The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

[CORRECTION to:] PM Netanyahu used a quote from Nasrallah that was likely fabricated

[CORRECTION: Tony Badran had found and pointed to a link to the FULL speech by Nasrallah in October 2002 where he says roughly what PM Netanyahu says he said. Here is the translation from Mideastwire.com:

“…But I tell you, there are signs to guide us in the Islamic prophecies and not just the Jewish prophecies indicating that this Israeli state will be established and that the Jews from the entire world will come to occupied Palestine. But this will not be done for their antichrist to rule. God Almighty wanted to save you the trouble of finding them all over the world. They will gather up in one place and there will be a decisive battle….”

Tony is absolutely correct that in our 2007 book of Nasrallah speeches we were note able to find the unexcerpted speech to be able to make a definitive statement on the anti-jewish aspect of this particular speech – we missed it and it is an unfortunate error.

However, Tony apparently did not read what was in the book or much of the post below, because 1) in the original post from the other day, below, and in the 2007 book, we specifically said that Nasrallah indeed could have made the statement, although from two different versions of the speech where there were clear breaks, we thought it was “unlikely.” So we clearly cautioned the reader.

2) The main point that Tony missed was that I suggested the PM should have used the totally non-“controversial” quotes by Nasrallah that are in fact clearly anti-jewish…. instead of the quote above which many commentators have (wrongly) seen as unreliable.

In any case, it has always been clear: Nasrallah has made a handful of anti-jewish comments over the last three decades, an aspect of Hezbollah’s history in general that is vital to understand clearly.]

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ORIGINAL POST:

Unfortunately, PM Netanyahu just used a quote from Hezbollah’s leader, Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, that we determined was likely fabricated in our 2007 book: “If they [the Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”

I pasted the entire speech and the preface below from our 2007 book “Voice of Hezbollah” for Verso.

Netanyahu did not choose to use the clearly – though rarely uttered – anti-jewish quotes we can verify from Nasrallah (there are about two in the last thirty years [N.B. ADDITION – I would add after the original post that there are actually five] which are verified and which clearly smack of an anti-jewish discourse). These two quotes (Jews are “apes and pigs” and that Jews are a “lowly” people) are far less, of course, than the extensive level of anti-jewish discourse uttered by many US allies in the region and beyond (and remember that Saudi Arabia and Egypt have sponsored the most hateful, consistently anti-jewish discourse over the last 60 years!). The problem for the PM is these two quotes dont convey the idea of relentless terrorism on a global scale that the fabricated quote does… which is why they chose to use it of course!

From our book:

“Arabs are not Red Indians”[1] October 22 2002

Nasrallah’s speech to the Islamic Institution for Culture and Education in Beirut has for years provided a key piece of evidence for critics who charge that Hezbollah is anti-Jewish, rather than anti-Zionist, and that the Party seeks the destruction of Jews worldwide. The particular line at issue, published by the English-language Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star, read: “If they [the Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.” That particular translation, however, provided by reporter Badih Chayban, was subsequently disavowed by the Star’s managing editor, but more to the point, the line does not appear in the excerpted version actually printed in Arabic the following day by An Nahar – whose transcription serves as the original for this translation. There is, though, a break at the point where Nasrallah could have potentially made the remark, leaving open the possibility that he may in fact have delivered the comment subsequently translated by The Star, reported and then circulated. However, given An Nahar’s generally critical stance towards Hezbollah over the years, sometimes even despite Lebanese government (and Syrian) efforts at media censorship, such an omission would appear unlikely.

Apart from this, Nasrallah strikes an especially defiant and indeed triumphant tone following the general softening of rhetoric by Israel in regards to Lebanon’s stated – and on October 16, fully realized – aim of diverting more water from the Wazzani river, a coveted source for the River Jordan, which, like the Hasbani river also in the south, sprang from Lebanese lands. In September, Sharon had stated flatly that such a diversion would be a causus belli – a reminder of Sharon’s long list of threats made and actions taken against Lebanon.

Nasrallah makes clear that, although its forces had not carried out any operations during the crisis, “any aggression against Lebanon will not be met by weakness, retreat or submission; responsibility is responsibility and a decision is a decision.” Although a standard element in Nasrallah’s rhetoric, his assertion held added significance since Hezbollah had significantly stepped up its operations over the previous eight months,[2] including occasionally outside of the disputed Shebaa Farms and despite Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi’s public statement in April in Beirut that the Party should act with greater restraint. Iran’s reformist-leaning government, Nasrallah had suggested at the time, could offer its insight, but ultimately it could not affect Party decisions when it came to basic issues of territorial sovereignty. This particular stance which aimed to liberate territory that Hezbollah and some other Lebanese considered as occupied, would prove ever more controversial in the coming months and years as the spectre of wide scale Israeli occupation faded and as Lebanon’s need for international assistance grew ever greater.

 

We will speak today in a language of hope, open horizons and prosperous futures so that no one will fall victim to the psychological warfare that the American administration is waging against the world, and especially against Muslim and Islamic movements. No one should be fearful or scared, for nothing that Sharon says, or does, should ever scare anyone. Israel no doubt has a high level of experience in waging psychological warfare, but even in such wars, they make deadly mistakes, and inadvertently render us a great service without our saying or doing anything to earn it.

For example, a few days ago, Sharon returned from the United States and declared, “Hezbollah has missiles that can travel 300 kilometres, and this means that not a single populated area in Israel is safe from Hezbollah’s missiles.” Sharon wanted to use this statement to his benefit, and to the detriment of Hezbollah, Lebanon, Syria and Iran; all he managed to do, however, was to scare his own people to death. If the resistance uses only Katyusha rockets, it could cause the displacement of two million Jews, and these would have to look for somewhere else to live, probably in the centre of Israel. How would it be, then, if Hezbollah’s missiles, as Sharon says, can reach every single populated area in Israel? If these are launched, where will all the Israelis go? Will they run to where the intifada is raging in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the West Bank?

And he continues [as published]: The United States, which is coming to impose its direct control over the region, knows very well that even if it brought all its military forces to Iraq, or elsewhere in the region, it will not be able to stay for long. The American and Israeli administrations have to understand that Arab and Muslim populations, and the people of this area as a whole, are not the Red Indians whom they can annihilate or isolate in the desert or on mountains. The people of this area are alive, and their ancestry goes back to the first human beings that walked on this land, which they call ‘the Old World’.

The onset of widespread American-Israeli barbarism in our region also marks the end of the United States’ hegemony over the world, because it will unleash an open and an unbalanced confrontation against it. The people on the other side of this confrontation are the leaders, officers and soldiers, not a state that could be threatened or a regime that can be dismantled and its financial resources dried up.

As we said a few days ago, what took place, and is still happening in Wazzani was a great victory; the fact that Lebanon could do what it did, and that Israel keeps quiet about it, is in itself a great accomplishment. Israel could make a sales-pitch for its silence to the Americans, the United Nations, France and the European Union, but the fact remains that the whole world knows that its silence, and its political sales-pitch, is insincere. They all know that if Israel had been able to respond, one way or another, before or after the opening of the Summit, it would have done so. Now we hear people say once again that since the Francophone Summit is over,[3] Sharon may respond by launching an operation. I believe that it is a gross oversimplification to assume that Sharon did not bomb Lebanese installations before or after the opening of the Francophone Summit because it was being held in Lebanon. What he took into account when making this decision prior to the Francophone Summit, he will take again into account after the Summit is over.

It is wrong for the Lebanese to assume that their great accomplishment was all thanks to the Francophone Summit; this accomplishment came as a result of their unity, their state, their resistance, their people and their solidarity with Syria, in addition to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s support, which endorses all Lebanon’s endeavours to regain its usurped territorial, water and other rights. All these things existed before the Francophone Summit, and will be there when it ends. We will reiterate everything we have said previously: any aggression against Lebanon will not be met by weakness, retreat or submission; responsibility is responsibility and a decision is a decision. Today, any weakness or lack of resolve in our words, our logic or in our performance does not mean that the other side will respect us, appreciate our circumstances, and will cooperate with us; rather, it will lead to more arrogance, more tyranny and more aggression against Lebanon and the region.
[1] “Red Indians” remains as a common reference for Arabic speakers to Native Americans in the United States.

[2] Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem would later write that “During the Israeli ‘Defensive Shield’ operation… the Resistance escalated its activities in the Shebaa Farms, increasing the frequency to a daily basis…sending a message of solidarity with the Palestinian people’s uprising and pain.” Qassem, Hizbullah, p. 136.

[3] The annual Francophone summit, only days before Nasrallah’s speech, brought French President Jacques Chirac to Beirut, as well the leaders of 55 states around the world. Nasrallah, in a well-reported appearance, attended the opening ceremonies.

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Written by nickbiddlenoe

March 3, 2015 at 6:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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