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From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true. /FK (Contact: TBONotebooks at fastmail.fm. The Blue Octavo Notebooks welcomes mail, although we cannot guarantee a response. Your email may be posted in part on The Blue Octavo Notebooks unless otherwise requested.) Please enjoy the notebook entries, and thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

MEMRI has posted a report of Palestinian Authority sermons from 2000-2003:

Each Khatib (preacher) is a paid employee of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The sermons are broadcast live every Friday at noon from mosques under control of the PA and are shown on PA television. Part I of this report includes the common themes of the sermons, such as: calls for the destruction of the U.S., the perceived American Crusader war against Islam, honoring Shahids and the rewards of the martyrs, educating children to martyrdom, and antisemitism, including calls for the killing of Jews. Part II includes Palestinian leaders being questioned by Western journalists about the content of the sermons, and is followed by Part III, the transcripts of the Friday sermons.

One of my favorite comments in the report is in Part II, and comes not from a Muslim preacher but from famed Palestinian commentator Hanan Ashrawi. In an interview, she claims that the Palestinian Authority has no control over its own television network and that the P.A. exercises “no censorship or control.” Oho, indeed. When confronted with an example of this rabidly anti-Semitic hate speech, during which the speaker exhorts people to kill Jews, Ashrawi appears more concerned with how the reporter obtained the footage than with what was actually communicated in it. As always, one wonder if even Ashrawi herself believes her own drivel.

There’s a lot of stuff here, most of it despicable, so please be forewarned. After reading it, I was reminded of something that Beate Klarsfeld said in October, 2002, during a talk at Hebrew Union College:

It is abnormal that in France it is never remembered that until 1967 Jordan, which controlled the West Bank, never proposed even a simply autonomy to the Palestinians. They were Jordanian citizens—that is all. No right to speak, no right to claim, no university… They were only allowed to hate Israel.

It is abnormal that the fact that Arafat and his negotiators rae deying the existing of a Jewish Temple in Jerusalm does not raise an eyebrow in the French intelligentsia.

It is abnormal that France and Europe don’t want to understand how hard it is for a democracy to have to negotiate with dictators who do not wish the good and the happiness of their people but are looking to further their own power. And such power can only be maintained by the hate of Israel. [....]

It is abnormal that France and Europe do not condemn clearly and vigorously the campaign of hate against the Jewish people present everywhere in the Arab states. This is an anti-Semitism of the Middle Ages: “the Jews drink the blood of Arab babies”; an antisemitism of the 1930s: “The Jews control the world”; and a neo-Nazi antisemitism: “The Shoah is an invention of the Jewish people”; not taking into account rumors presented as fact: “The Jews destroyed the Twin Towers.”

It is abnormal that this learning of hate, present also in Palestinian school books, in financed by the European Union.

Abnormal indeed, but on it goes. This continued broadcasting of anti-Israel and anti-Jew hate speech is a direct violation of the PA’s obligations under the Oslo Accords, in which Arafat and the PA agreed to refrain from incitement against Israel and to take measures to prevent others from engaging in it. The fact that the PA continues to disseminate this hateful garbage proves yet again that they have willfully ignored what they themselves agreed to ten years ago (and this is but one of myriad PA violations of the Oslo Accords). This willful failure to make anything other than negligible efforts in this area makes one suspicious of claims that Arafat and his government are indeed doing anything to prepare the Palestinian people to live peacefully next to Israel.

Would you like to live within, at most, a few dozen miles of a country where the government-controlled media regularly broadcasts calls for people to murder you and people like you? This is the prospect confronting people in Israel. It’s easy for people whose country is bordered by Canada and Mexico to complain about Israel’s actions vis-à-vis Palestinian nationalism, but their attitudes might be different without their geographic security, to say the least. If you think Israel’s security wall is bad, imagine how America would respond to a few hundred cross-border terrorist attacks from Mexico. Or ask Pancho Villa.

Such hate speech as detailed in the MEMRI report surely constitutes an injustice of sorts, if only to good taste and the sensibilities of those who don’t approve of bigoted hate speech. As such, I look forward to hearing outcries against these and other sorts of Palestinian hate speech from those who claim to be oh-so concerned about justice in Palestine. Perhaps the International Solidarity Movement might stage a protest outside one of the mosques where such hate speech originates. Or do concerns for justice in Palestine not extend beyond attacking Israel’s security fence?

Oh, one thing I’ve always wondered about these sermons: If a Jew converts to Islam, does he remain a descendant of pigs and apes? Just wondering.

In other news, Iran doesn’t let the horrific deaths of 20,000 people (and counting) get in the way of a little inane and wholly counterproductive Israel bashing: “Jahanbakhsh Khanjani, a spokesman for Iran's Interior Ministry, said Saturday that Iran would accept aid from all countries of the world, aside from Israel…. ‘The Islamic Republic of Iran accepts all kinds of humanitarian aid from all countries and international organizations with the exception of the Zionist regime [Israel],’ Khanjani said.” Boy, what can you say in response in that?

And Egypt’s Al-Ahram is (surprise!) chock full of bluster this week. Check out Azmi “Little-h holocaust” Bishara’s predictably rank smear of American Jewish liberals (they’ve allied themselves with… wait for it!… the Neo-Cons. Eek!). And for someone like Bishara to be complaining about someone like Alan Dershowitz for putatively inflammatory and offensive rhetoric is more than a bit rich, to say the least. “The death of the liberal Jew,” indeed. Ibrahim “Arabs are Semite’s, Too!” Nafie moans about Israel’s nukes— it’s sooo bloody unfair, boo-hoo-hoo, and “Israel must be designated as the region's only remaining rogue state”—and Columbia’s Joseph Massad gets oh-so hoity-toity and offended over the Geneva Accords. And, not surprisingly, the letters to the editor would seem to indicate that many of the paper’s readers were less than pleased with Al-Ahram’s recent round table discussion with the American ambassador. Another delightful letter to the editor includes the following gems of insight:

Here are some fact (sic) about President Saddam Hussein's capture. For his credit, he did not hide in another country but stayed with his people for almost one year; news of his capture was timed to last for a few days in the media, and was timed for Sunday talk shows; Bush ran and hid after the destruction of two buildings planned by Zionists and executed by misled Muslims; now Iraqi resistance will gain power -- Saddam is 68 (sic) years old and irrelevant.

Planned by Zionists?! O.K., who let the cat out of the bag? Well, thank goodness we have progressive media outlets like Al-Ahram, the semi-official daily of the supposedly most moderate Arab regime, to keep classic anti-Semitic, er, anti-Zionist tropes alive and kicking. Ah, Al-Ahram. But I find the paper’s indignant articles about the Egyptian Foreign Minister being assaulted by Palestinians somewhat lacking: I mean, Al-Ahram never gets this upset when self-detonating Palestinians murder innocent Israelis, but when Palestinians assault an Egyptian they’re suddenly all hot and bothered. Ho hum.

Update: A report from the Associated Press notes that an Egyptian paper has slammed Arafat for the attack on Egypt’s Foreign Minister at the Temple Mount:

"It is now time to adopt a new attitude toward the Palestinian Authority, to tell them 'No' a thousand times, as we are not so naive as they think," Ibrahim Saada wrote in an editorial of Akhbar Elyom on Saturday. [….]

In words addressed to Arafat, Saada said: "Your excellency, the sole spokesman of the Palestinian people, we are fed up with your repetition that any Palestinian act against Egypt, or any Palestinian act - verbal or physical - against an Egyptian official, should be blamed on a trivial, small and banned group."

The editorial went on to recall several occasions when Arafat's policies have been directly opposed to those of Egypt, such as after the country signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

Saada said that after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981, "his excellency the Palestinian president was the first among those who rejoiced, clapped and danced."

Rejoicing and clapping at the brutal assassination of a Noble Peace Prize Laureate is certainly odd behavior for, uh, a future Noble Peace Prize Laureate. This article is notable, I guess, but as I noted above it would be nice to see the Egyptian media getting even half this worked up over, say, Palestinian suicide bombers murdering people. Of course, the article also manages to blame Israel for the attack, despite television footage showing Israeli policemen shielding Maher from the mob, at great risk to themselves, and the fact that both President Mubarak and FM Maher called Israeli Prime Minister Sharon to thank him for Israel’s aid in the matter. So it goes.

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