Hating Israel

Some facts are plain. Israel is a tiny democratic country surrounded by entities whose people live in various degrees of unfreedom, under dictators, kings, emirs, and terrorist groups. Arabs in Israel are better off than their coreligionists in Israel’s Arab neighbors. While some of those nations are rich because of their oil resources, they make very little in the way of a positive contribution to modern civilization; many of them have sponsored terrorists who have committed acts of jihad in the Western world, and have funded madrasses and mosques that promote the poison of supremacist Islamic ideology in cities throughout the West. Meanwhile, little Israel has accomplished scientific and technological advances that rival the achievements of some of the world’s largest and richest lands.

Jeremy Corbyn

And yet Israel-hatred thrives. In Western Europe, a large cohort of the leftist elite, as exemplified by politicians like British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, has aligned itself with European Muslims who share its contempt for Israel, to say nothing of its outright antisemitism.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Still, not all that long ago it would have been incredible to hear that Israel was actually losing support among American Jews. This, alas, is the sad case. Since 2010, according to a non-profit called the Brand Israel Group, support for Israel among Jewish college students in the United States has declined from 84% to 57%. That is a massive drop. As one commentator put it, these students “appear to be abandoning support for Israel in droves.” Viewed from one perspective, this alarming development is nothing short of a shock – how, only three-quarters of a century after the Holocaust, can young Jews, presumably brought up to be intensely aware of that massive atrocity in which many if not most of them lost family members, turn against the Jewish state that was founded in its wake?

A gathering of Students for Justice in Palestine

From another perspective, of course, the hostility of so many young Jewish Americans toward Israel is no Asurprise at all. Like most other American college students, they have been fed a diet of ant-Israeli propaganda, both by their professors and by groups of their fellow students. They have learned to view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a black-and-white affair, with the Israelis always being the bad guys and the Palestinians the victims. They have been taught to parrot the idea that Zionism is racism and to call Israel an apartheid state. Their campuses have been the sites of anti-Israeli events, rife with the vilest of propaganda that whitewashes Hamas, Fatah, and Hezbollah while depicting Benjamin Netanyahu as the most monstrous of men. A couple of generations ago, the Jewish group Hillel was very active – and very high-profile – at colleges around the U.S.; now one hardly ever hears mention of it, while the endless mischief-making of organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine is frequently the stuff of headlines. The pressure on some Jewish students must surely be considerable, but it is nonetheless scarcely short of tragic that so many of them should disavow their own people by rejecting the state founded in the cause of their preservation.

Ilhan’s not about to stop

Ilhan Omar

You can’t keep a good jihadist sympathizer and Jew-hater down. Less than a month after being (sort of) officially chided by the House of Representatives for her repeated use of anti-Semitic tropes, freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who took that whole episode not just in her stride but as a sort of joke, went to California to give the keynote speech at a CAIR banquet.

This is a woman who, as Michelle Malkin noted recently,

says Trump is not “human.” On an Arab-American talk show, she mocked a college professor who treated terrorist organizations al-Qaida and Hezbollah with gravity. She cackled at how he named them with a sternness in his voice and questioned why the words “Army” and “America” are not uttered with equal contempt.

Hussam Ayloush, head of CAIR-LA

However many news media may continue to treat CAIR – the Council on American Islamic Relations – as a legitimate civil-rights organization, it was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2007 trial of the Holy Land Foundation, which was found guilty of financing terror. CAIR has been tied to the Islamic Association for Palestine, a front for Hamas, and CAIR itself is considered a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates. CAIR officials have been found guilty in court of laundering funds directed at Hamas and of training with a terrorist group and conspiring in terrorism. CAIR played a role in promoting the “Clock Boy” charade. After any terror attack, CAIR is quick to try to use charges of “Islamophobia” and “racism” to silence anyone who dares speak the truth about jihadist ideology. Yet to acknowledge any of this is still considered inappropriate at many of our more respected newspapers and cable news networks.

So it is that even a Congresswoman who’s been criticized for wearing a hijab in Congress and who’s been in hot water for her comments about Jews can get away with addressing a CAIR confab. In fact, this is no first: Omar spoke at a banquet for CAIR San Francisco in December 2017. Last month, she spoke at an event sponsored by Islamic Relief, which Sweden considers a Muslim Brotherhood front and which the UAE considers a terrorist group.

Hassan Shibly

In any case, this time around the event was held by CAIR’s Los Angeles chapter. It was entitled “Advancing Justice: Empowering Valley Muslims,” and the purpose of the evening was to present the 2019 Champion of Justice award to Jewish Voice for Peace, a radical anti-Israel group posing as an organization for peace-loving Jews. Omar’s co-keynoter was CAIR-Florida executive director Hassan Shibly, who, according to the Jerusalem Post, is “vehemently anti-Israel” and denies that Hezbollah and Hamas are terrorist groups.

This time, at least, there was protest. Signs and banners read “Omar equals hate,” “CAIR hates Jews,” and “Ilhan hates Israel.” Well, that certainly sums it up.

With self-hating Jews like this, who needs anti-Semites?

Peter Beinart

On Tuesday, we saw how Peter Beinart struck out at Israel in a rather sensational 2010 article for the New York Review of Books. Two years later, he expanded his attack to book length in The Crisis of Zionism, which established him, once and for all, as a leading opponent of the Jewish state.

Sol Stern

Where to begin with The Crisis of Zionism? Beinart celebrates then-President Barack Obama as a model liberal Zionist. In a review for Commentary, Sol Stern noted that Obama, far from being a pal of the Jewish state, had in fact “cultivated friendships with notorious haters of Israel, such as Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the former Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, and University of Chicago professor and one-time PLO official Rashid Khalidi.” Beinart’s other hero is the American Jewish leader Stephen Wise (1874-1949), whose notorious betrayal of the Jews of Europe, Stern observed, goes without mention in Beinart’s book. At bottom, pronounced Stern, The Crisis of Zionism “is nothing more than a bald political tract designed to advance President Obama’s agenda on the Middle East conflict”; it’s a work in which Beinart “willfully ignores just about any testimony or source that might undermine his uncomplicated narrative of good liberal Zionism versus bad reactionary Zionism.”

Alana Newhouse

In a review for the Washington Post, Alana Newhouse, editor of the Jewish periodical Tablet and herself a liberal critic of Israel, described Beinart’s book as and “a political stump speech for an attractive young candidate who is seeking the job of spokesman for liberal American Jews.” Newhouse criticized his take on Palestinians (whom he depicts as “just the passive and helpless victims of Israeli sadism, with no historical agency; no politics, diplomacy or violence of their own; and no responsibility for the miserable impasse of the conflict”) as well as his dismissive view of other prominent American Jews (which, she surmised, allows Beinart to present himself as the only natural leader of Americans “who want to think of Israel as a decent place but who can’t stomach the conflict with the Palestinians and who of course don’t want anyone to think they are anti-Semites”).

Bret Stephens

Describing Beinart as “the self-appointed anguished conscience and angry scold of the Jewish state,” another reviewer, Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal, noted that a recent study had shot Beinart’s whole thesis to hell: “A whopping 82 percent of American Jews feel that U.S. support for Israel is either ‘just about right’ or ‘not supportive enough’ —and that’s just among those Jews who describe themselves as ‘liberal’ or ‘very liberal.’” As Stephens describes it, Beinart’s book is largely a mishmash of familiar anti-Israel arguments and glib belittling of the evil of Hamas and Hezbollah. “The real problem for Beinart’s argument,” Stephens writes, “is that, in word and deed, Palestinians have repeatedly furnished good reasons for the Israeli (and American) right to argue against further territorial withdrawals, at least until something fundamental changes in Palestinian political culture.” Alas, to Beinart, “no Israeli misdeed is too small that it can’t serve as an alibi for Palestinian malfeasance. And no Palestinian crime is so great that it can justify even a moment’s pause in Israel’s quest to do right by its neighbor.”

More on Tuesday.

Those awful Israelis: Peter Beinart’s world

 

Peter Beinart

His CV could scarcely be more stellar: he studied at Yale and Cambridge; he teaches at CUNY; he’s been a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and editor of the New Republic; he writes regularly for National Journal, Haaretz, and the Atlantic website, and has contributed to Time, The New York Times, and other top-drawer publications; he’s published three books; in 2012, Foreign Policy named him one of the top 100 global thinkers.

But Peter Beinart is best known for his unusually harsh criticism of Israel. Yes, he is Jewish himself, and, according to his Wikipedia page, attends an Orthodox synagogue, keeps kosher, and sends his children to a Jewish school. But for countless readers, his name is synonymous with a degree of hostility to Israel that may be common enough in the countries surrounding Israel but that is rather unusual in an American Jew living in New York City.

Beinart first spelled out his views on Israel at length in a 2010 article for the New York Review of Books entitled “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment.” The article began with the assertion that American Jews, who at one time had been both liberal and Zionist, were breaking up into two distinct camps: “Particularly in the younger generations, fewer and fewer American Jewish liberals are Zionists; fewer and fewer American Jewish Zionists are liberal.”

Avigdor Lieberman

In Beinart’s view, most American Jewish Zionists were now increasingly possessed of a “naked hostility to Arabs and Palestinians.” He criticized then Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for wanting “to revoke the citizenship of Israeli Arabs who won’t swear a loyalty oath to the Jewish state.” (Is it outrageous for a country to expect its citizens to be loyal? Don’t new American citizens swear an oath?) “He said Arab Knesset members who met with representatives of Hamas should be executed.” (If cetain Knesset members consort covertly with terrorists who’ve sworn to destroy Israel, isn’t that treason?)

Part of Beinart’s message was that Israel and its defenders should lighten up. He chided them for their “obsession with victimhood.” Young Jews in the U.S., he pointed out, simply can’t relate to all that victim rhetoric. It didn’t occur to Beinart that perhaps the reason for this inability to relate lay in those young people’s historical illiteracy, their ignorance of current geopolitical realities, and/or their lack of imagination. No, to him, the takeaway was that the victim rhetoric is overblown.

A gathering of Hamas members

“Yes, Israel faces threats from Hezbollah and Hamas,” he acknowledged. “Yes, Israelis understandably worry about a nuclear Iran.” But for young Jews growing up in pleasant, leafy places like Scarsdale, New York, or Brentwood, California, the rhetoric about Jewish victimhood “simply bears no relationship to their lived experience.” A remarkable argument: as if the cushy lives of American Jews somehow made concern about the perilous position of Israel invalid!

Another part of Beinart’s message was that Israel needs to treat Palestinians better, withdraw from the West Bank, and make more serious efforts to establish a lasting peace. In short, in a world where Israel is one of the most democratic and peaceable of countries, and where a hundred-odd nations – including most if Israel’s neighbors – regularly commit atrocities against their citizens that would give you nightmares for the rest of your life, Beinart was, in effect, joining the anti-Semites in the UN’s Human Rights Council in piling on Israel.

Abraham H. Foxman

In a reply to Beinart’s article, Abraham H. Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League pointed out that the Israelis had, in fact, made repeated good-faith efforts to end the Palestinian conflict. At Camp David in 2000, Israel had offered to pull out of 90% of the territories and eliminate most settlements. In response, it “got a big no and suicide bombs.” In 2005 Israel “withdrew unilaterally from Gaza with the intent to do likewise in the West Bank because they saw no partner for peace.” The response that time? Rockets fired at civilian targets. Much the same happened in 2008. Repeatedly, in short, Israel’s enemies have replied to honest overtures for peace with violence. And yet Israel has kept coming back, hat in hand, trying once again to get along.

Beinart answered Foxman’s charges by doubling down on his condemnation of what he called “the growing authoritarian, even racist, tendencies in Israeli politics.” And he wasn’t done: in 2012, he expanded his indictment of the Jewish state to book length. We’ll get to The Crisis of Zionism on Thursday.

America’s most dangerous professor?

No sooner had we spent a week covering some of the more appalling useful idiots on California university faculties – much of our information being taken from the invaluable Canary Mission website – than that site trumped itself with a new report on a man whom it calls “the most dangerous professor in America.”

Hatem Bazian

As a graduate student, Hatem Bazian ran the Palestinian students’ group at San Francisco State University and the Muslim Students Association at Berkeley. Now a lecturer in UC Berkeley’s Department of Ethnic Studies, he also serves as provost and as a faculty member at Zaytuna College for Muslim Studies, which he co-founded. He also founded Students for Justice in Palestine as well as Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Documentation of Islamophobia.

Canary Mission cites a 2004 event at which Bazian asked an audience at Berkeley: “How come we don’t have an intifada in this country?” Though he later claimed he was not calling for violence, he said at another event: “The only language that the slave master understands is the language of violence.” In addition, he refused to condemn terrorist actions by Hamas and Hezbollah. In 1999, Bazian was reported by the Detroit News to have cited with approval a line from the Hadith: “The Day of Judgment will not happen until the trees and stones will say, ‘Oh Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.’” In a 2017 lecture, Bazian identified Middle East scholars Martin Kramer, Daniel Pipes, and Steven Emerson as “Islamophobes.”

After 9/11, he published a largely incoherent, semi-literate, and altogether strange series of statements about Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and PLO leader Yasir Arafat: “Sharon has been working earnestly to create or fomenting [sic] internal tension within the Palestinian Authority in such a way that can bring about a decision from an inside group, which no longer views Arafat [sic] actions to be in their best interests, and undertake his assassination.” He went on: “Sharon have [sic] decided that it would be better for Israel to have the Islamic forces in charge of Palestinian affairs because he would have more sympathy in the West fighting ‘Islamic Fundamentalist’ terrorism….We most certainly will hear some Israelis with the distinct N. Y. English accent remained [sic] all of us of the often used cruel statement that the ‘Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.’”

As one commentator wondered years ago, apropos of these odd reflections: “How can university deans and chancellors, in good conscience, hire professors who cannot speak or write grammatically? How do those same professors maintain credibility, let alone win Ph.D.s, when they cannot pass a standard written English test?”

The Canary Mission website describes Bazian as a “chameleon”: “In the academic world, he is slick and intellectual. In his writings he has a sophisticated anti-Zionist narrative that delegitimizes the Jewish people’s history, identity and connection to Israel…[A]t rallies the veneer falls away and we see his crude racist rhetoric — a rhetoric that is aggressive and pro-violence.” The website added that Bazian was unusually menacing because of his “mesmerizing influence over many students.” Canary Mission further noted the importance of his role as founder of the SJP, chapters of which have held events at which members chanted “Intifada, intifada, long live the intifada” – which, Canary Mission pointed out, is “exactly what Bazian preaches.”

John Pilger’s “great game”

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John Pilger

How better to introduce John Pilger than to quote from a notorious piece he published in The Guardian in July of 2002? The piece in question, we hasten to point out, isn’t much more appalling that many of the other things he’s written during his more than half-century-long career. But it certainly is representative, and it spells out his worldview with considerable – and disgusting – clarity.

“It is 10 months since 11 September,” he wrote

and still the great charade plays on. Having appropriated our shocked response to that momentous day, the rulers of the world have since ground our language into a paean of cliches and lies about the ‘war on terrorism’ – when the most enduring menace, and source of terror, is them….There is no war on terrorism; it is the great game speeded up. The difference is the rampant nature of the superpower, ensuring infinite dangers for us all.

Those sentences pretty much sum up Pilger’s worldview. Everything that happens in the world can be explained by a single, overarching, black-and-white narrative: the West, with the U.S. at its helm, is an evil force, poisoned by cutthroat capitalism, bloodthirsty imperialism, and an abiding illusion of freedom (Pilger refers to America and its allies as “societies that call themselves free”) and motivated by an unflagging lust to overpower and control the rest of the planet.

johnpilgerThis is the aforementioned “great game.” Every non-Western nation is a victim of this game; every non-Western people is virtuous; every non-Western culture is superior to the West.

All the tensions in the Middle East, therefore, are the fault of Israel, which is nothing more or less than a terrorist outpost of the West, run by the likes of “supreme terrorist Ariel Sharon.” (“[T]he Zionist state,” Pilger has written, “remains the cause of more regional grievance and sheer terror than all the Muslim states combined.”) Hamas, Hezbollah, all of them, are only reactive forces, lashing out in defensive response to the West’s vicious assaults.

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With Hugo Chavez

In the same way, Castro is a hero, and Cuban freedom fighters are terrorists. Today’s Japan is “very ultra-nationalist…the kind of Israel of Asia, for the United States,” while today’s Communist China is an innocuous country that seeks only to develop its economy without Western interference. The Sandinistas in Nicaragua were saints; their opponents were demons. When it comes to sheer wickedness, the worst Taliban fanatics, in Pilger’s view, have nothing on “the Christian Right fundamentalists running the plutocracy in Washington.” Ukraine’s 2014 democratic revolution was “Washington’s putsch in Kiev,” and it turned Ukraine “into a CIA theme park right next to Russia.”

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Ho Chi Minh

On and on it goes. Ho Chi Minh was a good guy; the U.S. waged the Vietnam War not just against North Vietnam but against all of Vietnam, “north and south, communist and non-communist.” (No mention, of course, of Ho’s epic brutality, of the pernicious role of China, or of the dark reality of Communism in postwar Vietnam.)

Even Osama bin Laden himself was not so horrible compared to the real bad guys: “Al-Qaeda’s training camps in Afghanistan,” wrote Pilger, “were kindergartens compared with the world’s leading university of terrorism at Fort Benning in Georgia.” Yes, he actually wrote that. All too often, his stuff reads like some kind of parody of knee-jerk anti-Americanism. 

Who is this clown? We’ll dig deeper tomorrow.

Selective omission: the world according to Ben Norton

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Ben Norton

We’ve been acquainting ourselves with Salon’s enfant terrible Ben Norton, a cherubic-looking enemy of America, Israel, and “neoliberalism” and ardent enthusiast for Islam and socialist economics.

One of Norton’s trademark activities is unfairly besmirching those who tell the truth about the darker aspects of Islamic ideology. In March, he smeared Islam expert Frank Gaffney, calling him an “extremist” and “Islamophobe” and mocking him for his throughly legitimate pushback against efforts to impose sharia-based restrictions in the West.

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Sam Harris

Norton has also gone after Sam Harris, the neuroscientist and bestselling author who has become one of the public faces of secularism (and who is about fifty times smarter than Norton). Accusing Harris of “virulent anti-Muslim bigotry and anti-Arab racism” and labeling him a “fascist,” Norton didn’t bother to serve up anything resembling an argument to support these charges; he simply quoted a series of statements that Harris has made about the disturbing demographic trends in Europe, about the disturbing tenets of Islam, and about the disturbing views about women, gays, and individual liberties held by disturbingly large percentages of Western Muslims. Every single one of the statements made by Harris that Norton quoted was 100% factual; but for Harris to have cited these facts was, in Norton’s eyes, simply unacceptable, and proof positive of prejudice.

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Frank Gaffney

Gaffney and Harris aren’t the only people whose writings about Islam have led to their being maligned as bigots by Norton. He actually marked the first anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo massacre by assailing the magazine’s writers (presumably including the ones who had been savagely slaughtered by Muslims a year earlier) as “racist.”

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Emergency workers with one of the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre

In an article published shortly before Christmas of last year, Norton explained to Salon readers how “to argue with your racist, Islamophobic uncle at Christmas dinner.” The piece served up the usual dishonest CAIR-style apologetics while neatly avoiding any mention of sharia law – e.g., the death penalty for homosexuality and apostasy – and it concluded with a truly nonsensical statement: “at the end of the day, Americans are much more likely to be killed by cars, suicide, bees, wasps, and even furniture than they are by Muslims.” In another piece that appeared shortly after Christmas, Norton made essentially the same point, writing that “[m]ore Americans were killed in Christmas weekend storms this year than in Islamic extremist attacks since 9/11.” 

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Amitai Etzioni

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) has criticized Norton more than once for the anti-Israeli and pro-Islamic terrorism tilt of his “reporting.” In February, citing an article in which Norton offered an “apparently deliberate” misreading of an op-ed by sociologist Amitai Etzioni, CAMERA accused him of displaying “a dazzling skepticism of information from Israeli sources alongside a great acceptance of unfounded anti-Israel conspiracy theories.” (For instance, Norton expressed doubts that Hezbollah stored weapons in private homes, a practice well documented by Human Rights Watch and other groups.) CAMERA also noted that Norton’s work was riddled with errors – among them dating Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights at 1967 instead of 1981.

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Hamas: the victims

In March, CAMERA slammed a Norton article headlined “Israeli airstrikes kill 2 Palestinian children in the besieged Gaza Strip,” complaining that Norton didn’t mention until the fifth paragraph that Israel’s strikes had come “in response to four Palestinian rocket attacks targeting Israel.” The article, CAMERA maintained, was replete with examples of “selective omission” that turned reality upside down, depicting Israel as the aggressor in the Gaza Strip and Hamas as the victims.

We’ll wind up this long march through Norton’s short career tomorrow. 

Hamas, Hezbollah, and other friends of George Galloway

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George Galloway

Long-time socialist MP George Galloway was not only a friend of Saddam Hussein’s. In fact he’s had a lot of friends at the top in the Islamic world. This is, after all, as we’ve noted, a guy whose own Respect Party – which he joined after being expelled from Labour – is, in columnist Nick Cohen’s words, an “alliance… between the Trotskyist far left and the Islamic far right.” It’s thanks to the Islamic far right that Galloway was returned repeatedly to the House of Commons from his Muslim-heavy constituencies in London and Bradford. In a private speech that came to light soon after the 2010 parliamentary election, he credited the pro-sharia Islamic Forum of Europe with playing “the decisive role” in his victory that year. Repeatedly, he’s made clear to Islamists around the world that the support and devotion is mutual.

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Galloway accepting his Hamas passport

For example, he’s hooked arms with the creeps of Hezbollah, insisting repeatedly that it isn’t and “has never been a terrorist organisation!” He’s been a reliable supporter of Hamas, one of whose leaders, Ismail Haniya, issued him his own Palestinian passport in 2009. He’s provided succor to the Assad regime in Syria, defending its occupation of Lebanon by saying that “Syrian troops in Lebanon maintain stability and protect the country from Israel.” He’s worked for Iran’s Press TV and stood up against criticism of Iran, rejecting any suggestion that it’s a dictatorship and routinely shrugged off its execution of gay people. His argument: those put to death for being gay aren’t being executed for their sexual orientation but for “rape” and other “sex crimes.” In any event, he’s maintained, Westerners are using Iran’s mistreatment of gays as a means of demonizing Iran and inviting war.

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Nick Cohen

And he’s expressed eternal devotion to the Palestinians of Gaza, comparing them to the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto – while likening their purported Israeli tormentors, of course, to the Nazis. Indeed, his denunciations of Israel have been as constant, and as passionately articulated, as his championing of oppressive Islamic regimes. In a 2014 speech, he pronounced Bradford an “Israeli-free zone”: “We don’t want any Israeli goods, we don’t want any Israeli services, we don’t want any Israeli academics coming to the university or the college, we don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford, even if any of them had thought of doing so…..We reject this illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel. And you have to do the same.” Note not only the foul anti-Semitism but the outrageous assumption that, as a Member of Parliament, he had any power to make any such declaration on behalf of Britain’s fourth-largest conurbation. This is a man whose every instinct is that of a despot.

But as we’ll see tomorrow, the autocrats on Galloway’s buddy list aren’t exclusively Muslim.

CNN: “respect” for terrorists

We’ve been pondering CNN’s curious relationship to autocrats around the world. As we’ve seen, the network routinely soft-pedals the perfidies of various countries’ governments in order to keep its reporters from being expelled. In some cases, to be sure, the tendency to whitewash tyranny isn’t just strategic but ideological – for many CNN people, as it happens, actively sympathize with leftist despots.

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Fadlallah

Then again, sometimes a CNN hireling will go too far in expressing that sympathy. In 2010, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah died. Known as the spiritual mentor of Hezbollah and designated a terrorist by President Clinton, Fadlallah advocated the destruction of Israel, cheered on suicide bombers, engaged in Holocaust denial, called for the murder of Jews, applauded the 2008 Mercaz HaRav massacre (in which eight students were killed), celebrated the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing (in which 299 died), approved of the hostage-taking at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, and personally had the blood of no fewer than 260 Americans on his hands.

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Octavia Nasr

Among those who mourned Fadlallah’s death was Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei, who remembered him as having been “loyal to the path of the Islamic Revolution” and as having “proved this through words and actions throughout the Islamic Republic’s thirty years.” Fadlallah was likewise eulogized by none other than Octavia Nasr, CNN’s senior Middle East editor. On learning of his demise, Nasr tweeted as follows from her official CNN Twitter account: “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah. One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.”

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Shmuley Boteach

Nasr received widespread criticism. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach marveled that for people like Nasr, “an imam like Fadlallah who wants to kill Americans and Israelis but who is unexpectedly nice to women has taken a giant leap forward from the Dark Ages, deserving respect and praise.” Nasr soon removed her tweet and, on a CNN blog, expressed regret for it, saying that the harsh public reaction had taught her “a good lesson on why 140 characters should not be used to comment on controversial or sensitive issues, especially those dealing with the Middle East.”

This was, note well, not exactly an apology. Nasr went on to describe the tweet as “simplistic” and explained that her “respect” for Fadlallah was based on his “contrarian and pioneering stand among Shia clerics on woman’s rights.” Of course, all things are relative; when Nasr spoke of support for women’s rights, she meant that Fadlallah was not a fan of honor killings. In any event, Nasr soon discovered that even by the lax standards of CNN, she had gone too far: her publicly declared “respect” for a mass murderer resulted in her dismissal from the network. It may well be that CNN’s readiness to fire her had less to do with any discomfort over her praise for Fadlallah than with its concern about losing access in Israel.

Robert Malley: “no tyrant too awful to shun”

We’ve seen how President Obama’s new point man on ISIS, Robert Malley, is the son of a viciously anti-Semitic, anti-American friend of Yasir Arafat and is himself a guy who, early in his career, made his name defaming Israel in print while ardently defending Arafat and other terrorists.

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Robert Malley

But Malley was just warming up. After Hamas took power in Gaza, he wrote an op-ed in which he defended the terrorist organization and encouraged Western governments to provide it with financial aid. In other articles, he defended Hezbollah and defended Syria’s ties to Hezbollah, Hamas, and al Qaeda in Iraq. In still other opinion pieces, he called for the U.S. to engage with Syria, to engage with Hamas, and to engage with the radical Shiite Muqtada al-Sadr, head of the Mahdi Army in Iraq. All in all, it was a remarkable body of work – adding up to one long, mendacious justification for Islamic terror and tyranny.

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Martin Peretz

And it culminated, in 2007, in a job as foreign-policy advisor to a presidential hopeful – Barack Obama. In January 2008, one Obama supporter, New Republic publisher Martin Peretz, felt obliged to address what he described as “spooky rumors that a man named Robert Malley is one of Obama’s advisers, specifically his Middle East adviser.” Peretz noted that “Malley, who has written several deceitful articles in The New York Review of Books, is a rabid hater of Israel. No question about it.” But Peretz insisted that “Malley is not and has never been a Middle East adviser to Barack Obama. Obama’s Middle East adviser is Dan Shapiro.” (We suspect that Peretz was not being duplicitous here, but was, rather, misinformed – presumably by someone in the Obama campaign.)

arafatIn any event, Malley’s job on the Obama team didn’t last long. In May 2008, when Malley admitted to a reporter that he’d had regular contact with Hamas, the Obama campaign, fearful of the wrath of Jewish and other pro-Israel voters, fired him. That the dismissal was pragmatic and not principled was made clear on the day after the 2008 elections, when it was reported that Obama had sent Malley weeks earlier to Egypt and Syria to tell leaders of those countries about the candidate’s Mideast views.

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Working on the Iran nuke agreement in Lausanne, Switzerland, March 2015: US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, US Secretary of State John Kerry, US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, Malley, EU Political Director Helga Schmid

Malley was back on the team. But pro-Israel folks in the U.S. still distrusted him enough that when he was named senior advisor in 2012, Obama felt obliged to promise that Malley wouldn’t be involved in Israeli-Palestinian issues. But that promise faded soon enough: two years later, Malley was promoted to a top job at the NSC; in March 2015, he was put in charge of the NSC’s entire Middle East policy – Israel, of course, included.

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus

And now he’s Senior Advisor to the President for the Counter-ISIL Campaign in Iraq and Syria. An Israeli blogger reported the news under the headline: “This is not the Onion: Obama appoints Hamas-loving Rob Malley his adviser on ISIS.” Lori Lowenthal Marcus, writing in the Jewish Press, didn’t mince words: “Malley is the kind of new-age negotiator who thinks there is no tyrant too awful to shun – unless, of course, you are talking about Israel – and is always eager to play up the ‘positive’ aspects of genocidal terrorist regimes as the justification for allowing them right there in the tent, seated next to you.” If U.S. policy on ISIS wasn’t already in the hands of useful stooges, it’s certainly in the hands of one now.