October 23, 2006 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - The State Department's handling of Middle Eastern affairs and lack of judgment when dealing with radical Islam was only too recently demonstrated when Alberto Fernandez [an Arabic speaker whose title is Director of Public Diplomacy, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the U.S. State Department] made the very undiplomatic assertion to the Islamist Al-Jazeera network that "there was much arrogance and stupidity by the United States in Iraq," adding that the US would have to talk with everyone involved except for Al Qaeda, claiming "at the end of the day, sooner or later, we and all those who are concerned with Iraq must sit together in that room or at that table and must discuss and establish some dialogue. This is the only way forward, and, thanks be to God, the Iraqi government is convinced of that."
That a U.S. state department official would use the Muslim religious phrase "praise be to God" [Alhamdulilah] is indicative of the degree to which Gonzalez has gone above and beyond the strict needs of diplomacy, treading very near a self-imposed attitude of dhimmitude especially considering he was speaking to the official mouthpiece of those who seek our defeat in Iraq.
Not surprisingly, Fernandez is a favorite with Al Jazeera whose deputy editor Aderrahim Foukara, gushed, "As far as I am aware, he is the only Arabic speaker from the US government who appears on Al-Jazeera "Sometimes we'll even have him on three or four days in a row."
Another troubling aspect of Fernandez' official conduct is his membership in Middle East Studies Association [MESA] whose anti-Americanism ironically extended to advising their members not to cooperate with the State Department and U.S. government, though it funds the organization.
In 2003 Dr. Daniel Pipes concluded that MESA is:
"Adversarial: Many American scholars are hostile to U.S. national interests. Thus, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) board has recommended that its members "not seek or accept" U.S. government funded scholarships. That three specialists were recently indicted on terrorism charges caused no alarm among their colleagues. Link - http://www.danielpipes.org/article/1251
In 2006 Fernandez was a speaker at the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy Conference:
"The CSID is "a U.S.-based group that was created by board members and former staff of the American Muslim Council [AMC] a radical pro-Saudi group that largely ceased operations after its former chairman, Abdulrahman Alamoudi, was jailed last October on terrorist-related charges." Link - http://www.danielpipes.org/article/1650
In his apparent zeal to develop empathy and kinship among the Islamists he must sometimes deal with, Gonzalez has repeatedly made the mistake of not considering how his associations might be interpreted by them or by others who may well feel that his mere presence might well constitute an official seal of approval.
Such is the case with his guest spot on the radical "Islamonline" website, which is run by Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi, a founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, the antecedent of al-Qaeda.
Quaradawi is also the head of the European Council of Fatwa and Research which was responsible under his leadership for issuing a religious finding that both Muslim women as well as men were bound to participate in suicide bombing.
Islamonline is funded by the UAE royal family and the website links to another site which promotes the viciously anti-Semitic myth, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Fernandez' Islamonline discussion was entitled "Ask the State Department - the US and Mideast Reform," however when queried about Qaradawi [who is banned from entering the United States] he replied" he replied:
"Dr. Qaradawi is a respected scholar and religious leader worthy of the deepest respect. But it is not the role of the United States to single him or anyone else out as a model; that is for the Muslim Umma to decide. I do think that it is important to listen to intelligent and thoughtful voices from the region like Sheikh Qaradawi, but again, this is for Muslims to decide. But he is an important figure that deserves our attention." Link - http://www.islamonline.net/livedialogue/english/Browse.asp?hGuestID=30Ig37
Given Alberto Fernandez' lack of judgment on such matters it's no surprise that the headlines are screaming, "Diplomat acknowledges US arrogance in Iraq."
In large part Fernandez' conduct invites such debacles, calling attention to the obvious conflict of interest between his role as a US diplomat - one of the State Department's Middle East "go to guys" - his less than diplomatic precision and most importantly, his kid glove treatment of those who want to destroy the country who employs him.
Beila Rabinowitz is director of MilitantIslammonitor.org; William A. Mayer is editor and publisher of PipeLineNews.org.