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December 18, 2012 0

ADL Terrorism Update Newsletter Features “Tweeting for Terror”

The Decem­ber edi­tion of Ter­ror­ism Update, ADL’s newslet­ter pro­vid­ing news and analy­sis on inter­na­tional ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions and their fol­low­ers in the U.S., is now available.

This edi­tion includes infor­ma­tion on recent terror-related arrests in Alabama, South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, and Florida, as well updates to ter­ror pros­e­cu­tions in Wash­ing­ton and New York.

Ter­ror­ism Update also includes a pro­file of deceased Amer­i­can ter­ror pro­pa­gan­dist, Moeed Abdul Salam, and a fea­ture, “Tweet­ing for Ter­ror,” which gives an overview of how for­eign ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions exploit social media.

The fea­ture sum­ma­rizes how ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions seek­ing to spread their ide­ol­ogy and attract fol­low­ers around the world now make use of the lat­est tech­nolo­gies and media plat­forms to reach vast and con­stantly con­nected audi­ences. Twit­ter, the online social net­work­ing and microblog­ging ser­vice, is just one of the plat­forms exploited by ter­ror­ist groups.  Var­i­ous State Department-designated FTOs claim to oper­ate a vari­ety of Twit­ter accounts, in mul­ti­ple languages.

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December 5, 2012 1

New York Synagogue Bomb Plot Suspect Pleads Guilty

Ahmed Fer­hani

Update: On March 15, 2013, Fer­hani was sen­tenced to 10 years in prison. On April 26, Ferhani’s  cocon­spir­a­tor, Moham­mad Mam­douh was sen­tenced to 5 years in prison.

Ahmed Fer­hani, a legal U.S. res­i­dent from Alge­ria, pleaded guilty yes­ter­day to ter­ror­ism charges stem­ming from his role in a plot to attack a New York City syn­a­gogue. The foiled plot was the lat­est is a series of post-9/11 ter­ror plots moti­vated, in part, by hatred of Jews and Israel.

Fer­hani, 27, and his alleged cocon­spir­a­tor Moham­mad Mam­douh, 21, were arrested on May 11, 2011, after attempt­ing to pur­chase weapons, includ­ing guns and a hand grenade, from an under­cover offi­cer dur­ing a sting operation.

Read­ing a pre­pared state­ment in Man­hat­tan Supreme Court yes­ter­day, Fer­hani said, “I repeat­edly discussed…my anger towards Jews based on what I believed and per­ceived to be their mis­treat­ment of Mus­lims through­out the world. I intended to cre­ate chaos and send a mes­sage of intim­i­da­tion and coer­cion to the Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion of New York City, warn­ing them to stop mis­treat­ing Muslims.”

As part of his plea deal, Fer­hani pleaded guilty to 10 terror-related and hate crime charges and is sched­uled to be sen­tenced next month.

Dur­ing the under­cover oper­a­tion, Fer­hani allegedly said that Pales­tini­ans are par­tic­u­larly vic­tim­ized and allegedly expressed inter­est in trav­el­ing to Gaza to fight. At the time of the arrest, New York Police Com­mis­sioner Kelly said Fer­hani planned to grow out his beard in order to look “more like a Jew” and enter a syn­a­gogue more easily.

Other ter­ror plots in New York in recent years have been sim­i­larly moti­vated, in part, by hatred of Jews and Israel, including:

Sep­tem­ber 2009: Zarein Ahmedzay, a nat­u­ral­ized U.S. cit­i­zen from Afghanistan, and two other New York­ers were arrested for plot­ting to det­o­nate home­made explo­sives on New York City sub­way lines dur­ing the days fol­low­ing the eighth anniver­sary of the 9/11 ter­ror attacks. While enter­ing his guilty plea a year later, Ahmedzay stated that “the real ene­mies of this coun­try are the ones destroy­ing this coun­try from within” and con­demned “a spe­cial group of Zion­ist Jews” who want to “estab­lish a per­ma­nent shadow gov­ern­ment in the­United States of America.”

May 2009: Four Mus­lim con­verts, three Amer­i­can and one Hait­ian, were arrested for an alleged plot to attack two syn­a­gogues in the Bronx and to shoot down planes at a mil­i­tary base inNewburgh,New York. James Cromi­tie, the appar­ent leader of the group, and the other three men allegedly began sur­veil­lance of sev­eral syn­a­gogues and a Jew­ish Com­mu­nity Cen­ter in the­Bronx in April 2009. “These were peo­ple who were eager to bring death to Jews,” Assis­tant U.S. Attor­ney Eric Sny­der said at a court hear­ing the day after the arrests. The men were sub­se­quently sen­tenced to 25 years in prison.

Novem­ber 2008: Amer­i­can cit­i­zen Bryant Neal Vinas was arrested for pro­vid­ing infor­ma­tion about New York City tran­sit sys­tems to Al Qaeda for poten­tial ter­ror­ist attacks and for fir­ing rock­ets at an Amer­i­can mil­i­tary base in Afghanistan. Vinas, who was angry with the U.S. gov­ern­ment for its sup­port of Israel, was also involved with the Islamic Thinkers Soci­ety, a New York-based anti-Semitic extrem­ist group that calls for the destruc­tion of the state of Israel. He also met with the for­mer leader of Rev­o­lu­tion Mus­lim, another New York-based anti-Semitic orga­ni­za­tion that jus­ti­fies ter­ror­ist attacks and other forms of vio­lence against non-Muslims. Vinas sub­se­quently pleaded guilty to all three charges against him.

Feb­ru­ary 2007: Rus­sell Defre­itas, a nat­u­ral­ized U.S.citizen from Guyana, and three other men were arrested for plot­ting to attack New York’s John F. Kennedy Inter­na­tional Air­port. The men plot­ted the attack in part because they wanted to take revenge on theU.S. for its diplo­matic rela­tion­ship with­Is­rael. Defre­itas later told an infor­mant that Mus­lims “incur the wrath of the world while Jews get a pass,” and that he “wanted to do some­thing to get those bas­tards,” accord­ing to court doc­u­ments. Defre­itas also sug­gested tar­get­ing a nearby Jew­ish school or a pre­dom­i­nately Jew­ish neigh­bor­hood. Defre­itas was sub­se­quently sen­tenced to life in prison.

August 2004: Amer­i­can cit­i­zen James Elshafay and another man plot­ted to bomb­New York’sHerald Square­sub­way sta­tion. In con­ver­sa­tions secretly recorded by an under­cover infor­mant, Elshafay talked about his hatred of “Zion­ists” and his sol­i­dar­ity with the Pales­tini­ans, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments. The men also watched ter­ror­ist videos and shared books that claimed the Jews were con­spir­ing to take over the world’s econ­omy. Elshafay was sub­se­quently sen­tenced to 30 years in prison.

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November 19, 2012 0

“Israel should be Ended Once and For All,” “Crucify Him, Crucify Them…Israel’s Policy:” A Round-Up of Anti-Israel Protests in the U.S., November 17–18

Over the week­end, more than two dozen anti-Israel protests were held in cities across the United States. Below is a round-up of the extreme mes­sages and signs that were on dis­play at just a small sam­pling of these demonstrations.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17

New Haven, CT

Approx­i­mately two dozen pro­test­ers gath­ered out­side the New Haven cour­t­house and then pro­ceeded to march in down­town New Haven. An activist with the ANSWER Coali­tion addressed the crowd first and said, “We’re here to say to peo­ple that Israel should be ended once and for all.” She also advo­cated for Boy­cott, Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) and encour­aged the crowd to fight “U.S. impe­ri­al­ism.” Pro­test­ers engaged in chants of “From the river to the sea, Pales­tine will be free!,” “Long live Intifada!,” and “Viva, Viva Palestina.” They held signs that read, “Resist Zion­ism and Impe­ri­al­ism” and “Israel – Guilty of war crimes.”

Fort Laud­erdale, FL

About 150 peo­ple gath­ered out­side the United States Fed­eral Cour­t­house in Fort Laud­erdale hold­ing signs that read “This isn’t war, this is geno­cide,” “Stop the new Holo­caust,” and “Apartheid+occupation=Israel.” Other signs read “Stop the Pales­tin­ian Holo­caust by Israel,” “If 9/11 deserves a moment of silence… Then Pales­tine deserves to never speak again,” and “The geno­cide goes on. Gaza needs your voice NOW.”

Activists at the rally chanted a vari­ety of slo­gans includ­ing “Hey hey, ho ho, this occu­pa­tion has gotta go!” “From the [Jor­dan] River to the [Mediter­ranean] Sea, Pales­tine will be free!” and “Gaza will never die! Free, free Gaza!” A par­tic­i­pant at the protest wore a t-shirt that said “Stop the Pales­tin­ian Holo­caust by Israel.”

Austin, TX

Activists demon­strated out­side the Texas Capi­tol build­ing for a rally called “Austin stands with Gaza.” Signs at the rally included “Israel is killing chil­dren in Gaza, stop U.S. com­plic­ity,” “Zion­ism is racism,” “Zion­ism is theft and anti-Semitic ter­ror,” and “Stop Israeli ter­ror­ism!” In addi­tion, a young child at the rally held a sign that said “Chil­dren like me are being killed with your tax dollars.”

Chants at the rally included “Netanyahu go to Hell, USA of Israel,” “Self-defense is a lie, what they do is geno­cide!” “The Pales­tini­ans are oppressed, boy­cott, sanc­tions, divest!” and “From Pales­tine to Mex­ico, all the walls of have got to go.” The lat­est chant refers to an increased effort by anti-Israel activists to link the Pales­tin­ian strug­gle with immi­grant issues in the U.S. and the U.S.-Mexico bor­der fence.

San Fran­cisco, CA

Approx­i­mately 100 pro­test­ers gath­ered out­side the Israeli Con­sulate for the third straight day. Signs were held that said “Stop U.S.-Israeli geno­cide,” “Free Pales­tine, sup­port the right of return,” and “Stop Israel’s slaugh­ter in Gaza. Cut off all U.S. Aid.”

Fol­low­ing the demon­stra­tion out­side of the Con­sulate, activists marched to Union Square chant­ing var­i­ous slo­gans includ­ing “Long live the intifada, intifada, intifada,” “No peace, no state,” “While you’re shop­ping bombs are drop­ping,” and “not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israel’s crimes!”

 SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18

Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Pro­test­ers gath­ered at the Israeli Embassy hold­ing signs that read, “Obama Grow a Spine End the Geno­cide in Pales­tine! Quit Being Israel’s Pup­pet,” “G-d’s ‘Cho­sen Peo­ple’ Guilty of War Crimes,” “Is Wash­ing­ton Under Israeli Occu­pa­tion?” and “Cru­cify Him, Cru­cify Them…Israel’s Pol­icy,” which seemed to sug­gest that Israel was respon­si­ble for Jesus’s death. Other signs that were printed by some of the anti-Israel orga­ni­za­tions that coor­di­nated the rally read, “Stop Israel’s Slaugh­ter in Gaza” and “End the Siege on Gaza.”

Press TV, an English-language Iran­ian news sta­tion, inter­viewed some of the pro­test­ers who used extreme and inac­cu­rate lan­guage to con­demn Israel, includ­ing describ­ing Gaza as a “land prison” and claim­ing that Israel “mas­sa­cred thou­sands of civil­ians” in Gaza dur­ing Oper­a­tion Cast Lead.  

New York

Approx­i­mately 500 peo­ple demon­stra­tors gath­ered in Times Square hold­ing signs that read “Israel is a ter­ror­ist state” and “Judaism Yes! Zion­ism No! State of Israel Must Go.” The lat­ter sign was held by a mem­ber of Neturei Karta, an ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist orga­ni­za­tion that is a fix­ture at anti-Israel ral­lies in New York and Wash­ing­ton, D.C. A sep­a­rate pro­tester who was inter­viewed by FarsNews, an offi­cial Iran­ian agency, said that Israel is able to “get away with it” because of the U.S.: “Amer­ica is the real ter­ror­ist state and as long as Amer­ica uncon­di­tion­ally sup­ports Israel, the blood of Pales­tini­ans will con­tinue to be shed.”

San Diego

An anti-Israel protest to counter a pro-Israel event was orga­nized by the Al-Awda chap­ter in San Diego. After the event ended, the leader of the group posted a mes­sage on Face­book thank­ing peo­ple for attend­ing the protest. The  activist, Zahi Damuni, wrote that par­tic­i­pants in the pro-Israel rally were a “lot of obnox­ious racist peo­ple” and that the counter-protest “damp­ened the cel­e­bra­tion of the car­nage that their Zion­ist racist state is com­mit­ting.” He also called for all of Pales­tine to be free “from the River to the Sea,” which is a call for the destruc­tion of the state of Israel.

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