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  • Al-Jazeera Arabic: The Qatari-Owned TV Channel That Promotes Islamist Terrorism Worldwide

    By *By Yigal Carmon who is President and Founder of MEMRI. February 29, 2024 , MEMRI Introduction The Al-Jazeera TV network is an arm of the Qatari regime. It is owned by the government and carries out its foreign policy by means of indoctrination of the Arabic-speaking masses worldwide. Al-Jazeera, therefore, should not be discussed as a means of telecommunications, but instead as an unyielding and forceful political tool of Qatari foreign policy under the guise of a mass media network. This report will present the policies of Qatar and will review how these policies are implemented through Al-Jazeera, discussing the current Israel-Hamas war as a case study of Al-Jazeera's role and activities. It includes an extensive appendix containing reports, video clips and policy assessments on Qatar and Al-Jazeera. The material included in the 300-page appendix spans a five-year period between 2018 and early 2023, and contains briefs and analyses written by MEMRI Vice-President and former U.S. ambassador Alberto M. Fernandez and MEMRI President and Founder Yigal Carmon. The appendix also includes reports on Qatar, focusing on three topics: Islamism, jihad and terrorism; Al-Jazeera and the Qatar press; and Qatar's relations with Iran and the Afghan Taliban. A 50-page review of Qatar's Islamic Education School Textbooks for the first half of the 2018-2019 school year is also included. Notable in the appendix is a report in MEMRI’s Inquiry and Analysis series titled "Al-Jazeera Unmasked", written by Amb. Fernandez and MEMRI TV Director Yotam Feldner, which contains an extensive compilation of MEMRI TV video clips.[1] The Two Faces Of Qatar: A Wahhabi/Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Organization In The Guise Of A Modern State Qatar is a Wahhabi/Muslim Brotherhood extremist entity in the guise of a supposedly modern nation state. Wahhabism is an 18th-century movement espousing a return to 7th-century Islam, including uniting the Muslim world under the banner of Jihad. Indeed, former Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Aal Thani (father of the current Emir) praised himself as being directly descended from 18th-century cleric Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab, the hardline ideological founder of Wahhabism.[2] Former Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Aal Thani Qatar's implementation of its doctrine of Wahhabi/Muslim Brotherhood Islam is three-pronged: it promotes Islamist terrorist organizations worldwide; it strives to topple secular authoritarian regimes in the Arab and Muslim world under the guise of fighting dictatorships; and it uses its wealth for educational, social, religious and political movements in both the East and the West in order to expand its influence and further its aims. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (left) welcoming Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani (right) at the presidential palace in Tehran, Iran, May 12, 2022 (Credit Image: ©️Iranian Presidency via ZUMA Press Wire) In order to disguise its Wahhabi/Muslim Brotherhood goals, Qatar has adopted a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde persona. To improve its reputation in the West it is involved in a variety of whitewashing activities. It provides financial support to a wide range of political individuals and movements in cash-for-influence schemes (see, for example, the European Qatargate scandal[3] and the U.S. Senator Bob Menendez indictment on accusations of bribery[4]). It has developed extensive economic enterprises and many educational initiatives in the West. Qatar provides financing to many American universities and think tanks in D.C.,[5] and some universities have opened branches in Qatar.[6] Thus, for example, the state endowed a Middle East studies chair in Northwestern University, and the institute partnered with Al-Jazeera to open a school of journalism in Doha.[7] Cornell, Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon, Virginia Commonwealth, and Texas A&M all have branches in the Qatari capital.[8] Comprehensive research on Qatari funding of American universities was conducted by the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP).[9] Qatar engages in sportswashing: since 2011 it has owned the majority shares in the Paris Saint-Germain F.C., and in 2022 it hosted the World Cup.[10] Through all these efforts Qatar has broadened its influence to the point that it is capable of preventing any government from pushing back against its Islamist policies and terroristic activities out of fear of economic repercussions. To the Western world Qatar portrays itself as a modern Westernized political player, engaged in conflict mediation (usually in order to legitimize the terrorist organizations it supports, such as Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Hamas), and as a benevolent force, providing humanitarian aid (for example, bringing 59 plane loads of aid to Gaza).[11] Al-Jazeera English is the main tool serving this Dr. Jekyll persona in the Anglo-American media space. In the Arab and Muslim world, however, every person on the street – unlike the top political, military and intelligence echelons in Israel and the West – is well aware of the Mr. Hyde face of Qatar and knows that the Qatari regime is the mega-promoter of terrorism and Islamism worldwide (giving safe haven to the future mastermind of 9/11, for example, and preventing the FBI from arresting him).[12] Qatar engages in "doublespeak": on the one hand, its leaders stress that they are committed to conflict resolution, while on the other hand, they maintain ties with top terror operatives.[13] The Qatari school curricula glorify Jihad and martyrdom, presenting them as virtues and divine Islamic commandments[14]. Qatari school textbook teaches about Jihad Indeed, the main reason for the confusion in the West regarding Qatar's role is the fact that the U.S. Air Force operates in Qatar with its CENTCOM base in Al-Udaid. This base, hosting thousands of American troops, however, was offered to the U.S. in order to serve the ruling Qatari family as a protective shield, at a critical time when the former emir, Hamad bin Khalifa Aal Thani, carried out a coup against his father and Qatar's neighbors was threatening to reverse the coup. Qatar built the base for the Americans at almost exactly the same time that it first launched Al-Jazeera Television. It is today the largest American military base in the Middle East, a very valuable property. Indeed, in 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt declared a boycott on Qatar in an effort to stem its pro-terrorist policies – and the U.S. once again came to Qatar's rescue. To this day, the Qatari regime is protected by this base, without which the ruling Qatari family would have been pushed out by the country's neighbors. The Qatari rulers, therefore, owe their survival to the presence of this base, which the U.S. could have used to demand that Qatar cease its sponsorship of terrorism. Unfortunately, the U.S. is acting as if it is held hostage by Qatar. Qatar's Support For Islamist Terrorist Organizations Over The Years Among the Islamist terrorist organizations that Qatar and Al-Jazeera have supported over the years are the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban,[15] Hizbullah, the Al-Nusrah Front/ Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham, ISIS, Hamas, and even the Shiite Iranian proxies in Yemen, Ansar Allah (the Houthis), which are currently engaged in direct conflict with the U.S. and other Western countries.[16] The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), a key element of Muslim Brotherhood thought in the Muslim world, is located in Doha. For many years Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and Chairman of the IUMS, was granted safe haven in Doha when he fled Egypt, and he was given a weekly hour-long religious program on Al-Jazeera to promote the Muslim Brotherhood version of Islam. He used this program to espouse antisemitic, homophobic and anti-Western views and to praise the Holocaust and promise another one – this time "at the hand of the believers".[17] Qatari Emir Aal Thani embraces Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi The IUMS has a long history of Jihad and martyrdom-seeking justification, as well as homophobic and anti-Semitic rhetoric. Al-Qaradhawi's successor Ali Al-Qaradaghi shared his mentor's hardline views on Jihad and actively promoted Muslim Brotherhood ideology.[18] For example, following a shooting in Jerusalem in January 2023, in which seven Israelis were killed, IUMS member 'Atiyya 'Allan praised the perpetrator and said that the Quran explicitly calls to wage Jihad.[19] In 2017, an Indian cleric, Salman Al-Nadwi, a member of the IUMS Board of Trustees, was deported from Oman to Qatar after lambasting the Saudi monarch and the U.S. and then U.S. President Trump.[20] Indian cleric Salman Al-Nadwi calls to "raid the European countries, raid America, raid all the countries of the world, raid all the continents, by means of the holy Quran"[21] Al-Jazeera was the prime power for toppling the secular authoritarian regime in Egypt, when Qatar, by means of Al-Jazeera, supported the Muslim Brotherhood in ousting then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Al-Jazeera, the single most significant platform for mainstreaming jihadi and Muslim Brotherhood ideology, was the power that accorded Mohamed Morsi his victory.[22] Qatar Is Responsible For The Growth Of Hamas From A Small Organization To A Military And Political Power Qatar has established itself as an indispensable ally to Hamas, and has built up the organization's capabilities, transforming it over the past 15 years into a global organization with an army in Gaza and significant political status worldwide. It has achieved this by funneling billions of dollars into the Gaza Strip, enabling Hamas to build its military force into a significant power of 30,000–40,000 fighters, with a huge arsenal of missiles, drones and multicopters, vehicles including a fleet of ambulances to be used for military, rather than medical purposes, motorcycles for combat, and other combat equipment and a tremendous amount of munitions. It also enabled the construction of the Gaza "underground" – hundreds of kilometers of fortified tunnels, according to Hamas. All this has been carried out with the endorsement and support of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, for a myriad of reasons.[23] Qatar provides a safe haven for the terrorist organization's operations and leadership. It is home to the Political Bureau of Hamas, including Hamas leader Isma'il Haniyeh, who relocated there in January 2020, as well as its former leader Khalid Mash'al, and Hamas's spokesman Ezzat al-Rishq.[24] The close connection between Haniyeh and the Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Aal Thani can be seen in their beaming faces in the photo below:[25] Hamas political bureau head Isma'il Haniyeh with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Aal Thani (source: Thus, in a very real and profound way, Qatar is Hamas, and Hamas is Qatar. Hamas political bureau head Isma'il Haniyeh with former Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Aal Thani during a 2018 visit to Gaza (source: Agence France Presse Arabic) Qatar: A Hotbed Of Homophobia Anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment is pervasive in Qatar and is reflected in statements by official sources, in the press, and among Qataris on social media. When the World Cup was held in Doha in November 2022, the state was awash with expressions of homophobia. A former national football team member called homosexuality "damage in the mind," the Qatari parliament called to oppose "foreign ideas," hinting at the influx of LGBTQ+ visitors to the country, and Qataris weighed in on their social media accounts.[26] Homophobic rhetoric, already prevalent in the Qatari media, increased toward the event, with gays described as "perverts" who might "infect Arab and Islamic societies" and cause "moral degeneration".[27] The World Cup as a Trojan horse bearing "cultures opposed to (Qatari) societal values" (source: Al-Watan, Qatar, October 29, 2022) When a Qatari diplomat was rejected as chair of a U.N. human rights forum after her racist, antisemitic, and homophobic views were exposed, a campaign of support for her was launched on Twitter and immediately became the top-trending hashtag in the country.[28] Antisemitism Permeates Qatar's Media And Education As mentioned above, IUMS Chairman Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi promoted anti-Semitic and homophobic views on his weekly Al-Jazeera TV program "Shari'a And Life", praising the Holocaust and promising another one, "at the hands of the believers".[29] Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi promises another Holocaust "at the hand of the believers" Antisemitism and Holocaust denial is also rife in the Qatari press, with antisemitic messages and tropes drawn from Islamic and Western sources. Jews are often described as the enemies of Islam, as cunning and treacherous violators of treaties and as the slayers of prophets. Antisemitic texts mentioned in the Qatari press including The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which are presented as authentic, and the Jews are portrayed as seeking to take over the world, as controlling the global economy, and as responsible for all wars and catastrophes, such as 9/11.[30] Cartoon in London-based Qatari daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi after May 2021 round of fighting, showing stereotypical Jew against background of an Israeli flag slashed by a sword The Qatari school curricula, in addition to glorifying Jihad and martyrdom-seeking, promote antisemitism, along with anti-Christian and anti-Western sentiment.[31] Al-Jazeera: A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing, Completely Free Of Charge Al-Jazeera Media is a multifaceted media network encompassing various platforms such as online, specialized TV channels in numerous languages. Launched in 1996, the Al-Jazeera network not only revolutionized Arab broadcast media in the Middle East but became a household name across the world in the aftermath of 9/11, when it was the only channel to air all of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden's addresses and statements to the Arab world.[32] Since then, the Qatari TV network has grown into a multi-channel, multi-language international operation. According to its website, Al-Jazeera has "over 70 bureaus around the globe" and is "one of the largest and most influential international news networks in the world".[33] As discussed above, Qatar has two faces – its authentic identity as a Wahhabi and Muslim Brotherhood state, which it presents to the Arab and Muslim world, and a façade, which it presents to the Western world, to cover up its true identity. The Al-Jazeera network embodies the same dichotomy: its Arabic channel presents its authentic nature to the Arab and Muslim world, but it presents a different façade to the English-speaking world.[34] In the U.S., Al-Jazeera has three outlets, geared towards the Western viewer: Al-Jazeera English, launched in 2006, which provides HD streaming and on-demand video content, completely free of charge;[35] Al-Jazeera Arabic, which is also freely accessible; and AJ+, a left-leaning digital brand tailored to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram and aimed at influencing “progressive” youth and millennial audiences. Al-Jazeera's practice of making its content free of charge makes it widely accessible and is largely responsible for its tremendous reach across the Western world. Between 2004 and 2020, AJ+ Facebook videos had been viewed over 10 billion times, and it had amassed over 11 million followers on Facebook.[36] Evidence of its unprecedented success can be seen in the fact that its reporting is widely assumed to be credible by the average Western viewer and is taken at face value. This is further evident in the partnership between Northwestern University and Al-Jazeera in Doha, mentioned above.[37] Despite its façade of an uninvolved news operation, Al-Jazeera is Qatar's main indoctrination tool. Owned by the regime and with its budget controlled by the Qatari Ministry of Finance, Al-Jazeera serves as Qatar's tool of political influence, its content serving the state's policies and interests, particularly when it comes to Hamas and other extremist Sunni groups.[38] This is reflected, among other things, on the social media accounts of its employees[39] and is noted in a report prepared by former U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, former chairperson of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.[40] This was, in fact, stated even more bluntly by former Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Aal Thani, who acknowledged, in a conversation with then Libyan Leader Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi, that presumably took place in 2010, that as Emir, he was in complete control of Al-Jazeera's content. "Give us the names of the people you don't want to appear on Al-Jazeera TV", he told Al-Qadhafi, who reminded the Emir that "the agreement (between them) is that anyone attacking Libya is not allowed to appear (on Al-Jazeera)".[41] Former Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Aal Thani in conversation with then Libyan Leader Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi MEMRI Vice-President and former U.S. ambassador Alberto M. Fernandez, formerly head of the U.S. Middle East Broadcasting Network (MBN), and MEMRI TV Director Yotam Feldner prepared a comprehensive analysis of Al-Jazeera as a media arm of the Qatari state promoting political Islam, including an extensive catalogue of translations, analyses and videos by MEMRI. While the heads of Al-Jazeera reject these claims, purporting to abide by globally recognized criteria of objective reporting, there have been a few acknowledgements that the channel is almost completely financed and directed by the Qatari government. In 2017, for example, Al-Jazeera's Acting Director-General Dr. Mustafa Souag admitted on BBC TV that "The state of Qatar does finance Al-Jazeera."[42] In another statement, in 2018, Dr. Souag compared Al-Jazeera to the BBC, France 24, and DW, which are funded by Britain, France, and Germany respectively. "But it's exactly like them… We have complete editorial independence," he insisted[43] – a statement belied by the fact that unlike the BBC and other outlets in the Western world, which often criticize the political leaders and policies of their own country, Al-Jazeera never utters any criticism of the Qatari regime or its policies, and indeed, Qatar's media laws explicitly prohibit criticism of the Emir.[44] Al-Jazeera maintains a polarizing editorial policy, denigrating Qatar's political and ideological rivals while ignoring or justifying the transgressions of the state's regional allies.[45] Those authoritarian Arab and Islamic regimes that strive for modernization and progress, struggling against hardline Islamism – including Saudi Arabia, the UAE,[46] Egypt, Bahrain, Morocco, Tunisia, and Jordan – are aware of this problem and are struggling by various measures and with varying degrees of success to ban Al-Jazeera from operating in their territories.[47] In 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice established that Al-Jazeera was owned by the Qatari regime, and therefore ordered the media network to register as a foreign agent in accordance with Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) laws[48] – registration that is intended to ensure transparency with respect to their activities. According to the report prepared by Congressperson Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Qatar "repeatedly undermines U.S. interests in the region by supporting extremist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Al-Qaeda, and the Al-Nusrah [Front]. […] Moreover, Qatar uses its state-owned, state-funded, state-directed and state-controlled Al Jazeera Media Network to project this vision to the U.S. public."[49] Indeed, since early 2018, there have been many Congressional letters warning about Qatar’s propaganda arm.[50] Yet Al-Jazeera has been violating the U.S. Department of Justice order for years, and to this day, has not registered in accordance with FARA.[51] An indication of the success with which Al-Jazeera has peddled its façade as a regular media network is its large presence on Capitol Hill: its various subsidiaries—Al-Jazeera International, Al-Jazeera English and AJ+—have 136 employees who have been credentialed by the U.S. Congress.[52] Credentialed members of the House and Senate galleries enjoy free access to the U.S. Capitol, as well as to Senators, Members of Congress and staffers. While this access is necessary for the media to provide accurate reporting to the American public, it is also the kind of access coveted by foreign powers seeking sensitive information from inside Congress. Al-Jazeera's role in providing a platform for promoting extremist Islamist ideologies goes back decades. The case of promoting Al-Qaeda is of particular interest. Two months before 9/11, Al-Jazeera gave an Al-Qaeda spokesman, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, free rein to speak uninterrupted for ten minutes, and to call for 12,000 mujahideen to join Al-Qaeda.[53] Osama Bin Laden with Sulaiman Abu Ghaith Al-Jazeera employed a correspondent, Tayseer Allouni, who was sentenced in Spain to seven years in prison for transferring funds to Al-Qaeda – and Al-Qaeda even issued a public statement in his support.[54] Al-Jazeera broadcast live the killing of a U.S. soldier by an Iraqi sniper – which could only have happened if the media network had coordinated with the perpetrators of the killing.[55] As for ISIS – Al-Jazeera allowed a pledge of allegiance to its leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi live on air. In the middle of a TV debate on Al-Jazeera's flagship Arabic-language program, an Islamic scholar pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS, the Emir of the Believers, while moderator Faysal Al-Qassem did nothing to stop him.[56] Al-Jazeera allowed terrorist Anis Al-Naqqash to call for terror attacks against American oil installations, also in a live broadcast.[57] And as for the Jabhat Al-Nusra organization, which split off from Al-Qaeda in Syria, the channel gave hours-long interviews with its leader, Abu Muhammad Al-Joulani, twice – first in 2013 and then again in 2015.[58] Both the questions and the setting sought to portray Al-Joulani in the most positive light possible. A notorious event that encapsulates Al-Jazeera's incendiary role is its on-air 2008 celebration of the birthday of notorious Lebanese terrorist Samir Quntar, who had recently been released in a prisoner swap by Israel after his incarceration for killing a family. Kuntar had taken the family's four-year-old girl down to the beach of Nahariya, where he killed her by smashing her head against the rocks. The live television celebration party that Al-Jazeera put on for Quntar, amid much pomp and circumstance, included a huge cake, a musical band, and fireworks.[59] Released terrorist Samir Quntar (right) with cake at party held by Al-Jazeera As can be seen from all these examples, Al-Jazeera has been working systematically and relentlessly to drive the Muslim world back to 7th century Islam, in accordance with Qatar's Wahhabi goals. Al-Jazeera Journalists' Support For Terrorist Attacks In Israel When terrorist attacks are carried out in Israel, Al-Jazeera journalists often extol the perpetrators in their social media accounts. This was the case following a March 29, 2022 shooting in Bnei Brak, in which five Israelis were killed by a Palestinian who infiltrated from the West Bank. Al-Jazeera host Ahmed Mansour tweeted footage of the shooting and of the funeral of one of the victims, writing of the attacker: "He moved from one point to the next with determination and courage, hitting his targets – namely the settlers – with precision and sowing feat and terror among them before being martyred."[60] Al-Jazeera host Ahmad Mansour celebrating terror attack against Israelis on Twitter Less than two weeks later, following an April 7, 2022 attack in Tel Aviv in which three Israelis were killed, Mansour, as well as another Al-Jazeera presenter, Tamer Al-Mishal, praised the perpetrator, calling him a "resistance fighter" and a "martyr."[61] On January 27, 2023, a Palestinian terrorist shot and killed six Israelis and a Ukrainian national near a synagogue in Jerusalem's Neve Ya'akov neighborhood. Ahmad Mansour praised the attack, Al-Jazeera presenter Haitham Abu Saleh called it "legitimate resistance" and said that it was "neither a terrorist attack nor or a criminal act," and Al-Jazeera host Jamal Rayyan tweeted: "It is a clear message to the regimes of normalization [with Israel] that there is occupation, there is resistance, and there is a struggle in Palestine that is not yet over."[62] These are just a few examples of the writings of Al-Jazeera journalists on their social media accounts following terrorist attacks carried out against Israelis over the past few years. It can be seen, therefore, that this is the norm, rather than the exception to the rule.[63] Al-Jazeera's Role In The Israel-Hamas War Muhammad Deif's Declaration Of War On Al-Jazeera On The Morning Of October 7 Al-Jazeera's "official" role in the Hamas-Israel War is nowhere more evident than in its exclusive broadcast of Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif on the morning of Saturday, October 7, at the very time that Hamas terrorists were carrying out their mega-terror attack in Israel, killing over 1,300 and taking more than 250 Israelis and foreign nationals hostage into Gaza. In the recording Deif declared the launch of "Operation Al-Aqsa Flood" and warned that this was just the "first strike" of the operation. He incited all Palestinians – in the West Bank, in Jerusalem, and within Israel itself – to join the war, using all means in their possession – guns, knives, Molotov cocktails, and vehicles.[64] Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif declaration of war on Al-Jazeera Thus, it was, in fact, a Qatari declaration of war in the very first hours of the conflict – given the fact that it was Qatar who developed Hamas's capabilities over a decade. Later, Qatar offered its services as a mediator between Israel and Hamas. This is the common Qatari playbook. It proved effective in Afghanistan in 2021: Qatar supported the Taliban for years, all the way until the day of the removal of the secular regime of President Ashraf Ghani, with 13 U.S. soldiers killed. It then offered its services as mediator between the U.S and the Taliban to evacuate the remaining Americans to Qatar, and since then it has been operating on the political level to provide legitimacy in the West to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Past Praise By Sinwar And Nakhalah For Al-Jazeera The channel's historical close relations with the terror organization are evident in open praise uttered by Hamas leaders in past rounds of fighting, with Hamas Leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar singling it out, in 2021, as "the best pulpit to give the accurate voice to our position".[65] Al-Jazeera also supports other terror militias in Gaza: in 2022, following three days of conflict between Israel and the Iranian-aligned Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), its leader Ziyad Nakhalah singled out Al-Jazeera for its positive coverage of the conflict.[66] Al-Jazeera's Activities In The War Since the October 7 attack, Hamas's leaders have been managing the war from Doha and conveying their messages mostly via Al-Jazeera. The network has been operating as a propaganda outlet in the service of Hamas 24/7, with hardly any coverage of other topics. The channel expresses unreserved support for Hamas, justifying the deadly attack, showing footage of it obtained from the body-cams of the terrorists, and celebrating it as a victory that brought pride and honor to the Islamic nation.[67] Al-Jazeera Journalists By Day, Hamas Commanders By Night Some Al-Jazeera journalists have recently been "outed" as Hamas and PIJ fighters. A Palestinian journalist working for Al-Jazeera, Muhammad Wishah, appears to have also been a commander in the military wing of Hamas, according to documents on a laptop found by the Israeli army in a Hamas base in northern Gaza. Wishah, from Al-Buriej in the central Gaza Strip, has featured in Al-Jazeera broadcasts in recent months, with the station calling him one of their journalists. According to the Israeli military sources, however, Wishah is a prominent commander in Hamas's anti-tank missile unit, who began, in late 2022, to work in R&D for the terror group's air unit.[68] A photo that emerged of Wishah together with Yahya Sinwar suggests warm relations between the two. Muhammad Wishah with Yahya Sinwar Another Al-Jazeera correspondent, Ismail Abu Omar, who participated in the October 7 attack, documenting it from within the Gaza Envelope, was airlifted to Doha for medical treatment on February 19 after having been wounded in an Israeli airstrike in Rafah a week earlier. He has been identified as a Hamas platoon deputy commander.[69] Mustafa Thuraya, an independent journalist who worked with Al-Jazeera TV and Agence France-Press, was, according to documents found by the Israeli army in Gaza, an operative in the Al-Qassam Brigades' Gaza City Brigade, and he specialized in developing drones. Hamza Al-Dahdouh, another Al-Jazeera journalist and photojournalist, was a member of the electronic engineering unit of the PIJ's Northern Gaza Brigade. A document seized by the IDF in the Gaza Strip reveals that Hamza al-Dahdouh was a PIJ military operative and a member of its electronic engineering unit Since the recent Israel-Hamas war began, Al-Jazeera has been providing the following services to Hamas: • Broadcasting threats by Hamas leaders and leaders of other terror organizaions • Celebrating and praising the terror attack and missile attacks on Israel • Airing hostage videos to exert pressure on the Israeli government • Broadcasting military announcements on an almost daily basis • Airing footage on military encounters and the killing of IDF soldiers • Broadcasting near IDF troops and airing analysis by military experts to advise Hamas fighters on recommended tactics and maneuvers • Pinpointing potential Israeli quality targets • Fabricating anti-Israel propaganda • Fabricating information designed to thwart Israel's instructions to the Gaza population • Silencing any criticism of Hamas Al-Jazeera Broadcasts Threats By Leaders Of Hamas And Other Terror Organizations On October 7, following the attack, Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh issued a statement on Al-Jazeera, in which called the attack a "great triumph" and called to expand the operation to the West Bank and to within the pre-1967 borders of Israel.[70] On the same day, Al-Jazeera broadcast an address by Saleh Al-Arouri, Deputy-Chairman of the Political Bureau of Hamas, who was later killed in an Israeli airstrike in Lebanon. In it he threatened that "the storming of the Zionist settlements and bases in the Gaza Envelope will pale compared to what may happen to them" in the event of a ground attack and he denied that any Israeli civilians had been killed.[71] In another interview, on October 12, Al-Arouri repeated his denial that Hamas had targeted civilians, and even denied that atrocities such as rape and the killing of children had taken place.[72] Hamas Leader Haniyeh issues statement on Al-Jazeera: "a great triumph" Al-Jazeera has also aired addresses and threats by leaders of terror organizations beyond Gaza, such as Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah[73] and threats by Houthi Spokesman Yahya Sare'e.[74] Al-Jazeera Celebrates And Praises The October 7 Attack On the day of the attack, a video of various Hamas leaders, including Ismail Haniyeh, watching the coverage of Hamas's invasion of southern Israel on Al-Jazeera was posted on various social media outlets. According to online reports, the video was taken in Qatar. In honor of the Hamas attack, Haniyeh and the other leaders performed the Islamic "Prostration of Gratitude."[75] Haniyeh and other Hamas leaders performing the Islamic "Prostration of Gratitude" following the October 7 attack On the same day, Al-Jazeera shared on its X (formerly Twitter) account exclusive footage showing members of the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, breaching the Israel-Gaza border and beginning their assault on Israeli military posts and civilian communities. This footage could only have been obtained from Hamas itself. The Al-Jazeera reporter abandoned any pretense of neutrality, proclaiming gleefully that "the settler walls… collapsed… along with the iron image of the arrogant occupation army."[76] The next day, Al-Jazeera aired – and later shared on social media – exclusive footage of the October 7 attack, showing the Hamas terrorists breaching the border, taking over Israeli military vehicles and taking hostages, as well as their widespread celebrations. According to the studio anchor, the footage was obtained from the bodycams worn by dozens of 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigade members.[77] Again, this could only have been obtained directly from Hamas itself, clear proof of close coordination between the network and the terror group. Exclusive Al-Jazeera report of the October 7 attack And just hours after the attack, Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank celebrated in the streets. Al-Jazeera was one of the TV networks that broadcast footage of the celebrations, in Gaza, Nablus, Jenin, and Bethlehem under the title: "Palestinians overjoyed with the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation".[78] Al-Jazeera presenters and journalists have also posted praise for the attack on their social media accounts. Presenters Rawaa Augé and Tamer Almisshal justified the attack, with Almisshal writing: "Gaza manufactures victory and honor for its homeland and nation." Presenter Ahmad Mansour shared a video showing Hamas breaching the border fence with a bulldozer in preparation for its invasion of Israel, as well as a video showing Hamas operatives dragging two Israeli soldiers on the ground, which he called an "historic picture". The same video was also shared by Ahmad Khalifa, an Al-Jazeera correspondent in Libya. And former Al-Jazeera director Yasser Abu Hilalah shared a video issued by the military information office of the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, documenting the infiltration of an Israeli military outpost and featuring graphic images of dead Israeli soldiers.[79] Al-Jazeera Airs Hostage Videos To Exert Pressure On The Israeli Government The Qatari TV channel has broadcast several videos showing some of the hostages pleading with the Israeli government to accept Hamas's conditions for hostage deals, thereby amplifying the scope of Hamas psychological warfare waged within the region and beyond.[80] Al-Jazeera Broadcasts Military Announcements On An Almost Daily Basis Since October 7, Al-Jazeera has been airing official military announcements and threats by Hamas spokesmen – as well as by other terror organizations – on an almost daily basis, serving as a semi-official amplifier of Hamas messaging, often featuring outlandish claims of military successes by the group. On October 9, for example, an audio recording by Abu Ubaida, spokesman for the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, aired on the Qatari channel. Abu Ubaida threatened that Hamas would execute a civilian hostage every time Israel strikes Gaza and would air the footage of the execution.[81] Al-Qassam Brigades Spokesman Abu Ubaida in audio recording on Al-Jazeera The network has broadcast threats and addresses by military commanders of other terror organizations in Gaza, such as Abu Hamza, spokesman for the Al-Quds Brigade, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.[82] Al-Jazeera Repeatedly Broadcasts Israeli TV Announcements Of Fallen Soldiers And Airs Footage Of Military Encounters In Order To Raise Morale Al-Jazeera reports on the close-range killing of IDF soldiers in real-time,[83] showing armed Hamas fighters moving toward Israeli troops and tanks and shooting at them.[84] Such footage is shown time and again, often for days after the event, celebrating the killing of Israeli soldiers. It also airs footage of the launching of rockets toward Israel.[85] This material is given exclusively to Al-Jazeera, and clearly shows that the media network is in cahoots with the terror organization. This, along with Al-Jazeera's repeated broadcasts of Israeli TV announcements on the fallen Israeli soldiers is intended to raise the morale of Hamas fighters. The praising of the launching of missiles toward Tel Aviv and other civilian populations in Israel also achieves that goal. Al-Jazeera Broadcasts Near IDF Troops, Providing Intel And Military Advice Al-Jazeera's reporters continuously provide information of military value and advice from military experts. Its correspondents, operating with Israeli journalist credentials, report freely from within Israel, both in the north and the south, about Israeli military concentrations and movements of troops. In one report, filmed on October 9, 2023 near the Gaza Envelope and broadcast since then repeatedly, Al-Jazeera reporter Najwan Samari can be seen standing near an Israeli police checkpoint and pointing to one of the posts where the IDF sends tanks and heavy artillery.[86] The channel interviews experts who analyze the military situation on the ground to support Hamas and provide it with satellite intel, as well as advising it on recommended tactics and maneuvers.[87] Al-Jazeera Pinpoints Possible Israeli Quality Targets It pinpoints high-quality potential targets for missile strikes. On October 18, for example, Al-Jazeera aired a report on Hamas threats to Israel's natural gas field Tamar, off the Gaza shore, stating that the October 7 war has negatively impacted the Israeli energy sector. "Last year, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad attempted to launch a UAV at the direction of the Tamar platform. Apparently, the Palestinian resistance was able to develop its offensive capabilities during the last two years, bringing the Israeli gas rigs in the eastern Mediterranean Sea within the range of the Palestinian rockets – and possibly the Lebanese ones, in the future," the Al-Jazeera reporter said.[88] Al-Jazeera Fabricates Anti-Israel Propaganda Al-Jazeera has been known to fabricate false reports in order to portray Israel in a negative light. The best known case is its report on the October 17 explosion at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, which was fabricated in order to incite people in Gaza and the world against Israel, in a way that jeopardizes Israeli diplomatic missions and Jewish communities around the globe. The report on the Al-Jazeera website – which first appeared on October 18 and was updated on November 15 – continues to open with the statement: "Nearly 500 people have been killed in an Israeli air attack on the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials have said."[89] This is despite the fact that this account has long been debunked, with independent media outlets and intelligence sources determining that the incident was the result of the misfiring of a rocket by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad – which hit the hospital's parking lot and not the building itself – and that the number of casualties had been greatly inflated.[90] Al-Jazeera Fabricates Information Designed To Thwart Israel's Instructions To The Gaza Population Al-Jazeera broadcast footage of bodies of civilians strewn over a road, presenting them as victims of an Israeli attack against people who had abided by the IDF instructions to evacuate to southern Gaza.[91] Israel in fact had secured safe passage to the south for those civilians who wished to go there, while Hamas exerted pressure on them to remain put in order to use civilians as human shields.[92] Al-Jazeera Silences Criticism of Hamas Al-Jazeera does not permit the expression of any dissenting view on air. Thus, when interviewees express criticism of Hamas, they are quickly shut down. On rare occasions during live interviews, criticism of Hamas is uttered by Palestinians and the reporter or anchor can be seen trying to cover up or whitewash the exchange. One such case can be seen in a November 5, 2023 live broadcast from Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir Al-Balah. An elderly wounded man, interviewed by Al-Jazeera reporter Ashraf Abu Amr, criticized Hamas for hiding among the civilian population, saying "They can go to Hell and hide there..." At that point, Abu Amr cut him off, and the man, in turn, kicked Abu Amr.[93] Several Arab journalists and activists pointed to this video as evidence of Al-Jazeera's bias. Saudi businessman and online activist Monther Aal Sheikh Mubarak shared the video on his X account and commented: "The Al-Jazeera reporter cut the interview short and walked away, because that is not what the man was supposed [to say]…". Saudi journalist Faisal Ibrahim Alshammeri also commented on the video, saying: "Al-Jazeera trades in the blood of the people of Gaza."[94] On another occasion, an elderly Palestinian woman, standing outside Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, said, in response to an Al-Jazeera reporter's assertion that no aid was entering Gaza, that Hamas takes all the aid that is coming into the Gaza Strip for themselves. Elderly woman complaining on Al-Jazeera that no aid was entering Gaza In the live December 6 interview, the woman complained: "All the aid goes to [the tunnels] underground. It does not reach all the people." The reporter quickly summed up the interaction by saying: "It seems that the situation is unclear."[95] During a live Al-Jazeera broadcast from Gaza City on December 2, 2023, the reporter abruptly cut short an interview with a man on the street when the latter began to criticize Qatar and Turkey. When the man said: "May Allah settle the score with Qatar and Turkey…" the reporter reacted by taking the microphone away and pushing him away. The man can still be seen asking to continue the interview, while the reporter turns away from him.[96] Al-Jazeera reporter abruptly cuts short interview A further example of Al-Jazeera's efforts to control the narrative can be seen in a November 24 program, in a tense exchange between TV show host Mostafa Ashoor and a caller from Egypt, which ended with Ashoor cutting off the uncompliant caller because he was criticizing Hamas. The caller said that the Gaza Strip was completely destroyed in a worse "Nakba" than that of 1948 or 1967. He accused both Hamas and Israel as being responsible for the destruction, saying that Hamas had started the war by invading Israel on October 7 and causing destruction and killing. After trying to lead the caller to express more pro-Hamas views, Ashoor cut short the exchange, telling the caller that what he was saying was "unacceptable". "Shame on you," he added.[97] Arab Journalists And Intellectuals Criticize Al-Jazeera: A Mouthpiece Of The Terrorist Organizations And A Tool Of Iran While in the West Al-Jazeera is treated as a regular news channel, in the Arab world it is well known that it is a propaganda tool of Qatar and openly serves the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Jazeera has been described by Arab journalists and intellectuals as a tool for brainwashing the public in Gaza and the Arab world. On December 6, 2023, Palestinian journalist Hamid Karman wrote an article in the London-based Emirati daily Al-Arab, in which he wrote that Al-Jazeera "brainwashes the collective Arab mind" with exaggerated claims about Hamas's capabilities and popularity. Karman wrote that Qatar "cultivates this channel and its programs as a tool of soft power in the service of its agendas, which are based on thwarting the Arabs' awareness and understanding. This conforms to the interest of this country, which is to create a power vacuum that it can then fill by means of its political and economic influence over the branches of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East."[98] Al-Jazeera has been described by Saudi researcher Awwad Al-Qarni as "a mouthpiece of Iran's ayatollahs and of its criminal militias". Al-Qarni asked rhetorically: "What can we expect it to do except spew poison and drive a wedge between Arab states in the service of the Persian plan[?]"[99] When, in September 2022, widespread protests gained momentum on the streets of Iran after the death of an Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, who was beaten by Iran's morality police for not wearing a head covering correctly, Iranian intellectuals expressed their disappointment in the coverage – or more precisely, the lack of coverage – in Al-Jazeera. Writing on their social media accounts, they accused the channel of ignoring the protests, abandoning the protesters, and focusing on promoting the Iranian government's official narrative. Tweet against Al-Jazeera following death of Iranian woman Mahsa Amini Thus, Nawwaf Al-Sulaiman, the programs manager at Safa TV, tweeted: "I reviewed Al-Jazeera's breaking news account for an entire day and I did not find a single news item about the protests in Iran. What if these protests were in an Arabic country? Al-Jazeera would have published multiple breaking news [bulletins]." Syrian opposition writer Dr. Mahmoud Al-Shami wrote on his Twitter account: "Al-Jazeera reports on everything regarding Iran except the protests and the crackdown by the mullahs' regime in Iran… You used to be highly credible but now your credibility has been lowered." And Kuwaiti writer Ghazi Al-Nazel tweeted: "Where is Al-Jazeera, which has always claimed to be the voice of nations, on what is taking place in Iran? Where is it today on the uprising in Iran? I think Iran is a red line for this channel if the issue is related to the mullahs' regime."[100] Saudi online activist Mesh'al Al-Khalidi wrote: "The Al-Jazeera channel burnishes [the image] of the militias and terrorist organizations that have waded in Arab blood, describing them as 'Islamic resistance.' We seem to be facing a planned and organized project to burnish the image of Iran's agents and use the Palestinian issue as an excuse to direct accusations of heresy at anyone who exposes the proxies and agents loyal [to Iran].[101] And Iraqi journalist Sufian Al-Samarrai, the director of the Baghdad Post website, called Al-Jazeera "[the channel of Yousuf] Al-Qaradawi, of [Iranian Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei, [a channel] that purports to be Islamic." Sharing a picture of Al-Jazeera airing a speech by Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, he wrote: "Al-Jazeera is the platform of all the terrorists who do not have a platform."[102] Conclusion As shown in this report, the Al-Jazeera media network is used by the Qatari regime – alongside its vast financial resources – as a tool and a weapon to promote its Wahhabi Islamist ideology and the political and military agenda of Qatar’s Islamist allies. The distribution of its media content, free of charge in the Arab and Muslim world as well as throughout the West, ensures that its toxic message will reach the broadest audience possible and that its undeserved image is one of a legitimate mass media outlet. This report has demonstrated how Qatar's policies are implemented through Al-Jazeera, with the Israel-Hamas war as a case in point. In October 2023, the Israeli government passed emergency wartime regulations to revoke the license of any broadcaster that jeopardizes Israel's national security, and indeed, the Hizbullah-affiliated Al-Mayadeen TV was shuttered following this ban. With regard to Al-Jazeera, however, PM Benjamin Netanyahu blocked the move to close the channel down,[103] and thus, it continues to operate freely within Israel in times of war. Why is this? It has been suggested that PM Netanyahu allows Al-Jazeera to continue its operation in order to avoid a clash with the Qatari regime, due to the latter's role in the hostage negotiations. This is patently false. For one thing, the previous deals in which Qatar was involved, supposedly as a mediator, while successful in securing the release of only some of the hostages, also tangibly benefited Hamas by securing its demands – a temporary pause in the fighting and the release of convicted terrorists. For another, among those killed in the October 7 terror attack are 32 American citizens, and eight Americans still remain hostage in Gaza. Given the fact that Qatar owes its very existence to the U.S., due to the location of the CENTCOM base there, one would expect Qatar to exert pressure on Hamas to release, at the very least, the Americans. This has not happened: Qatar insists that its role is not to pressure any party.[104] Therefore, the claim that Israel should avoid a clash with Qatar in order to obtain a hostage deal is false. The opposite is true: exerting pressure on Qatar is what will help. A temporary ban on Al-Jazeera's operations in Israel is thus vital in order to secure a new hostage deal and save lives. Unfortunately, PM Netanyahu refrains from doing this, for reasons known only to him.

  • The New Antisemitism

    BY NOAH FELDMAN FEBRUARY 27, 2024, Time Feldman, a professor at Harvard Law School, is the author of the new book To Be a Jew Today: A New Guide to God, Israel, and the Jewish People Why won’t antisemitism die, or at least die down? In the months following Hamas’ attack on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, antisemitic incidents increased substantially. The Anti-Defamation League, which keeps track, says they tripled in the U.S. over the previous year, although its criteria also changed to include anti-Zionism. But from 2019 to 2022, the amount of people with highly antisemitic attitudes in the U.S. had nearly doubled, the ADL found. In Europe, Human Rights Watch warned in 2019 of an “alarming” rise in antisemitism, prompting the European Union to adopt a strategic plan for fighting it two years later. No one can say definitively why the pre–Gaza War surge happened when it did. The salience of groups like the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 probably played a role, as did the influence of figures like the troubled rapper turned designer Kanye West. Historically, antisemitism has been a side effect of populism, which traffics in us-vs.-them stereotypes. Social media allows antisemitic influencers to recruit and communicate directly to followers, getting around the filtering bottleneck of the legacy media. The murder of 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018, by a shooter enraged at Jewish groups providing aid to immigrants, was the painful lowlight of this era. It can be hard to think clearly and reason calmly about antisemitism. For 15 million Jews around the world, its resilience engenders fear, pain, sadness, frustration, and intergenerational trauma going back to the Holocaust and beyond. The superficial sense of security that many Jews feel on a daily basis in the contemporary world turns out to be paper-thin. Jews know enough of their own familial stories to realize that in historical terms, such moments of safety have often been fleeting, followed by renewed persecution. Sitting in my office in leafy Cambridge, Mass., a proud citizen of the freest country in the world, in which Jews have been safer than in any other country in history, I am not free of emotion on the topic. Nor could I be. For many non-Jews, antisemitism matters deeply too. People everywhere who believe that all humans are created equal know that the presence of antisemitism in a society has often been the forerunner of other visceral, irrational hatreds, from racism to homophobia to Islamophobia. Worse, the persistence of antisemitism stands as a stubborn counterargument to Martin Luther King Jr.’s hopeful faith that the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice. In the past, antisemites, whether medieval Crusaders or 20th century Nazis, were often proud of their views. Today, thankfully, almost no one wants to be accused of antisemitism. That’s a marker of human progress. It also means that the whole subject of antisemitism needs to be approached with charity and sensitivity. People who harbor no conscious negative ideas about Jews may unknowingly hold views that resonate with historical antisemitism. Jews aren’t exempt from this, and so, neither am I. In a world roiled by polarizing debate, my aim is to encourage introspection—to get you to ask, as I ask myself, whether your feelings and beliefs would be the same if seen through the lens of the history and context of antisemitism. I come not to accuse anyone of antisemitism, but to explore the topic in a way that deepens our understanding of where it comes from, and where it’s going. WARSAW, 2023: A far-right Polish lawmaker, left, after using a fire extinguisher on Hanukkah candles in parliament.Andrzej Iwanczuk—NurPhoto/Getty Images The easiest way to explain why antisemitism is still with us is to blame religion. Scholars agree that what we call antisemitism today has its historical origins in a strain of anti-Jewish thought that grew out of early Christianity. The Gospels describe the Jews as complicit in the Roman crucifixion of Jesus. Paul’s theology was read to depict the Jews as having been replaced or superseded as God’s special favorites by the community of Christian believers. By failing to become Christians, Jews implicitly challenged the narrative of inevitable Christian triumph. For well over a thousand years, Jews in Christian Europe were subject to systemic, institutionalized oppression. Historical antisemitism took the form of discrimination, expulsion, and massacre. The problem with blaming religion is that antisemitism today is no longer driven primarily by Christianity. Although antisemitism can still be found among Christians, in the U.S. and around the world, most contemporary believing Christians are not antisemites. The old theological condemnation of the Jews for killing Christ has been repudiated by nearly every Christian denomination. Nor does antisemitism among Muslims primarily reflect the classical Islamic claims made against the Jews, such as the accusation that the Jews (and Christians) distorted Scripture, resulting in discrepancies between the Bible and the Koran. Jews in Muslim lands mostly fared better than in Christian Europe. Until the 20th century, those Jews occupied a complex, second-class status, protected alongside Christians as “people of the book” and also simultaneously subject to special taxes and social subordination. The tropes of modern Europe’s antisemitism—of Jews’ power and avarice—mostly came to the Middle East late, through Nazi influence. Even the prevalence of antisemitism among Islamist groups like Hamas isn’t primarily driven by religion. Rather, it is part of their politically motivated effort to turn a struggle between two national groups for the same piece of land into a holy war. It emerges that far from being an unchanging set of ideas derived from ancient faiths, antisemitism is actually a shape-shifting, protean, creative force. Antisemitism has managed to reinvent itself multiple times throughout history, each time keeping some of the old tropes around, while simultaneously creating new ones adapted to present circumstances. In each iteration, antisemitism reflects the ideological preoccupations of the moment. In antisemitic discourse, Jews are always made to exemplify what a given group of people considers to be the worst feature of the social order in which they live. A crucial reason why is surely that Jews were the most salient minority group living among Christians for the bulk of European history—and Europe was the heartland of historical antisemitism. The practice of projecting immediate social fears and hatreds onto Jews grew from the human need to treat some nearby group of people as the Other. (Muslims and Asians eventually also became subject to projection and fantasy, a practice dubbed Orientalism by the literary scholar Edward Said.) Once Jews had become the go-to targets for exemplifying societal ills, the habit stuck. In this way, crucially, antisemitism is not and has never been about actual Jews so much as antisemites’ imagination of them. Because antisemitic ideology isn’t accountable to real-life facts, its content can be altered and changed as a society’s worries and moral judgments shift. Antisemitism’s capacity to keep its familiar character while also channeling new fears is what confers its stunning capacity to reinvent itself. PITTSBURGH, 2018: A memorial outside the Tree of Life synagogue. Cathal McNaughton—Reuters The first major reinvention of antisemitism took place as the Enlightenment gradually reduced the role of religion as the main source of Europeans’ attitudes and beliefs. Nineteenth century antisemitism preserved the old belief that the Jews were unique, having once been God’s chosen people and then uniquely punished for rejecting Christ. But it transformed this uniqueness to match the concerns of contemporary society. Preoccupied with economic and social upheaval, antisemites depicted Jews as both uniquely capitalist and uniquely communist. Concerned about an unstable global power balance, antisemites claimed that Jews secretly controlled the world. Entranced by the pseudoscience of race that flourished after Darwin, antisemites declared that Jews were racially inferior. The obvious contradictions—that far from running the world, most Jews were impoverished, or that capitalism and communism were warring ideologies—did not deter antisemites. They ignored the illogic, or fell back on conspiracy theory, like the myth that Jewish capitalists and Jewish communists were secretly in cahoots. Ultimately, in different ways, both Nazism and Marxism identified Jews as an enemy deserving liquidation. The virulent antisemitism that fueled the Holocaust was thus partly a descendant of Christian antisemitism and also the product of modern conditions. Today, racial pseudoscience is an embarrassment and the struggle between capitalism and communism has become passé. Antielitist populism can still draw on old canards about Jewish power, and those still resonate with certain audiences, especially on the far right. But the most perniciously creative current in contemporary antisemitic thought is more likely to come from the left. Instead of disappearing among people who would condemn neo-Nazis, antisemitism is morphing again, right now, before our very eyes. The core of this new antisemitism lies in the idea that Jews are not a historically oppressed people seeking self-preservation but instead oppressors: imperialists, colonialists, and even white supremacists. This view preserves vestiges of the trope that Jews exercise vast power. It creatively updates that narrative to contemporary circumstances and current cultural preoccupations with the nature of power and injustice. Concerns about power and justice are, in themselves, perfectly legitimate, much like past concerns about the effects of unfettered capitalism on working people—or for that matter, condemnations of elitism. So it is important to distinguish carefully between critiques of power that deserve serious consideration and the antisemitic ways in which those critiques may be deployed. That caution is especially important because Israel, the first Jewish state to exist in two millennia, plays a central role in the narrative of the new antisemitism. Israel is not an imaginary conspiracy but a real country with real citizens, a real history, a real military, and real political and social problems that concern relations between Jews and Palestinians. It is not inherently antisemitic to criticize Israel. Its power, like any national power, may be subject to legitimate, fair criticism. WASHINGTON, D.C., 2022: Workers clean swastikas off the exterior of Union Station. Tom Williams—CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images It is also essential not to tar all critics of Israel with the brush of antisemitism, especially in wartime, when Israel, like any other war-waging power, is properly subject to the strictures of international humanitarian law. To deploy the charge of antisemitism for political reasons is morally wrong, undermining the horror of antisemitism itself. It is also likely to backfire, convincing critics of Israel that they are being unfairly silenced. At the same time, Israel’s history and current situation confound categories that are so often used today to make moral judgments—categories like imperialism, colonialism, and white supremacy. And because people’s ideas about Israel typically draw on older, pre-Israel ideas about Jews, criticism of Israel can borrow, often unconsciously, from older antisemitic myths. To understand the complicated, subtle character of the new antisemitism, notice that the concept of imperialism was developed to describe European powers that conquered, controlled, and exploited vast territories in the Global South and East. The theory of settler-colonial white supremacy was developed as a critical account of countries like Australia and the U.S., in which, according to the theory, the colonialists’ aim was to displace the local population, not to extract value from its labor. The application of these categories to Israel is a secondary development. These borrowed categories do not fit Israel’s specificity very well. Israel is a regional Middle Eastern power with a tiny footprint, not a global or continental empire designed to extract resources and labor. It was brought into existence by a 1947 United Nations resolution that would have created two states side by side, one Jewish and one Palestinian. Its purpose, as conceived by the U.N.’s member countries, was to house displaced Jews after 6 million were killed in the Holocaust. The Palestinian catastrophe, or nakba, of 1948 was that when the Arab invasion of Israel failed to destroy the nascent Jewish state, many Palestinians who had fled or been forced out of their homes by Israeli troops were unable to return. Those Palestinians became permanent refugees in neighboring countries. Instead of ending up in an independent Palestine as proposed by the U.N., those who had stayed in their homes found themselves living either in Israel or under Egyptian and Jordanian rule. Then, in the 1967 war, the West Bank and Gaza were conquered by Israel. Palestinians in those places came under what Israel itself defines as an occupation. They have lived in that precarious legal status ever since despite the 1993–2001 peace process. Notwithstanding undeniable Jewish prejudice and discrimination against Arabs in Israel, the paradigm of white supremacy also does not correspond easily to the Jews. Around half of Israel’s Jewish citizens descend from European Jews, as do most American Jews. But those Jews were not considered racially white in Europe, which is one reason they had to emigrate or be killed. Roughly half of Israel’s Jews descend from Mizrahi, (literally, Eastern) origins. They are not ethnically European in any sense, much less racially “white.” A meaningful number of Israeli Jews are of Ethiopian origin, and the small community of Black Hebrew Israelites in Israel are ethnically African American. WARSAW, 1943: SS troops bring a group of captured Jewish people, including women and young children, to a railway-station collection point for deportation to the Nazi death camps; in the background, police and soldiers can be seen watching the Warsaw Ghetto burn.National Archives Whether early Zionist settlers should be conceived as colonialists is a hotly disputed question. Were they stateless, oppressed people seeking refuge in their ancient homeland, where some Jews had always lived? That is certainly how they saw themselves. Or were early Zionists agents of the very European states they were seeking to flee, aiming to buy as much territory in Palestine as they could to create their own state? That is the view of critics, who emphasize the 1917 Balfour Declaration, in which Britain, still very much an empire, announced that it looked “with favor” on the creation of a national Jewish home in Palestine. The upshot is that while a well-meaning person, free of antisemitism, could describe Israel as colonialist, the narrative of Israel as a settler-colonial oppressor on par with or worse than the U.S., Canada, and Australia is fundamentally misleading. Those who advance it run the risk of perpetuating antisemitism by condemning the Jewish state despite its basic differences from these other global examples—most important, Israel’s status as the only homeland for a historically oppressed people who have nowhere else to call their own. To emphasize the narrative of Jews as oppressors, the new antisemitism must also somehow sidestep not only two millennia of Jewish oppression, but also the Holocaust, the largest organized, institutionalized murder of any ethnic group in human history. On the right, antisemites either deny the Holocaust ever happened or claim its scope has been overstated. On the left, one line is that Jews are weaponizing the Holocaust to legitimize the oppression of Palestinians. During the Gaza War, some have argued that Israel, having suffered the trauma of the Holocaust, is now itself perpetrating a genocide against the Palestinian people. Like other criticisms of Israel, the accusation of genocide isn’t inherently antisemitic. Yet the genocide charge is especially prone to veering into antisemitism because the Holocaust is the archetypal example of the crime of genocide. Genocide was recognized as a crime by the international community after the Holocaust. Accusing Israel of genocide can function, intentionally or otherwise, as a way of erasing the memory of the Holocaust and transforming Jews from victims into oppressors. It is, of course, logically possible for an oppressed group to become oppressors over time. Allegations of genocide have been brought against Israel by South Africa in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), charges Israel has wisely chosen to contest rather than ignore. The charges are based on the numbers of civilians killed, the tactics that led to the deaths, and statements by Israeli officials. This evidence is supposed to prove Israel intends to destroy the Palestinian people, in whole or in part, which is the legal definition of genocide. The number of Palestinian dead, over 29,000 as of this writing, is heartbreaking. The rhetoric of some individual Israeli government officials cited by South Africa is particularly appalling, both in its dehumanizing character and in referring to Palestinians as Amalekites, a group whom the God of the Bible called on the ancient Israelites to “erase.” Retired Israeli Chief Justice Aharon Barak, who serves on the ICJ panel considering the genocide charges, joined a part of the court’s provisional measures that directed Israel to “take all measures within its power to prevent ... public incitement to commit genocide” in Gaza. The U.S. government has itself condemned far-right members of Israel’s Cabinet who called for Gazans to be pushed into Egypt. The repugnant policy of ethnic cleansing urged by the extremists would violate international law, even if it would arguably not count as genocide under the legal meaning of the term. LONDON, 2023: Protesters march through central London to Parliament Square at a demonstration against antisemitism, less than two months after the Hamas attacks of Oct. 7Krisztian Elek—SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images Notwithstanding these serious concerns, Israel’s efforts to defend itself against Hamas, even if found to involve killing disproportionate number of civilians, do not turn Israel into a genocidal actor comparable to the Nazis or the Hutu regime in Rwanda. The genocide charge depends on intent. And Israel, as a state, is not fighting the Gaza War with the intent to destroy the Palestinian people. Israel’s stated war aims are to hold Hamas accountable for the Oct. 7 attack on Israel and to get back its citizens who are still being held captive. These aims are lawful in themselves. The means Israel has used are subject to legitimate criticism for killing too many civilians as collateral damage. But Israel’s military campaign has been conducted pursuant to Israel’s interpretation of the international laws of war. There is no single, definitive international-law answer to the question of how much collateral damage renders a strike disproportionate to its concrete military objective. Israel’s approach resembles campaigns fought by the U.S. and its coalition partners in Iraq in Afghanistan, and by the international coalition in the battle against ISIS for control of Mosul. Even if the numbers of civilian deaths from the air seem to be higher, it is important to recognize that Israel is also confronting miles of tunnels intentionally connected to civilian facilities by Hamas. To be clear: as a matter of human worth, a child who dies at the hands of a genocidal murderer is no different from one who dies as collateral damage in a lawful attack. The child is equally innocent, and the parents’ sorrow equally profound. As a matter of international law, however, the difference is decisive. During the Hamas attack, terrorists intentionally murdered children and raped women. Its charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state. Yet the accusation of genocide is being made against Israel. These relevant facts matter for putting the genocide charge into the context of potential antisemitism. Neither South Africa nor other states have brought a genocide case against China for its conduct in Tibet or Xinjiang, or against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. There is something specifically noteworthy about leveling the charge at the Jewish state—something intertwined with the new narrative of the Jews as archetypal oppressors rather than archetypal victims. Call it the genocide sleight of hand: if the Jews are depicted as genocidal—if Israel becomes the very archetype of a genocidal state—then Jews are much less likely to be conceived as a historically oppressed people engaged in self-defense. The new narrative of Jews as oppressors is, in the end, far too close for comfort to the antisemitic tradition of singling out Jews as uniquely deserving of condemnation and punishment, whether in its old religious form or its Nazi iteration. Like those earlier forms of antisemitism, the new kind is not ultimately about the Jews, but about the human impulse to point the finger at someone who can be made to carry the weight of our social ills. Oppression is real. Power can be exercised without justice. Israel should not be immune from criticism when it acts wrongfully. Yet the horrific history and undefeated resilience of antisemitism mean that modes of rhetorical attack on Israel and on Jews should be subject to careful scrutiny. Just because antisemitism is a cyclical, recurring phenomenon does not mean that it is inevitable nor that it cannot be ameliorated. Like any form of irrational hate, antisemitism can in principle be overcome. The best way to start climbing out of the abyss of antisemitism is to self-examine our impulses, our stories about power and injustice, and our beliefs. ___ Feldman, a professor at Harvard Law School, is the author of the new book To Be a Jew Today: A New Guide to God, Israel, and the Jewish People


    This post is based on a recorded podcast by Sam Haris (The podcast full transcription) In addressing common misconceptions about Israel and the Gaza conflict, it's crucial to recognize two often-overlooked realities amidst the widespread misinformation, especially prevalent on social media. Firstly, the conflict Israel faces with Hamas, extending to Hezbollah and Iran, is not an isolated issue but part of a broader global clash that transcends Israel, Jews, or American foreign policy. This clash, essentially between jihadists and the proponents of open, civilized societies, manifests in various forms across numerous countries. It's a struggle not against specific nationalities or religions but against a radical ideology that threatens the very fabric of civilized values. This perspective aligns with my broader critique of jihadism, which I've consistently applied to various conflicts, emphasizing that the fight against such extremism is a universal challenge, not confined to any single nation or people. Secondly, the moral and ethical complexities of warfare, particularly the heart-wrenching images of civilian casualties, demand a nuanced understanding. While the instinctive reaction to such tragedies might lean towards condemning all forms of violence, it's essential to grasp that, in certain circumstances, war becomes a necessary evil. This is not to trivialize the grave consequences of military actions but to acknowledge the harsh reality that facing a fanatical adversary often leaves no room for pacifist solutions. The ideology driving groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, with its glorification of martyrdom and paradise through jihad, poses a threat far exceeding conventional political or territorial disputes. It's a mindset that fundamentally opposes the values cherished in the 21st century, including human rights and democratic freedoms. The global community, including Muslims worldwide, must confront and critically reassess the ideologies fueling such extremism. Only through a collective effort to challenge and moderate these beliefs can we hope to find a path out of these conflicts, ensuring a safer, more peaceful world for future generations. Myth #1 : Israel is guilty of “genocide” in Gaza. The claim that Israel is committing "genocide" in Gaza is fundamentally flawed. Genocide, as defined by the 1948 international genocide convention, involves the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. The population growth in Gaza from 250,000 in 1948 to over 2 million today contradicts the accusation of genocide, showcasing instead a significant increase that far exceeds the global average. While the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have indeed caused fatalities in Gaza, the notion of Israel intending to commit genocide is baseless. The IDF has consistently taken measures to minimize civilian casualties, such as warning Gaza's residents before attacks. In contrast, Hamas employs tactics that endanger civilians, including using them as human shields and situating military infrastructure within civilian areas, which are recognized as war crimes. The broader context reveals that the conflict is exacerbated by the tactics of jihadists, who have normalized the use of suicide bombers, including children, in various conflicts, not limited to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. This extreme ideology, rooted in a distorted interpretation of martyrdom and jihad unique to Islam, poses a significant challenge to achieving peace and security. Furthermore, the extensive tunnel network built by Hamas under Gaza, funded by significant international aid, could have been used for civilian protection but instead serves military purposes, further endangering the civilian population. The aspiration for martyrdom, as expressed by Hamas, underlines the ideological and practical challenges in addressing the conflict. In summary, the situation in Gaza and Israel's actions cannot be accurately described as genocide. Instead, it reflects the complex dynamics of a conflict driven by ideological extremism and the tragic use of civilians within these tactics. The responsibility for civilian casualties and the continuation of the conflict lies significantly with the strategies employed by Hamas and the broader issue of jihadist ideology. Myth #2 : International Humanitarian Law Requires that Israel’s response to Palestinian aggression be “proportional.” The concept of "proportionality" in warfare is often misunderstood, especially in discussions about the Gaza conflict. Contrary to popular belief, proportionality does not mean mirroring the exact actions of the enemy, such as replicating the atrocities committed by one side onto the other. Instead, it refers to balancing the military necessity of an action against the potential harm to civilian life and property. International law permits actions like Israel's efforts to neutralize Hamas, especially considering Hamas's intentional targeting of civilians and embedding within the civilian population to maximize civilian casualties. The reality of modern warfare, amplified by social media, has brought the devastating impact of conflict, including civilian casualties, into sharp focus. Historical and recent conflicts alike have resulted in significant civilian deaths, often with a disparity in casualties between the combatants and non-combatants. This phenomenon is not unique to the Israel-Gaza conflict but is a characteristic of warfare globally. Israel's military actions against Hamas are scrutinized to a degree not applied to other nations in similar situations. This scrutiny overlooks the existential nature of Israel's conflict with Hamas, a jihadist group employing guerrilla tactics and exploiting civilian populations to shield military operations. The moral dilemmas posed by fighting an enemy that disregards civilian life are profound, with no easy solutions. The tragedy of civilian casualties in Gaza is undeniable, yet it's crucial to recognize that the situation has been deliberately engineered by Hamas to exploit the moral sensibilities of their opponents. The conflict is exacerbated by the jihadist ideology, which glorifies martyrdom and paradise, making traditional military engagement and the preservation of civilian life exceptionally challenging. Ultimately, the distinction between those who intentionally harm civilians to spread terror and those who strive, albeit imperfectly, to avoid civilian casualties while defending themselves is stark. Recognizing this difference is essential for understanding the complex dynamics of the Israel-Gaza conflict and the broader struggle against jihadist terrorism. Myth #3 : The Jews Are Colonizers and the Palestinians are Indigenous People. Jews have maintained a continuous presence in the land of Israel for millennia, establishing them as indigenous to the region. This indigeneity extends to other Middle Eastern countries from which they were expelled by Muslims, yet there's a notable lack of international pressure for a Jewish "right of return" to these nations. The creation of Israel post-WWII, often criticized, is not unique; many nations, including Pakistan, were formed similarly without facing similar legitimacy challenges. The world hosts 22 official Muslim states and over 50 Muslim-majority countries, a testament to centuries of Muslim conquest, yet Israel, the sole Jewish state, faces disproportionate scrutiny and challenges to its existence. Despite the multitude of UN member states, Israel has been subject to more sanctions by the UN than all other countries combined, raising questions about the fairness and focus of international criticism. This scrutiny occurs despite egregious human rights violations in other countries, including genocides, widespread human rights abuses, and the use of child soldiers in suicide missions. The disproportionate condemnation of Israel by the UN, despite its status as a democracy fighting for survival against groups committed to its destruction, suggests a moral bankruptcy within the organization. Reports of UNRWA employees' involvement in violence and the problematic content of UN-funded educational programs further underscore issues of bias and corruption within international bodies. The United States' decision to pause funding to UNRWA highlights the growing concern over these issues and the need for a reevaluation of the UN's stance and actions regarding Israel and the broader Middle East conflict. Myth #4 : The atrocities committed by Hamas (and over one thousand Palestinian civilians) on October 7th were a legitimate response to oppression. In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza, uprooting thousands of its citizens in the process, and since then, Gaza has received billions in international aid. The narrative of Palestinian oppression in Gaza by Israel is complex and contested, especially considering Israel's efforts to secure its border, a measure similarly undertaken by Egypt without the latter being accused of contributing to Gaza's hardships. The response to oppression varies significantly across different oppressed groups, with not all resorting to violence against civilians as seen in Gaza. Historical comparisons, such as the Tibetan resistance to Chinese oppression and the behavior of Jews during the Nazi era, illustrate that extreme retaliatory violence against civilians is not an inevitable response to oppression. These examples highlight the role of specific ideological and religious doctrines in shaping responses to oppression. In particular, Islamic teachings on martyrdom and jihad are identified as factors that potentially motivate the kind of violence emanating from Gaza. The call to action is for the global Muslim community to critically examine and address aspects of their faith that clash with contemporary values and peaceful coexistence. This involves a reevaluation of doctrines related to martyrdom, jihad, apostasy, and blasphemy, aiming to reconcile these beliefs with the demands of the modern world. The emphasis is on the necessity for an internal dialogue within Islam to foster a version of the faith that is compatible with global norms of tolerance and non-violence. Myth #5 : The two sides in this conflict are equally civilized, equally entitled to respect, and equally worth protecting. In discussions about the tragic loss of life on both sides of the conflict, it's essential to acknowledge that while a human life is invaluable, the valuation of life differs significantly between jihadist organizations like Hamas and modern societies that prioritize equality and human rights. This discrepancy isn't just rhetoric but a stark reality shaped by religious beliefs that motivate and restrict individuals' actions. The brutal treatment of women, persecution of LGBTQ+ individuals, and the celebration of martyrdom in certain Islamic contexts starkly contrast with societies that strive for gender equality and embrace diversity. The support for Hamas and its actions, particularly the atrocities committed on October 7th, reveals a troubling acceptance of violence within the Palestinian community, justified by religious and political narratives. This support, as evidenced by recent polling, underscores a broader challenge: the need for a profound reevaluation of religious extremism within the Muslim world. The glorification of violence and martyrdom, under the guise of defending religious sites, illustrates a deep-seated ideological divide that fuels conflict and hinders peace. The disparity in how societies respond to conflict, from parading tortured hostages to providing medical care to enemies, highlights the profound differences in values and intentions. These differences are crucial for understanding the conflict's nature and the broader struggle against a death cult ideology. The intentional targeting of noncombatants by jihadist groups contrasts sharply with the efforts of others to avoid civilian casualties, despite the complexities of modern warfare. Understanding the motivations behind actions in conflict zones is vital. It's not just the actions themselves but the underlying intentions that define the moral landscape of a conflict. The aspirations of various groups, whether driven by a desire for domination or peace, significantly impact the course of civilization. While diplomacy and economic incentives are preferred paths to minimizing ideological differences, the necessity of force becomes apparent when faced with entities detached from any semblance of shared humanity. The future of global peace and security hinges on our collective ability to address and mitigate the influence of extremist ideologies. This requires a concerted effort to promote moderation and reform within religious and cultural frameworks that currently perpetuate division and violence.

  • The Muslim Brotherhood undertakes fieldwork to polarize society and establish narratives that eventually lead to terrorism.

    Join us for a conversation between Maya Mizrahi and Dr. Lorenzo Vidino (Published in Epoch magazine) Dr. Lorenzo Vidino, a renowned expert on the Muslim Brotherhood, asserts that the movement has established a comprehensive infrastructure within Western societies, particularly in Europe. He describes the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West as 'social engineering'. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated in an interview last month with the American Fox News network, “If we don't defeat Hamas, Europe will be next”. Netanyahu's statement resonated with the sentiments expressed during the mass pro-Palestinian demonstrations held throughout Europe and the US, where hundreds of thousands of people participated. Many of these demonstrators did not condemn the horrific massacre that occurred on October 7; instead, some criticized Israel and even expressed support for Hamas. This raises the question: Is Netanyahu correct in asserting that Europe and the US are next in line? And does this truly relate to whether Hamas is defeated or not?" Dr. Lorenzo Vidino, esteemed as one of the world's foremost experts on the Muslim Brotherhood and the director of the Center for Extremism at the University of Washington, possesses deep familiarity with Islamist organizations across Europe and the United States and has insights into their plans. "To comprehend the inner workings and motivations of the Muslim Brotherhood, I interviewed individuals who have left the movement. Subsequently, I authored a book about this movement's activities in the West" he explains. This movement is highly deceptive, having established an infrastructure throughout Europe and attempting to alter Western society by integrating into its mainstream. This poses a significant danger." Dr. Vidino identifies three distinct categories of radical Islamist organizations dispersed across Europe and the United States. The first category comprises jihadists, including Daesh and al-Qaeda, which are extremely dangerous organizations that attack the West, and their activities are prohibited. In my view, these organizations are unlikely to change Western society but rather pose a significant security challenge. The second group is the non-violent Salafis. They are a part of Sunni Islam and want to live like people did in the seventh century in Mecca. They think Western society is bad and want to stay apart, living in their own community. This is a bit like some very religious Jewish groups (like in Mea Shearim), but the difference is they want others to become Muslim, while the Jewish groups don't. The third group is the 'Muslim Brotherhood.' This is the group I focus on. The Muslim Brotherhood is engaging in a highly deceptive game. Unlike the Salafis and Jihadists, who are quite forthright about their intentions, the Muslim Brotherhood adopts a different approach. Jihadists openly declare, 'We want to kill you, all the infidels,' while Salafis express their disdain for Western society and their desire to separate from it. In contrast, the Muslim Brotherhood presents an unexpected facade, claiming, 'We are in favor of integration and dialogue with you.' However, behind this facade, they endeavor to undermine Western society." They articulate narratives that resonate with what Western society desires to hear, such as 'We need to collaborate,' or 'There is rampant Islamophobia in Europe - reducing it will lead to everything being fine and Muslim society integrating into the West.' They voice sentiments that are widely appealing, yet simultaneously, they engage in contradictory actions. To Muslim communities, they convey messages like, 'The West despises you,' 'Islamophobia is pervasive,' 'The West aims to destroy Islam,' 'We need to establish separate spaces,' 'One day, we will take over [Europe]' - these are deeply troubling messages. This is why my research indicates that the Muslim Brotherhood represents the most significant threat to the West, surpassing all other groups." What Is the Difference Between Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood? Hamas is recognized as the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, as stated in the second section of its charter. The Muslim Brotherhood is known for its tactical flexibility, adapting its approach to the specific circumstances of each country. In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they advocate for Jihad as the sole method of action. In Middle Eastern countries where the movement is tolerated, like Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood functions openly as a social and political movement, focusing on education and charitable activities. Conversely, in countries where it faces persecution, such as Syria, it operates as an underground movement, focusing on recruiting activists and, in some instances, engaging in violence. It is appropriate to view these networks in each country as 'branches' of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is not a monolithic entity but comprises separate groups with operational independence, united by a shared vision and their connection to the original movement established in 1928 in Egypt. In his book, Vidino notes that 'branches' of the Muslim Brotherhood exert control over mosques throughout Europe, manage financial accounts in the Bahamas, operate a poultry factory and a software company in the US, and invest in real estate in Africa and the Middle East. Additionally, they maintain high-profile global connections. In Europe, politicians and media members often struggle to comprehend the Muslim Brotherhood. While they clearly understand the objectives of jihadists and Salafists, they find it challenging to grasp the Muslim Brotherhood's strategy. This is because the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe skillfully establishes connections with mainstream society, often appearing as benevolent actors. However, this perception is misleading. They are sometimes among the first to denounce terrorist attacks in the West, only to suggest changes in foreign policy or the inclusion of Sharia law as solutions to extremism. The Muslim Brotherhood's approach in the West involves 'social engineering,' a tactic not employed by jihadists and Salafists. What Percentage of Muslims in Western Countries Are Affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood? The Muslim Brotherhood represents a very small percentage. The group is associated with political Islam, which does not interest the majority of Muslims. Most Muslims lead their lives without involvement in such matters, as indicated by numerous polls conducted in Europe. The problem is that even though these groups are small, they have a big influence. The ideas they spread change the way people think. This includes making the issue of 'Palestine' and the Palestinian situation seem very important in Europe. Think about why in Britain, where many foreigners are from India and Pakistan, people don't focus as much on problems in Kashmir or other places where Muslims are in trouble. Instead, they keep talking about 'Palestine.' This is largely because the Muslim Brotherhood has been able to make Palestine a key issue in people's minds. I read transcripts of wiretaps done by the FBI in the US. They show that people from the Muslim Brotherhood spend a lot of time talking about their plans. They discuss how to present the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a certain way and how to share this view with different groups of people. Vidino explains that the Muslim Brotherhood has set up a network of organizations across Europe. These organizations present themselves to the public as very welcoming and peace-loving. They call themselves names like 'The Islamic Organization of Germany' or 'The Muslims of France.' This way, they become the go-to groups for Western organizations that want to talk to Muslim communities. For example, if a journalist wants to know 'what Muslims think about what's happening in Gaza,' they might look for such representatives. Often, they end up talking to the Muslim Brotherhood without even knowing it. Vidino's research shows that most members of the Muslim Brotherhood are intellectuals with degrees. They are good at delivering messages in the local language and stand out because of their skills. In his book, he lists three types of networks that the Muslim Brotherhood has set up in the West: The first type is a network of 'pure brothers.' This is a secret network, not public, set up by members from the Middle Eastern branches. 'In every Western country, the first generation of Muslim Brotherhood pioneers from the Arab world established structures. These reflected, on a much smaller scale, the structures in their home countries,' he writes in his book. 'In each Western country, they effectively set up a small branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. This branch recruits people and works in a pyramid structure. That means there are activists who meet every week at the local level, and there is a selected leadership that oversees the activities in that country.' Vidino says that the Muslim Brotherhood in the West keeps this structure very secret and denies its existence (or in some cases, describes it as a thing of the past). The second type is a network of open or public organizations set up by people who belong to the 'pure brothers.' 'None of these organizations publicly identify themselves as connected to any structure of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, in reality, these organizations represent the 'pure brothers' – they are the public face of the secret network. This part promotes the group's agenda in society without giving up the secret structure. The third type is organizations that adopt an ideology clearly influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood, but they don't have obvious operational ties to the movement. 'In these organizations, you can find traces of the Muslim Brotherhood's presence in the board of directors, funding sources, or ideological influences. However, the population in these organizations can be very diverse. Such organizations might include non-Islamists and even non-Muslims. They might focus on progressive interpretations of classic Islamist thought and might even try to break away from the control of the Muslim Brotherhood. What is their goal besides directing the narrative and doing 'social engineering? 'There are three more goals: One goal is to recruit people from the Muslim community. Not many, because they want to keep a structure like an elite group. They are very selective. For them, joining the Muslim Brotherhood is like getting into Harvard. The people they recruit then work within the Muslim community to try to make it adopt a socio-political religious worldview. Their goal is to make Muslims understand politics in a certain way, the way they direct. I'm not saying they always succeed, but that's their goal. They find 'useful idiots' who promote their agenda. These are people who can talk about Jihad in mosques, but then, when they go to university campuses, they talk about white supremacy theories (like how white Jews in Israel are superior to dark-skinned Palestinians), post-colonialism, and imperialism. With extreme right-wing groups, they use old anti-Semitic language, and with human rights organizations, they talk about Palestinian human rights. This way, they connect with many different audiences and get them to act, even though they are few in number. The second goal, common to all branches of the Muslim Brotherhood, is to act as the official representatives of the Muslim community in their countries. Becoming the preferred – if not the only – partners of Western governments and elites can give them the financial and political capital to significantly expand their influence in the community. In Europe, everyone in a position of power today – from the president, ministers, and police, to journalists, the church, and local municipalities – talks to them about almost every issue. This ranges from eating 'halal' meat to what's happening in Gaza. The second goal leads to achieving the third goal. When Western governments see them as legitimate representatives of the Muslim community, they will have an influence on Western policies related to Islam, whether it's domestic or foreign policy. This includes everything from religious education in schools to fighting terrorism and potential bans on internal hate speech. Since most Muslims in Europe are relatively divided and often have lower education levels, these guys stand out. They are very educated, driven by ideology, and well-funded. You wrote that they work on dividing society and talk in terms of 'us' and 'them.' This reminds me of the Marxist ideology that intentionally promotes conflicts among different groups in society. 'Polarization is where the Muslim Brotherhood thrives. They know that if the Muslim community feels Islamophobia, for example, it will bring them closer to Islam. It's like what happened in Israel after the events of October 7 – the community unites, the country comes together around the tragedy. The Muslim Brotherhood creates conflicts in society so that Muslims will unite against an external enemy. 'The biggest problem with this group is that it polarizes society. It creates tension by making small things seem big. This can lead to terrorism. Europeans are starting to understand this now. Who funds the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe? 'From 1960 to 2013, the main funder of the Muslim Brotherhood was Saudi Arabia. It was mostly a Saudi project, and then – it ended. Because Saudi Arabia, like other countries, realized that the Muslim Brotherhood is the source of many problems. Do they create a foundation for terrorist organizations to grow? Yes. I think that's the understanding in the Muslim world, and by the way, Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, expresses the same understanding today. The Muslim Brotherhood does the groundwork for dividing society and creating a narrative that then leads to terrorism. 'Many leaders of the current jihadist movement were in the Muslim Brotherhood. Abdullah Azzam, a Palestinian religious figure who was key in recruiting jihadists to fight in Afghanistan against the USSR, joined the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine in the 1950s. His student, Osama bin Laden, was trained in the Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia before he decided to leave the group because he thought it wasn't effective enough. Similarly, Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's successor as the head of Al-Qaeda, was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt before he led the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization. 'The difference between these jihadist organizations and the Muslim Brotherhood is a tactical one. The Brotherhood works for the long term – they focus on gradually and slowly infiltrating society, while the jihadists are impatient and act quickly. What made Saudi Arabia suddenly realize that the Muslim Brotherhood is a problem, after years of supporting the movement? The main issue was the election of Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood member, as Egypt's president in June 2012. The Muslim Brotherhood hinted that the Saudi royal family was their competitor, which the Saudis saw as a threat to their survival. It took some time, but in March 2014, the Saudi government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. They removed supporters of the group from their academic institutions and took books by authors associated with the Muslim Brotherhood out of schools The United Arab Emirates also declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. But the hostility of the UAE towards the Brotherhood, compared to Saudi Arabia's, is deeper and more ideologically based. Senior officials in the UAE consistently argue that the Brotherhood is the source of terrorism. In their view, this extremist group provided the core ideology that jihadist groups use. Do you think the massacre that happened here in Israel can also happen in Europe? There have already been quite a few terrible terrorist attacks in Europe by ISIS and Al-Qaeda. The numbers were small, but the attackers' approach was similar to Hamas's on October 7. The problem now is that the threat doesn't just come from ISIS and Al-Qaeda, but also from other groups that grew from the Muslim Brotherhood's foundation. And unlike ISIS and Al-Qaeda, Europe is tolerant of these groups because they are not violent. They are intellectual groups. But that's a mistake. People who say the Muslim Brotherhood has given up on violence don't understand. The Brotherhood only gives up violence when it conflicts with their interest to use it in a certain context. If that context changes and they think violence is the best way to do it, they will be just as violent as Hamas. In one minute, they could be like that. So what are you saying? That this is something that will just happen one day in Europe? We've talked a lot about this among colleagues, especially since October 7. We discussed how we are hosting people who hate us. We asked ourselves if what happened in Israel could happen here too. I say that Europe is in trouble. Even France, for example, which recognizes the problem it has, can't deal with it. What can they do now? France is not Egypt, where you can just take people and lock them up or put them in a hole in the desert. In a democratic society, it's hard to deal with these organizations. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's very difficult. It requires long-term decisiveness, and that's not how our democracies think, especially today. As a start, we need to stop foreign funding for these organizations. They receive hundreds of millions of dollars from Qatar. In Italy, they are deporting people who come in and start saying crazy things. They get on a plane and go back to where they came from. But in France and Belgium, they don't do that because these people have citizenship. Politicians are also very sensitive to left-wing groups, human rights organizations, who will come and call them Islamophobes and fascists. Do the Muslim Brotherhood organizations also receive funding from European countries? Certainly. The most generous country in Europe is Sweden. If you arrive in Sweden illegally, they don't ask questions, they just give you money. Sweden doesn't deport anyone, and the Muslim Brotherhood organizations have been receiving government funding for years. In his book, Vidino notes that organizations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood established a public organization in Sweden called 'The Muslim Civil Society.' This organization received a monopoly on the funds the state allocated to the Muslim community in Sweden. 'The Swedish government even funded schools run by Islamists. The schools were managed by people who joined ISIS in Syria. After they returned to Sweden, they were hired as teachers. In the past two to three years, things have started to change somewhat, even in Sweden, but it's like trying to change the course of the Titanic. You close down a school, and then they fight you in court. It's bureaucracy. You can take comfort in the fact that there's a big gap between how people on the street feel about this and how politicians are dealing with it. When you look at surveys, you see that people understand it. They understand, for example, that the immigration system in Europe is flawed, that everyone comes in, and only a few are deported. In Germany, about 80% think the immigration system is flawed, but the politicians there are handicapped due to accusations of racism or Islamophobia. They're afraid of being criticized on social media. The political correctness will eventually kill us. In a certain way, yes. There's no doubt about it. Let me share an anecdote with you. My sergeant spent nine years investigating the 2009 attack at the Fort Hood military base in Texas. The perpetrator was a Palestinian doctor trained by the American military. One day, he arrived at the base, opened fire, and killed about 15 people. My sergeant conducted the investigation in the Senate, during which it became clear that for years, there were signs of a serious problem with this individual, but no one had the courage to report it. For example, this individual, who was trained as a doctor, was asked to give a presentation on hearing problems, but then suddenly started talking about jihad. It was incredibly strange. Those who reported it faced backlash. They were told not to raise the issue, that it's culturally sensitive. So, no one wanted to report further. At a certain level, this is what happens. Even when people talk about it, it doesn't solve the problem. Look at what happened in Israel. Everyone talked about "keeping Hamas in check," but in the end, it didn't happen. Everyone makes mistakes when dealing with terrorism. Specifically, regarding the Muslim Brotherhood, even Arab countries made mistakes for a long time. For example, Anwar Sadat was assassinated. He had opened the prisons and released all the Muslim Brotherhood members. The thought in Europe in the past two decades was that if you give money to Muslim migrants and provide opportunities to establish organizations, they will integrate, and everything will be fine. There were some who integrated, but among the Muslim migrants who came to Europe, there were also people with political backgrounds, Islamists. The idea that they would adopt our culture and become good democrats didn't happen. The nature of their ideology is to corrupt the minds of people. They recruit individuals and create many problems in society. References: The Closed Circle Joining and Leaving the Muslim Brotherhood in the West Lorenzo Vidino Columbia University Press Lorenzo Vidino

  • Religion is reemerging as a significant global force, challenging prevailing Western methods of addressing fundamentalism and terror.

    In this complex landscape, where the intellectual hypocrisy of the left and the war-mongering of the right is evident, a new approach becomes imperative. Left-wing supporters, peace advocates, and human rights activists face challenging questions about maintaining faith in humanity and adhering to values of freedom, equality, and human dignity without falling into righteous naivety or dangerous political blindness. The media, with a unified narrative, echo the new national slogan: "We will crush, destroy, eliminate, annihilate." On the other hand, left-wing relativists and theory champions, ensconced in academic towers or café tables, argue that Hamas's brutality is a result of occupation, dispossession, and oppression, believing that humane treatment of those perceived as inhumane could have prevented everything. These groups are also resolute in their righteousness, with everyone claiming to know the best course of action. This polarized environment raises profound questions about human cruelty and the nature of conflict. How can humans be so cruel? What makes such realities possible? Is this solely due to material conditions, i.e., unbearable living conditions leading to such cruelty, or is there also a cultural element involved? Is this only a territorial-national conflict, or is there a clash between civilizations, with Israel being a frontline in a global struggle? The ongoing dispute between Western right and left perspectives, with the ‘left’ focusing on material reality and inequality and the ‘right’ on cultural and religious differences, highlights the dangers of adhering to ideological extremes. The danger in adopting either ideological extreme is clear: on one hand, the moral relativism of the progressive left creates dangerous blindness to value gaps and non-rational drivers of human behavior; on the other, the right-wing approach leads to dangerous generalizations that dehumanize large groups of people, often sliding into racism. The digital revolution further complicates things and make it increasingly difficult to hold a complex worldview. Historical comparisons, such as those between Hamas and Nazism, shed light on the limitations of interpreting events through a singular cultural lens. Great interpreters and historians of Nazism failed to understand it because they imposed their cultural standards and conceptual categories onto a worldview that explicitly sought to offer an alternative to all of these. Their failure is not fundamentally different from that of Neville Chamberlain, who tried to save world peace through his appeasement of Hitler. We must accept the fact that often one cannot judge one culture by the categories and standards of another culture. The globalist liberal approach's failure in conflicts like the Israeli-Palestinian one and the collapse of the multicultural model in Europe exemplifies the perils of cultural blindness. For someone who defines themselves as liberal, it's not easy to admit this. Liberals are educated to believe that all human beings are driven by the same basic needs: freedom, security, dignity, equality, and the desire for property. They are taught to believe that these needs are universal, and once satisfied, humans will turn into McDonald's-consuming, peace-seeking benefactors. The belief that humans are driven by the need to satisfy their egotistic needs, avoid pain, and maximize pleasure is only partially true. Humans also need spiritual content in their lives, self-transcendence, belonging, meaning, and compromise. The answer to this is often found in tradition, religion, collective myth, or national story, which vary from place to place, from culture to culture. The danger of ignoring these non-material and culture-dependent needs can lead not only to a distorted reading of the political and geo-political reality but also to moral blindness. An example of this was seen recently in Judith Butler, the feminist theorist, who described criticisms of Hamas as "unintellectual moral rage" and suggested viewing the attack on Israel in a broader historical context, as part of a reality of prolonged occupation and oppression. In contrast to Butler, whose rhetorical contortions reveal her embarrassment, others felt no need to disguise their joy at the attack on Israel: for example, Russell Rickford, a history professor at Cornell University, described Hamas's attack as "inspiring" and "invigorating"; Nina Arbina, a law professor at the University of Albany, praised "Palestinian resistance" and defined it as "a source of inspiration." The loss of compass and conscience of the progressive left and the crazy Woke normalizes even murder and kidnapping of children. These are people for whom theory is stronger than the instinct of life, whose intellectual narcissism has eradicated any trace of humanity. They are addicted to hollow moralism, identity totalitarianism, and ideological purity that can even legitimize the most nefarious acts in the name of distorted principles of relativity and openness. United in their value relativism and their adherence to equality, they have built walls that hide the world from them, turned relativity from a theoretical stance to a moral one, replaced the pursuit of natural rights with identity politics, and turned political correctness into a new religion, in its radical manifestations reaching as far as justifying the murder of innocent civilians, rape of women, and kidnapping of the elderly from their beds. The problem is that these highbrows, who see "power structures" or "mechanisms of exclusion" everywhere, sweep along many young people on Western campuses, idealists of Generation Z, burning with a sincere and true fervor to make the world a better place. But cultural blindness is not only the domain of the non-liberal and progressive left. The moderate left and the liberal (or neo-liberal) center also believe that through capitalism they can impose their democratic values on non-democratic cultures and spread the message of liberalism to every corner of the world. This logic guides U.S. foreign policy since the end of the Cold War, often serving as a pretext for armed intervention in the affairs of other countries. Here too, the underlying assumption is that changing the material reality through economic incentives will gradually lead the local culture to dismantle its traditional structures and adopt the democratic and liberal values of the West. The U.S. failures in Iraq and Afghanistan are just evidence of the naivety and arrogance of American globalism. The same neo-liberal approach, reducing human beings to the sum of their utilitarian material needs, is also at the heart of the failed Netanyahu government's concept towards the Hamas regime in Gaza: just give them money, build them a port, allow workers to go out to work, and they will give up their Jihadist dreams; if they have something to lose, they will abandon the path of armed struggle. The result is known. A new paradigm is needed, one that recognizes the diversity of cultural values and the importance of internal reform within Muslim societies. This new approach seeks to balance realism and idealism, fighting for freedom and humanism without succumbing to hate or nationalism. It acknowledges that military force alone cannot eradicate groups like Hamas, whose strength lies in their ideological appeal. Addressing the emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs that religious radicalism satisfies is crucial for effective solutions. This approach calls for equality amidst diversity, emphasizing the commonality of human nature while respecting cultural differences. While cultural values are relative, morality must be seen as absolute and universal. Supporting internal Muslim liberalization through economic, diplomatic, and political means, and encouraging intercultural dialogue, is essential. Religious leaders, intellectuals, and educators play a key role in fostering deep cultural changes necessary for a new world order that addresses global challenges without neglecting the need for community and cultural belonging. These insights are especially pertinent for Israel, as it reshapes its national vision post-conflict and decides its cultural alignment. Rebuilding democratic and liberal values while confronting internal radicalism is crucial. An alliance of moderates, guided by recognition of human complexity, is necessary to counter radicalism from within and without, providing a hopeful alternative to the cycle of war and destruction. Based on an article by the Historian Amit Varshizky More about this: Piers Morgan is joined by philosopher and author Sam Harris talking about the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and Palestine. Sam discusses with Piers Morgan how religion and God have played a part in this conflict and could be partly to blame for the escalation.

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