The Guardian’s Simon Jenkins repeats lies about Palestinian sympathy for the U.S. after 9/11 attacks

As part of the Guardian’s focus on the upcoming tenth anniversary of the attacks against the United States on 9/11 by Al Qaeda terrorists, the Guardian published brief essays on the subject, “What impact did 9/11 have on world?“, Sept. 5, by nine contributors, including one apologist for radical Islam, George Galloway and an unapologetic Islamist and antisemite (and CiF contributorInayat Bunglawala.

While there’s much to comment on, the following passage by one of the essayists in this series, the Guardian’s Simon Jenkins, really caught my attention:

“Had the world responded to his 9/11 attack on America with moderation he [Osama Bin Laden] would probably have disappeared, expelled from Afghanistan or killed by his Tajik enemies. Even the Taliban were known to have been shocked by 9/11, when almost the entire Muslim world came out in sympathy with America (including the PLO in Palestine). [emphasis mine]”

Now the notion that almost the entire Muslim world came “out in sympathy with America” is just untrue, and represents Guardian Left wishful thinking, and the propensity not to be burdened with unpleasant realities, at it’s worst.

For one thing, Gallup surveys in 2002 demonstrated a deeply held belief among a large majority of the Arab world that Osama bin Laden had absolutely nothing to do with the September 11th massacres.

Polls conducted in 2001, only a couple of months after the 9/11 attacks, showed widespread contempt for the U.S. in the Muslim world – with an overwhelming percentage of respondents characterizing the U.S. as “ruthless”, “aggressive”, “conceited”, and “arrogant”. 

And, whatever crocodile tears Yasser Arafat may have shed for the Western media, a poll in October 2001 showed that 43% of Palestinians viewed the attacks on 9/11 as “consistent with Arab interests?”, while another 9% responded that they “weren’t sure”. 

Another poll in October of 2001 showed that nearly half of all Palestinians believed not only that Al Qaeda wasn’t responsible for the attacks on 9/11, but that the attacks were a “Jewish plot”.

And, reports and images of thousands of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, Nablus, and Lebanon spontaneously taking to the streets in celebration upon hearing news of the 9/11 attacks were broadcast around the world.

This expression of joy at the murder of thousands of innocent Americans – consistent with polls showing overwhelming Palestinian support, before 2001, for terror attacks against the U.S. – took place before one bomb fell on Kabul or Baghdad. 

Of course, the narrative that America’s war against radical Islam is a greater problem to the world than radical Islam itself is so ingrained in Guardian Left thought that no evidence to the contrary is likely to make a difference.

Simon Jenkins’ essay is proof that if you repeat a lie often enough it can indeed become conventional wisdom.

10 replies »

  1. I can’t comment on the rejoicing in the Lebanon, but I remember that not only were the Arabs dancing in the streets in East Jerusalem and Nabulas, but also handing out sweets to the children – until an edict came down from the PLO that this might possibly alianate public opinion in the US. At which point they all suddenly became tearful and expressed their condolences – crocodile tears!

  2. I recall seeing Arafat on TV visually embarrassed by the exposure by the media of the jubilation of singing and dancing that was going on, that he desperately tried to play down the significance of all what we, the viewer could not help but see. “Crocodile tears” is a very apt description. But what sort of person is Simon Jenkins, to take a pot shot at Israel by defending the PLO, which had just launched an intifada. Here is the record from Jan 2001 to September 2001:

    Jan 1, 2001 – A car bomb exploded near a bus stop in the shopping district in the center of Netanya. About 60 people were injured, most lightly. One unidentified person, apparently one of the terrorists involved in the bombing, died of severe burns. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Feb 8, 2001 – A powerful car bomb exploded at 4:40 PM in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Beit Yisrael in Jerusalem, causing mild injuries to four people.

    Feb 14, 2001 – Eight people were killed and 25 injured when a bus driven by a Palestinian terrorist plowed into a group of soldiers and civilians waiting at a bus stop near Holon, south of Tel-Aviv.

    Mar 1, 2001 – One person was killed and 9 injured when a terrorist detonated a bomb in a Tel Aviv to Tiberias service taxi at the Mei Ami junction in Wadi Ara.

    Mar 4, 2001 – Three people were killed and at least 60 injured in a suicide bombing in downtown Netanya.

    Mar 27, 2001 – A car bomb exploded at 7:40 in the morning in the Talpiot industrial/commercial zone in Jerusalem. Seven people were injured, one moderately. The Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Mar 27, 2001 – 28 people were injured, two seriously, in a suicide bombing directed against a northbound No. 6 bus at the French Hill junction in Jerusalem. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Mar 28, 2001 – Two teenagers were killed and four injured, one critically, in a suicide bombing at the Mifgash Hashalom (“peace stop”) gas station several hundred meters from an IDF roadblock near the entrance to Kalkilya, east of Kfar Saba. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Apr 22, 2001 – A terrorist detonated a powerful bomb he was carrying near a group of people waiting at a bus stop on the corner of Weizman and Tchernichovsky streets in Kfar Sava. One person was killed and about 60 injured in the blast, two severely. The terrorist was also killed in the explosion, for which Hamas claimed responsibility.

    Apr 23, 2001 – Eight people were lightly hurt in a car bombing in Or Yehuda, a few kilometers north of Ben-Gurion Airport, which senior police officers said could only be described as a “miracle” in an area packed with pre-Independence Day shoppers.

    Apr 29, 2001 – A car bomb blew up close to a school bus travelling near the West Bank city of Nablus. There were no injuries in the attack. The body of the suicide bomber was found in the car. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

    May 18, 2001 – A Palestinian suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest detonated himself outside the Hasharon Shopping Mall in the seaside city of Netanya. Five civilians were killed and over 100 wounded in the attack. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

    May 25, 2001 – 65 people were injured in a car bombing in the Hadera central bus station. The two terrorists were apparently killed in the explosion. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

    May 27, 2001 – A car bomb exploded in the center of Jerusalem shortly after midnight. There were no injuries. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility.
    A bomb exploded at 9:00 in the morning near the intersection of the capital’s main Jaffa Road and Heshin Street. The bomb included several mortar shells, some of which were propelled hundreds of meters from the site of the explosion. 30 people were injured, most suffering from shock. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

    May 30, 2001 – A car bomb exploded shortly before 16:00 outside a school in Netanya while a number of students were still in the building studying for matriculation exams. Eight people were injured, suffering from shock and hearing impairment. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

    June 1, 2001 – 21 people were killed and 120 wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a disco near Tel Aviv’s Dolphinarium along the seafront promenade just before midnight on Friday, June 1, while standing in a large group of teenagers waiting to enter the disco.

    June 22, 2001 – Sgt. Aviv Iszak, 19, of Kfar Saba, and Sgt. Ofir Kit, 19, of Jerusalem, were killed near Dugit in the Gaza Strip as a jeep with yellow Israeli license plates, supposedly stuck in the sand, blew up as they approached. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

    July 2, 2001 – Two separate bombs exploded at about 8:20 Monday morning in cars in the Tel-Aviv suburb of Yehud. Six pedestrians were lightly injured. Police sources say the bombs were probably set by terrorists. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a radical PLO faction, claimed responsibility.

    July 9, 2001 – A Palestinian suicide bomber was killed in a car-bombing attack near the Kissufim crossing point in the southern Gaza Strip, causing no other casualties. Disaster was averted as the bomb exploded without hitting any other vehicles. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

    July 16, 2001 – Cpl. Hanit Arami, 19, and St.Sgt. Avi Ben Harush, 20, both of Zichron Yaakov, were killed and 11 wounded – 3 seriously – when a bomb exploded in a suicide terrorist attack at a bus stop near the train station in Binyamina, halfway between Netanya and Haifa, at about 19:30 Monday evening. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Aug 8, 2001 – A suicide bomber was killed when he detonated his car bomb, lightly wounding one soldier, at a roadblock near the B’kaot moshav in the northern Jordan Valley shortly after 9:00. One soldier was lightly wounded.

    Aug 9, 2001 – 15 people were killed, including 7 children, and about 130 injured in a suicide bombing at the Sbarro pizzeria on the corner of King George Street and Jaffa Road in the center of Jerusalem. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Aug 12, 2001 – 21 people were injured in a suicide bombing in the Wall Street Cafe in the center of Kiryat Motzkin at 17:30. The terrorist was killed. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Aug 21, 2001 – A bomb placed under a car exploded at 14:15 near the Russian Compound in downtown Jerusalem; one woman was treated for shock. A second, very large unexploded bomb was discovered inside the car and dismantled.

    Sept 4, 2001 – 20 people were injured when a suicide terrorist exploded a powerful charge on Hanevi’im Street near Bikur Holim hospital in central Jerusalem shortly before 8:00 AM. The terrorist, disguised as a Jew in ultra-orthodox clothing, aroused the suspicion of passersby due to the large backpack he was wearing. As two Border Police officers approached the man, he detonated his shrapnel-packed bomb. Both officers were wounded – one critically. The terrorist was killed in the blast. Hamas claimed responsibility.

    Sept 9, 2001 – Three people were killed and some 90 injured, most lightly, in a suicide bombing near the Nahariya train station in northern Israel. The terrorist, killed in the blast, waited nearby until the train arrived from Tel-Aviv and people were exiting the station, and then exploded the bomb he was carrying. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Sept 9, 2001 – A car bomb exploded at the Beit Lid junction near Netanya, injuring 17 people. One person killed in the explosion is believed to be the terrorist bomber.

  3. “Now the notion that almost the entire Muslim world came “out in sympathy with America” is just untrue, and represents Guardian Left wishful thinking,”

    Simon Jenkins is not a ‘Guardian Left(ist)’. He is an ex-editor of the Times and the London Evening Standard (both right-wing papers). His regular column in the Guardian is an example of that paper’s openness to a wide range of opinion.

    • Further to the above.
      Simon Jenkins’ statement that “almost the entire Muslim world came out in sympathy with America (including the PLO in Palestine).” is true insofar as government responses are concerned (almost certainly his intended meaning). Adam’s case to the contrary based on opinion polls and demonstrations is therefore beside the point. You can see an exhaustive list of Islamic countries’ government reactions to 9/11 here:
      Iraq is almost alone in not expressing sympathy and outrage.

      • sencar if I understand the point you are attempting to make, it is that Governments, in certain countries, were making sympathetic noises to the USA but their populations were coming out on the streets and demonstrating their support for the 9/11 terrorists.
        So tell me in which of those countries, including that run by the PLO, would the population dare or be allowed to demonstrate a view contrary to their Government without the harshest of crackdowns by the state?

        • Let me spell it out Gerald:
          1) Jenkins said most Muslim countries were sympathetic to the US after 9/11. If you read some of the pages from the site I gave you you’ll see that virtually all of the countries with majority Muslim populations (51 in all) made statements to this effect. Moreover many offered help of various kinds.
          2) Adam quotes various sources claiming to show popular opinion in those countries was hostile to the US, but his evidence is pretty thin:
          a. Some thought Bin Laden wasn’t responsible. This isn’t a sign of lack of sympathy. Surely it indicates that people recognised the horror of 9/11 but couldn’t bring themselves to believe that a man they approved of could have done it.
          b. Opinion polls showed Arab contempt for US. Unfortunately Adam’s link doesn’t work so I can’t comment.
          c) The remainder of the polls and demonstrations quoted concern only Palestinians, a tiny fraction of the ‘Muslim world’ referred to by Jenkins, and one with greatest reason to be hostile to the US (because of its support for Israel).

          3) Since the quoted demonstrations were all Palestinian your point about authoritarian governments not allowing demonstrations with which they disagree is irrelevant. In any case the 51 countries concerned cover a large part of the authoritarian/tolerant spectrum; many of them permit demonstrations and other political opposition.

          Incidentally, one of the most cynical and callous responses to 9/11 came from Netanyahu when he claimed that it was “good for Israel”. See:

          • sencar would you be good enough to answer the question I asked?

            It is clear enough so no need to attempt to muddy the waters with your usual candyfloss and donkey crap.

            • I assume your question is: “in which of those countries, including that run by the PLO, would the population dare or be allowed to demonstrate a view contrary to their Government without the harshest of crackdowns by the state?”

              Not an easy question to answer accurately but I’ve taken it seriously and, using data from the 2010 Freedom House survey, would say the following:
              1) Freedom House divides countries into ‘Free’, ‘Partly Free’ and ‘Not Free’, using a scored checklist. On that basis of the 51 Muslim majority countries 2 rate as ‘Free’, 19 as ‘Partly Free’ and 30 as ‘Not Free’.
              2) Indonesia and Mali rate ‘Free’, so freedom to demonstrate can be assumed.
              3) I’ve looked at the detailed notes on the first three ‘Partly Free’ countries (you can look up more if you like at
              Of Albania Freedom House say “Freedoms of association and assembly are generally respected.”
              Of Bangladesh they say “Restrictions on rights of assembly and association under the EPR were fully lifted by the end of 2008”
              Of Bosnia they say “The constitution provides for freedoms of assembly and association, and the various levels of government generally respect these rights in practice.”

              I think you can deduce from this that there are significant numbers of Muslim majority countries where people are free to demonstrate against the government and its policies.

      • The point sencar is this. If the muslim populations in Pakistan , Afghanistan , Saudi Arabia came out en masse to support their Governments’ words of support for the US at that time, there would very unlikely to have been a change of direction. The problem sencar, is that the support for terrorism against the US at a time when Arab and Muslim leaders had not fully taken in the significance of what happened (and nor had we)and what might have happened next, that the best way forward was to play the matter down and not to be so enthused in public, After all President Bush was calling for a “war on terror”, and no one cherished the thought that they might want to be seen as sympathisers of OBL and be a target. Jenkins(right or left) has made his comment which explains matters in the most shallow way that allows him to conclude in the way he has.

        There were clearly many people shocked and disgusted by what had happened, including Muslims, many of whom must have also feared a backlash of people’s anger to add to the anxiety of all concerned.The emotional state of many Muslims must have been also one of pride to have someone poke the US in the eye and see it weep and how it looked weak.Knowing the score, it cost nothing for many leaders to express some regret.Yamomoto, following the striking success at Pearl Harbour remarked : “A military man can scarcely pride himself on having ‘smitten a sleeping enemy’; it is more a matter of shame, simply, for the one smitten. I would rather you made your appraisal after seeing what the enemy does, since it is certain that, angered and outraged, he will soon launch a determined counterattack.”

        As time moves on, more and mre is revealed as to how the plotters received support, even from Iran who gave passage to them and their organisers. Who cares about Sunni and Shia differences , when the US is the target?