“The luckiest Jihadi in town” (& U.S. Jewish groups train against Mumbai-style attack)

December 07, 2008

* “Imagine Basque separatists attacking Madrid: Would the terrorists take time out to murder all those in the Madrid Chabad House? The denial by some media that the Mumbai terrorists were Muslim extremists is ludicrous”

* Liberal Ha’aretz columnist: Finally, I’m beginning to get it: Fundamentalist Muslim hatred of Jews has nothing to do with the existence of Israel

* Pakistan Daily Times: “Our nuclear missiles can be fired within minutes in case of war”

* “Last week, the attacks in India and the threat to New York City’s subway system provided another stark reminder of the need for a united front against global terrorism. Yet instead of figuring out how to combat Islamic extremists, the UN is worried about offending them”

[This dispatch is divided into two for space reasons. The other part, titled “Whodunit!? (& So, why kill the rabbi?),” can be read here.]

 

CONTENTS

1. The New York Times, further disgracing itself
2. Israeli post-trauma team in Mumbai to assist Indian and foreign victims
3. The brave nanny
4. As the AIDS activists used to say, “Silence=Acceptance”
5. “I must be the luckiest Jihadist in town”
6. Shhh, don’t offend the Jihadists
7. “I’m only seeing it now”
8. CNN producer: While Mumbai was happening, I passed through an Israeli checkpoint...
9. “Pakistani nuclear missiles can be fired within minutes in case of war”
10. American Jews prepare for the worst
11. “Silence=Acceptance” (By Mark Steyn, NRO and other papers, Dec. 6, 2008)
12. “The United Islamist Nations” (By Supna Zaidi, American Spectator, Dec. 4, 2008)
13. “The Jihadi as Nazi” (By Bradley Burston, Ha’aretz, Dec. 3, 2008)
14. “Heed the security lessons” (By Frida Ghitis, Miami Herald, Dec. 4, 2008)
15. “U.S. Jewish groups training for Mumbai-style attack” (JTA, Dec. 3, 2008)


THE NEW YORK TIMES, FURTHER DISGRACING ITSELF

[All notes below by Tom Gross]

In a final dispatch on the Mumbai massacres I attach some further articles, with summaries first for those who don’t have to read them in full, as well as various other points.

I am glad some leading Indian publications have now linked to my previous writings on the Mumbai attacks. A number of Indians subscribe to this list.

***

On Friday (Dec. 5), The New York Times finally reported that:

“Other evidence emerged Thursday highlighting the sophistication and cruelty of the attacks. Some of the six people killed at the Jewish center in the city had been treated particularly savagely, the police said, with bodies bearing what appeared to be strangulation marks and other wounds that did not come from gunshots or grenades.”

The only problem is that this was buried in the 13th paragraph of The New York Times article, almost 1000 words into the article (titled “Terror Attacks Traced To Two From Pakistan,” By Jane Perlez And Robert F. Worth).

Contrast this with other newspapers around the world.

For example, three days earlier, the (London) Daily Telegraph ran an article headlined:

“Mumbai attacks: Jews tortured before being executed during hostage crisis”

The Daily Telegraph piece began:

“Israeli hostages killed by Islamic terrorists during the attacks on Mumbai (formerly Bombay) were tortured by their captors before they were bound together and killed, according to officials in both countries.

“Jewish victims made up a disproportionate number of the foreigners killed after 10 Muslim fanatics stormed a series of sites in the Indian financial capital...”

Indeed I first mentioned that the Jewish victims seem to have been singled out for torture in my dispatch of November 30, titled “If this isn’t terrorism, what is?”

And when comparing versions, I noticed that even the editors at The International Herald Tribune – fully owned by The New York Times – moved the 13th paragraph (about the Jewish victims being tortured) up to the second paragraph of the same Jane Perlez and Robert F. Worth article they ran on Friday.

When is The New York Times going to get over its Jewish problem”? (For background, see here.)

***

In a better piece in the Times, columnist Tom Friedman asks:

“When Pakistanis and other Muslims are willing to take to the streets, even suffer death, to protest an insulting cartoon published in Denmark, is it fair to ask: Who in the Muslim world, who in Pakistan, is ready to take to the streets to protest the mass murders of real people, not cartoon characters, right next door in Mumbai?”

 

ISRAELI POST-TRAUMA TEAM IN MUMBAI TO ASSIST INDIAN AND FOREIGN VICTIMS

A team of Israeli experts has arrived in Mumbai to help counsel the injured and the relatives of those who lost lives in the seven terror attacks there. The Israelis are world experts in post-trauma following terror attacks. They are providing assistance to doctors and nurses at the two hospitals that were attacked, and they are guiding teachers at local Mumbai schools on how to help children cope with the aftermath of the attacks.

Meanwhile the father of the murdered rabbi’s wife (who was five months’ pregnant when she was killed) has announced he will go to Mumbai to take over the work of the Mumbai Chabad house. The Chabad house was badly damaged in the terror attack and it has since been moved to an undisclosed location.

 

THE BRAVE NANNY

Some media that don’t always cover Israel well, such as CNN, have had good coverage of the Israeli victims of the Mumbai attacks. Here is a CNN interview with the non-Jewish Indian nanny who saved the rabbi’s two year-old-son. She has been given permission to live in Israel.

 

SUMMARIES

AS THE AIDS ACTIVISTS USED TO SAY, “SILENCE=ACCEPTANCE”

In a syndicated column carried in over 50 newspapers across North America, Mark Steyn writes:

Shortly after the London Tube bombings in 2005, a reader of Tim Blair, the Sydney Daily Telegraph’s columnist wag, sent him a note-perfect parody of a typical newspaper headline: “British Muslims Fear Repercussions Over Tomorrow’s Train Bombing.”

Indeed. And so it goes. This time round – Bombay – it was the Associated Press that filed a story about how Muslims “found themselves on the defensive once again about bloodshed linked to their religion.”

Oh, I don’t know about that. In fact, you’d be hard pressed from most news reports to figure out the bloodshed was “linked” to any religion, least of all one beginning with “I-” and ending in “-slam.” In the three years since those British bombings, the media have more or less entirely abandoned the offending formulations – “Islamic terrorists,” “Muslim extremists” – and by the time of the assault on Bombay found it easier just to call the alleged perpetrators “militants” or “gunmen” or “teenage gunmen,” as in the opening line of this report in the Australian: “An Adelaide woman in India for her wedding is lucky to be alive after teenage gunmen ran amok…”

Kids today, eh? Always running amok in an aimless fashion.

The veteran British TV anchor Jon Snow, on the other hand, opted for the more cryptic locution “practitioners.” “Practitioners” of what, exactly?

Hard to say. And getting harder. Tom Gross produced a jaw-dropping round-up of Bombay media coverage: The discovery that, for the first time in an Indian terrorist atrocity, Jews had been attacked, tortured, and killed produced from the New York Times a serene befuddlement: “It is not known if the Jewish center was strategically chosen, or if it was an accidental hostage scene.”

“I MUST BE THE LUCKIEST JIHADIST IN TOWN”

Hmm. Greater Bombay forms one of the world’s five biggest cities. It has a population of nearly 20 million. But only one Jewish center, located in a building that gives no external clue as to the bounty waiting therein. An “accidental hostage scene” that one of the “practitioners” just happened to stumble upon? “I must be the luckiest Jihadist in town. What are the odds?”

... In a well-planned attack on iconic Bombay landmarks symbolizing great power and wealth, the “militants” nevertheless found time to divert 20 percent of their manpower to torturing and killing a handful of obscure Jews helping the city’s poor in a nondescript building. If they were just “teenage gunmen” or “militants” in the cause of Kashmir, engaged in a more or less conventional territorial dispute with India, why kill the only rabbi in Bombay? Dennis Prager got to the absurdity of it when he invited his readers to imagine Basque separatists attacking Madrid: “Would the terrorists take time out to murder all those in the Madrid Chabad House? The idea is ludicrous.”

And yet we take it for granted that Pakistani “militants” in a long-running border dispute with India would take time out of their hectic schedule to kill Jews. In going to ever more baroque lengths to avoid saying “Islamic” or “Muslim” or “terrorist,” we have somehow managed to internalize the pathologies of these men.

... We are told that the “vast majority” of the 1.6-1.8 billion Muslims (in Deepak Chopra’s estimate) are “moderate.” Maybe so, but they’re also quiet. And, as the AIDS activists used to say, “Silence=Acceptance”...

(Mark Steyn and Dennis Prager are subscribers to this email list.)

 

SHHH, DON’T OFFEND THE JIHADISTS

Writing in The American Spectator, Supna Zaidi says:

Last week, the attacks in India and the threat to New York City’s subway system provided another stark reminder of the need for a united front against global terrorism. Yet instead of figuring out how to combat Islamic extremists, the United Nations is worried about offending them.

... The U.N. passed a draft resolution ... asserting that “Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism.”

... The OIC nations charge critics of Islamic extremism with “racism” and “Islamophobia” to deflect attention from the fact that such violence originates at the hand of Muslim clerics born and bred in their lands. This is because they realize they can’t control Islamism, or they tacitly agree with its message.

These Muslim clerics also export this ideology to the West to radicalize Muslim immigrants abroad, and reform-minded Muslims are usually the first victims.

Kadra Noor was beat up in 2007 for speaking out against “Islamic” female genital mutilation in Norway. In Sweden, cabinet minister Nyamko Sabuni proposed that honor killings be labeled a separate crime in the Swedish penal code and girls get mandatory gynecological exams to discourage female circumcision...

 

“I’M ONLY SEEING IT NOW”

Left-leaning Ha’aretz columnist Bradley Burston writes:

For the whole of my adult life, it irked me when my fellow Jews accuse anti-Zionists of being anti-Semitic, and conflate anti-Israeli sentiment with the Nazis. I felt that the latter eroded the memory and the magnitude of the Holocaust, and that the former was a slightly more elegant way of telling people with whom one took issue, to shut the hell up.

Only this week did I realize my error. It turns out, that when Jews suspected that the Jihadi hated the Jew the way the Nazi hated the Jew, they were right. After all this time, I am embarrassed to admit that only when the monsters entered Chabad House in Mumbai, did I understand.

... The hatred of the Jihadi for the Jew is such that – as in the case of the Nazis-the killing of Jews – anywhere they may be found – is an obligation on par with whatever other enemy, target, cause, mission, goal or creed they may be pursuing at the moment. Their hatred of the Jew is such that – as in the case of the Nazis – all tragedy that befalls the Jews was brought on by the Jews themselves. Their hatred of the Jew is such that even if a Jew rejects the concept of a state of Israel and is wholeheartedly opposed to Zionism, if he wears the clothing of a believing Jew – as in the case of victim Aryeh Leibish Teitelboim – he will be bound and tortured and put to death.

“The Jews are a virus resembling AIDS, from which the entire world suffers,” Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris said in a sermon broadcast on Palestinian Authority television shortly before Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005. “You will find that the Jews were behind all the civil strife in this world. It was the Jews who provoked Nazism to wage war against the entire world, when the Jews, using the Zionist movement, got other countries to wage an economic war on Germany and to boycott German merchandise.”

... One lesson of the Holocaust is that one can’t afford to miss the signs and the intentions. My father’s uncle saw them in time. I’m only seeing it now.

 

CNN PRODUCER: WHILE THE MUMBAI MASSACRE WAS HAPPENING, I PASSED THROUGH AN ISRAELI CHECKPOINT...

Writing in The Miami Herald, Frida Ghitis, a former CNN correspondent, producer and unit manager who has worked in more than 50 countries, says:

While Indian officials counted their dead and relatives of the Mumbai massacre victims came face to face with their life-changing sorrow, I headed for the airport in Israel at the end of a Middle East trip. Already, political and military strategists were discussing options in the wake of the killings.

Several miles before I reached the airport I came to the first security check. While I spoke with an officer, a man holding a machine gun stood nearby. I then drove about 10 minutes to the terminal where security officers watched everyone entering the building (as they do in restaurants, malls and other public buildings in Israel). That came before the main airport security procedures.

... Israel and Jordan learned prevention the hard way. In the 1970s, terrorists slaughtered 26 people in Israel’s main airport. Thousands of Israelis died in other ‘‘soft target’’ attacks. In Jordan, terrorists blew themselves up in three upscale hotels, killing 60 in 2005. Terrorists teach us costly lessons, and we need to learn fast, because the recent bloodshed in Mumbai presages a dangerous future.

... For longer-term protection, we must look at how to stop the proliferation of mind-poisoning ideas that fuel inhuman behavior horrifying vast majorities in all religions. We all know that most terrorist attacks are committed by Muslim extremists. Most attacks kill Muslim civilians. Muslims have started speaking out, saying that killing innocent civilians with the intention of sowing terror in the population is an affront to all religions, including Islam. Some, though, are afraid of fueling anti-Muslim sentiment; others go off track, charging that the actions of the West are just as reprehensible as those of Jihadist extremists. You can argue against Western actions without excusing terrorism.

... As Ed Husain wrote in London’s Telegraph under the headline Tip-toeing round terrorists, that in Britain’s main mosque, “There are meetings every weekend of a group dedicated to creating an Islamist dictatorship, destroying Israel and which advocates Muslim supremacist views.” Authorities ‘‘and wider society,’’ he complains, “will not ‘interfere,’ lest we cause ‘offence.’” This attitude hurts everyone...

(Ed Husain is a subscriber to this email list)

 

“NUCLEAR MISSILES CAN BE FIRED WITHIN MINUTES IN CASE OF WAR”

The Pakistan Daily Times reports (on Dec. 5, 2008):

Pakistan is capable of launching nuclear missiles on a short notice of 10 minutes in case India attacks Pakistan, nuclear scientist Dr Samar Mubarakmand said on Thursday.

... Samar, a member of the team of scientists that conducted Pakistan’s nuclear tests in 1998 and a former National Engineering and Scientific Commission chairman, said Pakistan’s long-range Shaheen nuclear missiles were more accurate than comparable Indian missiles, adding no city in India was beyond the reach of Pakistan’s missiles.

... Pakistan is one of the four countries in the world having cruise missiles, Samar said, adding the nuclear missiles tested by India had a payload capacity between 8 to 10 tonnes, much less than the 25 to 30 tonnes payload capability of Pakistani missiles. (Full article here.)

 

PREPARING FOR THE WORST

The final article below reports that American Jewish groups have been preparing for defense against terrorist attacks similar to the one that struck Mumbai. The leaders of more than 30 Jewish organizations gathered early last month in New York for a “tabletop exercise” that simulated coordinated attacks on Jewish community institutions in multiple locations throughout the United States.

“It was amazingly prescient for what occurred” in Mumbai, said Malcolm Hoenlein, the co-chairman of the group that sponsored the meeting, the Secure Community Network. The Department of Homeland Security is assisting. (Hoenlein is a subscriber to this list. See www.scnus.org for more information.)

In August 1999, a gunman burst into the Los Angeles Jewish Community Center and opened fire, wounding five people before fleeing. More recently, in July 2006, a Pakistani Muslim gunman opened fire at the Jewish federation building in Seattle, killing one woman and wounding five.

***

Bloomberg news also reports that: Hotel industry representatives have also met with the police in New York to discuss how to best secure the city’s hotels.

“There are of course certain inconveniences you can impose without scaring the life out of tourists and your guests,” said Jimmy Chin, executive director of risk management at the New York Palace Hotel and chairman of the security committee for the Hotel Association of New York. “There has to be a happy medium and a balance to it.”

The NYPD deployed heavily armed “Hercules” anti-terror squads to most of the city’s major hotels immediately after the Mumbai attacks, including the Waldorf-Astoria, the Palace Hotel and the Ritz-Carlton. (Full article here.)

(All summaries above prepared by Tom Gross)


FULL ARTICLES

WOULD THE BASQUE SEPARATISTS TAKE TIME OUT TO MURDER ALL THOSE IN THE MADRID CHABAD HOUSE?

Silence=Acceptance
By Mark Steyn
December 6, 2008
National Review Online (and other papers)

Shortly after the London Tube bombings in 2005, a reader of Tim Blair, the Sydney Daily Telegraph’s columnist wag, sent him a note-perfect parody of a typical newspaper headline: “British Muslims Fear Repercussions Over Tomorrow’s Train Bombing.”

Indeed. And so it goes. This time round – Bombay – it was the Associated Press that filed a story about how Muslims “found themselves on the defensive once again about bloodshed linked to their religion.”

Oh, I don’t know about that. In fact, you’d be hard pressed from most news reports to figure out the bloodshed was “linked” to any religion, least of all one beginning with “I-” and ending in “-slam.” In the three years since those British bombings, the media have more or less entirely abandoned the offending formulations – “Islamic terrorists,” “Muslim extremists” – and by the time of the assault on Bombay found it easier just to call the alleged perpetrators “militants” or “gunmen” or “teenage gunmen,” as in the opening line of this report in the Australian: “An Adelaide woman in India for her wedding is lucky to be alive after teenage gunmen ran amok…”

Kids today, eh? Always running amok in an aimless fashion.

The veteran British TV anchor Jon Snow, on the other hand, opted for the more cryptic locution “practitioners.” “Practitioners” of what, exactly?

Hard to say. And getting harder. Tom Gross produced a jaw-dropping round-up of Bombay media coverage: The discovery that, for the first time in an Indian terrorist atrocity, Jews had been attacked, tortured, and killed produced from the New York Times a serene befuddlement: “It is not known if the Jewish center was strategically chosen, or if it was an accidental hostage scene.”

Hmm. Greater Bombay forms one of the world’s five biggest cities. It has a population of nearly 20 million. But only one Jewish center, located in a building that gives no external clue as to the bounty waiting therein. An “accidental hostage scene” that one of the “practitioners” just happened to stumble upon? “I must be the luckiest Jihadist in town. What are the odds?”

Meanwhile, the New Age guru Deepak Chopra laid all the blame on American foreign policy for “going after the wrong people” and inflaming moderates, and “that inflammation then gets organized and appears as this disaster in Bombay.”

Really? The inflammation just “appears”? Like a bad pimple? The “fairer” we get to the, ah, inflamed militant practitioners, the unfairer we get to everyone else. At the Chabad House, the murdered Jews were described in almost all the Western media as “ultra-Orthodox,” “ultra-” in this instance being less a term of theological precision than a generalized code for “strange, weird people, nothing against them personally, but they probably shouldn’t have been over there in the first place.” Are they stranger or weirder than their killers? Two “inflamed moderates” entered the Chabad House, shouted “Allahu Akbar!,” tortured the Jews and murdered them, including the young Rabbi’s pregnant wife. Their two-year-old child escaped because of a quick-witted (non-Jewish) nanny who hid in a closet and then, risking being mown down by machine-gun fire, ran with him to safety.

The Times was being silly in suggesting this was just an “accidental” hostage opportunity – and not just because, when Muslim terrorists capture Jews, it’s not a hostage situation, it’s a mass murder-in-waiting. The sole surviving “militant” revealed that the Jewish center had been targeted a year in advance. The 28-year-old rabbi was Gavriel Holtzberg. His pregnant wife was Rivka Holtzberg. Their orphaned son is Moshe Holtzberg, and his brave nanny is Sandra Samuels. Remember their names, not because they’re any more important than the Indians, Britons, and Americans targeted in the attack on Bombay, but because they are an especially revealing glimpse into the pathologies of the perpetrators.

In a well-planned attack on iconic Bombay landmarks symbolizing great power and wealth, the “militants” nevertheless found time to divert 20 percent of their manpower to torturing and killing a handful of obscure Jews helping the city’s poor in a nondescript building. If they were just “teenage gunmen” or “militants” in the cause of Kashmir, engaged in a more or less conventional territorial dispute with India, why kill the only rabbi in Bombay? Dennis Prager got to the absurdity of it when he invited his readers to imagine Basque separatists attacking Madrid: “Would the terrorists take time out to murder all those in the Madrid Chabad House? The idea is ludicrous.”

And yet we take it for granted that Pakistani “militants” in a long-running border dispute with India would take time out of their hectic schedule to kill Jews. In going to ever more baroque lengths to avoid saying “Islamic” or “Muslim” or “terrorist,” we have somehow managed to internalize the pathologies of these men.

We are enjoined to be “understanding,” and we’re doing our best. A Minnesotan suicide bomber (now there’s a phrase) originally from Somalia returned to the old country and blew up himself and 29 other people last October. His family prevailed upon your government to have his parts (or as many of them as could be sifted from the debris) returned to the United States at taxpayer expense and buried in Burnsville Cemetery. Well, hey, in the current climate, what’s the big deal about a federal bailout of jihad operational expenses? If that’s not “too big to fail,” what is?

Last week, a Canadian critic reprimanded me for failing to understand that Muslims feel “vulnerable.” Au contraire, they project tremendous cultural confidence, as well they might: They’re the world’s fastest-growing population. A prominent British Muslim announced the other day that, when the United Kingdom becomes a Muslim state, non-Muslims will be required to wear insignia identifying them as infidels. If he’s feeling “vulnerable,” he’s doing a terrific job of covering it up.

We are told that the “vast majority” of the 1.6-1.8 billion Muslims (in Deepak Chopra’s estimate) are “moderate.” Maybe so, but they’re also quiet. And, as the AIDS activists used to say, “Silence=Acceptance.” It equals acceptance of the things done in the name of their faith. Rabbi Holtzberg was not murdered because of a territorial dispute over Kashmir or because of Bush’s foreign policy. He was murdered in the name of Islam – “Allahu Akbar.”

I wrote in my book, America Alone, that “reforming” Islam is something only Muslims can do. But they show very little sign of being interested in doing it, and the rest of us are inclined to accept that. Spread a rumor that a Koran got flushed down the can at Gitmo, and there’ll be rioting throughout the Muslim world. Publish some dull cartoons in a minor Danish newspaper, and there’ll be protests around the planet. But slaughter the young pregnant wife of a rabbi in Bombay in the name of Allah, and that’s just business as usual. And, if it is somehow “understandable” that for the first time in history it’s no longer safe for a Jew to live in India, then we are greasing the skids for a very slippery slope. Muslims, the AP headline informs us, “worry about image.” Not enough.

 

THE UNITED ISLAMIST NATIONS

The United Islamist Nations
By Supna Zaidi
American Spectator
December 4, 2008

Last week, the attacks in India and the threat to New York City’s subway system provided another stark reminder of the need for a united front against global terrorism. Yet instead of figuring out how to combat Islamic extremists, the United Nations is worried about offending them.

On November 24, 2008, the U.N. passed a draft resolution against the defamation of religion sponsored by the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), where all U.N. members are being asked to pass domestic legislation against blasphemy. The resolution was originally introduced in 1999 by the OIC, asserting that “Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism.”

In reality, terrorism happens in Islam’s name, or more accurately, in Islamism’s name. Islamism is a 20th century product arising from the writings of sincere Muslims such as Hasan al-Banna and Syed Qutb. Frustrated by the fallen status of Muslims vis-ŕ-vis the West, they offered a new version of Islam as a totalitarian socio-political alternative to democracy and Western license. Disparate followers from Osama bin Laden, Hizbullah and Hamas to the Jihadis that waged war on Mumbai last week are not deranged or crazy. Rather, they subscribe to a worldview that is antithetical to most Muslims and the West.

The OIC nations charge critics of Islamic extremism with “racism” and “Islamophobia” to deflect attention from the fact that such violence originates at the hand of Muslim clerics born and bred in their lands. This is because they realize they can’t control Islamism, or they tacitly agree with its message.

These Muslim clerics also export this ideology to the West to radicalize Muslim immigrants abroad, and reform-minded Muslims are usually the first victims.

Kadra Noor was beat up in 2007 for speaking out against “Islamic” female genital mutilation in Norway. In Sweden, cabinet minister Nyamko Sabuni proposed that honor killings be labeled a separate crime in the Swedish penal code and girls get mandatory gynecological exams to discourage female circumcision. She also told the Sunday Times that arranged marriages are not a part of Islam.

As a result, she was called an “Islamophobe” and instead of supporting her, 50 Islamic Swedish organizations petitioned against her appointment to the cabinet in an effort to suppress her growing influence in Swedish politics.

Pakistan, spokesman for the OIC, recently promoted a politician to minister of education after he defended the live burial of five girls in Balochistan as “tribal custom.” It is not a stretch to argue that Pakistan is not an OIC member interested in reform.

The 2005 Danish cartoon controversy kick-started the OIC campaign to pass last month’s resolution when it was cited as another example of increased discrimination against Muslims after 9/11. The “cartoon intifada” arose 5 months after the original printing of the images of Muhammad, but only weeks before the UNHCR was due to consider the OIC’s resolution on “Combating Defamation of Religion.”

Such a coincidence caused the National Secular Society to state in its Memorandum to the United Kingdom Parliament that “the Danish cartoon crisis was manufactured…to exploit sensitivities around racial discrimination and to promote (or even exaggerate) the notion of ‘Islamophobia’ in order to restrict possibilities for open discussion or criticism of Islam….[M]easures calling for legislation banning ‘defamation of religion’ …. aim[] to remove religion, especially Islam, from public scrutiny and public debate.”

The OIC forgets that Muslims are already protected in the West. The U.S., for example, increases sentences on crimes ranging from assault and battery to murder if they are deemed “hate crimes,” which includes crimes against a victim based on his or her religious identity.

So what is this 57-nation organization really pushing with this “anti-blasphemy” resolution at the U.N.?

In the Muslim world, anti-blasphemy laws are regularly used to suppress free speech by attacking fellow Muslims and non-Muslims who criticize the government or protest human rights violations. Such laws are also used as pretext against individuals in personal and business disputes. The mere allegation puts mobs before the accused before the police can arrive to investigate.

At the U.N., the OIC has manipulated the language of racism to make its anti-democratic agenda more attractive to “third world” nations recovering from their own genuine post-colonial struggles. Nations that voted in favor of the resolution or abstained were predominantly from Latin America or developing African nations.

A final version of the resolution is up for a vote this month. It would be a mistake for these U.N. members to fall for anti-colonial rhetoric once again. By aligning with Islamists, the U.N. would be supporting the stifling of free speech and the suppression of human rights, and crushing the goal of building tolerant democratic societies.

 

HA’ARETZ COLUMNIST: FINALLY I’M BEGINNING TO GET IT

The Jihadi as Nazi, from 9/11 to Mumbai
By Bradley Burston
Ha’aretz
December 3, 2008

“... Asked specifically if he was talking of torture marks, [one doctor] said: ‘It was apparent that most of the dead were tortured. What shocked me were the telltale signs showing clearly how the hostages were executed in cold blood.’... The other doctor, who had also conducted the post-mortem of the victims, said: ‘Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks... It was obvious that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that I do not want to go over the details even in my head again,’ he said.”

Krishnakumar P. and Vicky Nanjappa, reporting from Mumbai, cited by Andrew Sullivan and Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic Online.

***

For the whole of my adult life, it irked me when my fellow Jews accuse anti-Zionists of being anti-Semitic, and conflate anti-Israeli sentiment with the Nazis. I felt that the latter eroded the memory and the magnitude of the Holocaust, and that the former was a slightly more elegant way of telling people with whom one took issue, to shut the hell up.

Only this week did I realize my error. It turns out, that when Jews suspected that the Jihadi hated the Jew the way the Nazi hated the Jew, they were right. After all this time, I am embarrassed to admit that only when the monsters entered Chabad House in Mumbai, did I understand.

Monsters, not solely for what they did there, but, if the reports are to be believed, for the fact that they were able to do what they did after having actually gotten to know the young couple who founded the center, after asking them for shelter in Chabad House, after telling them that they were Malaysian students eager to learn about Judaism.

Monsters, for having befriended these sweet people in order to better learn how to execute them.

Monsters, for having targeted a young couple who had devoted their lives to helping others better live theirs, despite having had a baby who died of a genetic disease and a second child ill and under treatment far away in Israel.

The hatred of the Jihadi for the Jew is such that – as in the case of the Nazis – the killing of Jews – anywhere they may be found – is an obligation on par with whatever other enemy, target, cause, mission, goal or creed they may be pursuing at the moment. Their hatred of the Jew is such that – as in the case of the Nazis – all tragedy that befalls the Jews was brought on by the Jews themselves. Their hatred of the Jew is such that even if a Jew rejects the concept of a state of Israel and is wholeheartedly opposed to Zionism, if he wears the clothing of a believing Jew – as in the case of victim Aryeh Leibish Teitelboim – he will be bound and tortured and put to death.

“The Jews are a virus resembling AIDS, from which the entire world suffers,” Sheikh Ibrahim Mudeiris said in a sermon broadcast on Palestinian Authority television shortly before Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005. “You will find that the Jews were behind all the civil strife in this world. It was the Jews who provoked Nazism to wage war against the entire world, when the Jews, using the Zionist movement, got other countries to wage an economic war on Germany and to boycott German merchandise.”

While waiting, hours and then days, for word of the fate of Gabi and Rivki Holtzberg, I happened onto the memoirs of the handful of survivors of a now-extinct Jewish community near Bialystok, Poland, where my father’s uncle, Herschel Cinowitz, had been born. In 1941, when he was a young man, he escaped the Nazis by making his way to refuge in Bombay, later Mumbai.

This is the first thing that I learned: You don’t have to be German to be a Nazi. The SS ruled Yedwabne, Herschel Cinowitz’ little town, but the locals were only too pleased to do their work for them. Forty of the Jews of Yedwabne were forced to dig graves, then were buried alive. The remainder, 1,440 in all, were taken to a large barn, where they were burned alive.

The world has seen that the Jihadi, in hating the Jew, the Christian, the Hindu, the Muslim of another denomination, has become – like the Nazi – the enemy of all peoples everywhere. The Jihadi shows his love of death in brutality, sadistic executions, the self-righteous calm of the premeditated mass murderer, the blaming of the victim for the crime. One lesson of the Holocaust is that one can’t afford to miss the signs and the intentions. My father’s uncle saw them in time. At the time, Mumbai was his salvation. I’m only seeing it now.

 

“WE MUST STOP THE PROLIFERATION OF MIND-POISONING IDEAS”

Heed the security lessons of deadly siege
By Frida Ghitis
Miami Herald
December 4, 2008

(Frida Ghitis is a former CNN correspondent, producer and unit manager who has worked in more than 50 countries.)

While Indian officials counted their dead and relatives of the Mumbai massacre victims came face to face with their life-changing sorrow, I headed for the airport in Israel at the end of a Middle East trip. Already, political and military strategists were discussing options in the wake of the killings.

Several miles before I reached the airport I came to the first security check. While I spoke with an officer, a man holding a machine gun stood nearby. I then drove about 10 minutes to the terminal where security officers watched everyone entering the building (as they do in restaurants, malls and other public buildings in Israel). That came before the main airport security procedures. On an earlier leg of the trip, in Jordan, every time I entered a hotel I underwent security checks.

Israel and Jordan learned prevention the hard way. In the 1970s, terrorists slaughtered 26 people in Israel’s main airport. Thousands of Israelis died in other ‘‘soft target’’ attacks. In Jordan, terrorists blew themselves up in three upscale hotels, killing 60 in 2005. Terrorists teach us costly lessons, and we need to learn fast, because the recent bloodshed in Mumbai presages a dangerous future.

The Mumbai operation was sophisticated and enormously successful by the twisted standards of terror. The truth, however, is that terrorism does not look particularly difficult, especially in open societies, where individuals are free to move around, congregate with whom they please and travel without restrictions. Let’s not get overly impressed: Killing people, especially when you don’t mind getting killed in the process, does not require great genius.

MORE BRUTAL METHODS

That makes stopping the killers more challenging – and more urgent than ever. Not long ago, terrorists sought mostly publicity. Now they exert enormous influence on the behavior of nations. Their methods have become far deadlier and much costlier for the entire world.

As we knew they would, terrorists are going after the easiest of targets. While we clumsily and obediently remove our shoes at security lines, nobody checks entrances to crowded shopping malls, movie theaters or even airport check-in areas, where anyone can bring suitcases filled with anything. That’s true almost everywhere in the world except Israel. The cost of securing every place on Earth is prohibitive, so governments must teach us all to identify suspicious objects and people.

That’s the front line. For longer-term protection, we must look at how to stop the proliferation of mind-poisoning ideas that fuel inhuman behavior horrifying vast majorities in all religions. We all know that most terrorist attacks are committed by Muslim extremists. Most attacks kill Muslim civilians. Muslims have started speaking out, saying that killing innocent civilians with the intention of sowing terror in the population is an affront to all religions, including Islam. Some, though, are afraid of fueling anti-Muslim sentiment; others go off track, charging that the actions of the West are just as reprehensible as those of Jihadist extremists. You can argue against Western actions without excusing terrorism.

Honest, rather than defensive, introspection about why terrorism has found a home in Islam might help find the answer. After all, terrorism is the world’s problem, but it is also a Muslim problem.

FEAR OF OFFENDING

Fear of seeming anti-Muslim crippled security in India, as it does in other places. As Ed Husain wrote in London’s Telegraph under the headline Tip-toeing round terrorists, that in Britain’s main mosque, “There are meetings every weekend of a group dedicated to creating an Islamist dictatorship, destroying Israel and which advocates Muslim supremacist views.” Authorities “and wider society,” he complains, “will not ‘interfere,’ lest we cause ‘offence.’”

This attitude hurts everyone.

Terrorism once seemed a distant problem. No more. It has become everyone’s problem. From a trendy restaurant in Mumbai to an airport near you, people who view murdering the innocent as glorious success already have changed our way of life. The lesson of Mumbai is that we must change much more if we stand a chance of denying terrorists ever more catastrophic victories.

 

PREPARING FOR THE WORST

U.S. Jewish groups training for Mumbai-style attack
By Eric Fingerhut
Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
December 3, 2008

WASHINGTON -- American Jewish groups have been preparing for terrorist attacks similar to the one that struck Mumbai last week.

The leaders of more than 30 Jewish organizations gathered early last month in New York for a “tabletop exercise” that simulated coordinated attacks on Jewish community institutions in multiple locations throughout the United States.

“It was amazingly prescient for what occurred” in Mumbai, said Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and co-chairman of the Jewish group that sponsored the meeting, the Secure Community Network.

Established in 2005, the Secure Community Network coordinates security within the organized Jewish community, disseminating and sharing information among organizations and with law enforcement officials.

Doron Horowitz, the director of community security for the Jewish Federation of Toronto, said last week’s attacks in India confirmed and corroborated the importance of being prepared for such attacks.

The three-hour simulation last month provided community leaders with some key tips on how to respond to such an attack. The group watched as mock newscasts reported on multiple attacks: a firebombing at one synagogue, a machine-gun attack at another and a bomb at a New York Jewish institution. Participants had to formulate a response plan, and the exercise facilitator pointed out vulnerabilities.

“OK, they’ve just entered your institution and they’re on the first floor,” the moderator said, according to one participant. “What do you have in your facility to stop this attack? What don’t you have?”

Among the guidelines for action were drawing up contingency plans, having key phone numbers available and ensuring that staff members are aware of what to do in an emergency in case the person responsible for security is not on the premises.

“We’re challenging them to react to real-time situations,” said Paul Goldenberg, the national director of the Secure Community Network.

The idea is to take that knowledge back to their institutions, along with the procedures recommended by the security experts.

Security experts say simulations are critical to maintain preparedness.

“Anybody can read a manual,” said Rabbi Gary Moskowitz, a former New York City police officer whose Tzedek Task Force on Counterterrorism offers a 50-hour course for religious organizations that includes security drills. “You have to have a performance drill. If you don’t practice it, it’s worthless.”

Allan Finkelstein, the president of the Jewish Community Centers Association, said he will share what he learned in the exercise with his 360 member institutions.

“The key thing is how to help our local agencies go though that kind of training experience,” Finkelstein said. “They need to look at this locally.”

In August 1999, a gunman burst into the Los Angeles JCC and opened fire, wounding five people before fleeing. The man, a white supremacist, later murdered a mail carrier before surrendering to the authorities.

More recently, in July 2006, a Pakistani Muslim gunman opened fire at the Jewish federation building in Seattle, killing one woman and wounding five.

Goldenberg said the American Jewish community isn’t facing any specific threat now, but there is a “heightened state of concern” owing to the targeting of Jews in the Mumbai attacks. He also suggested that the economic crisis may fuel white supremacists and hate groups to target Jews.

In the meantime, the Mumbai attacks have spurred community leaders to action.

Since Nov. 28, when the siege of the Chabad House in Mumbai ended and the hostages were found dead, more than 170 people have downloaded a 200-page manual on emergency preparedness from the Web site of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, according to David Pollock, the associate executive director of the JCRC.

Secure Community Network sent out a notification on the afternoon of Nov. 28 to its member organizations confirming the facts of the attack at the Mumbai Chabad House and issuing several security recommendations. It included implementing a surveillance detection or awareness program to identify and report suspicious activity, and reviewing and testing response plans for lockdowns, evacuations and active shooter scenarios.

The group’s Web site, www.scnus.org, has more information.

North American Jewish institutions have become more prepared and vigilant about security since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Since 2005, hundreds of Jewish organizations, synagogues and schools have received federal aid totaling tens of millions of dollars to pay for security improvements. The money, doled out in increments of less than $100,000, comes from the Department of Homeland Security’s nonprofit grant program.

Goldenberg said the Jewish community could be much more vigilant about security and that there is a proper balance between security and “overload.”

“We’re better than we used to be,” said Stephen Hoffman, the president of the Jewish federation of Cleveland and co-chairman of the security network. But he said security is significantly below where it should be.

In the coming months, the Secure Community Network will partner with the Department of Homeland Security in a new program to train Jewish community professionals throughout the country on understanding and mitigating threats.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.