Tom Gross Mideast Media Analysis

London Mayor Ken Livingstone may be Jewish: “I could be a self-hater, couldn’t I?”

November 30, 2005

CONTENTS

1. The case of The Guardian, Hizb ut-Tahrir, and New York mayor Ed Koch
2. British journalist speaks of her “Brother al-Zarqawi”
3. Giant mosque planned for 2012 London Olympic Games
4. Tesco removes anti-Semitic books from its shelves
5. Ken Livingstone: “the most odious man in Britain”?
6. “Mass murder” by “cowardly terrorists”
7. Ken Livingstone, told he may be Jewish, says: “I could be a self-hater, couldn’t I?”
8. A tale of two mayors: Rome and London
9. “From Palestine to London to everywhere”
10. “London mayor: Israel caused bloodshed” (Yediot Ahronot, Nov. 17, 2005)
11. “A tale of two cities” (Yediot Ahronot, Nov. 21, 2005)
12. “Ziauddin Sardar – on the culture of martyrdom” (New Statesman, Nov. 28, 2005)

 

[Notes below by Tom Gross]

THE GUARDIAN, HIZB UT-TAHRIR, AND NEW YORK MAYOR ED KOCH

On July 18, 2005, I wrote of Dilpazier Aslam in the dispatch titled Guardian staff journalist exposed as member of extremist Hizb ut-Tahrir and followed this up on July 26, 2005 in the dispatch Dilpazier Aslam, extremist member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, sacked by The Guardian.

To remind readers, among other things Hizb ut-Tahrir issued a leaflet saying “Kill them [the Jews] wherever you find them.” The group is banned in Germany under laws outlawing organizations which propagate Holocaust denial and is banned in several other European countries as a terrorist group. Following Aslam’s exposure by this list and others, The Guardian’s editor Alan Rusbridger gave Aslam the choice of renouncing Hizb ut-Tahrir or leaving The Guardian. Aslam chose to leave The Guardian.

Now Aslam, a British Muslim, is suing The Guardian at an employment tribunal claiming “racial and religious discrimination.” Some at The Guardian are nervous because Aslam plans to call as his key witness Albert Scardino, The Guardian’s former executive editor, who hired Aslam and defended Aslam during the controversy.

The Guardian’s lawyers might like to ask Scardino, who claims to be an opponent of “racial and religious discrimination,” about the interview he gave Vanity Fair magazine in New York while he was serving as press officer for the former New York mayor David Dinkins in the early 1990s. Scardino told the magazine that New York was no longer run by “tired old Jewish men” – a clear reference to former New York mayor Ed Koch, and hardly the kind of language used by opponents of “racial and religious discrimination.”

 

BRITISH JOURNALIST SPEAKS OF HER “BROTHER AL-ZARQAWI”

Yvonne Ridley is a former reporter for the British newspaper, the Sunday Express. She was captured by the Taliban while on assignment in Afghanistan and later became a Muslim and a vociferous defender of groups others label terrorists. She writes the following on an Islamic website about the recent Amman bombings:

“I mean we can not simply shrug our shoulders at the deaths of 61 people. But let’s have a closer look at those who perished: Five of those who died were Iraqis who were working closely with America? In other words, collaborators. One Saudi, Indonesian and three Chinese intelligence officers were also wiped out.

… And then there was the wedding party. OK, so the guests were part of Jordan’s upper echelons of society, others had flown in from America and were known for their close ties to the monarchy. But that still doesn’t mean they should be punished for their status in life. Interesting though, that the bombers chose the bars serving alcohol for their martyrdom operations in two of the hotels. Now while we know alcohol is strictly haram, it’s an Islamic ruling which the King of Jordan chooses to openly ignore, and in a Muslim country. King Abdullah is a chip off the old block, really. Well they say the apple does not fall far from the tree. You see he is protected by his CIA bosses and looked after by Mossad.

… As I said earlier in this column, it is very hard to justify the deaths of innocents. But you know, I wonder if you see that attack on the Jordanian hotels in a different light now? But let’s get back to the original theme of this column – black sheep and family honor. I think I’d rather put up with a brother like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi any day than have a traitor or sell-out for a father, son or grandfather.”

Tom Gross adds: More of Ms. Ridley’s writings can be found on her website www.yvonneridley.com. Some might describe her opinions since her capture and release as a classic case of the “Stockholm syndrome.” As the British journalist friend of mine who subscribes to this list and blogs under the pseudonym “Harry” (and who needs to remain anonymous because of his employer), points out: “Ridley writes in the article that ‘it is very hard to justify the deaths of innocents’ – but you did pretty well though Yvonne; nine out of ten for effort.”

 

GIANT MOSQUE PLANNED FOR 2012 LONDON OLYMPIC GAMES

The Sunday Times of London has reported on its front page that there are plans to build a massive mosque holding 40,000 worshippers next to the forthcoming Olympic complex in London.

It is envisaged that the mosque will open in time for the London Olympic Games in 2012. The mosque and its surrounding buildings will hold a total of 70,000 people, only 10,000 fewer than the Olympic stadium.

According to the Sunday Times, Tablighi Jamaat, a worldwide Islamic missionary group, is proposing that the mosque serve as its new world headquarters. “It will be something never seen before in this country. It is a mosque for the future as part of the British landscape,” said Abdul Khalique, a senior member of Tablighi Jamaat.

Two years ago, according to The New York Times, a senior FBI anti-terrorism official claimed Tablighi Jamaat was a recruiting ground for al-Qaeda.

It is also alleged that the mastermind of the July 7 London bombings, Mohammad Sidique Khan, had attended the current headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire in Leeds.

 

TESCO REMOVES ANTI-SEMITIC BOOKS FROM ITS SHELVES

The website of British supermarket Tesco has withdrawn several anti-Semitic and far right publications from its online bookstore following complaints from an anti-Fascist magazine.

Searchlight magazine discovered titles such as “The Hitler We Loved and Why,” “The International Jew” and “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” on the Tesco website.

Tesco.com describes itself as “the largest grocery homeshopping service in the world.”

It is ironic that Tesco, which is now one of the world’s leading supermarkets chains with branches all over the world, was originally founded by a British Jew named Jack Cohen who had just returned from serving in the Royal Air Force in World War One. It is now a public company.

Mark Gardner, director of communications for the Jewish Community Security Trust, (and also a subscriber to this email list), said it was “inexplicable and shameful” that Tesco would sell such material.

 

KEN LIVINGSTONE “THE MOST ODIOUS MAN IN BRITAIN”

During the 1980s, London Mayor Ken Livingstone was famously described by The Sun newspaper as “the most odious man in Britain.”

Several of Livingstone’s harshest comments have been reserved for British Jews and for the state of Israel. For example, last February, in an unprovoked remark as he was leaving a reception at City Hall, Livingstone compared Oliver Finegold, a reporter for London’s Evening Standard newspaper (whom the mayor knew was Jewish), to a Nazi concentration camp guard.

Livingstone (who continues to receive widespread support among British Muslims and left-wingers) continues to refuse to apologize for these statements, even though the London Assembly passed a unanimous vote asking Livingstone to apologize. Livingstone has stood by his comments saying “the form of words I have used are right. I have nothing to apologize for.”

The Standards Board for England (which monitors English local government standards) has now referred the case against Livingstone to the “Adjudication Panel for England.” Sanctions against Livingstone could range from a censure to a five-year ban from public office. The matter will be addressed for two days on December 13-14, 2005.

 

“MASS MURDER” BY “COWARDLY TERRORISTS”

Following the July London transport bombs, Livingstone described the attacks as “mass murder” by “cowardly terrorists”. Yet when asked on BBC Radio 4’s influential “Today” programme about the British suicide bombers in Tel Aviv in 2003, he said it “was wrong to brand a British Muslim boy a terrorist if he got involved in Palestinian violence against Israel.”

In comments which some fear are likely to provoke further attacks by British Muslims against British Jews, Livingstone also suggested that “Jewish boys in Britain” had contributed to the “slaughter” of Palestinians.

In March of this year, writing in The Guardian, Mayor Livingstone branded Ariel Sharon a “war criminal” and condemned Israel for “ethnic cleansing.”

 

KEN LIVINGSTONE MAY BE JEWISH

Now, in a run up to the December 13 hearing, Livingstone has decided to try and defend himself to his Jewish constituents not by giving an interview to, for example, the Jewish Chronicle (which might have asked him some tough questions) but by granting an interview to the obscure website Somethingjewish.co.uk. In the interview, which has also been republished on the Israeli portal Ynetnews, Mayor Livingstone entertains the notion that he is Jewish.

Livingstone says that “there’s no evidence of where my maternal grandmother came from, she was called Zona. And I remember a couple of times when I was a kid, she would say to me, ‘don’t let anyone ever tell you you’re Jewish.’ Which made me think we must be, otherwise why would she raise this?”

 

“I COULD BE A SELF-HATER, COULDN’T I?”

After mentioning that he could be Jewish, Livingstone goes on: “I could go and stand for the Knesset, couldn’t I? In Israel I could be elected, no problem.” And then he adds: “I could be a self-hater, couldn’t I?”

Livingstone’s fascination of the possibility of his being a “self-hater” may stem from the way some sections of the British media have eagerly promoted, even glorified, a small band of very vociferous extremely anti-Israel (and in some cases anti-Semitic) Jews, some of whom have made a name for themselves slandering Jews. For example, on Monday, Norman Finkelstein, an American Jew, was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s flagship “Today” program, and given carte blanche to demonize fellow Jews.

Attached below is an extract from Ken Livingstone’s interview. (I am not including the full version because it is too long.) In the interview, he compares the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas to American and British armed forces. He also compares the former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who was democratically elected and gave up substantial chunks of the West Bank when in office, to Hamas, whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel.

He also says the present Israeli government is “the worst Israel has ever had – there was a chance of peace but Sharon has relentlessly ground down everybody else.”

(For previous dispatches on Livingstone, see:
* London’s mayor still refuses to apologize for “Nazi remark” (February 18, 2005)
* Egypt state TV blames Israel for Sinai bombings (& more on Mayor Livingstone) (July 27, 2005).)

 

A TALE OF TWO MAYORS: ROME AND LONDON

In the dispatch Tehran Times today: The phenomenal lie of the “Holocaust” (& Ha’aretz’s dangerous misreporting) (November 10, 2005), in a note titled “A tale of two mayors: Rome and London,” I pointed out the differences between the reactions to the Iranian president’s speech calling for the annihilation of Israel, of Livingstone (who did nothing) and of Rome’s mayor, Walter Veltroni (who led an estimated 10,000 Italians in a torchlight protest outside the Iranian embassy in Rome, protesting President Ahmadinejad’s comments).

A new article in the Israeli publication Yediot Ahronot by Yaakov Lappin (who is a subscriber to this email list) takes up this theme. In the article (attached below), Lappin speaks of “a tale of two cities, London and Rome, facing a similar threat from the direction of Islamic terror but being led in radically different directions.”

 

“FROM PALESTINE TO LONDON TO EVERYWHERE”

A note in the dispatch The real apartheid: Saudi teacher to be flogged for 15 weeks for praising Jews (November 17, 2005) called for “moderate Muslims to raise their voices.”

The New Statesman, which only recently ran a special Israel issue with articles by anti-Israel writers Avi Shlaim, Robert Fisk and Chris McGreal, carries an article in this week’s issue by a moderate Muslim, Ziauddin Sardar.

In his piece (attached below), Sardar examines the motivation of Mohammad Sidique Khan and questions why Mayor Livingstone’s frequent guest Sheikh Qaradawi “finds it difficult to condemn Palestinian suicide bombers.”

This article makes some claims about Islam that are rarely voiced by Muslims writing for leftist publications like The New Statesman: for example, that suicide is “a cardinal sin in Islam” and that “suicide bombers are not heroes but murderers, pure and simple... – in Palestine as elsewhere.”

-- Tom Gross


AN INTERVIEW WITH LONDON MAYOR KEN LIVINGSTONE

(EXTRACTS ONLY)

London mayor: Israel caused bloodshed
In interview with a British Jewish website, Ken Livingstone answers critics on range of issues, from his clashes with Board of Deputies of British Jews to his views on Israel; says, ‘I think Zionism is like every other form of nationalism. It can be inspiring or it can have a dark side; it’s perfectly valid to question creation of Israel’
By Leslie Bunder
Yediot Ahronot
November 17, 2005

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3170452,00.html

Q. You are often outspoken about the Israeli government and in particular its prime minister Ariel Sharon. How do you feel when the Board of Deputies of British Jews denounces you for that?

Ken Livingstone: The Board of Deputies – and the Jewish Chronicle is their mouthpiece – have this idea that anyone who’s critical of Israel gets denounced as being anti-Semitic, so as a result the average spineless politician never says anything about the Middle East again.

I just think this is an insult to everyone’s intelligence, I mean when you look at how rude I have been about Mrs. Thatcher’s government, or any successive American one there’s nothing out of line that strengthens my criticism on the Israeli government.

I didn’t notice anyone complaining when I said the Saudi royal family should be hanging from lampposts. The Foreign Office did, and the Saudi ambassador did, but governments need good criticism. I stood in front of Mrs. Thatcher in the House Of Commons and accused her of being an accomplice to treason. I’ve been this rude about governments and I think it is good for them, but there’s this huge sensitivity around this.

I’ve been offering to go and meet the Board of Deputies for at least a generation, and I would love nothing better than to go and have a real and honest debate about what is and isn’t wrong. But I’m not in the position to broker a Middle East peace deal. If I was, I would. The main player is America, if they prop up Sharon’s government; it’s going to do what it wants.

Q. When the name Ken Livingstone is mentioned to many Jewish Londoners, and indeed Jewish groups such as the Board of Deputies, it incites very strong feelings. Why do you feel there are such negative feelings towards you, from certain sections of the Jewish community?

K.L: I remember the defense committee of the Board back in the mid-80s said I was the biggest threat to British Jewry since Oswald Moseley and I thought that’s a smidgeon over the top. Perhaps some might believe it; I don’t think most of them do.

Because when I became leader of the GLC in London we worked with Arab groups, as we work with any other group, and the Board of Deputies also asked me to give them a veto over Jewish groups we funded.

They didn’t want me funding the Jewish socialist group, the Jewish Lesbian and Gay Group – and we said no. The Board of Deputies is probably the biggest single strand of opinion in Judaism in Britain, but it’s not unanimous. I mean, lovely old lady came in, when I reaching up to buy my copy of the Jewish Chronicle in Waitrose, and said, “they don’t speak for all of us,” and it’s so true.

If you actually look at the vote last summer for Mayor, 18 months ago, you will find that you were six per cent more likely to vote for me if you were Jewish than if you were non-Jewish.

And I’ve had 25 years of demonization and being denounced as anti-Semitic, and of course half the population in London – I get more of the Jewish vote than Tony Blair – people were 12 per cent more likely to vote for me if they were Jewish than to vote for Tony Blair’s government – and they must be one of the most pro-Israeli that we’ve had.

So yes, while there are a lot of people who hate my guts because of the position I take on the Middle East, equally there’s a huge body of Jewish Londoners who have watched me for 25 years and they know it’s crap to denounce me as anti-Semitic.

I am just critical of the state of Israel, but then so are they. I think for people who aren’t Jewish they think the Board speaks for Judaism, but they no more do that than the Muslim Council of Britain speaks for Muslims. They’re strands, and they are important.

I have to say though, when my predecessors on the British left in the 1930s - the socialists and the communists and trade unionists – were all campaigning and calling for a boycott of Nazi Germany; the Board of Deputies opposed it. They are one strand of opinion, they’re often wrong, sometimes they’re right, but they don’t speak for the community any more than I speak for London. Some Londoners agree with me, some don’t, but I never wander round saying “I am the voice of London,” I’m just me, I get elected.

Q. Talking about the incident with the reporter from the Standard, do you think that was a witch-hunt against you?

K.L: It was quite clearly orchestrated, I mean here was Brian Coleman (London Assembly Member), who was the driving force, and then it turned to Tim Donovan (BBC London), and was overheard by Nicky Gavron the Deputy Mayor, saying this is all theatre, and of course that’s exactly what it was.

And three things came together – the Board of Deputies wanted me to keep quiet, so I thought “big attack on Ken Livingstone, better keep my head down for a couple of years.”

Then the Tory Party at the time was trying to run this ridiculous campaign that Labor’s deeply anti-Semitic – that Fagin poster.

And of course the Standard’s very nervous about the fact that I will shortly be able to let the contract for the rival evening paper. So all these things came together to be able to put the boot in for Ken Livingstone, and I have to say it was really stupid.

Imagine if, in December, the Board of Deputies case results in my removal from office. Can you imagine? I mean people have an opinion about whether or not I was rude to a reporter and that’s justified, but the Board of Deputies could use this mechanism to remove me from office someone they disagree with me politically…it would be very damaging for the Board’s reputation but also every anti-Semitic fantasist around the world would say “The Board removed the Mayor of London who was automatically replaced by a Jewish Mayor.”

Someone would find it was all written down in the protocols of the elders of Zion by the time the day’s finished, you know? I think they should have thought it through. You don’t set out on something that you then are not in control of…

 

FULL ARTICLES

A TALE OF TWO MAYORS: ROME AND LONDON

A tale of two cities
London, Rome mayors hold different views on anti-Israel bigotry
By Yaakov Lappin
Yediot Ahronot
November 21, 2005

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3172684,00.html

The mayors of London and Rome seem, at first glance, to have much in common. Both Ken Livingstone and Walter Veltroni are in charge of major European capitals, which face concrete threats of Islamic terrorist attacks. London has already been attacked last July, while Rome has been threatened on numerous occasions by al-Qaeda and associated jihad groups.

Both Livingstone and Veltroni began their careers on the far Left; Livingstone is known in London as “Red Ken” for his diehard socialist views, and today occupies the radical fringe of the Labour party (from which he was temporarily ejected), while Veltroni kicked off his political life in the Italian Young Communist Federation, before joining the Left-Wing Democrat party.

This, however, is where the similarities end. On November 3, following a statement by Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map,” Veltroni participated in a large-scale pro-Israel demonstration in Rome, attended by 20,000 people, and senior Italian politicians from the Left and the Right.

“My presence here is natural,” Veltroni told the Italian crowds who came to rally against Iran’s menacing stance, “because the statements by Iran’s president should be taken seriously. It is only natural that a city that advocates peace and dialogue object to any kind of intolerance,” he added.

Two weeks later, in an interview with the UK’s SomethingJewish website, Ken Livingstone said that questioning the morality of Israel’s foundation was “a perfectly valid thing to say after so many wars.”

In London, the far Left has joined forces with the most curious of bed fellows, Islamists. Socialist groups work alongside the UK’s Muslim Brotherhood branch to build political blocs. Delegitimization and demonization of Israel is neither rare, nor do they cause public uproar in the British capital.

In 2004, Livingstone invited, as a personal guest of honor, the Qatar-based Muslim Brotherhood hard line cleric, Sheikh Yousuf Qaradawi, who publicly advocates the execution of gays, wife beatings, and suicide bombings in Israel. Livingstone, who provided Qaradawi with a red carpet treatment, defends him as a “progressive.”

Qaradawi, on his London visit, told the BBC of his view of Palestinian suicide bomb attacks: “I consider this type of martyrdom operation as an evidence of God’s justice.”

“Here is the force that we need to engage with if we are to actually get a dialogue,” said the London mayor about Qaradawi.

In 2003, before the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime, the Iraqi dictator’s deputy, Tariq Aziz, visited the Italian capital. Aziz refused to take a question from an Israeli journalist at a press conference, saying: “It was not in my agenda to answer questions by the Israeli media.”

Although Aziz was scheduled to meet with Veltroni, Rome’s mayor wrote to Aziz:: “I wish to inform you that I find myself obliged to cancel our meeting. The reason is because of your refusal to answer a question posed to you by an Israeli journalist at a news conference held at the Foreign Press Association. Rome, Mr. Deputy Prime Minister, has always had absolute respect for dialogue and the civil exchange of ideas, not to mention, obviously, freedom of opinion and free access to information.”

He continued: “I cannot accept that a public figure like yourself, the representative of another country, can set a veto and discriminate against someone, denying them the right to express themselves, creating vetoes and discrimination.”

This, then, is a tale of two cities, London and Rome, facing a similar threat from the direction of Islamic terror but being led in radically different directions. London, a rich multi-cultural metropolis, is being betrayed by a mayor in deep embrace with dubious and sinister figures, entrenched in the camp of the most radical fundamentalist movement of the 21st century. Livingstone not only wants to appease those who threaten his capital - he also genuinely shares some of their attitudes.

Rome, on the other hand, is being led by a man with the moral courage to stand up for the enlightened values of universal human rights and pluralism. Its ever vigilant mayor denounces and confronts poisonous bigotry, wherever he finds it.

For now, that bigotry is festering in London, under the shadowy watch of its mayor.

 

“DESPAIR IN ISLAM IS A CARDINAL SIN”

On the culture of martyrdom
By Ziauddin Sardar
The New Statesman
November 28, 2005

www.newstatesman.com/200511280014

If suicide killing was a viable weapon of just war, then the Prophet Muhammad would have used it

What are we to make of a semi-literate teaching assistant exhorting young British Muslims to commit suicide? Mohammad Sidique Khan, who blew himself up at Edgware Road in London on 7 July, has sent a message from the grave. In a video recorded just before his death, Khan calmly addresses his audience. “Muslims,” he says to the camera in a distinctly Yorkshire accent, “I strongly advise you to sacrifice this life for the hereafter.”

Blowing yourself up in the middle of a crowd is an act of ethics in the name of Allah, according to Khan. His head covered by a red-and-white checked keffiyeh, the uniform of choice for would-be suicide bombers, the 30-year-old murderer rants against British Muslim leaders. It is “a sin”, he announces, not to declare “jihad” on the west.

It is easy to dismiss Khan as an immature, self-deluded and dangerous imbecile. He saw himself as a hero in a Shakespearean tragedy and killed, and was killed, in playing out his fantasy. But where did Khan acquire his logic and rhetoric? Did he learn all this simply from his patrons in al-Qaeda?

I think the initial draw, the impulse that drove Khan to the bosom of al-Qaeda, is to be found elsewhere. It lies in the sick culture that glorifies “martyrdom” and projects young suicide bombers as heroes. Al-Qaeda may have capitalised on this culture, but it has been intrinsic in certain segments of Muslim societies for at least two decades. Those who may be attracted to Khan’s message are fascinated not so much with what he says as with the heroic image that he portrays.

The origins of this culture lie in the Iranian revolution. Martyrdom has always been important for Shia Muslims, but the designation of “martyr” has conventionally been reserved for historic figures who fought for ethical goals through ethical means - and never harmed an innocent person. The revolution, as I discovered when I visited Iran immediately after Ayatollah Khomeini came to power, debased the currency of martyrdom. Martyrs were two a penny. Every town in the country, big or small, now has at least one “Martyrs’ Square”.

Then in the Eighties came the Iran-Iraq war. During the eight-year conflict Iran freely used teenage conscripts as cannon fodder. A whole generation of young people was sacrificed on the battlefield. All of them, naturally, became martyrs. And fountains of “blood” - actually coloured water - gushed forth in Martyrs’ Squares throughout Iran. I found the whole spectacle truly obscene.

The Iranian revolutionaries exported the culture of “martyrdom operations” first into Lebanon and then into Palestine. In Palestine there is now a thriving culture of celebrating suicide bombers as “martyrs”, expressed most extensively as poster art. Posters plastered all over Gaza and the West Bank depict suicide bombers in heroic modes.

This culture is embraced by people who ought to know better. The Egyptian scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a frequent visitor to London, finds it difficult to condemn Palestinian suicide bombers. Various prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain have condemned suicide bombing elsewhere but have supported its use in Palestine.

Their argument is simple. The sheer helplessness and despair of the Palestinians justify the use of the human body as a weapon. They have little else to fight with. And killing civilians in a bus or a restaurant is also considered OK - the Palestinians are only taking revenge for what is done to them.

I have four things to say to those who, however reluctantly, support suicide bombings in Palestine. One, if suicide killing was a viable weapon of a just war, however conceived, then the Prophet Muhammad himself would have used it. He had ample opportunity to do so. Two, a Muslim community cannot really be in a state of despair - however bad its situation. Indeed, despair in Islam is a cardinal sin. As classical Muslim scholars have repeatedly pointed out, despair signifies rejection of God’s mercy and abandonment of hope. The very raison d’etre of Islam is to provide hope. Three, suicide is also a cardinal sin in Islam. Life is the ultimate gift of God: nothing signifies ingratitude more than taking your own life - whatever the cause. According to Islam, suicide is one thing that God may never forgive. Four, taking one innocent life is, according to the Koran, like murdering all humanity. Indeed, even in a fully fledged state of war, killing innocent women and children is forbidden. You can fight only against those who fight against you on a battlefield.

The great and good scholars who support suicide bombings in Palestine know all this better than I do. Which makes their position even more perverse. They practise double standards: it is OK there but not here. And they provide legitimacy for the likes of Khan to take an inductive leap - from Palestine to London to everywhere.

Khan, as many Muslim leaders in Britain have rightly pointed out, is an anomaly. But the only way to prevent recurrence of such incongruity is to stand up unambiguously against all suicide bombings everywhere - in Palestine as elsewhere. And to denounce, loudly and clearly, the vile culture of martyrdom. Suicide bombers are not heroes but murderers, pure and simple.


BBC sanctions reporter who cried for Arafat (& “Hitler” running in Fatah primaries)

November 28, 2005

CONTENTS

1. BBC Governors: Plett’s crying over Arafat “broke BBC rules”
2. BBC News chiefs: Plett’s reporting was “fair, accurate and balanced”
3. BBC extends period for public to submit to its Mideast review
4. BBC bias continues
5. Saeb Erekat, fibbing again
6. Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade leader wins big
7. “Hitler” running in Fatah primaries
8. Killer of Rehavam Ze’evi to run in PA poll
9. Palestinian gunmen steal lion from Gaza zoo
10. Former Jewish towns in Gaza now terror “training camps”
11. Palestinian gunmen ransack Gaza newspaper office
12. Hamas financier detained
13. “How did we forget that Israel’s story is the story of the West?” (By Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph, Nov. 26, 2005)
14. “BBC sanctions reporter who cried over Arafat” (Reuters, Nov. 25, 2005)


[All notes below by Tom Gross]

CRYING OVER ARAFAT “BROKE BBC RULES”

The BBC’s Board of Governors has criticized BBC news chiefs for not sanctioning BBC Jerusalem correspondent Barbara Plett, after she said on air that she “started to cry” when Yasser Arafat left the West Bank shortly before his death to receive medical treatment in Paris.

Until earlier this year, Plett was one of the BBC’s chief correspondents in Jerusalem. She is now BBC correspondent in Islamabad, Pakistan.

On Friday, after almost a year considering the matter, the BBC governors upheld a complaint by listeners against BBC News over Plett’s BBC Radio Four “From Our Own Correspondent” report in October 2004.

It is unusual for BBC governors to side with listeners and viewers over their own BBC news department. Hundreds of listeners complained about Plett. Plett was initially cleared by the BBC head of editorial complaints but a persistent listener took the matter to appeal. The governors have now ruled that Plett’s comments “breached the requirements of due impartiality”.

 

BBC NEWS: PLETT’S REPORTING WAS “FAIR, ACCURATE AND BALANCED”

Following initial complaints about Plett’s report last year, BBC News issued a statement saying Plett’s reporting had met the high standards of “fairness, accuracy and balance” expected of a BBC correspondent. (Plett, like her colleague Orla Guerin, has for years been subject to complaints by BBC viewers and listeners about “severe anti-Israel bias in her reports”.)

Over the last two days, most British newspapers have mentioned the BBC governors’ sanctioning of Plett in only a very brief way. There has been little comment about the BBC or Barbara Plett in the UK, compared to, for example, in the Khaleej Times (a daily newspaper published in the United Arab Emirates) which today discusses the Plett affair in their editorial “Home truths about the media.”

Plett is married to the former Economist magazine correspondent in Jerusalem, Graham Usher. Like Plett, his period in Jerusalem was often marked by anti-Israel bias in his reporting. The Economist does not name its correspondents in its articles.

 

THE BBC EXTENDS ITS MIDEAST REVIEW PERIOD BY A FEW DAYS

The deadline for submissions by the public to the “Independent panel” set up by the BBC Board of Governors to examine the BBC’s Television, Radio and Online coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute has been extended from Nov. 25, 2005 to Dec. 2, 2005. The panel’s report is due to be released next spring.

The panel says it welcomes submission by the public. I know from persons connected to the BBC that dozens of pro-Palestinian groups, including official organizations such as the London office of the PLO, and the Arab League in Cairo, have already submitted papers and documents to the panel.

Those members of the public who would like to contribute observations or complaints to the panel, can do so by email to israelipalestinian.review@bbc.co.uk, or by regular mail to:

Israeli-Palestinian Impartiality Review
BBC Governance Unit
Room 211, 35 Marylebone High Street
London, W1U 4AA
England

More on the Terms of Reference can be seen at:
www.bbcgovernors.co.uk/docs/rev_israelipalestinian.html
(Even though that webpage mentions Nov. 25 as a deadline, I am told informally by sources at the BBC that they will consider submissions that reach them by Dec. 2.)

(The BBC panel members were listed in my dispatch of October 7, 2005, titled “Hamas: ‘No dancing and no gays’; & on banning Winnie the Pooh...”)

 

BBC BIAS CONTINUES

Even during this delicate time in BBC Middle East reporting, mistakes continue to be made on a daily basis. For example, yesterday morning the BBC online “In Pictures” section, showing the opening of the Rafah crossing in Gaza, contained an incorrect caption. It said “for the first time in nearly 40 years, Palestinians took back control of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt”.

This is in fact the first time Palestinians have ever been in control of the Rafah border crossing. In its mass of coverage on the Palestinians, the BBC almost never mentions that Egypt occupied Gaza before 1967, or that Palestinian nationhood is a modern invention and the Palestinian Arabs made no claim to an independent state until recent decades.

(The BBC changed their web caption following complaints last night from members of this email list.)

Whilst the opening of the Rafah crossing on Saturday was widely covered by the international media, very few journalists highlighted the words of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. He dedicated the opening of the Gaza-Egypt border to the “Shahids [martyrs], the injured [and] the prisoners.”

(For more on the BBC’s Mideast coverage, please see “Living in a bubble” and “The BBC discovers ‘terrorism,’ briefly”.)

 

SAEB EREKAT, FIBBING AGAIN

The International Herald Tribune published an op-ed on Friday by Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, who sees the Rafah crossing opening as a “small but important step on the path to Palestinian-Israeli peace”.

In the second paragraph of his article, Erekat claims that Israel boasts the “fifth-largest military in the world.” Israel’s army is not even the fifth largest army in the Middle East.

Erekat famously lied during the Israeli incursion into Jenin in 2002 when he spoke first of 3,000 Palestinian dead and then of 500. He has since admitted in public forums that this was the only “mistake” he has ever made.

Perhaps a Palestinian Authority spokesman that did not twist the truth would be a “small but important step on the path to Palestinian-Israeli peace.”

For more on the international media’s favorite Palestinian spokesman please see the dispatch “CNN & Saeb Erekat: ‘Why TV news loves a liar’” (May 5, 2002).

The International Herald Tribune is owned by The New York Times. (For more on The New York Times, see “All the news that’s fit to print? The New York Times and Israel”.)

 

AL-AQSA MARTYRS BRIGADE LEADER WINS BIG

The European and American press have been quick to trumpet Marwan Barghouti, following his strong showing in the Fatah primaries in the West Bank, ahead of Palestinian elections due to be held on January 25, 2006. Barghouti came first out of 45 candidates, with 96% of the votes, which were announced on Friday evening.

Barghouti is currently serving five consecutive life terms in an Israeli jail for the murder of four Israeli civilians and a Greek monk. Although the Israeli attorney general only brought proceedings against Barghouti for these five murders, Barghouti is believed responsible for the murder of dozens of other Israeli men, women and children in gun and other attacks in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

Barghouti’s wife Fadwa told Agence France Presse that the primary results were an endorsement of the intifada.

In an interview on Israel Radio yesterday, Sharon loyalist, transport minister Meir Sheetrit, hinted that Barghouti may be pardoned. Sheetrit has said he will join Sharon in his new party. By contrast, Israeli Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom, who will stay in the Likud, told Israel Radio yesterday that it was “out of the question” that Barghouti would be released because he is “a murderer with blood on his hands and was duly sentenced by a court.”

Barghouti’s release is strongly favored by left wing Israeli politicians, a number of whom are being courted by Sharon to join his new party. Meretz leader Yossi Beilin yesterday called Barghouti a “moderating and positive influence” who should be set free. Israeli President Moshe Katsav said this morning on Galei Tzahal radio that he would not pardon Barghouti.

 

“HITLER” RUNNING IN FATAH PRIMARIES

Another successful Fatah candidate in the Jenin primary was Jamal Abu Rob, a member of the terrorist group, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, who says he proudly gave himself the nickname “Hitler”.

In an interview with Abu Rob in February 2005, John Vause described him on CNN as “a father of five, accountant by trade”. There was no mention in this CNN interview of Abu Rob’s self-proclaimed nickname, even though The Associated Press has mentioned it.

Abu Rob is wanted by Israel both for the murder of Israelis and the murder of moderate Palestinians.

 

KILLER OF REHAVAM ZE’EVI TO RUN IN PA POLL

Ha’aretz reports that the man Israel believes responsible for the 2001 assassination of government minister Rehavam Ze’evi plans to run in the Palestinian Authority elections in January. Ahmed Sa’adat, the jailed head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, will run in the elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council. “It’s a tool of pressure, if you like, in order to get released,” the PFLP official said of Sa’adat’s bid to stand for election.

Results in the Palestinian elections in January are likely to be unreliable. Palestinian gunmen, firing in the air, this morning again stormed into several polling stations while the Fatah party was holding primary elections and forced them to close. It is not known what was then done with the voting slips, but there are reports of some being burned.

 

PALESTINIAN GUNMEN STEAL LION FROM GAZA ZOO

In an apparently well-planned operation, masked gunmen kidnapped a lion from the Gaza Zoo, Palestinian media reported yesterday. Zoo manager Saud al-Shawwa has offered a $1,000 reward for anyone who provides information that could help find the lion and two Arabic-speaking parrots that were also stolen in the 30-minute heist.

Palestinian media reports suggest that at least four gunmen stole the lion (throwing a blanket over its head) and two white and gray parrots that speak a little Arabic; they failed to steal a second lion that showed fierce resistance.

The four Palestinian gunmen armed with Kalashnikov semi-automatic rifles broke into the zoo and shot the guard. Palestinian sources speculated the lion was taken by a militant gang who wanted the animal as a trophy “show of force”.

 

FORMER JEWISH TOWNS IN GAZA NOW TERROR “TRAINING CAMPS”

The former Jewish settlement of Neve Dekalim, in Gaza, has been turned into a Hamas “martyr training camp”. Neve Dekalim was the largest Jewish town in Gaza prior to Israel’s withdrawal in August.

(For previous pictures of Neve Dekalim see the “Exodus from Gaza” photo gallery on this website.)

An official Palestinian Authority dossier on the recent visit to Gaza by Palestinian Interior Minister Nasser Yousef, said “The Minister Nasser Yousef toured the newly liberated areas of Gaza, parts of which are used by the Palestinian groups as training camps.”

On Friday, one man was shot dead in a battle between rival Palestinian gunmen for control of parts of land near the former settlement of Neve Dekalim. Meanwhile violence against Israel continues. An Israeli taxi driver who was transporting Palestinian passengers was shot by one of them on Friday. Yesterday an Israeli student was seriously injured by a knife-wielding Palestinian in Jerusalem.

 

PALESTINIAN GUNMEN RANSACK GAZA NEWSPAPER OFFICE

A group of Palestinian gunmen ransacked the office of the online newspaper Donia al-Watan in Gaza City yesterday. They threatened to kill the editor-in-chief, Abdallah Issa, and destroyed his equipment.

The independent newspaper has recently been reporting on corruption and lawlessness in the Palestinian Authority. A statement by the Palestinian National Initiative group called the attack “an assault on the freedom of expression”.

 

HAMAS FINANCIER DETAINED

Ahmed Saltana has been detained by Israel and charged with funneling millions of dollars in donations from abroad to support terror activity against Israel, as well as making payments to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers and prisoners.

Saltana, also known as Abu Asama, is the head of the Hamas charity funds committee. The committee collected money from donors in Europe, the U.S., Canada, and Arab countries for “sick and poor Palestinian families”.

Among non-profit organizations used as a conduit were two British charities, Human Appeal International and Interpal, the French charity CBST, the Italian charity ABSPT, and the Al-Aqsa Foundation, which operates in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, and Sweden.

Among the receivers of this money were relatives of the terrorist who carried out the suicide bombing in the Sbarro restaurant, in Jerusalem, on August 9, 2001, in which 15 Israelis (mainly children) were murdered and 107 wounded. (For more on the victims of the Sbarro bomb see the dispatch “Zionists ‘secretly control’ both Al-Jazeera and the National Geographic” (December 15, 2004). Victims included the 15-year-old daughter of Arnold Roth, a long-time subscriber to this email list, and the grandchildren of Dutch-born Auschwitz survivor Elisheva Schijveschuurder, aged 2, 4 and 14.)

The Israeli army this week, found a large bomb factory in Jenin (where most of the money collected by Saltana went) stocked with explosives, mortar shells and bomb-making materials.

While this misuse of Palestinian funds has been mentioned dozens of times on this list over the years, today the Independent newspaper of London (one of the most-anti Israeli papers in Europe) finally ran a story about it, headlined “Charity Cash for Palestinian Poor Was Siphoned to Suicide Bombers.”

 

“HOW DID WE FORGET THAT ISRAEL’S STORY IS THE STORY OF THE WEST?”

As well as a Reuters report on the BBC governors’ decision, I attach below an article by Charles Moore from Saturday’s Daily Telegraph. Moore compares the State of Israel with the Roman republic, “Some would see Sharon as Milosevic, but might he not be Caesar?” He questions why Israel is seen as “the greatest problem of all.”

Charles Moore is a highly distinguished former editor of the Daily Telegraph, and before that editor of the Sunday Telegraph and of the Spectator magazine. He was handpicked by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to be her official biographer and is presently working on that biography. (He is also a subscriber to this Mideast dispatches email list.)

Although the Daily Telegraph under Moore’s editorship was much less critical of Israel than other European newspapers, it was still often biased in its news coverage. For example, on April 15, 2002, the paper’s correspondent, David Blair, took at face value what he called “detailed accounts” by Palestinians that “Israeli troops had executed nine men.” Blair quoted one woman telling him that Palestinians were “stripped to their underwear, they were searched, bound hand and foot, placed against a wall and killed with single shots to the head.” This report was completely untrue. Neither the Daily Telegraph nor other Western newspapers have yet properly apologized for these kinds of untruths in their news reports.

There is a summary of the article first for those who don’t have time to read it in full.

-- Tom Gross


SUMMARY

“ARE YOU SURE THAT THE FATE OF ISRAEL HAS NO BEARING ON YOUR OWN?”

“How did we forget that Israel’s story is the story of the West?” (By Charles Moore, The Daily Telegraph, November 26, 2005)

If you had followed the British media, particularly the BBC, with average attention over the past 25 years, you would have concluded that Sharon was an intransigent, murderous, semi-fascist. So you would have been perplexed by his sudden announcement this week that he is to leave the “Right-wing” (favoured Western terminology) Likud party and form a “centrist” party of his own. Suddenly, Sharon becomes visionary, peace-seeking. Little would have prepared you for it.

And that is the trouble. Little prepares the post-Christian European audience to understand Israel. By “understand”, I partly mean sympathise with, and partly, just comprehend…

… Once upon a time, the word “Palestinian” had no national meaning; it was simply the description on any passport of a person living in British-mandated Palestine. During the 19 years to 1967 when Jordan governed the West Bank, the people there had no self-rule, and no real name. UN Resolution 242, which calls for Israel to leave territories it occupied in 1967, does not mention Palestinians; it speaks only of “Arab refugees”. Palestinian nationality came along, as it were, after the fact, a nationality largely based on grievance.

Since then, the story has grown and grown. Israel, which was attacked, has come to be seen as the aggressor. Israel, which has elections that throw governments out and independent commissions that investigate people like Sharon and condemn him, became regarded as the oppressive monster. In a rhetoric that tried to play back upon Jews their own experience of suffering, supporters of the Palestinian cause began to call Israelis Nazis. Holocaust Memorial Day is disapproved of by many Muslims because it ignores the supposedly comparable “genocide” of the Palestinians…

Well, some will say, that is the way it is: Israel has abused power, and is reaping the whirlwind. I don’t want to argue today about the rights and wrongs of Israel’s actions, though I think, given its difficulties, it stands up better than most before the bar of history. All I want to ask my fellow Europeans is this: are you happy to help direct the world’s fury at the only country in the Middle East whose civilisation even remotely resembles yours? And are you sure that the fate of Israel has no bearing on your own? In Iran, the new President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes the link. The battle over Palestine, he says, is “the prelude of the battle of Islam with the world of arrogance,” the world of the West. He is busy building his country’s nuclear bomb.

 

FULL ARTICLES

BBC SANCTIONS BARBARA PLETT FOR CRYING OVER ARAFAT

BBC sanctions reporter who cried over Arafat
Reuters
November 25, 2005

The British Broadcasting Corporation has upheld a complaint against one of its journalists who said in a radio report she cried when a dying Yasser Arafat was flown from the West Bank in 2004.

Barbara Plett made the remark in a dispatch for the “From Our Own Correspondent” program describing how she felt when a helicopter carrying Arafat, who was gravely ill, took off from his compound, according to a BBC Web site.

“When the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose from his ruined compound, I started to cry,” she said in the 30 October, 2004 broadcast.

Arafat died at a French military hospital in Paris on November 11, aged 75.

The BBC Governors’ program Complaints Committee initially cleared Plett after hundreds of listeners complained but upheld part of an appeal and said she “breached the requirements of due impartiality.”

But the committee rejected part of the appeal that said the October 30 report broadcast on the Radio 4 station was a “tearful eulogy.” The panel said it was balanced by references to Arafat’s “obvious failings.”

 

“HOW DID WE FORGET THAT ISRAEL’S STORY IS THE STORY OF THE WEST?”

How did we forget that Israel’s story is the story of the West?
By Charles Moore
The Daily Telegraph (Comment page)
November 26, 2005

Sometimes Private Eye runs a spoof “Apology - printed in all newspapers”, which says something like: “We used to say that X was a disgusting, brutal pig, unworthy to hold public office. We now recognise that X is a living saint.” Such a volte-face has just taken place about Ariel Sharon.

If you had followed the British media, particularly the BBC, with average attention over the past 25 years, you would have concluded that Sharon was an intransigent, murderous, semi-fascist. So you would have been perplexed by his sudden announcement this week that he is to leave the “Right-wing” (favoured Western terminology) Likud party and form a “centrist” party of his own. Suddenly, Sharon becomes visionary, peace-seeking. Little would have prepared you for it.

And that is the trouble. Little prepares the post-Christian European audience to understand Israel. By “understand”, I partly mean sympathise with, and partly, just comprehend.

Sharon’s career is a good place to start, because it spans the history of the Jewish state. He was 20 when it began in 1948, and had been serving in the Jewish Haganah militia since the age of 14. He fought in the War of Independence, and in 1956, and in the Six-Day War of 1967, and in the Yom Kippur War of 1973, when he crossed the Suez Canal and, effectively disobeying orders, advanced to cut the supply lines of the Egyptian Third Army. He became a popular hero.

Then Sharon entered full-time politics. As defence minister, he masterminded the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, which succeeded in breaking up the PLO infrastructure there. On his watch, Lebanese Christian Falangists entered the Sabra and Chatila Palestinian refugee camps. There they massacred several hundred people: Sharon was officially condemned for this, and forced to resign.

He bounced back, however. As housing minister, he built settlements. Later he was foreign minister, then leader of Likud. In 2001, he became prime minister, swept to power by fear of the new intifada. He ordered the assassination of many Palestinian terrorists. He began the security wall that divides Israel from much of the West Bank. He also ordered Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza strip, the first unilateral withdrawal it has ever made. And soon he will contest elections as leader of a party he has just invented.

If one stands back from the moral argument that rages round Israel, and just looks at this as a story, it reminds one intensely of that of ancient Israel’s enemy, the Roman republic. An austere nation builds its power in the face of enemy neighbours. It does so by great feats of arms, and so its soldiers often become its political leaders. The commitment those leaders must give to the nation is absolute, lifelong, life-threatening. The deeds done in the nation’s defence are frequently brave, sometimes appalling. Some would see Sharon as Milosevic, but might he not be Caesar?

But there’s also an important difference from Rome: the purpose of victory has been more about security than conquest for its own sake. Israeli politics for the past dozen years has been the attempt to reconcile extrication from territory with security. That is what Sharon thinks about all the time, as did his Labour predecessors, Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak.

In the history of the West, such a narrative used to command fascination and respect. Many could apply it to their own people. British people whose convict cousins had built Australia out of their barren exile could understand; so could Americans, who had overcome hostile terrain and hostile inhabitants, and forged a mighty nation. So could any country formed in adversity, particularly, perhaps, a Protestant one - with its idea of divinely supported national destiny and its natural sympathy for the people first chosen by God. The sympathy was made stronger by the fact that the new state was robust in its legal and political institutions, free in its press and universities - a noisy democracy.

Anti-imperialists and the Left also found much to admire. They admired people whose pioneer spirit kept them equal, who often lived communally, who fled the persecution of old societies to build simpler, better ones. If you read Bernard Donoughue’s diaries, just published, of his life as an adviser to Harold Wilson in the 1970s (a much better picture of what prime ministers are like than Sir Christopher Meyer’s self-regarding effort), one difference between then and now that hits you hard is Donoughue’s (and Wilson’s) firm belief that the cause of Israel is the cause of people who wish to be free, and that its enemies are the old, repressive establishments.

As a boy, I loved this narrative. I cheered as Israeli courage swept away the outnumbering Arabs who tried to destroy it again and again. I bought books about the Six-Day War, many of which carried pictures of glamorous female Israeli soldiers.

But then a different narrative supervened. People called “the Palestinians” began to be mentioned. Once upon a time, the word “Palestinian” had no national meaning; it was simply the description on any passport of a person living in British-mandated Palestine. During the 19 years to 1967 when Jordan governed the West Bank, the people there had no self-rule, and no real name. UN Resolution 242, which calls for Israel to leave territories it occupied in 1967, does not mention Palestinians; it speaks only of “Arab refugees”. Palestinian nationality came along, as it were, after the fact, a nationality largely based on grievance.

Since then, the story has grown and grown. Israel, which was attacked, has come to be seen as the aggressor. Israel, which has elections that throw governments out and independent commissions that investigate people like Sharon and condemn him, became regarded as the oppressive monster. In a rhetoric that tried to play back upon Jews their own experience of suffering, supporters of the Palestinian cause began to call Israelis Nazis. Holocaust Memorial Day is disapproved of by many Muslims because it ignores the supposedly comparable “genocide” of the Palestinians.

Western children of the Sixties like this sort of talk. They look for a narrative based on the American civil rights movement or the struggle against apartheid. They care little for economic achievement or political pluralism. They are suspicious of any society with a Western appearance, and in any contest between people with differing skin colours, they prefer the darker. They buy into the idea, now promoted by all Arab regimes and by Muslim firebrands with a permanent interest in deflecting attention from their own societies’ problems, that Israel is the greatest problem of all.

Well, some will say, that is the way it is: Israel has abused power, and is reaping the whirlwind. I don’t want to argue today about the rights and wrongs of Israel’s actions, though I think, given its difficulties, it stands up better than most before the bar of history. All I want to ask my fellow Europeans is this: are you happy to help direct the world’s fury at the only country in the Middle East whose civilisation even remotely resembles yours? And are you sure that the fate of Israel has no bearing on your own? In Iran, the new President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes the link. The battle over Palestine, he says, is “the prelude of the battle of Islam with the world of arrogance”, the world of the West. He is busy building his country’s nuclear bomb.

The real apartheid: Saudi teacher to be flogged for 15 weeks for praising Jews

November 17, 2005

[This is the second of two dispatches today primarily dealing with the way in which Muslim extremism is increasing across the globe]

 


CONTENTS

1. Saudi teacher who praised Jews to be flogged in public for 15 weeks
2. No word from the AUT in support of condemned Saudi educator
3. Tainted Saudi teaching material used in American schools
4. Al-Qaeda threatens the English Queen; new UK Islamic group launched
5. India steps up work on security fence to keep out terrorists
6. France extends its state of emergency for three months
7. 200,000 Israelis mark 10 year anniversary of Rabin’s death
8. … But only 1,500 Palestinians mark first anniversary of Arafat
9. Singapore National Library removes Arafat exhibit
10. Calls for moderate Muslims to raise their voices

ARTICLES

11. “Saudi jailed for discussing the Bible” (Reuters, Nov. 14, 2005)
12. “Al-Qaeda calls Queen an ‘enemy of Islam’” (London Sunday Times, Nov. 13, 2005)
13. “India fences off Bangladesh to keep out Muslim terror” (London Sunday Times, Nov. 13, 2005)
14. “France’s state of emergency to be extended” (AP, Nov. 15, 2005)
15. “200,000 Israelis mark 10 years since Rabin’s death” (Reuters, Nov. 12, 2005)
16. “Address the ‘Jewish question’ without resorting to propaganda” (Daily Star Lebanon, Nov. 8, 2005)
17. “Five questions non-Muslims would like answered” (By Dennis Prager, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 13, 2005)



[Note by Tom Gross]

SAUDI TEACHER WHO PRAISED JEWS TO BE FLOGGED IN PUBLIC FOR 15 WEEKS

Mohammad al-Harbi, a Saudi high school teacher who discussed the Bible and praised the Jewish role in creating religion, is to receive 750 lashes in public and 40 months in prison for “mocking religion.” Al-Harbi is due to appeal the verdict. (Although I rarely make policy recommendations on this list, might I suggest those U.S. and British government figures on this list speak to the Saudi authorities on Al-Harbi’s behalf.)

The lashes are to be given in the public market in the town of Al-Bikeriya in Al-Qassim. He will receive 50 lashes each week for 15 weeks.

Al-Harbi was the school activities organizer at the Al-Fowailiq High School in the town of Ein Al-Juwa in Al-Qassim. Following a terrorist attack at the Al-Hamra Compound in Riyadh in 2003, Al-Harbi used his position as an educator to enlighten his students and warn them of terrorism and its consequences. He went to great lengths by talking to students, hanging anti-terrorism signs around the school and speaking out against terrorism.

Al-Harbi’s actions upset a number of Islamic studies teachers at the school. Al-Harbi told Arab News that “The Ministry of Education has recently ordered all schools to lecture students on the dangers of extremism and terrorism in general, but I was a step ahead of their decision.”

This decision comes only days after the U.S. State Department criticized Saudi Arabia, as religious freedoms “are denied to all but those who adhere to the state-sanctioned version of Sunni Islam.”

(For more details, please see the Reuters report below, at the start of the “full articles” section.)

NO WORD FROM THE AUT IN SUPPORT OF CONDEMNED SAUDI EDUCATOR

So far there has been no condemnation of the Saudi authorities from the British Association of University Teachers (AUT) who continue to spend much of their time considering how to get their proposed boycott of Israeli teachers implemented.

It is also ironic that presently two Israelis, one Jewish and one Arab, are touring the UK to urge an academic boycott of Israeli universities together with Dr Nur Masalha, a Palestinian Muslim, now a British citizen.

The Israeli Jew, Ilan Pappe, is a professor at Haifa University, whilst the Israeli Arab, Omar Barghouti, completed his doctorate at Tel Aviv University, and the British Muslim studied at the Hebrew University. They are living evidence of the lie that Arabs are denied education in “apartheid Israel,” yet they have abused the education Israel gave them to further demonize the Jewish state in countries like Britain where there has been a rise in anti-Semitism recently.

TAINTED SAUDI TEACHING MATERIAL USED IN AMERICAN SCHOOLS

A special investigation by the Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA) has discovered that Saudi-backed teaching materials, replete with bias and distortions about Israel, America and Islam, are penetrating classrooms across the U.S.

For example, the “Arab World Studies Notebook,” which is provided to American schools to correct misconceptions about Islam and the Arab world, contains no mention of the existence of Israel in its country-by-country section, and refers only to Palestine. It also suggests that the Koran “synthesizes and perfects earlier revelations,” meaning those ascribed to by Christians and Jews.

This notebook also suggests that Jews have “undue influence on U.S. foreign policy.” The two organizations behind the book are the Arab World & Islamic Resources and the Middle East Policy Council, both of which receive funding from Saudi Arabia.

A recent New York Sun editorial commented that “the House of Saud gets its hands on American public school textbooks. The results aren’t pretty.”

AL-QAEDA THREATENS THE ENGLISH QUEEN

In a video message justifying the July London transport bombings, Al-Qaeda has named Queen Elizabeth as “one of the severest enemies of Islam”.

The 27-minute video, partly broadcast on Al-Jazeera, denounces the Queen as an enemy of Muslims. Appearing in the video is Ayman al-Zawahiri, second-in-command to Osama Bin Laden along with the ringleader of the London bombings Mohammad Sidique Khan.

In Britain the video has been posted on the website Tajdeed, run by the London-based Saudi extremist Muhammad al-Massari. (Further details in the article below.)

NEW ISLAMIST GROUP TO LAUNCH THIS WEEK IN LONDON

Anjam Choudry a lawyer and the former leader of al Muhahjiroun, an extremist organization which disbanded itself in October 2004, told the Saudi-owned paper Asharq al Awsat yesterday that he had invited the group’s 700 ex-members to unite under the banner of “Ahl al Sunnah and al Jamaa” (the community following the teachings of the Prophet).

Choudry also expected several students of Omar Bakri Mohammad, the spiritual guide of the banned al Ghurabaa group who currently lives in Beirut, to attend the launch. The new group aims to unite British Muslims under one roof, away from more secular organizations.

INDIA STEPS UP WORK ON SECURITY FENCE TO KEEP OUT TERRORISTS

The third article below reports that India is accelerating the construction of a 2,500 mile fence to seal its border with Bangladesh. Explosions in Bangladesh this year have killed 30 people.

So far there has been no outcry about the Indian “apartheid wall” whilst no international activists have arrived to protest the Indian security fence.

The fence will be built in response to 30 deaths whilst Israel, a much smaller and more vulnerable country, is building its security fence in response to over a thousand deaths.

Where is the resolution from the General Assembly of the United Nations in which it requires the International Court of Justice to “urgently render an advisory opinion on the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by India…”?

FRANCE EXTENDS ITS STATE OF EMERGENCY FOR THREE MONTHS

In response to the riots across France, the government has approved a bill to extend the country’s state of emergency for another three months.

Last night, French police said that only 163 vehicles were burned, down from 215 the previous night. This drop is seen as indicating an “almost normal situation everywhere” in France. A total of 8,973 vehicles have been set fire to since the violence began.

The French parliament gave final approval to extending the state of emergency for three months on Wednesday.

For an interesting article on the way the American media have (mis)covered the French riots, please see the dispatch “Elections imminent as Shimon Peres ousted (& items on French riots, NY Times, Islam)” (November 10, 2005).

200,000 ISRAELIS MARK 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF RABIN’S DEATH

Around 200,000 Israelis gathered in Rabin square last Saturday night to mark the 10-year anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s murder. Among the participants was former U.S. President Bill Clinton. This was the biggest peace rally in Israel since the disengagement from the Gaza Strip.

… BUT ONLY 1,500 PALESTINIANS MARK FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF ARAFAT

According to Reuters, the Rabin rally was “a huge contrast to the modest memorials Palestinians held in Gaza and the West Bank this week to mark the first anniversary of the death of Arafat.”

1,500 people attended the Arafat memorial ceremony on Saturday night in Ramallah, in the Mukata, marking the first anniversary of Yasser Arafat’s death.

To see some of my previous articles on Arafat please refer to www.tomgrossmedia.com/ArafatArticles.html. And for a topical photographic reminder of the continuing shadow that Arafat casts over efforts to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace exactly one year after his death see www.tomgrossmedia.com/ArafatEducation.htm

SINGAPORE NATIONAL LIBRARY REMOVES ARAFAT EXHIBIT

Following a number of complaints, the Singapore National Library has removed an image of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Kwa Chong Guan, a consultant to the government-backed terrorism exhibition at the National Library, explained in a letter published in The Straits Times newspaper that Arafat’s picture was used in a montage of 24 faces to “attract visitors to the exhibits.”

Guan went on to say that “We received feedback from visitors that if one looked at the montage without looking at the exhibition in totality, the faces displayed were open to many different interpretations.”

CALLS FOR MODERATE MUSLIMS TO RAISE THEIR VOICES

The final two articles on this dispatch both contain calls for moderate Muslims to make themselves heard.

Walid Salem, a Palestinian, questions whether Islamist political propaganda spouted by Iranian President Mohammed Ahamdinejad is useful for the Palestinian cause. (To read more on the international reaction to the calls by Ahmadinejad for Israel to be “wiped off the map,” please see the dispatch “Israel receives surprisingly strong international support over Ahmadinejad comments” (November 1, 2005).)

Salem also urges moderate Muslims to “be vociferous against blind strategies, and instead should call for a real and intensive discussion about the Jewish question and about Israel’s position in the Middle East.”

Dennis Prager in the Los Angeles Times (article below) asks five questions of law-abiding Muslims. The second of his questions is “Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian?” The fifth and final question asks “Why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other religions?”

I attach seven articles below.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

SAUDI TEACHER WHO SAID JEWS WERE OK, TO BE FLOGGED IN PUBLIC

Saudi jailed for discussing the Bible
Reuters
November 14, 2005

A court sentenced a teacher to 40 months in prison and 750 lashes for “mocking religion” after he discussed the Bible and praised Jews, a Saudi newspaper reported yesterday.

Al-Madina newspaper said secondary-school teacher Mohammad al-Harbi, who will be flogged in public, was taken to court by his colleagues and students.

He was charged with promoting a “dubious ideology, mocking religion, saying the Jews were right, discussing the Gospel and preventing students from leaving class to wash for prayer,” the newspaper said.

Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, strictly upholds the austere Wahhabi school of Islam and bases its constitution on the Koran and the sayings of the prophet Muhammad. Public practice of any other religion is banned.

A U.S. State Department report criticized Saudi Arabia last week, saying religious freedoms “are denied to all but those who adhere to the state-sanctioned version of Sunni Islam.” The newspaper said Mr. al-Harbi will appeal the verdict.

A similar case was cited in the State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2004. “During the period covered by this report, a schoolteacher was tried for apostasy, and eventually convicted in March of blasphemy; the person was given a prison sentence of 3 years and 300 lashes. The trial received substantial press coverage,” the report said.

A 2003 report by the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom, the world’s only government-sanctioned entity to investigate and report religious-freedom violations, named Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest violator of religious liberties.

The commission took the country to task for “offensive and discriminatory language” disparaging Jews, Christians and non-Wahhabi Muslims found in government-sponsored school textbooks, in Friday sermons preached in prominent mosques, and in state-controlled Saudi newspapers.

For example, in 2003, Crown Prince (now King) Abdullah reacted to the killing of six Westerners by terrorists in Yemen by saying he thought Zionism was behind them.

In Saudi Arabia, the public practice of any religion other than Islam is illegal; only Muslims can be Saudi citizens; one of the Saudi king’s titles is “custodian of the two holy mosques”; proselytizing for any religion other than Sunni Islam is barred; and Mecca, Islam’s holy city, is forbidden to all non-Muslims.

For years, Saudi Arabia also imposed restrictions, or persuaded the U.S. government to impose restrictions, on American troops defending the country during and after then-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s 1990-91 occupation of Kuwait.

For example, U.S. postal and customs officials have barred mailing materials “contrary to the Islamic faith,” including Bibles. The U.S. military also has required female service members to wear a long, black robe called an abaya when traveling off base in Saudi Arabia. Both regulations were rescinded or clarified after public outcry based on reporting in the U.S. media.

 


AL-QAIDA SAYS QUEEN IS “ONE OF THE SEVEREST ENEMIES OF ISLAM”

Al-Qaeda calls Queen an ‘enemy of Islam’
By Abul Taher
The Sunday Times (of London)
November 13, 2005

www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1869849,00.html

Al-Qaeda has threatened the Queen by naming her as “one of the severest enemies of Islam” in a video message to justify the July bombings in London.

The warning has been passed by MI5 to the Queen’s protection team after it obtained the unexpurgated version of a video issued by Al-Qaeda after the 7/7 attacks. Parts of it were broadcast on Al-Jazeera, the Arabic satellite channel.

In the video, Ayman al- Zawahiri, second-in-command to Osama Bin Laden, targets the Queen as ultimately responsible for Britain’s “crusader laws” and denounces her as an enemy of Muslims.

A senior Whitehall official said: “MI5 is aware that there are some pieces of that video that have not been aired. They are aware of the bit of al- Zawahiri talking about the Queen and they have notified the relevant authorities.”

The Sunday Times has obtained the full 27-minute video, which is circulating on secure jihadist websites in the Middle East used to recruit and inflame prospective terrorists. In Britain it has been posted by Muhammad al-Massari, the London-based Saudi extremist, on his website Tajdeed.

It also contains inflammatory material from Mohammad Sidique Khan, ringleader of the London bombings which killed 52 commuters. He is urging Muslims to take part in jihad and seek martyrdom.

Khan, 30, incites British Muslims to ignore the moderate Islamic leaders who want integration with British society. “Our so-called scholars of today,” he said, “are content with their Toyotas and semi- detached houses” in their desire for integration. The message is believed to be the first of its kind in which a British suicide bomber calls on fellow UK Muslims to follow his example.

The attack by al-Zawahiri prompted intelligence officers to alert Buckingham Palace that the Queen had become a specific target of Al-Qaeda. Her security had already been upgraded after September 11, 2001.

In the video al-Zawahiri not only labels the Queen as one of Islam’s “severest enemies” but also sends a warning shot to British Islamic leaders who “work for the pleasure of Elizabeth, the head of the Church of England”.

He said those who followed her were saying: “We are British citizens, subject to Britain’s crusader laws, and we are proud of our submission . . . to Elizabeth, head of the Church of England.”

In a possible reference to the role of the Muslim Council of Britain, which had issued instructions to mosques to inform on potential terrorists, he criticised “those who issue fatwas, according to the school of thought of the head of the Church of England”.

In the previously unseen footage, Khan, from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, said: “It is very clear, brothers and sisters, that the path of jihad and the desire for martyrdom is embedded in the holy prophet and his beloved companions.

“By preparing ourselves for this kind of work, we are guaranteeing ourselves for paradise and gaining the pleasure of Allah.

“And by turning our back on this work, we are guaranteeing ourselves humiliation and the anger of Allah. Jihad is an obligation on every single one of us, men and women.”

Khan’s message was condemned by Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the Muslim Council’s secretary-general, as a “perverse interpretation of Islam”.

“The victims of Sidique Khan were innocent people . . . It’s clearly inciteful. It’s trying to incite people to commit murder,” he said.

 


INDIA STEPS UP WORK ON 8FT SECURITY FENCE TO KEEP OUT AL-QAEDA

India fences off Bangladesh to keep out Muslim terror
By Dean Nelson, Dhaka
The Sunday Times (of London)
November 13, 2005

www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-1869575,00.html

India is accelerating the construction of a 2,500-mile fence to seal its border with Bangladesh amid growing fears that its Muslim neighbour could become “a new Afghanistan”. Indian officials and western diplomats have been alarmed by an increase in terrorist attacks by militant groups linked to Al-Qaeda and by the Dhaka government’s failure to crack down on them.

One group said to have links with the government claimed responsibility for 500 synchronised explosions in 63 of Bangladesh’s 64 districts in August.

India’s cabinet has decided to speed up work on the 8ft security fence, which is intended to keep out terrorists and arms smugglers. The fence, which cuts a swathe through some of India’s densest rainforests, will be finished by the end of next year and patrolled by a border security force. Key stretches are being electrified.

The initiative follows attacks by two groups related to Al-Qaeda — Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh and Harakat-ul- Jihad-ul-Islami (Bangladesh), which was among 15 organisations that were banned in Britain last month.

Grenade and bomb explosions across Bangladesh have killed 30 and injured hundreds in the past year. Two Awami League opposition leaders were among those killed and the British high commissioner was targeted in a grenade attack.

It was the August 17 blasts that caused the most alarm. Although only two people died, they showed a new level of sophistication. There were 28 bombs in Dhaka alone and the targets included the prime minister’s office, the police headquarters and the supreme court.

Leaflets found at the bomb sites declared: “It is time to implement Islamic law in Bangladesh” and “Bush and Blair be warned and get out of Muslim countries”.

Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh is led by “Bangla Bhai”, a former vigilante who once fought alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan. Opposition leaders and diplomats believe the government has failed to act against Bangla Bhai and other terrorists because they have connections with the governing coalition.

There are two Islamic fundamentalist parties in the coalition, which is led by Begum Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist party: the Jamaat Islami (JI), which has 10% of the vote, and the Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ).

The JI is increasingly respected by ordinary voters for its social welfare work, lack of corruption and the operations of its bank, the most profitable in Bangladesh. “You don’t have to pay a bribe to get a loan from them,” said a western observer.

Senior members of the IOJ have declared themselves to be “for the Taliban and for Osama (Bin Laden)”. “There’s a reluctance to acknowledge there’s a problem here,” said one diplomat, who described the IOJ as “real wackos”. He added: “These are the ones going after an anti-American armageddon. Some of the people charged with the bombings have had linkages with the main party.”

Sabir Hossain Chowdhury, an opposition leader who was detained for three months after complaining about Islamic militants linked to the government, said Bangladesh was being subjected to a campaign of intimidation and the government was guilty of complicity. “Bangladesh is probably the only government in the world that includes a group which is committed to jihad and sharia,” he said.

The country was undergoing creeping “Islamicisation”, he added. “If you look at state TV, more presenters are wearing beards. On the radio they’re reciting more and more from the Koran. The most notable example is at Dhaka airport where signs are now in Arabic but no one speaks it.”

All the partners in the government coalition deny condoning political oppression or terrorism or failing to act. They point out that they have banned two of the main terrorist groups and made high-profile arrests.

Western diplomats are caught between fear and denial. “Our impression is that the government here has the ability to crush these guys if they want to,” said one. “All the ingredients for trouble are here.”

 


FRANCE EXTENDS STATE OF EMERGENCY FOR THREE MONTHS

France’s State of Emergency to Be Extended
The Associated Press
November 15, 2005

France’s Cabinet on Monday approved a bill to extend the country’s state of emergency for three months to crack down on a wave of arson attacks and riots, the government said.

The government declared a 12-day state of emergency Wednesday, empowering regions to impose curfews and conduct house searches. The measures were set to expire next Sunday if not extended. The bill to prolong the state of emergency must now go before parliament.

“It’s a measure of protection and precaution,” President Jacques Chirac said at a Cabinet meeting, quoted by government spokesman Jean-Francois Cope. “It’s a strictly temporary measure that will only be used where it is strictly necessary.”

Speaking earlier on Europe-1 radio, Cope said the bill would leave open the possibility of ending the state of emergency if order is restored.

“I think that given all that has just happened, it is important for regional officials to have the means to act during a period that is limited, but long enough to ensure the serious attacks on public order that we have seen in the past days don’t happen again, ” he said.

 


200,000 ISRAELIS MARK 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF RABIN DEATH

200,000 Israelis mark 10 years since Rabin’s death
By Tali Caspi
Reuters
November 12, 2005

About 200,000 Israelis and foreign dignitaries gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday to mark the 10th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in Israel’s biggest peace rally since its Gaza pullout.

Holding signs with slogans such as “The path to peace will never be killed,” the crowd stood for a moment’s silence and sang memorial songs in Rabin square, where Rabin was killed in 1995 and which has since seen numerous peace rallies.

Rabin was shot dead by an ultranationalist Israeli Jew who opposed his 1993 interim peace deal with the Palestinians, for which he shared a Nobel Peace Prize with late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton joined dozens of foreign dignitaries at the rally. Clinton, who helped broker the 1993 peace accord, said he had loved Rabin and urged Israelis see his work through.

“If he were here, he would say, ‘... If you really think I lived a good life, if you think I made a noble sacrifice in death, then for goodness sakes take up my work and see it through to the end,”’ Clinton said.

The demonstration, which organizers said was about 200,000-strong, was the biggest peace rally in Israel since its Gaza pullout on September 12.

Violence has worsened since Rabin’s death, especially during the past five years of a Palestinian uprising in which more than 3,400 Palestinians and almost 1,000 Israelis have been killed.

In recent violence, Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian man near the Gaza border fence with Israel, Palestinian medics said. The Israeli army said troops fired at three men trying to plant an explosive device in the area, hitting two.

One of the men who was wounded in the incident told Palestinian medics he and his friends were unarmed and planned to sneak across the border to look for work.

MODEST MEMORIALS FOR ARAFAT

The Tel Aviv rally was a huge contrast to the modest memorials Palestinians held in Gaza and the West Bank this week to mark the first anniversary of the death of Arafat.

Israel and the United States accused Arafat of fomenting violence, a charge he had always denied.

The demonstration was also a major show of strength by Israel’s left, which wants peace talks to resume and opposes Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plans to strengthen Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

But Tamir Abraham, 59, said Sharon had “taken a step in Rabin’s legacy” by carrying out his pullout plan, saying: “Peace is a process and the process has begun with us leaving Gaza.”

Also attending the memorial was new Israeli Labor Party chief Amir Peretz, who ousted Shimon Peres in a Thursday poll.

 


“MODERATE MUSLIMS ARE CALLED UPON TO RAISE THEIR VOICES”

Address the ‘Jewish question’ without resorting to propaganda
By Walid Salem
The Daily Star Lebanon
November 8, 2005

www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=19863

Personally, as a Palestinian who has worked in positions of responsibility for the last 31 years, including five years spent as a political prisoner, it is very difficult for me to continue as if nothing has happened when hearing a president of an Islamic state returning to the slogans of the 1960s and 1970s calling for the elimination of Israel. At that time, these were the slogans of the Arab nationalist movements (and also the Palestinian armed Marxist organizations). Today, these slogans have become Islamist political propaganda resurrected by the Iranians and different political movements that use Islam as their announced ideology.

The dangers of such slogans lie not only in their role in incitement, but also in the fact that they express a lack of strategic vision about the following issue, which also relates to post-disengagement issues in Palestine, namely: How do we deal with the “Jewish question” in the Israeli-Palestinian and also in the Israeli-Arab and Islamic contexts?

The first point is the Jewish question itself: Do we in the Middle East ask ourselves about this question? With the exception of a book written a few years ago by the Lebanese journalist Joseph Samaha, I have not seen other Arabic writings that recognize the Jewish question as not only a European question, but also as an Arabic-Islamic one.

The second point is built on the first: if the Jewish question is recognized, then its phenomena should be discussed. In this regard very frank questions need to be asked: Were the rights of the Jews throughout the ages guaranteed in Arabic and Islamic countries? If the answer to this question is yes, then why did the Jews of these countries emigrate to Israel? Was it only Zionist propaganda? If it was only Zionist propaganda that led to their emigration, then why does a large portion of those who came to Israel from the Arabic and Islamic countries adopt right-wing positions toward the Palestinians and Arabs? Moreover, what have Arabs and Islamic countries done in order to maintain good relations with those Jews once they migrated to Israel? These questions need frank answers and if we continue justifying oversights, the results will only be further deterioration in Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Middle Eastern relations.

My third point centers on the strategy toward Israel. Do Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and others of his ilk think that their propaganda helps Palestinians? Do they, on the other hand, help Israel integrate into the Middle East? Or does their attitude just help to increase those trends that call for Israel to be part of the West and to disconnect itself from Eastern culture and ties - except those ties of hegemony and dominance?

Do such statements help bring peace to the Middle East or more hatred and violence and the proliferation of nuclear weapons? Does Ahmadinejad hope to use these weapons to eliminate Israel? Moreover, does he realize that an Israeli response might bring about the elimination of Iran and probably other Middle Eastern countries? Why are we giving momentum to militarization and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, instead of peace? What kind of strategies are these? What does this say about our leaders?

The fourth point regards our roles in resolving the Jewish question. Of course the greater part of this problem was created in Europe, but as Israel was established in the Middle East, it falls upon us to answer the question: Will we accept the challenge of integrating Israel into the area? Or do we want to create new problems just because we do not bear the responsibility of creating the original problem? Even if the creation of Israel was not our direct responsibility, it is still our overall humanitarian responsibility to find a common solution to the Jewish question rather than to react to the suffering emanating from the establishment of Israel by causing anguish for the Jewish people. These are issues that Ahmadinejad did not think of because his very blind strategy can’t see the humanity of the opposing side.

The fifth point ponders whether these actions reflect Islam. Is this the tolerant Islam that all average citizens know, the Islam that recognizes the “other”? Is this the Islam that promotes equal rights for all people whatever their religion, color, sex, etc? These blind ideologies have nothing to do with Islam. They only create the opposite of what Islam stands for: they create hatred out of religious differences, thereby generating religious wars.

On all of the above points, moderate Muslims are called upon to raise their voices. Moderate Muslims must be vociferous against blind strategies, and instead should call for a real and intensive discussion about the Jewish question and about Israel’s position in the Middle East. Without such fruitful discussion, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not be resolved.

(Walid Salem is the director of the East Jerusalem office of Panorama, the Center for the Dissemination of Democracy and Community Development. He is also the author of books and articles on democracy, citizenship, youth rights, civil society development, Israeli-Palestinian peace-building and the right of return. Together with Paul Scham and Benjamin Pogrund, he is author of “Shared Histories: A Palestinian-Israeli Dialogue,” Left Coast Press, 2005. The Daily Star publishes this commentary in collaboration with the Common Ground News Service. This article first appeared at MidEastWeb for Coexistence [www.mideastweb.org])

 


“WHY ARE YOU SO QUIET?”

Five questions non-Muslims would like answered
By Dennis Prager
The Los Angeles Times
November 13, 2005

The rioting in France by primarily Muslim youths and the hotel bombings in Jordan are the latest events to prompt sincere questions that law-abiding Muslims need to answer for Islam’s sake, as well as for the sake of worried non-Muslims.

Here are five of them:

(1) Why are you so quiet?

Since the first Israelis were targeted for death by Muslim terrorists blowing themselves up in the name of your religion and Palestinian nationalism, I have been praying to see Muslim demonstrations against these atrocities. Last week’s protests in Jordan against the bombings, while welcome, were a rarity. What I have seen more often is mainstream Muslim spokesmen implicitly defending this terror on the grounds that Israel occupies Palestinian lands. We see torture and murder in the name of Allah, but we see no anti-torture and anti-murder demonstrations in the name of Allah.

There are a billion Muslims in the world. How is it possible that essentially none have demonstrated against evils perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam? This is true even of the millions of Muslims living in free Western societies. What are non-Muslims of goodwill supposed to conclude? When the Israeli government did not stop a Lebanese massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982, great crowds of Israeli Jews gathered to protest their country’s moral failing. Why has there been no comparable public demonstration by Palestinians or other Muslims to morally condemn Palestinian or other Muslim-committed terror?

(2) Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian?

If Israeli occupation is the reason for Muslim terror in Israel, why do no Christian Palestinians engage in terror? They are just as nationalistic and just as occupied as Muslim Palestinians.

(3) Why is only one of the 47 Muslim-majority countries a free country?

According to Freedom House, a Washington-based group that promotes democracy, of the world’s 47 Muslim countries, only Mali is free. Sixty percent are not free, and 38% are partly free. Muslim-majority states account for a majority of the world’s “not free” states. And of the 10 “worst of the worst,” seven are Islamic states. Why is this?

(4) Why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in the name of Islam?

Young girls in Indonesia were recently beheaded by Muslim murderers. Last year, Muslims – in the name of Islam – murdered hundreds of schoolchildren in Russia. While reciting Muslim prayers, Islamic terrorists take foreigners working to make Iraq free and slaughter them. Muslim daughters are murdered by their own families in the thousands in “honor killings.” And the Muslim government in Iran has publicly called for the extermination of Israel.

(5) Why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other religions?

No church or synagogue is allowed in Saudi Arabia. The Taliban destroyed some of the greatest sculptures of the ancient world because they were Buddhist. Sudan’s Islamic regime has murdered great numbers of Christians.

Instead of confronting these problems, too many of you deny them. Muslims call my radio show to tell me that even speaking of Muslim or Islamic terrorists is wrong. After all, they argue, Timothy McVeigh is never labeled a “Christian terrorist.” As if McVeigh committed his terror as a churchgoing Christian and in the name of Christ, and as if there were Christian-based terror groups around the world.

As a member of the media for nearly 25 years, I have a long record of reaching out to Muslims. Muslim leaders have invited me to speak at major mosques. In addition, I have studied Arabic and Islam, have visited most Arab and many other Muslim countries and conducted interfaith dialogues with Muslims in the United Arab Emirates as well as in the U.S. Politically, I have supported creation of a Palestinian state and supported (mistakenly, I now believe) the Oslo accords.

Hundreds of millions of non-Muslims want honest answers to these questions, even if the only answer you offer is, “Yes, we have real problems in Islam.” Such an acknowledgment is infinitely better – for you and for the world – than dismissing us as anti-Muslim.

We await your response.


Pakistan quake orphans “adopted” for jihad (& attacks against Christians ignored)

This is the first of two dispatches today dealing primarily with the way in which extremist Muslim violence is increasing across the globe while at the same time general global violence is on the wane. Please note that moderate Muslims are often the victims of such extremist Muslim violence and the items included below should not in any way be construed as being anti-Muslim. The problem is the fundamentalist version of Islam which continues to threaten everybody else, and due to political correctness is still not reported on properly in the mainstream western media – Tom Gross

 


CONTENTS

1. Burning of Christian holy sites in Pakistan: Reported only on the sports page
2. Arrests made over beheadings of five Christian schoolgirls in Indonesia
3. Orphans of Kashmir earthquake victims “adopted” by terrorists
4. Terrorists using unsent e-mail “drafts” to co-ordinate attacks
5. U.N. says global violence has decreased; but Muslim terrorism is on the increase
6. Despite Iraq, Palestinians still comprise largest group of suicide bombers
7. “Muslim crowd burns two Pakistan churches” (AP, Nov. 12, 2005)
8. “Five held over beheading of Indonesia schoolgirls” (Reuters, Nov. 9, 2005)
9. “Quake orphans ‘adopted’ for jihad” (Sunday Times of London, Nov. 13, 2005)
10. “Terrorists turning to e-mail” (UPI, Oct. 31, 2005)
11. “Global violence has decreased, U.N. Says” (AP, Oct. 18, 2005)
12. “‘Divide’ and Conquer?” (By Claudia Rosett, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 16, 2005)



[Note by Tom Gross]

BURNING OF CHRISTIAN HOLY SITES IN PAKISTAN: REPORTED ONLY ON THE SPORTS PAGE

This week, two churches have been burned down in Pakistan, along with a school, a student hostel and the home of a priest. An angry mob of 1,500 Muslims set them ablaze near the town of Sangla Hill, about 80 miles northeast of Lahore. Local Muslim leaders used mosque public-address systems to urge Muslims to attack the churches. (No one was injured in the blazes.)

Yet even though large Western media organizations such as the BBC have extra reporters in Pakistan at present because of the need to cover the aftermath of the earthquake, they have all but ignored what amounts to a near pogrom against Christian sites there.

One of the few mainstream newspapers to report on the attacks was the Times of London. Yet the paper did so only on the sports pages – since the England cricket team is currently on a tour of Pakistan and are due to play one of their matches in Lahore and they were worried the violence might affect them. It is difficult to imagine similar attacks by Christians against Muslims being either ignored by the western media or placed on the sports pages.

In the article attached below, Shahbaz Bhatti, head of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, says “No Christian burned copies of the Quran. No Christian even can think of doing it. We have maximum regard and respect for the Quran and Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.”

ARRESTS MADE OVER BEHEADINGS OF FIVE CHRISTIAN SCHOOLGIRLS IN INDONESIA

The Vatican has described the grisly beheadings of three Christian schoolgirls in Poso, Indonesia as “barbaric.” Most press in Europe and America have yet to comment in any substantive way on the grisly beheadings.

Whereas the killing of a single al-Aqsa terrorist by Israel in a gunbattle is placed as the very first story on BBC World Service News (as it was last week, for example), such an inhuman act against innocent schoolgirls merely because they were Christian is buried in the news, if reported on at all.

According to Indonesian police, six people with masks killed the teenage girls with machetes. Poso is a predominantly Muslim seaside town. About 85 percent of Indonesia’s 220 million people are Muslim. Most Indonesian Muslims are moderates, but there has been an increasingly active extremist minority in recent years.

The article (attached below) also reports that two other girls (a Muslim and a Christian) were killed by a gunman on a motorbike whilst sitting in their homes in downtown Poso.

To read about similar persecutions of Christians in Egypt, please see the recent dispatch “Red Cross: Persecution of Christians ‘outside our area of expertise’ (& other items)” (November 3, 2005).

ORPHANS OF KASHMIR EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS “ADOPTED” BY TERRORISTS

A leading human rights organization in Pakistan, the Ansar Burney Welfare Trust, have said that Islamic terrorist groups have taken orphans from the recent earthquake-devastated areas in Kashmir and placed them in Jihad training camps.

Following the earthquake which killed as many as 87,000 people on October 8, the so-called militants were among the first groups to arrive with aid. Some Pakistani government officials are also suspected of passing children to some of the Jihadist groups.

Fahad Burney, of the Ansar Burney Welfare Trust, said “We have heard from very reliable sources and seen with our own eyes that orphaned and lost children are being taken by jihadi organisations in northern Pakistan to be trained.” (Full article, from the Times of London, below).

TERRORISTS USING UNSENT E-MAIL “DRAFTS” TO CO-ORDINATE ATTACKS

Some of the Kashmiri orphans may also end up receiving expert computer training in these camps. The Singapore-based New Paper has reported that e-mail is becoming a growing terrorist battle front.

Terrorists are using free email accounts such as Yahoo and Hotmail to pass each other messages without ever sending an actual email. If a group of people in different locations have the same email ID and password they can all log on and write messages for each other by leaving them in the unsent drafts section of an email account (for example hotmail) without being tracked.

There will be no record of a message being transmitted, and the IP (Internet protocol) addresses of the correspondents will not help in tracking down the messages or the location of senders.

U.N. SAYS GLOBAL VIOLENCE HAS DECREASED; INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM ON THE INCREASE

The penultimate article below cites a new United Nations Human Security Report which says armed conflicts have declined by 40 per cent since the end of the Cold War in 1989. The report gives much of the credit for the decrease in armed conflict to the United Nations. But it does concede that there has been an increase in international terrorism (without specifically mentioning it is almost all because of Muslim fundamentalism).

A study earlier this year by the Rand Corporation concluded that the U.N. is successful in 66 per cent of its peace efforts. A second report in 2006 will focus on the indirect cost of warfare. (Perhaps a report on the varied effects of terrorism or the rise in suicide bombers would have been more useful.)

DESPITE IRAQ, PALESTINIANS STILL COMPRISE LARGEST GROUP OF SUICIDE BOMBERS

According to a report by Tel Aviv University, Palestinians comprise the largest group of suicide bombers. The study cited 400 Palestinian suicide attackers to date compared to 376 Iraqi suicide bombers.

The report said that in the period from 1983 to mid-September 2005 there have been more than 1,323 suicide bombers worldwide. Suicide strikes have been carried out by thirty groups and were pioneered by Hizbullah in Lebanon in the 1980s.

U.N. CONTOL OF THE INTERNET MAY PROVE DISASTROUS

The final article below concerns the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society, which opened yesterday in Tunis.

Award-winning journalist Claudia Rosett (who is a subscriber to this email list) argues that “a U.N. unable even to audit its own accounts or police its own peacekeepers has no business making even a twitch toward control of the Internet.”

SILVAN SHALOM RETURNS TO TUNISIA

The Conference will also be attended by Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, and Communications Minister Dalia Itzik. Shalom, who was joined on the trip by his mother, is making his first trip to Tunisia, the place of his birth, since leaving at the age of one.

An “Israir” plane carrying Shalom to Tunisia, marks the first direct flight from Israel to the North African Arab country. For other signs of improving relations between Israel and various Arab states, please see the dispatch “Small signs of improving Arab-Israeli relations (despite today’s suicide attack)” (October 26, 2005).

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Shalom held two meetings in Tunis yesterday. The Israelis described the meetings, held on the sidelines of the conference, as “unscheduled.”

I attach six articles, in full, below.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

NEAR POGROM AGAINST CHRISTIAN HOLY SITES IN PAKISTAN

Muslim Crowd Burns Two Pakistan Churches
By Asif Shahzad
The Associated Press
November 12, 2005

Hundreds of Muslims attacked and burned two churches in Pakistan on Saturday after reports that a Christian man had desecrated Islam’s holy book. No one was injured in the blazes.

A school, student hostel and the home of a priest were also torched by the crowd of about 1,500 Muslims near the town of Sangla Hill, about 80 miles northeast of Lahore, said police official Ali Asghar Dogar. The attacks were being investigated. About two dozen people had been arrested, Dogar said.

The fires came a day after a local Muslim resident accused a Christian of burning a one-room Islamic school along with copies of the Quran. Dogar said the allegations were apparently leveled by people who lost money while gambling with the Christian man on Friday, but police had detained him and were investigating.

Shahbaz Bhatti, head of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance which promotes the rights of minorities in mainly Muslim Pakistan, denied the charges and condemned the attacks on the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches.

“No Christian burned copies of the Quran,” he told The Associated Press. “No Christian even can think of doing it. We have maximum regard and respect for the Quran and Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.” Bhatti accused local Muslim leaders of using mosque public-address systems to urge Muslims to attack the churches.

Non-Muslims comprise just 3 percent of Pakistan’s 150 million-plus population. The country’s Christian minority generally coexists peacefully with the Muslim majority, but there have been occasional attacks on churches and Christian clergy by Islamic extremists railing against Western influence in Pakistan.

Thousands of Pakistanis joined angry street protests this spring over the alleged desecration of the Quran by interrogators at a U.S. military prison in Guantanamo, Bay, Cuba. Desecration of the holy book carries the death penalty in Pakistan.

 

FIVE TEENAGE CHRISTIAN GIRLS BEHEADED IN INDONESIA

Five held over beheading of Indonesia schoolgirls
Reuters
November 9, 2005

Indonesian officers have detained five people, including a former soldier, over the beheading last month of three teenage Christian girls in the volatile eastern region of Poso, security officials said.

A spokesman for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the attacks, as well as a separate incident on Tuesday evening when unidentified gunmen shot and critically wounded two schoolgirls, were an attempt to reignite religious violence in the area.

The grisly beheadings, which occurred a few days before a major Muslim holiday, triggered an outcry across Indonesia as well as in Poso, a regency on Sulawesi island where sectarian fighting raged from 1998 to 2001.

“The role of these five people is still being investigated by police officers,” said deputy national police spokesman Soenarko Artanto, adding no suspect has been named in the case.

He refused to clarify whether the army is holding the five. The military have claimed credit for capturing four of them. “Four people have been captured by members of battalion 714 and they will be handed over to the police. Three of them are civilians while another is a former military policeman,” said Major General Kohirin Suganda, the Indonesian military’s chief spokesman, referring to the Poso-based infantry unit.

Suganda said the capture took place a few days ago. Police have said up to six people dressed in black outfits and masks killed the teenage schoolgirls with machetes near downtown Poso and labeled the perpetrators “terrorists.”

The army, playing an increased role in Indonesia’s fight against terrorism, recently created anti-terrorism desks at all levels of its so-called territorial command structure, which reaches down to village level. The Vatican described the killings as “barbaric.”

Most of the previous communal violence in the large but sparsely populated Poso regency, 1,500 km (930 miles) northeast of Jakarta, happened around the predominantly Muslim seaside town of Poso and the hilltop Christian town of Tentena.

Muslim-Christian clashes in the Poso regency killed more than 2,000 people between 1998 and 2001, when a truce was reached. While the worst violence abated after the peace deal, there have been sporadic outbreaks since, including market bombings last May in Tentena that killed 22 people.

In the latest attack on Tuesday, gunmen on a motorbike shot the two teenage girls -- a Muslim and a Christian -- as they were sitting together near their homes in downtown Poso.

President Yudhoyono had ordered security forces to find the perpetrators, his spokesman Andi Mallarangeng said. “From the first case, we have made progress and identified the perpetrators,” Mallarangeng told reporters, without elaborating on whether he meant the same four detained.

“(The attacks) did not come from one religion but had people from different religions. It seems the purpose is to provoke religious emotions among Poso residents so that there will be chaos,” he said.

About 85 percent of Indonesia’s 220 million people are Muslim. But in some eastern parts, Christian and Muslim populations are about equal. Most Indonesian Muslims are moderates, but there has been an increasingly active militant minority in recent years.

 

ORPHANS OF KASHMIR EARTHQUAKE “ADOPTED” BY TERRORISTS

Quake orphans ‘adopted’ for jihad
The Sunday Times (of London)
November 13, 2005

www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-1869841,00.html

Children orphaned by the Kashmir earthquake are being “adopted” by terrorist groups that hope to train them to fight in the jihad, or holy war, writes Dean Nelson.

Pakistan’s leading human rights organisation, the Ansar Burney Welfare Trust, said jihadi groups fighting the Indian government were taking orphans off the streets and putting them in training camps.

The organisation said it also had evidence that sympathetic government officials were passing children on to the jihadis to be looked after. The popularity of the Islamic militants has risen sharply since the earthquake struck on October 8, killing more than 87,000 people.

The militants were among the first to arrive with aid at some of the worst affected villages. Their organisation and ability to commandeer lifting equipment and tents have generated significant new support. But according to human rights campaigners they are using their new popularity to smuggle weapons and recruit the young and vulnerable.

“We have heard from very reliable sources and seen with our own eyes that orphaned and lost children are being taken by jihadi organisations in northern Pakistan to be trained,” said Fahad Burney, of the trust.

Jamaat-ud Dawa, one of the largest jihadi groups in Pakistan, has called openly for orphans to be handed over for an “Islamic education”.

Pakistan moved quickly following the quake to ban adoptions after aid agencies warned of child trafficking.

Another hazard facing children is pneumonia, which is taking its toll among the 750,000 survivors living in tent camps. Action Against Hunger said it was now seeing one or two cases every day, and was aware of some children dying from the illness.

(Additional reporting: Mohammad Shehzad)

 

TERRORISTS USING E-MAIL TO CO-ORDINATE ATTACKS

Terrorists turning to e-mail
United Press International
October 31, 2005

Terrorists around the world are turning to e-mail to coordinate their attacks.

A manual posted on the Muntadiyat al-Farouq forum, a Muslim hard-liner’ forum, warns against using hand phones to coordinate operations because of stricter controls introduced by governments. But the next battle front may be e-mail, the Singapore-based New Paper reported Monday.

Jeffrey Pool, a research consultant with Washington-based think-tank Jamestown Foundation, told The New Paper that militants have been exploiting “single-use free e-mail accounts through Hotmail or Yahoo.”

“In such a scenario, they will not actually send an electronic message. Instead, they will compose a message and then save it as a draft,” Pool said. “The intended recipient is given the login information through another e-mail account (or another medium entirely). He then logs in and views the saved message draft.”

A group of people can have the same e-mail ID and password so that they can log on and read messages without sending any.

There will be no record of a message being transmitted, and the IP (Internet protocol) addresses of the correspondents may be useless.

 

U.N. SAYS GLOBAL VIOLENCE HAS DECREASED; BUT INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM ON THE INCREASE

Global Violence Has Decreased, U.N. Says
The Associated Press
October 18, 2005

Armed conflicts have declined by 40 percent since the end of the Cold War primarily because the United Nations was finally able to launch peacekeeping and conflict-prevention operations around the world, according to a new study.

The first Human Security Report paints a surprising picture of war and peace in the 21st century: a dramatic decline in battlefield deaths, plummeting instances of genocide, and a drop in human rights abuses.

The only form of political violence that appears to be getting worse is international terrorism, a serious threat but one that has killed fewer than 1,000 people a year on average over the past 30 years. Tens of thousands were killed annually in armed conflicts during that time, said the report, which was financed by five governments and released Monday.

Despite the dramatic improvements in global security, the report warned against complacency, noting that 60 wars are still being fought around the world, including serious conflicts in Iraq and Sudan’s western Darfur region.

“The post-Cold War years have also been marked by major humanitarian emergencies, gross abuses of human rights, war crimes, and ever-deadlier acts of terrorism,” it said. “The risk of new wars breaking out – or old ones resuming – is very real in the absence of a sustained and strengthened commitment to conflict prevention and post-conflict peace building.”

Nonetheless, the report said there also was no cause for pessimism.

Andrew Mack, a professor at the University of British Columbia who directed the study, said the end of the Cold War eliminated tensions between capitalism and communism, cut off U.S. and Russian funding for proxy wars, and most importantly liberated the United Nations.

“With the Security Council no longer paralyzed by Cold War politics, the U.N. spearheaded a veritable explosion of conflict prevention, peacemaking and post-conflict peace-building activities in the early 1990s,” the report said.

A Rand Corp. study earlier this year concluded that the United Nations was successful in 66 percent of its peace efforts, but even the 40 percent success rate some believe is more accurate would be an achievement considering that prior to the 1990s “there was nothing going on at all,” Mack said.

“We think the United Nations, despite the many failures, has done in many ways an extraordinary job ... very often with inadequate resources, inappropriate mandates, and with horrible politics in the council,” said Mack, who was the director of strategic planning in U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s office from 1998-2001. “If the politics were less horrible, the resources more adequate ... the U.N. could do a much better job.”

According to the report, armed conflicts have not only declined by more than 40 percent since 1992, but the deadliest conflicts with over 1,000 battle deaths have dropped even more dramatically – by 80 percent.

Notwithstanding the genocides in Rwanda in 1994 and in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in 1995, mass killings because of religion, ethnicity or political beliefs plummeted by 80 percent between the 1988 high point and 2001, the report said. The year 1988 was marked by the end of the bloody Iran-Iraq war and Saddam Hussein’s Anfal campaign, in which hundreds of thousands of Kurds were killed or expelled from northern Iraq.

Since the post-World War II era, the average number of battle-deaths per conflict per year – the best measure of the deadliness of warfare – has also been falling dramatically, though unevenly, the report said.

In 1950, the worst year, the average war killed 37,000 people directly, Mack said. “By 2002, it was 600 – an extraordinary change.”

The postwar period also saw the longest period of peace between the major powers in hundreds of years, and attempted military coups have been in decline for 40 years, the study found.

“Today most wars are fought in poor countries with armies that lack heavy conventional weapons – or superpower patrons,” the report said.

But a few high-tech wars have been fought by the United States and its allies since the end of the Cold War, first against Iraq to liberate Kuwait, then in Kosovo and Afghanistan where the huge military advantage led to quick victory and relatively few battlefield deaths.

“The current conflict in Iraq is the exception. While the conventional war that began in 2003 was over quickly and with relatively few casualties, tens of thousands have been killed in the subsequent – and ongoing – urban insurgency,” the report said.

Mack, who directs the Human Security Center at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, said the report relies on new data from the Conflict Data Program at Sweden’s Uppsala University and other sources. He said its statistics were probably the best available but emphasized that decent data on wars and conflicts remained hard to obtain.

The report was funded by Canada, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and Britain. Mack said a second report in 2006 will focus on the indirect costs of warfare.

 

“THE LATEST CASE OF THE U.N. MISINTERPRETING ITS NOBLE MANDATE”

‘Divide’ and Conquer?
Why dictators are cheering the U.N. Internet turf grab

By Claudia Rosett
The Wall Street Journal
November 16, 2005

www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/cRosett/?id=110007554

If Paul Revere were alive today, he’d have his midnight work cut out for him. Most likely he’d be spreading the alarm not on horseback, but by Internet: The U.N. is coming! The U.N. is coming!

The United Nations’ so-called World Summit on the Information Society opens today in Tunis, Tunisia, proposing to set up U.N. sway over the Internet under the slogan of bridging the “digital divide.” But that’s the wrong metaphor. This three-day jamboree is a U.N. turf grab: the latest case of the U.N. misinterpreting its noble mandate to promote peace as a license to take a piece of anything it can get.

For anyone who cares about the vast freedoms and opportunities afforded by the Internet--for pajama-clad bloggers, for journalists, for businessmen and especially for people in the poorest countries--it is time for a call to arms. Sen. Norm Coleman, whose investigations into U.N. corruption have provided him with more insight than most into the cracks and chasms of that aging institution, has already warned in The Wall Street Journal against the possibility of Tunis becoming a “digital Munich.” Whether America retains control over the root directory or some other setup ultimately evolves, the clear bottom line right now is that allowing the U.N. to involve itself in these questions is the wrong answer. A U.N. unable even to audit its own accounts or police its own peacekeepers has no business making even a twitch toward control of the Internet.

Worse, the corruption and incompetence at U.N. headquarters, however disturbing, are the least of the problems linked to the U.N.’s bid to control interconnectivity. The deeper trouble is that the U.N. has embraced the same tyrants who in the name of helping the downtrodden are now seeking via Internet control to tread them down some more.

That is hardly the kind of information, however, that U.N. organizers of this Tunis turf grab are about to share. The U.N. Web site for this event goes heavy on high-tech doo-dads, and very light on the highly relevant big picture. For instance, the site includes two scroll bars. One shows select news coverage of the summit. The other shows funding contributions from various quarters, including the governments of Syria, Libya and Saudi Arabia, all distinguished as perennial members of Freedom House’s list of the world most repressive regimes. Except the U.N. site doesn’t make mention of the censorship and brutal internal repression of these regimes--only of their participation, and their money.

As usual, the U.N. for reasons sadly unrelated to actual performance, is styling itself as the champion of the poorest people, in the poorest countries. (This is the same U.N. that still hasn’t repaid or even apologized to the people of Iraq for the billions worth of their national assets that were grafted, stolen and wasted under U.N. supervision in the Oil for Food program). In the face of mounting public concern over the Tunis summit, Secretary-General Kofi Annan betook himself recently to the pages of the Washington Post to argue that the main aim is “to ensure that poor countries get the full benefits that new information and communication technologies--including the Internet--can bring to economic and social development.” Mr. Annan concluded with what I suppose was meant to be a clarion call: “I urge all stakeholders to come to Tunis ready to bridge the digital divide,” etc., etc.

What Mr. Annan evidently does not care to understand, and after his zillion-year career at the U.N. probably never will, is that for purposes of helping the poor, the problem is not a digital divide. It is not the bytes, gigs, blogs and digital wing-dings that define that terrible line between the haves and the have-nots. These are symptoms of the real difference, which we would do better to call the dictatorial divide.

In free societies, all sorts of good things flourish, including technology and highly productive uses of the Internet. In despotic systems, human potential withers and dies, strangled by censorship, starved by central controls, and rotted by the corruption that inevitably accompanies such arrangements. That poisonous mix is what prevents the spread of prosperity in Africa, and blocks peace in the Middle East, and access to computers, or for that matter, food, in North Korea (which is of course sending a delegate to Tunis).

But never mind the realities, as long as Mr. Annan and his entourage see an opportunity for more U.N. turf, job patronage, global clout and funding (including the prospect of a “ka-ching” for the U.N. cash register every time someone logs on). Leading the charge, with policy documents posted on the U.N. information summit site, are such terrorist-breeding blogger-jailing regimes as those of Iran and Saudi Arabia, and such millennial pioneers of backward motion on free speech as Belarus and Russia. China’s rulers, who have recently been availing themselves of modern technology to censor the Chinese word for “democracy” out of Internet traffic, and to track down and punish its users, have been toiling away to add their two cents to this summit. Sudan, better known for genocide than free speech, has registered to set up a pavilion. Were Saddam Hussein still in power in Iraq, as Mr. Annan tried to arrange, the odds are good that a front company for his regime, with U.N. blessing, would be setting up a booth in Tunis as well.

From the same U.N. that in 2003 brought us Libya chairing the Human Rights Commission, there is of course the usual U.N. tragicomic touch of holding this summit in a dictatorship such as Tunisia, a country highlighted by Human Rights Watch this week as a place that “continues to jail individuals for expressing their opinions on the Internet and suppress Web sites critical of the government.” That’s from the press release accompanying a far more ample 144-page report entitled “False Freedom: Online Censorship in the Middle East and North Africa,” which details obstacles placed in the way of Internet access, and penalties doled out to those who defy them, in places such as Iran, Syria, Egypt and Tunisia itself.

Somewhere among the crowd now aiming to rewire the world out of Tunis are no doubt a fair number of genuinely well-intentioned people. Somewhere down the line, if the U.N. Internet grab goes ahead, they, like the rest of us, will end trying to exercise their rights to get online--and asking themselves what went so wrong.

General note: A new website

A NEW WEBSITE

[Note by Tom Gross]

While this “Middle East mailing list” will remain a private list catering mainly to journalists, government officials, diplomats and academics, and will remain a list that can be joined by permission only, I am today launching a public website. In most cases, email dispatches will be sent to recipients of this private list about 24-36 hours before they go on the web site.

HOME AND DISPATCH PAGES

You may wish to consider bookmarking or adding to your “favorites”:

(1) The home page: www.tomgrossmedia.com
(2) And the Middle East dispatch index page: www.tomgrossmedia.com/mideastdispatches

PHOTO GALLERY AND ARAB CARTOONS

In addition to the written dispatches, there are some new photographic and cartoon pages, you may want to look at:
www.tomgrossmedia.com/ArabCartoons.htm
www.tomgrossmedia.com/ExodusFromGaza.html

… and there is a topical reminder of the continuing shadow that Yasser Arafat casts over efforts to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace exactly one year after his death:
www.tomgrossmedia.com/ArafatEducation.htm
www.tomgrossmedia.com/ArafatAllies.htm

PAST ARTICLES OF RELEVANCE

I have also put up a selection of my previously published articles, ones which I feel are still relevant today. These are on the home page and also at: www.tomgrossmedia.com/FurtherSelectedArticles.html.

If you have time, you may also want to browse through former dispatches, such as Write your own Thomas Friedman column! (May 2004) or the powerful three Auschwitz, 60 years on dispatches from January 2005.

A GUIDE THROUGH THE LABYRINTH

One of the reasons I have decided to put future dispatches on line, along with past ones, is because I can no longer cope with the sheer numbers of people writing requesting to join this list. Another is that during recent months a growing number of students and scholars of the Middle East and of communications, in America, Europe and Israel, have asked me for a back-catalog of dispatches to use as a resource in their research. So have a number of authors specializing in the same fields.

While the dispatches will continue to be intended to serve first and foremost as a day-to-day commentary on the way in which the media covers the Middle East and related issues, I hope they will also provide a valuable database both now and in future for those working in the media, public relations, government and diplomacy. In addition, I trust that they will be of permanent value to future scholars and academic researchers, all the more so since the material, though focused on Israel and the Palestinians, has broad international significance too.

Above all, I believe, the dispatches offer a guide through the labyrinth. By performing the primary job of analyzing, sorting, sifting and highlighting significant material, they will hopefully clear a path for commentators and researchers, who would otherwise be in danger of being overwhelmed by the enormous amount of material with which they are faced.

(To read more, see www.tomgrossmedia.com/MideastDispatchExplanation.html)

SPAM, VIAGRA, AND HOLOCAUST DENIAL

Another reason I am putting dispatches on line is that some existing subscribers are continually being bounced by their spamguards, and having to resend particular dispatches to individuals can be incredibly time-consuming.

Spamguards create a particular problem with my emails because of the nature of their content. If, for example, I send out a mass mailing like the one I did last week with the title Tehran Times today: The phenomenal lie of the “Holocaust,” or the one last April titled Viagra ruled Kosher for Passover; and Gorillas keeping Kosher too, many computer-generated automatic spamfilters assume that I am a Holocaust denier or a pusher of Viagra and put me on spam lists from which it is extremely difficult to come off.

THANK YOU

I would like to thank Ben Green in Jerusalem, Cristina Lemeni in Timisoara (in Romania) and Shai Tsur in Tel Aviv, for the considerable help they have given me in designing, creating and inputting data into this website, and I would like in particular to thank my father, John Gross, for his very valuable advice.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank very much the many people who have helped me in all kinds of ways since I began this email list several years ago.

Thank you, too, to all those readers who have written over the years with various comments and feedback. (I am sure you will understand I receive many hundreds of emails each day and only have time to answer a fraction of them.)

LINGERING PROBLEMS

There is a problem with printing some of the articles from the website on some browsers. There is also a problem with some of the search results on the website. These will be corrected soon.

-- Tom Gross


Tehran Times today: The phenomenal lie of the “Holocaust” (& Ha’aretz’s dangerous misreporting)

November 10, 2005

* French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson today in the Tehran Times: “The Jews’ power stems directly from the Western world’s near-total belief in the phenomenal lie of the ‘Holocaust’.”

 

CONTENTS

1. The Tehran Times interviews French Holocaust denier
2. Media reports suggest Israelis knew in advance of attacks on Amman hotels
3. The Los Angeles Times repeats Ha’aretz’s dangerous misreporting today
4. Confirmed: Hizbullah terrorist carried out ’94 Buenos Aires blast
5. Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade support Ahmadinejad comments
6. Public protests against Iranian comments in Italy and Chile
7. A tale of two mayors: Rome and London
8. Kofi Annan cancels his trip to Iran
9. “Bin Laden made a big mistake; I would have attacked Tel Aviv”
10. “Founder of Swedish radio station supports Iranian President” (EJP, Nov. 4, 2005)
11. “Zionist power stems from West’s belief in ‘Holocaust’ myth” (Tehran Times, Nov. 10, 2005)



[Note by Tom Gross]

THE TEHRAN TIMES INTERVIEWS FRENCH HOLOCAUST DENIER

The Tehran Times today carries an interview with French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson. The tone of the article can be gauged from the title of the article: “Zionist power stems from the West’s belief in Holocaust myth: Faurisson”.

In the interview (attached in full below), Faurisson argues that the more the Western public believes in the “Holocaust” the more Muslims will be killed.

MEDIA REPORTS SUGGEST ISRAELIS KNEW IN ADVANCE OF AMMAN ATTACKS

In an article on the Ha’aretz website published last night at 00.45 Israel time, Ha’aretz journalist Yoav Stern claimed that “A number of Israelis staying on Wednesday at the Radisson hotel [attacked by a suicide bomber in Amman] were evacuated before the bombing by Jordanian security forces, apparently due to a specific security alert.”

A few hours later, Ha’aretz changed this news item to say that there was “no truth” in these reports that Israel had advanced warning. Nevertheless, some Arab websites, including Al Jazeera and the Kuwait News Agency, have today included articles on their home pages claiming that Israelis were evacuated and did know in advance.

Ha’aretz is clearly totally out of touch with the way that the anti-Semitic press in the Middle East and elsewhere exploits their misreporting. This is not the first time this has happened.

This also seems to be a repeat of the stories that have circulated the Arab World since 9/11 that the “Jews knew of the coming terrorist attack” and stayed away from the World Trade Center.

This email list also covered the (completely false) claim that then Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “warned” in advance of the July bomb attacks on London transport. See the dispatch As bombs rock London, Bin Laden’s brother says he will pay for his defense (July 7, 2005).

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES REPEATS HA’ARETZ’S DANGEROUS MISREPORTING

This new incorrect story was also repeated today by the Los Angeles Times (www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-bombings10nov10,0,2022733.story?coll=la-home-headlines) with the line that “The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported that Israelis staying at the Radisson on Wednesday had been evacuated before the attacks and escorted back home ‘apparently due to a specific security threat.’”

In fact, al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the three simultaneous suicide bombs that killed at least 56 people in three hotels in Amman, Jordan. The al- Qaeda claim said Jordan became a target because it was “a backyard garden for the enemies of the religion, Jews and crusaders ... a filthy place for the traitors ... and a center for prostitution,” according to The Associated Press.

Among the dead was an Arab-Israeli businessman, Husam Fathi Mahajna, 40, from the nothern Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm, who was a guest at a wedding held at the Radisson Hotel.

Two high-ranking Palestinian security officials, a senior Palestinian banker and the commercial attache at the Palestinian embassy in Cairo also died in the bombings in Jordan, the Palestinian envoy to Amman said today. Major-General Bashir Nafeh, the head of military intelligence in the West Bank, and Colonel Abed Allun, a Preventive Security Forces official, were killed in the attack at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Ambassador Attala Kheri said. Nafeh runs one of the smaller PA security agencies, with about 1,000 officers. Palestinian Military intelligence has dealt mostly with espionage and dissidence and many of its officers were active in the Palestinian war against Israel. In total, the three Amman suicide bombings left 57 dead and 110 injured.

The BBC have repeatedly called the Amman attacks, “terror” attacks. It has strenuously avoided calling Israeli civilians killed moments before their wedding in recent years (such as Nava Appelbaum, killed with her father by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem on September 9, 2003 as she prepared for her wedding) victims of terror attacks.

CONFIRMED: HIZBULLAH CARRIED OUT ’94 BUENOS AIRES BLAST

A Hizbullah terrorist has been identified as the suicide bomber who destroyed the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994. This was Argentina’s worst ever terrorist attack and led to the deaths of 85 people, mainly Jews.

Argentinean prosecutor Alberto Nisman said that Ibrahim Hussein Berro, a 21-year-old Lebanese citizen who “belonged to Hizbullah,” drove the van packed with explosives on July 18, 1994, when it exploded outside the Argentine Israeli Mutual Aid Association.

In 1994, even more than today, the Lebanese terrorist group Hizbullah was under the complete de facto control of Iran.

In a separate development, Argentine President Nestor Kirchner has announced that he is planning to visit Israel for the first time in early 2006, a trip he hopes will further deepen Argentine-Israeli relations.

Dispatches on this list have previously looked at the 1994 bomb in Buenos Aires. For example, see “Menem took Iranian bribes in Jewish bombing” claim (January 24, 2002).

AL AQSA MARTYRS BRIGADE SUPPORT AHMADINEJAD COMMENTS

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades – an armed wing of Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement – have stressed their “solidarity, their support and their general backing to the stands and statements of the Iranian President, who called for the destruction of Israel.”

A leaflet distributed by the Al-Aqsa Brigade in Gaza, echoed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s call for Israel to be “wiped off the map”. The leaflet comes as the Palestinian Authority absorbs hundreds of Al Aqsa members into its official security forces.

PUBLIC PROTESTS AGAINST IRANIAN COMMENTS IN ITALY AND CHILE

In recent days, an estimated 10,000 Italians staged a torchlight protest outside the Iranian embassy in Rome, objecting to the comments made by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a Conference in Tehran titled “The world without Zionism.”

In an interview with Corriera della Serra, the Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini, who did not attend the demonstration, commented that “when one denies a nation’s right to exist, one is also questioning the right of the people living there to live.”

A thousand people also demonstrated on behalf of Israel’s right to exist in front of the Iranian embassy in Chile last weekend.

A TALE OF TWO MAYORS: ROME AND LONDON

Rome’s Mayor, Walter Veltroni, who took part in the demonstration held in front of the Iranian embassy, declared: “It is only normal that I am here. Any city such as Rome favoring peace and dialogue must oppose this kind of statements. It is forbidden to ignore the Iranian president’s statements.”

Not surprisingly there has been no similar declaration from London Mayor Ken Livingstone. Livingstone, despite proclaiming to be a leftist, is regarded by many British Jews and others as more closely resembling an old fashioned anti-Semite of the populist-Fascist kind.

(The previous international reaction to the Iranian calls for Israel to be “wiped off the map” was covered in the dispatch on this email list of November 1, 2005, titled Israel receives surprisingly strong international support over Ahmadinejad comments.)

KOFI ANNAN CANCELS HIS TRIP TO IRAN

Kofi Annan has cancelled his trip to Iran. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that Annan had decided it was “not an appropriate time” for him to visit, citing the “ongoing controversy” over President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s remarks about Israel.

However, the Iranians insist that they cancelled the trip. The official Iranian news agency claimed that Annan’s comments critical of Iran were made “under the influence of American officials.”

Annan’s revised travel schedule includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Pakistan, with a brief stop in Paris to meet with French President Jacques Chirac.

“BIN LADEN MADE A BIG MISTAKE; I WOULD HAVE ATTACKED TEL AVIV”

In addition to the Tehran Times Holocaust denial article, I also attach below an article on Ahmed Rami, the founder of the Swedish radio station, Radio Islam. Rami says that he supports Ahmadinejad’s comments that Israel should be “wiped off the map”.

Rami also says that he supports Osama Bin Laden but laments the fact that “Bin Laden made a big mistake by attacking America. I would have personally attacked Tel Aviv because the American people are innocent, they are just victims of the Jews.”

His words echo similar comments made in an interview broadcast on September 30 on the Hizbullah TV station Al-Manar.

I attach two articles, with a summary of the first one.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

AHMED RAMI: “JUDAISM IS CRIMINAL AND RACIST. YOU ARE THE NEW NAZIS”

“Founder of Swedish radio station supports Iranian President” (By Susanna Abramowicz and David Dahan, European Jewish Press, November 4, 2005)

A Moroccan Muslim who runs a Swedish website under investigation for its anti-Semitic content has spoken of his support for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s call to “wipe Israel off the map”.

Ahmed Rami, who originally established Radio Islam in 1987 as a public access radio station to serve the Muslim community in Sweden, has a history of anti-Jewish provocation...

In a telephone interview, Rami expressed his backing for Ahmadinejad comments which caused massive worldwide outcry last week.

Rami said he supports the Iranian leader’s ideas but would have formulated it in “a more diplomatic way”.

“I do not have problems with the Swedish justice but rather with the Jews,” he said.

“I think Judaism is criminal and racist. You are the new Nazis.”

... The website features a “Jew register” of 3,900 names of individuals who are claimed to be part of the “Israeli network” that control Swedish politics and media...



FULL ARTICLES

FAURISSON’S EVIL LIES

Zionist power stems from West’s belief in “Holocaust” myth: Faurisson
Tehran Times Political Desk
Tehran Times
November 10, 2005

www.tehrantimes.com/Description.asp?Da=11/10/2005&Cat=2&Num=007

Following the designation of a day as “Holocaust Day” by the United Nations, the Mehr News Agency conducted an interview with French professor Robert Faurisson on November 2 about the motivations behind this move. In the interview, the professor says that Zionists will not tolerate any questioning of the “Holocaust” and argues that the more the Western public believes in the “Holocaust” the more Muslims will be killed.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: As you know the UN General Assembly on Tuesday (November 1) passed a resolution designating January 27 as an international day of commemoration of the Jewish and other victims of the Holocaust. What is your view on the decision at this time?

Faurisson: For many years now I have been telling my acquaintances in the Muslim world that the Jews and the Zionists want to impose the religion of the alleged “Holocaust” of the Jews on the whole world. It is normal that Jews and Zionists should seek to foist such an imposture on us, for it is the sword and the shield of the Jews in general and of the Jewish State in particular. It is also normal that the Jews and the Zionists should have got the UN to submit to their will to power and so decree that every year the six billion people who inhabit the Earth shall be reminded of the “Holocaust”. The Muslim world has been awakening from its too long torpor for only a few years. It ought to have listened to the revisionists long ago and denounced out loud the sham of an alleged German project to exterminate the Jews, the alleged Nazi gas chambers and the alleged six million Jewish victims.

Q: The Holocaust is (claimed) alleged to have happened in Europe so why is its commemoration being set by an international body like the UN?

Faurisson: Allow me to tell you that your question tends to prove that you haven’t understood the warnings given by the revisionists. Whenever I, for my part, told Muslims: “Be revisionists! Support the revisionists! Try to understand that it’s in your interest to do so”, they would respond saying: “All that doesn’t concern us. It’s a matter between Europeans or Westerners, Jews or Christians. It happened in Europe.” For me, such an answer was discouraging but I would come charging back saying: “Open your eyes! What makes for the strength of the Jewish State is the political support, rooted in supposedly ethical grounds, that it enjoys in the entire Western world, where people feel sorry for the Jews because they believe that, during the Second World War, the Germans sought to exterminate them physically, in particular in the alleged gas chambers (not to be confused with the cremation ovens, which did actually exist and about which there was positively nothing criminal).” If the whole world – in particular, Germany and the United States – lays out so much money to the Jewish State and if the media of all the Western countries overwhelm us with propaganda about the “Holocaust”, it’s because the citizens of all those Western countries, swamped with Jewish propaganda as they are, believe the “Holocaust” lie and, as long as they believe it, will feel bound to support the Jews and to supply the Jewish State and the Jewish Army with ever more money and arms. The more those in the West believe in the “Holocaust”, the more Muslims they will kill and cause to be killed in Palestine, in Afghanistan, in Iraq or elsewhere.

Q: The resolution was first proposed by Australia, Canada, Israel, Russia and the United States, but it was also supported by former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John C. Danforth and Congressman Tom Lantos, a Democrat from California, who belongs to the Jewish lobby; in view of these facts, how do you assess Jewish power on the international scene with regard to the issue?

Faurisson: The Jews’ power stems directly from the Western world’s near-total belief in the phenomenal lie of the “Holocaust”. You needn’t look any further.

Q: Mr. Faurisson, I know that like some other revisionists, such as Ernest Zundel, you have been attacked and beaten by Jewish militia for saying that the Holocaust is “the hoax of the twentieth century” and asking “Show me or draw me a Nazi gas chamber! Stop giving me just words”. If the Holocaust story is true, why don’t the Jews tolerate other points of view on the issue?

Faurisson: The Jews do not tolerate any questioning of the “Holocaust”. Against the revisionists they use physical violence and judicial repression because, on the level of historical and scientific argumentation, they have been defeated hands down by the revisionists. We have been able to expose their lies, one by one. Therefore Jews and Zionists seek refuge in violence and intimidation. They treat revisionists like Palestinians.

Q: What has to be done on the international scene by Islamic countries to oppose such practices?

Faurisson: My answer is simple: Islamic countries need to destroy the Jews’ and Zionists’ veritable “atomic weapon”, that is, the appalling and gigantic imposture of the “Holocaust” that up to now has been poisoning the Western world and is henceforth imposed on us by the UN in the entire world. In your public demonstrations and talks, repeat after the revisionists: “The ‘Holocaust’ is a lie”. Have the courage to proclaim this salutary truth.

Background:

Robert Faurisson is Europe’s leading Holocaust revisionist scholar. He was educated at the Paris Sorbonne, and served as associate professor at the University of Lyon in France from 1974 until 1990. He is a recognized specialist of text and document analysis. After years of private research and study, Dr. Faurisson first made public his skeptical views about the Holocaust extermination story in articles published in 1978 in the French daily Le Monde. His writings on the Holocaust issue have appeared in two books and numerous scholarly articles, many of which have been published in the IHR’s Journal of Historical Review.

Known as the dean of the world-wide devisionist movement and principal teacher of Ernst Zundel, Dr. Faurisson first discovered the technical and architectural drawings of the Auschwitz morgues, the crematories and other installations. He was also the first to insist that only a U.S. gas chamber expert could unravel the technical impossibility of the Auschwitz homicidal gassing story – as falsely told to the public for over half a century. Zundel mentor, advisor and trial witness in the 1984 preliminary hearings and in the 1985 and 1988 Great Holocaust Trials. Slated as expert witness for the 1991 Munich trial of Ernst Zundel.

 

AHMED RAMI: “JUDAISM IS CRIMINAL AND RACIST. YOU ARE THE NEW NAZIS”

Founder of Swedish radio station supports Iranian President
By Susanna Abramowicz and David Dahan
European Jewish Press
November 4, 2005

www.ejpress.org/article/4063#

A Moroccan Muslim who runs a Swedish website under investigation for its anti-Semitic content has spoken of his support for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s call to “wipe Israel off the map”.

Ahmed Rami, who originally established Radio Islam in 1987 as a public access radio station to serve the Muslim community in Sweden, has a history of anti-Jewish provocation.

Three years after Radio Islam was first launched the anti-Semitic content of Rami’s radio broadcasts was found by the Swedish courts to constitute incitement against Jews. He was then sentenced to six months in prison.

Following numerous complaints, police have now launched a new investigation into the provocative nature of the website which Rami founded in 1996.

“It is very worrying that Radio Islam has been able to continue its criminal activities, now in the form of a hateful website. The fact that the prosecuting authorities decided not to prosecute, because of lack of evidence last summer was a disappointment, ” Thomas Bab, executive director of the Stockholm Jewish community, told EJP.

Swedish minister for Justice, Thomas Bodstrom, has expressed in Parliament that hate crimes should be given priority when prosecuting offenders.

“The Jews of Sweden hope that this promise will be acted upon,” Bab added.

The website includes comments such as “Jews have been commanded by their God to commit genocide”, that the Jews “exert media terrorism in Europe and the US” and that “the Holocaust is a Zionist conspiracy.”

Featuring translations of Rami’s articles in several European languages, it also has an online library which comprises texts like “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”.

In a telephone interview, Rami expressed his backing for Ahmadinejad comments which caused massive worldwide outcry last week.

Rami said he supports the Iranian leader’s ideas but would have formulated it in “a more diplomatic way”.

“I do not have problems with the Swedish justice but rather with the Jews,” he said.

“I think Judaism is criminal and racist. You are the new Nazis.”

Rami also said that he supported Osama Bin Laden adding that, “Bin Laden made a big mistake by attacking America. I would have personally attacked Tel Aviv because the American people are innocent, they are just victims of the Jews.”

His words echo similar comments made in an interview broadcast on 30 September on the Hezbollah TV station Al-Manar.

In the interview he stated that “Judaism is not a religion and that it is a criminal and dangerous mafia.”

He also said that he is “fighting for freedom of speech for everybody in Sweden”.

“The Koran says that our battle is with the Jews. Zionism is not mentioned in the Koran. Our war is against the Jews,” he added.

Swedish state prosecutor Tora Holst, who has been informed of the interview, said that she will look into the investigation again to see if a case for the prosecution can be made.

A number of reports have been made to the police about the website, including by the Swedish Organisation for Survivors of the Holocaust, which is also considering filing a civil suit against Radio Islam.

The website features a “Jew register” of 3,900 names of individuals who are claimed to be part of the “Israeli network” that control Swedish politics and media.

“There is absolutely no doubt that Radio Islam’s anti-Semitic website contains plenty of material that constitute incitement against Jews. All forces of good must be used in the struggle to prevent Radio Islam’s activities that are not only humiliating to Jews but downright dangerous,” Jesper Svartvik, chairman of the Swedish Committee against Anti-Semitism, told EJP.

The Swedish Law of Personal Information prohibits the publicising of personal information about individuals such as racial or ethnic background and religious affiliation.

The Swedish prosecutors in the case have, however, encountered difficulties in proving that Rami is still in charge of the website. Although several of his articles appear there, Rami has denied any current involvement with Radio Islam.

Until 1997 the website was registered in Rami’s name, but was later transferred to the American Islam Society.


Elections imminent as Shimon Peres ousted (& items on French riots, NY Times, Islam)

CONTENTS

1. Amir Peretz defeats Shimon Peres: Elections imminent
2. Hadera death toll increases, as another injured woman dies
3. Plan to shoot down El Al plane in Amsterdam foiled
4. Foreign press protest Israel’s arrest of al-Jazeera cameraman
5. BBC bias again in Palestinian boy organ donation story
6. AOL alters web search for “Jews and Nazis”
7. Two synagogues damaged in French riots; The NY Times and Islam
8. “Muslims march over cartoons of the Prophet” (Daily Telegraph, November 4, 2005)
9. “Poisonous poetry” (By Julie Burchill, Ha’aretz, November 5, 2005,)
10. “Falluja-Sur-Seine?” (Weekly Standard, November 9, 2005)

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

AMIR PERETZ DEFEATS SHIMON PERES; ELECTIONS IMMINENT

In a shock result, fiery trade union boss Amir Peretz won a victory over senior statesman Shimon Peres yesterday, to become leader of Israel’s main opposition Labor party. All polls had shown a comfortable lead for Peres in the days leading up to the election. And many Israelis had regarded the Histadrut (and Peretz) as relics that are disconnected from the era of hi-tech and globalization. Repercussions of Peretz’s victory are expected to be swift and significant. Not long after victory was announced Peretz made clear that his first act as leader would be to pull the Labor party out of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s ruling coalition, thereby greatly advancing the likelihood of early general elections.

Shimon Peres, who is 82, received 39.96 percent of the vote, Peretz got 42.35 percent, and a third candidate, former party head Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, got 17 percent. Peres had previously said that he would keep Labor in the government until the next elections, scheduled to take place in November 2006. This was Peres’s sixth major defeat in a political election: four for prime minister, one for president and now one for leadership of the Labor party.

It is widely expected that Sharon had intended to begin unilaterally withdrawing from large parts of the West Bank next year, and Peretz’s move makes this much less likely, since Sharon does not have the backing of large sections of his own Likud party for such a withdrawal and needs the support of Labor in government.

AMIR PERETZ

Peretz, 54, also serves as leader of the Histadrut trade union organization. He has long been the nemesis of efforts to bring Israel out of its socialist past and into a free market society.

Peretz is from a Moroccan Sephardi background and in the next election he may challenge the Likud party in many of their Sephardi strongholds around the country. Peretz, who sports a Stalin-like moustache, emerged victorious in the primaries due to significant support in poorer neighborhoods and towns, traditionally bases where the Likud has a strong following.

After his victory, Peretz said, “I am in favor of a free market and a prosperous economy. But not, under any circumstances, a slave market. Competition yes, but competition like in the jungle that trounces people, no.”

Shinui leader Yosef Lapid described Peretz as a “social demagogue.” Lapid also compared the Peretz victory to the victory of Menachem Begin and Likud in 1977, which marked the first time the Labor party had been ousted from power since 1948.

Although Peretz resides in Sderot, the scene of many Palestinian rocket attacks, he also said following his victory that “We will not rest until we reach a permanent agreement (with the Palestinians) that would secure a safe future for our children.”

HADERA DEATH TOLL INCREASES, AS ANOTHER INJURED WOMAN DIES

Jenia Polise, a 66-year-old woman, died this week from wounds suffered in the October 26 suicide bombing at a food market in Hadera in northern Israel. Islamic Jihad carried out the attack, which killed six Israelis and wounded 55 people.

A new poll by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion showed that 70 percent of Palestinians did not support the Hadera suicide bombing – a surprisingly high number compared to previous polls among Palestinians welcoming the blowing up of Israeli civilians.

PLAN TO SHOOT DOWN EL AL PLANE IN AMSTERDAM FOILED

Dutch TV reported this week that during a large-scale raid in Amsterdam two weeks ago, a 19-year old Moroccan born man was arrested. He had been planning to shoot down an El Al plane at the Amsterdam Schiphol airport.

FOREIGN PRESS PROTEST ISRAEL’S ARREST OF AL-JAZEERA CAMERAMAN

Israel’s Foreign Press Association, the professional organization representing media from abroad working in Israel, has protested the arrest by Israel of Al-Jazeera cameraman Nabil Mazawi. He was arrested along with four other protestors who had chained themselves to a construction site where Israel’s security fence is being built.

Whilst the Foreign Press Association has made a big fuss over this cameraman (who was quickly released without being charged), they have made very few complaints over the intimidation and regular kidnappings that affect foreign journalists in Palestinian-controlled areas (many of which they don’t even report about in western papers). I have previously outlined some of these occurrences on this email list.

BBC BIAS AGAIN IN PALESTINIAN BOY ORGAN DONATION STORY

The family of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy accidentally and tragically killed by Israeli soldiers who mistook the toy gun he was holding for a real one during a firefight with Palestinian gunmen, have donated his organs to five Jewish and Arab Israelis in Israeli hospitals.

The BBC has given great prominence to this story implying that Israelis would never do the same, as Israeli racism is the main obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace. In fact many families of Israeli suicide bomb victims have donated their organs to others, and often to Palestinians, such as the seven-year old Palestinian girl who received the kidney of Yoni Jesner, a Scottish victim of a Tel Aviv suicide bombing three years ago.

The Speaker of the Israeli Knesset paid tribute to the family of the Palestinian boy, Ahmad Khatib, whose organs were donated to Israelis. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin paid a formal tribute to the Khatib family during a session of Israel’s parliament on Monday, calling it “a remarkable gesture.” Rivlin said that such an act “despite the war and conflict without solution for nearly one hundred years must be noted.”

AOL ALTERS WEB SEARCH FOR “JEWS AND NAZIS”

The online Internet provider AOL announced on Tuesday that it would alter its search engine so that the web site of the Jewish Museum in Berlin ranks at the top of the results whenever German users seek information involving Jews and the Nazis.

The move demonstrates AOL Germany’s commitment to fighting neo-Nazi websites. Wolfgang Schultz, who chairs an independent advisory council to Hamburg-based AOL Germany, said he hoped other search engines would follow AOL’s “innovative” lead.

This kind of topic has been discussed in previous dispatches on this list, such as the one titled “German version of Google removes [anti-Semitic] ‘Jewwatch’; U.S. won’t” (April 17, 2004).

TWO SYNAGOGUES DAMAGED IN FRENCH RIOTS

Some commentators have noted that the mainstream media has gone out of its way to avoid mentioning that a large portion of those rioting in 200 towns all over France during the last two weeks, have been Muslim. Most media also failed to mention that some 20 Jewish graves were sprayed with swastikas in Remiremont, in eastern France, during this period and two synagogues damaged by rioters.

During the riots a 56-year-old disabled woman was set alight when the bus she was traveling on was attacked by youths in Sevran, a northern suburb of Paris. The attack left the woman with 30 percent burns. On Monday, a man died after being beaten on Friday in the northern Paris suburb of Stains. French policemen were also secretly filmed beating a young man while colleagues stood by in the northern Paris suburb of La Courneuve. The French government declared a state of emergency on Tuesday. The government invoked a 50-year-old law, dating from the colonial war in Algeria, which gives local officials the authority to call curfews, among other expanded law-enforcement powers.

THE NEW YORK TIMES AND ISLAM

I attach below an important article from the American magazine The Weekly Standard, on the American media’s portrayal of the riots in France, and how, for example, The New York Times has gone out of its way to avoid mentioning the Muslim aspect in its coverage of the riots.

***

I also include an article on death threats against Danish newspaper cartoonists by extremist Muslims after their use of Mohammed in cartoons.

As an update to the dispatch “Poem praising killing of Jews included in new UK national children’s poetry book” (October 25, 2005), I also attach an article by leading British journalist Julie Burchill, who in Ha’aretz last weekend kindly describes this email list as “the singularly excellent newsletter of the Middle East commentator Tom Gross.”

I attach three articles with summaries first.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

DANISH MUSLIMS MARCH OVER CARTOONS OF THE PROPHET MOHAMMED

“Muslims march over cartoons of the Prophet” (By Kate Connolly, The Daily Telegraph, November 4, 2005)

A Danish experiment in testing “the limits of freedom of speech” has backfired – or succeeded spectacularly – after newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed provoked an outcry.

Thousands of Muslims have taken to the streets in protest at the caricatures, the newspaper that published them has received death threats and two of its cartoonists have been forced into hiding.

Jyllands-Posten, Denmark’s leading daily, defied Islam’s ban on images of the Prophet by printing cartoons by 12 different artists. In one he is depicted as a sabre-wielding terrorist accompanied by women in burqas, in another his turban appears to be a bomb and in a third he is portrayed as a schoolboy by a blackboard.

The ambassadors of 11 Muslim countries called on Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the prime minister, to take “necessary steps” against the “defamation of Islam”...

 

POISONOUS POETRY

“Poisonous poetry” (By Julie Burchill, Ha’aretz November 5, 2005)

I’ve always distrusted both a) cretins who believe in the inherent goodness of children, and b) people who write poems. So imagine my delight when I read in the singularly excellent newsletter of the Middle East commentator Tom Gross about a piece of verse published in the new collection “Great Minds,” a collection of poems by 11- to 18-year-olds, which is to be distributed in schools throughout Britain.

Jewish organizations here are quite rightly quite upset about inclusion of a poem by one “Gideon Taylor,” a boy of 14, which includes the lines: “Jews are here, Jews are there, Jews are almost everywhere, filling up the darkest places, evil looks upon their faces.” Obviously not a young man who believes that less is more, Master Taylor goes for the big finale: “Make them take many paces for being one of the worst races, on their way to a gas chamber where they will sleep in their manger. I’ll be happy Jews have died.”...

Because one does not have to be a paranoid Jew - or in my case, a paranoid “Jew-lover,” as many correspondents have seen fit to expose me as over the years - to believe that there is no way a poem which stated “Blacks are here, blacks are there, blacks are almost everywhere” or “I’ll be happy Muslims have died” would be in a book handed out like sweeties from a pedophile to the nation’s schoolchildren, even if it was made clear that the verse was written from the warped perspective of a white supremacist.

Once more, Jews are on the end of the hobnailed-boot while other minorities are handled with kid gloves. The idea seems to be that because they can “pass” for white, or because the Holocaust was “a long time ago,” liberties may be taken with their feelings which no one would dream of doing to other, louder minorities...

 

FALLUJA-SUR-SEINE?

“Falluja-Sur-Seine?” (By Edward Morrissey, The Weekly Standard, November 9, 2005)

When the media began covering the spreading violence in France, it appeared to go out of its way to avoid the notion that Islam had anything to do with the riots or their organizers...

After a few straight days of increasing violence, however, the only people still believing that comforting line appeared to be members of the French government and the media, who insisted on doing everything they could to miss the story. Twelve days into the riots, even after they had spread across France and inspired violence in Germany and Belgium, the media for the most part still could not bring itself to mention the “M” or “I” words: Muslim and Islamist. The lack of even any suggestion that radical Islamists might have initiated the violence, or at least be taking advantage of it, boggles the imagination.

The New York Times still hasn’t mentioned the Muslim aspect in its coverage of the riots. The paper mentions “youths” at least a half-dozen times in every report it writes on the violence, as if a post-Berlin Wall birthday automatically explains a proclivity to set fire to one’s neighborhood. The Los Angeles Times has barely covered the story at all. The Washington Post’s reporter Molly Moore bravely mentioned a possible Islamist connection to the violence, but the paper’s editorial board went out of its way to disavow this nexus...

France--like much of the media--stood foursquare against Bush’s interventionist policy in Iraq. So if Islamists have targeted France as their next front in an attempt to establish “no-go” territories in the center of Europe, it might call into question much of the anti-Bush narrative. Instead of Muslim anger being caused by America’s policies of intervention, Islamofascism might really be a worldwide movement against Western interests...

 



FULL ARTICLES

DANISH MUSLIMS MARCH OVER CARTOONS OF THE PROPHET MOHAMMED

Muslims march over cartoons of the Prophet
By Kate Connolly
The Daily Telegraph
November 4, 2005

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/11/04/wcartoon04.xml&sSheet=/portal/2005/11/04/ixportal.html

A Danish experiment in testing “the limits of freedom of speech” has backfired - or succeeded spectacularly - after newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed provoked an outcry.

Thousands of Muslims have taken to the streets in protest at the caricatures, the newspaper that published them has received death threats and two of its cartoonists have been forced into hiding.

Jyllands-Posten, Denmark’s leading daily, defied Islam’s ban on images of the Prophet by printing cartoons by 12 different artists.

In one he is depicted as a sabre-wielding terrorist accompanied by women in burqas, in another his turban appears to be a bomb and in a third he is portrayed as a schoolboy by a blackboard.

The ambassadors of 11 Muslim countries called on Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the prime minister, to take “necessary steps” against the “defamation of Islam”.

But Mr Rasmussen, the head of a centre-Right minority coalition dependent for its survival on support from an anti-foreigner party, called the cartoons a “necessary provocation” and refused to act.

“I will never accept that respect for a religious stance leads to the curtailment of criticism, humour and satire in the press,” he said.

The Danish debate over how to integrate Muslims has raged for years, with nursery school menus and women-only opening hours for swimming pools particular battlegrounds. But the cartoons satirising the Prophet have injected a dangerous new element into the controversy.

“This is a pubescent demonstration of freedom of expression that consciously and totally without reason has trampled over the feelings of many people,” said Uffe Ellemann Jensen, a former foreign minister and member of Mr Rasmussen’s party.

Carsten Juste, the editor of Jyllands-Posten, spurned demands that he apologise, saying he “would not dream” of saying sorry.

“To demand that we take religious feelings into consideration is irreconcilable with western democracy and freedom of expression,” he said. “This doesn’t mean that we want to insult any Muslims.”

Juste commissioned the cartoons after learning of the difficulties a children’s writer, Kare Bluitgen, had in finding an illustrator for his book on the Koran and the Prophet’s life. Bluitgen said all the artists he approached feared the wrath of Muslims if they drew images of Mohammed.

Many cited the murder of the Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by an Islamist as a reason for refusal.

Juste said he wanted to counter growing “self censorship” and see how many cartoonists would be “bold enough” to draw the Prophet.

One artist, Franz Fuchsel, said he intended no offence. “But I live in 2005, not 905 and I use my quill in the way that Danish law allows me.”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch MP famous for her criticism of Islam and author of the screenplay for Mr Van Gogh’s film Submission, supported the paper. “It’s necessary to taunt Muslims on their relationship with Mohammed,” she said.

“Otherwise we will never have the dialogue we need to establish with Muslims on the most central question: ‘Do you really feel that every Muslim in 2005 should follow the way of life the Prophet had 1,400 years ago, as the Koran dictates?’”

 

POISONOUS POETRY

Poisonous poetry
By Julie Burchill
Ha’aretz
November 5, 2005

www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/641722.html

I’ve always distrusted both a) cretins who believe in the inherent goodness of children, and b) people who write poems. So imagine my delight when I read in the singularly excellent newsletter of the Middle East commentator Tom Gross about a piece of verse published in the new collection “Great Minds,” a collection of poems by 11- to 18-year-olds, which is to be distributed in schools throughout Britain.

Jewish organizations here are quite rightly quite upset about inclusion of a poem by one “Gideon Taylor,” a boy of 14, which includes the lines: “Jews are here, Jews are there, Jews are almost everywhere, filling up the darkest places, evil looks upon their faces.” Obviously not a young man who believes that less is more, Master Taylor goes for the big finale: “Make them take many paces for being one of the worst races, on their way to a gas chamber where they will sleep in their manger. I’ll be happy Jews have died.”

In its defense, the publisher of the book says that the poem states at one point “I am Adolf Hitler.” But this has not convinced the hundreds of Jews and Christians - but interestingly, not Muslims - who have seen fit to complain, nor the young Labor MP Louise Ellman, who while notoriously tough-minded and cool-headed, has called the piece an incitement to racial hatred.

Rather creepily, “Gideon Taylor” is the only contributor in the entire book whose school or location is not included. Even creepier, the country’s education minister, Ruth Kelly - a devout Catholic who is a member of the extremist cult Opus Dei, which astoundingly has an even more shameful history of anti-Semitism and Nazi-helping than the Church generally, not to mention whipping themselves for kicks - has yet to respond. And respond she should. And the publishers should do what the Holocaust Educational Trust has asked them to do: issue a formal apology and remove the poem. Because one does not have to be a paranoid Jew - or in my case, a paranoid “Jew-lover, ” as many correspondents have seen fit to expose me as over the years - to believe that there is no way a poem which stated “Blacks are here, blacks are there, blacks are almost everywhere” or “I’ll be happy Muslims have died” would be in a book handed out like sweeties from a pedophile to the nation’s schoolchildren, even if it was made clear that the verse was written from the warped perspective of a white supremacist.

Once more, Jews are on the end of the hobnailed-boot while other minorities are handled with kid gloves. The idea seems to be that because they can “pass” for white, or because the Holocaust was “a long time ago,” liberties may be taken with their feelings which no one would dream of doing to other, louder minorities. Can we trust the teaching profession not to have the usual quotient of anti-Semites among them? I don’t see why. What’s to stop them using a piece of writing like this as a starting point for peddling their own poisonous views?

In a country - mine! - where a Palestinian physics teacher recently terrified a group of children by telling them that he knew how to make bombs and would blow up their school bus if they didn’t behave, this isn’t quite as far-fetched as it may seem.

(Julie Burchill is a columnist for The Times of London.)

 

FALLUJA-SUR-SEINE?

Falluja-Sur-Seine?
There’s a reason the media is reluctant to connect the dots on the French riots.
By Edward Morrissey
The Weekly Standard
November 9, 2005

weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/332gzdsd.asp

When the media began covering the spreading violence in France, it appeared to go out of its way to avoid the notion that Islam had anything to do with the riots or their organizers. After all, even the French viewed the first couple of nights of unrest with a jaundiced eye. A nation that experiences nationwide protests every decade over some real or perceived injustice doesn’t react quickly to a few burning cars in the Parisian suburbs. France averaged 80 cars a day lost to arson this year even before the riots began, and they assumed the riots meant little.

After a few straight days of increasing violence, however, the only people still believing that comforting line appeared to be members of the French government and the media, who insisted on doing everything they could to miss the story. Twelve days into the riots, even after they had spread across France and inspired violence in Germany and Belgium, the media for the most part still could not bring itself to mention the “M” or “I” words: Muslim and Islamist. The lack of even any suggestion that radical Islamists might have initiated the violence, or at least be taking advantage of it, boggles the imagination.

The New York Times still hasn’t mentioned the Muslim aspect in its coverage of the riots. The paper mentions “youths” at least a half-dozen times in every report it writes on the violence, as if a post-Berlin Wall birthday automatically explains a proclivity to set fire to one’s neighborhood. The Los Angeles Times has barely covered the story at all. The Washington Post’s reporter Molly Moore bravely mentioned a possible Islamist connection to the violence, but the paper’s editorial board went out of its way to disavow this nexus.

Interestingly enough the Post warned its readers just three weeks ago that Islamist groups had targeted France for the next stage of their war.

In September, the Algerian Islamist terror group GSPC issued a communiquι describing France as “enemy number one” and called for Muslims to conduct attacks on France. Agence France Presse reported this threat without great fanfare, but the French authorities took it seriously enough to round up over a dozen suspected terrorist cell members throughout the country. The Post took a different look at the Algerian threat, noting that the training for terrorists had focused on younger French citizens, with a greater ability to move unrestricted through the streets of Paris and other target-rich environments. Among the training areas that intrigued the Post was the urban-warfare areas of Iraq:

French police investigating plans by a group of Islamic extremists to attack targets in Paris discovered last month that the group was recruiting French citizens to train in the Middle East and return home to carry out terrorist attacks, sources familiar with the investigation said.

One French official said the extremists were using a virtual “underground railroad” through Syria to spirit European and Middle Eastern citizens into and out of Iraq. A senior French law enforcement official, who declined to be quoted by name because he was speaking about classified information, said French citizens had undergone terrorist training at camps in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

“There’s always been an enormous jihad zone to train people to fight in their country of origin,” the official said. “We saw it Afghanistan, in Bosnia, in Kosovo, and now we’re seeing it in Iraq.”

John Ward Anderson wrote this dispatch, and the Washington Post published it, eight days prior to the start of the two-week insurrection that has now spread to over 300 cities in France. Various media reports have described the coordination of activities and evasive tactics via cell phones, web pages, and instant messaging. French police have discovered at least one bomb-making facility in the riot zone near Paris and suspect that more exist elsewhere. Despite this rather sophisticated infrastructure of support for the riots and the warnings just prior to the outbreak of the riots they themselves published, the Washington Post’s editorial page--and most of the rest of the media--seems stuck on the notion that poverty and a lack of opportunity alone must account for this sudden and growing uprising.

France--like much of the media--stood foursquare against Bush’s interventionist policy in Iraq. So if Islamists have targeted France as their next front in an attempt to establish “no-go” territories in the center of Europe, it might call into question much of the anti-Bush narrative. Instead of Muslim anger being caused by America’s policies of intervention, Islamofascism might really be a worldwide movement against Western interests.

Amir Taheri noted in the New York Post that the French have already heard from people who claim that they can negotiate an end to the violence. Local “emirs” representing the sink estates want the French police to withdraw from the territories and allow sheikhs from the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization with ties to al Qaeda, to arbitrate an end to the riots. “All we demand is to be left alone,” says Mouloud Dahmani, an “emir” who promises a return to quiet in exchange for autonomy. It is, in effect, a land-for-peace proposal aimed at the heart of France and Christendom.

Will the French surrender to the Islamist demands for sharia in the shadow of the City of Lights? Will they abandon their own territory and allow the establishment of enclaves in which French police dare not tread? Or will they, the media, and the world finally wake to the threat of Islamist expansionism after years of denial?

(Edward Morrissey is a contributing writer to The Daily Standard and a contributor to the blog Captain’s Quarters.)


Israeli, Palestinian & Jordanian DJ’s play together, (& news on Madonna, Phil Collins)

November 09, 2005

* Since many of the dispatches on this email list are very serious, I sometimes try to send “lighter” material. This dispatch, the second of two lighter dispatches I am sending today, contains various recent articles on the theme of Music. (Obviously the Jeremiah Duggan item is not light.)

 

CONTENTS

1 Israeli, Palestinian & Jordanian DJ’s play under one roof
2. Pakistani band wants to visit Israel
3. Phil Collins plays Tel Aviv
4. Madonna to visit Israel (again)
5. Madonna faces anger from the rabbis, and “Punishment from the heavens”
6. Song released about Jeremiah Duggan
7. Dana International represents Israel again
8. “Madonna plans Israel visit” (Ynetnews, November 3, 2005)
9. “Mysterious death inspires rock song” (EJP, November 3, 2005)
10. “Pakistani band wants to visit Israel” (Ynetnews, November 3, 2005)
11. “Israeli included in Eurovision celebrations” (EJP, Oct. 24, 2005)

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

ISRAELI, PALESTINIAN & JORDANIAN DJ’S PLAY UNDER ONE ROOF

Srulick Einhorn, an Israeli club DJ, brought together Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli DJs in the leading Jerusalem dance club “Haoman 17.” The event featured Einhorn, Palestinian DJ Khalil from Ramallah in the West Bank, and Jordanian DJ Kalice from Amman, and drew a crowd of over 800 dancers.

Arabic music has slowly caught on among Israeli Jews, mainly due to the efforts of Einhorn. Morad Kalice, also known as DJ Kalice, 26, is considered by many to be Jordan’s first proper underground house DJ. And DJ Khalil, 37, the owner of a music store in Ramallah, has been spinning for over 11 years.

There is also now talk of a similar dance night taking place in Ramallah. Einhorn said after the event, “they were very excited about performing for a Jewish audience in Jerusalem. So why can’t we do the same for an Arab audience?”

PAKISTANI BAND WANTS TO VISIT ISRAEL

An unnamed Pakistani rock band has expressed an interest in visiting Israel and cooperating with a local Jewish band. Yehuda Pearl, the father of the murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, relayed reports of his meeting with the band to Israel’s Consul General in New York.

The warming of Pakistani-Israeli relations was covered in the dispatch “President Musharraf to U.S. Jews: ‘Pakistan has no direct conflict with Israel’” (September 19, 2005).

PHIL COLLINS PLAYS ISRAEL

British pop superstar Phil Collins performed on Monday at Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield Stadium. This was his first visit to Israel.

The 54-year-old artist is the most prominent international music star to play in Israel in the last five years. The concert was part of his “First Final Farewell Tour”.

Collins said he wasn’t afraid of visiting Israel. He also told reporters “I wish it wasn’t like this. I sit and watch stuff on the television, I think, ‘Why, why, why.’”

Most of the press reports on his visit to Israel concentrated on Collins’s comments that he is open to the possibility of a reunion with his old band Genesis.

MADONNA TO VISIT ISRAEL (AGAIN)

The Israeli media reports that Madonna may visit Israel next month for the Jewish festival of Hanukah. (A previous dispatch on this list covered the pop-icon’s first trip to Israel. See “Madonna to celebrate Jewish New Year at Rachel’s Tomb,” September 15, 2004.)

Madonna, who calls herself “Esther” these days and keeps the Jewish Sabbath, after being raised a Catholic, has been a devotee of Kabbala for several years. However, this has caused some anger in the Kabbala community.

In the article attached below, Madonna defends her Kabbalastic studies. It is reported that on her upcoming visit she may meet the renowned Kabbalist rabbi, Yitzhak Kaduri, who had refused to meet with the singer during her previous trip to Israel. Madonna, who is a mother of two, plans to have another child and is interested in receiving Kaduri’s blessing first.

MADONNA FACES ANGER FROM THE RABBIS, AND “PUNISHMENT FROM THE HEAVENS”

Madonna’s new album has greatly angered several rabbis in Safed because she dedicated a song, titled “Isaac,” to the renowned 16th century Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Louria, also known as “Ari” (the lion).

“Jewish law bans the use of the sacred name Ari for making profits” said Rabbi Raphael Cohen, head of the Talmudic (Jewish texts) school named after Rabbi Louria.

According to the rabbi, she will reportedly face “punishment from the heavens” for dedicating Isaac, her new song, to the Kabbalist scholar.

“Madonna should be thrown out of the Kabbala for sinning against the mystic Jewish faith on her forthcoming album,” Rabbi Cohen told Israel’s Ma’ariv newspaper. He added that “her act is just simply unacceptable and I can only sympathize for her because of the punishment she is going to receive from the heavens.”

SONG RELEASED ABOUT JEREMIAH DUGGAN

The British rock group Starsailor has released a song about Jeremiah Duggan, the Jewish student who mysteriously died whilst attending what he thought would be an anti-Iraq war meeting in Germany in 2003.

Jeremiah’s parents (who are subscribers to this email list) are fighting for “a proper investigation” to be conducted into their son’s “murder,” which they believe was carried out by neo-Nazi elements with powerful protectors in Bavarian politics. They hope this song will prompt someone with information to come forward.

This item is an update to previous dispatches on this list, “Inquest opens tomorrow into the death of Jeremiah Duggan” (November 3, 2003) and “Jeremiah Duggan: it was ‘no suicide’” (November 5, 2003).

DANA INTERNATIONAL REPRESENTS ISRAEL AGAIN

Israel was once again represented in a Eurovision song contest event by the transsexual superstar, Dana International.

In 1998, Miss International won the Eurovision song contest and this year she was asked to take part in a celebration of 50 years of the event. Although she did not win (the Swedish ABBA came first), Dana, who was formerly known as Yaron Cohen, managed to impress the crowd with an outfit that left little to the imagination and exposed her breasts. The outfit was made by renowned French couturier Jean-Paul Gautier.

I attach four articles with summaries first.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

MADONNA TO VISIT ISRAEL (AGAIN)

“Madonna plans Israel visit” (By Havatzelet Damari, Ynetnews, November 3, 2005)

Good news for Madonna fans in Israel: The Kabbalah-loving pop-icon, who calls herself “Esther” these days, may visit Israel during the upcoming Hanukah holiday, Israel’s leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday.

One of the singer’s managers, Guy Ozery, confirmed that Madonna has expressed her wish to visit Israel again soon, following an earlier visit about a year ago...

 

SONG RELEASED ABOUT JEREMIAH DUGGAN

“Mysterious death inspires rock song” (By Alex Galbinski, EJP, November 3, 2005)

The British rock band Starsailor has released a song about Jeremiah (Jerry) Duggan, a Jewish student who mysteriously died in Germany in 2003 while attending what he thought was an anti-war conference.

Jerry’s parents, Erica and Hugo Duggan, hope the song, Jeremiah, will spark new interest into their son’s death, which German authorities said was a suicide.

Jerry, a 22-year-old student from London, was studying in Paris when he attended what he thought was an anti-Iraq war conference in Wiesbaden, Germany, in March 2003.

It is believed now that the meeting was in fact organised by the Schiller Institute, an extremist political group linked to Lyndon LaRouche, a US right-wing conspiracy theorist who has been accused of anti-Semitism...

The first the family knew about the song was when Mr Duggan heard Starsailor singer-songwriter James Walsh speaking about it on a BBC Radio Five Live show on October 20, and rushed out to buy it...

Mrs Duggan hopes the song will prompt someone with information about the circumstances surrounding her son’s death to come forward...

 

PAKISTANI BAND WANTS TO VISIT ISRAEL

“Pakistani band wants to visit Israel” (By Itamar Eichner, Ynetnews, November 3, 2005)

... A Pakistani rock band has expressed its interest in visiting Israel and cooperating with a local band on stage.

... The contact with the band was made through Yehuda Pearl, the father of Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl murdered by terrorists in Pakistan.

... Yehuda Pearl, who heads a foundation in honor of his son that aims to fight hatred by promoting cross-cultural exchanges and understanding, said he raised the issue of the Pakistani band’s wish to visit Israel in a meeting with Foreign Minister Shalom, who promised to assist the project.

 

DANA INTERNATIONAL REPRESENTS ISRAEL AGAIN

“Israeli included in Eurovision celebrations” (By Ashley Perry, European Jewish Press, October 24, 2005)

Controversial performer Dana International represented Israel in the celebration of 50 years of the Eurovision song contest in Copenhagen, held last Saturday.

The show was called ‘Congratulations’ and included 14 of what were considered the best ever entries from various countries.

Dana International became instantly famous when in 1998 she was chosen to represent Israel at the 1998 Eurovision contest.

What made Dana International unique was that she is a transsexual and very openly so. Dana International loves to shock and took Europe by storm...

 



FULL ARTICLES

MADONNA TO VISIT ISRAEL (AGAIN)

Madonna plans Israel visit
Pop star plans to have another child, wants blessing of renowned Israeli Kabbalist
By Havatzelet Damari
Ynetnews
November 3, 2005

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3163694,00.html

Good news for Madonna fans in Israel: The Kabbalah-loving pop-icon, who calls herself “Esther” these days, may visit Israel during the upcoming Hanukah holiday, Israel’s leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday.

One of the singer’s managers, Guy Ozery, confirmed that Madonna has expressed her wish to visit Israel again soon, following an earlier visit about a year ago.

Meanwhile, Madonna’s managers apparently contacted associates of renowned Kabbalist Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri, including his grandson Yossi Kaduri, in an attempt to arrange a meeting between the pop singer and the rabbi.

Madonna, who is a mother of two, plans to have another child and is interested in receiving Kaduri’s blessing first. Notably, the rabbi refused to meet with the singer during her last visit.

Addressing the issue, Ozery said associates of the rabbi are looking into a possible meeting.

In an interview to the New York Daily News earlier this week, Madonna defended her interest in the teachings of the Kabbalah, and said she was angry people found it to be so disturbing.

“It would be less controversial if I joined the Nazi Party,” Madonna said.

Madonna’s increasing pursuit of Kabbalah has inspired much hostility toward her, which the singer found hard to explain.

“‘What do you mean you study the Torah if you’re not Jewish? ’” she asked rhetorically.

“‘What do you mean you pray to God and wear sexy clothes? We don’t understand this.’ It frightens people. So they try to denigrate it or trivialize it so that it makes more sense,” Madonna said.

 

SONG RELEASED ABOUT JEREMIAH DUGGAN

Mysterious death inspires rock song
By Alex Galbinski in London
European Jewish Press
November 3, 2005

www.ejpress.org/article/news/4028

The British rock band Starsailor has released a song about Jeremiah (Jerry) Duggan, a Jewish student who mysteriously died in Germany in 2003 while attending what he thought was an anti-war conference.

Jerry’s parents, Erica and Hugo Duggan, hope the song, Jeremiah, will spark new interest into their son’s death, which German authorities said was a suicide.

Jerry, a 22-year-old student from London, was studying in Paris when he attended what he thought was an anti-Iraq war conference in Wiesbaden, Germany, in March 2003.

It is believed now that the meeting was in fact organised by the Schiller Institute, an extremist political group linked to Lyndon LaRouche, a US right-wing conspiracy theorist who has been accused of anti-Semitism.

On 27 March, the night of the conference, Jerry called his girlfriend Maya at 4.20am, telling her: “I am under too much pressure.”

He then called his mother, saying: “Mum, I am in deep, deep trouble. I want out. ”

The telephone line went dead and he rang back, saying: “I’m frightened, I want to see you now.”

While he was telling her where he was, the line again was cut. Around 30 minutes later Jerry was dead, having run into the road and allegedly been hit by two cars.

The first the family knew about the song was when Mr Duggan heard Starsailor singer-songwriter James Walsh speaking about it on a BBC Radio Five Live show on October 20, and rushed out to buy it.

“We all wept when we heard the song,” said Mrs Duggan. “It’s so beautiful. For me, the line ‘little one do not fear’ was very poignant, because when he rang me, I didn’t have the chance to comfort him. I couldn’t help him.”

Mr Walsh in turn had found out about Jerry’s story while listening to a radio interview with Mrs Duggan last year.

“The thing that touched me the most was how random it was,” said Walsh. “He was a young Jewish lad who, like many people at the time, felt very strongly against the war in Iraq.”

Mrs Duggan hopes the song will prompt someone with information about the circumstances surrounding her son’s death to come forward.

She and her ex-husband are fighting for the investigation into his death to be reopened, after German authorities recorded a verdict of suicide. This was rejected by British coroner Dr William Dolman in 2003, who said Jerry had been ‘in a state of terror’ before his death.

“From the very outset,” said Dr Dolman, “I could not accept the investigators’ bald conclusion that Jeremiah Duggan intended to take his own life.”

A copy of the German police’s report into Jerry’s death obtained by The Daily Telegraph newspaper revealed various errors which, the Duggans say, point to an inadequate investigation. They now intend to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights.

“This song speaks volumes because it expressed how the dreams of youth are brutally crushed and the authorities turn a blind eye,” she added.

‘Jeremiah’ is featured on Starsailor’s album, On the Outside, which was released on 17 October.

For more information on the campaign, or the fundraising event, visit www.justiceforjeremiah.com

 

PAKISTANI BAND WANTS TO VISIT ISRAEL

Pakistani band wants to visit Israel

Contact with rock group made through Yehuda Pearl, father of journalist Daniel Pearl murdered in Pakistan
By Itamar Eichner
Ynetnews
November 3, 2005

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3163593,00.html

Israeli-Pakistani relations warming up? A Pakistani rock band has expressed its interest in visiting Israel and cooperating with a local band on stage, Israel’s leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday.

The contact with the band was made through Yehuda Pearl, the father of Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl murdered by terrorists in Pakistan.

Yehuda Pearl relayed a report about his contacts with the band in a meeting with Israel’s Consul General in New York.

Notably, Israeli-Pakistani relations have been warming up following a recent meeting between Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and his Pakistani counterpart in Istanbul, the first such open meeting.

Later, Pakistan accepted Israeli aid offers following the earthquake that devastated parts of the country.

Yehuda Pearl, who heads a foundation in honor of his son that aims to fight hatred by promoting cross-cultural exchanges and understanding, said he raised the issue of the Pakistani band’s wish to visit Israel in a meeting with Foreign Minister Shalom, who promised to assist the project.

 

DANA INTERNATIONAL REPRESENTS ISRAEL AGAIN

Israeli included in Eurovision celebrations
By Ashley Perry
European Jewish Press
October 24, 2005

www.ejpress.org/article/news/3762

Controversial performer Dana International represented Israel in the celebration of 50 years of the Eurovision song contest in Copenhagen, held last Saturday.

The show was called ‘Congratulations’ and included 14 of what were considered the best ever entries from various countries.

Dana International became instantly famous when in 1998 she was chosen to represent Israel at the 1998 Eurovision contest.

What made Dana International unique was that she is a transsexual and very openly so. Dana International loves to shock and took Europe by storm.

“Back in 1998 we wanted to win, so we tried to be different but still not outrageous,” said Dana in a press conference in Tel-Aviv.

“But, this time I don’t really care being more provocative”.

As it turned out Dana did not win the best of best competition, that honour went to ABBA’s ‘Waterloo’ but it was definitely Dana International’s performance which stole the limelight and the headlines.

Dana appeared in an eye-catching outfit that left little to the imagination and exposed her breasts. The outfit was made once again by renowned French couturier Jean-Paul Gautier who made her first outfit in 1998.

This time Gautier titled his creation ‘Spanish Bride’.

Dana didn’t mind not winning and was especially conciliatory towards the song that did win. Before the contest Dana said of ABBA, “I wouldn’t mind being second to them. It will be a great honor to be a runner up to this legendary band”.

Dana International was born male (named Yaron Cohen) in 1972. From a very young age, Yaron really loved to entertain and perform in front of an audience.

His mother and his younger sister encouraged him to develop his talent through both the school choir and in the Youth Music Company in Tel Aviv. Later on he attended the National Theater of Israel. It was during high school that Yaron started to discover Tel-Aviv’s thriving nightlife.

In his last year of high school, Yaron knew he really was a woman. After graduating with top grades, Yaron met producer and DJ Ofer Nisim. Ofer quickly recognized Yaron’s talent, asked him to join his latest drag queen show. Yaron became the leading star of the show. In 1992, Yaron went to London to undergo a gender reassignment surgery. In 1993, as Dana International, she released her first album.


Ruins of “oldest church” found in Israel (& Tel Aviv to boast world’s largest coffee shop)

* Since many of the dispatches on this email list are very serious, I occasionally try to send “lighter” material. This dispatch, the first of two generally lighter dispatches being sent today, contains various recent articles on the theme of Religion, as well as other topics such as Bill Gates’s recent visit to Israel, and the World Chess Championships.

 

CONTENTS

1. Israeli archeologists discover “oldest church”: New light on The Last Supper?
2. “The image most Americans have of Jews is white Eastern Europeans”
3. Black American Jews in Virginia
4. 700 from “Lost Biblical Jewish Tribe” convert
5. “The Happiest News Of My Life”
6. Bill Gates visits Israel for the first time
7. Beersheba hosts the World Chess Team Championship
8. Tel Aviv to boast world’s largest coffee shop
9. Israeli president invites Moroccan king to Jerusalem
10. U.S Congress: Israeli economy “developed,” not “emerging”
11. “Early Christian church unearthed near Armageddon” (Reuters, November 6, 2005)
12. “For some blacks, Judaism is home” (Ynetnews, October 30, 2005)
13. “Krakow gets its first rabbi since the Holocaust” (AP, October 18, 2005)
14. “Slovak city apologizes to Jews” (European Jewish Press, October 24, 2005)

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

ISRAELI ARCHEOLOGISTS DISCOVER “OLDEST CHURCH”

Israeli archeologists have discovered relics of what could be the oldest church in the Holy Land – and maybe even in the whole world – buried beneath a maximum security jail in Megiddo in northern Israel. Megiddo is the modern Hebrew name for what is thought to be the biblical site known in English as Armageddon. In close proximity to the jail is the hill where the Book of Revelations claims the final battle on earth will take place.

The prisoners of the jail helped dig up what is thought to be one of Christianity’s earliest churches. Archeologists have been examining the mosaics and the foundations of the structure, dating from the third or fourth century AD, as well as the remains of an altar or a prayer table.

NEW INFORMATION ON “THE LAST SUPPER”?

Archaeologists believe that the reference to a “table” rather than an “altar” in one of the inscriptions, casts new light on church rituals related to the commemoration known as The Last Supper.

The prison was also the scene of a Palestinian suicide bomber on June 5, 2002. Seventeen Israelis were killed when a car packed with explosives struck a commuter bus. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

The prison, which hosts 1200 security detainees, could very well become a pilgrimage site for Christians.

BLACK AMERICAN JEWS

“The image most Americans have of Jews is white Eastern Europeans. They don’t have an idea of the multicultural nature of the religion,” says Terry Leach a black member of the board of directors of the Etz Hayim (Tree of Life) synagogue in Arlington, Virginia.

The synagogue, which previously had a black President, also has Asian-American members and some white Christian converts.

Rhonda Bell, one of three African-American Jews highlighted in the article attached below, says “Judaism is a color-blind faith. As long as you believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph it doesn’t matter what you look like.”

Following in the theme of religious news I also include articles (below) on the appointment of Krakow’s first Rabbi since the Holocaust, and news of a small Slovak city that has apologized to its Jewish community for mob attacks that occurred not during, but after World War II. (Krakow is now best known by some as the place where much of Schindler’s List was filmed.)

700 FROM “LOST BIBLICAL JEWISH TRIBE” CONVERT

Israeli Rabbis have also begun converting to Orthodox Judaism about 9,000 members of an impoverished tribe from Burma and northeastern India that is thought to be one of the 10 lost tribes of biblical Israel. Earlier this year, Israel’s Sephardi chief rabbi recognized the Bnei Menashe as one of the 10 lost tribes, ruling that they followed several Jewish traditions.

After an Assyrian invasion around 722 B.C., Jewish tradition says, 10 tribes from Israel were enslaved and taken to Assyria. Later the tribes fled Assyria and wandered through Afghanistan, Tibet and China.

Around A.D. 100, one group moved south from China and settled in northeastern India and Burma. More than 1800 years later, British missionaries to India converted the Bnei Menashe members to Christianity. Many now want to return to Judaism.

“THE HAPPIEST NEWS OF MY LIFE”

David Haokip, 23, a Bnei Menashe youth leader, embraced Judaism five years ago and goes to the synagogue to pray three times daily. “When we knew we were recognized by the Chief Rabbinate it was the happiest news of my life,” Haokip said.

After almost a decade long investigation, which included DNA tests of the people, Israeli authorities became convinced that the Indian Jews of northeastern India are one of the 10 lost tribes from Israel.

There are thought to be up to 2 million of the Bnei Menashe tribe in the hilly regions of Burma and northeastern India.

UPDATE: CONVERSIONS SUSPENDED AFTER INDIA COMPLAINS

As an update to the note above, the Associated Press reports, in a news story published within the last hour, that Israeli rabbis in northeastern India have stopped converting the Bnei Menashe after the Indian government complained that they might be violating Indian law. Instead of converting the Bnei Menashe in their home region, the rabbis will now wait to convert them after Israel brings them to the Jewish state, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said.

About 800 members of the Bnei Menashe have been brought to Israel – and formally converted – over the last decade by the private group Amishav, Hebrew for “my people returns.”

According to Amishav, there is ample evidence to show the Bnei Menashe are of Jewish descent. Their customs, including mourning rites, hygiene and the use of a lunar calendar, closely mirror Jewish traditions.

BILL GATES VISITS ISRAEL FOR THE FIRST TIME

As was predicted in the dispatch “Bill Gates to visit Israel (& Moshe Dayan’s eye patch for sale on eBay)” (August 8, 2005), the Microsoft chairman finally made his long-awaited first trip to Israel on October 26, 2005.

On his 24-hour visit Gates described Israel as a “science and hi-tech superpower.” He went on to say that “considering the density of start-ups in Israel and local successes, Israel is like a part of Silicon Valley.”

Gates added that “it’s no exaggeration to say that the kind of innovation going on in Israel is critical to the future of technology.”

BEERSHEBA HOSTS WORLD CHESS TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP

The southern Israeli city of Beersheba is presently hosting the prestigious World Chess Team Championship. The contest, which ends today, included national teams from around the globe.

Beersheba has a higher percentage of grandmasters per capita - eight - than any other city in the world, the majority of them immigrants from the former Soviet Union; the city of 183,000 has one grand master per 22,875 residents. Israel is ranked fifth in the world in chess, following a fifth placed finish at the last Olympics. Israel was knocked out of the tournament by a very strong Russian team performance.

The Egyptian team decided to stay away from the Championship. One Israeli competitor speculated that maybe it was because Egypt was expected to finish last. Hundreds of local fans of the game came to the tournament excited to see the best in the world play. Murmuring in Hebrew and Russian filled the room as the players made their moves.

The Armenian Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian, led his country’s team. The Chinese women’s team in Beersheba included an 11 year old girl.

The tournament is due to come to a dramatic close today with China and Russia facing off. An upset victory for China would give it its first ever championship win. (Update: The Russian team managed to win the cup over China in the very final minutes. Armenia came third, followed by Ukraine and the United States. The Israeli team finished sixth.)

TEL AVIV TO BOAST WORLD’S LARGEST COFFEE SHOP

Israel’s most popular newspaper Yediot Ahronoth reports that the largest coffee shop in the world, extending over some three dunams (approximately one acre, or 4,000 square meters), will be opened in Rabin Square in central Tel Aviv on November 30.

Launched under the sponsorship name “Nescafe in the Square,” the coffee shop will open for three days only. The tent will be divided into separated areas holding special events ranging from live music shows to an event called “coffee on the water,” which will be erected atop the fountain in the square.

The organizers said they will push to include their huge coffee shop in the Guinness Book of Records.

ISRAELI PRESIDENT INVITES MOROCCAN KING TO JERUSALEM

Israeli President Moshe Katsav has issued a public invitation to King Muhammad VI of Morocco to pay an official visit to Israel in a bid to help promote Middle East peace.

The invitation was made through the Moroccan-Jewish banker Andre Azoulay, a long-time economic adviser to the king and to his late father, King Hassan II.

Katsav hopes that a visit by King Muhammad would be instrumental in advancing better relations between the two countries.

The small Jewish community which remains in Morocco is strongly nationalistic. Azoulay said they are torn when they hear news of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, “We are after all partially Arab,” he said.

Improving relations between Israel and the Arab world has been covered in more detail in previous dispatches on this list, such as “Small signs of improving Arab-Israeli relations (despite today’s suicide attack)” (October 26, 2005).

U.S CONGRESS: ISRAELI ECONOMY “DEVELOPED,” NOT “EMERGING”

A vote in the U.S House of Representatives passed a resolution in support of Israel’s bid to join the Organizations for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED). The resolution was passed by a margin of 391-0.

A successful Israeli bid to join the OCED will adjust Israel’s international standing from an emerging economy to a developed one.

I attach four articles with summaries first for those of you who don’t have time to read the pieces in full.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

RUINS OF “OLDEST CHURCH” FOUND IN ISRAEL

“Early Christian church unearthed near Armageddon” (By Cynthia Johnston, Reuters, November 6, 2005)

In a maximum-security jail just down the road from Armageddon, Israeli archaeologists have unearthed what they believe is the oldest church discovered in the land where Jesus was born.

“This is one of the most important finds of early Christianity,” archaeologist Yardena Alexandre of the Israel Antiquities told journalists on a tour of the excavation on Sunday...

The ruins of the church include a mosaic tile floor with inscriptions in ancient Greek containing a reference to “The God Jesus Christ” and could shed light on early Christian practices...

The church was built in the style of a hall, and its mosaic floor contains geometric designs and an image of fish, an early Christian symbol...

 

BLACK AMERICAN JEWS

“For some blacks, Judaism is home” (By Seth Rosen, Connection Newspapers, also reprinted in Yediot Ahronoth, October 30, 2005)

Tammy Duprey, a genial black woman, hands worshippers their tickets as they stream into the Etz Hayim synagogue for Yom Kippur services last month, wishing them a pleasant fast.

Duprey is a devoted member of the Arlington congregation, attending every Shabbat and teaching at the synagogue’s Hebrew school...

“The image most Americans have of Jews is white Eastern Europeans. They don’t have an idea of the multicultural nature of the religion,” said Leach, who has been an Arlington resident for a decade and converted to Judaism two years ago...

Members of Etz Hayim have been thrilled with the contributions of the three black converts, citing their dedication to the congregation and enthusiasm for learning more about Jewish customs...

But black converts to Judaism can face ostracism from the African-American community and subtle discrimination as a double minority...

Though there have been historic tensions between Black and Jewish communities, the two ethnic groups have a long history of collaboration, from the days of abolition to the civil rights movement. Though fellow blacks are often surprised to learn Duprey is Jewish, she tells them the two traits are not conflicting...

 

KRAKOW GETS FIRST RABBI SINCE HOLOCAUST

“Krakow Gets First Rabbi Since Holocaust” (The Associated Press, Warsaw Bureau, October 18, 2005)

The first rabbi to serve Krakow full-time since the Holocaust took up his post Monday, a mission that includes guiding a revival of Jewish life and helping people rediscover their Jewish heritage forgotten during the decades of communism.

Rabbi Avraham Flaks, a 38-year-old Russian-born Israeli, has been getting to know members of Krakow’s small Jewish community over the past few weeks, but officially took up his duties with an evening prayer service marking the start of the weeklong festival of Sukkot...

There are about 200 people registered with the community, but an estimated 1,000 Jews are believed to live in Krakow most of them people who only recently discovered their Jewish roots following the fall of communism in 1989...

 

TOPALCONY RESIDENTS APOLOGIZE TO JEWS

“Slovakian city apologizes to Jews” (European Jewish Press, October 24, 2005)

The authorities in a small Slovakian city on Sunday officially apologized to the Jewish community for mob attacks that took place there several months after the end of World War II.

A crowd of angry city residents in Topolcany, provoked by rumours that a Jewish doctor had vaccinated children with a toxic serum, began lynching Jews on 25 September 1945.

No Jews died from the mob attacks but around 50 were seriously injured...

 



FULL ARTICLES

RUINS OF “OLDEST CHURCH” FOUND IN ISRAEL

Early Christian church unearthed near Armageddon
By Cynthia Johnston
Reuters
November 6, 2005

www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L06706013.htm

In a maximum-security jail just down the road from Armageddon, Israeli archaeologists have unearthed what they believe is the oldest church discovered in the land where Jesus was born.

“This is one of the most important finds of early Christianity,” archaeologist Yardena Alexandre of the Israel Antiquities told journalists on a tour of the excavation on Sunday.

Remains of the church, which archaeologists date to the mid-third to early-fourth century, were found during a dig for possible artefacts before the planned construction of a new prison wing.

The ruins of the church include a mosaic tile floor with inscriptions in ancient Greek containing a reference to “The God Jesus Christ” and could shed light on early Christian practices.

The floor lies under a tarpaulin in the shadow of watchtowers, surrounded by high fences and barbed wire.

The jail is close to the hill of Armageddon, where the Book of Revelations says God will prevail over Satan in a fiery end-of-the-world battle.

“This is, in Israel for sure, the earliest church,” archaeologist Yotam Tepper, who heads the excavation, told reporters.

He said archaeologists had previously discovered domestic prayer sites in the Holy Land that may be older than the ruins at the prison, but none that was classified as a church. As he spoke, two inmates cleaned the mosaic designs with sponges.

The church was built in the style of a hall, and its mosaic floor contains geometric designs and an image of fish, an early Christian symbol.

One inscription on the floor indicates that a Roman soldier helped pay for the mosaics, and another dedicates a table to the memory of Jesus, archaeologists said.

Christians faced varying levels of persecution under the Roman Empire, interspersed with periods of calm. It was during such a lull that archaeologists believe the Megiddo church was built to serve a local Christian community.

“What is important about this find (at Megiddo) is it is in a transitional period. It is the very beginning of churches. There was no standard plan of a church,” Alexandre said.

In 1998, American archaeologists excavating in southern Jordan said they had unearthed what they believed to be the world’s oldest remaining church, dating to the late-third or early fourth century.

A spokesman for Israel’s Prisons Authority said no decision had been taken on what to do with the site. Archaeologists said they preferred to keep the church intact and in place but that the mosaics might be moved if necessary.

 

BLACK AMERICAN JEWS

For some blacks, Judaism is home: Suburban D.C. synagogue is led by one of few female rabbis in Northern Virginia, Rabbi Lia Bass. Estimated one-quarter of members are converts and in mid-1990s congregation had a black president

By Seth Rosen, Connection Newspapers
As reprinted in Yediot Ahronoth
October 30, 2005

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3160287,00.html

Tammy Duprey, a genial black woman, hands worshippers their tickets as they stream into the Etz Hayim synagogue for Yom Kippur services last week, wishing them a pleasant fast.

Duprey is a devoted member of the Arlington congregation, attending every Shabbat and teaching at the synagogue’s Hebrew school.

“I’ve always been a seeker of knowledge,” said the 36-year-old, who converted to Judaism five years ago. “In my soul I was born Jewish. Everything finally made sense. Here I found a home.”

Etz Hayim has a long tradition of being a progressive house of worship and attracts those seeking an intimate atmosphere and an eclectic membership. The synagogue is led by one of the few female rabbis in Northern Virginia, Rabbi Lia Bass. An estimated one-quarter of the members are converts and in the mid-1990s the congregation had a black president.

“We cherish the fact that we have people from diverse backgrounds and it adds to the richness of our congregation,” said Etz Hayim President Jonathan Wroblewski.

Terry Leach, an associate on the synagogue’s board of directors, is black, as is Rhonda Bell - who is in the process of converting. The congregation also has several Asian-American members in addition to a plethora of white Christian converts.

“The image most Americans have of Jews is white Eastern Europeans. They don’t have an idea of the multicultural nature of the religion,” said Leach, who has been an Arlington resident for a decade and converted to Judaism two years ago.

Raised by a Catholic father and Anglican mother, Duprey’s family only attended church “for weddings and funerals.” When she was a child living in Heidelberg, Germany, where her dad was stationed by the army, she first became interested in Judaism while reading books on the Holocaust. Duprey attended a year of Hebrew school and said she might have converted then if the military chaplain had had the authority to perform the complex ceremonies.

In her teenage years and early 20s she continued to practice Judaism on her own but became something of a religious “shopper,” attending Mormon and Islamic services and dabbling in Buddhism.

Duprey became an observant, though unofficial, Jew when she moved to Northern Virginia in 1996, praying daily in her house, keeping kosher and refusing to drive on Shabbat.

She began attending services at Agudas Achim, a synagogue in Alexandria seven years ago and subsequently began the arduous, two-year conversion process.

“There was a need for me to convert,” said Duprey, who works as a management analyst for the Navy. “I had been a fellow traveler for so long and everyone saw me as Jewish. But there was still a barrier.”

There is no synagogue in Fredericksburg for Bell to attend, so she also observed the Jewish holidays at home. After her divorce, Judaism helped Bell get her life back on track and she began commuting to Arlington to attend Etz Hayim. Next month the 40-year-old Bell is expected to complete the conversion process.

“Judaism is about community and when I first came here I felt at home,” said Bell, who began practicing Judaism as a 14-year-old in Jacksonville, N.C., against the wishes of her mother, who was a member of an African Methodist Episcopal Zion church.

Members of Etz Hayim have been thrilled with the contributions of the three black converts, citing their dedication to the congregation and enthusiasm for learning more about Jewish customs.

“It’s wonderful that they have explored other religions and choose Judaism,” said Ann Schwartz Unitas, who also lauded Duprey’s work as a teacher.

The support of friends and family has helped eased the transition for Duprey, though her father remains wary of all formal religious involvement, she said. Leach’s non-Jewish friends encouraged him to convert, constantly telling him “since you go to synagogue every week you should convert.”

But black converts to Judaism can face ostracism from the African-American community and subtle discrimination as a double minority.

Many of Bell’s black friends are confused by her impending conversion and don’t fully comprehend that Judaism is her new “way of life.” One black friend recently asked, “haven’t our people been through enough persecution?”

Bell said she senses a mix of puzzlement and indirect racism from segments of the population when she is performing a Jewish ritual in public. Leach has found himself in several tense situations because of his staunch defense of Israel, and is dismayed that he always has to be on guard for anti-Semitic comments by people who do not know he is Jewish.

Though there have been historic tensions between Black and Jewish communities, the two ethnic groups have a long history of collaboration, from the days of abolition to the civil rights movement. Though fellow blacks are often surprised to learn Duprey is Jewish, she tells them the two traits are not conflicting.

“Blacks and Jews have a lot in common,” Duprey said. “We’ve both continued to survive after lots of opportunities when we could have been killed off.”

At the end of Yom Kippur services Bell and several young white couples converse in the lobby. An adopted Chinese toddler runs through the crowd, as they discuss how they will manage not eating for 25 straight hours.

“Judaism is a color-blind faith,” Bell said. “As long as you believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph it doesn’t matter what you look like.”

Reprinted courtesy of Connection Newspapers

 

KRAKOW GETS FIRST RABBI SINCE HOLOCAUST

Krakow Gets First Rabbi Since Holocaust
The Associated Press, Warsaw Bureau
October 18, 2005

The first rabbi to serve Krakow full-time since the Holocaust took up his post Monday, a mission that includes guiding a revival of Jewish life and helping people rediscover their Jewish heritage forgotten during the decades of communism.

Rabbi Avraham Flaks, a 38-year-old Russian-born Israeli, has been getting to know members of Krakow’s small Jewish community over the past few weeks, but officially took up his duties with an evening prayer service marking the start of the weeklong festival of Sukkot.

Michael Freund, chairman of the Shavei Israel organization sponsoring Flaks’ work, said he hopes the new rabbi will be able to “keep the flame of Judaism alive” in a city whose rich, centuries-old Jewish community was nearly wiped out during the Holocaust.

There are about 200 people registered with the community, but an estimated 1,000 Jews are believed to live in Krakow most of them people who only recently discovered their Jewish roots following the fall of communism in 1989, Freund told The Associated Press.

There are “quite a number of people who have gone through these experiences, suddenly learning that they were born Jews,” Freund said. “Many don’t know what to do with that information, what to make of it, what role it should play in their lives.”

During the communist era, some Jews hid their religious identities, even from their children, to avoid discrimination. Many fled the country in 1968, following a government-sponsored anti-Semitic campaign.

 

TOPALCONY RESIDENTS APOLOGIZE TO JEWS

Slovakian city apologizes to Jews
European Jewish Press
October 24, 2005

www.ejpress.org/article/3763

The authorities in a small Slovakian city on Sunday officially apologized to the Jewish community for mob attacks that took place there several months after the end of World War II.

A crowd of angry city residents in Topolcany, provoked by rumours that a Jewish doctor had vaccinated children with a toxic serum, began lynching Jews on 25 September 1945.

No Jews died from the mob attacks but around 50 were seriously injured.

“We, the representatives of the city of Topolcany, express our profound sorrow for this act which, given the scale of its barbarity and malice, does not compare to anything else in our modern history,” said the city’s declaration, which was read before members of the Jewish community.

About 550 Jews lived in the city in western Slovakia when the war ended. The city’s current total population is around 30,000.

“I am very happy with this decision by the city authorities and we welcome it with satisfaction,” said Jaroslav Franek, a spokesman for the Jewish community in Slovakia.

Between 1942 and 1944, the Slovak state was controlled by Nazi Germany, which sent to concentration camps some 70,000 Jews out of a total of 90,000 who were living then in the country.

Around 3,300 Jews are living today in Slovakia.


Red Cross: Persecution of Christians “outside our area of expertise” (& other items)

November 03, 2005

* Revealed in court: Attempt in 2002 to poison Israeli water supply with cyanide
* UN resolution on Holocaust Day not “unanimous” as claimed
* Prince Charles to “Plead the case for Islam”
* Animated Iranian film for children promotes suicide attacks

[Most of the items below are updates to other recent items on this list.]

 

CONTENTS

1. Confirmed: Iran purges senior ambassadors
2. Animated Iranian film for children promotes suicide attacks
3. David Hatuel to marry again and build a new family
4. UN resolution on Holocaust Day not “unanimous”
5. Five Israelis wounded yesterday by Qassam rockets
6. Syrian media glorifies last week’s Hadera suicide bombing
7. Red Cross: Persecution of Christians “outside our area of expertise”
8. Special New Statesman issue on Israel
9. Palestinians shoot collaborators in the legs
10. Revealed in court: Attempt in 2002 to poison Israeli water supply with cyanide
11. Pakistani delegation to visit Israel
12. Archbishop of Canterbury omits Jews in London memorial speech
13. Prince Charles to “Plead the case for Islam”
14. “Confrontation is a good thing” (By Mark Steyn, Daily Telegraph, Nov. 1, 2005)
15. “Mideast training program backfires” (San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 14, 2005)

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

CONFIRMED: IRAN PURGES SENIOR AMBASSADORS

The note I attached to Tuesday’s dispatch has now been confirmed by the mainstream media. Yesterday it was reported by the BBC, The Times of London, The Guardian, and others, that 40 Iranian envoys and other senior diplomats have been sacked or reassigned in the largest diplomatic shake-up since the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Four of the regime’s most senior ambassadors – from the UK, France, Germany, and at the UN – have all been recalled and are to be replaced. These ambassadors had been closely involved in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme, and even though they are hardline, they were considered “too liberal” by Iran’s new extremist president.

(It has also been revaled that Diana Butto, a legal adviser to the Palestinian Authority on “peace negotiations,” was in Tehran last week during “The World Without Zionism” conference. Butto, who was pictured by the Islamic Republic News Agency on October 28, is a favorite “moderate” Palestinian spokesperson and is often invited as a guest commentator by BBC World and CNN International.)

ANIMATED IRANIAN FILM FOR CHILDREN PROMOTES SUICIDE ATTACKS

“We must prevent the barbaric Zionist murdering of our people” shouts “Jassem” in a new Iranian animated movie that encourages Iranian children to carry out suicide attacks against Israelis. Broadcast on IRIB 3 TV on October 28, 2005, at 8am Iranian time (for children’s morning TV), the lead character “Abd Al-Rahman” sees his father, mother and brother murdered by an Israeli soldier named “Ariel” known for his “huge body”.

“Al-Rahman” declares “I will avenge the blood of my family, even if I am killed doing so.” He then joins “Jassem” who “has been in a (sic) resistance group for some years now, fighting the Israelis.”

In the final scene “Al-Rahman” pulls grenade pins and leaps onto a truck of Israeli soldiers killing himself and those inside the truck. Then a young Palestinian boy takes the keffiyeh of “Al-Rahman” and walks off into the sunset.

DAVID HATUEL TO MARRY AGAIN AND BUILD A NEW FAMILY

In the note above about the Iranian cartoon, “Abd Al-Rahman” takes revenge for the death of his family. In stark contrast, David Hatuel, whose pregnant wife and four young daughters (aged 11, 9, 7, 2) were murdered in a particularly brutal terrorist attack in May 2004 carried out “proudly” (according to their spokesperson) by Nobel Peace Prize winner’s Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction, announced this week his engagement to Limor Shem Tov. (For more on these killings please see the dispatch, “Thousands mourn slain mother, girls” (May 3, 2004).)

UN RESOLUTION ON HOLOCAUST DAY NOT “UNANIMOUS”

A total of 104 countries sponsored the resolution to make January 27 the annual international day of commemoration to honor Holocaust victims (as mentioned in my last dispatch). Yet the UN General Assembly comprises 191 United Nations member states.

While this resolution is encouraging some of the coverage has been misleading. For example, the leading Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz, claimed in its headline, and for two days at the top of the internet home page, that the “UN unanimously declares an international Holocaust Day”.

Several large countries did not endorse this resolution and the mainstream press has not drawn attention to this. (Because a majority co-sponsored the resolution it was passed without it being brought to a vote.)

Much of the mainstream media has given very little attention to the states that did not back the resolution or those that did so grudgingly. Most Muslim countries did not support the resolution. Egypt, Indonesia and Malaysia said they supported the resolution but warned that atrocities against Christians and Muslims also deserve attention.

Following the vote, Egypt’s ambassador to the UN, Maged Abdelaziz, said “We believe no one should have the monopoly on suffering”.

Israel’s best-selling newspaper Yediot Ahronot, in its editorial today, hails the UN General Assembly decision to establish an international Holocaust Remembrance Day as “an achievement for all of humanity, not just the Jews.”

FIVE ISRAELIS LIGHTLY WOUNDED YESTERDAY BY QASSAM ROCKETS

Completely ignored by the media outside Israel today, is the news that five Israelis were wounded by three Qassam rockets fired yesterday at the Netiv Ha’asarah, a small town located 9 km north of Gaza. In July, a woman from this community was killed by a Qassam rocket. (By contrast, Reuters, ABCnews.com, the BBC and many other international newswires are, at the present time, leading with the headline “Israeli troops wound West Bank teenager.”)

A 20-year old Israeli soldier was also shot dead by Palestinian gunmen yesterday.

Also yesterday evening, a 16-year old Palestinian from Ramallah stabbed a young Israeli woman in west Jerusalem. After his arrest, he told police that he came to the capital to “hurt Jews.”

SYRIAN MEDIA GLORIFIES LAST WEEK’S HADERA SUICIDE BOMBING

“One of the young heroes [of Palestine] took his life in his hands and stormed a group of Israeli war-criminal occupiers in the settlement of Hadera” is how Fayiz Qandil, a commentator for Radio Damascus, described last week’s suicide bomb attack on the food and vegetable market in Hadera.

Radio Damascus described the northern Israeli coastal town of Hadera as “the Jewish-Zionist settlement city”.

Five Israeli civilians were murdered in the attack, including one Israeli-Arab, and dozens injured. The Syrian media, controlled by the Assad regime, continues to justify terrorist activity and support terrorist organizations

RED CROSS: PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS “OUTSIDE OUR AREA OF EXPERTISE”

As many of you may know – or perhaps not because the mainstream liberal press has ignored these developments of the last two weeks – Christians have been attacked in Egypt, resulting in at least three deaths outside a Coptic church in Alexandria. A nun was also stabbed

Copts are the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. They make up around 10 per cent of Egypt’s nearly 74 million people. Christian-Muslim tensions erupt violently at least once a year. In 2000, 23 people, most of them Christians, were killed in the southern village of el-Kusheh in clashes sparked by an argument between a Muslim customer and a Coptic Christian shopkeeper.

Below is correspondence from this week about the latest attacks on Christians, between a British member of this email list and the Red Cross (British branch), an organization which among other things regularly raises money for Muslims worldwide, including Palestinians and Red Crescent Societies around the world.


From: [A British member of this list]
To: Information@redcross.org.uk
Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2005 6:33 PM
Subject: Re: Persecution of Christians website

Thank you for your email. I am sorry to hear that the persecution of Christians falls outside your area of expertise. RH


From: Information@redcross.org.uk
To: [A British member of this list]
Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Subject: Re: Persecution of Christians website
Many thanks for your enquiry and interest in the British Red Cross.

I regret that due to the high level of interest in the charitable work of the Red Cross we are unable to respond to information requests which fall outside our area of expertise.

The British Red Cross gives skilled and impartial care to people in need and crisis – at home and abroad, in peace and war. For further information about our work please visit our website: redcross.org.uk

Many thanks,
Information Resources
British Red Cross Society
www.redcross.org.uk


From: [A British member of this list]
Sent: Monday, October 31, 2005 4:54 PM
To: Information@redcross.org.uk
Subject: Persecution of Christians website

Please note this website. http://mychristianblood.blogspirit.com/ It shows attacks on Christian communities, with the question of why these events are not more widely reported.

MAGEN DAVID ADOM TO RECEIVE RECOGNITION FROM INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS

Magen David Adom (meaning Red Shield of David), Israel’s emergency medical, health, blood and disaster services, is to receive an invitation to be ratified as a life-saving organization-member of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Swiss foreign minister Micheline Calmy-Rey told Silvan Shalom, the Israeli Foreign Minister, that the invitation will be made at conference in Geneva in December. This follows a diplomatic struggle lasting many years to gain recognition. 192 countries are to be invited to the conference, including the Vatican.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who plans to visit Israel next week in a trip that may help strengthen her support among Jews in New York before she faces re-election next year, is set to meet with officials from the Magen David Adom. Since joining the Senate, she has drawn up legislation calling on the International Committee of the Red Cross to recognize the Israeli organization. This pressure may be one of the reasons the Swiss are finally now acting to include Israel.

SPECIAL NEW STATESMAN ISSUE ON ISRAEL

I mentioned in the dispatch titled “Poem praising killing of Jews included in new UK national children’s poetry book” (October 25, 2005), that the leading British leftist magazine, the New Statesman, was planning to bring out a special Israel issue. That issue is now out, and is titled “Israel: everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask.”

It follows the vaguely pro-Israel article by Nick Cohen that the New Statesman published recently and was included in the dispatch on this list titled “Don’t be silly, Ann, there’s no racism on the left” (October 11, 2005).

Included in this new “special issue” are articles by anti-Zionist Israeli professor Avi Shlaim (called “Sharon’s iron wall”), a polemic by Robert Fisk, famous for his anti-Israel, anti-American tirades in The Independent, and a piece by Guardian journalist Chris McGreal, titled “Israel: the view from the bus.”

And Mario Vargas Llosa, the leading South American novelist and playwright, writes (in a piece titled on “Democracy and Demons”) that Israel is a “colonial country.”

A previous dispatch on this list, titled “The New Statesman’s racist slur” (January 11, 2002), reported on an edition of the magazine that questioned whether there is an all-powerful, sinister Zionist lobby and concluded that there is one. The magazine continues to be highly respected among some.

BARAK CALLS FOR DISENGAGEMENT FROM THE WEST BANK

In an interview with Bloomberg, the former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, has called for Israel to unilaterally withdraw from the West Bank. Barak had made virtually the same offer to Yasser Arafat in 2000 but now he called for a three-year period in which to implement it.

Since he said that Israel has no negotiating partner now or in the foreseeable future, Barak urged the move be done unilaterally, to “take our destiny into our own hands”.

PALESTINIANS SHOOT COLLABORATORS IN THE LEGS

Last week Palestinian terrorists released two men after holding them in captivity for a week. Both men were accused of collaborating with Israel. Before they were released they were each shot in their legs by their captors.

James Taranto, of Best of the Web, pointed out that “this just goes to show how much progress the Palestinians have made. We’re old enough to remember the dark old days when they’d shoot ‘collaborators’ to death.”

On Sunday morning an Israeli child was lightly injured when stones were thrown at his family’s vehicle west of Ramallah.

Israeli President Moshe Katsav also commented this week that the “greatest threat for Palestinians is not Israel, but Palestinian terror groups that prevent them from moving forward.”

REVEALED IN COURT: TERRORIST BEHIND 2002 HOTEL BOMBING HAD CYANIDE TO POISON WATER SUPPLY

At the trial yesterday of Abbas A-Sayyid, the Hamas member charged with planning the suicide bombing of Netanya’s Park Hotel during Passover in 2002 and a shopping mall in 2001, it was revealed that A-Sayyid had obtained cyanide from a supporter in Jordan and had planned to poison Israel’s water supply. Thirty-five people were murdered and dozens injured in the two attacks for which A-Sayyid is on trial.

PAKISTANI DELEGATION TO VISIT ISRAEL

A 200-strong Pakistani delegation of businessmen, politicians, religious leaders and retired generals are due to visit Israel this month. This is the latest in a series of developments signaling warmer relations between Israel and Pakistan. For more on this, see the dispatch titled “President Musharraf to U.S. Jews: ‘Pakistan has no direct conflict with Israel’” (September 19, 2005).

PRINCE CHARLES TO “PLEAD THE CASE FOR ISLAM”

According to the Daily Telegraph in London, Prince Charles will “plead the case for Islam” during his official visit to the United States this week. The Prince will tell Americans that they have been too intolerant of Islam since 9/11, and that the U.S. is “too confrontational” towards Muslim nations. The Prince’s eight-day tour of the U.S. includes lunch and dinner with President Bush and the First Lady.

President Bush had actually sent a greeting card to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas for the Aid el-Fitr holiday today marking the end of Ramadan. It is not clear that Prince Charles did.

I attach below a summary of an article by Mark Steyn, who suggests some examples of the non-confrontational approach the Prince can show to President Bush.

ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY OMITS JEWS IN 7/7 MEMORIAL SPEECH

A memorial service was held on Tuesday at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London for the victims of the July terror attacks. The multi-faith remembrance service was attended by the Queen and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

As part of the service the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan William, gave a sermon. In his first paragraph he said “It does not matter to the killers if their victims are Christian or Muslim, Hindu or Humanist; what matters is that they show that they can kill where they please.”

Despite the fact that at least four Jews (including one Israeli) were among the 52 victims of the London transport attacks (two Muslims and one Hindu were also among the victims), and that in the service itself Jews were fully recognized and included, the Archbishop failed to mention Jews as victims of terrorism.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the official head of the Church of England.

Following widespread dismay among British Jews at the archbishop, his office yesterday issued a statement saying that “the omission was entirely inadvertent.”

***

I attach two articles below. The second is a follow-up to the note in the dispatch last week titled “Grenade found hidden under a baby (& CIA trained Palestinian terrorists)” (October 27, 2005). The article below by senior journalist Matthew Kalman (a subscriber to this list) provides more details on the C.I.A. training program.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

“IF THE PRINCE WANTS TO TAKE A FEW EXAMPLES OF THE NON-CONFRONTATIONAL APPROACH…”

Confrontation is a good thing
By Mark Steyn
The Daily Telegraph
November 1, 2005

According to The Sunday Telegraph, on this week’s whirlwind tour of the Great Satan, the Prince of Wales “will try to persuade George W Bush and Americans of the merits of Islam because he thinks the United States has been too intolerant of the religion since September 11”. His Royal Highness apparently finds the Bush approach to Islam “too confrontational”.

If the Prince wants to take a few examples of the non-confrontational approach with him to the White House, here’s a couple pulled at random from the last week’s news: the president of Iran called for Israel to be “wiped off the map”. Kofi Annan expressed his “dismay”.

Excellent. Struck the perfect non-confrontational tone. Were the Iranian nuclear programme a little more advanced and they’d actually wiped Israel off the map, the secretary-general might have felt obliged to be more confrontational and express his “deep concern”.

In Sulawesi, Indonesia, three Christian girls walking home from school were beheaded.

“It is unclear what was behind the attack,” reported the BBC, scrupulously non-confrontationally.

In the Australian state of Victoria, reports the Herald Sun, “police are being advised to treat Muslim domestic violence cases differently out of respect for Islamic traditions and habits”. Tough luck for us infidel wife-beaters, but admirably non-confrontational Islam-wise...

[There is a summary only of this article as the rest of the article dealt with other matters.]

 

MIDEAST TRAINING PROGRAM BACKFIRES

“Mideast training program backfires” (By Matthew Kalman, San Francisco Chronicle, February 14, 2005)

www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/02/14/MNG50BANBE1.DTL

Bethlehem, West Bank – In June 1998, somewhere near CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., two rows of men in military fatigues posed for their graduation photo... Some of the men in the picture later swapped sides and began using the skills they learned in Virginia against the Israelis...

The men in the 1998 photo came from Bethlehem, Jericho and Nablus, which all became flash points in the four-year uprising, called the intifada. Kneeling fourth from the left in the front row is Raafat Bajali. In December 2001, Bajali was killed when a bomb he was making blew up in his face. He had become a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the militant wing of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement, said some of his comrades in the General Intelligence unit.

Bajali died in a fourth-floor apartment near Bethlehem’s Manger Square, the home of Nedal Zedok, a colleague in the Palestinian security forces who also was moonlighting for Al-Aqsa. Zedok, too, was killed in the explosion...

As Israeli commentators had been warning for years, the CIA inadvertently helped train future adversaries – as it has done in other countries, including the anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan who ended up as Taliban and al Qaeda militants...

The training given to hundreds of Palestinian security officials between 1996 and 2000 was sanctioned by a presidential order in 1996 by then-President Bill Clinton, who was deeply involved in peace-making efforts.

The order created a covert program that provided tens of millions of dollars to enhance the professionalism of the Palestinian security services and help combat anti-Israel terrorism. Under the arrangement, CIA contractors trained the Palestinians in firearms, counterterrorism, interrogation techniques and bureaucratic organization. The Palestinian graduates in the photo were instructed by International Training Inc., a private security-training firm that does contract work for the CIA.

The United States, the European Union and Britain also provided advanced radio communications systems, computers, vehicles and other equipment...

Even before the intifada broke out in 2000, the Israeli government was becoming concerned about the inadvertent help to Palestinian militants. In November 1999, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak asked Washington to scale back its assistance to the Palestinian security forces...

The certificate – complete with gold-leaf seal – that the 1998 graduates received from International Training Inc. refers only to an “antiterrorist driving and motorcade operations” course. But the CIA-sponsored session provided firearms training as well, the officer and other participants in the course who spoke to The Chronicle confirmed. “They trained us on pistols and MP5 machine guns," said the officer. “There were fixed targets and moving targets in front of us.”

He said the training was shrouded in tight secrecy, and in a manner that foreshadowed future problems. “We arrived in Washington, then they took us in another plane,” he said. “We were in Virginia for a day or two, then they took us to a military base where they trained us.

“I was shocked by one thing – when they put us on the plane, its windows were blackened,” he said. “And when they put us on a bus, the windows were covered. I asked our escort, ‘Why have you covered the windows of the bus and the airplane?’

“He replied, ‘For the moment we are friends, but we could also become enemies. It’s not in our interest to show you the security bases’...”

 



FULL ARTICLE

MIDEAST TRAINING PROGRAM BACKFIRES

Mideast training program backfires
Palestinian security officers schooled by U.S. later used tactics against Israel
By Matthew Kalman,
San Francisco Chronicle
February 14, 2005

Bethlehem, West Bank – In June 1998, somewhere near CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., two rows of men in military fatigues posed for their graduation photo.

All of them were officers in Palestinian General Intelligence Service, charged with hunting down terrorists and preventing attacks on Israel. They had just completed a training course, paid for by the U.S. government, in which they learned firearms and counterterrorist tactics.

But the graduation photo holds a stark warning for the Bush administration as it gets more involved in Middle East peacemaking. Some of the men in the picture later swapped sides and began using the skills they learned in Virginia against the Israelis.

Such training courses, which were suspended with the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising in September 2000, will be an integral part of Washington’s aid package for the new government of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“There will need to be some international effort, and the United States is prepared to play a major role in that, to help in the training of the Palestinian security forces and in making sure that they are security forces that are part of the solution, not part of the problem,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said earlier this month on the London stop of her European tour.

Lt. Gen. William Ward, Rice’s newly named Mideast security coordinator, will visit the region this month to “start looking at how to build Palestinian security forces,” State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Friday.

“What we’re really all talking about is helping the Palestinian security forces get organized, get equipped, get trained and get the command structure that allows them to take care of security problems,” Boucher said.

The men in the 1998 photo came from Bethlehem, Jericho and Nablus, which all became flash points in the four-year uprising, called the intifada. Kneeling fourth from the left in the front row is Raafat Bajali. In December 2001, Bajali was killed when a bomb he was making blew up in his face. He had become a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the militant wing of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement, said some of his comrades in the General Intelligence unit.

Bajali died in a fourth-floor apartment near Bethlehem’s Manger Square, the home of Nedal Zedok, a colleague in the Palestinian security forces who also was moonlighting for Al-Aqsa. Zedok, too, was killed in the explosion.

Standing in the back row, second from the left, is Khaled Abu Nijmeh, from Deheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, according to two of his colleagues who are also pictured.

By 2001, he had become one of the most-wanted Palestinian militants in the city, suspected of involvement in a string of suicide bombings and shooting attacks against Israelis. In May 2002, he was one of 13 gunmen escorted from the Church of the Nativity siege in Bethlehem, flown to Cyprus and then to exile in Europe. Three of the group, including Abu Nijmeh, were given asylum in Italy.

“I am a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and a first sergeant in Palestinian General Intelligence,” Abu Nijmeh, now 36, told The Chronicle from his temporary home in Rome. “I personally received a course in antiterrorism and VIP protection.

“I was not alone. Many Palestinian security people were trained by the Americans. We hope they will continue helping us.”

Abu Nijmeh and his 12 comrades will be allowed to return to Bethlehem under the cease-fire agreement reached last week between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israeli warnings

As Israeli commentators had been warning for years, the CIA inadvertently helped train future adversaries – as it has done in other countries, including the anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan who ended up as Taliban and al Qaeda militants.

“This has proven to be a very risky undertaking,” said Israeli political analyst Gerald Steinberg of Bar-Ilan University. “Both the CIA and British efforts to train Palestinians during the Oslo process helped strengthen terrorist capabilities.”

A U.S. official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said that if previous U.S. aid went to train would-be militants, “obviously steps will be taken so that any future training does not lead to a similar outcome.”

The Palestinian security forces were created in the aftermath of the 1993 Oslo accords by Arafat to maintain order in newly autonomous Palestinian territories. The recruits were supposed to serve as the police force for the Palestinian Authority and to prevent terrorist attacks against Israel. The CIA and British intelligence services helped provide training and equipment.

But Arafat also used the new police forces to keep himself in power. Based on longtime loyalties within his Fatah political faction, he created 14 separate, often overlapping, security services – including a naval intelligence unit in the landlocked West Bank.

Palestinian security forces were doubling as militants in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and in Hamas, an Islamic group that has claimed credit for many anti-Israel attacks. Zedok, who was killed by Bajali’s bomb, was among those dismissed from the security force after their connections were exposed by Israel. Others, including the Al-Aqsa founder and commander in Ramallah, Khaled al-Shawish, found refuge in Arafat’s West Bank headquarters.

Clinton connection

The training given to hundreds of Palestinian security officials between 1996 and 2000 was sanctioned by a presidential order in 1996 by then-President Bill Clinton, who was deeply involved in peace-making efforts.

The order created a covert program that provided tens of millions of dollars to enhance the professionalism of the Palestinian security services and help combat anti-Israel terrorism. Under the arrangement, CIA contractors trained the Palestinians in firearms, counterterrorism, interrogation techniques and bureaucratic organization. The Palestinian graduates in the photo were instructed by International Training Inc., a private security- training firm that does contract work for the CIA.

The United States, the European Union and Britain also provided advanced radio communications systems, computers, vehicles and other equipment.

In October 1998, the Wye Plantation agreement – hammered out between Clinton, Arafat and then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a summit in rural Maryland – formalized the assistance provided by the CIA to Palestinian security, in cooperation with a special security adviser appointed by the European Union, a British former intelligence officer named Alastair Crooke. It was Crooke who escorted Abu Nijmeh and the 12 other exiles from Bethlehem to Cyprus in May 2002 while CIA officers cleared Palestinian weapons from the Church of the Nativity, officials involved in the operation said.

Even before the intifada broke out in 2000, the Israeli government was becoming concerned about the inadvertent help to Palestinian militants. In November 1999, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak asked Washington to scale back its assistance to the Palestinian security forces.

“In recent conversations with senior U.S. officials, Israeli representatives expressed their concerns about the risk that sensitive information on antiterror methods and antiterror technology would be passed from the Palestinian Authority on to terror groups,” the Israeli daily Haaretz reported at that time.

“The American aid to the Palestinians carries a great danger, because it is impossible to know exactly what the Palestinians are receiving, or who ultimately receives it,” a Barak aide told Haaretz.

The Israeli warning was borne out by the graduation photo. Bajali and Abu Nijmeh, the two Al-Aqsa members, were not unusual in combining service in the Palestinian security forces with activity in an underground militia. When the Church of the Nativity siege ended in May 2002, Abu Nijmeh was just one of several security officers among the 13 men deported to Europe and 26 more banished from the West Bank to Gaza.

Among his colleagues when he joined General Intelligence, “there were five or six who were deported abroad and another 10 (from the West Bank) to Gaza,” said one Palestinian officer pictured in the photo of the Class of 1998, who still is in the security forces and asked that his name not be used.

CIA session

The certificate – complete with gold-leaf seal – that the 1998 graduates received from International Training Inc. refers only to an “antiterrorist driving and motorcade operations” course. But the CIA-sponsored session provided firearms training as well, the officer and other participants in the course who spoke to The Chronicle confirmed. “They trained us on pistols and MP5 machine guns,” said the officer. “There were fixed targets and moving targets in front of us.”

He said the training was shrouded in tight secrecy, and in a manner that foreshadowed future problems.

“We arrived in Washington, then they took us in another plane,” he said. “We were in Virginia for a day or two, then they took us to a military base where they trained us.

“I was shocked by one thing – when they put us on the plane, its windows were blackened,” he said. “And when they put us on a bus, the windows were covered. I asked our escort, ‘Why have you covered the windows of the bus and the airplane?’

“He replied, ‘For the moment we are friends, but we could also become enemies. It’s not in our interest to show you the security bases’.”


Israel receives surprisingly strong international support over Ahmadinejad comments

November 01, 2005

* President Ahmadinejad: “2 or 3 hangings” could solve stock exchange problems
* Iranian TV show says Mossad made up the Holocaust
* UN General Assembly today voted to create a world Holocaust Remembrance Day

 

CONTENTS

1. Iranian TV show denies the Holocaust
2. Ahmadinejad: “2 or 3 hangings” could solve stock exchange problems
3. “The most evil man in the world”
4. “Not every day that all 15 members of UN Security Council rally to Israel’s defense”
5. “45,000 Iranian suicide bombers line up to attack Israel”
6. Annan urged not to visit Iran
7. The P.A. collected money from Iran as recently as two weeks ago
8. UN declares January 27 international Holocaust Day
9. “Tehran ‘bounty’ for attack on Israel” (Sunday Times of London, Oct. 30, 2005)
10. “The Booksellers of Tehran” (Wall Street Journal Europe, Oct. 28, 2005)

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

IRANIAN TV SHOW DENIES THE HOLOCAUST

Whilst some Iranian diplomats were backtracking over Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calls last week for Israel to be “wiped off the map,” on Friday Iranian TV’s Sahar-1 broadcast “Holocaust.” The Iranian production starring Lebanese actors (who had been recruited by Hizbullah) said the Jewish Holocaust was a total fabrication.

The show claimed that gas chambers were built long before World War Two to fight the plague and not to exterminate Jews. The plot involves a French-Jewish historian who tries to combat the “Big Lie” of the 6 million and is murdered by Mossad agents who proceed to hunt his secretary to Beirut. Following the death of the historian one of his pupils continues to teach the “truth”.

Also shown on Iranian TV, on Al-Am station, is a “documentary” which claims that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion accurately describe a real plot by the Jewish people to rule the world.

AHMADINEJAD: “2 OR 3 HANGINGS” COULD SOLVE STOCK EXCHANGE PROBLEMS

The Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the latest cabinet meeting in Teheran that “if we were permitted to hang two or three persons, the problems with the stock exchange would be solved for ever,” according to the Teheran-based newspaper Ruznet.

The cabinet meeting was aimed at addressing the rapidly deteriorating situation at the Teheran stock exchange.

Frustrated with the inability of his economic advisers and experts to come up with any solution, Ahmadinejad said the only way out of the current stock exchange and financial market problems was to “frighten” speculators by hanging two or three of them.

In June, on the eve of the Presidential election, Ahmadinejad said that “stock exchange activities are a kind of gambling and we are against them”. Gambling is banned by Islamic law.

“THE MOST EVIL MAN IN THE WORLD”

Following the genocidal remarks by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week that Israel should be “wiped off the map,” Israel has received surprisingly strong support from around the world.

China has become the latest country to condemn Ahmadinejad’s comments.

While the Arab governments have been largely silent, the Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman, Namik Tan, said of the Iranian remarks: “Turkey believes that regional conflicts can only be solved through dialogue and peaceful methods.”

The Vatican also called the Iranian President’s statement “particularly serious and unacceptable.” They made this remark despite the fact that the Iranian government had warned the Vatican not to join in the wave of international criticism, and threatened that such action would endanger freedom of worship for Catholics in Iran.

In a two-page spread, the U.K tabloid, The Sun, called Ahmadinejad “the most evil man in the world.”

In the dispatch on this list titled “Grenade found hidden under a baby (& CIA trained Palestinian terrorists)” (October 27, 2005), it was noted that the Washington Post had made no mention of Ahmadinejad’s comments. In fact, The Washington Post did mention the comments, but only as a news brief. The Post gave much less prominence to the calls for Israel’s destruction than other mainstream newspapers, such as USA Today and The Washington Times.

AHMADINEJAD STANDS BY HIS COMMENTS, “FIRES AMBASSADORS”

Despite the criticism, Ahmadinejad has stood by his call for Israel to be “wiped off the map”. He said of his critics: “They are free to talk but their words do not have any validity. It is natural that if a phrase [wiping off the map] is right and just it will provoke a reaction.”

He added that his comments were “the exact words of the Iranian people” and said of the United States and Israel: “They think that the entire world should obey them.”

According to Iran Focus, a non-profit news service provider that focuses on events in Iran, following his speech last week Ahmadinejad fired his country’s ambassadors to Britain, France and Germany and ordered 18 other envoys to be recalled to Tehran. He was angered by what he saw as the ambassadors’ meek reaction to the global condemnation of his speech. (I cannot verify this item from sources other than a number of blogs.)

“IT’S NOT EVERY DAY THAT ALL 15 MEMBERS OF UN SECURITY COUNCIL RALLY TO ISRAEL’S DEFENSE”

The Jerusalem Post, in its editorial of October 30, 2005, commented that: “It is not every day that all 15 members of the United Nations Security Council rally to Israel’s defense. The wider context of the unanimous vote on Friday condemning Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s calls to “wipe Israel off the map,” however, must be concern that condemnations, in this case, are not enough...

The Post continued: “Iran is the chief sponsor of Islamic Jihad, the terrorist organization that just murdered five Israelis in Hadera. There is, in addition, no doubt that Iran is involved in the terrorist onslaught that has taken the lives of so many Iraqis, Americans, and others in Iraq.

“If that weren’t enough, Iran has nuclear aspirations and may be only months away from that fateful point of no return, when it would be capable of manufacturing atomic warheads for long-range missiles already in its arsenals. Iran is the quintessential rogue state...”

CRITICISM OF REMARKS IN IRAN TOO

In Iran, former reformist president Mohammad Khatami criticized Ahmadinejad, saying “those words have created hundreds of political and economic problems for us in the world.”

And Rajabali Mazrouei, a prominent reformer and former deputy, said: “Ahmadinejad’s remarks harmed Iran. It was irresponsible and illogical. We can’t be more extremist than Palestinians themselves.”

Morad Veisi, a leading political analyst, said it was the first time that an Iranian head of state was openly calling for the destruction of Israel. “Khomeini was a spiritual leader, not head of government. Ahmadinejad apparently is not even familiar with the world of politics.”

“45,000 IRANIAN SUICIDE BOMBERS LINE UP TO ATTACK ISRAEL”

Extremists, however, were motivated by Ahmadinejad’s remarks. About 300 men and women turned up Sunday at the offices of the Headquarters for Commemorating Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement to volunteer for suicide bomb attacks against Israel.

A spokesman for the group said it had signed up more than 45,000 volunteers to undergo training for suicide attacks since it began recruiting in June 2004.

“More than 1000 of them have already been trained. Many of them don’t need training since they are already members of the elite Revolutionary Guards and paramilitary Basij forces,” Mohammad Ali Samadi said.

Several senior officials, including presidential adviser Mojtaba Rahmandoust and Parliamentary speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, were at the gathering.

“The Iranian nation wants this regime removed from the world map,” Rahmandoust told the gathering held at a building owned by the “Martyr Foundation.”

ANNAN URGED NOT TO VISIT IRAN

UN Secretary General is due to visit Iran within the next few weeks to meet senior Iranian officials. Since Ahmadinejad’s comments a number of United Nations Security Council’s member states have urged Annan to cancel his visit.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman, said Annan’s visit might give legitimacy to “a nation that demands the destruction of another state.”

American UN ambassador John Bolton urged Annan to “take all factors into account” in deciding whether to make the trip to Iran.

AMAZING LOGIC

The PLO representative to Australia, Ali al-Karzak, has said it was Israel’s membership of the UN that should now be declared illegal since the Jewish state had called for Iran to be suspended from the UN following Ahmadinejad’s call for Israel to be “wiped off the map”.

THE P.A. COLLECTED MONEY FROM IRAN AS RECENTLY AS TWO WEEKS AGO

IDF Brig.-Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser, the head of the Israeli Military Intelligence research department, said on Sunday that the Palestinian Authority is co-operating with Iran. “Two weeks ago Abbas sent his welfare minister, Abu al-Razek, to an event where funds from Iran were distributed to the families of terrorists. The PA sponsored the event,” he said.

HUNDREDS OF MUSLIMS MARCH IN BERLIN AGAINST ISRAEL

Hundreds of protestors demonstrated through the German capital on Saturday as part of Iranian-inspired protests against Israel. The “Al-Quds” demonstration in Berlin drew more than 300 demonstrators.

A counter-demonstration was also staged in Berlin. Among those present was Arash Sarhaadi, an Iranian actor and director, who said “It is no wonder that among Israel’s enemy states there is not a single democracy.”

The yearly “Al-Quds” rally was initiated by Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.

The equivalent “Al-Quds” march in London, which also took place last weekend, failed to produce a counter-demonstration.

UN DECLARES JANUARY 27 INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST DAY

Two hours ago, the UN General Assembly unanimously approved a proposal for January 27 to be world Holocaust Remembrance Day. Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi death camp, was liberated on January 27, 1945.

In doing so, the assembly urged the nations of the world to observe the day so that future generations will be spared acts of genocide.

The resolution, which was co-sponsored by 104 states, also rejected Holocaust denial and encouraged countries to develop educational programs. It also condemned religious intolerance, incitement, harassment, or violence based on ethnic origin or religious belief.

This resolution is in stark contrast to the call by “moderate” British Muslim leaders on Prime Minister Tony Blair to scrap the UK’s Holocaust Memorial Day and replace it with a more “inclusive” Genocide Day, which “will include the massacres of Palestinians.” (This was reported in the dispatch titled “Blair urged to ditch Holocaust Day; UK government advisor says Holocaust ‘a myth’,” September 12, 2005.)

***

I attach below articles (with summaries first) from the Sunday Times (of London) on the Iranian support for Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The Sunday Times reports that the Palestinian terror group receives financial support from Tehran via Damascus. A suicide bomb by Islamic Jihad in Hadera last week killed five and Israel has launched a counter-offensive against the group.

The second article, from the Wall Street Journal Europe, examines anti-Semitism at the Iranian stand at the Frankfurt book fair. This item is a follow-up to the dispatch “Germany suspends anti-Semitism laws to let Iran sell hate literature at Frankfurt Book Fair” (October 25, 2005), in which journalists were urged to take up this story. (Several senior editors at the Wall Street Journal and the Wall Street Journal Europe are subscribers to this email list.)

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

TEHRAN ‘BOUNTY’ FOR ATTACK ON ISRAEL

“Tehran ‘bounty’ for attack on Israel” (By Uzi Mahnaimi, The Sunday Times (of London), October 30, 2005)

Iran has promised a reward of $10,000 (£5,600) to Islamic Jihad if the militant group launches rockets from the West Bank towards Tel Aviv, a senior Palestinian intelligence official said last week. Speaking in his Ramallah office, the official produced a fat wad of $100 notes which he said had been confiscated from a pro-Iranian Islamic Jihad activist.

The money was said to have gone from Iran to Damascus, the Syrian capital, from where Ibrahim Shehadeh, Islamic Jihad’s head of overseas operations, transferred it to the West Bank...

Israeli intelligence officials said that Iran was threatening the country on three fronts: through long-range missiles based in Lebanon; through terrorist networks around the world; and through the new arsenals of the West Bank.

 

“AT THE STAND OF THE IRANIAN PUBLISHERS… THE TEXT THAT INFLUENCED HITLER’S HOLOCAUST FANTASIES LIKE NO OTHER”

“The Booksellers of Tehran” (By Matthias Kuentzel, The Wall Street Journal Europe, October 28, 2005)

Last week at the Frankfurt Book Fair, I happened to find myself in the International Publishers section and was simply astonished. At the stand of the Iranian publishers, in plain view, was the text that influenced Hitler’s Holocaust fantasies like no other: “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion,” published in English by the Islamic Propagation Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The first page of the tract makes clear that Israel is the target of this new edition. It shows a snake made of triangles, enclosing an area labeled “Greater Israel” that includes large areas of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, parts of Turkey and northern Saudi Arabia. Each triangle, according to the annotation, symbolizes the “Freemason’s Eye,” supposedly a “symbol of Jewry.”

A few steps farther on, the second most important classic of modern anti-Semitism was on display: Henry Ford’s “The International Jew,” in a 200-page abbreviated version, published by the Iranian “Department of Translation and Publication, Islamic Culture and Relations Organization.” It was interesting to read the numerous footnotes that the Iranian publisher had added. For example, Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses” is presented as the latest example of the viciousness of Jewish slanders...

At the heart of the real problem is an Iranian policy that could hardly be more authentically represented than through the “Protocols.” “We present this book,” reads the Iranian foreword, “to expose the real visage of this satanic enemy,” to “burn and wholly destroy . . . this deadly, cancerous tumor.” In Iran this pamphlet provides legitimacy to the longed-for destruction of Israel. Iranian state TV instills a delusional hatred of Jews into millions of viewers with anti-Semitic movie series. And it’s not just all talk. Billions are spent to advance nuclear programs and the Shahab 3 missile, which could deliver a nuclear payload to Israel. In the meantime, the secret services escalate the terror against Israel by supporting Hamas and Hezbollah...

 



FULL ARTICLES

“AT THE STAND OF THE IRANIAN PUBLISHERS… THE TEXT THAT INFLUENCED HITLER’S HOLOCAUST FANTASIES LIKE NO OTHER”

The Booksellers of Tehran
By Matthias Kuentzel
The Wall Street Journal Europe
October 28, 2005

Every book fair exhibits bestsellers. But anti-Semitic bestsellers? And in Germany, of all places?

Last week at the Frankfurt Book Fair, I happened to find myself in the International Publishers section and was simply astonished. At the stand of the Iranian publishers, in plain view, was the text that influenced Hitler’s Holocaust fantasies like no other: “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion,” published in English by the Islamic Propagation Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The first page of the tract makes clear that Israel is the target of this new edition. It shows a snake made of triangles, enclosing an area labeled “Greater Israel” that includes large areas of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, parts of Turkey and northern Saudi Arabia. Each triangle, according to the annotation, symbolizes the “Freemason’s Eye,” supposedly a “symbol of Jewry.”

A few steps farther on, the second most important classic of modern anti-Semitism was on display: Henry Ford’s “The International Jew,” in a 200-page abbreviated version, published by the Iranian “Department of Translation and Publication, Islamic Culture and Relations Organization.” It was interesting to read the numerous footnotes that the Iranian publisher had added. For example, Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses” is presented as the latest example of the viciousness of Jewish slanders.

A third anti-Semitic screed caught my attention for its gaudy cover: A red Star of David over a gray skull and a yellow map of the world. Its title was “Tale of the ‘Chosen People’ and the Legend of ‘Historical Right,’” written by Mohammad Taqi Taqipour. In his foreword, the author is certain of another “final solution”: Given the “global Islamic movement,” Israel will soon be destroyed.

The distribution of such texts is prohibited in Germany. The failure of those responsible for the Frankfurt Book Fair is doubly serious because only last year the exhibition made headlines for presenting anti-Semitic texts. Then as now, the fair’s directors informed the prosecutor’s office only after visitors complained. Perhaps the director of the fair, Jurgen Boos, will be more careful next time. But does more careful supervision address the real problem?

At the heart of the real problem is an Iranian policy that could hardly be more authentically represented than through the “Protocols.” “We present this book,” reads the Iranian foreword, “to expose the real visage of this satanic enemy,” to “burn and wholly destroy . . . this deadly, cancerous tumor.” In Iran this pamphlet provides legitimacy to the longed-for destruction of Israel. Iranian state TV instills a delusional hatred of Jews into millions of viewers with anti-Semitic movie series. And it’s not just all talk. Billions are spent to advance nuclear programs and the Shahab 3 missile, which could deliver a nuclear payload to Israel. In the meantime, the secret services escalate the terror against Israel by supporting Hamas and Hezbollah.

Of course, you wouldn’t hear a word about this at the Book Fair. Instead, Germany and Iran continue what is so erroneously called a “critical dialogue.” They sit together and chat politely about Islam and culture, even as the Germans are well aware that the people they are talking so nicely with want to destroy Israel. It is an essential characteristic of this “critical dialogue” that no one talks precisely about this.

No wonder, then, that German exports to Iran rose in 2004 by a record 33%; no wonder then that both countries are so interested in presenting a positive image of Iran. In Frankurt, there was supposed to be no sign – really none – of the hate propaganda that the regime exports around the world. It could have worked beautifully had an Iranian publisher not packed a few too many books onto the shelves, and had I not made it public. It was pure chance that the attempted deception failed this time.

The most shocking part is not that something was found on the shelves in Frankfurt that shouldn’t have been there. What is shocking is that just as Hitler’s utopia of “German peace” was conditioned on the extermination of the Jews, today the mullahs’ idea of “Islamic peace” is conditioned on the elimination of Israel. Just on Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking at a Tehran conference called “The World without Zionism,” said Israel should be “wiped off the map.”

So the real scandal is the fact that Germany – instead of leading the fight against anti-Semitism, which should be its historical duty! – is promoting and supporting the mullah’s camouflage – politically and culturally.

It is not enough to remove compromising materials from the Iranian shelves; that only perfects the disguise. A different conclusion seems necessary to me: I mean the exclusion of “official” Iran from the fair as long as its policies are oriented around the “Protocols.” Instead, the Persian section of the Frankfurt Book Fair should become a safe forum for exile Iranians. As long as literature is bound by an ethos of truth, is there any other way?

(Mr. Kuentzel is a political scientist in Hamburg and author of “Djihad und Judenhass” (Jihad and Jew-hatred), published in 2002 by Ca Ira Publishers. Belinda Cooper translated this article from the German.)

 

TEHRAN ‘BOUNTY’ FOR ATTACK ON ISRAEL

Tehran ‘bounty’ for attack on Israel
By Uzi Mahnaimi
The Sunday Times (of London)
October 30, 2005

www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-1849215,00.html

Iran has promised a reward of $10,000 (£5,600) to Islamic Jihad if the militant group launches rockets from the West Bank towards Tel Aviv, a senior Palestinian intelligence official said last week. Speaking in his Ramallah office, the official produced a fat wad of $100 notes which he said had been confiscated from a pro-Iranian Islamic Jihad activist.

The money was said to have gone from Iran to Damascus, the Syrian capital, from where Ibrahim Shehadeh, Islamic Jihad’s head of overseas operations, transferred it to the West Bank.

According to the intelligence official, the Palestinian Authority has located workshops where “Al-Quds” (Jerusalem) rockets are being made and has given their co-ordinates to the Israelis. “We understand they destroyed some of them,” he said.

The Israeli media claimed last week that rocket attacks from the West Bank were widely expected: Ben Gurion airport’s eastern runway is just five miles away and the outskirts of Tel Aviv are within 10 miles.

Shaul Mofaz, Israel’s defence minister, and the army’s chief of staff held an emergency meeting to discuss requests from the mayors of towns bordering the West Bank for sirens to alert inhabitants to incoming rockets.

Israeli intelligence officials said that Iran was threatening the country on three fronts: through long-range missiles based in Lebanon; through terrorist networks around the world; and through the new arsenals of the West Bank.

Islamic Jihad is the only Palestinian group that calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. Based in Damascus, it has an annual budget of several million dollars — provided by Iran. Ramadan Shalah, its leader, has a PhD in economics from Durham University. The organisation’s military arm is the “Al-Quds Brigades”.

Since the death of Yasser Arafat last year, Islamic Jihad has taken the lead in attacks against Israel. A suicide bombing that killed five people in the northern town of Hadera last week was revenge for the killing by Israeli special forces of Luay Saadi, the group’s leader in the West Bank.

This weekend Israeli forces launched an operation against the organisation in both the West Bank and Gaza – including the destruction of the rocket workshops.