An open letter to US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki

Dear Ms. Psaki

I would greatly appreciate it if you would kindly help me understand the apparent contradiction between what President Obama said in his September speech to the UN and your interpretation of what he said. President Obama said emphatically

“It is time for the world, especially Muslim communities, to explicitly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of organizations LIKE al Qaeda and ISIL” [emphasis added]

Significantly, the president didn’t urge us to reject only al Qaeda and ISIL He included organizations LIKE THEM and unless the free world deals equally with ALL similar extremist organizations, the enormous cost in lives and treasure in the fight against al Quaeda and the Islamic State will be wasted.

Who are these LIKE organizations? To answer honestly and frankly we must learn from past mistakes. Had we not failed to recognize and deal with several obvious precursors, we would not today be faced with the awful threat posed by the Islamic State.

We need only be reminded of the murderous fury provoked by the Danish, Jyllands–Posten Muhammad cartoons in 2006 that cost 200 deaths accompanied by violent attacks on diplomatic missions, churches and Christians. Instead of then forcefully rejecting this murderous violence as now urged by Obama, mainstream media on the whole treated the events with tolerance and spurious understanding. At best they engaged and continue to engage in a sterile debate about the limits of freedom of expression and an apologetic attitude to the relationship of Muslim minorities in Western societies.

Published with permission of San Antonio Express News
Published with permission of San Antonio Express News

At the State Department briefing following President Obama’s speech you conceded that both ISIL and Hamas are US designated foreign terrorist organizations. I am therefore puzzled by your statement that ISIL and Hamas pose different threats to Western interests and to the United States thereby apparently excluding Hamas specifically from groups like the Islamic State, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram that PM Netanyahu claimed are all part of the same kind of militant Islamic attempt to rule the world. I would be grateful if you would kindly clarify this point.

Certainly not all jihadist organizations are identical, but they do share common ideologies that are inimical to the Western way of life and it is perilous to underestimate the existential threat they ALL (including Hamas) pose to the US in particular, and to the free world in general

This selective tolerant treatment of Hamas with kid gloves suggests that the administration considers the Arab-Israel conflict to be separate from the general “war on terror”, contradicting the important message conveyed by the president in the same speech when he warned

“.. the situation in Iraq and Syria and Libya should cure anybody of the illusion that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the main source of problems in the region. For far too long, that’s been used as an excuse to distract people from problems at home”.

This message by President Obama is an extremely important key to dealing with the threat imposed, not by Islam, but by Islamic extremism. Instead of recognizing that Israel stands in the frontline of the free world’s defensive war against terror, the obsessive singling out of Israel for exaggerated opprobrium and sanitizing its enemies, has encouraged and continues to encourage the evil forces threatening the free world today.

As long ago as February 2006 in a report to the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Dale L. Watson, Executive Assistant Director of the FBI Counterterrorism Division included Hamas and Hezbollah among organizations that actively support terrorist-related activities in the United States. Inasmuch as the president has acknowledged that the US. underestimated the threat of ISIL it cannot afford to compound the error by underestimating the real nature of Hamas and its part in the terror war against the US and the free world.

Like ISIL Hamas seeks a global caliphate, as confirmed by no less an authority than Hamas supreme leader Khaled Meshal in the following excerpts from his speech in the Al-Murabit Mosque, Damascus on February 3, 2006

“We say this to the West..By Allah you will be defeated…Tomorrow the Nation of Islam will sit at the Throne of the World and the West will be full of remorse when it is too late..It will regain the leadership of the world…Brothers and sister, there is confusion in the Western world, and in the American administration.” (Translation by MEMRI)

Meshal’s words were authoritatively echoed by Hamas interior minister, Fathi Hammad on Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV on November13, 2013 when he said:

“We shall liberate our Al-Aqsa Mosque, and our cities and villages, as a prelude to the establishment of the future Islamic Caliphate … we are at the threshold of a global Islamic civilization era

And, to confirm Hamas’ caliphate objectives and to understand the real Hamas, who best to turn to than Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Hamas founder and leader Sheikh Hassan Yousef? Mosab’s book “Son of Hamas” should be compulsory reading for anyone who comments on the Arab-Israel conflict. Here in the video clip below is Mosab in an interview with CNN

Enforcing shariah law is common to Hamas and ISIL. On March 27, 2014 Gulf News reported on Hamas’ new Islamist law introducing lashings, (a minimum of 80 in criminal cases), chopping of limbs and execution.

As PM Netanyahu said at the UN

“Hamas shares the global ambitions of its fellow militant Islamists. That’s why its supporters wildly cheered in the streets of Gaza as thousands of Americans were murdered on 9/11. And that’s why its leaders condemned the United States for killing Osama bin Laden, whom they praised as a holy warrior. So when it comes to their ultimate goals, Hamas is ISIL and ISIL is Hamas.. they all share a fanatic ideology. They all seek to create ever expanding enclaves of militant Islam where there is no freedom and no tolerance – where women are treated as chattel, Christians are decimated, and minorities are subjugated, sometimes given the stark choice: convert or die.”

What the ISIS, ISIL or IS look-alikes have in common are intolerance of any religion other than Islam, fury at any hint of criticism or lack of respect for their religion, establishment of a caliphate, imposition of Shariah law and most reprehensible of all, unbelievable cruelty.

And in treating Hamas more tolerantly than others among ISIL look-alikes it is obvious that the world has forgotten that it was Hamas that introduced the concept of suicide bombers, now widely prevalent in Iraq and elsewhere. Until the security barrier was built hundreds of these human projectiles were sent by Hamas from Gaza and the West bank to blow up buses and crowded restaurants killing and wounding uninvolved CIVILIANS at random; adults, children, the elderly and infirm as well as infants. Forgotten too is that Hamas killed hundreds of fellow Palestinians during the violent take over of Gaza in 2007, throwing some from roofs tops.

The internet contains dozens of pictures showing Hamas behavior closely matching that of ISIL. Recently, having executed over 30 Gazans, Hamas proudly showed films of the extra-judicial execution of a further 25 fellow Palestinians including two women. In November 2012 the Guardian reported that masked Hamas gunmen publicly shot dead six suspected collaborators. A sixth corpse was tied to a motorcycle and dragged through the streets.

On the strict understanding of anonymity some Gazans admitted that the victims were not spies but were merely protesting against the extreme measures enforced by Hamas. Even the well-known pro-Palestinian journalist Amira Hass felt compelled to write in Haaretz that the executions appeared to be a warning to the Gazan public to be careful in anything it says and does that might upset Hamas. Similar views have been expressed by journalists after they returned from Gaza to the comparative safety of their home countries.

This open letter is being publicized and my readers and I would very much appreciate a considered reply which will be equally publicized.

About the Author
Maurice Ostroff is a founder member of the international Coalition of Hasbara Volunteers, better known by its acronym CoHaV, (star in Hebrew), a world-wide umbrella organization of volunteers active in combating anti-Israel media and political bias and in promoting the positive side of Israel His web site is at
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