Jewish World Review July 11, 2002 / 2 Menachem-Av, 5761

Edward I. Koch

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Real Americans and
the Islamic threat -- On July 5, The New York Times published an article that purported to assess the feelings of a few of the 300,000 Muslims living in Dearborn, Michigan, on the occasion of the first July Fourth after September 11. Joe Makki, an Arab American who owns a gas station, said "We condemned what happened after Sept. 11. I've been here for 25 years; more here than over there. Ninety-nine point-nine percent of the Arab community here was shocked when it happened, like it was their own family that died."

Do many Americans believe his statement reflects the true feelings of many Muslim-American citizens or Muslim aliens living in this country? I don't believe so, but I hope his statement reflects the truth. Memory is short, but the vast majority of Americans will never forget the cheering in Muslim cities around the world celebrating the success of al Queda and its leader, bin Laden, in destroying the Twin Towers and part of the Pentagon, and in killing almost 3000 people. Nor will we forget that when an AP cameraman shot footage of cheering Palestinians on the West Bank, he was told that he would be killed if he did not suppress it. That demand came directly from the Palestinian Authority headed by Yasir Arafat. The AP, in correspondence with me, confirmed the incident.

Why do I raise this issue? Many Americans believe that singling out Arabs and Muslims standing in airport lines is unacceptable racial and ethnic profiling. I think we would be foolish not to closely examine those passengers from countries that produce most of the world's terrorists. I have no objection to security personnel singling me out to examine my shoes, as they often do, even when they recognize me. I think the intent is to have others realize that even the former mayor of New York City is subject to that inconvenience. The search also provides a defense to the perceived heinous offense of racial profiling, even though in my opinion none is required.

The terrorism perpetrated against the United States and threatened against every American citizen is overwhelmingly the handiwork of Muslims, especially Muslim-Arabs. Muslim clerics and al Queda operatives around the world have stated that Americans, particularly military personnel and Jews, are to be murdered. As September 11 demonstrated, civilians are as vulnerable as military targets. In fact, bin Laden threatened all Americans with death at least as early as 1998.

Jews and non-Jews will never forget the graphic video decapitation of the reporter Daniel Pearl. Before his head was severed by his captors, he was forced to say "My father is Jewish. My mother is Jewish. I'm Jewish." Did Hanan Ashwari, leading spokeswoman for the Palestinian Authority and other prominent Arabs, denounce this ritual murder? Perhaps, but I didn't see it on CNN whose reporters are overwhelmingly hostile to Israel. Recently, she and l49 other Muslim leaders denounced the use of suicide bombers to kill civilians in Israel. Their denunciation was not based on the inherent immorality of these homicidal attacks but on the fact that suicide bombers are seen as undermining the Palestinian cause from a public relations standpoint.

The F.B.I. declines to call the shooting of two passengers at an El Al airline counter in Los Angeles a terrorist attack, even though it was executed by an Egyptian Muslim. Maybe they can't establish that he was part of a conspiracy, but terrorism can be performed by someone acting alone.

We are now at war with world terrorism. Why don't we temporarily close our gates to students, business people, and tourists coming from countries that produce these terrorists, until we locate and deport the hundreds of thousands of Muslims and others who are currently here illegally on expired visas?

A fear in some quarters is that we would provoke an oil boycott by Saudi Arabia, the country from which so many terrorists have come. We need have no such fear if we enter into new long-term oil contracts with Russia, Mexico and Canada, mandate the use of hybrid auto engines using electricity and gasoline getting 52 miles per gallon, and take other conservation measures.

Finally, our war against Iraq may be near. The New York Times has released provisions of a top-secret Pentagon report on future U.S. plans to invade Iraq. Apparently, a traitor in the Pentagon smuggled out a copy and gave it to the Times. The Times should have returned it unopened to the Pentagon.

JWR contributor Edward I. Koch, the former mayor of New York, can be heard on Bloomberg Radio ( WBBR 1130 AM) every Saturday from 9-10 am. Comment by clicking here.


© 2002, Edward I. Koch