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The paper on sale in London that wants all Jews killed

The paper on sale in London that wants all Jews killed

Author: Alan Judd
Publication: The Telegraph, UK
Date: May 9, 2002
URL: http://opinion.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2002/05/09/do0901.xml

"They are accursed in heaven and on earth a catastrophe for the human race They are the virus of the generation they are the plague of the generation and the bacterium of all time Their history was and always will be stained with treachery, falseness and lying they are a model of debasement and degradation."

'They", of course, are the Jews, perhaps the only people whom we almost routinely recognise through the excoriating language of their enemies. But these quotations are not from Nazi propaganda, long defunct. They are from a newspaper on sale in Britain today, a country in which incitement to racial hatred is supposedly illegal.

But perhaps the law is not applied where the victims are merely the usual suspects, the perpetrators foreign, the language difficult and the Government - for good reasons and bad - reluctant to offend Middle Eastern sensibilities any further.

The newspaper concerned is al-Akhbar, the Egyptian government daily, not merely a vehicle of Palestinian propaganda or Saudi religious bile. Just about all major Middle Eastern newspapers may be found on the streets of London - probably more, in fact, than in any Middle Eastern capital - and many regularly publish this sort of thing, and worse.

Similarly, Arab radio and television stations regularly broadcast diatribes against the hated Jew. Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, is depicted as Dracula drinking Arab blood and "martyrs" are urged to donate their lives to the intifada, as they are continuing to do in such outrages as that at Rishon LeZion.

The chairman of the Arab Psychiatrists Association, and head of psychiatry at a Cairo university, assures readers and viewers that "there are no Israeli civilians", that co-existence is impossible and that the only effective way of getting rid of Jewish Israelis is for "pure, noble Palestinian bodies" to blow themselves up.

He is almost persuasive: "When the martyr dies a martyr's death, he attains the height of bliss. As a professional psychiatrist, I can say that the height of bliss comes with the end of the countdown: ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. And then, you press the button to blow yourself up. When the martyr reaches 'one', and then 'boom', he explodes and senses himself flying . . . It is a transition to another, more beautiful world . . . within seconds, he will see the light of the Creator."

There is more, much more, broadcast daily to millions of willing and credulous people already convinced they are the victims of injustice and racial insult. Reading it leaves you feeling depressed and contaminated, as after exposure to the distortions and ravings of Nazi propaganda.

And if you thought, as I did, that the latter was safely buried in history, then think again. The al- Akhbar columnist continued: "With regard to the fraud of the Holocaust . . . Many French studies have proved that this is no more than a fabrication, a lie, and a fraud!" He ends by addressing Hitler: "If only you had done it, Brother, if only it had really happened, so that the world could sigh in relief without their [the Jews'] evil and sin."

This goes beyond politics, beyond the rights and wrongs of the present tragic mess in Israel and Palestine. It is not a question of who is to blame for what in the current mutual suffering. This is race- hate at its purest, the denial of the other's right to exist. It may be that, by stoking hysteria in their peoples, normally pragmatic Arab leaders are making it not only more difficult for any peace process to work but perhaps - at least for the lifetime of anyone now living - impossible.

Until recent years, anti-Semitism was not thought of as a significant or permanent factor in the Arab world. Such anti-Semitism as existed was attributed to contemporary conflicts with Israel and it was generally accepted that Jews in earlier centuries lived better under Islam than under Christian governments. Whether or not this was actually true, the Arabs, so far from denying the reality of the Holocaust, used it to argue that Palestinians could not be expected to accept the imposition of Israel so that Europe could assuage its Holocaust guilt.

It is impossible to say how deep-rooted modern Arab anti-Semitism is, whether it has been created by Israeli behaviour or whether it always existed, but is only now permitted such lurid expression. The danger is that those who encourage or permit it may have unleashed a force that is already beyond their future control, and spreads beyond their borders.

The increase in anti-Semitic acts on the Continent (already running at 300 a year in Marseilles alone, where it is likely that some of Jean-Marie Le Pen's supporters have been encouraged to take action) shows how the expression of something can bring into being the thing itself. The anti-Semitic mania that flourished in Germany during the 1930s was latent in European cultural soil, but many who participated might never have permitted it to flower in themselves without a climate that encouraged expression. That is what is happening in the Middle East - and beyond.

On the face of it, this might seem an argument to support the EU proposal to make it a criminal offence to deny the Holocaust. But that would be a mistake. We have adequate law on incitement, if we care to apply it, and denying people the freedom to be wrong would create a second evil without removing the first. Writing history into statute would render the law absurd and pernicious.

Nearly two years ago, at Camp David, Yasser Arafat walked away from the best deal that any realistic Palestinian or Israeli could hope for, and started the current intifada. Reportedly, he either miscalculated - a failure of judgment - or he couldn't persuade his extremists - a failure of leadership.

Since then, of course, attitudes on both sides have further hardened and it may be that neither could now get back to the point it was once prepared to rest at. Meanwhile, clouds of popular anti-Semitism billow from the Middle East and wisps and pockets may be found on our own streets. If only you had done it, Brother Arafat, if only you had done the deal.
 


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