Special Dispatch - Egypt April 2, 2001 No. 201
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The criticism of the Egyptian government press, following racist remarks against US Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as the continuous anti-Semitism has been only partially heeded. While the criticism of Secretary Powell has been toned down, (1) anti-Semitic slander remains a frequent feature in the writings of Egyptian columnists. Recently, the issue of the blood libel has reemerged, this time in the government daily Al-Akhbar. (2)
On the eve of the Arab summit in Amman, Dr. Mahmoud Al-Said Al-Kurdi, wrote an article titled "The Last Scene in the Life of Father Toma!! - A Tele-drama for the Arab Summit in Amman!"
"The Talmud, the second holiest book for the Jews, determines that the 'matzahs' of Atonement Day [sic.] must be kneaded 'with blood' from a non-Jew. The preference is for the blood of youths after raping them!! Rabbi Moshe Abu Al-Afiah revealed this during the investigation of the disappearance of Father Toma in the Jewish quarter of Damascus in 1840. The Governor of Damascus, Sharif Pasha ordered the execution of some of the Rabbis of the Jewish Quarter once it was proved that they kidnapped and murdered Father Toma. But, Muhammad Pasha, under pressure from 'the French-Israelite Association [sic.],' pardoned them."
"I published some of the investigation documents which are kept in the files of Syria's Justice Ministry, in an article that Al-Akhbar was kind enough to publish on October 20, 2000 [see translation below], on the eve of the emergency summit summoned by Egypt at the time."
"This article shocked millions of people who received a copy. Through the Al-Akhbar website, whose address is www.elakhaber.org.eg, people around the world learned that the insane myths of the Talmud are being implemented against the non-Jews in the world. I called on the [Cairo] summit to take action so that the day won't come when big bottles will be filled with Arab blood."
"Since that day I have worked on re-writing this affair in the language of cinema, an international language whose message reaches people. and whose influence is much greater than that of the written language. I will publish the last lines of this historical event so Arab Foreign Ministers can review it when they devise the final picture of the unified Arab strategy."
"[The teledrama begins with] a full shot of Syria's Terra Santa monastary on the beach. Fishing boats can be seen in the distance and at the edge is a small boat. Sitting in the boat are the four main characters of the drama: Father Toma, one of his followers Dalia Mizrahi, Menahem Farhi - also known as the Jewish Christian [sic.], who shows affection to the priest but deep inside has ill intentions - and Sheik Muhammad Al-Tijani the Imam of the big mosque and Father Toma's friend. The only sounds are the murmur of the oars and a few short sentences:
"Dalia: 'Will you visit us once again?'
Father Toma: 'I'm not going in order to return, my child. I will disappear until the fire of hatred in the Jewish Quarter is extinguished.'
Menahem (his evil reflected in his face): 'You will not escape this time, good priest; only your body will.'"
"Menahem Farhi draws a dagger that shines in the moonlight. and stabs Father Toma in his shoulder with a quick thrust. He distances the rest of them, threatening them with his cold weapon, as the camera moves from face to face. Menahem puts down a white bottle to collect Father Toma's blood."
"Sheik Tijani knocks [Menahem], the bottle of blood, and the knife into the water with an oar. He wants to jump after him to kill him."
"Father Toma (while reciting Koranic verses) [sic.]: 'Not with the knife Tijani.'
Tijani: 'I know he only swims well in mud and swamps.'"
"Menahem begins to sink and only his yarmulke floats on a layer of bright red blood."
"Tijani: 'We'll return to the monestary, so that you can treat yourself, oh Father Toma.'
Father Toma: 'There is no hope, the knife was poisoned. I feel the poison running through my body. (Looks at Dalia). Cry my child, the tears purge the sins. Take care of her Tijani, you are the last one left.'"
"The sun's golden threads reveal the widening blood stain [on the water] and on it the Rabbi's yarmulke. Father Toma's head falls on Dalia's chest. She screams and her screams are heard around the world. The closing titles descend and read: 'The Death of Father Toma.'"
"Mr. Amru Musa, star of Egypt's diplomacy, did you watch this last scene in the life of Father Toma with us? This Full Shot tells us, in the language of cinema, that treason and stupidity are fundamental characteristics of the mental structure of the Israeli people. Peace for them is nothing but a tactical move in the framework of a long-term plan whose goal is violence and bloodshed. It is written in their holy scriptures!!." (3)
As mentioned above, Dr. Al-Kurdi had previously published an article on the subject on the eve of the Arab summit in Cairo. Following are excerpts of this article:
"The murder of Father Toma and his servant, which took place in the Jewish Quarter of Damascus in 1840, came to my mind when I saw the horrible Al-Aqsa massacres."
"Father Toma entered the Jewish Quarter to attend to a sick man, and ended up slaughtered without a drop of blood in him!"
"This abominable affair enraged the Syrian public who loved and respected Father Toma spiritually, [Toma] resembled physically Jesus, peace be upon him. The authorities apprehended Rabbi Moshe Abu Al-Afiah who became a Moslem and cooperated with the investigation."
"In the official investigation file [it is written that] the investigator asked him: 'How was Father Toma murdered? What is the secret behind the vanishing of this good man's blood?'"
"Rabbi Moshe Abu Al-Afiah answered: 'A group of Jews kidnapped him and his servant, after he finished a house-call with a Jewish patient. They slaughtered him and collected his blood in a big bottle which was then left in the house's cellar.'"
"Investigator: 'Do you know why the Jews committed this abominable act?'
Rabbi Moshe Abu Al-Afiah: 'Yes. To use non-Jewish blood in the dough of the Matzahs for the celebration of the Atonment Day [sic.]'"
"Investigator: 'Does your religion order you to commit this criminal act?'
Rabbi Moshe Abu Al-Afiah: 'Yes.'"
"[Rabbi Al-Afiah] took some papers out of his pocket and started translating directly from Hebrew to Arabic. He read the Rabbis' instructions about the need to knead the Matzahs of the holy bread with the blood of non-Jews, preferably with the blood of raped youths!!"
"Investigator: 'Is that read from the Torah?'
Rabbi Moshe Abu Al-Afiah: 'No, from the Talmud, or from the verbal instructions of the Rabbis. We call it 'The Second Torah', although it is holier than Moses' Torah.'"
"Investigator: 'Where is this cursed book?'
Rabbi Moshe Abu Al-Afiah: 'Europe has burnt it, but we pass it secretly from one to another. From the copies that were printed afterwords, the parts cursing Jesus and his mother were omitted.'"
"In 1973 the Egyptian army managed to deny the bloodletter, Sharon, the pleasure of celebrating the Day of Atonement. The Egyptian forces found in one of the [Israeli] strongholds bottles of frozen wine and slices of dry black bread. Then, the Egyptian officer was told that these are the Matzahs of holy bread!! This officer probably does not know even today what blood was used to knead the Matzahs of holy bread."
"I ask myself: was the purpose of the Al-Aqsa massacres political.? Or was it for religious purposes, aiming at letting pure Arab blood for the Jewish holidays?..." (4)
Mubarak discusses Press Attacks on Powell
In a recent interview, Newsweek's Lally Weymouth asked Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak about the attacks on US Secretary of State Colin Powell in Egypt's government press. Following are excerpts from the interview:
Weymouth: "People in the United States are shocked by the way your media has been describing our Secretary of State and Israel since the Intifada began."
Mubarak: "When I read that article I apologized to the Secretary. He is a friend. Your media is irresponsible also. What about Tom Friedman's very bad articles."
Weymouth: "There is one difference. Our president does not appoint the editors of our papers."
Mubarak: "A shura council, part of the parliament appoints them." (5)
However, the Washington Times reports that when asked about the criticism of Powell in the Egyptian press, Egypt's Ambassador to the United States, Nabil Fahmy "said the reports do not reflect official policy, even though the newspaper is owned by the government and President Hosni Mubarak appoints its editor." (6)
(1) While the government press toned down its criticism of Powell and the US, the opposition press continued these assaults. Al-Wafd Columnist, Salim 'Azuz, for example, wrote that if it wasn't for the custom of hospitality, the members of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom who came to investigate the conditions of the Christian Copt minority, "would have been sent back in coffins." "If we were not restricted by the Emergency Law," 'Azuz continued, "we would have called on the masses to come to the airport and do only one thing: spit in the faces [of the committee members]. I'm convinced that in such a case, the investigation delegation would have drowned from all the spit." Al-Wafd (Egypt), March 19, 2001.
(2) For other articles in the Arab media referencing the Blood Libel see: - Special Dispatch No. 190, "The Arab Answer to 'Schindler's List,'" March 1, 2001 - Special Dispatch No. 150, "Leading Egyptian Newspaper raises Blood Libel," November 6, 2000
(3) Al-Akbar (Egypt), March 25, 2001.
(4) Al-Akhbar (Egypt), October 20, 2000.
(5) Newsweek, March 31, 2001.
(6) Washington Times, March 20, 2001
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization providing translations of the Middle East media and original analysis and research on developments in the region. Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.