Boycott apartheid Egypt! (& shoe hurled at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad)

March 09, 2009

* Iranian supreme leader Khamenei calls Israel a “cancerous tumor that will soon disappear”
* Vatican envoy: “One cannot be Catholic if one denies the Holocaust”
* The British government are the “biggest bunch of cowards in Europe”
* Britain bans Dutch MP but set to let in Hizbullah spokesman who reportedly called Jews “a lesion on the forehead of history”

(Some of these items are follow-ups to previous dispatches on this website. Please refer to past dispatches for background information.)



1. Boycott apartheid Egypt!
2. Shoe hurled at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
3. Gallup survey: American support for Israel barely affected by Gaza op
4. Italy pulls out of UN racism conference
5. Papal Nuncio: “One cannot be Catholic if one denies the Shoah”
6. Hillary Clinton misled by Palestinian “disinformation” campaign
7. Do they have fact checkers at the BBC?
8. Campaigners will seek arrest of Hizbullah spokesman if he enters Britain
9. Wilders: The British government are the “biggest bunch of cowards in Europe”
10. Britain will speak to Hizbullah, but not to Dutch MPs
11. Visit to Washington of Mubarak’s son heightens speculation
12. Leading Egyptian professor: “What Hitler did to the Jews were ‘incidents,’ not massacres”



[All notes below by Tom Gross]

From Al-Jazeera English today:

A British convoy with medical relief for the Palestinian Gaza Strip has been pelted with stones and vandalized in the Egyptian town of El-Arish, 45km south of the Rafah border crossing.

George Galloway, a British member of parliament, called Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s president, an “international criminal”

Several people in the convoy were injured in the incident on Sunday according to [former British journalist] Yvonne Ridley, one of the convoy organizers.

“It’s an absolute disgrace... The power was cut. During cover of darkness members of our convoy were attacked with stones.

“Vandals also wrote dirty words and anti-Hamas slogans,” she said.



[I posted this item on NRO on Saturday]

A shoe has been hurled at Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an Iranian website has reported.

The incident in the Iranian city of Urmia was apparently an imitation of a similar attack last year on former U.S. president George Bush in Iraq.

The Urmia News website reported that Ahmadinejad was in a car en route to address a rally when the shoe was thrown. Security guards waded into the crowd but failed to find the culprit. In doing so they injured several people and at least one elderly man was taken to hospital.

The incident is not being reported by Iran’s major government-controlled news outlets. But it has been widely commented upon in the Iranian blogosphere. Iran has more blogs than almost any other country in the world and many manage to report information not available in the officially-approved media, information which has later usually proven to be accurate.

Ahmadinejad managed to avoid having any shoes thrown at him when he addressed students at Columbia University in New York in 2007.



Twenty-two days of fighting in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel, and the round-the-clock-footage of what the media (often falsely) claimed were Palestinian civilian casualties, did little to alter the support Israel enjoys from the American public, according to a newly released survey by the leading polling organization, Gallup. 63 percent of Americans said they hold a “favorable” view of Israel against 29 percent “unfavorable,” with 59 percent claiming they favor Israel over the Palestinians. The figures are virtually identical to last year’s findings.

Gallup says the Palestinians’ favorability rating has held at about 15 percent for the past three years, and 57 percent want no American support provided to the Hamas government in Gaza. The good news for the Obama administration is that 48 percent of Americans support the creation of a Palestinian state, with 27 percent opposed.



On Thursday, Italy became the latest country to pull out of the upcoming so-called Durban II U.N. conference on racism. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Italy had withdrawn its delegation due to “aggressive and anti-Semitic statements” in the draft of the event’s final document. “Until the document is modified we will not have a part in it,” he said.

The United States, Canada and Israel have already announced a boycott. Italy is the first EU country to officially withdraw from the conference, though the Netherlands says it will also likely pull out.

Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel told the Israeli paper Ha’aretz that the “Durban II” conference would likely harm the summit’s host, the United Nations, more than it would Israel. “If these resolutions are not altered and corrected, the UN, and not Israel, will leave the conference damaged and ridiculed,” the celebrated Holocaust survivor said. “The passing of such resolutions will debase the ideal that the global organization seeks to represent to the very lowest level.”

Frattini also decided to postpone a planned trip to Iran after Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Wednesday called Israel a “cancerous tumor that will soon disappear.”



Vatican Nuncio Mnsg. Antonio Franco said yesterday in remarks concerning disgraced-Holocaust-denying British Bishop Richard Williamson that, “It is clear that one cannot be Catholic if one denies the Shoah,” using the Hebrew term for The Holocaust.

It was the strongest remarks yet by a senior Vatican figure against Holocaust denial.

Pope Benedict XVI will visit Israel, the West Bank and Jordan in May, and celebrate mass in the city of Nazareth in northern Israel. The venue, Precipice Mountain, is the same location where Pope John Paul II celebrated mass during his trip to Israel in 2000.



In an editorial yesterday, The Jerusalem Post criticized U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for what it termed an “unhelpful reprimand” regarding the Jerusalem municipality’s intention to demolish illegal construction in east Jerusalem. According to the Israel Antiques Authority, the illegally built structures have already wrought considerable, often irreversible damage to some of the world’s most unique biblical-era relics.

The Jerusalem Post said Jerusalem’s new mayor Nir Barkat had been right to criticize Secretary Clinton, who had been misled by Palestinian “disinformation” disseminated by anti-Israel journalists working at western media.

The Jerusalem authorities have in recent days taken down two illegally built Palestinian structures that were proving a health and safety risk. They have also removed 11 illegally built Jewish structures in west Jerusalem so far this year, but this is almost never mentioned in the sensational anti-Israel news reports in papers like The Guardian.



The Guardian is the paper of choice for BBC news staff. Barely an hour goes by on the world’s biggest broadcast network, the BBC World Service, without misinformation about Israel being broadcast.

For example, this morning listeners were told that Avigdor Lieberman, who is tipped to be Israel’s next foreign minister now that Tzipi Livni has turned down Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer of the post, “opposes a two state solution.”

In fact Lieberman has on many occasions called for a two state solution. But then the BBC is totally uninterested in broadcasting the truth about Israel. I will leave readers to decide the BBC’s motives for deceiving its audience on this issue.



The London-based think-tank, The Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC), has pledged to seek an arrest warrant for Dr Ibrahim Moussawi, an Islamic extremist who is due to visit Britain this month.

Dr Moussawi is a spokesman for the Lebanese-based group Hizbullah. He is also the editor of a Lebanese newspaper, Al-Intiqad.

Douglas Murray, director of the CSC think tank, said it would be “beyond hypocrisy” if the British Home Office allowed Moussawi into Britain just weeks after barring Dutch politician Geert Wilders because of his allegedly anti-Muslim views.

Moussawi has reportedly called Jews “a lesion on the forehead of history”.

Murray, who is a longtime subscriber to this email list, has written to Jacqui Smith, the British Home Secretary (interior minister), notifying her that he will instruct lawyers to seek an arrest warrant for Dr Moussawi if he is allowed into Britain.

“The government clearly does not have a grip on this. Britain is still a place where terrorists and terrorist supporters can come to incite and recruit,” said Murray.

Moussawi has been invited to Britain by the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, and is scheduled to address students on March 25.

In 2004, London’s Bow Street magistrates’ court considered an application for an arrest warrant for the then Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz, of the centrist Kadima party.

Moussawi was banned from visiting Ireland in 2007. Besides being a Hizbullah spokesman, he is also the political editor of a Hizbullah television station which is banned in the U.S., France and Spain because of its anti-Semitic output.



In contrast to Moussawi, last month Geert Wilders, a Member of Parliament for the second biggest party in the Netherlands, was banned from entering Britain because he was classed as someone likely to incite hatred and threaten “community harmony”.

Wilders, who had been invited by members of the House of Lords, was turned back at Heathrow airport.

Wilders described the British government as the “biggest bunch of cowards in Europe”.

Lord Pearson and Baroness Caroline Cox, a human-rights activist who has worked tirelessly on behalf of enslaved and oppressed Christians and Muslims in Sudan, had invited Wilders.

Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen criticized the British government for refusing entry to Wilders. Wilders was admitted to Italy without any problems the week after the British excluded him.

I don’t agree with everything Wilders says (but then I don’t agree with many things other politicians have to say either) but for Britons on this email list who were deprived the right of listening to Wilders, here is an interview he gave to America’s Fox News in which he discusses the refusal of Britain to allow him in.

This is the first time ever that a democratically-elected parliamentarian from one EU country has been forbidden entry to another.


Writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, Tawfik Hamid, a former member of an Egyptian Islamist terrorist group, and now a leading Islamic reformer, says:

“When the British government banned Geert Wilders from entering the country to present his film in the House of Lords, it made two egregious errors. The first was to suppress free speech, a canon of the civilized western world. The second mistake was to blame the messenger – punishing, so to speak, the witness who exposed the crime instead of punishing the criminal.

“Mr. Wilders did not produce the content of the violent Islamic message he showed in his film – the Islamic world did that. Until the Islamic clerical establishment takes concrete steps to reject violence in the name of their religion, Mr. Wilders’s criticism is not only permissible as ‘controversial’ free speech but justified.”



While excluding Wilders, the British Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell told a parliamentary committee last Wednesday that his government is willing to hold talks with Hizbullah. Rammell said Britain will “only be speaking with Hizbullah’s political wing” not its “military wing” – a distinction many view as meaningless given the requirement for all party members to undergo military training. Both “wings” are classified as being part of a terrorist group by many governments.

At the same day it announced it will speak to Hizbullah, Britain decided not to move into its new embassy in Tel Aviv after The Guardian and the BBC reported that one of the minority owners of the building in which the embassy is housed, the Africa Israel group, also had investments in the West Bank.

Israel condemned the decision. “This is a very negative development that sends all the wrong signals to other terrorist organizations around the world,” a spokesperson said.


Meanwhile the British peer who successfully campaigned to have Wilders banned, Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham, has joined forces with leading UK-based Islamists Mohammed Ali Harrath, convicted in absentia by a Tunisian court of terrorism-related offences, and Mohammed Sawalha, described in a U.S. court as a former “Hamas leader in the West Bank,” to try and pressure Turkey to cut relations with Israel.

Harrath is subject to the highest level of alert by Interpol, the world’s largest international police organization, for “counterfeiting/forgery, crimes involving the use of weapons/explosives and terrorism.” He has been given asylum in Britain. In an interview he said “There is nothing wrong or criminal in trying to establish an Islamic state.”

Lord Ahmed recently threatened “to mobilize 10,000 Muslims” to prevent the House of Lords from hosting a visit from Geert Wilders.

In 2005, Ahmed hosted a book launch in the House of Lords for the notorious anti-Semite Joran Jermas (who writes under the fake name “Israel Shamir”). Jermas has claimed that “Jews indeed own, control and edit a big share of mass media” and that “all the political parties are Zionist-infiltrated.”

American law professor Glenn Reynolds said, regarding Wilders: “The lesson to me is that if you want freedom of speech, then, like the Muslims in Britain, you must make the authorities afraid to bother you. If you seem harmless, you will be silenced at the demand of those whom the authorities fear.”


If politicians make anti-Semitic or anti-Christian remarks they are allowed into Britain. If they highlight the dangers of Islamic radicalism, they are not. For example, in 2004, the French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen was allowed in to Britain where he was guest of honor at a black-tie fundraising dinner in the West Midlands. The then British home secretary said “Mr. Le Pen is a European citizen. He has the right to travel around Europe.”

Le Pen has been convicted of Holocaust revisionism in France.



The visit to Washington last week by Gamal Mubarak, the son of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, has reinforced the conviction of Middle East experts that Mubarak is grooming his son as his successor.

Mubarak, who is 80 and in poor health, has deliberately avoided grooming any heir apparent that could have challenged his dictatorial rule over the last three decades.

Although the two-day visit was not an official one, Mubarak Jr. met with members of Congress and American officials on his first American trip in four years.

President Mubarak is also rumored to be planning to visit Washington soon. He has not been there for several years as the Bush administration repeatedly criticized his human rights record. But Mubarak now regards the climate as more favorable.



And here is yet another example of why the so-called neo-Conservatives in Washington didn’t warm to Mubarak and his regime.

In the latest of a long line of translations by The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) of remarks by Egyptian public figures, the leading Egyptian expert on Israeli studies, Ahmad Hammad, who heads the Hebrew Studies department at Ein Shams University, made the following remarks on Al-Rafidein TV:

“What Hitler did [to the Jews] were incidents of the kind that happen to any minority all over the world.

“What Hitler did – and I wouldn’t call it a massacre or anything of any sort... it was [a response to] the economic crises the Jews caused Germany during the war, and the conspiracies they hatched with other countries. The Jews are always at the service of all the forces.”

Tom Gross adds: Almost all TV stations and major newspapers in Egypt are under the complete or partial control of the Egyptian regime.

Why does the U.S. keep on giving money to Egypt?

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