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CAIR-LA Director: ‘Israel Doesn’t Have Right to Defend Itself,’ ‘Every Day for Palestinians Has Been Oct. 7’

Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Los Angeles office, speaking at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, Dec. 1, 2023: Photo: Screenshot

Israel “does not have the right” to defend itself from Palestinian violence, and for the Palestinians “every single day” since the Jewish state’s establishment has been comparable to Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre, according to the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Los Angeles office (CAIR-LA).

“For 75 years, every single day for the Palestinian people had been October 7,” Hussam Ayloush said while delivering a sermon at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City in the US state of Oklahoma on Friday.

Ayloush was referring to Hamas’ onslaught across southern Israel on Oct. 7, when the Palestinian terror group invaded the Jewish state, murdered 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted 240 others, taking them back to Gaza.

Ayloush’s sermon was first reported by the Middle East Media Research Institute and posted online by CAIR’s Oklahoma branch.

In his remarks, Ayloush also seemed to rationalize the Hamas atrocities and condemn Israel’s defensive war in response to them, arguing the Jewish state does not have the right to defend itself.

“Israel does not have the right to defend itself, as an occupier to defend itself from the occupied,” he said. “No, it doesn’t. This is not a rhetorical thing — it doesn’t, legally, under international law. No occupier has the right defend itself from the occupied.”

Ayloush then compared Israel to Nazi Germany, apparently drawing a moral equivalence between the lone democracy in the Middle East and the perpetrators of the Holocaust.

“Imagine we tell Nazi Germany: ‘You have the right to defend yourself against French resistance, or Polish resistance, or Jewish resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto.’ People would laugh at you if you said that,” he claimed. “Imagine if you said that Russia has the right to defend itself against Ukrainian resistance — you don’t. As long as you are an occupier, you do not have the right to resist, or to defend yourself.”

“Guess who has the right to defend themselves?” Ayloush asked. “The Palestinians.”

Ayloush went on to argue that people trust news from “on the ground photojournalists” putting their content on social media rather than traditional media outlets, before accusing Israel without evidence of faking the deaths of Israelis.

“You can’t fake the image of dead children. You can’t fake the image of dying parents. You can’t fake the image of burying, you know, people crying,” he said. “You can fake one or two if you want to be the Israeli government, etc., as they do once in a while, right?”

The CAIR-LA director then touted Al Jazeera as “the most credible, most comprehensive of the outlets providing material on what is happening there, English or Arabic.”

Al Jazeera was established by the Qatari royal family, which has infamously hosted senior Hamas leaders for years. Qatar, along with Iran and Turkey, has also provided a large portion of the Palestinian terror group’s budget.

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), meanwhile, “some of CAIR’s current leadership had early connections with organizations that are or were affiliated with Hamas.”

Critics have accused CAIR of being sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood and a creation of the Islamist movement’s broad network. Hamas is a Palestinian offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

CAIR has previously disputed the accuracy of the ADL’s claim about its Hamas links, asserting that the Muslim advocacy group “unequivocally condemns all acts of terrorism, whether carried out by al Qaeda, the Real IRA, FARC, Hamas, ETA, or any other group designated by the US Department of State as a ‘Foreign Terrorist Organization.’”

In October, the ADL criticized CAIR for signing on to a statement of the US Council of Muslim Organizations following the Oct. 7 massacre that “ignored Hamas’ violence against Israeli civilians and instead called for the United States and world governments to ‘exert pressure on Israel’ to stop its ‘atrocities’ against the Palestinians.”

The head of the ADL has previously lambasted CAIR for backing racist and antisemitic statements made by one of its executive directors, accusing both of “blatant antisemitism.”

CAIR-LA and Ayloush didn’t respond to a request for comment for this story.

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The World Must Care About Murdered Russian Dissidents

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is seen on board a plane before the departure for the Russian capital Moscow at an airport in Berlin, Germany January 17, 2021. Photo: REUTERS/Polina Ivanova/File Photo.

In 2017, I wrote this:

Anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny posted a report on YouTube detailing the corruption of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. After more than 13 million views in roughly three weeks, people, including a large number of teenagers, answered Navalny’s call for public protest. They flooded the streets of 95 Russian cities, as well as London, Prague, Basel, and Bonn. Many carried rubber ducks — or real ducks — referring to reports of a luxury duck farm on one of Medvedev’s properties. 

Depending on the source, 7,000-8,000 (Russia’s Interior Ministry) or 25,000-30,000 (Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation) people turned out in Moscow, and hundreds — or thousands — were arrested.

Navalny is now in jail.

Navalny is now dead.

Life has never been easy for critics of Vladimir Putin. There are 30 names in this review, which is not comprehensive. They died in different (and odd) ways and different places, but all were known to have fallen out of favor with the boss. Think of them and the circumstances of their lives as well as their deaths.

Just last week, Russian pilot Maxim Kuzminov was found in a parking lot in Kiev with five bullets in him. In August, he had defected to Ukraine with a Russian Mi-8 helicopter.

Also in August, Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin died when his airplane was struck by a missile, and General Gennady Lopyrev, once a Putin confidant, died in a military jail, where he had been sent in 2017. Just before his parole, he became ill — gasping for breath — and was told by doctors he had previously undiagnosed leukemia; then he died. Col-Gen Gennady Zhidko led the invasion of Ukraine in 2022 but was removed in disgrace in October 2022, and essentially disappeared. His death was announced in August.

Dmitri Pavochka, former manager of Roscosmos, burned to death after falling asleep with a lit cigarette. Magomed Abdulaev, Chairman of the Government of the Republic of Dagestan, was victim of a hit and run. Alexander Nikolayev of Rosatom and a former diplomat, was beaten to death.

Marina Yankina, head of the financial support department of the Ministry of Defense for the Western Military district, fell out a 16th story window. Windows were problematic for:

Federal Judge Artyom Bartenev
Kristina Baikova, Vice president of Loko-Bank
Lukoil chairman Ravil Manganov
Pavel Antonov, richest deputy of the Russian Duma — and Putin critic
Semyon Korobeinikov — a clothing salesman — who “lost his footing” on a balcony. Later it emerged that he had been a co-conspirator in a bank fraud case that might have required him to testify against a mob boss friend of Putin.
Nicolai Gorokhov (2017), a witness for the US government in the investigation of Serge Magnitsky’s death, fell 50 feet out a window “while installing a hot tub.” “The balcony fell off,” the Russian government said.
Dan Rapoport, a Latvian-born US citizen, fell out of the window of a luxury apartment building in Washington, D.C. [Rapoport was the second Putin critic to die in Washington. Mikhail Y. Lesin, 57, who helped create the Kremlin’s global English-language Russia Today television network, was found dead in a hotel in 2016.]

It wasn’t only windows. In 2022,  Ivan Pechorin, 39, Putin’s hand-selected managing director of the Far East and Arctic Development Corporation (FEADC), fell off his yacht. [Andrei Fomin, Prosecutor of Chuvashia, drowned in the same area almost a year later.] Igor Nosov, CEO of FEADC died, reportedly, of a stroke.

The death of Igor Shkurko, deputy general director of Russian energy company Yakutskenergo in pretrial detention, accused of bribery, and that of 92-year-old Grigory Klinishov, the father of Russia’s thermonuclear bomb, were ruled suicides. As was the death of Major General (ret.) Yevgeny Lobachev, of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation.

The former Deputy Chairman of Novatek, was found hanged from a handrail. His wife and daughter were stabbed to death. Businessman Mikhail Watford was found dead at his home in England, while another businessman — Vladimir Bidenov — died in India after hitting his head on a railing.

No explanation was given for the death of Aleksandr Buzakov, head of Russia’s “admiralty shipyards.” Aleksey Maslov, former chief of Russian Ground Forces died “unexpectedly” in a military hospital.

There is more.

Putin critic and lawmaker Denis Voronenkov (2017), Boris Nemtsov (2015), human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov  (2009), journalists Anastasiya Baburova (2009), Natalia Estemirova (2009), Anna Politkovskaya (2005), and Paul Klebnikov (2004), and politician Sergei Yushenkov (2003) were all shot.

Human Rights lawyer Sergei Magnitsky (2009) died in police custody after being beaten and denied treatment. Yevgeny Khamaganov (2017) editor-in-chief of Asia-Russia Daily died in unexplained circumstances that resulted in a coma. Putin critic Nikolai Andrushchenko (2018) died of a severe beating — his third in a few months. He had told friends that he’d survived a previous attempt to poison him.

Britain is only barely safer. Boris Berezovsky (2013), after a falling out with Putin, left for London. He was found dead in his bath in a locked bathroom with a noose around his neck. A British coroner did not determine the cause of death. Yuri Shchekochikhin (2003) had what official reports called a “rare allergic reaction” to “something.” His family believed he had previously been poisoned and this time it killed him. Alexander Litvinenko (2006) drank radioactive tea in Britain. British coroners found nothing unusual in Alexander Perepilichny (2012) dropping dead on a jog. It might have been “bad sushi” they suggested. Later, an insurance company scientist uncovered traces of a toxic plant in his stomach.

The chilling effect of killing political dissents goes beyond the tragic loss of lives of individuals fighting for better governance or their compatriot’s freedom. It serves as strategic move to deepen the veneer of inevitability surrounding the kleptocratic rule of President Putin, both at home and abroad.

Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of The Jewish Policy Center, where a version of this article first appeared.

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The detailed plans for a Canadian law that regulates hate speech online are seen as a ‘good start’ by Jewish groups

Jewish groups and others concerned about the rise of hate speech online welcomed the introduction of a new government bill on Feb. 26. And while the parliamentary process for it to become law is only beginning, it’s a good start according to advocacy groups who have called for the government to regulate certain types of […]

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‘You Jew!’: UC Berkeley Mob Attacks Jews During Event With IDF Soldier, University Pledges Investigation

Mob of anti-Zionists attempting to infiltrate event with Ran Bar-Yoshafat at University of California, Berkeley on February 27, 2024. Photo: Screenshot/Twitter

A mob of hundreds pro-Palestinian students and non-students shut down an event Monday evening at University of California-Berkeley featuring an Israeli soldier, forcing Jewish students to flee to a secret safe room as the protestors overwhelmed campus police

Footage of the incident shared by the outlet shows a serried mass of anti-Zionist agitators banging on the doors of the Zellerbach Library while an event featuring Israeli reservist Ran Bar-Yoshafat —who visited the university to discuss his military service during Hamas’ massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7 — took place inside. The mob then stormed the building — breaking glass windows in the process, according reports in the Daily Wire — and forced school officials to evacuate Jewish students to a secret safe-room.

“What happened last night was deeply concerning and a violation of some of our most important rules and values as a university, including freedom of speech, respect for diversity, and the ties that bind us together as a community,” UC Berkeley assistant vice chancellor for communications and public affairs Dan Mogulof told The Algemeiner on Tuesday during a phone interview. “What we saw last night has no recent precedent. More than an estimated 200 protesters showed up at the venue and gained unauthorized entry into the building. There has never been anything like what occurred last night.”

Mogulof pledged that the university will launch an investigation into the incident.

“We do not and will not ignore violations of our rules and values,” he said. “When we have events like this, we always have two priorities. One, to do everything in our power so the event goes forward and the other is to do everything in our power to protect the safety and well being of our students and members of the public, and given the size of the crowd, and the violence of the crowd, we were unable to do both, even with 20 police officers. The event had to be cancelled, so that we could evacuate the building and support the safety of the students.”

During the infiltration of Zellerbach, one of the mob — which was assembled by Bears for Palestine, which had earlier proclaimed its intention to cancel the event — spit on a Jewish student and called him a “Jew,” pejoratively.

“You know what I was screamed at? ‘Jew, you Jew, you Jew,’ literally right to my face,” the student who was attacked said to a friend. “Some woman — then she spit at me.”

Shaya Keyvanfar, a student, told The Algemeiner that her sister was spit and that the incident was unlike any she had ever witnessed.

“Once the doors were closed, the protesters somehow found a side door and pushed it open, and a few of them managed to get in, and once they did, they tried to open the door for the rest of them,” Keyvanfar said. “It was really scary. They were pounding on the windows outside — they broke one — they spit at my sister and others. They called someone a dirty Jew. It was eerie.”

Keyvanfar added that it may be difficult to identify the culprits because anti-Zionists activists wear masks to conceal their identities.

Security concerns plagued the event all week, according to the Daily Wire, and after arriving on campus Bar-Yoshafat was required to conceal his identity. Prior to that, the location of the event was changed to various locations to prevent violence.

“I just felt really bad for these kids because they were scared,” Bar-Yoshafat told Daily Wire. “Girls were crying from being attacked, and I think the kid that was spat on was just so shocked. I don’t think the students anticipated so many people being violent, they thought they would just chant outside.”

During Tuesday’s interview with The Algemeiner Mogulof stressed that the university “understands now that we are in new territory” and called the incident a “black mark” on its reputation. He also explained that UC Berkeley launched an antisemitism awareness program in 2019, which included panels and talks with esteemed scholars of Jewish history such as Deborah Lipstadt, because it takes the issue of campus antisemitism seriously.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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