Tom Gross Mideast Media Analysis

Nervous Palestinians circulate Hamas jokes (& Palestinian elections “not democracy”)

January 31, 2006


1. EU to keep funding Hamas-led PA
2. Wishful thinking and mirror imaging
3. Sharansky: Palestinian elections “not democracy”
4. Islamic Jihad may join Hamas-led government
5. Calls for an Islamic revolution in Jordan
6. Abbas meets with Jordanian and Egyptian leaders
7. Fatah: Internal Intifada has begun
8. Hamas to release jailed terrorist
9. “Now we know” (By Mark Steyn, New York Sun, Jan. 30, 2006)
10. “Why Hamas’s victory isn’t such a bad thing” (By Efraim Karsh, New Republic, Jan. 26, 2006)
11. “Terrorists win: Why the surprise?” (By Cal Thomas, Jan. 31, 2006)
12. “Hamas landslide reveals more about the Left than about ‘Palestinians’” (By Dennis Prager, Jan. 31, 2006)
13. “Pragmatic Hamas – not very likely” (By Gerald Steinberg, Jan. 26 2006)
14. “Nervous Palestinians circulate Hamas jokes” (AP, Jan. 29, 2006)
15. “Arab neighbors will work with Hamas-led cabinet” (Reuters, Jan. 30, 2006)


[Note by Tom Gross]

The European Union decided last night that it will continue funding the Palestinian Authority for the time being despite the fact that it will be run by Hamas – and even though Hamas, which is on the EU list of terror groups, repeated again this morning that it will neither renounce violence against Israelis nor recognize Israel’s right to exist.

The European Union is the biggest donor to the Palestinian Authority (granting $604 million in 2005; the U.S. gave $400 million).

No surprise here given the EU’s record of appeasement throughout the Arafat years, as Chris Patten, the former EU External Relations Commissioner and others did next to nothing to stop the squandering of European taxpayers’ money. Please scroll down this webpage to see how some of their aid money was spent.


About one third of the recipients on this list are European-based. Because commentary of this kind is rarely found in Europe (or in Israeli papers like Ha’aretz), I attach a number of articles from the American press, arguing against any “engagement” with Hamas under present circumstances.

I have summarized them below, rather than attach them as full articles, which would have made this dispatch too long. I suggest you read these summaries if you have time. (Some of the authors cited – Mark Steyn, Efraim Karsh, Gerald Steinberg – are subscribers to this email list.)


The former Soviet dissident and author of “The Case for Democracy,” Natan Sharansky, has said that last week’s Palestinian election “was not the same as democracy. Democracy isn’t hocus-pocus; it’s a process. An election between a terrorist organization that wants to destroy the state of Israel and a corrupt dictatorship that does not care about helping its own people is not democracy.”

Sharansky, who is standing as a candidate for the Likud in the forthcoming Israeli elections, argues that there should have been a process of democratization in the Palestinian Authority that culminated with an election, instead of holding an election that he said came instead of real democratic reforms. Sharansky enjoys close relations with U.S. President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.


Nafez Azzam, one of the leaders of Islamic Jihad, says that if Hamas forms a cabinet based on “resistance” (i.e. violent attacks) against Israel, his group will consider joining it. As noted in the dispatch Israeli leaders brace for possible Hamas “landslide” (Jan. 24, 2006), Islamic Jihad boycotted the Palestinian elections.

Following the Hamas election victory another senior Jihad leader, Khaled al-Batch, phoned Hamas leader Ismail Haniya to congratulate him. Islamic Jihad has carried out a number of suicide bombings in the last year, killing many Israeli civilians, including children.


Islamic movements in the Middle East say they have been buoyed by Hamas’s electoral success. The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan is demanding “true democracy” from the Jordanian monarch, in order to also win elections. In recent days they have hinted at launching a popular uprising if the government continues to ignore “the will of the people”.


In light of fears of Islamic fundamentalism taking a strong hold over the Middle East, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is visiting Egypt today. This follows a meeting yesterday in Jordan between Abbas and King Abdullah. Israel’s new foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, is expected in Cairo tomorrow.

For more on the Arab reaction to the Palestinian elections, see the Reuters piece below titled “Arab neighbors will work with Hamas-led cabinet.”


Hundreds of Fatah activists, including dozens of gunmen, have demonstrated and run riot in Nablus, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Gaza and elsewhere in recent days. They say that their corrupt leaders have betrayed them and should resign. In Gaza, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade gunmen set ablaze cars belonging to foreign journalists.

Members of the Fatah-led security services have said that they will not countenance a Hamas takeover of their forces. Most of the 58,000 security force members are Fatah loyalists. Hamas, following its victory in the Palestinian elections, says that major changes are needed in the security forces. “The leaders of these services became multimillionaires,” Mahmoud Zahar, a senior Hamas leader, said following his group’s victory. “We are going to reform these services. This is our mission.”

“You can look for Hamas to move quickly on issues like education, health and social affairs, but I think they will be very cautious when it comes to the security services,” predicted Mokhaimer Abu Sada, a political science professor at Al Azhar University in Gaza City.


Hamas have announced that they will release Ahmed Saadat, who was convicted for the murder of the Israeli tourism minister, Rechavim Ze’evi, in 2001. Under the 2002 Ramallah agreement signed by the PA, Saadat is being held in jail in Jericho under the scrutiny of British and US monitors.

Saadat, the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, also ordered the suicide bomb attack in Netanya in May 2002 that killed 3 Israelis and injured 59.

Israel says they will track down Saadat if Hamas releases him.

After the summaries below, there are two news reports, one concerning Arab world reaction to Hamas’s victory, and the other about how nervous secular Palestinians are circulating Hamas jokes by sms text message.

-- Tom Gross




“Now We Know” (By Mark Steyn, The New York Sun, January 30, 2006)

…Hamas, by contrast, takes the view: Why the hell should we have to go tippy-toeing around some sissy phrase we don’t really mean? Hamas doesn’t support a two-state solution, it supports the liquidation of one state and its replacement by other, and they don’t see why they should have to pretend otherwise. And in last week’s elections for the Palestinian Authority they romped home. It was a landslide.

As is the way, many in the west rushed to rationalize the victory. The media have long been reluctant to damn the excitable lads as terrorists. In 2002 The New York Times published a photograph of Palestinian suicide bombers all dressed up and ready to blow, and captioned it “Hamas activists”. Take my advice and try not to be standing too near the Hamas activist when he activates himself.

Oh, no no no, some analysts assured us. The Palestinians didn’t vote for Hamas because of the policy plank about obliterating the state of Israel because Fatah is hopelessly corrupt. Which is true: the European Union’s bankrolled the Palestinian Authority since its creation and Yasser and his buddies salted most of the dough away in their Swiss bank accounts and used the loose change to fund the Intifada. After ten years you can’t blame the Palestinians for figuring it’s time to give another group of people a chance to siphon off all that EU booty.

So I’d like to believe this was a vote for getting rid of corruption rather than getting rid of Jews. But that’s hard to square with some of the newly elected legislators. For example, Mariam Farahat, a mother of three, was elected in Gaza. She used to be a mother of six but three of her sons self-detonated on suicide missions against Israel. She’s a household name to Palestinians, known as Um Nidal – Mother of the Struggle – and, at the rate she’s getting through her kids, the Struggle’s all she’ll be Mother of. She’s famous for a Hamas recruitment video in which she shows her 17-year old son how to kill Israelis and then tells him not to come back…

It may be that she stood for parliament because she’s got a yen to be junior transport minister or deputy secretary of fisheries. But it seems more likely that she and her Hamas colleagues were elected because this is who the Palestinian people are, this is what they believe…

The Palestinians are the most comprehensively wrecked people on the face of the earth: after 60 years as UN “refugees”, they’re now so depraved they’re electing candidates on the basis of child sacrifice. To take two contemporaneous crises, imagine if the population displacements caused by the end of the Second World War and by the partition of British India had also been left to the UN to manage and six decades later they were still running the “refugee” “camps”, now full of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, none of whom had ever lived in any of the places they’re supposed to be refugees from. Would you wish that fate on post-war Central Europe or the Indian sub-continent?

So what happens now? Either Hamas forms a government and decides that operating highway departments and sewer systems is what it really wants to do with itself. Or, like Arafat, it figures that it has no interest in government except as a useful front for terrorist operations…



“Why Hamas’s victory isn’t such a bad thing” (By Efraim Karsh, The New Republic, January 26, 2006)

…Hamas’s win might trigger a widespread disillusionment with the mirage created by the Oslo process of a democratic and peace-loving Palestinian government.

…While Hamas’s terrorist credentials need no elaboration, Fatah boasts a far longer terrorist record, dating back to January 1965 and including bombings, airplane hijacking, and countless massacres of innocent civilians throughout the world – Arab, Israeli, and Western most notably at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Marwan Barghouti, who headed the Fatah electoral list, is serving five consecutive life sentences in an Israeli prison for murder and attempted murder.

…Equally misconceived is the perception of Palestinian society as locked in an ideological struggle between secular modernizers and religious radicals. Since its rise in the early seventh century, Islam has constituted the linchpin of Middle Eastern politics, and its hold on Palestinian society is far stronger than is commonly recognized. Arafat was a devout Muslim, associated in his early days with the militant Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’s parent organization, as were other founding fathers of Fatah. And while the new generation of Fatah leaders in the territories may be less religious, they nevertheless have a draft constitution for a prospective Palestinian state that stipulates “Islam shall be the official religion of Palestine” and Sharia “which relegates non-Muslims to a legally inferior position shall be a major source of legislation.”

…The international community thus ignored the fact that for all their drastically different personalities and political style, Arafat and Abbas were both dogmatic PLO veterans who never eschewed their commitment to Israel’s destruction and who viewed the “peace process” as the continuation of their lifetime war by other means. It whitewashed Abbas’s adamant refusal to fight terrorism as a reflection of political weakness (as it had done with Arafat in the early Oslo years) and turned a blind eye to his repeated calls for the destruction of Israel through demographic subversion (via the so-called “right of return”).

…Yet one hopes that Hamas’s victory will cause the international community to pay closer attention to what the Palestinian authorities tell their own people and wider Arab constituencies. As for Israelis, yesterday’s election results will have the virtue of creating clarity in their political debate. Now, as it weighs unilateral withdrawal and other policy options, Israel can at least do so without illusions.



“Terrorists win: Why the surprise?” (By Cal Thomas, January 31, 2006)

“…The biggest surprise about the big win by the terrorist organization Hamas in last week’s Palestinian legislative elections is that so many people were surprised. Worse than denial, is denying you have been in denial. Despite the Hamas and Palestinian Authority charters calling for Israel’s destruction; despite unilateral concessions and actions by Israel; despite negotiated “land for peace” deals, which only Israel has kept; despite massive amounts of U.S. and European aid, much of which was funneled into Swiss bank accounts under the regime of the late Yasser Arafat; despite pressure and cajoling and confidence-building measures, none of it mattered. Hamas won anyway.

Now comes more denial. One hears Westerners say things like “Hamas now must deliver because people are most concerned with jobs, running water and trash pickup so they will have to moderate their views.” There is talk of cutting off U.S. and Western European aid to the Palestinians because of the Hamas victory. Do people sincerely believe that a religious mandate can be modified by economic threats, or that Hamas cannot get funding from others, like Iran?

The “Quartet,” comprised of the United Nations, European Union, Russian Federation and the United States, issued a statement that mentioned the “aspirations for peace and statehood” of the Palestinian people… If the Quartet had not been in the state of denial, it would have seen the contradiction of attempting to make peace between Israel and people who are not interested in a “two-state solution,” but in a region without Israel.

Why should Hamas listen to the Quartet? The Quartet has repeatedly demanded that the Palestinian Authority disarm terrorist groups before negotiations proceed, but the terrorists have continued attacking Israeli civilians. Why shouldn’t they when it appears the strategy is producing results for them?

…The U.S. president, indeed the world, should have seen this coming. For years – from mosques throughout the region, to newspapers and television programs – the violent rhetoric against Israel, Jews and the West has not only been tolerated, but also promoted by states we claim are our “friends.” We now say we will have nothing to do with Hamas, but that will change. We will eventually deal with Hamas after they claim to have eliminated or modified their charter for Western consumption…

How does one modify a charter that is the will of “God”? A senior Hamas official, Mushir al-Masri, told the Associated Press that recognizing Israel and negotiating with it are “not on our agenda.” Even if Hamas did negotiate with Israel, why would anyone believe it would live up to any promises it might make? …



“Hamas landslide reveals more about left than about ‘Palestinians’” (By Dennis Prager, January 31, 2006)

It is a sad day for humanity when a people choose to elect terrorists as their leaders.

But for those of us who believe that clarity is the prerequisite to moral progress, the landslide victory of the terrorist organization Hamas in Palestine has a silver lining.

First and foremost, it proves what people who perceive reality have been saying for decades: The great majority of Palestinians – like the majority of Arabs elsewhere and like vast numbers of non-Arab Muslims – want Israel destroyed…

[Tom Gross adds: the smaller parties that argued both against Fatah corruption and against terrorism against Israeli civilians received almost no votes from Palestinians.]

Prager continues: “…the Palestinian vote reveals the falsity of the worldwide Left’s view of the Palestinians as committed to peace. It likewise reveals the falsity of the Left’s belief that Palestinian terror is supported by a small minority of the Palestinian population.

Thanks to this election, the mask has been removed. When given the opportunity to express themselves, most Arabs and many Muslims elsewhere support terror and seek the annihilation of Israel. That is why the Hamas victory is such a defeat for the world’s Left – university professors, news media, socialist parties, the European Union, the United Nations, “peace” activists, editorial writers, and all other apologists for the Palestinians.

…After some initial cognitive dissonance, the Hamas victory will have little or no impact on most leftists. The day after the Hamas landslide, the Los Angeles Times editorialized, “Most Palestinians, like most Israelis, want peace.” Sure they do. Just not with Israel.



Pragmatic Hamas – not very likely
By Gerald M. Steinberg
January 26 2006

Twenty years ago, they told us that Arafat and PLO were becoming pragmatic, and were ready to give up terror and make peace with Israel. It turned out that these hopeful predictions were wrong, but the same people are now appearing on radio and television, to declare that the leaders of Hamas will form a pragmatic Palestinian government. The odds that they will get this one right are not very high.

Their optimism is based on the theory that when members of terrorist, liberation or revolutionary groups gain political power, they are forced to deal with the realities of the governing process… and [make] a transition from violence to peaceful coexistence.

But like many appealing diplomatic theories, this one has a poor track record in the real world... In Afghanistan, when the Taliban took power after decades of warfare and terror, the extremist mullahs were expected to become pragmatic. But instead of moderation, they converted their power into a reign of terror used to impose the most extreme form of Islam on the entire population.

…The same theory has been used to predict the transformation of Hizbullah from a Iranian-linked Shi’ite terror group focused on attacking Israeli and Western targets into a political party focusing on internal Lebanese issues. But in this case as well, the hard evidence has proven stronger than the soft theory, at least in the five years since the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon. Instead of ending its terror activities and investing more in social services, Hizbullah engaged in kidnapping Israeli soldiers, the deployment of 12,000 rockets, and in providing direct support for Palestinian terror attacks. So while Hizbullah pursues political power in Lebanon in parallel with terrorism, the declarations of leaders such as Hassan Nasrallah, rejecting all disarmament proposals, appear entirely credible.

In the face of repeated failures, what accounts for the persistence of diplomacy based on wishful thinking, and the artificial dichotomy between political power and the use of terror?

In part, it is what academics (realists, at least) refer to as “mirror imaging,” in which Western diplomats project their own pragmatism and compromise onto leaders of terror groups from other cultures. The West has adopted an idealism that reflects its own history, including the tolerance resulting from the Enlightenment, and centuries of devastating religious and ideological warfare.

…Europeans, in particular, place themselves at the vanguard of a universal process in which religion, ideology and nationalism have lost their power of persuasion… So to gain aid, access and weapons, “revolutionary” leaders tell Westerners what they want to hear that they, too, share these goals.

These factors helped push the Middle East “peace process” beginning with the secret Oslo talks and ending in disaster. Here too, wishful thinking presented an image of Yasser Arafat having made the transition from terrorist leader to pragmatic statesman seeking the best for his people. The mountain of evidence demonstrating that Arafat remained stuck in 1947 rejectionism was overlooked it was inconsistent with the messianism of instant peace…

Now, many of the same people who enthusiastically promoted Oslo are pushing for a political dialogue with Hamas… If European and American statements about pragmatism and peace are more than empty rhetoric, they will have to link any further aid to the Palestinian Authority to ending terror and incitement. More broadly, the time has come for Europe and America to learn from the experience in Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and with Hizbollah, and check their theories, based largely on wishful thinking, against the realities of the Middle East…



Nervous Palestinians circulate Hamas jokes
By Sarah El Deeb
The Associated Press
January 29, 2006

A slew of jokes circulating among Palestinians following Hamas’ landslide election victory reflects concerns that the fundamentalist group will impose Islamic law and social codes across the West Bank and Gaza.

As one goes, all police stations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been ordered shut because all complaints must now be filed directly to God.

Invoking God and Islamic tradition is the mainstay of all the quips that have been spreading by word of mouth and mobile phone text messages in the past few days.

Until elections Wednesday, Hamas’ goal of installing an Islamic state in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel was held in check by the ruling Fatah, which had no religious program.

But with voters handing Hamas 74 of parliament’s 132 seats, in a protest against the long-dominant Fatah, that check has weakened, if not evaporated.

Hamas officials rushed to deny that they will force their beliefs on Palestinians.

“Rest assured we don’t impose our thoughts on anyone,” Hamas leader Khaled Maashal said Saturday in the Syrian capital, Damascus. “We will present our thoughts to our people and they have the right to choose.”

Many Palestinians were not reassured.

One newly elected legislator has said she plans to submit a bill requiring girls and women to wear the hijab, a headdress covering the hair.

At a Hamas rally in Ramallah this week, an organizer tried contain his members from clashing with Fatah supporters by shouting, “Sons, it is time to pray. To the mosque.” They all dispersed.

Mobile phones are abuzz with text messaged jokes prophesying a new police uniform mirroring the short dress and baggy pants worn by the former hardline Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, and a discount on taxes for Christians who convert to Islam within a week.

Speeding ticket? Pay for it with extra prayers.

The jokes in the West Bank reflect the rawest nerves because Palestinians there tend to be less traditional than in Gaza, where the militant Hamas is strongest.

In Gaza in the early 1990s, after the first Palestinian uprising in Israel, Hamas used a quasi-police force to shut down restaurants serving alcohol and to impose a conservative dress code.

While an overwhelming majority of people chose Hamas on election day, the wide circulation of the jokes reflects how conflicted people are over their choice, said Nadia Najjab, a social psychology professor in the West Bank Birzeit University.

“The jokes are really expressive of our fears,” said Anis Barioush, a 50-year old teacher in the West Bank town of Ramallah. “The new rulers will change our traditions and impose a Taliban rule.”



Arab neighbors will work with Hamas-led cabinet
By Jonathan Wright
January 30, 2006

All the Arab governments around Israel will deal directly with a Palestinian cabinet dominated by the militant Islamist group Hamas, ignoring U.S. and European attempts to isolate the group, analysts said on Monday.

The Egyptian and Syrian governments already have good working relationships with Hamas, although some of their main domestic opponents are Islamists, and would accept a possible role as intermediaries between Hamas and the West, they added.

Egypt may press Hamas to make concessions to demands that it recognize Israel and abandon armed struggle but it will also use Hamas’s surprise election victory to argue for changes in U.S. and European policy in the Middle East, they said.

Hamas won a big majority in the Palestinian parliament last week, based on popular frustration with the Fatah movement which has dominated Palestinian politics since the late 1960s.

Arab countries have made few official comments since Hamas’s defeat of Fatah, founded by Yasser Arafat and traditionally seen in the Arab world as representing the Palestinian cause.

However, Fatah had gained a reputation for corruption and incompetence and failed to persuade Israel and the United States to deliver on promises of Palestinian statehood.

The analysts said it was Syria, the most aggressively secular government in the region, that had most to gain from the shift in Palestinian politics, because Hamas’s success strengthens an embryonic front opposed to U.S. policies.


The front includes Hamas, Syria, Iran, Hizbollah in Lebanon and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which inspired Hamas and itself made strong electoral gains in elections last year.

Islamists also dominate the Iraqi government, in uneasy alliance with the U.S. military on whom they depend.

“One link in the siege against Syria has been broken... Hamas’s victory is good news for Syria,” said Mohammad Habash, a prominent Islamist lawmaker in Syria.

Syria has been on the ropes internationally for the past year after the successful campaign to make it withdraw troops from Lebanon and the U.N. inquiry into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

“The Syrian regime is glad (that Hamas won) because this strengthens the alliance of resistance to the Israeli and American scheme. It gives them a little boost,” said Hassan Nafaa, professor of political science at Cairo University and a prominent political commentator.

“Syria is going to be very much encouraged. It will see it as a way of enhancing its own position,” added Walid Kazziha, political scientist at the American University in Cairo.

King Abdullah of Jordan, on the other hand, is the major loser in the region, because he has burned many of his bridges with Hamas and faces a domestic Islamist opposition closely linked to the Palestinian movement, the analysts said.

“Jordan is a candidate for change, and I think they are next,” said Kazziha, referring to the possibility of Islamists making strong gains in the next Jordanian elections.


The Egyptian government, which traditionally favored Fatah and its late leader Yasser Arafat, can adapt to Hamas more easily because the Egyptian state is so strong and the level of contact between ordinary Egyptians and Palestinians is lower.

Abdel Raouf el-Reedy, chairman of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Relations, said: “Egypt is a different story... I don’t see the same thing happening in Egypt as in Palestine.”

In Egypt’s first public reaction to the Hamas victory, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif told Newsweek that Hamas should “work within the framework” of the Oslo agreement of 1993, the peace plan known as the road map and a two-state solution.

Reedy, who was Egyptian ambassador to the United States, said he expected Cairo to work for a reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, as well as helping persuade Hamas to change its rhetoric on recognition of Israel.

“They (Hamas) will have to move in that direction and Egypt will help with that,” he told Reuters.

But other analysts said Hamas would not buy the argument unless Israel made significant concessions toward a territorial compromise acceptable to a majority of Palestinians.

The Palestinians have learned from Fatah’s negotiating experience over the past 10 years not to take U.S. and Israeli promises very seriously, they added.

“Egypt has to tell the Israelis and the Americans... it is about time to say exactly where you want to go, what kind of Palestinian state you want to establish,” Nafaa said.

Hamas’s charter: The martyrs’ oath; and European press reaction

January 30, 2006


1. “There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him”
2. “The West trembles”
3. Final Palestinian election results
4. Hamas’s charter: The martyrs’ oath
5. The charter of Allah. The platform of the Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas


[Note by Tom Gross]

In the last few days, several people have asked for a good English translation of the Hamas covenant. I attach one below, from Raphael Israeli, Professor of Islamic History at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which is the Middle East’s leading university.

Before that, I attach the Hamas’s “martyrs’ oath,” read by “martyrs” before they embark on their murderous suicide attacks on Israelis and others.

To secular Western ears, some of the words in it may seem ridiculous (The stones and trees will say ‘O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him...’). But these words are taken deadly seriously by those who adhere to them, and the West should take them seriously too.


Many European papers are certainly expressing concern:

“West trembles as Hamas gains power,” states Switzerland’s Le Temps.

“World alarmed over Hamas,” reads a headline in France’s Le Figaro.

The Palestinians have committed “collective political suicide” because in the foreseeable future no Israeli government will hold peace talks with Hamas, says Austria’s Die Presse.

“Hamas is terrorism. Terrorism is war,” writes Russia’s Moskovskiy Komsomolets.

Such coverage contrasts with the tone adopted by some BBC world service journalists, who are taking the language of Hamas at face value (it is “a party of resistance”), and allowing their spokesmen to peddle Saeb Erekat-style untruths without challenge (there are 10 million Palestinian refugees, we were told on the BBC yesterday, in a program rebroadcast today).

And Britain’s The Guardian runs an editorial piece today finally using the term it has so assiduously avoided when covering Hamas suicide attacks: the terrorists – but to describe Israel.


The official Palestinian election results were announced over the weekend. Hamas took 74 out of 132 seats, and Fatah 45. The 13 remaining seats went to smaller parties and independents, some of which were backed by Hamas. The turnout among the estimated 1.34 million Palestinian voters was about 77 percent.

-- Tom Gross


“Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious... The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realized...

The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a universal organization which constitutes the largest Islamic movement in modern times...

It strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine, for under the wing of Islam followers of all religions can coexist in security and safety where their lives, possessions and rights are concerned...

The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the links in the chain of the struggle against the Zionist invaders. It goes back to 1939, to the emergence of the martyr Izz al-Din al Kassam and his brethren the fighters, members of Muslim Brotherhood. It goes on to reach out and become one with another chain that includes the struggle of the Palestinians and Muslim Brotherhood in the 1948 war and the Jihad operations of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1968 and after...

The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: ‘The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him...’

Resisting and quelling the enemy become the individual duty of every Muslim, male or female. A woman can go out to fight the enemy without her husband’s permission, and so does the slave: without his master’s permission...

There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with...

The day The Palestinian Liberation Organization adopts Islam as its way of life, we will become its soldiers, and fuel for its fire that will burn the enemies...

The Zionist invasion is a vicious invasion... It relies greatly in its infiltration and espionage operations on the secret organizations it gave rise to, such as the Freemasons, The Rotary and Lions clubs, and other sabotage groups. All these organizations, whether secret or open, work in the interest of Zionism and according to its instructions...

We should not forget to remind every Muslim that when the Jews conquered the Holy City in 1967, they stood on the threshold of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and proclaimed that ‘Mohammed is dead, and his descendants are all women.’

Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Muslim people. ‘May the cowards never sleep.’”



Translated and annotated by Harry Truman Research Institute
The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel


In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

“You are the best community that has been raised up for mankind. Ye enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency; and ye believe in Allah. And if the People of the Scripture (2) had believed, it had been better for them. Some of them are believers; but most of them are evil-doers.

They will not harm you save a trifling hurt, and if they fight against you they will turn and flee. And afterward they will not be helped.

Ignominy shall be their portion wheresoever they are found save [where they grasp] a rope from Allah and a rope from man. (3) They have incurred anger from their Lord, and wretchedness is laid upon them. That is because they used to disbelieve the revelations of Allah, and slew the Prophets wrongfully. That is because they were rebellious and used to transgress.” Surat Al-Imran (III), verses 109-111. (4)

“Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors.”

The Imam and Martyr Hassan al-Banna (5)
May Allah Pity his Soul

“The Islamic World is burning. It is incumbent upon each one of us to pour some water, little as it may be, with a view of extinguishing as much of the fire as he can, without awaiting action by the others.” Sheikh Amjad Al-zahawi
May Allah Pity his Soul

In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate


Grace to Allah, whose help we seek, whose forgiveness we beseech, whose guidance we implore and on whom we rely. We pray and bid peace upon the Messenger of Allah, his family, his companions, his followers and those who spread his message and followed his tradition; they will last as long as there exist Heaven and Earth.

O, people!

In the midst of misadventure, from the depth of suffering, from the believing hearts and purified arms; aware of our duty and in response to the decree of Allah, we direct our call (6), we rally together and join each other. We educate in the path of Allah and we make our firm determination prevail so as to take its proper role in life, to overcome all difficulties and to cross all hurdles. Hence our permanent state of preparedness and our readiness to sacrifice our souls and dearest [possessions] in the path of Allah.

Thus, our nucleus has formed which chartered its way in the tempestuous ocean of creeds and hopes, desires and wishes, dangers and difficulties, setbacks and challenges, both internal and external.

When the thought matured, the seed grew and the plant took root in the land of reality, detached from temporary emotion and unwelcome haste, the Islamic Resistance Movement erupted in order to play its role in the path of its Lord. In so doing, it joined its hands with those of all Jihad (7) fighters for the purpose of liberating Palestine. The souls of its Jihad fighters will encounter those of all Jihad fighters who have sacrificed their lives in the land of Palestine since it was conquered (8) by the Companion (9) of the Prophet, be Allah’s prayer and peace upon him, and until this very day. This is the Charter of the Islamic Resistance

(Hamas) which will reveal its face, unveil its identity, state its position, clarify its purpose, discuss its hopes, call for support to its cause and reinforcement, and for joining its ranks. For our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave, so much so that it will need all the loyal efforts we can wield, to be followed by further steps and reinforced by successive battalions from the multifarious Arab and Islamic world, until the enemies are defeated and Allah’s victory prevails. Thus we shall perceive them approaching in the horizon, and this will be known before long:

“Allah has decreed: Lo! I very shall conquer, I and my messengers, lo! Allah is strong, almighty.” Sura 58 (Al-Mujadilah), verse 21 (10).

“Say: This is my way: I call on Allah with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me. Glory be to Allah! and I am not of the idolaters.” Sura 12 (Yussuf), verse 17 (108 in Pickthall).



The Ideological Aspects

Article One

The Islamic Resistance Movement draws its guidelines from Islam; derives from it its thinking, interpretations and views about existence, life and humanity; refers back to it for its conduct; and is inspired by it in whatever step it takes.

The Link between Hamas and the Association of Muslim Brothers

Article Two

The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a world organization, the largest Islamic Movement in the modern era. It is characterized by a profound understanding, by precise notions and by a complete comprehensiveness of all concepts of Islam in all domains of life: views and beliefs, politics and economics, education and society, jurisprudence and rule, indoctrination and teaching, the arts and publications, the hidden and the evident, and all the other domains of life.

Structure and Essence

Article Three

The basic structure of the Islamic Resistance Movement consists of Muslims who are devoted to Allah and worship Him verily [as it is written]: ‘I have created Man and Devil for the purpose of their worship” [of Allah]. Those Muslims are cognizant of their duty towards themselves, their families and country and they have been relying on Allah for all that.

They have raised the banner of Jihad in the face of the oppressors in order to extricate the country and the people from the [oppressors’] desecration, filth and evil.

“Nay, but we hurl the true against the false; and it does break its head and lo! it vanishes” Sura 21 (the Prophets), verse 18.

Article Four

The Movement welcomes all Muslims who share its beliefs and thinking, commit themselves to its course of action, keep its secrets and aspire to join its ranks in order to carry out their duty. Allah will reward them.

Dimensions of Time and Space of the Hamas

Article Five

As the Movement adopts Islam as its way of life, its time dimension extends back as far as the birth of the Islamic Message and of the Righteous Ancestor. Its ultimate goal is Islam, the Prophet its model, the Quran its Constitution. Its special dimension extends wherever on earth there are Muslims, who adopt Islam as their way of life; thus, it penetrates to the deepest reaches of the land and to the highest spheres of Heavens.

“Seest you not how Allah coins a similitude: a goodly saying, as a goodly tree, its root set firm, its branches reaching into heaven: Giving its fruit at every season by permission of its Lord? Allah coins the similitudes for mankind in order that they may reflect.” Sura 14 (Abraham), verses 24-25.

Peculiarity and Independence

Article Six

The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinct Palestinian Movement which owes its loyalty to Allah, derives from Islam its way of life and strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine. Only under the shadow of Islam could the members of all regions coexist in safety and security for their lives, properties and rights (11). In the absence of Islam, conflict arises, oppression reigns, corruption is rampant and struggles and wars prevail. Allah had inspired the Muslim poet, Muhammed Iqbal (12), when he said:

When the Faith wanes, there is no security

There is no this-worldliness for those who have no faith

Those who wish to live their life without religion

Have made annihilation the equivalent of life.

The Universality of Hamas

Article Seven

By virtue of the distribution of Muslims, who pursue the cause of the Hamas, all over the globe, and strive for its victory, for the reinforcement of its positions and for the encouragement of its Jihad, the Movement is a universal one. It is apt to be that due to the clarity of its thinking, the nobility of its purpose and the loftiness of its objectives.

It is in this light that the Movement has to be regarded, evaluated and acknowledged. Whoever denigrates its worth, or avoids supporting it, or is so blind as to dismiss its role, is challenging Fate itself. Whoever closes his eyes from seeing the facts, whether intentionally or not, will wake up to find himself overtaken by events, and will find no excuses to justify his position. Priority is reserved to the early comers.

Oppressing those who are closest to you, is more of an agony to the soul than the impact of an Indian sword.

“And unto thee have we revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. So judge between them by that which Allah hath revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which has come unto thee. For each we have appointed a divine law and a traced-out way. Had Allah willed, He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which he has given you [He has made you as you are]. So vie with one another in good works. Unto Allah, you will all return. He will then inform you of that wherein you differ.” Sura V (the Table), verse 48.

Hamas is one of the links in the Chain of Jihad in the confrontation with the Zionist invasion. It links up with the setting out of the Martyr Izz a-din al-Qassam (13) and his brothers in the Muslim Brotherhood who fought the Holy War in 1936; it further relates to another link of the Palestinian Jihad and the Jihad and efforts of the Muslim Brothers during the 1948 (14) War, and to the Jihad operations of the Muslim Brothers in 1968 (15) and thereafter.

But even if the links have become distant from each other, and even if the obstacles erected by those who revolve in the Zionist orbit, aiming at obstructing the road before the Jihad fighters, have rendered the pursuance of Jihad impossible; nevertheless, the Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said:

The time (16) will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: 0 Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad (17), which is a Jewish tree (cited by Bukhari and Muslim) (18).

The Slogan of the Hamas

Article Eight

Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Quzan its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief.



Hamas finds itself at a period of time when Islam has waned away from the reality of life. For this reason, the checks and balances have been upset, concepts have become confused, and values have been transformed; evil has prevailed, oppression and obscurity have reigned; cowards have turned tigers, homelands have been usurped, people have been uprooted and are wandering all over the globe. The state of truth has disappeared and was replaced by the state of evil. Nothing has remained in its right place, for when Islam is removed from the scene, everything changes. These are the motives.

As to the objectives: discarding the evil, crushing it and defeating it, so that truth may prevail, homelands revert [to their owners], calls for prayer be heard from their mosques, announcing the reinstitution of the Muslim state. Thus, people and things will revert to their true place. Allah is the one whose held we see,

“...And if Allah had not repelled some men by others the earth would have been corrupted. But Allah is the Lord of kindness to [His] creatures.” Sura II (The Cow), verse 251.

Article Ten

The Islamic Resistance Movement, while breaking its own path, will do its utmost to constitute at the same time a support to the weak, a defense to all the oppressed. It will spare no effort to implement the truth and abolish evil, in speech and in fact, both here and in any other location where it can reach out and exert influence.



The Strategy of Hamas: Palestine is an Islamic Waqf (19)

Article Eleven

The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. No Arab country nor the aggregate of all Arab countries, and no Arab King or President nor all of them in the aggregate, have that right, nor has that right any organization or the aggregate of all organizations, be they Palestinian or Arab, because Palestine is an Islamic Waqf throughout all generations and to the Day or Resurrection. Who can presume to speak for all Islamic generations to the Day of Resurrection? This is the status [of the land] in Islamic Shari’a (20), and it is similar to all lands conquered by Islam by force, and made thereby Waqf lands upon their conquest, for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection. This [norm] has prevailed since the commanders of the Muslim armies completed the conquest of Syria and Iraq, and they asked the Caliph of Muslims, ’Umar Ibn al-Khattab (21). for his view of the conquered land, whether it should be partitioned between the troops or left in the possession of its population, or otherwise. Following discussions and consultations between the Caliph of Islam, ’Umar Ibn al-Khattab, and the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, be peace and prayer upon him, they decided that the land should remain in the hands of its owners to benefit from it and from its wealth; but the control (22) of the land and the land itself ought to be endowed as a Waqf [in perpetuity] for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection. The ownership of the land by its owners is only one of usufruct, and this Waqf will endure as long as Heaven and earth last. Any demarche in violation of this law of Islam, with regard to Palestine, is baseless and reflects on its perpetrators.

Lo! This is certain truth. Therefore 0 Muhammed, praise the name of thy Lord, the Tremendous.” Sura LVI (the Event), Verse 95. (23)

Hamas in Palestine: Its Views on Homeland and Nationalism (24)

Article Twelve

Hamas regards Nationalism (Wataniyya) as part and parcel of the religious faith. Nothing is loftier or deeper in Nationalism than waging Jihad against the enemy and confronting him when he sets foot on the land of the Muslims. And this becomes an individual duty (25) binding on every Muslim man and woman; a woman must go out and fight the enemy even without her husband’s authorization, and a slave without his masters’ permission.

This [principle] does not exist under any other regime, and it is a truth not to be questioned. While other nationalisms consist of material, human and territorial considerations, the nationality of Hamas also carries, in addition to all those, the all important divine factors which lend to it its spirit and life; so much so that it connects with the origin of the spirit and the source of life and raises in the skies of the Homeland the Banner of the Lord, thus inexorably connecting earth with Heaven.

When Moses came and threw his baton, sorcery and sorcerers became futile.

“...The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejects false deities and believes in Allah has grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower.” Sura II (the Cow), verse 256 (26).

Peaceful Solutions [Peace] Initiatives and International Conferences

Article Thirteen

[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith, the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their Jihad: “Allah is the all-powerful, but most people are not aware.”

From time to time a clamoring is voiced, to hold an International Conference in search for a solution to the problem. Some accept the idea, others reject it, for one reason or another, demanding the implementation of this or that conditions, as a prerequisite for agreeing to convene the Conference or for participating in it. But the Islamic Resistance Movement, which is aware of the [prospective] parties to this conference, and of their past and present positions towards the problems of the Muslims, does not believe that those conferences are capable of responding to demands, or of restoring rights or doing justice to the oppressed. Those conferences are no more than a means to appoint the nonbelievers as arbitrators in the lands of Islam. Since when did the Unbelievers do justice to the Believers?

And the Jews will not be pleased with thee, nor will the Christians, till thou follow their creed. ‘Say: Lo! the guidance of Allah [himself] is the Guidance. And if you should follow their desires after the knowledge which has come unto thee, then you would have from Allah no protecting friend nor helper.” Sura 2 (the Cow) verse 120.

There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and International Conferences are but a waste of time (27), an exercise in futility. The Palestinian people are too noble to have their future, their right and their destiny submitted to a vain game. As the Hadith has it:

“The people of Syria are Allah’s whip on this land; He takes revenge by their intermediary from whoever he wishes among his worshippers. The Hypocrites among them are forbidden from vanquishing the true believers, and they will die in anxiety and sorrow.” (Told by Tabarani, who is traceable in ascending order of traditionaries to Muhammed, and by Ahmed whose chain of transmission is incomplete. But it is bound to be a true hadith, for both story tellers are reliable. Allah knows best (28).)

The Three Circles

Article Fourteen

The problem of the liberation of Palestine relates to three circles: the Palestinian, the Arab and the Islamic. Each one of these circles has a role to play in the struggle against Zionism and it has duties to fulfill. It would be an enormous mistake and an abysmal act of ignorance to disregard anyone of these circles. For Palestine is an Islamic land where the First Qibla (29) and the third holiest site (30) are located. That is also the place whence the Prophet, be Allah’s prayer and peace upon him, ascended to Heavens (31).

“Glorified be He who carried His servant by night from the Inviolable Place of worship (32) to the Far Distant Place of Worship (33), the neighborhood whereof we have blessed, that we might show him of our tokens! Lo! He, only He, is the Hearer, the Seer.” Sura XVII (al-Isra,) (34), verse 1.

In consequence of this state of affairs, the liberation of that land is an individual duty binding on all Muslims everywhere (35). This is the base on which all Muslims have to regard the problem; this has to be understood by all Muslims. When the problem is dealt with on this basis, where the full potential of the three circles is mobilized, then the current circumstances will change and the day of liberation will come closer.

“You are more awful as a fear in their bosoms than Allah. That is because they are a folk who understand not.” Sura LIX, (Al-Hashr, the Exile), verse 13.

The Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine is an Individual Obligation (36)

Article Fifteen

When our enemies usurp some Islamic lands, Jihad becomes a duty binding on all Muslims. In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad. This would require the propagation of Islamic consciousness among the masses on all local, Arab and Islamic levels. We must spread the spirit of Jihad among the [Islamic] Umma, clash with the enemies and join the ranks of the Jihad fighters.

The ’ulama as well as educators and teachers, publicity and media men as well as the masses of the educated, and especially the youth and the elders of the Islamic Movements, must participate in this raising of consciousness. There is no escape from introducing fundamental changes in educational curriculi in order to cleanse them from all vestiges of the ideological invasion which has been brought about by orientalists and missionaries. That invasion had begun overtaking this area following the defeat of the Crusader armies by Salah a-Din el Ayyubi (37). The Crusaders had understood that they had no way to vanquish the Muslims unless they prepared the grounds for that with an ideological invasion which would confuse the thinking of Muslims, revile their heritage, discredit their ideals to be followed by a military invasion. That was to be in preparation for the Imperialist invasion, as in fact [General] Allenby (38) acknowledged it upon his entry to Jerusalem: “Now, the Crusades are over.” General Gouraud (39) stood on the tomb of Salah a-Din and declared: ‘We have returned, O Salah-a-Din! ” Imperialism has been instrumental in boosting the ideological invasion and deepening its roots, and it is still pursuing this goal. All this had paved the way to the loss of Palestine. We must imprint on the minds of generations of Muslims that the Palestinian problem is a religious one, to be dealt with on this premise. It includes Islamic holy sites such as the Aqsa Mosque, which is inexorably linked to the Holy Mosque (40) as long as the Heaven and earth will exist, to the journey of the Messenger of Allah (41), be Allah’s peace and blessing upon him, to it, and to his ascension from it (42).

“Dwelling one day in the Path of Allah is better than the entire world and everything that exists in it. The place of the whip of one among you in Paradise is better than the entire world and everything that exists in it. [God’s] worshipper’s going and coming in the Path of Allah is better than the entire world and everything that exists in it....” (Told by Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi and Ibn Maja) (43)

I swear by that who holds in His Hands the Soul of Muhammed! I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I will assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill (told by Bukhari and Muslim (44)).

Educating the [Young] Generations

Article Sixteen

We must accord the Islamic [young] generations in our area, an Islamic education based on the implementation of religious precepts, on the conscientious study of the Book of Allah; on the Study of the Prophetic Tradition (45), on the study of Islamic history and heritage from its reliable sources, under the guidance of experts and scientists (46); and on singling out the paths which constitute for the Muslims sound concepts of thinking and faith. It is also necessary to study conscientiously the enemy and its material and human potential; to detect its weak and strong spots, and to recognize the powers that support it and stand by it. At the same time, we must be aware of current events, follow the news and study the analyses and commentaries on it, together with drawing plans for the present and the future and examining every phenomenon, so that every Muslim, fighting Jihad, could live out his era aware of his objective, his goals, his way and the things happening round him.

“O my dear son! Lo! though it be but the weight of a grain of mustard-seed, and though it be in a rock, or in the heavens, or in the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Lo! Allah is subtle. Aware. 0 my dear son! Establish worship and enjoin kindness and forbid inequity and persevere, whatever may befall thee. Lo! that is of the steadfast heart of things. Turn not thy cheek in scorn toward folk, nor walk with pertness in the land. Lo! Allah loves not braggarts and boasters.” Sura XXXI (Luqman), verses 16-18.

The Role of Muslim Women

Article Seventeen

The Muslim women have a no lesser role than that of men in the war of liberation; they manufacture men and play a great role in guiding and educating the [new] generation. The enemies have understood that role, therefore they realize that if they can guide and educate [the Muslim women] in a way that would distance them from Islam, they would have won that war. Therefore, you can see them making consistent efforts [in that direction] by way of publicity and movies, curriculi of education and culture, using as their intermediaries their craftsmen who are part of the various Zionist Organizations which take on all sorts of names and shapes such as: the Free Masons, Rotary Clubs, gangs of spies and the like. All of them are nests of saboteurs and sabotage. Those Zionist organizations control vast material resources, which enable them to fulfill their mission amidst societies, with a view of implementing Zionist goals and sowing the concepts that can be of use to the enemy. Those organizations operate [in a situation] where Islam is absent from the arena and alienated from its people. Thus, the Muslims must fulfill their duty in confronting the schemes of those saboteurs. When Islam will retake possession of [the means to] guide the life [of the Muslims], it will wipe out those organizations which are the enemy of humanity and Islam.

Article Eighteen

The women in the house and the family of Jihad fighters, whether they are mothers or sisters, carry out the most important duty of caring for the home and raising the children upon the moral concepts and values which derive from Islam; and of educating their sons to observe the religious injunctions in preparation for the duty of Jihad awaiting them. Therefore, we must pay attention to the schools and curriculi upon which Muslim girls are educated, so as to make them righteous mothers, who are conscious of their duties in the war of liberation. They must be fully capable of being aware and of grasping the ways to manage their households. Economy and avoiding waste in household expenditures are prerequisites to our ability to pursue our cause in the difficult circumstances surrounding us. Therefore let them remember at all times that money saved is equivalent to blood, which must be made to run in the veins in order to ensure the continuity of life of our young and old.

“Lo, men who surrender unto Allah, and women who surrender and men who believe and women who believe, and men who obey and women who obey, and men who speak the truth and women who speak the truth and men who persevere (in righteousness) and women who persevere and men who are humble and women who are humble, and men who give alms and women who give alms, and men who fast and women who fast, and men who guard their modesty and women who guard [their modesty], and men who remember Allah much and women who remember that Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a vast reward.” Sura 33 (Al-Ahzab, the Clans), verse 35.

The Role of Islamic Art in the War of Liberation

Article Nineteen

Art has rules and criteria by which one can know whether it is Islamic or Jahiliyya (47) art. The problems of Islamic liberation underlie the need for Islamic art which could lift the spirit, and instead of making one party triumph over the other, would lift up all parties in harmony and balance.

Man is a strange and miraculous being, made out of a handful of clay and a breath of soul; Islamic art is to address man on this basis, while Jahili art addresses the body and makes the element of clay paramount. So, books, articles, publications, religious exhortations, epistles, songs, poems, hymns, plays, and the like, if they possess the characteristics of Islamic art, have the requisites of ideological mobilization, of a continuous nurturing in the pursuance of the journey, and of relaxing the soul. The road is long and the suffering is great and the spirits are weary; it is Islamic art which renews the activity, revives the movement and arouses lofty concepts and sound planning. The soul cannot thrive, unless it knows how to contrive, unless it can transit from one situation to another. All this is a serious matter, no jesting. For the umma (48) fighting its Jihad knows no jesting.

Social Solidarity

Article Twenty

Islamic society is one of solidarity. The Messenger of Allah, be Allah’s prayer and peace upon him, said:

What a wonderful tribe were the Ash’aris! When they were overtaxed, either in their location or during their journeys, they would collect all their possessions and then would divide them equally among themselves.

This is the Islamic spirit which ought to prevail in any Muslim society. A society which confronts a vicious, Nazi-like enemy, who does not differentiate between man and women, elder and young ought to be the first to adorn itself with this Islamic spirit. Our enemy pursues the style of collective punishment of usurping (49) people’s countries and properties, of pursuing them into their exiles and places of assembly. It has resorted to breaking bones, opening fire on women and children and the old, with or without reason, and to setting up detention camps where thousands upon thousands are interned in inhuman conditions. In addition, it destroys houses, renders children orphans and issues oppressive judgments against thousands of young people who spend the best years of their youth in the darkness of prisons. The Nazism of the Jews does not skip women and children, it scares everyone. They make war against people’s livelihood, plunder their moneys and threaten their honor. In their horrible actions they mistreat people like the most horrendous war criminals. Exiling people from their country is another way of killing them. As we face this misconduct, we have no escape from establishing social solidarity among the people, from confronting the enemy as one solid body, so that if one organ is hurt the rest of the body will respond with alertness and fervor.

Article Twenty One

Social solidarity consists of extending help to all the needy, both materially and morally, or assisting in the execution of certain actions. It is incumbent upon the members of the Hamas to look after the interests of the masses the way they would look after their own interests. They must spare no effort in the implementation and maintenance of those interests, and they must avoid playing with anything that might effect the future generations or cause damage to their society. For the masses are of them and for them, their strength is [ultimately] theirs and their future is theirs. The members of Hamas must share with the people its joys and sorrows, and adopt the demands of the people and anything likely to fulfill its interests and theirs. When this spirit reigns, congeniality will deepen, cooperation and compassion will prevail, unity will firm up, and the ranks will be strengthened in the confrontation with the enemy.

The Powers which Support the Enemy

Article Twenty Two

The enemies have been scheming for a long time, and they have consolidated their schemes, in order to achieve what they they have achieved. They took advantage of key-elements in unfolding events, and accumulated a huge and influential material wealth which they put to the service of implementing their dream. This wealth [permitted them to] take over control of the world media such as news agencies, the press, publication houses, broadcasting and the like. [They also used this] wealth to stir revolutions in various parts of the globe in order to fulfill their interests and pick the fruits. They stood behind the French and the Communist Revolutions and behind most of the revolutions we hear about here and there. They also used the money to establish clandestine organizations which are spreading around the world, in order to destroy societies and carry out Zionist interests. Such organizations are: the Free Masons, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, B’nai B’rith and the like. All of them are destructive spying organizations. They also used the money to take over control of the Imperialist states and made them colonize many countries in order to exploit the wealth of those countries and spread their corruption therein.

As regards local and world wars, it has come to pas s and no one objects, that they stood behind World War 1, so as to wipe out the Islamic Caliphate (50). They collected material gains and took control of many sources of wealth. They obtained the Balfour Declaration (51) and established the League of Nations in order to rule the world by means of that organization. They also stood behind World War II, where they collected immense benefits from trading with war materials, and prepared for the establishment of their state. They inspired the establishment of the United Nations and the Security Council to replace the League of Nations, in order to rule the world by their intermediary. There was no war that broke out anywhere without their fingerprints on it:

“...As often as they light a fire for war, Allah extinguishes it. Their efforts is for corruption in the land and Allah loves not corrupters.” Sura V (Al-Ma’ida - the Tablespread), verse 64 (52).

The forces of Imperialism in both the Capitalist West and the Communist East support the enemy with all their might, in material and human terms, taking turns between themselves. When Islam appears, all the forces of Unbelief unite to confront it, because the Community of Unbelief is one.

“Oh ye who believe! Take not for intimates others than your own folk, who would spare no pain to ruin you. Hatred is revealed by [the utterance of] their mouth, but that which their breasts hide is greater. We have made plain for you the revelations if you will understand...”, Sura III, (Al-Imran), verse 118.

It is not in vain that the verse ends with God’s saying: ‘If you will understand.’


Our Position Vis-a-Vis the Islamic Movements

Article Twenty Three

The Hamas views the other Islamic movements with respect and appreciation. Even when it differs from them in one aspect or another or on one concept or another, it agrees with them in other aspects and concepts. It reads those movements as included in the framework of striving [for the sake of Allah], as long as they hold sound intentions and abide by their devotion to Allah, and as long as their conduct remains within the perimeter of the Islamic circle. All the fighters of Jihad have their reward.

The Hamas regards those movements as its stock holders and asks Allah for guidance and integrity of conduct for all. It shall not fail to continue to raise the banner of unity and to exert efforts in order to implement it, [based] upon the [Holy] Book and the [Prophet’s] Tradition (53).

“And hold fast, all of you together, to the cable of Allah, and do not separate. And remember Allah’s favor unto you how ye were enemies and He made friendship between your hearts so that ye became as brothers by His grace; and (how) ye were upon the brink of an abyss of fire, and He did save you from it. Thus Allah makes clear His revelations unto you, that happily ye may be guided.” Sura III (Al-’Imran), verse 102 (54).

Article Twenty Four

Hamas will not permit the slandering and defamation of individuals and groups, for the Believers are not slanderers and cursers (55). However, despite the need to differentiate between that and the positions and modes of conduct adopted by individuals and groups whenever the Hamas detects faulty positions and modes of conduct, it has the right to point to the mistake, to denigrate it, to act for spelling out the truth and for adopting it realistically in the context of a given problem. Wisdom is roaming around, and the Believer ought to grasp it wherever he can find it.

“Allah loves not the utterance of harsh speech save by one who has been wronged. Allah is ever Hearer, Knower. If you do good openly or keep it secret, or give evil, lo! Allah is forgiving, powerful.” Sura IV (Women), verses 147-148 (56).

The National (wataniyya) Movements in the Palestinian Arena

Article Twenty Five

[Hamas] reciprocates its respect to them, appreciates their condition and the factors surrounding them and influencing them, and supports them firmly as long as they do not owe their loyalty to the Communist East or to the Crusader West. We reiterate to every one who is part of them or sympathizes with them that the Hamas is a movement of Jihad, or morality and consciousness in its concept of life. It moves forward with the others, abhors opportunism, and only wishes well to individuals and groups. It does not aspire to material gains, or to personal fame, nor does it solicit remuneration from the people. It sets out relying on its own material resources, and what is available to it, [as it is said] ’afford them the power you can avail yourself of.” [All that] in order to carry out its duty, to gain Allah’s favor; it has no ambition other than that.

All the nationalist streams, operating in the Palestinian arena for the sake of the liberation of Palestine, may rest assured that they will definitely and resolutely get support and assistance, in speech and in action, at the present and in the future, [because Hamas aspires] to unite, not to divide; to safeguard, not to squander; to bring together, not to fragment. It values every kind word, every devoted effort and every commendable endeavor. It closes the door before marginal quarrels, it does not heed rumors and biased statements, and it is aware of the right of self-defense.

Anything that runs counter or contradicts this orientation is trumped up by the enemies or by those who run in their orbit in order to create confusion, to divide our ranks or to divert to marginal things.

“O ye who believe! If an evil-liver bring you tidings (57), verify it, lest ye smite some folk in ignorance and afterward repent of what ye did.” Sura XLIX (al Hujurat, the Private Apartments), verse 6.

Article Twenty Six

The Hamas, while it views positively the Palestinian National Movements which do not owe their loyalty to the East or to the West, does not refrain from debating unfolding events regarding the Palestinian problem, on the local and international scenes. These debates are realistic and expose the extent to which [these developments] go along with, or contradict, national interests as viewed from the Islamic vantage point.

The Palestine Liberation Organization

Article Twenty Seven

The PLO is among the closest to the Hamas, for its constitutes a father, a brother, a relative, a friend. Can a Muslim turn away from his father, his brother, his relative or his friend? Our homeland is one, our calamity is one, our destiny is one and our enemy is common to both of us. Under the influence of the circumstances which surrounded the founding of the PLO, and the ideological confusion which prevails in the Arab world as a result of the ideological invasion which has swept the Arab world since the rout of the Crusades, and which has been reinforced by Orientalism and the Christian Mission, the PLO has adopted the idea of a Secular State, and so we think of it. Secular thought is diametrically opposed to religious thought. Thought is the basis for positions, for modes of conduct and for resolutions. Therefore, in spite of our appreciation for the PLO and its possible transformation in the future, and despite the fact that we do not denigrate its role in the Arab-Israeli conflict, we cannot substitute it for the Islamic nature of Palestine by adopting secular thought. For the Islamic nature of Palestine is part of our religion, and anyone who neglects his religion is bound to lose.

“And who forsakes the religion of Abraham, save him who befools himself.? ” Sura II (Al-Baqra - the Co ), verse 130.

When the PLO adopts Islam as the guideline for life, then we shall become its soldiers, the fuel of its fire which will bum the enemies. And until that happens, and we pray to Allah that it will happen soon, the position of the Hamas towards the PLO is one of a son towards his father, a brother towards his brother, and a relative towards his relative who suffers the other’s pain when a thorn hits him, who supports the other in the Confrontation with the enemies and who wishes him divine guidance and integrity of conduct.

Your brother, your brother! Whoever has no brother, is like a fighter who runs to the battle without weapons. A cousin for man is like the best wing, and no falcon can take off without wings.

The Arab and Islamic States and Governments

Article Twenty-Eight

The Zionist invasion is a mischievous one. It does not hesitate to take any road, or to pursue all despicable and repulsive means to fulfill its desires. It relies to a great extent, for its meddling and spying activities, on the clandestine organizations which it has established, such as the Free Masons, Rotary Clubs, Lions, and other spying associations. All those secret organizations, some which are overt, act for the interests of Zionism and under its directions, strive to demolish societies, to destroy values, to wreck answerableness (58), to totter virtues and to wipe out Islam. It stands behind the diffusion of drugs and toxics of all kinds in order to facilitate its control and expansion.

The Arab states surrounding Israel are required to open their borders to the Jihad fighters, the sons of the Arab and Islamic peoples, to enable them to play their role and to join their efforts to those of their brothers among the Muslim Brothers in Palestine.

The other Arab and Islamic states are required, at the very least, to facilitate the movement of the Jihad fighters from and to them. We cannot fail to remind every Muslim that when the Jews occupied Holy Jerusalem in 1967 and stood at the doorstep of the Blessed Aqsa Mosque, they shouted with joy:

“Muhammed is dead, he left daughters behind.” (59)

Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.

“Let the eyes of the cowards not fall asleep.”

National and Religious Associations, Institutions, the Intelligentsia, and the Arab and Islamic Worlds

Article Twenty Nine

Hamas hopes that those Associations will stand by it on all levels, will support it, adopt its positions, boost its activities and moves and encourage support for it, so as to render the Islamic peoples its backers and helpers, and its strategic depth in all human and material domains as well as in information, in time and space. Among other things, they hold solidarity meetings, issue explanatory publications, supportive articles and tendentious leaflets to make the masses aware of the Palestinian issue, the problems it faces and of the plans to resolve them; and to mobilize the Islamic peoples ideologically, educationally and culturally in order to fulfill their role in the crucial war of liberation, as they had played their role in the defeat of the Crusades and in the rout of the Tartars and had saved human civilization. How all that is dear to Allah!

“Allah has decreed: Lo! I verily shall conquer, I and my messengers. Lo! Allah is strong, Almighty.” Sura LVIII (Al-Mujadilah), verse 21.

Article Thirty

Men of letters, members of the intelligentsia, media people, preachers, teachers and educators and all different sectors in the Arab and Islamic world, are all called upon to play their role and to carry out their duty in view of the wickedness of Zionist invasion, of its penetration into many countries, and its control over material means and the media, with all the ramifications thereof in most countries of the world.

Jihad means not only carrying arms and denigrating the enemies. Uttering positive words, writing good articles and useful books, and lending support and assistance, all that too is Jihad in the path of Allah, as long as intentions are sincere to make Allah’s banner supreme.

“Those who prepare for a raid in the path of Allah are considered as if they participated themselves in the raid. Those who successfully rear a raider in their home, are considered as if they participated themselves in the raid” (Told by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi).

The Members of Other Religions

The Hamas is a Humane Movement

Article Thirty One

Hamas is a humane movement, which cares for human rights and is committed to the tolerance inherent in Islam as regards attitudes towards other religions. It is only hostile to those who are hostile towards it, or stand in its way in order to disturb its moves or to frustrate its efforts.

Under the shadow of Islam it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism to coexist in safety and security. Safety and security can only prevail under the shadow of Islam, and recent and ancient history is the best witness to that effect. The members of other religions must desist from struggling against Islam over sovereignty in this region. For if they were to gain the upper hand, fighting, torture and uprooting would follow; they would be fed up with each other, to say nothing of members of other religions. The past and the present are full of evidence to that effect.

“They will not fight you in body safe in fortified villages or from behind wells. Their adversity among themselves is very great. Ye think of them as a whole whereas their hearts are diverse. That is because they are a folk who have no sense.” Sura 59 (al-Hashr, the Exile), verse 14.

Islam accords his rights to everyone who has rights and averts aggression against the rights of others. The Nazi Zionist practices against our people will not last the lifetime of their invasion, for “States built upon oppression last only one hour, states based upon justice will last until the hour of Resurrection.”

“Allah forbids you not those who warred not against you on account of religion and drove you not out from your houses, that you should show them kindness and deal justly with them. Lo! Allah loves the just dealers.” Sura 60 (Al-Mumtahana), verse 8.

The Attempts to Isolate the Palestinian People

Article Thirty Two

World Zionism and Imperialist forces have been attempting, with smart moves and considered planning, to push the Arab countries, one after another, out of the circle of conflict with Zionism, in order, ultimately, to isolate the Palestinian People. Egypt has already been cast out of the conflict, to a very great extent through the treacherous Camp David Accords, and she has been trying to drag other countries into similar agreements in order to push them out of the circle of conflict.

Hamas is calling upon the Arab and Islamic peoples to act seriously and tirelessly in order to frustrate that dreadful scheme and to make the masses aware of the danger of coping out of the circle of struggle with Zionism. Today it is Palestine and tomorrow it may be another country or other countries. For Zionist scheming has no end, and after Palestine they will covet expansion from the Nile to the Euphrates. Only when they have completed digesting the area on which they will have laid their hand, they will look forward to more expansion, etc. Their scheme has been laid out in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and their present [conduct] is the best proof of what is said there.

Leaving the circle of conflict with Israel is a major act of treason and it will bring curse on its perpetrators.

“Who so on that day turns his back to them, unless maneuvering for battle or intent to join a company, he truly has incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey’s end.” Sura 8 (Al-Anfal - spoils of war), verse 16.

We have no escape from pooling together all the forces and energies to face this despicable Nazi-Tatar invasion. Otherwise we shall witness the loss of [our] countries, the uprooting of their inhabitants, the spreading of corruption on earth and the destruction of all religious values. Let every realize that he is accountable to Allah.

“Whoever does a speck of good will [the consequences] and whoever does a speck of evil will see [the consequences].”

Within the circle of the conflict with world Zionism, the Hamas regards itself the spearhead and the avant-garde. It joins its efforts to all those who are active on the Palestinian scene, but more steps need to be taken by the Arab and Islamic peoples and Islamic associations throughout the Arab and Islamic world in order to make possible the next round with the Jews (60), the merchants of war.

“We have cast among them enmity and hatred till the day of Resurrection. As often as they light a fire for war, Allah extinguishes it. Their effort is for corruption in the land, and Allah loves not corrupters.” Sura V (Al-Ma’idah - the Table spread), verse 64 (61).

Article Thirty Three

The Hamas sets out from these general concepts which are consistent and in accordance with the rules of the universe, and gushes forth in the river of Fate in its confrontation and Jihad waging against the enemies, in defense of the Muslim human being, of Islamic Civilization and of the Islamic Holy Places, primarily the Blessed Aqsa Mosque. This, for the purpose of calling upon the Arab and Islamic peoples as well as their governments, popular and official associations, to fear Allah in their attitude towards and dealings with Hamas, and to be, in accordance with Allah’s will, its supporters and partisans who extend assistance to it and provide it with reinforcement after reinforcement, until the Decree of Allah is fulfilled, the ranks are over-swollen, Jihad fighters join other Jihad fighters, and all this accumulation sets out from everywhere in the Islamic world, obeying the call of duty, and intoning ‘Come on, join Jihad!.” This call will tear apart the clouds in the skies and it will continue to ring until liberation is completed, the invaders are vanquished and Allah’s victory sets in.

“Verily Allah helps one who helps Him. Lo! Allah is strong, Almighty.” Sura XXII (Pilgrimage), verse 40.



Confronting Aggressors Throughout History

Article Thirty Four

Palestine is the navel of earth, the convergence of continents, the object of greed for the greedy, since the dawn of history. The Prophet, may Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him, points out to that fact in his noble hadith (62) in which he implored his venerable Companion, Ma’adh ibn Jabl, saying:

“O Ma’adh, Allah is going to grant you victory over Syria after me, from Al-Arish to the Euphrates, while its men, women, and female slaves will be dwelling there until the Day of Resurrection. Those of you who chose [to dwell] in one of the plains of Syria or Palestine (63) will be in a state of Jihad to the Day of Resurrection.”

The greedy have coveted Palestine more than once and they raided it with armies in order to fulfill their covetousness. Multitudes of Crusades descended on it, carrying their faith with them and waving their Cross. They were able to defeat the-Muslims for a long time, and the Muslims were not able to redeem it until their sought the protection of their religious banner; then, they unified their forces, sang the praise of their God and set out for Jihad under the Command of Saladin al-Ayyubi, for the duration of nearly two decades, and then the obvious conquest took place when the Crusaders were defeated and Palestine was liberated (64).

“Say (O Muhammed) unto those who disbelieve: ye shall be overcome and gathered unto Hell, an evil resting place.” Sura III (Al-Imran), verse 12.

This is the only way to liberation, there is no doubt in the testimony of history. That is one of the rules of the universe and one of the laws of existence. Only iron can blunt iron, only the true faith of Islam can vanquish their false and falsified faith. Faith can only be fought by faith. Ultimately victory is reserved to the truth, and truth is victorious.

“And verily Our word went forth of old unto Our bordmen sent [to warn]. That they verily would be helped. And that Our host, they verily would be the victors.” Sura 38 (Al-saffat), verses 17l-3.

Article Thirty Five

Hamas takes a serious look at the defeat of the Crusades at the hand of Saladin the Ayyubid and the rescue of Palestine from their domination; at the defeat of the Tatars at Ein Jalut (65) where their spine was broken by Qutuz (66) and Al-Dhahir Baibars (67), and the Arab world was rescued from the sweep of the Tatars which ruined all aspects of human civilization. Hamas has learned from these lessons and examples, that the current Zionist invasion had been preceded by a Crusader invasion from the West; and another one, the Tatars, from the East. And exactly as the Muslims had faced those invasions and planned their removal and defeat, they are able to face the Zionist invasion and defeat it. This will not be difficult for Allah if our intentions are pure and our determination is sincere; if the Muslims draw useful lessons from the experiences of the past, and extricate themselves for the vestiges of the [western] ideological onslaught; and if they follow the traditions of Islam.


The Hamas are Soldiers

Article Thirty Six

The Hamas, while breaking its path, reiterates time and again to all members of our people and the Arab and Islamic peoples, that it does not seek fame for itself nor material gains, or social status. Nor is it directed against any one member of our people in order to compete with him or replace him. There is nothing of that at all. It will never set out against any Muslims or against the non-Muslims who make peace with it, here or anywhere else. It will only be of help to all associations and organizations which act against the Zionist enemy and those who revolve in its orbit.

Hamas posits Islam as a way of life, it is its faith and its yardstick for judging. Whoever posits Islam as a way of life, anywhere, and regardless of whether it is an organization, a state, or any other group, Hamas are its soldiers, nothing else.

We implore Allah to guide us, to guide through us and to decide between us and our folk with truth.

“Our Lord! Decide with truth between us and our folk, for Thou are the best of those who make decision.” Sura VII (At-A’raf - the Heights), verse 89.

Our last call is: Thanks to Allah, the Lord of the Universe.


* From Y. Alexander and H. Foxman (eds.), The 1988-1989 Annual on Terrorism. Netherlands, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1990).

l. Hamas, the acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement; (Harakat Muqawama Islamiyya) literally means “enthusiasm,” “zeal,” “fanaticism,” which is quite descriptive of their mode of operation.

2. This is the classical Muslim designation for Jews and Christians whose scriptures had been acknowledged by Islam, except that they were accused of having forged parts of their holy texts, thus making the divine message of the Quran, which supplanted them, an updated imperative.

3. This means that unless the Scriptuary peoples, (specifically the Jews), grasp and keep the Covenant which the Prophet had made with them in Medina, ignominy shall be their fate.

4. Translation follows Muhammed Marmaduke Pickthall’s The meaning of the Glorious Koran, Mentor Books, N.Y., (no date). According to this translation, the verses in question are 110-112.

5. Hassan al-Banna was the founder of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt in the 1920’s. The Hamas claim affiliation with that movement.

6. Da’wa, is the “call”, the “Mission,” which successive Islamic movements have used as a euphemism for their indoctrination and missionary set up. The Journal of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt is also call Da’wa.

7. Holy War for the cause of Islam.

8. “Faith” is used here in the traditional Islamic sense of conquest by and for the sake of Islam. Hence the sanctity of the conquered land as part of Dar-al-Islam, the Abode of Islam.

9. Palestine was conquered by Umar ibn al-Khattab, one of the Prophet’s closest and ablest companions and the second Caliph of Islam (634-644).

10. The translation of the verse is Pickthall’s, op. cit.

11. Under Islam, Jews (and other Scriptuaries for that matter) are indeed assured the status of Ahl-a-dhimma (protected people), which guarantees their lives and properties as long as they submit to the rule of Islam, pay the poll-tax (jizya) and conform to the restrictions imposed upon them by Islamic rule.

12. A prominent Indian-Muslim thinker and theologian.

13. See the Authors Introduction for the context of Qassam’s role in Palestine in the 1930’s.

14. In the 1948 War of Israel’s Independence, the Muslim Brothers played a meaningful role. See the Author’s Introduction.

l5. During the “War of Attrition” which followed the Arab defeat of 1967, groups of the Muslim Brothers purportedly participated in attacks against Israel.

16. Reference is made to the Day of judgment. This tradition (Hadith), which is imputed to the Prophet, has been often quoted in Islamic literature, old and modem. The Egyptian troops who launched the assault on the Bar-Lev Line in October 1973, were equipped with “booklets of guidance” which included, inter alia, this same quotation.

17. Some sort of desert tree, probably the wild orache.

18. Bukhari and Muslim are the authors of the two most authoritative and widely accepted collections of hadith (traditions of the Prophet).

19. Waqf is a religious endowment. There are various kinds: family and private waqfs, whose proceeds accrue to the members of the donor’s family, and after the death of the last descendant go to a charitable purpose; public endowments set apart for a charitable or religious purpose. The Holy land is regarded, like all lan

30. The two holiest shrines of Islam are in Mecca, where the Black Stone of the Ka’ba is located, and Medina where the Prophet lived and died. Third in line is the Haram-al-sharif on Temple Mount in Jerusalem where the Prophet is believed to have ascended to the Seven Heavens (Mi’raj).

31. The Masra is the point of departure for the Prophet’s Journey to Heavens.

32. This is recognized in Islamic tradition as Mecca.

33. The “far-distant place,” in Arabic “Al-Aqsa” has been referred to Jerusalem by Islamic tradition, hence the Aqsa Mosque is located on the purported spot of Muhammed’s visit.

34. This Sura is also known as the “Children of Israel.”

35. See footnote 25 above.

36. See footnote 25 above.

37. Salah-a-din, or Saladin, a Muslim Kurd who ruled the Ayyubid Kingdom at the time of the Crusaders, has become renowned after the defeat he inflicted on the Crusades in the decisive Hittin battle (1187) and his second conquest of Jerusalem for Islam (1189). In the modem world of Islam his memory has been revived and cultivated as part of the struggle against Zionism, which is usually likened, in contemporary Arab/Muslim literature, to the Medieval Crusades.

38. General Allenby took over Palestine from the Ottomans during World War 1, to usher in the era of the British Mandate over Palestine which lasted until 1948. No reference could be found by the author to anything said by the British General relating his takeover of Jerusalem with the Crusades.

39. The Arabic original speaks about General “Guru,” which is probably a rendering of General Gouraud, the first French High Commissioner in Syria, who is reputed to have uttered that statement.

40. According to Islamic tradition, this was the place of the prophet’s point of departure for his Journey from Mecca to Jerusalem. See footnotes 26-31 above.

41. See footnote 30 above.

42. See footnotes 29-31 above.

43. All Hadith collectors and transmitters, see footnote 18 above.

44. See footnote 18 above.

45. Reliance on the Quran and the Sunna (tradition of the prophet) is characteristic of fundamentalist Islamic movements, who hold in low esteem the other three of the usul-a-Din (the Foundation of the Faith, the Sources of the Sharira Law), namely Qiyas (analogy), Ijma’ (consensus) and Ada (local customs).

46. Scientists here are Ahl-el-Ilm-ulama (the Doctors of the Holy Law).

47. Jahiliyya is the era of ignorance which preceded the coming of the Prophet Muhammed, an era usually depicted in terms of oppression, lawlessness, ungodliness, injustice and darkness, until the Prophetic Message Muhammed brought light unto the Arabs of Arabia. Thereafter, any reversion to anti-Islamic or a-Islamic rule, any renegation of Islam or act of Apostasy by Muslims in all domains of life, have been described by Islamic fundamentalist literature as a return to “Jahiliyya.”

48. The umma is the universal congregation of all Muslims.

49. Reference is made to Israel’s occasional actions among Palestinian populations across its borders.

50. The dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire signaled indeed the end of the Caliphate.

51. The famous letter of Lord Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary, dated 2 November 1917, in which he pledged Britain’s help to establish a Jewish Homeland in Palestine, which was to be given as a mandate to the British after the war.

52. This is only part of the verse which refers specifically to the Jews and says, inter alia, “we h

Hamas wins big (& anti-Zionism at the Davos Conference)

January 26, 2006


1. Hamas claims victory
2. Official Davos booklet: “Boycott Israel”
3. First foreign trip by Saudi king is to new ally China
4. Iran and Saudi Arabia to confirm security pact
5. Danish T-shirt firm funds Palestinian terror group
6. Venezuelan intellectuals slam Chavez
7. Assad says Israel killed Arafat
8. 10,000 Palestinians “fighting in Iraq”
9. Iran defends Holocaust (denial) conference
10. Jordan bars religious Jews from entering country
11. Humanitarian tragedies the world has forgotten
12. Poll: Israelis are most patriotic people in the west
13. “Davos booklet features malicious anti-Israel article” (Yediot Ahronot, Jan. 25, 2006)
14. “Venezuelan intellectuals slam Chavez for anti-Semitic remarks” (AP, Jan. 22, 2006)
15. “Iran Defends Planned Holocaust Conference” (AP, Jan. 24, 2006)
16. “Humanitarian tragedies the world has forgotten” (USA Today, Jan. 15, 2006)


[Note by Tom Gross]

As predicted in Tuesday’s dispatch (Israeli leaders brace for possible Hamas “landslide”), it seems that Hamas have swept to power as a result of yesterday’s Palestinian elections. They claim to have won at least 70 (out of 132) seats in the new parliament. Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia today announced he will resign and that Hamas will form the new government. (The Palestinian Central Election Commission say that the official results, initially scheduled to be announced at 9 a.m., will now be released at 7 p.m. today. They did not giving a reason for the delay.)

Thousands of Hamas activists took to the streets today, firing guns in the air and handing out sweets. Many western commentators are expressing shock at the presumed result and say it will “set back the peace process.”

This email list, however, has long argued that Yasser Arafat’s Fatah, and its terrorist wing, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, (which was created by Arafat using Western aid money in the so-called “Oslo peace years”), have done as much to destroy prospects for coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis as Hamas have.

As I have pointed out several times over recent years, The New York Times and other prominent media have done their best to downplay or ignore completely the level of terrorism directed against Israeli civilians by the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and the level of genocidal hate directed against Israeli Jews by the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade has in fact carried out a similar number of terror attacks on Israeli civilians in recent years as Hamas have.

We will have to wait and see if Hamas moderates itself once in government, as some are now predicting. There is no guarantee of this, of course. The fact that murderers can win power through democratic votes does not mean they will then moderate. Hitler is the most obvious example.

U.S. President George W. Bush told The Wall Street Journal that the United States will not deal with Hamas until it renounces its position calling for the destruction of Israel.

For a “photo gallery” of how Arafat’s education system helped swell the ranks of the Al Aqsa Brigades and Hamas, please go to this page.


An official publication handed out at the highly-important annual World Economic Forum, which began yesterday in Davos, Switzerland, includes an article that calls for a boycott of Israel and compares Zionism to racism.

The publication, named “Global Agenda,” was handed out to all conference participants.

The article, titled “Boycott Israel,” is by Mazin Qumsiyeh, a lecturer of genetics at various American universities, including Yale.

An editorial in yesterday’s Israeli paper Yediot Ahronot, severely criticizes the Davos organizers for the article, which it says “includes an unequivocal call to establish a global movement against Zionism and a global movement against the ‘Israeli apartheid,’ as well as anti-Israeli, anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic remarks and threats, the likes of which are usually published in marginal magazines in the West or by radical Islamists.”

Qumsiyeh writes that “Zionism is one of the worst colonialist and racist movements ever, and that Zionists are pulling the strings and setting the policy of the U.S. government.”

His article can be seen at

UPDATE: Within the last hour, the chairman and executive director of the Davos World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, has delivered a letter of apology to all Davos delegates regarding the article. Schwab wrote “this article is totally in contradiction to my own, and the Forum’s, mission and values.” (The Davos organizers have just removed the above URL of the article.)


As the US increasingly attempts to spread democracy in the Middle East, it comes as little surprise that Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah chose semi-Communist China as the destination for his first official trip abroad since acceding to the throne in August.

Abdullah visits China this week. The two dictatorships are laying the foundations for a strategic relationship that challenges U.S. interests, particularly with regard to oil, natural gas and minerals.

Indeed dictators with supposedly conflicting ideologies often form close alliances: witness China and Iran; or Muslim fundamentalist Iran and secular Baathist Syria. (Last week Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Syria.) And, of course, in 1939, there was Hitler and Stalin.


It was announced on January 23, 2006, in al-Vefagh, an official daily published by the Iranian regime in Arabic, that the Iranian government has confirmed a security co-operation pact with Saudi Arabia.

According to the paper, this decision was reported by Iranian Vice President Perviz Daudi.

If Shia-Persian Iran acquires nuclear weapons, the Sunni-Arab Saudis are likely to be worried, hence Saudi Arabia’s desire for a pact.


A Danish fashion firm, “Fighters and Lovers,” is selling “rebel fighter” T-shirts and donating the proceeds to Palestinian and Columbian terror groups, reported Ynetnews, the BBC, and AFP on January 22/23.

The Danish fashion firm says it will donate 5 euros (around 6 U.S. dollars) to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (Farc).

According to the designers, the T-shirts were inspired by Leila Khaled, among others. Khaled was a notorious PLO airline-hijacker and hostage-taker in the 1970s, who was then set free by the British in a startling act of appeasement to the PLO.

The Colombian government has made an official protest to the Danish government.

Fighters and Lovers spokesman Bobby Schultz told AFP: “We are absolutely not worried about being dragged to court and sentenced. We have the right to fight for something, for justice or the right to education, which Farc and the PLFP are fighting for.”


Hundreds of Venezuelan intellectuals have publicly condemned President Hugo Chavez for what they termed his anti-Semitic remarks in his Christmas speech. Chavez said that “the descendants of those who crucified Christ” have appropriated the riches of the world.

A group of 250 intellectuals, writers, artists, journalists and others, published a full-page letter in the leading Venezuelan daily El Nacional, denouncing Chavez, and expressing their “shock and consternation” as “these dangerous tendencies must be denounced and combated before our society loses its humanity.”

Since I first broke this news in the dispatch Venezuelan President Chavez: “The descendants of the Christ-killers’ control the world” (Jan. 2, 2006), several international news outlets have reported on this. (See, for example, “Venezuelan intellectuals slam Chavez for anti-Semitic remarks,” below, from AP and Ha’aretz, Jan. 22, 2006.)

There have also been some sharp public arguments between different Jewish groups over whether these comments were indeed anti-Semitic.

The American Jewish Committee, for example, have argued that the remarks were not anti-Semitic because Chavez did not specifically mention Jews, and because in the same remarks he also condemned Simon Bolivar, who led the 19th century fight to liberate Latin American nations from Spanish rule.

But historian Manuel Caballero, one of the promoters of the Venezuelan condemnation, said last weekend that Chavez’s remarks were a “clear allusion” against Jews and added the same tendency could be seen in Chavez’s former adviser, Argentine Norberto Ceresole, who is known for his openly anti-Semitic views. Simon Bolivar University professor Maruja Tarre, who signed the letter, said Chavez’s remarks were part of his continuous discourse of “very strong anti-Semitic comments.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center have backed my characterization of these remarks as anti-Semitic, saying Chavez’s comments were classic characterizations leveled against Jews regarding the accumulation of wealth and the crucifixion of Christ. The directors of both the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the American Jewish Committee are long-time subscribers of this list, and often send out press releases and email statements based on information within it.


Perhaps in an attempt to take international pressure away from his own regime, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has publicly accused Israel of a “methodical and organized” murder of Yasser Arafat.

Assad told a conference of Arab lawyers in Damascus that “under the world’s gaze and its silence, not one state dared to issue a statement or stance towards this, as though nothing happened.”

Assad has so far refused to be interviewed by the U.N. commission investigating the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Syria routinely blames Israel for pretty much everything.

For more on other outlandish claims about Arafat’s death, please see the dispatch Arafat killed by high tech laser attack (March 21, 2005).


An independent candidate in yesterday’s Palestinian elections has told al-Quds al-Arabi (a Palestinian-owned daily paper published in London) that around 10,000 Palestinians are fighting with Iraqi insurgents and that the Americans are singling out the Palestinians for capture.

Abu Khalid al-Laham, a former confidante of Yasser Arafat, claims he was put in charge of a department regarding Palestinians in Iraq by former Palestinian President Arafat.

This claim that 10,000 are actively fighting in Iraq, which seems to me either untrue or exaggerated, is also noteworthy because the editor-in-chief of al-Quds al-Arabi is Abd al-Bari Atwan, one of the BBC’s regular guest analysts on Middle East, who is supposedly fair and accurate.


On Tuesday, Iran reacted publicly for the first time to the international criticism surrounding its upcoming conference to examine “evidence of whether the so-called Holocaust really happened”. (News about that conference was originally broken on this list earlier this month.)

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi, said, “For over half a century, those who seek to prove the Holocaust have used every podium to defend their position. Now they should listen to others.”

The official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Asefi as adding that “blind prejudice together with political interests and aims have closed the eyes of the Holocaust defenders to the realities of the world, and they reject without any logic a scientific conference.”

President Ahmadinejad has already called the Nazis’ World War II slaughter of 6 million European Jews a “myth” and said the Jewish state should be “wiped off the map.”


Jordan has started preventing religious Jews from entering the country on the premise that they may be targets for terror groups in the kingdom. Jordanian authorities recently barred a group of Israelis after discovering Jewish ritual articles in their belongings.

Israeli National Religious Party chairman Zevulun Orlev claimed that “Jordan’s attitude is reminiscent of dark periods in the history of the Jewish people.”


In a very rare piece for a mainstream paper, USA Today reminds us that nearly 4 million people have been killed in Congo since war broke out in 1998 – the largest conflict-related death toll since World War II. The BBC and CNN have dozens of reporters covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but barely any in Congo.

In addition to Congo, the other worst conflicts include those in Chechnya, Haiti, northeastern India, southern Sudan, Somalia, Colombia, northern Uganda, and Ivory Coast.


Israelis are the most patriotic people in the Western world, according to a survey taken by the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.

85 percent of Israelis expressed a willingness to fight for their countries compared to 63 percent in the US and just 32 percent in Germany and Japan.

Most surprising for those European and American university professors and opinion writers who claim Israel is an “apartheid” state, 77 percent of Israeli Arabs believe that Israel is better than most other countries. 86 percent of Israeli Arabs said they would encourage their children to continue living in Israel.

I attach four articles below.

-- Tom Gross



World Economic Forum booklet features malicious, hateful anti-Israel article
By Sever Plocker
Yediot Ahronot
January 25, 2006

Hate in Switzerland: The few Israelis who arrived Tuesday at the Swiss ski-resort town of Davos to attend the World Economic Forum, an annual meeting of approximately 2,500 business leaders, were in for a bitter surprise: A scathing and malicious article blasting Israel was included in a special booklet handed out to all the conference’s attendees.

The article calls on its readers to boycott Israel and compares Zionism to the most radical forms of racism.

The booklet, titled “Global Agenda,” bears the logo of the World Economic Forum and includes an introduction written by the conference organizers. It appears to be an official publication of the World Economic Forum and is included in every file handed out to conference participants. It is also distributed at the Zurich Airport and at Swiss hotels.

The booklet includes an unusually harsh article written by Mazin Qumsiyeh, a lecturer at a number of American universities, titled “Boycott Israel.”

The article includes an unequivocal call to establish a global movement against Zionism and a global movement against the “Israeli apartheid”, as well as anti-Israeli, anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic remarks and threats, the likes of which are usually published in marginal magazines in the West or by radical Islamists.

‘Colonialist, racist movement’

The writer claims that Zionism’s goal is to wipe out the Palestinian people, that it is one of the worst colonialist and racist movements ever, and that the Zionists of today are pulling the strings and setting the policy of the U.S. government.

The same booklet contains dozens of articles by state leaders, economists, philosophers and CEO’s with an international reputation, including articles by Russia’s president, Pakistan’s president and dozens of Jewish public figures, who were apparently unaware of the fact that they appear on Qumsiyeh’s list.

Although the booklet notes that the articles reflect the opinions and views of their writers and not necessarily those of the publishers, none of the conference’s participants were under the impression the forum did not give its approval and blessing to the publication.

Meanwhile, some Israelis who arrived at the conference on Tuesday expressed their outrage over the publication, but it is unclear whether they intend to take any steps in connection with the matter.



Venezuelan intellectuals slam Chavez for anti-Semitic remarks
The Associated Press
January 22, 2006

Hundreds of Venezuelan intellectuals expressed “shock and consternation” in a public condemnation Saturday of allegedly anti-Semitic remarks made recently by President Hugo Chavez.

“These dangerous tendencies must be denounced and combatted before our society loses its humanity,” the group of 250 intellectuals, writers, artists, journalists and others said in a full-page letter published in the major Venezuelan daily El Nacional.

Chavez in a Christmas Eve speech last month said: “The world has enough for all. But it turned out that some minorities, descendants of those who crucified Christ, descendants of those who threw Bolivar out of here and also crucified him in their own way in Santa Marta, there in Colombia, a minority took the world’s riches for themselves.”

Chavez did not specifically mention Jews. Simon Bolivar led the 19th century fight to liberate Latin American nations from Spanish rule.

The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center shortly afterward accused Chavez of anti-Semitic remarks and demanded a public apology. Chavez rejected the criticism as a misinterpretation of his comments and accused the center of representing the “imperialist” policies of the U.S. government with which he often clashes.

Historian Manuel Caballero, one of the promoters of Saturday’s condemnation, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that he was worried about a possible “radicalization” of Chavez’s government.

He called the remarks a “fairly clear allusion” against Jews and said the same tendency was seen in Chavez’s former adviser, Argentine Norberto Ceresole, who was known for his openly anti-Semitic views. Chavez maintained close ties with Ceresole before his election to the presidency in 1998 but later distanced himself.

Simon Bolivar University professor Maruja Tarre, who signed the letter, said Chavez’s remarks were part of his continuous discourse of “very strong anti-Semitic comments.”

National Assembly President Nicolas Maduro called the condemnation “garbage,” calling it part of a U.S. campaign against Chavez.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center and the group have said that Chavez’s comments were classic characterizations leveled against the Jews regarding the accumulation of wealth and the crucifixion of Christ.

Venezuela’s local Jewish community, however, has backed Chavez’s claims, saying he was misinterpreted by people who don’t understand Venezuela.

The Information Ministry responded sharply to the condemnation, accusing those behind it of “a lack of intellectual honesty” and being part of a “privileged caste without authority.”

Some of those who signed are frequent, outspoken critics of the Chavez administration.

The advertisement was paid for by the signatories and anonymous donors, Caballero said.

Chavez, who frequently expresses his devotion to Christ but has battled with Catholic clergymen here critical of his policies, says he wants to have good relations with all religious groups.



Iran Defends Planned Holocaust Conference
By Ali Akbar Dareini
The Associated Press
January 24, 2006

Iran on Tuesday defended its plan to organize a conference to examine what it terms the scientific evidence for the Holocaust.

At the United Nations, the Israeli ambassador said the conference plans were proof that Iran was run by an “extreme, fundamentalist, lunatic regime.”

The planned conference, which has drawn condemnation from Western leaders, is yet another step in hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s public campaign against Israel.

“For over half a century, those who seek to prove the Holocaust have used every podium to defend their position. Now they should listen to others,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi, was quoted as saying Tuesday by the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

Ahmadinejad already had called the Nazis’ World War II slaughter of 6 million European Jews a “myth” and said the Jewish state should be “wiped off the map.”

Dan Gillerman, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, said the planned conference was “proof of what a global threat Iran really is.”

“I fear that the only reason Iran is showing so much interest in the Holocaust is because they may be preparing another Holocaust and it is up to the world and the United Nations to prevent that from happening,” Gillerman told The Associated Press on the sidelines of the opening of the “No Child’s Play” exhibit at the U.N. commemorating Holocaust remembrance week.

IRNA quoted Asefi as saying: that “blind prejudice together with political interests and aims have closed the eyes of the Holocaust defenders to the realities of the world, and they reject without any logic a scientific conference.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry, which was expected to sponsor the conference, has yet to fix a date or place. It was not clear who might attend.

“Iran is proving yet again what an extreme, fundamentalist, lunatic regime it is,” Gillerman said.

Ahmadinejad has been issuing the highly inflammatory comments about Israel and the Holocaust in conjunction with the country’s deepening confrontation with the West over its nuclear activities. The United States and its allies accuse Iran of seeking nuclear weapons. Tehran says the program is its right under the Nonproliferation Treaty and is designed for electricity generation.

Russia’s national security chief and Iran’s top nuclear negotiator said Tuesday that the nuclear standoff must be resolved by diplomatic efforts in the U.N. atomic watchdog agency.

The Kremlin statement reflected Russia’s efforts to delay Iran’s referral to the U.N. Security Council and Moscow’s opposition to international sanctions against Tehran.

(Associated Press Writer Tracee Herbaugh contributed to this report from the United Nations.)



Humanitarian tragedies the world has forgotten
By Liz Szabo,
USA Today
January 15, 2006

Nearly 4 million people have been killed in Congo since war broke out in 1998 – the largest conflict-related death toll since World War II, according to the International Rescue Committee. Yet aid groups say the suffering in the central African nation and other war-torn areas has gone largely unnoticed by the world.

“There is nothing worse than being forgotten,” says Nicolas de Torrente, executive director of the relief group Doctors Without Borders in the USA.

The medical aid agency has singled out 10 global health crises as the most underreported humanitarian tragedies of 2005. In addition to Congo, the group cited health emergencies in Chechnya, where people face the dangers of disease as well as land mines; Haiti, where thousands have been injured by political violence; northeastern India, where more than 90 were massacred in October; southern Sudan, where thousands remain homeless; Somalia, which has had no functioning central government since 1991; Colombia, wracked by a 40-year-old civil conflict; northern Uganda, where 1.6 million live in refugee camps; and Ivory Coast, where war has devastated the health care system. Doctors Without Borders included a 10th problem that affects countries throughout the world: the lack of research into medical treatments specifically designed to treat AIDS and HIV in impoverished countries.

Media coverage can make a crucial difference, Torrente says. In the first six months of last year, the food crisis in the African nation of Niger received very little news coverage. A report by the BBC excited interest around the world, however, and helped increase humanitarian assistance, Torrente says. Coverage of the December 2004 Asian tsunami also inspired tremendous charitable giving.

While the media still devote a lot of time to disasters, budgets for reporting on other international stories have dwindled in recent years, says Charles Davis, an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism. News corporations find it easier and cheaper to “focus on the mundane and the trivial, the celebrity-driven news over the real needs of real people,” Davis says, adding that Doctors Without Borders’ report illustrates “everything that’s wrong with journalism.”

But journalists play crucial roles in unstable regions, Davis says. Beyond calling attention to suffering, he says, reporters also help hold public officials accountable. “Having a journalistic presence in a place like the Congo is about more than merely the daily story; it’s about Congolese officials knowing there is daily scrutiny of their actions,” Davis says. “Now you have corrupt officials, and they feel no eyes on their backs.”

George Rupp, president of the International Rescue Committee, says the new report may paint too bleak a picture. While many viewers are turned off by problems that seem hopeless, he says, those who hear about progress may be more willing to invest in solutions.

Rupp says security has been restored in parts of Congo patrolled by 17,000 United Nations troops. And villagers are rebuilding their homes and replanting crops in regions of Darfur in Sudan, protected by 7,000 troops from the African Union. Rupp says he’s concerned, though, that these international bodies lack the money to protect all of those who need their help. Without additional news coverage, countries may feel little pressure to increase aid.

“When we do get the resources and put the troops in, there is a clear improvement in health and mortality,” Rupp says. “We know what works. We just have to have the resources to do it.”

Munich (3): BBC set to name woman agent who killed Olympics massacre mastermind

January 24, 2006

* BBC will tonight name Erika Chambers as the British woman who in 1979 detonated the bomb in Beirut that killed the mastermind of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre

* Munich widow Mimi Weinberg breaks silence to blast Spielberg: “With Jews like Spielberg and Kushner we don’t need enemies”

This is a follow-up to two previous dispatches on this list:

* Munich (1): “Spielberg is no friend of Israel” (Dec. 15, 2005)
* Munich (2): Spielberg: “For me this movie is a prayer for peace” (Dec. 15, 2005)



1. BBC set to reveal name of British Mossad agent
2. Munich widow Mimi Weinberg blasts Spielberg
3. George Jonas, author of “Vengeance,” on “Munich”
4. On humanizing terrorists
5. “Munich” will carry “the original terrorists’ intended message to every theater in the world”
6. “The effect is to jumble cause and consequence”
7. Steven Spielberg: “The film doesn’t criticize Israel”
8. “‘Munich,’ the Travesty” (By Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Jan. 13, 2006)
9. “What’s wrong with Spielberg’s new movie” (By Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 1, 2006)
10. “Disagree with me, that’s what I want” (Interview with Steven Spielberg, UK Sunday Times, Jan. 22, 2006)


[All notes below by Tom Gross]

In a documentary to be broadcast tonight (11.20 pm UK time), the BBC will make public the name of the British woman, Erika Chambers, who in January 1979 detonated the bomb in Beirut that killed the overall mastermind of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. Working on behalf of the Mossad, Erika Chambers, who is believed not to be Jewish, befriended the leader of the PLO terror group that planned the Munich massacre, Ali Hassan Salameh. (Tom Gross adds: Chambers isn’t necessarily her real name.)

Salameh was then enjoying a playboy lifestyle in Beirut. In order to get close to him, Chambers, then aged 31, socialized with Salameh, and even went swimming with him, though they did not go to bed. Chambers rented an apartment close to where Salameh lived. From her window she was able to press a remote controlled device, when Salameh drove past, killing him on January 22, 1979. A few hours later, Chambers left for Europe.

Several senior Mossad officials have been British born, including the last head of the Mossad, Ephraim Halevy.

Steven Spielberg’s fictionalized account of the massacre, “Munich,” opens in Britain and various other European and Asian countries on Friday. There will also be another major TV documentary about Israel’s response to the Olympics massacre broadcast on Britain’s Channel 4 on Thursday evening.



Mimi Weinberg, who lost her husband in the Munich massacre, but unlike other bereaved families has never before gone public about the incident, has decided to break her silence to criticize Spielberg.

Speaking from Los Angeles in an interview with the Israeli paper Yediot Ahronot published today, Weinberg says Spielberg “produced a fantasy.”

She says: “This movie fails to discern between those who murder innocent civilians in their sleep and those who hunt down the murderers. That’s what frustrates me about this movie. It drives me crazy. I saw the movie twice. The first time I couldn’t believe what I’d seen, so I went again to make sure I understood.

“With Jews like Spielberg and Kushner we don’t need enemies. There are so many children who never knew their parents. People are murdered in their sleep, and along comes Spielberg to cause the Americans to believe that this is some sort of reality.

“I watched the Golden Globe film awards all tense. When Spielberg and Kushner failed to win anything, I jumped for joy.”



Following my last dispatches on “Munich” in December, the former wife (and still close friend) of George Jonas wrote to me requesting that Jonas’ point of view be aired. Jonas is the author of “Vengeance,” the book the film is supposedly based on. His book along with the film has been widely criticized for its alleged inaccuracies.

Jonas, a Hungarian Holocaust survivor, is now resident in Canada. His former wife asks me to point out on his behalf to readers of this email list:

“Vengeance is a brilliant book and while Spielberg has used it as a ‘road-map’ for his film, Spielberg and Jonas draw entirely opposite conclusions. The book is being republished now and has some utterly superb writing and insights. I cannot commend it too highly. It also has a final essay ‘Notes on A Controversy’ which details how the book was researched and Jonas’ own conclusions about the identity of his source and the role of Mossad.

“It is quite horrid for a Holocaust survivor – as Jonas is, he wore the yellow star and was in hiding in Budapest – it is awful for him to see in the last years of his life, the linking of his book with Spielberg’s thesis of moral equivalence.

“As ‘Vengeance’ makes clear, the Israeli hit team had no moral qualms about what they were doing. They believed it to be right. They had some questions about the utility of it – the replacement of dead terrorists by even worse ones, such as Carlos.

“Avner had no crisis of conscience as he has in the film. He had a crisis of fury at the Mossad and Israel when he was not paid for his work. He had been promised a sum of money for the job when done. According to him, when he informed Mossad that he was not returning to work as an intelligence agent, they would not give him the payment. They offered him several jobs, cushy ones, but Avner wanted to resign from Mossad. That, he says, was not in their view ‘kosher’.”



George Jonas himself now adds:

“Spielberg’s movie worries about the moral trap of resisting terror; my book worries about the moral trap of not resisting it. The story could be called ‘A Tale of Two Avners.’

“‘But Mr. Jonas’s Avner, unlike Mr. Spielberg’s, is not paralyzed by moral doubt,’ as Edward Rothstein would point out eventually in the New York Times.

“A few leftist reviewers flavor their remarks with a soupcon of anti-Semitism. They hint that Jews object to ‘Munich’ because they’re racist, and can’t stand that Spielberg-Kushner view Palestinians as human beings. Writing for Bloomberg, Margaret Carlson says Spielberg treats the Palestinians as people, and that’s enough to turn off a large segment of frequent moviegoers (read Jews). But treating Palestinians as people doesn’t turn off a large segment of the Jewish population, as Carlson implies; what might turn them off is treating terrorists as people. Not demonizing human beings is dandy, but in their effort not to demonize humans, Spielberg and Kushner end up humanizing demons.”



Charles Krauthammer, who is a subscriber to this email list, writes in The Washington Post (article attached below) that “The only true part of the story is the few minutes spent on the (Olympics) massacre. The rest is invention, as Spielberg delicately puts it in the opening credits, ‘inspired by real events.’

“By real events? Rubbish. Inspired by Tony Kushner’s belief (he co-wrote the screenplay) that the founding of Israel was a ‘historical, moral, political calamity’ for the Jewish people.”

Krauthammer asks why “Spielberg makes the Holocaust the engine of Zionism and its justification. Which, of course, is the Palestinian narrative… It takes a Hollywood ignoramus to give flesh to the argument of a radical anti-Semitic Iranian.”

Krauthammer concludes that the movie will carry “the original terrorists’ intended message to every theater in the world.”



In The Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens (also a subscriber to this email list) makes several perceptive criticisms of the film. He also wonders why Spielberg focuses on the Israelis and money: “Again and again in ‘Munich,’ the Israelis are seen counting the cost of each kill, down to the last dollar.”

Stephens analyzes the results of Spielberg’s work: “The effect is to jumble cause and consequence; to make the massacre seem like a response to Israeli atrocities; to turn Munich into just another stage in the proverbial cycle of violence, or what Mr. Spielberg calls a ‘response to a response.’ Mr. Spielberg has said he made this film as a ‘tribute’ to the fallen athletes. What he has mainly accomplished is to trivialize their murder.”

(Most of the people mentioned above – Krauthammer, Stephens, Jonas’s former wife, The New York Times’s Edward Rothstein, and Ephraim Halevy – are long-time subscribers to this email list.)



Steven Spielberg has again defended “Munich” prior to its release in European countries next weekend. For example in an interview published two days ago in The (London) Sunday Times (attached in full below), he says that the film “forces the audience to look directly into the face of unmitigated evil again and again, to remind the audience of why Israel had to respond to Munich in the first place.”

Spielberg, widely regarded as the greatest film director at work today, also insists that “The film doesn’t criticize Israel, it doesn’t even criticize Israeli policy.”

He says: “What our film suggests (is) that when you make policy to create a response to violence, the intelligence that you use to select your targets has to be very carefully picked over, because there are all sorts of unintended results that come with this kind of a response, results that nobody can foresee.”

Spielberg says he was particularly upset by David Brooks, the New York Times columnist, who wrote that “Spielberg allows himself to ignore the core poison that permeates the Middle East, Islamic radicalism. In Spielberg’s Middle East, there is no Hamas or Islamic Jihad. There are no passionate anti-Semites, no Holocaust deniers like the current president of Iran, no zealots who want to exterminate Israelis”.

I attach three articles below, two attacking Spielberg, the third is an interview with Spielberg. I recommend reading all three.

[All notes above by Tom Gross]



‘Munich,’ the Travesty
By Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post
January 13, 2006

If Steven Spielberg had made a fictional movie about the psychological disintegration of a revenge assassin, that would have been fine. Instead, he decided to call this fiction “Munich” and root it in a historical event: the 1972 massacre by Palestinian terrorists of 11 Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games. Once you’ve done that – evoked the killing of innocents who, but for Palestinian murderers, would today be not much older than Spielberg himself – you have an obligation to get the story right and not to use the victims as props for any political agenda, let alone for the political agenda of those who killed them.

The only true part of the story is the few minutes spent on the massacre. The rest is invention, as Spielberg delicately puts it in the opening credits, “inspired by real events.”

By real events? Rubbish. Inspired by Tony Kushner’s belief (he co-wrote the screenplay) that the founding of Israel was a “historical, moral, political calamity” for the Jewish people.

It is an axiom of filmmaking that you can only care about a character you know. In “Munich,” the Israeli athletes are not only theatrical but historical extras, stick figures. Spielberg dutifully gives us their names – Spielberg’s List – and nothing more: no history, no context, no relationships, nothing. They are there to die.

The Palestinians who plan the massacre and are hunted down by Israel are given – with the concision of the gifted cinematic craftsman – texture, humanity, depth, history. The first Palestinian we meet is the erudite translator of poetry giving a public reading, then acting kindly toward an Italian shopkeeper – before he is shot in cold blood by Jews.

Then there is the elderly PLO member who dotes on his 7-year-old daughter before being blown to bits. Not one of these plotters is ever shown plotting Munich, or any other atrocity for that matter. They are shown in the full flower of their humanity, savagely extinguished by Jews.

But the most shocking Israeli brutality involves the Dutch prostitute – apolitical, beautiful, pathetic – shot to death, naked, of course, by the now half-crazed Israelis settling private business. The Israeli way, I suppose.

Even more egregious than the manipulation by character is the propaganda by dialogue. The Palestinian case is made forthrightly: The Jews stole our land and we’re going to kill any Israeli we can to get it back. Those who are supposedly making the Israeli case say... the same thing. The hero’s mother, the pitiless committed Zionist, says: We needed the refuge. We seized it. Whatever it takes to secure it. Then she ticks off members of their family lost in the Holocaust.

Spielberg makes the Holocaust the engine of Zionism and its justification. Which, of course, is the Palestinian narrative. Indeed, it is the classic narrative for anti-Zionists, most recently the president of Iran, who says that Israel should be wiped off the map. And why not? If Israel is nothing more than Europe’s guilt trip for the Holocaust, then why should Muslims have to suffer a Jewish state in their midst?

It takes a Hollywood ignoramus to give flesh to the argument of a radical anti-Semitic Iranian. Jewish history did not begin with Kristallnacht. The first Zionist Congress occurred in 1897. The Jews fought for and received recognition for the right to establish a “Jewish national home in Palestine” from Britain in 1917 and from the League of Nations in 1922, two decades before the Holocaust.

But the Jewish claim is far more ancient. If the Jews were just seeking a nice refuge, why did they choose the malarial swamps and barren sand dunes of 19th-century Palestine? Because Israel was their ancestral home, site of the first two Jewish commonwealths for a thousand years – long before Arabs, long before Islam, long before the Holocaust. The Roman destructions of 70 A.D and 135 A.D. extinguished Jewish independence but never the Jewish claim and vow to return home. The Jews’ miraculous return 2,000 years later was tragic because others had settled in the land and had a legitimate competing claim. Which is why Jews have for three generations offered to partition the house. The Arab response in every generation has been rejection, war and terrorism.

And Munich. Munich, the massacre, had only modest success in launching the Palestinian cause with the blood of 11 Jews. “Munich,” the movie, has now made that success complete 33 years later. No longer is it crude, grainy TV propaganda. “Munich” now enjoys high cinematic production values and the imprimatur of Steven Spielberg, no less, carrying the original terrorists’ intended message to every theater in the world.

This is hardly surprising, considering that “Munich’s” case for the moral bankruptcy of the Israeli cause – not just the campaign to assassinate Munich’s planners but the entire enterprise of Israel itself – is so thorough that the movie concludes with the lead Mossad assassin, seared by his experience, abandoning Israel forever. Where does the hero resettle? In the only true home for the Jew of conscience, sensitivity and authenticity: Brooklyn.



Munich: What’s wrong with Steven Spielberg’s new movie
By Bret Stephens
The Wall Street Journal
January 1, 2006

Steven Spielberg wants you to know one thing about “Munich,” his just-released, semihistorical, instantly controversial account of Israel’s efforts to avenge the massacre of its athletes at the 1972 Olympics: “I worked very hard,” he says, “so this film was not in any way, shape or form going to be an attack on Israel.” So why is his movie raising such hackles among Israelis and those generally known as the “pro-Israel” crowd?

Maybe it has something to do with his choice of a screenwriter, Tony Kushner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright brought in by Mr. Spielberg to rework the original screenplay by Eric Roth. Mr. Kushner (who, like Mr. Spielberg, is Jewish) believes that the creation of the state of Israel was “a historical, moral, political calamity” for the Jewish people. He believes the policy of the government of Israel has been “a systematic attempt to destroy the identity of the Palestinian people.” He believes that responsibility for making peace between Israelis and Palestinians lies primarily with the Israelis, “inasmuch as they are far more mighty.” He believes Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is an “unindicted war criminal.”

Maybe it has something to do with Mr. Spielberg’s curious use of “Jewish” tropes. Again and again in “Munich,” the Israelis are seen counting the cost of each kill, down to the last dollar: $352,000 for an assassination in Rome; $200,000 for a bombing in Paris. “Killing Palestinians isn’t exactly cheap,” remarks one of the members of the Israeli team. A Frenchman in the business of retailing the whereabouts of wanted men praises Israeli squad leader Avner Kauffman (Eric Bana) because he pays “better than anyone.” A Mossad officer warns Kauffman not to overspend his budget. “I want receipts,” he says.

Maybe it has something to do with the historical liberties Mr. Spielberg takes in telling the story. “Vengeance,” the George Jonas book upon which the film is largely based, is widely considered to be a fabrication. The book is based on a source named Yuval Aviv, who claimed to be the model for Avner but was, according to Israeli sources, never in the Mossad and had no experience in intelligence beyond working as a screener for El Al, the Israeli airline.

Maybe it has something to do with Mr. Spielberg’s depiction of the Palestinian targets. The Israeli team’s first quarry is an elderly, evidently kindly man whom the audience first encounters reading from his Italian translation of Scheherazade. Target Two is a well-spoken diplomat and doting father. Target Three offers Avner a cigarette from across a balcony; Avner repays the gesture by having him blown to bits in his bed. Another target gives a moving speech about his longing for his homeland and the agony of 24 years of dispossession. There is nothing wrong with depicting Palestinians – even those involved in terrorism – as fully rounded human beings. Yet not one of these characters is seen performing the deeds for which they have been targeted, unlike the Israelis in the film, who perform dirty deeds by the dozen.

Maybe it has something to do with the straw-man arguments the Israelis offer for exacting their revenge. “The only blood that matters to me is Jewish blood,” says Steve (Daniel Craig), the most macho of the Israeli hit men. Steve is a South African Jew, blonde and blue-eyed, and somehow it’s no surprise that this Jewish Aryan is made to utter this most racist of views. Avner’s mother offers her son an ends-justify-the-means rationalization for his killings: “Whatever it takes,” she says, “we have a place on Earth at last.” And then there is Prime Minister Golda Meir (Lynn Cohen) who justifies the assassination policy by saying, “forget peace for now, we have to be strong.” Never mind that in 1972 neither the Arab states nor the PLO was prepared to live in peace with Israel on any terms. Never mind, too, that peace and strength are not incompatible options.

Maybe it has something to do with the false dichotomy the film establishes between Jewish ideals and Israeli actions. “Every civilization finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with its own values,” pronounces the fictional Mrs. Meir. Yet the Torah and Talmud are replete with descriptions of the justified smiting of one enemy or another. (Hanukkah, for instance, commemorates the Maccabean victory over the Seleucid empire.) It is Christianity, not Judaism, that counsels turning the other cheek.

Maybe it has something to do with what in Hollywood is known as the hero’s “character arc.” Avner is introduced in the film as the quintessential sabra, the son of Zionist pioneers personally selected for the mission by the prime minister herself. But as his doubts about his mission grow, so does his disillusionment with Israel. On a return visit to Israel, he can barely bring himself to shake the hands of two soldiers who congratulate him for his rumored exploits. By film’s end, he has moved his family to Brooklyn and convinced himself that the Mossad is targeting him for assassination.

Maybe it has something to do with the film’s final scene. Ephraim (Geoffrey Rush), Avner’s snarling Mossad handler, has come to New York to ask Avner to “come home.” Avner refuses; Israel, apparently, is no longer a suitable place for a morally sensitized man. Next, Avner invites Ephraim to join him at home for supper. “Break bread with me,” he says. “Isn’t that what Jews do?” Now it’s Ephraim who says no, as if to suggest that such old-fashioned courtesies are no longer of interest to today’s hard-of-heart Israelis.

Maybe it has something to do with Mr. Spielberg’s decision to depict the actual slaughter of the Israeli athletes (bizarrely interwoven with an especially vulgar sex scene) at the end of the film rather than at the beginning. The effect is to jumble cause and consequence; to make the massacre seem like a response to Israeli atrocities; to turn Munich into just another stage in the proverbial cycle of violence, or what Mr. Spielberg calls a “response to a response.” Mr. Spielberg has said he made this film as a “tribute” to the fallen athletes. What he has mainly accomplished is to trivialize their murder.

“If you start with an ax to grind,” Mr. Kushner recently told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, “then you write a bad play or movie.” To watch “Munich” is to recognize the truth of that statement.



Disagree with me – that’s what I want: Goaded by critics of his new film Munich, Steven Spielberg tells Christopher Goodwin he is not guilty of sympathising with terrorists
The Sunday Times (of London)
January 22, 2006,,2092-2003518,00.html

The eternal wunderkind of American cinema is tired.

“I made two films, War of the Worlds and Munich, in the same calendar year,” says Steven Spielberg wearily, “and I’m not 30 years old any more, so I’m looking to rest for a little while.”

Spielberg, 59, is also tired of sitting back and taking the furious barrage of attacks from critics of Munich, the most controversial film he has made in his long career.

Munich tells the astonishing – and largely true, according to Spielberg – story of the Israeli assassination squad who hunted down the Palestinians responsible for the deaths of 11 Israelis during the 1972 Munich Olympics.

The film, which opens in Britain next weekend, is also Spielberg’s sometimes anguished attempt to point out what he sees as the futility of the cycle of violence between Palestinians and Israelis. Before it opened in America at the end of December he said he had made it as a “prayer for peace” in the Middle East.

The reaction to the film has become increasingly vehement and personal. Spielberg’s critics have accused him of the “sin of equivalence” and “moral relativism”. They charge that he equates Palestinian terrorism with the Israeli response to that terror.

Spielberg clearly felt that as Hollywood’s most prominent and powerful Jew he would be immune from some of the more venomous attacks on him. He has always been a strong supporter of the state of Israel and Jewish causes. He used the profits from Schindler’s List, his Oscar-winning Holocaust drama, to fund the Shoah Foundation, which is compiling an unprecedented and vast audio-visual library of the personal stories of Holocaust survivors.

Deciding not to take the attacks silently any more, Spielberg spoke to The Sunday Times last week, accusing the critics of “political censorship disguised as criticism”.

He was particularly upset by David Brooks, the conservative New York Times columnist, who wrote that “Spielberg allows himself to ignore the core poison that permeates the Middle East, Islamic radicalism. In Spielberg’s Middle East, there is no Hamas or Islamic Jihad. There are no passionate anti-semites, no Holocaust deniers like the current president of Iran, no zealots who want to exterminate Israelis”.

Spielberg retorted that his film “forces the audience to look directly into the face of unmitigated evil again and again, to remind the audience of why Israel had to respond to Munich in the first place”.

He vividly recalls watching the television news coverage of the kidnappings and massacre in Munich as a 25-year-old: “It was the first time that the word ‘terrorism’ and the term ‘terrorist’ were brought into public consciousness.”

On the night of September 4, 1972, during the second week of the Olympics, members of the so-called Black September group invaded the lightly guarded Olympic village. Two members of the Israeli team were killed; nine others were taken hostage.

Over the next 21 hours, 900m people around the world watched the tragic events unfold on television. An inept rescue attempt by the German military on the tarmac of Furstenfeldbruck airport on the outskirts of Munich ended with the deaths of all the hostages, five of the kidnappers and a German police officer. The three surviving kidnappers were freed after Palestinians hijacked a Lufthansa jet.

Spielberg became increasingly intrigued by the mechanics and morality of operation Wrath of God, the response secretly formulated by the Israeli government to hunt down and assassinate those responsible. Thirteen Arabs, not all of them connected to the massacre, are believed to have died. The Israeli government finally called a halt after a hit squad killed an innocent Moroccan waiter in Denmark as a result of mistaken identity.

The story of the assassinations was first told in 1982 in the book Vengeance by George Jonas. Aspects of this account have been much disputed, yet it is the main source for the new film.

Spielberg bought the rights to the book about five years ago, but he says his biggest problem “was to find a credible source that would allow me to acquit the story with enough truth to illuminate the questions that Tony Kushner and I were trying to pose”.

Kushner, credited as co-writer of the script, is the Pulitzer prize-winning playwright of Angels in America, the fantastical epic about the havoc caused by Aids.

“I developed the script based on a number of sources,” says Spielberg, “but it wasn’t until I met the living source, who the character Avner in my film portrays, did I really decide that this was a story that was worth telling.”

Avner, the name given in Jonas’s book and in Spielberg’s blockbuster to the leader of the Israeli assassins, embodies many of the bitter controversies of the film.

Some critics, including the makers of a documentary, Munich: the Real Assassins, to be shown on Channel 4 on Thursday, claim that Yuval Aviv, the man most commonly thought to be the model for Avner, was a fantasist who had worked as an El Al baggage handler, not as a trained killer.

Spielberg rejects this, saying he and Kushner met the man his Avner is based on and believed his story, although he won’t divulge his name. “Because this mission was so clandestine, until secret files are opened by Israel there is going to be a lot of room for speculation, interpretation and point of view,” Spielberg says. “I happen to trust my source.”

Spielberg portrays Avner as a man who becomes increasingly morally conflicted about his mission, especially after he begins to suspect that some of the people he has killed may have had no involvement in Munich. Eventually Avner quits to establish a new life with his wife and child in New York. He clearly symbolises the deep moral doubts many progressive Jews, including obviously Spielberg and Kushner, have about the violent nature of the Israeli state response to Palestinian demands and terror.

Critics have attacked this portrayal of Avner for a number of reasons. Jonas himself, the originator of Avner in his book, insists that “my Avner may have questioned the utility of his mission toward the end – targeted assassinations barely slowed down terrorism, let alone stopped it – but he never questioned the morality of what his country had asked him to do. He had no pangs of guilt”.

“I disagree with that,” says Spielberg. “The character we were portraying didn’t doubt his mission and if he had the chance to serve Israel again in the same way he would leap to it. But that doesn’t negate the fact that he had moral questions about his mission and about his own actions and how it was affecting his heart and soul.

“The man we met, on whom Avner is based, expressed that to Tony Kushner and myself quite eloquently and passionately. It’s not uncharacteristic for soldiers in any conflict to be conflicted about what they are doing, although they would do it over again if they had the opportunity.”

Jonas has another charge: “Spielberg’s Munich follows the letter of my book closely enough. The spirit is almost the opposite. Vengeance holds there is a difference between terrorism and counterterrorism; Munich suggests there isn’t. The book has no trouble telling an act of war from a war crime; the film finds it difficult. Spielberg’s movie worries about the moral trap of resisting terror; my book worries about the moral trap of not resisting it.”

This is the argument of those who accuse Spielberg of the “sin of equivalency”. The director denies that he is simplistically postulating that violence begets violence.

“What our film suggests (is) that when you make policy to create a response to violence, the intelligence that you use to select your targets has to be very carefully picked over, because there are all sorts of unintended results that come with this kind of a response, results that nobody can foresee,” he says.

“I personally believe that Golda Meir (who was the Israeli prime minister) needed to respond in the way that she did because Israel would have been perceived as weak had it done nothing to attempt to dismantle the Black September network in western Europe. The film doesn’t criticise Israel, it doesn’t even criticise Israeli policy, but it says that there are unintended consequences in everything that has to do with violence.

“These guys are saying that what we are doing with Munich is not making any distinction in our empathy between terrorist victims and the killing of people who are terrorists. I think that is nonsense. These people have a knee-jerk response whenever characters who are terrorists or who are suspected terrorists are given a chance to have dialogue. The minute we allow them to speak we suddenly are committing the sin of equivalence, and to me that is just foolish politics.”

In one of Munich’s pivotal – but fictional – moments, Avner and his group accidentally spend a night in the same safe house as a group of Palestinian assassins and engage in a soul-searching debate with them about the fundamental issues separating the two peoples. This scene, in which Spielberg and Kushner give the Palestinians a voice, has infuriated conservatives.

“Palestinians murder, Israelis murder,” wrote commentator Leon Wieseltier in The New Republic. “Palestinians show evidence of a conscience, Israelis show evidence of a conscience. Palestinians suppress their scruples, Israelis suppress their scruples. Palestinians make little speeches about home and blood and soil, Israelis make little speeches about home and blood and soil. Palestinians kill innocents, Israelis kill innocents. All these analogies begin to look ominously like the sin of equivalence, and so it is worth pointing out that the death of innocents was an Israeli mistake but a Palestinian objective.”

Spielberg countered: “It is fascinating to watch people who really only want their assumptions confirmed by what they are taking into the theatre. They go into the film and they shave off everything and anything that challenges their assumptions. They sculpt this movie to be what they want it to be. They are really looking for a simple-minded thesis.

“I think the film is effective because it does what history books really can’t do, which is to ask questions that may not have an immediate answer, and I think this frustrates people.

“I have always been taught that in democratic society discussion is the greatest good you can perform, the most valuable thing you can do. It’s part of my Jewish tradition and it’s Talmudic. I encourage people to agree or disagree with what I am doing. But not by saying it was bad to have ever made this film. That’s political censorship disguised as criticism and that’s not what I am accustomed to in the marketplace of democracy.”

He said that he and his family “love Israel, we support Israel, we have unqualified support for Israel, which has struggled, surrounded by enemies, ever since its statehood was declared ... I feel very proud to stand right alongside all of my friends in Israel; and yet I can ask questions about these very, very sensitive issues between Israelis and Palestinians and the whole quest for a homeland”.

If Steven Spielberg can’t ask these questions, who can?

Israeli leaders brace for possible Hamas “landslide”

* Sick of Fatah-PLO-PA corruption and nepotism, Palestinians turn to Hamas
* Hamas charter: “Hamas strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine... Israel will continue to exist until Islam will eliminate it as it has eliminated its predecessors.”



1. The first “real” Palestinian elections
2. “Corruption,” “nepotism,” “bribery,” “stealing”
3. Electoral campaign deaths and injuries unreported in the west
4. Some ballots have already been cast
5. Fatah: Young guard vs. old guard
6. “Hitler” hoping for seat in Palestinian parliament
7. Has Hamas changed?
8. Hamas’ $180,000 spin doctor
9. Hamas’ prospects may be harmed by Fatwa
10. Olmert: No need to voice an opinion
11. U.S. funding for PA election campaign
12. Western leaders prepare for Hamas
13. “New-look Hamas spends £100k on an image makeover” (Guardian, Jan. 20, 2006)
14. “85 women run for Palestinian elections” (AFP, The Peninsula (Qatar), Jan. 23, 2006)
15. “Palestinians urged to vote for God or Arafat” (Reuters, Jan. 20, 2006)
16. “Hamas votes set to sweep Abbas away” (Sunday Times (of London), Jan. 22, 2006)

[Note by Tom Gross]


Tomorrow about 1.3 million Palestinians go to the polls to elect members of the 132-seat Palestinian Legislative Council. There are 728 candidates standing. Half of the seats will be filled by direct election on a constituency-basis; the other half by proportional representation from party lists. Those monitoring the election include former US president Jimmy Carter and former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt.

These elections are the first to be held by the Palestinians where the result is not a foregone conclusion. (The last Palestinian election campaign in 1996 was rigged from start to finish by Yasser Arafat, yet afterwards several leading western newspapers and western leaders wrongly declared it to have been free and fair.) Fatah, which as the main constituent part of the PLO has ruthlessly dominated Palestinian politics for four decades, and Hamas, polling under the name “Change and Reform,” are likely to gain the bulk of the vote. This is the first time Hamas has participated in a “national” election. (They participated in some local elections last year.)

Other groups infamous for a string of terror attacks on Israeli civilians, such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, are also taking part. The terrorist group Islamic Jihad, whose latest suicide bomb in Tel Aviv was only last Thursday, is boycotting the election.

The most recent polls show a narrowing gap between Fatah and Hamas. A poll conducted by The Palestinian Center for Public Opinion on January 23 gave Fatah 39.6% of the vote and “Change and Reform” (Hamas) 28.8% of the vote. The third-placed party, well behind with 7.7% of the vote, was the Independent List led by political activist Mustafa Barghouti. (See the Palestinian-hosted website for more poll details.)

The (London) Sunday Times claimed two days ago that the gap between Fatah and Hamas was now only 45%-42%, “making the final result too close to call.”


Almost all the candidates (including those from Fatah) have placed not relations with Israel, but rampant financial corruption at the top of their electoral platforms. A Hamas advertisement shows the words “corruption,” “nepotism,” “bribery,” “chaos” and “stealing” all exploding in flames in a bid to convince the Palestinian people to vote for a more honest ruling party.

Last week, the European Union suspended aid worth 35 million euros ($42 million) to the Palestinian Authority, citing its lack of budgetary discipline. One of the reasons given by the EU was that the PA had not replaced former Palestinian finance minister, Salam Fayyad, who resigned last November in disgust at PA corruption. (For more on this, see a note in the dispatch of Dec. 2, 2005, Sharon prepares to withdraw from “virtually all” the West Bank by 2008. For more on Fayyad, see the article titled “Auditing Arafat” in the dispatch Arafat appears on “Forbes” world’s richest list, Feb. 28, 2003)


Virtually the entire Western media have failed to cover the deaths and injuries that have resulted from the considerable amount of gunfire that has accompanied many Palestinian campaign rallies.

For example, on January 18, 2006, Bassel Kamel al-Sha’er, 20, from Rafah, was killed by a live bullet whilst attending a Fatah rally in Rafah. Two weeks earlier, Rami Talal al-Dalu, 27, from Gaza City, was killed by gunmen following arguments between supporters of Fatah and Hamas in the al-Nasser neighborhood regarding the hanging of posters.

Last week, on January 20, Mohammed Bassam Shuhaiber, an 11-year old child from Gaza City, was injured by a live bullet to the abdomen during a Fatah electoral gathering in al-Sabra. Yesterday, gunmen from a split faction of Fatah shot dead Youssef Hasona, 35, in Nablus while he was hanging posters of another Fatah candidate. And so on.

However, compared to most of the Arab world, this Palestinian election campaign has so far been relatively fair. A survey by the Economist’s EIU late last year put the Palestinians (including those under Israeli control in the West Bank) fifth on an index of 20 Middle Eastern countries ranked according to political and civil liberty. The top four were Israel, Lebanon, Morocco and Iraq.


Members of the Palestinian security forces (numbering up to 60,000) were eligible to vote between last Saturday and Monday. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah told supporters on Friday “We urge our brothers in the Palestinian security services to exercise their right to vote in complete freedom... We assure you that if we win, we will be at your service.”

Mahmoud Zahar, another Hamas leader, announced that if Hamas win they would seek to incorporate the PA security forces into Hamas in order to together “fight” Israel.

The Palestinian security forces will be placed on maximum alert to ensure the vote proceeds smoothly. Around 13,000 police officers will be deployed around more than 1,000 polling stations in Palestinian areas, and will enforce a ban on weapons inside these stations.


This election comes at a time of internal strife within Fatah between the leaders of the second Intifada, whom Palestinians see as less corrupt (although just as violent), and the clique that had previously formed around Arafat, now led by Mahmoud Abbas.

Many of the campaign posters for Fatah have shown images of Yasser Arafat rather than the current Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Basem Ezbidi, a political science professor at Ramallah’s Bir Zeit University told the Washington Times that “on a popular level, people do not see him really as someone whom they can trust to deliver because they’ve given him a full year to deliver, and he didn’t.”

The so-called “Young Guard” is led by Marwan Barghouti, who heads the Fatah list in these elections. Barghouti, the founder of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, is currently in a high security prison cell in Israel’s Negev desert where he is serving five life sentences for murder. He was convicted of the murder of four Israeli civilians and a Greek monk, but is widely suspected of ordering dozens of other murders of Israeli Jews, including the Hadera Bat Mitzvah massacre of January 17, 2002.

Fatah’s election posters feature Barghouti brandishing his handcuffed wrists in a victory salute reminiscent of Yasser Arafat. In separate interviews Israel allowed him to conduct from his prison cell in recent days with two Arabic satellite channels, Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, Barghouti called for Fatah and Hamas to be “partners in the field, and in Parliament.”

The Jerusalem Post writes today: “In general, we have reason to be proud of the fact that we hold ourselves to different standards than our enemies. Sometimes, however, our ability to deny and self-abnegate reaches absurd proportions, to the extent that we humiliate ourselves. How else can a decision to allow a convicted terrorist, Marwan Barghouti, to justify his own crimes from prison be interpreted? Barghouti, in his spate of prison interviews, left no doubt as to his authentic support for terrorism. The refusal of supposed moderates, like Barghouti, to abandon either the “right to resist” or the “right to return” demonstrates that they have not given up the quest to destroy Israel. The refusal of Israeli and American policy makers to recognize this and say so, far from advancing the cause of peace, contributes directly toward the perpetuation of the conflict.”


Also on the Fatah list is Jamal Abu Roub, 40, widely known by Palestinians as “Hitler,” the nickname he adopted for himself.

Roub, the leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin, is virtually assured of a seat in the Palestinian parliament. He has been given the No.12 position on Fatah’s list of parliamentary candidates. For more on Roub, please see BBC sanctions reporter who cried for Arafat (& “Hitler” running in Fatah primaries) (Nov. 28, 2005.)

The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a part of Fatah, has in recent months caused daily chaos in the Gaza Strip, kidnapping foreigners and occupying government buildings, supposedly to demand better jobs.


Over the last week, some prominent western news outlets have reported that Hamas has moderated. They have failed to report, for example, the Hamas election advertisement shown on Palestinian TV on January 17, 2006 that proclaimed: “We do not recognize the Israeli enemy, nor his right to be our neighbor, nor to stay [on the land], nor his ownership of any inch of land. Therefore, we do not see [Israel] as an ally, not in policy, not in security, not in economy and not in any form of cooperation. Israel is an enemy who is interested in uprooting us.”

The Hamas’ charter clearly states that “it strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine... Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will eliminate it.” (Article 6)

Article 13 states: “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and International Conferences are but a waste of time.”

In addition, Hamas leaders have made no secret of their objectives. For example, Abd Al-Aziz Rantissi stated “We will not leave one Jew in Palestine” (Al-Jazeera Television, September 30, 2003).


Support for Hamas is partly based upon its charity network and anti-corruption credentials. Its vow to eliminate Israel does not appear in its election manifesto, but in interviews and at rallies Hamas officials have repeatedly emphasized that this has not changed. Hamas has placed much emphasis on its image at these elections, as illustrated by the article from The Guardian, attached below. Hamas has paid a spin doctor, Nashat Aqtash, $180,000 to persuade Europeans and Americans that it is not a group of religious fanatics who relish suicide bombings and hate Jews.

Many people in the region believe that following a strong showing in these elections, Hamas will change its present stance towards Israel. Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit, said at the weekend “We believe that Hamas joining the political process will lead to a fundamental change in its thinking and its premises.”

An Israeli army official was quoted in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz saying that Hamas was likely to refrain from major terror attacks following the elections in a bid to shore up its political legitimacy. The unnamed army official added that Hamas was likely to reassess its options after the Israeli elections in March.

Yet last week Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal was one of 10 senior Palestinian terrorists to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Damascus. (For more on Ahmadinejad, see Israel receives surprisingly strong international support over Ahmadinejad comments, Nov. 1, 2005.)

A Jerusalem District Court has ordered Hamas to pay almost 100 million shekels to the survivors of a family who were murdered by Hamas terrorists. Four members of the Gavish family (including Rachel Gavish who I mentioned in The Forgotten Rachels) were killed in their home in Elon Moreh in 2002 during the Passover holiday.

A member of Hamas was arrested yesterday night under suspicion of planning the abduction of Israeli citizen Sasson Nuriel, who was kidnapped and brutally murdered in September 2005. (See the dispatch Synagogue to become Hamas museum (& “an Islamic guide on how to beat your wife.”)


The Islamic Liberation Party has issued a fatwa saying it is illegal to vote in the upcoming elections according to the Islamic religion. Many members of the ILP are also Hamas members.

The ILP claims that the elections are taking place as a result of the Oslo agreements that gave up “sections of Palestine”. They also claimed that the elections are “part of a colonialist game” pushed by George W. Bush.


In the weekly Israeli cabinet meeting on Sunday, acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declined to discuss the Palestinian elections, saying it could be interpreted as having influence on the elections.

Olmert remarked, “There is no need to voice an opinion on the eve of elections. We will hold a discussion following elections and decide then what to do and how.”

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz also briefed the cabinet and said that Israeli security forces were prepared for the possibility of a large-scale terror attack on Palestinian election day.

And Internal Security Minister Tzachi Hanegbi commented at the meeting that “if Hamas takes over the Palestinian Authority, this would be tragic for the Palestinians, in terms of their international status and their ability to maintain relations with Israel.”

Shimon Peres hinted last week that Israel could speak to Hamas if it gives up terrorism. He told Israel Radio: “We will not sit with anybody who comes to negotiations with a gun or a bomb,” but then added “We are not fighting against a name. We are fighting against a situation. If the situation changes, then what difference does a name make.”


The Washington Post reported on Sunday that “The Bush administration is spending foreign aid money to increase the popularity of the Palestinian Authority on the eve of crucial elections in which the governing party faces a serious challenge from the radical Islamic group Hamas.”

Approximately $2 million have been spent on about 40 small, popular events to increase the popularity of the present Palestinian government. The U.S. classifies Hamas as a terrorist organization and according to the Washington Post fears “a large Hamas presence in the 132-seat (Palestinian) legislature.”

The money was distributed by USAID and included donating computers to community centers and sponsoring a national soccer tournament.

The Washington Post continued: “Arabic-language papers have been filled with U.S.-funded advertisements announcing the events in the name of the Palestinian Authority, which the public closely identifies with Fatah.” A U.S. official quoted in the article said “I’m not going to apologize for it. I’m proud of the work we’ve done.”


Both the U.S. and the European Union have been scrambling to deal with a potential Hamas victory. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday that “The United States won’t change its policies toward Hamas it’s hard to have negotiations with a party that you do not recognize its right to exist.”

British Prime Minister Tony Blair commented in a monthly news conference “it is very difficult for us to be in the position of negotiating or talking to Hamas unless there’s a very clear renunciation of terrorism.”

I attach four articles below, including analyses of Palestinian women running for election, Abbas’s corruption, and Hamas’s attempt to deliver a moderate message for western ears. (Please note that the first article, from The Guardian, contains inaccurate statements by Hamas which go unchallenged by The Guardian correspondent.)

-- Tom Gross



New-look Hamas spends £100k on an image makeover
Spin doctor admits he has ‘work cut out’ with group known for suicide attacks
By Chris McGreal
The Guardian
January 20, 2006,2763,1690610,00.html?gusrc=rss

Hamas is paying a spin doctor $180,000 (£100,000) to persuade Europeans and Americans that it is not a group of religious fanatics who relish suicide bombings and hate Jews.

The organisation, also known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, has hired a media consultant, Nashat Aqtash, to improve its image at home and abroad because it expects to emerge from next week’s Palestinian general election as a major political force, and wants recognition and acceptance by the US and EU.

“Hamas has an image problem. The Israelis were able to create a very bad image of the Palestinians in general and particularly Muslims and Hamas. My contract is to project the right image,” said Mr Aqtash, who also teaches media at Birzeit University in Ramallah.

“We don’t need the international community to accept Hamas ideology, we need it to accept the facts on the ground. We are not killing people because we love to kill. People view Hamas as loving sending people to die. We don’t love death, we like life.”

Mr Aqtash, who describes himself as opposed to violence and “believing in the Gandhi route”, has advised Hamas leaders to change their image by explaining that they do not hate Israelis because they are Jews. And he is attempting to persuade influential foreigners that Hamas is essentially a peaceful organisation that was forced to fight, but is now committed to pressing its cause through politics, not violence.

“Hamas does not believe in terrorism or killing civilians. But Ariel Sharon pressed buttons to make people angry. Sometimes we are innocent enough to react in a way that the Israelis use the reaction against us,” he said.

Next week Mr Aqtash says he will address the former US president Jimmy Carter and former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt, and other prominent foreigners monitoring the election. But he admits he and his small team working from an office in Ramallah have their work cut out. Hamas is responsible for scores of suicide bombings, killing and maiming hundreds of civilians (many of them children), although not for yesterday’s attack in Tel Aviv.

Hamas’s founding charter calls for the destruction of Israel and it wants to impose an Islamic state on all Palestinian territory.

Mr Aqtash, who says he is not a member of Hamas and does not know where it got the money to pay him but frequently refers to the group as “we”, says he has told the leadership it has to change its rhetoric. He says Hamas has not helped itself by celebrating suicide bombings; he advises against celebration. And he has told Hamas leaders not to talk about destroying Israel.

“Abdel Aziz Rantisi [the former Hamas leader killed by Israel two years ago] was on television saying things that foreigners cannot accept, like we will remove Israel from the map. He should have talked about Palestinian suffering. He should have said we need this occupation ended. Foreigners will accept this,” he said.

Mr Aqtash has also advised Hamas leaders to emphasise that they are not anti-semitic or against Israelis because they are Jews. Hamas has taken the message on board. In an interview earlier this week, Muhammad Abu Tir, who is second on the Hamas election list, twice (and unprompted) offered an assurance that he is not a Jew hater.

“Loving others is part of our religion. We are not against Jews as Jews, we are against oppression,” he said.

Mr Aqtash also told Mr Abu Tir to rid himself of a red beard, coloured by henna, because it makes people laugh.

The PR man wriggles away from questions about whether Hamas has more than an image problem when it sends bombers on buses and into cafes.

“I’m personally against killing. All civilians should not be killed. Killing Israeli civilians is not accepted by the international community. They think it is a terrorist act,” he said.

“But Sharon was responsible for killing civilians too. During this intifada Hamas killed a thousand Israelis, some of them civilians, some of them soldiers. But the Israelis killed 4,000 Palestinians. It’s a war. The Israelis use F16s; Hamas uses people. Anyway, Hamas hasn’t sent a suicide bomber in a year.”

Hamas is also attempting to soften its image at home with the launch of a television station in Gaza that includes a children’s show presented by “Uncle Hazim” and men in furry animal suits. The station, named Al Aqsa Television after Islam’s third holiest site, says it intends to put across the group’s message “but without getting into the tanks, the guns, the killing and the blood”. It will instead focus on religious readings, discussion programmes and a talent show.

Mr Aqtash, however, is not entirely confident in his powers of persuasion.

“How did I do?” he asked as the interview ended. “Did I make you think differently about Hamas?”


The advice Nashat Aqtash gave to Hamas:

• Say you are not against Israelis as Jews
• Don’t talk about destroying Israel
• Do talk about Palestinian suffering
• Don’t celebrate killing people
• Change beard color (if red)



85 women run for Palestinian elections
AFP (Agence France Presse)
The Peninsula (An English language daily published in Qatar)
January 23, 2006

“The assassination of my husband gave me the strength to dedicate myself to politics,” says Hamas candidate Muna Mansur, who is one of 85 women hoping to win a parliamentary seat in Wednesday’s elections.

Her husband Jamal, one of the radical movement’s leaders in the West Bank, was killed four years ago during an Israeli air strike on the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

“The only thing which would make me pull out of political life would be if he himself were a candidate, out of respect,” she says.

Through the white veil which hides all of her face save her eyes and mouth, Mansur, a 44-year-old physics teacher and mother of five, explains that the Koran leaves no doubt about “a woman’s right to be a (political) candidate”.

And her face doesn’t lose a shred of its gentleness as she speaks about the armed fight against Israel.

“Is there any other way? I believe in peace but in a just peace,” she explains. “Israel kills those close to us and says afterwards that it is us who are violent. They don’t give us any other option.”

In the outgoing Palestinian Legislative Council (parliament), only five of the 88 seats were held by women. But following Wednesday’s vote, the parliament is to increase its number of seats to 132, and under a new quota system the number of women deputies will rise to at least 13.

Women running for office in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are keen to show that “the intifada was not just a man’s game, nor is politics,” Mansur says.

However, with a total of 728 candidates in the running, the idea that all 85 women will win seats appears “a little ridiculous,” she admits.

The women running come from a broad spectrum of social and educational backgrounds.

They are mothers, lawyers, teachers, human rights activists and former political prisoners, and what they all have in common is that they live in a society where women “suffer on two levels,” explains Hanan Ashrawi, a former independent MP in the outgoing parliament who is now running for the Third Way party.

“Palestinian women are victims of the intifada just like the rest of the people and at the same time, are discriminated against at home by virtue of (male) chauvinistic laws despite the fact that in many cases, they carry the burden of the family alone,” Ashrawi says.

In Ashrawi’s words, this is a “crucial” moment because from now on, Palestinian women will be able to fight “from inside” the parliament to defend their rights and to change laws.



Palestinians urged to vote for God or Arafat
By Mohammed Assadi
January 20, 2006

“We urge you to vote for Yasser Arafat’s blood,” says the text message from Fatah activists, referring to the late Palestinian leader.

“Let’s vote for the green crescent,” says the message sent by Hamas Islamists. “Forward this message and you will be blessed by God.”

Dial the Palestinian phone directory enquiry service and you first hear a pre-recorded spiel from one party or the other ahead of the January 25 parliamentary election, in which President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faces a strong challenge from Hamas.

Pictures of candidates are glued at every corner “only the eyes peep out of some Hamas women contestants. Banners drift from electricity poles. Newspapers are filled with costly adverts proclaiming vows to fight corruption.

“This is a fatal battle and we should be well prepared,” said Ziyad Abu Ein, an official of the ruling Fatah.

The contest between Hamas and Fatah has made this the most open election ever for Palestinians, who already see greater democracy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip than exists in much of the Middle East. The last parliamentary vote was in 1996.

“The first Palestinian election was more or less like the other Arab elections. This one is different,” said Palestinian commentator Ali Jarbawi. “There was only one major party, Fatah, and then much smaller parties that did not irritate Fatah. Now Hamas is a strong movement.”

Hamas has grown in popularity as much for its anti-corruption credentials and charity network as for its suicide bombing campaign and vow to destroy Israel.

The unwieldy Fatah movement has been weakened since Arafat died in 2004 by a struggle between an old guard accused of graft and younger leaders and gunmen seeking greater power.


“Before there was only one dominant party. Today there is a competition over serving the people regardless of who wins,” said Abu Hassan at a shopping center in Gaza City.

Hamas did not take part in 1996 because it rejected interim accords with Israel. It says those are now dead and hopes for a bigger political say.

Arafat, whose iconic appeal plays a big role in the Fatah campaign, ruled with a much sterner hand than Abbas and resisted calls from Western donors for long delayed elections after a five-year-old uprising brought new violence with Israel.

For Abbas, the election is a chance to strengthen his own hold while also bringing Hamas to the political mainstream. He hopes that may allow him to push the militants to disarm under a U.S.-backed peace plan though so far they refuse.

But some Fatah veterans would still like to delay the vote, sensing they are certain to lose out. Fatah and allied independents won 68 out of 88 seats in the last election.

Though Western donors are wary of a Hamas win, they are also keen to see the election go ahead smoothly as a way of strengthening Palestinian democracy “already more open than many in a region not always noted for political freedom.

A survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit late last year put the Palestinians fifth on an index of 20 Middle Eastern countries ranked according to political and civil liberty. The top four were Israel, Lebanon, Morocco and Iraq.

Israel has objected to Hamas taking part, but does not want to be seen as blocking the ballot. It said it would allow voting in Arab East Jerusalem and Israeli sources said troops in the occupied West Bank would aim to avoid disruption.

For Hamas, Israel’s opposition is just another electoral card.

“Israel and America said ‘No’ to Hamas. What do you say?” reads a giant banner above a Ramallah street.



Hamas votes set to sweep Abbas away
By Uzi Mahnaimi
The Sunday Times (of London)
January 22, 2006,,2089-2003777,00.html

A surge in support for the Islamic fundamentalist group Hamas in the run-up to Wednesday’s parliamentary elections is fuelling calls for Mahmoud Abbas, the 70-year-old Palestinian president, to step down after the vote.

Dissatisfaction is growing in the ranks of Abbas’s Fatah party at his lacklustre performance since he was elected leader last January. Polls yesterday showed Hamas had closed the gap with Fatah and was trailing only 42%-45%, making the final result too close to call.

Even if Fatah manages to hold its lead, Hamas will be guaranteed a role in the Palestinian parliament for the first time and may be part of the next government. “Abbas has failed and we want him out of the job,” said a young Fatah leader. Members of the 60,000 strong Palestinian security forces began voting yesterday.

Many of the president’s critics would like to see Abbas replaced by Marwan Barghouti, 48, who has emerged as leader of a faction known as the Young Guard. He directs it from a high security prison cell in Israel’s Negev desert where he is serving five life sentences for murder.

Barghouti heads Fatah’s national list of candidates, making his own election a certainty. His inability to attend parliament has not stopped him calling Palestinians from the jail, urging them to back Fatah.

There were indications, meanwhile, that Hamas may be softening its stance on Israel: Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Egyptian foreign minister whose government has had close contact with Palestinian militant groups, said yesterday the group recognised Israel’s existence and predicted joining the political process would lead to fundamental changes in its thinking.

Hamas has been going from strength to strength thanks to a campaign focused on social and economic rather than religious issues. “Hamas is regarded as a movement with clean hands and as such appeals also to non-Muslim voters,” said Dr Menahem Klein, a leading Israeli authority on Palestinian society.

With Abbas’s standing in decline, photographs of the jailed Barghouti were plastered all over the West Bank this week. “He’s our leader,” said Ilham Bilbesy, a 19-year-old student in East Jerusalem. “I’ll vote for him because he’s a fighter. He is not corrupt and he will be our president.”

Abbas, who appears to have reconciled himself to sharing power with Hamas, admitted last week that his days in office might be numbered. “If I’m unable to implement my policy, I’ll resign,” he told Palestinian journalists in the West Bank.

The decision about whether to stay or go might not be entirely left to Abbas. He was forced last week to deny a report in an Israeli newspaper that he was suffering from clinical depression.

“Our president is a total failure,” said one Fatah supporter. “How can he seriously rule an emerging state like Palestine if on Fridays (the Muslim day of rest) he puts on a white robe and plays with his grandchildren in his Ramallah residence?” When Yasser Arafat died in 2004, Abbas, a long-time associate and former prime minister, was seen by many as an interim leader. Instead he won the presidency. He has since presided over rampant corruption and an administration seen as a shambles.

Under one scenario being discussed by Barghouti’s supporters, he would be appointed prime minister after the election but the job would be done in his absence by Salam Fayad, a highly respected American-educated former finance minister.

A senior source from Shin Bet, the internal Israeli security service, hinted that Israel might then be interested in releasing Barghouti, provided it could find a way of surmounting the legal and moral obstacles to freeing a convicted murderer.

“It’s clearly in Israel’s interests,” the source said. “Abbas can’t deliver, as we have seen, and Barghouti is the only one who can do it.” The Syrian president Bashar al-Assad accused Israel yesterday of having assassinated Yasser Arafat, the former Palestinian leader who died of an unspecified illness 14 months ago. He gave no evidence to back his claim.

“It’s the demography, stupid” and “A Letter to the Europeans”

January 17, 2006

* “Permanence is the illusion of every age: In 1913, no one thought the Russian, Austrian, German, and Turkish empires would be gone within half a decade”



1. Bye, bye western civilization (at least in Europe)?
2. The end of Spain as we know it?
3. This ought to be the left’s issue
4. “Italy and the Netherlands will merely be designations for real estate”
5. “A Letter to the Europeans” (By Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, Jan. 6, 2006)
6. “It’s the demography, stupid” (By Mark Steyn, The New Criterion, Jan. 2006)


[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach two pieces primarily concerning the future of Europe, from two of the leading contemporary commentators based in the U.S., Victor Davis Hanson and Mark Steyn.

I had scheduled to send these out at the start of the month, but Ariel Sharon’s stroke and other work commitments meant I had to delay this dispatch. Some of you may have already read Steyn’s piece, which appears in the January edition of the distinguished cultural review The New Criterion, since it has since been re-published in the Wall Street Journal.


Among other points Steyn makes:

* Fertility rates: Canada 1.5; Germany and Austria 1.3; Russia and Italy 1.2; Spain 1.1, and so on – all well below replacement rate. That’s to say, Spain’s population is halving every generation. By 2050, Italy’s population will have fallen by 22 percent, Bulgaria’s by 36 percent, Estonia’s by 52 percent.

* Meanwhile, the countries with the highest birth rates are all places where Islamic militants are recruiting: Somalia 6.91, Niger 6.83, Afghanistan 6.78, Yemen 6.75. And so on.

* Muslims are already the primary source of population growth in English cities. According to a poll taken in 2004, over 60 percent of British Muslims want to live under sharia – in the United Kingdom. Can a society become increasingly Islamic in its demographic character without becoming increasingly Islamic in its political character?

* A commenter on Tim Blair’s website in Australia summed it up in a note-perfect parody of a Guardian headline: “Muslim Community Leaders Warn of Backlash from Tomorrow Morning’s Terrorist Attack.” Those community leaders have the measure of us.


* This ought to be the left’s issue, says Steyn, who continues in his somewhat sarcastic vein: I’m a conservative – I’m not entirely on board with the Islamist program when it comes to beheading sodomites and so on, but I agree Britney Spears dresses like a slut: I’m with Mullah Omar on that one. Why then, if your big thing is feminism or abortion or gay marriage, are you so certain that the cult of tolerance will prevail once the biggest demographic in your society is cheerfully intolerant? Who, after all, are going to be the first victims of the west’s collapsed birth rates? Even if one were to take the optimistic view that Europe will be able to resist the creeping imposition of Sharia currently engulfing Nigeria, it remains the case that the Muslim world is not notable for setting much store by “a woman’s right to choose,” in any sense. I watched that big abortion rally in Washington last year, where Ashley Judd and Gloria Steinem were cheered by women waving “Keep your Bush off my bush” placards, and I thought it was the equivalent of a White Russian tea party in 1917. By prioritizing a “woman’s right to choose,” western women are delivering their societies into the hands of fellows far more patriarchal than a 1950s sitcom dad.

* Permanence is the illusion of every age. In 1913, no one thought the Russian, Austrian, German, and Turkish empires would be gone within half a decade.


* The problem is that secondary-impulse societies mistake their weaknesses for strengths – or, at any rate, virtues – and that’s why they’re proving so feeble at dealing with a primal force like Islam.

* They know they can never win on the battlefield, but they figure there’s an excellent chance they can drag things out until western civilization collapses in on itself and Islam inherits by default.

* Most people reading this have strong stomachs, so let me [Steyn] lay it out as baldly as I can: Much of what we loosely call the western world will survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most western European countries. There’ll probably still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands – probably – just as in Istanbul there’s still a building called St. Sophia’s Cathedral. But it’s not a cathedral; it’s merely a designation for a piece of real estate. Likewise, Italy and the Netherlands will merely be designations for real estate. The challenge for those who reckon western civilization is on balance better than the alternatives is to figure out a way to save at least some parts of the west.

There will be no other dispatches this week, due to very intense work commitments.

-- Tom Gross



A Letter to the Europeans:
Cry the beloved continent.
By Victor Davis Hanson
The National Review
January 6, 2006

Despite the bitter recrimination and growing rift between you and us, most Americans have not forgotten that a strong, confident Europe is still critical to the material and spiritual well being of the United States.

It is not just that as Westerners you have withstood – often later at our side – all prior challenges to the shared liberal civilization you created, whether the specter of an Ottoman global suzerainty, Bonapartism, Prussian militarism, Nazism, fascism, Japanese militarism, or Soviet Communism.

Nor is our allegiance a mere matter of history. Europe is the repository of the Western tradition, most manifestly in shrines like the Acropolis, the Pantheon, the Uffizi, or the Vatican. We concede that the Great Books – we as yet have not produced a Homer, Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare, or Locke, much less a Da Vinci, Mozart, or Newton – and the Great Ideas of the West from democracy to capitalism to human rights originated on your continent alone. And if Americans believe our Constitution and the visions of our Founding Fathers were historic improvements on Europe of the 18th-century, then at least we acknowledge in our humility that they were also inconceivable without it.

No, there is a greater oneness between us, an unspoken familiarity even now in the age of global sameness, that makes an American feel at home in Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, or Athens in a way that is not true of Istanbul, Cairo, or Bangkok.

In the multiracial society of the United States, an American black, Asian, or Latino finds natural affinity in London and Brussels in a way not true in Lagos, Ho Chi Min City, or Lima. For millions of Americans “Eurocentric” is no slur – for it is an appellation of shared values and ideas not of race.

Even in this debased era of multiculturalism that misleads our youth into thinking no culture can be worse than the West, we all know in our hearts the truth that we live by and the lie that we profess – that the critic of the West would rather have his heart repaired in Berlin than in Guatemala or be a Muslim in Paris rather than a Christian in Riyadh, or a woman or homosexual in Amsterdam than in Iran, or run a newspaper in Stockholm rather than in Havana, or drink the water in Luxembourg rather than in Uganda, or object to his government in Italy rather than in China or North Korea. Radical Muslims damn Europe and praise Allah – but whenever possible from Europe rather than inside Libya, Syria, or Iran.

Although we Americans think the European Union is a flawed notion and will not survive to fulfill its present aspirations, we hope in some strange way that it does – for both our sakes of having a proud partner in a more dangerous world to come rather than an angry and envious inferior, nursing past glories while blaming others for self-inflicted wounds of the present.

Even in this era of crisis, we cling to the notion that in the eleventh hour you, Europe, will yet reawake, rediscover your heritage, and join with us in defending the idea of the West from this latest illiberal scourge of Islamic fascism. For just once, if only for the purpose of theatrics, we would like to urge calm and restraint to a Europe angry, volatile, and threatening, in the face of blackmail and taunts from a third-rate theocracy in Tehran – or a two-bit fascist thug fomenting hate and violence from a state-subsidized mosque in a European suburb.

Alas, recently, Europeans have been taken hostage on the West Bank, Yemen, and Iraq. All have been released. There are two constants in the stories: Some sort of blackmail was no doubt involved (either cash payments or the release of terrorist killers in European jails?), and the captives often seem to praise the moderation of their captors. Is this an aberration or indicative of a deeper continental malady? Few, in either a private or public fashion, suggested that such bribery only perpetuates the kidnapping of innocents and provides cash infusions to terrorists to further their mayhem.

On the home front, a single, though bloody, attack in Madrid changed an entire Spanish election, and prompted the withdrawal of troops from Iraq – although the terrorists nevertheless continued, despite their promises to the contrary, to plant bombs and plan assassinations of Spanish judicial officials. Cry the beloved continent.

The entire legal system of the Netherlands is under review due to the gruesome murder of Theo van Gogh and politicians there who speak out about the fascistic tendencies of radical Islam often either face threats or go into hiding. Cry the beloved continent.

Unemployment, postcolonial prejudice, and de facto apartheid may have led to the fiery rioting in the French suburbs, but it was also energized by a radical Islamic culture of hate. In response followed de facto French martial law. All that remains certain is that the rioting will return either to grow or to warp liberal French society. Indeed, so far has global culture devolved in caving to Islamism that we fear that only two places in the world are now safe for a Jew to live in safety – and Europe, the graveyard of 20th-century Jewry, is tragically not among them. Cry the beloved continent.

Your idealistic approach to health care, transportation, global warming, and entitlements have won over much of coastal and blue America, who, if given their way, would replicate here what you have there. Yet the worry grows that none of this vision of your anointed is sustainable – given an aging and shrinking population, growing and unassimilated minority populations, flat growth rates, increasing statism, and high unemployment.

If America, the former British commonwealth, India, and China, embraced globalization, while the Arab Middle East rejected it, you sought a third way of insulating yourselves from it – and now are beginning to pay for trying to legislate and control what is well beyond your ability to do either.

Abroad you face even worse challenges. In the post-Cold War you dismantled your armed forces, and chose to enhance entitlements at the expense of military readiness. I fear you counted only on a tried and simple principle: That the United States would continue to subsidize European defense while ignoring your growing secular religion of anti-Americanism.

But in the last 15 years, and especially after 9/11, heaven did not come to earth, that instead became a more dangerous place than ever before. Worse, in the meantime you lost the goodwill of the United States, which you demonized, I think, on the understanding that there would never be real repercussions to your flamboyant venom.

Your courts indict American soldiers, often a few miles from the very military garrisons that alone protect you. Your media and public castigate the country whose fashion, music, entertainment, and popular culture you so slavishly embrace.

The Balkan massacres proved that a mass murderer like Slobodan Milosevic could operate with impunity in Europe until removed by the intervention of the United States. And yet from that gruesome lesson, in retrospect we over here have learned only two things: The Holocaust would have gone on unabated hours from Paris and Berlin without the leadership of United States, and in this era of the Chirac/Schroeder ingratitude the American public would never sanction such help to you again. If you believe that an American-led NATO should not serve larger Western interests outside of Europe, we concede that it cannot even do that inside it.

We wish you well in your faith that war has become obsolete and that outlaw nations will comply with international jurisprudence that was born and is nurtured in Europe. Yet your own intelligence suggests that the Iran theocracy is both acquiring nuclear weaponry and seeking to craft missile technology to put an Islamic bomb within reach of European cities – oblivious to the reasoned appeals of European Union diplomats, who themselves operate as Greek philosophers in the agora only on the condition that Americans will once more play the role of Roman legionaries in the shadows.

Russia may no longer be the mass-murdering Soviet Union, but it remains a proud nationalist and increasingly autocratic power of the 19th-century stripe, nuclear and angry at the loss of its empire, emboldened by the ease that it can starve energy supplies to Western Europe, and tired of humanitarian lectures from Westerners who have no real military to match their condescending sermons. Old Europe has neither the will nor the power to protect the ascending democracies of Eastern Europe, much less the republics of the former Soviet Union from present Russian bullying – and perhaps worse to come.

The European strategy of selling weapons to Arab autocracies, triangulating against the United States for oil and influence, and providing cash to dubious terrorists like Hamas has backfired. Polls in the West Bank suggest Palestinians hate you, the generous and accommodating, as much as they do us, the staunch ally of Israel.

So, terrorists of the Middle East seem to have even less respect for you than for the United States, given they harbor a certain contempt for your weakness as relish to the generic hatred of our shared Western traditions.

You will, of course, answer that in your postwar wisdom you have transcended the internecine killing of the earlier 20th century when nationalism and militarism ruined your continent – and that you have lent your insight to the world at large that should follow your therapeutic creed rather than the tragic vision of the United States.

But the choices are not so starkly bipolar between either chauvinistic saber rattling or studied pacifism. There is a third way, the promise of muscular democratic government that does not apologize for 2,500 years of civilization and is willing to defend it from the enemies of liberalism, who would undo all that we wrought.

A European Union that facilitates trade, finance, and commerce can enrich and ennoble your continent, but it need not suppress the unique language, character, and customs of European nationhood itself, much less abdicate a heritage that once not merely moralized about, but took action to end, evil.

The world is becoming a more dangerous place, despite your new protocols of childlessness, pacifism, socialism, and hedonism. Islamic radicalism, an ascendant Communist China, a growing new collectivism in Latin America, perhaps a neo-czarist Russia as well, in addition to the famine and savagery in Africa, all that and more threaten the promise of the West.

So criticize us for our sins; lend us your advice; impart to America the wealth of your greater experience – but as a partner and an equal in a war, not as an inferior or envious neutral on the sidelines. History is unforgiving. None of us receives exemption simply by reason of the fumes of past glory.

Either your economy will reform, your populace multiply, and your citizenry defend itself, or not. And if not, then Europe as we have known it will pass away – to the great joy of the Islamists but to the terrible sorrow of America.

(Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is the author, most recently, of A War Like No Other. How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War)



It’s the demography, stupid
By Mark Steyn
The New Criterion
January 2006

Most people reading this have strong stomachs, so let me lay it out as baldly as I can: Much of what we loosely call the western world will survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most western European countries. There’ll probably still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands – probably – just as in Istanbul there’s still a building called St. Sophia’s Cathedral. But it’s not a cathedral; it’s merely a designation for a piece of real estate. Likewise, Italy and the Netherlands will merely be designations for real estate. The challenge for those who reckon western civilization is on balance better than the alternatives is to figure out a way to save at least some parts of the west.

One obstacle to doing that is the fact that, in the typical election campaign in your advanced industrial democracy, the political platforms of at least one party in the United States and pretty much all parties in the rest of the west are largely about what one would call the secondary impulses of society – government health care, government day care (which Canada’s thinking of introducing), government paternity leave (which Britain’s just introduced). We’ve prioritized the secondary impulse over the primary ones: national defense, family, faith, and, most basic of all, reproductive activity – “Go forth and multiply,” because if you don’t you won’t be able to afford all those secondary-impulse issues, like cradle-to-grave welfare. Americans sometimes don’t understand how far gone most of the rest of the developed world is down this path: In the Canadian and most Continental cabinets, the defense ministry is somewhere an ambitious politician passes through on his way up to important jobs like the health department. I don’t think Don Rumsfeld would regard it as a promotion if he were moved to Health & Human Services.

The design flaw of the secular social-democratic state is that it requires a religious-society birth rate to sustain it. Post-Christian hyper-rationalism is, in the objective sense, a lot less rational than Catholicism or Mormonism. Indeed, in its reliance on immigration to ensure its future, the European Union has adopted a twenty-first-century variation on the strategy of the Shakers, who were forbidden from reproducing and thus could only increase their numbers by conversion. The problem is that secondary- impulse societies mistake their weaknesses for strengths – or, at any rate, virtues – and that’s why they’re proving so feeble at dealing with a primal force like Islam.

Speaking of which, if we are at war – and half the American people and significantly higher percentages in Britain, Canada, and Europe don’t accept that proposition – than what exactly is the war about?

We know it’s not really a “war on terror.” Nor is it, at heart, a war against Islam, or even “radical Islam.” The Muslim faith, whatever its merits for the believers, is a problematic business for the rest of us. There are many trouble spots around the world, but as a general rule, it’s easy to make an educated guess at one of the participants: Muslims vs. Jews in “Palestine,” Muslims vs. Hindus in Kashmir, Muslims vs. Christians in Africa, Muslims vs. Buddhists in Thailand, Muslims vs. Russians in the Caucasus, Muslims vs. backpacking tourists in Bali. Like the environmentalists, these guys think globally but act locally.

Yet while Islamism is the enemy, it’s not what this thing’s about. Radical Islam is an opportunist infection, like AIDS: it’s not the HIV that kills you, it’s the pneumonia you get when your body’s too weak to fight it off. When the jihadists engage with the U.S. military, they lose – as they did in Afghanistan and Iraq. If this were like World War I with those fellows in one trench and us in ours facing them over some boggy piece of terrain, it would be over very quickly. Which the smarter Islamists have figured out. They know they can never win on the battlefield, but they figure there’s an excellent chance they can drag things out until western civilization collapses in on itself and Islam inherits by default.

That’s what the war’s about: our lack of civilizational confidence. As a famous Arnold Toynbee quote puts it: “Civilizations die from suicide, not murder” – as can be seen throughout much of “the western world” right now. The progressive agenda – lavish social welfare, abortion, secularism, multiculturalism – is collectively the real suicide bomb. Take multiculturalism: the great thing about multiculturalism is that it doesn’t involve knowing anything about other cultures – the capital of Bhutan, the principal exports of Malawi, who cares? All it requires is feeling good about other cultures. It’s fundamentally a fraud, and I would argue was subliminally accepted on that basis. Most adherents to the idea that all cultures are equal don’t want to live in anything but an advanced western society: Multiculturalism means your kid has to learn some wretched native dirge for the school holiday concert instead of getting to sing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” or that your holistic masseuse uses techniques developed from Native American spirituality, but not that you or anyone you care about should have to live in an African or Native-American society. It’s a quintessential piece of progressive humbug.

Then September 11 happened. And bizarrely the reaction of just about every prominent western leader was to visit a mosque: President Bush did, the Prince of Wales did, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom did, the Prime Minister of Canada did… . The Premier of Ontario didn’t, and so twenty Muslim community leaders had a big summit to denounce him for failing to visit a mosque. I don’t know why he didn’t. Maybe there was a big backlog, it was mosque drivetime, prime ministers in gridlock up and down the freeway trying to get to the Sword of the Infidel-Slayer Mosque on Elm Street. But for whatever reason he couldn’t fit it into his hectic schedule. Ontario’s Citizenship Minister did show up at a mosque, but the imams took that as a great insult, like the Queen sending Fergie to open the Commonwealth Games. So the Premier of Ontario had to hold a big meeting with the aggrieved imams to apologize for not going to a mosque and, as The Toronto Star’s reported it, “to provide them with reassurance that the provincial government does not see them as the enemy.”

Anyway, the get-me-to-the-mosque-on-time fever died down, but it set the tone for our general approach to these atrocities. The old definition of a nanosecond was the gap between the traffic light changing in New York and the first honk from a car behind. The new definition is the gap between a terrorist bombing and the press release from an Islamic lobby group warning of a backlash against Muslims. In most circumstances, it would be considered appallingly bad taste to deflect attention from an actual “hate crime” by scaremongering about a purely hypothetical one. Needless to say, there is no campaign of Islamophobic hate crimes. If anything, the west is awash in an epidemic of self-hate crimes. A commenter on Tim Blair’s website in Australia summed it up in a note-perfect parody of a Guardian headline: “Muslim Community Leaders Warn of Backlash from Tomorrow Morning’s Terrorist Attack.” Those community leaders have the measure of us.

Radical Islam is what multiculturalism has been waiting for all along. In The Survival of Culture, I quoted the eminent British barrister Helena Kennedy, QC. Shortly after September 11, Baroness Kennedy argued on a BBC show that it was too easy to disparage “Islamic fundamentalists.” “We as western liberals too often are fundamentalist ourselves,” she complained. “We don’t look at our own fundamentalisms.”

Well, said the interviewer, what exactly would those western liberal fundamentalisms be? “One of the things that we are too ready to insist upon is that we are the tolerant people and that the intolerance is something that belongs to other countries like Islam. And I’m not sure that’s true.”

Hmm. Lady Kennedy was arguing that our tolerance of our own tolerance is making us intolerant of other people’s intolerance, which is intolerable. And, unlikely as it sounds, this has now become the highest, most rarefied form of multiculturalism. So you’re nice to gays and the Inuit? Big deal. Anyone can be tolerant of fellows like that, but tolerance of intolerance gives an even more intense frisson of pleasure to the multiculti masochists. In other words, just as the AIDS pandemic greatly facilitated societal surrender to the gay agenda, so 9/11 is greatly facilitating our surrender to the most extreme aspects of the multicultural agenda.

For example, one day in 2004, a couple of Canadians returned home, to Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto. They were the son and widow of a fellow called Ahmed Said Khadr, who back on the Pakistani-Afghan frontier was known as “al-Kanadi.” Why? Because he was the highest-ranking Canadian in al Qaeda – plenty of other Canucks in al Qaeda but he was the Numero Uno. In fact, one could argue that the Khadr family is Canada’s principal contribution to the war on terror. Granted they’re on the wrong side (if you’ll forgive me being judgmental) but no can argue that they aren’t in the thick of things. One of Mr. Khadr’s sons was captured in Afghanistan after killing a U.S. Special Forces medic. Another was captured and held at Guantanamo. A third blew himself up while killing a Canadian soldier in Kabul. Pa Khadr himself died in an al Qaeda shoot-out with Pakistani forces in early 2004. And they say we Canadians aren’t doing our bit in this war!

In the course of the fatal shoot-out of al-Kanadi, his youngest son was paralyzed. And, not unreasonably, Junior didn’t fancy a prison hospital in Peshawar. So Mrs. Khadr and her boy returned to Toronto so he could enjoy the benefits of Ontario government healthcare. “I’m Canadian, and I’m not begging for my rights,” declared the widow Khadr. “I’m demanding my rights.”

As they always say, treason’s hard to prove in court, but given the circumstances of Mr. Khadr’s death it seems clear that not only was he providing “aid and comfort to the Queen’s enemies” but that he was, in fact, the Queen’s enemy. The Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, the Royal 22nd Regiment, and other Canucks have been participating in Afghanistan, on one side of the conflict, and the Khadr family had been over there participating on the other side. Nonetheless, the Prime Minister of Canada thought Boy Khadr’s claims on the public health system was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate his own deep personal commitment to “diversity.” Asked about the Khadrs’ return to Toronto, he said, “I believe that once you are a Canadian citizen, you have the right to your own views and to disagree.”

That’s the wonderful thing about multiculturalism: you can choose which side of the war you want to fight on. When the draft card arrives, just tick “home team” or “enemy,” according to taste. The Canadian Prime Minister is a typical late-stage western politician: He could have said, well, these are contemptible people and I know many of us are disgusted at the idea of our tax dollars being used to provide health care for a man whose Canadian citizenship is no more than a flag of convenience, but unfortunately that’s the law and, while we can try to tighten it, it looks like this lowlife’s got away with it. Instead, his reflex instinct was to proclaim this as a wholehearted demonstration of the virtues of the multicultural state. Like many enlightened western leaders, the Canadian Prime Minister will be congratulating himself on his boundless tolerance even as the forces of intolerance consume him.

That, by the way, is the one point of similarity between the jihad and conventional terrorist movements like the IRA or ETA. Terror groups persist because of a lack of confidence on the part of their targets: the IRA, for example, calculated correctly that the British had the capability to smash them totally but not the will. So they knew that while they could never win militarily, they also could never be defeated. The Islamists have figured similarly. The only difference is that most terrorist wars are highly localized. We now have the first truly global terrorist insurgency because the Islamists view the whole world the way the IRA view the bogs of Fermanagh: they want it and they’ve calculated that our entire civilization lacks the will to see them off.

We spend a lot of time at The New Criterion attacking the elites and we’re right to do so. The commanding heights of the culture have behaved disgracefully for the last several decades. But, if it were just a problem with the elites, it wouldn’t be that serious: the mob could rise up and hang ‘em from lampposts – a scenario that’s not unlikely in certain Continental countries. But the problem now goes way beyond the ruling establishment. The annexation by government of most of the key responsibilities of life – child-raising, taking care of your elderly parents – has profoundly changed the relationship between the citizen and the state. At some point – I would say socialized health care is a good marker – you cross a line, and it’s very hard then to persuade a citizenry enjoying that much government largesse to cross back. In National Review recently, I took issue with that line Gerald Ford always uses to ingratiate himself with conservative audiences: “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.” Actually, you run into trouble long before that point: A government big enough to give you everything you want still isn’t big enough to get you to give anything back. That’s what the French and German political classes are discovering.

Go back to that list of local conflicts I mentioned. The jihad has held out a long time against very tough enemies. If you’re not shy about taking on the Israelis, the Russians, the Indians, and the Nigerians, why wouldn’t you fancy your chances against the Belgians and Danes and New Zealanders?

So the jihadists are for the most part doing no more than giving us a prod in the rear as we sleepwalk to the cliff. When I say “sleepwalk,” it’s not because we’re a blas’ culture. On the contrary, one of the clearest signs of our decline is the way we expend so much energy worrying about the wrong things. If you’ve read Jared Diamond’s bestselling book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, you’ll know it goes into a lot of detail about Easter Island going belly up because they chopped down all their trees. Apparently that’s why they’re not a G8 member or on the UN Security Council. Same with the Greenlanders and the Mayans and Diamond’s other curious choices of “societies.” Indeed, as the author sees it, pretty much every society collapses because it chops down its trees.

Poor old Diamond can’t see the forest because of his obsession with the trees. (Russia’s collapsing even as it’s undergoing reforestation.) One way “societies choose to fail or succeed” is by choosing what to worry about. The western world has delivered more wealth and more comfort to more of its citizens than any other civilization in history, and in return we’ve developed a great cult of worrying. You know the classics of the genre: In 1968, in his bestselling book The Population Bomb, the eminent scientist Paul Ehrlich declared: “In the 1970s the world will undergo famines – hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.” In 1972, in their landmark study The Limits to Growth, the Club of Rome announced that the world would run out of gold by 1981, of mercury by 1985, tin by 1987, zinc by 1990, petroleum by 1992, and copper, lead, and gas by 1993.

None of these things happened. In fact, quite the opposite is happening. We’re pretty much awash in resources, but we’re running out of people – the one truly indispensable resource, without which none of the others matter. Russia’s the most obvious example: it’s the largest country on earth, it’s full of natural resources, and yet it’s dying – its population is falling calamitously.

The default mode of our elites is that anything that happens – from terrorism to tsunamis – can be understood only as deriving from the perniciousness of western civilization. As Jean-Frannois Revel wrote, “Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.”

And even though none of the prognostications of the eco-doom blockbusters of the 1970s came to pass, all that means is that thirty years on, the end of the world has to be rescheduled. The amended estimated time of arrival is now 2032. That’s to say, in 2002, the United Nations Global Environmental Outlook predicted “the destruction of 70 percent of the natural world in thirty years, mass extinction of species… . More than half the world will be afflicted by water shortages, with 95 percent of people in the Middle East with severe problems … 25 percent of all species of mammals and 10 percent of birds will be extinct …”

Etc., etc., for 450 pages. Or to cut to the chase, as The Guardian headlined it, “Unless We Change Our Ways, The World Faces Disaster.”

Well, here’s my prediction for 2032: unless we change our ways the world faces a future … where the environment will look pretty darn good. If you’re a tree or a rock, you’ll be living in clover. It’s the Italians and the Swedes who’ll be facing extinction and the loss of their natural habitat.

There will be no environmental doomsday. Oil, carbon dioxide emissions, deforestation: none of these things is worth worrying about. What’s worrying is that we spend so much time worrying about things that aren’t worth worrying about that we don’t worry about the things we should be worrying about. For thirty years, we’ve had endless wake-up calls for things that aren’t worth waking up for. But for the very real, remorseless shifts in our society – the ones truly jeopardizing our future – we’re sound asleep. The world is changing dramatically right now and hysterical experts twitter about a hypothetical decrease in the Antarctic krill that might conceivably possibly happen so far down the road there’s unlikely to be any Italian or Japanese enviro-worriers left alive to be devastated by it.

In a globalized economy, the environmentalists want us to worry about First World capitalism imposing its ways on bucolic, pastoral, primitive Third World backwaters. Yet, insofar as “globalization” is a threat, the real danger is precisely the opposite – that the peculiarities of the backwaters can leap instantly to the First World. Pigs are valued assets and sleep in the living room in rural China – and next thing you know an unknown respiratory disease is killing people in Toronto, just because someone got on a plane. That’s the way to look at Islamism: we fret about McDonald’s and Disney, but the big globalization success story is the way the Saudis have taken what was eighty years ago a severe but obscure and unimportant strain of Islam practiced by Bedouins of no fixed abode and successfully exported it to the heart of Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Manchester, Buffalo …

What’s the better bet? A globalization that exports cheeseburgers and pop songs or a globalization that exports the fiercest aspects of its culture? When it comes to forecasting the future, the birth rate is the nearest thing to hard numbers. If only a million babies are born in 2006, it’s hard to have two million adults enter the workforce in 2026 (or 2033, or 2037, or whenever they get around to finishing their Anger Management and Queer Studies degrees). And the hard data on babies around the western world is that they’re running out a lot faster than the oil is. “Replacement” fertility rate – i.e., the number you need for merely a stable population, not getting any bigger, not getting any smaller – is 2.1 babies per woman. Some countries are well above that: the global fertility leader, Somalia, is 6.91, Niger 6.83, Afghanistan 6.78, Yemen 6.75. Notice what those nations have in common?

Scroll way down to the bottom of the Hot One Hundred top breeders and you’ll eventually find the United States, hovering just at replacement rate with 2.07 births per woman. Ireland is 1.87, New Zealand 1.79, Australia 1.76. But Canada’s fertility rate is down to 1.5, well below replacement rate; Germany and Austria are at 1.3, the brink of the death spiral; Russia and Italy are at 1.2; Spain 1.1, about half replacement rate. That’s to say, Spain’s population is halving every generation. By 2050, Italy’s population will have fallen by 22 percent, Bulgaria’s by 36 percent, Estonia’s by 52 percent. In America, demographic trends suggest that the blue states ought to apply for honorary membership of the EU: in the 2004 election, John Kerry won the sixteen with the lowest birth rates; George W. Bush took twenty-five of the twenty-six states with the highest. By 2050, there will be 100 million fewer Europeans, 100 million more Americans – and mostly red-state Americans.

As fertility shrivels, societies get older – and Japan and much of Europe are set to get older than any functioning societies have ever been. And we know what comes after old age. These countries are going out of business – unless they can find the will to change their ways. Is that likely? I don’t think so. If you look at European election results – most recently in Germany – it’s hard not to conclude that, while voters are unhappy with their political establishments, they’re unhappy mainly because they resent being asked to reconsider their government benefits and, no matter how unaffordable they may be a generation down the road, they have no intention of seriously reconsidering them. The Scottish executive recently backed down from a proposal to raise the retirement age of Scottish public workers. It’s presently sixty, which is nice but unaffordable. But the reaction of the average Scots worker is that that’s somebody else’s problem. The average German worker now puts in 22 percent fewer hours per year than his American counterpart, and no politician who wishes to remain electorally viable will propose closing the gap in any meaningful way.

This isn’t a deep-rooted cultural difference between the Old World and the New. It dates back all the way to, oh, the 1970s. If one wanted to allocate blame, one could argue that it’s a product of the U.S. military presence, the American security guarantee that liberated European budgets: instead of having to spend money on guns, they could concentrate on butter, and buttering up the voters. If Washington’s problem with Europe is that these are not serious allies, well, whose fault is that? Who, in the years after the Second World War, created NATO as a post-modern military alliance? The “free world,” as the Americans called it, was a free ride for everyone else. And having been absolved from the primal responsibilities of nationhood, it’s hardly surprising that European nations have little wish to re-shoulder them. In essence, the lavish levels of public health care on the Continent are subsidized by the American taxpayer. And this long-term softening of large sections of the west makes them ill-suited to resisting a primal force like Islam.

There is no “population bomb.” There never was. Birth rates are declining all over the world – eventually every couple on the planet may decide to opt for the western yuppie model of one designer baby at the age of thirty-nine. But demographics is a game of last man standing. The groups that succumb to demographic apathy last will have a huge advantage. Even in 1968 Paul Ehrlich and his ilk should have understood that their so-called “population explosion” was really a massive population adjustment. Of the increase in global population between 1970 and 2000, the developed world accounted for under 9 percent of it, while the Muslim world accounted for 26 percent of the increase. Between 1970 and 2000, the developed world declined from just under 30 percent of the world’s population to just over 20 percent, the Muslim nations increased from about 15 percent to 20 percent.

1970 doesn’t seem that long ago. If you’re the age many of the chaps running the western world today are wont to be, your pants are narrower than they were back then and your hair’s less groovy, but the landscape of your life – the look of your house, the lay-out of your car, the shape of your kitchen appliances, the brand names of the stuff in the fridge – isn’t significantly different. Aside from the Internet and the cellphone and the CD, everything in your world seems pretty much the same but slightly modified.

And yet the world is utterly altered. Just to recap those bald statistics: In 1970, the developed world had twice as big a share of the global population as the Muslim world: 30 percent to 15 percent. By 2000, they were the same: each had about 20 percent.

And by 2020?

So the world’s people are a lot more Islamic than they were back then and a lot less “western.” Europe is significantly more Islamic, having taken in during that period some 20 million Muslims (officially) – or the equivalents of the populations of four European Union countries (Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, and Estonia). Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the west: in the UK, more Muslims than Christians attend religious services each week.

Can these trends continue for another thirty years without having consequences? Europe by the end of this century will be a continent after the neutron bomb: the grand buildings will still be standing but the people who built them will be gone. We are living through a remarkable period: the self-extinction of the races who, for good or ill, shaped the modern world.

What will Europe be like at the end of this process? Who knows? On the one hand, there’s something to be said for the notion that America will find an Islamified Europe more straightforward to deal with than Monsieur Chirac, Herr Schroder, and Co. On the other hand, given Europe’s track record, getting there could be very bloody. But either way this is the real battlefield. The al Qaeda nutters can never find enough suicidal pilots to fly enough planes into enough skyscrapers to topple America. But, unlike us, the Islamists think long-term, and, given their demographic advantage in Europe and the tone of the emerging Muslim lobby groups there, much of what they’re flying planes into buildings for they’re likely to wind up with just by waiting a few more years. The skyscrapers will be theirs; why knock ‘em over?

The latter half of the decline and fall of great civilizations follows a familiar pattern: affluence, softness, decadence, extinction. You don’t notice yourself slipping through those stages because usually there’s a seductive pol on hand to provide the age with a sly, self-deluding slogan – like Bill Clinton’s “It’s about the future of all our children.” We on the right spent the 1990s gleefully mocking Clinton’s tedious invocation, drizzled like syrup over everything from the Kosovo war to highway appropriations. But most of the rest of the west can’t even steal his lame bromides: A society that has no children has no future.

Permanence is the illusion of every age. In 1913, no one thought the Russian, Austrian, German, and Turkish empires would be gone within half a decade. Seventy years on, all those fellows who dismissed Reagan as an “amiable dunce” (in Clark Clifford’s phrase) assured us the Soviet Union was likewise here to stay. The CIA analysts’ position was that East Germany was the ninth biggest economic power in the world. In 1987 there was no rash of experts predicting the imminent fall of the Berlin Wall, the Warsaw Pact, and the USSR itself.

Yet, even by the minimal standards of these wretched precedents, so-called “post-Christian” civilizations – as a prominent EU official described his continent to me – are more prone than traditional societies to mistake the present tense for a permanent feature. Religious cultures have a much greater sense of both past and future, as we did a century ago, when we spoke of death as joining “the great majority” in “the unseen world.” But if secularism’s starting point is that this is all there is, it’s no surprise that, consciously or not, they invest the here and now with far greater powers of endurance than it’s ever had. The idea that progressive Euro-welfarism is the permanent resting place of human development was always foolish; we now know that it’s suicidally so.

To avoid collapse, European nations will need to take in immigrants at a rate no stable society has ever attempted. The CIA is predicting the EU will collapse by 2020. Given that the CIA’s got pretty much everything wrong for half a century, that would suggest the EU is a shoo-in to be the colossus of the new millennium. But even a flop spook is right twice a generation. If anything, the date of EU collapse is rather a cautious estimate. It seems more likely that within the next couple of European election cycles, the internal contradictions of the EU will manifest themselves in the usual way, and that by 2010 we’ll be watching burning buildings, street riots, and assassinations on American network news every night. Even if they avoid that, the idea of a childless Europe ever rivaling America militarily or economically is laughable. Sometime this century there will be 500 million Americans, and what’s left in Europe will either be very old or very Muslim. Japan faces the same problem: its population is already in absolute decline, the first gentle slope of a death spiral it will be unlikely ever to climb out of. Will Japan be an economic powerhouse if it’s populated by Koreans and Filipinos? Very possibly. Will Germany if it’s populated by Algerians? That’s a trickier proposition.

Best-case scenario? The Continent winds up as Vienna with Swedish tax rates.

Worst-case scenario: Sharia, circa 2040; semi-Sharia, a lot sooner – and we’re already seeing a drift in that direction.

In July 2003, speaking to the United States Congress, Tony Blair remarked: “As Britain knows, all predominant power seems for a time invincible but, in fact, it is transient. The question is: What do you leave behind?”

Excellent question. Britannia will never again wield the unrivalled power she enjoyed at her imperial apogee, but the Britannic inheritance endures, to one degree or another, in many of the key regional players in the world today – Australia, India, South Africa – and in dozens of island statelets from the Caribbean to the Pacific. If China ever takes its place as an advanced nation, it will be because the People’s Republic learns more from British Hong Kong than Hong Kong learns from the Little Red Book. And of course the dominant power of our time derives its political character from eighteenth-century British subjects who took English ideas a little further than the mother country was willing to go.

A decade and a half after victory in the Cold War and end-of-history triumphalism, the “what do you leave behind?” question is more urgent than most of us expected. “The west,” as a concept, is dead, and the west, as a matter of demographic fact, is dying.

What will London – or Paris, or Amsterdam – be like in the mid-Thirties? If European politicians make no serious attempt this decade to wean the populace off their unsustainable thirty-five-hour weeks, retirement at sixty, etc., then to keep the present level of pensions and health benefits the EU will need to import so many workers from North Africa and the Middle East that it will be well on its way to majority Muslim by 2035. As things stand, Muslims are already the primary source of population growth in English cities. Can a society become increasingly Islamic in its demographic character without becoming increasingly Islamic in its political character?

This ought to be the left’s issue. I’m a conservative – I’m not entirely on board with the Islamist program when it comes to beheading sodomites and so on, but I agree Britney Spears dresses like a slut: I’m with Mullah Omar on that one. Why then, if your big thing is feminism or abortion or gay marriage, are you so certain that the cult of tolerance will prevail once the biggest demographic in your society is cheerfully intolerant? Who, after all, are going to be the first victims of the west’s collapsed birth rates? Even if one were to take the optimistic view that Europe will be able to resist the creeping imposition of Sharia currently engulfing Nigeria, it remains the case that the Muslim world is not notable for setting much store by “a woman’s right to choose,” in any sense. I watched that big abortion rally in Washington last year, where Ashley Judd and Gloria Steinem were cheered by women waving “Keep your Bush off my bush” placards, and I thought it was the equivalent of a White Russian tea party in 1917. By prioritizing a “woman’s right to choose,” western women are delivering their societies into the hands of fellows far more patriarchal than a 1950s sitcom dad. If any of those women marching for their “reproductive rights” still have babies, they might like to ponder demographic realities: A little girl born today will be unlikely, at the age of forty, to be free to prance around demonstrations in Eurabian Paris or Amsterdam chanting “Hands off my bush!”

Just before the 2004 election, that eminent political analyst Cameron Diaz appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show to explain what was at stake:

“Women have so much to lose. I mean, we could lose the right to our bodies… . If you think that rape should be legal, then don’t vote. But if you think that you have a right to your body,” she advised Oprah’s viewers, “then you should vote.”

Poor Cameron. A couple of weeks later, the scary people won. She lost all rights to her body. Unlike Alec Baldwin, she couldn’t even move to France. Her body was grounded in Terminal D.

But, after framing the 2004 Presidential election as a referendum on the right to rape, Miss Diaz might be interested to know that men enjoy that right under many Islamic legal codes around the world. In his book The Empty Cradle, Philip Longman asks: “So where will the children of the future come from? Increasingly they will come from people who are at odds with the modern world. Such a trend, if sustained, could drive human culture off its current market-driven, individualistic, modernist course, gradually creating an anti-market culture dominated by fundamentalism – a new Dark Ages.”

Bottom line for Cameron Diaz: There are worse things than John Ashcroft out there.

Longman’s point is well taken. The refined antennae of western liberals mean that, whenever one raises the question of whether there will be any Italians living in the geographical zone marked as Italy a generation or three hence, they cry, “Racism!” To fret about what proportion of the population is “white” is grotesque and inappropriate. But it’s not about race, it’s about culture. If 100 percent of your population believes in liberal pluralist democracy, it doesn’t matter whether 70 percent of them are “white” or only 5 percent are. But, if one part of your population believes in liberal pluralist democracy and the other doesn’t, then it becomes a matter of great importance whether the part that does is 9 percent of the population or only 60, 50, 45 percent.

Since the President unveiled the so-called Bush Doctrine – the plan to promote liberty throughout the Arab world – innumerable “progressives” have routinely asserted that there’s no evidence Muslims want liberty and, indeed, Islam is incompatible with democracy. If that’s true, it’s a problem not for the Middle East today but for Europe the day after tomorrow. According to a poll taken in 2004, over 60 percent of British Muslims want to live under sharia – in the United Kingdom. If a population “at odds with the modern world” is the fastest-breeding group on the planet – if there are more Muslim nations, more fundamentalist Muslims within those nations, more and more Muslims within non-Muslim nations, and more and more Muslims represented in more and more transnational institutions – how safe a bet is the survival of the “modern world”?

Not good.

“What do you leave behind?” asked Tony Blair. There will only be very few and very old ethnic Germans and French and Italians by the midpoint of this century. What will they leave behind? Territories that happen to bear their names and keep up some of the old buildings? Or will the dying European races understand that the only legacy that matters is whether the peoples who will live in those lands after them are reconciled to pluralist, liberal democracy? It’s the demography, stupid. And, if they can’t muster the will to change course, then “what do you leave behind?” is the only question that matters.

Ready, aim, and fire more accurately without bullets (& Iran, India updates)

* This is the latest in an occasional series of dispatches that include articles focusing on military developments
* As revealed by this email list a week ago, Iran two days ago confirmed plans to host a Holocaust (denial) conference



1. Iran confirms plan for Holocaust (denial) conference
2. U.S. warns Norway
3. The “Bullite”
4. India to launch Israeli spy satellite
5. Saudi court orders eye gouging
6. “Ready, aim, and fire more accurately without bullets” (Israel 21c, Jan. 15, 2006)
7. “India to launch Israeli spy sat” (C4ISR Journal, Nov. 14, 2005)
8. “Iran notches up anti-Israel campaign” (AP, Jan. 15, 2006)

[Note by Tom Gross]


On January 10, 2006, this email list revealed that Iran was planning to host a Holocaust denial conference. (Dispatch titled Iran planning to host international Holocaust (denial) conference). That news is now being reported by the rest of the media. On January 12, the Israeli media reported it. On January 15, the Associated Press reported it. Yesterday the BBC did.

The Iranian government confirmed on January 15 that such a conference is planned. They have declined to disclose where or when the conference will take place, but Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Sunday that it would be held under the aegis of the Iranian Foreign Ministry which “planned and supported” it, and its purpose would be to examine the “historic and scientific evidence of the issue to determine whether or not it really happened.”

Asefi added: “It is a strange world. It is possible to discuss everything except the Holocaust. The [Iranian] Foreign Ministry plans to hold a conference on the scientific aspect of the issue to discuss and review its repercussions.” (President Ahmadinejad has in fact already called the Nazis’ World War II slaughter of European Jews a “myth” and said the Jewish state should be wiped off the map.)

On Sunday, the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem (senior staff of whom are subscribers to this list) urged the international community to denounce Iran’s planned conference.

The head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Meir Dagan, has said that Iran will have “full operational nuclear capability” within one to two years.

I would like to thank those journalists who continue to publicly commend this email list, including the op-ed editor of the Israeli paper Ma’ariv, and the former editor-in-chief of the (London) Daily Telegraph, both of whom praised these email dispatches in their published columns last weekend.


In the dispatch of January 2 it was reported that the Norwegian Provincial Government had voted to boycott Israeli products, in violation of the freedom of commerce provisions of the World Trade Organization. On January 15, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Norway would face “serious political consequences” after Norway’s finance minister Kristin Halvorsen admitted that some parts of the Norwegian government were starting to boycott Israeli goods. Norwegian Foreign Affairs Minister Jonas Gare Store says he is trying to repair the damage caused by the finance minister’s remarks.


In what is being hailed as a major technological advancement, the Israeli company Rovatec has developed a new much safer bullet for training purposes that for the first time provides a substitute for live-fire exercises. The “Bullite,” which is the same size as a standard ammunition cartridge, is a microprocessor “intelligent” electro-optic device. It emits a laser point-of-impact pulse that can be seen for at least 12 yards even in poor lighting conditions.

The “Bullite” was invented by a young Israeli soldier, Moshe Charles. Charles, who in the IDF worked on a marksmanship training manual, developed the idea after his discharge from the army. According to Rovatec, the “Bullite” allows a gun trainer to observe problems a shooter may have and correct them quickly.

I attach an article on this below, from Israel 21c. (That article is in turn based on an article in ‘Jane’s Terrorism and Security Monitor.’) Shimon Klein, CEO of Rovatec, says that the “Bullite” is set to go into mass production.

The first series “Bullite” laser training devices are currently in active use in North America and Europe. Among those trying them are the US Air Force shooting team, the US Secret Service, the FBI, and the US Coast Guard, as well as frontline serving troops in Iraq.


In October 2006, Israel will launch its spy satellite on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The spy satellite, the TechSAR, is Israel’s first synthetic aperture radar imaging satellite.

In a controversial move, Israel will break from a long-standing military space policy of strategic self-reliance, according to the C4ISR Journal (The Journal of Net-Centric warfare). The journal’s article (attached below) also claims that India and Israel are “eyeing a number of joint development programs, including a 200-kilometer artillery missile.”

Some military space experts claim that the reason the Indian PSLV is being used is because Israel’s own indigenous Shavit rocket has not proven reliable on various occasions in recent years. The latest Shavit failure, in September 2004, destroyed the Israeli Defense Ministry’s $100 million Ofeq-6 electro-optical imaging satellite.

An unnamed Israeli defense source told C4ISR Journal that “It’s a significant step forward for strategic cooperation, but let’s not get carried away… they’re not going to be able to open up our satellite and learn our secrets.”

If all agreements are finalized in the coming months, as expected, the TechSAR will be launched from the Indian Space Research Organization’s Satish Dhawan Space Center on the India’s southeastern coast. K.R. Sridharamurthy, executive director of Antrix, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization, said he was unable to comment due to the “confidential nature of the negotiations.”

India is by far Israel’s largest export customer for defense equipment, with purchases in 2004 exceeding $1 billion. Israeli technology acquired by India includes the Phalcon spy plane, a full range of unmanned aerial vehicles, the Barak ship-defense missile, and the Green Pine ground-based early warning radar.


India says it is trying to prevent a Saudi court from carrying out the punishment of eye gouging against an Indian citizen. After a Saudi man alleged he was blinded during a fight with the Indian, the court ruled that the latter should suffer a like punishment. New Delhi is appealing for clemency from Saudi Arabia’s ruling royal family.

I attach three articles below.

-- Tom Gross



Ready, aim, and fire more accurately without bullets
By Joe Charlaff
Israel 21c
January 15, 2006^l1199

Anyone who uses a gun – from a sharpshooter with elite armed forces or a weekend firing range hobbyist – knows that training with live ammunition is the best way to improve and maintain accuracy. However, they also know there are also considerable costs and risks involved.

Although it is universally acknowledged that there is no substitute for live-fire exercises, military units do not train with live ammunition as often as they should or would like to. In both the military and in civilian life, the high cost of bullets for training can be prohibitive. In addition, firing live bullets introduces a stress element into training that can lead to tragic accidents.

Now, thanks to a major technological advancement by Israeli company Rovatec, US service personnel and civilians alike are receiving the training they need with zero safety risk.

Rovatec’s “Bullite” laser training bullet is a microprocessor “intelligent” electro-optic device shaped like a standard ammunition cartridge. When activated by the firing pin, the device emits a laser point-of-impact pulse that can be visible for at least 12 yards during the daytime, in poor light, or indoors on a reflective target. It does not alter the physical attributes of any weapon or affect the owner’s ability to draw and rapidly fire.

In the approach to training shooters, whether competitive or combat, there are two traditional systems, “dry fire” and “live fire.” Dry fire is a process where a shooter deploys his weapon without live rounds in the chamber and works on the mechanics of shooting by squeezing the trigger, but he doesn’t get the experience of actually firing bullets.

The Bullite is the size and shape of a standard ammunition cartridge that fits into the chamber of any personal firearm, from pistols to assault rifles and simulates live-fire action. This solves one of the main problems encountered by the transition from dry fire to live fire – someone can load a live magazine, forget about it, and have accidental discharges with tragic results.

The device was invented by a young Israeli soldier named Moshe Charles. During his army service, Charles worked as part of a team writing the IDF’s marksmanship training manual. Recognizing the inherent problems in shooting practice, Charles began developing the idea of the Bullite, and continued working on it after his discharge from the army, even as he pursued a career as a chiropractor. In 2004, Rovatec was established based on Charles’ designs.

Former US Army career man Shimon Klein serves as CEO of the company and Charles, on a leave of absence from his chiropractor practice, fills the post of Chief Technological Officer. In addition, Rovatec boasts some of the most senior and respected combat weapon specialists in Israel.

“The Rovatec concept is to transform the way people train through convenience and a combination of technology and practicality that provides inexpensive, realistic marksmanship practice,” Klein told ISRAEL21c.

According to Klein, the first series Bullite laser training devices are currently in active use in North America and Europe by some 1000 civilian shooters. And since launching the device last year, the Bullite has been used by members of the US Air Force shooting team, US Secret Service, FBI, members of the Commandant of the US Coast Guard, elements of the US Navy, and frontline serving troops in Iraq.

He pointed out that an interesting phenomenon is developing whereby enquiries and orders are received from units and individual infantrymen who pay for the orders themselves.

“This is remarkable bearing in mind the average pay of a corporal or sergeant. This is one of the most interesting developments in the past few months, and seems to be gaining momentum,” Klein said.

In the US alone, there are well over 200 million privately owned firearms including more than 70 million handguns. Most civilian gun owners never practice or train with their weapons. According to Klein, if someone is in possession of a gun, and doesn’t practice, they are a danger to themselves and to those around them in crisis situations.

Klein explained that the Bullite allows trainers to observe the problems of the shooter and correct them more rapidly. While not a substitute for live fire, the device makes dry fire more efficient and represents a tremendous cost efficiency.

The Bullite also makes target practice safer. One of the important features of the Bullite is the safety pipe, which screws through the barrel into the Bullite which is seated in the chamber. With the highly visible orange safety nut in place and the safety pipe in the barrel, there is no risk of a live round seated in the chamber.

For security personnel such as customs agents and law enforcement officers it is impossible to use live ammunition in the course of their work simply to maintain their skills. In this situation they are able to use the Bullite to practice anywhere and sharpen their skills so that when they are faced with highly stressful situations they can be accurate and not present a danger to innocent bystanders.

The Bullite is also used by highly trained persons in Force On Force (FOF) scenarios which simulate or depict realistic scenarios using service firearms. Usually when teams simulating terrorists or troops begin their assault, the emphasis is so much on safety that the training suffers as a result. With the Bullite training, the troops are able to focus on their shooting because of the absence of danger.

Last year, Rovatec demonstrated the Bullite at the Shot Show in Las Vegas, the world’s largest trade show for hunting, military and law enforcement materials.

“We were swamped with journalist interviews and people wanting a chance to shoot with the Bullite and experience the concept first hand,” said Klein.

Last month Rovatec completed the second production series of the Bullite and are in the process of implementing a range of technology upgrades based on the results seen with various weapons. Production of the Bullite is now in progress for M-16s, 223s, 556s and 762s and the 308 Winchester, which will also feature safety pipes and safety nuts.

The plan for 2006, Klein said, is to go into mass production. “We have set a large production target and we are simultaneously developing relationships with retail distribution agencies such as large ammunition and hardware stores in North America. At present distribution is done in Europe by catalogue.”

Tremendous budget pressures in the military and police departments all over the world limit the efficiency of training marksman. When personnel go to the firing range they are given only two dozen rounds. Economically, at $180 per 10,000 shots, the Bullite can allow far more generosity on the training field, and can produce more expert marksmen to keep Americans safe, said Klein.

“Rovatec’s focus is to rapidly bring to market advanced marksmanship training products and services for the military, for law enforcement community, and for civilian shooters globally.”



India to Launch Israeli Spy Sat
Move Highlights Improving Relationship
By Barbara Opall-Rome, Tel Aviv and K.S. Jayaraman, New Delhi
C4ISR Journal (The Journal of Net-Centric warfare)
November 14, 2005

In a controversial break from a longstanding military space policy of strategic self-reliance, Israel has decided to launch its next spy satellite aboard India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rather than its own indigenous Shavit rocket.

Officials here say Israel’s Ministry of Defense and state-owned satellite producer Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) are wrapping up the political and contractual agreements with their Indian counterparts for the planned October 2006 launch of TechSAR, Israel’s first synthetic aperture radar imaging satellite.

On the government-to-government level, officials said, a pre-existing bilateral accord on strategic cooperation already covers most aspects of the mission.

A Ministry of Defense source estimated the PSLV launch cost at no more than $15 million, whereas the Shavit ranges from $15 million to $20 million. The estimated 260-kilogram TechSAR is slated as the exclusive payload aboard the PSLV, which will be launched from the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Satish Dhawan Space Center on the nation’s southeastern coast.

If all agreements are finalized in the coming months, as expected, IAI will ship the satellite to the Indian launch site by summer.

Doron Suslik, IAI’s deputy corporate vice president for communications, declined all comment on TechSAR launch matters.

K.R. Sridharamurthy, executive director of Antrix, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation, said he was unable to comment due to the “confidential nature of the negotiations.”

Government and industry sources here conceded that Israel’s embrace of the PSLV was driven in large part by a loss of confidence in the Shavit, which has had reliability problems over the past decade. The latest Shavit failure, in September 2004, destroyed the Defense Ministry’s estimated $100 million Ofeq-6 electro-optical imaging satellite.

But several Israeli officials insisted that other factors beyond risk mitigation led to the PSLV choice, including the desire to strengthen strategic cooperation with India, the MoD’s largest export customer.

According to multiple sources, India has begun discussions with the Defense Ministry and IAI regarding a possible purchase of a clone of the TechSAR satellite to enhance New Delhi’s strategic intelligence and targeting capabilities.

Another factor was the Defense Ministry’s need to accommodate new orbital requirements for the TechSAR. An industry executive said Nov. 10 that Israel’s plans to offer TechSAR imagery to key export clients necessitated a higher-inclination orbit than the Shavit could achieve.

“It was decided fairly late in the program to make certain TechSAR footprints were available to high-value export customers,” the executive said. “And if they intended to attract customers in different parts of the world, they realized a higher inclination would help capture more imaging areas.”

The deal goes against the flow of the countries’ general trend in defense-related goods and services. India is by far Israel’s largest export customer for defense equipment, with 2004 purchases in excess of $1 billion. Israeli technology acquired by India includes the Phalcon spy plane, a full range of unmanned aerial vehicles, the Barak ship-defense missile, and the Green Pine ground-based early warning radar. The two countries have in the past decade elevated intelligence sharing and counterterror activities, and are now eyeing a number of joint development programs, including a 200-kilometer artillery missile.

Geography and politics dictate that the Shavit rocket launch westward over the Mediterranean, meaning its payloads can only reach orbits that cover low latitudes. To provide global coverage, satellites must operate in high-inclination orbits that take them over the poles, and that requires launching them on a northward or southward trajectory, which is not an option for Shavit.

In contrast, the Indian PSLV has no such restrictions. Other industry experts here, however, expressed doubt that a desire for a high orbital inclination drove the PSLV decision.

“The Shavit could have accommodated [the Defense Ministry’s] business plans, but the decision was made that we could not afford another failure,” an executive said.

And while supporters of the Shavit were disappointed by the move to the Indian launcher, they insisted that the Israeli government has not forsaken its policy of space launch self-reliance and will deliver its planned Ofeq-7 into orbit using an improved version of the homegrown launcher.

Rachel Naidek-Ashkenazi, a spokeswoman for the Defense Ministry, declined to discuss specific plans for the TechSAR launch. Nevertheless, she said Israel intends to launch future military spacecraft with the Shavit.

“Our policy is to preserve an independent launch capability. That has not changed,” she said Nov. 11.

Tal Inbar, a space expert and research fellow at Israel’s Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, said that even if TechSAR is launched on an Indian rocket, such a move would not signify a change in Israeli policy regarding military space launches.

“What’s most important is the ability to deliver the payload into space successfully,” he said. “So when considering that the reliability of the Israeli launcher is not so high, it is probably appropriate to launch from another vehicle.”

The PSLV is a four-stage rocket that combines solid and liquid propellants. Because of TechSar’s small size relative to most PSLV payloads, it will launch on a version of the rocket that is not equipped with strap-on boosters, sources here said.

Israeli government and industry sources insist that use of the Indian launcher will not involve the transfer to India of sensitive Israeli technology or know-how.

“It’s a significant step forward for strategic cooperation, but let’s not get carried away,” a defense official said. “They’re not going to be able to open up our satellite and learn our secrets.”



Iran Notches Up Anti-Israel Campaign
By Nasser Karimi
The Associated Press
January 15, 2006

Iran announced plans Sunday for a conference to examine evidence for the Holocaust, a new step in hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s campaign against Israel one that was likely to deepen Tehran’s international isolation.

Ahmadinejad already called the Nazis’ World War II slaughter of European Jews a “myth” and said the Jewish state should be wiped off the map or moved to Germany or the United States.

Those remarks prompted a global outpouring of condemnation, and it wasn’t clear who would be willing to attend an Iranian-sponsored Holocaust conference.

Late last year, however, the leader of Egypt’s main Islamic opposition group joined Ahmadinejad in characterizing the Holocaust as a “myth” and lambasted Western governments for criticizing those who dispute the Jewish genocide happened.

“Western democracies have slammed all those who don’t see eye to eye with the Zionists regarding the myth of the Holocaust,” Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohammed Mahdi Akef wrote on the group’s Web site.

Tehran already had further raised international concern about its nuclear program last week when it resumed what it called “research” at its uranium enrichment facility.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. organization that monitors nuclear proliferation, said Iran was resuming small-scale nuclear enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for atomic bombs.

That, in turn, prompted Washington and its allies to renew their push to take Iran before the U.N. Security Council for the possible sanctions.

The United States, its European allies and Japan believe Tehran is trying to build a nuclear weapon. Iran denies the charge and says its nuclear program is only for electricity generation.

In calling for penalties against Iran’s “irresponsible” behavior, Republican Sen. Trent Lott pointed to Tehran’s plans for the Holocaust conference.

“At the minimum, we should go to the U.N. Security Council and we should impose economic sanctions unless there is some dramatic change in the Iranian position,” he said on CNN’s “Late Edition.”

Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., a Holocaust survivor who was born in Budapest, Hungary, also has said he understood Iran was considering a conference that would call into question evidence that the Nazis conducted a mass murder of European Jews during World War II.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi did not disclose where or when the Holocaust conference would be held, nor would he say who would attend or what had prompted Tehran to sponsor it.

On Saturday, however, Ahmadinejad urged the West to be sufficiently open-minded to allow a free international debate on the Holocaust. Asefi adopted that theme.

“It is a strange world. It is possible to discuss everything except the Holocaust. The Foreign Ministry plans to hold a conference on the scientific aspect of the issue to discuss and review its repercussions,” Asefi told reporters.

Earlier this month, the Association of Muslim Journalists, a hard-line group, proposed holding a similar conference, but Asefi said he was not aware of the association’s wishes. He said the conference he announced was planned and supported by the ministry.

Israel and Iran had good relations until the 1979 Islamic revolution, lead by Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Israel had backed the shah, apparently prompting Khomeini to term it the “Little Satan.”

Ahmadinejad has adopted rhetoric reminiscent of Khomeini, seemingly trying to breath life back into the waning revolutionary spirit in the country, whose residents are not traditionally anti-Jewish.

Before the revolution about 100,000 Jews lived in Iran, but three-fourths fled during the upheaval.

Ahmadinejad, who took office in August, caused an international outcry in October by calling Israel a “disgraceful blot” that should be “wiped off the map.”

Leaders around the world also condemned him after he called the Nazi slaughter of Jews during World War II a “myth.” He later said that if the Holocaust did happen, then Israel should be moved to Germany or North America, rather than making Palestinians suffer by losing their land to atone for crimes committed by Europeans.

Since the Islamic revolution, Israel has considered Iran a primary and existential threat. As Tehran’s nuclear program has moved forward, the Israelis who have nuclear weapons but do not to admit possessing such an arsenal have refused to rule out using military force to destroy the Iranian program.

Western editor, angry at lack of alcohol in Gaza, says Abba Eban was right after all

January 12, 2006


1. Removal of crosses ordered on flights to Saudi Arabia
2. Knife attack in Moscow synagogue
3. Western reporters angry as last alcohol bar in Gaza is burned down
4. Big Ben was a “terror target”
5. UK suicide bomber leaves a fortune
6. Gaddafi: suicide operations will help us cut our defense budget
7. World Bank rep: PA getting more money than anyone else, yet on verge of bankruptcy
8. “Fatah creating anarchy in a ploy to postpone PA elections”
9. Egyptian writer: “Sharon as the quintessential Arab leader”
10. “The choice between peace and war is not in Israeli hands”
11. “Keep your expectations low” (By Jonathan S. Tobin, Jan. 12, 2006)
12. “After all these years, I am ale-less in Gaza” (By Patrick Bishop, Daily Telegraph, Jan. 10, 2006)
13. “Fatah is no better than Hamas” (By Evelyn Gordon, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 5, 2006)

[Note by Tom Gross]


Flight attendants on British Midland – the only UK airline that flies to Saudi Arabia – have been told they must not wear crucifixes because it offends the country’s Muslims, reports the Daily Telegraph. Stewardesses have also been urged to cover themselves in long robes and headscarves.

The airline claims that that the rules are part of an “obligation” to “respect the customs” of the strictly Muslim kingdom.

An unnamed BMI employee told a Sunday newspaper: “It’s outrageous that we must respect their beliefs but they’re not prepared to respect ours. My grandmother gave me a crucifix shortly before she died and I wear it at all times. It’s got enormous sentimental value and I don’t see why I have to remove it.”

The airline’s spokesman said staff who did not wish to adhere to the requirements would be transferred to other routes.


A man armed with a knife wounded eleven people in an attack in a synagogue in central Moscow yesterday evening. Alexander Koptsev, 20, described as a skinhead, ran into the synagogue wielding a knife shouting “I will kill Jews!” and began slashing at worshipers.

Koptsev also shouted “Heil Hitler,” and following the attack neo-Nazi literature was found in his possession.

The stabbing is the latest in a number of incidents apparently involving skinheads or racist groups in Russia. Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar said the attack was part of a growing a fascist “plague” in the country. (Rabbi Lazar is a subscriber to this list.)


The situation in Gaza has finally gone too far for foreign reporters. Following the torching of the UN Beach club on January 1, it is apparently now no longer possible to get a cold beer in Gaza.

Patrick Bishop, the former foreign editor of the Daily Telegraph, who is presently on assignment in Gaza, writes: “At the end of a day like yesterday, I would normally retire to the UN Beach Club, a low-rise concrete joint whose seediness is more than compensated for by its views of the Mediterranean. And, of course, the fact that it is the only place in Gaza where you can get a drink.”

He then laments how bad things have now got in Gaza. “I have always been reluctant to accept the Israeli statesman Abba Eban’s observation that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, now it has to be admitted that the man had a point.” (Article attached below)


It was revealed yesterday during the trial of Egyptian born cleric Abu Hamza in London, that the British capital’s famous Big Ben clock, which sits right next to the Houses of parliament, was touted as a possible terror target.

The jury were played recordings by Abu Hamza telling worshippers at his (now closed) London mosque, that “There is no drop of liquid loved by Allah more than blood of Serbs, Jews or any other enemy of Allah.”

Abu Hamza also described non-believers as “germs and viruses,” and said Jews are “blasphemous, traitors and dirty” and “Hitler was sent to torture and humiliate Jews”.

For more on Abu Hamza and his claim that Israel was behind the March 2004 Madrid terror attacks, please see the dispatch Nearly half British Muslims would become suicide bombers (March 15, 2004).


It was revealed this week that one of the July 2005 London suicide bombers, Shehzad Tanweer, who was 22 and had only graduated university a year earlier, left an estate worth £121,000 (almost $200,000).

This should dispel the common myth – often promulgated by British politicians and the media – that poverty is a cause of terrorism.


Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan dictator, has told Libyan TV that “In our current circumstances, we don’t need to buy tanks, airplanes, missiles, or other huge things like this…”

He continued, “I will fight… with explosives belts, car bombs and Kalashnikovs… If every Libyan is booby-trapped, every car is booby-trapped, every house is booby-trapped and every road is booby-trapped – the enemy will not be able to survive.”


Nigel Roberts, the World Bank’s representative in the Palestinian Authority, has told the Israeli daily Ha’aretz that although the Palestinians are receiving $5 billion direct aid in five years, or $300 per capita annually – the highest amount given to any entity since World War II – the P.A. is on the verge of “functional bankruptcy.”

Roberts said this is because of enormous corruption and inefficiency. He added it’s possible that P.A. salaries will not be paid on time, which he said could lead to “devastating consequences.” Rather than improve the economic conditions, Roberts said the Palestinians’ decision to increase the minimum wage was irresponsible and demonstrates that the Palestinians are not fulfilling commitments on budget control. As a result, the World Bank says it is to freeze $60 million of the funds earmarked for the Palestinian operating budget.


Danny Rubinstein, the Arab affairs editor for Ha’aretz, writes: “The ones responsible for the lawlessness in the [Palestinian-populated] territories are affiliated with the Palestinian security services and the Fatah movement. In the Palestinian street, they understand that this is no coincidence. The popular interpretation is that this is intentional and organized chaos whose goal is to generate riots that will lead to the cancellation of the parliamentary elections. There is serious doubt that the elections will take place in the end. Nearly the entire world does not want elections that Hamas will win.”

In the third article below, Evelyn Gordon argues that there is no difference between Hamas and Fatah. She writes: “No one has yet explained why Hamas is so much worse than Fatah – whose list, despite the lip-service denunciations of terror routinely uttered by Fatah leader and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, is also comprised mainly of prominent terrorists and terror advocates…”


Whilst many in the Western and Arab media are still vilifying Ariel Sharon, here is a rare example of a more balanced article from Egyptian writer Mona Eltahaway in Asharq Alawsat, one of the leading Arab daily papers.

Sharon as the Quintessential Arab leader
By Mona Eltahaway
Asharq Alawsat (English Edition)
January 9, 2006

The Arab world hates Ariel Sharon so much not because he is responsible for the death of so many Arabs but because he is essentially the mirror image of the Arab leaders that have ruled us for decades. He is the better and improved mirror image.

If hatred for Sharon was based solely on the number of Arabs he has killed, then he would probably lose out to those responsible for the thousands killed in the fighting of Black September [by Arafat and King Hussein] and the thousands more killed in Hama [by Assad].

And when it comes to the massacres at Sabra and Shatila, with which Sharon’s name is synonymous, it is important to remember that an Israeli state inquiry in 1983 found Sharon, then defense minister, indirectly responsible for the killings of hundreds of men, women and children at the refugee camps during Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon. An Arab inquiry has yet to hold directly responsible members of the Lebanese militias who actually slaughtered those men, women and children with their guns and knives.

The Israeli inquiry forced Sharon’s resignation and hundreds of thousands of Israelis demonstrated their horror and disgust at his role in the massacre. I won’t ask where are the Arab demonstrations against the massacres of Arabs by fellow Arabs. The answer is evident in every Arab news story that holds only Sharon responsible for the slaughter at Sabra and Shatila. It is an answer that reminds us again that Arab victimhood makes sense only when we are being victimized by Israel. The horrors we visit upon each other are irrelevant...

(To read this article in full, see


Jonathan Tobin writes that “As long as Palestinian leaders can win popularity on the basis of how many Jews they kill – and not on their ability to provide jobs or sewer systems – no plan for regional quiet, let alone peace, is secure…”

Tobin warns that “The descent of the Palestinian territories into chaos is the Palestinians’ fault. The anarchy in Gaza has dampened Washington’s daffy expectations that peace is on the horizon.”

He concludes by warning the U.S administration that they should “lower everyone’s expectations about ‘progress,’ and concentrate its diplomacy on Palestinian terror.”

Tobin’s, and two other articles, are attached below.

-- Tom Gross



Keep Your Expectations Low
Focus on Pliability of Sharon’s Successor Ignores the Real ‘Peace Process’ Story
By Jonathan S. Tobin
The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent
January 12, 2006

A week into the post-Ariel Sharon era of U.S.-Israeli relations, some things are already clearer than they were just a few days ago.

The first is that although the Bush administration is worried about whether any of the prime minister’s possible successors will be as skillful at orchestrating territorial withdrawals as Sharon was, no change in policy toward Israel is imminent or even likely.

That’s because acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert looks like he is going to have a good chance of holding on to the top job. And that would suit the Bush administration just fine.

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu probably has more of a shot to beat Olmert than the experts are giving him, but the Bush team is not eager to have to deal with the testy and unpredictable Bibi. Though he is as likely as Olmert to make concessions, the path Netanyahu followed in his time as prime minister – speaking loudly, but carrying a very small stick – won him few friends in Washington.

As for Labor leader Amir Peretz, it’s not too probable that an unreconstructed socialist with poor English skills will bond with the Texan in the White House.

Getting the ‘Green Light’

Which brings us back to Olmert, who will campaign as the true heir of Sharon. Don’t be surprised if Bush, who rightly declined to interfere in the 2003 Israeli election (in marked contrast to Bill Clinton’s decision to do everything but stump for Labor candidates Shimon Peres in 1996 and Ehud Barak in 1999), takes a different tack in the coming weeks. Not so subtle hints of American favor, such as an invitation to the White House, would be very helpful to Olmert.

Though the Bush-Sharon relationship has not always been the bed of roses that Sharon’s P.R. machine often portrayed it as being, it was strong. Most of all, Bush gave Sharon the green light to counterattack and crush the last round of Palestinian terror warfare, and he was perfectly okay with isolating the late and unlamented Yasser Arafat in his hole in Ramallah.

Following Arafat’s death, the administration developed a crush on his successor, Mahmoud Abbas. That led to tension with Sharon, who wasn’t willing to drop security measures, such as checkpoints, which would have made it easier on Palestinian terrorists and Abbas.

So despite the fact that Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza last summer, the blame-Israel-first crowd in Europe and this country still think Abbas’ abject failures are Israel’s fault. His inability to govern effectively, let alone honor the Palestinians’ road-map obligation to disarm terror groups, is considered to have been the result of Israeli hard-heartedness.

That is, of course, nonsense. The descent of the Palestinian territories into chaos is the Palestinians’ fault. The anarchy in Gaza has dampened Washington’s daffy expectations that peace is on the horizon. But their real priority is to keep the Israel-Palestinian struggle from interfering with their plans elsewhere in the Middle East, such as the war effort in Iraq.

And that is why they are hopeful that Olmert will follow through on past hints that he’s willing to lead future withdrawals from parts of the West Bank. Since “progress” in the peace process is synonymous with Israeli withdrawals, as long as more pullbacks are in the offing, Washington can tell its European and Arab “allies” things are moving in the right direction.

Though Sharon’s new Kadima Party was put down as a one-man show, it appears that’s not the case. As much as it was created by the force of Sharon’s appeal, it looks as if something deeper was at play.

Namely, the thesis – that it was a true “third way” between the illusions about negotiations with the Palestinians championed by Labor and the Likud’s rejection of any further concessions – still clicked with the Israeli public.

Can Olmert, a man without Sharon’s security credentials or political stature, continue a policy of unilaterally declaring Israel’s borders by pullouts from the West Bank and completion of the security fence?

If the answer turns out to be yes, that’s because the willingness of the Israeli public to divest itself of as many Palestinian Arabs as possible should not be underestimated.

Abandoning parts of the West Bank will not be as easy as Gaza. These places are the heart of the Jewish homeland and resonate in the Jewish consciousness. We are also talking about a lot more Jews who would have to be displaced in order to accomplish a withdrawal to the security fence that most observers see as Israel’s de facto border for the foreseeable future.

But even if we assume that Olmert has the political skills and the backing to accomplish such a traumatic plan, there is still a problem in the offing that could upset both Olmert’s and Bush’s plans for the region.

The problem is the willingness of the Palestinians to abide by the new terms of engagement between the two sides. Sharon’s unilateralism is predicated on the notion that Israel can dictate not merely its borders, but the terms of the conflict.

Israelis Plan, Palestinians Decide

But what if a strengthened Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade (an affiliate of Abbas’ own Fatah Party) decide that it’s time to launch a new wave of terror in the coming months. Though the Israelis are right to be confident about their ability to limit their losses, it is not hard to imagine things getting out of hand, especially if Israel is forced to again enter Arab cities to destroy terror bases.

The question that must haunt all of the men who want to be prime minister of Israel is whether or not George Bush will give them the leeway he gave Sharon.

Despite the talk of Sharon changing the paradigm of the conflict, the choice between peace and war, even after unilateral withdrawal, will not be in the hands of any one Israeli leader.

It’s always the Palestinians who have that choice. As long as Palestinian leaders can win popularity on the basis of how many Jews they kill – and not on their ability to provide jobs or sewer systems – no plan for regional quiet, let alone peace, is secure. And any hint that the administration wants to hamper Israel’s right to defend itself will be an open invitation to bloodshed.

Rather than promoting Olmert as the person who will advance a peace process that doesn’t exist, the best thing the administration can do is to lower everyone’s expectations about “progress,” and concentrate its diplomacy on Palestinian terror.



After all these years, I am ale-less in Gaza
By Patrick Bishop
The Daily Telegraph
January 10, 2006

I have always been reluctant to accept the Israeli statesman Abba Eban’s observation that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Arriving in Gaza yesterday, it had to be admitted that the man had a point. Four months ago, when I was last here, the place sparkled with optimism. With the hated Israelis gone, Gaza was going to show the world what Palestinians could do when left to their own devices.

The Strip’s miles of golden sand were to become a sort of Islamic Miami Beach, minus the booze and bikinis. Maybe, a few diehard optimists dared to hope, Yasser Arafat’s vision of Gaza as a Middle Eastern Singapore might at last start to be realised.

Yesterday, it felt more like the Wild West. The first sign of just how dodgy security has become came when Said Ghazali, The Daily Telegraph’s local man in Jerusalem, and I arrived at the Palestinian side of the crossing to learn that our regular driver – stocky, dependable Ashraf – would not be there to meet us.

He had a reasonable excuse. He has the bad luck to belong to the Masri clan, who are currently engaged in a blood feud with their rivals, the Kafarnehs. The toll so far is five dead and 70-odd wounded. Yesterday a Kafarneh was injured in a shooting attack and Ashraf thought it prudent to leave his cab in the garage.

We found another driver and set off for Rafah, the scene of an extraordinary outbreak of anarchy last week. A mob killed two Egyptian border guards and bulldozed concrete walls in a successful attempt to force the authorities to release a man suspected of kidnapping the British aid worker Kate Burton and her parents.

On the way, we passed through the town of Khan Younis. The main road was blocked by what I took at first to be an election rally.

Wrong. The Masri boys were at it again, this time wading into the Tahas, their sworn enemies in the southern end of the Strip.

The action in the main street was confined to fists and boots, but, as we turned into a parallel street to detour round the mob, we ran into a gun battle, with the rivals trading Kalashnikov fire from opposing blocks of flats. The cars in front of us sped up a bit, but 50 yards from the shooting, life was going on as normal.

Most Gazans grew up with gunfire. Before, it was only the Israelis they had to worry about. Now they are shooting each other. The security forces are no help. Their rivalries are the cause of much of the bloodshed.

Somehow, though, it is never all gloom in Gaza. Yesterday, pace Abba Eban, I saw one opportunity that the Palestinians have definitely not missed.

On the site of what was once an Israeli army base, there now stands the Al Bashir Joy Land. Where once there were walls and watchtowers are slides, merry-go-rounds and swings.

At the end of a day like yesterday, I would normally retire to the UN Beach Club, a low-rise concrete joint whose seediness is more than compensated for by its views of the Mediterranean. And, of course, the fact that it is the only place in Gaza where you can get a drink.

Over the years, thousands of Middle Eastern hands have had reason to remember it fondly. Yes, we often thought as the barman placed the first frosted glasses of Heineken before us on a scorching mid-summer evening, there is a point to the United Nations.

Yesterday the Beach Club was still there. But the bar wasn’t. Unknown saboteurs arrived at dawn a few days ago, tied up the guards and planted a bomb that reduced the interior to matchwood.

The way things are going in Gaza, it seems unlikely that the dear old Beach Club will be re-opening its doors any time soon.



Fatah is no better than Hamas
By Evelyn Gordon
The Jerusalem Post
January 5, 2006

The prospect of a strong Hamas showing in the upcoming Palestinian elections appears to have generated an international panic. Israel is threatening to deny Hamas candidates freedom of movement to campaign and to prohibit voting in east Jerusalem due to Hamas’s presence on the ballot. The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution demanding that Hamas be barred from running. The Quartet (the US, UN, European Union and Russia) warned that the future Palestinian cabinet must include nobody not “committed to” both Israel’s right to exist and “an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism.” And the EU even threatened to halt aid to the Palestinian Authority should Hamas win the election and then fail to renounce violence.

But in all this hysteria, no one has yet explained why Hamas is so much worse than Fatah – whose list, despite the lip-service denunciations of terror routinely uttered by Fatah leader and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, is also comprised mainly of prominent terrorists and terror advocates.

The No.1 slot on the Fatah list has been awarded to Marwan Barghouti, who is currently serving five life sentences in an Israeli jail for terror attacks that killed five civilians during the current intifada. Moreover, his presence in the top slot was deemed sufficiently vital to justify breaking the rule that he himself dictated: that the national slate be reserved for new faces, while sitting PA parliamentarians such as Barghouti would have to run in the district races that will elect the other half of the PA parliament.

Barghouti is not only a practitioner of terror; he is also one of its vocal advocates. Indeed, the platform of the breakaway Fatah list that he formed last month (the two lists later reunited) stressed the importance of both negotiation and “struggle” – the Palestinian euphemism for anti-Israel terrorism.

Similarly, in a 2001 interview with the London based newspaper Al-Hayat, Barghouti proudly claimed credit for having orchestrated the intifada, saying that when Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in September 2000, “I saw within the situation a historic opportunity to ignite the conflict … After Sharon left, I stayed in the area for two hours with other well-known people and we spoke … of how people should react in all the towns and villages … We made contact with all the factions.”

Even Meretz chairman Yossi Beilin – who wants him released to promote “peace” – acknowledges that Barghouti advocated violence even at the height of the peace process. In a December 2004 interview with The New York Times, Beilin described a meeting with Barghouti on May 14, 2000, during the preparations for that July’s final-status negotiations at Camp David. “Barghouti told me that he wanted to continue the use of violence and that if there were no peace agreement by September, he would use violence,” Beilin recalled.

But Barghouti’s presence at the top of Fatah’s list is no mere anomaly. That is evident from the slate that Abbas composed during Fatah’s brief split, when Barghouti was heading the rival list. In the top slot, Abbas placed Muhammad Abu Ali Yatta – who is also serving a life sentence for murder in an Israeli prison.

In other words, Barghouti is not first on the list because his popularity forced a reluctant Abbas to accept him, but because Abbas deliberately decided to head the list with someone convicted of murdering Israelis. And whether he did so because he personally admires such killers or merely because he deemed this necessary to win votes makes little difference in terms of the prospects for peace: Even if Abbas personally wants to end the conflict, that is unlikely to happen if the Palestinian public prefers terrorism.

Indeed, most of the Fatah list is one long paean to terrorism. Barghouti is No. 1. Yatta is No. 2. No. 3 is Umm Jihad, whose claim to fame is being the widow of another famous terrorist, Abu Jihad. And so on and so forth.

Then, finally, there is! Abbas himself – who, for all his anti-terrorist rhetoric, has facilitated terror rather than fighting it.

Ever since the disengagement, for instance, Kassam rockets have been launched from Gaza into Israel almost daily. The main culprits are Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees, both of which are small organizations that lack broad popular backing, and would therefore be easy targets for the tens of thousands of armed PA security personnel in Gaza.

Yet Abbas refused to order his forces into action, allowing the launches to continue unmolested. Only last week, after Israel decided to try to protect its southern towns itself by using air force and artillery to turn popular launch sites into “no-go zones,” did Abbas finally move – not against the terrorists, but against Israel. Declaring that Israel “has no right to return [to Gaza] under any pretext, including the firing of rockets," he began trying to mobilize international pressure against the Israeli operation.

In other words, Abbas will not lift a finger against terrorism himself – but he will do his best to stymie any Israeli countermeasures, thereby facilitating the terrorists’ operations.

Given this picture, one has to wonder why Fatah should be considered better than Hamas. Granted, Fatah does not openly call for Israel’s destruction – but that merely makes the world more willing to overlook its members’ involvement in, advocacy of and facilitation of terrorism, and to pressure Israel to do the same. That is hardly to Israel’s benefit. Yet incredibly, Israel has actively promoted a Fatah victory – even to the point of allowing Barghouti to campaign from his jail cell.

It would be far better for Israel, and the world, to finally acknowledge reality: Secular terrorists are no better than the Islamist kind – and Fatah, in its current incarnation, is no more of a peace partner than Hamas.

“Middle Beast”: Ariel Sharon as a target of anti-Semitism

January 11, 2006

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach an article by myself from today’s Jerusalem Post.



International media: Still vilifying Sharon?
By Tom Gross
The Jerusalem Post
January 11, 2005

Compared to past international media coverage of Ariel Sharon, which on a number of occasions in recent years has gone beyond personal demonization to outright anti-Semitism, the reporting on Sharon since he suffered a massive stroke last week has been relatively benign. Sharon, the butcher, the bulldozer, the war criminal, the “successor of Hitler,” has suddenly been humanized in several usually hostile quarters, such as the BBC.

But only up to a point. Even amid this improved coverage, as Sharon lies fighting for his life, many articles in the Western media have retailed untruths, almost in passing, as though they were incontrovertible historical facts: Sharon initiated the second intifada, Sharon ordered the Sabra and Shatila massacres, and so on.

According to a Google search, there were over 24,000 articles published on Sharon in the 24 hours following his stroke last Wednesday night. But it was only four days later, in Monday’s Washington Post, that there was the first mention of Sharon’s protracted and successful libel battle in the 1980s against Time magazine for its inaccurate suggestion that he had encouraged the Sabra and Shatila massacres.

Equally, there has been almost no reference to the fact that the Sabra and Shatila massacres were carried out by (Christian) Arabs against (Muslim) Arabs, in response to massacres by Muslims, and virtually no indication that the Palestinians themselves had carefully planned the 2000 intifada.

This is by their own admission. For example, the PA Communications Minister, Imad Al-Faluji told Al-Safir (March 3, 2001): “Whoever thinks that the intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon’s visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque is wrong. This intifada was planned in advance, ever since President Arafat’s return from the Camp David negotiations, where he turned the table upside down on President Clinton.”

And the jailed Palestinian terror leader Marwan Barghouti told the Palestinian paper, the Jerusalem Times (June 8, 2001): “The intifada did not start because of Sharon’s visit to Al-Aqsa. The intifada began because the Palestinians did not approve of the peace process in its previous form.” But now as then Western media are uninterested in passing such comments on to their readers.

Most of the reporting has failed to supply any context – for example as to why Israeli troops had entered Lebanon in 1982. I have seen hardly any references to past moves Sharon made for peace, such as the 1982 dismantling of Yamit and 13 other settlements in the Sinai.


There have also been some nasty headlines and cartoons. “He is the King Kong of massacres” ran the headline of a news report on Sharon on January 8 in The Observer, the Sunday affiliate of Britain’s Guardian newspaper, referring to the recently released remake of the 1933 movie classic. “Ariel Sharon, agent of perpetual war,” was the headline of an article in the relatively moderate Lebanese paper, the Daily Star, on January 7, 2006, by its editor-at-large and frequent guest on America’s NPR, Rami Khouri.

“Sharon’s legacy does not include peace,” is how a January 5 feature on the BBC News website by Paul Reynolds, the BBC’s World Affairs correspondent, was introduced, while Richard Stott’s January 8 column on Sharon for the mass circulation (British) Sunday Mirror was titled “Middle Beast.”

On Friday, the entire front page of the (London) Independent carried a photo of Sharon with the words “Inside: Robert Fisk on Ariel Sharon.” The article, over 7000 words extracted from Fisk’s new book, was hardly about Sharon at all, and consisted almost entirely of Fisk’s claims about what happened at Sabra and Shatila. Unsurprisingly, Fisk made no mention of Sharon’s successful American court ruling against Time.

Yet overall, the international coverage of Sharon since his stroke has been relatively kind. Who could have imagined, for example, that the New York Times – which for decades has blackened Sharon’s reputation – would run a comparatively complimentary editorial on him by Benny Morris? Who could have imagined that the home page of would this week show Sharon sitting in a grandfatherly pose looking on as Hanukah candles were lit?

I use the term “relatively kind” because it is important to recall what the coverage of Sharon was like until just a few weeks ago. He was not only reviled in the international media, but frequently portrayed in viciously anti-Semitic terms.


In Spain, for example, on June 4, 2001 (three days after a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 21 young Israelis at a disco, in the midst of a unilateral Israeli ceasefire), the liberal magazine Cambio 16 published a cartoon of Sharon (with a hook nose he does not have), wearing a skull cap (which he does not usually wear), sporting a swastika inside a star of David on his chest, and proclaiming: “At least Hitler taught me how to invade a country and destroy every living insect.”

A week earlier, El Pais, Spain’s equivalent of The New York Times, published a cartoon of an allegorical figure carrying a small rectangular-shaped black moustache, flying through the air towards Sharon’s upper lip. The caption read: “Clio, the muse of history, puts Hitler’s moustache on Ariel Sharon”.

Cartoons in the Greek press in 2004 showed Sharon as a Nazi officer. One of Italy’s leading papers, Corriere Della Sera, ran a cartoon on March 31, 2002, showing Sharon killing Jesus. (The cartoon, which was timed to coincide with Easter day that year, was published as Israelis lay dying from the Netanya Passover massacre three days earlier.)

Hundreds of similar anti-Semitic motifs have been applied to Sharon in recent years. The Economist magazine compared him to Charles Dickens’s infamous anti-Semitic stereotype, Fagin. (An earlier edition of The Economist ran a blackened front cover with the words “Sharon’s Israel, the world’s worry.”) And grotesque cartoons of Sharon have continued to appear until as recently as six weeks ago in, for example, the Guardian.

Now, by contrast, attitudes to Sharon are by and large restrained, even respectful. But we still have to wait and see whether journalists in the supposedly respectable world media have decided to rid themselves once and for all of the anti-Semitic overspill in their Israel coverage. It is much too early to tell.

(The writer is a former Jerusalem correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph.)

Iran planning to host international Holocaust (denial) conference

January 10, 2006


1. “The history books in schools and universities do not correspond to the truth”
2. Faurisson, Shamir, Mahler, Butz, Irving
3. U.S. Jews ask exiled Iranian media to carry Holocaust message
4. UN to host its first Holocaust remembrance event
5. Berlin’s New Year celebrations spill over into city’s new Holocaust memorial
6. Hamas TV
7. Halutz: Iran on “brink of the abyss”
8. Volkswagen unveils new slogan
9. Secret nuclear deals linked to Sudan
10. “Iran: Holocaust conference soon in Tehran” (AKI, Jan. 5, 2006)
11. “‘New Year’s orgy’ at Holocaust memorial” (Ynetnews, Jan. 3, 2006)
12. “Hamas launches TV station in Gaza” (AP, Jan. 9, 2006)
13. “Meet Candidate ‘Martyr Mom’” (By Andrew Bostom, FrontPageMagazine, Jan. 5, 2006)
14. “Clandestine nuclear deals traced to Sudan” (The Guardian, Jan. 5, 2006)

[Note by Tom Gross]


AKI, the Italian news agency, is reporting that the Association of Islamic Journalists is currently putting together a Holocaust Conference to be held in Tehran.

Mehdi Afzali, a spokesperson of the Association of Islamic Journalists, told AKI that “[Iranian] President Ahmadinejad has placed at the center of international attention, a very important question on the truthfulness of the version that Europe and the Zionists have imposed on the world on the murder of Jews during the years of the great war.”

Afzali added: “We will invite those who believe in the imposed version as well as all those who have spent years of their lives in the study of documents related to the Holocaust and have come to the conclusion that the history books in schools and universities do not correspond to the truth.”


The article (attached below) speculates that Robert Faurisson, the French revisionist “scholar,” may be among the participants. Other possible guests at the conference are the extreme left-wing anti-Zionist Israeli journalist Israel Shamir, a convert to Christianity who lives in Jaffa, and Horst Mahler from Germany, a former member of the terrorist group the Red Army Faction, as well as the American Arthur Butz.

For more on Faurisson and the present Iranian regime’s views on the Holocaust, please see the dispatch Tehran Times today: The phenomenal lie of the “Holocaust” (& Ha’aretz’s dangerous misreporting) (Nov. 10, 2005).

In 2001, the Lebanese government, then led by the assassinated Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, prevented a similar revisionist Holocaust conference from taking place in Beirut.

In Iran, books by the English “historian,” David Irving, currently in custody in an Austrian jail after having been accused of denying the Holocaust, are very popular.


Jewish leaders in America have appealed to exiled Iranian television and radio stations to inform their countrymen in Iran about the Holocaust. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian President, said last month that “They have invented a myth that Jews were massacred.”

More than 500,000 Iranian-Americans live in the Los Angeles area, and as a result the city is known locally as “Tehrangeles”. Farsi-language radio and satellite television is beamed into Iran from Los Angeles. George Haroonian, an Iranian-Jewish community leader, said the bid to woo Iranian broadcasters was important, “particularly for the young people of Iran, who have had much less contact and experience with Jews.”

Haroonian said the Los Angeles-based Pars satellite television network on Sunday carried reports about the Holocaust as well as excerpts from the Academy Award-winning 1981 documentary “Genocide.”


On Friday, January 27, 2006, the United Nations will host an international Holocaust Remembrance Event in the General Assembly Hall.

This historic occasion is the first annual commemoration of the Holocaust at the UN since its founding in 1945. For decades, Jewish groups and others have been pressing the UN to remember the Holocaust.

January 27 is the day the Soviet army liberated Auschwitz in 1945.


The Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot reports that New Year’s Eve celebrations at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate overflowed into the nearby Holocaust memorial. The desecration which included “wine bottles, decorations and even empty packs of condoms” may take some time to clean.

A dispatch on this list in May last year titled (1) IDF recruits Harley Davidsons; (2) 50,000 Germans sing for Israel (May 16, 2005), included a report that vandals scrawled swastikas on the new Holocaust memorial in Berlin on the very first day it was open to the public.


Hamas have launched their first TV station in the Gaza Strip. The well-funded terror group say they hope it may give them a boost in the upcoming Palestinian elections. Hamas also hope that “Al-Aqsa Television” is a first step in setting up a satellite station like Hizbullah’s Al-Manar TV.

Moheib Nawati, a political analyst in Gaza, told the Associated Press that “The timing serves the election campaign and is in a way a form of early preparation for Hamas’ attempt to control matters more, including presenting its political programs after the elections.”

One of the Hamas candidates for the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary elections is Umm Nidal Farhat, the mother of three Hamas terrorists killed in so-called “martyrdom operations”.

I attach an article below by Andrew G. Bostom, the author of an important new book, “The Legacy of Jihad.” Bostom asks “how moribund is our world that the mother of three murderous jihad terrorists – a triumphal ‘Martyr Mom’ – can run for elective office in the Palestinian Legislative Council, and this harrowing spectacle is regarded with the same banality by these elites as if she were a ‘Soccer Mom’?”

The Palestinian elections are due to be held on January 25, 2006.


It was announced today that Iran has removed international seals from its nuclear facility in Natanz. Iranian officials have verbally notified the IAEA of their intention to introduce uranium hexafluoride gas into centrifuges at the facility, 150 miles south of Tehran. Introducing hexafluoride gas into centrifuges is the necessary step in producing enriched uranium.

Dan Halutz, Israel’s Chief of Staff, warned today that Iran is driving itself “to the brink of the abyss” by resuming its ultra-sensitive nuclear research.

Halutz said “The Tehran government is pursuing a policy of going to the brink of the abyss and if it doesn’t take care, it could fall in… International pressure on Iran proves that (its nuclear activities) are not only Israel’s problem.”


The British paper the Guardian reports that the German company “Volkswagen Polo has changed its slogan in the hope of erasing the memories of last year’s fake advert, which showed a suicide bomber blowing himself up in the car.”

Under the old slogan “small but tough,” a fake advert featuring a Palestinian suicide bomber blowing himself up in a car was widely distributed last year on the internet. The new slogan will be “Polo – built to protect.”

For more on this story please see the dispatches:
Spoof Volkswagen suicide bomber ad sparks global row (Jan. 23, 2005)
Update: VW sues over fake suicide bomber ad (Jan. 26, 2005).


The final article below reports on how western intelligence are claiming Sudan has become “a major conduit for sophisticated engineering equipment that could be used in nuclear weapons programs.” Hundreds of millions of dollars of equipment was imported into the Islamist African country over a three-year period before the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington in 2001 and has since disappeared.

A new European intelligence assessment says Sudan has been using front companies to import machine tools, gauges and hi-tech processing equipment from western Europe and that much of the equipment is too sophisticated for use in the country itself. The suspicion is that it is being passed on to Iran and elsewhere.

I attach five articles below.

-- Tom Gross



Iran: Holocaust conference soon in Tehran
AKI (Italian news agency)
January 5, 2006

Iran has decided to rewrite and revise the history of the Holocaust. Following the repeated declarations by the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and other senior government officials on the need to re-examine the history of the genocide of the Jews during the Second World War, the association of Islamic Journalists of Iran has been tasked with quickly putting together an international conference on the Holocaust.

“President Ahmadinejad has placed at the centre of international attention, a very important question on the truthfulness of the version that Europe and the Zionists have imposed on the world on the murder of Jews during the years of the great war, and therefore we are of the opinion that it is useful and necessary to organise an international conference on that theme, where all the historians and researchers, even those that do not believe in the official version, will be able to express themselves freely,” Mehdi Afzali, spokesperson of the Association of Islamic Journalists told Adnkronos International (AKI).

“We want to offer a free and democratic platform to the historians to examine in-depth this myth, seeing that in different European countries there exist laws against democracy and freedom that to do not allow intellectuals who believe in a version distinct from that which is officially pronounced on the Holocaust,” added Afzali.

“We will invite those who believe in the imposed version as well as all those who have spent years of their lives in the study of documents related to the Holocaust and have come to the conclusion that the history books in schools and universities do not correspond to the truth,” said Afzali, who however refused to supply the names of the revisionist historians who have been contacted to appear in the conference in Tehran. Revisionists are those who deny that the Holocaust ever happened.

In Iran, books by the English historian, David Irving, currently in custody in an Austrian jail after having been accused of denying the Holocaust, are very popular.

Among the names of possible guests at the conference are the Israeli journalist lsrael Shamir, a convert to Christianity, and Horst Mahler from Germany, a former member of the terrorist group, the Red Army Faction. Other revisionist scholars, such as the French Robert Faurisson and the American Arthur Butz, are also some of the other possible participants of the conference in Tehran.



‘New Year’s orgy’ at Holocaust memorial

New Year’s Eve celebrations held last Saturday at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate pour into nearby Holocaust memorial. Wine bottles, empty packs of condoms left on some stones
By Ronen Bergman
January 3, 2006,7340,L-3194377,00.html

New Year’s Eve celebrations held last Saturday at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate poured into the nearby Holocaust memorial, Israel’s leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

“The riled up masses drank, ate and sent massive amounts of fireworks into the air from in between the graves,” an Israel Air Force pilot who is currently visiting Germany said.

Following the celebrations, wine bottles, decorations and even empty packs of condoms were left on some of the stones.

Cleaning service employees were summoned to the scene, but it seems that clearing the memorial of the filth left behind may take a while.

4 slabs defaced with swastikas

Last November the same memorial was partly defaced with yellow Stars of David. A Berlin police spokesman said at the time that a star had been painted by unknown vandals onto each of six of the 2,711 concrete slabs of varying height that make up the memorial.

Under the Nazis, Jews had to wear yellow stars of David to distinguish themselves from so-called “Aryan” Germans.

A Berlin Police spokesman said that the stars, which were removed, may have been linked to a number of others found sprayed or painted onto buildings and monuments in central Berlin.

The memorial, which was officially unveiled in May in the heart of the German capital, is constantly under surveillance. It covers almost 20,000 square meters, allowing visitors to wander around its tight grid pattern.

Four of the slabs were defaced with swastikas shortly before a visit to Germany by President Moshe Katsav in June.



Hamas launches TV station in Gaza
The Associated Press
(AP version as edited and published by the Jerusalem Post)
January 9, 2006

The Hamas terror group has launched a TV station in the Gaza Strip, a first step toward setting up a satellite station like the one Hizbullah runs in Lebanon, Hamas officials said Monday.

The Al-Aksa Television station is being set up just weeks before the Palestinians’ Jan. 25 parliamentary election, and if up and running in time, could help Hamas in its campaign, analysts said. Hamas presents a serious challenge to the ruling Fatah party, which has led the Palestinian Authority since its establishment in 1994.

The station broadcast a half-hour of readings from the Islamic holy book, the Quran, on Sunday, but nothing else due to technical difficulties, said a Hamas official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the issue.

During down times, a picture of the Al-Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, one of Islam’s holiest shrines, fills the screen.

Once officially launched, Al-Aksa Television will be the first private station in Gaza. Hamas says it wants the station to be high-tech and modern, not like the stodgy, state-run Arab stations.

Hizbullah’s Al-Manar TV has reporters throughout the Middle East, including Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, who cover events on location. When Hezbollah attacks Israeli targets, Al-Manar often broadcasts images of the strike.

Hamas’ Al Aqsa Television will seek to do similar things. The Hamas official said the station aims to carry the group’s message to the Palestinian people and to the world.

“Politically and from a freedom of expression point of view, every party is entitled to have whichever medium it sees fit to present its political programs and promote them,” said Moheib Nawati, a political analyst in Gaza.

Until recently, Hamas’ only real message was resistance, so the radio station it runs was sufficient to get out its word, Nawati said. Now, with the Islamic group expanding into politics, it wants a TV station to effectively spread its new ideas, he added.

“The timing, I think, serves the election campaign and is in a way a form of early preparation for Hamas’ attempt to control matters more, including presenting its political programs after the elections,” Nawati said.



Meet Candidate “Martyr Mom”
By Andrew G. Bostom
January 5, 2006

Umm Nidal Farhat mothered three Hamas terrorist sons all of whom were killed while participating in so-called martyrdom operations aimed at slaughtering Israelis, indiscriminately, whether military personnel, or civilians. She relished the most notorious of these actions, the murderous rampage by her son Muhammad:

“I prayed from the depths of my heart that Allah would cause the success of his operation. I asked Allah to give me 10 [Israelis] for Muhammad, and Allah granted my request and Muhammad made his dream come true, killing 10 Israeli settlers and soldiers. Our God honored him even more, in that there were many Israelis wounded.”

In recognition, Umm Nidal was bestowed the honorific appellation Khansaa Filastin after the poetess Al-Khansaa, a convert to Islam and contemporary of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. Al-Khansaa is deemed “the mother of the Shahids” because she did not mourn when her four sons died in the battle of Al-Qadasiyya (637), instead thanking Allah who had “honored her with their deaths.”

Propelled by this notoriety, which the larger Palestinian Muslim society clearly extolled, including “moderate” Professor Sari Nusseibah (who stated on Al-Jazeera television [Qatar], June 29, 2002, “When I hear the words of Umm Nidal, I recall the [hadith] stating that ‘Paradise lies under the feet of mothers’. All respect is due to this mother, it is due to every Palestinian mother and every female Palestinian who is a Jihad fighter on this land”), Umm Nidal is now a proud candidate for the Palestinian Legislative Council in the forthcoming late January elections. During a recent interview, Umm Nidal made clear the normative Islamic context of her willingness to sacrifice three sons as “martyrs”:

“I protect my sons from defying Allah, or from choosing a path that would not please Allah. This is what I fear, when it comes to my sons. But as for sacrifice, Jihad for the sake of Allah, or performing the duty they were charged with - this makes me happy… I prepared all my sons for Jihad for the sake of Allah, whether by carrying out an attack, or by any other form of Jihad. I prepared myself for this. He who chooses a difficult road must be ready to bear the consequences.”

Umm Nidals’ religious views are supported by both the contemporary pronouncements of acclaimed Muslim Brotherhood cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, and the research of Professor Franz Rosenthal. At the July 2003 meeting (in Stockholm) of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, which he heads, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi stated,

“Those who oppose martyrdom operations and claim that they are suicide are making a great mistake. The goals of the one who carries out a martyrdom operation and of the one who commits suicide are completely different. Anyone who analyzes the soul of [these two] will discover the huge difference between them. The [person who commits] suicide kills himself for himself, because he failed in business, love, an examination, or the like. He was too weak to cope with the situation and chose to flee life for death…In contrast, the one who carries out a martyrdom operation does not think of himself. He sacrifices himself for the sake of a higher goal, for which all sacrifices become meaningless. He sells himself to Allah in order to buy Paradise in exchange. Allah said: ‘Allah has bought from the believers their souls and their properties for they shall inherit Paradise…While the [person who commits] suicide dies in escape and retreat, the one who carries out a martyrdom operation dies in advance and attack. Unlike the [person who commits] suicide, who has no goal except escape from confrontation, the one who carries out a martyrdom operation has a clear goal, and that is to please Allah.”

In his seminal 1946 essay, “On Suicide in Islam.” (Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 66, pp. 243, 256), Rosenthal observed, consistent with Qaradawi’s statements:

“While the Qur’anic attitude toward suicide remains uncertain, the great authorities of the hadith leave no doubt as to the official attitude of Islam. In their opinion suicide is an unlawful act....On the other hand, death as the result of ‘suicidal’ missions and of the desire of martyrdom occurs not infrequently, since death is considered highly commendable according to Muslim religious concepts. However, such cases are no[t] suicides in the proper sense of the term.”

Moreover, in this exchange with her interviewer on December 21, 2005, Umm Nidal recapitulates another normative Islamic doctrine, the concept of Dar al Harb, where the lives (and possessions) of all the non-Muslim “harbis” (in this case, all Israelis) are muba’a, or licit for the Muslims:

Interviewer: Can’t you distinguish between operations against civilians and against soldiers, even from a psychological point of view?

Umm Nidal: There is no difference. This is Islamic religious law. I don’t invent anything. I follow Islamic religious law in this. A Muslim is very careful not to kill an innocent person, because he knows he would be destined to eternal Hell. So the issue is not at all simple. We rely on Islamic religious law when we say there is no prohibition on killing these people.

Once again, Umm Nidal’s understandings are substantiated by both Sheikh Qaradawi’s contemporary statements, and the writings of the mid-20th century Belgian scholar Armand Abel, a noted expert on the concept of Dar al Harb. Qaradawi stated the following in July 2003:

“It has been determined by Islamic law that the blood and property of people of Dar Al-Harb [the Domain of Disbelief where the battle for the domination of Islam should be waged] is not protected. Because they fight against and are hostile towards the Muslims, they annulled the protection of his blood and his property… in modern war, all of society, with all its classes and ethnic groups, is mobilized to participate in the war, to aid its continuation, and to provide it with the material and human fuel required for it to assure the victory of the state fighting its enemies. Every citizen in society must take upon himself a role in the effort to provide for the battle. The entire domestic front, including professionals, laborers, and industrialists, stands behind the fighting army, even if it does not bear arms. Therefore the experts say that the Zionist entity, in truth, is one army.”

Nearly a half century earlier (in 1958), Armand Abel observed,

“Together with the duty of the ‘war in the way of God’ (or jihad), this universalistic aspiration would lead the Moslems to see the world as being divided fundamentally into two parts. On the one hand there was that part of the world where Islam prevailed, where salvation had been announced, where the religion that ought to reign was practiced; this was the Dar ul Islam. On the other hand, there was the part which still awaited the establishment of the saving religion and which constituted, by definition, the object of the holy war. This was the Dar ul Harb. The latter, in the view of the Moslem jurists, was not populated by people who had a natural right not to practice Islam, but rather by people destined to become Moslems who, through impiousness and rebellion, refused to accept this great benefit. Since they were destined sooner or later to be converted at the approach of the victorious armies of the Prophet’s successor, or else killed for their rebelliousness, they were the rebel subjects of the Caliph. Their kings were nothing but odious tyrants who, by opposing the progress of the saving religion together with their armies, were following a Satanic inspiration and rising up against the designs of Providence. And so no respite should be granted them, no truce: perpetual war should be their lot, waged in the course of the winter and summer ghazu. [razzias] If the sovereign of the country thus attacked desired peace, it was possible for him, just like for any other tributary or community, to pay the tribute for himself and for his subjects…indeed, anything within the reach of the Moslem armies as they advanced, being property of impious men and rebels, was legitimately considered their booty; their men, seized by armed soldiers, were mercilessly consigned to the lot specified in the Koranic verse about the sword, and their women and children were treated like things.”

When will our policymaking and media elites finally learn and acknowledge the daily impact of barbaric, yet normative Muslim doctrines – rooted in jihad – such as “martyrdom” and “Dar al Harb”? And how moribund is our world that the mother of three murderous jihad terrorists – a triumphal “Martyr Mom” – can run for elective office in the Palestinian Legislative Council, and this harrowing spectacle is regarded with the same banality by these elites as if she were a “Soccer Mom”?



Clandestine nuclear deals traced to Sudan
By Ian Traynor and Ian Cobain
The Guardian
January 5, 2006

International investigators and western intelligence have for the first time named Sudan as a major conduit for sophisticated engineering equipment that could be used in nuclear weapons programmes.

Hundreds of millions of pounds of equipment was imported into the African country over a three-year period before the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington in 2001 and has since disappeared, according to Guardian sources.

Western governments, UN detectives and international analysts trying to stem the illicit trade in weapons of mass destruction technology are alarmed by the black market trade.

A European intelligence assessment obtained by the Guardian says Sudan has been using front companies and third countries to import machine tools, gauges and hi-tech processing equipment from western Europe for its military industries in recent years.

But it says that Sudan is also being used as a conduit, as much of the equipment is too sophisticated for use in the country itself.

“The suspicion arises that at least some of the machinery was not destined for or not only destined for Sudan,” the assessment says. “Among the equipment purchased by Sudan there are dual-use goods whose use in Sudan appears implausible because of their high technological standard.”

Western analysts and intelligence agencies suspect the equipment has been or is being traded by the nuclear proliferation racket headed by the Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, who admitted nuclear trading two years ago and is under house arrest in Islamabad.

Khan is known to have visited Sudan at least once between 1998 and 2002, and the suspicion is he may have used the country as a warehouse for the hi-tech engineering equipment he was selling to Libya, Iran and North Korea for the assembly of centrifuges for enriching uranium, the most common way of building a nuclear bomb.

Sudan has been ravaged by internal conflicts for decades, and has until recently been governed by an Islamist regime.

Analysts point out that a “failing state” such as Sudan is an ideal candidate for the illicit trading. David Albright, who is investigating the various players in the Khan network and tracks nuclear proliferation for the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, said about £320m worth of dual-use engineering equipment was imported by Sudan between 1999 and 2001.

The purchases were denominated in German marks (before the introduction of the euro), suggesting that at least some of the equipment came from Germany.

Investigators say the machinery has not been found in Sudan. Nor has it been found in Libya, since Tripoli gave up its secret nuclear bomb project in December 2003. Given Osama bin Laden’s long relationship with Sudan, where he lived before moving to Afghanistan, there had been suspicions of al-Qaida involvement. But the goods have not been found in Afghanistan either.

“A huge amount of dual-use equipment was bought by Sudan and people don’t know where it went to,” Mr. Albright said. “It’s a big mystery. The equipment has not been found anywhere.”

A senior international investigator confirmed that Sudan had been importing the material and that the transports had ceased in 2001. “No one now seems to be buying to that extent,” he said. “Perhaps the activity stopped because they got all that they needed.”

While the Khan operation is a main suspect, Iran is also suspected of being behind the Sudanese dealings. “There is the Khan network and then there is a much bigger network in this, and that is the Iranian network,” the investigator said.

Yesterday, the Guardian reported that the same European intelligence assessment - which draws on material gathered by British, French, German and Belgian agencies - concluded that the Iranian government had been successfully scouring Europe for the sophisticated equipment needed to build a nuclear bomb.

Western intelligence and Mr. Albright identified a state-owned firm in Khartoum as a “pivotal organization” in Sudan’s procurement of weapons and dual-use technology in eastern and western Europe and Russia.

The named company has offices in Tehran, Moscow, Sofia, Istanbul and Beijing. According to the European intelligence assessment, the company “is cooperating intensively with Iran”.

“It is striking,” says the document, “that [the company’s] partners are enterprises subordinate to Iran’s Defense Industries Organization. Technology transfer between these two states and links between their programmes cannot be ruled out.”

While the machinery was dual-use, meaning that it could be used in civil or military applications, Mr. Albright said he understood the equipment was “nuclear-related”. “For the people following this, the interest is whether it’s nuclear. The assumption is it is.”

The likelihood that the machinery was for Sudan is slim, say experts and investigators.

“The idea that Sudan could buy and make use of extremely sophisticated nuclear technology is obviously a question mark,” said Jon Wolfsthal, a nuclear proliferation expert at Washington’s Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

Sudan is known to have a small civilian nuclear programme, researching nuclear medicine, radiological safety and food irradiation techniques.

Never before has it been suspected of involvement in nuclear weapons research, however. It signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty in 2004.

When was the last time you saw Khaled Abu Toameh interviewed on BBC or CNN?

January 04, 2006

* Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh: “Three years ago I began writing daily for The Jerusalem Post. The irony is that, as an Arab Muslim, I feel freer to write for this Jewish paper than I do for any Arab newspaper. I have no problem writing for any Arab newspaper if it will provide me with a free platform and not censor my writing. My editors at The Jerusalem Post do not interfere with my writing.”



1. Khaled Abu Toameh: How the western media coddled up to Arafat
2. “Jewish occupation was better than the Palestinian Authority”
3. Under Abu Mazen, the Palestinian media “represents the official line all the time”
4. “As long as there is no rule of law, you can’t have democracy”
5. “Arab regime” mentality
6. Kate Burton and the Stockholm syndrome
7. “Kafka’s Britain” (By Melanie Phillips, Jan. 2, 2006)
8. “The continuing struggle of Palestinian journalists for freedom of the press in the Palestinian Authority” (By Khaled Abu Toameh, Jan. 2, 2006)

[Notes below by Tom Gross]


Khaled Abu Toameh, a Muslim Palestinian journalist born in Tulkarem in the West Bank, is currently “Palestinian affairs correspondent” for the Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post. Before that he wrote for fourteen years for “Kol Yerushalayim” a local Jerusalem newspaper owned by Yediot Ahronot, and he has also worked for NBC News and produced documentaries for German and Australian TV. Attached below is a transcript of a talk Abu Toameh (who is also a subscriber to this email list) gave at The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs last month.

Abu Toameh says: “The first thing the PLO did when they arrived [in Gaza in 1994 at the invitation of the Israeli left, the Clinton administration and the EU] was to order an immediate crackdown, not on Hamas or Islamic Jihad but on the Palestinian media. The result was that many local Palestinian journalists – including those who were working with Reuters, AP, those who had independent press offices – had their offices torched. Some of them were arrested, some were beaten, some had their equipment confiscated.”



Until now, Abu Toameh says, “many of my foreign colleagues have tended to ignore the voice of the [Palestinian] man in the street. It is not enough to interview this or that official. To understand what the Palestinians are really thinking, you need to sit in the cafes. There were days when I would go to Nablus, for example, and I would hear Palestinians telling me, ‘You know what? We really hope the Jews will come back and reoccupy Nablus. It’s not because we love Israel, but because we’re fed-up with the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian corruption.’”

He adds: “The foreign media did not pay enough attention to stories about corruption in the Palestinian areas, or to stories about abuse of human rights, to all that was really happening under the Palestinian Authority. They did not want to pay attention to the growing frustration on the Palestinian street as a result of mismanagement, as a result of the abuse of power, as a result of monopolizing of power by the PLO.”

Previous dispatches which also deal with this subject, which you may wish to read on the website archive, include

(1): AFP, AP, CNN: Where the reporting stops (Jan. 24, 2005). This dispatch provides examples of Palestinian reporters working for two of the largest wire services – Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Associated Press (AP) – who have also received paychecks from the Palestinian Authority, thereby raising serious questions as to their impartiality.

(2) How Arafat intimidates Palestinian journalists and deludes Western ones (June 11, 2004), which included an article by Abu Toameh on “Telling the truth about the Palestinians.” In that dispatch I raised a question which is still relevant today: when was the last time you saw Khaled Abu Toameh invited for interview on BBC or CNN?



Abu Toameh reports that little has changed within the Palestinian Authority since Mahmoud Abbas (known widely by his nom de guerre Abu Mazen) assumed power in 2004. The Palestinian media “represents the official line all the time.”

“In the three major newspapers you used to see Yasser Arafat’s picture on the front page and now you see Abu Mazen’s, but you don’t see a change in the content. You don’t feel that the Palestinian journalists are really free to write what they want…

“Under Abu Mazen there is a written order issued by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate that forbids Palestinian journalists from reporting on internal clashes. Under Abu Mazen there is a written directive that says cameramen are not allowed to take pictures of masked gunmen marching with their guns in the streets…

“A hundred and fifty gunmen can surround a house and snatch a general from his home in his pajamas and shoot him [dead] in the street just outside Abu Mazen’s office, and no one saw anything and there is not even one eyewitness.”

(For more on the case cited above by Abu Toameh, please see the dispatch Muslims ransack Christian village in West Bank (& Arafat cousin killed in street), Sept. 9, 2005.)



Abu Toameh saves some of his harshest words for Abbas: “Abu Mazen ran on a platform that clearly said: ‘I am going to fight corruption, anarchy, and lawlessness.’ One year later, the situation has not changed.”

He concludes by saying: “The Palestinians in general are a people who want freedom and democracy. They have been exposed both to the Israeli democratic system and to the Western democratic system. Democracy might happen, but not in the near future. As long as you have armed gangs in the streets and as long as the Palestinian security forces are not real security forces and as long as there is no rule of law, you can’t have democracy.”

For more on Abu Mazen, please see the dispatch Yasser Abbas (December 22, 2005).



While the official Palestinian and Arab media continue to broadcast and print a diet of lies, many influencing gullible western correspondents, some individual journalists and bloggers are questioning conventional wisdom. This, for example, comes from an Egyptian blogger on Dec. 29:

“The Holocaust contradictions

Zainab Al Suwaij wrote an excellent article called “Accepting contradictions as a means of survival” about how Muslims and Arabs cope with the world. The best contradiction in beliefs, and also the most classic one, is the way the Arabs talk about the Holocaust. If you live in an Arab country, you know you heard those 3 statements before and sometimes from the same person:

1) The Holocaust never happened.
2) Hitler is a great man for killing the Jews.
3) Sharon is as bad as Hitler.

You figure out how someone can have those 3 statements in their heads and feel utterly comfortable with believing them despite their glaring contradictions, and you will figure out how the mind of the average conspiracy-theory-obsessed Jew-hating Arab works.

Confused? Can’t find a way to make those 3 statements work together or exist in the same reality? Imagine how I feel!”



Khaled Abu Toameh describes Gaza today as “controlled by armed militias. The Palestinian Authority pays the salaries, but the gunmen control the streets. You don’t know who’s hiding behind the mask in Gaza.”

Examples this week include the burning down of the UN club in Gaza on New Year’s Day, the kidnapping of British political activist Kate Burton and her parents, and the kidnapping of an Italian working for the European parliament.

Following her release, Burton told the British media about how “kind” the kidnappers were and how one of the (heavily armed, masked) Palestinian kidnappers had a “sensitive side”.

Burton has been described by international media as a “human rights activist” even though the group she works for takes extremist positions and cares nothing for Israeli humans targeted by suicide bombers. It comes as little surprise that Burton is a recent graduate of SOAS, the premier UK school of Middle East studies. As pointed out previously on this list, SOAS has become a den of anti-Jewish and anti-Western prejudice that the authorities at London University (of which SOAS is a part) have done nothing to stop.

For more on SOAS, please see the dispatch An evening to celebrate the life of Yasser Arafat: Dec 7, 2004 (& SOAS) (Nov. 29, 2004).

Attached below is a summary of an article by British journalist Melanie Phillips on her website. She draws attention to “these liberal, tolerant, well-educated, well-spoken, well-mannered, internationalist-minded folk… (who) side with people who happen to have a murderous hatred of Israel and the Jews.”

-- Tom Gross


Kafka’s Britain (summary only)
By Melanie Phillips
January 2, 2006

The British press carries reports today of the fury and exasperation of British officials who rescued Kate Burton and her parents from their Palestinian kidnappers only to find that she refused to co-operate with them and would not be debriefed, thus potentially putting other innocent people in danger from similar activities. The Daily Mail reports that she astonished officials by refusing to answer questions…

Her attitude is not surprising. It has been suggested that she is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, the term used to describe the unaccountable sympathy felt by the victim of a kidnapping for the kidnappers. In this case, however, the kidnap victim’s unaccountable sympathy with manipulative violence predated the kidnapping. With their customary cirumlocution and moral obfuscation, the British media have described al Mezan, the organisation Burton worked for in Gaza, as a ‘human rights’ charity’. It would be more accurate to describe it as a ‘human wrongs’ charity.

Its website reveals that it promulgates the usual vile libels and distortions, presenting Israel – the victim of Palestinian violence – as the aggressor and oppressor in terms guaranteed to incite hatred and violence against it. Thus it accuses Israel of killing Palestinian children, making no mention of the use by Palestinians of their own children as human bombs or human shields, pushed into harm’s way to blackmail Israel into paralysis or, worse still, to milk any subsequent casualties to provoke the outrage of people like Burton. It makes no mention, of course, of the Palestinians’ incitement of their children to mass murder, the hate-filled textbooks which teach them to detest Jews, or the pride of their parents when they are turned into human bombs. The abuse by Palestinians of their own children is of course the real abuse of human rights going on in Gaza and the West Bank…

Having signed up to such mind-twisting moral inversion, it is not surprising that Burton appears unable to view her kidnappers as evil people. On the contrary, her family talks of the pleasant way they treated the Burtons in captivity, their charm and so forth.

From what has been published, the Burton family appears to furnish a perfect example of the truly shattering nature of Britain’s twisted mindset. For this is a nice family: decent, idealistic, given to Christian charitable good works…

…The moment you meet one of these liberal, tolerant, well-educated, well-spoken, well-mannered, internationalist-minded folk for whom the third world is a synonym for global injustice, you know that they are going to despise or hate Israel and bestow their compassion on the promoters of genocide. One constantly meets such people who have compassion for the vulnerable and want to do good in the world: pillars of the community, admirable and delightful in every way – except that they side with people who happen to have a murderous hatred of Israel and the Jews.



The Continuing Struggle of Palestinian Journalists for Freedom of the Press in the Palestinian Authority
By Khaled Abu Toameh
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Jerusalem Issue Brief
January 2, 2006

* When Arafat arrived in Gaza in 1994, there was a lot of hope that now the Palestinians would have a free media. However, the first thing the PLO did was to order an immediate crackdown on the Palestinian media. Many local journalists had their offices torched. Some were arrested, beaten, or had their equipment confiscated.

* Those who came with Arafat from Tunis came with what can be called an “Arab regime” mentality, the mentality of Gamal Abdul Nasser, the mentality of Arab dictatorships. They wanted to make sure that the Palestinian media was 100 percent under control. They secured control by appointing editors, by closing down newspapers, and by funding competing newspapers.

* What is the difference between the young guard and the old guard? Abu Mazen believes in the political track, that the only way to achieve something is through negotiations. The young guard believes there should be a two-track policy: negotiations and “resistance.” The young guard is not prepared to give up the military option. So a victory for the young guard is not necessarily a victory for moderate voices.

* The Palestinians in general are a people who want freedom and democracy. They have been exposed both to the Israeli democratic system and to the Western democratic system. Democracy might happen, but not in the near future. As long as you have armed gangs in the streets and as long as the Palestinian security forces are not real security forces and as long as there is no rule of law, you can’t have democracy.

Three years ago I began writing a daily report for the Jerusalem Post. The irony is that, as an Arab Muslim, I feel freer to write for this Jewish paper than I do for any Arab newspaper. I have no problem writing for any Arab newspaper if it will provide me with a free platform and not censor my writing. My editors at the Jerusalem Post do not interfere with my writing.

When Arafat arrived in Gaza in 1994, there was a lot of hope that now Palestinians would have a free media like the Jews have. Unfortunately, the first thing the PLO did when they arrived was to order an immediate crackdown, not on Hamas or Islamic Jihad but on the Palestinian media. The result was that many local Palestinian journalists – including those who were working with Reuters, AP, those who had independent press offices – had their offices torched. Some of them were arrested, some were beaten, some had their equipment confiscated. It was even sadder to see how the foreign media did not really cover the story.

The “Arab Regime” Mentality of the PLO Media

Why was there a crackdown? Because those who came with Arafat from Tunis came with a different mentality. They did not live here. Most of them had never spoken to an Israeli Jew in their lives. As such, they came with what could be called an “Arab regime” mentality, the mentality of Gamal Abdul Nasser, the mentality of Arab dictatorships. They wanted to make sure that the Palestinian media was 100 percent under control. They secured control by appointing editors, by closing down newspapers, and by funding competing newspapers.

Jibril Rajoub, for example, ordered a crackdown on the pro-Jordanian An-Nahar newspaper in Jerusalem and closed it down. Another newspaper, edited by the Khatib family, which had been operating with an Israeli license between 1967 and 1994, had its offices burnt down, and the publisher fled to London.

Today there are three major Palestinian newspapers: Al-Quds, which is privately owned, and Al-Hayam and Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda, which are funded by the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians also have an official TV station, which for many years was no different from the rest of the media under Arab dictatorships, a media that represents the official line all the time.

Palestinians are sick and tired of turning on Palestinian TV and watching what their president did and what their prime minister did that day. They open a Palestinian newspaper to find a major story on the front page about how “his excellency the president, may God protect him and prolong his life, today received a cable of support from the deputy chairman of the students’ union in the southern province of Sudan.” This can’t really be a major story.

In 1995, under Arafat, AFP sent a photographer out into the streets of Gaza to take a picture of ordinary life, and he came back with a picture of children playing with a donkey on the beach. When the picture was published, the photographer was arrested the same day and beaten up. PA officials told him: “Are you trying to represent us as a donkey?” In another incident, an editor was arrested for failing to publish a story about Arafat on page one.

There have been some positive changes towards a freer Palestinian media because there are many good and professional journalists out there. Not all Palestinian journalists see themselves as foot soldiers serving the revolution or the leadership. In fact, most of the journalists I know have no role in the Arab media, but instead work in the foreign media.

Reporting from the Palestinian Street

Many of my foreign colleagues have tended to ignore the voice of the man in the street, but it is not enough to interview this or that official. To understand what the Palestinians are really thinking, you need to sit in the cafes. There were days when I would go to Nablus, for example, and I would hear Palestinians telling me, “You know what? We really hope the Jews will come back and reoccupy Nablus. It’s not because we love Israel, but because we’re fed-up with the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian corruption.”

The foreign media did not pay enough attention to stories about corruption in the Palestinian areas, or to stories about abuse of human rights, to all that was really happening under the Palestinian Authority. They did not want to pay attention to the growing frustration on the Palestinian street as a result of mismanagement, as a result of the abuse of power, as a result of monopolizing of power by the PLO.

An Intifada Against the Palestinian Authority?

The intifada that began in September 2000 did not break out because there was a real threat to the Al-Aksa mosque. This intifada was supposed to be directed first and foremost toward the Palestinian Authority, and that’s where things were heading. If you look at the weeks before the intifada, for the first time we were beginning to see signs of mutiny. Palestinians began attacking Palestinian Authority security installations in Nablus, Ramallah, Tulkarm, and Jenin. For the first time you would see Palestinians talking on TV about corruption in the Palestinian Authority. So I think Arafat began to feel the heat under his feet and saw an opportunity to divert all this frustration and anger toward someone else.

When President Bush announced his boycott of Arafat in 2001, suddenly you saw more and more Palestinians speaking out. Suddenly the talk about corruption was no longer taboo and suddenly demands for reforms and democracy and a free media were everywhere.

The PA Media Under Abu Mazen

Have things now changed with regard to the media under a Palestinian Authority led by Abu Mazen? Unfortunately, no. In the three major newspapers you used to see Yasser Arafat’s picture on the front page and now you see Abu Mazen’s, but you don’t see a change in the content. You don’t feel that the Palestinian journalists are really free to write what they want.

Many Palestinians hope for better times, but I don’t see real changes. In fact, I see very worrying signs. Under Abu Mazen there was a written order issued by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate that forbids Palestinian journalists from reporting on internal clashes. Under Abu Mazen there is a written directive that says cameramen are not allowed to take pictures of masked gunmen marching with their guns in the streets.

Law and Order in Gaza

Gaza today is controlled by armed militias. The Palestinian Authority pays the salaries, but the gunmen control the streets. You don’t know who’s hiding behind the mask in Gaza. A hundred and fifty gunmen can surround a house and snatch a general from his home in his pajamas and shoot him in the street just outside Abu Mazen’s office, and no one saw anything and there is not even one eyewitness. It’s a very dangerous situation. Abu Mazen has not done anything – and I don’t even think he can – to stop this phenomenon. Almost every second person in Gaza has a gun, and this has created a very frightening situation.

The worsening chaos and lawlessness also prevents potential investors from putting their money into Gaza. Palestinian businessmen abroad will not put money into an area where there is no rule of law. In my view, this is the number one issue on the Palestinian agenda these days. Abu Mazen ran on a platform that clearly said: “I am going to fight corruption, anarchy, and lawlessness.” One year later, the situation has not changed.

Young Guard vs. Old Guard

Abu Mazen can no longer ignore the young guard who are now openly challenging him, but what is the difference between the young guard and the old guard? What is the difference between Barghouti and Abu Mazen? Abu Mazen believes in the political track, that the only way to achieve something is through negotiations. The young guard believes there should be a two-track policy: negotiations and “resistance,” or what Israelis call “terrorism.” The young guard is not prepared to give up the military option. So a victory for the young guard is not necessarily a victory for moderate voices. Who won the Fatah primaries in Nablus and Jenin? The commanders of the Aksa Martyrs Brigade, the guys who are carrying the weapons.

The young guard is rushing to take over. Many members of the old guard are leaving the country, moving to Arab states, because they are afraid of the young guard. Abu Mazen is sending signals of weakness. His policy is based on trying to appease everyone – Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, the old guard, the young guard, Israel, America, the Arab states – and that’s impossible. It’s not going to work.

Fatah and the Palestinian security forces are first and foremost responsible for the anarchy and lawlessness. The Palestinian security forces were never real security forces; they were, and some of them still are, functioning as private militias. According to figures released by the Palestinian Interior Ministry, Fatah and the Palestinian security forces were involved in most of the incidents of violence in the Gaza Strip in the first nine months of 2005.

I believe that the Palestinians in general are a people who want democracy. The Palestinians are among the most educated in the Arab world and they have been exposed both to the Israeli democratic system and to the Western democratic system. Unlike many of the Arab countries, there is an open debate today in Palestinian society. I believe democracy might happen, but not in the near future. As long as you have armed gangs in the streets and as long as the Palestinian security forces are not real security forces and as long as there is no rule of law, you can’t have democracy.

Venezuelan President Chavez: “The descendants of the Christ-killers” control the world

January 02, 2006

* Chavez’s Christmas speech: Jews own all the gold and water, the “good lands” and the petrol
* UK chief rabbi: A “tsunami of anti-Semitism” threatens parts of world



1. Chavez makes anti-Semitic Christmas speech
2. UK chief rabbi fears a “tsunami of anti-Semitism” across much of the world
3. BBC: Israeli roadblocks would stop Jesus’ parents reaching Bethlehem
4. Israeli readers’ reaction to the BBC
5. Norway’s Israel boycott
6. London mayor Livingstone hosts Chanukah event
7. “Chief Rabbi warns of anti-Semitic ‘tsunami’” (Sunday Telegraph, Jan. 1, 2006)
8. “BBC: Jesus’ parents would get stuck in roadblock” (Ynetnews, Dec. 25, 2005)
9. “Norway: Parliament shuns Israeli products” (Ynetnews, Dec. 22, 2005)
10. “Mayor hosts Chanukah event” (London Jewish News, Dec. 29, 2005)

[Note by Tom Gross]


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced in a Christmas speech that “the descendants of those who crucified Christ” have appropriated the riches of the world.

Speaking at a rehabilitation center on December 24, the controversial left-wing president said “the descendants of those who crucified Christ... have taken ownership of the riches of the world, a minority has taken ownership of the gold of the world, the silver, the minerals, water, the good lands, petrol, well, the riches, and they have concentrated the riches in a small number of hands.”

For Spanish speakers on this list, the full speech can be found at (The remarks about Jews are on page 18.)


In an interview with BBC Radio yesterday to mark the Christian New Year, Britain’s normally mild-mannered chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, warned that a “tsunami of anti-Semitism” is threatening to engulf many parts of the world. Dr Sacks said he was “very scared” by the rise in anti-Jewish feeling, which had led to Holocaust denial, attacks on synagogues and a boycott of Jewish groups on university campuses.

Among British concerns, he cited the fact that since 2002, Jewish student groups on 17 British campuses have faced the threat of expulsion from fellow students who claim to merely be anti-Israeli rather than anti-Semitic. Dr Sacks said attempts to “silence and even ban” Jewish student groups were “quite extraordinary” because most of Britain’s 350,000 Jews regarded themselves primarily as “British citizens”.

Sacks added: “If, God forbid, one could imagine a world in which the state of Israel did not exist and, I repeat, God forbid, then not one of the world’s conflicts would be changed by one millimeter – there would still be conflict in Chechnya, in Ossetia, in Indonesia, in the Philippines. So to make this [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict – where the two sides have worked now for 12 years in a process of peace – the epicenter of global politics is not merely wrong … but it is also quite troubling.”


In a broadcast just before Christmas, the BBC claimed that the historical trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem made by Jesus’ parents, Joseph and Mary, would have been rendered impossible today, due to Israeli army restrictions.

Israel’s highest circulation newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, said that the report by BBC correspondent Matthew Price brought the already shaky relations between the BBC and Israel to “a new low.”

An Israeli Foreign Ministry official said: “This is one of the most dreadful stories ever broadcasted by the BBC, adding that they plan to officially protest the report to the channel’s heads.”

A previous dispatch on this list titled BBC: How the Israelis have stolen Christmas (March 4, 2003), illustrated how in December 2002, BBC correspondent Orla Guerin reported from Bethlehem on how “the Israelis have stolen Christmas”. In her report there was no mention of the Palestinian terrorists who had occupied the Church of the Nativity earlier that month and no context given to Israel’s actions.


The story last week about Jesus’ parents generated many comments made by readers to Yediot Ahronot. Here are some of them:

“What the BBC doesn’t tell us is that Jesus’ parents would have been murdered by Palestinian groups just like any Jews would have if they went into PA-occupied areas.”

“Jesus’s parents would have been kicked out of Bethlehem as illegal Jewish settlers. And Jesus would never have been born there.”

“The BBC does this every Christmas… yammering on about how bad Israel is and how they can’t go and worship Jesus. Wait until Hamas take over Bethlehem, then we’ll see how much they truly miss Bethlehem.”

“Why is the BBC tolerated in Israel? Is there some reason why the BBC and its correspondents are accredited and allowed to work in Israel? The damage they do is enormous. They need to be kicked out and the reasons for their expulsion need to be widely publicized. Israel has no obligation to cooperate in anti-Israel propaganda. This is not freedom of the press. A standard of fairness should be applied to all foreign media working in Israel as part of the accreditation process.”

For more on the BBC see Living in a Bubble: The BBC’s very own Mideast foreign policy.


Three days before Christmas, the Norwegian Provincial Government of Sor-Trondelag voted to boycott Israeli products in protest at “Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.”

The boycott is in violation of the freedom of commerce provisions of the World Trade Organization.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a statement saying the resolution to boycott Israeli products was “an act of anti-Semitism in the spirit of Hitler’s ‘Don’t buy from Jews’ campaign of the 1930s.”

The Anti-Defamation League condemned the ruling, saying the “decision only serves to exacerbate tensions and ill-will.”

Norway had a particularly shameful collaborationist history against Jews in the past under its own pro-Nazi leader, Vidkun Quisling.

For more on Norway please see the dispatch (1) Norway school bans Star of David (2) Norwegian says she infiltrated the Mossad (Oct. 25, 2005).


Several politicians have expressed cynicism over London Mayor Ken Livingstone’s late decision to host a menorah-lighting ceremony at London’s City Hall. The mayor said he hoped the event would become an annual one to mark the importance of the Jewish community to London.

But a number of observers questioned Livingstone’s motives given his ongoing tribunal over his “Nazi slur” row. Councillor Brian Gordon said: “After all the hostility Livingstone has shown towards Israel and the Jewish community his sudden desire to celebrate Chanukah sounds to me like an absolute farce.”

Liverpool MP Louise Ellman said of her party colleague: “I welcome this recognition of Chanukah but it is no substitute for making a proper apology for offence he has given previously.”

The final article below, on this subject, is a follow up to a number of recent dispatches on Livingstone. The last of which was London Mayor Ken Livingstone may be Jewish: ‘I could be a self-hater, couldn’t I?’ (Nov. 30, 2005).

I attach four articles below.

-- Tom Gross



Chief Rabbi warns of anti-Semitic ‘tsunami’
By Chris Hastings, Arts Correspondent
The Sunday Telegraph
January 1, 2006

Sir Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi, fears that a “tsunami of anti-Semitism” is threatening to engulf parts of the world.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme, to be broadcast today, Dr Sacks admitted he was “very scared” by the rise in anti-Jewish feeling, which had led to Holocaust denial, attacks on synagogues and a boycott of Jewish groups on university campuses.

He said: “I am very scared by [it] and I’m very scared that more protests have not been delivered against it, but this [anti-Semitism] is part of the vocabulary of politics in certain parts of the world.”

Figures produced by the London-based Community Security Trust and the Israeli government show that anti-Semitism is on the rise in Britain. The trust recorded 532 anti-Semitic incidents in 2004, including 83 physical assaults.

Meanwhile, some groups opposed to Israeli government policy have organised boycotts of Jewish academics and student groups. Since 2002, Jewish student groups on 17 British campuses have faced the threat of expulsion from fellow students opposed to Israeli action.

In April, the Association of University Teachers became the latest in a line of academic bodies to announce action against Israel. It declared a boycott of two Israeli universities at the request of Palestinian leaders, but later changed its mind after widespread condemnation.

Dr Sacks said attempts to “silence and even ban” Jewish student groups were “quite extraordinary” because most of Britain’s 350,000 Jews regarded themselves primarily as “British citizens”.

He continued: “If, God forbid, one could imagine a world in which the state of Israel did not exist and, I repeat, God forbid, then not one of the world’s conflicts would be changed by one millimetre - there would still be conflict in Chechnya, in Ossetia, in Indonesia, in the Philippines. So to make this [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict - where the two sides have worked now for 12 years in a process of peace - the epicentre of global politics is not merely wrong … but it is also quite troubling.”

He said that while the Jewish experience in Britain was in general a “real cause for celebration”, British Jews were experiencing a globalised anti-Semitism through satellite television, the internet and e-mail. He was also worried by the strength of anti-Jewish feeling in some European states including France.

“A number of my rabbinical colleagues throughout Europe have been assaulted and attacked on the streets. We’ve had synagogues desecrated. We’ve had Jewish schools burnt to the ground - not here but in France … So it’s the kind of feeling that you don’t know what’s going to happen next, and that is making some European Jewish communities feel uncomfortable.”

Dr Sacks, who was being interviewed to mark the 350th anniversary of the re-entry of Jews to England, said he hoped that the Jewish voice would become more “articulate” over the coming year.



BBC: Jesus’ parents would get stuck in roadblock

British TV channel broadcast this week claims Jesus’ parents’ historical trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem would have been rendered impossible today, due to IDF restrictions. Israel Foreign Ministry outraged

By Itamar Eichner
December 25, 2005,7340,L-3189686,00.html

Had Jesus’ parents Joseph and Mary tried to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem nowadays, they would find it to be a near impossible task due to the IDF roadblocks and the West Bank security fence, a BBC reporter claimed in a televised broadcast this week.

The news story, by BBC correspondent in Israel Matthew Price, has brought the already shaky relations between the U.K. television channel and Israel to a new low, Israel’s leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday.

In the report, Price reenacted Joseph and Mary’s historical route from Nazareth to Bethlehem, by accompanying an Israeli-Arab Nazareth carpenter, who will be forced to skip his annual visit to Bethlehem on Christmas this year, due to the army’s traffic restrictions and the exhausting effort entailed in crossing the IDF roadblocks.

Today, Nazareth and Bethlehem are two separate worlds, Price claimed in the broadcast, describing the ‘reminders to the Israeli occupation’ evident throughout the route archeologist say was taken by Jesus’ parents in their trip.

In the section of the report dedicated to Jerusalem, Price called the capital “a town of suicides,” and a place of old and new walls.

As expected, the report spurred outrage in the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office.

This is one of the most dreadful stories ever broadcasted by the BBC, Foreign Ministry sources said, adding that they plan to officially protest the report to the channel’s heads.

“The story is filled with Christian and religious elements, and it unequivocally states that Israel prevents free passage to Bethlehem,” a ministry source said.



Norway: Parliament shuns Israeli products

A regional parliament has ruled to boycott Israeli products in protest of ‘Israel’s oppression of Palestinians’; ADL condemns ruling, says ‘decision only serves to exacerbate tensions and ill-will’

By Eytan Amit
December 22, 2005,7340,L-3188789,00.html

The Norwegian parliament in the Sor-Trondelag region ruled Saturday to boycott products made in Israel and to forbid the sale and purchase of Israeli goods.

It is estimated that the decision, determined by a parliamentary vote, was made due to Norway’s stance that Israel oppresses the Palestinians.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) strongly condemned the ruling Wednesday, saying that “this decision does nothing to promote Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation, but only serves to exacerbate tensions and ill-will.”

“It is shocking and ironic that this one-sided boycott effort comes at a time when Israel is making a series of dramatic steps toward peace, including the recent withdrawal from Gaza,” ADL Director Abraham Foxman said in a press release following the incident.

In a letter to Norwegian Ambassador to the U.S. Knut Vollebaek, the ADL expressed concern over the bias stance taken by the regional parliament in regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Boycotts against Israel are predicated on odious comparisons to apartheid-era South Africa,” the letter said. “It is our sincere hope that the Norwegian government will condemn this unjust decision and take necessary measures to secure its reversal.”



Mayor hosts Chanukah event
By Alex Sholem
London Jewish News
December 29, 2005

Community leaders and politicians this week expressed cynicism over Mayor Ken Livingstone’s late decision to host a menorah-lighting ceremony at City Hall.

The Mayor said he hoped the event, which took place yesterday, would become an annual one to mark the importance of the Jewish community to London.

But a number of observers questioned Livingstone’s motives given his often troubled relationship with the Anglo-Jewry and the ongoing tribunal over his “nazi slur” row with Jewish journalist Oliver Finegold.

The event was organised in conjunction with Chabad House Hendon. Director Rabbi Gershon Overlander, who was due to speak at the event, was unavailable for comment.

Livingstone, who must wait until next month to find out if he will face punishment over his comments to Finegold, said: “Jewish people have made a vast contribution to freedom of religion and cultural expression in this city over many centuries. In recognition of this, I intend this to be an annual event at City Hall.”

But City Hall rival, Conservative GLA Member for Barnet and Camden Brian Coleman, who like many of those we contacted was unaware of the Mayor’s plans, said he was “suspicious of the timing of event”.

He added: “Perhaps he will take the opportunity of chanukah to issue an apology for his remark earlier this year.”

Councillor Brian Gordon, who represents Hale ward in Barnet, said: “After all the hostility Livingstone has shown towards Israel and the Jewish community his sudden desire to celebrate Chanukah sounds to me like an absolute farce. I have not received an invitation and if I did I know what I would do with it.”

Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman said of her party colleague: “I welcome this recognition of Chanukah but it is no substitute for making a proper apology for offence he has given previously.”

Lee Scott, Conservative MP for Ilford North, told Jewish News: “I would very much like Mr Livingstone to apologise to the community for his comment to the reporter but I welcome this gesture.”

There were mixed views, meanwhile, from London’s religious figures. Former Stanmore United Synagogue minister, Rabbi Jeffrey Cohen, said he hoped the ceremony would mark “a new and very welcome objectivity on the mayor’s part”, adding: “I am a passionate believer in penitence”.

But Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue’s Rabbi Reuven Livingstone had greater reservations, saying the ceremony had to be seen in the context of his “difficult relations with the Jewish community”.

He added: “Frankly I am sceptical that a man who hosts the rather nefarious Yusuf Al-Qaradawi and refuses to apologise for his gross insult to our community, could be a friend of Jews. Unfortunately, for most Jews the Mayor appears to be far better at generating heat than light.”

Livingstone faces a charge of having brought his office into disrepute after branding Evening Standard journalist Finegold a “concentration camp guard”. He could receive several possible punishments when the Adjudication Panel for England hearing reconvenes in January, including a ban from public office of up to five years.