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August 11, 2016

Tunisian BDS Conference Raises Questions About Qatari Involvement

On August 4th, the Qatar-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) launched a three-day academic conference in Tunisia titled “Boycott as a Strategy to Counter Israel’s Occupation and Apartheid: Present-day Realities and Aspirations.” The conference served as a reminder of BDS activists’ efforts to expand their agenda and further their goal of delegitimizing the state of Israel, but also illuminated potential rifts within the movement.

Panelists at the BDS conference in Tunisia

Panelists at the BDS conference in Tunisia

While ACRPS claims to be an independent research institute, it appears to have strong ties to the Qatari government. This could suggest that individuals closely affiliated to the Qatari government may be interested in playing a bigger role in advancing the BDS movement.

ACRPS registration documents list Sultan Ghanim Al Kuwari, a prominent Qatari businessman, as the founder of the Center. Reportedly, Al Kuwari, who is closely affiliated with Qatar’s royal family, is also listed as the director of several Qatari international media outlets. He is also described as the person in charge of extending the reach of the Qatari soft diplomatic power under the leadership of the Emir of Qatar. Furthermore, reports from previous ACRPS events present the Emir of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani as a regular guest of honor at many of the group’s events.

The Qatari connection could raise the hackles of BDS activists who are skeptical of Qatar’s foreign policy positions, and are concerned that the country’s involvement would transform the grassroots movement into a ‘state branding’ project. On the first day of the conference, members of the Tunisian BDS chapter disrupted the session and protested against what they consider as the Qatari government’s connection. They also protested against the director of the ACRPS, Azmi Beshara, because he served as a member of the Israeli Knesset in the past, which the activists consider as an act of treason. An earlier statement on the official Facebook page of the Tunisian chapter of the BDS movement called fora boycott of the conference because the ACRPS and the conference itself “are sponsored by the Qatari government” which, according to the Tunisian chapter, is “one of the Arab governments most active in normalization with Israel.”

This BDS conference was built on a series of previous events hosted by the ACRPS and focused on questions about the objectives of the BDS movement and the role of the Arab states, émigré communities, and Palestinians. One speaker, Osama Abu Irshaid, the National Policy Director of American Muslims for Palestine, said “it is a must to transform the BDS movement into a system and a framework that will go beyond only boycotting corporations that support Israel to the de-legitimization of Israel as well.” ACRPS issued a paper supporting Irshaid’s goals.

Other speakers at the conference included Max Blumenthal, a prominent anti-Israel blogger, Peter Slezak, the co- founder of the Australian-based Independent Australian Jewish Voices, and Richard Falk, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.

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August 9, 2016

Oregon Police Save Woman Held Hostage by Armed White Supremacist

A SWAT team with the Gladstone Police Department in Northwestern Oregon rescued a woman being held hostage by a barricaded white supremacist following a shootout with police.jeffreygiddingstattoos

The incident began on August 8, 2016, when Jeffrey Carl Giddings, a convicted felon and career criminal, fled on a bicycle from an officer who was attempting to stop him for a traffic violation.

A short time later, Giddings allegedly opened fire on a police sergeant who had located him in the parking lot of a Subway restaurant.  The sergeant was struck in his ballistic vest and is reportedly in excellent condition.

Giddings then took a woman hostage and barricaded himself in the Subway.  A responding SWAT team tried to negotiate with Giddings, but he made demands and refused to give up.  Fearing for the hostage’s safety, the SWAT team shot Giddings and saved the woman. Giddings suffered a non-life threatening injury and was taken to the hospital.

Giddings’ face and body are covered in tattoos.  Many of them are symbols used by white supremacists including the words “Aryan Pride”, a Celtic Cross and “16/23,” a numerical code for PW or “peckerwood.”  Additionally, Giddings has IPS tattoos on both his neck and collarbone area which is the acronym for the Insane Peckerwood Syndicate, a white supremacist prison gang with members in Oregon and Washington.

This is the second shootout in the United States between police and domestic extremists this month, and the ninth so far this year.

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August 3, 2016

Anti-Muslim Extremists’ Disgraceful Attack On The Family Of An American Hero

Khizr Khan has been in the public eye since he spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.  In reacting to Khan’s prominence, some long-time anti-Muslim activists are seeking to discredit him.

Walid Shoebat

Walid Shoebat

Anti-Muslim extremist, Walid Shoebat, who is known for promoting Christian militancy, published an article on his website claiming that Khizr Khan, the father of Cpt. Humayan Khan is “a Muslim Brotherhood Agent Who Wants To Advance Sharia Law And Bring Muslims Into The United States.” Cpt. Khan was killed in combat in Iraq in 2004 and posthumously was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his service.

The article bases this claim on a scholarly paper published in the Houston Journal of International Law in 1983 titled Juristic Classification of Islamic Law, which Shoebat claims was written by Khizr Khan. However, it is not clear that this is the same Khizr Khan who is the father of the slain Cpt. Khan.

Based on this scholarly paper, Shoebat claims that Khan’s fascination with Islamic Sharia stems from his life in Saudi Arabia, and that the paper cites Islamic Law, a book written by a Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, Said Ramadan.  For Shoebat and others like him, fabricating absurd claims to attack opponents is nothing new. However, what is unusual here is that anti-Muslim extremists are using this vile tactic to defame grieving families of fallen American soldiers.

Publicly exposed after a 2011 investigative CNN report revealed his fabrication of several stories about his background, Shoebat promotes a form of anti-LGBT/anti-Muslim Christian militancy. He also posts articles on his website that express hostility towards Jews. One article written by his son Theodore published on Shoebat’s website on June 18, 2015 claims, “There are many Jews (the majority in America are far-left) who harbor anti-Christian sentiments, and express vitriol when you try to talk about Christ with them.”

In February 2016, Shoebat, who claims to have converted to Christianity, attacked evangelical leaders who condemned his son’s remarks that in “a biblical society…every f-g would be rounded up and killed.” Shoebat responded to their criticism of this comment by asking, “So how far will the Evangelical movement in the United States go to please the LGBT agenda?”

Other anti-Muslim extremists echoed Shoebat’s attack on the Khan family. Some of them are planning to attend an upcoming anti-Muslim event in Los Angeles about Islam and Western Civilization on August 21st.

The event will feature speakers known for their anti-Islamic bigotry including Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, Frank Gaffney, and Pamela Geller. The event will also feature Morton Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) as a speaker.

By attacking the Khan family, who made the biggest sacrifice a human can endure, the hateful agenda of anti-Muslim extremists has reached a new low.

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