NY Times public editor: Paper wrong to say Yassin was a “spiritual leader”

May 03, 2004


1. Krauthammer: If Israel were to announce that it intends to live for another year, the U.N. would denounce its arrogance and unilateralism.
2. NY Times public editor rules the Times' was wrong to describe Sheikh Yassin as a 'spiritual leader'.
3. Schwarzenegger, in Israel, pays tribute to Holocaust victims.
4. "Juden Raus" written on French Jewish graves, as EU expands.
5. Saudi dictator: Jews are behind Muslim terror attacks in Saudi Arabia.
6. After 27 years trying to prove its case, a federal appeals court in Cincinnati ruled Friday for US government that John Demjanjuk, was Nazi guard.


[Note by Tom Gross]


"Anti-Semitism, once just a European disease, has gone global... This Nuremberg atmosphere has reached the point where, if Israel were to announce today that it intends to live for at least another year, the U.N. Security Council would convene to discuss a resolution denouncing Israeli arrogance and unilateralism, and the United States would have to veto it. Only Britain would have the decency to abstain."



May 2, 2004

New York Times public editor Daniel Okrent criticizes the NY Times' description of Sheikh Yassin as a 'spiritual leader' of Hamas:

" 'Spiritual leader' may be correct, but only in the way that it's accurate to say that Texas is bigger than Rhode Island; there's much more to the story, and the two words can leave a mistaken impression. No one on either side seems to disagree with the assertion that Sheik Yassin was an ideological and political figure as well, and that in his sermons he endorsed killing as part of the Hamas strategy. The problem isn't that 'spiritual leader' does not convey this - it's that it conveys something very, very different."

Tom Gross adds:

Please note that although a public editor was appointed by the NY Times editors following the Jayson Blair scandal, the NY Times states: "Any opinions expressed... are solely Mr. Okrent's."

For full text of Daniel Okrent's statement, see:

(Okrent points out, presumably in the New York Times defense, that Israeli media "have often used" the term 'Spiritual leader' leaders too. But Okrent does not mention that the journalists who do are anti-Israeli Israelis writing in Ha'aretz.)

Note the item in my dispatch of Sunday, April 18, 2004 ("Dr Abdel al-Rantissi, 'the Pediatrician of Death,' in his own words; and other reaction"). Amira Hass of Ha'aretz interviewed Hamas members who confirmed: "Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was neither a religious leader nor a spiritual leader. He did not establish religious precedent and he was not a spiritual, religious man..."



[This is an update to "Schwarzenegger, Russell Crowe, Colin Powell, Robert Fisk, Mussolini, others," April 30, 2004]

Schwarzenegger, in Israel, pays tribute to Holocaust victims
Ha'aretz Updates
May 2, 2004

[For space reasons, I attach only extracts of this article.]

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger paid tribute Sunday to the millions of Jews killed in the Holocaust and helped dedicate a planned museum of tolerance during a whirlwind visit to Jerusalem.

... Schwarzenegger's speech came just minutes after Palestinian gunmen ambushed and killed a pregnant Jewish settler and her four young daughters as they were driving from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Two Palestinian militant groups claimed responsibility for the attack.

[Tom Gross adds: Yet again, an article in the leftist Israeli paper Ha'aretz does not use the word terrorist in its reports about the organized Palestinian terrorist murder of Israeli Jewish civilians -- even though Ha'aretz always uses the word terrorist in relation to Jewish terrorist groups (of which there are very few - partly because the Israeli government has clamped down on them, unlike the Palestinian Authority.)]

Schwarzenegger, wearing a skullcap, later laid a wreath at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, a ceremony in which he also rekindled the memorial's symbolic eternal flame... Though Schwarzenegger's father was a member of the Nazi party, the actor-turned-politician has always sought to distance himself from that part of his Austrian background.

Israelis, many of whom feel isolated after 3.5 years of violence with the Palestinians, were thrilled with Schwarzenegger's visit. He was cheered at every stop in his busy day, whether by office workers in government buildings or the crowd at the museum ceremony.

The governor got one of his loudest cheers when he ended his speech with the Hebrew saying, "Am Yisrael chai" - the nation of Israel lives - gave the crowd a thumbs up sign, and added his signature movie line, "I'll be back."

... Responding to criticism from Arab-Americans back home that he was not spending time with Palestinians on this trip, the governor said he planned to stop in Jordan on Monday and have lunch with King Abdullah II, a personal friend who has visited the governor at his home in Los Angeles.

... The governor has also met with Israeli business leaders. On Saturday he announced five agreements with Israeli companies to expand or create business in California.

After his stop in Jordan, Schwarzenegger plans to travel to Germany to visit U.S. soldiers wounded in Iraq.



French Graves desecrated with swastikas
May 1, 2004 [Extract only]

Vandals desecrated 127 graves with swastikas and Nazi slogans, including some written in German such as "Juden Raus," at a Jewish cemetery near the French border with Germany.



Saudi Press Agency
May 2, 2004

Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia told a gathering of princes in Jiddah yesterday that "Zionism is behind terrorist actions in the kingdom. I am 95 percent sure of that."

[Tom Gross writes: Here, again, we have an example of the anti-Semitism of the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Abdullah. Abdullah continues to enjoy excellent media coverage in the west, partly due to influential Leftist commentators such as Tom Friedman of the New York Times, who has repeatedly promoted Abdullah as a man of peace and tolerance.

In the terror attack on Saturday, against workers at a joint US-Saudi oil venture, the Exxon-Mobil-SABIC oil refinery at the kingdom's main oil exporting outlet to the West at the Red Sea port of Yanbu, at least five Western engineers - 2 Americans, 2 Britons and an Australian as well as a Saudi National Guards captain - were killed and many more injured, including two Canadians.

Witnesses report that one of their western victims was tied to a car and dragged round the city before being dumped outside a Saudi-British bank.

The Saudi Crown Prince contradicted his ambassador to Britain, Prince Turki bin-Faisal, who said the attack was carried out by Saudi members of the al Qaeda.

Officials and government-controlled media in sadi Arabia and several Arab dictatorships regularly blame Jews both for real crimes, such as 9/11, and for imagined crimes.]


Here is the AP piece on this latest Saudi government remark:


Saudis: 'Zionists' to blame for shootings
The Associated Press
May. 2, 2004

The Saudi Press Agency on Sunday quoted Crown Prince Abdullah as telling a gathering of princes in Jidda that "Zionism is behind terrorist actions in the kingdom." Zionism had misled "some of our sons," he said without elaborating.

Western diplomats streamed into Yanbu Sunday to aid relatives of foreign oil industry workers killed and hurt in a shooting rampage followed by a gun battle through the streets with police in pursuit. All four assailants were killed.

Militants sprayed gunfire inside an oil contractor's Saudi office Saturday, killing at least six people - two Americans, two Britons, an Australian and a Saudi - and wounding dozens.

One of the attackers killed was reported to be on Saudi Arabia's list of most-wanted terrorists, many of whom are suspects in last year's suicide attacks on foreign housing compounds in Riyadh. Those attacks were blamed on al-Qaida.

Three of the gunmen worked at the office of ABB-Lummus in Yanbu, 350 km. north of the Red Sea city of Jidda.

They used their key cards to enter the building and sneak another attacker through an emergency gate, according to an Interior Ministry source quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency. A statement from the Interior Ministry said police killed three attackers and wounded and captured a fourth, who died later.

There were conflicting reports on the number of wounded, ranging from 25 to 50, and of the number of Saudi victims. The Saudi Press Agency report said a Saudi National Guardsman was killed.

The US Embassy said several Saudi security forces were "killed and wounded in their fight with the terrorists," but gave no numbers.

The Saudi Press Agency said an American, Pakistani and Canadian were injured along with eight National Guard soldiers and 10 security officers.

After opening fire in the office, the attackers tied the body of one victim to the back of a stolen car before fleeing, a witness said on condition of anonymity.

Intelligence has suggested al-Qaida wanted to strike at Saudi oil interests, and Osama bin Laden - a Saudi exile - long has called for the overthrow of the Saudi royal family and questioned its Islamic credentials.



Court Rules John Demjanjuk Was Nazi Guard
Associated Press
April 30, 2004
[Extract Only]

A federal appeals court Friday upheld a judge's decision to strip retired autoworker John Demjanjuk of U.S. citizenship, saying the government has proved he served as a guard in Nazi concentration camps.

The Ukranian-born Demjanjuk, 84, insists he was a prisoner during the war, not a guard. The government has spent 27 years trying to prove he was a guard and then tried to hide his history.

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the 2002 decision by a Cleveland federal judge who revoked Demjanjuk's citizenship.

"We find that the plaintiff, the United States of America, sustained its burden of proving through clear, unequivocal and convincing evidence that defendant, in fact, served as a guard at several Nazi training and concentration camps during World War II," appeals Judge Eric Clay wrote. "We concur with the district court that he was not legally eligible to obtain citizenship under the Displaced Persons Act of 1948."

Demjanjuk's age and deteriorating health would make it difficult for him to withstand a process to deport him, said Ed Nishnic, his son-in-law and family spokesman. "He's slipping. He's not well," Nishnic said. "There are avenues that can be taken to prevent that. That would be the last thing we would like."

... Demjanjuk, who came to the United States in 1952 and lives in Seven Hills, was originally accused in 1977 by the Justice Department of being "Ivan the Terrible," a particularly sadistic Nazi guard who ran the gas chambers at the Treblinka death camp in occupied Poland. Between 1942 and 1943, more than 850,000 Jews were murdered at Treblinka. Ivan the Terrible was a guard who herded the victims along the path to the gas chamber, hacking at his victims to speed them along.

... He was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity and sentenced to be hanged in Israel. Demjanjuk eventually persuaded the Israeli Supreme Court to overturn his conviction based on new evidence that someone else was Ivan the Terrible.

... He returned to his suburban Cleveland home in 1993 and avoided publicity. His U.S. citizenship, which had been revoked in 1981, was reinstated in 1998. But the Justice Department persisted its case, relying on documents kept by the Germans and archived by the Soviet Union.

... Tens of thousands of Israelis watched Demjanjuk's televised trial, which began in 1987 before three judges in a converted movie theater. Hundreds lined up daily to attend.

During the trial, one Holocaust survivor approached Demjanjuk and cried, "I saw his eyes, those murderous eyes!" At times Demjanjuk blew kisses to the crowd or mugged for the television cameras, saying, "Hello, Cleveland."...

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