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memri
March 21, 2002 No.
357

Editor of Saudi Government Daily Al-Riyadh: Statement on 'Purim' Blood Libel Articles

Following MEMRI's recent reports on antisemitism in the Saudi government daily Al-Riyadh (See MEMRI Special Dispatch 354 and {{nodeurl-PR102}}) - The Voice of America broadcast an official U.S. editorial calling upon Saudi Arabia and the Arab nations to "…stop newspapers and radio and television stations… from inciting hatred and violence against Jews."[1] On the same day, the editor of Al-Riyadh issued a statement, which was also sent to MEMRI, regarding the articles. Following is the Al-Riyadh editor's statement on the 'Purim' articles:

Al-Riyadh Editor-in-Chief Turki Al-Sudairi: 'News of Aggressive Incitement'
"I was out of Saudi Arabia when my colleague Hani Wafa called me and told me that an international news agency had picked up a news item about an article by an American journalist in the National Review publication that proposed dropping nuclear bombs on the city of Mecca, sacred to Muslims. Wafa asked me whether this news item was fit for publication. I asked him whether other agencies had picked up the same item, or [expressed] similar opinions, and he answered no. I was amazed that the next day all the Arab papers published this item, with no clarification that this was a private opinion…"

"I knew that publishing a hasty news item like this might lead to attacks on people, [although they] are not of the same opinion. Our role is not to distance others from us, but to reduce the distance from them - and arrive at mutual understanding, not shared hostility."

"Later I was surprised to receive a call from the manager of the Al-Riyadh office in New York, my colleague Ahmad Al-Yami, who asked me who this Umayma Al-Jalahma was, and what she had written on March 10."

"I said that I would give him an answer in a few hours, but what was the reason for all these questions? He said that some American authorities had called to verify whether Al-Riyadh had published an article stating that Jews drink human blood and mix it into their food on what Al-Jalahma called the holiday of 'Purim.'"

"I checked the article and found it not fit for publication because it was not based on scientific or historical facts, and it even contradicted the rituals of all the known religions in the world, including Hinduism and Buddhism."

"The information included in the article was no different from the nonsense always coming out in the 'yellow literature,' whose reliability is questionable."

"The understanding of this serious mistake escaped Ms. Al-Jalahma, as did the understanding that Jews everywhere in the world are one thing, while Jews belonging to the Zionist movement that acts to annihilate the Palestinians are something else, and completely different."

"In Israel itself there are moderate Jews such as Yisrael Shahak, who fought Zionist racism and exposed it in many of his studies. There are others like Shahak, and our dispute with phenomena such as Sharon must in no way cause us to generalize the emotions of hatred to all Jews."

"Furthermore, in principle, an idiotic and false news item regarding the use of human blood in the food of other human beings, whoever they may be, should not be published, since this does not exist in the world at all…" [2]

Another Article by Dr. Jalahma: 'The U.S. Should Expel The Jews'
Earlier this month, Dr. Umayma Jalahma wrote another article that appeared in Al-Riyadh. Following are excerpts:

"Perhaps my words will be presented as racist and antisemitic by some who forget that I myself am a Semite, a daughter of Arabia. Therefore, it would be prudent for me to intersperse in my column quotes from

Westerners regarding our neighbor - a neighbor who settled next to us against our will, plundering our land, murdering our youth, deporting our children, and burning our homes."

"I will quote men who have earned the esteem of their peoples, and indeed, the esteem of other peoples as well...:"

"First, George Washington, 'The Father of the Nation,' as the Americans call him. He said the following about the Jews: 'The destructive influence of the Jews over our lives and future is greater than the danger of all our enemies' armies combined. Indeed, this [Jewish] danger is hundreds of times more serious and more destructive to our liberty and to the cause to which we are dedicated. What sorrows and pains [me] is that considerable time has passed, but our states, or at least each state on its own, have not attempted to fight and annihilate the Jews - even though [the Jews] have proven to be a group of lethal insects who [pose] the gravest of dangers to the U.S. and its security.'"

"This is frank and candid testimony that is not open to [different] interpretations. It was delivered by the first president of the U.S. I do not believe there is a single person in America who doubts the integrity of this man."

"Second, the statesman Benjamin Franklin [3]. What did Franklin have to say about the Jews? I submit to you some of the things he said during the 1789 [sic] convention for the declaration of the American constitution:"

"'I fully support the positions of General Washington, whose aim is to protect this young nation from all the treacherous conspiracies being plotted against it by its only enemy - and I mean, gentlemen, the Jew. In every country in which the Jews have settled, moral values have completely deteriorated, and anarchy, irresponsibility, and deceit in commercial transactions have become widespread. The Jews have mocked the values of our Christian religion, upon which our country was founded, while ignoring our rules altogether. This way, they have succeeded in creating a country of their own within our country. They are notorious for employing all financial measures necessary to strangle a country in which the first signs of resistance [to the Jews] appear. If you do not expel them from our country, in 200 years our grandchildren will become slaves in their fields, while they, the Jews, will remain in their homes, gleefully rubbing their hands, awaiting their payment. I warn you, gentlemen, that if you do not make haste and expel the Jews from our country today and forever, your children will curse you in your graves. The Jews are a danger to this country, and I stress the need to deport them and prevent them from entering or staying, through an explicit clause in this constitution.'" [4]


[1] AFP, March 19, 2002.

[2]Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), March 19, 2002, http://server1.alriyadh.com.sa/leqa/leqa.asp.

[3]For more information on this topic see MEMRI Special Dispatch 339.

[4]Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), March 2, 2002.