* Leading politician in Tunisia’s Islamist political party labeled as moderate by Western media this week, called for the “the end of the germ called Israel”
* Condoleezza Rice confirms that Abbas turned down Israel’s 2008 statehood offer, which included some Palestinian control over Jerusalem
1. Tenured American professor shouts “death to Israel” at university event
2. Leading Saudi cleric offers $100,000 on Facebook to anyone who kidnaps more Israeli soldiers
3. Tunisia’s “moderate” Islamist political leader calls for the “the end of the germ called Israel”
4. Condoleezza Rice confirms that Abbas turned down statehood offer, including Jerusalem
5. PA recalls diplomat from Canada over anti-Semitic Twitter entry
6. Turkey finally accepts aid for Kurdish earthquake survivors
7. Released Israeli-American Ilan Grapel was not a spy
8. Poll of Egyptians: 85% want peace treaty with Israel to continue
9. Egyptian paper features map labeling all of Israel as Palestine
10. Israel welcomes Basque terror group’s farewell to arms
[All notes below by Tom Gross]
TENURED AMERICAN PROFESSOR SHOUTS “DEATH TO ISRAEL” AT UNIVERSITY EVENT
Ishmael Khaldi, an Israeli Bedouin who is a senior Israeli diplomat, is used to being subjected to a tirade of abuse from students when he lectures in Europe and America.
But last week at Kent State, he tells me he had to deal with a tenured history professor, Julio Pino, who shouted “death to Israel” at him as he spoke.
It will be interesting to see whether the university authorities discipline Professor Pino, who also told students that “Israel kills babies”.
Khaldi had been invited to Kent to give a talk about his book, A Shepherd’s Journey, which describes his life journey from growing up in a small tent in a Bedouin village in southern Israel to become a senior advisor to the current Israeli Foreign Minister.
The outburst by Pino was reported in KentWired, an independent student publication and yesterday in Jewish publications, such as the Cleveland Jewish News, but has yet to be reported by national publications like The New York Times, which tends to avoid reporting on the increased harassment of Jewish and pro-Israel students on many American campuses.
(Khaldi is a friend of mine, and a longtime subscriber to this email list.)
LEADING SAUDI CLERIC OFFERS $100,000 ON FACEBOOK TO ANYONE WHO KIDNAPS MORE ISRAELI SOLDIERS
In a message posted on his popular Facebook page, Saudi cleric Dr. Awad al-Qarni has offered a $100,000 reward to anyone who kidnaps more Israeli soldiers.
Yesterday, the post was taken down after Facebook users complained to Facebook, however, not before the page generated over 2600 “likes” and more than 1000 comments in Arabic, mostly positive.
A screenshot of al-Qarni’s post offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who kidnaps an Israeli soldier
Al-Qarni’s offer also received extensive coverage yesterday in Hamas-affiliated newspapers in Gaza, where many readers said they will aim to win the award.
Al-Qarni is a prominent Muslim cleric who often hosts shows on Saudi and other TV channels. He has previously said that “Neo-Cons are the closest thing there is to Nazism.”
Even though that particular post has been removed by Facebook, his page continues to attract many readers.
(Incidentally, if you would like to “like” my page on Facebook, after which you will receive occasional additional material beyond these dispatches, you can do so here: www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia.)
TUNISIA’S “MODERATE” ISLAMIST POLITICAL LEADER CALLS FOR THE “END OF THE GERM CALLED ISRAEL”
Western media have noted that the Nahda party, which won most votes in the Tunisian elections earlier this week, is “moderate”.
It remains to be seen if that is in fact the case, and those Tunisian secularists and feminists who rioted this morning in Tunisia against the party and against the election results, certainly don’t seem to agree with the Western pundits.
Nor do comments made by party leader Rashid Ghannouchi in May appear to be moderate, even if the BBC insists on calling the party “moderate”:
“I bring glad tidings that the Arab region will get rid of the germ called Israel. Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, leader of the Hamas movement, once said that Israel would disappear before 2027. That date may be too far off; Israel may disappear before that.”
CONDOLEEZZA RICE CONFIRMS THAT ABBAS TURNED DOWN STATEHOOD OFFER, INCLUDING JERUSALEM
In her new memoir, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confirms that former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert “made an extraordinary offer in an attempt to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict” in 2008 but Palestinian President Abbas did not respond.
Rice says that a peace accord based on a two-state solution for two peoples had been within reach but Abbas didn’t appear to want to accept it. She says that despite U.S. President George W. Bush’s request to Abbas that he accept Olmert’s offer, he refused.
Rice maintains the offer included international control of Jerusalem’s holy sites and a formula for dividing the rest of Jerusalem.
It seems that the Palestinian Authority isn’t quite as “desperate” for a state as many Western commentators and politicians claim it is.
PA RECALLS DIPLOMAT FROM CANADA OVER ANTI-SEMITIC TWITTER ENTRY
The Palestinian Authority has recalled one of its top diplomats in Canada after she tweeted a link to an anti-Semitic YouTube video. The Canadian government, perhaps more than any other government in the world, has taken anti-Semitism seriously and it told the Palestinian Authority that it would “limit communications” with Linda Sobeh Ali, the chargé d’affaires to the Palestinian delegation in Ottawa, unless she was replaced. The Palestinians have now recalled her to Ramallah.
Sobeh Ali told Canadian TV that she would not have retweeted the link to the video had she watched it properly and knew what it contained. “I regret this unfortunate incident,” the PA envoy said in a statement.
Three Grad rockets were fired from the northern Gaza Strip at the Israeli town of Ashdod and the area of Bnei Aish shortly before midnight on Wednesday. No injuries have been reported, but a number of terrified Israelis were treated for shock. The Western media have not reported on the attacks at all, as far as I can see.
TURKEY FINALLY ACCEPTS AID FOR KURDISH EARTHQUAKE SURVIVORS
On October 26, 2011, I updated the dispatch Erdogan would rather see Turks die than have them rescued by Israelis as follows:
Today, Turkey finally asked for Israeli aid and Israel responded immediately. Israel is the nearest country to Turkey with advanced capabilities for dealing with the aftermath of an earthquake. (Some papers in Turkey, such as Hurriyet, promptly reported the news.)
However, critics said that had Turkey accepted Israel’s offer three days earlier lives may have been saved. They also pointed to the fact that many or most of the earthquake’s victims appear to be ethnic Kurds and questioned whether the Turkish government had been deliberately slow to take up offers of international aid, given its warlike stance towards the Kurds in the part of Turkey where the earthquake hit.
Update, October 28, 2011:
Yesterday evening a 13-year-old boy was pulled out alive over 5 days after the earthquake. The day before a 2-week-old baby girl was brought out alive.
How many more lives could have been saved if Turkey had accepted aid earlier?
Survivors of Sunday’s massive 7.2-magnitude earthquake have had to face several nights out in the open in near-freezing temperatures.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee has also sent aid to help survivors cope.
RELEASED ISRAELI-AMERICAN ILAN GRAPEL WAS NOT A SPY
Ilan Grapel, the duel Israeli and American passport holder whom the Egyptian military government detained four months ago, and released yesterday in exchange for 25 Egyptian prisoners held in Israel, was not a spy, according to well-informed sources in Israel.
Commentators in Israel and America have noted that the “Ilan Grapel incident was designed to distract Egyptians from real problems by conjuring up imaginary foreign plots against Egypt.”
Even under Mubarak, Cairo had a history of arresting innocent Israelis such as Azzam Azzam and Ouda Tarabin and framing them as spies to prove to its anti-Israel public that it was being tough on Israel.
Grapel, a law student at Emory University in Atlanta, had taken a job in Cairo in May with St. Andrew’s Refugee Services, a Christian organization that provides legal aid for Sudanese refugees.
Grapel’s false imprisonment is comparable with Iran’s kidnapping of three American hikers and accusing them of espionage two years ago.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and American ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro hosted Grapel upon his release. Grapel said he underwent difficult conditions over the last four months of being held in an Egyptian jail.
The 25 released Egyptians were not imprisoned by Israel for carrying out acts related to terror, but had been sentenced for drug dealing and other criminal offenses.
Meanwhile Israeli President Shimon Peres has paid a visit to the home of freed Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit. Peres praised Shalit for his bravery during his over 5 and a half years of captivity, during which time he almost never saw sunlight or breathed fresh air.
Peres with Gilad Shalit and his parents
POLL OF EGYPTIANS: 85% WANT PEACE TREATY WITH ISRAEL TO CONTINUE
The Egyptian publication Al-Ahram Weekly reports (in its issue of Oct. 20-26) on an opinion poll conducted by the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies.
Among the poll results:
4% favor declaring war on Israel now
7% favor abolishing the peace treaty with Israel but not starting a war
12% favor expelling the Israeli ambassador from Cairo
11% support recalling the Egyptian ambassador from Israel
62% would like to see the peace agreement continue, but with amendments
23% want the peace treaty to remain as it is
EGYPTIAN PAPER FEATURES MAP LABELING ALL OF ISRAEL AS PALESTINE
An article about developing the Sinai in the October 18 edition of Al-Masry Al-Youm includes a map (reproduced below) of the Sinai along with the Gaza Strip, Israel and the West Bank.
The entire area of Gaza, Israel and the West Bank is labeled “Palestine” and there are no lines distinguishing between the areas.
ISRAEL WELCOMES BASQUE TERROR GROUP’S FAREWELL TO ARMS
The Israeli Foreign Ministry issued the following statement earlier this week:
“The Basque terror group ETA announced yesterday that it decided to bid farewell to arms and abandon terror indefinitely. Israel considers this a positive step that could put an end to violence, while representing an achievement for democracy in its fight against terror.
“Israel hopes that this step serve as an example to other terror groups, and that they, too, abandon the path of terror, which leads only to death and suffering.”
[All notes above by Tom Gross]