‘Comment is Free’ contributor Abdel al-Bari Atwan sympathizes with Osama Bin Laden

Abdel al-Bari Atwan is the editor-in chief of the London-based Arab newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, and has been named among the 50 ‘most influential Arabs’ by Middle East Magazine.  His pro-Palestinian, anti-Zionist politics can be best summed up by his fanciful boast a few years ago that he would dance in the streets in London’s Trafalgar Square if Iranian nuclear missiles were to hit Tel Aviv.

iran

In fact, Atwan’s satisfaction when contemplating the murder of Jews wasn’t theoretical, and certainly was not a one-off.  

In March 2008, for instance, Atwan said that the Mercaz HaRav Jerusalem terrorist attack, in which a Palestinian gunmen murdered eight students (aged 15 to 26), was “justified”, and that the celebrations in Gaza following the attack symbolized “the courage of the Palestinian nation”.  Atwan also praised the 2011 Palestinian terror attack on civilians in southern Israel which resulted in 8 dead and 25 injured, and was even critical of Mahmoud Abbas’s recent condemnation of the abduction of Israeli soldiers, in an essay which praised Hamas for its achievement in releasing over 1,000 prisoners as part of the Gilad Shalit deal.

As my colleague Hadar Sela recently noted, Atwan is regular guest on BBC’s Newsnight. He is also, unsurprisingly, a frequent contributor to ‘Comment is Free’ – having penned 12 essays at the Guardian blog over the past two years.

Most recently, MEMRI reported, Atwan told Egypt’s Channel 2 on June 2nd that Osama Bin Laden was only “half a terrorist,” since his organization’s attacks against American forces in Saudi Arabia could not be considered terrorism, before adding:

If you support the Palestinian resistance, you do not consider [Bin Laden’s attacks] terrorism. But if you are with America, Europe, and Israel, you do consider it terrorism…It depends on your definition of terrorism.

Here’s the video:

According to Atwan, who in 2010 characterized the late al-Qaeda leader a “great man“, the question of whether or not Bin Laden was in fact a “terrorist” depends on your definition of the term.

Sound familiar?

As we’ve reported on multiple occasions, ‘Comment is Free’ correspondent Glenn Greenwald has advanced similar arguments, alternately decrying the “meaninglessness” of the word, suggesting that the term is ‘racially loaded’ and that it typically represents rhetorical propaganda exploited by the U.S. to justify ‘state violence’ against Muslims. 

However, lost in the “debate” about whether fanatics like Bin Laden are terrorists is the much more important truth regarding the ideology which inspires their tactic of terror.  The West opposes al-Qaeda, and other Islamist extremist groups, not merely because they support the use of violence against innocent civilians, but also due to the fact that their political objectives include replacing liberal, democratic governments with Taliban-style tyrannical regimes antithetical to democracy, religious pluralism, gender equality, and sexual freedom.

Terrorism, for al-Qaeda and like-minded jihadists around the globe, represents merely a ‘strategy’ in their dangerously reactionary political crusade. 

As those like Atwan and Greenwald continue to engage in such cynicism and sophistry – in an attempt to make us debate the narrow question of the meaning of the term “terrorism” – it’s vital to remember that we fight such enemies not solely due to the extremist (terrorist) methods they employ, but because their political vision is diametrically opposed to the progressive values we cherish.

Hate at Trafalgar Square: Palestine Solidarity Campaign activist says he wants to kill Israelis

The following is a first hand account by the London-based blogger, Richard Millett

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Protesting for Samer Issawi in Trafalgar Square.

Yesterday, in case you missed it, was the 24 hour worldwide mass hunger strike for Samer Issawi. Sympathy hunger strikers collected in Italy, Egypt, America, Gaza and Jerusalem. I popped over to see how the London leg of the hunger strike was going in Trafalgar Square. When I arrived at 6pm there were about 10 demonstrators handing out leaflets which stated:

“Samer Al-Issawi, a Palestinian from occupied Jerusalem is incarcerated without charge. The political prisoner close to death was assaulted while handcuffed by Israeli police in Jerusalem on 18 December. Issawi is held without charge under the notorious administrative detention and is on hunger strike against it. Israel reneged in the Shalit prisoners deal when it rearrested Isawi (sic.) Samer’s brother was murdered in the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in 1994 by the mass murderer Baruch Goldstein, an American-Israeli Kach settler in occupied Hebron. Don’t let the Israeli state kill Samer.”

Issawi was released as part of the agreement where 1,027 Palestinian prisoners were exchanged for Israel’s Gilad Shalit. Issawi was then rearrested for allegedly defying the terms of his release that required him to remain in Jerusalem.

Issawi was originally sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2001 for shooting at Israeli soldiers entering his village of Isawiya, east Jerusalem. He is a member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and he has now been on hunger strike since 1st August from when he has ingested only water and salt.

When I arrived in Trafalgar Square none of those demonstrating for Issawi were on hunger strike. It can’t be easy for some of them to give up their daily visit to the local bistro for a bowl of steamy mushroom soup with baguette and a glass of Merlot.

Some of the demonstrators wanted to chat with me, mostly telling me that I wasn’t welcome and that I wasn’t allowed to take photographs of their demonstration.

I did have a polite discussion with a 23-year-old who had just finished studying accountancy. We talked about the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Needless to say we disagreed on everything but he did tell me of his future plans.

He wanted to leave his family and head to Pakistan to start-up a political party that would “bomb the whole of Israel”.

Here’s a clip of him reiterating his desire to bomb Israel. When I asked him what would happen to all the innocent Israelis if he bombed Israel he replied:

“Whoever is innocent there I will rescue them, so that Benjamin Netanyahu dies and people like you as well.”

This isn’t a surprising sentiment for a Palestine Solidarity Campaign activist as their hate for Israel’s supporters far surpasses any faux concern they claim to have for Palestinians, including Samer Issawi.

More photos from the protest:

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Richard Millett’s ‘Al Quds Day’ Report: Hezbollah marches through London again

Cross posted by Richard Millett

At Al Quds Day in London today.

Remember during the Olympics when Britain celebrated how multicultural we are and how we accept people of all cultures and races? Well, it seems, the party is already over.

Britain’s Jews are made to feel especially uncomfortable. Today, yet again, Hezbollah supporters marched through the streets of London for the Khomeini inspired Al Quds Day. Instead of congregating in Trafalgar Square like last year, they assembled outside the American Embassy.

Hezbollah has been involved in a worldwide campaign to murder as many Jews as possible. It started in Argentina in the early 1990s when both the Israeli consulate and a Jewish community centre were bombed by Hezbollah leaving hundreds of Jews and non-Jews dead and disabled. And recently in Bulgaria Hezbollah blew up a bus full of young Israeli tourists leaving many dead and crippled.

This is all fully in line with Hassan Nasrallah’s statements that Jews are descended from pigs and apes and if the world’s Jews gathered in Israel it would save Hezbollah the effort of going after them worldwide.

Last year Hezbollah activists held up signs proclaiming “Death to Israel”, “Israel Your Days Are Numbered” and “For there to be peace Israel must be destroyed”. Today the disingenuously named Islamic Human Rights Commission, a registered charity, was allowed to repeat the exercise.

And this year the march and rally were advertised on the back of some 400 London buses!

I wasn’t there for very long today. Once again I was quietly trying to film proceedings. No one recognised me until an anti-Ahava activist tipped off stewards from the Islamic Human Rights Commission who jostled me and complained to the police who, in turn, ushered me away.

After the assembled crowd was urged to chant “Zionism must go” and “From The River to the Sea Palestine Will be Free” I saw both Reverend Stephen Sizer and Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn address it.

Leaflets sponsored by INMINDS.co.uk were handed out. They read, inter alia, ”The world ended Nazism and Apartheid, isn’t it time to end the suffering of the Palestinians?” and “Israeli soldiers of the Givati Brigade ordered around 100 people in to the Wa’el Samouni house at gunpoint. They then bombed the house killing 29 people. They then denied emergency crews access to the house for four days, shooting at ambulance drivers if they approached the house. In case anyone mistook the intent of the Givati in this crime, they left a message on one of the remaining walls of the house, daubed in Hebrew it read ‘The Only good Arab is a Dead Arab.’”

One has to ask why does Britain rightly ban groups like Muslims Against Crusades for causing public outrage but not Hezbollah which is actively attempting to murder Jews worldwide. Are Britain’s Jews deemed so dispensable?

I think we know the answer by now.

Al Quds Day London 2012. So much for “multi-cultural Britain”.

Someone’s in love with Hezbollah.

The heavies.

Giving me the evils.

More evils.

Racism descends on a sunny London.

The Green Party?

Neturei Karta at their usual pre-Shabbat hate-fest.

“Daddy, daddy can we go to another hate-fest today?”

Neturei Karta and Hezbollah; the perfect fit?

What the Guardian won’t report: Pro-Palestinian activists in London – “Israel must be destroyed!”

A sincere H/T to Richard Millett

Germany 1935, “The Jews are our misfortune”:

Trafalgar Square, London, August 2011, “For world peace, Israel must be destroyed”:

For Nazi Germany Jews were not just a Fifth Column, not merely an enemy from within, but a cosmic evil which had to be eradicated.

Here are the words spoken by Lauren Booth, (Tony Blair’s half-sister-in-law) at the Al Quds Day terror rally organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission in London’s Trafalgar Square yesterday, after she had just sworn her allegiance to Hamas:

It is time, Brothers and Sisters, for Al Quds to be liberated. For Islam and people of the world who wish to pray there to the one God. And we say here today to you Israel, we see your crimes and we loathe your crimes. And to us your nation does not exist, because it is a criminal injustice against humanity. We want to see Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt go to the borders and stop this now. Liberate Al Quds! March to Al Quds!”

Typically, I’m very hesitant to employ Nazi analogies when characterizing anti-Israel “activists”, but when those who champion Palestinian rights explicitly seek Israel’s destruction – not a two state solution, but an end to the Jewish state’s very existence – the comparison is morally justifiable.

Here are some more photos: