Sharia Showdown on Wall Street
By Paul Sperry
FrontPageMagazine.com | 7/9/2008
For nearly a decade, the mufti also has advised the Dow Jones Islamic Market Index, which licenses more than 25 stock funds that comply with Islamic laws forbidding certain Western-style investments. The venerable Dow Jones & Co. first retained him in 1999.
Usmani’s name is now missing from the Dow Jones website, where it had previously been prominently displayed. His bio and photo suddenly vanished without explanation.
Meanwhile, all references to Dow Jones disappeared from the website of the North American Islamic Trust, or NAIT, which runs a sharia-compliant mutual fund out of Burr Ridge, Ill.
For years the fund had been called the Dow Jones Islamic Fund. Dow had lent NAIT its good name under a licensing agreement.
But recently the trust felt compelled to rename its lead portfolio the “Iman Fund,” and amend several pages in its prospectus to remove all references to Dow Jones, as well as Usmani. Again, no explanation was offered.
What’s behind the mystery? It’s all been very hush-hush, but according to a high-level document I’ve obtained, along with interviews with company insiders, Dow Jones recently terminated NAIT’s license and dumped Usmani to protect its brand. The company, now under new management, no longer wants to be associated with either of them, especially after they received a spate of bad publicity this year.
Articles published on this webzine — as well as in the National Review, Investor’s Business Daily and the Washington Times, among other media — have called attention to Usmani’s fatwahs demanding that Muslims living in the West conduct or support violent jihad against infidels at every opportunity.
“Killing is to continue until the unbelievers pay jizyah (subjugation tax) after they are humbled or overpowered,” the radical Pakistani cleric wrote in his book, “Islam and Modernism,” which in 2006 was translated from his native Urdu into English.
Usmani advocates spreading sharia law in America and the West — the barbaric legal code that not only justifies holy war, but the stonings, floggings, amputations and even beheadings for petty crimes seen in Muslim nations such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sudan.
The aim of Muslims, he wrote, is to “take out people from the rule of people and put them under the rule of Allah.”
More, Usmani has run a Pakistani madrassa that’s trained thousands of Taliban, according to the Washington-based Center for Security Policy.
Usmani is no longer employed by Dow Jones, which says it only recently learned of such “allegations.”
NAIT, which until a few months ago managed a $40 million Dow Jones portfolio, also has come under fire.
Allegedly, the trust is a Saudi-tied front for the pro-jihad Muslim Brotherhood that holds title to some of the most radical mosques in America.
The Justice Department last year named NAIT an unindicted co-conspirator in a terror money-laundering scheme to funnel more than $12 million to Hamas suicide bombers and their families under the guise of charity.
Dow has since revoked NAIT’s license.
The moves against Usmani and NAIT were made quietly, without any media announcements, by Dow Jones’ front office in South Brunswick, N.J.
After NAIT’s links to terrorism were brought to its attention by the media, “Dow Jones terminated its license agreement with the NAIT subsidiary and required it to remove all reference to Dow Jones from its website and fund-related offering materials,” Dow Jones Indexes President Michael Petronella confirmed, following the mysterious disappearance of such references from NAIT’s website.
Explaining Usmani’s departure, he cited “certain allegations related to Mr. Usmani who was, at the time, a member of the DJIM Index Sharia Advisory Board.”
“Mr. Usmani has since resigned from our board,” he asserted.
Petronella explained the changes in a May 29 letter to officials with the Center for Security Policy, a leading watchdog against the spread of Islamofascism in the West.
CSP president Frank Gaffney and the group’s top lawyer had fired off a legal memo to Dow charging it with “covering up” material facts from the investing public about the sharia-compliant funds it licenses — namely, that sharia advisers like Usmani “embrace the law of violent jihad that seeks America’s destruction.” Petronella responded that Dow Jones had already taken corrective action based on earlier media reports.
Indeed, sharia-compliant funds offer little transparency. They disclose neither the radical ties of the scholars who are advising and running them, nor the subversive tenets that dictate the structuring of the investments.
The prospectuses merely state the investments are “ethical” or “socially acceptable,” when in fact they’re grounded in a religious doctrine that threatens America and the West.
Lost in Wall Street’s scramble to grab management and other fees from these Islamic-compliant funds, which are growing fast thanks to Arab petrodollars, is that the funds must “purify” their returns by transferring at least 3% into Islamic charities, many of which funnel funds to terrorists.
So, the American financial community may unwittingly be helping our sworn enemy.
Dow Jones’ dumping of one of its top sharia advisers and licensees is a welcome setback to the burgeoning sharia-finance industry in America, which forbids investments in key businesses that drive our economy, including financial services, entertainment and aerospace-defense, as well as alcohol, tobacco and pork-related products.
It’s also a serious blow to the credibility of one of the world’s leading sharia-finance authorities, as well as that of America’s largest mosque landlord.
But the case merely points up the unknown risks associated with Islamic finance.
What other sharia advisers are closet jihadists lusting after the blood of infidels? What other Islamic investment funds may be steering money to terrorists with the imprimatur of one of Wall Street’s most respected institutions?
Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington. He can be conacted at Sperry@SperryFiles.com.
Jordan’s Legal Jihad
By Stephen Brown
FrontPageMagazine.com | 7/3/2008
In a brazen attempt to stifle free speech in the West, a Jordanian court recently summoned twelve European citizens to answer criminal charges of blasphemy and inciting hatred.
Among those sought by the court is Geert Wilders, the Dutch liberal politician who made the anti-Islamist film, Fitna. Released last March, the Dutch MP’s production caused an uproar in Islamic countries, since it equated Islam with violence. Now a Middle Eastern court would like to prosecute Wilders for the “crime.” (Ironically, a Dutch court dropped charges against him for inciting hatred against Muslims with his film the day before the Jordanian court issued its subpoena.)
The Jordanian court’s move is only the most ambitious attempt to silence debate about Islam. Until now, the preferred strategy has been to file civil lawsuits in western courts to intimidate critics. The latest version of what may be called the legal jihad is even more disturbing.
In one subpoena, issued in early June, the Jordanian court ordered ten Danish newspaper editors to travel to Jordan for the “crime” of having republished the “Mohammad cartoons” last February. The cartoons, first published in 2005, were also greeted with disturbances in Muslim lands. Seventeen Danish newspapers republished the controversial cartoons as a response to the discovery of an Islamist plot to murder Kurt Westergaard. Westergaard, a caricaturist, drew the most famous of those cartoons in the form of Mohammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban, for which he is also included in the summons.
This new campaign of intimidation against the West is being mounted by a Jordanian organization calling itself “Messenger of Allah Unite Us”, which is made up of “… media outlets, professional associations, parliamentarians and thousands of volunteers.” This organization, according to one account, arose as a “civilized response” to the Mohammad cartoons’ republication in 17 Danish papers last winter, after which it took the matter to a Jordanian court and successfully had charges pressed against the Danes, and later against Wilders.
The subpoenas will be sent to the twelve Europeans through their embassies in Jordan. If they do not appear within 15 days, the Messenger of Allah group says it will seek international arrest warrants through Interpol.
But while Denmark and Holland will not forcibly send innocent citizens to Jordan, this new, “legal jihad” tactic of criminalizing those believed to have insulted Islam constitutes a threat on an unprecedented level against freedom.
Citizens of western countries who criticize Islam, and are even willing to face lawsuits in civil courts their own countries for doing so, may now exercise restraint if they risk facing criminal charges in a Muslim country. Especially if the charge is blasphemy and it is being tried by a sharia court, which can impose a death sentence (The Danes and Wilders, a Jordanian lawyer said, are facing a maximum of three years in jail).
As well, critics of Islam who have outstanding warrants against them from courts in Muslim countries will have their freedom of movement restricted, since travel abroad will now be problematic. Wilders expressed this sentiment, saying he will be careful when he travels now. Such targeted individuals, like Wilders, will obviously have reservations travelling to a third country where Jordan could file an extradition application or may already have an extradition treaty in place.
But what is most disturbing is that an Islamic country would dare subpoena citizens of another state for an action not committed within its borders but in a land where no laws were broken. Besides being meant as a weapon of intimidation, this tactic also represents a frightening extension of Islamic law into the heart of western countries.
But perhaps most ominously, this incredibly brazen measure shows that even a small Islamic country like Jordan has no fear of Europe. And, indeed, no retaliatory response met the Jordanian court’s action against European citizens.
Europe’s appeasement is also evident in the second part of Messenger For Allah group’s anti-blasphemy campaign. This part calls for a commercial boycott of all Danish and Dutch products in Jordan and of anything associated with the two countries, such as airlines and shipping companies. The boycott campaign actually began late last February but was suspended due to the losses Jordanian importers were incurring that had large stocks of unsold Danish and Dutch products.
The boycott, however, was resumed June 10. One million posters containing the logos of banned Dutch and Danish products will eventually hang in Jordanian businesses under the title “Living Without It.” The boycott will also be spread by television and radio ads, t-shirts, and bumper stickers.
Dutch and Danish companies were instructed they could get their products off the boycott list if they, essentially, betrayed their nations’ values and their countrymen. The affected companies, according to The Jordan Times, were told to denounce the Dutch film and the Danish cartoons in the media both in Jordan and in at least one publication in their own country, support the Jordanian legal action taken against Wilders and the Danish newspaper people as well as the creation of an international anti-blasphemy law.
Several companies have already complied. When informed of the stipulation that requires a denunciation be published in a Dutch newspaper, a spokesman for a Dutch food company that exports to Jordan said his company “…would print it if needed.”
But such groveling will only buy these companies a little time, as another Dutch company discovered. It had immediately distanced itself from Wilders and Fitna after the film’s release last March but still had products placed on the boycott posters.
The Dutch government did not fare much better in its appeasement efforts. One Dutch embassy official in Jordan said he was surprised his country was included in the boycott in the first place since his government had already printed statements in the Jordanian press distancing itself from Wilders’ film.
And, naturally, the Jordanian blackmailers’ demands have not stopped. Only last week, Dutch and Danish companies were told to put the boycott posters up in their own countries if they did not want their products blacklisted.
Perhaps to further intimidate Holland’s and Denmark’s populations, the Jordanians are also claiming their boycott campaign is causing these countries huge financial losses of over four billion Euros in four months. A Danish official, however, says that is ridiculous since his country only exported about $50 million worth of goods to Jordan in 2007.
The overall goal of the Messenger of Allah group’s legal and commercial campaign against the two European states, it says, is the enactment of “a universal law that prohibits the defamation of any prophet or religion”, especially of the Prophet Mohammad. Islamic countries are already pushing for such a law at the United Nations.
“The boycott is a means but not an end,” said Zakaria Sheikh, a spokesperson for Messenger of Allah Unite Us. “We are not aiming at collective punishment, but when the Danish and Dutch people put pressure on their governments to support the creation of an international law, we are achieving our goal.”
Well, there you have it. The Muslim organization wants Denmark and Holland not just to muzzle themselves but to help it muzzle the rest of the world as well.
But just the opposite should occur. All western countries should help put a muzzle on Jordan’s ridiculous campaign to squelch free speech, meddle in the internal affairs of two sovereign, western states and intimidate their citizens. In terms of financial measures, Denmark, showing its usual mettle, has already led the way when it told the Sudan it would have to repay a $500 million debt the Scandinavian country was considering cancelling, if it joined the boycott.
It should also be pointed out in the West that Jordan, which is demanding respect for its religion, does not respect other religions equally. While the practice of other faiths is not forbidden in the Middle Eastern country, none are allowed to proselytize, and converts from Islam to other religions are prosecuted by Jordanian sharia courts.
Moreover, the Jordanians should be told that if they want to extradite inciters of hatred to their courts, then citizens of their country, and of other Islamic countries for that matter, who have advocated killing Jews and other the infidels will be extradited to face western courts. In the end, if legal jihad is not recognized as the danger to the West that it is, and vigorously opposed, it will wind up punishing more than just two small European countries.
Stephen Brown is a columnist for Frontpagemag.com. A scholar and former news reporter, his field of expertise is Muslim forced marriages and honor killings. Email him at email@example.com.
Jewish World Review Feb. 12, 2008 / 6 Adar I 5768
Westerners must mount a united front against Islamic law
By Daniel Pipes
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Westerners opposed to the application of the Islamic law (the Shari’a) watch with dismay as it goes from strength to strength in their countries — harems increasingly accepted, a church leader endorsing Islamic law, a judge referring to the Koran, clandestine Muslim courts meting out justice. What can be done to stop the progress of this medieval legal system so deeply at odds with modern life, one that oppresses women and turns non-Muslims into second-class citizens?A first step is for Westerners to mount a united front against the Shari’a. Facing near-unanimous hostility, Islamists back down. For one example, note the retreat last week by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in a dispute concerning guide dogs used by the blind.
Muslims traditionally consider dogs impure animals to be avoided, creating an aversion that becomes problematic when Muslim store-owners or taxi drivers deny service to blind Westerners relying on service dogs. I have collected fifteen such cases on my weblog, at “Muslim Taxi Drivers vs. Seeing-Eye Dogs“: five from the United States (New Orleans, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Brooksville, Fl.; Everett, Wash.); four from Canada (Vancouver, twice in Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Alberta); three from the United Kingdom (Cambridge, twice in London); two from Australia (Melbourne, Sydney); and one from Norway (Oslo).
News accounts quote Muslim cabbies rudely rejecting blind would-be passengers, yelling at them, “No dog, No dog, Get out, get out”; “Get that dog out of here”; and “No dogs, no dogs.” The blind find themselves rejected, humiliated, abandoned, insulted, or even injured, left in the rain, dropped in the middle of nowhere, made late for an appointment, or caused to miss a flight.
Islamist organizations initially responded to this problem by supporting anti-canine cabbies. The Muslim Association of Canada pointed out how Muslims generally regard dog saliva as unclean. CAIR on one occasion echoed this assertion, claiming that “the saliva of dogs invalidates the ritual purity needed for prayer.” On another, the head of CAIR, Nihad Awad, declared that “People from the Middle East especially … have been indoctrinated with a kind of fear of dogs” and justified a driver rejecting a guide dog on the grounds that he “has a genuine fear and he acted in good faith. He acted in accordance with his religious beliefs.”
However, when the police and the courts are called in, the legal rights of the blind to their basic needs and their dignity almost always trump the Muslim dislike for dogs. The Muslim proprietor or driver invariably finds himself admonished, fined, re-educated, warned, or even jailed. The judge who found a cabby’s behavior to be “a total disgrace” spoke for many.
CAIR, realizing that its approach had failed in the courts of both law and of public opinion, suddenly and nimbly switched sides. In a cynical maneuver, for example, it organized 300 cabbies in Minneapolis to provide free rides for participants at a National Federation of the Blind conference. (Unconvinced by this obvious ploy, a federation official responded: “We really are uncomfortable … with the offer of getting free rides. We don’t think that solves anything. We believe the cabdrivers need to realize that the law says they will not turn down a blind person.”) And, finally, last week, the Canadian office of CAIR issued a statement urging Muslims to accommodate blind taxi passengers, quoting a board member that “Islam allows for dogs to be used by the visually impaired.”
CAIR’s capitulation contains an important lesson: When Westerners broadly agree on rejecting a specific Islamic law or tradition and unite against it, Western Islamists must adjust to the majority’s will. Guide dogs for the blind represent just one of many such consensus issues; others tend to involve women, such as husbands beating wives, the burqa head coverings, female genital mutilation, and “honor” killings. Western unity can also compel Islamists to denounce their preferred positions in areas such as slavery and Shar’i-compliant finances.
Other Islam-derived practices do not (yet) exist in the West but do prevail in the Muslim world. These include punishing a woman for being raped, exploiting children as suicide bombers, and executing offenders for such crimes as converting out of Islam, adultery, having a child out of wedlock, or witchcraft. Western solidarity can win concessions in these areas too.
If Westerners stick together, the Shari’a is doomed. If we do not, we are doomed.
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| PIPES’ LATEST
“Miniatures: Views of Islamic and Middle Eastern Politics”
He’s been so far ahead of the curve on radical Islam that it’s scary. You read his columns here regularly, see what he can do with a lot more than 750 words! Sales help fund JWR.
by Jerry Gordon
Noam Bedein of the Sderot Media Center sent me his latest film: “Two Weeks in May’ about the intense Kassem barrage that occurred in Sderot. Watch this 11 minute film. It is powerful, devastating and emotional gripping.
Noam’s narrative is ‘impactful’ as one reviewer, Doris Wise of Los Angeles, said in an email to me about this latest production from the Sderot Media Center.
The images are enough to tear your hearts out: Sderot residents cowering, desperately scrambling to get what little protection they can in less than 15 seconds when the ‘seva adom’ or ‘Color Red’ alert sounds. You’ll see the destroyed synagogues, homes, lost and wrecked lives, the cries of ‘ima’ –mother- by terrified and traumatized children.
As you recover from watching this video, the emotion left is anger. Anger that a government of the State of Israel could let this happen to its own people, day in and day out, year after year. But what does it say about the people of Israel who would let this happen to their fellow citizens?
Something is dreadfully wrong in Israel and it has to be purged. We at Israpundit have been relentless in our pursuit of acknowledging this injustice to fellow Israeli citizens in Sderot time and again over the past several months. It is a ‘shander’- a shame to hear comments from Bedein in the narrative of this film that it is, “as if Sderot was not considered part of Israel”. A shander that two thirds of Sderot’s citizens had to be evacuated during the May Kassem barrages.
Now, there is silence, but the ‘color red ‘ alerts will sound again as Kassem rockets and perhaps worse will be launched from nearby Beit Hanoun and other locations in Gaza-Hamastan.
Israel has to stop the rocket attacks.
Israel needs to silence the ‘color red’ alerts forever, as the children of Sderot fervently hope.
The Olmert Kadima government is incompetent, shameless and the Israeli public who support this travesty by their silence are equally at fault.
What to do?
For a start, circulate this film’s weblink so that tens of thousands of consciences are seared, emotions are roused to confront the State of Israel and its representatives here in North America. They need to be reminded of this calumny, hourly, daily, week after week until the Kassem are silenced.
Then, those of you in Boston and New York should see and hear Noam Bedein and especially watch presentations by the Children of Sderot. A delegation of whom are at several summer camps in New England funded and sponsored by those ‘shtarkers‘ -heroes- of the Russian Jewish Community Foundation of Waltham, Massachusetts. Included in his terrific group are Rabbi Dan Rodkin of Shiloh House in Brighton, and indefatigable Cornell University student Masha Rifkin – a Sderot Media Center intern- and her mother Inna Rifkin.
Bedein will be arriving in the U.S. this week and will be speaking at the Clifton, NJ “Y” on Sunday, July 15th at 7:30PM in an event organized by activist Buddy Macy with the auspices of the local Federation.
We are also endeavoring to get Bedein on the platform at the ‘monster rally’ on Monday 16th at Dag Hammerskjold Plaza in Manhattan near UN headquarters sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, the United Jewish Communities – Jewish Federation of New York, and American Zionist Movement to demonstrate the solidarity of Sderot residents with the three kidnapped IDF Soldiers, Galid Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser, and Eldad Regev.
Later, on July 30th, the Sderot children will make a presentation and tell their painful stories at the Brooklyn College Hillel at 5:00PM. We hope that Mayor Bloomberg of New York, who visited Sderot in solidarity, will also receive a delegation of these children at City Hall in lower Manhattan visually communicating to a wide audience their travail.
Chaverim on the west coast are making preparations for similar events with city and state officials in Los Angeles, when Bedein is scheduled to travel west to tell the Sderot story in late August and early September.
Other chaverim are arranging for the transport of Kassem rocket wreckage from Israel to the US, design and deployment of a traveling multi-media exhibit. Fred Taub in Cleveland calls this traveling exhibit the ‘Sderot Express,” so that Americans can see evidence of the daily threats to Sderot residents. They will be encouraged to contact Israeli consul general’s to express their dismay at the lack of defensive actions.
We hope to include in the proposed traveling exhibit something that can be used effectively as Lori Lowenthal Marcus has advocated – a portable Lifeshield shelter approved by the State of Israel for deployment. Funds have to be raised for providing these portable shelters.
But in the end it is the citizens of Israel who must rise up and say ‘enough’. Enough of the trauma for Sderot, enough of doing nothing to save endangered Jewish lives from Islamist terror. Israel must strike back and destroy the Kassem rocket threat so no more ‘sevra adom ‘ color red alerts sound and the Children of Sderot can smile again, run and laugh.
[Given the need for conspiracy theories, otherwise known as propagating “alternate realities”, this is timely. It supports Israpundit’s efforts to challenge conventional thinking in most places as regards, Israel and Serbia.]
“Blaming the Middle Eastern conflict on the Jewish state is an error that could see many people unwittingly complicit in one of history’s worst injustices”, writes Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein of South Africa in the Sunday Times.
SOMETIMES we make the most fundamental errors. When large numbers of people make mistakes — even monumental ones — it is almost impossible to challenge the resultant prevailing view. It was once the conventional wisdom that the Earth is flat. In ancient times, if anyone dared to claim that the earth was round, they would have been denigrated as being detached from reality. When, in the 16th century, Nicolaus Copernicus dared suggest that the sun was the centre of the solar system and not the Earth, he was regarded as a heretic.
In today’s world, any attempt to explain the Arab-Israeli conflict in terms other than “Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land” and the “denial of Palestinian nationalist aspiration” is often regarded like a declaration that the earth is flat and the centre of the universe. But what if this view is wrong? What if, in terms of understanding the Arab-Israeli conflict, we are living in pre-Copernican times? What if the Jewish state that is considered to be the root of all evil in the Middle East were instead the victim?
What if the apartheid of the Middle East is really one directed against the Jews? And what if Israel is the ANC of the Middle East?
In South Africa, our conflict was caused by a white racist apartheid regime. The ANC was always ready to talk peace, but the regime refused to talk and so the conflict could not be resolved, and the ANC was forced into an armed struggle. Like the ANC, the Israeli government has always been ready to talk peace but has been forced since the birth of the Jewish state into an armed defensive struggle because the anti-Semitic Arab world has not been prepared to talk peace.
The ANC had to wage an armed struggle for many years until white South Africans were ready to talk, and then the long-standing conflict was resolved relatively quickly. Unlike the ANC, Israel has not found genuine negotiating partners, and so its struggle continues, and peace remains a distant dream.
What if Zionism is not colonialism but rather an ancient people’s deep connection to their native, historical and covenantal land? What if the real colonialism is Arab expansionism, which contests a Jewish state on even 1/520th of the area of Arab lands? Nearly 4000 years, ago the forefathers of the Jewish People, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, lived in the land of Israel, which God had promised to them and to their descendants forever. That promise was confirmed at Mount Sinai, and was delivered upon by G-d through Joshua, after the death of Moses, more than 3300 years ago, when the Jewish People entered the land after being liberated from Egyptian slavery and oppression.
About 3000 years ago, King David established Jerusalem as the capital city of the Promised Land. The Jewish people lived in the land of Israel for 850 years until their expulsion by invading Babylonians. They returned in large numbers 70 years afterwards and remained for many centuries until their eviction by the Roman Empire. Despite unremitting antisemitism and persecution, some Jewish communities managed to remain in Israel during the long interval between the Roman dispersion and the re-establishment of the Jewish state in 1948.
What if the dispute has never been about Palestinian statehood but really about the destruction of the Jews and the only Jewish state on Earth? In 1917, the Balfour Declaration, confirmed later by international law through the League of Nations, declared the British Mandate of Palestine to be a national homeland for the Jewish people, recognising 4000 years of Jewish connection to the land, and the injustice of the destruction of ancient Israel by the Romans and the forced removal of the Jewish people.
In 1922 the British took 76% of the land designated for a Jewish state and allocated it instead to the Arabs, creating east of the Jordan River a new country called Transjordan, later to be known as Jordan, which to this day has a Palestinian majority.
In 1947, the United Nations voted to establish two states — one Arab and one Jewish — west of the Jordan river on the remaining 24% of the original portion of land allocated for a Jewish state by the international community. In spite of this reduction to their original portion, the Jews accepted the offer, which was then rejected by the Arabs. This was the beginning of a long history of Arab rejectionism.
And so, in 1948, the newly reborn state of Israel was invaded by Arab armies from Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and the Arab Legion, all of which made it quite clear that they intended to destroy the tiny Jewish state at its rebirth and to massacre its citizens, many of whom were Holocaust survivors.
Israel survived the war, and from 1948 to 1967, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were in Arab hands and there was no “occupation” of these territories . If the cause for the Arab-Israeli conflict is the “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza, then why did the conflict rage throughout these years unabated, with continued Arab refusal to recognise Israel and to make peace with its Jewish neighbour?
Why was it that in mid-1967, just before the Six Day War, and before the West Bank and Gaza fell into Jewish hands, Arab leaders called for the destruction of Israel? What “occupation” was at issue? Why did Syrian President Hafiz al-Assad order his soldiers to attack Jewish civilian targets to “pave the Arab roads with the skulls of Jews”?
For the 19 years that Jordan controlled the West Bank and Egypt the Gaza Strip, the Arab world had the opportunity of establishing another Palestinian state in those territories, and chose not to. Why not? If the conflict is about Palestinian statehood, then why was there no talk whatever of a Palestinian state for all those 19 years? After the Six Day War, Israel immediately tried to enter into negotiations with the Arab world about the political future of the West Bank and Gaza. The response came from the Khartoum Conference of all the Arab States on September 1 1967, in the form of the infamous three nos : “No peace, no negotiation, no recognition.” And so, when in 2000 at Camp David, Yassar Arafat rejected without making a counter-offer at all, Israel’s proposed 95% of the West Bank and Gaza as well as land compensation for the remaining 5%, his rejection was wholly consistent with Arab rejectionism of any Jewish presence at all.
If the Arab-Israeli conflict is about a Palestinian state, then there has always been an obvious solution of two states living in peace side by side. The conflict is more fundamental and therefore, all the more intractable, and is really about Arab rejection of the very presence and existence of a Jewish state, and probably any Jews at all, in the heart of the Middle East. And so the very charter of Hamas calls for the murder of all Jews, worldwide. And rockets from Gaza continue to target Israeli civilians even after Israel’s evacuation. And threats of genocide and a second Holocaust, together with denial of the first, emanate from Iran. And the Arab world is awash with the most rabid and pernicious antisemitism.
What if the war directed against Israel is really the global war of fundamentalist tyranny against freedom and democracy? Then indeed, all of those who believe, with the best of intentions, that they are defending a vulnerable victim, are actually being complicit in one of the worst injustices in the history of human civilisation. They will have sided with the forces of death and destruction, of fear and prejudice. What if the world is siding against the only beacon of freedom and democracy in the Middle East, thereby endangering us all, because the fate of Jews is often a sign portending the future? Hitler came after the Jews first, and then he attacked the world. Suicide bombings began in Jerusalem and then migrated to New York, Bali, Madrid, London and Nairobi.
We need clarity to understand these tumultuous times. We also need an ultimate vision of peace and reconciliation between Arab and Jew. The conflict in the Middle East is between brothers, and that is the real tragedy. We are all the children of Abraham; Jews are the children of his son Isaac, and Arabs the children of his son Ishmael. The Talmud tells us that, although the sons of Abraham fought for many years, when Abraham was buried in Hebron, Isaac and Ishmael were reconciled at his grave. Let us all pray to God that we will merit to see the day when brother will once again be reconciled with brother in the Middle East.
A Qatari newspaper, Al Watan, reported Friday that Syria is making concrete preparations for war with Israel, saying that the Syrian government has removed the Government and State Archives from the Damascus area. According to the paper, this move indicates preparations for war.
The middle east’s Hitler and Mussolini. Holocaust included.
The Exploding Summer.