Well I never! Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, foreign editor of The Australian, this country's most vocal Gentile Zionist, and lover of 50s American sitcoms ("I wasted a lot of time on TV."*), is off in exotic Morocco, rocking the Casbah and bothering the locals something terrible.
"... [Moroccan MP] Abdel-wahed Radi somewhat shocks me... by saying he thinks the Israel-Palestinian dispute is the main cause of Islamist terrorism internationally." (Optimistic Morocco reaches out to the West for friendship, 8/1/11)
But Radi's shocking assault on the key Israeli PR talking point that Israel's wiping of Palestine (and Palestinians) off the map, is not, repeat not, driving Islamist terrorism internationally, simply cannot be tolerated. So:
"I take this up later in the day with Ouzzine Mohammed, the sleek, smooth Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs... Surely, I ask, this view is hard to sustain when you consider the vast multiplicity of issues and disputes, from Western pornography to Kashmir to Iraq to American troop presence in the Middle East to the murderous sectarian Sunni-Shia disputes and a million other things that have been used to justify Islamist violence?"
How to get a jihadi going? Let me count the ways...
"Moreover, Osama bin Laden himself barely mentioned Israel in his first several years of terrorist operations. His chief initial grievance was the presence of US troops on sacred Islamic soil in Saudi Arabia. Ouzzine replies, in part, 'Just because Osama bin Laden says something is no reason to believe it'."
If only Sheridan could tear himself away from those re-runs of Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver, he might actually have twigged that the Wily Oriental Gentleman's statement, Just because Osama bin Laden says something is no reason to believe it, was actually polite diplomatic code reserved for just such an occasion as he describes. What the WOG meant was: Shit, not that garbage again! Please don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining, Zionist dupe.
But no, there's no stopping our Greg. Israeli talking points are gospel. So:
"That surely is true enough, but must be the oddest argument yet for the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute to global terrorism. Instead I take these Moroccan sentiments to mean that this is more or less what an Arab government has to say these days, even if it knows how analytically weak the proposition is."
So Palestine was never part of the Big O's justificatory repertoire at the beginning of his jihad, eh? Well, we've been here before with The Australian's editorialist (was that you, Greg?),** but here we go again:
"Bin Laden, who had been living in exile in Sudan since 1991, was stripped of his Saudi citizenship in the spring of 1994. According to his own account, the repression of the sahwa [Saudi dissidents] was the chief motive for the creation of the 'Advice & Reform Committee' (ARC) that he set up in the summer of 1994, based in north London. His open letter to [Chief Mufti, the foremost juridical authority in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia] bin Baz was issued through the London office of ARC 5 months later, establishing his credentials as a scholar of the moral intent of Islamic law, one able to speak on behalf of the spirit and not just the letter of the law. The background to the letter is a repudiation of the corruption of the Saudi dynasty, and the collusion of bin Baz with the degeneration of its rule - illustrated by the spread of usury in the kingdom, the failure to uproot communism in Yemen, the imprisonment of devout scholars. But the specific object of bin Laden's protest, in his first major public declaration, is bin Baz's endorsement of of the Oslo accords of August 1993 between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) - 'your latest astonishing juridical decree', a betrayal of the word of God and of the community of the faithful, 'clearly a response to the political wishes of the regime'. The letter makes it plain that Palestine, far from being a late addition to bin Laden's agenda, was at the centre of it from the start." (Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden, edited & translated by Bruce Lawrence, 2005, p 4)
[* The Forum, Weekend Australian, 8/1/11]
[** See my 6/3/09 post Don't Mention the War Criminal 2]