Insight Magazine   ·   See Also: Caliphate & B.Lewis

What We Knew and Didn't Do

Ken Timmerman | April 13, 2004

In 1997-1998, I became aware of clearly observable warnings of hostile terrorist intentions against America, by Osama bin Laden.

For over eighteen months -- as part of an investigation for Reader's Digest -- I had been learning from a variety of former U.S. intelligence officers and foreign sources about a vast, world wide network of Islamist radicals, who had emerged from the U.S.-backed war to drive the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. At their head was the shadowy Saudi renegade, Osama bin Laden, whom his followers referred to as the "Prince of Jihad."

What made bin Laden unusual was his background. Son of a fabulously wealthy Saudi businessman, he traded the family palaces and five-star hotels for an unheated cave in Afghanistan, renouncing catered banquets for a diet of moldy cheese and rancid eggs. The more the Digest looked at terrorist movements around the globe, the more we began to see his influence -- and especially his money. We determined to do a portrait of the man himself.

We weren't the first to report on bin Laden, who had given interviews to a handful of Arab and Pakistani reporters in previous years. But until the Digest investigation, published in July 1998, just weeks before the twin Africa embassy bombings, bin Laden had been presented as a relic of the U.S-backed mujahedin in Afghanistan, an exotic but safely distant product of "blowback" left over from the CIA's alliance with Pakistan's much-feared Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

As we surveyed an already impressive record of anti-American terrorist acts -- a failed 1992 effort to target U.S. troops staying at a hotel in Aden, Yemen; the 1993 assault on U.S. peacekeepers in Mogadishu, Somalia, that left 18 Americans dead; the spectacular attempt to collapse the World Trade Center towers in 1993 that left 6 people dead; and a November 1995 bombing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia -- we saw something far more sinister. To us, looking at the evidence we could gather as journalists, bin Laden was an imminent threat to Americans everywhere.

From our preliminary investigation, we turned up evidence of bin Laden's tentacles from the Philippines to a Brooklyn mosque. We found fund-raising and political support offices operating in San Diego, California, and in the Washington, D.C., area. We traced a failed 1995 plot to hijack 12 commercial airliners in the Far East and crash them against targets on the ground -- clearly the precursor of the 9/11 attacks -- from the Philippines back to a bin Laden safe house in Peshawar, Pakistan.

We also turned up hard evidence that bin Laden was receiving financial assistance from some of the most prominent businessmen in Saudi Arabia and from key members of the Saudi royal family. One trusted source revealed that bin Laden maintained accounts with Merrill Lynch in London, and owned stock in major U.S. corporations. Others described a worldwide network of Muslim charities, including the International Islamic Relief Organization, that bin Laden was using as cover for worldwide recruiting and terrorist operations.

While known to the federal government, none of these linkages were receiving much attention from federal officials, as far as we could determine. Even the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, which had successfully prosecuted the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, refused to discuss ties between convicted bomber Ramzi Yousef and bin Laden, although glimpses of those connections were clear to me as I pored through thousands of pages of trial transcripts and interviewed lawyers for the defendants.

Nor could the prosecutors explain the whereabouts of bin Laden deputy Ali Mohammad, a former U.S. Special Forces operator who testified during the trial that he had been bin Laden's personal bodyguard while he was living in the Sudan in the early 1990s. If this was an administration that made terrorism its top priority, nobody in the Department of Justice or the FBI seemed to know it. Mohammad finally surfaced again during the Africa bombing trial in 2000. In the interim, according to his guilty plea, he had been conspiring to murder U.S. citizens and destroy U.S. buildings and property around the world.

Ultimately we were told by our Justice Department sources that something was afoot, but that it was too early for them to talk about it. When we pressed harder, they revealed that they were preparing to name bin Laden as a conspirator in a new indictment stemming from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

I also managed to locate and interview a key bin Laden operative named Tarik Hamdi, who appeared later with Mohammad in the Africa embassy conspiracy plot for having carried a satellite phone battery to bin Laden in Afghanistan that was used to plot terrorist acts. Hamdi and I had lunch together in a suburban Washington, D.C., Olive Tree restaurant, where he offered for a fee to introduce me to bin Laden's "fixers" in Peshawar. (I am left wondering why our federal government wasn't pursuing Hamdi and Mohammad more vigorously, instead of allowing them to operate openly in the United States.)

In February 1998, as I was preparing to depart for Europe, the Middle East and Afghanistan in search of bin Laden and his associates, the Digest got word that the seemingly shadowy Saudi had just issued a religious edict, or "fatwa," calling on Muslims to kill Americans and their allies throughout the world. He called such attacks, on civilians and military alike, "an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it."

Bin Laden's fatwa sounded like a declaration of war. And yet, when I asked U.S. government officials for a copy of the fatwa, neither the CIA nor the State Department said they had seen it. I finally obtained a copy from an alert staffer on Capitol Hill.

Here was a man with a rap sheet a mile long, a virtual army of trained followers, and a seemingly colossal personal fortune he could use to indulge his murderous fantasies. Why did no one in the U.S. government appear to have their "hair on fire"?

True enough, the State Department had taken the unusual step in August 1996 of issuing a three-page "white paper" on bin Laden -- a product of what I learned was the CIA's "bin Laden station" in Frankfurt, Germany. Also, in the days following bin Laden's fatwa (February 1998), State Department officials told us that U.S. government facilities in Washington, D.C., had been put on "high alert."

What did "high alert" mean in practice? Hard to say. As far as I could tell, reporters, foreign dignitaries, and ordinary citizens could approach key government buildings with nominal searches.

In London, I spent hours interviewing Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammad, an open bin Laden sympathizer, who boasted that he was recruiting jihadis to fight in a worldwide "Mohammad's Army" against America and the West. Sheikh Omar continues to preach out in the open today. I also met with Saudi dissidents who claimed to be working closely with bin Laden, who displayed evidence of a massive, sophisticated and well-funded public relations effort on behalf of bin Laden's anti-Western jihad.

In Egypt, government officials complained bitterly that the United States and Britain were not taking the war on terror seriously. But then, the Egyptians had just been hit hard by terrorists allied with al-Qaeda who murdered 58 foreign tourists in the 4,550-year-old temple of Queen Hatshepsut in Luxor in November 1997, virtually ending Egypt's lucrative tourist industry. Two years earlier, bin Laden allies had attempted to assassinate Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak while he was visiting Ethiopia.

In Pakistan, U.S. diplomats acknowledged in private that they were easy prey to bin Laden's assassins, and shared a tiny fleet of bullet-proof cars when they went out shopping in residential areas of the capital, Islamabad. Senior officials I interviewed in Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), openly revered bin Laden. A former ISI chief, General Hamid Gul, served as a semi-official spokesman for the renegade Saudi with visiting reporters.

I don't doubt for an instant that our government was fully aware of all of the activities I have just described. After all, it has immense resources to gather intelligence, while I was just a reporter. Clearly, going after terrorists was not a top priority.

--- In July 1998, Reader's Digest published Kenneth Timmerman's report, "This Man Wants You Dead." Three weeks later -- with more than 200 innocent civilians torn to bits by al-Qaeda bombs in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam -- bin Laden's face was plastered in newspapers around the world.

This Man Wants You Dead

By Kenneth R. Timmerman

The notice appeared in an Arabic newspaper in London last February. "The ruling to kill Americans and their allies -- civilians and military is a duty for every Muslim. We -- with God's help -- call on every Muslim to kill the Americans." Islamic extremists make outrageous statements every day in the Arabic-language press, most of which go unnoticed. But this one, a fatwa (religious order), alarmed government officials around the world. Within days U.S. embassies in the Middle East and Pakistan were threatened with attack. Government buildings in Washington, D.C., went on a rare "high security alert." Vehicles entering the Pentagon were searched.

Financier of Terror

U.S. officials took the death threat seriously, sources tell Reader's Digest, because of the reputation of the main signatory: Osama bin Laden. This former Saudi businessman was virtually unknown to Western intelligence agencies until just a few years ago, but today the U.S. State Department considers him a significant sponsor of world terrorism. Evidence points to his connection to persons suspected of numerous acts of violence, including:
* The 1993 bombing of New York City's World Trade Center.
* Attacks on American servicemen in Somalia, which prompted the withdrawal of our peacekeeping troops.
* The bombings of a Saudi National Guard training center in Riyadh in 1995 and of Khobar Towers, an apartment complex near Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, in 1996. Two dozen Americans died in these attacks.

Bin Laden is a pariah in many Islamic countries, but he operates with impunity from a base in Afghanistan. Using huge financial resources, he supports international terrorist networks, encouraging others to act while never pulling a trigger or detonating a bomb himself. Tall and thin, with a full beard, Osama bin Laden wears long, flowing Arab robes fringed with gold, and wraps his head in a traditional red-and-white checkered headdress. Those who have met him say he is soft-spoken and extremely courteous. Despite his apparent humility, he has become an almost mythic figure in the Islamic world because he has dared to stand up to two superpowers.

Bin Laden, now about 43 years old, is one of some 65 children of a Saudi construction magnate. When family patriarch Mohammad bin Laden died in the late 1960s, his children inherited a financial empire that today is worth an estimated $10 billion. The Saudi bin Laden Group is now run by Osama's family, which has publicly said it does not condone his reported activities.

In November 1996 Palestinian journalist Abdelbari Atwan visited bin Laden in the mountains of Afghanistan, expecting to find the lavish camp of a man of wealth. Instead, he spent two nights sleeping next to bin Laden in a cave. "It was freezing," Atwan says. "I reached under my camp bed hoping to find an extra blanket. Instead, it was crammed with Kalashnikov rifles and mortar bombs." What drove bin Laden to take up arms? Those who know him agree: a burning faith that sees the world in simplistic terms as a struggle between righteous Islam and a doomed West. It is a worldview taught to many young Saudis. But the teachings struck a particular chord in bin Laden, reverberating with his seeming passion for danger.

Afghan Arabs

Enraged when the Soviet Union invaded Muslim Afghanistan in December 1979, bin Laden went there to aid the mujahedin freedom fighters, providing food and weapons, much of it with family money. A Saudi official says bin Laden helped to recruit thousands of Arabs who volunteered for the jihad (holy war) against the Soviets. Early in the war the mujahedin were getting slaughtered by Soviet helicopter gunships as they tried to bring in supplies on mules across the mountain passes of northern Afghanistan. bin Laden volunteered the services of the family construction firm to blast new roads through the mountains. "He brought huge bulldozers," says London-based Khaled Fuawaz, a former bin Laden associate. According to Fuawaz, when bin Laden could not find drivers willing to face the Soviet gunships, he drove the bulldozers himself. One time he was attacked by Soviet helicopters and wounded. Bin Laden poured millions of dollars of his family's cash into the war, with the blessing of the Saudi government. He also personally led a contingent of Arab troops, winning a key victory against the Soviets in 1986. By the time the Soviet Union had pulled out of Afghanistan in February 1989, bin Laden was leading a fighting force known as Afghan Arabs, which numbered nearly 20,000. "Bin Laden was like a head of state," says a Saudi dissident. "The Afghan Arabs had a romantic image of him."

Hero to Outlaw

Bin Laden viewed any Western presence in the Middle East as a threat to Islam. After Iraq's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Reader's Digest has learned, bin Laden met with Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan to offer his services to the Desert Storm operation—but only if the United States were not involved. "Bin Laden spread out maps in front of Prince Sultan," a Saudi official says. "He had all kinds of plans for how to defeat the Iraqis without American help. Prince Sultan asked what he planned to do about the Iraqi tanks, aircraft and chemical and biological weapons. bin Laden said, 'We will defeat them with our faith.' " The Saudi government declined his offer, and bin Laden later moved to Sudan—but not before he cashed out of the family business, receiving an estimated $260 million. It is this fortune that he uses today to prime the terrorist pump.

In 1992 bin Laden's attention appears to have been directed against Egypt. That year, Reader's Digest has been told, an extremist group with financial ties to bin Laden sent a fax to Egypt threatening the government of President Hosni Mubarak, America's closest Arab ally.

"Bin Laden focused on Egypt," says a former spokesman for President Mubarak, Mohammad Abdul Moneim, "because he knew that if Egypt fell to the Islamists, the whole Arab world would fall." bin Laden, says the U.S. State Department, was the key financier behind a camp providing terrorist training to the Egyptian group. Its members, whose spiritual leader was the blind Egyptian cleric Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, opposed not only Mubarak but also Westerners—particularly Americans.

Members of the group slaughtered 58 foreign tourists visiting a temple at Luxor in November 1997. A U.S. diplomat in Cairo told Reader's Digest that the planner of the attack "would have loved to get Americans" but failed. Most of those killed were Swiss. Bin Laden hasn't limited his efforts to the Middle East. There is evidence linking him to Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and to other terrorists who planned attacks on American soil. Sources tell Reader's Digest that the federal government is investigating bin Laden's involvement.

Making Connections

Edwin Angeles, a leader of a radical Islamic group in the Philippines who became a government informant, says that Yousef and bin Laden were linked at least as long ago as 1989. In that year, Yousef went to the Philippines and introduced himself as an emissary of Osama bin Laden, sent to support that country's radical Islamic movement. One of Yousef's main contacts in Manila, according to Angeles, was Saudi businessman Mohammad Jamal Khalifah, bin Laden's brother-in-law. After participating in the Trade Center bombing, Yousef returned to the Philippines, where he plotted to plant bombs aboard U.S. passenger airliners in 1995.

In New York City, Sheik Rahman and others plotted attacks on major bridges and tunnels. During Rahman's 1995 trial, prosecutors included bin Laden on a list of nonindicted persons who "may be alleged as co-conspirators," though bin Laden has not been charged.

While living in Sudan, bin Laden established a construction company employing many of his former Afghan fighters. In the spring of 1996, according to Pakistani government officials, one of bin Laden's bodyguards attempted to assassinate him. After the attempt failed, bin Laden flew to Afghanistan on board his unmarked, private C-130 military transport plane. There, according to Pakistani officials, bin Laden established a base southwest of Jalalabad, under the protection of the Afghan government. A few weeks after the attempt on bin Laden's life, a powerful explosion ripped through the Khobar Towers complex near Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 U.S. servicemen. bin Laden, who called this "a laudable kind of terrorism," publicly denied participating. But a knowledgeable Saudi dissident in London has told Reader's Digest that the six men whom the Saudi government arrested for the bombing all trained in Afghanistan. "If they trained there," declared the dissident, "they have a connection to bin Laden." In August 1996, and later in November, bin Laden announced that he and his followers would stage terrorist attacks against U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia to force an American withdrawal. The Digest has learned that after bin Laden called for this jihad, as many as eight attacks against U.S. military targets in the Middle East were attempted. These were foiled by an intense Saudi intelligence effort, which included enticing a top financial aide to bin Laden to defect.

Today, the State Department says, terrorist organizations that have received support from bin Laden continue to operate around the world. In March 1998 Brussels police arrested seven men and confiscated a cache of explosives. The men are believed to be part of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), which is responsible for the slaughter of thousands in Algeria over the last six years. One knowledgeable source says GIA has received financial support from bin Laden. In May, eight suspected GIA members were arrested in London.

Sheik Omar Bakri Muhammad, a religious scholar in London with ties to bin Laden, told The Digest that bin Laden is funding armed Muslim groups in Albania, Chechnya, Bosnia, Nigeria and Algeria. "We are sending British and American Muslims to train in camps run by bin Laden," Bakri says. "This is an international army—Mohammed's army—to combat occupying governments."

The Coming Crusade

The groups obeying bin Laden are hard to track down and difficult to penetrate. "These small groups, which may be just five or ten persons, can never be eradicated," says Saad al-Faghi, a Saudi dissident living in London. "They believe they belong to the jihad, not by command but by faith. They are very dangerous." Today bin Laden lives in Afghanistan with three wives and 42 other Arab families in a 30-house complex. Reader's Digest has been told that bin Laden has bought heavy weapons on the black market and is training new fighters at his camp in the north. He is also seeking to widen his alliances. The February 1998 London fatwa against Americans was issued under the banner of the International Islamic Front and signed by radical Islamic leaders in Egypt, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Bin Laden's coldblooded invitation to murder is taken seriously by American diplomats. "If they want to attack us, they can," says a U.S. diplomat in Pakistan. "We're all soft targets." But U.S. officials are not the only ones at risk. In November 1997, for example, four American oil-company workers were gunned down in Pakistan. The murders were just two days after the conviction in a Fairfax, Virginia, court of Pakistani Mir Aimal Kasi, who went on a 1993 shooting spree outside CIA headquarters, killing two CIA employees. For more than a decade, bin Laden has reached across the world, funding terrorism. As his money flows, so does innocent blood.

"Having borne arms against the Russians in Afghanistan," bin Laden has declared, "we think our battle with the Americans will be easy by comparison. We are now more determined to carry on until we see the face of God." "Bin Laden has plenty of manpower and explosives," declares Saad al-Faghi. And the world has learned that when a pronouncement is uttered in the name of Osama bin Laden, the threat is anything but idle.

'PREACHERS OF HATE'     'The Jews did it!'

New Timmerman expose examines Islam's war on America
Posted: November 10, 2003     3:18 p.m. Eastern

Editor's note: Kenneth Timmerman's new book, "Preachers of Hate," uncovers an ancient hatred that threatens the life and livelihood of every American. In the book, Timmerman explains the "new" anti-Semitism that targets not only Jews, but Americans specifically and the West in general. The book details how Muslim leaders are not just encouraging hatred of Jews and the West, but are spending a great deal of money to spread the kind of vitriol that spawned the terrorists responsible for September 11.

This is the FIRST of three excerpts from "Preachers of Hate" featured this week on WorldNetDaily. It examines the myth spread in the Muslim community that "the Jews" were responsible for the September 11 attacks on the U.S. Timmerman's eye-opening book is available at ShopNetDaily.

By Kenneth R. Timmerman
©2003 Kenneth R. Timmerman

In the West Bank town of Nablus, on Sept. 11, 2001 several thousand people poured into the streets shortly after news of the attacks on America was broadcast on Palestinian state radio. "Demonstrators distributed candy in a traditional gesture of celebration," Associated Press reporter Mohammad Daraghmeh noted.

Daraghmeh captured a poignant moment in what appeared to be a spontaneous outpouring of anti-American hate.

"Nawal Abdel Fatah, 48, wearing a long, black dress, threw sweets in the air, saying she was happy because 'America is the head of the snake, America always stands by Israel in its war against us.' Her daughter Maysoon, 22, said she hoped the next attack would be launched against Tel Aviv."

Smaller demonstrations took place later that afternoon and early evening in the Arab quarters of Jerusalem, where young children were led in chanting anti-American slogans by adults.

"Some drivers passing the scene honked their horns and flashed victory signs from their windows." In the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon, an Associated Press photograph snapped pictures of Palestine Liberation Organization fighters celebrating by firing assault rifles into the air at the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp when news of the attacks on America was broadcast.

In one sense, the attacks were "not good because innocent people suffered," said Ahmed Ali, 40, a Palestinian cook who worked in a restaurant in East Jerusalem. "But it's good because America is the only country that supports the Israeli oppression. They are right now suffering as we are suffering. ... I tell you on behalf of the Palestinian people that we are really happy at what happened."

Arabs living in the West expressed similar "comprehension" of the attacks and the motives of the attackers. In the Washington, D.C., suburb of Fairfax, Va., public-school officials ordered high-school students to return home by noontime on the day of the attacks.

"They closed the schools not out of fear of a terrorist attack, but because Muslim students were shouting for joy," said David Keene, president of the American Conservative Union. Keene told the story at a highly charged session of conservative activist Grover Norquist's weekly "coalitions" meeting in Washington the next day. Norquist, whose Islamic Institute had hired as executive director a former lobbyist for the pro-Hamas American Muslim Council, sat stony-faced as friends of Barbara Olson, the wife of U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson, told the story of Barbara's final moments on board American Airlines Flight 77 before terrorist Hani Hanjour crashed it into the Pentagon.

"We sympathize with you, but you've got understand," pleaded one of Norquist's associates from the Islamic Institute, in an effort to explain why some American Muslim groups weren't cooperating with the FBI. "Our people are afraid of getting scapegoated."

"No, you've got to understand," thundered the normally soft-spoken Keene. "Thousands of Americans have just been murdered, and 'your people' were cheering when they heard the news."

Rasha Abu Ramadan, an executive member of the Palestinian Student Committee at the University of Ottawa told a reporter that Palestinians in Canada welcomed the attacks because it helped make people realize what Palestinians were suffering at the hands of the Israelis.

"So many of our children die every day and it is the [United] States, it is Israel that are the ones implementing all these bombings and all these things that happen to us," she said. In Cairo, grocery store owner Izzat Hassan Ali told a reporter he felt pleasure at the thought of Americans dying. "As they did to other people, [it] is happening to them now. They hit innocent people in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now it backfired on them."

State-controlled television in Saddam Hussein's Iraq played a patriotic song, "Down with America!," as it broadcast footage of the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.

In Gaza, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat viewed television footage of the attacks – and of the outpouring of joy on the Palestinian street – with trepidation. "We completely condemn this very dangerous attack, and I convey my condolences to the American people, to the American president, and to the American administration, not only in my name but on behalf of the Palestinian people."

Expressions of condolence flooded in from leaders throughout the Arab World who universally condemned the bombings, while invariably adding a qualifying "but ... " The "but" most frequently referred to the sufferings of the Palestinian people at the hands of "the Jews" and America's role in supporting Israel.

On Sept. 12, 2001, once television footage of celebrating Palestinians was broadcast around the world, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat realized he needed to act more forcefully to distance himself from the attackers, at least in the eyes of the American media. After symbolically giving blood, which he said was intended for American victims, he angrily rejected suggestions that Palestinians had rejoiced over the attacks.

Arafat went on to suggest that the "Israelis were taking advantage of the world's focus on the horror in the United States, and perhaps exploiting its anger over Tuesday's images, to tighten restrictions on Palestinians and to assault the West Bank town of Jenin, where seven Palestinians were killed today."

Arafat's hint that Israel was exploiting September 11 was soon picked up and amplified throughout the Muslim Middle East. Within 24 hours of the attacks, as information on lead hijacker Mohammed Atta and his accomplices began to appear in the U.S. press, a new myth was born in the Muslim world. September 11 was a plot planned and carried out by the Jews!

The story spread like a wildfire. First to allege the "Jewish conspiracy" was Dr. Anwar Ul Haque, a self-styled Quranic scholar who claimed in an article distributed by the Islamic News and Information Network that the "attacks on New York and Washington are carried out by Mossad (Israeli secret agency) with full backing of Zionist elements in FBI and CIA."

Dr. Haque is not some anonymous Internet warrior to be easily written off, but a prominent Pakistani surgeon who is chief pathologist at the Pakistan government's prestigious Institute of Medical Sciences. His point of view is not that of an extremist, but is shared by millions of Muslims who consider themselves to be part of the Muslim mainstream. The main motive behind the attacks, he argued, was "to defame Muslims and Islam so that Americans and Europeans may not enter in the folds of Islam. ..."

When I caught up with him nearly nine months later, Dr. Haque confirmed that he had written the Sept. 12, 2001, article and expanded on his beliefs that Israel and the Mossad were behind the attacks. He summarized many of the beliefs that have now become an integral part of the September 11 myth circulating in the Muslim world:

"The drama of 11th September included remote control of the planes and demolishing the buildings through previously implanted dynamites in it. So far two Israelis (not necessarily Jews) are known to have died in the entire game: one in the WTC and one in the plane. Mr. Bush's claim that 129 Israelis died turned out to be a white lie."

Dr. Haque's allegations were only the beginning. Indeed, a rash of comments, "investigations" and "revelations" soon followed in the official media from Cairo to Tehran, claiming Mossad had carried out the September 11 attacks.

To virtually all these commentators it was clear that Mossad was seeking to "incite the American administration" against the Islamic world by falsely claiming that Arabs had carried out the attacks. As details from the criminal investigation began appearing in the press, denials of Arab involvement became increasingly strident. On Sept. 13, the Jordanian government daily Al-Dostour spelled out the allegations that the attack on America was in reality a vile Jewish plot, and this in a country reputed to be the most moderate and pro-Western in the Arab world.

Similar conspiracy theories erupted elsewhere. The English-language Tehran Times, which is published by the Iranian government, also used reverse logic to ascribe motive to Israel.

"The only ones to benefit from any action that would serve to discredit and demonize the Islamic movement are the Zionists and certain anti-Islamic elements in the West," the paper stated. None of these newspapers is published by a fringe group or by radical Islamic fundamentalists. They are all government organs, officially sanctioned and vetted, that rarely stray from the official government line in their own countries.

Soon the allegations of a Jewish conspiracy would get much more specific with the addition of a striking new detail: the missing 4,000 Jews who worked at the World Trade Center but, supposedly, had not come in the day of the attack.

"When it became known that there had been an attack on the WTC in New York, the international media, particularly the Israeli media, exploited the incident and began to mourn the 4,000 Israelis who had worked in the two towers. Then there was no more mention of these Israelis, as it became clear that they hadn't even arrived for work that day," the Al-Manar television network broadcast from Lebanon.

The myth of the "missing" 4,000 Jews soon became the cornerstone of the Muslim "case" against Israel, and quickly spread over the Internet and the traditional media.

Next, it was picked up by a weekly published by the Palestinian Authority. "The investigation of these attacks did not begin from the proper starting point; rather, it was swept away by public opinion, shaped by the American media which is controlled by the Jews. … Why did they inform the Jews that there was no further need for their services only three days before the attacks? Why did they announce huge losses in the technology sector, in which most of the employees are Jews, with offices in the trade building [WTC] – which made the Jews leave the place? Why did rumors spread among the Jews that the 'appointed time for the execution of the attack' was a day off work?"

The rumor became a "fact" in the eyes of the hard-line Tehran daily Kayhan. "It is known that 4,000 Jews worked at the WTC in New York and that these people did not come to work that day," the paper reported on Oct. 2.

Dr. Gamal 'Ali Zahran, head of the political science faculty at Suez Canal University in Egypt, wrote in the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram: "At the WTC, thousands of Jews worked in finance and the stock market, but none of them were there on the day of the incident. Out of 6,000 killed, of 65 nationalities from 60 countries, not one was a Jew!!" The myth of the missing Jews was also presented as "fact" in the Saudi –sponsored daily Al-Hayat in London.

Egyptian cleric Sheikh Mohammad Gameia, a respected authority on questions of religion and ethics, had just returned from New York to Al-Azhar University in Cairo. His views are all the more significant because for several years he was the prayer leader at Manhattan's biggest and most influential mosque. He summed up the Israeli conspiracy in an Oct. 5, 2001, interview:

Jews "are the only ones capable of planning such acts," he claimed, "because it was planned with great precision of which Osama bin Laden or any other Islamic organization or intelligence apparatus is incapable. ..."

Most Americans and Europeans believe that a fairly accurate picture of the events of September 11 began to emerge in the days and weeks following the attacks. From Boston, video surveillance footage was retrieved showing lead hijacker Mohamed Atta passing through an airport metal detector, composed, well dressed, boarding pass in hand. In New Jersey, the 2001 Mitsubishi Galant used by accomplice Ziad Jarrah was found in the airport parking lot. In Boston, a five-page handwritten document subsequently called a "suicide letter" was retrieved, penned by Atta, in which he commended his fellow hijackers to pray as they boarded the airplanes. "Everybody hates death, fears death, but only those, the believers who know the life after death and the reward after death, would be the ones who would be seeking death," he exorted his fellow murderers.

Within four days, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released the names of the 19 hijackers. Fifteen were Saudi nationals, two were from the United Arab Emirates, one was Lebanese, and one was Egyptian. Before the week was out, the FBI released photographs of the suspects and stated unequivocally that all had emerged from Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan. In case any doubt remained, three months later, on Dec. 13, Osama bin Laden himself appeared in a videotaped message broadcast in Arabic on the Qatar government–backed Al-Jazeera satellite television network, gloating to followers that he had managed to keep even his trusted spokesman, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, in the dark as he finalized preparations for the attacks.

So how could responsible media organizations in the Muslim world report such an extraordinary and counter-intuitive story with such alacrity? How could educated people in a region of the world that invented the alphabet and mathematics, and preserved Aristotilean logic while Europe was plunged in the Dark Ages for more than a millennium, believe such obvious lies?

One answer comes from Saudi Arabia, where Interior Minister Prince Nayef continued to fuel conspiracy theories in order to cover up his own government's involvement. In November 2002, at the same time his government had launched an expensive public-relations campaign in America to highlight the Saudi kingdom's cooperation with America in the war on terror, Prince Nayef once again blamed the Jews. "We know that the Jews have manipulated the Sept. 11 incidents and turned American public opinion against Arabs and Muslims," he told the Kuwaiti daily al-Siyassi in an interview. "We still ask ourselves: Who has benefited from Sept. 11 attacks? I think they [the Jews] were the protagonists of these attacks."

How many Jews actually died in the world Trade Center attacks is not known with any precision. The official New York City "Missing Persons List" does not categorize victims by their religion or nationality. But ask families with names like Adler, Aron, Berger, Bernstein, Cohen, Eichler, Eisenberg, Feinberg, Friedlander, Goldstein, Greenstein, Horwitz, Jablonski, Kestenbaum, Kirchbaum, Kleinberg, Levi, Levine, Mayer, Rosenberg, Rosenblum, Rosenthal, Sachs, Safronoff, Schwartz, Shulman, Shwartzstein, Silverstein, Solomon, Steinman, Temple, Weil, Weinberg, Weingard, Weinstein, Weiss, Zukelman what they wouldn't give to see their loved ones again. Why didn't they get a conspiratorial cell-phone message warning them to stay home? By all appearances, the 9-11 hijackers were equal-opportunity murderers.

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Excerpted by permission of Crown Forum, a division of Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or
reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

'PREACHERS OF HATE'     'Breathtaking' wrath at U.N.

Ken Timmerman describes global body's anti-Semitic prologue to 9-11
Posted: November 12, 2003     1:00 a.m. Eastern

Editor's note: Kenneth Timmerman's new book, "Preachers of Hate," uncovers an ancient hatred that threatens the life and livelihood of every American. In the book, Timmerman explains the "new" anti-Semitism that targets not only Jews, but Americans specifically and the West in general. The book details how Muslim leaders are not just encouraging hatred of Jews and the West, but are spending a great deal of money to spread the kind of vitriol that spawned the terrorists responsible for September 11.

This is the SECOND of three excerpts from "Preachers of Hate" featured this week on WorldNetDaily. This installment describes the unmitigated hate for Jews and Israel displayed at a U.N. conference in South Africa. Part 1 examines the myth spread in the Muslim community that "the Jews" were responsible for the September 11 attacks on the U.S. Timmerman's eye-opening book is available at ShopNetDaily.

By Kenneth R. Timmerman
©2003 Kenneth R. Timmerman

The "ideological prologue" to September 11 was a raucous and hate-filled event that played itself out half a world away in Durban, South Africa, a normally stately and elegant coastal city along the Indian Ocean.

The third United Nations "World Conference Against Racism" was intended to counterbalance the G-8 summits so the "forgotten peoples" of the world could make their voices heard amid the clamor of globalization and international capitalism. Jesse Jackson was there, demanding that America pay trillions of dollars in reparations for slavery, an institution America led the world in abolishing more than 140 years ago. Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat were there, as were AIDS activists, homosexual groups, women's rights organizations, former Communists, Maoists, environmentalists and animal-rights and global-warming activists.

In the end, neither Jesse Jackson nor anyone else said one word about actual slavery – the real kind, still going on today in Sudan. Nor was racism – the real kind, that led to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Tsutsis in Rwanda – on the agenda. Anti-Semitic violence was not on the table, despite the continuing murder of Israeli civilians and foreign tourists in cafés, restaurants and street markets and the desecration of Jewish synagogues across Europe.

The nations of the world and some 6,000 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had come together for a different purpose. It was so overwhelming that it united such otherwise opposing groups as radical Islamic fundamentalists from Saudi Arabia, Iran and Malaysia, and sexual libertarians and abortion-on-demand activists from Europe. It united Yasser Arafat, Jesse Jackson and the 16 governmental delegations of the European Union whose representative, Swedish ambassador to Switzerland Johan Molander, helped prepare the documents and resolutions that were to be adopted in Durban. That purpose was a deep-rooted, unquenchable hatred of America and of the only successful democracy in the Middle East, Israel.

The single-minded focus and vehemence of the hatred was breathtaking, even for such a seasoned veteran of the United Nations as Shimon Samuels, who heads the Simon Wiesenthal Center's European office. One of Dr. Samuels' missions in recent years has been to monitor and attempt to influence the official anti-Semitism emanating from international organizations such as the United Nations. He was the only representative of a Jewish organization elected to the NGO Forum's Coordinating Committee, and from there, was voted an alternate member of its 20-member International Steering Committee that supervised the drafting of conference documents.

In February 2001, the last of four preparatory conferences was convened in Tehran, capital of the Islamic Republic of Iran. That the Islamic Republic of Iran should have a seat at a forum ostensibly devoted to human rights was a travesty in itself, given its systematic repression of ethnic minorities and wholesale massacre of political opponents.

"I was curious to see if the Iranians would actually ban me because I was a Jew," Samuels told me. They did, but with a delicacy that even today brings a wry smile to his face. "I kept on calling the Iranian embassy to ask them when my visa would arrive. Finally, they called back a few hours after the last flight to Tehran had left. I could have my visa, they said, but I'd have to rebook another flight and arrive once the conference was over. They made their point."

The Tehran conference was significant because that is where some 22 paragraphs of rabid anti-Semitic prose was added to the official conference documents, under the watchful eye and guidance of Johan Molander, who was the European Union representative at the meeting. Conveniently, not only Jewish NGOs were excluded from attending the Tehran preparatory conference, but so were NGOs representing the Bahais, a dissident Shiite sect brutally persecuted by the Islamic regime in Iran, as well as the Americans and the Israelis.

"It's much easier to have a debate on the Middle East if the United States is not involved," Molander smugly commented to former Swedish Liberal Party leader Per Ahlmark, who was attending the conference as an NGO delegate. The same groups and the same governments who gang-banged America and Israel at the Durban conference later united to oppose the U.S.-led coalition to liberate Iraq, reborn as an international "anti-war" movement.

Shortly before flying down to Durban in late August, Samuels had a bad feeling about what was about to happen. Over the past two years throughout Europe he had witnessed an "incremental process of semantic theft," where terms like "holocaust" and "genocide" were used loosely to describe not the murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis, but virtually any action by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians.

"Left-wing movements in Europe marked 'Kristallnacht 1938' in November 2000, while ignoring more than 100 anti-Semitic attacks on synagogues worldwide in the same month," he wrote. Even a ceremony to honor the Righteous Gentiles of France was marred when the Paris city government attempted to bar the Israeli ambassador from attending. The effort to delegitimize Israel and to demonize Jews – the live kind, not the victims of the Nazi death camps – was in full swing throughout Europe and at the United Nations. Despite his premonitions, Durban was uglier than anything Samuels could have imagined.

In the documentation packets handed out at the official registration desk, the tens of thousands of delegates who attended the conference received a pamphlet distributed by the Arab Lawyers Union, which contained caricatures of hook-nosed Jews worthy of the Nazi propaganda newspaper, Der Sturmer. On the cover, the booklet bore the title: "That is the fact … Racism of Zionism & 'Israel,'" over a huge swastika that was intertwined with the Israeli Star of David. On the back cover, the booklet reproduced the official logo of the United Nations conference.

"It was clearly designed to look to a casual observer like an official conference document, which it definitely was not," Samuels recalls. "I gave it to Mary Robinson just before she rose to give her speech at the opening dinner for the NGOs." Robinson, a former president of Ireland, was the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights and secretary-general of the conference.

What happened next shocked nearly everyone at the dinner, especially Samuels, who had seen Mrs. Robinson bow and scrape to every demand from the Arab and Islamic groups.

"She stood up at the podium and waved the book, and said it had no place at a conference dedicated to human dignity. 'When it comes to this,' she said, 'I am a Jew.' She repeated it three times: 'I am a Jew.'"

The reaction to her speech was so childish it would have been amusing if it weren't indicative of the rabid anti-Semitism swelling the Durban conference halls. The next day, Samuels says, he "received a call from a puzzled reporter from the German Press Agency, asking me, ' Is it true? Is she really a Jew?' That evening, Hamas sent out an e-mail saying, 'We knew it all along. Now she's going to get it.'"

Beyond the words, violence was never very far away. When the handful of Jewish groups who attended the conference sought to present evidence of how they had been "harassed and discriminated against" during the pre-Durban meetings, Arab activists stormed the hall and "began shouting, singing and pushing in front of the speakers" until they had to cut short the press conference.

"This is typical of how we have been treated during this conference," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who had joined Samuels in Durban. For Anne Bayefsky, a professor from New York's Columbia University Law School, "It couldn't get much worse. Some of the Jewish delegates are hiding their accreditation badge because it identifies them as from Israel or as Jewish."

Fierce anti-Israeli demonstrations on the streets of Durban became "a venomous carnival of incitement," with demonstrators handing out flyers "portraying Jews with fangs dripping blood and wearing helmets inscribed with Nazi swastikas." One flyer showed a picture of Hitler, saying: "What if I had won?" Underneath were two possibilities. "The good things – there would be NO Israel and NO Palestinians' blood shed. The bad things – I wouldn't have allowed the making of the new Beetle." Full-size posters of Hitler were on display at the stand of the Arab Lawyers Union in the Conference Documentation Center.

Lord Greville Janner, a member of the British Parliament and longtime pro-democracy activist, called Durban "the worst example of anti-Semitism that I have ever seen." The Jerusalem Post titled one of many articles on the conference, "Festival of hate."

At issue were two sets of declarations – one from the government conference, the second from the NGO forum, that sought to establish Israel as an outlaw state. They also reintroduced the "Zionism-is-racism" resolution that had been passed annually since 1975 by the United Nations General Assembly at the request of the Soviet Union and Cuba until the first Bush administration succeeded in repealing it in 1991. It was the threat of reintroducing that resolution that ultimately convinced the U.S. and Israel to walk out of the conference on Sept. 3 in protest.

The government declaration, originally drafted in Tehran, referred to Israeli "ethnic cleansing of the Arab population of historic Palestine," and called Israel's policies "a crime against humanity." Intended to be adopted by the entire conference as an official United Nations statement that would shape future policy discussions and international law, the document accused Israel of "genocide" against the Palestinian people, and labeled Israel as a "racist apartheid state." It referred to the creation of the state of Israel as "the Catastrophe" ("al Nakbaa"), a term used regularly by Arab leaders and polemicists, and called it a "third holocaust."

Per Ahlmark says he was outraged by the open support the Swedish government gave to such statements. "The Durban conference amounted to a United Nations intellectual and propaganda pogrom," Ahlmark says. Shimon Samuels called the resolutions "the U.N.'s Mein Kampf."

Arch Puddington, vice president of the New York based human-rights organization Freedom House, observed that the drafters of the official declaration "left open for further decision the question of whether to spell the word Holocaust with an upper- or lower-case "h," with some countries arguing that Hitler's genocide had been a Jewish fabrication and others denying that Jews had been the focus of mass murder.

"A delegate from Iran called Zionism 'the greatest manifestation of racism,'" Puddington wrote, "and demanded that anti-Semitism (in its proper sense of discrimination against Jews) be struck from the conference's official register of bigotries because it is not a 'contemporary form of racism.' Syria weighed in with the claim that the Holocaust is a "Jewish lie"; Egypt insisted that it would not accept a conference declaration that did not explicitly identify Israel as a racist state."

The NGO statement in Durban went even further, calling for the convening of an international war-crimes tribunal to try Israel for alleged crimes against the Palestinian people. And while Mary Robinson condemned it, she ultimately couldn't prevent it from being adopted at the NGO forum.

"It is perhaps the most horrific document ever presented and finalized under the overall tent of the United Nations," Rabbi Cooper told reporters in Durban on Sept 1.

Until the American delegation walked out with the Israelis, U.S. diplomats worked with a handful of Europeans behind the scenes to eliminate some of the worst excesses from the conference documents, which the Americans feared could lay the legal groundwork for a war crimes tribunal against Israel and possibly the United States. Those were legitimate fears. But Shimon Samuels saw a far deeper harm in the works at Durban: the banalization of intolerance and hate. "Durban set a new baseline for institutionalized anti-Semitism at the U.N.," he said.

Alan Baker is a human-rights lawyer who served as a legal adviser to the Israeli negotiating team in Durban. He expressed concern that the NGO document "calls upon the U.N. to create educational packets for schools and universities explaining the "racist" nature of Israel, and how it is 'an apartheid state.'"

The problem goes way beyond Durban or even the Durban generation, because "this filters down, seeps into people's consciousness. Think Palestinians, think victims; think Israel, think apartheid. In Africa, South America, in Third World countries, this will be what is taught, it will be part of the curriculum," Baker said. "If Israel and Zionism are absolute evils, then anything you do against these evils is not only legitimate, but even a mitzva." The net effect of the hate language "is to give a sheen of legitimacy to the worst form of Palestinian violence," he added. "For how can you condemn blowing up Israeli children, women and men if they are racist and perpetrators of apartheid?"

Haim Avraham, the distraught father of a kidnapped Israeli soldier named Binyamin Avraham, expressed what many Jewish observers at Durban were already thinking when he blurted out in the conference foyer: "They are paving the way here for another Holocaust." His message was clear. "The Holocaust did not befall the Jewish people overnight, but came about after centuries of systematic delegitimization. It was easy to kill Jews en masse, for the ground had been prepared by years of viewing the Jews as subhuman. In Durban, a new process of delegitimization picked up steam."

As the Americans were packing their bags, ordered home by Secretary of State Colin Powell, the Israelis made one last effort to stand up to the assembled world powers in an address delivered in halting English by a low-level Foreign Ministry official named Mordechai Yedid. He took direct aim at the central contention of many European governments and left-wing organizations that have become the fellow travelers of prejudice, namely that the criticism of Israel expressed at the conference was not anti-Semitism –that is, hatred of the Jew – but anti-Zionism, an acceptable form of political opposition to Israeli government policies.

"Anti-Zionism, the denial of Jews the basic right to a home, is nothing but anti-Semitism, pure and simple," he declared. "The venal hatred of Jews that has taken the form of anti-Zionism, and which has surfaced at this conference, is different in one crucial way from the anti-Semitism of the past. Today, it is being deliberately propagated and manipulated for political ends."

What begins with the Jews doesn't end with Jews. That is a lesson that should have been clear after Hitler and the Holocaust. The German Protestant theologian Martin Niemoeller put it eloquently in a since-famous comment made to a student who asked why no one in Germany stood up for the Jews against Nazi persecution.

"First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade-unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade-unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."

Niemoeller was arrested by Hitler on July 1, 1937, and jailed for seven months, then rearrested and sent to a concentration camp for the duration of the war. He was liberated in 1945 and became a pacifist and ultimately the president of the World Council of Churches in the 1960s, an institution that – supreme irony – subsequently became a fierce opponent of the right of the Jews to a national homeland.

Three days after the Durban conference came to a close, terrorists descended on New York, Washington, D.C., and a lonely field in Pennsylvania. Americans all across the country saw firsthand on their television screens the horror that Israelis know virtually day in and day out. But the real forces at work were ancient, well-oiled, proven and deadly.

Albert Speer was not only the top Nazi official in charge of making Hitler's war industry operate with deadly efficiency; he was Hitler's close confidant. Jailed in Spandau for war crimes and crimes against humanity following his trial in Nuremburg in 1945, Speer kept a diary that was subsequently published in English translation. Just two years after Hitler's suicide in his Berlin bunker, in an entry dated Nov. 18, 1947, Speer recalled the crazed Wagnerian fantasies of the man who had just destroyed Europe and caused the death of 60 million persons:

"I recall how [Hitler] would have films shown in the Reich Chancellory about London burning, about the sea of fire over Warsaw, about exploding convoys, and the kind of ravenous joy that would then seize him every time. But I never saw him so beside himself as when, in a delirium, he pictured New York going down in flames. He described how the skyscrapers would be transformed into gigantic burning torches, how they would collapse in confusion, how the bursting city's reflection would stand against the dark sky."

It all came full circle on September 11 when Hitler's fantasies met Osama bin Laden. As Jews have known for centuries and Americans are just learning: Marry hatred to deadly capabilities and you get murder.

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Excerpted by permission of Crown Forum, a division of Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or
reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

'PREACHERS OF HATE'     Arafat's Hitler-loving role model

Ken Timmerman profiles 'brilliant' anti-Semitic Arab leader
Posted: November 13, 2003     1:00 a.m. Eastern

Editor's note: Kenneth Timmerman's new book, "Preachers of Hate," uncovers an ancient hatred that threatens the life and livelihood of every American. In the book, Timmerman explains the "new" anti-Semitism that targets not only Jews, but Americans specifically and the West in general. The book details how Muslim leaders are not just encouraging hatred of Jews and the West, but are spending a great deal of money to spread the kind of vitriol that spawned the terrorists responsible for September 11.

This is the FINAL of three excerpts from "Preachers of Hate" featured this week on WorldNetDaily. In today's offering, Timmerman presents the history of the Hitler-loving mufti who served as a model for Yasser Arafat. Yesterday's installment describes the unmitigated hate for Jews and Israel displayed at a U.N. conference in South Africa. Part 1 examines the myth spread in the Muslim community that "the Jews" were responsible for the September 11 attacks on the U.S. Timmerman's eye-opening book is available at ShopNetDaily.

By Kenneth R. Timmerman
©2003 Kenneth R. Timmerman

To understand how anti-Semitism became a driving political force in today's Middle East, mobilizing generations of youths and infecting military officers and political leaders, one has to return to the early days of the 20th century, when the centuries-long decline of Muslim culture that culminated in the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I coincided with the acceleration of Jewish immigration to Palestine.

In 1918, the de facto mayor of Jerusalem, Musa Kasim Pasha al-Husseini, mentioned to Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann that he had received a copy of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" [Full Text] from a British officer of the military administration in Palestine.

The core anti-Semitic doctrine of a Jewish world conspiracy fell on willing ears among the Arabs of Palestine. It recalled Quranic lessons they had learned from childhood and "explained" the sense of helplessness they felt as Jews stepped up efforts to revive the ancient Jewish quarter of Jerusalem and bought abandoned tracts from willing Arab landowners to construct agricultural settlements where only desert had been before. Among the most receptive of the local Arab leaders to the conspiracy theories of the Protocols was another member of the al-Husseini clan.

Haj Mohammad Amin al-Husseini was a brilliant agitator and former Customs officer in the small Palestinian Arab town of Qalqilia who went on to become grand mufti of Jerusalem, the official "priest" and pre-eminent political leader of the Arabs. From his earliest years, Husseini was a ferocious opponent of Jewish immigration to Palestine.

During the Muslim festival of Nebi Musa on April 4, 1920, Haj Mohammad Amin's followers went on a murderous rampage and, "inflamed by anti-Jewish diatribes, began attacking Jewish passers-by and looting Jewish stores." He was subsequently convicted by a British military tribunal of inciting the violence, in which five Jews and four Arabs were killed and 211 Jews and 21 Arabs wounded.

After skipping bail, Haj Mohammad Amin took refuge in western Palestine and was sentenced in absentia to ten years in prison. The leader of the hastily organized Jewish self-defense force, Vladimir Jabotinsky, received a 15-year jail sentence for halting the killing spree.

But Haj Mohammad Amin was ferociously opposed to any form of cooperation between Jews and Arabs, which the fledging Zionist movement was trying actively to promote. When young Arab and Jewish intellectuals established "an evening school for the teaching of Hebrew to the Arabs, Arabic to the Jews, and English to both," al-Husseini intervened to kill the project within a year.

His opposition to the Jews was unrelenting. "Remember, Abbady," he told a local official who came from an old Jewish family in Jerusalem, "this was and will remain an Arab land. We do not mind you Jewish natives of the country, but those alien invaders, the Zionists, will be massacred to the last man. We want no progress, no prosperity [deriving from Jewish immigration]. Nothing but the sword will decide the future of this country."

That may be the single most telling statement any Arab leader has made to explain the deep, unacceptable challenge Arabs feel when faced by the success of the Jews.

Haj Mohammad Amin al-Husseini emerged from hiding not long after his trial. In recognition of his status among the Palestinian Arabs, the British mandatory authorities disregarded his record of incitement and appointed him grand mufti in 1922.

But instead of calming the population, as the British seemed to wish, he led a second massacre of Jews on Aug. 23, 1929, in Hebron, where Jewish immigrants had established a thriving community on the site of Judaism's second most holy city. Given al-Husseini's new official status, the commission of inquiry appointed by the British Colonial Office treated him "with exceptional consideration," allowing him to testify behind closed doors at his own home.

Al-Husseini is said to have "firmly asserted his belief in the authenticity of the notorious 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion.'" He used the occasion to spread a libel – not the last of his career – that the Jews planned to "rebuild the Temple of Solomon at the seat of the Mosque of Omar," known more familiarly as the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine on the Temple Mount. Still in his capacity as grand mufti, he led a third massacre of Jewish settlers in 1936.

But al-Husseini owes his place in history to a meeting that took place on Nov. 28, 1941, in Berlin, where he had gone to convince Adolf Hitler of his total dedication to the Nazi goal of exterminating the Jews, and offered to raise an Arab legion to carry out that task in the Middle East. For the mufti, the meeting with Hitler was the culmination of an eight-year effort to convince the Nazis to forge an alliance with the Palestine Arab Higher Committee he headed. Their once-secret pact, which I shall describe, marks the beginning of Nazi-style anti-Semitism as a mass movement in the Arab world.

The mufti first approached the Nazis through the German consul in Jerusalem in 1933, soon after Hitler seized power. "His objectives, as he explained on numerous occasions to German officials, were far-reaching. His immediate aim was to halt and terminate the Jewish settlement in Palestine. Beyond that, however, he aimed at much vaster purposes, conceived not so much in pan-Arab as in pan-Islamic terms, for a holy war of Islam in alliance with Germany against world Jewry, to accomplish the final solution of the Jewish problem everywhere."

But Hitler's government continued to express "a surprising lack of interest in the Arab world and its affairs." One reason, historians agree, is that Hitler initially hoped the harsh Nazi policies would prompt German Jews to emigrate from Germany to Palestine, where he expected they would perish.

Captured Nazi documents published by the U.S. State Department in 1953 show that the mufti continued to petition the German Foreign Office for support. On July 21, 1937, a memorandum of conversation with German consul general Doehle in Jerusalem reveals the mufti once again pleading for Nazi support to fight the Jews. At that meeting, he agreed to dispatch a "confidential agent" to Berlin to maintain an open line of contact with the Axis powers.

What changed the German attitude toward the mufti and his cause was the publication in July 1937 of a report by the British Royal Commission, headed by Lord Peel, which for the first time recommended the partition of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. Once the conclusions of the report were known, the German minister of foreign affairs, Konstantin von Neurath, sent out instructions to German legations in Britain and the Middle East explaining the new directives of the Nazi leadership:

"The formation of a Jewish state or a Jewish-led political structure under British mandate is not in Germany's interest, since a Palestinian state would not absorb world Jewry, but would create an additional position of power under international law for international Jewry, somewhat like the Vatican state for political Catholicism or Moscow for the Comintern. Germany therefore has an interest in strengthening the Arab world as a counterweight against such a possible increase in power for world Jewry."

Germany began broadcasting anti-Semitic propaganda in Arabic in the summer of 1938, fueling the passions of the mufti's followers throughout the region. They planted anti-Semitic lies in the Arabic and Persian press and bred espionage and sabotage networks from the Persian Gulf to Palestine.

By 1939, when Hitler attacked Poland, and Britain and France declared war on Germany, the mufti realized his well-known pro-Nazi activities could land him in a British jail. Once again he packed his bags and fled Palestine, staying shortly in Lebanon (then under French control) before traveling onward to Iraq. Working with an old ally, Rashid Ali al-Gaylani, who became prime minister of Iraq in March 1940, the mufti "obtained promises of Axis support, and in April 1941 carried out an anti-British and pro-German coup" in Baghdad. In early June, al-Gaylani was overthrown, and his followers – tearing a page from the mufti's playbook – went on a murderous rampage against Baghdad's Jewish community.

Once the British arrived in Baghdad, the mufti sought refuge in neighboring Persia. Shah Reza Pahlavi, a nationalist general who seized power in 1925, was such a fan of Hitler's theories of racial supremacy that he renamed his own country "Iran" shortly after Hitler's rise to power. (Iran means "Aryan" in Persian.)

Soon Iran became unsafe as well. In October 1941, fearing the pro-Nazi shah would allow the Axis powers to disrupt the Allied supply line through Iran to Russia, the United States and Britain landed troops in Iran, arrested pro-Nazi government ministers and replaced the shah with his young son, Mohammad Reza.

The coup in Iran meant that Haj Mohammad Amin al-Husseini had to flee once again. He sought refuge in the Italian embassy in Tehran, and on Oct. 8, 1941, "with shaven beard, dyed hair and an Italian service passport," he left for Italy with the rest of the Italian embassy staff now that the new shah had broken diplomatic relations with the Axis powers.

But the expulsion from Tehran presented al-Husseini with a tremendous opportunity he had so far been lacking: direct contact with Axis leaders. During an initial meeting with Italian military intelligence after his arrival in Rome, the mufti said he was prepared to join the Axis war effort "on the sole condition that they recognize in principle the unity, independence and sovereignty of an Arab state of a Fascist nature, including Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Trans-Jordan."

His handlers offered him a modest stipend to fund his efforts (1 million lire, or around $40,000); but more important, they recommended that Mussolini receive him in person. Al-Husseini later described his meeting in Rome with Il Duce on Oct. 27, 1941, as a total triumph. Mussolini, he wrote, expressed unremitting hostility to the Jews. Calling Mussolini "a veteran anti-Zionist," al-Husseini went on to quote him as uttering steadfast opposition to a Jewish state in Palestine. The Jews, Mussolini reportedly said, "have no historical, racial or other reason to establish a state in Palestine. If the Jews want it, they should establish Tel Aviv in America." It was an ominous foreshadowing of the comments Hamas leaders made to me more than five decades later in Gaza.

From Rome, the mufti traveled to Berlin, where he was greeted enthusiastically by the Islamische Zentralinstitut and the assembled Muslim leaders of Germany as the "Führer of the Arabic world." In a speech kicking off his visit, he called the Jews the "most fierce enemies of the Muslims" and an "ever corruptive element in the world."

The mufti also met with SS leader Heinrich Himler and Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, who were tasked with preparing the fateful interview with Hitler. The mufti had sent no fewer than 15 drafts of a joint declaration he wanted Hitler and Mussolini to issue with him, announcing the intention to apply Hitler's Final Solution to the Jews of the Middle East.

When the language had been scrubbed and the declaration sent to Hitler's staff, it was chillingly explicit: "Germany and Italy recognize the illegality of the Jewish National Home in Palestine. They recognize the right of Palestine and other Arab countries to solve the question of the Jewish elements in Palestine and in other Arab countries as required by national Arab interests, and in the same way as the Jewish question in the Axis lands is being solved."

The mufti found his soul mate in the German führer, who was prepared to accept him as an "honorary Aryan" because of the red beard and blue eyes he had inherited from his Circassian mother. He began the meeting in Hitler's ornate reception room in the Reich Chancellery with a lengthy panegyric, dutifully shortened in the official Foreign Ministry "Record of Conversation," which nevertheless preserves the distinct Oriental flavor of the mufti's supplication.

The grand mufti began by thanking the führer for the great honor he had bestowed by receiving him. He wished to seize the opportunity to convey to the führer of the Greater German Reich, admired by the entire Arab world, his thanks for the sympathy he had always shown for the Arab and especially the Palestinian cause.

They were therefore prepared to cooperate with Germany with all their hearts and stood ready to participate in the war, not only negatively by the commission of acts of sabotage and the instigation of revolutions, but also positively by the formation of an Arab Legion. The Arabs could be more useful to Germany as allies than might be apparent at first glance, both for geographical reasons and because of the suffering inflicted upon them by the English and the Jews.

Hitler was receptive to the spirit and ultimate goals of Haj Mohammad Amin al-Husseini, although he was unwilling for strategic reasons to commit troops as yet to liberate the Arab countries from the British. As World War II historian Bevin Alexander has argued, this was Hitler's fatal mistake.

The führer replied to the mufti that Germany's fundamental attitude on these questions, as the mufti himself had already stated, was clear. Germany stood for uncompromising war against the Jews. That naturally included active opposition to the Jewish national home in Palestine.

Germany was just then engaged "in a life and death struggle with two citadels of Jewish power," Hitler explained, "Great Britain and Soviet Russia." He didn't have the manpower or resources to deploy additional military forces in the Middle East. But once the war against Russia and Britain was won, he added, "Germany's objective would then be solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere under the protection of British power. In that hour, the mufti would be the most authoritative spokesman for the Arab world."

The deal was cut. Although the mufti was disappointed that help was not forthcoming immediately, he nevertheless was flattered by Hitler's unbending personal commitment to his cause and "thanked him profusely," according to the official account. He remained Hitler's guest for the remainder of the war.

During his years in Germany, the mufti performed numerous services for Hitler's murderous cause. At one point, he got wind that Adolf Eichmann, then a deputy to SS intelligence boss Reinhard Heydrich who is considered by most historians to be the architect of the Final Solution, was trying to cut a deal with the British government to exchange German POWs for 5,000 Jewish children who also could have fled to Palestine. "The Mufti's protests with the SS were successful and the children were sent to death camps in Poland instead." At another, he lobbied Hitler personally to block a plan to allow Jews to leave Hungary, again claiming they would settle in Palestine and reinforce a new center of world Jewish power.

In 1943, the mufti traveled to Bosnia, where he helped to raise a Bosnian Muslim Waffen SS company, the "Hanjar Troopers," who slaughtered 90 percent of the Jews in Bosnia and burned "countless Serbian churches and villages." Other Bosnian Muslim units raised by the mufti were sent to Croatia and Hungary, where they participated in the killing of Jews.

The mufti's work in Bosnia earned him special favor with Himmler, who established a school in Dresden to train mullahs under his control. According to Israeli scholar Yigal Carmon, a U.S. captain who seized the mufti's wartime archives in Berlin in the days following the collapse of the Third Reich in April 1945 found a photograph of Himmler and the mufti raising wineglasses to each other in a chummy toast. The photograph was personally inscribed by Himmler "In remembrance to my good friend, Haj Amin Husseini."

In 1945, liberated Yugoslavia under Marshal Tito sought to indict the mufti as a war criminal for his activities in Bosnia, but with help from the SS the mufti had already escaped Germany with other members of his clan.

"The SS gave him a plane and helped him fly to France three days before Hitler's suicide, hoping that he could escape to North Africa, where he had organized spy networks still in place," says Yigal Carmon.

The mufti never attempted to disguise his Nazi beliefs or his wartime role as the mouthpiece for Hitler's genocide in the Arab world. His oft proclaimed desire to exterminate the Jews worldwide, and his offer to Hitler to become his willing instrument in Palestine, cannot possibly be excused – as some apologists do today – as simple "anti-Zionism." The only Jews the mufti and his followers wanted to remain in Palestine were the descendants of the original inhabitants, who had lived as dhimmis under Muslim rule for the past 1,400 years. The rejection of a Jewish state very clearly signified to the mufti and his followers the extermination or forced emigration of every single Jew who had come to Israel from Europe or the Arab world since 1917, leaving those remaining to become subjects of Muslim rulers. The core beliefs of Arab anti-Zionism and Arab anti-Semitism are identical.

In 1961, when Adolf Eichmann's trial for war crimes began in Jerusalem, the mufti had left Egypt for Beirut, where he continued to infuse the next generation with his anti-Semitic beliefs. Israeli prosecutors tried to get Eichmann to elaborate on his relations with the mufti, but he was uncooperative, claiming he vaguely recalled meeting the mufti at a Berlin cocktail party, but that was all. In his memoirs, the mufti thanked Eichmann for his discretion and praised him as "gallant and noble."

The mufti died in 1974, but the al-Husseini family continues to play a central role in Palestinian affairs. The mufti's nephew Faisal al-Husseini was a leading PLO spokesmen in the territories until his death on May 31, 2001, and regularly received journalists at Orient House, the de facto (and illegal) seat of Palestinian government in predominantly Arab East Jerusalem. When the Israelis shut down Orient House in March 2002, they seized hundreds of thousands of documents that revealed that al-Husseini had been personally involved in coordinating and financing terrorist attacks against Jews.

Haj Mohammad Amin al-Husseini's vicious anti-Semitic ideology formed a lasting impression on another young Arab nationalist, who became a close confidant and ardent disciple during his postwar exile in Cairo, when al-Husseini regaled his audiences with tales of Hitler's Germany.

Born on Aug. 24, 1929, Mohammed Abd al-Rahman Abd al-Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini enrolled at Cairo University in 1951. He came not to study, but because the university had become the hotbed of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Free Officers, unabashed Nazi sympathizers who, under Nasser's leadership, went on to stage a successful coup the following year. The coup was still far off, and the younger al-Husseini shortened his name in order to disguise his family ties. Ever since then, the world has known the mufti's most famous disciple as Yasser Arafat.

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