What about the Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement?

By now most of you have heard that Israel recently banned the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. Real Jstreets has already discussed the radical, anti-Semitic and violent things they have said and supported. But there is another part of this story that is being brushed under the carpet:

The Southern Branch is just as radical, anti-Israel and hate-filled as the Northern Branch!

If that is true, though, then why is it legal and referred to as moderate?

From the Times of Israel

The movement split two decades ago. The more moderate southern branch began fielding candidates for Israel’s Knesset in 1996 and is now part of the Joint List, an alliance of several Arab-Israeli political parties. Three of the Joint List’s 13 current Knesset members are part of the movement. The more hardline northern branch rejects any legitimization of Israel’s government and has called on its adherents to boycott elections.

That’s right, the Islamic Movement in Israel split between the “hardliners” in the north who hold the radical Islamist beliefs of the Muslim Brotherhood while boycotting Israeli elections and the “moderates” in the south who hold the radical Islamist beliefs of the Muslim Brotherhood while participating in Israeli elections.

Did you spot the difference? It is the same difference frequently cited by the media for why ISIS is radical and Hamas is moderate, namely that while they both hold fundamentalist Islamist views that are inherently anti-Semitic, misogynistic, homophobic and expansionist, Hamas has changed its tactics and agreed to participate in elections it knows it can win.

Jihad in Palestine

In “Jihad in Palestine: Political Islam and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” Professor Shaul Bartal of Bar Ilan University explains that there is virtually no difference between the ideology of the two factions:

It’s hard to find any difference between the substance of the remarks made by the southern faction [of the Islamic Movement] when compared with those made by the northern faction. (p. 72)

In retrospect, there are not two factions but only one Islamic Movement, and that is the movement of Sheikh Salah. (p. 70)

A careful examination of the newspapers al-Mithaq of the southern faction and Sawt al-Haq wa-al-Horiya of the northern faction shows that there is no ideological difference between the two Israeli factions of the Muslim Brotherhood [emphasis JPF]. However, Ra’ed Salah… expressed his anti-Israel stance more strongly. It is no surprise that all Ra’ed Salah’s speeches appear on the different Hamas websites. (p. 73)

Even the Southern Branch’s “moderate” decision to participate in elections does not stem from a difference in ideology but is merely a tactical decision.

There is mutual reciprocity between all of the Muslim Brotherhood factions as all of them are a part of the Islamic Movement and take sustenance from the same sources. Thus, for example, both factions of the Islamic Movement in Israel donate funds to the families of Hamas martyrs under the category of charity to orphans and widows. If one judges their declarations, no one disagrees that all the factions are dedicated to the same goal of jihad against Israel and the destruction of the Jewish entity that exists in Palestine.

Jihad can take many different forms - economic, social, legal, through propaganda and also military. All of these means are acceptable in the eyes of the Muslim Brotherhood in order to carry out their goal to establish an Islamic Palestine at the expense of all the territory of the State of Israel. (p. 74-75)

One of the two founders of Hemmah [The Jersualem Committee for the Prevention of the Destruction and Expulsion Plan], Abd al-Basit Abu al-Mufalfel… in his words, there is no difference between the Muslim Brotherhood, as the mother organization, and Hamas and the Islamic Movement, except from the point of view of the distribution of tasks. (p. 71-72)

Now that we have established that careful study of the ideology of both factions of the Islamic Movement shows no difference between the two (or Hamas for that matter), let’s examine the words and actions of the Southern Branch’s leading members.

###Hamed Abu Daa’bas - Leader of the Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel

Despite the “split” in the Islamic movement, Hamed Abu Daa’bas joined Raed Salah on the “Freedom Floatilla” back in 2010 (along with his political partner, the “honorable” Hanin Zoabi).

Daa’bas has also been in talks with Salah to officially reunite the two branches since 2011 and said he’d be willing to leave the Knesset to accomplish this goal. Perhaps this will be fulfilled by simply having Salah join the Southern Branch. Time will tell.

Daa’bas has also expressed his support for ISIS:

ISIS raises reasonable demands like the establishment of an Islamic state, but their methods for reaching their objective raise concern in many nations across the world… [however] ISIS was hurting their cause by filming their cruel and disgusting acts. I am against the murders, but it is important to note that the killing methods of Israel and the US are not better than the crimes of the Islamic State. If it were not for the shocking ways in which they kill, it would be possible to see ISIS like any other Jihadi organization.”

You read that correctly, according to the leader of the “moderate” branch of the Islamic Movement, it isn’t ISIS’s cruel and disgusting acts themselves that are wrong, but rather the fact that they film them! However, given that Daa’bas and the rest of the Muslim Brotherhood in Israel recognize the importance of tactics and differentiation of their roles in Jihad, this should not be surprising. He does not object to what ISIS does or to its “reasonable” goal of establishing a caliphate, he just wishes they would follow his lead and not always be so open about the violent way they want to accomplish it.

###Ibrahim Sarsur - Former head of the Southern Branch, former MK and Chairman of the United Arab List

Sarsur has compared Israelis to Nazis:

“Israel’s killing of innocent people is reminiscent of some very dark times, including that of the Nazis.”

He has also praised Hezbollah and called for establishing a Caliphate in the place of Israel

“there is strength and strategic insight and presence locally and regionally for Hizbullah… They are thinking how to return this fear to Israel and how to destroy Israel’s deterrence, which is the pillar of Israel’s continuation. And if this happens, this means that the line will begin to point extremely downwards for Israel’s deterrence.”

In Arabic he characterizes Israel as a tool of Western Imperialism to destroy the unity of the Ummah:

“[The West] planted this foreign object [Israel] which does not fit in an eastern Islamic environment, planted it in its heart as to remain as a thorn in their side and a thorn in their throat in order to prevent their [Muslim] unity so as to stop this Islamic giant to take its [historic] position.”

But don’t worry, in Hebrew and English he knows the “right” things to say, that is, the exact opposite of what he believes and says in Arabic:

“They [Israeli Jews] should be thinking about me not as a fifth column, but as an integral part of the country who might contribute a lot for the building of this state and might contribute a certain bridge between Israeli Jews and the Arab and Muslim world.”

He has also made numerous disparaging comments about Gays and Lesbians while simultaneously asserting there are none in the Muslim community.

###Masud Ghnaim - Chairman of the United Arab List, Number 2 in the Joint Arab List

Ghnaim is also a strong supporter of replacing Israel with a caliphate:

“an Islamic caliphate should be established and it should include Israel… I believe there is an urgent need to return to the Islamic caliphate. I believe this is the most fitting solution to the state of weakness, deterioration and erosion the Arabs and Muslims are suffering from,”

He also has nothing but praise for Hezbollah, Iran and Syria in their fight against Israel:

“I am against any aggression and any alliance that does not serve the Arab interest. I support the righteous party. The Iran-Hezbollah-Syria axis represents the line of resistance and intractability, and naturally, I support this axis. Hezbollah is the security valve of the residents of Lebanon. Hassan Nasrallah has properly combined the political and religious plan.”

###Talab Abu Arar - Number 9 in the Joint Arab List

In addition to being a bigamist who had a confirmed email on Ashley Madison Abu Arar is also a supporter of the Murabitun and Murabitat bullies sent by the Northern Branch to harass Jews on the Temple Mount… but according to him, they just stage sit-ins!

He is also very clear that Jews and all non-Muslims should not be allowed to visit the Temple Mount, saying “Al-Aqsa is for Muslims; never for anyone else.”

###Abd al-Hakim Hajj Yahya - Number 2 in the Islamic Movement political party, Number 6 in the Joint Arab List

Yahya accompanied fellow Joint List MK, Jamal Zahalka, during his visit to the Temple Mount when he verbally abused visiting Jews yelling:

“Crazy criminals, you’re all Kahanists, fascists, racists, get out of here, you hurt Muslims. This is my home. You need to get out of my house. You put crazies in here. You have no god.”

Back in July, he visited the Temple Mount with Ghnaim and Abu Arar to protest what the “warlike” atmosphere caused by “extremist warmongering settlers who are trying to change the status quo in every way.”

Given the Islamic Movement’s open rejection of the Jewish and democratic characters of the State of Israel and its leaders support for terrorist groups and enemy states against the country in whose parliament they serve, it is beyond surprising that the Southern Branch is legal at all. The State would not need to prove its connections to Hamas (which are just as strong as that of the Northern Branch), just that it is in violation of Basic Law: The Knesset Section 7A “Prevention of participation of candidates list.” This actually happened back in 2006, but the Supreme Court overturned the decision.

Can you imagine what would happen if a Jewish political party openly spoke about replacing Israel with a rabbinic state, advocated expelling Arabs and supported banned Jewish terrorist organizations? Is there any chance such a party would be called moderate and allowed to run? You don’t have to imagine because the Kach and Kahane Chai parties did just that and were subsequently banned from running for Knesset and outlawed as terrorist organizations themselves.

Israel did the right thing by banning these extremist Jewish parties and it is about time it did the same by applying the law equally to their Arab extremist cousins in the Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement.