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memri
April 4, 2002 No.
362

Arafat Aide: Jews Nailed Jesus to the Cross

Although Al-Sharq Al-Awsat's editor-in-chief Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed is regarded as a moderate figure in the Arab media, his newspaper recently published articles attacking Jews. The following are excerpts from such articles:

Nailing Jesus to the Cross
In his weekly column for the London based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Arafat's aide Bassam Abu Sharif charged Jews of 'nailing Jesus to the cross.' Accusing Israel of shooting at the statue of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem, Abu Sharif wrote:

"This, of course, was a failed attempt to murder peace, love, and tolerance, just as their forefathers tried to murder the prophetic message when they hammered their nails and iron stakes through the body of Jesus into the wooden cross…"[1]

Nazi Antisemitic Propaganda
Recently, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat columnist Abdallah Bajbir wrote an article titled "The Prophecy of a Philosopher." The article cited excerpts from an infamous Nazi propaganda book:[2]

"If you have a hundred-dollar bill, look at the face on it. This is the face of the American intellectual Benjamin Franklin. Two hundred and fifteen years ago, this man warned the American people about the Jews, at the Constitutional Convention of 1778 [sic]. Of everything I have read about the Jews to date, I have found no attitude more accurate and to the point regarding [the Jews] than that of Franklin – an attitude with which General Washington, who later became the president of the republic, concurred."

"Franklin said: 'I agree completely with General Washington that we must protect this young country from the Jews' influence. In every country in which the Jews settled, they enfeebled morality, struck at [its] commercial status, isolated themselves, rejected all attempts to absorb them, and mocked the values of our Christian religion, upon which this nation was founded. They have tried to destroy the country by objecting to its borders and establishing a state within a state. They have tried to economically strangle any country that tried to resist them, as did Spain and Portugal. If you do not expel them today, they will come in vast numbers like locusts, and will take over our country – or completely consume it and change the system of government for which we, the Americans, have sacrificed our blood and our lives.'"

"In his historic statement, Franklin went on to say: 'I warn you, gentlemen: If you do not expel them, your sons will curse you in your graves. Even if they live among us for ten generations, they will not change, as it is said, the leopard cannot change his [spots], they will endanger this land if we permit them to enter. They should be expelled by this constitutional convention.'"[3]

"What this preeminent man said, and what America did not heed, came true there, to the last detail, and then came true again in Palestine. The Jewish gangs took over the sacred land. Palestine is only the beginning. The [Jewish] locusts will spread throughout the Arab world. I am not, God forbid, prophesizing; but reality does not demand wordiness…"[4]

The Nazi-fabricated account of Franklin's condemnation of the Jews is often told, in various formulations, by Arab columnists.[5] Another recent example is Al-Sharq Al-Awsat columnist Faraj Boul'isha's mention of it in an open letter to President George W. Bush:

"Mr. President… You must act openly with your people, who do not know the truth about what is happening in the world because of the central pillars of finance, industry, and the media: Cherchez Shylock!..."

"Mr. President, 205 years ago, even before the so-called monster of 'antisemitism’ emerged, Benjamin Franklin – the American Voltaire – wrote [of the danger posed by the Jews]… [At this point the writer quotes at length from Franklin's fictitious words].'"[6]


[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), March 20, 2002.

[2] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), March 25, 2002.

[3] These statements were supposedly made by Franklin during a recess at the convention, and recorded by Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, the delegate from South Carolina, in his diary. The statements appeared in A Handbook on the Jewish Question, a book of antisemitic propaganda published in 1935 by Nazi Germany.

[4] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), March 12, 2002.

[5] See www.memri.org for earlier references: Egyptian Government Weekly Reproduces Nazi Propaganda Forgery, "Egyptian Government Weekly Reproduces Nazi Propaganda Forgery."

[6] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), February 20, 2001. Although persons who utilize the fictitious Franklin-account often claim Pinckney's diary is stored at the Franklin Institute, in a January 30, 2002 telephone conversation, the Institute's chief librarian stated that the Franklin Institute has no such document in its possession.