Islamic Cleric to Pope:Let's Kill the Jews Together / Prof.B.Rubin

It’s a pity that the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) chief Islamic judge Taysir Tamimi will be criticized for rudeness rather than incitement to genocide. And the whole political context of Tamimi’s statements shouldn’t be missed either: he is an appointee of the PA. When he demands that Israel be wiped out either he’s speaking for his bosses or if not they should fire him. Of course, they won’t because in large part he is.

The Syrian regime was even more open with its antisemitism during the pope's Middle East trip, trying to foment Christian hatred of the Jews quite openly. Even Syria's president, during a previous papal visit back in 2001, told the pontiff:

The Jews "tried to kill the principles of all religions with the same mentality in which they betrayed Jesus Christ and...tried to betray and kill the prophet Muhammad."

In Jerusalem during the current visit, Tamimi stepped to the podium uninvited after Pope Benedict XVI spoke at an interfaith “dialogue” in Jerusalem. He urged Muslims and Christians to unite against Israelis who were allegedly committing mass murder and making Palestinians refugees. Of course, his goal is to commit mass murder and make all Israeli Jews refugees.

To his credit, the pope walked out and his office said the speech by Tamimi was not approved as part of the meeting and was the opposite of what interfaith dialogue should be. Good for the pope and his staff.
But maybe it was a good thing that Tamimi seized the stage to pontificate. After all, he gave Benedict a real taste of the kind of dialogue that could be expected from radical Islamists and the true positions taken by much of the Palestinian leadership, including the PA itself.

What we do know is that a few days before his diatribe to the Pope, Tamimi confirmed his decision that anyone selling land to Jews or acting as an agent or middle man has committed high treason and the punishment is death.

Tamimi’s father was the chief Islamic judge in Hebron, deported by Israel temporarily in 1980, the day after terrorists killed six Jewish theological students in that city. His mother and the wives of two others deported appealed the action to an Israeli court. The ruling came down in favor of the other two but not for Tamimi's father because such a strong case had been made about his incitement to violence.

Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, at the time a military official governing the West Bank, called Tamimi's father, "an agitator of the worst kind…..”

It should be understood that Taysir Tamimi holds his position not because of theological achievements but as a cleric close to Yasir Arafat. And while Tamimi always supported the Fatah leader his basic orientation is as a radical Islamist with views not all that far from those of Hamas.

In May 2008, Taysir Tamimi was an honored guest at a Palestinian meeting in Los Angeles. While in California he issued a religious decree saying that the Palestinian “Right of Return” was the fundamental right of all Palestinians and should be implemented. There could be no peace agreement without it.

But of course this demand is for Israel to agree to take two million or more Palestinians onto its territory, an act that would lead to massive bloodshed and the dissolution of Israel amidst fire and terror. And that’s what Tamimi wants. But if there is no “Right of Return,” Tamimi and the rest of the PA reject peace and if there is then Israel will cease to exist.

Some two-state solution.

Tamimi, of course, has the perfect right to protest Israeli actions and to support the creation of a national homeland for his people. But that’s not his stance at all. For if people like Tamimi and other PA leaders really wanted a Palestinian state alongside Israel they could have it, and have it remarkably quickly. But since they don’t, any solution is decades off.

Finally, Tamimi’s social views are in line with Islamic mainstream thinking but Westerners should be aware of them. He states, in the MEMRI translation:

"I say to those who demand equality and whine about women's rights that by permitting polygamy, Islam protects the woman's humanity and emotions, and secures her right to marry and gain honor and esteem, instead of becoming a professional paramour lacking in rights whose children are thrown onto the garbage heap."

At any rate, Tamimi does faithfully reflect the views of the PA leadership on political matters, albeit less so in his more purely religious pronouncements. But they picked him and they promoted him and they kept him.
So let’s all listen to Tamimi’s words. The problem isn’t rudeness, it’s insatiable extremism; and it’s not marginal, it’s mainstream.

Also greeting the pope to the Middle East was a wave of antisemitic materials in Syrian government media. The Syrians and Iranians have produced a steady stream of such programming which is little noted in the West. This week's versions, however, were written to appeal especially to Christian antisemitism.

One article explained:

"The sound of the church [bells] in our Arab homeland announces that Jesus – whom they wounded and whose noble, bleeding wounds they sucked – found in them yet more yearning for blood... and for the death and destruction that they sow throughout the Muslim and the Christian world, because a state of blood vengeance prevails between them and all humanity."

And it continues:

"Perhaps one day the world will awake and realize that these Zionist elements are the bloodletters who hang on the peoples, sucking their blood and consuming their resources." [MEMRI translations.]

Yes, I believe we've seen this before, most notably in living memory promoted by a certain regime in Germany between 1933 and 1945.

But there should be no doubt: for many powerful Islamic forces, the basis for Muslim-Christian dialogue is genocide against the Jews.

Perhaps one day the world will awake and realize that these radical Islamist and extremist Arab nationalist regimes and movements are aggressive seekers of conquest whose defeat is the most important aspect of the present era.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books, go to His blog, Rubin Reports is at

* Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict, and Crisis (Palgrave Macmillan), Conflict and Insurgency in the Contemporary Middle East (Routledge), The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition) (Viking-Penguin), the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan), A Chronological History of Terrorism (Sharpe), and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).

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