Tom Gross Mideast Media Analysis

“Saddam” a popular new name for babies born since his capture

December 21, 2003

CONTENTS

1. "'Saddam' a popular new baby name" (The Australian, December 19, 2003)
2. "Be polite to Mr Saddam" (The Sun, UK)
3. "Islamic Clerics ban poetry for women" (Sunday Times/All Africa Global Media, November 9, 2003)
4. "Saddam should face death sentence, says Belgian cardinal" (Reuters, December 21, 2003)
5. "Saddam verdict expected to take five years" (Sunday Telegraph, U.K., December 21, 2003)


SUMMARIES

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach five articles, mainly connected to Saddam Hussein, with summaries first:

“HE'S A CROSS BETWEEN A HERO AND A TYRANT, BUT WE CHOOSE TO REMEMBER HIS GOOD SIDE”

"'Saddam' a popular new baby name" (The Australian, December 19, 2003). "Some Muslims in Thailand have named their newborn babies Saddam Hussein following his capture by US forces in Iraq last weekend. "He's a cross between a hero and a tyrant, but we choose to remember his good side," Rohcidee Lertariyapongkul, chairman of the Muslim Youth Association of Thailand, was quoted as saying in the Bangkok Post. "One way to do it is to let our babies bear his name."

BBC BOSSES BAN REPORTERS FROM CALLING SADDAM A FORMER DICTATOR

"Be polite to Mr Saddam" (The Sun, UK). "BBC bosses have banned reporters from calling tyrant Saddam Hussein a former dictator. Instead, staff must refer to the barbaric mass murderer as "the deposed former President"... Labour MP Kevan Jones, of the Commons Defence Select Committee, said: "This shows the crass naivety of the BBC. Such political correctness will be deeply hurtful to many of our servicemen serving in Iraq."

FATWA ISSUED AGAINST POETRY BOOK

"Islamic Clerics ban poetry for women" (Sunday Times/All Africa Global Media, Johannesburg, November 9, 2003). "A prestigious Sunni Islam institution, the Al-Azhar University, has banned an Egyptian book of poetry, claiming it is obscene... Last Saturday, a 28-member committee of Al-Azhar's Islamic Research Academy issued a fatwa, or religious edict, saying the book should not be circulated or republished, and claimed that the book was an open invitation to obscenity in suggesting that women should surrender themselves without shame to passion, and parade naked before their lovers... Last month, a United Nations-sponsored report said the relatively tiny and restricted number of books being published in the Arab world was one of the reasons Arab societies were falling far short of their potential."

SADDAM SHOULD BE SYMBOLICALLY SENTENCED TO DEATH

"Saddam should face death sentence-Belgian cardinal" (Reuters, December 21, 2003). "A liberal Belgian cardinal tipped as a possible successor to Pope John Paul said today that Saddam Hussein should be symbolically sentenced to death to satisfy public opinion but not executed."

SADDAM VERDICT TO TAKE FIVE YEARS

"Saddam verdict expected to take five years" (Sunday Telegraph, U.K., December 21, 2003). "Iraqi officials and judges involved in setting up Baghdad's new war crimes court have revealed that Saddam Hussein's trial will not be finished for five years, despite the clamor for speedy justice since his arrest last week."


FULL ARTICLES

“SADDAM” A POPULAR NEW BABY NAME

'Saddam' a popular new baby name
From correspondents in Bangkok, Thailand
The Australian
December 19, 2003

www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,8211753%255E1702,00.html

Some Muslims in Thailand have named their newborn babies Saddam Hussein following his capture by US forces in Iraq last weekend.

"He's a cross between a hero and a tyrant, but we choose to remember his good side," Rohcidee Lertariyapongkul, chairman of the Muslim Youth Association of Thailand, was quoted as saying in the Bangkok Post. "One way to do it is to let our babies bear his name."

Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, but its southernmost provinces are Muslim-dominated. Some Thai Muslims don't believe the man captured near Tikrit, Iraq, and purported to be Saddam is really him, and dismiss the capture as US propaganda, Rohcidee said.

Navi Tohyor, a 36-year-old father from the southern province of Narathiwat, said he and his wife have named their newborn son Saddam. "What Mr. Saddam did is right and legitimate," Mr Navi said. "He stood up against the US, the foreign invader. He's a fighter, not a bandit. I'm proud to name my son after him."

 

BE POLITE TO MR SADDAM

Be polite to Mr Saddam
By Nic Cecil
The Sun
Political Correspondent

www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2003583553,00.html

Barmy BBC bosses have banned reporters from calling tyrant Saddam Hussein a former dictator. Instead, staff must refer to the barbaric mass murderer as "the deposed former President".

The astonishing edict was seized on by MPs last night as more proof of a Left-wing bias inside the BBC against the Iraqi war.

Labour MP Kevan Jones, of the Commons Defence Select Committee, said: "This shows the crass naivety of the BBC. Such political correctness will be deeply hurtful to many of our servicemen serving in Iraq.

"It amply demonstrates elements of the BBC have got a clearly anti-war and anti-Government agenda."

Labour MP Ann Clwyd, who chairs the Indict group which has dossiers on the crimes of Saddam, his sons and henchmen, was astounded at the BBC's stance.

She said: "It's frankly ridiculous. Saddam Hussein is a despot, a murderer and a torturer. He will have to answer charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide."

Tory Party chairman Liam Fox also slammed the Beeb which was accused during the war of giving too much weight to Iraqi propaganda. He said: "To afford this level of politeness to a tyrant, torturer and murderer is deeply offensive to the Iraqi people. "It is also an insult to the Coalition forces who have sacrificed so much to liberate Iraq from the evil of Saddam."

The BBC said the email spelling out the instruction was sent to reporters on its online website, which serves a global audience.

A spokeswoman said: "This was reiterating existing guidelines to remind BBC News Online journalists of the need to use neutral language." Later she said the ban on calling Saddam a dictator did not apply to domestic services. But a BBC insider said: "This is our daftest order ever."

Saddam has been put on a drip since his capture. Medical experts believe he became dehydrated and malnourished during his eight months on the run.

Two US soldiers were feared dead and another wounded after a military tanker truck exploded on a road outside Baghdad yesterday.

 

ISLAMIC CLERICS BAN POETRY FOR WOMEN

Islamic Clerics ban poetry for women
Sunday Times/All Africa Global Media
November 9, 2003

A prestigious Sunni Islam institution, the Al-Azhar University, has banned an Egyptian book of poetry, claiming it is obscene. But the author of the book, poet Ahmed Shahawi, has fuelled a new controversy between the arts and religion in Egypt by insisting that he will defy the edict and reprint copies of Commandments of Love for Women.

In the book, Shahawi advises women on how to show love and keep men attracted, combining Koranic verses with sometimes explicit language.

For example, "Know that there is nothing greater than the meeting of your souls and the joining of your bodies."

And "The Prophet said there is nothing better for those who are in love than love-making within wedlock."

Innocuous as these statements may seem, the book's religious critics have argued that the Islamic references have been taken out of context and should not be used to describe sex or other acts of intimacy.

The BBC reported that, in September, an Islamist legislator protested against the book in parliament causing the publishers to order it off the shelves for review by both a reading committee and clerics at Al-Azhar. However, the book was back on shelves a day later, reportedly due to the intervention of official figures.

Outside of Al-Azhar, scholars have praised the book for its affinity with Islamic mysticism known as Sufism, which regards the love of women as a means of loving God.

But last Saturday, a 28-member committee of Al-Azhar's Islamic Research Academy issued a fatwa, or religious edict, saying the book should not be circulated or republished, and claimed that the book was an open invitation to obscenity in suggesting that women should surrender themselves without shame to passion, and parade naked before their lovers.

Shahawi has argued that the ruling against his book had nothing to do with religion.

And according to his publishers, Al-Azhar does not have the authority to ban books, only to recommend what people should read.

Meanwhile, Egyptian literary and human-rights groups have protested against the edict as a threat to freedom of expression, claiming that it demonstrated the increasing censorship practis ed by religious institutions.

Last month, a United Nations-sponsored report said the relatively tiny and restricted number of books being published in the Arab world was one of the reasons Arab societies were falling far short of their potential.

 

BELGIAN CARDINAL: SADDAM SHOULD FACE DEATH SENTENCE

Saddam should face death sentence-Belgian cardinal
Reuters
December 21, 2003

A liberal Belgian cardinal tipped as a possible successor to Pope John Paul said on Sunday Saddam Hussein should be symbolically sentenced to death to satisfy public opinion but not executed.

U.S. President George W. Bush has said Saddam deserved the "ultimate penalty" for his brutal rule in Iraq, stirring unease in Europe, where the death penalty is banned, and concern in the Middle East that the ex-dictator's fate has already been sealed.

Cardinal Godfried Danneels, archbishop in Brussels, said no one had the right even when it came to Saddam "to effectively rob him of his life."

"On the other hand, you have to show to the world opinion that these things are absolutely not acceptable," he told Flemish VRT Television.

"I see no other way than to symbolically pronounce the death penalty... because for the public opinion and for the world, he would then be stricken from the book of the living," Danneels said, adding that the sentence should be turned into life imprisonment.

U.S. forces are keeping the ousted 66-year-old dictator at a secret location for interrogation before he is put on trial in the months ahead.

The pope has called for a worldwide ban on the death penalty, saying there are practically no cases where it is necessary.

 

SADDAM VERDICT EXPECTED TO TAKE FIVE YEARS

Saddam verdict expected to take five years
By Colin Freeman and Philip Sherwell in Baghdad
Sunday Telegraph, U.K.
December 21, 2003

Iraqi officials and judges involved in setting up Baghdad's new war crimes court have revealed that Saddam Hussein's trial will not be finished for five years, despite the clamour for speedy justice since his arrest last week.

The desire among many ordinary Iraqis for their former dictator to be tried rapidly must be sacrificed to the need for a full and open hearing that satisfies international legal standards, officials say.

Mouwafak al-Rubaie, the member of Iraq's new governing council who is responsible for setting up the war crimes tribunal, said: "Five years is the best estimate of how long it may take, from where we are now to actually reaching a verdict.

"It will obviously cause impatience among the Iraqi people, but I don't think that there is anything that can be done about that."

Iraqi judges, who are drafting new laws of genocide and war crimes to be incorporated into the country's legal system, say that the volume and complexity of the cases against Saddam mean that it will take at least a year to formulate charges.

Little preparatory work has been done because Saddam was not expected to be taken alive. Further delays will be caused by the fact that Iraq's legal system, badly undermined under his regime, is new to the intricacies of war crimes law.

"Even if we stick to just a few main charges, it is still a lot to cope with," said one senior judge. "Kurds, Shias and other communities who suffered under Saddam want to have their cases aired properly in court. Many people will want to give evidence."

Matters may be further delayed by international debate over whether Saddam should be tried in Iraq at all. Human rights groups believe that he should be handed over to an international criminal court, similar to the one in The Hague, while America and Britain are content for all culpable ex-regime leaders to be tried by Iraqis themselves.

On Friday, John Negroponte, America's ambassador to the United Nations, insisted that no decision had yet been made. But after giving their blessing to Iraq's war crimes court two weeks ago, the coalition's leading partners would find it hard to make an exception for Saddam.

Charges against the former leader are expected to be restricted to a handful of key events in Iraq's recent, bloody history – including atrocities ordered during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, the gassing and persecution of Kurds, the invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the brutal suppression of the Shia and Kurdish rebellions in 1991.

A five-year wait for a verdict would put Saddam's trial on a par with that of Slobodan Milosevic, the Serb leader on trial at The Hague, whose hearing began in February 2002, and has no immediate end in sight.

The coalition, however, hopes that the process can be speeded up. "Five years would be abnormally long," said one senior legal official. "We hope to get the trial under way by the end of next year, but it is impossible to say how long it will be before he finally leaves the dock."

Saddam is expected to use the platform of a public trial to mount a strident political defence of his regime, and to remind an international audience that he once had allies in Western Europe, America and the old Soviet Union, particularly during Iraq's war with the Islamic regime of Iran.

With his penchant for rambling rhetoric, his self-obsessed view of history and his determination to be remembered as a great Arab leader, the chance to justify himself to the world and embarrass former allies in the process would be too good to miss, say friends and foes alike.

Badir Arief Izzat, a leading Baghdad lawyer who already represents several other former Ba'athist leaders and has volunteered to work on Saddam's case pro bono, said: "This tribunal will embarrass Bush the father and that will be bad for Bush the son. Saddam will talk and the whole world will be able to listen."

Jacques Verges, the veteran French lawyer whose previous clients include the Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, and who, the Telegraph revealed last week, is representing Tariq Aziz, Saddam's former trusted aide, has also offered his services to the former dictator's family.

He hinted yesterday that Saddam's defence would highlight the international support he received while, for example, gassing Kurds at Halabja.

During a visit to Amman to meet Mr Aziz's relations, he said "all Western heads of state" from that era should also go on trial if Saddam ended up in the dock.


“On the twelfth day of Christmas, Arik Sharon sent me...”

December 20, 2003

* "On the twelfth day of Christmas, Arik Sharon sent me, twelve assassinations and an uprooted olive tree"

 

CONTENTS

1. War crimes and ghettoes
2. O little town of Bethlehem
3. Once in Royal David's city
4. The twelve days of Christmas
5. O come all ye faithful
6. In the bleak midwinter
7. The olive and the IDF
8. We four kings


[Note by Tom Gross]

WAR CRIMES AND GHETTOES

I attach the song sheet, sent out today in a mass emailing by the London-based organization "Jews for Justice for Palestinians."

Contained in these "carols" are references to Israeli "terror," "war crimes," "ghetto walls," "iron cages," and "Just like in Chechnya." There are no references to the sufferings of any of the hundreds of Jews murdered and thousands maimed in Palestinian terror attacks, or those Jews and others killed and injured recently in Istanbul and elsewhere.

 

SUMMARY OF “THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Arik Sharon sent me
Twelve assassinations,
Eleven homes demolished,
Ten wells obstructed,
Nine smashed computers,
Eight gunships firing,
Seven checkpoints blocking,
Six tanks a-rolling,
Five settlement rings.
Four falling bombs,
Three trench guns,
Two trampled doves,

And an uprooted olive tree.

 

"Jews for Justice for Palestinians," together with a group called "Just Peace UK," are planning to sing these carols in London on Mon 22nd Dec. at 6 pm at the Edith Cavell statue, near the National Gallery, (nearest tube: Charing Cross), and from 6.30 pm to 7 pm in Covent Garden, (probably Neal Street) and Leicester Square. They are planning to give out these song sheets with the carols (attached in full below) to passers by.

-- Tom Gross



CAROLS IN FULL

O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM

O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
A wall is laid where tourists stayed,
And tanks go rolling by.
And in thy dark streets shineth
No cheerful Christmas light;
The grief and fears of three sad years
Are met in thee tonight.

How silently, how silently
The world regards it all,
As now thy heart is torn apart
By Israel's ghetto wall.
They terrorize a people -
A war crime and a sin;
Their winding "fence" can make no sense;
Revenge can still get in.

O promised child of Bethlehem,
Cast down the iron cage,
The walls of hate that separate
And harden and enrage;
Bring justice and make equal;
Come down from far above;
And come to birth upon this earth,
As hope and peace and love.

 

ONCE IN ROYAL DAVID’S CITY

Once in royal David's city
Stood some big Israeli tanks;
Mothers giving birth to babies
Met with checkpoints and roadbanks.
Holy land was all defiled
As a bullet killed a child.

Round the ancient tomb of Rachel
They have built a ghetto wall;
Rachel's weeping for her children,
And "her children" means us all.
But this city's strangulated,
Rachel's children segregated.

David's people once instructed
All the world in righteousness;
Once they spoke of truth and justice,
Now they ravage and oppress.
Nations, look at Bethlehem,
And speak out the truth to them.

 

THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

On the first day of Christmas, Arik Sharon sent me
An uprooted olive tree.

On the second day of Christmas, Arik Sharon sent me
Two trampled doves
And an uprooted olive tree.

On the third day of Christmas, Arik Sharon sent me
Three trench guns,
Two trampled doves,
And an uprooted olive tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas, Arik Sharon sent me
Four falling bombs,
Three trench guns,
Two trampled doves,
And an uprooted olive tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas, Arik Sharon sent me
Five settlement rings.
Four falling bombs,
Three trench guns,
Two trampled doves,
And an uprooted olive tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas, Arik Sharon sent me
Six tanks a-rolling,
Five settlement rings.
Four falling bombs,
Three trench guns,
Two trampled doves,
And an uprooted olive tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas, Arik Sharon sent me
Seven checkpoints blocking,
Six tanks a-rolling,
Five settlement rings.
Four falling bombs,
Three trench guns,
Two trampled doves,
And an uprooted olive tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas, Arik Sharon sent me
Eight gunships firing,
Seven checkpoints blocking,
Six tanks a-rolling,
Five settlement rings.
Four falling bombs,
Three trench guns,
Two trampled doves,
And an uprooted olive tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas, Arik Sharon sent me
Nine smashed computers,
Eight gunships firing,
Seven checkpoints blocking,
Six tanks a-rolling,
Five settlement rings.
Four falling bombs,
Three trench guns,
Two trampled doves,
And an uprooted olive tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas, Arik Sharon sent me
Ten wells obstructed,
Nine smashed computers,
Eight gunships firing,
Seven checkpoints blocking,
Six tanks a-rolling,
Five settlement rings.
Four falling bombs,
Three trench guns,
Two trampled doves,
And an uprooted olive tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Arik Sharon sent me
Eleven homes demolished,
Ten wells obstructed,
Nine smashed computers,
Eight gunships firing,
Seven checkpoints blocking,
Six tanks a-rolling,
Five settlement rings,
Four falling bombs,
Three trench guns,
Two trampled doves,
And an uprooted olive tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Arik Sharon sent me
Twelve assassinations,
Eleven homes demolished,
Ten wells obstructed,
Nine smashed computers,
Eight gunships firing,
Seven checkpoints blocking,
Six tanks a-rolling,
Five settlement rings.
Four falling bombs,
Three trench guns,
Two trampled doves,

And an uprooted olive tree.

 

O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL

O come all ye faithful,
All who care for justice,
O look ye, O look ye at Bethlehem;
Come and behold it
Under occupation.
O come, let's not ignore it,
O come, let's not ignore it,
O come, let's not ignore it,
Tell the world.

Sing, all ye people,
Sing in indignation,
Be with the citizens of Bethlehem;
Sing out for justice,
Freedom from oppression.
O come, let's not ignore it,
O come, let's not ignore it,
O come, let's not ignore it,
Tell the world.

 

IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER

In the bleak midwinter,
Refugees made moan;
Sharon stood like iron,
Bush was like a stone.
Tanks were rolling, tank on tank,
Tank on tank,
Through the camps of Gaza
And the West Bank.

How can we stop him,
Ariel Sharon?
Silence of the nations
Lets him carry on.
Where is there a wise man
Who could do his part?
Tell the world to stop him
With its heart.

 

THE OLIVE AND THE IDF

The olive and the IDF
When they are both full-grown,
Every olive tree on the West Bank
The IDF cuts down.

O the rampaging of settlers
And the rolling of the tanks;
The grinding of the bulldozers
As the olives fall in ranks.

The olive bears a berry
As green as any grass;
When the owners go to pick the fruit
They're not allowed to pass.

O the rampaging of settlers
And the rolling of the tanks;
The grinding of the bulldozers
As the olives fall in ranks.

This oppression bears a berry
As red as any blood,
As the owners see their livelihoods
All trampled into mud.

O the rampaging of settlers,
And the rolling of the tanks;
The grinding of the bulldozers
As the olives fall in ranks.

If you want to buy the olives,
You'll find it very hard;
To those that make it to checkpoints
The way outside is barred.

O the rampaging of settlers,
And the rolling of the tanks;
The grinding of the bulldozers
As the olives fall in ranks.

The olive and the IDF,
When they are both full-grown,
Every olive tree on the West Bank
The IDF cuts down.

 

WE FOUR KINGS

FOUR KINGS TOGETHER

We four kings, we're called the Quartet;
With a roadmap off we all set,
No-one knowing where we're going,
Or how far we can get.

CHORUS

O, map of wonder, map of light,
Map of promises so bright,
In three phases, through the mazes
Guide us with no end in sight.

1ST KING

I'm King George, the USA man;
And it goes according to plan;
Fighting terror, righting error;
After Iraq, Iran.

CHORUS

O, map of wonder, etc.

2ND KING

I this year am King of EU;
My name's known to more than a few -
Berlusconi; I and Tony
Take from King George our cue.

CHORUS

O map of wonder, etc.

3RD KING

I'm King Putin, Muscovite Tzar,
With this map I travel afar;
I'm partaking in peace-making,
Just like in Chechnya.

CHORUS

O map of wonder, etc.

4TH KING

I'm King Kofi, head of UN;
It makes laws again and again,
But ignored is, for the sword is
Mightier than the pen.

CHORUS

O map of wonder, etc..

FOUR KINGS TOGETHER

We four kings, we're all in a flap,
For we've got ourselves in a trap -
Stopped by trenches, walls and fences,
Not marked upon the map.

CHORUS

O map of wonder, etc.

FOUR KINGS TOGETHER

We four kings, bewildered we are,
For this map's not getting us far,
Nowhere leading - for we're needing
Not a map but a star.

CHORUS

O star of freedom, star of light,
Star of peace with justice bright,
Shining ever, they can never
Target-bomb thy perfect light.


9/11: Palestinian terrorist “Abu Nidal trained Mohammed Atta in Baghdad”

December 15, 2003

CONTENTS

1. "Al-Qaeda mastermind Mohammed Atta trained in Baghdad by Abu Nidal"
2. Atta "displayed extraordinary effort"
3. "Terrorist behind September 11 strike was trained by Saddam" (By Con Coughlin, Sunday Telegraph, U.K., December 14, 2003)
4. "Does this link Saddam to 9/11?" (By Con Coughlin, Sunday Telegraph, U.K., December 14, 2003)



“AL-QAEDA MASTERMIND MOHAMMED ATTA TRAINED IN BAGHDAD BY ABU NIDAL”

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach two articles from yesterday's Sunday Telegraph (UK), published shortly before Saddam's capture, alleging that Mohammed Atta, the al-Qaeda mastermind of the September 11 attacks against the U.S., was trained in Baghdad by the renegade Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal.

The articles are written by my former editor, Con Coughlin, the former foreign editor (and now associate editor) of the Sunday Telegraph. Coughlin is a leading expert on both Saddam and on Middle East terror groups, with a wide range of contacts throughout the region. Many of his "exclusives" have proven correct in the past. He is the author of "Saddam: The Secret Life," among other books.

Abu Nidal, was previously head of the Fatah-Revolutionary Council, killed at least 275 people and wounded over 1000 in dozens of attacks on mainly Israeli, Jewish, American and moderate Arab targets. These include the massacre of 22 Jewish worshipers during Sabbath services at the Neve Shalom Synagogue in Istanbul on Sept. 6, 1986 (the same synagogue that was bombed last month); the killing of six people in a grenade attack on the Jo Goldenberg Jewish restaurant in Paris on Aug. 9, 1982; the killing of 19 people and the wounding of 111 at the El Al check-in desks at Rome and Vienna airports on Dec. 27, 1985; the killing of 88 people on a TWA flight from Israel to Greece Oct. 8, 1974; the killing of 32 passengers on board a Pan Am jet at Rome Airport on Dec. 17, 1973.

He also assassinated a number of Palestinian, Jordanian and Egyptian moderates.

Abu Nidal was based in Baghdad, under Saddam's personal protection, for most of his career. He was murdered in August 2002 in Baghdad, probably on Saddam's orders after falling out with Saddam.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

ATTA “DISPLAYED EXTRAORDINAIRY EFFORT”

1. "Terrorist behind September 11 strike was trained by Saddam," (By Con Coughlin, Sunday Telegraph, U.K., December 14, 2003). "Iraq's coalition government claims that it has uncovered documentary proof that Mohammed Atta, the al-Qaeda mastermind of the September 11 attacks against the US, was trained in Baghdad by Abu Nidal, the notorious Palestinian terrorist. Details of Atta's visit to the Iraqi capital in the summer of 2001, just weeks before he launched the most devastating terrorist attack in US history, are contained in a top secret memo written to Saddam Hussein, the then Iraqi president, by Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, the former head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service. The handwritten memo, a copy of which has been obtained exclusively by the Telegraph, is dated July 1, 2001 and provides a short resume of a three-day "work programme" Atta had undertaken at Abu Nidal's base in Baghdad. In the memo, Habbush reports that Atta "displayed extraordinary effort" and demonstrated his ability to lead the team that would be "responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy". [Full article below]

2. "Does this link Saddam to 9/11?" (By Con Coughlin, Sunday Telegraph, U.K., December 14, 2003).



FULL ARTICLES

TERRORIST BEHIND SEPTEMBER 11 STRIKE WAS TRAINED BY SADDAM

Terrorist behind September 11 strike was trained by Saddam
By Con Coughlin
Sunday Telegraph, U.K.
December 14, 2003

Iraq's coalition government claims that it has uncovered documentary proof that Mohammed Atta, the al-Qaeda mastermind of the September 11 attacks against the US, was trained in Baghdad by Abu Nidal, the notorious Palestinian terrorist.

Details of Atta's visit to the Iraqi capital in the summer of 2001, just weeks before he launched the most devastating terrorist attack in US history, are contained in a top secret memo written to Saddam Hussein, the then Iraqi president, by Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, the former head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.

The handwritten memo, a copy of which has been obtained exclusively by the Telegraph, is dated July 1, 2001 and provides a short resume of a three-day "work programme" Atta had undertaken at Abu Nidal's base in Baghdad.

In the memo, Habbush reports that Atta "displayed extraordinary effort" and demonstrated his ability to lead the team that would be "responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy".

The second part of the memo, which is headed "Niger Shipment", contains a report about an unspecified shipment – believed to be uranium – that it says has been transported to Iraq via Libya and Syria.

Although Iraqi officials refused to disclose how and where they had obtained the document, Dr Ayad Allawi, a member of Iraq's ruling seven-man Presidential Committee, said the document was genuine.

"We are uncovering evidence all the time of Saddam's involvement with al-Qaeda," he said. "But this is the most compelling piece of evidence that we have found so far. It shows that not only did Saddam have contacts with al-Qaeda, he had contact with those responsible for the September 11 attacks."

Although Atta is believed to have been resident in Florida in the summer of 2001, he is known to have used more than a dozen aliases, and intelligence experts believe he could easily have slipped out of the US to visit Iraq.

Abu Nidal, who was responsible for the failed assassination of the Israeli ambassador to London in 1982, was based in Baghdad for more than two decades.

 

DOES THIS LINK SADDAM TO 9/11?

Does this link Saddam to 9/11?
By Con Coughlin
Sunday Telegraph, U.K.
December 14, 2003

A document discovered by Iraq's interim government details a meeting between the man behind the September 11 attacks and Abu Nidal, the Palestinian terrorist, at his Baghdad training camp. Con Coughlin reports.

For anyone attempting to find evidence to justify the war in Iraq, the discovery of a document that directly links Mohammed Atta, the al-Qaeda mastermind of the September 11 attacks, with the Baghdad training camp of Abu Nidal, the infamous Palestinian terrorist, appears almost too good to be true.

Ever since four hijacked civilian jets devastated the United States' eastern seaboard on September 11, 2001, there have been any number of reports circulating Western intelligence agencies suggesting that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had close links to al-Qaeda.

Most of the claims relate to meetings between al-Qaeda and Iraqi intelligence to discuss co-operation on matters such as funding, training and equipment.

Prior to the discovery of the document published today by the Telegraph, the most controversial report related to the suggestion that Atta had met Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, a senior Iraqi intelligence officer, in Prague in April 2001.

But while both President Bush and Tony Blair have dropped numerous hints that they believe there was a significant level of co-operation between Saddam and al-Qaeda, their respective intelligence agencies have actively sought to downplay the significance of the relationship, especially the suggestion that Saddam was in any way involved in the September 11 attacks.

To this end America's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), with the backing of Britain's MI6, have poured scorn on Atta's Prague meeting.

However, the tantalising detail provided in the intelligence document uncovered by Iraq's interim government suggests that Atta's involvement with Iraqi intelligence may well have been far deeper than has hitherto been acknowledged.

Written in the neat, precise hand of Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, the former head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) and one of the few named in the US government's pack of cards of most-wanted Iraqis not to have been apprehended, the personal memo to Saddam is signed by Habbush in distinctive green ink.

Headed simply "Intelligence Items", and dated July 1, 2001, it is addressed: "To the President of the Ba'ath Revolution Party and President of the Republic, may God protect you."

The first paragraph states that "Mohammed Atta, an Egyptian national, came with Abu Ammer (an Arabic nom-de-guerre – his real identity is unknown) and we hosted him in Abu Nidal's house at al-Dora under our direct supervision.

"We arranged a work programme for him for three days with a team dedicated to working with him... He displayed extraordinary effort and showed a firm commitment to lead the team which will be responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy."

There is nothing in the document that provides any clue to the identity of the "targets", although Iraqi officials say it is a coded reference to the September 11 attacks.

The second item contains a report of how Iraqi intelligence, helped by "a small team from the al-Qaeda organisation", arranged for an (unspecified) shipment from Niger to reach Baghdad by way of Libya and Syria.

Iraqi officials believe this is a reference to the controversial shipments of uranium ore Iraq acquired from Niger to aid Saddam in his efforts to develop an atom bomb, although there is no explicit reference in the document to this.

Habbush writes that the successful completion of the shipment was "the fruit of your excellent secret meeting with Bashir al-Asad (the Syrian president) on the Iraqi-Syrian border", and concludes: "May God protect you and save you to all Arab nations."

While it is almost impossible to ascertain whether or not the document is legitimate or a clever fake, Iraqi officials working for the interim government are convinced of its authenticity, even though they decline to reveal where and how they obtained it. "It is not important how we found it," said a senior Iraqi security official. "The important thing is that we did find it and the information it contains."

A leading member of Iraq's governing council, who asked not to be named, said he was convinced of the document's authenticity.

"There are people who are working with us who used to work with Habbush who are convinced that it is his handwriting and signature. We are uncovering evidence all the time of Saddam's dealings with al-Qaeda, and this document shows the extent of the old regime's involvement with the international terrorist network."

This is the second document published by this newspaper that appears to highlight Saddam's links with al-Qaeda. Earlier this year the Telegraph published details of another Iraqi intelligence document that indicated Saddam's regime was attempting to set up a meeting with Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader, who was then based in Sudan.

Intelligence experts point out that a memo such as that written by Habbush would of necessity be vague and short. "Trained intelligence officers hate putting anything down in writing," said one former CIA officer. "You never know where it might turn up."

Certainly the memo's detail concerning Mohammed Atta and Abu Nidal fits in with the known movements of the two terrorists in the summer of 2001. Abu Nidal, the renegade Palestinian terrorist responsible for a wave of outrages in the 1980s, such as the 1985 bomb attacks on Rome and Vienna airports, was based in Baghdad, under Saddam's personal protection, for most of his career.

Having briefly relocated to Libya, Abu Nidal returned to Baghdad at some point in early 2001. At the time it was assumed that Saddam had lured the Palestinian terrorist back to help the Iraqi leader plan a number of terrorist attacks aimed at destabilising American plans to remove him.

In particular, Saddam wanted Abu Nidal to revive his network of "sleeper cells" in Europe and the Middle East to carry out a new wave of attacks. During 2001 Abu Nidal lived in a number of houses in the Baghdad area, including a spacious home in the al-Dora district where he is reported to have met Atta.

The relationship between Abu Nidal and Saddam, however, quickly turned sour, mainly because – as the Telegraph reported at the time – the ageing Palestinian leader was reluctant to accede to Saddam's request to train al-Qaeda fighters in sophisticated terrorist techniques.

Abu Nidal was murdered in August 2002, although the Iraqis tried to claim that he had committed suicide. Habbush appeared at a hastily arranged press conference in Baghdad in an attempt to persuade the sceptical Arab media that Abu Nidal had taken his own life after Iraqi investigators had uncovered a plot to assassinate Saddam.

Although Western intelligence agencies have attempted to trace Atta's movements in the months preceding September 11, there remain several periods during which his precise whereabouts are unknown. Having moved to Florida from Hamburg in 2000, Atta is known to have made at least two trips from the US to Europe in 2001.

In early January he flew to Madrid for a few days. His next confirmed trip was to Zurich in early July. In between, American investigators have concluded from a detailed examination of Atta's credit cards and phone records, that he spent most of the spring and early summer of 2001 in Florida, interspersed by occasional domestic trips. The only confirmed sighting of Atta during this period, however, was on April 26 when he was pulled over for a traffic violation in Florida.

This traffic offence, taken with other evidence collated by FBI agents, is one of the reasons that CIA officials have discounted the report that Atta met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague earlier in the month (the Czech authorities claim Atta was in Prague on April 8). Yesterday the New York Times reported that Ani, who was taken into US custody last July, had told American interrogators that he had not met Atta in Prague.

"The Prague meeting does not appear very convincing," said Lorenzo Vidino, a terrorism analyst at The Investigative Project, a non-profit organisation that investigates international terrorism, in Washington. "But even if that meeting did not take place you have to remember that Atta used a large number of aliases when he travelled. It is not inconceivable that Atta slipped out of the US undetected sometime in the first half of 2001."

The US Congressional report into the September 11 attacks states that Atta used 16 to 17 known aliases, although American intelligence experts concede that there may have been others.

It is entirely conceivable, then, that Atta secretly made his way to Baghdad to undertake training with Abu Nidal a few months before the September 11 attacks. But as long as Saddam and his senior intelligence operatives remain at large, it is impossible to assess just how much they knew about, and were involved in, the planning and execution of the September 11 atrocities.

Many Palestinians mark “black day” as Saddam is captured

CONTENTS

1. "Palestinians mark 'black day' of Saddam capture" (Reuters, Dec. 14, 2003)
2. "Sadness at feeble display by a hero to Palestine" (Herald & Times, Scotland, Dec. 15, 2003)
3. Shock in Jerusalem at Saddam's capture" (Independent, London, Dec. 15, 2003)
4. "Jubilation across the world and even Arab nations shed few tears" (Independent, London, Dec. 15, 2003)
5. "Iran happy over capture of Saddam" (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Network, Dec. 15, 2003)
6. "Mourning capture of man seen as Arab hero" (Boston Globe, Dec. 15, 2003)



[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach six news reports concerning the reaction to the capture of Saddam Hussein, in the Palestinian territories, Iran, and elsewhere. There are summaries first for those who don't have time to read these reports in full.

SUMMARIES

“OH, SADDAM. BOMB, BOMB TEL AVIV”

"Palestinians mark 'black day' of Saddam capture," (By Mohammed Assadi, Reuters, December 14, 2003). "Disbelief and gloom seized many Palestinians on Sunday at news of Saddam Hussein's capture while Israel, which came under Iraqi Scud missile attack in the 1991 Gulf War, hailed the United States for capturing Saddam. The former Iraqi ruler was a hero to many Palestinians for giving financial aid to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers and others who died in a three-year-old uprising. "It's a black day in history," said Sadiq Husam, 33, a taxi driver in Ramallah, West Bank seat of the Palestinian Authority.

... Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and his government made no comment. But Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi, a senior leader of the militant Hamas group, said the United States would "pay a very high price for the mistake" of capturing Saddam... Saddam paid over $35 million to the kin of Palestinian suicide bombers, militants and bystanders who died in an uprising that began in 2000... Palestinian protesters were often heard chanting: "Oh, Saddam. Oh, Saddam. Bomb, bomb Tel Aviv"... "Maybe they captured someone who looks like him," said Laila Abusharigh, 55, in the Gaza Strip. "Saddam is a real man and all of us are with him."

“I LOVE HIM SO MUCH, I CAN’T STAND WATCHING IT”

"Sadness at feeble display by a hero to Palestine" (By Allan Laing, Herald & Times, Scotland, December 15 2003). "For some Palestinians, the television footage of their self-proclaimed benefactor submitting to a humiliating beard-pulling and face-prodding exam by his American captors was too painful to watch... Most were disappointed that Saddam went quietly into captivity, saying that the honourable thing would have been to commit suicide. Saddam was widely seen in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as the Palestinians' most steadfast supporter, agitating for the destruction of Israel and emphasising the plight of the Palestinians in nearly every speech.

... "This is a black day for the Arab world," said Salman Awad, a 24-year-old law student watching television in a Gaza City coffee shop. "Saddam was a symbol of grandeur and represented the hopes of all Arabs." ... During the past three years of fighting, Saddam sent millions of pounds to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including £18,000 for the family of each suicide bomber and £7000 for each Palestinian killed in fighting with Israelis... In a Gaza City pool hall, a dozen men continued playing as the news was broadcast on a television. "I love him so much, I can't stand watching it," said Raafat Logman, 23."

“WHAT IF HE WAS A DICTATOR? ALL THE ARAB LEADERS ARE DICTATORS”

"Shock in Jerusalem at Saddam's capture" (By Eric Silver and Sa'id Ghazali in Jerusalem, The Independent, London, December 15, 2003). "In East Jerusalem... Mahmoud Azmi, a 25-year-old porter, said he was shocked by the arrest. "Saddam was the only one who said no to the Americans," he explained. "All the others bowed down before them. What if he was a dictator? All the Arab leaders are dictators." Mohammed Abdel Fatah, a 48-year-old cook, concurred: "Saddam was the best. All the other Arab leaders were collaborators and traitors, including ours."

EVEN ARAB NATIONS SHED FEW TEARS

"Jubilation across the world and even Arab nations shed few tears," (By Katherine Butler, The Independent, London, December 15, 2003). "Western leaders, even those who opposed the US war against Saddam's Iraq, hailed news of the capture of the tyrant as a turning point, and acknowledged the achievement of the forces who caught him without firing a shot... Jacques Chirac, the most strident leader of the European anti-war camp said the arrest was an event which "should strongly contribute to the democratisation and the stabilisation of Iraq". The German chancellor, Gerhard Schrφder, greeted the development "with much happiness". In a telegram to George Bush, he called for intensified efforts to rebuild Iraq... in the Arab world.

The Kuwaiti information minister, Mohammed Abulhassan "thanked God" that Saddam had been captured alive "so that he can be tried for the heinous crimes he has committed"... Shares on the Tel Aviv stock exchange rose by more than 3 per cent."

“I AM HAPPY THEY HAVE ARRESTED A CRIMINAL”

"Iran happy over capture of Saddam" (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Network, December 15, 2003). "Iran's Vice President Mohammed Ali Abtahi expressed satisfaction Sunday over the capture of Saddam Hussein, whom he described as a "criminal" who committed many crimes against the Iranians. "I am happy they have arrested a criminal, whoever it may be, and I am even more happy because it is a criminal who committed so many crimes against Iranians," Abtahi told reporters in the first official Iranian reaction to the arrest... The Islamic Republic blames Saddam for hundreds of thousands of Iranians killed in the eight-year war, and says it was subjected to Iraqi chemical attacks."

“I EXPECTED HIM TO DIE LIKE A MARTYR”

"Mourning capture of man seen as Arab hero" (Boston Globe, December 15, 2003). Many Palestinians in this hardscrabble refugee camp voiced anger and sorrow yesterday at the news that American troops captured Saddam Hussein, describing the former Iraqi dictator as a hero who stood up to the United States and Israel... in al-Amari, between Jerusalem and Ramallah, residents mainly grieved. Several men gathered around a television set at the Abul-Abed barbershop, shaking their heads at pictures of Hussein being examined by an American doctor after troops pulled him from a hovel near his hometown of Tikrit. "I'm shocked by this. I didn't expect him to be captured this way," said Mohammed Hamad, who owns the barbershop and visited Iraq five years ago.

... Hamad said he was surprised Hussein did not put up a fight when American soldiers came to get him. "I expected him to die like a martyr," he said. But others in the barbershop speculated that the Americans used a gas to drug Hussein and then seized him.

"He is a brave man. I swear by God, this is a big loss," said Daoud Abu Alez, who came to the barbershop for a shave...



FULL ARTICLES

PALESTINIANS MARK “BLACK DAY” OF SADDAM CAPTURE

Palestinians mark 'black day' of Saddam capture
By Mohammed Assadi
Reuters
December 14, 2003

reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=3989848

Disbelief and gloom seized many Palestinians on Sunday at news of Saddam Hussein's capture while Israel, which came under Iraqi Scud missile attack in the 1991 Gulf War, hailed the United States for capturing Saddam.

The former Iraqi ruler was a hero to many Palestinians for his stand against Israel and its U.S. ally, as well as for giving financial aid to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers and others who died in a three-year-old uprising.

For Israel, he was a menace over the horizon who long bankrolled the enemy and the Iraqi leader rained at least 30 Scud missiles on Israeli cities during the 1991 Gulf War.

"It's a black day in history," said Sadiq Husam, 33, a taxi driver in Ramallah, West Bank seat of the Palestinian Authority.

"I am saying so not because Saddam is an Arab, but because he is the only man who said 'no' to American injustice in the Middle East," he said.

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and his government made no comment. But Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi, a senior leader of the militant Hamas group, said the United States would "pay a very high price for the mistake" of capturing Saddam.

"What the United States did is ugly and despicable. It is an insult to all Arabs and an insult to Muslims," he told Reuters.

Islamic factions sworn to Israel's destruction have taken strength from Iraqi resistance and cautioned on Sunday that Saddam's capture would not end attacks on U.S. forces.

As Palestinians lamented Saddam's capture, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon telephoned U.S. President George W. Bush to congratulate him on "a great day for the democratic world".

"I believe that dictatorships in general and those who support terror in particular learned a historic lesson today," Sharon told Bush in the telephone call.

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, currently visiting Washington, said Saddam's capture proved persistence paid off in the "uncompromising battle against terrorism and totalitarian regimes" and it would promote regional stability.

Saddam paid over $35 million to the kin of Palestinian suicide bombers, militants and bystanders who died in an uprising that began in 2000.

Although far from all Palestinians supported him, militants marched to back Saddam ahead of the U.S.-led invasion in March and Palestinian protesters were often heard chanting: "Oh, Saddam. Oh, Saddam. Bomb, bomb Tel Aviv".

During the 1991 Gulf War, Palestinians cheered as Iraqi Scud missiles crashed into Israeli cities.

Some did not believe news of Saddam's capture even when images of the bearded figure flashed across television screens.

"Maybe they captured someone who looks like him," said Laila Abusharigh, 55, in the Gaza Strip. "Saddam is a real man and all of us are with him."

(Additional reporting by Shahdi al-Kashif in Gaza and Dan Williams in Jerusalem)

 

SADNESS AT FEEBLE DISPLAY BY A HERO TO PALESTINE

Sadness at feeble display by a hero to Palestine
By Allan Laing
Herald & Times (Scotland)
December 15 2003

For some Palestinians, the television footage of their self-proclaimed benefactor submitting to a humiliating beard-pulling and face-prodding exam by his American captors was too painful to watch.

Others gave up on former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein months ago when US forces toppled his regime. News of his capture simply brought closure to the painful tale of defeat.

Most were disappointed that Saddam went quietly into captivity, saying that the honourable thing would have been to commit suicide.

Saddam was widely seen in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as the Palestinians' most steadfast supporter, agitating for the destruction of Israel and emphasising the plight of the Palestinians in nearly every speech. He gave financial support to suicide bombers and launched missiles at Israel during the first Gulf War in 1991.

But the streets of Gaza were quiet yesterday when the world was told of his capture. "This is a black day for the Arab world," said Salman Awad, a 24-year-old law student watching television in a Gaza City coffee shop. "Saddam was a symbol of grandeur and represented the hopes of all Arabs."

Others in the coffee shop were paying little attention to the television screens. "Saddam fell the day Baghdad fell, not today. Today is just the end of his flight – if that is the real Saddam," a man who gave his name as Abu Suleiman said as he got his hair cut in a barber shop, images of the scruffy, bearded Iraqi leader playing across a TV in the background.

The Palestinian Authority declined official comment. While Yasser Arafat, Palestinian leader, had supported Saddam in the 1991 Gulf War, his government had been careful to stay on the sidelines during the US-led invasion this year.

Mohammed Horani, a legislator from Arafat's ruling Fatah movement, said he expected many Arabs to have mixed feelings. "Saddam is a dictator and the Iraqi people suffered under him, but on the other hand, it was the (American) occupation that caught him," he said. "There will be a sense of confusion in the public."

Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian legislator and human rights activist, said the capture brings to an end a "painful and tragic chapter" in the region's history. She said as a result Arab leaders would realise "such regimes are part of the past, and this will encourage the people to move on and show them that democracy can move things".

Despite Saddam's treatment of his own people, he worked hard to cultivate an image as the Palestinians' greatest defender, an image he used to gain popular support throughout the Arab world.

During the past three years of fighting, Saddam sent millions of pounds to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including £18,000 for the family of each suicide bomber and £7000 for each Palestinian killed in fighting with Israelis.

But the rapid collapse of the Iraqi army in the face of the US invasion crushed the morale of many Palestinians. Saddam's eventual arrest was just another drop in their reservoir of dashed hopes.

In a Gaza City pool hall, a dozen men continued playing as the news was broadcast on a television. "I love him so much, I can't stand watching it," said Raafat Logman, 23.

 

SHOCK IN JERUSALEM AT SADDAM’S CAPTURE

Shock in Jerusalem at Saddam's capture
By Eric Silver and Sa'id Ghazali in Jerusalem
The Independent (London)
December 15, 2003

The flickering, 14-inch television screen in the Al Omal caf} opposite the Damascus Gate was tuned to the Telly Tubbies. An hour after the Americans announced that they'd "got him", news of Saddam Hussein's arrest spread through Arab East Jerusalem by old-fashioned word of mouth.

Kebabs sizzled, water pipes bubbled, leather-faced old men in black and white chequered head cloths went on playing cards. When we asked the young manager of the Al Jazeera pharmacy, lately renamed to cash in on the popular Arabic satellite station, what he thought about the arrest, he said: "Oh, have they caught him?"

In his heyday, the Iraqi dictator distributed more than $15 million to the families of Palestinian "martyrs." West Bank Arabs danced with delight when he fired Scud missiles on Tel-Aviv in 1991. But last night Palestinian Authority spokesmen were reluctant to comment.

With equal caution, Amr Moussa, the Arab League's secretary-general, said merely that the arrest was "an important event," adding that the Iraqi people should decide his fate. In Israel, by contrast, shares on the Tel-Aviv stock exchange soared more than 3 per cent in celebration.

In East Jerusalem, the card players and shopkeepers, bakers and building workers were divided. For some, Saddam was an Arab hero, for others a traitor who had betrayed the Palestinian cause. Most were sure, however, that his capture would not stop the resistance.

Mahmoud Azmi, a 25-year-old porter, said he was shocked by the arrest. "Saddam was the only one who said no to the Americans," he explained. "All the others bowed down before them. What if he was a dictator? All the Arab leaders are dictators."

Mohammed Abdel Fatah, a 48-year-old cook, concurred: "Saddam was the best. All the other Arab leaders were collaborators and traitors, including ours. He was the only one who fought the whole world."

But Ahmed Jebour, a 25-year-old building worker, said he was happy Saddam was under lock and key. "He destroyed the Palestinian people. He talked big, but he couldn't do anything." What about the Scuds, we asked, and the handouts to suicide bombers' families? "He did that for his own propaganda," Mr Jebour jeered.

Ahmed Mohammed, a 20-year-old baker, put it more succinctly: "Let him go to hell!"

Asked whether the arrest would reduce the violence in Iraq, Abed Mo'ez Saleimeh, an unemployed 58-year-old father of 12, replied: "The Iraqis got rid of Saddam's injustice, but they got an American occupation in its place. Like us, they will go on resisting."

Pausing between sips of sweet tea, Hamad Sa'adi Salameh, 74, agreed: "There are 26 million Iraqis, and they're not fighting for Saddam. They're fighting to end the American occupation. The Iraqi revolution is just like the Palestinian revolution."

The Telly Tubbies bounced and nodded on, but nobody was taking much notice.

 

JUBILATION ACROSS THE WORLD AND EVEN ARAB NATIONS SHED FEW TEARS

Jubilation across the world and even Arab nations shed few tears
By Katherine Butler
The Independent, London
December 15, 2003

Western leaders, even those who opposed the US war against Saddam's Iraq, hailed news of the capture of the tyrant as a turning point, and acknowledged the achievement of the forces who caught him without firing a shot.

Few tears were shed in the Arab world, a reflection of how devoid of allies the deposed Iraqi leader was at the end. Some Arab leaders warned the US, however, that Saddam should face justice in his own country.

Jacques Chirac, the most strident leader of the European anti-war camp said the arrest was an event which "should strongly contribute to the democratisation and the stabilisation of Iraq".

The German chancellor, Gerhard Schrφder, greeted the development "with much happiness". In a telegram to George Bush, he called for intensified efforts to rebuild Iraq.

Spain and Italy, both of which sent troops and backed the war, were jubilant. The Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, said: "The time has come for [Saddam] to pay for his crimes."

The Italian Premier, Silvio Berlusconi, phoned Mr Bush to congratulate him.

In Poland, which commands thousands of international troops in Iraq, the Defence Minister Jersey Szmajdzinski welcomed the news, but said the arrest could prompt retaliation from Saddam's supporters. "The coming days could be equally dangerous as these past days," he said.

The Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, whose decision to send troops to Iraq is deeply unpopular with his own people, predicted that the capture would improve security in Iraq.

Reaction was more mixed in the Arab world. There was jubilation in Kuwait, whose invasion by Iraq led to the 1991 Gulf war. The Kuwaiti information minister, Mohammed Abulhassan "thanked God" that Saddam had been captured alive "so that he can be tried for the heinous crimes he has committed".

Iran, Iraq's arch enemy, joined in the call for justice. The Vice-President, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, said: "Iranians have suffered a lot because of him and mass graves in Iraq prove the crimes he has committed against the Iraqi people."

Amr Moussa, the Arab League's secretary general, said merely that it was "an important event," stressing that the Iraqi people should decide his fate.

A Jordanian government statement fell short of welcoming the capture. It expressed hope nevertheless that it would contribute to the dawning of a new era in Iraq.

In Arab East Jerusalem, where Saddam was regarded as a hero because he bankrolled the families of Palestinian "martyrs", reactions were mixed. For some, Saddam was an Arab hero, for others he was a traitor who had betrayed the Palestinian cause.

Palestinian Authority spokesmen were reluctant to comment. Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, telephoned the White House. "Today is a great day for the democratic world," he said.

Shares on the Tel Aviv stock exchange rose by more than 3 per cent.

 

IRAN HAPPY OVER CAPTURE OF SADDAM

Iran happy over capture of Saddam
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Network
December 15, 2003

iribnews.com/Full_en.asp?news_id=194398&n=31

Iran's Vice President Mohammed Ali Abtahi expressed satisfaction Sunday over the capture of Saddam Hussein, whom he described as a "criminal" who committed many crimes against the Iranians.

"I am happy they have arrested a criminal, whoever it may be, and I am even more happy because it is a criminal who committed so many crimes against Iranians," Abtahi told reporters in the first official Iranian reaction to the arrest.

US overseer Paul Bremer confirmed Sunday that Saddam had been captured alive on Saturday night near his northern hometown of Tikrit.

"The arrest of Saddam Hussein could reinforce stability in Iraq because it will weaken the morale of his supporters," Abtahi added.

Although Iran, which fought a bitter 1980-1988 war against Saddam's Iraq, constantly opposed the US-led assault on Iraq, it rejoiced at the Iraqi leader's ouster in April.

The Islamic Republic blames Saddam for hundreds of thousands of Iranians killed in the eight-year war, and says it was subjected to Iraqi chemical attacks.

 

MOURNING CAPTURE OF MAN SEEN AS ARAB HERO

Mourning capture of man seen as Arab hero
By Dan Ephron
Boston Globe Correspondent
December 15, 2003

Many Palestinians in this hardscrabble refugee camp voiced anger and sorrow yesterday at the news that American troops captured Saddam Hussein, describing the former Iraqi dictator as a hero who stood up to the United States and Israel.

The sentiment was echoed in other parts of the West Bank, but Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who incurred Washington's wrath in 1991 by backing Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, made no comment on the US operation.

Israel welcomed the news and said it sent a signal to other dictators who support terrorism in the region. Some Israeli commentators suggested Hussein's incarceration might help lift the sagging peace process with the Palestinians.

But in al-Amari, between Jerusalem and Ramallah, residents mainly grieved. Several men gathered around a television set at the Abul-Abed barbershop, shaking their heads at pictures of Hussein being examined by an American doctor after troops pulled him from a hovel near his hometown of Tikrit.

"I'm shocked by this. I didn't expect him to be captured this way," said Mohammed Hamad, who owns the barbershop and visited Iraq five years ago.

"We Palestinians like Saddam because he's the only Arab leader who managed to scare Israel and the United States. He made Israelis hide in shelters and cover their faces with gas masks," Hamad said, referring to the 1991 Gulf war.

Iraq fired dozens of Scud missiles at Israel during that conflict, spurring some Palestinians to celebrate on rooftops across the West Bank. When the second Palestinian uprising against the Jewish state began nine years later, Hussein sent thousands of dollars to the families of suicide bombers and other militants killed by Israeli forces.

Hamad said he was surprised Hussein did not put up a fight when American soldiers came to get him. "I expected him to die like a martyr," he said. But others in the barbershop speculated that the Americans used a gas to drug Hussein and then seized him.

"He is a brave man. I swear by God, this is a big loss," said Daoud Abu Alez, who came to the barbershop for a shave.

Al-Amari, home to about 11,000 Palestinians, was the scene of several major clashes between militants and Israeli troops during more than three years of fighting. Wafa Idris, the first female suicide bomber in the conflict, came from this camp.

"I watched television for three hours and cried," said a 55-year-old shop owner who gave her name as Fatima. She predicted Iraqi fighters would step up their campaign to oust American soldiers.

Others gathered around American visitors to the camp and groused at the policies of President George W. Bush. "He hates Arabs. He is the real terrorist," one man said.

But not all Palestinians were lamenting Hussein's incarceration. In East Jerusalem, 25-year-old Imad Jbour described the fallen Iraqi leader as an aggressor who "committed a lot of injustice against his people.

"He was selling us words and slogans. He was using the Palestinian cause. But it was all political propaganda," said Jbour, a resident of the village of Yata, south of Hebron.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel phoned Bush yesterday to congratulate him on the American operation. In a statement issued by his office, Sharon described yesterday as "a great day for the democratic world, for fighters for freedom and justice and for those who fight against terror."

Some Israelis speculated that Iran would foment continued anti-US violence in Iraq, leading to more American casualties.

But Eran Lerman, a retired intelligence colonel who monitored Iraq and other Arab regimes until recently, said Hussein's capture would seriously undermine the resistance.

"It will certainly not disappear overnight. Some of the elements here are Islamist. But I think it's going to make a profound difference," said Lerman, who now heads the Israel office of the American Jewish Committee.

Lerman said Arafat had much to lose from Hussein's incarceration and possible trial for war crimes. "He was always hoping to see Saddam reemerging so that he could play him off against the Americans. That's why this is a very somber day for Arafat.

"But this could help clear up some of the clutter here and could give momentum to the peace process," he said.

Lerman said it was hard to understand why Palestinians had backed Hussein again and again at the price of American support and the financial backing of the Gulf states.

But Sa'id Aburish, a Palestinian biographer who wrote a scathing book about Hussein, said the former Iraqi leader appealed to the downtrodden by thumbing his nose at Israel and America.

"From day one, Saddam's prominence and his position in terms of the Arab street has depended on the fact that he's the man who stood up to the West, in particular in the United States," Aburish said.

"That hasn't changed to this day," he said.


The Guardian: More from Julie Burchill and others

December 09, 2003

CONTENTS

1. "The hate that shames us," (By Julie Burchill, Guardian weekend supplement, Dec. 6, 2003)
2. The Guardian "Letters" (Weekend section, Dec. 6, 2003)
3. "No, anti-Zionism is not anti-semitism" (By Brian Klug, Guardian, Dec. 3, 2003)


“WHERE THE POLITICAL IS PERSONAL”

[Note by Tom Gross]

This is a follow-up to the dispatch of Sunday, November 30, 2003 (The Guardian discovers modern anti-Semitism.)

In that dispatch, I noted that on November 29, the Guardian (the newspaper of choice for much of Britain's intelligentsia, which has more than 1.2 million readers in the UK and beyond) contained not one, but two articles in effect attacking its own record of Israel reporting.

These were (1) "Anti-Zionism is anti-semitism. Behind much criticism of Israel is a thinly veiled hatred of Jews," by Oxford University lecturer Emanuele Ottolenghi.

And (2) "Good, bad and ugly" by Julie Burchill, in which the non-Jewish columnist revealed she was leaving the Guardian in large part because of its "quite striking bias against the state of Israel" which was not "entirely different from anti-semitism." Burchill defined such anti-Semitism: "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."

FOLLOW-UP BY BURCHILL, AND TO OTTOLENGHI’S ARTICLE

In this dispatch, I attach (1) Burchill's follow-up article from last weekend ("The hate that shames us"); (2) a rebuke of Ottolenghi's article ("No, anti-Zionism is not anti-semitism," by Oxford University philosophy researcher, Brian Klug); and (3) readers' letters to the Guardian reacting to Burchill's first article.

The Guardian has carried one or two other features more understanding of Israel recently, but at the same time it has continued to fill its pages with many hostile articles and photos. For example, today, when much of the world's media article focused on the fact that Russian democracy "has been endangered" as a result of the "rigged" elections – "Russian elections 'distorted'," as the main headline in today's Financial Times put it – the Guardian carried a large type headline running across all 8 columns at the top of its front page, reading "Israel trains US assassination squads in Iraq." (In recent days the Guardian has carried several other articles singling out Israel, for example, claiming its universities are "racist" – even though, for example, the number of Arabs studying medicine at Tel Aviv University, has in fact increased six fold recently, whereas it is actually Sephardi Jews who are grossly under-represented.)

EUROPEAN ANTI-SEMITISM REPORT

Since my last dispatch on The Guardian, the suppressed EU 112-page "anti-Semitism report" has been widely leaked on the Internet, and published on the websites of several Jewish organizations and of the Jerusalem Post and Ha'aretz newspapers. That report specifically mentions "the two quality papers, the Guardian and the Independent," whose reporting on Israeli policy "is spiced with a tone of animosity, 'as to smell of anti-Semitism' as The Economist put it."

OTHER CRITICISMS OF THE GUARDIAN

Among the numerous criticisms leveled against The Guardian in the last year:

The Guardian's opinion page has featured a commentary titled "Israel simply has no right to exist."

When Ariel Sharon visited the Western Wall the day after winning the prime ministerial election, the Guardian ran a cartoon depicting him leaving bloody handprints on Judaism's holiest site.

And (as I have pointed out in dispatches last year) the Guardian's Middle East editor, Brian Whitaker, moonlights as the Web master for "Arab Gateway," an online portal for all things Arab.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

HYPOCRITICAL HATRED

1. "The hate that shames us," (By Julie Burchill, The Guardian weekend supplement, December 6, 2003). "... As I said last week, I have come to believe – looking at how anti-semitism is the only form of racial prejudice that unites both left and right, from the KKK to the PLO – that loathing the Jews is more about the personal than the political, despite the phoney, anticolonial cant of the anti-Zionists. For instance, I've noticed that some people use the Jews as a sort of warped magic mirror, accusing them of things that they themselves are obviously guilty of. When the Old Etonian Tam Dalyell claimed that there was in this country a Jewish "cabal" of politicians wielding disproportionate influence, did he not consider the fact that, since time immemorial, the country has been run by overprivileged public schoolboys such as himself, allowing barely a look-in for equally (or, perish the thought, more!) electable and capable citizens of working-class origin?

... Then there is Tom Paulin, he of the Ulster Protestant heritage... you've got to wonder if his refusal to see anything wrong with the murder of American Jews who settle in Israel means that he'd be equally sanguine if his relatives in Northern Ireland were murdered by looners whose nationalist creed dictated that Ulster Protestants were asking for it by settling in a country not "theirs".

... Attacks on Jews in this country [the UK] have risen by 75% this year; and since 2000, there has been a 400% increase in attacks on synagogues... To contemplate the thought processes of such individuals makes any decent person want to wash their hands until the slime of hypocritical hatred is swept away. But when whole sections of society peddle such lies, it's scarier still. And when carriers of the disease are shielded by those who govern us, you start to believe the lunatics have taken over the asylum: the EU's racism watchdog recently suppressed a report on the rise of anti-semitism because it concluded that Muslims were behind many incidents. What sort of world do we live in, when racism is "allowed" to be reported only if it comes from the white and the right? What about a stubborn, shimmering little thing called truth?..."

2. The Guardian "Letters" (Weekend section, December 6, 2003). (See below, under "Full Articles.")

3. "No, anti-Zionism is not anti-semitism" (By Brian Klug, The Guardian, December 3, 2003) "... Should it become a "post-Zionist" state, one that defines itself in terms of the sum of its citizens, rather than seeing itself as belonging to the entire Jewish people? This is a perfectly legitimate question and not anti-semitic in the least. When people suggest otherwise – as Emanuele Ottolenghi did on these pages last Saturday – they simply add to the growing confusion.

... You do not have to be an anti-semite to reject the belief that Jews constitute a separate nation in the modern sense of the word or that Israel is the Jewish nation state... Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is no fantasy. Nor is the spread of Jewish settlements in these territories. Nor the unequal treatment of Jewish colonisers and Palestinian inhabitants.

... But isn't excessive criticism of Israel or Zionism evidence of an anti-semitic bias? In his book, The Case for Israel, Alan Dershowitz argues that when criticism of Israel "crosses the line from fair to foul" it goes "from acceptable to anti-semitic"... People who take this view say the line is crossed when critics single Israel out unfairly; when they apply a double standard and judge Israel by harsher criteria than they use for other states... is [this] necessarily anti-semitic? No, it is not..."

[Note: Klug, who is senior research fellow in philosophy at St Benet's Hall, Oxford, and a founder member of the Jewish Forum for Justice and Human Rights, does not answer many of the points Emanuele Ottolenghi raised in his article.]


FULL ARTICLES

THE HATE THAT SHAMES US

The hate that shames us
By Julie Burchill
The Guardian
December 6, 2003

www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,3605,1099727,00.html

In 1967, Martin Luther King Jr published his Letter To An Anti-Zionist Friend: "Anti-Zionism is inherently anti-semitic, and ever will be. What is anti-Zionism? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the globe. It is discrimination against Jews... because they are Jews. In short, it is anti-semitism." MLK – what a mensch! A saint in the street; a superman in the sack. And this being so, no reason at all to be envious of the Jews.

As I said last week, I have come to believe – looking at how anti-semitism is the only form of racial prejudice that unites both left and right, from the KKK to the PLO – that loathing the Jews is more about the personal than the political, despite the phoney, anticolonial cant of the anti-Zionists. For instance, I've noticed that some people use the Jews as a sort of warped magic mirror, accusing them of things that they themselves are obviously guilty of. When the Old Etonian Tam Dalyell claimed that there was in this country a Jewish "cabal" of politicians wielding disproportionate influence, did he not consider the fact that, since time immemorial, the country has been run by overprivileged public schoolboys such as himself, allowing barely a look-in for equally (or, perish the thought, more!) electable and capable citizens of working-class origin?

Similarly, George Orwell could write in 1940 that he had nothing against Hitler, and follow up this gem with the declaration that European Jews would prefer the Nazi social system to that of Britain, "if it were not that they happen to persecute them". This would be the same Orwell (another Etonian!) who was revealed as spying and squealing on his leftwing friends for the CIA in the immediate postwar period, would it? Mmm, he'd have been quite at home in Nazi Germany himself, then.

Then there is Tom Paulin, he of the Ulster Protestant heritage, who has always seemed so unsuited to the dignity and stoicism of this ill-used, long-suffering tribe. Never mind: by shrieking away about the "Zionist SS" who gun down "a little Palestinian boy/In trainers, jeans and a white T-shirt", Paulin can be teleported to the moral, or at least fashionable, high ground and find himself the hot hunk of the humanitarian hop. Still, you've got to wonder if his refusal to see anything wrong with the murder of American Jews who settle in Israel means that he'd be equally sanguine if his relatives in Northern Ireland were murdered by looners whose nationalist creed dictated that Ulster Protestants were asking for it by settling in a country not "theirs".

So emboldened by the filthy free-for-all, the danse macabre of resurgent Judeophobia – attacks on Jews in this country have risen by 75% this year; and since 2000, there has been a 400% increase in attacks on synagogues – are the ignorant armies of darkness that even Germans are opening their yaps on a subject that you'd have thought they'd have the sense, if not the decency, to keep away from. Just a few weeks ago, a German MP was forced to resign after claiming that the Jews were responsible for Soviet army "atrocities" against the defeated Nazi state (makes you want to go back and bomb Dresden all over again, only properly this time). And in a sort of Hate version of the Eurovision Song Contest, Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis weighed in with his carefully considered view that the Jews are at the root of all evil. So, presumably, he won't be wanting the royalties from one of his most notable works, which documents the tragic love story of two young Jewish inmates of a concentration camp. Or maybe he can rejig it, to show how evil this pair were, and how they deserved what they got.

To contemplate the thought processes of such individuals makes any decent person want to wash their hands until the slime of hypocritical hatred is swept away. But when whole sections of society peddle such lies, it's scarier still. And when carriers of the disease are shielded by those who govern us, you start to believe the lunatics have taken over the asylum: the EU's racism watchdog recently suppressed a report on the rise of anti-semitism because it concluded that Muslims were behind many incidents. What sort of world do we live in, when racism is "allowed" to be reported only if it comes from the white and the right? What about a stubborn, shimmering little thing called truth?

I don't care who's doing it – white, brown or pink-and-purple paisley-patterned – if they're picking on the Red Sea Pedestrians, they're wrong 'uns, like all racists. Make no mistake, the Jews are not hated because of Israel; they are hated for their very modernity, mobility, lust for life and love of knowledge. Their most basic toast, "L'chaim!" (To Life!), is a red rag to those who fetishise death because they have failed to take any joy from their life on earth.

"Not our Jews! Leave our Jews alone! " yelled the locals who turned out to fight the Mosleyites in Cable Street. It may be politically incorrect to call this ancient people "ours", but what the hell: they're tough, they can take it. And they are still our Jews, in that if they are wiped out, in Israel or anywhere else, we will be wiped out, too, one day, all of the modern world and its achievements – swept back into the Dark Ages mulch from whence we came. The cry of Cable Street still rings true. Not our Jews! But, this time, "our" means mankind, and the very future of our species.

 

OVER TO YOU

Over to you
Letters
The Guardian
December 6, 2003

• Dear Weekend

What a cruel irony that Linda Grant should finish her article, What The War Does To Us, November 29), by offering to be a human shield against the hate and demonisation of the Israeli army. Had she read the UN and NGO reports, she would have discovered that this has been the fate of Palestinian civilians forced at gunpoint to become human shields during the army's incursions. Perhaps Grant should volunteer herself for this: we are sure many a Palestinian would happily give up their place.

Paul and Lynne Timperley
Bracknell, Berkshire

• In a week when news comes from Israel of leading army and former Shin Bet officers stating that Israeli policies are wrong and self-defeating, Bomber Burchill writes with her usual lack of perspective about anti-semitism (November 29). Did she bother to read Linda Grant's article?

Richard Morris
London SW18

• Well done, Julie Burchill. When will European Jews and Israelis stop confusing anti-semitism with condemnation of their treatment of the Palestinian population? An equal revulsion of Palestinian guerrilla action is, seemingly, conveniently ignored. To continue along this path only increases their already well-honed potential for self-alienation.

Mark Walker
London N7

• It's difficult to see what people find so offensive about Julie Burchill. She expresses her opinion, and it's a fairly conventional one. Readers no doubt feel that their opinions are more intelligent and that they are better informed. What's new? Don't we all?

John Gladwyn
Castle Douglas, Dumfries

• Hooray! What excellent news that Julie Burchill is returning to work for Rupert Murdoch. I guess her communist principles helped in making that decision. She will be missed, like acne. Her contribution to reasoned discussion will undoubtedly be recorded in the annals for posterity, an achievement similar to Herod's contribution to baby-sitting.

Sean Finlay
Wilmslow, Cheshire

• Guardian Weekend, 119 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3ER. Email: weekend@guardian.co.uk. Fax: 020-7239 9935. A postal address must be supplied. Letters should reach us by first post Tuesday for inclusion on Saturday, and may be edited.

 

NO, ANTI-ZIONISM IS NOT ANTI-SEMITISM

No, anti-Zionism is not anti-semitism
Comment

www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1098542,00.html

As an idea, a Jewish homeland was always controversial. As a reality, Israel still is – and it is not anti-Jewish to say so

By Brian Klug
The Guardian
December 3, 2003

From the beginning, political Zionism was a controversial movement even among Jews. So strong was the opposition of German orthodox and reform rabbis to the Zionist idea in the name of Judaism that Theodor Herzl changed the venue of the First Zionist Congress in 1897 from Munich to Basle in Switzerland.

Twenty years later, when the British foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour (sponsor of the 1905 Aliens Act to restrict Jewish immigration to the UK), wanted the government to commit itself to a Jewish homeland in Palestine, his declaration was delayed – not by anti-semites but by leading figures in the British Jewish community. They included a Jewish member of the cabinet who called Balfour's pro-Zionism "anti-semitic in result".

The creation of the state of Israel in 1948 has not put an end to the debate, though the issue has changed. Today, the question is about Israel's future. Should it become a "post-Zionist" state, one that defines itself in terms of the sum of its citizens, rather than seeing itself as belonging to the entire Jewish people? This is a perfectly legitimate question and not anti-semitic in the least. When people suggest otherwise – as Emanuele Ottolenghi did on these pages last Saturday – they simply add to the growing confusion.

Ottolenghi contends that "Zionism comprises a belief that Jews are a nation, and as such are entitled to self-determination as all other nations are". This is doubly confused. First, the ideology of Jewish nationalism was irrelevant to many of the Jews, as well as non-Jewish sympathisers, who were drawn to the Zionist goal of creating a Jewish state in Palestine. They saw Israel in purely humanitarian or practical terms: as a safe haven where Jews could live as Jews after centuries of being marginalised and persecuted.

This motive was strengthened by the Nazi murder of one-third of the world's Jewish population, the wholesale destruction of Jewish communities in Europe, and the plight of masses of Jewish refugees with nowhere to go.

Second, you do not have to be an anti-semite to reject the belief that Jews constitute a separate nation in the modern sense of the word or that Israel is the Jewish nation state. There is an irony here: it is a staple of anti-semitic discourse that Jews are a people apart, who form "a state within a state". Partly for this reason, some European anti-semites thought that the solution to "the Jewish question" might be for Jews to have a state of their own. Herzl certainly thought he could count on the support of anti-semites.

What is anti-semitism? Although the word only goes back to the 1870s, anti-semitism is an old European fantasy about Jews. The composer Richard Wagner exemplified it when he said: "I hold the Jewish race to be the born enemy of pure humanity and everything noble in it." An anti-semite sees Jews this way: they are an alien presence, a parasite that preys on humanity and seeks to dominate the world. Across the globe, their hidden hand controls the banks, the markets and the media. Even governments are under their sway. And when revolutions occur or nations go to war, it is the Jews – clever, ruthless and cohesive – who invariably pull the strings and reap the rewards.

When this fantasy is projected on to Israel because it is a Jewish state, then anti-Zionism is anti-semitic. And when zealous critics of Israel, without themselves being anti-semitic, carelessly use language, such as "Jewish influence", that conjures up this fantasy, they are fuelling an anti-semitic current in the wider culture.

But Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is no fantasy. Nor is the spread of Jewish settlements in these territories. Nor the unequal treatment of Jewish colonisers and Palestinian inhabitants. Nor the institutionalised discrimination against Israeli Arab citizens in various spheres of life. These are realities. It is one thing to oppose Israel or Zionism on the basis of an anti-semitic fantasy; quite another to do so on the basis of reality. The latter is not anti-semitism.

But isn't excessive criticism of Israel or Zionism evidence of an anti-semitic bias? In his book, The Case for Israel, Alan Dershowitz argues that when criticism of Israel "crosses the line from fair to foul" it goes "from acceptable to anti-semitic".

People who take this view say the line is crossed when critics single Israel out unfairly; when they apply a double standard and judge Israel by harsher criteria than they use for other states; when they misrepresent the facts so as to put Israel in a bad light; when they vilify the Jewish state; and so on. All of which undoubtedly is foul. But is it necessarily anti-semitic?

No, it is not. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a bitter political struggle. The issues are complex, passions are inflamed, and the suffering is great. In such circumstances, people on both sides are liable to be partisan and to "cross the line from fair to foul". When people who side with Israel cross that line, they are not necessarily anti-Muslim. And when others cross the line on behalf of the Palestinian cause, this does not make them anti-Jewish. It cuts both ways.

There is something else that cuts both ways: racism. Both anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim feeling appear to be growing. Each has its own peculiarities, but both are exacerbated by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the invasion of Iraq, the "war against terror", and other conflicts.

We should unite in rejecting racism in all its forms: the Islamophobia that demonises Muslims, as well as the anti-semitic discourse that can infect anti-Zionism and poison the political debate. However, people of goodwill can disagree politically – even to the extent of arguing over Israel's future as a Jewish state. Equating anti-Zionism with anti-semitism can also, in its own way, poison the political debate.

(Brian Klug is senior research fellow in philosophy at St Benet's Hall, Oxford, and a founder member of the Jewish Forum for Justice and Human Rights)


Fury at French comic's “Heil Israel” jibe

December 08, 2003

* Two Jews were brutally murdered in Paris in apparent anti-Semitic attacks

 

CONTENTS

1. Jews are "so touchy" about the Nazis
2. With his arm raised…
3. "We'll finish Hitler's job"
4. His eyes were gouged out
5. "The next bullet won't come through the mail"
6. Finally, The New York Times reports
7. "Fury at French comic 'Heil Israel' jibe" (Agence France Presse, Dec. 4, 2003)
8. "French comedian equates Israel with Nazism on live TV" (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 6, 2003)
9. "Who speaks for Israel?" (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 5, 2003)
10. "Ritual murders of Jews in Paris" (FrontPageMagazine.com, Dec. 4, 2003)
11. "French Chief Rabbi: Don't wear yarmulkes" (Associated Press, Nov. 19, 2003)
12. "Attacks by Arabs on Jews in France revive old fears" (New York Times, Dec. 3, 2003)



[Notes and summaries below by Tom Gross]

This dispatch is an update to the dispatch of November 18, 2003 titled French schoolbook: "It was an exam day in the occupied West Bank". The text in question has now been withdrawn from the French school curriculum.

 

SUMMARIES

I attach six articles relating to fresh attacks on Jews in France. There are summaries of these articles first:

JEWS ARE “SO TOUCHY” ABOUT THE NAZIS

"Fury at French comic 'Heil Israel' jibe" (AFP, Dec. 4, 2003). "A French comedian who appeared on television dressed as an Orthodox Jew and made the Hitler salute shouting "Heil Israel" has demanded an apology from the programme-makers after they described his performance as offensive. Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala – universally known as just Dieudonne – called a press conference Wednesday night to answer accusations that his appearance on Monday's edition of "You can't please everyone" on state-owned France 3 television was anti-Semitic. "Everyone is so touchy about this issue," he said, threatening to sue France 3 unless it withdrew the charge of anti-Semitism which he said was levelled against him... A presidential candidate in last year's elections, Dieudonne described Osama Bin Laden as the 'most important personality in contemporary history.'"

 

WITH HIS ARM RAISED...

"French comedian equates Israel with Nazism on live TV" (The Jerusalem Post, Dec. 6, 2003). "Hundreds of messages of protest reached the state-run France 3 TV channel following the live broadcast of a stand-up comedian shouting "Heil Israel!" with his arm raised, clad in army fatigues, wearing a hood, a large black hat, and sidelocks mimicking those of Orthodox Jews. Addressing Muslims, comedian Dieudonn said, "I encourage the young people who are watching us in the suburbs to do as I did: Convert! Pull yourself together! Join the axis of good, the American-Zionist axis!" The host of the One Cannot Please Everybody talk show, Marc-Olivier Fogiel, looked flabbergasted and did not respond. Fogiel, a Jew, is usually famous for his skill in repartee. Speaking to the media after his show, he said he "regretted" he did not react in a stronger way to mark his "disapproval of this live hijacking [of the show]... Given today's atmosphere, one cannot allow fanning the flames," said Fogiel, one of the top stars of French TV.

"At the peak of the 2002 wave of anti-Semitic aggressions, [the "comedian"] said: "Abraham created racism. A chosen people! That's the source of racism. What is happening today is the Muslim's answer to that. Jew, Muslim, to me this does not exist; there is no anti-Semitism because there is no Judaism. These are stupid notions." ... Jewish organizations protested several times against Dieudonn's shows, to no avail."

 

“WE'LL FINISH HITLER’S JOB”

"Who speaks for Israel?" (By Caroline B. Glick, The Jerusalem Post, Dec. 5, 2003). "Two Jews were brutally murdered in Paris in the week that followed the torching of the Jewish day school Merkaz HaTorah in the Paris suburb of Gagny. French Jewish novelist Nidra Poller says that the two murders, of a 23 year-old Jewish DJ and of a recently widowed Jewish shopkeeper, were played down by the French press. In the case of the murdered young man, whose throat was slit and whose body was mutilated, the alleged assailant, a young male Muslim, reportedly told his mother after the fact, "Now I can go to paradise. I've killed my Jew."

Poller relates that the French authorities have released the man from custody, claiming that he is insane and therefore unfit to stand trial. There have been no arrests in the case of the Jewish shopkeeper. Her ten year-old daughter and a customer, who hid in the shop's storeroom during the attack, said they saw two North Africans fleeing the scene. Nothing was stolen from the shop. The French authorities have not classified the murders as acts of anti-Semitism... This week, an 11 year-old Jewish boy was brutally beaten by Muslim students at their elite Paris secondary school. While beating the boy, the Muslim students taunted him yelling, "We'll finish Hitler's job."

[Tom Gross adds: One might draw a comparison between the lack of coverage of these murders by the media, the authorities, and many sections of the Jewish community in France, to the lack of coverage given to the two murders of Jews in Turkey shortly before last month's Istanbul suicide bombs. As Craig S. Smith noted in an article in the New York Times yesterday: "There were no public reports of the two recent execution-style killings of Jewish men here [in Istanbul] until after the bombings in November. Many people say the killings put the city's Jews on edge... a Turkish Jewish writer, said that if Jews 'want to be happy in this country, you don't speak too much in the public space.'"]

 

HIS EYES WERE GOUGED OUT

"Ritual murders of Jews in Paris" (By Alyssa A. Lappen, FrontPageMagazine.com, December 4, 2003). ... But the BBC gave the final word to Vienna's Edward Serotta. "One prominent Jewish leader recently said the climate was just like 1933 – this is absolutely absurd." Oh really? Serotta made this bizarre claim precisely a week after two Paris Jews were brutally murdered and disfigured-because they were Jewish. A minor tabloid, Le Parisien, reported the grisly events. But not a single major French newspaper-Le Monde, Figaro or Libιration-covered the stories, according to an interview with a victim's mother, distributed by Rosenpress in Revue-Politique.com. In one case, the police advised the family not to call the crime anti-Semitic.

Sebastian Sellam, 23, was a popular disc jockey at a hot Parisian night club called Queen. At about 11:45 p.m. on Wednesday November 19, the young man known as DJ Lam C (a reverse play on his surname) left the apartment he shared with his parents in a modest building in of Paris' 10th arrondissement near la Place Colonel Fabien, heading to work as usual. In the underground parking lot, a Muslim neighbor slit Sellam's throat twice, according to the Rosenpress interview. His face was completely mutilated with a fork. Even his eyes were gouged out... The alleged murderer's family was well known for rabid anti-Semitism, Mrs. Sellam reportedly told Rosenpress, a point confirmed by the victim's brother. Within the previous year, his mother reportedly said, the family found a dead rooster outside their apartment door with its throat slit, and their Mezuzah was ripped from their door post. Leaving dead roosters is reportedly a traditional warning of impending murder." [For more details, read this piece in full, below.]

"... Something considerably darker than professional jealousy must be at work, however, when a murderer completely mutilates his victim's face with a fork and gouges out his eyes or stabs a 53-year-old mother 27 times in the chest and neck. Indeed, in Sura 8, verse 12, the Qu'ran instructs Muslims, "Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): 'I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them'." Evidently, some Muslims take this literally."

 

“THE NEXT BULLET WON’T COME THROUGH THE MAIL”

"French Chief Rabbi: Don't wear yarmulkes" (Associated Press, Paris, Nov. 19, 2003). "Worried about a surge in anti-Semitic attacks, France's chief rabbi has cautioned Jewish men against wearing yarmulkes in public, suggesting they wear baseball caps instead. "I ask young Jews to be alert, to avoid walking alone, to avoid wearing the yarmulke in the street or in the subway and consequently becoming targets for potential assailants," said Rabbi Joseph Sitruk... On Tuesday, the Paris office of the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism said it received a letter containing a bullet and a note reading "Jews get out, the next (bullet) won't come through the mail." The group, which filed a judicial complaint, said it has received threatening letters for months, some containing razor blades."

 

FINALLY, THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORTS...

"Attacks by Arabs on Jews in France revive old fears" (New York Times, December 3, 2003). [The New York Times finally reports properly on French anti-Semitism three years after the recent wave of attacks began.]. "The boys hide their skullcaps under baseball caps. The girls tuck their Star of David necklaces under their sweaters. Their school in this middle-class suburb east of Paris has been scorched by fire and fear, and those are the off-campus rules. Early one Saturday in November, unidentified vandals set fire to the new two-story wing of the Merkaz Hatorah School for Orthodox Jews that was set to open as an elementary school in January. The fire prompted President Jacques Chirac to call an emergency cabinet meeting and declare that "an attack on a Jew is an attack against France."

... If a Jew goes into an Arab Muslim neighborhood, he says, "You have to carry an umbrella to protect yourself from the stones that fly."... By contrast, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said in a television debate recently: "All those who explain the resurgence of anti-Semitism by the conflict in the Middle East say something that is false. Anti-Semitism existed before the existence of Israel." ... Mr. Sarkozy added that the horror of the Holocaust meant that anti-Semitism had to be treated differently than other forms of racism in Europe. That is a challenge when many of the young Arab Muslim youths who wander the streets have no understanding of the Holocaust."



FULL ARTICLES

FURY AT FRENCH COMIC “HEIL ISRAEL” JIBE

Fury at French comic 'Heil Israel' jibe
Agence France Presse
December 4, 2003

A French comedian who appeared on television dressed as an Orthodox Jew and made the Hitler salute shouting "Heil Israel" has demanded an apology from the programme-makers after they described his performance as offensive.

Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala – universally known as just Dieudonne – called a press conference Wednesday night to answer accusations that his appearance on Monday's edition of "You can't please everyone" on state-owned France 3 television was anti-Semitic.

"Everyone is so touchy about this issue, but I claim the right to take on sensitive subjects," he said, threatening to sue France 3 unless it withdrew the charge of anti-Semitism which he said was levelled against him.

"The ones who are really suffering from racism are not the Jews, but blacks and Arabs. It is easier to make fun of Muslim fundamentalism than Israeli fundamentalism," he said.

Earlier the presenter of the show Marc-Olivier Fogiel as well as the board of France 3 issued statements declaring themselves "shocked and scandalised" by Dieudonne's performance, without directly accusing him of anti-Semitism. Fogiel said the comedian's remarks – which went out live – had taken them by surprise.

"We were trapped. We are culpable for being over-trusting. Today we feel betrayed and insulted by his words," he said.

The 37-year-old son of a French mother and a Cameroonian father, Deidonne has made himself a name for his often controversial humour. Last year an appeal court acquitted him of slander after he described white Catholics as racist slavers.

A presidential candidate in last year's elections, he described Osama Bin Laden as the "most important personality in contemporary history."

"He has succeeded in changing the balance of power and the method of fighting. He is alone against the biggest power in the world. Inevitably that inspires respect," he said.

 

FRENCH COMEDIAN EQUATES ISRAEL WITH NAZISM ON LIVE TV

French comedian equates Israel with Nazism on live TV
By Michel Zlotowski
The Jerusalem Post
December 6, 2003

Hundreds of messages of protest reached the state-run France 3 TV channel following the live broadcast of a stand-up comedian shouting "Heil Israel!" with his arm raised, clad in army fatigues, wearing a hood, a large black hat, and sidelocks mimicking those of Orthodox Jews.

Addressing Muslims, comedian Dieudonn said, "I encourage the young people who are watching us in the suburbs to do as I did: Convert! Pull yourself together! Join the axis of good, the American-Zionist axis!"

The host of the One Cannot Please Everybody talk show, Marc-Olivier Fogiel, looked flabbergasted and did not respond. Fogiel, a Jew, is usually famous for his skill in repartee. Speaking to the media after his show, he said he "regretted" he did not react in a stronger way to mark his "disapproval of this live hijacking [of the show]... Given today's atmosphere, one cannot allow fanning the flames," said Fogiel, one of the top stars of French TV.

Thursday, the management of France 3 and Fogiel issued a joint statement: "We deplore and regret what has been said by Dieudonn on our channel. In troubled and complex times, his words have particularly shocked us all. Our awareness has been increased. France 3 wishes to present you all its apologies."

Dieudonn , the stand-up comedian, is known for his controversial anti-West statements. He once described Osama bin Laden as "the most important personality in contemporary history... He has succeeded in changing the balance of power and the method of fighting. He is alone against the biggest power in the world. Inevitably that inspires respect."

The 37-year old comedian was born Dieudonn M'Bala M'Bala to an African father and a French mother. Former protests did not deter Dieudonn from repeating his act.

Dieudonn started his career by teaming up with Elie Semoun, a Jew of North African origin. The tall outspoken black and the short and shy Jew were a success until the two decided to part.

Dieudonn then tried his hand at politics in 2002 and entered the presidential race. At the peak of the 2002 wave of anti-Semitic aggressions, a local newspaper, Lyon Capitale, interviewed him on the rise of anti-Semitism among the French Muslim youth.

"Abraham created racism. A chosen people! That's the source of racism. What is happening today is the Muslim's answer to that. Jew, Muslim, to me this does not exist; there is no anti-Semitism because there is no Judaism. These are stupid notions. No one is Jewish. Or everybody is Jewish. I don't understand this story.

"To my opinion, Jews are a sect, a fraud. The most dangerous one, because it is the first. Some Muslims are going the same way, reviving the notion of holy war."

Anti-racist organizations sued Dieudonn for these statements. The case was thrown out of court. Jewish organizations protested several times against Dieudonn 's shows, to no avail.

Meanwhile, Dieudonn convened a press conference, and said he would sue France 3 and Fogiel if they did not apologize for calling him an anti-Semite.

A group of members of the French Union of Jewish Students disrupted the press conference, handing out leaflets with a quote of Martin Luther King: "Anti-Zionism is inherently anti-Semitic, and ever will be so." When Dieudonn went up to the group, the students gave him a book, Zionism Explained to our Pals, and left, saying: "There is nothing to discuss with anti-Semites."

CRIF, (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France), stated its "dismay at the mediocrity of someone who pretends to entertain the French. Dieudonn 's posture is nauseating because he plays with the limits of what is bearable. CRIF expects the public authorities and the anti-racist organizations to react on legal grounds to condemn such statements."

 

WHO SPEAKS FOR ISRAEL?

Who speaks for Israel?
By Caroline B. Glick
The Jerusalem Post
December 5, 2003

Two Jews were brutally murdered in Paris in the week that followed the torching of the Jewish day school Merkaz HaTorah in the Paris suburb of Gagny.

In an interview with Boston's Jewish Advocate, French Jewish novelist Nidra Poller says that the two murders, of a 23 year-old Jewish DJ and of a recently widowed Jewish shopkeeper, were played down by the French press. In the case of the murdered young man, whose throat was slit and whose body was mutilated, the alleged assailant, a young male Muslim, reportedly told his mother after the fact, "Now I can go to paradise. I've killed my Jew."

Poller relates that the French authorities have released the man from custody, claiming that he is insane and therefore unfit to stand trial. There have been no arrests in the case of the Jewish shopkeeper. Her ten year-old daughter and a customer, who hid in the shop's storeroom during the attack, said they saw two North Africans fleeing the scene. Nothing was stolen from the shop. The French authorities have not classified the murders as acts of anti-Semitism.

This week, an 11 year-old Jewish boy was brutally beaten by Muslim students at their elite Paris secondary school. While beating the boy, the Muslim students taunted him yelling, "We'll finish Hitler's job."

Although the headmaster says he has filed a lawsuit against the Muslim youth, they have yet to be expelled and no criminal charges have been brought against them. Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, the headmaster explained, "The issue is very complex. There is obviously a victim that should be protected, but there are no admissions and no witnesses willing to testify. We're in a dead-end."

In a speech before diplomatic correspondents in Tel-Aviv this week, the EU's ambassador to Israel said that he was "not willing to agree" that there has been a rise in anti-Semitism in Europe. At the same time, Ambassador Giancarlo Chevallard said he did know for a fact that there has been a rise in attacks against Muslims.

Chevallard's remarks gibe with the EU's refusal to publish its own commissioned report on anti-Semitism in Europe. That report raised the hackles of the EU bureaucracy by showing that the main source of anti-Semitic violence in Europe is the Muslim community, and that the mainstream press encourages anti-Semitism through its distorted coverage of the Palestinian terror war against Israel.

How does Europe defend itself against the growing evidence that the Continent has reverted to its pre-Holocaust levels of anti-Semitism? Aside from denying the truth, it relies on the good offices of sympathetic Israelis. In doing so, Europe is guilty of a kind of subversion.

This is not to say that foreign governments aren't free to make their views of Israeli politics known to Israelis, just as Israeli politicians are welcome to make their views of foreign governments known to foreign audiences. But it's a very different matter when these governments seek to manipulate our politics by funding, publicizing and lending their prestige to the work of Israelis sympathetic to their views.

This is all the more illegitimate given that Yossi Beilin, along with Amnon Lipkin Shahak, Nehama Ronen, Avrum Burg and Amram Mitzna, are all failed politicians. They have all been rejected by the voters, repeatedly. Their constituencies are as imaginary as their "peace treaties." They are as comparatively marginal to the political landscape here as, say, the Free Democrats are in Germany.

It would be interesting to know how German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder would react if the Bush administration (as part of its commitment to free-market economics, of course), began funneling millions to front groups connected to that party. One guess is that the Chancellor would be screaming bloody murder.

Yet this is precisely what the Europeans involved in the Geneva initiative are now doing vis-a-vis Israel. Indeed, they are doing worse. Employing the rhetoric of peace, they are working steadily to undermine the legitimacy of Jewish statehood.

On the specious ground that "the whole world has a stake in Mideast peace," they are purchasing a seat at the Israeli cabinet table. Who put them there? Certainly not the Israeli electorate. Instead, they are creating a virtual constituency consisting of the media, foreign leaders, the UN, Left-wing NGOs and a handful of unpopular Israelis to shape the terms of our government debate.

The problem, however, goes deeper than European interference. There is also the problem of our willingness to let them interfere. Ever since we won our statehood 55 years ago, successive Israeli governments have failed to grasp that Israel is truly sovereign. We hear competing voices among the Jewish people, both in Israel and the Diaspora, and often fail to internalize the fact that these voices, however well funded, do not represent the collective will of the Jewish people embodied in the sovereign decisions of the Jewish state. They do not speak for us. As our collective voice, the government has the sole right to set our policies and defend our rights.

And defend us it must. Over the past three years, it has become absolutely clear that any thought we might have had that the establishment of the State of Israel would be the death knell of millennia of anti-Semitism was misplaced. Two thousand years of Christian Judeophobia and 1400 years of Muslim hatred did not dissipate in 1948. We see this in the daily libels against Israel in the European press and at the UN General Assembly. And we see it in the constant incitement to the annihilation of the Jewish people throughout the Arab and Islamic worlds. The fact is inescapable: Anti-Semitism remains one of the most potent forces in the world today.

Whether he knows it or not, Beilin serves anti-Semites in Europe and the Arab world as a fig leaf. It is he who allows them to advance their anti-Israel agenda with immunity. And this is nowhere as important as in the US. It is in Washington, where traditions of anti-Semitism never took firm root, where Beilin and his colleagues seek to advance their aims. And they are succeeding.

Within the administration, Beilin is being received by the State Department and – more remarkably – by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.

Then there are the Democrats. With next year's presidential election before them, US Senators such as Diane Feinstein and Frank Lautenberg and US Congressmen such as Rahm Emmanuel and Darryl Issa are seeking to turn the Geneva initiative into their party's official Middle East agenda. In other words, they are using the fig leaf of Beilin to adopt one of the most anti-Israel documents in recent memory into their ostensibly pro-Israel party platform.

As the surge of anti-Semitism in what was until recently considered civilized Europe shows, much has not changed since 1948. Now, as then, there are millions of people who believe that their interests are advanced by anti-Semitism. Now, as then, Jews are under attack not because of anything that they have done, but because they exist.

But at the same time, something did fundamentally change 55 years ago. We Jews are no longer powerless. We have our government now to defend us. By setting the record straight on who speaks for the Jews, and by going on the offensive against our enemies, our leadership can protect us and strengthen our fellow Jews under attack in Europe.

Yossi Beilin may speak for Europe. He does not speak for Israel. It is past time for those who do to make themselves heard.

 

RITUAL MURDERS OF JEWS IN PARIS

Ritual murders of Jews in Paris
By Alyssa A. Lappen
FrontPageMagazine.com
December 4, 2003

frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=11062

After a European Union poll found that nearly 60% of Europeans consider Israel the greatest threat to world peace, the British Broadcasting Corp. on November 26, asked if anti-Semitism is really increasing. "There was outrage and shock over the recent EU poll," observed Robert Wistrich, director of Jerusalem's Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of anti-Semitism. Many Israelis consider mainstream labeling of "Israel as a Nazi state" a sort of anti-Semitism.

But the BBC gave the final word to Vienna's Edward Serotta. The increasingly "shrill" debate often "paints the entire European continent as a cesspool of hatred for Jews," griped the Central Europe Center for Research and Documentation director. "One prominent Jewish leader recently said the climate was just like 1933 – this is absolutely absurd."

Oh really? Serotta made this bizarre claim precisely a week after two Paris Jews were brutally murdered and disfigured-because they were Jewish. A minor tabloid, Le Parisien, reported the grisly events. But not a single major French newspaper-Le Monde, Figaro or Libιration-covered the stories, according to an interview with a victim's mother, distributed by Rosenpress in Revue-Politique.com. In one case, the police advised the family not to call the crime anti-Semitic. [1]

Sebastian Sellam, 23, was a popular disc jockey at a hot Parisian night club called Queen. At about 11:45 p.m. on Wednesday November 19, the young man known as DJ Lam C (a reverse play on his surname) left the apartment he shared with his parents in a modest building in of Paris' 10th arrondissement near la Place Colonel Fabien, heading to work as usual. In the underground parking lot, a Muslim neighbor slit Sellam's throat twice, according to the Rosenpress interview. His face was completely mutilated with a fork. Even his eyes were gouged out.

Following the crime, Rosenpress correspondent Alain Azria reported, Sellam's mother said the Muslim perpetrator mounted the stairs, his hands still bloody, and announced his crime. "I have killed my Jew. I will go to heaven," he reportedly said. The alleged murderer's family was well known for rabid anti-Semitism, Mrs. Sellam reportedly told Rosenpress, a point confirmed by the victim's brother. Within the previous year, Sellam's mother reportedly said, the family found a dead rooster outside their apartment door with its throat slit, and their Mezuzah was ripped from their door post. Leaving dead roosters is reportedly a traditional warning of impending murder.

The homicide especially traumatized the Paris Jewish community: According to Rosenpress, another gruesome murder, also allegedly committed by a Muslim, occurred earlier that evening. Chantal Piekolek, 53, was working in her Avenue de Clichy shoe store when Mohamed Ghrib, 37, stabbed her 27 times in the neck and chest.

Piekolek's 10-year-old daughter hid in the storeroom behind the shop with a girlfriend and heard the entire crime. There was no evidence of sexual assault, according to Rosenpress. Paris reporters believe the cash remained in the shop's register, but this detail remained unconfirmed at press time.

A report apparently based on Le Parisien story, also appeared in France's biggest Jewish newspaper, Actualitι Juive, but added little. The report strangely named the DJ's alleged murderer only by his first name. No surname was given. A reliable Paris journalist says the story is correct.

Initial reports in small news outlets naturally terrified and confused the French Jewish community. Intense anti-Semitism has been building for more than a decade, according to Nidra Poller, an American expatriate in Paris for several decades. Anti-Semitic crimes frequently go unreported in the major press, she said, suppressed by French authorities, victims fearing retribution-and news agencies. Jewish community members thus usually learn of attacks as they did during previous centuries in North African and Eastern European ghettoes-by word of mouth.

In 2001, a rabbi in Poller's neighborhood was kidnapped and held hostage in a car for two hours. Another religious Jew was kidnapped in similar fashion, Poller reported. A Jewish woman and her husband, whom she had just picked up at a local hospital, were abused and threatened with murder for several hours by their Muslim taxi driver, she said.

The charged, anti-Semitic atmosphere in France engenders panic each time a Jewish community member suffers an attack. Crimes typically include harassment, kidnapping, assault, rock-throwing, arson and other abuse, Poller said. Victims usually report the incidents to officials, families and friends. Stories thus spread like wildfire, terrifying people, she noted. Just as frequently, authorities refuse to investigate. Reports are then followed by official and other denials-stoking the community's fear. People don't know what to believe, Poller said. Desperate for verifiable data, they attempt to trace reports through sources back to the victims. But those seeking information are generally told to back off. "They are left wondering whether their sources are correcting wild rumors or covering up dastardly anti-Semitism," said Poller.

French Jews live in constant fear, Poller said. Everyday activities, such as taking a taxi, going to synagogue or shopping can bring attacks. The entire community is traumatized. This pattern was effectively repeated with the November murders in Paris after initial reports indicated that both cases were anti-Semitic crimes.

Then the respected Guysen Israel News clarified essential details. It seemed, the news service claimed, that Piekolek was not Jewish, although her husband was. In a subsequent editorial, Guysen opined that while Sellam's murderer was a known anti-Semite, he was also mad and jealous of the successful DJ he had known since boyhood. The news agency insists that it would label the crimes anti-Semitic if they really were. But other reporters and agencies disagree, and label the murders anti-Semitic.

Parisian Jews are frightened and confused, Poller said. If Sellam's murderer was mad, why wasn't he previously committed to psychiatric confinement? Were initial Rosenpress and Revue-Politique reports on Piekolek correct? Was her murder verifiably not an anti-Semitic crime? Or are subsequent denials based on terrified rejection of facts? (Her husband was Jewish, so it was not "anti-Semitic.") Are Paris Muslims really starting to slaughter Jews?

"In Paris, a lot of Jews already had to leave countries in North Africa," Poller said. "Now, they are told not to talk about anti-Semitism. And they are going to have to flee again."

Alas, it is easy to believe the worst. A few days earlier, an anti-Semitic arson attack hit the Jewish Merkatz Hatorah boys' school on the outskirts of Paris. Prime-Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin later said he hoped to identify "those who carried out this shameful attack."

Given intense and worsening anti-Semitism in France and Europe, there seems little hope that the government will actually investigate the arson, much less prosecute the perpetrator if it finds one. After all, EU officials deny the severity of the problem. Last week, they shelved an EU report on the subject for fear of antagonizing Muslims, who were behind many of the incidents examined.

Two Muslim students at Paris' well-regarded Lycιe Montaigne recently beat an 11-year-old Jewish classmate while reportedly yelling at him, "We'll finish Hitler's job." Headmaster Jean-Marie Renault sued the accused aggressors and plans "a debate on the dangers of xenophobia" next term. Complaints rarely produce criminal sanctions, however. Many anti-Semitic crimes are never even reported, Poller said-especially in the housing project citιs that ring Paris, where residents are one third North African Muslims. "La Zone is foreign country," writes Theodore Dalrymple.

But is it? Poller left France for a U.S. speaking tour in November with one week's news publications to read on her flight-two weekly magazines and three major newspapers. All of them, she said, were "reeking with hatred [for Jews]." They also sympathized extensively with terrorists. News reports are not factual. "They are sermons," Poller said. A profile of philosopher Gilles Deleuze in the weekly Nouvel Observateur, for example, praised his defense of the Palestinians, citing an article he wrote on "le grandeur de Arafat," despite his personal responsibility for more than 1,000 civilian murders.

EU officials may not want to admit it. But attacks on Jews have been mounting since the terrorist war on Israel began in September 2000. In the last year, however, anti-Semitic attacks in France have grown increasingly bold. In January, Paris Rabbi Gabriel Farhi was attacked several times. In April 2002 alone, the French Interior Ministry recorded nearly 360 anti-Semitic crimes against Jews and Jewish institutions, according to Washington Times reporter Al Webb. [2] In May 2002, a mysterious fire erupted at the Israeli embassy in Paris.

"Yes, a synagogue was burned," Frenchmen routinely admit, according to Poller. "But how do we know this was anti-Semitic?" Sellam's murder was handled in much the same way, she said, although 2,000 mourners attended the popular young disc jockey's funeral. Le Parisien, according to Poller the only print newspaper to report the crime, noted that Sellam was Jewish and his alleged murderer Muslim, but explained the crime as an outburst of jealousy by a lifelong friend. "Sebastian was successful and his murderer was unsuccessful and jealous."

Something considerably darker than professional jealousy must be at work, however, when a murderer completely mutilates his victim's face with a fork and gouges out his eyes or stabs a 53-year-old mother 27 times in the chest and neck.

Indeed, in Sura 8, verse 12, the Qu'ran instructs Muslims, "Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): 'I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them'."

Evidently, some Muslims take this literally. The theme repeats in Sura 47, verse 4: "Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks." Citing this verse, Shafi'i jurist al-Mawardi (d. 1058) prescribes exactly such behavior. When Allah gives Muslims victory over mushrikun in "The Amirate of Jihad"-the non-Muslim region of war, or Dar al-Harb-he advises, "their women and children are taken prisoner, and their wealth is taken as booty, and those who are not taken captive are put to death." [3]

Meanwhile, in Germany, neo-Nazis were arrested in September for planning an arson attack on a Munich synagogue to commemorate Hitler's November 9 Kristallnacht of 1938, in which thousands of Jewish homes and shops were destroyed, hundreds murdered and thousands arrested and sent to concentration camps.

Right. And two grisly ritual murders last week in Paris, France were not anti-Semitic.

Notes
[1] Digital video film interview by © Alain Azria / Avi Rosen / Rosenpress Agency
For further information: redaction@rosenpress.com
[2] Al Webb, "Synagogues Burn as Europe Rages," Washington Times, Apr. 23, 2002
[3] Abu'l-Hasan al-Mawardi, al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah: The Laws of Islamic Governance (Ta-Ha, 1996), p. 76.

 

FRENCH CHIEF RABBI: DON’T WEAR YARMULKES

French Chief Rabbi: Don't wear yarmulkes
The Associated Press
November 19, 2003

Worried about a surge in anti-Semitic attacks, France's chief rabbi has cautioned Jewish men against wearing yarmulkes in public, suggesting they wear baseball caps instead.

After a weekend arson attack on a Jewish school, Rabbi Joseph Sitruk urged young men to be extra cautious, saying they could become targets of violence if they wear the yarmulke, or skullcap.

"I ask young Jews to be alert, to avoid walking alone, to avoid wearing the yarmulke in the street or in the subway and consequently becoming targets for potential assailants," Sitruk told Radio J this weekend.

In another interview, Sitruk spoke more bluntly.

"I ask them to replace the yarmulke with the baseball cap," he told Radio Shalom on Monday.

"It hurts me" to make such a recommendation, he said. "But I say that to protect our young people."

Sitruk's office said he wanted to remind Jewish men that wearing a skullcap isn't obligatory because they can keep their heads covered, following tradition, by wearing any type of hat.

In the last two years, France has suffered a wave of violence against Jewish schools, temples and cemeteries that coincided with new fighting in the Middle East. Many of the attacks have been blamed on young Muslims.

The violence seemed to be waning recently. But on Saturday, arsonists attacked a private Jewish school in the Paris suburb of Gagny. There were no injuries, but the building was gutted.

On Tuesday, the Paris office of the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism said it received a letter containing a bullet and a note reading "Jews get out, the next (bullet) won't come through the mail."

The group, which filed a judicial complaint, said it has received threatening letters for months, some containing razor blades.

 

ATTACKS BY ARABS ON JEWS IN FRANCE REVIVE OLD FEARS

Attacks by Arabs on Jews in France revive old fears
By Elaine Sciolino
The New York Times
December 3, 2003

The boys hide their skullcaps under baseball caps. The girls tuck their Star of David necklaces under their sweaters. Their school in this middle-class suburb east of Paris has been scorched by fire and fear, and those are the off-campus rules.

Early one Saturday in November, unidentified vandals set fire to the new two-story wing of the Merkaz Hatorah School for Orthodox Jews that was set to open as an elementary school in January.

The fire prompted President Jacques Chirac to call an emergency cabinet meeting and declare that "an attack on a Jew is an attack against France."

It also intensified an agonizing debate over the definition and extent of anti-Semitism today in France, and indeed all of Europe, and forced the French government to redouble its efforts to combat it.

But even as they praise their government for acting swiftly, some French Jews, particularly working-class and middle-class Jews of North African origin, are convinced that France is not entirely safe for them. They say the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the American occupation of Iraq have morphed into a battleground for French Arab Muslims to attack Jews. "We Jews in France are paying the price for the events on the ground in the Middle East that are seen from morning to night here on satellite television," said Marc Aflalo, a printer who proudly wears a skullcap and whose three children go to Merkaz Hatorah, a private school of 800 elementary and high school students.

If a Jew goes into an Arab Muslim neighborhood, he says, "You have to carry an umbrella to protect yourself from the stones that fly."

This is not a revival of the old anti-Jewish hatred of the right that infused Europe before the Vatican reconciled with the Jews in the 1960's, but a playing out of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the streets and salons of France.

France is home to about 600,000 Jews – the world's largest Jewish population except for those of Israel and the United States – but also as many as 10 times that number of Muslims of Arab origin, the largest such population in Europe, many of them young, poor and unemployed.

Complicating matters, public opinion throughout Europe is broadly critical of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. A recent public opinion poll of European Union countries found that most citizens believed that Israel was the greatest threat to world peace, followed by Iran, North Korea and the United States.

The poll itself added to the debate about anti-Semitism in Europe. But it is in France, where the burden of the wartime government in Vichy's collaboration with the Nazis still casts a shadow over the political landscape, that the debate is the shrillest and the charges of anti-Semitism the harshest.

Mindful of demographic realities and the strains of anti-Semitism in their country's past, French officials are struggling to denounce and punish acts of anti-Semitism without fueling racism toward France's ethnic Arab Muslim population.

Telling Parliament in November that the Middle East conflict "has entered our schools," Education Minister Luc Ferry said France was facing "a new form of anti-Semitism" that was "no longer an anti-Semitism of the extreme right," but one of "Islamic origin."

By contrast, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said in a television debate recently: "All those who explain the resurgence of anti-Semitism by the conflict in the Middle East say something that is false. Anti-Semitism existed before the existence of Israel."

For that reason he has called for a plan of affirmative action to help integrate Muslims into French society, a highly controversial idea in a country that officially does not identify its citizens according to race, religion or ethnicity.

Still, Mr. Sarkozy added that the horror of the Holocaust meant that anti-Semitism had to be treated differently than other forms of racism in Europe. That is a challenge when many of the young Arab Muslim youths who wander the streets have no understanding of the Holocaust.


Conflicting views on the “Geneva accords”

December 03, 2003

CONTENTS

1. Remarks by former United States President Jimmy Carter at the Geneva Peace Summit
2. Remarks by Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo, architects of the Geneva Accord
3. "Palestinians step up protests against alternative peace plan" (Daily Star, Beirut, Dec. 2, 2003)
4. Geneva festivities "are a disgusting extravaganza" (Yediot Ahronot, Nov. 27, 2003)
5. "Geneva sellout" (By Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Nov. 28, 2003)



[Note by Tom Gross]

“THIS IS NOT A PEACE TREATY, THIS IS A SUICIDE NOTE BY ISRAEL”

I attach the transcripts of speeches by those behind the "Geneva accords" (Jimmy Carter, Yossi Beilin And Yasser Abed Rabbo) explaining their visions of peace, followed by news reports that Fatah has threatened to execute supporters of the proposal, and an opinion piece ("Geneva sellout") by Charles Krauthammer who calls the Geneva accord's idea of peace "entirely hallucinatory."

Krauthammer writes: "It is Lucy and the football all over again, and the same chorus of delusionals who so applauded Oslo – Jimmy Carter, Sandy Berger, Tom Friedman – is applauding again. This time, however, the Israeli surrender is so breathtaking it makes Oslo look rational... This is not a peace treaty, this is a suicide note by Israel – by Yossi Beilin a private citizen [and funded by his wealthy left-wing Jewish supporters abroad] on behalf of a country that has utterly rejected him politically. That it should get any encouragement from the United States or from its secretary of state is a disgrace," says Krauthammer.

Others, including Secretary of State Powell, have welcomed the accord.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

[These speeches are transcripts as broadcast on Al-Jazeera, Dec. 1, 2003]

“THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE IGNORED”

1. Remarks by former United States President Jimmy Carter at the Geneva Peace Summit:

JIMMY CARTER: This document is important for achieving a true and just peace in the Holy Land... This initiative should be coordinated with the Roadmap Plan and its stages. The Israeli side has been ignoring the demands of the Americans and has continued establishing new settlements and building the separation fence.

... The Israeli settlers are still present on Palestinian lands and the refugees continue to suffer. This has led to the deterioration of the situation. It became clear that there has been a plan to divide people's land and even separate their houses.

... After the Palestinian elections in 1996, there was a brave leadership in the region and a moderate government, which left room for hope. Unfortunately, the acts of violence reoccurred and broke this framework for peace.

... the current Administration in Washington was continually supportive of Israel, and the convenience of the Palestinian People was ignored and pushed to a lower priority.

“PEACE EXISTS DOWN THE ROAD”

2. Remarks by Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo, architects of the Geneva Accord:

YOSSI BEILIN: Dear friends, today we are living the biggest thirst in the Middle East. Peace between Israelis and Palestinians has become possible. It not a matter of mottos or general principles.

... We don't believe that we can achieve peace by boycotting the leaders of the other country, or by calling them fascists... we are telling both governments, don't play with time. Go back immediately to the negotiation table, without preconditions. If you agree on the end of the game, according to Geneva spirit, it will be easier for you to carry out the first two parts of the Roadmap, and reach a final solution.

... We tell you that every issue can be solved. Don't give up on us. Peace exists down the road, and any solution requires the world to guarantee security in order to supply the materials to the Palestinians and to my people.

... This meeting in Geneva now might become the last rational chance in our area.

... I would like to express my appreciation to President Carter, the person, to whom many of us in the Middle East owe their lives. Thank you for accompanying us on our way towards peace and for helping us in hard times. Thanks to Mrs. Calmy Rey, Swiss Foreign Minister, you are very brave, and without your support, it would have been very hard, even impossible, for us to succeed... Thanks also to the Japanese government for the help it offered us.

The last word of thanks belongs to the soldier of peace who was killed 8 years ago. My strong feelings tell me that had he lived, we could have had a permanent peace on May 4th, 1999. This is my strong personal commitment and this is my promise to you, Yitzhak Rabin.

“A COUNTRY OF APARTHEID”

YASSER ABED RABBO: Ladies and Gentlemen, I came here today together with Palestinians from all stages of life.

... I see old fighters that suffered a lot for freedom. I see men and women who have seen their families being torn apart, their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters die for the liberation of their lands and their nations. Farmers who have seen their lands and trees and their life time's work gone to waste for building the fence.

... Businessmen, activists, sit in the same place get together in order to set a base for a democratic free Palestine. Thinkers and students who came with us here, representing democratic and nationalist forces, and members from the Palestinian institutions, and representatives from the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and those who came from Palestine and from abroad.

These are the representatives of my nation, the Palestinian nation. We have all been touched by this conflict, by the occupation and oppression and we all look towards a peaceful future built on justice and freedom. Today we hold our hands out for peace.

... These are powers that work and prefer the separation fence instead of bridges of peaceful coexistence and cooperation... Israel will become a country of Apartheid, abandoned by the whole world. And this is an ugly future and we will not accept it.

We are presenting an alternative – the Geneva Accord that guarantees basic security for both nations. For us, freedom and independence within a free Palestinian State which has sovereignty and Eastern Jerusalem as its capital and an agreed solution on the issue of refugees and their suffering. As for you, our neighbors, the State of Israel, completely secure, recognized by all, will live as a normal member of the International Community and the Middle Eastern society.

... We proved, in this document, that a historical compromise can end the confrontation, and we proved that our main concern and our main visions can fit in with each other, and that they don't have to be opposite to each other.

... Colleagues, allow me to directly speak to you, to the Jewish community in the whole world, to the Liberal and conservative Jews. We have an opportunity standing in front of us, let's not waste it. The Geneva agreement is the formula for a historic solution.

... thanks to those who could not join us today but sent their messages to us anyway; President Mandela, Clinton, Chirac and Prime minister Blair, and of course – his special messenger.

“A BLACK DAY”

3. Palestinians step up protests against alternative peace plan. Thousands take to streets to demonstrate. Jenin branch of Fatah has threatened to execute supporters of proposal (Daily Star, Beirut, Dec. 2, 2003)

Thousands of Palestinians staged protests in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon against the launch in Geneva on Monday of a symbolic peace pact with Israel... "No to treason, no to traitors," some demonstrators chanted... "The Geneva Initiative is a black day in the history of the Palestinian people," proclaimed one banner.

... Around 300 people also gathered in the center of the West Bank town of Ramallah to denounce the project, accusing its promoters of "liquidating the Palestinian cause."

"This protest is our response to those who have awarded themselves the right to represent the Palestinian people," said Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior figure in Fatah.

... In the northern West Bank town of Jenin, the local branch of Fatah issued a statement in which it threatened to "publicly execute" the backers of the document if they put their signature to it.

... And in the nearby city of Nablus, around 400 people took part in a meeting at Al-Najah university in protest at the plan.

“A DISGUSTING EXTRAVAGANZA”

4. Yediot Ahronot, Israel's highest selling newspaper in an editorial (November 27), says that the festivities being planned in Geneva in order to launch the Geneva Initiative, "are a disgusting extravaganza that will alienate the masses of people and seal their ears from listening to the initiative." The editors believe that those behind the Geneva Initiative, "have failed to understand the public climate," and urges them to learn from the "Four Mothers" grassroots initiative that pressed for the withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

Yediot Ahronot, in a further editorial, urges those who oppose the Geneva Initiative to refrain from attacking its foreign financial backing.

“THIS ‘PEACE’ IS ENTIRELY HALLUCINATORY”

5. Geneva sellout
By Charles Krauthammer
Washington Post
November 28, 2003

[This is the full article]

On Monday, a peace agreement will be signed by Israelis and Palestinians. This "Geneva accord" has gotten much attention. And the signing itself will be greeted with much hoopla. Journalists are being flown in from around the world by the Swiss government. Jimmy Carter will be heading a list of foreign dignitaries. The U.S. Embassy in Bern will be sending an observer. This is all rather peculiar: The agreement is being signed not by Israeli and Palestinian officials, but by two people with no power.

On the Palestinian side, the negotiator is former information minister Yasser Abed Rabbo, who at least is said to have Yasser Arafat's ear. The Israeli side, however, is led by Yossi Beilin, a man whose political standing in his own country is so low that he failed to make it into Parliament. After helping bring his Labor Party to ruin, Beilin abandoned it for the far-left Meretz Party, which then did so badly in the last election that Beilin is now a private citizen.

There is a reason why he is one of Israel's most reviled and discredited politicians. He was the principal ideologue and architect behind the "peace" foisted on Israel in 1993. Those Oslo agreements have brought a decade of the worst terror in all Israeli history.

Now he is at it again. And Secretary of State Colin Powell has written a letter to Beilin and Rabbo expressing appreciation for their effort, and is now planning to meet with them.

This is scandalous. Israel is a democracy, and this agreement was negotiated in defiance of the democratically (and overwhelmingly) elected government of Israel. If a private U.S. citizen negotiated a treaty on his own, he could go to jail under the Logan Act. If an Israeli does it, he gets a pat on the back from the secretary of state.

Moreover, this "peace" is entirely hallucinatory. It is written as if Oslo never happened. The Palestinian side repeats solemn pledges to recognize Israel, renounce terror, end anti-Israel incitement, etc. – all promised in Oslo. These promises are today such a dead letter that the Palestinian side is openly bargaining these chits again, as if the Israelis have forgotten that in return for these pledges 10 years ago, Israel recognized the PLO, brought it out of Tunisian exile, established a Palestinian Authority, permitted it an army with 50,000 guns and invited the world to donate billions to this new Authority.

Arafat pocketed every Israeli concession, turned his territory into an armed camp and then launched a vicious terror war that has lasted more than three years and killed more than 1,000 Israelis. It is Lucy and the football all over again, and the same chorus of delusionals who so applauded Oslo – Jimmy Carter, Sandy Berger, Tom Friedman – is applauding again. This time, however, the Israeli surrender is so breathtaking it makes Oslo look rational.

A Palestinian state, of course. Evacuating every Jewish settlement in new Palestine, of course. Redividing Jerusalem, of course. But that is not enough. Beilin gives up the ultimate symbol of the Jewish connection and claim to the land, the center of the Jewish state for 1,000 years before the Roman destruction, the subject of Jewish longing in poetry and prayer for the 2,000 years since – the Temple Mount. And Beilin doesn't just give it up to, say, some neutral international authority. He gives it to sovereign Palestine. Jews will visit at Arab sufferance.

Not satisfied with having given up Israel's soul, Beilin gives up the body too. He not only returns Israel to its 1967 borders, arbitrary and indefensible, but he does so without any serious security safeguards.

Palestine promises to acquire and buy no more weapons than specified in some treaty annex. This is a joke. Oslo had similarly detailed limitations on Palestinian weaponry, and nobody even pretended to enforce them. Last year, a massive illegal boatload came in from Iran on the Karine A. What did the world do about it? Nothing.

Today, however, Israel still has control over Palestine's borders. Under Beilin, this ends. Palestine will be free to acquire as much lethal weaponry as it wants.

And on the critical question that even the most dovish Israelis insist on – that the Palestinians not have the right to flood Israel with Arab refugees – the agreement is utterly ambiguous. Third parties (including among others the irredeemably hostile Syria and its puppet Lebanon) are to suggest exactly how many Palestinians are to return to Israel, and the basis for the number Israel will be required to accept will be the mathematical average!

This is not a peace treaty, this is a suicide note – by a private citizen on behalf of a country that has utterly rejected him politically. That it should get any encouragement from the United States or from its secretary of state is a disgrace.


FULL ARTICLES / TRANSCRIPTS

REMARKS BY FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER AT THE GENEVA PEACE SUMMIT

Remarks by former United States President Jimmy Carter at the Geneva Peace Summit
Al-Jazeera News
December 1, 2003

JIMMY CARTER: Thank you for these kind words.

First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo, the negotiators, Professor Alex Keller, and to the organizers of this successful ceremony.

Achieving peace for the Israelis and justice for the Palestinians is an important matter. This document is important for achieving a true and just peace in the Holy Land. There may be some corrections to this document, if direct discussions do take place later on. However, its main principles should remain and the only alternative we have is keeping a just peace between the two sides.

The main issues in this document are setting the borders, the Israeli settlements, the annexation of Palestinian lands, the future of Jerusalem and the Holy Places and the future of the Palestinian refugees. These are the fundamental issues for creating peace.

Second, we should bear in mind that the Geneva Document is subject to changes and that the Quartet Committee will have the last word. This committee is also responsible for the Roadmap Plan and it consists of representatives from the UN, the US, Russia and the European Union. This initiative should be coordinated with the Roadmap Plan and its stages.

The Israeli side has been ignoring the demands of the Americans and has continued establishing new settlements and building the separation fence. The Palestinians have also called for the evacuation of the settlements, a return to the 1967 borders and for a solution to the rights of Refugees.

However, violence continued both by the Palestinian organizations and the steps taken by the Israelis. The Israeli settlers are still present on Palestinian lands and the refugees continue to suffer. This has led to the deterioration of the situation. It became clear that there has been a plan to divide people's land and even separate their houses.

There has also been recognition of the importance of the Holy Sites in Jerusalem. The institution headed by James Baker, who was a part of the government of President Bush Senior, has shown that 53.5% of Israelis and more than 60% of Palestinians believe in a peace treaty, support the political leadership and support the removal of obstacles towards peace.

These are the things which lead to the continuation of violence. However, the right approach will lead towards coexistence in peace and cooperation. After the successful negotiations in Camp David twenty- five years ago, there has been no violation of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. After the Palestinian elections in 1996, there was a brave leadership in the region and a moderate government, which left room for hope. Unfortunately, the acts of violence reoccurred and broke this framework for peace.

And also I'd like to refer to these acts of violence which have continued until now, and that we have all witnessed ever since the Oslo agreement ten years ago – as if the United States difference in references was the destructive force during the years of the previous agreement.

Also the EU and the United Nations continued their support of those ideas during the previous years, but the current Administration in Washington was continually supportive of Israel, and the convenience of the Palestinian People was ignored and pushed to a lower priority.

As a result, the radicals on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides took control of the atmosphere – an atmosphere of radicalism – and rejected any peace initiative. Therefore, in the absence of any real effort to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, opinions objecting to the United States presence in the Middle East were inflamed, resulting in violence. Also, as for responses to the Roadmap, which was initiated by the Quartet, there was another initiative by the League of Arab Nations, which calls for the acknowledgment of Israel and its right to exist peacefully.

This step, and the Arab intention to prevent the continuation of violence, as taken by the Palestinian groups, proves that there are fundaments that need to be taken care of before reaching any agreement.

Also, there is the declaration of interest to change the current situation and to return to the United Nations resolutions 242 and 338, which specifies a complete Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories, and guarantees peace in addition to the recognition of the State of Israel.

Throughout past agreements, new settlements on Palestinian territories have grown enormously, and many settlements were established by the Israeli army – these are among the last obstacles to peace.

But whatever the Palestinian leadership might be, and whatever the Palestinian concerns or interests might be, our main cause of annoyance is that there is not a single Israeli proposal in front of us – do they want peace with their neighboring countries, or do they want to keep the settlements throughout the occupied territories?

We consider it of high importance that the Palestinians cease the violence against the Israeli citizens and the Jewish People, and that they maintain what they have committed themselves to before the Geneva agreement, such as supporting the positive steps taken by either side. Thank you very much.

END.

 

REMARKS BY YOSSI BEILIN AND YASSER ABED RABBO, ARCHITECTS OF THE GENEVA ACCORD

Remarks by Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo, Architects of the Geneva Accord
Al-Jazeera News
December 1, 2003

YOSSI BEILIN: Dear friends, today we are living the biggest thirst in the Middle East. Peace between Israelis and Palestinians has become possible. It not a matter of mottos or general principles that everyone might agree on. The nationalists from both sides have managed to get to details and to represent a complete solution after more than two years of negotiations.

We don't believe that we can achieve peace by boycotting the leaders of the other country, or by calling them fascists. Issues should end there. This is a big mistake. But we are telling both governments, don't play with time. Go back immediately to the negotiation table, without preconditions. If you agree on the end of the game, according to Geneva spirit, it will be easier for you to carry out the first two parts of the Roadmap, and reach a final solution.

We are putting our proposal on the decision makers' table, as a possibility and an alternative to stopping the violence. This is not a celebration of accomplishment. We are using the fact that we have reached this agreement in order to listen to the requests of the two nations, through this proof that our conditions are not final, and there is always a possibility to overcome the difficulties.

The document is clear, but all of us are realistic, and our hearts are beating and this is a fact, and therefore we have to help the battle for peace, in spite of all the tough and difficult positions that we face, and in spite of all the problems that we faced in the past. We tell the world, "Do not believe those who tell you that our struggle cannot be resolved". "Do not try to help us manage this struggle, but help us end it".

Extremists, on both sides, turned this struggle into their way of life, and they will tell you that it is impossible to stop violence and that a solution is impossible and that the terror will continue and continue forever. We tell you that every issue can be solved.

Don't give up on us. Peace exists down the road, and any solution requires the world to guarantee security in order to supply the materials to the Palestinians and to my people. There are those who say that there is nothing we can talk about, they are now facing our plan. Those who say that there is no one we can talk to, now can see hundreds of people that came from our two societies, showing their commitment to follow this plan.

We, Palestinians and Israelis, cannot allow ourselves to fail. It is possible for us to go back to our countries and introduce what we have, but we are not ready to give up on each other or to give up on our future. It is a chance to have a pragmatic partner from both nations, it is always possible. But peace is getting closer and closer. This meeting in Geneva now might become the last rational chance in our area. Today, we are performing a rational alliance. We are a pragmatic solution for confronting those with only one solution, which is to get rid of the other side.

Our duty today is supporting our alliance as much as possible. I would like to express my appreciation to President Carter, the person, to whom many of us in the Middle East owe their lives. Thank you for accompanying us on our way towards peace and for helping us in hard times. Thanks to Mrs. Calmy Rey, Swiss Foreign Minister, you are very brave, and without your support, it would have been very hard, even impossible, for us to succeed. Many thanks to Dr. Alex Killar, who opened many doors for us in Switzerland, and who became a part of our team when he used to accompany our colleague, Ali. Thanks also to the Japanese government for the help it offered us. And thanks to the two young men, Ghayth Al-Omari and Danny Levi, who wrote up this agreement. Thanks to all of you for being with us today, and thank you Yasser Abed Rabbo for being my partner.

The last word of thanks belongs to the soldier of peace who was killed 8 years ago. My strong feelings tell me that had he lived, we could have had a permanent peace on May 4th, 1999. We are committed, not only to remembering Yitzhak Rabin, but also to carrying out his plan. The words of the song of peace which was written on a piece of paper that was later on found in his pocket and was soaked with his blood, will become reality. This is my strong personal commitment and this is my promise to you, Yitzhak Rabin.

YASSER ABED RABBO: Ladies and Gentlemen, I came here today together with Palestinians from all stages of life. They are people with us who spent more than 20 years in prisons, for their dreams to end the occupation. They cling to that hope, because thousands who are still sitting behind bars will find freedom, freedom for them and for Palestine.

I see old fighters that suffered a lot for freedom. I see men and women who have seen their families being torn apart, their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters die for the liberation of their lands and their nations. Farmers who have seen their lands and trees and their life time's work gone to waste for building the fence.

Old fighters struggle with hope that one day they will be able to stabilize and build a family and live a normal life. Refugees, who saw their lives torn apart, and their properties and houses disappear, hoping for the day when they can put this violent past behind them and start looking towards the future.

Businessmen, activists, sit in the same place get together in order to set a base for a democratic free Palestine. Thinkers and students who came with us here, representing democratic and nationalist forces, and members from the Palestinian institutions, and representatives from the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and those who came from Palestine and from abroad.

These are the representatives of my nation, the Palestinian nation. We have all been touched by this conflict, by the occupation and oppression and we all look towards a peaceful future built on justice and freedom. Today we hold our hands out for peace. Our critics say that the officials should make an agreement like this, and not representatives of the public. We could not agree more, but what can we do when the official leaders do not meet? When the governments do not negotiate? We cannot wait, when the future of two nations goes more and more towards the depths.

It is our duty to represent this formula to them and prove to them and to our two nations, and to the whole world that negotiation is not necessarily inefficient and that it is possible to be efficient. When the two sides officially sit around the negotiation table, we will be the first to greet and support the officials.

Dear friends, unfortunately, this is not the reality. Today we are going towards a future of pain and suffering. There is a fence being built in the center of Palestine, to make sure that the Palestinians will always remain an occupied nation. These are powers that work and prefer the separation fence instead of bridges of peaceful coexistence and cooperation.

They are telling us that we will never achieve a solution and that we are a generation that lost its meaning and that the best we can achieve is a solution built on the facts that were created on the grounds of reality. And they hope that the separation fence and the annexation of Palestinian lands will be the final solution, hidden under a peace agreement. This will create a disaster.

Israel might become bigger. But the price will be very high. The Palestinians will continue to live under occupation and they might stop hoping for a solution based on two countries. And Israel will become a country of Apartheid, abandoned by the whole world. And this is an ugly future and we will not accept it.

We are presenting an alternative – the Geneva Accord that guarantees basic security for both nations. For us, freedom and independence within a free Palestinian State which has sovereignty and Eastern Jerusalem as its capital and an agreed solution on the issue of refugees and their suffering. As for you, our neighbors, the State of Israel, completely secure, recognized by all, will live as a normal member of the International Community and the Middle Eastern society. This is the solution to this complicated struggle. And this is the only possible solution.

There was no other solution in the past, and there will not be another possible solution in the future that may add to what we have put in this initiative. We all know this, and so why do we wait? Why should there be more sacrifices in order to achieve the same solution that we can get today? That's why we are here today. To launch a different kind of war – a war of hope against hopelessness and war of peace against violence and oppression, equality against racism, coexistence and dialogue against terrorism.

We proved, in this document, that a historical compromise can end the confrontation, and we proved that our main concern and our main visions can fit in with each other, and that they don't have to be opposite to each other. And we proved that we do not need to destroy the other in order to get and achieve our dreams, and we proved that our nationalist dreams cannot be the nightmares for the other.

Colleagues, allow me to directly speak to you, to the Jewish community in the whole world, to the Liberal and conservative Jews. We have an opportunity standing in front of us, let's not waste it. The Geneva agreement is the formula for a historic solution. We share the same principles, justice and equality that created civilization, and we should cooperate together against injustice throughout our whole history.

We should not fail and we should support our history and support each other so that our elementary requirements and our dreams and visions will be able to live with your visions, and that together we can move forward.

My friends, in an attempt to –. Some say that the Geneva Agreement is against the Roadmap. They are wrong. We want to make sure that the Roadmap succeeds and will prove that the third level of the Roadmap is possible.

And we put an arrow to Bush's vision of a Palestinian State living side by side with Israel. And we put in the details that the world has realized. Stability can only come if there is real hope for a better future. We imagined peace in all its details. The world knows this, and we especially appreciate Switzerland and its brave Foreign Minister, Mrs. Calmy Rey. Without you, this would not have happened.

Special gratitude goes to those present with us today, the Nobel peace prize winners, President Carter and Mr. Hew, and thanks to those who could not join us today but sent their messages to us anyway; President Mandela, Clinton, Chirac and Prime minister Blair, and of course – his special messenger.

And special thanks to our Arab fellows, his Highness, King Muhammad the 6th, and President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak, and of course, to their representatives, Mr. Azzulal and Mr. El-Baz.

And we also send our best thanks and gratitude to the Jordanian government and to his Highness King Abdullah, whose support proves that the Arab nation still believes in peace and will be willing to support any effort in order to achieve it. All of your supporting letters reflect your trust and your efforts for peace.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to conclude that the Palestinian people want peace. The Israeli nation wants peace. The whole world wants peace. We all want peace. So, will we let the minority of peace-enemies destroy our dream? This is not the end of the road, but it is the beginning of a new road. The choice is in front of us. We can take the road of peace detailed in this document or we can choose the solutions that may lead to more injustice and instability.

I call upon all nations with conscience to join us in brining a solution to both nations which will be the basis for a permanent peace.

Thank you very much

END.

 

PALESTINIANS STEP UP PROTESTS AGAINST ALTERNATIVE PEACE PLAN

Palestinians step up protests against alternative peace plan
Thousands take to streets to demonstrate
Jenin branch of Fatah has threatened to execute supporters of proposal
Compiled by Daily Star staff, Beirut
(Beirut) Daily Star
December 2, 2003

Thousands of Palestinians staged protests in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon against the launch in Geneva on Monday of a symbolic peace pact with Israel, charging that the deal waives the right of millions of refugees to return to what is now the Jewish state.

Some 1,500 people demonstrated against the "Geneva Initiative" in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip in a protest organized by Hamas, reserving much of their venom for the main Palestinian instigator of the accord, Yasser Abed Rabbo.

"No to treason, no to traitors," some demonstrators chanted.

"The Geneva Initiative is a black day in the history of the Palestinian people," proclaimed one banner.

"Whoever sells my right as a refugee is a traitor who must be prosecuted," an opponent of the agreement shouted.

The initiative has been rejected by the main Palestinian factions with groups such as Hamas particularly angered by its implicit renunciation of the right of return for Palestinians who were either expelled or fled their homes when the state of Israel was created in 1948.

In Gaza City, some 2,000 people also gathered in a meeting hall to take part in what was called "a national conference for the defense of the right of return for refugees and against the dangers of the Geneva Initiative."

"This initiative is a gratuitous concession to Israel and is dividing the Palestinian people," senior Islamic Jihad official Mohammed al-Hindi told AFP on the sidelines of the gathering.

Top Hamas figure Ismail Haniyah also denounced the document "for renouncing the rights of the Palestinian people."

Also in Gaza dozens of children marched holding banners bearing the names of towns and villages from where Palestinians were forced to flee in 1948.

In the West Bank city of Bethlehem, more than 50 people, including Cabinet ministers Mitri Abu Aita and Salah al-Tamari, staged a sit-in outside a local annex of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Parliament to protest against the accord.

Around 300 people also gathered in the center of the West Bank town of Ramallah to denounce the project, accusing its promoters of "liquidating the Palestinian cause."

"This protest is our response to those who have awarded themselves the right to represent the Palestinian people," said Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior figure in Fatah.

Although Fatah has formally rejected the initiative, Arafat has despatched his senior national security advisor to the launch ceremony in Geneva.

In the northern West Bank town of Jenin, the local branch of Fatah issued a statement in which it threatened to "publicly execute" the backers of the document if they put their signature to it.

"The right of return is a sacred right and we will not allow anyone to renounce it," said the statement.

And in the nearby city of Nablus, around 400 people took part in a meeting at Al-Najah university in protest at the plan.

In Lebanon, hundreds of Palestinian refugees, most of them displaced in the 1948 war, demonstrated against the Initiative comparing it to the "Balfour Declaration" and branding it as an "enormous catastrophe."

The Balfour Declaration of 1917 promised Palestine as the national homeland for the Jews.

In the southern Ain Al-Hilweh refugee camp, some 100 Palestinian children staged a symbolic sit-in. (News Agencies)