Sunday, June 30, 2019

No American weapons to anti-Semitic governments

No American weapons to anti-Semitic governments

By Stephen M. Flatow

At a time when violence against Jews is on the rise around the world, should the United States provide advanced weapons to a government that actively promotes anti-Semitism?

That’s the question we need to consider as the Senate debates Senate Joint Resolution 26, which would block the administration’s plan to provide Qatar with 24 attack helicopters, 2,500 Hellfire missiles and other sophisticated military hardware.
Qatar also assists other anti-American terrorist groups. According to The New York Times, Qatar provides groups such as ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Taliban with “safe haven, diplomatic mediation, financial aid and, in certain instances, weapons.”
As a result, numerous Arab countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, broke diplomatic relations with Qatar, as well as closed their air space and shipping lanes to Qatari air and sea traffic.
For those reasons alone, American Jewish organizations should be actively lobbying to prevent arms to Qatar. But it is also important to consider the fact that Qatar is one of the leading purveyors of anti-Semitism in the world today.
— The government of Qatar finances the Al Jazeera international media network. According to the Anti-Defamation League, Al Jazeera has “a troubling record of providing a platform to all manner of virulent anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic extremists and of serving as a propaganda tool against the State of Israel.”
— The recent international book fair in Qatar’s capital, Doha, featured books such as The Myth of the Nazi Gas Chambers and Lies Spread by the Jewsand an Arabic-language translation of Awakening to Jewish Influence in the United States of America by white-supremacist leader David Duke.
— According to the ADL, Qatari government-controlled media outlets regularly publish editorial cartoons that “blatantly demonize Jews” and “cross the line from legitimate criticism of Israel or its policies into overt anti-Semitism. … These cartoons draw on the worst kind of anti-Semitic themes and give them new life, including conspiracy theories of Jewish world domination; blood libels; the association of Zionism with Nazism; the demonization and dehumanization of Israel and Jews; the invocation of William Shakespeare’s Shylock; and the use of stereotypical medieval Jewish imagery.”
— A study by MEMRI found that the textbooks used in Qatari schools “feature anti-Semitic motifs, presenting Jews as treacherous, dishonest and crafty, and at the same time as weak, wretched and cowardly.”
One of the assignments in the books requires students “to compare the Jews’ attitude toward the Muslims in the time of Muhammad and their attitude toward the Muslims today, in light of the material learned in the lesson. The students are apparently expected to infer that the traits ascribed to the Jews in the chapter—treachery, cowardice, etc.—are also applicable to the Jews today.”
At a time when the murders in Pittsburgh and Poway are still fresh in our memories, when Jews are being violently assaulted in the streets of Brooklyn, N.Y., and when hate groups are on the rise at home and abroad, what kind of message will it send if the United States provides weapons to a government that actively promotes anti-Semitism?
I am troubled that American Jewish and Zionist organizations have not spoken out against the proposed arms sales to Qatar. I hope their silence has nothing to do with the visits that some leaders of Jewish organizations made to Qatar not long ago or the hefty donations that Qatar has made in and off the Beltway.
This is not a time for Jewish silence. The Jewish community needs to unite around the principle of “No Weapons for Anti-Semites!”
(This article first appeared at
My book, “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror”, is available with free shipping from the publisher Devon Square Press.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Naming a chess tournament in honor of a terrorist; My column on Israel National News

Naming a chess tournament in honor of a terrorist

In most parts of the world, chess tournaments are named after sponsors or stars of the sport.
    • The Capablanca Memorial chess tournament, held each year in Cuba, honors a 1920s Cuban chess master named Jose Raul Capablanca y Graupera
    • The Sinquefield Cup, a chess tournament in St. Louis, is named after Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield, the founders of the city’s chess club as well as the World Chess Hall of Fame.
    • The Tata Steel Chess Tournament, in the Netherlands, bears the name of its corporate sponsor.

Only in the Palestinian Authority (PA) can one find a chess tournament named after one of the most notorious terrorists in modern times.

Leave it to the PA to name its new chess tournament after someone who had no connection to the sport, but whom it simply admires: Khalil Al-Wazir, better known as Abu Jihad.

Al-Wazir was a co-founder, along with Yasir Arafat, of the terrorist Fatah movement in 1965. PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas is the current leader of Fatah.

According to the PA’s own calculation, al-Wazir masterminded numerous terrorist attacks, in which 125 people were killed. He was responsible for, among others, the murder of American diplomats in Khartoum (Sudan) in 1973, and the Tel Aviv Highway Massacre in 1978, in which 36 Israelis and nature photographer Gail Rubin, the niece of U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff, were murdered.

In commemoration of the anniversary of al-Wazir’s death last month, the PA inaugurated a “Martyr Khalil Al-Wazir Abu Jihad Individual Chess Tournament of the Palestine Northern Districts.” It will operate under the auspices of the PA’s Palestinian Chess Federation and will be financed by the Jenin branch of Chairman Abbas’s Fatah movement.

Chess is not the only local sport through which the Palestinian commemorate their hero, Abu Jihad. The Ansar Al-Quds soccer club, near Jerusalem, holds an Abu Jihad Tournament. As do the Palestinian Judo Association, the Palestinian Table-Tennis Association, and the Palestinian Boxing Association.

The chess honor was just one of several public displays of adoration for Abu Jihad in recent weeks. On the campus of Al-Istiqlal University, in PA-controlled Jericho, Abbas also inaugurated a new “Martyr Khalil Al-Wazi Abu Jihad Faculty for Administration and Military Sciences.” And a festival honoring Abu Jihad was held at the PA’s Al-Quds Open University, near Jerusalem.

Just a few weeks earlier, the PA renamed a school in Al-Yamun, near Jenin, “The Martyr Abu Jihad School for Boys.” That event also included the unveiling  of a huge mural of the arch-terrorist on a wall of the school. Senior PA officials, and Abu Jihad’s wife, were on hand to take part.

That celebration of terror caught the eye of U.S. Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt, who tweeted: "Despicable glorification of violence and terrorism displayed at a Palestinian school w/ a painting of Abu Jihad (Khalil Al-Wazir). Palestinian students deserve to learn about respectable accomplishments of their community not this."

The official PA daily newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, replied to Greenblatt by hailing Abu Jihad as “the Prince of Martyrs and one of the greatest symbols of our people and our modern revolution…He is the First Bullet and the First Stone. He is present among us like a light that is not extinguished.”

There were additional articles in the PA newspaper deriding Greenblatt as “this Zionized American” and calling his criticism “a racist, extremist, Zionist and hostile attack against a national symbol.” (Translations courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch.)

Like every regime in the world, the PA sometimes bases its policy decisions in part on its perception of how the international community will respond. As a result, strong condemnations and penalties can have an impact.

So, it will be interesting to see whether the World Chess Federation recognizes the Abu Jihad Tournament—and how the Federation’s American affiliate, the United States Chess Federation, relates to a tournament named in honor of a murderer of American citizens. 

It’s their move.

Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is the author of “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror.”

This article can be read on-line here.

#Fatah #PalestinianAuthority