2013 March » ADL Blogs
March 11, 2013

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

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

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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