General Antisemitism

What about the Grand Mufti’s desire to ‘liquidate the Jews’ doesn’t Robert Fisk understand?

Fisking “Middle East expert” Robert Fisk can be especially challenging, as he often pivots seamlessly between mere distortions and outright fabrications within the same essay.  His latest op-ed at The Independent, The real poison is to be found in Arafat’s legacy, Nov. 18, represents a great example of his talent for such multi-faceted misrepresentations.


Though he dismisses recent accusations that Arafat was poisoned, Fisk, in attempting to explain the legacy of the late Palestinian leader, whitewashes his decades-long involvement in lethal terrorist attacks against Israelis, and risibly claims that his biggest character flaw was that he was in fact ‘too trusting’ of Israeli leaders.

Fisk writes:

He made so many concessions to Israel – because he was growing old and wanted to go to “Palestine” before he died – that his political descendants are still paying for them. Arafat had never seen a Jewish colony on occupied land when he accepted the Oslo agreement. He trusted the Americans. He trusted the Israelis. He trusted anyone who appeared to say the right things. And it must have been exhausting to start his career as a super-“terrorist” in Beirut and then be greeted on the White House lawn as a super- “statesman” and then re-created by Israel as a super-“terrorist” again.

However, the most egregious lie by omission appears later in the essay when he addresses comments Arafat reportedly made about the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, per a conversation he had with Edward Said:

Edward Said told me that Arafat said to him in 1985 that “if there’s one thing I don’t want to be, it’s to be like Haj Amin. He was always right, and he got nothing and died in exile.”

Hunted by the British, Haj Amin, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, went to Berlin during the Second World War in the hope that Hitler would help the Palestinians.

His claim that the pro-Nazi Haj Amin was merely attempting to “help the Palestinians” represents an extraordinary obfuscation.  

As a CAMERA report (based on documentation in a book by Jennie Lebel titled ‘The Mufti of Jerusalem: Haj-Amin el-Husseini and National-Socialism‘) makes clear, Haj Amin’s desire to ‘help the Palestinians’ was superseded by a greater passion – to annihilate the Jews.

Haj Amin El-Husseini, who was appointed Mufti of Jerusalem in 1921 aided by sympathetic British officials, advocated violent opposition to Jewish settlement in the Mandate for Palestine and incited the Arabs against the growing Jewish presence. Lebel describes the violence of 1929, where Haj Amin spread the story that the Jews planned to destroy the Dome of the Rock and the Aqsa mosque. Using falsified photos of the mosque on fire and disseminating propaganda that borrowed from the anti-Jewish forgery, the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” the mufti instigated a widespread pogrom against Jews in Palestine. On Aug. 23, Arabs streamed into Jerusalem and attacked Jews. Six days later, a second wave of attacks resulted in 64 dead in Hebron


The Mufti injected a religiously based anti-Jewish component into the emerging Palestinian national consciousness….Presaging modern boycott proposals against Jewish settlement, Haj Amin called on all Muslims to boycott Jewish goods and organized an Arab strike on April 10, 1936.

He saw in the Nazis and Italian fascists natural allies who would do what the British were unwilling to do — purge the region of Jews and help him establish a unified Arab state throughout the Middle East…Believing that the Axis might prevail in the war, the mufti secured a commitment from both Italy and Germany to the formation of a region-wide Arab state. He also asked for permission to solve the Jewish problem by the “same method that will be applied for the solution of the Jewish problem in the Axis states.” 

On Nov. 28, 1941, he met for the first time with Adolf Hitler, relaying to the German leader the Arab conviction that Germany would win the war and that this would benefit the Arab cause. 
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husayni, meets Hitler for the first time. Berlin, Germany, November 28, 1941.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, meets Hitler in Berlin

While Hitler shared the mufti’s belief that the present war would determine the fate of the Arabs, his priority was the struggle against what he saw as Jewish-controlled Britain and the Soviet Union. Lebel reveals Hitler’s promise that when the German army reached the southern borders of the Caucasus, he would announce to the Arab world their time of liberation had come. The Germans would annihilate all Jews who lived in Arab areas.

[Haj Amin’s] conspiratorial view of Jewish ambitions are reflected in the widespread dissemination of such publications as “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” in the Arab and Muslim world. The view of the Jews as contaminators of society and malevolent conspirators resonate today in the founding Charter of Hamas.

In a radio broadcast from Germany on Nov. 16, 1943…Haj Amin laid out his vision of the conflict with the Jews:

“The Jews bring the world poverty, trouble and disaster … they destroy morality in all countries… they falsify the words of the prophet, they are the bearers of anarchy and bring suffering to the world. They are like moths who eat away all the good in the countries. They prepared the war machine for Roosevelt and brought disaster to the world. They are monsters and the basis for all evil in the world ….” 

As Nazi official Wilhelm Melchers testified after the war:

The mufti was an accomplished foe of the Jews and did not conceal that he would love to see all of them liquidated.

It’s clear that Haj Amin’s relationship with Hitler was no mere ‘alliance of convenience’, but was based on shared eliminationist antisemitic fantasies.  As Jeffrey Herf wrote in his 2009 book, ‘Nazi Propaganda for the Arab world‘, the Mufti “played a central role in the cultural fusion of European with Islamic traditions of Jew-hatred [and] was one of the few who had mastered the ideological themes and nuances of fascism and Nazism, as well as the anti-Jewish elements within the Koran and its subsequent commentaries.”

Robert Fisk’s innocuous description of Haj Amin as ‘pro-Palestinian’ is as morally perverse as characterizing Adolf Hitler as merely  ‘pro-Aryan’.

39 replies »

  1. Fisk understands perfectly well what Haj Amin El-Husseini said and believed. The thing with someone like Fisk is that such views he feels should be understood in the context of the time and the context of this and that. In other words an Arab can say things that a European cannot say without total condemnation because he is “oppressed”. Mr Fisk occupies a parallel universe in which he sees everything in a false context. He persists in asserting that this parallel universe is the same as the real one. It is part of the nature of Antisemitism to think like this, and no amount of logic appears to change the perception.

    • Michael:
      “In other words an Arab can say things that a European cannot say without total condemnation because he is “oppressed”.”

      There’s a word for this attitude. It is called racism.

      • It’s simpler than that. Fisk embraces and endorses what the Mufti and the Nazis attempted. Everything else is just dissembling and obfuscation.

  2. “We [Israel] possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are 22 targets for our air force. Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: “Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.” I consider it all hopeless at this point. . . Our armed forces, however, are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.” – Martin van Creveld, Zionist Jew

    • Let me pass along a pointer, Champzilla. When you label somebody as “Zionist Jew” after you “quote” them without a citation for a source then you are proving yourself to be a truly simpleminded asswipe.

      You are a joke and your cause is a joke.

      By the way, Arafat died a $1 billion in the bank. I WONDER WHERE HE GOT THAT MONEY.

    • I just Googled one sentence out of that fiction. Lo and behold: 10 hits, all from the past day or two. I see you’ve been a busy bee …

  3. – Where does Fisk claim Arafat’s biggest character flaw was that he was ‘too trusting’ of Israeli leaders?
    – Fisk clearly condemned the Mufti and his murderous Jew-hating rhetoric in The Great War for Civilisation.

    • “He trusted the Americans. He trusted the Israelis. He trusted anyone who appeared to say the right things. And it must have been exhausting to start his career as a super-“terrorist” in Beirut and then be greeted on the White House lawn as a super- “statesman” and then re-created by Israel as a super-“terrorist” again.”

    • Pretz:

      “Robert Fisk, discussing the difficulties of describing al-Husseini’s life and its motivations, summarized the problem in the following way:-

      ‘(M)erely to discuss his life is to be caught up in the Arab-Israeli propaganda war. To make an impartial assessment of the man’s career-or, for that matter, an unbiased history of the Arab-Israeli dispute- is like trying to ride two bicycles at the same time.”

      Why doesn’t Fisk calls a spade a spade?
      As per Fisk analogy, you know you can’t call a spade a spade because it could actualy be called a giant spoon. If you get caught up in a storm and have no spoons but only have a spade you can use it as a spoon to eat your soup…. FFS!
      The ma n was a Jew hater and Fisk jumps around in circles to avoid naming and shaming!
      You seem ok with this.

  4. Again with the Mufti. The one Arab leader who sided with Hitler. For the manyeth time on CIFWatch the editor will be aware of the number of senior people of other religions who fought for Hitler. Yes that one included. You cannot keep trying to associate the Nazis with the Muslims when Christianity was the more constant sidekick

    • You are on board with this war criminal, when you excuse him by hinting at others.
      He kept on supporting murder of Jews after the Holocaust, especially in Israel. Is this the cause for your try in apologetics?

    • “Again with the Mufti. The one Arab leader who sided with Hitler”

      That would be ‘The one Arab leader who sided with Hitler’ other than Hassan al-Banna who founded the Muslim Brotherhood, or Zaki al-Arsuzi one of the founders of the Ba’ath Party, or Rashid Ali al-Gaylani in Iraq and lets not forget Anwar Sadat who co-operated with the Nazi regime according to his own memoirs, or Nasser who also expressed sympathy for Nazi ideology and Fascism.

      ‘Household name’ yes just the same as a well known brand of toilet cleaner in the UK- Harpic. And its slogan which suits you, ‘Clean round the bend.’

    • The one Arab leader who sided with Hitler.

      No. One of the many Arab leaders who sided with Hitler. (The gentle, the magnificent).

      The German government developed a cordial association and cooperation with certain Arab nationalist leaders based on their common anti-colonial and anti-Zionist interests. The most notable examples of these common-cause fights were the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine and other actions led by Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, and the Anglo-Iraqi War, when the Golden Square (four generals led by Rashid Ali al-Gaylani) overthrew the pro-British ‘Abd al-Ilah regency in Iraq and installed a pro-Axis regime.[11][12][13]
      In response to the Rashid Ali coup, Hitler issued Führer Directive No. 30 on 23 May 1941 to support their cause. This order began: “The Arab Freedom Movement in the Middle East is our natural ally against England.”[13]

    • House hold name.
      In case it escaped you the grand Mufti was the most respected leader of the Arabs residing in the British mandated Palestine at the time.
      In effect excusing him is excusing the Palestinians political leader.

    • BTW, if the Arabs were so against Hitler why house the Mufti and receive him like a king in Egypt after the war?
      Why not try him like a traitor?
      Why not hand him to Britain who by 1946 changed their mind and chased him for war crimes.

    • You seem to have forgotten Rashid Ali al-Kailani in Iraq, and also Anwar Sadat’s contacts with the Germans whilst serving as a junior officer in the Egyptian Army.

      You also seem to have forgotten the pressure that Saudi Arabia, Iraq and other independent Arab states (not that there were many at that time) put on the British to end Jewish immigration to Palestine in 1939.

      But then that’s only history, and like Fisk (and Irving) you see it as malleable.

  5. The following quote from the article perfectly characterizes Fisk’s and his comrades “journalism”:

    According to my enquiries at the time, the Israelis had no depleted uranium shells in their ordnance inventory. That doesn’t mean they haven’t used them in other locations. But not at Ramallah.

    According to his enquiries?! Who was the source? The Chief Artillery Officer of the IDF? The driver of the truck delivering the ammunition to the artillery units around Ramallah? Maybe the cab driver so beloved by Seth Friedmann?
    And if this is true then how it is possible that they used it elsewhere if they didn’t have it? Did the IDF gunners find some such shells incidentally in secret archaeological digs from the biblical era? And if they had some anyway why didn’t use them in Ramallah?
    Fisk simply pulls out some utterly and totally unsubstantiated crap from his pocket, writes it down and voila – tomorrow everybody knows that the IDF is using depleted uranium against the poor Palestinians.

  6. Sorry for the German citation, but it is worth being mentioned
    “In England sowohl wie in Amerika herrscht nur der jüdische Einfluß, es ist derselbe jüdische Einfluß, der hinter dem gottlosen Kommunismus steht, welcher allen Religionen und Grundsätzen abhold ist; er ist es, der die Völker auch in diesem zermürbenden Kriege aufeinander gehetzt hat, deren tragisches Schicksal allein den Juden zugute kommt. Die eingefleischten Feinde der Muslime sind die Juden und ihre verbündeten Engländer, Amerikaner und Bolschewisten.”
    Rede Mufti anläßlich der Eröffnung des Islamischen Zentralinstitutes v. 18.12.1942, R27327
    Klaus-Miachel Mallmann/Martin Cüppers, Halbmond und Hakenkreuz, Darmstadt 2006, S.114

    After the war Hussaini continued his cooperation with Nazis in Egypt.
    His nephew
    took part in the nazi supported coup in Iraq and died in the war 1948.

  7. With some of those apologists I’m absolutely not sure whether they don’t understand/can’t understand or they simply don’t want to understand.

    It’s truly mindboggling that this syndrome affaects a group of people. But it’s usually (not always) the type of people who proclaim that any Western nation provoke/cause/deserve terror attacks because they somehwat “provoke” Islamic terrorists (and Israel is of course the worst nation for that…. after all it’s not only a Western democratic nation, it’s a Jewish nation as well)

    • Third option!
      They don’t want to understand cause right now it doesn’t sell and they loath money so much they must go with what sells just to keep a close eye on the money….

  8. Concessions from Arafat? Since when? What concession has any Arab ever made toward Israel?

    This is so stupid that it is moronic

    • “What concession has any Arab ever made toward Israel?”

      I can think of only 2.
      though these are not concessions they are in Arab terms.
      Hussein and Mubarak came to Rabin’s funeral.
      Hussein’s came to visit the murdered girls’ families after a Jordanian soldier murdered girls next to Naharayim.

      Further potential concession would have been Egypt’s and Jordan relenquishing claims to the West bank and Gaza which they never really owned any way.

      I think we probably have better luck getting concession out of an Arab shawarma owner regarding the Amba sauce than from their govts.

      • Hardly a concession considering they lost the land twice!
        We could kept the oil fields and told them to go screw themselves.
        Sharam would have earned the Israeli govt loads of money in any touristic season.

        Concession my back side.

  9. To understand the liar and terrorist Arafat was, read this great article by Karsh.
    Arafat’s Grand Strategy
    Efraim Karsh
    Middle East Quarterly
    Spring 2004, pp. 3-11

    For Yasir Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leadership, the Oslo process has always been a strategic means not to a two-state solution—Israel and a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza—but to the substitution of a Palestinian state for the state of Israel.

    As early as August 1968, Arafat defined the PLO’s strategic objective as “the transfer of all resistance bases” into the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, occupied by Israel during the June 1967 war, “so that the resistance may be gradually transformed into a popular armed revolution.” This, he reasoned, would allow the PLO to undermine Israel’s way of life by “preventing immigration and encouraging emigration … destroying tourism … weakening the Israeli economy and diverting the greater part of it to security requirements … [and] creating and maintaining an atmosphere of strain and anxiety that will force the Zionists to realize that it is impossible for them to live in Israel.”[1]

    The Oslo accords enabled the PLO to achieve in one fell swoop what it had failed to attain through many years of violence and terrorism. Here was Israel, just over a decade after destroying the PLO’s military infrastructure in Lebanon, asking the Palestinian organization, at one of the lowest ebbs in its history, to establish a real political and military presence—not in a neighboring Arab country but right on its doorstep. Israel even was prepared to arm thousands of (hopefully reformed) terrorists who would be incorporated into newly established police and security forces charged with asserting the PLO’s authority throughout the territories.

    In September 2000, Arafat launched a war of terror against Israel with precisely the objectives he had set for the Palestinian movement in 1968. Some analysts now argue that the Palestinians have lost that war. But the very fact that Arafat could wage it and plunge Israel into one of its greatest traumas constitutes a triumph of his strategy. Certainly the Palestinians have suffered reversals and losses. But Arafat has achieved his goal: he brought the Palestinian war from Israel’s borders into Israel proper by the politics of stealth. He has every reason to hope that the work he began will be continued by the next generation of Palestinian leaders. That work is nothing short of the dismantlement of Israel.

    How did Arafat bring it off? First, he articulated a long-term vision of Israel’s elimination and succeeded in imbuing all Palestinians with its precepts, even as he shook the hands of Israeli leaders and a U.S. president. Second, he indoctrinated his people with an abiding hatred of Israel and its people so as to fortify them for war. Last, he chose an opportune moment, after he had gained maximum advantage from the “peace process,” to resort to war and terror. This article examines each of the three elements in Arafat’s visionary plan to liberate Palestine and the meaning of Arafat’s legacy for the future.

    A Strategic Plan

    When Arafat began his “armed struggle” back in the mid-1960s, he took inspiration from the example of Algeria: a war of national liberation that had succeeded in the space of a few years in defeating a colonial power. When he failed to replicate this model, owing in part to the low level of national consciousness among the Palestinians and Israel’s effective counterinsurgency measures, the PLO adopted the “phased strategy.” This strategy, dating from June 1974, has served as the PLO’s guiding principle ever since. It stipulates that the Palestinians should seize whatever territory Israel is prepared or compelled to cede to them and use it as a springboard for further territorial gains until achieving the “complete liberation of Palestine.”[2]

    From the very outset of the Oslo process, Arafat and his lieutenants viewed the agreements as an implementation of this strategy, not as its abandonment. Arafat said just that as early as September 13, 1993, when he addressed the Palestinians in a pre-recorded Arabic-language message broadcast by Jordanian television, even as he shook Yitzhak Rabin’s hand on the White House lawn. He informed the Palestinians that the Israeli-Palestinian declaration of principles (DOP) was merely the implementation of the PLO’s “phased strategy.” “O my beloved ones,” he explained,

    Do not forget that our Palestine National Council accepted the decision in 1974. It called for the establishment of a national authority on any part of Palestinian land that is liberated or from which the Israelis withdrew. This is the fruit of your struggle, your sacrifices, and your jihad … This is the moment of return, the moment of gaining a foothold on the first liberated Palestinian land … Long live Palestine, liberated and Arab.[3]

    This vision of a “liberated and Arab Palestine”—that is, a Palestine in which Israel does not exist—was not mentioned in any of Arafat’s interviews with the Israeli and Western media at the time. During the next seven years, until the launch of his terrorist war in late September 2000, Arafat played an intricate game of Jekyll-and-Hyde politics. Whenever addressing Israeli or Western audiences, he would habitually extol the “peace of the brave” he had signed with “my partner Yitzhak Rabin.” At the same time, he depicted the peace accords to his Palestinian constituents as transient arrangements of the moment. He made constant allusions to the “phased strategy” and repeatedly insisted on the “right of return,” a standard Palestinian euphemism for Israel’s destruction through demographic subversion.[4] He leavened his speech with historical and religious metaphors, most notably the Treaty of Hudaybiya, signed by the Prophet Muhammad with the people of Mecca in 628, only to be disavowed by Muhammad a couple of years later when the situation shifted in his favor.[5]

    The Palestinian leadership fully embraced this interpretation of the Oslo process as a grand strategic deception, aimed at bringing about Israel’s eventual destruction. As early as September 22, 1993, nine days after the signing of the DOP, Yasir Abed Rabbo, a senior PLO official and future “minister of information” in the Palestinian Authority (PA), categorically denied that “the mutual recognition document between Israel and the PLO contains any Palestinian pledge to stop violence.” Several months later, in July 1994, Abed Rabbo went a step further and vowed that the Palestinians would regain “all of Palestine.”[6]

    Other Palestinian leaders were equally explicit. In August 1994, Faruq Qaddumi, head of the PLO’s political department, openly called for Israel’s destruction while Faisal Husseini echoed the same sentiment in an interview with Syrian television in September 1996:

    All Palestinians agree that the just boundaries of Palestine are the Jordan River and the Mediterranean … Realistically, whatever can be obtained now should be accepted [in the hope that] subsequent events, perhaps in the next fifteen or twenty years, would present us with an opportunity to realize the just boundaries of Palestine.[7]

    Husseini remained committed to this vision to his final days. In March 2001, a few weeks before his death by heart attack, he said this:

    One must draw a distinction between the strategic aspirations of the Palestinian people, who would not surrender one grain of Palestinian soil, and their political striving, based on the balance of power and the nature of the current international system … Our eyes will continue to be focused on the strategic goal—a Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea—and nothing that we take today can make us forget this supreme truth.[8]

    By this time, Arafat had already launched his war of terror against Israel, and Husseini, if he wished, could have reassured his Israeli peace partners that its goals were limited to the attainment of Palestinian statehood in the West Bank and Gaza. He did not, instead choosing to underscore Israel’s demise as the ultimate Palestinian objective.

    Nabil Shaath, another supposed moderate and dedicated advocate of the Oslo process, also threatened a return to the “armed struggle” whenever he found Israel to be insufficiently accommodating of Palestinian demands. “If the negotiations reach a dead end, we shall go back to the struggle and strife, as we did for forty years,” he told a Nablus symposium in March 1996:

    As long as Israel goes forward [with the process], there are no problems, which is why we observe the agreements of peace and non-violence. But if and when Israel will say, “That’s it, we won’t talk about Jerusalem, we won’t return refugees, we won’t dismantle settlements, and we won’t retreat from borders,” then all the acts of violence will return. Except that this time, we’ll have 30,000 Palestinian armed soldiers who will operate in areas in which we have unprecedented elements of freedom.[9]

    Even the supposed moderates in the Palestinian leadership, Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and Ahmed Qureia (Abu Ala), expressed their hope (albeit implicitly) for Israel’s eventual destruction. In an interview with an Israeli newspaper in January 1996, Abu Mazen gently reiterated the PLO’s old formula of a democratic state comprising the whole of Palestine: he expressed the hope that in the future Jews and Palestinians “will reach a state of complete mixture” in Palestine.[10] “We did not sign a peace treaty with Israel, but interim agreements that had been imposed on us,” said Abu Ala in June 1996:

    When we accepted the Oslo agreement, we obtained territory but not all the Palestinian territory. We obtained rights, but not all of our rights. We did not and will not relinquish one inch of this territory or the right of any Palestinian to live on it with dignity.[11]

    Forever Enemies

    Arafat and his PA reinforced their strategy by indoctrinating Palestinians, and especially the youth, against the state of Israel, Jews, and Judaism—all in flagrant violation of their obligations under Oslo.

    Palestinians have been told of the most outlandish Israeli plots to corrupt and ruin them, which are wholly congruent with the medieval Christian (not Muslim) myth of Jews as secret destroyers and poisoners of wells. Thus, Arafat has charged Israel with killing Palestinian children to get their internal organs,[12] while the PA’s minister of health, Riad Zaanun, has accused Israeli doctors of using “Palestinian patients for experimental medicines.”[13] The Palestinian representative to the Human Rights Commission in Geneva charged Israel with injecting Palestinian children with the AIDS virus.[14] The director of the PA’s Committee for Consumer Protection accused Israel of distributing chocolate infected with “mad cow disease” in the Palestinian territories.[15] The PA minister of ecology, Yusuf Abu Safiyyah, indicted Israel for “dumping liquid waste … in Palestinian areas in the West Bank and Gaza.”[16] Suha Arafat famously amplified one such charge when, in the presence of Hillary Clinton, she told an audience in Gaza in November 1999 that “our people have been subjected to the daily and extensive use of poisonous gas by the Israeli forces, which has led to an increase in cancer cases among women and children.”[17]

    Perhaps the most successful anti-Semitic import in the Muslim-Arab world is the theory of an organized Jewish conspiracy to achieve world domination, as spelled out in the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The PA has repeatedly referred to the Protocols, and its tightly controlled media have been rife with stories about Jewish “plots” and “conspiracies.” Arafat himself borrowed from the Protocols in his welcome speech in Jericho in July 1994.[18] In late 1997, when a dispute ensued about the scope of Israel’s military redeployment in the West Bank, the PA’s largest daily, al-Hayat al-Jadida, derided the maps presented by the Israeli government as the latest manifestation of the alleged Zionist grand design, revealed in the Protocols, to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. Subsequent articles elaborated on the devious plots revealed in the Protocols for manipulating world public opinion on behalf of Zionism.[19]

    This pervasive denigration of Jews has been accompanied by a systematic denial of the Jewish state’s legitimacy by both the PA and the PLO. Israel is often referred to by the pejorative phrase, “the Zionist entity.” Israel is glaringly absent from Palestinian maps, which portray its territory as part of a “Greater Palestine,” from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean. In 1998, when Prime Minister Netanyahu made an issue of this, the PA’s press responded contemptuously:

    Which Israel is he talking about: that of 1948, 1967, 1982, or that extending from the Nile to the Euphrates? Let him define for us what Israel is so that we can add it to the map of the dictatorships that have had their day in history, only to vanish later without a trace.[20]

    Since the Holocaust is viewed as the most powerful modern-day justification for the existence of a Jewish state, the PA and its media have gone out of their way to minimize the genocide, if not deny it altogether. At the same time, the Palestinians are portrayed as the Holocaust’s real victims: they have been made to pay for the West’s presumed desire to atone for the Holocaust through the establishment of a Jewish state. (The Palestinians offer no explanation why, if the Holocaust did not happen, European nations should feel sufficiently remorseful about it to have foisted Israel upon the Palestinians.) Even Abu Mazen, the Oslo architect and one of the foremost symbols of the supposed Palestinian reconciliation, argued in a 1984 book that less than a million Jews had been killed in the Holocaust and that the Zionist movement was a partner to their slaughter.[21]

    The PA has also gone to great lengths to repudiate any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem or, by implication, to the Land of Israel itself. Even at the Camp David summit of July 2000—the most ambitious single effort to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict—several Palestinian negotiators denied the existence of King Solomon’s Temple. Arafat himself told Clinton that the temple had been located in Nablus rather than in Jerusalem.[22] Three days before the start of Arafat’s war of terror in September 2000, Abed Rabbo adamantly denied the temple’s very existence:

    The Israelis say that beneath the noble sanctuary (the Esplanade of the Mosques) lies their temple. … Looking at the situation from an archaeological standpoint, I am sure there is no temple. They have dug tunnel after tunnel with no result.[23]

    Nor has Arafat refrained from utilizing the immense inflammatory potential of Islam, which has constituted the linchpin of the Middle Eastern social and political order for more than a millennium, as a primary tool to discredit his Israeli peace partners, if not peace itself. Week after week, preachers have used their pulpits to discredit the peace process and to instill hatred for Israelis and Jews. Worshippers have been taught that Jews are the “descendants of apes and pigs” and been warned of Zionist machinations to divide the Palestinian people and spawn internecine strife. In December 1994, when Palestinian police shot and killed fourteen Hamas militants during the first bloody confrontation between the PA and its opponents, the PA-appointed mufti of Jerusalem, Ikrama Sabri, blamed Israel for the massacre in a sermon.[24] (In making this accusation, Sabri was taking his cue from Arafat, who never tired of repeating the allegation that extremists within the Israeli army and security services were flooding the territories with weapons in order to precipitate a Palestinian civil war. Arafat even claimed that Israeli extremists were masterminding the suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.[25])

    There is correlation between the vicissitudes in the PA’s policy and the tone and direction of Friday sermons. In the summer of 2000, when Arafat chose to use the question of Jerusalem as the pretext for bringing about the collapse of the Camp David summit, Sabri quickly mounted a spirited propaganda campaign denying any Jewish attachment to the city. After Arafat launched his war of terror in September 2000, the Friday preachers embarked on an orgy of unmitigated anti-Jewish invective. “They think that they scare our people,” Sabri said in his Friday sermon on May 25, 2001, one week before a suicide bomber murdered twenty teenagers at a Tel Aviv disco:

    We tell them: inasmuch as you love life—the Muslim loves death and martyrdom. There is a great difference between he who loves the hereafter and he who loves this world. The Muslim loves death and [strives for] martyrdom. He does not fear the oppression of the arrogant or the weapons of the bloodletters. The blessed and sacred soil of Palestine has vomited all the invaders and all the colonialists throughout history and it will soon vomit, with God’s help, the [present] occupiers.[26]

    Choosing War

    Arafat did not confine himself to disparaging the Oslo accords and his peace partner. From the moment of his arrival in Gaza in July 1994, he set out to build an extensive terrorist infrastructure in flagrant violation of the accords, and in total disregard of the overriding reason he had been brought from Tunisia, namely, to lay the groundwork for Palestinian statehood.

    Arafat refused to disarm the terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad as required by the Oslo accords and tacitly approved the murder of hundreds of Israelis by these groups. He created a far larger Palestinian army (the so-called police force) than was permitted by the accords. He reconstructed the PLO’s old terrorist apparatus, mainly under the auspices of the Tanzim, which is the military arm of Fatah (the PLO’s largest constituent organization and Arafat’s own alma mater). He frantically acquired prohibited weapons with large sums of money donated to the PA by the international community for the benefit of the civilian Palestinian population.[27]

    What enabled Arafat to pursue his war preparations with impunity was a combination of international sympathy for his cause and Israeli self-delusion. Israelis, fatigued by decades of fighting and yearning for a normalcy that would allow them at last to enjoy their new affluence, turned a blind eye to the danger on their doorstep. Even Binyamin Netanyahu, for all his scathing criticism of Oslo, proved unable to win from Arafat the reciprocity he demanded and followed in the footsteps of his two predecessors, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, in surrendering territory to the PA without any tangible return.

    These preparations gave Arafat the wherewithal to launch war. It is often claimed that the violence that broke out on September 29, 2000, was the result of Ariel Sharon’s “provocative” visit to the Temple Mount the day before. In fact, the initial Palestinian reaction to Sharon’s visit was surprisingly mild. The actual turnout on the Temple Mount on the day of the visit was far lower than expected, despite the violent incitement by the official Palestinian media and outright calls by various Palestinian groups for mass demonstrations against the intended “desecration of al-Haram ash-Sharif.” During the visit, there were minor clashes between Israeli policemen and rock-throwing Palestinian youths. These were limited in scope and intensity and resulted in thirty lightly wounded Israeli policemen and four injured Palestinians. Not a single Palestinian was killed.[28] It was only on the next day that serious violence erupted—in anything but a spontaneous manner. As a number of prominent Palestinians have candidly admitted, the leadership quickly seized the initiative.[29]

    Most ordinary Palestinians did not welcome war; they were enjoying a healthy economic recovery after several years of deep recession. Nor was the population groaning under an onerous occupation. In early 1996, Israel had withdrawn its forces from the West Bank’s populated areas (withdrawal from Gazan towns and camps had been completed by May 1994) and dissolved its civil administration and military government. This was followed by the Israeli redeployment from Hebron in January 1997. As a result, 99 percent of the Palestinian population of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip no longer lived under Israeli occupation. All of the Gaza Strip’s residents and just under 60 percent of West Bankers lived entirely under Palestinian jurisdiction. Another 40 percent of West Bank residents lived in towns, villages, refugee camps, and hamlets where the PA exercised civil authority but where, in line with the Oslo accords, Israel maintained “overriding responsibility for security.”

    In September 2000, only about two percent of the West Bank’s population lived in areas where Israel had complete control. By no conceivable stretching of words could the violence be described as a popular uprising against foreign occupation. This “popular uprising” was launched and choreographed by the leadership—and above all, by Yasir Arafat.


    It is the tragedy of the Palestinians that the two leaders who determined their national development during the twentieth century—Haj Amin Husseini, mufti of Jerusalem, who led them from the early 1920s to the late 1940s, and Yasir Arafat, who has dominated Palestinian politics since the mid-1960s—were megalomaniac extremists obsessed with violence and blinded by anti-Jewish hatred. Had the mufti led his people to peace and reconciliation with their Jewish neighbors, as he promised the British officials who appointed him to his high rank, the Palestinians would have had their independent state in a substantial part of Mandatory Palestine by 1948. They thus would have been spared the traumatic experience of dispersion and exile. Had Arafat been genuinely interested in peace, a Palestinian state could have been established in the early 1980s as a corollary to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty of 1979, or by May 1999, as a part of the Oslo process.

    But then, for all his rhetoric about Palestinian independence, Arafat has never been as interested in the attainment of statehood as in the violence attending its pursuit. As far back as 1978, he told his close friend and collaborator, the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, that the Palestinians lacked the tradition, unity, and discipline to become a formal state, and that a Palestinian state would be a failure from the first day.[30] The past decade has seen this bleak prognosis turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, driving Israelis and Palestinians in their bloodiest and most destructive confrontation in half a century.

    Efraim Karsh is director of the Mediterranean Studies Programme at King’s College, University of London, and editor of the quarterly journal Israel Affairs. He is the author of Arafat’s War: The Man and His Battle for Israeli Conquest (Grove Press).

  10. So we got Fisk supporting the murderer Arafat.
    He’s also been supporting the butcher Assad.

    Fisk has become an apologist for this mass murderer Assad.
    Fisk tries to give the impression that Assad didn’t gas anyone.
    Look what he wrote here.
    27 August 2013

    In Iraq, we went to war on the basis of lies originally uttered by fakers and con men. Now it’s war by YouTube. This doesn’t mean that the terrible images of the gassed and dying Syrian civilians are false. It does mean that any evidence to the contrary is going to have to be suppressed. For example, no-one is going to be interested in persistent reports in Beirut that three Hezbollah members – fighting alongside government troops in Damascus – were apparently struck down by the same gas on the same day, supposedly in tunnels. They are now said to be undergoing treatment in a Beirut hospital. So if Syrian government forces used gas, how come Hezbollah men might have been stricken too? Blowback

    My comments. Assad’s forces have killed between 60.000 to 70,000 Syrian civilians in the last 2 years. Assad is levelling Syrian towns and he don’t care how many Syrian civilians he murders. .
    Why doesn’t Fisk tell us in detail how these civilians were murdered by Assad.
    Where talking up to 70,000.
    If one Arab is killed by Israel, Fisk will go into detail how this Arab was killed.

    • Ken, The Hizbis and Assad men caught up by the Gas were not gassing the people they were having a gang rape (which is alrighty then – NOT)…
      Anyway, if Fisk said so it must be true…

      Now seriously, the fact of the matter it is impossible for someone like Fisk to know for a fact who did what.
      Even if had journalists in there I doubt they spoke the language and I doubt they’ll be reliable.
      He is an apologist for butchers.
      This is how he should be remembered!

      • Have you seen the BBC Panorama documentary “Saving Syria’s Children”? Very harrowing stuff. And it looked very much like government forces were responsible.

        • The likelyhood is that in the first year or so while Assad was in control his forces did terrible things.
          Iranian forces were also there to prevent the uprising which also raises suspicion that they were also involved in the terrible things done to protesters and their famillies.

          Currently it is very hard to say who is doing what.
          The Saudis are not helping much and the clear presence of Jihadis is an oman to what is to come.
          I very much fear for the civilians of Syria.
          I can see Lebanon cripping into this where the Christian and Druze will suffer similar attacks.
          As a northern Israeli I hope our border holds and the fighting won’t spill over.
          It is a terrible thing to say but I find it hard to believe the fighting will stop soon when the Lebanese civil war lasted for 10.

          It is possible that Turkey might be able to stop this but I find it hard to believe.

    • Hi there, Ken “Arabs back to Arabia” Keslo.

      How’s the bigotry going? And as if you care about the plight of Arabs.

  11. Ken: “Fisk tries to give the impression that Assad didn’t gas anyone”.

    Fisk is the type of sanctimonious bigot who has taken that line of argument from his friends and fellow travellers who also like to tell us that Hitler didn’t gas anyone either.

    • Fisk has friends who like to tell us that Hitler didn’t gas anyone??

      You might not like Fisk. But there’s no need to make stuff up about him.