals he loved earth and taking care of the earth, he talked about environmental justice […] He talked about racial justice, and uplifting people regardless of what colour their skin was. […] I also think about Islamophobia now, the man who experienced the most Islamophobia they did not call it Islamophobia 1400 years ago was our beloved Prophet (SAW).”

One really is left to wonder if Sarsour is too naïve to realize that if she transforms Islam’s founder into a 21st century social justice warrior, she ultimately legitimizes those who employ the norms of our time to denounce him for his marriage to an underage girl (which was then common and unfortunately remains accepted in some countries); similarly, by the standards of our time, the supremely successful warlord, who founded not just a faith, but also an empire, committed numerous atrocities.

But when it comes to anything that has to do with Islam, Sarsour is an ardent advocate of double standards. She will denounce Hirsi Ali as a “hatemonger” while uncritically embracing a group like the Nation of Islam (NOI), which, according to the the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), “has maintained a consistent record of anti-Semitism and racism since its founding in the 1930s.” The ADL considers veteran NOI leader Louis Farrakhan as “the leading anti-Semite in America;” the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) provided a similarly unequivocal condemnation, denouncing “the deeply racist, anti-Semitic and anti-gay rhetoric” of Farrakhan and other NOI leaders, whose conduct “earned the NOI a prominent position in the ranks of organized hate.”

Yet, in 2012, Sarsour embraced the NOI as “an integral part” of “the history of Islam in America,” emphasizing that “Sunni, Shia, Sufi, Nation of Islam – we are #Muslim, we are all part of one ummah, one family. #Islam.” Two years later, Sarsour insisted that it was not possible to “learn or teach about the history of Islam in America without talking about the Nation of Islam (NOI).”

on Farrakhan Nov 2016

As I have recently documented, Sarsour joined two other leading activists at a major rally organized by Farrakhan and his associates in 2015, where she delivered a strident speech that echoed Farrakhan’s antisemitic efforts to blame Jews for problems and hardships experienced by African-Americans. Sarsour also seems to share some of Farrakhan’s bigoted views on the malignant Jewish influence in America, even though she often claims that she firmly opposes antisemitism. In this context it is important to realize that Sarsour apparently does not accept common definitions of antisemitism and has instead endorsed (#73) the truly Orwellian re-definition that veteran anti-Israel activist Ali Abunimah published in fall 2012, reflecting his preposterous view that Zionism is “one of the worst forms of anti-Semitism in existence today” and that support for Zionism “is not atonement for the Holocaust, but its continuation in spirit.”

Perhaps CUNY doesn’t care much about Sarsour’s pronounced hostility to the world’s only Jewish state, but one would think they should care about this scene which happened in New York and was witnessed by Michael D. Cohen of the Simon Wiesenthal Center:

“Last September, I stood along with many of my colleagues at a New York City Council Public Hearing on that body’s resolution to officially condemn the BDS movement — a hearing at which all those in favor, including myself, were shouted down as “Jewish pigs” and “Zionist filth” from provocateurs strategically placed in the audience. It was Linda Sarsour who was at the forefront — manipulating the camera shots and sound bites. It was Linda Sarsour who sat for hours listening with great satisfaction to the libelous rants and screamed obscenities alleging that Israelis murder Palestinian babies. It was Sarsour who nodded approvingly and congratulated individuals who were kicked out of the hearing room for being out of order, for walking in front of individuals providing testimony in support of the resolution, and for shouting down our supporters with anti-Semitic slurs — all in the name of protecting free speech.”

So much more material could be cited to show how little Sarsour deserves to be held up as a role model for graduates of a respected American university, but let me just conclude with this: when Sarsour addresses her audience at the commencement ceremony of the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy and says she is honored to do so, remember that she also recently said she was “honored” to share a stage with convicted terrorist murderer and confessed US immigration fraudster Rasmea Odeh.


A previous version of this post was first published at EoZ.


Linda Sarsour wants to make sharia kosher

“This term sharia is the Arabic translation of the Hebrew word halakhah.” Linda Sarsour

Once upon a time, when being a leftist and a feminist meant something very different than what it means today, I happily considered myself both. But when someone like Linda Sarsour is cheered as a leftist feminist icon, I can only feel politically homeless: I want no part of Sarsour’s left, and I most definitely don’t support the crowd assembled by the notorious Pamela Geller for a protest that the New York Times (NYT) was only too happy to cover – after all, it was a good opportunity to tell readers that Sarsour’s “critics are a strange mix, including right-leaning Jews and Zionists, commentators like Pamela Geller, and some members of the alt-right.” Newsweek readers were also informed that “Feminist activist Linda Sarsour has become one of the far right’s favorite targets.”

As it happens, the NYT and Newsweek are simply parroting what Sarsour has told her fans countless times. The most recent example is a Facebook post from May 25, where Sarsour also claims that her evil right-wing detractors are using her “as a symbol to silence the communities I come from.” She then goes on to assert:

“When they chant or say they are ‘Anti-sharia’ that means anti-Muslim – plain and simple. This term sharia is the Arabic translation of the Hebrew word halakhah. It’s a set of guidelines that Muslims and Jews follow respectively. ‘Banning sharia’ means infringing on the rights of Muslims to worship freely – let’s call it out for what it is.”

I’m quite sure Sarsour is intelligent enough to know exactly what she’s doing by equating Islamic sharia and Jewish halacha.  She knows full well that, no matter how benign her own personal interpretation of sharia may be, the application of sharia results in terrible oppression and gruesome human rights violations all over the Muslim world. And she knows full well how disingenuous it therefore is to claim – as she also did when she recently re-tweeted one of her fans – that “Sharia is to Muslims what Canon Law is to Catholics what Halakah Law is to Jews.” And yes, I responded with a really snarky tweet.

sharia like halakhah

I’m not religious myself and neither qualified nor inclined to defend any religious laws – indeed, for someone like me, who was a leftist and a feminists before Sarsour was even born, it’s inconceivable to do so. To be sure, by now I’ve learnt to accept that many people find meaning in following the religious laws of their faith to a greater or lesser degree, and obviously, religious rituals can offer a lot of consolation to believers when life brings sorrow and bereavement. But that is no reason to forget that Christianity and Islam also have a very long and bloody history of religious coercion. That Sarsour insists on defending sharia while completely ignoring the sadistic cruelty of traditional sharia punishments and the misery that continues to be inflicted, particularly on women, in the name of sharia is one of the major reasons why I find it so appalling to watch her being made into an icon of everything that is supposedly progressive, good and just.

So I completely agree with Emma-Kate Symons – who must be a dreadful right-winger, but was inexplicably and scandalously allowed to criticize Sarsour in the NYT 

“Linda Sarsour is a religiously conservative veiled Muslim woman, embracing a fundamentalist worldview requiring women to ‘modestly’ cover themselves, a view which has little to do with female equality and much more of a connection with the ideology of political Islam than feminism. Could we imagine a wig-wearing Orthodox woman emerging from a similar ‘purity’-focused culture predicated on sexual segregation and covering women, headlining such an event [as the Women’s March]? No, because she is rightly assumed to be intensely conservative, not progressive on issues surrounding women’s roles and their bodies.”

Symons seems unrepentant, judging from her response to the NYT’s recent effort to promote Sarsour as a rising progressive star whose only critics are contemptible right-wingers.

Symons vs SarsourSymons vs Sarsour2

It may well be that Sarsour would argue that all the Muslim judges who use Islamic law to justify the oppression of women, or sadistic punishments like public floggings and beheadings, have no clue about sharia. I would be most happy if Sarsour embarked on a tour of the Muslim world to enlighten these guys – indeed, I hereby pledge that I would generously donate to help make such a tour possible.

Let’s conclude with a horrifying thought experiment: imagine the world’s only Jewish state would apply halacha as sharia is applied in Muslim states like Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates. Is there anyone who believes that in this case, Linda Sarsour wouldn’t be very very busy denouncing Jewish law as a terrible human rights disaster that must be fought tooth and nail?

Meet BDS fan Haj Amin al-Husseini – the ‘Hitler of the Holy Land’

Half a year ago, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) and the Harvard Law School Alliance for Israel held a conference entitled “War By Other Means – BDS, Israel and the Campus.” One of the speakers was Cornell Professor William Jacobson, whose presentation was on the history of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The presentation is now available at Legal Insurrection, and it is a must-read (or must-watch) because Jacobson shows that “BDS is a direct and provable continuation of the Arab anti-Jewish boycotts in the 1920s and 1930s and [the] subsequent Arab League Boycott, restructured through non-governmental entities to evade U.S. anti-boycott legislation and repackaged in the language of ‘social justice’ to appeal to Western liberals.”

When I read through Professor Jacobson’s presentation, I remembered that some time ago, I had come across an archived JTA article from September 24, 1929 that provides a perfect illustration of the conference theme that boycott campaigns should be understood as “war by other means.”

Published a month after the notorious Hebron massacre and the subsequent Arab violence, which left 133 Jews dead,  the article is entitled “‘My Hands Are Clean,’ Grand Mufti Asserts in Interview;” and as the title suggests, it describes an interview with Haj Amin al-Husseini, who had incited the violence with the pernicious (and still popular) libel that “the Zionists” were plotting to damage or destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque in order to rebuild the Jewish Temple.

Shortly after the bloodbath he had incited, the man who would eventually become known as “Hitler’s Mufti” felt rather confident that the Jews would soon be forced to leave British Mandate Palestine. He asserted (rightly) that “it is untrue that the world is siding with the Jews” and then proceeded to explain:

“We are … assured of the solidarity of the entire Moslem world and have actually offers of armies to help us if necessary. Help is unnecessary. We will win through an economic boycott. The boycott in Moslem countries against Jewish industries is tight and daily growing tighter, until the industries will be broken and English friends, moved by pity, will remove the last remaining Jews [from British Mandate Palestine] on their battleships. Today there’s not a Jewish factory working in Palestine … (which happened to be entirely untrue) [and] as Jewish industry depends on the good will of the surrounding Moslem countries, the factories may as well remain closed. The Moslems will not buy.”         

While the mufti’s hopes of driving out the Jews with a successful economic boycott didn’t work out in his lifetime, he would surely be pleased to know that there are still people who haven’t given up on his lofty goal; and he would surely be no less pleased to see that in forums like the UN, it remains indeed often “untrue that the world is siding with the Jews.”

The mufti also said some other things that you can read any day at Ali Abunimah’s Electronic Intifada and similar sites: he complained about “the aid of rich American Jews for the Palestine upbuilding” and claimed that this aid “made the Palestine Jews so arrogant, they thought they could start expelling is [us].” And just like Palestinian leaders nowadays, al-Husseini denied having incited the murderous violence.

Another remarkable parallel to today’s news is that al-Husseini was rumored to have become quite rich by misappropriating funds he had collected for repairs of the Dome of the Rock. The article’s description of him is intriguing:

“The Mufti spoke in French and granted the interview in the presence of Jamal Effendi Husseini in the palatial office buildings located in the galleries of the Mosque of Omar. The 31 year old Amin El Husseini, with blond beard, sparkling blue eyes, ingratiating smile and pleasant mundane manners, sat in silken robes on a luxurious divan and smoked cigarettes taken from a gold beaten box, holding a morning levee like a mediaeval Turkish Pasha. The hall and corridors were filled with servants, ushers and courtiers. When politely told that world opinion is holding him personally responsible and partially guilty for the savagery and unspeakable assaults, the Mufti smiled and with a sweeping gesture, showing delicate manicured hands, he declared: ‘My hands are clean, I declare before God.’”

As it happens, when I researched this post, I came across another fascinating article about al-Husseini from June 1948. At first, I was not sure if the site that featured it, i.e. Old Magazine Articles, could be trusted. The article is entitled “Hitler of the Holy Land” and the sub header describes the mufti as “a master of terrorism.” But I found out that a ’48 Magazine indeed existed – in fact, it was apparently a relatively expensive highbrow magazine – and the author of the article, David W.Nussbaum, wrote at least two (but likely four) other articles on the mufti elsewhere in the immediate postwar years. According to the information given about Nussbaum, he was a “former Washington correspondent of Life, magazine writer and Navy air veteran” who in early 1948 had “just returned from an extended survey of conditions in the Middle East.” His article on the “Hitler of the Holy Land” is absolutely fascinating (it can also be downloaded as a pdf if you click the blue button “Read article for free” just above the space for comments).

Hitler of the Holy Land

In the almost two decades that had passed since the 1929 interview, the mufti had apparently lost his “pleasant mundane manners;” Nussbaum described him as “a man who has spent a lifetime fleeing justice” and who, “in his struggle for power, counts no man as a friend.” In Nussbaum’s view, the mufti was a crucial and cunning leader who ensured that the Arab conflict with the Jews would not be settled peaceably. Reportedly, al-Husseini told him: “What you see unsheathed in Palestine is the sword of Islam. Whenever they are beset, the Arabs will inevitably unsheathe it.” Asked if the Arabs had enough arms and men to win a war, the mufti responded: “Consequences do not disturb the Arab as they do the Westerner. The Jews do not reckon with this factor. If he is attacked, the Arab fights back regardless of the consequences. The fighting in Palestine has been inevitable since the first Jew set foot there.”

But Nussbaum believed that it was the mufti who worked hard to make war “inevitable”:

“War in Palestine is the goal that the Mufti set himself in the summer of 1946 [when he fled France], and it is the goal that is now being achieved. […] While he tightened his grip on Palestine, the Mufti waged a shrewd campaign within the Arab states. In Egypt, he made effective use of the extremist right-wing Moslem Brotherhood, which, supported by students, staged well-timed demonstrations in Cairo, shouting for revenge against the Jews. Fire-breathing statements began filling the Lebanon papers. In the lobbies of the Arab League conferences, the Mufti hammered away at the idea of jihad – the holy war.”

So it seems Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas knew what he was doing when he repeatedly paid homage to al-Husseini, praising him for having “sponsored the struggle from the beginning.”

But importantly, the “struggle” al-Husseini “sponsored … from the beginning” was not really about Palestine, but rather about Arab-Muslim rule. When Nussbaum asked him if he was looking forward to “an early return to his homeland,” al-Husseini “ruminated for a few moments and then said, ‘Palestine is not my home; it is only one of them. Cairo is home and so is Syria. Whenever I am among my own people, I am home.’”

* * *

A version of this post was first published last Dezember at EoZ.


The depth of Arab misery has nothing to do with Israel

“Any Arab who can will be out of here.”

Several recent articles provide a wealth of data that indicate how truly miserable conditions in many Arab countries are, and how grim the outlook for much of the Arab world is — and no, it’s not Israel’s fault. The most shocking data are from Syria (though the situation in Yemen is probably similarly dire). A recent NYT article outlines the devastation wrought by five years of war in Syria:

“Let’s take a look at the numbers. (While the following statistics are estimates, they will, if anything, get worse with the continuing matrix of wars in Syria.) More than 80 percent of Syrians live below the poverty line. Nearly 70 percent of Syrians live in extreme poverty, meaning they cannot secure basic needs, according to a 2016 report. That number has most likely grown since then. The unemployment rate is close to 58 percent, with a significant number of those employed working as smugglers, fighters or elsewhere in the war economy. Life expectancy has dropped by 20 years since the beginning of the uprising in 2011. About half of children no longer attend school — a lost generation. The country has become a public health disaster. Diseases formerly under control, like typhoid, tuberculosis, Hepatitis A and cholera, are once again endemic. And polio — previously eradicated in Syria — has been reintroduced, probably by fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Upward of 500,000 are dead from the war, and an untold number of Syrians have died indirectly from the conflict […] With more than two million injured, about 11.5 percent of the prewar population have become casualties. And close to half the population of Syria is either internally or externally displaced. A 2015 survey conducted by the United Nations refugee agency looking at Syrian refugees in Greece found that a large number of adults — 86 percent — had secondary or university education. Most of them were under 35. If true, this indicates that Syria is losing the very people it will most need if there is to be any hope of rebuilding in the future.”

But the future also doesn’t look rosy for the rest of the Arab world. MEMRI recently summarized some of the relevant findings of the latest UN Arab Human Development Report (AHDR), which focuses on “challenges and opportunities facing youth in the Arab region.” Needless to say, the comprehensive UN report is carefully “balanced,” which is to say it tries hard to package all the bad news with some slightly better news or upbeat talk about opportunities that are waiting to be seized.

As the MEMRI summary notes:

“While we would have wished otherwise, in reviewing the report we find that the critics of the ‘Arab Spring’ were more realistic in their assessment of the events of 2011 than those who were inclined to see bright stars in the sky. […] Arab youth today remain mired in poverty; they are politically marginalized and voiceless, economically disenfranchised, and socially prone to radicalization and violence. Theirs is a fragile and often volatile existence.”

“The [UN] report highlights the fact that in the last decade the region has experienced ‘the most rapid increase in war and violent conflict’ compared with other regions of the world. The Arab world also has ‘the dubious distinction’ of comprising the largest number of failed states showcasing a high scale of ‘fragility and failure’ in addition to being the source of the largest number of refugees and displaced people. While the report would not predict the level of conflict in the region, it does project that number of people living in conflict areas will increase from 250 million in 2010 to over 305 million in 2020.”

If you check out the report itself, there are plenty of findings that indicate how dire the situation in many Arab countries is and how little chance there is for rapid improvement – indeed, further decline seems more likely:

“the region still scores lower than the world average on the HDI [Human Development Index] and already lags three of the world’s six regions, namely, East Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. By the year 2050, the region is projected to rank fifth, only a little ahead of sub-Saharan Africa.”

“Evidence shows that the prospects of young people in the region are, now more than ever, jeopardized by poverty, economic stagnation, governance failure and exclusion, all compounded by the violence and fragility of the body politic.”

“Overall, the quality of education is poor. Standardized international tests in education such as the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Programme for International Student Assessment show Arab countries scoring well below the average.”

“The rise of women in Arab countries is inseparably and causally linked to the future human development of the Arab region. The pervasive disempowerment of women in Arab countries is grounded in cultural, social, economic and political factors. As the 2005 and 2009 AHDRs observed, the seeds of discrimination are embedded in cultural beliefs and traditions in childraising, education, religious structures, the media and family relations.”

Among the particularly noteworthy figures in the report is the following, which shows that the overwhelming majority of Arabs consider religion, i.e. mostly Islam, as “an important part” of their daily life:

Arab development religion

This is also an interesting finding in the context of the ongoing mass migration to very secular Europe – a migration that is most warmly welcomed by liberals who don’t think much of their own religious fellow citizens and look down on religious Americans. The importance of religion for Arabs is also noteworthy in the context of another finding in the UN report:

“It is mainly because of its high levels of social and religious intolerance that the region stands out among countries at similar levels of development around the world. Tolerance is a core value in pluralistic societies and a cornerstone of more democratic systems. […] This wide regional deficit and lack of progress on values of tolerance are worrying for the future of democracy in the region.”

While Israel has so far managed to remain “a villa in the jungle” – as Ehud Barak once put it famously – it is clearly bad news that the region looks set to remain mired in conflict and that so many fundamental factors are likely to impede social progress and economic development. A year ago, a still very relevant article in The New York Jewish Week outlined the resulting problems for Israel as explained by veteran political analyst Ehud Yaari. The article begins with an anecdote:

“Ehud Yaari characterizes his friend Bernard Lewis, the eminent scholar of the Middle East [who turned 100 last May], as possessing ‘this ability to see into the future.’ Over a recent dinner in Israel, Yaari asked Lewis what he thought the Middle East would look like in fifty years. Without hesitating, Lewis leaned over the table and said decisively, ‘Any Arab who can will be out of here.’”

Unfortunately, many of those who can’t escape the hopelessness of the Arab Middle East may end up fueling sectarian conflict and bloodshed. And for frustrated young Palestinians, it is obviously tempting to commit terror attacks. In a very interesting piece published in early January 2017, Yaari writes about Israel’s efforts to curb the wave of attacks that started in fall 2015, and it turns out that the motivations of the mostly young perpetrators clearly reflect the deep discontent and frustration as well as the religious fervor described in the UN report on the Arab world:

“most of the attackers came from the fringes of West Bank society: young people struggling with social marginalization, who had experienced repeated setbacks in their private lives or faced insurmountable personal or financial hardship. The collective profile of the assailants identified most as frustrated individuals who felt that their lives had reached a dead end, to the point that many sought salvation through martyrdom. Many of those captured during assaults told interrogators that they believed that death for the sake of jihad would reward them with the recognition they failed to obtain in life.”

Regarding the motivations of the surprisingly high number of female assailants, Yaari writes:

“Investigations showed that almost all of these women—including a 72-year-old grandmother from Hebron—were seeking to escape family hardships, such as pregnancies out of wedlock, arranged marriages, violence within the family, and so forth. Quite often it seemed that these women were seeking death or arrest in order to break away from their environment. In more than one instance, a young woman would wave a kitchen knife or scissors far from the Israeli soldiers, not posing any real threat, knowing that she would be immediately taken into custody.”

For some more on Palestinian frustration and discontent, you can check out this recent lament on “A Life of Degradation and Bitterness under Fatah Rule,” and this curse of “Israel, Hamas and Fatah” – the latter by a Palestinian who was “born and raised as a proud refugee from the Jabalia Refugee Camp in Gaza.” As much as the Palestinians may see themselves as part of the Arab world, it is definitely uniquely Palestinian to be “born and raised as a proud refugee” in a Palestinian city among Palestinians.

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This is an edited version of a post first published in January at EoZ.