Mideast

MARCH 2013 MIDEAST OUTPOST NOW ONLINE

Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Ruth King, Rita Kramer

Outpost is distributed free to
Members of Americans For a Safe Israel
Annual membership: $50.

Americans For a Safe Israel
1751 Second Ave. (at 91st St.)
New York, NY 10128
tel (212) 828-2424 / fax (212) 828-1717
E-mail: afsi @rcn.com web site: http://www.afsi.org

Exciting news for those wishing to join AFSI on the Chizuk mission to Israel this May 5-14, 2013. Visit the www.afsi.org website for an outline of the trip. More details to follow.
El Al is having a special $999 sale that includes our dates. You must do your booking today, Jan. 22. Please do not miss out on this opportunity to join us at this great sale price. See the www.elal.com website.Once you book your flight, call Helen at AFSI: 212-828-2424 or email afsi@rcn.com to register for the mission.

Mideast

The ADL: Missing in Action Rael Jean Isaac

In this Outpost, columnist Ed Ziegler describes just a few of the incidents of defamation, intimidation and outright violence against Jewish students on campuses from coast to coast. And Danielle Avel details one such incident–she tells us what happened at Brooklyn College to pro-Israel students attending a meeting that was designed to promote BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel) co-sponsored by the college’s Department of Political Science. Colleges and universities with large Jewish student bodies are among those hardest hit by the wave of hatred. Intellectual fashions typically start in the university and move outward from there to the media and the broader culture. In Europe anti-Semitism , often barely disguised as animosity toward Israel, permeates society. If what goes on in our universities is allowed to proceed unchecked, can we be far behind?

And what are those with the mandate from the Jewish community to deal with defamation of Jews and Israel doing in the face of this crisis? The organization with the mission and the financial resources is of course the Anti-Defamation League. It was founded in 1913, as the ADL states, “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all.” It claims that today it “defends the security of Israel and Jews worldwide.”

Given the seriousness of the situation, one can only say that the ADL is doing very little. Yes, it recognizes that there is a problem on campus. But there is ample evidence that it does not give it the attention, concern and resources it requires. To begin with, you have to go on its website to the section marked “Israel and International” to find that the ADL has an annual review of anti-Israel activity on campus. This does indeed record that there are events and programs to demonize Israel on “hundreds of campuses.” But these are campuses in this country: this disquieting report should not be under the ADL’s Israel heading but under domestic issues. What’s more it should be at the forefront of the ADL’s domestic concerns.

Instead, what are the domestic issues that absorb the efforts of the Anti-Defamation League? They are the flotsam and jetsam of momentary PC fashion. Cyber-bullying. Violence against women. Gay marriage. Restrictive voting laws (defined as requiring a photo ID to vote). Domestic terrorism– the ADL singles out the August 2012 mass killing at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. That’s in the ADL’s comfort zone; the shooter was a neo-Nazi and the ADL is very worried about neo-Nazis. (Never mind that today the neo-Nazi threat is trivial compared to the threat of Muslim terrorism.) The ADL makes an annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States and shares the good news that there was a 13% decrease in 2011. (Never mind that the worsening atmosphere on campuses and the growing efforts to boycott and divest from Israel make a mockery of this arithmetic of “incidents”–as one philanthropic wag put it, the search for anti-Semitic graffiti on bathroom doors.)

Even in the ADL’s “annual review” acknowledging the campus programs and events demonizing Israel, the ADL manages to play down their significance: they don’t attract a large proportion of students; only a small percentage of campuses run such programs all year round; there are pro-Israel groups that present Israel’s side of the story; and “university administrations consistently demonstrate a commitment to rejecting more extreme manifestations of anti-Israel activities” and rebuff “student-led divestments campaigns against Israel.” How that jibes, for example, with the Brooklyn College political science department’s sponsorship of a student-led divestment group’s campaign — which has been justified by the college administration–is not apparent. Where once patriotism was purported to be the last refuge of scoundrels, now “academic freedom” has taken on that role.

Mideast

From the Editor Rael Jean Isaac

Hagel’s Fatal Flaw

It’s a malfunctioning brain. With all the commotion about Hegel’s positions on Iran, Iraq, Israel, this, his most grievous defect, has been overlooked. Below we take note of a valiant group in Canada, the Muslim Committee Against Anti-Semitism, which, at its first meeting, lamented that the prevailing anti-Semitism in Canada’s Muslim community, which blames everything on Zionists, “is impeding our thought process.” Hagel’s anti-Israel obsession clearly has the same effect on him.

In March 2007, Hagel, in a question and answer session following a speech he gave at Rutgers University, called the U.S. State Department “an adjunct of the Israeli foreign minister’s office.” As Bret Stephens points out in The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 19): “Calling the State Department an adjunct of the Israeli foreign ministry is like accusing the BBC of a pro-Israel bias: The only people who think that are the ones who find Al Jazeera too mild for their tastes.”

Nothing that the President “already has Joe Biden for comic relief,” columnist Wes Pruden asks just why Obama would want “rambling, bumbling, stumbling Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.” When you add in “delusional” to the list of adjectives, the question gets serious.

Muslims for Reality

At least a few Muslims in Canada are taking note of the way the culture of hate of Israel and Jews fostered among their fellow Muslims is not only a time bomb for Jews but undermines the ability of Muslims to deal with their real problems.

One such Muslim group is the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow led by Sohail Raza, a Shia Muslim from Pakistan, who warns that anti-Israel propaganda being spread in Canada will end in violence. He says “The U.S. and Israel are the scapegoats of every tragedy, whether it’s a tsunami, an earthquake or a human tragedy brought about by Muslims themselves.” He says this is happening in Shia mosques because of the Iranian influence and in Sunni mosques because of the Wahhabi influence.

Tahir Gora’s new group (Gora is also general secretary of the Muslim Canadian Congress), the Muslim Committee Against Anti-Semitism, deplores the effect this has on Muslims. The situation, he says, grows worse each day. Muslim organizations blame their own miseries on Zionists in order to “distract people’s attention from the real cause of those issues: Islamic extremism.” Equally refreshing Gora says that anti-Semitism must be fought because “that’s not the way we should live in a civilized world.”

Mideast

Our Children at Risk Ed Ziegler

Like it or not anti-Semitism has become commonplace in many of our universities, both in the classroom and on campus.

In November 2012 The Jewish Daily Forward reported that anti-Semitic graffiti was found written on the back door of the Jewish Life House at Wheaton College. Residents say they have been targeted before. Wheaton President Ronald Crutcher informed the student body “This will not be tolerated.”

In 2010, a man committed a series of anti-Semitic acts of vandalism on the University of Indiana’s campus, forcing the FBI to take notice. Within a single week, the man threw rocks twice at the campus Chabad House and once at the Hillel House, breaking windows.

Former Hampshire College students Lihi Benisty and Samantha Mandeles paint a truly disturbing picture of the atmosphere on campus of hatred toward Jews and Israel. As pro-Israel activists, Benisty and Mandeles faced harassment and intimidation by Students for Justice in Palestine, which is linked to the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood network. Benisty was harassed every night of the week following an event featuring Israeli soldier Sgt. Kenny Sachs. She was called apartheid lover, genocide supporter and Zionist racist.

In an apparent anti-Semitic hate crime at Michigan State University, after telling two men he was Jewish, 19 year old sophomore Zachary Tennen was beaten unconscious. To complete their brutality, his attackers stapled Zachary’s mouth. Even more disturbing, around 20 people purportedly watched without attempting to intervene.

Rutgers University sponsored an event “Students United for Middle Eastern Justice” as free and open to the public. A sign at the door suggested that a donation of $5-$20 be made. Pro-Israel supporters were asked to stand in a separate line and wait for seating. Meanwhile, those in anti-Israel apparel, keffiyahs and hijabs, were taken aside, given green wristbands, labeled as event “staff” and given free entrance. The concern here is that Rutgers University has provided a safe haven for racism and anti-Semitism under the guise of free speech.

Americans for Peace and Tolerance released a video showing that Northeastern University faculty (Professor Denis Sullivan and others) abuse academic freedom to promote anti-Israel anti-Semitic lies.

You have to wonder if California State University (CSU) is serious about eliminating anti-Semitism at the University. It has appointed Professor Manzar Forroohar to chair the committee aimed at combating anti-Semitism in the CSU system. This professor serves on organizing committees of two prominent anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanction groups, the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and the Israel Divestment Campaign.

At Florida Atlantic University, Students for Justice in Palestine posted mock eviction notices on 200 dorm rooms. Joseph Sabag, ZOA regional Director, said: “The notices were meant to demonize Israel. What the university needs to understand is that anti-Semitic bigotry is no less morally deplorable when camouflaged as anti-Israelism.”

Mideast

Promoting Hatred at Brooklyn College Danielle Avel

Upon arriving at Brooklyn College on the freezing evening of February 7th, I couldn’t help but notice the rows of police vehicles parked on the street, the police barricades on the sidewalks, the police officers monitoring protesters, counter-protesters, and lines of attendees waiting to enter the student center.

One could tell from blocks away that this was no typical student event. Unfortunately, the display of force wasn’t due to some prominent head of state making an appearance at the college: these flashing lights were for a peculiar anti-Israel fest taking place on campus.

The lecture, organized by a pro-Palestinian student group, was to promote the seemingly politically correct attempt to delegitimize the Jewish State through BDS—boycotts, divestment, and sanctions. What distinguished this from the usual anti-Zionist fringe gathering was the co-sponsorship of Brooklyn College’s Department of Political Science. Critics, including prominent alumni like Alan Dershowitz, state and city taxpayers, state and city legislators, and people like me were outraged; how could a publicly funded institution participate in promoting BDS, which seeks to eliminate the Jewish state?

The New York City Council suggested taxpayer money should not be used “to give official sponsorship to speakers who equate terrorists with progressives and the Israeli people with Nazis.” The university response ignored critics, claimed the college has the “academic freedom” to officially sponsor even the most odious of propaganda events, and Mayor Bloomberg arrogantly suggested critics apply to schools in “North Korea.”

At the student center, security measures were tight and included lines outside where names were cross-checked with IDs and the RSVP list, an achingly slow line through the metal detector, bag search, a personal escort to the elevator, another name/RSVP/ID check at the doors of the event, and countless police officers every step of the way.

In spite of the obsessive attention to security measures, academic freedom was literally left at the door thanks to convenient “errors” that caused students known on campus as pro-Israel advocates like Melanie Goldberg almost to be denied access. Goldberg had been confirmed for the event three weeks prior and received a reconfirmation email the night before; however, organizers told her that her name was not on the list. She only was permitted to enter when Brooklyn College Vice President Milga Morales escorted her in. Other pro-Israel students reported similar problems, while anti-Zionist agitators such as Sherry Wolf, Press Officer of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, were seated early.

As I entered the penthouse of the student center, it was apparent the room was stacked with anti-Israel obsessives: primarily members of the co-hosting pro-Palestinian student group along with the usual array of radical feminists, socialists, and greying zealots (often decked out in keffiyehs) that attend virtually every other anti-Israel event in the New York City area. Same crowd, different day.

Mideast

Diana West on Saudi Influence on Fox News Excerpts from an interview with Ryan Mauro

Ryan Mauro: You have devoted a lot of your time towards covering Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. Can you tell us about him and why he warrants this attention?

Diana West: Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is usually described as a billionaire Saudi businessman, but he is also a senior member of the Saudi monarchy. He is the nephew of the Saudi dictator, King Abdullah, and the first cousin of the Saudi interior minister, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef. He is also the largest stakeholder in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. outside the Murdoch family.

We may not realize it, but most of us first heard about Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. That was when a “Saudi prince” — it was Alwaleed — became infamous for having donated $10 million to the Twin Towers Fund only to have then-mayor Rudy Giuliani return the check.

Why did Giuliani return the check? It became clear the prince wasn’t making a donation but rather a political statement. After presenting the money, the prince issued a press release blaming the 9/11 attacks on American support for Israel — while, as Alwaleed’s statement reads, “our Palestinian brethren continue to be slaughtered at the hands of the Israelis.”

Following Giuliani’s rebuff, Alwaleed opened his purse in 2002 to the families of killers instead, donating a whopping $27 million to a Saudi telethon raising money for the Committee for the Support of the al-Quds Intifada, a Saudi “charity” chaired by the then-Interior Minister of Saudi Arabia (now Crown Prince Nayef, another uncle of Alwaleed’s). He gave $500,000 that same year to CAIR, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas-linked group.

Also in 2002, however, Alwaleed seems to have had something of an epiphany. From the Arab News (which Alwaleed also owns): Arab countries can influence U.S. decision-making “if they unite through economic interests, not political,” Saudi Prince Alwaleed stressed. “We have to be logical and understand that the U.S. administration is subject to U.S. public opinion. We are not so active in this sphere [public opinion]. And to bring the decision-maker on your side, you not only have to be active inside the U.S. Congress or the administration but also inside U.S. society.”

Soon, the Saudi billionaire was spending his money quite differently — no more Palestinian grandstanding, no more Saudi telethons, no more CAIR. In 2005, Alwaleed purchased a 5.5 percent stake of voting stock in the Murdoch-owned News Corp (he now owns 7 percent). He also spent $40 million to enlarge Islamic studies on leading American campuses, donating $20 million to Harvard to create a university-wide Islamic studies program, which also boosted Islamic law (sharia) studies on campus, and $20 million to Georgetown to set up the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding under Islamic apologist John Esposito.

The News Corp. investment began paying off right away. Also in 2005, with Muslims rioting in Paris in the worst street violence since 1968, Alwaleed telephoned Rupert Murdoch, as Alwaleed himself told an audience in Dubai, and said “these are not Muslim riots, they are riots.” Presto, the Fox News crawl about “Muslim riots in Paris” across the bottom of the screen changed to “civil riots.”

Ryan Mauro: Is there any evidence of Alwaleed’s influence in the media since 2005?

Diana West: Alwaleed has not made news for bragging publicly about his influence over Fox News since that one incident in 2005. As for “evidence” of his influence, I know of no directive, no reported conversation, no “defector” from Fox or News Corp. reporting that Awaleed, or anyone else, has set guidelines for coverage.

But that’s not how influence usually works. It is intangible, something no more concrete than a rejected story, something no less natural than the body of stories that develops from such editorial discretion, which, of course, can also include positive reinforcement. Such stimuli may reflect active owner-influence. They may also reflect a more passive owner-influence as when an employee — producer, editor, writer, anchor, pundit — anticipates the boss’s desires and writes or reports a certain way. This phenomenon, of course, is by no means unique to Fox, just as it is by no means unique to journalism.

If we examine Fox’s body of work I believe the unspoken guidelines for coverage and discussion become quite clear. Fox News covers terrorism, war, national security. It does not cover, let alone chronicle, the introduction of sharia—Islamic law—into the West. It does not cover the massive ongoing Islamic movement by which the Western world is being rapidly Islamized. It does not cover what the Muslim Brotherhood calls “civilization jihad.” It does not cover the disappearance of Western culture in Europe. What we know as “political correctness” probably keeps such issues off the air in the mainstream media, but Fox makes a point of rising above such PC. I think the news vacuum we can see on Fox is at least partly a result of News Corp.’s Saudi influence.

Mideast

Meet Ben Hecht, Wisecracking Jewish Hero Stella Paul

February 28th marks the 119th birthday of Ben Hecht, the wisecracking genius who invented the screwball comedy and gangster movie, and who raucously upheld the honor of American Jews in World War II.

Blasted into history from a more colorful age, Hecht began his career as a circus acrobat and virtuoso violinist, then seamlessly morphed into Chicago’s star crime reporter and the most successful screenwriter in Hollywood history.

I love Hecht for the feast of intelligent entertainment he seemed to concoct effortlessly, from Hitchcock masterpieces like Notorious and Spellbound to Scarface, The Front Page, and the uncredited script of Gone With the Wind.

But I adore Ben Hecht for the incorruptible courage with which he championed the dying Jews of Europe, appalling his fancy Hollywood and New York Jewish friends with his outré chutzpah.

Hecht throbbed with fury at the Germans’ murder of “a whole continent” of Jews. His heart, he wrote, “has not wept at all. It has felt only outrage. I doubt if any man has ever felt more.”

Passionately, Hecht applied his whirlwind mind to pleading for the rescue of Europe’s last Jews, a task he likened to sticking his head into the mouth of a lion. The American Jewish establishment, personified by the self-satisfied Rabbi Stephen Wise, battled him at every turn.

Ben Hecht’s fearless antics for his own people would be unusual in any age, but Rabbi Stephen Wise is a familiar contemporary character. Rabbi Wise deeply relished his personal relationship with Franklin Roosevelt. And he refused to jeopardize it by anything so unsporting as asking the president to take action on behalf of his murdered brethren. To speak as a Jew for Jews would render him un-American, Wise feared.

I can see Hecht grinning at this week’s pathetic headline, so redolent of Rabbi Wise’s cringing: Jewish leaders called to stop opposition to Hagel for Secretary of Defense.

“I was called by major Jewish leaders, personally called, and [they] told me to stop our campaign against Hagel,” Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, told The Jerusalem Post. Klein explained that the Jewish organizations are “frightened of making an issue seem more important to Jews than others,” because making it a “Jewish issue” is “bad for the Jews.”

Chuck Hagel is a dim-witted, vicious anti-Semite who rails against the “Israel lobby,” accuses Israel of keeping “Palestinians caged up like animals,” gives anti-Semitic speeches sponsored by Iranian-controlled front groups, and refuses to disclose his ties to Arab organizations. Hecht would have had his number and that of John Brennan, Obama’s CIA Chief nominee, who insists on referring to Jerusalem by its Arabic name Al-Quds.

“The long practiced murder of Jews en masse…has not served to alarm our humanists,” wrote Hecht in 1943’s Guide for the Bedeviled. “To them the murderers of Jews are never murderers. They are misguided patriots, misinformed economists, misdirected pietists…The murder of Jews is like the stealing of nickels. It does not fix a criminal record on its perpetrators.”

Hecht was allergic to the political correctness of his day, blasting his accusations at Germans, not Nazis, refusing to acknowledge a difference between the two. I doubt he would have much patience for today’s Jewish leaders who tremble behind convoluted locutions of “terrorists” and “radical extremists,” instead of clearly calling out Muslims for centuries of violence against Jews.

Mideast

First Ayaan…Now Fiamma Bruce Bawer

[Editor’s note: Many people have pointed out the dangerous parallels to the 1930s in the escalating anti-Semitism in Europe. There is a crucial difference. Today Israel offers a haven and a home to all Jews in search of one.]

When she walks down the streets in Italy, passersby shout greetings to her, addressing her as onorevole [The Honorable]. “In a few days,” Italian Parliamentarian Fiamma Nirenstein said to me the other day in a long, energetic, and remarkably openhearted phone call from Rome, “I will not be onorevole anymore.”

Nirenstein, one of the most prominent members of the Italian Parliament, has chosen not to run for office again. More than that, she has chosen to leave Italy for Israel. She is Jewish. She is making aliyah. And she is leaving politics to return to journalism.

She has mixed feelings about the change. “As a journalist, you’re read. By some. But when you’re an onorevole, all you have to say is that you’re angry about something and a whole lot of people in the press will write about it. And you can write a law, and spread the word, and win support, and get it passed.” In many regards, Fiamma is like former Dutch parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali, not only because both women have made use of their political positions to vigorously challenge Islam and defend its victims, but because both ended up having to be accompanied everywhere by armed guards – and also because Fiamma, like Ayaan before her, is a top-rank European hero of our time who has decided that she has no alternative other than to leave Europe.

Fiamma has stood up for Jews in Italy, for gays and Christians in the Middle East, for the anathematization of Hezbollah. That’s different from just being a journalist. Still, journalism is calling. “A journalist is a journalist, and you have to go back to it.”

There were, to be sure, doubts. “I had to decide. Do I stay or go? If I could have stayed a little more I would have stayed.” But at some point, she wanted to make aliyah. Which is another issue: “When you’re in Parliament, you don’t want to be accused of double loyalties” – of caring more about Israel than about Italy. For her, there’s no conflict. She remains devoted to Italy – its culture, its roots. But she sees, as some Italians don’t, that if they fail to stand up for Israel, Italy is over. “They’re dead. They’re done. They’re destroyed. This is how I feel about Europe.”

She recalls meeting another female senator in the street who introduced Fiamma to her daughter by saying: “This is Fiamma, who has been given the honor to defend Israel in the Parliament.” Indeed she’s done many positive things with her time in politics. I first met her at a 2007 Rome conference she organized on women in the Islamic world. We were reunited two years later, in the same city, at a conference on violence against women. More recently, she brought together a small army of Arab woman to blow the cover, once and for all, on the liberatory pretensions of the so-called Arab Spring. For three years, moreover, she ran a commission on anti-Semitism in Italy.

Mideast

Zionism 101 Ruth King

In his later years, Herbert Zweibon, the late and beloved chairman of Americans for a Safe Israel, recognized the importance of education and Jewish failure in this regard. He hoped to create a site for the Internet age which would provide a place where people could go to learn about Zionism, of whose history little is known even by Israel’s supporters. He would be pleased with the results thus far of his brainchild, Zionism101.org.

In David Isaac, Herbert Zweibon’s project has found a perfect writer-director to fulfill Herb’s goal. Isaac has amassed a treasure trove of footage to tell the story of Israel’s political prophets – Theodore Herzl and Ze’ev Jabotinsky– as well as of leaders like Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion.

Currently, Isaac is producing for Zionism 101 a stunning series on Christian Zionism. Because Zionist historians have glossed over Christian contributions to the movement, these films promise to be an eye-opener even for those with a strong foundation in Zionist history. How many know, for example, that Theodor Herzl allowed only one person outside his own family to visit him on his deathbed and that was Rev. William Hechler? Isaac says, “British Christian Zionists were critical in paving the way for the Balfour Declaration. I hope that Zionism 101 will set that record straight and give them the credit that’s long overdue.”

Christian Zionists show a love for Israel without necessarily being aware of their historical contributions to the creation of the Jewish State. Jews, for their part, know even less about Christian moral and material support that continues to this day. The site’s films on the topic should make Christian friends of Israel friendlier still and open Jewish hearts to our non-Jewish allies.

An email Isaac received this week indicates the site’s potential. “I discovered your excellent website this morning. Thank you for this professional, user friendly, resource. I am a Christian Zionist who teaches on Israel, both the ancient and modern history of the State. I am always looking for excellent material to use in educating people with the truth on the subject. I work with a group that advocates for Israel within the Christian population of Canada and also encourages the Jewish population of our nation. I live at Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Please continue to produce this excellent resource and know that it is being used in the nations for your cause. Shalom, Lorraine B.”

Outpost

Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Herbert Zweibon, Ruth King

Outpost is distributed free to
Members of Americans For a Safe Israel
Annual membership: $50.

Americans For a Safe Israel
1751 Second Ave. (at 91st St.)
New York, NY 10128
tel (212) 828-2424 / fax (212) 828-1717
E-mail: afsi @rcn.com web site: http://www.afsi.org

February 2013
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