Archive for April, 2011

Prospects for peace

Prospects for peace

Impossible unless encouraged

in all schools everywhere


Author of “How to Avoid Armageddon”

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It’s all futile – this constant talk about peace between Israel and the Palestinians. For a meaningful dialoque there must be a genuine willingness for peaceful coexistence by all parties involved. For pragmatic reasons, Israel is very eager to reach such a situation. Tiny by international standards, surrounded by growing hostility and constantly threatened by attack and even obliteration, most Israelis are willing to pay a heavy price in land in order to at long last achieve a peace agreement. The Palestinians, putative partners in the quest for peace seem to be far less interested about reaching a genuine agreement. This seems evident by the hard, uncompromising stand of their political and religious leaders, as well as the ongoing armed attacks against Jewish civilians. An additional indication is found in school books currently used in schools under the Palestine Authority’s administration.

IMPACT-SE has been reviewing school books from Israel, the Arab world and Iran since 1998. A recent study of 118 school books currently used in Palestinian schools, reveals a general denial of the very existence of Israel – and wherever Israel is mentioned, it is usually in an extremely negative light. In geography textbooks, Israel usually doesn’t appear in maps of the Middle East. Instead “Palestine” is shown to encompass Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. While Jaffa, a once predominantly Arab town is shown on maps of the region, Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities, such as Ramat Gan, Netanya and Nahariyah, are not shown. Neither are any of the kibbutzim and moshavim.

A fifth-grade history textbook, the History of Ancient Civilization, published in 2009, teaches that the Levant consists of the states of Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Israel is not mentioned.

Another textbook with a map of Palestine, asks students to color in the Negev Desert (which actually constitutes almost 50% of Israel. To clinch the disappearance of Israel in young Arab minds, they are given the following mathematical word problem: “An independent Palestinian state was declared in 1988. How many years have passed since the declaration of independence?” While it might be an admirable exercise in arithmetic, it certainly poses a challenge in logic, given their loudly proclaimed demands for independence. Although, it confirms the idea that in the Middle East, the meaning of words can be made to match any wish.

In a similar vein, another textbook shows a map of the Old City of Jerusalem sans the Jewish Quarter. Praise to Allah for the technological wonders of Photoshop. Another example of Photoshop usage is a British Mandate postage stamp in which the Hebrew wording “Palestine: The Land of Israel” is deftly blacked out.

Displaying highly imaginative scholarship, the functionaries who prepare the history lessons for malleable young Arab minds, claim that Jews came from Europe to steal Palestine after the British conquered it in 1917. Happily for the pupils, at least their history lessons are rendered highly simplistic and unencumbered by too many pesky facts.

Any national visionary will tell you that a good education system should include lessons in ideology. The Palestinian school books fill this function with alacrity, offering many references to martyrdom, death, jihad and refugees returning to cities and towns in Israel. Jews are seldom depicted as good people.

While respect for the environment and sustainable energy resources are taught to Palestinian pupils, IMPACT-SE found that textbooks blame Israel for all the local environmental problems. Moreover, no mention is made about the many programs that exist between Israelis and Palestinians in environmental and other issues of mutual concern.

According to the report, while there are some positive developments in the Palestinian educational system, such as emphases on democratic values and respect for women, elders and authority – no Israeli is depicted as a friend or partner. Nevertheless, there have been modifications over the years, toning down the language or deleting overly offensive passages in new editions of some of the textbooks. This is probably due to foreign pressure. It is to be remembered that a large part of the education budget comes from foreign donors – Unesco and many European countries as well as the USA. While these modifications are encouraging, they still do little to give Arab pupils a sense that Jews and Israel have any legitimacy in the Middle East.

Dr. Yohanan Manor, IMPACT-SE’s chairman, noted that one of the Palestine Administration’s recent history textbooks printed two maps that did reference Israel, although the name of Israel was in tiny print. Some Palestinian educators have admitted that the Arabs rejected the 1947 UN partition resolution, which is also an important development, he said.

IMPACT-SE has published a dozen reports on school books in the Middle East, which have been studied by members of the US Congress, the EU Parliament and the Israeli Knesset, that have led to demands for appropriate changes in the curricula and textbooks, and to condition funding accordingly. The CEO is educational counselor and poet Dr. Shelley Elkayam.

IMPACT-SE has recently started a review of Israeli school books used in school year 2009-2010. It has discovered that the results of the previous report are even more positive. Acknowledgement of the human rights of others and overcoming suspicion, hatred and prejudices, are included in the curriculum, as are respect for Islam and Arabs. Despite the deterioration of Israeli-Arab relations after the second Intifada and the deep disenchantment with the peace process, peace is still presented as positive and worthwhile for all sides. IMPACT-SE website:

On a personal note, as an English tutor, I have found some of the text books used by my pupils confirm these findings about respect for Arabs.

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April 27, 2011 at 6:30 am 1 comment



Our most precious commodity


Author of “How to Avoid Armageddon”

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The ability to recognize the lie or the half-truth would have stopped many a demagogue from sowing the seeds of racial discrimination, exploitation, poverty and war. For example, if more Germans had recognized the half-truths and specious blandishments in Hitler’s rantings about German claims against their neighboring countries and the Jews, he probably wouldn’t have risen to power and plunged the world into a dreadful war which caused the devastation of his own people.

Life is full of similar examples, where because of human foibles, falsehood is accepted — either as naive belief or because it’s expedient — while the truth is rejected, leading to tragic consequences. The current issues of pollution, global warming, inter-racial hatred, religious fundamentalism and wars in various parts of the world, offer clear examples.

Till now the spread of falsehood and its complementary side, gullibility have merely led to devastation and misery. But because of the intensity of pollution and the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by tyrants and religious fanatics, the consequences could mean the end of life on this planet as we know it within the near future – either through nuclear radiation or at a later date through the irrevocable destruction of the earth’s ecostructure as a result of industrial and vehicular pollution.

So, the dire need of the moment is to heighten our ability to recognize falsehood promoted for political, ideological, religious and commercial interests – and oppose it actively and passionately. We must learn the difference between really knowing the truth about something and just believing it. We must understand the pernicious comfort lurking in wishful thinking. It is imperative to recognize demagoguery and glib propaganda, and to withstand the charm of smooth speakers and pay attention, not only to their appearance and style, but to their actual words. What is really being said, what is omitted, what is inconsistent with previous statements, what is unsubstantiated, what is illogical, what appeals to our sense of wishful thinking? Above all, we must be critically honest with ourselves.

The oft-repeated phrase that everyone has his own truth is one of the biggest cop-outs for serious challenge to time-honored, but questionable beliefs. What everyone has, is his or her own notion of truth, which usually lacks pertinent facts and includes half-truths and manifestations of wishful thinking. Nevertheless, every single thing has its own set of truths, based on reality and facts. A table, for example, is incontrovertibly and truly a table. It possesses certain clearly and easily assessed truths such as size, weight and use. However, the truth about subjects such as religion, politics, history cannot be ascertained in the same practical and objective way as a table. Indeed, there are many questions which defy ascertainment of the truth.

Of course we cannot limit our actions and opinions only to those which are based on incontrovertible truths. Otherwise we would spend our lives doing very little. Our lives are really based on probabilities. If I start my car at twenty past seven, I will get to work at five minutes to eight, which means that I will be at my desk exactly on time. This is a probability because I have done this hundreds of times.

Our opinions are also affected by wishful thinking. This is something that most people indulge in. For instance, we use transport that runs on fuel, which causes tremendous air pollution. We maintain a comfortable lifestyle by consuming huge amounts of electricity, which in most parts of the world is generated by coal. (Scientists have warned that the greenhouse effect resulting from this, has become a critical issue. I cannot know if this is true. I believe that it is, and therefore I cannot rely on reasurances by commercially or politically involved people.) But, through wishful thinking that humanity will eventually cope with these issues, we continue our participation in what might be a disastrous folly. And mad as it seems, the colossal pollution continues unabated.

Most people also have a strong tendency to stick with their opinions throughout their entire lives. New revelations, trends or proofs have little or no bearing on their attitudes. “I have always thought that blacks (or whites, Hispanics, Irish, Jews, Italians, French, Arabs, Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists … and whoever) are lazy, stupid, untrustworthy … or cowardly, frigid, over-sexed and whatever), and I will never change my mind.” Even though these are nonsensical, baseless impressions. “I will always vote for the Republicans” (or Democrats). I will never trust any lawyer … or dentist, automobile mechanic, plumber, policeman or whatever.” I’ve never trusted anyone who worked in such and such an occupation and I never will.” It’s a classical example of lying to oneself. 

Coming to grips with the meaning of the word “truth” becomes trickier when inter-personal, inter-communal and international issues are debated. Truth becomes an even more difficult issue when religion is considered.

Religion, and indeed every framework that purports to deal in truth and morality, must aim at truthfulness. Otherwise it is guilty of hypocrisy, by its very claim to deal in the truth. And this demands the honesty to recognize that belief, no matter how strongly felt, is not the same as really knowing something. Belief is really the same as assumption; it’s merely a possibility, which means that you can’t really know whether or not you have the truth about life’s eternal mysteries.

Many people believe in a certain religious system, not necessarily because they’ve thought about its validity, but because there just has to be a God up there who is looking after us and who will grant us eternal life in the hereafter if we believe in Him. Religious belief can be a wonderful thing if it makes us feel close to the unfathomable – call it divine if you will – essence of existence, and if it promotes morality and ethical behavior. But when not bound by a strong tendency towards truthfulness and respect for others with different perceptions, it can become very far removed from righteousness.

The pitfalls of belief without the balancing realization that it is merely belief, are evident when people kill other people of a different faith or ideology or opinion. Islamic suicide bombers illustrate this particular pitfall all too vividly.

Belief is not something limited only to religion. Many people believe in a political or ideological stand about something. Such belief can determine the course of history. Charismatic leaders, using all the tools of guile can sway entire societies into embracing ruinous economic and social paradigms and even thrust them into war. Today, the need for alertness in the face of such leadership has never been more pressing. This alertness is necessary also in the face of unknowing or unscrupulous journalists. We need to recognize also when instead of charisma, our leaders function as mere automatons or dullards.

And we need to question the wisdom of prevailing government systems. Do they enable the election and selection of the most suitable people; do they enable prompt, wise decision-making and execution, while having in place the checks and balances to prevent abuse of positions of power? If not, we need the integrity to do whatever we can on an individual basis, to work for the necessary changes.

The key to all this is personal truthfulness. Clearly it is humanity’s most important value. It’s what will redeem us all.

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April 23, 2011 at 7:14 am Leave a comment

Things that people say about Jews – Part 3

Continued from Part 2:


Doubts, delight and hope that it will happen again

Part 3 in a 3-part series


Author of “How to avoid Armageddon”

Available through Amazon

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It seems that the Arab world is fascinated by the Holocaust. It is featured on many talk shows, some appearing on this MEMRI video. Experts by the warped standards of scholarship when it comes to Jews, give their views, which are gleefully swallowed by the Arab public. Versions on the subject vary. What they all have in common is their flight in fancy. There was no Holocaust. Or only 30,000 Jews were killed. The Jews lie about the figures so as to gain world sympathy and money from Germany.

Although there is an encouraging sign of honesty and scholarship in a program presented by Al Fara’een TV of Egypt in January 2010. It came in the form of the interviewee, who clearly knew the subject well and tried to set the record straight for the interviewer and the viewers.

The program starts grimly with scenes of Nazi leaders, parades, concentration camps, barbed wire and groups of Jews being herded by German soldiers. A woman’s voice explains pleasantly: “Hitler and some of his aides realized that the German Jews were becoming a big headache. So Hitler began sentencing them to be burnt in camps … Hitler began to invade Europe … with every victory many Jews fled. No one can deny that the Jews were one of the main reasons for the defeat of Hitler in World War II after he had come very close to conquering the world.” Dah!!!

She continues: “The Jews managed to reach some of Hitler’s advisors and present them with ideas of a German invasion into Russia when it was snowing heavily. They also encouraged [Hitler] to send his forces to North Africa in a time of great heat.” (One can only wonder at the sources of the commentator’s unique information.) “Hitler was defeated after having burnt a not insignificant number of people who adhered to Judaism in Europe. We acknowledge that there was indeed a Holocaust of the Jews in some camps. But we completely disagree with the figures presented by the Jewish organizations and by Israel regarding the number of Jews burnt. Any observer can see that it was the Jews who provoked Hitler and drove him to take these measures.” Blame those nasty Jews for everything – even Hitler.

Now she comes to the whole point of the program: “The Jewish organizations and Israel claim that about three million Jews were burnt in the Holocaust. But we say the figure did not exceed 150,000. Others say the figures did not exceed 30,000. We condemn what happened to the Jews from 1933 till the end of the Second World War. But this does not mean that the Jews can extort the Germans this way. Germany should not continue to pay for the Holocaust mistake until Judgment Day.”

The gruesome film and the commentary end and an interview begins with Dr. Sa’id Okasha of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. He is a man who clearly knows his subject.

Interviewer (a pleasant young woman): “Were Jews burnt in Europe?”

Okasha: “I have reservations about raising this issue. I don’t know why the Arab world cares so much about the number of Holocaust victims.”

Interviewer: “Maybe because of the false claims made by the Jews about this.”

Okasha: “If the Nazis had killed 30,000 people like the figure in your report just because they were Jews, would it not have been a crime? Whenever you kill a person because his religion is different from yours it is a crime against humanity.”

Interviewer (interrupts): “But let’s talk about the figures. This is important to us because the Jews say it is three million.”

Okasha: “No, the Jews say six million, not three million. There are many mistakes in your report.”

Interviewer (wide-eyed): “This is the first time I hear this figure.”

Okasha: “This is the figure discussed in all the literature.”

Interviewer (confrontational): “We have conducted research and so on.” (sic)

Okasha: “In all the literature (it says that) in Auschwitz alone four million died …”

Interviewer (interrupts): “Well, we concluded the Jews say three million. We mentioned three figures – three million, 150,000 and 30,000.”

Okasha: “On what did you base this report? Where did you get three million, or 30,000?”

Interviewer: “And where did you get six million. Our figures at Al Fa’reen TV say this.”

A man called Ahmad speaks on the phone from Cairo: “The figures of the victims of this massacre is extremely exaggerated. The number of the Jews in the whole world was no more than two million.”

Okasha (amused): “Where did you get this figure?”

Interviewer: “… The Jews try as much as they can to exploit their Holocaust … in order to gain the sympathy of the world. They say they are an oppressed people. They say, ‘We have suffered a big holocaust and we want …’ “

Okasha tries to explain but the Interviewer continues: “Why are we focusing on the Jews. Because the Jews exploit this Holocaust and they present figures that are not true.”

Okasha: “The Holocaust was a real crime against humanity by targeting a large number of races including the Jews. There were Gypsies, Slavs and the handicapped.”

Interviewer (stops him): “Mr. Sa’id, we didn’t invite you here to cause trouble for us.” (This is surely a howler in the annals of television interviewing!)

If there is an encouraging sign in all this, it is the presence of Dr. Sa’id Okasha. He exhibited intellectual honesty and the courage to say things that quite possibly, few of his listeners wanted to hear. Judging by this appearance he is a courageous, independent-thinking model on intellectual values – something many western academics and journalists should learn to follow as well.

But it is the last part of MEMRI’s video that is the most distressing. Sheikh Amin al-Ansari spoke about Jews on Egypt’s Al-Rahma TV. Giving a commentary on newsreels from the Holocaust, this is how he related the dreadful scenes:

(In a quiet, measured tone): “Let’s watch the holocausts that the Jews underwent, which were Allah’s way of wreaking vengeance upon them. Let’s watch what the German army did to them.” (Screen shows a series of the usual horrors). He continues calmly: “This of course is part of the corruption of Germany by the Jews.” (Again the Jews are blamed for the depravity of the time). “These are corpses of dead humans and the shattered bones of Jews. (Military music is heard in the background.) Here we have a crematorium where Jews were burned. These are Jews who are being prepared to be burned. Look at these Jews (all naked) dying of hunger or by gas. Note the humiliation on his face. Allah be praised! Abasement and humiliation we brought down upon them and they became deserving of Allah’s wrath. Look at the starvation the Germans inflicted on them. Look what humiliation. And these are people being buried alive. Does this look like a human being? He is being placed in a ditch to be buried alive. This is a pile of bodies … Concentrate on this my brothers. Look they are tying five heads together. These are bodies. Here they are drilling a hole in this man’s back with a nail. This child awaits his turn. Watch their humiliation. And these are corpses, Allah be praised. The Jews are oppressors. They are being deported … These are bodies of the Jews being loaded like animals. Watch the tractor clearing away the corpses of the Jews.”

He begins to speak more quickly and with excitement: “And these are refugees awaiting their turn to be killed. A German soldier (actually, judging by the beret it’s a British soldier liberating the camp!!!) will come now. You will see a Jewish woman kiss his hand. Notice what humiliation, fear and terror have struck her. See how much she is kissing his hand. Watch her humiliation. This is what we hope will happen but at the hands of the Muslims … (Not only does this man of Allah fail to recognize evil at its ultimate worst, he mistakes the woman’s deep relief at being liberated for humiliation. Can this be because he so desperate to see the Jews humiliated and crushed.!)

To see the MEMRI video, click:

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April 10, 2011 at 6:27 am Leave a comment

Things that people say about Jews – Part 2

Part 2 in a 3-part series
continued from Part 1:

Even toddlers know the Jews

are apes and pigs


Author of “How to avoid Armageddon”

Available through Amazon

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Following the first part of this article, a number of people were indignant because the blog had dealt with a MEMRI video showing Arab clerics and scholars teaching hatred of the Jews to their followers. The use of the word “Nazis” in the heading was also questioned. The video clip has many appalling scenes that show Arab clerics teaching hatred of Jews on a scale that makes the ranting of Mein Kampf seem almost innocuous. However, my critics seemed to downplay the relevance of the promotion of hatred by Arab clerics; instead some  cited Arab grievances against Israel. It is a ploy that all Israel’s detractors use when confronted with something critical about Arabs. They downplay or ignore the criticism and focus on perceived wrongdoing by Israel. The fact that most of the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish rhetoric is based on outright lies, seems to have no importance for these critics either.

I want to reiterate that the reason for this commentary on MEMRI’s video and adding its link, is to inform people everywhere about the gross misrepresentation of Jews and Israel that has taken root in the Arab world and that is spreading. This is the pattern that Nazism followed. Only, today the lies and hatred is on a far greater level than anything Goebbels and company could have concocted. Gratifyingly, Israel today has the military might to stand up to another genocide. But make no mistake – it is genocide that the men of Allah who appear in MEMRI’s video, seek. One only has to listen to their words. 

In the first part of this blog, we mentioned the Passover blood libel, which is accepted as a fact by many people all over the Muslim world. A number of feature films have been made on the subject, which convincingly depict the Jews as ruthless, fanatic fiends. A scene of a young boy being kidnapped and dragged into a dungeon, where he is set upon by a number of sinister-looking Jew-types wearing skull-caps and sidelocks. Communicating with each other in gruff, growling voices, while speaking in deceptively gentle tones to the terrified boy, one of them suddenly slashes through the boy’s throat with a knife. A terrified scream and a lengthy scene showing blood pouring into a large basin, makes the point. The Jew is evil incarnate.

A recurring lesson: the Jews are also treacherous. The video shows a grandfatherly-looking Egyptian cleric Muhammed Sharaf el-Din presenting a lesson on Al Nas TV, Egypt. Speaking to a class of children aged between about 8-11, with charm and affection for his listeners, he tells them the story of a Jewish woman who invited the Prophet Muhammed to a meal in order to poison him. “She was shrewd,” he explains. “She said, that if he were truly a prophet he would know if the food was poisoned and then we would know that he is a prophet. But if his claim to be a prophet was false, he would die and we would be rid of him. She knew that the Prophet liked the right front leg of a lamb. She put poison inside and served it to him. He said ‘In the name of Allah’ as Muslims should say before eating and he cut off a piece of meat and was about to eat. But the lamb was resurrected and it said: Don’t eat me, I’m poisoned, oh Messenger of Allah’.”

Sharaf el-Din then turns to one little girl and asks kindly: “What did you learn for today’s show?”

Little girl: “I learned that the Jews are the people of treachery and betrayal.”

Sharaf el-Din (excitedly): “Allah Akbar. (God is great) Indeed, the Jews are the people of treachery and betrayal … This is the most beautiful thing I ever heard – that the Jews are the people of treachery, betrayal and vileness.”

Wonderful stuff for a children’s program! Obviously by certain Islamic standards.

*    *    *

Another children’s program on Saudi Arabia’s Iqra TV channel presents a cute little girl of about three or four years old. An interviewer (hidden from the camera) asks: “Do you know the Jews?”

Little girl (somewhat bashful): “Yes.”

“Do you like them?”


“Why don’t you like them?”

“They are apes and pigs.” (The little girl’s face lights up somewhat as though she is looking for approval.)

Interviewer repeats: “Because they are apes and pigs? Who said that about them?”

“Our Lord.”

“Where did he say that about them?”

“In the Koran.”

“That’s right!” says the interviewer approvingly. The child was probably well coached to say what was expected of her. Clearly she’s too small to know what she’s saying. And anyway, living in Saudi Arabia, she’s probably never seen a Jew in her life. But her innocent performance is dynamite for all the little children watching. 

Such a scene would be totally impossible in any Western country. If some TV company, government or private, put something similar on the air, it would be summarily removed and a stiff penalty and possibly lengthy jail sentence would be imposed on its producers. But maybe, we shouldn’t have written all this because after all, it probably offends the sensibilities of many good Western folks who consider themselves Liberals. Political correctness be damned!

*    *    *

A more jocular scene is taken from Lebanon’s Al Jadid TV station. A former Minister in the Lebanon Government, Wiam Wahab is chatting about the World Soccer Cup. The interviewer asks: “Who do you support in the World Cup?”

Wahab: “Brazil.”

Interviewer: “Yes, my children and I do too.”

Wahab: “But Brazil lost. My wife supports Germany.”

The former minister smiles and says: “I support Germany in politics and Brazil in soccer.” Then he throws out this gem. “I like the way Brazil plays, (chuckles) and I like the Germans because they hate the Jews and they burned them.” Good-natured laughter by both men – it’s all good, clean fun.

*    *    *

Far less jocular, is a clip showing one of the most eminent scholars in the Muslim world, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who frequently appears on el-Jazeera, where his programs are said to have over 40 million viewers!!! Here is an example of this enormously revered man’s thinking: “Throughout history Allah has imposed people upon the Jews, who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them, even though they exaggerated this issue, he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers (the Muslims). Continued part 3: <a

To see MEMRI’s video, click:

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April 8, 2011 at 9:26 am Leave a comment

Things that people say about Jews – 1

People who make Goebbels

look like a pussycat


Author of “How to avoid Armageddon”

Available through Amazon

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Many Arab leaders talk in two voices – one for their own people and another for the peace-loving people of the democratic West. However, their clerics and local media personalities talk in one voice – a voice that the West is largely closed off to because of the language barrier.

I recently received a video clip produced by MEMRI, with footage showing Muslim clerics, researchers, journalists and politicians talking about the Jews. These are people who frequently appear on the media in Arab countries and they play a part in shaping attitudes. It is important that all people concerned about the future listen to what they have to say.

The video opens with the Hamas Deputy Minister of Religious Endowments, Abdullah Jarbu, speaking on Al Aksa TV in Gaza. Clearly, he doesn’t care about political correctness: “The Jews suffer from a mental disorder because they are thieves and aggressors … They want to present themselves to the world as if they have rights, but in fact they are foreign bacteria – a microbe unparalleled in the world. May he (we assume he’s referring to the Creator of the Universe) annihilate this filthy people who have neither religion nor conscience. I condemn whoever believes in normalizing relations with them. Whoever supports sitting down with them, and whoever believes that they are human beings. They are not human beings. They are not people. They have no religion. No conscience and no moral values.”

The next educating voice, coming in a suit and talking in calmer tones, is a young Egyptian cleric, Salem Abd al-Qawi, appearing on Egypt’s Al-Nas TV. He is more succinct: “Our hatred of the Jews is based upon our faith. The Koran tells us to hate them, not to like them.”

This sentiment is acknowledged by another cleric whose name doesn’t appear. But he is no less emphatic. An old man with a large, white beard and a theatrical manner, he declares: “If the Jews left Palestine to us, would we start liking them? Of course not! We will never like them. Your belief regarding the Jews should be – first that they are infidels, second that they are enemies, not only because they occupy Palestine. They would have been enemies even if they didn’t occupy a thing.” Well, at least he doesn’t beat about the bush.

Next, appearing on Qatar TV, is another cleric Muhammed al-Muraikhi, who confirms this sentiment with an angry expression: “We will treat the Jews as our enemies even if they return Palestine to us because they are infidels.”

Not to be outdone a Palestine cleric, Wa’el al-Zarrad, informs us on Hamas Al Aksa TV in Gaza: “As Muslims our blood vengeance against the Jews will only subside with their annihilation, Allah willing, because they tried to kill our Prophet several times.”

And Egyptian cleric, Masoud Anwar, appears on Al Rahma TV with the following lesson: “The worst enemies of the Muslims – after Satan – are the Jews. Who said this? Allah did.”


Now with the Jewish holiday of Passover approaching, many people all over the world bring up the old blood libel. Starting in Europe during the Middle Ages, many Arabs have taken this salacious lie about the Jews as the gospel truth.

Says Iranian commentator Dr. Hassan Hanizadik on Iran’s Jaam-e-Jam 2 TV: “In 1883 about 150 French children were murdered in a horrible way in the suburbs of Paris before the Jewish Passover holiday.” Soft-spoken and with a candid expression, he seems bashful about uttering these terrible things. “Later research showed that the Jews had killed them and taken their blood. This even caused riots in Paris and the French government found itself under pressure. A similar incident occurred in London when many English children were killed by Jewish rabbis.”

Egyptian researcher Muhammed al-Buheiri, adds to this knowledge about the Jews on Nile Culture TV: “It had to be a child who had not reached puberty. They would abduct him and put him in a barrel designed for this purpose, which had holes in the sides at the place of the arteries. They would insert iron skewers through the barrel, and make the boys’ blood flow that way. Then they would collect the blood and use it for Passover.” Culture TV?

Now, one would expect that the President of the American Center for Islamic Research would be able to recognize nonsense and certainly not spout it. But Dr. Sallah Sultan, the worthy president of the above-mentioned research center expounded loudly on the subject on Hamas Al Aksa TV in Gaza: “Every year at this time, the Zionists kidnap several non-Muslims – Christians and others. By the way, this happened in a Jewish suburb in Damascus. They killed the French doctor Toma, who used to treat the Jews and others for free. Even though he was their friend and they benefited from him the most, they slaughtered him along with a nurse. Then they kneaded the matzos with the blood of Dr. Toma and his nurse. They do this every year.” The doctor of whatever then smiles, tilts head and raises finger and says earnestly: “The world must know these facts about the Zionist entity and its terrible corrupt creed. The world should know this.”

The juiciest clip comes from Egyptian cleric Safwat Highzat, appearing on Al Nas TV. A pleasant-looking man in a suit and tie and a wise face, he claims: “Shimon Peres was the commander of the armored corps, which lined up Egyptian POWs and mowed them down with tanks. In 1967 Shimon Peres killed Egyptians with his own hands and collected their blood in his iron helmet. He filled his helmet with the blood of Egyptian martyrs in order to dry it up and keep it as a souvenir in his home, so that whoever saw it would know that Peres had fulfilled his duty toward his God.”

One wonders what Israel’s urbane president would make of this drivel. He had always been too valuable as a political negotiator and organizer for Israel’s old guard leadership, and therefore had never been inducted into the army, let alone rose in the ranks. Clearly rewriting history in accordance with a highly fanciful imagination, the Egyptian cleric has nevertheless probably created the funniest, most ridiculous fable in all Israel’s history. You’re in the wrong business, Safwat. The Egyptian movie industry should offer you a script-writing job.

But jokes aside, as a Jew and an Israeli, I wish we could find a way to forge a viable peace together with our Arab neighbors. But for that one needs truthfulness and mutual respect. Both are clearly woefully missing in these Arab TV broadcasts which reach the masses. Millions of Arabs are thus duped by this nonsense and continue to believe the worst about Israel and the Jews, driving peace farther and farther away.
Continued at Part 2:

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MEMRI (The Middle East Media Research Institute) was founded in 1998 in order to monitor and translate what is really being said throughout the Muslim World. MEMRI is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization, based in Washington, with branches in various parts of the world. This video had been presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council. One would like to think that they took it seriously. But its record would suggest that that is unlikely.

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April 6, 2011 at 5:53 am Leave a comment


Telling it like it really is



Ralph Dobrin is the author of “How to Avoid Armageddon”

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For a number of years one of the most reviled states in the world is Israel, which is condemned in various United Nations forums more often than all the other nations put together – and that includes repressive regimes such as Iran, North Korea, Sudan, China, Zimbabwe and a whole slew of sub-Saharan African countries where inter-clan killing is a way of life. All over the western world many political parties, labor unions, municipalities, churches and universities frequently call for boycott, sanctions and divestment from Israel. In over 50 universities, students and lecturers hold an annual Israel Apartheid Week and the number keeps growing every year. There are a number of reason for Israel’s unfavorable status among the nations, including conquest and occupation of territories belonging to the Palestinians. Also cited is the prevention of granting the Palestinians national independence, for commiting a large range of serious human rights abuses and for being an Apartheid and Nazi-style state.

That this is very far from the truth can be demonstrated by asking one simple question: Does it make any sense for one small nation of six million Jews to provoke and anger over 300 million Arabs, backed by another over billion Muslims. There are many other factors to this grossly lopsided equation that make the odds against Israel even more preposterous. So clearly, it doesn’t make any sense for Israel to have done any of these things – the way they are described. To a very large extent, the root cause of Arab misfortunes is not due to any perfidy on the part of Israel, but their own unrelenting aggression against the Jewish state, which has always resulting in an Israeli response. Indeed, often Israel’s response has been belated in the hope that Arab aggression would simmer down or stop. But most of the rest of the world does not see it this way. Neither do the Arabs themselves.

In actual fact, Israel would do anything to achieve a peaceful settlement with the Arab world and its angry Muslim supporters, short of committing national suicide – which is what agreeing to all the Palestinian demands would more than likely lead to. But the constant anti-Israel protests by some of the most supposedly enlightened, prominent and influential people throughout the Western World continue.

However, there are a number of politicians, religious leaders, journalists and academics who have no family affiliation to the Jewish people or to Israel, yet who stand up to this continuous welter of recrimination, pointing out the misrepresentation of facts regarding the Israel-Arab conflict. In doing so, they risk ostracism and even exclusion from prestigious circles in their various fields.

 One person who does this, is eminently qualified to comment accurately on the conflict. Denis M. MacEoin has studied and lectured on Islamic studies and Arabic since the late nineteen seventies. Universities where he has lectured include the Mohammed 5th University in Fez, Morocco, Newcastle and Durham Universities. He has written many books, research papers and hundreds of articles on Islamic issues, particularly the development of radical Islam. MacEoin is also a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly. In addition to all this, he is a prolific novelist, writing under the pen names of Daniel Easterman and Jonathan Aycliffe.

When the Student Association of Edinburgh University voted to participate in the Israel Apartheid Week he sent them a letter, expressing his deep disappointment as a former student. Here are excerpts from his letter:
… There has never been a system of apartheid in Israel. This is a fact that can be tested against reality by any Edinburgh student, should he or she choose to visit Israel to see for themselves.

… I have the impression that those members of EUSA (Edinburgh University Student Association) who voted for this motion are absolutely clueless in matters concerning Israel, and are, in all likelihood, the victims of extremely biased propaganda coming from the anti-Israel lobby. Being anti-Israel is not in itself objectionable. But I’m … speaking of a hatred that permits itself no boundaries in the lies and myths it pours out. Thus, Israel is repeatedly referred to as a “Nazi” state. In what sense is this true, even as a metaphor? Where are the Israeli concentration camps? The einzatsgruppen? The SS? The Nuremberg Laws? The Final Solution? None of these things nor anything remotely resembling them exists in Israel, precisely because the Jews, more than anyone on earth, understand what Nazism stood for. It is claimed that there has been an Israeli Holocaust in Gaza (and elsewhere). Where? When? No honest historian would treat that claim with anything but the contempt it deserves. But calling Jews Nazis and saying they have committed a Holocaust is as basic a way to subvert historical fact as anything I can think of.

Likewise Apartheid. For Apartheid to exist, there would have to be a situation that closely resembled things in South Africa under the Apartheid regime. … A weekend in any part of Israel would be enough to show how ridiculous the claim is. That a body of university students actually fell for this and voted on it is a sad comment on the state of modern education. The most obvious focus for apartheid would be Israel’s 20% Arab population. Under Israeli law, Arab Israelis have exactly the same rights as Jews or anyone else; Muslims have the same rights as Jews or Christians; Baha’is, severely persecuted in Iran, flourish in Israel, where they have their world centre; Ahmadi Muslims, severely persecuted in Pakistan and elsewhere, are kept safe by Israel; the holy places of all religions are protected under a specific Israeli law. Arabs form 20% of the university population (an exact echo of their percentage in the general population). In Iran, the Baha’is (the largest religious minority) are forbidden to study in any university or to run their own universities: why aren’t your members boycotting Iran? 

Arabs in Israel can go anywhere they want, unlike blacks in apartheid South Africa. They use public transport, they eat in restaurants, they go to swimming pools, they use libraries, they go to cinemas alongside Jews – something no black could do in South Africa. Israeli hospitals, not only treat Jews and Arabs, they also treat Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank. On the same wards, in the same operating theaters. 

In Israel, women have the same rights as men: there is no gender apartheid. Gay men and women face no restrictions, and Palestinian gays often escape into Israel, because they may be killed at home. It seems bizarre to me that LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) groups call for a boycott of Israel and say nothing about countries like Iran, where gay men are hanged or stoned to death. That illustrates a mindset that beggars belief. Intelligent students thinking it’s better to be silent about regimes that kill gay people, but good to condemn the only country in the Middle East that rescues and protects gay people. Is that supposed to be a sick joke?

University is supposed to be about learning to use your brain, to think rationally, to examine evidence, to reach conclusions based on solid evidence, to compare sources, to weigh up one view against one or more others. If the best Edinburgh can now produce are students who have no idea how to do any of these things, then the future is bleak. I do not object to well documented criticism of Israel. I do object when supposedly intelligent people single out the Jewish state above states that are horrific in their treatment of their own populations. We are going through the biggest upheaval in the Middle East since the 7th and 8th centuries, and it’s clear that Arabs and Iranians are rebelling against terrifying regimes that fight back by killing their own citizens. Israeli citizens – Jews and Arabs alike – do not rebel (though they are free to protest).

Yet Edinburgh students mount no demonstrations and call for no boycotts against Libya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iran. They prefer to make false accusations against one of the world’s freest countries, the only country in the Middle East that has taken in Darfur refugees, the only country in the Middle East that gives refuge to gay men and women, the only country in the Middle East that protects the Baha’is. The imbalance is perceptible and it sheds no credit on anyone who voted for this boycott. 

I ask you to show some common sense. Get information from the Israeli embassy. Ask for some speakers. Listen to more than one side. Do not make your minds up until you have given a fair hearing to both parties. You have a duty to your students, and that is to protect them from one-sided argument. They are not at university to be propagandised. And they are certainly not there to be tricked into anti-Semitism by punishing one country among all the countries of the world, which happens to be the only Jewish state.

Your generation has a duty to ensure that the perennial racism of anti-Semitism never sets down roots among you. Today, however, there are clear signs that it has done so and is putting down more. You have a chance to avert a very great evil, simply by using reason and a sense of fair play.

We can only hope, for the sake of the great University of Edinburgh, the alma mater of countless brilliant thinkers for hundreds of years, that Denis MacEoin’s words will be heeded. Indeed, that goes for universities everywhere.

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April 1, 2011 at 7:23 pm Leave a comment