Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Annapolis meeting - Lessons to be learned from history

Jeff Robbins was a U.S. Delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission during the Clinton administration. He, therefore, brings some experience to the table when he writes about American intervention in foreign affairs.

He writes in today's Opinion Journal on,
It is increasingly de rigueur around the world and, for that matter, in certain segments of the Democratic Party, to place responsibility for all international crises on the U.S. government. Unsurprisingly, therefore, when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict, it has attained the level of high fashion to ascribe the persistent absence of peace to a lack of adequate U.S. "engagement" in resolving it.

Mr. Robbins is on to something. A review of the New York Times archives in 1967 shows a willingness to misread the Arab-side of the Mid East conflict and to find hope where none existed. Failure at Annapolis will be placed at the feet of the US. Those who fail to understand Arab-Israeli history from 1948 to the present time and recognizing the truth in it, do a disservice to their country.

Monday, November 19, 2007

They've Got to be Taught

Rodgers and Hammerstein had Lt. Cable singing "You've got to be taught, to hate and fear..." In 2007, we are a far way from the prejudice Cable laments. Here's what the editors of the New York Sun have to say about teaching the young. The stakes are a bit higher than ever imagined on Broadway.

They've Got to be Taught
New York Sun Editorial November 19, 2007

This struggle... will continue in this manner until the complete victory over the world of unbelief and arrogance, the eradication of any oppression, the appearance of the Master of the Age [the Shiite Hidden Imam], and the realization of the world government of Islam.
* * *
To know how a regime might behave look at what it is teaching its children. The above is from a middle-school textbook in a mandatory course inside the
Islamic Republic of Iran called "Islamic Culture and Religious Instruction." It is quoted with other textbook passages in a new report from the Brussels- and Jerusalem-based think tank, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education. "What the regime is trying to do is to indoctrinate Iranian children into making them into radical Muslims, ready to sacrifice their lives for the revolution and spreading Khomeini's revolution throughout the west, and destroy the west," a researcher who helped compile the study for the institute, Shayan Arya, told us Wednesday.
Mr. Arya is a member of the Constitutionalist Party of Iran, a monarchist grouping that supports a referendum on Iran's system of government; he left Iran in 1984. He says the textbooks he surveyed, which are from 2004 during the rule of President Khatami, have for the most part failed to make the citizens of Iran, a nation of a little fewer than 70 million people, into Islamic revolutionaries. "Most of the young people reject these lessons," he said. But he worried that even if a small percentage of Iranian students today became indoctrinated, his country and the world would be dealing with hundreds of thousands of terrorists.
Reading through the new report, one can understand why Mr. Arya is worried. Iranian schools teach reading to eight year olds with phrases about Israeli soldiers bloodying the heads of three year old Palestinian Arabs. Nine year olds are encouraged to join the brown shirt religious militia; an art class text book instructs that drops of blood in the homeland are necessary for the sprouting of tulips. Had this kind of thing been taught anywhere except the Middle East there would be bipartisan outrage. But to assert that kind of thing nowadays about Iran draws contempt from pundits and politicians committed to stopping Bush's next war.
The Bush administration has done its best to appease its critics. Secretary of State Rice has been arguing that a recent Senate resolution suggesting that Iran's Quds Force be labeled a terrorist organization would not authorize the bombing of Iran's nuclear infrastructure. Admiral Fallon of our Central Command said there are currently no plans to authorize any military strikes either. All the while, too little attention is paid to the Iranian leaders themselves and what they have in mind.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What the Palestinians must do - Uri Savir in the Jerusalem Post

With the Annapolis conference between Israel and the Palestinian Authority set to soon take place, Uri Savir, a member of the Israeli "peace camp" weighs in on the parties' responsibilities to make the conference a success.

Shades of Oslo or the gray skies many predict? He writes:

It is essential that the impending regional meeting in Annapolis be successful. Failure at Annapolis would translate into a victory for the extremist elements in Israel, Palestine and throughout the region. Without success at Annapolis the next phase of the Palestinian-Israeli relationship will find a far less forthcoming Israeli government squaring off against an implacable Hamas.

Savir, who never leaves home without carrying his moral equivalence regarding extremism, advises that the Palestinians must make some serious choices if the Annapolis conference is going to be successful. Among them, a renunciation of the right of return and a postponement of the discussion about Jerusalem to future talks.

Those who have suffered at the hands of terrorists know that the stakes are too high to infuse the conference with much hope, if any. I, for one, do not place much stock in the ability of the Palestinians to replace their baser nature of opposition to the very existence of a Jewish Israel with one representing peaceful co-existence.

The Jerusalem Post

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Jersey's Counterterrorism Farce - Let's fight radicalism

Several weeks ago, I addressed the goings on at the New Jersey State Department of Homeland Security. I chastised the department for inviting Georgetown Professor John Esposito as a speaker at a counterterrorism forum to discuss radicalism.

I've now joined with Steve Emerson in bringing our readers up to date on the report issued after the forum.

"THE New Jersey De partment of Home land Security's counterterrorism conference last month turned out to be a textbook case of exactly what's wrong with many U.S. counterterror and outreach efforts - a farce that had apologists for terrorism and radical Islam writing the "script" for how to protect Americans from the terrorist threat."

The full article appearing in The New York Post is Jersey's Counterterrorism Farce

Friday, November 9, 2007

Dancing with Desmond Tutu - Can words lead to terror?

In an insightful article in the November 8, 2007 edition of The Jewish Exponent, executive editor Jonathan S. Tobin examines the invitation extended to Archbishop Desmond Tutu by the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. After protests by local Jewish organizations, Tutu was uninvited and then re-invited when other Jewish groups weighed into fray.

Tobin's thesis is "Who cares about a South African cleric's false charges?" His answer, "Maybe we all should!"

In the face of the soon to be held peace summit at Annapolis, Md. Tobin notes, "Given the fact that the history of Mideast "peace" summits shows that such conclaves are as likely to increase violence as they are to engender reconciliation, the stakes for Israel's future at Annapolis are enormous. Placed in this dramatic context, can there be anything more inconsequential than arguments among American Jewish groups over the rights and wrongs of responding to Israel's foes?"

"On first glance, the answer to that question is a definite 'no.'"

But Tobin then proceeds to examine remarks recently made by Tutu at a Boston conference sponsored by "the Friends of Sabeel, a virulently anti-Zionist, left-wing, Christian Palestinian group, held at Boston's historic Old South Church. Those who don't want to trust accounts of the speech can go straight to the transcript at: www. "

Tobin writes, "As in the past, Tutu claimed to speak as a friend of the Jews and a "spiritual descendant" of Judaism. But his rhetoric was aimed at de-legimitizing the Jewish state. He falsely asserted that its efforts to defend itself against Palestinian terror and an ongoing war of annihilation on the part of the Arab and Muslim worlds (subjects he thinks unworthy of mention) are the same or worse than the apartheid he fought against in South Africa.

But going further, Tutu invoked the Bible and Jewish history against the Jews: "Remembering what happened to you in Egypt and much more recently in Germany -- remember, and act appropriately." Invoking the Exodus from Egypt, as well the Holocaust, the South African preached that the God of Israel would judge and punish the Jews for their alleged offenses against the Palestinians.

"One day you will implode," thundered Tutu."

"Hairsplitters are invited to debate whether this is anti-Semitism or merely a lesser variety of hate speech. The fact that he spoke about the supposed sins of the "Jews" rather than the State of Israel was interesting. Considering also that his Sabeel hosts have repeatedly invoked the deicide myth about the killers of Christ in their rhetoric against Israel, it's hard to give Tutu the benefit of the doubt. But however you wish to label this talk, and others like it he has made before, in which he has said that, like Hitler and other tyrants, Israel and "the Jewish lobby" would be brought down, the implications are ominous."

The debate about him and Tutu's remarks left Tobin "wondering whether we shouldn't be paying even closer attention to what people like Tutu are saying."

"Compared to the events that will soon unfold at Annapolis, the tedious flaps over Tutu may be unimportant and counterattacks from pro-Israel forces focused solely on him are a waste of time and effort. But those wondering about whether the administration's obsession with Palestinian statehood will blow up in Olmert's face need to think long and hard about the way the chattering classes in this country are talking about the conflict.

"The growing acceptance of anti-Israel invective which, at the least, seems to border on indictments of Jewry as a whole, aren't merely deplorable. They are the context in which the post-Annapolis debate on Israel and the Palestinians will be played out.

"The battles waged by American Jewish groups against each other may not be worth more than a yawn. But Tutu, Jimmy Carter, and books like Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer's The Israel Lobby will surely play a crucial role in determining how the Jewish state is viewed in the coming crisis and those that follow. The influence of these figures and the falsehoods they have championed will aid those intellectual forces deployed to blame everything on Israel -- no matter how much it concedes -- and to hold the Palestinians innocent -- no matter what atrocities they commit.

"And that is something about which friends of Israel should be very worried indeed."

For the full article, go to

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Giving Voice to Terror Victims - the Congressional Forum

Several years ago I was asked to testify before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearing was organized to investigate the US government's cooperation or lack of cooperation with terror victims as they sought justice in the American judicial system.
Here is my testimony in that hearing.
Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, October 27,1999,
Stephen M. Flatow

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center- A midwife of terrorism?

Terrorism is not something that just bursts into flame by spontaneous combustion. It has roots that grow from a seed. Unlike the American legend of Johnny Appleseed who planted seeds for good, terrorism's seeds are planted by those who wish to upset the world's apple cart through horrific acts of murder and mayhem. Sometimes they are planted and nurtured by organizations with fancy names.
The Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby writes about one of those organizations, the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, in an article published on October 21, 2007, "Criticism Gone Too Far." In it he details Sabeel's anti-Semitic use of the centuries old charge of Deicide directed against the Jews and, by implication, the State of Israel.
How does the world react to the apparently well thought out and truthful sounding claims made by Sabeel and its leader the Anglican cleric Naim Ateek? Well, as outlined by Jacoby, some parts of the world greet those remarks with open arms and fall victim to lies.
Will Sabeel, Ateek, and their supporters one day acknowledge the harm they cause?

Criticism Gone Too Far

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Terror in Pakistan - Democracy's Enemies At Work

The world's silence in the face of the horrific bomb attack in Pakistan is telling. It is reflective of the belief held by terrorists that human life is cheap, if not worthless, that another man or woman's opinion is worthless, and that those who strive in the fight to bring democracy and democratic institutions to all corners of the globe are their enemy.

Are the people of Pakistan content to allow more than 130 people die without demonstrating through peaceful means that terror is not sanctioned? Are they content to let Al Qaeda and the home grown terrorists off the hook? When will the Pakistanis say "enough is enough?"

From The New York Times--
Bomb Attack Kills Scores in Pakistan as Bhutto Returns
Published: October 19, 2007
Local news stations said today that 134 were killed and about 400 wounded when two bombs exploded Thursday near a truck carrying the opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.

Click here for full story.

Monday, October 8, 2007

A way to fight terrorists

Here is a well thought out essay in the on-line edition of the Wall Street Journal on how to bring the Iraqi war to the terrorists who are now attacking outlying villages and towns. It's called "Al Qaeda's War of Villages; Signs that the terrorists are losing in Iraq" and is written by Omar Fadhil.
His take is straightforward-- have troops positioned in such a way that attacks, which cannot be prevented, are responded to quickly and decisively by overwhelming military force.


Saturday, October 6, 2007

More on New Jersey Homeland Security's Poor Choice

Last month, in New Jersey's Obscene Invitation, I commented on the inclusion of Prof. John Esposito on a New Jersey Department of Homeland Security panel on radicalization. Here's more on the story from the New Jersey Jewish News:

Critics blast scholar's inclusion at NJ homeland security confab
by Robert Wiener
NJJN Staff Writer

A West Orange attorney and a journalist who monitors Islamic fundamentalism are attacking the inclusion of a Georgetown University Islamic studies professor at a state-sponsored conference on counterterrorism.

Stephen Flatow, the attorney, and Steven Emerson, the journalist, say John Esposito is an apologist for violent Muslim extremists and that he denies they pose a threat to the United States.

Esposito is a professor of religion and international affairs and Islamic studies at Georgetown University and the founding director of Georgetown's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.

He was one of eight men scheduled at press time to appear Oct. 3 at a daylong counterterrorism conference sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security at the Trenton War Memorial. He was booked to appear on a four-member panel discussion, "To What Extent Is Radicalization a Concern in the U.S.?"

Emerson quotes Esposito in a speech last August saying, "The reality of it is there is no major significant threat in the mosques in America."

"I don't think it's appropriate," Emerson, who has written critically about Esposito's inclusion at the conference on his blog, told NJ Jewish News.

"If you have a race relations conference, you don't bring in David Duke," added Emerson, referring to the former Ku Klux Klansman from Louisiana.

Emerson charges the Georgetown professor with being an apologist for Sami Al-Arian, a Palestinian computer engineer who pleaded guilty of conspiring to help Islamic Jihad after being acquitted on eight of 17 federal charges against him in 2006.

According to Emerson, Esposito praised Al-Arian in August during a banquet held by the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Dallas. Emerson quoted Esposito as saying, "Sami Al-Arian's a very good friend of mine. And you know, God help Sami Al-Arian in terms of this administration and any others who have to live through this," referring to Al-Arian's prosecution. "The reality of it is there is no major significant threat in the mosques in America."

Emerson also scored Esposito for including Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, an Egyptian-Muslim cleric, among those who are engaged in a "reformist interpretation of Islam and its relationship to democracy, pluralism, and human rights." According to Emerson, Qaradawi "has sanctioned suicide bombings against American troops in Iraq, calling those who die fighting U.S. forces ‘martyrs,' and civilians in Israel, referring to such terrorist acts as a "'just' and a 'divine destiny.'"

Islam distorted

Alisa Flatow, Stephen Flatow's daughter, was killed in a Gaza bus bombing in 1995 in an attack orchestrated by Islamic Jihad.

"It seems that Esposito blames everyone but those actually responsible for much of the mayhem in the world — Islamic extremists and those who support them," said Flatow, a former chair of the Community Relations Committee of United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ.

Interviewed by telephone as he vacationed in Israel, Flatow told NJJN that Esposito "advances the Islamist line of thought that everyone has to become a Muslim by following the precepts of the Koran, which include violence. Is this the kind of person we want to lecture about terrorism to New Jersey's first responders? I don't think so — and I hope the folks who invited him have second thoughts about that invitation."

Both Flatow and Emerson have also criticized Esposito for supporting the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Although CAIR states emphatically on its Web site that it has "consistently and persistently condemned terrorism and the killing of innocent civilians," the group has been attacked repeatedly by Emerson as an organization that is "dragging the American-Muslim community down its maximalist, pro-Hamas path."

"Esposito thinks CAIR is good," Emerson told NJJN. "He has no place at a counterterrorism conference. He may be appropriate for other conventions but not appropriate for a conference whose stated mission is to fight terrorism. It is inappropriate to have someone like this, six years after 9/11, who defends Islamic extremist groups and discounts the threat of radical Islam. If this was a privately sponsored counterterrorist conference, I wouldn't have a problem with it."

A spokesperson for the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness defended Esposito's inclusion at the symposium.

"I can't speak to Emerson's views, but Esposito is a person on a diverse panel," said Roger Shatzkin. "Those invited are there to hear a variety of views. Esposito is a fairly well-known author."

According to Shatzkin, the conference "is a working session open to law enforcement, academics, and people in the mental health field. It poses a question as to whether radicalization is an issue here. It is being asked in a lot of different places. This is really a preliminary discussion to see what next steps might be necessary — if they are necessary."

Esposito's fellow panelists include Dr. Brian Fishman from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point Military Academy; Daniel Sutherland, director of the office of civil rights and civil liberties at the federal Department of Homeland Security; and Frank Cilluffo, associate vice president for homeland security at George Washington University.

Neither Esposito nor any others on the panel returned NJJN's phone calls seeking comment. In an e-mail, the professor's executive assistant, Denisse Bonilla-Chaoui, said Esposito was "currently teaching and will be meeting with students" and would be unable to answer questions before the newspaper's deadline.

Esposito has tussled with Emerson in court. Earlier this year he filed an affidavit in which he sought to defend the Islamic Society of Boston from charges leveled by Emerson and others that the organization has ties to radical Islamist groups.

In an article for the Washington Post's Web site, Esposito wrote that true Islam has been distorted both by extremists and their critics.

"Terrorists like Osama bin Laden and others go beyond classical Islam's criteria for a just jihad and recognize no limits but their own, employing any weapons or means," wrote Esposito. "They reject Islamic law's regulations regarding the goals and legitimate means for a valid jihad: that violence must be proportional, only the necessary amount of force should be used to repel the enemy; that innocent civilians should not be targeted; and that jihad must be declared by the ruler or head of state."

Fighting hate at home and abroad

The fight for terror victims' rights continues on...

New Jersey Jewish News

The U.S. Senate passed two important measures this week, one addressing the consequences of hate in this country, the other focusing on hate directed at Americans abroad.

The Senate overcame objections largely from conservative lawmakers to approve legislation to expand federal hate crimes laws. The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act will permit the Justice Department to assist local hate crime prosecutions and, where appropriate, to investigate and prosecute cases in which bias violence occurs because of the victim's race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. "Sexual orientation" was a sticking point for opponents, but the majority stood up for equal rights and common decency when it voted 60-39 to end a filibuster against the bill.

The Bush administration has threatened to veto the legislation, and Jewish groups are vowing a fight. "We will work hard to convince the President that the time has come for this important legislation," the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement.

In a separate measure, the Senate passed legislation giving victims the right to sue state sponsors of terrorism and allowing them to seek compensation through the seizure of hidden commercial assets belonging to terrorist states. The bill has strong New Jersey ties: Its sponsor was Sen. Frank Lautenberg, and the legislation is based on the 1996 Flatow Amendment, named in honor of Alisa Flatow, the young woman from West Orange killed by a Palestinian bomber in 1995.

In hailing the legislation's passage, Lautenberg quoted Lynn Smith Derbyshire, a Virginian whose brother was among the 241 victims of the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983. "The passage of this bill," she said, "will bring justice by holding the criminals accountable for their crime. And I believe it will mitigate future terrorism. This bill is a huge statement of support for victims of terrorism, and a powerful way to fight terrorism without the use of military force."

Like the hate crimes measure, the compensation act is included in the Department of Defense Authorization bill and must now be reconciled with the House and signed by the president.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


The New York Post, September 26, 2007

AS the father of a terror victim, I can no longer be shocked by much. And as a New Jerseyan, I'm used to strange goings-on in my state's government. But I was shocked and surprised to I learn that John L. Esposito will be a featured speaker at next week's state Department of Homeland Security confernce on counterterrorism.

Esposito teaches at Georgetown University in its His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. To get a sense of the center's purpose, recall that bin Talal is the Saudi prince who shortly after 9/11 blamed the attacks on U.S. Mideast policy (prompting then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani to throw the prince's $10 million gift to the city back in his face).

Esposito finds time to appear around the country at events sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) - helping the group raise funds to explain that the real problem fronting us today is less a clash of cultures than a clash of Islam with American foreign policy. The Esposito-CAIR position is that Americans constantly ask Muslims to understand them without scrutinizing our own actions.

CAIR, by the way, is an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial against the Holy Land Foundation, which stands accused of diverting over $12 million of charitable contributions to the terrorist group Hamas. Esposito has spoken at fund-raisers for Holy Land's defense, and praised its work.

If we judge someone by the company he keeps, Esposito could do better - for at a CAIR gathering in Dallas, Esposito described Sami Al-Arian as "a very good friend of mine." Al-Arian is the Palestinian professor who pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to provide money to Palestinian Islamic Jihad - the group responsible for the 1995 bus-bombing murder of my daughter Alisa and seven others.

Just what is it that Esposito will say at this Homeland Security conference? Judging by his other speeches and writings, he'll say that America must promote broader self-determination in the Muslim world (whatever that means) and develop a "balanced" policy on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict - which clearly translates to "America must abandon Israel to its foes or face the consequences." (That's what his patron, Prince bin Talal, said when he blamed American support for Israel as being the cause of 9/11.)

Commenting on the U.S. government's revocation of a visa for Tariq Ramadan because of Ramadan's suspected terrorist ties, Esposito said the decision might have been influenced by Jewish groups that, he says, have waged a campaign against scholars and public intellectuals whose views on Islam and the Middle East conflict with their own.

It seems that Esposito blames everyone but those actually responsible for much of the mayhem in the world - Islamic extremists and those who support them.

Is this the kind of person we want to lecture about terrorism to New Jersey's first responders? I don't think so - and I hope the folks who invited him have second thoughts about that invitation.

New York Post

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Nonsense and More Nonsense

In typical naïve American fashion, visitors to “Palestine” usually accept at face value the statements made to them by spokesmen for one Palestinian group or another. Typical of this is the tripe written by Eileen Fleming, in an article appearing on the web at The People's Voice

If there is to be understanding in the Middle East, it is first necessary that reports from the field be based on accuracy and not lies. Here are some examples taken from Fleming’s article:

The death of Abir Aramin, a Palestinian child killed in the course of a riot, was blamed on Israel’s use of rubber bullets to quell the riot. In fact, an autopsy disclosed that Aramin could have been killed by concussion from a shock grenade or by a thrown rock. However, the findings were inconsistent with her having been killed by a rubber bullet. The autopsy was performed with a pathologist hired by Aramin's family in attendance.

When asked where she was from Fleming writes she “cringed when I said [I was from] America, for I was ashamed that over one hundred billion USA tax dollars since 1948 have gone to Israel.” Foreign aid is a complicated issue; not a simple one as Fleming would have us believe.
Israel has received more direct aid from the United States since World War II than any other country, but the amounts for the first half of this period were relatively small. Between 1949 and 1973, the U.S. provided Israel with an average of about $122 million a year, a total of $3.1 billion (and actually more than $1 billion of that was loans for military equipment in 1971-73) . Prior to 1971, Israel received a total of only $277 million in military aid, all in the form of loans as credit sales. The bulk of the economic aid was also lent to Israel. By comparison, the Arab states received nearly three times as much aid before 1971, $4.4 billion, or $170 million per year. Moreover, unlike Israel, which receives nearly all its aid from the United States, Arab nations have gotten assistance from Asia, Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union and the European Community. Congress first designated a specific amount of aid for Israel (an "earmark") in 1971.
For a clear breakdown of just what Israel gets from the United States, go to Jewish Virtual Library

A resident refugee informed Fleming that on a daily basis, "The Israeli Occupation Forces show up when the children gather in the morning or after classes. They throw percussion bombs or gas bombs into the school nearly every day! The world is sleeping; the world is hibernating and is allowing this misery to continue." Fleming, the reporter, fails to mention whether she witnessed any of these alleged attacks that happen “nearly every day.” That is the job of a reporter and Fleming fails miserably at it.

Sadly, these so-called friends of the Palestinians debase their own worth when they write silly essays. Peace will only come about when well-meaning people stop playing the fool.

Friday, September 7, 2007

CAIR in the Crosshairs

You have to give credit where credit is due, and for blurring the lines between terror's supporters and civil rights organizations, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) deserves such credit.
Here comes Daniel Pipes who rightfully takes aim at CAIR, again, but now for the "dirty tricks" they use to portray Dr. Pipes as a leading Muslim-hater.
Sorry to say that CAIR has lost its ability to blush.

CAIR's Dirty Tricks Against Me

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Is that Knock-off Handbag a Ticking Bomb?

Did you know that the Chanel or Fendi handbag knock-off you bought from that street vendor in New York City or Los Angeles poses a threat to our security? Dana Thomas in a terrific New York Times Op-Ed, "Terror's Purse Strings," says they do.

Terror is funded, so it seems, in two ways. By direct appeal to its supporters for cash contributions and, according to Ms. Thomas's research, by unknowingly supporting terrorists through the purchase of counterfeit goods. As to the former, witness the current trial involving the Holy Land Foundation that is accused of being a Hamas supporter funneling cash to that terrorist organization. According to Interpol, the proceeds from the sale of counterfeit goods wind up in the hands of Hezbollah and other terrorists.

With apologies to J.P. Morgan, maybe we as a society should remember to stick with the real thing and that if have to ask how much something costs, we cannot afford it.

Terror’s Purse Strings by Dana Thomas

Most people think that buying an imitation handbag or wallet is harmless, a victimless crime. But the counterfeiting rackets are run by crime syndicates that also deal in narcotics, weapons, child prostitution, human trafficking and terrorism.

Terror's Purse Strings

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Christiane Amanpour - Queen of Stereotypes

Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent for CNN, has come under withering fire for her series "Gods Warriors." Rightfully so, I say. Miss Amanpour is not a stranger to the fine lines of Middle Eastern thought and politics, but she cannot seem to help herself from blurring them over and over. Her latest report is more of the same old stuff.

Her series, supposedly an evenhanded treatment of fundamentalist driven terrorism in the Middle East, turned, instead, to a moral equivalence between Islamic, Christian and Jewish extremists.

As stated by Heather Robinson in the August 29, 2007 edition of The New York Sun
The moral equivalency begins with the opening sequence, in which an Orthodox Jewish woman appears on-screen saying, "God promised we would return to this land" and a Muslim woman appears saying, "This is the ultimate sacrifice, to give your soul as a gift to God the creator, and the country." Next comes a shot of Jerry Falwell saying, "I would like to see America become the nation under God again" and then Ms. Amanpour narrating, "They say, ‘God is the answer.' But their battle to save the world has caused anger, division, and fear."

Thus the message is that Jewish and Christian religious fundamentalism are as threatening to world peace as Muslim extremism of the variety voiced by the woman who romanticizes jihad martyrdom.

It is sad that a renowned journalist is trapped inside her own inability to issue a truly balanced report. We expect better from Christiane Amanpour, unfortunately, she does not deliver.

Queen of Stereotypes

Monday, August 27, 2007

How soon they forget...

The NABE Economic Policy Survey presents the consensus of a panel of 258 members of the National Association for Business Economics. Conducted semiannually, this survey was taken July 24-August 14, 2007.

The shocking result of the survey was:

"Financial market turmoil has shifted the focus away from terrorism and toward sub prime and other credit problems as the most important near-term threats to the U.S. economy,” says Carl Tannenbaum, NABE President and Chief Economist, La Salle Bank/ABN-AMRO. “However, these concerns appear to be somewhat transitory, as the five-year outlook for housing remains positive."

We have come far from 9/11 and the flag flying that we saw in the days, weeks and months that followed when the country was galvanized and girded for a war against terrorists and their sponsors. Now that it's harder to borrow money, terrorism is perceived as less of a threat? Makes no sense to me, but this is America, after all, and we Americans are sometimes incapable of thinking about anything other than how much the owner of Barry Bonds' 756th home run ball is going to make at auction.

The good thing about the real estate and stock markets is that they always correct themselves and come back to life. I wish I could say the same thing about terror victims. If we as a people divert our attention from the war on terror to mortgage interest rates, there will be more to pay than a higher monthly mortgage payment.

NABE Survey

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Beaten by Bin Laden in the PR Game

Thomas Friedman has it right when he claims that President Bush has been beaten by Osama Bin Laden and his henchman in the terror game. Friedman says,
"One thing that has always baffled me about the Bush team’s war effort in Iraq and against Al Qaeda is this: How could an administration that was so good at Swift-boating its political opponents at home be so inept at Swift-boating its geopolitical opponents abroad?"

What Friedman is saying in essence is that you can never let terrorists off the hook by being silent in the face of their actions or their press releases. We know that terrorists have their supporters, so do the victims. But why are the latter so silent in the face of the former?

Witness the case of Sami Al-Arian. Al-Arian lived a lie for more than 10 years claiming he had nothing to do whatsoever with Palestinian Islamic Jihad. While acquitted of the most serious charges in a 2005 trial, he pleaded guilty to a charge of aiding PIJ. Immediately, his supporters launched a non-stop PR campaign how Al-Arian only took the plea to avoid another trial because he had no money to pay his lawyers or to save his family from sitting through another trial. We still get that same line today while he awaits deportation. Rather than admit his plea exists, his supporters want the world to look away.

Neither the US nor victims' families should remain silent in the face of terror. You have to speak out, loudly and frequently.

Friedman: Swift Boated By Bin Laden

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Academic Boycott-- Prelude to terror?

Terrorists are not born, they are made. Schoolchildren and summer campers in the Mid-Eastern world are indoctrinated with hate of Israel, Jews and the West. The world's ills are blamed on the existence of Israel and, well, let's face it, the Jews. Not that the Muslims have enough teachers to spew their venom, British academia's teachers' union recently joined in by calling for a boycott of all things Israeli.
American university leaders have condemned such a boycott and took out a full page ad in the New York Times to condemn it. Is this enough? Not according to Ruth R. Wisse in

It is heartening to see such unanimity among academic leaders who normally shun group protests or statements; still, it is less heartening when one considers that these leaders may have found it easier to denounce an outrage overseas than to tackle prejudice in their own institutions. President Bollinger and his colleagues know that anti-Israel venom is widespread on American campuses. The real test of their resolve to preserve academic integrity will occur here, at home.

She's laid down the challenge, how will American universities react?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Jonathan Tobin Gets It Right About CAIR

Jonathan Tobin comments in the Jerusalem Post on the free ride given by prominent newspapers such as The New York Times to CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations). Tobin correctly points to CAIR's creation as a front for HAMAS as evidence of its true being and Islamist leaning.

He writes,
"MUSLIMS WHO believe their community can and must integrate itself into liberal Western societies - who oppose the use of terrorism in the name of their faith, and who support democratic values as well as the rights of women - do exist.

"But where are such voices, so needed in an era when Islamists who are in a state of war with the West are working overtime to infiltrate and control Muslim communities and mosques? The answer is that, given the level of intimidation enforced by Islamist imams and their political fellow travelers, few are willing to step forward to challenge the radicals."

View From America: The vicissitudes of genuine Muslim moderates

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Jose Padilla Conviction: Why does it rankle the liberal media establishment?

Jose Padilla Conviction: Why does it rankle the liberal media establishment?

Funny thing about terror prosecutions, the government can never get it right. That is not true, but if you read the New York Times and Washington Post this week, you would think that the conviction of Padilla on terrorism charges following a 3-month trial was a loss for the prosecution.

Why? Because neither the Times nor the Post approve of America’s handling of the accused.

The Times cautioned that the case should not be considered “a vindication for the Bush administration’s serial abuse of the American legal system in the name of fighting terrorism.” Rights have been trampled, says the Times.
The Post was a little more tepid in its condemnation. Agreeing that not every terrorism case should be held in U.S. courts but chastising that “every person held by the government -- U.S. citizen or not -- must have due process to challenge that detention.”

I think we need a breather here and must remember that terrorism cases are not pleasant for either the public or the system. We must, however, give the system the chance to work.

New York Times Editorial

The Washington Post Editorial

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Muslim advocacy groups "doth protest too much, methinks."

Per the New York Sun, Shakespeare had it right. Complain too much and people begin to think the opposite. Well, it seems the folks at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Council on American-Islamic Relations haven't learned the lesson. In response to the New York City Police Department's report "Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat" representatives from those two organizations quickly weighed in by stating that the report "is un-American and goes against everything for which we stand" and of "labeling almost every American Muslim as a potential terrorist" and of encouraging "hostility toward the American Muslim community."

I, for one, would be more appreciative if these groups would condemn, by name, those who committed this week's mass slaughter of Iraqis rather than rant about a report that hits home.

The New York Sun - Aug 16, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hats Off to Dick Cheney

As the father of a terror victim, I join in the Wall Street Journal featured editorial article in support of Vice President Dick Cheney. It takes a tough man to take tough stances. Not everyone may love Dick Cheney and many would like him to disappear. But as author Stephen F. Hayes points out, "with intelligence officials in Washington increasingly alarmed about the prospect of another major attack on the U.S. homeland, and public support for the Bush administration's anti-terror efforts reclaiming lost ground, we need more Dick Cheney."

The Cheney Imperative. The surveillance and interrogation programs he helped implement have prevented further attacks.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

You Can't Whitewash Hamas

Despite its supporters best efforts, Hamas cannot be whitewashed by pointing to its social, medical and educational programs. They do not mask the underlying nature of Hamas as a terror organization.
One temptation is to compare Hamas to the Irish Republican Army, the IRA, that made Northern Ireland a living political hell for Great Britain for many years. Now that the IRA has joined the Brits and the Ulsterites in working out a political, instead of military, solution to the issues, many feel called upon to cloak Hamas in the same mantle as the IRA. That comparison fails in many regards per Herb Kenion in the Jerusalem Post.For all its good deeds, Hamas is still a bunch of thugs.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hamas – A government or a bunch of cheap gangsters?

More than one year ago terrorists identified as members of the Popular Resistance Committee kidnapped an Israeli soldier, Cpl. Gilad Schalit. Rather than act as the government it claims to be, Hamas has allowed the PRC thugs to continue to hold Schalit captive. Today, the spokesman for the PRC is blaming Schalit’s parents for their son’s continuing captivity.
Remind me, again, why the civilized world should respect Hamas.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

In Israel: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors-- A Divided Road

The New York Times reported today on the construction of a “divided road” being built through the West Bank to connect Palestinian cities in the north and south without having direct access to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. While Israelis and certain Palestinians will be allowed to access one side of the road with exits into the Holy City, other Palestinians will not be able to travel freely into the city. And why should they?
There is no credible evidence that Palestinians wish to live side by side in peace with Israelis. Witness another shooting last week while traveling on a highway adjacent to the separation barrier with the West Bank. Until the day comes when Palestinians are as concerned about Israeli’s rights to travel in their own country, I do not have much sympathy with claims that Israel is impeding their right to travel.

A Segregated Road in an Already Divided Land
Published: August 11, 2007
The Israeli side of a divided road being built through the West Bank has various exits; the Palestinian side bypasses Jerusalem.

The New York Times Frets, Again

The Gray Lady of the news was in high dudgeon today bemoaning the Congress giving the Bush Administration continued and, according to some, expanded wiretapping authority. The Times was in rare form as it cited the Administration for creating a “brew of fear to kill off” competing bills. On top of that, those dastardly people in the White House “cowed the Democrats into passing a bill giving Mr. Bush powers that go beyond even the illegal wiretapping he has been doing since the 9/11 attacks.”
At least the Times recognizes that the new law has “a six-month expiration date, and that leaders of both houses of Congress said they would start revising it immediately.”
I for one am not worried about my civil liberties or yours. This country has survived for more than two centuries because its institutions are bigger than any one man or newspaper.

The Need to Know
Published: August 11, 2007
If President Bush wants Americans to give him the power to spy on them at will, Americans should be allowed to know how much their freedoms are being abridged.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Give me a break, Mr. Ramsey

Ibrahim Ramsey, the Civil and Human Rights Director of the Muslim American Society Freedom division of the MAS, needs to chill as he writes, "For U.S. Muslims, More Surveillance Could Mean More Intimidation." He worries that an unfettered prosecution will select Muslims as targets because prosecutors are "willing and able to stretch, and even distort, the law when it comes to Muslims."

His case in point? None other than that of Sami Al-Arian, who according to Ramsey "languishes in a prison, suffering from diabetes and severe deprivation and cruelty, without being convicted of any crime. "

Wrong poster boy you have there, Mr. Ramsey. Sami Al-Arian is in prison because a) he pleaded guilty to assisting Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terror organization responsible for hundreds of murders, something he denied doing for more than 10 years, and b) he refuses to testify in a terror prosecution claiming that his plea agreement exempts him from what every other citizen must do when called upon.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Another tool in the fight against terror.

From the New York Times
August 6, 2007
Bush Signs Law to Widen Reach for Wiretapping by James Risen
WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 — President Bush signed into law on Sunday legislation that broadly expanded the government’s authority to eavesdrop on the international telephone calls and e-mail messages of American citizens without warrants.

Where Did the Book Go?

Writer Mark Steyn tells us what happened to a book called Alms For Jihad: Charity And Terrorism In The Islamic World written by J. Millard Burr, a former USAID relief coordinator, and a scholar, Robert O. Collins.
Critical of a wealthy Saudi, Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz, the book details his ties to charitable causes with ties to terrorism. As a result of a lawsuit in England, the publisher Cambridge University Press pulled all copies of the book.
Steyn questions the responsibility of the publisher for pulling the book and the chilling affect that such actions have on the First Amendment. You can find the article here:

Sunday, August 5, 2007

New Bill Expands Terrorism Suits

In 1996 Congress enacted the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. The bill was introduced at the request of then President Bill Clinton who called on Congress to provide tools for the fight against state sponsors of terrorism. The law gave American citizens access to US courts for the purpose of holding accountable those states sponsoring terrorism for the death and injury of Americans overseas in terror attacks.
An examination of the new law found many weaknesses, and as a result, the Flatow Amendment, named after terror victim Alisa Flatow, was passed. The Amendment put teeth into the law where none existed before.
As a result of subsequent laws, the original bill and the Flatow Amendment were weakened. On August 1, 2007, a bill designed to reinvigorate the law was introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and 13 other sponsors.
You can find a report of the new bill at

What We Are About

Sadly, the voice of terror victims is not only silenced by murder but by those who advocate, support and condone terror. Oftentimes, terror's supporters are in the guise of writers who claim to report the truth, but who, in fact, do the opposite.
It is my hope that this blog will give voice to the murdered victims of terror.