Tom Gross Mideast Media Analysis

Scoring goals against the “Israeli apartheid” myth

March 31, 2005

CONTENTS:

1. Israeli-Arab players the pride of Israel
2. Making up Apartheid in Ireland
3. Don't want to spoil the myth
4. Hatikva furor
5. Israel's chances for qualifying for 'Germany 2006'
6. Jose Mourinho lends a helping hand for peace
7. "IPSC calls for boycott of Ireland-Israel match" (Dublin, March 26, 2005)
8. "Arab striker keeps alive Israel's World Cup chances" (Al Bawaba, March 27, 2005)
9. "Jose never felt so humble" [as at the Western Wall] (The Sun, March 29, 2005)
10. "French goalie changes his mind" (Ynet- Yedioth Ahronoth, March 27, 2005)

 



ISRAELI-ARAB PLAYERS THE PRIDE OF ISRAEL

[Note by Tom Gross]

Almost half the subscribers to this email list are American, but no doubt everyone knows the global importance of football (soccer) in formulating national pride and domestic unity.

In the last four days, Israel has played two crucial World Cup qualifying matches. (They were played in Tel Aviv before a sellout crowd of 44,000, not in Cyprus where Israel was forced to play its 'home' matches in the Euro 2004 qualifying group.) Israel's opponents were two of the top ranked teams in the world – France and the Republic of Ireland. In both matches Israel achieved what are considered to be very good results, forcing 1-1 draws.

In both cases, Israel's late equalizing goals were scored by Israeli-Arab players, Abbas Suwan in the Ireland match on Saturday, and Walid Badir in the France match yesterday. Unlike Irish television (see below) these Israeli Arab players say they were proud to sing and listen to the Israeli national anthem at the start of the matches.

Many people around the world, including some subscribers to this email list, may be surprised to learn there are Arabs on the Israeli national side at all. Or that Arabs were representing the Israeli national team even while Protestants were still de facto excluded from the Irish one.

They may be surprised to learn Israeli Arabs are not just represented at all levels of Israeli football, but in Israeli society too. Although things are not perfect for the Arab minority, they are a lot better than for minorities in almost every other country in Asia, as well as many European countries. Israel has Arab members of parliament representing most parties, including the Likud, Arab professors and industrialists, Arab doctors and ambassadors, Arabs serving in the army, and so on.

 

MAKING UP APARTHEID IN IRELAND

But this isn't the impression many in Europe like to hold of Israel. For example, some Irish media, egged on by The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign argued that Ireland shouldn't play in "Apartheid Israel."

(See www.supportpalestine.org/soccerStatement.html)

Knowing next to nothing about geopolitics and the virtual apartheid that does actually exist between different ethnic groups in many countries throughout Asia, Africa and beyond (try voting or owning property in a 'moderate' state like Kuwait, for example, if you weren't born to the right tribal group), the Irish group instead stated: "The Irish people should not allow Israel to use the football field to represent and assert its apartheid politics in front of the international community."

But many Irish fans were not that easily fooled by this propaganda. Over 3,000 Irish soccer fans disregarded the call, arriving from Dublin for the match on specially chartered flights. They also toured Israel, visiting Jerusalem's Via Dolorosa, and other sites.

 

DON'T WANT TO SPOIL THE MYTH

Although there many international world cup qualifiers played yesterday, such was the footballing importance of Israel holding France (the 1998 world champions) to a draw last night that today's international papers generally lead with the Israeli-France match rather than the other matches. Yet apart from in the Italian press today and in one or two other countries slightly more sympathetic to Israel, hardly any European papers mention that Israel's goalscorer was again an Arab. The very same newspapers that have recently carried articles suggesting that Israel was an "apartheid society" unsurprisingly neglected to mention in their match reports that Israel's scorers were Arabs.

In contrast to many European papers, the Arab publication Al Bawaba had no inhibitions about mentioning how Jews and Arabs play together in Israel. (See the article below titled "Arab striker goal keeps alive Israel's World Cup chances.")

 

HATIKVA FUROR

Israel's Football Association and an Irish Jewish group made an official complaint after Irish television commentators spoke over the Hatikvah (Israel's national anthem) during their coverage of the country's World Cup match last Saturday. A spokesman for Irish television later said: "We apologize for any offence caused. It was a mistake to talk over the anthem."

 

BOOING THE FRENCH

Last week, the French national goalkeeper, Fabien Barthez, announced that he wouldn't go to go to Tel Aviv as a political protest against Israeli policies. In the end, he went, and The Jerusalem Post published a sarcastic headline: "'Fabien the Brave' lands in Israel."

The French goalkeeper was booed throughout last night's match. According to eyewitness reports, the booing was led by French Jews who living in Israel and were furious with him for his anti-Israel comments.

 

ISRAEL'S CHANCES FOR QUALIFYING FOR GERMANY 2006

Israel remains undefeated after six matches in Group 4 of 2006 World Cup qualifying. Last night’s draw means France and Israel jointly lead the group with 10 points, followed by Switzerland – which won 1-0 last night against Cyprus – and Ireland, both with 9 points.

Israel's next two games will decide her fate, since the last two games against the Faroe Islands should be foregone conclusions. This is the tightest European group for qualification to the World Cup in Germany of 2006.

The group winner will advance to the Finals automatically, as will the two best second-place teams out of the eight European groups. The remaining six second-place teams enter a playoff round for the final three spots. Israel has not qualified for a World Cup since 1970.

Israel's remaining games are:
June 4: Rep of Ireland V. Israel
September 3: Switzerland V. Israel
September 7: Faroe Islands V. Israel
October 8: Israel V. Faroe Islands

 

JOSE MOURINHO'S LENDS A HELPING HAND FOR PEACE

As predicted in the dispatch of March 17, 2005 (World's top soccer coach Jose Mourinho to visit Israel), a large number of foreign journalists followed Jose Mourinho, the world’s most talked about soccer coach, on his trip to Israel last weekend.

"We are here because of all the affairs Mourinho is involved in," said Andy Dillon of the English daily The Sun. "Mourinho fills our back pages every day and we will come as far as Israel to cover him," he said.

Dillon was one of 200 journalists who flew in specially to cover Mourinho's two-day trip, made at the invitation of the Peres Center for Peace and its "Twined Peace Soccer Schools."

Mourinho attended a "peace tournament" in Ramat Gan, saw 200 Israeli and Palestinian children play on mixed teams, and later coached a team of former sports stars and businessmen in a match against the Peres Center's mixed Palestinian-Israeli "Peace Team."

Mourinho also addressed some 150 football coaches from the Israeli first and second divisions, and then visited the Knesset as a guest of Labor MK Colette Avital, and the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Although Mourinho emphasized that his trip was to Israel (and indeed he didn't visit the Palestinian territories) some European media falsely portrayed the trip as a "solidarity visit" with the Palestinians.

I attach an article, below, from one of the papers (the English tabloid the Sun) that didn't falsely portray Mourinho's visit. Sven-Goran Eriksson, the England head coach, and Ronaldo, of Brazil and Barcelona have also been invited by Shimon Peres to Tel Aviv.

-- Tom Gross

 



FULL ARTICLES

IPSC CALLS ON FAI TO BOYCOTT IRELAND-ISRAEL MATCH IN TEL AVIV

IPSC Calls on FAI to Boycott Ireland-Israel Match in Tel Aviv
DUBLIN, March 26, 2005 (WAFA)

english.wafa.ps/cphotonews.asp?num=604

The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), called on the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and on Irish players and supporters to boycott Ireland-Israel match in Tel Aviv on 26 March 2005, 2006 World Cup Qualifiers, in a protest against Israel''s continued refusal to respect Palestinian rights and International law.

In a statement issued under the title of "Irish soccer should show Israel Apartheid the Red Card", IPSC said that while Israeli sportsmen and women travel freely around the world, the Palestinian team has to surmount a labyrinth of checkpoints and border crossings just to play their "home" matches overseas.

"A boycott of the games will sharpen attention on Apartheid Israel's illegal occupation and continuing colonization of the Palestinian people and their land", IPSC said.

Referring to the Impact of Israeli Apartheid on Palestinian football, IPSC said that Israeli authorities regularly prevent Palestinian players from attending international games.

"In September 2004, five players were prevented from traveling to the World Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan. Unable to play in Palestine, the team travels to Doha, Qatar, for "home" games and trains in Ismailia, Egypt, more than 100 miles from the local Gaza players'' homes", IPSC said.

"Israel's labyrinth of checkpoints makes just getting to and from training a journey fraught with danger. Players from the West Bank have to circumvent Israel''s Apartheid Wall, take a bus to Amman (Jordan) and then fly to Cairo to meet up with their Gazan teammates. Traveling within the Gaza Strip can take hours because of the checkpoints. For instance, it took Palestinian players 40 hours to get to Rafah from the Egyptian border after last year''s Uzbekistan match. Despite these hurdles, their recent success has inspired tens of thousands of Palestinian children to hope that there can be a future beyond the latest Israeli curfew", IPSC added.

IPSC also revealed that the future generations and sporting talent is being wasted by illegal Israeli occupation, restrictions on movement and collective punishment.

IPSC called upon the Irish soccer players and supporters to stand up for justice and human rights by boycotting the soccer matches between Ireland and Israel.

"The Irish people should not allow Israel to use the football field to represent and assert itself, with its occupation and apartheid politics, in front of the international community. Irish football should not allow players and supporters to be manipulated as political pawns by a criminal Israeli regime which shows a total disregard for International Law by continuing to imprison the Palestinian people behind an 8-metre high Apartheid wall built on stolen Palestinian land, while at the same time pretending to engage in peace talks", IPSC said.

IPSC made it clear that Solidarity activists from other countries in the qualifying group, Switzerland, France and the Faroe Islands, have also begun mobilizing public condemnation against the world''s last Apartheid regime.

 

ARAB STRIKER GOAL KEEPS ALIVE ISRAEL'S WORLD CUP CHANCES

Arab striker goal keeps alive Israel's World Cup chances
Al Bawaba
March 27, 2005

www.albawaba.com/en/news/181835

Sometimes sports and politics mingle, and when they do – sparks can be seen for great distances. One such example can be highlighted by a recent soccer game held in the Ramat Gan Stadium, near Tel Aviv in which a last gasp goal from Israeli Arab player Abbas Suwan held Ireland 1-1 and threw World Cup qualifying Group 4 wide open.

Residents of Sakhnin, an Arab town in northern Israel, were enthusiastically celebrating in the streets Saturday night after local hero Abbas Suwan, "Abnaa Sakhnin" striker, scored a very dramatic last-minute goal to lift Israel to a 1:1 draw against Ireland.

The Irish team led throughout the game after an early goal, but an extremely powerful drive by Suwan in the 90th minute found the left side, keeping Israel in a good position in its World Cup qualifiers pool. Israel's prospects of reaching the 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany were rescued by this dramatic 91st-minute equalizer.

Following the exciting game, Suwan mentioned it was his first goal for the national Israeli team and added he hoped more will come in the future.

It should be noted that just about a month ago, Suwan was heavily booed by Jerusalem's Beitar fans in a friendly match against Croatia, because he is Arab. Beitar is widely identified with the Israeli Right-Wing.

Saturday's spectacular goal, however, was the appropriate answer to all those who booed, Suwan said. He stated that the goal was his answer to the racists. "After what happened to me in Jerusalem, it was very moving to hear 40,000 fans cheering me. The goal is dedicated to everyone in Israel. It is time to stop talking of Jews and Arabs; we are all one people," he made clear.

"I thank everyone who cheered on the national team and made no distinction between Arabs and Jews," he said. "Everyone hugged me in the dressing room because they remembered what had happened."

In the meantime, an array of fireworks lit up the skies of Sakhnin, where a convoy of honking cars made its way to Suwan's house minutes after the game ended. Suwan's father, Abu Ahmed, said he could not express the excitement he felt in words.

"It's worth more than a million dollars," he said. "The honor he brought to the town, the (Arab) sector, and the entire country, is worth all the money in the world."

Suwan's wife, Tsafa, was the first to call him and congratulate him on the dramatic goal. "You brought great joy to all your fans and to an entire nation," she told him. Suwan's brother, Assam, said the family was very proud of him. "It's great pride, to have the entire country talking about my brother," he said. "You cannot ask for more".

 

FRENCH GOALIE CHANGES HIS MIND

French goalie changes his mind
Ynetnews
March 27, 2005

Fabien Barthez says he will play in Israel, despite announcing his plans not to travel with teammates last week
By Tomer Ganor

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3063949,00.html

France's national soccer team goalie Fabien Barthez has decided to join his teammates and will travel to Israel for a World Cup qualifier match against Israel's national team, despite announcing his decision last week to boycott the match due to his political view of IDF activity in the West Bank and Gaza.

"I'll come to Israel, it's alright, there's no problem. All in all we're supposed to play soccer there," he said in a news conference. "I know we'll be provided with tight security in Israel, I'm a professional and I'm willing to play there."

Barthez is currently training with his fellow teammates at the Clairefontaine training camp near Paris, in preparation for next weeks match.

France's forward Thierry Henri, who did not play in the match against Switzerland because of an injury, is also set to join the rest of the French squad for the planned match in Israel on Wednesday.

After a disappointing 0:0 draw with Switzerland on Saturday, French captain Patrick Vieria said he was still optimistic about his team's chances of reaching the World Cup.

"Luckily, the game between Israel and Ireland ended in a draw," he said. "We're coming to Israel on Wednesday to win."

In Israel, residents of the Arab-Israeli town of Sakhnin celebrated in the streets Saturday night after local hero Abbas Suwan scored a dramatic last-minute goal to lift Israel to a 1:1 draw against Ireland.

The Irish team led throughout the game after an early goal, but a powerful drive by Suwan in the 90th minute found the left corner, keeping Israel in a good position in its World Cup qualifiers pool.

In initial comments after the game, Suwan said it was his first goal for the national team and added he hoped more would follow.

 

MOURINHO VISITS THE WESTERN WALL

Jose never felt so humble
By Andrew Dillon
The Sun
March 29, 2005

www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2005141163,00.html

Cocky Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho yesterday admitted he felt "humbled" by a visit to Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall.

Mourinho, 42, left a private prayer to God on a slip of paper at the holy Jewish site.

He then made his own peace mission to Tel Aviv to coach mixed teams of Palestinian and Israeli kids.

Mourinho – who has been blasted as arrogant by Premiership rivals – said: "Sometimes people who work in football start to believe they're important.

"Coming here is like coming back to reality. It makes you feel humble."
Catholic Mourinho – who earns £[pounds] 5million a year – wore a traditional Jewish skullcap at the Wall. He then met a Rabbi who was blowing a ritual ram's horn instrument called a Shofar.

He was invited by the Peres Peace Centre which promotes harmony in Israel by running mixed football teams.

The Portuguese manager joined the organisation's founder – ex-Israeli PM Shimon Peres – to train the kids.

Mourinho said: "Football has a magical power. I'm happy to be able to use that power to help this cause."

Mr Peres said: "Football is war without bloodshed." Mourinho – who faces European soccer chiefs on disciplinary charges this week – brought presents from Chelsea and gave medals to the youngsters, aged from six to ten.

He added: "From now on, if there is anything I can do to help, I will."


Teachers object to book showing Jewish children

March 29, 2005

CONTENTS:

1. "Teachers object to book showing Jewish children" (Khaleej Times, March 29, 2005)
2. "Staff accuse Saudi hospital of maltreating aids patients" (By Essam Al-Ghalib, The Media Line, March 28, 2005)

 



SCANDAL AS SCHOOL BOOK SHOWS A PHOTO OF JEWISH CHILDREN

[Note by Tom Gross]

In Dubai, teachers and parents are complaining about a textbook ("Friends Forever") that shows a photograph of two Jewish children playing.

Dr Obaid Butti Al Mohiri, the Director of Curriculums Center at the Ministry of Education in Dubai, yesterday said he would order the withdrawal of the book for primary Class I of the Dubai International School if the complaints raised [about the photograph] were found genuine.

According to an article today in The Khaleej Times (a newspaper published in the United Arab Emirates, and which I attach below), it seems that the censors in Dubai check every book for signs of Jews and other transgressions. The article states that the staff employed to check schoolbooks claim they are overworked and cannot check every book, and they need to employ more people for this task.

The Khaleej Times does not explain why it would be wrong to show Jewish children as normal and illustrate that they can be "Friends Forever" just like Arab children.

I also attach another article dealing with life in the Gulf, in which it is revealed that non-Saudi HIV and AIDS patients are being treated in a manner that, according to Saudi hospital staff, worsens their condition and contributes to their death.

-- Tom Gross

 

ADDITIONAL NOTE FOR PERSONS USING MATERIAL FROM THIS EMAIL LIST:

Original material and research generated by this email list continues to be regularly used by journalists around the world, and they are welcome to do so. This is one of the biggest email lists of its kind for journalists, with subscribers in over 50 countries.

For example, the story in the dispatch of March 17, 2005 titled Mein Kampf is a bestseller in Turkey for second month in a row has been picked up by several news outlets whose senior editors and reporters subscribe to this list. For example, the Guardian's Athens correspondent writes about this story today under the title "Mein Kampf sales soar in Turkey."

Of course journalists rarely indicate where they learned of an idea for an article, even if they thank me privately for the tip. But when webloggers, NGOs and media commentators pick up stories which they originally learned of from this list – for example, several websites today refer to the story I sent yesterday (Yassin home to be turned into a museum), or when they use my original notes, commentary and summaries, I would be grateful if they would cite the fact that they derived these thoughts or information from me.

And for those individuals on this list who send on these dispatches to their friends and colleagues, I would ask you to retain the "Note by Tom Gross" at the top of the forwarded emails and not to remove it as some of you are doing, thereby passing off these notes as your own.

Thank you!
Tom Gross
Journalist and Mideast commentator

 




TEACHERS OBJECT TO BOOK SHOWING JEWISH CHILDREN

Teachers object to book showing Jewish children
By Mohsen Rashid
Khaleej Times
March 29, 2005

www.khaleejtimes.com/Displayarticle.asp?section=theuae&xfile=data/theuae/2005/march/theuae_march896.xml

Education authorities here have promised to review a book taught in an international private school that features a photograph of two Jewish children sporting plaited hair and yarmulke.

Dr Obaid Butti Al Mohiri, the Director of Curriculums Centre at the Ministry of Education, said he would order the withdrawal of the book for primary Class I of the Dubai International School if the complaints raised were found genuine.

Several teachers of the school telephoned Khaleej Times, complaining against the picture, captioned "We play together; we stick together", featured in the book Friends Forever. The teachers said that of all the pictures in the book, the students reacted sharply to only this picture.

When approached, the Educational Zone took the stand that its role was only mediating between private schools and the Curriculum Centre. The zone receives textbooks from the schools and sends them to the centre for scrutiny.

A source in the school said that these books were imported from outside the country and had not been reviewed.

When contacted, Dr Mohiri expressed anger that the matter was brought to him. "What should we do when we do not have enough staff to review textbooks in more than 400 schools countrywide?"

Dr Mohiri said he had been suggesting for two years to hire adequate staff, but his plea has remained unanswered. "We lack staff to follow up these books at schools as well as compel schools to send these books before distributing them to students," he said.

"What we could only do a year ago was to ask all school managements to review and check these books and submit a written undertaking along with copies of these books to the ministry that they had done so," he recalled.

Dr Mohiri said the ministry had set standards and rule to be adhered to when checking the books. In the event of sighting any violation, the school would be held responsible and the books withdrawn, he said. "Most such violations were discovered by parents, who in turn, notify us."

 

STAFF ACCUSE SAUDI HOSPITAL OF MALTREATING AIDS PATIENTS

Staff accuse Saudi hospial of maltreating AIDS patients
By Essam Al-Ghalib
The Media Line
March 28, 2005

www.themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=9530

An investigation into King Saud Hospital for Contagious Diseases here has revealed that non-Saudi HIV and AIDS patients are being treated in a manner that, according to hospital staff, worsens their condition and contributes to their death.

According to medical staff at the hospital, life-prolonging anti-viral medication is withheld from non-Saudi patients there, a practice that one doctor says allows the HIV virus to spread unchallenged. According to sources at the hospital, only Saudis are given these medicines because of their high cost, over SR5,000 (approx. $1,330) for one month’s supply.

"We have all sat and watched patients die a slow death. That is the nature of the disease. The length of our lives is of course pre-ordained by Allah, but we can improve the quality of our patients' lives if we had the proper funding for the medication they desperately need. When it is time for them to expire, they are left to die. In other hospitals they have intensive care units, they have EKG machines, resuscitation paddles, they have proper facilities. Here we have nothing. There is nothing more we can do for a person other than CPR in the event that their heart stops," said one doctor.

"There are no heart monitors here, nor any kidney dialysis machines. There is no 'Code Blue' protocol, which is a special alert to hospital emergency response teams that a patient has gone into cardiac arrest. In fact there are no emergency response teams here at all," he added.

A walk through the male deportation ward revealed that patients are either locked in their rooms or chained to their beds. The doctor described how patients would have to relieve themselves in bed when their calls for help went unanswered throughout the night. "I would come in for the morning shift and find patients lying in their own urine. They said they called out for the nurses for several hours overnight but no one came. After a while some of them started sleeping with empty plastic bottles by their bedside so that they can urinate," he said.

According to the doctor, the Saudi patients that are chained to their bed are under criminal indictment or serving out part of their sentence at the hospital. "This is a government hospital that deals with several Interior Ministry branches such as the police, and the Department of Passports and Immigration," he said.

There is a manned police substation on the property. One policeman could be seen seated on the lawn watching the entrance to the building. The hospital recently hired private security guards after a Pakistani man infected with tuberculosis and HIV escaped. The police arrested him four days later. The doctor said, "He left because he wanted to be with his family."

The male ward at King Saud Hospital is in a single story building where patients are under constant lock and key. There were 14 patients in the ward on this particular day, two Saudis and 12 expatriates. In room 712, six men are housed. Isma'il is the youngest one there. He is a 20-year-old man who hails from Myanmar. He has been dreading his deportation for over a year. He said: "It's very cramped here and we don’t get out much, but what can I do? I can't leave. All I can do is sit here and hope I don't get deported. In my country I may be killed, so I consider this a blessing."

When asked if this young man was given any anti-viral medication during his time at King Saud, the doctor said, "No. He will have to wait until he gets to his own country. It could be a very long time though, but I don't see him staying here for more than three years. A solution has to be found.

"His case is a special case because it doesn't seem like anyone will be coming for him. He will probably be here indefinitely because Myanmar doesn’t have an embassy or consulate here in Saudi," the doctor added.

According to medical staff at the hospital, the Philippines Consulate is the quickest to act when its citizens are diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. Deportation of their subjects does not normally take longer than a month, but in the case of Yemen, it often takes longer than a year.

Agnes Gaffud, an assistant to nationals officer with the Philippines Consulate in Jedda said: "Saudi Arabia wants foreigners, including Filipinos, to be treated in their own countries. We are required to arrange for the deportation of our citizens who are HIV positive as soon as possible so that their treatment can begin in the Philippines. Unfortunately, here the anti-viral medicines are reserved only for Saudi citizens."

A doctor at the hospital confirmed what Gaffud said. "Saudis are the only ones who receive the anti-virals. The cost is over SR5,000 a month and the Ministry of Health has dictated that these medicines only be provided for Saudis. Of course we give the expatriates simple, sometimes over-the-counter medicines to help them cope with some of the symptoms. If they have a headache for example, we give them a paracetamol. We just try to make them as comfortable as possible," he said.

"I don't know if an actual study has been done, but in my estimate I would say a three-month course can increase a patient's life by three to five years, because the anti-virals help stop the HIV virus from multiplying in the patient and becoming full-blown AIDS," he explained.

Dr. Sanaa Felimban is the medical director of King Saud Hospital, the first woman to hold such a position in Saudi Arabia. Dr. 'Abd Al-'Aziz Abalsaud, a doctor at the hospital explained that in his opinion, the problem is not with the hospital director or the medical staff.

He said: "Dr. Sanaa inherited a problem when she was assigned to this hospital. Things have improved over the past six months, but there is only so much she can do. In the past, the solution has been to fire a doctor or two, but that doesn't change anything, in fact it impacts the patients negatively."

Dr. Abalsaud described how patients come to view certain members of the medical staff as family. "When a patient is here for a prolonged period of time, he builds a relationship with the medical staff. When they get reassigned for whatever reason, it serves as a blow to the patients' morale," he explained.

Saudi health authorities last November reported an increase in the kingdom's AIDS cases from 6,787 to 7,808 during the prior twelve-month period. Na'sir Bin 'Salih Al-Khuzeim, head of the state-run Health Control Center, said at the time that 1,743 of those suffering from AIDS were Saudis, 588 of whom have since died as a result of the virus. There are no statistics available on the number of expatriates that have succumbed to the disease prior to deportation.


Yassin home to be turned into a museum (& Canadian teachers praise terror)

March 28, 2005

This is a follow-up to several previous dispatches on this list, including:

* Hamas art goes on display in Australia (Dec. 13, 2004)
* Yassin 1: Charming and Witty? (April 12, 2004)
* Yassin 2: "Spiritual brother of Osama bin Laden" (April 12, 2004)
* Fans flock to Harry Potter's grave in Israel & Coming soon: Arafat-Park (Feb. 2, 2005)

CONTENTS:

1. "Yassin home to be turned into museum" (By Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post, March 27, 2005)
2. "Islamic school suspends teachers over student's hate-filled tale" (Teachers told pupil it was 'good' to kill 'the [Israeli] Jews') (By Juliet O'Neill, The Ottawa Citizen, March 24, 2005)
3. The young pupil's story (As translated from Arabic for The Ottawa Citizen)

 



SHRINES TO YASSIN AND ARAFAT

[Note by Tom Gross]

While Israel created art museums and concert halls in its pre-state period, the Palestinians are planning to create a museum to commemorate one of their heroes, Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin. A museum dedicated to Yassin, a man responsible for the deaths of many hundreds of women and children, is to be opened in his former house. This means in a few months Palestinians will be able to visit shrines dedicated to both Yassin and Yasser Arafat and pay homage to their murderous exploits. (As detailed previously on this email list, an Arafat museum is being created in Ramallah.)

I attach an article about this and also an article about two Canadian teachers who have been suspended after they praised a young pupil for writing a story about how Ahmed Yassin and others gloriously killed Jews. "God bless you, your efforts are good," one of the teacher's wrote on the Ottawa boy's story.

There are summaries of these pieces first for those who don't have time to read them in full.

 

SUMMARIES

YASSIN HOME TO BE TURNED INTO A MUSEUM

"Yassin home to be turned into museum" (By Khaled Abu Toameh, The Jerusalem Post, March 27, 2005)

Hamas has decided to turn the home of its slain leader, Ahmed Yassin, in Gaza City's Sabra neighborhood, into a museum... Hamas officials said the museum in the five-room house will be open to the public in the next few weeks ... A top Hamas official in the Gaza Strip said the new museum is aimed at "acquainting the Palestinians with Yassin's legacy and reminding them of Israeli atrocities."

The decision to turn Yassin's home into a museum comes in the wake of a similar move by the Palestinian Authority to commemorate Yasser Arafat... According to officials, the [Arafat] museum will offer a rare glimpse into Arafat's private life by putting on display his personal belongings, including his military outfit, ranks, badges and private handgun, as well as various documents and pictures.

 

CANADIAN TEACHERS PRAISE YOUNG PUPIL'S STORY IN OTTAWA: "'YOU KILLED THEM ALL [THE JEWS].' AHMED [YASSIN] ANSWERED: 'PRAISE BE TO GOD.'"

"Islamic school suspends teachers over student's hate-filled tale. 'God bless you, your efforts are good,' instructor wrote on Ottawa boy's story celebrating violence, hatred against Jews" (By Juliet O'Neill, The Ottawa Citizen, March 24, 2005)

The Ottawa Citizen reports that two teachers at a local Islamic school have been suspended for praising a young student for his violence-laden writing project inciting hatred against Jews. The suspension came when one of the students at the Abraar Islamic School wrote a story about Palestinians ambushing and killing Israelis.

On the cover page, the boy drew a burning Jewish star and a Palestinian flag atop the Dome of the Rock. The two teachers praised the project in comments written on the cover and margins.

"God bless you, your efforts are good," the teacher wrote on the title page. "The story of the hero Ahmed and the hero Salah is still alive. The end will be soon when God unites us all in Jerusalem to pray there."

On the margins inside the story, the teacher had written a note endorsing the boy's fantasy of a young Ahmed Yassin [of Hamas – see above] and his friend, Salah El-Dine, ambushing Israeli soldiers.

"Without thinking, Ahmed took his M16 machine-gun and threw the bombs, and he showered the Jews; this resulted in the killing of the soldiers," the boy's text reads. "Salah said: 'You killed them all.' Ahmed answered: 'Praise be to God.'"

Principal Aisha Sherazi said the seven-member school board and administration were "shocked" by teacher involvement in the project that was brought to her attention by the Ottawa Citizen last Wednesday, and decided at an emergency meeting to suspend the instructors. Mrs. Sherazi declined to name the student, for privacy reasons, or the teachers until the investigation is complete.

One teacher was apparently involved in the artistic production of the eight-page story of killing and martyrdom.

The Abraar School, established in 2000, teaches students full time from junior kindergarten up to Grade 8. About 260 students are enrolled at the school. The school web page says it is designed to provide "a proper Islamic environment for growing and learning" and to help preserve Islamic culture in Ottawa.

"DONE WITH OUR THANKS TO GOD"

The Ottawa Citizen included a translation of the boy's story (which is attached at the end of this email). Among the lines are: "Ahmed [Yassin] said: "Salah and my son killed 10 Jews last week." Another line, praised by the teachers, was "Without thinking, Ahmed took his M16 machine gun and threw the bombs, and he showered the Jews" ... "Done with our thanks to God."

-- Tom Gross

 



FULL ARTICLES

YASSIN HOME TO BE TURNED INTO A MUSEUM

Yassin home to be turned into museum
By Khaled Abu Toameh
The Jerusalem Post
March 27, 2005

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1111893690968

Hamas has decided to turn the home of its slain leader, Ahmed Yassin, in Gaza City's Sabra neighborhood into a museum.

The decision comes on the first anniversary of the assassination of Yassin, who was killed by missiles fired by an IAF helicopter as he was returning home from dawn prayers at a nearby mosque.

Hamas marked the occasion last week by holding a series of rallies throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Thousands of Hamas supporters participated in the rallies, organized under the slogan "Week of the Martyrs" Hamas officials said the museum in the five-room house will be open to the public in the next few weeks. On display will be parts of Yassin's wheelchair, his blood-stained clothes and his private computer, as well as other personal items, including books and newspaper clippings.

A top Hamas official in the Gaza Strip said the new museum is aimed at "acquainting the Palestinians with Yassin's legacy and reminding them of Israeli atrocities."

The decision to turn Yassin's home into a museum comes in the wake of a similar move by the Palestinian Authority to commemorate Yasser Arafat. PA officials announced earlier this year that one of the rooms inside the Mukata "presidential" compound in Ramallah would be turned into a small museum in honor of Arafat.

According to the officials, the museum will offer a rare glimpse into Arafat's private life by putting on display his personal belongings, including his military outfit, ranks, badges and private handgun, as well as various documents and pictures.

Meanwhile, Hamas said on Sunday that it had chosen its candidates for the next round of municipal elections, due to be held in the Gaza Strip on May 5.

"We have chosen our lists of candidates for the local elections," Sami Abu Zuhari, a spokesman for Hamas, said. He added that the Hamas candidates were chosen on the basis of their integrity and professional and academic qualifications, and not according to family connections.

Jamal Shobaki, chairman of the PA's local elections committee, said the elections in the Gaza Strip would be held in eight areas: Rafah, Beit Lahiya, Abbasan Al-Kabirah, Abbasan Al-Saghirah, Al-Bureij, Mughraka, Wad Al-Salaka and Wad Gaza. Altogether, these councils have 94 seats.

Shobaki said a total 796 candidates had registered to run in the election, which would also be held in 78 West Bank municipalities and village councils.

Amid fears that Hamas might win the vote, Fatah leaders began two days of discussions in Gaza City on Sunday to discuss preparations for the elections.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas is attending the talks, which will also focus on July's legislative vote and primary elections in Fatah.

 

CANADIAN TEACHERS PRAISE TERROR

Islamic school suspends teachers over student's hate-filled tale
'God bless you, your efforts are good,' instructor wrote on Ottawa boy's story celebrating violence, hatred against Jews

Juliet O'Neill
The Ottawa Citizen
March 24, 2005

www.canada.com/components/printstory/printstory4.aspx?id=00033b4e-c48e-455e-8a3c-80cd07777fa5

[Picture caption: The cover page of the boy's story is illustrated with a burning Star of David beside a machine-gun and a Palestinian flag atop the Dome of the Rock, an ancient Muslim shrine in Jerusalem. The text next to the shrine reads: 'With the call of God is the Greatest, the flag of Zionism will fall and will be destroyed.']

Two teachers at the Abraar Islamic school in Ottawa were suspended yesterday pending an investigation into the encouragement or incitement of hatred against Jews expressed in a young student's violence-laden writing project.

Principal Aisha Sherazi said the seven-member school board and administration were "shocked" by teacher involvement in the project that was brought to her attention by the Citizen yesterday morning, and decided at an emergency meeting to suspend the instructors.

One teacher was apparently involved in the artistic production of the eight-page story of killing and martyrdom. Handwritten in Arabic and titled The Long Road, the cover page was illustrated by a drawing of a burning Star of David beside a machine-gun and Palestinian flag atop the Dome of the Rock, an ancient Muslim shrine in Jerusalem.

The other teacher had written comments on the student's paper, praising the boy's story of revenge for the assassination by Israeli forces a year ago of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, a co-founder of Hamas, in retaliation for suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.

"God bless you, your efforts are good," the teacher wrote on the title page. "The story of the hero Ahmed and the hero Salah is still alive. The end will be soon when God unites us all in Jerusalem to pray there."

On the margins inside the story, the teacher had written a note endorsing the boy's fantasy of a young Ahmed Yassin and his friend, Salah El-Dine, ambushing Israeli soldiers.

"Without thinking, Ahmed took his M16 machine-gun and threw the bombs, and he showered the Jews; this resulted in the killing of the soldiers," the boy's text reads. "Salah said: 'You killed them all.' Ahmed answered: 'Praise be to God.'"

The fantasy heroes are quoted at the end of the story saying: "We promise God and the heroes of Al-Aksa that we will continue the path, we will continue in spite of the difficulties and the hardships until the victory or the martyrdom, we will not surrender; we will fight for the sake of God until the end."

Mrs. Sherazi declined to name the student, for privacy reasons, or the teachers until the investigation is complete. "Then we'll see what action we decide we want to take," she said.

Mrs. Sherazi, a 32-year-old teacher who took over as principal in recent months, does not speak or read Arabic. She expressed surprise about the drawing and the story, even though it had reportedly been displayed in a glass case at the school.

The Citizen obtained two translations of the story before asking the principal about it. She said such a subject was not on the curriculum, but it may have been a submission in a creative writing contest for the Arabic studies class, where students could choose their own topics.

"Upon the issue being brought to the attention of the school principal, an emergency meeting was held today by the board and administration," Mrs. Sherazi said in a prepared statement.

"The individuals involved were immediately suspended pending an internal investigation. Encouraging or inciting hatred is strictly prohibited at our school. We will take all measures to investigate this matter and ensure that it does not reoccur."

Mrs. Sherazi said in an interview that the situation is "very, very shocking for everybody involved. Emotions run high so it's a difficult issue in general, very upsetting to all concerned."

The Abraar school, established in 2000, teaches students full time from junior kindergarten up to Grade 8. About 260 students are enrolled at the school, which is located on Grenon Avenue, near Bayshore. The school web page says it is designed to provide "a proper Islamic environment for growing and learning" and to help preserve Islamic culture in Ottawa.

"A lot of hard work is being done and where kids are involved it's just a great shame when things like this happen," Mrs. Sherazi added.

Mary Schoones, an educational consultant who has worked part-time at the school on professional development for more than a year and teaches education at the University of Ottawa, said it would be a shame if the staff at the school was tarnished by the incident.

"During my tenure at the Abraar school I have had the privilege to work with all the Abraar teaching staff and found them to be warm, caring and professional," Ms. Schoones said.

"As a teacher who has dealt with equity issues in the past, I have found the staff to have accepted and welcomed my presence. At no time during my tenure at the school have I seen any racial comments towards any culture. In fact I have found the staff to be interested in learning about all aspects of Canadian culture. I would consider it a shame if all the hard work put in by staff at the school was tarnished by this incident."

 

THE PUPIL'S STORY

The Story (As translated from Arabic for the Ottawa Citizen)

www.canada.com/components/printstory/printstory4.aspx?id=00033b4e-c48e-455e-8a3c-80cd07777fa5

Introduction

A tragedy. It seems that nothing can be worse than what happened today. I think that you know what happened. It is the imam Sheikh Ahmed Yassine the martyr. Two weeks after the martyrization of the sheikh, our hero Ahmed Yassine was born in Gaza ...

My hope is for God to be pleased with me.

- - -

Ahmed grew up and was educated in the mosque where he had a religious education. He grew up with his friend Salah El-Dine knowing that Palestine should become free. They were always fighting, with the rest of the children, until Ahmed and Salah grew up and went to university. When Ahmed reached 33 years of age, a tragedy occurred ...

Ahmed entered his house and greeted his mother. He heard the broadcaster say: "Killing of 10 Zionist soldiers in fierce clashes in Gaza." Ahmed said: "This is a lie. Myself, Salah and the rest of the fighters, we killed 30 of them." His mother told him: "God bless you my dear."

One day, when Ahmed was returning home with his father from the Friday prayers, the soldiers killed him before his eyes. In the latter's house ... Om Ayman, the neighbour, said: "There is no power or strength except in God, God be with you Om Ahmed. I wish we can take revenge from them who killed Ayman while fighting and now it is Salah El-Dine who is fighting."

Om Ahmed said: "Do they have to fight? Salah and my son killed 10 Jews last week."

Om Ayman said: "We hope for God to protect them."

Om Ahmed: "Amen."

During the night ...

Om Ayman told her husband all of what happened. When she fell asleep, he got in touch with his officer: "I think that you have learned that it is an ambush!"

The same night, Ahmed was unable to sleep, he felt an imminent danger. Ten minutes later, the Israeli bulldozers came; he quickly woke up Salah then they ran away ...

The soldiers destroyed the two houses and searched in the rubble; they did not find Ahmed and Salah. The officer ordered to search for them.

The army searched but did not find them. After a short while, two soldiers astray from the rest of the troop passed by; Ahmed killed them both and took their weapons and after the two soldiers were killed, the two friends escaped to the mountains.

One day ...

"I will go and find out what happened to our homes?" Ahmed said: "Good Salah, but be careful." An hour later, Salah came back and said in pain: "The commandos killed our families; we will take vengeance."

Ahmed said: "That is fine, the retaliation is coming and they will not escape us harming them."

Salah said: "God willing."

The cave in which Ahmed Yassine and Salah El-Dine lived was far from sight, but one day ...

"The place is besieged, they surrendered."

The voice of the officer.

Without thinking, Ahmed took his M16 machine gun and threw the bombs, and he showered the Jews; this resulted in the killing of the soldiers.

Salah said: "You killed them all."

Ahmed answered: "Praise be to God."

They immediately collected the ammunition and they moved from one cave to another.

A few days later ...

Ahmed said: "I learned that Shalom will pass through here; the street is 500 meters away from us, and I will kill him."

A week later ...

Ahmed armed himself with a machine gun and bombs and hid in the long grass and waited for the victim.

One hour later ...

Shalom's car passed by and Ahmed threw all the hand bombs he had, which resulted in the killing of Shalom. Following his killing, Ahmed fought a fierce fight with the guards, which resulted in Ahmed being wounded by the bullets of the occupation and which led to the killing of them all.

Following the killing of the soldiers, Ahmed saw a poster on which was written:

Wanted by Israel:

Ahmed Yassine - Salah El-Dine

In Gaza only

Call: 555-6710

The award: US $1.000.000.000.000

Ahmed realized that, somehow, the Israeli learned of their presence. He hurried and told Salah about what happened.

After a long discussion, the two heroes decided to escape.

It was dawn. Ahmed quickly visited Ahmed Yassine's tomb (illegible) along with Salah. They said at the same time:

"We promise God and the heroes of Al-Aksa that we will continue the path, we will continue in spite of the difficulties and the hardships until the victory or the martyrdom, we will not surrender; we will fight for the sake of God until the end."

[Pupil's signature here]

Done with our thanks to God.

Ran with fact box "The story", which has been appended to the story.


Al-Jazeera to be launched in English in America

March 23, 2005

* Fox News unlikely to be concerned about losing viewers
* British bank launches Islamic mortgage

 

CONTENTS

1. "As free as al-Jazeera"
2. The other side of al-Jazeera
3. British bank launches Islamic mortgage
4. "Al-Jazeera to be launched in English in America" (Arab News, March 22, 2005)
5. "British bank launches Islamic Mortgage" (Islam Online, March 22, 2005)


"AS FREE AS AL-JAZEERA"

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach a report from the Saudi-based English language daily "Arab News" about al-Jazeera, and a report from Islam Online about the launch by a major British bank of an "Islamic Mortgage."

The al-Jazeera news channel, which is already watched by up to 50 million Arabic-speaking households throughout the world, is "to provide English speakers in the U.S. and elsewhere with more accurate and informed reporting about the world's most turbulent region."

Arab News, a highly partisan newspaper, quotes several people welcoming al- Jazeera and criticizing US concerns:

"The U.S. needs to find a way to engage the Arab media, rather than shut down, marginalize, and ostracize news mediums such as al-Jazeera," said Rajiv Chandrasekaran, the Washington Post's former Baghdad bureau chief.

"It is in the interest of the U.S. government to encourage new Arabic channels to be as free as al-Jazeera," added Patrick Theros, former U.S. ambassador to Qatar, according to Arab News.

THE OTHER SIDE OF AL-JAZEERA

Not mentioned by Arab News are some of the lies and conspiracy theories regularly broadcast on air and on line by al-Jazeera.

I have been documented a number of these on this email list over the years.

There are three examples in dispatches in the last two months alone:

(1) Latest myth: "Israelis to establish settlement in Turkey" (January 27, 2005): "Qatar-based satellite television network al-Jazeera reported that the Zionist regime has made a proposal to establish a Jewish settlement in Turkey in southeastern Anatolia... A wave of concern swept over Turkish citizens and political circles after the news was reported, since the Zionist regime's current policies remind them of Israel's usurpation of Palestinian territories and its slogan about the so-called Greater Israel: 'From the Nile to the Euphrates'"

(2) Latest conspiracy theory: "Mossad agents running ops inside the U.S" (January 13, 2005): "Could it be that the 200 al-Qaeda members, Mossad warned about, are in reality their own agents sent to frame Arabs for "terrorist attacks"?" asked al-Jazeera on January 12, 2005, in relation to the 9/11 attacks.

(3) "Israel killed Hariri" - Latest Arab and Iranian conspiracy theory (February 15, 2005). Al-Jazeera.com carried suggestions Israel was behind the murder of the former Lebanese, anti-Syrian prime minister, when it was in fact almost certainly ordered by Syrian intelligence chief Rustom Ghazale, who is the de facto ruler of Lebanon.

BRITISH BANK LAUNCHES ISLAMIC MORTGAGE

In a separate development, in another sign of how Islamic perspectives are making inroads into western societies, attached below is a story from today's Islam Online website, titled "British Bank launches Islamic mortgage."

In summary: Lloyds TSB, Britain's fifth-largest bank, has become the third bank in the country to offer mortgage services compatible with Sharia (Muslim law).

New Islamic mortgages and current accounts are being piloted in branches across heavily-Muslim populated areas of Britain, including Edgware Road in central London, Luton, north of the capital and the country's second city Birmingham.

Observers said "the needs of Britain's approximately 1.8 million Muslims needed to be catered for."

British banks have not offered special financial services to placate the interests of other minorities in Britain, of which there are several.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

ARAB NEWS: AL-JAZEERA TO BE LAUNCHED IN ENGLISH IN AMERICA

Al-Jazeera to be launched in English in America
By Barbara Ferguson
U.S. correspondent, Arab News
March 22, 2005

arabnews.com/?page=4§ion=0&article=60858&d=22&m=3&y=2005&pix=world.jpg&category=World

Al-Jazeera news channel, the bete noire of both the Bush administration and many Arab governments, is shown on a daily basis to 35 to 50 million Arab households throughout the world.

Soon Americans will be viewing it in their homes – in English.

Since it began broadcasting in 1996, al-Jazeera has made a name for itself by annoying both the U.S. government and Arab regimes for its controversial coverage. Love it or hate it, it has revolutionized reporting in the Middle East.

Now its executives say they want to launch an English-language news channel from the U.S., to provide English speakers in the U.S. and elsewhere with more accurate and informed reporting about the world’s most turbulent region.

This may not be such a bad thing, said experts during a recent briefing, who say the U.S. should not vilify Al-Jazeera, but rather work to help it succeed.

"The U.S. needs to find a way to engage the Arab media, rather than shut down, marginalize, and ostracize news mediums such as al-Jazeera," said Rajiv Chandrasekaran, the Washington Post’s former Baghdad bureau chief.

Speaking during a panel discussion organized by the John Hopkins University School of Advance International Studies, SAIS, Chandrasekaran, said: “The U.S. needs to find a more constructive way to deal with al-Jazeera, which is key to further the U.S. agenda of democracy in the region."

His comments came following the viewing of "Control Room," a documentary about al-Jazeera during the 2003 launch of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

SAIS assembled a strong lineup of panelists: Chandrasekaran; Josh Rushing, the former Marine Corps captain and Central Command spokesman who is prominently featured in the film; Mohamed Alami, a Washington-based reporter for al-Jazeera; and Ambassador Patrick Theros, former U.S. ambassador to Qatar, al-Jazeera's home base.

Alami echoed Chandrasekaran's remarks, accusing the U.S. of "behaving like an Arab regime by insisting the problem is not the message, but the messenger."

"The Arab world is suffering from a great deficiency of freedom, and many of our bureaus have been shut down in Arab countries."

Al-Jazeera has changed the Arab media and the Arab people's perspective of what they can expect from their media forever, he said. Patrick Theros, U.S. ambassador to Qatar when the al-Jazeera was launched, agreed: "It is in the interest of the U.S. government to encourage new Arabic channels to be as free as al-Jazeera."

 

ISLAM ONLINE: LLOYDS TSB BANK LAUNCHES ISLAMIC MORTGAGE

British Bank launches Islamic mortgage
Islam Online
March 22, 2005

(IslamOnline.net & News Agencies)

www.islam-online.net/English/News/2005-03/22/article03.shtml

Lloyds TSB, Britain's fifth-largest bank, has become the third bank in the country to offer mortgage services compatible with Sharia (Muslim law).

Lloyds TSB said Monday, March 21, it would cater to the needs of Britain's approximately 1.8 million Muslims, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The service differed from conventional British mortgages because it was "based on completely different principles," said bank official Emile Abu-Shakra.

"What we are doing is buying the property on behalf of the customer and then leasing it back to them in a way which allows them to legally own it at the same time, to get ownership."

Crucially, no interest would be payable. Under Sharia, interest on bank accounts is haram (unlawful) because such interest is an increase of money made without effort or trade.

Islam prohibits depositing one's wealth and taking specified increase without the risk of either loss or profit making.

Therefore, the type of investment allowed is where a person deposits money in an account and shares both the risk of making profit or losing.

Sharia further forbids Muslims from receiving or paying interest on loans.

Under the new mortgage, the amount paid over the 25-year term would be broadly similar to a conventional mortgage.

The British bank would fund up to 90 percent of a house purchase and the customer would then repay that sum over a fixed period, alongside a rent payment for use of the property.

"It's a form of rental, but it’s completely compliant with Islamic law and avoids the interest system so it looks the same," Abu-Shakra added.

The mortgage offered a solution to Muslim customers who wanted to buy a property but would not enter into a traditional mortgage agreement.

"Finding the money for a new home can be tough at the best of times, but Britain’s Muslims face an even more difficult dilemma," said Mark Austin, of Lloyds TSB Islamic Financial Services.

"With traditional, interest-based mortgages out of the question for many, the choice has tended to be between going against the faith or avoiding a mortgage altogether."

The mortgage and current account were being piloted in branches across heavily-Muslim populated areas of Britain, including Edgware Road in central London, Luton, north of the capital and the country's second city Birmingham.

Both services can be operated through any of the bank’s 2000 branches across Britain.

The bank said that it will derive much benefit from the market for Muslim-orientated financial products.

"The Muslim population in the UK is one of the fastest growing communities," Abu-Shakra said.

"There are around two million Muslims in the UK at the moment, they haven't had access to this type of product in this way before so, it's going to be attractive to them. There is definitely a market for it."

The move follows Lloyds TSB's recently-launched Islamic bank account, which also offers no interest or overdraft facilities to comply with Sharia.

In 2003, HSBC banking group became the fist high street bank in Britain to offer mortgages and current accounts in accordance with Sharia.

A year later, the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) became the first Islamic bank to open its doors in the country.


Putin to visit Israel – a first for Russia

CONTENTS

1. "Putin to Visit Israel - a First for Russia" (AP, March 22, 2005)
2. "Putin's Pro-Israel Policy" (By Prof. Mark N. Katz, Middle East Quarterly)

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

I have long argued that while Israel's position vis-a-vis west European (and certain other) countries has deteriorated in recent years, it has greatly improved among the three most important developing powers, China, Russia and India.

Vladimir Putin's decision to visit Israel – the first by a Russian president – is a significant achievement for the government in Jerusalem and for Ariel Sharon in particular, who has patiently and skillfully established closer relations with Moscow since becoming prime minister in 2001.

Russia has traditionally backed Israel's enemies especially in the wars of 1967 and 1973. Moscow and its intelligence services long had close ties with the PLO and Abu Mazen (Mohammed Abbas) wrote his thesis, which included some Holocaust denial, at Moscow University.

Israel will no doubt use Putin's visit as an opportunity to ask Russia to desist from their continuing support for the Syrian regime and for the Iranian nuclear program.

Putin will arrive in Israel on April 27. Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and former Russian President Boris Yeltsin visited Israel only after they left office.

The second of the pieces I attach is by Mark N. Katz, a professor of government and politics at George Mason University, and will likely only appeal to specialists on this list.

-- Tom Gross

 


FULL ARTICLES

PUTIN TO VISIT ISRAEL

Putin to Visit Israel - a First for Russia
By Gavin Rabinowitz
The Associated Press
March 22, 2005

www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-israel-russia,0,2175924,print.story?coll=sns-ap-nationworld-headlines

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Israel at the end of April, the first visit ever by a Russian leader to the Jewish state, Israeli officials said Tuesday.

Israeli-Russian relations have improved greatly in the past 15 years since the fall of the Soviet Union, which supported Israel's Arab enemies. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who is of Russian descent, has visited Moscow three times since taking office in 2001. Sharon, who learned Russian from his parents, has spoken with Putin on the phone.

Putin will arrive in Israel on April 27 for a two-day visit, officially as a guest of President Moshe Katsav, said Ron Ben-Yishai, an aide to Katsav.

Kremlin officials could not confirm the plan.

Katsav invited Putin during a meeting in Poland earlier in the year at commemorations to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp, and Putin has now formally accepted, Ben-Yishai said.

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and Russian chief of state Boris Yeltsin visited Israel after they left office.

During the historic trip Putin will meet with Sharon and other senior Israeli officials for talks on advancing Middle East peace talks, Ben-Yishai said. Katsav, who holds a largely ceremonial position, will host a state banquet for Putin.

Russia is a member of the so-called Quartet of international mediators for the Middle East peacemaking, along with the United States, the United Nations and the European Union.

The Quartet sponsored the 2003 "road map" peace plan, a three-stage program for creating a Palestinian state. Neither Israel nor the Palestinians carried out the initial requirements, and the plan has stalled.

It was not clear if Putin would also meet with Palestinian officials.

Ties between the two countries have been strained in recent months over a Russian decision to supply Israel's arch-foe, Syria, with advanced missiles.

Katsav extended the invitation to Putin during a meeting in Poland earlier in the year at commemorations to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp, and Putin has now formally accepted, Ben-Yishai said.

Katsav will travel in turn to Moscow in May to attend Russian ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, Ben-Yishai said.

 

PUTIN'S PRO-ISRAEL POLICY

Putin's Pro-Israel Policy
By Mark N. Katz
Middle East Quarterly
Winter 2004

The Russian government remains the greatest facilitator for Iranian nuclear ambitions. It has had close ties to terror-sponsoring regimes such as Syria and Saddam's Iraq. Russian president Vladimir Putin has not hesitated to oppose U.S. foreign policy. Washington and Moscow have clashed frequently over the Iraq war and its aftermath. But, mostly unnoticed by foreign policy pundits and Middle East watchers, Russia's policy toward Israel has undergone a steady shift.

Under Putin, Russia has not only declined to adopt Western Europe's increasingly shrill anti-Israel posture, but in many ways he has actually tilted Russian policy in Israel's favor, at least with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It would be a mistake, however, to interpret recent Russian shifts as due to a fundamental ideological shift. Putin neither seeks to please Washington nor to accommodate any domestic political imperative. Rather, Moscow's new Middle East policy results from Putin's personal calculation of Russian interests, one that does not find many other takers in his own government.

The Broader Russian-Israeli Relationship

While the Soviet Union was among the first states to recognize Israel in 1948, Moscow quickly changed course and aligned itself with Arab nationalist regimes. The USSR severed diplomatic relations with Israel following the 1967 Six-Day War and subsequently supported Palestinian nationalist and terrorist movements in the West Bank and Gaza.[1] Only in October 1991, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union, did Moscow and Jerusalem again exchange ambassadors. During the Yeltsin years (1991-99), Russian-Israeli relations were relatively good, especially in terms of trade. But they again cooled during Yevgeny Primakov's tenure as foreign minister (1996-98) and prime minister (1998-99). Strongly pro-Arab, Primakov sought to shift Moscow's policy once more into the Palestinian camp.[2]

During his five years in power, Putin has worked to upgrade Russia's relations with Israel. Nevertheless, many differences remain. Jerusalem remains upset with Moscow's continuing support for Iran's nuclear program. Russian companies remain the main contractors behind the Iranian nuclear reactor at Bushehr. In 1995, Tehran and Moscow signed a US$800 million deal in which the Iranian government purchased a reactor and 2,000 tons of uranium.[3] In March 2001, Iranian president Muhammad Khatami traveled to Moscow where he finalized a $7 billion deal to purchase Russian military equipment. His defense minister, the force behind the agreement, returned to Moscow seven months later to seal the deal.[4]

Israeli policymakers view the Iranian nuclear program as posing a grave threat to Israeli security. When Ariel Sharon traveled to Moscow in October 2002, he raised the issue of Russian nuclear assistance to Iran.[5] Putin again rebuffed Sharon's concerns about Russian support for Iran's nuclear program during Sharon's November 2003 visit to Moscow.[6] In September 2004, the Israeli prime minister said, "there is no doubt" that Tehran is trying to acquire nuclear weapons and "that is a very big danger, especially since they succeeded in developing a rocket, the Shihab-3 that … puts Israel in its range."[7]

Similarly, the Putin administration has refused to end Russian support for the Iranian atomic energy program despite U.S., Israeli, and even European expressions of concern that Russian support is facilitating the Islamic Republic's drive to acquire nuclear weapons. Russian commentators have argued that the sale of nuclear reactors to Iran is vital to the survival of the Russian atomic energy industry, which has few other domestic or foreign customers.[8] The Russian government's reluctance to react to Israel's security concerns is no surprise. After all, the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran to Russia itself is not sufficient to affect a change in Russian policy.

As with Iran, economic considerations guided Russian policy toward Saddam Hussein's Iraq. In return for Moscow's political support, Saddam's regime rewarded Russian firms with oil development and U.N.-sponsored Oil-for-Food program contracts. Bolstered economically, Saddam sheltered terrorists like Abu Abbas, mastermind of the 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking, sponsored the Arab Liberation Front, and spent millions of dollars to reward family members of suicide bombers and other terrorists. Saddam threatened to attack Israel on several occasions and did, indeed, launch Scud missiles at Tel Aviv in 1991.[9] U.S.-led military action, rather than Russian or Israeli diplomacy, eliminated Iraq's threat to Israel.

The Putin administration has continued Russia's traditionally warm relationship with Syria. The Russian government continues to sell Syria arms. The Israeli security establishment fears that any weapons sold to Syria might fall into the hands of Hezbollah. During his October 2002 trip to Moscow, Sharon raised the issue with Putin but failed to get Moscow's commitment to halt these activities.[10] Indeed, when Syrian vice president Abdel Halim Khaddam met Putin three months later, among the projects they discussed was Russian assistance in upgrading Syria's Soviet-era weaponry as well as construction of both a nuclear power plant and a nuclear-powered desalination plant for Syria.[11] While the Putin administration has emphasized the similarities in Russian and U.S. approaches to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Moscow has distanced itself from the Bush administration's policy toward Syria.[12]

The Putin Doctrine

The last of former Russian president Boris Yeltsin's six prime ministers, Putin assumed the presidency upon Yeltsin's 1999 resignation. Soon after he became prime minister, Putin moved to crush Chechen separatism, sending the full force of the Russian military into the renegade province. Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet dissident turned Israeli politician, visited Moscow shortly after Putin became president. While the United States and other Western governments criticized Russian operations in Chechnya, the Israeli government did not. Rather, Sharansky offered strong support for Putin's hard-line policy of not negotiating with terrorists but defeating them militarily instead.[13] Parallels between Russia's conflict with the Chechens and Israel's struggle with the Palestinians have resonated strongly with the Putin administration.

A year after the Russian army reentered Chechnya, peace talks aimed at settling the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian dispute collapsed. Active conflict was renewed as Yasir Arafat launched a new intifada. With the collapse of the Camp David II talks, the Russian Foreign Ministry appeared set to take on a major role as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians. During Arafat's August 2000 visit to Moscow, Putin declared Russia's support for "the Palestinian people's right to self determination."[14] Moscow, though, reacted coolly to Arafat's declaration that he would soon make a unilateral declaration of Palestinian independence. Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov indicated that making such a declaration was the prerogative of the Palestinians but that Russian recognition might not be forthcoming, especially if a Palestinian declaration of independence would lead to more violence. "All circumstances and time frame must be weighed carefully," he said.[15]

Putin's decision not to attend or send Russian representatives to the October 2000 Sharm el-Sheikh summit had less to do with Russian disengagement than with a desire to avoid any process which the United States dominated. The center-right business daily Kommersant suggested that Putin did not want to be sidelined at the summit.[16] At the same time, Ivanov made clear that the Russian government would oppose any U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing a U.N. peacekeeping force for the West Bank and Gaza so long as Israel opposed it.[17] In March 2001, Russia, nevertheless, voted in favor of a resolution to dispatch international observers to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Kommersant expressed surprise, noting that the Russian foreign ministry had rejected this proposal, apparently out of fear that if accepted here, it might also be applied to Chechnya. There was speculation that the Russian ministry of foreign affairs anticipated a U.S. veto and thus voted in favor in order to score points with the Arabs "without risking anything."[18] Russia repeated the pattern in September 2003 when the Security Council considered a resolution demanding that Israel not expel Arafat from the West Bank and Gaza. The United States vetoed the resolution while Russia voted in favor. However, Russia mitigated its traditional pro-Arab position with subsequent statements complaining that the Security Council vote had been "rushed."[19]

In January 2001, Putin received Israel's ceremonial president, Moshe Katzav. The two emphasized that "there can be no negotiations with terrorists." According to the daily Vremya MN,[20] "This was essentially the first time that Putin, who has said on numerous occasions that there can be no dialogue with the Chechen rebels, expressed support for this basic Israeli principle as a whole."[21]

Soon thereafter, Israeli voters gave Ehud Barak's Labor Party a resounding defeat, and Sharon became the new prime minister. Vilified by many European governments, Sharon, nevertheless, enjoyed good relations not only with U.S. president George W. Bush but also with Putin. According to Sevodnya, "Sharon is impressed with Vladimir Putin and has spoken approvingly of Moscow's Chechnya policy, saying that it is what the Israelis should have done in Lebanon."[22]

In the spring, when the new Bush administration indicated that it did not want to take as active a role as had the Clinton administration in negotiation of an Israeli-Palestinian peace, Moscow made clear that it would not seek to replace Washington in this role.[23] Putin expressed sympathy for Israel's position, even telling Secretary of State Colin Powell that "there is absolutely no logic" to Arafat's actions.[24] When Arafat again visited Moscow in May 2001, both Putin and Ivanov reiterated that "there were no differences between the Russian and the U.S. approaches" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.[25] Arafat could not hope to exploit differences between former Cold War rivals. The following month, the Kremlin made clear its displeasure with former prime minister Primakov's statement to a Jordanian paper in which he blamed Israel for the violence.[26] Ivanov reiterated that "Russia had no disagreements with the U.S. regarding the Palestinian-Israeli settlement process."[27]

In September, Sharon traveled to Moscow and met Putin. Putin referred to the fact that many Israelis originally came from Russia and other ex-Soviet republics, stating that he wanted them to "live in peace and security," and denounced terrorism, even as he also referred to Russia's "traditionally good" relations with the Arab world and the Palestinian Authority.[28]

As the Palestinian intifada continued, the White House and international community moved to reinvigorate diplomacy. The United States joined with Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations to form the Quartet. In January 2002, Andrei Vdovin, the Russian foreign ministry's special representative for Middle East peace, told the Russian government-owned daily Rossiiskaya gazeta that "there aren't any significant differences" between the approach taken by Russia and the three other cosponsors of the Middle East peace process.[29]

When Arafat, confined to his headquarters in Ramallah, appealed to Russia for assistance in pressuring Sharon to back off his hard-line policies, Putin told Arafat that "combating terrorism and extremism is the most urgent task facing the world community today."[30] Izvestia observed that, "The Kremlin's assessment of the situation could hardly have encouraged Arafat."[31]

During a March 2002 visit to Israel, Sergei Mironov, the speaker of Russia's Federation Council, the Russian parliament's upper house, canceled a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart as a result of "a ‘personal decision' not to ‘show politeness' to the Palestinians and not to visit the Palestinian Authority because ‘the terrorist acts in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Israel have the same roots, mainly financial ones.'"[32] While the Russian foreign minister disavowed Mironov's remarks, the sentiment reflected Putin's thinking on Israel. In a statement suggesting that the Palestinian leadership knew this, Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi told Vremya novostei that, "We became disillusioned with Russia's position a long time ago … Russia is following the U.S. lead more and more."[33]

The Putin administration may have become disillusioned with Arafat's leadership, but it was not willing to follow the Bush administration's position blindly. When Bush argued that Arafat was no longer a legitimate partner and needed to be replaced as Palestinian leader, Putin emphasized that Arafat was the elected Palestinian leader, and therefore talks must be held with him.[34] Nevertheless, Moscow played down its differences with Washington. In response to Bush's statement calling for the replacement of the Palestinian leadership, Aleksandr Yakovenko, official spokesman of the Russian foreign ministry, stated that, "[W]e read the president's speech carefully, and I want to point out that it makes no mention of Yasir Arafat personally."[35]

In December 2002, Israeli foreign minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a much friendlier reception in Moscow than he had in London or Paris. When Netanyahu raised the issue of Russia supporting pro-Arab resolutions at the U.N., Ivanov was conciliatory, even suggesting the time was near for Russia to "reassess its position and perhaps revise it."[36] While a brief diplomatic spat erupted between Jerusalem and Moscow in July 2003 over Ivanov's decision to meet with Arafat, the dispute did not last long. The Israeli government wanted to marginalize Arafat in order to bolster the position of the newly appointed Palestinian Authority prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). His resignation in September 2003 in the face of Arafat's obstructionism made moot the dispute.

In November 2003, Sharon and Putin once again met in the Kremlin. While Sharon expressed dislike for the Russian-drafted U.N. Security Council Resolution 1515 endorsing the U.S.-sponsored "road map,"[37] he called Putin "a true friend of Israel." For his part, Putin reiterated his concern about the impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on migrants from Russia to Israel and proposed that Russia open an exhibit "devoted to the tragedy of the Holocaust."[38]

In January 2004, Russia, along with seventy-three other countries (including all those from the European Union), abstained from a U.N. General Assembly resolution asking the International Court of Justice to rule on the legality of the security barrier that the Israeli government was constructing to protect Israeli communities from Palestinian terrorism. Russian diplomats had tried to persuade the Palestinians and others not to put this resolution to a vote. Again, Russian concerns about its own Chechnya problem mitigated its historically pro-Palestinian position. This was because, as two Kommersant journalists noted, the resolution "sets a precedent in which an international organization … is asking the court to provide an expert assessment of the legality of actions by a country that is not prepared to accept its verdict. If the hearings go forward and the court decides in favor of the Palestinians, in the future nothing will prevent the European Union or the [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] from asking The Hague to assess, for example, the actions of the Russian authorities in Chechnya."[39] Nevertheless, after the International Court of Justice ruling, Russia voted in July 2004 to condemn the wall's construction.[40]

Also in January 2004, the Palestinians witnessed eroding Russian support when Nabil Shaath, the Palestinian Authority's chief foreign representative, met with Ivanov in Moscow to discuss the impasse in road map talks. Shaath blamed the Israelis, but Ivanov would have none of that. Ivanov reportedly told Shaath that, "the only person who can take the terrorist groups in hand is Yasir Arafat. But the Palestinian leader, who remains firmly in control of the situation … doesn't want to lift a finger to rein in the terror." The clear implication was that Russia considered Arafat the main obstacle and might even withdraw their diplomatic support for Arafat's continued leadership. Ivanov further chided Shaath for the claim that the Palestinian Authority's and Russia's positions coincided, insisting that the Palestinian Authority not seek to use Shaath's visit to Moscow for propaganda purposes. [41]

In April 2004, the Russian foreign ministry condemned the Israeli killing of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. But according to Vremya novostei, it only did so "cautiously."[42] By contrast, Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the Federation Council's international affairs committee, spoke positively of Israeli actions: "The killing of Yassin by the Israeli military means that Israeli special forces are essentially doing the job of eliminating terrorist groups for the Palestinian security organs."[43]

Later that month, Kommersant reported on the Bush administration's support for and EU opposition to Sharon's plan to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza and build a fence inside the West Bank. Shaath called on Russia and others to persuade Washington to abandon its support for this plan. But as Kommersant noted, the Palestinians should not pin their hopes on Russia: "As Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday, ‘A withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza is a step in the direction indicated in the road map.' True, he qualified his statement by saying that such a step could be useful ‘provided that it is not the last.'"[44] In a subsequent meeting with Shaath at the Russian foreign ministry, Lavrov offered Shaath no recourse as he repeated almost verbatim the words of George Bush. [45]

Where Goes Russia's Middle East Policy?

Under Putin, concern over Chechnya and renewed anxiety about terrorism has led Russian policy to tilt toward Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Still, although Russian-Israeli relations have become close under Putin, he is not willing to forego for the sake of Russian-Israeli friendship strong ties with Middle Eastern regimes that Jerusalem considers threatening. But at the same time, Putin has not been willing to forego strong ties to Israel—now worth more than $1 billion annually—for the sake of friendship with Iran and rejectionist Arab regimes. In this sense, Putin has pursued an "evenhanded" policy toward Israel on the one hand and radical regimes in Iraq, Iran, and Syria on the other. This makes Putin's "tilt" toward Israel vis-à-vis the Palestinians all the more remarkable. What explains it?

One possible explanation is that Putin does not want, as Ashrawi suggested, to oppose U.S. foreign policy on an issue that is so important to Washington.[46] The fact that Moscow has opposed the United States on so many other issues may make Putin's support for Washington on this one issue more important. This is unlikely, though. Putin, after all, has opposed the United States on issues of key importance for Washington, such as both the U.S.-led intervention in Iraq and Russian support for the Iranian nuclear program. Despite this, Russian-U.S. relations remain relatively good. It is difficult to imagine, then, that the prospect of annoying Washington is preventing Moscow from pursuing a more pro-Palestinian policy. Russian foreign policy observers acknowledge that much of Russian foreign policy is actually predicated on a desire to spite the Americans.[47] The Putin administration has clearly not feared negative U.S. reaction to Russian votes for pro-Palestinian U.N. resolutions.[48] Pleasing the United States, then, cannot explain Putin's pro-Israeli tilt.

Russian domestic politics—specifically, concern over Chechnya—may play an important role in shaping Putin's policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Officials and commentators in both Russia and Israel have frequently pointed out the similarities of the fight against the Chechens and the Palestinians. Like Palestinian terrorists, Chechen rebels have launched a number of attacks on civilian targets in Russia, including attacks on hospitals in southern Russia during the first Chechen war (1994-96), the seizure of a Moscow theater in 2002, and a series of attacks in the summer of 2004 that culminated in the death of hundreds of school children in Beslan.[49] This similarity in predicament seems to have increased sympathy for Israel in Russia. But the translation of domestic concern about Chechnya on Russian policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complicated. A succinct description of the contradictory Russian domestic political factors affecting this appeared in the liberal daily Sevodnya, which, under Kremlin pressure, ceased publication in 2001:

"Russia is on very delicate ground. On the one hand, our people account for one-quarter of Israel's population, and the violence in the Middle East is being incited by the same people who are inciting it in the North Caucasus … On the other hand, Moscow would offend Russia's millions of Muslims and the numerous "friends of the Palestinians" among the political elite if it took an openly pro-Israeli position.[50]"

Indeed, as Konstantin Kosachov, vice-chairman of the Duma's International Affairs Committee, pointed out, the Duma has no shortage of either pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian deputies.[51]

There are limits to how the Russian public's increasing awareness of terrorism and sympathy toward its victims can translate into support for Israel. According to the 2002 Russian census, there are 14.5 million Muslims in Russia, or about 10 percent of the population, compared to just 230,000 Jews.[52] Anti-Semitism still persists. The combination of a large Muslim population, a small Jewish one, and the persistence of anti-Semitism among ethnic Russians would seem to militate in favor of a pro-Palestinian foreign policy instead of a pro-Israeli one. Being similarly besieged in the war on terrorism, then, is not the only factor driving the Russian tilt toward Israel.

Economic concerns, of course, are among Putin's priorities. It is not clear, however, whether a pro-Palestinian tilt in Russian foreign policy would harm the Russian-Israeli economic relationship. The relatively pro-Palestinian tilt in Russian foreign policy during Primakov's tenure as foreign and prime minister did not prevent growth in the Russian-Israeli economic relationship.

What, then, explains Putin's pro-Israeli tilt vis-à-vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? In a Russia where Putin increasingly dominates domestic and foreign policies, the pro-Israel tilt must be a result of Putin's personal choice. Sympathy for Israel's position is something Putin maintains despite the traditional preference of the Russian foreign ministry and most of the foreign policy elite. It is true that other Russian politicians have voiced pro-Israeli sentiments. Many of these, however, may simply be parroting Putin's position instead of actually agreeing with it. If Putin is followed by a pro-Palestinian president, they would probably change their tune accordingly.

But what has motivated Putin to make this choice? Putin's history indicates a deep, emotional commitment to defeating the Chechen rebellion. He denies that the Chechen rebels have any legitimate basis for complaint against Moscow and refuses to negotiate with them. Putin does not appear to doubt the rightness of his hard-line policy toward Chechnya, even in the face of international outrage. Sunni Islamists see Russia as being as much of an enemy as the United States and Israel. European leaders criticize Russian human rights abuses in Chechnya. Even at the height of Russian collaboration with "Old Europe" to block United Nations approval for the U.S-led intervention in Iraq, French president Jacques Chirac raised the issue of Russian human rights violations in Chechnya while hosting Putin at a Paris banquet.[53] After the September 2004 Beslan tragedy, the Russian foreign ministry "reacted with outrage" at the implied criticism of Moscow's policy in an EU statement asking "the Russian authorities how this tragedy could have happened."[54] Very few have given the unequivocal support for Putin's Chechnya policy that Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has.

Sharon, who is fluent in Russian, has established a genuine bond with Putin. Both share a similar mindset about their Muslim opponents: they are terrorists with whom there can be no negotiation. Both Putin and Sharon use force against opponents they believe undeserving of sympathy, and both share a bond formed by their resulting vilification in the West.

While Sharon is not the first or only Israeli official to express sympathy for Russia's Chechnya policy, Sharon's key role in the improvement of bilateral relations is suggested by the improvement under his watch. Prior to Sharon's accession, Putin was content to leave the Israeli-Palestinian issue in the hands of the strongly pro-Palestinian Russian foreign ministry. Only after his first meeting with Sharon in September 2001 did Putin's pro-Israel tilt emerge.

Could this change? A more leftist government in Israel would probably be less sympathetic toward Putin's hard-line policy in Chechnya. By the same token, a Russian government willing to negotiate with the Chechens would probably not be as sympathetic as Putin now is to the current hard-line Israeli approach toward the Palestinians. Sharon would have had less reason to value relations with a Moscow willing to accommodate the Chechens. But so long as Putin remains Russia's president and Sharon (or someone like him) Israel's prime minister, the close Israeli-Russian relationship will probably continue to develop, especially if Sharon's successor is also a Russian-speaker. The strong Russian-Israeli trade relationship alone provides an incentive for Moscow and Jerusalem to maintain good working relations to some degree. The Russian foreign policy elite's pro-Palestinian sympathies might emerge again, though, with Putin's successor.

Mark N. Katz is a professor of government and politics at George Mason University.

[1] Galia Golan, The Soviet Union and National Liberation Movements in the Third World (Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1988), pp. 288-9; idem, Soviet Policies in the Middle East from World War Two to Gorbachev (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 110-23.
[2] Robert O. Freedman, "Russia and Israel under Yeltsin," Israel Studies, Mar. 1998, pp. 140-69; Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Sept. 16, 1998; Talal Nizameddin, Russia and the Middle East: Towards a New Foreign Policy (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999), pp. 122-41.
[3] Michael Eisenstadt, "Russian Arms and Technology Transfers to Iran: Policy Challenges to the United States," Arms Control Today, Mar. 2001; idem, Iranian Military Power: Capabilities and Intentions (Washington: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1996), p. 11; The Washington Post, May 4, 1995.
[4] Islamic Republic News Agency, Oct. 1, 2001.
[5] Vremya novostei, Oct. 1, 2002, English translation in Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press (hereinafter, CDPSP), Oct. 30, 2002.
[6] Ibid., Nov. 4, 2003, in CDPSP, Dec. 3, 2003.
[7] Jerusalem Post (Internet version), Sept. 8, 2004.
[8] Ekho Moskvy Radio, Dec. 27, 2002, in BBC Monitoring International Reports, Dec. 29, 2002.
[9] Robert O. Freedman, "Moscow and the Gulf War," Problems of Communism, July-Aug. 1991, pp. 1-17; The Moscow Times, Oct. 25, 2004.
[10] Rossiiskaya gazeta, Oct. 2, 2002, in CDPSP, Oct. 30, 2002.
[11] Trud, Jan. 17, 2003, in CDPSP, Feb. 5-12, 2003.
[12] Kommersant, May 13, 2004, in CDPSP, June 2-9, 2004.
[13] Izvestia, Jan. 29, 2000, in CDPSP, Mar. 1, 2000.
[14] Nezavisimaya gazeta, Aug. 12, 2000, in CDPSP, Sept. 13, 2000.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Kommersant, Oct. 21, 2000, in CDPSP, Nov. 15, 2000.
[17] Nezavisimaya gazeta, Nov. 17, 2000, in CDPSP, Dec. 13, 2000.
[18] Kommersant, Mar. 29, 2001, in CDPSP, Apr. 25, 2001.
[19] Ibid., Sept. 18, 2003, in CDPSP, Oct. 15, 2003.
[20] MN is an abbreviation for Moskovskiye novosti.
[21] Vremya MN, Jan. 24, 2001, in CDPSP, Feb. 21, 2001.
[22] Sevodnya, Feb. 8, 2001, in CDPSP, Mar. 7, 2001.
[23] Noviye Izvestia, Apr. 18, 2001, in CDPSP, May 16, 2001; idem, May 23, 2001, in CDPSP, June 20, 2001.
[24] Ibid., Apr. 18, 2001, in CDPSP, May 16, 2001.
[25] Izvestia, May 30, 2001, in CDPSP, June 27, 2001.
[26] Kommersant, May 30, 2001, in CDPSP, June 27, 2001; idem, June 20, 2001, in CDPSP, July 18, 2001.
[27] Izvestia, June 29, 2001, in CDPSP, July 25, 2001.
[28] Kommersant, Sept. 5, 2001, in CDPSP, Oct. 3, 2001.
[29] Rossiiskaya gazeta, Jan. 22, 2002, in CDPSP, Feb. 20, 2002.
[30] Izvestia, Jan. 23, 2002, in CDPSP, Feb. 20, 2002.
[31] Ibid.
[32] Vremya novostei, Mar. 13, 2002, in CDPSP, Apr. 10, 2002.
[33] Ibid.
[34] Vremya MN, Mar. 30, 2002, in CDPSP, Apr. 24, 2002; idem, June 26, 2002, in CDPSP, July 24, 2002; idem, July 18, 2002, in CDPSP, Aug. 14, 2002.
[35] Izvestia, June 27, 2002, in CDPSP, July 24, 2002.
[36] Kommersant, Dec. 24, 2002, in CDPSP, Jan. 22, 2003.
[37] "Security Council Adopts Resolution Endorsing Road Map Leading towards Two-state Resolution of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," U.N. news release, Nov. 19, 2003.
[38] Vremya novostei, Nov. 4, 2003, in CDPSP, Dec. 3, 2003.
[39] Kommersant, Jan. 20, 2004, in CDPSP, Feb. 18, 2004.
[40] Vremya novostei, July 22, 2004, in CDPSP, Aug. 18, 2004.
[41] Kommersant, Jan. 22, 2004, in CDPSP, Feb. 18, 2004.
[42] Vremya novostei, Mar. 23, 2004, in CDPSP, Apr. 21, 2004.
[43] Ibid.
[44] Kommersant, Apr. 16, 2004, in CDPSP, May 19, 2004.
[45] Ibid., Apr. 17, 2004, in CDPSP, May 19, 2004.
[46] Vremya novostei, Mar. 13, 2002, in CDPSP, Apr. 10, 2002.
[47] Kommersant, Mar. 29, 2001, in CDPSP, Apr. 25, 2001.
[48] Ibid.
[49] Nabi Abdullaev, "Chechnya Ten Years Later," Current History, Oct. 2004, pp. 332-6.
[50] Valerya Sychova, "Who Are You for, the Israelis or the Palestinians?" Sevodnya, Oct. 14, 2000, in CDPSP, Nov. 15, 2000.
[51] Ibid.
[52] Nezavisimaya gazeta, Nov. 11, 2003, in CDPSP, Dec. 10, 2003.
[53] Izvestia, Feb. 12, 2003, in CDPSP, Mar. 12, 2003.
[54] The Moscow Times, Sept. 6, 2004.


Auschwitz awareness jumps sharply in the UK

March 22, 2005

[This is a follow-up to other previous email dispatches on this subject]

CONTENTS

1. "Holocaust Memorial Day raises awareness among Britons" (AFP / Yahoo news, March 17, 2005)
2. "Prince Harry gaffe boosts Auschwitz awareness" (Reuters, March 17, 2005)
3. "UK: Auschwitz awareness jumps sharply" (Jerusalem Post, March 17, 2005)
4. "Reporting Auschwitz, then & now" (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 3, 2005)

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

Last year a comprehensive BBC poll found that only 55 percent of Britons (and just 40 percent of those aged 18 - 35) had heard of Auschwitz, the death camp where one fifth of the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust were murdered.

A new BBC poll reveals that 94 percent of respondents now say they have heard of Auschwitz, including 86 percent of those under 35.

This change is likely caused by:

(a) The comprehensive and generally accurate media coverage of the commemorations surrounding the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27. (See my article "Reporting Auschwitz, then & now," which I attach again at the end of this email for people who have joined this list in recent weeks.)

(b) The widespread media coverage of the scandal around Prince Harry wearing Nazi regalia at a costume party.

(c) The BBC itself must take some credit after it broadcast in late January of its program "Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution," parts of which were watched by more than one-third of the UK population.

(d) The fairly comprehensive coverage of the opening of the new Yad Vashem museum in Israel earlier this month.

With many similarly disturbing opinion polls concerning Israel and the Holocaust, in various European countries in recent months (some of which have been outlined on this email list), this new poll would seem to illustrate the central role the media can play in promoting public awareness.

-- Tom Gross

 


FULL ARTICLES

BBC: HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY RAISES AWARENESS AMONG BRITONS

Holocaust Memorial Day raises awareness among Britons: BBC
AFP (Agence France Presse)
March 17, 2005

story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/britainhistorywwii

Britons who stunned observers with widespread ignorance of the Holocaust are now much more aware of the World War II atrocities against Jews following a major memorial day staged in January, a poll showed.

The BBC conducted a survey last year showing that only 55 percent of the population in Britain had even heard of Auschwitz, the most notorious Nazi death camp where at least 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed.

For women and people aged under 35, that figure dropped to about 40 percent.

But the BBC said its new survey shows a radical change, following a series of major events marking the horror of the Holocaust -- notably television documentaries and media coverage in Britain, as well as the 60th anniversary commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz in January.

Now fully 94 percent of people in Britain have heard of Auschwitz, with 86 percent of under-35s and 92 percent of women aware of the extermination camp.

On January 27, as many world leaders marked Auschwitz's liberation at the camp in southern Poland, Britain also staged its biggest-ever assembly of survivors of the Nazi camps and ghettos, at an event at Westminster Hall attended by Queen Elizabeth II and political leaders.

 

PRINCE HARRY GAFFE BOOSTS AUSCHWITZ AWARENESS

Harry gaffe boosts Auschwitz awareness
By Jeremy Laurence
Reuters
March 17, 2005

reuters.co.uk/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=691839

Awareness of the Auschwitz concentration camp has soared, a survey shows, thanks in part to a royal scandal involving Prince Harry wearing Nazi regalia at a costume party.

A year ago, nearly half of all Britons said they had never heard of the camp that became a symbol of the Holocaust and the attempted genocide of the Jews, a BBC poll showed.

But asked the same question in January, all but six percent of respondents said they knew of it, Britain's public broadcaster said on Thursday.

A prominent Jewish group said the sharp rise in awareness about Auschwitz was largely due to the controversy in January surrounding Princes Harry and William, sons of heir to the throne Charles.

Photos of Harry, 20, wearing a swastika at a party were splashed across newspapers around the world, prompting calls for the two princes to visit the ruins of the camp in southern Poland. A royal family spokesman said on Thursday they had not done so.

William, 22 and second in line to the throne, was at the same party and had helped choose his brother's outfit.

"Obviously the prince's choice of costume raised the issue of Holocaust education prior to Holocaust Memorial Day," said a spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jason Pearlman, referring to the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27.

"At the end of the day, the Jewish community was satisfied in general that he realised the error in his ways. It was a very unfortunate incident."

Harry, younger son of Charles and the late Princess Diana, apologised for the gaffe.

The scandal erupted just two weeks before world leaders gathered in Poland to mark the liberation anniversary of the camp in which were murdered around one fifth of the six million Jews killed in the World War Two Holocaust.

It even drew in British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom.

The BBC poll, conducted two days after the anniversary and involving 4,000 people, showed Auschwitz awareness levels among women and those aged under 35 had more than doubled to 92 percent and 86 percent respectively since the 2004 survey.

"Holocaust survivors were distressed by the original BBC survey results before the 60th anniversary," said chairman of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, Stephen Smith.

"The vast improvement in awareness levels of Auschwitz and the atrocities of the Holocaust after Holocaust Memorial Day 2005 will do much to alleviate that."

 

UK: AUSCHWITZ AWARENESS JUMPS SHARPLY

[Douglas Davis is one of several senior Jerusalem Post staff who are longtime subscribers to this email list.]

UK: Auschwitz awareness jumps sharply
By Douglas Davis
The Jerusalem Post
March 17, 2005

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1111030176210

Virtually everyone in Britain – 94 percent of respondents in a new BBC poll – has now heard of Auschwitz.

A similar poll by the BBC last year revealed that just 55% of the population had heard of the camp, with the number dropping to 40% among women and those under 35.

According to the new poll, conducted among 4,000 British adults, awareness levels among under 35s have more than doubled to 86%, while 92% of women say they have now heard of Auschwitz.

This awareness is not just superficial, according to the BBC, with half the population saying they now know a lot about the subject, compared to 30% last year.

It is thought that this dramatic change in awareness may be due to the commemorations surrounding Holocaust Memorial Day in January, when the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was marked by nationwide exhibitions, talks, television and radio programs and other events.

During that time, the biggest ever assembly of British-based survivors attended an event in London hosted by Queen Elizabeth and major political leaders.

The BBC broadcast a range of television and radio programs to mark the anniversary, including the series Auschwitz: The Nazis & The Final Solution, parts of which were watched by more than one-third of the population.

 

REPORTING AUSCHWITZ, THEN & NOW

Reporting Auschwitz, then & now
By Tom Gross
The Jerusalem Post
February 3, 2005

Last week's media coverage marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was surprisingly comprehensive and accurate. Even many of those news outlets that have a poor record of covering Jewish issues, such as anti-Semitism and the Middle East, covered the story well.

Take the BBC, for example. As recently as January 13, 2005, the BBC posted a webpage titled "BBC Guides: The Holocaust. What was it?" Designed to explain the controversy over Prince Harry's wearing of a Nazi uniform at a fancy-dress party, that webpage neglected to mention Jews, erroneously stated that most Holocaust victims were German citizens, and encouraged the myth that other groups were persecuted by the Nazis to anything like the same extent that Jews were.

The BBC webpage blandly stated: "The Holocaust was a mass murder of millions of people... Most of the victims died because they belonged to certain racial or religious groups, which the Nazis wanted to wipe out, even though they were German citizens. This kind of killing is called genocide."

Yet last week, the BBC covered the commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz in a serious and thorough way, both on air and on-line. That most victims were Jews was highlighted. "The Holocaust. What was it?" and other webpages were corrected. And whereas, a week earlier the BBC had referred to the "Auschwitz prison camp", it now used the infinitely more accurate term "death camp". (If BBC staff really think it was a prison camp, they don't begin to understand what Auschwitz was.)

Other media with previously poor records, such as the French newspaper Le Monde, also had generally sound coverage.

The (London) Guardian, too, had some good pieces – although at the same time, true to form, it supplemented its lead editorial, titled "Holocaust Memorial Day: Eternal memory", with an accompanying commentary by former Oxford University professor Terry Eagleton, in which he justified suicide bombing "in Israel" and likened suicide bombers to their victims. (Unsurprisingly, the piece was reprinted the following day in the Saudi paper Arab News and appeared on a half-dozen extremist Moslem websites.)

The Guardian also couldn't resist greatly exaggerating the numbers of Roma (Gypsies) who died in the camps. (Perhaps the paper isn't aware that inflating the number of Roma and homosexuals killed by the Nazis, in order to try and de-emphasize the centrality of Jews among Holocaust victims, is now a favorite trick of revisionist historians.)

In the Arab world, most media simply ignored last week's anniversary altogether. In Iran, the government-linked Tehran Times marked the occasion by explicitly denying that "the so-called Holocaust" happened and accusing "Zionist leaders" of "conjuring up images of gas chambers." (It makes one wonder all the more what the Iranian regime wants nuclear weapons for.)

Still, as far as the Western media goes, this improved coverage today contrasts sharply with the lack of proper coverage in the decades following World War II, or even as recently as 10 years ago. And it also provides a bitterly ironic reminder of just how poor coverage was during the Holocaust itself.

The omissions of the New York Times are perhaps the most disturbing. Although it was far from being the only newspaper to deliberately play down or do its best to ignore Hitler's genocide, it bears a special responsibility as having been even then the world's single most influential paper.

Such was the Times' influence as the premier American source of wartime news (particularly so in an age before television) that had it reported the Holocaust properly, other US papers would probably have followed, and US public opinion might have forced the US government to act. (European papers – outside Nazi-occupied countries – provided slightly better, though still lamentable, coverage.)

But the Times, possibly because they feared people might think of it a "Jewish" paper, made sure reports were brief and buried inside the paper.

* On June 27, 1942, for example, the Times devoted just two inches to the news that "700,000 Jews were reported slain in Poland."

* On July 2, 1942, it noted that gas chambers were being used to kill 1,000 Jews a day – but only on page 6.

* On November 25, 1942, it reported that there had been roundups, gassings, cattle cars and the disappearance of 90 percent of Warsaw's ghetto population – but only on page 10.

* On December 9, 1942, its report that two million Jews had been killed and five million more faced extermination appeared only on page 20.

* On July 2, 1944, it reported that 400,000 Hungarian Jews had been deported to their deaths so far, and 350,000 more were likely to be killed in the next weeks. Yet this news received only four column inches on page 12. (That edition's front page carried an analysis of the problem of New York holiday crowds on the move.)

During the war, no article about the Jews' plight ever qualified as the Times' leading story of the day.

The New York Times has never properly acknowledged its failings in this matter. And the fact that a comparable mindset still seems to dominate the paper today continues to have consequences – whether in the unfair coverage it gives Israel, or the relative lack of attention given to other genocides and systematic acts of inhumanity, such as those in North Korea or Burma, and in particular those for which Arabs are chiefly responsible, as in Darfur.

The tsunami tragedies can occupy the front page for days on end, but Darfur is lucky if it makes an inside page once in a week.

[Tom Gross is a former Jerusalem correspondent for the (London) Sunday Telegraph and (New York) Daily News]

[NOTE: This article has also been picked up by several other news websites, where comments can be left by readers. These include: --

web.israelinsider.com/Views/4920.htm
www.israelnationalnews.com/article.php3?id=4749
www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/Printer&cid=1107314591917&p=1006953079865]


Arafat killed by high tech laser attack

March 21, 2005

[Note by Tom Gross]

The Palestinian ambassador to Sri Lanka has invented the latest conspiracy theory about how the late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat died.

Attallah Quiba told a press conference in Columbo that unnamed Israelis used an advanced "laser device to attack Arafat." "They tried to flee after using the device but were wrestled down by the Palestinian Authority security personnel," he told Asian journalists.

"Samples of Arafat's blood were tested in 16 countries and it was revealed that he had been poisoned by high technology," he added.

I attach an article below from the Malaysian National News Agency, which carries no refutation at all to these allegations.

The sooner Palestinian officials move on from blaming Israel for killing Arafat in weird and wonderful ways, the quicker the Palestinian people will be able to move on too.

-- Tom Gross

(Recipients of this email list probably won't need reminding that Sri Lanka was also one of the places where anti-Israeli conspiracy theories were voiced in January when Moslem clerics from various countries blamed Israel and India for causing the tsunami by conducting a joint underground nuclear test in an effort to kill hundreds of thousands of Moslems.)

 



ARAFAT KILLED BY HIGH TECH LASER ATTACK – ENVOY

Arafat Killed By High Tech Laser Attack – Envoy
By Feizal Samath
Bernama
March 19, 2005

www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v3/news.php?id=124651

Attallah Quiba, the Palestinian ambassador in Sri Lanka, believes that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was killed by unnamed Israelis using advanced technology, the Island newspaper said.

Responding to questions at a media conference in Colombo on Friday, Quiba claimed that two Israelis who met Arafat on the day he was taken sick "used a laser device to attack Arafat."

"They tried to flee after using the device but were wrestled down by the Palestinian Authority security personnel. Both men were carrying Canadian passports."

Quiba was quoted as saying the Palestinian Authority immediately informed the Israeli government of the "attempt on Arafat's life." Samples of Arafat's blood were tested in 16 countries and it was revealed that he had been poisoned by high technology, he said.

Asked about reports that Arafat's meals had been poisoned, Quiba said it was not possible since Arafat always shared the food served to him and was the last to partake of it.

"There were four people in all with Arafat at the time he was taken sick. If food poisoning was the cause then the others should also have suffered the same fate,"

Quiba said he had met Arafat a few days before his death and did not see anything wrong with his health. "He was in good health and good spirits".


AP to offer two different leads for the same story

[Note by Tom Gross]

This is a follow-up to AFP, AP, CNN: Where the reporting stops (January 24, 2005) and other previous dispatches about AP and Reuters on this email list.

The Editor and Publisher (one of America's leading journals covering the newspaper industry) reports that The Associated Press will soon offer editors two alternative lead paragraphs for many news stories.

As I have mentioned several times in the past, news outlets are increasingly cutting back (mainly for budgetary reasons) on foreign reporters, photographers and TV cameramen. As a result they are coming to rely more and more on the three big news agencies (AP, Reuters and AFP) for their news and pictures.

1700 newspapers subscribe to AP. Many regularly insert AP and Reuters reporting into their own news stories without revealing the source was AP or Reuters to readers.

The fact that AP will run two leads may in future make it more apparent what the political slant of a newspaper's policies are.

"The concept is simple: On major spot stories we will provide you with two versions to choose between," the AP said in an advisory to members. "One will be the traditional 'straight lead' that leads with the main facts of what took place. The other will be the 'optional,' an alternative approach that attempts to draw in the reader through imagery, narrative devices, perspective or other creative means."

Interestingly, the example given is not of some neutral story, say a sports match, but concerns the Middle East.

The "almost as if scripted" in the second example is being viewed by some media commentators as a confirmation that many journalists have their own bad-news script in reporting on Iraq.

AP "TRADITIONAL" LEAD:

MOSUL, Iraq (AP)--A suicide attacker set off a bomb that tore through a funeral tent jammed with Shiite mourners Thursday, splattering blood and body parts over rows of overturned white plastic chairs. The attack, which killed 47 and wounded more than 100, came as Shiite and Kurdish politicians in Baghdad said they overcame a major stumbling block to forming a new coalition government.

AP "OPTIONAL" LEAD:

MOSUL, Iraq (AP)--Yet again, almost as if scripted, a day of hope for a new, democratic Iraq turned into a day of tears as a bloody insurgent attack undercut a political step forward. On Thursday, just as Shiite and Kurdish politicians in Baghdad were telling reporters that they overcame a major stumbling block to forming a new coalition government, a suicide attacker set off a bomb that tore through a funeral tent jammed with Shiite mourners in the northern city of Mosul.

 



TRADITIONAL – VS – OPTIONAL

The example (above) cited by Editor and Publisher is (unsurprisingly) not very contentious.

But it is not difficult to speculate what AP might actually have in mind when it speaks of applying "creative means". In future we may see these kind of choices:

Traditional: Today, a Palestinian activist blew up an Israeli schoolbus killing 18 children...

Optional: 18 children passed away in Israel today...

Traditional: No reporter has yet been able to verify claims by Saeb Erekat that 3000 Palestinians had gone missing in Jenin...

Optional: I stood appalled before the hundreds upon thousands of bodies piled high in Jenin...

The Editor & Publisher also says that "the AP stressed that the optional leads will not be available to the news service's Internet providers. They are designed strictly for print."

Some commentators believe that in the wake of the forced resignation of CBS anchorman Dan Rather, this may be an attempt by AP to try and marginalize its critics on the Internet, by making sure the print media say one thing, while Internet outlets say another, and therefore (in the words of one journalist who subscribes to this email list) "making it that much more difficult to link to and track down their bias."

Below, I attach the article from The Editor and Publisher (followed by an article I wrote on Reuters last summer for the National Review, for those who are new to this email list).

-- Tom Gross

 


FULL ARTICLES

AP REVEALS ITS DOUBLE STANDARDS

New on the Wire: AP to Offer Two Leads for Some Stories
The Editor and Publisher
By Joe Strupp
March 16, 2005

www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000844185

Attention Associated Press members, prepare to get more for your money: Now available, two leads for the price of one.

In a break with tradition at the 156-year-old news cooperative, the AP will now offer two different leads for many of its news stories, the organization confirmed Wednesday.

"The concept is simple: On major spot stories – especially when events happen early in the day – we will provide you with two versions to choose between," the AP said in an advisory to members. "One will be the traditional 'straight lead' that leads with the main facts of what took place. The other will be the 'optional,' an alternative approach that attempts to draw in the reader through imagery, narrative devices, perspective or other creative means."

The advisory added that the change is an attempt to "enhance the value of the AP news report to your newspaper." The AP serves about 1,700 members.

AP officials said the optional leads have already begun to appear in some sports stories and on the national news wires during the past two months. The new initiative is in response to requests from many editors who want to be able to offer readers "something fresh so they will want to pick up the newspaper and read a story, even though the facts have been splashed all over the Web and widely broadcast."

"Many newspaper wire desks don't have the resources for a lot of heavy lifting on our copy," AP Managing Editor Mike Silverman said about the need for built-in options. "They would like our help in giving the reader something different from what is posted on the Web."

The AP stressed that the optional leads will not be available to the news service's Internet providers. They are designed strictly for print.

"This is not an attempt to turn a hard news story into a feature," the advisory said. "We will still present the main facts of what happened in the top few grafs of the optional. Following the alternative lead, the story will typically pick up into the body of the traditional lead."

AP officials said the optional leads will not be on every story, just those of high interest that are breaking as spot news.

"Big, big breaking spot stories," Silverman added. "We are not setting quotas or promising that it will be every story. The idea is to do it as often as we think the story warrants and if we can do it well."

An example of the differing leads:

Traditional

MOSUL, Iraq (AP) A suicide attacker set off a bomb that tore through a funeral tent jammed with Shiite mourners Thursday, splattering blood and body parts over rows of overturned white plastic chairs. The attack, which killed 47 and wounded more than 100, came as Shiite and Kurdish politicians in Baghdad said they overcame a major stumbling block to forming a new coalition government.

Optional

MOSUL, Iraq (AP) Yet again, almost as if scripted, a day of hope for a new, democratic Iraq turned into a day of tears as a bloody insurgent attack undercut a political step forward.

On Thursday, just as Shiite and Kurdish politicians in Baghdad were telling reporters that they overcame a major stumbling block to forming a new coalition government, a suicide attacker set off a bomb that tore through a funeral tent jammed with Shiite mourners in the northern city of Mosul.

 

THE CASE OF REUTERS

The Case of Reuters. A news agency that will not call a terrorist a terrorist.
By Tom Gross
The National Review,
July 26, 2004

www.nationalreview.com/issue/gross200407120846.asp

Many people still think of Reuters as the Rolls-Royce of news agencies. Just as the House of Morgan was once synonymous with good banking, Reuters has long been synonymous with good news-gathering. In 1940, there was even a Hollywood film about Paul Julius Reuter, the German-Jewish immigrant to London who as early as 1851 began transmitting stock-market quotes between London and Paris via the new Calais-Dover cable. (Two years earlier he had ingeniously used pigeons to fly stock prices between Aachen and Brussels.)

His agency quickly established a reputation in Europe for being the first to report scoops from abroad, such as news of Abraham Lincoln's assassination. Today, almost every major news outlet in the world subscribes. Operating in 200 cities in 94 countries, Reuters produces text in 19 languages, as well as photos and television footage from around the world.

Though it may report in a largely neutral way on many issues, Reuters's coverage of the Middle East is deeply flawed. It is symptomatic, for instance, that Reuters's global head of news, Stephen Jukes, banned the use of the word "terrorist" to describe the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks. Even so, such is the aura still surrounding Reuters that news editors from Los Angeles to Auckland automatically assume that text, photos, and film footage provided by Reuters will be fair and objective. Reuters and Associated Press copy is simply inserted into many correspondents' reports - even in papers such as the New York Times and Washington Post - without, it often seems, so much as a second thought given to its accuracy.

This has led to some misleading reporting from Iraq, and still worse coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The newswires are much more influential in setting the news (and hence diplomatic) agenda of that struggle than most people realize.

One veteran American newspaper correspondent in Jerusalem, eager to maintain anonymity so as not to jeopardize relations with his anti-Israel colleagues, points out that "whereas foreign correspondents still write features, they rarely cover the actual breaking news that dominates the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In terms of written copy on the conflict, I would estimate that 50 percent of all reporting, and 90 percent of the attitude, is formed by these news agencies. The important thing about Reuters is that it sets the tone, and here spin is everything."

"If, for example, a Reuters headline and introduction say that Israelis killed a Palestinian, instead of saying that a Palestinian gunman was killed as he opened fire on Israeli civilians, this inevitably leaves a different impression of who was attacking, and who defending."

In a study last year, the media watchdog HonestReporting found that in "100 percent of headlines" when Reuters wrote about Israeli acts of violence, Israel was emphasized as the first word; also, an active voice was used, often without explaining that the "victim" may have been a gunman. A typical headline was: "Israeli Troops Shoot Dead Palestinian in W. Bank" (July 3, 2003). By contrast, when Palestinians attacked Israelis (almost always civilians), Reuters usually avoided naming the perpetrator. For example: "New West Bank Shooting Mars Truce" (July 1, 2003). In many cases, the headline was also couched in a passive voice.

Often it is a question of emphasis: Important and relevant information is actually contained in Reuters text, but buried deep down in the story. Many newspaper readers, however, never get beyond the headlines, and for space reasons many papers carry only the first few paragraphs of a report - often inserted into their own correspondents' stories. When the TV networks run only brief headlines, or Reuters news ribbon at the foot of the screen, the full text is never shown.

Sometimes, Reuters presents unreliable information as though it were undoubtedly true. Most people are unlikely to notice this. For example, Reuters will note that "a doctor at the hospital said the injured Palestinian was unarmed" - when in fact the doctor couldn't possibly have known this, since he wasn't present at the gunfight. But because he is a doctor, Reuters is suggesting to readers that his word is necessarily authoritative. Yet, Reuters headlines and text are used unchanged by newspaper editors because they assume it is professional, balanced copy, which doesn't need any further editing.

Reporters of course can't be everywhere at once. The increased speed of the Internet and the demand for instant, 24-hour TV news coverage means that the world's news outlets rely heavily on Reuters and the AP, which in turn rely on a network of local Palestinian "stringers." Virtually all breaking news (and much of the non-breaking news) on CNN, the BBC, Fox, and other networks comes from these stringers.

Such stringers are hired for speed, to save money (there is no need to pay drivers and translators), and for their local knowledge. But in many cases, in hiring them, their connections to Arafat's regime and Hamas count for more than their journalistic abilities. All too often the information they provide, and the supposed eyewitnesses they interview, are undependable. Yet, because of Reuters's prestige, American and international news outlets simply take their copy as fact. Thus non-massacres become massacres; death tolls are exaggerated; and gunmen are written about as if they were civilians.

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

One Palestinian journalist told me that "the worst the Israelis can do is take away our press cards. But if we irritate Arafat, or Hamas, you don't know who might be waiting in your kitchen when you come home at night."

Some of Reuters's Palestinian stringers are honest and courageous. But, according to several ex-Reuters staffers, they feel the intimidating presence of Wafa Amr, Reuters's "Senior Palestinian Correspondent." Amr - who is a cousin of former Palestinian minister Nabil Amr, and whose father is said to be close to Arafat - had this title specially created for her (there is no "Senior Israeli Correspondent," or the equivalent in any other Arab country) so that her close ties to the Palestinian Authority could be exploited.

As one former Reuters journalist put it: "She occupies this position in spite of lacking a basic command of English grammar. The information passed through her is controlled, orchestrated. Reuters would never allow Israeli government propaganda to be fed into its reports in this way. Indeed, stories exposing Israeli misdeeds are a favorite of Reuters. Amr has never had an expose on Arafat, or his Al-Aqsa Brigades terror group."

But things may well be improving. Lately, with a new Jerusalem bureau chief, Reuters has taken some steps to ensure greater balance. For example, it no longer claims Hamas's goal is merely "to set up an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza" (which it is not), but instead writes that Hamas is "sworn to Israel's destruction" (which it is).

Reuters no longer carries the highly misleading "death tolls" at the end of each story that lumped together Palestinian civilians, gunmen, and suicide bombers. (Agence France-Presse continues to do this.) And, apparently, there are plans to relocate Wafa Amr by next year. Is it too much to hope that one day soon Reuters might actually call terrorism terrorism?


Attack on statue of “eternal leader Hafez Assad” blamed on Israel

March 18, 2005

CONTENTS

1. "Second attack destroys statue of Hafez Assad in Tyre: Tribute to 'eternal leader' will not be rebuilt" (Beirut Daily Star, March 12, 2005)
2. "What's the difference between E.T. and a Syrian? Lebanon celebrates freedom with humor, communication" (By Claudia Rosett, New York Sun, March 17, 2005)
3. "Damascus rebellion update"

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

In an increasingly desperate effort to cover up for the decrepit state they have left their societies in, Arab and Iranian despots are (as usual) blaming everything on Israel (or "the Jews").

A statue of Hafez Assad has been damaged for the second time in the village of Qana in Lebanon. Syria's dead Baathist tyrant – whom only five years ago was being courted by the Clinton administration and was being treated with almost gushing respect by many journalists at so-called liberal media such as the BBC, the New York Times and CNN – has joined the ranks of Vladimir Lenin and Saddam Hussein in becoming the latest tyrant to have his statue toppled by those he dictated over.

Hussein Dakhlallah, The President of the Committee for Immortalizing Martyr Hafez Assad (yes that is his actual job title), has accused "dirty Israeli hands" of perpetrating the attack, while ignoring the anti-Syrian fervor rife throughout Lebanon. No doubt he also believes that Monday's protest of almost 1 million people in Beirut against Assad's equally dictatorial son was organized by those same "dirty Israeli hands".

Even though Syrian propagandists continue to find a sympathetic ear among a few western journalists (as noted by recent articles in The Guardian and elsewhere blaming Israel for present events in Lebanon), it seems that fewer and fewer ordinary Lebanese and Syrians are being taken in by the anti-Israeli and anti-American propaganda.

Lebanese democrats are not only holding up pro-Bush placards, but – following on from the deck of cards produced by pro-democracy forces in Iraq – they have produced their own deck of cards, featuring the most wanted (or rather the most unwanted) of Lebanon's Syrian-backed regime.

Below, I attach an article on the attack on Assad's statue from the Beirut Daily Star, followed by an article on events in Lebanon by Claudia Rosett, a long-time subscriber to this email list) reporting from Beirut.

There are summaries first for those who don't have time to read these pieces in full.

 

"DAMASCUS REBELLION UPDATE"

The Lebanese Foundation for Peace, a group of Christian and Moslem Lebanese exiles, some of whom subscribe to this email list, report on the beginnings of insurrection in Syria itself.

Their reports * cannot * be verified at the present time. Using their network of sources inside Syria, in the past they have occasionally had scoops before the mainstream media, but I have received no indication as yet that these present reports are accurate.

For those interested, see "Damascus rebellion update" and other items at www.free-lebanon.com, which state among other things:

"No newspapers are getting in or out of Syria, the media is controlled very tight, and the Syrian scene witnessed a dramatic, security deterioration the last 24 hours. Precise Intelligence reports coming from Syria indicated massive army troops deployment around the capital Damascus. Most of the military Barracks of the Syrian Army around Damascus gave allegiance to the dissidents: Syrian Interior Minister Ghazi Kanaan and General Ali Madi. These people in the Syrian Army were against the withdrawal from Lebanon. It is known that President Bashar Assad is in the city of Alleppo, assessing the internal situation within Syria and trying to organize a "forced" return to Damascus."

Another of their items runs as follows: "Unhappy with Assad's surrender of Lebanon due to pressure from the United States, having lost enormous sums of money by leaving Lebanon, an internal conflict erupted within the upper echelon of the Syrian military and political hierarchy against Assad's behavior versus Washington.

"The killings haven't started yet, but the Syrian Army and its political structure are deeply divided against each other, politically and on the ground. Intense political disturbances in Damascus are inflaming many after the Kanaan movement consolidated Damascus under his control.

"Assad left Damascus in a hurry. The tension started one week ago. He left behind in Damascus his brother in law General Assef Shawkat of the military Intelligence to strike a compromise not kill each other with the "dissidents" of Interior Minister Ghazi Kanaan and his group. Receiving Intelligence from Damascus, most of the military units and barracks rallied to Ghazi Kanaan there. The situation evolved dangerously when the Syrian Air Force bombarded 3 positions within Syria. Two positions were attacked around Damascus at 3 AM the night before and 1 position was bombarded west of Homs."

 

SUMMARIES

TRIBUTE TO "ETERNAL LEADER" WILL NOT BE REBUILT

"Second attack destroys statue of Hafez Assad in Tyre. Tribute to 'eternal leader' will not be rebuilt" (By Mohammed Zaatari, Beirut Daily Star, March 12, 2005)

The statue of late Syrian President Hafez Assad in the southern village of Qana was attacked on Thursday for the second time in two weeks, as anti-Syrian sentiment gains force. The monument was first attacked on February 27, when the metallic statue of Assad's head and torso in the middle of a water fountain was felled from a stand hailed "the eternal leader" and was left lying damaged on the ground. This time, the statue was completely destroyed by unknown people on Thursday night.

... The president of the Committee for Immortalizing Martyr Hafez Assad, Hussein Dakhlallah, accused the Israelis of perpetrating the attack. "Dirty Israeli hands attacked the statue and those hands will be cut off for committing this stupid act," he said… Sources said that Tyre officials decided not to rebuild the statue again...

 

"WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN E.T. AND A SYRIAN?"

"Lebanon Celebrates Freedom With Humor, Communication" (By Claudia Rosett in Beirut, The New York Sun, March 17, 2005)

... Though Lebanon's people have spoken up vehemently in recent weeks about their desire for liberty and self-rule, the Cedar Revolution is not yet out of the woods. The folks here know that communication is one of their prime weapons. And it's a peaceful one. One of the chief tools of a repressive regime is to isolate and silence individuals, cutting off people who might try to share their discontent or try to bring about change. For years, stifling dissent in Lebanon was the job of the Syrian-infested secret police. The deeper message of today's traffic is that the Lebanese are less and less afraid to speak their minds.

On Lebanon's grapevine, feelings run high, and not all the gags make for family reading. Among the more polite is a text message now making the rounds, announcing that the Lebanese quisling regime is changing its emblem from a cedar tree to a condom, "because it more accurately reflects the government's political stance." How so? The answer (slightly redacted) is that "a condom allows for inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation... and gives you a sense of security while you're actually being screwed."

... Among similar signs in the crowd was one deriding claims that Hezbollah had turned out 1.6 million people at a recent protest: "1.6 million, yeah right, and I'm Elvis."

... There is an entire subset of Syria jokes. Asked for some examples, a group of opposition activists flip open their cell phones and began reading off some of the recent text messages: Question: "What's the difference between E.T. and a Syrian?" Answer: "E.T. *wanted* to go home."

... Another joke offers a play on the self-help chit chat that abounds as much in Lebanon as anyplace else in the modern world - but with a local touch: "If you feel that nobody loves you, nobody cares for you, and everyone is ignoring you ... maybe you should start asking yourself, am I a Syrian?"

... Around a family dinner table, one young woman cites a gag that highlights both the state of Lebanon's cramped economy under Syrian rule, and the repression inside Syria itself. The joke runs thus:

A pollster asks an American, a Lebanese, and a Syrian the following question: "What's your opinion on electricity cuts?"

The American asks, "What's an electricity cut?"

The Lebanese asks, "What's electricity?"

The Syrian asks, "What's an 'opinion?'" ...

 



FULL ARTICLES

TRIBUTE TO "ETERNAL LEADER" WILL NOT BE REBUILT

Second attack destroys statue of Hafez Assad in Tyre
Tribute to 'eternal leader' will not be rebuilt
By Mohammed Zaatari
Daily Star staff
March 12, 2005

dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=13350

The statue of late Syrian President Hafez Assad in the southern village of Qana was attacked on Thursday for the second time in two weeks, as anti-Syrian sentiment gains force.

The monument was first attacked on February 27, when the metallic statue of Assad's head and torso in the middle of a water fountain was felled from a stand hailed "the eternal leader" and was left lying damaged on the ground. This time, the statue was completely destroyed by unknown people on Thursday night.

After Hariri's assassination on February 14, which was blamed on the pro-Syrian regime and Damascus by the Lebanese opposition, many Syrian workers have fled Lebanon. Attacks targeting Syrians have also been reported across the country.

Internal Security Forces and State Security personnel came to the scene to investigate the incident and prohibited the citizens from approaching the statue, covering it with a piece of cloth.

The president of the Committee for Immortalizing Martyr Hafez Assad, Hussein Dakhlallah, accused the Israelis of perpetrating the attack.

"Dirty Israeli hands attacked the statue and those hands will be cut off for committing this stupid act," he said.

Pro-Syrian officials including Baath party members checked the statue and called for its rebuilding. However, sources said that Tyre officials decided not to rebuild the statue again.

Amal and Hizbullah have a strong presence in Qana where Israel bombed a UN peacekeeping compound in 1996, killing men, women and children who took refuge there from Israeli bombardments.

Hafez Assad's statue, which bears both the Lebanese and Syrian flags, was erected in June 2002, two years after the death of Assad, who ruled Syria for 30 years.

In the city of Tyre, there is also a street named after the late president as well as a cultural center named after his late son Basil Assad.

 

"WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN E.T. AND A SYRIAN?"

Lebanon Celebrates Freedom With Humor, Communication
By Claudia Rosett
The New York Sun
March 17, 2005

Along with Monday's landmark demonstration for freedom, Lebanese democrats are sending around by e-mail their own deck of cards, featuring the most wanted - or rather the most unwanted - of Lebanon's Syrian-backed regime.

Like the deck dispensed by America almost two years ago in Iraq, each card has a picture, starting with President Lahoud as the ace of diamonds, over the caption "Puppet President," and including, as the insultingly inferior nine of clubs, Prime Minister Karami - who resigned last month under popular pressure, only to return to office less than two weeks later. Mr. Karami is labeled "Syrian Apologist."

Unlike the Iraq cards, the further Lebanese twist is that this deck is incomplete and these characters are still maneuvering to stay in power - which makes the popularity of the item all the more daring. The deck first turned up on the e-mail circuit roughly last year, and some here guess it was put together by someone in the large Lebanese population outside of the country. In the fearful political climate before the assassination last month of former Prime Minister Hariri set off the current democratic uprising, the deck circulated briefly, then faded away. It's even possible the missing cards include Hariri, who after years of getting along with Syria began only recently to defy Damascus - and was murdered.

Now, as many Lebanese start to speak up, the cards (or at least some of them) are back, big-time. They are part of a tumult of jokes, cartoons, emails, and text-messaging cell-phone traffic with which the Lebanese are amusing themselves, boosting morale, and spreading the word - especially among one another - that they want to be free of Syria and its quisling Beirut regime.

Such gimmicks are the lighter side of a Lebanon trying to cope with deadly serious politics. Following a volley of demonstrations over the past few weeks, in which democratic turnout wowed the world and trumped terrorist Hezbollah, many players - both in Lebanon and abroad - are maneuvering for position in the uncertain times ahead. Up in the air are such vital matters as whether Lebanon's parliamentary elections will take place by late May, as required under law; whether Hezbollah will disarm, as required by United Nations Resolution 1559 and urged by President Bush, and whether Syria will fully withdraw, and by when.

And though Lebanon's people have spoken up vehemently in recent weeks about their desire for liberty and self-rule, the Cedar Revolution is not yet out of the woods. The folks here know that communication is one of their prime weapons. And it's a peaceful one. One of the chief tools of a repressive regime is to isolate and silence individuals, cutting off people who might try to share their discontent or try to bring about change. For years, stifling dissent in Lebanon was the job of the Syrian-infested secret police. The deeper message of today's traffic is that the Lebanese are less and less afraid to speak their minds.

On Lebanon's grapevine, feelings run high, and not all the gags make for family reading. Among the more polite is a text message now making the rounds, announcing that the Lebanese quisling regime is changing its emblem from a cedar tree to a condom, "because it more accurately reflects the government's political stance." How so? The answer (slightly redacted) is that "a condom allows for inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation ... and gives you a sense of security while you're actually being screwed."

On a more come-hither front, one popular photo circulating at the moment shows a Lebanese flag painted on the cleavage of a buxom young woman in a low-cut tank top. So much for keeping patriotism under wraps.

Yet another favored cartoon, in which the Lebanese take a poke at their own social pretensions, shows a woman protestor in a plaid suit marching along with her maid beside her, both carrying Lebanese flags. The caption, speaking for the maid, reads: "Madam wants Syria out!"

In keeping with the cosmopolitan nature of Beirut, there is a fair amount of hip humor on display. Monday's democratic protest produced a poster that made the world news for its play on the Madonna lyrics "Papa don't preach, I'm in trouble deep," a reference here to Syria's despotic dynasty: current dictator Bashar Assad, and his late father, Hafez Assad. Among similar signs in the crowd was one deriding claims that Hezbollah had turned out 1.6 million people at a recent protest: "1.6 million, yeah right, and I'm Elvis."

Reflecting the interesting turn of an Arab people feeling free enough to blame their real oppressors, rather than defaulting to such time worn mottoes as "Death to America! Death to Israel," the opposition here has focused its ire on Syria. There is an entire subset of Syria jokes. Asked for some examples, a group of opposition activists flip open their cell phones and began reading off some of the recent text messages:

Question: "What's the difference between E.T. and a Syrian?"

Answer: "E.T. *wanted* to go home." (Or, in another version: "E.T. came with his own bicycle)."

Another joke offers a play on the self-help chit chat that abounds as much in Lebanon as anyplace else in the modern world - but with a local touch: "If you feel that nobody loves you, nobody cares for you, and everyone is ignoring you ... maybe you should start asking yourself, am I a Syrian?"

Around a family dinner table, one young woman cites a gag that highlights both the state of Lebanon's cramped economy under Syrian rule, and the repression inside Syria itself. The joke runs thus:

A pollster asks an American, a Lebanese, and a Syrian the following question: "What's your opinion on electricity cuts?"

The American asks, "What's an electricity cut?"

The Lebanese asks, "What's electricity?"

The Syrian asks, "What's an 'opinion?'"

And while many of the jokes are, to say the least, unkind toward Syria, there was one that came my way this week, poignant and perhaps even prophetic - reflecting awareness among some Lebanese that most of the Syrians themselves suffer miserably under the Syrian regime. The details are too intricate to bear repeating in full, drawing on local history and names, but the bottom line was a play on the words these past few weeks of so many Lebanese demanding Syria get out of Lebanon. In this case, the punch line came down to: Once the Syrians get out of Lebanon, it's time to get Syria out of Syria.


Kofi Annan, Turkey updates

CONTENTS

1. "Kofi's True Colors" (New York Post, March 16, 2005 )
2. "The Sick Man of Europe" (The Wall Street Journal, February 16, 2005)
3. The ignorant Annan

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

QUICK-OFF-THE MARK: THE NEW YORK POST

In yesterday's dispatch (Annan bow at Arafat's grave sparks outrage), I mentioned that to my knowledge, virtually no other paper in the world other than the New York Sun had drawn attention to the bow by Kofi Annan at Yasser Arafat's grave, or the irony of Annan coming to the region specifically to commemorate 6 million dead Jews and then paying his respects to the greatest Jew killer of this generation.

In fact, the New York Post ran an editorial about the matter a day before the New York Sun did, as the writer of that editorial, a long-time subscriber to this email list, points out to me. I attach that editorial, "Kofi's True Colors," below.

 

QUICK-OFF-THE MARK: THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

In yesterday's dispatch (Mein Kampf is a bestseller in Turkey for second month in a row), I attached a piece from the Los Angles Times about growing anti-Semitism in Turkey.

An editorial page editor at the Wall Street Journal (one of several senior editors and writers at both The Wall Street Journal and The Wall Street Journal Europe who subscribe to this email list), points out to me that the Journal ran a story by Robert Pollock on the subject last month, which caused an uproar in Turkey.

I attach that article, "The Sick Man of Europe," below.

Both pieces in the NY Post and Journal are well worth reading, although perhaps the title of the Journal piece is a little unfair given the fact other European countries have similar problems.

-- Tom Gross

 

THE IGNORANT ANNAN

A senior journalist based in Jerusalem – also a long-time subscriber to this email list – points out the following:

Tom, the quote from Eckhard in your NY Sun story could use some analysis:

A spokesman for Mr. Annan, Fred Eckhard, responded to the Sun yesterday: "Kofi Annan is secretary-general of an organization made up of all nations, and so he could not be in the region without also paying a call on the new president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. Arafat's grave lies within the compound of the president's residence, and the secretary-general, like every international visitor to the residence, paid his respects at Arafat's resting place."

The reality is this (even though my editor would never allow me to point this out):

1. The Mukata is the office, not the residence, so Annan didn't even know where he was going.
2. Other leaders - Blair, Condie, for example - passed the grave without laying a wreath.
3. Annan could have met Abu Mazen at his own home or his other office across town and avoided the grave altogether.

 



FULL ARTICLES

"KOFI'S TRUE COLORS"

Kofi's True Colors
Main Editorial
New York Post
March 16, 2005

www.nypost.com/seven/03162005/postopinion/editorial/42633.htm

Aren't diplomats supposed to have tact? Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the United Nations and someone who should have some sensitivity, clearly needs sensitivity training.

As part of his trip to Israel to attend the opening ceremonies for the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial's new museum in Jerusalem, Annan on Monday went to the grave of Yasser Arafat in Ramallah, and laid a wreath of flowers on the tomb.

So let's get this straight: Annan travels to the Jewish state to attend a ceremony for a museum that commemorates Jewish victims of mass murder, and a day earlier – maybe to be evenhanded? – he pays his respects at . . . the grave of a mass murderer of Jews?

It was one thing when Arafat was alive and most every diplomat and political leader who visited the region went to pay their respects to the Palestinian chairman. (Even then, some chose to isolate and ignore him these last few years – realizing that Arafat was still nothing more than a terrorist thug.)

And yet, now that he's dead and buried and everyone else has moved on – the Palestinians not least – Annan still has to pay his respects.

Kofi clearly doesn't forget his friends.

And no one who wants an impartial chief at the U.N. should forget this affair.

 

TURKEY -- "THE SICK MAN OF EUROPE"

The Sick Man of Europe – Again
By Robert L. Pollock
The Wall Street Journal
February 16, 2005

Several years ago I attended an exhibition in Istanbul. The theme was local art from the era of the country's last military coup (1980). But the artists seemed a lot more concerned with the injustices of global capitalism than the fate of Turkish democracy. In fact, to call the works leftist caricatures – many featured fat capitalists with Uncle Sam hats and emaciated workers – would have been an understatement. As one astute local reviewer put it (I quote from memory): "This shows that Turkish artists were willing to abase themselves voluntarily in ways that Soviet artists refused even at the height of Stalin's oppression."

That exhibition came to mind amid all the recent gnashing of teeth in the U.S. over the question of "Who lost Turkey?" Because it shows that a 50-year special relationship, between longtime NATO allies who fought Soviet expansionism together starting in Korea, has long had to weather the ideological hostility and intellectual decadence of much of Istanbul's elite. And at the 2002 election, the increasingly corrupt mainstream parties that had championed Turkish-American ties self-destructed, leaving a vacuum that was filled by the subtle yet insidious Islamism of the Justice and Development (AK) Party. It's this combination of old leftism and new Islamism – much more than any mutual pique over Turkey's refusal to side with us in the Iraq war – that explains the collapse in relations.

And what a collapse it has been. On a brief visit to Ankara earlier this month with Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith, I found a poisonous atmosphere – one in which just about every politician and media outlet (secular and religious) preaches an extreme combination of America- and Jew-hatred that (like the Turkish artists) voluntarily goes far further than anything found in most of the Arab world's state-controlled press. If I hesitate to call it Nazi-like, that's only because Goebbels would probably have rejected much of it as too crude.

Consider the Islamist newspaper Yeni Safak, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's favorite. A Jan. 9 story claimed that U.S. forces were tossing so many Iraqi bodies into the Euphrates that mullahs there had issued a fatwa prohibiting residents from eating its fish. Yeni Safak has also repeatedly claimed that U.S. forces used chemical weapons in Fallujah. One of its columnists has alleged that U.S. soldiers raped women and children there and left their bodies in the streets to be eaten by dogs. Among the paper's "scoops" have been the 1,000 Israeli soldiers deployed alongside U.S. forces in Iraq, and that U.S. forces have been harvesting the innards of dead Iraqis for sale on the U.S. "organ market."

It's not much better in the secular press. The mainstream Hurriyet has accused Israeli hit squads of assassinating Turkish security personnel in Mosul, and the U.S. of starting an occupation of Indonesia under the guise of humanitarian assistance. At Sabah, a columnist last fall accused the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Eric Edelman, of letting his "ethnic origins" – guess what, he's Jewish – determine his behavior. Mr. Edelman is indeed the all-too-rare foreign-service officer who takes seriously his obligation to defend America's image and interests abroad. The intellectual climate in which he's operating has gone so mad that he actually felt compelled to organize a conference call with scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey to explain that secret U.S. nuclear testing did not cause the recent tsunami.

Never in an ostensibly friendly country have I had the impression of embassy staff so besieged. Mr. Erdogan's office recently forbade Turkish officials from attending a reception at the ambassador's residence in honor of the "Ecumenical" Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, who resides in Istanbul. Why? Because "ecumenical" means universal, which somehow makes it all part of a plot to carve up Turkey.

Perhaps the most bizarre anti-American story au courant in the Turkish capital is the "eighth planet" theory, which holds not only that the U.S. knows of an impending asteroid strike, but that we know it's going to hit North America. Hence our desire to colonize the Middle East.

It all sounds loony, I know. But such stories are told in all seriousness at the most powerful dinner tables in Ankara. The common thread is that almost everything the U.S. is doing in the world – even tsunami relief – has malevolent motivations, usually with the implication that we're acting as muscle for the Jews.

In the face of such slanders Turkish politicians have been utterly silent. In fact, Turkish parliamentarians themselves have accused the U.S. of "genocide" in Iraq, while Mr. Erdogan (who we once hoped would set for the Muslim world an example of democracy) was among the few world leaders to question the legitimacy of the Iraqi elections. When confronted, Turkish pols claim they can't risk going against "public opinion."

All of which makes Mr. Erdogan a prize hypocrite for protesting to Condoleezza Rice the unflattering portrayal of Turkey in an episode of the fictional TV show "The West Wing." The episode allegedly depicts Turkey as having been taken over by a retrograde populist government that threatens women's rights. (Sounds about right to me.)

In the old days, Turkey would have had an opposition party strong enough to bring such a government closer to sanity. But the only opposition now is a moribund Republican People's Party, or CHP, once the party of Ataturk. At a recent party congress, its leader accused his main challenger of having been part of a CIA plot against him. That's not to say there aren't a few comparatively pro-U.S. officials left in the current government and the state bureaucracies. But they're afraid to say anything in public. In private, they whine endlessly about trivial things the U.S. "could have done differently."

Entirely forgotten is that President Bush was among the first world leaders to recognize Prime Minister Erdogan, while Turkey's own legal system was still weighing whether he was secular enough for the job. Forgotten have been decades of U.S. military assistance. Forgotten have been years of American efforts to secure a pipeline route for Caspian oil that terminates at the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Forgotten has been the fact that U.S. administrations continue to fight annual attempts in Congress to pass a resolution condemning modern Turkey for the long-ago Armenian genocide. Forgotten has been America's persistent lobbying for Turkish membership in the European Union.

Forgotten, above all, has been America's help against the PKK. Its now-imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan, was expelled from Syria in 1998 after the Turks threatened military action. He was then passed like a hot potato between European governments, who refused to extradite him to Turkey because – gasp! – he might face the death penalty. He was eventually caught – with the help of U.S. intelligence – sheltered in the Greek Embassy in Nairobi. "They gave us Ocalan. What could be bigger than that?" says one of a handful of unapologetically pro-U.S. Turks I still know.

I know that Mr. Feith (another Jew, the Turkish press didn't hesitate to note), and Ms. Rice after him, pressed Turkish leaders on the need to challenge some of the more dangerous rhetoric if they value the Turkey-U.S. relationship. There is no evidence yet that they got a satisfactory answer. Turkish leaders should understand that the "public opinion" they cite is still reversible. But after a few more years of riding the tiger, who knows? Much of Ataturk's legacy risks being lost, and there won't be any of the old Ottoman grandeur left, either. Turkey could easily become just another second-rate country: small-minded, paranoid, marginal and – how could it be otherwise? – friendless in America and unwelcome in Europe.

(Mr. Pollock is a senior editorial page writer at the Journal.)


Annan bow at Arafat’s grave sparks outrage

March 17, 2005

[Note by Tom Gross]

The article below is from today's New York Sun and as far as I can tell, has not been covered by any other news organization. Perhaps this is because such behavior from the UN and its top official is commonplace with regards to Israel. The irony should not be lost of Kofi Annan coming to the region specifically to commemorate 6 million dead Jews and then paying his respects to the greatest Jew killer of this generation.

(See Monday's dispatch titled, Kofi Annan to attend the re-opening of Yad Vashem.)

Rep. Peter King, a Republican of Long Island, echoed growing feeling among Republican ranks (and some Democrats) in the US when he said yesterday that Mr. Annan "is the worst type of world leader. He's arrogant and tone deaf; considering all that's gone down in the UN, for him to be commemorating Arafat in this way is incredibly insensitive. Kofi Annan should step aside."

-- Tom Gross

(With thanks to Ben Green for his assistance.)

(Some of the people quoted in this article are subscribers to this email list.)

 


FULL ARTICLE

ANNAN'S BOW AT ARAFAT'S GRAVE SPARKS OUTRAGE IN CITY

Annan's Bow at Arafat's Grave Sparks Outrage in City
By Meghan Clyne - Staff Reporter of the Sun
New York Sun
March 17, 2005

www.nysun.com/article/10695

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's decision to lay a wreath at the grave of Yasser Arafat while on his way to the dedication of a Holocaust museum in Israel is infuriating New York politicians and Jewish leaders, some of whom are labeling Mr. Annan's gesture "outrageous," "grotesque," and an example of "mindless incompetence."

The secretary-general joined world leaders in Israel on Tuesday to commemorate the opening of a new Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. His visit Monday to Mr. Arafat's grave rankled some representatives of the United Nations' host city, who said Mr. Annan had damaged the world body's already poor public image and may have further imperiled U.N. plans to expand into neighboring parts of Turtle Bay.

Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, a Democrat who represent parts pf Brooklyn and Queens in Congress, said yesterday: "It is almost grotesque to travel to Israel to pay tribute to the 6 million Jews massacred in the Shoah and use the opportunity to pay tribute to a terrorist who is responsible for murdering thousands more."

"Just when I think the U.N. and its leadership had reached a new low," Mr. Weiner added, "I am reminded that when it comes to Israel, and sensitivity toward the Jewish community, there is no bottom to their pit."

Many of Mr. Weiner's fellow congressmen from the New York metropolitan area echoed his sentiments.

Rep. Peter King, a Republican of Long Island, said yesterday that Mr. Annan "is the worst type of world leader. He's arrogant and tone deaf; considering all that's gone down in the U.N., for him to be commemorating Arafat in this way is incredibly insensitive."

"I have said for months now that Kofi Annan should step aside," Mr. King added. "For a person who's supposed to be a world-class diplomat, he's showing an amazing lack of skills."

Mr. Annan is also harming the organization for which he is responsible, according to Rep. Vito Fossella, a Republican of Staten Island.

"I'm disappointed that Annan chose to honor Arafat when he could have spent his time more productively. The U.N. remains unwilling to make the distinction between forces of good and bad. This has damaged its credibility and detracted from its mission of promoting democracy and freedom," Mr. Fossella said in a statement to The New York Sun yesterday.

Long Island Democratic congressman Steven Israel, too, issued a statement to the Sun: "It's outrageous that on his trip to Israel to attend the opening ceremonies for the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial's new museum, Annan went out of his way to visit the grave of a man who murdered countless Jews."

To Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat who represents parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, Mr. Annan's tribute to Arafat was symptomatic of the anti-Semitism ailing his organization. "A lot of what is wrong with the U.N. is nicely summed up by the fact that Kofi Annan, who goes to Israel to participate in the dedication of a memorial museum to Jewish victims of the Holocaust, lays a wreath at the grave of someone whose career was murdering Jewish civilians," Mr. Nadler said.

One of the city's representatives in Albany, State Senator Martin Golden, Republican of Brooklyn, expressed weary disappointment in Mr. Annan.

"I can't honestly tell you I'm surprised," Mr. Golden said, adding: "If anyone's looking for a set of reasons why Kofi Annan should step down ... here's another perfect example of mindless incompetence." Mr. Golden is one of the state senators thwarting the United Nations' ambitions to renovate and expand its headquarters in Manhattan. He has said on multiple occasions that his opposition to the project would dissipate were Mr. Annan to resign.

For the time being, however, Mr. Annan appears firmly planted in his post. The U.N.'s public image has suffered amid scandals over corruption in the oil-for-food program for Iraq and reports of rape by U.N. peacekeepers in Congo. Some of the staff at the level beneath the secretary-general has changed amid vows by the U.N. to improve its relations with Washington and its image with ordinary Americans. Mr. Golden, however, said that wasn't enough: "We need to clean house at the top," he said, adding that the Arafat tribute showed how, despite recent gestures, what's going on in Turtle Bay is just "more of the same."

Mr. Golden was not alone in his assessment that the Arafat tribute would endanger the world body's attempts to upgrade its facilities.

"If I have anything to say about it, Kofi Annan is going to have to answer for these types of things before a spade is put in the ground on a U.N. expansion, and we as New Yorkers should use every opportunity we can to express how outrageous we think their behavior has been," Mr. Weiner said. Mr. King said of the expansion plans: "This can only hurt them – it's the type of thing that reminds people why they dislike the U.N."

Jeffrey Wiesenfeld – one of the members of the United Nations Development Corporation, the city-state entity overseeing the expansion – was also outraged by Mr. Annan's gesture. "It's certainly not in his self-interest, nor in the interest of the image of the U.N., to put a wreath at the grave of such a vehement Jew-hater," Mr. Wiesenfeld said, adding that he would be no more appalled if Mr. Annan had honored the grave of Hitler henchman Adolf Eichmann, who implemented the Nazis' "Final Solution."

"As far as Jews are concerned, the only difference between Eichmann and Arafat is that Eichmann mechanized Jewish murder, and Arafat would do it, as they say, on the installment plan. The concept is the same," Mr. Wiesenfeld, who is the son of Holocaust survivors, said.

The UNDC director – who, despite his criticisms of the United Nations, maintains that the city should support the world body as long as it exists and is located in New York – disagreed that Mr. Annan's wreath-laying would further endanger the U.N.'s expansion plans. While Mr. Wiesenfeld labeled the secretary-general's decision "stupid," he said it couldn't do much damage to the U.N.'s public image, which "can't get worse anyway."

Mayor Bloomberg, whose administration is strongly supportive of the U.N. expansion, was unavailable for comment yesterday because he was en route from Israel, where he was participating in the Holocaust museum events, according to spokesman Jordan Barowitz. Mr. Bloomberg's sister, Marjorie Tiven – commissioner of the New York City Commission for the United Nations, Consular Corps and Protocol, and a director of the UNDC – declined to comment for this story. The president of the UNDC, former state senator Roy Goodman, did not respond to a request for comment.

A spokesman for Mr. Annan, Fred Eckhard, responded to the Sun yesterday: "Kofi Annan is secretary-general of an organization made up of all nations, and so he could not be in the region without also paying a call on the new president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. Arafat's grave lies within the compound of the president's residence, and the secretary-general, like every international visitor to the residence, paid his respects at Arafat's resting place."

The executive vice chairman of the New York-based Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, Malcolm Hoenlein, however, questioned the need for the diplomatic community to honor a figure Palestinians themselves are trying to forget.

"I find it troubling when people elevate the status of a terrorist, especially at a time when the Palestinian people have put him behind them. There's no yearning for the good old days. People are still angry about the corruption and the raping of the country in terms of economic exploitation. You can go without laying a wreath," Mr. Hoenlein said.


World’s top soccer coach Jose Mourinho to visit Israel

CONTENTS

1. Mourinho follows Madonna, Arnie, Whitney
2. Jose Mourinho of Chelsea
3. Roman Abramovich
4. Pini Zahavi, the world's top soccer agent
5. Ireland ready for Israel
6. "Mourinho On A Mission In Israel" (Totally Jewish.com, March 10, 2005)
7. "Mourinho heads to Israel on peace mission" (AFP, March 5, 2005)
8. "Chelsea's Mourinho to visit Israel" (Jerusalem Post, March 17, 2005)

 



MOURINHO FOLLOWS MADONNA, ARNIE, WHITNEY, BUT NOT STEVEN, BARBRA, JERRY

[Note by Tom Gross]

Jose Mourinho, who is currently regarded by many as the world's leading football (soccer) manager, plans to visit Israel later this month at the invitation of Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres. During his stay, Mourinho will watch mixed teams of Palestinian and Israeli children play and give a talk to their football coaches.

Mourinho's planned visit comes at a time when many American Jewish celebrity liberals continue to stay away from Israel. (See the dispatch of April 1, 2002, titled Steven Spielberg, Barbara Streisand, Philip Roth, Daniel Libeskind: Where are you? and other previous dispatches on this list.)

Mourinho's visit follows those last year of other non-Jewish celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Madonna, Christopher Reeve (who praised Israeli spinal cord treatment advancements) and Whitney Houston (who called Israel "home").

There will no doubt be widespread coverage of the trip in the world media (at least outside the US) since at present Mourinho's every move is headline news in papers around the world.

Mourinho is scheduled to be in Israel on March 27 and 28, although he may extend his visit in order to see the Israel-France World Cup qualifying match on March 30th.

Mainly for the benefit of subscribers to this email list in the US (where there is far less interest in soccer than in the rest of the world), I attach some background information followed by three news reports.

 

JOSE MOURINHO

Jose Mourinho, 42, is the Portuguese manager of London soccer team Chelsea. He gained prominence at Portuguese club Porto with whom he won five trophies in two seasons including two European trophies, achieving unprecedented success with a club from an unfashionable European soccer country. In the summer of 2004 he joined Chelsea – which is now one of the richest clubs in the world due to the hundreds of millions ploughed into it by its new owner Roman Abramovich, a Russian billionaire. Mourinho has already tasted success at Chelsea with a League Cup trophy and his club are now the favorites to win the League, as well as challenge again for the European Cup, the foremost trophy in Europe.

 

ROMAN ABRAMOVICH

According to the Forbes magazine list of 2005 Roman Abramovich is the 21st richest person in the world. He lost his parents as a child, dropped out of college and then accumulated his fortune in the 1990s through a series of deals in the Russian oil industry. He is also the governor of the Arctic region of Chukotka (inhabited by 79,000 Eskimos). He purchased Chelsea in the summer of 2003 and has since invested over 200 million pounds (US $380 million) into the club. As a result he has changed the face of European soccer, making Chelsea one of the foremost soccer clubs in the world.

 

WORLD'S TOP SOCCER AGENT

Pini Zahavi is the son of a shopkeeper from Ness Ziyona outside Tel Aviv. He enjoyed success as a soccer writer for the Israeli tabloid Yediot Ahronot for many years where he forged impressive contacts with many important people in the soccer world. In the Eighties and Nineties he established himself as a soccer agent making small to medium deals, establishing contacts and forging a reputation for trust and discretion. Through close links with Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, and through setting up the deal which brought Roman Abramovich to Chelsea, he has now emerged as the top soccer agent in the world.

Both Pini Zahavi, and Roman Abramovich (who is of Jewish origin) may be partly responsible for bringing Jose Mourinho to Israel.

 

IRELAND READY FOR ISRAEL

The largest number of non-Jewish, non religious Christian tourists to visit Israel in recent years will arrive from Ireland next week for Israel's crucial world cup qualifier match with the Republic of Ireland.

Ireland manager Brian Kerr told Irish media yesterday that he is "happy there will be at least 2,000 Irish fans traveling to the game."

"There are just as many people killed in Dublin and places round the country as is the case with Tel Aviv," said Kerr, who urged Irish fans to visit Israel.

The match is in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan on March 26, 2005.

-- Tom Gross

 


FULL ARTICLES

MOURINHO ON A MISSION IN ISRAEL

Mourinho On A Mission In Israel
By Andrew Sherwood
Totally Jewish
March 10, 2005

www.totallyjewish.com/football/features/?disp_feature=wB0dDD

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, more known for his controversial outbursts during the season, will turn his mind to being a peace activist later this month when he visits Israel as part of a peace initiative.

Invited to the country by Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres, the outspoken Portuguese coach will watch mixed teams of Palestinian and Israeli children play and give a talk to their football coaches during his stay.

Mourinho said: "It is a different challenge, but one which I could not turn down. It will be my modest contribution to the strengthening of ties of understanding and friendship between these two people who, like me, desire a peaceful future."

Although no dates have been confirmed, Mourinho said the trip would take place during the second half of the month, which would coincide with the international weekend.

 

MOURINHO HEADS TO ISRAEL ON PEACE PROMOTION MISSION

Mourinho heads to Israel on peace promotion mission
Agence France Presse
March 5, 2005

Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho has said he would travel to Israel later this month to watch mixed teams of Palestinian and Israeli children play football as part of a peace initiative.

He said he has been invited to visit the country by Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres and would also give a talk to Palestinian and Israeli football coaches during his stay.

"It is a different challenge, but one which I could not turn down," Mourinho wrote Saturday in his regular column in "Dez", the weekly magazine supplement to top-selling Portuguese sports daily Record.

"It will be my modest contribution to the strengthening of ties of understanding and friendship between these two people who, like me, desire a peaceful future," he added.

Mourinho gave no exact dates for the trip, saying only that it would take place during the second half of the month during a break in the English Premiership race.

 

CHELSEA'S MOURINHO TO VISIT ISRAEL

Chelsea's Mourinho to visit Israel
By Jerusalem Post staff
The Jerusalem Post
March 17, 2005

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is scheduled to visit Israel at the end of the month as a guest of the Peres Center for Peace.

Mourinho will participate in a youth soccer tournament between mixed Israeli and Palestinian teams. He will also speak to the coaches that take part in the project and play soccer with the "Peace Team," an adult team of Palestinians and Israelis.

The Peres Center for Peace runs the "Twinned Peace Soccer Schools" project a network of co-ed Israeli and Palestinian sport clubs with more than 700 participating youths. The young people train and play together and receive extra help with their homework in accordance with the Center's educational peace plan which promotes peace through sport games.

Mourinho was invited after Israeli national team coach Avraham Grant and mega agent Pini Zehavi, who is in charge of purchases at Chelsea, met with Shimon Peres earlier this year. He is scheduled to be in Israel on March 27-28, although he may extend his visit to March 30 in order to see the Israel against France World Cup qualifying match on the 30th.


Mein Kampf is a bestseller in Turkey for second month in a row

[Note by Tom Gross]

[This is a follow-up to previous dispatches concerning Turkey on this list, including those on the aftermath of the suicide attacks on the Istanbul synagogues.]

Attached is an article from yesterday's Los Angeles Times speculating on the reasons why Mein Kampf has appeared on the bestseller list of Turkey's two largest bookstore chains for the second month in a row.

This would certainly seem a worrying trend for a country that publicly appears to be embracing Europe and one that many see as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East.

There are now 13 different publishers releasing editions of "Mein Kampf" in Turkey.

Last year, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made back-to-back accusations of Israeli "terrorism" and recalled its ambassador. In November, Erdogan refused to allow Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to visit Turkey, invoking the diplospeak reason of "a busy schedule."

On a visit to Israel in January, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul promised that Turkey would fight and condemn anti-Semitism both in Turkey and elsewhere, but as is the case elsewhere in Europe and the Middle East, the Turkish government appears to be doing little.

The German government has asked the Turkish government to ban the book.

-- Tom Gross

 



SUMMARY

HITLER FINDS AN AUDIENCE IN TURKEY

"Hitler Finds an Audience in Turkey" (By Amberin Zaman, LA Times, March 16, 2005)

"Mein Kampf," Adolf Hitler's notorious work outlining his anti-Semitic world view, has become a bestseller in this officially secular but mostly Muslim nation. Its sudden rebirth has alarmed the country's small Jewish community and raised concern among officials in the European Union, which Turkey aspires to join.

Remzi and D & R, Turkey's two largest bookstore chains, rank the work among the top 10 on their bestseller lists this month, as they did in February. At the Ada bookshop in a popular Ankara shopping strip, "Mein Kampf," or "Kavgam" as it is called in Turkish, has sold out. "It's our fifth-highest-selling book," said Serkan Oznur, the store manager.

... Why this nation – which welcomed millions of Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition and was the first Muslim country to recognize the state of Israel – now appears so fascinated with Hitler is a question that sparks heated debate. Booksellers said buyers tended to be men between the ages of 18 and 30.

Like several other vendors here, Oznur insisted that the newfound popularity of "Mein Kampf" was a factor mostly of price. Sales soared after several new translations were published at the beginning of the year and priced at about $3.50 a copy. Most books of a similar length cost nearly double that.

Some analysts say the appeal of "Mein Kampf" probably has to do with the rising anti-Americanism here, a result of the U.S.-led invasion of neighboring Iraq.

... In a country where conspiracy theories are commonly used to explain international politics, "it is accepted wisdom in some circles that Israel dictates U.S. policy," said Dogu Ergil, a Middle East expert at Ankara University. Thus, his theory goes, anti-Americanism morphs into a hybrid strain of anti-Semitism that in turn arouses curiosity about Hitler.

... German officials said they would like to see it withdrawn. The German state of Bavaria, which controls the copyright, has long fought the publication of "Mein Kampf" around the world, and officials there reportedly plan to take the campaign to Turkey. "The book's wide availability and popularity ought to be a matter of serious concern," said a German Embassy official here who requested anonymity...

 


FULL ARTICLE

HITLER FINDS AN AUDIENCE IN TURKEY

Hitler Finds an Audience in Turkey
Speculation about why his 'Mein Kampf' is on bestseller lists includes anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism or maybe just the piddling price.
By Amberin Zaman
Special to The Times
LA Times
March 16, 2005

www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-hitler16mar16,1,2263001.story?coll=la-headlines-world

"Mein Kampf," Adolf Hitler's notorious work outlining his anti-Semitic world view, has become a bestseller in this officially secular but mostly Muslim nation. Its sudden rebirth has alarmed the country's small Jewish community and raised concern among officials in the European Union, which Turkey aspires to join.

Remzi and D & R, Turkey's two largest bookstore chains, rank the work among the top 10 on their bestseller lists this month, as they did in February.

At the Ada bookshop in a popular Ankara shopping strip, "Mein Kampf," or "Kavgam" as it is called in Turkish, has sold out.

"It's our fifth-highest-selling book," said Serkan Oznur, the store manager.

Though nationwide sales numbers are not available, the number of publishers releasing editions of "Mein Kampf" in Turkey has grown to 13. One of them, Manifesto, announced a press run of 50,000 for its version, which jockeys for shelf space with such titles as "Hitler's Secretary" and "The Unknown Hitler." The German dictator's work appears prominently in most bookstore displays here.

Silvio Ovadyo, a spokesman for Turkey's 20,000-member Jewish community, said he couldn't explain why publishers had decided to promote Hitler as an author.

"It's anti-Jewish propaganda. Naturally, we are very concerned," he said in a telephone interview. "Turkey is our country, our home."

Why this nation – which welcomed millions of Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition and was the first Muslim country to recognize the state of Israel – now appears so fascinated with Hitler is a question that sparks heated debate. Booksellers said buyers tended to be men between the ages of 18 and 30.

Like several other vendors here, Oznur insisted that the newfound popularity of "Mein Kampf" was a factor mostly of price. Sales soared after several new translations were published at the beginning of the year and priced at about $3.50 a copy. Most books of a similar length cost nearly double that.

Some analysts say the appeal of "Mein Kampf" probably has to do with the rising anti-Americanism here, a result of the U.S.-led invasion of neighboring Iraq. Among the work's chief rivals on the bestseller lists is "Metal Storm," a gory thriller that depicts a U.S. invasion of Turkey. The hero, a Turkish spy whose training includes shooting his puppy, avenges his homeland by leveling Washington with a nuclear device.

In a country where conspiracy theories are commonly used to explain international politics, "it is accepted wisdom in some circles that Israel dictates U.S. policy," said Dogu Ergil, a Middle East expert at Ankara University. Thus, his theory goes, anti-Americanism morphs into a hybrid strain of anti-Semitism that in turn arouses curiosity about Hitler.

Others say Turks are drawn more by the book's nationalistic message than its anti-Semitic rants. Nationalist sensitivities have been sharpened by European Union demands that Turkey ensure greater freedom for the country's religious minorities and restive Kurds as conditions for its membership in the alliance.

"Nationalist reflexes have been triggered, there are fears the country will be dismembered," said Nilufer Narli, an Istanbul-based sociologist.

Though Ovadyo said members of the Jewish community were not yet planning legal action against the book, German officials said they would like to see it withdrawn.

The German state of Bavaria, which controls the copyright, has long fought the publication of "Mein Kampf" around the world, and officials there reportedly plan to take the campaign to Turkey.

"The book's wide availability and popularity ought to be a matter of serious concern," said a German Embassy official here who requested anonymity.

Oznur, the bookstore manager, disagrees.

"Anyone who reads 'Mein Kampf' realizes what a psychopath Hitler was," he said. "If more people had read it, there might have been no [Second] World War."


Kofi Annan to attend the re-opening of Yad Vashem

March 14, 2005

[Note by Tom Gross]

This is a follow-up to the dispatch of November 22, 2004 on the new Yad Vashem database (titled: "They had lost their names"), and other previous dispatches on Yad Vashem.

Tomorrow Kofi Annan and other world leaders will attend the unveiling of the new Yad Vashem museum. The museum, which will teach about the Holocaust in an era when there will be no survivors left to bear witness, has already been highly praised. There is likely to be much media coverage on this in the coming days. Below I attach articles from this weekend: from Saturday's Independent newspaper of London, and from Reuters on Sunday (as carried on the Washington Post website.)

I include these particular articles – both of which are sensitive to the Holocaust and to Yad Vashem as an Israeli institution – in part because both the Independent and Reuters have been widely criticized for their anti-Israel coverage of recent years. (The Independent's chief Middle East correspondent is the notorious Robert Fisk.)

Britain – which has seen a sharp rise in physical and verbal anti-Semitic attacks in recent months (particularly from senior figures in Tony Blair's ruling Labour Party, such as London mayor Ken Livingstone) – is to send Deputy British Prime Minister John Prescott to the ceremony.

(Senior staff at Yad Vashem, as well as some British members of Parliament are subscribers to this email list.)

-- Tom Gross

 


FULL ARTICLES

AT LAST A TRIBUTE THAT DOES JUSTICE TO THE SCALE OF THE HOLOCAUST

At last, a tribute that does justice to the scale of the Holocaust

Next week, dignitaries from around the world will gather to attend the opening of the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem. It promises to be a powerfully evocative experience, says Donald Macintyre

The Independent
March 12, 2005

news.independent.co.uk/europe/story.jsp?story=619203

Among the flashes of recollection he has of that momentous journey, Henry Foner can remember his first sight of a policeman on the quay when the ship docked at Harwich. He can remember waiting in a large hall to be collected. But he has no memory of what must have been the utterly traumatic moment at which he had parted from his father, Max, for the last time in the winter of 1938. An only child of just six and half, he was uprooted, alone, from home in Berlin, one among 10,000 Jewish children sent by their parents on the kindertransport to Britain to escape what was to come. His mother had died two years earlier.

Of life in Swansea with his foster parents, Mr Foner, who had left Berlin as Heinz Lichtwitz, acknowledges it was "tough at times". Morris and Winnie Foner were childless and spoke only English and Yiddish. He spoke only German. "But somehow we managed to communicate," he says.

Yet by the time his father telephoned him on his seventh birthday, he could no longer understand him in German; after he had spent six months as the only Jew at the local primary school, English had become his first language. People were fairly kind, despite the occasional anti-Semitic gibes from other kids in the playground.

Today an eminent and only partly retired geochemist, Mr Foner is as fit and active man as he is good-humoured. Perhaps that is why, as he sips coffee in his comfortable living-room, the open french windows leading on to to a patio bathed in Jerusalem's spring sunshine, the greatest horrors of the 20th century, which have touched him, and about which he talks without a trace of melodrama, suddenly seem so recent.

His father, a successful lawyer who helped organise the escape of other Jews from Germany, was a habitual sender of postcards to his young son. But it was not until Henry was 30 that one of his father's friends finally sent him what Max Lichtwitz himself called a "kind of farewell letter", written in November 1941 from Berlin and still hard to read 64 years later.

His father wrote: "I think my Heini has found a good home and that the Foners will look after him as well as any parents could. Please convey to them, one day when it will be possible, my deepest gratitude for making it possible for my child to escape the fate that will soon overtake me ... Please tell him one day that it was only out of deep love and concern for his future that I have let him go, but that on the other hand I miss him most painfully day by day and that my life would lose all meaning if there were not at least the possibility of seeing him again someday."

Only in 1949 did Henry Foner discover his father had been killed in Auschwitz. That was in a letter from his grandmother, who had somehow survived. "I must have written to my grandmother," he says, "because I had a letter from her saying she had been waiting for me to ask what had happened to my father."

Now Mr Foner's very private story is suddenly going to become very public. Thanks to some of what he has kept, family photographs, the postcards, the British entry document, the satchel he had as a little boy on that long journey, Mr Foner's story is among 90 personal histories that will become known to the two million visitors expected to tour the $56m (£30m) Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum each year from when it opens at the end of the month.

Next week Kofi Annan and senior representatives of governments - Deputy [British] Prime Minister John Prescott is to fly in - will attend the opening ceremony for what by any standards is one of the world's most powerfully evocative exhibitions, massively enriched by the wealth of Holocaust records and testimony which have emerged in the past decade.

Thanks to the exhaustive searches of the Yad Vashem staff, every one of the 2,500 objects on display is authentic, each a testament to the individuality of the Holocaust's six million Jewish victims in a way the old Yad Vashem - only a quarter as big as the new one - never did.

It is true of the the silverware and other heirlooms, so prudently sent to Swansea in the early days of the war by his father, that Mr Foner has given the museum for its display of a typical room in a bourgeois Jewish Berlin home of the kind many who perished in the camps had left.

It is true, most darkly, of the crate of Cyclon B canisters used in the gas chambers. And it is true, too, of the shrapnel-peppered lamp-posts, cobblestones and tramrails used to recreate a specific street in the Warsaw ghetto. Then there are the diaries and the last postcards, the shoes, the mugs, the uniforms from the camps; even the cracked but still intact pair of spectacles a woman called Tola Walach tearfully brought into Yad Vashem, half a century after she had been given them to look after by her mother, Bluma, as she was led to the gas chamber at Birkenau.

The brilliantly innovative main building, by the celebrated Israeli-American architect Moshe Safdie, is a 250m prism-like triangular spike of grey concrete which cuts into the hillside of the Mount of Remembrance on the edge of Jerusalem, and draws the visitor down into the main underground galleries, before taking them upwards towards to the giant zinc and glass conical hall of names, covered with 600 photographs and testimonies about the victims, and mirrored by deep cuts in the limestone to symbolise the names that will never be known.

At the end, the tunnel bursts triumphantly into the sunshine and a stunning, pastoral view of the Jerusalem hills. Yehudit Shendar, the museum's senior art curator, says the concrete in Safdie's structure has been left plain "because for this purpose we didn't want something too beautiful like marble or Jerusalem stone". Conversely, as Ms Shendar points out, one of the important innovations in the museum is the use of colour, not least among the 280 contemporary drawings and painting by Jewish artists, many of whom died in the camps.

An example is paintings by the Jewish German artist Charlotte Salamon, who was murdered in Auschwitz. For her, painting was a cure for deep depression suggested by a village doctor when she was living in France and she produced some 1,300 vivid and highly coloured scenes of persecution she had witnessed in pre-war Germany.

Among those hanging at Yad Vashem, we see the artist herself jeered in the street by two anti-Semitic youths, her opera singer mother booed by her audience, with cries of "Raus, Raus", her surgeon father, head in hands, remembering the operating theatre he is no longer allowed to enter.

Many of the hitherto defining images of the Holocaust, including those in the old Yad Vashem, are Nazi photographs, most frequently showing the humiliation of Jews for propaganda reasons. Ms Shendar says: "We tend to think of the Holocaust in black and white but of course there was colour."

The use of art, in the museum, she says, is one way of meeting the museum's driving goal. "We are trying to tell the story from an individual point of view. Nazism tried to obliterate the individual." Ms Shendar knows what she is talking about; she is on the verge of tears as we come to the chilling photographs of Belzec, the Galician death camp where her grandparents were murdered.

In contrast to the deliberately impersonal Nazi propaganda, with its nameless victims, she adds: "Art is as subjective is as it is possible to be. The artist is not only a victim but has the ability to set down what he sees and feels."

For the very reason that it is so compelling, the new Yad Vashem will have its share of controversy. Are its themes universal enough? Does the sketchy account of non-Jews who perished in the Holocaust do justice to the handicapped, homosexuals, Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, also exterminated, albeit in far smaller numbers, by the Nazis? Should there be specific reference to other genocidal acts and persecuted minorities of the 20th century?

Some of these questions were posed in a thoughtful article by the liberal Jewish newspaper Haaretz this month by Michael Birnenbaum, project director of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. "Will Jewish memory be large enough to be both Judaeocentric and inclusive?" he asked pointedly.

Avner Shalev, Yad Vashem's director, says Mr Birnenbaum is a good friend and a "serious person". But he added that Mr Birnenbaum had "unfortunately" not seen the museum. Instead, after attending a briefing, Mr Shalev had given on the new Yad Vashem concept several months ago, he posed the question of whether "we are over-expressing the Jewish angle and the non-Jewish angle won't be expressed enough."

Mr Shalev says: "We are telling the story from the Jewish angle because we think that the challenge of the youngsters today is very much to understand the human experiences of the victims, the human beings, who are going through this kind of experiment." His comparison is with a work of art, a novel, say, which tells a universal truth through a particular story.

It was not "good enough" to mouth "slogans saying this is a very universal issue". If visitors were to "think and rethink" about the meaning of the Holocaust "and to realise they have to do something as a result of it for their own future we have to start with these human, person to person, encounters."

And no one can doubt the new museum's focus on the human, individual, stories of the Holocaust is a triumphant success. For all the importance of the images (a haunting photographic sequence of bedraggled Jews on the death march from Dachau to Wolfratshausen in late April 1945, taken in secret by a villager on the route, lingers stubbornly in the memory) the words also have their own, not always obvious, power.

Nazi words, of course, tell their own story. In a room devoted to the ghastly work of the Einsatzgruppen death squads in the Ukraine - and dominated by a huge colour photograph of the piles of clothes left by the naked victims shot at Babi Yar - a secret signal records another Aktion on 15 September 1941. "As a result of the execution of 322 Jews and communist functionaries, the town of Boguslav is now free of Jews."

That message was in Enigma code, deciphered at Bletchley, another reminder that the Allies knew what was happening more than a year before the first tentative news reports began to appear in the Anglophone press. And accompanying a very rare sequence of photographs of men actually being shot, five marksmen to a victim, in a forest clearing near Belgrade in October 1941, the official military report records: "180 people were shot. Everything was concluded by 6.30 pm. The Unit returned to the camp with a satisfied feeling."

But it is the last postcards sent by those on their way to the camps, not knowing what awaited them, that carry some of the most powerful messages. In one, thrown from an Auschwitz-bound train near Verona, 28-year-old Wanda Pacifici wrote: "With a sorrowful heart I am travelling to a faraway land. Tell Carlo [her brother] that the two [her children] are not with me and that he should protect them as though they were his own. I hope that I shall be able to see them again."

Or the cheerfully mundane last letter of Jacob Van Someren to a gentile friend before leaving for Sobibor: "Dear Jo, This morning I depart for somewhere else and thank you for all you have done for me. Too bad that the soap will arrive too late. I am in a hurry because I still have to pack everything ..."

 

ISRAEL'S NEW HOLOCAUST MUSEUM KEEPS MEMORIES ALIVE

Israel's New Holocaust Museum Keeps Memories Alive
Reuters (As carried in the Washington Post)
March 13, 2005

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A30862-2005Mar13.html?nav=headlines

Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial opens a new museum Tuesday to teach about the Nazi genocide of the Jews in an era when there will be no survivors left to bear witness.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan heads an impressive guest list of international leaders attending the dedication of the museum, the centerpiece of Israel's national memorial to the six million Jews annihilated in World War II.

Yad Vashem, which plays a pivotal role in the Jewish state's message that its existence is essential to prevent a repeat, is a regular stop on the itineraries of foreign dignitaries laying wreaths.

But overshadowed by more innovative museums abroad, Yad Vashem had begun to feel the challenge of preserving the Holocaust's memory at a time when the number of survivors able to recount horrors they endured over 60 years ago has dwindled.

"Yad Vashem has to learn how to function in a world without survivors," said Avner Shalev, the chairman of Yad Vashem.

The new museum, a decade in the making, seeks to personalize both the victims and the Nazi perpetrators by recounting the Holocaust's history via displays of personal artifacts, diary entries, photographs and videotaped accounts from survivors.

Until recently, it was common to see prisoner numbers branded on the forearms of concentration camp survivors as they went about their lives in Israel.

But as survivors have died and child survivors have entered old age, Yad Vashem's staff have seen an urgent need to design a museum aimed at preventing the Holocaust from becoming an abstract event, relegated to the dusty pages of history books.

"It didn't happen in another world, in a different reality," said Yehudit Inbar, the museum's curator. "The sky was blue and the grass was green at Auschwitz."

GIVING HOLOCAUST VICTIMS A VOICE

The idea of collecting survivors' stories to narrate the history of the Holocaust came when an elderly survivor brought Inbar crumbling spectacles her mother had given her on arrival at Auschwitz shortly before she was sent to the gas chambers.

It is among many artifacts displayed at the new museum, such as a braid of hair from a young girl killed in a concentration camp, a doll and a rebuilt street from the Warsaw Ghetto.

The museum's philosophy is encapsulated by its Hall of Names, designed by award-winning architect Moshe Safdie, in which photographs and names of three million of the Jews killed in the Holocaust surround a watery abyss.

"The founders of Yad Vashem were survivors of the Holocaust. They knew their story. They didn't need to show their story. They needed to show what the Nazis did," said Inbar.

"We came many years later and we needed to show both the story of Nazism and within that -- the Jewish story." To personalize the Holocaust, Inbar and her team wove first-hand accounts using personal effects and testimonies from survivors and victims into the historic narrative detailing the rise of Nazism in 1933 until Israel's establishment in 1948.

"We gave the victims an identity. We gave them a voice. We gave them a face," she said. "We did the same thing to the Nazis ... For each one we showed who they were. That they were not monsters but people who did monstrous things."


Ha’aretz interviews Asper on the future of the Jerusalem Post

[Note by Tom Gross]

This is an update to the dispatches: The struggle for control of "The Jerusalem Post heats up" (February 1, 2005), and Jerusalem Post co-owners now go to court in two continents (February 14, 2005).

Many European and north American journalists on this email list have expressed interest in this matter. I therefore attach a further article on the future of the Jerusalem Post, which carries the thoughts of CanWest controlling shareholder Leonard Asper.

Previous articles on this issue on this email list have come from the Canadian press and from the Israeli business daily Globes. This is the first time that rival paper Ha'aretz has carried a relatively long article on the sale of the Jerusalem Post. I attach extracts first for those who don't have time to read the piece in full.

 



EXTRACTS

"It was a mistake to do business with Eli Azur" (By Hadar Horesh, Ha'aretz, March 7, 2005)

"I have no intention of making changes in The Jerusalem Post. The paper as it is now is a good newspaper," says Leonard Asper, in an exclusive interview with Ha'aretz. Asper, 40, is the controlling shareholder in the Canadian media giant CanWest Global Communications Corp. In 2000, CanWest acquired most of the Hollinger International newspaper network. Last year, CanWest also purchased the Jerusalem Post from Hollinger, but a legal battle over control of the newspaper erupted between Asper and his partner in the acquisition of the paper, businessman Eli Azur, the head of Mirkaei Tikshoret.

It is not clear what exactly transpired between Asper and Azur during the last few months of 2004. Asper says that he was sure that he was about to buy The Jerusalem Post from Hollinger, in equal partnership with Azur, a young and energetic Israeli businessman who came with references from well-known banks. The partnership appeared surprising: Azur, a veteran of commercial street fights on the margins of the media world, was making his first foray into big business's major leagues.

But in the end, Azur wound up with total ownership of The Jerusalem Post, while Asper went to court alleging that Azur had violated the agreement to work toward joint acquisition. Asper's associates suspect that Azur had discovered the newspaper's great business potential, particularly the value of its real estate assets, and decided to get out of the agreement. Azur's associates say that Asper has far-reaching plans to change the paper's editorial policy and replace the editor. Asper believes that a public battle will help him get back in the deal, while Azur prefers to have his say in court.

... CanWest was founded by his late father, Israel (Izzy) Asper, a tax attorney who began to acquire television stations in 1974, first in his home town of Winnipeg, Manitoba, then all over Canada. Later, the Asper empire spread to television and radio stations in Australia and New Zealand as well. In the 1990s, CanWest tried to get into the South American market, acquiring a television station in Chile, but then pulled out and sold its businesses there.

The company bid for one of the [Israeli] Channel 2 franchises in 1994 but didn't win. Ten years later, businessman Yossi Maiman tried to interest the Aspers in investing in [Israeli news] Channel 10, to replace his partners who had abandoned the company.

... Although the sale of the Post for $13.2 million is not among the largest transactions that have been carried out recently in Israel, it is still more than five times as much as tycoon Haim Saban invested in Channel 2. The amount is similar to the sum that Arnon Milchan plans to invest in Channel 10 shares.

... Asper says he was loath to bring the transaction to the courts. He has ambitious plans for the Jerusalem Post. "It has to be a strong international brand name, like Apple and Coca-Cola, through which we will be able to present the facts about Israel and to fight anti-Semitism and anti-Israel propaganda," he says.

He rejects the idea that it would be a propaganda tool: "We are only planning to bring the precise and objective facts to public attention, against the false propaganda of those who are anti-Israel."

... A strong pro-Israel line dominates the opinion pages of the media outlets controlled by the Asper family, and occasionally the family funds the production of films and investigations designed to support Israeli public relations. Asper media produced a film that was screened here on Channel 1 and was designed to refute allegations made in the pro-Palestinian film "Jenin, Jenin."

Azur says that one reason for the dispute is Asper's desire to give the newspaper an extreme right-wing orientation. Asper denies this, saying that he is not opposed to a critical press. "The role of the press is to transmit information and to open people's eyes. The job of the journalist is to present the facts in an objective manner, and not to camouflage his opinions as fact. There is room for criticism and for expressing opinions, but within the context designed for this purpose - the editorial page," he says...

 


FULL ARTICLE

"IT WAS A MISTAKE TO DO BUSINESS WITH ELI AZUR"

"It was a mistake to do business with Eli Azur"
By Hadar Horesh
Ha'aretz
March 7, 2005

www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/548663.html

"I have no intention of making changes in The Jerusalem Post. The paper as it is now is a good newspaper, and I like it very much," says Leonard Asper, in an exclusive interview with Haaretz. Asper, 40, is the controlling shareholder in the Canadian media giant CanWest Global Communications Corp. In 2000, CanWest acquired most of the Hollinger International newspaper network. Last year, CanWest also purchased the Jerusalem Post from Hollinger, but a legal battle over control of the newspaper erupted between Asper and his partner in the acquisition of the paper, businessman Eli Azur, the head of Mirkaei Tikshoret.

It is not clear what exactly transpired between Asper and Azur during the last few months of 2004. Asper says that he was sure that he was about to buy The Jerusalem Post from Hollinger, in equal partnership with Azur, a young and energetic Israeli businessman who came with references from well-known banks. The partnership appeared surprising: Azur, a veteran of commercial street fights on the margins of the media world, was making his first foray into big business's major leagues.

But in the end, Azur wound up with total ownership of The Jerusalem Post, while Asper went to court alleging that Azur had violated the agreement to work toward joint acquisition. Asper's associates suspect that Azur had discovered the newspaper's great business potential, particularly the value of its real estate assets, and decided to get out of the agreement. Azur's associates say that Asper has far-reaching plans to change the paper's editorial policy and replace the editor. Asper believes that a public battle will help him get back in the deal, while Azur prefers to have his say in court.

Asper speaks little Hebrew, "bar mitzvah Hebrew," as he puts it. His favorite sport is Canada's national sport, ice hockey, and he dreams of establishing a team in Israel. He knows all about the fine skating rink in Metula, and is a proud fan of the Israeli bobsled team.

CanWest was founded by his late father, Israel (Izzy) Asper, a tax attorney who began to acquire television stations in 1974, first in his home town of Winnipeg, Manitoba, then all over Canada. Later, the Asper empire spread to television and radio stations in Australia and New Zealand as well. In the 1990s, CanWest tried to get into the South American market, acquiring a television station in Chile, but then pulled out and sold its businesses there.

The company bid for one of the Channel 2 franchises in 1994 but didn't win. Ten years later, businessman Yossi Maiman tried to interest the Aspers in investing in Channel 10, to replace his partners who had abandoned the company. "The business plan didn't suit us," said Asper over the weekend. The Aspers aren't participating either in the race of foreign businessmen to invest in Channel 2 on the eve of the tender that is taking place now. "We were focused on The Jerusalem Post deal," says Asper.

Although the sale of the Post for $13.2 million is not among the largest transactions that have been carried out recently in Israel, it is still more than five times as much as tycoon Haim Saban invested in Channel 2. The amount is similar to the sum that Arnon Milchan plans to invest in Channel 10 shares.

"People I knew in Canada introduced us," says Asper of Azur, "and told me that he's all right. It was a mistake to do business with him. He can decide that he doesn't want the partnership with us, but that doesn't give him the right to kick us out of the transaction. Now I'm told that it's his usual business behavior, to quarrel with partners."

Their future relationship is being discussed in court. The partnership agreement was not implemented. Azur acquired The Jerusalem Post on his own, an investment of $13.2 million, which was funded by a loan from Bank Leumi. CanWest sued Azur in New York, saying that according to the agreement between them, any dispute would be adjudicated in an American court. Azur is suing CanWest in the Jerusalem District Court for damages.

Asper says he was loath to bring the transaction to the courts. He has ambitious plans for the newspaper. "It has to be a strong international brand name, like Apple and Coca-Cola, through which we will be able to present the facts about Israel and to fight anti-Semitism and anti-Israel propaganda," he says.

He rejects the idea that it would be a propaganda tool: "We are only planning to bring the precise and objective facts to public attention, against the false propaganda of those who are anti-Israel."

An enthusiastic Zionist

The Aspers have always been enthusiastic Zionists. The founder, the elder Asper, was a great fan of Menachem Begin. Asper does not deny his connections with Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but insists that the family supports the Israeli government of the day, regardless of its political identity. "We support the government and the efforts to bring peace that will make Israel safe and will bring economic prosperity," he says.

A strong pro-Israel line dominates the opinion pages of the media outlets controlled by the family, and occasionally the family funds the production of films and investigations designed to support Israeli public relations. Asper media produced a film that was screened here on Channel 1 and was designed to refute allegations made in the pro-Palestinian film "Jenin, Jenin."

Azur says that one reason for the dispute is Asper's desire to give the newspaper an extreme right-wing orientation. Asper denies this, saying that he is not opposed to a critical press. "The role of the press is to transmit information and to open people's eyes. The job of the journalist is to present the facts in an objective manner, and not to camouflage his opinions as fact. There is room for criticism and for expressing opinions, but within the context designed for this purpose - the editorial page," he says.

He believes in the printed word

The acquisitions of the Hollinger newspaper network and The Jerusalem Post appear contrary to accepted business wisdom that the printed word is in retreat, if not on the verge of extinction. "I believe in the future of the printed word, and primarily if it is seen as inseparable from other means of communication, such as the Internet. The distribution of information will continue and it doesn't matter whether it's in print or via the Internet or through information on the cellular phone. The Jerusalem Post is a very strong news brand name that can reach people by any method. The newspapers will be able to continue to flourish as long as they are focused on the consumer and know how to identify the needs of their audience," says Asper.

He says he sees investment in Israel as a business opportunity, and also a way of strengthening Israel in addition to his charitable activities. The family has long given to educational institutions, and the father, Israel, was on the board of trustees of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The family also donates to community centers in Israel's periphery.

Asper says that he will continue to seek investments in Israel, mainly in media. "It may be that we will once again look into an investment in Channel 10. I think that there are good opportunities in the area of infrastructure. The investment in the Trans-Israel Highway was successful, although we were not involved in it, but we may be interested in similar investments in the future."

The legal dispute between Asper and Azur

The dispute between Eli Azur and the Canadian company CanWest broke out in January 2005, when CanWest asked the courts in New York to arbitrate between the company and Azur and to prohibit him from carrying out certain business activities at The Jerusalem Post until the arbitration process has been completed.

CanWest says that Azur ignored an agreement for joint acquisition of the shares of The Jerusalem Post according to which CanWest and Mirkaei Tikshoret, controlled by Azur, were supposed to each hold half of the paper's shares.

Shortly after CanWest turned to the courts in New York, Azur petitioned the Jerusalem District Court with a request for a declarative ruling to the effect that Mirkaei Tikshoret is the sole owner of the newspaper. In his petition, Azur says that CanWest is trying to change the editorial policy of the newspaper. Azur is now working to bring in new partners to the newspaper, and has signed an agreement to sell 31 percent of the shares to Yaakov Bardugo, former director of the Mifal Hapayis national lottery.


Eli Azur replies:

"There has never been an agreement signed between us and CanWest, and CanWest never invested a single dollar in the purchase of The Jerusalem Post. In light of the legal proceedings taking place on the matter, we are not interested in elaborating on our response or in answering other complaints raised by Asper."


Eichmann was dressed up in an El Al uniform (more on Peter Malkin)

[Note by Tom Gross]

This is a follow-up to the dispatch "Better than James Bond" (The death of Peter Malkin), sent on the morning of March 3, 2005. Since then, many other newspapers have carried reports and obituaries on Malkin, some written by subscribers to this email list.

These articles include information on how Malkin helped capture a number of Soviet agents, and how he personally crawled under the table in Nasser's conference room in Cairo, to place a listening device as Nasser and others were entering the room.

In particular, you may want to read the piece by journalist Uri Dan who co-authored several books with Malkin (also sometimes written as Malchin). Malkin wrote under the name Peter Mann, since the Mossad forbade the use of his real identity and picture for many years after he retired.

There are summaries first for those who don't have time to read these articles in full.

 

CONTENTS

1. "Agent of the century" (By Uri Dan, Jerusalem Post, March 9, 2005)
2. "Peter Malkin: Israeli agent who snatched Adolf Eichmann off the streets of Buenos Aires and delivered him to justice" (Times (London), March 4, 2005)
3. "Nazi hunter captured Eichmann for Israel" (Australian, March 8, 2005)
4. "Israeli agent who caught the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann" (Guardian, March 8, 2005)
5. "Zvika Malchin was the greatest undercover agent of his generation – maybe ever" (By Michael Ledeen, National Review Online, March 4, 2005)
6. "Peter Zvi Malkin Is Dead; Captured Adolf Eichmann" (By Margalit Fox, New York Times, March 3, 2005)
7. " Peter Z. Malkin: Mossad agent who captured Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires" (Independent, March 4, 2005)

 



SUMMARIES

"PROBABLY THE LAST CENTURY'S GREATEST INTELLIGENCE AGENT"

"Agent of the century" (By Uri Dan, The Jerusalem Post, March 9, 2005)

... Robert Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney, described Malchin as "an absolutely extraordinary man, probably the last century's greatest intelligence agent."

Just as Ariel Sharon was regarded as a great battlefield commander, Malchin was regarded as a genius in the secret war which he waged in the service of the Mossad.

In the nature of things Sharon became famous after the wars, but the hundreds of operations successfully directed by Malchin have remained secret, and his name became known only because of the major part he played in Eichmann's capture. I introduced these two good friends of mine to one another in 1974, after the Yom Kippur War. Sharon became famous because of his crossing of the Suez Canal, while Malchin's name as Mossad chief of operations remained a closely guarded secret.

The first thing needed, they agreed, was imagination and boldness in order to surprise the enemy. Malchin told Sharon: "I strictly observe two rules: (1) to do everything perfectly, and leave no traces, so that I can return to the enemy's position and repeat the operation if necessary; (2) to prepare the operation meticulously, and to reach the objective, but to be prepared to cancel it at the last moment, if only the slightest risk emerges."

Malchin told me several times: "The Arab enemy bored me. To work against the KGB would be far more interesting – a real battle of wits." Malchin delivered a blow at KGB agents in Israel when in a short time he brought about the arrest of 17 of them. The then head of the GSS, Amos Manor, told me: "Another generation will pass until another Zvika Malchin is born." ...

 

'YES,' HE SAID FINALLY, 'BUT HE WAS JEWISH, WASN'T HE?'"

"Peter Malkin: Israeli agent who snatched Adolf Eichmann off the streets of Buenos Aires and delivered him to justice" (The Times (London) March 4, 2005)

[This obit also appeared in The Australian on March 8, 2005, under the title "Nazi hunter captured Eichmann for Israel."]

Safebreaker, explosives expert, Haganah resistance fighter and finally Israeli secret agent, Peter Malkin has his proud niche in the history of covert operations for his remarkable capture of the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann on the streets of a Buenos Aires suburb in 1960.

Eichmann, who as an SS Obersturmbannführer in charge of Jewish affairs, was responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews during the Holocaust, had been arrested at the end of the Second World War. But in 1946 he had escaped from an internment camp in the American zone of occupation, and had disappeared. Along with that of Martin Bormann, Hitler’s private secretary, his name became almost talismanic among those of desperately sought senior Nazis who had avoided being brought to justice by the Allies.

... Well aware that an Argentine Government harbouring many Nazi fugitives from justice was unlikely to permit his being returned to Israel by due process of law, the Israeli Government determined to bring him in itself.

Mossad's feat... was far from being a foregone conclusion. According to Malkin, the first Mossad operatives who were sent to Argentina went about their task with an elephantine lack of subtlety. Among the "gaffes almost beyond invention" committed by Malkin's predecessors, one agent spectacularly crashed a Jeep in a quiet neighbourhood.

... In the three months of painstaking surveillance that preceded the snatch, Malkin and his team had several scares as the tension was racked up. On one occasion Malkin silently cursed himself for breaking into a sweat as a suspicious policeman scrutinised his forged passport at a roadblock.

... Malkin described how he confronted the Nazi about the death of his nephew: "My sister's boy, my favourite playmate, he was just your son's age. Also blond and blue-eyed — just like your son. And you killed him." Malkin recorded: "Genuinely perplexed by the observation, he actually waited a moment to see if I would clarify it. 'Yes,' he said finally, 'but he was Jewish, wasn't he?'" ...

 

MALKIN HAD TOLD JUST ONE PERSON, HIS MOTHER.

"Peter Malkin: Israeli agent who caught the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann" (By Christopher Reed, The Guardian, March 8, 2005)

In May 1960, the Israeli secret service (Mossad) agent Peter Malkin, who has died aged 77, captured the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in a Buenos Aires street. Yet his role only became public with the publication of his Eichmann In My Hands (1990).

Malkin had told just one person, his mother. She had fled anti-semitism in Poland with her family in 1936 and went to Palestine, but because of a visa shortage, her daughter Fruma stayed behind. She and other relatives perished in the Holocaust and as his mother was on her deathbed, Malkin told her of his capture of Eichmann. "Fruma is avenged," he said.

... Malkin spent 10 days talking to Eichmann. He recalled: "The problem here is with a human being, not with a monster, not with an animal. The human being does things that even the monster does not do, because the human is more sophisticated. The problem is not how the monster did it, but how the human being did it."

... In 1996, a television film, The Man Who Captured Eichmann, was produced with Robert Duvall playing the man who coined the term "the final solution" for the destruction of the Jews...

 

"PERHAPS THE GREATEST AGENT EVER"

"Zvika Malchin was the greatest undercover agent of his generation – maybe ever." (By Michael Ledeen, National Review Online, March 4, 2005)

... Zvika never did anything the way normal people do. He was an utterly extraordinary person who did extraordinary things that hardly anybody noticed because Zvika was the grand master at making sure nobody noticed him. Most of the time, nobody even saw him.

That is how he became the greatest undercover agent of his generation, and perhaps the greatest ever. I don't know anyone whose skills were at once so diverse and so sharply honed, but he was never satisfied with those skills, nor with his own mastery of so much of modern life. He never stopped analyzing problems most of us thought we understood, and a conversation with Zvika was like jumping into an intellectual and emotional tornado. Nobody could maintain that intensity, and he found solace in painting, at which he excelled.

His most celebrated accomplishment was the capture of Adolph Eichmann in Buenos Aires... But Zvika's real ability, his great genius I would say, was not simply carrying out dangerous operations. Many have done that. Zvika was utterly unique in penetrating to the heart of intelligence problems, from the security of buildings to the seemingly incomprehensible mysteries of counter-intelligence. It is said that he organized the capture of nearly thirty Soviet agents in Israel, and I once asked him how he tracked them down. "I didn't track them at all," he chuckled. "I just asked myself, if I were a Russian spy, where would I be right now? And once I had that answer, I went there and waited for him. It wasn't hard to spot the guy."

... My favorite Zvika story had to do with Egypt. The Mossad was determined to place listening devices in Nasser's conference room, so that Israel could be privy to discussions at the highest level of the Egyptian regime. Zvika got into the room during the long lunchtime break and crawled under the table — which was covered with a very large cloth that hung down to the floor — to place the bug. As he was finishing, he heard people entering the room, and he remained under the table during the meeting. "The big problem was to watch those feet and figure out which one was getting ready to move." God only knows how he managed it. Afterwards, back in Israel, he delivered a typically wry after-action report: "The manual is incomplete. We only tell how to break in, but we have to add a chapter on breaking out. Sometimes quickly." ...

 

HE DREW ON THE ONLY SURFACE THAT CAME TO HAND, A SOUTH AMERICAN TRAVEL GUIDE

"Peter Zvi Malkin Is Dead; Captured Adolf Eichmann" (By Margalit Fox, New York Times, March 3, 2005)

... A master of disguises, Mr. Malkin often posed as an itinerant painter during intelligence-gathering missions. Repelled and fascinated by Eichmann during the time he spent guarding him in Argentina, he began surreptitiously sketching his portrait. Eichmann was later spirited out of the country by Mossad to stand trial in Israel; he was convicted of crimes against humanity and other charges and executed in 1962.

In an interview last night, Robert M. Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney, called Mr. Malkin "an absolutely extraordinary man, probably the last century's greatest intelligence agent." Starting in the late 1970's, Mr. Malkin assisted Mr. Morgenthau on several cases, including the investigation of Frank Terpil, a C.I.A. operative convicted of selling weapons and explosives to Libya and Uganda. Mr. Terpil fled the United States and remains a fugitive.

... As an adolescent, Mr. Malkin joined the Palestine Jewish underground. After the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, he was recruited by Mossad; he eventually became the organization's chief of operations.

... He drew on the only surface that came to hand, a South American travel guide he had purchased for the trip. The results, portraits of Eichmann and other images of the Holocaust superimposed on yellowing pages of maps and text, are hauntingly beautiful. The images, along with Mr. Malkin's later work, may be seen on Mr. Malkin's Web site, www.peterzmalkin.com...

 

EICHMANN WAS DRESSED UP IN AN EL AL UNIFORM

"Peter Z. Malkin: Mossad agent who captured Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires" (By Phil Davison, The Independent, March 4, 2005)

Zvi Malchin, better known as Peter Z. Malkin, was the Israeli Mossad agent who tracked down and captured Nazi Adolf Eichmann, architect of Hitler's "Final Solution", in Argentina in 1960.

... Eichmann, considered responsible for the murder of six million Jews in Second World War extermination camps, had disappeared, then fled Germany in the post-war years. Like many of his fellow Nazi officers, he found refuge, even a welcome, in the military-oriented South America of the time. He lived quietly under the name Ricardo Klement, working in a Mercedes-Benz factory in Buenos Aires, but Malkin, who had lost his sister and many other members of his family in the Holocaust, finally tracked him down.

[Tom Gross adds: It is typical of the anti-Israel newspaper The Independent to say Eichmann was "considered responsible for the murder of six million Jews" rather than say that he was responsible.]

... It was on the cold, wet night of 11 May 1960 that Malkin, backed by other Mossad men in a waiting car, walked up to Ricardo Klement and used the only two words of Spanish he had learnt: "Momentito, señor. One moment, sir." Then came the neck-lock, Eichmann was bundled into the car and taken to a safe house outside the Argentinian capital.

There he was held for 10 days, and given kosher food by his captors, before being drugged and spirited on to an El Al airliner to Jerusalem. To explain his condition, Malkin had obtained an Israeli passport for him, dressed him up in an El Al uniform and told Argentinian airport staff that he was an El Al steward who had had too much to drink and was being shipped home...

 



FULL ARTICLES

AGENT OF THE CENTURY

Agent of the century
By Uri Dan
The Jerusalem Post
March 9, 2005

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1110338402830

Mossad agent Zvi Peter Malchin, who captured Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires in 1960, died in New York and was buried last week in Israel. His funeral was attended by heads of the Mossad.

In an interview published in The New York Times on March 3, Robert Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney, described Malchin as "an absolutely extraordinary man, probably the last century's greatest intelligence agent."

Just as Ariel Sharon was regarded as a great battlefield commander, Malchin was regarded as a genius in the secret war which he waged in the service of the Mossad.

In the nature of things Sharon became famous after the wars, but the hundreds of operations successfully directed by Malchin have remained secret, and his name became known only because of the major part he played in Eichmann's capture. I introduced these two good friends of mine to one another in 1974, after the Yom Kippur War. Sharon became famous because of his crossing of the Suez Canal, while Malchin's name as Mossad chief of operations remained a closely guarded secret.

The first thing needed, they agreed, was imagination and boldness in order to surprise the enemy. Malchin told Sharon: "I strictly observe two rules: (1) to do everything perfectly, and leave no traces, so that I can return to the enemy's position and repeat the operation if necessary; (2) to prepare the operation meticulously, and to reach the objective, but to be prepared to cancel it at the last moment, if only the slightest risk emerges."

Malchin told me several times: "The Arab enemy bored me. To work against the KGB would be far more interesting – a real battle of wits." Malchin delivered a blow at KGB agents in Israel when in a short time he brought about the arrest of 17 of them. The then head of the GSS, Amos Manor, told me: "Another generation will pass until another Zvika Malchin is born."

Morgenthau, when eulogizing Malchin in New York, recalled how Malchin uncovered an important Soviet agent in South America and informed the CIA. This was when Malchin was searching for the death doctor of Auschwitz, Josef Mengele, in Brazil in the 1980s, a long time after he left the Mossad. Malchin explained to Morgenthau how he had discovered the Soviet agent: "After all these years I can smell them."

He also smelled them in Moscow during the communist era. During the 1960s the Russians constructed a new building for the Israeli Embassy in Moscow. Zvika came to inspect it, and quickly discovered a secret tunnel built by the KGB from a nearby courtyard, that led to the embassy's coding room. The Kremlin threatened that if Israel were to publicize the affair Moscow would break off diplomatic relations with Israel. Later Zvika told me that the KGB was following him but had not succeeded in killing him with a staged road accident.

His successes were sometimes so imaginative that Mossad director Meir Amit found it necessary to tell his officers: "What Zvika is going to report to you now has actually happened."

It was a unique experience for me to write several books together with Zvi Malchin, who wrote under the name Peter Mann, since the Mossad forbade publicizing his name and picture even many years after he retired.

We published in Hebrew and French the book Eichmann Is In My Hands. We also published, at Zvi's suggestion, Uranium Ultimatum, in France in 1977. Malchin insisted on writing the book to warn against nuclear terrorism. He requested that we delay publication of two other books, based on his tremendous experience, to a later date.

In Sharon's letter of condolence to Malchin's widow, Roni, and his family, he wrote: "You have lost the head of your family and we have lost a faithful friend and a great fighter for Israel's security. There are not many secret fighters in the history of Israel's secret war who have chalked up so many operations over so many years, as was done with devotion, courage, and outstanding imagination by Zvika Malchin.

"The capture of the Nazi Adolf Eichmann, in which Zvika played a major role, was the most well-known of the operations in which he participated, but not the most important and complex one in the intelligence battle of wits, on which he set his special seal.

"Most of his achievements as an individual fighter and as a commander cannot be revealed for many years. Otherwise they could be used to teach Israelis how fight, not only in secret warfare but also in the overt warfare that we must wage in order to defend the Jews in Eretz Yisrael.

"Zvika proved in his 28 years' service in the GSS and the Mossad that there is no such thing as an impossible mission. He did so while remaining a sensitive person, a friend, a unique artist who devoted his imagination and talents over decades to the strengthening of Israel's security.

"In the name of the government I send you my condolences and wish to personally salute a great fighter who marched in darkness, before the army."

 

PETER MALKIN: DELIVERED EICHMANN TO JUSTICE

Peter Malkin: Israeli agent who snatched Adolf Eichmann off the streets of Buenos Aires and delivered him to justice
The Times (London)
March 4, 2005

www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,60-1509642,00.html

[This piece also appeared in "The Australian" on March 8, 2005, under the title "Nazi hunter captured Eichmann for Israel."]

www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,12469366%255E2703,00.html

Safebreaker, explosives expert, Haganah resistance fighter and finally Israeli secret agent, Peter Malkin has his proud niche in the history of covert operations for his remarkable capture of the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann on the streets of a Buenos Aires suburb in 1960.

Eichmann, who as an SS Obersturmbannführer in charge of Jewish affairs, was responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews during the Holocaust, had been arrested at the end of the Second World War. But in 1946 he had escaped from an internment camp in the American zone of occupation, and had disappeared. Along with that of Martin Bormann, Hitler’s private secretary, his name became almost talismanic among those of desperately sought senior Nazis who had avoided being brought to justice by the Allies.

Then, from 1948 onwards, the nascent State of Israel became committed to bringing as many of the authors and executants of Jewish persecution to justice as it could. In the late 1950s Mossad agents received a tip that Eichmann was living in Argentina under an assumed name. Well aware that an Argentine Government harbouring many Nazi fugitives from justice was unlikely to permit his being returned to Israel by due process of law, the Israeli Government determined to bring him in itself.

Mossad’s feat in tracking and then seizing its notorious SS target in Argentina, from where he was brought back to Israeli to expiate his crimes at the end of a rope, is perhaps its single most spectacular success. But, as Malkin was to recount in his book Eichmann in My Hands, published in 1990, that success seemed, at first, far from being a foregone conclusion.

According to Malkin, the first Mossad operatives who were sent to Argentina went about their task with an elephantine lack of subtlety. Among the “gaffes almost beyond invention” committed by Malkin’s predecessors, one agent spectacularly crashed a Jeep in a quiet neighbourhood.

Appalled by these amateurish blunders, Malkin, who already had a number of successful covert operations to his credit, insisted when tasked by Isser Harel, the head of Mossad, that he should be given sole charge of the snatch attempt, with a small elite team as backup. When Harel pointed out to him that Eichmann might well resist if seized on the street, and asked Malkin how he proposed to subdue him, Malkin put his boss in a deadly chokehold that carried instant conviction to the Mossad chief.

Even so, things were far from plain sailing for Malkin and his team once they arrived in Argentina. In a country swarming with former Nazis and Nazi sympathisers, where bribery of officialdom was taken for granted, a false move which would be reported through the Nazi grapevine was all too easy to make.

In the three months of painstaking surveillance that preceded the snatch, Malkin and his team had several scares as the tension was racked up. On one occasion Malkin silently cursed himself for breaking into a sweat as a suspicious policeman scrutinised his forged passport at a roadblock.

In the event, the regularity of Eichmann’s routine made the task the easier. Every day the former SS chief left his place of work, took a bus and finished the journey on foot from the bus stop nearest the modest home on Garibaldi Street that he shared with his wife and family. Malkin elected to confront him unarmed. The snatch was the work of a moment, though Malkin was later to say that the 20 seconds it actually took was twice as long as he had bargained for.

Approaching Eichmann, Malkin addressed him in the only three words of Spanish he knew: "Un momentito, señor". The puzzled Nazi stepped backwards, upon which Malkin went for his throat. Eichmann collapsed on the ground, taking Malkin down with him, but the getaway car was at hand. Another agent sprang out, grabbed Eichmann's feet and bundled him into it. Passers-by had apparently noticed nothing untoward. Eichmann was sped to the safe house where he was to spend the next ten days.

Having done his job, Malkin was not meant to be a part of the interrogation process. Indeed there was a strict prohibition on talking to the prisoner for all except the allocated interrogator. But when it came to the point, the mere proximity to such an infamous symbol of Jewish suffering caused Malkin to infringe the rules.

A self-taught artist, he began at first to make sketches of his prisoner, perplexed at the sheer mundanity of the physiognomy that had housed such evil impulses. Prevented from making notes for security reasons, he covered the pages of his tourist guide with pictures of his surroundings, and of other Nazi figures, and this became a pictorial diary of the period. The Polish-born Malkin, whose elder sister and her children had perished in the Holocaust, then began speaking to Eichmann in a mixture of Yiddish and German.

In Eichmann in My Hands, he described how he confronted the Nazi about the death of his nephew: "My sister's boy, my favourite playmate, he was just your son's age. Also blond and blue-eyed — just like your son. And you killed him." Malkin recorded: "Genuinely perplexed by the observation, he actually waited a moment to see if I would clarify it. 'Yes,' he said finally, 'but he was Jewish, wasn't he?'"

At that point Malkin glimpsed something of the monstrous nature of the Nazi psychology.

Eleven days after his capture Eichmann, by now metamorphosed into an El Al steward who had drunk too much, was shepherded on to a waiting airliner at Buenos Aires airport. Malkin, who left the country by a different route, never spoke to him again. But he was present at the trial in Jerusalem which found Eichmann guilty of crimes against the Jewish people, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and condemned him to death. Adolf Eichmann was hanged on May 31, 1962.

By his own account Peter Malkin was born Zvi Malchin in Palestine, but spent his early childhood in Zolkiewka, a small village in Poland. By the mid-1930s a rising tide of anti-Semitism was making life intolerable for his family who decided to return to Palestine. A shortage of exit visas meant that his 23-year-old sister had to remain behind. She and her children perished in the death camps.

Malkin led a somewhat lawless life in Palestine, roaming with gangs of children and committing petty street crimes.

But a focus for such activities was to hand. In 1939 one of his school teachers recruited him into the Haganah, the underground Jewsih military organisation which was then fighting both British and the Arabs in a Palestine then administered by Britain under a League of Nations mandate.

After graduating from high school in 1947 on the eve of Israel’s independence, Malkin had explosives training, and went to work for Shin Bet, the internal security service. He was a natural candidate for recruitment by Mossad, when the agency began to flex its muscles. As Israel established a diplomatic presence abroad, he toured the new embassies, advising on security.

He was also involved in the trailing and arrest of the Soviet spy Israel Beer, and operated against Nazi rocket scientists working for Egypt. After the Eichmann snatch he continued with Mossad, eventually becoming chief of operations.

Retiring from the agency in 1976, he moved to America, settling in New York. There he wrote and painted, his pictures being shown in galleries throughout the world.

He also occasionally assisted the Manhattan district attorney, Robert Morgenthau, on investigations, and worked as a private counter-terrorism consultant.

Malkin is survived by his wife Roni, and by three children.

Peter Malkin, Israeli secret agent, was born on May 27, 1927. He died on March 1, 2005, aged 77.

 

OBITUARY: PETER MALKIN

Obituary: Peter Malkin
Israeli agent who caught the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann
By Christopher Reed
The Guardian
March 8, 2005

www.guardian.co.uk/israel/comment/0,10551,1432618,00.html

In May 1960, the Israeli secret service (Mossad) agent Peter Malkin, who has died aged 77, captured the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in a Buenos Aires street. Yet his role only became public with the publication of his Eichmann In My Hands (1990).

Malkin had told just one person, his mother. She had fled anti-semitism in Poland with her family in 1936 and went to Palestine, but because of a visa shortage, her daughter Fruma stayed behind. She and other relatives perished in the Holocaust and as his mother was on her deathbed, Malkin told her of his capture of Eichmann. "Fruma is avenged," he said.

As an untrained but accomplished artist - his cover identity in Argentina - Malkin completed dozens of portraits of Eichmann while he was held secretly in Buenos Aires. These, too, he kept secret for decades.

In 1960 Mossad had been tipped off that Eichmann was in the Argentinian capital. But agents sent to track him down kept blundering. Then Malkin was dispatched.

He discovered that Eichmann, working under a pseudonym at a Mercedes Benz plant, returned home punctually every evening. On May 11, as Eichmann was walking towards his house, Malkin approached him and said "un momentito, senor". He threw Eichmann to the ground from where Israeli comrades hustled him into a waiting vehicle. Malkin, unarmed, had worn gloves so he would not have to touch the Nazi.

Malkin spent 10 days talking to him. He recalled: "The problem here is with a human being, not with a monster, not with an animal. The human being does things that even the monster does not do, because the human is more sophisticated. The problem is not how the monster did it, but how the human being did it."

During that time Malkin confronted Eichmann about the death of his nephew in Poland during the Holocaust. He knew Eichmann had a son, with whom he played fondly every evening, and he said: "My sister's boy, my favourite playmate, was just your son's age. Also blond and blue-eyed, just like your son. And you killed him."

Malkin wrote in his book: "Genuinely perplexed by the observation, he actually waited a moment to see if I would clarify it. 'Yes,' he said finally, 'but he was Jewish, wasn't he?'"

When Israel revealed that it had secretly removed Eichman from Argentina, there was diplomatic uproar. But he was put on trial, convicted and hanged in 1962.

Malkin, born Zvi Malchin in British-mandate Palestine was brought up in a small Polish town. When he revisited it after the war, he found that even the Jewish cemetery had been vandalised. On his return to Palestine, aged 12, he was recruited by a school teacher into the underground Haganah, fighting against the British army.

He learned skills that were to help him during his 27 years in Mossad. He became clever at disguise, was proficient in making and dismantling bombs, and trained in the martial arts. He also developed "a real talent" for thievery and pilfered ammunition from police stations for the Haganah.

When Israel was born in 1948, he joined the Shin Bet, the internal security service, before joining Mossad. He travelled widely, and became Mossad's chief of operations. He retired in 1976.

A frequent destination was the United States, and in the 1970s he helped New York's law enforcement departments in several cases. One was the investigation of Frank Terpil, a CIA agent convicted of selling weapons and explosives to Uganda and Libya. But Terpil fled the US and remains a fugitive. Malkin settled in New York but kept a home in Tel Aviv.

In 2002 he published The Argentina Journal, and Casting Pebbles On The Water With A Cluster Of Colours - a collection of his art - some recording his part in the Eichmann capture and memorialising his lost family members. His art was also exhibited in Europe, Japan and Israel.

In 1996, a television film, The Man Who Captured Eichmann, was produced with Robert Duvall playing the man who coined the term "the final solution" for the destruction of the Jews.

Malkin is survived by his wife, a son in California, and two daughters in Israel.

• Peter Zvi Malkin, counter-intelligence agent, born May 27, 1927; died March 1, 2005

 

ZVIKA MALCHIN WAS THE GREATEST UNDERCOVER AGENT OF HIS GENERATION

Zvika Malchin was the greatest undercover agent of his generation — maybe ever.
By Michael Ledeen
National Review Online
March 4, 2005

www.nationalreview.com/ledeen/ledeen200503041006.asp

Peter Malchin – Zvika to his friends – has left us, having died in a New York City rehabilitation center following a serious blood infection. He couldn't have just closed his eyes and left. Zvika never did anything the way normal people do. He was an utterly extraordinary person who did extraordinary things that hardly anybody noticed because Zvika was the grand master at making sure nobody noticed him. Most of the time, nobody even saw him.

That is how he became the greatest undercover agent of his generation, and perhaps the greatest ever. I don't know anyone whose skills were at once so diverse and so sharply honed, but he was never satisfied with those skills, nor with his own mastery of so much of modern life. He never stopped analyzing problems most of us thought we understood, and a conversation with Zvika was like jumping into an intellectual and emotional tornado. Nobody could maintain that intensity, and he found solace in painting, at which he excelled.

His most celebrated accomplishment was the capture of Adolph Eichmann in Buenos Aires. He was the invisible man who came up to the Nazi murderer on Garibaldi Street and whispered, "Un momentito, senor," and – his hands encased in gloves to avoid having to actually touch the monster – took him away. During the interrogation of Eichmann, awaiting the proper moment to fly him to his doom in Israel, Zvika started to sketch the captive on a map, and those sketches were subsequently framed and displayed around the world.

But Zvika's real ability, his great genius I would say, was not simply carrying out dangerous operations. Many have done that. Zvika was utterly unique in penetrating to the heart of intelligence problems, from the security of buildings to the seemingly incomprehensible mysteries of counter-intelligence. It is said that he organized the capture of nearly thirty Soviet agents in Israel, and I once asked him how he tracked them down. "I didn't track them at all," he chuckled. "I just asked myself, if I were a Russian spy, where would I be right now? And once I had that answer, I went there and waited for him. It wasn't hard to spot the guy."

Zvika was unparalleled at getting inside others' minds, just as he was unmatched at breaking into buildings. The Israelis used him to check their own security. Once they thought they had made a building or an office impenetrable, Zvika was ordered to break in, and he invariably did it. Then they made it Zvika-safe, and they figured that was the best any human beings could do. Back in the '50s, when the Singaporeans got Israeli help in setting up their intelligence and security services, Zvika went down to see what they had done. To his surprise, he found that a single building housed both the defense ministry and the intelligence service, and he suggested that wasn't very smart. "Once someone gets in he'll get both the defense and the intelligence secrets," he observed. The Singaporeans weren't convinced. They thought it was easier to secure one installation than two, and the head of the intelligence service balked at separating the two. This man's prize possession was a carved turtle, which he locked in his safe every night. Shortly after his conversation with Zvika, the intelligence chief came to his office early one morning and unlocked the safe. The turtle was gone, and there was a note in the safe: "Nothing is really secure, not even a turtle."

My favorite Zvika story had to do with Egypt. The Mossad was determined to place listening devices in Nasser's conference room, so that Israel could be privy to discussions at the highest level of the Egyptian regime. Zvika got into the room during the long lunchtime break and crawled under the table – which was covered with a very large cloth that hung down to the floor – to place the bug. As he was finishing, he heard people entering the room, and he remained under the table during the meeting. "The big problem was to watch those feet and figure out which one was getting ready to move." God only knows how he managed it. Afterwards, back in Israel, he delivered a typically wry after-action report: "The manual is incomplete. We only tell how to break in, but we have to add a chapter on breaking out. Sometimes quickly."

Later in life, disgusted with what he considered the excessively heavy-handed methods adopted by the Israeli internal security people and contemptuous of the quality of his successors, Zvika moved to New York City and spent most of his time painting and lecturing. From time to time he would help track down some of our monsters, of which Robert Morgenthau has spoken, and Uri Dan has written.

As befit a person who wished to remain invisible, he was a very quiet man. He spoke in a gravelly whisper that you sometimes had to strain to hear. But it was worth the effort, for he was an inspiration, especially to young people. He managed to explain to them that life was very difficult, and sometimes terrible – much of his family was killed by the Nazis in Poland. But with all that, he would say, one had to shoulder life's burdens and fight for life.

As befit the paradigmatic outsider, Zvika was not much sought after by the modern practitioners of his intelligence skills. Even after 9/11, official Washington shied away from him, although the unworthy officials of our various failed agencies could have learned a great deal from him. And until one of his friends insisted, not even the Holocaust Museum thought to honor him, or even to have him tell his story to a generation that badly needed to hear it. When he finally came, the room was packed, and nobody who was there that day will ever forget it.

Like almost all of the survivors of the Nazi horrors, he was a tortured soul, and his anguish was intensified by the need to keep secret most of the activities of his adult life. Many of his activities will remain unknown for a long time, maybe even forever, and he would approve of that. His own mother only learned of Zvika's capture of Eichmann on her deathbed. But the glory of the man himself – from his art to his personal wisdom – that we know, and we cherish it, and we will miss it. And we will say the Kaddish for him with all our hearts.

 

PETER ZVI MALKIN IS DEAD

Peter Zvi Malkin Is Dead; Captured Adolf Eichmann
By Margalit Fox
New York Times
March 3, 2005

www.nytimes.com/2005/03/03/obituaries/03malkin.html

Peter Zvi Malkin, a former Israeli intelligence agent who in 1960 captured Adolf Eichmann in Argentina, and who afterward captured him again and again on paper in his second career as a painter and writer, died on Tuesday in a rehabilitation facility in Manhattan. He was believed to be 77, and he had homes in Manhattan and Tel Aviv.

Mr. Malkin, who was recovering from a blood infection he contracted several months ago, choked to death after vomiting, Gabriel Erem, a longtime friend, said.

A Mossad agent for 27 years, Mr. Malkin was the author of a memoir, "Eichmann in My Hands" (Warner, 1990). Written with Harry Stein, it chronicles Mossad's pursuit and capture of Eichmann, an architect of the Final Solution, the systematic Nazi program to exterminate Jews.

A master of disguises, Mr. Malkin often posed as an itinerant painter during intelligence-gathering missions. Repelled and fascinated by Eichmann during the time he spent guarding him in Argentina, he began surreptitiously sketching his portrait. Eichmann was later spirited out of the country by Mossad to stand trial in Israel; he was convicted of crimes against humanity and other charges and executed in 1962.

In an interview last night, Robert M. Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney, called Mr. Malkin "an absolutely extraordinary man, probably the last century's greatest intelligence agent." Starting in the late 1970's, Mr. Malkin assisted Mr. Morgenthau on several cases, including the investigation of Frank Terpil, a C.I.A. operative convicted of selling weapons and explosives to Libya and Uganda. Mr. Terpil fled the United States and remains a fugitive.

A two-volume collection of Mr. Malkin's art, "The Argentina Journal" and "Casting Pebbles on the Water With a Cluster of Colors," was published by VWF Publishing in 2002. Mr. Malkin, who retired from Mossad in 1976, was also a private consultant on counterterrorism in later years.

Zvi Malchin was born, most likely on May 27, 1927, either in Poland (according to his son, Omer) or in British Palestine (according to Mr. Malkin's Web site).

"With him, it depends on what passport you're looking at," Omer Malkin said by telephone yesterday. Mr. Malkin adopted the name Peter and anglicized the spelling of his last name as an adult, his son said.

Mr. Malkin's son and Mr. Malkin's Web site agree that Mr. Malkin spent his early childhood in Poland. In 1936, with rising anti-Semitism there, his family settled in Palestine. Mr. Malkin's sister, Fruma, and her three children remained behind in Poland. All died in the Holocaust, along with many of Mr. Malkin's other relatives.

As an adolescent, Mr. Malkin joined the Palestine Jewish underground. After the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, he was recruited by Mossad; he eventually became the organization's chief of operations.

In the spring of 1960, Mr. Malkin was part of a team of agents sent to Buenos Aires to kidnap Eichmann, who was living in a suburb under the alias Ricardo Klement. A creature of meticulous habit, Eichmann was rigorously punctual, returning home by the same bus each evening from his job at a Mercedes-Benz factory.

On May 11, Eichmann alighted from the bus and walked toward his house on Garibaldi Street. Mr. Malkin approached him and uttered the only words of Spanish he knew, "Un momentito, Señor." He grabbed Eichmann's arm. As he told The New York Times in 2003, he wore gloves so he would not have to touch the man.

Concerned about bystanders, Mr. Malkin was unarmed. In an interview in 2003 with Midstream magazine, a monthly Jewish review, he explained, "Obviously, we couldn't tell people, 'We are going to capture Eichmann, so please stay away.' "

Mr. Malkin and his colleagues wrestled Eichmann into a waiting car and drove him to a "safe house," where he was interrogated for 10 days. Standing guard over Eichmann during this time, Mr. Malkin began quietly to draw him, using the sketch pencils, acrylic paints and makeup he carried in his disguise kit.

He drew on the only surface that came to hand, a South American travel guide he had purchased for the trip. The results, portraits of Eichmann and other images of the Holocaust superimposed on yellowing pages of maps and text, are hauntingly beautiful. The images, along with Mr. Malkin's later work, may be seen on Mr. Malkin's Web site, www.peterzmalkin.com.

Besides his son, of Los Altos, Calif., Mr. Malkin is survived by his wife, the former Roni Thorner; two daughters, Tami and Adi, both of Israel; and eight grandchildren.

Because of the extreme secrecy Mossad demanded, Mr. Malkin for many years said nothing about his role in Eichmann's capture. As he recounted to Midstream magazine, he broke his silence only when his mother was on her deathbed. "Mama," he told her, "I captured Eichmann. Fruma is avenged."

 

PETER Z. MALKIN

Peter Z. Malkin: Mossad agent who captured Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires
By Phil Davison
The Independent
March 4, 2005

news.independent.co.uk/people/obituaries/story.jsp?story=616619

Zvi Malchin (Peter Zvi Malkin), intelligence agent and artist: born Zolkiewka, Poland 27 May 1927; married Roni Thorner (one son, two daughters); died New York 1 March 2005.

Zvi Malchin, better known as Peter Z. Malkin, was the Israeli Mossad agent who tracked down and captured Nazi Adolf Eichmann, architect of Hitler's "Final Solution", in Argentina in 1960.

For that and many other operations which became known only decades later, "Zvika", as he was known to his friends, was hailed as the greatest secret agent in Israel's history.

Eichmann, considered responsible for the murder of six million Jews in Second World War extermination camps, had disappeared, then fled Germany in the post-war years. Like many of his fellow Nazi officers, he found refuge, even a welcome, in the military-oriented South America of the time. He lived quietly under the name Ricardo Klement, working in a Mercedes-Benz factory in Buenos Aires, but Malkin, who had lost his sister and many other members of his family in the Holocaust, finally tracked him down.

It is said that, when the Mossad chief in Israel asked his agent how he would capture the ex-Nazi officer, Malkin grabbed his boss and put a painful chokehold around his neck. He was a martial arts expert, as well as a master of explosives and disguises. Once in Buenos Aires, he posed as a painter while studying Eichmann's movements.

It was on the cold, wet night of 11 May 1960 that Malkin, backed by other Mossad men in a waiting car, walked up to Ricardo Klement and used the only two words of Spanish he had learnt: "Momentito, señor. One moment, sir." Then came the neck-lock, Eichmann was bundled into the car and taken to a safe house outside the Argentinian capital.

There he was held for 10 days, and given kosher food by his captors, before being drugged and spirited on to an El Al airliner to Jerusalem. To explain his condition, Malkin had obtained an Israeli passport for him, dressed him up in an El Al uniform and told Argentinian airport staff that he was an El Al steward who had had too much to drink and was being shipped home.

Eichmann was sentenced to death in Israel in December 1961, for crimes against the Jewish people, and hanged on 31 May 1962. Malkin's involvement emerged only a quarter of a century later.

Zvi Malchin was born in Zolkiewka, Poland, probably in 1927, but, after suffering anti-Semitism, his family took him to British-mandated Palestine in 1933. He was barely a teenager when recruited by Haganah, the Jewish underground movement fighting the British and Arabs, where he developed his skill with explosives.

After independence, he joined the Israeli Secret Service, later to become Mossad. Many of his operations, before he retired to the United States in 1976 and became a distinguished painter in Manhattan, remain veiled in typical Mossad secrecy. But he is known to have unmasked Israel Beer, an aide to the then Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, as a Soviet spy.

Malkin's 1990 memoirs Eichmann in My Hands were turned into a television film, The Man Who Captured Eichmann (1996), with Robert Duvall playing the Nazi and Arliss Howard as Malkin.

In his book The Argentina Journal (2002), Malkin movingly describes what it was like, in a room in Buenos Aires, to face the man held responsible for the murders of his own family members and millions of other Jews. "Who is that man lying on the iron bed? What does he signify to me?" he asked himself.

Malkin found himself surprised that Eichmann "did not look like a monster" and wrote that he had forced himself to face his captor, and to talk to him. "Long an accomplished agent, I was at last becoming a human being."

He later said: a monster can be excused for his behaviour ... The problem is not how a monster could do it, but how a human being did it.


“Better than James Bond” (The death of Peter Malkin)

March 03, 2005

“IN 28 YEARS, I NEVER KILLED ANYONE”

[Note by Tom Gross]

This dispatch follows the recent one on the passing away of "Patricia Roxborough" ("Patricia Roxborough," the Mossad's Christian superspy, buried in Israel, Feb. 20, 2005).

Peter "Zvika" Malchin, the legendary Mossad agent who physically captured Adolf Eichmann, has died in New York. He is being brought to Israel today for burial.

Malkin is regarded by many Israeli 'insiders' as the most successful agent in the history of the Mossad. He first joined the Palestine Jewish underground when he was just 12, and eventually became chief of operations of the Mossad.

He had little time for popular fiction's idea of a spy. "In 28 years, I never killed anyone," he said. "My most important weapon wasn't a gun – it was my brain." He was also known as a master of disguise.

Many of his covert tales can never be told, so he is best known for his capture of Eichmann.

Malchin was born Zvi Milchman in pre-state Palestine but spent part of his childhood in Zolkiewka, Poland. He returned to Palestine in 1936, but more than 150 of his relatives, including his sister and her family, were murdered in the Holocaust.

I attach articles from today's editions of the New York Post and Jerusalem Post, and an AP report from the Guardian's website.

(There will be no dispatches next week as I will be particularly busy with work and other matters.)

-- Tom Gross

 




FULL ARTICLES

(Eric Fettman is a long-time subscriber to this email list.)

BETTER THAN BOND

By Eric Fettman
New York Post
March 3, 2005

www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/22215.htm

Zvi Malchin was not only the single greatest secret agent the state of Israel was lucky enough to produce, he was one of the most extraordinary people one could ever hope to meet.

The world knew him as Peter Z. Malkin, the man who on a cold night in 1960 kidnapped a factory worker named Riccardo Klement outside his ramshackle Buenos Aires home and brought him to Israel — — where he stood public trial as Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi official who saw to it that 6 million Jews were murdered efficiently.

Yet that was just one of hundreds of exploits undertaken by Malchin — who died here Tuesday night at age 75 — during more than a quarter-century with Israeli intelligence, first as an agent and, ultimately, as chief of operations.

Even today, nearly 30 years after his retirement, many of Malchin's most spectacular achievements remain hidden behind the veil of official Israeli censorship. But enough of what he did is publicly known to leave you in awe that one man could have accomplished so much.

Malchin unmasked Israel Be'er, one of the top aides to then-Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, as a Soviet spy. He bugged a meeting of Arab League heads of states. He uncovered former Nazi scientists who had gone to work for Egypt in the 1950s. He battled Palestinian terrorism in Beirut.

Even in retirement, he outdid active agents.

During the '70s, he went to Brazil in search of Josef Mengele, the infamous Nazi doctor of Auschwitz. While there, he uncovered a Soviet agent who was bribing Brazilian army officers and buying U.S. Army materiel.

"He asked me to notify the CIA," recalled Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau, who frequently used Malchin as a freelance investigator. "I said he didn't have enough evidence. So he went back and did a black-bag job on the guy — came up with his passport and his visa.

"I called Stanley Sporkin, then general counsel of the CIA. Within hours, the agency had sent people to New York to take the evidence. 'We know all about this guy,' Sporkin told me. 'We just had no idea where the hell he was.'"

How did Malchin know? "After all these years," he told Morgenthau, "I can smell them."

His career alone was exceptional enough. But Zvika, as he was known to his friends, was not some Hollywood stereotype of a secret agent.

Malchin was an artist, whose stunning paintings — including a series of sketches done while he was interrogating Eichmann in Argentina — in recent years have been exhibited in leading museums around the world. (He divided his time between Israel, Florida and New York — he kept a studio here on the Lower East Side and lived in the East 30s.)

"Was being a painter my cover story for the Mossad, or was being in the Mossad my cover story for being a painter? Sometimes, I'm not sure, he joked." (His art can be seen as peterzmalkin.com.)

Malchin was a poet — an irrepressibly funny and always eloquent observer of the human condition. He enthralled audiences around the world as a lecturer; they all wanted to hear how he'd captured Eichmann, but he had much more to say to them.

It's wrong, he would say, to call Eichmann a monster. After all, "a monster can be excused for his behavior. A human being, though — how does a human being become a beast who can kill children, women, the elderly? The problem is not how a monster could do it, but how a human being did it."

"He was a brilliant analyst," said Morgenthau. "For him, information was always much more important than action." No doubt, that's what attracted early Israeli leaders to Malchin — by age 13, he'd been recruited into the pre-statehood Haganah underground.

And though he saw more than his share of genuine dramatic action, Zvika had little regard for popular fiction's idea of a spy. "In 28 years, I never killed anyone," he said.

"My most important weapon wasn't a gun — it was my brain."

That, and his engaging, larger than life, personality — which allowed him to talk his way out of some 40 arrests or detentions during his career.

Though he loved being acclaimed for his achievements, he didn't go seeking glory. He was a curious mixture of humility and pride who never demanded recognition, but was always happy to receive it.

You couldn't help being hopelessly charmed by such a man; everyone who met him wanted to spend more time with him. His friends, and I was lucky to count myself as one for more than 25 years, were fiercely loyal.

Last night, many of those friends gathered at the Park East Synagogue to say goodbye to a man who was literally a legend in his lifetime.

Today, he is headed on his final journey back to Israel, the country and people he served so well.

 

MAN WHO GOT EICHMANN DIES

New York Post
March 3, 2005

www.nypost.com/news/worldnews/22253.htm

Peter Malkin, the Mossad agent who nabbed top Nazi official Adolf Eichmann on a
Buenos Aires street in 1960, has died, Israeli media reported yesterday. He died in New York at 77.

The Mossad security agency tracked Eichmann to Argentina, and Malkin stopped him in the street. According to his memoirs, "Eichmann in My Hands," Malkin said to him simply, "Un momentito, señor" (just a moment, sir), before kidnapping him.

Those were the only words Maklin knew in Spanish, according to a Web site of the World Zionist Organization. He grabbed Eichmann's arm and wrestled him to the ground as another agent grabbed his legs, and they stuffed him into a car.

Eichmann was interrogated for 10 days in a safe house before being spirited to Israel on a plane that carried an unwitting diplomat, Abba Eban, later Israel's foreign minister, for a meeting with Argentine officials as a cover.

Eichmann headed the "final solution," the plan to exterminate Jews. AP

 

ISRAELI AGENT WHO CAUGHT EICHMANN DIES AT 77

Israeli agent who caught Eichmann dies at 77
By Sam Jones
The Guardian
March 3, 2005

www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1429305,00.html

Peter Malkin, the Israeli agent who snatched Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Holocaust, from the streets of Buenos Aires and took him to face trial in Israel, has died in New York at the age of 77.

Three years after the end of the second world war, Israel pledged to hunt down the Nazis responsible for the deaths of almost 6 million Jews. Heading the newly formed state's most-wanted list was Eichmann, Hitler's foremost expert on Jewish matters and the man who oversaw the Final Solution.

Malkin was one of the men sent by Mossad, the Israeli secret service, to hunt Eichmann down. He eventually found him wandering down a street in the Argentinian capital in 1960. According to his autobiography, Eichmann in My Hands, Malkin stepped up and said: " Un momentito, señor " (Just a moment, sir) - the only words he knew in Spanish. He then grabbed Eichmann's arm and wrestled him to the ground with the help of another agent.

Eichmann was interrogated for 10 days in a safe house before being spirited away to Israel on a diplomatic flight. In 1961, he was put on trial in Jerusalem for crimes against humanity and 14 other charges. He was executed in 1962.

Malkin was born Zvi Malchin in the British Mandate of Palestine, but the family moved to Poland when he was a boy. He returned to Palestine in 1936, unlike his sister. She was later killed in the Holocaust with some 150 relatives.

At the age of 12, Malkin joined the Palestine Jewish underground and later became a member of Mossad. He served for 27 years, becoming a master of martial arts.

The cause of his death is not yet known.

 

MOSSAD AGENT WHO CAPTURES EICHMANN DIES

Mossad agent who captured Eichmann dies
By Arieh O'Sullivan
The Jerusalem Post
March 2, 2005

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1109733531507

Peter "Zvika" Malchin, the legendary Mossad agent who physically captured Adolf Eichmann, died in New York and is being brought to Israel for burial, his family and friends said Wednesday.

Malchin was 77 and died of complications from an infection. He is to be buried in Kiryat Shaul Cemetery in Tel Aviv at 11 a.m. on Friday. Former comrades are expected to eulogize him, including former Mossad head Meir Amit.

Raised in Poland, Malchin represented a different breed of secret agent from a time when spies would sneak into factories and secretly photograph blueprints of missiles, or catch enemy spies. He eventually became chief of operations of the Mossad during the 1960s. His career spanned 27 years.

"He was an ambassador of extraordinary and clandestine Israeli might," journalist and long-time friend Uri Dan told The Jerusalem Post.

Many of his covert tales can never be told, so he is best known for his 1960 role in the Mossad's most famous coup by personally nabbing Eichmann, an SS officer who symbolized the cold, bureaucratic horror of Hitler's Final Solution.

"Malchin convinced his commanders to let him trail Eichmann alone in order not to scare him off," Dan said. "He told me later: 'I was determined to catch him because the eyes of six million are following me.'"

"Uno momento senor (just a moment, sir)," he said to Eichmann as he walked down Garibaldi Street and then wrestled him into a ditch before grappling him into a car. Those were the only words he knew in Spanish, according to a Web site of the World Zionist Organization.

Eichmann was interrogated for 10 days in a safe house before being spirited to Israel on a plane that carried an unwitting diplomat, Abba Eban, for a meeting with Argentine officials as a cover.

Eichmann was put on trial in Jerusalem. He was executed in 1962.

In his book Eichmann in My Hands, Malchin described the interaction with the Hebrew-speaking Nazi as he watched over the prisoner in the safe house in Buenos Aires.

According to Dan, Malchin considered killing Eichmann after the Nazi began reciting the Shema.

"I wanted to murder him when he said the same prayer that millions of Jews recited before they were burned up in the crematoriums," Dan quoted him as saying.

Malchin was born Zvi Milchman in pre-state Palestine but spent his childhood in Zolkiewka, Poland. He returned to Palestine in 1936, but more than 150 of his relatives, including his sister and her family, were murdered in the Holocaust.

At 12 he was recruited into the Hagana and became an explosives expert before joining the secret services. According to the book Israel's Secret Wars, Malchin was "a technical wizard and master of disguise." He also received two Israel Defense Prizes for deeds in the war against Palestinian terror.

Dan described Malchin as looking like actor Spencer Tracy with blonde hair and blue eyes.

"As a sportsman you couldn't beat him," he said.

Malchin often went by his pen name of Peter Mann. He was an internationally acclaimed artist who used this trade as his cover. A recent article about him in The New York Times referred to him as "the artist who captured Eichmann."

In recent years he made his home in both Israel and New York, where he enjoyed the art scene.

"Zvika was one of the greatest Jewish heroes of the past 100 years. There was never another like him," Dan said. "He was a mensch."

(AP contributed to this report.)