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Anti-Semitic Jihad (al-Khazen)

Jonathan Schanzer

Why does the Arab world blame an insidious Jewish cabal for America’s anti-terrorist or anti-autocratic policies in the Middle East? There are many reasons, ranging from jihadist ideology to vitriolic state-run media. The book The Israel Lobby by professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer has also added recent fuel to the fire.

Here’s another reason: Jihad al-Khazen.

Jihad al-Khazen is an anti-Israel, anti-American, anti-Semitic columnist for the London-based al-Hayat, one of the leading newspapers in the Arabic Diaspora. Though al-Hayat is somewhat pro-West on some issues, al-Khazen’s ink poisons the editorial page. In a recent column, the Lebanese columnist openly admits, “Throughout my journalistic career I have mainly focused on criticizing the United States and on attacking Israel.” His blatant lies and vitriol, in the last month alone, are worth recounting.

On September 19, he wrote a column attempting to explain how American demonstrations against the Darfur genocide are actually a pro-Israeli (a thinly-veiled euphemism for “Jewish”) plot.

“Efforts are made by pro-Israeli groups,” he wrote, “to divert attention from the crimes Israel has perpetrated against the Palestinians by focusing on Darfur.”

He continues by saying that the, “American-Israeli evil cabal is focusing on Darfur to divert attention from American war crimes perpetrated against Iraq.”

The prolific but delusional al-Khazen also asserts that Washington’s alarm over Iran’s nuclear program is a plot hatched by Jews. He claims that the possibility of armed conflict with Iran, which continues to develop nuclear weapons against the wishes of the international community, has been orchestrated by the same cabal.

Advocates for a war against Iran in the George W. Bush administration, he writes, “are led by Dick Cheney whose office includes some pro-Likud American Jews and their main ally Elliott Abrams, the Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy. Cheney’s Israeli inclinations take precedence over his American inclinations.”

Al-Khazen completely dismisses the Iranian threat, ignoring Iran’s history of violence and terror, insisting that, “Iran cannot pose a security threat to the United States neither today nor tomorrow. All other talk is tantamount to Israeli rudeness.”

He concludes that, “the war cabal in Washington does not want hope, but rather a pretext.”

On 9/11 this year, al-Khazen had the audacity to write that, “Al-Qaeda and the war cabal are two sides of the same coin.”

He asserts that a “war cabal” led the country into a war that destroyed “Iraq in order to serve Israeli interests and imperial dreams.”

Rather than listing the horrible litany of attacks and murders carried out by al-Qaeda in recent years, al-Khazen asserts that it is “undeniable truth” that a “crime against humanity has been committed and for which the war cabal led by American Vice-president Dick Cheney is responsible.” He then goes on to say that this cabal includes the high-profile Jews that worked in the Bush administration, including: “Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz Under-secretary of Defense Douglas Feith Richard Perle, a member of the Defense Policy Board Elliott Abrams, the Director of the Middle East Affairs in the White House and Ari Fleischer, former presidential spokesman.”

Of course, al-Khazen has the right to publish what he wants, in accordance with the United Kingdom’s laws that protect free speech. And al-Khazen would surely insist that his writings are within the boundaries of the law. But this columnist’s writings may be beyond the pale. His writings smack of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and they fuel the fire of anti-Semitism in the Arabic-speaking world and its Diaspora.

Al-Hayat should take steps to either have an ombudsman scrutinize al-Khazen’s writing or have him removed from the staff of a respected international publication. Should al-Hayat not take the proper steps to correct the problem, the UK should be encouraged to launch an investigation, looking back at all of al-Khazen’s editorials, to determine whether al-Khazen is guilty of hate speech. Last year, Home Secretary David Blunkett made the inciting of religious hatred a criminal offence. Al-Khazen’s columns may qualify.

Jonathan Schanzer, a former Treasury intelligence analyst, is Director of Policy for the Jewish Policy Center and author of ‘Al-Qaeda’s Armies: Middle East Affiliate Groups and the Next Generation of Terror’.