Palestinians: “Bin Laden could have been buried here” (& “Bin Laden’s one mistake”)

May 11, 2011

* Below: A tale of two terrorists -- and of startling international double standards.

* Noam Chomsky: “We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.”

* Bret Stephens: “How fitting that Noam Chomsky would waste little time denouncing the killing of Osama bin Laden as the ‘political assassination’ of an ‘unarmed victim’ whose complicity in 9/11 remains, in the professor’s mind, very much in doubt. Osama was fond of quoting Chomsky in his periodic video messages – Jimmy Carter is another American so honored – so maybe the eulogy was just a matter of one good turn deserving another.”



1. Pro-democracy “Voices from the Middle East”; and remembering the “Jewish Nakba”
2. 64% of Palestinians would not object to Bin Laden burial in Palestine
3. Iranian Intelligence Minister: “Bin Laden dead long before U.S. raid”
4. A tale of two terrorists
5. “Bin Laden’s one mistake” (By Shmuel Sackett, Israpundit, May 8, 2011)
6. “From Chomsky to Bin Laden” (By Bret Stephens, Wall St. Journal, May 10, 2011)
7. “My reaction to Osama Bin Laden’s death” (By Noam Chomsky, May 6, 2011)

[All notes below by Tom Gross]


After yesterday and today’s dispatches there probably won’t be any dispatches for the next week or so as I will be busy with other work. For those in Britain, you may be interested in attending two of the events I’m participating in:

Today at 7 pm, I will be chairing a talk with Amir Taheri, the first in a new series in London called “Voices from the Middle East”. The series consists of six sessions featuring Muslim speakers who will share their work and views. The Iranian-born journalist and author Amir Taheri, as I have pointed out on this website several times before, is one of the world’s most formidable and formidably well-informed experts on the Middle East, and it is a great pity that the BBC, New York Times and others don’t make more use of him.



On Sunday (May 15) at 5.30 pm, as Palestinians and their supporters mark the 63rd anniversary of their Nakba at dozens of events in London and elsewhere that day, there will be a smaller event to mark the “Jewish Nakba” held at a central London hotel. I am one of the speakers at the event.

The media, politicians and many academics continue to do their best to ignore the fact that the largest single group of refugees resulting from the Arab-Israeli conflict was Jewish. Although Jewish refugees were soon absorbed in Israel and the West, Arab states have never recognized their responsibility for over 800,000 Jewish refugees. Neither have they offered compensation for Jewish suffering and losses. Who today, for example, remembers that in the 1920s, Baghdad was almost 40% Jewish?

At the event, Jewish refugees will present their testimonies, and I have been asked to present an award to a person who helped in their rescue. There will also be a film and other short speeches. This issue could and should be a key element to foster peace and reconciliation between Israel and the Arab world.

More information here:


Among previous dispatches on the Jewish Nakba, please see here and here.



The Palestinian daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported yesterday that a new poll carried out over the last week by the Palestinian Near East Consulting institute found that 64% of Palestinians “would not object to bin Laden being buried in Palestine, were such a possibility raised.”

56% of those questioned said that they believed bin Laden had been killed, while 44% thought that he was still alive.

Tom Gross adds: 64% would welcome a burial and 56% think he's dead, raising the possibility that 8% would like to have him buried alive!



Adding to the conspiracy theories flooding the world, Iran’s Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi said Tehran has “genuine intelligence” showing that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had “died of disease long before the United States’ alleged raid.”

“We have accurate information that bin Laden died of illness some time ago,” Moslehi told reporters on the sidelines of a Cabinet meeting on Sunday.

“If the U.S. military and intelligence apparatus have really arrested or killed bin Laden, why don’t they show his dead body? Why have they thrown his corpse into the sea?” Iran’s Press TV reported Moslehi as saying.

Moslehi added that U.S. officials resort to “such PR campaigns to divert attention from their domestic problems as well as their fragile economic situation.”

(Full story here from Iran’s Fars news agency.)


For more on the death of Bin Laden please see: here, here, and here.



Here are some contrasting opinions by leaders of the UN, EU, Britain, France, Norway, the Vatican, Japan and elsewhere, following Israel’s killing of Ahmed Yassin, the leader of the Hamas terrorist organization in 2004 and the killing of Osama bin Laden last week.

Yassin, of course, was proportionately responsible for far more deaths of Israelis than bin Laden was of Americans, particularly the deaths of Israeli children. Yassin had ordered the bombing of school buses, children’s birthday parties and so on, and was continuing to order more attacks at the time of his death. Soon after Yassin and his deputy Abdel Aziz Rantissi were killed, there was a sharp decrease in the number of suicide bombings against Israel.

(Among past dispatches on this, please see: A minute’s silence by British MPs for Sheikh Yassin, April 19, 2004.)


Israel’s killing of Ahmed Yassin:

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan: “I condemn the targeted assassination of Ahmed Yassin. Such actions are not only contrary to international law but they do not help the search for a peaceful solution.”

Killing Bin Laden:

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed Osama bin Laden’s death as a key turning point in the struggle against terrorism.


Israel’s killing of Ahmed Yassin:

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, described the assassination as “very, very bad news”.

Killing Bin Laden:

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said: “I would like to congratulate the U.S., pay tribute to its determination and efficiency in reducing the threat posed by terrorists and underline the close cooperation between the EU and U.S. in the fight against terrorism.”


Israel’s killing of Ahmed Yassin:

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: “Israel is not entitled to go in for this kind of unlawful killing and we condemn it. It is unacceptable, it is unjustified and it is very unlikely to achieve its objectives.”

Killing Bin Laden:

Prime Minister David Cameron said that bin Laden’s death would “bring great relief” around the world.


Israel’s killing of Ahmed Yassin:

French President Jacques Chirac “unreservedly condemned” Israel’s assassination of Hamas terror leader Yassin. French Foreign Ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous also said: “France condemns the action taken against Sheikh Yassin, just as it has always condemned the principle of any extra-judicial execution as contrary to international law.”

Killing Bin Laden:

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said on that bin Laden’s death is a “victory for all democracies fighting the abominable scourge of terrorism. France, the United States and European states work closely together to fight terrorism, so I’m overjoyed at the news.”


Israel’s killing of Ahmed Yassin:

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen: “This act will contribute to increased tensions in the area and will make it more difficult to implement an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.”

Killing Bin Laden:

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre called the death of bin Laden “a break-through in the fight against terror”.


Israel’s killing of Ahmed Yassin:

“The Holy See unites with the international community in deploring this act of violence that cannot be justified in any state of law. Lasting peace cannot come from a show of force.”

Killing Bin Laden:

Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said that while Christians “do not rejoice” over a death, bin Laden’s death serves to remind them of “each person’s responsibility before God and men” and “bin Laden must answer to God for having killed an innumerable number of people and exploiting religion”.


Israel’s killing of Ahmed Yassin:

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said Israel’s actions were “thoughtless and reckless, and cannot be justified.”

Killing Bin Laden:

Japan’s Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto said today that the country welcomed the death of Osama bin Laden as “significant progress of counter-terrorism measures. I pay respect to the US officials concerned.”


Israel’s killing of Ahmed Yassin:

The Brazilian government said it “deplored the murder of Sheik Ahmed Yassin.”

Killing Bin Laden:

Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said the death of Al Qaeda’s leader Osama bin Laden is “important and positive”.


Israel’s killing of Ahmed Yassin:

Malaysia strongly condemned the assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin: saying the action was a manifestation of terrorism.

Killing Bin Laden:

Malaysian Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said he hopes that the death of bin Laden would help bring universal peace and harmony.

This list could go on and on…



The views in the article below are put somewhat strongly but nevertheless represent the feelings of many in Israel and elsewhere, which is why I include them. -- Tom Gross

Bin Laden’s One Mistake
By Shmuel Sackett
May 8, 2011

One thing made Osama bin Laden public enemy #1. One thing made him a target for America’s hit squad. One thing – and only one thing – made his assassination justified and praised by world leaders. He didn’t just kill Jews.

Had he limited his terrorism to Jews only, he would not have been targeted. The same world leaders who today take great pride in his death would have celebrated his life. He would not have been killed by President Obama; he would have dined with him.

He would have been invited to the United Nations. He would have had a worldwide speaking tour. He would have won the Nobel peace prize.

Think I’m crazy? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the President of Iran. His resume includes much more than just politics. He and his Persian mentors ordered Hizbullah to bomb the Jewish Community of Argentina in the 90s and killed hundreds of Jews. He has stated – time and again – that he wants to destroy Israel. He wants to kill the 6,000,000 Jews (interesting number) who live here and he is feverishly working to build a bomb that will do just that.

Has he been targeted? Is this animal on anyone’s “hit list”? Actually, just the opposite is true. He recently spoke in the UN. He was a guest speaker in Columbia University. Why? Because he is only interested in killing Jews.

Khaled Mashaal is the leader of Hamas. Hamas is a sworn enemy of Israel. It has killed and maimed thousands of Jews since the “peace process” came about. It has fired over 5,000 missiles into Israel, aiming for Jewish homes and hoping to kill Jewish children.

Has he been targeted? Is this beast on anyone’s “hit list”? Actually, just the opposite is true. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently invited Mashaal to Moscow. Former US President Jimmy Carter has embraced Mashaal and considers him a “partner for peace”. Why? Because he is only interested in killing Jews.

Yasser Arafat was the leader of the PLO for almost four decades. He has more innocent blood on his hands than bin Laden. Yet this murderer was a guest at the Clinton White House more than any other world leader! He spoke in the UN. He was accepted around the world as a leader and spoke in over 30 countries. He won the Nobel Peace Prize. Why? Because he was only interested in killing Jews. [And his successor Mahmoud Abbas is as much of a Jew-murderer as him.]

Although I can go on, I will give just one final example: Adolf Hitler. The world knew about his plans for the Jews as early as 1933. The world knew about Kristallnacht back in November of 1938, and of the concentration camps shortly thereafter. Yet the entire world called this monster “Herr” Hitler. They gave him respect. They recognized him as a leader. All that changed when Hitler invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. From that point on he became an enemy. Why? Because until that day he was only interested in killing Jews.

Osama bin Laden violated the golden rule: In addition to killing just Jews, he also killed non-Jews. That is why he was targeted and for no other reason!

The message to Jews – and the State of Israel – is very clear. Learn to defend yourself. The world will not help you with Iran, Hamas or the PLO/PA.



From Chomsky to bin Laden
The professor dons the militant’s cap: It fits.
By Bret Stephens
The Wall Street Journal
May 10, 2011

How fitting that Noam Chomsky would waste little time denouncing the killing of Osama bin Laden as the “political assassination” of an “unarmed victim” whose complicity in 9/11 remains, in the professor’s mind, very much in doubt. Osama was fond of quoting the MIT sage in his periodic video messages – Jimmy Carter is another American so honored – so maybe the eulogy was just a matter of one good turn deserving another.

Then again, philosophical fellow traveling is always interesting, not least for what it tells us about ourselves.

In 1946, Martin Heidegger, incomparably the most significant philosopher of the 20th century, was banned from teaching for five years at the insistence of occupying French forces. The crime? He had been a Mitläufer – a “fellow-walker” – of the Nazi Party during its time in power. He had extolled the “inner truth and greatness of this movement.” He had tormented Jewish professors. True, he had done so with caveats and reservations, and from a philosophical vantage that operated according to its own logic, distinct from simple National Socialism. But he had done it all the same.

Does anyone today doubt that the teaching ban was justified? Most of us would say that far worse was due the man who lent Adolf Hitler an aura of intellectual respectability.

Mr. Chomsky is no Martin Heidegger: His contributions to linguistics and cognitive psychology, considerable as they are, pale next to Heidegger’s contributions to political philosophy. Nor is he a Heidegger in the sense that he has brought no material harm to anyone, as Heidegger did to his mentor Edmund Husserl.

Yet when it comes to making excuses for monsters, the two thinkers are evenly matched. Among the subjects of Mr. Chomsky’s solicitude have been Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson (whom he described as a “relatively apolitical liberal”), the Khmer Rouge (at the height of the killing fields), and Hezbollah (whose military-style cap he cheerfully donned on a visit to Lebanon last year).

As for bin Laden, Mr. Chomsky asks, rhetorically, “how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic. Uncontroversially, his crimes vastly exceed bin Laden’s.”

Ho-hum: Can anyone be surprised anymore by what Mr. Chomsky thinks and says? Not really. In one of those little ironies of leftist politics, the author of “Manufacturing Consent” has become a victim of what my former colleague Tom Frank likes to call “the commodification of dissent,” in which even the most radical ideas come stamped with their own ISBN number. In the West at least, the marketplace of ideas is also the great equalizer of ideas, blunting edges that might once have had the power to wound and kill.

So it is that Mr. Chomsky can be the recipient of over 20 honorary degrees, including from Harvard, Cambridge and the University of Chicago. None of these degrees, as far as I know, was conferred for Mr. Chomsky’s political musings, but neither did those musings provoke any apparent misgivings about the fitness of granting the award. So Mr. Chomsky is the purveyor of some controversial ideas about this or that aspect of American power. So what?

Here’s what: Dulled (and dull) as Mr. Chomsky’s ideas might be in the West, they remain razors outside of it. “Among the most capable of those from your side who speak on this topic [the war in Iraq] and on the manufacturing of public opinion is Noam Chomsky, who spoke sober words of advice prior to the war,” said bin Laden in 2007. He was singing the professor’s praises again last year, saying “Noam Chomsky was correct when he compared the U.S. policies to those of the mafia.”

These words seem to have been deeply felt. Every wannabe philosopher – and bin Laden was certainly that – seeks the imprimatur of someone he supposes to be a real philosopher. Mr. Chomsky could not furnish bin Laden with a theology, but he did provide an intellectual architecture for his hatred of the United States. That Mr. Chomsky speaks from the highest tower of American academe, that he is so widely feted as the great mind of his generation, that his every utterance finds a publisher and an audience, could only have sustained bin Laden in the conceit that his thinking was on a high plane. Maybe it would have been different if Mr. Chomsky had been dismissed decades ago for what he is: a two-nickel crank.

Now bin Laden is dead. Yet wherever one goes in the Arab world, one finds bookstores well-stocked with Chomsky, offering another generation the same paranoid notions of American policy that mesh so neatly with an already paranoid political culture.

In 1946 a self-confident West had no trouble demanding that Heidegger be banned. Ideas, it was understood, had consequences. Today nobody would dream of banning Mr. Chomsky from anything. Yet ideas have consequences even today.



And here, to be fair to Noam Chomsky, is his widely-circulated diatribe on Bin Laden’s death.

My Reaction to Osama bin Laden’s Death
By Noam Chomsky
May 6, 2011

It’s increasingly clear that the operation was a planned assassination, multiply violating elementary norms of international law. There appears to have been no attempt to apprehend the unarmed victim, as presumably could have been done by 80 commandos facing virtually no opposition – except, they claim, from his wife, who lunged towards them.

In societies that profess some respect for law, suspects are apprehended and brought to fair trial. I stress “suspects.” In April 2002, the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, informed the press that after the most intensive investigation in history, the FBI could say no more than that it “believed” that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan, though implemented in the UAE and Germany.

What they only believed in April 2002, they obviously didn’t know 8 months earlier, when Washington dismissed tentative offers by the Taliban (how serious, we do not know, because they were instantly dismissed) to extradite bin Laden if they were presented with evidence – which, as we soon learned, Washington didn’t have. Thus Obama was simply lying when he said, in his White House statement, that “we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda.”

Nothing serious has been provided since. There is much talk of bin Laden’s “confession,” but that is rather like my confession that I won the Boston Marathon. He boasted of what he regarded as a great achievement.

There is also much media discussion of Washington’s anger that Pakistan didn’t turn over bin Laden, though surely elements of the military and security forces were aware of his presence in Abbottabad. Less is said about Pakistani anger that the U.S. invaded their territory to carry out a political assassination. Anti-American fervor is already very high in Pakistan, and these events are likely to exacerbate it. The decision to dump the body at sea is already, predictably, provoking both anger and skepticism in much of the Muslim world.

We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic. Uncontroversially, his crimes vastly exceed bin Laden’s, and he is not a “suspect” but uncontroversially the “decider” who gave the orders to commit the “supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” (quoting the Nuremberg Tribunal) for which Nazi criminals were hanged: the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country, the bitter sectarian conflict that has now spread to the rest of the region.

There’s more to say about Cuban airline bomber Orlando Bosch, who just died peacefully in Florida, including reference to the “Bush doctrine” that societies that harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves and should be treated accordingly. No one seemed to notice that Bush was calling for invasion and destruction of the U.S. and murder of its criminal president.

Same with the name, Operation Geronimo. The imperial mentality is so profound, throughout western society, that no one can perceive that they are glorifying bin Laden by identifying him with courageous resistance against genocidal invaders. It’s like naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk… It’s as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes “Jew” and “Gypsy.”

There is much more to say, but even the most obvious and elementary facts should provide us with a good deal to think about.

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