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Jewish World Review March 31, 2002/18 Nisan, 5762

Suzanne Fields

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Recipes for disaster in the Middle East | "If it's matzoh balls with gravy, it must be seder time down South," runs a headline in the Jewish World Review.

If it's a matzoh ball recipe in Saudi Arabia, it must be with the blood of a slaughtered Christian or Muslim child.

Farfetched? Well, that's the recipe for pastry for Purim, the Jewish holiday celebrated earlier this month, published in the Saudi newspaper Al-Riyadh, an official daily. After The Middle East Media Research Institute drew attention to it through its English translations online, Turki Al-Sudairi, the editor of the newspaper, apologized for running it.

The article, he said, had fallen through the cracks and it wasn't true. (Imagine?) The author of the recipe was not exactly an academic slouch, as slouches are measured in Saudi Arabia. He's a professor at King Faisal University and has "Dr." before his name. But the editor said the professor's scholarship was flawed, but only because he had failed to make distinctions between "good" and "bad" Jews.

"Jews anywhere in the world are one thing, while those belonging to the Zionism movement who are eradicating Palestinians is a completely different thing," he said. "In Israel itself, there are moderate Jews - and it is unacceptable that our differences with specimens (italics mine) like that of Sharon should be the incentive to generalize our hatred toward all Jews."

We could dismiss all of this as more of the same if it didn't remind us of the anti-Semitism deeply rooted in the Saudi consciousness at a time when men and women of good faith naively receive on good faith the so-called "peace initiative" of Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

Think of all the eyes that readily accepted at face value that Jews kill children to drain their blood to stir in the sauce. When it was initially brought to the attention of the Saudi embassy in Washington, the embassy did not bother to denounce it, but merely said it wasn't published in a government newspaper, though the editor is a member of the Al-Sudairi clan of the royal family, and King Fahd's official Web site says that "The Ministry of Information is responsible for all information services, including radio, television and publications."

The idea of the "blood libel," which accused Jews of killing gentile children for their blood, to make pastry and matzoh, spread among anti-Semitic Christians in the Middle Ages, fomenting hatred against Jews especially at Easter time. Today Christians and Jews celebrate Easter and Passover with appreciation for their common roots. Christians of all denominations speak out boldly against such vitriol.

But the idea that Jews ladle the blood of Muslim children into their matzoh continues to surface in the Middle East, designed to arouse passions against Israel as a complement to the persistent imagery of Jews as vampires and bloodsuckers. Modern anti-Semites in the Middle East reprise Nazi propaganda.

The similarity between Nazi images of Jews as rodents and carriers of disease and the caricatures of Jews in Arab countries has been amply documented, so it shouldn't surprise anyone to see variations on a theme in an official Saudi paper. Of course, minds can change. Anwar Sadat wrote an open letter to Hitler in the Egyptian daily Al Mussawar, expressing his admiration for the Fuhrer as late as 1953. It was Sadat, however, who signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

But the Palestinian terrorists must be taught that their strategy of killing innocents in Israel won't work. They can't get that message when the United States teases them with on-again, off-again offers to meet Arafat even though the Bush administration knows as well as the rest of us that Yasser Arafat lies to us just as he lies to the Israelis. The record is a long and dreary one.

Hitler wanted to kill all the Jews in Europe. The Palestinian terrorists want to kill all the Jews in Israel, too, and they're going about it in a diabolical way, starting with women and children. The Nazis wanted to rule the rest of the world, too, and we don't have to guess what they had in mind for the Jews everywhere else. Not until the terrorists turned our airplanes into human missiles on Sept. 11 did we realize what the Islamist terrorists have in mind for America. There's more than one recipe for disaster written in the Middle East.

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© 2001, Suzanne Fields. TMS