Above: Abdel-Aziz Saleh - who is set to be released for Gilad Shalit - and one of his Israeli victims
* Ramallah lynch murderer among those set to be released tomorrow: Gruesome video below shows one of the most heinous crimes ever perpetrated against Israelis.
* Below: Benjamin Netanyahu’s letter today to the victims of the terrorists being released tomorrow.
* British Muslim Kasim Hafeez: “The reality is that there is real anti-Israel and anti-Semitic feeling on British university campuses. How do I know this? Because until recently I was the one doing the hating.”
* Hafeez: “Growing up in a Muslim community in the UK I was exposed to materials condemning Israel, painting Jews as usurpers and murderers. There was also constant, casual anti-Semitism around me. My father would boast of how Adolf Hitler was a hero, his only failing being that he didn’t kill enough Jews. Even the most moderate clerics I came across refused to condemn terrorism against Israel as unjustified.”
* “What changed? In Waterstone’s book shop one day I found myself in the Israel and Palestine section. To this day I don’t know why I actually pulled it off the shelf, but I picked up a copy of Alan Dershowitz’s The Case for Israel…”
(You can comment on this dispatch at www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia. You first have to press “Like” on that page.)
1. One of the most heinous crimes in Israel’s history
2. Netanyahu’s letter today to the victims of the terrorists being released tomorrow
3. “From anti-Semite to Zionist” (By Kasim Hafeez, Jewish Chronicle, Oct. 7, 2011)
4. “Iran would gladly assassinate Saudis” (By Amir Taheri, New York Post, Oct. 13, 2011)
5. “WikiLeaks shakes security of Iraq’s tiny Jewish community” (McClatchy, Oct. 8, 2011)
6. “Steve Jobs’ father was…” (By Dennis Prager, National Review, Oct. 11, 2011)
ONE OF THE MOST HEINOUS CRIMES IN ISRAEL’S HISTORY
[Note by Tom Gross]
[The first item below is a follow-up to the dispatch of Oct. 14, 2011, titled “A phone call this morning from the Pardons Board (& freed murderers kill again)”
While every person of conscience is very happy to see the young Israeli kidnap victim Gilad Shalit return home – he is expected back in Israel tomorrow – there is a growing backlash in Israel concerning the terms of the deal.
Among the many terrorists and murders the Israeli government has reportedly agreed to release, for example, is the man in this infamous video:
Warning, this 38-second video is one of the most gruesome I have ever posted. (The voiceover on the video is not mine, and I don’t necessarily agree with its content.)
Abdel-Aziz Saleh admitted participating in the lynching to death -- indeed he boasted of it -- of two young Israelis (Vadim Nurzhitz and Yossi Avrahami) who accidentally wandered into Ramallah, just north of Jerusalem, in 2000.
A British photographer who was there that day said “It was the most barbaric thing that I have ever seen and I have reported from many other horrific places such as Congo, Bosnia, and the like.”
At least 100 of those Palestinians being released are hardcore terrorists. Among them is Amana Muna, an adult Palestinian woman who lured a 16-year old Israeli boy from Ashkelon to Ramallah using an Internet dating site where he was brutally killed.
Many Israelis and others believe it is not only morally wrong to release terrorists but that Israel’s deterrence is being seriously eroded, along with the judicial system which prosecuted and sentenced murderers.
Feeling the pressure, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has today sent an open letter to relatives of the victims of the terrorists being released. The letter is attached below. Among Israel’s senior cabinet ministers only Avigdor Lieberman and Moshe Ya’alon have opposed the Shalit-for-terrorists deal.
I also attach four other articles below. Two of the writers, the Iranian journalist Amir Taheri and the American commentator Dennis Prager, are subscribers to this email list. And others written about in the articles, including lawyer and author Alan Dershowitz and The Rev. Canon Andrew White, the Anglican priest in Baghdad, are longtime subscribers to this list.
A few minutes after I sent out the dispatch of Oct. 6, 2011, titled “One Israeli’s path from being mocked to winning a Nobel” I updated the dispatch to include information that Iraqi and Syrian subscribers to this list sent me about Steve Jobs’ biological father. Canada’s leading nationwide paper, The National Post, also ran that updated dispatch as an op-ed piece later than day.
Dennis Prager’s piece below, in effect serves as a follow-up to that updated dispatch.
--- Tom Gross
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU’S LETTER TO THE VICTIMS OF THE TERRORISTS BEING RELEASED
Jerusalem, 17 October 2011
I write to you with a heavy heart. I understand and know your pain.
I belong to a bereaved family of the victims and fallen of terrorism. By brother was killed in the operation to rescue the Entebbe hostages.
I know that you have a heavy heart and that your wounds have been opened anew these past days; that your thoughts are not at ease.
Numerous misgivings accompanied me throughout the negotiations on the agreement to return the abducted soldier Gilad Shalit. You were always in my thoughts.
The decision in the matter of the release of Gilad Shalit was among the most difficult that I have ever made. It is difficult for me for the same reasons that it is difficult for you, dear families.
In the decision to return Gilad home, I was faced with the responsibility of the Prime Minister of Israel to bring home every soldier who is sent to protect our citizens.
I also, when I went off to fight in the name of the State of Israel, knew always: The State of Israel does not abandon its soldiers and citizens.
Opposite the strong desire to return home a captive soldier, was the need to limit the heavy price that the State of Israel would have to pay upon the abduction of Gilad Shalit over five years ago.
I know that the price is very heavy for you. I understand the difficulty to countenance that the evil people who perpetrated the appalling crimes against your loved ones will not pay the full price that they deserve.
During these moments I hope that you will find solace that I and the entire nation of Israel embrace you and share your pain.
Your loved ones will forever be in my heart,
Yours in pain and deep sorrow for your loved ones,
“IT WASN’T THE EVIL ZIONIST ISRAEL THAT I HAD BEEN TOLD ABOUT”
From anti-Semite to Zionist
By Kasim Hafeez
The Jewish Chronicle (London)
October 7, 2011
In 2003, Pakistan’s then President Pervez Musharaff sought to re-examine his country’s relationship, or lack thereof, with Israel. He asked: “Do we have to be more Palestinian than the Palestinians themselves?”
With their new “Liberation” campaign, it seems that the Union Of Jewish Students has decided to answer that question with a resounding “yes”.
Rather than being a brave move forwards for UJS, it is a hollow and cynical campaign that smacks of extreme cowardice.
The reality is that there is real anti-Israel and anti-Semitic feeling on British university campuses. How do I know this? Because until recently I was anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. Until recently, I was the one doing the hating.
Growing up in a Muslim community in the UK I was exposed to materials condemning Israel, painting Jews as usurpers and murderers. My views were reinforced when I attended Nakba Day rallies where speakers predicted Israel’s demise.
My hate for Israel and for the Jews was fuelled by images of death and destruction, set to the backdrop of Arabic melodies about Jihad and speeches of Hizbullah leader Hasan Nasrallah or Osama Bin Laden.
There was also constant, casual anti-Semitism around me. My father would boast of how Adolf Hitler was a hero, his only failing being that he didn’t kill enough Jews. Even the most moderate clerics I came across refused to condemn terrorism against Israel as unjustified.
What changed? In Waterstone’s [a leading British book store -- TG] one day I found myself in the Israel and Palestine section. To this day I don’t know why I actually pulled it off the shelf, but I picked up a copy of Alan Dershowitz’s The Case for Israel.
In my world view the Jews and the Americans controlled the media, so after a brief look at the back, I scoffed thinking “vile Zionist propaganda”.
But I decided to buy it, eagerly awaiting the chance to deconstruct it so I could show why Israel had no case and claim my findings as a personal victory for the Palestinian cause.
As I read Dershowitz’s systematic deconstruction of the lies I had been told, I felt a real crisis of conscience. I couldn’t disprove his arguments or find facts to respond to them with. I didn’t know what to believe. I’d blindly followed for so long, yet here I was questioning whether I had been wrong?
I decided to visit Israel to find the truth. I was confronted by synagogues, mosques and churches, by Jews and Arabs living together, by minorities playing huge parts in all areas of Israeli life, from the military to the judiciary. It was shocking and eye-opening. This wasn’t the evil Zionist Israel that I had been told about.
After much soul searching, I knew what I had once believed was wrong. I had to stand with Israel, with this tiny nation, free, democratic, making huge strides in medicine, research and development, yet the victim of the same lies and hatred that nearly consumed me.
As an outsider, I ask why so many in the Jewish community are closing their eyes to the constant stream of anti-Israel hated spewed out from all facets of British society.
And while pro-Palestinian organisations burn Israeli flags, urge boycotts of Israel and protest against appearances by Israeli politicians or artists, UJS’s response [i.e. the response of the timid British-Jewish establishment] is shameful. It is not the time for UJS or any other group to engage in hollow flag-waving to show their “progressiveness”. Let Israel’s democratic history speak for itself.
Instead of meekly trying to avoid coming across as too pro-Israeli or too Zionist, it is time to make the facts known, to defend Israel against delegitimisation. It is time to stem the tide of Israel bashing before it becomes even more mainstream and consumes even more people like me.
IRAN WOULD GLADLY ASSASSINATE SAUDIS
Iran would gladly assassinate Saudis
By Amir Taheri
October 13, 2011
The New York Post
No one knows where the accusations leveled against Iran by US Attorney General Eric Holder might lead. If true, the claim that Iran planned to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington would amount to an act of war against the United States. And that would require a response beyond the jumble of “new sanctions” proposed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
That the Islamic Republic plots terrorist operations abroad is neither new nor surprising. In 1980, the mullahs organized the murder in Bethesda, Md., of Ali Akbar Tabatabai, an Iranian diplomat who’d turned against the regime. The assassin, Dawoud Salahuddin, a US convert to Islam, claimed that the murder was “an act of war” and fled to Iran where he later emerged as an adviser to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The United States was not the only place where the mullahs carried out “acts of war.” Between 1980 and 1995, the Islamic Republic planned and carried out 112 political assassinations in 22 countries across the globe.
France alone saw the murders of 17 Iranian exiles. In 1994, a French court issued arrest warrants against nine senior Iranian officials. In 1997, a German court issued warrants for the arrest of a number of Iranian officials charged with participation in the murder of four exiled Iranian politicians in Berlin five years earlier. Among those named were Iran’s “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei and former President Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. At trial, former President Abolhassan Banisadr testified that a four-man committee, headed by Khamenei, was orchestrating the murder of dissidents abroad.
The Islamic Republic has always regarded Saudi Arabia as an enemy, a sentiment amply reciprocated. The two neighbors market rival brands of militant Islam and have been engaged in proxy wars in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, among other places.
In Pakistan, Iran finances and arms the militant Shi’ite Jaafari Movement (Tehrik Jaafari), while the Saudis back the equally militant Sunni Lashkar Tayyibah (Army of the Pure). The two groups are responsible for more than 40,000 deaths in sectarian fighting in Pakistan over the past 20 years.
In Afghanistan, Iran backs the Hazara Shi’ites while the Saudis, having backed the Taliban until 9/11, support militant Sunni groups. In Iraq, the Islamic Republic backs Shi’ite armed groups such as the Mahdi Army; meanwhile, until 2008, thousands of Saudis fought on the side of Sunni militants.
The two are also fighting over Syria. Tehran is trying to preserve the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, who belongs to the heterodox Alawite branch of Shi’ism. Saudi Arabia has just concluded a deal with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood to help the opposition get rid of Assad.
In Bahrain, the roles are reversed. Iran, declaring support for the Shi’ite majority, is trying to overthrow a minority Sunni government, while Saudi Arabia has sent 20,000 troops to keep it in power.
Both Iran and Saudi Arabia have been rattled by the “Arab Spring” and are trying desperately hard to define a place for themselves in the emerging Middle East political landscape.
Another source of contention: control of Mecca and Medina, the two major cities of pilgrimage in the Muslim world. Since the 1980s, the Saudi monarch has dubbed himself “Guardian of the Two Noble Precincts” and regards Mecca and Medina as two Saudi cities before anything else. Iran, however, claims that the two cities belong to the whole “Islamic Ummah” and should be administered by an international committee appointed by the Islamic Conference Organization.
The two neighbors have been engaged in a bitter propaganda war. Iranian media are calling for the overthrow of the Saudi monarchy while the Saudis have established contacts with dissident figures within the Khomeinist establishment. “This is a fight to the finish,” declares Khamenei’s mouthpiece, the daily Kayhan.
That part of that fight might be fought in the streets of Washington, DC, need surprise no one.
WIKILEAKS SHAKES SECURITY OF IRAQ’S TINY JEWISH COMMUNITY
WikiLeaks shakes security of Iraq’s tiny Jewish community
By Roy Gutman
McClatchy Newspapers (syndicated story)
October 8, 2011
BAGHDAD — An Anglican priest here says he’s working with the U.S. Embassy to persuade the handful of Jews who still live in Baghdad to leave because their names have appeared in cables published last month by WikiLeaks.
The Rev. Canon Andrew White said he first approached members of the Jewish community about what he felt was the danger they faced after a news story was published last month that made reference to the cables.
“The U.S. Embassy is desperately trying to get them out,” White said. So far, however, only one, a regular confidante of the U.S. Embassy, according to the cables, had expressed interest in emigrating to the United States.
“Most want to stay,” White said. “The older ones are refusing to leave. They say: ‘We’re Iraqis. Why should we go? If they kill us, we will die here.’”
The U.S. Embassy said it would take steps to protect the individuals whose names appear in the cables and suggested in a statement that should any wish to leave, the U.S. would help relocate them.
“Protecting individuals whose safety is at risk because of the release of the purported cables remains a priority. We are working actively to ensure that they remain safe,” the embassy said.
It slammed WikiLeaks for releasing the cables. “Releasing the names of individuals cited in conversations that took place in confidence potentially puts their lives or careers at risk,” the statement said.
A furious White also hit the website for publishing the cables. “How could they do something as stupid as that?” he said. “Do they not realize this is a life and death issue?”
WikiLeaks did not respond to a request for comment. Previously, WikiLeaks has said that it had no choice but to make its copies of the cables public after the publication in a book of a password that opened an encrypted version of the cables already available on the Internet.
“We had to warn them of the danger and tell them that we want them all to leave,” White said. “I never wanted the Jews to leave Iraq. They belong here.”
If White persuades Baghdad’s remaining Jews to leave it will mark the end of a 2,700-year presence that dates to the Assyrian conquest of the Judean Kingdom.
By the time U.S. forces invaded Iraq in March 2003, Baghdad’s Jewish community, which had numbered about 130,000 in the 1950s before most fled to Israel, was down to about 35 members.
Now there are so few Jews here that their sole remaining place of worship, the Taweig synagogue, is shuttered, even during the Jewish High Holidays.
Emad Levi, who served as lay rabbi, kosher slaughterer, undertaker and community spokesman, recently emigrated to Israel.
One of the cables, some of 251,287 made public by the WikiLeaks website, recounts the deteriorating conditions one member of the community said Jews faced after U.S. troops toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, primarily because of the rise of al-Qaida in Iraq.
Another was poignant in its assessment of the future:
“The Jews of Iraq do not appear likely to share in Iraq’s future as a nation,” the writer said. “They have no children, and cannot contribute culturally or even materially while unable to participate freely in Iraq’s public life. They remain in Iraq, but not of it, hiding at the center of a country whose majority may, one day, welcome them again, but does not accept them at present.”
The cable provides biographical sketches of each of nine Jews that the cable writer said then made up the entire complement of the Baghdad Jewish community. They ranged in age at the time from 40 to 82. One of them was Levi, the recent emigre to Israel. Another has since died, bringing the total number of Jews in Baghdad to seven.
Jews first arrived in the land now called Iraq, exiled here after the Assyrian conquest of the Judean Kingdom. Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem and destroyed King Solomon’s temple, then led tens of thousands of Jews into captivity, where they built the hanging gardens of Babylon.
The population survived repeated conquests of Iraq, by Alexander the Great, the Persians, the Arabs, the Shiite Muslims and the Turks, but over the centuries it flourished, producing the Babylonian Talmud.
By the early 20th century, Iraqi Jews constituted one of the wealthiest communities in the country, serving as bankers, importers, retailers and academics. But Iraqi nationalists fighting British rule seized on Nazi ideology in the 1930s, giving rise to rabid anti-Judaic views.
The beginning of the end of a community then numbering some 130,000, was the Nazi-inspired pogrom in 1941, known as the Farhud, or violent dispossession, in which hundreds of Jews died at the hands of armed Iraqi Muslims. The creation of the State of Israel in 1948, followed by the declaration of war by Arab states including Iraq, brought more severe repression here.
The Iraqi government first made it a capital crime to be a Zionist, then reversed policy in 1950, after which more than 100,000 Jews emigrated to Israel. There was more repression in the 1950s and 1960s, and most of the remaining Jewish population emigrated to Israel in the early 1970s.
What will become of Iraq’s handful of remaining Jews seems a foregone conclusion.
One is a prominent surgeon, but most of the others rarely leave their dwellings, and many conceal their Jewish identity, according to the cables, one of which discusses the conversion to Islam of some members of the community.
“A 50-year old woman … reportedly converted to Islam after the fall of Saddam, as did a family of five,” the cable said. It quoted another member of the Jewish community as saying that “the members of this family will no longer speak to Jews in Baghdad.”
With Levi’s departure, the community lost its only public voice.
Reached in Israel on Friday, Levi said the Jews who remain here are “afraid” and “don’t like to talk to anyone.”
Canon White, the Anglican priest at Baghdad’s St. George’s church, agreed.
“I can guarantee you that you cannot meet any of them,” he told McClatchy Newspapers. “There’s not a chance in the world.”
JOBS AND THE FATHER HE NEVER KNEW
Steve Jobs’ Father Was . . .
By Dennis Prager
October 11, 2011
On a daily basis, I sit in awe at the amount of nonsense that pervades the world’s media. The latest is the preoccupation with the ethnicity of Steve Jobs’ birth father.
Steve Jobs was adopted at birth. And until his untimely death last week, as far as almost anyone in the world knew, Steve Jobs was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jobs — father Paul and mother Clara.
In fact, as far as Steve Jobs himself was concerned, his only parents were Paul and Clara Jobs. As The New York Times reported nearly 15 years ago (“Creating Jobs,” January 12, 1997), “Jobs holds a firm belief that Paul and Clara Jobs were his true parents. A mention of his ‘adoptive parents’ is quickly cut off. ‘They were my parents,’ he says emphatically.”
But in reading much of the world’s press in the past week, one would be excused if he or she came to think of another man as Steve Jobs’ father.
The amount of attention paid to his birth father, a Syrian-born American named Abdulfattah Jandali, dwarfed the amount of attention paid to Paul (or, for that matter, Clara) Jobs.
By all accounts, Jandali is a fine man, and nothing written here is meant in any way to counter that assessment.
But I have to ask: Given that Jandali and Steve Jobs never once met, and that Steve Jobs thought only of Paul Jobs as his father, why all the attention to Jandali? And why no attention to Jobs’ birth mother?
For example, take this headline in the International Business Times: “Steve Jobs Dies: He Was The Most Famous Arab in the World.” Or the headline of this article in The New York Times: “Steve Jobs, Son of a Syrian, Is Embraced in the Arab World.”
I suspect that there are two unimpressive things going on here: political correctness and a widespread belief that blood is important and therefore adoptive parents aren’t a person’s “real” parents.
First, the political correctness.
The press feels bad for the Arab world in general and for Arab-Americans in particular. The former is almost never in the news for anything positive, and the latter are deemed victims of xenophobia and Islamophobia. So if one of the giants of our age can be declared an Arab and an Arab-American, many in the media are only too delighted to do so.
Though the birth father played no role whatsoever in the life of Steve Jobs, article after article has been written about Jandali. That this has been motivated by a desire to label Steve Jobs an Arab-American is further proven by the fact that we read nothing of the birth mother — which is particularly noteworthy given that those who are preoccupied with blood parents are almost always more preoccupied with the identity of the birth mother than that of the birth father. But the poor woman is merely a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, a member of the only American group that is granted no special status by the Politically Correct.
So a man whose only parents were WASPs and one of whose birth parents was a WASP is now declared an Arab. Google “Steve Jobs Arab” and you’ll get 86 million hits.
The other unfortunate trend is the belief — widely held in the media, academia, the social work community and among the well-educated, generally — that adoptive parents are not one’s “real” parents. Even many adoptive parents have been convinced by social workers and others that their foreign-born sons or daughters must be educated in the language and culture of their birth group. Instead of regarding their Korean- or Chinese- or Honduran-born child as fully American, many American adoptive parents are convinced that they must teach their child Korean, Chinese or Spanish language and culture. And many of the particularly sophisticated are adamant that their children one day go to those countries to find their “birth families.”
Once each year on my radio show, I devote an hour to making the case for how much less blood matters than love and values. And for anyone who disagrees, I offer the following story.
One year, a man called in to tell me that while he nearly always agreed with me, I was simply wrong on this issue. He explained that he was the only child of Jewish Holocaust survivors and that the Nazis had murdered every one of his parents’ relatives. He was literally the only blood relative they had. Now, he asked, can I see how blood can be very important — and that a blood child is different from an adopted one?
I responded by asking this man to ask his parents one question: “Would you rather have a blood child who converted from Judaism to another religion or an adopted child who was a committed Jew?”
That one question changed his mind.
None of this is meant in any way as disrespectful to Arabs or Arab Americans. I would say this if his birth father was Jewish or Albanian or Greek: Steve Jobs was an American, the son of Paul and Clara Jobs. Period.