Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jeff Jacoby - The wake-up call from Flight 253

Jeff Jacoby writes,
"AFTER THE SEPT. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, it was widely asserted at the time, nothing would be the same. What Pearl Harbor had been for our parents and grandparents, 9/11 would be for us: a shattering national wake-up call revealing both the gaping holes in America's homeland security and the reality that we were at war with an implacable enemy whose defeat would require years of sacrifice and resolve."

What lessons from 9/11 have been dismissed by our government leaders?
  • Terrorism isn't caused by poverty and ignorance.
  • The global jihad is real.
  • Terrorists can always adapt to new restrictions.
  • The Patriot Act was not a reckless overreaction.
It's time that the Obama administration took steps to make us safer. Step 1, Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Security secretary, has to go. And in her place, should be a man or woman who understands that we were very lucky, again, in averting a catastrophe. Just how long will our luck hold out?

Read the Jacoby column.

Monday, December 28, 2009

WSJ.Com, The Terror This Time. A lucky break & Napolitano about face

The Wall Street Journal has a different take than the one set forth over the weekend by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano who says "the system worked."
A U.S. government that has barred the phrase "war on terror" has nonetheless acknowledged that a failed Christmas day bomb attack on an airliner was a terrorist attempt. Can we all now drop the pretense that we stopped fighting a war once Dick Cheney and George W. Bush left the White House?

The attempt by 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab follows the alleged murders in Ft. Hood, Texas by Islamist-inspired Major Nidal Hasan in November. Brian Jenkins, who studies terrorism for the Rand Corporation, says there were more terror incidents (12), including thwarted plots, on U.S. soil in 2009 than in any year since 2001. The jihadists don't seem to like Americans any better because we're closing down Guantanamo.
As the Journal points out,
Yet the terrorist screening system seems to have failed in at least two crucial ways: first, in failing to revoke a visa to the U.S. that Mr. Abdulmutallab had obtained last June despite a later warning to U.S. consular officials from his own father that he was becoming radicalized and might have terror network ties; and second, in not adding him to a no-fly list from a lower-level watch list.
Much to the Obama Administration's embarrassment, there still seems to be a "war on terror." The just cannot admit it.

Earlier today, Monday, December 28, 2009, the Obama Administration began singing a different song.
The secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, said Monday that the thwarted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner represented a failure of the nation’s aviation security system, not the success she and other administration officials had portrayed in comments over the weekend.

Read the full Wall Street Journal editorial and The New York Times report.

Phyllis Chesler weighs in on the price to be paid for failed bomb plot

What Next? Body Cavity Searches at Airports?

"Look: I’m no military strategist or historian. I have spent no time in any standing army or paramilitary organization. But, as a citizen civilian I have some questions.

"First, what next"

Ms. Chesler asks several questions regarding the fallout from Abdumutallab's failed attempt to detonate a bomb last week on that Northwest flight.
"Why are we still allowing Muslims from non-western foreign countries to fly into Western countries? Please note: I am not talking about “race” but about a highly politicized “faith.” And, what shall we do about the West’s own homegrown Islamist terrorists? Ground them all? Why not?"
Read more.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

From our friends, another new travel restriction

Thanks to our Islamic friends who first brought us terror hijackings, new travel restrictions!

The New York Times reports, "New Restrictions Quickly Added for Air Passengers" (12/27/09), on the new rules being quickly put into place following Friday's terror attempt.

As if flying is already not a joy,
"several airlines released detailed information about the restrictions, saying that passengers on international flights coming to the United States will apparently have to remain in their seats for the last hour of a flight without any personal items on their laps. It was not clear how often the rule would affect domestic flights."

Thank you, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, for making the lives of 10's of thousands of air travellers more miserable. May 1,000 fleas infest your armpits.

Read the full report.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Domestic Terror Incidents Hit a Peak in 2009

Time Magazine details the scorecard on domestic terror for 2009.
"You may not have noticed because most of the plots were foiled, but 2009 saw an unprecedented surge in terror "events" on U.S. soil. When analysts tally these events, they refer to anything from a disrupted plot to U.S. citizens traveling abroad to seek terror training or a lone gunman running amok in the U.S."

Not all tidings are of great joy - Jeff Jacoby

The Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby writes about the life of Egypt's Coptic Christians and Christians in Muslim countries.
On May 31, 2008, a band of Bedouin Muslims armed with automatic weapons stormed Abu Fana [an ancient monastery], destroying a small church and burning the monastery's farm. Nine monks and monastery employees were wounded, and four others were abducted.
What is most tragic about the plight of the Copts, however, is that they comprise only a fraction of the estimated 200 million Christians in 60 countries worldwide who face persecution because of their religion.

From Egypt to Iraq it's hard to be a Christian.

Read the full column.

Study in Israel - Scholarship fund helps hundreds

The Alisa Flatow Memorial Scholarship Fund has been granting scholarships for post-high school study in Israel since 1996. While the study must be religious in nature, scholarships are available to men and women whether they be Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist or unsure.

More information about the Fund and applications are available through the Fund's website

And now a word from the sponsor:

The Alisa Flatow Memorial Scholarship Fund does gratefully accept contributions. The demand for scholarship assistance is great and the Fund does need partners.

Contributions by check should be made payable and mailed to:

Alisa Flatow Mem. Scholarship Fund
Jewish Community Foundation of MetroWest
901 Route 10
Whippany, NJ 07981

If you care to contribute on line, please go here.

I thank you for your support.

Stephen M. Flatow

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Moral Equivalency at the United Nations

The UN announced today that the military chief of United Nations peacekeepers in Lebanon discussed with senior Lebanese and Israeli military officials recent incidents in Lebanon's south.
"Commander Major General Claudio Graziano also reviewed the situation in the village of Ghajar, where Israel still occupies the northern part although it should have withdrawn in compliance with Security Council resolution 1701."
That's OK for starters.

You'll remember that Resolution 1701 increased the UN's military presence in south Lebanon, "and called for an end to hostilities, respect for the so-called Blue Line separating the Israeli and Lebanese sides, disarming militias including Hizbollah, and an end to arms smuggling."

Here comes the equivalence-
"Hizbollah has not disarmed, and last month Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams said sporadic rocket launches into Israel, almost daily Israeli flights over Lebanon, the active maintenance of an arms depot by Hizbollah and the apparently Israeli surveillance equipment left on Lebanese territory raised the spectre of a potential escalation."
So, is it Hizbollah's failure to disarm, sporadic rocket launches and arms supplies, or Israel's overflights and surveillance equipment that bring the "spectre of escalation?"

It seems to me that the UN has gone out of its way to equate Israel's defensive steps with Hizbollah's rearmament and rocket launches into Israeli territory. I think it's clear that the UN is bending over backwards to be "overhanded" when, in fact, it is not living up to its mandate to supervise the disarmament of Hizbollah and blocking its potential rearmament.

Read the full release here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Phyllis Chesler on "The Israelis and the Iranian Bomb"

I don't always see eye-to-eye with Phyllis Chesler. Her brand of strident feminism in religious spheres often leaves me cold. However, she has been a staunch opponent of anti-Semitism and a lot of other anti's over the years.

Today she writes about the surreal state of events surrounding Israel and its citizens.
In 2009, Israeli athletes were at one point shunned in the United Arab Emirates; humiliated in Vienna; and forced to play without an audience for their own safety in Sweden. The jackals took over the asylum and tossed a prominent Israeli advocate out of the United Nations; J-Street, the allegedly “pro-peace and pro-Israel” organization, held a Soros- and Arab-funded conference; and the calls to boycott Israeli academics continued apace. Today, Departments of Jewish Studies at American universities display anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian posters on their front doors.
She believes that Hitler and Himmler good not have done it better.

Yet, she confesses that she is writing less and less about these types of events. Why?

First, because other individuals and mainly grassroots groups are now doing so—and doing it well. I am no longer alone.

Second, because I cannot bear documenting the Big Lies and the atrocities without feeling that doing so can effectively stop them.

The world has gone mad; no sane grown-ups are in charge.

Are we running out of plans? Maybe.

Read the full article - The Israelis and the Iranian Bomb.

What do you think?

Friday, November 20, 2009

NY Times asks- Can Soldiers Be Victims of Terrorism?

Can Soldiers Be Victims of Terrorism? That's the question raised in The New York Times of 11/20/09. The question arises out of the attack at Fort Hood, although it can be asked around the world.

Writes Robert Mackey,
"On Thursday in Washington, as my colleague David Johnston reports, several legislators declared at a Senate hearing that the murder of 12 soldiers and a retired guardsman at Fort Hood this month was “a terrorist attack.” Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, who opened the hearing,said, “We will look at the Fort Hood murders not as an isolated event, but as part of a larger pattern of homegrown terrorism that has emerged over the past several years.”"
An excellent discussion follows. Read the full article.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009  - Obama: Professed 9/11 Mastermind Will be Convicted

Does the president know when to keep his opinions to himself? Judging by his latest expression of guilt and innocence (remember the Gates v. Cambridge police fiasco) it appears not.

As reported on - Obama: Professed 9/11 Mastermind Will be Convicted
President Barack Obama predicted that professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be convicted, as Attorney General Eric Holder defended putting him through the U.S. civilian legal system.
In one of a series of TV interviews during his trip to Asia, Obama said those offended by the legal privileges given to Mohammed by virtue of getting a civilian trial rather than a military tribunal won't find it "offensive at all when he's convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.''
Obama quickly added that he did not mean to suggest he was prejudging the outcome of Mohammed's trial. "I'm not going to be in that courtroom," he said. "That's the job of the prosecutors, the judge and the jury."
Obama's comments come along with Attorney General Eric Holder's statements that the civil justice system will be more than adequate to address the issues to be raised by the defense at trial.

In my experience, juries have difficult jobs with cases involving conspiracy and long distance planning. It's hard for them to connect the dots because there is usually no evidence of the defendant pushing the plunger or squeezing the trigger. Add to that the evidential issues surrounding getting Mohammed's confession, and, well, you can see the problems.

In testimony before the Senate, the New York Times reports Attorney General Holder said,
''I have every confidence that the nation and the world will see him for the coward that he is,'' Holder told the committee. ''I'm not scared of what Khalid Sheik Mohammed has to say at trial -- and no one else needs to be either.''

Interesting, Mr. Attorney General, that you don't recognize the defendant's constitutional right not to testify at his trial and the requirement that the court explain to the jury that his decision to not take the stand cannot be held against him.

I have no doubt that NYC can handle the security. Sure, thousands of drivers and pedestrians will be inconvenienced as they are routed for blocks out of their way by frozen zones. But, hey, it's worth it right?

In the meantime, I hope Mr. Obama can act with a little more dignity as president. Not every news item requires his personal two cents, and the jury is sure to hear how the president of the United States has already prejudged this case. As for our attorney general, my advice is to not get too cocky. Other terror prosecutions have fizzled, this case might, too.

That's what I think.

Stephen M. Flatow

Posted using ShareThis

Friday, November 13, 2009

US Attempts to Seize Iranian Assets in NYC

Those familiar with our case, Flatow v. Islamic Republic of Iran, will remember that our family attempted to collect on our judgment by seizing various properties we alleged were owned by the Iranian government through third parties. As the records in those cases show, we could not overcome the so-called day-to-day control of these assets by the mullahs in Iran.

Notwithstanding that we thought we had proved that Iran was the owner of the Alavi Foundation by virtue of its nature as an Iranian controlled charity, US courts ruled against us.

Now comes the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the filing of a Verified Amended Complaint seeking forfeiture of properties around the United States on the basis that there owners are fronts for the Islamic Republic of Iran.

10 years ago I stated that the seizure of Iranian assets was another weapon to be used to get the Iranians out of the terrorism sponsorship business. Apparently, the government agrees.

It seems we were right all along.

Kudos to the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Here's hoping he's successful in his efforts.

Read two current news accounts: 1010WINS, The New York Times.

The US Attorney's Press Release is here.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fort Hood Attack - terrorism or not?

It's too early to answer the question posed above. Thirteen people were killed and 30 others injured in the shooting rampage at the Texas Army post on Thursday. So was it a "mad" gunman or someone intent on affecting America's involvement in Muslim countries? Once again, I think it's too early to know.

That's not to say that folks are not jumping into the fray.

CAIR sends out a mixed message- Americans should unite in the face of this outrage, but urges Muslims "to take appropriate precautions to protect themselves, their families and their religious institutions from possible backlash."

Phyllis Chesler wrote
Ordinarily, I'd agree with such advice about conclusion-jumping. The military does first have to investigate the matter fully. One can't always believe what one reads in the media, etc. But whether or not Major Hasan acted alone, had allies, was inspired by religious and political Islamism, was psychiatrically troubled–the fact remains that he committed an act of terrorism. He terrified other soldiers precisely where they were supposed to feel safe. So much of the truth is already so clear that it would be insane, insulting to the intelligence to deny or minimize it.
I think right now we all need to take a breath and think about the victims who, after all, represent us all.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Italian Court- Rendition a no-no

In a landmark ruling on Wednesday, an Italian judge convicted a station chief and 22 other Americans accused of being C.I.A. agents of kidnapping in the 2003 abduction of a Muslim cleric from the streets of Milan.

So begins the latest news report from The New York Times. Of course, it's Bush's fault-
The case was widely seen as an implicit indictment of the measures the Bush administration relied on to fight terrorism.

Now, this is coming from a country that bungled the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of the Achille Lauro hijackers. Priceless.

Let's see how this story unfolds.

Read the Times' story here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

"It's Radical Islam, Stupid" - CAIR in the cross hairs

In an essay, "It's Radical Islam, Stupid" released on Hudson New York, Steven Emerson once again puts CAIR in the cross hairs.
In 1993, a secret meeting of the Muslim Brotherhood Palestine Committee—mostly senior Hamas leaders--was held in a Philadelphia Marriott. The group discussed new ways to secretly funnel money to Hamas and of creating a new public relations organization to deceive the American about their true objectives of helping Hamas.

Less than a year later, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) was created to serve as a front group for Hamas. Since that time, it has morphed into a quasi legitimate “Islamic civil rights” group portrayed in some circles as the equivalent of the NAACP. For 14 years, CAIR got away with the lying to us about who they are, justifying Islamic terrorist attacks, legitimizing suicide bombings, presenting speakers who had been Holocaust deniers, making incendiary presentations about the United States and urging Muslims not to talk to the FBI. CAIR claims that that there is no such thing as radical Islam, but rather a secret cabal to attack all of Islam, while secretly receiving millions of dollars from Saudi financiers and attacking terrorist prosecutions as somehow an “attack on Islam.”
Emerson cites numerous examples of the media's and politician's soft-peddling on CAIR but explains:
There is a much larger pattern here that just the apologia or selective amnesia for CAIR. The free pass given to radical Islam has become a pandemic. The Goldstone Report, which pur- ported to document “Israeli war crimes” in the war with Hamas in January, was one of the most dangerously one-sided, dishonest reports ever produced by the United Nations. Naturally the New York Times played it as a lead item on the front page without any skepticism by their reporter, who is known to take CAIR hand outs.
Read the full essay, It's Radical Islam, Stupid.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Water – the new "blood libel"

Jews are long accustomed to the blood libel, namely, that the blood of Christians is used in the baking of matzoh for Passover. While that libel is certainly not dead, a new one has arisen. This one claims that Israel deprives Palestinians living in the West Bank of water to drink while Israel builds settlements with swimming pools.

Designed to inflame sensibilities, judged by the amount of news coverage the water libel is getting it is succeeding. The story couldn't be further from the truth. While Israelis have reduced their per capita consumption of water from 1967, the Palestinians have increased it beyond proportion.

In the meantime, Palestinians continue to dig illegal wells and build illegal cisterns that deprive their neighbors of water. They also refuse to treat sewage properly with the runoff polluting underground aquifers.

Water is a precious commodity to all in the Middle East, it's sad that the Palestinians use the issue to inflame hatred.

Read this report from Haaretz

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Karin Friedemann: Whither After the Goldstone Report?

Karin Friedemann: Whither After the Goldstone Report?

A pro-Hamas supporter comments on the Goldstone Report reflects condemnation from that side of the divide.
But Miss Friedemann goes one step further and seems to advocate for the view that all Israelis are considered to be fair targets for terror actions. It's a sad commentary on how violent Palestine's supporters have become.

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

CAIR planting spies on Capitol Hill? David Kupelian says "Yes!"

In a recent post on WorldNetDaily, David Kupelian writes about CAIR inserting itself into positions of influence with members of the House of Representatives and US Senate.

While a Washington, D.C.-based Muslim organization the government classifies as an unindicted terror co-conspirator – and which has, in fact, seen several of its leaders imprisoned on terrorism convictions – scoffed last week at congressional charges it was attempting to plant interns and staffers in key Capitol Hill offices to influence policy, a hot-selling new book documents the controversial group is successfully doing precisely that.

The book, "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to
Islamize America"
by P. David Gaubatz and Paul Sperry, is based in part on a daring six-month undercover investigation that resulted in many alarming revelations about the supposedly "moderate" group, backed by 12,000 pages of internal documents.

Among the charges leveled against CAIR are these:
  • Ghassan Elashi: One of CAIR's founding directors, was convicted in 2004 of illegally shipping high-tech goods to terror state Syria, and is serving 80 months in prison. He was also convicted of providing material support to Hamas in the Holy Land Foundation terror-financing trial. He was chairman of the charity, which provided seed capital to CAIR. Elashi is related to Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook.
  • Muthanna al-Hanooti: The CAIR director's home was raided in 2006 by FBI agents in connection with an active terrorism investigation. Agents also searched the offices of his advocacy group, Focus on Advocacy and Advancement of International Relations, which al-Hanooti operates out of Dearborn, Mich., and Washington, D.C.
  • Abdurahman Alamoudi: Another CAIR director, is serving 23 years in federal prison for plotting terrorism. Alamoudi, who was caught on tape complaining that bin Laden hadn't killed enough Americans in the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, was one of al-Qaida's top fund-raisers in America, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.
  • Siraj Wahhaj: A member of CAIR's board of advisers, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The radical Brooklyn imam was close to convicted terrorist Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, and defended him during his trial.

And the list of individuals similarly tarnished and actions of CAIR goes on and on. They belie its claim to be a Muslim equivalent to the NAACP.

Read the full WND article, Yes, CAIR is planting 'spies' on Capitol Hill.

Stephen M. Flatow

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Investments in Hamas Tunnels Collapse

No pun intended in the caption but it seems that our enterprising Palestinian brethren are victims of their collapsing investments in smuggling tunnels that the Israel Air Force has helped collapse physically this past year.

According to Jonathan Ferziger writing on,
Investment opportunities are rare in the Gaza Strip. So when Nabila Ghabin saw one last year, she pawned her car and jewelry and put $12,000 into a network of tunnels that brought in supplies smuggled from Egypt.
She was one of about 4,000 Gazans who gave cash to middlemen and tunnel operators in 2008 as Israel blocked the overland passage of goods. Then Israeli warplanes bombed the tunnels before and during the Dec. 27 to Jan. 18 Gaza offensive and the investments collapsed.
No, this isn't an April Fools' day story. It's legitimate.

The report continues,
Now investors, who lost as much as $500 million, want their money back from Hamas, which runs Gaza. Hamas Economics Minister Ziad Zaza says about 200 people were taken into custody in connection with the tunnel investments; most have been released. Hamas is offering a partial repayment of 16.5 cents on the dollar using money recovered from Ihab al-Kurd, the biggest tunnel operator.
And who is Hamas's Madoff? According to investment victim Nabila Ghabin,
“The imam told us that we wouldn’t regret joining this blessed business,” she said in her apartment in an unfinished 12-story high-rise overlooking the Mediterranean as her husband played the lute. “This happened in mosques all over Gaza.”
I for one, hope the "collapse" of the tunnel market bankrupts every last one of these clowns.

Read the full story: Hamas Finds Gaza Tunnels' $500 Million Loss Worse Than Madoff.

Stephen M. Flatow

Monday, October 5, 2009

Honduras and Jew Hatred

During the age of Spanish exploration of the western hemisphere many Jews from western Europe turned to South America as a haven from persecution. The oldest organized Jewish community in the United States was founded by Jews from Brazil and their synagogue and community programs still function almost 400 years later.

However, all is not well in Central and South America.

Argentina has gone through a wave of Jew hating attacks as it sought to place blame for its economic woes on a particular aspect of its population. The 1990s bombing of the community center was not properly investigated for many years.

Today, a new center of Jew hatred appears to be rising in Venezuela under the government of Hugo Chavez who has bought into the wackiness of Iran's Ahmadinejad regarding the Holocaust. Chavez, never content to just deal within his borders, is busy trying to export his particular brand of government to neighboring countries. Honduras being one of them.

As commented upon in today's Wall Street Journal by Mary Anastasia O'Grady, the ouster of Honduran president Manuel Zelaya has led to much talk. But she writes,
"The Honduras debate is not really about Honduras. It is about whether it is possible to stop the spread of chavismo and all it implies, including nuclear proliferation and terrorism in Latin America."
She continues,
"Most troubling is the unflinching support for Mr. Zelaya from President Barack Obama and Democratic Sen. John Kerry—despite the Law Library of Congress review that shows that Mr. Zelaya's removal from office was legal, and the clear evidence that he is Mr. Chávez's man in Tegucigalpa. On Thursday, Mr. Kerry took the unprecedented step of trying to block a fact-finding mission to Honduras by Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who is resisting Mr. Obama's efforts to restore Mr. Zelaya to power."
Are Jews in physical danger? Not yet, but the canary is going into the mine, it seems.

Read the full article Revolutionary Anti-Semitism.

Stephen M. Flatow

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wall Street Journal - The War on Terror Goes On

The editors of the Wall Street Journal add up the results of the past few weeks on the war on terror.

The main credit here goes to the folks in the intelligence community that our friends on the left love to hate.

Credit goes as well to Barack Obama, who as President has abandoned much of his previous opposition to proven antiterror measures like warrantless wiretaps, and who has only stepped up the campaign of targeted hits on terrorist ringleaders. He's fortunate the Bush Administration left him with a potent intelligence team and the precedent of taking the fight, pre-emptively, to the terrorists on their home turf.

  • U.S. special forces operating in Somalia killed top al Qaeda operative Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, believed to have been a planner in the November 2002 bombing of a hotel in Kenya in which 15 were killed.
  • Also killed in recent days was senior al Qaeda leader Ilyas Kashmiri—via a U.S. drone attack in western Pakistan—and Indonesian terrorist mastermind Noordin Muhammad Top, suspected in the July bombing of two Jakarta hotels.
  • A British court convicted three men for an August 2006 plot to blow up several airliners over the Atlantic. The convictions were obtained largely on the strength of communications intercepts—possibly warrantless—gathered by the U.S. National Security Agency, according to a report by Britain's Channel 4.

Doesn't sound like a very high "body count" does it? But as the premise behind body counts has long been debunked, I, too, think it's been a good week.

Read the full editorial.

Stephen M. Flatow

Another Home Grown Terror Plot?

The news has been chock full of stories on Denver's Najibullah Zazi, 24, an Afghanistan-born Colorado man who allegedly handwrote bomb-making instructions. Court appearances are due today, Monday, September 21, 2009, for Zazi and others on charges of lying to authorities in an ongoing terror investigation.

I believe there is a widespread reluctance to believe that folks living in the U.S., both born here and elsewhere, are capable or willing to plan and conduct a domestic terror attack. We only have to look back at American history to see that there have always been people interested in doing just that. Terror attacks and plots in Great Britain amply demonstrate that home-grown citizens are capable of turning their backs on their mother country.

So, why the uproar in some circles about these guys being another bunch of entrapped, ignorant, bumblers? In my opinion it has a lot to do with the religion--they happen to be Muslim--of the suspects. Like the Jews did in the early 20th century in the United States, Muslims have created so-called defense organizations, such as CAIR, to defend the civil interests of their co-religionists. Unlike the Jews who perceived the need for organizations to speak up for them after they were lynched, beaten and excluded from schools and society and had no one to turn to, Islamic groups spend most of their time explaining away the actions of people seen as supporters of terror and mayhem. And the roots of some of these groups are questionable.

Be that as it may, it will interesting to see further developments this week.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pop Bottle Bombers Get Life in Prison

Remember the chaos created by Prof. Irwin Corey as the suspected "pop bottle bomber" in the 1970s comedy movie "Car Wash?" It turned out that Corey's bottle contained a urine sample that he was bringing to his doctor, but real pop bottle bombers really do exist. The New York Times reports that

A British judge sentenced three men to life in prison on Monday for plotting to bomb at least seven trans-Atlantic airliners with liquid explosives smuggled aboard in soft-drink bottles, concluding the largest counterterrorism investigation in British history, news agencies reported.

No laughing matter here,

The sentencing came three years after the global airline industry was thrown into chaos by the plot. The bombers’ plan to drain plastic soft-drink bottles with syringes and refill them with concentrated hydrogen peroxide, a bleaching agent also used as a propellant for rockets, led to new measures prohibiting passengers from carrying all but small quantities of liquids and creams onto flights.
The conspirators, Abdulla Ahmed Ali, will face a minimum of 40 years in prison, Assad Sarwar, will be jailed for at least 36 years, while Tanvir Hussain, "described as the man responsible for acquiring and assembling the explosive devices at a London warehouse, received a minimum term of 32 years, the Press Association reported."

Congratulations to the British justice system.

Read the full report 3 British Men Sentenced to Life in Plot to Blow Up Planes.

Stephen M. Flatow

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Libyan Ambassador Responds to Criticism

When Abdel Baset al-Megrahi landed in Tripoli following his release from Scotland last week, the world saw a single event in two very different ways. Through the prism of the Western media, Americans saw a terrorist being given a hero's welcome by a country eager to celebrate mass murder. Libyans saw a dying man—believed to be innocent by his countrymen and many others world-wide—being embraced by his family.
These words are penned by Ali Aujali, the Libyan ambassador to Washington.

He explains,
Most of those on the tarmac were members of Mr. Megrahi's extended family and tribe who have followed his plight and know he has very little time to live. The Scottish flags they flew alongside Libyan flags were not an endorsement of the terrible deeds of which he was accused. They were a powerful sign of solidarity between two very different nations that nonetheless share the value of compassion.
Interesting column. Read the full article, Why Libya Welcomed Megrahi, from the Wall Street Journal. Then, you make up your mind.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Eric Holder's Flip-Flop on Terror Interrogations - What's changed?

Joseph Finder writes in the New York Times,

"EARLY in 2002, Eric Holder, then a former deputy attorney general, said on CNN that the detainees being held at Guantánamo Bay were “not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention,” particularly “given the way in which they have conducted themselves.”

"Six years later, declaring that “Guantánamo Bay is an international embarrass-ment,” Mr. Holder said, “I never thought I would see the day when ... the Supreme Court would have to order the president of the United States to treat detainees in accordance with the Geneva Convention.”

"So what changed?"

While "a lot of things" have changed, according to Finder, "but most of all, our national political climate." As the 9/11 attacks recede "into the past, a lot us see things in a different light."
Finder argues that the government's previous investigations are closed, that there is an absence of new facts, amounts to an estoppel against a new investigation.

The process that Mr. Holder has unleashed threatens to undermine one of the basic principles of our government. For a new administration to repudiate a consequential legal decision in an individual case made by the previous administration serves to delegitimize our government itself, which is, after, all premised upon institutional continuity.

Whatever Mr. Holder’s motive for reopening these cases — whether a well-intentioned desire to provide the American people with the “reckoning” for the “abusive and unlawful practices in the ‘war on terror’ ” that he demanded last year, or a more cynical political calculation — the consequences will be grievous.
I have to agree with Finder, it's no time to revisit a closed investigation.

Read the full article The C.I.A. in Double Jeopardy

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Abdel Baset al-Megrahi

As the parent of a terror victim it has been difficult to read, listen to, and watch the reports of the release of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi from a Scottish prison. (Al-Megrahi was convicted of involvement in the terror bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 270 people in 1988.)

Not astonishingly, al-Megrahi was given sort of a hero’s welcome upon his return to his home country of Libya. This is nothing new in the world as we have witnessed this before when Israel has released terrorists. I do find U.S. complaints about al-Megrahi’s reception a bit shallow because nothing official has ever been said previously about streets being named after murderers of al-Megrahi’s ilk.

The Scots say it was compassion that led to the release of al-Megrahi, reportedly dying of cancer, to Libya. So I ask the Scot government, “Where was the compassion for the parents, siblings, relatives and friends of the murdered when you made the decision to release a mass murderer?”

Friday, August 14, 2009

Counterpoint: A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds

From David Forman's most recent op-ed in the Jerusalem Post:

The logic of the progressive holds that if one is an opponent of settlement building or home demolitions, then one must be a proponent of an investigation into Israel's conduct during the war in Gaza. We tend to see everything in black and white, not realizing that there are many shades of gray, especially as they apply to the Middle East conflict. Like our rightist counterparts, we refuse to acknowledge a possible middle ground. We have discarded the art of nuance. We seem to evaluate every situation in a vacuum. But, all things equal to the same are not necessarily equal to each other. For example: Is the construction of the security barrier as devastating as the suicide bombs that brought it into being?

He concludes:

If we in the liberal/human rights world wish to be effective, then we must exercise balanced judgment. We need to cultivate the mainstream, not wander around the fringes of the Jewish world. Flexibility and adaptability to ever-changing circumstances and times must be taken into serious consideration. We must shed ourselves of the foolish view that consistency is the hallmark of a sane policy. Quite the opposite, it is the "hobgoblin of little minds" (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

Well said. Read the full column here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Open Season on Christians in the Islamic World

Phyllis Chesler writing in the Chesler Chronicles comments on the fate of Christians in Muslim lands.
For centuries, Muslims committed genocide against Hindus in India and what is now Pakistan. Today, in Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Kenya, Turkey, Pakistan, Gaza, and Iran, it’s open season on Christians.

She asks,
When will Westerners truly understand that it is not only the West that has engaged in imperialism, racism, colonialism, and capitalism, but that the so-called East has done so too? African and Arab Muslims had a heavy hand in the African slave trade and, to this day, still keep slaves; Islam is a primarily imperialist venture which has colonized huge tracts of other people’s land. And, how would anyone describe the traffic in oil, drugs, and sex slaves which Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan are currently engaged in as anything other than rank capitalism?

Read Open Season on Christians in the Islamic World

Deaf to Peace

Rabbi Avi Shafrin addresses a fundamental problem in the relations between Israelis and Palestinians.
"The issues are well known. What borders should a Palestinian state have? Should it be independent or confederated with an existing Arab country? Should it be armed or demilitarized? Should it be at all?"

But those concerns overlook a fundamental issue not fully set forth by President Obama in his Cairo speech. That issue is how to stop the education of Palestinian children to hate Jews.

The President spoke, as always, diplomatically. “Those things,” in fact, are more than impediments; they are nail-packed bombs under the possibility of peace. As long as television programming for Arab children features puppets spewing hatred for Israel and cheerfully committing themselves to jihad; as long as streets in Palestinian-controlled areas are named in honor of vicious murderers of Jews; as long as Palestinian schools teach canards about Israel and use maps of the region that do not indicate the existence of a Jewish State – issues of states and borders and settlements are purely academic. The Talmud teaches (Shabbat 21b) that “the learning of youth” is the most strongly absorbed, remaining indelible into later years.

It's an age-old lesson that children learn from the adults. And I believe with all my heart that there will be no peace in the Middle East until Arab children are taught that Jews are not dogs, or pigs or monkeys, criminals and murderers. We can only hope that day comes soon.

What do you think?

Read the full article Deaf to Peace.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mary Robinson and the Medal of Freedom

I've been a little busy lately, but now it's time to get back into the swing of things.

Mary Robinson to receive the US Medal of Freedom? Mary Robinson, the first female president of Ireland and High Commissioner of the UN's Human Rights Commission will receive the award according to the White House. Just what is the Medal of Freedom?

Established by President Harry S. Truman in 1945, the Medal is to be awarded to a person who "has performed a meritorious act or service which has aided the United States in the prosecution of a war against an enemy or enemies and for which an award of another United States medal or decoration is considered inappropriate. The Medal of Freedom may also be awarded to any person, not hereinafter specifically excluded, who, on or after December 7, 1941 has similarly aided any nation engaged with the United States in the prosecution of a war against a common enemy or enemies." Executive Order 9586.

What were Mr. Obama's thoughts when he announced the award to Mrs. Robinson? Speaking of all the recipients, the president said:

"These outstanding men and women represent an incredible diversity of back-grounds. Their tremendous accomplishments span fields from science to sports, from fine arts to foreign affairs. Yet they share one overarching trait: Each has been an agent of change. Each saw an imperfect world and set about improving it, often overcoming great obstacles along the way.

"Their relentless devotion to breaking down barriers and lifting up their fellow citizens sets a standard to which we all should strive. It is my great honor to award them the Medal of Freedom."

I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. While the Executive Order speaks of assisting the US in a war against a common enemy, the president is recognizing "accomplishments" in "sports," "fine arts," and "foreign affairs." If she is being rewarded for her role in foreign affairs, doesn't anyone at the White House remember that Mrs. Robinson almost singlehandedly turned the first Durban conference into an Israel bashing party that set the tone leading to years of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic comments and actions by NGOs and governments around the world? She set back the cause of human rights around the world instead of advancing it.

Sorry folks, granting a Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson cheapens an award originally designed to go to those who assist the US in advancing the cause of freedom, not to a woman who set it back.

Monday, August 10, 2009

How to Handle Hamas - a new proposal

Yagil Henkin, an associate fellow at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center, has some suggestions on how to deal effectively with Hamas.

While there is much discussion as to the continuation of sanctions against Hamas, Henkin asks, What sanctions should be applied and what can they achieve?

It is very unlikely that sanctions will cause the Hamas government to fall. Historically, embargoes have either failed to catalyze change, or were extremely slow in bringing it. In the best-case scenarios, sanctions have been helpful as part of a wider strategy.

After discussing the use of sanctions in the cases of Rhodesia and South Africa, Henkin turns to Israel's restrictions on building supplies and other materials going into Gaza (with the acquiescence of Egypt.)

SO, WHAT sanctions can be applied against Hamas? Apart from controlling the border and an arms embargo, the most effective way to apply pressure on Hamas is not to indirectly pressure them via their population, but rather pressure Hamas itself, as part of a wider strategy. The international community must act, if it is interested in the welfare of Gaza's residents and curbing radical Islam.
The steps to be taken?

First, Hamas leaders should be prevented from traveling abroad and being officially received - including the leadership based outside Gaza. Second, any organization affiliated with Hamas should be ignored, and, third, economic sanctions applied against individuals and businesses connected to Hamas.

Will this dissolve Hamas's obstinacy? Hopefully, but not certainly. Both Zimbabwe and Myanmar have survived government-targeted sanctions. But hopefully by focusing the sanctions and blame where they belong - on Hamas - while keeping civilians uninvolved, this will succeed. Sanctions may not catalyze change as effectively as we would like, but this neither renders them unnecessary nor suggests we should embargo lock, stock and barrel.
Read the full article, How to effectively sanction Hamas

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Terror Indictment - Homegrown conspiracy

The US Department of Justice announced yesterday that "Seven individuals have been charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and conspiring to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad."
All the defendants are charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, as well as conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad. In addition, Daniel Boyd, Hysen Sherifi and Zakariya Boyd are each charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Daniel Boyd and Dylan Boyd are also each charged with selling a firearm to a convicted felon. Finally, Daniel Boyd is also charged with receiving a firearm through interstate commerce and two counts of making false statements in a terrorism investigation.
The full press release, the indictment is sealed, can be found here. Let's see what develops.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

News of the Riverdale Bomb Plot-- or is it not the news?

Jonathan Mark of the New York Jewish Week comments on the Riverdale bomb plot. His take? The major media is out to lunch covering the story and has been replaced by alternative media such as the Village Voice, The Nation, The Amsterdam News, and on Air America. We could expand the list by adding The Worker and the countless bloggers who believe the would-be bombers were entrapped by the FBI.

As is usual in “entrapment” stories, Jews aren’t interviewed for their understanding of entrapment, or how the Riverdale plot seared Jewish sensitivities.

The Voice might have spoken to Samuel G. Freedman. A writer for The New York Times, he has written with great sensitivity about ethnic profiling and the humiliation felt by one Muslim girl when she was stopped by airport security. Freedman told The Jewish Week, “The fact is, you can’t be entrapped unless you participate in your own entrapment. There’s a big difference between profiling, say, a high school girl, and profiling people who are demonstrably criminal with histories of violence. There’s a huge, huge difference there.”

As Mark well understands the story is far from over. Read the The Chill is Gone.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Israel is not 60+ years old

Much is made over the State of Israel being a relatively new country--created by a remorseful world out of guilt for the loss of 6,000,000 Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War II. Despite this belief, as recently stated by President Obama, it's wrong. While the Holocaust might have been the catalyst that drove the United Nations to at long last give life to British intentions as to the Jews return to the land as expressed in the Balfour Declaration, the underpinnings of modern Israel are far older than that.

US Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey took to the floor of the Senate to speak about Israel on June 16, 2009. His speech followed the attack at the US Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

This tragedy reminds us of the need of sound understanding of one of the darkest episodes in the history of the world. Far too many misrepresent the significance of the Holocaust, especially in regard to the State of Israel and her people. And far too many people deny it happened altogether, out of bigotry, hatred, and spite.

In the face of so much misunderstanding, I am compelled today to speak up about the role of the Holocaust in Israel's history and Israel's challenges in preventing anti-Semitic murder from continuing to happen.

Menendez clearly understands--"While the Shoah has a central role in Israel's identity, it is not the reason behind its founding and it is not the main justification for its existence."

To those who believe that Jews fell out of the sky into the midst of, as one commenter said in response to a recent post, "Indian country," the history outlined in Menendez's remarks may come as a surprise. I do not expect that anti-Semites will accept his comments as true, but there is not too much I or anyone else can do about them. Fair minded people, on the other hand, may come away with a new understanding and a new view.

Here is the speech from the Congressional Record. The index entry is [Congressional Record: June 16, 2009 (Senate)][Page S6613-S6614]From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [][DOCID:cr16jn09-91].

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The UN's Ban Ki-moon honours courage of Palestinians

The boys and girls at the United Nations continue to defy logic when it comes to issuing news releases regarding the plight of Palestinian refugees.

A short while ago, the UN was beaming with pride as one of their top officials endorsed the "tradition" of Muslims caring for refugees. The only exception to this generosity is the Palestinian community that left Israel in 1948 and who continue to swelter in refugee camps set up in Arab countries.

Unlike Israel, which took in more than 650,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries immediately following the Independence War and immediately began a process to integrate them into the new country's society, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, herded the same number of Palestinians into camps in those countries.

60+ years later, the Palestinians are denied citizenship in their host countries, denied work permits, and basically treated as non-entities. For what purpose other than to foster anti-Semitism?

On June 30, 2009, according to a UN press release, "Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid tribute today to Palestinian refugees, who he said had shown great courage in the face of conflict, as well as to the efforts over the past 60 years of the United Nations agency tasked with assisting them."

Rather than ask for absorption of refugees, the UN lauds their courage. They should have the courage to insist on citizenship in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. They have been the pawns of the world's Arab and Muslim community for way too long.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Another Iranian Demonstration- this one in Paris

This past June 20th a demonstration different than the one unfolding on the streets of Tehran took place. This one, in Paris, was held by exiled Iranian opposition groups, the most organized of which is on the US Terror List, the the Mujahedeen-e Khalq or the People's Mujahedeen of Iran (MeK or PMOI).

Led by a firebrand, Maryam Rajavi, the MeK is still designated a terror organization despite its renunciation of terrorism directed against other Iranian targets.

Ms. Rajavi's remarks are on the website of the National Council of Resistance of Iran - Foreign Affairs Committee. Her speech's 4,000 words are difficult to abstract. So the speech is presented here. It's worth a read.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Myth of Zionism as Imperialism

Delegates at the UN and professors on university campuses worldwide brand the State of Israel the creation of a racist and colonialist European imperialism. This libel of the Jewish state betrays an ignorance of the history of the Jews and the story of the Zionist movement. From the beginning, the Zionist movement has been a foe of imperialism.

So begins an op-ed appearing in today's, "The myth of Zionist imperialism"by Eli Kavon, a member of the faculty of Nova Southeastern University's Lifelong Learning Institute in Davie, Florida.

Kavon discusses the roots of Zionist thought and, importantly, asks the question,
"If the Zionist founders of the State of Israel were, indeed, imperialists, what empire did they represent?" I'm sure that Zionism's opponents that come across this post will come up with something. But the fact remains that Israel is not a colonial or racist state.

Just When You Think They Don't Care - ICRC takes Hamas to task

Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held incommunicado for nearly three years, is the subject of the International Committee of the Red Cross as it calls on Hamas to allow visits and communication with the soldier.

According to an ICRC press release,
Since Mr Shalit's capture in June 2006, the ICRC has repeatedly asked Hamas to allow the exchange of Red Cross messages between Gilad Shalit and his family. The most recent requests were made at the highest level, but these and all others have been refused.
Repeated requests by the ICRC to visit Gilad Shalit to ascertain his conditions of detention and treatment have also been refused. Visiting people deprived of their freedom and enabling them to exchange personal news with their relatives is one of the ICRC's main humanitarian tasks. In 2008, the organization visited nearly half a million detainees in 83 countries, including nearly 36,000 who were registered and monitored individually.
You can read the full press release here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Terror sponsor assets hidden in plain sight in NYC

More than 10 years ago our family attempted to seize assets belonging to the Alavi Foundation, a NY based "charity" that we claimed was part of the Iranian government. Although thoroughly rebuked by the US government at that time, the government is now singing a different tune.

FoxNews reporter Eric Shawn has covered the Alavi Foundation and the government's new attempt to get to the bottom of its activities.

FoxNews has the story, 5th Avenue Skyscraper Center of Iranian Mystery, accompanied by Shawn's video report.

Obviously, this is a work in progress. I hope good news will follow.

Carolyn Glick at - Getting Obama off Israel's back

Caroline Glick's most recent column at takes aim at Israeli prime minister Netanyahu's policy speech and President Obama's recent actions.
Netanyahu's speech was an eloquent, rational and at times impassioned defense of Israel. For Israeli ears, after years of former prime minister Ehud Olmert's and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni's continuous assaults on Israeli rights, and their strident defenses of capitulation to the Palestinians and the Syrians, Netanyahu's address was a breath of fresh air. But it is hard to see how it could have possibly had any lasting impact on Obama or his advisers.

The problem with delivering "a rational speech?" "To be moved by rational argument, a person has to be open to rational discourse." Glick then looks at some of Obama's actions.

If rational thought was the basis for the administration's policymaking on foreign affairs, North Korea's decisions to test long range ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons, send two US citizens to long prison terms and then threaten nuclear war should have made the administration reconsider its current policy of seeking the approval and assistance of North Korea's primary enabler - China - for any action it takes against Pyongyang.

Similar to Obama's refusal to reassess his failed policy regarding North Korea, his nonreaction to the fraudulent Iranian election shows that he will not allow facts to interfere with his slavish devotion to his ideological canon that claims that no enemy is unappeasable and no ally deserves automatic support. Far from standing with the democratic dissidents now risking their lives to oppose Iran's sham democracy, the administration has reportedly expressed concern that the current postelection protests will destabilize the regime.

At the same time, "NETANYAHU'S SPEECH was a much-needed strong defense. But it was not a perfect defense. It suffered from two flaws that may come back to haunt the premier in the years to come."

To read the full column and the risk Obama's and Netanyahu's actions pose, go to Our World: Obama's losing streak and us.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Getting Middle East Peace Process Restarted

David Makovsky, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, writes in today's Wall Street Journal that there is a way to bridge the gap between the approach to settlements as set forth by Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu.
The issue of settlements highlights broad philosophical differences about how to approach Arab-Israeli peace. Neoconservatives such as Norman Podhoretz have favored a hands-off approach. In contrast, foreign-policy "realists," including Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, favor imposing a peace plan.

So what does he suggest?
The only way to deal with the settlement issue is to render it moot by widening it to peacemaking and heading straight into the final negotiations on territory.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Riverdale Bombers, continued

Previously, I noted that the entrapment defense will be raised by the Riverdale bombing culprits and their supporters.

In a letter to the editor appearing in LoHud.Com, a Mr. Paul Brodhead did just that. "Last week's indictment of four "terrorists" in White Plains ("Accused terrorists plead not guilty" June 3) is the outcome of an FBI sting operation that is transparently fraudulent."
The men drawn into the conspiracy were obviously incapable of doing much without the help of the FBI. One is described by his lawyer as "intellectually challenged" and on medication for schizophrenia. The family of another of the accused states that he expected to use his $25,000 to pay for his brother's liver transplant. And so on. The FBI's "terrorist" scam entrapped people who needed society's help, not victimization.

I thought this kind of thinking was worth an on-line comment. Here's what I wrote:

I think it's too early to jump to Mr. Brodhead's conclusions about the nature of the FBI investigation of the Riverdale bombers. If these guys were entrapped by the FBI, the trial will bring that fact to the surface.What strikes me as important to remember is that none of the "intellectually challenged" or big-hearted plotters thought it important to go to the FBI to report the informant's overtures to turn them to a life of terror. Let's face it, these guys had a choice to make between terror and minding their own business. And they chose terror.

And I stand by that statement.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Yearning for the good old days

That's Beetle Bailey on the right, Plato on the left.

More on the Riverdale Bomb Plot

Only a jury will be able to decide, at the end of the day, if the Riverdale Four, David Williams, James Cromitie, Laguerre Payen and Onta Williams, are would be terror bombers or dupes of the FBI.

Relatives are already speaking out in defense of their kin, the New York Daily News reports. “He dismissed as "crazy" federal accusations that Williams was a Jew-hater who wanted to wage jihad,” says the story about David Williams’ sick brother, Lord McWilliams. His mother added to the claim of innocence. Mother and son are laying the foundation for entrapment, a legal doctrine where a person is induced or persuaded by law enforcement officers or their agents to commit a crime that he had no previous intent to commit.

Entrapment was used as a defense in the case of the Fort Dix Five who were found guilty in December 2008 of plotting to kill American soldiers at the New Jersey base.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

How are home grown terrorists made?

Where or how terrorists are made is a subject of debate. While 9/11 was perpetrated by Saudi born terrorists, the London bus bombings were carried out by British born Muslims. The Riverdale Bomb Plot was attempted by four men living in Newburgh, NY. Of the plotters, the Times reported, "one is a Haitian immigrant and the other three are African-Americans." No foreigners here. So, what or who turned these men into potential killers?

Steven Emerson has an idea. In an article in The New York Post, RADICALS IN OUR PRISONS HOW TO STOP THE MUSLIM EXTREMISTS RECRUITING INMATES TO TERRORISM, Emerson notes, "one component of the case should come as no surprise - three of the alleged culprits converted to radical Islam in prison."

  • Jose Padilla, suspected of plotting to detonate a dirty bomb and convicted of conspiracy to murder people overseas and of providing material support to terrorists, converted and was radicalized.
  • That's where a California man, Kevin James, created his own cell, called the Jam'iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh (JIS), and recruited other inmates to plot attacks against military and Jewish targets in and around Los Angeles.
  • In New York, the man who was the head Muslim chaplain for state prisons considered the 9/11 hijackers to be martyrs. Warith Deen Umar spent 20 years working with New York prisons, overseeing the hiring of Muslim chaplains and leading prayer services.

According to Emerson, prisons are a vast breeding ground for terrorists and their supporters. Read the full article and you will see what he means.

The Riverdale Bomb Plot

Thank God for such a thing as informants, the men and women who have fallen into the hands of the law but whom, as part of a plea bargain or some other type deal, ally themselves with the folks who arrested them in the first place. Such is the type of police work that brought down a plot to bomb two synagogues, Jewish houses of worship, a few blocks from each other in the Bronx, NY neighborhood of Riverdale.

According to first reports in The New York Times, four men were arrested in “what the authorities said was a plot to bomb two synagogues in the Bronx and shoot down military planes at an Air National Guard base in Newburgh, N.Y.”

“The men, all of whom live in Newburgh, about 60 miles north of New York City, were arrested around 9 p.m. after planting what they believed to be bombs in cars outside the Riverdale Temple and the nearby Riverdale Jewish Center, officials said. But the men did not know the bombs, obtained with the help of an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, were fake.”

Hopefully, the media, print, radio and television, will pay more attention to this case than it has done in other cases and give it the exposure it deserves. Let’s face it; there are terrorists in our cities who mean us harm. They are a cancer in our midst and exposing them to the light of day is good medicine.

We'll be following this story as events unfurl.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Daniel Gordis - In Perspective: For the sake of clarity, a thought experiment

While as a rule I do not post entire articles, a May 14 column by Daniel Gordis appearing in the Jerusalem Post deserves it. Here it is:

"In Perspective: For the sake of clarity, a thought experiment

He was in his 20s, the young man with the question after my lecture. He couldn't have asked it more kindly or gently. Without a hint of cynicism or anger, he expressed what was clearly on the minds of many of the people his age in the crowd: "Can you justify a Jewish state," he wanted to know, "when having a Jewish state means giving up on so many of Judaism's values?"

Here's what he didn't say: Israel is the root of evil in the Middle East. It's the cause of checkpoints, of roadblocks, of a big ugly wall that runs along a border no one has agreed to. The Palestinians are desperate, and in the massive imbalance of power, they have no chance and no hope. Israel is the nuclear bully in a region that, were it not for Israel's existence, would no longer be on the front page. To achieve peace in the Middle East, Israel just needs to be subdued. Break Israel's intransigence, and we'll finally see progress.

That was his unspoken claim, and now it's also the position of the Obama administration. At AIPAC's recent Policy Conference, Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. John Kerry made it clear that for the US to support Israel on Iran, Israel must settle the Palestinian problem once and for all. It has been widely reported that Rahm Emanuel, in an off-the-record session, said precisely the same thing. After decades of tacit agreement that the US would remain silent about Israel's nuclear capability, a State Department official publicly suggested that Israel sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, as if, on the eve of Iran's going nuclear and with Pakistani weapons in danger of falling into the hands of the Taliban, Israel's nuclear arsenal is the world's most serious concern.

A new message is afloat - Israel is the problem, and the US has had enough. Even the pope couldn't help himself. His comments about the victims of the Holocaust were so tepid as to be outrageous, but he had no problem calling urgently for an immediate Palestinian state, as if Israelis haven't tried to create one for decades.

The young American Jews in my audience, clearly struggling with the morality of a Jewish state, now have the Obama administration and the pope echoing all their misgivings.

I have no illusions that all this can be changed overnight, but with the upcoming Binyamin Netanyahu-Barack Obama meetings putting Israel into the spotlight once again, I'd like to propose the following thought experiment - at least to these young American Jews, and possibly to Obama himself.

IMAGINE THAT ISRAELIS decide that by Jerusalem Day, this coming week, they want a deal. So we take down the security fence. We remove the checkpoints. We open all the roads, and Gaza's sea and air routes. We agree publicly to return to something closely approximating the pre-1967 borders, and we accede to the demands that parts of Jerusalem be internationally governed, or even put under Palestinian control.

Does this end the conflict? Of course it doesn't. The Hamas Charter calls not only for the destruction of Israel, but for Islamic war on Jews everywhere. (Why do we consistently refuse to believe that Hamas means what it says?) What would change? The noose would tighten. The rockets would be fired from a shorter distance and the demand for the return of refugees (thus ending the Jewishness of the state) would persist. As was the case when Israel left Lebanon in May 2000 or Gaza in the summer of 2005, Israel's enemies would smell a weakened, bloodied state and would prepare for the next stage of their war.

But peace would not have come. Much as we all want this conflict to end, does anyone really doubt that? There is, as honest brokers must admit, nothing that Israel can do to end this conflict.

NOW, HOWEVER, TRY the opposite side of the thought experiment. Imagine that the Palestinians decide that they have tired of the conflict, or their electorate begins its long-overdue rebellion and insists on a settlement. So the Palestinians, Hamas and Fatah, demand everything Israel's agreed to above - an end to roadblocks and the wall, an opening of Gaza, a bridge or a tunnel between Gaza and the West Bank and a return to the 1967 borders. Let's say that they even insist on Palestinian control of east Jerusalem.

But they also recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. They agree to an immediate and permanent cessation of hostilities and violence (this is a thought experiment, after all) and insist that any other outstanding issues be negotiated and resolved with the US and the Quartet as intermediaries. And they require Israelis to vote within a month, no longer, on whether to accept the deal.

Will there be Israelis who object? Will there be residents of the West Bank who will resist leaving their homes? Yes, there will be. But would an Israeli plebiscite overwhelmingly approve the offer? Without question. In a matter of weeks, three quarters of a century of bloodshed and suffering would come to an end.

This, of course, is not going to happen, because all the new rhetoric notwithstanding, and all the confusion of today's young American Jews aside, there's always been one party that's sought peace, and another that's rejected it. It was true in 1948, and it was true in Khartoum. It's no less true today.

It's never been up to us, and it's always been up to them.

But this simplistic thought experiment is worth considering not because it can be implemented, but because it brings one unfortunate truth into stark focus. Young American Jews ought to take note: Israel cannot end this conflict. It can weaken itself, but the only way it can bring peace to the region is to go out of business.

If that is what the peacemakers really seek, we'll see that soon enough, with frightening clarity.

Comments and responses can be posted on Gordis's website here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Terror Victims Getting Short Shrift at the White House?

Debra Burlingame a former attorney and a director of the National September 11 Memorial Foundation, is the sister of Charles F. "Chic" Burlingame III, the pilot of American Airlines flight 77, which was crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, writes in today's Wall Street Journal On-line she and other victims feel "we'd been had" by the Obama administration as it dances around the issues surrounding justice for familes of 9/11 and the USS Cole attack. It seems the patience has worn out.
"Now, after more than eight years of waiting, Mr. Obama was stopping the trial of Abu Rahim al-Nashiri, the only individual to be held accountable for the bombing in a U.S. court. Patience finally gave out. The families were giving angry interviews, slamming the new president just days after he was sworn in."
She continues, "the Obama team quickly put together a meeting at the White House to get the situation under control. Individuals representing "a diversity of views" were invited to attend and express their concerns." The take on all this?
"We'd been had."
Delay, obfuscation, and out-right do-nothingness permeate the lives of terror victims families as they deal with the folks in Washington, D.C. Parents of kids murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists in the 1990s are still waiting for the US to bring to justice the killers of their kids.

Sami Al-Arian, poster boy for terror supporters the world over, was not brought to trial until 8 years after his books, records and computers were seized by Federal agents. The result, aged evidence that didn't translate well in the ears of the jurors. The trial resulted in an acquittal of the most serious charges and a plea by Al-Arian to supporting Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

President Obama has not been clear on what his true intentions are on the release of Guantanamo detainees and how he will deal with captured terrorists in the future.

Read the full article Obama and the 9/11 Families

Sunday, May 3, 2009

FDR and the Jews - the myths

I can't say that my elders would specifically tell me that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a good friend of the Jews. However, I did not meet a Jewish Republican until I was 14 or 15 years old. It was one of our neighbors who had a successful business, and his admission, I think, shocked everyone who heard it.

I do know that my father worshipped Eleanor Roosevelt but I never had a chance to ask him if it was because of FDR or her human rights record after World War II.

Personal experiences aside, there has been, among Jews, a long time fascination with FDR and his alleged support for Jewish causes.

For several years, FDR's record on the Jews has been under attack. Questions about his regard or disregard of German refugees and his failure to order the bombing of concentration camps or the rail lines leading to them have not been met with great answers.

A new book, "Refugees and Rescue: The Diaries and Papers of James G. McDonald 1933-1945," edited by Richard Breitman, Severin Hochberg, and Barbara McDonald Stewart, published this week by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Indiana University Press "claims to “reveal” FDR’s interest in settling large numbers of Jewish refugees in Africa or Latin America in the 1930s."

Well, the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies looked at the book and in an article on its website, “New Evidence” on FDR’s Response To The Holocaust? Not New, Not Evidence debunks much of what the book claims to show--that FDR was concerned about the plight of Jewish refugees.

I think it's worthwhile to spend a few minutes reading the Wyman report on the book. Here are some abstracts from NOT NEW, NOT EVIDENCE:

What Breitman/Hochberg Claim:

“we have found some fundamentally new information about the president’s views and policies before and during the Holocaust...”
What the Historical Record Shows:

The “resettlement initiatives” cited by Breitman/Hochberg were actually revealed in other books many years ago. They are not “new evidence.” As the analysis below demonstrates, they were discussed in detail in HenryFeingold’s The Politics of Rescue (1970), David Wyman’s Paper Walls (1968), Haim Genizi’s American Apathy (1983), and in Prof. Breitman’s own 1987 book, American Refugee Policy and European Jewry (coauthored by Alan Kraut), as well as other books.

Not only are the Breitman/Hochberg claims not new, they also do not demonstrate FDR’s sincere interest in helping the Jews. Rather, they simply reiterate the well-known fact that Roosevelt harbored grandiose visions about the refugee problem that were not rooted in reality, and which he made no serious effort to implement.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Arab Terrorism Against Jews is Nothing New

Supporters of terror often blame the victims. For instance, if there was no "occupation" of the West Bank and Gaza by Israel, Palestinian terrorists would not blow-up cafes, buses or hotel restaurants. Thus, in the mind of the terrorist, the victim becomes the maker of his own fate.

How, then do you explain Arab riots against Jews during the days of the British Mandate. There was no occupied West Bank or Gaza. There were no military checkpoints; just Jews leaving in the their homeland.

And, as Sarah Honig reminds us, there was murder and mayhem on more than one occasion. In "Another Tack: The May Day massacre of 1921," Honig discusses the unprovoked murder of Jews by Arabs on that day.

She begins:

There's no telling where the final ideological resting place of intellectually restless Yosef Haim Brenner - one of the Second Aliya luminaries and founding giants of modern Hebrew literature - would have been had he not been slain before reaching his 40th birthday. He might have evolved into a nationalist like initially-leftist Moshe Shamir, or followed his socialist leanings to the farthest radical fringe. Speculations are moot. Brenner was a full deck of cards from which any hand could have been dealt. Nothing was irrevocably predetermined when Arab marauders took his life on May 2, 1921.

As Brenner's tragic fate undeniably illustrates, to our enemies a Jew is a Jew is a Jew. Our enemies are equal-opportunity assassins. They spill Jewish blood without discrimination, without first bothering to verify the political orientations of prospective victims.

There is no doubt that British soldiers played into the hands of Arab rioters that day. They stood by while mobs attacked defenseless Jews. But when Jewish forces arrived to protect their fellows, the British dis-armed them.

It goes against our ingrained wishful thinking to acknowledge that enduring Arab animosity has nothing to do with the desperation which the Jewish state's birth supposedly fomented among so-called Palestinians, with the occupation which supposedly represses them or even with the supposed aspiration to found a Palestinian state which the Jews supposedly foil. In 1921 there were no traces of the above pretexts - so prevalent in the manipulative Arab narrative, so popular among progressive sorts here and almost universally accepted as gospel abroad.

I wish the above was not true, but it is. Read the full article, Another Tack: The May Day massacre of 1921.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Caroline Glick on "Israel's Arab Cheerleaders"

It is a strange situation when Egypt and Jordan feel it necessary to defend Israel against American criticism. But this is the situation in which we find ourselves today.

That's Caroline Glick's take on developments in the Middle East, especially with regard to American posturing on Iran's development of nuclear weapons. (You don't really believe they're going to provide nuclear generated electricity to Tehran, do you?)

Let's look at some recent happenings.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee that Arab support for Israel's bid to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is contingent on its agreeing to support the rapid establishment of a Palestinian state. In her words, "For Israel to get the kind of strong support it's looking for vis-a-vis Iran, it can't stay on the sidelines with respect to the Palestinians and the peace efforts." As far as Clinton is concerned, the two, "go hand-in-hand."
But just around the time that Clinton was making this statement, Jordan's King Abdullah II was telling The Washington Post that he is satisfied with the Netanyahu government's position on the Palestinians. In his words, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has "sent a message that he's committed to peace with the Arabs. All the words I heard were the right words."
As for Egypt, in spite of the Israeli media's hysterical reports that Egypt won't deal with the Netanyahu government and the Obama administration's warning that Israel can only expect Egypt to support its position that Iran must be denied nuclear weapons if it gives Jerusalem to the PLO, last week's visit by Egypt's intelligence chief Omar Suleiman clearly demonstrated that Egypt wishes to work with the government on a whole host of issues. Coming as it did on the heels of Egypt's revelation that Iranian-controlled Hizbullah agents were arrested for planning strategic attacks against it, Suleiman's visit was a clear sign that Egypt is as keen as Israel to neutralize Iranian power in the region by preventing it from acquiring nuclear weapons.

What's going on here? Frankly, those closest to Iran understand and appreciate the threat posed by an out of control Iran to American allies in the Middle East and, by extension, to Europe.
As one American who recently met with Persian Gulf leaders explained last week, "As far as the Gulf leaders are concerned, Israel cannot attack Iran fast enough. They understand what the stakes are."

The threat of a nuclear weapon armed Iran is global. The reality could be catastrophic. President Obama's belief that all will be well if Israel would just pull its citizens out of the disputed territories and turn Jerusalem over to the PLO is not only naive, it's dangerous, too.

Read the full article Israel's Arab cheerleaders.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Seven Jewish Children, a play for Gaza

For those who have asked, my op-ed in the New Jersey Jewish News of April 2, 2009 can be read by going to "From new anti-Zionism to theater of the absurd."

There is no denying that anti-Semitism has been making a comeback in the past few years. But it’s not the old fashioned anti-Semitism of the Ku Klux Klan or the “dirty Jew” or Christ-killer epithet that I had thrown at me in the 1950s. The new anti-Semitism is subtle. It is masked as criticism of Israel, its army, and its politicians. Its proponents claim to be anti-Zionist. They purport to be concerned about Jews, but they stress that Israel is a brutal, belligerent country that dispossessed native inhabitants, keeps others living as second-class people, and has a total disregard for the rule of law.

I welcome your comments.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hamas Terror Tactics Revealed in Video

The Israel Defense Forces has released a video outlining Hamas's use of civilian shields during Operation Cast Lead. Using modern technology and live action, the IDF chillingly displays the callous disregard, indeed cowardice, displayed by Hamas terrorists towards their fellow Palestinians.

Watch the video, Hamas Terrorist Tactics in the Gaza Strip.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Terror and Human Rights Violations, both begin with tyrants

"In 1948, the United Nations recognized the "inherent dignity" and "the equal and inalienable rights" of all human beings when it ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Though this week's U.N. conference in Geneva claimed to stand for these noble values, the world's dictators were the real winners."

So says Professor Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a former guest of Hosni Mubarak's prisons and now a visiting professor at Harvard.

  • Too many official country delegates didn't come to Geneva to stand up for the oppressed. They came to condemn the "colonial powers" of the West and Israel.
  • The deep divide between those who seek to expose human-rights abuses and those who only use the language of human rights as a shield is not new.
  • Rightly anticipating that the Geneva conference would be a forum for anti-Western and anti-Israel propaganda, the U.S. and a score of Western democracies boycotted the conference entirely.
  • Unfortunately, lost in this circus were the real victims who suffer at the hands of autocratic and theocratic regimes.
  • Though the decision to boycott the conference was understandable, I believe it was a mistake.

Read Professor Ibrahim's complete Op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal On-line, "Tyrants Get Another U.N. Platform."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Those Nice Folk at Hamas - Well, maybe they are not so nice, after all

The Washington Post features an Op-ed by Richard Cohen (not to be confused with the NYTimes's Roger Cohen) that talks about Hamas doings during the recent Israeli incursion into Gaza (Operation Cast Lead.)

Cohen writes, "Some residents of Gaza were taken from their homes and shot in the legs or feet. Some were brutally beaten, and some were simply murdered, sometimes after hideous torture. If you are expecting -- based on everything that has happened -- that the awful Israelis did this, guess again. It was Hamas, the authentic and genuine government of Gaza. Well, no one's perfect."

Based on a report issued by Human Rights Watch, no friend of Israeli policies, Cohen points out that Hamas's actions were not taken in the chaos of war, but with deliberation-- "the murders and maimings were not a consequence of chaos but of government policy."

You can only imagine what would happen if Israel dealt with its internal political enemies or dissenters in such a fashion. Last month, for instance, Israel got a heap of criticism and abuse when it was reported in the Israeli media that some Gaza civilians had been unjustifiably shot by Israeli soldiers. The report was widely cited, not just for its shocking allegations but also because it was supposedly indicative of the sort of place Israel has become. The government said the allegations were based on hearsay. We shall see.

Hamas, hiding behind civilians during war, and social services at other times, is nothing less than a repulsive terror organization. Its fellow Palestinians are to be used, abused and killed as part of Hamas's desire to destroy Israel. No other people are so self-abusing.

Read Hamas's Bloody Hands

Friday, April 17, 2009

Indonesia's Elections- Two stories, two different views?

Indonesia recently held its third democratic elections since the end of General Suharto's rule in 1998. According to a news story in The New York Times, the election results may be nothing to celebrate. That is in contrast that with an Op-ed by Sadanand Dhume in the Wall Street Journal On-line that claims the elections "reflect the strides made by a country that not so long ago was in danger of becoming a byword for chaos and random violence."

Perhaps it is the old half-empty, half-full analogy at work here. Perhaps the Times is just not capable of recognizing good news coming out of a country that has had some dark days when it sees it.

You be the judge.

The Wall Street Journal piece is Indonesia Rejects Extremism.

The New York Times article is President’s Party Grabs Early Lead in Indonesian Vote.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

American on Trial in Iran- where's the liberal West's condemnation?

Today's newspaper brought word that Roxana Saberi, a 31-year-old with dual American-Iranian citizenship, was arrested in January and is now on trial in Iran for spying on behalf of the United States.

The New York Times reports,
An Iranian judiciary official said Tuesday that the trial of an American journalist accused of spying for the United States had begun on Monday in secret, and that a verdict was expected within two weeks. The journalist, Roxana Saberi, a 31-year-old with dual American-Iranian citizenship, was arrested in January and initially accused of working without press credentials. But last week an Iranian judge brought the far more serious charge of spying for Washington.

Note that the trial is "in secret." So where, we must ask, are the anti-Guantanamo forces? Where's their outrage and anger? Why are they now silent?

Ms. Saberi is being held in Evin prison in northern Tehran. Her lawyer, Abdolsamad Khorasmshahi, refused to speak to reporters, saying he was not authorized to talk about the case until after the trial. The trial comes at a sensitive moment in relations between Iran and the United States. President Obama has expressed a willingness to talk with Tehran after years of strained relations under the Bush administration.

"Sensitive?" To whom? Does this mean the US will keep silent when one of its citizens is in a circus trial so as to not upset proposed discussions with the mullahs in Tehran?

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has said that the United States is “deeply concerned” about the espionage charges and has asked Iranian diplomats for help in obtaining Ms. Saberi’s immediate release.

Here's the report from The New York Times.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Saving Captain Phillips - Not your ordinary terrorism story

The "Easter Sunday rescue of cargo ship Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates is a tribute to his personal bravery and the skill and steel nerves of the U.S. Navy." So says an editorial in today's Wall Street Journal On-line, and I couldn't agree more.

While not terrorism in the typical sense, the pirates did succeed in terrorizing their captives, and paid the price for it. The greater issues are the rules of law on the high seas, and for how much longer will piracy be tolerated. If the surviving pirate is tried in the United States, incarceration appears to be in the cards. If in Kenya or elsewhere in Africa, we're not too sure.

Somali pirates are turning the high seas into a state of anarchy not seen in a century or more. They'll continue to terrorize innocents until what we call the "civilized world" demonstrates that they will suffer the same fate as the pirates who made the mistake of kidnapping Captain Phillips.

Read the full article.