Preachers of Hate
By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | November 13, 2003
Kenneth Timmerman is an investigative reporter and author who has spent twenty years reporting on Europe and the Middle East. His latest book, Preachers of Hate: Islam and the War on America , raises serious questions about Saudi government funding of terror and Saudi funding of radical Wahhabi preachers and schools that are training new generations of Muslims to hate Jews and hate America.
Interlocutor: Mr. Timmerman, thank you for taking time out to visit us today.
Timmerman: Thank you for inviting me.
I: What moved you to write this book? Was it personal?
Timmerman: Yes. As a reporter working in the Middle East, I had become accustomed to "hate America" and "hate Israel" speeches. I came to accept the view of my editors in the "mainstream" publications and television networks I worked for that these were not important, that they were "not a story." Ten years ago, I learned that they are THE story in covering the Middle East. And it's a story we in the news media have consistently covered up or failed to report.
My own eyes opened in 1994, when I made a reporting swing through Syria, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories to meet with "radical" Islamic leaders. I recount the circumstances of that trip in the introduction to Preachers of Hate. This was the first time that I asked a variety of Muslim leaders the taboo question whether they believed in a Jewish "world conspiracy" (they did). I would suggest that Peter Jennings instruct ABC News reporters to ask that question of the Muslim "street," and not to suppress their answers on air.
I: I must say, Mr. Timmerman, that I was especially intrigued with your depiction of the conspiracy theories that permeate the Arab world. In many of my own personal discussions with Arab friends and acquaintances, I have always been struck by one rigid mindset that I consistently run into: almost every time, I am informed of how either the Americans or the Israelis "set up" 9/11 and how Saddam and bin Laden are now living in the States, since they are American agents.
Preachers of Hate sheds light on this phenomenon. You illustrate how throughout the Arab world people are actually convinced that "the Jews" were responsible for 9/11. You also demonstrate how deeply ingrained is the belief in a Jewish World Conspiracy, as embodied in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Tell us, what creates this pathological state of mind? In today's world of instant news, jet air travel and global communication, how can anyone still believe in such ludicrous fabrications? There is, obviously, some kind of deep psychological need to believe in this fantasy, despite reality. What spawns this need? What does it soothe in the believer?
Timmerman: The single event that made the scales drop from my eyes was meeting a young Palestinian in November 1994 in an unheated garage in Gaza who spoke to me of his hatred of Jews. He was surrounded by older men, including a prayer leader, who fed him Koranic verses he used to illustrate what I thought was a drug-induced tirade against Jews as "blood-suckers" and "murderers." Six days after we met, he strapped explosives around his waist and drove a bicycle into an Israeli army outpost in Gaza, killing three soldiers and himself.
Over the years, as I began to study how young men such as this one could be transformed into Islam's guided missiles, I realized there was a whole support system behind them. It involved the schools, which Arafat hijacked after coming to Gaza in 199. It involved the mosques, where state-appointed prayer leaders preached that Jews were the "sons of monkeys and pigs." It involved the newspapers, radios, and state-owned television, which regularly exhorted young people to murder. When you add it all up, as I try to do in Preachers of Hate, it amounts to a devastating and successful effort at mind control that has polluted an entire generation of Palestinian youth.
I: The Saudis were just recently the victims of al Qaeda terrorism. Yet, as you point out, the Saudis also spawned al Qaeda. What is going on here?
Timmerman: The Saudis express surprise that they are under attack. And yet, just as Arafat has done in the Palestinian Authority, they are responsible for spawning a culture of race-hatred, bigotry and violence that is now reaching back to consume them. Saudi school books teach young Saudis that there is a "malicious Crusader-Jewish alliance striving to eliminate Islam from all the continents." They teach their children that "the West in particular is the source of the past and present misfortunes of the Muslim world, beginning with the Crusades." Saudi government-appointed clerics exhort young Saudis to murder Jews and Christians.
The Saudis appear to have woken up to the fact that their regime has become a target of terrorist attack. But there will always be more terrorists until the Saudis change the basic teachers of their schools and mosques, which continue to breed hate in new generations of children.
I: Why do you think that anti-Semitism is the new call of the Left? Why has the Left become so enchanted with the Palestinians? Is it because leftists need to fill a void now that communism is gone?
Timmerman: The Left fell in love with the Palestinians following Israel's stunning victory in the 1967 war, when Israel went from being a nation of victims to becoming a warrior state capable of defending itself. It's ironic that militant Islam and the Left have joined forces against Israel and the West. In every case where Islamists have seized power (Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan), their first victims were religious minorities and their secular political opponents. I would like to see Noam Chomsky condemned to live in Gaza or Tehran without an exit visa or access to international human rights groups to defend him.
I: You quote an interview that an Arafat relative and former top Palestinian official, Faisel Husseini, gave shortly before his death, in which he claimed that the Oslo peace accord was in reality a "trojan horse" destined to weaken Israel. The whole peace process was obviously a tragic joke &endash; at the expense of Israeli lives. What possible legitimacy can there be left in the U.S. pressing Israel to make concessions in favor of "peace"?
Timmerman: Israelis will continue to believe in the possibility of peace with Arafat, just as many divorcees place hope before experience, but I don't believe the United States should be encouraging Israel into a suicide pact. Why has the so-called "mainstream" press failed to report on the Faisal Husseini statements? Why does ABC News fail to broadcast similar comments from Arafat and from Arafat's associates? Why won't they allow Americans to hear what Hamas leaders such as Abdelaziz Rantissi tell reporters every day in Gaza, namely, that there is "no room in Palestine for Jews and Arabs." There is no difference between Arafat and Hamas on this. In their eyes, Israel must be destroyed. The Arabs want to replay the 1948 war, and it's about time our leaders in Washington realized this.
I: Are Jews and Americans really the only true allies in this War on Terror?
Timmerman: No. A new Iraqi state, reborn with help from the United States, which guarantees the freedom of all Iraqis in some form of representative democracy, is the single best hope for changing the chemistry of the region. Representative democracy in Iraq can combat the virus of hate and spawn a new generation of Arabs and Muslims who are free of this deadly disease.
I: It is absolutely terrifying that al Qaeda, or some other fanatic Islamist terror organization, will soon get its hands on weapons of mass destruction. Surely this is only a matter of time, whether 2 years or 6 years or whatever. These people are not very concerned about self-preservation, so they are not interested in the particularities of mutually assured destruction. What possible hope can there be for the West and Israel in these circumstances?
Timmerman: As Colin Powell said during the 1991 Gulf War when asked about U.S. strategy toward the Iraqi army: We have to cut them off, and kill them. You are right that there can be no complacency. This is a global war, and it will be fought on many fronts, including many arenas that are far from the public view. We need active intelligence, and we need allies Most of all, we need to convince countries such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to stop breeding new generations of young men to believe they will go to Allah's paradise by murdering us.
I: When I see how the Left dominates our culture and how anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism run rampant throughout the world, I get very pessimistic. Is there any hope that the good guys, and the forces of freedom, will emerge victorious in this present crisis and war? What must we do to prevail?
Timmerman: As Winston Churchill said famously after a parliamentary defeat, we must never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up. Never! It starts around the kitchen table with deprogramming our own children from the politically-correct babble of the government schools. If the enemies of freedom had their way, we all would be fleeing to Wyoming.
I: Thank you Mr. Timmerman, it was an honor to speak with you.
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From the author of the national best-seller, Shakedown!