Newly released documents suggest that Osama Bin Laden used antisemitism as a major motivating factor in spurring his minions to commit terrorist acts. This is the first confirmation of what many Jews and others have been saying about Islamic terrorism. That much of it is really about the Jews.
But that’s not all we learn from taking a look at his papers and what was on Bin Laden’s bookshelf. We also learn that the terrorist attacks that he hatched were designed to fuel American sentiment toward opposing U.S. Middle Eastern policy. But we also learn that, unlike ISIS, he opposed an Islamic state.
One author, C. Christine Fair, is incensed that a book she co-authored, Fortifying Pakistan, which explores that nation’s resistance toward fully joining the war on terror, was found on bin Laden’s bookshelf.
JERUSALEM – Many religious Israelis believe one of their top rabbis accurately predicted the American assassination of Osama bin Laden.
Rabbi Mordechai Ganot is a religious leader associated with the Kabbalah movement (Jewish mysticism), but enjoys wide acceptance in broader Orthodox Jewish circles.
Renowned for his grasp of astronomy, Rabbi Ganot publishes an annual calendar titled “Everything in its Time” that often attempts to predict major happenings in the coming year.
In his most recent publication of “Everything in its Time,” Ganot wrote that at the start of the new (biblical) year, “hateful people and thieves (Ahmadinejad, Chavez, bin Laden) will be removed from the earth.”
Bin Laden’s assassination took place on the 28th day of the biblical month of Nisan. Though Jews today celebrate the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) in the Fall as their new year, the Bible actually stipulates that Nisan is to be the first month of the year.
In another portion of the book, Ganot predicted that the death of a “great gentile king” would be preceded by a catastrophic earthquake.
Naomi Shemer, the Israeli poet, wrote a song entitled, Al Kol Eleh. The words begin, ‘On the honey and the bee’s sting, on the bitter and the sweet.’
Shemer was trying to explain through the medium of poetry that much in life comes with mixed emotions; good and bad, real and surreal.
The assassination of Osama bin Laden has been a mix of emotions for me:
I am glad he is no longer in this world. He was a terrible person and guilty for many deaths before and after 9/11.
I feel an incredible sense of pride towards our troops serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and all over the world.
There are no words to adequately describe the courage it took our leadership – from the commander in chief to the generals and advisers – to green-light the plan.
I am proud of President Bush, who rightly began the manhunt for this evil villain and, I am indebted to President Obama for completing the task.
There is no proper way to say thank you to the forever-anonymous brave men and women that rappelled down ropes with guns and infra-red goggles to fulfill a mission on behalf of an entire nation.
But, even with all of those feelings, I cannot celebrate a death. It does not feel right. It does not feel Jewish. When I saw hundreds of young people chanting and cheering in front of the White House, at Times Square and with Ground Zero in the background even before the president addressed the nation, I had a hard time differentiating between us and them.
Judaism is quite clear; sometimes people need to be punished for their crimes. The Torah and Talmud explicitly state that one is justified in taking a life when defending their own or another’s life. However, nowhere are we obligated, encouraged or even allowed to celebrate such a death.
There is a well-known Midrash that teaches about the children of Israel crossing the Sea of Reeds. When they successfully make it through and the Egyptians are wiped out in the crashing waves while in chase behind, the Israelites begin to dance and sing and offer the Az Yashir hymn. The children ask God to join them in their jubilant dance. God snaps back to the celebrants, “How dare I dance with you when my creations were just wiped out.”
Obviously, God was complicit – if not fully responsible – for the death of the Egyptians that looked to enslave and punish the Israelite people. But, it was not something that God endorsed celebrating.
Along those same lines, just a few short days ago, when we gathered around the table for our Passover Seder, we took from our overflowing cup and poured out some wine for each of the ten plagues. We observe this ritual because we cannot drink from an overflowing cup when other people, in this case the Egyptians, had to suffer.
Fast forward to this generation. The Jewish people took comfort in the capture and subsequent trial of Adolph Eichmann but, I found no accounts of Jews or gentiles, in Israel or abroad, dancing in the streets or handing out candies or baking baklava when he was hanged on that fateful day in May of 1962. Most in Israel were quite satisfied with the court’s verdict but they did not rejoice or drape themselves in flags and proclaim sovereignty on the street corners.
It is no different today when Israeli leadership is forced to take out radical and evil terrorists foresworn to her destruction. With Eichmann and Hamas militants, then and now, people heard the news, paused for a moment and went on with their days, fully aware of the very real juxtaposition of the bitter and the sweet; the stinger and the honey.
Bin Laden’s death does bring a sense of justice to the senseless murder of thousands of innocent people. Our world feels a bit safer, even if just for a short while. Still, our tradition teaches us that our job is not to celebrate or applaud or chant hymns but, to pause and reflect on the painful circumstances that led us here in the first place.
May this unique moment in our American history be filled with pride and reflection. May our response serve as a model to all of our neighbors of what makes U.S. different. May it bring peace to our world.
God bless our troops and God bless the United States of America.
David-Seth Kirshner is rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in Closter, New Jersey
JERUSALEM – International media outlets suggest that Osama bin Laden’s star had been on the wane across the Muslim world in recent years. But there is one place that was not true – amongst the Palestinian Arabs, where the A\al Qaeda leader still enjoyed relatively high approval ratings.
A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that 38 percent of Palestinian Muslims supported bin Laden. Some Jerusalem Arabs demonstrated that support on Monday evening when they gathered to mourn bin Laden’s assassination by American forces.
Dozens of Arabs from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan gathered for an evening vigil punctuated with rock attacks on Israeli police officers stationed nearby.
The Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem were the scene of mass Arab celebrations following the successful al Qaeda attacks on America on September 11, 2001.
In Gaza, Hamas harshly condemned the killing of bin Laden. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh referred to bin Laden as a “modest man and a Muslim warrior.”
Israeli Arab lawmaker Ibrahim Sarsour accused President Obama of assassinating bin Laden so that he can win next year’s presidential election.
If anyone still imagines that the Palestinian Authority/Hamas mind-meld will last, one only has to look at their disparate responses to the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. special forces.
The Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, reports that Hamas believes that President Obama had ordered the murder of a “holy warrior.” The PA, however, said that bin Laden’s death “could advance the cause of peace.”
This may not be the marriage made in Paradise as reactionary ideologues in the Near East had hoped.
The free world is rejoicing the death of Osama bin Laden. The man behind the 9/11 attacks has gone to, as Robert Spenser of Jihad Watch calls it, “the great bordello in the sky”.
I was in Tampa yesterday to watch the documentary “The Ground Zero Mosque: Second wave of the 91/11 Attacks.” The Pinellas Patriots hosted the event. Spencer and Pamela Geller, publisher of Atlas Shrugs were there to remind us all that the fight against sharia Islam goes on. Both said we are all soldiers in this fight. Geller said that those who died on 9/11 were not civilians but rather soldiers of freedom and we must continue to fight until the day comes when all forms of Shariah Islamic oppression are defeated around the world.
“Osama bin Laden has gone to claim his virgins, and while that is fine news, it really won’t change anything,” Spencer writes.
“The role of al Qaeda in the global jihad, and the role of Osama bin Laden in al Qaeda, have both been wildly overstated. Al Qaeda is not the only Islamic jihad group or Islamic supremacist group operating today, and Osama bin Laden was not some charismatic leader whose movement will collapse without him.”
My and Spencer’s greatest fear is the death of Osama to many means the end to the global war against sharia Islam.
That cannot be farther from the truth. While the movement now has yet another martyr the real fight goes on. I firmly believe the radical shariah Islamist movement is growing and gaining political ground across the Middle East. We are seeing this with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Iran’s support of violence in Bahrain and support for Assad in Syria.
Iran remains the existential threat to Israel, the United States, Europe and the Middle East. A nuclear armed Iran is a death knell to those Muslim and non-Muslim allies fighting to stop sharia Islamist groups like al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas. The Muslim Brotherhood is the growing long term threat.
Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood joining together would be catastrophic.
We are seeing signs of this happening already as Iran has re-established diplomatic ties with Egypt. Joshua Mitnick, Matt Bradley, and Jay Solomon in the Wall Street Journal article “New Tension Roils Israel” report, “Yet the Egyptian political drift toward greater domestic tolerance of Islamist groups [the Muslim Brotherhood] and support for the Palestinians, including a new willingness to work with Hamas, has Israel most worried. The trends could come to a head in September, when Egypt is planning its first post-Mubarak parliamentary elections and the Palestinians are expected to press for state recognition at the UN.”
Matt Bradley reports in the Wall Street Journal that the Muslim Brotherhood is increasing the number of candidates for seats in the new government up to 50 percent. This is much more dangerous for our interests in the region. If the Muslim Brotherhood takes a majority of seats in September then this terrorist organization will control the second largest U.S. equipped military in the Middle East, second only to the Israeli military.
While this is a time to rejoice it is also a time to get serious about the real dangers facing us. Clare Lopez, senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy, refers to al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran as the “Axis of Jihad.” This axis is stronger, poised to achieve major positions of power in key Middle Eastern states and more dangerous to our very survival.
Expect the Axis of Jihad to strike the free world again and again and again.
Richard Swier is a 23-year Army veteran who retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1990. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his years of service, two Bronze Stars with “V” for Heroism in ground combat and the Presidential Unit Citation and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry while serving with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam.
You can read him at http://www.redcounty.com/rich-swier.
Nearly 10 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Osama bin Laden, the leader of the terrorist group responsible for them, is dead.
The announcement made Sunday night by President Obama.
Bin Laden’s body is in the possession of U.S. forces the president said. U.S. personnel are responsible for his death.
“The United States has conducted an operation that has killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda” Obama said.
Obama says he had directed CIA Director Leon Panetta to make the capture or killing of bin Laden the top priority.
The president said that, last August “I was briefed on a possible lead to Osama bin Laden” hiding within a compound inside Pakistan. Last week, following an extensive intelligence gathering operation, the president said he determined that there was enough information in hand so he authorized Sunday’s attack by a small group of U.S. military.
A firefight ensued when the U.S. troops attacked the compound, but, Obama said, no Americans were harmed, and efforts were taken to prevent civilian casualties.
After the firefight, Obama said, “they killed bin Laden and took custody of his body.
“His death,” the president added, “does not mark the end of our effort.” Al Qaeda, he said, remains a threat.
Obama reiterated that the war on terror is not a war with Islam, and noted that bin Laden was not a Muslim religious leader. “He was,” the president said, ” a mass murderer of Muslims” and Muslims, he said, should be happy about his demise.
While this was a U.S. operation within Pakistan, Obama said Pakistani intelligence agents “helped lead us to bin Laden.”
U.S. and Pakistani officials have been in contact, and, Obama says, the Pakistani government agrees that “this is a good and historic day for both of our nations.”
As Obama addressed the nation inside the White House, several hundred people gathered outside, chanting “USA! USA!”