The NY Times’ Julia Preston has just broken an earth-shattering story! A charity in the United Arab Emirates actually provides charitable support to families of Palestinian suicide bombers and civilians injured by Israeli violence. It can only mean yet another example of the perfidy of the UAE and how right our beloved Congress was in keeping those terror-mongers out of our ports:
In the last four years the United Arab Emirates has provided substantial financial support, through its Red Crescent Society, to families of Palestinians, militants as well as civilians, who have been wounded or killed by Israeli forces, according to Red Crescent documents.
The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven small states including Dubai, where a government-owned company was due to take over some American port operations. Facing intense Congressional opposition, the company said recently that it would sell its operations in the United States to an unrelated American company within six months.
In 2002 and 2003, the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Society, a quasi-governmental organization, made donations to Palestinian charities that included social groups associated with Hamas…
REALLY! This story is an absolute snoozer. A non-issue. Boring. But why?
First, the Emirates charity is only doing what scores of other Arab charities in other Arab countries do. So why pile on the Emirates except if you wish to reinforce American xenophobia regarding the Dubai ports deal and further the notion that UAE is a ‘bad egg?’ There is a general consensus (which many of us in the West disagree with) that shaheeds, or terror perpetrators, are “martyrs” for the Palestinian (and by extension “Arab”) cause. Thus, the survivors of a shaheed, in this view, are worthy of support by all who support the Palestinian cause. I’m not going to argue that this view is right because it isn’t. But I’m also not going to argue that a Palestinian mother with three or six or eight children, who may or may not have known of her spouse’s plans to blow himself and innocent Israelis up, should be shunned, ostracized or otherwise penalized. Or as an Emirates official said:
“What is the fault of the orphans?” a government official said, referring to children in the martyrs’ program. “By helping them, you are pulling them away from extremism.”
Of course, whether such payments “pull away” a survivor from future acts of terror may be debatable. But what is not debatable is that shunning such an individual or leaving them to stew in their own juices of hate and impoverishment (caused possibly by the loss of a family breadwinner) will be much more likely to lead to future bombers. We do need to pull them away from extremism and shutting off such funds is a way to guarantee your failure at doing so.
I also disagree with the U.S. government position on this matter as articulated by the Treasury official:
Daniel Glaser, a deputy assistant Treasury secretary, said the Emirates was “one of our primary partners” in the Middle East in combating financing of terrorist groups. He said the Treasury had a close working relationship with the Emirates central bank, and that financial officials there had provided concrete cooperation in recent investigations.
Mr. Glaser said he was not familiar with the details of Red Crescent programs. But as a general matter, he said, “Charities that are supporting terrorist activities, including by supporting family members and orphans — we consider that to be terrorist financing.”
This seems a preposterous overgeneralization to me. Supporting an orphan whose father killed himself in a terror attack is not “terror financing.” It is helping a child in need. Do you think that such a child deserves to sink into poverty and hopelessness at the loss of a father? Or does the fate of this child not matter in the face of the ‘overwhelming threat’ of Palestinian terror?
I realize that many suicide bombers are young and unmarried and in those cases I would not find any justification for supporting family members such as parents, siblings, etc. I have no idea what the policies are for determining which family members may receive such financial support.
Now let’s examine how NYT got this story because that is very instructive as well:
A glimpse inside the Emirates aid programs comes from documents provided to The New York Times by Gary M. Osen, an American lawyer litigating cases in the United States federal courts on behalf of American victims of Palestinian terror attacks. The documents include unclassified materials seized by Israeli forces from Palestinian organizations in the West Bank.
Mr. Osen, of Oradell, N.J., said researchers in Israel who were helping him gather evidence for the lawsuits had found the documents there in archives of materials captured in Israeli military operations.
I have no problem with American victims of Palestinian terror suing the parties responsible for their trauma and injuries. But what do charitable contributions made to Palestinian families of suicide bombers or survivors of Israeli violence have to do with such a lawsuit? In my opinion, the lawsuit and the research outlined above smack of an ideological motivation that goes far beyond merely recovering Palestinian assets to pay victims of violence (with which, as I said, I would have no problem). It seems designed more to embarrass Arab governments and further damage Hamas’ reputation in the U.S.
A highly lurid Jerusalem Post article about the PA’s supposed “support for terrorism” (through paying salaries to those in Israeli prisons) quoted Osen endorsing a campaign to hold it responsible for terror and make it “pay” for doing so:
As Gary M. Osen, a leading expert in terror financing litigation, observed: “Court victories against the Palestinian Authority are necessary and important, but at the same time, because most of the world’s governments shield the PA’s assets, collecting on a judgment against the PA is still very difficult.”
Moreover, while the international community, including the European Union and the United States, shield Palestinian assets, they continue to fund the PA. The abrupt and angry resignation of Fayad [former PA finance minister in October, 2005], who was seen by all as the symbol of a new Palestinian system of financial reform, should have resulted in immediate sanctions against the massive corruption in the PA. But the international community has set out to create a Palestinian state, and nothing – not even the PA’s admitted sponsorship of convicted terrorists – is likely to stop it.
It would seem that Mr. Osen has found an ideological soul mate in the writer of the Post article, Rachel Ehrenreich, a member of the Committee on the Present Danger, a neocon think tank founded by Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter among others.
The Times’ Preston in writing this article has given the neocons and Aipac supporters an ideological triple play. They can attack UAE, Hamas and all Palestinians for their “support of terror.” This leaves aside the pesky little questions of whether indeed any such funds directly support terrorism and the intellectual leaps of faith you have to make to embrace this argument.
Now, returning to the Dubai ports issue…what possible connection would a story like this have to do with DPW? How does an Emirates charity supporting Palestinians have anything to do with how DPW would manage our ports? Would DPW somehow funnel its profits to Hamas or support terror? Puh-leeze!
The article does mention one instance in which the Red Crescent Society funneled funds to a Hamas operative which may or may not have been used for purposes other than strictly charitable. But the RCS promptly ended its association with this individual and there have been no further charges of a similar nature.
I say for shame to the Times for wasting precious space on its news pages for this dumb issue.