The Jewish Advocate of Boston issued an inappropriate editorial on December 17th, 2004, in which it accuses me and our news agency of willfully distorting an interview with Sari Nusseibeh, so as to “manipulate” the emotions of terror victims and to conduct a “smear campaign” against the leading Jewish organizations in Boston who hosted Sari Nusseibeh as their guest of honor on December 10th.

To begin with, the Jewish Advocate asserts that our news agency’s revelation in the Jewish Advocate of December 10th, 2004 (See the December 10th issue of Israel Resource Review) which quoted Sari Nusseibeh’s praise of the mother of a suicide bomber who murdered five boys at the Atmoneh Yeshiva and which exposed Nusseibeh’s praise of suicide bombers on Al Jazeera television, that these words were somehow “taken out of context”.

This is a surprising assertion.

The Jewish Advocate had acknowledged receipt of appropriate documentation that the translation of Nusseibeh’s interview emanated from the highest level of Israeli intelligence and that this translation and the original Arabic version of the Nusseibeh interview were indeed posted on the official web site of the Israel Defence Forces.

For some reason, The Jewish Advocate editorial of December 17th places great faith in Nusseibeh that “he tried to create a transition from the very emotional statement by the mother to his own message against suicide bombing”

Yet from the authoritative MEMRI English translation of the Nusseibeh interview*, also available to the Jewish Advocate, the readers of the Jewish Advocate can read for themselves that Nusseibeh issued no hint of any such “message against suicide bombing”.

Quite the opposite message is conveyed. Read for yourselves.

Sadly, the Jewish Advocate claims that our news agency “misconstrued” the Nusseibeh’s interview so as to “manipulate” the emotions of the parents of terror victims who did not have the “facts” of the Nusseibeh interview in front of them.

And what does the Jewish Advocate base its “facts” upon?

The Jewish Advocate quotes an unnamed “translator who reviewed the transcript has reportedly confirmed Nusseibeh’s version”.

Does that “translator” hold a candle to the Arabic speaking officers of Israeli intelligence?

Does that “translator” hold a candle to the unquestioned credibility of Yigal Carmon, the head of MEMRI, who is also fluent in Arabic, who served as the counter terrorism advisor to Prime Ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin?

At Nusseibeh’s presentation at the JCRC event in Boston on December 10th, the Jewish Advocate did not pose the most fundamental question to Nusseibeh: Since Nusseibeh is a senior official of the PLO and a senior appointees of the Palestinian Authority, why does Nusseibeh not issue any proclamation of peace and reconciliation on the official media outlets of the PLO or the PA?

Less than one week after Nusseibeh’s December 10th presentation in Boston, Nusseibeh spoke on December 16th at the annual Herzelia security conference, calling on Palestinian Arabs to forgo their “right of return” and to forgo “the path of violence”.

Our reporter who covered Nusseibeh’s speech politely approached Nusseibeh after his speech and asked him if he would conevy his message to the entire Palestinian community in Arabic, on the VOICE OF PALESTINE, the official media outlet of the Palestinian Authority.

Staring nervously as he stared at the reporter’s tape recorder, Nusseibeh had this to say: “Yes, I’ve been speaking… It’s very well known, my position is very well known… Yes, my.my. my position.my position among the Palestinians and the Arab world at large is very well known,” stuttered Nusseibeh. “It is very clear. I write it. My plan is clear. I say what I say. “

The reporter once again asked Nusseibeh asked if he would make a statement of this kind on the airwaves of the PBC, the official Palestine Broadcasting Corporation of the Palestinian Authority.

Nusseibeh turned his back and disappeared into the crowd of participants leaving the main conference hall, without answering that question.

Nusseibeh conveys a message of peace and reconciliation to western and Israeli audiences, yet will not do so on the airwaves of the PLO, applying the “double speak” model of Nusseibeh’s mentor, Yassir Arafat.

Indeed, it was Arafat appointed Nusseibeh to his position as the Dean of El Kuds University and it was Arafat who appointed Sari Nusseibeh to be the PLO and PA representative for Jerusalem affairs.

Nusseibeh lives up to the legacy of his mentor with great devotion.

Here is the “MEMRI” translation of the Nusseibeh interview taken from the MEMRI report of the Al Jazeera interview, as it appeared on the MEMRI web site of July 5th, 2002:

On the Qatari TV channel Al-Jazeera, Professor Nusseibah… Appeared on the same panel with head of the Hamas politbureau Khaled Mash’al, and Umm Nidal, the mother of Muhammad Farhat, [who appeared in a video sending her son to commit a martyrdom attack][1]

Professor Nusseibah said that the [signatories’] objections to military operations referred only to operations against civilians within Israel: “There is a general consensus that we naturally support resistance in general and resistance to the occupation in particular. [There is a consensus] that there is no life under occupation, and that most of the Palestinian people is very much prepared to martyr itself to achieve liberty and independence and to restore its honor. I [too] agree to this. There are different kinds of resistance. There is armed resistance and there is unarmed resistance, which is legitimate resistance. Then this resistance can be public and be popular [such as the kind] in which the Palestinian people engaged throughout the many years of occupation. Similarly, within the framework of armed resistance there is resistance for attack and resistance for defense. [Now] martyrdom operations are [another] kind of resistance.

There is on the one hand martyrdom for defense, like the heroes who martyred themselves to defend their land and their homeland in the Jenin camp, or the martyr hero Fares Odeh who fell victim to the soldiers of the occupation, and on the other hand there is martyrdom in an attack.

Even in martyrdom in an attack, a distinction can be made between martyrdom in an attack directed against military targets and one directed against civilian targets.” “In our [communique], we referred to this kind of martyrdom the armed operations with explosives [targeting civilians in Israel].”… “I wish to emphasize that we did not condemn [the operations] and did not appeal to the emotions. We appealed as brother to brother, to consider this issue, and so there will be a genuine [re-]evaluation of the issue in which every thinker and all those concerned would participate, so as to examine the benefit and the damage of operations against civilians within Israel.”

Referring to Umm Nidal’s pride in and justification of her son’s martyrdom, Professor Nusseibah glorified her, saying: “When I hear the words of Umm Nidal, I recall the [Koranic] verse stating that ‘Paradise lies under the feet of mothers.'[2]

All respect is due to this mother, it is due to every Palestinian mother and every female Palestinian who is a Jihad fighter on this land. I do not wish to mix political statements and political commentary with the respect every Palestinian feels for every Jihad fighter and for anyone who truly thinks that there is no life under the occupation, except in freedom and dignity.”[3]

A similar statement by Professor Nusseibah appeared on the Arab news site Albawaba: “The communique that I, along with hundreds of others, signed was clear. We did not address our brothers in the various resistance factions to chastise them, or to condemn them, or depict the resistance as terror, or to de-legitimize it. None of these words appeared in the communique. [Our] aim was to convey a message that there is a need to reexamine the benefit of the [martyrdom] operations within Israel in the context of the goals we seek to accomplish.”[4]

[1] See MEMRI Special Dispatch Special Dispatch 391. In an interview with the London-based Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Umm Nidal stated: “Because I love my son, I encouraged him to die a martyr’s death for the sake of Allah… After the martyrdom [operation], my heart was peaceful about Muhammad. I encouraged all my sons to die a martyr’s death, and I wish this even for myself.”
[2] This is not a Koranic verse, but a Hadith (tradition ascribed to Muhammad), about mothers being the that mothers are the highest beings, such that even Paradise is beneath their feet.
[3] Al-Jazeera television (Qatar), June 29, 2002.
[4] albawaba.com/news/index/php3.sid=217603&lang=a&dir=news, June 24, 2002.

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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