About Me

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Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jon Stewart Voted Most Influential Man Of 2010


While the U.S. wages war in the Middle East, Jon Stewart has been fighting his own brand of war in the vicious battleground of cable television, leading the charge of personalities and ideals against the behemoth, ultra-right American news media. Stewart may host his ever-popular The Daily Show from behind a desk, but make no mistake: He’s on the front lines, and it’s getting ugly.

This year -- as in years past -- there was no shortage of targets, from mainstays like Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin to a swath of newcomers including disgraced anchor Rick Sanchez, Christine O’Donnell, the emerging Tea Party movement, and all the critics who alleged that, behind closed doors, Stewart’s show was nothing but a sexist boys' club (they were wrong, by the way). And despite being an Obama supporter himself, Stewart is the first to blow the whistle on the president's shortcomings when the leader doesn't live up to his "Yes we can" expectations. Left-wing or right-wing, no one is off-limits to Stewart...

Read the whole story: askmen.com

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Judge: Feds violated U.S. Islamic group's rights (Politico)

My quick comments on the news article:

In brief, the court affirmed what many people in America knew all along. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the government/DOJ was wrong in 2007 when it publicly included NAIT, ISNA, CAIR, and others as part of a list of "unindicted co-conspirators". The ruling asserts that there was no evidence that any of these organizations had committed any crime. Moreover, none of these organizations was ever charged with any crime.

It is clear that certain individuals, driven by shady political motivations (anti-Muslim, right-wing, or/and Zionist), at the DOJ and the FBI intended to undermine the credibility and functionality of the American Muslim community and its leading and most respected organizations.

Publicizing the list was in an apparent violation of the Justice Department's own policies. Someone aimed to weaken the voice and the representation of American Muslims in the affairs of their own country. And this is not the first time the FBI has applied such unscrupulous tactics. After all, for a long time in the 60s, the FBI labeled Dr. King as a communist and anti-American activist, and worked hard to tarnish his credibility.

The DOJ and the FBI owe the Muslim community and its respectable organizations an apology; another one to add to the list that I am not expecting to see any time soon.


Judge: Feds violated U.S. Islamic group's rights
Josh Gerstein, October 20, 2010

Federal prosecutors violated the rights of a major American Islamic organization by including it in a list of unindicted co-conspirators in a terrorism-support case, a federal judge ruled in an opinion ordered disclosed Wednesday by a federal appeals court...

U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Solis found that the Justice Department violated the Fifth Amendment rights of the North American Islamic Trust in 2007 by including it on the publicly filed co-conspirator list in a criminal case accusing the Holy Land Foundation and five of its officers of conspiring to support Hamas. Solis's decision, issued in July 2009 and first reported in broad strokes on this blog last October, was confirmed in an opinion issued Wednesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Solis also found that the government should not have included the other names on the list, including those of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America. The groups were never charged with any crime and they loudly complained in public that the federal government had unfaily tarnished their reputations.

"The [district] court held that NAIT's motion was properly filed and its Fifth Amendment right had been violated by its public naming," Appeals Court Judge Emilio Garza wrote for a unanimous panel including Judges Fortunato Benavides and Marcia Crone. "The Court held that the Government did not argue or establish any legitimate government interest that warranted publicly identifying NAIT and 245 other individuals and entities as unindicted coconspirators or joint venturers, and that the Government had less injurious means than those employed, such as anonymously designating the unindicted co-conspirators as 'other persons,' asking the court to file the document under seal, or disclosing the information to the defendants pursuant to a protective order."

Garza said that the Justice Department called the failure to seal the filing an "unfortunate oversight" and that the government did not dispute the finding of a Fifth Amendment violation. The public naming also appears to have violated Justice Department policy, but that issue was not discussed by the appeals court.

The appeals court said Solis erred by sealing his opinion finding the Constitutional violation, which appears to involve the inability of the groups and individuals on the list to defend themselves formally against the government's accusation since they were not defendants in the case.

"Both NAIT and the Government suggest that the district court may have been trying to shield NAIT from further reputational harm related to its public naming in this case," Garza wrote. "Regardless of the intention behind the district court’s decision, however, its effect was to leave NAIT hamstrung in its ability to mitigate the damage done by its public identification as a possible co-conspirator in the activities of the HLF Defendants. NAIT was publicly identified in Attachment A for over two years, and the public took note."

NAIT asked the appeals court to unseal Solis's opinion and to strike the part linking NAIT to HLF and Hamas. However, the appeals court declined to erase or vacate that part of Solis's opinion, which found there was "ample evidence to establish the association of ... NAIT with HLF, the Islamic Association of Palestine ('IAP') and Hamas." The appeals court said the judge's determination was unnecessary but that, given the posture of the case, it was not the appellate court's role to approve or reject Solis's findings. However, the appeals court stressed that Solis's "findings do not amount to a ruling that NAIT took part in a criminal conspiracy to support Hamas."

During the appeal, the Justice Department took the position that it never actually labeled NAIT and the others on the list as definite "co-conspirators," since the heading they appeared under included the alternate desgination "joint venturers" — a weaker tie which does not imply knowledge of criminality.

CAIR and ISNA did not appeal Solis's ruling, the full text of which remains under seal pending implementation of the appeals court's opinion.

"We're reviewing the court's decision," a Justice Department spokeswoman, Laura Sweeney, said. The prosecutor who filed the co-conspirator list, James Jacks, is now serving in an interim capacity as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. A call to that office after working hours reached voice mail.

NAIT serves as owner of a number of mosques across the U.S.

Court removes ‘co-conspirator’ tag from Muslim groups

Jewish Journal
October 22, 2010

In a decision that could inhibit efforts to stigmatize some Islamic groups, a U.S. appeals court ordered that a lower court’s reference to a group’s association with Hamas be expunged.

The New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit released its decision on an appeal from the North American Islamic Trust on Wednesday. It was first reported that day by Politico’s Josh Gerstein.

Last year, Jorge Solis, a U.S. District Court judge in Dallas, ruled that NAIT and 245 other entities and individuals had their Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination violated when prosecutors listed them as unindicted co-conspirators in the federal case against the Holy Land Foundation, which had been charged with providing material assistance to Hamas.

Among the other groups vindicated by Solis were the Council on American Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America.

The government acknowledged that not sealing the list was an oversight, and further said its intent was to list the groups and individuals as “joint venturers,” which suggests a weaker association than “unindicted co-conspirator” and does not imply that the entity had knowledge of the alleged crimes.

NAIT, which owns a number of mosques, nonetheless appealed the decision because Solis ordered the decision sealed—apparently in a bid to protect the reputation of those on the list. CAIR and ISNA did not join this appeal.

The three-judge appeals panel ordered Solis’ decision unsealed and expunged one reference to past NAIT associations with Hamas, but left in another.

By clearing CAIR and ISNA of “unindicted co-conspirator” status, the unsealing of Solis’ decision could have political consequences, as a number of conservative and pro-Israel groups had used the label to tar politicians associated with the groups.

After a 2007 trial ended in a mistrial, a jury in 2008 convicted the Holy Land Foundation and five of its officers of violating U.S. laws banning funding for designated terrorist groups.

Muslim and Jewish Leaders Condemn Anti-Muslim Bigotry of Extremist Rabbi

(LOS ANGELES, CA, 10/25/10) - The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today joined Southern California Jewish community leaders in condemning the hateful remarks of a local candidate for state Senate.

The candidate, Rabbi Nachum Schifren, spoke at a rally in London over the weekend, which was sponsored by the extremist English Defense League, where he said Muslims "eat each other alive, like the dogs that they are." He further said: "We shall prevail, we will not let them take over our countries. We will never surrender to the sword of Islam." In a commentary written in February of this year, Rabbi Shifren stated: "We are at war with Islam!"

SEE: Calif. Senatorial Candidate Responds to Muslim Hooliganism
ALSO SEE: Surfing Rabbi tells EDL demo 'We shall prevail'

In statements today, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush, Interfaith Communities United for Justice & Peace (ICUJP) Chair Stephen Rohde, and Jews on First Co-Founder Rabbi Haim Beliak expressed outrage over the rabbi's racist remarks and urged Americans to unite against such hatred.

"Religious and political leaders have a special obligation to promote tolerance and mutual understanding in the communities they serve," said Ayloush. "Rabbi Shifren, unfortunately, has done the opposite. What is even more abhorrent is that he is using his bigotry to try towin a political seat and is being supported broadly by members of the GOP and the Tea Party movement. As conscientious Americans, we call on the GOP and the Tea Party to repudiate Rabbi Shifren's bigotry and work with Americans of various faiths, including Muslims and Jews, and ethnicities toward a more pluralistic society. Being silent about the rabbi's hateful remarks will imply that those who endorse him as a California Senate candidate support his bigotry as well."

"Nachum Shifren's expressions are repugnant to Judaism," Rabbi Beliak said. "Shifren's anti-Muslim hate speech are not isolated ideas but part of a pattern which includes anti-immigrant and racist expression. Using the sobriquet "Surfing Rabbi" does not diminish his moronic thoughts. His visit to England, his candidacy for the California State Senate, his association with Chabad and his teaching position at Dorsey High School raise further concern. Since Shifren associates himself with the "Tea Party" and the GOP it is reasonable to ask that they condemn his words."

"Few slurs are more despicable and incendiary than to dehumanize an entire people by comparing them with disdain to animals," Rohde said. "For Rabbi Shifren to call Muslims 'dogs' is beneath contempt. It feeds hatred and bigotry and must be condemned by all decent people."

SEE: List of Politicians and Others who have Endorsed Rabbi Shifren

- END - 

CONTACT: CAIR-LA Communications Manager Munira Syeda, 714-776-1847, Email: info@losangeles.cair.com

Muslim bashers aren't new to art of hate for profit

Another heroic and fair reporter from Tennessee.
I am starting to really like that State.


Muslim bashers aren't new to art of hate for profit
Commentary by Gail KerrTHE TENNESSEAN • October 26, 2010

Some people have no problem making a financial killing by spreading fear.

A two-day, front-page series in The Tennessean on Sunday and Monday by reporter Bob Smietana shone the bright light of truth on the people who are making millions of dollars perpetuating the current trend to hate Muslims.

They make a financial killing spreading fear.

They skirt facts and intellectual investigation by making stuff up. It's mind-boggling, both that any humans would want to spend their lives wallowing in such muck, and that thinking people fall for it.

Here are some of the highlights from Smietana's report:

• Washington-based SAE Productions, owned by Steven Emerson, collected $3.39 million in 2008 for "researching" alleged ties between American Muslims and terrorists. The money came from a nonprofit charity Emerson also started, which asks for donations by telling the ignorant they are in danger from Muslims.

The relationship between this nonprofit and for-profit appears to be a blatant violation of IRS laws. The IRS has strict rules about how grants are given and received, and what has to be disclosed. Emerson may end up paying a goodly part of his Muslim-hating windfall to attorneys...

Smietana's fine reporting pointed out a similar set of circumstances, when the Ku Klux Klan stirred up hate and fear about Catholics moving to the Murfreesboro area in 1929.

There's another obvious comparison: Hitler's Germany, which declared all Jews had to be eradicated from the Earth. At every phase of the world, every religion — including Christianity — has had a set of extremist nut cakes who preached hate.

It's just hard to fathom that we're still seeing this in 2010. How, I wondered out loud, do these people go to sleep at night?

On very nice sheets and down pillows.

Jon Stewart On NPR's Firing Of Juan Williams - Hilarious

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
NPR Staffing Decision 2010
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

Funniest quotes from the show:

Aasif Mandvi:
“If they’re not gonna make the distinction between Muslims and violent extremists, then why should I take the time to distinguish between decent fearful white people and racists?”

Larry Wilmore:
"Over time prejudice faints…eventually they will elect one of your guys as president"

Aasif Mandvi:
"One of our guys already is!"

Monday, October 25, 2010

A video message from the future: Vote (funny video by MoveOn)

Even though most folks intend to vote, lots never get around to it. So share this video with your friends—Olivia's message will be customized just for them—to remind them exactly what's at stake.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The bash and cash machine:Anti-Muslim crusaders make millions spreading fear

By Bob Smietana • THE TENNESSEAN • October 24, 2010
First of Two Parts

Steven Emerson has 3,390,000 reasons to fear Muslims.

That's how many dollars Emerson's for-profit company — Washington-based SAE Productions — collected in 2008 for researching alleged ties between American Muslims and overseas terrorism. The payment came from the Investigative Project on Terrorism Foundation, a nonprofit charity Emerson also founded, which solicits money by telling donors they're in imminent danger from Muslims.

Emerson is a leading member of a multimillion-dollar industry of self-proclaimed experts who spread hate toward Muslims in books and movies, on websites and through speaking appearances...

Read Full Article

Friday, October 22, 2010

Is it America's new pastime to blame Muslims for everything? - A Commentary on the Juan Williams Debacle

Juan Williams stereotypes Muslims. Muslims speak against Williams’ comments. Williams' employer, NPR, fires him. Fox News offers Williams a $2 million contract. Muslims are blamed and attacked for Williams' suffering.  What's wrong with this picture?
Juan Williams might not be a bigot; however, he certainly did not measure his words when he spoke on national television on Fox News. Maybe he misspoke. Maybe he was pandering to Fox News viewers. Maybe he was trying to connect with Bill O'Reilly. Or maybe he should have just qualified his views by voicing how sad a state of affairs we as a country have reached when an educated person like him can have such irrational phobia and prejudice against people who merely appear to be Muslims.

Regardless of the reasons behind his comments, the fact is that Williams fueled bigotry against Muslims as a whole, not just against extremists or terrorists. Imagine if he had said that he feels nervous or afraid every time he sees Blacks, Hispanics, Asians when he walks into a bank, convenience store, or a neighborhood.  People would have been outraged, and rightly so. 

Promoting hurtful and negative stereotypes is wrong, no matter which group of people is being targeted.  This cannot be justified as a person just expressing an honest opinion in a dialogue (especially when both O'Reilly and Williams seem to share the same phobia), unless you also consider publicly expressing racist slurs or negative stereotypes about Jews, Blacks, Catholics, Latinos, and other groups to be acceptable “honest dialogue.”

Words have impact. It was words that preceded every genocide – words that dehumanized and demonized a whole group of people.  As citizens of this world, we all have to be careful about what we say.

With that said, let it be clear that Williams and everyone else has the full right to say whatever they want, no matter how offensive it is. And others have the right to speak against and object to such speech. Free speech is a two-way street; it is a right to all sides of any issue or topic and not just to those we agree with.

One strange aspect to this situation is that Fox News has decided to blame Muslims (and CAIR) for Mr. Williams’ firing by NPR; they are spreading half-truths and distortions to further that story, with the result that many who watch their shows now believe it.

Many Americans, including Muslims and CAIR, were offended by Mr. Williams' inflammatory comments that justified increased unfair targeting and mistreatment of Muslims. We did not ask NPR to fire him.  NPR is an independent institution and, like any business entity, has the right to decide what action by an employee constitutes a serious violation of its standards, practices and guidelines. But in truth, many of us will not be shedding tears about NPR's decision either.  Maybe Muslims were just too busy trying to understand why Williams would gratuitously target us with hatred and then why would so many fellow Americans blame us and target us with hatred after NPR fired him as if all Muslims were the ones who run NPR.

Is it America's new pastime to blame Muslims for everything?

Video: CAIR Rep Debates Juan Williams' Firing on Fox

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Israeli racism and the role of the American Jewish leadership

The last few weeks have exposed the world to a new wave of racism and apartheid practices by Israel against its non-Jewish citizens. In this post, I will not discuss past and existing apartheid-like practices that target Israel's indigenous Palestinian and non-Jewish populations, such as the apartheid-wall, for-Jews-only neighborhoods/cities/colonies, for-Jews-only rights, for-Jews-only jobs, denial of right of return for non-Jewish refugees, etc. That can be a discussion for another day.

In the most recent developments, a couple of weeks ago the Israeli cabinet approved a new law requiring new non-Jewish citizens to take a loyalty oath to Israel as a “Jewish state.”  The proposal was denounced by many Jewish and non-Jewish leaders around the world, some of whom described the measure as "fascist.”

Then yesterday, a group of rabbis from the city of Safed issued a letter urging Jews to refrain from renting apartments to Arabs. And today, Israeli newspapers reported that a leading Israeli rabbi, Ovadia Yosef, gave a sermon on Saturday in which he stated that God created non-Jews only to serve Jews.

It is important that we as Americans challenge such practices because the whole world sees our country as the sponsor and strongest unconditional defender of Israel and its policies. Israel's immoral practices taint the credibility and image of our country and serve to fuel anti-American sentiment among the world's populations. As a country and people that repeatedly struggled and fought to end slavery, racism, bigotry, and apartheid at home and abroad, we have an important role to play in pressuring Israel to end such practices.  

Let me be clear: no one should ever blame Jews or Judaism for the outrageous Israeli practices, even as Israel falsely claims to be THE "Jewish" state.

The American Jewish community, as a leading community in the struggle against discrimination and bigotry in America, is in a unique position to expose Israel's shameful attempts to justify its war crimes and racist actions falsely in the name of Judaism.

There are many Jewish people who challenge Israel’s bigotry, and I applaud the heroic rabbis and activists who never remained silent in face of Israel's brutality and racism.

Unfortunately, in our country there are still some who prefer to engage in Muslim bashing rather than on securing equal rights and equal treatment for all. The ADL, once a leader in defending civil rights, seems recently to have changed its mission to becoming the lead advocate for the Israeli right-wing government. I pray that the ADL will now take a break from its efforts to advocate restrictions on the rights of Muslims to worship freely in America and direct some of its resources toward promoting peace, justice and harmony in Israel and the world.

For the sake of America, for the sake of peace and justice in the Holy Land, and for the sake of good and harmonious relations between Muslims and Jews, the ADL needs to stop attacking Islam and Muslims and instead start challenging the racism of Israel.

American Jews and American Muslims can and must continue to work together to challenge anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and all forms of injustices perpetrated by those who claim to follow our respective religions. Both communities must join hands to show our children a brighter future in the Holy Land - a future that is built on justice, mutual respect, equality, and peace for all people.

Leading Israeli Rabbi: Non-Jews exist only to serve Jews

Yosef: Gentiles exist only to serve Jews
The Jerusalem Post

According to Rabbi, the lives of non-Jews in Israel are safeguarded by divinity, to prevent losses to Jews.

The sole purpose of non-Jews is to serve Jews, according to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the head of Shas’s Council of Torah Sages and a senior Sephardi adjudicator.

“Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel,” he said in his weekly Saturday night sermon on the laws regarding the actions non-Jews are permitted to perform on Shabbat.

According to Yosef, the lives of non-Jews in Israel are safeguarded by divinity, to prevent losses to Jews.

“In Israel, death has no dominion over them... With gentiles, it will be like any person – they need to die, but [God] will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money.

This is his servant... That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew,” Yosef said.

“Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat.

That is why gentiles were created,” he added.

Yosef’s Saturday night sermons have seen many controversial statements from the 90-year-old rabbi. In August, Yosef caused a diplomatic uproar when he wished a plague upon the Palestinian people and their leaders, a curse he retracted a few weeks later, when he blessed them along with all of Israel’s other peace-seeking neighbors.

NAACP releases report accusing tea party groups of links to bigots

The Kansas City Star

Three months ago in Kansas City, the NAACP first raised charges of racism within the tea party movement. Today a report is being released accusing tea party groups of providing platforms to anti-Semites and other bigots.

“These groups and individuals are out there, and we ignore them at our own peril,” said NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous in a statement announcing the report. “They are speaking at tea party events, recruiting at rallies, and in some cases remain in the tea party leadership itself.”

The 94-page report is being released by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in a teleconference today...

Read full story

Shilling for the Israeli Occupation: The ADL's New Mission Statement? - By: Ahmed Rehab

By: Ahmed Rehab
Executive Director of CAIR-Chicago
The Huffington Post

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), fresh off of several PR gaffes, recently managed to pull off another head-scratching moment by compiling and releasing a list of the "top ten most influential anti-Israel groups in America."

In other words, an organization that describes itself as "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency that fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all" is spending its resources decrying American organizations that are not blindly supportive of a foreign government it likes to align itself with.

2010-10-16-abefoxman_arielsharon.jpgIf that's not fishy enough, what the ADL's list really showcases are the top ten most influential groups that have taken a principled anti-occupation and anti-displacement position and who call for a just peace. Why does that bother the ADL?
Here are a few thoughts on this list:

  • The ADL is slowly but surely shifting its focus from fighting real bigotry to doing public relations work for the government of Israel, including shilling for its illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.

  • The list includes many Jews including some who self-identify as friends of Israel, and yet the report still manages to accuse them of being anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic. This is because the ADL hopes it can convince you that anti-occupation is synonymous with anti-Israel and anti-Israel is synonymous with anti-Semitism.

  • This latest stunt by the ADL comes on the heels of several other bizarre decisions, including the ADL's decision to side with far right-wing anti-religious freedom groups like the notorious SIOA (Stop the Islamization of America) against the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero. So much for "fighting all forms of bigotry and defending democratic ideals and protecting civil rights for all." The ADL is now trying to backtrack from its position on this issue after a public backlash that seemed to take it by surprise.

  • Since this list mostly targets organizations that have not been afraid to take a bold moral stance against the illegal Israeli occupation and other inhumane policies carried by the government of Israel against the occupied Palestinians, J Street ought to take a long hard look at itself and ask itself why it failed to make the list.

  • Jewish Voice for Peace which proudly made the list wrote an excellent five point response to the ADL. If you were to contrast the morally expedient language of the ADL's report with the clarion values in the JVP's response, it is evident who represents the voice of extremism and who represents the voice of reason.

  • Other "disturbingly" named organizations that accompany Jewish Voice for Peace include: Act Now to Stop War and End RacismIf Americans KnewStudents for Justice in Palestine, and US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. Peace? No War? No Racism? Knowledge? Justice? No Occupation? Horrifying stuff.

  • The list also includes mainstream U.S. Muslim organizations like CAIR. CAIR, like the other organizations on the list, is pro-peace and anti-injustice. CAIR's work centers on defending civil rights and dispelling misinformation and stereotypes about Muslims - doing for America's Muslims what the ADL used to do (and should be doing) for America's Jews. It does not concern itself with the political aspect of the conflict but with the legal, civil and human rights aspects that have repercussions on local constituents here and that are often supported by our tax dollars. CAIR's position has been one of opposition to the occupation and disenfranchisement of Palestinians. The ADL cannot point to one release from CAIR that can be described as bigoted against Israelis as a people, let alone against Jews. CAIR's releases and rallies have only addressed the occupation and the questionable actions of the government of Israel. But as I mentioned the ADL tries to equate opposition to the occupation and the illegal practices of the Likud government to bigotry and anti-Semitism in order to create a chilling effect.

  • The ADL's report is announced on the front page of the ADL's website, right above its decision to honor Rupert Murdoch for his "stalwart support of Israel" (yet another mind-boggling moment from the ADL).  Why would the ADL who claims to "fight all forms of bigotry, defend democratic ideal and protects civil rights for all" turn around and award the man behind FOX News, a network that is notorious for spewing bigoted material and making a daily mockery of the news industry? Does the ADL really believe that FOX News "fights bigotry and promotes democratic ideals and equal civil rights for all"? Has Abe Foxman watched FOX News coverage of Muslims, Latinos, or immigrants lately? Why would the ADL offer Murdoch its "International leadership" award? Because the ADL's awardee selection committee is more concerned with where a candidate stands on Israel, even at the expense of where he stands on bigotry, democratic ideals, and equal civil rights - once again bringing to light the disturbing shift in the ADL's mission and raison d'etre.

  • Lastly, the ADL's report takes issue with yours truly:
    In response to the Israeli Navy's raid of a flotilla of ships heading to Gaza in May 2010, the executive director of CAIR-Chicago accused Israel of a "failure to apply Jewish values"
    I am not sure what Abe Foxman's problem is with that? The Chicago Tribune piece that he is referring to was decidedly pro-Judaism. I received many thank you notes from Jewish friends and strangers including Rabbis. Given the gravity of the Israel violations at the time, many emailed to say that I was gracious and restrained.
    So why did Foxman take issue with this piece, you may ask? Well, because the piece was decidedly anti-occupation. Another exhibit for the ADL's changing priorities.

  • I am not the only one calling out the ADL on its disgraceful switch in mission. Salon.com has some good coverage: Anti-Defamation League beclowns itself, again. As does the Daily Beast: The Anti-Defamation League has a new list out tarring human-rights activists in the name of protecting Israel. Michelle Goldberg on how the group is only disgracing itself.

Israeli Rabbis urge Jews to refrain from renting apartments to Arabs

Don't count on the ADL to notice this apartheid-style racism since it is busy opposing American Muslims trying to build mosques in America or busy attacking pro-peace groups.

Safed Rabbis urge Jews to refrain from renting apartments to Arabs
Rabbis' letter says renting properties to Arabs would deflate value of homes as well as those in neighborhood.
By Eli Ashkenazi

A group of 18 prominent rabbis, including the chief rabbi of Safed, signed a call urging Jews to refrain from renting or selling apartments to non-Jews.

According to a report which first appeared on Channel 1 television, most of the signatories are from Safed, a city that has seen an increase in its Arab student population that is enrolled at the town's local college.

Safed chief rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who has been criticized in the past for incendiary remarks against Arabs, is the most prominent figure to sign the letter.

Last week, Safed played host to an "emergency conference" which was held under the banner "Quiet War: Combating Assimilation in the Holy City of Safed". The event, which attracted 400 participants, was held at the Yigal Allon House, the municipal cultural center.

Haaretz has learned that the venue was reserved thanks to funding from the city's religious council. Far-right activist Baruch Marzel spoke at the event, as did a representative of the "Lahaba" organization, whose Hebrew acronym stands for "Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land."

Speakers at the conference expressed concern over plans to build a medical school in the city which they said would exacerbate the problem of "the Arab takeover of Safed."

The rabbis' letter, which was originally published months ago, urges Jewish owners of apartments to reconsider renting their properties to Arabs since it would deflate the value of their homes as well as those in the neighborhood.

"Their way of life is different than that of Jews," the letter stated. "Among [the gentiles] are those who are bitter and hateful toward us and who meddle into our lives to the point where they are a danger."

The rabbis also urge neighbors of anyone renting or selling property to Arabs to caution that person. After delivering the warning, the neighbor is then encouraged to issue notices to the general public and inform the community.

"The neighbors and acquaintances [of a Jew who sells or rents to an Arab] must distance themselves from the Jew, refrain from doing business with him, deny him the right to read from the Torah, and similarly [ostracize] him until he goes back on this harmful deed," the letter reads.

Letter prompted by rise in demand

There are currently 1,350 Arab students (out of a total student body of 2,200 ) matriculating at the Academic College in Safed. The increased demand for rented apartments prompted the rabbis to issue their call.

Mahmoud Abu Salah, the Arab representative of the Academic College Student Union, told Haaretz that his primary task is to aid Arab students in finding apartments to rent.

"The entire population in Safed listens to Rabbi Eliyahu, not just the religious public," he said. "Sometimes I present myself as 'Tomer.' That is the only way people will agree to rent out their apartments. In one instance, we managed to find an apartment for rent in the nearby moshav of Biriya. When the neighbors understood that Arabs were moving in, they threatened to set the apartment on fire. The situation has become intolerable. There are students who come here from the Negev, the Triangle, Haifa and Wadi Ara. They have nowhere to live. We will combat this ugly phenomenon."

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu is the son of the late Mordechai Eliyahu, who once served as the chief Sephardic rabbi of Israel. Shmuel Eliyahu has been indicted in the past for incitement stemming from controversial remarks about Arabs. After a Palestinian suicide bomber killed nine people and wounded 50 on a bus at the Meron junction in northern Israel in August 2002, Eliyahu called on the Academic College to expel its Arab students.

"You can say the word 'racist' 20 times," Eliyahu once told an interviewer. "It doesn't have an effect on me. By the way, Jewish religious law prohibits the selling of apartments to Arabs and the renting of apartments to Arabs."

Officials in the State Prosecutor's Office told Haaretz: "We have yet to receive any complaint on the issue. If and when a complaint is received, the matter will be investigated."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Jewish Group's Shameful Smear

A Jewish Group's Shameful Smear
by Michelle Goldberg
The Daily Beast

The Anti-Defamation League has a new list out tarring human-rights activists in the name of protecting Israel. Michelle Goldberg on how the group is only disgracing itself.

The Anti-Defamation League, the premier American organization devoted to monitoring and combating anti-Semitism, has long had a dark side. No one has done better work investigating and exposing neo-Nazi and white Supremacist groups in the United States. I’ve spoken at several ADL meetings about my own reporting on Christian nationalism. But the ADL has also shown itself willing to smear human-rights activists when it thinks Israel’s interests demand it. It is in this context that the organization’s misguided new report on the “top 10 anti-Israel groups in America,” which includes Jewish Voice for Peace and the Council on American Islamic Relations, has to be understood.

In the 1980s, at a time when Israel maintained close ties with South Africa, the ADL went on the attack against Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress. As Sasha Polakow-Suransky reported in his recent book The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa, ADL National Director Nathan Perlmutter co-authored an article implying that the ANC was “totalitarian, anti-humane, anti-democratic, anti-Israel and anti-American.” The ADL sent spies into the American anti-apartheid movement, as well as other movements critical of right-wing American foreign policy. Eventually, the organization was surveilling much of the American left. In 1993, a California police raid on the offices of the ADL and one of its investigators yielded files on Greenpeace, the NAACP, Act Up, New Jewish Agenda, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and several Democratic politicians, among hundreds of others. The ADL eventually settled a class-action lawsuit brought by several of its targets...

The Council on American Islamic Relations made the list even though, according to spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper, it has no official position on the Middle East conflict “other than to say there should be a just and comprehensive resolution based on the interests of all parties.” Though the ADL says that CAIR has “a long record of anti-Israel rhetoric, which has, at times, crossed the line into anti-Semitism,” some of the examples it gives are laughable. For instance, the ADL informs us, “In response to the Israeli Navy's raid of a flotilla of ships heading to Gaza in May 2010, the executive director of CAIR-Chicago accused Israel of a ‘failure to apply Jewish values.’” If this is one of the worst quotes the ADL can rustle up, it gives one faith in the strength of American interfaith relations...

The ADL recognizes that it is losing the propaganda war. One reason it put out the list right now, Segal says, is that students are returning to campuses where there’s been an uptick in anti-Israel activism. “Online activism, as well as what’s happening on college campuses, are seeping into the younger generation,” he says.
But the reason young people’s views are changing isn’t because of sinister organizations. It’s because, given current Israeli policy, an unequivocal defense of the country requires ever more heroic feats of denial and rationalization. It requires great barrages of defamation, against Jimmy Carter, against once-revered South African jurist Richard Goldstone, against Desmond Tutu, against J-Street, the pro-Israel, pro-peace Washington group, and now, against groups like Jewish Voice for Peace. “This defense of Israel right or wrong makes them not have a moral compass,”

Read Full Article

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Israeli rabbi: Honey-pot sex is kosher for female Mossad agents

I have to admit, I had some difficulty deciding which photo to attach to this post. After all, what kind of picture can describe "kosher" "honey-pot sex" by "female Mossad agents"?

On a more serious note, how can anyone take any religion seriously when so-called religious leaders or representatives manipulate religious teachings -- a supposed spiritual path to connect with God -- in order to justify immoral actions.  Rabbis (as well as pastors and imams) who could justify such shameful behavior are a disgrace to any religion.  This is a new low, even for Israel.


Israeli rabbi: Honey-pot sex is kosher for female Mossad agents
Haaretz Newspaper, 10/5/2010

Rabbi Ari Schvat's ruling appeared in a study, 'Illicit sex for the sake of national security,' published by the Tzomet Institute, which studies the interface between religion and modernity.

An Israeli rabbi has given his blessing to female agents of Israel's foreign secret service, Mossad, who may be required to have sex with the enemy in so-called "honey-pot" missions against terrorists.

Rabbi Ari Shvat's ruling appeared in a study, "Illicit sex for the sake of national security," published by the Tzomet Institute, which studies the interface between religion and modernity.

But Schvat wrote that honey-pot missions are not just a thing of modern-day espionage - such as the late 1980s capture of Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear technician who revealed details of Israel's nuclear program, or the January 2010 assassination of terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. Both cases reportedly involved a Mossad female lure.

In fact, honey-pot missions are rooted in Biblical lore.

Queen Esther, who was Jewish, slept with the Persian king Xerxes around 500 BC to save her people, Schvat noted. Yael, wife of Hever, slept with the enemy chief of staff Sisra to tire him and cut off his head, according to tradition.

There is a catch, however, for married honey-pots. "If it is necessary to use a married woman, it would be best [for] her husband to divorce her. ... After the [sex] act, he would be entitled to bring her back," Schvat wrote.

"Naturally, a job of that sort could be given to a woman who in any event is licentious in her ways."

Male agents in Mossad apparently have no limitations on sleeping with the female enemy, as they were not mentioned in the writings.

Schvat's study was praised by Tzomet's director, Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, who added that "women employees of the Mossad are probably not going to come consult with a rabbi" before their missions.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Book Recommendation: Mohamed's Ghosts - By: Stephan Salisbury

Yesterday, I started reading the book "Mohamed's Ghost". It is one of the best books I have read on the topic of our government's domestic war on terror and how some of our government agencies are unfairly targeting American Muslims.

It is a must read.  The writer, Stephan Salisbury, a journalist who covered stories of such abuses in Philadelphia for his local newspaper, takes us into how a whole community was targeted, its mosque shut down, and families were intimidated and separated.  Salisbury highlights the shady role of informers and agent provocateurs in this dirty war on Americans.


Review by Publishers Weekly

In May 2004, the FBI and local Philadelphia police raided the Ansaarullah mosque and arrested its imam, Mohamed Ghorab, on the charges that his first marriage had been fraudulent; he was eventually deported to Egypt. The incident is the focus of Salisbury's harrowing but shapeless book, which examines the devastation of Philadelphia's Muslim community after the government investigation and anti-Arab hysteria after 9/11. A Pulitzer Prize–winning staff writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Salisbury builds the text around the personal stories of the many people he interviewed over four years; along the way, he delivers harsh criticism of the government's investigative techniques and draws explicit parallels to his own family's experiences with government surveillance in the late 1960s. Though digressive and anecdotal, the text acquires cumulative power, especially in its vivid portrayals of Imam Ghorab, whom it follows from his childhood, and his wife, Meriem Moumen, who discovered religion as a single mother in her 20s. Their heartbreaking story gives this frequently diffuse text a human center. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Order your copy today.

Friday, October 08, 2010

In solidarity with my Palestinian brothers and sisters' right of return to Palestine - Song by Ahmad Qaabour: "They call me a refugee"

لاجيء سموني لاجيء

أحمد قعبور

My apologies for the lack of English translation. I am tight on time these days.
May be one of the blog visitors can volunteer to send the translation and I will then post it.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Rattling the Cage: Pity Rick didn’t rag the Muslims

The Jerusalem Post

4 recent scandals involving public figures accused of running down minorities show that any offensive commentary on followers of Islam incurs no real consequences.

In America, you can’t rag the Jews publicly and you can’t rag the blacks publicly. It’s taboo – you lose your job, you have to quit the campaign if you say bad things about Jews or blacks – even if what you say is, you know, true.

After Jews and blacks come the Latinos, Asians, Catholics and all the other ethnic and religious minorities – none of them have the victim status that blacks and Jews enjoy, they’re not as controversial, so nobody in America is much inclined to slag them off anyway. (Latino illegal immigrants, however, are a different story, and you can put them down as much as you want so long as you specify that you’re talking about “illegal immigrants,” or at least “immigrants,” and not Latinos in general.)

With one exception, political correctness protects every ethnic and religious minority in America from public bad-mouthing, and that one exception is Muslims. In America, you can say anything you want as publicly as you want against Muslims, against Islam, against the Koran, and the only thing mainstream America might do is elect you. You will have trouble in very narrow, left-liberal, Ivy League circles, but that’s all. Everywhere else in the USA, Muslims are fair game. (All Arabs count as Muslims, of course, even if they’re Christian)...


FBI tactics against Muslims questioned

FBI tactics against Muslims questioned


Muslim leaders are calling on the Department of Justice to look into the FBI's handling of an investigation against a Tustin man who once faced immigration charges and accusations of being a terrorist sympathizer.

Charges against Ahmadullah Sais Niazi have been dismissed and now Muslim leaders want authorities to look into how FBI agents handled the three-year long investigation against the Afghan native.

Niazi did not face terrorism-related charges but prosecutors asserted in court he had ties to al-Qaida and the Taliban. His sister's husband was said to be security coordinator to Osama bin Laden and authorities alleged Niazi lied in passport and naturalization papers to hide those links.

Since Niazi's arrest in Feb. 2009, not only have charges been dropped but details into the FBI's investigations in the Muslim community have surfaced. They include the use of paid informants in local mosques, and allegations that agents sought to identify Muslims captured on surveillance video in local gyms.

"While some may not be true, I think a great deal of it is," Chase Scolnick, Niazi's public defender, said.

Niazi's supporters say the case highlights abuses by federal and local authorities, who allegedly tried to prosecute the Tustin resident on immigration charges after he refused to become an informant.
"I honestly expected most charges to be dropped," said Hussam Ayloush, director of the Southern California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "From the beginning I knew the circumstances surrounding the case were a combination of entrapment and retaliation."

Last week, federal prosecutors moved to dismiss all immigration-related charges against Niazi, and U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney tossed the case out of federal court.

Prosecutors cited "evidentiary issues" and a witness who was out of the country as the reason for the dismissal. The case had lingered in court without proceeding to the trial phase for 20 months.

Scolnick argued Niazi had become the target of FBI agents after refusing to become an informant. Niazi and a second man had also approached FBI officials regarding a man who had espoused violent views, but that man – Craig Monteilh – was later revealed to be an informant for the FBI.

Scolnick said part of the reason for the dismissal was the methods used in the investigation -- much of which came to light when Monteilh went public.

"I begged, pushed and prodded the Department of Justice to live up to its name," Scolnick said. "I don't think they wanted to stand behind the investigative tactics that were used."

Monteilh has since sued the FBI for allegedly violating his civil liberties while he worked as an informant, and he cooperated with Scolnick during Niazi's immigration case. That case is still pending.

FBI officials would not comment specifically on Niazi's case, but in response to allegations that agents unlawfully pressure members of the Muslim community officials issued a written statement that said: "The Attorney General's guidelines by which FBI agents must abide are very clear that the FBI initiates investigations based on allegations of criminal activity and cannot initiate investigations solely on religion, race, or ethnicity. To suggest otherwise would be unfair to the Muslim-American community and to the agents that conduct investigations lawfully."

Tactics used to pressure members of the Muslim community are not uncommon, Ayloush said.
"Current FBI guidelines permit the FBI to treat the Muslim community with such disregard," he said. "It's a moral and shameful waste of their resources."

Ayloush said he believed Niazi's case stemmed from the FBI's "exaggerating successes," and personal egos within the FBI.

"Someone was upset all this money (used in the investigation) was exposed," Ayloush said.
Since charges were dismissed, Scolnick said his client, "was thrilled."

"Imagine the living hell he's been going through," he said. Since he was arrested, Niazi and his wife have both lost their jobs.

During a bail hearing, prosecutors said Niazi had been recorded calling Osama bin Laden an angel and plotting to blow up buildings in Orange County. But Scolnick said he is confident the allegations were false.

"I'm convinced there is nothing to those charges," he said.

Niazi has been contacted by his former employer though, Scolnick said, and is expected to return to work soon.

Ayloush said CAIR officials have not received a response from the Department of Justice.
"It should not go unpunished," he said.

Contact the writer: shernandez@ocregister.com or 949-454-7361

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Entrapment or Foiling Terror? FBI’s Reliance on Paid Informants Raises Questions about Validity of Terrorism Cases

Prosecutors and defense attorneys made their final arguments this week in the trial of the Newburgh Four, a high-profile case that has made national headlines as a potent example of so-called "homegrown terror." The defense has argued that the defendants were entrapped by government agents and not predisposed to commit a terrorist crime. For several months, Democracy Now!’s Anjali Kamat and Jacquie Soohen of Big Noise Films traveled through Muslim communities in New York and New Jersey to track the Newburgh case and two others. In all three, Muslim men were arrested on terrorism charges. In all three, no terrorist crime was actually committed. And all three cases relied heavily on hundreds of hours of surveillance recorded by a paid government informant. Today, a Democracy Now! special investigation. [includes rush transcript]

Click here to watch program or read full transcript.

Monday, October 04, 2010

CNN: A synagogue reborn in Beirut, Lebanon

While some right-wing bigots in America are trying to make our country take a turn away from religious freedoms and tolerance, Lebanon (and ironically, Hezbollah) can teach us all something about religious tolerance, about places of worship and where they belong or don't belong.
No religious community and group should be blamed for the acts of a few.
Fareed Zakaria CNN reports this interesting quote:
"We respect Divine religions including the Jewish religion. The problem is with Israel's occupation of Arab lands, not with the Jews" - Hezbollah

Since we are on the subject of tolerance toward places of worship, here is some breaking news from the Middle East:

Palestinian mosque torched by settlers

Haaretz Newspaper
By Avi Issacharoff and DPA

A Palestinian mosque was set alight and vandalized late Sunday night in what police suspected was a "price tag" operation by nearby settlers wishing to protest Israel's West Bank policies.
West Bank mosque arson

Residents of the village of Bayt Fajar near Bethlehem alleged that a group of settlers, apparently from the nearby Gush Etzion settlement bloc, entered the village in the early hours and burnt down the mosque before residents were able to kick them out.

Friday, October 01, 2010

The end of "probably the dumbest operation ever carried out in the name of the U.S. war on terror"

Oops: Feds Drop Charges Against Supposed OC Terrorist


Remember Craig Monteilh? The convicted con artist and OC Weekly cover story subject who claims he helped the FBI foil an OC terrorist cell operating inside local mosques only to be abandoned by the agency after they stopped believing his stories? The guy who first claimed he was a hero for helping the feds fight terror, but whose activities led only to the arrest of an Afghan immigrant named Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, who allegedly lied on his visa application about one of his in-laws being involved with Al Qaeda? The guy who promised that Niazi's arrest was just the tip of the iceberg and that soon the feds would be taking down an entire terrorist cell in Orange County?

Well, surprise, surprise, no big terror plot was ever uncovered. And as the OC Register reported yesterday, federal prosecutors have just asked a judge to drop all charges against Niazi, who they charged with immigration fraud last year after he refused to become an informant for the FBI. Refused is a bit of a misnomer, because in fact, Niazi did have a brief stint as a a federal informant. 

To wit: after Monteilh, posing as a Muslim convert, began talking terror plots with Niazi, the latter approached the FBI with the help of lawyers with the Council on American Islamic Relations, (CAIR) and told them all about Monteilh's scary rhetoric (which as it turned out was just a ruse to attract supposed jihadis. Of course, the feds already knew about Monteilh, since he was busy telling them that Niazi was a terrorist. 

After going to the feds with information about someone he assumed was a potential terrorist, Niazi had the misfortune of being pressured for months to become an informant himself. When he rebuffed those efforts, the feds, allegedly armed with an audiotape made by Monteilh in which Niazi said nice things about Osama bin Laden, raided Niazi's house at gunpoint and charged him with immigration fraud. 

Other than lining the pockets of a con artist, all the FBI managed to accomplish was setting off a national controversy on the use of informants inside mosques. And Monteilh? He's now suing the FBI for allegedly violating his civil rights by finally waking up and not intervening when cops busted him for grand theft. So much for probably the dumbest operation ever carried out in the name of the U.S. war on terror.