BBC whitewashes Saudi preacher

sheikBBC reports on a guest preacher at the opening of a new London mosque. BBC presents the preacher — Sheikh Abdur-Rahman al-Sudais, from Saudi Arabia — as an unexceptional leader promoting ‘community cohension’ (sic) and ‘building communities’.

But Harry’s Place and MEMRI have the real story on Sheikh al-Sudais, who has made these public statements:

In one of his sermons, Saudi sheikh Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sudayyis, imam and preacher at the Al-Haraam mosque — the most important mosque in Mecca — beseeched Allah to annihilate the Jews. He also urged the Arabs to give up peace initiatives with them because they are “the scum of the human race, the rats of the world, the violators of pacts and agreements, the murderers of the prophets, and the offspring of apes and pigs.”

“Read history,” called Al-Sudayyis in another sermon, “and you will understand that the Jews of yesterday are the evil fathers of the Jews of today, who are evil offspring, infidels, distorters of [others’] words, calf-worshippers, prophet-murderers, prophecy-deniers… the scum of the human race ‘whom Allah cursed and turned into apes and pigs…’ These are the Jews, an ongoing continuum of deceit, obstinacy, licentiousness, evil, and corruption…”

A fair report on this Saudi preacher’s visit would have made reference to his wildly anti-Semitic views.

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June 13, 2004 14:15 By Category : Backspin

Bummer of a wedding

weddingarrestVia Maariv:
A wanted Hamas terrorist was in for an unpleasant surprise on his wedding night – an IDF force interrupted the wedding and arrested him. “Dozens of soldiers suddenly appeared and detained the groom on the dance floor,” the owner of the banquet hall told NRG Maariv. The IDF says the man in question is a Hamas activist with “blood on his hands.”
Too bad for the bride…talk about being left at the altar. They should have eloped.

June 11, 2004 9:49 By Category : Backspin

More on EU-financed Palestinian terror reports that the EU continues to uncover a money trail from European taxpayers to Palestinian terrorists:

Bayerische Rundfunk (Bavarian TV) reported that 246 million euro of EU money, granted to the Palestinian Authority by the European Commission, ended up in fully uncontrollable bank accounts. Bayerische Rundfunk said, on the basis of a letter by Arafat that it had obtained, that the Palestinian leader personally ordered terrorist attacks, using the accounts where the EU money ended up.

For more on this, see here.

The lack of media interest in this story is baffling…

June 10, 2004 17:20 By Category : Backspin

New Yorker article on settlers

Barbara Sofer critiques a recent article in The New Yorker by Jeffrey Goldberg, entitled ‘Among the Settlers: Will they destroy Israel?’:

A more important problem is the writer’s obvious dislike of his subjects. This from a reporter who interviewed Ahmed Yassin and Hizbullah leaders in Lebanon without expressing antipathy. Let it suffice to say that I doubt he would have remarked on the unkempt fingernails of a working mother with 10 children had she lived in Beirut, Bombay, or Belfast.

But in Hebron, the rules are different. The same mother of 10, claims Goldberg, suffers from a “Moriah complex.” The traditional site of the binding of Isaac, says Goldberg, “symbolizes a Jew’s absolute devotion to even the most inexplicable and cruel demands of God. The Moriah complex is characterized by a desire to match Abraham’s devotion to God, even at the price of a child’s life.”

The suggestion that she – or, by extension, all of us who live here – values her children less than he does and would welcome the sacrifice of a child is an obscenity, not to mention his misuse of a seminal story of Jewish tradition.

See also the response to the article from David Wilder, spokesman for the Jewish Community of Hebron. Wilder claims Goldberg both misrepresented the tone he intended to use in the article (in order to gain access to interviews), and fabricated elements of the story. Your classic ‘charm and betray’ reporter’s M.O.

June 10, 2004 14:11 By Category : Backspin

Israel’s northern threat

Israel’s northern border heated up this week. Here’s a rundown of what happened:

1) On Monday, a Palestinian group (probably the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) fired a number of rockets from Lebanon toward Israel. At least one splashed down near an Israeli sea vessel in Israeli territorial waters.

2) In retaliation hours later, the IAF struck a PFLP target just south of Beirut.

3) On Tuesday, Hezbullah shelled IDF positions on Har Dov, and the IDF returned fire. (article)

Below is a map that explains why it’s essential for Israel to respond to these provocations forcefully. The relevant item here is the range of Katyusha missiles:


News stories don’t include the information conveyed by this map. But you have no idea what’s really flying in this story if you don’t understand this map and its implications for Israeli security — over a million civilians live within range of Ketushas fired from southern Lebanon. And thanks to Syria and Iran, there are plenty pointing that way.

June 10, 2004 0:00 By Category : Backspin

The worst exploitation

The Israeli consul to New England on Palestinians’ use of women suicide bombers:

From childhood, Palestinian girls are targeted by the same propaganda campaigns as their male counterparts: school textbooks teach hate, posters of male and female suicide bombers hang on classroom walls, and children trade “martyr medallions” like baseball cards. However, women in Palestinian society are especially vulnerable to such coercion due to their subordination, which is enforced both legally and socially. Terror organizations frequently recruit women with problematic social statuses, such as suspected adulteresses and rape victims. In fact, one of the most despicable methods used by Yasser Arafat’s own terror organization, the Fatah, is to seduce young women or arrange their rapes and subsequently pressure them to rehabilitate their social status by becoming “martyrs.”

June 9, 2004 13:06 By Category : Backspin

Foreigners First

When Washington Post correspondent Daniel Williams was nearly killed by Iraqi insurgents, the paper’s foreign editor, Philip Bennett wrote that covering Iraq is unlike any other war zone:

Good reporting is as urgently needed as ever, with lives and the political futures of perhaps two countries at stake. But it has never seemed more dangerous. Kidnappings and ambushes have driven most foreign civilians out of the country, or into bunkers guarded by U.S. soldiers. For journalists, the familiar rules of engagement have been stripped away. Gone is the assumption that correspondents are more valuable as witnesses than as targets, and that they share only the risks that all civilians face in wartime. To insurgents, foreign journalists are foreigners first, just another element of an occupying force to which we don’t belong….

It is worth asking whether these conditions make coverage overly negative, expressing journalists’ oppressive sense of siege, or too complacent, reflecting the reporters’ estrangement from Iraqis and their lives. As an editor spending a few days in Baghdad with Post correspondents and local staff, I didn’t see evidence to support either view. But I was struck that what is invisible in Iraq now feels much larger than what is visible.

Courageous reporting is necessary in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Gaza Strip. But if a reporter’s mental stress can impact coverage, we have to wonder about the accuracy of what’s presented. The Post published Williams’ account of Friday’s ambush on the dusty desert highway between Falujah and Baghdad.

June 8, 2004 17:26 By Category : Backspin

Uncle Samadi Wants You

UncleSamAn Iranian group calling itself “The Committee for the Commemoration of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Campaign” claims it has registered thousands of recruits for “martyrdom operations” against Israel, American forces in Iraq, as well as Salman Rushdie. Forms were sent to religious universities, and spokesman Mohammad Ali Samadi says the committee awaits permission from Iran’s ‘supreme leadership’ before dispatching bombers. (Hat tip: Daily Alert)

[UPDATE: Here's the official application form to participate in the 'martyrdom operations'.]

June 8, 2004 11:42 By Category : Backspin

NY Times Duped Again?

Joel Mowbray argues that the NY Times was used by the CIA and State Dept. to smear Ahmed Chalabi and his allies in the Bush administration. The Times recently admitted it was duped by questionable sources about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.

June 7, 2004 15:23 By Category : Backspin

Bird’s Eye View of the Liberty Incident

miragexThe USS Liberty incident continues to provide grist for all kinds of conspiracy theories (here and here among others). Recently, the Israeli Air Force allowed a reporter from the Jerusalem Post to listen to tapes of the radio transmissions before, during and immediately after the June 8, 1967 attack on the US intelligence-gathering vessel. One of the pilots involved, Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Yiftach Spector, agreed to be identified for an interview as well.

On that fateful day, a mysterious ship was reported off the coast of El-Arish; the IDF thought the ship might have been responsible for the shelling of an arms depot on the beach. Three torpedo boats were dispatched but then the Air Force was requested to intercept the ship.


June 7, 2004 12:20 By Category : Backspin