President Biden is not alone in betraying us and American justice, says Sbarro bombing victim’s father


Arnold and Frimet Roth are the parents of Malki Roth, the victim of 2001 Sbarro pizzeria suicide bombing. The family of Malki Roth, an Israeli-American, wrote to Joe Biden requesting a meeting during his Israel visit. They wanted him to press Jordan, a close American ally, to send terrorist and the mastermind of the 2001 suicide bomb attack – Ahlam Tamimi to the US for trial. But there has been no response.

The Roths have been waging a campaign for the extradition of Tamimi since she was released by Israel in a 2011 prisoner swap with the Hamas terrorist group and sent to her native Jordan, where she lives freely and has been a familiar face in the media.

On August 9, 2001, a Palestinian bomber, under the direct command of Ahlam Tamimi walked into a Jerusalem pizzeria and blew himself up, killing 15 people. Two American citizens, including Roth, were among the dead.

Tamimi, who chose the target and guided the bomber there, was arrested weeks later and sentenced by Israel to 16 life sentences. Since her release, she has expressed no remorse and has boasted that she was pleased with the high death toll.

In a 2017 interview with The Associated Press, she said the Palestinians have a right to resist Israel by any means, including deadly attacks.

The Roths have repeatedly called on US authorities to press Jordan, which has received billions of dollars in American assistance, to turn over Tamimi for trial.

Hours after Joe Biden’s Israel trip, Arnold Roth accorded an exclusive interview to internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist and editor of BLiTZ, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury. Here is the excerpts:

Shoaib Choudhury: Recently you wrote a letter to the US President Joe Biden and expressed your willingness of meeting him, prior to his Israel visit and wanted Biden to put pressure on Jordan to send terrorist Ahlam Tamimi to the United States for facing trial. In your plea you wrote: “We are bereaved parents as you are, sir. We have a burning sense that injustice in the wake of our child’s murder is winning. We ask that you address this as only the leader of the United States can”.

In the letter to Joe Biden, you wrote: “Something is obviously terribly wrong with how the pursuit of America’s most wanted female fugitive is going”.

You also said: “We want to explain this to you better in a face-to-face meeting. We want you to look us in the eyes, Mr. President, and tell us how Jordan’s king can be a praiseworthy ally”.

While the White House did not say anything to the media about your letter, did you get any response in this regard from the White House?

Arnold Roth: Our letter to President Biden was received at the White House during this past Sunday, the same day we wrote it. No one there acknowledged receipt but we heard via a journalist who made contact with high-level officials in the White House that it had certainly been received and that a response was being formulated.

What happened next surprised us.

Via a journalist, we learned on Monday [July 11, 2022] that some 24 hours after the White House received our Biden letter, they informed the media that they were declining to comment on a request from us, Frimet and Arnold Roth, to meet with President Joe Biden during his brief visit to Israel.

What does “declining to comment” really mean. In my opinion, it says “we have seen the letter, we have spent a full day trying to decide how to respond to it, and in the end, we choose to give no response at all”.

Those are my words, not theirs. But keep in mind we have been trying to engage with the US government since 2017 about the [Ahlam] Tamimi case. We have contended with bureaucratic obstructiveness and political double-talk to understand what is holding them back from pushing Jordan to extradite our child’s killer.

They are obliged by US law to do that and they are simply not doing it. Instead they have allowed Jordan’s king to become one of the most frequent visitors to Washington’s corridors of power.

They have lavished billions of dollars on the kingdom in US-taxpayer-funded aid.

President Biden calls him a “good, loyal and decent friend”.

And they absolutely avoid mentioning Tamimi and the extradition process.

All of this baffles us.

And so does the fact that President Biden has never once mentioned the Tamimi/Jordan scandal in public. King Abdullah II doesn’t mention it. The spokespeople for the White House don’t mention it. And Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his spokespeople don’t mention it. They even try to avoid the rare questions that have been asked when the [Jordanian] King is visiting and there is a press briefing.

They very clearly don’t want the issue to become known by the American public. This is not what they say, but it is clearly the truth.

So here is where we are today. After years of being kept far away as if we suffer from some kind of leprosy, the Biden administration now shuts down our voices when we try to speak to the President about America’s most wanted female fugitive, a free and triumphant terrorist and her American victims.

It’s almost as if the real threat to the security and well-being of the US is my wife and me.

Malki Roth, the vuctim of Sbarro pizzeria suicide bombing

Shoaib Choudhury: Looking into his track record of massive corruption, loot of public wealth and harboring notorious terrorists like Ahlam Tamimi, we fully believe that the Jordanian King Abdullah II cannot be a “praiseworthy ally” of the United States. We also know, many of the members of the Jordanian royal family, including Prince Ali, the half-brother of King Abdullah and full-brother of Princess Haya has met leaders of mega-terror outfit Hamas on multiple occasions, proving, the Jordanian royals are having extreme cordiality with the Palestinian terrorists, in your opinion, why the United States still consider King Abdullah II as its “praiseworthy ally”?

Arnold Roth: I think other people are troubled by this question too. I do not have a good answer.

To me, it is obvious that when Jordan’s king tries to position his country in the ranks of those who fight back against terror, he has in mind a definition of terror that is different from yours and mine. On one hand, he provides a safe haven for an FBI Most Wanted terrorist, [Ahlam] Tamimi, who has a great deal of blood on her hands, mostly the blood of children. On the other, his kingdom hosts multi-national gatherings of military and intelligence personnel in the name of fighting terror.

I think a clue to understanding this is in an expression that King Abdullah uses and that I think no other political figure does. He says repeatedly, and so does his state-controlled media, that his kingdom is conducting a “fight against terrorism within a holistic approach“.

What is a holistic approach to terror? I don’t think anyone knows. The Jordanians tell everyone it’s what they do. Whatever they mean by those words, if you’re King Abdullah it lets you take part in international rallies against antisemitism as the king did in Paris in January 2015 while at the same time keeping one of the world’s most notorious killers of Jews and Israelis safe and famous in your country.

I don’t have any access to American strategic thinking about Jordan at the governmental level. So, it’s hard for me to see Jordan as praiseworthy, especially since I have written several articles about Jordan’s very high levels of antisemitic sentiment among its people – high even by Middle East standards. And about Jordanian government schools filling their children’s heads and text books with hatred for Jews.

Shoaib Choudhury: Although back in 2020, the Trump administration said it was considering withholding aid to Jordan over the case of harboring terrorist Ahlam Tamimi, there was ultimately no action in this regard.

In your opinion, what stopped the Trump administration in taking this important initiative?

Arnold Roth: It’s true that a US federal bill that President Trump signed into law as part of the budget and appropriations measures in 2019 gave the federal government the power to halt US aid to a government, like Jordan, that has a treaty with the US and fails to honor it. It became a potentially powerful sanction.

The same law was enacted the following year.

Seven Members of the US Congress wrote to Jordan’s ambassador to Washington in May 2020, pointing out that the law existed. They told her it was a reflection of “the deep concern of the Congress, the administration and the American people…” over Jordan’s harboring of an indicted killer of innocent Americans including my daughter.

Neither they nor the government of the US threatened Jordan. They did however explain that a sanction had been legislated to protect US interests. And they wanted to bring this to Jordan’s attention in the interests of preserving good and warm relations.

I wrote about this at the time.

My strong impression is that President Trump had almost no interest in, or influence over, trying to get Jordan to extradite [Ahlam] Tamimi. I don’t think he ever said anything in public about the Tamimi/Jordan scandal.

In general, President Trump, his government and his diplomats were unhelpful and unresponsive to my wife and me in relation to the Tamimi case.

King Abdullah was warmly received in the Trump White House and there was certainly no reduction is foreign aid to Jordan during his presidency.

Shoaib Choudhury: According to our information, the United States has charged Ahlam Tamimi with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against American nationals. The charge was filed under seal in 2013 and announced by the Justice Department four years later. Her name was added to the FBI’s list of Most Wanted Terrorists.

We also know, the US and Jordan signed an extradition treaty in 1995. But in 2017, Jordan’s high court blocked her extradition, reportedly claiming the treaty was never ratified, while we are fully aware that Jordan is run under cruel dictatorship of King Abdullah II.

By ignoring requests from the United States of returning terrorist Ahlam Tamimi to face trial, and by using the Jordanian kangaroo court in blocking Ahlam Tamimi’s extradition, do you think, King Abdullah II has clearly proved himself as a patron of terrorists and also not a genuine ally of the US?

Arnold Roth: The treaty made by the late King Hussein, the respected father of today’s Jordanian king, and the Bill Clinton administration in 1995 is, was and will continue to be valid and in force, even if Jordan claims it’s not.

I could – but will not – give a long explanation for why Jordan’s actions in declaring the treaty invalid reflect very poorly on Jordan. Instead let me just make these brief comments.

  1. Jordan declared the treaty invalid after observing and respecting it for 22 years. It extradited fugitive Jordanian terrorists to the US again and again during those years whenever the Americans asked. That is how treaties work.
  2. The treaty remained valid right up until the week that [Ahlam] Tamimi, all of whose victims were Jewish exactly as she planned, became subject to its operation. And then that week, or to be more precise six days after the US charges were announced, the treaty suddenly turned invalid.
  3. And what was the defect that made it invalid? An alleged failure to ratify the treaty document properly. This was a ratification that only Jordan can do – and that Jordan alone had failed to do. The US wasn’t to blame in any way. So what does a “praiseworthy ally” do when a key treaty is under threat because of a Jordanian flaw. Obviously, it fixes the flaw. Jordan could have fixed the flaw every single day during those 22 years. But it did not.
  4. There are two reasons why it did not do that. One: No one thought it was invalid for almost all of those 22 years. It was in fact valid. And two: Once the Tamimi charges became known, Jordan wanted to do everything possible to keep its celebrity killer of Jews safe and out of the reach of the Americans. This is of course not what praiseworthy allies do. But it is what Jordan did.
  5. Jordan’s failure to ratify is misleading. My wife and I know this because we sued the US State Department two years ago under America’s Freedom of Information Act. We won and we now have a the ratification document in our hands.
  6. But in reality the non-ratification argument is a sideshow. In Jordan, what the king wants is what gets done. It’s a cruel and harsh country where, according to Freedom House, the media are not free but tightly controlled. And everyone understands that the king controls – by appointing and removing – all the important figures in parliament, government and courts. This means Ahlam Tamim remains safe and protected in Jordan because that is what the king desires. And for their own reasons, America’s State Department officials want King Abdullah to stay happy.
  7. The failure to bring Tamimi to US justice is thus not a matter of treaties or laws at all, but of realpolitik – of politics and survival.

Shoaib Choudhury: We know, you and your wife Frimet Roth, being the parents of Malki Roth have been waging a campaign for the extradition of terrorist Ahlam Tamimi since she was released by Israel in a 2011 prisoner swap with Hamas and later Tamimi was sent to her native Jordan, where she lives freely and has been a familiar face in the media. During these years, Jordanian authorities have rebuffed calls to extradite her.

In your extremely important campaign against terrorist Ahlam Tamimi, did you get cooperation from various Jewish groups, such as AIPAC and American Jewish Committee (AJC) as well as organizations such as Middle East Forum?

Arnold Roth: We have asked for support from a wide range of quarters. This certainly includes America’s national Jewish organizations. But it is not limited to them. You have named some of the more important such groups. At this stage, I will ask for you to forgive me if I do not relate to specific Jewish groups. My only reason for doing this is to avoid embarrassing them in public.

The frank answer to your question is that we have been deeply disappointed by the weak response of America’s Jewish community leadership. Yes, there have been some who have given us advice and help. But what we have asked for several years, since 2017, is for practical help in moving the obstacles we have encountered inside the US government. These obstacles are powerful and – most importantly – they are not aligned with this side or that side of domestic American politics. We are not for and not against the Democrat Party. We are not for and not against the Republican Party. The Tamimi issue is about justice.

Jordan works hard, and spends very serious amounts of money in Washington, lobbying American decision-makers to support the Hashemite position on certain issues. We don’t have a lobby and we certainly don’t have the ability to spend the huge sums that are available to Jordan. Perhaps we have been naïve but we expect Jewish citizens of the United State, and their organizational leaders, to stand on our side in a case where we want American law and American notions of justice and decency to prevail. It’s a complex fight because, as I have explained, we are confronted by American government decision makers who sometimes actively and sometimes passively are standing with Jordan and therefore with the terrorist who is kept safe from US prosecutors by Jordan.

We have not given up on the American Jewish organizations.

Ahlam Tamimi, the mastermind behind Sbarro pizzeria suicide bombing and America’s Most Wanted terrorist

Shoaib Choudhury: We know, since her release, terrorist Ahlam Tamimi has expressed no remorse and even boasted that she was pleased with the high death toll, what stops the so-called mainstream media in the world in pushing forward the case of Ahlam Tamimi and exert pressure on the Jordanian authorities?

Arnold Roth: I don’t know the answer. I cannot imagine how anyone wants to stand by the side of Tamimi who has made her hateful opinions and viciously lethal values an open book that anyone can read.

Via television, social media and many public speeches she delivers a message of deep hatred. In October 2021 she urged a Turkish audience (and this is still viewable via YouTube until today) to identify with her and the religious values that brought her to become a mass murderer. She called the bombing “the crown on my head” [source] and bragged that she had “joined the annals of history by committing the best act.”

Speeches and exhortations to acts of terror like these are almost never published in the mainstream media. When there are articles about Tamimi, they describe her in gentle terms. Is this because they don’t want to inflame Jordanian anger? I don’t know. But I feel that the media at their most powerful level – organizations like CNN and the New York Times, the BBC and Aljazeera – have much explaining to do for why they contribute to the normalization of what she stands for instead of exposing her as a danger on a global scale.

Shoaib Choudhury: In a 2017 interview with The Associated Press, terrorist Ahlam Tamimi said the Palestinians have a right to “resist Israel by any means, including deadly attacks”. Meaning, she was not only endorsing the murder of innocent Israeli civilians, she also had categorically given instigation to such barbaric jihadist acts. If the United States could employ force in finding Al Qaeda kingpin Osama bin Laden or Islamic State (ISIS) kingpin Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, what stops the US administration in opting for a string operation to capture Ahlam Tamimi from Jordan?

Arnold Roth: The answer is: Nothing. If the political will would exist, the US can and would do this. The obstacles are all political. This is a disgrace because it means that the American public is not told about the things Tamimi, America’s most wanted female fugitive, stands for, and is not told how lacking in integrity Jordan’s arguments for keeping her safe from the FBI are. If there would be wider exposure of what Tamimi means to her fellow Jordanians, I believe ordinary Americans would demand that their political leaders use the levers available to them to bring Jordan’s shabby defense of this loathsome bomber of children to an end.

Shoaib Choudhury: With the pro-jihadist and pro-terror policies of the Jordanian regime, why the United States still considers Jordan as its one of the closest partners in the Arab world and even sees it as a “force of moderation and stability in the volatile Middle East”?

Arnold Roth: It is an excellent question. No public figure, to the best of my knowledge, has ever made a public defense of American support for the current Jordanian regime. Jordan is not free, not democratic, not a place where the media can expose the problems they see and a country where well-documented corruption is systematically hidden from the eyes of the citizens. It is a tightly controlled state which is massively funded by the United States. It relies not only on American help but on Israel’s concrete support as well.

In the relations between countries, it is not unusual for bad, even evil, states, to be supported by reasonable states. Countries take what their leaders calculate to be justifiable decisions to advance their county’s interests. Are they always right in doing this? Of course not. These decisions are made by human beings, after all.

However, this matter of bad decision-making becomes much more problematic when the calculations behind them are kept secret, as they often are. When the media hide the Tamimi story – and almost the entire mainstream media do – they enable bad decision making by American leaders and the obscene continuation of Tamimi’s freedom in Jordan. This is a disgrace.

Shoaib Choudhury: It is said the American are wary of sparking a “diplomatic crisis” with a “key ally” by genuinely exerting its force on King Abdullah II of Jordan on terrorist Ahlam Tamimi case, despite the fact that Tamimi was among the key players behind the 2001 suicide bombing in Jerusalem that had killed many American citizen, including Malki Roth. Do you believe, such tendency of the US administration can only be stated as double-standard of ignoring the lives of American citizen just in exchange for vile strategic benefit?

Arnold Roth: America can treat justice as a paramount value. Or it can prop up a leader who supports and encourages terror and do this while “avoiding diplomatic crises”. But it cannot do both. Your question is a good one.

Shoaib Choudhury: With the sordid and outrageous behavior of the US administration, including President Joe Biden in addressing Ahlam Tamimi issue and forcing King Abdullah II of Jordan in extraditing this terrorist, as the parents of Malki Roth, do you feel betrayed?

Arnold Roth: Yes, absolutely. President Biden is not alone in betraying us and American justice. The Obama and Trump administrations did no better. Each of them is part of a long-running act of betrayal which has caused my wife and me tremendous pain. I realize that our pain means very little to officials who have entire countries to run. But I also believe they understand how unjustified their actions by the manner in which the keep the whole sordid affair concealed from their citizens.

Shoaib Choudhury: As you know by now, BLiTZ is an independent newspaper, established in 2003 for the purpose of presenting balanced coverage of events. Since inception, we have been vigorously confronting radical Islam, political Islam and militancy; denouncing antisemitism and Holocaust denial, and promoting interfaith harmony. We are neither an Israeli State nor Jewish owned or sponsored publication. It is an independent journal which has been publishing the truth.

If a newspaper published from a Muslim country can vigorously push the Ahlam Tamimi issue for years, do you think, international media outlets as well as Israeli and Jewish owned publications need to put extended focus on Ahlam Tamimi issue, which would help in your decade-long effort of getting this terrorist extradited from Jordan?

Arnold Roth: Yes. You have admirable principles that make you very unusual. Thank you!


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