Americans fear vulnerability to terror in new year


Americans were as shocked as everyone else when two terrorists shot up the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo magazine last January, but they did not think that they were threatened by an attack which had targeted the creators of a series of cartoons mocking Mohammed, a satirical genre that American cartoonists have not embraced. The attack on a kosher supermarket frequented by Jews was another story, but then clearly Jews alone were targeted, not French people at large.

Eleven months later, after terrorists carried out simultaneous attacks on Parisians at a rock concert, at a major sports event and in restaurants there was no denying what had transpired. Anyone and everyone was a potential terror victim. The ostensible reason the terrorists gave was French air attacks against ISIS in Syria. Americans were leading the air attacks on ISIS The implication for Americans was obvious. “How vulnerable are we?” became a national mantra.

Now they know. Expert assessments of the Jihadi danger have multiplied during the past two weeks, in part because of the deadly attack by a Muslim couple who killed 14 people at a Christmas office party in San Bernardino, Calif.. Even more shocking was the fact that the married couple had a baby and the husband had worked at the office, making them most unlikely suspects until their past was investigated.

RAND Corporation associate policy analyst Jason H. Campbell told The Media Line that, “What is unknown is the degree to which [the Paris attacks are] replicable, especially with the heightened vigilance seen throughout the U.S., Europe and elsewhere” in the wake of the San Bernadino massacre. That attack left no doubt about the modus operandi of ISIS as well as its ability to do in the US what it has done in Paris and the northern Sinai Peninsula where it has killed dozens of Egyptian troops and brought down a Russian passenger plane with more than two hundred holiday-makers aboard. “Heightened vigilance,” he said, is not sufficient in itself. Nobody would have suspected the San Bernadino couple. Social media and the Internet provide a very effective way of turning apparently innocent Muslims into potential Islamic terrorists in the privacy of their own homes.

As the world has now grasped, the apparent ability of ISIS to order random terrorist attacks at will around the globe through agents it has planted or cultivated in western countries is now operational. Terrorism specialists have spoken of the necessity to understand that the war against ISIS cannot be restricted to conventional warfare as though against an organized military force, whether through air strikes or by putting boots on the ground, essential as those means are. The very success of western assaults which unleashes urban terrorism in Europe must be fought with different means.

Unfortunately, European societies – as well as many American agencies — tend to regard urban terrorism as crimes to be fought, like any crime, by diligent police work. This is an error, says Gen. Yaakov Amidror, former head of Israeli army intelligence and national security adviser. He told The Media Line that “The West needs to change its attitude toward terrorism and understand it’s not a criminal act, but something different. You can’t use the criminal and police systems to fight terror, you have to have special agencies and rules that allow you to fight terror, which include intelligence, interception and interrogation.”

According to Amidror, Western states are vulnerable to terrorist machinations precisely because of their adherence to a legal system that respects individual rights. If a criminal is planning to rob a bank safeguards can be put in place to thwart it and the criminal caught red-handed. For terrorists the target is not this or that bank or individual but the entire society. To catch them at the scene of the crime is too late. Therefore it is reasonable that “if you have information about someone who is going to rob a bank, you can’t arrest him because a crime has not been committed yet.” However, “when terrorists meet and speak together about a terrorist act you should arrest them.”

Amidror cites the case of a terror suspect in Belgium who escaped because the law would not allow police to break into a house between eleven p.m. and four a.m.

Detective First Grade Mordy Dzikansky, author of two books on terrorism and the officer selected by the NYPD to serve as liaison to Israel during the Second Intifada, agrees. He told The Media Line that there is a necessary difference in approach to terrorism and that the rules have changed when it comes to the vulnerability of civilians to terrorism. He gave the example of the Boston Marathon bombing, where Russia’s FSB had passed on information about the bombers to US authorities, suggesting that they be kept under observation. One of the US agencies apparently interviewed one of the brothers. Dzikansky disagreed with the methodology arguing that terrorists have a greater commitment than do criminals and the interview can only tip the hand of the counter-terrorism forces. He said that the hatred exceeds the monetary reward.

What makes operating against terrorists more difficult is that many potential ISIS terrorists are citizens of the countries where they operate. They have the same rights as other citizens to protection under the law of democratic states and cannot be deported even as they plan murderous random attacks against fellow citizens or citizens of neighboring European countries to which they can travel freely.
ISIS takes advantage of Europe's compassion for the victims of the chaos in Syria, to which ISIS itself contributes. Referring to the mass influx of Syrian refugees to Europe, Simon Perry, co-director of a research program on policing and homeland security at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, told The Media Line that the French appeared to be stunned that several of the terrorists in November's attacks were French. One assailant at least came to France via Greece posing as a refugee. He said the influx of refugees clearly “provided opportunities for ISIS to attack the West.”

Israeli analysts claim that what happens in Israel will happen later in Europe. “On terrorism, Israel is ten or twenty years ahead and twenty years ahead on the solution,” says Perry.

Kenneth Abramowitz, a New York-based analyst who established Savethewest.com, agrees. “What happens in Israel happens in other countries in five years,” he told The Media Line. Israel, he adds, is “the eastern border of western civilization.” Unlike Israel, “none of the Western nations is capable of defending its own interests.” He calls European absorption of masses of Syrian refugees not so much an indication of a kinder, gentler Europe as evidence that “Europe has made the decision to not save itself.”He gives the Europe Union “a few months to come to its senses or it will be overwhelmed by Muslims,” he warns.

The assault on Western civilization, of which the ISIS threat is only one component, according to Abramowitz, comes from both “the outside and from the inside.” In his view the terror threat is not from ISIS alone. The “existential threat” to the United States comes from Iranian and North Korean nuclear weapons and ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) as well.

Pessimistically he envisages that only a serious attack will awaken democracies, including the U.S., to the homeland threat because “democracies act in a panic.”

Abramowitz fears a multi-front “attack to destroy the U.S. through … physical war, intellectual war, economic war, legal war and demographic war.” President Obama has spoken of the intention to “degrade and destroy” ISIS. That is not sufficient. Even if the war against ISIS terror is successful, Abramowitz maintains, the battle for survival must go beyond it.

Robert Swift contributed to this article.

Freedom to offend: A collection of cartoons


This caption for the “Shoah Hebdo” issue (a mock cover of Charlie Hebdo) says, “I’ll take 1 million off 6 in exchange for Palestine” — showing a rabbi bargaining to knock 1 million off the official count of 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust in exchange for Arabs allowing Jews to have Palestine.

The Amjed Rasmi cartoon from Arab News depicts rats wearing Stars of David, heads covered. They scurry backward and forward through holes in the wall of a building called “Palestine House.” Arab News, an English-language daily widely read by expats in Saudi Arabia, is published by a state-owned Saudi corporation.  Courtesy of TomGrossMedia.com

Drawn by Glen Le Lievre and satirizing Israelis watching fighting during the Gaza war, this cartoon appeared in the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald on July 26, 2014, and caused an uproar, especially among Sydney’s Jewish community. The paper’s editor-in-chief apologized two weeks later, calling it a “serious error of judgement.”

This cartoon cover, by the French satiric magazine Charlie Hebdo, is credited with provoking last week’s deadly attack in Paris against the magazine’s offices. It depicts a caricature of the prophet Muhammad for the special “Sharia Hebdo” issue, declaring, “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter!”

This satiric September 2005  image, by Kurt Westergaard in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, shows the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb for a turban. It led to the current round of extremist outrage against media outlets that breach their sensibilities.

Charlie Hebdo and the freedom to offend


“We are avenging Mohammed!” the attackers shouted as they went about their murderous business against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris Wednesday morning, as can be seen on witness videos. Once again, Islamic terrorists responded violently to a routine ritual of the free world—we like to make fun of things.

We make fun of kings, presidents, popes, saints, even prophets. We make fun of Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Obama, Queen Elizabeth, North Korean dictators, and, yes, even Mohammed. Sometimes, that kind of mockery helps us get to a deeper truth. But even when it doesn’t, we’re free to take on whomever and whatever we like. It’s called freedom of speech.

This freedom to criticize and offend is worshiped by millions of people, including, yes, the Islamic terrorists themselves.

[Related: Jewish caricaturist among Paris victims]

You see, here’s what I find utterly fascinating about Islamic murderers who are easily offended: They cherish their own freedom to offend. God forbid anyone should ever try to curtail that freedom and tell Islamic murderers to stop offending other religions or religious groups.

It’s freedom of expression for them, but not for others.

When we accept this dynamic and single out Islam for special sensitivity, we don’t do Islam any favors. Remember how much of the U.S. media refused to publish the Danish cartoons of Mohammed that sparked riots over a decade ago? The free speech junkies who caved into Islamic bullying were also those who blasted Sony recently for caving into the North Korean threats against the film, “The Interview.”

Apparently, when the bullies are not Islamic, and the target is not Islam, our media is fearless.

Now, with this blatant and cowardly attack against free speech in Paris, I wonder: Will the Western media call for a doubling down of Charlie Hebdo-style satire as the appropriate response to those who want to shut us up, just as they boldly called for an in-your-face response to the North Korean threats against Sony?

Or will they resort to form and put on their special kid gloves so as not to “offend” Islam?

We often hear that Islam is “a religion of peace” and that, although more than 24,000 terrorist acts have been done in its name since 9/11, these acts don’t represent the “true Islam.” Rather, they represent a violent and distorted interpretation of Islam. In this view, Islam cannot be held accountable.

But is it reasonable to completely isolate interpretation from a religion?

In his book, “The Great Partnership,” Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks cautions against doing just that.

“Interpretation,” he writes, “is as fundamental to any text-based religion as is the act of revelation itself. No word, especially the word of God, is self-explanatory. Exegetes and commentators are to religion what judges are to law. They are essential to the system, and they can make all the difference between justice and injustice, right and wrong.”

It’s too easy to look at the murderous acts done in the name of Islam and just say, “This is not Islam.” Tragically, for too many Muslims, it is Islam.

Moderate Muslims must stop using “wrong interpretation” as the excuse to let their religion off the hook. It's not enough to condemn terrorism and call Islam a religion of peace. Moderates must fight for that interpretation to win the day. For starters, instead of going after critics of Islam with accusations of Islamophobia, they ought to go after those who are really damaging Islam– the murderers acting in the name of their religion.

What we need is not a Battle of Civilizations, but a Battle of Interpretations. The champions of moderate Islam have no choice but to win that battle, which is an internal battle best fought by Muslims themselves.

We know the moderates will be winning when Muslims feel free to publish a magazine that pokes fun at the world's sacred cows… including their own.

They should dedicate that magazine to the free speech heroes who perished in Paris.

Cartoon: Je Suis Charlie


Hawking and Mohammed


There was so much Jewish outrage last week in the wake of professor Steven Hawking’s decision to join the academic boycott against Israel, it’s hard to know where to start.

The most dramatic expression of that outrage could be found in the many commentaries and Facebook posts suggesting that if Hawking is going to boycott Israel, then why not also boycott the Israeli computer chip that enables him to communicate despite his severely handicapped state?

As Rabbi Shmuley Boteach wrote on JPost: “Why would one of the world’s leading academic minds condemn the only democracy in the Middle East? Why would he attack a country, situated in a region of such deep misogyny, that celebrates women succeeding in every area of academic, professional and political life?”

Hawking’s decision was problematic on many levels. Here is the world’s best-known scientist, a widely respected light of academia, adding his name to a vicious and discriminatory campaign to single out and delegitimize the Jewish state.

Who did he think he was helping with his boycott, besides those hell bent on undermining Israel?

Even well-known Israeli peacenik Akiva Eldar called the decision “stupid” and “shallow,” noting that the global boycott movement “is in opposition to Israel per se, and not against the occupation or against the settlements constructed beyond Israel’s formal boundaries …” and that it “advocates an economic, cultural and academic boycott, the withdrawal of all investments, and the implementation of sanctions against Israel, with no distinction made between the two sides of the Green Line.”

Israel has made its share of mistakes over the years, and, like many countries (including the United States), it can get quite heavy-handed and nasty when it feels threatened. This is no wimpy country. It is a tough nation hardened by the sobering fact of living its whole existence surrounded by unstable and hostile neighbors.

Still, despite this chronic hostility, Israel has managed to create a civil society that is, while far from perfect, the freest and most dignified in the Middle East — a society where Arabs have more freedom, human rights and economic opportunities than anywhere else in the region.

On top of that, it has become one of the world’s leading centers for scientific and medical innovation, contributing more scientific advances than all 22 countries of the Middle East combined.

This kind of Jewish success can inspire a lot of jealousy and resentment, especially if you’ve been taught since early childhood to hate the Jews because they’re the “sons of dogs.” No doubt, in my view, this has been a motivating force behind the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement: If you can’t emulate the Jewish state, then delegitimize it.

It is this dark movement Hawking has endorsed with his ill-advised decision. Instead of going after brutal dictatorships, where innocents are murdered and women are stoned to death, he picked on the little country that is consistently and unfairly singled out — Israel.

I have to confess, though, it’s hard for me to muster any negative feelings for someone who has lived his whole life as Hawking has. When I see pictures of him slumped in his wheelchair, I can’t help being moved by how one human being can overcome such overwhelming hardship for so long.

So, instead of getting upset at Hawking, I would rather we invite him to visit the Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital at the Sheba Medical Center in the Israeli city of Ramat Gan.

There, he would meet Mohammed al-Farra, a 3-year-old Arab toddler with no arms and no legs.

As Ruthie Blum noted in Israel Hayom, Mohammed was born in Gaza with a rare genetic disease. His parents abandoned him, and the Palestinian government refused to pay for his care.

As soon as he was born, he was rushed to Israel for emergency treatment. As reported in HuffPost, his genetic disorder left him with a weakened immune system, and an infection destroyed his hands and feet, requiring them to be amputated.

Since then, he has spent his days and nights in an Israeli hospital undergoing treatment and learning how to use prosthetic limbs. His grandfather lives with him. Mohammed has been warmly embraced and cared for by his Israeli doctors, who have arranged for him and his grandfather to live in the sunny pediatric ward.

I wonder what kind of boycott Hawking would have in mind after meeting little Mohammed, and after learning about the thousands of other Arab children from the West Bank and Gaza who are routinely cared for in Israeli hospitals?

Well, I can think of at least one: It would be a boycott of every country in the world that neglects to care for disabled children like Steven Hawking and Mohammed al-Farra. 

There might be a lot of countries on that list, but Israel won’t be one of them


David Suissa is president of TRIBE Media Corp./Jewish Journal and can be reached at davids@jewishjournal.com.

Egyptian protesters penetrate barrier at Morsi’s palace


Egyptian protesters broke through a barbed wire barricade keeping them from the presidential palace in Cairo on Friday and some climbed onto army tanks and waved flags.

Up to 10,000 protesters had been penned behind the barrier, guarded by tanks that were deployed on Thursday after a night of violence between supporters and opponents of the Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, in which seven people were killed.

Demonstrators cut the barbed wire and hundreds swarmed through and surged up to the walls of the palace, some kissing the police and military guards surrounding it. “Peaceful, peaceful,” they chanted.

Troops of the Republican Guard, which had ordered rival demonstrators to leave the vicinity on Thursday, moved to the front gate to secure the main entrance to the palace.

Reporting by Yasmine Saleh; Writing by Alistair Lyon; Editing by Andrew Roche

Shiites in Jordan maintained low profile while marking Ashura observance


[KARAK] Sectarian tensions in Syria have tainted this year’s marking of the Ashura day of mourning among Shiites in Jordan, as conservative tribes in the south of the kingdom threatened to demolish a Shiite Husaynya, a place of worship currently under construction.

When Shiite Muslims marked Ashura on November 24, visitors to their shrines managed to conduct the regular prayer service, but did not dare to carry out rituals common in its observance, such as hitting themselves with chains or bars. Worshipers often beat their chests, lash themselves with metal chains and even cut their heads with swords in remorse of their inability to save the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, Imam Hussein, who was killed by the armies of the Caliph Yazid during the battle of Karbala in 680 A.D.

Solemn prayers echoed around mosques in Al-Mazar near the southern city of Karak. The town, some 120 kilometers (72 miles) south of the capital Amman, is home to centuries-old tombs revered by Shiites that attract visitors from around the kingdom, Iraq and Lebanon.

“We only fasted for two days, prayed and called for forgiveness over the killing of the Imam,” Kathem Jabar, an Iraqi businessman who was visiting the tomb of Hussein’s companion, Ja’far bin Abi Talib in Al-Mazar, told The Media Line.

While a small number of Shiite Muslims were able to show up at the shrines, the majority marked the occasion in at home. Shiites in Jordan admit that the war in Syria has cast a gloomy shadow over the annual rituals. “People associate Shiites with [Syrian President Bashar] Al-Assad’s killing machine,” said Um Saber, a Lebanese Shiite who is married to a Jordanian. The mother of five said she was unable to travel south to mark the holy occasion for fear of harassment. “In the past, when Hizbullah used to bring nightmares to Israel through its rockets, we openly said we are Shiites. Now, we hide our identity,” she said from her house in eastern Amman.

Jordan, the majority of whose population is Sunni Muslim, sympathizes with the revolution to topple Al-Assad, who is an Alawite, an offshoot of Shia. The kingdom’s pro-Western monarch has been warning against the so-called “Shia Crescent” and has called on Assad to relinquish his powers.

Iran this week charged that Jordan bars Iranians, who are majority Shiites, from visiting shrines in southern part of the country. But Jordians insist the kingdom is open to all Shiites, including Iranians.

Earlier this month, residents of Al-Mazar called on the government to take action when they discovered that a Husaynya, where Shiites perform rituals, was being built in the town. An eyewitness, Al-Mazar resident Amer Taranweh, told The Media Line that he had noticed Shiites attending a building that was under construction and said that followers, who are also Jordanians, have refused community residents’ demand that construction be halted. They complained to officials of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and requested an investigation. The local residents said they will give the government – which said it was not aware of the construction of a Husaynya – to react, but if there is no action taken, the community will take the matter into their own hands.

Tarawneh, a Sunni Muslim, said, “We will not allow a symbol of Shia in our territories, at whatever cost.”

Relations between Shiites and Sunnis soured to an all-time low after the execution of Saddam Hussein. Tribes in the Sunni-dominated town blame Shiites, and particularly Iran, for executing the former Iraqi dictator, who is seen as a national hero among ordinary Jordanians. Town officials have decided to rename the main street leading to the Shiite shrines “Martyr Saddam Hussein Street.”

One Al-Mazar Sunni, who gave his name only as Ahmed, said the tension between the local residents is political, noting that Sunnis and Shiites have lived together in this part of the country for hundreds of years.

Meanwhile, Ali, a Jordanian Shiite activist, said that Lebanon-based Hizbullah head Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah’s position and Iran’s support of Assad’s forces have not helped their cause. He said the future looks bleak for Shiites in Jordan, and he worries that the war in Syria will not allow the tensions to heal.

“With the killings and suffering in Syria, we will not be able to even visit Shiite shrines soon,” he told The Media Line.

Egyptian admits involvement with anti-Islam film, Jewish connection seems unlikely


He’s not a Jew.

At least, that’s the latest on the man behind the anti-Islam film, “Innocence of Muslims,” that has fueled attacks on U.S. diplomatic installations in Libya, Egypt and Yemen, leaving the U.S. ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, dead. 

The filmmaker appears to be an Egyptian Christian rather than an Israeli Jew, as he had claimed in interviews.

The Associated Press tracked down an Egyptian Coptic Christian living in Southern California who admitted to involvement with the film’s logistics, and whose middle name and a known alias closely resemble the apparently fake name – Sam Bacile – used by the filmmaker.

A 14-minute trailer for the crudely produced film ridiculing the Muslim Prophet Mohammed and posted to YouTube with an Arabic translation has been cited as the reason for the outbreak of violence at U.S. diplomatic posts in the Middle East.

[Related: Cast of anti-Muslim movie claims it was misled by script]

On Tuesday night, heavily armed Islamists stormed the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi, killing Stevens and and three members of his staff. Fighters claimed that their actions were driven by anger at the film, though U.S. officials believe the assault may have been pre-planned.

The deadly attack followed angry protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, where rioters breached the compound’s walls and destroyed its American flag.

On Thursday, protesters stormed the grounds of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen’s capital city of Sanaa. There were also more anti-American demonstrations in Cairo and other capitals of Muslim countries.

In the wake of the initial violence, several media outlets interviewed a California man who gave his name as Sam Bacile who reportedly had produced, directed and written “Innocence of Muslims.” The man said that he was an Israeli-American real estate developer hoping to help Israel with the film, which he said was financed with $5 million by 100 Jewish donors.

While his claims were initially widely repeated, including by JTA, they quickly came under scrutiny. There appears to have been no such person by that name involved in film or real estate, now was that name known in California’s Jewish and Israeli communities. A high-ranking Israeli official in Los Angeles told JTA on Wednesday that extensive inquiries among Hollywood insiders and members of the local Israeli community failed to turn up a single person who knew a Sam Bacile.

A self-described Christian activist from Southern California who was a consultant to the film told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg that Bacile was a pseudonym and was not Israeli, and likely not Jewish. The consultant, Steve Klein, who has a history of anti-Islam activism, said that those behind the film were largely Evangelical Christians and included some Copts.

A member of the film’s cast, who said she and others involved with the film were misled about its true message, said that the film’s director was Egyptian.

The Associated Press located an Egyptian man by the name of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula who said that he had handled logistics for the company that produced the film.

While Nakoula denied being Sam Bacile, the AP traced the cell phone it had used to contact the filmmaker to Nakoula’s address. The wire service said that when Nakoula showed a reporter his driver’s license, he had kept his thumb over his middle name, which resembles the filmmaker’s alias.

In 2010, Nakoula had pleaded no-contest to federal bank fraud charges and had been ordered to pay more than $790,000 in restitution, the AP reported. The report cited federal court papers saying that Nakoula had used the name Nicola Bacily, among other aliases.

Nakoula said that he supported the concerns of his fellow Coptic Christians regarding their treatment by Egypt’s Muslim majority.

A host of Jewish organizations have issued statements condemning the attacks on U.S. installations.

The Atlantic's Goldberg noted that the erroneous reports about the filmmaker's alleged Jewish background have spread across the Middle East and as a consequence endanger Jews. As of Thursday, Iran’s Press TV was still reporting that the film was produced by an Israeli American and financed by Jews. 

Maker of anti-Islam film goes into hiding, the Associated Press reports


The California-based Israeli whose film attacking Islam's prophet Mohammad triggered a deadly attack on U.S. diplomats in Libya has reportedly gone into hiding, the Associated Press reported.

Writer and director Sam Bacile spoke by phone with the AP from a secret location on Tuesday as his movie “Innocence of Muslims” apparently fueled the rage that claimed the life of the U.S. ambassador and three others in Libya. The U.S. mission in Cairo also was the target of protesters, burned an American flag.

Reuters was not able to locate Bacile for comment.

Bacile, 56, is a California real estate developer who describes himself as an Israeli Jew, the AP said.

“This is a political movie,” Bacile told the AP. “The U.S. lost a lot of money and a lot of people in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but we're fighting with ideas.”

The film portrayed Mohammad as a fool, a philanderer and a religious fake. In one clip posted on YouTube, Mohammad was shown in an apparent sexual act with a woman. For many Muslims it is blasphemous even to show a depiction of the Prophet.

Bacile said the film cost $5 million, some of which was paid by more than 100 Jewish donors, the AP said.

<i>Reporting by Barbara Goldberg and Chris Francescani; Editing by Bill Trott</i>

USC Muslim group removes anti-Semitic passage from Web site


USC Muslim Group Removes anti-Semitic Passage From Its Internet Site

Until earlier this month, the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at USC included on its Web site the complete texts of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, and the Hadith, which are the oral traditions associated with the life of the prophet Muhammad.

This database included a saying attributed to Muhammad that calls on Muslims to kills Jews:

“The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews,” Book 41, No. 6985 stated.

The MSA is a university-sanctioned student group and its Web site is hosted on the USC server. When Rabbi Aron Hier, director of campus outreach at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Reut Cohen of the Horowitz Freedom Center discovered the passage, they sent a letter to Alan Casden, a USC trustee and co-chair of the Wiesenthal Center’s board, urging him to have the university remove that portion of the Hadith.

Casden quickly contacted Provost C.L. Max Nikias, who ordered the passage removed, saying it was “truly despicable” and that it violated the university’s Principles of Community.

“This is an important reminder that when free speech becomes a platform to encourage violence, then it has crossed the line,” Hier said. “We commend USC for having the moral courage to stand up against those who hijack speech and religious freedoms and the good will of the campus community in order to spread a message of hate and extremist violence.”

— Brad A. Greenberg, Senior Writer

Talent Manager Joan Hyler Recovering From Major Injuries After Being Struck by Car

Hollywood talent manager Joan Hyler is recovering after being hit by a car on Pacific Coast Highway Aug. 15. A prominent figure in both the entertainment and Jewish communities, Hyler has been fighting for her life in the intensive-care unit at the UCLA Medical Center. After multiple surgeries, doctors are increasingly optimistic that she is responding well to treatment.

Details of the accident are still unclear, but initial reports said Hyler was parking her auto on the highway when the car struck her. Hyler sustained severe injuries, including a collapsed lung, internal bleeding and multiple broken bones. She was immediately airlifted from Pepperdine University’s hospital to UCLA.

A former William Morris Agency vice president, Hyler has represented Bob Dylan, Madonna, Oscar-nominee Diane Lane, Eric McCormack of “Will and Grace” and Alfred Molina.

Hyler has exhibited a passionate commitment to the Jewish community and its causes. As president of Women in Film, she created the Morning Star Commission, an organization founded by Hadassah to promote more diverse portrayals of women in media and entertainment. She also co-created the Jewish Image Awards, which celebrate outstanding Jewish heritage content in film and television.

After the initial shock, an outpouring of support for Hyler emanated from both the entertainment and Jewish communities. Endeavor Talent Agency organized a blood drive in Hyler’s honor and hundreds of her colleagues have posted personal messages, healing prayers and words of encouragement online at UCLA’sCarepages.

Because Hyler’s life was saved by the availability of large blood transfusions, her family has asked those able to give blood to donate to the UCLA blood bank. Donations can be made at the UCLA Blood and Platelet Center, 1045 Gayley Ave., Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 825-0888 or visit http://gotblood.ucla.edu.

— Danielle Berrin, Circuit Editor

Four Jews to Receive National Medal of Science

Southern Californians Leonard Kleinrock and Andrew J. Viterbi are among four Jewish scientists and engineers selected for the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest honor in science and technology.

They are among eight American honorees announced Monday by President Bush, who will confer the awards on Sept. 29 at a White House ceremony.

Kleinrock, of West Los Angeles, is a professor of computer science at UCLA and a pioneer in developing the foundations of the Internet.

Viterbi, whose family came to the United States to escape fascist persecution in Italy, is considered the father of cell technology and founded cellphone giant Qualcomm in San Diego.

A Ph.D. graduate of USC and former UCLA professor, Viterbi has endowed the USC engineering school bearing his name, a program in Mediterranean Jewish studies at UCLA and a number of Jewish institutions in the San Diego area.

The two other Jewish honorees are Fay Ajzenberg-Selove, who was born in Berlin into a Russian Jewish family and is a nuclear physicist at the University of Pennsylvania, and Robert J. Lefkowitz, a physician and path-breaking biochemist at Duke University.

The other four honorees are Bert W. O’Malley of the Baylor College of Medicine; Charles P. Slichter, University of Illinois; David Wineland, National Institute of Standards and Technology; and Mustafa A. El-Sayed, Georgia Institute of Technology.

— Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor