An ISIS Nest Grows in Boston By Robert Spencer

Boston’s reported Monday that “the federal government is targeting Boston and two other American cities to shut down what they are calling the U.S.-Jihad pipeline to ISIS in an attempt to stop Americans from joining the terrorist organization.” Boston apparently made this elite list because Ahmad Abousamra, “an American college graduate from Boston, who has been on the run from the FBI for years, is suspected of joining ISIS and leveraging his computer skills to spread the Iraqi terror group’s propaganda on social media.” And so now Boston is reaping what it has sown for so many years.

The Islamic State has been linked to the Islamic Society of Boston. The Tsarnaev brothers, the Boston Marathon jihad mass murderers, went to mosque at the Islamic Society of Boston. So did other convicted jihad terrorists, Tarek Mehanna and Aafia Siddiqui. During all this, the FBI conducted “outreach” to the Islamic Society of Boston but never investigated it. Now they’re reaping the fruits of their politically correct willful ignorance.

Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino really, really wanted the Islamic Society of Boston to be well situated in the city. He gave the ISB an astonishing sweetheart deal on the land for the mosque. Menino, according to a 2008 Boston Phoenix exposé, “in a fit of multicultural ecumenicalism, approved the sale of city-owned land to the mosque for the bargain basement — and still controversial — price of $175,000, plus the promise of in-kind services, including upkeep of nearby parks. The predictable uproar that arose in the wake of not only selling land well below market rates, but also selling it to a religious institution in contravention of the supposed separation of church and state, was supposed to be muffled by making the complex available for community use. But oops — that never happened. The promised community facilities for non-congregant use still have not been built.”

Not only that, but although it was “originally intended to minister to an urban congregation of African-American Muslims, the mosque project was turned over by the city, with no fanfare and little notice, to the control of suburban-based Muslims of largely Saudi Arabian heritage: the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB), which more recently became the Muslim American Society of Boston (MAS-Boston). Perhaps the city believed, incorrectly, that one Muslim community could easily step in for another. In fact, the two groups are quite different.”

The Muslim American Society is the principal name under which the Muslim Brotherhood operates in the United States. According to a captured internal Muslim Brotherhood document, the Brotherhood’s “work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”


For some reason, or for obvious reasons, this time of year, our High Holy Days, leads us to remembering, and these remembrances are often salted with pain and broken hearts. In this week’s portion of Deuteronomy it summons us “Ask your father, and he will tell you.”

That phrase alone touches deeply, and does indeed bring back memories of my father.

Years ago I sat down to write a short, swift book of memoirs, not about the Holocaust, but what it was like to arrive in Montreal after the Holocaust.

I named the book “Escape From Mount Moriah” and it still does quite well as literature and then along came a Canadian moviemaker. She asked for permission to turn the book’s first short story, “My Father, Joe” into a short film. I said okay and about eight years later the movie was done.

I was not totally thrilled with the movie. But obviously she knew what she was doing because the 10-minute film won about a dozen film festival awards around the world and was even honored at CANNES, which is like Europe’s Academy Awards.

So why “My Father, Joe?” Why Joe?

With your indulgence, I am reprinting it here as it appears in the book of memoirs, since I cannot do it better the second time as I did it the first time.

“My Father, Joe”

From the book of memoirs, “Escape from Mount Moriah”

Now we had it good. Six million never made it out. We…we escaped France when the Nazis and their gendarmes were beginning their roundups in our district in Toulouse. We walked the Pyrenees…hid in Spain…rested in Portugal…and found refuge in Montreal, Canada — much later we moved to America.

The Khorasan Threat: While the Islamic State Uses Brute Force, Khorasan is Creative and Strategically Savvy. By Tom Rogan

‘When black flags emerge from the east . . .”

— Quote from a hadith (reported saying of Mohammad)

Khorasan is a historic region of central and southern Asia.

But when an al-Qaeda splinter group embraced “Khorasan” as its name, it wasn’t thinking about geography. Rather, it was seeking the identity of Salafi-extremist purity. It would be a black-flag-bearing army descending from the metaphorical mountains of despair and advancing toward a war for holy justice. For these jihadists, the name “Khorasan” holds mystical significance as nomenclature for God’s army: that which cannot be defeated.

Khorasan sees itself as a movement of divinely inspired, valiant warriors, unafraid and certain of ordained victory.

In reality, of course, Khorasan is a terrorist group that wants to blow up innocent civilians at 35,000 feet. And although it lacks the raw, reflexive brutality of the Islamic State, Khorasan possesses no moral consideration for innocent people. Instead, for Khorasan, as for all violent Salafis — from al-Shabaab to Boko Haram — existential purpose is defined by theological totalitarianism.

Khorasan poses a special threat to America and the West. That is why the U.S. military attacked Khorasan alongside its opening sorties against Islamic State positions in Syria.

Why is it such a threat?

First, while Khorasan is very small (a good estimate is 50 to 80 operatives), it’s an al-Qaeda special-forces unit. Led by Muhsin al-Fadhli — a strategically minded zealot experienced in both terrorist network facilitation and direct action — and manned by skilled and proven terrorists from many different al-Qaeda affiliates, Khorasan has the capacity and intent to conduct major attacks.


By any objective measure, things have been going great for women for a long time.

Last Friday, the White House announced its “It’s On Us” initiative aimed at combating sexual assaults on college campuses. I’m all in favor of combating sexual assault, but the first priority in combating a problem is understanding it.

That’s not the White House’s first priority. Roughly six weeks before Election Day, its chief concern is to translate an exciting social-media campaign into a get-out-the-vote operation.

Accurate statistics are of limited use in that regard because rape and sexual assault have been declining for decades. So the Obama administration and its allied activist groups trot out the claim that there is a rape epidemic victimizing 1 in 5 women on college campuses. This conveniently horrifying number is a classic example of being too terrible to check. If it were true, it would mean that rape would be more prevalent on elite campuses than in many of the most impoverished and crime-ridden communities.

It comes from tendentious Department of Justice surveys that count “attempted forced kissing” and other potentially caddish acts that even the DOJ admits “are not criminal.”

According to one Department of Justice survey, more than half the respondents said they didn’t report the assault because they didn’t think “the incident was serious enough to report.” More than a third said they weren’t clear on whether the incident was a crime or even if harm was intended. But President Obama uses these surveys to justify using the terms “rape” and “sexual assault” interchangeably.

And yet those who question the alleged rape epidemic are the ones who don’t take rape seriously? I would think conflating a boorish attempt at an undesired kiss with forcible rape is an example of not taking rape seriously.

The “It’s On Us” PR stunt is not an exception; it is par for the course. To listen to pretty much anyone in the Democratic party these days, you’d think these are dark days for women. But by any objective measure, things have been going great for women for a long time, under Republicans and Democrats alike.

Women earn 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 63 percent of master’s degrees, and 53 percent of doctorates. They constitute the majority of the U.S. workforce and the majority of managers. Single women without kids earn 8 percent more than single men without children in most cities. Women make up almost half of medical-school applicants and nearly 80 percent of veterinary-school enrollees.

4 Reasons Israel’s Future Looks Bright as the New Jewish Year Begins By P. David Hornik

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, falls this year on Wednesday, September 24. The year that just ended—5774 on the Jewish calendar—was not an easy one.

There was the war against Hamas in July and August, which Israel won overwhelmingly while losing 64 soldiers and seven civilians. In June there was Hamas’s kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenage boys. (The murderers have now met their just fate.) And Israel’s overall security environment in the Middle East seems more and more precarious. Among other things, jihadis are battling the Syrian army just across Israel’s Golan Heights border; Jordan’s moderate regime could be in danger; Islamic State has set up its “caliphate” of atrocity in Iraq and Syria; while Iran keeps being allowed to progress along the nuclear path by Western powers playing feckless diplomatic games. (Another update: Israel has shot down a Syrian plane over the Golan.)

Where, then, does a “bright future” come into all this? Looking ahead to 5775, Israel has a track record of overcoming security challenges, and in other ways keeps thriving.
1. Surviving the Obama administration.

The first five and a half years of Obama have, no doubt, been rough for Israel. There’s no one who seems to get the president’s goat like Israel’s thrice-elected prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Obama has given Netanyahu a churlish and unprecedented snub at the White House, publicly vilified him as a peace-wrecker, and lashed out at him viciously on the phone during the latest Gaza war.

Israel is very worried that the administration’s ceaseless courting of Iran belies any seriousness about stopping its nuke program. Against Israel’s warnings and advice, Obama backed Mohamed Morsi’s (fortunately short-lived) Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt. After the 2012 Gaza war, the administration together with Morsi pushed Israel into a deal that allowed Hamas to rearm and set the stage for this year’s war.

And yet, with all that and more, the U.S.-Israeli alliance is today stronger than ever. On September 19 the Senate passed a bill declaring Israel a “major strategic partner” and boosting U.S. trade, energy, R&D, and military ties with Israel. Even Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, whose anti-Israeli track record alarmed many after he was nominated, is said to have an excellent working relationship with Israeli defense minister Moshe Yaalon.

As the Middle East descends into worse and worse turmoil and terror, Israel’s democratic stability, military preeminence in the region, and topnotch intelligence capabilities have to look better and better. Even the Obama administration isn’t totally blind to the reality.

David Kupelian: How My Family Survived the Caliphate

David Kupelian tells harrowing story of Christians, jihadists and genocide

Two things compel me to share the following personal family story about what happens to Christians living under an Islamic caliphate.

First, I was watching my friend Sean Hannity’s recent Fox News special on the Islamic State, during which many in his “audience of experts” had good and insightful things to say. But toward the end, noted Islam scholar Andrew Bostom made the following statement. Taking his cue from another guest’s reference to the precedent for today’s “Islamic State” caliphate set by the original seventh-century caliphate of Muhammad and his successors, Bostom noted:

We have a much more recent precedent – and it’s an ugly precedent. In 1915 – it makes IS look like amateurs – at the collapse of the Ottoman caliphate, a very bona fide caliphate, slaughtered a million Armenians in a jihad, slaughtered another 250,000 Syriac Orthodox Christians and Assyrians, with the same level of brutality – beheadings, eviscerations, humiliations, creation of harams, sexual slavery. This is part of a relatively recent history. We’re only coming up on the 100th anniversary next year of the Armenian Genocide. That’s the precedent that we should be worried about, not the 7th century.


Andrew’s comments plunged me into memories of all the stories I heard growing up, told by family members who had survived the Armenian Genocide.

Second, though little discussed in the West, Middle East news agencies are now reporting that ISIS just destroyed the Armenian Genocide Memorial Church in Der Zor, Syria, which housed the remains of Armenian Genocide victims. Der Zor, where hundreds of thousands of Armenians miserably perished a century ago, is referred to by many as the Auschwitz of the Armenian Genocide.

Now let me get to my story, which I think is extremely relevant at this particular time.

My dad, when he was only three years old, was basically sentenced to death. The Turkish government during the chaotic, waning days of the Ottoman caliphate was engaged in a deliberate campaign to force him, his baby sister and his mother, along with hundreds of thousands of other Armenians, into the Syrian Der Zor desert, where they would die of starvation, disease or worse – torture and death at the hands of brutal soldiers or roving bandits.


In July, after Germany trounced Brazil 7–1 in the semifinal match of the World Cup—including a first-half stretch in which the Brazilian soccer squad gave up an astonishing five goals in 19 minutes—a sports commentator wrote: “This was not a team losing. It was a dream dying.” These words could equally describe what has become of Barack Obama’s foreign policy since his second inauguration. The president, according to the infatuated view of his political aides and media flatterers, was supposed to be playing o jogo bonito, the beautiful game—ending wars, pressing resets, pursuing pivots, and restoring America’s good name abroad.

Instead, he crumbled.

As I write, the foreign policy of the United States is in a state of unprecedented disarray. In some cases, failed policy has given way to an absence of policy. So it is in Libya, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and, at least until recently, Ukraine. In other cases the president has doubled down on failed policy—extending nuclear negotiations with Iran; announcing the full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

Sometimes the administration has been the victim of events, such as Edward Snowden’s espionage, it made worse through bureaucratic fumbling and feckless administrative fixes. At other times the wounds have been self-inflicted: the espionage scandal in Germany (when it was learned that the United States had continued to spy on our ally despite prior revelations of the NSA’s eavesdropping on Chancellor Angela Merkel); the repeated declaration that “core al-Qaeda” was “on a path to defeat”; the prisoner swap with the Taliban that obtained Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl’s release.

Often the damage has been vivid, as in the collapse of the Israel–Palestinian talks in April followed by the war in Gaza. More frequently it can be heard in the whispered remarks of our allies. “The Polish-American alliance is worthless, even harmful, as it gives Poland a false sense of security,” Radek Sikorski, Poland’s foreign minister and once one of its most reliably pro-American politicians, was overheard saying in June. “It’s bullshit.”

This is far from an exhaustive list. But it’s one that, at last, people have begun to notice. Foreign policy, considered a political strength of the president in his first term, has become a liability. In June, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that Americans disapproved of his handling of foreign affairs by a 57-to-37 percent ratio. Overseas, dismay with Obama mounts. Among Germans, who greeted the future president as a near-messiah when he spoke in Berlin in the summer of 2008, his approval rating fell to 43 percent in late 2013, from 88 percent in 2010. In Egypt, another country the president went out of his way to woo, he has accomplished the unlikely feat of making himself more unpopular than George W. Bush. In Israel, political leaders and commentators from across the political spectrum are united in their disdain for the administration. “The Obama administration proved once again that it is the best friend of its enemies, and the biggest enemy of its friends,” the center-left Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit noted in late July. It’s an observation being echoed by policymakers from Tokyo to Taipei to Tallinn.

Elizabeth Warren Stumbles on Israel: Joshua Murovchick

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, the darling of the Democratic Party’s liberal wing, touted as a possible 2016 presidential candidate, told a Tufts University audience last week that she found it “fair” when a questioner compared Israel’s actions to those of Nazi Germany. The exchange distilled a question that is likely to be consequential both for Israel and for American liberalism: how much will liberals allow their stance toward Israel to be influenced by the Israel-hating radical Left?

When The Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper broke the Tuft’s story last week, the liberal blog, TalkingPointsMemo, accused Halper of “distort[ing]” the Senator’s remarks and quoted her press spokesman’s claim that Halper had “grossly mischaracterized Senator Warren’s response.”

It is true that Warren had voted for aid to Israel during the Gaza war and had, at a Cape Cod forum a few weeks earlier, justified her vote by citing Israel’s “right to defend itself” even though Hamas “puts its rocket launchers next to hospitals, next to schools.” But Halper had neither distorted nor mischaracterized what the Senator said at Tufts. The most that could be argued in extenuation was that the phrasing of the question to which she responded left a slim margin for interpretation.

Identifying herself as a “Holocaust refugee,” an audience member said, “I’m extremely concerned that Jews don’t do to another people what was done to them.” To this, Warren replied, “I think that’s fair.” The questioner then added, “You’ve recently said that…Israel has a right to self-defense. Do you also believe the Palestinians have a right to self-defense?” To this Warren replied, “Of course. The answer is yes. The direction we need to be moving is not to more war…I believe in a two-state solution.”

Conceivably, defenders could argue that by her first reply Warren only meant to agree that Jews should not perpetrate a Holocaust rather than that they had done so already, and that by her second she meant only that the Palestinians had a theoretical right to self-defense not that Hamas’s rocket-fire amounted to self-defense. But these would be lawyerly constructions, begging the question why Warren had refrained from refuting head-on the Israel/Nazi parallel or the implication that Hamas was acting in “self-defense.” Indeed, offstage immediately after, a television reporter prompted the Senator to say anything at all pro-Israel, “So if people feel you are favoring Israel in any way, that is wrong?” But Warren refused this bait, replying simply: “I think that peace favors both peoples, and that’s what we really need.”

My Life Without Leonard Cohen : Ruth Wisse

I met Leonard Cohen in 1954 when I was a student in “Great Writings of European literature,” the only undergraduate course at McGill University that satisfied my idea of the intellectual life. Satisfied it, though, to satiety. Whether our teacher, Louis Dudek, wanted to share his enthusiasm for every work he admired, or knew how slight were our chances of being educated by anyone else, he drove us through the modern classics like sheep before a storm. October 7: Candide; October 12: Zadig; October 21: Rameau’s Nephew; October 26: Rousseau’s Confessions; November 2: La Nouvelle Heloise;. . . I stopped attending some of my other classes.

Dudek’s class met in the Arts Building on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 5 to 6 P.M., an hour when the regular university day was ending to make way for the apprentice accountants and other extension-school students. About 50 of us filled all the seats, making the tall room, with our coats and books piled along the aisles and walls, almost homey. By late autumn, darkness fell like a blind over the windows, so that if you tried to look out, you saw only your flushed reflection in the glass. I was anyway what you might call intense, and those classes stoked me to great excitement.

The late hour meant that on Fridays the Jewish majority of the class would not make it home in time to greet the Sabbath. Back then our Montreal Jewish homes were sufficiently lax to sustain this irregularity, and any conflicts between home and school were expected to be resolved democratically, that is, on the side of the Christian majority whose school McGill was deemed to be. My own immigrant parents were far too busy putting bread on the table and mourning their dead in Europe to notice infractions of Jewish law, and they worried more about how we impressed our teachers than about how we obeyed our God. McGill’s discriminatory admissions policy, which required of Jews a higher academic standing and severely limited their access to certain faculties, had begun to change in 1950, only a few years before we arrived. This made us eager to prove worthy of the tolerance we were being shown, and a touch disdainful, too, of the bigots who had tried to keep us out. In truth, we felt fortunate to be nudged by our parents into a society that was still a little reluctant to welcome us. Growing up between these two sets of adults, both of which had either lost or were rapidly losing their cultural confidence, we felt we would almost inevitably improve on their ways of running things.

Dudek invited us to train for this prospect. Jews and Catholics and Protestants—the last, uncharacteristically, in the minority here—were to study together our common European past, and, leaving particularisms at the door, to experience as cosmopolitans our common Enlightenment, Romanticism, Realism, Modernity. Not until 30 years later did I realize how our teacher figured in this scheme. He was the child of Polish Catholics, hence almost as provisional as we were in that bastion of Protestant Canada, in an English department most of whose professors had been imported from Great Britain.


Out of the Anglo-Jewish Past
Richard Carwardine is the president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford University, and the author of “Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power” (2003), for which he won the 2004 Lincoln Prize.

Historians are rarely satisfied with their evidence: They want more. When writing my political life of Abraham Lincoln, I lamented that the Civil War president didn’t keep a private journal. Now, as the head of one of Oxford University’s historic colleges, I have another fancy: to identify the anonymous 12th-century Jewish traveler whose Hebrew prayer book, quite possibly the oldest extant in Europe, is one of the many treasures in my college’s library. Although this particular jewel has been in our possession for centuries, it has only now become the subject of scholarly scrutiny and excitement.

The outer leaves of the Ashkenazic prayer book, originally blank, contain a list in a Sephardic script of the names of the debtors to whom the owner had lent money on his travels—written in Arabic but in Hebrew letters. Corpus Christi College, Oxford

Corpus Christi College, which will reach its 500th birthday in 2017, is celebrated as Oxford’s first Renaissance institution. The bishop-statesman Richard Fox, right-hand man to the Tudor monarchs Henry VII and Henry VIII, founded the college to instruct students in the sciences and the languages of the Bible: Hebrew and Greek. From the first, Corpus took a lead in Jewish learning and built an acclaimed library. Among the scores of manuscripts the college used for teaching its young men were Hebrew texts, several donated by the first president and noted collector, John Claymond. How and when he acquired them we don’t know—and this is only a part of their mystery. They are the jewels of a small but spectacular collection of medieval Anglo-Jewish books.