Osama must read the Huffington Post and watch MSNBC. Seriously, these days, "The Israel Lobby" is a reference to the bottom floor of the King David Hotel.
However backward and seemingly out-of-touch these words seem to me, I still must take what he has to say with a bit of trepidation because it is so close to High Holy Days. This is the part of the year I start getting even more security conscious than usual.
We all need to carefully look at the things around us as the holidays approach and ask ourselves if there are any new people or any strange new things in our environment. A sudden uptick in the number of tourists photographing your shul, a couple of new congregants that seem a bit too eager or strangely out-of-touch, or some new traffic patterns around your neighborhood should all be things we don't take for granted.
Terrorists, unfortunately, don't leave things to chance, and if they are intending to hurt us, they will case the place first, make dry runs around our neighborhoods looking for all possible escape routes, and familiarizing themselves with the way things work.
Remember, High Holy Days are mostly on Shabbat and Sunday this year, so look for strangers and strange patterns on the weekend as you walk. Don't take anything for granted. Mention anything strange to the security person at your synagogue or to the federation security officer in your area. If it is nothing, fine. If it is important, they will take it from there.
I'd rather be paranoid and make a fool of myself than be silent and feel guilty for having failed to avert an attack.
Make sure you know how to get out of your synagogue fast. Mentally prepare yourself for such an event. Imagine what you would do if the place was suddenly dark, and pay attention to how you get around. Know where the fire extinguishers and the first aid kit are. Ask whether the synagogue has an emergency plan, and who is in charge.
Bin-Laden issues new tape warning U.S. against ties with Israel
Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden warned the American people over their government's close ties with Israel in an apparently new audio tape posted on an Islamist website on Monday.
"The time has come for you to liberate yourselves from fear and the ideological terrorism of neo-conservatives and the Israeli lobby," Bin Laden's latest tape said.
"The reason for our dispute with you is your support for your ally Israel, occupying our land in Palestine."
The message, entitled "A statement to the American people", was around 11 minutes long and was posted a few days after the eighth anniversary of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks.
Reuters was not immediately able to verify its authenticity
but the website often is used by supporters of al Qaeda.
In the tape, the Al-Qaida leader said there had been no real change in American policy because U.S. President Barack Obama had retained people like U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates from the administration of former President George W. Bush.
"If you think about your situation well, you will know that the White House is occupied by pressure groups," Bin Laden said.
"Rather than fighting to liberate Iraq -- as Bush claimed -- it (the White House) should have been liberated."
The website had said earlier this month it would soon carry a "present" to Muslims from bin Laden on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan.
The leader of the group that mounted the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States is thought to be in hiding in the mountainous terrain along the Afghan-Pakistani border.
The attacks carried out by al Qaeda operatives in 2001 killed nearly 3,000 people.
The tape made reference to Obama's speech in Cairo in June, suggesting the message was recorded afterwards. The speaker also appeared to refer to criticisms former U.S. President Jimmy Carter made in June of Israel's Gaza invasion earlier this year.
Bin Laden's last apparent message was issued just before Obama's speech, where the president talked of a "new beginning" between the United States and the Muslim world.
In the new message, bin Laden also referred to U.S. military actions in Afghanistan to support the Afghan government against the Taliban, allies of al Qaeda, and support for Pakistan, which faces militant violence.
"If you stop the war, then fine. Otherwise we will have no choice but to continue our war of attrition on every front... If you choose safety and stopping wars, as opinion polls show you do, then we are ready to respond to this."
"You have only changed the faces in the White House," he said, referring to Obama who took office this year. "Obama is a weakened man. He will not be able to stop the war."