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An e-newsletter delivering updates and analysis on current issues about Israel and the Middle East conflict

February 15, 2011

Israel's greatest fears about the new Egyptian regime must focus on the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood

Dear Friend of Israel, Friend of FLAME:

As I watched the turmoil in Egypt unfold on CNN last week, Anderson Cooper asked commentator Peter Bergen how dangerous the Muslim Brotherhood was to Egypt's future. As he has in the past, Bergen cavalierly (and outrageously) asserted that the Muslim Brotherhood was no concern at all. As evidence he cited the Brotherhood's control of no more that 20-30 percent of the electorate and its allegedly bitter disagreement with al Qaeda on the use of violence.

Fortunately, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, was also on the CNN segment to refute Bergen's nonsense. Hirsi Ali, you may recall, is the outspoken Somali Muslim woman turned Dutch legislator turned Heritage Foundation scholar who has exposed the oppressive nature of Islam in several books and films.

Ali countered Bergen's superficial analysis by noting that a) the Muslim Brotherhood is by far the best organized political party in Egypt aside from Mubarak's ruling party and b) while the Brotherhood may currently disagree with al Qaeda on the use of violence, both groups are fighting a fierce jihad for the same goal---worldwide domination of fundamentalist Islam.

In other words, there's nothing benign about the Muslim Brotherhood. To the contrary, its leadership has indicated that Egypt's peace treaty with Israel should be immediately canceled and that Egypt should prepare for war with Israel.

During the early days of the Egyptian uprising, however, before Mubarak finally resigned, the Obama administration gave numerous indications it wanted to see a democratic system emerge that would be open to participation by all political factions, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

While every American is no doubt stirred with hope by the popular Egyptian uprising against the Mubarak dictatorship, one thing is clear: No matter which factions assume power in Egypt, they will likely at least be less friendly to Israel, which is bad enough. But at worst, if the Muslim Brotherhood manages to seize power---and they will attempt to seize it absolutely, once and for all---Israel's existence will again be jeopardized by the world's largest Arab nation (and army).

That's why this week's FLAME Hotline focuses on the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood. The excellent article below, by Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby, explains why the Muslim Brotherhood should be considered by the United States to be a threat to democracy everywhere and an ally of our most deadly enemies, the forces of Islamist jihad.

No wonder I urge you to forward this brief, but powerful article to your friends and colleagues, so they will understand why the threat to Israel has just been raised a notch and why it's more critical than ever to support the Jewish state.

Thanks for your support of Israel and your support of FLAME.


Jim Sinkinson
Director, FLAME


This just in: This week the U.S. House of Representatives will be considering a spending bill to fund the government through the end of the year.  This bill includes $3 billion in security assistance for Israel, plus $205 million for Israel’s Iron Dome Rocket Defense system.  Please call or write your Representative today and urge him or her to support full funding for Israel and to oppose any amendments that would cut aid to Israel.  You can reach your representative by calling the Capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121. Or write to your Representative by going to contacting the Congress . With escalating Middle East uncertainty and increasing threats to Israel, this is no time to cut spending to support our greatest ally in the region.  Please act today!


As you know, Israel is currently being attacked worldwide by the so-called BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement---an insidious attempt to slander Israel in the name of &quot;ending the occupation&quot; and &quot;freedom for Palestine.&quot; To get the truth about this hateful group and the lies it tells, I want to give you <u>an advance look</u> at a new FLAME position paper that's about to be published in media that reach more than 5 million Americans. Please read this outspoken position paper, &quot;<u><a href=""><u>The BDS Movement: Does it stand for Middle East peace or does it seek Israel's destruction?</u></a></u>&quot; If you agree that this kind of public relations effort on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME's powerful ability to influence public opinion comes from individuals like you, one by one. I hope you'll consider giving a donation now, as you're able---with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to <a href=""></a>. Now more than ever we need your support to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs---from the U.S. Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people.

No room at the table for the Muslim Brothers
by Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe, February 9, 2011

Free and democratic societies take chances. They guarantee freedom of speech and of the press, despite the risk that harmful, foolish, or depraved ideas may be promoted. They require due process of law before an offender can be punished, even though some who are guilty may go free as a result. They give citizens the power to elect their rulers, notwithstanding the strife election campaigns generate—and the possibility that voters will choose officials who are corrupt or incompetent.

But there are limits. "Liberty and justice for all" does not require empowering even those who seek to do away with liberty and justice. In his famous dissent in the 1949 Supreme Court case of Terminiello v. Chicago, Justice Robert Jackson warned against interpreting the First Amendment so categorically as to fortify "right and left totalitarian groups, who want nothing so much as to paralyze and discredit . . . democratic authority." A commitment to liberal democracy is not an obligation to open the democratic process to parties that reject liberal democracy itself. Jackson cautioned the court's majority to "temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom," lest it "convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact."

If even in America, where democratic institutions are old and firmly rooted, it is important to guard against antidemocratic cancers that latch on to political freedoms in order to destroy them, how much more important must it be in Egypt, where a democratic republic is still struggling to be born?

This is why the question of the Muslim Brotherhood—officially banned in Egypt, but nevertheless the country's largest opposition group—is so crucial.

The Brotherhood is the world's most influential Islamist organization, and Islamism—the radical ideology that seeks the submission of all people to Islamic law—is perhaps the most virulent antidemocratic force in the world today. In Daniel Pipes's phrase, "it is an Islamic-flavored version of totalitarianism." Like other totalitarian cadres, Islamists despise democratic pluralism and liberty in principle. But they are quite ready to make use of elections and campaigns as tactical stepping-stones to power.

As with Adolf Hitler in 1933 or the Czechsolovak communists in 1946, Islamists may run for office and hold themselves out as democrats; but once power is in their grasp, they do not voluntarily relinquish it. Just months after Hamas, a self-described "wing of the Muslim Brotherhood," won a majority of seats in the Palestinian elections in 2006, it violently seized control of the Gaza Strip. More than 30 years after Ayatollah Khomeini took power in Iran promising representative democracy, the Islamist dictatorship he built instead remains entrenched.

In Turkey, where secular democratic norms were long enforced by the military, the Islamist Justice and Development Party, or AKP, won the 2002 elections on a platform of moderate democratic conservatism. Since then, however, the AKP has shed its moderate coloration. "The party has turned authoritarian toward the opposition," writes Soner Cagaptay, who heads the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "Anti-government protestors are beaten up by security forces, opposition figures are wiretapped, and independent papers get slapped with punitive tax fines. . . . The AKP has effectively neutered the military. Not just high-ranking officers, but also the government's critics among academics have come under assault, ending up in prison."

If Egypt is to have any hope of a transition to a genuine constitutional democracy, the Muslim Brotherhood must not be treated as a legitimate democratic partner. For more than 80 years, it has been a fervent exponent of Islamic, not secular, rule; of clerical, not popular, sovereignty. Its credo could hardly be more explicit, or more antidemocratic: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope."

In 2008, the Muslim Brotherhood's supreme leader publicly called for raising young "mujaheddin"—holy warriors—"who love to die as much as others love to live and who can perform their duty towards their God, themselves and homeland." This week, senior Brotherhood figure Kamal al-Halbavi said his wish for Egypt is "a good government like the Iranian government, and a good president like Mr. Ahmadinejad, who is very brave."

Democracy is flexible, but even in the best of circumstances it is incompatible with religious totalitarianism. What the Muslim Brotherhood seeks is the very antithesis of democratic pluralism and a free civil society. Egypt's friends must not hesitate to say so, clearly and emphatically.


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