Commentary Magazine


“Arab Street,” U.S.A.

An article in today’s Los Angeles Times reports new, sordid details in the investigation of Nada Nadim Prouty, a Lebanese woman—an illegal immigrant—who was nevertheless employed by the FBI and CIA(!), and is accused of stealing top-secret documents for Hizballah. Her brother-in-law, the paper reports, is a “suspected major fund-raiser” for Hizballah.

If that’s not shocking enough, the penultimate paragraph in the L.A. Times article contains very worrisome information, presumably placed in the article as background. “Hizballah is popular with many Lebanese Americans because of its humanitarian efforts and Middle East political activities.”

I thought the bit about Hizballah’s popularity was hyperbole, and I tried to find polling data that might back the statement up one way or another. Instead, I found this NPR story from last year. In the summer of 2006, it turns out, 15,000 Arab-Americans in Dearborn, Michigan, held a demonstration to declare their loyalties. When the crowd cheered “Who is your army?” The response was “Hizballah!” The editor of America’s largest Arab newspaper, the Arab-American News, chimed in that “the terrorist here is the Bush administration.” At the rally, swastikas were imprinted onto Israeli flags.

The second half of the sentence in the Los Angeles Times piece is terrifying for a different reason: its attempt at “objectivity.” Hizballah’s “political activities”? The old saying is that “war is politics by other means.” For Hizballah, an organization responsible for as many terror attacks against Americans as al Qaeda, terror is not simply “political activities” as other means, it is their only politics and their only means.