On their Twitter page, the PCUSA’s Israel Palestine Mission Network–which is not anti-Semitic–link once again to James Wall, who is also not anti-Semitic. Wall, in his latest screed, draws an incoherent parallel between 1950s McCarthyism and what he calls “radical Zionism.” In the course of his “argument,” Wall takes up the cause of a man who is currently on a hunger strike in an Israeli prison. In the process, he demonstrates yet again that he warrants the appellation in the headline. He writes:
From the McCarthy era to the time of Israel’s military occupation, the questions resonate through the decades. We, the all powerful, the all good, demand that you confess that you belong to a “party” that is evil. How does the public know that the Islamic Jihad is evil? Because the “only democracy in the Middle East”, declares it to be so.
Communism in the 1940s and 1950s did bad things; the 2012 Islamic Jihad is fighting military occupation by the means it has, none of which are attractive. Extremism from the top of the power pyramid, engenders extremism from below.
In Israel, and indeed, in the United States, where the definition of evil is dictated by Israel, Islamic Jihad is an “illegal terrorist organization”. But is Khader Adnan a “member” of Islamic Jihad? He might have answered with a biblical statement, “you say I am”. Or maybe he simply remained quiet, waiting to be charged with membership is an illegal organization, a charge that is yet to come.
So, what we have here is Wall saying three l things:
1) Islamic Jihad is only “evil” because Israel and its American puppet say so.
2) Islamic Jihad fights the Israeli occupation using methods that are not “attractive.” And to the extent that they do, it’s Israel’s fault.
3) Khader Adnan may or may not be a member of Islamic Jihad, but Israel has no business questioning him about it–doing so is the equivalent of “McCarthyism” and its insistent question, “are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?”
Now, let’s consult reality, shall we?
First, on the activities of Islamic Jihad. Are they merely “unattractive,” or do they constitute terrorism and war crimes under the Geneva Conventions? You be the judge:
- August 1987: The PIJ claimed responsibility for a shooting that killed the commander of the Israeli military police in the Gaza Strip.
- July 1989: Attack of Egged bus 405 along the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway, at least 14 people killed (including two Canadians and one American) and dozens more wounded. Though intended to be a suicide attack, the perpetrator survived.
- February 4, 1990: A bus carrying Israeli tourists in Egypt was attacked. The attack left 11 people, including nine Israelis, dead and 17 others injured.
- December 1993: Killed an Israeli reservist, David Mashrati, during a public bus shooting.
- April 1994: A car bomb aboard a public bus killed nine people and injured fifty.
- January 1995: Suicide bombing attack near Netanya killing eighteen soldiers and one civilian.
- April 1995: Suicide bomb in Netzarim and Kfar-Darom. The first bomb killed eight people and injured over 30 on an Israel bus. The second attack was a car bomb that injured twelve people.
- March 1996: A Tel Aviv shopping mall is the site of another suicide bombing killing twenty and injuring seventy five.
- November 2000: A car bomb in Jerusalem at an outdoor market killed two people and injured ten.
- June 2001: Suicide bomb attack at a Tel Aviv nightclub killing twenty-one people.
- March 2002: A suicide bomber killed seven people and injured approximately thirty aboard a bus travelling from Tel Aviv to Nazareth.
- June 2002: Eighteen people are killed and fifty injured in a suicide attack at the Meggido Junction.
- July 2002: A double suicide attack killed five people and injured 40 in Tel Aviv.
- November 2002: 12 soldiers and security personnel killed in an ambush in Hebron.
- May 2003: Three people killed and eighty-three injured in a suicide bombing at a shopping mall in Afula.
- August 2003: A suicide bomber killed twenty-one people and injured over one hundred on a bus in Jerusalem.
- October 2003: Suicide bomber killed twenty-two and injured sixty at a Haifa restaurant.
- October 2005: A bomb detonated in a Hedera market was responsible for killing five people.
- April 2006: Suicide bomb in Tel Aviv killed eleven.
- January 2007: Both the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the PIJ claim responsibility for a suicide bombing at an Eliat bakery that killed three.
(Yes, this list is from Wikipedia, but that’s only because it’s convenient. Contemporary news accounts are available for all of there.)
Now, what about the connection between Khader Adnan and Islamic Jihad? Is that simply a fiction constructed by Israel in order to persecute some random Palestinian?
Adnan’s hunger strike is in protest at his detention without charge or being told of any evidence against him, and over his claims of abuse and degrading treatment during arrest and interrogation. This is his ninth period of detention, according to reports. In the past he has acted as a spokesman for the militant group Islamic Jihad. (Left-wing British newspaper The Guardian)
Mr Adnan is widely believed to be a leader of the Palestinian militant group, Islamic Jihad. (BBC)
Meanwhile, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets of the West Bank and Gaza on Wednesday to show solidarity the prisoner, who is a political activist with the radical Islamic Jihad movement. (Agence France Press)
Adnan, 34, is a leading figure in Islamic Jihad, a militant resistance group in Palestine. (Egyptian news outlet Ahram Online)
Israel’s Ofer military court ruled against Adnan’s appeal of his four month administrative detention order. The Islamic Jihad leader has refused food for 58 days to protest his treatment by Israeli authorities, and the practice of detention without charge. (Hezbollah’s Ma’an News Agency)
Adnan, a member of the armed group Islamic Jihad, has lost 60 pounds (27 kilograms) and now weighs about 140 pounds (63 kilograms). (MSNBC)
In a way, I suppose Wall’s inane use of the McCarthyism trope with regard to Adnan’s case might actually have some validity–after all, at least some of those who were accused of being Communists in the 1950s actually were, just as Adnan really is a leading figure in a terrorist organization.
So, let’s sum up, shall we? James Wall–who is not anti-Semitic–is a supporter of and apologist for people who engage in the murder of Israeli civilians. The IPMN–which is not anti-Semitic–considers his opinion pieces must reading for its membership (I can’t remember the last time they didn’t link to him, whether on Facebook or Twitter). The IPMN is a recognized and supported mission network of the PCUSA, which has had not a single word to say in response to the concerns about the IPMN and its links to extremist and anti-Semitic writers and activists expressed recently by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
UPDATE: I had actually missed Wall’s previous post, which was also on Adnan, in which he managed to get through the entire thing without ever mentioning the man’s connection to Islamic Jihad. Now that’s an accomplishment.
UPDATE: The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (which is supported by several mainline denominations, including the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries), makes the same absurd claim about Adnan:
It has been reported that he is affiliated with Islamic Jihad, but no evidence of that affiliation has been presented.
That’s also a quote from a press release of support for Adnan issued by Jewish Voice for Peace, thus demonstrating what kind of tools they are as well.