The PLO between Anti- Zionism and Antisemitism / Prof.B.Rubin

Part TWO


These sources of thought about Jews, Zionism, and Israel are not merely of abstract interest. Each also suggested distinct strategies: If Zionism and Israel were so bad there was no co-existing with them; if Israel was the puppet of a Zionist elite which oppressed its own people, it would certainly fall; if Israel was dependent on the United States that country could be pressured or wooed into abandoning it, as France had done to the colonists in Algeria; if the Jews were essentially cowardly, they could be terrorized into surrender; if the Jews were only bound together by religion, then their needs could be satisfied by religious freedom under a Palestinian Arab government.

The fundamentalists held that the Jews and Judaism were in themselves bad; the PLO rejected this in theory but not always in practice. For PLO policy and aims to change, for a negotiated peace to be attained, these ideas have to be seriously reexamined and revised. History forced this to some degree but real self-examination was generally avoided in preference to tactical considerations. As long as the PLO could not comprehend these issues, it would not be able to make the compromises necessary for peace. PLO leaders spent far more time explaining their post-1988 policy shift to the West in English than to their followers - many of whom would reject it - in Arabic.

The PLO is left, then, with a number of difficult questions to answer:

1. How to explain Israel's existence?

Judaism is only a religion, though one no worse than others; the Zionists are trying to make an impossible transformation to nationhood, motivated by imperialism. It was created by Jewish capital and attempted to copy the Third World conquests of European colonialism. Thus, Zionism must be separated from Judaism, which must oppose it. Since the state of Israel was so entirely artificial, such a conglomeration," Abu Iyad concluded in 1969, "cannot be a viable human society."71

But if Israel is a logical outcome - even if not the only conceivable one - of Jewish thinking and history than this intrinsic purpose makes its continued existence more likely. If Israel was so fundamentally illegitimate - even aside from conflict between Israelis and Palestinians over the same land - a compromise settlement was impossible and any means - including terrorism - would continue to be acceptable against it.

As Israeli Jews were, by definition, settlers illegally occupying Palestine, the PLO thought them appropriate targets. Said a PLO official in 1981, "There are [no] Israeli civilians - women and men, all are ready at any moment to use arms against us."72 This view reflected the PLO's hatred and demonization of Israelis but was also a rational analysis, since Israel's destruction entailed its people's destruction, demoralization, or departure. The PLO thought this formula had worked against the French colonists in Algeria and would also work in Palestine even if, as in the case of the Christian Crusaders, it took centuries.

On the one hand, then, the problem would remain Israel's very existence, not just its rule in the West Bank and Gaza. On the other hand, Palestinians should be patient and reject compromise since Israel would eventually collapse because it was not a real country, having failed to fuse the immigrants into a nation. All its citizens had in common was a feeling of persecution.73 In the late 1980s, this analysis was adapted to more moderate tactics by arguing that diplomacy - winning away the West, establishing a West Bank/Gaza Palestinian state - was a more effective route to hasten Israel's disintegration.

Only rarely does the PLO acknowledge the strength of Jewish support for Israel, and this - ironically - is more likely to set attitudes paralleling antisemitism. In this vein, Abu Iyad commented in 1990, "The enemy exists in the world politics and economy; it controls money and media. We are not facing only three million Israelis on the Palestinian territories but 16 million Zionist Jews spread around the world and supported by others in the world. The battle...cannot be counted by years. The Crusades lasted more than 200 years, and this war is more serious."74

2. Why do Jews support Israel?

An antisemitic approach - as used by the fundamentalists - would portray Israel as the product of a Jewish conspiracy. The PLO's view, though, was that it was a mistake produced by Zionist manipulation which had, said Abu Iyad in 1969 in an argument well-rooted from Islamic tradition, succeeded in "distorting and faking religious books to lead the Jews in all parts of the world into believing that their place is in the land of Palestine."75

The Jews were also said to forget their good treatment by Arabs. "You have created among your own people an element of fear and belief that you are disliked by the whole world," said al-Hasan in 1989. "Jews are not given honest and true information, not being told that Jews never suffered in the Arab world."76

Arab writers often argued that Jewish oppression in various countries was in large part due to the Jews' own behavior. Why else, they say, were the Jews hated by so many diverse societies over so many centuries?77

3. How are the Jews defined?

"The Palestinian people are known and do not need to be identified," said Abu Iyad in 1989, "unlike the Israelis who do need to be defined: Who is an Israeli, or who is a Jew?"78

For the PLO and other Arabs, there is some genuine puzzlement on this point. They had always dealt with Jews as a religion. Still, it could be argued that religion in the Middle East has long had ethnic and national connotations in practice. Arab nationalism was a reaction against the Islamic identity which had justified Ottoman - Muslim but Turkish - rule over the Arabs. Many of the early proponents of Arab nationalism were Christians trying to escape their own exclusion from full participation in the community by following an assimilationist political strategy. Thus, even aside from the Arab-Israel conflict and struggle for control of the same land, the establishment of a Jewish state posed serious philosophical and ideological problems for Arabs.

The PLO argued that Jews cannot be a legitimate national, since they are only a religion. Moreover, Zionism was a rebellion against traditional Judaism rather than its logical outcome. For those educated Palestinians more familiar with Western society and thought - and especially for the Christian minority - this was an easier distinction to accept. The PLO, in essence, endorses an assimilationist strategy in which Jews living in each country rightly belonged to that society and had relatively little in common with Jews in other states. Secular Jews did not even have religion in common any more.79

Naturally, however, this argument creates a problem for fundamentalists, who see religion as a sufficient force to bind together a society. Consequently, they are more comfortable with an argument that accepts Jews as a group genuinely seeking state power in their own right, but for evil reasons. Since, for the Palestinian rank-and-file, Israel was their only contact with Judaism, the fundamentalist argument appealed even to those who were in no way fundamentalists.

The PLO and other Arab nationalists also put more emphasis on a distinction between good Arab Jews, allegedly oppressed in Israel, and European (Ashkenazi) Jews who are the real purveyors of Zionism. This view, however, does not at all accord with Israeli politics, in which Ashkenazic Jews are more likely to be dovish than are their Oriental counterparts.

It should be emphasized, however, that while Oriental Jews were defined as Arab Jews, they were not seen as "Palestinian" by the PLO. The PLO Charter defined Palestinians as "Arab nationals," except for the few Jews who had lived there before "the beginning of the Zionist invasion." Jews of Arab origin were supposed to return to their countries of origin. Once again, the issue is not whether the PLO would ever be able to implement such a program but the attitude indicated by an unwillingness or inability to change such positions in its fundamental document.

The PLO's left, uncomfortable with using religion as the point of distinction, proposed the idea of a "secular, democratic state" in which Palestinian Arabs would rule as a majority. No group in the PLO, however, accepted binationalism, since the door could never be opened for acceptance of any Jewish nationality. The "democratic state" formula adopted at the 1971 PNC session promised that the PLO would "set up a free and democratic society in Palestine for all Palestinians, including Muslims, Christians and Jews." The latter group would thus be liberated from Zionist domination.80

In theory, the problem was not the Jews themselves but their political sovereignty. "The issue of Israel," explained Habash in 1989, "is not a question of three million Jews who want to live in peace within the borders of the Arab homeland. If that were the case, the Arabs would have permitted them to stay...because this is our tradition."81

Simultaneously, the PLO's basic historical argument, articulated in 1988 by educational and cultural official Ahmad Sidqi al-Dajani, was that the Palestinian people had lived in the land for millennia, absorbing whatever Jews were there in ancient times. The remaining Jews were descendants of Turkish Khazar tribes of Europe who never had anything to do with Palestine.82

Palestinian writers cite a book on the subject of Arthur Koestler. Others, two such authors claim, may believe the "nonsense story in the Torah" about Jews being from Palestine, "but we know this is false."83 In short, the PLO covered all bases in denying any basis for a Jewish state.

4. What is the Relation Between Israelis and the Jews known to Palestinians before 1948?

Arafat called the "democratic state" platform in 1968, "a humanitarian plan which will allow the Jews to live in dignity, as they have always lived, under the aegis of an Arab state and within the framework of an Arab society." Two decades later, the PLO's 1988 "Declaration of Independence" proclaimed Judaism was a part of Arab Palestine's heritage.84

The parallel between Israeli Jews and pre-1948 dhimmis, however, was by no means to the former's benefit. From its stereotype of "Arab Jews" and conclusion that Israel was a fragile, artificial entity, came the PLO's view that Jews were cowards. If enough Israelis could be killed by war or terrorism, the country would collapse or surrender. "We mean to exploit the contradictions within Israeli society," he explained in 1969. "The Israelis have one great fear, the fear of casualties," said Arafat in 1986, and this principle guided PLO thinking.85

Given this analysis, a terrorist strategy was logical. The PLO's attacks, Arafat said in 1968, aimed to "prevent immigration and encourage emigration....To destroy tourism. To prevent immigrants becoming attached to the land. To weaken the Israeli economy and to divert the greater part of it to security requirements. To create and maintain an atmosphere of strain and anxiety that will force the Zionists to realize that it is impossible for them to live in Israel." By achieving these goals, the PLO would "inevitably" prevent Israel's consolidation and bring about its disintegration and dissolution, paving "the way for a quick blow by the [Arab states'] regular armies at the right moment."86

The PLO's ideology and program, however, gave Israeli Jews little incentive to surrender. The PLO Charter promised that the overwhelming majority of them would be driven from the land. Every act of PLO terrorism only further convinced Israelis that they were engaged in a life-and-death struggle against an enemy that would show no mercy. The remainder were to be made dependent on PLO mercy, an unlikely eventuality given the facts - ignored by the PLO's ideology - of Jewish history, memories of life in Arab countries, and the Holocaust. While the terrorism was real, the PLO claim to be protector of Jews was not.

5. What is the purpose of Jewish immigration to Israel?

The PLO sometimes spoke of opposing oppression of Jews in other countries so that they would not want to emigrate to Israel. But Palestinian Arab influence was never used - in Germany during the 1930s, the USSR from the 1960s to the 1980s, or Syria - in that manner.

The PLO Charter said that Jewish immigration to Israel must be blocked lest it guarantee the state's existence. Israel's insecurity and Arab opposition should be maintained to ensure that the USSR prevent "the millions of Jews in the Soviet Union" from emigrating there. Anti-civilian terrorism alone could, a PLO magazine wrote in 1970, make each Israeli feel "isolated and defenseless against the Arab soldier in his house, on his land, on the road, in the cafe, in the movie theater, in army camps and everywhere." The enemy would thus yearn for "the life of stability and repose that he enjoyed in his former country" compared to "the life of confusion and anxiety he finds in the land of Palestine. This is bound to motivate him towards reverse immigration."87

Arafat always continued to oppose Soviet Jewish immigration to Israel as strengthening the state and blocking the return of the 1948 Palestinian refugees there. This was the dominant PLO, and Arab state, position. Only very rarely did a Palestinian leader take a more sophisticated - while still self-serving - stand. "If it is every Jew's right to immigrate," from the USSR, said Arafat in 1990, "why don't they go to France? Why have the United states stopped Jewish immigration? Why must they only come to Palestine?"88 PLO Executive Committee member, and diplomat, Jamal al-Surani, commented, "We are for human rights....That is why, in fact, we are against the shipment of emigrants without their being given a chance to go to other countries."89

Abu Mazin said in 1989 that "tens of thousands" of Soviet Jews were wandering European streets waiting for U.S. visas, "This goes to show what a bankrupt movement Zionism is; it is seeking to gather Jews in Palestine using coercion and terror."90 It was the PLO, however, which opposed the opening of emigration to Soviet Jews in the late 1980s and early 1990s and denied that Jews were oppressed in the USSR. Rafiq al-Natsha, PLO representative in Saudi Arabia, in 1990 expressed its view of the Jewish question, "Every Jew should stay in the nation he belongs to. Likewise, the Soviet Jews should stay in their nation."91 That same year, Arafat complained the movement was, "not emigration, but forced expulsion" from the USSR.92

Arafat said in 1990, "Palestine is now occupied by 3.4 million Israelis....How can the United Nations and the superpowers permit Israel to bring in Jews who have no link whatsoever with Palestine? I am not the only one to say this, but also the original Jews. They say that these people do not belong to the twelve tribes....So I say: Why not go to Canada, Latin America which has room, Australia."93

In dealing with the subject, the PLO always portrayed Soviet Jewish emigration as having nothing to do with the wishes or needs of the migrants themselves bur rather as a plan to populate the West Bank, expel the Palestinians, and then begin Israel's next step in seizing more territory from neighboring Arab states. As Haddad summarizes Arab thinking, "The more people immigrate to Israel the more there is need for territory and the greater the wish to expand."94

6. What power do Jews have in the world?

The PLO never saw Israel as sole adversary but rather as a dependent of "world imperialism, under the direction of the United States of America." But there was a contradiction here since the PLO also spoke, as in the Charter, of isolating Zionism "from the centers of power," that is, persuading the West to abandon Israel or force it to make concessions. Again, the PLO's priority was not put on persuading Israel or Israelis by changing its own behavior and ideology but on affecting the United States.

Such thinking, in contrast to a traditional antisemitic perspective, assumed that Jewish power was limited. To argue otherwise - that Western governments and media were inescapably controlled by Jews - would make the struggle seem futile. The alternative view among Palestinian nationalists - by the PFLP, DFLP, and the anti-PLO Abu Nidal and Syrian-backed PFLP-GC - put more stress on arguing that the United States, irretrievably opposed to Palestinian aspirations for its own reasons, must be defeated completely, not persuaded or outmaneuvered.

Arafat often agreed with this skepticism, speaking of the United States as "the controlling force of neo-colonialism, imperialism and racism [which] employs Israel to spearhead its strategy of domination in the Middle East." The imperialists, Arafat explained, use Israel to keep the Arab world divided and underdeveloped. But again, Israel is the object rather than the subject of history, the Jews are relatively unimportant, not the demonic seekers of world hegemony described by antisemites and Islamic fundamentalists. The PLO's hope is the Jews' weakness, not the horror of their power.95

In short, whether because Israel is seen as dependent on America or a puppet of America, the PLO has always seen persuading Washington - rather than convincing Israelis - to make peace. As al-Hasan put it in 1989, Israel is fighting not for the Jews but for U.S. interests. "We don't consider ourselves as fighting Jews but the U.S. military. Israel itself cannot do anything. And if Israel is left alone without this kind of military support we could have solved the problem long ago."96

7. How should the Holocaust be understood?

The PLO uses discrete, but non-exclusive, arguments in this regard. One was to call the Holocaust imaginary, a product of Zionist propaganda. An official PLO journal wrote in December 1989, "The burning of the Jews in the Nazi chambers is the lie of the twentieth century in order to legitimatize the new Nazism. [i.e., Zionism]" "Nazi camps were more civilized than Israeli prisons. Jews are complaining of their treatment by the Gestapo, whereas the truth is that they were served healthy food...."97

Balsam, organ of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society which is headed by Yasir Arafat's brother, printed an article by a Syrian writer in 1990 saying, "The lie concerning the existence of gas chambers enabled the Jews to establish the State of Israel." The Jews, he wrote, were the victors of World War Two and the Zionists were perpetuators of the myth of a master race. The Holocaust can be proven to be false, but the money Israel received as a result of its claims of a Holocaust was real.98

A second, more common, PLO formula was that the Holocaust happened but the Zionists collaborated with the Nazis in order to have more immigrants and international sympathy. At any rate, the Zionists were worse. "They raise a hue and cry in the world about the torture camps and the Nazi concentration camps," exclaimed Abu Iyad in 1988. "The atrocities that they are perpetrating are more terrible and uglier than the atrocities and crimes perpetrated by the Nazis."99

A more moderate argument, used when pressed by Westerners, was that the Holocaust was a European crime for which Palestinians should not pay the price. Arafat told a Danish newspaper in 1989, "The Danes know well what occupation is" because occupied by Nazis, "The Jews suffered, the Europeans suffered under that barbarism. But we Palestinians have been paying the price for the last 42 years."100

The PLO, of course, is not interested in the historical aspects of the issue. What is most significant for its interests, is the argument that Zionism is a contemporary form of Nazism. At the same time, the PLO is frustrated by what it views as Israel's ability to use the Holocaust to gain sympathy and political support. For instance, Abu Iyad said in 1989, "The [West German] position is being subjected to Zionist blackmail, given the guilt complex resulting from the Nazi era and the German attitude toward the Jews."101

There is a general incomprehension and disinterest in the PLO as to how the Holocaust and years of Arab hostility and terrorism affects contemporary Jewish and Israeli thinking. But there is a structural reason for that fact, aside from human nature and an understandable self-preoccupation: Israel's rationale must be aggression, not survival; imperialism, not self-determination. The mistreatment of Palestinian Arabs has to be presented as the essence of the state, not excesses.


Whatever attitude Jews or Israelis have toward the PLO, they see it is an instrument of Palestinian nationalism which seeks to establish a Palestinian Arab state incorporating as much territory as possible. In short, they may argue about the PLO's intentions and ability to change its behavior but not about its definition. In contrast, Palestinian miscomprehension of the Jews and Israel is much broader and far more damaging. Whether or not the Palestinians or PLO are capable of making peace, their mythology on this issue makes them less able to do so. Since they dehumanize the enemy, overestimate its likelihood to collapse, and underestimate its legitimacy, the Palestinians and PLO are pushed toward more extreme goals, strategy, and tactics.

On an official level, the PLO has largely tried to avoid a traditional antisemitic interpretation of Israel or the Jews. Elements of such views have come, however, from several sources, especially from Islamic and traditional ideas also widespread among "secular" PLO cadre. The Palestinian leaders were very ignorant of such matters; the rank-and-file was more open to anti-Jewish stereotypes since their experience made it easy to equate the concepts Israel/Jewish, Israeli/Jew.

The PLO is not antisemitic in the sense that it hates all Jews, but it does transfer onto Israelis or "Zionists," (i.e., the majority of Jews and Jewish institutions) stereotypes from classic antisemitism. It is a new way of perceiving Jews, corresponding to a new stage of history, just as the religious antisemitism of the Middle Ages and the "scientific" antisemitism of the nineteenth century and age of fascism was developed to respond to contemporary conditions.

More important than grading the PLO on antisemitism is to understand how a serious miscomprehension of Israeli society and Jews made it commit serious political errors, even from the standpoint of its own interests, and made the conflict harder to settle.102 If, indeed, peace is to be made some day, the PLO leadership will have to change its thinking and campaign to revise the views of its supporters, perhaps during a long negotiating process.

Like any political organization, the PLO operates on three levels. On the tactical one, it can use self-proclaimed change as propaganda, a temporary expedient and one designed to convince Americans rather than Israelis. On the strategic level, it can accept concessions - a West Bank/Gaza state rather than all of Palestine - because it must do so. Such a shift can be far-reaching and may govern the PLO's actual conduct. But the highest level is that of principle, where a real modification of thinking which indicates a genuine change of course.

The PLO's deeper thinking about the Jewish question has not yet changed. As the Lebanese-American scholar Fouad Ajami put it in discussing Arab politics, "Cultures often stubbornly refuse to look into themselves. They retreat into the nooks and crannies of their received history, offer up the standard evasions, fall back on the consolations they know."103

Thus, in trying to justify a more diplomatic-oriented policy, PLO leaders had to fall back on their disbelief that Israel had any basis or rationale. As a February 1990 article in the PLO's theoretical organ put it, the basis of Palestinian strategy is, "The Arab belief that peace, if it will bring about the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state - will be able, if only gradually, to cause the disintegration of the Zionist-Jewish framework of the State of Israel."104

In short, both "harder" and "softer" line positions are based on the argument that Israel can be destroyed. This assessment, in turn, rests on a perception of the Jewish question rather than on a strategic estimate of the balance of military or economic forces. Such ideas encourage mistrust among Israelis, extremism among Palestinians, open the way to manipulation by radical Arab states or Iran, and undermines potential support for a moderate policy by Palestinian leaders.

The PLO has changed its policy on a tactical and, arguably, on a strategic level. But the failure to alter its theoretical framework provokes a great deal

of mistrust and ultimately either keep it out of a peace settlement or block a diplomatic resolution of the issue altogether.



1. Abu Iyad, June 1969, International Documents on Palestine, (hereafter IDOP) 1969, p. 732.

2. M.Y.S. Haddad, Arab Perspectives of Judaism, (The Hague, 1984), p. 345.

3. Voice of the PLO (Baghdad), August 9, 1989 (Foreign Broadcast Information Service--hereafter FBIS--August 10, 1989, p. 1.

4. al-Riyadh, January 3, 1989, (FBIS, January 11, 1989, p. 3).

5. PFLP, September 30, 1988 p. 28. He was commenting on a paper by Bassam Abu Sharif.

6. Abd al-Wahab Muhammad al-Masiri, "Tahira Muada al-Yahud Bayna al-Haqiqa w-al'Haqaiq," ("The Phenomena of Anti-Semitism Between Evidence and Truth,"6.22) Shu'un Filastiniyya, December 1991, pp. 72-92. Among the article's bizarre assertions was that Theodor Herzl knew that Dreyfus was guilty of treason but the Jews concealed this secret.

7. Journal of Palestine Studies (hereafter JPS), Vol. 11, No. 2 (Winter 1982), pp. 4-5, 12-13.

8. IDOP 1968, pp. 301, 379; Haddad, op. cit., p. 435 and 451.

9. For example, Unified National Leadership Call Number 12, April 1, 1988 (FBIS April 4, 1988) p. 7.

10. Akhbar al-Usbu (Amman), January 23, 1992 (FBIS, January 23, 1992, p. 9).

11. Call No. 41 of the Unified National Leadership of the intifadah. Voice of the PLO (Baghdad), June 12, 1989. Text in FBIS, June 14, 1989, p. 1.

12. Interview on Radio Monte Carlo, February 5, 1988 (FBIS, February 9, 1988, p. 4). Ironically, this Biblical analogy made the Jews into the Philistines.

13. al-Majallah (London), March 13, 1990.

14. Among the early PLO Research Center monographs and articles were the following: Mustafa Abd al-Aziz The Jewish Minorities in the United States (1968); Isa Abd al-Hamid, Six Years of Politics of Open Bridges (193); Asad Abd al-Rahman, "The Return of the Arab Jews: The Problem and the Solution," Shu'un Filastiniyya 55, August-September 1976, pp. 112-127; Ali Ibrahim Abduh and Khayriyya Qasimiyya, Yahud al-bilad al-arabiyya (1971); Ibrahim al-Abid, Violence and Peace: a study in Zionist Strategy (1967); Naji Allush, Al-Haraka al-filastiniyya amam al-yahud wa'l sahyuniyya, 1822-1948 (1974); Abd al-Rahman Ghunaym, Nazarat jadida ala al-sahyuniyya (1972); Directorate of Public Affairs and Intellectual Guidance of the PLA and the PLF, New Looks at Zionism; Fayez Sayegh, Do Jews Have a Divine Right to Palestine, (1967).

15. Arafat interview, Rude Pravo (Prague), October 21, 1989, (FBIS, October 26, 1989). See also Farouq Qaddumi in WAFA news agency, Mideast Mirror, December 17, 1991.

16. al-Quds al-Arabi, February 18, 1992 (FBIS, February 21, 1992, p. 8.)

17. Tape broadcast by CNN, February 11, 1992.

18. This pattern was also visible in leftist and some mainstream American political writing which attributed to Israel remarkable power and nefarious motives. In 1991-92, the respected American publisher Random House issued four books that claimed, respectively, Israel gave American secrets to the USSR, plotted nuclear war, sold Iran weapons so that American hostages would not be released, and controlled Abu Nidal's terrorist Palestinian organization. In each case, traditional anti-Semitic "Jewish" characteristics were now made Israeli attributes.

19. Haddad, op. cit., pp. 7-8.

20. Filastin al-Thawra, August 15, 1969, p. 57.

21. Haddad, op. cit., pp. 31, 36-39.

22. Ibid., p. 65 and p. 89-160, 184, 228-230, and 304.

23. Al-Qabas, November 28, 1989.

24. Khan Yunis area al-Fatah leaflet, responding to Hamas leaflet of January 21, 1992. On Hamas' view see, for example, its leaflet against negotiations, al-Ribat (Amman) September 24, 1991 (FBIS, October 17, 1991, pp. 3-5).

25. Haddad, op. cit., pp. 45, 47-55, 259-291.

26. Interview with author, Tunis, August 13, 1989.

27. IDOP 1968, p. 400.

28. Der Spiegel July 17, 1981; Der Tag, July 19, 1985; The Observer, February 5, 1989.

29. "The road that is not straight," The Economist, January 25, 1992, p. 40.

30. Haddad, op. cit., p. 324, argues that The Protocols are an exclusively fundamentalist preoccupation. On Tlas see, for example, Los Angeles Times, August 15, 1986.

31. Jamal al-Surani, al-Sharq al-Awsat, February 8, 1990, (FBIS, February 9, 1990, p. 4).

32. Lufti Abd al-Azm, "The Arabs and the Jews: Who Will Destroy Whom?", al-Ahram al-Iqtisadi, September 27, 1982 pp. 4-7. Articles from al-Ahram, April 21 and May 3, 1987, al-Sha'b, May 26, 1987, and al-Ahrar, June 8, 1987, cited in Ehud Yaari, Peace by Piece: A Decade of Egyptian Policy Toward Israel (Washington, 1987) pp. 9 and 13. It is interesting to note that at this time black American Moslems were accusing Jews--not Israel--of spreading the AIDs virus.

33. This Islamic perspective is also characteristic of the government and media of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iran but is also found in the "secular" states and their leaders, including Syria and Iraq.

34. Haddad, op. cit., pp. 307-330.

35. Speech, December 1980, cited in Daniel Pipes "The Politics of Muslim Anti-Semitism," Commentary, Vol. 72, No. 3, (August 1981), p. 39; witnessed by author. See also Rushdi Abbas al-Amara, "The Historical and Religious Influences on Israel's Behavior," al-Siyasa al-Duwaliyya, October 1982; Hassan Nafaa, "Arab Nationalism: A Response to Ajami's Thesis on the 'End of Pan-Arabism'" Journal of Arab Affairs Vol. 2, No. 2, Spring 1983, p. 193.

36. Statements of March 16, 1979 and December 8, 1980, quoted in The Congressional Record, March 11, 1981, p. E 992-93.

37. Fatah Central Committee statement, text in FBIS, March 8, 1988, p. 8.

38. Filastin al-Thawrah, July 8, 1990 (FBIS, August 9, 1990, pp. 7-15).

39. Abu Iyad, IDOP 1969, pp. 719, 728; Speech by PLO Official Spokesman at the International World Conference of Christians for Palestine Beirut, May 7, 1970, IDOP 1970 p. 797.

40. Text of January 29, 1987 speech, FBIS, February 2, 1987.

41. La Stampa, February 16, 1988, p. 4.

42. August 11, 1989, Text in FBIS, August 14, 1989, p. 3.

43. Voice of Palestine (Algiers), August 6, 1991 (FBIS, August 7, 1991).

44. See, for example, Algiers Television, March 22, 1990 (FBIS, March 23, 1990, pp. 4, 6).

45. Such statements continue to be made frequently. See,for example, Arafat to al-Anba, March 12, 1990 (FBIS, March 14, 1990). It is interesting to note that the Torah promises the lands between the Nile and Euphrates not to the Jews but to the Abraham's descendants--who include those of Ishmael--in other words, to both the Jews and the Arabs.

46. Abd al-Bari Atwan, "Counter `Storm'?, al-Quds al-Arabi, September 16, 1991 (FBIS, September 19, 1991, p. 4.)

47. Al-Madina (Jidda), July 7, 1989 (FBIS, July 19, 1989, p. 1).

48. al-Anba, April 12, 1990 (FBIS, April 19, 1990, p. 5).

49. al-Dustur, May 13, 1990 (FBIS, May 16, 1990).

50. al-Qabas al-Duwali, May 19, 1990 (FBIS, May 30, 1990, pp. 12-13).

51. Quotations from the official PNC translation.

52. IDOP 1968 pp. 301, 379. When Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated by a Palestinian in 1968, al-Fatah claimed the killer "must undoubtedly have been a tool employed by world Zionism, by persons having political, personal or capitalistic interests, and by the American CIA."

53. Edward Said, The Palestine Question and the American Context, (Institute for Palestine Studies, Beirut, 1979), p. 12; "Year-Old Palestinian Uprising Will Continue--Arafat," Reuter, December 9, 1988.

54. The most important of these was between Arafat and an American Jewish delegation in Stockholm, Sweden, in November 1988. See Washington Post and New York Times, November 27, 1988, December 6 and 7, 1988; Menachem Rosensaft, "Meeting the PLO," Reform Judaism, Spring 1989, p. 13.

55. Hawatmeh called a 1978 bus hijacking in which 34 Israeli civilians were killed, "A heroic operation stemming from the right of our people and our revolution to employ all forms of struggle." JPS, Vol. 12, No. 4, (Summer 1978), p. 192.

56. Abu Iyad, interview, Long Island Jewish World, May 5-11, 1989.

57. Text in FBIS, November 16, 1988, p. 2. See also, for example, PLO Executive Committee "Land Day" statement (FBIS, March 31, 1989, p. 6.

58. Voice of the PLO (Baghdad), May 9, 1989, (FBIS, May 10, 1989).

59. For a fuller discussion of these issues, see the author's studies, Inside the PLO: Officials, Notables, and Revolutionaries Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Focus No. 12, December 1989; The PLO's New Policy: Evolution Until Victory? Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Policy Paper #13, June 1989; The PLO--A Declaration of Independence? Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Policy Focus No. 8, November 1988.

60. al-Qabas (Kuwait), April 5, 1987 (FBIS, April 9, 1987).

61. Ibid.

62. Ibid.

63. For one of many examples, see Hani al-Hasan in al-Qabas (Kuwait), May 31, 1989 (FBIS, June 2, 1989) p. 3.

64. Amman Television, April 25, 1990 (FBIS, April 27, 1990, p. 7.

65. Voice of the PLO (Baghdad), March 9, 1989 (FBIS, March 10, 1989, pp. 4-5.)

66. Unified National Leadership of the Uprising, Call No. 21. Text, FBIS, July 8, 1988, p. 5-6. See also Call No. 36, text, FBIS, March 16, 1989, p. 7.

67. al-Watan, April 12, 1988 (FBIS, May 31, 1988, p. 8).

68. al-Watan, May 19, 1988 (FBIS, July 21, 1988, p. 4).

69. al-Akhbar, January 12, 1988 (FBIS, January 15, 1988, p. 8).

70. His main work in this regard was Tarikh al-Sihyuniyah, 1862-1948.

71. Abu Iyad, June 1969, IDOP 1969, pp. 711, 733. Interview, IDOP 1969, pp. 691-2.

72. Ibrahim Sous, Nouvelle Observateur, August 14, 1981.

73. Abu Iyad, June 1969, IDOP 1969, pp. 711, 733.

74. al-Qabas al-Duwali, May 19, 1990 (FBIS, May 30, 1990, pp. 12-13).

75. Abu Iyad IDOP 1969, pp. 719, 728.

76. Interview, Tunis, August 13, 1989.

77. Haddad, op. cit., pp. 368-69.

78. Al-Madina (Jidda), July 7, 1989 (FBIS, July 19, 1989) p. 2.

79. Haddad, op. cit., pp. 341, 355.

80. Fifth PNC, February 4, 1969, IDOP 1969 pp. 589-90; DFLP, draft resolution for PNC, September 1, 1969, IDOP 1969, p. 777.

81. George Habash, interview on Voice of the Mountain (Lebanon) radio, June 9, 1989 (FBIS, June 13, 1989, p. 5).

82. Al-Khalij, August 31, 1988.

83. Dr. Ahmad Sussa and Muhammad Khalifa in al-Watan (Kuwait), September 2, 1988. They are described, respectively, as the authors of The Arabs and the Jews in the Course of History and The Jewish Danger.

84. Arafat, October 1968, IDOP 1968, pp. 453-54; text of November 1988 PNC "declaration of independence," official translation.

85. Al-Anwar symposium of March 8, 1970, cited in Y. Harkabi, The Palestinian Covenant and its Meaning (London, 1979), p. 12; Arafat, May 1969, IDOP 1969, pp 691-2. "Yassir [sic] Arafat: An Interview," Third World Quarterly, Vol. 8, April 1986, pp. 399-410; South, January 1986 p. 18.

86. Interview, January 22, 1968 in IDOP, 1968, p. 300.

87. Filastin al-Thawra, January 1970, p. 8. Compare this statement with a remarkably similar PLO document a dozen years later: The enemy's "greatest weakness is his small population. Therefore, operations must be launched which will liquidate immigration into Israel" by attacking immigrant absorption centers, sabotaging water and electricity, "using weapons in terrifying ways against them where they live...attacking a tourist installation during the height of the tourist season." Holidays were said to be the best time for assaults since there were more human targets on the street.

88. Reuter, February 26, 1990.

89. al-Sharq al-Awsat (London), February 9, 1990.

90. al-Siyasah, November 18, 1989 (FBIS, November 22, 1989, p. 2).

91. Saudi Gazette (Jidda), November 1, 1990.

92. Amman Television, April 25, 1990 (FBIS, April 27, 1990, pp. 3, 7.

93. Algiers Television, March 22, 1990 (FBIS, March 23, 1990, pp. 4, 6). See also Voice of Palestine (Sanaa), February 27, 1990 (FBIS, March 2, 1990).

94. Haddad, op. cit., p. 434.

95. "Yassir Arafat," Third World Quarterly, op. cit.

96. Interview with author in Tunis, August 13, 1989.

97. Al-Istiqlal, December 13 and 20, 1989; Balsam, July 1990.

98. Balsam, July 1990, article by Raim Arnouf.

99. Interview on Voice of the PLO (Baghdad), April 28, 1988 (FBIS, April 29, 1988, p. 43).

100. Berlingske Tidende Sondag, March 26, 1989 (FBIS, April 4, 1989).

101. al-Yawm, February 5, 1989 (FBIS, February 10, 1989, p. 7).

102. For an interesting example of a relatively sophisticated but deeply flawed analysis of Israel leading to advocacy of a radically unworkable hardline strategy, see George Habash's article in al-Hadaf, May 15, 1988 (FBIS, July 29, 1988, pp. 6-12, 16).

103. Ajami, "The End of Arab Nationalism," New Republic, August 12, 1991, p. 26.

104. Shu'un Filastiniyya, February 22, 1990,

SICSA-- The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

* But also see Point Two, below.
** Who the PLO sees as Palestinians--not Jews--today, see below.
*** See point 6, below.

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), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). His new edited books include Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict and Crisis; Guide to Islamist Movements; Conflict and Insurgency in the Middle East; The West and the Middle East (four volumes); and The Muslim Brotherhood. To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books. To see or subscribe to his blog, Rubin Reports.

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