EMET
Resources

Review Category : Terrorism

A very bitter Jerusalem bombing anniversary

After American largess and Israeli know-how, the Jordanians have been offering safe haven to a cold-blooded murderer of American citizens who has made a career out of her crime.

(August 7, 2019 / JNS)

Aug. 9 marks the 18th anniversary of a very dark day. That was the day that Ahlam Tamimi calmly picked up Izz-al-Din Shuheil al Masri from his home in al-Aqabah in Judea (the West Bank) and serenely delivered him to the Sbarro pizzeria shop in Jerusalem. That was the site Ms. Tamimi had intentionally scoped out because it was a popular eatery frequented by families, singles and Jews of all ages.

It had been a sultry day and many young students, who were off from school during the long summer recess, were looking for ways to spend their time. One of these students, Malki Roth, entered the restaurant with her best friend, Mihal Raziel. At the same time, Izz Al-Din entered the restaurant and—using a guitar case rigged with nuts, bolts and nails, together with a suicide vest rigged with 10 kilograms of explosives—detonated himself. The explosion rocked the nearby vicinity, murdering 15 people, eight of them children.

Two of the murdered were American citizens: 15-year-old Roth, and Judith Greenbaum, 31, who was five months pregnant at the time. A third American, Chana Nachenberg, lies in a permanent vegetative state.

Immediately after the bombing, Ahlam Tamimi was on a Palestinian bus back to Ramallah, and described what happened as news reached them about the mounting death toll. “As the number of dead kept increasing, the passengers were applauding. They didn’t even know that I was among them … ,” she said. “On the way back [to Ramallah], we passed a Palestinian police checkpoint, and the policemen were laughing. One of them stuck his head in and said: ‘Congratulations to us all.’ Everybody was happy.”

Herein lies the heart of the matter regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which also pertains to our treatment of the Hashemite Kingdom.

Irrespective of the intentions of the Americans and the Israelis, or of what the final borders of a Palestinian state that they envision might look like, or of how many billions of dollars the United States wants to throw at the Palestinian Authority and any other entity that will help in the effort to bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table, there will never be peace as long as this culture of hatred and incitement towards the wanton death of innocents is cultivated.

What is even more disturbing is that our own government has long had a condescending and patronizing attitude towards the Muslim and Arab world, so much so that we have let them literally get away with the murder of our own citizens and allow them to seek refuge there.

Ahlam Tamimi was initially arrested in Israel, where she was serving 16 consecutive life sentences. In 2011, she was released, together with 1,026 other Hamas terrorists with blood on their hands, in exchange for kidnapped Israel Defense Forces’ soldier Gilad Shalit.

She went to Jordan, where she was treated like a conquering hero, and where she has made an illustrious career out of her heinous crime. At one point, she was given her own Hamas-sponsored television show and even appeared on the secular Jordanian show “Carnival,” where she was received like visiting royalty.

According to American law (18 USC, 2332 b), any time an American is murdered abroad, the United States has jurisdiction and is directed to prosecute the perpetrator to the full extent of the law. There is no statute of limitations.

In March of 2017, the FBI met with Malki’s parents, Arnold and Frimet Roth, and unsealed a warrant for Tamimi’s arrest, demanding her extradition from Jordan. (Jordan signed an extradition treaty with the United States back in 1995.) Tamimi has been put on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” terrorist lists, and there is now a $5 million award leading to her arrest.

Several terrorists have been extradited from Jordan at the request of the United States, all of whom are serving out lengthy sentences in American jails.

However, in the case of Tamimi, the government of Jordan has suddenly said that no such extradition treaty exists.

The U.S. government is the single largest provider of bilateral assistance to Jordan, currently at the tune of $1.7 billion a year. The Israeli government has been working with the Jordanian government since the 1994 peace treaty was signed, helping them with agriculture, irrigation and oil projects. But the biggest peace dividend for Jordan was the initiation of trilateral Jordanian-Israeli American Qualifying Industrial Zones, which opened the door for a Jordanian-American free trade agreement. This, in turn, opened the door to the World Trade Association and the Greater Arab Free Trade Area, widening the door for Jordan to trade with the wealthy Gulf Arab states.

Yet even all of these economic benefits since signing the peace agreement with Israel have not changed the hearts and minds of the Jordanian people or its leadership. A recently released study conducted by IMPACT SE indicates that although the Jordanians say that the new textbooks teach tolerance, they have done little to alter hatred of Israel and Jews, one textbook publishes a dialogue between a Palestinian grandmother and granddaughter in which she says, “I wish that I will see Palestine liberated from the Zionist occupation.”

When King Abdullah came to the United States recently, he was asked by several members of Congress about the request for Tamimi’s extradition. According to one staffer, he dismissively responded with, “It is not going to happen.”

End of story.

After all this American largess and Israeli know-how, the Jordanians have been offering safe haven to a cold-blooded murderer of American citizens who has made a career out of her crime.

Tamimi knows this. Recently, she said, “Being in Jordan gives me strength because no extradition treaty exists with the United States.”

After American largess and Israeli know-how, the Jordanians have been offering safe haven to a cold-blooded murderer of American citizens who has made a career out of her crime.

Originally published: https://www.jns.org/opinion/a-very-bitter-jerusalem-bombing-anniversary/

Read More →

EMET Condemns the Senseless, Brutal Murder of 50 Muslims in Christchurch

The Endowment for Middle East Truth, EMET, condemns, in the harshest terms possible, the brutal, savage murder of 50 Muslims bent in prayer at Christchurch, New Zealand.

We lift our voices to speak out clearly and forcefully against any sort of racism, anti-Semitism or Islamophobia, whether it be in Christchurch, in Charlottesville, in Pittsburgh or in any corner of the world.

This senseless savagery occurred while innocent people were bent in prayer, in an act of piety within the quiet of their sanctuary. This evokes a familiar echo to the brutal murder of 11 Jewish worshipers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania last year.

There should be absolutely no place, whether it be in the mosque, in the synagogue, on the college campus or in the public square where “the other,” the immigrant or the stranger, is singled out for antipathy and for violence.

The Jewish people know all too well what it is like to be singled out for senseless hatred and acts of brutality, and mourn together with our Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Photo: ABC News: Nour Haydar

Read More →

Press Release: EMET Expresses its Strong Disappointment with the Decision to Remove U.S. Troops from Syria

EMET Expresses its Strong Disappointment with the Decision to Remove U.S. Troops from Syria

(Washington, DC, December 19, 2018) – Today, the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) expressed its strong disappointment with the decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.  In a Wednesday, December 19th tweet, the President said, “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.”  The White House then confirmed in a statement that the administration has “started returning United States troops home.”  EMET strongly believes this surprising and precipitous withdrawal of all of our troops from Syria endangers U.S. national interests as it is not in line with the American foreign policy principle of standing by our friends, in this case the Syrian Defense Forces (SDF), as well as the State of Israel, and only gives oxygen to our enemies — the Islamic State, the Iranian mullahs, the Assad regime in Syria, Putin’s Russia and Turkey under Erdogan.

There are currently an estimated 2200 U.S. troops in Syria.  These troops are located in northeastern Syria in an area controlled by U.S. allies, the SDF, and at the al-Tanf border crossing with Iraq in southeastern Syria. In both areas, the U.S. troops play only a training and support role and have only very rarely been exposed to combat. Their primary mission is to train, equip and advise our partners on the ground.

The SDF is a strong U.S. ally that controls about 30% of Syria.  It includes both Syrian Kurds and others who live in that region.  Unlike the rest of Syria, civilians in SDF controlled territory have civil, religious, and voting rights.  When the IS was ascendant in Syria and Iraq, the Syrian Kurds – who later became the SDF – were the lone moderate force who successfully opposed the IS. At the behest of the U.S., the Syrian Kurds/SDF fought the IS to liberate Syrian civilians in Raqqa and other areas, despite the fact that there were no Syrian Kurds living in the area.  Thousands of Syrian Kurds/fighters from the SDF were killed or wounded in this fighting.

By removing U.S. troops from these areas in Syria, the U.S. endangers moderate forces in the region and empowers many bad actors.  First, this will likely allow the Islamic State forces to rebound, in a manner similar to what occurred when the U.S. removed troops from Iraq in 2011.  Second, this will encourage Islamist Turkish dictator Erdogan to attack the SDF, as Erdogan has always hated and feared any Kurdish groups.  Third, this will encourage the Assad regime, backed by its allies the Iranians and Russians, to attack the SDF and the al-Tanf pocket.  Fourth, this removal will allow Iran to solidify its ‘Shia crescent’ land bridge from Iran to Lebanon, on which it has transported soldiers and weapons and missiles, and thus endanger U.S. allies such as Israel and Jordan and Saudi Arabia.  Fifth, by removing U.S. troops so suddenly, and without concern for the danger it causes to U.S. allies, the U.S. is likely to be seen as an “unreliable ally” by the rest of the world. And finally, this decision should be examined carefully in light of the fact that Iran, which has gotten progressively more and more entrenched in Syria, has just successfully conducted a medium range ballistic missile test, which, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said, “is capable of carrying multiple warheads.”

Sarah Stern, founder and President of EMET stated, “We at EMET have often argued that there should be synergy between good foreign policy, national interest, and what is moral and right. Here there is no synergy.  By removing U.S. troops from Syria so precipitously, we are weakening the fight against the Islamic State.  It is more than likely that ISIS will now emerge in another form, or some other re-incarnation.  We are throwing our SDF allies, and other moderate forces, who have shed their blood fighting the Islamic State, to the wolves of Turkey, the Assad regime in Syria, Iran, and Russia. We are encouraging the world to believe that the U.S. is a feckless and inconsistent ally.  This decision will only add to the humanitarian crisis in Syria. And we are allowing Iran to complete its land bridge, thereby endangering other U.S. allies, including our one democratic ally in the region, Israel. And we are leaving Israel, in particular, much more exposed and vulnerable to attack.”

“EMET strongly encourages the President to reconsider his decision soon, before the progress that has been made in the fight against ISIS is damaged, the stability the SDF has created in northeast Syria is destroyed, the enemies of the U.S. are empowered, and the U.S. looks weak abroad,” Stern concluded.

###

About The Endowment for Middle East Truth
Founded in 2005, EMET’s mission is to educate policymakers in Washington and the general public about the importance of Israel to the United States in their common struggle against radical Islam. For more information, please visit, http://www.emetonline.org. Follow EMET on Twitter and Facebook.

Read More →

When Diplomacy Interferes with Justice

Photo: MEMRI-TV

The murder of Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents has dominated foreign policy news for months. Prominent members of Congress are increasingly upset that the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia has interfered with the rigorous pursuit of justice for Khashoggi. After all, they argue, Jamal Khashoggi was a US resident, so there should be consequences for the man who, according to the CIA, planned his murder – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman – the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia. Many of these members of Congress also argue that Khashoggi’s murder is so serious that the strong, longtime, US-Saudi relationship must be re-evaluated if there is no justice.

But the Khashoggi case is hardly unique. In fact, there is a similar, but far more serious, situation that resulted in the deaths of two American citizens and the wounding of several others. This occurred on August 9, 2001, when a Sbarro Pizzeria in Jerusalem was pulverized by a suicide bomber.

On that day, Malki Roth, a 15-year-old girl; Judith Greenbaum, a pregnant 31-year-old woman; other American citizens; and many Israelis went to the Sbarro Pizzeria to enjoy some American-style pizza. The Pizzeria, on Ben Yehuda Street, was one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in Jerusalem and was a popular place, especially for families with children. At approximately 2 p.m., at the height of the lunch hour, a blast went off. A Palestinian terrorist named Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri had triggered a powerful bomb that was hidden in his guitar case, which was also packed with nails, nuts and bolts in order to cause maximum damage.

Fifteen people were killed in the blast, eight of them children, and 130 more people were wounded. Malki Roth was a teenager so thoughtful and loving that she often helped her mother care for her handicapped sibling. And Judith Greenbaum, an only child who arrived in Israel with her husband as part of her graduate studies, who was five months pregnant at the time. Another four US citizens – David Danzig, Matthew Gordon, Joanne Nachenberg and Sara Nachenberg – were wounded. To this day, Joanne Nachenberg remains in a vegetative state.

Ahlam Tamimi, a Palestinian Arab citizen of Jordan, was the terrorist planner of this operation. She was a 20-year-old student at the time and a supporter of Hamas. Tamimi had even accompanied the suicide bomber there, leaving just before the blast. We know all of this because Tamimi has brazenly bragged about it time and time again, in television and radio interviews, many of which come up in a simple Google search. 

Tamimi has spoken about how she spent nine days looking for the perfect place to maximize deaths, how disappointed she initially was when it was first reported that there were only a few deaths, and how important it was to her and the bomber that religious Jews be in the blast area. In all her videos she expressed delight at her actions. In one particularly chilling video, Tamimi was asked if she knew how many children she killed. Her response was “three,” and when she was corrected with the true number – eight – a huge, self-satisfied smile crossed her face.

In late 2002, Tamimi was sentenced by an Israeli court to 16 multiple sentences for her part in this massacre. However, on October 19, 2011, she, together with 1,026 other terrorists, were traded for Gilad Schalit, the Israeli soldier held by Hamas.
When Ahlam Tamimi was released she was deported to Jordan, where she received a hero’s welcome. As a terrorist, she received money from the Palestinian Authority, at least $52,681, under the “pay-for-slay” program. The Hamas television station Al-Quds gave Tamimi her own television show, which aired every Friday and, until recently, was broadcast around the world. She married her cousin, Nazir Tamimi, who also had been serving time in an Israeli prison for killing an Israeli citizen, and who also was released in exchange for Gilad Schalit. Their wedding was broadcast throughout the Arab world.

For decades, we at the Endowment for Middle East Truth have worked exhaustedly to get justice for the families of the Americans killed and wounded in Israel and the disputed territories by Palestinian terrorists like Ahlam Tamimi. We have successfully worked with Congress on multiple letters to the Department of Justice, and twice inspired hearings on the subject. At the second hearing, Arnold Roth, the father of Malki, was brought in to testify. At that hearing, for the first time ever, Brad Wiegmann, the deputy assistant attorney-general in the National Security Division, who supervises these prosecutions, was called to account for the DOJ’s lack of prosecution and was forced to provide a future report to the subcommittee.

Largely because it is so egregious, there has been some progress in the Tamimi case. In 2013, after the congressional letters, Tamimi was indicted by the Obama administration, and her extradition was requested from Jordan. In 2017, after the hearings, the indictment was made public by the Trump administration. But the Jordanian government has refused to extradite Tamimi, claiming there is no valid extradition treaty with the US. They refused, even though the US and Jordan signed an extradition treaty in 1995 that the State Department and the DOJ still recognize as valid. They refused even though in 1995, in 2006 and in 2015, Jordan extradited three criminal terrorists to the US that were wanted there. And they refused even though the Jordanian government receives more than a billion dollars a year in aid from the US

This injustice cannot be allowed to stand.

Ahlam Tamimi is a brutal terrorist murderer who has killed and wounded American citizens. She has reveled in her crimes and urged others to follow in her footsteps. Letting her live unmolested, celebrated and financially rewarded in Jordan is obscene. If the US needs to punish the man Mohammed Bin Salman who planned the murder of US resident Jamal Khashoggi, and the nation Saudi Arabia that protects him, then our nation should also punish Ahlam Tamimi who killed and wounded US citizens, and Jordan, the nation that is protecting her. Justice demands nothing less.

Originally published at: https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/When-diplomacy-interferes-with-justice-574420

Read More →

When Diplomacy Interferes With Justice

The murder of Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents has dominated foreign policy news for months. Prominent members of Congress are increasingly upset that the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia has interfered with the rigorous pursuit of justice for Khashoggi. After all, they argue, Jamal Khashoggi was a US resident, so there should be consequences for the man who, according to the CIA, planned his murder – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman – the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia. Many of these members of Congress also argue that Khashoggi’s murder is so serious that the strong, longtime, US-Saudi relationship must be re-evaluated if there is no justice.

But the Khashoggi case is hardly unique. In fact, there is a similar, but far more serious, situation that resulted in the deaths of two American citizens and the wounding of several others. This occurred on August 9, 2001, when a Sbarro Pizzeria in Jerusalem was pulverized by a suicide bomber.

On that day, Malki Roth, a 15-year-old girl; Judith Greenbaum, a pregnant 31-year-old woman; other American citizens; and many Israelis went to the Sbarro Pizzeria to enjoy some American-style pizza. The Pizzeria, on Ben Yehuda Street, was one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in Jerusalem and was a popular place, especially for families with children. At approximately 2 p.m., at the height of the lunch hour, a blast went off. A Palestinian terrorist named Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri had triggered a powerful bomb that was hidden in his guitar case, which was also packed with nails, nuts and bolts in order to cause maximum damage.

Fifteen people were killed in the blast, eight of them children, and 130 more people were wounded. Malki Roth was a teenager so thoughtful and loving that she often helped her mother care for her handicapped sibling. And Judith Greenberg, an only child who arrived in Israel with her husband as part of her graduate studies, who was five months pregnant at the time. Another four US citizens – David Danzig, Matthew Gordon, Joanne Nachenberg and Sara Nachenberg – were wounded. To this day, Joanne Nachenberg remains in a vegetative state.

Ahlam Tamimi, a Palestinian Arab citizen of Jordan, was the terrorist planner of this operation. She was a 20-year-old student at the time and a supporter of Hamas. Tamimi had even accompanied the suicide bomber there, leaving just before the blast. We know all of this because Tamimi has brazenly bragged about it time and time again, in television and radio interviews, many of which come up in a simple Google search.

Tamimi has spoken about how she spent nine days looking for the perfect place to maximize deaths, how disappointed she initially was when it was first reported that there were only a few deaths, and how important it was to her and the bomber that religious Jews be in the blast area. In all her videos she expressed delight at her actions. In one particularly chilling video, Tamimi was asked if she knew how many children she killed. Her response was “three,” and when she was corrected with the true number – eight – a huge, self-satisfied smile crossed her face.

In late 2002, Tamimi was sentenced by an Israeli court to 16 multiple sentences for her part in this massacre. However, on October 19, 2011, she, together with 1,026 other terrorists, were traded for Gilad Schalit, the Israeli soldier held by Hamas.

 

When Ahlam Tamimi was released she was deported to Jordan, where she received a hero’s welcome. As a terrorist, she received money from the Palestinian Authority, at least $52,681, under the “pay-for-slay” program. The Hamas television station Al-Quds gave Tamimi her own television show, which aired every Friday and, until recently, was broadcast around the world. She married her cousin, Nazir Tamimi, who also had been serving time in an Israeli prison for killing an Israeli citizen, and who also was released in exchange for Gilad Schalit. Their wedding was broadcast throughout the Arab world.For decades, we at the Endowment for Middle East Truth have worked exhaustedly to get justice for the families of the Americans killed and wounded in Israel and the disputed territories by Palestinian terrorists like Ahlam Tamimi. We have successfully worked with Congress on multiple letters to the Department of Justice, and twice inspired hearings on the subject. At the second hearing, Arnold Roth, the father of Malki, was brought in to testify. At that hearing, for the first time ever, Brad Wiegmann, the deputy assistant attorney-general in the National Security Division, who supervises these prosecutions, was called to account for the DOJ’s lack of prosecution and was forced to provide a future report to the subcommittee.

Largely because it is so egregious, there has been some progress in the Tamimi case. In 2013, after the congressional letters, Tamimi was indicted by the Obama administration, and her extradition was requested from Jordan. In 2017, after the hearings, the indictment was made public by the Trump administration. But the Jordanian government has refused to extradite Tamimi, claiming there is no valid extradition treaty with the US. They refused, even though the US and Jordan signed an extradition treaty in 1995 that the State Department and the DOJ still recognize as valid. They refused even though in 1995, in 2006 and in 2015, Jordan extradited three criminal terrorists to the US that were wanted there. And they refused even though the Jordanian government receives more than a billion dollars a year in aid from the US

This injustice cannot be allowed to stand.

Ahlam Tamimi is a brutal terrorist murderer who has killed and wounded American citizens. She has reveled in her crimes and urged others to follow in her footsteps. Letting her live unmolested, celebrated and financially rewarded in Jordan is obscene. If the US needs to punish the man Mohammed Bin Salman who planned the murder of US resident Jamal Khashoggi, and the nation Saudi Arabia that protects him, then our nation should also punish Ahlam Tamimi who killed and wounded US citizens, and Jordan, the nation that is protecting her. Justice demands nothing less.

Sarah N. Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth. Adam Turner is its general counsel & legislative affairs director.

Originally published at: https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/When-diplomacy-interferes-with-justice-574420
Read More →

The State Department Should Stop Undermining the Rights of U.S. Victims of PLO/PA Terrorism

By Mark Sokolow

Photo: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

President Trump signed the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) on October 3, 2018, to restore rights of U.S. terror victims over the PLO and Palestinian Authority. The Presi- dent did the right thing when he signed it. But now the State Department is asking Congress to delay the law the President signed. The Administration should put a stop to this madness.

Congress passed the Anti-Terrorism Act in 1992 to give U.S. citizens the right to bring civil cases against terrorists who attack them overseas. Every prior Republican Administration since 1991 has supported the Anti-Terrorism Act as serving vital national security interests, in- cluding in lawsuits against the PLO and PA. Up until 2015 the PLO and PA were repeatedly held liable for terror attacks against Americans, and they paid off hundreds of millions of dollars of judgments in favor of US families.

In Sokolow v. PLO, some 40 U.S. citizens sued the PLO and the PA for orchestrating and executing terror attacks in Israel, causing deaths and catastrophic injuries. In 2015, a jury found the PLO and PA liable, awarding a judgment of $655M. But in 2016 the Second Circuit re- versed, holding that the law of personal jurisdiction allowed these terrorists to avoid accountabil- ity in the U.S. courts.

Congress passed the ATCA in response. Senator Grassley introduced the ATCA to reit- erate “Congress’s original intent that terrorist groups and their supporters be brought to justice in U.S. Courts, regardless of where the attacks occurred.” The ATCA was supported by the pro- Israel community from AIPAC to ZOA. Congress followed regular order with hearings in both Chambers. The bill was vetted by the DNI and other Administration officials before being passed unanimously in both Chambers as a stand alone bill. It was signed by the President after due consideration. It says that if the PLO or PA accept U.S. foreign assistance, they are deemed to consent to jurisdiction in civil Anti-Terrorism Act cases. The law takes effect January 31.

The ATCA restored the status quo for anti-terror cases against the PLO and PA. It is one of dozens of laws conditioning US assistance to the PA on compliance with anti-terror promises, including the Taylor Force Act.

The State Department currently oversees more than a dozen programs that benefit the PA, including training, construction, and provision of equipment. The PA relies on these programs for its own security. The State Department is arguing that the PA will cut off all these programs and existing ties with the US if Congress does not delay the law.

Congress should do no such thing. Congress made a simple policy decision. If the PA wants American assistance, it has to do so on the understanding that it will be held accountable for terror attacks that took American lives and caused severe injuries.

State Department officials are arguing that the PA will make a “rational” economic deci- sion to stop taking U.S. assistance if it will cost the PA money in the form of judgments in favor of terror victims. That is simplistic thinking, as the PA makes many decisions for political rea- sons rather than economic reasons—like paying hundreds of millions of dollars to reward terror- ists for murdering civilians instead of stopping that outrageous policy, which would free up hun- dreds of millions of dollars withheld from the PA under the Taylor Force Act. Of course, if the PA values avoiding its just debts for murdering Americans more than it values its security assis- tance from the United States, perhaps that means something important for U.S. policy.

Just as the President signed the Taylor Force Act, which is costing the PA hundreds of millions of dollars every single year, the Administration should stand firm with US victims of Palestinian terror and support the ATCA, which the President signed two months ago. The State Department should stop undermining the clear message sent by President Trump when he signed the ATCA.

Mark Sokolow is the lead plaintiff in Sokolow v. PLO, in which the PLO and PA were found liable for orchestrating and executing terror attacks in Israel that killed Americans. Mark, a lawyer and native New Yorker, survived the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and then a suicide terror attack four months later in Jerusalem, Israel.

Read More →

Out of Respect for the Dead

The dead have not all been buried. Yet, they have been used as cudgels for partisan political attacks.  Immediately after the ghastly attack on worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the single most horrific anti-Semitic attack in US history.

I would like to make one simple request: Out of respect for the dead, please refrain from the temptation of using this tragedy as a club with which to bludgeon one’s political opponents.

No matter how passionately you might feel about the moral rectitude of your own personal political party over the other.

It is time to focus on healing. Focus on what we can do to heal a scarred, fractured nation, and a scared, fractured people.

We Jews felt we have finally come to a place we can call home, where we can plant our trees, nurture them and let them  blossom on fertile soil. That it could never happen here.

And then it happened here. In ironically, The Tree of life Synagogue.

We are still recoiling from the fact that our sacred space has been invaded. The place we go to strengthen our collective identity, our history and our faith; where we turn to in times of personal crisis, sorrow and joy, has been invaded and  turned into a killing field by this wretched imitation of a human being, Robert Bowers.

As soon as this odious event hit the news, the most frequent response I heard was “Donald Trump set the tone for this.”

By laying the blame on someone else’s door, it takes  personal agency away from where it directly belongs, on the murderer himself, Robert Bowers,  the heinous act and the heinous screed of Nazism which he represents.

This, despite the fact that President Trump’s response to this was immediate and unequivocal, calling it “devastating” and laying bare “the hatred in this country”.

This, despite the fact that President Trump, at an Illinois rally, called this an anti-Semitic act, and “an attack on all of us”, to rousing applause.

This, despite the fact that Robert Bowers, himself, said he did not vote for Donald Trump, or never, “owned, worn or even touched” a “Make America Great Again” hat.

Yes, there are repulsive anti-Semites within the fringes of both parties, lurking among the shadows of the internet. The simple fact remains that within the extremes of both tents, our people are not welcome.

A simple google search to the Southern Poverty Law Center website reveals  the bone-chilling fact that there are a plethora of neo-Nazi groups in this country, and these are the classic, right wing anti-Semites, whom one might well suspect that, as individuals, probably feel more comfortable within the republican party.

Yet, the most recent Pew Poll of January 2018 says that an overwhelming majority of republicans as opposed to democrats, support Israel over the Palestinians. The hiatus is staggering, with 79 % of republicans supporting Israel over the Palestinians, and 27% of democrats.

That is Israel– the only explicitely Jewish state—home for more Jews, 6.5 million, than anywhere else on earth.

Within the current House races there are some ominous signs.

In Minnesota’s 5th Congressional district, a Somali born candidate, Ilham Omar is running on the democratic ticket.  She recently said , “I am just someone who is a public servant working to create a better society who just happens to be a Muslim refuge”, yet , on November 16, 2012 she tweeted “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them to see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine  #Israel”

In New York’s 14th Congressional District,  democratic candidate Alexandria Occasio-Cortez has called Israel’s defensive actions on the border of Gaza, where Hamas terrorists are trying to infiltrate Israel with the expressed intent  of murdering as many Israelis as possible, “a massacre”, and has asked “Where is the outrage?”, before admitting that “I am not an expert on the issue.”

Rashida Tlaib, the democratic candidate in Michigan’s 13th   district, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, has vowed that she will “absolutely” vote against any military aid to Israel.

However, when one expresses legitimate concern over these statements, one is immediately and conveniently accused of being “Islamophobic”, the ultimate conversation stopper.

Unfortunately, according to the ADL anti-Semitism acts were up by 57% in 2017, over 2016. Most attacks are occurring on college campuses, with a 50% spike in K through 12 schools and on college campuses.

Anti-Semitism is a very virulent virus, for which there is no known antidote, and which has found a welcome home within the extremes of both political parties.

And the leaders of both political parties have a moral imperative to call it out when they see it taking root in their midst.

So please, spare me the sanctimonious, one-sided political lectures. The finger pointing must stop.

We need to find messages of unity, of solace and of hope.

We need to remember that the vast majority of Americans are people of good will who would never countenance any act of ant-Semitism, for one nanosecond, and who have sent my people thousands of compassionate messages of friendship, solidarity and support.

We need to remember that most Americans had ancestors who came to these shores in pursuit of the very same thing our fathers and grandfathers sought: religious freedom. And that religious liberty is one of the core principles upon which this great nation was founded.

Let’s try to use this time to concentrate on what unites us, as a people, which is far greater than what has ever divided us.

Sarah N. Stern is Founder and President of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, an unabashedly pro-Israel and pro-American think tank and policy institute in Washington, DC.

Read More →