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Global Terror Threat Has Skyrocketed Due to Oct. 7 Hamas Attack, Gaza War, Experts Warn

A man runs on a road as fire burns after rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon, Israel, Oct. 7, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The threat of terrorist attacks in the West has escalated in the wake of the Hamas terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel and amid the ensuing war in Gaza, according to experts who spoke with The Algemeiner.

The brutal success of Hamas’ invasion of the Jewish state last fall, coupled with images emerging from Israel’s military operations against the terror group in Gaza, has sparked a new wave of radicalization, experts argued. Of chief concern has been the emergence of a new wave of so-called “lone wolf” terrorists who gained inspiration from Islamist extremist groups such as al Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS) and have become further galvanized by the current conflict in the Middle East.

“The FBI and others have reported a sharp uptick in terrorist activity, including active recruitment and self-radicalization, since the Oct. 7 attacks and the Israeli response,” said Matthew Levitt, a senior fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“This applies across a wide ideological divide and geographic space,” Levitt added. “It includes both organized activities by established groups and lone actors who may be inspired by the sharp rise in terrorist propaganda produced against the backdrop of these events.”

Senior US officials have similarly been warning about a heightened threat of terrorism since Oct. 7, when Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists invaded Israel, murdered 1,200 people, and kidnapped over 250 others as hostages.

“As I look back over my career in law enforcement, I’m hard-pressed to come up with a time when I’ve seen so many different threats, all elevated, all at the same time,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told NBC News in an interview last month.

Earlier in April, Wray told US lawmakers in congressional testimony that he believed small groups or individuals “will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home.” He noted that concerns were rising before Hamas’ attack, but “we’ve seen the threat from foreign terrorists rise to a whole other level after Oct. 7.”

Gen. Gregory Guillot, commander of US Northern Command, shared Wray’s sentiment while testifying before Congress in March. Terrorist groups are using Israel’s war against Hamas to encourage more attacks against the US, Guillot argued. However, he added, terrorism has become more dispersed and informal, making it more difficult to combat.

“The increasingly diffuse nature of the transnational terrorist threat challenges our law enforcement partners’ ability to detect and disrupt attacks plotting against the homeland and leaves us vulnerable to surprise,” Guillot said.

Days earlier, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said that al Qaeda and ISIS have been inspired by Hamas, the Palestinian terror group that rules Gaza, to attack Americans and Israelis.

“While it is too early to tell, both al Qaeda and ISIS, inspired by Hamas, have directed supporters to conduct attacks against Israeli and US interests,” Haines testified to the US Senate Intelligence Committee. “And we have seen how it is inspiring individuals to conduct acts of antisemitism and Islamophobic terror worldwide.”

She added that the Gaza war “will have a generational impact on terrorism.”

The US and its allies have spent years eroding the capabilities and networks of terrorist groups such as al Qaeda and ISIS. Intelligence services have also improved their methods for identifying and thwarting terror plots. As a result, experts believe that smaller-scale groups such as ISIS-K and radicalized individuals present the chief threats to the US homeland.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Experts also noted the threat posed by Iran, which the US government has consistently deemed the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism.

“The ongoing and primary terrorist threat is from the Iranian regime and its proxies,” said Marshall Wittman, a spokesperson for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). “That is why it is critical that America stand with its ally, Israel, which is on the front lines in this struggle against Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iranian aggression. American national security interests are aligned with Israel’s battle against Iranian-sponsored terrorism which threatens regional stability in the Middle East.”

Iran is the chief international sponsor of Hamas, providing the terror group with arms, funding, and training.

In addition to spurring a heightened threat of terrorism, the Oct. 7 massacre has also led to a global surge in antisemitism, making the Jewish community a likely target of potential terror plots.

The Anti-Defamation League released a report last month showing antisemitic incidents in the US rose 140 percent last year, reaching a record high. Most of the outrages occurred after Oct. 7, during the ensuing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Meanwhile, antisemitic incidents have also skyrocketed to record highs in several other countries around the world, especially in Europe, since the Hamas atrocities.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt has said that Oct. 7 unleashed a “tsunami of hate” against Jewish people.

Much of the antisemitism has manifested in the form of violent threats and attacks against Jewish individuals. In late October, for example, authorities arrested a Cornell University student for threatening to “stab” and “slit the throat” of his Jewish classmates. That same month, the FBI foiled a plot to bomb a Jewish gathering in Houston, Texas.

Corey Walker is a journalist based in Washington, DC.

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Iran’s ‘Supreme Leader’ Welcomes Anti-Israel Campus Protesters to ‘Resistance Front’

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a televised speech in Tehran, Iran. Photo: Official Khamenei Website/Handout via REUTERS

Iran’s so-called “supreme leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, applauded the anti-Israel protesters who have thrown university campuses across the US into chaos over the past several weeks, declaring them part of a new “branch of the Resistance Front” against the Jewish state.

“Dear university students in the United States of America, this message is an expression of our empathy and solidarity with you,” Khamenei wrote in an open letter published on Thursday. “As the page of history is turning, you are standing on the right side of it.”

Rehashing antisemitic conspiracies of Jewish control, he derided “the global Zionist elite” for speaking against the campus demonstrations.

“The global Zionist elite — who owns most US and European media corporations or influences them through funding and bribery — has labeled this courageous, humane resistance movement as ‘terrorism,’” Khamenei wrote. “You have now formed a branch of the Resistance Front and have begun an honorable struggle in the face of your government’s ruthless pressure — a government which openly supports the usurper and brutal Zionist regime.”

Khamenei also praised students in other countries who have launched anti-Israel demonstrations on campuses, noting the leading role that faculty have played in fostering and supporting the unrest.

“Besides you students from dozens of American universities, there have also been uprisings in others countries among academics and the general public,” he wrote. “The support and solidarity of your professors is a significant and consequential development. This can offer some measure of comfort in the face of your government’s police brutality and the pressures it is exerting on you. I too am among those who empathize with you young people, and value your perseverance.”

Khamenei’s letter came amid an outpouring of praise for the anti-Zionist students by Islamist terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda.

“While we support the assassination of the infidel Zionists and the beheading of them, we also appreciate and value the movement of Western demonstrators and sit-in students from Western universities, who through their sit-ins and protests expressed their rejection of the genocide taking place in Gaza,” al-Qaeda leadership wrote in a recent communique

Hamas and Hezbollah, both backed by Iran, have also cheered the protests.

“Today’s students are the leaders of the future, and their suppression today means an expensive electoral bill that the Biden administration will pay sooner or later,” Hamas official Izzat Al-Risheq said in a statement last month.

Naim Qassem, the deputy head of Hezbollah, also praised the protesters during an interview with Al-Manar TV earlier this month.

“We appreciate and value this very much. Perhaps in the future, there will be cooperation among the youth of the world — in America, France, Britain, Germany, and all the activists,” he said. “The [campus protests] are important, especially because they will have an impact on US elections. They will have an impact on the American position.”

Earlier this month, when some universities suspended students who had occupied sections of campus and refused to leave unless school officials agreed to condemn and boycott Israel, the Iran-backed Houthi militia, a terrorist organization that has repeatedly violated freedom of the seas by attacking international shipping vessels passing through the Red Sea, offered to admit the disciplined students as transfers to Sanaa University, an institution it administers.

Some anti-Zionist student groups have reciprocated the admiration.

Last week, Columbia University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) endorsed Hamas, the latest sign of its growing extremism and willingness to embrace Islamic extremism and antisemitism.

“The Palestinian resistance is the only force materially fighting back against isr*el [sic],” the group said in a series of posts shared by Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus, a social media account which exposes antisemitism on college campuses. “There is no way to eliminate the resistance without ending the occupation. When you see a video of a young palestinian [sic] boy traumatized in a hospital talking about how iof [the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF] shot his pregnant mother in cold blood in front of his own eyes, do not question how he chooses to resist years later.”

Campus Reform, a higher education watchdog which first reported Documenting Jew Hatred on Campus’ posts, noted that Columbia SJP has added an “inverted red triangle” to its social media biography, further indicating its support for Hamas. The Palestinian terrorist group has used an inverted red triangle in its propaganda videos to indicate an Israeli target about to be attacked, and anti-Israel protesters on university campuses have been using the symbol in their demonstrations.

Columbia SJP, a group that has re-formed under multiple names since being suspended by school administrators during the fall semester, was central in staging a slew of riotous demonstrations in which anti-Zionist activists verbally assaulted Jewish students with antisemitic epithets, clamorously expressed support for terrorism and Hamas, and caused thousands of dollars in damages to school property.

The anti-Zionist student movement’s support for terrorism and anti-American ideologies has been expressed before.

Footage of the protests which erupted on college campuses at the end of spring semester showed demonstrators chanting in support of Hamas and calling for the destruction of Israel. In many cases, they lambasted the US and Western civilization more broadly.

“Yes, we’re all Hamas, pig!” one protester was filmed screaming during the fracas at Columbia University, which saw some verbal skirmishes between pro-Zionist and anti-Zionist partisans. “Long live Hamas!” said others who filmed themselves dancing and praising the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas terrorist organization. “Kill another solider!”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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Advocacy Group Attempts to Shore Up Support for Israel Among US Democrats

US President Joe Biden addresses rising levels of antisemitism, during a speech at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Annual Days of Remembrance ceremony, at the US Capitol building in Washington, DC, US, May 7, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

A pro-Israel advocacy group is attempting to quell fears among US Democratic politicians that expressing support for the Jewish state amid the ongoing war in Gaza will lead to electoral defeat in November. 

Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI), a group that advocates for pro-Israel policies within the Democratic Party, circulated a memo this week explaining that the war in Gaza is simply not a top priority for most of the electorate. The memo, first acquired by Axios news website, asserts that “it just isn’t true” that Democratic support for Israel will come at an electoral cost. 

The group argues that a series of misleading polls has caused Democratic elected officials to become more tepid in their support for the Jewish state. 

To bolster its claims, DMFI points to a poll conducted by the New York Times in May which revealed that only 2 percent of voters cite Israel, Palestinians, Hamas, or Gaza as their most important issue. Nonetheless, the Times tried to exaggerate the extent to which voters care about the Israel-Hamas war by highlighting the 5 percent of voters who cite foreign policy as their biggest issue, according to DMFI. However, these 5 percent of voters did not identify if the war in Gaza is their major foreign policy concern.

The group also points out a Harvard-Harris poll from April which showed that Americans overwhelmingly side with Israel in its ongoing war effort. Eighty percent of Americans support Israel and only 20 percent back Hamas, the poll revealed.

DMFI also suggests that Israel’s ongoing military offensive against Hamas has not had a noticeable impact on President Joe Biden’s national standing. According to polling data aggregated by FiveThirtyEight, the president’s approval rating on Oct. 7of last year stood at 39.6 percent, and on April 23 last month, his approval stood at 40 percent. The same poll reveals that presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s lead over Joe Biden did not grow over the same time period. 

DMFI president Mark Mellman told Axios that anti-Israel activists represent a small fringe of the American electorate. 

“People sometimes mistake volume for percentage, and the fact that some people are very loud doesn’t make them the majority. … It doesn’t even make them a substantial minority,” Mellman said.

The group’s efforts to reach out to Democrats come on the heels of a high-pressure effort by left-wing groups to force the Democratic establishment to stop supporting Israel. Anti-Israel organizations have organized efforts to encourage voters in Democratic primaries to vote “uncommitted” in lieu of voting for Biden. Moreover, nearly every appearance by Biden in recent months has been marked by the presence of scores of angry anti-Israel protesters

The relationship between Democratic politicians and the Jewish state has significantly soured in the months following Hamas’ Oct. 7 slaughter of over 1,200 people in southern Israel. High-profile Democrats such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) have suggested that Israel is committing “genocide” against Palestinian civilians.

Meanwhile, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (CA) signed onto a letter urging Biden to pause weapons shipments to Israel. Biden vowed to stop arms deliveries to Israel if the Israeli army attempts to dismantle the remaining Hamas battalions within the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, expressing concern about the prospect of civilian casualties during such an offensive.

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Hate crimes in Toronto are predominantly antisemitic—and the numbers continue to rise: TPS security and intelligence commander

Antisemitic hate crimes continue to account for more than any other category of reported hate crimes in Toronto, according to the head of Toronto police intelligence. Superintendent Katherine Stephenson of Toronto Police Service (TPS) confirmed the ongoing spike in hate occurrences during a presentation at Holy Blossom Temple on May 29, where she addressed 350 […]

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