A Syrian-American lobbyist who pushed the Obama administration to support Syrian jihadists met with National Security Council (NSC) staffers Thursday afternoon. Mouaz Moustafa, executive director of the Syrian Emergency Taskforce (SETF), noted the meeting on his Facebook page. A NSC source confirmed that the meeting took place.
Moustafa frequently lobbied the Obama White House to support Syrian rebel groups against ISIS and the Assad regime. He pressured Congress and the Obama administration to support a train-and-equip program that saw American weapons end up in the hands of al-Qaida and ISIS.
The Trump administration canceled the operation.
The NSC meeting focused on Syria's last remaining jihadist stronghold, Idlib province, Moustafa wrote. He did not detail what he said about it. Iran, Russia and the Assad regime reportedly are planning an assault on the province to eliminate this last pocket of Sunni jihadist resistance. Turkey has troops there. President Trump warned last week that the operation could be "a grave humanitarian mistake" which could claim hundreds of thousands of lives.
Moustafa is best known for bringing U.S. Sen. John McCain to Syria in 2013, where McCain met with Free Syrian Army (FSA) leader Gen. Salem Idris. Many FSA factions had jihadist ideologies. Idris tweeted his support for al-Qaida's Syrian affiliate in 2015.
Moustafa urged the Obama administration in 2013 to support a now defunct FSA splinter group called the Islamic Front, calling it "the only counterbalance to extremists." Its constitution contradicted Moustafa's talking points about democracy and freedom in Syria.
"The focus now is to depose the regime and kick out people like Hizballah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and others that are killing us. And so that's the best way to describe their ideology," Moustafa said in a 2013 podcast. "I think the international community and the West ... must engage with the Islamic Front and need to be more pragmatic and realistic about what is going on ground in Syria in order to bring them on board with whatever political solution will happen in the future."
The Long War Journal reported in 2014 that al-Qaida was able to influence the Islamic Front without publicly acknowledging its role. Khalid al-Suri, an associate of al-Qaida leader Ayman Zawahiri, co-founded Ahrar al-Sham, a key faction in the Islamic Front at the time of Moustafa's statement. Ahrar al-Sham's leadership condemned democracy and mourned Taliban leader Mullah Omar in 2015.
Ahrar al-Sham's co-founder Khalid al-Suri was an associate of al-Qaida leader Ayman Zawahiri. Hasan Aboud, another Ahrar al-Sham founder, condemned democracy and expressed support for a caliphate. It mourned the death of Taliban founder Mullah Omar to whom al-Qaida and Zawahiri owed fealty in 2016, another example of its ideological leanings.
Hamas leader Yayha Sinwar admitted that his terrorist organization orchestrated the weekly "March of Return" violent demonstrations on the Israel-Gaza border to divert attention from internal problems, YNet news reports.
"After the reconciliation efforts (between Hamas and Fatah) reached an impasse, a number of factions planned to cause an internal explosion in the Gaza Strip, but the Marches of Return thwarted the plan," Sinwar said during a conference Tuesday in the Gaza Strip.
"Gaza did not want to stand idly by when the American Embassy was transferred to Jerusalem," Sinwar said, adding that "the Palestinian people succeeded in turning this provocation into an opportunity to confront the Israeli enemy."
Sinwar praised Palestinian protesters for helping "create a means of pressure, like the incendiary balloons."
Sinwar joins other Hamas officials who have acknowledged Hamas's role in planning and promoting violent protests on Israel's border.
The vast majority of Palestinian fatalities during this past summer's violent demonstrations on the Israel-Gaza border were members or affiliates of terrorist organizations – primarily Hamas.
Of the 112 reported deaths from March 30 to May 14, 93 people (83 percent) belonged to or were associated with terrorist groups.
Most of the dead connected to terrorist groups – 63 people – were Hamas members. This figure is consistent with assessments offered by two senior Hamas officials as the violence played out. Salah Bardawil claimed that Hamas members represented half of the total deaths and boasted that of 62 people killed on May 14, 50 were Hamas members.
Sinwar claimed more than 60 Hamas deaths on that day.
Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahhar acknowledged that the Gaza demonstrations were "not peaceful resistance" and Hamas's efforts at the border are "bolstered by a military force and by security agencies."
"This is a clear terminological deception [i.e. "peaceful resistance"] ... This is not peaceful resistance... so when we talk about 'peaceful resistance,' we are deceiving the public," Al-Zahhar said in a May 13 interview.
Hamas posted words of support Sunday for British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn has been under fire for his shows of support for Palestinian terrorist groups.
"We Salute Jeremy Corbyn's supportive positions to the Palestinians, but the issue of him as prime minister is an internal British issue and we respect the choice of the British people," Hamas said in a Twitter post.
It is not surprising, given Corbyn's interactions with Palestinian terrorists over the years, many of which have been reported by British media outlets in recent weeks. For example, he attended a 2012 conference with Husam Badran, leader of Hamas' military wing in the northern West Bank who plotted numerous suicide bombings during the Second Intifada. Former Hamas Politburo chief Khaled Meshaal also attended the conference, as did Abdul Aziz Omar, who received several life sentences for his role preparing suicide vests. Omar and Badra were freed as part of a deal that led to the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Corbyn also shared a stage in 2014 with Maher al-Taher, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). A month later, the PFLP murdered a British rabbi in a synagogue.
He spoke at a 2002 London rally alongside PFLP leader and plane hijacking pioneer Leila Khaled. The two appeared together again in 2011 at a conference held in Lebanon organized by former Member of Parliament George Galloway, who has fundraised for Hamas.
He attended a wreath-laying ceremony in Tunisia at the graves of the terrorists responsible for the 1972 Munich massacre of Israeli athletes.
Back in 2016, Corbyn had to apologize for having referred to Hamas and Hizballah as "friends."
Corbyn's links with Palestinian terrorists could dampen his dreams of succeeding Prime Minister Theresa May, British terrorism researcher Kyle Orton, formerly with the London-based Henry Jackson Society, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).
"In political terms, these revelations have had the effect of rallying his core support around him and, paradoxically, the sheer number of horrific facts coming to light has shielded Corbyn by inducing fatigue. It is quite likely some damage has been done to Corbyn, perhaps enough to prevent him winning the next election, but he will make it to the next election as Labour leader," Orton said.
Back in 2016, the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) posted a tweet mourning the death of a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist.
The PFLP is best known for pioneering airliner hijackings in the 1960s and 1970s. Its hijacking and subsequent blowing up of three airliners in Jordan in 1970 was the PFLP's most infamous terror attack. Forty hostages were taken off the planes before the PFLP destroyed them. More recently, PFLP terrorists carried out several suicide bombings during the Second Intifada. In 2017, the PFLP celebrated the 45th anniversary of its terrorist attack at Lod Airport that killed 26 Israelis.
The PFLP has become active in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, of which the USCPR is major player in the U.S. Leila Khaled – a PFLP hijacker who participated in the 1970 incident – has represented the terrorist group at numerous BDS events.
BDS aims to isolate Israel economically and politically through sanctions and economic boycotts.
"Gaza mourns PFLP activist slain by Israel during protest," USCPR tweeted in January 2016.
PFLP refers to its terrorists as "activists." An Electronic Intifada article linked to in the tweet described the funeral of Sami Madi, a PFLP terrorist, and described him as a "Devoted Comrade." The terrorist who was killed by an Israel as he approached Gaza's border.
"Sami was a lifelong PFLP activist. His affiliation to the left wing Palestinian resistance faction began during the first Palestinian intifada in the mid-1980s when as a teenager he would throw stones at vehicles going to and from the Israeli settlements built on Gaza's land," the Electronic Intifada article said.
Jamil Mizer, PFLP's leader in Gaza called Madi, "a defiant fighter whose blood will be a further step on liberation's path."
This isn't isolated. USCPR Executive Director Youssef Munayyer is sympathetic to PFLP on his Twitter feed. He posted a PFLP communiqué in June 2017 announcing an attack in Jerusalem, noting the terrorists' "previous imprisonment by the occupation." Several other tweets remind people that the PFLP and other factions including Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah are fighting alongside Hamas "against Israel in this war."
In April, Munayyer reminded readers of his Twitter feed that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh carried a photo of imprisoned PFLP General Secretary Ahmad Saadat aloft and that all terror factions were united.
USCPR's propaganda claims it just wants "a just and lasting peace for Palestinians and Israelis based on human rights, international law, equality, and relevant UN resolutions." But how does that goal square with mourning a member of a terrorist group that is pledged to Israel's destruction and rejects peace negotiations with the Jewish state?
Or how does its propaganda square with the message on the "Make Israel Palestine Again" hat it sold at the recent Netroots Nation conference? These factors highlight that the USCPR is about Israel's destruction, not Palestinian rights.
MUSIAD USA sent letters to several U.S. senators last week protesting sanction the Trump administration's imposed on Turkey over its continuing detention of American Pastor Andrew Brunson. MUSIAD is a businessmen's association connected with Turkey's ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Its close links to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan led FBI agents to question MUSIAD USA's leaders in 2016 on suspicion they were engaged in political espionage on behalf of the Turkish government. This group also has close links with U.S. Islamists in the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO).
Despite its connection with Turkey's ruling party, MUSIAD USA remains unregistered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). All who lobby on behalf of foreign governments are required to register under this law.
MUSIAD USA President Mustafa Tuncer, one of those questioned by the FBI, posted photos of the letters opposing the sanctions on Facebook.
Tuncer also sits on the board of the Turkish-government controlled Diyanet Center in Lanham, Md. Diyanet-controlled mosques in Europe have been accused of spying on behalf of Turkey, and critics worry the Diyanet Center is involved with similar activities.
"Senior MUSIAD figures work closely with Erdogan, coordinate their actions with his office and operates as his long arm under the disguise of business interest lobby group," Abdullah Bozkurt, former editor at Turkey's Today's Zaman told the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
MUSIAD USA's connection with Erdogan was highlighted after a Marxist hacking group leaked emails belonging to Erdogan's son-in-law Berat Albayrak to WikiLeaks. Albayrak is considered Erdogan's heir apparent and was recently placed in charge of running Turkey's economy.
Albayrak learned that the FBI questioned MUSIAD officials in a September 2016 email from former Executive Director Ibrahim Uyar. Uyar noted that he organized a rally against the July 2016 coup attempt outside the White House. Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad and USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal spoke at the rally. Tuncer and Uyar gave Awad a "plaque of appreciation" to Awad in 2014 on behalf of MUSIAD USA.
"The business group MUSIAD functions [as] yet another tool at the hands of current regime in Turkey to promote and export Erdogan brand poisonous Islamist ideology overseas," Bozkurt said.
Uyar has been promoted, Bozkurt said, now overseeing MUSIAD's global branches. Uyar is listed on the board of MUSIAD's main branch in Istanbul. It also describes him as the as "[c]hairman of Foreign Organization and Development Commission."
Photos taken at the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa last month highlight Uyar's closeness to Erdogan. Several shots showed him standing next to the Turkish president.
These connections highlight Erdogan's backdoor effort to influence U.S. policy toward Turkey under the cover of business concerns.
Reader complaints caused Amazon to stop selling a T-shirt that said "Make Israel Palestine Again" after the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) drew attention to it Tuesday.
The slogan is an indirect call for Israel's elimination and has grown popular on social media sites.
The information outraged many readers. One complained directly to Amazon and said she was assured the T-shirt in question would be removed. The one IPT exposed Tuesday was taken down by late Wednesday evening.
Other T-shirts with the same slogan remained on the site Thursday morning, but they were gone by noon. The items were from a third-party seller using Amazon's "Merch program" that lets people create accounts to sell custom T-shirts, an Amazon spokeswoman told the IPT. There were no indications that the shirts were from third-party vendors Tuesday when the IPT clicked on the "Add to Cart" button.
The page said "Ships from and sold by Amazon.com" without any reference to a third party.
"All Merch by Amazon content creators must follow our content policy and those who do not will be subject to action including potential removal of their account. The product in question is no longer available," the Amazon spokeswoman said.
Amazon's written policies prohibit material that promotes violence, hate or intolerance.
The "Make Israel Palestine Again" slogan has been promoted by proponents of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to delegitimize and isolate Israel. A "Make Israel Palestine Again" hat modeled after President Trump's "Make America Great Again" was sold at the booth belonging to the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) last weekend at the left-wing Netroots Nation Conference in New Orleans. USCPR is a major player in the American BDS movement.
DianaEE tweeted, "sickening! May have to find an alternative to Amazon!!"
Others called it a "blatant violation of prohibited listing[s]," and Amazon evidently agreed.
Update: Reader complaints to Amazon prompted the online retail giant to stop selling the shirts. Read more here.
Amazon.com is selling T-shirts that say "Make Israel Palestine Again," a not so subtle endorsement of ending the State of Israel. The shirts are listed as "In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com." This stands in contrast with some merchandise Amazon sells that comes from third-party sources.
Similar shirts are available on Etsy.com.
The slogan "Make Israel Palestine Again" is used often on social media, including a Twitter page and an Instagram account. An image on the Twitter feed shows President Trump wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat Photoshopped to say "Make Israel Palestine Again."
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activist Miko Peled used the Trump-style "Make Israel Palestine Again" hat as his Twitter avatar and in a November 2016 post. Peled linked to a petition that calls Israel's existence into question.
The BDS movement aims to isolate Israel politically and economically using sanctions and boycotts of Israeli goods.
Zazzle.com, a website that allows people to create items with their own messages and sell them, hosts a store belonging to the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR). Its store lets people buy merchandise emblazoned with the USCPR's logo.
Tax records show the USCPR acts as the U.S.-based financial agent for the BDS National Committee – the group responsible for coordinating the BDS movement worldwide. The BDS National Committee counts a group called the Council of National and Islamic Force in Palestine –a coalition that includes representatives from Hamas and other terrorist groups – as a member organization.
Amazon corporate communications did not respond to an email seeking comment.
The Marxist-Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group is the "most ideologically clear organization in the Palestinian liberation movement," a Temple University Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) officer wrote Thursday. in a column promoted and linked to Thursday by the group.
PFLP's goal is Israel's complete destruction.
The PFLP rejects "concessions made by the Arab misleadership class, which has supported so-called 'peace' agreements with Israel," wrote Temple SJP Vice President Brandon Do. "These agreements have allowed the forces of occupation to extend deeper into Palestine and diminished chances of Palestinian liberation."
The PFLP rose to notoriety in the 1960s and 1970s through a series of airline hijackings, including the 1976 hijacking of a Paris-bound Air France flight to Entebbe, Uganda. It also was responsible for a 1972 airport massacre that left 26 people dead. During the Second Intifada, several PFLP terrorists committed several suicide bombings.
Do also has supported PFLP terrorist Rasmieh Odeh, who played a key role in a 1969 Jerusalem supermarket bombing that killed two people. A 2016 picture posted by the Temple SJP chapter shows Do holding a sign calling for the charges against Odeh to be dropped.
In the column, Do praised PFLP founder George Habash, who has been called the "Godfather of Middle East terrorism," as an authority for "raising the Arab world's consciousness" against Israel. He attacked Palestinians who he claimed "sell out" their own people to Israel. The Palestinian Authority's establishment following the 1993 Oslo Accords, he says, created a "crypto-Zionist front."
Do's SJP chapter has praised other PFLP terrorists, including Leila Khaled, who hijacked two planes in 1970. Khaled currently is a member of the PFLP's political bureau and has been involved in fundraising for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS aims to economically isolate Israel by encouraging the boycott of Israeli goods and divestment from the Israeli economy, and impose sanctions.
SJP is a key component of the BDS movement in the U.S.
Do attempted to link black Americans with the Palestinian fight against Israel.
"By embracing our shared destiny with Black America and those living under the degradation of imperialism worldwide, the Palestine solidarity movement in the United States will say that a free Palestine is possible, and that with struggle, we can restore humanity back to its rightful place, where the civilizations of the world are once again united and no longer living under the threat of invasion, partitioning, and mass exploitation," Do wrote.
The PFLP has repeatedly drawn the same connection in articles on its website.
Anti-Israel groups in the United States are using a recently passed Israeli law to ramp up false claims of apartheid. The "nation-state" bill defines Israel as "the national home of the Jewish people" with Jerusalem as its capital.
"Israel arrogantly enshrines Jim Crow laws," the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter at New York's New School blasted on Facebook.
"Apartheid is a legal term, not an insult. It's the most suitable label to describe Israel's treatment of millions of Palestinians over the last seven decades," read a graphic shared via Facebook by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).
"What this law really does is it enshrines racisms and discrimination and like you said apartheid into the foundational constitutional law of the state of Israel," JVP Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson said in an interview with MSNBC's Ayman Mohyeldin. "So that means the 20 percent of Israeli citizens who are not Jewish are being told, and the state is actually now obligated with this law to treat them unequally."
"Formalizing de facto apartheid, the Israeli Knesset passes the racist nation-state law, which officially designates Palestinian citizens of Israel...along with all other Palestinians living in historic Palestine under Israeli sovereign power—as second-class citizens," claimed Columbia University's Students for Justice in Palestine chapter.
Apartheid is a term used by anti-Israel activists and groups to smear and delegitimize Israel. And unlike apartheid South Africa, both Jewish and non-Jewish Israelis receive full voting rights, hold elected office, serve in the military and prominently on Israeli courts.
The nation-state bill passed the Knesset in a 62-55 vote. Israel's Druze community voiced concern over the bill. But President Reuven Rivlin assured a delegation "that is the basis of the state we founded – the Zionist movement in full partnership with all who live here in this good land, which is good for all of us and where we can exist in equality without any problem."
Still, the bill's passage prompted Stanford University SJP member Hamzeh Daoud, a residential assistant, to threaten to "physically fight" pro-Israel students. He later changed the wording in his Facebook post from "physically" to "intellectually" and noted that "I edited this post because I realize intellectually beating Zionists is the only way to go. Physical fighting is never an answer to when trying to prove people wrong."
Both Daoud's Facebook and Twitter accounts have been deactivated.
Most analyses conclude the law is more symbolic than substantial. It does nothing to change the rights of Israeli Arabs, although many are displeased at its recognition of Hebrew as the country's official language, seeing it as downgrading Arabic.
People are free to criticize Israel and the bill. But it's clear that groups like SJP and JVP will do anything to bash Israel and delegitimize its existence.
When Linda Sarsour speaks, a senior Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood official apparently likes what he hears.
Gamal Heshmat shared an anti-Israel video by Sarsour on his Facebook page last Friday. In it, Sarsour glosses over Hamas' role coordinating the "Great March of Return" in May.
She fails to inform viewers that the protesters used kite bombs, incendiary balloons and rockets to try to attack Israeli civilian areas. She does speak about the death toll, however, noting that 50 Gazans died on May 14.
Subsequently, Hamas leaders took full credit for the violence, boasting that the overwhelming majority of casualties were members of the terrorist group. Subsequent Israeli analysis confirmed the Hamas claim.
"This is not peaceful resistance," Hamas Politburo member Mahmoud al-Zahhar told Al-Jazeera on May 13. "Has the option (of armed struggle) diminished? No. On the contrary, it is growing and developing. That's clear. So when we talk about 'peaceful resistance,' we are deceiving the public."
Heshmat belongs to the Brotherhood's Shura Council, the legislative body that sets the group's agenda. It isn't clear what prompted him to post the two-month old video Friday, but tried to pretend the prominent Hamas role instigating the violence somehow was a secret.
"The crimes of the Zionist Entity are increasing in light of international protection which betrays its principles, and an Arabic guardianship which thwarts its Umma, and an Islamic silence which harms the Religion and forsakes the Truth, we will expose it to everyone to publish and distribute," Heshmat wrote in the post.
Having a senior Brotherhood official tout her video is a bad look for Sarsour, said Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD).
"It's no longer credible to say that it's guilt by association when a major thought leader in the Muslim Brotherhood is using her material to establish a political agenda," Jasser said.
Sarsour's video calls for a Palestinian right to "return to their original homelands" – a demand which would effectively eliminate Israel as a Jewish state. She also called a "prison" due to a blockade aimed at preventing Hamas from smuggling weapons into the area for future terrorist attacks.
Top Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh cited the same talking points in a June 7 column posted on Hamas' website. Hamas wants Israel's destruction, nothing less.