2012 April » ADL Blogs
April 27, 2012

As Algeria Approaches Elections, Citizens are Warned of Zionist Interference

“Algerians must vote because it is about Algeria’s stability, and it is about preserving our country from any foreign interference,” a prominent Algerian cleric said in an interview with Reuters on April 25, adding that Zionists are among the conspirers that seek to meddle in domestic Arab affairs.

In case that wasn’t clear enough, Sheikh Chemseddine Bouroubi added in his widely circulated fatwa, or religious decree, that those who do not vote in May 10 elections will suffer divine retribution.

The North African nation-state has largely baffled Middle East experts for successfully riding out the waves of popular revolt that have become the symbol of the Arab Spring. Although the thirteen year authoritarian rule of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika did encounter a flash of popular protest as revolution swept across neighboring Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt, Bouteflika responded by officially lifting the nation’s 19-year-old state of emergency and promises for gradual reforms.

Decrees demonizing Israel and Zionism, such as the one made by Sheikh Bouroubi, have historically been used by authoritarian Arab states as the preferred method of deflecting popular discontent away from themselves and onto the Jewish state.

In his fatwa, Bourbouri tried to justify his comments that Zionists intend to foment revolution in Algeria by pointing out that a Jewish French-Algerian played a role in persuading President Sarkozy to help overthrow Muammar Qaddafi in Libya. “Listen to what the Zionist Bernard-Henri Levy is saying: ‘Algeria is about to experience an Arab Spring very soon’… What he means by ‘Arab Spring’ is a repetition of the Libyan scenario: blood, killings, destruction.”

Algeria emerged from a bloody and prolonged civil war between the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) and the central government only when President Bouteflika assumed power.

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April 26, 2012

Jihadists Solicit Help Online to Craft Their Message

The Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), an umbrella organization that distributes videos, literature and other messages for Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, has apparently posted a submission form on Google’s blog service soliciting “participation, comments or suggestions” for its propaganda.

The form includes instructions in both English and Arabic for contacting the group, with reminders not to “mention your real name, address..etc. [sic]” and to include an email address “so we can reply to you.” The page also includes instructions for sending encrypted messages.

GIMF’s call for “participation” not only demonstrates the continuing effort by Jihadist propagandists to exploit mainstream social media platforms to communicate with potential followers (Al Shabaab, for example, started using Twitter in December 2011), but also how Jihadist media entities continue to rely on the skills and efforts of individual followers to help craft their message.

For example, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s English-language magazine Inspire regularly encourages readers to contribute articles, quotes and images. It has also provided contact information for readers “interested in contributing to this magazine with any skills – be it writing, research, editing or advice” and suggested that individuals use the same encryption program referenced by GIMF “in order to avoid detection from the intelligence services [sic].”

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, accused of attempting to detonate a vehicle he believed was laden with explosives at an Oregon Christmas tree lighting ceremony in 2010, is an example of someone who responded to such solicitations. Not only did he allegedly write and send an article to Inspire (which was not published), he also submitted pieces that were published in Jihad Recollections, the self-described “first English Jihad magazine” released by a collaboration of online terrorist sympathizers, including Samir Khan. Khan produced Inspire up until he was killed by a U.S. drone strike in September 2011 in Yemen.

Others have taken it upon themselves to create jihadist propaganda without necessarily utilizing established terrorist media outlets, relying on internet forums and other social media for distribution of their materials. For example, an April 2012 image of the New York skyline with the message “Al Qaeda Coming Soon Again in New York” attracted widespread media attention and prompted enhanced law enforcement vigilance. The image, apparently created by an individual member of a jihadist forum, demonstrated the propaganda value that can be created by individuals using commercially available software.

While these messages may lack the cachet of a “brand name” propaganda distributed by GIMF and similar terrorist media producers, the materials still attract attention, create fear and encourage others to play an active role in the creation of propaganda in support of terror.

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April 26, 2012

Divestment Effort at the Methodist General Conference in Tampa

Should the United Methodist Church divest from its investments in “companies that sustain the Israeli occupation?”

The answer to that question will be decided in Tampa, Florida, at this year’s General Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC). The conference began on Tuesday and is scheduled to take place through May 5, 2012.

The UMC includes on its agenda a list of “major issues” that will be addressed at the conference, including the church’s stance and efforts regarding abortion, gay rights, bullying and immigration. Also included in the agenda is a resolution on divestment from three American companies – Caterpillar, Motorola and Hewlett-Packard – until they “end their involvement in the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.” The resolution further calls on “the United Methodist Church boards and agencies, annual conferences, local churches and individuals to prayerfully consider corporate involvement in Israel’s occupation when making investment decisions.”

The resolution is being presented to the General Conference by the United Methodist Kairos Response (UMKR), an anti-Israel contingent that was formed in 2010 following the release of the “Kairos Palestine Document.” That document, which calls for a global BDS campaign, denies Jewish connection to the Holy Land and justifies terrorism.

If the resolution is passed, UMC general boards will be required to present reports on their respective progress at the church’s 2016 conference.

UMKR has a document on its website listing individuals and groups that support the resolution and it takes care to specifically highlight the Jewish anti-Zionists who support BDS. This is likely an attempt to obviate allegations of anti-Semitism. The resolution has received support from Jewish Voice for Peace, a variety of Israeli anti-occupation activists and two anti-Zionist Holocaust survivors, Hedy Epstein and Hajo Meyer. In his statement, Meyer claims that, as a survivor of Auschwitz, he “[refuses] to belong to a group which is a perpetrator, and therefore I do not agree to allow the state of Israel to commit its crimes in the name of Judaism.”

In addition to the divestment resolution, participants at the conference may be asked to vote on other virulently anti-Israel resolutions, including one regarding endorsing the Kairos Palestine Document.

Efforts by Methodist anti-Israel activists to divest from Israel began in 2008. Then, the UMC voted to continue to allow its agency staff to make comparisons of Israel to the apartheid regime that existed in South Africa and participate in the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. The General Council did not, however, vote in favor of divesting from Israeli companies.

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