Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90
Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani waves to the crowds during a brief visit to Gaza, August 2013.

Some Jewish defenders of Qatar, stung by the widespread criticism of their support for the Hamas-sponsoring regime, are now resorting to name-calling and mud slinging. That’s a sure sign of a guilty conscience.

A rabbi at Yale named Shmully Hecht, who took part in a recent meeting with the Hamas-loving emir of Qatar, has written that criticism of his action is “foolish,” “intellectually dishonest,” “uninformed,” even “libelous.” Those who dare question his position are “seeking fame and unwarranted relevance,” Hecht declares.


Now Alan Dershowitz has jumped into the mud, too. Writing in the Times of Israel, Dershowitz unleashes fire and brimstone upon those who questioned his motives in taking a trip to Qatar, paid for by the emir. The critics are comparable to “anti-Semites,” he says; and those who disagree with his position are guilty of “simple minded, extremist hatred for Qatar.”

Name calling is petty and irritating. Mangled facts and disingenuous arguments are far worse than that.

“I do not believe it is in the best interest of Israel or America to create an intractable enemy out of a country that may prove not to be one,” Dershowitz writes.

The notion that Jewish critics of Qatar are the ones who have turned it into an enemy is outrageous.

Long before any Jews were criticizing Qatar, the Qataris became the leading funder of Hamas. According to the Jerusalem Post, Qatar is Hamas’s “single largest donor, paying out hundreds of millions of dollars so far.”

Long before any Jews were saying anything about Qatar, the Qataris were financing the propaganda outlet called Al Jazeera.

And long before any Jews were daring to disagree with Qatar’s Jewish friends, Qatar had granted haven to Hamas’s top leaders, Khaled Mashaal and Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Yes, that’s the same al-Qaradawi who has publicly praised Hitler and prayed for Allah to help him finish the job.

“Oh Allah,” he declared in one sermon broadcast on Al Jazeera, “take this oppressive, Jewish, Zionist band of people…count their numbers and kill them, down to the very last one!”

Rabbi Hecht writes: “Many prominent Jewish leaders have flown to Qatar and spent quality time with the country’s leadership.”

I wonder what that “quality time” involved? Moonlit walks on the beach? Stimulating intellectual chit-chat over a glass of white wine?

I’m asking in all seriousness. I want to know their secret. Because Rabbi Hecht writes with all seriousness: “And from what I’ve heard, the Qataris have begun to listen and engage.”

Listen? Engage? Those vague terms mean nothing. Here are the questions whose answers actually would mean something: Has Qatar stopped financing the Hamas mass-murder machine? Has Qatar stopped sheltering the top Hamas mass murderers?

Prof. Dershowitz says he has a solution.

“I have called for a fact-finding commission to resolve the conflicting factual claims,” he declares.

Surely he knows enough about history to know that “fact-finding commissions” which visit dictatorships are shown only the “facts” the regime wants them to see. How many “fact-finders” who visited the Soviet Union or North Korea or Syria were ever allowed to see the real facts of what was happening in those countries?

Dershowitz concludes by claiming he and other Jews might be able to influence Qatar to change its positions. As evidence, he claims the Lubavitcher Rebbe once said that conservative Senator Jesse Helms, who for many years opposed all foreign aid, might be persuaded to support aid to Israel.

This is a wrongheaded and insulting analogy. No U.S. senator should be compared to a regime that is Hamas’s number-one funder. And to imply that the Lubavitcher Rebbe would have supported romancing Qatar is outrageous.

I doubt the Rebbe would have kept silent about Qatar’s funding of the Hamas rockets that murdered three Lubavitchers in Kiryat Malachi in November 2012. Or have we already forgotten those victims? One was Rebbetzin Mirah Scarf, a Chabad emissary from India who had come to Kiryat Malachi for a memorial service to the Chabad emissaries who were murdered by terrorists in Mumbai. I wonder how many of Qatar’s Jewish apologists even remember her name.

Rebbetzin Scarf was pregnant at the time the Qatari-sponsored Hamas rockets took her life and the life of her unborn child. Their blood is on the hands of the emir of Qatar who paid for the rocket launcher, as much as it is on the hands of the terrorist who pushed the button.

This is not a complicated issue. Spending “quality time” with the emir is not the proper Jewish response to the murder of Rebbetzin Scarf and so many other victims of Qatar and Hamas. Giving a p.r. boost to terror sponsors is wrong. And slinging mud at anyone who dares to disagree with Qatar’s Jewish allies is just pathetic.


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Stephen M. Flatow is president-elect of the Religious Zionists of America. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995 and the author of A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror.