“Flirting” with Sarah Palin earns new Pakistani president a fatwa (& other items)

October 02, 2008

* Bahrain calls for regional grouping of Arab states to include Israel
* Britney Spears is “Zionist, Jewish sorcerer”
* “Sherry Jones’ new novel The Jewel of Medina is a British conspiracy against Islam”



1. Obama and McCain’s Rosh Hashana greetings (satire)
2. “Israel’s destruction in our lifetime”
3. If you missed the debate...
4. Gov. Palin inspires her first fatwa.
5. Britney Spears is “Zionist, Jewish sorcerer”
6. NY judge: PLO can’t disguise terrorism as war
7. Palestinians fire rocket at Israel as “New Year’s gift”
8. Bahrain calls for regional grouping of Arab states to include Israel
9. Egyptian journalist’s imprisoned for writing about Mubarak’s health
10. Pentagon approves sale of “vertical takeoff” fighter jets to Israel
11. Israeli police trained Chinese counterparts prior to Olympics
12. There goes The Sun

[All notes below by Tom Gross]


Since it is the Jewish new year (Rosh Hashana) this week and a number of subscribers to this list are Jewish, here is Barack Obama and John McCain’s new year greetings (with Sarah Palin and Joe Biden joining in too).

And here is something for younger readers.



You can now watch the first John McCain-Barack Obama Presidential Debate here, in less than a minute. How’s this for soundbites?



Some apologists for Iran in the western media claim that it is “only” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that wants to destroy Israel, and the regime’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is more “pragmatic” and “moderate.”

Well yesterday, to celebrated Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Khamenei led prayers for the wiping out of Israel and predicted the Zionist entity’s “destruction in our lifetime.” (In Persian here.)

Khamenei’s anti-Israel comments are hardly his first, but they are significant because they were made at one of Islam’s holiest events, the Eid Al-Fitr celebration.

Also, earlier this week, the influential former head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Rahim Safavi, said “future maps of the region will not include Israel.”


Below are some photos from the anti-Israel rally that took place last week in Tehran at the same time as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was being fawned with soppy questions by Larry King on CNN in New York.

Larry King warmly shook the Iranian president's hand and asked him “Where in the US would you like to travel? ... Would you like to meet Sarah Palin, since you’re both former mayors? ... You don't wish the Jewish people any harm, do you?”

(1) www.farsnews.com/plarg.php?nn=M367568.jpg
(2) www.farsnews.com/plarg.php?nn=M367558.jpg
(3) www.farsnews.com/plarg.php?nn=M367557.jpg
(4) www.farsnews.com/plarg.php?nn=M367545.jpg
(5) www.farsnews.com/plarg.php?nn=M367542.jpg
(6) www.mojnews.com/show_images.asp?newsid=151552


This is how the Iranian regime destroys cemeteries by night of people they don’t like. These pictures are from earlier this week in Kerman, a city south of Tehran with a population of half a million.



The new president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, has been condemned for making friendly comments to Sarah Palin at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week.

A radical Muslim prayer leader in Pakistan said the president shamed the nation for “indecent gestures, filthy remarks, and repeated praise of a non-Muslim lady wearing a short skirt.”

Zardari smiled, shook her hand and had an engaging conversation with Palin. After meeting Palin, Zardari said he was very impressed by her.


The Pakistani press has also condemned the meeting pointing out that Zardari and Palin are not married and therefore should not have been in close proximity with one another. One newspaper called it a “great sin”.

Last year, the mosque that issued the new fatwa, Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad, condemned the former tourism minister, Nilofar Bahktiar, after she was photographed being hugged by a male parachuting coach in France.

The Red Mosque came to international attention in July 2007 when the Pakistan Army tried to root out militants there.



Shi’a News on Tuesday depicted pop stars Madonna and Britney Spears, British footballer David Beckham, and American screen goddess Elizabeth Taylor as “Zionists” engaged in “black sorcery of Jewish Kabala.”



Another Iranian publication, Asr-e Iran yesterday wrote that Sherry Jones’ new novel The Jewel of Medina is a British conspiracy against Islam.

Last weekend the British publisher of the novel, Martin Rynja (who owns Gibson Square publishers), had his home firebombed in London.

Three men have been arrested under the UK Terrorism Act. Random House had canceled publication of the novel in August, stating that they had been advised that “the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community” and that “it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.” (The novel has since been bought by another American publisher, Beaufort Books.)

This is not the first time that Rynja, owner of a small, independent publishing house, has taken risks to preserve the principle of freedom of speech. He is also the publisher of Alexander Litvinenko’s book Blowing Up Russia.

Rynja is now under police guard. The Jewel of Medina is scheduled for release on Oct. 30 in Britain. 15 others countries, including Spain, Germany, Italy, Brazil and Hungary, also plan to publish it.

Author Sherry Jones said “anyone who reads the book will see that it honors the prophet and his favorite wife.”



The Associated Press reports from New York that the Palestine Liberation Organization can’t win dismissal of a lawsuit by victims of bombings in Israel, by claiming the attacks were acts of war rather than terrorism.

U.S. District Judge George Daniels ruled on Tuesday that the 2004 lawsuit on behalf of victims and their families can proceed toward trial. It seeks up to $3 billion in damages for seven particular attacks between January 2001 and February 2004.

Daniels rejected the PLO’s argument that the terrorist acts in question were acts of war. The Jerusalem-area attacks killed 33 people and wounded hundreds, including scores of U.S. citizens.


Daniels said the attacks targeted public places – not military or government personnel or interests. Two bombings were on downtown streets; others occurred at a crowded bus stop, a cafeteria at the Hebrew University and a passenger-filled civilian bus.

The use of bombs in these circumstances indicates intent “to cause indiscriminate killing and maiming untold numbers in heavily populated civilian areas,” he ruled.

Such attacks “upon non-combative civilians, who were simply going about their everyday lives, do not constitute acts of war,” he said.

Daniels also said the violence meets the legal definition of “international terrorism.”

The PLO has billions of dollars in bank accounts which it uses to enrich its senior members and to fund terrorism. It is concerned that the lawsuit will force their banks in Europe and elsewhere to freeze these accounts.



A Qassam rocket was fired on Monday afternoon from the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel, but landed on the Palestinian side of the border. There were no reports of injuries. It was the first rocket in two weeks fired at Israel. Palestinian groups, which are supposed to be observing a ceasefire, said they wanted to hit an Israeli home as families sat down for the traditional New Year’s meal.



The pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat reported yesterday that the foreign minister of the Gulf state of Bahrain has called for the creation of a regional grouping of Arab states together with Israel, Iran and Turkey. “Israel, Iran, Turkey and Arab states should sit together in one organization… even if we don’t recognize each other [diplomatically],” Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmad al-Khalifa was quoted as saying.

“Aren’t we all members of a global organization called the United Nations? Why not [come together] on a regional basis? This is the only way to solve our problems. There is no other way to solve them, now or in 200 years.”

Earlier this year, as reported on this website some weeks before it was reported elsewhere, Bahrain decided it would appoint the Arab world’s first Jewish ambassador as its envoy to Washington.

Bahrain, a pro-Western island nation with Sunni rulers and a Shiite majority, is a close U.S. ally and hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

Bahrain’s crown prince, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, met Israeli officials during the Davos World Economic Forum summits in 2000 and 2003, while Sheikh Khaled met his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni at the UN last year. Officially, Bahrain doesn’t recognize Israel.

(See also: Bahrain set to appoint Jewish woman as its ambassador to the U.S. (& Yemeni girl, 8, gets divorced) April 29, 2008.)



Following up a previous item on this website: an Egyptian journalist’s conviction for writing about President Hosni Mubarak’s health was this week upheld by a Cairo appeals court.

The original sentence of six months in prison for Ibrahim Eissa was reduced to two, however. Eissa is the editor of the newspaper Al-Dustor. The court ruled that writing about Mubarak’s health was illegal and “threatened the country’s stability.”

The Mubarak dictatorship has an appalling human rights record. Mubarak has no clear successor.



The U.S. Department of Defense has approved the sale of 25 F-35 stealth-enabled Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) to the Israeli Air Force (IAF). The U.S. Defense Department notified Congress on Tuesday about the $15.2 billion sale.

A Pentagon official said the sale was essential to American national interests. Lockheed Martin manufactures the jets, which are able to take off vertically (by first hovering above the ground), or (if they are carrying a heavy load) using a very short runway.

The ability for vertical or short takeoff is considered crucial in future times of war, since Israel is a very small country and Israeli bases and runways will probably be heavily targeted by Iranian and Hizbullah missiles.

Pentagon sources said eight other countries – including Britain, Turkey and Australia – are likely to be allowed to purchase the jet too.

Fearing that the United States will also sell it to Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern states, Israel is seeking American permission to install Israeli-made electronic systems on the jets it buys. The Israeli version will be harder for other countries to detect.

If approved by Congress in the next 30 days, Israel will likely sign an official contract with the U.S. Air Force in the coming months and begin receiving the aircraft in 2014.

Please also see the note “U.S. delivers advanced high-powered radar system to Israel” in Monday’s dispatch.



The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz has revealed that Israeli police held secret training sessions for Chinese police officers ahead of the recent Olympic Games. The six-week course was held in Israel for about 20 selected officers of the People’s Armed Police Force, to use Israeli experience to train them for possible scenarios involving terror and civil disturbances at the Games.

The training involved, among other things, how to neutralize terrorists with their bare hands, how to deal with a crowd that riots on the playing field, and how to protect VIPS and remove demonstrators from main traffic arteries.

The Chinese officers arrived in Israel last May for the training, at the request of the Chinese public safety ministry. The training occurred at the Kiryat Eliezer soccer stadium in Haifa.



The New York Sun has ceased publication. The paper’s last edition was published on Tuesday, having been unable to raise fresh capital.

I have included articles from The New York Sun on various past dispatches, and the paper has also quoted from and made reference to this email list and website. Among other things, the Sun provided a more sympathetic approach to Israel to counterbalance the often unfair reporting of its much bigger rival, The New York Times.

Most print newspapers are losing advertising and circulation as a result of the rise of the Internet. The Sun’s losses were believed to be over $1 million a month.

[All notes above by Tom Gross]

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