2013 March » ADL Blogs
March 11, 2013 0

Detained Al Qaeda Spokesman Justified Anti-Jewish Ideology

Screen­shot of Abu Ghaith, Bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri from video claim­ing respon­si­bil­ity for 9/11

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, a for­mer Al Qaeda spokesman and Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, was detained last week by U.S. author­i­ties in Jor­dan after being deported from Turkey to his native Kuwait.

Abu Ghaith’s state­ments on behalf of Al Qaeda, which ceased after he fled to Iran in 2002, demon­strated how the ter­ror­ist group’s ide­ol­ogy was rooted in the hatred of Jews, often link­ing Al Qaeda’s oppo­si­tion to Amer­ica with its ani­mos­ity to Jews and Israel.

In the 2001 state­ment claim­ing respon­si­bil­ity for the 9/11 attacks, Abu Ghaith said that the attacks were in response to “the Islamic Nation hav­ing been groan­ing in pain for more than 80 years under the yoke of the joint Jewish-Crusader aggres­sion” and the “Jew­ish occu­pa­tion” of Pales­tine.  He warned that attacks against the United States would con­tinue unless the United States met three con­di­tions:  stop­ping “its sup­port for the Jews,” lift­ing the embargo on Iraq, and the with­drawal of the United States from “our land.”

Abu Ghaith also released a state­ment claim­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty­for an Al Qaeda attack on a syn­a­gogue in Tunisia, which killed 19 tourists in April 2002 and said it was revenge for the deaths of Pales­tini­ans. In the state­ment, he promised that “as long as Amer­ica insists on its unjust and biased pol­icy towards Mus­lims in favor of Jews and Chris­tians around the world then, God will­ing, we will con­tinue to hit it any­where in the world.” 

Abu Ghaith, who is now in New York City await­ing trial, is charged with con­spir­ing to kill United States nation­als. Pros­e­cu­tors are essen­tially argu­ing that “the core pur­pose of Al Qaeda… is to sup­port vio­lent attacks against prop­erty and nation­als, both mil­i­tary and civil­ian, of the United States and other coun­tries” and that Abu Ghaith was a mem­ber of Al Qaeda with a close rela­tion­ship to bin Laden.

He has pleaded not guilty, and faces a pos­si­ble life sen­tence if convicted.

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March 8, 2013 1

Anti-Israel Activity Reached Fever Pitch This Week

Anti-Israel activists took a multi-faceted approach to attack­ing Israel in the pub­lic sphere this week. In the span of 7 days, divest­ment res­o­lu­tions were con­sid­ered at three col­lege cam­puses, ten anti-Israel bill­boards were put up in Atlanta, over 30 col­lege cam­puses hosted Israeli Apartheid Week pro­grams and two day­long BDS con­fer­ences were scheduled.

These ini­tia­tives are for­mally or infor­mally part of a global effort to advance the Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) move­ment against Israel. They demon­strate the anti-Israel movement’s com­mit­ment to employ­ing mul­ti­ple tac­tics and cam­paigns to attract sup­port for its positions.

A flyer adver­tis­ing the first pub­lic dis­cus­sion on the divest­ment res­o­lu­tion at UCSD

Here’s a closer look at what’s taken place this week:

  • Cam­pus Divest­ment Res­o­lu­tions: Stu­dent gov­ern­ments at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity, the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia (UC), River­side, and UC San Diego con­sid­ered divest­ment res­o­lu­tions tar­get­ing multi­na­tional com­pa­nies that work with Israel like Cater­pil­lar, Gen­eral Elec­tric and Northrup Grum­man. The results were mixed: the res­o­lu­tion at Stan­ford was voted down; UC San Diego did not vote on its res­o­lu­tion (after a dis­cus­sion that lasted until 2am) and will resume dis­cussing it next week, while UC River­side passed its res­o­lu­tion in a stealth man­ner rem­i­nis­cent of the recent res­o­lu­tion at UC Irvine. The divest­ment res­o­lu­tion at River­side was intro­duced with­out advance notice and seems to be part of an effort to ensure that pro-Israel stu­dents are left in the dark and are there­fore not present at the pub­lic dis­cus­sion to voice their per­spec­tive and advo­cate against the bill.
  • Israeli Apartheid Week: At least 35 col­lege cam­puses in the U.S. are par­tic­i­pat­ing in IAW this year, the ninth con­sec­u­tive year that the pro­gram has been held in cities around the world. Most of the events in the U.S. were for­mally sched­uled to take place March 4–8 but some are stretch­ing into next week as well (due to var­i­ous university-related sched­ul­ing con­flicts). IAW events this year have pri­mar­ily included anti-Israel speak­ers, mock “apartheid walls” and check­point dis­plays on cam­pus, and screen­ings of two crit­i­cal of Israel films,  the Oscar award-nominated “5 Bro­ken Cam­eras” and a more extreme film called “Roadmap to Apartheid.” “Roadmap to Apartheid” is nar­rated by The Color Pur­ple author Alice Walker and analo­gizes Pales­tin­ian refugees to Jews in the War­saw Ghetto and par­tially con­dones ter­ror­ism as a “symp­tom” of the conflict.
  • BDS Con­fer­ences: This past Sat­ur­day the Uni­ver­sity of Texas, Austin, hosted a day­long “BDS Con­fer­ence” that fea­tured extreme speeches by Nada Elia, a fac­ulty mem­ber at Anti­och Uni­ver­sity in Seat­tle, and Sherry Wolf, a Jew­ish social­ist and activist. Elia avowed that she would not reject Pales­tin­ian extrem­ism because Pales­tini­ans “have a right to resist” and com­pared Israelis to Amer­i­can slave-owners. Wolf used the plat­form to claim that the notion that Israel is the Jew­ish people’s home­land is “bulls–t” and accused Israel of “ter­ror­ism” and insti­tu­tion­al­ized racism against the Pales­tini­ans. She fur­ther described Zion­ist Jews as “white suprema­cist racist[s].” On Sat­ur­day, March 9, a sim­i­lar con­fer­ence will take place on the Auraria cam­pus in Den­ver. Par­tic­i­pants will “learn about the his­tory of both Pales­tine and the global BDS move­ment, hear what coali­tion groups are work­ing on, and par­tic­i­pate in BDS and coalition-building train­ing,” accord­ing to the event flier.
  • Anti-Israel Bill­boards: The Coun­cil for the National Inter­est, an anti-U.S. aid to Israel group based in DC, recently started a cam­paign called “Stop the Blank Check to Israel” which hopes to place bill­boards in cities across the coun­try. Ten such ads, which read, “$8 Mil­lion a day to Israel just doesn’t make sense! STOP The Blank Check.org,” have recently been erected in Atlanta. Ads with sim­i­lar mes­sages have appeared in the past year in Den­ver, Detroit, Los Ange­les, Chapel Hill and New York.

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March 6, 2013 0

Miami Imam Convicted of Supporting Pakistani Taliban

Hafiz Khan, a Miami imam, was con­victed of four charges per­tain­ing to his sup­port of the Pak­istani Tal­iban on Monday.

Khan was arrested, along with two of his sons, in May 2011. They were accused of solic­it­ing funds to be dis­trib­uted to the Pak­istani Tal­iban, a State Depart­ment des­ig­nated For­eign Ter­ror­ist Orga­ni­za­tion. The charges against one of his sons were thrown out by the judge and charges against the other were with­drawn by the prosecution. 

At trial, Khan main­tained that he had sent money to a reli­gious school in Pak­istan and to help his fam­ily.  He tes­ti­fied that he only voiced sup­port for the Pak­istani Tal­iban in an effort to raise funds from a real Tal­iban sup­porter (who turned out to be an infor­mant) that he intended to be used for other purposes. 

The pros­e­cu­tion main­tained that “his whole defense is a lie” and that he in fact did sup­port the Pak­istani Tal­iban and intended the funds to reach the ter­ror­ist organization.

The Pak­istani Tal­iban, based in the tribal regions along the Afghanistan-Pakistan bor­der and allied with Al Qaeda, seeks to over­throw the Pak­istani gov­ern­ment, expel West­ern and allied forces from the region, and estab­lish an Islamic state.  Although the group focuses its attacks pri­mar­ily in that region, the group claimed respon­si­bil­ity for Faisal Shahzad’s attempted bomb­ing in Times Square in 2010

Khan faces a poten­tial sen­tence of 15 years in prison for each charge.

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