Tom Gross Mideast Media Analysis

Tunisian accuses Arab world of “a deafening silence” on Darfur

December 28, 2004

* "A deafening silence was observed throughout the Arab world on the horrendous crime being committed by their fellow Arabs in Sudan"

* International reaction contrasts starkly to South Asia earthquake

 

CONTENTS

1. Former head of Tunisian section of Amnesty International blames Arab governments for complicity in ongoing Darfur genocide
2. Sudan foreign minister blames Israel for escalation of Darfur situation
3. The European Left is silent as Arabs commit genocide on Black Africans. "If they can't blame America, or Halliburton, then death, rape and torture don't matter"
4. "Where are the Rachel Corrie types? Why are there no human shields laying down in front of the Janjaweed to protect the black farmers?"
5. "The Arab silence on Darfur revisited"
6. UN needs to do more to win over Arabs, UN official


HEAD OF TUNISIAN SECTION OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: ARAB GOVERNMENTS COMPLICIT IN ONGOING DARFUR GENOCIDE

[Note by Tom Gross]

While it is heartening to see so many groups respond so quickly to the natural catastrophe in South Asia this week, and to see the international media report so thoroughly on it, what is almost certainly the world's worst man-made catastrophe, the genocidal campaign against Black Africans by Arab militias being carried out in the Darfur province of Sudan, remains largely unreported and unacted upon. This is to a very large degree because the Arab regimes and some of their friends in Europe and elsewhere, have blocked any concerted international action.

THE NEXT DECADE'S "NEVER AGAIN"

The astute commentator, Mark Steyn (who is a subscriber to this email list) wrote earlier this year on Sudan: "I see the next decade's "never again" story is here."

Future historians might now compare the reaction in South Asia to that in Sudan.

Below, I attach a new end-of-year article titled "The Arab Silence on Darfur Revisited," by Abu Khawla, a human rights activist. Abu Khawla is a pseudonym. He is a Moslem Arab, a Tunisian national now resident in Cairo, and the former director of Amnesty International-Tunisia.

The author says that pan-Arabism is the chief culprit for the lack of Arab reaction to the "horrendous crime being committed by their fellow Arabs in Sudan." In his view, the only effective way to counter the pan-Arab "propaganda of hate-mongering and deceit" is to mobilize an Arab liberal movement.

He writes: "Nearly a quarter million people are already lost, and one million more will follow suit in the coming months, unless urgent action is taken... In our judgment, the Arab silence could only be explained once we understand the true nature of the twin fascisms of Islamism and pan-Arabism that continue to wreak havoc on Arab land, and the impact they are having on the ignorant masses... Animists, Hindus and other "heretics," are all considered "Najus" (filthy), i.e. fit for extermination. Today's animists in Southern Sudan as well as Bah'ai and Ismailite sects in most Islamic countries are learning about it the hard way..."

Journalists on this who wish to interview the author can reach him on Abu200364@hotmail.com.

The publisher of this article, Middle East Transparent (www.metransparent.com) is an Arabic language website aiming to encourage democratic reform in the Arab world. Much of their material is also available in English (www.metransparent.com/english.html)

A number of contributors to that site are also long time subscribers to this email list.

THE UN SAYS IT NEEDS TO APPEASE ARAB REGIMES EVEN MORE

At the end of this email, I also attach a further item from Reuters from four months ago, titled "UN needs to do more to win over Arabs, UN official."

This is an example, as Edward Glass, who sent it to me, points out, of what happens when words lose all meaning. The Beirut office of Reuters begins its piece: "The United Nations needs to do more to win over Arabs and distance itself from a political climate which is corroding its reputation for neutrality, a senior U.N. official said Monday..." and continues "We need to give Arabs a stronger sense of ownership of the U.N."

Try telling that to the people of Darfur.

-- Tom Gross

 

* SUDAN FOREIGN MINISTER: ISRAEL TO BLAME FOR DARFUR SITUATION

* THE EUROPEAN LEFT IS SILENT AS ARABS COMMIT GENOCIDE ON BLACK AFRICANS. IF THEY CAN'T BLAME AMERICA, THEN DEATH, RAPE AND TORTURE DON'T MATTER

Before Abu Khawla's article, for subscribers who are new to this list (and leading journalists from around the world continue to ask me to join this list every day), I attach the summaries (only) of two of my dispatches on Sudan from earlier this year:

[Note by Tom Gross]

The anti-Semitism creeping into the coverage of the Sudan situation is found on two levels:

(1) The overt anti-Semitism of the Arab world, such as the statement yesterday in Cairo by the Sudanese Foreign Minister in advance of the meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers, in which he blamed Israel for the fighting in western Darfur.

(2) The more subtle anti-Semitism of western Leftist media. For example, the BBC World Service radio main evening world news (August 3, 2004) played an unchallenged recorded interview concerning Sudan, in which it was stated that "the West under the influence of Zionism is pressuring Sudan while ignoring the dozens of people Israel massacres every day." Israel, of course, does not massacre dozens of people every day, but the BBC likes to leave its hundreds of millions of worldwide listeners with the impression that it does - even in the context of (finally) running reports on Sudan.

There are an estimated 1.2 million internal refugees in Darfur and 200 000 who have crossed the border into Chad. Tens of thousands have been killed and raped on ethnic grounds, sometimes in the most horrific circumstances.

I attach various items concerning Sudan, with summaries first. This is a follow-up to previous references to Sudan on this email list. Today's dispatch is split into two for space reasons.

-- Tom Gross (August 9, 2004)

SUDAN FOREIGN MINISTER: ISRAEL BEHIND DARFUR SITUATION

1. "Sudan foreign minister blames Israel for escalation of Darfur situation" (Al Bawaba, August 8, 2004). "Sudanese Foreign Minister Musstafa Osman Ismail said Israel was escalating the situation in the western area of Darfur, stressing that his country had information to confirm latest media reports that insurgents there were supported by Israel. Ismail made the statement to reporters upon arrival in Cairo Sunday to attend an extraordinary meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers to find a solution to the Darfur crisis...."

A CHILLING SILENCE FROM EUROPE'S USUALLY VOCIFEROUS ANTIWAR CROWD

Silence on Sudan (Editorial, The Wall Street Journal Europe, August 6, 2004)

"As the killing in the western Sudanese region of Darfur unfolds, there is nothing but chilling silence from Europe's usually vociferous antiwar crowd. The conspicuous silence vis-a-vis the killing fields in Sudan betrays more than just the usual selective concern for world peace. Yes, for the progressive left, it is only the participation of the U.S. that makes a war really objectionable.

... not even the most elastic post-colonialist theory can explain the war in Sudan, where Arabs are massacring black Africans... What's more, in Sudan (Arab) Muslims are ethnically cleansing (non-Arab) fellow Muslims. How do you explain that if you believe in a conspiracy between a right-wing American President and Christian fundamentalists to launch a crusade against the Muslim world?

... Equally, anti-globalization activists have a hard time explaining the Darfur massacre under the template of their bizarre trade theories... so it's best to ignore the dying or – even better – rewrite history to make it fit the movement's ideology... The real reason for any potential military intervention by the U.S. or Britain would be – you guessed it – to grab Sudan's vast oil fields. John Laughland was allowed to present this theory Monday in the Guardian, Britain's flagship paper for opponents of the Iraq war..."

[This Wall Street Journal editorial was written by a subscriber to this email list. I recommend reading this article in full, below.]

SILENCE ON THE ARAB STREET

Silence on the Arab Street (By Kamel Labidi, July 2, 2004)

"Colin Powell's visit this week to Sudan – where he denounced the government-backed ethnic cleansing in the western region of Darfur and warned of a Rwanda-like genocide in the making – made one thing perfectly clear: The present cycle of horror and devastation in Sudan continues to prompt more concern in Western countries than in the Arab world.

"The victims of this new African tragedy of ethnic slaughter – which erupted more than a year ago but until recently attracted little international attention – are hundreds of thousands of civilians of the Muslim faith. Though Muslim, they are not of the same ethnic origin as their Arab oppressors in Sudan.

"Appalling scenes of torture and killing of civilians, including in mosques; the rape of women of all ages, often in front of relatives; the burning to the ground of scores of villages, and the destruction of water sources in the drought- and poverty-stricken region of Darfur, have for months now been reported by international human-rights groups.

"So far, however, only a few Arab voices, most of them in the beleaguered human-rights community, have warned against these large-scale crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Sudanese military government and the Janjaweed militiamen whom it backs and arms. Unfortunately, these voices have little influence in a region where the media is still in the tight grip of entrenched autocrats and most people are mired in illiteracy, prejudice, poverty and injustice.

"... Arab reaction to the plight of the hundreds of thousands dispossessed, abused and displaced Darfurians is reminiscent of the shocking silence both of the Arab media and civil society that followed the gassing of thousands of Kurds by Iraqi troops led by former dictator Saddam Hussein more than 15 years ago. Such atrocious campaigns of ethnic cleansing in Iraq at the end of the last century and in Sudan today would have prompted deafening official and popular protests in Arab capitals had the victims been of Arab descent and the perpetrators non-Arabs..."

 

"WHERE ARE THE RACHEL CORRIE TYPES? ARE THERE GOING TO BE ANY HUMAN SHIELDS LAYING DOWN IN FRONT OF THE JANJAWEED TO PROTECT THE BLACK FARMERS?"

I attach three further items concerning Sudan. There are summaries here only

-- Tom Gross (August 9, 2004)

I SEE THE NEXT DECADE'S "NEVER AGAIN" STORY IS HERE

"Blame the UN cheerleaders," by Mark Steyn (The Australian, July 26, 2004)

I see the next decade's "Never again" story is here. Just as we all agreed the 1994 Rwandan genocide should never be allowed to happen again, so – in a year or two – we'll all be agreed that another 2004 Sudanese genocide should never be allowed to happen again. But right now it is happening, and you can't help wondering where all the great humanitarians are. Alas, Sudan doesn't seem to have much appeal to them, lacking as it does the crucial Bush angle and affording little opportunity for use of words such as "neocons" and "Halliburton".

... But, to the average progressive columnist in the Western world, what matters is who killed you. 30,000 dead Sudanese don't equal one Iraqi prisoner being led around Abu Ghraib on a dog collar. But the minute the Yanks go in and accidentally blow up a schoolhouse, injuring an eight-year-old girl, the Mannes of the world will discover a sudden interest in Africa.

... The USAF could target and bomb the Janjaweed as effectively as they did the Taliban. But then the Not In Our Name crowd would get their knickers in a twist and everyone would complain that it's unlawful unless it's authorised by the UN. The problem is, by the time you've gone through the UN, everyone's dead.

... The UN system is broken beyond repair. The Security Council was unable to agree even on a resolution merely expressing some criticism of the Sudanese Government – China, Pakistan and Algeria scuppered that. In May, even as its proxies were getting stuck into their ethnic cleansing in Darfur, Sudan was elected to a three-year term on the UN Human Rights Commission..."

[Mark Steyn is a subscriber to this email list.]

 

WHERE'S SEAN PENN WHEN YOU NEED HIM? WHERE'S THE ISM?

Andrew Korvin, of Vancouver, British Columbia, writes in relation to Mark Steyn's column on the Sudan.

Getting away with murder:

Where are the 10 million protesters? Where's the ISM? Where are the Rachel Corrie types? Are there going to be any human shields laying down in front of the janjaweed to protect the black farmers? Is it true that Sean Penn is planning a trip to the Darfur region to see if the Janjaweed are really as bad as the right-wing press claim?

What's Kofi doing? Is he going to bring back the heavy guns to help out ... like Boutros-Boutros Ghali? I've heard so many rumours about an upsurge in leftist condemnation of the Arab imperialism and genocide that something must be brewing ...

Some of my friends are really cynical and claim that leftists and Islamists aren't particularly roused by injustice if they can't blame it on the US or Israel, but I think that's being unfair. I know you're in touch with both sides of the Atlantic... can you confirm the rumours I heard that there's a wellspring of enlightened pacifists ready to denounce the Sudanese gubmint?

Just wondering, thanks.

Andrew Korvin
Vancouver, British Columbia

 

GENOCIDE IS ALIVE AND WELL IN SUDAN

"Genocide is alive and well in Sudan," (By Yaakov Ahimeir, Ma'ariv, Israel, July 26, 2004).

"Perhaps the world's timid reaction to the genocide in Sudan is because there is no Israeli angle, both the perpetrators and the victims are Moslems. Arabs killing blacks is less spicy than Israel building a barrier... Thousands Moslem Africans are fleeing in the desert heat from Sudan into neighboring Chad. Every single man, woman, child and grandparent, scarred and hungry, has a personal tale of horror suffered at the hands of Arab oppression in Darfur.

... When one observes the tireless efforts invested in solving the conflict here, one needs to ask the following, almost inevitable question, "Where are the proportions? We hear that in Darfur alone, more Moslems have died over the last two months than have died in the "100-year conflict" in this region. Where are all the solutions and road maps, not those exclusively regarding the land of Israel between desert and sea, but regarding a million refugees and tens of thousands of victims murdered by the Arab militia.

... When light-skinned Moslems terrorize and murder dark-skinned Moslems, as their slave trading forbears did, Arab spiritual leaders, poets, co-religionists and the general Arab public sees nothing and hears nothing. And there is no one to cry out, 'End the slaughter! End the burning of villages!'..."


THE ARAB SILENCE ON DARFUR REVISITED

The Arab Silence on Darfur Revisited
By Abu Khawla
December 22, 2004

www.metransparent.com/texts/abu_khawla_darfur.htm

The catastrophe unfolding these days in Darfur, Western Sudan, is considered to be the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. According to all credible reports, nearly a quarter million people are already lost, and one million more will follow suit in the coming months, unless urgent action is taken. UN Secretary General Kofi Anan described the matter as a collective massacre of civilians. And US Secretary of State Colin Powell saw in it "indicators and elements that would start to move you towards a genocidal conclusion."

In contrast, a deafening silence was observed throughout the Arab world on the horrendous crime being committed by their fellow Arabs in Sudan. This "puzzle" was explained by Kamel Labidi, in an Op-ed article on the Wall Street Journal of July 5, 2004, by the fact that the voices of the Arab human rights community remain of little influence due to lack of access to the official media. The fact of the matter, however, is that official media is of no relevance to Arabs today, thanks to the advent of independent TV channels and the Internet.

In our judgment, the Arab silence could only be explained once we understand the true nature of the twin fascisms of Islamism and pan-Arabism that continue to wreak havoc on Arab land, and the impact they are having on the ignorant masses.

To obtain credible information, Arabs turn nowadays to satellite TV channels, especially Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, a tool of communications that is so far completely monopolized by Fundamentalists. In the case of Al-Jazeera, Preacher Youssef Al-Qaradhawi (a leading figure of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood) is one of its most influential founding members. And Fundamentalists are in charge of its news programs and talk shows. Indeed, it is no coincidence that the radical Sudanese cleric and political leader Hassan Al-Tourabi has had more than 60 appearances on the channel, during the 1990s, when he was in power, against few appearances for Dr. Saadeddine Ibrahim, the leading advocate for democracy in the Arab world. And some others weren't even that lucky. Most Arab secularists and feminists have never had a chance to appear on the channel.

Why did these fundamentalist havens try to hide the truth about the Darfur massacre? For starter, we should notice that the matter wouldn't have raised an eyebrow among Muslim public opinion had the slaughter targeted non-Muslims. Fighting infidels until they either convert to Islam or submit to Muslims as "Dhimmis," i.e., citizens of second class status under Islamic rule, and pay the "Jezya" (a poll tax), is still considered by Islamists to be a religious duty. And the above-mentioned status of Dhimmitude is exclusive to the "peoples of the book," namely Christians and Jews. Animists, Hindus and other "heretics," are all considered "Najus" (filthy), i.e. fit for extermination. Today's animists in Southern Sudan as well as Bah'ai and Ismailite sects in most Islamic countries are learning about it the hard way.

But Darfur is different, since it is a slaughter of Muslims even though they are non-Arabs of African descent. Why? In order to be able to answer this question, we need to make a difference between theory and practice. In theory, Muslims aren't allowed to slaughter other Muslims. The much-vaunted reference here is the Koranic verse stating that "only faith and piety will make a difference between an Arab and an "Ajami" (non-Arab)." This explains to a large extent the historic animosity between Islamism and pan-Arabism. While the latter refers to the Arab nation, Islamists refer to the Islamic "Ummah," considering Arab nationalism as a source of "fitnah" (sedition).

The practice, however, tells a very different story. Slavery is among the most horrendous means by which Arabs subjugated non-Arab Muslims, especially those of African descent. The practice was widespread in Saudi Arabia until the mid-1960s when it was abolished due to intense international pressure.

But despite all these facts, there are no reasons to believe that Islamism is responsible for Darfur. To their credit, both Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya ended up reporting on the massacre, especially after Kofi Anan’s strong statements on the subject, and Hassan Al-Tourabi was reported to be on a hunger strike to protest against the massacre. In addition, informed Arabs have large access to international media like the BBC Arabic Service and international news agencies. So the fact of the matter is that Arabs knew about what was going on in Darfur, but they didn't react. Why?

The chief culprit in this particular case seems to be pan-Arabism, the fascist movement that rose to power half a century ago through military coups. Nasserism took over Egypt, Sudan , Algeria, Northern Yemen, and Libya, while Baathism took care of Syria and Irak. In all these countries, the previous reformist/modernist attempts of the first part of the 20th century came to an end. The whole social strata of people of liberal leaning was decimated. Through intimidation and terror, its members were either silenced at home or forced to emigrate abroad.

And despite pan-Arabism's crushing military defeat in 1967, and its failure to deliver on economic and social matters, the so-called Arab street is still captive to its propaganda. A propaganda that, in many instances, seems to have the support of Arab governments, with the hope that anti-Western diatribes may help deflect the attention of the masses from their own failures.

The only effective way to counter this propaganda of hate-mongering and deceit is to mobilize the Arab liberal movement. That hasn't been very successful so far, especially given the lack of support of the Western democracies. As a result, the ignorant Arab masses will continue to be kept hostage to charlatans of pan-Arabism and Islamism, and other Darfurs may be forthcoming.

 

UN NEEDS TO DO MORE TO WIN OVER ARABS, UN OFFICIAL

[This is the article in Full. From late August, 2004.]

UN needs to do more to win over Arabs, UN official
Reuters

The United Nations needs to do more to win over Arabs and distance itself from a political climate which is corroding its reputation for neutrality, a senior U.N. official said Monday.

Mark Malloch Brown, administrator of the United Nations Development Program, said it was too easy for those sitting in U.N. headquarters in New York to forget that many in the Arab world feel the body had failed them in recent years.

"There is a sense of double standards in the Security Council, the dominance of the U.S. and Britain," Malloch Brown said in an interview in Beirut.

"It gets in the way of us being in the neutral space we need to do our job... Every time we have to put new security measures outside our downtown offices or move to other areas we are losing touch with the very people that are our lifeblood.

"I think it's a very dangerous corrosion of our standing."

After a four-day visit to Lebanon, Malloch Brown said the United Nations needed more Arabs and Muslims working in the organization and to focus on retaining the neutrality it prizes.

"We need to give Arabs a stronger sense of ownership of the U.N., to feel that we are listening to their needs and acting on them," he said. "For some, democracy has become a dirty word because of the way it was used to justify intervention in Iraq."


Iranian TV: Israelis steal Palestinian children’s eyes

December 23, 2004

CONTENTS

1. Series includes graphic images of a Palestinian girl in a hospital whose eyes have been removed
2. ... and portrays the Israeli prime minister as a Josef Mengele figure


IRANIAN TV: ISRAELIS STEAL PALESTINIAN CHILDREN'S EYES

[Note by Tom Gross]

Even by the standards of some of the items sent on this email list over the years, this story is chilling and, unfortunately, is an indicator of official Iranian thinking and what Iran might do with their nuclear weapons if they are not stopped.

Below are transcripts from Sahar 1 TV (Iran) broadcasts on December 13, 14 and 20, 2004.

The station is currently airing a weekly series titled "For You, Palestine," or "Zahra's Blue Eyes." The series continues next week.

The series premiered on December 13, and is set in Israel and the West Bank.

It broadcasts every Monday, and was filmed in Persian but subsequently dubbed into Arabic for wider viewing thoughout the Mideast and among Arab populations in Europe and elsewhere. (Will the EU ban it?)

The director of the series is a former Iranian education ministry official, who says he wanted to make a series "about children."

These transcripts were translated by MEMRI, whose president Yigal Carmon is a subscriber to this email list, and I thank him for them.

I have prepared extracts below for those who don't have time to read this item in full.

-- Tom Gross

 

** EXTRACTS OF TV SERIES **

GRAPHIC IMAGES OF A PALESTINIAN GIRL WHOSE EYES HAVE BEEN REMOVED

In Episode 1, Israelis disguised as UN workers visit a Palestinian school, ostensibly to examine the children's eyes for diseases, but in reality to select which children's eyes to steal to be used for transplants.

The story follows an Israeli candidate for Prime Minister, Yitzhak Cohen, and contains graphic scenes of surgery, and images of a Palestinian girl in a hospital whose eyes have been removed, with bandages covering the sockets.

Yitzhak Cohen: "Recently, we had great success in the field of transplanting and cloning human organs, and we can declare with full confidence that all the people on this planet – be they white, black, yellow, or red – will all enjoy the marvelous medical accomplishments that we have made in these fields. We believe that the Lord has given us these possibilities and capabilities, which require us to provide all the needy in the world with the accomplishments of our gifted people in the fields of human organ transplant and rehabilitation. We give this as a gift to mankind!"

Crowd: "Yitzhak Cohen! Yitzhak Cohen! Yitzhak Cohen! Yitzhak Cohen!"

Cut to West Bank Classroom

 

YITZHAK COHEN AS JOSEF MENGELE

Yitzhak Cohen: "Who is this?..."

Military man: "Zahra Abd Al-Rahman Muhammad. Age: seven; blood type: O+."

General: She lives in the central refugee camp. Eye color – green."

Yitzhak Cohen: "Good."

... General: "Sir, there are 32 children that you haven't seen yet, and there is also a ship docked at the shore with a cargo of artificial fetuses…"

Yitzhak Cohen: "This one! Her eyes remind me of my wife."

... Yitzhak Cohen: "From now on we will accomplish more important things. We will revive all the dying people, whichever way we want."

General: "Sir, the unit is ready to move towards the refugee camp."


MEMRI ITEM IN FULL

www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD83304

MEMRI
Special Dispatch Series - No. 833
December 22, 2004

MEMRI TV Project Special Report: Iranian TV Drama Series about Israeli Government Stealing Palestinian Children's Eyes

Iran's Sahar 1 TV station is currently airing a weekly series titled "For You, Palestine," or "Zahra's Blue Eyes." The series premiered on December 13, and is set in Israel and the West Bank. It broadcasts every Monday, and was filmed in Persian but subsequently dubbed into Arabic.

The story follows an Israeli candidate for Prime Minister, Yitzhak Cohen, who is also the military commander of the West Bank. The opening sequence of the show contains graphic scenes of surgery, and images of a Palestinian girl in a hospital whose eyes have been removed, with bandages covering the sockets.

In Episode 1, Yitzhak Cohen lectures at a medical conference on the advances being made by Israeli medicine regarding organ transplants. Later in the episode, Israelis disguised as UN workers visit a Palestinian school, ostensibly to examine the children's eyes for diseases, but in reality to select which children's eyes to steal to be used for transplants.

In Episode 2, the audience learns that the Israeli president is being kept alive by organs stolen from Palestinian children, and an Israeli military commander is seen kidnapping UN employees and Palestinians.

Sahar TV also broadcast an interview with the director of the series, a former Iranian education ministry official, who discussed his motivations for making a series "about children."

The following are excerpts from the first two episodes, and from the interview with the series' director. To view clips from the series, visit www.memritv.org. In the coming weeks, MEMRI will continue to monitor and translate future episodes of the series.

 

Episode 1

To view clips from the first episode, visit memritv.org/Search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=420:

TV Reporter: "Mr. Yitzhak Cohen, the military commander of the West bank and one of the main candidates in the elections … will talk about the medical progress made by Israel, which will have a major impact on global medicine and on human organ transplants."

Yitzhak Cohen: "Recently, we had great success in the field of transplanting and cloning human organs, and we can declare with full confidence that all the people on this planet – be they white, black, yellow, or red – will all enjoy the marvelous medical accomplishments that we have made in these fields. We believe that the Lord has given us these possibilities and capabilities, which require us to provide all the needy in the world with the accomplishments of our gifted people in the fields of human organ transplant and rehabilitation. We give this as a gift to mankind!"

Crowd: "Yitzhak Cohen! Yitzhak Cohen! Yitzhak Cohen! Yitzhak Cohen!"

Cut to West Bank Classroom

Camp Nurse: "They have come to prevent the spreading of an eye disease. We must let them examine the children."

Teacher: "OK..."

Doctor: "Open your eyes, my dear. Good. Come, yes. And you. Good. You too… God bless you. Good."

Camp Nurse: "What kind of a program is this? Why aren't you examining everyone? Why are they taking pictures? What's going on here?!"

Doctor: "Calm down please. We are only doing our duty..."

Yitzhak Cohen (on TV screen):"We are the best of the races in the world. Our land should extend from the Euphrates to the Nile. The oil lies between the Euphrates and the Nile… The whole world will be shaken by the oil shortage problem. This is a difficult stage that will determine the fate of the entire world, and all eyes will be upon this region."

Cut to Israeli Meeting

General: "This is the one! Here you go, Doctor."

Doctor: "Here you go, sir. Take a look."

Yitzhak Cohen: "Who is this?..."

Military man: "Zahra Abd Al-Rahman Muhammad. Age: seven; blood type: O+."

General: She lives in the central refugee camp. Eye color – green."

Yitzhak Cohen: "Good."

Doctor: "Her physical condition is not bad."

Yitzhak Cohen: "What is her medical condition?"

Doctor: "Not bad, but she needs better care."

Yitzhak Cohen: "Excellent. Bring her here. Prepare everything for her. Treat her like a princess."

General: "Sir, there are 32 children that you haven't seen yet, and there is also a ship docked at the shore with a cargo of artificial fetuses…"

Yitzhak Cohen: "This one! Her eyes remind me of my wife." [1]

 

Episode 2

To view clips from the second episode, visit memritv.org/Search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=431:
Doctor: "Welcome, sir, the president is in the operating room."

General: "The president is indebted to you. He still can't believe that he has been granted his life back, even though he suffers from old age and heart failure."

Yitzhak Cohen: "He shouldn't think it was easy..."

General: "His family knows everything that is going on. We've shown the president a list of operations we've preformed on people, including the examinations. The old man was very pleased. He couldn't believe that we got 32 hearts – 32 beating hearts!"

Yitzhak Cohen: "From now on we will accomplish more important things. We will revive all the dying people, whichever way we want."

General: "Sir, the unit is ready to move towards the refugee camp."

Yitzhak Cohen: "Good, you had better be with them. You know how important this girl is to me."

Cut to West Bank Classroom

Teacher (to students): "Alright, write down: The last Friday ... of the month of Ramadan ... was called … by Imam Khomeini … who is mourned by most of the Islamic world and who led the Islamic revolution in Iran – he called it 'Global Jerusalem Day.'"

Nurse: "We didn't see any symptoms in the children."

Doctor: "In the early stages of this disease there are no symptoms. We will first take the children who might have contracted the disease."

Nurse: "Where are you taking them, and for how long?"

Doctor: "To hospital with an advanced laboratory. Those who are healthy will return quickly. Don't worry too much."

Israeli unit commander: "There you go. I told you we wouldn't be long."

UN hostage: "I'll file a complaint against you."

Israeli unit commander: "Why?"

UN hostage: "You have abused UN uniforms and its name."

Israeli unit commander: "This is a humanitarian act... If you dare open your mouth even once and talk about what happened, I will look for you everywhere, and finish you off. Understood?"

Child: "Uncle Ahmad, why don't we have lands like this that we could cultivate, and build houses on? Why, Uncle Ahmad? Tell me."

Uncle Ahmad: "Everything you see, the lands, the water, the air, and the birds, everything used to belong to us."

Child: "So where are they?"

Uncle Ahmad: "They exist ... in our hearts. They built these settlements on our lands

Camp Nurse: "All of this is the land of Palestine, our land, the land of our forefathers. How does the poem you recite in school go? Oh Palestine, Oh Jerusalem… This is our country, but the Zionists took it from us by force. We fought for our homeland, and we will keep fighting, do you understand? Do you? We have sacrificed martyrs for it, and we will continue to sacrifice everything until we liberate our land..." [2]

 

Interview with the Writer and Director of the Series

To view clips from the interview, visit memritv.org/Search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=422:

Ali Derakhshni: "I, Ali Derakhshni, screenwriter and director of the series 'Zahra's Blue Eyes' ... started working on this project when I was active in the [Iranian] education ministry, 17 years ago."

Interviewer: "In the film 'Zahra's Blue Eyes' there is a beautiful idea, as best as I recall: A girl with blue eyes. A Zionist father who is an army officer, sees these eyes and tries to steal them for his son."

Ali Derakhshni: "Theodore [Yitzhak Cohen's son] is a boy who symbolizes Israel. He has lost his kidneys, and he was paralyzed, and he wanted to rebuild his body.

"The major film companies are under the Zionists' influence. We are at the beginning of the road. Fortunately, the Iranian Islamic Republic and our Islamic regime have made many films and series like 'Zahra's Blue Eyes,' which is a film about children." [3]

[1] Sahar 1 TV (Iran), December 13, 2004.
[2] Sahar 1 TV (Iran), December 20, 2004.
[3] Sahar 1 TV (Iran), December 14, 2004.


Nobel Peace laureate compares Israeli nukes to Nazi gas chambers

December 21, 2004

This is a follow-up to the dispatches on this email list in 2002 concerning Portuguese Nobel laureate for Literature, Jose Saramago, who while paying homage to Yasser Arafat on a visit to Arafat in Ramallah, said that Israel's actions in the West Bank were worse than what the Jews had experienced at Auschwitz. Needless to say, those accusations were as offensive as they were inaccurate. As I wrote at the time, Saramago obviously has no idea what a Nazi concentration camp was.

Israeli author A.B. Yehoshua said Saramago's words were "an unprecedented outrage." He said, "You cannot blame him for blindness, because this is intentional blindness." Yehoshua's words were chosen to draw a connection to one of Saramago's books, "Blindness," a 1995 novel that helped pave the way to his Nobel Prize award.

MK Tommy Lapid (Shinui), a Holocaust survivor, said Saramago had caused great damage not only to Israel, but also to his own name and standing in the intellectual world. (Unfortunately this has not proven the case.)

-- Tom Gross


IRISH NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE: ISRAELI NUKES ARE JUST LIKE NAZI GAS CHAMBERS

[Note by Tom Gross]

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire on Sunday (December 19, 2004) compared Israel's alleged nuclear arsenal to Hitler's gas chambers.

"When I think about nuclear weapons, I've been to Auschwitz concentration camp," Maguire said during a joint press conference with nuclear whistle-blower and convicted criminal Mordechai Vanunu in Jerusalem. "Nuclear weapons are only gas chambers perfected... and for a people who know what gas chambers are, how can you even think of building perfect gas chambers?" she said.

Maguire was awarded the 1976 prize for her Northern Ireland peace campaign. That prize was later badly discredited after Yasser Arafat was awarded it.

To my knowledge, Maguire has not criticized in any comparable way Iran's or North Korea's nuclear programs, nor any other country which has nuclear weapons, such as Britain, France, the U.S., Russia, India and Pakistan.

Israel follows a policy of nuclear ambiguity, neither confirming nor denying it has nuclear arms.

I attach below a report by The Associated Press.

 

Shai Tsur, an Israeli subscriber to this email list, adds: "Even if Maguire is dumb enough to make the comparison in her head, why on earth does she think that the best way to engage Israelis in a fruitful discussion on nuclear disarmament is to call us Nazis?"

 

MISSILES HIT SYNAGOGUE IN GAZA STRIP DURING PRAYERS

Two anti-tank missiles struck a synagogue in a Jewish community in the Gaza Strip during prayer services this morning (Tuesday). No casualties were reported, but the building took a direct hit and sustained extensive damage.

I mention this because the mainstream media in general have not. Were Israel to deliberately bomb a mosque during prayers, media like CNN international and the BBC would no doubt highlight it in their main headlines.

-- Tom Gross


FULL ARTICLE

NOBEL LAUREATE COMPARES ISRAELI NUCLEAR ARMS TO NAZI GAS CHAMBERS

Nobel laureate compares Israeli nuclear arms to Nazi gas chambers
The Associated press
December 20, 2004

www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/516461.html

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire on Sunday compared Israel's alleged nuclear arsenal to Hitler's gas chambers and called on Israel to lift travel restrictions on nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu.

Maguire, awarded the 1976 prize for her Northern Ireland peace campaign, was at the prison gates to welcome Vanunu when he was released in April after serving an 18-year sentence for disclosing Israel's nuclear secrets.

"When I think about nuclear weapons, I've been to Auschwitz concentration camp," Maguire said during a joint press conference with Vanunu in Jerusalem.

"Nuclear weapons are only gas chambers perfected... and for a people who know what gas chambers are, how can you even think of building perfect gas chambers?"

Israeli foreign ministry officials were unavailable for comment. In the past, Israeli officials have expressed disgust at comparisons between Israel and the Nazis, who systematically murdered 6 million Jews during World War II in an attempt to wipe out all the Jews of Europe.

Israel follows a policy of nuclear ambiguity, neither confirming nor denying it has nuclear arms.

Since being freed from prison, Vanunu has been under rigid Israeli restrictions barring him from traveling abroad or speaking to foreigners, a prohibition he regularly flouts.

Vanunu said at the press conference that he has become estranged from his biological family and wants to spend Christmas in St. Paul, Minnesota with his adoptive parents, peace activists Nick and Mary Eoloff.

"I, as a Christian, am demanding from Israel, let me go and celebrate Christmas with my family and my friends around the world," he said. "They should give me my total freedom, I suffered 18 years in isolation in prison. They should not continue to punish me."


Ukraine’s poisoned Yushchenko to have Plastic Surgery in Israel

YUSHCHENKO TO HAVE PLASTIC SURGERY IN ISRAEL

[Note by Tom Gross]

Ukraine's presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko – who is surely one of the most impressive political heroes of our time, and may well have been my choice for Time magazine's Person of the Year 2004 (which was this week awarded to George Bush) – is to have plastic surgery in Israel following the Dec. 26 repeat elections.

Doctors have confirmed that the pockmarks and cysts that badly disfigured his face were the result of dioxin poisoning. That poisoning was said to have occurred on Sept. 5 at a dinner hosted by the chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine.

Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich face each other in a new election next Sunday, ordered by the Ukrainian Supreme Court after it overturned the Nov. 21 vote, won by Yanukovich, on grounds of mass fraud.

Israel's Ma'ariv newspaper confirms that Israel has already granted Yushchenko a visa.

Israel has some of the leading doctors in the world. Many so-called liberal intellectuals in Western Europe are presently campaigning for Israeli scientists and academics, including medical experts, to be shunned internationally.

The article below comes from today's Mosnews.com, a partner website of The Moscow News. It will be interesting to see whether this story will receive wide coverage in West European media.

I attached (1) the story from Mosnews, followed by (2) a Reuters report from today giving some background about the rerun election campaign, titled "Ukraine's Yushchenko in bruising TV debate attack on PM."

-- Tom Gross

[With thanks to Ben Green for his research assistance]


FULL ARTICLES

Ukraine's Yushchenko to have plastic surgery in Israel for dioxin poisoning
MosNews
December 21, 2004

www.mosnews.com/news/2004/12/20/plastic.shtml

Ukraine's presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko is to have plastic surgery in Israel following the Dec. 26 repeat elections, after doctors confirmed that the pockmarks and cysts that disfigured his face were the result of dioxin poisoning.

Yushchenko is scheduled to travel to one of the leading plastic surgeons in the world in late December, and has already been granted a visa, the Interfax news agency reported, citing Israel's Ma'ariv daily.

Yushchenko, who doctors say was poisoned with a dangerous form of dioxin in early September, must also be treated for liver problems and other ailments as a result of the poisoning.

One of Yushchenko’s aides has already visited the private clinic in Israel ahead of the opposition leader's trip to prepare for treatment there.

The pro-Western presidential candidate, who lagged a mere 3 percent in the disputed November 21 elections, was said by opposition leaders to be poisoned at a Sept. 5 dinner hosted by the chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine.

But there are various allegations as to who may have been behind the poisoning: Russian special forces and organized crime groups have been among those accused.

 

"ORANGE REVOLUTION"

Ukraine's Yuschenko in bruising TV debate attack on PM
By Ron Popeski
Reuters
December 21, 2004

Liberal challenger Viktor Yushchenko on Monday launched a bruising attack on Ukraine's prime minister in a live debate, his rival in re-run of a rigged presidential election, repeatedly putting him on the defensive.

Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich face each other in a new election Dec. 26, ordered by the Supreme Court after it overturned the Nov. 21 vote, won by Yanukovich, on grounds of mass fraud.

Crowds in Yushchenko's orange campaign colors brought Kiev to a halt for two weeks to demand a new vote, exposing again the split between Ukraine's nationalist west, behind the challenger, and the Russian-speaking east, which supported the prime minister.

Yushchenko, whose face is disfigured by dioxin poisoning he blames on authorities, redeemed a limp performance in a debate staged before the now discredited previous vote.

He demanded a moral explanation for what he said had been 3 million illicit votes. Yanukovich, looking nonplussed, repeatedly asked his rival to hold talks to form policy jointly.

"You're a religious person, right?" the West-leaning Yushchenko, a former prime minister and central banker, asked his rival across a stark blue studio.

"Thou shalt not steal ... And then you stole 3 million votes ... Perhaps the Supreme Court is lying and you are telling the truth?"

Speaking in calm, measured Ukrainian, the country's sole state language since independence, he accused the prime minister of demeaning tens of thousands of protesters who thronged city squares by referring to them as "bastards" or "orange rats."

Yanukovich, backed by outgoing President Leonid Kuchma and by big neighbor Russia in the earlier campaign, said his two years in office had improved living standards.

The prime minister, who has since turned on Kuchma, denounced the "orange coup" he said had denied voters their say in the earlier vote. Yushchenko, he said, would never win the confidence of all of the ex-Soviet state's 47 million people.

"You think, Viktor Andreyevich, that you will win and become president of Ukraine. You are making a huge mistake. You will be president of part of Ukraine," Yanukovich said .

But at the close of the one hour and 45-minute debate, enlivened by rules allowing the hopefuls to address each other, he appeared to offer a grudging apology for the tainted vote.

"I want to apologize to all of you that there were some improprieties in this election campaign," he said, frequently slipping into the Russian spoken in areas backing him.

"I want us to have no bad will after this election. I want our people to emerge from this renewed."

Yushchenko told viewers he would be a friend to Russia and never deny the right of millions of Russian-speaking citizens.

But, he said, it was time to understand "that a Ukrainian president must not be elected in Moscow" and referred to his rival's criminal convictions in his youth for theft and assault – charges he avoided in the first debate.

"These hands have stolen nothing," he said. "I was never in prison. I was an honest banker and I am an honest person."

He also said Ukraine could tolerate no notion of "federalism," a code word for some form of separatism.

At the height of the political crisis, several eastern regions supporting the prime minister threatened to hold a referendum on greater "autonomy" from Kiev.

Yushchenko, who advocates a Western-style democracy with a liberal economy free of bureaucratic red tape, has concentrated on winning new votes in eastern Ukraine, promising state support to its struggling Soviet-era heavy industries.


Outrage re (1) Hitler art near Dachau (2) Swastika flowers in Melbourne

December 19, 2004

CONTENTS

1. Pop art Hitler exhibit near Dachau triggers outrage
2. Plants sow seeds of hate: Swastika flowers in Melbourne
3. Vandals paint swastikas on synagogue at Lake Tahoe


[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach three items, with brief summaries first.

SUMMARIES

"OFFENSIVE" HITLER SHOW NEAR DACHAU

The first item is a follow-up to the dispatch titled New poll: 51 per cent of Germans equate Israel with Nazis (December 9, 2004) and other previous dispatches on Germany.

Reuters/Ha'aretz report today on the public outrage that has greeted an exhibition which opened two weeks in which a German arts professor/artist is depicting Adolf Hitler as a pop art style cartoon figure at an exhibition at a private gallery near the former Dachau concentration camp. The professor, Walter Gaudnek, said he wanted to show the "human" side of Hitler. 32,000 people were murdered at Dachau. In Germany, it is illegal to display any artwork glorifying Hitler. The exhibit is to close early following public protests.

 

SWASTIKA FLOWERS IN MELBOURNE DURING HANUKKAH

The second item is a follow-up to the dispatch titled Hamas art goes on display in Australia (December 13, 2004) and other previous dispatches on Australia.

The "Herald Sun" (Melbourne) reports how what it calls "a floral foul-up" has left a city street lined with swastika shapes during the Jewish Hanukkah celebrations.

Gardeners hired by Melbourne City Council intended to arrange the purple and white pot plants into neat geometric shapes. But they left six 3-meter garden beds displaying large Nazi symbols, apparently without realizing what these signs represented. The Lord Mayor of Melbourne has ordered that the large flower arrangements "be changed immediately."

 

SWASTIKAS AND "DIE JEW" PAINTED ON SYNAGOGUE AT LAKE TAHOE

The "Las Vegas Review-Journal" reports that a rash of anti-Semitic vandalism culminated during Hanukkah, with the discovery of swastikas painted on the door of a Jewish synagogue in the mountain resort town of at Lake Tahoe. Local authorities and the FBI are investigating the vandalism, which included a Nazi lightening bolt symbol, two swastikas and the words "Die Jew" in red spray paint.


FULL ARTICLES

POP ART HITLER SHOW NEAR DACHAU TRIGGERS OUTRAGE

Pop art Hitler show near Dachau triggers outrage
By Reuters (carried in Ha'aretz)
December 19, 2004

An artist who depicted Adolf Hitler as a pop art style cartoon figure at an exhibition near the former Dachau concentration camp said yesterday he would close the show two weeks after it opened due to public outrage.

Arts professor Walter Gaudnek said his brightly colored artworks aim to provoke people by showing Hitler as a human being rather than a monster, however, Jewish community and local political leaders see the images as dangerous.

"I wanted to educate my students on the historical phenomenon of Hitler, and show an aspect of him which has got lost over time," Gaudnek said after his paintings were printed in a Munich newspaper. "People forget why millions of Germans were fooled by Hitler... but I painted a picture of him with his dog, because he was once this figure in the past."

The bold, over-sized drawings show clusters of figures and swastika flags. In one, Hitler is seen speaking from a podium flanked by Nazi guards, while a girl with long blond braids listens intently.

Gaudnek's art is on show at his small private gallery 25 km (15 miles) from the Dachau concentration camp memorial in southern Germany, where some 32,000 people were murdered during the Holocaust.

The exhibition consists of 12 paintings and 24 prints, either showing a uniformed Hitler or other Nazi iconography.

Gaudnek, an American born in Germany, said he was surprised by the reaction. "I'm starting to take the pictures down today because of the criticism," he said.

Vice president of Germany's central Jewish Council, Charlotte Knobloch, told Munich's Abendzeitung newspaper that Gaudnek's approach is problematic. "There are plenty of ways of engaging with history," she said. "We could do without pictures of this monster without any problems." [Hitler] should not be portrayed as he is in this show."

Knobloch added there seemed to be a dangerous fashion for films and exhibitions focusing on Hitler as an individual. For example, a controversial German film tracking Hitler's last days in his bunker in Berlin, "The Downfall," was one of the country's top-selling films earlier this year. The movie depicts Hitler as an ordinary man, eating dinner and playing with children.

"These portrayals can be misinterpreted. The perpetrator can appear the victim," Knobloch said.

In Germany, it is illegal to display any artwork glorifying Hitler.

 

PLANTS SOW SEEDS OF HATE

Plants sow seeds of hate
By Fiona Hudson, city editor
The Herald Sun
December 10, 2004

www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,11643707%5E2862,00.html

A floral foul-up has left a city street lined with swastika shapes in a week of major Jewish celebrations.

Gardeners hired by Melbourne City Council intended to arrange the purple and white pot plants into neat geometric shapes. But they left six 3m garden beds along Swanston St displaying large Nazi symbols.

Jewish community representatives were appalled last night by the timing of the blunder.

City venues including Federation Square are hosting hundreds of Jews this week to celebrate the eight-day Hanukkah festival.

The council sent hired green thumbs to rearrange the six offending garden beds last night, about an hour after Herald Sun inquiries.

"The arrangements, even if done inadvertently, are in appalling taste," Lord Mayor John So said. "I have asked that they be changed immediately."

Vandals were initially believed to have rearranged the plants as a racist slur. But closer investigation showed gardeners had inadvertently used the pattern.

Jewish-born councillor Carl Jetter at first said he was appalled by the arrangements, which he thought were vandalism.

"It's sad and it's unnecessary. It makes us, as an international destination, more uncomfortable," he said.

"I disagree with and don't want to see any racist activity in our city."

When told the swastikas appeared to be unintentional, Cr Jetter dismissed concerns.

"It just sounds like an accident," he said.

A spokeswoman for deputy mayor Gary Singer, who is also Jewish, declined to make a comment.

Holocaust Museum president Shmuel Rosenkranz described the flower fiasco as offensive to most Melburnians.

"Any swastika anywhere would be of offence to anybody who lived through the Hitler era," he said.

 

VANDALS PAINT SWASTIKAS ON SYNAGOGUE AT LAKE TAHOE

Vandals paint swastikas on synagogue at Lake Tahoe
Las Vegas Review-Journal
December 9, 2004

A rash of anti-Semitic vandalism culminated Tuesday, the first day of Hanukkah, with the discovery of swastikas painted on the door of a Jewish synagogue in this mountain resort town.

Local authorities and the FBI are investigating the vandalism, which included a Nazi lightening bolt symbol, two swastikas and the words "Die Jew" in red spray paint. It's the first instance of anti-Semitism in Temple Bat Yam's 22 years in South Lake Tahoe.

"This is a tight-knit community that really cares about one another, regardless of background. It is really not something we would expect from each other here," said the synagogues rabbi, Jonathan Freirich.


CNN, BBC, Eurosport refuse to air Ron Arad campaign

CONTENTS

1. Arab media air Israeli humanitarian ads; Western media refuse
2. Israel to release 170 Palestinian security prisoners
3. New York Times: "Hamas may give peace a chance"


[Note by Tom Gross]

THE BBC REPSONDS

Simon Wilson, Senior Producer, BBC Middle East Bureau, writes from Jerusalem in response to the dispatch of December 17, 2004 (tilted Hamas admit BBC Gaza Correspondent is one of their own): "The allegations against Fayed Abu Shammala are false." Mr. Wilson does not go into further detail.

 

ARAB MEDIA WILL AIR ISRAELI HUMANITARIAN ADS; WESTERN MEDIA REFUSE

I attach an article below from the Israeli paper Ma'ariv concerning attempts by an Israeli charity to broadcast adverts aboard in an effort to find missing Israeli airman Ron Arad.

Many may not be surprised that, given their long-held antagonistic positions towards the state of Israel, CNN and BBC apparently refused to air the campaign – even though the pan-Arab paper "al-Quds" agreed to run the ads, and both the Lebanese newspaper "A-Safir", which has close contacts with Hezbollah, and the al-Jazeera television network has quoted the campaign. (The ads have also run in Farsi, the language of Iran.)

However, it is not clear why Eurosport, a pan-European sports channel broadcasting in several languages across Europe and the Middle East, would refuse to show a humanitarian commercial such as this.

LAW SUITS CONSIDERED, ALLEGING "PURE ANTI-SEMITISM"

A foundation spokesperson said that: "The Arab media did not hide behind political excuses" for this humanitarian campaign and accused the three western networks of "pure anti-Semitism". The foundation is currently examining the option of filing legal suits against the BBC and CNN.

 

ISRAEL TO RELEASE 170 MORE PALESTINIAN SECURITY PRISONERS

Today, Israel agreed to release another 170 Palestinian prisoners. I attach a press release about this from the Israeli prime minister's office, below.

 

NY TIMES OP-ED SAYS: "HAMAS MAY GIVE PEACE A CHANCE"

Some may find it surprising that in a Palestinian election campaign that Hamas are boycotting and trying to sabotage by killing as many Israeli soldiers and others as possible – a Thai worker was murdered by Hamas last week, for example – the New York Times chose to run a prominent op-ed yesterday saying that Hamas were potentially willing to "give peace a chance."

But then again, given the New York Times' very poor track record of getting their analysis right concerning the Mideast – most notably their years' long championing of Yasser Arafat as a vital, indispensable component to achieving Mideast peace – perhaps it is not surprising.

Many in the Western press see a "hudna" as some sort of breakthrough, whereas Palestinian media see it specifically as a chance to rearm after Israel has hit Hamas hard over the last year. The history of the hudna from the time of Mohammad does not suggest Israelis will be living in peace for very long if a hudna is agreed, rather than a real ceasefire.

Ever a place for mangling the truth about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the opening sentence of the New York Times article, instead of just saying Hamas is a terrorist organization, calls Hamas "a group the United States considers a chief sponsor of terrorism."

The writer, Scott Atran, also calls Marwan Barghouti "a beacon" rather than a convicted murderer.

With Arafat gone, Israeli-Palestinian peace may be within sight depending on various factors in 2005, but not without an agreement for a real ceasefire first from the likes of Hamas and Barghouti (who last week called on Palestinians to continue armed attacks against Israelis.)

-- Tom Gross

[With thanks to Ben Green for his research assistance]


FULL ARTICLES

CNN, BBC, & EUROSPORT REFUSE TO AIR ARAD CAMPAIGN

CNN, BBC and Eurosport refuse to air Arad campaign
By Eitan Rabin
Ma'ariv
December 14, 2004

www.maarivintl.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=article&articleID=12006

Three major international networks – The BBC, CNN and Eurosport – are refusing to air adds of the "Born to be Free" foundation for the release of missing IAF navigator Ron Arad.

Last week, the state and the foundation formally issued a 10 million dollar reward leading to either the return of Arad, or confirmation as to his ultimate fate. The state took this step after having concluded that it has exhausted all other means at its disposal.

Uri Hen, the foundation director, told NRG Ma'ariv, "We turned to CNN, BBC and Eurosport in a request to air fully-paid adds but they refused."

According to Hen, the BBC did not explain its decision. CNN, however, sent a letter to the foundation stating that the network does not air adds about political issues. Eurosport, says Hen, said it was a religious and political issue.

"Even the Lebanese newspaper "A-Safir", which has close contacts with Hezbollah quoted the campaign. Al-Jazeera interviewed us and the al-Quds publication, which is not a great lover of Israel to say the least, agreed to put up huge adds," Hen added.

"The Arab media did not hide behind political excuses. An Israeli pilot has been in captivity for 18 years and the campaign's aim is to bring him home – there is absolutely nothing political about it," he concluded.

Another foundation official defined the decision of the three networks as "purely anti-Semitic". The foundation is currently examining the option of filing legal suit against the networks.

Last week, a special multi-lingual domain, www.10million.org has been set up, with full information regarding the prize. One of the languages is Farsi. The site has been advertised in major media outlets.

In addition to the Internet, a call center has been set up in Tel Aviv to process all incoming calls. The center has a London area number, to enable people from Iran to contact it. The center will operate 24 hours a day, and Persian speaking personnel will always be on duty.

 

ISRAEL TO RELEASE 170 PALESTINIAN PRISONERS

Israel to release 170 Palestinian prisoners
Jerusalem,
December 19, 2004
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

The committee on the release of prisoners chaired by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided this morning (Sunday), 19 December 2004, to release 170 Palestinian security prisoners. The committee had convened this morning in order to receive a report on the work of the inter-ministerial committee chaired by Justice Ministry Director-General Aharon Abramovitz.

In addition to Prime Minister Sharon, Foreign Minister Silvan shalom, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra and Attorney General Meni Mazuz are members of the committee.

Prime Minister Sharon said that the background of the Palestinian prisoner release was, "a gesture of goodwill, friendship and gratitude to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for his decision to release Azzam Azzam (tinyurl.com/59rwl)."

The inter-ministerial committee briefed the ministers on the results of its work and on its recommendations regarding the release of Palestinian prisoners according to parameters that were determined when Abu Mazen served as Palestinian Authority Prime Minister: No prisoners who are in the process of being investigated or of being tried will be released; no prisoners or detainees "with blood on their hands" will be released; no prisoners who were previously tried for security offenses and who were released in the framework of the diplomatic process or in an exchange of captives will be released.

After the inter-ministerial committee briefing, the committee approved the release of 170 prisoners. The release will be carried out at the beginning of next week. The prisoners' names will be published on the Justice Ministry website (www.justice.gov.il/mojHeb/) at least 48 hours prior to their actual release.

 

NEW YORK TIMES: HAMAS MAY GIVE PEACE A CHANCE

Hamas May Give Peace a Chance
By Scott Atran
Op-Ed Contributor
The New York Times
December 18, 2004

www.nytimes.com/2004/12/18/opinion/18atran.html?pagewanted=2

Two unlikely factors – the maneuverings of Hamas, a group the United States considers a chief sponsor of terrorism, and a widespread fear of chaos among Palestinians – are combining to create some hope in the runup to next month's election to choose Yasir Arafat's successor as head of the Palestinian Authority.

The best news is that Mahmoud Abbas, Mr. Arafat's successor as leader of the Fatah faction, has emerged as the candidate favored not only by Israel and the United States, but also by the European Union and, most surprisingly, by Hamas. On Tuesday, Mr. Abbas (who is also known as Abu Mazen) called for an end to the four-year-old intifada, saying that the "the use of weapons is harmful and it should stop."

Hamas leaders, who would be expected to fight against any such compromise, actually worked behind the scenes to undermine the candidacy of Mr. Abbas's main rival, Marwan Barghouti, the jailed intifada leader who is a beacon to the younger generation of Fatah militants. He withdrew from the race on Sunday.

Although Mr. Barghouti is in spirit closer than Mr. Abbas to Hamas, the group's leaders decided that his candidacy was interfering with formation of a Palestinian political consensus and could have led to political anarchy. The fact is, with the intifada bearing little fruit in terms of Israeli concessions, Hamas is now embroiled in infighting. Its West Bank leaders are leaning toward historic compromise, while its Gaza militants want to step up violence.

As Mr. Arafat lay dying, the principal leaders agreed to jettison their longstanding refusal to cooperate with any government that was involved with the 1993 Oslo peace accords. Most significant, the top Hamas leader on the West Bank, Sheik Hassan Yussef, declared that the group should consider an indefinite "hudna" – or pause in armed conflict – if Israel were to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders, approve a right of return for Palestinian refugees, release long-term prisoners and raze the wall being built in the West Bank.

While these conditions are of course unacceptable to Israel, the fact that a hudna was offered at all was remarkable. Mr. Yussef, who was released in November after more than two years in an Israeli prison, insisted that he was simply reiterating positions stated in the past by Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the Hamas founder who was assassinated by Israel in March. But this may be semantic sleight-of-hand: Mr. Yussef told me last week that "hudna" clearly meant that both sides in the lifelong conflict could live in safety and peace as long as it lasts, and that it could even be extended indefinitely.

"We can dream about all Palestine being Muslim – like some Israelis dream of a Greater Israel that includes all our lands – but it is not practical," he said.

Of course, Mr. Yussef faces opposition from within. Mahmoud Zahar, a senior Hamas official in Gaza, dismissed the overture, saying that there would be "no talk about a hudna now" and that his group's "strategy is to liberate all of Palestine." Soon enough, Hamas bombs killed five Israeli soldiers in Gaza; that was followed by Israeli Army raids that killed several Palestinians.

But the Gaza faction may be on the wrong side of history. A poll this month by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed Fatah gaining popular support in Gaza and the West Bank – its favorable rating increased to 40 percent from 30 percent in the last poll, in September – while Hamas's favorable rating fell to 20 percent from about 30 percent. A survey by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center found that for the first time since the outbreak of the current intifada in 2000, a majority of Palestinians rejected military operations and expressed optimism about the future.

Mr. Yussef seems to represent a chance that Hamas may enter the political mainstream. "We must take responsibility, along with Abu Mazen and the Palestinian Authority, in taking care of our people," he told me. "And that means we must also negotiate with the Israelis." Israeli and Palestinian intelligence sources have informed me that this sentiment has received strong backing from Hamas prisoners in Israel, as well as from Khalid Meshal, an influential Hamas leader who lives in Damascus.

Isaac Ben Israel, an Israeli Air Force general and leading military strategist, told me that he thinks Mr. Yussef may be signaling a sincere shift in Hamas that Israel could live with. Of course, he stressed that Hamas first had to be severely weakened by the targeted assassinations of its leaders, which has helped bring suicide bombings down to pre-intifada levels. "Paradoxical as it sounds," he said, "attacking Hamas has helped the moderate Palestinian forces."

In the end, it seems clear that Hamas is worn out and so perhaps ready to stop fighting – just like most Palestinians. According to Palestinian Authority figures, 63 percent of households saw their income cut at least in half during the intifada, and 58 percent now live in poverty.

In addition, the human cost of war comes to bear even on militants. I spoke with Mr. Yussef about interviews I did with the parents of suicide bombers, all of whom said they would have done anything to stop their children if they had known of their plans. "Suffering and humiliation make it understandable, even animals defend themselves to the death," he told me. "But God created people to live, not to die. We have to find an exit. We need a dialogue of civilizations, not a clash of civilizations." And he emphasized his belief that Hamas can bring along other Islamic groups "to create a stable international order."

The main problem is that each side demands that the other announce a truce first. "If I advocated a unilateral cease-fire – proclaiming that we will not attack Israelis if Israelis do not attack us – then my political influence would end," he said. And Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is just as much a captive to politics – he too would not survive in his own party if he unilaterally declared a cease-fire.

How to break the stalemate? The United States and Europe, working in tandem with Israel and the Palestinian leaders, could perhaps broker a mutually declared cease-fire, a first step toward indefinite hudna and Mr. Yussef's "dialogue of civilizations." A tall order, indeed, but at least it now seems that Hamas is willing to listen, and wants to give democracy a chance.

(Scott Atran, a research scientist at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris and at the University of Michigan, is the author of "In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion.")


Hamas admit BBC Gaza Correspondent is one of their own

December 16, 2004

CONTENTS

1. Hamas admit BBC reporter is one of their own
2. BBC: He is a "senior, experienced and impartial journalist"
3. "No way to Die": The cult of Arafat continues in today's Guardian
4. Scott Peterson and Yasser Arafat: Contrasting headlines
5. Jenin, again, today on the BBC
6. The BBC's own Charter


[Note by Tom Gross]

HAMAS ADMIT BBC REPORTER IS ONE OF THEIRS

Israel's influential leftist newspaper, Ha'aretz, has finally highlighted the fact that one of the BBC's main reporters in Gaza has very close ties with Hamas. Fayad Abu Shamala, who has reported from Gaza for the BBC Arabic Language Service since 1996, is also possibly a Hamas member.

Ha'aretz reported yesterday ("Leading Hamas preacher warns of clash with Islamic Jihad," by Arnon Regular, December 15, 2004) that Fathi Hamad, the leading Hamas preacher responsible for "Hamas' coordination with the international media," has been caught on tape saying that BBC correspondent Faiz Abu Smala slants his reports "to favor Muslims."

Ha'aretz reports that Hamad said "that Hamas man Faiz Abu Smala works for the BBC, and that way he writes the story in favor of the Islam [sic] and Muslims."

Ha'aretz adds: "Hamad believed that he was speaking in a private closed forum, but the session was filmed and then distributed – a copy of which was obtained by Ha'aretz."

He also says that the Al Jazeera correspondent in Gaza, Wa'al Dahduah, is a supporter of the terror group Islamic Jihad.

The full Ha'aretz story is copied below.

 

BBC: HE IS "A SENIOR, EXPERIENCED AND IMPARTIAL JOURNALIST"

Faiz Abu Smala is also transliterated in English as Fayad Abu Shamala and as Faid Abu Shimalla.

On several occasions in the past, I have questioned the appropriateness of the BBC employing Fayad Abu Shamala as a senior reporter in Gaza.

See for example, references in the following articles of mine from 2001 and 2004.

** The Euro media and the Intifada
The National Review, 2001, and repeated on several websites, including:
www.honestreporting.com/articles/reports/European_Media_and_Anti-Israel_Bias.asp

** Living in a Bubble: The BBC's very own Mideast foreign policy
The National Review, June 18, 2004
www.nationalreview.com/comment/gross200406181018.asp

In May 6, 2001, Abu Shamala told a Hamas rally in Gaza (attended by the then Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin) that journalists and media organizations in Gaza, including the BBC, are "waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people."

Yet after that revelation, the BBC declined to remove him as one of their main Gaza correspondents and he has continued to file incendiary reports about Israel from Gaza.

The best the BBC could do in response to these remarks at the time was to issue a statement saying, "Fayad's remarks were made in a private capacity. His reports have always matched the best standards of balance required by the BBC. He is a senior and experienced journalist who knows the requirements for impartiality."

 

THE CULT OF ARAFAT CONTINUES IN TODAY'S GUARDIAN

Today's Guardian carries a piece that is extraordinarily long for a daily newspaper. It concerns Yasser Arafat's death, and is written by its former correspondent in Jerusalem, the notoriously anti-Israeli journalist Suzanne Goldenberg (who is now their Washington correspondent).

The piece, which is the length one might expect to find in a magazine, or at least in a weekend newspaper supplement, covers the first seven pages of The Guardian's second section, and comes complete with 10 photos.

The article is headlined "No way to Die," and photos accompanying it have captions such as "A nation mourns."

The Guardian does not headline its pieces on Israeli victims of Yasser Arafat's terror "No way to Die." But then it doesn't print any pieces on Arafat's victims.

However, while Goldenberg doesn't mention a single one of Arafat's victims, and indeed has barely a bad word to say about Arafat over seven pages, she does manage to write of "American peace activist Rachel Corrie." As Goldenberg fails to point out, unlike Arafat's thousands of victims, Corrie's unfortunate death was accidental.

CONTRASTING HEADLINES FOR YASSER ARAFAT AND SCOTT PETERSON

In contrast to the headline "No way to Die," two pages on from the end of Goldenberg's article (on page 10) the headline is "Let him die." That piece refers to Scott Peterson, who has been held responsible for the death of one pregnant woman, not the deaths of thousands like Arafat.

Goldenberg's is an exhaustive piece speculating on Arafat's death, covering almost every aspect of it, and hinting on more than one occasion that Israel may have poisoned Arafat. Yet Goldenberg completely omits to mention the most widely circulated rumor in the Arab world – that Arafat, who many claim was a homosexual, died of AIDS. (Several other western news media have carried reports about the AIDS rumors.)

 

JENIN, AGAIN, TODAY ON THE BBC

Because the BBC has nothing else to report about – the ongoing war in the Congo, for example, that has now claimed 3.8 m lives (the greatest number in any conflict since World War Two) or the ongoing genocidal policies against Black Africans carried out by government-backed Arab militia in the Sudan – today BBC World Service Radio devotes several minutes of its main news broadcasts to report on how residents in Jenin are recovering from the non-massacre of April 2002.

And another one of the multitude of correspondents the BBC employs to forward the Palestinian cause, reports today for several minutes on its main news broadcasts on BBC World Service Television from Rafah, in Gaza, on how Palestinians are coping several months after an Israeli incursion there.

As usual, in these reports, BBC correspondents decline to put the Israeli side of things at all, let alone file a report on how Israelis handicapped in terror attacks are coping.

THE BBC'S OWN CHARTER

The BBC is the world's largest television and radio network, broadcasting in dozens of languages. It is funded by the British taxpayer and is under a legal obligation to be balanced in its news reporting.

The BBC's own Charter and its Producers Guidelines state: "Due impartiality lies at the heart of the BBC. All programs and services should be open minded, fair and show a respect for truth... [BBC reports should] contain comprehensive, authoritative and impartial coverage of news and current affairs in the United Kingdom and throughout the world."

-- Tom Gross


FULL HA'ARETZ ARTICLE

FAIZ ABU SMALA WORKS FOR THE BBC AND WRITES IN FAVOUR OF ISLAM AND THE MUSLIMS

Leading Hamas preacher warns of clash with Islamic Jihad
By Arnon Regular
Ha'aretz
December 15, 2004

www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/514500.html

A growing rift between Hamas and Islamic Jihad has led to a break in cooperation between the two groups, and is threatening to lead to an all-out clash between them, according to a leading Hamas preacher who recently slammed Jihad for trying to outmuscle Hamas. "There was a time when there were more Islamic Jihadists than us, but now we are more than them, but nonetheless they have managed to take over the media and to get ahead of us, and are now intensively competing with us," said Fathi Hamad, a member of the Sura Council, the supreme Hamas religious body in Gaza responsible for the the organization's communications system in Gaza.

"An Islamic Jihad takeover would means the Shi'ites take over, and if that happens you will all be turned into heretics ... We must fight and clash with all those who are not Sunni and guarantee our faith remains pure."

Hamad have his speech a couple of months ago before a few dozen Hamas activists working in the organization's Communications Councils, whose job is to promote Hamas in the Palestinian, Arab and international press.

Hamad believed that he was speaking in a private closed forum, but the session was filmed and then distributed – a copy of which was obtained by Haaretz - sparking a dispute between the two groups. They have now cut off ties between them and have ceased cooperation, and the clash between the two Islamic fundamentalist groups is shaking up both organizations.

For years they worked side by side, more or less in harmony. During the intifada they even began cooperating militarily and claimed joint responsibility for many attacks in Gaza. But Hamad is now hinting that Islamic Jihad wants to take Hamas' place, and is citing Iraq as an example.

"Wherever Jihad fighters fought, Muslims, meaning Sunni Muslims like Hamas showed up, and then the hypocritical Sh'iites came and sat down on the chairs that became available. This is an American, Zionist, Arab Shiite plot," he said.

Hamad was saying that Islamic Jihad is financed and run by Hezbollah and Iran, the Shiite heretics according to Sunni Islam. He said the Islamic Jihad has no right to operate in the Palestinian street on ideological grounds, and pointed out that despite the Hamas' hegemony in the street, the Jihad had managed to take over "the agenda" and the media by putting its people in key jobs in the press. He called for a "media jihad," meaning getting into important Arab and Palestinian media outlets.

Hamad's talk forced an apology from senior Hamas activists to the Arab press working in Gaza, whom Hamad had accused of serving the Jihad and the Palestinian Authority.

Hamad's speech on tape opens a rare window into the balance of power inside the Gaza Strip, including Hamas relations with the PA and how it motivates its activists in the street. But more than anything, the tape shows how frustrated Hamas is that despite being by far a larger organization than Islamic Jihad, in the press, at least, they are presented as equally important.

Hamad opened his lecture with "the media is the decisive weapon," and then delivered a series of examples from the life of Mohammed the Prophet and how his sermons to his warriors determined battles. But the Hamad speech quickly turned to the subject of the Islamic Jihad.

"We outnumber them, we have many more mosques, and much more commitment, but they are ahead of us in the satellite TV stations, and their Web sites are much bigger than the group itself. They are stealing attacks from Hamas, exaggerate the number of their killed, and inflate the numbers of their street demonstrations as if they are a domestic group, even though they are supported by Hezbollah. The media has turned them into the equals of the Muslim Brotherhood," Hamad complains in the tape.

He labels specific Palestinian reporters working in Gaza, saying an Al Jazeera correspondent in Gaza, Wa'al Dahduah, is a Jihad supporter, as is Imad Eid, the Hezbollah TV correspondent in Gaza. Hamad said that Walid Alomri, the senior Al Jazeera correspondent in the territories, is a Fatah man "with a burning hatred for Hamas, and he reports tendentiously in favor of the PA."

Hamad says on tape that Hamas man Faiz Abu Smala works for the BBC, "and that way he writes the story in favor of the Islam and Muslims."

Beyond the issue of the media, there is an ideological abyss between Hamas and Islamic Jihad. While Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, believes in social activity to educate society and create an Islamic rule, the Islamic Jihad has always believed in a violent campaign to take over power centers, and its social activities were marginal. But in the last year the Islamic Jihad changed direction and began undertaking social activities in Gaza.

Three months ago, armed Islamic Jihad men took over Al Qassam mosque, a Hamas stronghold, by force, and the takeover led to armed clashes between men from both groups. Thus, Hamad complains in the tape, "the Islamic Jihad ignited our spirit of resistance when it took away our mosque, and there is a danger they will try to take over others."


“French Jewish doctor treated Arafat in Paris”

December 15, 2004

[Note by Tom Gross]

The publication today by Israel's second highest circulation newspaper, Ma'ariv, in English, on its website, of the news that an unnamed French government official claims that an unnamed Jewish doctor treated Yasser Arafat in Paris, may turn out to be highly irresponsible.

Those of us who closely monitor the Arab media notice now many Arab publications scour Israeli media, in particular the English-language online versions of Ha'aretz and Ma'ariv, in order to reprint stories which can be used to portray Israel in a bad light. (Certain Ha'aretz journalists provide one of the main sources of Israel-bashing stories for the more extreme Arab media.)

This Ma'ariv story (copied below) will no doubt be picked up in the next few days by the Arab press, further fueling the baseless rumors that Arafat was poisoned by Israel.

Journalists on this email list, both those working for western and Middle Eastern publications, who intend to write about this, might like to bear in mind the following:

Unlike some people, who teach their children to grow up to become suicide bombers, Jewish parents often encourage their children to go into medicine to save lives, and therefore it comes as little surprise that one of the team of leading French medical experts who treated Arafat may have been Jewish.

Jewish doctors have a long tradition worldwide of tending the sick, whoever they may be, as well as making world-class breakthroughs in medicine, for the benefit of all mankind – even though academics in London and elsewhere are presently campaigning to ban Israeli doctors and Israeli Nobel prize winning scientists.

-- Tom Gross

[With thanks to Ben Green for his research assistance.]


FULL ARTICLE

FRENCH JEWISH DOCTOR TREATED ARAFAT IN PARIS

French Jewish doctor treated Arafat in Paris
By Or Heler, Paris
Ma'ariv
December 15, 2004

www.maarivintl.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=article&articleID=12009

A senior French government official told Maariv. Associates of the doctor said that despite his loyalty to Israel, he refused to divulge information to Israeli officials.

A French Jewish doctor was one of the senior physicians who treated Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, while he was admitted at the French military hospital south of Paris, a senior French government official has revealed.

The doctor was updated about Arafat's condition even when the Palestinian leader was still at the Mukata in Ramallah. He was also one of the doctors who were summoned to Arafat's bed in the night when the PA chairman dove into an irreversible coma.

"He was called to treat Arafat because of his qualifications, as every different specialist made his own diagnosis", the source told Ma'ariv. "However, it is a sensitive matter that should not be discussed at length".

The doctor asked not to be identified, close associates of the doctor said. They added that despite his Jewish identity, his loyalty to the State of Israel and his wish to assist Israel in any way he can, he refused to divulge any information on Arafat's condition to Israeli officials.

Zionists “secretly control” both Al-Jazeera and the National Geographic

CONTENTS

1. "Al-Jazeera is really a Zionist plot"
2. National Geographic "is controlled by Zionists"
3. Malki Roth was no bystander
4. The Schijveschuurder family


"JEWS SPREAD AIDS, AND KILL CHILDREN"

[Note by Tom Gross]

As mentioned in the dispatch last Friday, December 10, titled "Stoned to death in France: Why Europe is starting to lose faith in Islam" under the item about the popularity of Hizbullah's Al Manar television station among French Moslems ("Jews spread AIDS, and kill children"), I now attach two articles concerning Al-Jazeera television and National Geographic magazine.

(I did not send these last week in line with the policy of not sending too many email dispatches in a single week.)

Both these allegations stem from Iran. One might brush them aside as the insignificant rantings of an irrational regime – except Iran, now on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons, is likely to be one of the most important global news stories of 2005. Unfortunately, one therefore needs to take seriously the mindset of Iran's official media and ruling elite.

I attach two articles below, from either side of the world: one from The Tehran Times and the other from The Los Angeles Times.

-- Tom Gross

 

MALKI ROTH WAS NO BYSTANDER.

In the dispatch on Monday (December 13, 2004) titled Hamas art goes on display in Australia, I wrote of the way in which many western media (such as The Guardian) have been calling the victims of bus and cafe bombs "bystanders" rather than the carefully selected targets of Palestinian suicide bombers.

Arnold Roth, a subscriber to this email list, whose 15-year-old daughter Malki was murdered in the Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria bombing in August 2001, writes:

"Everything in our lives changed forever when Malki, our middle child, a delightful fifteen year old girl with a constant smile on her beautiful face, was killed on 9th August 2001.

She was not caught in the crossfire of some battle. She was not a bystander. She was murdered with fourteen other Israelis [and two Americans] in a restaurant in the middle of the day, in the middle of this city.

The women and children in that pizza restaurant on a hot school-holiday afternoon were the actual target. The terrorists who planned the massacre took their orders from a pediatrician and from a minister of religion in a wheelchair.

They picked their target with exquisite care. The bomber was the son of a land-owning wealthy family. The other gang members were mainly university-educated and well traveled. To call them 'desperate', as many journalists have done, is to completely twist the meaning of the word 'desperate'."

 

THE SCHIJVESCHUURDER FAMILY

Tom Gross adds:

Arnold Roth's father, who died before Malki was born, grew up in the Auschwitz death camp. Arnold's mother, who is till alive, is also an Auschwitz survivor. Arnold's grandparents were killed by the Nazis.

Among others killed in that Sbarro Pizzeria bombing were five members of the Dutch-born Schijveschuurder family of Holocaust survivors. Among the many funerals I attended as a reporter covering the "Intifada" for British and American newspapers, the Schijveschuurder family funeral was perhaps the most moving.

Leah Schijveschuurder, aged 11, and very badly injured in the attack, insisted on being carried on a stretcher, with breathing tubes in her nose, through a crowd of hundreds of mourners, to attend the funeral of her father, mother and three murdered siblings – aged 2, 4 and 14. Her surviving sister (aged 9) was too injured to attend.

Leah's grandmother, Elisheva, a Dutch-born Auschwitz survivor, who lost her mother, father, sister, and brother in Nazi death camps, said at the funeral: "I vowed to rebuild my family after the war, and I that is what I did. Now for my family, Arafat has finished what Hitler started."

As a reporter, I also attended the funerals of other victims the day after that bomb: of Yocheved Shoshan, aged 10; and of Tamara Shamilashvili, aged 8, from Russia, who was buried alongside her mother, Lily, who was also killed in the blast. Over 1000 Israelis, most of whom did not know Lily, attended the funeral.

Few other Western reporters attended any of these funerals.

Malki Roth died some hours after the blast. She succumbed to severe burns and internal injuries caused by glass, screws and nails embedded in her neck as a result of the bomb, which had been deliberately packed with sharp objects to cause maximum injury to the victims. At the family’s request, Malki's funeral was held in private and reporters were asked not to attend.

As I reported at the time for the New York Daily News, the father of the suicide bomber said he was "very proud" of what his son had done. "My son told me a month ago that he would do it," he added.

After the blast, candies and chocolates were distributed by Yasser Arafat's security forces to children in Palestinian towns and villages.

 

SUMMARIES

AL QAEDA, AL ZIONIST

The Tehran Times reveals that al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based TV network that is often sympathetic with Arab suicide bombers, is actually a creation of Zionists, a response to Iranian "president" Mohammad Khatami's so-called Dialogue Among Civilizations initiative.

The Tehran Times writes: "Of course, the Zionists were not pleased at the idea because they believe that increased proximity between the Islamic world and the West is not in their interests. And that is why they founded the Al-Jazeera network to tarnish the image of true Islam."

The Tehran Times then gives its evidence: The map on the Al-Jazeera network changed the name of the Persian Gulf to the unacceptable "Arab Gulf" – an obvious Zionist-created insult to the Iranian nation, says the Teheran Times.

 

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC IS CONTROLLED BY ZIONISTS TOO

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Iranian regime has banned the sale of "Zionist" National Geographic publications because of a map that lists "Arabian Gulf" in parentheses after "Persian Gulf."


ARTICLES IN FULL

AL-JAZEERA'S PSYOPS

Al-Jazeera's Psyops
By Hassan Hanizadeh
The Tehran Times
December 2, 2004

www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=12/2/2004&Cat=14&Num=002

The Al-Jazeera network’s recent insult of the Iranian nation was totally unacceptable.

The Arabic network, which broadcasts its programs from the little Arab country Qatar, has recently posted an insulting cartoon about the Islamic Republic of Iran on its English site.

In the cartoon, a cleric, who is the symbol of the Islamic Republic of Iran, indifferently passes by various scenes of the current problems in the Islamic world, but reacts strongly when he sees that the name of the Persian Gulf has been changed to the unacceptable "Arab Gulf".

Iranian officials made a prompt denunciation of this very amateurish and dishonorable measure, which has its roots in Al-Jazeera officials’ animosity toward Iranians.

The Al-Jazeera network was founded in 1997, ostensibly to create a new movement in the static media of the Arab world, which are mostly government controlled, and was initially welcomed.

Many media experts believed that the new network would create a revolution in the field of information dissemination, particularly in the Arab states on the Persian Gulf.

However, at the same time, rumors arose suggesting that the network was established by U.S. and Israeli agents in order to present a bad image of Islam to the world.

Some regional experts expressed doubts about the allegations though, because the establishment of a media outlet with the aim of promptly informing Arab nations about the latest world news seemed to be a good idea.

But the actions of the network gradually revealed the fact that Al-Jazeera officials, on the orders of Zionist agents, are trying to divide Islamic countries and tarnish the image of Islam.

After Al-Jazeera broadcasted some distorted news reports about Saudi Arabia, tension rose between that country and Qatar, and the two Arab states almost cut off diplomatic relations.

Yet, instead of adopting a defensive stance toward the negative propaganda of the network, Saudi Arabia took an innovative measure and established the Al-Arabiya network to confront Al-Jazeera.

At the beginning of the U.S. attack on Afghanistan, Al-Jazeera became the tribune of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorist groups in order to give the world the impression that those terrorists represented real Islam.

In addition, since the occupation of Iraq began, ethnic tension has risen and there have been clashes between Iraqi Sunnis and Shias, partly due to the efforts of Al-Jazeera.

By broadcasting abhorrent scenes of the beheadings of foreign hostages by the criminal agents of the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi terrorist group, the network succeeded in increasing anti-Muslim sentiment throughout the world, particularly in the West.

Following the advice of U.S. and Israeli experts in psychological operations (psyops), Al-Jazeera took actions which gave Westerners a negative image of Islam and Muslims.

In fact, the Al-Jazeera network was founded at exactly the same time when Iranian President Mohammad Khatami introduced his Dialogue Among Civilizations initiative as a logical strategy to bring the West and the Islamic world closer together.

Of course, the Zionists were not pleased at the idea because they believe that increased proximity between the Islamic world and the West is not in their interests. And that is why they founded the Al-Jazeera network to tarnish the image of true Islam.

Now, after seven years, it has become apparent that the real strategy of the network has been to create divisions between Islamic countries, to give the impression that Islam is a threat to the West, to present a negative image of the real Islam to the world, to isolate Muslims residing in the United States and other Western countries, and to create sectarian divisions between Shias and Sunnis in the Middle East.

 

NATIONAL GEORGAPHIC'S NAME FOR PERSIAN GULF RILES IRANIANS

National Geographic's name for Persian Gulf riles Iranians
The Los Angeles Times
December 2, 2004

www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/12/02/MNGPQA4V7B1.DTL

They were just two small words, a parenthetical aside on a National Geographic map. But that's all it took to get fiercely proud Iranians to rise up this week against what they saw as an attack on their history.

In its latest world atlas, National Geographic added the name "Arabian Gulf" in parentheses beneath "Persian Gulf" on a map to label the body of water that cuts along the coasts of Iran and its Arab neighbors.

The use of "Arabian Gulf," and the implication that Iran may somehow be losing its historical claims to dominance of the ancient seas, pierced the cultural pride that pervades the land once known as Persia. It gave fresh life to the long and often bloody tensions between Iranians and Arabs and added fuel to a widely held Iranian suspicion that Arabs have been quietly lobbying for years to change the name of the gulf.

So keen was the perceived slight that it brought a fleeting unity to Iran's far-flung political spectrum. From the left to the right to the disaffected, Iranians blamed the "Zionists," accused the Arabs and lambasted the Americans.

The government banned National Geographic from selling its publications here or sending journalists into the country.

Even computer techies were stirred to action and pulled off a "Google bomb," manipulating the search engine to obtain a high ranking. Type "Arabian Gulf" on Google, and the first link is to a Web site that announces, "The gulf you are looking for does not exist. Try Persian Gulf."

National Geographic remains unapologetic. The publication recognizes "Persian Gulf" as the primary name, but "we want people searching for 'Arabian Gulf' to be able to find what they're looking for and not confuse it with the nearby Arabian Sea," said Allen Carroll, chief cartographer on the National Geographic Web site.


Hamas art goes on display in Australia

December 13, 2004

CONTENTS

1. Why not sanitize the Bali bomber?
2. Extracts from previous dispatches on Australia
3. We're all Israelis now, says Australian politician
4. On Yassin's death
5. Holocaust-denying film at Melbourne film festival
6. The Age: Jewish group blasts "offensive" artwork


WHY NOT SANITIZE THE BALI BOMBER?

[Note by Tom Gross]

An exhibition of large pictures of four Hamas leaders has gone on display in Australia, disguised as art.

The privately funded exhibition, on the exterior of an office building off a busy Melbourne street, depicts the faces of four senior Hamas figures, include two former leaders, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin and Abdul Aziz Rantisi.

Critics say the exhibition, which is part of the Melbourne City Lights project, awards these killers a "hero or martyr status," and is highly offensive to the thousands of innocent people, mainly Jews, killed and maimed on their orders.

One critic wondered what the reactions of Australians would be if Israel glorified the Bali bomber, Amrozi.

Hamas have injured Australians before too. For example, in the dispatch of June 11, 2003, titled Hamas: We killed 16 "settlers", I pointed out:

"The Hamas web site this afternoon describes the 16 Israeli (non-settler) civilians murdered on a bus in west Jerusalem earlier today by a Hamas suicide bomber, dressed as an ultra-Orthodox Jew (and the injuring of over 100 others) as 'settlers.' The Guardian (London) tries to suggest that the murdered Israelis were bystanders rather than the targets of the bomber in its 4.15 pm update bulletin, saying 'The bomb killed 'bystanders'. Among those slightly injured in the attack were Bridges for Peace staff, Ron Cantrell and Gordon Howel-Jones from Australia."

Commentator Charles Johnson adds: "In reporting the new Hamas 'art' display, one of Australia's leading newspapers, The Age, (December 10, 2004) does its best to delegitimize the outrage, with a headline that implies only Jews could be "offended" by this sick display: "Jewish group blasts 'offensive' artwork." I am not Jewish and I am offended."

I attach that article from The Age, below.

You can view a picture of the Hamas exhibit at
http://silentrunning.tv/archives/005179.php.

-- Tom Gross

 

EXTRACTS FROM PREVIOUS DISPATCHES ON AUSTRALIA

I have covered Australia dozens of times on this email list over recent years. In general the Australian media and politicians have been more condemnatory of Palestinian terrorism than most western media and politicians.

I attach extracts from previous dispatches on this list:

WE'RE ALL ISRAELIS NOW, SAYS AUSTRALIAN POLITICIAN

Extract from Dispatch of Friday, October 31, 2003
Titled: We're all Israelis now, says Australian politician

"We're all Israelis now, says Abbott" (The Herald Sun (Australia), 30 October 2003). [Australian Health Minister] "Tony Abbott has accused the Sydney Peace Prize winner, Palestinian Hanan Ashrawi, of justifying terrorism against civilians, and declared that the Bali bombing has made all Australians "Israelis now". Continuing an assertive defense of Western values and Judeo-Christian beliefs against terrorism, he said instead of "spawning phobias" about Israel, the September 11 and Bali terror attacks should generate a shared suffering between Israel and Western democracies

... His comments came as [Australian Prime Minister] John Howard also waded into the debate over the prize, to be awarded in Sydney next week, joining Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer in naming former Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen as a better choice. Mr Howard's spokesman said. "Hanan Ashrawi has not been active in promoting the road map."

...The Australian's columnist Phillip Adams, said it was not "anti-Semitic to criticise the Israeli Government when it's wrong". "But what is it, then," he asked "to proclaim moral equivalence between an Israeli leadership striving to preserve a liberal, pluralist democracy and Palestinian leadership running a one-party statelet dedicated to destroying its neighbour?"

 

ON YASSIN'S DEATH

Extract from Dispatch of Sunday, April 12, 2004
Titled: Yassin 2: "Spiritual brother of Osama bin Laden"

The ninth item in that dispatch carried extracts from an editorial in "The Australian" newspaper:

"While there is little chance that the killing of Yassin will end the terror, the brutal reality is that Israel has nothing to lose. His death will demonstrate Israel is not an inert target and that it will do more than try to catch the suicide bombers before they strike. Despite the denunciations of Israel's action, practical Palestinian politicians who know the Jewish state cannot be destroyed will not regret the death of Sheikh Yassin. His death is one small step along the path away from perpetual war."

 

HOLOCAUST DENYING FILM AT MELBOURNE FILM FESTIVAL

Extract from Dispatch of Wednesday, July 9, 2003
Titled: News from Europe and Australia

"Jewish bid to stop film," (By Gosia Kaszubska, Sunday Mail (Australia), July 4, 2003).

"A Jewish group's bid to stop the screening of a film by Holocaust-denying historian David Irving was an outrageous use of lobbying muscle, free speech advocates said yesterday. The Jewish Community Council of Victoria wants to stop a Melbourne film festival from screening Irving's The Search for Truth in History and organizing a live telephone hook-up with the British historian. The council has also sought an interim injunction on the Melbourne Underground Film Festival showing a documentary about the Israeli-Palestine conflict, claiming both the films and the phone hook-up would vilify Jewish people and incite hatred against them. Free Speech Victoria president Terry Lane said the legal bid was a pointless demonstration of the Jewish community's lobbying power, since Irving's ideas were widely available on the Internet. "This is another outrageous attempt by one small section of the community to determine what the whole community will see, hear and read," Lane, a broadcaster with ABC Radio National, said."


ARTICLE IN "THE AGE"

JEWISH GROUP BLASTS 'OFFENSIVE' ARTWORK

Jewish group blasts 'offensive' artwork
The Age
December 10, 2004

www.theage.com.au/news/National/Jewish-group-blasts-offensive-artwork/2004/12/10/1102625519852.html?oneclick=true

Public art in Melbourne's CBD depicting dead militant Palestinian leaders has sparked an outcry from the nation's peak Jewish group.

The Australian and Jewish Affairs Council has branded the artwork, which features the faces of two former Hamas leaders, offensive.

The privately funded exhibition, on the exterior of an office building off a busy Melbourne laneway, depicts the faces of four Palestinians killed by Israelis.

Two of the faces belong to former Hamas leaders, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin and Abdul Aziz Rantisi, both of whom were killed by Israelis.

"I think that it is appropriately located at the end of an alley right next to the garbage cans," Australian and Jewish Affairs Council senior policy analyst Ted Lapkin said.

"It's obviously a political statement, I can only surmise by someone who supports Hamas and Hamas is a terrorist organisation with the blood of hundreds of Israeli civilians on its hands."

Mr Lapkin likened the exhibition, which is part of the City Lights project, to artwork depicting the Bali bomber, Amrozi.

"Amrozi comes from an organisation that specialises in the deliberate killing of Australian citizens. What's the difference?" he said.

But exhibition curator and director Andrew Mac said the artist was trying to bring attention to what could be called state sponsored assassination or terrorism.

He defended the exhibition, saying it was important the public had access to a wide range of views.

"I think that it is important we receive a diverse range of opinions and cultural comment from a wide variety of people," he said.

"In today's kind of climate where media channels are controlled by fewer and fewer organisations, it is the role of artists to question information and provide critical and cultural comment."

Earlier this year, a council-funded artwork critical of Israel's treatment of Palestinians was taken down after it was criticised by Jewish groups as an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds.

But while Mr Mac had received council funding in the past, he said he had not received government funding for around two years.

A Melbourne City Council spokeswoman confirmed the council had not contributed funding to the current exhibition.

The exhibition, which has been on for two months, is scheduled to be replaced next week.


“Stoned to death in France: Why Europe is starting to lose faith in Islam”

December 10, 2004

* Times of London: Girl, 23, stoned to death in Marseilles for refusing the advances of a teenage boy

 

CONTENTS

1. Film-maker is murdered in broad daylight
2. The Koran, a popular read in French prisons
3. "Jews spread AIDS, and kill children"
4. Only 50 Moslems in Oslo protest Van Goth's killing
5. A popular read in Brussels mosques
6. Wife-beating and the Mayor of London
7. Stoned to death in Marseilles for refusing a teenage boy
8. Danish Muslims complain after Van Goth's Dutch Film Shown on TV
9. "Germans fear Islamic unrest"


[All notes below by Tom Gross]

FILM-MAKER MURDERED IN BROAD DAYLIGHT

This is another in a series of occasional dispatches focusing on the growth of extremist Islam in Europe. This email deals with France, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, England and Belgium.

In recent days the Western media has paid increasing attention to this subject. This may be because it has dawned on many that even when a movie-maker is brutally killed in broad daylight on the streets of a European city for having made a film about the abuse of women in Islam, few European Moslem leaders unequivocally condemned the murder.

 

THE KORAN A POPULAR READ IN FRENCH PRISONS

For example, the headline in an article in The Economist magazine last week was "How much of a threat does Islamic radicalism pose to western Europe?".

And yesterday, for example, the banner headline stretching across five columns at the top of the front page of The International Herald Tribune, read "Growing Muslim prison population poses huge risks." In that article, written by Craig S. Smith and taken from The New York Times, it was pointed out that although Moslems make up ten per cent of France's population they make up over fifty per cent of the inmates of French prisons, and Islamic radicals are increasingly influencing and ideologically indoctrinating this prison population. (Due to harsher law enforcement, France's prison population has in any case risen 20 per cent in the last three years.)

 

"JEWS SPREAD AIDS, AND KILL CHILDREN"

A separate story on page 1 of The International Herald Tribune explained how because technological advances have eroded national boundaries, it is all but impossible to ban European Moslems from watching Hizbullah's al Manar television station. The station broadcasts from Lebanon with Syrian approval and praises suicide bombers of Jews and Americans and blames Jews for spreading AIDS. At present the channel draws about 10 million viewers daily, many of whom are Arabs living in Europe.

(Meanwhile, The Tehran Times reveals that al Jazeera, the Qatar-based TV network that is often sympathetic to Arab suicide bombers is actually a creation of Zionists – see the next dispatch for more details on this.)

 

ONLY 50 MOSLEM PROTESTORS IN OSLO OVER THEO

In Norway last Saturday night, only an estimated fifty Moslems out of a Moslem population of 70,000 turned out for a rally to "reject violence and terror in response to the murder of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands." Its organizer, Noman Mubashir (a Norwegian Moslem), told the newspaper Aftenposten that he had hoped the Moslem Council, or another Muslim organization or spokesperson, would participate in such an event. But they didn't. Hundreds of non-Moslems, including politicians from across the political spectrum, attended this "moderate Moslem" event, but according to Norwegian news reports only 50 Moslems turned up.

 

WIFE-BEATING AND THE MAYOR OF LONDON

Meanwhile, Sheikh al-Qaradawi once again explains why London's leftist mayor Ken Livingstone keeps on praising him.

In Sheikh al-Qaradawi's latest sermon in Arabic (translated by MEMRI), he says that beating is only "of benefit for some wives, not all."

Mayor Livingstone, who was previously expelled from Tony Blair's ruling Labour Party but has now been invited to rejoin, has in the past made clear that he's against domestic violence – except it seems if practiced by Moslems.

After his wife-beating comments, Sheikh al-Qaradawi added: "The Zionist lobby organized a massive campaign against me. One of the main reasons for this campaign was that I object to the homosexuals".

In fact it wasn't Zionists who objected to Livingstone's red carpet treatment of al-Qaradawi, but homosexuals, Hindus, Jews and Sikhs – all of whom al-Qaradawi has defamed and some of whom (gays and Jews) he has said should be put to death.

 

A POPULAR READ IN BRUSSELS MOSQUES

Al-Qaradawi's utterances are on a par with the usual fare in some Dutch and Belgian mosques which stock "The Way of the Muslim" (by Muhammad Iqbal) with its chapters on how Moslem men should beat their wives effectively and how they can – by defenestration followed by some stoning – effectively kill homosexuals.

I attach three further articles below, with summaries first for those of you who don't have time to read them in full.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

STONED TO DEATH IN MARSEILLES FOR REFUSING THE ADVANCES OF A TEENAGE BOY

"Stoned to death... why Europe is starting to lose its faith in Islam" (By Charles Bremner, Times of London, December 4, 2004)

"Days before she was due to be married, Ghofrane Haddaoui, 23, refused the advances of a teenage boy and paid with her life. Lured to waste ground near her home in Marseilles, the Tunisian-born Frenchwoman was stoned to death, her skull smashed by rocks hurled by at least two young men, according to police... The horrific "lapidation" of the young Muslim stoked a French belief that the country can no longer tolerate the excesses of an alien culture in its midst.

... From Norway to Sicily, governments, politicians and the media are laying aside their doctrines of diversity and insisting that "Islamism," as the French call the fundamentalist form that pervades the housing estates, is incompatible with Europe's liberal values.

... In Germany, with its three million Muslims, and France, with its five million, television viewers were shocked when local young Muslims approved of Dutch film-maker Theo Van Goth's murder. "If you insult Islam, you have to pay," was a typical response.

"The notion of multiculturalism has fallen apart," said Angela Merkel, leader of Germany’s Christian Democrat opposition. "Anyone coming here must respect our constitution and tolerate our Western and Christian roots."

Italy's traditional tolerance towards immigrants has been eroded by fear of Islamism. An Ipsos poll in September showed that 48 per cent of Italians believed that a "clash of civilisations" between Islam and the West was under way and that Islam was "a religion more fanatical than any other".

Similar views can be heard across traditionally tolerant Scandinavia – and no longer just from the populist rightwing party’s such as Pia Kjaersgaard's People's Party in Denmark.

... Reluctantly, some intellectuals have lately concluded that the model for Europe should be the US. On Tuesday a writer for Libération, the French left-wing daily, noted that immigrants in the US threw themselves into "the American dream" and prospered. "There is no French, Dutch or other European dream," she noted. "You emigrate here to escape poverty and nothing more."

 

DANISH MUSLIMS FILE COMPLAINTS AFTER VAN GOGH'S DUTCH FILM SHOWN ON TV

"Muslims file complaint over Dutch TV's airing of excerpts from film by slain Dutch filmmaker" (Associated Press, December 7, 2004)

Danish Muslims have filed complaints against Denmark's two state-run television stations for having shown excerpts of Theo van Gogh's short film "Submission" about the oppression of women in Islam, after his slaying last month.

... In a letter mailed Saturday to police, Laue Traberg Smidt, the group's lawyer, said the Danish Broadcasting Corp.'s coverage "seems rather an attempt to contribute to a confrontation and whip up a sentiment against Danes of Muslim faith." Separately, another group of Muslims in central Denmark filed a complaint against TV2 with police.

"When we show excerpts, we do it in the interest of freedom of speech," Danish Broadcasting's news director Lisbeth Knudsen said, adding it was not done to inflame tensions or cast aspersions upon Denmark's Muslim community...

 

"GERMANS FEAR ISLAMIC UNREST"

"Germans fear Islamic unrest" (By Roger Boyes in Berlin, Times of London, November 17, 2004)

Islamic preachers in Germany have been told that they may be ordered to deliver their sermons in German rather than in Arabic in an attempt to halt racist diatribes.

... Support for such a move is growing after a television channel used hidden cameras to film the imam of a Berlin mosque frequented by young Turks. He was heard telling worshippers that "Germans can only expect to rot in the fires of hell because they are non-believers".

... Moreover, Germans smelt badly: "These nonbelievers, these Europeans, they do not even shave under their armpits, so that sweat gathers in their hair and makes them stink."

The sermon, translated from Arabic and broadcast on German state television, stopped well short of a call to violence. But it was strong and hostile enough to shock ordinary Germans and the political class who argue that European Muslims are being poisoned by the rhetoric they hear in the mosques.

... "We must now consider legal steps to ensure that German is spoken in mosques and in Koran schools," said Anetta Schavan, a powerful regional education minister tipped as a future leader of the Christian Democrats, to wide applause among conservative politicians. The point would be to make it easier for plain-clothed policemen to monitor mosques' activities.

... Bassam Tibi, Germany's leading expert on Islamic affairs, advised the Government to find a proper balance between controlling mosques and integrating foreigners. “If we don’t do more to integrate foreigners then Germany will face the civil war-like conditions that are emerging in Holland," the professor said.

... Local councils have started to question building and planning permission for new mosques; there are already more than 700 in the country. The latest, the Berlin Sehitlik Mosque with a capacity for 1,500 worshippers, was completed last month only after Muslim elders agreed to place flight-warning lights on the tall minaret towers...


FULL ARTICLES

WHY EUROPE IS STARTING TO LOSE ITS FAITH IN ISLAM

Stoned to death... why Europe is starting to lose its faith in Islam
By Charles Bremner
The Times (of London)
December 4, 2004

Islamic fundamentalism is causing a 'clash of civilisations' between liberal democracies and Muslims

Days before she was due to be married, Ghofrane Haddaoui, 23, refused the advances of a teenage boy and paid with her life. Lured to waste ground near her home in Marseilles, the Tunisian-born Frenchwoman was stoned to death, her skull smashed by rocks hurled by at least two young men, according to police. Although the circumstances of the murder are not clear, the horrific "lapidation" of the young Muslim stoked a French belief that the country can no longer tolerate the excesses of an alien culture in its midst.

A few days ago, pop celebrities joined 2,000 people in a march through Marseilles denouncing violence against women, particularly in the immigrant-dominated housing estates. The protest against Islamic "obscurantism" and the "fundamentalism that imprisons women" was led by a group of Muslim women who call themselves Ni Putes ni Soumises (Neither Whores nor Submissive).

The movement, which emerged three years ago to defend Muslim women, is spawning similar groups across Europe, supported by a mainstream opinion that has recently abandoned political correctness and wants to halt the inroads of Islam.

From Norway to Sicily, governments, politicians and the media are laying aside their doctrines of diversity and insisting that "Islamism", as the French call the fundamentalist form that pervades the housing estates, is incompatible with Europe's liberal values.

The shift is not just a reaction to exceptional violence such as the Madrid train bombings, or the murder of Theo van Gogh, the anti-Islamic Dutch film-maker, by a Dutch-Moroccan. It stems from a belief that more muscular methods are needed to integrate Europe’s 13-million strong Muslim community and to combat creeds that breed extremists and ultimately, terrorism. With mixed results, governments are trying to quell the scourge by co- opting Muslim leaders to promote a moderate European Islam.

In Germany, with its three million – mainly Turkish – Muslims, and France, with its five million of mainly North African descent, television viewers were shocked when local young Muslims approved of Van Gogh's murder. "If you insult Islam, you have to pay," was a typical response.

"The notion of multiculturalism has fallen apart," said Angela Merkel, leader of Germany’s Christian Democrat opposition. "Anyone coming here must respect our constitution and tolerate our Western and Christian roots." Italy's traditional tolerance towards immigrants has been eroded by fear of Islamism. An Ipsos poll in September showed that 48 per cent of Italians believed that a "clash of civilisations" between Islam and the West was under way and that Islam was "a religion more fanatical than any other".

Similar views can be heard across traditionally tolerant Scandinavia – and no longer just from the populist rightwing party’s such as Pia Kjaersgaard’s People's Party in Denmark. The centre-right Government of Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has equipped Denmark with Europe's toughest curbs on immigration, largely aimed at people from Muslim countries. In Sweden, where anti-Muslim feeling is running high and mosques have been burnt, schools have been authorised to ban pupils who wear full Islamic head-cover, although the measure comes nowhere near France’s new ban on the hijab in all state schools.

In Spain, with a rapidly rising population of nearly a million Muslims, the backlash has been less visible despite the bombings, but thousands demonstrated in Seville this week against plans to build a mosque in the city centre. The Government has also won approval by sending 500 extra police to monitor preachers and Muslim associations.

Police across the EU are closely watching prayer meetings in makeshift mosques in cities and housing estates, and media accounts of the jihadist, anti-Western and anti-semitic doctrines of the imams are fuelling public anger. In Germany, pressure is growing for sermons to be preached in German rather than Turkish or Arabic. Hidden TV cameras recently broadcast an imam in a Berlin mosque telling worshippers that "Germans can only expect to rot in the fires of hell because they are nonbelievers".

The debate over the limits to free speech is loudest in France, which now acknowledges the failure of its "republican" approach to integration whereby immigrants were supposed to blend harmoniously into society and not exist in separate communities.

Dominique de Villepin, the Interior Minister, is deporting foreign imams who support wife-beating and other uncivilised practices. This week the Government moved to ban a Lebanon-based television channel for anti-semitic broadcasting. The left wing, which long shunned criticism of Islam as the stock-in-trade of Jean-Marie le Pen, the far-Right leader, now denounces the "totalitarian", anti-feminist, antisemitic doctrines of the fundamentalists. Jacques Julliard, a leading left-wing commentator, said the Left’s longstanding tolerance had been used as "an agent for the penetration of Islamic intolerance".

Some on the Left have also taken strong exception to the concept of "Islamophobia", a supposed sin defined by EU anti-racism watchdogs as akin to anti-Semitism.

The French consensus was symbolised by the 80 per cent public support for the head-scarf ban, which started with little trouble in September. While many Muslims felt stigmatised, the Government took comfort from the approval of the ban by a substantial minority of the 10 per cent of the population that is of immigrant origin.

Among them is Fadela Amara, a Muslim town councillor from Clermond Ferrand, who heads the Ni Putes, Ni Soumises movement. "The veil is an instrument of oppression that is imposed by the green fascists," she says. Mme Amara, who led the Marseilles march, advocates an "open Islam, an Islam of French culture a bit Gallic around the edges". This is also the aim of the state, which two years ago created a national Muslim Council to promote moderate mainstream Islam. The council was set up by Nicolas Sarkozy, the then Interior Minister, who now heads the UMP, President Chirac’s centre-right party.

M Sarkozy has just caused a stir by going a stage further, proposing that France’s rigorously secular state fund the building of mosques. "Whether I like it or not, Islam is the second biggest religion in France. So you have to integrate it by making it more French," he said. To general dismay, however, the national council is coming increasingly under the effective control of radicals.

Reluctantly, some intellectuals have lately concluded that the model for Europe should be the US. On Tuesday a writer for Libération, the French left-wing daily, noted that immigrants in the US threw themselves into "the American dream" and prospered. "There is no French, Dutch or other European dream," she noted. "You emigrate here to escape poverty and nothing more."

 

MUSLIMS COMPLAIN OVER TV AIRING OF FILM BY SLAIN DUCTH FILMAKER

Muslims file complaint over Dutch TV's airing of excerpts from film by slain Dutch filmmaker
By Jan M. Olsen
The Associated Press
December 7, 2004

Danish Muslims have filed complaints against Denmark's two state-run television stations for having repeatedly shown excerpts of Theo van Gogh's film "Submission" after his slaying last month.

The 12-minute film, released in August, was sharply critical of Islam and the status of women in Muslim communities.

Since Van Gogh's killing in Amsterdam on Nov. 2, the Danish Broadcasting Corp. and TV2 have aired excerpts several times during news shows about the death and the debate that followed it across Europe.

In a letter mailed Saturday to police, Laue Traberg Smidt, the group's lawyer, said the Danish Broadcasting Corp.'s "massive coverage of the case and its repeated use" of excerpts "seems rather an attempt to contribute to a confrontation and whip up a sentiment against Danes of Muslim faith."

"They understand that it must be shown, but they feel it is being repeated again and again as if it was part of an advertising campaign," Traberg Smidt said Monday.

Separately, another group of Muslims in central Denmark filed a complaint against TV2 with police. Efforts to reach them were unsuccessful.

Both channels denied the allegations.

"When we show excerpts, we do it in the interest of freedom of speech," Danish Broadcasting's news director Lisbeth Knudsen said, adding it was not done to inflame tensions or cast aspersions upon Denmark's Muslim community.

In his complaint, Traberg Smidt said he represented a group of about 20 Danish Muslims, who wanted to remain anonymous "because they are afraid of unpleasant (reaction) in the current atmosphere."

There was anti-Muslim violence in the Netherlands after the Dutch filmmaker's death, but no such backlash has occurred in Denmark. About 149,000 people, or 2.8 percent of Denmark's population of 5.4 million, are Muslim.

While convictions for violating the law on racism occasionally happen in this tolerant country, no one has been sentenced for blasphemy since 1938, when a group of Danes were convicted of slander against Jews.

A 26-year-old Islamic radical with Moroccan-Dutch citizenship was arrested in the Netherlands and charged in the slaying of Van Gogh, a distant relative of the famed painter.

 

GERMANS FEAR ISLAMIC UNREST

Germans fear Islamic unrest
By Roger Boyes in Berlin
The Times (of London)
November 17, 2004

Islamic preachers in Germany have been told that they may be ordered to deliver their sermons in German rather than in Arabic in an attempt to halt racist diatribes.

The move reflects Berlin's fears that a spark of ethnic and religious unrest could leap from the Netherlands to Germany, a country with more than three million Muslims.

Support for such a move is growing after a television channel used hidden cameras to film the imam of a Berlin mosque frequented by young Turks. He was heard telling worshippers that "Germans can only expect to rot in the fires of hell because they are non-believers".

The Germans, he said, would only support Turkish entry to the European Union if the Turks ripped down the minarets and bulldozed the mosques. Moreover, Germans smelt badly: "These nonbelievers, these Europeans, they do not even shave under their armpits, so that sweat gathers in their hair and makes them stink."

The sermon, translated from Arabic and broadcast on German state television, stopped well short of a call to violence. But it was strong and hostile enough to shock ordinary Germans and the political class who argue that European Muslims are being poisoned by the rhetoric they hear in the mosques.

Senator Erhart Körting, in charge of internal security for the city of Berlin, threatened yesterday to expel the preacher to Turkey if his statements were confirmed. "I want this case cleared up within days," he said.

Anetta Schavan, a powerful regional education minister tipped as a future leader of the Christian Democrats, led the political offensive against what the tabloids are describing as "hate preachers".

"We must now consider legal steps to ensure that German is spoken in mosques and in Koran schools," she said to wide applause among conservative politicians. The point would be to make it easier for plain-clothed policemen to monitor mosques' activities.

The German Government is not convinced that it can push through such legislation: it would almost certainly prompt a long and uncomfortable constitutional debate about the freedom of worship. But mosques have been coming under closer scrutiny since the beginning of the year when the police raided a mosque in Gelsenkirchen after Friday prayers and a controversial sermon.

Bassam Tibi, Germany"s leading expert on Islamic affairs, advised the Government to find a proper balance between controlling mosques and integrating foreigners. "If we don’t do more to integrate foreigners then Germany will face the civil war-like conditions that are emerging in Holland," the professor said.

Measures being considered by the Interior Ministry and other government departments include the compulsory use of German in Islamic schools, more training for Islamic theologians at German universities and more pressure on foreign-born social welfare beneficiaries to attend German-language classes.

The Islamic community is already hemmed in by some German regulations. The traditional Muslim call to prayer is banned in Berlin because it violates noise pollution rules. Christian churches also have restricted times for their bell ringing.

Local councils have started to question building and planning permission for new mosques; there are already more than 700 in the country. The latest, the Berlin Sehitlik Mosque with a capacity for 1,500 worshippers, was completed last month only after Muslim elders agreed to place flight-warning lights on the tall minaret towers.

German television last week withdrew the controversial film Submission, which has been blamed for inciting the fatal attack on the Dutch film director Theo van Gogh. The decision seems to have come from the Dutch production company rather than the German networks. "We don’t want to pour even more oil on the fire," Alexandra Keddemann, spokeswoman for the producers, said.

However, the 11-minute film can be seen on the internet and many German Muslims are said to be clicking on to the site.

German television chiefs were shocked when they sent their reporters out to question German Muslim responses to the killing of Mr van Gogh.

Young Turks questioned at a Cologne street market immediately supported the attack. "If you insult Islam, you have to pay," was a typical response.

Islam is the third-largest religion in Germany, after the Protestant and Roman Catholic faiths.

There are three million Muslims in Germany, representing 3.2 per cent of the population.

1.9 million are of Turkish origin, mainly descendents of the postwar generation of guest workers imported to Germany to make up for its manpower shortage.

Most Muslims live in highly concentrated districts in the industrial towns of western Germany and in Berlin. Few Muslims live in eastern Germany.


New poll: 51 per cent of Germans equate Israel with Nazis

December 09, 2004

THE NEW ANTI-SEMITISM

[Note by Tom Gross]

Six decades after the mass extermination of six million Jews in the Holocaust by Nazi Germany, a new poll of 3000 "non-migrant" (i.e. mainly non-Moslem) Germans conducted by the University of Bielefeld, reveals that more than half of Germans think there is no difference between Israel's current treatment of the Palestinians and what the Nazis did to the Jews.

Part of the reason for this completely inaccurate and highly offensive view, which amounts to Holocaust denial, is the deliberately misleading coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by journalists throughout Europe over recent years, in particular but not limited to publications of the left.

This new poll reveals not only ignorance of the reality of the situation in Israel, but total ignorance of what the Holocaust was. (See also, the item titled "New Poll: Almost half of Britons have never heard of Auschwitz" contained in my dispatch last week titled Julie Burchill follow-up; and "Great Britain Stands Indicted", December 2, 2004.)

Moreover, due in part to extensive re-education efforts in the postwar period and a media that is less anti-Semitic than elsewhere in Europe, Germany is generally considered to be one of the countries in Europe least in denial about the Holocaust and the truth of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

-- Tom Gross


"A GROTESQUE COMPARISON – AND HERE'S WHY"

Journalist and commentator Melanie Phillips, a long-time subscriber to this email list, adds from London:

"This comparison is, of course, grotesque. For those who do not understand why – and I'm afraid there are more than a few, which is why the German poll is so disturbing – let me briefly spell it out. Whatever the occasional excesses committed by Israel towards the Palestinians – and it would be idle to pretend they don't occur, and wrong to do anything other than condemn them unreservedly – Israel is fighting a defensive war of survival against a Palestinian and Arab enemy that has been trying to ethnically cleanse Jews from their historic homeland for a century. To compare this with the Nazis' attempt to remove the Jewish people from the face of the earth is as obscene as it is irrational.

"The false narrative of Palestinian oppression by Israel has provided Europe with a perfect alibi for the Holocaust. If the Jews of Israel can be presented as today's Nazis, the real Nazis can be let off the hook since the Jews they murdered can retrospectively be held responsible for their own destruction, just as they are being accused today.

"Because the left has so totally bought into the narrative of Palestinian oppression and Israeli brutality, the heirs of those who fought fascism in Europe are now marching shoulder to shoulder on pro-Palestinian demonstrations with people chanting 'Jews to the gas'. Holocaust denial, for so long the preserve of the neo-Nazi right, has been turned into a respectable orthodoxy through the efforts of the left."

 

MEDIA PARTLY TO BLAME

Avner Shalev, the Chairman of Yad Vashem, adds from Jerusalem:

"There is little doubt that the media miscoverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict has led to these poll results. There is also a long-suppressed felling of anti-Semitism among the mainstream 'so-called liberal' population which now, under the coating of anti-Israeli criticism, are becoming legitimate again. The energies which bring about such answers come to protect feelings of guilt."

 

"A VERY STRONG WARNING SIGNAL"

Dr. Ephraim Zuroff, the director of the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and another long-time subscriber to this email list, adds from Jerusalem:

"This is a very sad commentary about what is happening in Europe today. It sends a very strong warning signal about how much work needs to be done to deal with these attitudes."

I attach below an article from the Jerusalem Post

-- Tom Gross


POLL: OVER 50% OF GERMANS EQUATE IDF WITH NAZI ARMY

Poll: Over 50% of Germans equate IDF with Nazi army
By Etgar Leftkovits
The Jerusalem Post
December 7, 2004

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1102432932687

Six decades after the mass extermination of six million Jews in the Holocaust by Nazi Germany, more than 50 percent of Germans believe that Israel's present-day treatment of the Palestinians is similar to what the Nazis did to the Jews during World War II, a German survey released this weekend shows.

51 percent of respondents said that there is not much of a difference between what Israel is doing to the Palestinians today and what the Nazis did to the Jews during the Holocaust, compared to 49% who disagreed with such a comparison, according to the poll carried out by Germany's University of Bielefeld.

The survey also found that 68 percent of Germans believe that Israel is waging a "war of extermination" against the Palestinians, while some 32% disagreed with such a statement.

In a first reaction, the chairman of Yad Vashem's directorate Avner Shalev said Tuesday that the poll's results, which he termed "very worrisome," were indicative of a long-suppressed felling of anti-Semitism among the mainstream "so-called liberals" population which now, under the coating of anti-Israeli criticism, are becoming legitimate again. He added that the poll's results, which he said any objective person would repudiate, are also the result of the release of pent-up feelings of guilt built up from the Holocaust.

"The energies which bring about such answers come to protect feelings of guilt," Shalev said. 62 percent of respondents in the poll said that they were sick of "all this harping" of German crimes against Jews, while 68% said that they found it "annoying" that Germans today are still held to blame for Nazi crimes against Jews.

The survey, which aimed to determine what is "the cut off point" between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism, finds that while "classical" anti-Semitism in Germany is on the wane, secondary anti-Semitism, often couched in anti-Israel views are on the rise, especially among the Left.

The German researchers who conducted the polls conceded that the results showing a majority of Germans equating Israel's Policy with Nazi Atrocities "may be worrying," but concurred with Yad Vashem's Shalev that the media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinians conflict has made such analogies part of the public discourse.

"When you see an image in the newspaper, in a caricature, which is repeated day in and day out that Sharon is equal to Hitler than the image catches in your head because maybe you do not like Jews so much or maybe you hate Jews, and than this works out excellent," Shalev said, stressing that education of the young generation was the key to stemming such a tide.

In the survey, 82 percent of the respondents polled said that they are angered by the way Israel is treating the Palestinians, while 45 percent of those polled said that considering Israel's policies it was "no surprise" that people were against them.

The telephone poll of 3000 "non-migrant" respondents, which was taken in May and June, did not come with a margin of error.

"This is a very sad commentary about what is happening in Europe today which needs to send a very strong warning signal about how much work needed to be done to deal with these attitudes," said, Dr. Ephraim Zuroff, the Israel director of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Due in part to its blighted history, Germany is generally considered to be one of the more supportive countries of Israel in Europe.


Alan Rickman, Rachel Corrie, David Irving, and Robert Fisk

December 07, 2004

CONTENTS

1. The Independent. A thoroughly unpleasant newspaper
2. Neo-Nazi award for the Independent's Robert Fisk
3. The Independent: Jewish gang are terrorists, but not Al Qaeda and Hamas
4. The Independent: New Alan Rickman play to open in London: "My Name is Rachel Corrie"

[This dispatch was prepared on December 7 but due to a computer problem some people are receiving it only on December 8.]


[Note by Tom Gross]

THE INDEPENDENT. A THOROUGHLY UNPLEASANT NEWSPAPER

The British "quality" daily newspaper, the Independent, contains some of the most misleading coverage towards Israel and America of any newspaper in the world – including those of state controlled publications in the Arab world.

Yet, perhaps not surprisingly, the Independent continues to be respected by opinion formers, including politicians and BBC staff.

Among other things, the Independent led the way in creating the myth of "the Jenin massacre" in April 2002 with its highly distorted coverage for which it has never properly apologized.

It is the only one of Britain's dozen daily newspapers to be edited by a Jew (Simon Kelner) and on separate occasions (once in Jerusalem, once in London) both the Independent's foreign editor and its former Jerusalem correspondent have been sure to emphasize this to me ("Our editor is Jewish you know") before launching into an anti-Israel tirade when I have met them.

 

NEO-NAZIS LOVE THE INDEPENDENT'S ROBERT FISK

It is difficult to know what Kelner and some of his anti-Israeli journalists (some of whom are Jewish) make of the fact that on his website, David Irving, one of the world's leading Holocaust revisionists, last week nominated Robert Fisk as "Bravest Journalist of the Year" and reproduced some of Fisk's pieces (writes Nigel Farndale in the Sunday Telegraph).

Other extremists, such as Osama Bin Laden, are also among Fisk's admirers. (See the dispatch of November 4, 2004 titled Osama Bin Laden praises Robert Fisk, (& other items)), as are various European journalists, who have given Fisk reporting awards before.

Fisk's articles are regularly reproduced on extremist Moslem websites as well as those of admirers of Hitler. Fisk and Kelner are "best of friends, and beer-drinking buddies," I am told.

 

THE INDEPENDENT: JEWS ARE TERRORISTS, BUT NOT AL QAEDA AND HAMAS

The Independent almost never uses the word "terrorist" and certainly not when Jews are victims, such as in Munich, Kenya, Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires and Istanbul. People who blow up Jews in buses or pizzeria or Bat Mitzvah parties are "militants" or "activists."

But today (December 7, 2004) the Independent not only uses the word terror, but does so in its headline:

* "Israeli jailed for role in terror group that attacked Arab schools."

The Independent is referring to the miniscule Jewish "Bat Ayin" group, a member of whom was convicted by an Israeli court.

It may be accurate to refer to Bat Ayin, a small-time gang, as a terror group – but any activities by this group pale in comparison with those of sophisticated, organized and deadly groups such as Hamas, (the Arafat-created, Barghouti-led) al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Islamic Jihad, Hizbollah and al Qaeda – all of which, for the Independent, are not terror groups.

For example, in its coverage today of al Qaeda's attack on the U.S. consulate in Jeddah yesterday, the Independent uses the terms "militants," "assailants," and "attackers."

-- Tom Gross


THE INDEPENDENT: NEW ALAN RICKMAN PLAY: "MY NAME IS RACHEL CORRIE"

[This is the full article.]

Rickman stages show of anger at Israel's strong-arm tactics
By Guy Adams
The Independent
December 7, 2004

Alan Rickman is about to become the latest Hollywood star to light the blue touchpaper on the powderkeg that is Arab-Israeli politics.

He is working on a play about Rachel Corrie, pictured right, the American "human shield" who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer as she tried to prevent it destroying a Palestinian house in Rafah last March.

The play, My Name is Rachel Corrie, will open at the Royal Court next year, and is based on detailed diaries and letters written by Corrie before her death. It has been fully authorised by her family.

Rickman, above, is collaborating with the journalist Katherine Viner on the script, and has also agreed to direct the finished article. A former Labour Party donor, he is thought to be sympathetic towards the Palestinian cause.

"I haven't directed theatre since 1995, but I don't feel nervous; it's something I've wanted to do for a long time," Rickman told me at the recent Women in Film and Television Awards.

"We're working on the script at the moment. Craig and Cindy, Rachel's parents, have been very generous with her written material, handing over the journals that she has written since she was eight."

The theatre said yesterday that the show would open in April: "We're very proud that her family has allowed us to put this together. It's got their full support and they'll almost certainly be flying over to see it."


Julie Burchill follow-up; and “Great Britain stands indicted”

December 02, 2004

* This dispatch has a British theme; views in the UK can often be seen as indicative of those throughout much of the West.

 

CONTENTS

1. Letters to the Times on Julie Burchill's article
2. Today's Guardian
3. "Great Britain stands indicted" (By Angela Bertz)
4. New Poll: Almost half of Britons have never heard of Auschwitz



“IT IS VERY UNUSUAL TO READ AN ARTICLE IN THE BRITISH PRESS THAT IS EVEN SLIGHTLY PRO-ISRAEL”

[Note by Tom Gross]

This is a follow-up to the dispatch of last Thursday November 25 titled "My nation of heroes, my chosen people" (& BBC complaints cover-up?).

Many people have expressed interest in the article by Julie Burchill included in that dispatch. Therefore I attach letters published by The Times (of London) in response to Burchill's article and to the accompanying sidebar criticizing Burchill by Ghada Karmi.

Below are 13 letters published in the second section of the Times (T2), followed by 3 letters published on the main Times letters page. There is a summary first for those who don't have time to read the letters in full.

Lest anyone think that because the Times has printed one pro-Israel article, the British (and European) media have suddenly put a stop to their incessant slandering of the Israel and its leaders, they need look no further than the main story on the front page of today's Guardian.

The Guardian leads with a huge banner headline "Middle East Upheaval as Sharon provokes crisis" – in a story that is actually largely about Marwan Barghouti having provoked a crisis by deciding last night to stand for election as Palestinian president despite being a convicted mass murderer.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARY OF LETTERS TO THE TIMES

The first letter published by the Times is of perhaps dubious authenticity. Written by someone who only gives a hotmail address, the writer claims to have "visited Israel many times and having served briefly in the army there," yet he says he does "not recognize anything that Julie Burchill describes."

In another letter, Burchill is criticized for "naivety or calculated propaganda." Others, though, strongly support her. One writer says: "I agreed with every word Burchill writes."

Some letters are critical of Ghada Karmi and of the Times for printing his diatribe. One man writes: "It is very unusual to read an article in the British press that is even slightly pro-Israel, never mind one written with such a feeling of empathy and understanding. But why did The Times feel the need to balance this with such an offensive article by Ghada Karmi?"

Another woman doubts Karmi's ability as "a research fellow" given the wild accusations against Israel she made. Instead of unfounded accusations about treatment of Palestinian babies, says the letter writer to the Times, "It would have been more truthful to mention the pregnant Palestinian at a checkpoint who was given a seat and a drink, against orders, by a kind Israeli, and who then blew everyone around her to smithereens."

-- Tom Gross

[Julie Burchill is a subscriber to this email list.]

 

“GREAT BRITAIN STANDS INDICTED” (SUMMARY)

After the letters to The Times, I attach a separate article printed on two pro-Israel websites, by Angela Bertz, who is formerly of Britain and now of Israel. The article, titled "Great Britain Stands Indicted" takes aim at Britain.

Bertz writes: "... My pride in Great Britain has been replaced with a sad sense of shame and repulsion. For years I have watched many of its prominent citizens become pathetic apologists for barbaric Palestinian terrorism.

[I accuse] ... TONY BLAIR – Prime Minister of Great Britain. No sooner had the U.S. election votes been counted when Mr. Blair was heading faster than a speeding Palestinian bullet over the ocean to collect his payback... With Yasser Arafat barely cold in the ground Mr. Blair feels the time is right to sacrifice Israel into more painful concessions to appease the Arabs.

... CHERIE BLAIR – wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair. Her deeply offensive remark [in support of Palestinian suicide bombers] was beyond belief . coming as it did barely 24 hours after 19 people were still being scraped of the interior of a bus in Jerusalem and 40 more had been injured.

... DR. JENNY TONGE – member of British Parliament who felt she could carve out a more worthwhile career for herself by becoming a Palestinian suicide bomber.

... VANESSA REDGRAVE – British star of stage and screen. This woman has for years fawned and pawned herself at Yasser Arafat's feet. . Ms. Redgrave suddenly a self-proclaimed expert on "walls" declared Israel's barrier [wrongly] as being far higher than the Berlin Wall.

... ROBIN COOK – former foreign minister of Great Britain. This gnome like politician on one visit to Israel decided to defy protocol and Israel's objections by visiting Jabal Abu Ghneim in East Jerusalem. Mr. Cook was more recently involved together with a select and dubious bunch of MPs and British media stars including Pink Floyd's Roger Waters in a campaign against Israel's security barrier... Not once does this hypocritical bunch of apologists ever mention the 100's of Israeli children that will never go to school again, or who have been maimed for life by Palestinian terrorism.

... BARBARA PLETT – BBC correspondent. Who will ever forget her shameful display of grief as Arafat was airlifted from his compound, declaring this evil father of terrorism as a "frail old man", thus sinking the shameful BBC into an all time low.

... ANITA RODDICK – British founder of The Body Shop. In 2002 this company awarded $75,000 to a grass roots organization that advocates [what] is tantamount to calling for the annihilation of the State of Israel.

... THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER – The Guardian reported in "gruesome" terms the terrible terrorist attack in Bali, calling it "a strike without compunction and showing no mercy, designed to cause utter terror". They went on to call the perpetrators cowards and condemned the people that carried out this heinous act as having "demonstrated a total disrespect for human life". They stressed several times the youth of most of the victims. This report is in blaring contrast to the one issued on the disco bombing in Tel Aviv. That attack destroyed the lives of 20 youngsters and injured over a 100 more. The Guardian showed no revulsion for this act and in fact referred to most of the victims in a cold manner.

... CHRIS PATTEN – British EU Commissioner. This delusional man has for years claimed and I quote "We have looked at every one of the documents presented to us ... we have not found yet - and I have to say 'yet' because we are continuing to look at these things – a case of money [to Arafat from the EU] being diverted for terrorist purposes." The Palestinians have had more aid money than any other people in the world, (a large portion of it coming from the EU).

... The repugnant JACK STRAW, British Foreign Secretary. This man almost choked on his Sunday lunch after Israel targeted the evil spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheik Yassin. Upon hearing the news of his death Mr. Straw sickeningly declared it "unacceptable & unjustified. He made similar statements after Israel targeted the quadriplegic's evil successor Rantissi. ... He placed a garland of red and gold chrysanthemums on Arafat's grave ... and went on to sign a book of condolences..."

(The full version of this article is at the end of this email. May I remind readers that the articles I attach to these emails are for information purposes only and I don't necessarily fully agree with them.)

-- Tom Gross

 

NEARLY HALF OF BRITONS HAVE NEVER HEARD OF AUSCHWITZ

This story was released today by Agence France-Presse.

LONDON (AFP) - Nearly half of Britons have never heard of the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz in southern Poland, according to a BBC television poll that was conducted just ahead of the 60th anniversary of the camp's liberation.

Forty-five percent of the 4,000 people questioned for the survey by BBC Two said they had never heard of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, the television channel said Thursday.



FULL ITEMS

PUBLISHED LETTERS TO THE TIMES

The chosen people
Letters
The Times (of London)
November 29, 2004

www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,564-1379531,00.html

Julie Burchill revealed her love affair with Israel and its people in a recent T2 article. Did you agree with her views?

It is neither helpful nor informative to have a debate of such poor quality in your newspaper. Being Jewish, having visited Israel many times and having served briefly in the army there, I know it reasonably well. I was surprised, therefore, not to recognise anything that Julie Burchill describes.

Does she realise that there are plenty of haredi neighbourhoods in Jerusalem where she would most likely be spat upon or abused if she were dressed inappropriately?

Does she realise that it is impossible to get a civil marriage in Israel? These are two relatively minor examples, which are indicative of a complete ignorance of the subject.

The reply from Ghada Karmi is equally foolish. Although the point about the disparity between Israel and the Occupied Territories is appropriate, it is only the one-eyed nature of Ms Burchill's article that renders it worth saying at all.

What can we learn from these articles? I think only that the truth is somewhere in the middle and by choosing views so wide apart you fail to illuminate anything that is worthwhile.

Paul Mervis,
paulmervis@hotmail.com

 

Wrong examples

Ghada Karmi is described as a research fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. I hope she normally works on a sounder evidence base than in her claim about all those Palestinian newborns dying at Israeli checkpoints.

It would have been more truthful to mention the pregnant Palestinian at a checkpoint who was given a seat and a drink, against orders, by a kind Israeli, and who then blew everyone around her to smithereens.

Joan Freeman,
London

 

Blind dupe

Naivety or calculated propaganda? Julie Burchill's paean to the State of Israel reminds me of the writings of certain British intellectuals in the 1930s who steadfastly defended Stalinism, while turning a blind eye to its excesses. Uncle Joe considered such people to be convenient dupes. In Israel – created by terrorism and sustained by its denial of human dignity to the Palestinian people – Ariel Sharon will doubtless view Ms Burchill in much the same way.

Robin Kempster
Brighouse,
West Yorkshire

 

Off balance

It is very unusual to read an article in the British press that is even slightly pro-Israel, never mind one written with such a feeling of empathy and understanding. But why did The Times feel the need to balance this with such an offensive article by Ghada Karmi?

David Khan,
Manchester

 

Unspoken truth

It is wonderful to read the words of somebody outside Israel who has the guts to stand up for Israel. The truth is never spoken by Israel's opponents in English (only in Arabic) – that the dispute has nothing to do with occupation of the lands captured as a result of the 1967 war for Israel's survival. They simply do not want peace or for Israel to continue to exist.

Peter Simpson,
PeterSimpson613@aol.com

 

Double standards

Julie Burchill makes a living by being provocative. But this does not mean that she cannot get it right. This time she has. The double standards applied to Israeli and Muslim behaviour are notorious.

Here is proof of the real difference between the two sides: if all weapons in the hands of Arab terrorists turned into marzipan tomorrow, not a single Arab would come to any harm. If the same transformation happened in the case of Israeli weapons, Israel would cease to exist overnight.

Victor Ross,
Great Chart, Kent

 

Hateful stereotype

It is unfortunate that The Times has wasted so much paper printing Julie Burchill's twisted vision of Israel. The utter nonsense she spewed succeeded only in perpetuating the well-established myth of Israel as a democracy amid a sea of Arabs intent on its destruction.

The reality is very much different. As a Palestinian I would like to point out that my people have never wanted the Jewish people dead. All we want is a real nation of our own. We seek the same security that all Israelis seek. We simply want an end to the occupation of our land and to start living as neighbours rather than prisoners.

Most Israelis and Palestinians are so fed up with such worthless propaganda that they are taking matters into their own hands. Organisations such as Partners for Peace, B'Tselem, and the Parents' Circle have dedicated their work to eradicating such hateful stereotypes.

Nu'man El-Bakri,
Exeter

 

Good for tourism

I thought that Julie Burchill's piece was inspirational. She is a marvel. The Israeli Tourist Board should employ her immediately as an ambassador to summon all of us lazy, complacent British Jews to visit the country immediately and boost the ailing tourist industry. I agreed with every word and want to hear more; hopefully she will write a book on the subject.

Karin Parnaby,
London

 

German support

Julie Burchill has written a wonderful article debunking all the cant and propaganda which seems to stream forth from much of the media.

However, she is being unduly harsh on the role of Germany. The new German Government after the war had to try to draw a line under the Holocaust and was very supportive of the new State of Israel. One only had to visit various German trade fairs to see the exposure Israel and Israeli companies and trading syndicates were universally given. Surely the best way to help a young country to get on its feet. Perhaps the realpolitik of the situation does not allow this support to be trumpeted from the rooftops, but I believe that quiet support has always been the role of successive German governments, whether Socialist or Christian Democrat.

Anthony S. Norton,
London

 

Bluster

When is The Times going to stop giving Julie Burchill column space for her peverse and ill-judged polemic? Her purblind view of Israel brings to mind that self-regarding fourth-form girl who sought to dominate the debating society every week with her poorly informed bluster.

I could, perhaps, understand her selecting the Jews as her "chosen people" if we were talking about the plucky little Israel that fought off the numerically superior, heavily armed Arab armies in the Six Day War. But the Israel that I see is the one with overwhelming military superiority, which it uses like the worst kind of bully to deprive the Palestinians of the possibility of self-determination and anything resembling a normal life.

Andy Wood,
Bebington, Wirral

 

No baggage

Invariably, the debate becomes mired by emotional and subjective rhetoric, and by a tortured treatment of so-called facts and statistics by revisionist historians such as your correspondent Ghada Karmi.

You paper is therefore to be congratulated in providing Julie Burchill with the opportunity to set the record straight, particularly as she cannot be accused of having any axe to grind, being by her own description a non-Jewish, working-class, West Country girl with no preconceived prejudices.

David Pine,
elipine@hotmail.com

 

Working for peace

Sadly, your writer did not mention the countless Israeli organisations that work for peace, justice and equal rights, including Merchavim, which gives citizenship training in schools; Givat Haviva, offering training and education for Israelis – Jews, Muslims and Christians alike; Neve Shalom Wahat al-Shalom, which provides opportunities for Israelis and Palestinians to meet as individuals, rather than knowing each other through stereotypes.

Rachel Montagu,
The Council of Christians and Jews,
London SE1

 

Rose-tinted

Your article reminded me of the old joke about the man who was allowed to have an early visit to Paradise during his lifetime. He came back to Earth, and was enthusiastic about the prospect of heavenly life. Eventually, he died and got there again. This time, however, things were not so great. The food was the same, the same virgins were singing the same song, the clouds had gone dirty and grey. Our man complains about the level of service, pointing out that it was much better when he was first there. An angel replies promptly: "First time, you were a tourist."

Andrew Schonberger, Sydney

 

[This selection of Letters is from the main Times letters page, on November 29 and November 26, 2004.]

Letters
The Times (of London)
November 29, 2004

Palestinians and Israel
From Mr Daniel Frohwein

Sir, Dr Ghada Karmi (T2, November 23; see also letter, November 25) refers to the "cost to the Palestinians of creating Israel 56 years ago". However, both the League of Nations and the United Nations supported the creation of the Jewish State.

Jewish Palestinians accepted less than they had hoped for when Western Palestine was partitioned by the UN in November 1947. Arab Palestinians rejected this compromise, and sought to reverse the decision by force of arms. Arab armies attempted to wipe out Israel in l948, l967 and l973.

The tragedy here is not the birth of Israel, but the intransigence of Palestinian leaders, who have promised their followers that, ultimately, the Jewish State will be wiped off the face of the earth.

Yours sincerely,

Daniel Frohwein,
31 Golders Rise,
NW4 2HX.
November 25.

 

From Mr John Pelter

Sir, Julie Burchill describes how a place that was "just another regular barren Arab desert" was "turned into a Garden of Eden". I am sure that the several hundred thousand Palestinian people who were dispossessed and driven into exile and squalor, may have thought differently.

Yours,

John Pelter,
14 Maple Close,
Petts Wood, Kent BR5 1LP.
November 25.

 

Letters
The Times (of London)
November 26, 2004

Visiting Israel

From Mr David Matthews

Sir, I enjoyed reading Julie Burchill's article about her recent visit to Israel (T2, November 24) and the alternative view from Ghada Karmi.

I have just returned from a ten-day visit to Israel, during which I was able to spend time in the West Bank, as well as Jerusalem and Galilee. I went with a view to meeting individuals and groups of people, both Arab and Jewish, who want to see an end to bloodshed and who are trying to encourage reconciliation between Jews and Arabs.

For example, I met a Jewish man whose daughter, aged 14, was killed by a suicide bomber but who has joined with other bereaved parents from both sides to try to bring some sanity into the chaotic situation they live in.

Yours truly,

David Matthews,
61 Gays Road, Hanham Abbots,
South Gloucestershire BS15 3JU.
November 25

 

GREAT BRITAIN STANDS INDICTED

Great Britain stands indicted
By Angela Bertz – Israel

Angela Beretz takes aim at her motherland.

It was barely 100 years ago that the British Empire was at its height. It reigned supreme over 20% of the world's land area and more than 400 million people.

It was the single largest empire the world had ever known.

Sixty years later this was the land of my childhood and youth. Despite the fact that the sun had by this time long set, we were still brought up with a set of pride in our nation and its glorious past. In 1965 millions around the world paid their final respect to Sir Winston Churchill, who 20 years previously had led this proud and determined island to victory as its greatest wartime leader. The following summer national pride soared to an all time high as its football team won the coveted world cup.

Today I live proudly in my adopted country of Israel.

My pride in Great Britain has been replaced with a sad sense of shame and repulsion. For years I have watched many of its prominent citizens become pathetic apologists for barbaric Palestinian terrorism.

Tony Blair – Prime Minister of Great Britain. No sooner had the U.S. election votes been counted when Mr. Blair was heading faster than a speeding Palestinian bullet over the ocean to collect his payback. Mr. Blair sanctimoniously declares peace in the Middle East as being high on his list of priorities. With Yasser Arafat barely cold in the ground Mr. Blair feels the time is right to sacrifice Israel into more painful concessions to appease the Arabs.

Cherie Blair – wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair. Her deeply offensive remark "As long as young people feel they have got no hope but to blow themselves up you are never going to make progress" was beyond belief. This statement was all the more remarkable coming as it did barely 24 hours after 19 people were still being scraped of the interior of a bus in Jerusalem and 40 more had been injured

Dr. Jenny Tonge – member of British Parliament who felt she could carve out a more worthwhile career for herself by becoming a Palestinian suicide bomber. Identifying herself with these mass murdering ghouls Dr. Tonge said she understood their "desperation", as if there was ever any justification for getting on a crowded bus and blowing innocent people to pieces.

Vanessa Redgrave – British star of stage and screen. This woman has for years fawned and pawned herself at Yasser Arafat's feet. On a visit to the region in 2003 she used a press conference in Israel's capital city of Jerusalem to condemn the construction of the country's security barrier. Ms. Regrave suddenly a self proclaimed expert on "walls" declared Israel's barrier as being far higher than the Berlin Wall. Further more this pathetic apologist for Palestinian terrorism seemed unable to make any distinction between a wall that was built to separate cultures and one that was sadly not built in time to stop 130 Palestinian monsters crossing into Israel with explosive belts.

Robin Cook – former foreign minister of Great Britain. This gnome like politician on one visit to Israel decided to defy protocol and Israel's objections by visiting Jabal Abu Ghneim in East Jerusalem. Mr. Cook was more recently involved together with a select and dubious bunch of MP's and British media stars including Pink Floyd's Roger Waters in a campaign against Israel's security barrier. Mr. Cook has joined this pathetic bandwagon of Palestinian terrorism apologist by blatantly ignoring the thousands of terrorist attacks that Palestinians have perpetrated against Israel. Their website found at www.waronwant.org/palestine talks incessantly of the tragedy that has befallen the Palestinians and that their children now have difficulty getting to school because of the barrier. Not once does this hypocritical bunch of apologists ever mention the 100's of Israeli children that will never go to school again, or who have been maimed for life by Palestinian terrorism.

Barbara Plett – British BBC correspondent. Who will ever forget her shameful display of grief. The BBC long known for its media bias and one sided reporting on this region have shown time and time again to be inaccurate and distort the truth almost beyond all recognition. Ms. Plett shamefully wept as the disease ridden Arafat was airlifted from his compound, declaring this evil father of terrorism as a "frail old man", thus sinking the shameful BBC into an all time low.

Anita Roddick – British founder of The Body Shop. In 2002 this company awarded $75,000 to a grass roots organization that advocates the "Right of Return" for Palestinian refugees. This is tantamount to calling for the annihilation of the State of Israel. Despite the Body Shops weak response to this travesty, stating that they did not have any particular views on the conflict it was found that both Anita Roddick and her husband were in fact members of the selection committee.

Judge Higgins – the only judge from Great Britain to sit on that farce of a court in The Hague. Placing her vote clearly in favour of Palestinian terrorism Judge Higgins added insult to injury by declaring in part of her long winded statement that: "Since 1948 Israel has been in dispute, first with its Arab neighbours (and other Arab States) and, in more recent years, with the Palestinian Authority". Judge Higgins shows her blatant ignorance for the facts. Israel has in fact never been in dispute with either its neighbours or the Palestinians. It has never instigated any of the defensive wars that these so-called neighbours have thrust on it, or either of the two uprisings (Intifadas) that have been launched by the Palestinians.

The Guardian Newspaper – This influential British newspaper has for years been at the forefront of anti Israel reporting. The Guardian reported in "gruesome" terms the terrible terrorist attack in Bali, calling it "a strike without compunction and showing no mercy, designed to cause utter terror". They went on to call the perpetrators cowards and condemned the people that carried out this heinous act as having "demonstrated a total disrespect for human life". They stressed several times the youth of most of the victims. This report is in blaring contrast to the one issued on the disco bombing in Tel Aviv. That attack, by a brain washed Palestinian ghoul destroyed the lives of 20 youngsters and injured over a 100 more. The Guardian showed no revulsion for this act and in fact referred to most of the victims in a cold manner as follows "most of the patrons were Russian immigrants". The only personal reference to give the reader any idea of the horror of this act was provided, not by their reporter, but by an eyewitness who said "I saw parts of a brain, things I have never seen before. It was terrible"

Chris Patten – British EU Commissioner. This delusional man has for years claimed and I quote "We have looked at every one of the documents presented to us... we have not found yet – and I have to say 'yet' because we are continuing to look at these things – a case of money being diverted for terrorist purposes." The Palestinians have had more aid money than any other people in the world, (a large portion of it coming from the EU) yet their standard of living remains substandard. Yasser Arafat was recently on a list of the worlds wealthiest people. There were constant talks of starvation among the Palestinians. Surprisingly Mr. Patten never seemed to make any connection to the endless supply of weapons and masked gunmen that poured into the street to fire state of the art machine guns every time some ghoul succeeded in blowing up innocent people in Israel and the billions of dollars he claimed were not used for terrorism.

All of the above need a strong constitution when it comes to feeling utter shame and contempt, however none of them have ever come close to the repugnant Jack Straw; member of British Parliament and Foreign Secretary.

This man almost choked on his Sunday lunch after Israel targeted the evil spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheik Yassin. Upon hearing the news of his death Mr. Straw sickeningly declared it "unacceptable & unjustified. He made similar statements after Israel targeted the quadriplegic's evil successor Rantissi.

Yasser Arafat was barely in the rigor mortis stage when world leaders poured into Cairo to attend his funeral, among them Jack Straw.

Yasser Arafat was finally laid to rest in his Ramallah compound. One can take some small consolation from the fact that his decomposition will be a long drawn out process, with no self respecting worm eating away at the evil corpse of this mass murdering terrorist.

This is more than can be said for the worm that stood above the ground in the shape of Jack Straw. This representative of the Queens Government placed a garland of red and gold chrysanthemums on the grave, as if to give legitimacy to the man that invented modern terrorism. He then went on to sign a book of condolences.

The only bright light to shine out of this former colonial power came from a world renowned footballer. On a recent football match in Poland the England team were taken to Auschwitz concentration camp. The star player and captain of the team David Beckham expressed his pride in his Jewish ancestry. (His grandfather was Jewish.)

Sadly at this point I fear even if David Beckham were to lift the World Cup trophy for England in Germany in 2006, this will not be enough to restore my pride in a nation that now stands in the forefront and almost united in apologizing for Palestinian terrorism.

The sun has truly set.