Rendell's Record on Islamofacism and Terror

The retrospectives on Governor Ed Rendell's twenty-four years of service to Philadelphia and Pennsylvania are starting in earnest now. As he marks his last weeks in the governor's mansion, there is no question that Rendell has made his mark on the Keystone State and the City of Brotherly Love.

What will likely go unevaluated, however, except perhaps in this small space, is how much Rendell hurt the cause of Israel, and the cause of United States, due to his approach to Islamic radicals and their allies.

In two important instances -- one when he was mayor of Philadelphia and one while serving as Pennsylvania's governor -- Rendell's infamous tendency to act and speak without considering the full ramifications did significant damage. Remarkably, Rendell almost never incurred a word of criticism for these acts of direct aid and comfort to the enemies of America and of Israel -- perhaps because of his Jewish roots, but more likely because he is a Pennsylvania Democrat.

Here is how Seth Gittell, writing at National Review in September 2001, described Rendell's contribution to preparing Israel's "peace partners" for war:

Philadelphia's then-mayor, Ed Rendell, welcomed Arafat's "police" to the City of Brotherly Love after the Oslo Agreement was signed [in 1993]. The men came to Philadelphia for a 12-week course. Not everyone was oblivious to the danger this posed. One prescient writer, opining in the pages of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent [newspaper] in May 1995, predicted the police force "now undergoing intensive intelligence training at Philadelphia police headquarters, may use what it learns in Philly to fight IDF and Israeli civilians in the ... war to liberate Jerusalem." A 1998 editorial in the Jewish weekly (newspaper) Forward called these troops "Rendell's Rifles." The Clinton administration ignored all warnings about the nature of the Palestinian police -- and the thousands of illegal guns being smuggled into the PA in addition to those legally transferred -- as unhelpful to the peace process."

As corrupt, belligerent, and evidently uninterested in peace as the Palestinian Authority may be, they at least have the virtue of not being direct agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Hamas, on the other hand, are wholly Iranian terror proxies today. And the likelihood is high that Hamas would sweep the PA from power in the West Bank just as violently and unceremoniously as it did in Gaza in 2006, in the aftermath of Israel's disengagement. Yet another terror mini-state on Israel's border would threaten not only Israel, but also America's so-called "moderate" Arab friends in the region, especially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Today the political threat of Islamists is not confined to some distant theater. The same forces who launched the atrocities of 9/11 are working as well through legal and semi-legal means to spread their influence across Europe and America. Groups such as al-Qaeda use bellicose threats and violence to achieve their goals. But other agents of the notorious Muslim Brotherhood (long officially banned in Egypt) are operating within Western countries to spread Sharia law, which commands war against nonbelievers.

Israel fights a two-front war. In addition to armed combat, Israel fights on the battlefield of ideas. In this fight, the petrodollar-funded Arab propaganda machine is often the weapon Israel's enemies in the U.S. find easier to wield.

In April 2007, Governor Rendell was a featured speaker at the first annual fundraising banquet of the Pennsylvania chapter of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in Philadelphia. Rendell's appearance at the dinner was a coup for the Hamas-supporting group. CAIR even issued a press release to thank Rendell for "taking part" and boasted that "500 people attended [the] sold-out event."

Two other newsworthy people attended that night with Rendell. One was Congressman Joe Sestak, who gave the keynote address, and the other was an honoree at the banquet, Muzzammil Hassan, soon to be convicted of brutally butchering his wife. Though doubtless they had no premonition of Muzzammil's horrific crime, many of Joe Sestak's constituents had pleaded with him not to attend. But Sestak spoke for CAIR anyway.

Responding to the criticism that Sestak took, a CAIR-PA Chairman, Iftekhar Hussain, commented as follows: "We thank Governor Rendell and Representative Sestak for having the courage to stand up to bigotry and extremism and to treat their Muslim constituents as equal citizens[.]" 

After the wife-murderer's story broke in April 2009, political columnist Don Feder recalled the event:

Muzzammil Hassan, of the Buffalo-area, was the very model of a modern, moderate Muslim. In 2004, Hassan founded Bridges TV to counteract negative images of Islam and showcase the many stories of "Muslim tolerance, progress, diversity, service and excellence." Stop, you're killing me! - an unfortunate turn of phrase when discussing Islam. Hassan was such a credit to his faith that, in April 2007, he received the first annual excellence-for-pulling-the-wool-over-the-infidels'-eyes award of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, some of whose leaders have been tied to terrorism. Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell was present and Congressman Joseph Stestak the guest speaker.

CAIR operatives have become world-class experts in deceiving and dissimulating to American audiences, and they are quite aggressive in their political lobbying in the halls of power. But the truth about CAIR's pro-Hamas agenda is available for anyone who cares to examine the matter. For example, see the national website of the Anti-Defamation League. Like so many other career politicians, Rendell was always most concerned with how this will look now and what is expedient at this moment. Rendell was able to take the Jewish portion of the pro-Israel vote in Pennsylvania for granted because of his parentage and his party.

Israeli civilians, U.S. taxpayers, and a Buffalo housewife all paid the price. This, too, is part of the Rendell legacy. And as for Fast Eddie? He just keeps going down the road. He has a book to write and university lectures to give.

Moshe Phillips is the president of the Philadelphia Chapter of Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI. Moshe's blog can be found at phillyafsi.blogtownhall.com, and Moshe tweets at http://twitter.com/MoshePhillips.
The retrospectives on Governor Ed Rendell's twenty-four years of service to Philadelphia and Pennsylvania are starting in earnest now. As he marks his last weeks in the governor's mansion, there is no question that Rendell has made his mark on the Keystone State and the City of Brotherly Love.

What will likely go unevaluated, however, except perhaps in this small space, is how much Rendell hurt the cause of Israel, and the cause of United States, due to his approach to Islamic radicals and their allies.

In two important instances -- one when he was mayor of Philadelphia and one while serving as Pennsylvania's governor -- Rendell's infamous tendency to act and speak without considering the full ramifications did significant damage. Remarkably, Rendell almost never incurred a word of criticism for these acts of direct aid and comfort to the enemies of America and of Israel -- perhaps because of his Jewish roots, but more likely because he is a Pennsylvania Democrat.

Here is how Seth Gittell, writing at National Review in September 2001, described Rendell's contribution to preparing Israel's "peace partners" for war:

Philadelphia's then-mayor, Ed Rendell, welcomed Arafat's "police" to the City of Brotherly Love after the Oslo Agreement was signed [in 1993]. The men came to Philadelphia for a 12-week course. Not everyone was oblivious to the danger this posed. One prescient writer, opining in the pages of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent [newspaper] in May 1995, predicted the police force "now undergoing intensive intelligence training at Philadelphia police headquarters, may use what it learns in Philly to fight IDF and Israeli civilians in the ... war to liberate Jerusalem." A 1998 editorial in the Jewish weekly (newspaper) Forward called these troops "Rendell's Rifles." The Clinton administration ignored all warnings about the nature of the Palestinian police -- and the thousands of illegal guns being smuggled into the PA in addition to those legally transferred -- as unhelpful to the peace process."

As corrupt, belligerent, and evidently uninterested in peace as the Palestinian Authority may be, they at least have the virtue of not being direct agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Hamas, on the other hand, are wholly Iranian terror proxies today. And the likelihood is high that Hamas would sweep the PA from power in the West Bank just as violently and unceremoniously as it did in Gaza in 2006, in the aftermath of Israel's disengagement. Yet another terror mini-state on Israel's border would threaten not only Israel, but also America's so-called "moderate" Arab friends in the region, especially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Today the political threat of Islamists is not confined to some distant theater. The same forces who launched the atrocities of 9/11 are working as well through legal and semi-legal means to spread their influence across Europe and America. Groups such as al-Qaeda use bellicose threats and violence to achieve their goals. But other agents of the notorious Muslim Brotherhood (long officially banned in Egypt) are operating within Western countries to spread Sharia law, which commands war against nonbelievers.

Israel fights a two-front war. In addition to armed combat, Israel fights on the battlefield of ideas. In this fight, the petrodollar-funded Arab propaganda machine is often the weapon Israel's enemies in the U.S. find easier to wield.

In April 2007, Governor Rendell was a featured speaker at the first annual fundraising banquet of the Pennsylvania chapter of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in Philadelphia. Rendell's appearance at the dinner was a coup for the Hamas-supporting group. CAIR even issued a press release to thank Rendell for "taking part" and boasted that "500 people attended [the] sold-out event."

Two other newsworthy people attended that night with Rendell. One was Congressman Joe Sestak, who gave the keynote address, and the other was an honoree at the banquet, Muzzammil Hassan, soon to be convicted of brutally butchering his wife. Though doubtless they had no premonition of Muzzammil's horrific crime, many of Joe Sestak's constituents had pleaded with him not to attend. But Sestak spoke for CAIR anyway.

Responding to the criticism that Sestak took, a CAIR-PA Chairman, Iftekhar Hussain, commented as follows: "We thank Governor Rendell and Representative Sestak for having the courage to stand up to bigotry and extremism and to treat their Muslim constituents as equal citizens[.]" 

After the wife-murderer's story broke in April 2009, political columnist Don Feder recalled the event:

Muzzammil Hassan, of the Buffalo-area, was the very model of a modern, moderate Muslim. In 2004, Hassan founded Bridges TV to counteract negative images of Islam and showcase the many stories of "Muslim tolerance, progress, diversity, service and excellence." Stop, you're killing me! - an unfortunate turn of phrase when discussing Islam. Hassan was such a credit to his faith that, in April 2007, he received the first annual excellence-for-pulling-the-wool-over-the-infidels'-eyes award of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, some of whose leaders have been tied to terrorism. Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell was present and Congressman Joseph Stestak the guest speaker.

CAIR operatives have become world-class experts in deceiving and dissimulating to American audiences, and they are quite aggressive in their political lobbying in the halls of power. But the truth about CAIR's pro-Hamas agenda is available for anyone who cares to examine the matter. For example, see the national website of the Anti-Defamation League. Like so many other career politicians, Rendell was always most concerned with how this will look now and what is expedient at this moment. Rendell was able to take the Jewish portion of the pro-Israel vote in Pennsylvania for granted because of his parentage and his party.

Israeli civilians, U.S. taxpayers, and a Buffalo housewife all paid the price. This, too, is part of the Rendell legacy. And as for Fast Eddie? He just keeps going down the road. He has a book to write and university lectures to give.

Moshe Phillips is the president of the Philadelphia Chapter of Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI. Moshe's blog can be found at phillyafsi.blogtownhall.com, and Moshe tweets at http://twitter.com/MoshePhillips.

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