Tuesday, July 12, 2016

When Dentists become Terrorists

One of the biggest lies about terrorism is that terrorists come from poor and underprivileged backgrounds.  Here's my take on the issue as Israeli authorities have arrested three dentists for their role in planning terror attacks.

When Dentists become Terrorists
From the the Jewish Press

The news that three recently captured Palestinian terrorists are dentists has been greeted with chuckles and smirks. It’s not what one expects. A man-bites-dog kind of story. Late-night television talk show hosts will probably get some joke material out of it.

But before laughing and turning the page, it might be worthwhile to take a moment to consider the deadly serious implications of this peculiar story.

For many years, supporters of the Palestinian cause, especially in the mainstream media, have pushed the idea that poverty causes terrorism. That explanation was convenient for several reasons. First, it pins the blame for terrorism on Israel. In other words, if Palestinians resort to violence because they are “desperate” or feel “hopeless,” then Israel’s policies can be blamed for making them feel that way. Second, attributing terrorism to poverty offers an easy solution: give the Palestinians lots of money, and terrorism will stop.

This, in fact, is the entire premise of U.S. aid to the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority receives $500 million in American taxpayers’ money each year and an astonishing $11.5 billion since 1993. Imagine the better uses that money could have been put to.

Earlier this year, a Washington Post correspondent reported, with surprise, that the latest Palestinian suicide bomber in Jerusalem “doesn’t fit the profile of a desperate Hamas operative” because he was affluent and educated. Abdel Hamid Abu Srour’s uncles “are prosperous merchants…. He did not grow up in a refugee camp. He went on shopping trips to Jordan.”

Relatives described Abu Srour as “a Palestinian preppy, the scion of a well-to-do and well-known clan of eight prosperous brothers, who own and operate a string of furniture outlets and are rich enough to take their young sons for holidays in Jordan and set them up with their own shop selling clothes.”

One uncle, Mahmoud Abu Srour, told the Washington Post reporter: “We are
financially comfortable, you could say very comfortable.” At a family gathering to mourn Abu Srour’s death, his teenage cousins “wore pricey watches, skinny jeans and fancy sneakers.”

The Abu Srour case is reminiscent of the arrest last year of Ayman Kanjou, another stereotype-busting terrorist. If you think Palestinian terrorists must be young, unmarried men who have little to lose, meet Mrs. Kanjou: a middle-aged Israeli Arab woman with five small children, who was caught crossing through Turkey on her way to join the ISIS terrorists in Syria.

She comes from a “respected” family (according to Israeli prosecutor Shunit Nimtzan). She is a college graduate (Al-Azhar University in Cairo), which cannot be said about many Muslim women. And she has a Ph.D.! She had $11,000 in cash with her on her way to join ISIS (doesn’t sound like poverty to me). Surely she was alienated from her family, a rootless malcontent in search of belonging? Not quite: her father, age 74, actually accompanied her on the trip.

In fact, if you go back and look at other major terrorist cases in past decades, you’ll find a similar phenomenon. Recall the 415 Hamas terrorists whom then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin deported to Lebanon in December 1992, after a series of terrorist attacks against Israelis. The Chicago Tribune reported at the time that “many” of the deported terrorists were “businessmen, academics, lawyers, [and] doctors.” Likewise, the co-founder and longtime leader of Hamas, Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, was a practicing pediatrician. By day, he treated Palestinian children. By night, he organized the murder of Israeli children.

Now we have the terrorist-dentists.

A 36 year-old Palestinian dentist named Dr. Samer Mahmoud al-Halabiyeh was arrested by the Israeli authorities, after he was discovered to be the head of a terrorist cell which carried out the May 10 attack in which one Israeli was seriously wounded. Other members of the cell included his brother, a 42-year-old dentist named Dawoud Alhabiya, and a third dentist, Daganeh Jamil Nabhan, age 36. The three dentists were found to have a stockpile of 56 bombs they were planning to use to murder and maim Israelis.

They’re not desperate teenagers. They had no reason to feel “hopeless.” On the contrary: they were gainfully employed and could look forward to a secure and comfortable future. But, like all Palestinian terrorists, their ideology is more important to them than their personal financial status.

Whether they are teenagers or men in their 30s and 40s; whether they have troubled personal lives or stable, happy personal lives; whether they are unemployed or successfully practicing medicine, all Palestinian terrorists have one thing in common: they try to murder Jews because they want to murder Jews.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Democrats planning to condemn Palestinian Authority?

"Democrats planning to condemn Palestinian Authority?"

In a remarkable turnaround, Democratic Party activists who are known to be pro-Palestinian are calling on their party’s platform committee to condemn the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Or am I misreading something?

Two pro-Palestinian members of Congress, Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, issued their call last week on the blog of J Street. It happens that Ellison and Gutierrez are members of that same platform committee, so it may seem strange that they are taking a public position before the committee has finished its deliberations. But apparently they made up their minds on the Palestinian issue before being appointed to the committee, and no testimony by witnesses or discussions with their fellow committee members will change their minds.

Here’s the key sentence in the Ellison-Gutierrez proposal: “Palestinians struggle under an unjust occupation that deprives them of the rights, opportunities and independence that they deserve.”

Three cheers for Ellison and Gutierrez, for courageously speaking out against the PA’s unjust occupation and denial of rights!

That must be what they mean, right?

After all, 99 percent of the Palestinians live under the rule of the PA (in Judea and Samaria) or Hamas (in Gaza). So if the “occupation” is “unjust,” then it is the PA and Hamas that are committing the injustice.

And if the Palestinians are being “deprived of the rights that they deserve,” then it must be the regimes under which they live that are doing the denying.

The right to democratic elections is surely the most basic of rights. Mahmoud Abbas was elected head of the PA in January 2005 for a four-year term. Yet somehow he is still in office, seven and a half years since his term expired. And Hamas, of course, has not held a democratic election since taking over Gaza nine years ago.

So yes, the honorable members of Congress are absolutely correct. The PA and Hamas are depriving Palestinians of their right to free elections.

The Palestinians are also being deprived of their right to freedom of speech. Najat Abu Baker, a member of the Palestinian parliament, recently hid out in the parliament building for 17 days to avoid being arrested by the PA police. The warrant for arrest was issued because—as the New York Times put it—“Ms. Abu Baker said Mr. Abbas should resign and suggested that there would be money to pay educators if ministers were not so corrupt.”

Another right of which the Palestinians are being deprived—by the PA—is the right to free assembly. Earlier this year, 20,000 Palestinian public school teachers went on strike because they had not been paid (those were the unpaid educators to whom Abu Baker was referring). When some dissidents tried to hold a rally in support of the strikers, “the PA security services set up rings of checkpoints to prevent the teachers from attending the demonstration,” according to Haaretz. Twenty teachers and two school principals who did manage to reach the rally were arrested for doing so.

But don’t take my word for it. Look at the U.S. State Department’s most recent report on human rights around the world. It states that the PA is guilty of “abuse and mistreatment of detainees, poor and overcrowded detention facilities, prolonged detention, and infringements on privacy rights;” “restrictions on freedom of speech, press, and assembly;” “limits on freedom of association and movement;” “discrimination against persons with disabilities” and “discrimination based on sexual orientation and HIV/AIDS status;” and “limits on worker rights,” including “forced labor.”

The list of the PA’s violations of its citizens’ right is so long that one wonders if there are any rights at all that the Palestinians enjoy under the PA occupation.

So, hats off to Reps. Ellison and Gutierrez, for speaking out against the PA’s occupation and mistreatment of the Palestinians. It’s about time somebody raise their voices against this injustice.

That must be what they meant, right?

This column first appeared on JNS.org

Loretta Lynch’s Appalling Response to Terrorism

"Loretta Lynch’s Appalling Response to Terrorism"

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch says the Obama administration has deleted references to Islamic State from the transcript of the Orlando killer’s 911 calls. She says that mentioning the group would “re-victimize” the families of those whom he murdered.

Well, I’ve got news for the attorney general. As the father of a victim of radical Islamic terrorism, it’s not the mention of the terrorist group that re-victimizes me and my family. It’s the ongoing refusal of the Obama administration to name the group to which my daughter’s killers belong that causes us fresh pain every single day.

Alisa was a junior at Brandeis University who was visiting Israel in 1995 when members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad attacked the bus in which she was riding. She and seven other passengers were murdered. Some of the terrorists involved in the attack were subsequently captured or killed. But some of them are still walking free today — and the Obama administration is helping to cover up for them.

Find that hard to believe? Visit www.rewardsforjutsice.net –that’s the US Justice Department website that offers rewards for information leading to the capture of terrorists who have killed Americans abroad. At the bottom of their home page, click on “Middle East and North Africa.” Then go to the right-hand column and choose the item called “Violence in Opposition to the Middle East Peace Negotiations, 1993 – Present.”

Now as you look at this section, keep in mind that since 1993, at least 68 Americans have been murdered, and 94 wounded, by Palestinian terrorists. Some were victimized by Fatah (the group led by the late Yasser Arafat, and currently by Mahmoud Abbas); some by Hamas; and some, including Alisa, by Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Also keep in mind that in some other sections of the website—sections not involving Palestinian terrorists—the names of victims are mentioned, and the names of the groups that harmed them are mentioned as well.

But notice the difference in the section on the Palestinian attacks.

There, no victims’ names are mentioned. No specific attacks are listed. No organizations — not Fatah, Hamas, or Islamic Jihad — are identified. They are described merely as “terrorist groups and individuals opposed to a negotiated peace agreement.”

The fact that the terrorists were trying to murder Jews or Israelis is not even acknowledged. “The intent of these attacks,” the website claims, “was to disrupt peace negotiations and to modify the attitudes of the leaders engaged in them.”

They were just trying to “modify” leaders’ attitudes! It sounds as if they were just expressing some policy disagreements, and perhaps went a little overboard.

The website’s claim about “disrupting peace negotiations” is not only inadequate — it’s absolutely false. Fatah was never trying to “disrupt” negotiations. Fatah’s leaders — Arafat, then Abbas — were the ones who were conducting the negotiations with Israel. Fatah’s terrorism was a way of trying to increase pressure on Israel to make more concessions within the negotiations. Fatah’s bombings and shootings were part and parcel of Arafat and Abbas’s negotiating strategy.

All of which brings us back to the attorney general and the “re-victimizing” claim.

The omission of the Orlando killer’s Islamic State connection will not spare the families any additional pain. Indeed, it is the very omission which causes them pain, just as the Obama administration’s omission of the names of my daughter’s killers and sponsors causes my family pain.
 The names of the Palestinian killers are omitted because the administration does not want to irritate the Palestinian Authority, which sponsors and shelters the killers. The name of the radical Islamic terrorist group that inspired the Orlando killer is being omitted because the administration wants to play down any connection between terror and Islamic factions. In other words, it’s all politics.

That’s what “re-victimizes us,” Madam Attorney General. Every time we look at that website, we are reminded that your administration is willing to cover up the identity of terrorists in order to further a political or ideological agenda.

This column first appeared on the Algemeiner.com via JNS.ORG

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Jewish novelist Michael Chabon rails against fictional ‘occupation’

As a novelist, Michael Chabon has a vivid imagination. One of his novels centers around a world in which there is no state of Israel, only a large Jewish refuge in Alaska. Chabons imagination was on full display last week, when he toured Israel and denounced an occupation that exists only in his mind.

Together with other American Jewish critics of Israel, Chabon visited Hebron. Afterwards, he told The Forward that the occupation [is] the most grievous injustice I have ever seen in my life. Now keep in mind that 80 percent of Hebron is occupied by the Palestinian Authority. But for some reason, Chabon is concerned only about the 20 percent controlled by Israel.

The Israeli military presence in that small part of the city is necessary for one simple reason: Hebrons Arabs have a long history of massacring their Jewish neighbors. Evidently, that reality does not trouble the visiting novelist. No, somehow the fact that Israeli soldiers protect the citys handful of Jewish residents isto quote Chabon—“the most grievous injustice I have ever seen in my life. That tells me only that Chabon, like many pampered prize-winning novelists, has not seen many injustices.

Chabons knowledge of Middle East history is likewise brimming with fiction. He explained to The Forward that he first began criticizing Israel during the 1982 Lebanon War, when he was reading about the massacres in the refugee camps. I was like, wait, Israel? Is that what they are doing?

Well, no, Michael, that was not what they were doing. It was what the Lebanese Christians were doing. No sane person ever accused Israel of perpetrating massacres in Lebanon; the most Israel was accused of was failing to foresee that the Christians might wreak vengeance on their enemies. Of course, its all too easy for a novelist sitting in the comfort and safety of the United States to demand that Israel adhere to absurdly unrealistic standards of behavior.

Chabon also told his interviewer that he visited the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, which is inhabited mostly by Arabs. Jews are illegally taking over houses and these people are fighting for their neighborhood[American Jewish donations are] going to support the takeover of Silwan.

You would think a writer would be a little more careful about his choice of words. Chabons language reminds me of white racists in the 1970s who were fighting for their neighborhoods against African-Americans who were supposedly trying to take over. Sorry, Mr. Chabon, but there is nothing illegal about Jews purchasing houses in a mostly Arab area, any more than there is anything wrong with African-Americans purchasing houses in a mostly white area. Its called integration. Welcome to the 21st century, Michael Chabon. South African apartheid is gone and Arab apartheid deserves the same fate.

Chabon mentioned in the interview that he is co-editing a book of essays marking 50 years of Israeli occupation. Bookstores should place it on the fiction shelves. Israel stopped occupying the Palestinians back in 1995, when prime minister Yitzhak Rabin pulled Israels forces out of the cities where 98 percent of the Palestinians reside. It is only in the minds of purveyors of fiction such as Michael Chabon that Israel is still occupying them.

Chabons own essay in the book concerns one Sam Bahour, a Palestinian-American businessman who moved to Ramallah to build the Palestinian economy in the wake of the Oslo peace accords, only to watch the Israeli occupation deepen around him. Fascinating! Ramallah is the capital of the Palestinian Authority regime. There are no Israeli soldiers in Ramallah. Yet somehow Sam Bahour, in Ramallah, is watching the Israeli occupation deepen around him. Now that requires a powerful imagination indeed.

Michael Chabon is a talented novelist. Unfortunately, it seems that when the subject is Israel, he has trouble separating fiction from reality.

This article first appeared on JNS.org.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Peace treaties that don’t bring peace

My comments on a recent New York Times ad placed by the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace urging Israel to sign a peace treaty with the Palestinians.

Israelis of a certain age have a saying which translates from Hebrew as, “We’ve already seen that movie.” 
Read the full column at Peace treaties that don’t bring peace

 Well, that's what I have to say.Stephen M. Flatow