Chesler Chronicles

What’s On My Mind: Jeremy Ben Ami, Afshan Azad, Yazmin Bautista

J Street’s Jeremy Ben Ami, President Obama’s new “go-to Jew” (a young man who arose as suddenly and as swiftly as did our new President), had previously been Senior Vice President at Fenton Communications—the very company hired by Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, the wife of the Qatari ruler, to launch a campaign to wreck Israel’s reputation. The blog Fresno Zionism, citing Kenneth Timmerman’s excellent work, explains further:

The campaign, known as the “Al Fakhoora Project,” (named after a girl’s school in Gaza that came under attack during Operation Cast Lead), has a very visible Web presence that boasts of rallying 10,000 activists “against the blockade on Gaza.” Fenton signed the contracts, worth more than $390,000, with the Office of Her Highness … and a separate foundation she chairs. Today their goal is to prevent the Jewish state from defending itself by creating a mass of public opinion that sees its self-defense as war crimes.

Ben Ami’s old outfit also represents many United Nations, human rights, and feminist groups (UNIFEM, Global Fund for Women, Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Watch, American Jewish World Service); political groups (Move, Greenpeace;  media (National Geographic); and foundations (Bill and Melinda Gates, Robert Wood Johnson). Oh yes, it  represents Ben and Jerry’s, The Body Shop, and, according to Fresno Zionism, it also represents CAIR.

Thus, the smoothness and relentless funding of the media campaign against Israel is very much on my mind.

As are two more things today. One, did you know that one of the actresses in the Harry Potter films, Afshan Azad, (who played the very lovely Padma Patil), was threatened with death and attacked by her father Abdul and her brother Ashraf Azad in an attempted honor killing? The actress lives in Manchester and was studying at school. This attack happened in late May but was only announced yesterday.  We now know that her family was angry because of her relationship with a Hindu man (she is Muslim), but most of the original articles about the story failed to mention this motive for the attack. Afshan is lucky that she lives in England because they have the best police and law enforcement understanding of honor killings. I doubt Afshan will ever again be safe at home or even near home. Hat tip to author Nonie Darwish for calling this to my attention last night.

Afshan (left) has appeared in four Harry Potter films including 2007's The Order Of The Phoenix (pictured)

Finally, yesterday I again spoke at length to the American-citizen mother, Yazmin Bautista, who is still trapped with her American-citizen daughter in Bahrain. Now, she is in hiding. Two court dates have not resolved matters any further. Her young daughter, Fatima, is terrified of her father’s family and has hidden under a café table when she saw relatives approaching (who apparently did not know she was even there). Fatima has said: “I don’t want to see my father. He will take me so that I will never see you (my mother) again.”

The girl has that about right.

However, even the sharia court understands that Yazmin is not her husband’s wife and that they were never married within Islam. They have ordered visitation with the father with two consecutive overnights. The mother has not complied and has essentially remained in hiding. Her lawyer tells her “not to worry.”  The American Embassy keeps promising to get back to Yazmin—but so far, they have not done so. Yazmin’s lawyer has taken her case for no money (she has none). Bless that man.

Yazmin Maribel Bautista, left, and her daughter, Fatima Sadiq Al-Saffar.

I have a small request. Is there an ex-Green Beret out there who might like to ride to the rescue? Or someone who owns a private plane, even a small boat, who might be able to help return two legal American citizens to their legal home in Arizona? Betty Mahmoody (who escaped with her young daughter from Khomeini’s Iran), are you out there, are you listening, any advice you might care to offer?

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