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Jews, and Muslims, Should Be Concerned about Anti-Semitic Preaching in American Mosques

July 28 2017

Quoting from two sermons given last Friday at Islamic centers in California, Liel Leibovitz argues that it’s time for those who claim to oppose bigotry to start protesting anti-Semitic incitement in U.S. mosques:

The Egyptian-born American imam Ammar Shahin took to the pulpit at the Islamic Center of Davis, California, to deliver some words to the faithful. . . . “The Prophet Muhammad says that . . . the last hour will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews. We don’t say if it is in Palestine or another place. Until they fight.”

Shahin went on like this for a while longer. Then, he closed his eyes and addressed the Creator directly.

“Oh Allah,” he prayed, . . . “liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews. . . . Oh Allah, show us the black day that you inflict upon them and the wonders of your ability. Oh Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any one. . . . Oh Allah, make this happen by our hand. Let us play a part in this.”

At more or less the same time, another imam, Sheikh Mahmoud Harmoush, was preaching at another Islamic Center, in Riverside, 451 miles to the south. . . . “Wake up,” he thundered, “it is time to be a Muslim. Prayers are not the only things.” And then, after more talk of al-Aqsa and its Jewish occupiers, the grand finale: “Oh, Allah, destroy them. . . . Turn them into booty in the hands of Muslims.”

That these two sermons, oozing with anti-Semitism of the crudest kind, could take place, in 2017, in the state of California, should terrify not only Jews but also Muslims who abhor the idea of their faith abused by fanatics who turn scripture into screeds and who use the pulpit to preach for murder. It should also jolt good liberals into action, as they imagine how they would feel if the speakers were, say, right-wing Evangelicals calling on Christ to smite the gays. And it should rouse the ADL into action, if it wants to dispel the mounting evidence that it’s a Democratic-party affiliate primarily interested in ephemeral political scuffles rather than in protecting real Jews from real hate.

All this must happen immediately, before one of the men who sat at the feet of Imams Shahin and Harmoush gets up and decides that the day of reckoning is upon us and that it’s time to do as Allah commands and go slay the Jews.

Read more at Tablet

More about: ADL, Anti-Semitism, Islam, Religion & Holidays

 

How Lebanon—and Hizballah—Conned and Humiliated Rex Tillerson

Feb. 21 2018

Last Thursday, the American secretary of state arrived in Beirut to express Washington’s continued support for the country’s government, which is now entirely aligned with Hizballah. His visit came shortly after Israel’s showdown with Hizballah’s Iranian protectors in Syria and amid repeated warnings from Jerusalem about the terrorist organization’s growing threat to Israeli security. To Tony Badran, Tillerson’s pronouncements regarding Lebanon have demonstrated the incoherence of the Trump administration’s policy:

[In Beirut], Tillerson was made to sit alone in a room with no American flag in sight and wait—as photographers took pictures and video—before Hizballah’s chief allies in Lebanon’s government, President Michel Aoun and his son-in-law the foreign minister, finally came out to greet him. Images of the U.S. secretary of state fidgeting in front of an empty chair were then broadcast across the Middle East to symbolize American impotence at a fateful moment for the region. . . .

Prior to heading to Beirut, Tillerson gave an interview to the American Arabic-language station al-Hurra, in which he emphasized that Hizballah was a terrorist organization, and that the United States expected cooperation from the “Lebanon government to deal very clearly and firmly with those activities undertaken by Lebanese Hizballah that are unacceptable to the rest of the world.” . . . But then, while in Jordan, Tillerson undermined any potential hints of firmness by reading from an entirely different script—one that encapsulates the confused nonsense that is U.S. Lebanon policy. Hizballah is “influenced by Iran,” Tillerson said. But, he added, “We also have to acknowledge the reality that they also are part of the political process in Lebanon”—which apparently makes being “influenced by Iran” and being a terrorist group OK. . . .

The reality on the ground in Lebanon, [however], is [that] Hizballah is not only a part of the Lebanese government, it controls it—along with all of the country’s illustrious “institutions,” including the Lebanese Armed Forces. . . .

[Meanwhile], Israel’s tactical Syria-focused approach to the growing threat on its borders has kept the peace so far, but it has come at a cost. For one thing, it does not address the broader strategic factor of Iran’s growing position in Syria, and it leaves Iran’s other regional headquarters in Lebanon untouched. Also, it sets a pace that is more suitable to Iran’s interests. The Iranians can absorb tactical strikes so long as they are able to consolidate their strategic position in Syria and Lebanon. Not only have the Iranians been able to fly a drone into Israel but also their allies and assets have made gains on the ground near the northern Golan and in Mount Hermon. As Iran’s position strengthens, and as Israel’s military and political hand weakens, the Israelis will soon be left with little choice other than to launch a devastating war.

To avoid that outcome, the United States needs to adjust its policy—and fast. Rather than leaving Israel to navigate around the Russians and go after Iran’s assets in Syria and Lebanon on its own, it should endorse Israel’s red lines regarding Iran in Syria, and amplify its campaign against Iranian assets. In addition, it should revise its Lebanon policy and end its investment in the Hizballah-controlled order there.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Israeli Security, Lebanon, Politics & Current Affairs, Rex Tillerson, U.S. Foreign policy