Tom Gross Mideast Media Analysis

Israel warns that foreign reporters’ vehicles might be being used by terrorists

September 28, 2006

* Hamas, the Palestinian governing party, continue to kidnap, beat up moderate Palestinian journalists. International journalists organizations strangely silent

 

CONTENTS

1. “How the Guardian lied about me and refused to print a correction”
2. Al-Jazeera praised “for helping the fight against U.S.”
3. “The propagandists have taken over AP”
4. Foreign reporters’ vehicles “may be used by terrorists”
5. Gunmen kidnap Palestinian journalist
6. Terrorists attack Palestinian news agency in Gaza
7. Palestinians plan and train for more kidnappings
8. Daily Telegraph: Palestinians arming to copy “Hizbullah’s success”
9. “Does AP stand for al-Qaeda Propaganda?” (Boston Herald, Sept. 24, 2006)
10. “The Guardian at the crossroads” (By Alan Dershowitz, J. Post, Sept. 27, 2006)



[Note by Tom Gross]

This dispatch concerns allegations that the relationship between some western journalists, and Palestinian and Iraqi terrorist groups is much too close for comfort. Before that, I attach an extract from an article about The Guardian by Alan Dershowitz, who is a subscriber to this list.

“HOW THE GUARDIAN LIED ABOUT ME AND REFUSED TO PRINT A CORRECTION”

The following are extracts from Alan Dershowitz’s op-ed in the Jerusalem Post titled “‘The Guardian’ at the crossroads.”

“… Recently, The Guardian published an op-ed devoted to an article I had written. The writer (Henry Porter) turned virtually everything I had argued on its head… I was compelled to write a letter to the editor correcting the many inaccuracies and pointing out the inappropriate ad hominem attack on my appearance [The Guardian had also attacked the way Dershowitz looks.] The Guardian refused to print my letter.

[Turning to another article written about him in The Guardian, Dershowitz continues] the reviewer (Louise Christian) simply lied about what was in my book. She made things up. She said the book was about something it wasn’t about. She said I took positions when I explicitly wrote the opposite in my book. Why would a book reviewer go to such great lengths to defame me and to falsify what I wrote? After all, I am a liberal Democrat and have spent my career as a law professor, author, and defense lawyer fighting for civil liberties and the rights of the accused… One would think that these credentials and this topic would endear me to the Guardian.

… had Christian read the book, she would know that I opposed the war in Iraq. She apparently assumed that because I support Israel’s right to exist, I also supported America’s war in Iraq. It’s a telling assumption.

[On another issue] How on Earth could Christian transform my strong opposition to using chromosomes as criminal predictors to support? She simply reversed my position. This cannot be a simple mistake. It is plainly a willful deception of her readers.

… When I wrote a letter to the editor refuting Christian’s blatant lies, Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, responded that he could not publish my letter… It would be unthinkable for an American or Israeli newspaper to publish a full-blown attack on an individual without at least extending the right to reply in the letters page. The Guardian did precisely that to me, and twice in a single summer…”

The full article, which I recommend you to read if you have time, is attached at the end of this dispatch.

AL-JAZEERA PRAISED “FOR HELPING THE FIGHT AGAINST U.S.”

In an audio-message posted on the Internet on Sunday, the leader of one of Iraq’s major insurgent groups, the “Islamic Army in Iraq,” has praised the Qatar-based TV channel al-Jazeera for playing what he calls “an important and positive role in the fight against the U.S.”

The Islamic Army in Iraq consists of former members of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party, as well as intelligence and army officers from Saddam’s regime. It is believed to be responsible for several murderous attacks against Iraqi Shi’ites and for the kidnapping in 2005 of Italian journalist Giulian Sgrena. (Sgrena, the correspondent for the Italian communist daily Il Manifesto, was freed after a month with the help and mediation of two Italian intelligence officers. After her release, as you may recall, on their way to Baghdad’s airport Sgrena and the officers came under fire from U.S. forces which failed to identify their car. One of the Italian officers was killed and the incident caused an international outcry.)

The audio message by The Islamic Army also accused the Iraqi government’s al-Iraqiya TV of having the “worst” news coverage about Iraq. It said its broadcasts were “lies and sheer delusion,” and that government officials interviewed on it were “agents and stooges” of the United States who had “sold their religion and honor to the infidels.”

The spokesperson for the Islamic Army is a frequent guest on al-Jazeera. On a number of occasions, the Qatar-based channel has been criticized by the U.S. for offering a podium to terrorists and fueling anti-American sentiment across the Middle East.

For examples of some of the untruths and conspiracy theories broadcast on al-Jazeera, please see the second note in the dispatch Al-Jazeera to be launched in English in America (March 23, 2005).

“THE PROPAGANDISTS HAVE TAKEN OVER AP”

The Associated Press no longer offers the balanced and non-partisan coverage it once pioneered, according to journalist Jules Crittenden, writing in The Boston Herald. Crittenden wonders whether “A.P.” stands for “Al-Qaeda Propaganda.” He notes that AP’s coverage from Iraq has been completely one-sided and its selection of stories tilted against America and the democratically-elected Iraqi government. The recent arrest of Bilal Hussein, an al-Qaeda activist who also worked as an AP photographer, only confirms the will of the Associated Press to present a biased version of reality, exalting the terrorists while harshly criticizing American and Iraqi attempts to bring democracy to Iraq, says Crittenden. (His full article is below).

For more on a different view of Iraq, please see Iraq 27: “Did any nation-state fall from the heavens wholly made?” (Aug. 2, 2006).

FOREIGN REPORTERS’ VEHICLES “MAY BE USED BY TERRORISTS”

The director of Israel’s Government Press Office, Danny Seaman, has warned that armored vehicles used by foreign reporters may be being utilized by hostile groups to try and carry out attacks against Israel.

Israel provides armored vehicles to foreign correspondents who travel to the West Bank and Gaza on journalistic assignments on condition that they are driven only by the foreign national who receives the vehicle. Seaman says that a significant portion of those journalists granted armored vehicles “have been violating this condition for some time now, despite our requests.”

A recent incident during which a vehicle assigned to Reuters was hit by an IDF helicopter exemplifies this misuse, the Israeli government says. The vehicle carried no foreign journalists; all the occupants were Palestinian, including one who was not a Reuters employee and had links with Hamas.

Yuval Diskin, the head of Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, is now examining the matter.

In the past, foreign reporters have inadvertently given rides to suicide bombers, thereby helping them enter Israel. A previous dispatch on this list reported that some journalists were suspected of transporting weapons for use by terrorists. For more, see Are Reuters journalists transporting grenades for Palestinian terrorists? (May 31, 2002).

There is also an article on Reuters here.

GUNMEN KIDNAP PALESTINIAN JOURNALIST

On Monday, a prominent Palestinian journalist was kidnapped from the Sawt Al-Hurriya (Voice of Freedom) radio station on the 13th floor of the Al-Shurouk Tower in the center of Gaza City by a group of at least 15 masked gunmen. Although no one claimed responsibility, Fatah officials suspect that Hamas was behind the kidnapping, as the reporter had openly criticized the Hamas-led government. The journalist, Abu Amr, is the host of a popular talk show broadcast every morning in Gaza. He has been critical of Hamas.

“The gunmen threatened him with their rifles and led him away,” said one eyewitness. “They took him in a van that was waiting outside the building. They did not give any reason for the kidnapping.”

Abu Amr was released later unharmed. The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate strongly condemned the kidnapping, saying it was the latest in a series of assaults on Palestinian journalists and media outlets in the Palestinian territories, and said the perpetrators were “terrorists” – a term most western media refuse to use about these same Hamas gunmen.

TERRORISTS ATTACK PALESTINIAN NEWS AGENCY IN GAZA

Relations between Fatah and Hamas remain strained, complicating efforts by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to form a Palestinian national unity government. Reuters report that following last week’s murder of a senior intelligence official loyal to the president, several gunmen stormed the office of the WAFA news agency in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis, severely beating up a reporter (who was then hospitalized), vandalizing equipment, and accusing the agency of biased media coverage. The WAFA news agency is controlled by Abbas.

Although Hamas denies any involvement in the murder, Abbas said that he would not agree to a unity government unless those responsible for the killing are arrested.

Two other Palestinian journalists were severely beaten last week during a demonstration in Gaza City against the Hamas-led government. Witnesses at the demonstration said assailants targeted a cameraman with Palestinian TV, and another journalist, Mwafaq Matar, known for his pro-Fatah stance. They both sustained serious injuries. On Sunday, masked gunmen in Nablus raided the offices of the al-Quds newspaper in the city and confiscated all the copies.

American and European-based journalists’ organizations, so eager to issue statements when the slightest irritating incident is experienced by western journalists at Israel’s hands, for example having their bags searched at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, are strangely silent as Hamas (the party, in case we need reminding, in government) and other thugs hospitalize critical Palestinian journalists.

PALESTINIANS PLAN AND TRAIN FOR MORE KIDNAPPINGS

A senior member of the Popular Resistance Committees, a coalition of terror organizations in Gaza and the West Bank responsible along with Hamas and the Palestine Army of Islam for the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit last June, said that the group is planning and training to carry out more kidnappings of Israelis.

Egypt is currently trying to broker a deal between Israel and Hamas for the release of Shalit. Media reports state that a possible exchange deal would involve Israel releasing a number of prisoners to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for Shalit, and Hamas agreeing to stop its daily rocket attacks from Gaza in exchange for Israeli troops withdrawing from Gaza and ending the targeted killings of Hamas leaders.

On Sunday, to the exasperation and outrage of many Israelis, Palestinian President Abbas said Shalit should only be released if Marwan Barghouti, a convicted mass murderer who belongs to Abbas’s own Fatah party, and Ahmed Saadat, the mastermind of the assassination of Israel’s tourist minister, were also released.

In the past, Israel has released many convicted terrorists in exchange deals. Many of those released have carried out further terror attacks soon afterwards. Among many such examples, Israeli Eyal Yeverboim and his seven-month-old son were murdered last year by terrorists that had been released under international pressure two months earlier to “strengthen” Abbas’s government. For more on this, see item 16 in the dispatch titled Saudi police ban the sale of cats and dogs (& Gaddafi’s son: Pope must convert) (Sept. 21, 2006).

DAILY TELEGRAPH: PALESTINIANS ARMING TO COPY “HIZBULLAH’S SUCCESS”

The (London) Daily Telegraph, reports today in an article headed “Gaza militants ‘prepare for showdown’,” that Palestinian terrorists have smuggled 19 tons of explosives into Gaza during the past year, as well as more effective weapons and longer-range missiles, some supplied by Iran. What is perceived among Palestinian militants to be the weakness of the response by Israel to the Hizbullah attack from Lebanon has led them to plan for more sustained military action against Israel.

A new poll by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research shows a firm majority of Palestinians favoring the use of Hizbullah-type attacks against Israel; 63% of those polled supported the firing of rockets at Israeli cities. 57% said the attacks should be aimed at Israeli civilians, not military.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

“DOES AP STAND FOR AL-QAEDA PROPAGANDA?”

Does AP stand for al-Qaeda Propaganda?
By Jules Crittenden
The Boston Herald
September 24, 2006

news.bostonherald.com/columnists/view.bg?articleid=159033&format=&page=1

The Associated Press, the reliable just-the-facts news agency you and I once knew, no longer exists. Amoral propagandists have taken over.

It is not only in the disturbing matter of Bilal Hussein, AP photographer and al-Qaeda associate, being held without charge in U.S. custody in Iraq that this is evident. But also in the departure from balanced, nonpartisan coverage that has always been the AP’s promise to us, its customers.

The AP was, in fact, a pioneer in balanced coverage. The concept was born with the AP in 1848 and tempered in the Civil War. The AP served newspapers of different stripes and had to keep politics out of it.

But for any news organization going into war, it’s hard not to have a side. In 1876, AP scribe Mark Kellogg was killed with Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn. “I go with Custer and will be at the death,” he reported. Guess which side he was on. In 1941, the AP had to shut its Berlin bureau when its reporters were arrested. In 1945, AP correspondent Joe Morton was executed by the SS. AP correspondents were imprisoned by communists in North Korea, Romania and Czechoslovakia. The AP’s Terry Anderson was held captive by Islamic extremists in Beirut for six years. It is a brave and illustrious history.

The AP has had one or two exemplary war correspondents in Iraq. But this strange war has changed so many things. In late 2004, as the U.S. military was moving to rid Fallujah of the terrorists who controlled it, the AP wanted some eyes inside the city. It hired Bilal Hussein. He gave the AP photos of insurgents setting up ambushes and firing at Americans. He gave them photos of terrorists posing with their freshly slaughtered victims. His pictures helped the AP win a Pulitzer Prize.

A blogger named Darleen at www.darleenclick.com said it very well in December of 2004:

“I have trouble with how cozy this AP photographer is with the terrorists. I realize he’s a Hussein from Fallujah, so his own personal feelings and associations may be on display here, but did The Associated Press... employ Nazis to get photos showing attacks on the Allies and the execution of Jews?"

I wish it stopped with the AP’s effort to give the enemy in Iraq a fair shake, as if terrorists were freedom fighters. Then I look at the AP copy I see nightly. The president of the United States gives a speech. The AP grants him a couple of fragmentary quotes before allowing his failed 2004 challenger and other opponents several full paragraphs to denounce him.

There is the bizarre work of Charles J. Hanley, an AP apologist for Saddam Hussein. He dismisses evidence of weapons programs and reports on the deep frustration Saddam felt when he could not convince the world of his good intentions, in those years when he was murdering his own people and playing a hard-nosed game of cat-and-mouse with U.N. weapons inspectors that led to their removal.

Last week, the AP gave us a lengthy series on the U.S. detention of terrorism suspects. The AP’s opinion was evident. Bilal Hussein was the poster boy. The salient fact that Hussein was captured with an al-Qaeda leader was buried. Al-Qaeda has killed and abducted dozens of journalists, Iraqi, American and European. Mainly Iraqi. I wonder: What’s so special about this particular Iraqi journalist that he could associate freely with al-Qaeda?

I look at Hussein’s photos. Terrorists trying to kill Americans. Terrorists posing with dead civilians. Bilal Hussein knows things about these men, who they are, how they operate. I’m thinking, Bilal Hussein looks like an accessory to murder. I’m thinking, I hope the U.S. intelligence agents who have him are getting good information out of him. And I’m wondering, who does The Associated Press want to win this war?

 

“TOTAL DISTORTIONS” BY THE GUARDIAN

‘The Guardian’ at the crossroads
By Alan Dershowitz
The Jerusalem Post
September 27, 2006

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1159193330711&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

The Guardian, which used to be a liberal British newspaper, has become the full-fledged Pravda of the British hard Left, especially when it comes to its one-sided bashing of Israel. Like Pravda, it will not publish alternative points of view, even when the alternative point of view seeks to correct willful mis-statements of fact. It’s gotten to the point where a reader simply cannot trust the credibility of the reporting.

Two recent incidents, in as many months, regarding total distortions of my own writing simply serve to illustrate a much larger problem. I have heard similar stories from others.

Most recently, The Guardian published an op-ed devoted to an article I had written. The writer turned virtually everything I had argued on its head. Before we get to the specifics, let’s get to the Der Stuermer-like characterization of my appearance that became a centerpoint of the articles. The author of the article, Henry Porter, claimed that he saw me on television in 2001 “looking like Animal, the wildman drummer from The Muppet Show.” What Porter did not know is that I have been clean-shaven with short hair for a decade, thus undermining Porter’s claim that he actually saw me on TV. But I suppose I’ll always be, to people like Porter, the stereotypical hairy, wild-eyed Jew.

Porter then writes that, although I say I am against torture, I really am all in favor of torture. Apparently, despite the hundreds of times that I’ve written and said publicly and clearly that I am against torture, Porter believes that he knows better – that he can read my mind or discern my views from my Animal-like face.

His third point was that “Dershowitz doesn’t understand that [i]f governments are given powers, they will almost always find a way to abuse them.” In fact, not only do I make this cautionary point, but it is a large part of my article. I write: It would also be relatively easy to combat terrorism if our government had earned more of our trust over the years. But most governments – even most liberal democracies – have tended to abuse extraordinary powers given to them during emergencies. And then I launch into a list of examples, with suggestions as to how to prevent them recurring.

Significantly, Porter manages to contradict himself in the span of less than half a page. First he takes me to task for setting up a straw argument against “liberal fundamentalists,” when he insists that he “cannot think of one who believes that all rights are unqualified, that all freedoms are absolute.” And then he concludes his rant by himself advocating the fundamentalist position that “[f]reedom is the thing which patrols and constrains government and that is why it is not amenable to compromise.”

I was compelled to write a letter to the editor correcting the many inaccuracies and pointing out the inappropriate ad hominem attack on my appearance (or rather, the appearance that the author assumed I have). The Guardian refused to print my letter.

The first incident, which took place in June, occurred when the Guardian published a review of my most recent book, Preemption: A Knife that Cuts Both Ways. I should say from the start that it was not the negative tone or conclusion of the review that bothered me. I write, on average, a book every year, and I have been an outspoken Jew and criminal defense lawyer for decades. Therefore, having a thick skin is a prerequisite of everything I do. What amazed me about this article, though, was the fact that the reviewer simply lied about what was in my book. She made things up. She said the book was about something it wasn’t about. She said I took positions when I explicitly wrote the opposite in my book.

Why would a book reviewer go to such great lengths to defame me and to falsify what I wrote? After all, I am a liberal Democrat and have spent my career as a law professor, author, and defense lawyer fighting for civil liberties and the rights of the accused. In fact, my book is precisely about how to take the lessons of liberal democracy marked by transparency and accountability and apply them in a world that increasingly relies on preventive and preemptive criminal justice procedures and international military interventions. One would think that these credentials and this topic would endear me to the Guardian.

But I am also, as I wrote above, an outspoken Jew and Zionist, and I wrote a section in my book about Israel. It was supportive of some, and critical of others of Israel’s preemptive military actions. And it is just this sort of balanced assessment of Israel’s behavior coupled with a refusal to demonize the Jewish state that sends Guardian writers into apoplectic fits. Liberalism and Zionism are not considered mutually exclusive in America. In fact, they are complementary. The prevailing view at the Guardian is to the contrary.

Lets look at what the Guardian actually said. The reviewer of my book, a woman named Louise Christian who claims to be a lawyer but who demonstrates none of the requisite analytical skills of the profession, immediately seized upon my section on Israel and focused on it for the majority of her article.

She characterizes the book as “an attempt to justify the Iraq war and even the actions of the state of Israel” (which the author, a Harvard law professor, obsessively admires) [emphasis added].

First, notice the “even” before Israel, showing that the author assumes the actions of Israel to be particularly indefensible. Second, I do not try to justify Israel’s actions. I analyze its actions, and I conclude that some of them were justified and beneficial, while others were wrongheaded and unnecessary.

Finally, had Christian read the book, she would know that I opposed the war in Iraq. She apparently assumed that because I support Israel’s right to exist, I also supported America’s war in Iraq. It’s a telling assumption.

Not only does Christian mischaracterize the topics of my book and my positions. She goes right ahead and lies about what I say. For example, she writes, “In its concluding chapter the book goes so far as to suggest that theories of chromosomal abnormality should be pursued as predictive of violent crime to justify long-term detention.”

In fact, I say just the opposite. Christian is referring to an appendix in which I reproduce an article I published in 1975. The whole thrust of the article is categorically against the use of the XYY chromosome to predict violence, since I demonstrate conclusively that the XYY karyotype is not predictive. Here is what I say: “Nor is it likely that the XYY karyotype, even in combination of other factors, could be used to predict violence. There is simply no hard evidence establishing that any combination of factors can accurately spot a large percentage of future violent criminals without also including an unsatisfactorily number and percentage of false positives.”

How on Earth could Christian transform my strong opposition to using chromosomes as criminal predictors to support? She simply reversed my position. This cannot be a simple mistake. It is plainly a willful deception of her readers.

A mendacious review is one thing, but what’s worse is that The Guardian refused to correct its mistake. When I wrote a letter to the editor refuting Christians’s blatant lies, Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, responded that he could not publish my letter. The reason he gave was that my letter was too long. And so I responded that I would cut my letter to any length he asked. But The Guardian persisted in refusing to let me set the record straight.

It would be unthinkable for an American or Israeli newspaper to publish a full-blown attack on an individual without at least extending the right to reply in the letters page. The Guardian did precisely that to me, and twice in a single summer.

Perspective is one thing, but there’s something very wrong with any paper that would publish and then stand behind factual inaccuracies in the service of a political agenda. That sort of cavalier attitude toward the truth is more fitting of a Stalinist newspaper than of Britain’s liberal newspaper of note. It’s discouraging to see such a prominent and previously honorable publication abandon its standards so readily.

I challenge The Guardian to defend or even explain its journalistic decision to stand by the demonstrable falsehoods and defamations of its writers.


Mozart cancelled in Germany due to fear of offending Muslims (& Egypt seizes papers)

September 26, 2006

* Tunisia & Egypt seize French & German newspapers over Islam remarks
* Pakistani cleric says pope should be crucified
* Assyrian Christians murdered over pope remarks
* Ex-PM Aznar: Muslims should “apologize for occupying Spain for 800 years”
* “Nothing the Pope has ever said comes close to matching the hatred that pours out of the mouths of radical imams”

 

CONTENTS

1. Tunisia and Egypt confiscate Le Figaro, Frankfurter Allgemeine
2. Mozart performance cancelled in Germany due to fear of offending Muslims
3. “Conquering Rome is the answer”
4. Hamas leader: Pope is “ignorant and stupid”
5. More churches attacked in West Bank and Gaza
6. “A conspiracy between the pope and Bush”
7. Pope meets with envoys from the Muslim world
8. Two Assyrian Christians killed in Iraq over pope remarks
9. European Union head defends pope
10. Aznar calls on Muslims to “apologize for occupying Spain for 800 years”
11. Saudi morality police will not be dissolved
12. The West should “quit saying sorry and unite”
13. “Enough apologies” (By Anne Applebaum, Washington Post, Sept. 19, 2006)
14. “Benedict’s opposite” (By Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 26, 2006)



[Note by Tom Gross]

TUNISIA AND EGYPT CONFISCATE LE FIGARO, F. A. Z.

Authorities in Tunisia and Egypt have confiscated last Tuesday’s edition of the French newspaper Le Figaro because it ran an article which they deemed insulting to Islam.

The French daily carried a piece by philosopher Robert Redeker about the controversy over the pope’s recent remarks. Redeker described the Koran as a “book of unprecedented violence,” and accused Muslims of seeking to intimidate the West.

Redeker wrote: “Merciless warrior, pillager, murderer of Jews and polygamist – that is how Mohammed portrays himself in the Koran... the book by which every Muslim is educated.”

The banned article can be read in French here. (Please scroll down two boxes.)

Yesterday, the Egyptian information ministry followed the Tunisians by banning not only Le Figaro, but another important European newspaper, the leading German daily, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. In its September 16 edition, German historian Egon Flaig had used examples of the Prophet Mohammed’s military leadership to support the idea that Islam has had a violent history (which it has).

Egypt says that for the time being copies of Le Figaro and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung will not be allowed into Egypt.

Le Figaro and Le Monde are competing for the highest circulation in France. Le Figaro has a circulation of 400,000 and is perceived as conservative. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is a quality national German newspaper with a circulation of over 380,000 and a daily readership of over one million.

Lest anyone need reminding, the Egyptian media is rife with highly offensive caricatures of Jews and others. For example, see Cartoons from the Arab World.

MOZART PERFORMANCE CANCELLED IN GERMANY DUE TO FEAR OF OFFENDING MUSLIMS

One of Germany’s leading opera houses, Deutsche Oper Berlin, announced on Monday that it was canceling a controversial production because of the likelihood that it might offend Muslims.

The original opera, Idomeneo, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, makes no reference to Islam, but director Hans Neuenfels introduced a scene to his production that depicts the decapitated heads of the Prophet Mohammed, Jesus Christ, the Buddha, and the Greek god Poseidon.

Security authorities in Berlin advised that the performance posed an “incalculable” security risk. The production had been on for the last three years before recent threats were made against it.

The cancellation of the 225-year-old opera has triggered a storm of protest among German political and cultural figures. Berlin’s mayor, Klaus Wowereit, warned today that “Our ideas about openness, tolerance and freedom must be lived on the offensive. Voluntary self-limitation gives those who fight against our values a confirmation in advance that we will not stand behind them.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that “self-censorship out of fear” should not be tolerated.

For the German speakers on this list/website, an article about this can be read here.

“CONQUERING ROME IS THE ANSWER”

Thousands of Muslim worshippers marched against Pope Benedict XVI in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza on Friday. At the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, considered to be Islam’s third-holiest shrine, worshippers hoisted banners that read “Conquering Rome is the answer.”

In the streets of Nablus, protestors waving Hamas flags called the pope a “coward and agent of the Americans.” In northern Gaza, more than 1,000 Islamic Jihad supporters shouted in praise of the prophet, and waved black flags and condemned the pope. In Ramallah, hundreds of Hamas supporters marched around the city center.

Rallies were also held in Pakistan and Malaysia. Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, a senior leader of Pakistan’s main alliance of radical parties, told demonstrators in Islamabad, “If the pope comes here we will hang him on the Cross.” Another Islamic leader said the pontiff should be crucified.

Malaysia’s opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party staged demonstrations outside mosques nationwide, and held up banners that read, “We Muslims are peace-loving people.”

The pope had already apologized several times and said he was “deeply sorry” about the reactions to his remarks and stressed that they did not reflect his own opinions, and that he had “deep respect” for Islam.

HAMAS LEADER: POPE IS “IGNORANT AND STUPID”

On Fatah-controlled Palestinian TV last Friday, Hamas religious leader Dr. Osama Al-Mazini called the pope “criminal and arrogant,” and “ignorant and stupid.”

Al-Mazini said: “To this arrogant Pope – criminal and arrogant – this message is from Allah the Elevated and the Exalted, as it was said: ‘Think not that Allah is unaware of what the wicked do. He but gives them a respite until a day when eyes will stare (in terror).’ [Sura14:42]”

The official Hamas weekly “Al Risala” featured a cartoon of Pope Benedict holding a Swastika while wearing a scarf of U.S. and Danish flags. The text under the cartoon is “The Pope and those who live under his cloak.”

The cartoon from “Al Risala” can be seen here.

(With thanks to Palestinian Media Watch, the senior staff of whom subscribe to this list, for the above information.)

For more cartoons on the recent controversy over the pope’s remarks about Islam, please see Cartoonists against the Pope (Sept. 19, 2006).

MORE CHURCHES ATTACKED IN WEST BANK AND GAZA

Palestinian police guarding a Roman Catholic church in Nablus were involved in an exchange of fire with assailants and chased them away on Saturday morning.

On Friday evening, three small pipe bombs were thrown at a Greek Orthodox church in Gaza city. One bomb blackened the main entrance of the church.

Police were posted at churches in the West Bank and Gaza after the first spate of attacks. For more on this, see Palestinians attack churches as anti-Pope sentiment grows around world (Sept. 18, 2006).

“A CONSPIRACY BETWEEN THE POPE AND BUSH”

In Cairo, a “Day of Anger” was held at the 10th century al-Azhar mosque, a traditional center of Sunni Muslim learning. A banner strung between two mosque pillars urged, “Wake up Muslims! It’s a conspiracy between the pope and Bush!”

Kamal Habib, a scholar who helped organize the protest in Cairo, commented that “It looks as if the Vatican is providing the religious justification for the wars waged in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

After prayers in the Iranian capital Teheran, 300 people staged a protest rally. Whilst burning U.S., British and Israeli flags, they chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”

POPE MEETS WITH ENVOYS FROM THE MUSLIM WORLD

Pope Benedict XVI expressed “total and profound respect” for the Muslim faith during a meeting yesterday with envoys from the Muslim world.

The pope also called for “sincere and respectful dialogue” during the meeting, held at the pope’s residence near Rome. It is thought this was a reference to restrictions on the church’s activity in some Muslim countries.

Attending the meeting were ambassadors from 21 countries, a representative from the Arab League, as well as local Islamic representatives from Italy.

Following the meeting, the ambassador of Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation, complained that the pope had not referred directly to the speech which sparked the controversy.

Iraq’s ambassador said it was time to move on from the row and build bridges.

TWO ASSYRIAN CHRISTIANS KILLED IN IRAQ OVER POPE REMARKS

An Assyrian Christian man was stabbed to death at the Assyrian market in the Doura District in Baghdad on Saturday. This came a day after an attack on the Syriac Catholic Church in the Ashar district of central Basra where another man was murdered.

Christian leaders in Iraq have warned their congregations to be extremely cautious and not to leave their homes as a new group called the Young Brigades of Fundamental Islam has distributed leaflets announcing that all Iraqi Christians would be killed in three days if the Pope does not apologize.

EUROPEAN UNION HEAD DEFENDS POPE

“Attacking the pope because he refers in a discourse to a historical document is completely unacceptable,” EU Commission President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso told Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper. Barroso added that he was “disappointed that there weren’t more European leaders who said, ‘obviously the pope has the right to express his opinion.’ The problem is not the comments of the pope but the reactions of the extremists ... We must defend our values.”

AZNAR CALLS ON MUSLIMS TO “APOLOGIZE FOR OCCUPYING SPAIN FOR 800 YEARS”

The former Spanish prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar, pointed out in a speech a few days ago that Muslims have never apologized for the nearly 800-year Moorish occupation of Spain that began in the year 711 with an invasion from North Africa.

Aznar said: “It is interesting to note that while a lot of people in the world are asking the pope to apologize for his speech, I have never heard a Muslim say sorry for having conquered Spain and occupying it for eight centuries.”

The former Spanish prime minister described it as “absurd” if one compared it to the constant call by Muslims demanding apologies whenever they feel offended by remarks by non-Muslims.

In the same speech, delivered at the Hudson Institute in Washington D.C., Aznar said the West is under attack from radical Islam and must defend itself. “It is them or it is us. There is no middle ground.”

Aznar was voted out of office in 2004 within days of Spain being hit by the biggest terror attack in Europe since the Second World War. For more, see Madrid 1: Does Bin Laden wish to reclaim “Occupied Spain”? (March 13, 2004).

SAUDI MORALITY POLICE WILL NOT BE DISSOLVED

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz has resisted calls to dissolve the morality police, a 4,000-strong force known as Mutawas.

Prince Nayef said at the weekend in defense of the Islamic police: “They talk about an organ that promotes the good and prevents the bad. Its dissolution has been rejected in the past, it is rejected today, and it will be rejected tomorrow.”

For more on some of the laws that are enforced by the Mutawas, please see Saudi police ban the sale of cats and dogs (& Gaddafi’s son: Pope must convert) (Sept. 21, 2006).

THE WEST SHOULD “QUIT SAYING SORRY AND UNITE”

Jeff Jacoby, writing in the Boston Globe, warns that another “frenzy” will occur soon. “It’s only a matter of time until the next one erupts. This time it was a 14th-century quote from a Byzantine ruler that set off – or rather, was exploited by Islamist firebrands to ignite – the international demonstrations, death threats, and violence. Earlier this year it was cartoons about Mohammed in a Danish newspaper. Last year it was a Newsweek report, later debunked, that a Koran had been desecrated by a U.S. interrogator in Guantanamo. Before that it was Jerry Falwell’s comment on ‘60 Minutes’ that Mohammed was a ‘terrorist.’ Back in 1989 it was the publication of Salman Rushdie’s satirical novel, ‘The Satanic Verses.’”

“In every case, the pretext for the Muslim rage was the claim that Islam had been insulted. Freedom of speech was irrelevant: While the rioters and those inciting them routinely insult Christianity, Judaism, and other religions, they demand that no one be allowed to denigrate Islam or its prophet. It is a staggering double standard, and too many in the West seem willing to go along with it. Witness the editorials in U.S. newspapers this week scolding the pope for his speech.”

The article by Jacoby, a subscriber to this list, can be read in full here.

***

I attach two further articles in full below. Anne Applebaum, writing in the Washington Post, expresses shock at all the apologies by the pope: “No one, apparently, can remember any pope, not even the media-friendly John Paul II, apologizing for anything in such specific terms: not for the Inquisition, not for the persecution of Galileo and certainly not for a single comment made to an academic audience in an unimportant German city.”

She calls on the “West to quit saying sorry and unite, occasionally, in its own defense. The fanatics attacking the pope already limit the right to free speech among their own followers. I don’t see why we should allow them to limit our right to free speech, too.”

The second article, by Bret Stephens in today’s Wall Street Journal, compares Pope Benedict XVI to Yusuf al-Qaradawi, “the nearest thing Sunni Islam has to a pope… His fatwas, or religious edicts on matters personal or political, are widely considered definitive among Sunnis.”

One of the many examples given by Stephens is from February of this year. In response to the Danish cartoon controversy, Qaradawi said on al-Jazeera: “The nation must rage in anger… We are not a nation of jackasses... We are lions that zealously protect their dens, and avenge affronts to their sanctities.”

Stephens notes that the following day, “mobs attacked the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus; the day after that, they burned the Danish consulate in Beirut to the ground. The same day, a Catholic priest was shot in Turkey by a teenage boy. In all, some 30 people were killed answering Mr. Qaradawi’s call to rage.”

As I have pointed out before, Qaradawi remains the darling of certain leftist western politicians, such as London mayor Ken Livingstone, who makes a point of publicly hugging Qaradawi, even after he praised Palestinian suicide bombers.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

“WESTERN POLITICIANS, WRITERS, THINKERS AND SPEAKERS SHOULD STOP APOLOGIZING – AND START UNITING”

Enough apologies
By Anne Applebaum
The Washington Post
September 19, 2006

Already, angry Palestinian militants have assaulted seven West Bank and Gaza churches, destroying two of them. In Somalia, gunmen shot dead an elderly Italian nun. Radical clerics from Qatar to Qom have called, variously, for a “day of anger” or for worshipers to “hunt down” the pope and his followers. From Turkey to Malaysia, Muslim politicians have condemned the pope and called his apology “insufficient.” And all of this because Benedict XVI, speaking at the University of Regensburg, quoted a Byzantine emperor who, more than 600 years ago, called Islam a faith “spread by the sword.” We’ve been here before, of course. Similar protests were sparked last winter by cartoon portrayals of Mohammed in the Danish press. Similar apologies resulted, though Benedict’s is more surprising than those of the Danish government. No one, apparently, can remember any pope, not even the media-friendly John Paul II, apologizing for anything in such specific terms: not for the Inquisition, not for the persecution of Galileo and certainly not for a single comment made to an academic audience in an unimportant German city.

But Western reactions to Muslim “days of anger” have followed a familiar pattern, too. Last winter, some Western newspapers defended their Danish colleagues, even going so far as to reprint the cartoons – but others, including the Vatican, attacked the Danes for giving offense. Some leading Catholics have now defended the pope – but others, no doubt including some Danes, have complained that his statement should have been better vetted, or never given at all. This isn’t surprising: By definition, the West is not monolithic. Left-leaning journalists don’t identify with right-leaning colleagues (or right-leaning Catholic colleagues), and vice versa. Not all Christians, let alone all Catholics – even all German Catholics – identify with the pope either, and certainly they don’t want to defend his every scholarly quotation.

Unfortunately, these subtle distinctions are lost on the fanatics who torch embassies and churches. And they may also be preventing all of us from finding a useful response to the waves of anti-Western anger and violence that periodically engulf parts of the Muslim world. Clearly, a handful of apologies and some random public debate – should the pope have said X, should the Danish prime minister have done Y – are ineffective and irrelevant: None of the radical clerics accepts Western apologies, and none of their radical followers reads the Western press. Instead, Western politicians, writers, thinkers and speakers should stop apologizing – and start uniting.

By this, I don’t mean that we all need to rush to defend or to analyze this particular sermon; I leave that to experts on Byzantine theology. But we can all unite in our support for freedom of speech – surely the pope is allowed to quote from medieval texts – and of the press. And we can also unite, loudly, in our condemnation of violent, unprovoked attacks on churches, embassies and elderly nuns. By “we” I mean here the White House, the Vatican, the German Greens, the French Foreign Ministry, NATO, Greenpeace, Le Monde and Fox News – Western institutions of the left, the right and everything in between. True, these principles sound pretty elementary – “we’re pro-free speech and anti-gratuitous violence” – but in the days since the pope’s sermon, I don’t feel that I’ve heard them defended in anything like a unanimous chorus. A lot more time has been spent analyzing what the pontiff meant to say, or should have said, or might have said if he had been given better advice.

All of which is simply beside the point, since nothing the pope has ever said comes even close to matching the vitriol, extremism and hatred that pour out of the mouths of radical imams and fanatical clerics every day, all across Europe and the Muslim world, almost none of which ever provokes any Western response at all. And maybe it’s time that it should: When Saudi Arabia publishes textbooks commanding good Wahhabi Muslims to “hate” Christians, Jews and non-Wahhabi Muslims, for example, why shouldn’t the Vatican, the Southern Baptists, Britain’s chief rabbi and the Council on American-Islamic Relations all condemn them – simultaneously?

Maybe it’s a pipe dream: The day when the White House and Greenpeace can issue a joint statement is surely distant indeed. But if stray comments by Western leaders – not to mention Western films, books, cartoons, traditions and values – are going to inspire regular violence, I don’t feel that it’s asking too much for the West to quit saying sorry and unite, occasionally, in its own defense. The fanatics attacking the pope already limit the right to free speech among their own followers. I don’t see why we should allow them to limit our right to free speech, too.

 

BENEDICT’S OPPOSITE

Benedict’s opposite
By Bret Stephens
The Wall Street Journal
September 26, 2006

“Constantinople was conquered, and the second part of the [prophet Mohammed’s] prophecy remains, that is, the conquest of Romiyya [Rome]... Islam entered Europe twice and left it... Perhaps the next conquest, Allah willing, will be by means of preaching and ideology.”

-- Yusuf al-Qaradawi on al-Jazeera, Jan. 24, 1999

Who knows whether the Vatican ever sought an apology from Mr. Qaradawi for suggesting that Catholicism will one day be extinguished in its heartland and uprooted from its capital. But it’s never too late to demand one, especially now that the good sheikh is in a lather over Pope Benedict’s recent remarks about Islam.

In an era without a caliph, the Egyptian-born, 80-year-old Mr. Qaradawi is the nearest thing Sunni Islam has to a pope. His weekly al-Jazeera talk show, “Shariah and Life,” reaches tens of millions of Arabic-speakers in the Middle East and Europe. His fatwas, or religious edicts on matters personal or political, are widely considered definitive among Sunnis. As the de facto spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mr. Qaradawi is a theological traditionalist, although he is also associated with the “new wave” Islamism that seeks to attract a younger, more modern audience. Mr. Qaradawi is also occasionally at odds with the violent asceticism of Salafist clerics, which gives him, among Muslims and to some extent in the West, a reputation as a moderate.

On Friday Mr. Qaradawi was at his sanctimonious best, saying, “the pope has closed the doors of religious dialogue between the Muslims and the Vatican by such offending remarks,” according to the Gulf Times. “Muslims are not opting for a ‘battle,’” he added, “but it was imposed on us by the pope who refused to recant.” Mr. Qaradawi now calls for a boycott of the Vatican, though he condemns violence against Christians.

That’s something of an improvement over his role early this year in the Danish cartoon controversy. “The nation must rage in anger,” he said on al-Jazeera Feb. 3. “We are not a nation of jackasses... We are lions that zealously protect their dens, and avenge affronts to their sanctities.” On Feb. 4, mobs attacked the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus; the day after that, they burned the Danish consulate in Beirut to the ground. The same day, a Catholic priest was shot in Turkey by a teenage boy. In all, some 30 people were killed answering Mr. Qaradawi’s call to rage.

It was typical of the sheikh that he followed his initial exhortation by denouncing the subsequent violence: “We never call on people to set fire to cars, but to express their anger in a prudent manner.” Of course. But Mr. Qaradawi has an interesting way of speaking out of both sides of his mouth, or tailoring his message to fit his audience.

Consider his views on terrorism. “Islam, the religion of tolerance... considers the attack against innocent human beings a grave sin,” he said almost immediately after Sept. 11. But here is something else he said in those days: “Can anyone prove that [Osama bin Laden] sent [the perpetrators]? ... There is no doubt that the one who benefits from this crime is the Zionist entity.” And as the U.S. was gearing up to oust the Taliban, Mr. Qaradawi added that “Islamic law says that if a Muslim country is attacked, the other Muslim countries must help it, with their souls and their money, until it is liberated.”

Now take Mr. Qaradawi’s statements about the U.S. in Iraq. “I have forbidden the murder of Americans,” he told al-Jazeera in late 2004. But he qualified that to say it was only forbidden to kill “civilians.” Which civilians? Only those not aiding the occupation, meaning journalists and humanitarian-aid workers. He said the “jihad-waging Iraqi people’s resistance to the foreign occupation... is a Sharia duty.” And he added that “it is forbidden for any Muslim to offer support to the occupiers... because such support would be support of their crimes and aggression.”

Thus, from a starting position that forbids the killing of Americans in Iraq, Mr. Qaradawi carves out one exception after another until he effectively calls for the killing of all but a handful of Americans, and perhaps their allies among Iraqis as well.

Mr. Qaradawi is equally slippery when it comes to discussing Jews. Islam, he said in 2005, “welcomes those who believe in the [Jewish] religion.” He has also said that he “welcomes Jews who dissociate themselves from what Israel is doing,” a point that supposedly speaks to his moderation in distinguishing Judaism (for which he has respect) from Zionism (for which he only has loathing).

But one doesn’t have to scratch hard on the surface of Mr. Qaradawi’s thoughts to discover the anti-Semite within. “The iniquity of the Jews, as a community, is obvious and apparent,” he said in June 2004. “Everything will be on our side against Jews on [Judgment Day],” he added in February 2006. “At that time, even the stones and the trees will speak, with or without words, and say, ‘Oh servant of Allah, oh Muslim, there’s a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’”

For all this, Sheikh Qaradawi evinces no regret, although he frequently claims to be misrepresented (never more so than by the invaluable Middle East Media Research Center, responsible for most of the translations used here). But it wasn’t a Zionist agent, yet rather the Qatari religious scholar Abd al-Hamid Al Ansari, who said this of Mr. Qaradawi:

“The Sharia rulings that forbid harming civilians remained valid [for centuries] until Sheikh al-Qaradawi... created a dangerous breach with regard to Jihad. This was when, out of support for Hamas, he ruled that suicide operations among civilians were legitimate... This fatal breach has created an ideological and moral crisis in Islam... The moral deterioration has reached the point that they blow up children in Baghdad and peaceful civilians on buses in London. These fatwas are a moral and ideological mark of shame, which we must purge from our Islam.”

Maybe Muslims really are entitled to an apology. If so, it isn’t Benedict who needs to make it.


Plot to decapitate Israeli ambassador to Norway (& Israel welcomes Swedish elections)

September 25, 2006

* Shots also fired at Oslo synagogue
* Election results in Sweden herald fall of one of Europe’s most anti-Israel governments

 

CONTENTS

1. Four arrested in plot to kill Israeli ambassador to Norway
2. Two synagogues attacked in Russia hours before Jewish holiday
3. Nazi flag and salute in Lithuanian bar
4. Poland has its first native rabbi in 40 years
5. “Barely hidden joy in Jerusalem over Swedish election” (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 21, 2006)



[Note by Tom Gross]

This dispatch includes news on attacks and would-be attacks on Israelis and Jews in northern Europe in recent days, and a possible change in policies in Sweden, arguably the country which has had the most anti-Israeli government in Europe.

FOUR ARRESTED IN PLOT TO KILL ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO NORWAY

Norwegian authorities have arrested four men over a plot to decapitate the Israeli ambassador to Norway, Miriam Shomrat, and blow up the Israeli and American embassies in Oslo. The four could face jail terms of up to 12 years if convicted.

The suspects, two of Pakistani background, one of Turkish origin and a native Norwegian, are also charged with firing at least 10 shots from an automatic weapon at Oslo’s only synagogue last week, causing damage but no injuries. The youngest suspect, who is 26, is not an immigrant. Norwegian media report he is the son of a royal residence employee, and until May lived in the area of the royal residence.

Norway’s Jewish population, which numbers 7,000, has been the object of several attacks in recent months. Among other incidents, a person wearing a skull cap was attacked and a Jewish cemetery desecrated. The police have now greatly increased security around Jewish sites.

According to a Norwegian Jewish journalist, such acts were legitimized by the anti-Israel atmosphere following the Lebanon war and by a letter sent by Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder*, prophesying a flood of biblical proportions engulfing Israel, and saying that “the first Zionist terrorists started operating in the days of Jesus.”

Norway was the target of Islamic rage earlier this year after a Norwegian publication became the first to reprint the cartoons of Mohammed from a Danish newspaper, cartoons which many Muslims found highly offensive. About 75,000 Muslims live in the country, less than 2 percent of the population.

(* For more on “Sophie’s World” author Gaarder, please see the dispatch Firm with Nazi past buys 25% of Ha’aretz (& animals recover from Hizbullah), Aug. 21, 2006.)

TWO SYNAGOGUES ATTACKED IN RUSSIA HOURS BEFORE JEWISH HOLIDAY

Just hours before Jewish communities gathered to celebrate the Rosh Hashanah (Jewish new year’s) holiday on Friday evening, two synagogues in Russia were attacked.

The windows of a synagogue in Khabarovsk, a city of 580,000 on the border with China, were shattered. And a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the second synagogue, in the Volga River city of Astrakhan in southern Russia, setting a door on fire.

Russia’s chief rabbi Berel Lazar (who is a subscriber to this email list) said that although the Jewish community was shocked by the attacks, “if those who attacked the synagogues expected to scare Jews on those holy days, they have been mistaken.”

According to Russian anti-racism groups, recent years have witnessed a rise in xenophobia and hate crimes, partly as a consequence of the authorities’ reluctance in prosecuting the perpetrators. Possibly in response to such criticism, Russian courts sentenced to 16 years in prison the man who stabbed nine people in a Moscow synagogue last January.

NAZI FLAG AND SALUTE IN LITHUANIA BAR

Last week, a bar in Kaunas, Lithuania, decided to celebrate its 10th anniversary by flying a Nazi flag and dressing one of its waiters as Adolph Hitler, who was then instructed to give the Nazi salute to its customers. According to a Lithuanian daily, the bar also celebrates Hitler’s birthday.

Dr. Efraim Zuroff, of the Wiesenthal Center (who is a subscriber to this list), expressed his outrage and called for the prosecution of those responsible. The display of the Nazi flag did not come as a surprise, he said, since Lithuania has failed to prosecute and punish local Nazi war criminals and is a country in which those who facilitated the annihilation of its Jewish population are treated with undue sympathy and mercy.

In 2001, Dr. Zuroff handed the Lithuanian government a list of 97 names of suspected Nazi collaborators. So far only three have stood trial for Holocaust-related crimes and none has received a sentence.

More than 220,000 Jews lived in Lithuania before WWII and the first mass murder of Jews during the war took place in Kaunas. Today, there are about 4,000 Jews remaining in the country.

POLAND HAS ITS FIRST NATIVE RABBI IN 40 YEARS

Poland’s Jewish community now has its first native Pole to serve as a rabbi since the fall of communism in 1989. Rabbi Mati Pawlak, 29, who had no idea he was Jewish for the first half of his life, is the first Pole to become a rabbi in 40 years and is being seen as an important symbol of hope for Poland’s Jewish community. Pawlak, from the town of Szczecin in northwestern Poland, didn’t learn until he was 14 that his family was Jewish. His mother only told him after communism fell and it became safer for Poles to admit that they were Jewish, even to their own families.

Since the end of communism, many other Poles have been told by their parents or grandparents that they are Jewish, and today there are estimated to be around 30,000 people identifying themselves as Jews in Poland. 90 percent of the 3.5 million Jews who lived there before WWII were murdered by the Nazis.

Three other rabbis – an American, an Israeli and a Swede of Polish origin – have also recently begun working in Poland, pushing up the number nationwide from three to seven – the highest in 50 years.

Last week, Germany’s Jewish community also had its first three rabbis ordained since the Holocaust.

ISRAEL WARMLY WELCOMES SWEDISH ELECTION RESULT

Israeli government officials welcomed the defeat of Sweden’s Social Democratic government at last week’s elections, saying they hope it will end an “unabashedly pro-Arab, anti-Israeli” position. Sweden's center-right opposition alliance claimed victory in the elections, ending 12 years of Social Democrat rule. Israeli officials say that Sweden has been more critical of Israel than any other European country and that the election of a center-right government will change things.

For more on Swedish hostility to Jews and Israel, see the article below, as well as the following dispatches. In the first of these dispatches, we are reminded of how the Swedish government defended an exhibit glorifying the suicide bomber of a Haifa restaurant. That bomber killed 23 people.

* Sweden 1: The killer as Snow White (Jan. 19, 2004).
* Sweden 2: The ambassador and the artist debate live on radio (Jan. 19, 2004).
* Sweden 3: Suicide posters removed from subway stations (Jan. 22, 2004).

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLE

“THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATS WENT THAT EXTRA MILE IN THEIR CRITICISM OF ISRAEL”

Barely hidden joy in Jerusalem over Swedish election
By Herb Keinon
The Jerusalem Post
September 21, 2006

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1157913677074&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Nobody will admit it formally, but a few government officials in Jerusalem are dancing a jig over the defeat Sunday of Sweden’s Social Democratic government.

For years, said Zvi Mazel, a former Israeli ambassador to Stockholm, the Swedish Social Democratic government has promoted an unabashedly “pro-Arab, anti-Israeli” position.

Mazel said that the center-right parties, headed by 41-year-old prime minister designate Fredrik Reinfeld, who ousted Prime Minister Goran Persson, made supportive comments about Israel while in the opposition.

“We had good relations with them in the past, and hope it will continue,” Mazel said.

Mazel – who in 2004 wrecked a display at the Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm that glorified a suicide bomber – said that Sweden has for years been among the most critical countries in the EU towards Israel, along with Ireland and France.

He said that the new government was likely to bring Sweden’s Middle East policy from the far left into the center in the EU, and that he believed the new government’s public declarations about Israel and the Middle East would be far less critical.

Mazel’s optimism was shared by Gunnar Hokmark, a Swedish member of the European parliament from one of the central-right Swedish parties. Hokmark, chairman of the Israel-Swedish Friendship League, said from Brussels that he thought the new government would “chart a more balanced policy,” toward Israel.

According to Hokmark, the new government was likely to “be more focused on the support for democracy development in the Middle East.”

Although foreign policy played almost no role in the elections, Hokmark said Reinfeld had made some comments in the campaign for the need for stable regimes in Syria and Lebanon.

One senior official in Jerusalem said that although it was hard to say whether there would be a dramatic change in Stockholm’s policies, “there is definitely an opportunity now to turn a new page. The social democrats went that extra mile in their criticism of Israel,” the official said. Over the last few years, he added, Sweden has distinguished itself in being more critical of Israel than about any other European country.

Among the major Israeli-Swedish diplomatic brickbats over the last four years were the following:

In May, Sweden broke ranks with the European Union and issued a visa to a Hamas minister, enraging Jerusalem and causing discomfort in some other European capitals.

In April, Israel protested Sweden’s decision to drop out of an international air force exercise because Israel was involved. Persson told reporters at the time that Sweden withdrew from the exercise in Italy because “we are careful about joining exercises with countries that we won’t cooperate with in international missions under UN or EU mandates,” he said.

“That’s our principle... that’s our history. The Israelis have another, more warlike, history, which I find regrettable for that matter.”

In June 2004, visiting Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds took Israel to task for alleged violations of international law, saying Sweden’s younger generation gets very upset when it sees these violations on television.

In 2003, Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, who was later assassinated, said at an award ceremony in Sweden for Hanan Ashrawi that “I fear that the Palestinian people soon will lose all hope of an independent state, and that Israel will lose its moral values. Israel is a democracy balancing on a thin line,” she said.

In August 2002, after UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a report on the IDF’s operations in the Jenin refugee camp that cleared Israel of Palestinian charges of a massacre in the camp, Lindh released a press statement taking issue with the conclusions. “Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the UN has meant that a full and comprehensive report has not been possible to produce,” she said. “The report shows that serious crimes against humanitarian law have occurred.”

In May 2002, Lindh – a frequent critic of former prime minister Ariel Sharon – said in a Swedish media interview that her goal was that “Israeli citizens will turn against the military polices of Sharon.” She said “Israel’s government has chosen a course of action that risks placing the country outside of the rest of the world community.”


Saudi police ban the sale of cats and dogs (& Gaddafi’s son: Pope must convert)

September 21, 2006

* Libyan dictator Gaddafi’s son: Pope should convert to Islam “immediately”
* Six-year-old girl burned to death in “honor” killing in Birmingham, England
* Horrific 12-day gang rape of mother/daughter as punishment for college
* Nigerian pickpocket in Saudi Arabia has hand cut off
* Islamists close down Somali radio station for airing “love songs”
* Al-Qaeda threatens France

 

CONTENTS

1. Did anyone say double standards?
2. Saudi religious police ban cats and dogs
3. Nigerian pickpocket at Mecca’s Grand Mosque has hand cut off
4. Six-year-old girl burned to death in “honor” killing in Birmingham, England
5. Horrific 12-day gang rape of mother/daughter as punishment for college
6. Ruler of Dubai accused of child trafficking
7. Islamists close down Somali radio station for airing “love songs”
8. Islamic conference: Muslims must buy up western media
9. Suicide bombing spreads
10. Gaddafi’s son: Pope must convert to Islam “immediately”
11. Al-Qaeda “leader” claims murder of Sudan newspaper editor
12. Al-Qaeda threatens France
13. 40 killed in Yemen stampede
14. Head of Muslim Council of Britain warns of two million terrorists
15. Hizbullah announces “victory rally” tomorrow
16. Report: Freed terrorists killed 132 Israelis after release
17. Saddam rages against “agents of Zionism”
18. Associated Press employee “spied for Saddam”



[Note by Tom Gross]

DID ANYONE SAY DOUBLE STANDARDS?

The following notes, about some of the excesses of the Islamic world, accompanies this week’s other dispatches about the reaction by some Muslims to Pope Benedict XVI’s comments on Islam.

Those so vigorously protesting the pope’s remarks seem to have little to say about fellow Muslims citing the Koran to justify, and even command, the killing of “apostates” who leave Islam (like former Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali), and of “blasphemers” (like Salman Rushdie), and of “infidels” in general and Jews and homosexuals in particular.

They have little to say about the numerous senior Islamic preachers who have savagely incited against Jews from their pulpits – often broadcast live on state-television – informing worshippers that Jews are descended from monkeys and dogs, are subhuman, and undeserving of life.

They have little to say about the Koranic commands for amputating hands, for public floggings and beheadings, and for wife-beating, let alone about the lack of freedom of worship afforded to other faiths in countries like Saudi Arabia. They have little to say about the suicide bomb attacks on Christians, Jews, Hindus and others carried out in the name of Islam.

Here are a few news items from recent days:

SAUDI RELIGIOUS POLICE BAN CATS AND DOGS

Saudi Arabia’s religious police, who usually spend their time making sure women cover themselves, men attend prayers and that married men and women don’t mix, have a new rule to enforce. They have issued a decree banning the sale of cats and dogs in the Red Sea port city of Jiddah and in the holy city of Mecca because “some youths have been buying them and parading them in public,” according to a memo from the Municipal Affairs Ministry, republished by the Associated Press.

No other Arab country restricts pet ownership. Last year Iranian police urged people not to bring their dogs out in public, but this was never enshrined in law and was widely ignored by Iranian dog-owners.

The prohibition on dogs in Saudi Arabia does not come as a surprise, since conservative Muslims think dogs are unclean. The ban on cats has been questioned by some since Islamic tradition holds that the Prophet Mohammed loved cats and once let a cat drink from his ablutions water before washing himself for prayers.

NIGERIAN PICKPOCKET AT MECCA’S GRAND MOSQUE HAS HAND CUT OFF

A Nigerian man, convicted of stealing at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, has had his right hand severed.

Kurba Thani Mohammed was found guilty of “pickpocketing inside the Great Mosque,” according to a statement carried by the official Saudi government SPA news agency.

Saudi Arabia applies a strict form of Sharia (Islamic law) that provides for severing the hand for theft, and the death penalty for a host of other offenses.

GIRL, 6, BURNED TO DEATH IN “HONOR” KILLING IN ENGLAND

Alisha Begum, a six-year-old girl living in Birmingham, England, was killed in an arson attack on her home, Birmingham Crown Court heard yesterday. The attack was planned by Hussain Ahmed, a 26-year-old dentist, and Daryll Tuzzio, 18, after Ahmed found out his 15-year-old sister was seeing Alisha’s brother, Abdul Hamid, 21.

Birmingham Crown Court was told yesterday by prosecutor Adrian Redgrave: “One hears of so-called honor killings though one may wonder how by any stretch of the imagination there can be any honor in what happened here, resulting in the death of a six-year-old child.” For more, see here.

12-DAY GANG RAPE OF MOTHER/DAUGHTER FOR GOING TO COLLEGE

One of Australia’s leading papers reports that news of another horrific gang rape in Pakistan emerged over the weekend. A mother and daughter in a rural area were abducted and gang-raped for 12 days because the daughter refused to stop going to college in defiance of local Islamic custom. I have not seen this crime reported in most North American and European news media, many of which instead fill up their foreign news pages with articles critical only of America and Israel. For more see here.

RULER OF DUBAI ACCUSED OF CHILD TRAFFICKING

A suit has been filed in a Florida court alleging that the ruler of Dubai and his brother have enslaved around 30,000 children over the past 30 years for use as camel jockeys.

The defendants include Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the minister of finance and industry.

The brothers, who are among the world’s best-known racehorse owners, are accused of trafficking boys as young as 2 from Bangladesh, Sudan and southern Asia.

The claim is based on an international law banning slavery and child labor and was filed in Florida because the defendants own property there.

ISLAMISTS CLOSE SOMALI RADIO STATION FOR AIRING “LOVE SONGS”

Islamists in control of large parts of southern Somalia shut down a radio station for airing “music and love songs.” Radio Jowhar was closed last week after Sheikh Mohammed Abdirahman ordered that playing “music and love songs for the people” was un-Islamic and would be banned.

The station has since resumed broadcasting on condition it no longer plays any music or jingles. It was the only radio station in Jowhar, 55 miles from the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Elsewhere in Somalia, radio stations are still broadcasting normally, playing all kinds of music, including western hip-hop and R ‘n’ B.

Since capturing a large swathe of southern Somalia (including the capital) in June, Islamic groups have imposed strict Sharia rule. Islamists in Mogadishu have banned the watching of films, and broken up wedding celebrations where bands were playing music and women and men were seen socializing together.

During the recent soccer World Cup, Islamist gunmen in Somalia pulled the plug on makeshift cinemas airing the soccer tournament. For more, see Banning the World Cup, Israeli wine labels, and other items (June 14, 2006).

ISLAMIC CONFERENCE: MUSLIMS MUST BUY UP WESTERN MEDIA

Almost none of the above stories received much coverage in mainstream western media, which tends to be dominated by journalists with leftist opinions who wish to avoid reporting on human rights abuses in the Muslim world. However, it seems government ministers from Islamic countries would like to see even less western coverage.

Information ministers and officials meeting under the auspices of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the world’s largest Islamic body, were told at a conference in Saudi Arabia last Wednesday that Muslim tycoons should buy stakes in global media outlets to help change reporting on Muslims around the world.

“Muslim investors must invest in the large media institutions of the world so that they have the ability to affect their policies via their administrative boards,” the chief of the OIC, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, said.

He added that “This would benefit in terms of correcting the image of Islam worldwide.” He called on Muslim countries to set up more television channels in widely-spoken foreign languages.

Billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal already has a sizeable stake in News Corp., the Rupert Murdoch-run group which owns the Fox News Channel.

Egyptian Information Minister Anas el-Feki also told the OIC: “Now more than ever we need a new Islamic media message that reaches all parts of the world.”

SUICIDE BOMBING SPREADS

The phenomena of the suicide bomb, which some in the west (such as Tony Blair’s wife Cherie) were almost sympathetic to when its prime victims were Israelis*, continues to spread to more and more countries. On Monday, Somalia became the latest country to witness its first suicide bomb attack, during which the Somalian president survived an assassination attempt. Five members of the president’s entourage died in the blast in the central Somalian city of Baidoa.

“The assassination attempt today in Baidoa is associated with what happened in Mogadishu on Sunday where the Catholic nun was killed in the cold blood. Whoever was behind that attack is also behind this,” the Somali foreign minister said.

* One prominent western politician who continues to offer encouragement to Palestinian suicide bombers is Dr. Jenny Tonge, a prominent parliamentarian for the British Liberal Democratic party who on Tuesday at the annual Lib Dem Conference reiterated her support for suicide bombings in Israel. She also made anti-Semitic comments, which as British journalist and commentator Stephen Pollard points out could have come straight out of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

For more on Tonge, see For and against: the British MP who would be a suicide bomber, (Jan. 26, 2004).

GADDAFI’S SON: POPE MUST CONVERT TO ISLAM “IMMEDIATELY”

The elder son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has told Pope Benedict XVI that he must convert to Islam “immediately,” dismissing Sunday’s apology from the pontiff for supposedly offending Muslims.

“If this person were really someone reasonable, he would not agree to remain at his post one minute, but would convert to Islam immediately,” Mohammed Gaddafi told an awards ceremony in Tripoli for an international competition to memorize the Koran. “We say to the pope – whether you apologize or not is irrelevant, as apologies make no difference to us.”

Gaddafi junior also hit out at “those Muslims who look for comfort in the words of a non-Muslim”. He said Muslims “should not look for charity from the infidel... but should fight Islam’s enemies who attack the faith and the Prophet Mohammed.”

AL-QAEDA “LEADER” CLAIMS BEHEADING OF SUDAN NEWSPAPER EDITOR

While Islamist-backed Arab militias continue to carry out mass killings verging on genocide in the Darfur region of southern Sudan, other atrocities are taking place elsewhere in the country.

Abu Hafs al-Sudani, who says he is the leader of an African branch of al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the beheading of a Sudanese newspaper editor last week.

A statement by al-Sudani called the beheaded editor, Mohammed Taha a “dog of dogs from the ruling party,” and accused him of insulting the prophet Mohammed.

Last year Taha reprinted a series of articles questioning the roots of the Prophet Mohammed. He was kidnapped from outside his home in Khartoum, and beheaded last Wednesday. The north of Sudan is under Sharia law.

For commentary on the mass killings in the south, see Sudan genocide 2: Where’s Sean Penn when you need him? Where’s the ISM?, (Aug. 9, 2004), and other previous dispatches.

AL-QAEDA THREATENS FRANCE

Al-Qaeda has for the first time announced a union with the Algerian insurgent “Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat,” which is known by its French initials GSPC, and has designated France as an enemy. They say they will act together against French and American targets.

Al-Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri announced the “blessed union” in the most recent al-Qaeda video posted on the internet to mark the fifth anniversary of 9/11. Al-Zawahiri said “All the praise is due to Allah for the blessed union which we ask Allah to be as a bone in the throats of the Americans and French Crusaders and their allies, and inspire distress, concern and dejection in the hearts of the traitorous, apostate sons of France.”

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French interior minister, said “We take these threats very seriously.” He added that the threat to France was “high” and “permanent,” and that “absolute vigilance” was required. France’s leaders have warned previously that the decision not to join the U.S.-led war in Iraq would not shield the country from Islamic terrorism.

In an article published on September 14, the French daily Le Figaro confirmed that the French secret services believe that there are several dozen Algerian GSPC terrorist cells in France. Le Figaro said GSPC is in deep difficulties in Algeria but is gaining strength in Europe. The French authorities are worried about the consequences of their policies aiming at a national reconciliation in Algeria. Since the beginning of 2006, more than 2,000 prisoners (including former members of the armed Islamist group GIA) have been freed.

(For more, in French, see this article in Le Figaro. There is a slightly shorter version in English here.)

40 KILLED IN YEMEN STAMPEDE

At least 40 people were killed when a political meeting in Yemen ended and too many people tried to exit from a single door. Another 100 people were injured at the rally addressed by President Ali Abdallah Salih in the run-up to the upcoming presidential election.

Separately, four French tourists were kidnapped in Yemen last Sunday. It is the latest in a series of hostage takings as the Abdallah tribe attempts the release of many of its members from government detention.

Yemeni authorities have announced that they prevented a double suicide-bombing on oil refineries in the country. The announcement last Friday came two days after al-Qaeda had warned it intended to carry out attacks against Arab states in the Persian Gulf region. According to the Sana news agency, four would-be bombers, on their way to two oil and gas facilities, were intercepted and killed. One security officer also died.

HEAD OF MUSLIM COUNCIL OF BRITAIN WARNS OF 2 M. TERRORISTS

Mohammed Abdul Bari, the secretary-general of Britain’s main Muslim group, the Muslim Council of Britain, has blamed “some police officers and sections of the media” for “demonizing Muslims, treating them as if they’re all terrorists – and that encourages other people to do the same.” Bari also told The Sunday Telegraph that if the supposed “demonization” continues then “Britain will have to deal with two million Muslim terrorists – 700,000 of them in London.”

HIZBULLAH ANNOUNCES “VICTORY RALLY” TOMORROW

Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has set this Friday evening, while Israelis are celebrating the Jewish new year, as the time to hold a massive rally celebrating Hizbullah’s “victory” over Israel in 34 days of warfare. Nasrallah, who has been in hiding since the start of the war, said the rally would “celebrate the divine and historic victory over the Zionists.”

For more on the aftermath of the recent Hizbullah-Israel war, see “The Arabs have become wise enough to know TV victory from real victory” (Sept. 5, 2006).

REPORT: FREED TERRORISTS KILLED 132 ISRAELIS AFTER RELEASE

Hizbullah is demanding that Israel release prisoners, including convicted terrorists.

A new report issued by an Israeli NGO reveals that 132 Israelis were killed by terrorists who had previously been released from Israeli jails between 1993 and 1999. Israel had released these terrorists under UN and international pressure, including that from the Clinton administration in the United States.

The report by the Almagor Terror Victims Association listed 14 specific attacks perpetrated by released terrorists, including some of the most notorious incidents in recent years.

SADDAM RAGES AGAINST “AGENTS OF ZIONISM”

Saddam Hussein attacked Kurdish survivors giving evidence at his genocide trial in Baghdad last week. Saddam and six other defendants are accused of killing up to 180,000 Kurds during “Operation Anfal” in 1987 and 1988. Saddam accused Kurds who survived the massacres, and are now testifying about how their wives and children had been gassed to death by Saddam, as “agents of Zionism.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS EMPLOYEE “SPIED FOR SADDAM”

An Iraqi Intelligence officer’s report to different Iraqi Intelligence Directorates referring to secret information provided to them from a trusted source who works for the Associated Press, has been made public. The information was about the formation of a new UN weapons inspectors team called UNMOVIC. For more, see www.americanthinker.com/comments.php?comments_id=6058.

-- Tom Gross


Cartoonists against the Pope

September 19, 2006

CONTENTS

1. Benedict XVI shoots and kills on al-Jazeera
2. A cartoon from Australia
3. And the pope with a swastika
4. And the pope connected to a fuse
5. Not your usual messages by the Cathedral
6. Danish newspaper reprints Iranian Holocaust cartoons
7. Greek government includes Iranian Holocaust cartoonist
8. “Night of Bush (and Blair) capturing”



* Update: Some of the cartoons referred to in this dispatch have since been removed by the various websites linked to here.

[Note by Tom Gross]

As an update to yesterday’s dispatch Palestinians attack churches as anti-Pope sentiment grows around world, here is some more reaction to the pope’s comments on Islam in cartoon form:

BENEDICT XVI SHOOTS AND KILLS ON AL-JAZEERA

Last night, one of the main Italian TV news programs, TG5, showed in its evening prime-time edition an animated cartoon which had been put online by al-Jazeera. The cartoon shows former Pope John Paul II taking white doves out of a box where it is written “religious harmony.” His successor, Benedict XVI then fires a rifle, and kills the doves. To see the cartoon, accompanied by music and gunfire click here from Italy.

And here directly from al-Jazeera.

Il Corriere della Sera, reports that the cartoon was created by Shujaat Ali, a Pakistani cartoonist, the recipient of many prizes from his country as well from Japan and Iran. He now works for al-Jazeera. Another of his recent animated cartoons, dedicated to the Israeli-Lebanese crisis, shows a journalist interviewing the Statue of Liberty that has the face of U.S. President George W. Bush, holding a mini-Ehud Olmert setting fire to the Middle East.

A CARTOON FROM AUSTRALIA

This cartoon from “The Australian” newspaper, reproduced here on this Australian blog, has a different viewpoint to that of Shujaat Ali.

It is also available by clicking on number 2 in the “bleak” gallery here.

AND THE POPE WITH A SWASTIKA

The front page of the new edition of the Egyptian weekly Ruz al-Yusuf includes a cartoon of the pope with a swastika round his neck. The cartoon accompanied an article about the heads of the Egyptian Coptic Church attacking the pope’s comments. The cartoon can be seen here.

Other cartoons of the pope made to look like Hitler were found on Islamist websites by the journalist Hamza Boccolini and published by the Italian daily Libero (subscription only). The cartoons have been put online for free by Informazione Corretta and can be seen at the bottom of this page.

AND THE POPE CONNECTED TO A FUSE

The Jordanian website, “mahjoob,” which along with other Arab and European media is monitored specially for this email list/website, has a cartoon of the pope attached to one of the Danish Mohammed cartoons, the one that depicts the prophet with a turban and has a fuse attached. The Jordanian cartoonist connects the pope to the fuse. The speech bubble above the pope says (translated from the Arabic): “This is not my opinion, but a quotation only.” Many of the cartoons on this website are often featured in Arabic-language newspapers, for example the London-based Palestinian daily al-Quds al-Arabi.

The cartoon can be seen here.

For more on the Danish cartoon controversy, see:

* Portraying the prophet from Persian art to South Park, (Feb. 6, 2006)

* “To be or not to be, that is the question,” not just asked by a famous fictional Dane, (Feb. 7, 2006)

* Belgium Muslim leader calls on Arabs to use Danish flag as a substitute for toilet paper, (Feb.6, 2006)

NOT YOUR USUAL MESSAGES BY THE CATHEDRAL

You may also want to watch this demonstration outside Westminster Cathedral in London last Sunday, in which British Muslim extremists call for the execution of the pope: www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyMbYlCHXLY&eurl=

DANISH NEWSPAPER REPRINTS IRANIAN HOLOCAUST CARTOONS

Meanwhile, “Information,” a Danish newspaper, has printed six of the anti-Semitic cartoons about the Holocaust, which were commissioned for an Iranian exhibition recently. The cartoons had been on display in Teheran. Editor-in-chief of “Information,” Palle Weis, said he thought the cartoons were “tasteless but predictable.” The newspaper said he wanted to “even out” the Mohammed cartoons. But as I have noted before, the “Mohammed cartoons” were fair comments about people who themselves gloriously invoke Mohammed and Allah to kill civilians, whereas the Holocaust is a historical fact, and to compare the two types of cartoon is itself a form of Holocaust revisionism and anti-Semitism.

GREEK GOVERNMENT INCLUDES IRANIAN HOLOCAUST CARTOONIST

The small remaining Greek Jewish community (Greek Jews suffered particularly harshly during the Holocaust and were all but wiped out) have expressed disbelief after the Greek Culture Ministry last week decided to include an Iranian artist involved in a recent “competition” caricaturing the Nazi Holocaust, as a judge in a contest entitled: “The Cartoon as a Bridge Between Civilizations.”

The inclusion of Massud Shojai, the head of Iran Cartoon, the group that co-sponsored a (Nazi) Holocaust Cartoon contest that demeaned the victims of history’s worst genocide, has left Greek Jews in despair. Greece is a member of the European Union.

“NIGHT OF BUSH (AND BLAIR) CAPTURING”

A new game by al-Qaeda’s media arm GIMF (Global Islamic Media Front) has been announced, according to my sources that monitor terrorist groups. The trailer, which reads “Night of Bush capturing,” (but also shows a picture of Tony Blair) can be downloaded through www.alnusra.net/vb/showthread.php?t=6292.

And the “game” is here: hewar.khayma.com/showthread.php?t=57490

-- Tom Gross


Palestinians attack churches as anti-Pope sentiment grows around world

September 18, 2006

* Iranian newspaper says Zionists behind pope’s comments
* Mujahedeen Army threatens suicide attack against “the dog of Rome”
* Effigies of Benedict XVI burned in demonstrations in Basra today
* Egyptian, Saudi religious leaders say pope’s apology “not enough”

 

CONTENTS

1. Five churches in West Bank & Gaza attacked
2. Mujahedeen army threatens pope
3. Italian nun murdered by Islamists
4. European politicians defend pope; New York Times criticizes him
5. Arab media: “The pope’s comments may lead to war”
6. Iranian newspapers says U.S. and Israel behind pope’s comments
7. Christians blame media distortion for Muslim violence
8. Pope also offends Jews
9. “Why the Pope was right” (Times of London, Sept. 18, 2006)
10. “The historical truth” (Corriere della Sera, Sept. 15, 2006)



[Note by Tom Gross]

FIVE CHURCHES IN WEST BANK & GAZA ATTACKED

Palestinians wielding guns and firebombs attacked five churches in the West Bank and Gaza over the weekend. The fire bombings at Nablus’ Anglican and Greek Orthodox churches left trails of black scorch marks. Church doors were charred and walls were pockmarked with bullet holes. Separately, a group of masked gunmen doused the main doors of Nablus’ Roman and Greek Catholic churches with lighter fluid and set them afire.

A group calling itself the “Lions of Monotheism” claimed responsibility; they said the attacks were to protest Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks last week which some claim were offensive to Islam.

In supposedly impoverished Gaza, a Greek Orthodox Church came under gunfire from a car, this only a day after explosive devices were set off in the same church.

Palestinian Christians are already under great pressure from the Islamic-led Palestinian Authority, but the Western media (despite having many Christians among their readers) rarely report on this, preferring to highlight Israeli actions.

On Tuesday, in one small passage from a lengthy speech in German, Pope Benedict XVI quoted a 14th-century Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed, Islam’s founder, as “evil and inhuman.”

The pope yesterday apologized, following the angry reaction to his remarks. At his summer palace outside Rome, he told pilgrims “these (words) were in fact a quotation from a medieval text which do not in any way express my personal thought.”

He continued “At this time I wish also to add that I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims.”

On Saturday, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone issued a statement explaining the pontiff’s remarks, apologizing and insisting that the church “esteems Muslims.”

MUJAHEDEEN ARMY THREATENS POPE

Efforts by Pope Benedict XVI to assuage anger in the Muslim world caused by his comments appear to have had little effect. Over 1,000 people demonstrated in the Iraqi city of Basra today, and effigies of Benedict were burned.

The Mujahedeen Army, an Iraqi terrorist group which has claimed responsibility for scores of attacks in Iraq, threatened the Vatican with a suicide attack over the pope’s remarks about Islam. Addressing “the dog of Rome,” they threatened to “shake your thrones and break your crosses in your home.” The message, posted on a website also said “we swear to God to send you people who adore death as much as you adore life.”

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has also demanded “a personal apology [from the pope]. We feel that he has committed a grave error against us and that this mistake will only be removed through a personal apology,” Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Leader Mohammed Habib told Reuters.

On Friday night, 2,000 Palestinians angrily protested against the pope in Gaza City, accusing him of leading a new crusade against the Muslim world. Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh sent a message to the protestors saying Pope Benedict XVI had offended Muslims everywhere.

ITALIAN NUN MURDERED BY ISLAMISTS

According to the Turin-based daily La Stampa, a hard-line Somali cleric called on Muslims to “hunt down” and kill the pope. Following this call a 65-year-old Italian nun working in Somalia was shot and killed yesterday in Mogadishu. According to the leading Italian national daily, Il Corriere della Sera, the nun was killed by members of a pro-Taliban group as a response to the pope’s lecture in Germany. The nun had been working at a children’s hospital in north Mogadishu.

Lebanon’s most senior Shi’ite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, told worshippers during his Friday prayers sermon: “We call on the pope to carry out a scientific and fastidious reading of Islam. We do not want him to succumb to the propaganda of the enemy led by Judaism.”

Salih Kapusuz, deputy leader of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted party, said Friday that Benedict “is going down in history in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini.”

The Moroccan Foreign Ministry recalled its ambassador to the Holy See in protest over the pope’s remarks. On Friday, Pakistan’s parliament unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the pope for what it called “derogatory” comments about Islam.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq cited a hadith (a saying of the Prophet Mohammed) promising Muslims they would “conquer Rome ... as they conquered Constantinople.” Also on Saturday, an Iranian-based terrorist group threatened suicide attacks against the Vatican.

On Friday evening, 50,000 Israeli Arabs at the 11th annual congress of the Israeli Islamic Movement, in the northern Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm, heard Sheikh Raëd Salah tell them “Soon Jerusalem will be the capital of the new Muslim caliphate.”

EUROPEAN POLITICIANS DEFEND POPE. NEW YORK TIMES CRITICIZES HIM

While European Muslims were quick to attack the pope’s words, the continent’s political leaders declined to follow. “Whoever criticizes the pope misunderstood the aim of his speech,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview with the German newspaper Bild. “What Benedict XVI emphasized was a decisive and uncompromising renunciation of all forms of violence in the name of religion,” she explained.

Italian European parliament vice president Mario Mauro condemned as “monstrous” the manipulation of the pope’s remarks by Islamic leaders which he claimed were used to “hit out at Christians and the West.”

Some western liberal media though criticized the pope. The New York Times editorialized on Saturday that the pope must give a “deep and persuasive” apology for his remarks. “The world listens carefully to the words of any pope. And it is tragic and dangerous when one sows pain, either deliberately or carelessly,” it said.

ARAB MEDIA: “THE POPE’S COMMENTS MAY LEAD TO WAR”

Opinion articles in Arabic-language newspapers have been filled with strong rhetoric over the pope’s comments. Writing in the London-based Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat, Hani Pahas said “We fear that the pope’s statements may lead to a war that we, Muslims and Christians alike, are trying to prevent through dialogue between East and West.”

The pope has in recent days been compared to both Osama bin Laden and Hitler. Hussein Shabakshy, writing in al-Sharq al-Awsat, another London-based Arabic-language daily, commented that: “It is clear that such remarks only contribute to the fueling of the fire raging between Islam and the West. There is no difference between Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri speaking from their caves in Tora Bora and the stage of an important Christian saint. Both parties contribute to the world verbal weapons of mass destruction.”

Shabakshy continued, “These are ignorant comments previously made by Adolf Hitler, who spoke of a supreme white race against all the other races, especially the African race,” he added, ignoring the fact that most of Hitler’s venom was directed at Jews.

IRANIAN NEWSPAPERS SAYS U.S. AND ISRAEL BEHIND POPE’S COMMENTS

The Iranian daily Jomhuri Islami claimed that Israel and the United States dictated the pope’s comments to distract attention from the recent war between Israel and Hizbullah.

The newspaper commented that “the reality is that if we do not consider Pope Benedict XVI to be ignorant of Islam, then his remarks against Islam are a dictat that the Zionists and the Americans have written (for him) and have submitted to him… The American and the Zionist aim is to undermine the glorious triumph of Islam’s children of Lebanese Hizbullah, which annulled the undefeatable legend of the Israeli army and foiled the Satanic and colonialist American plot.”

Another Iranian daily newspaper, Kayhan, argued that “There are many signs that show that Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks regarding the great prophet of Islam are a link in a connected chain of a Zionist-American project… The project, which was created and executed by the Zionist minority, aims at creating confrontation between the followers of the two great divine religions.”

CHRISTIANS BLAME MEDIA DISTORTION FOR MUSLIM VIOLENCE

Some Christian leaders and theologians have blamed certain sections of the Western media for distorting Pope Benedict’s comments. For example, Father David Neuhaus, professor of Scripture at the Roman Catholic Seminary in Beit Jalla, argued that the western secular liberal media “ripped” the pope’s statement about Islam out of context.

He said “The pope’s speech was about how there was no room for violence in the relationship between reason and faith, and his message was directed primarily at secularism, not Islam.”

POPE ALSO OFFENDS JEWS

Barely minutes after saying he was “deeply sorry” about the reaction to his earlier remarks on Islam yesterday, the pope cited a passage from the New Testament highlighting the gulf between Christian and Jewish attitudes to the crucifixion of Jesus.

The Pope quoted St. Paul, the New Testament author most often accused of anti-Semitism, saying “We preach the crucified Christ – a scandal for the Jews, a folly for the pagans.”

In response, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, a member of the board of the Council of Christians and Jews, a group set up to oppose prejudice between different religions and races, said “The pope has every right to quote his own holy texts, but it may be unwise in the current climate to choose those which relate to other faiths.”

The rabbi added that “it is especially important that anyone who does protest does so verbally, not physically, otherwise they put themselves even more at fault.”

***

I attach two articles below. In the first, William Rees-Mogg says “Islam has only partially experienced the modern process of enlightenment and reform, which was, after all, resisted by a number of pre-Vatican II popes. Pope Benedict will have done Islam a service if he has started a debate within Islam and between Islam and the critics.”

The second article is written by Magdi Allam, the Egyptian-born deputy-editor of Italy’s highest circulation newspaper, Corriere della Sera. “Why do not Muslims, especially the so-called moderates, react with strength and intensity against the real and eternal desecrators of Islam – that is, the Islamic terrorists who kill other Muslims in the name of the same God, radical Muslims who legitimize the destruction of Israel and brainwash ordinary Muslims into martyrdom?” he asks.

-- Tom Gross

 

FULL ARTICLES

“JOURNALISTS SHOULD NOT CRITICISE POPE BENEDICT XVI”

Why the Pope was right
By William Rees-Mogg
The Times of London
September 18, 2006

www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1052-2362630,00.html

Journalists should not criticise Pope Benedict XVI for his lecture at Regensburg. He has done only what every sub-editor on the Daily Mail does every day. Confronted with a long and closely written text, he inserted a lively quote to draw attention to the argument. We all do it. Sometimes the quote causes trouble, but more often it opens up an argument that is needed.

The question is not whether the quotation from the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaeologus is offensive: it is.

The question is whether the emperor is justified in what he said. His main thrust was at least partly justified. There is a real problem about the teaching of the Koran on violence against the infidel. That existed in the 14th century, and was demonstrated on 9/11, 2001. There is every reason to discuss it. I am more afraid of silence than offence.

The Pope’s actual quotation is not just a medieval point of view. It is a common modern view; even if it seldom reaches print; it can certainly be found on the internet. “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and then you shall find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

Is it true that the Koran contains such a command, and has it influenced modern terrorists? The answers, unfortunately, are “yes” and “yes”.

The so-called Sword Verse from Chapter 9 must have been in the emperor’s mind: “So when the sacred months have passed away, Then slay the idolaters wherever you find them.

“And take them captive and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in every ambush.”

This does shock many Muslims: extremists are angered by the implied criticism of those who quote it, while moderates who cannot disavow the terms of the Koran prefer more evasive interpretations. The shock it creates shows the importance of the doctrine.

One man who does not question the meaning of the verse is Osama bin Laden. His attitude is discussed at some length in Chapter 14 of an excellent new book, The Qur’an, a Biography, by Bruce Lawrence, who is the Professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University, North Carolina. Lawrence observes the use of this verse as a central argument for jihad in Bin Laden’s manifesto in 1996; that was a declaration of war against native and foreign infidels.

Lawrence makes several relevant points. Bin Laden selects only those verses that fit his message, and then cites them exclusively for his own purposes. He ignores both their original context and also the variety of historical differences between committed Muslims about how to apply their dicta. He collapses the broad spectrum of Koranic teaching into a double requirement: first to believe; and then to fight.

Lawrence also draws attention to the qualifications that surround the Sword Verse; particularly that those infidels who repent should be allowed to go free: “For God is most forgiving; most merciful.”

It is impossible to reconcile the consistent Koranic teaching that God is most merciful with suicide bombing, which is indiscriminate and murders faithfuls and infidels alike.

It is a mistake to think that all the major religions are identical: they have real differences of doctrine that have real impacts on human society. What is true, however, is that no religion shall survive for more than a generation or two unless it has a substantial element of truth in it. The diabolical cult of Nazism lasted for only one generation. It is natural for Christians of different denominations to love what they have in common without ceasing to be aware of their differences.

A Christian should also rejoice in the positive spiritual values of the other major religions. It is natural for a Christian to feel enriched by Judaism, which was the religion of Jesus; or by Platonism, the philosophy of the opening chapter of St John’s Gospel and of St Augustine. Yet Christians also find spiritual truths in Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam itself. There is a significant link between aspects of Islamic Sufi mysticism and the Christian mystical tradition.

When one lists these religions it becomes obvious that there are two problems: violence and the influence of reason, both of which Pope Benedict identified in his lecture. Violence is a fault from which no major religion has historically been free. St Patrick’s conversion of Ireland is sometimes given as a unique example of the conversion of a nation without the loss of a single life. It is one of the great scandals that so many persecutions have taken place in the name of Jesus.

This has been more or less true of all the great religions: human beings are the most savage of beasts, and they will kill each other in any cause, however noble.

Yet nowadays Islam is the only major religion in which violence is a serious doctrinal issue. It is true that tribalised Roman Catholics and Protestants in Ireland have only recently stopped killing each other and vengeful Sikhs assassinated Indira Gandhi in India, but neither the Catholic nor the Protestant churches believe in terror; nor do the Sikhs.

A significant proportion of the Islamic community does believe that suicide bombers are martyrs carrying out a religious duty. Suicide bombing causes Islamophobia. There are varying degrees of authority and uniformity in different religions; rather low in most cases. This pluralism has its own virtues, but in Islam they are outweighed by the disadvantages. Those imams who preach al-Qaeda’s view of the duty of jihad are not required to answer to any authority, even the authority of reason.

Islam has only partially experienced the modern process of enlightenment and reform, which was, after all, resisted by a number of pre-Vatican II Popes. Pope Benedict will have done Islam a service if he has started a debate within Islam and between Islam and the critics.

 

“SAD AND WORRYING”

The historical truth
By Magdi Allam
Corriere della Sera
September 15, 2006

www.corriere.it/Primo_Piano/Editoriali/2006/09_Settembre/15/magd1.shtml

It is sad and worrying that Muslims have given birth to an international united front to attack the Pope and ask for public apologies. From Bin Laden to the Muslim Brotherhood, from Pakistan to Turkey, from al-Jazeera to al-Arabiya, the transversal and universal alliance, which has already come into being following the Danish cartoons affair, has reappeared. Reaffirming very clearly that the root of evil is like a blind and prevailing ideology which outrages the faith and darkens the minds of many Muslims.

Why do not Muslims, especially the so-called moderates, react with such strength and intensity against the real and eternal desecrators of Islam – that is, the Islamic terrorists who kill other Muslims in the name of the same God, radical Muslims who legitimize the destruction of Israel and brainwash ordinary Muslims into martyrdom? Why do they now believe they must start a kind of Islamic “holy war” against the head of the [Catholic] Church who has the right to respectfully express his views about Islam, all the while with clarity on the evident difference between the two religions?

The pope’s quoting the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus, regarding the expansion of Islam through the sword, either during the time of Mohammed and on the Arab Peninsula and after him, elsewhere, underlines an undeniable historical truth. The Quran itself states it; furthermore, the forced conversion of the entire Byzantine Empire, to Islam in the East and South of Mediterranean, and the further expansion northwards in Europe and Eastwards in Asia, demonstrates the point made by the Byzantine Emperor. It is foolish to deny the truth, as it can only cause deranged reaction. In the mid-Nineties one of the most prominent scholars of Islamic studies, the Egyptian Mohammed said al-Ashmawi, told me that he did not approve the Arab tribes’ military conquest of Christian lands in the Mediterranean and that he would have preferred Islam to expand peacefully, like it did in South-Eastern Asia. The Pope is threatened because he has said things that every single honest and rational Muslim should accept: the historical truth.

Time has come for both the West and Christianity to stop thinking that they are the source of all that happens – good or evil – within Islam as well as around the world. The ideology of hate is an ancestral reality at the core of Islam; it has been so since its inception, due to its’ refusal to recognize and respect the plurality of religious communities – a natural thing since in Islam the relationship between the believer and God is personal and there is no unique spiritual guide who embodies the absolute dogmas of faith. In fact, since the defeat of the Arab armies in the June 5th, 1967 war, the situation has been worsening while Islamic extremism has been on the rise starting from Iran to Indonesia, to the point where the advance of global Islamic terrorism has turned the West into a “Kamikaze factory”.

This is the tragic truth of the ideology of hate which binds all Muslims who are obsessed with anti-Americanism, anti-West and the prejudicial denial of Israel’s right to exist. They are able to find many pretexts to rage – from Israeli occupation, to the U.S.-led coalition into Iraq, to the cartoons about Mohammed and even the Pope’s words. Nevertheless the problem is at the root of Islam itself, an Islam which extremists turned from a faith in God into an ideology aiming for a theocratic and totalitarian order to impose on everyone who is not like them. And I am really scared when I realize that even the so-called moderates have given in to a “holy war” where they will be the primary victims.


Something different from the BBC (& Black freedom movements meet in Israel)

September 14, 2006

CONTENTS

1. Black freedom movements meet in Israel
2. Finally, the BBC covers Israeli dead
3. No more “freedom fighters” on ABC
4. “Cancel Israel” stickers on London buses
5. Comedian apologizes for comments



[Note by Tom Gross]

BLACK FREEDOM MOVEMENTS MEET IN ISRAEL

In today’s Hebrew edition of Yediot Ahronot (on page 14), there is an amazing picture: a grandson of Nelson Mandela and a grandson of Martin Luther King meet for the first time and shake hands. They met in the northern Israeli town of Tiberias at the hotel of the Scottish Church. The former is on an official visit. Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee, was recently hit by Hizbullah rockets.

FINALLY, THE BBC COVERS ISRAELI DEAD

Here is some news with a difference. Amnesty International has accused Hizbullah of war crimes for targeting Israeli civilians.

And the BBC ran this development this morning as their main item on the front of their world service home page, and on air on the world service. It links to this page: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5343188.stm

By the time you read this, the home page may have changed. But it was top of the world service home page (www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice) at 02:15 GMT, 03:15 UK, on Thursday, September 14, 2006, although NOT on the top of the BBC Arabic home page at that time or since (news.bbc.co.uk/hi/arabic/news).

Furthermore, in the Arabic version, the BBC added changes that make the article more sympathetic to Hizbullah, adding some untrue anti-Israel propaganda comments from Hizbullah MP Hassan Fadlallah (news.bbc.co.uk/hi/arabic/news/newsid_5344000/5344374.stm).

In their English language (but not in their Arabic language) article, the statistics for Lebanese civilian and military dead have been reduced by the BBC to 1000. BBC correspondents and news announcers have previously (and wrongly) said 1400 Lebanese died.

Of course, we shouldn’t confuse today’s story with the still very poor coverage the BBC – and Amnesty – gives Israel elsewhere. By lunchtime today, BBC news was back to its old tricks, claiming that 140 Israelis were killed by Hizbullah rather than the 161 documented Israeli dead. The BBC wouldn’t reduce the numbers of British murdered in the July 7, 2005 London bomb attacks. (Or perhaps they would?)

For my previous criticism of BBC coverage, see The media war against Israel.

(The Guardian and other papers continue to make figures up concerning Lebanese dead. Last weekend The Guardian again ran a large photo of Qana – The Guardian has nothing else to write about – and said “more than 50 people died” there at Israeli hands. This is even though it is several weeks since the Lebanese Red Cross, the Lebanese government, Hizbullah and other western newspapers acknowledged that no more than 28 people died there.)

NO MORE “FREEDOM FIGHTERS” ON ABC

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has decided to drop the term “freedom fighters” from its style guide when referring to Hamas and Hizbullah terrorists.

John Cameron, the ABC’s head of news, announced the changes to the style guide last week. Cameron reportedly described the old reference as “a note of caution and education rather than instruction.”

The change follows Cameron’s admission during a Senate Estimates Committee hearing in May that in certain circumstances, Hamas, Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad could justifiably be classed as “terrorists”.

Michael Ronaldson, a liberal Australian Senator commented that he was “pleased that the appalling failure of ABC journalists to label terrorists as terrorists appears to be coming to an end... We must not be afraid to label such acts as terrorism. We must not be afraid to describe such acts in moral terms as evil.”

In the past I have criticized ABC’s anti-Israel coverage so this change is welcome. Some Australian Jews have argued that the marked increase in anti-Semitic attacks in Australia recently has in part been the result of slanted coverage of the Middle East by ABC and other media.

Groups representing the Australian victims of terrorist attacks said the change in the style book was “a step in the right direction but not much more than that. The change to the editorial guidelines does not represent a full admission that people who target civilians for political motives are terrorists.”

“CANCEL ISRAEL” STICKERS ON LONDON BUSES

Stickers have been found on traditional red double-decker buses in London calling on readers to “cancel Israel” to achieve “peace in the Middle East”.

According to the sticker the “current crisis” was “started with the kidnap of some democratically elected Hamas (members) and the killing of 8 Palestinians picnicking on the beach.”

The stickers also accuse the media of “giving a false impression” of the Middle East conflict. The words “cancel Israel” are written on the middle of the sticker in a large font.

The sticker can be seen here.

The accusation that Israel killed 8 Palestinians on a Gaza beach earlier this year has been discredited, after shrapnel taken from an injured child was found by forensic experts not to have come from an Israeli shell. There is also no record of the IDF firing at the beach at the time the explosion took place. The media have failed to report this properly. (See Human Rights Watch admits Israel likely not responsible for Gaza beach deaths.)

The phrase “cancel Israel” differs from the usual terminology of Israel’s detractors, who tend to recommend that Israel be either “destroyed” or “wiped off the map.”

There has been a marked increase in anti-Semitic attacks in the UK recently. (See Pinocchio, Tom Sawyer and Heidi convert to Islam in Turkey.)

COMEDIAN APOLOGIZES FOR COMMENTS

As a follow up to the dispatch Hollywood stars blast Nasrallah, but Spielberg, Streisand and others remain silent (Aug. 20, 2006), Australian comedian Steve Hughes has apologized for controversial remarks he made at the recent Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

During his routine Hughes joked, “I want to kill that f****** Jew Richard Perle.” Hughes has now admitted that his choice of words “could cause offense to Jews.”

Several comics made anti-Semitic remarks at this year’s Edinburgh Festival. Hughes has been the only one to issue an apology, according to the Jewish Telegraph Agency.

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which ended on Aug. 28, sells more than 1.5 million tickets annually.

-- Tom Gross


Ignoring 9/11 and blaming George Bush

CONTENTS

1. Guardian front page ignores 9/11
2. On 9/11 anniversary Independent attacks “Nazi” Israel
3. New film assassinates President George W. Bush
4. Mainstream media attack Bush, not Bin Laden
5. Al-Qaeda American charged
6. Al-Qaeda threatens to “liberate” land “from Spain to Iraq”
7. “I did the unspeakable on 9/11: nothing”
8. “One Arab’s apology” (New York Post, Sept. 12, 2006)
9. “A new low in Bush-hatred” (Boston Globe, Sept. 10, 2006)



This dispatch mainly concerns press coverage on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

[Note by Tom Gross]

GUARDIAN FRONT PAGE IGNORES 9/11

On the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the editors at The Guardian newspaper chose to report on their front page about Nicole Kidman, racing car drivers, and insects, and carried a Ratcatcher book advertisement.

Unlike on the front page of virtually every other newspaper in the western world, there was no mention of the commemorations surrounding the fifth anniversary of 9/11.

The Guardian joins papers in Iran, Syria, Waziristan and Saudi Arabia in ignoring the attack.

The front cover of Monday’s Guardian can be seen here: disturbinglyyellow.org/2006/09/11/911-5-years-guardian/

ON 9/11 ANNIVERSARY INDEPENDENT ATTACKS “NAZI” ISRAEL

The Independent newspaper, another British paper which though it has a relatively low circulation is a favorite read of university lecturers, high school teachers and BBC types, chose September 11 to run five prominent “letters to the editor” blood libeling Israel. In those letters, which dominated the letters page, Israel is variously compared to the Nazis and said to be engaged in genocide, and a comparison is made to the Warsaw Ghetto.

As I have pointed out before on this list/website, The Independent is the only one of Britain's 19 major newspapers to be edited by a Jew – Simon Kelner. Following a whole series of virtually anti-Semitic articles and cartoons in The Independent, some may wonder whether Kelner is in the slightest bit concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism in the UK, or whether instead he wishes to encourage it.

One Member of the European Parliament said to me yesterday: “Does The Independent aim to be a liberal British newspaper, or does it prefer to be a Jihadist website and neo-Fascist publication?”

Another commentator, Tony Somers, says: “Is rational debate really assisted by such emotionally charged false parallels? For the information of Independent letter writers Israel does not have death camps; there are no gas chambers; no Dr Mengele medical experiments; no mountains of bodies and no mass graves. Nor does Israel preach a doctrine of extermination of so called sub-humans; unlike Hamas, Hizbullah and the president of Iran. In the rhetoric to their own people they have all called for the extermination of the Jews and Israel.”

On September 12, Independent readers were again told (wrongly of course) that “thousands of Lebanese have died as a result of [Tony] Blair’s policies.” On the comment pages, they were told there was “starvation in Gaza” and the organizers of suicide bombs convicted in Israeli jails were “political prisoners”.

The Independent’s chief Middle East correspondent, Robert Fisk, has just been given a special honor by London’s prestigious National Portrait Gallery: he is the only news journalist to have his portrait commissioned by the gallery this year.

NEW FILM ASSASSINATES PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH

A new film, titled “Death of a President,” premiered in Toronto on Sunday night. This “retrospective documentary” covers the after effects of the fictional assassination of President George W. Bush on October 19, 2007.

The film begins on the day Bush is assassinated and then follows the investigation into the crime and the discovery of the assassin: an African-American veteran of the first Gulf War who is distraught when his son is killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

The graphic image released to promote the film, a photo doctored to look like the scene of Bush’s death, has stirred up worldwide controversy.

Driving home the film’s connection to Sept. 11 are its opening words, spoken in Arabic by a woman who turns out to be the wife of the Syrian man who is wrongly convicted for Bush’s murder: “When I saw what the terrorists did on 9/11, I cried.” She later explains that she feared the repercussions for Muslims living in the U.S.

The pre-screening hype about the film in the international media meant it has been the hottest ticket ever at the Toronto International Film Festival. Filmgoers waited in line over seven hours to get in.

MAINSTREAM MEDIA ATTACK BUSH, NOT BIN LADEN

On this week’s fifth anniversary of 9/11 much of the mainstream media have attacked not Osama Bin Laden, but George W. Bush.

The New York Times main editorial on September 11, 2006 commented that: “When we measure the possibilities created by 9/11 against what we have actually accomplished, it is clear that we have found one way after another to compound the tragedy. Homeland security is half-finished, the development at ground zero barely begun. The war against terror we meant to fight in Afghanistan is at best stuck in neutral, with the Taliban resurgent and the best economic news involving a bumper crop of opium. Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11 when it was invaded, is now a breeding ground for a new generation of terrorists. Listing the sins of the Bush administration may help to clarify how we got here.”

AL-QAEDA AMERICAN CHARGED

Adam Gadahn, the American of Jewish origin who converted to Islam and recently starred in a video with al-Qaeda’s No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri, has been charged in a sealed indictment in the U.S. with providing material support to terrorism. A formal announcement is expected this week. Officials have also considered charging Gadahn, who is believed to be in Pakistan, with treason.

For more on Gadahn, please see Al-Qaeda call on Seymour Hersh, George Galloway & Robert Fisk to “join Islam” (Sept. 8, 2006).

AL-QAEDA THREATENS TO “LIBERATE” LAND “FROM SPAIN TO IRAQ”

An al-Qaeda video released on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 urged Muslims “to strike the interests of Jews and Crusaders and those who cooperate with them.”

In the video, which was posted on a web site used by Islamic militants, al-Zawahri said: “I call on every sincere Muslim... to set up a jihad base on the borders of Palestine.” Zawahri called for Muslims to fight United Nations forces in Lebanon, condemning them as “enemies of Islam.”

He went on to say that the goal of al-Qaeda was to “liberate all of Palestine and land... from Spain to Iraq.”

In the video, Zawahri, a Sunni Muslim from a school that sees Shi’ite Muslims as heretics, said bin Laden had authorized attacks in Iraq against Americans and Shi’ites.

“I DID THE UNSPEAKABLE ON 9/11: NOTHING”

Attached below are two articles. The first is by Emilio Karim Dabul, a freelance writer and PR consultant living in New Jersey. He says it is “an apology from an Arab-American for 9/11.” He writes: “No, I didn’t help organize the killers or contribute in any way to their terrible cause. However, I was one of millions of Arab-Americans who did the unspeakable on 9/11: nothing.”

In conclusion Dabul calls upon “all Arab-Americans, and Arabs around the world, to protest against Islamic fascism, to raise our voices – and, where necessary, our arms – against these tyrants until their plague of terror has been driven from the face of the earth forever.”

The second article, by Jeff Jacoby, looks at the “new low in Bush-hatred.” Writing about the new film “Death of a President,” Jacoby (who is a subscriber to this email list) comments that “such a movie could not only be made but lionized at an international film festival is a mark not of sophistication, but of a sickness in modern life that should alarm conservatives and liberals alike.”

I urge you to read both articles in full if you have time.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

“I’M SICK OF SAYING THE TRUTH ONLY IN PRIVATE”

One Arab’s apology
By Emilio Karim Dabul
The New York Post
September 12, 2006

www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/one_arabs_apology_opedcolumnists_emilio_karim_dabul.htm

Well, here it is, five years late, but here just the same: an apology from an Arab-American for 9/11. No, I didn’t help organize the killers or contribute in any way to their terrible cause. However, I was one of millions of Arab-Americans who did the unspeakable on 9/11: nothing.

The only time I raised my voice in protest against these men who killed thousands of innocents in the name of Allah was behind closed doors, among the safety of friends and family. I did at one point write a very vitriolic essay condemning their actions, but fear of becoming another Salman Rushdie kept me from ever trying to publish it.

Well, I’m sick of saying the truth only in private – that Arabs around the world, including Arab-Americans like myself, need to start holding our own culture accountable for the insane, violent actions that our extremists have perpetrated on the world at large.

Yes, our extremists and our culture.

Every single 9/11 hijacker was Arab and a Muslim. The apologists (including President Bush) tried to reassure us that 9/11 had nothing to do with Islam, but was a twisting of a great and noble religion. With all due respect, read the Koran, Mr. President. There’s enough there for someone of extreme tendencies to find their way to a global jihad.

There’s also enough there for someone of a different mindset to find a path to enlightenment and peace. Still, Rushdie had it right back in 2001: This does have to do with Islam. A Christian who bombs an abortion clinic in the name of God is still a Christian, at least in his interpretation, and saying otherwise doesn’t negate the fact that he has spent a goodly amount of time figuring out his version of the one true and right thing to do.

The men who killed 3,000 of our citizens on 9/11 in all likelihood died saying prayers to Allah, and that by itself is one of the most horrific things to me about that day.

And, while my grandparents never waged a jihad, their attitudes toward Jews weren’t that much different than Mohammed Atta’s. No, they didn’t support the Holocaust, but they did believe that Jews were trouble in many different ways, and those sorts of beliefs were passed on to me before I’d ever actually met a Jew.

I’m sorry for that, for ever believing that anything that my grandparents or other relatives had to say about Jews or Israel, for that matter, had any real resemblance to truth. It took me years to realize that I’d been conned into believing the generalizations and stereotypes that millions around the Arab world buy into: that Jews, America and Israel are our main problem.

One look at the average Arab regime should alert us to the fact that the problem, dear Achmed, lies not overseas or next door in Tel Aviv, but in the brutal, corrupt despots that we have bred from country to country in the Mideast, across the span of history. That history and its corresponding economic devastation is the main reason I reside on New York City’s West Bank – New Jersey – not the one near Jerusalem. On my worst day, I’m happy about that fact. I’d rather be here than there, and experience the freedom and boundless opportunities that were mostly unknown to so many generations of my family in the Mideast.

For as long as I live, the image of those towers falling, as I watched in horror and disbelief from the corner of 40th and Fifth, will be for me my Pearl Harbor, for in that instant I recognized that not only was our city under attack – so was our freedom.

It still is. And will continue to be for years to come. And the threat is not from within, but from Islamic fascists who desperately want to destroy the freedom and opportunities that millions the world over still seek.

Five years after that awful day, it’s time for all Arab-Americans, and Arabs around the world, to protest against Islamic fascism, to raise our voices – and, where necessary, our arms – against these tyrants until their plague of terror has been driven from the face of the earth forever.

 

A NEW LOW IN BUSH-HATRED

A new low in Bush-hatred
By Jeff Jacoby
Boston Globe
September 10, 2006

www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2006/09/10/a_new_low_in_bush_hatred/

Six years into the Bush administration, are there any new lows to which the Bush-haters can sink?

George W. Bush has been smeared by the left with every insult imaginable. He has been called a segregationist who yearns to revive Jim Crow and compared ad nauseam to Adolf Hitler. His detractors have accused him of being financially entwined with Osama bin Laden. Of presiding over an American gulag. Of being a latter-day Mussolini. Howard Dean has proffered the “interesting theory” that the Saudis tipped off Bush in advance about 9/11. One US senator (Ted Kennedy) has called the war in Iraq a “fraud” that Bush “cooked up in Texas” for political gain; another (Vermont independent James Jeffords) has charged him with planning a war in Iran as a strategy to put his brother in the White House. Cindy Sheehan has called him a “lying bastard,” a “filth spewer,” an “evil maniac,” a “fuehrer,” and a “terrorist” guilty of “blatant genocide” – and been rewarded for her invective with oceans of media attention.

What else can they say about Bush? That they want him killed?

They already say it.

On Air America, talk show host Randi Rhodes recommended doing to Bush what Michael Corleone, in “The Godfather, Part II,” does to his brother. “Like Fredo,” she said, “somebody ought to take him out fishing and phuw!” – then imitated the sound of a gunshot. In the Guardian, a leading British daily, columnist Charlie Brooker issued a plea: “John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr. – where are you now that we need you?”

For the more literary Bush-hater, there is “Checkpoint,” a novel by Nicholson Baker in which two characters discuss the wisdom of shooting the president. “I’m going to kill that bastard,” one character fumes. Some Bush-hatred masquerades as art: At Chicago’s Columbia College, a curated exhibit included a sheet of mock postage stamps bearing the words “Patriot Act” and depicting President Bush with a gun to his head. There are even Bush-assassination fashion statements, such as the “KILL BUSH” T-shirts that were on offer last year at CafePress, an online retailer.

Lurid political libels have a long history in American life. The lies told about John Adams in the campaign of 1800 were vile enough, his wife Abigail lamented, “to ruin and corrupt the minds and morals of the best people in the world.” But has there ever been a president so hated by his enemies that they lusted openly for his death? Or tried to gratify that lust with such political pornography?

As with other kinds of porn, even the most graphic expressions of Bush-hatred tend to jade those who gorge on it, so that they crave ever more explicit material to achieve the same effect.

Which brings us to “Death of a President,” a new movie about the assassination of George W. Bush.

Written and directed by British filmmaker Gabriel Range, the movie premieres today at the Toronto Film Festival and will air next month on Britain’s Channel 4. Shot in the style of a documentary, the movie opens with what looks like actual footage of Bush being gunned down by a sniper as he leaves a Chicago hotel in October 2007. Through the use of digital special effects, the film superimposes the president’s face onto the body of the actor playing him, so that the mortally wounded man collapsing on the screen will seem, all too vividly, to be Bush himself.

This is Bush-hatred as a snuff film. The fantasies it feeds are grotesque and obscene; to pander to such fantasies is to rip at boundary-markers that are indispensable to civilized society. That such a movie could not only be made but lionized at an international film festival is a mark not of sophistication, but of a sickness in modern life that should alarm conservatives and liberals alike.

Naturally that’s not how the film’s promoters see it. Noah Cowan, one of the Toronto festival’s codirectors, high-mindedly describes “Death of a President” as “a classic cautionary tale.” Well, yes, Bush’s assassination is “harrowing,” he says, but what the film is really about is “how the Patriot Act, especially, and how Bush’s divisive partisanship and race-baiting has forever altered America.”

I can’t help wondering, though, whether some of those who see this film will take away rather a different message. John Hinckley, in his derangement, had the idea that shooting the president was the way to impress a movie star. After seeing “Death of a President,” the next Hinckley may get a more grandiose idea: Shooting the president is the way to become a movie star.


Al-Qaeda call on Seymour Hersh, George Galloway & Robert Fisk to “join Islam”

September 08, 2006

CONTENTS

1. Al-Qaeda call on Hersh, Galloway & Fisk
2. Al-Qaeda terrorist has Jewish roots
3. Rumsfeld: Terrorists manipulate the media
4. AP headline protects Fatah terrorists
5. Corruption of the media: The “Qana” incident
6. Hitler, Hizbullah and useful idiots
7. Mohammed’s cartoons “caused” German terror plot



[Note by Tom Gross]

AL-QAEDA CALL ON HERSH, GALLOWAY & FISK

In a much underreported segment of the most recent al-Qaeda video, released on September 2, 2006, Osama bin Laden’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, together with an American member of al-Qaeda, call on The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh, the British MP George Galloway (who also writes for The Guardian) and Robert Fisk of the Independent to “come over to the side of truth.”

Adam Yehiye Gadahn, an American convert to Islam who is now a senior member of al-Qaeda, calls on “investigative journalists like Seymour Hersh to reveal the extent of… the cowardice of the [American] regime.”

In a later section of the 48-minute video Gadahn says: “As for those who have expressed their respect and admiration for Islam, and acknowledged that it is the truth, and demonstrated their support and sympathy for the Muslims and their causes – like George Galloway, Robert Fisk and countless others – I say to them: isn’t it time you stopped sitting on the fence and came over to the side of truth?” (i.e. converted to Islam).

This is not the first time Robert Fisk has been mentioned in an al-Qaeda video. For more, please see “Osama Bin Laden praises Robert Fisk (& other items)” (Nov. 4, 2004).

AL-QAEDA TERRORIST HAS JEWISH ROOTS

Adam Yehiye Gadahn, the American convert to Islam who starred in the video released by al-Qaeda’s deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri, is of Jewish ancestry, and is originally from Orange County, California. Wearing a white robe and turban, and speaking in both English and Arabic, he urged Americans to convert to Islam. Gadahn said that those working for President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair are invited to embrace Islam, but they “should hurry.”

He was born Adam Pearlman on September 1, 1978, the grandson of a prominent Jewish surgeon and the son of the musician Phil Pearlman, who converted to Christianity and changed his name to Gadahn.

In 1995, Gadahn posted an essay on the USC website describing his conversion, it was titled “Becoming a Muslim.” According to his family, Gadahn moved to Pakistan in 1998 where he married an Afghan.

This is Gadahn’s second appearance in an al-Qaeda video. In a video marking the one-year anniversary of the July 7, 2005 London transport bombs, Gadahn urged Muslims not to “shed tears” for Westerners killed in al-Qaeda attacks. He is wanted by the FBI in connection with possible terrorist threats against the United States. The FBI believes he attended al-Qaeda training camps in Pakistan and served as an al-Qaeda translator and English-language spokesman.

The reason I mention that Gadahn is of Jewish origin is that the public and journalists on this list should be aware of the phenomena of a few psychologically disturbed Jews or people of Jewish origin, who are making it their goal to attack Israel, the West and fellow Jews.

These often highly intelligent Jews and former Jews at work in media and academia are often used to justify anti-Semitic opinions by others. It is important to realize that just because they are of Jewish origin, they do not represent other Jews.

For example, discussing the Parliamentary All-Party Enquiry on Anti-Semitism in the UK (see yesterday’s dispatch titled “Pinocchio, Tom Sawyer and Heidi convert to Islam in Turkey”), the flagship BBC program “Today” yesterday invited on as their leading guest commentator a well know leftist Jewish extremist, Professor Steven Rose, to denounce his fellow Jews for causing anti-Semitism. For more on him, see Adloyada and normblog.

The other BBC guest expert on anti-Semitism was Inayat Bunglawala. For more, see: Reuters employee issues “Zionist pig” death threat, (May 30, 2006),.

There are a number of prominent self-hating Israelis too. See, for example:
electronicintifada.net/v2/article5656.shtml.

RUMSFELD: TERRORISTS MANIPULATE THE MEDIA

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said last week that “the thing that keeps me up at night,” is terrorist groups “manipulating the media” to influence Westerners.

He told 200 naval aviators and other navy personnel at a training base: “What bothers me the most is how clever the enemy is. They are actively manipulating the media in this country” by, for example, falsely blaming U.S. troops for civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said. “They can lie with impunity,” he said, while U.S. troops are held to a high standard of conduct.

Later on the same day, at a convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nevada, Rumsfeld said, “The enemy lies constantly – almost totally without penalty… They portray our cause as a war on Islam when in fact the overwhelming majority of victims of their terrorism have been the thousands and thousands of innocent Muslims – men, women and children – that they have killed…”

AP HEADLINE PROTECTS FATAH TERRORISTS

The Associated Press was up to its usual tricks in a headline on September 4, 2006, which proclaimed that “Palestinian teachers’ strike hurts boy.” Newspaper readers who only read headlines (which is most people) would be forgiven for thinking that Palestinian kids were being hurt because the teachers didn’t turn up.

What really happened, as we learn from reading the whole article, is that: “Masked militants trying to keep students away from school during a politically charged Palestinian teachers’ strike on Sunday shot and wounded a 12-year-old boy.”

Meanwhile, it is not until the eighth paragraph that the reader can ascertain that the “masked militants” are from Fatah, the party repeatedly referred to as “moderate” in articles in The New York Times, and on the BBC and so on.

The 12-year-old boy, who was seriously wounded, was shot in the West Bank city of Nablus. Western human rights groups, apparently, have nothing to say since they are too busy attacking the U.S. and Israel.

CORRUPTION OF THE MEDIA: THE “QANA” INCIDENT

All summer long, keen-eyed bloggers have exposed the duplicitous use of photos and text, particularly when it comes to casting Israel in a bad light, by the mainstream media.

For a very good overview of this, I would suggest reading the following:
eureferendum.blogspot.com/2006/08/corruption-of-media.html.

HITLER, HIZBULLAH AND USEFUL IDIOTS

Some have asked me how supposedly intelligent journalists can be so easily taken in by the enemies of western democracy. The answer is easily. We only have to look at how many western journalists were taken in by the Nazis and some were positively gushing about Hitler.

The Israeli-American novelist (and subscriber to this email list) Naomi Ragen points to this article from “Home and Garden Magazine” in November 1938 (at the same time as Kristallnacht) and suggests that journalists have always been duped by fascist dictators. According to the magazine Hitler was a great interior decorator.

“The colour scheme throughout this bright, airy chalet is light jade green. The Führer is his own decorator, designer and furnisher, as well as architect... [Hitler] has a passion about cut flowers in his home.” The magazine also adds that Hitler “delights in the society of brilliant foreigners, especially painters, musicians and singers. As host, he is a droll raconteur...”

The Guardian has helpfully reproduced the article here.

MOHAMMED’S CARTOONS “CAUSED” GERMAN TERROR PLOT

An article published on September 2, 2006 by the leading French daily Le Monde claims that the publication of the Mohammed’s caricatures in the Western press was the “detonating element” behind the decision to carry out a terrorist attack on Germany’s trains.

The director of Germany’s federal police told the German weekly magazine Focus that Mohammed el Hajdib, one of the main suspects, interpreted such caricatures as an affront of the West against Islam. The caricatures were first published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on September 30, 2005 and were then reprinted by several other European newspapers.

According to the German police, the two men settled in Germany from Lebanon. But their radicalization only happened once in Germany through the propaganda of al-Qaeda on the internet, said investigators. The German daily Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung reported security services as saying that the two men initially wanted to carry out the attack during the soccer World Cup (June 9- July 9) but eventually changed their minds.

For more, see: www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3214,36-809038@51-804687,0.html.

For more on the Mohammed cartoons, see “To be or not to be, that is the question,” not just asked by a famous fictional Dane (Feb. 7, 2006).

-- Tom Gross


Pinocchio, Tom Sawyer and Heidi convert to Islam in Turkey

September 07, 2006

* D’Artagnan (of The Three Musketeers) follows suit
* Follows conversion to Islam of kidnapped Fox journalists
* UK anti-Semitism report out today
* 12-year-old girl beaten unconscious on London bus for being Jewish
* Attacks on Jews around world soar
* At last night’s soccer match, Andorra coach “calls Israel a country of murderers”

 

CONTENTS

1. Pinocchio: “Thanks be to Allah”
2. The Boston Red Sox and Mel Gibson
3. New game sold in America urges killing of Jews
4. 12-year-old Jewish girl beaten unconscious on London bus
5. Attacks on British Jews soar; official report to be released today
6. “Make Israel history”
7. Record number of anti-Semitic incidents in Australia in July
8. Montreal Jewish school firebombed by masked man
9. Israeli concert pianist killed in Brussels
10. Two Israelis beaten in a Belgrade park
11. Explosive device found outside Corsica synagogue
12. Norway opens Holocaust museum in Quisling’s villa
13. Sarid rejects Norwegian offer of citizenship to bypass boycott
14. Israeli sports minister accuses UEFA officials of anti-Semitism
15. Pinocchio and friends converted to Islam (Daily Telegraph, Aug. 31, 2006)
16. “To Israel with hate-and guilt” (Economist, Aug. 17, 2006)



[Note by Tom Gross]

This dispatch primarily concerns increased anti-Semitism around the globe, which in part can be attributed to the sensational and extremely negative press coverage of Israel following the recent attack on the Jewish state by Hizbullah. The first point in this dispatch deals with Islamic cultural advancement in Turkey.

PINOCCHIO: “THANKS BE TO ALLAH”

The (London) Daily Telegraph reports (article attached below) that Pinocchio, Tom Sawyer and 100 other classic non-Muslim story characters have been converted to Islam in new versions of classic books produced for the official Turkish school curriculum.

The adventures of Pinocchio, the Italian animated marionette and his father the woodcarver named Geppetto, now include references to Allah. “Thanks be to Allah,” the puppet says.

In the Turkish version of Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers, D’Artagnan is told that he cannot visit Aramis because he has “converted to Islam after his illness.”

Heidi, the Swiss orphan girl, is told that praying to Allah will help her in the Turkish version of the children’s book originally written in 1880 by Swiss author Johanna Spyri.

La Fontaine’s fables and Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables have also been altered.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is Turkey’s first Islamic premier, has denounced his own educational publishers for making the changes. Last week, two Fox news journalists kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza were released after they converted to Islam. Al Qaeda and other groups have warned that converting to Islam is the “only” way non-Muslims will be spared.

I reported in a dispatch in June that Turkey’s public television TRT, which is controlled by Ankara’s Islamist government, has banned the screening of Walt Disney’s classic cartoon Winnie the Pooh because Piglet is one of its central characters. Muslims consider pigs to be unclean and Islam prohibits the consumption of pork. For more, see Iran bans The Economist & Turkey bans Winnie the Pooh (June 21, 2006).

THE BOSTON RED SOX AND MEL GIBSON

Anti-Semitic attacks have soared around the world in recent weeks. In America, however, anti-Semitism is not nearly as prevalent as it is elsewhere. Indeed it is frowned upon and is the basis of much public ridicule by many non-Jews.

Before reading the rest of this dispatch, which makes depressing reading for those who are not anti-Semites, you may wish to watch this video, which is altogether more amusing:

www.veoh.com/videoDetails.html;jsessionid=602BE0E131AED13C0BD97C1E14D65B54?v=e107067WHhNhRh4

Dennis Leary and Lenny Clarke, the stars of the U.S. TV show “Rescue Me,” give their take on Mel Gibson’s recent drunken anti-Semitic comments while commenting on a Boston Red Sox baseball game. (These comments concern Kevin Youkilis, the first baseman for the Boston Red Sox, and Gabe Kapler, an outfielder.)

NEW GAME SOLD IN AMERICA URGES KILLING OF JEWS

Anti-Semitism is not absent from the U.S., however, as witnessed by the recent shooting of women at a Seattle Jewish center, and the attack on Alaska’s only synagogue.

It was reported this week that a new board game being sold in America offers players the chance to act as Nazi soldiers by recreating the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943 and informs players: “Good god: The Jews have weapons.” The players receive a map of the ghetto and are instructed to “purify” it.

The game, on sale for $16, depicts fighters in a Nazi SS unit with tanks, mortars and machine guns. Every round of the game symbolizes two or three days of fighting. Players are encouraged to kill as many Jews as possible.

American Jewish groups and Israeli officials say they will submit a complaint to the American authorities against the game’s distributors.

12-YEAR-OLD JEWISH GIRL BEATEN UNCONSCIOUS ON LONDON BUS

A 12-year-old Jewish girl was kicked unconscious on a public bus in north London. As she screamed for help, none of the other passengers came to her aid.

The girl and a friend were approached by a group of four girls and three boys who asked if she was Jewish. She replied “I’m English.”

She was then pushed to the floor and repeatedly kicked and her face was stomped on until she lost consciousness. The four girls carried out the attack while the boys stood guard. The Jewish girl’s friend, who was wearing rosary beads, was left unharmed.

The girl, who does not want to be identified, sustained a fractured eye socket, bruising and swelling to her face and chest. The bus driver did not help her even after the attack. She was aided by a passing motorist who drove her to hospital. London police are treating the attack on the girl as racially aggravated.

The attack came on August 11, and is the worst in a wave of attacks on Jews in the UK carried out during the period of Israel-Hizbullah fighting and the sometimes virtually anti-Semitic coverage that accompanied it in parts of the British media.

ATTACKS ON BRITISH JEWS SOAR; OFFICIAL REPORT TO BE RELEASED TODAY

The number of anti-Semitic incidents during July in the UK was the third highest on record. Individual Jews and Jewish institutions have received hate mail, harassment, and verbal and physical abuse.

For example, workers at a Jewish cafe in Golders Green, North London, were punched and the owner, Ruth Cohen, 34, was attacked with a knife while called a “dirty Jew.” A Jewish doctor had swastikas and the words “Kill all Jews” and “Allah” daubed on his house and car. Last week, Lord Janner, who is Jewish, was physically attacked in the British House of Lords by fellow peer Lord Bramall during an argument over Israeli actions in Lebanon.

In a report to be released today, a group of prominent MPs, alarmed at the rise of anti-Semitism in Britain, will accuse some left-wing activists and Muslim leaders of using criticism of Israel as “a pretext” for spreading hatred against British Jews. I have been told that the report, some of the authors of which are subscribers to this email list, will call for immediate action from the authorities.

It will state that police, prosecutors and the British government have failed to tackle anti-Semitism with the same determination as other forms of racism. The report will state that anti-Semitic violence is a particular problem on university campuses, and this has in part been stirred up by left-wing academics’ attacks on Israel. Some of the attacks on Israel have used “symbols and images associated with classical anti-Semitism,” it says.

The chairman of the report is the British Labour MP Denis MacShane, who is Tony Blair’s former Minister for Europe, and was previously a senior trade union official (and is also a subscriber to this email list). Other senior authors of the report include the former leader of the Conservative Party, Iain Duncan Smith, and the Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Chris Huhne.

In recent days, MacShane said that British Jews were right to “shudder” at the “aggressive” comparison of Israeli policies with the Holocaust. He also spoke of a “witch’s brew” of anti-Semitism that includes the far left and “ultra-Islamist” extremists.

The report will also recommend greater security support for the Jewish community, which spends millions of pounds on fencing, CCTV cameras and other measures to safeguard synagogues, schools and other communal institutions. “It is not right for any group of British citizens to dig into their own pocket because they feel there is not adequate protection for their right to express themselves religiously or culturally,” MacShane said.

Jonathan Sacks, the British Chief Rabbi, has said that “anti-Semitism used to be a product of national cultures. Today’s is global, communicated by satellite television, email and the internet.”

“MAKE ISRAEL HISTORY”

Indicative of the anti-Semitic mood among some in Britain, the writer Julie Burchill tells me that at a recent charity bash for Make Poverty History, the pop star Bobby Gillespie of the group Primal Scream, crossed out “Poverty” and wrote “Israel”. (Julie Burchill is a subscriber to this email list.)

RECORD NUMBER OF ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENTS IN AUSTRALIA IN JULY

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) has reported more anti-Semitic incidents in July than in any other month on record. The July figure was a five-fold increase on the number of incidents in an average month.

Jeremy Jones, the president of the ECAJ, said that the rise in incidents reflected “media coverage of the Middle East Hezbollah conflict in which some red lines were crossed.”

The previous record number of incidents occurred in April 2002, following media reports that the Israeli army had committed a “massacre” in Jenin.

Jewish homes, community centers, and Orthodox and Progressive synagogues in Australia have been attacked in recent weeks, and at least one visibly Jewish man assaulted. Many Jews received threats by phone.

(Jones warned that the statistics could portray a false picture as “each incident has been given equal weight” regardless of its severity. A spate of synagogue fire-bombings in early 1991, although statistically fewer in number, was worse in its impact on the community, he said.)

MONTREAL JEWISH SCHOOL FIREBOMBED BY MASKED MAN

Police in Montreal, Canada, have recovered surveillance video that shows a masked man throwing a lighted Molotov cocktail at the door of a Jewish School in Outremont last Saturday, reports CBC television.

The bomb started a fire but caused minimal damage. Jewish groups have criticized the police’s unwillingness to declare the attack a hate crime. In the absence of graffiti or other evidence, it is being treated as an unexplained case of arson.

The perpetrator of a firebomb attack on a Jewish library in Montreal in 2004 later said he was motivated by television reports showing Israel in a bad light. He was sentenced to two years in prison for the attack.

ISRAELI CONCERT PIANIST KILLED IN BRUSSELS

Benjamin Rawitz, 60, an Israeli concert pianist, was found battered to death last week in his apartment building in Brussels.

Rawitz appeared to have been attacked during an attempted robbery but Belgian police investigating the death said all options were open, and it may have been a racially motivated attack.

Rawitz regularly performed in Europe, Asia and the United States. He started his career at age 15 with the Haifa Symphony Orchestra.

TWO ISRAELIS BEATEN IN A BELGRADE PARK

Two Israeli citizens, Jariv Avram, 27, and Bojana Petkovic, 23, were attacked last weekend by several men wearing Nazi symbols during a rock music festival in a Belgrade park.

Avram, who suffered serious head injuries, told news agencies that the attackers chanted “Auschwitz, Auschwitz” and “Go to Germany.”

“This is not the first such anti-Jewish and racist attack by skinheads and other such groups” in Serbia, the Serbian Jewish Community said in a statement. It called for police to arrest the perpetrators.

EXPLOSIVE DEVICE FOUND OUTSIDE CORSICA SYNAGOGUE

A small explosive device was found outside a synagogue on the island of Corsica last Friday. Police on the Mediterranean island said the wick had burned out and the device failed to explode.

Corsican officials said the device contained weak explosives and would have only caused minor damage to the door of the Beth Meir synagogue in Bastia, if it had not been found by passers-by.

NORWAY OPENS HOLOCAUST MUSEUM IN QUISLING’S VILLA

The Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities was opened in Oslo on August 24 in a gala ceremony attended by Norway’s Queen Sonja. The museum is located in the Villa Frande, which was the wartime residence of Vidkun Quisling, Norway’s prime minister from February 1942 until the end of the war.

Quisling was responsible for Norway’s surrender to the Nazis in the spring of 1940. He was executed in 1945 after being convicted as a traitor. The museum is devoted to the study of the Holocaust and of religious minorities. Some analysts believe that the decision to house the museum in Quisling’s former home is an open admission by the Norwegian government of its responsibility for past events. It is the 58th museum in the world dedicated at least in part to the Holocaust. Ha’aretz reports that there was a great deal of tension between Norway’s Jewish community and those who sought a more multicultural approach to the museum, including those who wish to focus on Palestinian suffering.

SARID REJECTS NORWEGIAN OFFER OF CITIZENSHIP TO BYPASS BOYCOTT

Yossi Sarid, the former prominent leftist member of the Israeli parliament, who is now a journalist at Ha’aretz, has rejected an official offer from the Norwegian government to grant him citizenship so that he could attend an international conference. Sarid was due to attend an international conference on freedom of expression and tolerance in Bali, Indonesia but his invitation was rescinded because he is Israeli.

Sarid was asked by the Norwegian foreign ministry to attend the Global Inter-Media Dialog in Bali, as one of 60 journalists invited to take part in the conference. The stated goal of the conference is “bridging gaps between different religions, cultures and peoples.” But no Israelis will be admitted.

ISRAELI SPORTS MINISTER ACCUSES UEFA OFFICIALS OF ANTI-SEMITISM

Following the decision by UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, to again insist that Israeli soccer teams play their home European matches outside Israel, Ophir Pines-Paz, the Israeli sports minister, has accused UEFA officials of anti-Semitism.

Pines-Paz claimed that the decision to uphold the ban on Israeli teams “home” matches was made by “two anti-Semitic Swedish functionaries who hate Israel. These two Swedes who are working against us are the ones that take the decisions and they hate us.” The minister was thought to be referring to UEFA president Lennart Johansson and its chief executive Lars-Christer Olsson.

Israel hosted Andorra last night in Nijmegen, Holland, instead of in Tel Aviv. (Israel won 4-1.) England, Croatia and Russia are in the same qualifying group as Israel for the 2008 European Championships.

Yossi Benayoun, the Israeli captain who plays his club football for the English club West Ham, said after the game that the Andorra coach, David Rodrigo threatened him during the game, saying “You are a country of murderers. We’ll break your legs.”

Maccabi Haifa were forced to host Liverpool in Kiev two weeks ago in the final qualifying round of the Champions League, Europe’s premier club competition. Many football commentators thought after the two games (which Haifa lost on aggregate 3-2) that Haifa may have won had they been allowed to play in Israel.

Can anyone imagine Arsenal and Real Madrid being forced to play matches outside of the UK and Spain following bomb attacks there, asked one subscriber to this email list? UEFA is due to reconsider the ban on matches played in Israel on September 14.

FIBA, the governing body for basketball in Europe, has also demanded Israeli teams host their European qualifying matches outside Israel. The chairman of the Israeli basketball association, Yermi Olmert, cited the recent terrorist attacks in Turkey, and asked: “Did anyone at FIBA suggest Turkey move its games to an alternative venue or question whether Turkey can hold the World Championship in 2010?”

For more on international bias against Israel by Soccer governing bodies, please see Football killing fields.

***

The second piece below is from The Economist magazine, which asks “Why has Europe become so reflexively anti-Israel, just when America has become so reflexively pro-Israel?”

The Economist notes that “liberal papers such as The Guardian… and the BBC, a bastion of the soft left establishment, have been criticized for bias against Israel, not least during the latest war.”

The Economist, under its new editorship, has become less hostile to Israel than previously. Senior editors at The Economist are subscribers to this list.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

HEIDI CONVERTS TO ISLAM

Pinocchio and friends converted to Islam
By Malcolm Moore
The Daily Telegraph
August 31, 2006

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/08/31/wpino31.xml

Pinocchio, Tom Sawyer and other characters have been converted to Islam in new versions of 100 classic stories on the Turkish school curriculum.

“Give me some bread, for Allah’s sake,” Pinocchio says to Geppetto, his maker, in a book stamped with the crest of the ministry of education.

“Thanks be to Allah,” the puppet says later.

In The Three Musketeers, D’Artagnan is told that he cannot visit Aramis. The reason would surprise the author, Alexandre Dumas.

An old woman explains: “He is surrounded by men of religion. He converted to Islam after his illness.”

Tom Sawyer may always have shirked his homework, but he is more conscientious in learning his Islamic prayers. He is given a “special treat” for learning the Arabic words.

Pollyanna, seen by some as the embodiment of Christian forgiveness, says that she believes in the end of the world as predicted in the Koran.

Heidi, the Swiss orphan girl in the tale by Johanna Spyri, is told that praying to Allah will help her to relax.

Several more books have been altered, including La Fontaine’s fables and Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.

The clumsy insertions by Islamic publishing houses have caused controversy in Turkey, which has been a strongly secular state since the 1920s.

Other books contain insults, slang and rude rhymes which mock the president and the prime minister.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is Turkey’s first Islamic premier, has called for swift action to be taken against the publishers.

The education ministry has threatened to take legal action against any publisher which continues to issue such books.

Huseyin Celik, the education minister, said: “If there are slang and swear words, we will sue them for using the ministry logo.”

 

“EUROPEANS SEE ISRAEL AS THE EMBODIMENT OF THE DEMONS OF THEIR OWN PAST”

To Israel with hate-and guilt
The Economist
August 17, 2006

www.economist.com/world/europe/displaystory.cfm?story_id=7796479

Why Europe, unlike America, finds it so hard to love Israel

The ugly little mid-summer war that has just ended in Lebanon spilled over into the parliaments, streets, television studios and dinner parties of Europe. By and large, Israel got the worst of it.

The Council of Europe said that Israel’s response to Hizbullah’s cross-border attacks was “disproportionate” and accused Israel of “indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets”. Romano Prodi, Italy’s prime minister, called Israel’s reaction “excessive”.

In Norway, Jostein Gaarder, the author of “Sophie’s World”, accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and murdering children, and said that the Jewish state had forfeited its right to exist. In many capitals, anti-war protesters marched under Hizbullah flags. When Britain’s Tony Blair tried to explain things from Israel’s point of view – and failed to call for an immediate ceasefire – his political stock took another tumble.

Mr Gaarder was prodded into a half-hearted apology. But the truth is that, far from being extreme, these criticisms of Israel convey the mood of millions of Europeans, rooted in what polls suggest is a hardening attitude.

A YouGov poll in Britain, taken in the first two weeks of the conflict, found 63% of respondents saying that the Israeli response to Hizbullah’s attack was “disproportionate”; a similar German poll had 75% saying so.

Such reactions reflect a wider European view of Israel that contrasts sharply with America’s. In a Pew Global Attitudes survey earlier this year, far more Europeans sympathised with the Palestinians than with Israel (see chart). These findings come on top of a European Union poll in 2003 that had 59% of Europeans considering Israel as a greater menace to world peace than Iran, North Korea and Pakistan.

Why has Europe become so reflexively anti-Israel, just when America has become so reflexively pro-Israel? Europe has no equivalent of America’s powerful AIPAC Israeli lobby, and it also has a disgruntled (and growing) Muslim population. But neither is enough to explain all the difference in attitude. Indeed, many Muslims in Europe now feel beleaguered and can only dream of wielding AIPAC’s clout.

Some Americans blame rising anti-Semitism in Europe, which they also attribute in part to its growing Muslim population. But there is a difference between being anti-Semitic and being anti-Israel. And in any case, it is not obvious that anti-Semitism is a big factor.

In central Europe, for example, there seems to be both greater anti-Semitism and more support for Israel. And some polls suggest that more Americans think Jews have “too much influence” in their country than do Europeans.

It is also often the right in Europe, linked with anti-Semitism in the past, that is most supportive of Israel today. Britain’s Conservative Party, for instance, not always known for its admiration of Jews or Israel, is now the most pro-Israel party. In Italy, which invented fascism, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and Gianfranco Fini’s formerly neo-fascist National Alliance, are more pro-Israel than the government. In Spain, the centre-right opposition was highly critical of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Socialist prime minister, when he donned an Arab headscarf to show solidarity during the Lebanon war.

Countries that were most culpable in the Holocaust tend to be stauncher supporters of Israel – especially Germany. What was then West Germany became the main financial backer of the new Jewish state six decades ago, with a first payment of $865m in 1952. Aid continued throughout the 1960s, long before America became Israel’s main source of outside support. This week’s decision to commit German troops to the peacekeeping force in Lebanon also reflects past guilt.

If the right (and the Germans) are doing penance, the left, which now controls many of Europe’s chanceries, and certainly much of its media, feels a sense of betrayal – which is why many now attack Israel with all the zeal of the convert. Until the 1960s European socialists championed the cause of the Jews and Israel. Mid-century socialists saw anti-Semitism and fascism as products of the right, so they became instinctively pro-Israel. In the 1950s it was left-wing French governments that provided Israel with nuclear power and a modern air force.

This changed with the six-day war in 1967, when Israel launched a pre-emptive strike to defeat the Jordanian, Egyptian and Syrian forces that seemed about to invade. It was a stunning victory, but it led to the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and Sinai. To European socialists, who had rallied to the underdog Israel in 1967, the Palestinians were now the oppressed and displaced. Israel came to be seen as a neo-colonial regional superpower, not the plucky survivor of the Holocaust keeping powerful neighbours at bay.

In the decades after 1967 Israeli politics also changed. The Labour Party, which had largely ruled Israel since 1948, began to lose ground to right-wing parties, notably Likud. European left-wingers, who had idealised Golda Meir’s Israel as a pioneering socialist collective of happy kibbutzniks, were shocked by what they saw as the militarisation and racism of Menachem Begin’s Israel – and they began a romance with the Palestinians instead.

This change can be chronicled over nearly a century in such liberal papers as Britain’s Guardian. Chaim Weizmann, the first president of Israel, played a vital role in fostering the Guardian’s early advocacy of Zionism and Israel, but the paper is now one of Israel’s harshest critics. The BBC, a bastion of the soft left establishment, has also been criticised for its bias against Israel, not least during the latest war.

Attitudes to America have also clouded European views, especially on the left. As Israel has drawn closer to America in the past few decades, the left’s antipathy towards the behemoth of capitalism has spilled into dislike of Israel. Public opinion in Turkey, the one Muslim country that was once pro-Israel, has turned against it in parallel with its turn against America, especially over the war in Iraq.

Emanuele Ottolenghi, an expert on Israel and Europe at Oxford University, argues that “Europeans see Israel as the embodiment of the demons of their own past.” The European Union is supposed to have traded in war, nationalism and conflict for love, peace and federalism. But Israel now reminds Europeans of darker forces and darker days.

Could attitudes change? It seems unlikely, not least because Israel is now so stridently critical of the Europeans, especially of their media. In this area, at least, the transatlantic gap is widening.


“The Arabs have become wise enough to know TV victory from real victory”

September 05, 2006

* Egyptian columnist Ali al-Ibrahim: “Hizbullah won the propaganda war because many in the West wanted it to win as a means of settling score with the United States. But the Arabs have become wise enough to know TV victory from real victory.”

* Iranian writer Amir Taheri: “To be sure, Hizbullah is still powerful because it has guns, money and support from Iran, Syria and Hate America International Inc. But the list of prominent Arab writers, both Shiite and Sunni, who have exposed Hizbullah for what it is – a Khomeinist Trojan horse – would be too long for a single article.”

* Sayyed Ali al-Amin, the grand old man of Lebanese Shi’ism, breaks years of silence to criticize Hizbullah for provoking the war: “The fact that the masses [of Shiites] fled from the south is proof that they rejected Hizbullah and its war. The Shiite community never gave anyone the right to wage war in its name.”

* Charles Krauthammer: “The Lebanese know that Israel bombed easy-to-repair airport runways when it could have destroyed the new airport terminal and set Lebanon back 10 years. The Lebanese know that Israel attacked the Hizbullah TV towers when it could have pulverized Beirut’s power grid, a billion-dollar reconstruction. The Lebanese know that the next time, Israel’s leadership will hardly be as hesitant and restrained. Hizbullah dares not risk that next time.”

 

CONTENTS

1. What you won’t read in The New York Times
2. “Hizbullah didn’t win” (By Amir Taheri, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 25, 2006)
3. “Hizbullah’s ‘victory’” (By Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Sept. 1, 2006)
4. “What did you do in the war, UNIFIL?” (The Weekly Standard, Sept. 4, 2006)



WHAT YOU WON’T READ IN THE NEW YORK TIMES

[Note by Tom Gross]

This is the second part of a two-part dispatch today following up on the recent Hizbullah-Israel war. From the mass of articles on this, I have picked out three which I would strongly urge you to read, and attach them below. The first two, by the ever-knowledgeable Asharq Al-Awsat columnist Amir Taheri and by the brilliant Charles Krauthammer, paint an accurate picture of Hizbullah’s loss and contradict a mass of misleading articles elsewhere in the western media, particularly in the European press and in anti-Israeli papers like The New York Times.

The third article, by Lori Lowenthal Marcus (“What did you do in the war, UNIFIL? You broadcast Israeli troop movements”), shows the incredible complicity of the UN with Hizbullah against the interests of both the Israeli and Lebanese people.

There are summaries first for those who don’t have time to read these articles in full, but I suggest you read the complete article if you can. (Amir Taheri and Charles Krauthammer are subscribers to this email list.)

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

HIZBULLAH WON THE INFORMATION WAR IN THE WEST ONLY

“Hizbullah didn’t win” (By Amir Taheri, Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2006)

The way much of the Western media tells the story, Hizbullah won a great victory… Portraits of Hassan Nasrallah, the junior mullah who leads the Lebanese branch of this pan-Shiite movement, have adorned magazine covers in the West… Probably because he watches a lot of CNN, Iran’s “Supreme Guide,” Ali Khamenei, also believes in a victory…

Hizbullah may have won the information war in the West. In Lebanon, the Middle East and the broader Muslim space, however, the picture is rather different… Immediately after the U.N.-ordained ceasefire started, Hizbullah organized a series of firework shows, accompanied by the distribution of fruits and sweets, to celebrate its victory. Most Lebanese, however, finding the exercise indecent, stayed away. The largest “victory march” in south Beirut, Hizbullah’s stronghold, attracted just a few hundred people…

Politically, however, Hizbullah had to declare victory for a simple reason: It had to pretend that the death and desolation it had provoked had been worth it. A claim of victory was Hizbullah’s shield against criticism of a strategy that had led Lebanon into war without the knowledge of its government and people…

The tactic worked for a day or two. However, it did not silence the critics, who have become louder in recent days… Prime Minister Fuad Siniora has made it clear that he would not allow Hizbullah to continue as a state within the state. Even Michel Aoun, a maverick Christian leader and tactical ally of Hizbullah, has called for the Shiite militia to disband.

Nasrallah followed his claim of victory with what is known as the “Green Flood” (Al-sayl al-akhdhar). This refers to the massive amounts of crisp U.S. dollar notes that Hizbullah is distributing among Shiites… But the trick does not seem to be working. “If Hizbullah won a victory, it was a Pyrrhic one,” says Walid Abi-Mershed, a leading Lebanese columnist. “They made Lebanon pay too high a price – for which they must be held accountable.”

Hizbullah is also criticized from within the Lebanese Shiite community, which accounts for some 40% of the population. Sayyed Ali al-Amin, the grand old man of Lebanese Shiism, has broken years of silence to criticize Hizbullah for provoking the war, and called for its disarmament. In an interview granted to the Beirut An-Nahar, he rejected the claim that Hizbullah represented the whole of the Shiite community… “The fact that the masses [of Shiites] fled from the south is proof that they rejected the war. The Shiite community never gave anyone the right to wage war in its name.”…

Another academic, Zubair Abboud, writing in Elaph, a popular Arabic-language online newspaper, attacks Hizbullah as “one of the worst things to happen to Arabs in a long time.” He accuses Mr. Nasrallah of risking Lebanon’s existence in the service of Iran’s regional ambitions…

There was a time when Shiites represented an underclass of dirt-poor peasants in the south and lumpen elements in Beirut. Over the past 30 years, however, that picture has changed. Money sent from Shiite immigrants in West Africa (where they dominate the diamond trade), and in the U.S. (especially Michigan), has helped create a prosperous middle class of Shiites more interested in the good life than martyrdom a la Imam Hussain. This new Shiite bourgeoisie dreams of a place in the mainstream of Lebanese politics and hopes to use the community’s demographic advantage as a springboard for national leadership. Hizbullah, unless it ceases to be an instrument of Iranian policies, cannot realize that dream…

Hizbullah’s position is no more secure in the broader Arab world, where it is seen as an Iranian tool rather than as the vanguard of a new Nahdha (Awakening), as the Western media claim… “Hizbullah won the propaganda war because many in the West wanted it to win as a means of settling score with the United States,” says Egyptian columnist Ali al-Ibrahim. “But the Arabs have become wise enough to know TV victory from real victory.”

 

“THE WESTERN MEDIA WERE ONCE AGAIN TAKEN IN BY THE MYSTIQUE OF THE ‘ARAB STREET’”

“Hizbullah’s ‘victory’” (By Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, September 1, 2006)

… Nasrallah’s admission, vastly underplayed in the West, makes clear what the Lebanese already knew. Hizbullah may have won the propaganda war, but on the ground it lost. Badly.

True, under the inept and indecisive leadership of Ehud Olmert, Israel did miss the opportunity to militarily destroy Hizbullah and make it a non-factor in Israel’s security, Lebanon’s politics and Iran’s foreign policy. Nonetheless, Hizbullah was seriously hurt…

The Western media were once again taken in by the mystique of the “Arab street.” The mob came out to cheer Hizbullah for raining rockets on Israel – surprise! – and the Arab governments that had initially criticized Hizbullah went conveniently silent. Now that the mob has gone home, Hizbullah is under renewed attack – in newspapers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt, as well as by many Lebanese, including influential Shiite academics and clan leaders. The Arabs know where their interests lie. And they do not lie with a Shiite militia that fights for Iran…

Which is why the expected Round Two will, in fact, not happen. Hizbullah is in no position, either militarily or politically, for another round. Nasrallah’s admission that the war was a mistake is an implicit pledge not to repeat it, lest he be completely finished as a Lebanese political figure…

Even more important is the shift once again in the internal Lebanese balance of power. With Nasrallah weakened, the other major factions are closing in around him. Even his major Christian ally, Michel Aoun, has called for Hizbullah’s disarmament. The March 14 democratic movement has regained the upper hand and, with outside help, could marginalize Hizbullah…

 

“UNIFIL AIDED HIZBULLAH FORCES”

“What did you do in the war, UNIFIL?” (By Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Weekly Standard, September 4, 2006)

During the recent month-long war between Hizbullah and Israel, U.N. “peacekeeping” forces made a startling contribution: They openly published daily real-time intelligence, of obvious usefulness to Hizbullah, on the location, equipment, and force structure of Israeli troops in Lebanon…

Throughout the recent war, UNIFIL posted on its website for all to see precise information about the movements of Israeli Defense Forces soldiers and the nature of their weaponry and materiel, even specifying the placement of IDF safety structures within hours of their construction. New information was sometimes only 30 minutes old when it was posted, and never more than 24 hours old.

Meanwhile, UNIFIL posted not a single item of specific intelligence regarding Hizbullah forces. Statements on the order of Hizbullah “fired rockets in large numbers from various locations” and Hizbullah’s rockets “were fired in significantly larger numbers from various locations” are as precise as its coverage of the other side ever got.

This war was fought on cable television and the Internet, and a lot of official information was available in real time. But the specific military intelligence UNIFIL posted could not be had from any non-U.N. source… at least some of UNIFIL’s postings, in the words of one retired senior military analyst, “could have exposed Israeli soldiers to grave danger.”...

This partiality is inconsistent not only with UNIFIL’s mission but also with its own stated policies. In a telling incident just a few years back, UNIFIL vigorously insisted on its “neutrality” – at Israel’s expense. On October 7, 2000, three IDF soldiers were kidnapped by Hizbullah just yards from a UNIFIL shelter and dragged across the border into Lebanon, where they disappeared. The U.N. was thought to have videotaped the incident or its immediate aftermath. Rather than help Israel rescue its kidnapped soldiers by providing this evidence, however, the U.N. obstructed the Israeli investigation.

For months the Israeli government pleaded with the U.N. to turn over any videotape that might shed light on the location and condition of its missing men. And for nine months the U.N. stonewalled, insisting first that no such tape existed, then that just one tape existed, and eventually conceding that there were two more tapes. During those nine months, clips from the videotapes were shown on Syrian and Lebanese television…

Stymied in its efforts to recover the men while they were still alive, Israel ultimately agreed to an exchange in January 2004: It released 429 Arab prisoners and detainees, among them convicted terrorists, and the bodies of 60 Lebanese decedents and members of Hizbullah, in exchange for the bodies of the three soldiers…

“UN FILMED THE ATTACK ON ISRAEL, THEN SOLD FILM FOR PROFIT”

Tom Gross adds:

Israeli media report today that Israeli Channel 10 have paid $257,000 to Lebanese TV for the rights to air footage of Israeli soldiers missing from previous conflicts. One of the clips depicts the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers in the Har Dov region in 2000, which is mentioned in the Weekly Standard article above. Lebanese TV claims it does not know the source of the footage, but Israeli army radio reports that the video may have been sold to Hizbullah by the UN, whose peacekeepers filmed this attack.



FULL ARTICLES

“HIZBULLAH WON THE PROPAGANDA WAR BECAUSE MANY IN THE WEST WANTED IT TO WIN”

Hizbullah didn’t win
Arab writers are beginning to lift the veil on what really happened in Lebanon.
By Amir Taheri
The Wall Street Journal
August 25, 2006

www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008847

The way much of the Western media tells the story, Hizbullah won a great victory against Israel and the U.S., healed the Sunni-Shiite rift, and boosted the Iranian mullahs’ claim to leadership of the Muslim world. Portraits of Hassan Nasrallah, the junior mullah who leads the Lebanese branch of this pan-Shiite movement, have adorned magazine covers in the West, hammering in the message that this child of the Khomeinist revolution is the new hero of the mythical “Arab Street.”

Probably because he watches a lot of CNN, Iran’s “Supreme Guide,” Ali Khamenei, also believes in “a divine victory.” Last week he asked 205 members of his Islamic Majlis to send Mr. Nasrallah a message, congratulating him for his “wise and far-sighted leadership of the Ummah that produced the great victory in Lebanon.”

By controlling the flow of information from Lebanon throughout the conflict, and help from all those who disagree with U.S. policies for different reasons, Hizbullah may have won the information war in the West. In Lebanon, the Middle East and the broader Muslim space, however, the picture is rather different.

Let us start with Lebanon.

Immediately after the U.N.-ordained ceasefire started, Hizbullah organized a series of firework shows, accompanied by the distribution of fruits and sweets, to celebrate its victory. Most Lebanese, however, finding the exercise indecent, stayed away. The largest “victory march” in south Beirut, Hizbullah’s stronghold, attracted just a few hundred people.

Initially Hizbullah had hesitated between declaring victory and going into mourning for its “martyrs.” The latter course would have been more in harmony with Shiite traditions centered on the cult of Imam Hussain’s martyrdom in 680 A.D. Some members of Hizbullah wished to play the martyrdom card so that they could accuse Israel, and through it the U.S., of war crimes. They knew that it was easier for Shiites, brought up in a culture of eternal victimhood, to cry over an imagined calamity than laugh in the joy of a claimed victory.

Politically, however, Hizbullah had to declare victory for a simple reason: It had to pretend that the death and desolation it had provoked had been worth it. A claim of victory was Hizbullah’s shield against criticism of a strategy that had led Lebanon into war without the knowledge of its government and people. Mr. Nasrallah alluded to this in television appearances, calling on those who criticized him for having triggered the war to shut up because “a great strategic victory” had been won.

The tactic worked for a day or two. However, it did not silence the critics, who have become louder in recent days. The leaders of the March 14 movement, which has a majority in the Lebanese Parliament and government, have demanded an investigation into the circumstances that led to the war, a roundabout way of accusing Hizbullah of having provoked the tragedy. Prime Minister Fuad Siniora has made it clear that he would not allow Hizbullah to continue as a state within the state. Even Michel Aoun, a maverick Christian leader and tactical ally of Hizbullah, has called for the Shiite militia to disband.

Mr. Nasrallah followed his claim of victory with what is known as the “Green Flood” (Al-sayl al-akhdhar). This refers to the massive amounts of crisp U.S. dollar notes that Hizbullah is distributing among Shiites in Beirut and the south. The dollars from Iran are ferried to Beirut via Syria and distributed through networks of militants. Anyone who can prove that his home was damaged in the war receives $12,000, a tidy sum in wartorn Lebanon.

The Green Flood has been unleashed to silence criticism of Mr. Nasrallah and his masters in Tehran. But the trick does not seem to be working. “If Hizbullah won a victory, it was a Pyrrhic one,” says Walid Abi-Mershed, a leading Lebanese columnist. “They made Lebanon pay too high a price – for which they must be held accountable.”

Hizbullah is also criticized from within the Lebanese Shiite community, which accounts for some 40% of the population. Sayyed Ali al-Amin, the grand old man of Lebanese Shiism, has broken years of silence to criticize Hizbullah for provoking the war, and called for its disarmament. In an interview granted to the Beirut An-Nahar, he rejected the claim that Hizbullah represented the whole of the Shiite community. “I don’t believe Hizbullah asked the Shiite community what they thought about [starting the] war,” Mr. al-Amin said. “The fact that the masses [of Shiites] fled from the south is proof that they rejected the war. The Shiite community never gave anyone the right to wage war in its name.”

There were even sharper attacks. Mona Fayed, a prominent Shiite academic in Beirut, wrote an article also published by An-Nahar last week. She asks: Who is a Shiite in Lebanon today? She provides a sarcastic answer: A Shiite is he who takes his instructions from Iran, terrorizes fellow believers into silence, and leads the nation into catastrophe without consulting anyone. Another academic, Zubair Abboud, writing in Elaph, a popular Arabic-language online newspaper, attacks Hizbullah as “one of the worst things to happen to Arabs in a long time.” He accuses Mr. Nasrallah of risking Lebanon’s existence in the service of Iran’s regional ambitions.

Before he provoked the war, Mr. Nasrallah faced growing criticism not only from the Shiite community, but also from within Hizbullah. Some in the political wing expressed dissatisfaction with his overreliance on the movement’s military and security apparatus. Speaking on condition of anonymity, they described Mr. Nasrallah’s style as “Stalinist” and pointed to the fact that the party’s leadership council (shura) has not held a full session in five years. Mr. Nasrallah took all the major decisions after clearing them with his Iranian and Syrian contacts, and made sure that, on official visits to Tehran, he alone would meet Iran’s “Supreme Guide,” Ali Khamenei.

Mr. Nasrallah justified his style by claiming that involving too many people in decision-making could allow “the Zionist enemy” to infiltrate the movement. Once he had received the Iranian green light to provoke the war, Mr. Nasrallah acted without informing even the two Hizbullah ministers in the Siniora cabinet or the 12 Hizbullah members of the Lebanese Parliament.

Mr. Nasrallah was also criticized for his acknowledgement of Ali Khamenei as Marjaa al-Taqlid (Source of Emulation), the highest theological authority in Shiism. Highlighting his bay’aah (allegiance), Mr. Nasrallah kisses the man’s hand each time they meet. Many Lebanese Shiites resent this because Mr. Khamenei, a powerful politician but a lightweight in theological terms, is not recognized as Marjaa al-Taqlid in Iran itself. The overwhelming majority of Lebanese Shiites regard Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, in Iraq, or Ayatollah Muhammad-Hussein Fadhlallah, in Beirut, as their “Source of Emulation.”

Some Lebanese Shiites also question Mr. Nasrallah’s strategy of opposing Prime Minister Siniora’s “Project for Peace,” and instead advancing an Iranian-backed “Project of Defiance.” The coalition led by Mr. Siniora wants to build Lebanon into a haven of peace in the heart of a turbulent region. His critics dismiss this as a plan “to create a larger Monaco.” Mr. Nasrallah’s “Project of Defiance,” however, is aimed at turning Lebanon into the frontline of Iranian defenses in a war of civilizations between Islam (led by Tehran) and the “infidel,” under American leadership. “The choice is between the beach and the bunker,” says Lebanese scholar Nadim Shehadeh. There is evidence that a majority of Lebanese Shiites would prefer the beach.

There was a time when Shiites represented an underclass of dirt-poor peasants in the south and lumpen elements in Beirut. Over the past 30 years, however, that picture has changed. Money sent from Shiite immigrants in West Africa (where they dominate the diamond trade), and in the U.S. (especially Michigan), has helped create a prosperous middle class of Shiites more interested in the good life than martyrdom a la Imam Hussain. This new Shiite bourgeoisie dreams of a place in the mainstream of Lebanese politics and hopes to use the community’s demographic advantage as a springboard for national leadership. Hizbullah, unless it ceases to be an instrument of Iranian policies, cannot realize that dream.

The list of names of those who never endorsed Hizbullah, or who broke with it after its Iranian connections became too apparent, reads like a Who’s Who of Lebanese Shiism. It includes, apart from the al-Amins, families such as the al-As’ad, the Osseiran, the al-Khalil, the Hamadah, the Murtadha, the Sharafeddin, the Fadhlallah, the Mussawis, the Hussainis, the Shamsuddin and the Ata’allahs.

Far from representing the Lebanese national consensus, Hizbullah is a sectarian group backed by a militia that is trained, armed and controlled by Iran. In the words of Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of the Iranian daily Kayhan, “Hizbullah is ‘Iran in Lebanon.’” In the 2004 municipal elections, Hizbullah won some 40% of the votes in the Shiite areas, the rest going to its rival Amal (Hope) movement and independent candidates. In last year’s general election, Hizbullah won only 12 of the 27 seats allocated to Shiites in the 128-seat National Assembly – despite making alliances with Christian and Druze parties and spending vast sums of Iranian money to buy votes.

Hizbullah’s position is no more secure in the broader Arab world, where it is seen as an Iranian tool rather than as the vanguard of a new Nahdha (Awakening), as the Western media claim. To be sure, it is still powerful because it has guns, money and support from Iran, Syria and Hate America International Inc. But the list of prominent Arab writers, both Shiite and Sunni, who have exposed Hizbullah for what it is – a Khomeinist Trojan horse – would be too long for a single article. They are beginning to lift the veil and reveal what really happened in Lebanon.

Having lost more than 500 of its fighters, and with almost all of its medium-range missiles destroyed, Hizbullah may find it hard to sustain its claim of victory. “Hizbullah won the propaganda war because many in the West wanted it to win as a means of settling score with the United States,” says Egyptian columnist Ali al-Ibrahim. “But the Arabs have become wise enough to know TV victory from real victory.”

 

NASRALLAH’S ADMISSION, VASTLY UNDERPLAYED IN THE WEST…

Hizbullah’s ‘victory’
By Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post
September 1, 2006

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/31/AR2006083101444.html

“We did not think, even 1 percent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me, if I had known on July 11... that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not.”

-- Hasan Nasrallah,
Hizbullah leader, Aug. 27

So much for the “strategic and historic victory” Nasrallah had claimed less than two weeks earlier. What real victor declares that, had he known, he would not have started the war that ended in triumph?

Nasrallah’s admission, vastly underplayed in the West, makes clear what the Lebanese already knew. Hizbullah may have won the propaganda war, but on the ground it lost. Badly.

True, under the inept and indecisive leadership of Ehud Olmert, Israel did miss the opportunity to militarily destroy Hizbullah and make it a non-factor in Israel’s security, Lebanon’s politics and Iran’s foreign policy. Nonetheless, Hizbullah was seriously hurt. It lost hundreds of its best fighters. A deeply entrenched infrastructure on Israel’s border is in ruins. The great hero has had to go so deep into hiding that Nasrallah has been called “the underground mullah.”

Most important, Hizbullah’s political gains within Lebanon during the war have proved illusory. As the dust settles, the Lebanese are furious at Hizbullah for provoking a war that brought them nothing but devastation – and then crowing about victory amid the ruins.

The Western media were once again taken in by the mystique of the “Arab street.” The mob came out to cheer Hizbullah for raining rockets on Israel – surprise! – and the Arab governments that had initially criticized Hizbullah went conveniently silent. Now that the mob has gone home, Hizbullah is under renewed attack – in newspapers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt, as well as by many Lebanese, including influential Shiite academics and clan leaders. The Arabs know where their interests lie. And they do not lie with a Shiite militia that fights for Iran.

Even before the devastation, Hizbullah in the last election garnered only about 20 percent of the vote, hardly a mandate. Hizbullah has guns, however, and that is the source of its power. But now even that is threatened. Hence Nasrallah’s admission. He knows that Lebanon, however weak its army, has a deep desire to disarm him and that the arrival of Europeans in force, however weak their mandate, will make impossible the rebuilding of the vast Maginot Line he spent six years constructing.

Which is why the expected Round Two will, in fact, not happen. Hizbullah is in no position, either militarily or politically, for another round. Nasrallah’s admission that the war was a mistake is an implicit pledge not to repeat it, lest he be completely finished as a Lebanese political figure.

The Lebanese know that Israel bombed easy-to-repair airport runways when it could have destroyed the new airport terminal and set Lebanon back 10 years. The Lebanese know that Israel attacked the Hizbullah TV towers when it could have pulverized Beirut’s power grid, a billion-dollar reconstruction. The Lebanese know that the next time, Israel’s leadership will hardly be as hesitant and restrained. Hizbullah dares not risk that next time.

Even more important is the shift once again in the internal Lebanese balance of power. With Nasrallah weakened, the other major factions are closing in around him. Even his major Christian ally, Michel Aoun, has called for Hizbullah’s disarmament. The March 14 democratic movement has regained the upper hand and, with outside help, could marginalize Hizbullah.

In a country this weak, outsiders can be decisive. A strong European presence in the south, serious U.S. training and equipment for the Lebanese army, and relentless pressure at the United Nations can tip the balance. We should be especially aggressive at the United Nations in pursuing the investigation of Syria for the murder of Rafiq Hariri and in implementing resolutions mandating the disarmament of Hizbullah.

It was just 18 months ago that the democrats of the March 14 movement expelled Syria from Lebanon and rose to power, marking the apogee of the U.S. democratization project in the region. Nasrallah’s temporary rise during the just-finished war marked that project’s nadir. Nasrallah’s crowing added to the general despair in Washington about a rising “Shiite crescent” stretching from Tehran to Beirut.

In fact, Hizbullah was seriously set back, as was Iran. In the Middle East, however, promising moments pass quickly. This one needs to be seized. We must pretend that Security Council Resolution 1701 was meant to be implemented and exert unrelieved pressure on behalf of those Lebanese – a large majority – who want to do the implementing.

 

WHAT DID YOU DO IN THE WAR, UNIFIL?

What did you do in the war, UNIFIL?
You broadcast Israeli troop movements.
By Lori Lowenthal Marcus
The Weekly Standard
September 4, 2006

During the recent month-long war between Hizbullah and Israel, U.N. “peacekeeping” forces made a startling contribution: They openly published daily real-time intelligence, of obvious usefulness to Hizbullah, on the location, equipment, and force structure of Israeli troops in Lebanon.

UNIFIL – the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, a nearly 2,000-man blue-helmet contingent that has been present on the Lebanon-Israel border since 1978 – is officially neutral. Yet, throughout the recent war, it posted on its website for all to see precise information about the movements of Israeli Defense Forces soldiers and the nature of their weaponry and materiel, even specifying the placement of IDF safety structures within hours of their construction. New information was sometimes only 30 minutes old when it was posted, and never more than 24 hours old.

Meanwhile, UNIFIL posted not a single item of specific intelligence regarding Hizbullah forces. Statements on the order of Hizbullah “fired rockets in large numbers from various locations” and Hizbullah’s rockets “were fired in significantly larger numbers from various locations” are as precise as its coverage of the other side ever got.

This war was fought on cable television and the Internet, and a lot of official information was available in real time. But the specific military intelligence UNIFIL posted could not be had from any non-U.N. source. The Israeli press – always eager to push the envelope – did not publish the details of troop movements and logistics. Neither the European press nor the rest of the world media, though hardly bastions of concern for the safety of Israeli troops, provided the IDF intelligence details that UNIFIL did. A search of Israeli government websites failed to turn up the details published to the world each day by the U.N.

Inquiries made of various Israeli military and government representatives and analysts yielded near unanimous agreement that at least some of UNIFIL’s postings, in the words of one retired senior military analyst, “could have exposed Israeli soldiers to grave danger.” These analysts, including a current high ranking military official, noted that the same intelligence would not have been provided by the U.N. about Israel’s enemies.

Sure enough, a review of every single UNIFIL web posting during the war shows that, while UNIFIL was daily revealing the towns where Israeli soldiers were located, the positions from which they were firing, and when and how they had entered Lebanese territory, it never described Hizbullah movements or locations with any specificity whatsoever.

Compare the vague “various locations” language with this UNIFIL posting from July 25:

Yesterday and during last night, the IDF moved significant reinforcements, including a number of tanks, armored personnel carriers, bulldozers and infantry, to the area of Marun Al Ras inside Lebanese territory. The IDF advanced from that area north toward Bint Jubayl, and south towards Yarun.

Or with the posting on July 24, in which UNIFIL revealed that the IDF stationed between Marun Al Ras and Bint Jubayl were “significantly reinforced during the night and this morning with a number of tanks and armored personnel carriers.”

This partiality is inconsistent not only with UNIFIL’s mission but also with its own stated policies. In a telling incident just a few years back, UNIFIL vigorously insisted on its “neutrality” – at Israel’s expense.

On October 7, 2000, three IDF soldiers were kidnapped by Hizbullah just yards from a UNIFIL shelter and dragged across the border into Lebanon, where they disappeared. The U.N. was thought to have videotaped the incident or its immediate aftermath. Rather than help Israel rescue its kidnapped soldiers by providing this evidence, however, the U.N. obstructed the Israeli investigation.

For months the Israeli government pleaded with the U.N. to turn over any videotape that might shed light on the location and condition of its missing men. And for nine months the U.N. stonewalled, insisting first that no such tape existed, then that just one tape existed, and eventually conceding that there were two more tapes. During those nine months, clips from the videotapes were shown on Syrian and Lebanese television.

Explaining their eventual about-face, U.N. officials said the decision had been made by the on-site commanders that it was not their responsibility to provide the material to Israel; indeed, that to do so would violate the peacekeeping mandate, which required “full impartiality and objectivity.” The U.N. report on the incident was adamant that its force had “to ensure that military and other sensitive information remains in their domain and is not passed to parties to a conflict.”

Stymied in its efforts to recover the men while they were still alive, Israel ultimately agreed to an exchange in January 2004: It released 429 Arab prisoners and detainees, among them convicted terrorists, and the bodies of 60 Lebanese decedents and members of Hizbullah, in exchange for the bodies of the three soldiers. Blame for the deaths of those three Israelis can be laid, at least in part, at the feet of the U.N., which went to the wall defending its inviolable pledge never to share military intelligence about one party with another.

UNIFIL has just done what it then vowed it could never do. Once again, it has acted to shield one side in the conflict and to harm the other. Why is this permitted? For that matter, how did the U.N. obtain such detailed and timely military intelligence in the first place, before broadcasting it for Israel’s enemies to see?


Israeli remains on display at makeshift Hizbullah museum

* Nasrallah’s statement regretting war not widely covered by Western media
* In Lebanon, much disdain for Hizbullah
* BBC Arabic World Service: Hizbullah had built underground “cities”
* Frederick Forsyth on the question of “proportionality”

 

CONTENTS

1. Hizbullah wants to swap soldiers for child killers
2. Israeli war trophies on display at makeshift Lebanon museum
3. El Al refused landing rights by five European countries
4. French poll: Shi’ites want Hizbullah armed, rest of Lebanese don’t
5. Egyptian weekly: Hizbullah preparing “child martyrs” to carry out suicide attacks
6. Hizbullah chief indicates regret for kidnappings
7. Lebanese show disdain for Hizbullah
8. 400,000 mines in southern Lebanon before fighting
9. Shin Bet chief: “Hizbullah is arming Gaza for a new war on Israel”
10. BBC Arabic World Service: Hizbullah had built underground “cities”
11. Syria, not just Iran, supplied missiles to Hizbullah
12. Donors pledge $940 million for Lebanon, none to Israel
13. Attempts to put conditions on U.S. aid to Lebanon
14. Aiding victims on both sides
15. Qatar to send 200-300 troops to Lebanon
16. Italian soldiers will be deployed in the midst of Hizbullah’s bunkers
17. The New York Times admits…
18. New York man charged with enabling Hizbullah
19. And meanwhile in Afghanistan
20. “Disproportionate?” (By Frederick Forsyth, Daily Express, Aug. 11, 2006)



[Note by Tom Gross]

This is the first part of a two-part dispatch today following up on the recent Hizbullah-Israel war.

(One of the reasons there have been less dispatches of late is that I have been giving interviews on TV and radio stations in various countries. Some have been posted by different websites. For those interested, here is a clip from Fox news.)

(Some Israelis on this list have also asked where they can read my recent articles in Hebrew. This is from Ma’ariv, Israel’s second highest circulation newspaper, complete with various pictures and readers’ comments.)

HIZBULLAH WANTS TO SWAP SOLDIERS FOR CHILD KILLERS

The (London) Sunday Times reports that one of the criminals (referred to benignly by the BBC and others as “Lebanese detainees held in Israeli jails”) that Hizbullah is demanding Israel swaps for its kidnapped soldiers is Samir Qantar.

Qantar, 44, was convicted of multiple murder after he led an attack on the Israeli coastal town of Nahariya 27 years ago. He shot Israeli Danny Haran, 28, at close range in front of his terrified four-year-old daughter Einat. He then repeatedly smashed Einat’s head with a rifle butt until she was dead. Haran’s wife Smadar hid in a loft with their two-year-old daughter Yael, desperately keeping a hand over her mouth to stop her crying out, and accidentally suffocated her child to death as she did so.

Smadar told journalists after the attack: “I knew that if Yael cried out, the terrorists would toss a grenade into the crawl space and we would be killed. So I kept my hand over her mouth, hoping she could breathe. As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. ‘This is just like what happened to my mother,’ I thought.”

Qantar was convicted in a court of law for the murders of Danny and Einat Haran, but this is never mentioned by most western journalists when they talk of “prisoner exchanges.”

Qantar has become a hero among Arab terrorists, and Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah has announced that Qantar’s wife will be a prime speaker at next year’s “memorial day for Lebanese prisoners.”

By an extraordinary twist of fate, Ehud Goldwasser, one of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers, heard Qantar’s attack when, as a four-year-old boy, he was woken up by gunfire and grenades next door to his family home in Nahariya. The next morning his parents told him that a girl his age had been murdered by an Arab terrorist who had come from Lebanon.

ISRAELI WAR TROPHIES ON DISPLAY AT MAKESHIFT LEBANON MUSEUM

Strawberry jam, bullets and a lock of human hair are among the mundane and macabre war trophies displayed at a makeshift roadside museum next to a mosque opened last weekend in southern Lebanon.

A yellow Hizbullah flag flies over one corner of the display, reports Agence France Presse, and Hizbullah posters are stuck to a wall above a collection of other seized Israeli items. Parts of the exhibit are ridiculous: cans of tuna and corn stacked with small packets of strawberry jam resting on top.

But other items are grotesque: A burned Israeli helmet contains a lock of a dead Israeli’s hair. Human ashes of dead Israeli soldiers are displayed in a second IDF helmet.

Much of the display consists of burned pieces of clothing with writing in Hebrew. Three pairs of boots are still intact. “Look at this,” a young man from the nearby mosque told AFP. He holds up a pair of uniform trousers. One leg has been severed, reports the French news agency.

At least 119 Israeli soldiers died in the 34-day war with Hizbullah, as well as dozens of Israeli civilians.

EL AL REFUSED LANDING RIGHTS BY FIVE EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

Five European countries are refusing landing rights to aircraft from the Israeli national carrier El Al that are transporting military equipment to the Jewish state, Israel Radio reported this afternoon.

It quoted an airline official as saying the new restrictions imposed by Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy and Portugal meant some incoming El Al flights would not be able to refuel enroute, and would have to reduce their cargo load.

Some El Al planes and pilots were mobilized by the air force during the war to fly in military supplies.

Meanwhile, those same Western nations continue to allow arms and money to find their way into the hands of various Arab terror groups.

FRENCH POLL: SHI’ITES WANT HIZBULLAH ARMED, REST OF LEBANESE DON’T

A new French poll shows that opinion among the Lebanese on whether Hizbullah should disarm falls along religious lines. Overall, opinion is 51%-49%, with the edge going to those who want Hizbullah to lay down its weapons. But the polling showed 84% of Shi’ites want the terrorist group to keep its weapons, while 79% of the Druze community, 77% of the Christian community and 54% of the Sunni Muslims favor disarming Hizbullah. (It should be noted that this poll was taken and published by France, and other non-French sources indicate a much lower level of support among Lebanese Shia for Hizbullah. France is leading the new UN force that is supposed to disarm Hizbullah.)

EGYPTIAN WEEKLY: HIZBULLAH PREPARING “CHILD MARTYRS” TO CARRY OUT SUICIDE ATTACKS

The Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Yusuf (edition dated August 18, 2006) carries an investigative article by Mirfat Al-Hakim titled “Hizbullah’s Children’s Militias.”

Al-Hakim writes: “Hizbullah has recruited over 2,000 innocent children aged 10-15 to form armed militias. Before the recent war with Israel, these children appeared only in the annual Jerusalem Day celebrations, and were referred to as the ‘December 14 Units,’ but today they are called ‘martyrs’ [and are being trained for this purpose]. These are children barely ten years old, who wear camouflage uniforms, cover their faces with black camouflage paint, and swear to wage jihad.

“The children are selected by Hizbullah recruitment officers based on one criterion: They must be willing to become martyrs. The first lesson that the children are taught by Hizbullah is ‘The Disappearance of Israel,’ and it is always an important part of the training program.” (Above translation, courtesy of MEMRI, the senior staff of which are subscribers to this email list.)

Na’im Qasim, deputy to Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, told Radio Canada: “A nation with child-martyrs will be victorious.”

HIZBULLAH CHIEF INDICATES REGRET FOR KIDNAPPINGS

Hizbullah leader Nasrallah said last week that he would not have ordered the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers (and the killing of eight others) that led Israel to declare war had he known the consequences for Lebanon.

“If I knew the process of capturing [these soldiers], even with a 1% probability, would lead to a war like this, and then if you asked me would you go and capture them, my answer would be, of course, no – for humanitarian, moral, social and security reasons,” Nasrallah said.

His comments were aired nationwide in Lebanon and rebroadcast throughout the Arab world. However, they were largely ignored by many western newspapers, which are still suggesting Hizbullah was victorious.

Nasrallah acknowledged in the interview on the secular New TV network in Beirut that the war had cost the lives of more than 800 of its people, many of them civilians. (This figure is considerably lower than the vastly inflated figures of Lebanese war dead put out by western news organizations, particularly by the BBC and Reuters, which are trying to further their anti-Israeli agenda. The Associated Press is running a more accurate figure of 800 dead, a mix of Hizbullah fighters and civilians caught up in the fighting.)

Nasrallah claimed all of his commanders remained unharmed and that Hizbullah had more than 12,000 rockets left, about half of what it had before the war.

Hizbullah has said that it would exercise self-restraint in the face of what it regards as Israeli breaches of a UN Security Council resolution which ended the war with Israel. In fact it is likely urging restraint because it lost and the Lebanese public has turned against them. (See the articles included in the second dispatch today, titled “The Arabs have become wise enough to know TV victory from real victory.”)

LEBANESE SHOW DISDAIN FOR HIZBULLAH

The Associated Press (which while hardly pro-Israeli is less hostile than Reuters) reports that Lebanese Shia are turning against Hizbullah. An AP article last week states: “They pushed, shoved, shouted and cursed one another. In the end, Hizbullah supporters were turned back from an attempt to plaster posters of their leader around Marwaheen, a Sunni Muslim village in southern Lebanon that is mourning the loss of 23 residents from an Israeli air attack during the war. ‘Why do you want to put up an image of someone who is killing us?’ a man screamed as dozens of villagers brandished fists and thrust open palms at Hizbullah loyalists clutching posters of Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the group’s bearded and bespectacled chief. ‘We don’t want to see it!’”

Sunni Muslims and Christians have long shown their anger towards Hizbullah, but now some Shia are also openly voicing criticism. Meanwhile Hizbullah remains popular among some students and professors on university campuses in Britain, France and the United States, as well as among some western journalists.

400,000 MINES IN SOUTHERN LEBANON BEFORE FIGHTING

The United Nations has been quick to accuse the government of Ehud Olmert of responsibility for unexploded cluster bomb shells they say Israel dropped on southern Lebanon in the last 72 hours of the fighting between Israeli forces and Hizbullah last month. These UN accusations were reported as the main headline stories by news outlets such as The New York Times, BBC and the International Herald Tribune.

But The Media Line news service has learned that UN officials in fact believe that as many as 400,000 land mines in southern Lebanon were laid prior to the last month of fighting. It is unclear when all of the mines were laid and by whom.

SHIN BET CHIEF: “HIZBULLAH IS ARMING GAZA FOR A NEW WAR ON ISRAEL”

Yuval Diskin, the director of the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, has warned that Palestinian terrorists in Gaza are assembling increasing numbers of weapons and tactical expertise from Hizbullah. Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has become a haven for arms smugglers into the Gaza Strip, he said. He added that within Gaza terrorists were building rocket hideouts, a Hizbullah-style bunker network and an anti-tank missile arsenal as they prepared for an escalated confrontation with Israel.

Since Israel withdrew from Gaza last year, the Gaza border is now controlled by the Palestinians and Egypt, with the help of European monitors. The Egyptians and Europeans appear to be turning a blind eye as Hamas and other Palestinian groups smuggle in vast quantities of weaponry. At the same time, large parts of the western media – completely taken in by Palestinian propaganda – continue to report that the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority has no money.

According to Diskin, with Hizbullah’s help, in recent months Hamas has brought in Katyusha rockets with a 10-mile range, dozens of anti-tank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, 15 tons of explosives, 15,000 guns and four million rounds of ammunition. They have been smuggled across the Egyptian border through a network of around 20 tunnels, for use against Israel. Last week, Israeli forces uncovered one such tunnel with a shaft 13 meters deep, and main infrastructure 150 meters long. The tunnel entrance was found inside a house in the residential area of Sajaiya.

The connection between the two terror organizations has been strong since 1992, when 400 Hamas members were exiled from Israel to Lebanon where they were significantly influenced, both politically and militarily, by Hizbullah. A number of those Hamas leaders are still based in Lebanon. Israeli military analysts believe that the quantity of weapons being delivered to the Gaza Strip has doubled since the recent Hizbullah-Israel war ended.

Israeli military sources remain convinced that the Palestinian threat to Israel is as great as Hizbullah, and is fast becoming more acute. They suspect Hizbullah has taken a tactical decision to scale down its operations in southern Lebanon, focusing instead on new anti-Israel fronts in the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank.

BBC ARABIC WORLD SERVICE: HIZBULLAH HAD BUILT UNDERGROUND “CITIES”

On August 1, retired Egyptian Major General Hussam Suwailem, the main studio guest for the daily “Hadith al-Saa” program on the BBC Arabic World Service (the equivalent of the “Newshour” program on the English-language BBC World Service) said Israel’s airstrikes were failing because Hizbullah was “invisible”. Hizbullah’s underground network where they were hiding, he said, was so extensive that it amounted to an underground city.

He said the network had been built by North Korean companies in the six years since Israel left Lebanon. The tunnels, he added, were dug deeper than the penetration ability of the GBU-28 bomb used by Israel; they each linked to three small military cities, and in some places the network goes as far as to reach inside Syria. Inside this network, he continued, communications structures were built with the co-operation of German companies. Suwailem further stated that the central command center of Hizbullah is in the Harmal area (in the Northern Beka valley), in which the al-Manar TV transmitters were also placed.

(The above commentary from BBC Arabic World Service has been specially monitored and translated for this email list/website.)

SYRIA, NOT JUST IRAN, SUPPLIED MISSILES TO HIZBULLAH

Major newspapers have begun to report what this email list/website reported some weeks ago: that Syria, not just Iran, supplied missiles to Hizbullah.

For example, on August 31, 2006, The Los Angeles Times reported: “New postwar intelligence indicates that the militant group Hizbullah had broader access to sophisticated weaponry than was publicly known – including large numbers of medium-range rockets made in Syria… The size of the Hizbullah arsenal and the direct role of Syria in supplying it will complicate the daunting task of keeping Hizbullah from rearming.

“… The new weapons data indicating a broader Syrian role were gathered by Israel largely by examining debris left by shells that hit the country during the conflict. The examination uncovered the serial numbers and other defining characteristics of the weapons. Israel’s postwar forensics have shown some of the rockets were manufactured by the Syrian munitions industry... The disclosures about Syria’s role in supplying Hizbullah dovetail with postwar diplomatic strategies. Syrian officials would not confirm or deny the reports.

“… Israel asserts that in the weeks since the cease-fire, Iran and Syria have tried to resupply Hizbullah, primarily via Syria’s long border with Lebanon. Iran is seeking to send in long-range rockets but has been hampered by Israel’s sea and air embargo, Israeli officials said. Syria’s attempts to send in shorter-range rockets via land routes may prove more successful because of the porousness of the frontier.”

Hizbullah fired 4,228 rockets at Israel during the 34 days of fighting, leading to 53 fatalities, 250 severely wounded, and over 2,000 less seriously wounded. There was extensive damage to hundreds of dwellings, several public utilities, and dozens of industrial plants. One million Israelis lived near or in shelters or security rooms, with over 250,000 civilians evacuating the north and relocating to other areas of the country.

DONORS PLEDGE $940 MILLION FOR LEBANON, NONE TO ISRAEL

Last Thursday, international donors representing more than 60 governments, meeting under the Swedish government’s leadership in Stockholm, pledged more than $940 million for immediate relief efforts for Lebanon, nearly double what Lebanon has asked for.

The biggest single donation, of $230 million, was pledged by the U.S. government. Sizeable donations also came from the European Commission, France, Italy and Sweden.

“This amount is in addition to previous pledges, making a total of over $1.2 billion available for recovery and reconstruction,” a Swedish spokesperson said. The European Union had already pledged 42 million euros ($54 million). Separately, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have both pledged $500 million and $300 million respectively.

Lebanon says it will make immediate grants of $40,000 available to individual families.

(On Friday, at a follow-up meeting in Stockholm, the international community pledged $500 million for the Palestinian territories. Now Hamas will be able to purchase even more arms.)

Israel, which suffered severe damage as a result of Hizbullah attacks, has received no international governmental help, but has received private donations from Jewish and Christian groups.

Meanwhile, the Beirut Daily Star reports that Hizbullah workers have been distributing between $10,000 and $12,000 in cash to each family that had its home damaged in fighting with Israel.

The Daily Star writes: “Another interesting aspect, bankers noted, is that Hizbullah had large sums of dollar bank notes at a time when the country was suffering from an acute shortage of dollar bills.”

ATTEMPTS TO PUT CONDITIONS ON U.S. AID TO LEBANON

A key U.S. legislator, Tom Lantos, has said he would block aid President George W. Bush promised Lebanon and free the funds only when Beirut agreed to the deployment of international troops on the border with Syria.

As the top Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives’ International Relations Committee, Lantos has the power to hold up legislation. “My purpose is not to withhold aid from Lebanon, my purpose... is to persuade the government of Lebanon that the closing of the Lebanon-Syria border to arms smuggling from Iran and Syria is in the prime national interest of Lebanon and the Lebanese people,” he said.

AIDING VICTIMS ON BOTH SIDES

While the international community gives, and continues to give, only to Lebanese victims of the recent conflict, some American-born Israeli Jews are holding fundraising concerts in Jerusalem for displaced residents from both sides of the border. Various left-wing Israeli groups have aided them in their fundraising drive for Lebanese affected by the fighting. We want “to show Muslims that there are Jews in Israel who regret their suffering,” they said in a press statement.

QATAR TO SEND 200-300 TROOPS TO LEBANON

The Gulf state of Qatar said yesterday that it would send some 200-300 troops to join the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, the Doha-based Al Jazeera television reported. If confirmed, Qatar would be the first Arab country to participate in the expanded UN force set up to keep the peace between Israel and Hizbullah in south Lebanon. Qatar maintains low-level ties with Israel. It is also a key U.S. ally and hosts a major U.S. military base. “Qatar has relations with Israel and as a result Israel has no objection to its participation in the force,” Israeli foreign ministry officials said.

ITALIAN SOLDIERS WILL BE DEPLOYED IN THE MIDST OF HIZBULLAH’S BUNKERS

900 Italian soldiers have already arrived in Lebanon to lead the expanded UNIFIL mission, following the UN Resolution 1701. (Italy plans to send 3000 troops, and will take over control of the force from France next February.)

Italy’s most read newspaper, Il Corriere della Sera, reported on September 2 in an article titled “Italian soldiers will be deployed in the midst of Hizbullah’s bunkers” by Lorenzo Cremonesi, that the Italian soldiers will face great challenges in Lebanon. Captain Nortey, an officer from Ghana’s UNIFIL force in Lebanon since 1996, told Il Corriere della Sera of the difficulties and threats his men faced when dealing with Hizbullah fighters. According to Nortey, Hizbullah built their bunkers all around the UNIFIL base and used the buildings in the surrounding villages as missile deposits, using civilians and his own base as a human shield against Israeli attacks.

Nortey told the Italian paper that he was personally threatened by Hizbullah for trying to stop them from launching Katyushas from the areas around his base, and hopes that the new UNIFIL mission will be able to bring a change on the ground by having better and clearer rules of engagement that would allow them to search and destroy the Hizbullah’s bunkers and disarm them. Otherwise, he said, nothing will change.

(For more, in Italian, see here.)

Separately, the Italian foreign minister has said that if they succeed in this mission, “they will be able to take part in other international forces – in Gaza, for example.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES ADMITS…

Finally, The New York Times, which has so often misled its readers, having been taken in by Hamas, Hizbullah, and especially by Yasser Arafat, on Sunday acknowledged that Hizbullah manipulate the media.

In his piece in The New York Times magazine (“Besieged,” September 3, 2006) Scott Anderson writes: “In their ‘all front’ war with Israel, Hizbullah had meticulously planned for the psychological dimension, and it appeared that a crucial component in this was to minimize the reporting of their battlefield casualties. On this front, they were able to rely on the support – or acquiescence – of the local medical establishment. While journalists were routinely allowed access to those hospital wards containing wounded women and children, other wards – presumably those housing adult males – were off-limits, blocked by orderlies or the requisite bearded young men. The same pattern extended to the dead: occasionally ghoulish public displays of the torn bodies of obvious civilians and a curious absence of those of fighting-age men.”

NEW YORK MAN CHARGED WITH ENABLING HIZBULLAH

Javed Iqbal, who operates a small company from a Brooklyn storefront that provides satellite programming for households, was last week charged with inciting terrorism by providing satellite broadcasts of Hizbullah’s Al-Manar television to New York-area customers.

Iqbal, originally from Pakistan, was arrested on terror conspiracy charges, and arraigned in Federal District Court in Manhattan, and ordered held in $250,000 bail.

In addition to inciting terrorism, Al-Manar’s broadcasts are frequently racist and anti-Semitic, glorify suicide bombings and children’s programming encourages youngsters to “join the jihad and give their lives for the cause.” A 28-part series that was broadcast over Ramadan and based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion included a dramatization that depicted an Orthodox Jew slitting the throat of a Christian child and draining the child’s blood to make food for Passover.

For more on Al-Manar, see France to ban “revolting” anti-Semitic TV broadcasts; and other reports (Feb. 2, 2004).

In their reporting on the arrest, The New York Times – not surprisingly – managed to mention that “Mr. Iqbal” is a “budding entrepreneur,” and The Times quoted others as saying that Iqbal is “very generous in the community,” and is “a fun-loving guy.”

AND MEANWHILE IN AFGHANISTAN

The NATO-led force in Afghanistan says it killed more than 200 Afghans over the weekend. Four Canadian troops and one British soldier were also killed in the fighting. NATO contends that all the dead were Taliban fighters, whereas Afghan sources say most were civilians. There is a remarkable absence of discussion about “proportionality” among western politicians and media, who are so obsessed with the issue when Israel defends itself. Of course, unlike in Britain and Canada, Israel’s international border was violated and dozens of Israeli civilians killed when Israel hit back trying to stop the source of missile fire.

Below I attach a piece on this question by the British novelist Frederick Forsyth, best-known for writing The Day of the Jackal, a novel which became an international bestseller, and was later made into a blockbuster movie of the same name.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLE

“BLATANT HYPOCRISY”

“Disproportionate”?
By Frederick Forsyth
(London) Daily Express
August 11, 2006

It must surely be true that the level of lies and hypocrisy that a society can tolerate is in direct proportion to the degeneration of that culture.

Personally I am not particularly pro or anti Israel, pro or anti Arab or pro or anti Islam. But I do have a dislike of myth, hypocrisy and lies as opposed to reality, fairness and truth.

Watching the bombing of Lebanon it is impossible not to feel horror and pity for the innocent civilians killed, wounded or rendered homeless. But certain of our politicians, seeking easy populism and the cheapest round of applause in modern history, have called the Israeli response “disproportionate”. Among these politicos are Jack Straw and that master of EU negotiations William Hague.

That accusation can only mean: “disproportionate to the aggression levelled against them”. Really? Why did the accusers not mention Serbia? What has Serbia got to do with it? Let’s refresh our memories.

In 1999 five Nato air forces – US, British, French, Italian and German – began to plaster Yugoslavia, effectively the tiny and defenceless province of Serbia. We were not at war with the Serbs, we had no reason to hate them, they had not attacked us and no Serbian rockets were falling on us.

But we practically bombed them back to the Stone Age. We took out every bridge we could see. We trashed their TV station, army barracks, airfields and motorways.

We were not fighting for our lives and no terrorists were skulking among the civilian population but we hit apartment blocks and factories anyway. There were civilian casualties. We did not do it for 25 days but for 73. We bombed this little country economically back 30 years by converting its infrastructure into rubble. Why?

We were trying to persuade one dictator, Slobodan Milosevic, to pull his troops out of Kosovo, which happened to be (and still is) a Yugoslav province. The dictator finally cracked; shortly afterwards he was toppled but it was his fellow Serbs who did that, no Nato.

Before the destruction of Serbia, Kosovo was a nightmare of ethnic hatred. It still is. If we wanted to liberate the Kosovans why did we not just invade? Why blow Serbian civilians to bits?

Here is my point. In all those 73 days of bombing Serbia I never heard one British moralist use the word “disproportionate”.

The entire point of Hizbullah is not to resolve some border dispute with Israel; its aim is to wipe Israel off the map, as expressed by Hizbullah’s master, the crazed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. That aim includes the eradication of every Israeli Jew; i.e. genocide.

Serbia never once threatened to wipe the UK off the map or slaughter our citizens, yet Straw, in office in 1999, and Hague, leading the Conservative Party, never objected to Serbia being bombed.

As an ex-RAF officer I am persuaded the Israelis fighter pilots are hitting civilian-free targets with 95% of their strikes. These are the hits no TV network bothers to cover. It is the 5% that causes the coverage and the horror: wrong target, unseen civilians in the cellar, misfire, unavoidable collateral casualties. Unavoidable?

Israel has said I effect, “If you seek to wipe us out we will defend ourselves to the death. You offer us no quarter, so we will offer none to you. But if you choose intentionally, inadvertently, or through the stupidity of your government to protect and shelter the killers among yourselves then with deepest regret, we cannot guarantee your exemption.”

Yesterday we Brits learned that certain elements in our society had tried to organise a mass slaughter of citizens flying out of our airports. We will have to take draconian measures against these enemies in our midst. Will Messrs Hague and Straw complain our methods are disproportionate? Not a chance. Now that, dear readers, is blatant hypocrisy.