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author biography
Richard Silverstein runs Tikun Olam, (Kabbalistic term meaning “repair [or mend] the world”) a popular peace blog dedicated to a negotiated resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict. A progressive Zionist, Silverstein has been a proponent of Israeli-Arab peace since 1968, supporting a two state solution to the conflict.
He also maintains Israel Palestine Blogs, an aggregator of 50 peace blogs written by Israelis, Palestinians, American Jews, Arab Americans and Lebanese and the progressive discussion forum, Israel Palestine Forum.
He earned an MA in Hebrew Literature at UCLA and has served as a communal fundraiser at Jewish federations in New York and California, and Brandeis University.
His work is published by the Guardian’s Comment is Free blog, American Conservative Magazine and he has been featured in The NY Times, Jewish Forward, Jewish Week and Seattle Post Intelligencer.

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Radical Islam Wants You…and America
Filed under Israeli politics, Middle East, Education, Opinion Editorials, Terrorism around the world, Jewish organisations worldwide, Islamophobia, USA foreign policy, Films and movies, Islamic fundamentalism, US elections, Terror funding, Lobby Groups, USA news, Neo-Cons – on Wednesday, October 08, 2008 – By: Silverstein, Richard

Yes, you read me right. Those crazy imams and ayatollahs want to destroy our American way of life and institute Sharia here in the U.S. of A. They plan on dismantling the Constitution and creating an Islamic state in place of our beloved republic. How do I know? Third Jihad tells me so. What’s Third Jihad? Brought to you by the Clarion Fund, the same folks who brought you Obsession. Their new film debuts October 5th. And not a moment too soon I might add, since those radical jihadis are burrowing into the American heartland as I write these words.
As reader Robin wrote, Third Jihad is “Obsession on steroids.” Right from the opening scene displaying the World Trade Center in ruins as ominous Arabic sounding music plays on the soundtrack, this film hammers you with one message and one message alone: radical Islam wants what you love and will do anything to get it.
For those of us who lived through the 1950s and remember the horrible TV shows and movies (i.e. I Married a Communist, I Was a Communist for the FBI, etc.) depicting American Communists insinuating themselves into the very fabric of American life in order to subvert and destroy it–Third Jihad will give you a sense of deja vu all over again (to quote Yogi Berra allegedly). Something there is in a human being which loves a bogeyman, someone to fear, someone who represents almost pure evil. I don’t quite understand this primeval urge that lurks within us. But it is there.
One of the MOs of the producers of Obsession and Third Jihad is to feature a “good,” moderate Muslim informant to “educate” their audience about the evils of radical Islam. In Obsession, those roles are played by faux PLO-terrorist Walid Shoebat, Nonie Darwish and Kahleel Mohammed (who has angrily disavowed the film and his participation in it).
In the new film, the “good” Muslim is played to the hilt by its “star,” one M. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. He is a “devout practicing Muslim” (and he won’t let you forget that to distinguish himself from Christian-Arab Muslim haters, Shoebat and Darwish), former Navy Lieutenant Colonel, physician, and wannabe political thinker. He seems to have no special qualifications for taking on the role of analyst of political Islam, but assume it he does and with a vengeance.
To put it plain and simple, Jasser is a Muslim neocon. It’s a strange animal considering how hostile the Republican right is to Islam and Muslims. But if Jasser didn’t exist then the neocons would have to invent him (which is pretty much what they did in the case of Shoebat–or I should say that the latter re-invented himself to ingratiate himself with his neocon sponsors).
If you read Jasser carefully, he reminds me of the Log Cabin Republicans, American gays who believe that a Republican Party with no gay members is a Party that will treat gay interests even more shabbily than it does already. In other words, Jasser seems to have chosen to become a staunch Republican in order to, in his eyes, advance the Muslim agenda through the ranks of the Republican Party.
AIF’s political agenda is barely concealed radical-right Republicanism (though the group has 501c3 designation):
As United States citizens we support our American armed forces.
As United States citizens we support absolute and literal adherence to our citizenship pledge. [in case you feared Muslims as a potential fifth column]
…We will work to educate the public regarding the current threat to America of radicals who exploit Islam through militancy.
…We will work to express the consistency of the principles of Islam with economic principles of free markets and capitalism.
…We will work to promote the appreciation of the integral role of American patriotism and nationalism in the life of Muslim youth in America.
…we feel it is necessary to make a foundational position statement regarding the state of Israel. We stand in support of the existing unqualified recognition of the state of Israel
Let’s return to that AIF 501c3 designation, which requires the group not to meddle in partisan politics. Given that Jasser is clearly a neocon Republican, that would seem almost a contradiction in terms. Indeed, Jasser has himself publicly participated in the political process. In this endorsement of a far-right pro-Israel Colorado Republican legislative candidate, he strangely takes aim at the candidate’s Republican American Muslim opponent:
A brief word about Mr. Sharf’s primary opponent. Mrs. Rima Barakat Sinclair has no apparent record, prior to this election of…any traditional conservative issues. Previously, her sole political agenda seems to have been anti-Israel activism. Her candidacy seems to be more a product of Islamist politics than of ideas central to conservative American principles and activism. Sadly, candidates out of this mold, who conflate the Israeli-Palestinian crisis with their Islamic identity actually harm more than they help the genuine pluralistic advancement of American Muslims. Most Muslims are actually quite diverse in their domestic and foreign policy politics and do not accept the collectivist agenda of political Islam (Islamism).
It is certainly no accident that Sinclair’s opponent, Joshua Scharf, is a right-wing pro-Israel militant.
In this National Review interview, Jasser enthusiastically promotes a Republican agenda:
Lopez: Do you like what you’re hearing out of any of the presidential candidates?
Jasser: (First a necessary caveat — the following is my personal opinion only and in no way that of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy).
Yes, I think most of the Republican presidential field is much more honest than the Democrats in articulating the real stakes in this war of ideas of the free world versus the Islamists. While most of the Republican candidates are in the right anti-Islamist arena, only a few have been able to articulate it clearly enough and with enough candor to get my attention. I am far from making up my mind on a candidate yet, but am encouraged by a lot of what I see from some of the candidates.
I am most heartened by what I am hearing from Rudy Guliani’s campaign, with Governor Mitt Romney very close behind in my mind. Mayor Guliani understands the toxicity of the Saudis and their Wahhabis…He is not afraid to articulate the conflict in ideas between Western freedom and Islamist theocracy…He names our enemies by name, and is not afraid to stand for principle and substance in foreign policy over diplomatic platitudes (i.e. against the Saudis, Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood), and other Islamists.
Governor Mitt Romney’s campaign has also demonstrated a willingness to mince no words when discussing the ideologies we are facing. He identifies jihadists as our enemies and uses his important position of national and global leadership to clearly frame the debate as one between the ideology of Islamism (Caliphism, jihadism, and theocracy) versus freedom.
…John McCain’s articulation of the stakes in the Iraq war has always been very impressive, and I hope that other candidates can look to his clarity on the issue as an example of principle.
His disclaimer is a laugh since the group’s website lists him as founder and president. Only one other individual is listed on the entire website as a staff member of the group. No board members are listed (though he refers to the existence of one). So Jasser IS AIF. If Jasser is a right-wing Republican, so is AIF. Which makes a 501c3 designation problematic.
This blog post notes that the author heard Jasser speak at a Republican women’s group dinner.
If you review Jasser’s credits, he largely inhabits the right-wing media universe: he’s appeared on Fox News and Glenn Beck, and in the pages of the Washington Times and National Review. He is a member of Podhoretz-Dechter creation, the pro-Israel and neocon Committee on the Present Danger. He has spoken before the Hudson Institute. He writes for Family Security Matters, a far-right website graced also by the elegant stylings of Rachel Neuwirth, my failed libel accuser. It’s a veritable who’s who of the neocon political-media universe.
Jasser has also been attacked from within the Muslim community. Apparently, he denies Islamic clerical authority (not just radical clerics), a system built over fourteen centuries. Islam, according to Jasser, provides complete freedom to the individual Muslim to interpret Koran as he wishes. No need to grapple with ideas and analysis from generations of Islamic scholars who’ve preceded. Just do your own thing. It’s quite a wild and radical idea. Especially coming from someone who freely concedes he has no training in the field.
I hope everyone reading this will put out the word that Third Jihad is an anti-Muslim train wreck of a film. That it reeks of partisan political bias. That it has no place in any fair political discourse. Let’s put Third Jihad back in the toilet bowl where it belongs.
The opinions and views articulated by the author do not necessarily reflect those of Israel e News. | Digg | Newsvine | NowPublic | reddit | Tailrank | Technorati |

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