The Mideastwire Blog

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

Here is one speech where we CAN verify Nasrallah used anti-Jewish rhetoric



Below is a draft version of what ultimately appeared in our Verso 2007 book – “Voice of Hezbollah”.. so NOT a final version.

The Israeli PM chose yesterday to use a quote that is likely – and I stress on the word likely – not accurate…. it is because, of course, the controversial 2002 quote points to the “global reach” aspect of Hezbollah which was necessary in post-2002 era for the Neo-LiberalCons to marshal military/media forces against the “Axis of Evil”… and we all know how that turned out!

He could have pointed to this speech which we CAN verify to make an argument about the anti-jewish side of the conflict between Israel and its enemies…Although this aspect of the conflict – the racism – is something that needs greater context and care, I would argue, in informing a public debate and policies (especially ones that could lead to more wars that are ultimately counter-productive and bad on many levels).


On Jews

May 7 1998

Nasrallah’s speech below to a political rally in Beirut, broadcast live on the nascent, Hezbollah-affiliated Al Manar television station, contains a rare series of publicly pronounced vilifications directed against Jews as Jews. Perhaps not surprisingly, the first several lines of the speech, which describe “Zionists Jews” as “the descendents of apes and pigs” (the Zionist qualification is quickly dropped thereafter), was among the most widely circulated quotes attributed to Nasrallah by the English language media during the 2006 Hezbollah-Lebanon war – submitted as evidence, along with a small handful of other quotes, of Nasrallah and Hezbollah’s apparently uncompromising and totalizing hatred of all adherents of the Jewish faith. The careful reader and analyst should of course note that Nasrallah’s rhetoric here plainly contradicts the previous statement, where he points to the experience of Iran’s Jewish community as evidence that, “our war is not against Judaism or Jews but against Zionism which created its racial state in Israel.”

As several scholars have suggested, this apparent contradiction enormously complicates the potential for any kind of a future reconciliation, or normalization between the two sides (though it should be said that it does not preclude a potentially containable, non-violent level of hostility). For although Nasrallah at times suggests that Hezbollah could live side by side with Jews – of course only under Hezbollah’s particular vision of a unified Palestinian state where many Jews would be forced to leave – this statement, in particular, suggests that Hezbollah’s scepticism of Judaism, exacerbated over 16 bloody years of fighting the State of Israel, may have run so deep as to become dangerously mired in what amounts to racial hatred.

Of course, there may also have been a more immediate element of populist politicking in the statement that follows. In an effort to offset its previous loss of three Parliamentary seats in 1996, the Party vigorously appealed to its base ahead of the country’s first municipal elections in late May 1998.

Meanwhile, the regional situation, too, appeared to be moving Hezbollah into a comparatively even more radical stance overall. Only one month before this speech, amid a general air of accommodation created by Mohammed Khatami’s 1997 presidential win in Iran, the country’s Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister, Ayatollah Mohajerani, had declared that “if Israel withdraws from South Lebanon with guarantees for fixed and secure borders, there will be no further need for Hezbollah’s resistance operation there”[1] – a suggestion angrily rejected by Nasrallah.

With Syrian and Israeli negotiations still frozen but looming nonetheless, a worsening political split in Tehran reverberating in Lebanon and the process of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations well on their way to October’s Wye River Accords, Nasrallah’s words may therefore indicate, more than anything, the Party’s creeping realization and fear that regional normalization might soon be imposed on the Party, no matter its concerns about Israel or Jews for that matter.

(…) Very regrettably, The 10th of Muharram [the day of Ashoura][2] this year coincides with the 50th anniversary of the historic catastrophe and the tragic event, namely, the establishment of the state of the Zionist Jews, the descendants of apes and pigs, on the land of Palestine and the holiest of our holy places. This enemy celebrates its overwhelming victory. A few million vagabonds from all over the world, brought together by their Talmud and Jewish fanaticism, are celebrating their victory over the nation of 1.4 billion Muslims. This is why I say that it is a tragic, painful, and bitter thing that a small number of people gather in Palestine, dancing and holding celebrations in Al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy city to celebrate their great victory over the nation of Muhammad. When this Muslim nation was small, the Jews were unable to defeat it, and the Jews of Bani al-Nudayr, Bani Qurayzah and Khaybar[3] were forced out of their castles and fortresses.

Over the past 50 years, the Jews have succeeded in defeating the nation of 1.4 billion Muslims and the nation of hundreds of millions of Arabs. Fifty years have passed and the enemy is still wagering on its superiority, backed by the US administration. Here, I would like you to know that the historical position of this administration towards Israel is based not only on interests and political and economic considerations, but also on ideology. It is more ideological commitment than political interests.

They bet that with time they will be able to impose peace on the Arab countries and on the Palestinians by giving them a very low percentage of the West Bank. They do not want any discussion on the issue of Jerusalem. They imagine they can impose peace on Syria which would enable them to keep part of the Golan Heights, and that they can impose a peace on Lebanon under which the Lebanese State and army will turn into guards to protect the Israeli border, while the mujahidin and honourable people are punished, and the collaborators and traitors are awarded medals.

But despite all these Jewish ambitions, we in this nation say that the dreams of the Israelis have come to an end. The blood that will not be defeated by the sword that has been unleashed in southern Lebanon, Western Bekaa and Palestine. Today, this blood is boiling in the veins of Arabs and Muslims. The dreams of the Israelis are over. We promise and warn them that their dreams are over, and that the time has come for them to wake from their dreams and face reality, a reality in which people refuse to live in humiliation and view life with the Zionist Jews as nonsense, a reality in which every man, young and old, loves to blow himself up to tear apart the bodies of the invading, occupying Jews.
This nation has a message, religion, culture and tremendous capabilities. All that this nation needed was to regain its freedom and will. Now it is regaining them through the blood of the young martyrs of this nation. We, therefore tell all those who have held conferences and discussed the tragedy of the past 50 years: Do not despair, do not be pessimistic, and do not become hostages to theories and your imagination. Come and join us in the real world, the world of jihad and martyrdom, and you will see that we are able to change the equation.

I would like to draw attention to the grave nature of this usurping entity in Palestine, this cancerous growth and harmful microbe, this entity without borders. Israel’s borders stop where its arm, tanks and spears can reach. Israel’s borders extend to river sources and sea basins, and any place where there is a trace of an old Talmud or a stone on which an old Jewish rabbi sat. That is the land of Israel. The waters of the Nile and the Euphrates, the mountains of Yemen, and the land of Khaybar are part of Israel’s land.[4] Is this not the dream? But let us return to Khaybar: The army of Muhammad has returned carrying the message, history, religion and culture, full of resolve and determination, with its leaders being martyrdom seekers, just like Ali and Hussein, may God’s peace and prayers be upon them. So wait for the dream of the Khaybarites to collapse, just as Khaybar collapsed.[5]

Far from despair, a state of vigilance and readiness exists among the nation. There is a great respect for jihad, mujahidin, martyrs and the option of jihad. There is a rejection of normalization with the enemy. This is even true in Egypt, which signed a peace agreement [with Israel] 20 years ago. The same applies to Jordan, whose king bows down every morning and evening on the Jews’ doorsteps.
Hope in Lebanon grows with the presence of the Islamic Resistance and with the intifada, which erupted in Palestine,[6] and which, God willing, will return to the land of Palestine. Hope increases with the great political steadfastness in Syria led by President Hafiz al-Assad and in the Islamic Republic [of Iran] led by His Eminence Ayatollah Khamene’i, the Guardian of the Muslims’ cause, may his shadow be extended. We tell Netanyahu: Let Arafat bargain with you over 1 percent or 0.5 per cent. If Netanyahu’s decision to raise the ratio of the withdrawal from the West Bank from 9 to 10 per cent requires the mediation of heads of states, prime ministers, and foreign ministers of major powers, compare this with Arafat, who immediately accepted a reduction from 30 per cent to 13 per cent because of his humiliation, loss, disgrace and relinquishment of jihad. But this nation will not accept from Netanyahu 1 per cent, 9 per cent, or 30 per cent. This nation will only accept every inch of the sacred land of Palestine (…)[7]
Regarding the Israeli proposal for Lebanon, I would like to point out that the Zionists seek to drive a wedge among the Lebanese concerning Resolution 425 with its security conditions. The Zionists are also trying to drive a wedge between the Lebanese and Syrians, between the Syrians and Iranians, and between the resistance and the state. The Zionists are spreading rumours, suspicions, and lies.

Regarding some statements and analyses which have reported that Iran has facilitated the Israeli proposal, I would like to stress that all these things are sheer lies, aimed at launching psychological warfare, driving a wedge, and making both Syria and Lebanon feel that they are besieged and isolated in their confrontation. Iran not only calls for the unconditional withdrawal of the Israeli forces from Lebanon, but also calls for the elimination of Israel. This is evident in Iran’s ideological, religious, political and firm stance, which is the stance of the imam and leader. Iran’s stance is too lofty to be harmed by lies and accusations.

Regarding Hezbollah’s stance, some circles have said that a certain political deal has been made. I would like to say that Hezbollah’s stance and pride are far too lofty to allow it to participate in this kind of deals. I want to declare here that during the April [1996] war,[8] the foreign ministers of great countries contacted us and suggested ideas sweetened with many political incentives. They said they would recognize us as a big political party in Lebanon and as an important political factor in the Lebanese equation. They also said that the doors of financial and material assistance would open for our institutions, and that we would be recognized by the highest authorities in the world in return for abandoning our resistance and stabbing our friends in Syria in the back. But we categorically rejected all this because we are the sons of Abu Abdullah al-Hussein,[9] who know nothing of treason and who do not sell out their religion for the entire world.

If any Lebanese, Syrian or Arab is apprehensive about the conflict with the Zionist enemy, then we are not. This struggle is our religion, prayer, fasting, pilgrimage and life. It is our Hussein and Zeinab, and our infants. We will never bargain over it regardless of the proposed deals or temptations.

Like Hussein, we call on the traitors, the agents, and those led astray – the Lebanese agents in Antoine Lahd’s militia – to repent.[10] We have been urging them to do so for a long time. To make it easier for them, we submitted a draft bill to the Chamber of Deputies, pardoning and giving immunity from trial to anyone who repents and flees from the agents’ army within three months. We presented this draft bill several months ago – that is, before Israel woke up to Resolution 425 with its security conditions. Our objective was to help dismantle Antoine Lahd’s militia and save these poor young Lebanese men from death. Unfortunately, this draft bill remained filed away until it appeared at a moment when there was talk about deals, suspicions and hints of accusations.

We reiterate our call to the agents to repent and rejoin their kinsfolk and homeland. We do not tell them to come and join Hussein’s group [Hezbollah] so as to be killed or martyred, but tell them to leave the killers and the corrupt, return to your homes, and live in peace and safety. We hope that the parliament will settle this matter soon. I declare to you that if the draft law isn’t discussed soon in the parliament, then the coalition of the resistance will – regrettably – have to retract it. This will waste a chance to dismantle the Lahd militia, but the resistance will have to withdraw the draft so that it won’t be misused one day when deals are made at the expense of Lebanon and the resistance.

I would like to remind the [Lebanese] government that although the people are occupied with the municipal elections, the regional incidents, the Israeli suggestion, and the resistance, all this won’t make them forget that the authorities are responsible for the difficult economic situation. This matter is the responsibility of the authorities, and they should never ignore this momentous reality in Lebanon. I would also like to ask the people to participate strongly in the municipal elections, to choose the fittest candidates, so that the people can participate in their own development and treating their economic ailments, so long as this government continues to ignore all their suffering and pains.

In conclusion, and as on every 10th of Muharram, we renew the slogan against the Great Satan. As we did last year, we shout: Death to America. We shout in the face of the killers of prophets and the descendants of the apes and pigs: We hope we will not see you next year. The shout remains: Death to Israel.


[1] Magnus Ranstorp, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” St. Andrews Working Paper, October 2000, p. 20.

[2] For the significance of this date in the Shia calendar, see above, p. ** n. **.

[3] Jewish tribes in central Arabia that clashed with the Prophet and his followers and who eventually submitted to the rule of Islam.

[4] For the concept of “Greater Israel”, see above, p. ** n. **.

[5] Khaybar, in the modern state of Saudi Arabia, was an oasis community north of Medina inhabited by Jews. Muhammad conquered it in 628 CE.

[6] For the first Palestinian intifada, see above, p. ** n. **.

[7] Nasrallah is referring to the vigorous US-Israeli-Palestinian negotiations over the percentage of land that would be included in Further Redeployments (FRDs) of Israeli forces as called for by the 1995 Interim Agreement and the 1997 Hebron Protocol. Under the eventual formula worked out at Wye River, the first and second FRD was to have consisted of the transfer to the Palestinian Authority (under either full Palestinian control or mixed Israeli military/Palestinian civil control) of 13 per cent of territory that had previously been under full Israeli control.

[8] See statement on the April Understanding

[9] The son of Ali, the first Shia Imam. For further details of Hussein, see above, p. **.

[10] For Lahd and the SLA, see above, p. ** n. **.


Written by nickbiddlenoe

March 4, 2015 at 5:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

%d bloggers like this: