Second Jewish man murdered in Morocco since Thursday (and other items)

September 15, 2003

CONTENTS

1. Second Jewish man murdered in Morocco since Thursday
2. Malaysia's Islamist leader praises Palestinian suicide bombers
3. Four Arabs accused of planning attacks on German Jews
4. 10 neo-Nazis accused of planning to bomb Munich synagogue on Kristallnacht anniversary
5. UK Jews worried Sept. 27 Iraq demo will feed anti-Semitism
6. University of Berkeley opens investigation after students were "taught from Protocols of the Elders of Zion"



[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach 10 articles, mainly concerning attacks on Jews in recent days, with summaries first.

Please note also that:

* The Jerusalem bus bombing toll has reached 23, after Tova Lev, 37, died of wounds sustained in the attack. Many of the victims were children. Over one hundred people were injured in the attack.

* Israeli police discovered three explosive belts hidden in a washing machine in a butcher shop in East Jerusalem overnight Friday. The belts contained 20 kg of explosives, nails and metal balls.

* Four Israelis have been kidnapped in Columbia, part of a group of eight kidnapped tourists. It is not believed that the Israelis were kidnapped due to their nationality.

SUMMARIES

1. "Islamists target Morocco's Jews" (By Giles Tremlett, The Guardian, September 15, 2003). "Violent Islamists have murdered two members of Morocco's shrinking Jewish community in the past four days and look set to drive out most of the remaining members of a community whose history stretches back centuries. The stabbing to death of 75-year-old Elie Afrat as he left his house in Meknes, 90 miles east of Rabat, to go to the synagogue on Saturday has finally shattered what the Moroccan authorities had always held up as a model of coexistence between Muslims and Jews. The killing of Mr Afrat, one of just 120 Jews left in Meknes, came two days after a similar murder in Casablanca. On that occasion the victim was Albert Revivo, 55, a timber trader in the city's Lakria market. A Jewish woman told the Spanish newspaper El Pais yesterday: "We must leave, not just for own security but for that of our children. What future do [Jews] have left if they must live in hiding?"

2. "Second Jewish man murdered in Morocco since Thursday" (The Jerusalem Post, September 13, 2003). An elderly member of Morocco's small Jewish community was stabbed to death Saturday, the second killing of a Jewish citizen in days, security officers said.

[Tom Gross adds: Not included in the attached articles, were the remarks made during Revivo's funeral Friday, when Serge Berdugo told hundreds of mourners that the timing of the shooting - September 11 at 1245 GMT - was the exact time when the first of New York's World Trade Center towers was hit in 2001, and he believed the timing was deliberate.]

For earlier articles about Morocco's Jewish community, see my dispatches:
"Terror in Morocco: Malaysian PM says Israel should be blamed" (May 17, 2003)
"Casablanca 2: Jews ponder uncertain future" (May 21, 2003)
"Casablanca 3: 'What do these barbarians think they are doing?'" (May 21, 2003).

3. "Malaysian opposition leader justifies attacks on Israeli civilians" (Albawaba.com, September 12, 2003). "The leader of Malaysia's opposition Islamic party voiced support for Palestinian suicide bombers. Abdul Hadi described Israel as the "biggest terrorist and criminal" and declared his party would continue to support Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Later, Abdul Hadi told a news conference: "All Israeli civilians are soldiers and all of Israeli territory is a battlefield."

4. "Hamas suicide bombers martyrs - Malaysian Islamist" (Reuters, September 12, 2003) "The leader of Malaysia's main Islamist opposition on Friday lauded Palestinian suicide bombers as martyrs. He made comments to journalists after opening the PAS annual assembly."

5. "Muslims throw stones at Jewish worshippers" (The Associated Press, September 12, 2003) "... after the Muslim prayer service, hundreds of young men threw stones at the Western Wall below, where Jews were praying." [TG adds: Had Jews stoned Moslems praying at Mecca, or Catholics at the Vatican, this item would no doubt have received greater international media attention. Please note that the AP report does not bother to mention that four Israelis were lightly injured in the attack, nor that Israeli police say they have evidence that Yasser Arafat had ordered the disturbances.]

6. "Four accused of planning Jewish attacks" (The Associated Press, September 11, 2003) "German prosecutors on Thursday announced terrorism charges against four suspected members of a radical Palestinian network who are believed to have plotted attacks against Jewish targets in Germany. The four are alleged to be members of a German cell of the Al Tawhid group."

7. "10 neo-Nazis detained for Munich synagogue bomb plot" (The Associated Press, September 13, 2003) "German authorities have arrested another ten neo-Nazis suspected of being part of a plot to bomb a groundbreaking ceremony at a new synagogue in Munich, on the anniversary of Kristallnacht. Among the several hundred guests expected at the ceremony are German President Johannes Rau, Bavarian Governor Edmund Stoiber, and the country's main Jewish leader, Paul Spiegel." [TG adds: Paul Spiegel is one of "Schindler's children," rescued by the German industrialist.]

8. "Six Neo-Nazis Are Arrested in Bomb Plot Against Jews" (The New York Times, September 13, 2003). "A group of German neo-Nazi extremists arrested in raids across the country this week are suspected of planning to bomb a new Jewish cultural center in Munich. In addition to the explosives, the police seized two hand grenades, ammunition, files and computer disks... In an incident last November, three skinheads in Potzlow, north of Berlin, beat to death a 17-year-old boy after saying that his baggy pants and dyed hair made him "look like a Jew," according to court testimony." [TG adds: The New York Times finally reports on the Potzlow murder, many months after I sent out details about it on this list.]

9. "UK Jews worried Iraq demo will feed anti-Semitism" (The Jerusalem Post, September 13, 2003). "Representatives of the British Jewish community have expressed concern that a mass demonstration against the Iraq war in London on September 27 will focus primarily on the Palestinian issue and increase anti-Semitism. In a letter to the Stop the War Coalition (SWC), which is organizing the demonstration, the Board of Deputies of British Jews said publicity for the event focuses on the Palestinian issue and appears to confuse the issues of Iraq and Israel."

10. "UC Berkeley to probe anti-Semitism charge" (The Jerusalem Post, August 11, 2003). The University of California at Berkeley is investigating a complaint that a graduate student instructor taught anti-Semitism by uncritically presenting material from the fraudulent "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" in an Arabic language class.

 



FULL ARTICLES

ISLAMISTS TARGET MOROCCO'S JEWS

Islamists target Morocco's Jews
By Giles Tremlett
The Guardian
September 15, 2003

Violent Islamists have murdered two members of Morocco's shrinking Jewish community in the past four days and look set to drive out most of the remaining members of a community whose history stretches back centuries.

The stabbing to death of 75-year-old Elie Afrat as he left his house in Meknes, 90 miles east of Rabat, to go to the synagogue on Saturday has finally shattered what the Moroccan authorities had always held up as a model of coexistence between Muslims and Jews.

The killing of Mr Afrat, one of just 120 Jews left in Meknes, came two days after a similar murder in Casablanca. On that occasion the victim was Albert Revivo, 55, a timber trader in the city's Lakria market.

The authorities and community leaders first claimed that Mr Revivo's murder was connected to the black market and smuggling trade that goes through Lakria. But the killing of Mr Afrat, whose unidentified assailant ran off, drove home the message Islamist militants first sent when they bombed a Jewish centre in Casablanca on May 16.

A series of suicide bombings that day, which killed 45 people in Morocco's first experience of Islamist terror, also targeted a restaurant in the city owned by a Moroccan Jew.

Serge Berdugo, general secretary of Morocco's Jewish association, said: "These are all acts of terrorism aimed against us, and through us against all Morocco."

A Jewish woman told the Spanish newspaper El Pais yesterday: "We must leave, not just for own security but for that of our children. What future do [Jews] have left if they must live in hiding?"

Although Morocco's monarchs, including the current king, have traditionally sworn to protect the country's Jews, the community has fallen from 350,000 to 3,500 in half a century. Most young Jews have emigrated either to Europe or to Israel, where some 700,000 people claim Moroccan origin.

Morocco held local elections last Friday, in which the country's main legal Islamic party, the Justice and Development party, made modest gains, despite a campaign against it by Moroccan authorities and the pro-government press, which have accused it of "moral responsibility" for the May 16 attacks.

Jews claim to have been present in the Maghreb since the synagogue at Djerba, Tunisia, was founded around 586BC. Their numbers were multiplied many times over when Spanish Jews were expelled from their country in 1492.

The Jewish community in Tunisia, reduced from 100,000 to 2,000 in 50 years, has also been attacked. The Djerba synagogue was attacked by a suicide bomber who killed 21 people in April 2002.

 

SECOND JEWISH MAN MURDERED IN MOROCCO SINCE THURSDAY

Second Jewish man murdered in Morocco since Thursday
The Jerusalem Post
September 13, 2003

An elderly member of Morocco's small Jewish community was stabbed to death Saturday, the second killing of a Jewish citizen in days, security officers said.

The 75-year-old man, Eli Afriat, was stabbed as he was leaving his home in Meknes, a northern city in the largely Muslim North African kingdom, the officials said.

Serge Berdugo, the secretary-general of a council for Morocco's Jewish community, said he had no further information.

The attack was not thought to be anti-Semitic.

However, there was still concern, as Moroccan Jews buried on Friday a member of their community shot dead by two unidentified gunmen and said the murder was a terrorist attack aimed at their community.

Wood merchant Albert Rebibo, 59, was killed by two men wearing balaclavas who sprayed him with automatic weapons fire at point-blank range in broad daylight in Casablanca on Thursday as he was closing his shop, the first attack of its kind against a Jewish citizen in the North African Muslim kingdom.

Witnesses said members of the public pursued the attackers, who ordered a passing driver out of his car and drove off in it, the Moroccan MAP news agency said.

Police said that their investigation early on could not determine "if it was carried out by an organization or was a settling of scores," the news agency reported.

Serge Berdugo, the head of the Moroccan Israelite Community association, said the timing of the shooting was no coincidence, and said it was an act of terrorism aimed at Morocco's Jewish community.

"The hour when this despicable murder was committed September 11 at 12:45 GMT or the exact time when the first of the Manhattan (World Trade Center) towers was hit point to several hypotheses and one signature," he said in a speech at Rebibo's burial ceremony, attended by hundreds of people.

Morocco's Jewish community was targeted by 12 Islamist suicide bombers last May in Casablanca in attacks that killed 33 other people.

No Jews were killed in the attacks, but a Jewish social club, empty at the time, a restaurant run by a Jew and a Jewish cemetery were among the targets.

Following the attack, Moroccan officials vowed to protect the country's Jewish community.

Until the 1950s, Morocco was home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the Muslim world.

Moroccan Jews now total less than 5,000, after a massive exodus to Israel. Some 700,000 Israelis are believed to be of Moroccan descent.

 

MALAYSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER JUSTIFIES ATTACKS ON ISRAELI CIVILIANS

Malaysian opposition leader justifies attacks on Israeli civilians
Albawaba.com
September 12, 2003

The leader of Malaysia's opposition Islamic party told his supporters Friday the United States was an enemy of Islam and voiced support for Palestinian suicide bombers.

Abdul Hadi Awang, president of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, called the United States and its allies "imperialist powers who are finding ways to be confrontational with Islam."

"The United States and its allies must stand trial before the conscience of the world for unilaterally destroying other nations, all under the rubric and pretext of war against terrorism," Abdul Hadi said, according to the AP.

Abdul Hadi claimed the United States invaded Iraq and Afghanistan because "they hate Islam and they are after the oil and to protect the Zionist Israeli state."

Abdul Hadi described Israel as the "biggest terrorist and criminal" and declared his party would continue to support Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Later, Abdul Hadi told a news conference: "All Israeli civilians are soldiers and all of Israeli territory is a battlefield."

 

HAMAS SUICIDE BOMBERS MARTYRS - MALAYSIAN ISLAMIST

Hamas suicide bombers martyrs -Malaysian Islamist
Reuters
September 12, 2003

The leader of Malaysia's main Islamist opposition on Friday lauded Palestinian suicide bombers as martyrs, while condemning Southeast Asian Muslim militants behind last month's suicide bomb attack in Jakarta.

Abdul Hadi Awang, the president of Parti Islam se-Malaysia, voiced support for the Palestinian militant group Hamas in comments to journalists after opening the PAS annual assembly.

"We support Hamas because they are Palestinians who are being oppressed. Their houses are being destroyed, their women raped and their children murdered. They fight to defend their territory and the Holy Sites," said Hadi, who also laid into the United States.

"The U.S. and its allies must stand trial to the conscience of the world for unilaterally destroying other nations under all the rubric and pretext of a war against terrorism," Hadi said in his earlier speech to the assembly.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has been a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause and his government on Friday sounded a warning that Israel's declaration of intent to expel Palestinian President Yasser Arafat would spark more violence.

Mahathir accuses Israel of state terrorism, but last year he declared suicide bombing, including by Palestinians, of civilian targets was also a terrorist act.

Hadi, who took over the PAS leadership in 2002 with a reputation as a fiery preacher, went a step further.

"If there is no other way to defend the public from Israeli attacks, if there is one person willing to be sacrificed to save a thousand others, then that is allowed in Islam.

"Those who die are considered martyrs."

Asked whether the same could be said of the suicide bomber belonging to Jemaah Islamiah, a Southeast Asian offshoot of al Qaeda, who killed 11 other people in an attack on Jakarta's JW Marriott Hotel last month, Hadi described the act as unislamic.

"That's a different story, that is not allowed in Islam," he said. "In Palestine, Chechnya, it's a different story."

 

MUSLIMS THROW STONES AT JEWISH WORSHIPPERS

Muslims throw stones at Jewish worshippers
Police respond with tear gas and stun grenades
The Associated Press
September 12, 2003

Israeli police stormed a disputed Jerusalem shrine Friday, firing tear gas and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of Muslim worshippers who threw stones after noon prayers, police and witnesses said.

About 35,000 Muslims were up on the hilltop for prayers. After the service, hundreds of young men threw stones at the Western Wall below, where Jews were praying, police spokesman Gil Kleiman said. There were no injuries reported, Kleiman said.

Dozens of police ran up a walkway and stormed the site, firing tear gas and booming stun grenades, witnesses said. Kleiman said the crowd quickly dispersed.

The disputed hilltop shrine, home to two major mosques, is revered by Muslims and Jews. It was the site of the two biblical Jewish temples that were destroyed by invading armies. Muslims mark it as the place where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.

Recently, Israel reopened the Muslim-supervised site to Jewish and other visitors, angering many Muslims. The site had been closed to non-Muslim visitors since fighting broke out three years ago.

The current Israeli-Palestinian fighting grew out of riots that erupted after then-opposition leader Ariel Sharon visited the site in a display of Israeli claims to Jerusalem. Israel and the Palestinians both want the city as a capital.

 

FOUR ACCUSED OF PLANNING JEWISH ATTACKS

Four accused of planning Jewish attacks
The Associated Press
September 11, 2003

German prosecutors on Thursday announced terrorism charges against four suspected members of a radical Palestinian network who are believed to have plotted attacks against Jewish targets in Germany.

The four are alleged to be members of a German cell of the Al Tawhid group. They were arrested in April 2002 along with Jordanian Shadi Abdellah, currently on trial on Duesseldorf for his part in the alleged plot.

The charges were filed on Aug. 27, but were not made public until Thursday.

Abdellah has testified that the cell planned to attack Jewish targets to emulate al-Qaida.

The four latest suspects include a 39-year-old Jordanian identified as Mohamed Abu D., who prosecutors believe headed the cell. German authorities typically identify suspects only by their first names.

Abu D. faces charges of membership in a terrorist organization, attempted instigation of offenses under arms control laws and document fraud.

Also charged with the same offenses are Ismail Abdallah Sbaitan S., 30, another Jordanian; and Ashraf Mohammad al D., a 34-year-old of Palestinian origin whose nationality is unclear.

The fourth man, Algerian national Djamel M., 30, was charged with supporting a terrorist organization, breaking firearms laws and with document fraud.

 

10 NEO-NAZIS DETAINED FOR MUNICH SYNAGOGUE BOMB PLOT

10 neo-Nazis detained for Munich synagogue bomb plot
By David Rising
The Associated Press
September 13, 2003

German authorities have arrested another three neo-Nazis suspected of being part of a plot to bomb a groundbreaking ceremony at a new synagogue in Munich, a prosecutors spokeswoman said Saturday.

With the new arrests Friday, at least 10 people across Germany have been taken into custody in the last week on suspicion that they were part of a terrorist plot to attack the ceremony.

The groundbreaking is planned for November 9, the anniversary of Kristallnacht, when thousands of Jewish businesses and synagogues were vandalized, about 100 Jews murdered, and thousands more deported to concentration camps.

Among the several hundred guests expected at the ceremony are German President Johannes Rau, Bavarian Governor Edmund Stoiber, and the country's main Jewish leader, Paul Spiegel.

One of the three people arrested Friday is being investigated for membership of a terrorist organization, while the other two are accused of supporting a terrorist organization, said Frauke Scheuten, spokeswoman for the federal prosecutors office.

The latter two were released after questioning because "for now they are exempt from detention," Scheuten said, declining to provide further details.

In the first raids on Tuesday, police seized 1.7 kilograms of TNT, 14 kilograms of suspected explosives, and two hand grenades, and arrested Martin Wiese, a well-known neo-Nazi, among others.

News magazines Der Spiegel and Focus on Saturday reported that in addition to the ceremony at the synagogue, police found a "hit list" at Wiese's apartment with the names of a Greek school in Munich and several Munich mosques. Scheuten said there are indications the group had several different targets in mind, but would not confirm the magazine reports.

 

SIX NEO-NAZIS ARE ARRESTED IN BOMB PLOT AGAINST JEWS

Six Neo-Nazis Are Arrested in Bomb Plot Against Jews
By Richard Bernstein
The New York Times
September 13, 2003

A group of German neo-Nazi extremists arrested in raids across the country this week are suspected of planning to bomb a new Jewish cultural center in Munich, prosecutors said today.

The neo-Nazis, who were found with more than 30 pounds of explosives, including nearly 4 pounds of TNT, may have intended to attack the center on Nov. 9, when the German president, Johannes Rau, was going to attend the cornerstone-laying ceremony.

Nov. 9 will be the 65th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi pogrom in 1938 in which 91 Jews were killed and thousands of Jewish-owned shops and synagogues were vandalized.

"My assessment has been confirmed that we have to take threats from the area of right-wing extremists very seriously," said Otto Schily, the German interior minister.

On Wednesday, the Munich police arrested six people, four of them suspected members of neo-Nazi groups, but an official in the prosecutor's office said that as many as nine people were involved in the planned attacks and that new arrest warrants were issued today.

In addition to the explosives, the police seized two hand grenades, ammunition, files and computer disks.

"There is evidence that the accused had several attack targets in their sights," including the planned Jewish cultural center in Munich, said the official, Frauke-Katrin Scheuten.

"A new dimension in terrorism was being planned," said Charlotte Knobloch, a leader among Munich's Jews. "Sixty-five years after the destruction of the main synagogue by the Nazis, neo-Nazis are again trying to destroy Jewish life in Munich."

The planned attacks were denounced by Munich's mayor, Christian Ude, and Edmund Stoiber, the premier of the state of Bavaria, of which Munich is the capital.

"The citizens of Bavaria are horrified by these acts of madness that were being planned," Mr. Stoiber said.

The bomb plan was reminiscent of right-wing firebombings of Turks and Turkish homes in Germany that took place in the early 1990's but have not been repeated in recent years.

According to the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which collects statistics of crimes carried out by extremist groups, there are about 2,800 neo-Nazis in Germany organized into political groups. In addition, there are some 10,000 skinheads, who make up a violent and racist subculture.

The office reported more than 600 cases of assaults that caused bodily harm last year, aimed against foreigners, Jews and other minorities, including left-wing activists. Few of these assaults have led to serious harm, but in the decade between 1990 and 2000, 37 people died in right-wing attacks, the office reported.

In an incident last November, three skinheads in Potzlow, north of Berlin, beat to death a 17-year-old boy after saying that his baggy pants and dyed hair made him "look like a Jew," according to court testimony.

 

UK JEWS WORRIED IRAQ DEMO WILL FEED ANTI-SEMITISM

UK Jews worried Iraq demo will feed anti-Semitism
By Douglas Davis
The Jerusalem Post
September 13, 2003

Representatives of the British Jewish community have expressed concern that a mass demonstration against the Iraq war in London on September 27 will focus primarily on the Palestinian issue and increase anti-Semitism.

In a letter to the Stop the War Coalition (SWC), which is organizing the demonstration, the Board of Deputies of British Jews said publicity for the event focuses on the Palestinian issue and appears to confuse the issues of Iraq and Israel.

In a letter to SWC chairman Andrew Murray, board director-general Neville Nagler wrote: "Our deep concern is the level of anti-Jewish and extremist language that we have witnessed at your past rallies.

"While we understand that the forthcoming rally is organized in conjunction with other organizations whose agendas may differ somewhat, we still expect SWC to honor the assurances we have received in the past.

"Our main concern remains to ensure that the conflicts of the Middle East do not spill over onto the streets of Britain or inflict any harm on Jewish people living here."

 

UC BERKELEY TO PROBE ANTI-SEMITISM CHARGE

UC Berkeley to probe anti-Semitism charge
The Jerusalem Post
August 11, 2003

The University of California at Berkeley is investigating a complaint that a graduate student instructor taught anti-Semitism by uncritically presenting material from the fraudulent "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" in an Arabic language class.

The instructor, Near Eastern Studies graduate student instructor Abbas Kadhim, said in a recent letter published on the web site volokh.com the "Protocols" was raised to present "Iraqi conventional wisdom."

Kadhim said "this issue of authenticity and the identity of the author - or authors - of the Protocols has not been settled between the Middle Eastern disputants."

The so-called "Protocols" have been determined by many credible organizations to be a czarist-era forgery used as an anti-Semitic tool. The publication has been used many times in anti-Semitic contexts, including in Nazi Germany.

The student who raised the issue, Susanna Klein, wrote in a letter to university officials that Kadhim "assured me that he was 100 percent certain in his belief that Jews were behind the 'Protocols.' By making such a statement, Mr. Kadhim spreads potentially dangerous anti-Semitic propaganda."

Klein is active in a pro-Israel group that clashed earlier this year with pro-Palestinian demonstrators in a fracas that received international publicity.

The Daily Californian student newspaper reported that other students in Kadhim's class disputed Klein's allegations.

The university has begun to investigate the matter, an official told the student newspaper.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.