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Jason Dzubow on Political Asylum

Decision to Deny Asylum to "Son of Hamas" Is "Idiotic"

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We've reported before about Mossad Hassan Yousef, son of Hamas founding member Sheikh Hassan Yousef.  The younger Yousef converted to Christianity, worked undercover to stop terrorist attacks against Israel, and wrote a book about his experience.  He has been living in California for the last few years and his application for asylum was recently rejected because he supposedly provided "material support" to Hamas, a designated terrorist organization.  Mr. Yousef claims any "support" he provided was done in the course of learning about the organization in order to prevent terrorist attacks.  His case is currently before an Immigration Judge, who will review his claim for asylum de novo.

Now, in an unprecedented move, a former Shin Bet (Israeli security) agent has come forward to verify Mr. Yousef's claim.  The Jewish Journal reports that Gonen Ben-Yitzhak confirmed that Mr. Yousef provided information that "prevent[ed] attacks that saved countless Israeli and Arab lives."  Mr. Ben-Yitzak will testify at Mr. Yousef's upcoming asylum hearing. 

It is illegal for a former Shin Bet agent to publicly reveal his name, and Mr. Ben-Yitzak faces potential legal trouble in Israel when he returns:

"It's my country, my land. I love the Shin Bet, and I love Israel. But I have to help my friend," he said of the San Diego hearing. "This is my duty -- to stand with him and say the truth. It's something I need to do. He always stood beside me. In the harshest days of the second intifadah, I called and asked about his opinion because his understanding about Hamas is unbelievable."

The two men received awards at a dinner sponsored by the Endowment for Middle East Truth, a pro-Israel organization.  Other muckety-mucks at the dinner included Senator Sam Brownback, Congressman Brad Sherman, and Congressman Doug Lamborn.  The event was held at the U.S. Senate, leading Mr. Yousef to joke, "How did security let a terrorist like me into this building?" 

Mr. Yousef's asylum hearing is scheduled for next week.  There seems little doubt that he has a well-founded fear of persecution in the Palestinian territory-not just for his efforts against Hamas, but also for his apostasy (he has publicly referred to Islam as a religion of hate).  The issue is whether his "support" for Hamas will disqualify him for asylum.  Mr. Ben-Yitzak's testimony should go a long way towards solving the "material support" problem.  And even if the Immigration Judge determines that Mr. Yousef supported Hamas, he should still qualify for relief under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which would allow him to remain in the United States.

When asked about the U.S. government's effort to deport Mr. Yousef, Mr. Ben-Yitzak, the former Shin Bet agent, said, "It's hard for me to understand -- very hard for me to understand."  Former CIA director James Woolsey was less diplomatic.  "My view is that the decision to deny him political refugee status was incredibly idiotic," Woolsey said.  "It's hard to think of a worse immigration decision in history.  It's fundamentally nuts."

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  1. Honza Prchal's Avatar
    The Immigration judge who denied the petition and the immigration agents who contested the application deserve a plaque in the hall of shame. Incredible.
  2. Jason Dzubow's Avatar
    I think he was not denied by an Immigration Judge. He was denied at the Asylum Office and the case was referred to an Immigration Judge. The DHS (government) attorney raised the issue of "material support" for a terrorist group at the initial hearing. That may just have been a formality. We will see whether DHS attempts to deport him based on his supposed connection to terrorism. There seems to be a lot of evidence that he did not support Hamas, and that he risked his life to stop Hamas. If that is the case, hopefully his asylum application will be granted.
  3. JanSuzanne's Avatar
    Yousef will become Obama's Sacrificial Lamb if deported!

    The words and actions of the White House are adding up to a grim reality, that the US, along with most other countries, are being swayed in the direction of supporting Hamas and the radical left that backs them, rather than the moderates in the region. Evidence of that is plainly seen just by the way the administration defines and uses the words 'terrorism' and 'jihad.' Combine that with Obama's Cairo speech where he insisted on inviting leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood to hear him begin his apologies for the US's past actions; and his recent treatment of Netanyahu; to the announcement that the US will provide $450 million in aid to Palestinian relief, with much of the money knowingly to go to the very people who forced Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah out of Gaza; and the recent response to the Mavi flotilla that seems to be forcing Israel to open a channel to the sea for Hamas; and finalizing with the organizing and participating in nuclear summits that attempt to weaken Israel while strengthening the global perception of Iran. It is also plain to see that Obama's actions are affecting other leaders around the globe. European countries, Australia and the Sunni Arabs, all who have been friendly with Israel, are now being influenced by the 'choreographed events' against Israel. New alliances are being formed in the Middle East, with Iran, Gaza and Turkey looking like the winners.

    Maybe Obama is doing this in the name of the peace process; maybe because Obama doesn't really care about Israel; or maybe being a good guy to the enemy will keep terrorism off our shores. But meanwhile, Mosab Hassan Yousef could become the administration's Sacrificial Lamb if Homeland Security sends him back to Gaza. The US could be handing Hamas the defector they have wanted for several years and who they have a fatwah on as one of their greatest traitors. This would be just another plank in Obama's Middle East Agenda, and shows his true Muslim alliance.
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