PA presidency: Can Dahlan beat Abbas?

Published Friday, April 18, 2014
The Palestinian National Authority’s (PNA) internal disputes became local news in Lebanon following the assassination of Fatah-linked al-Awda Brigade’s commander Ahmed Rashid and his two brothers by Ansarullah, a group led by Jamal Suleiman who is close to Hezbollah. However, Fatah remained calm, unlike other occasions when its leaders are merely threatened.

Fatah was silent because it knew about the assassination. Rashid had met with Jalila Dahlan, wife of Mohammed Dahlan, the former Fatah leader who does not currently hold any official position, but is waging an all out war against Mahmoud Abbas for the presidency of the PNA.

It would be a mistake to believe that this is anything less than a life or death battle for both men. People are already calling it the “mother of all battles.” You either take it all or lose everything. The winner will become president. He will be met as a head of state in every country he visits. Huge sums of money will be in his hands and he will be remembered as the president of the Palestinian people.
The loser will have nothing. He will be prosecuted for corruption, arrested, thrown in jail, and have all his money confiscated like what previously happened with Dahlan.
Dahlan: “My face is Palestine”
The man with bold Palestinian features, as Dahlan is described by his admirers, is younger and tougher than his rival and is already making allies abroad. Dahlan is famous for two things. First, he was one of the founders of Sokour Fatah in Gaza before 1981. Second, he, along with his colleague Jibril al-Rajjoub, were head of the notorious Palestinian Preventive Security Services, which was formed after the Oslo agreement in the 1990s.
Dahlan’s cruelty against his opponents and his oppressive control of the Gaza Strip established five main issues. He is deeply loved by Fatah partisans, who always dreamt of a strong man like him. Gaza under his rule was called “Dahlanistan” in both domestic and foreign media. He was the one who stood up in the Palestinian Legislative Council to attack Hamas and its leadership. Later, he appeared in a video in the street shouting, “they want to shoot me, let them shoot. I am here in the street standing in their way and unafraid.”
The second issue is that the US, and even Israel are convinced that he could be a shield against the expansion of Islamist movements, such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and takfiri groups. Third, he has an outstanding image, compared to other Fatah leaders, because he was the only one to stand up to Yasser Arafat and lived to tell about it. Since 2001 he began to publicly criticize Arafat’s policies. He openly rejected the appointment of Arafat’s nephew, Moussa Arafat, as head of the police in Gaza in 2002 and even joined demonstrations protesting his appointment.
The fourth issue is Dahlan’s finances. The Mintar Crossing scandal revealed that he funneled 40 percent of the crossing’s revenue ($290 thousand per month) into his personal accounts. This was done on a daily basis from 1997 and continued until his resignation from his position as head of security in Gaza. He has enough money to achieve his political goals and finance his supporters without having to beg for money from foreign countries.
Fifth, Dahlan has great relationships with everyone who can get him into power. He opposed them all, Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas, Hosni Mubarak’s regime in Egypt, and even Israel. But he always managed to survive and remain unscathed. His links with Israel are deep and go back to his days in Gaza, and include ties with Amnon Shahak from the Israeli army and Yaakov Perry from the Mossad. He has met all US secretaries of state of his time and his relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel is exemplary. He is also efficient on the Arab level, and has a good relationship with Egyptian strongman Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi. Recently, his old nemesis Hamas asked for his help in mending the party’s troubled relationship with Egypt. Other Arab countries, despite the cold appearances in public, give him a warm reception every time he visits, like Qatar and the UAE where he has business ties.
“Look at my face. It is not Middle Eastern. My face is Palestine,” Dahlan once told a European journalist, when she asked him about his Middle Eastern features.
Don’t be fooled by Abbas’ white hair

Europeans prefer Abbas to Dahlan. He was not involved in cruel, and violent acts like his opponent. Due to his tolerant and more European demeanor, he has better chances at remaining at the head of the PNA, possibly until he dies. The “president’s brother,” as he likes to be called, is 79-years-old and extremely resilient, despite his soft appearance, which could be his greatest characteristic.

Many underestimated Abbas’ ability to compete and he had never been considered a candidate to succeed Arafat. However, his pragmatism and his incredible rise to power makes him the man to beat in Fatah today and in the future. He defeated big figures like Ahmed Qurei, whom he defeated in the Fatah Central Committee elections in 2009. He expelled Intisar al-Wazir, Abu Jihad al-Wazir’s widow, from the council that same year. This is in addition to directly (or indirectly) getting rid of Farouk al-Qaddoumi, Arafat’s most prominent heir.
Abbas’ power stems from several sources. Perhaps the most notable is his knowledge of the regional political terrain. He has decades of experience in addition to dealing with most of the global game players, big and small. This plays into Abbas’ favor. It is said that he met former US President George W. Bush while George Bush Sr. was visited and got to know him.
The president does not want to return to Safad, where he was born, except as a visitor, according to recent statements. He does not want the Zionist entity to bear the burden of returnees. “Armed struggle destroyed enough. It has to stop,” he told London-based newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. But he knows such statements are what’s keeping him as the head of the PNA and will continue to do so because his opponent is not proficient in that field yet.
Even if Dahlan knows how to play the spy game and sees what’s under the table, Abbas remains the master of a direct show of force. Quickly and decisively, he disposed of all his opponents within Fatah. The 2009 central committee elections gave him control over the movement and he got rid of his opponents and enemies. He brought in 14 new faces to the committee and only kept four from the old guard.
Another point in Abbas’ favor is that he was able to use Dahlan personally, even to spearhead his struggle with Arafat in 2003. He exploited the situation with all his power, but denied being behind it. On the contrary, the burden was laid on Dahlan and he avoided angering Arafat directly. Although Arafat did not like him, he kept saying he was “the best of the bad choices,” as quoted by Der Spiegel at the time, although he never confirmed or denied making this statement.
The two men are competing, which seems to be healthy. It may seem that the Europeans believe this to be normal democratic competition. However, nothing is normal in Palestine. There is no real power for the two men to actually compete over. The land is controlled by the Zionist army. The number of security forces is smaller than the police’s and they do not possess any actual weapons. Half of the PNA’s territories, namely the Gaza Strip, is controlled by Hamas, which rules unilaterally. What are they competing for then? There are three answers: money, influence, and personal glory. As for Palestine, it only has God.
Abdul Rahman Jasem is a Beirut-based Palestinian writer
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

عن لعبة القط والقط: محمود عباس ومحمد دحلان في المصيدة!


كان وزراء الحسن الصباح إبان حصار الفاتح المغولي هولاكو لقلعة «ألاموت» يتشاورون بقلق دائم. أما هو، فقد كان يخرج كل ليلةٍ ليتفرج من شرفة قصره المرتفع ليعود ويخبرهم: «البرد والشتاء سيتكفلان بهم. لا حاجة لإرسال «عمالنا» إليهم».
(من كتاب «التاريخ الخفي لدولة الحسن الصباح»).

صعدت خلافات السلطة الفلسطينية «الداخلية» على الأخبار المحلية في الساحة اللبنانية بعدما تعرّض قائد ما يسمى «كتائب العودة» (القريبة من حركة التحرير الوطني الفلسطيني «فتح») أحمد رشيد مع شقيقيه للتصفية على يد مجموعة «أنصار الله» التابعة للقيادي جمال سليمان (القريب من حزب الله)، دون أن تستنفر «فتح» أبداً على عادتها حين تعرّض قياداتها للخطر، فكيف الاغتيال. التساؤلات كانت كثيرة، لكن الإجابات كانت أكثر وضوحاً، سكتت «فتح» لأن ما حدث كان على ما يبدو بمعرفةٍ منها، فالرشيد كان قد التقى بالسيدة جليلة دحلان، زوجة محمد دحلان، القيادي السابق الذي لا يحمل أية صفة رسمية حالياً في فتح، والذي يخوض معركة شرسة صراعاً على كل شيء مع رئيس السلطة الفلسطينية محمود عباس «أبو مازن» للفوز بالكعكة الكبيرة: رئاسة السلطة الفلسطينية.

يخطئ من يعتقد أن هذه المعركة أقل من معركة حياة أو موت بالنسبة إلى الرجلين. هي «أم المعارك»، فإما أن تفوز بكل شيء، أو تخسر كل شيء. الفائز سيصبح «الرئيس»، سيستقبل من جميع الدول (التي سيزروها طبعاً) استقبال الزعماء والقادة، ستصبح الأموال «طائلةً» بين يديه، وستخلد ذكراه بصفته الزعيم الأوحد للشعب الفلسطيني (فضلاً عن حماس وقيادتها لفرعها الخاص من الشعب الفلسطيني). الخاسر؟ لن يبقى لديه أي شيء. سيلاحق قانونياً بتهمة الفساد، وإذا ما قُبض عليه، فسيرمى في السجون، ربما ليس لوقت طويل (كما حصل مع دحلان سابقاً)، يمكن أن يطرد خارج البلاد (أيضاً كما حصل مع دحلان)، وستصادر كل أمواله، بل وحتى سيطرد من حركة فتح (أيضاً وأيضاً مرّ دحلان بالتجربة نفسها).

دحلان: «وجهي فلسطين»



قتل «البريزيركر» (Berserker) بيده الضخمة نصف الجيش، النصف الآخر مات حين رآه. أتظنني أمزح؟
(من قصيدة للشاعر النرويجي هافارد ريم)

الرجل ذو الملامح الفلسطينية القاسية، والوجه الفولاذي كما يلقبه محبوه. أصغر سناً، أقوى شكيمةً، وبالتأكيد ذو علاقاتٍ ترجع إلى سني سجنه الأولى مع مخابرات دولٍ كثيرة. ترجع شهرة أبو فادي إلى سببين: أولهما أنه أحد مؤسسي «صقور فتح» في غزة قبل عام 1981، وثانيهما أنه (بالاشتراك مع زميله «الأولمبي حالياً» جبريل الرجوب) كانا اليد «القاسية التي لا ترحم» لجهاز الأمن الوقائي الفلسطيني الذي أنشأ بعد اتفاقية أوسلو في تسعينيات القرن الماضي. قسوة الرجل مع معارضيه، وسيطرته الفولاذية على قطاع غزة، أسست لخمسة أمور مهمة: 

أولاً: محبة جارفة بين الفتحاويين للرجل، فلطالما حلم الفتحاويون برجلٍ بمثل قوته، الأمر الذي جعلهم يطلقون على غزة إبان حكمه لها: «دحلانستان» (وتعداهم الأمر إلى بعض المجلات الأجنبية ومراسلي بعض قنوات التلفزة الغربية آنذاك) فهو الشخص الذي وقف في المجلس التشريعي الفلسطيني (ناجحاً عن مقعد خان يونس) ليهاجم حماس وقادتها، وليظهر بعدها في فيديو (قبيل انقلاب حماس وسيطرتها على السلطة في غزة)، صارخاً بصوتٍ عال وهو في الشارع: «بدهم يطخوني خليهم يطخوا، هيني أنا في الشارع واقفهلم ومش خايف». 

ثانياً، قناعةٌ تامة لدى الغرب وأميركا وحتى إسرائيل بأن الرجل ينفع تماماً كدرعٍ أمام تمدد الحركات الإسلامية: حماس، الجهاد، وبعض المتطرفين السلفيين الجهاديين، (رغم كبوة غزة وانقلاب حماس). 

ثالثاً، ظهوره أمام قيادات فتح بمظهر «المتميّز»، لكونه الوحيد الذي وقف أمام الزعيم الأبدي لحركة فتح «أبو عمار» وعارضه وبقي حياً ليروي ذلك، فهو بدأ منذ عام 2001 بانتقاد سياسات «الختيار» (اللقب التحببي لعرفات) علناً. حتى إنه رفض علناً وأيد تظاهراتٍ رافضة لتعيين موسى عرفات (ابن شقيق أبو عمار) رئيساً لشرطة غزة في عام 2002. 

رابعاً، رخاء الرجل المالي، ففضيحة «معبر المنطار» (أو كارني بالعبرية) كشفت أنه منذ عام 1997 ولغاية استقالته من منصبه رئيساً لجهاز الأمن الوقائي في غزة، ظل دحلان يرسل 40 بالمئة من عائدات المعبر يومياً (قرابة مليون شيكل شهرياً) إلى حسابات شخصيةٍ تابعةٍ له. هذا يعني أنه يمتلك قدرةً مالية تجعله قادراً على التحرك في أفقٍ سياسيٍ معين وتمويل «أحبائه» و«مؤيديه»، دون مد يده لدولةٍ خارجية (على الأقل في المرحلة الأولى، ومهما كانت أحواله، على الأقل لضمان إخلاصهم). 

خامساً، علاقة أكثر من «ممتازة» مع جميع من يحتاجه للوصول إلى ما يريده، فضلاً عن حمايته الدائمة. فالرجل – مثلاً – مرّ بجميع التجارب ولا يزال حياً، عارض الجميع: أبو عمار، أبو مازن، حماس، نظام حسني مبارك المصري، وحتى إسرائيل، واستطاع النفاذ والبقاء قوياً. 

علاقاته إسرائيلياً تمتد عميقةً وترجع إلى أيام سلطته في غزة (آمنون شاحاك من الجيش الإسرائيلي، ويعقوب بيري المخابرات الصهيوني – الموساد مثلاً)، أميركياً، قابل الرجل كل وزراء الخارجية الأميركيين، فضلاً عن علاقةٍ أكثر من رائعة مع المستشارة الألمانية أنجيلا ميركل. في الإطار عينه، لم يضيع الرجل طريقه عربياً، فعلاقته مع رجل مصر القوي عبد الفتاح السيسي تبدو واضحةً جليةً، حتى إن حماس (أعداءه القدامى) استعانوا به لفتح ثغرةٍ في جدار علاقتهم المتأزمة مع مصر أخيراً. الدول العربية الأخرى، وإن أبدت خشونةً بعض الشيء في تقبّل الرجل علناً، تستقبله استقبالاً «حميماً» كلما زارها، كقطر والإمارات (التي له فيها «مصالح» اقتصادية).



الرجل الذي قال يوماً لصحافية أوروبية حينما سألته عن ملامحه الشرق أوسطية، فأجابها: تأملي وجهي، هذا ليس وجهاً شرقاً أوسطياً فحسب، وجهي هذا هو فلسطين.

أبو مازن: لا يغرنكم الشيب!

الفأرُ يصل بسرعةٍ أكبر إلى الجبنة من الثعلب، تلك مسألةٌ بديهية.
(من كتاب الأمير لمكيافيلي)

هو «لاعب النرد» من قصيدة الشاعر الفلسطيني الشهير محمود درويش. يميل إليه الأوروبيون أكثر بكثير من خصمه «المميت».
 فهو لم يخض في الدم والقسوة والعنف شأن غريمه. كذلك إن شكله «المتسامح» و«الأوروبي» يجعله الأكثر حظاً بالبقاء على رأس السلطة (لربما لحين وفاته). الأخ الرئيس، كما يحب أن ينادى، ذو الـ 79 عاماً، صلبٌ للغاية، رغم ملامحه التي توحي بالوهن، ولربما هي ميزةٌ للرجل فوق أي ميزةٍ أخرى. فلطالما استهان الآخرون بقدرة الرجل على الصراع، حتى إنه لم يحتسب يوماً ضمن المرشحين لخلافة «الختيار»، لكن براغماتية الرجل وصعوده الخارق متفوقاً على أسماء كبيرة مثل أحمد قريع الذي هزمه في انتخابات اللجنة المركزية لحركة فتح في 2009، وطرده لأرملة أبو جهاد الوزير «انتصار الوزير» برمزيتها من المجلس عينه في السنة ذاتها، فضلاً عن تخلصه المباشر (أو غير المباشر) من أبو اللطف «فاروق القدومي» الذي كان أبرز ورثة الختيار، كل 
هذا لم يجعله فقط الرقم الأصعب في فتح حالياً، بل وحتى مستقبلاً.

تأتي قوة الرجل من نقاط عدة، لربما أبرزها معرفته بساحة المعركة أكثر من خصمه الأصغر سناً، فهو خبرها منذ سنين طوال، فضلاً عن تعامله مع معظم أطراف اللعبة الدولية من أصغرهم إلى أكبرهم. وهي نقطةٌ تحتسب له بنحو كبير، حيث تشير إحدى الروايات إلى أن الرئيس الأميركي السابق جورج دبليو بوش كان قد التقى بأبو مازن إبان زيارة لوالده جورج بوش الأب وتعرف إليه وقتها.

 لا يريد الرئيس العودة إلى صفد، التي ولد فيها، إلا زائراً بحسب ما صرّح في إحدى مقابلاته أخيراً، ولا يريد تحميل الكيان الصهيوني عبء مشكلة «العائدين»، فضلاً عن تصريحه «اللافت» لجريدة «الشرق الأوسط» اللندنية، بأن «الكفاح المسلّح دمر ما يكفي، وعليه أن يتوقف».

 هو يعرف جيداً أن هذه التصريحات هي ما تبقيه على رأس هذه السلطة، وستبقيه أكثر، لأن خصمه لا يجيدها ولا يعرف كيفية صياغتها بعد. فدحلان وإن أجاد ألعاب المخابرات وما تحت الطاولة، فإن أبو مازن هو سيد «الاستعراضات» المباشرة، فهو تخلّص بنحو سريع وحاسم من كل معارضيه داخل الجسم الفتحاوي، فنتائج انتخابات 2009 في اللجنة المركزية لحركة فتح تشهد إحكام سيطرته عليه فحسب، بل تخلصه من جميع مناوئيه وأعدائه. يومها أدخل 14 شخصيةً جديدة عليه، وأبقى أربعة من الجيل القديم فيه فحسب. نقطة أخرى تضاف إلى الرئيس، هي أنه استخدم دحلان – بنفسه حتى – كرأس حربة إبان صراعه مع أبو عمار في 2003، واستغل ذلك بكل قوة، نافياً أن يكون هو المحرض على هذا الخلاف، بل بالعكس، رمى كل الأمر «بثقله» على دحلان، فتجنب «غضب» عرفات المباشر، وإن ظل الختيار لا يحب الرجل، لكنه كان يقول عنه بأنه «أفضل الخيارات السيئة» كما نقلت عنه صحيفة «دير شبيغل» مرة، ولم ينف أو يؤكد هذا الكلام رسمياً.

يتنافس الرجلان، هذا قد يبدو أمراً صحياً، قد يبدو حتى أن الأوروبيين يعتبرونه منافسةً ديموقراطية «طبيعية»، لكن
 لا شيء في فلسطين طبيعيٌ البتة. فلا سلطة حقيقية يتنازع الرجلان عليها فعلياً، الأرض يسيطر عليها الجيش الصهيوني، قوات الأمن هي أقل من قوات شرطة ولا تملك أية أسلحة فعلية. نصف أراضي السلطة، أي قطاع غزة تحديداً، تسيطر عليها حركة حماس التي تحكمها دون العودة لأحد. على ماذا يتنافسان إذاً؟ ثلاثة إجابات: المال، النفوذ، المجد الذاتي. أما فلسطين؟ فلها الله.
* كاتب فلسطيني

OLD HOMS ABOUT TO FALL TO SAA

It should be obvious to everyone that the terrorist communique translated and published by SyrPer last week should have heralded the end of the rat presence in Old Homs.  It actually did.  Almost every Syrian rat turned himself in to the authorities for Amnesty consideration.  Some were, of course, army deserters who had to be treated differently pursuant to the Syrian Army’s Code of Military Justice.  However, as Syria’s Permanent Delegate to the U.N., Dr. Bashar Al-Jaafari, said yesterday, “almost all the remaining terrorists are foreigners”.  These foreign skunks know there is no amnesty for them – in fact – the only future to which they can look forward is the cremation of their carcasses.  And so they fight on.
The Syrian Army has taken control of many buildings in the Baab Hood area as more tanks and armor keep pouring in now that the MI people have confirmed no more RPGs or Kornets available to the trapped rats.  They are surrounded with no hope of escape.  The areas being consumed by the legitimate armed forces of the Syrian state are:
    • Baab Hood
    • Al-Hameediyya
    • Al-Qusoor
    • Jawrat Al-Shiyyaah
    • Waadi Al-Saayeh

Al-Qaraabees:  Here, SAA infantrymen found a warehouse stockpiled with drugs and useless launchers.  All the evidence indicates that the occupants were foreigners. This is determined by the literature found at the scene.

Jibaab Hamad: (A jubb is a “well”).  In the central Homs area, guards at the Gas Production Factory repelled an attack and killed 26. The guards even secured the dropped weapons and ammunition including all munitions in the 2 vans they destroyed. Good show.
Al-‘Abbaasiyya:  On the Tadmur-Damscus Road.  12 IEDs with 30-40kg payloads were dismantled by sappers.
Al-Sukkari:  A tunnel occupied by rodents was discovered and stealthily prepared for destruction.  All 13 rodents inside were killed after being given the opportunity to surrender.  For some reason, they didn’t mind being buried alive.  So convenient, really.  After all, there was no need to dig them separate graves.
Daar Al-Kabeera:  The SAA preempted a mortar strike on surrounding villages by opening fire on a pack of rodents setting up their instruments of death.  All 6 were killed.
Skirmishing reported in these areas:  Al-Ghantu, ‘Ayn Hussayn, Abu Hawaadeet, Jurood Al-Burayj, Talbeesa, East Salaam Village, Al-Wudhayhi, Al-Tadmuriyya, Al-Rastan.


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’Israel’: Hezbollah Changed Rules of Engagement at Borders

Local Editor

The Israeli media considered that the recent military
Hezbollah Fighter actions which Hezbollah carried out against the Israeli army at Lebanese-Palestinian borders in response to the Israeli attacks changed the rules of engagement between the two sides.

The Zionist media outlets pointed out that Hezbollah has decided to respond to the Israeli attacks, regardless of the circumstances, “what imposes on the Israeli army continuous preparations to face all possibilities at the northern front.”

Source: Agencies
17-04-2014 – 21:53 Last updated 17-04-2014

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Hezbollah military investigation reveals who killed Al-Manar TV crew

A satellite photo shows a slain Syrian soldier (L), the late Mohammed Muntish in his car (C), and a Syrian army vehicle (R). (Photo: Al-Akhbar)
Published Friday, April 18, 2014
Less than 24 hours after three Al-Manar reporters were gunned down in the Syrian town of Maaloula, March 14 and the Syrian opposition set out to deny that armed Syrian opposition groups were responsible for the crime. Instead they pointed their fingers at the Syrian army, accusing them of being behind their murder.
March 14 and the Syrian opposition’s propaganda machine went even further by concocting the scenario that there were clashes between the Syrian army and Hezbollah. The Resistance struck back by revealing the investigation of what happened, which is usually saved for its own internal reports.
Hezbollah’s leadership investigates everything done by its fighters and has a detailed report on every mission it has carried out. When incidents happen that lead to casualties, investigations are expanded in order to provide comprehensive details to the families of the martyrs when they ask about what happened.
After journalists Hamza al-Hajj Hassan, Mohammed Muntish, and Halim Alou were killed, Hezbollah began its investigations.Al-Akhbar found out that all the details of Hezbollah’s investigation confirm the responsibility of the armed Syrian opposition for the crime and for the death of four Syrian army soldiers.
Information from the investigation reveals the following story that we present with some modification.
After taking control of the town of al-Sarkha, military units advanced towards the town of Maaloula from two directions. First they advanced from the north, taking control of the surrounding hills, the Safir Hotel, and the western part of the town. Then they advanced east, liberating the rest of Maaloula. Homes were raided and some weapons that the gunmen had left behind were found. After all the town’s buildings were searched, Maaloula was declared liberated.

Once Hezbollah and the Syrian army declared that the town was under their control, a Syrian TV crew along with Al-Manar TV reporter Jaafar Mhanna arrived. At 2:10 pm they began broadcasting live in front of the Safir Hotel. In the meantime, Al-Manar’s team arrived with a number of people at around 3:10 pm. Muntish, a military journalist who knew all the details of the area, led them. Al-Manar coordinated with Muntish to begin live broadcasting from the square close to St. Takla monastery.

Al-Manar’s TV crew was riding in a convoy of three cars. The first car was being driven by Muntish, the second car carried the equipment for live broadcasting, and the third car belonged to reporter Hamza al-Hajj Hassan. When the convoy arrived at the square near the monastery, the atmosphere appeared normal, with Syrian soldiers patrolling the area. When they turned left towards the monastery at 3:30 pm, their convoy came under heavy fire from three gunmen that were seen stationed at the Safir Hotel overlooking the square.
تحقيق عسكري للمقاومة: 3 مسلحين قتلوا فريق «المنار»
Due to the heavy shooting, everyone inside their cars was injured and Muntish and Alou were killed on the spot. Hamza attempted to drive away but was hit by a bullet and killed. The shooting also led to the deaths of four Syrian soldiers who were in the area. Afterwards, the situation on the ground was assessed and the place of the gunmen was determined. Hezbollah fighters repelled their attack, and sent a military vehicle to transfer those killed and injured out of the area. Calm returned after about an hour.
It was discovered later on that the three gunmen were hiding in the caves adjacent St. Takla monastery. The investigators believe that it would be difficult to pursue the rest of the fighters who fled the town. When Hezbollah fighters and the Syrian army arrived to the same hill that lies right above the monastery, the three gunmen sensed danger and headed down to the nearby houses where they began shooting at Al-Manar’s convoy. No one knew that Al-Manar’s television crew was coming from Beirut since broadcasting from Maaloula had been a last minute decision.
(Al-Akhbar)
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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Ibrahim al-Amin: About the martyrs of Al-Manar, the situation in Syria and Lebanon

ابراهيم الامين _ مع الحدث / المنار 17 04 2014

Aoun following his own path as presidential elections approach

MP Michel Aoun. (Photo: Haitham Moussawi)
Published Thursday, April 17, 2014
MP Michel Aoun is still March 8’s undeclared presidential candidate. However, Hezbollah and Amal’s position remained the same on the pay raise for public sector employees, but to the alliance’s surprise, Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) stood against it in parliament.
For some, the scenario was no different from Aoun’s allies agreeing with March 14 in extending the parliament and the army commander’s mandates despite his opposition. But for others the divisions over the wage increase for public sector employees brought back the memories of the original days of March 8 and March 14, 2005.
For March 8, Aoun’s stances, beginning from the Memorandum of Understanding with Hezbollah to the 2006 Israeli war make him “a trustworthy presidential candidate,” as described by a number of political sources. “The current conditions require a president who is able to communicate with all Lebanese political factions so he can build a balanced relationship between these factions in the future. One might say that Aoun possesses such a capacity,” they added.
Following the FPM’s recent actions in parliament, sources close to March 8 said, “General Aoun is indeed our ally but recently he decided to have his own perspective.” For leading March 8 figures “the shift in Aoun’s position regarding the wage increase last week and his position on Monday were a bit shocking, not to mention that it confused and embarrassed his deputies.”

According to sources close to March 8, “The FPM deputies were the ones who demanded to raise the funding for the wage increase from 16.6 billion Lebanese Lira (L.L.) to 28 billion L.L.. All attempts to change the amount of funding were opposed by the FPM’s deputies but they found no support from their leadership.”

“Why did MP Kanaan disappear? Why did MP Nabil Nicolas claim that he didn’t have a say? MP Emile Rahme was absent, while MPs Fadi al-Awar and Estephan al-Douwayhi stood by March 8,” a prominent parliamentary source in March 8 said. “FPM deputies were shocked by this surprise decision and then they were reined in without getting any explication from their leadership about what happened.”
Some even said that Aoun “yielded to pressures exercised by the Lebanese Forces who claimed that taxes on illegal construction on the seafront targeted Christians! He was also pressured by Catholic schools and was visited by the president of the coalition for touristic establishments’ owners Jean Beiruti before the parliamentary session, hence he chose to postpone the session and form a committee.”
Meanwhile, prominent sources in March 8 said “Aoun was in fact sending a message to the Future Movement to assure them that he can understand the fears of the party controlling the economy,” adding “we shouldn’t forget that the presidential elections are getting closer but Aoun, the person we count on to make reforms in the political system, can’t yield to former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora who like always, stood yesterday by capitalists instead of regular Lebanese.”
However, a FPM deputy said “Our position about the wage increase and our choice to give more time to the commission had nothing to do with opening up to the Future Movement. In fact the FPM should be thanked for its position because March 14 and MP Walid Jumblatt’s deputies wanted to stop the increase at all costs. In case a draft doesn’t get enough parliamentary votes, it cannot be discussed until the parliament is convened again next October. In fact, General Aoun warded off attempts to postpone the legislation for a long period of time and gave negotiations a second chance”.
In the end, we should bare in mind that it is the presidential election season and according to March 8 sources; we should brace ourselves for a lot more surprises before May 25.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Why is the US Honoring a Racist Rabbi?

The Extremist Origins of Education and Sharing Day
If things proceed normally, President Barak Obama will soon proclaim
April 11, 2014 “Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A.” Despite the innocuous name, this day honors the memory of a religious leader whose lesser-known teachings help fuel some of the most violent attacks against Palestinians by extremist Israeli settlers and soldiers.
The leader being honored on this day is Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, charismatic head of a mystical/fundamentalist version of Judaism. Every year since 1978, a Presidential Proclamation, often accompanied by a Congressional Resolution (the 1990 one had 219 sponsors), has declared Schneerson’s birthday an official national day of observance.
Congress first passed a Resolution honoring Schneerson in 1975. Three years later a Joint Congressional Resolution called on President Jimmy Carter to proclaim “Education Day, U.S.A.” on the anniversary of Schneerson’s birth. The idea was to set aside a day to honor both education and the alleged educational work of Schneerson and the religious sect he headed up.
Carter, like Congress, dutifully obeyed the Schneerson-initiatedresolution, as has every president since.  And some individual states are now enacting their own observances of Schneerson’s birthday, withMinnesota and Alabama leading the way.
Schneerson and his movement are an extremely mixed bag.
Schneerson has been praised widely for a public persona and organization that emphasized “deep compassion and insight,” worked to bring many secular Jews “back” into the fold, created numerous schools around the world, and had offered, in the words of the Jewish Virtual Library, “social-service programs and humanitarian aid to all people, regardless of religious affiliation or background.”
However, there is also a less attractive underside often at odds with such public perceptions. And some of the more extreme parts of Schneerson’s teachings – such as that Jews are a completely different species than non-Jews, and that non-Jews exist only to serve Jews – have been largely hidden, it appears, even from many who consider themselves his followers.
As we will see, such views profoundly impact the lives of Palestinians living – and dying – under Israeli occupation and military invasions.
Who was Rabbi Schneerson?
Schneerson lived from 1902 to 1994 and oversaw the growth of what is now the largest Jewish organization in the world. The religious movement he led is known as “Chabad-Lubavitch,” (sometimes just called “Lubavitch” or “Chabad,” the name of its organizational arm). Schneerson was the seventh and final Lubavitcher “Rebbe” (sacred leader). He is often simply called “the Rebbe.”
Founded in the late 1700s and originally based in the Polish-Russian town of Lubavitch, it is the largest of about a dozen forms of “Hasidism,” a version of Orthodox Judaism connected to mysticism, characterized by devotion to a dynastic leader, and whose adherents often wear distinctive clothing. (Spellings of these terms can vary; Hasid is also written as Hassid, Chasid, etc.)
There is an extreme cult of personality focused on Schneerson himself. Some followers consider him the Messiah, and Schneerson himselfreportedly sometimes implied this was true. Some Lubavitch educators consider him divine, making such claims as, “the Rebbe is actually ‘the essence and being [of God] … he is without limits, capable of effecting anything, all-knowing and a proper object of worshipful prostration.”
While many secular Jews and Jews from other denominations disagree with its actions and theology, Chabad-Lubavitch is generally acknowledged to be a powerful force in Jewish life today. According to a 1994 New York Times report, it is “one of the most influential and controversial forces in world Jewry.”
There are approximately 3,600 Chabad institutions in over 1,000 cities in 70 countries, and 200,000 adherents. Up to a million people attend Chabad services at least once a year. Numerous campuses have such centers and the Chabad website states that hundreds of thousands of children attend Chabad summer camps.
According to the Times, Schneerson “presided over a religious empire that reached from the back streets of Brooklyn to the main streets of Israel and by 1990 was taking in an estimated $100 million a year in contributions.
In the U.S., the Times reports, Schneerson’s “‘mitzvah tanks’ – converted campers that are rolling recruiting stations whose purpose is to draw Jews to the Lubavitch way – roamed streets from midtown Manhattan to Crown Heights. And the Lubavitchers’ Brooklyn-based publishing house claimed to be the world’s largest distributor of Jewish books.”
Non-Jewish souls ‘satanic’
While Chabad sometimes openly teaches that “the soul of the Jew is different than the soul of the non-Jew,” Schneerson’s specific teachings on this subject are largely unknown.
Quite likely very few Americans, both Jews and non-Jews, are aware of Schneerson’s teachings about the alleged deep differences between them – and about how these teachings are applied in the West Bank and Gaza.
Let us look at Schneerson’s words, as quoted by two respected Jewish professors, Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, in their book Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (text available online here. This book, praised by Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, and many others is essential reading for anyone who truly wishes to understand modern day Israel-Palestine. (Brackets in the quotes below are in the translations by Shahak and Mezvinsky.)
Some of Schneerson’s rarely reported teachings:
“The difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish person stems from the common expression: “Let us differentiate.” Thus, we do not have a case of profound change in which a person is merely on a superior level. Rather, we have a case of “let us differentiate” between totally different species.”
“This is what needs to be said about the body: the body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world … The difference in the inner quality between Jews and non-Jews is “so great that the bodies should be considered as completely different species.”
“An even greater difference exists in regard to the soul. Two contrary types of soul exist, a non-Jewish soul comes from three satanic spheres, while the Jewish soul stems from holiness.”
“As has been explained, an embryo is called a human being, because it has both body and soul. Thus, the difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish embryo can be understood.”
“…the general difference between Jews and non-Jews: A Jew was not created
as a means for some [other] purpose; he himself is the purpose, since the substance of all [divine] emanations was created only to serve the Jews.”
“The important things are the Jews, because they do not exist for any [other] aim; they themselves are [the divine] aim.”
“The entire creation [of a non-Jew] exists only for the sake of the Jews.”
Most people don’t know about this aspect of Schneerson’s teaching because, according to Shahak and Mezvinsky, such teachings are intentionally minimized, mistranslated, or
alison weir bookhidden entirely.
For example, the quotes above were translated by the authors from a book of Schneerson’s recorded messages to followers that was published in Israel in 1965. Despite Schneerson’s global importance and the fact that his world headquarters is in the U.S., there has never been an English translation of this volume.
Shahak, an Israeli professor who was a survivor of the Nazi holocaust, writes that this lack of translation of an important work is not unusual, explaining that much critical information about Israel and some forms of Judaism is available only in Hebrew.
He and co-author Mezvinsky, who was a Connecticut Distinguished University Professor who taught at Central Connecticut State University, write, “The great majority of the books on Judaism and Israel, published in English especially, falsify their subject matter.”
According to Shahak and Mezvinsky, “Almost every moderately sophisticated Israeli Jew knows the facts about Israeli Jewish society that are described in this book. These facts, however, are unknown to most interested Jews and non-Jews outside Israel who do not know Hebrew and thus cannot read most of what Israeli Jews write about themselves in Hebrew.”
In Shahak’s earlier book, Jewish Religion, Jewish History, he provides a number of examples. In one, he describes a 1962 book published in Israel in a bilingual edition. The Hebrew text was on one page, with the English translation on the facing page.
Shahak describes one set of facing pages in which the Hebrew text of a major Jewish code of laws contained a command to exterminate Jewish infidels: “It is a duty to exterminate them with one’s own hands.” The English version on the facing page softened it to “It is a duty to take active measures to destroy them.’”
The Hebrew page then went on to name which “infidels” must be exterminated, adding “may the name of the wicked rot.” Among them was Jesus of Nazareth. The facing page with the English translation failed to tell any of this.
“Even more significant,” Shahak reports, “in spite of the wide circulation of this book among scholars in the English-speaking countries, not one of them has, as far as I know, protested against this glaring deception.”
Praised by Said, Chomsky, etc., Shahak is almost unknown today
This pattern of selective omission, it seems, applies to Shahak himself, whose work is largely unknown to Palestine activists today, even though he was considered a major figure in the struggle against Israeli oppression of Palestinians, and his work was praised by diverse writers.
While Shahak was alive, Noam Chomsky called him “an outstanding scholar,” and said he had “remarkable insight and depth of knowledge. His work is informed and penetrating, a contribution of great value.”
Edward Said wrote, “Shahak is a very brave man who should be honored for his services to humanity … One of the most remarkable individuals in the contemporary Middle East.” Said wrote a forward for Shahak’sJewish History, Jewish Religion.
Catholic New Times said: ‘This is a remarkable book …[It] deserves a wide readership, not only among Jews, but among Christians who seek a fuller understanding both of historical Judaism and of modern-day Israel.”
Jewish Socialist stated: “Anyone who wants to change the Jewish community so that it stops siding with the forces of reaction should read this book.”
The London Review of Books called Shahak’s book “remarkable, powerful, and provocative.”
Yet, very few Americans today know of Shahak’s work and the information it contains.
American tax money & Jewish Extremism in Palestine
If they did, it’s hard to believe that Americans would allow $8.5 million per day of their tax money to be given to Israel, where such teachings underlie a powerful minority that is disproportionately influential in governmental actions.
Nor is it likely that a fully informed American public would allow donations to religious institutions in Israel that teach supremacist, sometimes violent doctrines to be tax-deductible in the U.S.
One organization raised over $10 million tax-deductible dollars in the U.S. in 2011 alone – removing money from the U.S. economy and enabling illegal, aggressive Israeli settlements in Palestine. And some of this money went to benefit individuals convicted of murder – including the murderer of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The New York Times obituary on Schneerson reported that Schneerson was “a major political force in Israel, both in the Knesset and among the electorate,” but failed to describe the nature of his impact.
One of a sprinkling of writers willing to publicly discuss Shahak and Mezvinsky’s findings is Allan Brownfeld, who is less reticent. Brownfeld is editor of the American Council for Judaism’s periodical Issues and contributor to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.
In a review of Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, Brownfeld describes Schneerson’s views on Israel:
“Rabbi Schneerson always supported Israeli wars and opposed any retreat. In 1974 he strongly opposed the Israeli withdrawal from the Suez area. He promised Israel divine favors if it persisted in occupying the land.”
Brownfeld reports that after Schneerson’s death, “[T]housands of his Israeli followers played an important role in the election victory of Binyamin Netanyahu. Among the religious settlers in the occupied territories, the Chabad Hassids constitute one of the most extreme groups. Baruch Goldstein, the mass murderer of Palestinians, was one of them.”
Another such Chabad Hassid is Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburg (also sometimes written as “Ginzburg” and “Ginsburgh”), who studied under Schneerson in Crown Heights and who heads up a major Chabad institution in the West Bank.
Ginsburg praised Goldstein, the murderer of 29 Palestinians while they were praying, and considers all non-Jews subhuman.
According to author Motti Inbari, Ginsburg “gives prominence to Halachic and Kabbalistic approaches that emphasize the distinction between Jew and non-Jew (Gentile), imposing a clear separation and hierarchy in this respect.”
In his book Jewish Fundamentalism and the Temple Mount: Who Will Build the Third Temple? Inbari states, “[Ginsburg] claims that while the Jews are the Chosen People and were created in God’s image, the Gentiles do not have this status and are effectively considered subhuman.”
Professor Inbari, an Israeli academic who now teaches in the U.S., writes that Ginsburg’s theological approach continues “certain perceptions that were popular in medieval times.”
“For example,” Inbari writes, “the commandment ‘You shall not murder’ does not apply to the killing of a Gentile, since ‘you shall not murder’ relates to the murder of a human, while for him the Gentiles do not constitute humans.”
Inbari reports, “Similarly, Ginzburg stated that, on the theoretical level, if a Jew requires a liver transplant to survive, it would be permissible to seize a Gentile and take their liver forcefully.”
While the mainstream American press almost never reports this kind of information, an April 26, 1996 article in Jewish Week by Lawrence Cohler reported on Ginsburg’s teachings, including their problematic roots in Jewish texts.
Cohler reported that a professor of Bible at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Rabbi Moshe Greenberg, “called for radically revising Jewish thinking about some Jewish texts on the grounds that scholars such as Rabbi Ginsburgh are far from aberrant in their use of them.”
Cohler quoted Greenberg’s concerns:  “‘There’ll be a statement in Talmud… made in circumstances where it’s purely theoretical, because Jews then never had the power to do it,’ he explained. And now, he said, ‘It’s carried over into circumstances where Jews have a state and are empowered.’”
A rabbi associated with Ginsburg coauthored a notorious Israeli book,The King’s Torah, which claims that Jewish law at times permits the killing of non-Jewish infants. American donations to the Chabad school Ginsburg heads up, and that published the above book, are tax-deductible in the U.S. Ginsburg, who endorses the book, teaches classes throughout Israel, the U.S. and France.
Such extremism is opposed by the majority of Israelis, and major Jewish religious authorities condemn it, a Chief Rabbi, for example, stating: “’According to the Torah, every man is created in God’s image.”
Yet, such extremist views continue to exert a powerful influence.
Israeli military manuals echo extremist teachings: “kill even good civilians”
Israeli military manuals sometimes replicate extremist teachings. For example, a booklet authored by a Chief Chaplain stated, “In war, when our forces storm the enemy, they are allowed and even enjoined by the Halakhah to kill even good civilians…” Such teachings by the IDF rabbinate were prominent during Israel’s 2008-9 attack on Gaza that killed 1,400 Gazans, approximately half of them civilians. (The Palestinian resistance killed nine Israelis during this “war.”)
Chicago writer Stephen Lendman has described these teachings, giving a number of examples.
Lendman writes, “In 2007, Israel’s former chief rabbi, Mordechai Elyahu, called for the Israeli army to mass-murder Palestinians:
“If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill 1000. And if they don’t stop after 1000, then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000. Even a million.”
Lendman reports that some extremist Israeli rabbis teach that “the ten commandments don’t apply to non-Jews. So killing them in defending the homeland is acceptable, and according to the chairman of the Jewish Rabbinic Council:
“‘There is no such thing as enemy civilians in war time. The law of our Torah is to have mercy on our soldiers and to save them…. A thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail.’”
Lendman writes, “Rabbi David Batsri called Arabs ‘a blight, a devil, a disaster…. donkeys, and we have to ask ourselves why God didn’t create them to walk on all fours. Well, the answer is that they are needed to build and clean.’”
Another such rabbi is Manis Friedman, a Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi inspired by Schneerson who served as the simultaneous translator for a series of Schneerson’s talks. (Friedman is currently dean of a Jewish Studies institute in Minnesota.)
A 2009 article in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports, “Like the best Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis, Manis Friedman has won the hearts of many unaffiliated Jews with his charismatic talks about love and God; it was Friedman who helped lead Bob Dylan into a relationship with Chabad.
“But Friedman, who today travels the country as a Chabad speaker, showed a less warm and cuddly side when he was asked how he thinks Jews should treat their Arab neighbors.”
In Moment magazine’s article, “Ask the Rabbis // How Should Jews Treat Their Arab Neighbors?” Friedman answered:
“I don’t believe in western morality, i.e. don’t kill civilians or children, don’t destroy holy sites, don’t fight during holiday seasons, don’t bomb cemeteries, don’t shoot until they shoot first because it is immoral.
“The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle).”
Lendman reports, “Views like these aren’t exceptions. Though a minority, they proliferate throughout Israeli society…”
They also, Lendman notes, work to prevent peace in Israel-Palestine.
Shahak and Mezvinsky note that when the book containing Schneerson’s statements quoted above about Jews and non-Jews was published in Israel, he was allied to the Labor Party and his movement had been provided “many important benefits” from the Israeli government.
In the mid-1970s Schneerson decided that the Labor Party was too moderate and shifted his support to the more right-wing parties in power today. The authors report, “Ariel Sharon was the Rebbe’s favorite Israeli senior politician. Sharon in turn praised the Rebbe publicly and delivered a moving speech about him in the Knesset after the Rebbe’s death.”
Roots in Some Early Texts
Brownfeld decries the fact that few Americans are properly informed about the fundamentalist movement in Israel “and the theology upon which it is based.”
He notes that Jewish Americans, in particular, are often unaware of the “narrow ethnocentrism which is promoted by the movement’s leading rabbis, or of the traditional Jewish sources they are able to call upon in drawing clear distinctions between the moral obligations owed to Jews and non-Jews.”
Teachings that Jews are superior and gentiles inferior were contained in some of the earliest Hassidic texts, including its classic text, “Tanya,” still taught today.
Brownfeld quotes statements by “the revered father of the messianic tendency of Jewish fundamentalism,” Rabbi Kook the Elder, and states that these were derived from earlier texts. [Kook, incidentally, was also an early Zionist, who helped push for the Balfour Declaration in England before moving to Palestine. He was the uncle of Hillel Kook, an agent who went by the name “Peter Bergson” and created front groups in the U.S. for a violent Zionist guerilla group that operated in 1930s and '40s Palestine.]
Brownfeld quotes Kook: “The difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews—all of them in all different levels—is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”
Brownfeld explains that Kook’s teaching, which he says is followed by leaders of the settler movement in the occupied West Bank, “is based upon the Lurianic Cabbala, the school of Jewish mysticism that dominated Judaism from the late 16th to the early 19th century.”
Shahak and Mezvinsky state, “One of the basic tenets of the Lurianic Cabbala is the absolute superiority of the Jewish soul and body over the non-Jewish soul and body. According to the Lurianic Cabbala, the world was created solely for the sake of Jews; the existence of non-Jews was subsidiary.”
Again, Shahak and Mezvinsky report that this aspect is often covered up in English-language discussions. Scholarly authors of books about Jewish mysticism and the Lurianic Cabbala, they write, have frequently “willfully omitted reference to such ideas.”
Shahak and Mezvinsky write that it is essential to understand these beliefs in order to understand the current situation in the West Bank, where many of the most militant West Bank settlers are motivated by religious ideologies in which every non-Jew is seen as “the earthly embodiment” of Satan, and according to the Halacha (Jewish law), the term ‘human beings’ refers solely to Jews.”
Israeli author and former chief of Israeli military intelligence Yehoshafat Harkabi touches on this in his 1988 book Israel’s Fateful Hour.
Harkabi writes that while such extremist beliefs are not “widely dominant,” the reality is that “nationalistic religious extremists are by no means a lunatic fringe; many are respected men whose words are widely heeded.”
He reports that the campus rabbi of a major Israeli university published an article in the student newspaper entitled “The Commandment of Genocide in the Torah,” in which he implied that those who have a quarrel with Jews “ought to be destroyed, children and all.” Harkabi writes that a book by another rabbi “explained that the killing of a non-Jew is not considered murder.”
Brownfeld writes, “Although messianic fundamentalists constitute a relatively small portion of the Israeli population [most Israeli settlers are motivated by the subsidized lifestyle US tax money to Israel provides], their political influence has been growing. If they have contempt for non-Jews, their hatred for Jews who oppose their views is even greater.”
Brownfeld cites the murder of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who had started to make peace with the Palestinians, writing that it was just one “in a long line of murders of Jews who followed a path different from that ordained by rabbinic authorities.” Brownfeld reports that Shahak and Mezvinsky  “cite case after case, from the Middle Ages until the 19th century.”
The authors report, “It was usual in some Hasidic circles until the last quarter of the nineteenth century to attack and often to murder Jews who had reform religious tendencies…”
They quote a long article by Israeli writer Rami Rosen, “History of a Denial,” published by Ha’aretz Magazine in 1996. This article, which cannot be found online, at least in English, is also cited in the bookBrother Against Brother: Violence and Extremism in Israeli Politics from Altalena to the Rabin Assassination, by Israeli professor Ehud Sprinzak.
In his Ha’aretz article Rosen reported: “A check of main facts of the [Jewish] historiography of the last 1500 years shows that the picture is different from the one previously shown to us. It includes massacres of Christians; mock repetitions of the crucifixion of Jesus that usually took place on Purim; cruel murders within the family; liquidation of informers, often done for religious reasons by secret rabbinical courts, which issued a sentence of ‘pursuer’ and appointed secret executioners; assassinations of adulterous women in synagogues and/or the cutting of their noses by command of the rabbis.”
While Rosen’s article may seem shocking, in reality, it simply shows that members of the Jewish population, like members of Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and diverse other populations, have at times committed atrocities, sometimes allegedly in the name of their religion. The difference, as Shahak and Mezvinsky point out, is that such information is largely covered up in the U.S. Such cover-ups, however, don’t make facts go away. They merely bury them, where they smolder and at times eventually lead to exaggerated perceptions.
U.S. media rarely report that some extremist Israeli settlers are intensely hostile to Christians, and in one instance threatened peace activists who came to the West Bank to participate in nonviolent demonstrations, “We killed Jesus and we’ll kill you, too.” There is also a record of official hostility. For example, a few years ago an Israeli mayor ordered all New Testaments to be rounded up and burned.
Schneerson’s “schools”
While Schneerson is honored on national “Education” days, the reality is that the elementary schools he created often failed to teach children  “basic reading, writing, spelling, math, science and history,” according to a graduate.
In his article “National Education Day and the Education I Never Had,” Chaim Levin reports on his experience at the Chabad school “Oholei Torah” (Educational Institute Oholei Menachem) in Crown Heights, New York – the site of Chabad’s world headquarters:
“I have profound respect for the late Rebbe and his legacy. However, I remember very clearly those talks that [Schneerson] gave – the ones we studied every year in elementary school about the unimportance of ‘secular’ (non-religious, formal) education, and the great importance of only studying limmudei kodesh (holy studies). As a result of this attitude, thousands of students were not taught anything other than the Bible throughout our years attending Chabad institutions.”
The goal of such schools, Levin writes, was to produce “schluchim,” missionaries who would promote Chabad all over the world.
Meanwhile, he notes, “Failure to provide basic formal education cripples children within Chabad communities. We cannot ignore the harm done…” Levin writes, “Until this day, Oholei Torah and many other Chabad schools — particularly schools for boys and a few for girls in Crown Heights and in some other places — do not provide basic formal education.”
Education and Sharing Day 2014
In his 2000 article, Brownfeld writes that Shahak and Mezvinsky’s book should be “a wake-up call “to Americans, particularly Jewish supporters of Israel.”
Fourteen years later, however, very few people are aware of these books and their powerful information, and U.S. tax money continues to flow to Israel. The main author, Israel Shahak, is now dead, as is Edward Said; Noam Chomsky rarely, if ever, mentions him; and Shahak’s co-author, Norton Mezvinsky (uncle of Chelsea Clinton’s husband), is a member of aLubavitch congregation in New York.
In many ways, little seems to have changed since 1994, when Congressmen Charles Schumer, Newt Gingrich, and others introduced legislation to bestow on Schneerson the Congressional Gold Medal. The bill passed both Houses by unanimous consent, honoring Schneerson for his “outstanding and lasting contributions toward improvements in world education, morality, and acts of charity.”
And in two weeks, Americans will be officially called on to observe a day that honors Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson and the Lubavitcher movement.
That is, unless masses of people contact their Congressional representatives to demand a whole new direction: a “National Education and Sharing Day” that honors an individual who values education, and who believes that all people – in the words of the Declaration of Independence – are created equal.
Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew and president of the Council for the National Interest. Her book, Against Our Better Judgment: How the U.S. was used to create Israel, contains additional information on Rabbi Kook’s family connection to American front groups for Israeli terrorists. (Kook was unusual in his support for political Zionism; most Jewish religious leaders at the time considered the movement heretical). Weir is NOT the British historian.)
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