[Note by Tom Gross]
On February 16, 2004, the New York Times ran a story about Al Jazeera, titled "For Al Jazeera, Balanced Coverage Frequently Leaves No Side Happy." The same article ran in the NY Times-owned International Herald Tribune under the headline "Al Jazeera sees itself ad an East-West 'bridge'" (nytimes.com/2004/02/16/business/media/16arabtv.html)
NY TIMES FORGETS TO MENTION THE HOLOCAUST DENIAL
The New York Times story is an example of how the paper subtly misleads its readers in regard to Middle East issues on an almost daily basis.
The Times piece (attached in full below) contains gushing quotes about how "comprehensive and accurate" Al Jazeera strives to be, how it does not have any "ideological aim," how it is trying to "bridge the gap between the two ways of understanding the news in the East and the West."
It quotes Al Jazeera's managing director, Mr. Khanfar, saying: "We do not carry slogans or propaganda, not at all. We are just ordinary people with a love for journalism."
AND WHAT THE NY TIMES LEFT OUT
Just three days earlier, Feb 13, 2004, Al Jazeera's English-language website ran an article titled "A Look at The 'Powerful Jewish Lobby'" by Mark Weber, one of the world's leading Holocaust distorters and director of the misnamed Institute for Historical Review. Weber's article - much like Al Jazeera's content - is a subtle mix of genuine fact and outrageous slurs "about the danger of Jewish power."
Weber uses for his defense such Holocaust distorters as "Jewish scholar" Norman Finkelstein, citing the fact that Finkelstein has among other things accused "organized Jewry" of "extorting billions of dollars" from Germany and others. Because of this, Finkelstein predicts, "The Holocaust may yet turn out to be the 'greatest robbery in the history of mankind'."
LETTERS TO INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE
In recent days the IHT has run readers' letters explaining that the Leftist (and in some cases Left-wing Fascist) bias at European news organizations like the BBC is "subtle, covert and shielded by the myth of objectivity." But perhaps the phrase "myth of objectivity" is a description that would best fit the IHT's own parent newspaper, the New York Times. (Those new to this email list who wish to read my own writings on the New York Times, can do so at www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-gross031403.asp.)
AL JAZEERA EXPANDS
After the introduction of an English-language Web site, Al Jazeera is planning to start an English-language satellite channel next year. In London, Chris Cramer, managing director at CNN International, said he was pleased by Al Jazeera's plans. "It's good for viewer choice," he said.
At the end of Weber's article, Al Jazeera's web site suggests that readers "E-mail to: email@example.com for a packet of literature and full listing of books."
-- Tom Gross
[Note: For those not expert in the duplicitous field of Holocaust revisionism this article should be read with care]
A LOOK AT THE 'POWERFUL JEWISH LOBBY'
A Look at The 'Powerful Jewish Lobby'
By Mark Weber
Feb 13, 2004
For decades Israel has violated well established precepts of international law and defied numerous United Nations resolutions in its occupation of conquered lands, in extra-judicial killings, and in its repeated acts of military aggression.
Most of the world regards Israel's policies, and especially its oppression of Palestinians, as outrageous and criminal. This international consensus is reflected, for example, in numerous UN resolutions condemning Israel, which have been approved with overwhelming majorities.
"The whole world," United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan recently said, "is demanding that Israel withdraw [from occupied Palestinian territories]. I don't think the whole world ... can be wrong."[note 1]
Only in the United States do politicians and the media still fervently support Israel and its policies. For decades the US has provided Israel with crucial military, diplomatic and financial backing, including more than $3 billion each year in aid.
Why is the U.S. the only remaining bastion of support for Israel?
Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who was awarded the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, has candidly identified the reason: "The Israeli government is placed on a pedestal [in the US], and to criticize it is to be immediately dubbed anti-Semitic," he said. "People are scared in this country, to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful -- very powerful."[note 2]
Bishop Tutu spoke the truth. Although Jews make up only about three percent of the US population, they wield immense power and influence -- vastly more than any other ethnic or religious group.
As Jewish author and political science professor Benjamin Ginsberg has pointed out:[note 3]
Since the 1960s, Jews have come to wield considerable influence in American economic, cultural, intellectual and political life. Jews played a central role in American finance during the 1980s, and they were among the chief beneficiaries of that decade's corporate mergers and reorganizations. Today, though barely two percent of the nation's population is Jewish, close to half its billionaires are Jews. The chief executive officers of the three major television networks and the four largest film studios are Jews, as are the owners of the nation's largest newspaper chain and the most influential single newspaper, the New York Times ... The role and influence of Jews in American politics is equally marked...
Jews are only three percent of the nation's population and comprise eleven percent of what this study defines as the nation's elite. However, Jews constitute more than 25 percent of the elite journalists and publishers, more than 17 percent of the leaders of important voluntary and public interest organiza tions, and more than 15 percent of the top ranking civil servants.
Stephen Steinlight, former Director of National Affairs of the American Jewish Committee, similarly notes the "disproportionate political power" of Jews, which is "pound for pound the greatest of any ethnic/cultural group in America." He goes on to explain that "Jewish economic influence and power are disproportionately concentrated in Hollywood, television, and in the news industry." [note 4]
Two well-known Jewish writers, Seymour Lipset and Earl Raab, pointed out in their 1995 book, Jews and the New American Scene:[note 5]
During the last three decades Jews [in the United States] have made up 50 percent of the top two hundred intellectuals... 20 percent of professors at the leading universities... 40 percent of partners in the leading law firms in New York and Washington... 59 percent of the directors, writers, and producers of the 50 top-grossing motion pictures from 1965 to 1982, and 58 percent of directors, writers, and producers in two or more primetime television series.
The influence of American Jewry in Washington, notes the Israeli daily Jerusalem Post, is "far disproportionate to the size of the community, Jewish leaders and U.S. official acknowledge. But so is the amount of money they contribute to [election] campaigns." One member of the influential Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations "estimated Jews alone had contributed 50 percent of the funds for [President Bill] Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign."[note 6]
"It makes no sense at all to try to deny the reality of Jewish power and prominence in popular culture," acknowledges Michael Medved, a well-known Jewish author and film critic. "Any list of the most influential production executives at each of the major movie studios will produce a heavy majority of recognizably Jewish names."[note 7]
One person who has carefully studied this subject is Jonathan J. Goldberg, now editor of the influential Jewish community weekly Forward. In his 1996 book, Jewish Power, he wrote:[note 8]
In a few key sectors of the media, notably among Hollywood studio executives, Jews are so numerically dominant that calling these businesses Jewish-controlled is little more than a statistical observation...
Hollywood at the end of the twentieth century is still an industry with a pronounced ethnic tinge. Virtually all the senior executives at the major studios are Jews. Writers, producers, and to a lesser degree directors are disproportionately Jewish -- one recent study showed the figure as high as 59 percent among top-grossing films.
The combined weight of so many Jews in one of America's most lucrative and important industries gives the Jews of Hollywood a great deal of political power. They are a major source of money for Democratic candidates.
Reflecting their role in the American media, Jews are routinely portrayed as high-minded, altruistic, trustworthy, compassionate, and deserving of sympathy and support. While millions of Americans readily accept such stereotyped imagery, not everyone is impressed. "I am very angry with some of the Jews," complained actor Marlon Brando during a 1996 interview. "They know perfectly well what their responsibilities are... Hollywood is run by Jews. It's owned by Jews, and they should have a greater sensitivity about the issue of people who are suffering."[note 9]
A Well-Entrenched Factor
The intimidating power of the "Jewish lobby" is not a new phenomenon, but has long been an important factor in American life.
In 1941 Charles Lindbergh spoke about the danger of Jewish power in the media and government. The shy 39-year-old -- known around the world for his epic 1927 New York to Paris flight, the first solo trans-Atlantic crossing -- was addressing 7,000 people in Des Moines, Iowa, on September 11, 1941, about the dangers of US involvement in the war then raging in Europe. The three most important groups pressing America into war, he explained, were the British, the Jews, and the Roosevelt administration.
Of the Jews, he said: "Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government." Lindbergh went on:
...For reasons which are understandable from their viewpoint as they are inadvisable from ours, for reasons which are not American, [they] wish to involve us in the war. We cannot blame them for looking out for what they believe to be their own interests, but we must also look out for ours. We cannot allow the natural passions and prejudices of other peoples to lead our country to destruction. In 1978, Jewish American scholar Alfred M. Lilienthal wrote in his detailed study, The Zionist Connection:[note 10]
How has the Zionist will been imposed on the American people?... It is the Jewish connection, the tribal solidarity among themselves and the amazing pull on non-Jews, that has molded this unprecedented power... In the larger metropolitan areas, the Jewish-Zionist connection thoroughly pervades affluent financial, commercial, social, entertainment, and art circles.
As a result of the Jewish grip on the media, wrote Lilienthal, news coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict in American television, newspapers and magazines is relentlessly sympathetic to Israel. This is manifest, for example, in the misleading portrayal of Palestinian "terrorism." As Lilienthal put it: "One-sided reportage on terrorism, in which cause is never related to effect, was assured because the most effective component of the Jewish connection is probably that of media control."
One-Sided 'Holocaust' History
The Jewish hold on cultural and academic life has had a profound impact on how Americans look at the past. Nowhere is the well entrenched Judeocentric view of history more obvious than in the "Holocaust" media campaign, which focuses on the fate of Jews in Europe during World War II.
Israeli Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer, a professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has remarked:[note 11]
Whether presented authentically or inauthentically, in accordance with the historical facts or in contradiction to them, with empathy and understanding or as monumental kitsch, the Holocaust has become a ruling symbol of our culture... Hardly a month goes by without a new TV production, a new film, a new drama, new books, prose or poetry, dealing with the subject, and the flood is increasing rather than abating.
Non-Jewish suffering simply does not merit comparable attention. Overshadowed in the focus on Jewish victimization are, for example, the tens of millions of victims of America's World War II ally, Stalinist Russia, along with the tens of millions of victims of China's Maoist regime, as well as the 12 to 14 million Germans, victims of the flight and expulsion of 1944-1949, of whom some two million lost their lives.
The well-financed Holocaust media and "educational" campaign is crucially important to the interests of Israel. Paula Hyman, a professor of modern Jewish history at Yale University, has observed: "With regard to Israel, the Holocaust may be used to forestall political criticism and suppress debate; it reinforces the sense of Jews as an eternally beleaguered people who can rely for their defense only upon themselves. The invocation of the suffering endured by the Jews under the Nazis often takes the place of rational argument, and is expected to convince doubters of the legitimacy of current Israeli government policy."[note 12]
Norman Finkelstein, a Jewish scholar who has taught political science at City University of New York (Hunter College), says in his book, The Holocaust Industry, that "invoking The Holocaust" is "a ploy to delegitimize all criticism of Jews."[note 13] "By conferring total blamelessness on Jews, the Holocaust dogma immunizes Israel and American Jewry from legitimate censure... Organized Jewry has exploited the Nazi holocaust to deflect criticism of Israel's and its own morally indefensible policies." He writes of the brazen "shakedown" of Germany, Switzerland and other countries by Israel and organized Jewry "to extort billions of dollars." "The Holocaust," Finkelstein predicts, "may yet turn out to be the 'greatest robbery in the history of mankind'."
Jews in Israel feel free to act brutally against Arabs, writes Israeli journalist Ari Shavit, "believing with absolute certitude that now, with the White House, the Senate and much of the American media in our hands, the lives of others do not count as much as our own."[note 14]
Admiral Thomas Moorer, former Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, has spoken with blunt exasperation about the Jewish-Israeli hold on the United States:[note 15]
I've never seen a President -- I don't care who he is -- stand up to them [the Israelis]. It just boggles the mind. They always get what they want. The Israelis know what is going on all the time. I got to the point where I wasn't writing anything down. If the American people understood what a grip those people have got on our government, they would rise up in arms. Our citizens certainly don't have any idea what goes on.
Today the danger is greater than ever. Israel and Jewish organizations, in collaboration with this country's pro-Zionist "amen corner," are prodding the United States -- the world's foremost military and economic power -- into new wars against Israel's enemies. As the French ambassador in London recently acknowledged, Israel -- which he called "that shitty little country" -- is a threat to world peace. "Why should the world be in danger of World War III because of those people?," he said.[note 16]
To sum up: Jews wield immense power and influence in the United States. The "Jewish lobby" is a decisive factor in US support for Israel. Jewish-Zionist interests are not identical to American interests. In fact, they often conflict.
As long as the "very powerful" Jewish lobby remains entrenched, there will be no end to the systematic Jewish distortion of current affairs and history, the Jewish-Zionist domination of the U.S. political system, Zionist oppression of Palestinians, the bloody conflict between Jews and non-Jews in the Middle East, and the Israeli threat to peace.
[1.] Quoted in Forward (New York City), April 19, 2002, p. 11.
[2.] D. Tutu, "Apartheid in the Holy Land," The Guardian (Britain), April 29, 2002.
[3.] Benjamin Ginsberg, The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State (University of Chicago, 1993), pp. 1, 103.
[4.] S. Steinlight, "The Jewish Stake in America's Changing Demography: Reconsidering a Misguided Immigration Policy," Center for Immigration Studies, Nov. 2001.
[5.] Seymour Martin Lipset and Earl Raab, Jews and the New American Scene (Harvard Univ. Press, 1995), pp. 26-27.
[6.] Janine Zacharia, "The Unofficial Ambassadors of the Jewish State," The Jerusalem Post (Israel), April 2, 2000. Reprinted in "Other Voices," June 2000, p. OV-4, a supplement to The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.
[7.] M. Medved, "Is Hollywood Too Jewish?," Moment, Vol. 21, No. 4 (1996), p. 37.
[8.] Jonathan Jeremy Goldberg, Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment (Addison-Wesley, 1996), pp. 280, 287-288. See also pp. 39-40, 290-291.
[9.] Interview with Larry King, CNN network, April 5, 1996. "Brando Remarks," Los Angeles Times, April 8, 1996, p. F4 (OC). A short time later, Brando was obliged to apologize for his remarks.
[10.] A. Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1978), pp. 206, 218, 219, 229.
[11.] From a 1992 lecture, published in: David Cesarani, ed., The Final Solution: Origins and Implementation (London and New York: Routledge, 1994), pp. 305, 306.
[12.] Paula E. Hyman, "New Debate on the Holocaust," The New York Times Magazine , Sept. 14, 1980, p. 79.
[13.] Norman G. Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry (London, New York: Verso, 2000), pp. 130, 138, 139, 149.
[14.] The New York Times, May 27, 1996. Shavit is identified as a columnist for Ha'aretz, a Hebrew-language Israeli daily newspaper, "from which this article is adapted."
[15.] Interview with Moorer, Aug. 24, 1983. Quoted in: Paul Findley, They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby (Lawrence Hill, 1984 and 1985), p. 161.
[16.] D. Davis, "French Envoy to UK: Israel Threatens World Peace," Jerusalem Post, Dec. 20, 2001. The French ambassador is Daniel Bernard.6/02
(About the author: Mark Weber is director of the Institute for Historical Review. He studied history at the University of Illinois (Chicago), the University of Munich, Portland State University and Indiana University (M.A., 1977). For nine years he served as editor of the IHR's Journal of Historical Review.)
E-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org for a packet of literature and full listing of books.
FOR AL JAZEERA, BALANCED COVERAGE FREQUENTLY LEAVES NO SIDE HAPPY
For Al Jazeera, Balanced Coverage Frequently Leaves No Side Happy
By Samuel Abt
International Herald Tribune / New York Times
February 16, 2004
A poster on a wall at the headquarters here of Al Jazeera, the Arabic-language television network, shows a giant eye and a superimposed question: "Everybody watches CNN. What does CNN watch?" Underneath is an answer: "Al Jazeera Channel."
As boasts go, it does not seem far-fetched.
Defended by its newsroom managers as newsworthy and balanced, Al Jazeera's broadcasts of taped statements by Osama bin Laden are widely watched and analyzed. The channel, which often draws the wrath of the Pentagon, is in the midst of a one-month ban in Iraq, and it was denounced as well in Saddam Hussein's time. It is also the target of an advertising boycott in some Arab countries, Al Jazeera executives say.
This diversity is a mark of strength, executives said in a series of interviews here. As Wadah Khanfar, the managing director and a Jordanian, put it, "We have been accused from the beginning that we were created by international agencies like the Mossad, the C.I.A., and that the Americans are behind us, that this regime or that regime is behind us, that Osama bin Laden is behind us. This kind of nonsense is for us a sign that what we are doing is right."
Another sign is that, in its eighth year of broadcasting, the channel says that it has 35 million viewers daily around the world, most in the Arab world but some as far afield as China and Japan.
Now, Al Jazeera says it is planning to expand into the English-speaking world. After the introduction of an English-language Web site last fall, it expects to start a satellite channel in English "hopefully next year," Mr. Khanfar said. That would follow the introduction of an all-sports channel in November and plans for an "Al Jazeera for kids."
Haidar Haq, a Lebanese who is head of the channel's sports section, remarked: "America, Italy, France, they bring what they want to bring to us - their ideas, their images, their officials. Now, we bring our idea to the Arab world. Maybe next year there will be an Al Jazeera in English to bring an Arabic idea to foreigners."
And Mr. Khanfar said, "Already we are recruiting journalists and constructing a building" for the English-language channel. "Most of the people we will hire," he continued, "might have English as a mother language, and they might not necessarily be Arabs. The main qualification is their experience and professionalism."
In London, Chris Cramer, managing director at CNN International, said he was pleased by Al Jazeera's plans. "It's good for viewer choice," he said.
Editors say that professionalism is a priority at Al Jazeera, whose name literally means "the island" and by extension "the peninsula," alluding to the Saudi land mass from which all Arabs are said to have spread.
"We are trying our best to be comprehensive and accurate," said Ibrahim Helal, an Egyptian who is the newsroom chief editor. "To be accurate, not to achieve an ideological aim.''
Mr. Helal added: "We are working in a very sensitive time in the Arab world. The Arab region is in the focus of the world's news. What we are trying to do is bridge the gap between the two ways of understanding the news in the East and the West."
Al Jazeera's managing director, Mr. Khanfar, explained: "We don't see ourselves as a political party that has an agenda. We see ourselves as a TV station that reports. That's it. We do not carry slogans or propaganda, not at all. We are just ordinary people with a love for journalism."
Nevertheless, suspicion persists. A magazine article posted on a bulletin board quoted Mr. Helal as complaining about the frequent Western news agency description of "a report by Al Jazeera that could not be confirmed by an independent source." Why, he wanted to know, was confirmation necessary? Is his channel not independent itself?
Nor is Al Jazeera without doubters in the Arab world, where it can be critical of governments and interviews opposition figures.
This kind of journalism is not without business risks. "Making money?" Mr. Khanfar said in response to a question. "Not really. We're losing it. Agencies are boycotting us. A lot of companies are not putting adverts in our organization because most of them are owned or at least hosted in certain countries that are not happy with us, like Saudi Arabia."
Profit and loss may not be an overriding concern for the people who put up the money to start Al Jazeera and keep it going. Channel officials identified the backers as Qatari businessmen, while The Economist magazine has said the money comes from the government of Qatar "because it regards Al Jazeera as a part of its plans for political liberalization."
The channel reports that it has 750 employees in Doha, Qatar's capital, and 23 bureaus worldwide with about 70 correspondents. In all, Mr. Khanfar said, there are 1,300 to 1,400 employees, 450 of them journalists and the rest support staff members, technicians and computer specialists. He said there were many female employees.
He and the others were talking in the newsroom, a sleek place with 10 pods of 3 desks, each with a computer and television set. Clocks show the hour in Washington and Tokyo as well as Greenwich Mean Time, and a wall is dominated by 16 television monitors showing channels including CNN, BBC World News, Reuters and national television stations from Iraq, Abu Dhabi, Egypt and Qatar. Studios, production rooms and archives line the room, and an electronic chart displays satellite booking times.
The news is broadcast every hour and changed often. "We don't have an exclusive Middle Eastern agenda," Mr. Helal said. "Sometimes we lead with a worldwide story - the chicken flu story, for example."
"When we started in 1996," he said, "we didn't really imagine that the Arab audience would be interested in 24-hour news, but gradually it happened. We pushed competitors to do the same. We enforced an Arab agenda on other TV's; we made them extend their Arab coverage."
Prominent in this coverage are the periodic tapes from Al Qaeda leaders. Calling Mr. bin Laden "a news- maker," Mr. Khanfar analyzed his choice of Al Jazeera as an outlet to the world.
"If you want to pass a message to the biggest audience, you go to the most acknowledged TV station," he said, "and Al Jazeera, in the Arab world, is the biggest. That is not to say we have become the voice of Osama bin Laden, the voice of terrorism. We look at it from a news point of view.
"If you give me a tape and I just play it 100 or 15 or a few times, then I am propagating a message. But if you give me a tape and I take certain elements, certain paragraphs, which I think are newsworthy and put that into my own context and host people who are analysts from different points of view to discuss the discourse, then I am putting it in a context.
"And this is exactly what we do with all his tapes. The people who come to refute that particular tape make the discourse very vulnerable. Very vulnerable."
1. Ha'aretz: "Sweden's 18,000 Jews are afraid to say they are Jewish"
2. Headline in Sweden's best-selling newspaper: "The Crucifixion of Arafat"
3. Socialist Party newspaper in Ukraine: "400,000 Jewish SS invaded Ukraine along with German troops during World War II"
4. Swastikas painted on graves of Jews massacred in Bloody Sunday (1905) in St Petersburg, Russia
5. Prominent British Jews targeted by Muslims and the far Right
This is a follow-up to the three dispatches in January on Sweden, and to dispatches in the last three years on Russia, Ukraine and Britain. I attach four articles from recent days, with summaries first for those who don't have time to read them in full.
1. "Vandals Daub Swastikas, Slogans on Jewish Graves" (St Petersburg Times, Russia, February 17, 2004). "About 50 Jewish graves were defaced with fascist signs. Unknown vandals painted swastikas on all the graves and wrote racist graffiti on some, including "Yids Get Out of Here! The cemetery, which in the 19th century was exclusively Jewish and the largest burial site for Jews in the city, had suffered separate acts of vandalism before, but it never witnessed such a massive act, " Mark Grubarg, head of St. Petersburg's Jewish Religious Community. "We are in shock," said. The cemetery also contains the graves of many people shot on so-called Bloody Sunday in 1905. "Any nation is sensitive to acts of vandalism at cemeteries, but Jews are especially vulnerable to them," Grubarg said. When he went to the cemetery on Monday the scene reminded him "of the early years of fascist Germany, where the genocide started exactly the same way," Grubarg said.
2. "Opposition parties face dilemma pitting free press vs. anti-Semitism" (Agence France-Presse, Kiev, Feb. 15, 2004). "Ukraine's liberal and socialist opposition is in the center of a political storm after leaping to the defense of a newspaper ordered to shut down by a Kiev court for publishing anti-Semitic articles... The Silski Visti newspaper, which has a circulation of more than 500,000 and is affiliated with the opposition Socialist Party, published two articles by professor Vasil Yaramenko, accusing Jews of having organized the great Ukraine famine of 1933 that killed millions of people, and that "400,000 Jewish SS" invaded Ukraine along with German troops during World War II... The discontent escalated when all three opposition parties - including the liberals - rose to Silski Visti's defense. Jewish community leaders said they were stunned by the opposition's position."
3. "Jews in Sweden are afraid to be known as Jews" (By Amiram Barkat, Ha'aretz, February 10, 2004). "Daniel Schechner, a 21-year-old law student from Stockholm, makes sure to conceal even the slightest hint of his Jewishness when he goes out in public... He uses his non-Jewish last name, which he asks the reporter not to print. He does not dream of walking down the street while wearing a skullcap, and when he went to Israel, he told people that he went to another country.
...Schechner says that when he and his friends speak about "Jewish" subjects like synagogue or kashruth, they use code words... Schechner, whose grandfather came to Sweden at the beginning of the 20th century, says that until three years ago, he was deeply rooted in Swedish society, but is not so sure anymore that Jews have a future in the country... "But I have an even harder time with the unwillingness that I feel from the Swedish establishment to deal with the roots of the hatred that is directed at the Jews living here."
...Mikael Tossavainen said "If people see a Jew they react, usually with verbal violence and on rare occasions physical assault, as well." Anders Carlberg said that Swedish Jews are seeing an old behavioral code that has reappeared. "The Jews only began to be proud of their Jewishness in the 1980s, at which time Swedish society went through a process of openness to multiculturalism," he says, "but things have changed in the past two years, and now a lot of people once again prefer not to be so up front about their Jewishness."
...Officials in the Swedish Jewish community emphasize that they consider only a small percentage of Sweden's 400,000 Muslim immigrants to be a threat... Tossavainen conducted with about 20 school teachers in Stockholm, Malmo and Goteborg. Most interviewees complained that they met opposition from some of their Muslim students when they tried to give lessons about Jewish or the Holocaust.
...Carlberg and Posner-Koeroesi claimed that "as a result of the one-sided reports in the Swedish media about what is happening in the Middle East, there has been a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic expressions in Swedish society." ...One prominent example is the headline "The Crucifixion of Arafat" given to an editorial that appeared in Aftonbladet, the most widely circulated newspaper in Sweden, on the eve of Easter 2003, while Operation Defensive Shield was underway.
...[After] last month's incident in which Israeli ambassador Zvi Mazel damaged the "Snow White and the Madness of Truth" installation at the historical museum of Stockholm, a commentator in another important newspaper, Dagens, wrote that the ambassador's actions were inspired by the "God of Vengeance of the Old Testament."
4. "U.K. Prominent Jews targeted by Muslims and the far Right" (By Rajeev Syal, Sunday Telegraph, February 15, 2004). "Prominent Jews in Britain are being targeted in a wave of anti-Semitic harassment by far-Right and Islamic fundamentalist organisations. The home of Lord Triesman, the former general secretary of the Labour party, has been attacked by Combat 18, the neo-Nazi group. Uri Geller, the Israeli television personality, and Barbara Roche, the former Labour minister, have been the victims of graffiti and hate mail.
"...Combat 18, the banned neo-Nazi terror group, has orchestrated a 14-month campaign of terror against Lord Triesman of Tottenham. His windows have been broken and his walls daubed with swastikas in 12 separate attacks. The problem became so bad that he was advised by Special Branch to erect a 10ft fence around his home in Dartmouth Park, north London. [Tom Gross adds: Will the International Court of Justice in the Hague rule on this fence?]
"...Uri Geller, 57, the Israeli-born exponent of mind over matter, was shocked to discover the word "Jew" painted on a fence at his home in Sonning, Berkshire, last Thursday. He said that his family had been subjected to a three-year campaign of intimidation including hate mail, silent telephone calls and stalkers, but this was the first time that graffiti had been painted on his property. "It is a real shock to be confronted with the word 'Jew' being used as an insult. It is a sickening feeling," he said.
"An opinion poll last month in Britain found that one in five Britons would oppose a Jewish prime minister, while one in seven believed that the Holocaust was exaggerated."
VANDALS DAUB SWASTIKAS, SLOGANS ON JEWISH GRAVES
Vandals Daub Swastikas, Slogans on Jewish Graves
By Irina Titova
St Petersburg Times, Russia
February 17, 2004
About 50 Jewish graves were defaced with fascist signs and slogans at the city's Jan. 9 Cemetery on Saturday night.
Unknown vandals painted swastikas on all the graves and wrote racist graffiti on some, including "Yids Get Out of Here!," said Mark Grubarg, head of St. Petersburg's Jewish Religious Community. "We are in shock," he said.
The cemetery, which in the 19th century was exclusively Jewish and the largest burial site for Jews in the city, had suffered separate acts of vandalism before, but it never witnessed such a massive act, Grubarg said.
The cemetery also contains the graves of many people shot on so-called Bloody Sunday in 1905, many of whom were Gentiles and are buried separately from the Jews.
"Any nation is sensitive to acts of vandalism at cemeteries, but Jews are especially vulnerable to them," Grubarg said, "especially, when it concerns fascist signs, which Jewish people have terrible memories of."
When he went to the cemetery on Monday the scene reminded him "of the early years of fascist Germany, where the genocide started exactly the same way," Grubarg said.
The vandalism was committed only a few days after a group of teenagers brutally murdered a nine-year-old Tajik girl in St. Petersburg. The slaying caused a wave of indignation in the city and across Russia. No one had been arrested for the murder Monday.
Grubarg said racially motivated vandalism in St. Petersburg had recently became more frequent. It seemed to be all directed to destabilize the situation in the city and the country on the eve of the presidential elections, he added.
"It's obvious to anyone that acts of nationalism in a multi-national country like Russia may have very negative consequences, and President Vladimir Putin always is always warning about that," he said.
"Our society should do everything possible to nip such things in the bud," he added. "We don't know who did that to the Jewish cemetery or if it was skinheads, but if it was them then it's obvious that those young boys are just toys in the hands of adult people, who are interested in damaging Russia."
The city prosecutor's office has opened a criminal case over the vandalism.
OPPOSITION PARTIES FACE DILEMNA PITTING FREE PRESS VS. ANTI-SEMITISM
Opposition parties face dilemma pitting free press vs. anti-Semitism
By Sylvie Briand
Agence France-Presse, Kiev
February 15, 2004
Ukraine's liberal and socialist opposition is in the center of a political storm after leaping to the defense of a newspaper ordered to shut down by a Kiev court for publishing anti-Semitic articles.
The incident highlights the tenuous position of the Jews in Eastern Europe after decades of repression, with undercurrents of anti-Semitism still running strong.
The Silski Visti newspaper, which has a circulation of more than 500,000 and is affiliated with the opposition Socialist Party, is being sued by the International Antifascist Committee for "encouraging racial hatred," because it published two articles by professor Vasil Yaramenko.
The author accused Jews of having organized the great Ukraine famine of 1933 that killed millions of people, and which historians blame on Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. He also claimed that Jewish agents made up 99 percent of the NKVD political police (later known as the KGB), which he said killed millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s and was run by a Stalin crony. Mr. Yaramenko went even further, claiming that "400,000 Jewish SS" invaded Ukraine along with German troops during World War II.
For good measure, he attacked "Zionist oligarchs" (tycoons), including Viktor Pinchuk, the son-in-law of Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.
The discontent escalated when all three opposition parties - including the liberals - rose to Silski Visti's defense.
The parties - the blocs headed by presidential hopefuls Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Timoshenko, and Olexander Moroz's Socialist Party - claimed the decision to shut down the paper was a ploy by the Kuchma administration to influence the next presidential election, scheduled for October.
Liberal political commentators and Jewish community leaders said they were stunned by the opposition's position.
In an article published in the opposition online daily Ukraynskaya Pravda, former Soviet dissident Volodymyr Malinkovich said the parties' behavior pointed to a "problem with democracy" in the former Soviet republic.
"Silski Visti is a tendentious newspaper that publishes gross, provocative articles when asked to. The opposition, which views itself as democratic, should be ashamed of its solidarity with this kind of press," Mr. Malinkovich wrote.
Eduard Dolinsky, deputy head of Ukraine's Jewish community council, said the shutdown of Silski Visti was "a great victory, something unique in Ukraine" - a country where anti-Semitic propaganda is freely available in most bookstores.
"For years, this newspaper has disseminated its hateful propaganda. And the opposition has completely discredited itself," Mr. Dolinsky said.
In what looked like a damage control, Mr. Yushchenko, whose own father was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp by the Germans during World War II, eventually backtracked, saying Silski Visti should "apologize to those who were offended by the articles it published." The paper so far has refused to do so.
However, some opposition deputies were unrepentant.
"This has nothing to do with anti-Semitism," said Socialist Party deputy leader Ivan Boky.
"Mr. Yaromenko is a researcher who writes on complex historical issues. Saying that Jewish bankers reduced Ukrainians to utter poverty is a fact, not racial hatred," Mr. Boky said.
"It is not the first time that the presidential administration has been trying to close this newspaper down," he added.
By issuing such comments, the Ukrainian opposition is harming its own credibility, said former dissident Mr. Malinkovich.
"Our Ukraine and the Socialist Party are shooting themselves in the foot in order to appeal to nationalistic, poor voters who are looking for scapegoats," he said.
JEWS IN SWEDEN ARE AFRAID TO BE KNOWN AS JEWS
Jews in Sweden are afraid to be known as Jews
By Amiram Barkat
Daniel Schechner, a 21-year-old law student from Stockholm, makes sure to conceal even the slightest hint of his Jewishness when he goes out in public.
When he says that he lives a double identity, he means that at work, school and in the street he would not voluntarily reveal his religion. He uses his non-Jewish last name, which he asks the reporter not to print. He does not dream of walking down the street while wearing a skullcap, Star of David or T-shirt with Hebrew on it, and when he went to Israel, he told people that he went to another country.
Schechner says that when he and his friends speak about "Jewish" subjects like synagogue or kashruth, they use code words. Nevertheless, the camouflage doesn't always provide perfect protection. Schechner relates that not long ago, when he was standing in a subway car, he was approached by someone who looked like a homeless person, who asked him about the "Jewish situation."
"What do you want from me? I'm a Swede," Schechner replied. The only response was: "Treat the Palestinians nicely." Says Schechner: "Then he muttered something about my having a Jewish nose."
Schechner, whose grandfather came to Sweden at the beginning of the 20th century, says that until three years ago, he was deeply rooted in Swedish society, but is not so sure anymore that Jews have a future in the country.
"I have a hard time with the idea that there is anti-Semitism here," he says. "But I have an even harder time with the unwillingness that I feel from the Swedish establishment to deal with the roots of the hatred that is directed at the Jews living here."
An estimated 18,000 Jews live in Sweden. Some 5,500 of them are registered members of the Jewish community of Stockholm, 1,800 in the Goteborg community, and 1,200 in Malmo. The remainder does not belong to any community.
It is hard to see anti-Semitism in Sweden. A report by the EU's Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (the report which was at first shelved, and only publicized after a public outcry) mentions isolated cases of physical attacks on Jews. Study of the collection of reports for 2003 of Israel's Forum to Coordinate the Struggle Against Anti-Semitism shows that damage to Jewish property was also relatively slight - bottles throws at a synagogue or the daubing of swastikas in a Jewish cemetery.
Nevertheless, Jews living in Sweden says that they, their friends and a majority of the Jews that they know are taking extra precautions when they step out into the street. "Most of the crimes now being committed against Jews are impulsive," says researcher and member of the Jewish community, Mikael Tossavainen. "If people see a Jew they react, usually with verbal violence and on rare occasions physical assault, as well."
Anders Carlberg, president of the Jewish community of Goteborg, says that "when you arrive in a new and unfamiliar environment, you have to be cautious as regards your background; maybe there will be someone Muslim or from the extreme left." Carlberg says that Swedish Jews are seeing an old behavioral code that has reappeared. "The Jews only began to be proud of their Jewishness in the 1980s, at which time Swedish society went through a process of openness to multiculturalism," he says, "but things have changed in the past two years, and now a lot of people once again prefer not to be so up front about their Jewishness."
As Carlberg sees it, the modest number of physical attacks is evidence of the success of the low-profile policy, not an indication that the threat is not serious. "The fear of being attacked in the primary concern of Jews in Sweden today," he states. On the day after the conversation with Carlberg, his son and three of his friends were attacked in a restaurant in Malmo by a gang of Muslim youths, but were rescued without injury thanks to police intervention.
The Swedish secret services are the only organization in the country that conducts separate registration of incidents described as actions committed with an anti-Semitic background. In 2002, 131 incidents were recorded, but the vast majority was not directed against life and limb, but rather were expressed as threats, hate mail or minor property damage. The secret services do not divulge details about the identity of the suspects.
"I would not be surprised if it turned out that most of the attackers, maybe even 80 percent of them, were Muslims," says the president of the Stockholm Jewish community, Lena Posner-Koeroesi. Officials in the Swedish Jewish community emphasize that they consider only a small percentage of Sweden's 400,000 Muslim immigrants to be a threat.
Tossavainen says that the "risk groups" mainly comprise persons whose background includes one or more of the following traits: religious fanaticism, young age or country of origin in North Africa or elsewhere in the Arab world.
All of the appeals to government leaders in Sweden to take action against the phenomenon or at least to recognize its existence have as yet failed to produce any results. Politicians in the country are accustomed to treating anti-Semitism as part of a larger problem.
"Whenever officials here agree to do something about anti-Semitism, they always group it together with Islamophobia and homophobia," says Lena Posner-Koeroesi. "Personally, I'm not even clear on what Islamophobia is, and why it is different from ordinary xenophobia. But aside from that, I cannot understand this stubbornness to link the three phenomena together. In my opinion, each of these phenomena is unique and calls for a separate discussion."
"I'm not surprised that the Swedes are skeptical of the Jews' accusations," says Tossavainen. "They are simply disconnected from what is going on in the large Muslim communities in the suburbs." Last October, the Council Against Anti-Semitism in Sweden, a voluntary body set up in the `80s by former deputy prime minister Per Ahlmark, issued a report drafted by Tossavainen that surveyed anti-Semitism among Muslim immigrants, from a variety of angles.
Opposition to lessons on Holocaust
The report sparked numerous responses in the Swedish media, mainly about interviews that Tossavainen conducted with about 20 school teachers in Stockholm, Malmo and Goteborg. Most interviewees complained that they met opposition from some of their Muslim students when they tried to give lessons about Jewish or the Holocaust. "The teachers said that they had the impression that the children had absorbed their negative opinions of Jews at home, from other family members, or from watching Muslim media," says Tossavainen. He says he was surprised by the objections to the report voiced by Muslim public figures, most of whom admitted that there was a problem.
Some public figures, he says, justified the hatred of Jews. They were native Swedes. On October 20, the well thought of Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter ran an article by an Islamic studies scholar named Jan Samuelsson, who wrote that there was no reason to expect the Arabs to stop hating the Jews so long as the latter are occupying their lands. "Muslims who seek to take out their frustrations on Israel are met with understanding in Swedish society," says Carlberg. "The message they get here is that Israel is not an ordinary democratic or Western state; but that it is a problem."
Last year, Carlberg, Posner-Koeroesi and the heads of organizations engaged in Sweden-Israel relations and the struggle against anti-Semitism published a joint article in one of the major newspapers in Sweden, in which they claimed that "as a result of the one-sided reports in the Swedish media about what is happening in the Middle East, there has been a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic expressions in Swedish society."
Dr. Henrik Bachner of Lund University, who has researched anti-Semitism in Sweden for the past 20 years, says that the reports on Israel's actions in the territories do not create anti-Semitism, but do arouse and intensify latent anti-Semitism. "This is not a new type of anti-Semitism," says Bachner, "but an anti-Semitism in which the innovation is that it is coming from groups that are not considered here to be anti-Semitic. Regarding these groups, the framework of public discussion of what is happening in the Middle East is the only forum in which you can freely express anti-Jewish opinions, under the cover of criticism of Israel."
Bachner says that in most cases, criticism of Israel remains within the bounds of legitimate debate. Still, he feels that in some cases it is possible to spot signs of anti-Semitism intertwined in the criticism. The two primary criteria that he uses to locate these signs are the analogizing between Israel and the Nazis, and use of terminology drawn from Christian tradition. One prominent example of this second type is the headline "The Crucifixion of Arafat" given to an editorial that appeared in Aftonbladet, the most widely circulated newspaper in Sweden, on the eve of Easter 2003, while Operation Defensive Shield was underway.
The same attitude was expressed in regard to last month's incident in which Israeli ambassador Zvi Mazel damaged the "Snow White and the Madness of Truth" installation at the historical museum of Stockholm. Among the wave of reactions to the incident in the Swedish media, Bachner found a few examples that met his criteria. In one, a reaction by the retired Swedish diplomat Sverker Astrom, in an interview that appeared in the newspaper Svenska Dagenbladet, Astrom compared Israel's demand to remove the installation to the pressure exerted on Sweden by the Third Reich to censor expressions of anti-Nazism. Another reaction was an op-ed piece that appeared in another important newspaper, Dagens, in which commentator Peppe Engberg wrote that the ambassador's actions were inspired by the "God of Vengeance of the Old Testament."
The new development, in Bachner's opinion, is the reengagement in the myth of Jewish power, to a much greater extent than in the past. Specifically, there are claims made about the power of the "Jewish lobby," voiced, for example, in the context of the U.S. decision to go to war against Iraq.
"The most worrisome aspect of the phenomenon," says Bachner, "has to do with the engagement in anti-Semitism or in the Holocaust. There is now a large group of academics in Sweden who argue that the mere discussion of anti-Semitism is solely intended to serve the political interests of Israel." Bachner claims that the contentions of this group have in recent weeks been reinforced by Ambassador Mazel, who was quoted in interviews with the Swedish media held after the incident, as claiming that anti-Semitism is rampant in Sweden. "Many people who argue that the discussion of anti-Semitism is part of the Israeli strategy were very happy about Mazel's claims," says Bachner.
PROMINENT JEWS TARGETED BY MUSLIMS AND THE FAR RIGHT
Prominent Jews targeted by Muslims and the far Right
By Rajeev Syal
February 15, 2004
Prominent Jews in Britain are being targeted in a wave of anti-Semitic harassment by far-Right and Islamic fundamentalist organisations.
The home of Lord Triesman, the former general secretary of the Labour party, has been attacked by Combat 18, the neo-Nazi group. Uri Geller, the Israeli television personality, and Barbara Roche, the former Labour minister, have been the victims of graffiti and hate mail.
The incidents have emerged as police prepare to release figures this week showing that Britain saw a significant rise in anti-Semitic incidents in 2003.
Mike Whine, the security spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said that the problem of prejudice directed towards Jews on the European mainland was spreading to Britain. "Tensions in the Middle East and the rise of far-Right activity have come together to produce a depressing increase in anti-Semitic activity," he said.
Mr Whine, who works closely with the police to monitor anti-Semitic attacks on synagogues and Jewish graves, said that extremist Islamic groups are behind many anti-Semitic incidents. "There is reliable evidence from the police to prove that an increasing number of incidents are committed by sympathisers of the Palestinians and Islamists.
"The promotion of anti-Semitism by the Arab media and by Islamist organisations worldwide is having a significant effect on the attitudes of Muslim communities around the world towards the Jews."
Combat 18, the banned neo-Nazi terror group, has orchestrated a 14-month campaign of terror against Lord Triesman of Tottenham. His windows have been broken and his walls daubed with swastikas in 12 separate attacks.
The problem became so bad that he was advised by Special Branch to erect a 10ft fence around his home in Dartmouth Park, north London. The fence was dismantled in December, however, because it fell foul of the planning rules of the Labour-run Camden borough council. Lord Triesman, 61, said that he was disturbed by the attacks, which he blamed on anti-Semitic sentiment.
"When a group like Combat 18 spray swastikas and slogans on your walls and brick your windows, it's evident what it's all about," he said. "My family was at home through a number of attacks and it was pretty grizzly. It has been a really bad time, horrendous, and no one should have to go through that."
He criticised Camden council for forcing him to take down the protective fence. "The fence has come down now. I am not happy about it at all. It was there because Special Branch advised it."
Lord Triesman was brought up in the north London Jewish community. Although he is not a practising Jew, police fear that his race was the reason for being targeted by Combat 18.
Mr Geller, 57, the Israeli-born exponent of mind over matter, was shocked to discover the word "Jew" painted on a fence at his home in Sonning, Berkshire, last Thursday. He said that his family had been subjected to a three-year campaign of intimidation including hate mail, silent telephone calls and stalkers, but this was the first time that graffiti had been painted on his property.
"It is a real shock to be confronted with the word 'Jew' being used as an insult. It is a sickening feeling," he said.
In November, Mrs Roche's office in Crouch End, north London, was daubed with swastikas for the third time in a year. The Labour MP for Hornsey and Wood Green said: "The use of Nazi symbols is abhorrent." Earlier this year, the far-Right British National Party tried to march in her constituency but was stopped after residents objected. In 2002, there were 350 recorded anti-Semitic incidents in Britain, according to the Board of Deputies - a rise of 13 per cent on the previous year. This year's rise, to be announced this week by the Board of Deputies, will show a small but significant increase in incidents that include name-calling, physical assaults and hate mail.
Gerry Gable, the publisher of Searchlight, the anti-fascist magazine, said that far-Right organisations such as Combat 18 were orchestrating campaigns on the internet against prominent Jews by circulating their names and addresses. "They believe they are participating in a race war," he said.
An ICM poll last month in Britain found that one in five Britons would oppose a Jewish prime minister, while one in seven believed that the Holocaust was exaggerated.
Abu Hamza, the hook-handed former cleric of Finsbury Park mosque, north London, was reported to the police yesterday for preaching alleged anti-Semitic comments about the Holocaust.
He is one of a number of extremist Islamic clerics who have been accused of encouraging anti-Semitic views among young Muslims.
1. The Saudi Separation Fence: No world condemnation as yet (MEMRI, Feb. 13, 2004)
2. Donald Rumsfeld: Israel "would prefer not to get put in the sea"
3. John Kerry writes of his admiration for Israel
4. U.S. Envoy says anti-Semitism "nearly as bad as 1930s" (Reuters, Feb. 12, 2004)
5. Chirac: "France unfairly seen in Israel as anti-Semitic" (AFP, Feb. 13, 2004)
THE SAUDI SEPARATION FENCE
Yotam Feldner, of MEMRI, writes (February 13, 2004): "Two months ago, the Saudi government began to build a fence [made of pipes and concrete] along its border with Yemen in an attempt to separate the residents along both sides of the border. The border between the two countries was set out in the 2000 Jeddah border treaty, which included a 20 kilometer-wide neutral zone as a strip of grazing land permitted to both sides. The building of the fence has enraged the Shi'ite Wayilah tribe on the Yemenite side. Tribal leaders are comparing the Saudi fence to Israel's separation fence, and claimed that it was being built five kilometers over the border into Yemenite territory... The late Wayilah tribal head Sheikh bin Shag'e died in 2002 under mysterious circumstances... According to the Saudis, most of the explosives and weapons captured by Saudi security forces in recent months have been smuggled in by Islamists from Yemen." [Full article below]
SAUDIS DEFEND YEMEN BORDER "SCREEN" PLAN
Reuters, Feb. 9, 2004: "Saudi Arabia announced plans to build a security "screen" on its border with Yemen, in the hopes of curbing the influx of militants and weapons into its territory. The neighboring countries, who only recently resolved a long-running border dispute, stepped up security cooperation after suicide bombings in Riyadh killed more than 50 Saudis last year. However, the Yemeni government complained that the barrier would stand in a 20km zone that an agreement signed in 2000 designated as an open area. Saudi officials refused to acknowledge similarities between the Saudi "screen" and Israel's anti-terrorism fence."
Tom Gross adds: The U.S. and Egypt have criticized the Saudi Arabian fence, but so far we have heard nothing from all those who have been complaining about the Israeli terror prevention fence. This week alone, among those who have taken time to make harsh public criticisms of Israel's fence: The Pope, the UN, the EU, the Russian Government, the US government, members of the British parliament who have called for economic sanctions against Israel because of the fence; and so on. Will the Saudi fence be taken up by the ICJ in the Hague?
[Note by Tom Gross]
Many people have taken note of US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's own particular brand of expressing himself. Some have criticized it. Last year he was awarded the "Foot in Mouth prize" by Britain's Plain English campaign, for the following comments on the search for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction:
"Reports that say something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known unknowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know."
(John Lister, the spokesman for the campaign for plain English, responded: "We think we know what he means. But we don't know if we really know.")
DONALD RUMSFELD ON ISRAEL
Responding to a question last Saturday Feb 7, about Israel and nuclear weapons, Donald Rumsfeld said, "Israel is a small state with a small population. It's a democracy and it exists in a neighborhood where many - over a period of time - have opined from time to time that they'd prefer it not be there and they'd like it to be put in the sea. And Israel has opined that it would prefer not to get put in the sea, and as a result, over a period of decades, it has arranged itself so it hasn't been put in the sea." [Text supplied by U.S. Defense Department]
COMMENTS ON JOHN KERRY ARTICLE
I attach two of the several replies I received from members of this email list to the dispatch of February 10, 2004 ("John Kerry's family 'hid Czech Jewish heritage just like Albright's'").
Peter Brod, a senior editor of the BBC Czech Service, writes:
"Perez' article says that Kerry's grandparents' mother tongue was Yiddish. That is highly doubtful because in the late 19th century no Jews in Bohemia and Moravia spoke Yiddish (apart from a few recent migrants from Galicia or other points East like Sigmund Freud's parents in the Moravian town of Pribor/Freiberg). Perez has done a good job, but there are one or two errors (for Miller read Mueller, for Konigen read Koenigin; and I find it difficult to believe that a Viennese authority would have approved the name change to an English-sounding Frederick Kerry in 1902). We also don't know where the Kohns spent the last three years in Europe - Austria (where?), Germany (as I have seen on the internet) or Hungary (as reported by Die Welt last week)? In other words, Kerry's Michael Dobbs is yet to appear."
Joshua Marcus, a student at Brown university, Rhode Island (and editor of the Brown University publication, "Perspectives: An Israel Review"), writes:
Regarding John Kerry's stance on Israel: Senator Kerry was the only one of the Democratic presidential candidates last year that agreed to write for Perspectives: An Israel Review. I thought it was personal, passionate, supportive and intelligent, and I was truly impressed by his generosity in taking the time to contribute this article to a new college publication. As the other selections you enclosed in your email seemed critical in tone, I think it would be appropriate to share this.
JOHN KERRY WRITES
Tom Gross adds: "Perspectives: An Israel Review," which came out last fall, is an impressive publication for a student body. I attach Sen. Kerry's piece from it:
A Powerful Journey, An Essential Dream
By Senator John Kerry
My first trip to Israel made real for me all I'd believed about Israel.
I was allowed to fly an air force jet from the Ovda Airbase. It was then that Israeli insecurity about narrow borders became very real to me. In a matter of minutes, I came close to violating the airspace of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. From that moment on, I felt as Israelis do: The promise of peace must be secure before the Promised Land is secure on a thin margin of land.
Back on the ground on that first trip, I toured the country from Kibbutz Mizgav Am to Masada to the Golan. I stood in the very shelter in a kibbutz in the north where children were attacked and I looked at launching sites and impact zones for Katousha rockets. I was enthralled by Tel Aviv, moved by Jerusalem and inspired by by standing above Capernaum, looking out over the Sea of Galilee, where I read aloud the Sermon on The Mount. I met people of stunning commitment, who honestly and vigorously debated the issues as I watched and listened intently. I went as a friend by conviction; I returned a friend at the deepest personal level.
As the only true democracy in the Middle East, Israel has both the burden and the glory of a vigorous public square. We as Americans must be the truest and best kind of ally - forthright enough to say what we think - and steadfast enough to stay the course in hard passages as well as easy days.
Herzl's famous words - "If you will it, it is no dream" - signify the promise and the greatest power of Israel - and the hope that a fair and secure peace can be achieved. We must be committed to support Israel in the exacting, essential search for that dream.
I will never forget a moment on top of Masada, when I stood on that great plateau where the oath of new soldiers used to be sworn against the desert backdrop and the test of history. I had spent several hours with Yadin debating whether or not Josephus Flavius was correct in his account of the siege - whether these really were the last Jews fighting for survival - whether they had escaped since no remains were ever found. After our journey through history - which we resolved with a vote in favor of history as recorded - we stood as a group at the end of the cliff and altogether we shouted across the chasm - across the desert - Am Yisrael Chai. And across the silence we listened as voices came back - faintly we heard the echo of the souls of those who perished - Am Yisrael Chai. The State of Israel lives. The people of Israel live.
In this difficult time we must again reaffirm we are enlisted for the duration - and reaffirm our belief that the cause of Israel must be the cause of America - and the cause of people of conscience everywhere.
"U.S. ENVOY SAYS ANTI-SEMITISM NEARLY AS BAD AS 1930S"
(Reuters, February 12, 2004) "The U.S. envoy to the European Union said on Thursday that anti-Semitism in Europe was nearly as bad as it was in the 1930s, a decade which saw the rise of German Nazism and led to the extermination of six millions Jews. The remarks by Ambassador Rockwell Schnabel are likely to rekindle controversy over charges that anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe, which prompted the European Union's executive to schedule a major seminar on the issue next week."
[Full article below. Some may find Ambassador Rockwell Schnabel's remarks alarmist and exaggerated. Others may agree with him.]
"CHIRAC: FRANCE UNFAIRLY SEEN IN ISRAEL AS ANTI-SEMITIC "
(Agence France Presse, February 13, 2004). "President Jacques Chirac said in an interview with an Israeli newspaper that his country is being unfairly criticized in Israel as anti-Semitic while France is leading a "tireless struggle" against such discrimination. "France works relentlessly to combat the scourge of anti-Semitism," he told Yedioth Aharonoth in an interview days before a visit by Israeli President Moshe Katsav... In the interview, Chirac also reaffirmed his opposition to the route of Israel's West Bank separation barrier." [Full article below.]
THE SAUDI SEPERATION FENCE
The Saudi Separation Fence
By Yotam Feldner
February 13, 2004
Yotam Feldner is Director of Research at MEMRI (The Middle East Media Research Institute)
Two months ago, the Saudi government began to build a fence along its border with Yemen in an attempt to separate the residents along both sides of the border. The border between the two countries was set out in the 2000 Jeddah border treaty, which included a 20 kilometer-wide neutral zone as a strip of grazing land permitted to both sides. The building of the fence enraged the Shi'ite Wayilah tribe on the Yemenite side, which even before its construction had objected to the location of the border.
The Wayilah tribe owns approximately 200 military vehicles and thousands of rifles, and in the past has waged fierce battles against the Saudi Yam tribe. In 2000, it battled the Yemenite Dahm tribe, which is said to have the support of the Saudi government.
The late Wayilah tribal head Sheikh bin Shag'e, who died in 2002 under mysterious circumstances, had explained that he had in his possession 240 year-old documents proving the tribe's ownership of the lands included in the Jeddah treaty. Saudi Arabia tried to pacify the Wayilah, giving 500 of them Saudi citizenship, but the tribesmen nevertheless rioted on various occasions, including when the Saudi authorities arrested a Shi'ite sheikh of the tribe and shut down his mosque.
The Wayilah Tribe: We Do Not Recognize the Border
When Saudi Arabia began to build the separation fence, the Wayilah tribe announced that if the Saudis did not stop the construction and remove all trace of it from the area, they would "blow everything up," including the Jeddah treaty. The tribe compared the Saudi fence to Israel's separation fence, and claimed that it was being built five kilometers over the border into Yemenite territory.
The Wayilah tribe also claimed that it did not recognize the international borders that crossed their territory and ripped apart their tribal unity, let alone the fence that as far as they were concerned violated their human rights. The tribe said, "The blood of thousands of our tribesmen has been shed in tribal wars against the Saudi Yam tribe for the sake of the border . and our tribesmen are willing to sacrifice their lives in order to preserve the borders of their tribal lands."
The Wayilah claimed that the tribal borders between the Wayilah and Yam were set down in written tribal agreements even before the Saudi and the Yemenite states were established, and that these agreements were officially recognized by the first Saudi monarch Abd Al-'Aziz Aal Saud and by the Yemenite monarchy during the time of the Imam Yahyah Hamid Al-Din.
A communiqué published by the Wayilah tribe stated: "We are renewing our objection to the agreements that created a barrier between us and our lands and our property. Similarly, we reject the principle of compensation or the division of land or of the tribe... Every new border route will be null and void, and has nothing to do with the tribal border route recognized by the Wayilah and Yam tribes..."
Saudi Government: Most Explosives and Weapons Captured by Saudi Security Forces were Smuggled In by Islamists from Yemen
Saudi officials told the London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that the "barrier of pipes and concrete" could in no way be called a "separation fence." Saudi Border Police Commander Talal 'Anqawi said: "What is being built within our borders is a barrier of pipes full of concrete, aimed at deterring infiltration and smuggling. This barrier does not in any way resemble a fence. The site chosen to establish it is located within sovereign Saudi territory."
The Saudi prince of Najran, Mash'al bin Abd Al-'Aziz, also denied that the barrier was a separation fence. According to him, Saudi authorities built a barrier of pipes 95 km-long in an open area between two mountains to block smugglers in cars from infiltrating Saudi lands, north of the region of the agreed upon 20 km-wide strip. According to the Saudis, most of the explosives and weapons captured by Saudi security forces in recent months have been smuggled in by Islamists from Yemen.
Yemen Claims Saudi Arabia has Backed Down
Following the media reports, the regime heads in Saudi Arabia and Yemen denied any crisis. The leaders of the countries tried to solve the problem behind the scenes, and Yemenite President Ali Abdallah Saleh went to Egypt so that it would mediate between the sides. At the same time, a Yemenite delegation visited Saudi Arabia in order to resolve matters. But according to a report in the English-language Yemen Times, the Wayilah tribe was preparing for war:
"A prominent sheik of the Wayilah tribe . told Yemen Times that up to 3,000 tribesmen are preparing to fight Saudi forces unless Saudi Arabia pulls out of Yemen. The sheik claims that Saudi Arabia has already built a security fence 4 to 7 km beyond the neutral zone inside Yemen, stretching from Jabal Hobash to Jabal Al Fara. 'Saudi Arabia has already built a security fence inside Yemen,' said the sheik, 'and we are ready to fight any time if Saudi Arabia doesn't remove what they have built in our country.'
"Even though tribes are preparing for a conflict, a Yemeni government official told Yemen Times on Tuesday that Saudi authorities did accept to remove the separation fence along its border with Yemen after extensive Egyptian and U.S. efforts paid off in convincing Saudi authorities to do so. 'Both the U.S. and Egypt exerted efforts with Yemen and Saudi Arabia resulting in an agreement to remove all constrictions made by the Saudis,' said the Yemeni official."
 Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), February 9, 2004.
 Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), February 9, 2004.
 Al-Hayat (London), February 10, 2004.
 Yemen Times, February 12, 2004.
U.S. ENVOY SAYS ANTI-SEMITISM NEARLY AS BAD AS 1930'S
U.S. Envoy Says Anti - Semitism Nearly as Bad as 1930s
February 12, 2004
The U.S. envoy to the European Union said on Thursday that anti-Semitism in Europe was nearly as bad as it was in the 1930s, a decade which saw the rise of German Nazism and led to the extermination of six millions Jews.
The remarks by Ambassador Rockwell Schnabel are likely to rekindle controversy over charges that anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe, which prompted the European Union's executive to schedule a major seminar on the issue next week.
Speaking at a dinner given by the American Jewish Committee to launch a Transatlantic Institute in Brussels, Schnabel said relations between Europe and the United States had improved since last year's acrimony over the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
"There is one issue that we can work on together," he said. "It is to overcome the issue of anti-Semitism which... is indeed - as I understand it and read - getting to a point where it is as bad as it was in the 30s." He did not elaborate.
Some six million Jews were killed in Europe in the Holocaust that emerged from Nazi Germany's efforts to exterminate European Jewry during the 1939-45 World War II.
Many Jewish groups are now concerned about what they call a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe.
Synagogues and Jewish schools in France have been attacked repeatedly in recent years, violence authorities link to poor Muslim youths enraged by Israel's tough policies against Palestinian unrest. The country is home to both the largest Jewish and largest Muslim minorities in western Europe.
SPAT WITH EUROPEAN COMMISSION
Charges of anti-Semitism were fueled last year when a controversial survey carried out by the European Commission found that a majority of the bloc's citizens see Israel as a threat to world peace.
The EU's anti-racism agency also withheld a report blaming Muslim immigrants for a rise in anti-Semitism in Europe but finally released it under pressure from European parliamentarians and major Jewish groups.
The Commission reacted with fury last month when two leading Jewish groups -referring to the opinion poll and the withholding of the report - accused it of anti-Semitism through both "action and inaction."
Commission President Romano Prodi froze preparations for a seminar with Jewish leaders, but quickly revived them after the World Jewish Congress sought to end the standoff. The event is set for February 19.
Some EU officials are, however, concerned at what they see as a tendency to stigmatize legitimate criticism of Israel's policies toward the Palestinians as anti-Semitic.
"Recent acts and expressions of anti-Semitism in Europe are outrageous," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told the 400 dinner guests. "The burning of synagogues, the physical and verbal abuse of Jews in the street are absolutely unacceptable."
"But let us not confuse two very different things,' he added. "Acts and expressions of anti-Semitism within the European Union are not acts of anti-Semitism by the European Union. The policies of the European Union are neither anti-Semitic nor anti-Israeli."
CHIRAC: FRANCE UNFAIRLY SEEN IN ISRAEL AS ANTI-SEMITIC
Chirac: France unfairly seen in Israel as anti-Semitic
AFP (Agence France Presse)
February 13, 2004
President Jacques Chirac said in an interview with an Israeli newspaper that his country is being unfairly criticized in Israel as anti-Semitic while France is leading a "tireless struggle" against such discrimination.
"France works relentlessly to combat the scourge of anti-Semitism," he told Yedioth Aharonoth in an interview days before a visit by Israeli President Moshe Katsav.
"Israeli criticism of anti-Semitism in Europe singles out France," he said. "I am surprised at this. I am told that in the streets of Tel Aviv, in newspaper cartoons and in conversations, the image of France as an anti-Semitic country is gradually spreading. These caricatures deeply hurt French people.
"No, France is not an anti-Semitic country. But we must remain highly vigilant. With the government, we lead a tireless struggle against anti-Semitic language and acts," he said.
He acknowledged there has been a "resurgence of anti-Semitic acts" in Europe in the past three years, which he termed "revolting and unacceptable" and which he linked to the Middle East conflict.
"People of Muslim descent across Europe react to events in the Middle East, and more specifically to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is a fact."
Last month, Israel's Minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Natan Sharansky described the situation for Jews in France as "very problematic".
While anti-Semitic incidents across the globe fell by almost half last year to 983 from 1,979 in 2002, Sharansky said, they doubled in France to 141 from 77, figures disputed by French officials.
A tough new law against racially- and religiously-motivated attacks came into force last year, and the French government ordered even stronger measures to protect Jewish sites after a fire-bombing of a Jewish school in the Paris suburbs last November.
In the interview with Yedioth Aharonoth, Chirac also reaffirmed his opposition to the route of Israel's West Bank separation barrier
"Israel is entitled to exercise its right to legitimate self-defence and security. But the chosen route for the barrier, which diverges from the Green Line, dispossesses thousands of Palestinians of their land..."
He said the barrier will thus "trigger more frustration and anger."
The Israeli government insists the barrier is vital to the security needs of Israel in the wake of a string of suicide attacks since the start of the Palestinian intifada in September 2000.
But the Palestinians have argued that its route, which often juts deep into their farmlands inside the West Bank, is proof it is an attempt to pre-empt the borders of their promised future state.
John Kerry, his Jewish grandparents, and his views on Israel
1. "A Jewish Czech In John Kerry's Court" (Reform Judaism Magazine, Fall 2003)
2. "John Kerry and the Pro-Israel Community - A Troublesome Disconnect" (JTA, Feb. 4, 2004)
3. "$11.5 million deposited into bank accounts belonging to PA Chairman's wife."
I attach two pieces concerning Democratic Party presidential frontrunner John Kerry, his Jewish roots, and his views on Israel.
That two of Kerry's four grandparents were Jewish, and that his original family name was Kohn (a derivation of Cohen) has been know by a few people, particularly in the Boston area and in the Czech Republic, for some time. But it is about to gain much wider international media coverage after it was splashed over the Israeli papers in the last two days.
According to the article below (on which much of the Israeli coverage is based), Kerry's grandparents' mother tongue was Yiddish, they converted to Catholicism and then made great efforts to conceal their Jewish heritage.
(Please note that these pieces are sent out for information purposes only and do not necessarily represent my own personal views on the US election.)
1. "A Jewish Czech In John Kerry's Court. The saga of a U.S. senator and presidential contender in search of his roots -- and his reaction to the 'revelation.'" (By Jennifer Anne Perez, Reform Judaism Magazine, Fall 2003)
"Seven years ago, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was confronted with a genealogical discovery: her Czech émigré parents were Jewish. They'd hidden their Jewish roots during and after the Second World War. More than a dozen of her Jewish relatives, including three grandparents, an aunt, an uncle and a first cousin, had all perished in the Nazi concentration camps. Albright has been reluctant to comment on the discovery, telling the Washington Post, "I have to look into this myself... it's a very personal matter."
A similar revelation occurred on February 2, 2003, when the Boston Globe reported that Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, thought by many to be a "Boston Brahmin" of Irish-Catholic ancestry, was the grandson of Czech immigrants who also had concealed their Jewish heritage.
...In a twist of irony, John Kerry's younger brother Cameron converted to Judaism in 1983, shortly before marrying Kathy Weinman, a Jewish woman raised in a Conservative household in Michigan. As a member of a Boston Brahmin family, Cameron thought he was entering uncharted territory. Only later did he realize that he was returning to his genealogical roots..."
[The full article is below. I recommend reading it for those interested in learning more about John Kerry's somewhat traumatic search for his Jewish heritage.]
2. "John Kerry and the Pro-Israel Community - A Troublesome Disconnect"
[This is a collection of sayings by John Kerry in connection with Israel, Iran, Iraq and other matters. Please note that is was compiled by Republicans and anti-Kerry Democrats, and does not represent my own political views.]
The Full range of quotes is below. Here are some highlights:
Speaking at an Arab American Institute conference in Dearborn, Michigan in October of 2003, Kerry condemned Israel's security barrier saying, "We do not need another barrier to peace".
Last year, James Zogby declared his great satisfaction with the recent Arab American Institute (AAI) conference, marking it as the coming of age of Arab-Americans. Zogby declared John Kerry "the star of the conference.." According to Zogby, about quarter of the attendees signed up with Kerry.
In 1993, Senator Kerry was not among the 55 signers of the Grassley/Lautenberg Letter Urging Sec. Warren Christopher to include Hamas in the terrorism report.
In a speech to the Council of Foreign Relations in New York last year, Kerry pledged to appoint a presidential ambassador to the peace process, who would report directly to him and to the Secretary of State. "There are a handful of uniquely qualified Americans I would consider appointing President Carter, President Clinton or, in the interests of bipartisanship, James Baker." Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League responded "I don't know whether to laugh or cry. None of those three would be on my list."
Although Kerry had known for years that his grandmother was originally Jewish, he rarely spoke about it in public. Not once did he bring the subject up in his 1996 or 2002 re-election campaign. It was not until The Boston Globe revealed on page one that Kerry's grandfather too, had been born Jewish, that within hours, he was in a Florida synagogue, extolling his Jewish roots. Throughout his political career in Massachusetts, it never did Kerry any harm to be universally mistaken for Irish and he publicly referred to his Irish heritage.
3. "$11.5 million deposited into bank accounts belonging to PA Chairman's wife."
On a completely separate matter, the Israeli newspapers Ma'ariv and Ha'aretz, today report that the French State Prosecutor has opened an investigation into suspicious money transfers totaling $11.5 million into the bank accounts of PA Chairman Arafat's wife, Suha. The French authorities suspect that the account was used for money laundering, based on information collected by the French Central Bank and a unit dealing with money laundering investigations.
A JEWISH CZECH IN JOHN KERRY'S COURT
A Jewish Czech In John Kerry's Court
By Jennifer Anne Perez
Reform Judaism Magazine
Fall 2003 Vol. 32, No. 1
Seven years ago, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was confronted with a genealogical discovery: her Czech émigré parents were Jewish. They'd hidden their Jewish roots during and after the Second World War. More than a dozen of her Jewish relatives, including three grandparents, an aunt, an uncle and a first cousin, had all perished in the Nazi concentration camps. Albright has been reluctant to comment on the discovery, telling the Washington Post, "I have to look into this myself...it's a very personal matter."
A similar revelation occurred on February 2, 2003, when the Boston Globe reported that Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, thought by many to be a "Boston Brahmin" of Irish-Catholic ancestry, was the grandson of Czech immigrants who also had concealed their Jewish heritage.
The story begins in the hamlet of Horni Benesov on the tenth of May 1873--the day Benedikt and Mathilde Kohn had a son they named Fritz.
Like his father, Fritz became a simple brewer. Yet it was difficult for him to succeed in an area dominated by German-speaking Catholics. Many Jews hid their religious identity, posing as Gentiles. "It was easier to do business as a Christian," says Prague-based genealogist Julius Miller, who specializes in tracing Jewish lineage. "Many Jews just stopped practicing Judaism during this period and had no belief at all."
On March 17, 1902, shortly before his 30th birthday, Fritz took his wife Ida and infant son Erich to a government office in Vienna and changed their family name. Fritz Kohn would henceforth be known as Frederick Kerry.
The Kerry family settled for three years in Austria before embarking on the steamship Konigen Luise in Genoa, Italy on May 4, 1905, bound for America. The two-masted, twin-screw "Barbarosa"-class ship was configured to carry nearly 2,000 passengers in steerage, about 150 in first class, and 140 in second. According to the ship's manifest, the Kerrys traveled in first class with only twenty-nine other passengers--French, American, and Swiss families with decidedly Anglican names like Hale, Walker, and Bridgeman.
Ellis Island records note that upon boarding the ship, Kerry identified his family as Germans from Austria, their former place of residence as Vienna. By the time the ship arrived in New York City on May 18, 1905, Frederick Kerry had left his Jewish heritage behind.
A New Life
The Kerrys settled in Chicago, where Frederick quickly set out to stake his claim in the American dream. On June 21, 1907, he filed his initial citizenship papers with Illinois' Cook County Circuit Court. By 1908, he was listed in a business directory with an office on Dearborn Street in Chicago's famous Loop. In 1910, the year his daughter Mildred was born, he had made it into the Chicago Blue Book, a catalogue of notable city residents. By February 6, 1911, he had filed his naturalization petition, which was witnessed by the highly respected State Street merchant Henry Lytton and by Frank Case, a business manager at Sears Roebuck. Kerry had assisted in the reorganization of Sears, and by the following year he was promoting himself as a "business counselor" under the title "Frederick A. Kerry & Staff."
But for reasons that remain unclear, Kerry soon left Chicago and settled in Brookline, Massachusetts. There, in 1915, Ida gave birth to their third child, Richard, the future father of Senator John Kerry. Frederick would continue the merchant life, now working in the shoe business and achieving enough success to hire a live-in German domestic worker, who appears on the 1920 census records of the Kerry household.
The census information also offers a glimpse into the lengths to which Frederick Kerry had gone to obscure his Jewish lineage. Both he and his wife listed their native tongues as German--although the first language of Czech Jews of that era who were born near the Polish border would almost certainly have been Yiddish. By this point, however, both Frederick and Ida had been practicing Catholics for nearly twenty years, and by all accounts were regarded as devout in their faith.
Frederick Kerry's American dream ended mysteriously on November 21, 1921 at the age of 48. According to front-page news reports, the now virtually bankrupt husband and father of three walked into the lobby washroom of Boston's posh Copley Plaza Hotel, put a loaded revolver to his head, and pulled the trigger. He left behind $25 in cash, $200 in stocks, and a Cadillac.
The suicide cast a shroud of silence over the family history for more than fifty years. It would come to light again with the first stirrings of a U.S. senator's bid for a possible presidential run in 2004.
A Rising Star
The Kerrys' youngest child, Richard, would also achieve success, but unlike his father, would sustain it. He served as an Army pilot during World War II; married Rosemary Forbes, a descendant of two wealthy Massachusetts families, the Forbes and the Winthrops; and became a U.S. diplomat, holding posts in Oslo, Berlin, and Paris.
Richard and Rosemary's first son, John Forbes Kerry, was born on December 11, 1943. Though he attended exclusive boarding schools in Europe as well as an elite private school in New Hampshire, John later would tell interviewers that somehow he always felt disconnected from his peers, like an outsider. He attended Yale at about the same time as President George W. Bush--both belonged to the elite secret Skull & Bones society--but while Bush lived the fraternity life, Kerry, an admirer of John F. Kennedy, found his niche in politics and became president of the Yale Political Union, a nonpartisan group providing a forum for a wide range of political debate. Upon graduation in 1966, he joined the Navy to fight in Vietnam. Returning to the U.S. in 1969 with a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts, Kerry soon became a vocal critic of the war. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April 1971, he asked a question that would make him famous: "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"
Five years later, Kerry graduated from Boston College law school and kicked his political career into high gear. He quickly rose through the ranks of state government, becoming lieutenant governor of Massachusetts in 1982 under then Governor Michael Dukakis, and eventually winning a U.S. Senate seat in 1984.
In the late 1980s Kerry learned from a relative that his grandmother Ida had been born Jewish--a surprising revelation, as he had remembered her as a zealous Catholic. But he knew virtually nothing about his paternal grandfather, Frederick.
John Kerry's constituency assumed that, with his father's name and his mother's lineage, the senator was a full-blooded Irish Catholic. Even his hometown newspaper, the Boston Globe, regularly made the mistake, despite Kerry's repeated attempts to set the record straight. During a 1993 interview with TV host John McLaughlin, Kerry addressed the incorrect presumption that his father was Irish by stating that his grandfather was Austrian and that his grandmother had been born Jewish. He added: "We're still trying to find all the details." And try he did. Once, while on a visit to Europe, he stopped off in Vienna and called every Kerry in the phone book. And in 2002, his office contacted the regional Czech archives, which, he would later discover, actually possessed information on Fritz Kohn's birth, but the senator never received a reply--two years earlier the bureau had stopped conducting searches for foreigners.
It was not until the late 1990s, when John's father Richard was suffering from cancer, that he finally disclosed to John that his grandfather had shot himself to death. "[That] turned on a light bulb for John Kerry on why his father was so understandably reticent to talk about it," Kerry spokesman David Wade told the Boston Globe. "[It] help[ed] him understand his father much more and what his father went through."
Richard Kerry died in 2000. He never revealed that his father had been a Jew. Born in the United States and only 5 years old when Frederick died, it is likely that Richard did not know of his grandfather's hidden past.
The Mystery Revealed
In late 2002, as rumors began to circulate that Kerry would seek the Democratic nomination for president, editors at the Boston Globe began soliciting reporters for in-depth articles on Kerry's life. Journalist Michael Kranish, a veteran Washington correspondent who had spent four years piecing together his own Jewish family history, volunteered for the assignment.
Knowing that Jews had sometimes altered their names and identities--his own family's name had been changed at Ellis Island--and that unless he hired an overseas collaborator to check European records, it would be months before he'd be able to complete an accurate search, Kranish turned to prominent genealogist Felix Gundacker of the Institute for Historical Family Research in Vienna. Gundacker had developed a specialty in tracing the genealogies of Jews in Austria and in parts of what is now the Czech Republic. Within two weeks, Gundacker discovered the original document in Vienna that recorded Fritz Kohn's name change to Frederick Kerry. Ironically, had Kohn's name been changed at Ellis Island, it might have been impossible to uncover the original name. But because Kohn made the change while still in Austria, probably to conceal his background before coming to America, his origins could now be traced.
Gundacker's next step was to find Kohn's birth records. That search took him to the state archives in the Czech city of Opava, halfway between Krakow, Poland and Prague. There he met archivist Jiri Stibor, a traditionalist who refused to use a computer, preferring to search by hand through the millions of musty files collected in the cavernous rooms of a former palace.
Stibor told Gundacker that on June 20, 2002 he had received an unusual inquiry--a letter in English from a certain "Samuel C" which carried the seal of a high-ranking Washington, D.C. official. The mysterious letter noted that John Kerry was a candidate for president (though the senator had yet to publicly announce his intention to run) and inquired about a man named "Fritz Cohn." Stibor knew he couldn't be of assistance; the archives had stopped processing foreign requests several years earlier. In any case, the war and local antisemitism had left little evidence of a former Jewish presence in the region. "The Germans didn't want any trace of the Jews left," Stibor says, "even after so many of them were taken away. So many of the records were simply destroyed."
Keeping in mind the earlier request, and now proceeding on the assumption that Frederick Kerry had been born Jewish, Gundacker and Stibor began scouring the archives. "The Catholics of the time weren't interested in keeping good records [of the Jews]," Stibor says. "If there were Jews in the town, they would be the last entries, at the end of the book." Adds Gundacker: "If there was no [official] Jewish community, parish priests and other Catholics had to add birth records to the central record books. They mostly added those records to the end of the books, not as part of the regular records." Finally, after hours of pulling volume after volume off the archive shelves, they came upon a handwritten entry in the last pages of a yellowed book. "In the year 1873, on May 10th, was born Fritz Kohn, a legal son of Benedikt Kohn, master brewer in Bennisch (the old German name for Horni Benesov), House 224, and his wife, Mathilde, daughter of Jakob Frankel, royal dealer in Oberlogau in Prussia."
This one sentence had put the last piece of the puzzle into place, solving an 80-year-old mystery. Gundacker phoned Globe reporter Kranish and told him he was "1,000 percent sure" that Senator John Kerry's grandfather had been born a Jew.
A short time later, Kranish personally presented the evidence to Kerry in the senator's Washington office. He let Kerry review the documents: ship manifests, Ellis Island records, newspaper clippings, and additional materials obtained through genealogists, Kranish himself, and the Globe's library staff.
"This is amazing...fascinating to me," Kerry told the reporter. "This is incredible stuff. I think it is more than interesting; it is a revelation....It has a big emotional impact, because it obviously raises questions: I want to know what happened, why did they do this, what were they thinking, what was the thought process, and why, once they got over here, they never talked about it."
At one point, Kranish said, Kerry became emotional, particularly when reviewing the front-page news accounts of his grandfather's suicide. "God, that's awful, Oh, God, that's awful. This is kind of heavy," the senator told him. "That explains a lot. It connects the dots. My dad was sort of painfully remote and shut off, and angry about the loss of his sister [she had died of cancer] and lack of a father."
He also shook his head in wonder at the number of times he had visited the Copley Plaza, never knowing its significance in his family's history. "How many times have I walked into that hotel...." he said, his voice trailing off.
No Trace of a Past
Horni Benesov's current mayor, Josef Klech, says that he has considered extending an invitation to Senator Kerry to visit his grandfather's birthplace. But, admits Klech, the unavoidable truth is that there really isn't much to see. Not a single trace remains of Kerry's ancestors; not a single person in town remembers the Kohn family.
Over time, the entire town--except for the Catholic chapel, parish, and church--has been completely rebuilt. An unremarkable box-shaped apartment building now sits on the lot where Kohn's house once stood. Gone is the small Jewish cemetery where Kohn's parents Benedikt and Mathilde were likely buried. In place of the Kohn brewery there is a public sauna advertising discount rates to local residents.
Reflecting on His Roots
In Kerry's office, half a world away, the senator chose to say little publicly about the discovery. He did discuss the matter with Reform Judaism magazine, however. "This was an incredible illumination," Kerry says. "It really connected the things I'd talked about for years but now understand more personally. I never really knew why my grandfather left Austria or why he underwent such personal transformation, but we do know many of the things that were happening under the old Hapsburg Empire. We know what life was like for too many of them, and the ultimate turn for even greater tragedy it would take not much later."
As for why Fritz Kohn chose the path he did, Prague-based genealogist Julius Miller believes he was a man who, like many other European Jews, looked to start over and build a better life for himself and his family. "Thousands of European Jews abandoned their past," Miller says. "The story of Frederick Kerry, alias Fritz Kohn, mirrors the histories of many Jewish families who came to America in the early 1900s."
In a twist of irony, John Kerry's younger brother Cameron converted to Judaism in 1983, shortly before marrying Kathy Weinman, a Jewish woman raised in a Conservative household in Michigan. As a member of a Boston Brahmin family, Cameron thought he was entering uncharted territory. Only later did he realize that he was returning to his genealogical roots.
When Cameron, now a Boston litigation attorney, was courting Kathy, they decided that "we were going to raise any children we had as Jewish," Cameron recalls. After that, he says, it wasn't difficult for him to become a Jew himself. "Converting seemed to me a small step--I wanted to be a full participant in their upbringing. [My decision] was helped along by the warm reception and welcome I received from the clergy at Temple Israel [in Boston]."
Converting, he says, was far less traumatic than he had anticipated. There were no objections from the rest of the Kerry clan, and his new Jewish family at Temple Israel welcomed him with open arms. Today Kathy is a member of the synagogue board. Their two daughters have become b'nai mitzvah at the temple, and were delighted when they found out about their great-grandfather.
"It's been wonderful for the whole family," Cameron Kerry says. "It's ironic--I guess things come full circle."
(Jennifer Anne Perez, a former reporter for the Los Angeles Times, is now an international freelance journalist based in Prague.)
"JOHN KERRY AND THE PRO-ISRAEL COMMUNITY – A TROUBLESOME DISCONNECT"
"John Kerry and the Pro-Israel Community - A Troublesome Disconnect"
Jewish Telegraph Agency
February 4, 2004
Speaking at an Arab American Institute conference in Dearborn, Michigan in October of 2003, Kerry described how in the West Bank he witnessed "Palestinian women, traveling on foot, were forced to stand in long lines at checkpoints with their children tugging at their sleeves and their arms loaded with groceries." He also condemned Israel's security barrier saying "We do not need another barrier to peace".
(1/21/04 Jerusalem Post)
Alan Solomont, Co-chairman of Kerry's campaign in MA, is a major supporter of the Geneva Accord, as are a number of his other key fundraisers. Two days after the signing of the Accord, Kerry spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and applauded "private citizens as well as elected officials [who] have worked hard in these last months to advance the peace process, with some of them offering their own vision of a final settlement."
(12/4/03 New York Post)
In a speech to the Council of Foreign Relations in New York, Kerry pledged to appoint a presidential ambassador to the peace process, who would report directly to him and to the Secretary of State. "There are a handful of uniquely qualified Americans I would consider appointing President Carter, President Clinton or, in the interests of bipartisanship, James Baker." Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League responded "I don't know whether to laugh or cry. None of those three would be on my list."
James Zogby declared his great satisfaction with the recent Arab American Institute (AAI) conference, marking it as the coming of age of Arab-Americans. Zogby declared John Kerry "the star of the conference... great statement." According to Zogby, about ¼ of the attendees signed up with Kerry.
(6/25/02 USA Today)
Responding to Bush's vision for Middle East Peace June 2002 speech, Kerry said of Bush's strongly pro-Israel speech "I'm surprised there isn't more. It's quite extraordinarily lacking in depth." Kerry added that the speech presented an incomplete agenda that focused too heavily on the Palestinian issue, ignored the peace process laid out by Secretary of State Colin Powell and provided no view of what Israel "might or might not do if these steps aren't taken."
* John Kerry and his Jewish Past
(2/09/03 The Boston Globe)
Although Kerry had known for years that his grandmother was originally Jewish, he rarely spoke about it in public. Not once did he bring the subject up in his 1996 or 2002 re-election campaign.
It was not until The Boston Globe revealed on page one that Kerry's grandfather too, had been born Jewish, that within hours, he was in a Florida synagogue, extolling his Jewish roots
Kerry told AIPAC during a dinner at Congregation B'Nai Israel of Palm Beach "I am so excited. I've embraced what I have learned, and a light has literally turned on within me - like an epiphany - and I am proud to share this special measure of connection with you."
Throughout his political career in Massachusetts, it never did Kerry any harm to be universally mistaken for Irish and he publicly referred to his Irish heritage.
(Massachusetts is a state whose political culture is dominated by Irish Catholics.)
* John Kerry's Different Positions on the two Gulf Wars
(11/21/02 The Boston Globe)
In 1991, Senator Kerry cast a vote against the Gulf War resolution after Saddam invaded Kuwait. He asked "Is the liberation of Kuwait so imperative that all those risks are worthwhile at this moment?" However, keeping with his pattern of contradiction in trying to please everyone, when a constituent wrote in support of using force against Iraq, the response from Kerry expressed firm opposition to the war resolution and said that economic sanctions should have been given "more time to work". Nine days later, a second letter arrived saying that Kerry "strongly and unequivocally supported President Bush's response." When the Boston Globe published the letters side by side, Kerry blamed the glaring contradiction on a computer glitch, and said the constituent should have received yet a third letter, one opposing the war but supporting the troops.
(2/02/04 New York Sun)
Regarding the 2003 liberation of Iraq, Senator Kerry stated that President Bush "built a fraudulent coalition." (Tell that to the British, Australians and Poles) Often times Senator Kerry's explanations for his voting patterns are convoluted and contradictory - his vote against the first Gulf War was, he says, a sign of his support for the first Gulf War. Whereas his vote in favor of the Iraq war was a sign of his opposition to the Iraq war. And his subsequent vote against the funding of America's troops in Iraq is a sign of his support for America's men and women in uniform.
* John Kerry and Iran
7/22/02 The Brownback - Wyden Resolution calling for support of democracy in Iran
John Kerry was opposed to the Brownback - Wyden Resolution because, according to his staff, he feels there are democratic elements in the current regime that the U.S. can work with.
12/03/03 Statement to the Council on Foreign Relations
"As President, I will be prepared early-on to explore areas of mutual interest with Iran."
* Israel-Related Record in the U.S. Senate
While usually supportive, Kerry's record is marred by:
2/93 - Kerry was not among the 55 signers of the Grassley/Lautenberg Letter Urging Sec. Christopher to include Hamas in the terrorism report 6/96 - Kerry was not among the 45 cosponsors of the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996.
7/00 - Kerry was not among the 36 cosponsors of the Middle East Peace Process Support Act. S.2938 10/00 - Kerry was not among the 60 co-sponsors of the Peace Through Negotiations Act. S.3250
1. Google News and 'Palestinian commandos'
2. Editors in today's International Herald Tribune acknowledge but deny complaint of bias
I attach below a dispatch from HonestReporting.com concerning Google News, the portal which has recently become one of the most influential sources of world news.
The Google search engine is now the most popular method in the world for finding information online, handling more than 200 million requests a day.
One of the websites that Google News consider a legitimate Mideast news source is "Jihad Unspun," whose articles appear prominently on searches for Israel-related topics on Google News.
Among articles from Jihad Unspun:
* "Zionist Intelligence Engineered Istanbul Blasts" (in reference to the recent suicide bombings at Istanbul synagogues).
* "Resistance Fighters Attack Zionist Vehicles" (i.e., terror attacks on Israeli civilian cars).
* "Zionist Chief of Staff Promises More Suffering for Palestinians."
* "Zionist Terrorist Forces Demolish More Palestinians Homes, Mosque."
* Other conspiracy theories presented on Jihad Unspun include the lie that 9/11 was a Zionist plot.
* All of Israel is referred to as "occupied territory" on Jihad Unspun and all Israelis are "settlers". For example, a report on the closing of the Sbarro pizzeria, site of a suicide bombing in western Jerusalem in August 2001, in which a number of Israeli children were murdered, reads:
"Owners of a Zionist restaurant in central occupied Jerusalem have failed to convince customers to frequent it anew. Clients deserted the 'Subaru' restaurant after a Palestinian commando blew himself up in it about three years ago, killing 17 settlers and wounding tens others."
* Jihad Unspun publishes the writings of the anti-Semite Edgar J. Steele, including an article with passages such as:
It wasn't Arabs who forged the Anne Frank "diary" - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who lied about gas chambers at Dachau and Auschwitz - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who demolished the World Trade Center - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who had Jesus Christ crucified - it was jews.
* The owner and publisher of Jihad Unspun is Khadija Abdul Qahaar, whose original name is Bev Kennedy. Ms Kennedy converted to Islam after 9/11.
HERALD TRIBUNE UPDATE
Today, February 4, after running a letter titled "Reporting on Israel" that made reference to Evelyn Gordon's Jerusalem Post article, the International Herald Tribune published the following:
"The International Herald Tribune is edited in Paris on a schedule that is minimally six hours' ahead of the (New York) Times's. While time zones may affect our content, political considerations do not. Editors of the IHT never alter a story to make it more critical of Israel, nor indeed out of any political consideration. The differences between the versions published in the IHT and New York Times reflect no bias because no bias exists - The Editors."
Tom Gross adds: Predictably, the editors of the New York Times-owned IHT deny any bias, and while there is certainly less bias against Israel in the IHT than in many other papers in Europe and Asia, the editors make no refutation of Evelyn Gordon's specific examples of the differences between IHT and NYT copy in the same articles, differences made to Israel's detriment.
Since Evelyn Gordon's article was published and widely distributed on the Internet, the IHT has begun running photos that humanize the Israeli situation - such as the photo today of four smiling young non-haredi Israeli children (3 girls, one boy) at the kindergarten at Gush Katif in Gaza. In the accompanying article ("In Sharon's move, less concession for peace than preparation for failure") the word terrorist is used without quotes in both the second and penultimate paragraphs, in contrast to general IHT style when referring to Palestinian terrorists in recent years.
Photos in recent days are certainly different from the kind of photos referred to in my note of January 28, as well as such photos as the large photo that the IHT ran at the top of page 1 on January 17, 2004, of Hamas leader Sheik Yassin looking grandfatherly in a mosque next to a young boy. In the article accompanying that photo, the word militant was used instead of terrorist in reference to Hamas, even though Hamas had murdered four Israelis in a suicide bomb attack three days earlier.
-- Tom Gross
JIHAD UNSPUN AND GOOGLE NEWS
Jihad unspun and Google news
The Google search engine is the most popular method in the world for finding information online, handling more than 200 million search requests a day. Building on their success, Google has now developed Google News (www.news.google.com), a portal that is quickly becoming one of the most influential sources of world news.
Here's how it works: Google News has accepted thousands of news sources for inclusion in a pool, which Google's computer continually scans by algorithm to group articles by topic. When the user types in a search word, such as 'Israel', Google News presents links to hundreds of relevant news stories on that topic. (Greater prominence is given to articles more recently released, and more popular online.)
But with the proliferation of vitriolic anti-Israel and anti-Semitic material on the web (the number of neo-Nazi websites in Germany, for example, has tripled in the past four years) and much of it deliberately disguised in 'news format', the question is: What does Google News consider a legitimate news source - as opposed to fiction or propaganda? The Google News website states only:
While the sources of the news vary in perspective and editorial approach, their selection for inclusion is done without regard to political viewpoint or ideology.
This goal to present a broad spectrum of viewpoints is praiseworthy, but HonestReporting is concerned with Google News' acceptance of one particular site - Jihad Unspun - as Mideast 'news', despite the site's record of blatantly distorting established facts, glorifying terror, and publishing highly defamatory anti-Semitic material. Jihad Unspun's articles appear prominently on searches for Israel-related topics on Google News. But click through, and this is what Jihad Unspun serves up:
Outrageous 'Zionist conspiracy theories', such as the canard that 9/11 was a sinister Zionist plot, as were the recent Istanbul bombings: 'Zionist Intelligence Engineered Istanbul Blasts'.
The authors generally refuse to call Israel by name, employing instead the terms 'Zionist forces' and 'Hebrew state'. Some examples:
'Resistance Fighters Attack Zionist Vehicles' (i.e., deadly terror attacks on Israeli civilian cars)
'Zionist Chief of Staff Promises More Suffering for Palestinians'
'Hebrew State Refuses British Involvement'
'Zionist Terrorist Forces Demolish More Palestinians Homes, Mosque'
All of Israel is referred to as 'occupied territory' and all Israelis are 'settlers'. For example, a report on the closing of the Sbarro's pizzeria, site of the horrific 2001 bombing, reads:
Owners of a Zionist restaurant in central occupied Jerusalem have failed to convince customers to frequent it anew. Clients deserted the 'Subaru' restaurant after a Palestinian commando blew himself up in it about three years ago, killing 17 settlers and wounding tens others.
The site publishes the writings of the rabidly anti-Semitic Edgar J. Steele, including an article with these passages:
It isn't Arabs rigging the US stock market and commodities futures markets - it is jews.
It wasn't Arabs who sent our military into Afghanistan and Iraq - it was jews
It wasn't Arabs who forged the Anne Frank "diary" - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who lied about gas chambers at Dachau and Auschwitz - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who demolished the World Trade Center - it was jews.
It wasn't Arabs who had Jesus Christ crucified - it was jews.
The owner and publisher of Jihad Unspun is Khadija Abdul Qahaar (a.k.a. Bev Kennedy), who converted to Islam after 9/11, became an advocate for its most radical fringe, then launched the website without any journalistic credentials.
While the site is duly protected by the First Amendment (we found no overt calls to murder), the material Jihad Unspun publishes does not meet a reasonable definition of 'news', but is rather anti-Israel and anti-American propaganda that masquerades as news. Google News recognizes this loophole in its system - in March of last year Google News responded to an email campaign protesting the inclusion of the radical Indymedia site (where the term 'Zionazis' was prevalent), and removed Indymedia from their service.
With the highly influential Google News still a work-in-progress (it remains in experimental 'beta' mode), HonestReporting encourages subscribers to write to Google News at email@example.com, encouraging the removal of Jihad Unspun from their list of legitimate news sites. Though the goal of providing a spectrum of news sources is laudable, hateful propaganda has no place on Google News.
1. Slightly improved coverage in NYT, IHT, Guardian: finally making the Arafat connection to suicide bombs?
2. "Palestinian TV uses Microsoft software for new hate video"
3. Journalist injured in bus bomb: where are the complaining international journalist federations now?
4. Reuters: more anti-Israel than Arab websites such as Albawaba?
5. Israel criticizes Kofi Annan for statement failing to condemn the suicide bomb
6. The Washington Post: the forgotten maimed Israeli victims from past bombs
THE IHT / NEW YORK TIMES
This is a follow-up to As Edited by..."The Herald Tribune" (January 28, 2004) and Sharon and Hitler share space at Anne Frank House in Amsterdam (January 29, 2004).
I refer to my note of January 28 (which was reproduced on several web sites on January 28-30) concerning misplaced photos in the International Herald Tribune. It was pointed out that after recent suicide attacks on Israelis, the IHT ran large photos of menacing-looking Israeli soldiers instead of any photos of bombed buses or victims.
On Saturday, January 31, 2004, the IHT changed its recent policy and ran a large photo on the top of page 1 of an Israeli funeral from Thursday's Jerusalem bus bomb (even though the photo caption did not name the victim.)
On page 5 of the IHT, the news report by James Bennet of the NY Times, did mention (albeit in the penultimate paragraph) that the "bombing was claimed by Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an off-shoot of Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction." This breaks with previous coverage in the New York Times and elsewhere where if the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades has been referred to at all, it has been described as "loosely linked" to Fatah, and no mention made of Yasser Arafat.
Also, Bennet uses the word "terrorist" (without quotes) in the last line of his report, as carried in the IHT. As noted in previous dispatches, it has been rare in recent years for the word terrorist to be used in the IHT and other liberal media in regard to Palestinian terror attacks against Israeli civilians.
Bennet also provides names and ages for three of the Israeli victims, and mentions that the suicide bomber was a Palestinian policeman. He also mentions that the bomb was "packed with bits of metal" (although he doesn't explain that this is to maximize death and injury of the victims).
In its report "Prisoners freed as bomb kills 10 in Israel" (January 30, 2004), The Guardian uses the rare word "murdered" in its opening sentence: "A Palestinian policeman murdered 10 people in a suicide attack on a rush-hour bus in Jerusalem."
In another rare move when it comes to Palestinian terror attacks against Israel, the Guardian uses the word "terrorism" (without quotes) in the second paragraph of its report.
Like the New York Times, the Guardian refers (in the fourth paragraph) to "The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a faction of Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization."
In the seventh paragraph, The Guardian states: "the bomb contained many nuts and bolts which inflicted terrible wounds on some of the victims."
I point these out as an illustration of how (1) western reporters may be beginning to regard suicide attacks on Israeli Jews as terrorism (2) they may be beginning to register that Arafat is connected to these.
Even though the circulation of the Guardian is considerably less than other British daily papers like the Times of London and the Daily Telegraph, it has influence beyond its sales because (1) it is the paper of choice for a large number of BBC reporters and editors and helps form their world view, and in turn BBC world service TV and radio combined has the largest audience worldwide of any single news organization; (2) The Guardian is particularly popular on the Internet, especially among US university professors and Arab intellectuals. In 2003, there were 100 million page impressions made on its website.
THE WASHINGTON POST
In the fourteenth paragraph of its report "11 killed by bomb on bus in Jerusalem deaths shadow prisoner swap," the Washington Post (Friday, January 30, 2004), stated more accurately that "The radical al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed offshoot of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah political movement, asserted responsibility for the bombing."
You may also wish to read the article (below) from the Washington Post on the 3000 forgotten maimed and injured Israeli victims of recent suicide bombs.
DEATH TOLL RISES
The 11th victim of the attack was identified as a 35-year-old Ethiopian woman, Manbara Valdi Tzadik. Condolences too, to an Israeli member of this email list, who wishes to remain anonymous, who lost a close relative in the bombing.
Among those injured in Thursday's bus bomb was the Jerusalem Post reporter, Erik Schechter. Schechter's wounds were described as "moderate" by doctors, meaning that his knee-cap had been shattered and that he had sustained shrapnel wounds and vascular damage, and will spend up to six months in recovery.
I mention this because international journalist federations, which have made scathing criticism of Israel on the occasions when a journalist has been killed or injured during firefights between the Israeli army and Palestinian gunmen, have not to my knowledge, made any criticism or protest to Yasser Arafat over this deliberate injury inflicted in Fatah's attempt to murder an Israeli journalist last Thursday.
REUTERS AND AL BAWABA
In its report on the day of the bus bomb Reuters news agency (unlike AP) omitted from their reports that the suicide bomber was a Palestinian policeman. The day before, a Reuters report said Israel is guilty of "accusing [Palestinian] security forces of either turning a blind eye to militant groups attacking Israelis or taking part themselves in the three-year-old uprising."
The use by Reuters of the word "accused" contradicts the Palestinian Authority's own admission that their security forces have been involved in attacks and suicide bombs.
Even moderate Arab websites such as Albawaba.com ("Bus attack in Jerusalem carried out by Fatah member: 10 Israelis killed," January 29, 2004) stated in its piece:
"Palestinian security officials said that the bomber was a member of the Palestinian police, from the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a group linked to Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the attack and identified the bomber as Ali Munir Yusuf Ja'arah, a 24-year-old resident of the West Bank town of Bethlehem."
But readers and viewers of the thousands of news outlets that subscribe to Reuters around the world would not have known that last Thursday.
-- Tom Gross
MICROSOFT USED FOR PA HATE VIDEOS
PATV uses Microsoft music for new hate video
By Itamar Marcus
Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin
February 2, 2004
Palestinian Authority TV has taken the music of a new popular Microsoft video game, Halo, and incorporated it into its newest hate video. According to Microsoft, Halo is being used by PATV without permission.
For many years, a mainstay of PATV has been the repeated broadcasting of hate videos for children. Dominant themes have been the portrayal of violence as heroic, death for Allah (Shahada) as a goal for children, and the depiction of Israelis as murderers.
This 1-1/2 minute PATV video, using the Halo soundtrack, shows still pictures of Palestinian children, then superimposes targets on them, as if Israeli soldiers are shooting them one by one.
The Halo hate video has been broadcast hundreds of times since Nov. 30, 2003, as a filler between programs – as often as six to seven times a day.
[To see parts of the PATV hate video with "Halo" soundtrack, visit
The following is Microsoft's letter to PMW, stating that PATV is using Microsoft's Halo music without permission:
"Thank you for contacting Microsoft customer service. As a corporation, Microsoft does not maintain any involvement with activities of this nature. We were not aware of any media from the Palestinian Authority nor was permission granted to incorporate the Halo soundtrack as background music.
"Should you have additional questions or concerns, you may wish to contact the Microsoft corporate offices by calling 425-882-8080.
Microsoft Customer Service"
I attach three articles connected to suicide bombs, with summaries first:
1. "Israel criticizes Annan for statement" (The Associated Press, January 31, 2004). "Israel criticized Secretary-General Kofi Annan for issuing a statement that failed to mention or condemn the suicide bombing in Jerusalem, warning that U.N. "indifference" to Palestinian terrorist attacks undermines efforts to achieve peace. Annan's statement was released after Thursday's attack on a bus that killed 10 Israelis and wounded more than 50. It condemned those who resort to "violence and terror" and appealed to Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace negotiations, but did not specifically mention the bombing. "The moral clarity of the secretary-general in expressly condemning brutal acts of terrorism like yesterday's attack is especially important," Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman told a news conference.
... Israel's anger at Annan was compounded by the Security Council's failure to agree on a statement condemning the suicide bombing... The Israeli ambassador cited several other "troubling actions" by the U.N. Secretariat which Annan heads. He singled out "the reluctance of the secretary-general to assist in the adoption of a resolution on anti-Semitism after being specifically requested to do so" and a report on Israel's construction of a barrier that juts into the West Bank "that failed to devote even one word to the terrorist threat that the fence is designed to protect against."
2. "Lawsuit seeks $20M From Palestinians" (The Associated Press, January 30, 2004). "An American injured in a terrorist attack in Israel and the estate of an Israeli lawyer killed by the same attacker have filed a federal lawsuit seeking more than $20 million from Yasser Arafat and five Palestinian groups. The suit by Moshe Saperstein and the estate of Ahuva Amergi accuses Palestinian leader Arafat, the Palestinian Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Palestinian Preventive Services and Yaser Mahmud Alkativ, a commander in the Palestinian General Intelligence Services, with organizing, facilitating and sponsoring attacks against Jewish civilians in Israel and regions of the West Bank.
"The suit, filed Thursday, alleges Alkativ was working for the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade when he recruited Muhamad Al Katzir to join the group and attack Israelis... "Arafat and the PLO pay $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers," Josefsberg said. "If we are successful in this, it may become a deterrent because it will become economically unfeasible to keep financing these bombings."
3. "Suicide bomb survivors face worlds blown apart. Thousands of wounded Israelis and families endure years of recovery" (Washington Post, January 31, 2004).
"Alona Shaportova immigrated here from Ukraine with her parents when she was 10. Soon she was speaking Hebrew, English and some Arabic, as well as Russian.
Ask Alona how old she is today and she hesitates, and begins to count out loud, "One, two, three, four" until she gets to 17. She looks to her mother for verification and gets a nod of approval.
"Counting is a chore for Alona, reading is impossible, and she can manage only slowly to write her name. Two years ago, Alona and a friend were at Tel Aviv's popular seaside Dolphinarium discotheque when a Palestinian wearing explosives and copper ball bearings blew himself up outside, killing 21 people, mostly teenagers, and wounding 100 others.
"When five ball bearings smashed into Alona's head and face, her left eye was shattered, the teeth on the left side of her mouth were knocked out and the left side of her brain was torn away, leaving her paralyzed on the right side and mentally impaired for good.
"The blond-haired, blue-eyed girl, who once thought of becoming a model, now has a plastic prosthetic and a mop of curls that artfully cover the missing part of her head.
"For thousands of Israeli families like the Shaportovas, the suicide bombings of the last three years have been a life-shattering, life-altering experience... for all those killed, there are many, many more left alive but burned, maimed, scarred, blinded, paralyzed, hearing-impaired, missing limbs and often requiring long-term care.
"... Their suffering is often intensified by the rudimentary and ruthless technology of the bombmakers; the explosives are wrapped with screws and ball bearings, causing multiple lacerations and punctures for those in the blast vicinity.
"Some Israelis are still hospitalized from wounds sustained in suicide attacks months, even years ago; many more require repeated hospital visits and follow-up operations. Dozens are unable to work. And families have been forced to alter their lives to care for a wounded family member.
"The financial support is supplemented by private groups such as the One Family Fund, created three years ago to support and provide psychological counseling to victims.
"As time goes by, the support and help gets less and less," said Mally Nissim, whose 16-year-old daughter, Adi Huja, was badly injured in the suicide bombing of Jerusalem's Cafe Rimon on Dec. 1, 2001.
"... Adi is a beautiful girl with light hair and olive skin... Her right foot stays in one position; the ankle was filled with screws. In all, 100 pieces of metal sliced through her body, mostly screws and bolts. Some of her wounds became infected by rat poison packed in the bomb, doctors told her.
"Adi has endured 26 operations, and she will have more. She was hospitalized for half a year and in a wheelchair for one year. There are still seven or eight bolts in her body..." [Full piece below]
ISRAEL CRITICIZES ANNAN FOR STATEMENT
Israel criticizes Annan for statement
By Edith M. Lederer
The Associated Press
January 31, 2004
Israel criticized Secretary-General Kofi Annan for issuing a statement that failed to mention or condemn the suicide bombing in Jerusalem, warning that U.N. "indifference" to Palestinian terrorist attacks undermines efforts to achieve peace.
Annan's statement was released after Thursday's attack on a bus that killed 10 Israelis and wounded more than 50. It condemned those who resort to "violence and terror" and appealed to Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace negotiations, but did not specifically mention the bombing.
"The moral clarity of the secretary-general in expressly condemning brutal acts of terrorism like yesterday's attack is especially important," Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman told a news conference Friday.
"This is why we must express our disappointment and dismay at the response issued by the office of the secretary-general," Gillerman said.
Before Gillerman's press conference started at U.N. headquarters in New York, Annan told reporters in Brussels, Belgium on Friday that "I have always condemned without reservation suicide bombings that take innocent lives."
The secretary-general sent his "deepest sympathy and condolences to the families and all those who lost loved ones, and those who have been injured and are in hospital." But he stressed that "the only solution to this is to focus on peace."
Gillerman said after his press conference he was not aware of Annan's new comments.
Grilled about whether there was a change in Annan's policy, U.N. associate spokeswoman Marie Okabe said "one press statement doesn't make a policy."
"If you look at his words and his deeds before today and after, you will see that his only objective... is to make the parties focus on peace," she said.
Israel's anger at Annan was compounded by the Security Council's failure to agree on a statement condemning the suicide bombing.
Council diplomats said Algeria, the only Arab nation on the council, insisted that any statement must also condemn the deaths of eight Palestinians in an Israeli incursion into Gaza City on Wednesday. The United States and others said equating the two incidents was unacceptable, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Algeria's U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Baali expressed regret at the failure to reach consensus.
"We are willing to work on language... so that at the end we come up with a common position – but it has to be understood that the positions should be balanced, should be fair to everybody," he said.
The Israeli ambassador cited several other "troubling actions" by the U.N. Secretariat which Annan heads.
He singled out "the reluctance of the secretary-general to assist in the adoption of a resolution on anti-Semitism after being specifically requested to do so" and a report on Israel's construction of a barrier that juts into the West Bank "that failed to devote even one word to the terrorist threat that the fence is designed to protect against."
LAWSUIT SEEKS $20M FROM PALESTINIANS
Lawsuit seeks $20M From Palestinians
By Hilary Roxe
The Associated Press
January 30, 2004
An American injured in a terrorist attack in Israel and the estate of an Israeli lawyer killed by the same attacker have filed a federal lawsuit seeking more than $20 million from Yasser Arafat and five Palestinian groups.
The suit by Moshe Saperstein and the estate of Ahuva Amergi accuses Palestinian leader Arafat, the Palestinian Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Palestinian Preventive Services and Yaser Mahmud Alkativ, a commander in the Palestinian General Intelligence Services, with organizing, facilitating and sponsoring attacks against Jewish civilians in Israel and regions of the West Bank.
The suit, filed Thursday, alleges Alkativ was working for the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade when he recruited Muhamad Al Katzir to join the group and attack Israelis.
The suit said on Feb. 18, 2002, members of the group drove Katzir to the road in Israel where he attacked Saperstein and Amergi with an AK-47. Saperstein was shot in the hand; Amergi was killed.
Saperstein has joint U.S-Israeli citizenship. The suit said he lost one arm in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and lost his other hand in the 2002 attack. Amergi was an Israeli lawyer.
The suit cited a U.S. law that grants federal courts jurisdiction in cases related to international terrorism, or in cases that violate international law or U.S. treaties.
If the lawsuit is successful, damages could be paid from funds that Israel controls that belong to the PLO, Robert Josefsberg, the Miami attorney who filed the suit, said late Friday.
"Arafat and the PLO pay $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers," Josefsberg said. "If we are successful in this, it may become a deterrent because it will become economically unfeasible to keep financing these bombings."
SUICIDE BOMB SURVIVORS FACE WORLDS BLOWN APART
Suicide bomb survivors face worlds blown apart
Thousands of wounded Israelis and families endure years of recovery
By Keith B. Richburg
The Washington Post
January 31, 2004
Alona Shaportova, 17, suffered brain injuries from a suicide bombing two years ago. She now attends a special school and depends on her mother, Irina, to help her get dressed and shuttle her to therapy. (Keith B. Richburg -- The Washington Post)
Alona Shaportova immigrated here from Ukraine with her parents when she was 10. Soon she was speaking Hebrew, English and some Arabic, as well as Russian.
Ask Alona how old she is today and she hesitates, and begins to count out loud, "One, two, three, four" until she gets to 17. She looks to her mother for verification and gets a nod of approval.
Counting is a chore for Alona, reading is impossible, and she can manage only slowly to write her name. Two years ago, Alona and a friend were at Tel Aviv's popular seaside Dolphinarium discotheque when a Palestinian wearing explosives and copper ball bearings blew himself up outside, killing 21 people, mostly teenagers, and wounding 100 others.
Alona was among the most critically injured. When five ball bearings smashed into her head and face, her left eye was shattered, the teeth on the left side of her mouth were knocked out and the left side of her brain was torn away, leaving her paralyzed on the right side and mentally impaired for good.
The blond-haired, blue-eyed girl, who once thought of becoming a model, now has a plastic prosthetic and a mop of curls that artfully cover the missing part of her head.
For thousands of Israeli families like the Shaportovas, the suicide bombings of the last three years have been a life-shattering, life-altering experience. The attacks make headlines with the numbers killed – about 500 Israelis and foreigners have been killed in suicide attacks on civilians since the beginning of the current Palestinian uprising in September 2000. But for all those killed, there are many, many more left alive but burned, maimed, scarred, blinded, paralyzed, hearing-impaired, missing limbs and often requiring long-term care.
A case-by-case review of Israeli government records indicates more than 3,000 people have been injured in suicide bombings, not counting other types of attacks.
Their suffering is often intensified by the rudimentary and ruthless technology of the bombmakers; the explosives are wrapped with screws and ball bearings, causing multiple lacerations and punctures for those in the blast vicinity.
Some Israelis are still hospitalized from wounds sustained in suicide attacks months, even years ago; many more require repeated hospital visits and follow-up operations. Dozens are unable to work. And families have been forced to alter their lives to care for a wounded family member.
Alona's mother, Irina, says caring for her daughter has become her full-time job. She needs to help her daughter get dressed, takes her to a special school and shuttles her constantly to the hospital for care and rehabilitation therapy. "I'm really stressed by all of this," said Irina, who quit working after her daughter was injured. "I have no choice. I have only one daughter."
The Israeli government's national insurance institute has a mandate to provide financial assistance to anyone deemed a victim of a hostile act, meaning either war or terrorism. Medical care is free, including transportation to and from the hospitals, and the injured person receives a monthly stipend based on salary, or, in the case of the unemployed, the average government bureaucrat's salary.
Those found by an independent panel to be severely and permanently disabled continue to get a monthly payment for life, while those less disabled lose their stipends and receive a one-time grant.
The financial support is supplemented by private groups such as the One Family Fund, created three years ago to support and provide psychological counseling to victims. The fund provides cash to affected families until government compensation arrives, and it sponsors workshops and "healing retreats."
Yet victims and their family members say they sometimes feel their suffering is forgotten after the initial horror of a suicide attack has faded.
"As time goes by, the support and help gets less and less," said Mally Nissim, whose 16-year-old daughter, Adi Huja, was badly injured in the suicide bombing of Jerusalem's Cafe Rimon on Dec. 1, 2001. "The whole situation has been going on for two years. My heart is ripped up. I can hardly take it. The atmosphere at home is bad. Everybody is irritable and yelling. Tempers are raised."
She added: "When I hear about an attack, I feel sorry for the injured. It tears families apart."
Adi is a beautiful girl with light hair and olive skin. The only evidence of the severity of her wounds is that she walks with a crutch.
Seated on the living room couch, she pulls off her thick-soled sneakers and rolls up the legs of her khaki trousers to show what is left of her mangled legs. Both are riddled with wounds from ankle to hip – huge craters, small holes, discolored black.
Her right foot stays in one position; the ankle was filled with screws. In all, 100 pieces of metal sliced through her body, mostly screws and bolts. Some of her wounds became infected by rat poison packed in the bomb, doctors told her.
Adi has endured 26 operations, and she will have more. She was hospitalized for half a year and in a wheelchair for one year. There are still seven or eight bolts in her body.
"The doctors said I'll be able to walk and run," she said, "but it will take time."
Adi and her mother are full of praise for the doctors who saved Adi's legs. For the bombers, there is only hate.
"I hate them and their entire families," Adi said bitterly, "and I wish them to go through exactly what I went through. They have no heart."
The Weapons Instructor
In a bed at a rehabilitation center outside Tel Aviv, American-born Steve Averbach, 37, counts the sum total of his progress since a suicide bomber on Jerusalem's No. 6 bus shattered his world eight months ago.
He can wiggle his toes a little, and he can flex his left foot. He can move his left thumb and index finger. There is a little movement in his left elbow, and there's some sensation in the hand. That is all, but that is progress for a man who was told he would likely never move his limbs again, after a ball bearing from the bomber's explosive vest hit his spinal cord and lodged in the back of his neck.
Before the bombing, Averbach, who moved to Israel from New Jersey at age 18, was a healthy, high-powered, active man, the father of four children. He was known as "Steve Guns" to many Israelis because of his role as the premier weapons instructor in the country.
All of Averbach's training kicked in on May 18, 2003, when he boarded the bus in the French Hill neighborhood and the driver stopped to pick up one last passenger: a man dressed in the garb of a religious Jew. "He wasn't Jewish," Averbach recalled. "He was Arabic."
Averbach immediately grabbed for his gun and spun around to fire. "I was known to be able to draw my gun in .85 of a second," he said. But the bomber already had his hand on the triggering device. "I was in mid-spin when the bomb went off," Averbach said. "It doesn't matter how fast you are – the guy with his finger on the trigger is going to win." Averbach's gun never cleared his holster.
Averbach retains his good humor, even as he lies on his back and his mother, Maida, gives him water from a small plastic container with a straw. "I had been involved in four or five bus bombings," Averbach said. "This time I just showed up 10 minutes early."
"The thing I say to myself is, next time I will be faster," he said. "I can't lay back and say to myself, 'I'm sorry about what happened.' "
His mother, a nurse, said that since her son's injury she has viewed the horrific scenes of bus bombings differently.
"When I hear the phrase 'non-life-threatening injury,' I always wonder what's the implication of that," she said. "The people who die die. But the survivors, and how they have to cope, and their families – you never hear about that. The psychological implications, the emotional implications, the financial implications – it goes on and on."
The Bus Driver
Not all victims of suicide attacks are Jewish. Sometimes the shrapnel finds someone like Yasser Hirbawi, an Israeli Arab who lives in East Jerusalem.
In August, Hirbawi was driving a bus for a tourism company when he stopped next to public bus No. 2, which had a bomber on board. Hirbawi felt the blast, which hurled him down the front steps of his bus, and brought the vehicle's small, mounted television set crashing down on his head and back.
"I started rolling down the stairs leading to the doors," he said, sitting in his family's hillside home. "That was a good thing, because when I was down there, I was saved from the shrapnel that was flying around." He was knocked unconscious, but survived with a slipped disc and half hearing loss in each ear.
"I still suffer from pain, especially when I bend down," Hirbawi said. "Tying my shoes is something I cannot do. If I bend down, it takes me five minutes to get back up. I also can't put any stress on my right leg."
Hirbawi, 40, is under doctor's orders not to work. As an Israeli citizen and a victim of terrorism, he qualifies for financial compensation. But he hadn't received any, he said, and has survived – taking care of his wife and six children – only with the help of his brother, who owns a grocery store.
The reason, he believes, is because he is an Arab, not Jew.
"I tell you the truth, if I had been Jewish, I would be getting everything I am owed from the national insurance," Hirbawi said. "A Jew doesn't have to wait six months. Unfortunately, we have to wait. We are discriminated against. They don't treat everyone equally here."
Hirbawi is angry. His family has lived in Jerusalem for generations. He said he had never run afoul of the law. "I live in Jerusalem, I pay my taxes and everything," he said. "I was wounded just like any other person, just like the Jews.
"The bomb," he added, "did not discriminate between Jews and Arabs."
1. The Guardian covers Anne Frank House 'Sharon and Hitler' exhibit
2. French Prime Minister on Sat night: France will ban anti-Semitic television broadcasts from Middle East satellite operators because he says they are "unbearable to watch" and "revolting"
3. In Poland, a new floating art exhibit is very different from the Swedish one
4. In a rare move, a leading Saudi cleric yesterday called on Muslims around the world to forsake terrorism
5. Latest Arab media conspiracy theory: Israel planning to settle 150,000 Jews in northern Iraq
JEREMIAH DUGGAN FOLLOW-UP
This is a follow-up to the dispatches:
1. Inquest opens tomorrow into the death of Jeremiah Duggan (November 3, 2003).
2. Jeremiah Duggan: it was "no suicide" (November 6, 2003).
There will finally be TV news coverage in Britain, tomorrow (February 3, 2004), on the 6 pm BBC1 news and on BBC2 "Newsnight" at 10:30 pm, regarding Jeremiah Duggan. Duggan was a young British Jew who died in Germany in March 2003, possibly murdered in an anti-Semitic hate crime by extreme rightists following an anti-Iraq war rally.
For almost a year, the German authorities have refused to investigate the case, declaring it a "suicide". In November 2003, following an investigation in London, a British coroner ruled that there was nothing to suggest suicide, and that Jeremiah had been subjected to "a state of terror" before his death, and called on the German police to investigate, which they have not done.
Jeremiah's mother, Erica, is a Kindertransport Holocaust survivor, and a long-time subscriber to this email list. (Journalists on this list who want to interview Mrs. Duggan, or others who wish to contribute to her legal and campaigning costs, can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for her details.)
-- Tom Gross
I attach summaries of five articles, followed by the articles in full.
1. "Israeli anger at Frank exhibit" (The Guardian, January 31, 2004). [This is a follow-up to the dispatch of January 29, 2004 titled Sharon and Hitler share space at Anne Frank house in Amsterdam, and it is to the Guardian's credit that they are one of the few international papers to have covered this.]
"... Natan Sharansky, a minister in Mr Sharon's cabinet, said it was further evidence of anti-semitism in Europe. "When at the home of Anne Frank, one of the archetypal symbols of the tragedy of the Jewish people, Hitler, is compared to prime minister Ariel Sharon, it is not a debate on freedom of expression. It is showing contempt for the memory of the 6 million who were murdered in the Holocaust."
A museum spokeswoman said: "The exhibit the Israelis object to is about the present-day manifestation of anti-semitism. "It includes video footage of a demonstration against Israel in Amsterdam in April 2002 at which some people carried banners that had pictures of Hitler and Sharon and asked the question, 'Do you see a difference, because we don't?'" ... Mr Sharansky said Anne Frank's house was the wrong place to show such pictures, whatever the intent.
2. "In Poland, floating art exhibit is testament to Jewish history" (By Ruth Ellen Gruber, JTA, January 25).
[This is a follow-up to three different dispatches last month concerning a Swedish-government sponsored exhibition glorifying a suicide bomber prepared by an artist widely-described as a self-hating Israeli. It also illustrates how anti-Semitism today is more prevalent in western "Old" Europe than, in eastern "New" Europe -- TG]
"A floating art installation by a Polish artist in a former synagogue provides a dramatic counterpoint to the now-infamous installation in Stockholm about a Palestinian suicide bomber. Israel's ambassador to Sweden made headlines earlier this month by unplugging an artwork that featured a portrait of Palestinian suicide bomber Hanadai Jaradet floating in a white boat in a basin of blood-red water. In the western Polish city of Poznan, however, artist Janusz Marciniak made far different use of a symbolic watery backdrop for an installation symbolizing Jewish loss, hope and renewal. Marciniak shaped 600 burning memorial candles into a huge Star of David and set it floating on the surface of the pool located in Poznan's former synagogue. The work was presented January 15 during the annual "Days of Judaism" initiative sponsored by the Roman Catholic church." [Full article below]
3. "France to curb anti-Jewish Arab TV broadcasts" (Reuters, February 1, 2004). [This is a follow-up to several dispatches on France, the most recent of which was: "Fury at French comic 'Heil Israel' jibe," December 8, 2003.]
"France will soon pass a law to curb anti-Semitic television broadcasts coming from the Middle East and fine satellite operators who distribute anti-Jewish programmes, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said on Saturday. Raffarin told the annual dinner of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) that he and several cabinet ministers had seen some of these broadcasts and found them "unbearable to watch (and) revolting." This followed an appeal by CRIF President Roger Cukierman to block anti-Semitic broadcasts from the Middle East, which officials here say encourage Muslim youths in France to attack Jews to take revenge for Israeli policy against the Palestinians.
"... Cukierman said satellite television broadcasters had beamed into France Egyptian and Syrian programmes based on the 19th-century Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious forgery purporting to show Jewish plots to dominate the world. "The Al Manar station, which belongs to Hezbollah, broadcasts from Lebanon unbearable scenes... one sees actors disguised as Jews who slit the throat of a non-Jewish child and collect in a saucer blood supposedly meant for their unleavened bread," he said.
4. "Top cleric denounces terror. Saudi addresses Muslim pilgrims" (Associated Press, February 1, 2004). "Saudi Arabia's top cleric called on Muslims around the world yesterday to forsake terrorism, saying those who claim to be holy warriors were an affront to the faith. In a sermon that was remarkable not only for its strong language but also its timing – at the peak of the annual hajj – Sheik Abdul Aziz al-Sheik told 2 million pilgrims that terrorists were giving their enemies an excuse to criticize Muslim nations... A large number of the victims of suicide attacks in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iraq, and elsewhere have been Muslims." [TG adds: Reuters makes no specific reference to Israel in its report. It does however use the word terrorist in this article, which it almost never does in respect to terrorism carried out by Palestinians in Israel.]
5. "Israel taking Turkish help for settling Jews in Iraq" (Khaleej Times Online, January 28, 2004). [I attach this an example of the kind of conspiracy theory rife in Islamic news media.]
"... reports said that the cooperation between Turkish businessmen and Israeli businessmen was met with reservation in the Turkish community after revelations that Israel was involved in intelligence activities in northern Iraq and also in buying lands owned by Arabs and Turkmans in Kirkuk. The sources revealed that Israel was planning to settle 150,000 Jews in Kurdish areas in north of Iraq and as well setting up financial foundations to finance buying the lands."
ISRAELI ANGER AT ANNE FRANK EXHIBIT
Israeli anger at Frank exhibit
By Chris McGreal
January 31, 2004
Israel has demanded the removal of a "horrifying" exhibit at the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam that includes caricatures comparing Ariel Sharon to Adolf Hitler. The museum has defended the exhibit, saying it is intended to explore the limits of free speech and includes criticism of the caricatures, which appear in video footage of a demonstration against Israel.
"It is a horrifying exhibition," said Israel's president, Moshe Katzav. "The attempt to attribute to Israel's leaders acts which contravene humanitarian values is a distortion and is offensive."
Natan Sharansky, a minister in Mr Sharon's cabinet, said it was further evidence of anti-semitism in Europe. "When at the home of Anne Frank, one of the archetypal symbols of the tragedy of the Jewish people, Hitler, is compared to prime minister Ariel Sharon, it is not a debate on freedom of expression. It is showing contempt for the memory of the 6 million who were murdered in the Holocaust," he said.
A museum spokeswoman said: "The exhibit the Israelis object to is about the present-day manifestation of anti-semitism.
"It includes video footage of a demonstration against Israel in Amsterdam in April 2002 at which some people carried banners that had pictures of Hitler and Sharon and asked the question, 'Do you see a difference, because we don't?'"
The video is shown on a split screen. On the other side is criticism of the banners and other aspects of the demonstration from, among others, Amsterdam's mayor.
"We have used the video to highlight present-day anti-semitism and to ask the question: is this too much freedom of speech?" the spokeswoman said. "It is for the visitor to decide the answer but we categorically reject any comparison between Sharon and Hitler."
Told of this explanation yesterday, an aide to Mr Sharansky said Anne Frank's house was the wrong place to show such pictures, whatever the intent.
IN POLAND, FLOATING ART EXHIBIT IS TESTAMENT TO JEWISH HISTORY
A floating art installation by artist Janusz Marcianiak is set up in a Poznan, Poland, pool.
In Poland, floating art exhibit is testament to Jewish history
By Ruth Ellen Gruber
Jewish Telegraph Agency
January 25, 2004
A floating art installation by a Polish artist in a former synagogue provides a dramatic counterpoint to the now-infamous installation in Stockholm about a Palestinian suicide bomber.
Israel's ambassador to Sweden made headlines earlier this month by unplugging an artwork that featured a portrait of Palestinian suicide bomber Hanadai Jaradet floating in a white boat in a basin of blood-red water.
In the western Polish city of Poznan, however, artist Janusz Marciniak made far different use of a symbolic watery backdrop for an installation symbolizing Jewish loss, hope and renewal.
Marciniak shaped 600 burning memorial candles into a huge Star of David and set it floating on the surface of the pool located in Poznan's former synagogue.
Called "Atlantis," the work was presented Jan. 15 during the annual "Days of Judaism" initiative sponsored by the Roman Catholic church. The Poznan ceremony was the central event among a number of related initiatives around the country.
The glowing Star of David floated on the water, creating eerie shadows and echoes in the darkened hall.
Some 600 people, most of them holding blue torch lights, crowded into the once-grandiose structure that was turned into a swimming pool by the Nazis.
Organizers ran out of torches and had to turn people away for lack of space.
Catholic officials and Warsaw Rabbi Michael Schudrich gave speeches, followed by a concert by the Poznan University Choir which included Hatikvah, the Yiddish song "Papirossen," the Eric Clapton song "Tears in Heaven" and other pieces reflecting hopeful themes.
At the end of the ceremony, Poznan's small Jewish community placed a commemorative plaque on the synagogue wall.
"It was really a fantastic atmosphere, which was enhanced by the wonderful acoustics of the building," Marciniak told JTA by telephone. "For me, it was an unforgettable experience."
Marciniak, who is not Jewish, said he sought to convey a deeply symbolic meaning by creating the star with yahrzeit candles and setting it adrift in a building whose history reflects the tragedy of the Shoah.
Jews arrived in Poznan in the 14th century, if not earlier. The community numbered about 1,500 on the eve of World War II. Today, there are several dozen Jews in the city.
The synagogue was built as a grandiose domed structure a century ago, when Poznan was part of Germany. It was turned into a swimming pool by Nazi occupiers, who sheared off the dome and eliminated Jewish symbols and ornamentation.
Some 3.5 million Jews lived in Poland before World War II – and 3 million were murdered in the Holocaust. Under the postwar Communist regime, knowledge and discussion of Jewish history, culture and religion were suppressed.
When taboos against investigating the Polish Jewish past began to be lifted more than two decades ago, many Poles compared their discovery of prewar Jewish culture and history to the discovery of Atlantis, a mythical sunken world.
Atlantis "is the symbol of a destroyed civilization, like the destroyed world of the Jews in Poland," Marciniak said.
The water in the pool built by the Nazis represented the attempt to drown memory, he said.
"The swimming pool in the synagogue isn't a metaphor but a fact," Marciniak said. "With my installation, I tried to create a moment of mood and reflection. I was motivated by sympathy and ethics, not by ideology."
Marciniak, whose installation was accompanied by an exhibition of paintings inspired by Jewish memory, also has written about the Jewish experience in Poland.
He said his interest in dealing artistically with the memory of Polish Jewry is rooted in his childhood, when he lived near the site of a devastated Jewish cemetery.
"I used to see bones in the sand there," he said.
Lena Stanley-Clamp, director of the London-based European Association for Jewish Culture, said the idea of a re-emerging Atlantis permeated Jewish-themed art in former Communist Europe.
"We are talking about submerged Jewish culture," Stanley-Clamp, herself a Polish-born Jew, told JTA by telephone.
"We are seeing examples all over the region of efforts by artists like Marciniak, who are inspired by submerged Jewish culture and employ memory and exploration of this drowned world to create new art."
FRANCE TO CURB ANTI-JEWISH ARAB TV BROADCASTS
France to curb anti-Jewish Arab TV broadcasts
By Tom Heneghan
February 1, 2004
France will soon pass a law to curb anti-Semitic television broadcasts coming from the Middle East and fine satellite operators who distribute anti-Jewish programmes, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said on Saturday.
Raffarin told the annual dinner of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) that he and several cabinet ministers had seen some of these broadcasts and found them "unbearable to watch (and) revolting."
This followed an appeal by CRIF President Roger Cukierman to block anti-Semitic broadcasts from the Middle East, which officials here say encourage Muslim youths in France to attack Jews to take revenge for Israeli policy against the Palestinians.
"I believe deeply that our struggle against hate must take on a new dimension," Raffarin said as he announced the government would submit a bill to parliament to enable French judges to stop a satellite station that broadcasts anti-Semitic material.
He said the law would force satellite operators to inform Paris which stations they carried and threaten them with fines if they transmitted provocative broadcasts.
Satellite television is widely watched in the poor suburbs around French cities where most recent anti-Semitic attacks have occured.
Cukierman said: "We see that messages of anti-Jewish hate are invading the air waves. Day after day, they reach households in our cities and suburbs thanks to satellite dishes."
He said satellite television broadcasters had beamed into France Egyptian and Syrian programmes based on the 19th-century Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious forgery purporting to show Jewish plots to dominate the world.
"The Al Manar station, which belongs to Hezbollah, broadcasts from Lebanon unbearable scenes... one sees actors disguised as Jews who slit the throat of a non-Jewish child and collect in a saucer blood supposedly meant for their unleavened bread," he said.
Cukierman said France's 600,000 Jews were living "a period of malaise" and asked what their future would be.
"The anti-Jewish climate is spreading at schools and universities, across the whole country. Even small Jewish children have become victims."
He indirectly supported the government's plan to ban religious symbols from state schools, including the Jewish skullcap, to ensure that schools remained oases of neutrality where religious activists could not press their views on others.
He also urged the government to ban the Party of French Muslims, an openly anti-Zionist group whose leader Mohamed Latreche is now being investigated for a speech at a recent protest march that Jewish leaders denounced as anti-Semitic.
TOP SAUDI CLERIC DENOUNCES TERRORISM
Top cleric denounces terror
Saudi addresses Muslim pilgrims
By Rawya Rageh
The Associated Press
February 1, 2004
Saudi Arabia's top cleric called on Muslims around the world yesterday to forsake terrorism, saying those who claim to be holy warriors were an affront to the faith.
In a sermon that was remarkable not only for its strong language but also its timing – at the peak of the annual hajj – Sheik Abdul Aziz al-Sheik told 2 million pilgrims that terrorists were giving their enemies an excuse to criticize Muslim nations.
"Is it holy war to shed Muslim blood? Is it holy war to shed the blood of non-Muslims given sanctuary in Muslim lands? Is it holy war to destroy the possession of Muslims?" he said.
A large number of the victims of suicide attacks in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iraq, and elsewhere have been Muslims.
Sheik, who is respected in the Arab world as the foremost cleric in the country considered the birthplace of Islam, spoke at Namira Mosque, a televised sermon watched by millions of Muslims in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
The mosque is close to Mount Arafat, where the pilgrims converged yesterday for the climax of their annual trek. This year's hajj has been carried out amid heightened security after a year of terror attacks in the kingdom.
In speaking of terrorists who killed fellow Muslims, Sheik was clearly referring to the Prophet Muhammad's final sermon, delivered on Mount Arafat 14 centuries ago.
It contained the line: "Know that every Muslim is a Muslim's brother, and the Muslims are brethren. Fighting between them should be avoided."
Sheik also criticized the international community, accusing it of attacking Wahhabism, the sect whose strict interpretation of Islam is followed in Saudi Arabia. "This country is based on this religion and will remain steadfast on it," he said.
"Islam forbids all forms of injustice, killing without just cause, treachery,... hijacking of planes, boats, and transportation means," he said. The Saudi government conducted a crackdown on extremist groups after suicide bombers attacked housing compounds inhabited by foreigners last May. Saudi and US officials blamed the attack, and a similar suicide bombing in November, on groups linked to Al Qaida, which is led by the Saudi-born Osama bin Laden.
ANOTHER WILD CONSPIRACY THEORY
Israel taking Turkish help for settling Jews in Iraq
Khaleej Times Online
January 28, 2004
A Turkish official sources said that delegation of Israeli businessmen will pay a visit to Turkey on February 18 this year to hold negotiations with Turkish businessmen. The Turkish-Israeli Economic Forum will hold it's meeting on February 18 to 19.
Releasing a statement, the Ankara World Trade Centre said that Israeli businessmen would come to Turkey as their guests, and hold talks with Turkish firms. The Israeli delegation will aim to sign trade contracts with Turkey and to set up joint ventures with Turkish firms in markets of other countries such as Iraq.
Israeli Ambassador to Turkey Pinhas Avivi and high-level officials from Treasury and Foreign Trade Undersecretaries are expected to attend the forum.
Meanwhile reports said that the cooperation between Turkish businessmen and Israeli businessmen was met with reservation in the Turkish community after revelations that Israel was involved in intelligence activities in northern Iraq and also in buying lands owned by Arabs and Turkmans in Kirkuk.
The sources revealed that Israel was planning to settle 150,000 Jews in Kurdish areas in north of Iraq and as well setting up financial foundations to finance buying the lands.