PHILADELPHIA – January 10, 2020 – Below are the ten most frequently viewed MEForum.org articles of 2019 in descending order.
#10 Anticipating Trump's "Deal of the Century" (April 9)
Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes analyzes a stream of leaks about President Donald Trump's long-awaited "Deal of the Century" plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace to construct an outline of what it will likely entail. According to Pipes, it "boils down to a grand exchange: the Arab states recognize Israel and Israel recognizes Palestine, both with capital cities in Jerusalem." Accordingly, he concludes, the plan "repeats the great miscalculation of traditional Palestinian-Israeli diplomacy by asking too little of Arabs and too much of Israelis."
#9 Making Sense of Palestinian Logic (May 4)
Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes discusses the Palestinian Authority's refusal to accept tax revenue it is owed by Israel unless Israel stops deducting the amount that the PA funnels to terrorists and their families – the so-called "pay to slay" program. The logic of this seemingly self-defeating move, according to Pipes, "boils down to blackmail: You Israelis are rich, strong, and happy, so we will make you miserable unless you give us or give us access to more money."
#8 Pakistan Flirts with a Strong Israel (September 7)
Ginsburg/Ingerman Writing Fellow Efraim Inbar discusses Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's decision to allow the country's heavily-censored media to openly discuss the possibility of establishing diplomatic relations with Israel. According to Inbar, the move reflects declining global interest in Palestinian fortunes and the belief of Pakistani leaders that Israel carries weight in Washington.
#7 Brooklyn's Islamist Vigilantes (April 10)
Islamist Watch fellow Benjamin Baird (now Islamism in Politics Coordinator for Islamist Watch) discusses the recently incorporated Muslim Community Patrol & Services (MCPS), which cruises Brooklyn's Bay Ridge and Sunset Park neighborhoods, ostensibly to "protect members of the local community from escalating quality-of-life nuisance crimes." However, Brooklyn residents already enjoy the lowest crime rate in decades, and MCPS is linked to Muslims Giving Back (MGB), an Islamist nonprofit with terror ties, leading to fears that its purpose is to convert local Muslims to radical Islamist ideology.
#6 Who Is Sisi of Egypt? A Salafi. (Spring 2019)
Ramy Aziz, a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy (ISGAP), argues in the Spring 2019 issue of Middle East Quarterly that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi – mistakenly regarded in the West as a secularist – is actually an adherent of Salafi Islamism. Drawing upon sources ranging from Sisi's 2006 research paper at the United States Army War College to his more recent speeches and actions, Aziz concludes that Sisi "sees Islam as society's foundation" and believes that "the caliphate—merging political and religious authorities—is ideal for Muslim countries," though these views are tempered someone by the traditional Salafi emphasis on political quietism in the here and now.
Islamist Watch Director Sam Westrop reveals that Abubakar Osman, government affairs coordinator for the Minnesota branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), had years ago posted on social media, "i wish hitler was alive to fuck up the jewish ppl and add more jewish causalities to the 6 million he killed in the holocaust." Osman hurriedly deleted the post and CAIR Minnesota was forced to condemn his words and end its association with him.
Islamist Watch Director Sam Westrop broke the news that Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) was due to appear at a fundraising dinner alongside senior Islamic Relief USA official Yousef Abdallah, who the Middle East Forum found had expressed violently anti-Semitic ideas on social media. The story was subsequently covered by Jerusalem Post, Washington Examiner, Daily WIre, JNS and other publications, and Omar ended up canceling the appearance.
#3 Ishmael is Not the Father of the Arabs (March 6)
Writing fellow Mark Durie discusses the common belief that Arabs are descended from the biblical prophet Abraham through his son Ishmael, which he traces back to the first-century Jewish historian Josephus. However, this link is not mentioned in either the Quran or Jewish and Christian scriptures, and the historical emergence of the Arabic language "is not consistent with Ishmael being the father of the Arabs," according to Durie. "The dysfunctional travails of Abraham's family are not the place to seek out the spiritual roots of present-day Middle East conflicts."
Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow Raymond Ibrahim discusses the uproar caused by use of Jean-Léon Gérôme's 1866 painting Slave Market in posters emblazoned with the slogan "So that Europe won't become Eurabia" by the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) to highlight the dangers of mass migration. The painting, which displays a fair-skinned female slave being inspected by Middle Eastern men, accurately "portrays a reality that has played out countless times over the centuries," Ibrahim argues. Outrage over AfD's use of the painting "is just another attempt to suppress the truth concerning Muslim/Western history."
Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow Raymond Ibrahim surveys the growing frequency of church vandalization in Europe, a trend he attributes to the flood of mostly Muslim migrants into the continent since 2016. He finds that European governments and media typically "obfuscate the identity of the vandals" and present the perpetrators as "suffering from mental health issues."
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