With Friends Like These

Coptic Activism in the Diaspora

by Michael Wahid Hanna
published in MER267

In June 2010, amidst escalating controversy over the construction of a mosque and Islamic community center near the former site of the World Trade Center, two Egyptians found themselves on the receiving end of xenophobic abuse as a crowd accosted them with calls to “go home.” Unbeknownst to the angry mob, the two Arabic-speaking men, Joseph Nasralla Abdelmasih and Karam El Masry, had come all the way from California to join the protest against what was dubbed the “Ground Zero mosque.” In fact, Abdelmasih and El Masry, who were eventually escorted away for their own safety by police officers, were involved with “The Way,” a Christian satellite television program established in 2010 that broadcasts in English and Arabic.

From the Editors

published in MER136

Lest anyone be tempted to dismiss the title of this issue as unduly melodramatic, we would like to call attention to an early November meeting of the Council of Settlers of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. According to its bimonthly newspaper, Aleph Yud, the settlers decided to take an “active stand” against the Peres government’s efforts to reach some agreement with King Hussein of Jordan about the future of the West Bank.

Hundreds of Communities Hold "Speak Out" Activities

by Dorie Wilsnack
published in MER138

It was a small but brave demonstration. On October 23, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 20 people marched down a major street during lunch hour, carrying an Israeli and a Palestinian flag. Sponsored by a local coalition of Jews, Palestinians and peace activists, the group distributed leaflets and postcards along the route, urging people to write Congress to promote US recognition of the PLO and mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO.

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The Fall of Safran

by Jack Trumpbour
published in MER138

Nadav Safran will step down as director of Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) this summer, following a three-month investigation into his acceptance of over $150,000 from the Central Intelligence Agency. Michael Spence, dean of faculty for arts and sciences, accepted Safran’s resignation “with sadness and deep reservation.” Spence proclaimed that Safran’s “erudition and objectivity as a scholar have not been questioned,” and told reporters that Safran was under no obligation to resign as CMES director. Safran will retain his tenured post as Murray Albertson Professor of Middle East Studies in the Department of Government.

Israeli Spies in the US

by Jeff McConnell
published in MER138

November 21, 1985, was a remarkable day. FBI agents arrested a civilian terrorism analyst working for the US Navy, Jonathan Jay Pollard, outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, where he had gone seeking political asylum. Six days later, Pollard was arraigned in federal district court on several counts of espionage against the United States as a paid agent for the government of Israel.

Ekin, Enduring Witness

by Dale Bishop
published in MER140

Larry Ekin, Enduring Witness: The Churches and the Palestinians (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1985).

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Findley, They Dare to Speak Out

by Beshara Doumani
published in MER140

Paul Findley, They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby (Westport, CT: Lawrence Hill and Company, 1985).

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US Corporate Ownership of Israeli Military Industries

by Sheila Ryan
published in MER144

US Corporation: AEL Industries, Inc.
Israeli Corporation: Elisra Electronic Systems (formerly AEL Israel)
Financial Relationship: AEL owns 58 percent of Elisra.
Military Products: Electronic warfare systems; telephone switching equipment. In 1984 approximately 50 percent of sales were for export. Awarded Israel Defense Prize in 1983 for collaboration with the Israeli navy on computerized battle systems. [1]

US Corporation: Astronautics Corporation of America
Israeli Corporation: Astronautics CA
Financial Relationship: Subsidiary.

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US Military Contractors in Israel

by Sheila Ryan
published in MER144

Over the past two decades, a combination of factors has significantly reoriented the Israeli economy toward military production -- weapons for Israel’s military and for export to juntas, minority regimes and dictators around the world.

Israeli officials justify this development of military industries and arms export markets on the need for independence from foreign suppliers and the consequent need to lower the per-unit cost to the Israeli military. Israel now appears to be the largest producer of armaments in the Third World. [1]

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Exporting Nuclear Triggers

The Strange Case of Richard Smyth

by Richard Sale , Geoffrey Aronson
published in MER146

Richard Smyth, indicted in May 1985 for illegally exporting nuclear trigger devices to Israel, is now a fugitive. In August 1985, two days before he was scheduled to appear in court, Smyth and his wife sailed his boat to Catalina Island, off the coast of southern California, and disappeared, forfeiting his $100,000 bail. Some US intelligence agents believe Smyth was murdered. Other reports now place him in Israel. “There was no way Israel could afford an appearance by Smyth in court,” said one US operative.