PHILADELPHIA – January 12, 2024 – Below are the ten most frequently viewed MEForum.org articles of 2023 in ascending order. Traffic to the original sites of publication, where applicable, is not counted.
The rankings reflect heightened reader concerns about the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, and the tireless work of Middle East Forum staff, fellows, and guest contributors to diagnose, quantify, and treat its root causes and ramifications. All are worth a (re)read.
10. Behind Israel's Momentous Failure (October 20)
Many factors contributed to Israel's lack of preparedness for the October 7 surprise attack by a much weaker enemy, from its overreliance on electronic surveillance to its distraction by unrest in the West Bank. But the "main blunder," according to MEF Ginsburg/Milstein Writing Fellow Amatzia Baram, was that prior to October 7, "practically all Israeli analysts, strategic planners and politicians on both sides of the spectrum believed that Hamas was capable of moderation, ... that an Islamist-nationalist movement could be pacified, or at least muzzled."
The decision to send thousands of destitute Palestinians to their deaths in a futile war against Israel was largely made by Hamas leaders who enjoy lives of luxury in Qatar. MEF Milstein Writing Fellow Benjamin Weinthal and New York Post reporter Isabel Vincent find that the top three – Ismail Haniyeh, Moussa Abu Marzuk and Khaled Mashal – alone are worth an estimated $11 billion.
8. Clock Ticks for Israel on Hostages, Hamas, and Diplomatic Grace (November 4)
Four weeks after the October 7 attack, MEF Director of Research Jonathan Spyer warns presciently that the "slow and methodical tempo" of Israel's advance into Gaza, intended to buy time for hostage negotiations, may prevent the "gathering of speed on the ground that would be necessary for the destruction of the Hamas regime" before mounting U.S. and international pressure forces a ceasefire. The end result would be "an unprecedented amount of damage being inflicted on Hamas without entirely destroying it, a deal of some kind or ongoing negotiations regarding the hostages, and a messy and unsatisfactory ceasefire agreement."
7. How Obama's Muslim Childhood Became a Taboo Topic (June 23)
MEF President Daniel Pipes recalls the withering onslaught of ad hominem attacks he received 15 years ago for presenting "clear evidence" that then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was raised as a Muslim before adopting the Christian faith. This "gigantic ... biographical inconvenience" was quickly "rendered taboo" across most of the political spectrum. "Even the conservative press overwhelmingly shied away from the topic."
Pipes expects to be vindicated eventually. As Obama "loses his sacral quality" with the passage of time, "historians will take great interest in his childhood religious affiliation ... [and] how, in a modern democratic society, a determined candidate can suppress even the most important and relevant information."
6. Exposed: Jewish Security Chief's Deep Ties to Qatar (October 31)
MEF Director Gregg Roman and Winfield Myers, MEF's managing editor and director of its Campus Watch project, discuss the puzzling relationship between Michael G. Masters, CEO of the U.S. Jewish community's premier security organization, and Qatar, the Arab world's premier sponsor of Hamas.
Masters has held positions in several companies directly linked to the Qatar's royal family and government and has made frequent appearances at public policy events sponsored by the same, such as the Qatar International Academy for Security Studies' (QIASS) annual Global Security Forum.
This simply won't fly in the wake of the Hamas massacre. Masters "should distance himself from his former Qatari connections," write Roman and Myers, "and condemn the Islamist peninsular regime for what it really is: A danger to global security and the American Jewish community he has sworn to protect."
5. Scotland's Probable Next Leader Has an Islamist Problem (February 23)
Islamist Watch Director Sam Westrop discusses Humza Yousaf, then front-runner to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and become Scotland's new first minister (head of government). Although Yousaf has taken positions at odds with most religious Muslims during his political rise (on transgender rights, for example), he has a long history of ties to Islamists and is "at the very least ... a fellow traveler" for their causes. This seeming contradiction could be a reflection of political astuteness, but Westrop suggests that "Yousaf might be a believer in a genuine confluence of Islamism and progressivism."
4. The Savage Nihilism of 'Free Palestine' (October 9)
Two days after the October 7 massacre, MEF Ginsburg/Milstein Writing Fellow Hussein Aboubakr Mansour observes that "those committed to liberating Palestine can't seem to avoid the abject dehumanization of the Jews as a people ... their aim is not for Palestinians to simply live in peace, dignity, and freedom alongside Israelis."
The scale and brutality of the Hamas murders, and the widespread celebration of them, is emblematic of the Arab-Islamic world's "catastrophic moral system," in particular a "poisonous strain of thought" on Israel that reflects the fusion of imported European "revolutionary antisemitism" with "preexisting religious and cultural biases." This is a moment for "collective introspection," concludes Mansour, who is Egyptian-born. "It's time to confront the darker corners of our ideological heritage and question the ideas and beliefs we may have uncritically absorbed. Only by doing so can we hope to contribute to a more constructive and humane world for ourselves."
3. MEF Investigation Exposes Hamas Funders in America (November 15)
An MEF investigation uncovered more than $260 million received by Hamas-aligned U.S. charities through the 501(c) nonprofit system. Donors include the foundation arms of prominent American corporations and philanthropists. In a press release announcing the results, MEF said that the federal government must stop hostile foreign entities from misusing the 501(c) nonprofit system and urged Congress to "make sure that it does."
Just 24 hours after the October 7 Hamas massacre, Britain's Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), a government subsidized NGO affiliated with Iran's Islamic Republic, hosted a talk on "Justice, Peace and Reconciliation in Palestine" featuring some of the country's most rabidly anti-Israel Islamists. Mobilization of Islamists in support of Hamas soon became the order of the day in other Western countries. From Sam Westrop.
As Israeli forces prepared for a ground invasion of Gaza three weeks after the October 7 Hamas massacre, "a far larger and potentially more consequential mobilization is taking place across the Middle East," warned Jonathan Spyer. "From Lebanon to Yemen, via Syria and Iraq, the Iran-led regional axis, of which Hamas is only a minor element, is moving into position ... awaiting the order to intervene." This mobilization continued, as predicted, and has now begun to overshadow the fighting in Gaza as a threat to regional peace.
The Middle East Forum, a non-profit organization, promotes American interests in the Middle East and protects Western civilization from Islamism. It does so through a combination of original ideas, focused activism, and funding allies. For more information, visit www.meforum.org.
For immediate release
For more information, contact:
+1 (215) 546 5406