Within three short hours of U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison's announcement that he would leave Congress to run for Minnesota Attorney General, Minneapolis state Rep. Ilhan Omar became a candidate to replace him in Washington. Omar became the first Somali Muslim legislator in 2016, defeating 22-term state Rep. Phyllis Kahn.
Ellison's tenure has been marked by concerns he is hostile to Israel, something compounded by the Investigative Project on Terrorism obtaining a 2010 recording in which Ellison complains that Israel enjoys disproportionate influence over U.S. foreign policy.
But given what she says on social media, including comments before she ran for office, Omar appears explicitly and openly hostile toward Israel.
In the wake of last month's violence at the Israel-Gaza border, Omar blasted what she called "Israeli crimes" and called Israel's response a massacre. Palestinians and their advocates tried to cast the violence as unprovoked, and coming amid peaceful protests. In fact, a senior Hamas official admits the Palestinian border protests were "not peaceful resistance" and another Hamas leader bragged that the overwhelming majority of casualties were part of the terrorist group.
Omar has not commented on those facts or lamented the damage Hamas does to everyday life in Gaza in order to invest in future terrorist operations. Instead, she lets stand claims that Israel alone is to blame.
She also has worked with people and groups which share her enmity toward Israel. Omar served on the advisory board for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Minnesota chapter and has spoken at numerous CAIR events with Zahra Billoo and Linda Sarsour.
Internal records seized by the FBI show that CAIR was formed by Muslim Brotherhood officials in the United States to serve a broader Hamas-support network called the Palestine Committee. Billoo has repeatedly argued that there is no moral distinction between ISIS and the Israeli army. Sarsour is a rabid anti-Zionist who literally embraced convicted Palestinian terrorist bomber Rasmieh Odeh and hails ultra-conservative clerics.
Omar also appears in a new video by the pop music act Maroon 5. That prompted a Twitter exchange in which a writer called her a "Jew hater."
"Drawing attention to the apartheid Israeli regime is far from hating Jews," Omar shot back.
The video always features Israeli actress and "Wonder Woman" star Gal Gadot, an Israeli citizen and veteran of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
During the last round of Gaza violence in 2014, Gadot shared a picture of her with her daughter lighting Shabbat candles. "I am sending my love and prayers to my fellow Israeli citizens," she wrote. "Especially to all the boys and girls who are risking their lives protecting my country against the horrific acts conducted by Hamas, who are hiding like cowards behind women and children...We shall overcome!!! Shabbat Shalom!"
It's not clear whether Omar knew she would share the screen with Gadot, or whether that might have caused her to reconsider participating. As this new campaign begins, we might soon find out.
Argentina's national soccer team canceled a friendly match with Israel this week following "pressure" from pro-Palestinian activists.
"BIG NEWS: Argentina's national team, led by Captain Lionel Messi, cancelled its June 9 World Cup warmup match with Israel," The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement wrote on Facebook.
"This might be the biggest boycott, divestment and sanctions win – ever. Congratulations to all the activists around the world who made this happen!" the anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) posted on Facebook.
But other reports dispel the BDS narrative, exposing an ugly truth. The match was scrapped due to death threats targeting Argentina's star player Lionel Messi. Argentina's foreign minister described the threats as "worse than ISIS," the Washington Post reported.
Palestinian Football Association chief Jibril Rajoub led a campaign against Messi specifically, inciting those to "burn his picture and his shirt and to abandon him," if he played in Israel.
"A small group of youths wearing Palestine soccer scarves demonstrated outside the [Argentine] representation office [in Ramallah] and attempted to set fire to an Argentinian flag," Reuters reported.
But the intimidation and the extortion tactics used should not be touted as a win for BDS activists.
"The cancellation of a friendly match in Jerusalem with Argentina's national soccer team was not the result of pressure applied by Israel boycott activists, but was rather a capitulation to terrorism," said Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev.
It's a form of diplomatic terrorism, former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor argued. The BDS activists "tr[ied] to create a change in the political, public, and civil attitude towards Israel. It's not about a legitimate political debate – it's about undermining Israel's legitimacy," Prosor wrote.
Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei attacked alleged American human-rights violations on his website and on social media Wednesday. His statement coincided with the Trump administration's announcement a new round of sanctions targeting Iranian government officials and offices accused by the U.S. of engaging in human-rights abuses and censorship.
That includes an Iranian prison where the Treasury Department said serious human-rights abuses take place; an organization that creates social media monitoring and disruption software; and people who allegedly blocked information aimed at people protesting against the Iranian regime.
These sanctions follow Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's promise last week that new, crushing sanctions against Iran were about to take effect. They also come in the wake of last winter's uprising by Iranians fed up with corruption, a poor economy, war abroad and repression. Iranian security forces attacked and killed protesters, and Iran's government cracked down on the internet to disrupt the demonstrations.
Khamenei tried to push back by citing alleged American human-rights abuses ranging from the 1993 Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas that left 76 people dead, mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, gun violence and U.S. support for Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen.
"The Islamic Republic's statements are cogent, logical and provable," Khamenei said. "In all the areas that we mentioned, if we are accusing the US, we have cogent and convincing reasons ... There are logical reasons behind the things that we demanded from the UN as well."
The vast majority of Palestinian fatalities during 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, according to a new analysis from the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.
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. Hamas political chief Yayha Sinwar claimed more than 60 Hamas deaths on that day.
Members from other Palestinian terrorist groups, including Fatah and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), also were killed in the clashes but played a less prominent role in organizing the demonstrations.
Click here for the full Meir Amit report, which includes details concerning the terrorists' affiliations. It used social media accounts and Palestinian websites to match the names of the dead to terrorist groups.
The findings, supported by official statements from Hamas leaders, prove that Hamas was the driving force behind the deadly protests, which were depicted as peaceful demonstrations.
Hamas orchestrated several attacks at the border and encouraged Palestinians to infiltrate into Israel. Other rioters threw pipe bombs at the fence and deployed Molotov kites, sparking fires in Israeli fields near the border. Some terrorists engaged in shooting attacks and planted improvised explosive devices.
Any attempts to portray the riots as "peaceful protests" defies the evidence and Hamas's own leadership.
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"]. When you are in possession of weapons that were able to withstand the occupation in the wars of 2006, 2008, 2012, and 2014... 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.
Even though the riots have waned since May 14, Palestinian violence escalated significantly Tuesday morning.
Gaza-based terrorists fired 28 mortar shells at communities in southern Israel, injuring one civilian and striking a kindergarten yard just before children were due to arrive for school.
The Israeli military believes PIJ is responsible for the rocket barrage, but Israel tends to hold Hamas responsible for terrorist activity emanating from Gaza.
Hamas at times tries to restrain rival Palestinian groups from firing missiles at Israel to avoid sparking a wider war. Instead, Hamas developed a new tactic to violently confront Israel: forcing Palestinian civilians and terrorists to swarm and attack Israel's border, under the guise of peaceful protest, to exploiting the inevitable casualties for propaganda purposes.
While many analysts and most of the international community refuses to acknowledge Iran's role in fueling tensions on Israel's border with Gaza, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar this week boasted of his organization's "strong and warm" ties with Iran and Hizballah.
In an interview Monday with Lebanon's Al-Mayadeen TV channel, Sinwar admitted that Iran funnels "a lot of money, equipment and expertise" to Hamas' military wing and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations, reports the Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI),
For helping Hamas develop its capabilities, Sinwar thanked "first and foremost the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has provided the Al-Qassam Brigades (Hamas' military wing) and the other factions of the resistance a lot of money, equipment, and expertise," adding that "our ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran, with brother Qasem Soleimani and the other brothers in the IRGC leadership are very strong, powerful, and warm. Our relations with the Islamic Republic are excellent."
In December, senior Hamas official Saleh Al-Arouri bragged about Hamas' ties with Iran and Hizballah, and formally credited the Islamic Republic for arming Palestinian terrorist groups.
"Who supports the resistance in Gaza and Palestine? Iran. It is Iran and Hizballah that confront that entity [Israel] along with us," Al-Arouri said in a Dec. 30 interview on Al-Quds TV.
He admitted that "the aid Iran provides to the resistance is not merely symbolic" and that "nobody but Iran gives us [Palestinian terrorist groups] any military support."
In his latest interview, Sinwar also discussed "excellent relations" with Hizballah and revealed that both terrorist groups "coordinate and are in touch on an almost daily basis."
This is the latest in a growing number of statements from senior Hamas and Hizballah leaders acknowledging that relations have reached new heights – to the point where Hizballah is helping Hamas build military infrastructure in south Lebanon to threaten Israel.
These connections and public admissions are ignored by Israel bashers in the West.
Prominent American Islamists, like Linda Sarsour, continue to propagate the narrative that Israel massacred peaceful, unarmed Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border in recent weeks. Even articles in respected policy outlets like Foreign Policy tow this view.
Hamas leaders, on the other hand, openly admit that they coordinated the violent demonstrations and orchestrated several attacks on the border with Israel.
"This is not peaceful resistance... so when we talk about 'peaceful resistance,' we are deceiving the public," Mahmoud Al-Zahhar said in a May 13 interview with Al-Jazeera, adding that Hamas' efforts at the border are "bolstered by a military force and by security agencies."
Iran and its main proxy Hizballah are actively supplying Hamas with weapons and talking on a near daily basis to coordinate terrorist operations against the Jewish state.
This nuance is largely omitted from mainstream media analyses – further promoting Hamas public deception campaign, knowingly or not.
New sanctions are around the corner that could help "crush" Iran's ability to fund terrorism and its nuclear program, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday in a speech at The Heritage Foundation. Pompeo promised the "strongest sanctions in history." He listed 12 demands that Iran would need to fulfill to have the sanctions lifted. These demands include an end to Iran's support for terror; carte blanche inspection of Iranian nuclear sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); and ending ballistic missile proliferation.
"We will track down Iranian operatives and their Hizballah proxies operating around the world and we will crush them," Pompeo said. "Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East."
On May 8, President Trump announced the end of U.S. participation in the Iran deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). European governments, however, say they plan to remain in the agreement.
Pompeo slammed the Obama administration, which negotiated and pushed for the deal, for failing to listen to critics who argued that releasing approximately $100 billion in frozen assets to Iran would increase its ability to support terrorism.
"Remember, Iran advanced its march across the Middle East during the JCPOA," Pompeo said. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force chief "Qasem Soleimani has been playing with house money that has become blood money. Wealth created by the West has fueled his campaigns."
Iran used the released money from the JCPOA to fund the IRGC, the Taliban, Hizballah, Hamas and the Houthis in Yemen, Pompeo said. Iranian backed militias under Soleimani's leadership control a wide swath of territory between the Iran-Iraq borders all the way to the Mediterranean. Israel recently launched retaliatory strikes on Iranian targets in Syria after Iranian rockets landed in the Golan Heights.
Al-Qaida leaders also continue to be harbored in Iran.
Not surprisingly, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected Pompeo's demands, saying Iran will "continue our path with the support of our nation."
Last week, the Trump administration sanctioned the IRGC Quds Force and imposed sanctions on the head of Iran's central bank, which Pompeo said funded Hizballah and other terrorist organizations.
"The Iranian economy is already in free fall. That has to put a crimp in the regime's capacity to fund surrogates. If the administration follows through there certainly won't be more money to spread around," James Carafano, vice president and director of the Center for Foreign Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).
Other Iranians responded by creating #ThankYouPompeo and #IranRegimeChange hashtags on Twitter.
Hamas official Salah Bardawil may have destroyed the narrative that Israel is indiscriminately killing non-violent protesters at the Gaza border. The vast majority of Palestinians killed, Bardawil told a Palestinian interviewer, were Hamas fighters.
"In the last rounds of confrontations, if 62 people were martyred, 50 of them were Hamas," Bardawil said in a televised interview on Wednesday.
"I am giving you an official figure," he added, according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
A day earlier, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) also claimed that the IDF killed three terrorists from its military wing in Khan Younis.
Before Bardawil's interview, Hamas issued a memorial to 10 of its dead fighters.
Both Hamas and PIJ published photos eulogizing some of the dead terrorists as martyrs.
While some cast the latest clashes as a reaction to the U.S. Embassy opening in Jerusalem, they follow weeks of violent protests at Israel's border with Gaza. From late March through the end of April, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center found that 80 percent of the Palestinians killed were terrorist operatives or affiliates.
Most were tied to Hamas, but 10 of the terrorists killed during that time period were Fatah members.
Earlier this week, 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"]. When you are in possession of weapons that were able to withstand the occupation in the wars of 2006, 2008, 2012, and 2014... 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 with Al-Jazeera and reported by MEMRI.
Several killed Hamas members were sons of prominent Hamas officials, including deputy labor minister Musa al-Sambak. Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh's son and two of his nephews were also wounded in the clashes, according to a Meir Amit analysis.
By organizing and promoting the riots, Hamas officials literally sacrificed their own children's lives and safety for a propaganda victory.
This type of behavior is consistent with Hamas' strategy of sabotaging its own people's livelihood to prioritize its fight against Israel.
Officials in the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) continue to give the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) unconstitutional preferential treatment in an anti-bullying program, the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF) argued in court papers filed earlier this week.
FCDF sued on behalf of several area parents and two interest groups. It has asked the court for a preliminary injunction forcing the school district to stop working with CAIR, arguing that working with a religious organization violates the U.S. Constitution's Establishment Clause.
CAIR played a central role in formulating anti-Islamophobia curriculum the school district passed in April 2017. School officials also contemplated entering into a formal partnership with CAIR. But they changed their minds last July, opting to partner instead with the Anti-Defamation League and to create an Intercultural Relations Community Council (IRCC).
Those moves, school board lawyers argued in a recent brief, render FCDF's legal claim moot. CAIR, in an amicus – or friend of the court – brief, argued that the curriculum it helped develop did not teach Islamic texts as religious truths, and claimed it served the secular purpose of striving to deter bullying of Muslim students.
School district officials concede that CAIR's mission is religious in nature, but that an injunction would be the same as "requiring that SDUSD discriminate against CAIR because it has a religious mission." FCDF contends that CAIR views the free exercise clause of the 1st Amendment as a sanction to advance its religious agenda with governmental support, which it argues runs afoul of the Establishment Clause.
CAIR San Diego Executive Director Hanif Mohebi, however, denied that CAIR's mission was primarily religious last year, after FCDF first filed its suit.
Records show the school district and CAIR continued to work closely despite the July vote. Mohebi was appointed to the serve on the IRCC.
In addition, school district officials hosted CAIR representatives at least six times for high-level meetings. Superintendent Cindy Marten sought CAIR's input from CAIR about the ADL curriculum when it came to "addressing Islamophobia," the brief said. The school district also gave CAIR special recognition in November.
School officials say they work with CAIR as they would with any other community organization, but FCDF Executive Director Daniel Piedra says the district gave CAIR preferential treatment.
"They can't get around the fact that nothing really has changed, and that the intercultural committee was created to keep Mohebi and CAIR involved in the school district," Piedra said.
In yet another long and disoriented rant, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday took his anti-Semitic sentiment to a new level.
Abbas told a Palestinian National Council session that the Jewish people – not anti-Semitism or the Nazis – caused the Holocaust through their "social behavior," the Times of Israel reported.
According to Abbas, the mass genocide of more than 6 million Jews was a result of the Jews "social behavior, [charging] interest, and financial matters."
Abbas also claimed that Israel is a European colonial project, that European Jews have "no historical ties" to Israel, and that "those who sought a Jewish state weren't Jews."
Denying Jewish identity and Jewish rights to any part of Israel are other forms of anti-Semitism that Abbas frequently embraces.
He also repeated his stubborn rejection of any peace plan proposal led by the Trump administration, even before it has been formally presented.
In a series of public statements since Trump's announcement to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, Abbas has propagated claims that are outlandish even by his own, often radical, standards.
In a Jan. 14 address to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Central Council, Abbas spent more than two hours ranting about the history of Zionism in a conspiratorial fashion. He claimed that Jews moved to Israel solely for ideological and colonial reasons, not because of persecution "even during the Holocaust."
In the same speech, he went off on a blatantly anti-Semitic tirade that attempted to de-legitimize any Jewish presence in the state of Israel: "The significance of Israel's functional character is that colonialism created it in order to fill a specific role; it is a colonialist project that is not connected to Judaism, but made use of the Jews so they would serve as pawns..."
These anti-Semitic comments are reminiscent of his Holocaust denying doctoral thesis, which grossly underestimates the number of Jews killed in the genocide and focuses on an unsubstantiated relationship between Zionists and Nazis.
While trying to present a moderate face for years, recent developments show that the Palestinian president has become a hostile and outwardly racist leader that continues to alienate the Palestinian people.
"All the Jewish people are combatants" acceptable as targets for attacks in Israel, Sheikh Mohammed Rateb Nabulsi wrote in his 2001 "ruling on martyrdom operations in Palestine."
"They do not have a career that a military rank does not encounter: doctor, pilot, engineer, for example, is a tank commander. Every civilian, citizen," he wrote. "They do not have a regular army; they have a reserve army, and all the people can fight, so this is essentially an entirely aggressive entity from A to Z. This is the Sharia ruling."
He deleted this fatwa from his Arabic website in 2014 after the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) first wrote about a U.S. visit on behalf of the Syrian American Council (SAC) and Shaam Relief. A cache of the original post remains available. SAC worked to cover up the fatwa for State Department officials.
Nabulsi spoke Monday at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Va., and last week at a middle school near Orlando and at the Islamic Center of Boca Raton. He's scheduled to speak at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) tonight, at Masjid al-Farooq in Brooklyn on Thursday, the Islamic Center of Passaic County (ICPC) on Friday, and Saturday at the Bergen County Islamic Center.
Mercy Without Limits chairman and President Mohamad Albadawi also serves as a trustee of the Muslim American Society (MAS), which prosecutors say was founded as the "overt arm" of the Muslim Brotherhood in America. He was listed in 1997 as the registered agent of the Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA) and his Mercy Without Limits biography says he served as executive director. MAYA hosted Osama Bin Laden's mentor Abdullah Azzam in 1989 and Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi in 1995. Albadawi spoke at MAYA's 1993 convention in Detroit.
Zuhdi Jasser, a Syrian-American and founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, condemned the mosques for treating Nabulsi as mainstream.
"It is incumbent upon every American Muslim especially the Syrian community to marginalize and defeat the ideas of radical Islamism peddled by the likes of Nabulsi," Jasser said.