Charles Jacobs, president of Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), spoke to an April 4 Middle East Forum Webinar (video) on the failure of America's Jewish leaders to address antisemitism in the Islamist-progressive alliance.
Jacobs said America's Jewish leadership refuses to confront the origins of the "surge of antisemitism" affecting Jews nationwide. FBI statistics show that Jews are twice as likely to be victims of hate crimes as are blacks or Muslims, four times more likely than Asians, and twenty times more than whites. Videos of "Jews being beaten up in the streets of New York" demonstrate this harsh reality.
Animus toward Jews comes from four "very large and powerful ideological camps," said Jacobs. The first, white supremacists and neo-Nazis, are the ones that "most Jewish leaders will attend to" because "it's the easiest thing for them" to since "no one's going to argue with them that Nazis are okay," or that "white supremacists should get a pass."
Jacobs: Jewish leaders rarely mention key sources of animosity because they're "politically incorrect sources of Jew hatred."
Jewish leaders rarely mention three other sources of animosity because they are "politically incorrect sources of Jew hatred." In ascending order of danger, these are: black supremacists, the "biggest exemplar" of which is Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam; radical leftwing anti-Zionists who condemn Israel and deny its right to exist; and Islamists.
Jacobs said Jewish organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Jewish Federations, the Jewish Community Relations Councils (JCRC), and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) "don't want to touch" Islamists and are therefore far less likely to condemn them.
He illustrated this reluctance with a story he "lived through here in Boston." In 2004, the Boston Herald exposed the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center's (ISBCC) proposal to build "the largest mosque on the Eastern Seaboard" and that it was to be "founded, funded, and run by the Muslim Brotherhood." Its original cast is a rogue's gallery of Islamists. The founder of the Cambridge "seed mosque" for building the mega-mosque, Abdul Rahman Alamoudi, was also "the most important of Al-Qaeda fundraisers in the United States." He pled guilty and received a twenty-three-year prison sentence by a federal court after "he was caught with a suitcase full of cash in an airport." Among other schemes, Alamoudi was "plotting to assassinate the Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah."
Walid Fitaihi, a "fabulously wealthy" man and principal financer of the mosque, undertook outreach to Boston's Jewish and Christian communities. "The funny thing about him," Jacobs said, "is that he was writing antisemitic screeds in Arabic papers" at the same time.
Then there is Yusuf Qaradawi, the "spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood" and the original trustee of the ISBCC, notorious for his incessant online demands that "the Jews must be killed, the Holocaust was divine punishment for their sins." The United States banned him from entering the country because of his support for terrorism.
Among the attendees of the ISBCC were the Tsarnaev brothers, perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
In time, Jacobs "came down with bunches of documents that were incontrovertible, inarguable proofs" that the mosque "was not going to be a good thing for the city of Boston." By 2015, there were "twelve or fourteen people here who are all connected" to the mosque "who were either in jail, dead, or on the run from federal authorities." Among them were the Tsarnaev brothers, perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, who were "at least part-time visitors" to ISBCC, and Aafia Siddiqui, a "heroine to the radical Muslim community that was establishing itself in America" and dubbed by the FBI "Lady al Qaeda" for her role as a courier. Sentenced to an eighty-six-year term by a federal court for the attempted murder of U.S. nationals in Afghanistan, she again made the news in January when a British Muslim took hostages at a Colleyville, Texas synagogue in a failed attempt to force her release.
Jacobs then showed a video of Boston imam Abdullah Faaruuq in his mosque telling his listeners to "pick up the gun, pick up the sword, pick up the weapons and go out," because "we have to free Aafia Siddiqui." "It might well be," Jacobs added, "that the fellow who did take those people as hostage heard exactly this, or a message that." Moreover, he said, "this is happening all over the country."
"You can imagine we, who found this out, were pretty upset," Jacobs said, so he called an "emergency meeting" with the "Jewish leadership in Boston," including the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Federations, and the American Jewish Committee. APT showed them indisputable evidence from the ISBCC's 2004 website, including a "how to beat your wife panel" that advised men to "hang up the whip where members of your household can see it." Should your wife displease you, eventually you can "beat her on the ankles, then on the legs," and so on. Although Boston's Jewish leadership "has to be the most pro-feminist bunch of people that you've ever met," this "didn't faze them."
Jacobs also showed the leaders checks from the mosque to terror organizations, and from those organizations back to the mosque. "Nothing helped," he said, as the leaders decided to "give [the Islamists] the benefit of the doubt" because "they'll come to know us and like us . . . because we're likable." Jacobs said he "begged the leaders" to "go tell the mayor of Boston what we know," and to "go show them what the FBI says about these people."
But his pleas were in vain. "Much to our shock and dismay, they were gotten to before we met them," Jacobs said, as they had met already with Fitaihi, and "the leaders of the mosque who had convinced them . . . that they could be partners." Presenting themselves as "moderates, really," the Islamists said they could "partner with the Jewish community" regarding its community concerns about religious freedom and social welfare.
In 2015, ISBCC sued the Boston Herald and Jacobs's group at the time, the David Project, using a tactic called lawfare, a favorite predatory strategy employed by Islamists to drain critics' resources. ISBCC succeeded in silencing the Boston Herald and "shut[ing] down discussion" in the places it "really, really counted." Jacobs met several times with the Boston Globe to show them "proofs that this was not going to be good for the city of Boston," but, he said sardonically, "the Boston Globe would never think of reporting anything that was negative about such people, because after all they're another minority, and another minority is going to be good."
Jacobs said the saga, documented in Terror in the Cradle of Liberty by Ilya Feoktistov, should be publicized because of similar efforts by Islamists to co-opt Jewish leaders in other cities across America.
Jacobs: HIAS "used to do marvelous work" helping Jews fleeing antisemitism; now it brings in unvetted Muslims from "the most antisemitic places on the planet."
HIAS, founded as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, is the "national example" that Jacobs found most "heartrending" because HIAS was established in 1882 to aid Jewish immigrants fleeing antisemitism. They "used to do marvelous work," he said, but "they ran out of Jews to bring over on their conveyor belt" after the Jewish community did well in the U.S. and Israel was established. But closing down would mean the loss of salaries and grants, so HIAS shifted its "primary focus" to "Muslims from Syria and other places" shown by ADL statistics to be "the most antisemitic places on the planet." They "do not vet them for terrorism" or ask them "what do you think of democracy, Jews, women, gays?"
All this, Jacobs said, is the "fault of a failed Jewish leadership, which is globalist, which has forgotten its roots, which is embracing the left, which doesn't want to be accused of racism, Islamophobia," and therefore commits "malpractice."
American Jewish organizations with the courage to speak out and educate the Jewish community about these dangers include the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA), the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), and Stand With Us. All of these except ZOA, he noted, "were birthed because the Jewish establishment failed."
In order to "fight back" against rising antisemitism in America, Jacobs and over "twelve teams" across the country have launched a national grassroots movement, Challenge Jewish Leadership (CJL), to hold Jewish leadership accountable. Its stated mission is to challenge Jewish leaders to "prioritize the safety and welfare of the Jewish community over all other concerns."
Winfield Myers is director of Campus Watch, and Marilyn Stern is communications coordinator, at the Middle East Forum.