Archive for July, 2010

Nine years after Sbarro

Thursday, July 29th, 2010
Malki Roth (2001)

Malki Roth (2001)

I often write about Hamas and how hateful (in both senses) they are. But I want to make it concrete today.

Exactly nine years ago tomorrow, by the Jewish calendar, a Hamas suicide bomber detonated a massive blast at the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem. One of the fifteen murdered (130 were hurt) was 15-year old Malka ‘Malki’ Chana Roth. Malki’s family has established a foundation in her name, to assist families with special needs children.

Is it necessary for me to point out the difference between a culture that responds in this way to the one that still considers the Sbarro bombing one of their finest moments?

There is a well-documented account of the bombing on the foundation’s site. This is a slightly edited version:

Suicide terrorist Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri

Suicide terrorist Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri

9th August 2001: A resident of the village of Aqaba, north of Tulkarm, Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri, single and 23 (by some accounts 22), son of a well-to-do land-owning family, entered the busy Sbarro restaurant at the corner of King George Street and Jaffa Road at lunchtime on a school vacation day in Jerusalem. The restaurant was filled with customers, most of them children and mothers. … eventually it was clear that 15 Jews (picture) were killed; one remains unconscious four years later, and 130 were injured in various serious degrees…

It’s been suggested at various times that al-Masri’s family were opposed to, or even horrified by, their son’s murderous actions. But a Palestinian Authority official source, quoted by the unimpeachable MEMRI, reports that Hamas official Ashraf Sawaftah, speaking publicly a week after the massacre of a ceremony honoring the bomber, said this: “His relatives distributed sweets and accepted their son as a bridegroom married to ‘the black-eyed,’ not as someone who had been killed and was being laid in the ground.”

The Sbarro massacre was coordinated and planned by the Hamas terror organization’s Ramallah branch. Six weeks later, a triumphal exhibit at [An-Najah] University, the largest in the West Bank, featured a mock-up of the Sbarro restaurant including gnawed pizza crusts and bloody plastic body parts suspended from the ceiling as if they were blasting through the air. See the New York Times report (PDF version) and this video record of the event.

Hamas, which today rules Gaza with an iron and bloody fist, published a particularly dishonest, self-delusional account here.

Engineer Abdallah Jamal Barghouti

Engineer Abdallah Jamal Barghouti (2006)

The explosive charge was manufactured by Abdallah Jamal Barghouti, the chief “engineer” of the Hamas infrastructure in the Judea region. The bomb, along with screws and nails to magnify the devastation, was assembled inside a guitar case which Al-Masri carried. Barghouti is a Kuwaiti who settled in the West Bank village of Burqa in 1999. He has been frequently described in the media – and from his own mouth – as the brains behind the massacre.

At his trial, evidence was produced to show that Barghouti’s relative Marwan Barghouti – a prominent Palestinian Arab political figure now serving several life sentences for murder – paid Abdallah $500 to build the bomb. This came on top of the $117,000 he received for his troubles from Hamas, according to evidence given to the court in Abdallah Barghouti’s multi-murder trial.

Others were involved in providing funds – large sums of cash – for the terrorists themselves and for their families. A 2005 news article “Hamas Financier Detained” describes the involvement of Hamas ‘activist’ Ahmad Saltana [PDF version here] in the financing of the terrorist murders.

Guide Ahlam Aref Ahmad al-Tamimi (2001)

Guide Ahlam Aref Ahmad al-Tamimi (2001)

The human bomb’s guide was Ahlam ‘Aref Ahmad al-Tamimi, also known as Ahlam Tamimi, a 20-year-old innocent-faced Jordanian national who lived in Ramallah, studied in Bir Zeit, and worked as a journalist. Tamimi was involved in gathering the intelligence for the attack and on the day of the massacre, along with the suicide bomber and the charge hidden inside the guitar, she headed for a taxi-cab station in Ramallah, where they took a taxi to Jerusalem.

Tamimi carried a camera and spoke with the suicide bomber in English so that they could inconspicuously pass for tourists. She was arrested on 14th September 2001. For her part, Tamimi was sentenced to sixteen life terms, or 320 years, in an Israeli jail (report and report). She was the first woman to have been recruited by Hamas’ Izzadine el-Qassam gang. She has never expressed remorse of any sort.

A 2006 report quotes Tamimi saying from an Israeli jail cell: “I’m not sorry for what I did. We’ll become free from the occupation and then I will be free from prison.”

For some additional, deeply disturbing, background about this female, see “The Real Ahlam Tamimi You Didn’t Read About In The Times” by Noah Pollak (published 3rd August 2007).

Another co-conspirator was Mohammad Daghlas, a “student” who delivered the bomb that was used in the massacre. He is now in an Israeli jail.

Abdallah Barghouti‘s counsel said Barghouti felt “his actions were legal as part of the game Israel is playing in the West Bank and Gaza Strip”. Barghouti himself pleaded guilty and told the court he “did this to kill as many Israelis as possible”. He was rewarded in December 2004 with a sentence of 67 life-terms in an Israeli prison (report). In a later interview, he said: “I do not accept responsibility for their deaths. I feel pain, of course. They are little children. But the government of Israel is solely responsible.”

Interviewed in April 2006 by CBS’ television program “60 Minutes”, Abdallah Barghouti said of the death toll in the Sbarro massacre and the other bombings he engineered: “”I feel bad because the number is only 66.”

By the way, among the 1,000 (or 1,500 — it changes) prisoners that Hamas is demanding that Israel release in exchange for the kidnapped Gilad Shalit, we find the Barghoutis and Tamimi.

This is only a single story. There are hundreds of similar stories in which families are torn apart because children, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, etc. have been brutally and deliberately murdered by Hamas terrorists because they dare to be Jews living in the land of Israel.

The Hamas covenant says:

“The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him…

The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day…

There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad…

In face of the Jews’ usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised.

There is no room for even-handedness with respect to Hamas. Just ask Malki’s parents, or any of the other families of Hamas victims. But don’t ask Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, leader of the effort to build a mosque two blocks from the destroyed World Trade Center:

Asked if he agreed with the State Department’s assessment [that Hamas is a terrorist organization], Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf told WABC radio, “Look, I’m not a politician.”

“The issue of terrorism is a very complex question,” he told interviewer Aaron Klein. “There was an attempt in the ’90s to have the UN define what terrorism is and say who was a terrorist. There was no ability to get agreement on that.”

Asked again for his opinion on Hamas, an exasperated Rauf wouldn’t budge.

“I am a peace builder. I will not allow anybody to put me in a position where I am seen by any party in the world as an adversary or as an enemy,” Rauf said, insisting that he wants to see peace in Israel between Jews and Arabs. — NY Post

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ISM claims another victim

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

This is really a tragic story.

A 21-year-old woman, an art student no less, goes to Israel as an exchange student. While she is there, she falls in with the pro-Palestinian activists of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). She attends demonstrations against the security fence at Bil’in and Nil’in, as well as protests in Nabi Saleh and the East Jerusalem Sheik Jarrah neighborhood.

On May 31, the day of the flotilla incident, she takes part an a protest against Israel’s ‘crimes’ near the Qalandiyah crossing, south of Ramallah. The protest is violent, and she is struck in the face with a tear-gas canister fired by Israeli police. Her eye cannot be saved.

The woman, Emily Henochowicz of Potomac MD, is Jewish. According to the NY Times, “Her father was born in Israel to Holocaust survivors whom he described as “ardent Zionists.” The AP reported that the last status update on her Facebook page was “Gaza on my mind.”

There is a controversy about who will pay for the medical care she received at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, and the followup care in the US, and another about whether she was hit directly by the canister or whether it ricocheted off of a wall, which apparently bears on the first one. She has an activist lawyer, Michael Sfard, who will help her while doing his best to screw Israel. I feel sorry for the young woman.

Her story is much like that of Furkan Dogan, Tristan Anderson, Rachel Corrie and others. A politically naive young ‘international’ is recruited to take part in purportedly ‘non-violent’ activities along with Israeli extremists and Palestinians. In many cases, violent elements are present, and the overall purpose is to provoke Israeli soldiers and police. Organizers know that the presence of these internationals will deter security forces from responding harshly.

Meanwhile, demonstrators can achieve their PR objectives, along with other practical things like cutting the security fence, tying up army and police units, costing Israel money, etc. And if it should happen that an international is hurt or even killed, it is a huge propaganda coup for the Palestinian cause.

This is another front in the information war against Israel, the struggle to destroy Israel’s credibility, moral standing and legitimacy in the world arena. It parallels the military campaign, and because it attacks international support for Israel’s self-defense, its importance shouldn’t be minimized.

It’s ironic that idealistic young people are being injured and even killed while being cynically used in support of anti-democratic, racist, misogynist — and murderous –  groups like Hamas.

It’s time that Israel put a stop to it. Efforts to detect infiltration from ISM and similar groups should be stepped up. And foreign activists who can be shown to have participated in anti-Israel activities should be rounded up and summarily deported.

Here is a video (h/t: Daled Amos) made by Ms. Henochowicz that is… indescribable. But I think it provides a window into the mindset that gives rise to tragedies like hers.

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Roger Cohen, a one-trick pony

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

It’s hard for me to express the degree of antipathy I feel toward Roger Cohen.

He is one reason that I wish for an afterlife, including a Hell in which Cohen could have his liver eaten by eagles with dull beaks, over and over for eternity.

Cohen wrote a tear-jerker about the 19-year-old Turkish-American, Furkan Dogan, who was one of the nine members of the Turkish IHH contingent aboard the Mavi Marmara who were killed in a confrontation with Israeli commandos on May 31. It appeared in the New York Times, a newspaper which downplayed WWII reports of the Holocaust because of its Jewish ownership — and if you can understand this perhaps you can understand Cohen.


How he was killed is disputed — as is just about everything concerning the Israeli naval takeover of the six-boat Gaza-bound flotilla — but his father suspects a video camera carried by his son may have provoked Israeli commandos.

Anyone can dispute anything. But in this case there was a careful investigation, by the IDF (those who think that all Israelis are demons, the videos are fake, and that an IDF investigation is worthless can stop reading now). There is also a great deal of other information available, including testimonies from the ship’s personnel.

Here are some facts: of the 718 passengers on the Mavi Marmara, some 40 of them (according to the ship’s Second Officer) took over the upper deck. They prepared for the arrival of the IDF boarding party by cutting up railings, etc. to make metal clubs.

The hard core boarded the ship in Istanbul without undergoing a security check, as opposed to the other passengers, who boarded in Antalya [Anatolia] after a full examination… As they boarded they were given walkie-talkies for communicating with one another. — ITIC

The IHH’s connections to Islamic terrorism are well-documented, and its core operatives on the ship were planning for a violent confrontation. Reportedly, half of those killed had made statements to friends or family that they were seeking martyrdom.

The first officer reported that this group did not allow passengers or crew members that they did not recognize on the deck in the hours before the confrontation. When the IDF soldiers landed on the top deck, they were viciously attacked with various ‘cold’ weapons — metal bars, slingshots, knives, etc. — and with live fire. Numerous Israelis were injured, three of them critically.

Some of the deaths of the IHH  ‘activists’  occurred here. Somewhat later, in the process of taking over the ship, IDF personnel were met with live fire in several locations, and returned it. Some of the shooting came from weapons taken from wounded Israelis, and some from weapons that the passengers brought on board. The Israelis did not shoot to kill except in life-threatening situations.

It isn’t possible to determine exactly where Dogan was when he was shot. It was reported that he was shot five times, at least twice in the head. Cohen et al produce this as evidence of Israeli brutality, but in fact it indicates that Dogan was shot because he was perceived as a threat.

This implies that either he was involved in deadly violence or appeared to be. The suggestion that he may have ‘provoked’ the Israelis by holding a video camera is certainly reasonable — what would you expect to happen to someone who injects himself into the middle of a firefight and aims a small black object at a combatant?

Cohen is outraged that little has been written about Dogan:

I have little doubt that if the American killed on those ships had been Hedy Epstein, a St. Louis-based Holocaust survivor, or Edward Peck, a former U.S. ambassador to Mauritania, we would have heard a lot more…

I also have little doubt that if the incident had been different — say a 19-year-old American student called Michael Sandler killed by a Palestinian gunman in the West Bank when caught in a cross-fire between Palestinians and Israelis — we would have been deluged in stories about him.

But a chill descends when you have the combination of Israeli commandos doing the firing, an American with a foreign-sounding Muslim name, and the frenzied pre-emptive arguments of Israel and those among its U.S. supporters who will brook no criticism of the Jewish state.

Actually, Dogan has been written about far more than Michael Sandler. A Google search for “Furkan Dogan” brings up 3,600,000 results while “Michael Sandler” gets only 325,000 — and this includes numerous other people named Michael Sandler. A search for “Michael Sandler Palestinian” produces a mere 18,700. This is remarkable, because Dogan’s death is really not that interesting. It’s sort of like a guy that wanders out onto a busy freeway and gets hit by a truck.

What Cohen is really convulsing about is “the frenzied pre-emptive arguments of Israel and those among its U.S. supporters who will brook no criticism of the Jewish state.”

I don’t know what’s preemptive here. The Israelis were ambushed, and then the chorus of lies started: the commandos supposedly landed on the deck shooting; they targeted harmless ‘peace activists’. Turkey’s PM ErdoÄŸan accused Israel of “murder” and “genocide” (I would be careful with that word, if I were him).

How did we get from refuting vicious lies to “brook[ing] no criticism?”

Cohen mentions in passing an incredibly stupid article by Peter Beinart, lately more or less the manifesto of the Jewish anti-Israel crowd. It has nothing at all to do with the Mavi Marmara affair, except insofar as a it suggests that American Jews shouldn’t support Israel.

Roger Cohen is a one-trick pony, and his trick is hating Israel while being Jewish. He should be put out to pasture.

Update [2049 PDT]: minor changes.

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The Barack and Rashid show

Monday, July 26th, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about an embarrassing videotape of Barack Obama speaking at a party for Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi. Well, Khalidi’s done it again by joining an appeal to raise funds for an American boat that will try to break the blockade of Gaza. And just in case anyone might fail to see the connection, they’re calling the boat “The Audacity of Hope”. has obtained a top-secret transcript of a recent telephone conversation between the President and Khalidi. Although we journalists — like the LA Times, which still keeps its tape locked up — must protect our sources, I can guarantee that in some possible universe  every word of it is entirely accurate:

Barack Obama: Ahlan Rashid!

Rashid Khalidi: Barack! Good to hear from you. Why don’t you come over for some of Mona’s hummus, like you used to?

BO: Well, you know. I have to be careful of my associations. Those right-wing neocon Zionist bloggers would have a field day if I did that. Which is why I called…

RK: You mean you want me to whack some Zionists? Just say the word, Barack. I’ll give Marzook a call. Itbach al yahud —

BO: No! Don’t do that. But actually, it does have to do with the pesky Jews.

RK: Al-Yahud qalab’na! We know how to handle them. Just fire some rockets into Montgomery County. I can —

BO: Please. I’m in enough trouble already. Why do you have to call your Gaza boat “Audacity of Hope?” You might as well name it “Barack’s Gaza Love Boat.” Here I am trying to make the Jews forget the fact that my administration has been the most anti-Israel one since 1948 — before the midterm elections — and you drag me into this!

RK: We must break the horrific blockade! Gaza is an open-air prison! People are suffering! You can see how bad it is here and here.

BO: But I thought the Zionists had ended restrictions on consumer goods… and even the UN thinks there shouldn’t be any more flotillas.

RK: Bah. Everybody knows that the UN is dominated by the Zionists. Look at how the Goldstone report accused Hamas of firing rockets at civilians!

BO: Well, anyway, this makes me look bad.

RK: Barack, you are not thinking right. There are huge shortages in Gaza. Like four-inch steel pipe. We are entirely out of four-inch pipe! And we need ball bearings — how are we expected to create local industry that can launch — er, export — its products without these things? Not to mention the need to send our people to Iran for terrorist training — I mean, vocational education.

BO: Now Rashid, you know how I feel about the Palestinian cause. That’s why you supported me for the Senate, and then for the Presidency. But can’t it wait until November?

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The Ground Zero mosque and the Muslim Brotherhood

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

The plan to build a ‘Ground Zero mosque‘ literally overlooking the site of the destroyed World Trade Center has brought the question of the meeting of Islam and the West to the forefront in a way that  even 9/11 and the terror attacks in Madrid, the London, Bombay, etc. themselves did not (if you haven’t read the post linked above, please do so).

The murderous attacks were clearly the work of fanatics. Although they were done in the name of Islam, it was possible to believe that the perpetrators were acting against normative Islam. It was said that they had ‘hijacked’ Islam for their nefarious purposes. Indeed, this appears to be the official position of much of the media, the government of the US and its legal and law enforcement agencies. The case of Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, whose crime is being explained as a result of mental illness, is an example.

Americans have a passionate commitment, expressed in the Bill of Rights, to free exercise of religion. And the reaction to the historical treatment of blacks in our society — a national trauma — has made anything that even comes close to a negative general statement about any racial, ethnic or religious group a violation of taboo so extreme that the violator is instantly ostracized (although an exception is apparently beginning to be made for left-wing antisemitism). This is one reason for the popularity of the ‘hijacked’ metaphor.

Organized Muslim groups in the US such as CAIR and ISNA have been quick to present any criticism of Islam in general or any warning that political Islam could be a danger to our free society as ‘islamophobia’, a form of racism. People like Geert Wilders are called right-wing extremists or worse, as are ‘anti-Jihadist’ bloggers like Robert Spencer. It’s harder to attack Aayan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim who came to criticize Islam — particularly in connection to the position of women — from within, so while she is admired for her courage her ideas are mostly ignored.

There are also practical reasons to speak kindly of Islam. There are 1.4 billion Muslims in the world, they control much of the oil supply, and there are a large number of them who are prepared to respond to perceived defamation of Islam quite violently. There’s nothing that has more of a ‘chilling effect’ on speech than a credible threat to behead the speaker.

Unlike Wilders and some others, Daniel Pipes doesn’t believe that violent extremism is inherent in Islam (although this doesn’t keep him from being called an ‘Islamophobe’ and requiring police protection when he speaks). Pipes thinks that the texts of Islam can in principle be interpreted peacefully, but that the radical, expansionist interpretations that characterize the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian mullahs has recently gained ascendancy as the definition of normative Sunni and Shia Islam respectively.

Although there is only a small fraction of the Muslim ummah who are prepared to act violently in defense of — or in offense for — Islam, there is a growing number who provide moral and material support for them, because they believe that the truest, purest form of Islam is the most radical form. Unfortunately, the major Islamic organizations in the US are aligned with radical movements like the Muslim Brotherhood.

This also turns out to be the case with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the head of the “Cordoba Institute” which is spearheading the building of the Ground Zero mosque. And if Rauf espouses the expansionist radical Islam of the Ikhwan (brotherhood), then we can answer the question that I asked in my previous post about the mosque:

Does Abdul Rauf represent a moderate, conciliatory, tolerant Islam … or is he following in the tradition of the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, who built the Dome of the Rock over the ruins of the Second Temple in 692 CE? Is it a work of peace or a triumphal celebration of a successful act of war?

The Islam of the Ikhwan is more than ‘just a religion’. It is even more than ‘just a fundamentalist religion’. In addition to what we normally think of as ‘religious’ things requiring tolerance — practices of worship, ritual, moral codes, beliefs about a deity or afterlife, etc. — there are other features which the West cannot afford to tolerate.

They include a political program, a program to expand the borders of Islamic domination, and a legal, political and social system — Shaaria — which is diametrically opposed to the principles of an enlightened society (and the US Constitution), since

  • It institutionalizes the superiority of Muslims over other religions, and men over women. It calls for the subjugation of Jews and Christians and the murder of ‘polytheists’ (for example, Hindus) who refuse to accept Islam.
  • It is incompatible with democratic government. Decisions are made by religious authorities.
  • It is opposed to personal liberty in social matters, even prescribing a death penalty for adulteresses and homosexuals.

And more.

Abdul Rauf’s connection to the Muslim Brotherhood implies that this project is not a project of peaceful, tolerant Islam, because that is not the Islam of the Brotherhood. It is an Islam of conquest and the imposition of Shaaria in the conquered territory.

For the brotherhood, the horrific terrorist attacks perpetrated around the world by Muslims were not ‘crazy’, but rather expressions of the purest and most admirable faith. And, similarly, we too need to see them as ideological and purposeful acts of radical Islam.

The Ground Zero mosque is intended to be a symbol of the defeat of the United States of America by the forces of radical Islam. Westerners often treat symbolism and ideology as unimportant. What counts are practical things like a healthy economy, etc.

But the behavior of Muslims in the Middle East — the Palestinians are a good example — where time after time ideology and symbolism has trumped what we think of as common sense — should be a warning to us.

Thousands of ordinary New Yorkers took part in a demonstration against the plan to construct the mosque last month. They get it. Why don’t our leaders (including the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg) and most of the media?

Demonstration against proposed Ground Zero mosque, June 2010 (photo: El Marco,

Demonstration against proposed Ground Zero mosque, June 2010 (photo: El Marco,

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