Tom Gross Mideast Media Analysis

European media and anti-Israel bias

November 30, 2003

“THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA IS NOT AN INNOCENT BYSTANDER IN THIS AFFAIR”

[Note by Tom Gross]

In conjunction with my other dispatch of today (The Guardian discovers modern anti-Semitism) I attach an in-depth essay on the Intifada and the media which I wrote in July 2001, shortly after I gave a tour round parts of Bethlehem and southern Jerusalem to the editor in chief of The Guardian, and to the paper's features editor.

It was published in the National Review Online in the fall of 2001. I believe it is still relevant today. It was also republished in several other web sites in 2001. This version is from HonestReporting.

More than 2000 people in over 35 countries have joined my email list since then, so many of you will not have read it before.

-- Tom Gross


EUROPEAN MEDIA AND ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS

European Media and Anti-Israel Bias
By Tom Gross
October 2001

http://honestreporting.com/articles/reports/European_Media_and_Anti-Israel_Bias.asp

Last May, I escorted the editor of London's Guardian newspaper, Alan Rusbridger, and his features editor, Ian Katz, round West Jerusalem and into Palestinian-controlled Bethlehem. It was Rusbridger's first trip to Israel. His paper had been singled out by critics of press coverage of Israel – even in the context of highly selective and biased reporting across virtually the entire European media – as one of the most unfair.

Unlike many other journalists who have climbed aboard the anti-Israeli bandwagon over the last months without having ever even been to Israel, Rusbridger – to his credit – took five days off work to see the situation for himself. He is, after all, heir to the great C.P. Scott, editor of The Guardian for 57 years, who (in Rusbridger's words) "fought tirelessly alongside Chaim Weizmann for the creation of the state of Israel." (Indeed it was Scott who introduced Weizmann to Arthur Balfour).

A few days before our meeting, the Guardian's chief Jerusalem correspondent, Suzanne Goldenberg, had been presented with Britain's prestigious Edgar Wallace Trophy by Prime Minister Tony Blair in London. In a front-page announcement, The Guardian said that the London Press Club had decided to award her the prize, for her "courageous and objective journalism."

Even though the prize is meant to cover reporting in general, and has no particular connection with the Middle East, the runner-up was another media crusader against Israel, Robert Fisk, of the Independent newspaper. Goldenberg's news report in the Guardian on the morning the prize was announced, was titled "Mutilated Children of a Crippled Palestine," which gives a flavor of the kind of writing which had so impressed her fellow journalists.

Rusbridger, Katz and I crossed by car into Bethlehem. It wasn't clear whether it was safe to go there that morning. The mutilated bodies of two 13-year-old Israeli boys had been found in a nearby cave just hours earlier, and tension was high. My car had Israeli, not Palestinian, license plates, and over the previous weeks several motorists had been shot dead for just such an offence.

Two Israeli soldiers, aged about 18, were standing guard on the Israeli side of the border. When we showed our journalist identity cards and asked if we could cross, one of them said in English "But of course if you are journalists you must come in." Then he added, with a wry smile, "You are the bodyguard of democracy, after all." Rusbridger jotted down the soldier's observation in his notebook.

"Is it safe to go in this morning?" I asked the soldier. "Yes, the Palestinians don't start shooting until lunchtime these days," he replied. Katz was worried: "You mean they have shooting here!"

We were pressed for time, so our foray into Bethlehem was a short one. But it was long enough for Rusbridger and Katz – a contemporary of mine at Oxford who told me that he hadn't been to Israel "since his bar mitzvah" – to see with their own eyes that the Israeli soldiers were courteous and polite to Palestinians. They saw that Palestinians were allowed to cross the checkpoint by both car and foot in a matter of seconds. And they saw by contrast how the same soldiers were refusing religious Jews, who wished to go and pray at the nearby holy site of Rachel's Tomb, entry to Bethlehem.

On our drive down one of Bethlehem's main streets, we passed Palestinian-owned cars of a similar standard to those we had just seen being driven by Israelis in Jerusalem. Rusbridger and Katz also had a chance to observe that the local Arab shops were well stocked. And when we drove back out from Bethlehem into Israel, they could see that Palestinians were allowed to pass quickly – in about the same time it takes an average Israeli to enter a Tel Aviv shopping mall or movie theatre, as his bags are searched for explosive devices. At the same time the religious Jews we had seen before were still on the other side of the road, still pleading with the soldiers to be allowed entry to Bethlehem.

DIS-INFORMING THE PUBLIC

Two weeks later, Rusbridger wrote about his trip in a cover story for the Spectator magazine in London. The Spectator was an unexpected choice. It is owned by Conrad Black, one of the few prominent non-Jews in the West to have openly denounced media coverage of Israel. "The BBC, Independent, Guardian, Evening Standard and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are rabidly anti-Israel," Black had written in The Spectator a few weeks earlier, "and wittingly or not, are stoking the inferno of anti-Semitism."

Rusbridger began his Spectator article as follows: "In the last, dying days of apartheid I visited South Africa... A couple of weeks ago I made my first trip to another much-written about country, Israel. As with my earlier journey I found a lot that was shocking, but this time I was genuinely surprised. Nothing had prepared me for finding quite so many echoes of the worst days of South Africa in modern Israel."

He went on to give some examples – taken out of context – of shooting incidents, and of Palestinian poverty he had witnessed in what he called the "large prison" of Gaza. He wrote of the "endless humiliating queues waiting to pass through Israeli army checkpoints." There was no mention of our very different experience crossing into the "occupied West Bank."

Not content with drawing analogies with South Africa, Rusbridger also made a comparison with Northern Ireland, implying that the situation is worse in Israel because Israelis don't know what's going on. He wrote – mistakenly – that "The difference in Israel is that almost no Jewish-Israeli journalists ever report firsthand on life and death on the West Bank or Gaza today... The exceptions – I think there are three – are brave and, by and large, despised by Jewish Israelis."

He seemed to have forgotten our conversation about the workings of Israeli democracy, in which I had pointed out that every Israeli newspaper – without exception – has regular and comprehensive reporting about life in Gaza, some of it highly critical of Israel; that both national Israeli TV channels have correspondents in Gaza; that senior advisors to Yasser Arafat, and even spokespersons for Hamas, are regularly interviewed on Israeli television and radio; and that Israeli Arabs play a significant role in the Israeli media. Indeed, as I had told Rusbridger, probably the single most influential journalist in Israel, Rafik Halaby, the Director of News at Israel's state-run Channel One TV, is an Arab.

In his article Rusbridger also made no reference to the many progressive elements of Israeli Jewish society which we had discussed in some detail. I had asked him why, if Israel is "an affront to civilization" – the headline given to a comment piece written by a former British Defense Secretary in The Guardian's sister paper, the Observer, a few days before Rusbridger's visit – the Jewish state should, for example, have some of the most liberal laws in the world for homosexuals, far more liberal than those in the US and Britain.

As for his claim that "nothing had prepared me for finding quite so many echoes of the worst days of South Africa in modern Israel", it made me wonder, for a moment, how carefully he reads his own paper, given that comparisons between present day Israel and South Africa in the apartheid era have become part of the Guardian's stock in trade.

Take, for example, Goldenberg's report of Saturday June 3, 2000. It was headlined, "Palestinians feel the heat as police enforce beach apartheid: With peace looming, Israel is keen to establish areas for Jews only", and the article itself began: "In these early days of a sweltering summer, the long palm-dotted beaches of Tel Aviv are a natural escape. But if you are a Palestinian, a family day out can mean a night in jail. As Israeli Jews lolled on the sand yesterday, the Tel Aviv police were out in force in a zealous enforcement of beach apartheid... [an] operation to create Jewish-only beaches. Palestinians were arrested near the dolphinarium before they could even set foot on the sand..."

As someone who lives in Tel Aviv, and goes to the beach most days, I have never seen anything of the kind. Jews and Arabs mix freely on the beach, and did so when the article was written in June 2000, as any resident of Tel Aviv will confirm. This includes the area around the dolphinarium, site of a deadly Palestinian suicide bomb at a beachfront teenage disco exactly a year after Goldenberg wrote her piece.

About the same time that Rusbridger published his Spectator article, he wrote a massive editorial in The Guardian, running to well over 2,000 words, entitled "Between Heaven and Hell." A pull quote was reproduced in large type in a box on The Guardian's front page. It read:

"We are forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about how the dream of a sanctuary for the Jewish people in the very land in which their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped has come to be poisoned. The establishment of this sanctuary has been bought at a very high cost in human rights and human lives. It must be apparent that the international community cannot support this cost indefinitely."

ANCIENT PREJUDICE

In spite of all this Rusbridger seems to me to be a divided man. From what I know of him, and from what I have heard from others, remains friendlier to the Jewish state in private than many in the British media. When it comes to public pronouncements, however, he usually seems unable to resist the prevailing tide of "enlightened" opinion in Europe – a tide which can only encourage attempts to destroy Israel.

Much of this is a relatively new phenomenon. While some distorted reporting such as that of the notorious Robert Fisk of the Independent, is the result of a systematic anti-Israel bias of long standing, most of it seems more a question of fashion and vague or unexamined "progressive" assumptions.

Some diatribes go well beyond political criticism, however, and carry a deeper, more ancient prejudice. One example is the Sunday Observer's "Poem of the Week" (February 18, 2001) by Oxford academic Tom Paulin which accuses the "Zionist SS" of deliberately gunning down Palestinian children; another is the Economist magazine's description of Ariel Sharon and Shimon Peres as a pair of "artful dodgers" (May 5, 2001) – "artful dodgers" as in Oliver Twist, with clear overtones of Fagin.

A fair amount of the venom comes from Jews themselves. For example, Alexei Sayle, a columnist for the Independent [of London], writes at the top of the paper's "Comment" page (October 3, 2000): "If the Zionists wanted a homeland, why didn't they take a piece of Germany? The answer is of course, that Arabs then and now were not considered fully human by the Zionists... and therefore could be murdered without qualms... I am Jewish, which should make me immune to the charges of anti-Semitism that fanatical Zionists trot out whenever anybody suggests that Israel's constant use of torture and ethnic cleansing might be a bit wrong."

There are exceptions to all this prejudice – the editorials (but not the news reports) on the Middle East in some conservative-leaning papers in Europe are often well balanced, for example – and some of the criticism leveled at Israel is of course justified. Nor should one forget that the media is full of stereotypes and mistakes about other issues. Yet when every allowance has been made, the sustained bias against Israel is in a league of its own.

Many readers with a good knowledge of the Middle East are aware that there is a good deal of bias against Israel in the American media, despite certain cherished myths to the contrary. But what they may not fully realize is that any American bias pales in comparison to what can currently be seen in Europe.

One area in which the 15 member Europe Union have largely managed to coordinate their policy in the last few years is foreign affairs, and in particular their approach to the Middle East. In the old days, some countries – France, Greece, Spain – stood out for their pro-Palestinian bias. Nowadays, the slanted policy reaches across the EU. Whereas states such as Belgium, Holland, Sweden and Denmark have recently been leading the way in pressing for increased pressure on Israel, even those European leaders who might wish to adopt a more sympathetic approach to Israel – notably Tony Blair of Britain and Gerhard Schroeder of Germany – find they are not as free to do so as they were in the past.

JEWS IN JACKBOOTS

The European media, too, tend to adopt a single line on Israel. This article focuses on bias – not because the British reporting is worse (it is not) – but to show how even in a country that still has an international reputation for "fair play," and whose prime minister has shown marked philo-Semitic attitudes, the media has been swept along in an almost unstoppable anti-Israel European tide.

If the misreporting and virulent bias were limited to one or two newspapers or television programs in each country, one might perhaps shrug them off. But they are not. They can be found in news reports, cartoons, and comment columns, through virtually the entire European print and broadcast media. Bashing Israel even extends to local papers that don't usually cover foreign affairs, such as the recent double page spread entitled "Jews in jackboots" in "Luton on Sunday." (Luton is an industrial town in the south of England.) That a handful of papers sometimes carry pro-Israel editorial pieces hardly balances things out.

Regarding Britain, we have already seen how The Guardian, and it Sunday sister paper, The Observer, are slanted against Israel. Although its circulation is not particularly high, The Guardian is highly influential: it is overwhelmingly the paper of choice for those who work in education and the media.

But what is choice for those Britons who don't wish to read The Guardian? There are three other main British broadsheets (in addition to The Financial Times, whose readership is now mainly international). Here, to give a flavor, are extracts from the Rupert Murdoch-owned Times, the Conrad Black-owned Daily Telegraph, and the Independent, which claims to be independent and centrist. They are not isolated examples. On 12 October 2000, Phil Reeves, the Jerusalem correspondent of the Independent, began his news report:

"The little boy is lying under a pink flowery sheet, his bandaged head tilted to one side and his cheeks still streaked with a mix of blood and Gaza dust. His pathetically small chest pumps away steadily – up, down, up down – a human bellows driven by an artificial respirator. His closed eye-lids, sealed by long lashes, are swollen; so are his lips, twisted by the battery of pipes and wires that connect his mouth to the beeping and buzzing life support system at his bedside.

Officially, Sami Abu Jazar – a 12-year-old Palestinian who looks no more than nine – is still alive. His heart pounds doggedly on. But, in every other sense, he is dead – "clinically dead", as the doctors put it – because of the Israeli bullet buried in his skull. He never had a hope."

Then, having noted that the death of another Palestinian 12-year-old, Mohammed al-Durra, was caught on camera for the world to see, Reeves comments: "Unfortunately, Sami's death was not filmed".

(For the record, Israel claims that a gun battle started by the Palestinians was in progress at the time Sami was shot, and it is unclear whose bullets hit him. The Palestinians, too, admit there was an ongoing confrontation at the time.)

HARMLESS SLINGSHOTS

Much of the anti-Israel tone predates the current Intifada. For example, on May 30, 2000, following Israel's unilateral withdrawal from southern Lebanon, Sam Kiley, Jerusalem correspondent for the Times of London, began his article:

"A bearded man in a green hat pressed his cheek against the barbed wire and wept... Refugees yesterday descended on the area in the hope of meeting long-lost relatives who had stayed behind during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and "Operation Cleanse the Galilee" – when an estimated 250 Palestinian villages were leveled or taken over by Jewish settlers... About 150 people gathered on each side of the fence. Israeli soldiers let through small groups to meet their relatives. Palestinians living in Israel, known as 'Israeli Arabs,' offered them glasses of water and soft drinks."

I have never seen terms such as "Operation Cleanse the Galilee" used in any other western news report, or indeed in an editorial. Kiley seems to be imposing terminology from more recent times – the phrase "ethnic cleansing" didn't enter the world's political vocabulary until the 1990s – and from utterly different contexts.

Even the Daily Telegraph has not been immune. According to a rival British paper, "under [Conrad] Black's proprietorship, serious critical reporting of Israel is not tolerated", and some anti-Semites have taken to referring to the paper as the "Daily Telavivgraph." Yet the Telegraph has in fact had its fair share of slanted reporting. On October 17, 2000, Patrick Bishop, formerly the paper's foreign editor, and now their roving chief foreign correspondent, began his piece:

"There was no flash, no bang as the young man flopped to the ground. The silent Israeli sniper had claimed another victim... His targets were a crowd of young men and boys whose stones and slingshots bounced harmlessly in the road." He continues: "The Israelis are putting their faith in bullets... There is plenty of killing to be done yet."

These examples aren't taken from comment articles or letters to the editor. They come from news reports, all of them accompanied by heart-wrenching photos of Palestinians. If there were comparable reports about Israeli victims of Palestinian attacks, written in the same vein, it might be another story. But there seldom are.

MURDERED JEWISH BABY

Compare, for instance, the case of Sami Abu Jazar with that of Yehuda Shoham, a five-month old Israeli baby who was left with severe brain damage following a Palestinian stoning ambush on June 5. As with little Sami before him, the doctors said (on June 5) that there was no hope of saving Yehuda's life and that he would be dead within days. (He did in fact die on June 11). At that time, Yehuda was the youngest Israeli victim of the conflict – born at the beginning of 2001 and murdered before the year was half over – and his attack was the lead story in all the Israeli press on June 6. Yet it was hard to find any news about Yehuda in Europe's press that day.

Instead the Daily Telegraph lead the first page of its "World news" section with a story stretching across seven columns, entitled "Family of 'martyred' Palestinian donates organs to let three Israelis live." The story implied that the Palestinian in question, Mazen Joulani, a 33-year-old pharmacist, had been shot dead in Jerusalem in a "revenge attack" (the paper's words) by Israel. But there have been virtually no deliberate killings of innocent Arabs by Israelis during the Intifada, and it subsequently transpired that Joulani – as was hinted at the very end of the article, for those who got that far – was shot by another Palestinian in a criminal act unrelated to the Intifada.

Nor did The Guardian mention any Jewish baby on June 6. Neither did the Independent. It, too, ran a story (albeit much shorter than the one in Daily Telegraph) entitled "Palestinian's organs go to Israelis." (Incidentally, I haven't seen similar articles when Israelis helped Palestinians – such as the donation on June 12 of the cornea of a teenager murdered in the Tel Aviv disco bomb, which restored the sight of an 11-year-old Arab girl.)

When Yehuda was mentioned in the Daily Telegraph the following day, June 7 ("West Bank violence after baby is injured") the story was accompanied not by a photo of Yehuda's mother keeping vigil over her dying baby, but by an enormous picture – about four times bigger than the text of the story – of an angry-looking bearded settler, gun in hand. A reader who looked at the photo and read only the headline of the piece and the photo caption would be forgiven for thinking that an Arab baby had been brain damaged by Jewish settlers, rather than the other way round. A reader who read the full text would have learned that settlers damaged a Palestinian greenhouse, before Yehuda's name was even mentioned.

On June 7, The Guardian carried two articles, "Israel slices through the low road to Gaza" and "US creeps back into Middle East." Yehuda was mentioned (although not by name) in half a sentence in the penultimate paragraph of the second of these articles, again only in the context of first mentioning that angry settlers had damaged Palestinian property. Do Israeli settlers have to riot in order to get the Western media to report on murdered Israeli babies?

When, on June 12, the Independent finally carried news about Yehuda, following his death the day before, its correspondent in effect acknowledged – perhaps inadvertently – that the case had not roused much international interest by telling his readers in the second sentence: "The case of Yehuda Shoham, and his six-day battle for life, has made headlines in Israel."

In contrast the same correspondent's reports about Palestinian victims such as Sami (whom he tells us was just a school kid whose "dream was to make a living growing flowers"), he had little sympathy to spare for Yehuda or his parents.

On the rare occasions when British papers do attempt to give "settler" victims an identity, they often get it wrong. The Independent, for example, reporting on the murder of Assaf Hershkovitz as he drove home from work by (as the Independent would have it) "Hamas guerillas... avenging Israeli death squads," inserted the wrong photo, that of an unknown bearded man. (Hershkovitz did not have a beard.) No doubt a mistake, but one that may well point to the subconscious stereotypes of settlers that the desk editors in London have picked up from the correspondents in Jerusalem.

Yehuda Shoham was not alone in having his plight ignored. When, on March 26, 10-month-old Shalhevet Pass was shot dead in her pram by a Fatah sniper perched on a Hebron rooftop, the Israeli foreign ministry says it took six hours to persuade CNN to show a photo of Shalhevet. Israeli government officials – who had to supply the photo themselves (journalists didn't seem very interested in requesting one from the family) – say they literally had to plead with CNN to use the photo, intervening at "the highest levels" before CNN finally agreed to do so.

It is difficult to decide which European country has the most anti-Israel media, but Jewish leaders in France claim it is theirs. One said recently, "Sometimes it is so hard to tell the difference between the reporting on Israel in France and reporting in Syria that you would think France was applying to chair the Arab League." In June, a number of Jewish readers of Le Monde – widely regarded as France's most serious daily paper – cancelled their subscriptions following reports which they said effectively blamed the Tel Aviv disco bomb on Israelis.

SPANISH MEDIA

The bias in the Spanish media strikes me as even more blatant than that in France. The Spanish media is less cautious in trying to disguise its hostility than for example, the Danish or the Dutch media, where the bias is equally strong, but more subtle. (Spaniards, it should be noted, play a disproportionately important role in formulating Middle East policy for the whole EU. Both Xavier Solana the EU's high representative for foreign policy – Europe's de facto foreign minister – and Miguel Moratinos, the longtime Europe special envoy on the Middle East, are from Spain).

As an example of the Spanish approach, consider some recent cartoons from the Spanish press, culled over a two-week period in late May and early June. On June 4, 2001 (three days after a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 21 young Israelis at a disco, and wounded over 100 others, all in the midst of a unilateral Israeli ceasefire), the liberal weekly Cambio 16, published (on page 3) a cartoon of a hook-nosed Sharon, wearing a yarmulke on his head, sporting a swastika inside a star of David on his chest, and proclaiming: "At least Hitler taught me how to invade a country and destroy every living insect."

On May 23, El Pais (the "New York Times of Spain") published on page 10, a picture of an allegorical figure carrying a small rectangular-shaped black moustache, flying through the air towards Sharon's upper lip. The caption read: "Clio, the muse of history, puts Hitler's moustache on Ariel Sharon". Was this El Pais's way of telling its readers that on May 22, Sharon had taken the courageous decision to declare a unilateral ceasefire in spite of over a dozen bomb attacks and attempted bomb attacks against Israeli civilians during the previous week?

On May 25, the daily La Vanguardia published a large cartoon at the top of page 22. On the left side of the picture, there was an imposing building, with a large sign outside reading "Museo del Holocausto Judio" (Museum of the Jewish Holocaust). On the right there was a half-constructed building, with a crane busy at work in the background, and a sign in front, reading "Futuro Museo del Holocausto Palestino" (Future Museum of the Palestinian Holocaust").

On June 2, while Israeli teenagers were fighting for their lives in hospital with shards of glass and ball bearings imbedded in their brains following the Tel Aviv suicide bomb the day before, the cartoon on page 8 of La Razon, another Spanish daily, shows an Israeli soldier, with a star on his helmet, and large gun in hand, standing by barbed wire (presumably a border fence), with a large sign reading "To Rent: A kibbutz with the view of the genocide."

On June 7, the cartoon in La Razon (page 16) showed pretty houses and a bright sky on the left side (with the caption "Jewish settlements"), and a dark night with a cemetery of crosses stretching into the distance on the right side (with the caption "Palestinian settlements").

It would could easy to fill a whole issue of this publication with similar examples from across Europe. Mixed in with the general Jew-hatred and compulsive attempts to draw a parallel with the Holocaust, is a specifically Christian-based anti-Semitism. Although the overwhelming majority of Palestinians are Moslem, many of the cartoons (like the one in La Razon), and many of the headlines and news reports use Christian imagery. Phrases such as the "Palestinians' Via Dolorosa" and "the cross the Palestinians have to bear" are common in countries like France and Italy.

Anti-Semitism drawing on Christian traditions can be found on TV, too. For example, the BBC's chief Jerusalem correspondent Hillary Anderson began one recent report on the deaths of Palestinian children by saying: "Deep underground in Bethlehem are the remnants of an atrocity so vile, so far back in history, King Herod's slaughter of the innocents." (The camera meanwhile showed a pile of skulls.) Then she moved on to the deaths of the Palestinian children, evoking Herod's Massacre of the Innocents, to remind the viewer that Jews, who tried to kill the infant Christ, are busy killing innocent children once again.

The allegation that Israel has deliberately tried to kill Palestinian children is horrible and deeply upsetting. But equally upsetting is the possibility that Hillary Anderson and her producers at the BBC, do not know that the myth of Herod's slaughter is the original anti-Semitic blood libel, which arguably gave rise to centuries of persecution and pogroms, culminating in the Holocaust?

Anderson's reports, it should be added, appear not only on the British domestic BBC channels (the example above was on BBC 2's influential "Newsnight" show), but on BBC World – "The BBC's 24 Hour Global TV News Channel". In the last few years, BBC World has become required viewing across the world for those interested in current affairs, to rival CNN International, and is particularly popular in Europe, as English fast becomes the must-know language of young people across the continent. The channel's reporting on the Middle East has been riddled with slanted and inaccurate reporting, and has been widely criticized across the entire political spectrum in Israel.

Internationally, certain programs have attracted particular criticism, such as the flagship "Panorama" documentary in late June, entitled "The Accused" – the program singled out Ariel Sharon from among all the world's leaders and asked whether he should be indicted for war crimes. But in fact, the "Panorama" episode – which was aired four times in a single weekend by BBC World and has since been repeatedly hailed in the Arab media as a "brilliant piece of journalism" – is only the tip of the iceberg of the misreporting which the BBC puts out about Israel. (The reports by Anderson and other BBC correspondents also air on BBC World Service Radio, which attracts 153 million listeners daily.)

Some of the media's "mistakes" are easily spottable to those who know Israel. When the Guardian writes that "The [Israeli] gunships struck just hours after militants had sent mortar shells crashing into the Jewish settlement of Sderot, near Gaza" (April 17, 2001), many will know that Sderot is not a "settlement " but a sleepy town in Israel's Negev desert.

Much more insidious from Israel's point of view is that in many cases the misreporting will not be apparent to even well-informed readers outside Israel, because they will simply not know what the media has omitted. When, for example, on November 12, shots were fired at the car of UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson, as she toured Hebron, practically the entire world media rushed to blame Israel. The Danish police were then brought in to investigate, as impartial outsiders. Yet when the investigation concluded that the tracer bullet was fired from a Kalashnikov assault rifle of a type used by Palestinian forces, and from the Arab-run part of the city, it was hard to find any mention of the fact in the international media.

Often the "mistakes are small. The Daily Telegraph, for example, wrote on July 3 that "An Israeli settler was shot dead by Palestinian gunmen near the West Bank city of Tulkarm," when in fact the man in question, Aharon Abidan, was a resident of the central Israeli town of Zichron Ya'akov, and he was killed while going to the market in an Arab-Israeli town in the Galilee. But taken together such misleading references add up to paint a false picture.

A good deal of the selective reporting derives from the fact that both the print and broadcast media rely heavily on Associated Press and Reuters to provide the text, photos and film footage from the West Bank and Gaza. In turn, the news agencies are heavily dependent on a whole network of Palestinian stringers, freelancers and fixers all over the territories to provide instant reports or footage of events.

As Ehud Ya'ari, Israel television's foremost expert on Palestinian affairs, put it recently: "The vast majority of information of every type coming out of the area is being filtered through Palestinian eyes. Cameras are angled to show a tainted view of the Israeli army's actions and never focus on the Palestinian gunmen. Written reports focus on the Palestinian version of events. And even those Palestinians who don't support the Intifada dare not show or describe anything embarrassing to the Palestinian Authority, for fear they may provoke the wrath of Yasser Arafat's security forces."

Sometimes the local Palestinians admit their bias. For example, Fayad Abu Shamala, the BBC's Gaza correspondent for the past ten years, told a Hamas rally on May 6 that "journalists and media organizations [are] waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people." Yet no British paper (apart from the local Anglo-Jewish press) agreed to publicize these remarks. The best the BBC could do in response to requests from Israel that they distance themselves from these remarks, was to issue a statement saying, "Fayad's remarks were made in a private capacity. His reports have always matched the best standards of balance required by the BBC."

The principal reason for the bias, however, is that many western correspondents sent to cover the Middle East are not in effect living in Israel, but in occupied Palestine, as they perceive it. Whereas many pride themselves on knowing some Arabic, few make any effort to learn Hebrew. As a result, they are detached from Israeli life. Their encounters with Israelis are mainly with government and army spokespeople, or other kinds of bureaucrats – being asked irritating questions at airports, being kept in line renewing visas, and so on.

The fault here ultimately lies with the bureaus themselves. Most would not send correspondents to Paris without French, or to Cairo without Arabic, or to Moscow without Russian. Even in Prague, where I worked for three years, the foreign reporters all spent many months learning Czech.

Occasionally, the media has responded in print to Jewish concerns over Western media reporting. They have not been sympathetic. David Leigh, the Guardian's comment editor (in an article headlined "Media Manipulators,") dismissed Jews who had criticized the paper's Israel coverage as "right-wing extremists." Another Guardian columnist wrote that at least some of the protests were "sinister" and directed by "a shadowy ultra-orthodox Jewish group."

A senior figure in the British media (a Jew) told me: " When Indians and Pakistanis in Britain have raised complaints about reporting in our newspaper, their concerns were treated with some respect, and often they received an apology. But when Jews complained, they were shrugged off or treated with contempt for even suggesting bias. England seems to be a country where to accuse somebody of anti-Semitism is far more impolite than being one."

Again, when the deputy director of Israel's foreign ministry said that the BBC's coverage of Israel is "tinged with anti-Semitism," BBC special correspondent Fergal Keane said this was a "contemptible" and "ludicrous" charge.

Was world chess champion Gary Kasparov also being "ludicrous" when he wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal specifically citing the BBC coverage and then concluding "the international press is stirring anti-Semitism with its one-sided reports on Israel"? Was Neville Nagler, a distinguished man who heads the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and has written about the media's "gross distortions of the truth", also "ludicrous"? Was Ehud Barak's foreign minister, the urbane and academic Shlomo Ben Ami, also being "ludicrous" when he said, in connection with the BBC and other European broadcasters, that "The Western cultural consciousness is too burdened by its role in the persecution of Jews to give Israel a fair hearing"?

DOES IT MATTER?

Does the bias, in the end, matter? In my view, it does, and not just because the truth is always important.

For one thing, it is clear that inaccurate reporting is influencing international diplomatic efforts. A distorted picture of events is helping to produce correspondingly distorted policies, particularly in Europe.

Then, as Shimon Peres pointed out recently, there are cases where media bias bears a direct responsibility for encouraging acts of violence. Peres cited the example of a local Fatah leader caught by an Israeli army camera saying, "Don't start the stoning yet. I have just been told that CNN crew is stuck in traffic near Ramallah."

In addition, as Jewish organizations in Europe and beyond can confirm, there is a clear link between inflammatory reporting about Israel and physical attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions in the countries where the reports are published or broadcast. Correspondents may not realize it, but their unfair reporting plays into pre-existing anti-Semitic feelings.

Meanwhile the imbalanced media coverage – and 90 percent of Israeli homes get CNN and the BBC – has only served to harden positions, thereby reducing further the prospects for peace. Many Israeli liberals have told me that they hadn't realized how much the world hates them. Again and again I have heard words to the effect that "I never supported the Likud before, but I see now the necessity of fortifying Israel further."

The systematic building up a false picture of Israel as aggressor, and deliberate killer of babies and children, is helping to slowly chip away at Israel's legitimacy. How can ordinary people elsewhere not end up hating such a country? And contrary to the perceptions of some, Israel is not a big tough major power that can withstand such international antagonism indefinitely. As the Jews have learnt only too well, acts of wholesale destruction and ultimately genocide did not just spring forth in a vacuum: they were the product of a climate. The international media is not an innocent bystander in this affair.

[Tom Gross reported from the Middle East for major international newspapers for the past six years, and previously served as a United Nations human-rights adviser on Czech Roma (Gypsies).]


The Guardian discovers modern anti-Semitism

CONTENTS

1. "Good, bad and ugly" (By Julie Burchill, Guardian, Nov. 29, 2003)
2. "Anti-Zionism is anti-semitism. Behind much criticism of Israel is a thinly veiled hatred of Jews" (By Emanuele Ottolenghi, Guardian, Nov. 29, 2003)
3. "Letters Page" (Guardian, Nov. 27, 2003)
4. "The 'new' anti-semitism: is Europe in grip of worst bout of hatred since the Holocaust? Jewish leaders claim rising Muslim influence has altered mood of continent" (By Chris McGreal, Guardian, Nov. 25, 2003)
5. "Rising tension in France blamed on disaffected Arab youths" (Guardian, Nov. 25, 2003)



[Note by Tom Gross]

A KNOCK-ON INFLUENCE BEYOND ITS IMMEDIATE READERSHIP

Many people have asserted that through its wildly distorted coverage of Israeli and Jewish affairs in recent years, the Guardian newspaper has done its fair share in whipping up latent anti-Semitic sentiment in Britain (where it is published), in the Arab media (where select Guardian articles are reprinted) and through much of the rest of the world (where its popular internet site is widely read). The Guardian also has a knock-on influence beyond its immediate readership, since it is the paper of choice for many teachers and media workers, including much of the BBC staff.

Yesterday The Guardian contained not one, but two articles in effect attacking its own record on the subject.

I attach those articles, along with an example of the kind of letters the Guardian chooses to publish on this subject on a typical day (letters published last Thursday, a day chosen at random).

There are summaries first.

 

SUMMARIES

“A QUITE STRIKING BIAS AGAINST THE STATE OF ISRAEL”

"Good, bad and ugly" (by Julie Burchill, The Guardian, November 29, 2003). (Julie Burchill is a well-known British writer and columnist.) She writes: "I'm leaving the Guardian next year for the Times. I admire the Guardian, I also find it fun to read... But if there is one issue that has made me feel less loyal to my newspaper over the past year, it has been what I, as a non-Jew, perceive to be a quite striking bias against the state of Israel. Which, for all its faults, is the only country in that barren region that you or I, or any feminist, atheist, homosexual or trade unionist, could bear to live under.

... I don't swallow the modern liberal line that anti-Zionism is entirely different from anti-semitism... Jews historically have been blamed for everything we might disapprove of: they can be rabid revolutionaries, responsible for the might of the late Soviet empire, and the greediest of fat cats, enslaving the planet to the demands of international high finance. They are insular, cliquey and clannish, yet they worm their way into the highest positions of power in their adopted countries, changing their names and marrying Gentile women. They collectively possess a huge, slippery wealth that knows no boundaries - yet Israel is said to be an impoverished, lame-duck state, bleeding the west dry.

... The fact that many Gentiles and Arabs are rabidly Judeophobic, while many others are as horrified by Judeophobia as by any other type of racism, makes me believe that anti-semitism/Zionism is not a political position (otherwise the right and the left, the PLO and the KKK, would not be able to unite so uniquely in their hatred), but about how an individual feels about himself. I can't help noticing that, over the years, a disproportionate number of attractive, kind, clever people are drawn to Jews; those who express hostility to them, however, from Hitler to Hamza, are often as not repulsive freaks.

... How fitting that it was Richard Ingrams – who this summer proclaimed in the Observer [the Sunday edition of The Guardian] that he refuses to read letters from Jews about the Middle East, and that Jewish journalists should declare their racial origins when writing on this subject. Replying in another newspaper, Johann Hari suggested sarcastically that their bylines might be marked with a yellow star, and asked why Ingrams didn't want to know whether those writing on international conflicts were Muslim, Christian, Sikh or Hindu..."

ISRAEL DESERVES TO BE JUDGED BY THE SAME STANDARDS ADOPTED FOR OTHERS

"Anti-Zionism is anti-semitism. Behind much criticism of Israel is a thinly veiled hatred of Jews" (By Emanuele Ottolenghi, The Guardian, November 29, 2003). [Emanuele Ottolenghi is a lecturer at Oxford University. I recommend reading this piece in full, attached further down this email. But in summary for those who don't have time...]

"... There is nothing wrong, or even remotely anti-semitic, in disapproving of Israeli policies. Nevertheless... If Israel's critics are truly opposed to anti-semitism, they should not repeat traditional anti-semitic themes under the anti-Israel banner. When such themes – the Jewish conspiracy to rule the world, linking Jews with money and media, the hooked-nose stingy Jew, the blood libel, disparaging use of Jewish symbols, or traditional Christian anti-Jewish imagery – are used to describe Israel's actions, concern should be voiced. Labour MP Tam Dalyell decried the influence of "a Jewish cabal" on British foreign policy-making; an Italian cartoonist last year depicted the Israeli siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem as an attempt to kill Jesus "again". Is it necessary to evoke the Jewish conspiracy or depict Israelis as Christ-killers to denounce Israeli policies?

The fact that accusations of anti-semitism are dismissed as paranoia, even when anti-semitic imagery is at work, is a subterfuge. Israel deserves to be judged by the same standards adopted for others, not by the standards of utopia.

... Last year, Louis de Bernières wrote in the Independent [another supposedly liberal British newspaper – TG] that "Israel has been adopting tactics which are reminiscent of the Nazis". This equation between victims and murderers denies the Holocaust. Worse still, it provides its retroactive justification: if Jews turned out to be so evil, perhaps they deserved what they got.

... It could be suggested that nationalism is a pernicious force. In which case one should oppose Palestinian nationalism as well. ... Anti-Zionists deny Jews a right that they all too readily bestow on others, first of all Palestinians.

... The argument that it is Israel's behaviour, and Jewish support for it, that invite prejudice sounds hollow at best and sinister at worst. That argument means that sympathy for Jews is conditional on the political views they espouse. This is hardly an expression of tolerance. It singles Jews out. It is anti-semitism.

... Israel errs like all other nations: it is normal. What anti-Zionists find so obscene is that Israel is neither martyr nor saint. Their outrage refuses legitimacy to a people's national liberation movement. Israel's stubborn refusal to comply with the invitation to commit national suicide and thereby regain a supposedly lost moral ground draws condemnation. Jews now have the right to self-determination, and that is what the anti-semite dislikes so much."

THE PALESTINIANS ARE A SEMITIC PEOPLE

"Letters Page," (The Guardian, November 27, 2003) [These are extracts – The full letters are below].

Matthew Collins, of Erskineville, NSW, Australia, writes: "I find it absurd that criticism of the Israeli government should be seen as anti-semitism. This is particularly ridiculous when that criticism relates to Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, a semitic people."

MM Austin, of St Andrews, Fife, writes: "If criticism of the policies of Israel amounts to anti-semitism, then there are a lot of anti-semitic Jews throughout the world and in Israel itself – Gush Shalom, The Other Israel, Rabbis For Human Rights, B-Tselem, Yesh Gvul, The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and many others."

Sharif Hikmat Nashashibi, Director, Arab Media Watch, writes: "To state, as do Ariel Sharon and others, that the presence and growth of Muslims in Europe are "endangering the life of Jewish people" is purely Islamophobic, as is the abhorrent claim that they exert some sort of dark influence on the continent. These were exactly the excuses used to perpetrate and justify the Holocaust, regurgitated by those who, shamefully, claim to speak on behalf of its victims." [TG adds: The "quote" by Ariel Sharon repeated in this letter is taken completely out of context]

Ian Simpson of London, writes: "I deplore the current Israeli government's policies towards the Palestinians but am certainly not anti-semitic. Being able to make distinctions between people and the policies of those that govern them is at the heart of being non-racist in one's thinking."

THE “NEW” ANTI-SEMITISM

Below I also attach, in full, the article that gave rise to these letters: -
"The 'new' anti-semitism: is Europe in grip of worst bout of hatred since the Holocaust? Jewish leaders claim rising Muslim influence has altered mood of continent," (By Chris McGreal in Jerusalem, The Guardian, November 25, 2003).

[TG adds: Following sustained criticism that The Guardian has woefully underreported on the multitude of attacks on Jews in Europe in the last three years, they commissioned this article by Chris McGreal, their current chief Middle East correspondent.]

[TG adds: The Guardian, inaccurate as ever when it comes to reporting on the sayings and quotes of Ariel Sharon, states in this article that Sharon said there are "approximately 70 million [Moslems] in the Europe." In the interview to which The Guardian refers, Sharon in fact said 7 million.]

THE GUARDIAN SUDDENLY DISCOVERS ANTI-SEMITISM EXISTS IN EUROPE

"Rising tension in France blamed on disaffected Arab youths," (By Jon Henley in Paris, The Guardian, November 25, 2003). I attach this as another example of how in the last week, Guardian reporters have suddenly discovered that anti-Semitism exists in Europe.

[In this article, it is stated that "the collaborationist wartime government oversaw the deportation of 750,000 French Jews to Nazi death camps." This is a gross exaggeration. One wonders what goes through the minds of Guardian staff when editing articles.]



FULL ARTICLES

GOOD, BAD AND UGLY

Good, bad and ugly
By Julie Burchill
The Guardian
November 29, 2003

www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,3605,1094325,00.html

As you might have heard, I'm leaving the Guardian next year for the Times, having finally been convinced that my evil populist philistinism has no place in a publication read by so many all-round, top-drawer plaster saints. (Well, that and the massive wad they've waved at me.) Once there, I will compose as many love letters to the likes of Mr Murdoch and Pres Bush as my black little heart desires, leaving those who have always objected to my presence on such a fine liberal newspaper as this to read only writers they agree with, with no chance of spoiled digestion as the muesli goes down the wrong way if I so much as murmur about bringing back hanging. (Public.)

Not only do I admire the Guardian, I also find it fun to read, which in a way is more of a compliment. But if there is one issue that has made me feel less loyal to my newspaper over the past year, it has been what I, as a non-Jew, perceive to be a quite striking bias against the state of Israel. Which, for all its faults, is the only country in that barren region that you or I, or any feminist, atheist, homosexual or trade unionist, could bear to live under.

I find this hard to accept because, crucially, I don't swallow the modern liberal line that anti-Zionism is entirely different from anti-semitism; the first good, the other bad. Judeophobia – as the brilliant collection of essays A New Antisemitism? Debating Judeophobia In 21st-Century Britain (axt.org.uk), published this year, points out – is a shape-shifting virus, as opposed to the straightforward stereotypical prejudice applied to other groups (Irish stupid, Japanese cruel, Germans humourless, etc). Jews historically have been blamed for everything we might disapprove of: they can be rabid revolutionaries, responsible for the might of the late Soviet empire, and the greediest of fat cats, enslaving the planet to the demands of international high finance. They are insular, cliquey and clannish, yet they worm their way into the highest positions of power in their adopted countries, changing their names and marrying Gentile women. They collectively possess a huge, slippery wealth that knows no boundaries – yet Israel is said to be an impoverished, lame-duck state, bleeding the west dry.

If you take into account the theory that Jews are responsible for everything nasty in the history of the world, and also the recent EU survey that found 60% of Europeans believe Israel is the biggest threat to peace in the world today (hmm, I must have missed all those rabbis telling their flocks to go out with bombs strapped to their bodies and blow up the nearest mosque), it's a short jump to reckoning that it was obviously a bloody good thing that the Nazis got rid of six million of the buggers. Perhaps this is why sales of Mein Kampf are so buoyant, from the Middle Eastern bazaars unto the Edgware Road, and why The Protocols of The Elders of Zion could be found for sale at the recent Anti-racism Congress in Durban.

The fact that many Gentiles and Arabs are rabidly Judeophobic, while many others are as horrified by Judeophobia as by any other type of racism, makes me believe that anti-semitism/Zionism is not a political position (otherwise the right and the left, the PLO and the KKK, would not be able to unite so uniquely in their hatred), but about how an individual feels about himself. I can't help noticing that, over the years, a disproportionate number of attractive, kind, clever people are drawn to Jews; those who express hostility to them, however, from Hitler to Hamza, are often as not repulsive freaks.

Think of famous anti-Zionist windbags – Redgrave, Highsmith, Galloway – and what dreary, dysfunctional, po-faced vanity confronts us. When we consider famous Jew-lovers, on the other hand – Marilyn, Ava, Liz, Felicity Kendal, me – what a sumptuous banquet of radiant humanity we look upon! How fitting that it was Richard Ingrams - Victor Meldrew without the animal magnetism – who this summer proclaimed in the Observer that he refuses to read letters from Jews about the Middle East, and that Jewish journalists should declare their racial origins when writing on this subject. Replying in another newspaper, Johann Hari suggested sarcastically that their bylines might be marked with a yellow star, and asked why Ingrams didn't want to know whether those writing on international conflicts were Muslim, Christian, Sikh or Hindu. The answer is obvious to me: poor Ingrams is a miserable, bitter, hypocritical cuckold, whose much younger girlfriend has written at length in the public arena of the boredom, misery and alcoholism to which living with him has led her, and whose trademark has long been a loathing for anyone who appears to get a kick out of life: the young, the prole, independent women. The Jews are in good company.

Judeophobia: where the political is personal, and the personal pretends to be political, and those swarthy/pallid/swotty/philistine/aggressive/ cowardly/comically bourgeois/filthy rich/delete-as-mood-takes-you bastards always get the girl. I'll return to this dirty little secret masquerading as a moral stance next week and, rest assured, it'll get much nastier. As the darling Jews them-selves would say (annoyingly, but then, nobody's perfect), enjoy!

 

ANTI-ZIONISM IS ANTI-SEMITISM

Anti-Zionism is anti-semitism
Behind much criticism of Israel is a thinly veiled hatred of Jews
Comment
By Emanuele Ottolenghi
The Guardian
November 29, 2003

Is there a link between the way Israel's case is presented and anti-semitism? Israel's advocates protest that behind criticisms of Israel there sometimes lurks a more sinister agenda, dangerously bordering on anti-semitism. Critics vehemently disagree. In their view, public attacks on Israel are neither misplaced nor the source of anti-Jewish sentiment: Israel's behaviour is reprehensible and so are those Jews who defend it.

Jewish defenders of Israel are then depicted by their critics as seeking an excuse to justify Israel, projecting Jewish paranoia and displaying a "typical" Jewish trait of "sticking together", even in defending the morally indefensible. Israel's advocates deserve the hostility they get, the argument goes; it is they who should engage in soul-searching.

There is no doubt that recent anti-semitism is linked to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. And it is equally without doubt that Israeli policies sometimes deserve criticism. There is nothing wrong, or even remotely anti-semitic, in disapproving of Israeli policies. Nevertheless, this debate – with its insistence that there is a distinction between anti-semitism and anti-Zionism – misses the crucial point of contention. Israel's advocates do not want to gag critics by brandishing the bogeyman of anti-semitism: rather, they are concerned about the form the criticism takes.

If Israel's critics are truly opposed to anti-semitism, they should not repeat traditional anti-semitic themes under the anti-Israel banner. When such themes – the Jewish conspiracy to rule the world, linking Jews with money and media, the hooked-nose stingy Jew, the blood libel, disparaging use of Jewish symbols, or traditional Christian anti-Jewish imagery – are used to describe Israel's actions, concern should be voiced. Labour MP Tam Dalyell decried the influence of "a Jewish cabal" on British foreign policy-making; an Italian cartoonist last year depicted the Israeli siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem as an attempt to kill Jesus "again". Is it necessary to evoke the Jewish conspiracy or depict Israelis as Christ-killers to denounce Israeli policies?

The fact that accusations of anti-semitism are dismissed as paranoia, even when anti-semitic imagery is at work, is a subterfuge. Israel deserves to be judged by the same standards adopted for others, not by the standards of utopia. Singling out Israel for an impossibly high standard not applied to any other country begs the question: why such different treatment?

Despite piqued disclaimers, some of Israel's critics use anti-semitic stereotypes. In fact, their disclaimers frequently offer a mask of respectability to otherwise socially unacceptable anti-semitism. Many equate Israel to Nazism, claiming that "yesterday's victims are today's perpetrators": last year, Louis de Bernières wrote in the Independent that "Israel has been adopting tactics which are reminiscent of the Nazis". This equation between victims and murderers denies the Holocaust. Worse still, it provides its retroactive justification: if Jews turned out to be so evil, perhaps they deserved what they got. Others speak of Zionist conspiracies to dominate the media, manipulate American foreign policy, rule the world and oppress the Arabs. By describing Israel as the root of all evil, they provide the linguistic mandate and the moral justification to destroy it. And by using anti-semitic instruments to achieve this goal, they give away their true anti-semitic face.

There is of course the open question of whether this applies to anti-Zionism. It is one thing to object to the consequences of Zionism, to suggest that the historical cost of its realisation was too high, or to claim that Jews are better off as a scattered, stateless minority. This is a serious argument, based on interests, moral claims, and an interpretation of history. But this is not anti-Zionism. To oppose Zionism in its essence and to refuse to accept its political offspring, Israel, as a legitimate entity, entails more. Zionism comprises a belief that Jews are a nation, and as such are entitled to self-determination as all other nations are.

It could be suggested that nationalism is a pernicious force. In which case one should oppose Palestinian nationalism as well. It could even be argued that though both claims are true and noble, it would have been better to pursue Jewish national rights elsewhere. But negating Zionism, by claiming that Zionism equals racism, goes further and denies the Jews the right to identify, understand and imagine themselves - and consequently behave as – a nation. Anti-Zionists deny Jews a right that they all too readily bestow on others, first of all Palestinians.

Were you outraged when Golda Meir claimed there were no Palestinians? You should be equally outraged at the insinuation that Jews are not a nation. Those who denounce Zionism sometimes explain Israel's policies as a product of its Jewish essence. In their view, not only should Israel act differently, it should cease being a Jewish state. Anti-Zionists are prepared to treat Jews equally and fight anti-semitic prejudice only if Jews give up their distinctiveness as a nation: Jews as a nation deserve no sympathy and no rights, Jews as individuals are worthy of both. Supporters of this view love Jews, but not when Jews assert their national rights. Jews condemning Israel and rejecting Zionism earn their praise. Denouncing Israel becomes a passport to full integration. Noam Chomsky and his imitators are the new heroes, their Jewish pride and identity expressed solely through their shame for Israel's existence. Zionist Jews earn no respect, sympathy or protection. It is their expression of Jewish identity through identification with Israel that is under attack.

The argument that it is Israel's behaviour, and Jewish support for it, that invite prejudice sounds hollow at best and sinister at worst. That argument means that sympathy for Jews is conditional on the political views they espouse. This is hardly an expression of tolerance. It singles Jews out. It is anti-semitism.

Zionism reversed Jewish historical passivity to persecution and asserted the Jewish right to self-determination and independent survival. This is why anti-Zionists see it as a perversion of Jewish humanism. Zionism entails the difficulty of dealing with sometimes impossible moral dilemmas, which traditional Jewish passivity in the wake of historical persecution had never faced. By negating Zionism, the anti-semite is arguing that the Jew must always be the victim, for victims do no wrong and deserve our sympathy and support.

Israel errs like all other nations: it is normal. What anti-Zionists find so obscene is that Israel is neither martyr nor saint. Their outrage refuses legitimacy to a people's national liberation movement. Israel's stubborn refusal to comply with the invitation to commit national suicide and thereby regain a supposedly lost moral ground draws condemnation. Jews now have the right to self-determination, and that is what the anti-semite dislikes so much.

(Emanuele Ottolenghi is the Leone Ginzburg Fellow in Israel Studies at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and the Middle East Centre at St Antony's College, Oxford)

 

A NEW ANTI-SEMITISM?

A new anti-semitism?
Letters Page
The Guardian
November 27, 2003

www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,3604,1093956,00.html

• Europe may well be in the grip of the worst bout of hatred since the Holocaust (The 'new' anti-semitism, November 25). If this is the case, European governments must ensure such attitudes remain anathema to mainstream society.

However, I find it absurd that criticism of the Israeli government should be seen as anti-semitism. This is particularly ridiculous when that criticism relates to Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, a semitic people.

Attacks against the Palestinians must be condemned, just as anti-semitic attacks in Europe must be condemned.

Matthew Collins
Erskineville, NSW, Australia


• If criticism of the policies of Israel amounts to anti-semitism, then there are a lot of anti-semitic Jews throughout the world and in Israel itself – Gush Shalom, The Other Israel, Rabbis For Human Rights, B-Tselem, Yesh Gvul, The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and many others, including all those who refuse to serve in the occupied territories and are prepared to go to jail.

Something is changing in Israel, as the positive response of Israeli and Palestinian public opinion to the Geneva accords shows, and that is what is alarming Sharon and his supporters.

MM Austin
St Andrews, Fife


• To state, as do Ariel Sharon and others in Chris McGreal's article, that the presence and growth of Muslims in Europe are "endangering the life of Jewish people" is purely Islamophobic, as is the abhorrent claim that they exert some sort of dark influence on the continent.

These were exactly the excuses used to perpetrate and justify the Holocaust, regurgitated by those who, shamefully, claim to speak on behalf of its victims.

Sharif Hikmat Nashashibi
Director, Arab Media Watch


• The "new" anti-semitism of the liberal left in the west is rooted not in bigotry but in a fashionable but false perception, fuelled by ignorance and propaganda: that Israelis are guilty of the "original sin" of displacing the "native" Palestinian Arabs. In fact, the real victims have been the million Jews displaced and dispossessed by Arab nationalism.

Greater awareness of the injustice done to these native Jews of the Middle East – most of whom sought refuge in Israel – could pave the way to reconciliation between Israel and the Arabs.

Lyn Julius
London


• I oppose current US foreign policy in the Gulf but am not anti-American. Nor am I anti-British as a result of Tony Blair's support for the US. I believe human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia are appalling, but I am not anti-Saudi, anti-Arab or anti-Muslim. I deplore the current Israeli government's policies towards the Palestinians but am certainly not anti-semitic.

Being able to make distinctions between people and the policies of those that govern them is at the heart of being non-racist in one's thinking.

Ian Simpson
London


• Jewish people must be careful not to equate the legitimate criticism of Israeli policies with anti-semitism, but equally, there has to be more awareness about those who use the cover of anti- Israelism or anti-Zionism to peddle what genuinely is anti-semitism.

Europe should take notice of the singling out of Israel for special censure, when many countries are far more guilty of human rights abuses. Criticism of the Israeli occupation must not be allowed to provoke question marks over Israel's very right to exist.

Paul Gross
Harrow, Middx

 

THE “NEW” ANTI-SEMITISM

The 'new' anti-semitism: is Europe in grip of worst bout of hatred since the Holocaust?
Jewish leaders claim rising Muslim influence has altered mood of continent

By Chris McGreal in Jerusalem
The Guardian
November 25, 2003

Sixty years after the Holocaust, European Jews and Israelis are increasingly wondering if Europe is being sucked into the worst wave of anti-semitism since the second world war. In the past few weeks, a German MP was forced to resign after saying that Jews were responsible for Soviet atrocities, and the commander of the German army's special forces was sacked for agreeing with him.

Then came the observation by the Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis that Jews are at the root of all evil, and the firebombing of a Jewish school in Paris.

But Israelis felt their fears were confirmed by an opinion poll of EU citizens that placed Israel as the greatest danger to world peace. Israelis were shocked, perplexed and outraged that they should be seen as a bigger threat than North Korea or Iran.

"Anti-semitism has become politically correct in Europe," said Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet dissident and minister in Ariel Sharon's government.

Yesterday Mr Sharon warned European governments that they need to do more to combat a revival of old hatreds responsible for rising anti-semitism. He described Europe's burgeoning Muslim population as a threat to Jews and dismissed accusations that rocket attacks on Gaza and tanks in Jenin have contributed to growing hostility.

"What we are facing in Europe is an anti-semitism that has always existed and it really is not a new phenomenon," the prime minister said in an interview with EUpolitix.com, an online newswire dedicated to EU affairs.

"This anti-semitism is fundamental, and today, in order to incite it and to undermine the Jews' rights for self-defence, it is re-aroused.

"These days to conduct an anti-semite policy is not a popular thing, so the anti-semites bundle their policies in with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Last week, Mr Sharon said growing anti-semitism in Europe contributed to the bombing of two synagogues in Istanbul, the destruction of part of a Jewish school in Paris and a series of smaller attacks on Jewish targets.

"It's 60 years since the Holocaust and we are again the target of attacks, fires," said Cobi Benatoff, president of the European Jewish Congress. "Anti-semitism should have been part of the history of old Europe by now, but unfortunately it is very present and alive in the Europe of today."

For the chairman of Israel's Holocaust memorial council, Avner Shalev, Mr Theodorakis's anti-Jewish statement is a "symptom of the systematic flooding of Europe with incitement against the Jewish people and the state of Israel".

The Israeli Forum to Coordinate the Struggle Against Anti-semitism – a group of Israeli intelligence and foreign ministry officials - defines anti-semitism in three forms: classic, new and Muslim.

The forum asserts that the most dangerous strand has its roots in Islam and that the rising number of Muslims in Europe is responsible for fuelling terror attacks, street violence and general harassment of Jews.

Muslims are also blamed for the spread of anti-semitism to countries such as Denmark, previously renowned for its efforts to save Jewish lives during the Holocaust. Mr Sharon described the growing Muslim population in Europe as "endangering the life of Jewish people."

"Of course the sheer fact that there are a huge amount of Muslims, approximately 70 million in the EU, this issue has also turned into a political matter. I would say, in my opinion, EU governments are not doing enough to tackle anti-semitism," he said.

That view was confirmed for many Israelis when it was revealed that the EU's racism watchdog has suppressed a report on anti-semitism because it concluded that Muslims were behind many incidents.

Israeli officials say the comments of Mr Theodorakis and the German MP, and a claim by the outgoing Malaysian leader, Mahathir Mohamad, that Jews rule the world by proxy and get others to fight and die for them, fall into the category of "classic" anti-semitism.

But it is the "new" anti-semitism that most disturbs some Jewish leaders because they say it emanates from influential groups such as academics, politicians and the media and is dressed up as criticism of Israel's occupation of Palestinian land.

Deborah Lipstadt, the academic who won a libel victory after describing the rightwing historian David Irving as a Holocaust denier, this month described the "new" anti-semitism as directed at the "Rambo Jew, the Jew who is the aggressor".

"What we have seen in these attacks is an obsession with the vilification of Israel; a use of Nazi and Holocaust images to describe Israel and its politics, and a focus on Israel's failures regarding human rights, while totally ignoring the Arab world's failures of human rights," she told a conference in Jerusalem.

Some Israeli critics say a country that claims to be at the forefront of defending western civilisation cannot then demand to be judged by the standards of the states it portrays as terrorist regimes.

But Robert Wistrich, director of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's international centre for the study of anti-semitism, says human rights is merely a cover.

"On the left we see a trend to believing there is a worldwide conspiracy in which Jews and Zionists are implicated," he said. "You have a link of money, Jews, America, world domination, globalisation.

"The notion that the Jews are a superpower that controls America is both a classic and revamped form of anti-semitism.

"The most interesting phenomenon is the singling out and demonisation of the state of Israel, that brands it as a Nazi-like state or accuses it of genocide.

"This kind of discourse is often put forward under the banner of human rights. This is new."

Many on the Israeli left are sceptical.

"We should bear in mind that during the time of the peace process, when Rabin and Peres were leading, Israel was the favourite of the west," said Yaron Ezrahi, an Israeli political scientist.

"There was so much support from Europe and its public. Why was anti-semitism so limited during the time Rabin and Peres led the peace process and gave the world the message that Israel was prepared to abandon the occupied territories?

"Sharon has a long record of calling Israeli critics of his policies traitors, and foreign critics anti-semites. The left is concerned that Sharon's policies are endangering Israel's future by fuelling virulent and violent anti-semitism."

Attacks in Europe

Britain: The Hillock Hebrew Congregation synagogue near Manchester, damaged in an arson attack this month.In August, vandals smashed headstones at a Jewish cemetery in Prestwich and In May, 386 Jewish graves at the Plashet Cemetery London were desecrated.

Germany: In Gundesberg last month vandals sprayed Nazi slogans on headstones and the cemetery gate. Wreaths laid at a memorial for Kristallnacht were defaced.

France: This month, the Mercaz Hatorah school in Paris was set on fire, while in July, a synagogue in Saint-Denis was ransacked, prayer books were torn and "Juif-mort" (Jew-death) written on a wall.

Italy: In March, in Milan, anti-Semitic graffiti appeared on the office of the state-owned radio and television network, after a journalist of Jewish origin was named director.

Austria: A rabbi was assaulted by two youths as he walked home from prayer in Vienna. The attackers kicked the victim and struck his head with a bottle.

Belgium: In June, a man of Moroccan descent attempted to explode a vehicle loaded with gas canisters in front of a synagogue in Charleroi, Belgium. In April 2002, the same synagogue was the target of gunfire.

 

RISING TENSION IN FRANCE BLAMED ON DISAFFECTED ARAB YOUTHS

Rising tension in France blamed on disaffected Arab youths
By Jon Henley in Paris
The Guardian
November 25, 2003

Hurrying down the steps outside the Merkaz Hatorah school in the Paris suburb of Gagny, they did not want to stop, let alone give their names. "We're to go straight home, we're not to travel alone, we're to cover our kippas with baseball caps," said one teenager. "We're not to draw any attention to ourselves and if we get any, we're to ignore it."

Each had tales to tell: spat on in the station, skullcap torn off in the street, cries of "dirty Jew" on the train. They put on a collective show of bravado, but the arson attack on their private school last weekend had plainly shaken them. "When you see all that twisted metal, the scorched bricks, it evokes... certain things, it's scary," another boy said. "You get a vision of where all this could end."

The speed with which Jacques Chirac responded to the firebombing, which destroyed a new wing of the school due to house a primary section, was an indication of Paris's anger at its portrayal as the acquiescent capital of a deeply and increasingly anti-semitic nation.

Describing "an attack on a Jew [as] an attack against France", the president called an emergency cabinet meeting and announced an interministerial committee on anti-semitism that will meet once a month to review incidents and recommend responses.

Police are to increase surveillance of synagogues and Jewish schools; prosecutors will demand maximum sentences for offenders; teachers must reverse a rising tide of anti-semitism in classrooms. France's Jewish leaders praised the president's determination.

In recent months, Jewish groups in the US and Israel have criticised France's "shameful acceptance" of a rash of anti-Jewish acts, claiming to see an "echo of the dark days of Vichy", the collaborationist wartime government that oversaw the deportation of 750,000 French Jews to Nazi death camps.

Is anti-semitism rampant in France? The evidence is inconclusive. Police figures show physical and verbal attacks on Jews have fallen sharply, to 96 in the first 10 months of 2003, against 184 in the same period last year. The number of insults and threats fell from 685 to 129, and the number of police investigations into alleged anti-semitic offences fell from 129 to 29.

The figures are not disputed by the Jewish community, although some point out that a hostile climate cannot necessarily be measured in numbers. They note that teachers, for example, are expressing increasing alarm at the way terms like "dirty Jew" have become routine playground insults.

But not even the most radical French rabbi would accuse Paris of standing by as anti-Jewish sentiment inexorably mounts: parliament unanimously passed legislation earlier this year that allows far more severe penalties for offences inspired by racial or religious hatred, which become classified as "hate crimes".

The head of the Crif umbrella group of Jewish organisations, Roger Cukierman, publicly slapped down the Israeli ambassador to France, Nissim Zvili, who said last week that French Jews were now "so afraid of anti-semitic attacks that many of them are thinking of emigrating".

After the Gagny attack, Joseph Sitruk, the chief rabbi of France, urged Jewish men not to wear their skullcaps in public, to "avoid becoming a target for potential assailants".

But Theo Klein, Mr Cukierman's predecessor as head of Crif, disagreed. "There's no need for fear," he said. "The Jewish community has been in France for 2,000 years, it is completely integrated. I see discomfort, yes; worry, certainly, but not danger."

What both Jews and non-Jews are all agreed on, however, is that the new wave of anti-semitism is different from the older, institutionalised variety promoted here by the Roman Catholic church until the early 1960s. It has clearly coincided with the flare-up of violence in the Middle East, the start of the second intifada.

At five million and 650,000 respectively, France has the largest Muslim and Jewish communities in Europe, and government officials and most Jewish leaders argue that the rising inter-community tensions are almost invariably the consequence of political, rather than religious or racial, differences.

Police and court records show that almost all the perpetrators of the latest anti-semitic attacks are young Muslims. Arab youths whose parents emigrated from France's former North African colonies and now live in grim high-rise suburbs feel they have become the victims of racism, and see the Jewish community as both more affluent and better integrated than they are.

According to Mr Klein, "what we are suffering from is the consequences of France's failure to educate and integrate a certain number of young people of immigrant origin. They feel they belong nowhere. They are involved in violent incidents regularly, against policemen, firemen, even ambulance crews. These anti-Jewish acts are a part of that."

Not that such comprehension was helpful to the boys and parents of the Merkaz Hatorah school. "Our fears and suspicions are raw," said one father picking up his son by car. "The Arabs hate us; the police let the culprits go after 48 hours; and for you journalists it's all Ariel Sharon's fault. We need protection."


“Cartoon of the Year” awarded to Sharon eating babies “blood libel” cartoon

November 26, 2003

* "Sharon eating babies" cartoon wins British prize

 

CONTENTS

1. Cartoon bears resemblance to one from al-Quds of Sharon eating babies for breakfast
2. Last week Chairman Arafat staked his claim for inclusion in this years’s list of anti-Semites of international standing
3. Anti-Semitism is a historical social phenomenon that cannot be denied
4. "Arafat and the 'new anti-Semitism'" (By Sean Gannon, Israel Insider, Nov. 20, 2003)
5. "What's new In anti-Semitism?" (By Azmi Bishara, Dar Al-Hayat, Nov. 20, 2003)



[Note by Tom Gross]

CARTOON BEARS RESEMBLANCE TO ONE FROM AL-QUDS OF SHARON EATING BABIES FOR BREAKFAST

On January 27, 2003, the Independent newspaper (London) published a cartoon of a naked Ariel Sharon biting off the bloodied head of a Palestinian child as helicopter warships hovered overhead blasting out "Vote Sharon" from loudspeakers.

January 27 was Holocaust Memorial Day in Britain.

Although the cartoonist, Dave Brown, says his cartoon was inspired by Francesco de Goya's 1819 painting "Saturn Devouring One of His Sons," the cartoon also bears a striking similarity to the cartoon that appeared in Yasser Arafat's mouthpiece al-Quds on May 17, 2001, where Sharon is depicted devouring children for breakfast.

Ned Temko, editor of the moderate UK publication, the Jewish Chronicle said of the Independent's cartoon: "It is one of the oldest images of European anti-Semitism – the classic 'blood libel' of Jews murdering gentile children for their blood."

Now, the UK's Political Cartoon Society has given this cartoon first prize in its annual "Cartoon of the Year" competition.

In his acceptance speech, Brown thanked the Israeli Embassy in London for its angry reaction to the cartoon, which he said had contributed greatly to its publicity.

To view the cartoon, see the Backspin website,
http://backspin.typepad.com/backspin/2003/11/evolution_of_an.html

 

I also attach two essays from the last few days on the "new anti-Semitism" (one by an Irish historian, the other by Arab commentator Azmi Bishara) with summaries first.

SUMMARIES

LAST WEEK CHAIRMAN ARAFAT STAKED HIS CLAIM FOR INCLUSION IN THIS YEAR’S LIST OF ANTI-SEMITES OF INTERNATIONAL STANDING

"Arafat and the 'new anti-Semitism'" (By Sean Gannon, Israel Insider, November 20, 2003) [Sean Gannon is an Irish historian].

"Scarcely a month now seems to go by without the resurrection or repackaging somewhere in the world of one classic anti-Semitic libel or another. First Mel Gibson dusted off of the ancient charge of deicide for presentation in his forthcoming film on the final hours of Christ. Then came Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Meridiaga, the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, with his crackpot claims about the 'Jewish-controlled' mass media and its Israeli-inspired "persecution" of the Catholic Church. This was followed in October by Mohammed Mahathir's notorious revival of the idea of an international Jewish conspiracy to achieve world domination while, meanwhile in Germany, Martin Hohmann MP, gave a speech in which he dredged up that most overworked of twentieth century anti-Semitic canards – Jewish responsibility for Bolshevism and its crimes.

"Then last week Chairman Arafat staked his claim for inclusion in this year's list of anti-Semites of international standing by giving another public outing to his favorite anti-Semitic libel, that of the 'poisoner-Jew.' Drawing on Black Death-era beliefs about Jews and disease, he told the Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah on November 12th that the IDF was deliberately using depleted uranium and "gaseous bombs" in the territories, causing a precipitous rise in cancer and sterility rates amongst the Palestinian population. Just three days before his speech to the PLA, he had privately told a visiting French delegation that depleted uranium (DU) was responsible for a Palestinian cancer rate equivalent to that caused by the Hiroshima bomb."

ANTI-SEMITISM IS A HISTORICAL SOCIAL PHENOMENON THAT CANNOT BE DENIED

"What's new In anti-Semitism?" (By Azmi Bishara, Dar Al-Hayat, November 20, 2003).

"Anti-Semitism was not born with Israel and its propaganda; it is much older. This origin of the concept of anti-Semitismus dates back to the 1870s in Germany, when it was first used to describe the ideological hostility toward Jews in Europe. Anti-Semitism is a historical social phenomenon that cannot be denied. It was the most dangerous and horrible form of racism in Europe.

"... But we should also mention that the modern Arab policies were affected with the European political thought and hence, with some anti-Semitism ideas albeit they did not adopt them.

"... It is no longer possible to separate these two issues and set away the international concern. We only hope we can. The pivotal question is how to deal with it in a way that refuses anti-Semitism as a source to prove the justice of the Palestinian cause and refuses as well Israel's attempt to use anti-Semitism to silence any voice raised against Israel and its practices and refuses to liberate it from racism."



FULL ARTICLES

ARAFAT AND THE “NEW ANTI-SEMITISM”

Arafat and the 'new anti-Semitism'
By Sean Gannon
Israel Insider
November 20, 2003

Scarcely a month now seems to go by without the resurrection or repackaging somewhere in the world of one classic anti-Semitic libel or another. First Mel Gibson dusted off of the ancient charge of deicide for presentation in his forthcoming film on the final hours of Christ. Then came Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Meridiaga, the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, with his crackpot claims about the 'Jewish-controlled' mass media and its Israeli-inspired "persecution" of the Catholic Church. This was followed in October by Mohammed Mahathir's notorious revival of the idea of an international Jewish conspiracy to achieve world domination while, meanwhile in Germany, Martin Hohmann MP, gave a speech in which he dredged up that most overworked of twentieth century anti-Semitic canards – Jewish responsibility for Bolshevism and its crimes.

Then last week Chairman Arafat staked his claim for inclusion in this year's list of anti-Semites of international standing by giving another public outing to his favorite anti-Semitic libel, that of the 'poisoner-Jew.' Drawing on Black Death-era beliefs about Jews and disease, he told the Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah on November 12th that the IDF was deliberately using depleted uranium and "gaseous bombs" in the territories, causing a precipitous rise in cancer and sterility rates amongst the Palestinian population. Just three days before his speech to the PLA, he had privately told a visiting French delegation that depleted uranium (DU) was responsible for a Palestinian cancer rate equivalent to that caused by the Hiroshima bomb.

This was not the first time that Arafat leveled this charge at Israel. In January 2001, he told the World Economic Forum at Davos that the IDF was poisoning the Palestinians with depleted uranium, noxious gases and weaponized toxic waste, an allegation he repeated at the Arab Summit in Beirut two months later. His mouthpiece, al-Hayat al-Jadidah, even suggested that DU was responsible for congenital deformities in dozens of babies at Shafaa hospital in Gaza. One year later and just two weeks after a British report on the substance warned of the possible ill-effects of contaminated water and soil on the health of local populations, Arafat told al-Jazeera that Israel's use of DU against the Palestinians had been confirmed by the United States.

Of course, Chairman Arafat is not alone in his use of the 'poisoner-Jew' libel to vilify Israel; indeed, it has been a mainstay of the Palestinian Authority's propaganda war against the Jewish state in recent years. In June 1997, for instance, the Palestinian Authority accused the IDF of "an organized plan and conspiracy ... to poison and harm the Palestinian population" by distributing poisoned food while, one month later, it alleged that Israel was flooding the West Bank with hundreds of tons of toxic chewing gum which "completely destroyed the genetic systems" of young boys and drove girls crazy with sexual desire, thus compromising their honor as Moslems.

Then, in December, the director of the PA Committee for Consumer Protection claimed that Israel was knowingly importing chocolate infected with Mad Cow Disease into Palestinian cities. Two years later, Arafat's wife, Suha, told an audience which included Hillary Clinton, of the "intensive daily use of poison gas by Israeli forces" and their poisoning of 80% of Arab water with carcinogenic "chemical materials." And, in May 2001, the official PA news agency, WAFA, reported that Israel had "started a new genocide against the Palestinian people by poisoning them, using poisoned candy bags dropped down from airplanes." Routinely reported also are the 'facts' that Israel deliberately infects Arab children with AIDS and sends HIV-positive prostitutes into Egypt to spread the disease there.

The sheer outlandishness of such accusations has not prevented their being taken seriously outside of the virulently anti-Semitic Arab and wider Islamic worlds. In the most notorious example, the Western world weighed in on the side of the Palestinians in March 1983 when they condemned what transpired to be an outbreak of mass hysteria amongst hundreds of schoolgirls on the West Bank as an Israeli attempt to sterilize them through mass poisoning. Not only was Israel denounced by the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, but the Western media, particularly in Europe, reported that there existed evidence to support the charge. Israel was actually criticized for its supposed actions in the United Nations with even the U.S. delegate, Jean Kirkpatrick, inveighing against it in the Security Council.

Twenty years later, it is clear that the myth of the 'poisoner-Jew' still resonates in some supposedly more enlightened Western societies. For despite Israel's dismissal of them as "false and contemptible," Arafat's continuing claims about the use of poisons against the Palestinians, particularly those about depleted uranium and gas, are being given creeping credence abroad. They have been often uncritically reported in the media, presented as proven facts in online forums and been investigated by anti-Israel organizations such as the U.S.-based International Action Center.

Chairman Arafat is doing his best to capitalize on the world's willingness to believe. All foreign visitors to his Mukata compound are treated to a lecture on Israel's poisoning of his people and are presented with a dossier of 'proof' that the IDF is using DU against "the sons of our people."

Today, with most of his 'guests' hailing from a Europe disposed to believe any calumny directed against the government in Jerusalem, Arafat's 'poison' propaganda must be exposed for what it is – a calculated repackaging of a centuries-old slander, a modern anti-Zionist adaptation of a mediaeval anti-Semitic myth which seeks to delegitimize the Jewish state by demonizing the Jewish people.

In short, a naked example of the 'new anti-Semitism.'

Views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of israelinsider.

Sean Gannon graduated in history from University College Dublin. He works as a freelance writer and researcher on Irish and Middle Eastern Affairs and is currently preparing books on Ireland's relationship with Israel since 1948 and Europe and UNSC Resolution 242.

 

WHAT’S NEW IN ANTI-SEMITISM?

What's new In anti-Semitism?
By Azmi Bishara
Dar Al-Hayat
November 20, 2003

Anti-Semitism was not born with Israel and its propaganda; it is much older. This origin of the concept of anti-Semitismus dates back to the 1870s in Germany, when it was first used to describe the ideological hostility toward Jews in Europe. Some historians even attribute it specifically to a writer who founded a league to limit the impact of Jews in 1871, as he considered that they infiltrated society to corrupt and undermine it by sowing the seeds of its deterioration. Basically, the concept of "anti-Semitism" occurred in a specific context hostile to Jews.

It is meaningless to ignore the idiom's context and say that racism against Arabs is a form of anti-Semitism because they are Semitic people. For racism against Arabs does not need to be a form of anti-Semitism for it to be refused. Anti-Semitism is not the only recognized kind of racism. Anti-Semitism was attributed to the European hostility for religious, racial, national and social reasons.

Anti-Semitism is a historical social phenomenon that cannot be denied. It was the most dangerous and horrible form of racism in Europe. The civilization Bush and his supporters like to claim they belong to, i.e. the Judeo-Christian tradition, considered to be the mother of liberal democracy, is also the origin of anti-Semitism and the holocaust place.

Certain Zionist historians try to attribute anti-Semitism to the Middle Ages in Greece and Rome; they consider that any reticence to a foreign culture or religion, including Judaism, is a form of anti-Semitism. Hostility toward Jews was not due to the fact that they are Jews but because they are strangers representing a strange culture. The Judaism religious culture itself includes alibis mentioned in the Torah to exterminate "infidel" peoples.

Anti-Semitism is a specific kind of hostility toward the other that is different proper to the relation between the Christian Europe and its Jewish citizens. Some historians claim that it goes back to the beginning of the Crusades, and the discrimination against them prevailed during the Middle Ages in the form of ostracism and exclusion.

A historian might insist that the religious hostility toward Jews was the introduction to anti-Semitism that became racial, national or social, all the more that the social anti-Semitism exploited the social demagogy that impoverish the middle classes in the interests of the value of the bourgeoisie.

Although anti-Semitism is a modern phenomenon different from eth religious hostility, yet, one cannot separate the non-religious aspects of the anti-Semitism from the religious theological tradition in the Middle Ages. In this culture, Jews are those who refuse the fact that the New Testament completes the Old one. Jewish religious trends considered Christianity a false messianic, a direct denial and an absolute opposition to Judaism for it came to end the historical Jewish mission.

It is necessary to note that France, which is currently accused of anti-Semitism, was the first country to grant Jews legal equality in 1791. However, the Jewish enlightenment itself created the modern anti-Semitism because it called for the deterioration of the prevailing values, traditions and social hierarchy. No doubt that the modern anti-Semitism brought the most horrible forms of racism, with the Jews' mass extermination and the Nazi holocaust.

Neither the Islamic culture nor the other Eastern cultures bore hatred toward the Jews as much as anti-Semitism did. Although Eastern cultures are not innocent of the many massacres their history witnessed, they did not create the anti-Semitism. Israel's attempt to encompass the Islamic culture as part of anti-Semitism is a political effort aimed at playing the role of the victim in the actual conflict with the Arabs.

But we should also mention that the modern Arab policies were affected with the European political thought and hence, with some anti-Semitism ideas albeit they did not adopt them. When Zionism used the holocaust to justify the Naqba, some people thought that the retaliation should be to ignore or minimize it. In the 1967 defeat, there was a need to justify it so they aid that the opponent was a real international devil.

Mixing the Jews with the Zionists is what Israel wants in order to justify why it is not differentiating between criticizing Zionism and anti-Semitism. Criticizing oneself is not contradictory to these truths: 1- anti-Semitism is a European phenomenon that led to the Nazi holocaust. 2- The widest spread form of racism in the Western countries is the hostility to Arabs and Muslims and not anti-Semitism. 3- Not all who are anti-Semitic are anti-Israel for some of them deal with it and consider it as a model of a militarily cultured nation. 4- The Western political and ideological traditions that opposed anti-Semitism and called for equality are today criticizing Israel and its occupation. The Israeli propaganda is hostile to many trends that refuse the anti-Semitism.

Hence, Israel chooses the people it wants to punish for anti-Semitism according to its interests, and it accuses others of anti-Semitism while it has no proof at all they are.

Many organizations in the world were established to account those who are anti-Semitic. Ever since the majority of the organized Jewish Diasporas in the world were united in solidarity with Israel, there is a trend to transform every criticism against Israel into a form of anti-Semitism.

This is one of the reasons why the Palestinian issue is complicated. Israel complains about the international concern with the Palestinian issue. The truth is that the international concern with the Palestinian issue should be seized by Palestinians through a liberation and democratic speech even though anti-Semitism. In fact, any solidarity step toward the Palestinians should be accompanied with compensation to Israel or else, it would be accused of anti-Semitism.

The Palestinian issue was born from the international concern ever since the Balfour promise. Without it, there wouldn't be a Palestinian cause or it would have been settled a long time ago just like any other colonial cause. However, the Palestinian cause was born specifically when other people took their independence and was even more aggravated when other issues wee settled. Hence, the Palestinian people are not to be envied for the international concern.

It is no longer possible to separate these two issues and set away the international concern. We only hope we can. The pivotal question is how to deal with it in a way that refuses anti-Semitism as a source to prove the justice of the Palestinian cause and refuses as well Israel's attempt to use anti-Semitism to silence any voice raised against Israel and its practices and refuses to liberate it from racism.


Italians join Jews in solidarity Sabbath services

November 24, 2003

* Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of Benito Mussolini, says: "Not only Fini, but the entire world, including the Vatican and the pope, should beg forgiveness of Israel"

 

CONTENTS

1. Italy's tiny Jewish community joined by politicians, priests, nuns and others
2. "The entire world, including the Vatican and the pope, should beg forgiveness of Israel"
3. Berlusconi's government has offered vigorous diplomatic support to Israel
4. Italy has become a principal target of Islamic extremists
5. Selection of news
6. "Italians join Jews in Sabbath services across country" (AP, Nov. 22, 2003)
7. "Granddaughter of Italy's World War II dictator says entire world 'should beg forgiveness of Israel'" (Al Bawaba, Nov. 24, 2003)
8. "Israel basks in warmth of friendship with Italy" (Financial Times, Nov. 18, 2003)
9. "Italy is 'major target' for extremists, minister warns" (ABC News Australia, Nov. 23, 2003)



[Note by Tom Gross]

This is a follow up to the dispatch of November 13, 2003 (Poll shows 17 percent of Italians oppose Israel's existence, and other items).

I attach four articles connected to Italy, with summaries first:

ITALY’S TINY JEWISH COMMUNITY JOINED BY POLITICIANS, PRIESTS, NUNS AND OTHERS

"Italians join Jews in Sabbath services across country" (Associated Press, November 22, 2003). "Italy's tiny Jewish community was joined at Saturday prayer services by politicians, priests, nuns and others in synagogues across the nation in a show of solidarity after the suicide terrorist attacks against two synagogues in Istanbul a week earlier. Among those participating in the initiative dubbed "Open Synagogues" were the mayors of Milan and Florence, the president of Parliament's Chamber of Deputies and several leaders of the center-left political opposition... Some 1,000 Milanese showed up at the synagogue to join the congregation in a united front against terrorism. After leaving Turin's synagogue, former Rome Mayor Francesco Rutelli, denounced anti-Semitism as "an unacceptable risk for our civilization that can return to blow across Europe."

“THE ENTIRE WORLD, INCLUDING THE VATICAN AND THE POPE, SHOULD BEG FORGIVENESS OF ISRAEL”

"Granddaughter of Italy's World War II dictator says entire world 'should beg forgiveness of Israel'" (Al Bawaba, November 24 2003). "Not only Gianfranco Fini, but the entire world, including the Vatican and the pope, should beg forgiveness of Israel," Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of Italy's World War II dictator and a member of parliament for the National Alliance party, told Ha'aretz in an interview. The interview coincided with the arrival of Fini, her party's leader and Italy's deputy prime minister, for his first official visit to Israel, during which he plans to apologize to the Jewish people for Italy's Holocaust-era crimes... The deaths of 19 Italian soldiers in a suicide bombing in Iraq and the recent terror attacks in Istanbul "make Italy Israel's ally," she explained. Mussolini, a niece of movie star Sophia Loren, burst onto the political scene in 1992, when she was elected to parliament as a member of the neo-fascist party in her home district of Naples."

BERLUSCONI’S GOVERNMENT HAS OFFERED VIGOROUS DIPLOMATIC SUPPORT TO ISRAEL

"Israel basks in warmth of friendship with Italy" (Financial Times, November 18 2003). "Ariel Sharon, Israel's prime minister, basked in the warmth of his country's growing friendship with Italy on Tuesday as Silvan Shalom, his foreign minister, completed two days of frosty talks with his European Union counterparts in Brussels. Mr Berlusconi's government, which will hold the EU's six-month rotating presidency until the end of December, has used its position to offer vigorous diplomatic support for Israel, departing from a traditional Italian tendency to speak up more for the Palestinian cause... The Berlusconi government's line has put Italy at odds with official EU policy, which is to maintain contacts with Mr Arafat and to be critical of the security barrier."

ITALY HAS BECOME A PRINCIPAL TARGET OF ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS

"Italy is 'major target' for extremists, minister warns (ABC News Australia, November 23, 2003). A senior Italian Government minister has said that Italy had become a principal target of Islamic extremists, as the authorities increased security levels across the country... Italy expelled six Moroccans, an Algerian and a preacher from Senegal earlier this week."

 

SELECTION OF NEWS

[Additional Note by Tom Gross]

This kind of news agency story ("Italians join Jews in Sabbath services across country" Nov. 22, 2003, Associated Press) does not gain very wide coverage in newspapers subscribing to AP or on their websites. This contrasts with pro-Palestinian news agency stories that the media re-publish in abundance.

For example, on the same day, Saturday November 22, 2003, another Associated Press, story ran as follows (partial list):

Palestinian Need for Soup Kitchen Grows (The Los Angeles Times)

Palestinian need for soup kitchen grows during fighting (San Francisco Chronicle)

Palestinian Need for Soup Kitchen Grows (Miami Herald)

Palestinian Need for Soup Kitchen Grows (The Ledger, Lakeland, Florida)

Palestinian need for soup kitchen grows during fighting (New Jersey online)

Palestinian Need for Soup Kitchen Grows (The Guardian, London)

And the list goes on.

Other news not widely covered in recent days include last week's iftar feast, hosted by Israeli President Moshe Katsav at his Jerusalem residence, for Israeli Arab dignitaries, marking the end of the Ramadan fast.

Other news not prominently covered includes:

* Two Israeli security guards were shot dead at a Jerusalem construction site on Saturday night. "The Jenin Martyrs' Brigades," which is affiliated with Yasser Arafat's Fatah, claimed responsibility for the attack. (The guards were named yesterday as Iliyah Riger, 58, from Jerusalem, and Samer Fathi Afan, 25, from a Bedouin village near Nazareth.)

* A Palestinian gunman shot dead two Israelis on 18 November.

* On November 20, a terrorist entering from Jordan shot dead a female Christian tourist from Ecuador and wounded four others at the Yitzhak Rabin border crossing, just north of Eilat. They were part of a group of 39 Ecuadorian pilgrims who were touring Middle East holy sights. The pilgrims were returning from sites in Jordan. Israeli guards shot dead the gunman before he was able to perpetrate a much bigger massacre.

* Avi Dichter, the Shin Bet Director said yesterday that a total of 14 suicide bombings had been prevented by Israeli security forces recently and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan had seen a sharp rise in the number of attempted attacks against Israeli targets. The Shin Bet chief also said that 9 percent of the Palestinian Authority's budget goes to Chairman Yasser Arafat. This sum is larger than the PA's entire health care budget, he pointed out. Dichter claimed that the money transferred to Arafat then goes to finance terror groups.

He added: "Hamas chiefs spend 90% of their time hiding and 10% of their time planning attacks. They are interested in a Hudna [temporary cease-fire] so they can come out of underground and strengthen their terror infrastructure."

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

ITALIANS JOIN JEWS IN SHABBAT SERVICES ACROSS COUNTRY

Italians join Jews in Sabbath services across country
The Associated Press
November 22, 2003

Italy's tiny Jewish community was joined at Saturday prayer services by politicians, priests, nuns and others in synagogues across the nation in a show of solidarity after the suicide terrorist attacks against two synagogues in Istanbul a week earlier.

Among those participating in the initiative dubbed "Open Synagogues" were the mayors of Milan and Florence, the president of Parliament's Chamber of Deputies and several leaders of the center-left political opposition.

"Today is a special day because in synagogue we have so many friends, visitors who wanted to bring us their solidarity and friendship in a particularly difficult and critical moment," Milan's chief rabbi, Giuseppe Laras, told the congregation.

Some 1,000 Milanese showed up at the synagogue to join the congregation in a united front against terrorism.

Said Florence Mayor Leonardo Domenici in that city's synagogue: "Today we're here in numbers to pay witness to our solidarity toward our fellow citizens so harshly hit in their identity as a people."

After leaving Turin's synagogue, former Rome Mayor Francesco Rutelli, currently leader of an umbrella group of center-left opposition parties, denounced anti-Semitism as "an unacceptable risk for our civilization that can return to blow across Europe."

 

GRANDDAUGHTER OF MUSSOLINI SAYS ENTIRE WORLD “SHOULD BEG FORGIVENESS OF ISRAEL”

Granddaughter of Italy's World War II dictator says entire world ''should beg forgiveness of Israel''
Al Bawaba
November 24 2003

"Not only Gianfranco Fini, but the entire world, including the Vatican and the pope, should beg forgiveness of Israel," Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of Italy's World War II dictator and a member of parliament for the National Alliance party, told the Tel Aviv-based Haaretz daily in an interview.

The interview coincided with the arrival of Fini, her party's leader and Italy's deputy prime minister, for his first official visit to Israel, during which he plans to apologize to the Jewish people for Italy's Holocaust-era crimes.

When asked what she thought of Fini's plan to apologize to the Jewish people, she said that, in her mind, he had already done so, at the 1995 party conference in which Fini denounced anti-Semitism. "What is important to me is that Fini listen to the people, as I did during my visits to Israel," she conveyed.

"We need to develop mutual understanding, not disputes, since we are on the same side," she said.

Mussolini said the visit of Fini to Israel is important mainly because of "the [terrorist] assault on Italy and Europe." The deaths of 19 Italian soldiers in a suicide bombing in Iraq and the recent terror attacks in Istanbul "make Italy Israel's ally," she explained.

Mussolini, a niece of movie star Sophia Loren, burst onto the political scene in 1992, when she was elected to parliament as a member of the neo-fascist party in her home district of Naples. Over the ensuing years, she made it clear that she was proud to be descended from Italy's dictator.

 

ISRAEL BASKS IN WARMTH OF FRIENDSHIP WITH ITALY

Israel basks in warmth of friendship with Italy
By Tony Barber in Rome, Judy Dempsey in Brussels and Sharmila Devi in Jerusalem
Financial Times
November 18 2003

Ariel Sharon, Israel's prime minister, basked in the warmth of his country's growing friendship with Italy on Tuesday as Silvan Shalom, his foreign minister, completed two days of frosty talks with his European Union counterparts in Brussels.

On the second day of an official visit to Rome, Mr Sharon held talks with Antonio Martino, Italy's defence minister, and was due in the evening to confer with Silvio Berlusconi, prime minister.

"Italy is today the best friend that we have in Europe," Mr Sharon told members of Italy's Jewish community at an informal meeting. "We have never had a country holding the EU presidency that has been as friendly as Italy today."

Mr Shalom said in Brussels that a date had been set for Mr Sharon to meet Ahmed Qurei, his Palestinian counterpart, next week - the first top level meeting between the two sides since July 20.

"The renewal of our contacts with the Israeli side is still at its initial stages," Mr Qurei said. "We're serious about achieving something from our contacts and we hope the Israelis are as serious as we are. I warn them against tactical [military] moves."

Mr Berlusconi's government, which will hold the EU's six-month rotating presidency until the end of December, has used its position to offer vigorous diplomatic support for Israel, departing from a traditional Italian tendency to speak up more for the Palestinian cause.

When he travelled to Israel last June, Mr Berlusconi pleased Mr Sharon's government by making no attempt to visit Yassir Arafat, the Palestinian Authority president. Gianfranco Fini, Italy's deputy prime minister, has expressed understanding for Israel's decision to build a controversial security barrier in the West Bank.

The Berlusconi government's line has, however, put Italy at odds with official EU policy, which is to maintain contacts with Mr Arafat and to be critical of the security barrier.

These differences were exposed during the EU-Israeli talks in Brussels. Chris Patten, the EU's external affairs commissioner, told Mr Shalom that the barrier's route was not only illegal but prejudiced the outcome of any final peace settlement by making it more difficult for two independent and viable states to live side-by-side.

Mr Shalom handed the EU a concession by agreeing to let Marc Otte, the EU's special envoy to the Middle East, visit Mr Arafat and be received by Israeli officials.

This will end a boycott imposed by Mr Sharon that has meant Mr Otte has been cold-shouldered by Israeli officials since he met Mr Arafat last month. However, the concession will not apply to other EU officials who visit Mr Arafat.

Two Israeli soldiers were killed near Bethlehem on Tuesday by a Palestinian with an assault rifle hidden in a prayer mat - the first deadly attack since three soldiers were killed at a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip three weeks ago.

 

ITALY IS “MAJOR TARGET” FOR EXTREMISTS, MINISTER WARNS

Italy is 'major target' for extremists, minister warns
ABC News Australia/ Agence France Presse (AFP)
November 23, 2003

A senior Italian Government minister has said that Italy had become a principal target of Islamic extremists, as the authorities increased security levels across the country.

"We cannot ignore that the Nasiriyah massacre places Italy among the major targets of Islamic terrorism," said Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu in an address to Interior Ministry staff.

A truck bomb tore through an Italian police base in the southern Iraqi town of Nasiriyah on November 12, leaving 28 people dead including 19 Italians in the worst attack on Italian forces since World War II.

"Individuals, small groups or sleeper cells could be activated and strike on our national territory," he warned.

"The problem of security is on the top of the Government's agenda today," he said, urging his fellow ministers to "involve everyone in the fight against terrorism, including the immense majority of immigrant Muslims."

Italian authorities asked police on Friday to tighten security around sensitive sites and announced they were planning to deport a number of Muslim militants.

Police said that security had been upgraded around the Rome offices of Britain's HSBC bank, whose Turkish headquarters in Istanbul was targeted in a car bomb attack on Thursday.

A total of 12,761 regular and carabinieri police officers have been assigned to guard 8,069 potential targets, with 4,000 troops deployed to protect 162 sites, including the seven US and five NATO bases in Italy, according to the Interior Ministry.

Surveillance has also been beefed up at train stations, ports, and airports, with special attention paid to US and British companies and flights to and from the Middle East.

Security has been tightened at embassies, headquarters of international organisations, the Vatican, churches, synagogues, mosques, monuments and key power and water plants.

On Friday, Italian junior Interior Minister Antonio d'Ali said more people "suspected of supporting Islamist terrorism" could be deported.

Italy expelled six Moroccans, an Algerian and a preacher from Senegal earlier this week.

The preacher, Abdel Kader Mamour Fall, was expelled on Tuesday as a potential threat to security after he boasted of knowing Osama bin Laden and warned that if Italian troops were not pulled out of Iraq there could be a bomb attack in Rome.

He has denied he had links to bin Laden, but has described him as a "great man".

Despite the announcement of the new security measures, the Italian Interior Ministry has been complaining about a lack of funds, with the ministry likely to lose 800 million euros out of its budget next year, according to the Italian media.


EU body shelves report on anti-Semitism

CONTENTS

1. Anti-Semitism in Europe, alive and kicking
2. EU report concluded Muslims and pro-Palestinian groups behind many incidents
3. "The decision not to publish was a political decision"
4. Shalom: Signs of anti-Semitism creeping into Europe
5. "Now, Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis has said that Jews are the root of all evil"
6. Israel training Greeks to deal with Olympics terror threats
7. Athens exhibit glorifies female suicide bombers
8. Sharon: Anti-Semitism is rife across Europe
9. "EU body shelves report on anti-semitism" (Financial Times, Nov. 22-23, 2003)
10. "EU racism watchdog suppressed anti-Semitism report" (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 22, 2003)
11. "Israel Proposes Anti-Semitism Council with Europe" (Reuters, Nov. 17, 2003)
12. "Another anti-Semite" (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 18, 2003)
13. "Israel helping train Greeks to handle Olympics terror threats" (Israel Insider, Nov. 20, 2003)
14. "Wiesenthal Centre to Greek Prime Minister: Athens exhibit glorifying suicide bombers escalates prospect for terrorism in the context of approaching Olympics" (Paris, Oct. 8 2003)
15. "Sharon attacks European leaders over 'anti-Semitism'" (London Times, Nov. 24, 2003)



[Note by Tom Gross]

ANTI-SEMITISM IN EUROPE, ALIVE AND KICKING

I attach seven articles about European anti-Semitism, with summaries first:

EU REPORT CONCLUDED MUSLIMS AND PRO-PALESTINIAN GROUPS BEHIND MANY INCIDENTS

1. "EU body shelves report on anti-semitism" (This article was the lead front page report on the weekend edition of the Financial Times, November 22-23, 2003). "The European Union's racism watchdog has shelved a report on anti-semitism because the study concluded Muslims and pro-Palestinian groups were behind many of the incidents it examined. The Vienna-based European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) decided in February not to publish the 112-page study, a copy of which was obtained by the Financial Times, after clashing with its authors over their conclusions. The news comes amid growing fears that there is an upsurge of anti-semitism in European Union countries. Among many recent incidents, a Jewish school near Paris was firebombed last Saturday, the same day two Istanbul synagogues were devastated by suicide truck bombs that killed 25 and wounded 300."

“THE DECISION NOT TO PUBLISH WAS A POLITICAL DECISION”

2. "EU racism watchdog suppressed anti-Semitism report" (The Jerusalem Post, Nov. 22, 2003). "... When the researchers submitted their work in October 2002, the centre's senior staff and management board objected to their definition of anti-Semitism, which included some anti-Israel acts, and the focus on Muslim and pro-Palestinian perpetrators was judged inflammatory. An extract from the report obtained by the Financial Times stated: "... it can be concluded that the anti-Semitic incidents in the monitoring period were committed above all by rightwing extremists and radical Islamists or young Muslims." "The decision not to publish was a political decision," a source familiar with the report told the Financial Times.

In July, US congressman Robert Wexler wrote to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana demanding the release of the study.

Beate Winkler, a EUMC director, said "There was a problem with the definition [of anti-semitism] too. It was too complicated," she said.

SHALOM: SIGNS OF ANTI-SEMITISM CREEPING INTO EUROPE

3. "Israel Proposes Anti-Semitism Council with Europe" (Reuters, Nov. 17, 2003). "Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said there were signs of anti-Semitism creeping back into Europe and he would propose setting up a joint ministerial council with the European Union to fight it off."

“NOW, GREEK COMPOSER MIKIS THEODORAKIS HAS SAID THAT JEWS ARE THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL”

4. "Another anti-Semite" (The Jerusalem Post, Nov. 18, 2003). "Criticism of Israel, it is often said, should not be equated with anti-Semitism. True enough. But it's also true that anti-Zionism has long provided anti-Semites with political cover. Every now and then, however, the cover slips. We saw this last year, when Irish poet Tom Paulin versified against the "Zionist SS." We saw it when Gretta Duisenberg, the wife of the president of the European Central Bank, quipped that she would seek six million signatures for her pro-Palestinian petition. We saw it when Portuguese novelist and Nobel laureate Jose Saramango, on a "solidarity" visit with Yasser Arafat, equated Ramallah with Auschwitz. Now, Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis has said that the Jews are the root of all evil. Coming on the heels of Malaysian leader Mohamad Mahatir's remarks about the Jews seeking to rule the world, and of German lawmaker Martin Hohmann's accusation that Jews were behind Bolshevism's atrocities, there is a natural tendency to lump all these forms of bigotry together, and link them to Israel's behavior.

... statements made by celebrities on the scale of Theodorakis matter, because they come from people who pretend to care about the world, and who are widely respected in opinion-making circles.

... What Theodorakis and his fellow travelers – who once made careers of confronting European and South American dictators – have yet to concede, let alone do something about, is the flourishing of despotism in the Middle East. Instead, they have chosen to demonize the US and Israel in a way that bears ever-greater resemblance to what we hear every day from Islamic fundamentalists."

ISRAEL TRAINING GREEKS TO DEAL WITH OLYMPICS TERROR THREATS

5. "Israel helping train Greeks to handle Olympics terror threats" (Israel Insider, Nov. 20, 2003). "Israeli police are helping train their Greek counterparts in dealing with possible terror threats at next year's Summer Olympics. As part of an international security advisory team training the Greek police, Israeli instructors have been giving lessens in hostage taking scenarios, security inspections and shooting and bombing attacks, Maariv reported. The report of Israeli-Greek security cooperation comes just two weeks after Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, 78, best known for scoring the music for the film Zorba the Greek, commented that Jews are the "root of all evil" and reports circulated on the rising number of anti-Semitic incidents in Greece."

ATHENS EXHIBIT GLORIFIES FEMALE SUICIDE BOMBERS

6. "Wiesenthal Centre to Greek Prime Minister: Athens exhibit glorifying suicide bombers escalates prospect for terrorism in the context of approaching Olympics" (Paris, Oct. 8, 2003). The Simon Wiesenthal Centre expressed horror at the forthcoming inauguration of an exhibition entitled "Body Milk," glorifying female suicide bombers, to open at the Antonopoulou Gallery in Athens. According to the daily newspaper 'Ta Nea', this pink lace embroidery montage displays an Arab woman and her bomb belt "heroically" obliterating an Israeli supermarket.

In the 'Ta Nea' interview, the organizer, Thessaly University Architecture Professor Alexandros Psychoulis is quoted: "I feel that the experiment of Israel has failed... but politics do not concern me in this work, only the relations between the woman and the supermarket – what is it that ultimately makes her feel pleasure in This place?...The title 'Body Milk' brings together both female cosmetics and the human milk of an 18 year old Palestinian girl bomber in an Israeli supermarket last March. A very beautiful girl, educated, in love... of an army of women in the women's space of the supermarket... the supermarket is a super female provider. If she blows herself there, she is magnifying her existence and her act."

Psychoulis acknowledges his wife's inspiration for presenting the exhibit in pink, as "black would be tragic. With pink one can say the most tragic thing in the lightest way."

SHARON: ANTI-SEMITISM IS RIFE ACROSS EUROPE

7. "Sharon attacks European leaders over 'anti-Semitism'" (London Times, Nov. 24, 2003). "Anti-Semitism is rife across Europe, its leaders are not doing enough to tackle it and they are biased against Israel, Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, says today. He added 'The state of Israel cannot afford to deposit its destiny in the hands of the Europeans who are known for their unbalanced policy.' Mr Sharon's remarks, which will add to the tensions between Europe and Israel over the Middle East peace process, are delivered in an interview with the European political website EUpolitix.com."



FULL ARTICLES

EU BODY SHELVES REPORT ON ANTI-SEMITISM

EU body shelves report on anti-semitism
By Bertrand Benoit in Berlin
The Financial Times
November 22-23 2003

The European Union's racism watchdog has shelved a report on anti-semitism because the study concluded Muslims and pro-Palestinian groups were behind many of the incidents it examined.

The Vienna-based European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) decided in February not to publish the 112-page study, a copy of which was obtained by the Financial Times, after clashing with its authors over their conclusions.

The news comes amid growing fears that there is an upsurge of anti-semitism in European Union countries. Among many recent incidents, a Jewish school near Paris was firebombed last Saturday, the same day two Istanbul synagogues were devastated by suicide truck bombs that killed 25 and wounded 300.

Turkey, which hopes to join the EU, suffered again at the hands of what are believed to be al-Qaeda inspired terrorists on Thursday with truck bomb attacks on British targets.

Following a spate of incidents in early 2002, the EUMC commissioned a report from the Centre for Research on Anti-semitism at Berlin's Technical University.

When the researchers submitted their work in October last year, however, the centre's senior staff and management board objected to their definition of anti-semitism, which included some anti-Israel acts. The focus on Muslim and pro-Palestinian perpetrators, meanwhile, was judged inflammatory.

"There is a trend towards Muslim anti-semitism, while on the left there is mobilisation against Israel that is not always free of prejudice," said one person familiar with the report. "Merely saying the perpetrators are French, Belgian or Dutch does no justice to the full picture."

Some EUMC board members had also attacked part of the analysis ascribing anti-semitic motives to leftwing and anti-globalisation groups, this person said. "The decision not to publish was a political decision."

The board includes 18 members – one for each member state, the European Commission, Parliament, and the council of Europe – as well as 18 deputies. One deputy, who declined to be named, confirmed the directors had seen the study as biased.

In July, Robert Wexler, a US congressman, wrote to Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief, demanding the release of the study.

Ole Espersen, law professor at Copenhagen University and board member for Denmark, said the study was "unsatisfactory" and that some members had felt anti-Islamic sentiment should be addressed too.

The EUMC, which was set in 1998, has published three reports on anti-Islamic attitudes in Europe since the September 11 attacks in the US.

Beate Winkler, a director, said the report had been rejected because the initial time scale included in the brief – covering the period between May and June 2002 – was later judged to be unrepresentative. "There was a problem with the definition [of anti-semitism] too. It was too complicated," she said.

This week, Silvan Shalom, Israel's foreign minister, proposed a joint ministerial council to fight what Israel sees as a rise in European anti-semitism.

 

EU RACISM WATCHDOG SUPPRESSED ANTI-SEMITISM REPORT

EU racism watchdog suppressed anti-Semitism report
The Jerusalem Post
November 22, 2003

The European Union's racism watchdog shelved a report on anti-semitism because the study concluded Muslims and pro-Palestinian groups were behind many of the incidents examined, the Financial Times reported.

The Vienna-based European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) decided in February not to publish the 112-page study after clashing with its authors over their conclusions.

When the researchers submitted their work in October 2002, the centre's senior staff and management board objected to their definition of anti-Semitism, which included some anti-Israel acts, and the focus on Muslim and pro-Palestinian perpetrators was judged inflammatory.

An extract from the report obtained by the Financial Times stated: "...it can be concluded that the anti-Semitic incidents in the monitoring period were committed above all by rightwing extremists and radical Islamists or young Muslims."

"The decision not to publish was a political decision," a source familiar with the report told the Financial Times.

"There is a trend towards Muslim anti-semitism, while on the left there is mobilisation against Israel that is not always free of prejudice," said one person familiar with the report. "Merely saying the perpetrators are French, Belgian or Dutch does no justice to the full picture."

In July, US congressman Robert Wexler wrote to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana demanding the release of the study.

The report's leaked findings come just a week after the bombing of a Jewish school in northern Paris and suicide attacks on two Istanbul synagogues, where 23 people were killed.

Beate Winkler, a EUMC director, said the report had been rejected because the initial time scale included in the brief – covering the period between May and June 2002 – was later judged to be unrepresentative, the Financial Times reported. "There was a problem with the definition [of anti-Semitism] too. It was too complicated," she said.

 

ISRAEL PROPOSES ANTI-SEMITISM COUNCIL WITH EUROPE

Israel Proposes Anti-Semitism Council with Europe
Reuters
November 17, 2003

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Monday there were signs of anti-Semitism creeping back into Europe and he would propose setting up a joint ministerial council with the European Union to fight it off.

"Unfortunately recently we ... noticed that some signals of anti-Semitism are back in Europe," Shalom told Reuters in an interview before meeting with EU foreign ministers.

"I would like to ask all of them tonight to form a ministerial council of Europe and Israel that will fight together against this phenomenon of anti-Semitism. I believe that we should do it immediately."

 

ANOTHER ANTI-SEMITE

Another anti-Semite
The Jerusalem Post
November 18, 2003

Criticism of Israel, it is often said, should not be equated with anti-Semitism. True enough. But it's also true that anti-Zionism has long provided anti-Semites with political cover. Every now and then, however, the cover slips.

We saw this last year, when Irish poet Tom Paulin versified against the "Zionist SS." We saw it when Gretta Duisenberg, the wife of the president of the European Central Bank, quipped that she would seek six million signatures for her pro-Palestinian petition. We saw it when Portuguese novelist and Nobel laureate Jose Saramango, on a "solidarity" visit with Yasser Arafat, equated Ramallah with Auschwitz.

Now, Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis has said that the Jews are the root of all evil. Coming on the heels of Malaysian leader Mohamad Mahatir's remarks about the Jews seeking to rule the world, and of German lawmaker Martin Hohmann's accusation that Jews were behind Bolshevism's atrocities, there is a natural tendency to lump all these forms of bigotry together, and link them to Israel's behavior.

Reality is different.

As Mossad experts have recently said in closed forums, the Jewish people is facing today three kinds of anti-Semitism: classic, liberal, and Muslim.

For its part, the Mossad warns that the Muslim sort – which is also the newest – is also the most dangerous. Judging by the deadly attacks waged last year in Djerba, and last May in Casablanca, and last week in Istanbul – that is clearly right, at least in the immediate term.

Conversely, the kind of pronouncement made by Hohmann represents time-honored anti-Semitic instincts, which lead people to first detect persons of Jewish background and then assume they all operate in clandestine coordination.

Those, too, while their social potency cannot be exaggerated, can at least be dismissed intellectually as little more than poor jokes.

Yet statements made by celebrities on the scale of Theodorakis matter, because they come from people who pretend to care about the world, and who are widely respected in opinion-making circles.

Moreover, as a man who sat in jail for facing up to the military junta that once ruled his country, Theodorakis carries "moral weight," or what passes for that in an increasingly immoral world.

Fortunately, Theodorakis's statements were followed by a clear and official Greek statement of disassociation. Unfortunately, the composer's pronouncements are no slip of the tongue, nor the mere case of one individual. Rather, they are evidence of a much broader disaster – the moral disaster of the European Left.

To say, as Theodorakis has, that he is attacking the Jews because he has "always sided with the weak," is a good reflection of current European thinking, which effectively holds that almost any application of power is a sin and that powerlessness is a virtue.

So would Theodorakis have supported Hitler the morning after his army surrendered at Stalingrad, on the grounds that thereafter the Germans were on the defensive? The suggestion is absurd, but so too is a morality that is indifferent to anything but crude calculations of the balance of power.

(Even by Theodorakis's measure, it is far from obvious that a resource-poor country of six million is stronger than its 280 million resource-rich and almost uniformly hostile neighbors.)

What Theodorakis and his fellow travelers – who once made careers of confronting European and South American dictators – have yet to concede, let alone do something about, is the flourishing of despotism in the Middle East. Instead, they have chosen to demonize the US and Israel in a way that bears ever-greater resemblance to what we hear every day from Islamic fundamentalists.

Even now, most Europeans of the Left understand that the real root of the problem is religious fanaticism and political repression. But it also seems that misdirected sympathies, as well as a latent fear of Muslim advances on the Continent, are leading them to appease the worst elements of the Muslim world at Israel's expense.

To them, we say: At best, you are purchasing time at the expense of principle. And at some point, you'll run out of both. We can only hope that Theodorakis's anti-Semitic remarks awaken you to your impending moral bankruptcy.

 

ISRAEL HELPING TO TRAIN GREEKS TO HANDLE OLYMPICS TERROR THREATS

Israel helping train Greeks to handle Olympics terror threats
By Ellis Shuman
Israel Insider
November 20, 2003

Israeli police are helping train their Greek counterparts in dealing with possible terror threats at next year's Summer Olympics. As part of an international security advisory team training the Greek police, Israeli instructors have been giving lessens in hostage taking scenarios, security inspections and shooting and bombing attacks, Maariv reported.

"Israelis are regarded in Greece as experts in the field of terror and security," a senior police officer told Maariv. "Our stay in Athens has done an excellent service for Israel, and we see this in how the local authorities receive us and the feedback they are giving."

The report of Israeli-Greek security cooperation comes just two weeks after Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, 78, best known for scoring the music for the film Zorba the Greek, commented that Jews are the "root of all evil" and reports circulated on the rising number of anti-Semitic incidents in Greece.

In the wake of the suicide bombing attacks in Istanbul, Greece has increased security measures around Jewish synagogues and institutions in the country, Israel Radio reported.

Next month, a "Terror Strategy" seminar will take place in Athens for hundreds of local policemen, Maariv reported. Israeli police have taken on responsibility for much of the training process, the paper said.

Last week, the Athens daily Ta Nea reported that Israel had offered to help Greece safeguard the 2004 Olympics by sending vessels for sea patrols seeking suspected terrorists trying to enter the country and to guard Greek ports. Because of an accommodation shortage, organizers plan to house more than 10,000 officials and visitors aboard 11 cruise ships in the port of Piraeus near Athens, the Associated Press reported.

"We are ready to face any threat as a military, especially during the Olympic Games," Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said last week. Papantoniou denied reports that the United States, Israel or other nations could offer direct military support during the games. He said there is "no official proposal" for any outside military support during the games.

Two months ago, Greece came under intense international pressure for security lapses in its preparations for the 2004 Olympics. Reports from law enforcement and intelligence agencies cited disorganized police forces, breakdowns in maritime patrols and serious concerns over the pace of counter-terrorism planning.

"It took [the Greeks] a long time to go into action," said Arik Arad, former director of security for El Al Airlines. "Lately they are taking it seriously."

According to media reports, Greece hired leading terrorism and security experts as consultants from countries such as Israel, Germany, Britain and the U.S. to assess Olympic venues and train Greek security in counter-terrorism measures, including how to prevent or respond to a chemical or biological attack.

Greece budgeted a record $775 million for Olympic security. Papantoniou said the Greek forces could handle both Olympic security and border surveillance.

In September, Israel voiced displeasure with security arrangements in Athens and asked to send its own security detail to protect its athletes, the Washington Post reported. The Greek government reluctantly agreed. The security arrangement has been standard since the 1972 Munich massacre of eleven members of the Israeli Olympics delegation.

"We sent a team to Athens to look over security," a former Israeli military officer told the Post. "It was so bad that we privately threatened to boycott the Games unless things were changed."

 

SHARON ATTACKS EUROPEAN LEADERS OVER “ANTI-SEMITISM”

Sharon attacks European leaders over 'anti-Semitism'
By Philip Webster Political Editor
London Times
November 24, 2003

Anti-Semitism is rife across Europe, its leaders are not doing enough to tackle it and they are biased against Israel, Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, says today.

The ever-strengthening Muslim presence in Europe was a threat to the life of Jewish people, he said, adding: "The state of Israel cannot afford to deposit its destiny in the hands of the Europeans who are known for their unbalanced policy."

Mr Sharon's remarks, which will add to the tensions between Europe and Israel over the Middle East peace process, are delivered in an interview with the European political website EUpolitix.com.

Asked about polls showing that a majority of Europeans regard Israel as a threat to world safety, Mr Sharon says: "What we are facing in Europe is an anti-Semitism that has always existed and it really is not a new phenomenon. This anti-Semitism exists and what pushes it is a 'collective anti-Semitism' that incorporates Israel into this equation.

"Of course there are anti-Semites who use the events in Israel and the argument that Israel uses excessive force and through this they are trying to compromise Israel's right to self defence, thus there is a danger to Jews.

"An ever stronger Muslim presence in Europe is certainly endangering the life of Jewish people. This attempt of dismissing our legitimacy to self defence is testimony to anti-Semitism."

Mr Sharon throws out the distinction between anti-Semitic beliefs and legitimate criticism of Israel's policies in the Middle East. "Today there is no separation," he says. "We are talking about collective anti-Semitism.

"The state of Israel is a Jewish state and the attitude towards Israel runs accordingly. These days to conduct an anti-Semite policy is not a popular thing, so the anti-Semites bundle their policies in with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Anti-Semitism needs to be fought against.

"This is a very dangerous thing. However, certainly the right answers could be found in order to fight it. Our demand from the European countries is to fight anti-Semitism in every possible way and vigorously.

"Of course the sheer fact that there are a huge amount of Muslims, approximately 70 million in the EU, this issue has also turned into a political matter. I would say, in my opinion, EU governments are not doing enough to tackle anti-Semitism."

He says that he has told Europeans that Europe could have played a stronger and central role if it had conducted a more balanced policy in the Middle East. He says that Italy, which currently holds the presidency of the EU, is an exception.


“Surge in German attacks on Jews”

CONTENTS

1. "Surge in German attacks on Jews" (Sunday Times, London, Nov. 23, 2003)
2. "Anti-Israeli demonstration held in Berlin" (NDTV, [Indian website], Nov. 23, 2003)
3. "An old evil raises Its weary head. Sixty years after the Holocaust, Europe still wrestles with anti-Semitism"
4. "Poland asks Costa Rica to extradite former Nazi" (AP, Nov. 22, 2003)
5. "Stolen Jewish manuscript returned after 65 years. Nazis looted 14th century document from collection in Austria" (CNN, Nov. 18, 2003)



[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach five articles – three connected to Germany, one to Poland, and one to Austria – with summaries of the articles first:

"I WAS BEATEN BLACK AND BLUE"

"Surge in German attacks on Jews" (The Sunday Times, London, November 23, 2003). "The bespectacled British-born rabbi did not stand a chance. As Walter Rothschild walked through an underground station in Berlin, four youths kicked and beat him, leaving him for dead. 'I was beaten black and blue and covered in blood,' said Rothschild, 49, who moved from Bradford to Germany five years ago. 'I'm not the only one. People spit at us, shout racist remarks, vandalise our graveyards and spray graffiti on our schools.'

Germany is enduring a new bout of soul-searching over its Nazi past after a senior member of the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) caused outrage by claiming that European Jews had committed crimes comparable with the Holocaust... Immigration from eastern Europe has turned Germany's Jewish community into the fastest growing and most vibrant in Europe. Rothschild, whose parents fled the Nazis in the 1930s, returned to help.

... after two New York rabbis were assaulted in Berlin earlier this year, local police advised against the wearing of skullcaps and jewellery chains depicting the star of David... A Jewish school in Berlin was recently defaced with the words, 'Six million was not enough', referring to the number killed in the Holocaust.

Last month the German secret service uncovered an alleged neo-Nazi plot to assassinate Jews at a ceremony in Munich to mark the completion of a cultural centre.

A week earlier, three neo-Nazis were convicted of torturing and killing a 16-year-old because he 'looked like a Jew'. The boy died after his skull was smashed by their steel-capped boots."

AROUND A THOUSAND SUPPORTERS OF AL QUDS IRANIAN MOVEMENT DEMONSTRATE AGAINST ISRAEL

"Anti-Israeli demonstration held in Berlin" (NDTV, [Indian website], November 23, 2003). "Around a thousand supporters of the Al Quds Iranian movement held an anti-Israeli demonstration in the German capital Berlin... Anti-Israeli protests are particularly sensitive in Germany – the country's Nazi government killed an estimated six million Jews in the Holocaust."

AN OLD EVIL RAISES ITS WEARY HEAD

"An old evil raises its weary head. Sixty years after the Holocaust, Europe still wrestles with anti-Semitism." (This is an essay by Josef Joffein Time magazine, Europe edition, November 17, 2003. Josef Joffe is editor of the German weekly newspaper "Die Zeit".)

"General Reinhard Gunzel was the commander of Germany's fabled Special Ops force, the KSK. No more. Last Tuesday, he was sacked for writing a letter to an obscure backbencher named Martin Hohmann. In his missive, the general praised the deputy for an 'excellent speech' and assured him that 'the majority of our people shares your thoughts.' What had Herr Hohmann said? He'd called the Jews not a nation of victims but a 'nation of perpetrators,' responsible for millionfold murder in the name of socialism and bolshevism. As 'proof' he adduced Karl Marx, the son of converted Jewish parents, who had invented it all; Henry Ford, who detected the bloody Jewish hand behind Soviet communism in his infamous 1920s tract, The International Jew, which reads like an American version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion; and finally, those Jews who were prominent leaders of the Bolshevik takeover: Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev. Never mind that Lenin, the real Mr. Big, was no more Jewish than Hohmann. Never mind that thousands of Jewish communists were purged and murdered by Stalin. The Jews had done it.

... Is this anti-Semitism? The denigration and demonization, the attribution of boundless power and evil, clearly are classic signs of Jew hatred. But the more interesting question is this: Is anti-Semitism on a roll in Germany, 60 years after Auschwitz? The answer is no..."

FORMER NAZI ACCUSED OF CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

"Poland asks Costa Rica to extradite former Nazi" (AP, November 22, 2003). "Efforts to extradite a Ukranian-born man accused of killing Jews in Nazi-occupied territory advanced Friday when Poland asked for his extradition, Foreign Minister Roberto Tovar said. Tovar said the Polish Embassy presented the extradition request for Bodan Koziy, 80, who had been kicked out of the United States. He is accused of participating in crimes against humanity."

RECOVERED MANUSCRIPT RETURNED TO THE AUSTRIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY

"Stolen Jewish manuscript returned after 65 years. Nazis looted 14th century document from collection in Austria" (CNN, November 18, 2003). "Nearly 65 years to the day after it was stolen by the Nazis, a rare historical Hebrew manuscript has been returned to the Austrian Jewish community. The recovered manuscript will be put on display at the Jewish Museum in Vienna."



FULL ARTICLES

SURGE IN GERMAN ATTACKS ON JEWS

Surge in German attacks on Jews
By Justin Sparks, Berlin
The Sunday Times (London)
November 23, 2003

The bespectacled British-born rabbi did not stand a chance. As Walter Rothschild walked through an underground station in Berlin, four youths kicked and beat him, leaving him for dead. "I was beaten black and blue and covered in blood," said Rothschild, 49, who moved from Bradford to Germany five years ago. "I'm not the only one. People spit at us, shout racist remarks, vandalise our graveyards and spray graffiti on our schools."

Germany is enduring a new bout of soul-searching over its Nazi past after a senior member of the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) caused outrage by claiming that European Jews had committed crimes comparable with the Holocaust.

Martin Hohmann, the MP, was expelled from the parliamentary party but only after receiving support from a number of colleagues. Angela Merkel, the CDU leader, called last week for a national debate to redefine "German patriotism" and "love for the Fatherland".

Immigration from eastern Europe has turned Germany's Jewish community into the fastest growing and most vibrant in Europe. Rothschild, whose parents fled the Nazis in the 1930s, returned to help.

As the number of Jews grows, old stereotypes are being revived. More than a third of people polled last week by Stern, the news magazine, said they thought the Jews were trying to "take advantage" of their suffering under Hitler and "make the Germans pay for it".

Some 35% said they thought the Jews' primary allegiance lay with Israel rather than with Germany, and 61% thought it time to "draw a line" under discussion about the Holocaust.

Such attitudes are too often expressed in assaults: after two New York rabbis were assaulted in Berlin earlier this year, local police advised against the wearing of skullcaps and jewellery chains depicting the star of David.

The anti-semitism is being fuelled by anger about Israeli policies towards the Palestinians, particularly among German Muslims. A Jewish school in Berlin was recently defaced with the words, "Six million was not enough", referring to the number killed in the Holocaust.

Last month the German secret service uncovered an alleged neo-Nazi plot to assassinate Jews at a ceremony in Munich to mark the completion of a cultural centre. Fifty houses were also raided by police in a crackdown on the German wing of the British organisation Combat 18.

A week earlier, three neo-Nazis were convicted of torturing and killing a 16-year-old because he "looked like a Jew". The boy died after his skull was smashed by their steel-capped boots.

According to Rothschild, many teachers are reluctant to discuss the Holocaust with pupils. He also sees the tensions as the result of a recent series of books looking at the suffering endured by Germans during the war.

"For half a century they weren't allowed to mourn for what they suffered," said Rothschild. "It was bound to come out at some point, but I hope we don't have to suffer for it in the process."

 

ANTI-ISRAELI DEMONSTRATION HELD IN BERLIN

Anti-Israeli demonstration held in Berlin
NDTV [Indian website]
November 23, 2003 (Berlin)

Around a thousand supporters of the Al Quds Iranian movement held an anti-Israeli demonstration in the German capital Berlin.

Some of the protesters demanded that the Palestinians be given the same rights as the Israelis in the Middle East.

The protest also attracted a smaller group of pro-Israeli demonstrators.

Anti-Israeli protests are particularly sensitive in Germany – the country's Nazi government killed an estimated six million Jews in the Holocaust. (AP)

 

AN OLD EVIL RAISES ITS WEARY HEAD

An old evil raises its weary head
Sixty years after the Holocaust, Europe still wrestles with anti-Semitism
Essay | By Josef Joffe
Time magazine Europe edition
November 17, 2003 | Vol. 162 No. 19

Joffe: The Enemy Within

Anti-Semitism: How Bad Is It?

General Reinhard Gunzel was the commander of Germany's fabled Special Ops force, the KSK. No more. Last Tuesday, he was sacked for writing a letter to an obscure backbencher named Martin Hohmann. Normally, penning a letter to a parliamentarian hardly qualifies as high crime and misdemeanor. Germany is different, and for good reason.

In his missive, the general praised the deputy for an "excellent speech" and assured him that "the majority of our people shares your thoughts." What had Herr Hohmann said? He'd called the Jews not a nation of victims but a "nation of perpetrators," responsible for millionfold murder in the name of socialism and bolshevism. As "proof" he adduced Karl Marx, the son of converted Jewish parents, who had invented it all; Henry Ford, who detected the bloody Jewish hand behind Soviet communism in his infamous 1920s tract, The International Jew, which reads like an American version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion; and finally, those Jews who were prominent leaders of the Bolshevik takeover: Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev. Never mind that Lenin, the real Mr. Big, was no more Jewish than Hohmann. Never mind that thousands of Jewish communists were purged and murdered by Stalin. The Jews had done it, and now to Hohmann's dialectical somersault: Of course, this verdict "may sound horrible," he mused, but after all, isn't this precisely the "same logic" that led to the stigmatization of Germany as a "nation of perpetrators?"

For non-Germans, this screed cries out for decoding. The unspoken logic is this: if the Jews were as bad, or worse, than our forefathers, then they have no special moral claim on us. The original Holocaust was invented not by us, but by them; so let them stop pointing their fingers at us. If we are criminals, so are they. But if they aren't, how can we be? Thus, the score is evened, and we are (almost) out of the moral doghouse.

Is this anti-Semitism? The denigration and demonization, the attribution of boundless power and evil, clearly are classic signs of Jew hatred. But the more interesting question is this: Is anti-Semitism on a roll in Germany, 60 years after Auschwitz? The answer is no.

Hence Günzel's immediate dismissal by Defense Minister Peter Struck, who called him "a confused and lonely general who agreed with an even more confused statement by a conservative member of parliament." Hence the uniform condemnation of both men in the opinion pages of the German press. But there is more significant evidence still.

To hate Jews is not permissible in polite society, but to loathe Israel, and especially its Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, carries no such stigma.

Last year, the American Jewish Committee surveyed the opinions of 1,250 Germans. The news is pretty good: only 17% said they would rather not have a Jew as neighbor; far less welcome were Arabs (43%) and Africans (26%). Do Jews have too much influence? No, said 52%, while 21% had no opinion.

Seven out of 10 thought it "exceedingly" or "very important" that Germans learn about the Holocaust. Three-quarters claimed never to have heard "anti-Semitic statements." Though there were no comparative data, my bet is that in Germany the "AQ" (or "anti-Semitism quotient") is no higher – and perhaps even lower – than in neighboring West European countries.

So, can we sleep sound and tight? No. The problem with such data is that post-Holocaust anti-Semitism is enveloped in a most powerful taboo – people hide it and surveys underreport it. But perhaps there's another way to measure it. Judging from the news out of Brussels last week, one might surmise that some anti-Israelism is a form of sublimated anti-Semitism. To hate Jews is not permissible in polite society, but to loathe Israel, and especially its Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, carries no such stigma. One can certainly oppose Israeli policy without being an anti-Semite. But something more than policy differences are behind the astounding poll released by the E.U. last week, which shows that six out of 10 Europeans regard Israel as the greatest threat to world peace, ahead of North Korea and Iran.

The results, said European Commission President Romano Prodi, "point to the continued existence of a bias that must be condemned out of hand." He might also have asked whether Israel has become the über-Jew, a legitimate target where individual Jews are not. There is a quip ascribed to the Israeli psychoanalyst Zvi Rex: "The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz," meaning that Germans (and all of Europe that let it happen) do not want to live under the burden of the Holocaust forever. Hence the projection of a guilt – as most recently executed by Martin Hohmann – that evens the score and lightens the burden of moral responsibility.

If this is the bad news, what is the good news? It is obvious: the demise of "classical" anti-Semitism in Europe – of persecution, expulsion and murder. These fires have burned out. After a millennium of bloodshed, that is the best news of all.

 

POLAND ASKS COSTA RICA TO EXTRADITE FORMER NAZI

Poland asks Costa Rica to extradite former Nazi
The Associated Press
November 22, 2003

Efforts to extradite a Ukranian-born man accused of killing Jews in Nazi-occupied territory advanced Friday when Poland asked for his extradition, Foreign Minister Roberto Tovar said.

Tovar said the Polish Embassy presented the extradition request for Bodan Koziy, 80, who had been kicked out of the United States. He is accused of participating in crimes against humanity. Some legal documents and reports spell his first name as Bohdan and his last name as Koziy.

A court order in 2001 to expel Koziy was frustrated because no country would take him.

Tovar said the extradition request would be turned over to the courts.

Security Minister Rogelio Ramos said recently that officials know where Koziy is living, but he said extradition could take months.

The New York-based World Jewish Congress and the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center have repeatedly urged Costa Rica to expel Koziy, saying he was part of a Ukrainian police unit that operated under Nazi orders from 1942-44.

Koziy, which is spelled Kosic in some court records, is accused of killing a 4-year-old Jewish child from a family named Singer and members of a family named Kandler in 1943.

After World War II, Koziy traveled to the United States, where he received citizenship in 1957. But that citizenship was withdrawn in 1982 after a federal court in Florida discovered he had lied about his identity.

He failed to appear for a deportation proceeding in Miami in March 1985, and surfaced in Costa Rica.

The former Soviet Union sought his extradition in 1986, but that was blocked because Costa Rican law does not allow suspects to be sent to face a possible death sentence.

The World Jewish Congress, based in New York, then took up the case, sending letters to the Costa Rican government to urge them to expel Koziy.

Koziy has denied lying about his identity. Supporters say a witness who reported the killings later recanted, saying she had been pressured by Soviet intelligence agencies to implicate him.

Koziy moved to the United States in 1949 and obtained citizenship, but it was revoked in 1982 after authorities accused him of lying about his identity. He disappeared, but turned up in Costa Rica with his wife in 1984.

In 1986, the Soviet Union requested his extradition. Costa Rica accepted the request, but never carried it out because the Soviet Union refused to guarantee that Koziy wouldn't face the death penalty there.

 

STOLEN JEWISH MANUSCRIPT RETURNED AFTER 65 YEARS

Stolen Jewish manuscript returned after 65 years
Nazis looted 14th century document from collection in Austria
By Chris Strathmann
CNN
November 18, 2003

A rare 14th century Hebrew manuscript was returned to the Vienna Jewish community by U.S. Customs officials Tuesday.

Nearly 65 years to the day after it was stolen by the Nazis, a rare historical Hebrew manuscript has been returned to the Austrian Jewish community.

At a ceremony in Manhattan, officials with the Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement presented the letter-size parchment to Erika Jakubovits, executive director of the Jewish Community Organization of Vienna.

Agents recovered the document in June 2002 after it was smuggled into the United States and slated for sale at auction.

The 14th century manuscript is one of the oldest versions of a Kabalistic text known as Sepher Yetzirah. It's one of the first texts to mention the ancient Jewish mystical movement, according to Ori Soltes of the Holocaust Art Restoration Project. The document is valued at $68,000.

Jakubovits contacted Immigration and Customs in March 2002 after she saw a newspaper article that mentioned that Kestenbaum and Co., a New York auction house, was selling a rare manuscript. Immigration and Customs officials determined the document was stolen by the Nazis and that the seller, Aaron Stefansky, a U.S. citizen, had bought it in Israel and smuggled it to New York.

A spokeswoman from Kestenbaum & Co. told The Associated Press that she had no information on the decision to sell the manuscript. In September, Stefansky was convicted of failing to declare the manuscript, and sentenced to one year of probation and a fine of $3,000.

The manuscript had been part of a collection in Vienna until November of 1938, when the Nazis took it, Jakubovits said.

"We are fighting for more than 50 years in Austria to get back our property," she said. "Those things are very, very special. For me, it's the first time I get something returned."

Michael Garcia, acting assistant secretary of the bureau, said the investigation also pointed out holes in border security.

"If people can smuggle artifacts, smuggle other items across our borders, those same vulnerabilities could be exploited to smuggle components for [weapons of mass destruction] or other contraband," Garcia said.

Jakubovits said so far, only six of 625 documents looted by the Nazis have been recovered. She said a team of researchers in Austria is working to track down the missing documents.

The recovered manuscript will be put on display at the Jewish Museum in Vienna, Jakubovits said.


World media reaction to Istanbul bombings

November 19, 2003

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach a media analysis of the Istanbul synagogue bombings that so far have left 25 people dead (and 300 injured). The analysis is based on 44 reports from 22 countries on 16 – 18 November 2003. There is a summary first for those who don't have time to read this in full.



SUMMARY

"A NEW WAVE OF ANTI-SEMITISM... SWEEPING THE GLOBE"

The editorials are broadly divided into four different types of views:

1. The attacks stem from "a "new wave of anti-Semitism... sweeping the globe."

2. U.S. and Israeli policies have helped "create and facilitate terrorism."

3. Radical Moslem (conspiracy theorist) writers say the attacks were a "Zionist plot" along the lines of 9/11 (and one Egyptian paper, Al-Wafd, even suggests that Turkish Jews carried out the attacks themselves.)

4. Turkey's "successful synthesis of Islam and secularism" makes it an al-Qaida target.

SELECTED HIGHLIGHTS

AL-QAIDA'S GHOST HAUNTS THE RUINS OF ALL THESE ATTACKS

In the French right-of-center paper Le Figaro (11/17) Michel Schifres writes: "It would be wishful thinking not to link together the anti-Semitic attacks in Turkey and the destruction of a Jewish school in a Paris suburb.... There is no doubt any longer that the battle against Zionism has become an alibi for anti-Semites. Criticism of Israel's policy is often linked to hate against the Jews... A case in point is the Eurobarometer poll that showed Israel to be one of the most dangerous nations threatening world peace... Such a position feeds France's anti-Semitism."

In the left-of-center French paper Liberation (11/17) Gerard Dupuy says: "In 2003 a person can be killed only because he or she is Jewish. This can happen in Casablanca, Djerba and Istanbul... Al-Qaida's ghost haunts the ruins of all these attacks... because Bin Laden's organization has called for the murder of Jews everywhere. In doing this it has radicalized ancient anti-Semitic terrorism... To pretend to 'explain these crimes without excusing them' by way of the Palestinian context is an error in analysis and a moral mistake. It is an error because these crimes are triggered by a deep desire to annihilate which uses the Palestinian cause only as a pretext... The motivation for the crimes in Istanbul and in a Paris suburb is most probably similar. The government's response must be unforgiving."

The Turkish Daily News says Al-Qaida seeks to 'topple moderate, pro-Western Muslim regimes' like Turkey – Ankara poses the "greatest obstacle" to al-Qaida's creation of more "Taliban-type administrations" because it proves "a country with an overwhelming majority of Muslims can establish a viable democratic system."

In Germany, Wolfgang Guenter Lerch wrote in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/17): "The criminal attacks on two synagogues in Istanbul were mainly directed against Israel, but the Turkish government was also a target... The allegations of Israel's Foreign Minister Shalom are hardly acceptable that Europe must also be blamed for the attacks. They are tantamount to giving Israel a carte blanche and prevent any kind of criticism of Israel. Aren't the four former leaders of Israel's domestic intelligence service to blame for the bombings? They fear that Israel will be rushing into disaster if it continues as before. It was not Europe that gave Ariel Sharon his reputation but he himself is to blame... Even secular Turks are dismayed when the see what is happening in the Israeli occupied Palestinian territories."

In Italy, Livio Caputo wrote in pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale (11/17): that it is a "War Against The West."

In Austria, Gudrun Harrer wrote in liberal Der Standard (11/17): "It is not a coincidence that Jews who were forced to flee from Catholic Spain and Portugal found refuge in Turkey. We should bear this in mind when claiming that Anti-Judaism is inherent in the Islamic religion."

Austria's centrist Die Presse urged Europe to "throw the nagging differences over the war in Iraq overboard" and make "serious, joint efforts to eradicate... terror."

In the Czech Republic, the center-right Lidove Noviny wrote (11/18) "Saturday's attack in Turkey was committed on European territory and it is does not matter that it was on the outskirts."

Several Muslim writers claim that the U.S. or Israel responsible for the Istanbul bombs.

India's independent Moslem paper the Urdu Times alleged the U.S. was punishing Turkey's "unforgivable" refusal to provide troops in Iraq.

Pakistan's leading Jang labeled the attacks in Istanbul and Riyadh "an attempt... to create internal chaos and strife paving the way for foreign aggression."

In Pakistan, Lahore-based independent Urdu-language Din editorialized (11/17): "It is a fact that Israel's Jewish and Zionist leadership takes the credit for having introduced the modern day world to terrorism. The international Zionist organization 'Zionist International Jewry' terms terrorism as inevitable for the creation of Greater Israel."

"A ZIONIST PLOT"

Egypt's pro-opposition Al-Wafd added the blast is "a Zionist plot."

Gamal Badawi also writes in Al Wafd (11/18): "The Jewish synagogue in Istanbul suffered terrorist attacks before in 1986 and in 1994. This means this synagogue is targeted by terrorist elements... which seek to blame Moslems, since they are on top of the global terrorist list which the U.S. and Israel propagate... The man who made this allegation [accusing Moslems] is an unknown figure... Why do we not say that the attack was plotted in order to improve Israel's image in the EU after the recent poll that showed it as the primary threat to global peace? Why do we exclude Turkish Jews as perpetrators?"

Al Wafd Editor-in-Chief Abbass el Tarabili maintained (11/16): "Islam recognizes the right of other to worship... thus we, as Moslems, reject the Istanbul attacks... Truly, Israel does not respect mosques... and Zionist soldiers stepped with their shoes inside them, but we refuse Moslems committing such acts... We do not rule out that these operations were a Zionist plot in order to draw the world's sympathy to the Jews."

On the other hand, Ibrahim Nafie, the Editor-in-chief of Egypt's Pro-government Al Ahram does call the attack an "appalling crime [that] threatens [us] all."

Other Arab papers condemn the attacks.

In Tunisia, editor Raouf Khalsi commented in the independent French-language Le Temps (11/16): "... The fact that it resolved to provoke a massacre in two synagogues in Istanbul, one of which is called Neve Shalom (meaning peace), perpetrated also on the Hebrew religious day of Sabbath, is exactly what doesn't serve the cause of Islam."

Canada's leading Globe & Mail editorialized (11/18): "There is only one thing to do about the new anti-Semitism: confront it head on. The last time this brand of hatred was unleashed on the world, it ended in the death of six million. After that, the world vowed Never Again. To be true to that vow, we have to fight anti-Semitism at every corner."

Editorials from countries such as China, Brazil and Argentina are also included.

-- Tom Gross



FULL TEXT

ISTANBUL BOMBINGS: AL-QAIDA AGAIN DECLARES "WAR ON THE FREE WORLD"

World media reaction to Istanbul bombings
(Prepared by a media analysis organization)
November 18, 2003

NOTE: This analysis was based on 44 reports from 22 countries over 16 – 18 November 2003. Editorial excerpts from each country are listed by date.

MAJOR THEMES

All nations should unite to 'launch a long-term war on terrorism' – Euro dailies stressed the threat from "self-appointed religious warriors...interested in nothing but global war." Austria's centrist Die Presse urged Europe to "throw the nagging differences over the war in Iraq overboard" and make "serious, joint efforts to eradicate... terror." Saudi, Turkish and Lebanese writers also opposed any "concessions to terrorism." Beirut's moderate Daily Star condemned al-Qaida's "strategy of bloodletting" and demanded Muslims "not be shy about deploring such acts."

The attack confirms al-Qaida's seeks the 'murder of Jews everywhere' – French papers warned that al-Qaida's "crimes are triggered by a deep desire to annihilate which uses the Palestinian cause only as a pretext." Canada's leading Globe and Mail cautioned that "once a European phenomenon, anti-Semitism has taken root in the Arab and larger Islamic world." Israel's pluralist Yediot Aharonot predicted more attacks against Jewish targets, because "extremist Islam" sees Jews as the "engine" of the "train of Western imperialism."

The U.S. has created a 'more suitable atmosphere for terrorists to operate in'– Critics of the U.S. rejected the "murder of innocents" in Istanbul but blamed U.S. "hegemony and unilateralism" for stimulating "religious radicals" around the world. Egypt's pro-government Al Ahram demanded the U.S. and Israel end their "occupation of Arab territories" as a first step in the "collective battle against terrorism." Tunisia's independent Le Temps more bluntly said "the West, Europe and the U.S... created this bed of terrorism."

Conspiracy theorists say the attack only serves 'Israel and the enemies of Arabs' – Several Muslim writers held the U.S. or Israel responsible for the Istanbul tragedy. India's independent Urdu Times alleged the U.S. was punishing Turkey's "unforgivable" refusal to provide troops in Iraq, while Pakistan's leading Jang labeled the attacks in Istanbul and Riyadh "an attempt... to create internal chaos and strife paving the way for foreign aggression." Egypt's pro-opposition Al-Wafd added the blast might be "a "Zionist plot."

Al-Qaida seeks to 'topple moderate, pro-Western Muslim regimes' like Turkey – As the "only country where Islam and democracy go hand in hand," Turkey is experiencing the war of "insane Islam against sane Islam." Ankara poses the "greatest obstacle" to al-Qaida's creation of more "Taliban-type administrations" because, said the elite Turkish Daily News, it proves "a country with an overwhelming majority of Muslims can establish a viable democratic system."

EUROPE

BRITAIN: "THE ATTACK ON ISTANBUL JEWS IS AN ATTACK ON HOPE ITSELF"

Fiachra Gibbons commented in the left-of-center Guardian (11/17): "The Jews of Turkey, and the survival of their precious and unique culture, are one of the few enduring examples of tolerance through the ages that humanity has left to cling to... So when six die, as they did on Saturday morning when their blood mingled with that of their Muslim neighbours blown to bits by a suicide bomber outside the Neve Shalom synagogue, the heart should miss a beat and the world weep. For we are mourning the loss of souls who had learned to span a supposedly unbridgeable gulf that is being daily widened by George Bush and our own dear, deluded leader. The 17,000 or so remaining Jews of Istanbul are living proof that Jews and Muslims can coexist in harmony... Turkey is also, of course, Israel's almost lone ally in the Muslim world. Both countries have disputed borders with Arab neighbours, both rely heavily on US aid, both have poor human rights records, and both have powerful generals pulling strings or setting agendas behind the scenes. Despite all this, Israeli foreign minister Silvan Shalom's immediate identification of Jews with Israel when he visited the bombed synagogues yesterday is not something most Istanbul Jews will be thankful for... Of all the trials that have befallen them over the last 500 years, none has brought more threat than the existence of Israel... Yesterday Israel blamed hatred whipped up in Turkey against it for the attacks and pressed for stronger security measures. It is from such mixed blessings as protectors who may unwittingly provoke attack that the famously acid Ladino wits of Istanbul have coined their epigrams. One pungent favourite of the tea houses seems particularly apt now: 'Aharva kulo ke no pedo' – It's the backside that didn't make the stink that always gets hit."

FRANCE: "AN UNACCEPTABLE ALIBI"

Michel Schifres opined in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/17): "It would be wishful thinking not to link together the anti-Semitic attacks in Turkey and the destruction of a Jewish school in a Paris suburb... There is no doubt any longer that the battle against Zionism has become an alibi for anti-Semites. Criticism of Israel's policy is often linked to hate against the Jews... A case in point is the Eurobarometer poll that showed Israel to be one of the most dangerous nations threatening world peace... Such a position feeds France's anti-Semitism."

"A MORAL MISTAKE"

Gerard Dupuy noted in left-of-center Liberation (11/17): "In 2003 a person can be killed only because he or she is Jewish. This can happen in Casablanca, Djerba and Istanbul... Al-Qaida's ghost haunts the ruins of all these attacks... because Bin Laden's organization has called for the murder of Jews everywhere. In doing this it has radicalized ancient anti-Semitic terrorism... To pretend to 'explain these crimes without excusing them' by way of the Palestinian context is an error in analysis and a moral mistake. It is an error because these crimes are triggered by a deep desire to annihilate which uses the Palestinian cause only as a pretext. The cause for such crimes must be searched within Islamic society. It is a mistake because it tends to insidiously make the victims of such crimes responsible for their own deaths... The motivation for the crimes in Istanbul and in a Paris suburb is most probably similar. The government's response must be unforgiving."

GERMANY: "RETURN OF TERROR TO ISTANBUL"

Center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich concluded (11/17): "The return of terrorism hits Turkey all the more because the criminals have struck not in distant Kurdistan but in the center of the European heart of the country. All of a sudden it has become clear that Turkey has a perfect enemy image for Islamic extremists. Despite the most recent deterioration in relations with its Arab neighbors during the Iraq war, Turkey is still considered America-friendly enough and Ankara is the only Muslim country that has traditional close political and military relations with Israel... The majority of people killed are Muslims. But this has not touched the synagogue attackers from Saturday... and the killers who detonated a bomb in Riyadh a week ago. This terror will not meet with serious support in Turkey. Cheers at pictures accompanying the shooting down of helicopters in Iraq or praise for suicide attackers for radical Palestinians are unconceivable. The prevailing feeling is mourning."

"BOMBS ON ISTANBUL"

Dietrich Alexander judged in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (11/17): "Istanbul has turned into another theater of the ideology war between Osama bin Laden's heirs and those who do not want to surrender without fighting. Fanatics consider Turkey, but also Egypt, Morocco, and Jordan to be betrayer countries, and their rulers heretics. Ankara is heading for Europe, has close links with Israel, and can look back to hundreds of centuries of co-existence between Jews and Muslims... And those who like Israel's Foreign Minister Shalom makes 'growing anti-Israelism' responsible for the attacks in Istanbul, do not only blame the wrong people but also underestimate the seriousness of the situation, given the self-appointed religious warriors who are interested in nothing but global war."

"CRIME IN ISTANBUL"

Wolfgang Guenter Lerch wrote in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/17): "The criminal attacks on two synagogues in Istanbul were mainly directed against Israel, but the Turkish government was also a target... For the terrorists, who are likely to come for Al Qaida's surrounding, Turkey is also a 'western country,' a NATO member, and a preferred strategic partner of the Americans. The fact that the Turks occasionally reject Washington's requests cannot exonerate them in the eyes of the terrorists. In addition, since the days of reformer Kemal Atatuerk, quite a few Muslims consider the Turks as 'apostates' of Islam. This is total nonsense but corresponds to the uniform picture military fundamentalists have of the world. The Erdogan government in particular stems from this Islamic movement and is an interesting inner-Islamic experiment of opening [the country]... The allegations of Israel's Foreign Minister Shalom are hardly acceptable that Europe must also be blamed for the attacks. They are tantamount to giving Israel a carte blanche and prevent any kind of criticism of Israel. Aren't the four former leaders of Israel's domestic intelligence service to blame for the bombings? They fear that Israel will be rushing into disaster if it continues as before. It was not Europe that gave Ariel Sharon his reputation but he himself is to blame. The religious mania of the Islamic terrorists cannot be healed but it can develop much better in an atmosphere of conflicts that are one-sidedly interpreted by the West. Even secular Turks are dismayed when the see what is happening in the Israeli occupied Palestinian territories. Even after Saddam Hussein's elimination, the United States does not 'broker' in a really honest way as it promised."

"CAUTION MUST PREVAIL"

Centrist Heilbronner Stimme argued (11/17): "Caution must prevail when trying to find the reasons [for the attack]. The Iraq war is not the only factor that caused the attack nor is it 'anti-Israelism' in Europe, as Israel's Foreign Minister quickly said. Only one thing is clear: Al Qaida has declared war on the free world. Any indulgence is out of place. Not in the West either where people do not really want to recognize what kind of violent potential is raised in Islamic ghettos. And the real Muslims should recognize that they are also increasingly becoming victims, too. They should be more consistent in condemning violence."

ITALY: "SHARON AND ABU ALA WILL MEET IN A FEW DAYS"

An editorial in leading business-oriented Il Sole-24 Ore read (11/18): "United more than ever in the pain for the latest terrorism victims (the Italians in Nasiriya and the Jews in the Turkish synagogues), Israel and Italy rediscover the profound reasons of their old friendship. They are committed to working together to oppose the great wave of anti-Semitism in the world without making any concessions to security. But they are also hoping for a resumption of the road map with the imminent meeting between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Ala... PM Ariel Sharon testified in his talks with Senate President Marcello Pera, Pier Ferdinando Casini, President of the Chamber of Deputies, and with the Italian Jewish community, Israel's will to combat with every means, including the defense wall against the terrorists, what is called the 'great wave of anti-Semitism in the world."

"THE WAR AGAINST THE WEST"

Livio Caputo wrote in pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale (11/17): "There is a lesson [to be learned] in the tragic events of recent days, that many do not want to understand: we are not facing a terrorist campaign against the presence of a foreign military force in Iraq, or against the Bush Administration's foreign policy: we are facing an all out war without borders against the entire West, that the Islamic fundamentalists identify with evil... Now we hope to exit the Iraqi trap and to diminish the intensity of the battle by speeding up the transfer of power in Baghdad to a provisional government and by increasing the UN role in the transition process... But to believe that these two moves will contain terrorism is wrong: for the fundamentalists, the prospect of an Iraqi government with some democratic credential is still more negative than the prospect of a continuing military ally administration... Finally, it is also wrong to think that we would not have been in this situation had the Americans not invaded Iraq. Perhaps we would not have furnished terrorism with such an easy target, but the war which began on September 11 would have moved to another front, perhaps with an intensification of attacks against Islamic countries like Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey that the fanatics consider the accomplices of the West."

AUSTRIA: "DOUBLE TARGET"

Gudrun Harrer wrote in liberal Der Standard (11/17): "It is not a coincidence that Jews who were forced to flee from Catholic Spain and Portugal found refuge in Turkey. We should bear this in mind when claiming that Anti-Judaism is inherent in the Islamic religion – in fact, it never had the dogmatic status in Islam that it had in Christianity. However, it is also true that things have changed in modern Islam. Istanbul is still looking for the perpetrators of the attacks. But no matter what the group is called, and whether there will be evidence of connections with al-Qaeda: without a doubt, this act of terror smacks of the al-Qaeda orbit. The fact that two attacks were carried out simultaneously also follows a well-known pattern, and leaves open the question if maybe more attacks were planned. We only know one thing: there will be a next time, and every time is going to be like the first."

"THE PRESENCE OF EVIL"

Thomas Vieregge observed in centrist Die Presse (11/17): "It seems that the edges of terror are moving dangerously close to Europe. Whoever was lulled into a false sense of security after attacks on exotic holiday destinations such as Bali or Kenya, or the tourism areas of Tunisia and Morocco, must have woken up with quite a start after the double attack in Istanbul: there are no safe havens anymore. Istanbul is the bridgehead between the Levantine and Europe, the seam between East and West. The truism that terror does not know any geographic, ethnic or religious borders has once again been confirmed. Evil is present everywhere, all the time – that's what makes it so perfidious... For this reason, it is high time to throw the nagging differences over the war in Iraq overboard, to stop paying lip service, and to make serious, joint efforts to eradicate the germ cells of terror once and for all."

CZECH REPUBLIC: "AL-QAEDA AT THE DOOR"

Petr Pesek wrote in center-right Lidove noviny (11/18): "Although repetition of the attacks of September 11, 2001 cannot be ruled out, the more likely tool of terrorists will be the way they attacked in Iraqi Nasiriya, Saudi Riyad, and Turkish Istanbul in the past few days... Thus let the recent UN report warning how people connected to al-Qaeda continue in their financial activities in Europe, or the vain Israeli warning against the planned attack on the synagogues in Istanbul be a warning. Saturday's attack in Turkey was committed on European territory and it is does not matter that it was on the outskirts."

ROMANIA: "THE ISTANBUL TERRORIST ATTACKS"

Mihaela Ganet stated in financial-oriented Curentul (11/17): "The tough tone of international reaction was expressed by the American President, George Bush, who condemned in the 'harshest terms' the terrorist attacks in Istanbul, the capital of a country in which the Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities have developed together for centuries. The European Union, whose citizens were recently characterized as being anti-Semitic... described the car-bomb attacks as an 'unacceptable expression of intolerance and rejection that must be eradicated'."

SPAIN: "TERROR IN ISTANBUL"

Conservative ABC said (11/16): "Turkey is a country that has been lashed by terror for a long time. The same synagogue Neve Shalom suffered a Palestinian attack in 1986... but terrorist groups of all kinds have operated in the country. Despite this, Ankara has not always been understood. With an Islamic government, Turkey has not questioned either its alliances or its commitment against terrorism, and it is a key country in the fight for stability in the region. This fact must be taken into account."

TURKEY: "TWIN TOWERS: ISTANBUL"

Sedat Ergin observed in mass-appeal Hurriyet (11/18): "The Istanbul bombings are a terrorist act carried out after at least one or two months of planning. This is an organized act carried out by various groups. There is a striking lesson that comes from this terrorist attack: Turkey should evaluate and analyze the intelligence reports about domestic and foreign-based fundamentalist terror organizations more seriously than before... It might well be against the intention of the terrorists, yet the results of this terrorist attack will bring Turkey, the US and Israel more into the same line. Turkey will increase coordination with the US to fight against terrorism, and all three will be closer to each other in their foreign policy considerations... Those who lost their lives after the 9/11 attacks and those who died in the attacks against the two synagogues in Istanbul share the same fate. Islamic fundamentalist terror is globalized, and the Twin Towers have now been turned into two synagogues. Istanbul is now New York."

"INTERNATIONAL REPERCUSSIONS OF THE ISTANBUL TERRORIST ATTACKS"

Sami Kohen wrote in mass-appeal Milliyet (11/18): "There are many questions that spring to mind about last weekend's terrorist attacks on two synagogues in Istanbul. Often such questions can never be answered. This time, however, we hope that the perpetrators will soon be captured and punished. Turkey has now for the first time been the victim of a large-scale attack of global terrorism... There were supposedly two main aims of these attacks: First, to 'punish' and take revenge on the Jews and Israel. Second, to intimidate Turkey and force Ankara to change its foreign policy. Radical Islamist terrorist groups see our country as a collaborator with the Western world. Why? Because Turkey is secular and cooperates with the U.S. and Israel. But couldn't these terrorists have seen beforehand that such attacks would lead to nothing but indignation and anger? In truth, one shouldn't search for reasonable explanations since such acts are always the outcome of miscalculations on the part of terrorists. The 'masterminds' behind such attacks aren't always rational. If we look at the repercussions of these attacks in the international arena, we see that the perpetrators' plans have already failed. Countries worldwide have expressed their support to Turkey in its fight against terrorism. Our successful synthesis of Islam and secularism is once again greatly appreciated by the international community. The attacks have in fact reinforced Turkey's determination to combat terrorism... In addition, we've already shown in years past that terrorism would never deter us from our goals. How can someone think that Turkey would change its foreign policy due to such attacks? In other words, terrorist groups miscalculated the results of their actions. Turkey will never alter its foreign policy. The best message for Turkey to send to the perpetrators of these abhorrent attacks is as follows: 'We will stay on course. We'll never submit to terrorism."

"THE SEPTEMBER 11 OF TURKEY"

Semih Idiz commented in mass-appeal Aksam (11/17): "This is not the first time that Turkey has become a target for terrorism. However, the magnitude of the recent terrorist attack represents a new chapter. One possible explanation of the attacks against synagogues in Istanbul is that it demonstrates proof of coordination between local Islamic terror and global Islamic terror. This seems most likely, because a terrorist attack on such a scale would not be possible without logistical coordination within Turkey... The situation poses a crucial test for moderate Muslims around the world. They better think about standing in solidarity – without any 'buts' or excuses – against Islamic terror. Turkey should also carefully analyze where the country is headed, and shape its strategies to address the search for a better future in the Islamic world... The tragedy in Istanbul is the September 11 of Turkey. It remains to be seen whether it will also lead to an awakening."

"THE U.S. IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WAVE OF TERROR"

Cuneyt Ulsever argued in mass-appeal Hurriyet (11/17): "Despite its initial intention to fight against and eliminate terrorism, the situation in post-war Iraq presents a different picture. The US has not eliminated international terrorism, but rather has provided a more suitable atmosphere for terrorists to operate in. Thanks to the US, Al-Qaeda members are no longer confined to the Afghan mountains, but are now able to operate comfortably in the streets of Baghdad. The US failed to exert any control over Kurdish groups, and has thereby alienated Turkey on the Iraq issue. Turkey also paved the way for the Kurds to gain more influence on the US by failing to pass the parliamentary motion that would authorized Turkish involvement in the war... The US is now working on a plan to hand over authority to the Iraqis. Yet the organized terror has already found its place in a chaotic Iraq, and the recent attacks in Istanbul only serve to demonstrate this fact once again."

"RADICALS TARGET THE MODERATE AK PARTY"

The English-language, moderate elite Turkish Daily News declared (11/17): "The AK Party is a major obstacle for those who really have an Islamic agenda to create Taliban-type administrations in the world... Turkey was on the al-Qaeda hit list for a long time. Osama Bin Laden and his men considered it a leading collaborator of the United States in the fight against international terrorism... Turkey actively helped the United States... So sooner or later Osama Bin Laden would order something... on Saturday they unleashed a bloodbath in Istanbul against a so-called Jewish target but in effect they killed more Muslims than Jews. The dead and the wounded were all our brothers and sisters... thus the attack was against all of us... But we also should not view the attack in Istanbul on Saturday only as a criminal act against a country that was on the hit list of a major terrorist organization. The political implications of this attack go well beyond that. The West led by the United States see Turkey as the only country where Islam and democracy go hand in hand. They see that a country with an overwhelming majority of Muslims can establish a viable democratic system... They want to use this model in the Middle East to introduce more democracy in the area. The recent speech of President George W. Bush urging the creation of a more democratic environment in the Middle East fits into this picture. Meanwhile Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda preach Islamic fundamentalism and radicalism and see Turkey as the greatest obstacle for them to create many more Taliban-type administrations... Thus they attack Turkey... That is why we feel the U.S. administration as well as our European counterparts should start doing more to help bolster our democracy."

"TERROR IN ISTANBUL"

Yilmaz Oztuna wrote in nationalist, Istanbul-based Turkiye (11/17): "Terror struck Istanbul last weekend. Who did it, and why? This will be widely discussed, but to no avail. Al Qaeda seems to be the most likely group in terms of this type of attack. The message to Turkey and the world is as follows: 'If you continue to cooperate with the US, you will suffer such misfortunes. You should adopt a clear stance against Israel and cease being interested in Iraq.' If this is really the message, in Turkey it will actually have the opposite effect. As we can't make concessions to terrorism, we will only align our policy with Washington's that more. In addition, this anti-Semitic attack – something unfamiliar and alien to Turkey – will also cause a greater rapprochement in our relations with Israel. Whether the attack was carried out by a radical Islamic group or not, Turkey will continue its current foreign policy. In other words, the US is our strategic ally, and our European Union membership bid will continue. The goal of ruining Turkey's peace and stability and weakening our economy cannot be ignored either. Turkish-Israeli relations, which are already good, will grow closer. The aim is to shock and confuse us. Meanwhile, the message to Europe that its turn might be next shouldn't be missed."

MIDDLE EAST

ISRAEL: "WHO SAID IT WAS BIN LADEN?"

Ron Ben-Yishai maintained in business-oriented Globes (11/16): "Saturday's atrocious bombings against the two Istanbul synagogues could well have been a secret Syrian response to the recent Israel Air Force strike at Syria... If the attacks were carried out under Hizbullah's auspices, directly or by emissaries, Turkey and the U.S. should consider further measures, including economic and diplomatic sanctions against Syria, and perhaps even a military operation against Syria and Hizbullah."

"ANYONE WHO MESSES WITH TURKEY"

Ben Caspit wrote in popular, pluralist Maariv (11/16): "All roads lead to al-Qaida, believe Israeli intelligence officials in the wake of an initial investigation into the identity of the perpetrators of the terror attack yesterday in Istanbul... Senior [Israeli] security officials said Saturday that they believed that if an international terror organization indeed was behind the terror attacks, this constituted a strategic error on its part. 'Turkey is a regional super-power that has made a name for itself in its refusal to bow to terrorism and in particularly strong responses to it,' said one source. 'You can ask the Syrians, who got into the trouble with Turkey and felt the price on their own flesh. Now that the Turks have tasted the taste of terror attacks, that won't contribute to world terrorism.'"

"PREPARE, AND FAST"

Alex Fishman held in popular, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (11/16): "The deadly terror attacks in Istanbul are part of a phenomenon which is only going to get worse. Extremist Islam has decided to derail what it calls 'the train of Western imperialism.' For them, the Jews are its engine, the spearhead of that imperialism. Therefore attacks against Jews, Jewish institutions and Jewish symbols throughout the world are likely to spread. The attack in Istanbul was perpetrated by al-Qaida in spirit if not in deed. The double attack was also intended to undermine the Turkish regime. It is part of a series of attempts by al-Qaida and its offshoots to topple moderate, pro-Western Muslim regimes. The goal is to delegitimize the moderates, sow fear and put extremist Islam in power by the end of the process... The developing reality obligates the government of Israel to make quick decisions and invest resources and concern to developing awareness within the Jewish communities... Israel cannot be the only player on this field. It must build cooperation between governments, intelligence agencies, foreign ministries and police to stop this malignant plague."

"THE FOLLY OF INSANE ISLAM"

Former ambassador to Turkey and former Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Liel remarked in popular, pluralist Maariv (11/16): "The terror attack on the two central synagogues in Istanbul is first and foremost a terror attack that was committed by insane Islam against sane Islam. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been Turkey's prime minister for a year, is an Islamist and even a former fundamentalist. But he turned his back on the unyielding radical Islam and embraced pro-Western and modern moderate Islam, and in practice became its supporter. Erdogan, a devout Muslim in his private life, decided that in Turkey's public life democracy needs to lead, and not Islam, and by so doing presented a huge challenge to all of the Khomeinists, in all their shapes and forms. The perpetrators of the terror attacks, in their insanity and stupidity, Saturday pushed Turkey completely to the side of the West and created for themselves a bitter enemy that is destined to make things very difficult for them in the future."

EGYPT: "THE APPALLING ISTANBUL CRIME: ONCE AGAIN THE DANGER IS THREATENING ALL"

Pro-government Al Ahram Editor-in-chief Ibrahim Nafie commented (11/18): "The appalling attacks in Istanbul are crimes by all means committed by a black terrorism that threatens all of our lives. Such operations have no connection with the legitimate resistance operations against occupying forces – which do not target civilians at all. Terrorist groups only exploit the issues of Palestine and Iraq – which involve justice and aggression against Arabs – to make excuses to public opinion for their appalling crimes and defame Arab regimes. However, ending the Israeli occupation of Arab territories... and the American occupation of Iraq will be the first steps in our collective battle against terrorism."

"TURKEY'S JEWS"

Gamal Badawi held in pro-opposition Al Wafd (11/18): "The Jewish synagogue in Istanbul suffered terrorist attacks before in 1986 and in 1994. This means this synagogue is targeted by terrorist elements... which seek to blame Moslems, since they are on top of the global terrorist list which the U.S. and Israel propagate... The man who made this allegation [accusing Moslems] is an unknown figure... Why do we not say that the attack was plotted in order to improve Israel's image in the EU after the recent poll that showed it as the primary threat to global peace? Why do we exclude Turkish Jews as perpetrators?"

"SEPERATING LINES"

Small-circulation pro-government Al Gomhouriya Editor-in-Chief Samir Ragab stated (11/16): "We undoubtedly oppose any aggression on civilians regardless of their religion, nationality or affiliation. The victims of the Istanbul attacks yesterday have paid the price of the mistakes of others who had no conscience, morals or religion... What led to all this chaos and ignited the fire of terrorism?... We hope Americans realize how their unjust aggression [on Iraq] led to an unprecedented collapse and brushed aside all the honest advice given to them before the attack... Similarly, what do Israelis expect from their mean conduct against Palestinians? Violence and counter-violence have been an American-Israeli product because of their total ignorance of the nature of nations."

"EGYPTIAN WORRIES"

Pro-opposition Al Wafd Editor-in-Chief Abbass el Tarabili maintained (11/16): "Islam recognizes the right of other to worship... thus we, as Moslems, reject the Istanbul attacks... Truly, Israel does not respect mosques... and Zionist soldiers stepped with their shoes inside them, but we refuse Moslems committing such acts... We do not rule out that these operations were a Zionist plot in order to draw the world's sympathy to the Jews."

SAUDI ARABIA: "BACK TO THE TRUTHFUL CALL"

Dammam's moderate Al-Yaum opined (11/18): "Following the terrorist operation that took place in Al-Muhaya in Riyadh, another terrorist act occurred in Istanbul. In view of that, the current individual efforts to fight terrorism should be converted into an international, collective one; all countries should participate in developing and finalizing a real plan of action, since terrorism will spare no one. What happened in the Kingdom, Turkey and the U.S.A. could happen in any country in the world. Consequently, the Kingdom's calls to establish an international plan must be taken seriously in light of the spreading phenomenon of terrorism and its increasing danger, which is threatening all human communities."

"WHO BENEFITS FROM THE HOSTILITY TOWARDS ISLAM"

Jeddah's moderate Okaz editorialized (11/18): "Nobody really knows what al-Qa'eda wants. But all signs are that the organization has become Islam's worst enemy... For the sake of the Muslim world, and for Islam to regain its original reputation as a religion of peace and love, all Muslims must combine their efforts to eradicate this group of criminal outlaws."

"UNFORTUNATE ATTACKS COULD SPARK ISRAELI BACKLASH"

Ahmed Rabhi observed in London-based influential, pan-Arab Arabic-language Asharq al-Awsat (11/17): "The killing of Jews in the Turkish synagogues was part of a plot that serves only Israel and the enemies of Arabs and Muslims throughout the world... The Istanbul terrorist operation represented a gift to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. From now on, the Israeli propaganda machine will use all its strength in turning international attention away from the atrocities committed by the Israeli Army against the Palestinians and earn international sympathy for the Jewish and Zionist cause... The blowing up of religious sites, no matter what the reason, is condemned because it leads to loss of innocent lives... But we should guard against any Israeli backlash against Islam and Muslims, rather than against terrorism and the terrorists that are responsible for the Istanbul massacre."

"NO WAY TO DENY"

Abha's moderate Al-Watan emphasized (11/16): "Today, only a few days after the explosion at al-Muhaya residential compound the latest destructive act that carries the fingerprints of Al-Qa'eda [in Istanbul], there are still Al-Qa'eda sympathizers denying the group's responsibility. This fits with their pattern after September 11, when they watched innocent people become the victims of Al-Qa'eda... time will prove Al-Qa'eda's responsibility."

LEBANON: "TERRORISTS HAVE NO RIGHT TO SPEAK FOR ARABS, MUSLIMS"

The moderate English-language Daily Star opined (11/17): "Saturday's bombings at two synagogues in Istanbul drew some condemnation in the Arab and Islamic worlds, but far more is needed to dispel the dangerous notion that ours is a civilization that wants its will to be expressed by violence. One should, to say the least, have an exceedingly pressing reason before setting out to kill innocent Jews at prayer and anyone else who happens to walk by. That reason does not exist in this instance, and by acting in the manner they have, the assailants in question have rendered a grotesque disservice to Arabs and Muslims – who should not be shy about deploring such acts, especially when the perpetrators claim to be acting in their name. It is not just media outlets and governments that need to speak out against terrorism... civil society... should voice outrage at having their reputations smeared by a strategy of bloodletting that serves no purpose other than to make this part of the world even more unstable... No one has the right to decide for all Arabs and Muslims that their interface with the rest of the world is to be one of senseless carnage. The Arab and Islamic worlds have had more than their share of problems in terms of communicating their grievances. Apart from being morally reprehensible, terrorism of the Istanbul variety also makes such communication even more difficult. Like conventional military action, guerrilla warfare and other forms of low-intensity political violence are sometimes appropriate when all other options have been exhausted. This is not one of those cases... The alternative is to let a small minority of extremists dictate to the regular citizens who constitute the majority that their livelihoods will be undermined, their reputations fouled, and their children endangered."

TUNISIA: "A CIVILIZATIONAL CLASH"

Editor Raouf Khalsi commented in independent French-language Le Temps (11/16): "Since its foundation in 1985 by Salih Mirzabeyoglu, the 'IBDA-C,' the extremist group of the Islamic Front of Fighters of the Big East, perpetrated attacks against bars, discotheques and churches in Istanbul... The fact that it resolved to provoke a massacre in two synagogues in Istanbul, one of which is called Neve Shalom (meaning peace), perpetrated also on the Hebrew religious day of Sabbath, is exactly what doesn't serve the cause of Islam... Indeed, the worst oppression in the face of which Muslims must take action is this specter of obscurantism that the great orators and fanatics agitate, the new ideologues of the wrong exegesis and pseudo interpretations of the Koran... It is not non-Muslims who are targeted and this tendency is liable to make Christians and Hebrews understand that this drift, with its manifold ramifications, is disseminating throughout certain sensitive regions around the world, and hurting more the religion in the name of which they are speaking... Now, this tragedy does not concern only non-Muslims. It is easy, in fact, to imagine the systematic reaction of Sharon. Indeed, it is one of the most difficult fights that humanity has ever engaged in unison against any form of religious drift... Because it is not a religious fight, but rather a clash of civilizations... without forgetting, of course, the share of responsibility of the West, Europe and the US: it is them who created this bed of terrorism... and this Bush cannot deny."

UAE: "RECKLESS TERROR ACHIEVES NOTHING"

The English-language pro-government Gulf News declared (11/17): "Once again the hand of terror has lashed out with the fatally flawed expectation that violence will serve in furthering political causes. No matter by whom it is done, or under what banner, the murder of innocents must be deplored in the strongest terms. As has been done by world and religious leaders worldwide, among them French President Jacques Chirac and Pope John Paul II. In the immediate aftermath of this horror directed at two synagogues in Istanbul, however, it is important to reflect on a statement by Amr Moussa, the Arab League's Secretary-General. While taking a stand that attacks against civilians was unacceptable, Moussa made it clear to Israel that it was inciting terrorism through its contempt for international resolutions. Only saner voices within Israel, that can somehow make themselves heard over the blind policies of the warmongers, can nudge the Jewish state towards positions that will enable moderates on all sides to even make a dent in the problem. This latest carnage, in which the hand of Al Qaida is not ruled out, only serves to remind governments in the region that far more proactive measures and greater exchange of intelligence are imperative against the forces of international terrorism."

EAST ASIA

CHINA: "WHY THERE HAVE BEEN SO MANY TERROR ATTACKS RECENTLY"

Deng Li, Yin Zheng and Li Wei contended in official China Radio International-sponsored World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (11/17): "The fact that terrorists have expanded their targets to places people couldn't have imagined before the attacks proves that some new characteristics have appeared in terror organizations. The new round of terror attacks has made people realize that the U.S. anti-terror fight in the Gulf region has produced certain negative effects... Al-Qaeda has adopted certain new policies... A third generation of Al-Qaeda's leadership has emerged... The Iraq war conducted by the U.S. to a certain extent stimulated religious radicals in many countries. They may plot terror activities and join terror organizations. The participation of these new terrorists... shows that terror activities have expanded... The main difficulty that the U.S. has encountered in the Middle East lies in its methodology... If in the first place the U.S. did not oust Saddam's regime but reformed and made use of the regime, their lives might not be as difficult as it is today... Due to the mistakes that the U.S. has made, the situation has become irreversible. The rampant expansion of terrorism in the Gulf area and its confrontation with the anti-terror alliance may last for a long time."

CHINA (HONG KONG SAR): "WATCH OUT FOR THE RETURN OF TERRORIST GROUPS"

Pro-PRC Chinese-language Ta Kung Pao remarked (11/18): "An email sent out yesterday by the self-claimed 'al Qaeda' threatened more terrorist attacks around the world, specifically car bombs in Britain, Italy, Australia and Japan. Last week, 'al Qaeda' also threatened a large-scale attack against the U.S. within the month. Though people may doubt the email threat, terrorist bombings around the world have increased, as has the scale of the attacks. We should not underestimate the capabilities of international terrorist groups... Now more and more people realize that one of the major reasons for the prevalence of international terrorism stems from international counter-terrorism struggles... U.S. hegemony and unilateralism will not only hurt the international counter-terrorism effort, but will also fundamentally jeopardize the U.S.' long-term security and strategic interests."

JAPAN: "WORLD COMMUNITY SHOULD JOIN HANDS TO COUNTER TERRORISM"

Liberal Mainichi observed (11/18): "A terrorist group, believed to be linked with the Al Qaeda terrorist group, has claimed responsibility for bombings at two synagogues in Istanbul and the Italian military police headquarters in Nasiriyah. Al Qaeda terrorists are also believed to have been responsible for the recent Riyadh bombing. Acts of terrorism have been intensifying in and around Iraq with US troops and international organizations becoming a bulls eye for terrorists. The 'Al Qaeda-linked' group has called Japan a close US ally and threatened to strike Tokyo if Japan sends SDF troops to Iraq. It will only play into the hands of terrorists if Japan reacts nervously to such threats of terrorism. The GOJ should handle these threats in a cool-headed manner and take sufficient precautionary anti-terror measures. Members of the world community should join hands to launch a long-term war on terrorism, including the eradication of international supporters who continue to finance the terrorists. The UN should also play a central role in combating terrorism."

SOUTH ASIA

INDIA: "U.S. TURNS TO TURKEY"

Independent Urdu-language Urdu Times declared (11/17): "The Zionist-influenced world media reported the explosion in Istanbul (Turkey, a Muslim country) on their set pattern: it was done by 'Islamic' terrorists. However, if the refusal of Turkey (and other Muslims countries as well) from sending troops to serve American occupation of Iraq is taken into consideration, one can easily identify the reason and the forces behind such incidents. Turkey's refusal to provide its troops as asked by the U.S. was unforgivable for which it had to be punished. Saudi Arabia has already been made to taste violence and other Muslim countries will also be targeted one by one, with no exception for the ones swearing with loyalty to the US."

PAKISTAN: "SUICIDAL ATTACKS IN TURKEY: ISLAMIC WORLD MUST TAKE COGNIZANCE"

An editorial in leading mass-circulation Urdu-language Jang read (11/17): "Doubts that the U.S. is going to target more Islamic countries are increasing. Saudi Arabia and Turkey have refused to send their troops to Iraq after which bomb blasts have started taking place in these two countries. The Riyadh bomb blasts have been credited to the account of Al-Qaeda, which has declined owning them and has put the blame at the U.S. doorstep. The Muslim countries should ponder why these suicidal attacks are only being carried out in their countries. Isn't it an attempt to bring Islam and Muslims into disrepute? This seems to be an attempt to create internal chaos and strife paving the way for foreign aggression and invasion."

"TURKEY: FIRST SUICIDE ATTACK"

Lahore-based independent Urdu-language Din editorialized (11/17): "This is the first suicide attack in Turkey, no such incident has been reported from the country earlier. The international media Sherlock Holmeses and think tanks must analyze when armed militancy was started, by which country, and by the followers of which religion? The answer to this is an open secret. It is a fact that Israel's Jewish and Zionist leadership takes the credit for having introduced the modern day world to terrorism. The international Zionist organization 'Zionist International Jewry' terms terrorism as inevitable for the creation of Greater Israel... It is ironic that the country that started the war against terrorism continues to have several Jewish terrorist outfits in many of its states... Can anyone deny the fact that the Jewish Defense League was established in the U.S.? Its founder Meir Kahne was so prejudiced that he worked to eliminate anyone who opposed Israel... It is the influence of these Zionist terrorist outfits that American authorities feel no hesitation in supporting every condemnable Israeli act. If the international community and the global superpower want to stop the tide of suicide attacks, they must rein in Israel and take measures to stop Israeli atrocities against Palestinians, and to withdraw troops from Palestinian soil."

WESTERN HEMISPHERE

CANADA: "AN UGLY NEW ROUND OF ANTI-SEMITISM"

Canada's leading Globe & Mail editorialized (11/18): "The suicide bomb attacks on two synagogues in Istanbul on the weekend are only the latest evidence of a new wave of anti-Semitism that is sweeping the globe... In the suburbs of Paris, arsonists burn a Jewish school to the ground. In a town near Berlin, vandals paint swastikas on the tombstones of a Jewish cemetery... In Malaysia, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad tells a conference of Islamic nations that "Jews rule the world by proxy." The audience applauds... That this ancient and poisonous form of hatred should be welling up again, just 60 years after the Holocaust, is a grim and shocking development... Once a European phenomenon, anti-Semitism has taken root in the Arab and larger Islamic world. Polls after Sept. 11 showed that many Arabs believe that the Israeli security services, not al-Qaeda terrorists, carried out the attacks... The sad result of all this is that Jews around the world feel besieged, worried and insecure... There is only one thing to do about the new anti-Semitism: confront it head on. The last time this brand of hatred was unleashed on the world, it ended in the death of six million. After that, the world vowed Never Again. To be true to that vow, we have to fight anti-Semitism at every corner."

ARGENTINA: "A SAFE WORLD?"

Paula Lugones contended in leading Clarin (11/17): "The previous weeks have been disastrous for President Bush. A more organized Iraqi resistance attacks his men in Iraq and people are already speaking about another Vietnam. The few countries that dared join him in his warlike adventure – such as Spain and Italy, for example – endured violent attacks and there's growing pressure for their soldiers to return home... In this context, Al Qaida's reappearance with the blasts in Istanbul and its claim of the attacks against the Italian headquarters in Iraq underscore the gross calculation mistakes of the U.S. and force it to an immediate review in their strategy. Where is Bush's promise of a 'safe world' resulting from the war in Afghanistan and Iraq? As far as never before."

BRAZIL: "STILL AL QAEDA"

Liberal Folha de S. Paulo stated (11/18): "Everything indicates that the double attack against synagogues in Istanbul was carried out by Al Qaeda... The attack has some characteristics that have become a trademark of the organization, such as the type of target – Jewish interests without any concern with Muslim lives... The action was compatible with a supposed reorganization of Al Qaeda... Unfortunately, victories over Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq have been insufficient... It is an unequal conflict in which terrorism has the advantage of operating in a cowardly fashion, in the shadows, without the need to explain anything to anyone. The problem of terrorism is complex and must be faced in its several nuances. Fighting without respite against criminal organizations is one of them. But the world will only be able to say that it won the threat when the political questions that originate or facilitate terrorism have been resolved."


French banks refuse to clear Israeli checks

November 18, 2003

CONTENTS

1. French banks refuse to clear Israeli checks (Globes, October 22, 2003)
2. France to air its world view on news channel to rival CNN (London Times, October 1, 2003)
3. France offers Saudis Leclerc Tank at below cost (Middle East News Line)
4. Doubts tearing France apart (The Observer, London, October 12, 2003)



[Note by Tom Gross]

[Today's dispatch on France is divided into three separate emails.]

In this dispatch I attach four recent articles concerning France, with summaries first:

ISRAELI BANK CUSTOMERS WILL HAVE TO SEND THEIR CHECKS FOR COLLECTION

1. "French banks refuse to clear Israeli checks" (Published by Globes, Israel's daily business newspaper ("The Israeli Financial Times") October 22, 2003). "French bank Societe Generale informed Israeli banks a few days ago that it would cease clearing checks received from Israel. Several other French banks have followed suit with similar announcements, and it is believed among the Israeli banks that all banks in France will join the decision. The move means that Israeli banks cannot clear checks presented by their customers that are drawn on French bank, sources inform 'Globes'. As a result, Israeli bank customers, chiefly exporters with customers in France, will have to send their checks for collection, as opposed to the normal practice whereby the Israeli banks operate through a clearing bank. Sending checks for collection is a lengthy and very costly process... Tens of thousands of checks are sent for clearance via French banks every month."

"UNE CNN A LA FRANCAISE"

2. "France to air its world view on news channel to rival CNN" (London Times, October 1, 2003). "French broadcasters plan to open an international all-news television service to counter the United States and its English-speaking allies in the battle for world opinion. Scheduled to take to the air next year, the 24-hour channel will cost about $80 million of taxpayers' money a year and be run jointly by France Television, the state network, and TF1, the biggest commercial channel. The scheme for 'une CNN à la française' is the product of an election pledge by M Chirac last year to create a French world service that could rival CNN and the BBC.

... Dominique de Villepin, the Foreign Minister whose flamboyant diplomacy has made him Washington's bête noire, declared that the world was thirsting for France. 'Never has France been so listened to and never have so many hopes been placed in it,' he said. As proof, French officials point to a US opinion poll last week, which found that M Chirac was by far the most popular foreign leader in Iraq – 13 points ahead of President Bush."

"SO FAR, RIYAD HAS NOT ACCEPTED THE OFFER"

3. "France offers Saudis Leclerc Tank at below cost" (Middle East News Line). "France has offered its Leclerc tank to Saudi Arabia at below cost as part of a last-ditch effort to save the main battle tank project. Industry sources said the government in Paris has decided to violate a directive to the state-owned defense industry and offer Riyad 150 Leclercs at $3.4 billion. The sources said the price was below that of the cut-rate Leclerc deal reached with the United Arab Emirates in 1993. The French offer was discussed by President Jacques Chirac during his meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. So far, Riyad has not accepted the offer."

"AN ORGY OF BREAST-BEATING"

4. "Doubts tearing France apart" (The Observer, London, October 12, 2003). "An orgy of breast-beating in print claims the French 'piss off the planet'. At the FNAC Etoile in Paris, more a multi-storey literary warehouse than a bookshop, the shelves are buckling under the weight of ammunition for a political and social war. With titles such as French Arrogance, Falling France and French Disarray, this is heavy-calibre weaponry that is being trained on France's political elite in a war that has broken out over the very soul of the country. Launched against a background of top-level disillusionment with Europe, accelerating unemployment rates, spectacular company failures and a stagnant economy, the books – by some of France's leading social commentators – have added an incendiary factor to popular protests over reforms that could end the 35-hour week, cut social security benefits and introduce across-the-board austerity...

'French democracy, the political balance and even the nation's personality are at risk,' Alain Duhamel writes in Le Désarroi français. It is an argument bolstered by Nicolas Baverez, a historian and free-market evangelist and author of La France qui tombe, who in only 134 pages trots out a thousand historical and contemporary statistics to claim that France is paralysed by 'economic, political, social and intellectual immobility and is plunging towards decline'."


FULL ARTICLES

FRENCH BANKS REFUSE TO CLEAR ISRAELI CHECKS

French banks refuse to clear Israeli checks
By Dafna Zucker
Published by Globes, Israel's daily business newspaper (The "Israeli Financial Times")
October 22, 2003

French bank Societe Generale informed the Israeli banks a few days ago that it would cease clearing checks received from Israel. Several other French banks have followed suit with similar announcements, and it is believed among the Israeli banks that all banks in France will join the decision. The move means that Israeli banks cannot clear checks presented by their customers that are drawn on French bank, sources inform "Globes".

As a result, Israeli bank customers, chiefly exporters with customers in France, will have to send their checks for collection, as opposed to the normal practice whereby the Israeli banks operate through a clearing bank.

Sending checks for collection is a lengthy and very costly process.

Bank sources said many Israeli exporters would have to request their customers to pay via bank transfer rather than by check. This is likely to cloud commercial relationships between Israeli and French companies. The sources estimated that some 10,000 checks were on their way to banks in France. These checks will not be able to undergo clearing procedures because of the French banks' decision. Tens of thousands of checks are sent for clearance via French banks every month.

The larger Israeli banks are now considering what to do. Some have already decided not to accept checks drawn on French banks for clearance, but only for collection.

The background to Societe General's decision is a money laundering affair in which eight banks in France were involved, including Leumi France. It is suspected that a large network used checks from Israel sent for clearance in France for money laundering purposes.

As previously reported in "Globes", the examining magistrate investigating the affair has decided to put the banks involved on trial. The French public prosecutor has appealed against the decision.

 

FRANCE TO AIR ITS WORLD VIEW ON NEWS CHANNEL TO RIVAL CNN

France to air its world view on news channel to rival CNN
From Charles Bremner in Paris
London Times
October 1, 2003

French broadcasters were given the go-ahead yesterday to open an international all-news television service to bolster President Chirac's efforts to counter the United States and its English-speaking allies in the battle for world opinion. Scheduled to take to the air next year, the 24-hour channel will cost about £50 million of taxpayers' money a year and be run jointly by France Television, the state network, and TF1, the biggest commercial channel.

The scheme for "une CNN à la française" is the product of an election pledge by M Chirac last year to create a French world service that could rival CNN and the BBC.

The idea was first broached during the Gulf War in 1991 and became urgent after September 11, 2001 and especially this year's war in Iraq, in which the world's view of the conflict was heavily shaped by CNN International, BBC World and the Arab-language channel al-Jazeera.

M Chirac felt that his efforts to cast the French world view as an alternative to the "Anglo-Saxon" model would have been greatly enhanced if a Gallic broadcaster had the attention of the world's hearts and minds – even if it transmitted partly in English. To reach audiences in a world where only 3 per cent of people understand French, free satellite services are planned also in Spanish and Arabic. CII, or Chaîne d'Information Internationale, to use its working title, will fill a vacuum, a parliamentary commission that advised on the scheme said. "Al-Jazeera is proof this monopoly can be broken and that there is a real demand for news that is not Anglo-American."

Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the Prime Minister, said the new channel would promote the 'expression of a French vision, which was necessary now more than ever.

Dominique de Villepin, the Foreign Minister whose flamboyant diplomacy has made him Washington's bête noire, declared this week that the world was thirsting for France. "Never has France been so listened to and never have so many hopes been placed in it," he said. As proof, French officials point to a US opinion poll last week, which found that M Chirac was by far the most popular foreign leader in Iraq – 13 points ahead of President Bush.

Foreign sceptics dismissed the scheme as a grandiose, state-subsidised ploy to promote French official fare, especially as its output will be controlled by the Foreign Ministry. The French are adamant that the channel will be as objective as the Anglo-Saxon services. Presenting a French world view does not mean state propaganda any more than CNN's American-flavoured outlook represents the White House, they say.

CII will initially broadcast to Europe, Africa and Asia, plus the city of New York. French officials were appalled that no "Anglo-Saxon" channel broadcast M Chirac's speech to the United Nations last week. Cover for the rest of the Americas will follow in coming years.

 

FRANCE OFFERS SAUDIS LECLERC TANK AT BELOW COST

France Offers Saudis Leclerc Tank At Below Cost
Middle East Newsline

France has offered its Leclerc tank to Saudi Arabia at below cost as part of a last-ditch effort to save the main battle tank project.

Industry sources said the government in Paris has decided to violate a directive to the state-owned defense industry and offer Riyad 150 Leclercs at $3.4 billion. The sources said the price was below that of the cut-rate Leclerc deal reached with the United Arab Emirates in 1993.

The French offer was discussed by President Jacques Chirac during his meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah in June at the G-8 summit in Evian, France. So far, Riyad has not accepted the offer.

The Leclerc is manufactured by the state-owned Giat Industries and the negotiations for the tank have been conducted by the official French armaments agency Societe Francaise d'Exportation de Materiels Avances, or SOFRESA.

 

DOUBTS TEARING FRENCH APART

Doubts tearing France apart
The Observer (London)
October 12, 2003

An orgy of breast-beating in print claims the French 'piss off the planet', Paul Webster reports from Paris

At the FNAC Etoile in Paris, more a multi-storey literary warehouse than a bookshop, the shelves are buckling under the weight of ammunition for a political and social war. With titles such as French Arrogance, Falling France and French Disarray, this is heavy-calibre weaponry that is being trained on France's political elite in a war that has broken out over the very soul of the country. Launched against a background of top-level disillusionment with Europe, accelerating unemployment rates, spectacular company failures and a stagnant economy, the books – by some of France's leading social commentators – have added an incendiary factor to popular protests over reforms that could end the 35-hour week, cut social security benefits and introduce across-the-board austerity.

Having recently emerged battered from national education strikes and months of street demonstrations over reduced retirement benefits, Jacques Chirac's administration is looking on with dismay at media encouragement for right-wing intellectual claims that France is now the weak man of Europe, mired in hypocrisy nationally and internationally, indifferent to popular needs such as care of the aged, and shaken by the aftershocks of vain defiance of the US-led war in Iraq. In short, that France is going down the pan.

'Reading these books, France is in agony, powerless and irretrievably condemned to decline,' Dominique de Villepin, the suave but widely mistrusted Foreign Minister, complained over two pages in Le Monde last week, comparing today's prophets of doom to anti-republicans who collaborated with the Nazis.

Equally piqued by France's depiction is the Prime Minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who sought out America's Time magazine to complain about state-educated French intellectuals 'scrutinising French society while perched on the summit of a pyramid' and obsessed with 'declinism'.

And it is a pretty bleak picture, even by the account of the most rational of the 'declinists', Alain Duhamel, whose lugubrious face haunts every TV channel and serious newspaper column and charges that the country has been struck down by an 'insidious evil'.

'French democracy, the political balance and even the nation's personality are at risk,' he writes in Le Désarroi français.

It is an argument bolstered by Nicolas Baverez, a historian and free-market evangelist and author of La France qui tombe, who in only 134 pages trots out a thousand historical and contemporary statistics to claim that France is paralysed by 'economic, political, social and intellectual immobility and is plunging towards decline'.

Both pale into insignificance alongside L'Arrogance française, where the journalist authors, Romain Gubert and Emmanuel Saint-Martin, state: 'With our sermons, our empty gestures and our poetic flights, we (the French) have pissed off the planet. Worse: we make them laugh.

'It's a sickness to which French people are addicted – believing that France must offer the world Light, Law and Liberty; that their leaders are the carriers of a universal message.'

Arguments on the inevitability of French decline are based on three premises: chaotic history up to the end of decolonisation, the domestic mess caused by lost opportunies and mistaken choices since 1970; and, finally, the months following Chirac's re-election in May 2002 with 82 per cent of the vote which has been followed by some of the worst economic statistics since the war, and an admission by Raffarin that the country is in recession.

Since Agincourt, they say, French rulers have been repeatedly trapped by overconfidence. Napoleon in Moscow in 1812, his nephew at Sedan in 1870, and the Third Republic in 1940.

They point to a national tendency for self-immolation – the Terror, the Paris Commune, and Vichy – before going on to dissect the consequences of reckless decisions by all-powerful Presidents of the Fifth Republic, De Gaulle and Mitterrand among them, a tradition that they claim is pursued by Chirac.

In this they argue that, blinded by their unchallengeable status at home, French Presidents stumble into their own diplomatic and social ambushes constructed with the help of a state-educated elite from the Ecole Nationale d'Administration, ENA.

But none admits his mistakes or apologises for appalling, almost comical, blunders typified by the sinking of the Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, by hapless frogmen in 1985.

And it is the suave De Villepin who is mocked with iconoclastic vigour for his vanity in L'Arrogance française, as a cypher for this state-moulded super-class and who is never forced to admit being wrong.

And it is De Villepin who is blamed in particular for persuading a malleable President to take such an uncompromising stand on Iraq although other advisers correctly warned of the long-term damage of taking no account of US hegemony and offending the emerging EU Eastern bloc.

It is not just the elites that come in for criticism; by implication it is the considerable number of ordinary Frenchmen who have put their faith in the rural campaigner, José Bové, a neo-Poujadist.

Much of this wave of populism, say the declinists, is fed by an insistence of both Left and Right on l'exception française, a modern form of chauvinism in which legal fences are built around French language and culture.

It is an 'exception' that is mocked in L'Arrogance française as a hallucinatory drug that spills over into all facets of life from haute cuisine to the heavily subsidised and introverted cinema industry.

It is all pretty apocalyptic stuff. But in one respect the declinists may be right: that their political masters seem somewhat blinkered to the way in which many, from the Murdoch press to the Bush White House, regard La Belle France.

And it is De Villepin who is most exposed in this regard. 'Abroad,' he writes in his answer to declinists: 'France rests a pole of thought and culture, a major economic, military and political power.'


French schoolbook: “It was an exam day in the occupied West Bank”

* Stirring up hatred towards "the Jews" now extends beyond the French media into French high school texts


THE “SCANDALOUS IDEOLOGICAL MANIPULATION OF STUDENTS”

[Note by Tom Gross]

[Today's dispatch on France is divided into three separate emails.]

The Delagrave edition (2003) of the French schoolbook designated for the Professional Aptitude Certificate of high school students (CAP) asks students (on page 56) to practice their reading, writing, and verbal communication skills on a text of an article by Agence France Presse entitled, "It was an exam day in the occupied West Bank".

The document is illustrated with a photo showing, according to its caption, "the evacuation of a school in the West Bank and its students suffering from Israeli shooting."

The document is a one sided account of the difficulties encountered by Palestinian students who cannot totally devote themselves to their studies due to the noise of chains and tanks."

The text describes some students "who had been arrested by the Israeli army were released, the morning of their geography exam."

After reading the text, French students are required to answer exercise questions such as: " by whom are the Palestinians occupied?"

The oral communication drill was based upon the following role playing: "A group of four, are to reconstruct the situation of an encounter of two youngsters from the camp of Al Ammari with two Israeli guards; the two young Palestinians are to explain to the guards that they must leave the prison in order to pass their exam."

The workshop's writing drills for the students in the following task: "Write a letter to Ala Abou Safia in which you ask him to continue the resistance, whilst not losing hope."

This text seriously violates the principles of neutrality and secularity, which French authorities claim to be a core ethic of the French state public school system.

I attach a Press Release from Mr. François Zimeray, one of the few French members of the European Parliament who is concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism in France and elsewhere. Mr. Zimeray condemns the "scandalous ideological manipulation of students. He demands an immediate withdrawal of this publication and the opening of an inquiry."

He adds: "This schoolbook for CAP fuels up flames of hatred importing to a painful and complex conflict directly into the heart of our educational system. The double page presentation in which one finds on one page, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and on the other page, the 'feujs' and the 'beurs', does no more than suggest the identification between the Middle East protagonists and the youngsters of our lower class neighborhoods".

-- Tom Gross


FULL TEXT OF PRESS RELEASE

Member of European Parliament
Member of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Policy Committee
Member of the Legal Affairs Committee
Co-fondateur du Cercle Léon BLUM

Press Release
November 14, 2003

A French schoolbook stirs up community hatred

Mr. François Zimeray condemns scandalous ideological manipulation of students. He demands an immediate withdrawal of this publication and the opening of an inquiry.

Never have the principles of neutrality and secularity, core ethic of the French state public school system, been as seriously violated as they have been by the Delagrave edition (2003) of a French school book designated for the Professional Aptitude Certificate of high school students (CAP)

The Facts

CAP Students in the French high schools, were asked to practice their reading, writing, and verbal communication skills on a text of AFP entitled, "It was an exam day in the occupied West Bank". (Page 56)

The document is illustrated with a legend photo showing "the evacuation of a school in the West Bank and its students suffering from Israeli shooting."

The document is a one sided account of the difficulties encountered by the Palestinian students who cannot " totally devote themselves to their studies due to the noise of chains and tanks." It also describes that some students " who had been arrested by the Israeli army were released, the morning of their geography exam ..." and it further states that "they do not have any chance of succeeding under these circumstances."

Following the reading, the CAP students were required to answer to exercise questions such as : "by whom are the Palestinians occupied?"

The oral communication drill was based upon the following Role playing: "a group of four, are to reconstruct the situation of an encounter of two youngsters from the camp of Al Ammari with two Israeli guards; the two young Palestinians are to explain to the guards that they must leave the prison in order to pass their exam (this is quoted directly from the text! )."

The workshop's writing drills presented a strong political bias to the students in the following task: "Write a letter to Ala Abou Safia in which you ask him to continue the resistance, whilst not losing hope."

To cap it all, these pupils were asked to complete exercises for practicing Verlan language under the title of " you speak like me?" (page 57) in French this translates into 'ouy keaps keil em?' Verlan is a youth slang mostly found in the lower socio-economic outskirts that inverses the order of the syllables of a word and this slang was explained and illustrated by three examples: mother/thermo ; woman/manwo and Jew/wej.

François Zimeray not only directs his message to the French Republican President, but also to the Parent-Teacher Associations:

"The Jews will not be the French Republic's shock absorbers!"

(extracts of the letter to the President of the French Republic)

"As we are presently debating the potential interdiction of religious symbols within our schools, it appears that what really matters is not what we put on our children's heads, but what we are cultivating into them. As one of the main goals of our educational system is to teach children some objectivity and fairness we must provide them with analytical skills to understand the world. We find precisely the opposite approach in such schoolbooks which foster separatist ethnic reactions within communities and aggravate passions within our society. We find neither clarification nor explanations in the context of the described situation. We do find partiality indecent exercises representing the identification of only one party. "

Psychological recruitment

(...) "This schoolbook for CAP fuels up flames of hatred importing to a painful and complex conflict directly into the heart of our educational system. The double page presentation in which one finds on one page, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and on the other page, the "feujs" and the "beurs", does no more than suggest the identification between the Middle East protagonists and the youngsters of our lower class neighbourhoods".

Complacency

"However, it will never be used in Paris within prestigious Henri IV school: because it is dedicated to basic professional and technical educational programs, that is a good illustration of complacency and social stigmatization by the authors of that book towards that specific schooling".

(...) "A recent perverse European Union poll concluded that over 59% of Europeans considers Israel to be the biggest threat to world peace. With such schoolbook conditioning, one may be satisfied that it is actually only 59%! There will be more under such condition if we will consider the media propaganda; schoolbooks that are intended to the pupils who have less developed self-analytical skills, precisely the CAP kids.

In 2002, statistics by the French Ministry of Justice shows that, victims of six acts of racism out of ten, were found to be Jewish. However, at the same time a poll revealed that one French person out of twenty, believes that this is true. If racism and anti-Semitism are a daily reality in France, it is not acknowledged. appreciated. If racism and anti-Semitism are a daily reality in France today, it is not acknowledged, and perhaps maybe it means that not all measures were taken to prevent such reality...

Mr. President, these are not the schools we would like to establish, this is not the image of France that we want to build within Europe. The Jewish people will not be the target of hate of the Republic!".

"The immediate withdrawal of this school book is mandatory as well as an immediate investigation of what made it possible for such a publication to become part of the educational program. It is my duty to inform you about the deterioration of France's atmosphere of racial tolerance and to take this opportunity to emphasize that this publication is just another symptom for this serious trend. (...)'

François Zimeray
Member of European Parliament


French “help thwart UN resolution protecting Israeli children”

* At the UN, the PA delegate conferred with the French delegate over how to thwart the resolution protecting Israeli children...



[Note by Tom Gross]

IF RACISM AND ANTI-SEMITISM ARE A DAILY REALITY, IT IS NOT ACKNOWLEDGED

[Today's dispatch on France is divided into three separate emails.]

In 2002, statistics by the French Ministry of Justice showed that victims of six acts of racism out of ten in France, were Jewish. However, at the same time a poll revealed that one French person out of twenty, believes that this is true. If racism and anti-Semitism are a daily reality in France, it is not acknowledged.

Following the arson attack that destroyed most of a Jewish boys' school (the Merkaz Hatorah school) in a Paris suburb on Saturday, President Jacques Chirac yesterday called a special cabinet meeting on fighting anti-Semitism.

More than 100 firefighters were needed to put out the blaze at the school. 3,000 sq meters of the school were destroyed, as was the area and building works where a primary school and a kindergarten for 200 children were to be inaugurated in January 2004.

The "emergency" French cabinet meeting, the first of its kind, follows years of anti-Semitic attacks at synagogues, cemeteries, schools, football matches, and in the street. So far this year there have been over 400 attacks against Jewish persons and property. In the first 10 months of 2002 there were 184 attacks against Jewish property and 685 against Jewish people in France. Over 2000 French Jews a year are now fleeing to Israel.

Yesterday, Chirac finally admitted that these attacks were "anti-Semitic". While this will be welcomed by non anti-Semites, Chirac may also wish to ponder the fact that he has done his fair share in stirring up French anti-Semitism since he was re-elected in May 2002 with 82 per cent of the vote.

Last month, Chirac refused to condemn the comments by outgoing Malaysian president Mahathir who called on the Moslem world to achieve a "final victory" against the Jews, remarks which may be interpreted by Moslems extremists as calls to genocide.

In August 2003, Chirac defended Hamas, voicing objections to attempts by other European leaders to place Hamas and Islamic Jihad on the European Union's list of terror organizations.

And the resulting decisions of yesterday's cabinet meeting? Invest billions of Euros into France's Muslim communities, and condemn Israel for building a security barrier to keep terrorists out.

Blaming Israel for anti-Semitism has also been a theme throughout many supposedly liberal newspaper columnists and BBC presenters in the aftermath of the Turkish and French attacks. As the (London) Daily Telegraph asks today in an editorial: "What has happened to the liberal media in Europe that the slaughter of innocent worshippers and the desecration of ancient synagogues in Istanbul should evoke implicit criticism, not of the perpetrators, but of Turkey's ally Israel?"

And even the (London) The Guardian – which has done its bit in helping to revive left-wing anti-Semitism in recent years – asks in its editorial today: "Could not the liberal left, which in an earlier era vigilantly sought to protect Jews from prejudice and bigotry, rediscover its old values?"

Instead of yet again condemning Israel, Chirac may also wish to consider the following: Is anyone offering to help rebuild the Merkaz Hatorah school? Are French people marching in solidarity with Jewish children this week? Have they sent them letters? Where are the Jewish children going to study this week?

-- Tom Gross

 

I attach two articles, with summaries first:

HAVE THE FRENCH AND ENGLISH LEARNED NOTHING FROM THE 20TH CENTURY?

1. Prejudice and Abuse in Paris and London: Have the French and English learned nothing from the 20th century? (By Tom Gross, the National Review, January 10, 2002)

This is a piece I wrote, examining how the British and French reaction differs from the American reaction to the statement by the French ambassador to London that Israel is a "shitty little country."

"The Israeli ambassador to Berlin wrote a letter to Der Spiegel, Germany's leading news magazine, protesting an editorial they had published comparing the policies of the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, to those pursued by Adolf Hitler. The comparison, wrote the ambassador, was "an insult to all Holocaust survivors and to the entire Jewish people." In the ensuing days, the editorial was widely condemned in Germany. Though neo-Nazi elements do still exist in German society, the postwar majority has taken large and largely successful strides to purge itself of the legacy of anti-Semitism.

That the same cannot be said of France, however, was inadvertently given away by the writer of Der Spiegel's editorial, Rudolf Augstein, who is one of Germany's best-known journalists. Rather than properly apologize for his obscene comparison, Augstein made a telling remark in reply to the ambassador's letter: "In France one can say that, but apparently not in Germany."

Augstein may have had in mind comments of the kind recently made by Marc Gentilli, the president of the French Red Cross, who described as "disgusting" a request by the American Red Cross that Israel be admitted to the International Red Cross, and that the Star of David be accepted alongside its existing emblems the Cross and the Crescent..."

“GIVING NEW LIFE TO OLD CANARDS”

2. "In the UN, Arabs have the ultimate revenge over Israel" (By Barbara Amiel, Daily Telegraph, November 17, 2003)

"... The topic last week in Conference Room 1 of the UN was human rights in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – a part of the world where human rights are fulfilled by simply waking up alive and where democratic republics are anything but. The UN Special Rapporteur found no improvement in Burundi. Children were still being recruited as soliders; mass rape had increased and now was aimed at young boys as well as girls. The latter was "a new phenomenon", said Rapporteur Ms Keita-Bocoum. In neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo, where three million people have died in the past five years.

... Before the early break for Ramadan, Burkina Faso, the Congo and Zimbabwe co-sponsored human rights resolutions. Sudan introduced one. The atmosphere remained clubby and cordial as the Ambassador of Israel came to the microphone to present a resolution on behalf of Israeli children.

... When he finished, the session chairman did not ask the names of co-sponsors for the Israeli resolution. Because there were none.

Afterwards, the PA lady conferenced earnestly for 20 minutes with a French delegate over procedurally thwarting the Israeli resolution so it would not come to a vote.

... Down the hall, in Conference Room 2, the Second Committee (Economics and Finance) was discussing "the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people over their natural resources", or how to stop thuggish Israel looting them. The Fourth Committee (special Political and Decolonisation committee) regularly considers the atrocities of Israelis in their role as imperialist running dogs.

Unesco, Unicef and UNRWA spend much of their time visiting Israel and condemning it. The General Assembly, unable to pass a single resolution condemning Palestinian terrorism, routinely condemns Israel and calls emergency sessions especially for the purpose.

... This week, Third Committee delegates will consider deleting anti-Semitism from the new UNHCR resolution on racial and religious intolerance, thus giving new life to old canards..."



FULL ARTICLES

PREJUDICE AND ABUSE IN PARIS AND LONDON

Prejudice and Abuse in Paris and London
Have the French and English learned nothing from the 20th century?
By Tom Gross
January 10, 2002

www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-gross011002.shtml

A week before Christmas, the Israeli ambassador to Berlin wrote a letter to Der Spiegel, Germany's leading news magazine, protesting an editorial they had published comparing the policies of the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, to those pursued by Adolf Hitler.

The comparison, wrote the ambassador, was "an insult to all Holocaust survivors and to the entire Jewish people."

In the ensuing days, the editorial was widely condemned in Germany. Though neo-Nazi elements do still exist in German society, the postwar majority has taken large and largely successful strides to purge itself of the legacy of anti-Semitism.

That the same cannot be said of France, however, was inadvertently given away by the writer of Der Spiegel's editorial, Rudolf Augstein, who is one of Germany's best-known journalists. Rather than properly apologize for his obscene comparison, Augstein made a telling remark in reply to the ambassador's letter: "In France one can say that, but apparently not in Germany."

Augstein may have had in mind comments of the kind recently made by Marc Gentilli, the president of the French Red Cross, who described as "disgusting" a request by the American Red Cross that Israel be admitted to the International Red Cross, and that the Star of David be accepted alongside its existing emblems the Cross and the Crescent.

Gentilli, head of one of France's leading humanitarian organizations, left little doubt of the disdain he holds for the Star of David, but less he be thought hostile to all "foreigners", he did call at the same time on the Palestine Red Crescent Society to immediately apply for membership to the international body, even though Palestine is not yet a state.

But if anyone still had doubts that Augstein was correct in his reading of French attitudes, they would have been dispelled the very next day by a column by Barbara Amiel in the London Daily Telegraph.

Amiel revealed that at a reception at her house, the ambassador of "a major EU country" told guests that the current troubles were all because of "that shitty little country Israel."

"Why," he asked, "should the world be in danger of World War Three because of those people?"

Within 24 hours, the Guardian newspaper identified the ambassador in question as Daniel Bernard, France's man in London and one of President Chirac's closest confidants. (While Bernard has not admitted using these exact words, he hasn't clearly denied doing so either.)

Several conservative columnists in the United States (where are those who profess to be liberal?) have condemned the ambassador for his "crude anti-Semitic remarks".

What has not been properly noted in the US media is that in the British and French media, it is not the French ambassador or anti-Semites who are being condemned, as one would expect, but Barbara Amiel and "those people". As for Israel, it seems to be open season.

A piece in the Independent, for example, by one of the paper's regular columnists (titled "I'm fed up being called an anti-Semite," by Deborah Orr, 21 December 2001) described Israel as "shitty" and "little" no fewer than four times.

"Anti-Semitism is disliking all Jews, anywhere, and anti-Zionism is just disliking the existence of Israel and opposing those who support it," explains Orr. "This may be an academic rather than a practical distinction," she continues, "and one which has no connection with holding the honest view that in my experience Israel is shitty and little".

In the Guardian, another British daily that claims to represent enlightened liberal views, columnist Matt Wells ("Every salon tells a story – that's why the lady is a hack," December 20, 2001), denounced Amiel as "an arch-Zionist" but had nothing but sympathy for poor Mr. Bernard who, he claimed " was struggling against a tide of anger from Israel." (In fact the Israeli government hasn't made a single official comment in relation to the whole affair).

Indeed, rather than impinging on the distinguished diplomatic career of M. Bernard, who previously served as France's ambassador to The Netherlands and at the United Nations, it is Amiel who apparently made the "diplomatic gaffe", according to the British and French commentators. (Le Monde ran a front-page attack on Amiel, and rubbished the Daily Telegraph as "reactionary," "paranoid" and "preachy".)

If the French are now almost as open about their anti-Semitism as the Egyptians (the best-selling song in Cairo in 2001 was titled "I hate Israel"), England seems to be a country where the real crime is to condemn someone for their anti-Semitism rather than being one.

Writing in the (London) Observer, columnist Richard Ingrams (in a piece titled "Black's hole," December 23, 2001 – Black is a reference to Amiel's married name), says the "gaffe" wasn't made by the ambassador, but by Amiel for "betraying the confidences of the dinner table" and writing such an "intemperate article".

Ingrams predicted that it would not be Bernard who would no longer be welcome in polite London society but the Blacks, who he guessed would have to "shortly decamp" to Manhattan.

As if one column of this stripe in a single edition of a newspaper wasn't enough, another of the Observer's columnists, Euan Ferguson, ("Gossip: 'tis the reason to be jolly", December 23, 2001), that same day writes "Ms Amiel is apparently as welcome now in the chic salons of north London as a fatwa in a sauna". Ferguson has no criticism to make of Bernard or the French government that has given him its full backing, but he does say as part of his commentary on 'l'affaire Bernard' that Israel has "the stubborn belief that the lifelong wish of our current pin-up boy, little baby Jesus, was to have his birthday celebrated by the shooting of innocent children in the street."

The level of denial of British racism extends so deep that many in England seem to not even realize what anti-Semitism is.

Columnist Joan Smith ("Dinner at Amiel's leaves a bad taste," 23 December 2001) writes that Amiel's "assumption that Bernard's remark was anti-Semitic, is pretty dubious. If there is a lesson to be learned from this episode, it is not the French ambassador's politics that have been called into question on this occasion, but his taste in friends."

Richard Woods in the London Sunday Times (23 December 2001, "When silence speaks volumes") says the ambassador's remark was only "apparently anti-Semitic".

There have been one or two admirable exceptions to this pattern, notably Andrew Sullivan (a British commentator who has been based in the US for over two decades) and the Anglo-Jewish writer Melanie Phillips, but they are very much in the minority. Phillips has been left to make her strongest remarks on the subject outside the UK ("British Polite Society Has Found a Not-So-New Target", December 24, 2001, The Wall Street Journal Europe).

For every Sullivan and Phillips there seem to be many among the "chattering classes" in London that actually find attacks on Jews rather amusing. Here, for example, is columnist Alexei Sayle in the Independent, writing shortly after the latest batch of Israeli teenagers had been blown to pieces by suicide bombers: "If a vivisectionist has their car burnt or a right-wing Israeli is shot or Ben Elton's musical closes early because of poor ticket sales, I can't say I can find it within myself to care very much." (Ben Elton is a British playwright and stand-up comedian).

Since Bernard's remarks were reported, there have been over a dozen fresh anti-Semitic incidents in France. Only last weekend attackers firebombed a synagogue in the northern Paris suburb of Goussainvil. A few days before that, gasoline bombs were hurled into a Jewish school in the southeastern Paris suburb of Creteil, setting a classroom on fire. On the same day another synagogue was torched.

Fortunately, no one was injured in these particular incidents. But it can only be a matter of time before someone is.

Have the French and English learned nothing from the twentieth century?

(For more writing by Tom Gross on the European media and Israel, see http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-gross110101.shtml )

 

IN THE UN, ARABS HAVE THE ULTIMATE REVENGE OVER ISRAEL

In the UN, Arabs have the ultimate revenge over Israel
By Barbara Amiel
Daily Telegraph
November 17, 2003

A trapped bluebottle circled the conference room, flying lazily towards the tall windows through which New York's East River could be seen. It flew over the chair where the representative for the International Organisation for Migration sat fiddling with his UN, Japanese-made, ergonomically designed earpiece, passed over the African Union and Commonwealth Secretariat and settled somewhere by the Holy See's seat.

Outside, it was a cold New York day. Inside, where these members of the UN's Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural matters) gathered, the room was bathed in a comfy buzz of wellbeing, engendered when like-minded people gather together.

The topic last week in Conference Room 1 of the UN was human rights in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – a part of the world where human rights are fulfilled by simply waking up alive and where democratic republics are anything but.

The UN Special Rapporteur found no improvement in Burundi. Children were still being recruited as soliders; mass rape had increased and now was aimed at young boys as well as girls. The latter was "a new phenomenon", said Rapporteur Ms Keita-Bocoum.

In neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo, where three million people have died in the past five years of fighting, another UN Special Rapporteur described it as the "worst human rights situation in the world". She footnoted a special concern for the unlucky children named as "sorcerers", who were maimed or killed for their witchcraft.

It was business as usual. Before the early break for Ramadan, Burkina Faso, the Congo and Zimbabwe co-sponsored human rights resolutions. Sudan introduced one. The atmosphere remained clubby and cordial as the Ambassador of Israel came to the microphone to present a resolution on behalf of Israeli children.

Ambassadors don't normally present resolutions at committee level, but since Israel had not presented one since 1978 (and that was withdrawn after the Syrians tied its future to negotiations with the PLO), it was a bit of a first. The Israeli resolution was a mirror copy of one sponsored by Egypt and passed (88-4, 58 abstentions) in the General Assembly three weeks earlier, underlining the need to protect the rights of Palestinian children.

That resolution was a bit of a first, too: no other group of children had been singled out for protection by the UN – not the child soldiers in Burundi, not the raped and mutilated girls and boys of the Congo, nor children in any other of the world's impoverished or warring nations. By tacit agreement, children have always been considered universally at the UN.

The delegates were polite as Ambassador Dan Gillerman spoke. He asked for security for Israeli, Palestinian and all children of the world. He spoke of a "false reality" that pretends one side has a monopoly on victim status. He wished, he said, to prevent the blatant exercise of a double-standard in the UN.

He mentioned the deliberate bombing of discos, pizza parlours and school buses, almost exclusively used by children. When he finished, the session chairman did not ask the names of co-sponsors for the Israeli resolution. Because there were none.

A discussion followed. The Syrian delegate strenuously opposed assistance of Israeli children and said the resolution was procedurally wrong. The Palestinian Authority's lady complained that the Israelis had "copied" their resolution. The situation of Palestinian children was "unique" she said – which it may well be, since most children of the world are not used as human shields for terrorist camps or encouraged to be suicide bombers so their pictures can be put up in grocery stores as "martyrs".

It is as if British children in the Second World War had not been evacuated to the countryside but rather placed around the War Office and anti-aircraft embankments. Afterwards, the PA lady conferenced earnestly for 20 minutes with a French delegate over procedurally thwarting the Israeli resolution so it would not come to a vote. The bluebottle returned to the most heated part of the committee room.

The session ended with a report by the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights, John Dugard, on "human rights in the Palestinian territories since 1967". Mr Dugard, who had been a courageous campaigner against apartheid, missed out when jobs were given away in the new South Africa and lost election to the International Criminal Court. Without apartheid to fight, he has demonised Israel to fill the gap. This transference of all ills to Israel's doorstep is a psychiatric condition common in, though not confined to, members of the UN.

Down the hall, in Conference Room 2, the Second Committee (Economics and Finance) was discussing "the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people over their natural resources", or how to stop thuggish Israel looting them. The Fourth Committee (special Political and Decolonisation committee) regularly considers the atrocities of Israelis in their role as imperialist running dogs.

Unesco, Unicef and UNRWA spend much of their time visiting Israel and condemning it. The General Assembly, unable to pass a single resolution condemning Palestinian terrorism, routinely condemns Israel and calls emergency sessions especially for the purpose.

The reality of the Middle East is that the very existence of Israel is considered a nakba – a catastrophe. This being so, the Israeli Ambassador could present a resolution recommending all people be encouraged to breathe – and it would be unacceptable to that part of the world. Does the UN matter? Only insofar as the record matters. Certain things must be done not because they will make a difference but to set the record straight. This week, Third Committee delegates will consider deleting anti-Semitism from the new UNHCR resolution on racial and religious intolerance, thus giving new life to old canards.

The UN is not furnished luxuriously, but it is a congenial place. Sitting in one of its lounges, sipping an iced chai latte, one could see the irony of the situation. If the Arab world has any legitimate case against Israel, it is not the occupied territories, which are in Israeli hands only because of wars the Arabs launched. It is what they see as the initial injustice behind the Jewish state's founding.

The world's response to the Nazi holocaust and centuries of European persecution of Jews – including Tsarist-inspired pogroms and, indeed, French anti-Semitism, whose Dreyfus Affair inspired Theodor Herzl's Zionism – was to give away a slice of Arab Muslim land to the Jews. While one fully appreciates the Jews' historical and religious connection to the land of Zion, it must be said that insofar as the Arab case has any persuasive merit, it is on this initial point.

But the Arabs have had a great revenge. They have taken over the very body that was responsible for this – the United Nations – with the hope that the organisation that created the injustice may well be the instrument of its undoing. And that, as the bluebottle on the wall could tell you, is a story that has not unfolded yet.


“The dangers of Fisking”

November 14, 2003

“‘FISKING’: THE SELECTION OF EVIDENCE SOLELY IN ORDER TO BOLSTER PRECONCEPTIONS AND PREJUDICES”

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach an essay on Robert Fisk published today in The Spectator magazine (London) by the eminent scholar (and subscriber to this email list) David Pryce-Jones. For those of you who are not familiar with Fisk, he is in a class of his own among European journalists when it comes to his hatred of America and Israel.

Although Fisk is actually a news reporter (his title is Chief Middle East Correspondent for The Independent newspaper of London), he rarely shies away from expressing his opinions in his news reports.

Last year, after some Taliban beat him up, he wrote, "I would have done just the same to Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find."

In the past year alone, Fisk has called Ariel Sharon a war criminal in no fewer than seven articles.

As Pryce-Jones writes, "About a dozen times over the past year Fisk has written that in 1983 Donald Rumsfeld met Saddam Hussein, and this is enough to make the United States responsible for Saddam's crimes. The corpses in the mass graves of Iraq are the result of 'American encouragement'."

Fisk's articles are reprinted in publications and Internet sites all over the Arab world. Fisk is regularly invited to lecture at American universities, where he is held in esteem reserved second only to the late Edward Said, for his particular brand of Middle East analysis.

But among those who are more interested in accuracy, as Pryce-Jones says, "a new word has appeared: 'fisking', meaning the selection of evidence solely in order to bolster preconceptions and prejudices."

In Fisk's opinion "If ever a sword was thrust into a military alliance of East and West, the Israelis wielded that dagger."

For Fisk, President Bush and his men have fallen into the hands of the Jews... "the Perles and the Wolfowitzes and the Cohens ... the very sinister people hovering around Bush."

As Pryce-Jones points out, "Fisk warned that the United States was going the way of Hitlerism, no less. The department of homeland security, in another example of fisking running away with grammar and meaning, has 'Teutonic roots' because Homeland translated as Heimat in the Third Reich. As for 'Shock and awe', that was 'a classic slogan from the old Nazi magazine Signal'."

-- Tom Gross


FULL ARTICLE

THE DANGERS OF FISKING

The dangers of Fisking
By David Pryce-Jones
The Spectator
November 15, 2003

www.spectator.co.uk/article.php3?table=old§ion=current&issue=2003-11-15&id=3735

David Pryce-Jones accuses the Independent journalist Robert Fisk of hysteria and distortion in his reporting on the Middle East

In the www arena where the world speaks invisibly to itself, a new word has appeared: 'fisking', meaning the selection of evidence solely in order to bolster preconceptions and prejudices. Just as cardigans or mackintoshes are named after an inventive individual, so fisking derives from the work of Robert Fisk, the Middle East correspondent of the Independent, stationed these many years in Beirut.

The preconceptions and prejudices that are immortalising Fisk in the English language express an unqualified contempt for America. For him, most Americans are ignorant and arrogant, and their leaders mendacious and cynical power maniacs leading everyone to perdition. Everything wrong with the Middle East is particularly their fault. About a dozen times over the past year Fisk has written that in 1983 Donald Rumsfeld met Saddam Hussein, and this is enough to make the United States responsible for Saddam's crimes. The corpses in the mass graves of Iraq are the result of 'American encouragement of Saddam and treachery'. Supporting the military regime in Algeria, in another instance of their perfidy, the Americans must also be responsible for the 100,000 or more murdered there in the civil war.

Most unforgivably, they are also friends of Israel. Fisk has fits at the very idea of that. All administrations in Washington are bad, but, in the first place, President Bush and his men belong to the 'failed lunatic Right' and in the second place they have fallen into the hands of the Jews. Advisers such as Kenneth Adelman 'have not vouchsafed their own religion', but together with 'the Perles and the Wolfowitzes and the Cohens' they are 'very sinister people hovering around Bush'. The whole lot of them drive what Fisk calls 'the American-Israeli war'. For fear that their own soldiers will be arrested for what they do in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States shuns the International Criminal Court. By my count, in the course of the past year Fisk has called Ariel Sharon a war criminal in no fewer than seven articles. In about 15 articles over the past year, he further assures us that the Iraq war is really all about oil. How that squares with American-Israeli conspiracy is not clear.

Fellow leftists by the million paddle about in this swamp of unreason. What makes Fisk conspicuous is his self-righteousness. The content and style of his writing proclaim that in his own eyes he is not really a reporter but the repository of truth. Other journalists are not up to their task; they are 'nasty little puffed-up fantasy colonels', warmongering collaborators of the wicked American-Israelis. He alone has the calling and the courage to reveal the evil rampant everywhere. Woe, woe, saith the preacher. Fisking is evangelical missionary work.

At the time of the first Gulf war in 1991 Fisk promised that the American-led coalition would end in doom, and deserved to. The formidable Iraqi army would never be dislodged from Kuwait. A riot unexpectedly broke out in Jerusalem, leading to loss of life when Israeli police opened fire. All was lost, including Fisk's grammar and meaning: 'If ever a sword was thrust into a military alliance of East and West, the Israelis wielded that dagger.' To the very end, Fisk was predicting all manner of military and political disasters, none of which came true, or had any chance of doing so. The Iraqi army simply went home, as sane men do in such circumstances.

In the 1990s he interviewed Osama bin Laden and found himself in the presence of a great man and a great danger. One proof of this was the publicity posters printed in Urdu that bin Laden thoughtfully presented to him. On another occasion some Taleban roughed him up, and Fisk commented, in an example of the missionary praising the pot he will be boiled in, 'I would have done just the same to Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find.'

By November 2002, American officials and the men behind them who didn't vouchsafe their religion were evidently hell-bent on having the second Gulf war, and it was high time to fulminate against them from the pulpit. Several American universities invited him to lecture in the lull before the storm. After one television appearance in Texas, a redneck cameraman showered him with four-letter words, which was harder to apologise for than the Taleban assault earlier. Unexpectedly, Osama bin Laden attacked Israeli tourists in Kenya, and put out a videotape ideal for fisking. 'I am frightened by the implications of this tape,' Fisk exclaimed. Al-Qa'eda was now against Israel, and they were 'ruthless, highly motivated ...more than a match for Israel's third-rate intelligence men'. Any strike against al-Qa'eda would be seen as an Israeli strike. Ariel Sharon had walked into a trap, and the Jews would be taking everyone else down with them. Washington and London hadn't yet realised that they were losing the initiative and that bin Laden was writing the script.

In this fresh mood of despair, Fisk warned that the United States was going the way of Hitlerism, no less. The department of homeland security, in another example of fisking running away with grammar and meaning, has 'Teutonic roots' because Homeland translated as Heimat in the Third Reich. As for 'Shock and awe', that was 'a classic slogan from the old Nazi magazine Signal'. On at least five occasions - by my count again - he has inveighed against the likely use of depleted uranium shells, which allegedly cause cancer on a genocidal scale. There would naturally be censorship of journalists, puffed-up fantasy colonels though they were. The press centre set up in Qatar had the purpose of keeping them away from the facts. CNN had issued a document entitled 'Reminder of Script Approval Policy', and the keywords in it were 'approve' and 'authorise'. In four separate articles, Fisk emphasised how in the course of his missionary vocation he had closely inspected burnt or disfigured corpses. Bush had avoided military service, and neither he nor Blair could have any idea of the horrors he bore witness to. In three articles he was to bring up the fate of British soldiers who surrendered to the Turks in the first world war, and in two further articles he waxed sorrowful over local British war cemeteries. Ignominy and burial now awaited another expeditionary force.

From mid-March to the end of April this year, Fisk was in Baghdad. He took proper precautions to equip himself with flak jacket and gas mask, and to buy stores for the coming emergency, imparting reassuring news about his candles, biscuits and 25 loo rolls. He further informed us that he was reading a biography of Sir Thomas More, a man so self-righteous that he went to the stake for it. The implicit comparison was not lost.

And then, on 19 March, the Americans began 'acting out their rage'. Just five days later, he was quoting an Iraqi general already speaking of quagmire. For Fisk, 'Things are going wrong. We are not telling the truth. The Iraqis are riding high.' Cruise missiles were falling in all the wrong places. On 1 April he was wondering 'Where, for heaven's sake, is all this going?' The siege of Baghdad would need a quarter of a million men, and it was 'fading from the diary'. Next day he was even more distraught. The Iraqi army was prepared to defend its capital. 'How, I kept asking myself, could the Americans batter their way through these defences?'

On 6 April, when a rival daily newspaper already had the headline, 'Endgame in Baghdad', Fisk was maintaining that the battle for Baghdad 'promises to be both dirty and cruel'. The Americans were claiming to be in the inner suburbs, 'which was untrue'. He was concentrating instead on a cloud of white smoke from a building which 'must have' contained the depleted uranium aerosol spray that causes cancers. The deaths of three journalists prompted him to ask whether this was not deliberate murder by the Americans. 'Something very dangerous appeared to be getting loose.'

Sensible men as ever, the Iraqi army had in fact gone home, once more unnoticed by Fisk, and in the streets American marines were helping Iraqis to pull down a prominent statue of Saddam. This prompted Fisk to write that Saddam was 'our' man, and 'metaphorically at least, we annihilated him. Hence the importance of all those statue-bashing mobs, of all that looting and theft.' This example of fisking is not easily open to interpretation, but appears to insinuate that in overthrowing Saddam we are somehow overthrowing ourselves. That day too, Fisk lamented that soon Iraq would have relations with Israel, and 'a real Israeli embassy' - as opposed to the hidden one of the Wolfowitzes and Cohens.

Immediately after Saddam's downfall, without missing a beat, Fisk was more alarmist than ever. 'America's army of "liberation" is beginning to seem an army of occupation.' From now on, the word liberation, like the word democracy, carried obligatory scare quotes. In his eyes, the looting of the Museum of Archaeology was a conflict of 'poor Shia and rich Sunnis', and 'by failing to end this violence - by stoking ethnic hatred through their inactivity - the Americans are now provoking civil war.' Fisking is adaptable in order to show that whatever Americans do or don't do leads to the self-same damnation.

Towards the end of April, Fisk seems to have abandoned his gas mask and loo rolls for a well-deserved rest from his mission. Returning after a month or so, he found alcohol, Internet cafés and prostitution. In the new Iraqi press 'you can say what you like about anyone. Isn't that freedom?' Borrowing from the biography of Sir Thomas More, he castigated Ayatollah Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim as 'a man for all seasons', ready either to resist or to collaborate with Anglo-American 'democracy' according to expediency. It was bad luck for Fisk that the ayatollah and 122 of his followers were afterwards the victims of a savage bombing by unknown Iraqis, and even that was not outrageous enough to provoke inter-communal violence. The looting of ancient Sumerian sites has been going on for four millennia, but at the beginning of June Fisk visited these ruins to detect and to trumpet 'one of the most terrible cultural crimes of recent history'. Americans were naturally to blame. Robbers were only satisfying the appetite of rich collectors in New York.

After another break, Fisk was back in Baghdad in July, in time for the shoot-out in which Uday and Qusay Hussein were killed. The dead men, in Fisk's initial reaction, 'were said to bear an impressive resemblance to Uday and Qusay'. The city of Baghdad burst into cheering at the news, but Fisk held that everybody was asking for proof that the brothers were dead. The Americans duly published photographs; whereupon Fisk changed tack and said that 'ghoulish wasn't the word for it'. Publication of these photographs was likely to prove 'a historic mistake of catastrophic proportions'. The real story of that moment was the failure of the Iraqi 'interim' government to choose a leader.

Fisk's third stay in Baghdad lasted from the end of August to late September. Fisking involves both commission and omission. Once again, he reported nothing from Kurdistan, nothing about the return of the Marsh Arabs to their immemorial home. A journey to Basra provided a single story designed to show that the editor and publisher of a new paper there was a stooge who would give no trouble. Nothing about the new central bank, the opening of lines of credit or the currency reform. Nothing about goods and services, or supplies to hospitals. Nothing about markets. Nothing about private lives. Not a single interview with American officials or Iraqis trying to reconstruct their country. Nothing about Ahmad Chalabi. Fisk seems only to have haunted the prison of Abu Ghraib and the mortuary of Yarmouk hospital, exclusively searching for American brutality.

At present, a decent future for Iraq hangs in the balance. The Americans hope to create some suitable form of democracy or at least self-rule for Iraq. Failure to do so will expose that country to the risk of civil war and anarchy, and compromise the standing of the United States in the world as well. Public opinion in the West has its part to play in determining the outcome of these dramatic events. Perverting American purposes and practices in Iraq, fisking helps to bring about the doom that it anticipates with such glee and relish. Fisk seems to have left Baghdad for the present, but no doubt he will return, or from a distance continue to corrupt the Independent with his hysteria and disinformation. The Iraqis are his real victims. One of the oldest of imperial lessons is that the missionary does the natives no favours.


Article on “Jeningrad” and the British media

This essay will appear soon as a chapter in a book on writings about the Intifada, by Random House, along with essays by much more eminent people than myself, such as Bernard Lewis, and leading U.S. and European intellectuals.

-- Tom Gross


FULL ARTICLE

JENINGRAD – WHAT THE BRITISH MEDIA SAID

Jeningrad – What the British media said.
By Tom Gross
The National Review
May 13, 2002

www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-gross051302.asp

* Israel's actions in Jenin were "every bit as repellent" as Osama bin Laden's attack on New York on September 11, wrote Britain's Guardian in its lead editorial of April 17.

* "We are talking here of massacre, and a cover-up, of genocide," said a leading columnist for the Evening Standard, London's main evening newspaper, on April 15.

* "Rarely in more than a decade of war reporting from Bosnia, Chechnya, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, have I seen such deliberate destruction, such disrespect for human life," reported Janine di Giovanni, the London Times's correspondent in Jenin, on April 16.

Now that even the Palestinian Authority has admitted that there was no massacre in Jenin last month – and some Palestinian accounts speak instead of a "great victory against the Jews" in door-to-door fighting that left 23 Israelis dead – it is worth taking another look at how the international media covered the fighting there. The death count is still not completely agreed. The Palestinian Authority now claims that 56 Palestinians died in Jenin, the majority of whom were combatants according to the head of Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization in the town. Palestinian hospital sources in Jenin put the total number of dead at 52. Last week's Human Rights Watch report also said 52 Palestinians died. Israel says 46 Palestinians died, all but three of whom were combatants. Palestinian medical sources have confirmed that at least one of these civilians died after Israel withdrew from Jenin on April 12, as a result of a booby-trapped bomb that Palestinian fighters had planted accidentally going off.

Yet one month ago, the media's favorite Palestinian spokespersons, such as Saeb Erekat – a practiced liar if ever there was one – spoke first of 3,000 Palestinian dead, then of 500. Without bothering to check, the international media just lapped his figures up.

The British media was particularly emotive in its reporting. They devoted page upon page, day after day, to tales of mass murders, common graves, summary executions, and war crimes. Israel was invariably compared to the Nazis, to al Qaeda, and to the Taliban. One report even compared the thousands of supposedly missing Palestinians to the "disappeared" of Argentina. The possibility that Yasser Arafat's claim that the Palestinians had suffered "Jeningrad" might be – to put it mildly – somewhat exaggerated seems not to have been considered. (800 thousand Russians died during the 900-day siege of Leningrad; 1.3 million died in Stalingrad.)

Collectively, this misreporting was an assault on the truth on a par with the New York Times's Walter Duranty's infamous cover-up of the man-made famine inflicted by Stalin on millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s.

There were malicious and slanderous reports against Israel in the American media too – with Arafat's propagandists given hundreds of hours on television to air their incredible tales of Israeli atrocities – but at least some American journalists attempted to be fair. On April 16, Newsday's reporter in Jenin, Edward Gargan, wrote: "There is little evidence to suggest that Israeli troops conducted a massacre of the dimensions alleged by Palestinian officials." Molly Moore of the Washington Post reported: "No evidence has yet surfaced to support allegations by Palestinian groups and aid organizations of large-scale massacres or executions."

Compare this with some of the things which appeared in the British media on the very same day, April 16: Under the headline "Amid the ruins, the grisly evidence of a war crime," the Jerusalem correspondent for the London Independent, Phil Reeves, began his dispatch from Jenin: "A monstrous war crime that Israel has tried to cover up for a fortnight has finally been exposed." He continued: "The sweet and ghastly reek of rotting human bodies is everywhere, evidence that it is a human tomb. The people say there are hundreds of corpses, entombed beneath the dust."

Reeves spoke of "killing fields," an image more usually associated with Pol Pot's Cambodia. Forgetting to tell his readers that Arafat's representatives, like those of the other totalitarian regimes that surround Israel, have a habit of lying a lot, he quoted Palestinians who spoke of "mass murder" and "executions." Reeves didn't bother to quote any Israeli source whatsoever in his story. In another report Reeves didn't even feel the need to quote Palestinian sources at all when he wrote about Israeli "atrocities committed in the Jenin refugee camp, where its army has killed and injured hundreds of Palestinians."

LEFT AND RIGHT UNITE AGAINST ISRAEL

But it wasn't only journalists of the left who indulged in Israel baiting. The right-wing Daily Telegraph – which some in the U.K. have dubbed the "Daily Tel-Aviv-ograph" because its editorials are frequently sympathetic to Israel – was hardly any less misleading in its news coverage, running headlines such as "Hundreds of victims 'were buried by bulldozer in mass grave.'"

In a story on April 15 entitled "Horror stories from the siege of Jenin," the paper's correspondent, David Blair, took at face value what he called "detailed accounts" by Palestinians that "Israeli troops had executed nine men." Blair quotes one woman telling him that Palestinians were "stripped to their underwear, they were searched, bound hand and foot, placed against a wall and killed with single shots to the head."

On the next day, April 16, Blair quoted a "family friend" of one supposedly executed man: "Israeli soldiers had stripped him to his underwear, pushed him against a wall and shot him." He also informed Telegraph readers that "two thirds of the camp had been destroyed." (In fact, as the satellite photos show, the destruction took place in one small area of the camp.)

The "quality" British press spoke with almost wall-to-wall unanimity. The Evening Standard's Sam Kiley conjured up witnesses to speak of Israel's "staggering brutality and callous murder." The Times's Janine di Giovanni, suggested that Israel's mission to destroy suicide bomb-making factories in Jenin (a town from which at the Palestinians own admission 28 suicide bombers had already set out) was an excuse by Ariel Sharon to attack children with chickenpox. The Guardian's Suzanne Goldenberg wrote, "The scale [of destruction] is almost beyond imagination."

In case British readers didn't get the message from their "news reporters," the editorial writers spelled it out loud and clear. On April 17, the Guardian's lead editorial compared the Israeli incursion in Jenin with the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11. "Jenin," wrote the Guardian was "every bit as repellent in its particulars, no less distressing, and every bit as man-made."

"Jenin camp looks like the scene of a crime... Jenin already has that aura of infamy that attaches to a crime of especial notoriety," continued this once liberal paper, which used to pride itself on its honesty – and one of whose former editors coined the phrase "comment is free, facts are sacred."

Whereas the Guardian's editorial writers compared the Jewish state to al Qaeda, Evening Standard commentators merely compared the Israeli government to the Taliban. Writing on April 15, A. N. Wilson, one of the Evening Standard's leading columnists accused Israel of "the poisoning of water supplies" (a libel dangerously reminiscent of ancient anti-Semitic myths) and wrote "we are talking here of massacre, and a cover-up, of genocide."

He also attempted to pit Christians against Jews by accusing Israel of "the willful burning of several church buildings," and making the perhaps even more incredible assertion that "Many young Muslims in Palestine are the children of Anglican Christians, educated at St George's Jerusalem, who felt that their parents' mild faith was not enough to fight the oppressor."

Then, before casually switching to write about how much money Catherine Zeta-Jones is paying her nanny, Wilson wrote: "Last week, we saw the Israeli troops destroy monuments in Nablus of ancient importance: the scene where Jesus spoke to a Samaritan woman at the well. It is the equivalent of the Taliban destroying Buddhist sculpture." (Perhaps Wilson had forgotten that the only monument destroyed in Nablus since Arafat launched his war against Israel in September 2000, was the ancient Jewish site of Joseph's tomb, torn down by a Palestinian mob while Arafat's security forces looked on.)

Other commentators threw in the Holocaust, turning it against Israel. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, a leading columnist for the Independent wrote (April 15): "I would suggest that Ariel Sharon should be tried for crimes against humanity ... and be damned for so debasing the profoundly important legacy of the Holocaust, which was meant to stop forever nations turning themselves into ethnic killing machines."

Many of the hostile comments were leveled at the U.S. "Why, for God's sake, can't Mr Powell do the decent thing and demand an explanation for the extraordinary, sinister events that have taken place in Jenin? Does he really have to debase himself in this way? Does he think that meeting Arafat, or refusing to do so, takes precedence over the enormous slaughter that has overwhelmed the Palestinians?" wrote Robert Fisk in the Independent.

STAINING THE STAR OF DAVID WITH BLOOD

In the wake of the media attacks, came the politicians. Speaking in the House of Commons on April 16, Gerald Kaufman, a veteran Labor member of parliament and a former shadow foreign secretary, announced that Ariel Sharon was a "war criminal" who led a "repulsive government." To nods of approval from his fellow parliamentarians, Kaufman, who is Jewish, said the "methods of barbarism against the Palestinians" supposedly employed by the Israeli army were "staining the Star of David with blood."

Speaking on behalf of the opposition Conservative party, John Gummer, a former cabinet minister, also lashed out at Israel. He said he was basing his admonition on "the evidence before us." Was Gummer perhaps referring to the twisted news reports he may have watched from the BBC's correspondent Orla Guerin? Or maybe his evidence stemmed from the account given by Ann Clwyd, a Labour MP, who on return from a fleeting fact-finding mission to Jenin, told parliament she had a "croaky voice" and this was all the fault of dust caused by Israeli tanks.

Clwyd had joined a succession of VIP visitors parading through Jenin – members of the European parliament, U.S. church leaders, Amnesty International Secretary-General Irene Khan, Bianca Jagger, ex-wife of pop-music legend Mick Jagger. Clwyd's voice wasn't sufficiently croaky, though, to prevent her from calling on all European states to withdraw their ambassadors from Israel.

Not to be outdone by politicians, Britain's esteemed academics went further. Tom Paulin, who lectures in 19th- and 20th-century literature at Oxford University, opined that the U.S.-born Jews who live on the west bank of the river Jordan should be "shot dead."

"They are Nazis, racists," he said, adding (though one might have thought this was unnecessary after his previous comment) "I feel nothing but hatred for them." (Paulin is also one of BBC television's regular commentators on the arts. The BBC says they will continue to invite him even after these remarks; Oxford University has taken no action against him.)

ONLY ONE WITNESS?

On closer examination, the "facts" on which many of the media reports were based – "facts" that no doubt played a role in inspiring such hateful remarks as Paulin's reveal an even greater scandal. The British media appear to have based much of its evidence of "genocide" on a single individual: "Kamal Anis, a labourer" (Times), "Kamal Anis, 28" (Daily Telegraph), "A quiet, sad-looking young man called Kamal Anis" (Independent), and referred to the same supposed victim – "the burned remains of a man, Bashar" (Evening Standard), "Bashir died in agony" (Times), "A man named only as Bashar once lived there" (Daily Telegraph).

Independent: "Kamal Anis saw the Israeli soldiers pile 30 bodies beneath a half-wrecked house. When the pile was complete, they bulldozed the building, bringing its ruins down on the corpses. Then they flattened the area with a tank."

Times: "Kamal Anis says the Israelis levelled the place; he saw them pile bodies into a mass grave, dump earth on top, then ran over it to flatten it."

Evidently, as can be seen from the following reports, British journalists hadn't been speaking to the same Palestinian witnesses as American journalists.

Los Angeles Times: Palestinians in Jenin "painted a picture of a vicious house-to-house battle in which Israeli soldiers faced Palestinian gunmen intermixed with the camp's civilian population."

Boston Globe: Following extensive interviews with "civilians and fighters" in Jenin "none reported seeing large numbers of civilians killed." On the other hand, referring to the deaths of Israeli soldiers in Jenin, Abdel Rahman Sa'adi, an "Islamic Jihad grenade-thrower," told the Globe "This was a massacre of the Jews, not of us."

Some in the American press also mentioned the video filmed by the Israeli army (and shown on Israeli television) of Palestinians moving corpses of people who had previously died of natural causes, rather than in the course of the Jenin fighting, into graveyards around the camp to fabricate "evidence" in advance of the now-cancelled U.N. fact-finding mission.

But if Europeans readers don't trust American journalists, perhaps they are ready to believe the testimony given in the Arab press. Take, for example, the extensive interview with a Palestinian bomb-maker, Omar, in the leading Egyptian newspaper, Al-Ahram.

"We had more than 50 houses booby-trapped around the [Jenin] camp," Omar said. "We chose old and empty buildings and the houses of men who were wanted by Israel because we knew the soldiers would search for them ... We cut off lengths of mains water pipes and packed them with explosives and nails. Then we placed them about four meters apart throughout the houses - in cupboards, under sinks, in sofas... the women went out to tell the soldiers that we had run out of bullets and were leaving. The women alerted the fighters as the soldiers reached the booby-trapped area."

Perhaps what is most shocking, though, is that the British press had closed their ears to the Israelis themselves – a society with one of the most vigorous and self-critical democracies in the world. In the words of Kenneth Preiss, a professor at Ben Gurion University: "Please inform the reporters trying to figure out if the Israeli army is trying to 'hide a massacre' of Palestinians, that Israel's citizen army includes journalists, members of parliament, professors, doctors, human rights activists, members of every political party, and every other kind of person, all within sight and cell phone distance of home and editorial offices. Were the slightest infringements to have taken place, there would be demonstrations outside the prime minister's office in no time."

ONLY AN INTELLECTUAL COULD BE SO STUPID

George Orwell once remarked to a Communist fellow-traveler with whom he was having a dispute: "You must be an intellectual. Only an intellectual could say something so stupid." This observation has relevance in regard to the Middle East, too.

So far only the nonintellectual tabloids have grasped the essential difference between right and wrong, the difference between a deliberate intent to kill civilians, such as that ordered by Chairman Arafat over the past four decades, and the unintentional deaths of civilians in the course of legitimate battle.

On both sides of the Atlantic, the mass-market papers have corrected the lies of their supposedly superior broadsheets. On April 17, the New York Post carried an editorial entitled "The massacre that wasn't." In London, the most popular British daily paper, the Sun, published a lengthy editorial (April 15) pointing out that: "Israelis are scared to death. They have never truly trusted Britain - and with some of the people we employ in the Foreign Office why the hell should they?" Countries throughout Europe are still "in denial about murdering their entire Jewish population," the Sun added, and it was time to dispel the conspiracy theory that Jews "run the world."

The headline of the Sun's editorial was "The Jewish faith is not an evil religion." One might think such a headline was unnecessary in twenty-first century Britain, but apparently it is not.

One would hope that some honest reflection about their reporting by those European and American journalists who are genuinely motivated by a desire to help Palestinians (as opposed to those whose primary motive is demonizing Jews), will enable them to realize that propagating the falsehoods of Arafat's propagandists does nothing to further the legitimate aspirations of ordinary Palestinians, any more than parroting the lies of Stalin helped ordinary Russians.

(Tom Gross is former Middle East reporter for the London Sunday Telegraph and New York Daily News)


Poll shows 17 percent of Italians oppose Israel’s existence

November 13, 2003

CONTENTS

1. "Italians say Jewish citizens aren't 'real Italians'" (AP, Nov. 10, 2003)
2. "Poll shows 17 percent of Italians oppose Israel's existence" (Ha'aretz, Nov. 11, 2003)
3. "Italian minister compares Iraq attack to Sept. 11" ( Reuters, Nov 13, 2003)


BERLUSCONI CALLED SHARON TO EXPRESS HIS "SURPRISE AND INDIGNATION"

[Note by Tom Gross]

These poll results are perhaps all the more surprising because the Italian government has been at the forefront of opposing the rest of the European Union's pro-Palestinian positions.

Italy's center-right government holds the European Union's six-month rotating presidency until the end of the year and has tried to use its term to tone down EU criticisms of Israeli policies.

On November 3, Italian Foreign Minister and acting President of the European Union Franco Frattini told Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom that the most recent European Commission-sponsored public opinion poll in which Europeans declared that Israel was the greatest threat to world peace, "distorted reality." (48 per cent of Italians questioned took this view of Israel – the lowest proportion among any of the EU's 15 member states, and well below the EU average of 59 per cent.)

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi called Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to express his "surprise and indignation" over the survey.

On November 4, Gianfranco Fini, Italy's deputy prime minister, defended Israel's right to build a security barrier with parts in the West Bank, in remarks that put the Italian government at odds with its European Union partners. He said: "It's necessary to put oneself in the shoes of everybody and understand the reasons why Israel thinks that, to defend itself, it should control its territory better."

Prime Minister Berlusconi took the lead in distancing Italy's Middle East policies from those of its EU partners when he visited the region before the start of the Italian EU presidency, and departed from EU practice by not meeting Yassir Arafat, the Palestinian Authority president.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini also said that Malaysian PM Mahathir "used expressions that were gravely offensive, very strongly anti-Semitic and ... strongly counter to principles of tolerance, dialogue and understanding between the Western world and the Islamic world."

I attach three pieces on Italy below.

-- Tom Gross


FULL ARTICLES

ITALIANS SAY JEWISH CITIZENS AREN'T "REAL ITALIANS"

Italians say Jewish citizens aren't 'real Italians'
The Associated Press
November 10, 2003

A poll published Monday showed that Italians have mixed feelings about Israel and Jews, with 22 percent of those polled saying fellow Jewish citizens are not "real Italians," and 51 percent saying Jews have a different mentality and way of life from the rest of Italians.

The poll, published in the Corriere della Sera newspaper, showed that 52 percent of Italians have little sympathy for the Jewish state, while 42 percent do. Seventy percent said Israel has a right to exist although its government makes mistakes, while 17 percent said it would be better if the Jewish state didn't exist.

The poll, carried out by the ISPO institute, was conducted on 700 people Nov. 6-7, and had a margin of error of 4 percent.

The Italian Jewish community now numbers about 30,000, mainly in Rome and Milan.

 

POLL SHOWS 17 PERCENT OF ITALIANS OPPOSE ISRAEL'S EXISTENCE

Poll shows 17 percent of Italians oppose Israel's existence
By Sharon Sadeh
Ha'aretz
November 11, 2003

Italians have mixed feelings toward Israel and the Jewish community in their country, according to a poll published Monday, which indicated there is stereotype-laden racism among one fifth of Italians.

In the national survey, which appeared in the daily Corriere della Sera, seventy percent of responders said Israel had a right to exist despite bad policies of the Israeli government, while 17 percent thought it would be best if Israel ceased to exist altogether.

Also, 22 percent of respondents said that Italian Jewish citizens "are not real Italians," while 51 percent of those polled expressed the belief that Jews had a different mentality and lifestyle to other Italians.

With regards to Israel, the poll showed that a majority of Italians – 52 percent – do not identify with Israel, while 42 percent of those questioned said that they do identify with the state.

The poll of 700 people was conducted last week by the ISPO research institute, and was performed by Professor Renato Mannheimer, a well known Italian sociologist.

The survey was ordered in the wake of the public debate in Italy following the publication of the European Union survey, which found that 59 percent of those polled believed Israel to be a threat to world peace.

The Italian debate centered on whether the Europe survey, which made no mention of the Palestinian Authority on the grounds that it is not a state, was biased or misleading.

Many public figures have since stated that those surveyed in the EU poll did not understand the question posed. Mannheimer sought to check whether this was indeed the case or if the poll did reflect the Italian street.

The stance reflected by the Italians surveyed in the latest poll runs contrary to the pro-Israel stance of their government. The Financial Times reported Monday that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has opposed an EU initiative to condemn Israel for boycotting the European body's Middle East envoy Mark Otte.

 

ITALIAN MINISTER COMPARES IRAQ ATTACK TO SEPT 11

Italian minister compares Iraq attack to Sept 11
Reuters
November 13, 2003

Italy's defence minister on Thursday visited the scene of a suicide bombing that killed 18 Italians in Iraq and blamed it on the "same people" who had carried out the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Minister Antonio Martino told reporters in the southern Iraqi town of Nassiriya that Italy would not be intimidated by the "terrible experience" of Wednesday's blast.

"It reminded me that slightly over a month ago, I was in New York City at Ground Zero and I was struck by the similarity of the impression," he said, referring to the destruction of the World Trade Center in the suicide plane attacks of 2001.

"Then I realised why – because they are the same people. They are the people that we are fighting against and we shall not allow them to terrorise us," Martino said.

Martino did not further identify the attackers. In Rome on Wednesday, he said he believed fighters loyal to ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein were behind the attack. The September 11 attacks have been blamed on the al Qaeda Islamic militant network.

Martino denied there had been a lack of security at the military police base in Nassiriya where Wednesday's suicide attack killed 27 people, including 18 Italians.

The blast tore off the front of a three-storey concrete building on the Euphrates riverfront, killing 16 Italian police officers and two Italian civilians, Italy's highest military death toll in one incident since World War Two.

Hospital officials said at least nine Iraqis were killed and more than 80 wounded in the explosion.

About 2,300 Italian troops are in southern Iraq and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a staunch ally of the United States and Britain in Iraq, has said they will stay.


Israeli cabinet minister compares Greek composer to Hitler

CONTENTS

1. "Israeli cabinet minister compares Greek composer to Hitler" (AP, November 13, 2003)
2. "Israel objects to remark by noted composer" (International Herald Tribune, November 13, 2003)
3. "UN-Olympic Truce" (AP, November 4, 2003) The UN General Assembly called for a worldwide truce during next summer's Athens Olympic games, and the UN chief said he hoped people in conflict zones from Iraq to Congo will heed the message. Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou praised the effort and said he hoped peace would last beyond the Aug. 13-29 games.


“ZOBRA THE ANTI-SEMITE”

[Note by Tom Gross]

Comments by Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis that Jews are the "root of all evil" resemble the kind of anti-Semitism espoused by Nazi leaders Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, Israeli Interior Minister Tommy Lapid, a Holocaust survivor, said today.

Theodorakis, best known for the score of the 1964 film "Zorba the Greek," made the comments in the presence of senior Greek government officials at a Nov. 4 news conference to promote his book "Where Can I Find My Soul."

Theodorakis declared: "Today we can say that this small nation is the root of evil, not of good, which means that too much self importance and too much stubbornness is evil."

The comments sparked red-backed headlines in Israeli tabloids ("ZORBA THE ANTI-SEMITE," is the headline in Yedioth Ahronoth).

Theodorakis was an MP for a while (according to his own website).

He also wrote the acclaimed Ballad of Mauthausen, a commemoration of the victims of the Nazi concentration camp.

A subscriber to this email list adds: Theodorakis also wrote the Palestinian national anthem, though I don't think many Palestinians know that fact and even fewer know the anthem. I think he was at least once nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

There have been a spate of anti-Semitic incidents and attacks in Greece recently.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

ISRAELI CABINET MINISTER COMPARES GREEK COMPOSER TO HITLER

Israeli cabinet minister compares Greek composer to Hitler
By Ramit Plushnick-Masti
The Associated Press
November 13, 2003

Recent comments by Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis that Jews are the "root of all evil" resemble the kind of anti-Semitism espoused by Nazi leaders Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, an Israeli Cabinet minister said Thursday.

Theodorakis, best known for the score of the 1964 film "Zorba the Greek," made the comments in the presence of senior Greek government officials at a Nov. 4 news conference to promote his book "Where Can I Find My Soul."

The comments, which were first reported in Israel this week, have caused an uproar, and the Israeli Embassy in Athens complained to the government.

Theodorakis, a strong advocate of the Palestinian cause, said the accusations of anti-Semitism against him are "slander" and said his comments are consistent with his support of the weak.

Theodorakis, who referred directly to Jews in his initial speech, said in a statement that Israeli policies are the "root of all evil."

"I am totally opposed to (Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon's policy and I have stressed this repeatedly, just as I have repeatedly condemned the role of prominent American Jewish politicians, intellectuals and theorists in the shaping of today's aggressive Bush (administration) policy," Theodorakis said in the statement, which appeared in Greek newspapers Thursday.

Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas said Greece "doesn't endorse or agree with the opinions" of Theodorakis.

Israeli Interior Minister Tommy Lapid said Theodorakis was not being critical of Israel's policies against the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip – which would be legitimate – but rather had attacked Jews directly.

"Today it is not acceptable in the world and we don't normally hear an expression that is unabashed anti-Semitism. He doesn't say that the Israelis are occupiers, he says that the Jews are the 'root of all evil' in the world," Lapid told Israel Radio.

"These are statements of the type made by Goebbels and Hitler," said Lapid, who is a Holocaust survivor.

 

ISRAEL OBJECTS TO REMARK BY NOTED COMPOSER

Israel objects to remark by noted composer
International Herald Tribune
November 13, 2003

Athens Israel has complained to the Greek government about comments by the composer Mikis Theodorakis, who called Jews "the root of evil" and dismissed key biblical figures as mere "shadows," a diplomatic source said Wednesday.

The source, who declined to be named, said that the Israeli Embassy had pointed out the "gravity" of the remarks by Theodorakis, who is best known for the score of the 1964 film "Zorba the Greek." Israeli officials joined in the denunciations.

Theodorakis, 78, made the comments at a news conference on Nov. 4 to promote his book "Where Can I Find My Soul."

 

UN-OLYMPIC TRUCE

UN-Olympic Truce
By Edith M. Lederer
The Associated Press
November 4, 2003

The General Assembly called for a worldwide truce during next summer's Olympic games, and the U.N. chief said he hoped people in conflict zones from Iraq to Congo will heed the message.

Greece sponsored the resolution and the General Assembly's 190 other nations signed on as cosponsors. Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou praised the effort and said he hoped peace would last beyond the Aug. 13-29 games.

He said the roots of both the truce and the Olympics itself go back to the 8th century B.C. in ancient Greece when a Delphi oracle declared the best way to stop war was to organize games and call for a halt to fighting. The idea for a truce was revived in 1993 to allow athletes from war-torn Yugoslavia to participate in the 1994 games in Lillehammer, Norway. The assembly has adopted similar resolutions for each Olympics since then.

"We want to revive what the basic principles of the Olympics were – which is to become a peace project," Papandreou said.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged anyone caught up in a conflict to listen to the U.N. call.

"It sends a powerful message, telling the warring parties to stop and reflect ... even if it is for 24 hours," he said. "I hope that people in all conflict areas – from Iraq to Afghanistan, to Liberia to the Congo will really listen to the message."

Papandreou conceded that making the Olympic Truce a reality may seem to some "like a utopian dream."

"We have no illusions as to what we can achieve through the Olympic Truce; it is not a universal remedy that will miraculously heal the rifts that ravage so many regions of the world," he said. "But surely if we can stop even a single conflict, this is worth the effort."

Jacques Rogge, the International Olympic Committee president, said the decision to adopt the truce would give "the youth of the world the chance to show how we all can peacefully coexist, just as they do in the Olympic Village."

The General Assembly also adopted a resolution declaring the year 2005 the "International Year for Sport and Physical Education."

It calls on governments to promote the role of sports "as a tool for health, education, social and cultural development," and urges developing countries to promote physical education.


Singapore and India: Examining antisemitism in an honest way

[Note by Tom Gross]

This is the fourth dispatch resulting from the controversial speech by outgoing Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir in which he made various anti-Semitic comments and received a standing ovation from 56 other world leaders on October 16.

There has been a wave of articles sympathetic to Mahathir in the Arab and Asian press (and even one by Paul Krugman in the New York Times).

But there has also been a truthful examination of the evils of anti-Semitism in some Asian countries.



SUMMARIES

I attach two articles from last weekend from the Straights Times of Singapore, and a note on India's first Holocaust exhibition, which opened on Monday.

1. "Jews: History's scapegoats," (Singapore Straights Times, November 2003). The former Malaysian prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said recently that Jews rule the world by proxy. Opinion polls in Europe show a majority of Europeans feel Israel is a threat to world peace. Anti-Semitic 'hate speech' and 'hate acts' seem more frequent lately. But as Janadas Devan finds out, anti-Semitism has a long, persistent and troubling history.

Consider the following: 'Reasons of race and religion combine to make any large number of free-thinking Jews undesirable.' 'You may as well do anything most hard/ As seek to soften that - than which what's harder? -/ His Jewish heart.' 'How I hated marrying a Jew.' 'Jew York'. 'Jewnited States.' 'Franklin Delano Jewsfeld.'

Who uttered these statements? Dr Josef Goebbels? A member of the lunatic Ku Klux Klan?

None of the above. They were made by some of the most prestigious figures in Anglo-American culture: T.S. Eliot, William Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf (who, of course, married Leonard Woolf, a Jew), F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ezra Pound.

Similar examples of anti-Semitism can be easily multiplied. Emile Zola, Rudyard Kipling, Henry Adams, King Edward VIII, later the Duke of Windsor.

[Full article below]

 

2. "Fear of globalisation fuelling resurgence of anti-Semitism" (Singapore Straights Times, November 2003)

Is there a resurgence of anti-Semitism in the contemporary world? Some scholars think so. A recent article in the US journal Foreign Policy noted the following:

Anti-globalisation demonstrators at the World Economic Forum carrying placards reading, 'Nazis, Yankees and Jews: No More Chosen Peoples', and wearing T-shirts with the Star of David twisted into the Nazi swastika.

An Italian newspaper running a cartoon depicting the infant Jesus about to be run over by Israeli tanks, saying 'Don't tell me they want to kill me again.'

Statements in 'Malaysia and Zimbabwe – nations nearly bereft of Jews – warning of an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world's finances'.

[Full article below]

[Note the editors at the "Singapore Straights Times" were sent the article in Foreign Policy, through this email list (Dispatch: Antiglobalism's Jewish Problem, November 4, 2003)]

 

INDIA

3. Another Asian country that has recently been exploring anti-Semitism is India. Last Monday, November 10, the prestigious Indira Gandhi National Center For The Arts opened a Holocaust exhibition, the first of its kind in India. Among those attending the opening were religious, political and academic figures, including the Chief Justice of India's Supreme Court, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

 

YASSER ARAFAT'S FORTUNE

4. The following item also appeared in the al bawaba internet site that serves the Arab world – a surprisingly honest report about Yasser Arafat's finances:

albawaba.com/news/index.php3?sid=262816&lang=e&dir=news

US television documentary: Arafat's wife, daughter live in Paris on expense of Palestinian aid money
Al Bawaba
November 7, 2003

Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat, transfers $100,000 from funds directed to the Palestinian Authority to his wife Suha who lives in Paris along with the couple's daughter, according to an investigative report conducted by CBS television show 60 Minutes, to be aired Sunday across the United States. According to the report, Arafat has accumulated in his private accounts more than $800 million from aid originally appropriated to the Palestinian Authority. Raymonda Tawil, Mrs. Arafat's mother, is apparently also enjoying life in Paris at the expense of the Palestinian taxpayers, the report is to claim. Mrs. Arafat lives in Paris with her eight-year-old daughter, Zahwa.


FULL ARTICLES

JEWS: HISTORY'S SCAPEGOATS

Jews: History's scapegoats
Singapore Straights Times
November 2003

http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/think/story/0,4386,219031,00.html?

The former Malaysian prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said recently that Jews rule the world by proxy. Opinion polls in Europe show a majority of Europeans feel Israel is a threat to world peace. Anti-Semitic 'hate speech' and 'hate acts' seem more frequent lately. But as Janadas Devan finds out, anti-Semitism has a long, persistent and troubling history.

Consider the following examples of anti-Semitism:

'Reasons of race and religion combine to make any large number of free-thinking Jews undesirable.'

'You may as well do anything most hard/ As seek to soften that – than which what's harder? –/ His Jewish heart.'

'How I hated marrying a Jew.'

'Down in a tall busy street he read a dozen Jewish names on a line of stores... New York – he could not dissociate it now from the slow, upward creep of these people.'

'Jew York'. 'Jewnited States.' 'Franklin Delano Jewsfeld.'

Who uttered these statements?

Dr Josef Goebbels? Some Nazi poet? A blond Aryan, expressing regret for marrying a Jew during the Holocaust? A member of the lunatic Ku Klux Klan?

None of the above.

They were made by some of the most prestigious figures in Anglo-American culture: T.S. Eliot, William Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf (who, of course, married Leonard Woolf, a Jew), F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ezra Pound.

Similar examples of anti-Semitism can be easily multiplied.

In French literature – Emile Zola, Guy de Maupassant, Maurice Barres.

In English literature – Rudyard Kipling, Hilaire Beloc, G.K. Chesterton.

In American letters – Henry Adams, H.L. Mencken. Among industrialists – Henry Ford.

Among 'All-American heroes' – Charles Lindbergh. Among royalty – King Edward VIII, later the Duke of Windsor.

And on and on, ad infinitum.

But these are only examples of 'hate speech'.

The list of 20th century anti-Semitic 'hate acts' is more gruesome.

The Holocaust, when six million Jews were exterminated by Hitler, was only the final act.

Pogroms during and after the 1917 Russian Revolution resulted in the death of 75,000 Jews.

In Germany, after World War I, Jewish communities in Berlin and Munich were terrorised by anti-Semitic organisations.

After the Munich Soviet was crushed, all foreign-born Jews were expelled from the city.

The Holocaust didn't happen out of the blue; Europe was well-primed for the 'Final Solution'. And it was not the work of only a few decades, but of centuries.

As historian Paul Johnson points out in his History Of The Jews, though the term 'anti-Semitism' was not coined until 1879, anti-Semitism, 'in fact if not in name', undoubtedly existed from 'deep antiquity'.

'The specific hostility towards the Jews, which began to emerge in the second half of the first millennium BC, was a function of Jewish monotheism and its social consequences,' he writes.

Circumcision, for instance, 'set them apart and was regarded by the Graeco-Roman world as barbarous and distasteful'.

In the Roman era, these religious prejudices took on a political dimension.

'The Jewish refusal to practise the formalities of state worship was seen not merely as characteristic of Jewish exclusiveness... but as actively disloyal.'

In AD70, Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem.

Anti-Semitism in the Christian era had one of its source in the Bible.

Matthew's Gospel, for example, quotes 'the people', watching Pilate wash his hands, exclaim: 'His blood be upon us and on our children.'

This was interpreted by the early Church as an admission by Jews themselves that they bore guilt for Christ's crucifixion.

As a result, as early as in the 5th century, Christian theologians presented Jews as deicides or murderers of God.

Jews lost their rights in many Christian societies, were excluded from state office, and often expelled altogether.

The first mass expulsion occurred in England, in 1290, and the last in Spain, in 1492.

In 1215, the Fourth Lateran Council required Jews to distinguish themselves from Christians by wearing a badge, a practice that Hitler later copied.

Jews were victims of genocides and pogroms throughout the Crusades, from 1096-99 to the 15th century.

In the Middle Ages, Jews also became the subject of an extraordinary allegation.

Known as 'blood libel' – 'the allegation that Jews murder non-Jews, especially Christians, in order to obtain blood for the Passover or other rituals' – it led 'to trials and massacres of Jews in the Middle Ages and early modern times,' the Encyclopedia Judaica explains.

There were 'blood libel' trials as recently as the 17th century in Poland, with Jews being tortured to extract confessions of having drunk Christian blood, especially of children.

Tsarist Russia revived the libel in the early 20th century, as did the Nazis in the 1930s and the Soviet Union in the 1970s.

The persistence of such beliefs indicates how different anti-Semitism is from other forms of racism.

Strictly speaking, it is not a racism, for what defines a Jew is not so much a race as a religion.

That, more than economics or politics, explains the persistence of anti-Semitism in the Church's history.

'The provocation to Christian theology of Jewish survival; assumptions that Judaism had been superseded by Christianity, and that Christian ethics are superior to those of Judaism' – these, as the scholar Dr Anthony Julius notes, are the historical causes of European anti-Semitism.

That is why St John Chrysostom could argue in the 5th century: 'If the Jewish rites are holy and venerable, our way of life must be false'.

That is why Hippolyte Gayraud, a French Dominican, could advocate a 'Christian anti-Semitism' in the 19th century, arguing 'a convinced Christian is by nature a practising anti-Semite'.

From St Ambrose in the 4th century to Martin Luther in the 16th, anti-Semitism infected most denominations of the Church – a fact that Pope John-Paul II himself has underlined, by apologising for that history.

But there were also counter-arguments – and counter-examples.

The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II rejected the blood libel, as did Pope Innocent IV.

The most important theologian in the early Church, St Augustine, adopted a relatively enlightened attitude towards Jews.

England expelled Jews in the 13th century, but in the 19th, it made Benjamin Disraeli, a Jew, its Prime Minister.

Even at the height of the Holocaust, in Berlin itself, about 10,000 German families risked their lives to hide Jewish friends.

And the Danes, an occupied people, refused to enact any of the anti-Jewish laws that the Nazis had insisted upon.

Indeed, when the Nazis announced in 1943 a round-up of all the Jews in Denmark, the whole country resisted.

In a stupendously daring operation, the Danes ferried by sea almost all Jewish Danes to neutral Sweden and out of harm's way.

After the war, when the Jews returned, they not only found their homes intact, they discovered that their neighbours, in many instances, had paid the rent in their absence.

The Danes, one might say, merely acted as Christ, the founder of Christianity - and a Jew – would have.

 

FEAR OF GLOBALISATION FUELLING RESURGENCE OF ANTI-SEMITISM

Fear of globalisation fuelling resurgence of anti-Semitism
Singapore Straights Times
November 2003

http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/think/story/0,4386,219033,00.html?

Is there a resurgence of anti-Semitism in the contemporary world? Some scholars think so. A recent article in the US journal Foreign Policy noted the following:

As violence in the occupied territories mounts, Israeli officials haven taken to equating criticism of their policy with anti-Semitism. – REUTERS

– Anti-globalisation demonstrators at the World Economic Forum carrying placards reading, 'Nazis, Yankees and Jews: No More Chosen Peoples', and wearing T-shirts with the Star of David twisted into the Nazi swastika.

– An Italian newspaper running a cartoon depicting the infant Jesus about to be run over by Israeli tanks, saying 'Don't tell me they want to kill me again.'

– Desecration of synagogues and Jewish schools in Europe, culminating in 2002, when the highest number of such attacks in 12 years occurred.

– Statements in 'Malaysia and Zimbabwe - nations nearly bereft of Jews – warning of an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world's finances'.

A phenomenon that has existed for more than 2,000 years is not easy to disentangle. But one might specify three broad reasons for contemporary anti-Semitism – religious, economic and political.

In the US, anti-Semitism used to be prevalent among evangelical Christians, but this has been displaced by pro-Israeli feelings. Many evangelicals now believe the 'Covenant of Abraham' gave all the holy land to Jews and that Christ won't return till Israel rules it all.

But anti-Semitism still exists in some Christian communities, the residue of ancient prejudice, and in many Islamic societies.

These religious-inflected hatreds have also been augmented by economic and political causes. Fear of globalisation, for instance, has contributed to anti-Semitism, tapping old stereotypes of the voracious Jewish money-man (Shylock in Shakespeare, Fagin in Dickens, Melmotte in Trollope).

In the Arab world, economic failure has combined with the humiliation of repeated military defeats by Israel to accentuate anti-Semitism. Anger, failure, humiliation, defeat – these are not conditions which will enable Arab/Muslim societies to resume their traditional tolerance for Ahl al-kitab, people of the book.

But a caveat is necessary here: It is false (and self-serving) to equate all criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, as some Israeli officials do.

That makes as much sense as equating criticism of Chinese policy in Tibet with anti-Sinicism or of Indian policy in Kashmir with anti-Hinduism.

If criticising Israeli policy in the occupied territories is anti-Semitic, many people of goodwill will have to be labelled as such – including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the literary scholar Edward Said, the New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, the current Israeli Chief of Defence Staff, activists in the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, Israeli journalists in Haaretz, and this newspaper's leader writers.

'Both the vision of social justice and the equality of all peoples that the Jewish people has cherished for 3,000 years, and the vital interests of the Jewish people in the Diaspora and even more so in Palestine, require absolutely and unconditionally that the rights and interests of the non-Jewish inhabitants of the country be guarded and honoured punctiliously.'

Who said that? None other than David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, on Jan 29, 1918, just three months after the Balfour Declaration. It is not anti-Semitic to demand that Israel live up to that promise of equality and justice.


Both Reuters and AP omit Israel from world terror victim lists

November 11, 2003

Both the two biggest news agencies in the world, Reuters and AP, omit Israel from world terror victim lists.



[Note by Tom Gross]

BBC ADMITS POSSIBLE BIAS AGAINST ISRAEL

As a follow-up to yesterday's dispatch on the BBC, the Daily Telegraph of London today reported that the BBC has appointed a "senior editorial advisor" "to oversee BBC coverage of the Mideast," due to ongoing criticism of the "BBC's anti-Israeli bias."

(The article, titled "BBC appoints man to monitor 'pro-Arab bias'," By Tom Leonard, Media Editor, Daily Telegraph, Nov 11, 2003, is attached below.)

 

REUTERS, AP, THE NEW YORK TIMES FORGET ISRAEL

Both the two biggest news agencies in the world, Reuters and AP, continue to ignore terror against Israel. (Almost every major news outlet in the world relies on one or both of these agencies for its core foreign news leads.)

I attach below, "Reuters chronology - Worst guerrilla attacks since September 11" (November 9, 2003, Reuters), that accompanied its reports of Saturday's suicide bombing in Saudi Arabia..

Pakistan, Tunisia, Yemen, Bali, Kenya, Chechen attacks in Moscow, attacks against Indians in Bombay. These are all included, but none of the terrorist attacks in Israel, many of which resulted in more death and injury than those cited by Reuters.

Furthermore, the Associated Press, in its bulletin "Recent Terror Attacks Around the World" (November 8, 2003) also omits reference to Israel, while including attacks in the Philippines, Kenya, Yemen and elsewhere. (Associated Press bulletin attached below).

Honest Reporting, the media watchdog organization that today also draws attention to the AP bulletin (though not to the Reuters one), points out that the New York Times Online also devotes a special section to world terror that leaves out attacks in Israel.

-- Tom Gross

 



FULL ARTICLES

BBC APPOINTS MAN TO MONITOR 'PRO-ARAB BIAS'

BBC appoints man to monitor 'pro-Arab bias'
By Tom Leonard, Media Editor
Daily Telegraph
November 11, 2003

The BBC has appointed a "Middle East policeman" to oversee its coverage of the region amid mounting allegations of anti-Israeli bias.

Malcolm Balen, a former editor of the Nine O'Clock News, has been recruited in an attempt to improve the corporation's reporting of the Middle East and its relationship with the main political players.

Mr Balen, who left the BBC three years ago, will work full-time with the official title of "senior editorial adviser".

It is the first time the corporation has made such an appointment. Insiders say it is a signal that senior executives feel that the Middle East is an area over which the BBC needs to take particular care.

Relations between the corporation and the Israeli government hit a low point this summer when the latter "withdrew co-operation" in protest at a BBC documentary about the country's weapons of mass destruction.

Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, later barred the BBC from his meeting with the British press during a visit to London.

The BBC has also been the target of Downing Street accusations that it toed a pro-Baghdad line over the Iraq war and that it influenced the Today programme's handling of the dossier story that is the subject of the Hutton Inquiry.

A BBC spokesman said: "Malcolm is a hugely experienced senior programme editor whose appointment will help us on our relations with all parties in the region."

The decision to appoint Mr Balen was taken jointly by Richard Sambrook, the director of BBC News, and Mark Byford, the head of the World Service. The latter's Arabic Service has been singled out by some critics as the most anti-Israeli source of the corporation's Middle East output.

The BBC denied that the appointment amounted to an admission that it had "got its coverage wrong" but conceded the corporation was sensitive to criticism. He said it was "no longer the case" that the Israelis were refusing to co-operate with BBC journalists.

An accusation frequently levelled against the corporation is that it reports the Arab-Israeli conflict too much from a Palestinian point of view.

Its reluctance to describe suicide bombers as "terrorists" has proved particularly controversial, recently prompting the Simon Wiesenthal Centre to pull out of a BBC series about Nazi genocide.

The corporation faces increasing scrutiny of all areas of its activities during the run-up to the renewal of its royal charter in 2006.

 

REUTERS CHRONOLOGY - WORST GUERRILLA ATTACKS SINCE SEPTEMBER 11

Reuters CHRONOLOGY - Worst guerrilla attacks since September 11
Reuters
November 9, 2003

Suspected al Qaeda suicide bombers devastated a Riyadh residential compound of foreigners mostly from Arab states on Sunday, killing between 20 and 30 people and injuring up to 100, diplomats said.

Here is a short chronology of some of the worst attacks around the world since the assault on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, which was blamed on al-Qaeda.

2001

Sept 11 - Three hijacked planes flown into major U.S. landmarks, destroying New York's World Trade Center towers and ploughing into the Pentagon. A fourth hijacked plane crashes in rural Pennsylvania. 2,976 people are killed.

2002

Apr 11 - Truck explodes near El Ghriba synagogue on Tunisian island of Djerba. Kills 20, including 14 Germans.

May 8 - Suspected suicide bomber in a car kills 11 French navy experts and three Pakistanis outside Sheraton hotel in southern Pakistani city of Karachi.

June 14 - Carbomb outside U.S. consulate in Karachi kills at least 11, injures 45.

Oct 6 - Explosion rips through French supertanker Limburg, off Yemen. One crew member killed. Yemen suspects remote control device was used to ram an explosives-laden boat into the tanker.

Oct 12 - Bombs explode in Kuta Beach nightclub strip on Bali, Indonesia, killing 202 people and injuring hundreds. A third bomb explodes near the U.S. consulate near Kuta, no one is hurt.

Nov 28 - At least 15 killed in carbomb attack on hotel frequented by Israeli tourists in Kenyan port of Mombasa as two missiles miss Israeli airliner taking off from the city.

2003:

May 12 - Suicide bombers in vehicles shoot their way into housing compounds for expatriates in Saudi capital of Riyadh as residents sleep. Death toll 35, including nine Americans.

May 12 - Two suicide bombers drive a truck full of explosives into a government complex in northern Chechnya, in Znamenskoye. At least 60 killed and 100 wounded.

May 16 - Suicide bombers using cars or explosive belts set off at least five blasts in Casablanca, Morocco, killing 45 people including 12 bombers. About 60 others wounded.

July 5 - Two Chechen women suicide bombers kill 15 others at a rock festival at Moscow's Tushino airfield. 60 are injured.

Aug 1 - Truck bomb explodes at a Russian military hospital in North Ossetia near Chechnya, killing at least 50.

Aug 5 - Huge bomb kills 10, wounds 150 at Marriott Hotel in Indonesian capital Jakarta.

Aug 19 - Truck bomb devastates U.N.'s Baghdad HQ, killing 22 people including top U.N. envoy to Iraq.

Aug 25 - Twin carbombs in India's financial capital Bombay kill 52, injure at least 150.

Aug 29 - Carbomb kills at least 83 Iraqis, including top Shi'ite Muslim leader Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim, in an apparent assassination at the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf.

Oct 27 - Bombers strike four times in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, killing 35 people and wounding 230 in attacks aimed at Red Cross offices and three police stations.

Nov 9 - Up to 30 people are killed when suspected al Qaeda suicide bombers devastate the guarded 200-villa Muhaya complex in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh.

 

AP: RECENT TERROR ATTACKS AROUND THE WORLD

Recent Terror Attacks Around the World
The Associated Press
November 8 2003

Aug. 5, 2003. A suicide bombers kills 12 people and injures 150 at the J.W. Marriott in Jakarta, Indonesia. Authorities blame Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian group linked to al-Qaida.

May 16, 2003: Bomb attacks in Morocco kill at least 28 people and injure more than 100. The government blames "international terrorism," and local militant groups linked to al-Qaida.

May 12, 2003: Four explosions rock Riyadh, the Saudi capital, in an attack on compounds housing Americans, other Westerners and Saudis. Eight Americans are among those killed. In all, the attack kills 35 people, including nine attackers.

May 11, 2003: A bomb explodes at a crowded market in a southern Philippine city, killing at least nine people and wounding 41. The military blames the Muslim separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Dec. 30, 2002: A gunman kills three American missionaries at a Southern Baptist hospital in Yemen. Yemeni officials say the gunman, sentenced to death in May, belonged to an al-Qaida cell.

Nov. 28, 2002: Suicide bombers kill 12 people at an Israeli-owned beach hotel in Kenya and two missiles narrowly miss an airliner carrying Israelis.

Oct. 12, 2002: Nearly 200 people, including seven Americans, are killed in bombings in a nightclub district of the Indonesian island of Bali. Authorities blame Jemaah Islamiyah.

Oct. 6, 2002: A small boat crashes into a French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen and explodes, killing one crewman.

Oct. 2, 2002: Suspected Abu Sayyaf guerrillas detonate a nail-laden bomb in a market in Zamboanga, Philippines, killing four people, including an American Green Beret. Four more bomb attacks in October blamed on Abu Sayyaf, a group linked to al-Qaida, kill 16 people.

June 14, 2002: A suicide bomber blows up a truck at the U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 14 Pakistanis. Authorities say it is the work of Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen, linked to al-Qaida.

April 11, 2002: A suicide bombing with a gas truck at a historic Tunisian synagogue on the resort island of Djerba kills 21 people, mostly German tourists.

Sept. 11, 2001: Hijackers slam jetliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (news - web sites) and a fourth hijacked jet crashes in a Pennsylvania field, killing nearly 3,000 people.

Dec. 30, 2000: Explosions in Manila strike a train, a bus, the airport, a park near the U.S. Embassy and a gas station, killing 22 people. Philippine and U.S. investigators link the attack to Jemaah Islamiyah.

Oct. 12, 2000: Suicide attackers on an explosives-laden boat ram the destroyer USS Cole (news - web sites) off Yemen, killing 17 American sailors.

Aug. 7, 1998: Nearly simultaneous car bombings hit the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, killing 231 people, including 12 Americans.


BBC: Fatah is funding Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades

November 10, 2003

[Today's dispatch is divided into two emails for space reasons]

CONTENTS

1. Arafat retains control of Palestinian security/terror
2. "Beebwatch is closing down - but we are still watching you" (Daily Telegraph London, November 7, 2003)
3. "Arafat: Obstacle or the key to peace?"
4. Text of Israeli draft resolution to the United Nations General Assembly GPO, (November 5, 2003)



[Note by Tom Gross]

This is a follow-up to several previous dispatches concerning Yasser Arafat's corrupt finances. In the last two days both the American network CBS and the British network the BBC have broadcast investigative programs on the subject. This evening a third TV network, Britain's respected (but very anti-Israel) Channel 4 will also broadcast a program at least in part critical of suicide bombers. It is titled: "In the Mind of a Suicide Bomber". There is a summary of this program below by someone on this list who has seen an advance copy of it.

Although, it is widespread knowledge in the Middle East that through his Fatah organization Yasser Arafat funds the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the group responsible for some of the worst suicide attacks in the last three years, very few major media outlets have been willing to highlight this until now. Further, newspapers such as the New York Times have during this time specifically downplayed the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades role in terrorism.

The Brigades, at their own admission, have claimed responsibility for at least 13 suicide bombs.

The BBC program marks a change from its previous reluctance to examine the Palestinian leader in a critical light. Arafat won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.

 

ARAFAT RETAINS CONTROL OF PALESTINIAN SECURITY / TERROR

Yasser Arafat and prime minister Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala) agreed yesterday to appoint Hakam Balawi, a member of Fatah's Central Committee and one of Arafat's close associates, as the new Interior Minister. The Interior Ministry oversees three of the PA's eight security forces: the Preventive Security Service, the police and civil defense. The appointment means that Arafat will retain effective control of the PA security services and is a clear victory for him. Qureia had been trying for weeks to get his own candidate, General Nasser Yussef, into the appointment. The decision is a set back for peace in the Middle East.

 

SUMMARY OF YESTERDAY'S BBC PROGRAM

The BBC program broadcast Sunday evening "revealed" that Fatah, the dominant faction in the Palestinian Authority headed by Yasser Arafat, has been funding the terrorist group the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. Abdel Fattah Hamayel, who had served as the PA's Minister for Sports and Youth until Abu Mazen resigned as Palestinian prime minister in September, said on air that the policy of paying the money was carried out with Arafat's knowledge and agreement.

The leader of the al-Aqsa Brigades in Jenin, a center for terrorist activities, said that he would not stop attacking Israel until ordered to do so by Arafat. "When Arafat calls for a ceasefire, we will respect his decision and stop," he said.

[I attached below "Arafat: Obstacle or the key to peace?" (BBC Online website. By Jeremy Bowen, The BBC's special correspondent.) This was written on November 7, 2003, two days before the program was broadcast.]

CRITICISM OF THE BBC PROGRAM

(Prepared by a journalist on this email list, who wishes to remain anonymous.)

While showing the brutal side of Fatah, parts of this programme in my view, also attempted to justify Palestinian support for suicide attacks by taking Israel's (defensive) actions in isolation and not putting them into context. For example, it states: "In April 2002, Israel re-occupied the West Bank" without mentioning the horrendous wave of attacks suffered in March 2002 resulting in the deaths of 124 Israelis and culminating in the Park Hotel Seder massacre.

Palestinian spokesmen blamed everything on "the problem of the occupation", with plenty of references to "collective punishments", "massacres committed by Israel" "killing of our people daily". All this was unchallenged by BBC presenter Jeremy Bowen.

Reference was made to the killing of the mother of the Al Aqsa Brigades leader in Jenin "by the Israelis" last year - with no explanation of the circumstances.

Bowen's commentary included remarks such as (Arafat's) "links with people that the Israelis consider terrorists" and the "contrast with the lush farmland (on the Israeli side)".

Arafat was shown making inflammatory speeches, for example, extolling Dalal al Magrabi (translation "Dalal al Magrabi is the road to victory") who led the 1978 coastal road attack, but this was dismissed as rhetoric and going along with what the Palestinian people wanted to hear.

However, links between Fatah and the Al Aqsa Brigades were clearly shown; Bowen stated that Fatah had arranged his meeting with the Brigades in Jeninand that they were supervised by the local Fatah boss.

Bowen concluded that while Arafat "was part of the problem, he is also part of the solution".

 

CHANNEL FOUR DOCUMENTARY TONIGHT

(This summary is prepared by someone else on this email list who has seen an advance copy of the film.)

Tonight Channel 4 are showing "In the Mind of a Suicide Bomber".

I saw the video yesterday. The program clearly exposes the manipulation and horror involved in suicide bombing. It mainly speaks through the translation of what the bombers and their trainers and recruiters say, some of which is not historically accurate.

For example, one of them says: "As they kill we must kill them."

Another justifies killing civilians and women by saying "They came to live in my country - that's an assault on me so I attacked them".

One part of the program talks about blowing up the homes of suicide bombers and shows one being blown up - immediately followed by saying the families get $25,000 dollars which could give the impression that it is for the home and not the blood money it really is for the suicide bomber.

There are some snippets of the effects of the bombs, but nothing about the victims.

 

BEEBWATCH IS CLOSING DOWN - BUT WE ARE STILL WATCHING YOU

"Beebwatch is closing down - but we are still watching you" (By Damian Thompson, The Daily Telegraph, London, November 7, 2003)

"For the past two months, I have been The Daily Telegraph's Beebwatcher. Three times a week, with the help of research by an experienced media monitoring unit, I have written a column attempting to show how the BBC's output - news, current affairs, drama and, above all, the wretched website - is slanted to reflect the Left-liberal opinions of the majority of its employees...

"... As for the Middle East, I defy anyone, however sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, to trawl through the BBC's website archive and conclude that its reports are even-handed. One practice in particular strikes me as repugnant: the refusal to describe the blowing up of innocent families in restaurants as "terrorism" in case it offends Arab sensibilities, when even the BBC's beloved Kofi Annan cheerfully uses the word.

"Subliminal tricks abound ... [such as] the following headline on a story about a Palestinian suicide killer and his two Jewish victims: "Three dead in West Bank attack." Does the BBC have any idea how much damage to its international reputation is being done by its website?"

[Full article attached below]

 

TEXT OF ISRAELI DRAFT RESOLUTION TO THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Text of Israeli Draft Resolution to the United Nations General Assembly

Last week, Israel submitted a draft resolution to the 3rd committee of the UN General Assembly on the effects of Palestinian terrorism on Israeli children.

The submission of this resolution marks the first time in decades that Israel has introduced a resolution to the agenda of any committee at the UN General Assembly.

The resolution entitled, The Situation of and Assistance to Israeli Children, will be considered under Agenda Item 117(b) of the Third Committee which deals primarily with issues of human rights.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade is among the groups the resolution mentions as directing terror attacks against Israeli civilians, including children.

According to other delegations at the UN, the resolution has "next to no chance of being passed."

[I attach the full resolution below]

 



FULL ARTICLES

ARAFAT: OBSTACLE OR THE KEY TO PEACE?

Arafat: Obstacle or the key to peace?
By Jeremy Bowen
The BBC's special correspondent

Once a regular guest at The White House, Yasser Arafat is now politically isolated by Israel and America who insist he has the power to stop suicide bombings against Israelis.

But could a peace deal be made without the man who has led the Palestinians for decades?

Zakariya Zubaydi pulled a picture out of his wallet. It was a grainy black and white snapshot, cut from a newspaper.

Zubaydi is the leader of the Palestinian armed group al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank town of Jenin.

The photo was of his hero, Yasser Arafat. It was taken in the late 1960s, when Arafat was not much older than Mr Zubaydi is now. It showed him out of doors, squatting on the ground and carrying a Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle.

Mr Zubaydi, who is in his late 20s, was wearing a pistol in a holster on the belt of his jeans.

With him were two younger men, barely out of their teens. They were carrying American-made M-16 rifles with telescopic sights.

The rifles' markings showed that they had come from the Israeli army. They said that the guns had been captured.

Zubaydi put away his picture of Arafat with a smile. Arafat, he said, was an honest man. He was sharing the pain of the Palestinian people. The Israelis were persecuting him because he would not give in to them.

For the best part of two years, Israel has confined Yasser Arafat to his headquarters in Ramallah on the West Bank.

Deportation threat

It has refused to deal with him, arguing that he is a terrorist killer, the inspiration and controlling force behind the suicide bombers.

The government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has stated its intention of deporting him to an unspecified location, although pressure from the United States has stopped them carrying out their threat.

Members of Mr Sharon's cabinet have mused publicly about killing Arafat.

Israel has the whole-hearted support of President Bush for its policy of regime change. They have succeeded in imposing a certain amount of international isolation on Yasser Arafat.

Not all that long ago, when Bill Clinton was in the White House, Arafat was a regular visitor. Now he cannot leave the ruins of his compound in Ramallah.

But Israel's actions have demonstrated, once again, that Arafat is the unchallenged leader of the Palestinian people.

When the peace process with Israel was floundering in the late 1990s he was less popular with his own people than he is today. They thought he was being forced into unsustainable concessions and getting precious little in return.

After Rabin

Now they identify with him. Israel, they say, is doing to Arafat exactly what it does to them.

This week marks the eighth anniversary of the assassination of the Israeli prime minister and war hero Yitzhak Rabin.

I clicked on the BBC News Online link to a report I filed from Jerusalem on the evening of 4 November, 1995, when Rabin was shot by Yigal Amir, a Jewish extremist.

The report included a clip of a desperately concerned looking Yasser Arafat, condemning what he called an awful and terrible crime and hoping that the peacemakers would be able to overcome the loss of Rabin, a "brave leader".

In the atmosphere of shock that followed the assassination, he was allowed to visit Rabin's widow, Leah, at their flat in Tel Aviv. He was even photographed with her bare-headed, without his famous black and white checked keffiyah.

It was the closest he ever came to acceptance in Israel. As the peace process crumbled without Rabin, the old Israeli view that Arafat was an unreconstructed terrorist, which many of them had anyway never lost, once again reasserted itself.

Yasser Arafat may well, as they say, be part of the problem. But the response of Palestinians to his confinement shows that he is part of the solution as well, just as he always has been.

If Israel wants to engage in a political process with the Palestinians, it will only happen with his consent.

[Correspondent: Arafat Investigated will be broadcast in the UK on BBC Two at 19.15 GMT on Sunday, 9 November, 2003.

Immediately after the programme, Jeremy will answer your questions in a live interactive discussion.]

 

BEEBWATCH IS CLOSING DOWN - BUT WE ARE STILL WATCHING YOU

Beebwatch is closing down - but we are still watching you
By Damian Thompson
Daily Telegraph (U.K.)
November 7, 2003

For the past two months, I have been The Daily Telegraph's Beebwatcher. Three times a week, with the help of research by an experienced media monitoring unit, I have written a column attempting to show how the BBC's output - news, current affairs, drama and, above all, the wretched website - is slanted to reflect the Left-liberal opinions of the majority of its employees.

Not everyone has appreciated the exercise. Roger Mosey, the BBC's head of television news, has condemned Beebwatch as "mean-spirited". It's an interesting choice of adjective. Imagine if a government department were using public funds to further the political and cultural agenda of its employees, without the shadow of a democratic mandate. Would it be "mean-spirited" of a newspaper to record this fact?

But Mosey's griping is only the BBC's official response. I did not expect the many messages of support - heavily off-the-record, delivered by circuitous routes - from senior BBC journalists, some of them household names. Most of them said the same thing: we might not agree with all of Beebwatch's observations, but the BBC has a serious problem with objectivity that needs to be sorted out.

Are there signs that this is beginning to happen? Mosey admitted last week that the BBC had been slow to report the furore over asylum seekers, imagining that the whole thing had been got up by the Daily Mail or the BNP; he also pointed out that George W Bush is not "automatically wrong" about everything. That is encouraging; but the evidence gathered by Beebwatch suggests there will have to be wholesale changes to the BBC's output before any sort of balance is achieved.

That said, it would be silly to pretend that the BBC is uniformly slanted towards a liberal consensus. It is hard to fault Jeff Randall's reporting of the postal strike; Newsnight is often magnificent when it is not being presented by Gavin Esler.

When I compared notes with David Keighley, head of the Minotaur monitoring unit, we agreed that certain programmes and products are far worse offenders than others, and that much of the bias is tied up with sloppy editing. So, in a spirit of constructive criticism, let me suggest a few steps that the BBC could take to move itself back towards the centre.

First, it needs to loosen the grip exercised by old-style liberals, feminists and minority rights activists over large chunks of Radio 4's output. The World Tonight thinks nothing of running several anti-Bush stories in a single programme: on October 16, its first three items were a report on America and the UN that relied solely on Arab and Democrat interviewees; a crude plug for Wesley Clark's presidential campaign; and a sneering item about American evangelical universities. Likewise, Woman's Hour seems locked into an outmoded political mindset. Too often, its idea of a "debate" consists of two activists calling for more state aid or counselling for a victimised group, with supportive noises from Jenni Murray.

This brings us to another reform that the BBC must initiate. One of the easiest ways to skew a debate is through the choice of interviewees; but, by the same token, it is also a painfully easy device to spot. Newsnight, please note: Chris Patten is not an impartial commentator on a European defence force. And the issues raised by Oliver Letwin's remarks about comprehensive schools deserve better than a World Tonight report whose three contributors - two former Labour advisers and a Left-wing academic - differed only in the violence of their opposition to Letwin's views. The BBC should issue new producer guidelines on the range of opinions it represents. Progressive voices should be balanced by conservative ones; it's not rocket science.

Third, the BBC needs to conduct an urgent review of its reporting in two sensitive, related areas: the Bush Administration and the Middle East. For BBC correspondents to suggest, as they did a few days ago, that anti-war demonstrators in Washington were representative of American public opinion is simply bad journalism; and I am sick of hearing spokesmen for anti-Bush think tanks introduced as disinterested observers. (Pro-Bush interviewees, in contrast, are given a health warning: "the conservative commentator".)

As for the Middle East, I defy anyone, however sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, to trawl through the BBC's website archive and conclude that its reports are even-handed. One practice in particular strikes me as repugnant: the refusal to describe the blowing up of innocent families in restaurants as "terrorism" in case it offends Arab sensibilities, when even the BBC's beloved Kofi Annan cheerfully uses the word.

Finally, that website. It has featured prominently in Beebwatch, and rightly so. In 2002-03, the BBC spent £72.3 million on it, the equivalent of 600,000 licence fees; even Radio 4 costs only £64.8 million. Presumably, the money has gone towards its superb technical functions, because there is precious little evidence of it being spent on good journalism.

Again, subliminal tricks abound: a photograph of Mussolini on a story about the Conservatives encouraging people to have more children; or the following headline on a story about a Palestinian suicide killer and his two Jewish victims: "Three dead in West Bank attack." Does the BBC have any idea how much damage to its international reputation is being done by its website? On the other hand, the site does make it easier for the corporation's critics to make their point: as Nicholas Boles recently pointed out in The Spectator, its coverage of the grammar schools debate, measured by references to various pressure groups, was well to the Left of that of the Guardian.

That would be acceptable, if the BBC were a subscription-only service for crusading Lefties. But it isn't. The BBC is funded by a tax, and therefore it should be held to higher standards of fairness than those of other news organisations. Let us be generous, and assume that Roger Mosey's grudging comments represent the first green shoots of impartiality. They will mean something only if they bear fruit in changes to editorial policy. Our monitoring exercise is over for the time being - but we are still watching.

 

TEXT OF ISRAELI DRAFT RESOLUTION TO THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY GPO, NOVEMBER 5, 2003

"The Situation of and Assistance to Israeli Children"

Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN

Israel introduces for the first time a draft resolution to the agenda of the UN

Israel submitted this week a draft resolution to the 3rd committee of the UN General Assembly on the effects of Palestinian terrorism on Israeli children.

The submission of this resolution marks the first time in decades that Israel has introduced a resolution to the agenda of any committee at the UN General Assembly.

The resolution entitled, The Situation of and Assistance to Israeli Children, will be considered under Agenda Item 117(b) of the Third Committee which deals primarily with issues of human rights.

For the second straight year, the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine will introduce a biased and distorted resolution in the Third Committee entitled, The Situation of and Assistance to Palestinian Children. This resolution serves to further the political aims of one side of the conflict, and stands devoid of any reference to the destructive effects of Palestinian terrorism and suicide bombings on innocent Israeli and Palestinian lives.

Indeed, the central threat to the well being of Palestinian children is terrorism itself, which causes severe physical and psychological harm, and destroys hopes for peace and a more secure future for the region.

Israel shares the concern for the plight of Palestinian children, but we believe that all the world's children are deserving of protection, Israeli and Palestinian alike. The Israeli draft resolution on The Situation of and Assistance to Israeli Children recognizes the basic and universal rights of all children to live a normal life free from terrorism, destruction and fear, and expressly condemns all acts of violence and incitement to violence and terrorism. Indeed, to afford specific protection to Palestinian children, and not to Israeli children perpetuates a false reality which pretends that one side of the conflict has a monopoly on the status of victim.

The Israeli resolution also raises global awareness for the suffering of Israeli children as a result of the tragic consequences of terrorist acts, and the responsibility of the Palestinian side to fulfill its obligations to fight terror.

The Situation of and Assistance to Israeli Children

58th Session

Draft Resolution

Agenda Item 117(b)

The Situation of and Assistance to Israeli Children

The General Assembly,

Recalling the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

Recalling also the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children and Plan of Action for Implementing the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children in the 1990s, adopted by the World Summit for Children, held in New York on 29 and 30 September 1990,

Recalling further the Declaration and Plan of Action adopted by the General Assembly at its twenty-seventh special session,

Concerned that Israeli children suffering from the effects of Palestinian terrorism are deprived of many basic rights under the Convention,

Concerned also about the continuous grave threat to Israeli children from Palestinian terrorism, and about the severe consequences of continuing terrorist attacks by Palestinian terrorist groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade directed against Israeli civilians, including children,

Expressing its condemnation of all acts of violence and incitement to violence and terrorism, resulting in extensive loss of human life and injuries, including among Israeli children,

Deeply concerned about the severe consequences, including psychological consequences of Palestinian terrorist attacks on the present and future well-being of Israeli children,

1. Stresses the urgent need for Israeli children to live a normal life free from terrorism, destruction and fear;

2. Demands, that the Palestinian Authority respect its obligations to undertake effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and the dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure, and to guarantee that those responsible for terrorist acts are brought to justice;

3. Requests the Secretary-General to report on compliance with paragraph 2 above within one month and upon receipt of which further actions should be considered, if necessary, within the United Nations System.

CBS: Arafat transfers $100,000 a month to his wife in Paris

[Today's dispatch is divided into two emails for space reasons]

CONTENTS

I attach the transcript of the CBS program below, and also two articles on it:

1. The Herald - Scotland: Yasser Arafat 'has £1.8bn fortune'
2. Arafat 'diverted $300m of public money to Swiss bank account' (London Sunday Telegraph, November 9, 2003)

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

This weekend the American network CBS broadcast an investigative program into Arafat's finances.

None of this is new information. For example, as reported on this email list, last March, Forbes magazine claimed Arafat had a personal fortune of over $300 million that was stashed away in secret Swiss bank accounts. What is new is that these reports are now, finally, being aired by major media outlets.

The full transcript of the program is attached below. It can also be found at
www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/11/07/60minutes/main582487.shtml

 

SUMMARY OF CBS PROGRAM

CBS's "60 Minutes" reported that "Arafat transfers $100,000 a month from funds directed to the Palestinian Authority to his wife Suha," who lives the good life in Paris.

According to the report, Arafat has accumulated in his private accounts more than $800 million from aid originally appropriated to the Palestinian authority.

The report says the money goes to support a luxurious life style for 40-year-old Suha and the couple's 8-year-old daughter Zahwa. According to calculations presented on "60 Minutes," Arafat has succeeded in transferring no less than $800 million of international aid money given to the Palestinian Authority to secret bank accounts over the past 10 years. The report also said that Arafat and his aides had gotten hold of Israeli bank accounts in which the government of Israel had deposited tax monies it owed the PA.

Accountant Jim Prince, who has been tracking Arafat's money, has so far determined that part of the Palestinian leader's wealth was in a secret portfolio worth close to $1 billion - with investments in companies like a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Ramallah, a Tunisian cell phone company and venture capital funds in the U.S. and the Cayman Islands.

 

FULL ARTICLES

YASSER ARAFAT 'HAS £1.8BN FORTUNE'

Yasser Arafat 'has £1.8bn fortune'
By William Tinning
The Herald - Scotland

ww1.theherald.co.uk/news/4130.html

A television documentary is to claim that Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian president, has amassed a personal fortune of up to £1.8bn and his wife is given tens of thousands of pounds each week to fund a lavish lifestyle in Paris.

The £1.8bn estimate of Arafat's personal fortune is almost six times higher than had been previously been touted.

According to a report in the New York Daily News, the CBS show 60 Minutes will claim on Sunday that he has amassed a personal fortune of between £602m and £1.8bn.

It will also claim that Arafat's wife, Suha, 40, who lives away from the struggles of her homeland, is given more than £60,000 a month from Palestinian Authority funds.

Lesley Stahl, a CBS correspondent, told the newspaper that Raymonda Tawil, Mrs Arafat's mother, is apparently enjoying life in Paris at the expense of the Palestinian taxpayers.

"I have visited Suha's mother, and she lives very well," Stahl said.

Mrs Arafat lives in Paris with Arafat's eight-year-old daughter, Zahwa. The daughter of a wealthy Christian family, Mrs Arafat converted to Islam after her secret marriage to Arafat in 1990.

While some Palestinians have criticised her decision to remain outside their homeland, Mrs Arafat told an Arabic magazine last year that she was "prepared to return any moment" if her husband so wished.

Despite efforts from within and outwith the Palestinian Authority to oust him, Arafat, 74, still controls the purse strings and the hearts and minds of the Palestinians.

He remains confined to two rooms in his demolished headquarters in Ramallah as his former negotiating partners, the United States and Israel, plead with other countries to isolate him.

Arafat has run the Palestinian Liberation Organisation since 1969.

Five years later the Arab League declared the PLO "the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people".

In 1996, Arafat was swept into office in elections monitored by western observers, including Jimmy Carter, the former US president.

It is claimed that Arafat controls most of the £3.3bn in international aid that has flowed to the Palestinian Authority over the past nine years, during which time he has established a system of financial aid that guarantees the support of a host of Palestinian factions.

Last March, Forbes magazine claimed Arafat had a personal fortune of about £181m that was stashed away in secret Swiss bank accounts.

At the time the Jerusalem Post wrote that he had "done more than his fair share of plundering his own people, treating their public resources as his personal ATM machine to be looted at will".

In 1997, the Israeli media claimed he had a secret bank account in Tel Aviv.

 

ARAFAT 'DIVERTED $300M OF PUBLIC MONEY TO SWISS BANK ACCOUNT'

Arafat 'diverted $300m of public money to Swiss bank account'
By Inigo Gilmore in Jerusalem
Sunday Telegraph (U.K.)
November 9, 2003

More than $300 million (£176 million) of Palestinian Authority funds were diverted by Yasser Arafat into a previously undisclosed Swiss bank account and the money can no longer be traced, according to a damning American television report to be broadcast today.

The CBS network's 60 Minutes, a respected investigative programme, claims that missing Palestinian funds were held in Switzerland in an account set up in the name of a British Virgin Island company. The account has since been closed.

The revelation follows the disclosure by the International Monetary Fund in September that Mr Arafat had diverted more than £560 million of Palestinian Authority funds from 1995 to 2000.

The new report coincides with a BBC documentary, also to be screened tonight, which claims the Palestinian Authority is paying members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, an armed militia responsible for carrying out suicide attacks against Israelis, up to $50,000 (£29,000) a month.

The BBC will quote a former Palestinian cabinet minister claiming that the money was intended to wean the gunmen away from suicide bombings. But an al-Aqsa leader interviewed by the BBC said that despite the payments, the group had not declared a formal ceasefire and Mr Arafat had not asked it to stop the suicide bombings.

Details about the two potentially damaging reports emerged yesterday as the Palestinian prime minister, Ahmed Qureia, announced that Mr Arafat had agreed to divide responsibility for security between the interior ministry and the national security council. The deal clears the way for the formation of a new Palestinian government.

The CBS programme reports that $300 million of Palestinian money was channelled into a private account at the Lombard Odier Bank in Geneva. The account was closed in 2001, and the report says that it is unclear where the funds are now.

Some of the money was tax refunds from the Israeli government to the Palestinian Authority for duty levied on imports destined for the Palestinian-run areas - all of which must enter through Israeli ports.

Mr Arafat's "economics adviser" Mohammed Rashid asked Israel to pay fuel taxes to a secret account opened in 1994 at Bank Leumi in Tel Aviv, over which he and Mr Arafat had sole signing authority.

Investigators believe that some funds from this account were channelled into the Swiss account. A letter written by Mr Rashid and obtained by CBS states that the Swiss account would draw on revenue from Palestinian "taxes" and "customs" levies.

CBS claims that $300 million was in fact sent to the Swiss bank. With the help of an Israeli businessman, Mr Rashid apparently opened the account at Lombard Odier in Geneva in the name of a UK-registered company.

In the programme Mr Rashid tells Lesley Stahl, the 60 Minutes reporter: "I don't decide what we do with the money." Ms Stahl asks him "why Arafat did not bring the money back" to help benefit the Palestinian people.

Mr Rashid replies: "Why don't you ask him?" There is no suggestion that either Mr Arafat or Mr Rashid has personally benefited from Palestinian Authority funds.

The IMF issued a report in September which said Mr Arafat, in a five-year period between 1995 and 2000, diverted £560 million from the Palestinian Authority budget into the special bank account at Bank Leumi.

Mr Arafat's chaotic handling of Palestinian finances has long been condemned and he was forced to agree to more rigorous auditing after foreign donors threatened to withhold promised funds.

The IMF statement followed the first authoritative investigation of the Palestinian body's finances. Salam Fayad, the new finance minister and a former World Bank official, is working with a team of American accountants to unravel the finances.

Of the money sent to accounts controlled by Mr Arafat and Mr Rashid, the IMF said $700 million had been accounted for and was in investments held by the Authority.

Officials admitted that there was a gap of at least $200 million which they suggested may represent a decline in investment value, rather than a further diversion of money by Mr Arafat.

In the programme Mr Fayad sheds light on Mr Arafat's extensive system of patronage, claiming that the Palestinian leader hands out $20 million a month to his security forces in cash. However, Mr Fayad says: "There is corruption out there. There is impropriety, and that's what had to be fixed."

A senior Palestinian official refused to comment on the claims but said: "It is a shame that CBS focused on allegations of corruption rather than Israel's ongoing military occupation of Palestinian lands."

 

TRANSCRIPT: 60 MINUTES: ARAFAT'S BILLIONS

Transcript: 60 Minutes: Arafat's Billions
November 9, 2003

www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/11/07/60minutes/main582487.shtml

Yasser Arafat diverted nearly $1 billion in public funds to insure his political survival, but a lot more is unaccounted for.

Jim Prince and a team of American accountants - hired by Arafat's own finance ministry - are combing through Arafat's books. Given what they've already uncovered, Arafat may be rethinking the decision. Lesley Stahl reports.

"What is Mr. Arafat and the Palestinian Authority worth today?" asks accountant Jim Prince. "Who is controlling that money? Where is that money? How do we get it back?"

So far, Prince's team has determined that part of the Palestinian leader's wealth was in a secret portfolio worth close to $1 billion - with investments in companies like a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Ramallah, a Tunisian cell phone company and venture capital funds in the U.S. and the Cayman Islands.

Although the money for the portfolio came from public funds like Palestinian taxes, virtually none of it was used for the Palestinian people; it was all controlled by Arafat. And, Prince says, none of these dealings were made public.

"Our whole point is to bring it out of control of any one person," Prince says.

That's what happened with the portfolio money, which is now under the control of Salam Fayyad, a former World Bank official who Arafat was forced to appoint finance minister last year after crowds began protesting his corrupt regime.

According to Fayyad, "There is corruption out there. There is abuse. There is impropriety, and that's what had to be fixed."

Statements like that have earned Fayyad, a bookish technocrat who spent 20 years in the U.S., a reputation for courage - which was enhanced when he immediately posted the details of Arafat's secret portfolio on the Internet.

Fayyad's investigators are treading softly, well aware that their probe may become too embarrassing for Arafat.

Has he tried to stop them? "We run into obstacles in a number of places, particularly among the old PLO types," Prince says, adding one might draw their own conclusions as to whether his statement includes Arafat himself.

Martin Indyk, a top adviser on the Middle East in the Clinton administration and now head of the Saban Center, a Washington think-tank, says Arafat was always traveling the world, looking for handouts. Money, he says, is "essential" to Arafat's survival.

"Arafat for years would cry poor, saying, 'I can't pay the salaries, we're gonna have a disaster here, the Palestinian economy is going to collapse,'" says Indyk. "And we would all mouth those words: 'The Palestinian economy is going to collapse if we don't do something about this.' But at the same time, he's accumulating hundreds of millions of dollars."

The stockpile went well beyond the portfolio. Arafat accumulated another $1 billion with the help of -- of all people -- the Israelis. Under the Oslo Accords, it was agreed that Israel would collect sales taxes on goods purchased by Palestinians and transfer those funds to the Palestinian treasury. But instead, Indyk says, "that money is transferred to Yasser Arafat to, amongst other places, bank accounts which he maintains off-line in Israel."

Until three years ago, Israel put the tax revenues into Arafat's account at Bank Leumi in downtown Tel Aviv, no questions asked. But why?

According to Indyk, "The Israelis came to us and said, basically, 'Arafat's job is to clean up Gaza. It's going to be a difficult job. He needs walking-around money,' because the assumption was that he would use it to get control of all of these terrorists who'd been operating in these areas for decades."

Obviously, that hasn't happened. No one knows this better than Dennis Ross, who was Middle East negotiator for the first President Bush and President Clinton, and now heads the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He says Arafat's "walking-around money" financed a vast patronage system.

"I used to see that people came in, you know, with their requests," Ross says. "'I need a phone. I need an operation. I need a job.' Arafat had money to dispense."

Like a Chicago ward boss, he still doles out oodles of money; Fayyad says he pays his security forces alone $20 million a month, all of it in cash.

All told, U.S. officials estimate Arafat's personal nest egg at between $1 billion and $3 billion.

Arafat may have $1 billion, but he sure isn't spending it to live well. He's holed up in his Ramallah compound, which the Israelis all but reduced to rubble a year-and-a-half ago. Arafat has always lived modestly, which you can't say about his wife, Suha. According to Israeli officials, she gets $100,000 a month from Arafat out of the Palestinian budget, and lives lavishly in Paris on this allowance.

He also uses the money to bolster his own standing. Both Israeli and U.S. sources say those recent outpourings of support at Arafat's compound were "rent-a-rallies," and that Arafat has spent millions to support terrorists and purchase weapons.

Did he steal from his own people?

"He defines himself as being the embodiment of the Palestinian people," Ross answers. "So what's good for him is good for them. Did they benefit? The answer is no. Did they lose? The answer is yes."

Palestinians certainly paid dearly for something else Fayyad uncovered: a system of monopolies in commodities -- like flour and cement -- that Arafat handed out to his cronies, who then turned around and fleeced the public.

Fayyad says it could accurately be seen as gouging his own people. "And especially in Gaza which is poorer, which is something that is totally unacceptable and immoral, actually."

Of all the monopolies, none was as lucrative or as corrupt as the General Petroleum Corporation, the one for gasoline. The corporation took the fuel it purchased from an Israeli company and watered it down with kerosene, not only defrauding the Palestinian drivers, but wrecking their car engines.

Fayyad says the Petroleum Corporation charged exorbitant prices, and Arafat got a hefty kickback. "To the president, I can tell you, if there was not money in the treasury, he went to the Petroleum Corporation."

When Fayyad dismantled the corporation, the man who had run it fled to California. Ever since, with the monopoly broken up, Palestinian drivers have paid 20 percent less for gas and 80 percent less for diesel fuel. Gas stations now advertise 100 percent pure products.

Fayyad became a hero, like the Robin Hood of the Palestinians. Millions of people were affected by this one move.

He says he was just doing his job. "A lot of this is about, you know, distinguishing between right and wrong. And that's a straightforward proposition."

Mohammed Rachid, Arafat's economic adviser who set up his tangled web of investments and monopolies, says he's cooperating with Fayyad's investigators. Rachid left the Palestinian territories about a year ago under a cloud. He asked CBS News not to reveal where we met him for his first television interview.

"I'm proud of what I did till now," Rachid says. "I think I showed a good performance."

He's referring to the investment portfolio he managed for Arafat. He also opened that account at the Leumi Bank in Tel Aviv. According to a recent report by the International Monetary Fund, that secret account was: "Under the control of President Arafat and his financial adviser Mohammed Rachid" -- and no one else.

"If we are having a secret account, we should have it in Israel? You think this is logical?" Rachid asks.

But that's what the Israelis, and the people working for Fayyad, say it was.

Rachid says that "transfers to Leumi Bank account never stayed. It was receiving the revenues and transferring the revenues to the Palestinian Authority's account in the Arab bank in Gaza."

He's saying the Leumi money was sent to the Palestinian Authority. But, in fact, much of it was sent to Switzerland, to the prestigious Lombard Odier Bank, for yet another secret investment account that held over $300 million. In a letter obtained by CBS News, Rachid tells the bank that the funds will come from Palestinian "taxes" and "customs revenues."

"It was all under the name of the Palestinian authorities," Rachid says. Doesn't he mean Arafat? "No, Palestinian Authorities, Palestinian Authorities."

Actually, it was under a code name, "Ledbury" -- not the Palestinian Authority -- and Minister Fayyad says that this pot of money, too, was available only to Arafat. The Swiss account was closed out in 2001. No one really knows where that money is today.

Does Rachid think that it should have gone, in some way, back to help the Palestinian people?

"Of course," he says. But, "I don't, I don't decide what we do with the money."

Those who want to know why Arafat didn't bring the money back, he says, should ask him. But Arafat didn't want to talk.

There's yet another stash of money Arafat might be asked about: the funds he collected when he was chairman of the PLO in exile. The PLO's former treasurer told us he saw Saddam Hussein hand Arafat a $50 million check for supporting him during the first Gulf War. And there were other large gifts from the KGB and the Saudis.

Ross says, "Arafat used to say to me, 'Where's my money? You need to go to the Saudis and get my money.' It was never the Palestinians' money."

Fayyad is trying to make sure it's the people's money, but many say his one-man reform effort is having only limited success. Arafat recently sent armed men to prevent Fayyad from replacing the head of the civil service, who runs Arafat's patronage apparatus. That has lead some to think Fayyad himself could be in danger.

"He cannot know, and we cannot know at what point he crosses the red line," says Indyk.

Other people who have dared to call for transparency of all these finances have been beaten up, shot, and silenced. Why is Fayyad surviving? Indyk says, "We should not take it for granted."

He has upset so many powerful people, and his offices have already been ransacked more than once. But Fayyad says he does not feel threatened.

"It's a dangerous neighborhood," he admits. "But you know this is about, you know, doing the right thing for the people."


“A letter to Leah Rabin”

November 07, 2003

[Note by Tom Gross]

Yesterday, Thursday, November 6, 2003, Israel marked the 8th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Flags were flown at half-mast and memorial ceremonies were held around the country.


A LETTER TO LEAH RABIN

I attach:

A letter to Leah Rabin

[Bat-Chen Shahak was 13 years old when she wrote the following poem, shortly after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995. Bat-Chen was killed in a terrorist bombing at Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv on March 4, 1996. Translated from the Hebrew.]

Three shots and it's all over -
Now one talks about him in the past tense.
Suddenly the present becomes the past.
And the past is only a memory.
We are standing, crying.
We want to believe it never happened,
That it is all a nightmare.
And when we wake up the next morning - it will not be so.
Instead, we wake up to a warped reality,
Where pain is laced with hate.
We cannot digest the enormity of this loss,
And we cannot comprehend its severity.
How can we understand such a tragedy,
In a civilization and not in the jungle?
Each one of us holds an opinion.
Yet, we do not have to agree.
We cannot turn the clock back,
But we can stop for today and remember.
For in a few days we will return to normality,
While the family is left to cope,
With this abomination!
It is like that first fallen domino,
That provokes a chain reaction.
We were beheaded, in every sense of the word.
And now it all crumbles.
As though he were the head, and we the body,
And when the head does not exist - the body dies!
It is impossible to build with parts that do not fit,
It is impossible to build with mismatched bricks.
It is an art to build a straight tower,
But a single kick can shatter it all.
And then,
One can destroy a State!
I do not know why they search for guilty parties,
I think we are all guilty for not showing how much we loved him.
Like the children that grow up.
And only then understand their parents.
And sometimes it is too late ...
They ask for forgiveness, they write and they cry.
Maybe I am too naive.
But I cannot understand,
How people,
Take the law into their own hands!
How can we take the best gift ever given -
Life.

We are all one.
We share the same fate.
Old and young,
We stand grasping each other
And we cry ...
It seems, even the essence of life,
Is belittled next to your greatness.

NY Times 2: More dove-loving terrorist profiles

November 06, 2003

[Note by Tom Gross]

Although in some small ways, New York Times's bias against Israel has decreased recently, in other ways it has not.

Yesterday, New York Times Israel correspondent Greg Myre told us that suicide bomber Sabih Abu Saud liked to "tend his pet doves" and that "his love was raising animals, and he kept about 15 doves". (Headline: "A young Palestinian picks war over doves," by Greg Myre, International Herald Tribune, top of page 6, November 5, 2003.) Abu Saud, who belonged to Yasser Arafat's Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, blew himself up, last Monday, failing to kill any Israelis while doing so, but leaving someone else to tend to his doves.)

The New York Times regularly profiles suicide bombers, but rarely their Israeli victims.

Last year, for example, correspondent James Bennet reported in a front-page article for the Times that suicide bomber Wada Idris – who killed or wounded 150 innocent civilians on Jerusalem's Jaffa Road on January 27, 2002 – had "chestnut hair curling past her shoulders" and that she "raised doves and adored children."

I mention this and many other points in an article I wrote on the subject earlier this year, which I am now sending again for all the people who have joined this list since.

-- Tom Gross

 

ALL THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO PRINT? THE NY TIMES AND ISRAEL

All The News That's Fit To Print? The NY Times and Israel
By Tom Gross
The National Review online
March 14, 2003

www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-gross031403.asp

SUMMARY OF ARTICLE

1. In all kinds of small, insidious ways the New York Times's coverage is more slanted against Israel than many readers might realize. And since the Times has a reputation as being the great paper of record, the consequences of its distortions are in some ways much more damaging than those found elsewhere.

2. Especially outside the US (and half those on this list live outside the US), some mistakenly presume that the New York Times must be pro-Israel since it is Jewish-owned and has several prominent Jewish writers and editors. In fact, it may be precisely for this reason that it bends over backward to avoid being seen as such. There would be nothing new in this, as we saw when the New York Times deliberately downplayed reports on the Holocaust in the 1940s.

3. Perhaps, when future historians examine the Times's record in recent years, they will conclude that their biggest mistake was to have spent years sanitizing the image of Yasser Arafat, in effect helping to persuade Western governments to continue propping up his regime even as both Palestinians and Israelis died and the formation of a democratic Palestinian state was continually delayed.

Liberals like myself want to see two democratic states coexisting in peace. But we have also followed the conflict closely enough to know that the Western media's misreporting has contributed to the failed policies of both American and European diplomats.

 




THE ARTICLE

ALL THE NEWS THAT'S FIT TO PRINT?

All The News That's Fit To Print?
The New York Times And Israel
By Tom Gross
The National Review
March 14, 2003

As the world's most important daily newspaper, the New York Times is disproportionately influential in framing the public and diplomatic discourse on many issues, both in the U.S. and beyond. This is particularly true with regard to the Middle East, given how much space it allocates to the subject. One of the great myths of modern journalism, particularly outside the U.S., is that the New York Times is "pro-Israel." In fact, it would be truer to say that the opposite is the case - to a greater extent than you might think.

A TALE OF TWO BAPTISTS

On March 4, a 59-year-old American Baptist, William P. Hyde, was among 21 people killed by a suicide bomber in Davao in the southern Philippines. That an American died was made clear in the following day's New York Times. The Times titled its news report "Bombing Kills An American And 20 Others In Philippines." The first seven paragraphs concerned Hyde, who had lived and worked in the Philippines since 1978, and another American, Barbara Stevens, who had been "slightly wounded" in the attack. The caption alongside two photos at the top of the front page of that day's Times also made reference to his death, as did a news summary on page 2. In addition, the paper ran an editorial titled "Fighting Terror in the Philippines." And a front-page photo of a wounded boy, and the caption that accompanied it, made clear that at least one child had been among the injured.

On the next day (March 5), another American Baptist, 14-year-old Abigail Litle, was among 16 people killed by a suicide bomber on a bus in Haifa, Israel. The story and photo caption in the March 6 Times, tucked at the bottom corner of page 1, made no mention of Abigail's name. Neither the headline nor the photo caption indicated that an American had died, or that the suicide bomber had deliberately chosen a bus packed with schoolchildren, or that a majority of those killed had been teenagers.

The suicide bombers in both Davao and Haifa were acting on behalf of Muslim fundamentalist groups fighting for separate states. But the Haifa bomber was arguably worse. He deliberately chose children as his target, and his bomb was packed with specially sharpened nails and shrapnel to maximize pain and to make it harder for doctors to save the wounded.

Readers of some newspapers - but not of the Times - were told that Litle's Missouri-born parents had rushed to Haifa's Rambam hospital to look for their "wounded" daughter and instead had found only what remained of her: her legs. They had identified Abigail from an ankle bracelet still attached to one of them. That day's New York Post carried a picture of the pretty, blond-haired New Hampshire-born schoolgirl who had been active in Jewish-Arab school dialogue groups on its front page.

Even the Sun - a British tabloid not known for its foreign news coverage, and which goes to press several hours before the New York Times - gave Abigail's death greater prominence than the Times did. The Sun's report began: "Fury swept Israel last night after a suicide bomber killed 15 people on a crowded school bus. Ten children died and 12 victims were left fighting for life after the bus was blown apart. The youngsters killed were aged 14 and 15 and from local high schools. One was 14-year-old Abigail Leitner, a U.S. citizen." (Initially, Litle's name was transliterated from Hebrew as Leitner by news agencies, hence the discrepancy; the death toll in Haifa has now risen to 17, not including the bomber.)

The lack of prominence given to Litle's death is one small example of what has become a familiar pattern at the Times. The paper downplays Israeli suffering, and de-emphasizes Yasser Arafat's responsibility for the suffering of Israelis and ordinary Palestinians alike.

UPPING THE DEATH TOLLS

While the Times couldn't find room to include a photo of Abigail (or any injured child) last Thursday, it did choose to again run what it terms its "Mideast Death Toll" chart alongside the news report about the Haifa bomb. Strangely, the Times (to my recollection) usually runs this chart - in which it lines up total numbers of Israeli deaths next to the greater number of Palestinian deaths - only on days after Israelis have died. The implication would seem to be that Israel is responsible for more fatalities than the Palestinians.

It also seems odd that the Times doesn't (to the best of my knowledge) run these kind of football-score-type charts for any other conflict (Protestant vs. Catholic deaths in Northern Ireland, for example, or Afghan vs. American deaths since September 11).

The chart itself is fundamentally misleading. It makes no distinction between civilians and armed combatants, lumping together suicide bombers and other gunmen killed on shooting sprees with their innocent victims. It also reports suspected Palestinian "collaborators" killed by their own compatriots as if they had been killed by Israelis.

If the Times wanted its readers to gain a better understanding of what is actually going on in the Middle East, one could think of other statistics it could have given. It could have informed them that 80 percent of Israeli fatalities have been noncombatants, half of whom have been female; or that less than 5 percent of Palestinian fatalities have been female; or that a much higher proportion of Israeli casualties than Palestinian casualties have been older people. All these would be a good indication of which party is targeting the innocent.

Certainly no single act by Israel has led to civilian deaths on a scale that US actions have on several occasions in Afghanistan. For example, 54 civilians (almost all were women and children) were accidentally killed (and 120 injured) by the American bombing of an engagement party in Kakrak last July; or just last month, on February 12, the US killed 17 civilians (again mainly women and children) in an air strike in Helmand province in Southern Afghanistan. (This was reported in the New York Times only at the bottom corner of page 17 on February 13, 2003, with no photos, no mention on the front page, and no editorials. That 10 people died in Bolivia received more coverage: it was the top story on page 8.)

When New York Times readers complained in the past about the misleading nature of its "Mideast Death Toll" chart (on a previous occasion it was published following suicide attacks on Israelis in March 2002), the response from the paper was surprisingly brusque and dismissive. Bill Borders (senior editor on the Times's news desk) wrote: "The graphs are correct because everyone that they count as dead is in fact dead. All of them."

But there is a further problem. The Times appears to have inflated the number of Palestinian dead. "At least 2,100 Palestinians have been killed during the months of violence that began Sept. 29, 2000," stated the Times caption accompanying its chart on Thursday March 6. Yet the Reuters news agency - which even Palestinian Authority officials have admitted is sympathetic to their "struggle" - provides a considerably lower figure. In a story on March 7, Reuters Gaza correspondent Nidal al-Mughrabi writes: "At least 1,906 Palestinians and 720 Israelis have been killed since the Palestinian uprising for statehood began in September 2000." Not only is Reuters's estimate of Israeli dead higher than the Times's, and the Palestinian figure considerably lower, but the Reuters statistics also included 11 more Palestinian militants and civilians who had been killed in disputed circumstances that morning, March 7.

The New York Times has taken its statistics for its "Death Toll" chart from the Palestinian Red Crescent, which it should know is a highly politicized and sometimes militant organization - Red Crescent ambulances have on more than one occasion been caught smuggling suicide bombers into Israel; and at least one Red Crescent medic became a suicide bomber herself, killing or injuring over 150 Israeli civilians at a west Jerusalem shopping arcade last year.

If the Times wants to rely on Palestinian sources, it might do better to follow the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG), whose mission is "to end human rights violations committed against Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, regardless of those responsible." The PHRMG, while certainly no friend of Israel (it is often brutal in its criticism) is nonetheless relatively free from the influence of Arafat's security forces. A PHRMG press release dated March 7, 2003, states that "since the start of this bloody Intifada on September 29, 2000, 1973 Palestinian people have lost their lives" - a figure that again includes Palestinian terrorists, but is still significantly lower than that used by the Times.

(For the record, according to a report in the liberal Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz on March 13, 2003: 441 of the Palestinian casualties have been suicide bombers, bomb makers, gunmen, or activists in Hamas and Islamic Jihad; 324 in Fatah and Tanzim; 329 in the Palestinian Authority security forces; 69 in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. In addition, 417 have belonged to other small, armed groups, or were individuals killed in the course of perpetrating acts of terrorism against Israel. And 365 innocent Palestinians - unconnected to terrorist or armed activity - have died, though some may have been killed as a result of being caught in Palestinian, not Israeli, crossfire.)

The New York Times is hardly the most anti-Israel newspaper. And it is much too measured and careful to indulge in the kind of ugly calumnies found, for example, in the London Guardian - which in a lead editorial last year compared Israel to al Qaeda, concluding that Israel's behavior was "every bit as repellant." Still, in all kinds of small, insidious ways - most of which are not apparent unless you have expert knowledge on the Middle East - the Times's coverage is more slanted than many readers might realize. And since the Times has a reputation as being the great paper of record, the consequences of its distortions are in some ways much more damaging than those found elsewhere.

PREGNANT MOTHERS

Less than 5 percent of Palestinian casualties have been female, and even fewer have been pregnant mothers. Yet when one is killed - as happened on March 2, when a wall accidentally fell on her - the Times takes care to let its readers know: in news reports on March 3 (page 6), March 4 (page 1), March 5 (page 3), and March 9. Readers would be forgiven for assuming that Israel killed pregnant mothers every day, but these stories all refer to the same unnamed woman.

The New York Times also neglected to emphasize that the woman's unfortunate death happened in the course of a successful military action to capture Mohammed Taha, cofounder of Hamas, who was hiding in the house next door. The front-page report by James Bennet ("Israeli Raid Snares a Foe, but leaves Family Motherless," March 4) refers to Taha only as "a known militant." Not until the twelfth paragraph, on an inside page, does Bennet mention that Taha is a leader of Hamas. (He is in fact the most senior one ever caught.) Other papers ran headlines such as "Israel nabs Hamas founder in Gaza" (Daily News, March 4).

This was an accidental death in the course of a legitimate counterterrorist action. But a number of pregnant Israeli mothers were killed deliberately. If their deaths were reported at all, the Times and other media have referred to them merely as "Israelis" or as "settlers." For example, when a pregnant Israeli, her infant child, and other family members were attacked at their family Passover meal at Elon Moreh on March 28, 2002, the only coverage the Times provided was the following sentence buried in an article about Yasser Arafat: "Even as Mr. Arafat made his pledge, a Palestinian gunmen shot and killed four Israelis in a Jewish settlement near the West Bank city of Nablus." No mention of the seven children left orphaned in that attack.

SHE ADORED CHILDREN

When the Times has sympathetically profiled women who have died in this conflict, it has more often been the suicide bombers than their Israeli victims. Wada Idris - who killed or wounded 150 innocent civilians on Jerusalem's Jaffa Road on January 27, 2002 - had "chestnut hair curling past her shoulders"; she "raised doves and adored children," James Bennet reported in a front-page article for the Times.

Another young Palestinian woman, Ayat al-Akhras, who blew herself up in a Jerusalem supermarket last March, was profiled no less than three times by Times correspondents. The first two articles (by Serge Schmemann, March 30, 2002, and Joel Greenberg, March 31, 2002) presented details about her name, age, sex, occupation, and family members, and included a large, full-length photo of her and another of her mourning father. The only information given about the victims of the attack was that "a man and woman were killed," and that at least 30 were wounded. No names, no descriptions, no occupations, no ages, no mourning families, and certainly no photographs. (All these were given in other papers.)

While the schoolgirl victim of al-Akhras's bombing (Rachel Levy, 17) was finally named a week later in a third Times article (which again provided a photo and details of the terrorist - Joel Greenberg writing that al-Akhras wore jeans, had "flowing black hair," and so on), the male victim of the bombing was apparently deemed to not be newsworthy: His name was never mentioned. He was in fact Haim Smadar, who was temporarily working as a security guard at the supermarket during the Passover holidays, and who used himself as a human shield to keep al-Akhras from taking more lives.

New York Times reporters have employed sympathetic language in describing male terrorists too. When 26 Palestinian gunmen, who had seized control of Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, were exiled to Gaza last May, Tim Golden's report ("Cast Adrift After Siege, Bethlehem Exiles Grieve," May 21, 2002) was surprisingly sympathetic. These men had just shot their way into one of Christianity's holiest shrines, trashed it, and held its priests hostage; before that they had been involved in shooting at Israeli motorists, preparing bombs, and dispatching suicide bombers. Yet Golden went so far as to describe the difficulties the men might now have finding work: "The echoes, critics of the deal said, could scarcely be crueler: after half a century in which Palestinians have fought for the return of compatriots who fled at Israel's creation, they have been forced from their homes once more."

DOES THE TIMES HAVE AN AGENDA?

The Times's distorted presentation of events is especially troubling given the very high respect in which the paper is generally held by its readership, policymakers, and other members of the media. The Times's framing of the conflict has for years contributed to bad diplomacy at the State Department and elsewhere, and has fueled negative images of Israel among the public at large. As I know from personal experience working as a correspondent in the Middle East for both American and European papers, foreign news editors throughout the world often look to the Times for story ideas. Every evening, editors across America check the next day's front-page stories on the New York Times before altering their lineups.

Especially abroad, some mistakenly presume that the New York Times must be pro-Israel since it is Jewish-owned and has several prominent Jewish writers and editors. In fact, it may be precisely for this reason that it bends over backward to avoid being seen as the "Jew York Times," as one European journalist I used to work with in Israel called it. There would be nothing new in this. The Times deliberately downplayed reports on the Holocaust in the 1940s. It hid news of the ongoing genocide of European Jewry "in small print on the back pages... Jewish-owned but anxious not to be seen as Jewish-oriented," as historian David S. Wyman put it.

WHAT PASSOVER MASSACRE?

The slants and omissions in the Times can be found well beyond basic reporting. For example, in last year's "Year in Review" calendar (December 29, 2002), the Times highlighted the most important events of the year. The entry for March 28 read: "Arab world agrees to relations with Israel if land is returned" (this is hardly news; it is a claim some Arabs have made for decades) - followed directly by, on March 29, "Israel invades Yasser Arafat's headquarters, 5 Palestinians, 1 Israeli die." The reader is left with the impression that Israel's only response to the supposed Arab peace offer was violence.

In fact, on March 27 (on which only the death of comedian Milton Berle was marked by the Times), 29 Israelis - including an 89-year-old Auschwitz survivor, Sarah Levy-Hoffman - were blown up while celebrating a Passover seder at a Netanya hotel, something the Times did not list in its calendar. (The Times does mention the Passover bomb in a footnote to its calendar, but says only that "more than a dozen people died," which is an odd way to characterize a group of 29 people; and incidentally, six Israelis - not one - were killed by Palestinians on March 29, 2002.)

As Bret Stephens, the editor of the Jerusalem Post, pointed out last August, when one carefully examines the New York Times's corrections column, one can see that in all cases the mistakes were made against Israel. "In a more normal world," wrote Stephens, "a newspaper's mistakes, particularly in its political and diplomatic reporting, would more-or-less be randomly distributed... Yet while a search of NYT corrections over the past two years discloses the usual measure of forgivable bloopers, not once has the paper erred on the side of Israel. A pattern of bias, maybe?"

The Times does not seem to be living up to its self-proclaimed reputation for thoroughness. "All the news that's fit to print," trumpets the paper in a famous box on the top left corner every day. In practice, however, the editors only correct a very small proportion of the paper's many Middle East errors and slurs against Israel. The celebrated political commentator Walter Lippmann once observed that "The study of error serves as a stimulating introduction to the study of truth." This seems to be the case here.

EARLY ERRORS REMAIN

The Times's misreporting may well have continuing repercussions. Take a mistake made on the very first day of the Intifada. A Jewish student, Tuvia Grossman, was brutally beaten and stabbed by a Palestinian mob near the Western Wall. Yet the New York Times picture caption (September 30, 2000) identified him as a Palestinian victim of Israeli violence. Even though the Times did publish a correction in this case (following intense pressure from the Grossman family), today an official Egyptian government website continues to use the Grossman photo - perhaps lifted at the time from the Times website - as part of its propaganda campaign, in a "photo gallery" of Palestinian victims. And until last year, the website of the Palestinian Information Center incorporated the mis-captioned photo of Grossman onto its homepage banner, too. Last year, Arab groups calling for a boycott of Coca-Cola used the photo of Grossman's bleeding face on its "Boycott Israel" poster with the accompanying slogan: "By supporting American products, you're supporting Israeli terror."

THEY DO IT THEIR WAY

The imbalance extends to the op-ed pages as well. For example, on a visit to Saudi Arabia, Times columnist Maureen Dowd allowed the anti-Semitic slanders of the Saudi deputy education minister to be repeated unchallenged and uncriticized, as if they were fact: "Why don't you go to Israeli math textbooks and see what they're saying - If you kill 10 Arabs one day and 12 the next day, what would be the total?" he said ("Under the Ramadan Moon," November 6, 2002). When a reader asked why the Times allowed such slanderous and utterly untrue statements to go unquestioned, Gail Collins, a member of the New York Times editorial board, replied: "Maureen was using the textbook comment as an example of the extreme misinformation that floats around in the Mideast. It's obvious that she didn't expect anyone to take it literally. However I'm very sorry you were disturbed by it."

But, given the Times's track record of Middle East coverage - and the inflammatory accusations and conspiracy theories against Jews and Israel presently popping up elsewhere in the media - does anyone really believe that this will be so "obvious" to the Times's millions of readers?

The Times does have a pro-Israel columnist, William Safire. But this hardly makes up for the slant of other columnists (it would take a whole book to explain how Tom Friedman gets it wrong on Israel), let alone those of its outside contributors - such as Allegra Pacheco, a Jewish lawyer-activist who represents Palestinians in the West Bank and condemns Israel as an "apartheid" state; or Henry Siegman, another Jewish activist whose writings are presently proudly displayed on the website of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Indeed, the New York Times's idea of balance almost seems to be to run alternating pieces - first by Palestinians and others condemning Israel, then by far-left Jews condemning Israel. When an outside op-ed writer, the noted international human-rights expert Prof. Anne Bayefsky, included a sentence sympathetic to Israel in her article (May 22, 2002), the Times tried to muzzle her. Only through dogged persistence, Bayefsky says, did she manage to persuade the Times to restore a sentence criticizing the U.N. Human Rights Commission for directing a full 30 percent of its resolutions against Israel. Bayefsky was so exasperated by her experience with the Times op-ed desk that she wrote an entire article about it in the June 2002 edition of the legal magazine Justice.

JEWS FOR ARAFAT

The Times also likes to devote ample publicity to anti-Zionist Jews. Last March and April, for example - in a period when it ran almost no stories on the hundreds of Israeli victims and survivors of suicide bombs (which were then occurring at a record rate) - the Times carried at least four stories quoting Adam Shapiro, an American Jew who entered Ramallah to protect and assist Yasser Arafat when Israel responded.

The Times repeatedly referred to Shapiro as a "humanitarian worker." This was curious, since Shapiro himself admits to support for "armed resistance" and a Palestinian "violent movement." Nowhere in its extensive and largely sympathetic coverage of Shapiro did the Times quote from his article in Palestine Chronicle a month earlier, in which he explains that when he said he told Western journalists he supported non-violence this was merely a tactical maneuver to "manipulate... a story". In the same article, Shapiro also referred to a "suicide operation" as "noble."

The Times's largely sympathetic portrayal of Shapiro fits into a familiar pattern of photo captions, headlines, and articles about Western supporters of Yasser Arafat, in which they are described as "pacifists," "peace advocates," or "peace activists."

WHITEWASHING ARAFAT

But perhaps, when future historians examine the Times's record in this period, they will conclude that their biggest mistake of all was to have spent years sanitizing the image of Yasser Arafat, in effect helping to persuade Western governments to continue propping up his regime even as both Palestinians and Israelis died and the formation of a democratic Palestinian state was continually delayed.

The Times has consistently underplayed Arafat's role in orchestrating the ongoing terror against Israel. It has failed to report how the al-Aqsa Brigades, the militia Arafat set up after launching the Intifada, has been responsible for as many Israeli civilian deaths as Hamas. Even when the al-Aqsa Brigades proudly claims responsibility for killing a mother, her 5- and 4-year-old sons, and two other Israelis at a Kibbutz (as it did on November 10 of last year, posting a photo of the perpetrator on it website), a front-page Times report on December 17, 2002 which referred to the killings, described the gunman merely as "mysterious" - as though it wasn't known who had pulled the trigger.

SADDAM'S BEST FRIEND

Over the last year, the New York Times has devoted hundreds of thousands of words to both Arafat and Saddam Hussein. Yet you would be hard-pressed to find any reference to Arafat's continuing support for Saddam. When Arafat sent "holiday greetings" to the Iraqi dictator, as he did last month in a telegram (reported in other Arab and Western media on February 22, 2003), calling him "Your Excellency, Brother-President Saddam" and writing that "Together, hand in hand [we will march] to Al-Quds Al-Sharif [Jerusalem] with the help of Allah" - you won't find mention of it in the Times.

The Times will publish an editorial which it says was written by Yasser Arafat ("The Palestinian Vision of Peace," February 3, 2002) allowing him to make statements such as "I condemn the attacks carried out by terrorist groups against Israeli civilians." But it will barely report that in that same week, at a rally in Ramallah (February 7, 2002), Arafat repeated his call for "millions of martyrs" to attack Jerusalem; nor will it emphasize that it was the Arafat-affiliated al-Aqsa Brigades that claimed credit for an attack on Israeli civilians in Moshav Hamra, a farming community, on February 6, 2002.

DON'T MISS YASSER'S VIEWS

The Times even took the unusual step, in its February 3 daily e-mail update sent to subscribers ("Today's Headlines from NYTimes.com"), of listing Arafat's op-ed as the lead article in the International news section, even though it has a specific Op-Ed section in the daily digest. The Times's e-mail update did not identify the story as an opinion, nor did it identify the author. It just read: "Palestinians want to live as equals alongside Israel in an independent and viable state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967" - a very different message than that being broadcast at the same time in the Arafat-controlled Palestinian media.

That the Times has on occasion run editorials calling on Arafat's followers to cease "attacks on Israeli soldiers, settlers, and civilians" hardly makes up for its overall record of obscuring the truth about Arafat's views. For example, when the paper published a long interview and profile of Arafat on July 8, 2001, detailing the Palestinian leader's insistence that he had lived up to a recent U.S.-brokered cease-fire agreement calling on him to stop incitement against Israelis, they failed to mention that, only days before, he had praised the suicide bomber who had recently killed 21 Israelis (mainly teenage girls) at a Tel Aviv seaside disco as a "noble soul" and "the model of manhood and sacrifice for the sake of Allah and the homeland."

Even though Arafat's standing internationally is now greatly diminished (though no thanks to New York Times reporting), the Times continues its pattern of omitting information that might cast him in a bad light. Two weeks ago, for example, on February 27, Forbes magazine released its annual list of the world's wealthiest people. In a new category for "kings, queens, and despots," it ranked Arafat sixth, just behind Britain's Queen Elizabeth.

Forbes outlined how Arafat has "feasted on all sorts of funds flowing into the Palestinian Authority, including aid money... Much of the money appears to have gone to pay off others... [including] payments to alleged terrorists... Take the money out of his hands, reform a corrupt financial system and you could reduce the violence."

Yet, while the Times did run a story on the corruption of the Palestinian Authority - "Palestinian Assets 'a Mess' Official Says," March 1, 2003 - correspondent James Bennet not only refrained from mentioning the Forbes findings, he barely even mentioned Arafat's name. The man who has maintained an iron grip on Palestinian finances and funds for the past four decades apparently has nothing to do with the corruption.

WOULD THEY DO THE SAME TO MECCA?

The Times works against Israel in other, subtle ways, too. Sometimes it is the small words that creep into news pieces in an attempt to tarnish Israel: "After 26 months of Palestinian suicide bombings and pitiless Israeli retaliation," reports Michael Wines - December 8, 2002. (Apparently it is not the suicide bombers that are "pitiless.") Or sometimes in the course of the same article, armed Arab rioters trying to kill Jews are referred to as "demonstrators"; meanwhile, Jewish rioters "rampage" when they respond (as in a report by Deborah Sontag, October 10, 2000, or in a report in the Times on the same day by Chris Hedges, titled "Crowds of Jews Rampage in Nazareth").

On other occasions, information that might cast the Palestinians in a bad light is omitted. For example, even though its news reports are much longer than those in most papers, no mention was made in the Times of the mass celebrations in Gaza following last summer's Hebrew University bombing (five American students and teachers died in that attack).

The New York Times has also subtly altered its definitions and terminology. Take the Temple Mount, for instance, which historians, archeologists, Christians, Muslims, and others have for centuries acknowledged as Judaism's holiest place, the site of two holy Jewish temples. In apparent deference to Yasser Arafat - who has recently begun claiming that no Jewish temple ever existed there - the Times began, two years ago, to add the phrase "which the Arabs call the Haram al Sharif" in mentions of the Temple Mount. Then, a few weeks later, the Times referred to "the Temple Mount, which Israel claims to have been the site of the First and Second Temple." And then, in a subsequent article, the Times described Israeli troops as having "stormed the Haram, holiest Muslim site in Jerusalem" - without even mentioning the status of the "Temple Mount" as Judaism's holiest site. Would they do that to Mecca?

WHATEVER YOU SAY, MR. ASSAD

When it comes to altering history, Times reporters are taken in not only by Arafat's propaganda but by that of other Arab dictators too. For example, when it covered Pope John Paul II's historic visit to Syria in May 2001, the Times, swallowing Syrian claims, charged that Israel had been responsible for the destruction of the border town of Quneitra. "Pope Prays for Peace at City Destroyed by Israel," read its headline (May 6, 2001); readers were informed that Israel had destroyed Quneitra in 1974 (when, in fact, Syria did so in 1973). A few days later, the Times printed a correction - albeit an only partially accurate one. They may only have done so, however, because alert readers wrote in pointing out that the Times itself had over a period of several years reported on the Syrian destruction of Quneitra:

* Syria shelled Israeli positions in the Golan for three hours, hitting "El Quneitra, Nahal Gesher and Ein Zivan," reported the New York Times ("Fighting Flares in Golan Heights as Syrian Tanks Attack Israelis," June 25, 1970).

* Damascus radio announces that Syrian artillery had shelled "Kafr Naffakh and El Quneitra," reported the New York Times ("Syria Shells Israeli Bases in Occupied Golan Heights," November 26, 1972).

* A Moroccan brigade aligned with Syria is "taking part in an attack on El Quneitra," reported the New York Times (October 11, 1973).

* Quneitra is now "a bombed-out military town," following the Syrian and Moroccan bombardment, reported the New York Times (October 21, 1973).

So what has happened to the integrity and professionalism of Times reporting to make its correspondents, in 2001, accept Syrian propaganda as fact?

Of course, the Times is hardly alone in swallowing the propaganda of Arab dictators. During the Pope's visit, CNN's Brent Sadler referred to Israel's "systematic destruction of Quneitra"; Time magazine's Tony Karon wrote that Quneitra "was destroyed by Israeli forces in 1974 and has been maintained as a ghost town ever since"; and so on. But shouldn't we expect more of the "paper of record"?

MURDERING FOR SPORT?

Sometimes, New York Times correspondents only admit how they really feel after stepping down. When Deborah Sontag ended her stint as Jerusalem bureau chief, she wrote a 6,200-word article starting on the Times's front page (July 26, 2001) in which she essentially blamed Ehud Barak, the former Israeli prime minister, and not Yasser Arafat, for the Intifada - even though Palestinian cabinet ministers have themselves admitted at rallies in Gaza and Lebanon to having carefully planned the Intifada months before it started, following Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon; unsurprisingly, these rallies were virtually ignored by the Times. Sontag's piece has been dubbed "the mother of all Arafat-rehab articles."

Sontag has continued her sympathetic account of Palestinian extremists in her new job as feature writer for The New York Times Magazine, for example in a 7,700-word article (February 3, 2002) in which she allowed Palestinian interviewees to make outrageous accusations against Israel without rebuttal.

Another former Times correspondent, Chris Hedges (he was the Mideast bureau chief for the Times from 1991-95), is also continuing to make wild accusations against Israel. For instance, he wrote (Harper's magazine, October 2001) that he has seen children shot in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Sarajevo, and mothers with infants lined up and massacred in Algeria, but that until going to Gaza he had "never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport."

We have only Hedges's word for this claim, which was furiously rejected by the Israeli army (although Hedges doesn't mention this in his piece). No other journalist in Gaza - and there are plenty of them - claims to have seen what Hedges does. Nevertheless, Harper's was so impressed by the quote that they flagged it in very large type on the flap attached to the cover of the magazine, and National Public Radio was so excited that they invited Hedges to repeat his allegations on the air ("Fresh Air," October 30, 2001). Of course, the Times can't be held accountable for an article that appeared elsewhere, but one nevertheless has to wonder how balanced the reporters it assigns to the Middle East are.

MEDIA BIAS PROLONGS THE CONFLICT

Today the New York Times is held in as high regard as ever. (Last year it won a record seven Pulitzer Prizes.) But it isn't doing a very good job when it comes to the Middle East. The distortions of the media are depressing not only because they are untrue, but because they set back the day when there might be peace and coexistence between Israeli and Palestinian.

Liberals like myself want to see two democratic states coexisting in peace. But we have also followed the conflict closely enough to know that the Western media's misreporting has contributed to the failed policies of both American and European diplomats.

For ten years now, ever since Arafat returned to Gaza, moderate Palestinians - outside the earshot of the dozen different security forces Arafat has set up to safeguard his rule - have long whispered to those Western reporters who would listen that they should help to expose the corrupt, dictatorial, and duplicitous ways of Arafat and his clique. Few reporters have done so.

Various groups of Times readers in New York, exasperated with the paper's bias against Israel, have repeatedly sought to discuss the matter with publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and executive editor Howell Raines. Yet Sulzberger and Raines have refused to meet them. Instead, last November, they agreed to answer questions on their Mideast coverage (for the first time, according to an AP report) from a group of mostly anti-Israel radicals at the University of California at Berkeley. When one student there did ask Raines why the Times's reporting wasn't more accurate, he replied: "In this business, there's only one thing to do when you get it wrong, and that's get it right as soon as you can."

Fine words - and it's about time the New York Times lived up to them.

(Tom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and the New York Daily News. Among his previous pieces for NRO is "Jeningrad: What the British Media Said.")


NY Times 1: The infamous Walter Duranty

Misreporting by the New York Times on Communism: Does it have lessons for today's Times's misreporting on the Middle East? (An article from the World Socialist Web Site.)



[Note by Tom Gross]

In recent years, the New York Times has finally admitted (at least up to a point) that their reporting on both Stalinism, and the Holocaust, was woefully inadequate. In order to understand the full extent of how the Times today distorts its news coverage of Israel to suit its own (largely anti-Zionist) political opinions, I believe it is important to understand the historical context of New York Times misreporting.

THE HOLOCAUST

As I mention in my article, ("All The News That's Fit To Print? The NY Times and Israel" www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-gross031403.asp), in an effort not to be seen as "too Jewish," the Times deliberately downplayed reports on the Holocaust in the 1940s. It hid news of the ongoing genocide of European Jewry "in small print on the back pages... Jewish-owned but anxious not to be seen as Jewish-oriented," as historian David S. Wyman put it.

COMMUNISM

In conjunction with today's other dispatch on the New York Times, I attach below an article from the "World Socialist Web Site" about Walter Duranty, the Pulitzer Prize Times Moscow correspondent in the 1930s, who covered up many Communist crimes – not just the enforced Ukrainian famine, but the Moscow purge trials and the Stalinist terror of 1936-39, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

I have referred to Duranty in published articles of mine before and on notes on this email list. Now over seven decades later, there is speculation that Duranty will finally be stripped of his Pulitzer Prize. (The Times themselves begrudgingly admitted this in an article published October 23, 2003 by its media correspondent Jacques Steinberg).

In fact, any journalistic blemishes by the Times's Jayson Blair earlier this year, pale in comparison.

The article below asks whether the failure to report on the famine was merely a "lapse" in Duranty's coverage, as some at the Times would have it, or rather part of a broader and systematic distortion of events in the USSR?

(Please note that the essay below itself carries various inaccuracies, as it is written from a Communist, though non-Stalinist, viewpoint.)

-- Tom Gross

 



DURANTY'S PULITZER AND THE HYPOCRISY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES

Duranty's Pulitzer and the hypocrisy of the New York Times
By Bill Vann
World Socialist Web Site
November 1, 2003

www.wsws.org

The New York Times confirmed last week that a Columbia University professor whom the newspaper hired to assess the reporting of Walter Duranty, the Times Moscow correspondent in the 1930s, has concluded that the Pulitzer Prize Duranty received during that period should be rescinded.

The campaign for revoking the award given to Duranty 71 years ago has centered on the reporter's failure to truthfully report the famine that ravaged the Ukraine and much of the rest of the Soviet Union in 1932-33. It has been spearheaded by Ukrainian nationalist organizations that claim the famine was a deliberate act of genocide, and has been championed by a number of right-wing organizations and publications.

It is striking that in all the coverage given by the Times to the Duranty matter, there is no reference to another episode in his career that was no less notorious-his reporting of the Moscow purge trials and the Stalinist terror of 1936-39. Duranty's reports from Moscow lent the full international prestige of the New York Times to legitimizing these frame-up trials, which led to the annihilation of hundreds of thousands of revolutionary socialists in the cellars of Lubianka and other killing grounds.

In an article published October 23, Times media correspondent Jacques Steinberg cited several articles published previously in the newspaper as proof "that the Times regretted the lapses in Mr. Duranty's coverage." These included a reference to Duranty in a favorable 1986 review of "The Harvest of Sorrow"-a tendentious work written by the right-wing historian Robert Conquest-and an editorial four years later calling Duranty's work "some of the worst reporting to appear in this newspaper."

These mea culpas evade some obvious questions. If Duranty's reporting was so terrible, why did the editors of the Times continue for a decade to feature it prominently on the paper's front page, and why did the Pulitzer panel decide to give him the award? Was the failure to report the famine merely a "lapse" in Duranty's coverage, or rather part of a broader and systematic distortion of events in the USSR?

This exclusive focus on Duranty's coverage of 1932-33 suggests that the publishers and editors of the Times are not beginning with a principled concern for Duranty's general disregard for the truth, but rather exhibiting their long-standing sensitivity to any criticism leveled from the right.

There is no question that Duranty's glossing over the catastrophic 1932-33 famine was appalling. It is,however, a major historical distortion to claim, as his right-wing critics do, that he was engaged in a deliberate cover-up of genocide.

In his reporting of Soviet developments, Duranty, like the majority of Western correspondents, took an entirely superficial approach. At the same time-and this too was not uncommon-his coverage was colored by widespread popular sympathy for the Soviet government, which was generally understood to be the product of a social revolution.

Among the Western liberal intelligentsia, this sympathy had only been strengthened by the Kremlin bureaucracy's previous turn to the right and its expulsion of the Left Opposition, formed in 1923 under Leon Trotsky's leadership to oppose the bureaucratization of the Communist Party and uphold the revolutionary internationalist perspective upon which the October Revolution had been based.

The 1932-33 famine itself was the outcome of a complex interplay of social and political forces, not a genocidal Kremlin conspiracy to exterminate an entire people. The crisis that gripped the Soviet Union at the end of the 1920s was the product of the policies pursued by the ruling bureaucracy under Stalin's leadership over the previous years, under the slogan of "socialism in one country." While turning its back on the problems of the international working class, the Stalin leadership rejected within the USSR any plan to increase the tempo of industrial development and pursued policies in the countryside that only strengthened the better-off peasants at the expense of the poorer ones.

The lack of industrial goods, combined with a growth in the production of agricultural raw materials, led to the break between city and country against which the Left Opposition had warned. The well-off and middle peasants were, by the latter part of the 1920s, receiving lower and lower prices for their crops. They began to withhold their grain, and by the beginning of 1928 the Soviet working class confronted the threat of famine.

The Stalin-led regime reacted with a sudden and reckless swing to a program of forced collection of grain and "complete collectivization." Almost overnight, the small peasant holdings that the Stalinist bureaucracy had previously encouraged were expropriated and merged into large state-run farms.

Carried out without any technical or political preparation, and with no critical analysis of the policy that preceded it, forced collectivization led initially to a catastrophic fall in agricultural production. Resistance to collectivization took the form of armed peasant attacks as well as the destruction of grain and livestock, which, in turn, were met with repression.

Duranty's reaction to these events, as the Times has noted, was the infamous phrase, "you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs." At the same time he mocked the right-wing critics of the Soviet Union, asserting that their concern for the loss of life in the collectivization drive stood in sharp contrast to their indifference to the slaughter of the World War of 1914-1918.

The disaster unleashed by forced collectivization, combined with the historic defeat of the working class that resulted from Stalinism's policies in Germany, set the stage for a lurch to the right and the advent of "popular frontism." Faced with a Hitlerite regime committed to the Soviet Union's destruction, the Kremlin pursued diplomatic alliances with "democratic" imperialism in exchange for an explicit renunciation of revolutionary goals and a commitment to defend the international status quo.

Within the USSR, it turned to the physical liquidation of all those who had been associated with the October 1917 revolution.

It was in this period that Duranty's writings took on a qualitatively different character. In the face of monstrous acts of wholesale judicial murder, the Times did more than remain silent. It published Duranty's apologetics and support for the frame-ups.

The Moscow Trials indicted the principal leaders of the October 1917 revolution-the exiled Trotsky being the foremost defendant-as fascist collaborators supposedly guilty of crimes ranging from industrial sabotage to plots to poison the population's water supply and assassinate Stalin.

The only evidence presented to substantiate these fantastic charges were the confessions of the accused, extracted through the method personally recommended by Stalin of "beat, beat and beat again." The Soviet prosecutors' tales of secret meetings and conspiratorial intrigue, supposedly confirmed by confessions extracted from the defendants, were subsequently exposed as crude fabrications.

For example: at the first trial, held in August of 1936, a supposed 1932 meeting in Copenhagen of an alleged conspirator with Trotsky's son, Leon Sedov, was said to have taken place at the Hotel Bristol. The Hotel Bristol, it was pointed out soon after the frame-up, had been torn down in 1917.

At the second trial, held in January of 1937, one of the accused, former head of Soviet industry Yuri Piatakov, was said to have flown to Oslo in December 1935. It was soon revealed, however, that no planes had been able to land in Norway for the entire month of December 1935 because of foul weather.

None of this gave pause to the Times and its Moscow correspondent in their favorable coverage of the frame-ups. Reporting on the first of the Moscow Trials in 1936, Duranty wrote: "It is inconceivable that a public trial of such men would be held unless the authorities had full proofs of their guilt."

In January 1937, after the second trial, Duranty wrote: "It is a pity from the Soviet viewpoint that no documentary evidence was produced in open court." Nevertheless, he concluded, "taken all in all, the trial did stand up."

Behind this coverage lay definite political motives, and not merely the personal predilections of Duranty. Joining the Times in defending the trials was the US Ambassador to Moscow, Joseph Davies. What were then the leading journals of American liberalism, the Nation and the New Republic, lauded these frame-ups as models of fairness. Within ruling circles in both Europe and America, the three-year blood purge was recognized-and welcomed-as an irrevocable break with the revolutionary perspective of 1917.

Trotsky pointed to the political source of this liberal defense of the Moscow Trials. In his Their Morals and Ours, written in 1939, he commented that "the big bourgeoisie of the democratic countries, not without pleasure, though blanketed with fastidiousness, watched the execution of the revolutionists in the USSR. In this sense, the Nation and the New Republic, not to speak of Duranty, Louis Fischer, and their kindred prostitutes of the pen, fully responded to the interests of 'democratic' imperialism."

Trotsky described Duranty as the "correspondent of the New York Times, whom the Kremlin has always entrusted with the dirtiest journalistic tasks." ("Toward a Balance Sheet of the Purges," published in Socialist Appeal June 30, 1939 and included in Writings of Leon Trotsky, 1938-39, Pathfinder Press). Duranty's record on the Moscow Trials remained an issue of active controversy for decades to come.

The publishers and editors of the Times have never expressed any remorse about this aspect of Duranty's reporting. On the contrary, they have proven impervious to any protest from the left over their falsification of history in relation to the Soviet Union.

While the newspaper distanced itself from the Stalinist bureaucracy-first in response to the 1939 Stalin-Hitler pact and then by joining the anti-communist witch-hunt of the post-World War II years-it has never bothered to reexamine its role as an apologist for the Stalinist terror. On the contrary, the former "friends of the Soviet Union" at the Times passed over easily to vulgar anti-communism. Where they once put a plus, they merely substituted a minus.

Among those interviewed in last week's Times story on Duranty was the newspaper's editor, Bill Keller. "It's absolutely true that the work Duranty did...was credulous, uncritical parroting of propaganda," Keller declared. He added, however, "As someone who spent time in the Soviet Union while it existed, the notion of airbrushing history kind of gives me the creeps."

Keller was the Times correspondent in Moscow from 1986 to 1991. While the Times' distortion of the situation in the Soviet Union during this period may not have reached the grotesque levels set by Duranty, its version of events was hardly free of the influence of the US government. Keller's lionizing of Mikhail Gorbachev dovetailed neatly with the official policy of Washington, which then backed the Soviet leader as the most consistent proponent of capitalist restoration within the bureaucracy.

Since then, the Times editor has actively contributed to the new and officially sanctioned falsification of history-the slandering of the October 1917 revolution and the facile equation of Stalinism and fascism.

Keller's remark last week about his supposed distaste for "airbrushing history" is cynical, given that this was precisely the method used by the Stalinist bureaucracy against its Marxist opponents, led by Trotsky-a method supported by Duranty and continued in its own fashion by the Times to this day.


Jeremiah Duggan: it was “no suicide”

November 05, 2003

[Note by Tom Gross]

This is an update to my dispatch from Monday ("Inquest opens tomorrow into the death of Jeremiah Duggan")

The German verdict on his death has been overruled by the British coroner. Jeremiah (Jerry) Duggan's family alleges he was murdered in an anti-Semitic hate crime after he attended an anti-Iraq war rally in March in Germany, and that both the German and British police have refused to investigate this. I am sending this dispatch in part, on behalf of Jeremiah's mother, who is a long-time subscriber to this email list.

I attach two articles from today's British newspapers.

-- Tom Gross

 


FULL ARTICLES

BRITISH STUDENT DID NOT COMMIT SUICIDE, SAYS CORONER

British student did not commit suicide, says coroner
German verdict on death dismissed at UK inquest
By Hugh Muir
The Guardian
November 5, 2003

An investigation into the death of a British student in Germany took a dramatic twist yesterday as a London coroner rejected the police conclusion that it was suicide.

After reading documents supplied by the family of Jeremiah Duggan, Dr William Dolman dismissed the finding of the German authorities that the 22-year-old had taken his own life by running into the path of two speeding vehicles. The student suffered massive head injuries after the collision in Wiesbaden, western Germany, in March.

Mr Dolman is now considering whether to adjourn the hearing and demand that the Germans investigate properly.

Mr Duggan, who was Jewish, died after attending a meeting of the Schiller Institute, a rightwing political group which was described in court by his family as a "dangerous and political cult with strong anti-semitic tendencies, known to have a history of intimidation and terror tactics".

The Guardian revealed in July how Mr Duggan travelled to Germany from Paris, where he was studying, because he shared the institute's stance against the war with Iraq.

Yesterday's inquest at Hornsey coroner's court, north London, heard that 45 minutes before he died, Mr Duggan made a 4am telephone call to his mother, terrified and pleading with her to help him. He had no history of mental illness and gave no indication that he might harm himself.

Dr Dolman read out a German police document which concluded: "Jeremiah Duggan ran into the road with suicidal intent." Turning to the victim's family, he said: "Having weighed up all the evidence, I clearly reject that opinion."

Mr Duggan's mother, Erica, welcomed the coroner's statement. "It really opens up the door for the Germans to immediately investigate Jeremiah's death," she said. "They have a moral responsibility."

Earlier Mrs Duggan, 57, of Golders Green, north London, told the coroner her son had travelled to Germany on March 21 with Benoit Chalifoux, who edited the French edition of the Schiller Institute newspaper. Mr Duggan had described the institute as "very extreme", but claimed it had "solutions to problems he was worried about", she said.

Among the speakers at the meeting was Lyndon LaRouche, Schiller's leader who has been condemned by Jewish organisations as an anti-semite. He served five years of a sentence for fraud and conspiracy.

Mr Duggan, who was un aware of that history, suggested in telephone calls to his parents and his French girlfriend, Maya Villanueva, that he found the lectures stimulating. However, he is known to have challenged anti-semitic statements and told the group he was Jewish.

The first indication that he was in difficulty came when he telephoned his mother on March 27. "He said, 'Mum I am in deep trouble'," Mrs Duggan recalled. "It was in a quiet voice and I thought perhaps he was being overheard."

The line went dead, but he rang back immediately. "The first thing he said was, 'I am frightened'. He said very loudly 'I want to see you now'." As he tried to tell her where he was, the phone went dead again.

The inquest heard that the German police investigation had relied on accounts from Schiller Institute officials and supporters, but that many of these were untrue. No statement was taken from Mr Duggan's roommate in Germany, Sebastian Drochon, and some evidence was missing.

Throughout the controversy, the institute has insisted that its meeting had no rightwing speakers, and that Mr Duggan's death was unrelated.

The hearing continues tomorrow.

 

CORONER DENOUNCES CULT SUICIDE CLAIM

Coroner denounces cult suicide claim
By Terry Kirby, Chief Reporter
The Independent
November 5, 2003

A coroner yesterday rejected a report by German police that a British student who died while apparently fleeing a political cult had committed suicide.

Jeremiah Duggan, 22, from north London, died in March after being struck by two cars on a dual carriageway outside Wiesbaden. He had been attending a anti-Iraq war conference set up by the Schiller Institute, which is led by Lyndon La Rouche, an American right-wing conspiracy theorist.

According to an internal Metropolitan Police report submitted to the coroner, Mr La Rouche's organisation has "sinister and dangerous connections", preaches anti-Semitic views - including blaming Jewish people for the Iraq conflict - and uses "physical and mental manipulation" to coerce young recruits.

The north London coroner, Dr William Dolman, heard that Mr Duggan, who was Jewish and was studying French in Paris, had become involved with Nouvelle Solidarite, a newspaper published in France by Mr La Rouche, because it shared his opposition to the looming Iraq conflict.

During the week the war began, he agreed to attend the conference in Wiesbaden. His mother, Erica Duggan, said he telephoned her from Wiesbaden at about 4.20am on 27 March. He told her: "Mum. I'm in deep trouble." He said he was frightened and "wanted out" and needed to see her as soon as possible. As he was telling her his location, the line went dead. "He seemed terrified and in fear of his life," she said. Mr Duggan was found dead on the roadside about 40 minutes later.

After reading sections of the German police report to the inquest, including its conclusion that Mr Duggan had "run into the road with suicidal intent", the coroner said: "I reject that as an opinion."

He adjourned the inquest until tomorrow when he will rule whether to continue or seek more information from the German authorities.


Antiglobalism’s Jewish Problem

November 04, 2003

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach a lengthy article from the new edition of "Foreign Policy" magazine, which those of you who have time may well want to read in full.

The author asks why groups in diverse countries around the world are referring to a "Jew world order."

He writes:

"The salient question is not: What do antiglobalization activists have against Israel? Rather, it is important to ask: Why only Israel? Why didn't [anti-McDonalds protester] Bove travel to Russia to demonstrate his solidarity with Muslim Chechen separatists fighting their own war of liberation? Why are campus petitions demanding that universities divest funds from companies with ties to Israel, but not China? Why do the same anti-globalization rallies that denounce Israel's tactics against the Palestinians remain silent on the thousands of Muslims killed in pogroms in Gujarat, India?"

"... There is no shortage of symbols representing peace, justice, and economic equality. The dove and the olive branch. The peace sign. The rainbow flag. Even the emblem of the United Nations. So why did some protesters at the 2003 World Social Forum (WSF) in Porto Alegre, Brazil, display the swastika?

"... Marchers among the 20,000 activists from 120 countries carried signs reading "Nazis, Yankees, and Jews: No More Chosen Peoples!" Some wore T-shirts with the Star of David twisted into Nazi swastikas. Jewish delegates carrying banners declaring "Two peoples-Two states: Peace in the Middle East" were assaulted."



THE ARTICLE

ANTIGLOBALISM'S JEWISH PROBLEM

Antiglobalism's Jewish Problem
(November/December 2003)

Anti-Semitism is again on the rise. Why now? Blame the backlash against globalization. As public anxiety grows over lost jobs, shaky economies, and political and social upheaval, the Brownshirt and Birkenstock crowds are seeking solace in conspiracy theories. And in their search for the hidden hand that guides the new world order, modern anxieties are merging with old hatreds and the myths on which they rest.

By Mark Strauss

There is no shortage of symbols representing peace, justice, and economic equality. The dove and the olive branch. The peace sign. The rainbow flag. Even the emblem of the United Nations. So why did some protesters at the 2003 World Social Forum (WSF) in Porto Alegre, Brazil, display the swastika?

Held two months prior to the U.S.-led attack on Iraq, this year's conference-an annual grassroots riposte to the well-heeled World Economic Forum in Davos-had the theme, "Another World is Possible." But the more appropriate theme might have been "Yesterday's World is Back." Marchers among the 20,000 activists from 120 countries carried signs reading "Nazis, Yankees, and Jews: No More Chosen Peoples!" Some wore T-shirts with the Star of David twisted into Nazi swastikas. Members of a Palestinian organization pilloried Jews as the "true fundamentalists who control United States capitalism." Jewish delegates carrying banners declaring "Two peoples-Two states: Peace in the Middle East" were assaulted.

Porto Alegre provides just one snapshot of an unfolding phenomenon known as the "new anti-Semitism." Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the oldest hatred has been making a global comeback, culminating in 2002 with the highest number of anti-Semitic attacks in 12 years. Not since Kristallnacht, the Nazi-led pogrom against German Jews in 1938, have so many European synagogues and Jewish schools been desecrated. This new anti-Semitism is a kaleidoscope of old hatreds shattered and rearranged into random patterns at once familiar and strange. It is the medieval image of the "Christ-killing" Jew resurrected on the editorial pages of cosmopolitan European newspapers. It is the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement refusing to put the Star of David on their ambulances. It is Zimbabwe and Malaysia-nations nearly bereft of Jews-warning of an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world's finances. It is neo-Nazis donning checkered Palestinian kaffiyehs and Palestinians lining up to buy copies of Mein Kampf.

The last decade had promised a different world. As statues of Lenin fell, synagogues reopened throughout Russia and Eastern Europe. In a decisive 111 to 25 vote, the U.N. General Assembly overturned the 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism. The leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization shook hands with the prime minister of Israel. The European Union (EU), mindful of the legacy of the Holocaust and the genocidal Balkan wars, created an independent agency to combat xenophobia and anti-Semitism within its own borders. Confronted with a resurgence in hatred after what had seemed to be an era of extraordinary progress, the Jewish community now finds itself asking: Why now?

Historically, anti-Semitism has fluctuated with the boom and bust of business cycles. Jews have long been scapegoats during economic downturns, as a small minority with outsized political and financial influence. To some extent, that pattern still applies. Demagogues in countries engulfed by the financial crises of the late 1990s fell back on familiar stereotypes. "Who is to blame?" asked General Albert Makashov of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation following the collapse of the ruble in 1998. "Usury, deceit, corruption, and thievery are flourishing in the country. That is why I call the reformers Yids [Jews]." But other countries don't fit this profile. How, for instance, does one explain anti-Semitism's resurgence in Austria and Great Britain, which have enjoyed some of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe?

Rising hostility toward Israel is also a significant factor. The 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada was more violent than its 1987 predecessor, as helicopter gunships and suicide bombers supplanted rubber bullets and stones. This second Intifada also marked the emergence of the "Al-Jazeera" effect, with satellite television beaming brutal images of the conflict, such as the death of 12-year-old Palestinian Muhammed al-Dura, into millions of homes worldwide. In Europe, Muslim extremists took out their fury on Jews and Jewish institutions. Some in the European press, even as they dismissed anti-Jewish violence as random hooliganism or a political grudge match between rival ethnic groups, used incendiary imagery that routinely drew comparisons between Israel and the Nazi regime. This crude caricature of Israelis as slaughterers of the innocent soon morphed into the age-old "blood libel"-as when the Italian newspaper La Stampa published a cartoon depicting the infant Jesus threatened by Israeli tanks imploring, "Don't tell me they want to kill me again."

Then came the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The U.S.-Israeli relationship-bound together by shared values, shared enemies such as Iran and Iraq, $2.7 billion a year in economic aid, and a powerful U.S. Jewish lobby-had allegedly brought down the wrath of the Islamic world and dragged the West into a clash of civilizations. This sentiment only deepened with U.S. military action against Iraq, when anti-Semitism bandwagoned on the anti-war movement and rising anti-Americanism. How else to explain a war against a country that had never attacked the United States, it was argued, if not for a cabal of Jewish neocon advisors who had hoodwinked the U.S. president into conquering Iraq to safeguard Israel?

But another element of the new anti-Semitism is often overlooked: The time frame for this resurgence of judeophobia corresponds with the intensification of international links that took place in the 1990s. "People are losing their compass," observes Dan Dinar, a historian at Hebrew University. "A worldwide stock market, a new form of money, no borders. Concepts like country, nationality, everything is in doubt. They are looking for the ones who are guilty for this new situation and they find the Jews." The backlash against globalization unites all elements of the political spectrum through a common cause, and in doing so it sometimes fosters a common enemy-what French Jewish leader Roger Cukierman calls an anti-Semitic "brown-green-red alliance" among ultra-nationalists, the populist green movement, and communism's fellow travelers. The new anti-Semitism is unique because it seamlessly stitches together the various forms of old anti-Semitism: The far right's conception of the Jew (a fifth column, loyal only to itself, undermining economic sovereignty and national culture), the far left's conception of the Jew (capitalists and usurers, controlling the international economic system), and the "blood libel" Jew (murderers and modern-day colonial oppressors).

FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE WTO

Jews have always aroused suspicion and contempt as a people apart, stubbornly resisting assimilation and clinging to their own religion, language, rituals, and dietary laws. But modern anti-Semitism made its debut with the emergence of global capitalism in the 19th century. When Jews left their urban ghettos and a small but visible number emerged as successful bankers, financiers, and entrepreneurs, they engendered resentment among those who envied their unfathomable success, especially given Jews' secondary status in society.

Some left-wing economists, such as French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, depicted Jews as the driving force behind global capitalism. Other socialist thinkers saw their theories corrupted by the racism of the era. In 1887, German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies published his classic work, Community and Society, wherein he blamed capitalism for undermining society's communitarian impulses and creating a merchant class that was "unscrupulous, egoistic and self-willed, treating all human beings as his nearest friends as only means to his ends." A few years later, German social scientist Werner Sombart took Tönnies's theories to their next step and meticulously explained how Jews "influenced the outward form of modern capitalism" and "gave expression to its inward spirit." Sombart's book, The Jews and Economic Life, would influence an entire generation of German anti-Semitic authors, including Theodore Fritsch, who was honored by the Nazis as the altmeister ("old master") of their movement. Anti-Semitism would become the central defining ideology of the Third Reich, the "glue that held Nazism together," notes historian Robert Katz. "It delivered up the external enemy, 'international-finance Jewry,' by which Hitler succeeded in galvanizing and mesmerizing a Germany feeling itself victimized by otherwise less-definable outside forces."

Modern-day globalization-the opening of borders to the greater movement of ideas, people, and money-has stirred familiar anxieties about ill-defined "outside forces." Last June, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press published a survey conducted in 44 countries revealing that, although people generally have a favorable view of globalization, sizable majorities of those polled said their "traditional ways of life" are being threatened and agreed with the statement that "our way of life needs to be protected against foreign influence." And many believe "success is determined by forces outside their personal control."

With familiar anxieties come familiar scapegoats. Today's financial crashes aren't on the same scale as the economic dislocations of the 1880s and 1930s. But, as the 1997 Asian crisis revealed, in an era of volatile capital flows, damaging financial contagion can sweep through nations in a matter of weeks. Countries in the developing world, who view themselves as victims of globalization, sometimes see conspiratorial undertones. Modern-day resentment against the perceived power of international financial institutions has merged with old mythologies. The 19th century had its Rothschilds; the current era has had Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin at the U.S. Treasury Department, Alan Greenspan at the U.S. Federal Reserve, James Wolfensohn at the World Bank, and Stanley Fischer at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad once lashed out against "Jews who determine our currency levels, and bring about the collapse of our economy." The spokesman for the Jamaat-i-Islami political party in Pakistan complained: "Most anything bad that happens, prices going up, whatever, this can usually be attributed to the IMF and the World Bank, which are synonymous with the United States. And who controls the United States? The Jews do." Economic chaos in Zimbabwe, where a once thriving Jewish community of 8,000 has dwindled to just 650, prompted President Robert Mugabe to deliver a speech declaring that the "Jews in South Africa, working in cahoots with their colleagues here, want our textile and clothing factories to close down."

Throughout the Middle East, where economic growth remains stagnant everywhere but Israel, Islamists and secular nationalists alike portray globalization as the latest in a series of U.S.-Zionist plots to subjugate the Arab world under Western economic control and erase its cultural borders. A former spokesman for the militant group Hamas warned in the early 1990s that if Arab governments accepted the Jewish state's existence, "Israel would rule in the region just as Japan dominates Southeast Asia, and all the Arabs will turn into the Jews' workers." Mainstream Arab media outlets, such as the Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram and the Palestinian newspaper Al Ayyam, publish columns that praise Osama bin Laden as the "man who says 'no' to the domination of globalization," and which cite the The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion-the infamous 19th century forgery of a purported blueprint for Jewish world domination-as hard evidence of globalization's true intent.

In the West, anxiety over globalization provides opportunities for far-right political parties, who exploit the fears of those who see their way of life threatened by migrants from the developing world and who believe their sovereignty is besieged by regional trade pacts and monetary union. Jörg Haider, the head of Austria's far-right Freedom Party, and Jean-Marie Le Pen, the leader of France's National Front Party-who both rode to electoral success on anti-immigrant, anti-Europe platforms-kept their anti-Semitic sentiments under wraps as they campaigned before the media. But other far-right organizations in Europe are not shy about pointing a finger at the "true culprits" behind their countries' woes. In Italy, the Movimento Fascismo e Liberta identifies globalization as an "instrument in the hands of international Zionism." In Russia and Eastern Europe, "brown" ultra-nationalists and "red" communist stalwarts have formed an ideological alliance against foreign investors and multinational corporations, identifying Jews as the capitalist carpetbaggers sacking their national heritage.

In their war against globalization, the browns on the far right have also found common cause with the greens of the new left. Matt Hale, the leader of the U.S. white supremacist World Church of the Creator, praised the 1999 antiglobalization protests in Seattle as "incredibly successful from the point of view of the rioters as well as our Church. They helped shut down talks of the Jew World Order WTO and helped make a mockery of the Jewish Occupational Government around the world. Bravo." To lure in activists planning to protest the 2002 G-8 summit in Calgary, the National Alliance-the largest neo-Nazi organization in the United States that maintains ties with white supremacist groups worldwide-set up a Web site called the Anti-Globalism Action Network, dedicated to "broadening the anti-globalism movement to include divergent and marginalized voices."

Antiglobalization activists find themselves fighting a two-front battle, simultaneously protesting the World Trade Organization (WTO), IMF, and World Bank, while organizing impromptu counter-protests against far-right extremists who gate-crash their rallies. A bizarre ideological turf war has broken out. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) voice alarm about neo-Nazis "masquerading" as anti-globalization activists. On the Web site of the white supremacist Church of True Israel, an aggrieved Walter Nowotny retorts: "This accusation implies that we are late-comers to this movement and only associate with it to jump on a bandwagon that already has considerable momentum. But who are the real infiltrators and trespassers?"

History is repeating itself. As in the 19th century, the far right is plagiarizing left-wing dogma and imbuing it with racist overtones, transforming the campaign against the capitalist "New World Order" into a struggle against the "Jew World Order." The antiglobalization movement is, however, somewhat culpable. It isn't inherently anti-Semitic, yet it helps enable anti-Semitism by peddling conspiracy theories. In its eyes, globalization is less a process than a plot hatched behind closed doors by a handful of unaccountable bureaucrats and corporations. Underlying the movement's humanistic goals of universal social justice is a current of fear mongering-the IMF, the WTO, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) are portrayed not just as exploiters of the developing world, but as supranational instruments to undermine our sovereignty. Pick up a copy of the 1998 book MAI and the Threat to American Freedom (wrapped in a patriotic red, white, and blue cover), written by antiglobalization activists Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke, and you'll read how "Over the past twenty-five years, corporations and the state seem to have forged a new political alliance that allows corporations to gain more and more control over governance. This new 'corporate rule' poses a fundamental threat to the rights and democratic freedoms of all people." At an even more extreme end of the spectrum, the Web site of the Canadian-based Centre for Research on Globalization sells books and videos that "expose" how the September 11 terrorist attacks were "most likely a special covert action" to "further the goals of corporate globalization."

Unfortunately, conspiracy theories must always have a conspirator, and all too often, the conspirators are perceived to be Jews. It takes but a small step to cross the line dividing the two worldviews. "If I told you I thought the world was controlled by a handful of capitalists and corporate bosses, you would say I was a left-winger," an anarchist demonstrator told the online Russian publication Pravda. "But if I told you who I thought the capitalists and corporate bosses were, you'd say I was far right."

The browns and greens are not simply plagiarizing one another's ideas. They're frequently reading from the same page. In Canada, a lecture by anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist David Icke was advertised in lefty magazines such as Shared Vision and Common Ground. ("Canadians voted down free trade and we got it anyway," said one woman who saw the ads and attended the event. "So there has to be something to that.") Far-right nationalists, such as former skinhead Jaroslaw Tomasiewicz, have infiltrated the Polish branch of the international antiglobalization organization ATTAC. The British Fascist Party includes among its list of recommended readings the works of left-wing antiglobalists George Monbiot and Noam Chomsky. A Web site warning of the dangers of "Jewish Plutocracy, Jewish Power" includes links to antiglobalization NGOs such as Corpwatch and Reclaim Democracy. The Dutch NGO De Fabel van de illegaal withdrew in disgust from the anti-MAI movement when it learned that the campaign's activities were attracting the attention of far-right, anti-Semitic student groups. "By pointing to this so-called globalisation as our main problem, the anti-MAI activists prepare our thinking for the corresponding logical consequence-the struggle for 'our own' local economy, and as a consequence also for 'our own' state and culture," the director of De Fabel warned. "Left-wing groups are spreading an ideology that offers the New Right, rather than the left, bright opportunities for future growth."

ANTI-GLOBALIZIONISM

The greens and the browns share another common cause: opposition to Israel. Given the antiglobalization movement's sympathy for Third-World causes, it's not surprising that French activist Jose Bove took a break from trashing McDonald's restaurants to show his solidarity with the Palestinian movement by visiting a besieged Yasir Arafat in Ramallah last year.

But, in the case of the new left, the salient question is not: What do antiglobalization activists have against Israel? Rather, it is important to ask: Why only Israel? Why didn't Bove travel to Russia to demonstrate his solidarity with Muslim Chechen separatists fighting their own war of liberation? Why are campus petitions demanding that universities divest funds from companies with ties to Israel, but not China? Why do the same anti-globalization rallies that denounce Israel's tactics against the Palestinians remain silent on the thousands of Muslims killed in pogroms in Gujarat, India?

Israel enjoys a unique pariah status among the antiglobalization movement because it is viewed as the world's sole remaining colonialist state-an exploitative, capitalist enclave created by Western powers in the heart of the developing world. "They're trying to impose an apartheid system on both the occupied territories and the Arab population in the rest of Israel," says Bove. "They are also putting in place-with the support of the World Bank-a series of neoliberal measures intended to integrate the Middle East into globalized production circuits, through the exploitation of cheap Palestinian labor."

Opposing the policies of the Israeli government does not make the new left anti-Semitic. But a movement campaigning for global social justice makes a mockery of itself by singling out just the Jewish state for condemnation. And when the conspiratorial mindset of the antiglobalization movement mingles with anti-Israeli rhetoric, the results can get ugly. Bove, for instance, told a reporter that the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, was responsible for anti-Semitic attacks in France in order to distract attention from its government's actions in the occupied territories.

The consequences of embracing a double standard toward Israel are all too apparent at antiglobalization rallies. In Italy, a member of Milan's Jewish community carrying an Israeli flag at a protest march was beaten by a mob of antiglobalization activists. At Davos, a group of protestors wearing masks of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (wearing a yellow star) carried a golden calf laden with money. Worldwide, protesters carry signs that compare Sharon to Hitler, while waving Israeli flags where the Star of David has been replaced with the swastika. Such displays portray Israel as the sole perpetrator of violence, ignoring the hundreds of Israelis who have died in suicide bombings and the role of the Palestinian Authority in fomenting the conflict. And equating Israel with the Third Reich is the basest form of Holocaust revisionism, sending the message that the only "solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is nothing less than the complete destruction of the Jewish state. Antiglobalization activist and author Naomi Klein has spoken out against such displays, but she is in the minority. The very same antiglobalization movement that prides itself on staging counter-protests against neo-Nazis who crash their rallies links arms with protestors who wave the swastika in the name of Palestinian rights.

Like the antiglobalist left, far-right activists have also embraced their own form of anticolonialism. For them, globalization is synonymous with "mongrelization," an attempt to mix race and cultures and destroy unique heritages. When the greens preach the virtues of "localization," a hearty "amen" echoes among the browns, who seek to insulate their countries against the twin evils of human migration and foreign capital. The far right sees nationalist movements and indigenous rights groups as allies in the assault against the multiculturalism of the new world order. And it sees the Palestinians, in particular, as a resistance movement against the modern-day Elders of Zion. American neo-Nazi David Duke summed up this worldview in an essay on his Web site: "These Jewish supremacists have a master plan that should be obvious for anyone to see. They consistently attempt to undermine the culture, racial identity and solidarity, economy, political independence of every nation..[They] really think they have some divine right to rule over not only Palestine but over the rest of the world as well."

IS ANOTHER WORLD POSSIBLE

Commenting on the resurgence of anti-Semitic imagery in the Egyptian press, BBC correspondent Kate Clark noted that "if and when real peace comes, the Egyptian media are likely to forget their anti-Semitic line."

But, even if and when real peace comes, the conditions conducive to anti-Semitism aren't going away. The very existence of Israel offends those who view it as a colonialist aberration. Arab governments remain averse to serious economic and political reforms that would open their societies and lift their citizens out of poverty. War, terrorism, and recession may periodically slow the pace of globalization, but the movement of people and money around the world continues unabated. The anxieties that accompany global integration-the fear that nations are surrendering their cultural, political, and economic sovereignty to shadowy outside forces-will not simply disappear.

It is paradoxical that Jews should find themselves swept up in the backlash against globalization, since Jews were the first truly globalized people. The survival of Jewish civilization-despite 2,000 years without a state and the scattering of its diaspora to nearly every nation on Earth-undermines the claim that globalization creates a homogenized world that destroys local cultures. Jews accommodated, and at times embraced, the foreign cultures they lived in without sacrificing their identity. The golden age of Jewish learning was not in ancient Israel, but in medieval Spain, where Jewish religious study, literature, and poetry flourished under the influence of Muslim scholars.

Given its long experience adapting to new contingencies, the Jewish community is confronting global anti-Semitism with global solutions. For the first time in its history, the state of Israel convened an international conference of Jewish leaders from around the world with the explicit objective of coordinating a strategy to confront the resurgence of anti-Semitism. Jewish NGOs, such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) and the Anti-Defamation League, tirelessly publicize incidents of anti-Semitism and lobby governments worldwide. Responding to evidence that the problem had reached crisis proportions, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe last June convened an unprecedented conference on anti-Semitism attended by representatives of 55 governments. Protests from the Israeli government and Jewish organizations compelled the United Arab Emirates to shut down a think tank, the Zayed International Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up, which had hosted a Saudi professor who alleged Jews used human blood to prepare "holiday pastries" and had issued a press release declaring "The Zionists are the ones who killed the Jews of Europe."

Jewish organizations are also becoming more of a presence in the antiglobalization movement. Last year, there were fears that the Johannesburg-hosted World Summit on Sustainable Development would turn into a replay of the ill-fated 2001 U.N. World Conference Against Racism in Durban, where anti-Semitic rhetoric culminated in a draft resolution adopted by the NGO forum singling out Israel as guilty of "genocide." The SWC urged 180 ecological organizations planning to attend Johannesburg to ensure the conference stayed on message. The responses were largely positive, reflecting the frustration of many Third World NGOs who felt that the controversy at Durban had overshadowed vital issues on their agendas.

And then there are the Jews within the antiglobalization movement itself. Many are drawn to the movement for the same reason that Jews have always been disproportionately represented in campaigns for social justice: the principle of tikkun olam (repairing the world). It imparts a commitment not only to care for the Jewish community, but for all of society. The antiglobalization activists who are Jewish carry a unique burden in that they are made to feel like strangers even though they are passionately devoted to safeguarding the environment, advocating human rights, and promoting economic equality. But rather than abandoning the movement, they seek to wrest the agenda from the extremists who would exclude them. A measure of their success could be seen in the final day of the 2003 World Social Forum in Porto Alegre. While street protesters waved their swastikas, a small group of Jewish and Palestinian peace activists organized a series of workshops, funded by local Jewish and Palestinian communities in Brazil. The result was a joint statement, read to 20,000 cheering activists, calling for "peace, justice, and sovereignty for our peoples," and a Palestinian state existing side by side with Israel.

Some Jewish groups sympathetic to many of the antiglobalization movement's goals have mistakenly chosen to remain on the outside. Jewish voices need to be raised when the shouting of the militants threatens to drown out other issues. And tikkun olam imparts a mandate to counter demagogues in the developing world who scapegoat Jews and Israel as an excuse to perpetuate systems that keep their nations mired in poverty. In that spirit, Rabbi Joseph Klein told his congregation at a synagogue in Michigan last June, "We will have to develop a strategy that allows us to participate in the effort to bring social equity and economic justice to all people, while at the same time distancing ourselves from these newest purveyors of the Protocols." He concluded his sermon by quoting from Pirkei Avot, the Jewish book of ethics: "It is not for you to complete the work, but neither are you free to withdraw from it."

(Mark Strauss is a senior editor at FOREIGN POLICY.)


Inquest opens tomorrow into the death of Jeremiah Duggan

November 03, 2003

The mysterious death of Jeremiah Duggan

CONTENTS

1. Summary of the case
2. Brief background on the Lyndon LaRouche movement
3. "Mystery death of anti-war student Family calls for new German police inquiry after crucial questions left unanswered" (Guardian, July 12, 2003)
4. "The lost boy" (Independent, August 28, 2003)



[Note by Tom Gross]

This email dispatch concerns the death of Jeremiah Duggan, a 22-year-old British student, was who was killed – possibly murdered in an anti-Semitic hate crime – after he attended an anti-Iraq war protest in Germany in March 2003.

Neither the British nor German police have properly looked into the accusations surrounding Jeremiah's death by Duggan's family and friends. The German police ruled it a suicide and refused to investigate further. After a long battle to persuade the British coroner to look at wider aspects of the case, tomorrow, 4th November, an inquest opens in London at the Hornsey Coroner's Court.

Journalists (only) on this list, or news editors in Germany, the US and elsewhere who wish to assign their correspondents to interview Jeremiah's mother, Erica Duggan, or her solicitors in London, and other experts, can send me an email with their contact details which I will forward to Erica Duggan, who is a subscriber to this email list.

I attach a "Summary of the Case," followed by two news reports from The Guardian and Independent newspapers in Britain.

 

1. Summary of the Case:

Jeremiah Duggan took part in a "peace conference" at the Schiller-Institute in Wiesbaden, Germany, on the weekend of 21-23 March, 2003. The conference was called to protest the war in Iraq.

Unbeknown to Jeremiah, the Schiller Institute is run be Helga Zepp-LaRouche, wife of the American extremist Lyndon LaRouche, who has been accused of holding "neo-Fascist" views. The Schiller Institute is said to have links with various extreme-right wing organizations.

After the conference, Jeremiah Duggan stayed on to take part in an education seminar.

At 3.20am on the night from Wednesday – Thursday, 26-27 March 2003, Jeremiah called his girlfriend in Paris and his mother in London saying that he was "in terrible trouble" and that he wanted "out". His mother says he had publicly announced at the meeting earlier that evening that he was a Jew and had strongly protested other speakers who had blamed the Jews for the war in Iraq and the rest of the world's problems.

Half an hour after he called his mother, he was dead. He was hit by a series of vehicles on a road outside Wiesbaden. The German police have ruled the death a suicide. Jeremiah's parents, girlfriend and friends strongly dispute this. They say there was no indication that Jeremiah wished to commit suicide. They believe that he may well have been hunted down and killed by people linked to the Nouvelle Solidarite or LaRouche sects. (Nouvelle Solidarite is a French newspaper published by LaRouche. Duggan had been taken in by people connected to the newspaper.)

The Prosecutor's Office in Wiesbaden has not investigated further.

Mr Duggan was studying English literature at the Sorbonne in Paris at the time of his death. He had never been politically active, but as the war with Iraq began he decided to join the protests. Jeremiah's parents say he was a mature and balanced young man.

2. Brief background on the Lyndon LaRouche movement:

[Erica Duggan and her lawyers and various researchers in the US and Europe that they can put journalists in touch with, have much more substantial material on this.]

The millionaire politician, economist and convicted criminal Lyndon LaRouche is largely unknown in Europe. In the US, he has been derided as an anti-Semitic former Trotskyist turned right-wing conspiracy theorist, whose views appear to have switched towards the left again.

The Schiller Institute, which held the meeting in Wiesbaden attended by Jerry Duggan, is run by his wife, Helga Zepp-LaRouche. LaRouche publishes several newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe, in which he expounds his worldview.

In 1994, Lyndon LaRouche tried to run for US President. In Europe, LaRouche founded the extreme right party "Ouvrir Européen" in France, and a similar organization in Italy. In Germany he set up the Europäische Arbeiterpartei (EAP).

Delegates of the Schiller-Institute take part in Croatian National Independece Days. One member of the Schiller-Institute Delegacy was Roy Frankenhauser, "Grand Dragon" of the Ku Klux Klan in Philadelphia and employee of LaRouches Security Service in 1983.

Literature:
Chip Berlet and Joel Bellmann: Lyndon LaRouche: Fascism Wrapped in an American Flag, Public Eye 1989, http:www.publiceye.org/larouche/nclc1.html (3 parts)

 



MYSTERY DEATH OF ANTI-WAR STUDENT

Mystery death of anti-war student Family calls for new German police inquiry after crucial questions left unanswered

By Hugh Muir
The Guardian
July 12, 2003

The family of a British student who died mysteriously after attending meetings organised by a rightwing political group in Germany have called for a new investigation into his death.

Jeremiah Duggan, 22, was hit by a series of vehicles on a road outside Wiesbaden, western Germany, in March. German police concluded that Mr Duggan, who was studying English literature at the Sorbonne in Paris, had committed suicide.

But following private inquiries, his family are pressing for the German authorities to take a fresh look at the case and at the activities of the group he was staying with. The Metropolitan police yesterday confirmed its officers are liaising with their German counterparts and Interpol.

He had travelled to Wiesbaden with a group of young men selling the newspaper Nouvelle Solidarité, a French version of a newspaper published by Lyndon LaRouche, an American rightwing extremist condemned by leading Jewish organisations as an anti-semite. LaRouche served five years of a 15-year sentence for fraud and conspiracy in 1984, has a following in many countries and has contested seven presidential elections as a minor candidate. The Schiller Institute in Wiesbaden, where the conference was held from March 21 to 23, is run by his German wife, Helga.

Mr Duggan's relatives complain the German investigation was insufficient. Erica Duggan, 57, a retired teacher from north London, said: "We have told them from the start that there is no way this was suicide." Her solicitor, Jackie Turner, said: "There are too many unknowns. Too many things were not followed up."

Mr Duggan, a talented poet, arrived in Paris in September 2001 and was studying both at the Sorbonne and the British Institute, where he was doing a degree in French. He had never been politically active, but as the war with Iraq began he decided to join the protests.

In March, he met a man selling newspapers outside the Hotel des Invalides, close to the British Institute. Mrs Duggan recalls: "He was very impressed with him and 'his wonderful ideas'." Struck by references to LaRouche, Jeremiah asked his mother to look him up on the internet, but it was not considered a priority.

Conspiracy theories

Had they dug deeper they would have been concerned. The Guardian has detailed some of LaRouche's "conspiracy theories". The former Trotskyist has spoken of a worldwide Zionist conspiracy taking in the freemasons, Henry Kissinger and the royal family. He described senior members of the Bush administration as "Children of Satan".

LaRouche made the war in Iraq a touchstone issue and it was the broad anti-war stance that attracted Jeremiah. "He said he had been watching pictures of the war and it was terrible. He was determined to join a protest," explained Mrs Duggan. "He told me and his French girlfriend Maya that he would be travelling to Germany with his new friends. She told me later that she had a bad feeling about them."

On March 22, Jeremiah phoned his father to wish him happy birthday and told them he was at the Schiller Institute. Lyndon LaRouche spoke at the conference and Jeremiah apparently asked him questions. On the Monday night, he told his girlfriend the lectures had been interesting.

But after three more days without contact, Mrs Duggan began to worry. "I woke up at 2.30am on Thursday and I didn't know why. I just sat next to the phone and at 5.24am it rang. He was terrified. He said, 'Mum, I am in deep trouble.' I asked him what the problem was and he said, 'You know Nouvelle Solidarité. I want out. I don't want any more.'" They were cut off, but Jeremiah called back moments later. "I could tell he was in terrible distress. He said, 'I want to see you, now!' and that he was in Wiesbaden. Then the line cut." Mrs Duggan called Colindale police station and then Maya, who had also received a disturbing phone call. "He told her he had found out some very grave things and that he was going to get the train the next day. He complained of pains in his arms and legs. Later that morning, his girlfriend also received a call from someone called Sebastian who said Jeremiah had run off."

At 3.30pm, two Met officers arrived to tell Mrs Duggan that her son was dead. "They said it was suicide. I shouted and screamed that there was no way."

Mrs Duggan and her husband, Hugo, travelled to Wiesbaden the next day, but felt the case was already closed. "They said he had psychological problems, because that is what Sebastian told them. They said he ran five kilometres out of Wiesbaden and that at 6am he had run in front of a car and knocked off the wing mirror. The police said he kept running and was hit by another car 10 minutes later and was killed. Another car then ran over his body."

But as the Duggans pieced together details of the conference, one anecdote disturbed them most of all. "It seems he had no idea about who he was with at all. Someone blamed the Jews for the war in Iraq and for the problems of the world. Jeremiah stood up and said 'But I am a Jew'. Everyone went quiet. Jeremiah would have been very upset by that."

An inquest has been opened and adjourned at Hornsey coroners court, in north London.

The Duggans know how he died, but remain determined to find out why. The Foreign Office has accepted the result of the German investigation but says it will help the family raise concerns.

A spokesman for the Schiller Institute said there is little more to discover. "The conference was attended by about 500 people, including politicians and scientists. There were no rightwing elements present and the British student was killed after the conference was over."

 

THE LOST BOY

The lost boy

news.independent.co.uk/low_res/story.jsp?story=437716&host=3&dir=65

The last Erica Duggan heard from her son Jerry was a distressed phone call from Germany, where he was involved in a powerful anti-war group. Half an hour later, he was dead. The police say it was suicide, but she is not satisfied she knows the truth of how he died. Terry Kirby investigates

The Independent (London)
August 28, 2003

Just before 4.30am one morning last March, Erica Duggan, a retired teacher, was drinking a cup of tea at her kitchen table in north London when the telephone rang. Why she had woken so early and gone downstairs she still cannot fathom. Perhaps it was some sixth sense; a mother's intuition.

She picked up the receiver and heard the trembling voice of her 22-year-old son, Jerry: "Mum, I'm in terrible trouble, deep trouble. I want to be out of this. It's too much for me. I can't do this. I want out..."

So far as Mrs Duggan knew, Jerry, who was studying French in Paris, was then somewhere in Europe with a group of fellow opponents to the Iraq war. Before she could ask what was so alarming him, the phone went dead. Seconds later it rang again. "I'm frightened," he said. "I want to see you now."

"Where are you?"

"Wiesbaden."

"How do you spell that?"

"W. I. E. S..." The line went dead.

About 30 minutes later, according to motorists interviewed by police, Jerry Duggan ran on to the Berliner Strasse dual carriageway, five kilometres south of Wiesbaden. Lurching from the side of a garage, he collided with a car heading into Wiesbaden, ripping off its wing mirror. Ten minutes later, another kilometre down the road, he leapt in front of a second vehicle, which knocked him down. He was then run over by a third car and died instantly.

Later that day, Mrs Duggan and her ex-husband, Hugo, both desperate with worry at not having heard from Jerry since the early morning call, were preparing to fly to Germany when the police arrived at Mrs Duggan's house to say that Jerry's body had been found on the Berliner Strasse. The German police, they said, believed he had committed suicide. "I just screamed and shouted," says Mrs Duggan. "I knew this could not be possible." She refused to believe that her son, with no history of mental instability, had chosen to die by a relatively unusual and unreliable method and for no obvious reason.

When the Duggans discovered how he had spent his last days, they realised he had become involved in something far more complicated than a simple left-wing anti-war protest. Jerry had spent most of the last week of his life at a conference and then a meeting at Bad Schwalbach, near Wiesbaden, hosted by the Schiller Institute, part of an organisation fronted by Lyndon LaRouche, a wealthy American economist. A former communist who reinvented himself as a right-winger and has been accused of holding anti-Semitic views, LaRouche has recently swung to the left again and was a strong opponent of the war on Iraq. Next year he plans to stand in the US presidetial elections for the eighth time.

LaRouche's organisation produces magazines and newspapers sold by supporters outside colleges and universities where they can find recruits for what he terms his "cadres": young, impressionable, intelligent people, anxious to debate world issues. "LaRouche presents them with a very attractive package that seems to offer solutions for every problem," says Chip Berlet, an American political researcher.

One person seeking solutions was Jerry Duggan. "Jerry always wanted to know," says his mother. "I think now he was a bit politically inexperienced, but he always asked very straight questions others would not. He would have been a good journalist. He would latch on to people and try and find out about them."

One person who apparently latched on to Jerry, and encouraged his emerging anti-war views, was Benoît Challifoux, a man he met towards the end of January, outside the British Institute in Paris, where Jerry was studying for his University of London French degree. Challifoux was selling the paper he worked for, Nouvelle Solidarité, a LaRouche publication. "Jerry said he was impressed by this man's ideas. He said they met a few times and the man began e-mailing him and teaching him things and telling him to read certain articles," his mother says.

Mrs Duggan and her son assumed these people were conventional left-wingers. "Jerry asked me to look up Lyndon LaRouche on the internet; he said he was too busy on his course project. He didn't know much about him but seemed to believe he had been in prison for being anti-American. But I got the spelling wrong and searched for LaRoche. I got nothing."

Jerry's parents felt their son knew what he was doing. He was mature, balanced and, they assumed, becoming worldly wise. After boarding school and college in Sussex, he had lived alone in Paris. He travelled to India, and visited Israel to train as a youth leader, reflecting a growing interest in his Jewish background, although he was equally interested in his Irish identity, which came from his father. "Jerry was terribly popular, he was interested in music and wrote poetry. He had a lovely girlfriend and was having a wonderful time in Paris. He had so much to live for," Mrs Duggan says.

Jerry Duggan had become preoccupied with world affairs after September 11. Last winter, alarmed that war against Iraq would lead to a global conflict, he decided to make a stand. "He thought it could be the beginning of a third world war," his mother says. "He wanted to become more active in protests against the war."

Herself the child of Jewish refugees from Nazism, Mrs Duggan had protested against Apartheid in South Africa in her youth. So when, in March, Jerry said he would not be returning to England for his father's 60th birthday because he was "going away with some people" to protest against the war, any annoyance was mixed with pride. "He said Nouvelle Solidarité were more extreme than Marxists. He told his friends he was going to a conference. I thought he was going off to wave a banner somewhere."

On Friday 21 March, as the world woke to the news of the bombardment of Baghdad, Jerry left the Nouvelle Solidarité offices with about 10 young men in a convoy of cars. He was waved off by his girlfriend Maya, a student at the Paris Conservatoire.

The event he attended was not an anti-war protest per se. Called "How to Reconstruct a Bankrupt World", it was a series of speeches by LaRouche supporters or invited guests on the global economy and the idea of a Eurasian railway, a concept supported by LaRouche. LaRouche himself spoke on the Friday afternoon, giving an address entitled "Physical Geometry as Strategy", which did include some anti-war passages. The conference, which finished on the Sunday night, passed an emergency declaration calling for an end to the war.

On the Saturday night, Jerry called to wish his father happy birthday and left messages through the weekend on Maya's mobile to say that he was fine and had found the conference interesting.

The couple planned to meet on Tuesday night on his return to Paris, so Maya was surprised when he called to say he was still in Wiesbaden and could not return until the following Sunday, when he could get a lift. She was upset; it would mean missing a birthday celebration with friends. But he told her he felt it was important he stayed in Weisbaden. Jerry also told Maya he loved her more than ever, which surprised her. It was not his style to make such a forthright declaration. "Jerry seemed upset and troubled. I felt somehow he was in danger."

The next she heard from him was at 3.20am on Thursday morning. He was incoherent and faint. "I'm under too much pressure," he said. "I don't know what the truth is any more, or what are lies." He said he would get the train back to Paris as soon as he could. An hour later he called his mother. It would be their last conversation.

Later, after fruitless calls to the local police and Scotland Yard, Mrs Duggan called Maya in Paris. Maya had just received a call from Sebastian, a 24-year-old Frenchman who said he had been staying with Jerry at a flat used by the Schiller Institute. He asked Maya if she had heard from Jerry, who, he told her, had left the flat and not returned.

Mrs Duggan called Sebastian, who passed her on to Ortrum Cramer, a member of the management of the Schiller Institute. Cramer confirmed that Jerry was missing and told Mrs Duggan: "We cannot take responsibility for the actions of individuals. We think your son has psychological problems."

The German police conclusion of suicide dovetailed with accounts given them by Sebastian and Cramer. Sebastian later visited Maya and, according to her, said that on the night of Jerry's death, they had talked into the early hours. She said he told her Jerry had been agitated, suspicious and doubtful of the Schiller Institute, and unsure what he had been doing there. He had asked Sebastian if he trusted LaRouche and his motives. "He was full of anxiety and upset, and said he felt as if he was a prisoner," Maya recalled Sebastian telling her. During this period, Jerry is believed to have called Maya and his mother. Then, Sebastian told Maya, Jerry said he wanted to go out for cigarettes. Sebastian said he would accompany him, for reasons that remain unclear. At the bottom of the stairs, Jerry had run off. Sebastian briefly followed, then returned to the flat.

When the Duggans arrived in Wiesbaden, anxious to establish what had happened to their son, they were told that Sebastian had returned to Paris, where he now works for Solidarité et Progress, the LaRouche political organisation in France. But they met Cramer and Dr Jonathan Tennenbaum, the scientific adviser to the institute. Mrs Duggan said Tennenbaum told them: "Jerry was in conflict. He wasn't sure he wanted to be fully committed." He also told them that Jerry had reacted strongly when he heard the Jews being blamed for the Iraq war. He had stood up and exclaimed: "But I'm a Jew!" The Duggans became even more confused.

After returning from Wiesbaden and conducting their own research, the Duggans became more reluctant to accept that Jerry committed suicide, as more questions arose. First: why were the German police so sure Jerry had committed suicide? Why had there been no post-mortem examination or inquest? In addition to the suggestion that Jerry had psychological problems, the Duggans believe the Schiller people had told the German police two things: that Jerry was known to the Tavistock Institute in London, which they described, wrongly, as a mental institution; and that Maya, looking at a map, had asked Sebastian whether Wiesbaden was on a river. It was apparently believed by police that these indicated mental problems and were evidence that Jerry was prone to suicidal thoughts.

One of LaRouche's more bizarre published theories is that the Tavistock, the respected family-therapy centre in London that Jerry had briefly attended when his parents divorced 15 years before his death, is a centre for brainwashing in collusion with American intelligence. "How would they have viewed Jerry if he had questioned their ideas about the Tavistock and said he had been there?'' Mrs Duggan asks.

Second, how had Jerry covered the 5km from the flat to the place he died in less than 35 minutes? The Duggans believe that the police did not seek witnesses who might have seen Jerry between the two points. He was relatively fit, and he could have run it in that time. But why run all the way? If he was trying to hitch a lift, he was on the wrong carriageway. If he wanted to get back to Paris, why didn't he head for the bus or railway station? Third, was there a third person staying in the flat who could shed light on events? According to Maya, she was told by Sebastian that there was.

Jerry's funeral took place in north London in April. "Jerry was very well-liked. There were many young people there. And all of them thought he was the last person to commit suicide," Mrs Duggan says.

The Duggans do not accept the official conclusion on what happened to their son. They are lobbying the Foreign Office and German authorities to re-open the police investigation and conduct a full inquiry. The family hopes to meet soon with officials at the prosecutor's office in Wiesbaden. The Foreign Office says that, while it is helping the familyin dealing with the German authorities, it cannot interfere. An inquest in London has been opened and adjourned.

Cramer told The Independent that after the conference, Jerry Duggan had stayed to attend an "education" meeting for young institute members and their friends. "I believed he had psychological problems, based on the conversations he had with people. I don't know what happened on the night he died, but the Schiller Institute played no part in his death.'' She said she had nothing to add to the German police report and referred all detailed inquiries to a statement issued by LaRouche, who said the Duggan affair was a "hoax" constructed by supporters of Tony Blair and the US Vice-President, Dick Cheney. It was "such an obvious fabrication that no further comment is necessary," said LaRouche.

The family have set up a fund to back their campaign. And Mrs Duggan still has questions she wants answered. "What was going on in Jerry's mind? Was he running away from somebody? If so, who was he running away from? And why? We want to know how and why Jerry died. That's all."

 

THE MYSTERY MAN FIGHTING THE 'ENEMY WITHIN'

The mystery man fighting the 'enemy within'
The Independent -- Sidebar to above article

The millionaire politician, economist and convicted criminal Lyndon LaRouche is almost unknown in the UK. In the US, he has been derided as an anti-Semitic former Trotskyist turned right-wing conspiracy theorist, whose views appear to have switched towards the left again.

The Schiller Institute, which held the meeting in Wiesbaden attended by Jerry Duggan, is run by his wife, Helga Zepp-LaRouche, and is just one branch of LaRouche's substantial organisation. Now in his eighties, he travels the world, appearing as the star turn at meetings mostly organised by his supporters.

LaRouche publishes several newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe, in which he expounds his world view. His more extreme theories include one suggesting that the British Royal Family is responsible for the explosion in global drugs trafficking, but his views on politics are simple: he opposed both Iraqi conflicts, and he believes that America is in the grip of a "flock of neo-conservative fascists".

Since his release from prison in 1994 after serving five years of a 15-year sentence for tax evasion and mail-fraud conspiracy, his organisation has tried to build links with left-wing bodies, and has cultivated ties with Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam, according to Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates, a US think tank that monitors the right.

He came to prominence in the Sixties, when he founded the National Caucus of Labor Committees as an offshoot of the radical student politics of the time. By the mid-1970s he had performed an about-face, declaring war on the "enemy within" leftists, liberals, environmentalists. LaRouche publications printed what many saw as anti-Semitic articles.

Some have accused him of running a political cult. His followers are disciplined and young. "Give me 1,000 more youth leaders like these,'' he told the LaRouche Youth Movement in a recent webcast, "and I'll take over the country.'' There have been claims by ex-members of his "cadres" that emotional manipulation is used to bind people to the cause. In Germany his political party, the EAP, was in 1996 decreed by the government to be a "political sect".