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What They Are Saying:Are They Laughing All the Way to the Bank? That's What She Fears!

September 8, 2005 By:
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Susan Estrich

Columnist Susan Estrich writes in the St. Petersburg Times (www.sptimes.com) on Aug. 24 that the media's embrace of Iraq-war protester Cindy Sheehan ought to worry Jews:

"Did an ABC staffer insert the following lines in an e-mail sent by celebrity antiwar mother Cindy Sheehan?

" 'Am I emotional? Yes, my firstborn was murdered. Am I angry? Yes, he was killed for lies and for a neo-con agenda to benefit Israel. My son joined the army to protect America, not Israel.'

"That is what Sheehan is claiming.

"If you don't believe that explanation - if you don't believe an ABC staffer set about to put anti-Semitic words into Cindy Sheehan's mouth - then your hero, my liberal friends, is a raging, ignorant anti-Semite. Sorry, but what are you doing hanging with that crowd?

"I am as sympathetic to Cindy Sheehan's loss as the next mother. When I heard of her plight, while on vacation with my own children, my heart ached. Why not simply meet with her, I thought - and I wrote, like the other liberal columnists [that] I don't blame anyone, man or woman, for being 'emotional.' I have certainly seen the charge used to belittle women too many times, myself included, with less justification than in this case.

"But I will not stand silent and see anti-Semitism masked as opposition to Israel and Israel blamed for George Bush's mistakes, if that's what they are. She did say this, apparently: 'What they're saying, too, is like, it's OK for Israel to have nuclear weapons. But Iran or Syria better not get nuclear weapons. … It's OK for Israel to occupy Palestine … for the United States to occupy Iraq, but it's not OK for Syria to be in Lebanon. They're a bunch of (expletive) hypocrites.'

"Anyone who cannot tell the difference, in any terms, between Israel on the one hand, and Syria and Iran on the other is not someone who, as my grandmother would put it, is 'good for the Jews' - or for the country, I'd like to add.

"I have been speaking to Jewish groups around the nation for the last year, and this is what I have been warning them. It will come to this: Israel will be blamed, which means Jews will be blamed.

"There are some who resist these equations. They pretend they can blame Israel, the only Jewish state in the world, a state created out of the dust of 6 million Jews murdered, and say it has nothing to do with Jews. I do not believe this. I am not from the powerless generation of the Holocaust … but the next one. My generation does politics, but we are not so powerful as to control George Bush. Hardly. More power rests in the gas tank.

"It is ludicrous to suggest that Casey [Sheehan] died for Israel, but it is worse to lionize Cindy Sheehan without confronting the anti-Semitism that seems to be accepted not even beneath the surface. Why isn't anyone concerned about that?

"Or, rather, why is it only the right?

"If the 'antiwar movement' in America is defined, even remotely, as an anti-Israel movement, it will fail. That is certain to me.

"If I believed in conspiracy theories, I'd think that the right would like nothing better than to have Cindy Sheehan lead it for just that reason.

"They might be laughing all the way to the bank about the embrace of her by the so-called liberal media.

"To tell the truth, it's just what I'm afraid of."

It's an Embrace of Terror, All Right! The Question Is: For What Reason?

Columnist Joel Mowbray writes in The Washington Times (www.washingtontimes.com) on Sept. 1 about the latest State Department misstep:

"One of President Bush's closest confidants, Karen Hughes, is scheduled to address the annual conference of an organization whose primary purpose is the promotion of Saudi-sponsored Wahhabist Islam - and whose president has publicly denied that Al Qaeda was behind Sept. 11, and whose Web site to this day sells a book that lavishes praise on Osama bin Laden.

"Not only is Mrs. Hughes publicly endorsing the Islamic Society of North America with her mere presence, but this is the first major public address in her new role leading public diplomacy with the Muslim world.

"Asked whether the woman who was instrumental in Mr. Bush winning the White House knew the true nature of the group she is speaking to in Chicago, State Department spokesman Noel Clay responded, 'Karen Hughes has been briefed on the organization.'

"Somehow, it just doesn't seem likely that Mrs. Hughes has been fully briefed on ISNA. If she had, she almost certainly wouldn't be headlining its annual conference - let alone as her first major appearance in her new post.

"Of all the Muslim groups claiming to be moderate in this country, ISNA is perhaps the easiest to expose as anything but. Spun off of the Saudi-created and funded Muslim Students Association more than 20 years ago, ISNA is likely the largest single provider of Islamic materials to mosques in America.

"For a sampling of what might be contained in Saudi-sponsored pamphlets and literature, one need look no further than the Freedom House report issued earlier this year. Using moderate Muslim volunteers to gather Saudi-published or sponsored materials in more than a dozen prominent mosques across the country, Freedom House found shocking intolerance, anti-Semitism and even advocacy of violence.

"At the 39th annual ISNA conference, held in Washington [in 2001], several speakers on a panel agreed emphatically that there was no proof that Osama bin Laden was behind Sept. 11 - and this occurred just shy of the one-year anniversary of the attacks.

"The three prominent members of the panel all rushed to assure the questioner that, in fact, they weren't really sure that Al Qaeda was behind Sept. 11, or if any Muslim was at all. According to a transcript provided by the Investigative Project, panel moderator Jamal Barzinji, the then-director of the International Institute of Islamic Thought, responded, 'It is not only that we don't have any proof, but the FBI doesn't have any proof. They are still looking.'

"When asked about much of the above, the State Department's Mr. Clay seemed uninterested. He defended the appearance before ISNA by noting, 'They do not support terrorism.'

"Except when they do. In a January 2000 press release, ISNA declared, 'In order to honor the Shaheeds and the Mujahideen of Chechnya, ISNA has decided to dedicate Shawwal 1, 1420, the day of Eid al Fitr as 'Solidarity with Chechnia Day' throughout North America.'

" 'Shaheeds' is unmistakable: It is the term used by jihadists for glorification of suicide bombers. U.S. law officials think that the 'shaheeds' and 'Mujahideen' in Chechnya are terrorists; many of the most high-profile terror cases since Sept. 11 have involved support for those forces.

"If groups like ISNA keep getting courted, the question must be asked: Is this embrace happening out of ignorance or out of some cunning - and dangerous - strategy?"

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