Monday, April 27, 2009

Islamophobia on American Campuses

Muslim parents from around the world once sent their children off to school in America with simple warnings against wine and song, but now Muslim students must be prepared to face Islamophobic incitement.

While political activism makes college exciting, Muslims need to be aware that autonomously managed local Muslim Student Association university chapters are outclassed by well-funded, hierarchically coordinated Jewish and Neoconservative organisations, which actively work to undermine Muslim student groups.

The Jewish Anti-Defamation League, which blacklists professors for failure to teach the Zionist version of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, labels MSA an “Anti-Israel” organisation and keeps detailed files on its activities.

Steve Emerson’s Terrorism Awareness Project published a “Student’s Guide to Stop the Jihad on Campus” manual for organising “Islam-Fascism Awareness Week,” whose stated goal is “to show the connections between the MSA and the international jihad.”

IFAW sponsored a panel discussion on “Islamic Totalitarianism’s Threat to Civilisation” with the Ayn Rand Institute and screened propaganda films.

MSA chapters deal separately with such assaults on Muslim religious dignity. Usually they hold a protest or a counter-event. No coordinated national plan exists to oppose malicious professional anti-Islamic incitement. Muslim students clearly need protection and guidance from their elders.

An MSA student from University of Texas complains: “David Horowitz and his Islamophobic gang, which include the likes of Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, Wafa Sultan, Ann Coulter and many others, have called on student organisations sponsoring IFAW to distribute petitions to MSA members denouncing terrorism and the Hadiths of Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him)… these petitions have been written in such a way that no Muslim could possibly sign it without denouncing their religion.” The Jewish Organisation of America in consultation with Hillel sued Michigan State University for permitting Muslim students to wear graduation stoles inscribed with the Shahada. They equated the Muslim declaration of faith with support for Hamas and claimed this threatened Jewish students’ civil rights.

The Harvard Crimson recently reported Harvard Islamic chaplain Taha Abdul-Basser came under attack because he addressed a student’s questions about apostates “in the context of the evolution of an Islamic legal doctrine.” This aggressive, prejudiced dissection of Islam stigmatises the religion as fundamentally different from Judeo-Christianity, intrinsically incompatible with American values, and results in the marginalisation of Muslim scholars.

As a college student, Aafia Siddique was active in MSA and managed a religious information (daw’ah) table in the MIT student center. Today Aafia is a US political prisoner because Islamophobes like Nonie Darwish denigrate Aafia’s faith as something unacceptable: “They are not trying to be part of the American way of life, they are not trying to be a part of our culture, they are here with an agenda to make Islam the law of the land.” Peer pressure has the dangerous effect of rendering Muslim youths vulnerable to Zionisation on American campuses. Muslim students trying to be “progressive” in the eyes of fellow students begin defending Jewish sensitivities against anti-Zionists and acting as spokespersons for the Holocaust or gay rights.

Parents and leaders within communities sending their children to America for school should protect and organise the Muslim students. Wealthy Jews provide Jewish students with campus organisational headquarters, where members create databases of Jewish students’ personal information gleaned through friendly phone calls and Sabbath dinner party invitations. The Jewish community arranges free trips to Israel and special access to internships throughout industry and government.

The Muslim Students Association needs both to create similar databases of supporters or of potential supporters and also to make connections with friendly student, religious and professional organisations in order to compete with Jewish social networking. Muslim think tanks need to observe the competition. Harvard University’s Catholic Student Center is integrated with the monumental St. Paul’s Church, and the Hillel building is modern and glassy, designed by Moshe Safdie, architect of the new Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Ultra-Orthodox Lubavitcher Jews have their own Chabad House operating under auspices of Alan Dershowitz and Ruth Wisse.

Harvard, which is the foremost intellectual institution of the US establishment, has no pan-Islamic cultural student building for meetings, prayers, social events, or creating political infrastructure. The Harvard Islamic Society meets in a room near the Buddhist Dharma Society in the basement of an undergraduate dormitory, just past the laundry room, recycling bins, and 
student lounge.

The wars over global domination and the debates about which races or nations have the right of self-defense and which do not are first fought in academia. As intellectuals poke the surface of pro-Israel bluster, they find there is nothing behind it. Islamophobic ideologies exist in a vacuum of reason. Despite vulgar and hostile pro-Israel campus organisations, many friendly Jews attend pro-Palestine events. For all its drawbacks the USA still offers more freedom of speech and freedom of religion than Europe for those students who want to sharpen their pencils for a battle of ideas.

Karin Friedemann is a Boston-based writer on the Middle East affairs and US politics

Monday, April 13, 2009

Chop Shop Economics & Stealth Zionism

Khaleej Times

Causing $64 trillion of liquidity to vanish from the world financial system and then manipulating the US government to reward the perpetrators with bailout money requires the presence of the “right people” in government, academia, and finance industries.

In The Shock Doctrine Naomi Klein argues that Milton Friedman or Chicago School influenced policy makers routinely used catastrophes to facilitate rewriting of national economic rules to benefit a select subset of the world’s hyperwealthy.

President Obama, whose economic background is all Chicago School, brought the Friedmanites including National Economic Council Director Larry Summers back into government.

Summers came under recent public scrutiny because 2008 White House financial disclosure reports reveal he collected favours from the very financial institutions that received huge taxpayer bailouts. “The document provided for Summers, who serves as one of the president’s closest confidants, underscores just how close some of these officials are to the industry over which they now have oversight,” writes Sam Stein in the Huffington Post.

J.P. Morgan Chase, which received $25 billion in government bailout funds, had paid Summers $67,500 for a single speaking engagement. Citigroup, which received $50 billion in “emergency” taxpayer aid, had paid Summers $99,000. Goldman Sachs, which received a $12 billion bailout, had paid Summers $202,500.

Glenn Greenwald of Salon explains that people like Summers and friends “shuffle back and forth from the public to the private sector and back again, repeatedly switching places with their GOP counterparts in this endless public/private sector looting.”

During the Clinton administration, as Secretaries of the Treasury, Bob Rubin and Larry Summers deregulated derivative trading. After leaving government service, Rubin became a Citigroup director and used deregulation to ruin that Bank by recommending investments in derivatives like 
CDOs (Collateralized Debt Obligations). For eight years of service Rubin received approximately $126 million in cash and stock.

Investors from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE were effectively swindled out of billions as Citigroup value crashed because of the CDO meltdown during the Bush administration. Larry Summers became president of Harvard University in 2001. Rubin was Summers’ main booster at the Harvard Corporation, which chooses the president.

Summer’s Harvard presidency erupted into scandal when the US government accused Summers’ associate, economics professor Andrei Shleifer of financial improprieties during work on a Harvard USAID grant to create a Russian stock market. The government suspected Shleifer’s wife Nancy Zimmerman of insider stock trading.

Because Shleifer put Harvard in breach of Federal regulations regarding grant money, Harvard had to pay $27 million to the US government while Summers protected Shleifer and his job. Additional questions arose over the management of the Harvard endowment, employee compensation, and suspected middle market restraint of trade involving university real 
estate acquisitions.

During this turbulent period in his career, Summers worked hard to improve his Jewish credentials. He badmouthed anti-Israel divestment activists on campus but supported Darfur-related divestment.. He dumped his Christian wife Victoria Perry for Holocaust Literature professor Elisa New, a close friend of Jewish Studies professor Ruth Wisse, whose husband is chairman of board of directors of CAMERA, a professional Israel advocacy organisation.

In a disastrous blow to Harvard’s academic stature, Summers rejected former UAE president Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s $2 million donation for an Islamic Studies chair at the Harvard Divinity School under pressure from Rachel Fish of the David Project, which is another Israel advocacy group with connections to CAMERA.

The Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences twice voted “no confidence” in Summers, who resigned as Harvard president in 2006 amidst rumours of refusal to testify in an internal investigation of financial fraud. Shortly thereafter the D.E. Shaw hedge fund hired Summers with Rubin’s recommendation and paid Summers $5.2 million for approximately 50 working days.

Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel trod a similar career path perhaps more quickly because of superior Jewish Zionist credentials resulting from an Irgunist father and civilian IDF service during Iraq War I.

Boutique investment bank Wasserstein Perella, whose founder Bruce Wasserstein is heavily involved in Zionist politics, hired Emanuel in 1999 and paid him $16 million for two years of work, despite his having zero background in economics or finance.

Now this corrupt network is pushing through Congress another huge gift for their friends: the Summers-Geithner Plan, which enables banks to make their own valuation of toxic assets and then buy them with taxpayer money without restoring the lost liquidity.

Paul Krugman writes in the New York Times, “In effect, Treasury will be creating — deliberately! — the functional equivalent of Texas S&Ls in the 1980s: financial operations with very little capital but lots of government-guaranteed liabilities.”

Dean Baker of Truthout points out: “Some hedge and equity fund managers could make hundreds of millions or even billions off the Geithner plan.” This Plan looks like a premeditated attempt to loot and destroy the US 
financial system.

Karin Friedemann is a Boston-based writer on the Middle East affairs and US politics

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Why Arabs are Backing Sudan's Bashir

10 April 2009
Khaleej Times

Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir, despite being indicted on March 4, 2009 on seven counts of war crimes by the International Criminal Court, was given a “hero’s welcome” by the Arab League Summit hosted by Qatar last week. The 22 nations warmly supported Al Bashir with a resolution opposing the dubious ICC arrest warrant.

Bashir called the ICC an “undemocratic institution that ... applied double standards, targeted the weak and gave a blind eye to the criminals.”

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, also present at the summit, likewise objected to the ICC. “Why do they not order the capture of Bush? Why not order the arrest of the president of Israel?”

“If anything happened to Omar Al Bashir and Sudan ended up in chaos, the whole of Africa will sink into chaos,” warned Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Amir of Qatar.

Amr Moussa, the Arab League Secretary-General, said that the arrest warrant was aimed “at undermining the unity and stability of Sudan.”

In response to the arrest warrant, which was issued at behest of “Save Darfur,” an activist coalition mobilised by pro-Israel organisations committed to pressuring the US administration to treat Sudan like Iraq, Al Bashir evicted 13 western NGOs from his country.

Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report comments, “Any government in the world that believes it has been targeted for regime change by the United States and its allies would be foolish to allow western-based nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) to operate freely in its territory.”

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “Almost the entire Arab and African world supports Sudan against the ICC, arguing it is a biased and political 
tool that only targets Africans and infringes sovereignty.”

“The allegations at the ICC have nothing to do with reality, and we will use our friends in the United Nations to stop them,” says Abdel Malik Al Naiem, spokesman for the Sudanese Embassy in Cairo.

“In one year we will Sudanise all the aid on the ground and we can fill the gap in food distribution within one year because the Sudanese Red Crescent already distributes 45 per cent of the food in Darfur,” Al Bashir promised during a recent visit to Saudi Arabia.

China and Russia back the central government in Khartoum and support local peace agreements between Sudan’s warring tribes while the US, Britain, Israel and France materially support insurgent militias and promote increased foreign intervention with massive, internationally coordinated propaganda. Michel Massih, Al Bashir’s leading attorney points out, “I have never heard in my legal career of a chief prosecutor that launches media campaigns against a defendant, regardless of the nature of the charges.”

Columbia Professor Mahmood Mamdani, whose new book ‘Saviours and Survivors’ just came out, says he began to look at the issue of Darfur in 2003. He was struck by the rapid globalisation and the fact-indifference of the Save Darfur movement, which consistently misrepresented the facts 
in a media blitz.

Mamdani points out in a recent IslamOnline interview with Ismail Ikashkash: “The Save Darfur movement does not educate the people… about what issues drive the conflict. So they know nothing about the politics of Darfur, the history of Darfur, the history of the conflict. All they know is that … Darfur is a place where ‘evil lives.’”

In his book, Professor Mamdani describes in detail how the Save Darfur Coalition presented itself primarily as an inter-religious coalition promoting Islamophobia by implicitly creating a division of responsibility among faiths:

“The Christian faith packets were the most explicit: They spoke of ‘divine empowerment’ and ‘the burden to save’…The Jewish faith packets emphasized the special moral responsibility of Jews as ‘quintessential victims’ to identify genocide whenever it occurs…Muslims were asked to fight oppressors in their midst.”

Save Darfur board chairwoman Gloria White-Hammond, an African-American Christian minister in Boston who has been groomed to promote Zionist politics by Israel advocacy group “The David Project,” met with President Obama and his Sudan envoy General Scott Gration, before their recent trip to Sudan. She and Save Darfur president Jerry Fowler pressured Obama to revive Sudan’s internal conflicts and to threaten Khartoum with further international isolation.

America imposed economic sanctions on Sudan in 1997, but peace in Sudan requires foreign investment and political reform. Sudan has the largest underground freshwater lake in all of Africa. With some technology, Sudan could become the Breadbasket of Africa. Bush made it illegal for American-allied businesses to invest in life-saving infrastructure, and even threatened a delegation of African-American businesspeople with criminal prosecution for discussing investment ideas with President Al Bashir.

President Obama will have to choose between continuing Bush’s policies, which leave millions of Sudanese civilians in mortal jeopardy, and which have earned America international scorn, and reconciling with an international community whose support for the people of Africa is destined to grow.

Karin Friedemann is a Boston-based 
writer on the Middle Eastern affairs

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Lobby's Role in America

It finally seems acceptable, even within polite circles, to discuss the role of the Israeli Lobby on US foreign policy. AIPAC’s recent success in deposing the almost National Security Chief Chas Freeman stimulated much free thought worldwide.

Freeman made it clear that he blamed certain “unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country whose aim is to prevent any other view other than its own from being aired.”

Freeman further stated, “The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonour and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth.”

John Mearsheimer, in a recent article published in the London Review of Books, speculates that the reason for the slander campaign against Freeman lies in a past statement from 2005:

“As long as the United States continues unconditionally to provide the subsidies and political protection that make the Israeli occupation and the high-handed and self-defeating policies it engenders possible, there is little, if any, reason to hope that anything resembling the former peace process can be resurrected.”

Most Americans would prefer to keep their lights on than to personally finance Israel’s existence. We know about American Jews’ 79 per cent support for Israel’s bombing of Gaza. Yet why do Christian Americans not simply say, “We don’t want to pay for this”?

Joachim Martillo of Ethnic Ashkenazim Against Zionist Israel observes, “No comparable transnational political network has ever existed that has so successfully created a web of control to silence, to frame, to manage, and to dominate political discussion and discourse at the local, national and international level.”

The survival of Israel depends on squeezing Americans to cover the operations loss of the State of Israel even when the US economy is suffering from a major financial catastrophe. Israel advocates not only dog national and international organisations but in fact, their true power is revealed in their total control of local political discussions.

Ernesto Cienfuegos of La Voz de Aztlan reported that “the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles published a hateful and extremely biased article against one of the few radio programmes that speak on behalf of Chicanos in Southern California. The aim of these attacks is to silence any criticism of Israel and of the American Jewish Lobby, which now dictates many of the US government’s domestic and international policies.”

The actions of local Jewish organisations from one city to another are strikingly similar. For example, in Seattle, Washington and Somerville, Massachusetts, Jews aggressively harassed citizens who were collecting signatures for ballot questions, which asked the voters whether or not they would like to use City funds to pay for Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

In 1776, Americans fought the Revolutionary War against taxation without representation but the crimes of the British Empire against the American colonies do not even come close to the crimes of Israel. So why does nobody speak up?In truth, many brave and thoughtful individuals across the country do speak up but they are frustrated in their attempts to get people to care about this important moral issue by a coordinated attempt to derail honest discussion by organisations such as the World Union of Jewish Students, which issued a Hasbarah Handbook for students.The handbook has a section called “How to score points while avoiding debate” which stresses that “point scoring is a method of communication that prioritises making certain points favourable to the speaker, and attacking opponents of the speaker by trying to undermine their positions.”

This method was successfully employed in Atlanta, Georgia at Emory University by a group called Emory Students for Israel, who verbally harassed the school’s pro-Palestine group, and defaced their announcement.

Emory University received dozens of letters denouncing the hate speech. Mosques, business owners, human rights advocates, and concerned residents of the area called upon the Emory Administration to take a firm stance against racism and discrimination. Although the police report implicated the president of Emory Students for Israel as well as two other members, the perpetrators have neither received a visit from the police nor been reprimanded by the university. This treatment contrasts sharply with the situation faced by pro-Palestine activists. At Harvard University, an activist who interrupted an Israeli Defense Force Commander during a lecture was reported to the police and threatened with imprisonment. The “free speech” double standard is more than obvious. Why won’t Emory do the right thing?

It might be useful to press the point that the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel at Emory may violate the university’s tax exempt status as it discriminates against non-Zionist students and produces propaganda instead of academic scholarship.

Karin Friedemann is a Boston-based writer on Jewish Affairs in US politics