Eye on the Middle East Sep/Oct 2010

Remember the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush during a press conference in 2008 and spent nine months in a Baghdad prison for his trouble? Well, it has come out that he wasn’t doing it for pitching practice. In an interview with the British Observer, Muntazer al-Zaidi complained he had a bone to pick with the Muslims who had encouraged him to show disdain for America. Apparently they never made good on their promises of cars, a gold-saddled horse, money, camels, and a virgin bride.

“I blame the media because they said I would become rich for doing what I did, that I would become a multimillionaire. All the promises about gifts I heard when I was in prison were just empty. The only gift I’ve got since my release is from Canadian television, who made me their man of the year and gave me a pair of golden shoes.”

Now check this promise: U.S. President Barack Obama has announced he will send another $400 million in U.S. taxpayer money to the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas terrorists. Is Hamas feeling a financial pinch so that it has little to jingle in its collective pockets?Apparently not, because it has recently made an offer to the shoe thrower that he will no doubt find too good to refuse.

As reported in The Jerusalem Post, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh announced his government will get Zaidi a bride and pick up the tab for all of the expenses for his wedding.

“We are prepared,” Haniyeh said, “to receive him here in the Gaza Strip and to cover all the expenses of his wedding. We are even prepared to find him a bride here. He’s most welcome in the Gaza Strip.”

Just one more bit of evidence the money being poured into the pockets of people who hate Israel and despise America and the West does not fund causes promoting the common good. But there is more at stake these days than the ridiculous lengths Hamas will go to in order to take a shot at America and former President George W. Bush.

By now the world knows how Israeli soldiers were savagely attacked in May when they stopped a Hamas flotilla bound for Gaza, filled with weapons but claiming to have humanitarian aid. Israel, in fact, sends more aid into Gaza each day than the entire flotilla was carrying. Yet the post-flotilla furor has been a sobering exhibition of a reality that has been shoved under the table. Hearst columnist Helen Thomas’s infamous anti-Israel hate tirade, by now familiar to us all, marked a coming out of sorts. Time was when such remarks would never have been spewed in public. Nor would the vast majority of politicians in America and Europe have jumped on the bandwagon to join Hamas and the sordid legion of jihadists bent on destroying Israel and America’s way of life.

Western acquiescence will merely embolden terrorists and teach them either the West just doesn’t get it or that it is tired of struggling for the survival of democracy and freedom, such as is represented by the only friend we have in the Middle East or, more broadly, the world.

Throwing shoes at the most powerful person in the free world may have brought a sense of satisfaction to people who want to see us humiliated, but the larger issue is the endgame being played out. While our leaders play down or deny the seriousness of the situation, we are in a fight for everything we hold dear. And should jihadist Islam win, you can be sure the first people to feel the heat will be those who cheered for our enemies.

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