The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

Did an Israel lobby front group organize McCain’s trip to Syria?

with 24 comments

Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
June 6, 2013

In an attempt to dispel embarrassing reports that Senator John McCain’s “surprise” trip to Syria featured a meeting with kidnappers — including Mohammad Nour of the Northern Storm rebel group — behind the 2012 abduction of 11 Lebanese religious pilgrims, The Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin cited Mouaz Moustafa, the executive director of a little-known organization called The Syrian Emergency Task Force:

“Nobody self-identified as Nour, and none of the guys who were standing outside were in the meeting with McCain,” said Mouaz Moustafa, executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, an American nonprofit that helped organize the McCain trip. Moustafa is in the picture and was also inside McCain’s meeting with the rebel commanders, along with Task Force political director Elizabeth O’Bagy.

Rogin’s defense of McCain, of course, rests on the perceived independence of Moustafa’s “NGO.” The Syrian Emergency Task Force, however, appears to have close ties to one foreign government and its powerful American lobby. Not only is Mouaz Moustafa listed as one of the Washington Institute’s “experts,” he recently addressed the AIPAC-created think tank’s annual Soref symposium on the theme of “Inside Syria: The Battle Against Assad’s Regime.”

Even more intriguingly, one of the web addresses for Moustafa’s nonprofit is “” The “” URL belongs to the Torah Academy of Boca Raton, Florida whose academic goals notably include “inspiring a love and commitment to Eretz Yisroel.”

Of course, none of this will come as any surprise to those familiar with John McCain’s lifelong service to the Land of Israel, a commitment that has invariably been at the expense of U.S. interests.

Update: Asked by a social media friend for his thoughts on my piece, Moustafa tweeted:

“utter BS I was born in a refugee camp denied entry to Palestinian territories by Israel even with American passport”

Perhaps his friends in the lobby can put in a good word for him.

After all, he helped organize their leading American asset’s trip to Syria; he’s a contributor to WINEP’s forum for Arab democrats; and for a dispossessed Palestinian refugee bears remarkably few grudges. “The Jewish American community here has always supported humanitarian causes and has always stood by the right thing,” he recently told the Jewish Daily Forward, “and I hope they’ll continue to do so.”

Update II: h/tip to @AsaWinstanley who informed me on Twitter:

@O_Cathail Most interesting report. You need to update though: WINEP have deleted his pages. They are on Google Cache. But video is private

Now that his pages have disappeared down the WINEP memory hole, it may be a little easier for @SoccerMouaz to deny his ties to the lobby with a slightly straighter face:

@AsaWinstanley @o_cathail call me terrorist/Qaeda/nazi as others have but not Zionist Im denied ever entering palestine but it lives in me..

Moustafa’s page can still be found on the WINEP-created Fikra Forum, however.

Update III: Progressive journalist Max Blumenthal appears to be uncharacteristically credulous of Mouaz Moustafa’s explanation of why the Syrian Emergency Task Force had the web address for a Torah Academy in Boca Raton at the end of its own URL. Tweeted ‏@MaxBlumenthal:

.@SoccerMouaz strongly disputes this report: … Tells me url registration was due to dumb error by web designer.

Update IV: In response to the “explanation” above, I just tweeted:

@MaxBlumenthal @SoccerMouaz If the Torah Academy, BR part of SETF’s url was a “dumb error,” why wasn’t it corrected till I wrote my piece?

Update V: Blogger Phil Greaves has cited and expanded on my research into the Syrian Emergency Task Force:

Employing “political Directors”, that are affiliated with Neo-Con, and military contractor funded ‘NGO’ the Institute for the Study of War, seems somewhat contradictory to “improving the lives of average Syrian people”, and “supporting democratic aspirations” in the Middle East. Has it occurred to Moustafa and Obagy, that the vast majority of Syrian people want nothing to do with war criminals and pushers of all things US/Israeli militarism under the guise of “freedom and democracy”? One thinks this is out of the equation, and Moustafa’s ‘Syrian Emergency Task Force’ outfit is nothing more than a State Department/Neo-Con/Israel lobby initiated, propaganda outfit.

Update VI: It’s only appropriate that the Lobby ultimately behind Senator McCain’s trip to Syria should debrief him on his return:

The Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings hosted Senator McCain on the heels of his trip to the region (which included stops in Jordan, Turkey and Yemen). Brookings Senior Fellow Robert Kagan moderated the discussion and Vice President Martin Indyk, director of Foreign Policy, provided introductory remarks.

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @O_Cathail.

Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

June 4, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

24 Responses

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  1. Israel lobby mouthpiece John McCain pushing Syrian regime change/civil war like he did vs Iraq with 5,000 US troops dead (read page 112 of Dr Stephen Sniegoski’s ‘The Transparent Cabal’ book for how John McCain told a gathering of Israel 1sters that it was okay for the US to fight wars for Israel like the US later did with Iraq):


    June 4, 2013 at 9:53 pm

  2. Well, at least Netanyahu was elected and the Israelis haven’t killed 100, 000 of their own people.

    Frank Borman

    June 5, 2013 at 3:03 am

  3. […] Une organisation écran du lobby israélien a-t-elle organisé le voyage de McCain en Syrie? […]

  4. ‘Netanyahu was elected’? So was someone else, initials A.H. And he certainly killed thousands of ‘other’ people’, if not his own. What he does do is loot his own :)


    June 6, 2013 at 12:13 pm

  5. ‘Well, at least Netanyahu was elected and the Israelis haven’t killed 100, 000 of their own people.’;

    no they just kill thousands of other peoples’; and their laest ploy s to get jhadis to kill muslims. getting elected means what? only that theres few decent choices, and that elected officials can kill as many as unelected ones.


    June 6, 2013 at 12:43 pm

  6. Like the dog that didn’t bark in the night, what is noticeable about Mouaz Mustafa’s bio on the AIPAC/WINEP/Fikra Forum website is that there is no mention that he is Palestinian or considers himself to be Palestinian. There is a whole village in Israel that is reserved for Palestinian collaborators and their families of which, unfortunately, there has been no shortage. I am sure Mouaz Mustafa would be welcome there but they probably don’t pay as well.


    June 6, 2013 at 8:00 pm

  7. Via anti-Zionist Jewish contact Jeff Blankfort:

    Since it hasn’t been mentioned yet, today marks the 31st anniversary of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in which, over the first few weeks, the Israeli Wehrmacht, 80,000 strong, invaded that country that had no army, of which to speak, while attacking it from the air with US F-15s and from the sea with Navy gunboats.

    At least 18,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians were killed and the refugee camps in the south such as Ain Helweh were leveled. The Israelis made free use of the free cluster bombs that they had been given by the US until the level of the death and maiming caused by them forced Reagan to stop further shipments. (Later, in East Jerusalem, I would take photos of six Palestinian children who had been victimized by the Ziosadists and were being fitted for prostheses in a Palestinian hospital. The six children had been left with a total of two legs.)

    The war crimes of Israel that year under the direction of Begin and Sharon have, unfortunately, been forgotten as people have focused on the massacre at Sabra and Shatila which was carried out by the Falange in September ’82, with considerable Israeli assistance, and which took the lives of an additional 1000 to 2000 people, most of whom were women, children, and the elderly.

    That is sad, because the viciousness of the advancing Israeli army, which was described to me by Israeli soldiers who would later become war resisters, was something that all of those opposed to Israel and who support justice in Palestine should know and educate others about.


    June 7, 2013 at 12:25 am

  8. […] are dubious to say the least. In a report by investigative journalist Maidhc Ó Cathail on the Passionate Attachment blog, it is also […]

  9. Mackavelli strikes again!!!


    June 11, 2013 at 8:30 am

  10. Israel lobby stooge John McCain confronted about USS Liberty cover-up on Memorial Day 2012: & &

    Liberty Survivors Invoke Benghazi, Demand Hearings:

    Following comment shows in comments section at botom of above article:

    WHY McCain doesn’t want to talk: –

    There are Two Main reasons why Senator John McCain wants to keep the attack on the USS Liberty buried.

    1- McCain’s Father (Admiral John S McCain) was in charge of US Naval Forces in Europe at the time of the attack and Admiral McCain was involved in the COVER-UP, of the attack on the Liberty.

    2- In America, huge sums of Money are needed to Win Elections at the National Level. (Congress, President) Wealthy American Jews give huge sums of Cash to Pro-Israeli Congressmen and Congresswomen. Anyone deemed to be “anti-Israel” is cut off from Funding. As a result, it’s very hard to Win an Election at the National Level, unless the candidate is a full time stooge to the powerful US Israeli Lobby. (AIPAC)


    June 13, 2013 at 6:19 pm

  11. Bill Clinton splits with President Obama and backs neocon stooge John McCain on Syria:


    June 13, 2013 at 9:15 pm

  12. Hi Maidhc,

    Remember that bill Aipac wrote for their servants in the US congress about sanctions on Iran. The “Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act”, among st things it called for was:


    (1) assist the people of Iran to produce, access, and share information freely and safely via the
    Internet, including in Farsi and regional languages;
    (2) support the development of counter-censor-ship technologies that enable the citizens of Iran to
    undertake Internet activities without interference from the Government of Iran;
    (3) increase the capabilities and availability of secure mobile and other communications through
    connective technology among human rights and democracy activists in Iran;

    (8) expand activities to safely assist and train human rights, civil society, and democracy activists
    in Iran to operate effectively and securely;

    I think I found how they are applying point number two. I am still waiting to get the name of the company involved in that. It’s a Canadian one. I think it’s called Asu 19 or something like that.

    I am sure of how they are applying point number 8. I was at CNN web site yesterday and I found this article:

    “As the Iranian people get ready to cast their votes for one of the six remaining presidential candidates, as vetted by the country’s Supreme Leader and the Guardian Council, a free election is under way in the virtual world — where technology and the Internet are creating an alternative platform for Iranians to raise their voices.”

    Look at this and who’s involved (same article)

    “Russian chess legend Garry Kasparov is leading this effort, known as the “We Choose” campaign. He is joined by other internationally recognized former government officials, human rights advocates and technology experts.”

    Kasparov and Dr. Leonid Volkov were both involved in the recent Russian elections shenanigans. Other include Prof. Irwin Cotler ( Canadian) who’s involved in keeping the Canadian Patriot Act in place. By the way, they just revoted on the the said law. The same day a terrorist attack was foiled by the RCMP. We learn that the patsies had connections to element of Al Quaeda in Iran. Prof. David Pollock, from the Washington Institute is there too.

    It should also be noted that Maryam Rajavi from the MEK is a candidate. The neo cons worked hard to get that group off the terrorist list. They also have another two candidates from the other attempted regime change in 2009 or 2008.

    This is one more attempt at regime change in the middle east. The elections are today, let’s all watch to see if there are any protest. I wonder if the snipers are ready.

    Here’s the mossad’s new web site:

    Saur Ben Zvi

    June 15, 2013 at 2:19 am

  13. […] close ties with WINEP, the neocon-oriented think tank founded as an ancillary of AIPAC. Formerly listed as a WINEP “expert” – his page on the think tank’s site has disappeared – Moustafa spoke […]

  14. […] close ties with WINEP, the neocon-oriented think tank founded as an ancillary of AIPAC. Formerly listed as a WINEP “expert” – his page on the think tank’s site has disappeared – Moustafa spoke […]

  15. […] weapons use in this May 27 interview by CNN’s former AIPAC staffer with the AIPAC-created WINEP/Fikra Forum contributor who organized the visit of AIPAC’s leading Senate mouthpiece to the so-called “Free […]

  16. I feel US Senator John McCain is possibly mentally compromised. In the past it seems Joe Lieberman made all his decisions. McCain has never helped the State that elected him deal with their veterans debacle or their immigrant crisis. Instead he is constantly trotting around the middle east and now the Ukraine while our beloved Veterans in our US go unaided and the border dispute is unresolved I believer McCain is either a totally, high paid prop in the US government, or a total incompetent. I believe he is a disgrace.

    Bill Clogston

    Bill Clogston

    July 18, 2014 at 8:07 pm

  17. […] “moderate” Syrian rebels, an examination of the SETF executive director’s background revealed that he was one of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s “experts”; a contributor […]

  18. […] “moderate” Syrian rebels, an examination of the SETF executive director’s background revealed that he was one of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s “experts”; a contributor […]

  19. […] “moderate” Syrian rebels, an examination of the SETF executive director’s background revealed that he was one of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s “experts”; a contributor […]

  20. […] “moderate” Syrian rebels, an examination of the SETF executive director’s background revealed that he was one of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s “experts”; a contributor […]

  21. […] “moderate” Syrian rebels, an examination of the SETF executive director’s background revealed that he was one of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s “experts”; a contributor […]

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