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Kidnapped Israeli, Elizabeth Tsurkov

Elizabeth Tsurkov was kidnapped in Baghdad by Kata’ib Hezbollah: an Iraqi Shiite militia that has attacked Americans and answers to Iran. Even though the leftist activist had entered Iraq using her primary Russian passport, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that Israel was doing what it could to get her out. Israel would do better to pay attention to the security of its actual citizens rather than to a career terrorist supporter who for a time used Israel as her base.

Tsurkov has been described as a “scholar” doing “fieldwork”. That might put people in mind of an archeologist or an anthropologist, in reality she is a political activist who put out a steady stream of editorials, articles and tweets: many of which attacked Israel and supported terrorists.


In recent articles like “How Israel’s Occupation Came Home” and “Israel knows it will get away with the attack on Shireen Abu Aqleh’s funeral”, Tsurkov blasted Israel. In the wake of a massive wave of Islamic terrorist violence, she shamelessly complained that, “Israeli mainstream media quickly reverted to its habit of focusing on Jewish victims of violence.”

Elizabeth Tsurkov had spent a decade spreading vile smears of Israel, accusing the Jewish State of genocide and apartheid. She was interviewed by the worst anti-Israel activists like Peter Beinart, Matt Duss and Lara Friedman, and her tweets were picked up by pro-Hamas outlets.

Tsurkov’s despicable career was built in no small part on trafficking in attacks on Israel. After 3 Israeli teens were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas in 2014, Tsurkov authored a New York Times post titled, “Israel Is Helping Hamas” in which she sneered that, “one cannot stir a hornet’s nest and claim self-defense when the hornets start biting. This is how the latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas commenced.”

Then she complained that “when militant groups fired rockets from Gaza, Israel began Operation Protective Edge, even though no Israelis had been harmed by the missiles.”

While Elizabeth Tsurkov isn’t the only Hamas apologist out there, she was employed by an activist group tied closely to the Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership in America.

Media coverage has implied that Tsurkov’s kidnapping had something to do with her secondary Israeli side of her dual citizenship with Russia. The real reason that Tsurkov was kidnapped had nothing to do with Israel and everything to do with the focus of her work on Syria.

Tsurkov was harshly critical of the Shiite Assad regime in Syria, backed by Iran, and very interested in the various Sunni militias operating in Syria. It’s not surprising that a Shiite militia in Iraq snapped her up, the only surprise is that it took them so long to get around to it.

The media has been predictably incurious about who was employing her and why.

Stories have mentioned that she “is a fellow at the New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy” based out of Washington D.C. without clarifying what that is. The New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy was founded by Ahmed Alwani, an Iraqi immigrant businessman operating out of Virginia, who serves as the vice president of the International Institute of Islamic Thought.

The original tagline of the IIIT was “towards Islamization of Knowledge”. Ahmed is the son of Taha Jabir Alwani: described as a founding figure of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.

Kyle Shideler, the Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at the Center for Security Policy, has called IIT “one of the earliest founded U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations, which was linked to a post-9/11 federal investigation into terrorism fundraising, and which has supplied much of the ideological material for U.S. Islamist groups since its founding in the early 1980s.”

Not only wasn’t Elizabeth Tsurkov working for Israel, as some have alleged, she was working for a group tied to the parent organization of Hamas which is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Syrian Civil War was initially viewed as an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood and allied Islamist coups that had temporarily brought them to power in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and across the region. The Muslim Brotherhood’s operations in America put every effort into campaigning for American intervention against Assad, and then later bemoaning the rise of ISIS, Al Qaeda and hostile Sunni Islamist groups that were trying to carve up Syria for themselves.

That is the context within which Tsurkov’s ill-fated expedition needs to be seen. She was not kidnapped because she had a secondary Israeli citizenship (to which she was so loyal that she never gave up her primary Russian citizenship) or because she may be of Jewish ancestry, but because she was an activist in a Sunni-Shiite power struggle in Syria on behalf of the Sunnis.

In 2016, Tsurkov published an interview with the spokesman for Jaysh al-Islam or the Army of Islam, which had a sizable contingent of Muslim Brotherhood Jihadists, titled, “Rebels at the Gates of Damascus”. How did she get access to a spokesman for a major Jihadist group?

The Shiite media supportive of the Assad regime dug and found that Tsurkov had a secondary Israeli citizenship and accused Jaysh al-Islam of being a bunch of Zionists. The spokesman resigned and Tsurkov, if she had any sense, would have left the region.

Instead she used Syria to build up her career. By 2018, she was listed as a consultant to George Soros’ International Crisis Group for her “interviews with rebel commanders, foot-soldiers, activists, community leaders and civilians in southwestern Syria.” Then, similarly, with the Atlantic Council, the European Institute for Peace, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, Freedom House and finally New Lines, advocating for the Sunni Arabs in Syria.

Elizabeth Tsurkov’s kidnapping is not an Israeli problem or a Jewish one, it’s a Sunni Arab one. The Muslim Brotherhood is welcome to negotiate her release, not that they are likely to bother being that she is an infidel woman and therefore they place a low value on her life, but Israel shouldn’t. The last thing Israel or the free world needs is more terrorist apologists.

After a career of bashing Israel and excusing Islamic terrorists, Tsurkov is now in the hands of Islamic terrorists. It may prove to be an educational experience for the terror apologist.

Tsurkov has traveled the familiar path of other leftist activists like James Foley and Kayla Mueller who rushed to the Middle East to side with Sunni Arab Islamists over America and Israel, only to end up a hostage. They may be victims, but they’re far from innocent. And their leftist politics have cost the lives of innocent people while aiding Islamic terrorists.

The same is true of Tsurkov who followed the familiar academic radicalization pipeline in Israel,   working for open borders migrant groups in Israel, and then pro-terror anti-Israel activism, getting political science degrees in America and advocating for the Sunni Jihadists in Syria.

When the New York Times reported on poor living conditions at a camp for ISIS families in Syria, Tsurkov was quoted as complaining that, “living in conditions that are difficult and being surrounded by people who are highly radical — is that conducive to deradicalisation?”

Elizabeth Tsurkov was radicalized by the Israeli Left. Her sympathy for Islamic terrorists led her to devalue the lives of Israelis and other non-Muslim targets of Islamic terrorism. The only tragedy is that none of her former allies and supporters will learn any lessons from her plight


{Reposted from FrontPageMag}

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Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli born blogger and columnist, and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. His work covers American, European and Israeli politics as well as the War on Terror. His writing can be found at These opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.