web analytics
July 4, 2015 / 17 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘United Kingdom’

US Army Vet Pleads ‘Not Guilty’ on Trying to Join ISIS

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Turkish authorities caught a U.S. Armed Forces veteran this past January as he was allegedly attempting to join Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terror group, or ISIS.

U.S. federal authorities say U.S. Air Force veteran and New Jersey native Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, 47, flew to Turkey from Egypt in January, but was denied entry to the country. Instead, they say Turkey sent Pugh back to Egypt, who then deported the veteran to the U.S.

(Given the skill and speed with which Turkish authorities caught this suspect, one wonders how three Islamic schoolgirls from the UK managed to sneak through the country into Syria to become Daesh “brides.”)

Pugh was arrested January 10 in Turkey and on January 16 in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and has been held in custody since that time, the Wall Street Journal reported. The alleged wannabe terrorist was formally charged by the federal grand jury with attempting to provide material support to ISIS and obstruction of justice. On Wednesday he pleaded “not guilty” in a New York federal court room, CNN reported.

If found guilty, Pugh could be sentenced to a maximum of 35 years in prison.

According to a post on the blog of the New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Pugh’s Face­book pro­file included mul­ti­ple anti-Semitic and anti-Israel posts as well as posts sup­port­ing Hamas.

One of the posts written by Pugh in July 2014 stated in part, “All the evil done by the Jews came from within them­selves. On the day of Judg­ment full respon­si­bil­ity of the starv­ing, tor­ture, jail­ing and killing of inno­cent Mus­lims will rest upon there (sic) shoul­ders. Allah must really hate them to give the rope to hang them­selves.” He also posted an image with text stat­ing, “Most Jews do not like to admit it, but our G-d is Lucifer.”

In August 2014, he shared an image that ref­er­enced blood libel accu­sa­tions, depict­ing Israel’s Prime Min­is­ter Binyamin Netanyahu slit­ting the throats of sleep­ing children. Pugh also posted sev­eral car­toons equat­ing Jews, Israelis or Zion­ists to Nazis, as well as numerous images claim­ing to depict Israeli war crimes.

Under questioning while being held in Egypt prior to deportation to the U.S. Pugh claimed he had traveled to Turkey to seek employment, denying he had intended to go to Syria, according to the criminal complaint filed in Brooklyn federal court.

However, a search of the suspect’s laptop by federal agents turned up a map of Turkish-Syrian border crossing points, and some 180 jihadist propaganda videos – including a number showing ISIS prisoners being executed. Also found on his laptop was a letter addressed to “My Misha,” whicch stated, “I will use the talents and skills given to me by Allah to establish and defend the Islamic States.”

That Pugh refers to ‘Islamic States’ in the plural form is, in fact, quite chilling: Daesh has indeed spread its influence and its forces from Iraq and Syria into a number of other countries, including Yemen, Nigeria and Libya. Pockets of terrorist cells have also been found in the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza, Lebanon, France, Belgium, and Denmark.

Pugh was charged with “obstruction of justice” in response to the suspect’s intentional damage and removal of memory chips from four thumb drives in order to stymie law enforcement officials in their attempts to access data, authorities said. According to the criminal complaint, Pugh was also asked why he had a photo of a machine gun on his cell phone. He replied that he had “no particular reason other than simply liking the photograph.”

But Pugh’s history did not begin with his flight to the Turkish-Syrian border; actually he has been on the “watch list” for more than 10 years. Quoting the criminal complaint, the Wall Street Journal reported that Pugh converted to Islam and then started ramping up his radical sympathies after moving to San Antonio in 1998.

The FBI received a first tip from a co-worker while Pugh was working as a mechanic for American Airlines in 2001, when he was saying he sympathized with Al Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and supported the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Africa. By 2002, the FBI heard that Pugh had expressed interest in traveling to Chechnya to fight the jihad (Islamic holy war.)

Pugh had already worked as an Air Force mechanic from 1986 to 1990, and was assigned to various bases around the world, according to the U.S. Air Force. He lived abroad for some 18 months, including in Egypt and Jordan, prior to his arrest, according to the criminal complaint. But following his discharge, Pugh had trouble holding down a steady job.

At some point from 2009 to 2010, he worked as an Army contractor for a five month period in Iraq.

Earlier this year, he was fired again, this time from a gig as an airplane mechanic for a firm “based in the Middle East.”

Last Friday, three Brooklyn men also pleaded “not guilty” in Brooklyn federal court to charges of conspiring to aid the ISIS terrorist organization.

Over the past 18 months “dozens” of Americans have faced criminal charges relating to ISIS. FBI director James Comey said at a news briefing last month that his agency has active cases open “in every single state” in connection with the ISIS terror organization.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Preventing Americans from joining ISIS has become a priority for federal law-enforcement officials, but they have been unable to find a singular profile of the type of American who is inspired by the militant group’s propaganda.”

Due to the lack of a hat, a tip of the keyboard will have to do for kudos to WSJ journalists Dion Nissenbaum and Nicole Hong for being able to compose and type that last with a (presumed) straight face.

BBC TV’s Director Fears for Future of Jews in Britain

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Danny Cohen, the director of television at the BBC, is usually in the news to talk about the next big thing in British television. He is known for helping commission popular British shows such as the coming-of-age sitcom “The Inbetweeners” and the BAFTA award-winning “Skins.” Now he oversees the BBC’s four main channels.

However, on Sunday, Cohen gave the discussion about anti-Semitism in Europe a potent jolt.

“I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as I’ve felt in the last 12 months,” Cohen told Israeli television anchor Yonit Levi at a conference in Jerusalem. “And it’s made me think about, you know, is it our long-term home, actually? Because you feel it. I’ve felt it in a way I’ve never felt before.”

Cohen is a native Londoner who has lived in the UK his entire life. A month and a half earlier, Parliament’s opposition leader, Ed Milliband, posted about the rise of British anti-Semitism on Facebook.

Amid spikes in anti-Semitism across Europe, anti-Semitic incidents in England skyrocketed during the war in Gaza this summer.

Cohen’s position near the top of the BBC, which took a lot of heat for its coverage of the Gaza war, has helped draw great attention to his comments, including from some who suggested he uses his position of influence to defend Jews.

The UK Jewish News laid the blame in part at the feet of the BBC, saying its coverage of this summer’s war was biased.

British Jews To March Against Anti-Semitism

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

At least 1000 British Jews are expected to attend a protest rally in central London Sunday to to demand greater action by the police and Government against anti-Semitism.

The rally, which will be held at the Royal Courts of Justice, was called by the Campaign against Antisemitism, a new organization dedicated to identifying and fighting Judeophobia in the United Kingdom. Speakers will include Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim activist and co-founder of Quilliam, a counter-extremism think tank and Douglas Murray, a conservative commentator and associate director of the Henry Jackson Society.

Great Britain, like other European countries, has experienced a sharp spike in Judeophobic attacks, especially since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge on July 8.  Since the beginning of August, several synagogues have been vandalized, pro-Palestinian activists have attacked supermarkets selling Israeli products, and signs reading “Hitler was right” have been featured at anti-Israel demonstrations.

“British Jews complain the existing law is not being enforced to protect them from abuse and discrimination,” said the Campaign Against Antisemitism.

British Vets Want Ban on Ritual Slaughter

Friday, March 7th, 2014

The president-elect of the British Veterinary Association called for a ban on slaughtering cattle without first stunning it, which in effect would outlaw traditional kosher slaughter.

In an interview with the Times, John Blackwell called for prohibiting kosher and halal slaughter because it causes pain to the animal for “five or six seconds,” according to reports.

“They will feel the massive injury of the tissues of the neck,” Blackwell said in the interview. “They will perceive the aspiration of blood. They will breathe in before they lose consciousness.”

Blackwell, who has been accused by religious leaders of “inflaming prejudice,” says animals must be stunned before the cut.

“We are looking for a meeting of minds to review the evidence base which clearly shows that slaughtering animals without stunning compromises welfare,” Blackwell told the Daily Mail. “If that can’t happen then I would like labelling at the point of sale that gives the consumer informed choice. If that is not possible we would be looking for a ban for killing without stunning.”

“There is no insensibility for these animals by cutting its throat and these remain conscious for seven seconds for sheep and two minutes for cattle and that is not acceptable,” he insisted. “As a vet and scientist welfare is top of our list.”

Jonathan Arkush, vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, responded: “I really regret John Blackwell’s remarks, which are completely misleading. Animals that are killed for the Jewish or Muslim markets do not bleed to death. Animals that are killed for the general market or the Muslim and Jewish market are killed in exactly the same way. A large animal has its throat cut and this renders it insensible to pain and unconscious. The Jewish method is designed to bring that about instantly, and using tendentious language is not helpful.”

You’ll note that neither Blackwell nor Arkush are able to offer real evidence to their claims, other than observations from a safe distance. It is impossible to discern objectively whether the animal is experiencing pain or not as its life is fading, and certainly not whether the animal is experiencing the same level of pain throughout the process.

Shimon Cohen, the campaign director of Shechita UK, which aims to preserve kosher slaughter, or shechitah, said the initiative was a “dereliction of duty.”

“Of the countless pressing animal welfare issues that we are faced with today, he has chosen to focus on an issue which is not supported by scientific consensus and which affects a tiny minority of animals,” Cohen said in a statement.

“Animal welfare is at the heart of everything that we do. It is scandalous that, once again, in the context of such pervasive cruelty in so many abattoirs, that the BVA continue to single out faith communities for criticism.”

More than 6,000 animals are killed in religious abattoirs every week in Britain, according to the Mail. The halal meat market is believed to be worth up to an estimated £2billion.

Charities including Compassion in World Farming and the RSPCA also support the move to ban the slaughter of animals without stunning first.

Last week the Danish government was accused of being antisemitic for passing a law banning the religious slaughter of animals for halal and kosher meat.

The new law has been called antisemitic, the Mail reports, and “a clear interference in religious freedom.”

European Union regulations require animals be stunned before slaughter, unless an exemption can be found on religious grounds. Under Jewish law and halal under Islamic law, the animals must be conscious.

 

Some JTA content was used in this report.

British PM Cameron to Visit Israel Next Week

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

British Prime Minister David Cameron will visit Israel and address the Knesset on March 12.

Cameron was originally scheduled to visit Israel in February but had to postpone the trip because of flooding in the United Kingdom. This will be Cameron’s first visit to Israel since becoming prime minister in 2010.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein invited Cameron to Israel when the two met at former South African President Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

“I welcome the arrival of the prime minister of a great and important country like Britain to address the Knesset and believe that the visit will contribute to the friendship between Britain and Israel as well as the relations between the two countries,” Edelstein said in a statement. “I am also glad that the Knesset will once again take its place as the main stage chosen by the leaders of the world to address the Israeli people.”

French President Francois Hollande, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Parliament President Martin Schulz all addressed the Knesset in the past year.

One Strike and You’re Out?

Monday, April 29th, 2013

The news over the last few weeks of the sockpuppet scandal of Rabbi Michael Broyde is disturbing, but not for the reasons you might imagine. On the face of it, this is the story of a Rabbi regarded as brilliant and erudite, both in Jewish and secular law, who destroyed his career by using an alias to engage in online Rabbinical conferences and discussions. Furthermore, his denial of the alias sealed his fate. He was forced to resign from the Beth Din of America, where he was one of its most prominent judges, and his name has become sullied.

I do not know Rabbi Broyde and cannot recall if we ever formally met. But I do know this. The growing American and Jewish culture of “one-strike-and-your-out” is tragic and disturbing.

Say a Rabbi like Broyde makes a terrible mistake. He assumes an invented identity on the internet and even uses it – so it is alleged – to promote his candidacy as potential Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom. Does that mean he has nothing left to contribute? That because we discover he can be deceitful that it negates any good thing he may have done? Does he really now have nothing more to teach us? And should this be the end of an otherwise distinguished career?

Whatever happened to the idea of repentance, predicated as it is on the larger idea that a man is not merely the sum total of his most recent actions. That there is something that lies beneath his mistakes, a plane of innocence, into which he can tap in and resume his course on the path of righteousness.

By all accounts Broyde was a pathfinder in areas of Jewish law. By all means, let him be censured and punished for his error. Rabbis must act with ethical excellence. Let us also encourage him to go for counseling so that he can heal from his mistakes. But then let us allow him, should his repentance be complete, to resume his communal offerings and be restored to a position of significance.

New York is right now speculating whether Anthony Weiner will run for Mayor. His poll numbers are growing stronger. That gives me hope. He had a sex scandal where he tweeted pictures of his crotch to women who were strangers. He then denied it and was caught. He paid a huge price, losing his congressional seat and faced public disgrace. I personally have never cared much for Weiner or his politics. I am a Republican and he is a partisan Democrat. But enough is enough. Stop punishing the man. He has suffered enough. Allow him to contribute, now, to the public good and stop reminding him always of his failures. I do not wish to live in a world where a man is only remembered only for his mistakes and never for his virtue.

I am a Jew and as such I am part of a religion that has no perfect Jesus figures. In Judaism no woman is divine and no man is the son of God. In the Hebrew Bible everyone is flawed and everyone makes mistakes. Moses, the greatest prophet that ever lived, was so imperfect that God denied him entry into the Holy Land, the only personal wish the lawgiver ever had. Yet we Jews do not remember him for his errors, but for the glorious deliverance he gave our people from Egypt and for the even more glorious Ten Commandments.

Three years ago I traveled with a Christian evangelical organization to Zimbabwe to distribute food and medicine. In Harare I met three young doctors who were volunteering. They spoke of the difficulties of treating AIDs patients in one of the poorest, most oppressive societies on earth. “But what about medicines?,” I asked them. “Do you have any antiretrovirals?” “Oh,” they said, “those we have in abundance, teeming from the shelves, thanks to the Clinton Global Initiative.” And yet some want to remember the former President just for Monica Lewinsky.

I for one never focused my ire on President Clinton for his sex scandal and saw it more as a sad and private matter. I was much more interested in his failure to stop the Rwandan Genocide and I am pleased to see that he is attempting to repent of that monumental failure with his focus on saving as many African lives as possible.

How the British Media Covered Omar Misharawi’s Death

Thursday, March 14th, 2013
We recently noted that on March 12 the Guardian’s media blogger Roy Greenslade corrected his erroneous Nov 15 report (a day after the start of the Gaza war) that an Israeli missile killed the 11-month old son of BBC Arabic journalist Jihad Misharawi, Omar, as well as Jihad’s sister-in-law. (Misharawi’s brother also later died of wounds suffered in the blast.)

Greenslade, as with journalists at numerous other news outlets over the past week, noted in his new report that on March 6 the U.N. issued an advance version of its report on the war which concluded that Misharawi was likely killed by an errant Palestinian missile, not by the IDF. (This information in the report was first discovered by Elder of Ziyon, who also was one of the few bloggers who critically examined initial reports in the MSM blaming Israel for Misharawi’s death.)

Additionally, the Guardian published an A.P. report on March 12, ‘U.N. report suggests Palestinian rocket killed baby in Gaza,’ which went into detail about the new information which contradicted the “widely believed story behind an image that became a symbol of what Palestinians said was Israeli aggression.”

Thus far, the Guardian still hasn’t corrected a Nov. 15 report by Paul Owen and Tom McCarthy, ‘Gaza Twitter war intensifies over pictures of infant casualties‘, which included the heartbreaking photo of Misharawi as well as the following text:

Pictures emerged of BBC cameraman Jihad Misharawi’s 11-month-old son Omar, who was killed on Wednesday during an Israeli attack [emphasis added]. Misharawi’s sister-in-law also died in the strike on Gaza City, and his brother was seriously injured.

Though the damage done by the now iconic image of Misharawi ‘clutching his slain child wrapped in a shroud‘ can not be ameliorated by even the clearest retractions, it’s important nonetheless that the media be held accountable to report new information which comes to light contradicting their previous version of events.

Whilst you can of course find out how the BBC covered the news at CifWatch’s sister site, BBC Watch, here’s a quick round-up of how others in the British media performed:

The Telegraph. On Nov. 15, the Telegraph published ‘Baby son of BBC worker killed in Gaza strike‘ which included the photo of Misharawi, and this passage:

Jihad Misharawi, who is employed by BBC Arabic, lost his 11-month-old baby Omar. Mr Misharawi’s brother was also seriously injured when his house was struck in the Israeli operation and his sister-in-law was killed.

Additionally, a Nov. 15 Telegraph Live Blog post on the Gaza war included this passage:

Jihad Misharawi, who is employed by BBC Arabic, lost his 11-month-old baby Omar. His brother was also seriously injured when his house was struck in the Israeli operation and his sister-in-law was killed.

Corrections: None.

Daily Mail. On Nov. 15, the Daily Mail published a sensationalist piece by David Williams, titled ‘What did my son do to die like this?’Anguish of BBC journalist as he cradles the body of his baby son who died in Israeli rocket attack on Gaza‘, which included multiple photos of Misharawi with his baby and the following passages:

“Tiny Omar…died after an Israeli airstrike on Hamas militants in Gaza.

Masharawi had arrived at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital after Omar suffered severe burns in an airstrike that sent shrapnel tearing into his home killing a woman and leaving his brother and uncle critically injured.

Corrections: None.

Spectator. David Blackburn published a piece titled ‘Israel’s public relations problem‘ which included the image of Misharawi with his baby, as well as the following passage:

The front page of today’s Washington Post shows a picture of the BBC’s Jihad Masharawi holding his dead 11-month-old son, an innocent victim of Israeli action against Hamas’ paramilitary targets following months of indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilians in southern Israel*

Corrections: The piece has now been updated, per the asterisk, and includes the following at the bottom:

*Since this article was published, a United Nations investigation has found that the incident described by the Washington Post was caused by the shortfall of a rocket fired by Palestinian militants at targets in Israel.

The Sun. On Nov. 15 The Sun published ‘The Innocents: Beeb journalist’s son dead, another hurt..babies hit as Gaza war looms,’ by Nick Parker, which included a photo of Misharawi and his baby, and this passage:

Omar was one of at least 15 Palestinians killed in air strikes as Israel retaliated over the Hamas missiles.

Corrections: None.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/cifwatch/how-the-british-media-covered-omar-misharawis-death/2013/03/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: