The decency of antisemitism

8 Jul 2010 by CST

I wrote yesterday about the utter blind spot that most Western observers have shown to Sheikh Fadlallah's antisemitism, in their reactions to his death. That post was prompted by an obituary on the website of Hezbollah's al-Manar TV, which quoted with some pride the views of a man who many saw as their spiritual leader:

On suicide bombing:

“What martyrdom is greater than making yourself a human bomb detonating it among the enemy? What spiritualism is greater than this spiritualism in which a person loses all feeling of his body and life for the sake of his cause and mission?”

On Zionist conspiracies:

“Israel poses a great danger to our future generations and to the destiny of our modern nation, especially since it embraces a settlement-oriented and expansionist idea that it has already begun to apply in occupied Palestine and it is extending and expanding to build Greater Israel, from the Euphrates to the Nile,” Sayyed Fadlullah said in one of his lectures.

On killing every Jew in Israel:

“All of Palestine is a war zone and every Jew who unlawfully occupies a house or land belonging to a Palestinian is a legitimate target. There are no innocent Jews in Palestine. They kill many of our women, children, and elderly people. They destroy our homes. They confiscate our water and freedom.”

And on denying the Holocaust:

“The Hebrew state is preparing to celebrate its 60th anniversary – 60 years since it plundered Palestine – in a festival, which will be attended by the countries of the world, most of which still support the Zionist state and consider the resistance movement to be terrorism. This is what led German Chancellor Merkel to visit that plundering country, which extorted and continues to extort Germany, using as a pretext the German Hitlerist-Nazi past, and the placing of the Jews in a holocaust. Zionism has inflated the number of victims in this holocaust beyond imagination.”

In this light, it is worth reading in full the reaction of the British ambassador to Lebanon, Frances Guy, as published on the website of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office:

The passing of decent men

Posted 05 July 2010 by Frances Guy

One of the privileges of being a diplomat is the people you meet; great and small, passionate and furious.  People in Lebanon like to ask me which politician I admire most.  It is an unfair question, obviously, and many are seeking to make a political response of their own.  I usually avoid answering by referring to those I enjoy meeting the most and those that impress me the most.  Until yesterday my preferred answer was to refer to Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, head of the Shia clergy in Lebanon and much admired leader of many Shia muslims throughout the world.  When you visited him you could be sure of a real debate, a respectful argument and you knew you would leave his presence feeling a better person.  That for me is the real effect of a true man of religion; leaving an impact on everyone he meets, no matter what their faith.  Sheikh Fadlallah passed away yesterday.  Lebanon is a lesser place the day after but his absence will be felt well beyond Lebanon's shores.  I remember well when I was nominated ambassador to Beirut, a muslim acquaintance sought me out to tell me how lucky I was because I would get a chance to meet Sheikh Fadlallah. Truly he was right.  If I was sad to hear the news I know other peoples' lives will be truly blighted.  The world needs more men like him willing to reach out across faiths, acknowledging the reality of the modern world and daring to confront old constraints.  May he rest in peace.


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“Since 2003, CST has been a stalwart supporter of ODIHR in its efforts to effectively monitor antisemitic hate crime in the OSCE Region. With its rigorous methodology and innovative partnerships with the British police, it is viewed by many as representing the gold standard for NGO responses to all forms of hate crime. I wish CST all success in its exciting new phase of work.”

Michael Georg Link
OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights