As you are surely aware, the gruesome murders of American journalists by the Islamic state group in Iraq and Syria have been seized on by demagogues to argue that the US must go to war in the Middle East. Chris Matthews has championed a “nationalistic response” to the killings and faulted Barack Obama for not taking action. “This is a war that I’m afraid we’re not exactly fighting,” he said last night. Erin Burnett has said much the same on the rival network, CNN– that Obama lacks the “passion and fierceness” people want from a president.
Neoconservatives and Zionists have gone further, arguing that Israel and the United States face the same enemy. ISIS = Hamas, Israel’s prime minister pronounced after the beheading of James Foley was publicized two weeks ago; and that theme has been propagated again by Israel’s supporters in the wake of the killing of Steven Sotloff, publicized two days ago.
Benjamin Netanyahu issued this grim warning at an appearance with two US congressmen yesterday, and tied the killings to… Iran!
We’re fighting not just Israel’s war but I think a common battle against enemies of mankind– Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, ISIS– supported many of them by regimes that propel terrorism to the front, like Iran. I think this is a challenge to all civilized nations. Israel and the United States stand together and your visit reflects that. We have to understand that if we don’t face down these forces, they will advance. And they will advance not only in the Middle East but beyond, to Europe, to the United States and every part of the globe.
As Larry Derfner has written, the equation of a local resistance movement, Hamas, with a radical militant group that is happy to slaughter thousands in the name of a renewed transnational caliphate is “idiotic.” But one of those American congressmen, Eliot Engel, duly echoed the P.M.’s equation:
Now in the west, we’re beginning to see the rise of radical Islam and we’re beginning to see a group like ISIS rear its ugly head. Well, Israel has confronted this kind of thing year in and year out. Because Hamas and ISIS it’s the same. They want to achieve their political goals on the backs of terror. They want to deny the state of Israel’s right to exist.
Steve Israel, the head of the congressional campaign committee for Democrats, linked James Foley’s killing with Hamas — “The truth is we & our allies are opposed by terrorist thugs like ISIS, Hamas, etc” – and he made a sweeping generalization yesterday:
Steven Sotloff's brutal murder reminds us this is a clash between the 14th century & 21st century.
— Steve Israel (@RepSteveIsrael) September 2, 2014
The New York Times published an ad two days ago (above) from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the catspaw of Sheldon (Nuke Iran) Adelson, that equated Hamas with ISIS. The original graphic for the ad was disturbingly graphic; complaining about censorship on his twitter feed, Boteach typically had no idea of why such a thing is offensive.
It’s worth noting that the group that broke the existence of the latest video is a Zionist organization. It is headed by Rita Katz, an Israeli-American who was featured on Erin Burnett’s show the other night. Her group is SITE (Search for International Terrorist Entities) Intelligence Group. Katz was a bit vague about how they turned up the latest video.
SITE is pushing for full-on war. “Fighting the Islamic State: Air Strikes Will Not Be Enough.” And oh yes, SITE lumps Hamas and Palestinian militants as alleged jihadists.
International Business Times reports on SITE’s scoop:
SITE made the decision to publish the video of Sotloff’s beheading when numerous mainstream news outlets in possession of it declined to do so, likely influenced by the overwhelming negative public reaction to the sharing of video and still images of Foley’s beheading, which quickly and inescapably proliferated on social media before YouTube and Twitter removed them. The authenticity of the video obtained by SITE Intel Group has yet to be explicitly confirmed, but the White House released a statement Tuesday afternoon expressing “deepest condolences” for the “brutal murder of an innocent American journalist.”
SITE Intelligence Group is an incarnation of the SITE Institute, founded in 2002 by former Investigative Project colleagues Rita Katz and Josh Devon. Katz remains the executive director of the SITE Intelligence Group. Her bio says she is fluent in Arabic and Hebrew, having been born in Iraq and educated in Tel Aviv. She has worked as a government consultant on terrorist operations and is the author of the 2003 book, “Terrorist Hunter: The Extraordinary Story of a Woman Who Went Undercover To Infiltrate the Radical Islamic Groups Operating in North America.” She is the subject of a 2006 New Yorker profile, which described a visit to SITE’s offices (the location of which, at the time, Katz demanded the magazine leave unnamed):
“Each day, Katz finds about a half-dozen items on the Arabic message boards that are worth distributing. Her researchers, who monitor English-language jihadist websites, often find a few more. Some are propaganda: videos taking responsibility for attacks, statements of intents to attack, announcements of allegiances or splits. … SITE tries to have the items translated and sent to subscribers within an hour and a half of their first appearance online.”