The sole Jewish State is unique in many ways. One situation that causes constant strain is that it is surrounded by armed terrorist groups.
To the north is Hezbollah in Lebanon. According to recent reports, the Iranian-backed terrorist group “currently possesses between 120,000-140,000 short-range rockets (range of 25-28 miles), which cover Israel’s north, including Haifa Bay and Tiberias; several thousand medium-range rockets (range of 56 miles), which can reach the Sharon coastal plain and northern suburbs of Gush Dan; and several hundred long-range rockets and missiles (range of hundreds of miles), including Scud missiles from Syrian military warehouses, capable of hitting targets anywhere in Israel.“
To the west is the terrorist enclave of Gaza. The terrorist group Hamas has launched several wars against Israel since taking over the region.
In the east, Israel has to face Hamas as well, which has significant support in Areas A and B of the West Bank. Palestinians maintain that the best way of dealing with Israel is through armed conflict, and support a number of Palestinian terrorist groups which operate both west and east of Israel including: Palestine Liberation Front (PLF); Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ); Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP); PFLP-General Command (PFLP-GC); Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMB); and Army of Islam (AOI).
To the south, there is another terrorist group that operates out of the Sinai Peninsula called Wilayat Sinai, or ISIS in the Sinai. They have been fighting both Egypt and Israel.
Wilayat Sinai began in 2011 around the time of the “Arab Spring” under the name Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, before pledging its allegiance to the Islamic State in 2014 as that group was gaining prominence and then change its name. Like many of the terrorist groups in the region, it’s banner is jihad and the imposition of Islamic Sharia law throughout the region.
Wilayat’s main target is the Egyptian government which is viewed as too secular. Not only did Egypt make peace with Israel, but it actively opposes the Muslim Brotherhood.
The group stepped up its attacks against Egypt in 2014 when Abdul Fattah al-Sisi ascended to power after forcing out Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. With the support of Israel, al-Sisi began to clamp down on the smuggling tunnels between Sinai and Gaza which were instrumental in the Hamas war against Israel in that year. Israel would go on to allow Egypt to expand its military presence in the Sinai, above the limits set in place by the 1979 Peace Agreement. By 2018, 42,000 Egyptian soldiers were in the Sinai.
In February of that year, al-Sisi launched an aggressive “Operation Sinai 2018” campaign against Wilayat Sinai with Israeli support. The actions severely curtailed the groups ability to operate.
In 2011, attackers from Sinai – including some terrorists from Gaza – shot and killed Israelis near the resort city of Eilat. In 2012, rockets were fired into Eilat and later that year armed men from Hamas and Wilayat Sinai killed Egyptian soldiers and attacked Israeli Defense Forces at the Kerem Shalom Crossing near Gaza. The group would fire more rockets into Israel in 2017.
While Hamas gets most of the attention because of its vile anti-Semitic foundational charter and persistent attacks against Israel, the Jewish State is completely surrounded by terrorist groups and state sponsors of terrorism. While each has a different take on the goals of imposing Sharia law and establishing a caliphate, they all seek a purely Islamic region and an end to the Jewish State.
There were three epicenters of the terrorists attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001: New York City; the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.; and a field in Pennsylvania which took the place of the U.S. Capitol Building due to the efforts of heroes aboard an ill-fated flight. The jihadists attacks on the hearts of America’s financial, military and political centers was deliberate, evil and immediate. The ramifications reverberated in the years that followed.
I worked across the street from New York City’s World Trade Centers in 2001 and the impact on me was direct.
I first felt the vocal rumblings of 9/11 during the prior week. I spent Labor Day weekend in New York City while most of the city’s residents were on vacation. As I picked up some late night foods at the Fairway market on the Upper West Side, I stood on line behind a woman who was nearly blind, who I guessed hailed from Pakistan. She talked for some time to the cashier, a much younger man, about how everything was about to change forever and that the world would finally wake up. The conversation made me extremely uneasy and I relayed to my wife how I had suddenly felt like a vulnerable minority in New York for the first time.
That sense of dread gained credence as news trickled in from the weeklong UN-sponsored Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa which ended on September 8. Rather than serve as an opportunity to address xenophobia and racism’s oldest form – anti-Semitism – the conference twisted the notions of “colonialism”, “imperialism”, and rights of “indigenous peoples” as condemning articles against Israel, labeling it as an “apartheid” state, in a slur to resuscitate the UN’s 1975 “Zionism is Racism” resolution.
On the morning of Monday, September 10th, I boarded a flight bound for Kansas City for business. As the plane pulled away from the gate, it clipped the wing of a plane parked next to it in a freak accident, grounding both planes. Instead of having a full day meeting in KC and then continuing on to a conference in San Diego, I ended up spending the day and the next in New York, and planned on flying out to California late on 11th.
As it turned out, staying home on the 11th allowed me to vote during the New York Democratic primary. I voted for whoever was running against Mark Green and then walked to the Broadway and 72nd street subway station to head to my office downtown. I boarded the number 2 express train which would take me on my regular route to Chambers Street before switching to the 1 train for one stop to Cortland St. That train station was under the World Trade Center and I would normally walk out one of the corridors to my office at 130 Liberty Street, a 39-story tower known as the the Deutsche Bank Building, sometime around 9:00am each weekday. I was running slightly later that day because of my morning visit to the polling station.
A woman on the subway said in a loud voice that filled the subway car, that she heard that a plane just hit the World Trade Center. I worked on the 30th floor of the Deutsche Bank building facing south towards the Statue of Liberty and would often see planes flying up the Hudson River, sometimes seemingly way too low. I assumed one of those flights lost control and hit one of the tall towers. Before the subway doors closed, I switched to the local train to work out of the firm’s midtown office on 52nd street to avoid the craziness of the incident.
When I emerged from the 50th Street subway stop a short time later, a Black middle-aged woman walking on Broadway said to me that she just heard that both towers were hit. I replied that I heard that a plane hit one tower and she said “no, it’s both of them.” I ran to my office where there were a number of colleagues already standing and watching the television screen that was suspended from the ceiling. We would watch it for a few hours as the towers came crashing down to our utter shock. As we stared, people from our downtown office started to arrive in that midtown location. One of them was a former marine who said he had never seen anything like what he had just witnessed as he fell into my arms, exhausted. He said the sound of bodies popping as they hit the pavement as they jumped from the burning buildings would never leave his mind.
By early afternoon people began to head home, if they could, as the transportation system came to a halt. I walked towards my apartment and stopped for lunch at a pizza store named Pizza Cave on 72nd Street between Broadway and West End Avenue. I saw a friend who was shaken up by the events and had no way of getting home to Riverdale in the Bronx. He came to my apartment and hung out until he was able to figure out a way home.
After he left, I grabbed a video camera and headed with my wife and two young kids to Riverside Park. Hundreds of people went out to the pier that stretched into the Hudson River to watch dozens of ambulances race down the west side highway towards the giant cloud coming from downtown Manhattan. People stared overhead to see military aircraft race across the skies of New York City. Some just sat in the warm September sun.
The days that followed in New York were not moments of coming together as described by politicians today but a range of manifestations from post-traumatic stress disorder. I was glued to the television set so purchased a second one so my children could keep watching their kids shows. Everyone in the city talked about taping up their windows as the smell of ash, smoke and unknown scents hung over the city. People put up posters of “missing” family members all over walls of buildings, even though everyone understood they were dead in the rubble.
The days turned to weeks as people learned who died from their firms and apartment buildings.
The South Tower fell into my office building, shearing the entire front of the building and the debris filled the first floors, killing the security guard. One of the junior people on my team was allowed to go into the building in full hazmat attire to retrieve a handful of items left behind. He brought me back a cookie jar with my kids handprints and footprints which my wife had given me a few months earlier for Father’s Day. The tefillin from my bar mitzvah, which I kept in my desk drawer for situations when I worked late or needed to fly somewhere last minute did not make it out. The building was ultimately demolished in 2011, almost ten years after the attacks because human remains continued to be discovered as they methodically removed one floor at a time.
During those initial weeks, I would stop on various Manhattan streets to watch ceremonies of firefighters honoring the memories of fallen colleagues who died in their attempts to rescue people from the towers. The whole city felt a huge debt to these heroes who did their best to save hundreds of people. I would have personal encounters with some of those people in the following years.
The Diameter of 9/11
The Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai’s poem “The Diameter of the Bomb,” captures the essence of people and places impacted by destruction beyond those in the immediate vicinity of the blast radius. The diameter of the 9/11 attacks covered the entire planet.
On a personal level, my work relocated to Baltimore for several months after the attacks. The Amtrak train ride to the city was loaded with tension of people shuttling between the epicenters of New York and Washington. I recall the voices of riders expressing their disgust with members of Congress standing on the steps of the Capitol in a canned photo op, as people noted it was those very people who had failed to protect America.
About two and a half years after the attacks, I sold my Upper West Side apartment to a 9/11 widow. She had lost her firefighter husband on that dreadful day, and then married his best friend, also a firefighter. Her new husband divorced his wife a year after the attacks, and this new couple opted to start a new life together in my old home, with the help of millions of dollars she received as compensation for the bravery of her deceased spouse.
Thousands of additional people would die in the “global war on terror (GWOT)” and the “wars of terror (WofT)” in the months and years ahead.
The United States enlisted dozens of countries to help fight the scourge of Islamic extremist violence, principally in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also in Libya, Nigeria and Somalia. As the GWOT fought on, the WofT hit England, France, Spain and Israel, as genocidal jihadists continued to fight perceived infidels. Sometimes the WofT attacks were on a large scale, like the 2004 Madrid bombings, while at other times it was personal, like the beheading of the Jewish Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002.
After the relief from the assassination of Osama bin Laden in 2011, the global fear of extremist Islamic terrorism came to the fore again in 2014 and 2015 when a new brand of radicals – ISIS – showed shocking videos of its members burning people alive and decapitating them. It declared a new Islamic caliphate in Syria and Iraq as it sought to reverse “western imperialism” which divided the Ottoman Empire after World War I. Islamic radicals went on to kill cartoonists and Jews in Paris, France in January 2015; celebrants of Bastille Day in Nice in July 2016 and hundreds in London and Manchester, England throughout 2016 and 2017.
While new epicenters emerged, the mayhem largely stayed off of American shores.
Twenty years after the infamous attacks, America pulled its troops from Afghanistan and prays that the silence from the paucity of successful jihadi attacks in the United States, continues.
But in that silence, a drumbeat of new local jihadists on America’s college campuses and the halls of Congress, echo the sentiments of al Qaeda and ISIS.
Professors from Rutgers University and San Francisco State marked the 20th anniversary of the slaughter of innocent Americans with a forum that blamed the original attacks and the responding war on terror on the false idea of “US and Israeli exceptionalism” and promoted the absurd notion that each country needed a new adversary after the fall of the Soviet Union, so they manufactured Islam as the new bogeyman. One speaker said that “For me, the horror wasn’t 911 itself, which I experienced back when I was living in North Carolina. For me the horror was George W. Bush’s speech, I found his speech to be completely horrific, because here he was openly declaring, quote, forever wars.” In short, the murder of nearly 3,000 innocent Americans did not bother the professor as much as the advance of “American imperialism” against Islamic countries, now under the guise of a “war on terror.”
Those same outrageous chants are now heard repeatedly in Congress, with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) decrying the United States’ “western imperialism” and claiming that the U.S. and Israel foster racism for profit. The talking points of the Durban Conference, al Qaeda and ISIS are coalescing and becoming embedded in left-wing America.
On 9/11/01, Islamic extremists killed thousands of innocent civilians in the United States, vandalized America’s skyline and instilled a deep fear of their disregard for human life, in what President Obama referred to as an “evil ideology“, copied by a variety of jihadists groups. Those Islamic groups are fighting the wounds from end of World War I, which they perceive as western powers defeating the Islamic Ottoman Empire, carving it up in the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 and inserting a colonial beachhead of Jews in Palestine with the Balfour Declaration of 1917. They are slowly gathering support for their cause against “western imperialism” and “Zionism” as they muster influence in the west.
The scars of 9/11 may have healed for some, making it easier to consider that the need for a global war on terror should come to an end. But the jihadist war is only entering its next phase, as it enlists westerners to undermine its own interests and values.
Today marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, when well over 150,000 men hit the beaches of Normandy to turn back the barbaric Nazi regime. Roughly 19,000 men lost their lives in that invasion, meant to stop the German killing machine.
The Allied forces came from many countries. They had watched the white supremacists slaughtering other white people all over Europe, taking over more and more territory as they attempted to build their Empire. There were stories of the Germans liquidating Jews wherever they found them which many found hard to believe. But the videos they saw of the people of London cowering in bomb shelters and the underground to avoid the aerial bombardment felt real and relatable. The Allies moved into action.
At great sacrifice, thousands upon thousands of young people lost their lives to redeem the western world they had known. A world of liberty and freedom.
It took a full robust attack on Germany – not just against the soldiers, but the entire war machine – to end the nightmare. The British and Americans dropped so many bombs on the city of Dresden in February 1945 that a firestorm blazed for three days which engulfed the city and killed an estimated 25,000 people. There may not be a 75th anniversary memorial in Dresden in eight months, but the decimation of a city was also part of turning back the evil tide.
In all, the Nazi menace was thwarted. The citizens of London came out from their shelters to sunshine. The partisans of France returned from the forests. The people of the Netherlands took back their country.
But the Jews, the Jews were decimated. Ezekiel’s valleys of dry bones were covered in massive graves, sprinkled with the ashes of Jews incinerated in crematoria.
ISIS. The Nightmare of the Caliphate
Mankind’s pathology for hatred runs deep.
Not 100 years later, a similar sickness would take over Muslims in the Middle East. Known by a variety of names in including ISIS, ISIL and Daesh, the Islamic State sought to restore a Muslim Caliphate throughout the region. They mostly slaughtered other Muslims who did not adhere to their strict version of the religion and destroyed people of other faiths including the Yazidis mercilessly.
The radical Islamic killing machine was proud of its accomplishments. It filmed the decapitation of people and setting fire to prisoners in cages. The Islamists would then post the videos online to share with the world in the hopes of instilling fear in their enemies and winning recruits from their supporters.
A new coalition came together to turn back this evil in 2014. The United States once again led the charge, assembling countries which fought in Europe during World War II, but also local Muslim countries from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The Islamic State’s emerging Caliphate was defeated as they lost city after city to the coalition. The Muslim fighters have mostly scattered and gone underground. Perhaps they will face justice if the world fashions a force like the Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. Or perhaps they will simply emerge as terrorists in other countries.
The buildings in Iraq and Syria are pockmarked with the scars of wars, both against ISIS, as well as recent wars in Iraq with Iran, Kuwait and the United States, and in Syria’s own civil war. The Christian, Yazidi, Kurdish and Jewish populations which lived throughout the region have been decimated. Many of those communities will never return.
The Allied Forces remained in Germany, as they did in Japan after the war. They would impose many restrictions on the countries as they also tried to rehabilitate the infrastructure and economy based on democracy and freedom. And they would impose restrictions on the spread of hateful ideology in an effort to stem a rise of Nazi Party 2.0.
While ISIS has been defeated, the same radical ideology lives on. The Taliban of Afghanistan is still a killing machine. Iran has infiltrated Iraq, Syria and Yemen and has its affiliates in Hezbollah in Lebanon dominating much of the country. A Shia Caliphate in the making. ISIS 2.0.
The Nazis took power of Germany in 1933 and formed its alliance with Austria in 1938 and began invading countries and slaughtering Jews en masse the following year. It took another five years for the world to react and defeat the German army. It would take many more years to squash the Aryan ideology.
Radical Islamists slaughtered thousands of people in the United States on September 11, 2001 and proudly decapitated a Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in February 2002. ISIS emerged in the defeated plains of Iraq and Syria and the upheaval of the “Arab Spring” which began in 2010. The world reacted, but very slowly and locally.
The world is debating and dithering regarding an ongoing confrontation with radical Islam. It considers whether forces should remain in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan. It has allowed Iran to maintain its entire nuclear infrastructure and provided a pathway to legally build nuclear weapons within a decade. It spends more time discussing “Islamophobia” than defeating the hateful radical Islamist ideology.
And the alt-left voices urging to end the fight against radical Islam have grown louder.
Niche or National?
No one ever claimed that all white people were Nazis in the 1940’s and no one claims that all Muslims are radical Islamists today. Or do they?
Today’s left-wing fringe has pushed forward the notion that all white people have “white privilege” and have special inherent advantages in western society. They argue that the “patriarchy” has dominated the legal structure of society and have instituted laws enabling “white supremacy” to become the norm. They have argued that all white people suffer from racism. Only white people. And yes, all of them.
Curiously, these intersectional radicals who label white people indiscriminately, are pushing the notion that “Islamophobia” has taken over white society. They repeat the phrase to hammer their thesis that white people are racists. But their blanket claims of all consuming white nationalist hate are untrue.
All white people are not racists and all Muslims are not radicals. Hatred exists in society, but typically at the fringes, in niche groups with deplorable attitudes.
European countries, alarmed by the mass influx of Muslim refugees, are enacting laws to make it harder for them to enter and live in the country. They are electing governments committed to stop the “invasion.”
The leading candidates vying to become the Democratic Party’s nominee for the presidency trip over themselves to either portray themselves as non-White (Elizabeth Warren) or apologize for being white as they genuflect to an alt-left base which is anti-white or apologetically-white.
People in the streets of Europe have no qualms yelling once again that “Hitler was right” when they protest Israel’s defensive battles, or in the streets of the United States that “Jews will not replace us,” when they’re concerned that Jewish agencies are facilitating the entry of Muslim refugees. Muslim leaders in the United States take the podium to address thousands of people and state that Jews are “termites” and that “there’s nothing creepier than Zionism.” The streets of London and New York and college campuses have people calling to destroy the Jewish State, while the leaders in Iran state that they will destroy the “Zionist entity.”
Anti-white, anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish voices are loud, public and echoed in parliaments and universities. Each is waiting for the other to back down or run recklessly into or from battle.
The world came together 75 years ago to turn back hate that had metastasized into consuming a country and a powerful army bent on taking over a continent. While it took far too long to get there, the forces of good eventually won.
The forces of good have similarly defeated ISIS just now, but remain caught up in debates about confronting the radical Islamist ideology. How can there be any debate about enabling a country like Iran obtaining nuclear weapons? How do we allow people who call for violent jihad in the streets to roam the hallways of universities instead of the confines of a prison cell?
American forces helped the people of London emerge from their bomb shelters 75 years ago, but the people of Israel still live with bomb shelters in every home and hotel, because neither they nor the world will forcefully defeat the ideology and power of radical Islam in the same manner it was willing to confront the Nazis.
Bomb shelter in a luxury hotel in Tel Aviv (photo: First.One.Through)
The world effectively routed Nazi Germany. Will it do the same against radical Islam? If it lets the radical left sideline a mission only half-way complete with charges of “Islamophobia” and “white supremacy,” much of the western world will eventually resemble an Israeli society living with bomb shelters within reach.
There have been many protests launched against President Trump’s Executive Order slowing the number of refugees coming to the United States from particular war-torn countries. People have debated about whether the EO was specifically targeting Muslims as each of the seven countries on the list were Muslim-majority countries. Democratic politicians have called out Trump as being “backward and nasty.”
First a review of the countries not impacted by Trump’s EO.
The United States has been battling in Afghanistan since the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. Thousands of people have been killed and many more injured and displaced as the USA fought to eliminate al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
From 2002 through 2016, the US allowed 14,072 refugees into the USA. The annual average under Bush was 966 people per year, slightly higher than the 913 average under Obama.
There were no protests that not enough people fleeing the war were let into America.
Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon
Boko Haram launched numerous attacks in the Lake Chad Basin for several years. The United States has responded with… allowing almost no refugees into the US.
From 2002 through 2016, the USA permitted a total of 557 refugees from the three countries confronting terrorism combined. President Bush allowed an annual average of 49 refugees, about twice the annual average of 27 under Obama. The large difference was mostly due to the discrepancy in how each administration treated Nigeria, with Obama only allowing an average of 3 people per year, compared to 34 by the Bush administration.
Ethiopia and Kenya
While the majority of the attacks by the terrorist group al-Shabaab occurred in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya have also suffered attacks.
Between 2002 and 2016, the USA admitted 14,890 refugees from the two countries, almost all of them from Ethiopia. The Bush administration welcomed an annual average of 1,292 per year, 77% more than the 731 annual average under Obama.
People have questioned why Saudi Arabia – home to 15 of the 19 September 11 terrorists – was not on Trump’s refugee order. In truth, the US barely admits any refugees from the country – a total of 7 people since 2002.
In summary, for seven countries that have been involved in terrorism, the US barely admitted any refugees over the past 15 years. The Obama administration let in many fewer refugees than the Bush administration, even though the terrorism was much more prevalent in the countries over the past eight years than during the Bush years.
And no Americans protested.
So let’s consider the countries in Trump’s Executive Order.
Obama overthrew the Libyan government and then watched as jihadists took over the country; a real moment to celebrate. Not surprisingly, there were no refugees from Libya under Bush (since there was no war or mayhem). However, Obama barely allowed any refugees from the country he actively dismantled – a grand total of 12 people over his eight-year presidency.
Yemen has been in on-and-off again civil war for decades. In recent years, the situation deteriorated as the government fell while Iran and Saudi Arabia engaged in a proxy war to control one of the poorest countries in the world. The US sided with its ally Saudi Arabia in the war, and involved with killing many civilians.
Even while thousands died, the Obama administration only admitted 123 Yemeni refugees over his entire tenure. Bush admitted just 25.
Sudan has suffered from both ongoing civil war and terrorism for a long time and the USA has been more forth-coming granting refugees asylum – a total of 21,180 people since 2002. President Bush welcomed an annual average of 1,678, about 42% more than the 1,179 granted by Obama.
Iran has had a repressive government since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. It remains one of the leading countries that executes gays and one of the only countries that executes minors.
The US has consistently granted asylum to over one thousand refugees from Iran every year. Since 2002, 45,791 refugees have come to America, with an annual average of roughly 3000 per year under both Bush and Obama.
Somalia has been a mess for 30 years, undergoing a variety of civil wars. The unrest was so bad that in 2006, that Ethiopia sent troops in 2006 to help repel the advance of the Islamic Courts Union, which soon splintered into the al-Shabaab terrorist group. Mayhem continues to this day.
The US allowed entry to 100,930 refugees from Somalia from 2002 to 2016; a great number of whom have settled in Minnesota. Both Presidents Bush and Obama allowed roughly 6700 Somalis to enter each year.
The United States entered Iraq shortly after the attacks of 9/11 and overthrew the government. While the long war under Bush finally helped settle the country, the rapid withdrawal under Obama and the decision to not leave any US troops behind led to chaos and the emergence of ISIS.
Over 140,000 refugees have come to the US from Iraq since 2002. The majority have come under the watch of Obama, with over 15,000 coming annually, compared to an average of 2800 under Bush.
Syria has been in a civil war since March 2011, in a war that has killed roughly half a million people.
Before the war began, there were few people fleeing the country, and President Bush admitted about 14 people per year. From 2009 through 2013, the number of refugees welcomed to America barely changed, but gradually increased towards the end of Obama’s presidency, with 249, 2192 and 15,479 coming in 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Aside from the spike of Syrian refugees in 2016, Obama did less for refugees – over a much more tumultuous period – than Bush.
The number of refugees admitted under Bush and Obama were roughly the same, even though the situation for people in the Middle East was much worse since the “Arab Spring” began in early 2011. Further, the terrorist threats from groups like ISIS, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and others grew dramatically during the Obama years. In a time of greater instability and violence, Obama barely acted in providing sanctuary.
But there were no protests in the streets of America to let in more refugees.
Even as millions of refugees fleeing the war-torn countries overwhelmed Europe, Obama did not increase the numbers entering the US until the final two years of his second term- and only for Syria.
Why the lack of protests in the streets of the USA?
Presumably it was because American liberals loved Obama and trusted his liberal instincts. They assumed that he was doing whatever he could – even though it was clear that Europe was doing much, much more than the US in protecting refugees.
Conversely, liberal protesters assume the very worst of President Trump. They have listened to his campaign promises about banning Muslims and concluded that his executive order was really a step to ban all Muslims from entering the US. They have channeled their hatred today in regards to refugees. Yesterday it was for abortion rights. Tomorrow it may be about bank reform.
In other words, the protestors hate Trump much more than they care about refugees. Their protests are masked as concern for the weak and disenfranchised, as it lends a smug self-righteousness to conceal their ugly anger.
It is emotional, not fact-based.
Protestors at JFK Airport January 28, 2017 (photo: Reuters: Stephen Yang)
So why review the facts above? Why combat or discuss #AlternativeFacts or #FakeNews? Americans stopped paying attention to facts long ago and have relied on screaming and sharing their emotions.
It is our new reality, the lack of reality. As conveyed in “Eyes Wide Shut,”
“In a world where facts are extraneous, we are only left with a clash of emotions.”
Propaganda has been an important tool in war efforts for centuries. Today, there is a growing consensus to forcefully confront the people and machinery used to promote terror, as much as the effort to eradicate the terrorists themselves.
Nazi Germany exterminated millions of civilians that it considered undesirable before and during World War II. Historians have long considered the reasons that so many Germans and other Europeans turned on their fellow citizens, and attributed some of the rationale to an effective Nazi propaganda machine.
While Adolf Hitler was the leader of the Nazi Party that led the effort to kill Jews, Gypsies and others, it was his propaganda specialist, Joseph Goebbels, who spearheaded the effort to coopt all Germans and other Europeans to despise and turn in those targeted by the Nazis. Goebbels’ efforts to rally Germans against Jews included actions to make Germans appear as victims after WWI, and to portray Jews as sub-humans that undermined the purity of Aryans. His depictions of Jews in advertisements and film helped deceive the public and sway opinion against the Jews.
Goebbels never stood trial for his actions, as he committed suicide at the end of the war.
Today, the Islamic State / ISIS is considered the most lethal terrorist organization that kills thousands in the Middle East. It has made and released many videos showing its barbarity which it uses to recruit soldiers from around the world.
US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton voiced her concern about the terrorist threat from ISIS in several debates, including its online propaganda:
“We also have to do a better job combating ISIS online, where they recruit, where they radicalize. And I don’t think we’re doing as much as we can. We need to work with Silicon Valley. We need to work with our experts in our government. We have got to disrupt, we have got to take them on in the arena of ideas that, unfortunately, pollute and capture the minds of vulnerable people. So we need to wage this war against ISIS from the air, on the ground, and online, in cyberspace.” September 7, 2016
Those Clinton comments seemed like an online fight: a battle fought on the internet against an online threat.
However, in her comments during the September 26, 2016 debate, Clinton seemed to increase her threat against those involved in making the evil propaganda:
“And I would also do everything possible to take out their leadership. I was involved in a number of efforts to take out Al Qaida leadership when I was secretary of state, including, of course, taking out bin Laden. And I think we need to go after Baghdadi, as well, make that one of our organizing principles. Because we’ve got to defeat ISIS, and we’ve got to do everything we can to disrupt their propaganda efforts online.”
Those comments seemed to convey Clinton’s desire to physically attack those members of ISIS that produce the propaganda. She coupled the assassination of terrorists with the online battle. That was a major ratcheting up of the fight against terrorist propaganda by a politician.
For their part, civilians have taken to the courts to block the spread of terrorist propaganda online. January 2016 saw a suit against Twitter, and in June 2016, Facebook and Google were also sued for airing ISIS videos. These online forums had nothing to do with producing or posting the videos, but were attacked for not taking down the propaganda, thereby allowing the evil messages to spread globally.
The incitement to violence and terrorism is also found in many places beyond social media and Iraq.
In between the first two presidential debates, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the United Nations General Assembly. In his remarks, he noted the disgraceful incitement to terrorism and anti-semitism prevalent in Palestinian Arab society:
“Now here’s the tragedy, because, see, the Palestinians are not only trapped in the past, their leaders are poisoning the future.
I want you to imagine a day in the life of a 13-year-old Palestinian boy, I’ll call him Ali. Ali wakes up before school, he goes to practice with a soccer team named after Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian terrorist responsible for the murder of a busload of 37 Israelis. At school, Ali attends an event sponsored by the Palestinian Ministry of Education honoring Baha Alyan, who last year murdered three Israeli civilians. On his walk home, Ali looks up at a towering statue erected just a few weeks ago by the Palestinian Authority to honor Abu Sukar, who detonated a bomb in the center of Jerusalem, killing 15 Israelis.
When Ali gets home, he turns on the TV and sees an interview with a senior Palestinian official, Jibril Rajoub, who says that if he had a nuclear bomb, he’d detonate it over Israel that very day. Ali then turns on the radio and he hears President Abbas’s adviser, Sultan Abu al-Einein, urging Palestinians, here’s a quote, “to slit the throats of Israelis wherever you find them.” Ali checks his Facebook and he sees a recent post by President Abbas’s Fatah Party calling the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics a “heroic act”. On YouTube, Ali watches a clip of President Abbas himself saying, “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.” Direct quote.
Over dinner, Ali asks his mother what would happen if he killed a Jew and went to an Israeli prison? Here’s what she tells him. She tells him he’d be paid thousands of dollars each month by the Palestinian Authority. In fact, she tells him, the more Jews he would kill, the more money he’d get. Oh, and when he gets out of prison, Ali would be guaranteed a job with the Palestinian Authority.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
All this is real. It happens every day, all the time. Sadly, Ali represents hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children who are indoctrinated with hate every moment, every hour.
This is child abuse.
Imagine your child undergoing this brainwashing. Imagine what it takes for a young boy or girl to break free out of this culture of hate. Some do but far too many don’t. How can any of us expect young Palestinians to support peace when their leaders poison their minds against peace?”
The Palestinian Authority and much of the society is rife with terrorist propaganda.
Did the world listen to Netanyahu’s speech, fact-check his statements and call out the Palestinian Arab vile anti-Semitism and propaganda?
No. It parroted the Palestinian Arab argument about settlements, “The Quartet emphasized its strong opposition to ongoing settlement activity, which is an obstacle to peace, and expressed its grave concern that the acceleration of settlement construction and expansion … (is) steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution.” Nothing about Arab propaganda being an obstacle to peace.
Hateful propaganda leads directly to violence and terrorism. Depending where that propaganda is posted, that message can spread like wildfire globally.
In parts of the world, there are leaders that are willing to step up and fight against the poisonous contagion. Regretfully, not at the United Nations, where its leader, Ban Ki Moon, actively promotes that the terrorist group Hamas should become part of the governing Palestinian Authority.
Perhaps it is time for people to sue the United Nations – just as people are suing Facebook and Twitter – in giving a platform and pass to Palestinian Arab anti-Semitic propaganda.
Many governments are trying to develop legal structures to prevent and punish acts of terrorism. Their proposals and actions would extend to those who have not (yet) committed terrorism in their countries, to those who join terrorist groups such as the Islamic State/ ISIS.
While western European governments consider different ways of inhibiting terrorism and would-be terrorists, rights groups have argued that these steps infringe on an individual’s freedoms. The groups contend that a government should not take punitive actions against a person before they actually commit a wrongful deed.
The governments are seeking a middle ground: not incarcerating a person if they are not found liable of committing a crime, yet still punishing them from embarking on a path towards terrorism. Indeed, prison takes away a person’s freedoms, while withdrawing citizenship removes a person’s rights. Placing a person in jail removes a potential threat; the softer stance of removing citizenship inhibits dangerous associations.
The governments’ course of actions are not without precedent.
The United States has a legal concept called “Civil Death.” A “civil death” essentially strips a person of their rights that are connected to the government. For example, a violent felon would lose:
The right to vote
The ability to hold public office
The ability to be licensed for a business (many businesses require licenses to operate)
Ability to enter contracts or sue in court
The right to obtain insurance or pension
Any and all property
These are no small matters. Such person would not be in prison, but remain very limited in the ability to live, work and function freely in society. The courts effectively rule that if a person has shown a willful intolerance and disdain for society’s rules and laws, they will no longer be protected by those same laws.
Israel has used a similar approach in its ongoing war against terror.
Israel has long struggled with how to deter terrorists. The military reduces acts of terrorism through roadblocks, checkpoints, and barriers, but they do not inhibit a person from considering such action. The difference is significant, particularly for people who are willing to kill themselves in the act of terrorism. There is no jail sentence for a suicide bomber.
Israel has ruled that people who aid and abet violent acts can be found liable, or at least partially liable, for the criminal behavior. Israel has used home demolitions of suicide bombers as a means of punishing the murderer’s family who knowingly enabled the act of terrorism.
IDF demolishing home of Palestinian Arab terrorist (photo: Reuters)
Rights groups have condemned the Israeli policy. They claim that such actions amount to collective punishment against ordinary civilians who did not participate in any crime. That position, while used by B’Tselem broadly, is actually unclear. Not only may the family members be aware of the planned attack, but if the terrorist was the owner of the house, then the government could claim that all such rights to property ownership were null and void the moment the owner committed the terrorist act. As such, the home became government property, which it can handle as it sees fit.
The Israeli government is exploring other punitive acts that are similar to the actions taken by European governments, such as revoking work papers or residency rights for terrorists and those that assist them. Other penalties could be handed down for the “civil dead” should they be found guilty of crimes in the future:
Forfeit any chance for parole
Never be exchanged in a prisoner swap
Governments around the world are investigating ways to slow the tide of would be terrorists. As they do, the various punishments of a civil death will likely be explored in the future.
On December 14, 2015, US President Obama told Americans that “the United States and our Armed Forces continue to lead the global coalition in our mission to destroy the terrorist group ISIL (the Islamic State).” He laid out the ongoing efforts to “destroy” the group in its various facets, including “their fighting positions, bunkers and staging areas; their heavy weapons, bomb-making factories, compounds and training camps.“
He used the word “destroy” five times in the speech.
That address stood in sharp contrast to his detailed comments on fighting “violent extremism.”
On February 18, 2015, Obama penned a piece in the Los Angeles Times called “Our Fight Against Violent Extremism.” He mentioned terrorism and terrorist threats from a range of countries, including: Yemen; Libya; Syria; Iraq; US; Canada; Australia; France; Denmark; Pakistan; Somalia and Nigeria. His plan to deal with the global threat involved several initiatives: “We know that military force alone cannot solve this problem. Nor can we simply take out terrorists who kill innocent civilians. We also have to confront the violent extremists — the propagandists, recruiters and enablers — who may not directly engage in terrorist acts themselves, but who radicalize, recruit and incite others to do so…. Our focus will be on empowering local communities.”
Obama’s plan to fight global violent extremism was broad. Below is a review of Obama’s approach for confronting evil and evil-doers.
Evil to Destroy
President Obama referred to an “evil ideology” when he commented on the murder of American photojournalist Luke Somers. For Obama, the evil of AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) was a “disregard for life” that threated to “harm our [American] citizens.”
Regarding ISIL/ the Islamic State, the evil was described in a similar manner. In November 2015, after attacks in France and Turkey, Obama said “ISIL is the face of evil. Our goal, as I’ve said many times, is to degrade and ultimately destroy this barbaric terrorist organization.” He echoed comments he made with French President Hollande just a few days before when he said “this barbaric terrorist group — ISIL, or Daesh — and its murderous ideology pose a serious threat to all of us. It cannot be tolerated. It must be destroyed.”
Evil had certain traits: barbarity and murder. According to Obama, the root of the evil ideology was to “promote a twisted interpretation of religion that is rejected by the overwhelming majority of the world’s Muslims.”
Particular evil that needed to be destroyed, was evil that threated America, and in some cases, its allies. Other evil could be addressed using other methods.
Consider Obama’s comments over his presidency about his desire to destroy evil. It is limited to two terrorist groups who attacked Americans: al Qaeda and ISIL/ Islamic State.
December 1, 2009: “America, our allies and the world were acting as one to destroy al Qaeda’s terrorist network and to protect our common security.“
March 28, 2010: “Our broad mission is clear: We are going to disrupt and dismantle, defeat and destroy al Qaeda and its extremist allies. That is our mission [in Afghanistan].”
October 29, 2010: “we will continue to strengthen our cooperation with the Yemeni government to disrupt plotting by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and to destroy this al Qaeda affiliate.“
September 10, 2014: “Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”
February 11, 2015: “America’s armed forces are working with some 60 nations to degrade and destroy ISIL, a terrorist group that has committed countless barbaric atrocities and poses a grave threat to the people and territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria, regional stability, and the national security interests of the United States and its allies and partners.”
July 6, 2015: “ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple… Our main objective is to degrade and destroy this group through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.“
Obama discussing anti-Islamic State plan, surrounded by military leaders including Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff on July 6, 2015 (photo: DoD/ Glenn Fawcett)
ISIL/ Islamic State and al Qaeda remain the only groups targeted for destruction by Obama.
There are other groups – and countries – that are barbaric murderous entities which are not in Obama’s crosshairs. They receive Obama’s condemnation and disapproval, but not concerted military attention.
Boko Haram is a barbaric, murderous terrorist group operating in Nigeria. Like the Islamic State, it seeks to install an Islamic country in the place of the Nigerian secular government through a murderous campaign.
Obama has condemned the group’s actions, but remained measured in his call for action:
May 7, 2014 (an offer to help find abducted teenaged girls): “Boko Haram, this terrorist organization that’s been operating in Nigeria, has been killing people and innocent civilians for a very long time. We’ve always identified them as one of the worst local or regional terrorist organizations there is out there…So what we’ve done is we have offered — and it’s been accepted — help from our military and law enforcement officials. We’re going to do everything we can to provide assistance to them. In the short term, our goal obviously is to help the international community and the Nigerian government as a team to do everything we can to recover these young ladies. But we’re also going to have to deal with the broader problem of organizations like this that can cause such havoc in people’s day-to-day lives.” Obama did not offer to help destroy Boko Haram.
March 23, 2015: “Boko Haram, a brutal terrorist group that kills innocent men, women and children must be stopped…. by casting your ballot you can help secure your nation’s progress.” Obama gave no support to destroy the group; he just suggested that Nigerians vote peacefully in elections and the Boko Haram threat would disappear.
July 10, 2015: “[The president of Nigeria is] very concerned about the spread of Boko Haram and the violence that’s taken place there, and the atrocities that they’ve carried out, and has a very clear agenda in defeating Boko Haram and extremists of all sorts inside of his country.” Obama noted the President of Nigeria’s concern, but did not mention his own.
While the evil of Boko Haram and other groups operating in Africa was the same, the Obama Administration would not target the groups for destruction as Americans were not targeted. Obama would only condemn the evil and offer American support:
In Chad: “supportthe governmentsand people of the Lake Chad Basin region in their ongoing struggle to defeat Boko Haram”
In Lebanon: ““fully supportthe Lebanese authorities as they conduct their investigation… reaffirms its commitment to Lebanon’s security, and will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Lebanon in confronting terrorism”
The same evil ideology is held by other groups such as al-Shabaabin Somalia which has killed hundreds. In Ethiopia, after a brutal attack in the country’s capital, Obama said “We don’t need to send our own marines in to do the fighting: The Ethiopians are tough fighters and the Kenyans and Ugandans have been serious about what they’re doing.” The comment suggested that Obama’s modus operandi is that America will only engage militarily to destroy evil, if the local government is ill-equipped to do so.
The evil ideology of barbarism and murder is not confined to a few terrorist groups that “promote a twisted interpretation of religion.” Several countries also engage in barbarity of its own citizens. Consider Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria. These countries commit barbarity including:
killing gays by hanging them from cranes in the streets and throwing them off buildings;
stoning people to death for adultery;
beheading people in the middle of the streets;
capital punishment for activities that do not hurt anyone such as apostasy (converting from Islam)
The Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people, crossing an Obama “red line.” However, in the end, it did not matter. Obama would not attack the Syrian government, and opted to negotiate with them to remove chemical weapons.
Regarding Iran, Obama stated that while they may be anti-Semitic, the country’s leaders were not so consumed by evil that they would do something that would harm their own interests. Obama would not attack the country, but chose to negotiate to slow the pace of its nuclear program, even as the Iranian leaders chanted “Death to America.”
And the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which publicly beheads “witches” and apostates, remains an American ally. It receives billions of dollars of military hardware from the US.
Obama and the Saudi King
In short, evil perpetuated by countries is tolerated by the Obama administration. The one country where Obama decided to launch an attack to remove its leader was Libya, a much less evil regime than in Syria, Iran or Saudi Arabia. It just happened to be easier to remove Muammar Gaddafi, than the leaders of other countries.
The last category of Obama’s treatment of evil is “Ignored Evil”. It is basically the same as “Tolerated Evil” except it is used for a group rather than for a country.
Palestinian Arabs have many groups that are labelled terrorist organizations by the US State Department including: Abu Nidal; Hamas; Palestine Liberation Front; Palestinian Islamic Jihad; Popular front for the Liberation of Palestine; PFLP- General Command; and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, among others. These groups have stated their intention to destroy Israel, a US ally; to target Jews for murder; and install an Islamic state in Israel. The groups also torture fellow Arabs if there is suspicion of collaboration with Israel, and drag their bodies through the streets.
Obama has not called for these groups to be destroyed. He does not tolerate their evil, as he doesn’t negotiate with them. He simply ignores their barbarity, as he pushes Israel to tolerate and negotiate with them.
There are Palestinian groups that are not labelled by the US as terrorists, that also incite violence against Israelis. Acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas called for jihad several times against Israel without rebuke from the Obama administration.
Obama has refused to label the evil that touches much of the world as “violent Islamic terrorism”. By doing so, he compartmentalized the evil ideology: between those that threaten America and those that don’t; between established governments and terrorist groups seeking to replace countries.
As described above, each category received a particular treatment by the USA. Only in Israel, did Obama opt to break his formula by ignoring the radical Palestinian jihadists, as acknowledging their evil, would likely undermine any chance for a two-state solution with Israel.
While some liberals think the nature of the evil ideology is different in particular places, most people understand the contours of jihadist terrorism and remain angered by Obama’s refusal to call out the religious barbarity in various corners of the world by its proper name. Israel supporters are particularly enraged by Obama’s unique treatment of Palestinian Arab jihadist violence.
Liberals remain convinced that not all evil is the same, and that the barbarity has nothing to do with Islam. Conservatives believe that all violent jihadist violence is very much the same, and should be dealt with in a singular fashion.
However, for Obama, remaining obtuse about the nature of the evil ideology enables flexibility in engaging particular evil-doers, while avoiding a broader conflict with the Muslim world.
Historians have begun to debate the “Obama Doctrine” and its impact on global stability. The Doctrine itself is not so novel or controversial. It is the “Obama Rationale,” his underlying worldview, and how he applies the doctrine’s principles, that are causing the destabilization of global security.
President Obama defining his “Obama Doctrine” with Thomas Freidman April 2015 (photo: New York Times)
The Obama Doctrine “We will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities”
In April 2015, New York Times Op-Ed columnist Thomas Freidman penned a piece called “Iran and the Obama Doctrine.” In a long interview with US President Barack Obama, Freidman came to conclusions about Obama’s approach to foreign affairs. In short:
Engagement over Sanctions, Isolation and War. Obama stated a problem ignored is not a problem solved. However, dialogue opened a possibility to change people’s hearts and minds. Diplomacy should always be the first option, both with allies and foes.
A Single Foreign Policy. The Executive Branch of the United States government must be the sole representative of US foreign policy. Senators and congresspeople should not engage with world leaders with messages that contradict those decided by the president.
Liberals and Conservatives may agree or disagree with this formula for engaging the world. Presumably, many would agree with these approaches in general.
There is a significant percentage of Americans who strongly disagree with Obama’s handling of foreign policy. Those reasons may have less to do with the Obama Doctrine itself, but how it is applied.
Negotiations with Foes. Engaging with friend or foe should yield results to one’s liking. Many Americans criticized the Obama team in that it did not extract enough concessions from negotiations.
Cuba was opened up with nothing to show for it.
Syria was given a pass for using chemical weapons even though Obama threatened the country with military force.
Iran was left with an enormous nuclear infrastructure, even though sanctions had pushed the country to the brink.
Russia actively established itself on the world stage including annexing part of Ukraine, as it knew that Obama would not take military action.
Engagement is okay, if it achieved the desired outcome, but Obama showed a pattern of coming away with only modest achievements at great costs. He resorted to touting the engagement itself as the victory, rather than tangible goals.
Engagement with Allies. Foreign policy is equally about managing relationships with allies. Yet Obama has shown an inability to keep allies close, work for American interests and make reforms, as necessary.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was a longtime ally of the United States, and Obama made a point of visiting Cairo in his first international trip. Yet Obama quickly turned on this one-time ally and blessed his overthrow.
Israel has rarely had such a cold treatment form any US administration. The lack of trust has not produced an environment conducive to peace negotiations.
Saudi Arabia is an oppressive regime that is nevertheless a US ally. The kingdom has never been so unsure of America’s leadership, nor has it beheaded as many of its own citizens.
Turkey’s leader Erdogan has been described by Obama as being one of his closest allies. Yet Turkey has dragged its feet in allowing the US to use its territory to fight ISIS and prefers using its Turkish troops to bomb Kurds than ISIS.
Despite an established agreement with Ukraine, Obama let the country fall to Russia.
Terrorism. More than almost any issue since 9/11/2001, has the world been focused on terrorism. Obama has been unsure how to utilize his “Doctrine” when the counter-party is not an official government, but a terrorist organization.
Islamic State/ ISIS has been targeted for destruction by Obama in words, but he has engaged in militarily confronting the group only sporadically. Meanwhile, the group continues to expand its attacks in Lebanon, Egypt (against a Russian airliner) and France.
Boko Haram; Al-Shabaab, Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups do not get any engagement from Obama at all. Obama considers them local problems for local governments to handle and does not consider the global aspirations of the affiliates groups. Never mind that these group like Ansar al-Sharia in Libya have attacked and killed Americans, including Ambassador Stevens.
The Obama Doctrine by itself is not that controversial to many Americans, however, it’s implementation is roundly criticized. Further, the underlying Obama worldview which governs his approach to engagement is considered a disaster.
The Obama Rationale
President Obama has spent seven years outlining his thoughts as to why people use terrorism. The rationale leads directly to his proposed solutions, so appreciating those views is key to understanding his tactics.
In February 2015, not long after the terrorist attacks in Paris in January 2015, several world leaders met to discuss ways of combatting terror. President Obama addressed the American people and outlined his thoughts about the root causes of terrorism and his associated game plan:
Frustration with Injustice and Corruption. Obama stated that “anger that festers when people feel that injustice and corruption leave them with no chance of improving their lives.”
No Outlet other than Through Violence. He added that the frustration was exacerbated by “[g]overnments that deny human rights play into the hands of extremists who claim that violence is the only way to achieve change”
Misguided Belief that West is at War with Islam. Obama stated that some clerics and groups have a “twisted interpretation of religion” and that “al Qaeda and ISIL peddling the lie that the United States is at war with Islam”
The Obama rationale for terrorism is that there is a very small number of people who have twisted religion and then prey upon people’s “legitimate grievances” (his words). His approach to addressing this terrorist threat is an extension of his Obama Doctrine.
The Obama Solution to Terrorism
Broadcast the Voices of Muslim Moderates. “The world must continue to lift up the voices of Muslim clerics and scholars who teach the true peaceful nature of Islam” Americans should show “support of their family, friends, teachers and faith leaders.”
Export Democracy. While Obama has shown a reluctance to nation-build, he nevertheless thinks that advancing democracy would help stop terrorism: “Efforts to counter violent extremism will only succeed if citizens can address legitimate grievances through the democratic process and express themselves through strong civil societies.”
Community Development. Showing his roots as a community organizer, Obama advocates for local job creation, whereby “economic, educational and entrepreneurial development so people have hope for a life of dignity.” That’s why spokespeople like Marie Hart from the State Department continue to push the notion that a jobs program is the key to stop terrorism.
Repeat that the US is NOT at war with Islam. Obama consistently repeats over and again that America is not at war with Islam and that Islam is a religion of peace. Such efforts, he believes, keep the terrorism from spreading to America’s shores and allies.
These approaches to terrorism are very much like the Obama Doctrine: engage and assist people in reaching democratic aspirations. The small number of terrorists with hateful ideology would be eliminated (using “all capabilities”), while the masses should be “engaged”. As Obama said:
“Our campaign to prevent people around the world from being radicalized to violence
is ultimately a battle for hearts and minds.”
However, this approach has not slowed the advance of terrorism which continues to kill in France; Egypt; Israel; Lebanon; Nigeria; Kenya and elsewhere.
Critics of Obama say the battle is not “FOR the hearts and minds” but “OF the hearts and minds” of a broad number of Muslims. They point out the murderous governments throughout the Muslim world, and the gross intolerance of their societies, that are not just offended by what people say or do, but who they are.
Many of these critics believe that the terrible state of global security is solely because of Obama’s worldview. They argue that there is no administration failure to execute; the team is executing the Obama Doctrine according to the Obama Rationale: Give the various regimes money, jobs, trading, asylum and the like. Remove American troops from the MENA region, engage economically, and peace will prevail (or if it doesn’t, it will be a local problem).
Obama’s critics dismiss this approach and believe the “clash of civilizations” goes beyond a handful of terrorists. The world is too flat and integrated to believe such a naïve approach will keep America and its allies safe.
As Americans consider their next president, it will be important to not just consider whether they agree with the Obama Doctrine, but with the Obama worldview. If terrorism continues to occur over the election season, the Obama Rationale will take center stage in the debates.
Many people in the pro-Israel community continue to be frustrated by the refusal of many media outlets and some political organizations to designate Hamas a terrorist organization. While the phrase “one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter” is often bandied about, organizations have no difficulty clearly labeling some organizations as terrorist groups.
Consider CNN which highlighted five jihadist groups in February 2015 as terrorist organizations: Al-Shabaab; Al Qaeda; Boko Haram; ISIS; and the Taliban. The groups are consistently labeled as jihadist terror organizations that seek to destroy reigning governments.
CNN has clearly labeled Al-Shabaab as a terrorist group:
These five organizations are identified by CNN as terrorist groups. They are Islamic jihadists. They terrorize and attack. They seek to overthrow existing governments through murder and mayhem.
Now compare them to CNN’s description of Hamas.
On February 28, 2015 CNN had an article entitled “Egyptian court designates Hamas as a terror organization, state media says”. Note that CNN clearly did not make the designation, but repeated an assertion from Egypt. The article read: “Hamas, the Islamist group which dominates the Gaza strip, has been at odds with the Egyptian government…” made it seem that there was simply a political disagreement between Hamas and Egypt, between two ruling parties. CNN referred to Hamas only as “Islamist” and not “jihadist”, “militant” or “terrorist”.
CNN continued: “Hamas quickly denounced the decision at a news conference…. “It is a shocking and dangerous decision that targets the Palestinian people,” Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said at a news conference”. The article highlighted that Hamas was designated a terrorist organization by one country (as opposed to actually being a terrorist group) and CNN made the effort of showing that the group challenged such opinion. The quote chosen by CNN further tried to show that such designation was itself an attack on “the Palestinian people” making the group the victim.
How is that for a turn?
On January 6, 2015 CNN wrote another piece that seemed all about politics. “Senior Hamas official Izzat Risheq denied reports Monday that the group’s political leader Khaled Meshaal has been expelled from Qatar” making the group appear as purely s political party. There was no mention that the group is in favor of jihad, destruction of Israel or is terrorist group.
On November 27, 2014 a CNN article entitled “Israel says it broke up Hamas terror plot” specifically gave attribution of the plot to Israel, and not as a clear fact. The article stated that “Authorities arrested at least 30 members of Palestinian militant group Hamas” which at least referred to the group as “militant” which is much more than it typically writes to describe Hamas.
These were the recent articles while Hamas licked its wounds from its 2014 war against Israel. How did CNN describe Hamas during the 2014 campaign itself?
“Three Israeli teens kidnapped in the West Bank in June and later found dead were abducted by Hamas militants who did not inform the group leadership about
the kidnapping, a Hamas official said Friday. “At that time, the Hamas leadership had no knowledge about this group or the operation it had just carried,” Saleh Aruri, a Hamas Political Bureau member, said in a statement from Doha, Qatar. “It turned out later, however,
that they were members of Hamas.” Aruri said the operation to abduct the teens was not approved by the Hamas leadership or its military wing, the Qassam Brigades.”
The article (in its entirety) quoted no Israelis. CNN repeatedly referred to Hamas as a political entity (does CNN ever quote Boko Haram’s main political spokesman?), as the article sought to distance Hamas from the murders.
The introduction to the interview with Khaled Meshaal made it appear that CNN was going to have a serious exchange: “CNN’s Nic Robertson had tough questions for Hamas’s political leader.” Well, maybe not- CNN was again directing the public that Hamas is simply a political organization. Did the article ever mention:
that the Hamas Charter calls for the complete destruction of Israel?
the Hamas Charter calls for jihad and murder of Jews by every man, woman and Palestinian child?
the Hamas Charter which declares that there is no possibility of peace with Israel through any negotiation, and that all of Israel must be destroyed through military means?
the Hamas Charter’s repeated use of anti-Semitic slurs, stereotypes and conspiracy theories?
the repeated calls by Hamas and Palestinian leadership to attack Israel?
During the interview, did Robertson get answers to questions:
if Hamas is fighting for the Palestinians, why was Meshaal sitting comfortably in Qatar?
if Hamas was intentionally firing rockets from civilian neighborhoods in Gaza?
if Hamas targeted Israeli civilians with such attacks?
if Hamas built tunnels to abduct and kill Israelis?
if Hamas would abolish its charter?
if Hamas would recognize Israel?
what lands Hamas considers as “occupied” since Israel left Gaza in 2005
It is noteworthy that Robertson asked Meshaal how he was helping his “resistance” to Israel (Robertson used Hamas’ terminology instead of terrorism). Meshaal responded that Palestinians understood that military resistance was needed to get rid of Israeli occupation, the same way that the Americans got rid of the British and the French got rid of the Nazis. Robertson let the statement stand and did not follow up about the absurdity of the comparisons. The French repelled the Nazi invading force that took over France. The US sought separation from a colony to an independent country. But here, the Palestinians were attacking an independent country, once again seeking its complete destruction and murder of its people.
Neither in the interview nor accompanying article did CNN’s Robertson ever call out Hamas as a jihadist terrorist group. It did however, allow Meshaal to air his propaganda and assume a victim status both at the hands of Israel and the global community:
“”We the Palestinian people have, since 1948, have listened to the international community and U.N. and international regulations, in the hope they end the aggression against us. But the international community failed in ending the Israeli occupation and failed in helping our people to have self-determination and have its own state.”
Imagine CNN airing such an interview and article about any other terrorist group.