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On Gaza and Israel

On Gaza and Israel

BY GERALD MCDERMOTT
http://www.patheos.com/
MAY 24, 2018

In 2009 my photographer son and I walked across Galilee, staying with Jews some nights and Arabs other nights. We were doing a photo essay for Christianity Todayon what residents of the land of Jesus think about him today.

More than a few times Arab Christians pulled us aside, whispered to us not to write their names, and told us the same thing: "The media would make you think that the Israeli government is our biggest enemy. But that's not true. Our real enemies are our Muslim cousins. They want to get rid of us Christians."

One lesson I learned from this is to be wary of what the media tell us about Israel.

I wish Rich Mouw knew about some of this. Rich is the distinguished scholar and President Emeritus of Fuller Seminary. He is a friend and ally on many issues.

But I am afraid that his recent screed against Israel over the violence in Gaza was uninformed and, and as a result, unfair. While desiring to help defend Palestinians, he perpetuates a false narrative that only hurts Palestinians.

President Mouw decries the way that some evangelicals use Genesis 12:3 ("I will bless those who bless you and him who dishonors you I will curse") to accept uncritically any and every action or policy of the Israeli government. I agree with Rich on that, and so do most Israelis I know. Unlike Palestinians living under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in Gaza, Jewish Israelis freely criticize their government in public and the media. So do the two million Arab citizens of Israel, whose Arab representatives in the Knesset regularly criticize Netanyahu's government. Their Palestinian cousins who live on the West Bank and in Gaza don't dare criticize their Palestinian governments for fear of torture and worse for themselves and their families.

President Mouw says it is "shameful" to celebrate the American embassy in Jerusalem while the Israeli military is "killing dozens of Palestinian protestors against Israeli policies."

When I read these words written by President Mouw, I can only imagine that he is unaware of several critically important facts.

For example, he must not know that more than 80% of the killed protestors were Hamas soldiers. This was admitted publicly on a television interview by senior Hamas official Salah Al-Bardaweel.

He must not know that these soldiers, who were told to dress in civilian clothes because of media cameras, were on their way to kill Jews. According to Palestinan journalist Bassam Tawil, this was no peaceful protest. They and the rest of the demonstrators were chanting, "Death to Israel!" and "Death to America!" They had machine guns, Molotov cocktails, airborne improvised explosive devices and grenades. One of their leaders, Yahya Sinar, shouted to the media, "We will take down the border [with Israel] and we will tear their hearts from their bodies." Hamas had posted maps for their soldiers showing the quickest routes from the border to Israelis' homes, schools and day-care centers.

President Mouw apparently does not know that these "protestors" were not "protesting Israeli policies," as he imagines. They were protesting Israel's very existence. Perhaps he is not aware that Hamas, the Gaza government that planned this assault very carefully and paid families to come (even promising $500 to anyone who managed to get injured), has declared repeatedly that its goal is to drive every last Jew into the sea.

It is easy for us Americans to criticize a government trying to protect its people whose very existence is threatened on a daily basis. We do not face that existential threat. What would we do if terrorists were trying to break across the Canadian border to kill residents of the state of Washington? If those terrorists were shot as they tried to invade and kill, would we cry "disproportionate violence"?

President Mouw suggests that this protest was triggered by the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem. Not at all, says Tawil: "Hamas could not care less about the location of the embassy. Hamas wants 'Palestine' and 'Palestine' in its entirety." The leaders of Hamas once again "found an excuse to wage war on Israel and Jews, this time in the form of the embassy move."

Mouw concludes his condemnation of Israel with a passage from Malachi that vilifies ancient Israel for defrauding laborers of their wages, oppressing widows and orphans, and depriving foreigners of justice. He must be unaware that the Palestinian leaders of the two Palestinian governments--Hamas and the Palestinian Authority--have received multiplied billions of dollars and euros in aid from foreign governments. In fact, more foreign aid per capita has been given to Palestinians than to any people in history. If Palestinian leaders had used it to build their economies and societies--instead of lining their own pockets and building military apparatus to attack Jews--Palestine would be the Middle Eastern equivalent of Singapore.

But Palestinians still languish under terror and economic insecurity. They lack all the rights we enjoy--freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, freedom of the press. Joblessness is high. And the fault for this societal and economic brokenness is not the Israeli government. For the government in Jerusalem cannot give to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank what their own leaders refuse to give them.

This is the truth that is hidden by the accepted media narrative. I trust that if President Mouw had been aware of these things, he would have turned his attention to those truly responsible for defrauding laborers and oppressing widows and orphans.

Gerald McDermott is author of Israel Mattersand editor of The New Christian Zionism.

*****

Georgetown Spins Muslim Self-Criticism Into 'Islamophobic Muslims'

By Andrew E. Harrod
https://www.americanthinker.com/
May 21, 2018

"Islamophobic Muslims"? Such is the surreal conclusion of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (IPSU)'s 2018 American Muslim Poll, which was presented before about forty at Washington, D.C.'s National Press Club on May 1. This piece of propaganda attempts to downplay uncomfortable realities recognized by American Muslims themselves.

Advising the report's authors was Islamism apologist John Esposito, founding director of Georgetown University's Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU), ISPU's partner in the study. The ACMCU's "Islamophobia"-fighting Bridge Initiative funded the survey and its new "Islamophobia Index." Bridge Initiative senior research fellow Arsalan Iftikhar, formerly of the Hamas-derived Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), attended the panel event, as did Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, the CATO Institute's "libertarian for sharia."

ISPU director of research and Esposito protege Dalia Mogahed entered the realm of sheer fantasy in discussing the report's findings on Muslims and violence. She highlighted the report's outdated, ludicrous claim that "[m]ost American terrorist fatalities are at the hands of white supremacists." America's steady death toll from jihadists has clearly refuted this canard.

Mogahed offered a flagrantly misleading assessment of the poll statement "Most Muslims living in the United States are more prone to violence than other people." She fretted over this claim receiving high approval from Muslims themselves (18 percent agreeing), surpassed only by white evangelicals at 23 percent, while the general public averaged 13 percent. The report baselessly attributes such welcome self-criticism to media "dehumanization of Muslims," resulting in "internalized stigmatization" and the aforementioned "Islamophobic Muslims."

Similarly, the report claims absurdly that "like everyone else, American Muslims are getting their perception of Muslims and violence from the media, not personal experience." Mogahed embraced this thesis without any acknowledgment that radical mosque sermons, local jihadists gone abroad to fight, and conflicts throughout the Middle East might influence American Muslims. These and other possible factors obviate the report's equally irrational claim that "[s]ince there are several million American Muslims, the probability that a member of the community actually knows someone personally involved in violence is next to zero."

Mogahed ignored inconvenient survey results. "I believe my faith community is more prone to negative behavior than other faith communities" received 30 percent approval from American Muslims but only 11 percent from the general public. Likewise, 8 percent of Muslims, as opposed to 6 percent in the general public, approved of the statement "Most Muslims living in the United States are less civilized than other people." Both 12 percent of Muslims and the general public agreed with the statement "Most Muslims living in the United States are hostile to the United States."

These findings contradict the report's more positive claims. "Muslims tended to rate the community more positively on topics that can be assessed from personal experience (such as whether or not Muslims discriminate against women or are hostile to the U.S.)," the report states. The results showing Muslims embracing women's equality raise questions over whether Muslims see matters like polygamy as a form of "less civilized" or "negative behavior."

Additionally, some of the survey questions presuppose anti-Muslim animus. In discussing questions that focus on a "ban on visas to Muslims wanting to enter the United States," Mogahed noted that the report recognizes this proposal as a "stronger variant of the proposed legislation" under President Donald Trump. Similarly, the survey asks about views on a "surveillance program targeting mosques in the US," a broad statement that omits the radical mosques the public might want surveilled.

Mogahed's fellow panelists raised no such concerns, but rather, like Georgetown University adjunct professor Mehdi Hasan, decried an "ongoing casual normalization of Islamophobia at the highest levels of U.S. politics and the media." He focused on Trump's recent appointments of John Bolton and Mike Pompeo as national security adviser and secretary of state, respectively. Both "are card-carrying Islamophobes" he maintained, citing groups like the leftist slander machine Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Even worse, Hasan compared Pompeo to an "open anti-Semite or Holocaust denier."

Esposito also bashed Pompeo, stating arrogantly that "even trying to figure it out how he made it to the CIA is incredible." People from Pompeo's home state of Kansas allegedly told Esposito that the new secretary of state "is to the right of Attila [the] Hun." Meanwhile, Esposito had "no doubt" that any Trump impeachment would cause street violence among white supremacist groups.

White supremacists also dominated the thinking of the George Soros-supported religious left leader Jim Wallis, who defamed Christian conservatives as racists with no credible political views. In the 1980s, "Republican far-right operatives whose movement was steeped in racism ... took over the white evangelical world" and created the "religious right." Likewise, Trump "objectively is antithetical to the ethics of Jesus Christ," Wallis declared.

ISPU's flawed report nevertheless documents American Muslims raising alarms about disturbing trends within their own community. Yet, true to form, Esposito, Mogahed, and the other panelists purposefully buried the lede in order to promote the victimology of "Islamophobia." While Hasan praised ISPU's report as a counter to a "post-truth, alternative fact era," other commentators have already dismissed this poll, noting Esposito's and Mogahed's past attempts to skew statistics to support their apologias for Islamism. Both the poll and the panelists' efforts to spin it are typical of the politicized, biased world of Middle East studies, where intellectually corrupt scholarship is common currency.

Andrew E. Harrod is a Campus Watch fellow, freelance researcher, and writer who holds a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a J.D. from George Washington University Law School. He is a fellow with the Lawfare Project. Follow him on Twitter at @AEHarrod.

"Islamophobic Muslims"? Such is the surreal conclusion of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (IPSU)'s 2018 American Muslim Poll, which was presented before about forty at Washington, D.C.'s National Press Club on May 1. This piece of propaganda attempts to downplay uncomfortable realities recognized by American Muslims themselves.

Advising the report's authors was Islamism apologist John Esposito, founding director of Georgetown University's Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU), ISPU's partner in the study. The ACMCU's "Islamophobia"-fighting Bridge Initiative funded the survey and its new "Islamophobia Index." Bridge Initiative senior research fellow Arsalan Iftikhar, formerly of the Hamas-derived Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), attended the panel event, as did Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, the CATO Institute's "libertarian for sharia."

ISPU director of research and Esposito protege Dalia Mogahed entered the realm of sheer fantasy in discussing the report's findings on Muslims and violence. She highlighted the report's outdated, ludicrous claim that "[m]ost American terrorist fatalities are at the hands of white supremacists." America's steady death toll from jihadists has clearly refuted this canard.

Mogahed offered a flagrantly misleading assessment of the poll statement "Most Muslims living in the United States are more prone to violence than other people." She fretted over this claim receiving high approval from Muslims themselves (18 percent agreeing), surpassed only by white evangelicals at 23 percent, while the general public averaged 13 percent. The report baselessly attributes such welcome self-criticism to media "dehumanization of Muslims," resulting in "internalized stigmatization" and the aforementioned "Islamophobic Muslims."

Similarly, the report claims absurdly that "like everyone else, American Muslims are getting their perception of Muslims and violence from the media, not personal experience." Mogahed embraced this thesis without any acknowledgment that radical mosque sermons, local jihadists gone abroad to fight, and conflicts throughout the Middle East might influence American Muslims. These and other possible factors obviate the report's equally irrational claim that "[s]ince there are several million American Muslims, the probability that a member of the community actually knows someone personally involved in violence is next to zero."

Mogahed ignored inconvenient survey results. "I believe my faith community is more prone to negative behavior than other faith communities" received 30 percent approval from American Muslims but only 11 percent from the general public. Likewise, 8 percent of Muslims, as opposed to 6 percent in the general public, approved of the statement "Most Muslims living in the United States are less civilized than other people." Both 12 percent of Muslims and the general public agreed with the statement "Most Muslims living in the United States are hostile to the United States."

These findings contradict the report's more positive claims. "Muslims tended to rate the community more positively on topics that can be assessed from personal experience (such as whether or not Muslims discriminate against women or are hostile to the U.S.)," the report states. The results showing Muslims embracing women's equality raise questions over whether Muslims see matters like polygamy as a form of "less civilized" or "negative behavior."

Additionally, some of the survey questions presuppose anti-Muslim animus. In discussing questions that focus on a "ban on visas to Muslims wanting to enter the United States," Mogahed noted that the report recognizes this proposal as a "stronger variant of the proposed legislation" under President Donald Trump. Similarly, the survey asks about views on a "surveillance program targeting mosques in the US," a broad statement that omits the radical mosques the public might want surveilled.

Mogahed's fellow panelists raised no such concerns, but rather, like Georgetown University adjunct professor Mehdi Hasan, decried an "ongoing casual normalization of Islamophobia at the highest levels of U.S. politics and the media." He focused on Trump's recent appointments of John Bolton and Mike Pompeo as national security adviser and secretary of state, respectively. Both "are card-carrying Islamophobes" he maintained, citing groups like the leftist slander machine Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Even worse, Hasan compared Pompeo to an "open anti-Semite or Holocaust denier."

Esposito also bashed Pompeo, stating arrogantly that "even trying to figure it out how he made it to the CIA is incredible." People from Pompeo's home state of Kansas allegedly told Esposito that the new secretary of state "is to the right of Attila [the] Hun." Meanwhile, Esposito had "no doubt" that any Trump impeachment would cause street violence among white supremacist groups.

White supremacists also dominated the thinking of the George Soros-supported religious left leader Jim Wallis, who defamed Christian conservatives as racists with no credible political views. In the 1980s, "Republican far-right operatives whose movement was steeped in racism ... took over the white evangelical world" and created the "religious right." Likewise, Trump "objectively is antithetical to the ethics of Jesus Christ," Wallis declared.

ISPU's flawed report nevertheless documents American Muslims raising alarms about disturbing trends within their own community. Yet, true to form, Esposito, Mogahed, and the other panelists purposefully buried the lede in order to promote the victimology of "Islamophobia." While Hasan praised ISPU's report as a counter to a "post-truth, alternative fact era," other commentators have already dismissed this poll, noting Esposito's and Mogahed's past attempts to skew statistics to support their apologias for Islamism. Both the poll and the panelists' efforts to spin it are typical of the politicized, biased world of Middle East studies, where intellectually corrupt scholarship is common currency.

Andrew E. Harrod is a Campus Watch fellow, freelance researcher, and writer who holds a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a J.D. from George Washington University Law School. He is a fellow with the Lawfare Project. Follow him on Twitter at @AEHarrod.

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