Eye-opening stories for Friday (OPEN THREAD)

Got two of ’em on tap.

First, the biggie: The Guardian is reporting that Team Obama is preparing to start “low level” talks with Hamas (via Memeo). AllahPundit reminds everyone here what Obama said last April about negotiating with terrorist groups like Hamas (in response to Jimmy Carter’s meeting with them):

“We must not negotiate with a terrorist group intent on Israel’s destruction. We should only sit down with Hamas if they renounce terrorism, recognize Israel’s right to exist and abide by past agreements.”

“Hamas is not a state. Hamas is a terrorist organization” he said.

That was then, this is now – in spite of Hamas’ intentions, which have been made clear over and over again. I guess we can chalk this up as being one of many expired promises made by Obama over the course of the last year or so (and one that most of us didn’t expect him to uphold anyway). But no worries. Per the Guardian:

But one Middle East expert close to the transition team said: “It is highly unlikely that they will be public about [opening up a dialogue with Hamas].”

Now why is that not surprising? They’ll just give this a try “on the down low.” If it works, ok. If not – and how many of us believe that it actually will? – Israel will have to remain steadfast in defending itself against hostile Hamas/Palestinian (and, via extension, Iranian) aggression, and will continue to be badgered by head-in-sand “peace advocates” across the world (like Carter and the UN) for doing so. And the beat goes on.

Remember how I’ve noted before that, in spite of his irking all sides the last couple of months on a number of fronts, when it came right down to it that Barack Obama was and would always be a liberal and, at some point, that would be reflected soldily in his policies? Hate to say it so early on, but “Toldjah So.” I think we’re going to see this more on his foreign policy than his domestic policy, which is very troubling. A liberal domestic agenda is obviously not the ideal one, but it’s much more “fixable” in the long term than the typical liberal foreign policy agenda of appeasing and negotiating with countries heavily hostile towards the US and her allies, as we’ve learned all too often in the past. Sounds as though Obama’s decided to bring Jimmy Carter on as a “Middle East” advisor after all, or at the very least take some of his advice from afar. I shudder at the thought.

The other big news story that is going to generate a lot of attention over the next 24 hours (at least) is about America’s first Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MI). Via Fox News:

Group That Funded Rep. Ellison’s Pilgrimage to Mecca Called a Front for Extremism

Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison’s groundbreaking pilgrimage to Mecca last month was paid for by an American Muslim organization that has ties to Islamic radicals and is “the Muslim equivalent of the neo-Nazi party,” his critics say.

Ellison, a Democrat, became the first U.S. congressman ever to make the hajj pilgrimage when he visited Islam’s holy city in December. The trip was funded by the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, a non-profit interfaith group that is one of 55 branches of the MAS nationwide. The pilgrimage was hailed by Muslim activists in the U.S.

“A U.S. congressman going on hajj sends a very positive message to the Muslim world about America and the religious diversity in America,” said Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group.

But Ellison, the only Muslim in Congress, is coming under fire for his ties to MAS, which one terrorism expert called “the Muslim equivalent of the neo-Nazi party.”

“It is the de facto arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S.,” said Steven Emerson, director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. “The agenda of the MAS is to … impose Islamic law in the U.S., to undermine U.S. counterterrorism policy.”

The MAS was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an international Islamist movement created in Egypt in 1928. Radical members of the Brotherhood founded the terror group Hamas and were among the first members of Al Qaeda.

The Muslim American Society’s former secretary general has acknowledged that the group was founded by the Brotherhood, and in 2004 he estimated that about half of MAS members were in the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Ikhwan [Brotherhood] members founded MAS, but MAS went way beyond that point of conception,” Shaker Elsayed told the Chicago Tribune, explaining that the group had expanded to include a wider viewpoint.

Make sure to read the rest for the typical “it was an approved trip, this group is an ok group, yada yada” from the Ellison camp.

Robert Spencer has more.

Friday’s going to be a pretty hectic day for me, so please use this as an open thread until I return. I’ll check in when I can. Oh, and please don’t forget to vote today. :D


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