Two weeks ago, in an unofficial inauguration ceremony at Tahrir Square in Cairo,
Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Mursi took off his mask of
moderation. Before a crowd of scores of thousands, Mursi pledged to work
for the release from US federal prison of Sheikh Omar
According to The New York Times’ account of his speech,
Mursi said, “I see signs [being held by members of the crowd] for Omar
Abdel-Rahman and detainees’ pictures. It is my duty and I will make all efforts
to have them free, including Omar Abdel-Rahman.”
Otherwise known as the
blind sheikh, Abdel Rahman was the mastermind of the jihadist cell in New Jersey
that perpetrated the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. His cell also murdered
Rabbi Meir Kahane in New York in 1990. They plotted the assassination of
then-president Hosni Mubarak. They intended to bomb New York landmarks
including the Lincoln and Holland tunnels and the UN headquarters.
was the leader of Gama’a al-Islamia – the Islamic Group, responsible, among
other things for the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. A renowned Sunni
religious authority, Rahman wrote the fatwa, or Islamic ruling, permitting
Sadat’s murder in retribution for his signing the peace treaty with Israel. The
Islamic group is listed by the State Department as a specially designated
After his conviction in connection with the 1993
World Trade Center bombing, Abdel-Rahman issued another fatwa calling for jihad
against the US. After the September 11, 2001, attacks, Osama bin Laden cited
Abdel-Rahman’s fatwa as the religious justification for them.
for Abdel-Rahman’s release, Mursi has aligned himself and his government with
the US’s worst enemies. By calling for Abdel-Rahman’s release during his
unofficial inauguration ceremony, Mursi signaled that he cares more about
winning the acclaim of the most violent, America-hating jihadists in the world
than with cultivating good relations with America.
And in response to
Mursi’s supreme act of unfriendliness, US President Barack Obama invited Mursi
to visit him at the White House.
Mursi is not the only Abdel Rahman
supporter to enjoy the warm hospitality of the White House.
terror organization has also been the recipient of administration largesse.
Despite the fact that federal law makes it a felony to assist members of
specially designated terrorist organizations, last month the State Department
invited group member Hani Nour Eldin, a newly elected member of the
Islamist-dominated Egyptian parliament, to visit the US and meet with senior US
officials at the White House and the State Department, as part of a delegation
of Egyptian parliamentarians.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria
Nuland refused to provide any explanation for the administration’s decision to
break federal law in order to host Eldin in Washington. Nuland simply claimed,
“We have an interest in engaging a broad cross-section of Egyptians who are
seeking to peacefully shape Egypt’s future. The goal of this
delegation... was to have consultations both with think tanks but also
with government folks, with a broad spectrum representing all the colors of
MURSI IS not the only Arab leader who embraces
terrorists only to be embraced by the US government. In a seemingly
unrelated matter, this week it was reported that in an attempt to satisfy the
Obama administration’s urgent desire to renew negotiations between the
Palestinians and Israel, and to satisfy the Palestinians’ insatiable desire to
celebrate terrorists, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu offered to release 124
Palestinian terrorist murderers from Israeli prisons in exchange for a meeting
with Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas refused. He didn’t think Netanyahu’s offer was generous enough.
how did the Obama administration respond to Abbas’s demand for the mass release
of terrorists and his continued refusal to resume negotiations with Israel? By
The proximate cause of the Obama administration’s most
recent assault on Israel is the publication of the legal opinion of a panel of
expert Israeli jurists regarding the legality of Israeli communities beyond the
1949 armistice lines. Netanyahu commissioned the panel, led by retired Supreme
Court justice Edmond Levy, to investigate the international legal status of
these towns and villages and to provide the government with guidance relating to
future construction of Israeli communities beyond the armistice
The committee’s findings, published this week, concluded that
under international law, these communities are completely legal.
nothing remotely revolutionary about this finding. This has been Israel’s
position since 1967, and arguably since 1922.
The international legal
basis for the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 was the 1922 League of
Nations Mandate for Palestine. That document gave the Jewish people the legal
right to sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, as well as all the land
Israel took control over during the 1948- 49 War of Independence.
only did the Mandate give the Jewish people the legal right to the areas, it
enjoined the British Mandatory authorities to “facilitate... close settlement by
Jews on the land, including state lands and waste lands not required for public
So not only was Jewish settlement not prohibited. It
Although this has been Israel’s position all along,
Netanyahu apparently felt the need to have its legitimacy renewed in light of
the all-out assault against Israel’s legal rights led by the Palestinians, and
joined enthusiastically by the Obama administration.
In a previous
attempt to appease Obama’s rapacious appetite for Israeli concessions, Netanyahu
temporarily abrogated Israel’s legal rights by banning Jews from exercising
their property rights in Judea and Samaria for 10 months in 2010. All the legal
opinion published this week does is restate what Israel’s position has always
Whereas the Obama administration opted to embrace Mursi even as he
embraces Abdel-Rahman, the Obama administration vociferously condemned Israel
for having the nerve to ask a panel of senior jurists to opine about its rights.
In a press briefing, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell banged the
As he put it, “The US position on settlements is
clear. Obviously, we’ve seen the reports that an Israeli government-appointed
panel has recommended legalizing dozens of Israeli settlements in the West Bank,
but we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,
and we oppose any effort to legalize settlement outposts.”
In short then,
for the Obama administration, it is all well and fine for the newly elected
president of what was until two years ago the US’s most important Arab ally to
embrace a terror mastermind indirectly responsible for the murder of nearly
3,000 Americans. It is okay to invite members of jihadist terror groups to come
to Washington and meet with senior US officials in a US taxpayer- funded trip.
It is even okay for the head of a would-be-state that the US is trying to create
to embrace every single Palestinian terrorist, including those who have murdered
Americans. But for Israel’s elected government to ask an expert panel to
determine whether Israel is acting in accordance with international law in
permitting Jews to live on land the Palestinians insist must be Jewfree is an
THE DISPARITY between the administration’s treatment of the
Mursi government on the one hand and the Netanyahu government on the other
places the nature of its Middle East policy in stark relief.
into office with a theory on which he based his Middle East policy. His theory
was that jihadists hate America because the US supports Israel. By placing what
Obama referred to as “daylight” between the US and Israel, he believed he would
convince the jihadists to put aside their hatred of America.
implemented this policy for three and a half years. And its record of
spectacular failure is unbroken.
Obama’s failure is exposed in all its
dangerous consequence by a simple fact. Since he entered office, the Americans
have dispensed with far fewer jihadists than they have empowered.
January 2009, the Muslim world has become vastly more radicalized. No Islamist
government in power in 2009 has been overthrown. But several key states –
first and foremost Egypt – that were led by pro-Western, US-allied governments
when Obama entered office are now ruled by Islamists.
It is true that the
election results in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and elsewhere are not Obama’s fault.
But they still expose the wrongness of his policy. Obama’s policy of putting
daylight between the US and Israel, and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood
against US allies like Mubarak, involves being bad to America’s friends and good
to America’s enemies. This policy cannot help but strengthen your enemies
against yourself and your friends.
Rather than contend with the bitter
consequences of his policy, Obama and his surrogates have opted to simply deny
the dangerous reality he has engendered through his actions. Even worse they
have come up with explanations for maintaining this policy despite its flagrant
Nowhere was this effort more obvious than in a made-to-order New
York Times analysis this week titled, “As Islamists gain influence, Washington
reassesses who its friends are.”
The analysis embraces the notion that it
is possible and reasonable to appease the likes of Mursi and his America-hating
jihadist supporters and coalition partners. It quotes Michele Dunne from the
Atlantic Council who claimed that on the one hand, if the Muslim Brotherhood and
its radical comrades are allowed to take over Egypt, their entry into mainstream
politics should reduce the terrorism threat. On the other hand, she warned, “If
Islamist groups like the Brotherhood lose faith in democracy, that’s when there
could be dire consequences.”
In other words, the analysis argues that the
US should respond to the ascent of its enemies by pretending its enemies are its
Aside from its jaw-dropping irresponsibility, this bit of
intellectual sophistry requires a complete denial of reality. The Taliban were
in power in Afghanistan in 2001. Their political power didn’t stop them from
cooperating with al-Qaida. Hamas has been in charge of Gaza since 2007. That
hasn’t stopped it from carrying out terrorism against Israel. The mullahs have
been in charge of Iran from 33 years. That hasn’t stopped them from serving as
the largest terrorism sponsors in the world. Hezbollah has been involved in
mainstream politics in Lebanon since 2000 and it has remained one of the most
active terrorist organizations in the world.
And so on and so
Back in the 1980s, the Reagan administration happily cooperated
with the precursors of al-Qaida in America’s covert war against the Soviet Union
in Afghanistan. It never occurred to the Americans then that the same people
working with them to overthrow the Soviets would one day follow the lead of the
blind sheikh and attack America.
Unlike the mujahadin in Afghanistan, the
Muslim Brotherhood has never fought a common foe with the Americans. The US is
supporting it for nothing – while seeking to win its support by turning on
America’s most stable allies.
Can there be any doubt that this policy
will end badly?