Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Roots of the Gaza Conflict

By Nonie Darwish

With the explosive current events in Gaza, the world needs to understand the roots of this eternal conflict, otherwise we are all kidding ourselves with hopes of peace.

For decades, Arabs had demanded that Israel end the "occupation," and in 2005, Israel did so, disengaging unilaterally from Gaza. With their demands met, there was no ‘cycle of violence’ to respond to, no further justification for anything other than peace and prosperity. With its central location and beautiful beaches on the East Mediteranean, a peaceful and prosperous Gaza could have become another Hong Kong; a shining trade and commerce center. But instead of choosing peace, the Palestinians chose Islamic jihad. They rolled their rocket launchers to the border and started bombing Israeli civilians.

Understanding the reasons why the Palestinians chose violence over peace requires connecting the dots from the behavior of Muslim states back to the laws of Islam: Sharia. Mainstream Sharia books define Jihad as: "to war against non-Muslims to establish the religion." (Shafi’i Sharia o9.0). Jihad is not just the duty of the individual Muslim, but it is also the main duty of the Muslim head of State (the Calipha):

"A Muslim calipha is entrusted to take his people into war and command offensive and aggressive Jihad. He must organize Jihad against any non-Muslim government, which prevents Muslim da’wah (meaning preaching and spreading Islam) from entering its land." (Shafii Law o25.0 to o25.9).

Sharia law# o25.9 states:

"(When the caliph appoints a ruler on a region, his duty includes) if the area has a border adjacent to enemy lands, (he will) undertake Jihad against enemies, dividing the spoils of battle among combatants and setting aside a fifth for deserving recipients."


"The Caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax provided he has first invited them to enter Islam or pay Jizya, the non-Muslim poll tax, (in accordance with the word of Allah Most High Chapter 9 verse 29)."

Zia-Ul-Haq, former President of Pakistan, said "jihad in terms of warfare is a collective responsibility of the Muslim Ummah."

One of Islam’s eminent 20th century scholars, Sheikh Maolana Maududi said:

"Islam wishes to destroy all states and governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and program of Islam regardless of the country or the nation which rules it. The purpose of Islam is to set up a state on the basis of its own ideology and program … the objective of Islamic jihad is to eliminate the rule of an un-Islamic system and establish instead an Islamic system of state rule. Islam does not intend to confine this revolution to a single state or a few countries; the aim of Islam is to bring about a universal revolution."

Some people seem to think that such laws are just historical relics, on the books but not in practice or in control of the minds of Muslims. But that is the kind of denial we cannot afford; these laws rule the hearts, minds and actions of a majority of Muslim individuals and states around the world today. These scriptures are taught, preached and promoted as the incontrovertible and eternal word of God and funded by Saudi petrodollars throughout the world, including Western nations such as the U.K. and the United States.

No Muslim leader can survive in a Muslim country if he announces the end of Jihad against non-Muslim countries and states that all references to Jihad in Islamic law do not apply today. Treating non-Muslim neighboring countries and individual as equals, with respect and in peace without trying to convert them to Islam, is simply against Islamic Law.

Muslim leaders who dare to go against this theology are called traitors and puppets of the ‘Great Satan’ West. That is a description that no Muslim leader wants to be labeled with. When president Anwar Sadat of Egypt signed the peace treaty with Israel in 1979, he told his confidants that he knew he was signing his own death warrant. He understood that under Sharia he must have permanent war with non-Muslim Israel.

How can a Muslim leader or individual avoid the hundreds of Quran and Hadith commandments to Muslims to kill Jews and Christians? Q 9:29: "Fight those who believe not in Allah until they pay the Jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued." Q 9:5: "Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them". Q47.4: "When you encounter the unbelievers, Strike off their heads."

A Muslim leader cannot face his devout Muslim subjects after making a decision to engage in friendship and peace with Jews. Mosques all over the Middle East, after all, recite Mohammed’s commandment to Muslims:

"The Hour [Resurrection] will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews, and kill them. And the Jews will hide behind the rock and tree, and the rock and tree will say: oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, this is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!" (Sahih Muslim 41:6985, also Sahih Bukhari 4:52:177)

This Hadith, issued by Mohammad, makes a whole group of people illegal to exist. It was issued in the 7th century, not after the 1948 creation of the State of Israel. It is not a response to modern-day grievances; it is a permanent commandment.

Many Muslims claim that Arabs and Jews lived well together for many years before 1948. But that claim ignores the fact that Jews had to live as ‘dhimmies’ under Islamic Law and were never allowed to rule themselves separate of the Islamic Sharia. When Muslims were weak they often treated their dhimmi subjects well and ignored the commandments to kill, subjugate and humiliate them. But Jew hatred is intrinsic to Islamic scriptures that do not permit reformation under the penalty of death.

This is the real basis of the Arab/Israeli conflict: not a conflict over land or occupation, but a divine obligation to destroy neighboring (non-Muslim) Israel, where Jews are no longer dhimmis but are free to rule themselves. We cannot ignore the root of the problem in Muslim scriptures. That is the true force behind the hate and propaganda Jihadist machine against Jews in the Muslim world.

Some Muslims tell me that they don’t believe in Sharia and question why am I making a big deal about it. My answer is that Sharia is the law of the land in 54 Muslim countries and many Muslim groups are demanding Sharia in the West. In 1990, 45 Muslim countries signed the Cairo Human Rights Declaration which stated that Sharia has supremacy over the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Muslim world must look within to its sacred laws, scriptures, sermons, teaching and preaching, and reform the obstacles for peace that have condemned them to a permanent state of jihad. The non-Muslim world must have no illusions.

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The Wisest Mind Has Something Yet To Learn!

Now They Call Me Infidel

By Jamie Glazov

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Nonie Darwish, author and founder of ArabsForIsrael.com. She grew up in Cairo and Gaza, the daughter of a high-ranking Egyptian army officer. She now lectures around the country to civic organizations, universities, churches, and synagogues. She is the author of the new book, Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror.

FP: Nonie Darwish, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Darwish: My pleasure.

FP: Tell us some of the things you were taught as a child in the Arab Middle East.

Darwish: I was born and raised as a Muslim in Cairo, Egypt and the Gaza Strip. I attended Gaza elementary schools where I learned hatred, vengeance and retaliation. Peace was never as an option; it was considered a sign of defeat and weakness. Those who wanted peace and compromise were called traitors. Jews were described as monsters, apes and pigs and the enemies of God from the pulpits of mosques. When I asked: “why do we hate Jews?” The answer was: “aren’t you a Muslim?”

Shaming is very strong in Arab upbringing. We were told outrageous lies about Jews: "Don't take candy from strangers since it could be a Jew trying to poison you." We were also told that Israeli soldiers would kill pregnant Arab women just for fun, place bets on whether she was carrying a boy or a girl, and cut her open to see who won the bet.

My classmates would cry while reciting Jihadist poetry daily, wishing to die as martyrs. The teachers filled our hearts with fear of Jews, which made hatred come easy and terrorism tolerated. The propaganda of jihad, hatred and anti-Semitism was everywhere and not just in schools; it was in mosques, newspapers, movies, by politicians, in the arts and in many Jihadist songs over the radio. Mosque prayers often ended with cursing of the infidels (non-Muslims). Believe it or not, if you grow up with prayers like that, it can sound and feel normal.

FP: Who was your father and what were the circumstances of his death? How did this affect your family?

Darwish: My father was Colonel Mustafa Hafez and he headed the Egyptian military intelligence in the Gaza Strip and the Sinai in the 50s. The Egyptian President at that time was Gamal Abdel Nasser, who was committed to unifying the Arab world, destroying Israel and standing against Western interests in the region. Under orders from Nasser, my father started the Fedayeen, which means “armed resistance”, a guerrilla-style operation against Israel. They made cross-border attacks into Israel and caused a great deal of death, damage and destruction.

There were several assassination attempts on my father by Israel. My father wanted to leave his post as a result but this was delayed because Nasser needed to find a replacement. In response to the terror, one night Israel sent its commandos to our heavily guarded home in Gaza City, but my father was not home. All the Israeli soldiers found were us, women and children. The Israeli soldiers left us unharmed. I was grateful they did not kill us; especially since the Fedayeen did kill Israeli civilians. The next morning the security personnel around were taken for interrogation by the Egyptian government to find out who was the traitor. My favorite guard who always played with us was killed during the interrogation.

After two years of intense Fedayeen operations, my father was killed in the first targeted assassination in Gaza in July of 1956. I was 8 years old and had four siblings. My father was extremely loved and respected by many and until today his name is on a street and school in Gaza city and in a street in Alexandria. In Nasser's famous speech to nationalize the Suez Canal, he hailed my father as a national hero, a Shahid. President Nasser vowed that all of Egypt would take revenge and made no mention of the heavy toll of death and destruction brought upon Israel by the Fedayeen. My siblings and I were asked by top government officials: "which one of you will avenge your father's blood by killing Jews?" We all looked at each other, speechless; none of us wanted to kill anyone or be burdened by such a question.

FP: You show how polygamy is a religiously sanctioned structure in the Islamic world. Tell us how you witnessed its affect on women and on the rest of society.

Darwish: Polygamy is allowed under Sharia Islamic family law. The Muslim marriage contract allows a man to marry up to 4 wives and thus loyalty to one woman is not required. Men do not even have to exercise that right to additional wives for the damage to be done. By allowing men to be “loyal” to up to four wives, the stage is set for women to distrust their husbands, especially in times of trouble. Nor can they trust women friends who can be eligible to marry their husbands.

The basic loyalty bond between husband and wife is the basis of all loyalties in the family. In polygamy this basic bond shifts from husband/wife to wife and her father or male blood relatives and later to a woman’s first born son. A woman’s father or son becomes her protector and defender in time of trouble in the marriage or when the husband marries another woman.

Many Muslim apologists say that Muslim women have more rights than Western women because they keep their own wealth separate from the husband's. But they refuse to say why. The reason a Muslim woman keeps her wealth is because her father will never allow her inheritance to go to a Western style community property where it could be shared with a second, third or even a fourth wife and their children.

Even though most Muslim men do not practice polygamy, many others do. Because polygamy is allowed and sanctioned by Allah, it changes the dynamic of the wife/husband relationship and family loyalties. A Muslim woman does not change her name after marriage, but often goes by her first son’s name; for example “Um Muhammed” or “Um Ali” - that is mother of Muhammed or mother of Ali. It becomes a Muslim woman's identity and source of pride.

Even in Arab folklore and stories such as Tales from the Thousand and One Night, it reflects the impossible life of the main character Shahrazad who was one of a Harem struggling to survive by telling tales to the polygamous Arab kind. Listening to these stories taught us the art of manipulation to survive among competing women and one king.

That injustice to women is further complicated with an easy divorce existing only in the hands of the man. Women do not have the same right to divorce but can only ask the husband for it -- but if he refuses she has to go to court for years to get it. Sharia law also allows husbands to beat their wives who are not obedient. Just imagine that: a husband can have a second wife and not give his wife a divorce and if she disobeys, he can beat her. All of that is legal under Sharia Islamic law. Such laws turn the relationship between husband and wife from that of partners to one of slave and master. The victims in all of this are also the kids who are brought up by an oppressed mother who constantly need their support and approval against the father if he gets himself another wife. The children will have a lot of competition over the attention of the father who has several wives and several sets of kids.

I believe that even Muslim men are harmed by their right to polygamy which deprives them from a secure loving one man/one woman commitment. Because of polygamy and other sexual restrictions in Muslim society, poorer men have a hard time finding wives who sometimes prefer to be the second, third or fourth wife of a wealthier man. The end result is a large population of sexually deprived unmarried young Muslim men, angry and ready to listen to the calls of jihad in their mosques. Jihad and martyrdom thus become the only guarantee for heaven where 72 virgins will greet them with open arms. In this divine promise from God, polygamy still exists in heaven – and to the disadvantage of the Muslim woman.

FP: You make the point that Islamic terror has its roots in the rage that exists within the Muslim family. Can you talk about that a bit?

Darwish: Every Muslim family that lives in a majority Muslim country lives under Family Sharia (Islamic) Law. Sharia Law is divided into Criminal and Civil and Family Law. Criminal Sharia Law is not practiced in all Muslim countries and the reason is because it is simply cruel and unusual punishment; it includes amputation of limbs, flogging, beheading and stoning to death

Family Sharia law is practiced in all Muslim countries and some Muslims in the West are demanding it. Family Sharia law gives most rights to men and very little rights to women. For example, Muslim men can marry up to 4 wives and even have the right to engage in sexual relations under the concept of “ma malakat aymanahum” -- which means owned women slaves. Slavery has been abolished officially in Muslim countries, but a man’s sexual right to “owned women” is still wide-open for reinterpretation.

In Saudi Arabia and many other Muslim countries, for example, maids are systematically raped since some men interpret their position in the family as a sort of slavery. The Muslim marriage contract is different from the Judeo/Christian marriage contract. In a Muslim wedding, the man does not vow loyalty to only one wife. Even if the man never exercises the polygamy right, the damage to the marital relationship has already been done. In the back of the mind of every Muslim woman in time of trouble is the reality that her husband can choose to solve the problem by having a second wife instead of going to marriage counselling.

I have heard Muslim women in the Middle East beg their husbands during an argument: “You can have a girlfriend if you want, but please do not marry on me for the sake of the kids.” In the West, the source of all loyalties in a family originates with the husband/wife loyalty and trust relationship where the man vows to be faithful and true to his one and only wife -- till death do us part. Such a vow by a husband adds stability and trust in the marriage. That gives wives equality, dignity and protection; not only for them but also for their children. Because of polygamy rights to the Muslim man, Muslim women have developed a need to protect themselves; thus you see no community property in the Muslim family unit. Muslim scholars often claim that Muslim women have more rights than Western women because they have the right to keep their property separate from that of their husbands; that is true, but they don’t tell you why.

The right in question has developed so as to protect a wife’s property inherited from her family from going to the second, third or fourth wife. Polygamy thus totally changes the dynamics of the relationship between husband and wife or wives. The loyalty unit is no longer husband/wife, but wife and male members of her own family and later wife and her first born son who will protect her interests if the husband gets another wife. In the Arab world, women do not take their husband’s name but keep their family name and often go by their first son’s name. Thus you see Arab women proudly call themselves “Um Ali” or “Um Muhammad” -- meaning mother of Ali or mother of Muhammad.

Polygamy rights are often complicated by other oppressive laws to women. For example, divorce is in the hands of the man only; a woman can only ask her husband for divorce, but he can refuse so she has no alternative but to spend years in court where her testimony is half valid than a man’s. Divorce is not only in the hands of the man, but it is also the easiest divorce in the world; all the man can do to have a divorce is bring any witness and say “I divorce you” three times; that’s it and the wife is divorced.

This injustice to the Muslim woman is compounded by the right of a Muslim man to beat his wife if she is disobedient. Think about it; a Muslim woman can legally turn into one of several wives, beaten if the man perceives her actions as disobedient and cannot even divorce the husband unless she goes through years of divorce court.

There are many other injustices for women which add insult to injury; a woman’s testimony in court is half valid to a man and she only gets half the inheritance of her male brothers. What complicates all of that to the Muslim woman, and even man, is that a Muslim man’s honor is directly linked to the sexual purity of his female relatives. Thus you see the Muslim man burdened by monitoring the behavior and chastity of his females. Many Muslim men are always eager to cover up their women whose bodies are considered great temptation that must be covered. Thus the family honor is linked to women’s bodies; a value which often ends in tragedies such as the honor killing of girls.

Of course not all Muslim women are abused or a part of a harem. There are many powerful and educated Muslim women whose husbands do not choose to marry a second wife. However they are not the majority and in time of trouble even the most powerful Muslim woman in Sharia courts will often lose to her husband simply because she has very few rights. Because of the inferior position of the Muslim woman and because of depriving the Muslim man from the security and stability of a one man/one woman marriage contract the scene is set for a lot of turmoil, anger and manipulative behavior for self-protection between the spouses.

How can an oppressed woman bring up happy and healthy children? Even sons? Character is dependent on an oppressed woman in the first years of life. That is the dilemma of the Muslim family. Polygamy rights do not only hurt women, but they also negatively impact younger and poorer males in the Middle East from having wives. Some Muslim women often choose to be an additional wife to a wealthy man than the first wife of a poorer man. The Middle East has a large number of unmarried and sexually frustrated young men who are ready for jihad and the 72 virgins awaiting them in heaven. That is what they hear in mosques every Friday.

FP: You describe how Arabs see a virtue in never admitting a mistake. To say the least, this kind of psychology necessitates pathology and the failure of a culture. No? Tell us about this mindset and its effects.

Darwish: The Arab culture is famous for its concept of pride. Image is very important and pride and shame are great motivators. Protecting the image of Muslims in front of the non-Muslim West is vital. Thus elaborate behavior is done to saving face. Admitting to a mistake can bring terrible shame and is not regarded as a virtue; those who admit to mistakes are not rewarded for their honesty but ridiculed and shamed or even severely punished. Until today most Muslims blame 9/11 on a Jewish conspiracy. The father of Muhammad Attah in Egypt, for 4 years denied that his son headed the 9/11 terror attack even when the whole world saw him checking into the airplane that slammed into the twin towers. Only recently Atta's father come out and admitted he is proud of what his son “the Shahid” and not the terrorist has done.

There are people in Arab jails right now who are accused of defaming Islam or their country in front of non-Muslims. This defamation can be a simple praise of Christians or Jews and of being critical of radical Islam. Fear of being accused of defaming one’s tribe, nation or religion leads to a culture that tends to blame others rather than look within. The Judeo Christian culture concentrates heavily on the concept of “we are all sinners and only through the grace of God we can be saved.” That is a big relief to the Western psyche. Muslim education views members of other religions as sinners; the infidel non-Muslim sinners can only be saved by announcing they are Muslims. It is a prominent part of the Jewish faith to talk about God’s punishment when they are disobedient to God’s laws.

That honest admission by Jews is not viewed by Muslims as a virtue and a step towards self-improvement, but as an admission of wrong doing and that Jews are bad and deserve God’s wrath; that is why to many Muslims Jews do not deserve land or a nation. “They themselves even admit that they are sinners,” I once heard a Muslim say. There is also a concept in Islam called “taqueya” which allows lying to non-Muslims if it is in the best interest of Islam. That concept is very deep in Muslim culture that we don't even think of the term “taqueya” any more; it has simply penetrated every aspect of Muslim life. Because of it there is very little self-criticism.

Thus, saying sorry, admitting guilt or looking within for solutions is not a strong value; it will surely get a person in deep trouble instead. Such a person will bear the blunt of the blame for everything -- even for what he did not do; thus you have Muslim denials and defensiveness over matters that many in the West cannot comprehend. Muslims are in denial when they say that Muslim women have more rights than Western women; even many Muslim women convinced themselves with that and defend Sharia Law rather than say the truth in front of the non-Muslim West.

Muslims are in denial when they say Israel is behind all Muslim terrorism across the globe, even 9/11; they are in denial when they say that Arab tyrants are the product of American foreign policy, but when America takes out Saddam, they say “you are interfering in our internal affairs.” That is why many Muslims say one thing to the West in English and the opposite to Arabs in Arabic.

Shaming is prominent in the Arab child. To avoid the intense pain of shaming, denying responsibility turns into a virtue to save face and protect one's pride. The concept of “taqueya” is one of the reasons many Muslims were silent after 9/11. Only a few were speaking out honestly and openly by admitting there is a problem in Muslim culture that needs to be examined and corrected. The few Arab Americans who did that where not rewarded for their honesty by their Muslim community; instead they were condemned, shunned and shamed by the majority of Muslims. They are doing everything they can to silence us. They do not want to get into Western style dialogue with us or debate us in the open.

We rarely see Muslim vs. Muslim debate and that is why when the brave Arab American Dr. Wafaa Sultan, debated a Muslim cleric on Al Jazeera TV, it became international news. The thank you she got for her honesty by powerful radical Muslims was a Fatwa -- a death warrant. This explains and exposes the deep cultural need to even lie for self-preservation and protection. They don’t want an honest debate for reform from within; but they want to continue the lies to save face.

Very simply, Islamists do not want to admit to the world their jihadist agenda and their sympathy with terrorists. That is why they simply want to silence the opposition; a Danish cartoonist; the Pope; a Dutch film maker or politicians and the few Muslims and Arabs who dare to speak out.

Our crime is being honest and open about our culture, radical Islam and our wish for reformation. Even after leaving the Middle East and becoming US citizens we still carry the baggage of never admitting to a mistake and always blaming others such as the West or Israel for all internal problems of the Arab world.

This charade of denials and games has done nothing but keep the Muslim world in a permanent state of stagnation, turmoil and poverty despite of the wealth from oil.

FP: Your chapter about how you came to America very much touched my heart. As a young boy who came from the Soviet Union to New York, I found very much in common with how much you loved America. Till this day, several decades later, I remain intoxicated with the littlest things about America. I love America -- like you also do. Can you just share briefly a story or two about your first romance with America when you first got here?

Darwish: Many Americans who came from your or my background never let a day go by without remembering where we were and where we are now. I too remain intoxicated with the littlest of things about America. There was a Russian comedian who praised America for choice; he did that in a comedy setting, but the best jokes are the ones based on truth.

The first thing that an immigrant sees in America is the range of choices; in style of life, religion or affiliations. Respect for diversity, minorities and equality under the law is especially noticeable if you come from a culture that treats women and religious minorities as second class citizens under Sharia Law.

What is most noticeable to a new comer to America is not just a good paying job, but the virtues of many aspects of American culture. The “thank you” or “may I help you” with a smile in the stores and markets of America; the “good morning”, “hello” and a smile to a perfect stranger on the street; the self-sufficiency and pride in physical labor; the openness, honesty and decency of the American people.

No, not all cultures are equal; there are some that make it easier to be human.

FP: You discuss a crucial issue in how you noticed the hate being taught in the mosques when you got here. You also noticed the bizarre phenomenon of Muslims who hate America come to America to live, who live against American values and seek to destroy America through the liberty that America provides. Can you talk about this a bit?

Darwish: I moved to America in 1978 and was glad to leave the culture of jihad, dictatorships and police states behind. I was looking forward to be part of America. But when I went to the local mosque, we were told not to assimilate in America; show your pride in Islam by being noticed as Muslims in America. Women were encouraged to wear Islamic clothes with pride even if Egyptians like myself have never covered their heads or wore Islamic clothes in Egypt.

To my surprise, I started seeing Egyptians and other Arabs getting radicalized right here in US mosques. We were told that Saudi Arabia is building all these mosques, sending their clerics from the most radical Muslim backgrounds and even send the Friday sermons to such preachers directly from Saudi Arabia. When I asked why are we building more mosques than the need of the American Muslim community, I was told we are here to fill them with Americans; to bring Islam to America and change America’s constitution to the Qur’an. I heard some say “congratulations, Europe is now dominated by Muslims; may God bless America with Islam too.”

When Louis Farrakhan was making anti-Semitic and anti-American comments, I heard some Arab Americans who attend mosques regularly, say “Farrakhan is useful for the Arab cause.” Some of the moderate Muslims that I knew started to gradually behave and act more radical. They only befriended other Muslims and criticized me for befriending and marrying an American. They rejected me when I refused to cover my head; something I have never done before. Even my mother and grandmother never covered their heads or wore Islamic clothes all their lives in Egypt. Some even called Americans stupid or naïve for being such an open society. I then started seeing Muslim students becoming extremely active on college campuses while wearing their Islamic clothes with pride. I stared noticing a drift between Muslims and the rest of America, and an attitude of “us against them.”

There seemed to be an attempt to push the envelope further and further every day by some new demand or complaint by radical Muslims in America. Some advocated taking advantage of loop holes in America’s open system and to further Muslim power. Some radical Muslims and shady characters started coming to America and I often wondered why they were here. Why would they choose to live in a country they consider the “great Satan”? Why would they subject their children to the temptations of the West? It became clear to me that America was being flooded by radical Muslim clerics with a political rather than a religious agenda.

One shady character was Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman from Egypt. This man caused so much problems in Egypt and was a suspect in the assassination of President Anwar El Sadat. He fled Egypt to Sudan to cause more turmoil and trouble. From the Sudan he was able to get a visa from the American Embassy in Sudan. He came to the USA to preach in a New Jersey mosque.

Such preachers are often regarded as a joke and as extreme even by moderate Muslims in Egypt only to find themselves with new respectable status and freedoms they could only dream of under Muslim dictatorships. Such Muslim radical preachers should never have been allowed in America. But believe it or not they have discovered that only in America can they work the system to their advantage to demand this and that and if anyone criticizes them they learn the good old buzz words in America: racist, bigot and Islamophobia -- the choice words they learned quickly from some Muslim American organizations who claim to be moderate. These are expressions represent realities that are a way of life in the old country where racism, bigotry and anti-Semitism are the norm. In America these individuals are finally free to spread their hatred, rage and subversion and cause a rift between Muslims and the rest of America.

FP: Nonie Darwish, thank you kindly for joining us. And thank you for your courage to tell the truth.

Darwish: Thank you and Frontpagemag for giving me the opportunity.

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The Wisest Mind Has Something Yet To Learn!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Been There, Done That in the Middle East

By Victor Davis Hanson

With much fanfare, President Barack Obama announced a new effort to end the endless Israeli-Palestinian struggle -- by naming a brand-new Middle East envoy, former Sen. George Mitchell.

The announcement was underwhelming, to say the least. For 40 years, we've seen such serial envoys, communiqués and peace conferences -- and the little that followed from them.

Can anyone distinguish Annapolis, Beirut, Camp David, Geneva, Madrid, Oslo, Taba or Wye River -- and all the other places that hosted much-heralded but failed meetings that we can no longer even recall?

Then there the billions of dollars (well over $100 billion) and euros for peace given by the United States and Europe to Egypt, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians over the last half-century. Not to mention all those ballyhooed United Nations decrees -- Resolutions 242, 338, 1397, 1515 and others -- likewise lost to our collective memory.

The Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai nearly 30 years ago was supposed to have led to a general peace.

So was the withdrawal from Lebanon. So was the withdrawal from Gaza.

We also used to hear that the Israeli-Palestinian struggle was "really" about Egypt's ruler Gamal Nasser (1956-1970) and his pan-Arabic movement. Then it was really about the Cold War and the Soviet Union. Then it was really about Saddam Hussein and Iraq. Now it is really about Iran.

Well before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised to destroy Israel, Saddam said the same thing. And well before Saddam, Nasser promised destruction of the "Zionist entity." And so on with almost every Middle East strongman dating back to Israel's creation.

The current "benchmarks" and "roadmap" toward peace in the region simply follow earlier failed formulas with similarly catchy names.

Remember all those brilliant American statesmen, like the current George Mitchell, who were sent over to find the "missing peace" but came home empty-handed -- James Baker, Philip Habib, Gen. James Jones, Henry Kissinger, Sol Linowitz, Condoleezza Rice, Dennis Ross and Gen. Anthony Zinni?

And then there's former President Jimmy Carter, who always seems to be loudly advising everyone to read his latest book to learn how they can solve the crisis.

In the early 2000s, we were told that peace would come when the old calcified rivals -- Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat -- vacated the scene. Their passing would allow a new generation of leaders on both sides to negotiate without the ghosts of the 1967 or 1973 wars. Instead, new leaders gave us new wars in Lebanon and Gaza.

While the names of Palestinian terrorist organizations multiply over the years, the agenda of destroying Israel remains mostly unchanged.

There has been no resolution to the last 40 years of fighting between Israel and the Palestinians, because Israel after 1967 has decided not to return all of its battle-won territories on the West Bank until the Palestinians there accept Israel's right to exist.

Israel has felt that if it gives all the conquered territory back, too many Palestinians will see that not as magnanimity, but as a sign of weakness, and we would be back to square one before 1967: Israel inside its 1948 borders -- with yet another new generation of Palestinians promising to finish the job and push the Jews into the sea.

Most everywhere else in the world, wars lead to defeat for one side and victory for the other. The issue, brutally or not, is resolved on the battlefield. Look at the fate of a Saddam Hussein or a Slobodan Milosevic.

But in the Middle East nearly alone, war breaks out and immediately hysteria follows before one side can win and the other lose. "Peace" is imposed, and then we are back to the same old unresolved hatred, terrorism -- and the next war.

In such a bleak landscape, what will Barack Obama do?

Probably what Presidents Carter, Reagan, Clinton and the two Bushes tried to do -- the same old so-called "land for peace" deal: Israel is supposed to go back to something approaching the pre-1967 borders, and the Palestinians, with their brand-new state, on the West Bank must promise that this time they will really let Israel be.

Good luck.

So, for now we watch for a new "Mitchell Plan," another conference somewhere, more billions in aid, new names for old terrorist organizations, and more pious speechmaking at the U.N. Then soon the next administration will come in to power, with the next peace plan, the next new envoy -- and the next new war.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Obama's Legal Left Brain Trust

By John Perazzo

Six months ago, Eric Holder, now president-elect Barack Obama’s Attorney General-designate, spoke at a convention of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS). Predicting an Obama victory in the November election, Holder told his audience that the U.S. would soon be “run by progressives.”

“With this new administration that will be taking its place in January of 2009…we are going to be looking for people who share our values,” he elaborated. A “substantial number of those people” with their hands on the levers of power, added Holder, were likely to be ACS members. Indeed, Holder was himself a member of the ACS Board of Advisors.

Holder’s comment was not merely designed to stroke the ego of ACS; it was a prophecy of things to come. According to a December 11th article in the New York Times, “observers expect that the Obama team will turn to [ACS] members to fill subcabinet positions and judgeships.” Already ACS members include Obama’s staff secretary, at least two members of the transition team, and Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff. Another member is believed to be in the running to become Solicitor General.

That is good news for ACS but bad news for the country. ACS members are outspoken supporters of a kinder, gentler War on Terrorism; Constitutional rights for terrorists; open borders; redistribution of the wealth; radical environmentalism; and the most extreme acts of infanticide.

ACS is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank claiming to have approximately 22,000 affiliates nationwide—mostly law students, law professors, practicing attorneys, and judges. In addition to its student chapters at some 165 law schools across the country, the organization maintains professional chapters in 30 cities.

ACS was officially co-founded by Walter E. Dellinger III, who served as Bill Clinton’s Solicitor General in 1996-97, and Peter J. Rubin, a Georgetown law professor who was counsel to Al Gore in the two Supreme Court cases involving the Florida recount in 2000. Dellinger and Rubin launched ACS on July 30, 2001, with the stated goal of countering the influence of the Federalist Society, whose conservative views they believed to be corrupting legal young minds from coast to coast.

The American Constitution Society’s annual budget comprises several million dollars, a portion of which is used to publish a journal and to produce white papers on contemporary legal issues. Several foundations have contributed large sums of money to ACS, most notably the Streisand Foundation, the Deer Creek Foundation, the Ford Foundation, George Soros’ Open Society Institute, the Overbrook Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation – all major funders of left-wing causes. This support is a harbinger of ACS’s platform and agenda.

ACS aggressively recruits and indoctrinates young law students, with the ultimate objective bringing them into the Legal Left. ACS conventions typically feature high-profile guest speakers like Eric Holder, Ralph Nader, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Russ Feingold, Tom Harkin, Ted Kennedy, John Edwards, Sherrod Brown, Tammy Baldwin, Rosa DeLauro, Jesse Jackson Jr., John Lewis, Jan Schakowsky, Al Gore, Senator Chuck Schumer, Rep. Barney Frank, former Attorney General Janet Reno, former Assistant Attorney General Bill Lann Lee, Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree, and communist icon Angela Davis.

When addressing ACS audiences, these speakers commonly engage in inflammatory rhetoric aimed at stoking the passions of the left. At an ACS event on June 24, 2004, for instance, Al Gore likened President Bush to the Roman dictator Julius Caesar and accused Republicans of monitoring the Internet with “digital Brown Shirts” prepared to ambush any journalist who dared to criticize America’s war effort in Iraq. He accused President Bush of authorizing “what plainly amounts to the torture of prisoners” and labeling “any law or treaty” which “attempts to constrain his treatment of prisoners in time of war” as “a violation of the Constitution.” Gore further accused the President of asserting “that he has the inherent power…to launch an invasion of any nation on earth, at any time he chooses, for any reason he wishes, even if that nation poses no imminent threat to the United States.” And he said that Bush had declared himself “no longer subject to the rule of law so long as he is acting in his role as Commander in Chief.”

In its Mission Statement, ACS laments that “[i]n recent years, an activist conservative legal movement has gained influence—eroding [the] enduring values” of “individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, access to justice, democracy and the rule of law.” While condemning what it calls “judicial activism” by conservative judges, ACS encourages judicial activism by the left. To cultivate such a spirit, the organization has initiated a working group under the heading “Constitutional Interpretation and Change,” which seeks to “debunk” the “neutral-sounding theories of…originalism and strict construction” that “ideological conservatives” purportedly have used to smear “judges with whom they disagree as judicial activists who make up law instead of interpreting it.” This working group falls under the heading of “The Constitution in the 21st Century” and seeks “to promote positive, much-needed change in our legal and policy landscape,” “to formulate and advance a progressive vision of our Constitution and laws,” and “to popularize progressive ideas through papers, conferences and media outreach.”

ACS also administers a number of additional working groups. One of these is “Access to Justice,” which condemns “efforts to…insulate wrongdoers from suit, limit remedies and deprive legal aid services of resources.” This initiative is co-chaired by three individuals with impeccable leftist credentials: Lucas Guttentag, a national director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, which seeks to expand the rights and liberties of illegal aliens; Marianne Lado, a former staff attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; and Bill Lann Lee, the Clinton administration’s top civil rights prosecutor from 1997 to 2001.

ACS’s “Criminal Justice” working group produces and disseminates reports founded on the premise that “racial inequality permeates the [justice] system from arrest through sentencing.” A noteworthy co-chair of this project is Professor David Cole, a staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) who has defended such abetters of Islamic terrorism as the radical attorney Lynne Stewart and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative Sami Al-Arian. CCR initiated a wave of lawsuits on behalf of Guantanamo Bay detainees, seeking to grant jihadists Constitutional rights. It is a pro-Castro organization that consistently condemns American foreign policy, calls for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center, characterizes the U.S. criminal-justice system as racist and in need of an overhaul, and seeks to cripple most American anti-terrorism efforts.

The aims of ACS’s “Democracy and Voting” (D&V) working group are broadly consistent with those of ACORN, the pro-Obama organization whose infamous voter-registration efforts on behalf of Democrats in recent election cycles have been marred by massive levels of fraud. Specifically, D&V “identifies barriers to political participation that stem from race, redistricting, the partisan and incompetent administration of elections, registration difficulties, [and] felon disenfranchisement.” One ACS Board member, Georgetown law professor Spencer Overton, contends that instituting a photo ID requirement for voters would disenfranchise “political groups whose members are less likely to bring ID to the polls.” The D&V project is co-chaired by Julie Fernandes, who served as Special Assistant to President Clinton at the White House Domestic Policy Council; Sam Hirsch, who has longstanding ties to the Democratic National Committee; Pamela Karlan, a former attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; and Nina Perales, who has served as Counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, both of which favor expanded rights for illegal aliens.

ACS’s “Equality and Liberty” working group is devoted to “combating inequality resulting from race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age and other factors.” The project’s co-chairs include Paul Wolfson, who currently represents the Texas chapter of the NAACP; Nina Pillard, a former fellow at the ACLU who also worked for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and for President Clinton’s Office of the Solicitor General; and Alan Jenkins, who has had close ties to the Ford Foundation (one of the world’s leading funders of the left), the Clinton Justice Department, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the ACLU, and the Center for Community Change (which favors expanded rights for illegal aliens in the U.S.).

The “Separation of Powers and Federalism” working group was established by ACS to “promote the ability of government at all levels to pursue progressive policies,” and to counter what it describes as the Bush administration’s efforts to “increase…executive power at the expense of the other branches of the federal government.” This project is co-chaired by three people who worked for the Clinton Justice Department—Preeta Bansal, Neil J. Kinkopf, and Christopher Schroeder—as well as by Simon Lazarus, who served on President Jimmy Carter’s White House Domestic Policy Staff.

Through its “International Law and the Constitution” working group, ACS disparages American law as antiquated and inequitable, and calls on judges to make American jurisprudence subservient to United Nations treaties and European Court of Human Rights decisions. Co-chairing this group are Jamil Dakwar, a former Human Rights Watch staffer who currently directs the ACLU's Human Rights Program; Catherine Powell, a Board member of Human Rights Watch; and Cindy Soohoo, Director of the Center for Reproductive Rights’ Domestic Legal Program.

With an eye toward cultivating a new generation of leftists, ACS has developed a “Constitution in the Classroom” program whereby volunteers, under the ostensibly noble banner of “education,” indoctrinate young students across the United States.

A number of major ACS figures already have secured positions in the forthcoming Obama administration. Executive Director Lisa Brown, for instance, will be Obama’s White House Staff Secretary. In the 1990s, Brown served as an Attorney Advisor in the Clinton Justice Department and as Counsel to Vice President Al Gore.

ACS Board of Directors member Goodwin Liu, who also sits on the Board of the ACLU’s Northern California chapter, is a member of the Obama-Biden transition team.

Joining Liu on the transition team is another ACS Board of Directors member, Dawn Johnsen, who spent five years in the Clinton Justice Department, five years as Legal Director of the abortion-rights group NARAL, and one year as a Staff Counsel Fellow for the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.

Former ACS staffer Melody Barnes will direct the Obama administration’s Domestic Policy Council. Barnes previously served as Executive Vice President for Policy at the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress (a think tank dominated by Hillary Clinton and former Bill Clinton chief of staff John Podesta), and as Chief Counsel to Senator Ted Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Former ACS Board member Ronald Klain will be chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden. In 1993, Klain directed the judicial selection process that resulted in the confirmation of the Supreme Court’s most radical justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the high court. The following year, Klain became chief of staff and Counselor to Attorney General Janet Reno, and in 1995 he became Assistant to President Bill Clinton and chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore.

Current ACS Board of Directors member Teresa Wynn Roseborough is believed to be in the running for the post of Solicitor General in the Obama administration.

ACS’s Board of Directors also includes a large roster of additional leftist luminaries who may be in line for roles in the Obama administration. Among these are:

Spencer Overton, the aforementioned Georgetown law professor;
Stephen P. Berzon, former Legal Director of the Children's Defense Fund;

Antonia Hernández, currently a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation (a major funder of the Left) and formerly president and general counsel of MALDEF;

Anne Irwin, who has worked for the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project;

William P. Marshall, who served as Deputy White House Counsel and Deputy Assistant to the President during the Clinton administrati;

Robert Raben a longtime Counsel to Rep. Barney Frank and former Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Clinton administration who currently serves as a Board member of Alliance for Justice. This group systematically paints Republican judicial nominees as “extremists” beyond the pale;

Teresa Wynn, a principal attorney for the Al Gore campaign in the litigation surrounding the controversial 2000 presidential election;

Theodore M. Shaw, Director-Counsel and President of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund;

Paul M. Smith, a Board of Directors member of the Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, which deals in litigation aiming for “full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV”;

Geoffrey Stone, a member of the ACLU’s National Advisory Council who participates in the “Straight for Equality Project” of PFLAG;

Stephen Susman. A practicing attorney for more than four decades, this National Council member of Human Rights First and Board member of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights under Law of Texas is very active in global warming litigation. He successfully represented a coalition of 37 Texas cities which sought to prevent TXU Energy Corporation from securing permits for the construction of new coal-fired electric generating plants. He also served as counsel to a Northwest Arctic Inuit tribe that sued 24 major energy companies for $400 million, claiming that the defendants’ industrial activities had contributed to the “global warming” which allegedly was causing rising tides, warmer ocean temperatures, and more frequent storms that were damaging the tribe’s natural environment;

Patricia Wald. This former Chair of the Open Society Institute’s Justice Initiative Board served in the Carter administration as Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs, and in the Lyndon B. Johnson administration as a consultant on matters of criminal justice and poverty; and

Roger Wilkins. This George Mason University professor was an Assistant Attorney General in the Johnson administration, and is currently a Board member of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. He views the U.S as a persistently bigoted nation that refuses “to accept fully responsibility for the consequences” of its racist history, and for the resultant “personal racial wounds” that allegedly afflict all contemporary black Americans.

ACS’s Board of Advisors is similarly populated with a host of leftists, including:

Walter E. Dellinger III, ACS’s aforementioned co-founder;

Abner J. Mikva, ex-Clinton White House Counsel;

Laurence H. Tribe, Harvard law professor and a member of Al Gore’s legal team in the 2000 election crisis;

Mario M. Cuomo, former New York State governor;

Janet Reno, ex-Clinton Attorney General;

Drew Saunders Days III, who served as President Clinton’s Solicitor General from 1993 to 1996, and as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of President Carter’s Justice Department from 1977 to 1980;

Maria Echaveste: This former Deputy Chief of Staff to President Clinton and former advisor to Howard Dean is currently a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, an Executive Committee member of the Democratic National Committee, and a Board of Directors member of People for the American Way;

Christopher Edley, Jr.: Having taught Barack Obama at Harvard Law School in the late 1980s, Edley served as an advisor to President Clinton’s “One America Initiative” and as Chair of Clinton’s “Affirmative Action Review” in 1998. During Obama’s run for the presidency in 2008, Edley worked as an advisor to the campaign. Last month, the president-elect named Edley to the Advisory Board of the Obama-Biden Transition Project which is chaired by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta;

Shirley Mount Hufstedler, who served as U.S. Secretary of Education under President Carter; and

William Albert Norris, whom President Carter nominated in 1980 as a U.S. Court of appeals judge.

One particularly influential former member of the ACS Board of Advisors, Hillary Clinton, already has been named to be President Obama’s Secretary of State. While Mrs. Clinton’s name is of course recognizable to everyone, most of the individuals named above are entirely unfamiliar to most Americans. So, too, are the radical-to-revolutionary agendas of the organizations with which they are affiliated. Familiar or not, however, they are likely to play a major role in transforming the United States into a nation where leftist politics and mores reign supreme.

Specifically, the myriad leftists who will populate President Obama’s administration will dramatically speed up America’s seismic shift toward a general acceptance of open borders; expanded rights and privileges for illegal aliens; radical environmentalism; judicial activism; opposition to the Patriot Act and other anti-terrorism measures; racial preferences; taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand; socialized medicine; redistributive economic policies; ever-expanding social welfare programs funded by escalating taxes; softer approaches to dealing with crime; the provision, for terrorism suspects, of all the benefits and procedural protections afforded by civilian trials; the removal of all religious symbols from the public square; the subordination of the American justice system to the mandates of international tribunals; the promotion of the view that America is institutionally an oppressive nation; and America’s gradual, unilateral military disarmament.

Leftists have much to be disappointed about in Obama’s foreign policy and defense teams, and in his scaling back of his tax-hiking agenda. But on the judicial front, “change” is coming, soon.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Egypt’s Double Game

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Dr. Michael Widlanski, a research fellow at the Shalem Center. A Schusterman Visiting Professor at Washington University in St. Louis for 2007-8, he teaches at Hebrew University. He has also served as a special advisor to Israeli delegations to peace talks in 1991-1992 and as Strategic Affairs Advisor to the Ministry of Public Security, editing secret PLO Archives captured in Jerusalem.

FP: Dr. Michael Widlanski, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Widlanski: Thank you.

FP: I would like to talk to you today about Egypt’s role in what we see unfolding in Gaza today -- and what effect the developments will have on Egypt. What relationship does Egypt have with Hamas exactly?

Widlanski: Egypt, the largest Arab country, is playing a dangerous double-game in its ties with its neighbors, Israel and Hamas.

Ever since Hamas's rise to power in Gaza three years ago, Egypt has tried to sell itself as an honest broker in mediating a truce between Israel and the Hamas terrorists, but, in fact, Egypt has been and continues to be part of the problem.

FP: And how is it part of the problem?

Widlanski: Well, if Egypt is really an honest broker, what has it condemned Israeli retaliation against Hamas, calling it aggression, without ever condemning a single Hamas attack? Egyptian police and soldiers have been turning a blind eye to weapons smuggling from Egypt into the Gaza Strip, allowing massive digging of some 50 miles of tunnels—some equipped with rails for carrying heavy equipment—into Gaza. Egyptian officials have actually encouraged attacks on Israel, which Egyptian President Husni Mubarak recently described as "legitimate resistance."

In a major New Year's Eve address on December 30, Mubarak criticized Hamas for goading Israel into the kind of military action which would hurt Hamas and all Palestinians, but he justified Hamas attacks, while excoriating Israeli "aggression" no less than 11 times in a ten-minute speech

"I say honestly and with full conviction that the right of resisting the occupation is a solid and legal right, but the resistance must be responsible before its people," said Mubarak, using the term "the resistance"—al-muqawwima in Arabic—to describe Hamas. [In Arabic Hamas is an abbreviation for Harakat al-Muqawwima al-Islamiyya –The Islamic Resistance Front.]

Like the late Yasser Arafat, who never condemned the suicide bomb attacks of Hamas or his own Fatah organization, Mubarak is basically saying that the attacks themselves are okay and legitimate, but that they bring Israeli reprisals.

For Mubarak, like for Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, the current head of the PLO, such attacks are not immoral, but only "counter-productive."

Mubarak did not explain why attacking Israel with rocket fire on cities or bomb-carrying infiltrators was a form of "resistance" even after Israel troops had completely withdrawn from Gaza, evicting all Israeli citizens with them.

This is hardly an accident, because the term "The Occupation"—al-ikhtilal— is often used as a synonym for Israel itself, and Mubarak ended his speech by saying that "the Palestinian case will never ever die." This kind of terminology again suggests the Arabic rhetoric of Arafat-Abbas-Hamas that no Israeli withdrawals will ever satisfy the Arab opponents of Israel but that diplomatic agreements or truces are nothing but a transitory stage in the ultimate erasure of "the occupation."

Still, Mubarak castigated Hamas in his speech, and he was obviously trying to strike a pose of being insulted by Hamas's refusal to heed his advice on tactics.

At the same time, Mubarak and other Arab leaders are facing increasing pressure not to seem to be acquiescing to Israel's air-strikes against Hamas, in which more than 200 Hamas terrorists have been killed, including several regional military commanders and spiritual leader Sheikh Nazir Reian.

Professor Yoram Meital of Ben Gurion University said on January 1 that an Israeli ground attack, which we are witnessing now, would likely spark increased domestic opposition to Mubarak and might undermine his regime and other "moderate" Arab governments.

FP: So Mubarak is worried about the consequences of Israeli actions in terms of what will happen inside Egypt. Please explain.

Widlanski: Hamas, though currently supported and trained by the Shiite regime of Iran, is actually the outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood organization inside Egypt which is the strongest opposition to Mubarak.

Jordan's King Abdullah is also worried about the rising profile of the Islamists inside Jordan, and he just recently fired the head of his domestic intelligence agency for taking too lax a hand against Hamas and its supporters.

Some analysts in Israel feel that Mubarak is worried that a tough Israeli policy against Hamas in Gaza will cause a kind of "blowback" of Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives flowing back into Sinai where they might link up with incipient elements of Al-Qaeda that have taken root in the rocky peninsula, already staging terror inside Egypt and at the Israeli and Jordanian resorts of Eilat and Aqaba.

Off the record, some Israeli officials say that this would probably serve Mubarak right: he and his officials were just as happy to keep the violent Islamists pointed at Israel, but the current Israeli counteroffensive may be pointing the Islamists back at Egypt's heart.

Mubarak, who succeeded to power after Anwar Sadat was murdered by Islamists in 1981, would like to avoid a similar fate.

FP: What are the chances that jihadis might overthrow Mubarak? What would the consequences be to the region and to Israeli and American interests?

Widlanski: I don't believe there is any immediate threat to Mubarak. He has successfully repressed the extremist Muslim elements—the Islamists, if you will—over the past few years. But he has not eliminated them. They have a long wind, and they have a philosophy of steadfastness, patience and camouflage—sumuud, subr and taqiyya.

The Muslim Brothers and their satellite organizations are always poised to take action and to pounce on a regime's weakness. These organizations include Al-gema'at al-Islamiyya—The Islamic Groups-and al-Lagii'n Min al-Nar—literally "The Refugees from the Fire" or the "Refugees from Hell."

Remember, too, that Hamas itself masqueraded as a purely religious social service organization until December 1987, but when the so-called "Intifada" erupted, they quickly got involved and came out of the closet so that they would not lose footing to groups like Islamic Jihad, which is far, far smaller, and Fatah, which is less religiously oriented.

It is clear that the rise of a Jihadi regime in Egypt would be a catastrophe for America, the West and for the entire world. We are still paying for the transfer of Iran —in the days of Jimmy Carter—to the hands of the Ayatollahs. Losing Iran was bad, and is bad. Losing Egypt would be absolutely horrible. Egypt is centrally located, and it is the most important and most populous Arab country with major communications and literary influence. However, I don't think that moment is near. Mubarak is working hard to smooth the transition to his son, Gamal, and to people close to him, but there is a danger. That danger is the perception that the current regime is corrupt or unethical. That is the same weakness that plagues other regimes, such as the Saudi regime, whose corruption has immense proportions. And it is this corruption and the perception of corruption and insensitive bureaucracy which breeds the strength for all the Islamist movements, whether they are Shiite, as in Iran, or the Sunni-oriented Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, in Gaza and Egypt.

FP: What policies should Israel and the U.S. pursue in this context?

Widlanski: Israel and the US must pursue a political-cultural-military offensive that is a kind of multi-disciplinary version of combined arms theory:

They need to attack the terrorist organizations mercilessly and ceaselessly by physically killing or capturing their members, preferably killing them. And no truces or ceasefires ever—not for Ramadan, not for Christmas and not for Rosh Ha-Shana.

They have to isolate them financially and politically by not allowing them passage between countries and not allowing passage of their funds. Rather, we should be confiscating all of their assets

They need to uncover and publicly reveal all hidden Hamas and Hizballah-oriented organizations which try to pass themselves off as charitable organizations. There are many in the United States, Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands etc

FP: Dr. Michael Widlanski, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.

Widlanski: Thank you Jamie.