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March 13, 2002

There are no words Via Little Green Footballs, this item from MEMRI, presenting

…No. I can’t bring myself to print this stuff.

Look for yourself.

An article by a leading Saudi academic explaining how Jews extract blood from Gentiles to make Purim pastry.

By “columnist Dr. Umayma Ahmad Al-Jalahma of King Faysal University in Al-Dammam.”

Published in the Saudi government daily newspaper Al Riyadh, March 10, 2002.

That was this past Sunday. While you were reading your New York Times, with its thoughtful thumbsuckers about the “Saudi peace plan.” And living your happy Western lives.

Maybe you were going to church. Maybe you were sleeping in. Or reading Patrick O’Brian novels. Or blogging. Or watching TV.

Whatever you were doing, while you were doing it, Saudi newspaper readers were reading a calm, authoritative explanation that “the Jews’ spilling human blood to prepare pastry for their holidays is a well-established fact, historically and legally, all throughout history. This was one of the main reasons for the persecution and exile that were their lot in Europe and Asia at various times.”

Nick Denton dismisses anti-Saudi sentiment as part and parcel of “monstrously hawkish” blogger groupthink.

It feels strange and terrible to have lived into a future in which being shocked by an absolute monarchy that sponsors blatant Jew-hatred is regarded by otherwise intelligent people as “monstrous” and “conservative.”

Please, please, this is the wrong future. Take me back, please. Start again. [11:37 PM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on There are no words:

matthew ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2002, 06:13 AM:

can this be verified, somehow? I find it so hard to believe. to be clear, I'm a jew, and, of course, know of the allegations, in times past, that jews "bake with blood!" - though I was always told it was matzoh... it just seems too far out.

Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2002, 07:29 AM:

This appalls me, but it doesn't shock me.  I read an article a few years back about some people who had been beheaded for "practicing witchcraft (sic) and possession of polytheistic texts."  I'm not entirely certain that they also behead homosexuals, but let's just say they're not one of the most gay-friendly governments around, eh?aaAs a gay man who practices Witchcraft, and whose bookshelves are full of "polytheistic texts," I've had no illusions about the Saudis.  They would make short work of me, should I ever be so foolish as to go there.  They also participated in a sneak attack on Israel early on, during a Jewish holiday; I can't remember which one, but it was also during Ramadan.aaI understand that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion has been widely circulated in the Saudi press, in addition to this modern retelling of the same grim fairytale.  No, the Saudis as a nation are pretty disgusting.  That as a nation bit is important; there are probably lots and lots of nice Saudis; they just aren't controlling the press.  And I bet some of them would be shocked and amazed to learn that Jews don't really do such things (also that homosexuals don't molest little boys, and that Witches don't worship Satan). aaRemember, this is the country that produced Osama bin Laden.  The Soviets may have been his water and the US his warm sunlight, but that flower of evil first sprouted in the fertile soil of Saudi Arabia, where hatred is law and custom.  Let's keep reminding everyone of this fact.  I'm going to call him "Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden" from now on...aaThe US has all kinds of winners as allies.  The French will sell weapons to anyone with money, and they're still trying to wipe out the culture of Brittany.  The British have been good lately, but I direct your attention to the dazzling array of little (and not so little) countries they've oppressed.  The list goes on, and that's not even to mention our own atrocities.aaNone of which is in any way to belittle this latest Saudi outrage.  I wish I could think of something to do about it.  I suppose writing to Dubya and telling him he should deliver a stern rebuke would be utterly pointless.  His daddy was a Skull and Bones man, I'm led to believe.aaIt's late.  I'm just going to post this and hope it makes sense in the morning--evidence in itself that my judgement is impaired.  aa"This timeline must not be allowed to continue."

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2002, 09:41 AM:

"matthew" asks "Can this be verified"? Well, it comes from the Middle East Research Institute, http://www.memri.org. If you google around, you'll find plenty of criticism of their motives (I believe they're funded and run by hawkish Israelis) but I haven't seen anything to suggest that the stuff they reprint is made up or mistranslated. Sadly, you don't have to work very hard to find this kind of thing in the daily Arab press. aaChristopher is an old friend, but he may not have been reading Electrolite long enough to realize that I'm not a newcomer to this story--there are a number of older posts about this sort of thing. Christopher says this appalls him but it doesn't shock him. It shocks me, but we may be putting different kinds of freight on these slippery words. It doesn't surprise me. It just seems especially odious because, I don't know, it's like opening the paper and seeing the editorial page devoted to an attack on the Monophysites. It's such comprehensively old hat. What it really is, is a reminder that the kind of moral and intellectual progress we take for granted in the West is really an artifact of, I'm afraid, the West. Yes, Arab caliphs were founding universities and studying astronomy when the illiterate kings of the Franks were crouching in dank stone fortresses and wrapping themselves in furs, but that was then. Now, places like Saudi Arabia aren't just countries with problems, like Poland or the Philippines or the United States; they are in a very meaningful sense barbaric and depraved cultures and it does us (and them) no good to mince words about it.aaDon't mistake me. I think it's meaningful to talk about societies being deeply screwed up on the cultural level. I also think this stuff can change with astonishing rapidity when you yank the boot off everyone's neck.

Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2002, 10:22 AM:

You're right, I haven't really been reading Electrolite that long, and sporadically at best (kind of like I've been doing a lot of things since 9/11--I'm pretty regular about Lying In Bed and Staring Into Space, but that's about it); sorry if I was redundant.  And also that the way I use 'shock' includes a certain element of surprise.  If I heard the 'N' word from a coworker, I'd be shocked; hearing the same from a guy in a white hood would disgust me, but would have no shock value.  Idios and syncracies.aaI also agree about barbaric and depraved cultures, but I'd also cite Texas (not all Texans, OK?) as an example, and one distressingly close to home.  But that's another thread.

Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2002, 10:29 AM:

Why does this not surprise me?a

aIf the (royal family sanctioned) media in Saudi Arabia didn't keep banging on with the big lie, they might have to admit to being caught out on the little lie -- that the September 11th hijackers were a Mossad conspiracy to get the USA pissed off at the moslem world.a

aPolitics throughout the middle east is so fucked-up that I really don't know how to respond any more. If this is what the people -- as opposed to the government -- really think, then we're in real trouble. Even if it's only an insecure government trying to cling on to power by orchestrating a three-minute hate directed at the Goldstein du jour, we've got a big problem.a

aWhat (historical) tactics worked for dealing with rabid state-controlled mass media like those run by Josef Goebbels? (He asks, still leaning towards the charitable hope that this is a problem that can be fixed by education rather than cruise missiles.)

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2002, 11:23 AM:

Christopher, if you really think Texas is morally comparable to Saudi Arabia, we're pretty far apart. I'm against the death penalty in Texas and everywhere else. But Texas isn't a place where women are beaten in the street, as policy, for riding in the passenger seat of an automobile. aaThis is exactly the kind of false moral equivalence that our crowd has gotten into the habit of, and it's a bad habit. There's lots to criticize about Texas--and you can read lots of Texans doing the criticizing, because critics of Texas aren't routinely jailed and tortured, as it turns out. There are pinheads and nitwits all over the Texas government, and Molly Ivins is celebrated and rewarded, in Texas, for writing funny attacks on them which are published in daily newspapers in Texas. aaMaking a claim like that and then hastily clarifying that you don't mean "all Texans" just doesn't cut it. It's still a false claim about Texas. Texas could execute twice as many convicted murderers and have twice as many nincompoops in the Lege and it still wouldn't be a "barbaric and depraved" culture in the sense that I mean. People don't flee Texas for the freedom of Saudi Arabia. They simply don't.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2002, 11:28 AM:

Charlie, I don't know. I do doubt very much that anyone in this administration is planning to lob "cruise missiles" at Saudi Arabia. I wish I knew how I feel about that.

Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2002, 12:07 PM:

You're right; please allow me to back off that position--mostly.  I do think that Texas policies (like the one that allows a property owner to shoot someone who he thinks has stolen his property) are barbaric, not to even go into their bloodthirsty Death Penalty practices.  This is nothing like Saudi Arabia, to be sure. aaI think the difference is a matter of degree, not kind.  It's a very large difference, and you could argue that a large enough difference of degree makes a difference in kind, and I would not attempt to refute you.  I was, simplistically (and see your Mencken quote), applying the test of "Do I think Texas is barbaric?  Yes.  Do I think Texas is depraved?  Yes."  But I didn't ask myself "Do I really think they're morally comparable to Saudi Arabia?"  The answer would have been "No."aaIf we create a sliding scale of Barbarism and Depravity with, say, Rwanda during the height of the genocides at 100, and some imaginary perfection at 0, I would give Saudi Arabia about a 75, and Texas maybe a 20.  Most other states have noticeably lower B&D numbers; I wouldn't (being a BHL) give any state with a death penalty anything much below 10.aaGiven that, I should have explained what I meant more fully, or even better just not said it.  I think Texas is barbaric, yes, but not anywhere near like Saudi Arabia.  Mentioning them in the same breath without drawing that distinction was Just Plain Wrong.aaSigh.  I think I need to devote less energy to apologizing, by devoting more effort to avoiding the need for apologies.

Erin Cashier Denton ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2002, 06:21 AM:

Argh. I hope that url above posts thru, if not, here it is again. aahttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2002/03/15/wsaud15.xml&sSheet=/news/2002/03/15/ixworld.htmlaa(If they've moved it, this is a news article about Saudi Moral Police forcing the schoolgirls in a burning building to stay there, while it burned, while they died, because they weren't wearing the proper clothing to be out in public. The Moral Police _fought_ off the firefighters.)aaPerhaps for a people that can allow this to happen on their own soil, to their own children, it is not a stretch for them to imagine other cultures doing likewise, especially to others.aaAs a former Texan, lemme tell you, i'd move back to Texas any day over Saudi Arabia. aaErin Cashier Dentonahttp://www.worldcontrol.org/theriaIt's no better to be safe than sorry.

Gary Farber ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2002, 05:33 PM:

I hope you'll let past the sin I'm about to commit, which is to be lazy, and rather than be original, I'll slightly rewrite some stuff I was saying to Ginger Stampley over some e-mail exchanges in the past couple of days regarding Saudi Arabia, as a comment on the topic here; do understand I was responding to comments from her,if it doesn't seem to all relate to this thread, please:aaaaAs I mentioned in what I wrote, I was, however, impressed by the honesty in the _Arab New_ report I cited which was quite critical of the parties involved; this is a positive and healthy thing.aaI'm not sure I'd go so far as to simply call the Saudi government "evil." I certainly see plenty of signs that there are *some* efforts being madeain a multitude of areas towards cleaning up their act, though certainly not particularly in being democratic, and only by inches at best in manyaareas. Mind, I'm not going to put myself in a position of defending them at all strongly, but I do see a considerable difference, on the better side, between them and, say, Iraq. For one thing, most of their worst aspects stem from the culture, which is only a couple of generationsaout of the desert, for the most part, rather than imposed by the government.aaIf one even semi-regularly reads _Arab News_, one can see, in between the outbursts of rabid anti-semitism, etc., actual repeated pushing forward ofareform and development. For what it's worth. aaLater: I do think it's fair to look at the history here: look where they were in the 1930s, and look how unbelievably far they've come; it's not like criticizing France, or even Russia. This isn't cutting them slack, in my book; it's simply understanding reality of how fast it's practical to move in just a few decades from tribal nomads towards modern society. They've really moved extraordinarily in those decades, which may not be apparent to those who have suddenly discovered Saudi Arabia in the past six months. aa(This was in regard to opposing invading them and overthrowing the government by force, and instead expecting continued evolution toward enlightnment; it was *not* being an apologist for current or past depravities; that's not exactly been my gig, y'know.)aaAs an alternative in modern Islamic development, look at Iran: a far more advanced society when oil was discovered, that the Shah tried to take in hand, and thrust and yank into modernity, and, obviously, too fast, too hard, far too brutally. A culture can only change so fast, even at the point of a gun, and even when simply left to be free. aaI'm still hopeful for continued evolution in Saudi Arabia, and I'm not at all, at this time, for external conquest.aaI'm slightly bemused, incidentally, about the blogoverse suddenly posting everywhere about school fire and the killing of the girls, today, on the 16th, after some reports and posts on the 15th. I posted about it, with links to the _Arab News_ report, at 5:30 a.m. on the 13th, into the deep waters of deafening silence. No one linked to it, no one said a word. Makes one feel positively unread, it does, he moped. Hey, Chris, come by for a visit, eh? Ditto Erin Cashier Denton, and everyone else.

Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2002, 10:49 PM:

Erin sez "As a former Texan, lemme tell you, i'd move back to Texas any day over Saudi Arabia."  aaI have to admit I'd move to Texas rather than move to Saudi Arabia.  I hope to live my life in such a way as to avoid both of these nasty fates, however, along with moving back to Michigan (my home state, now apparently in the hands of people even other Republicans think are loony toons).  aaBut if I were forced to choose, yeah, Texas is a win over those girl-murdering, woman-beating, queer-killing, Witch-beheading lying sacks of shit.  Oh, yes.aaGary (or should I call you Gar, rhymes with glare):  I've added Amygdala to my Favorites.  I'll probably be making immoderate comments there, too, sooner or later...

Alex Bensky ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2002, 06:37 PM:

I don't know; I thought the Saudi article was pretty interesting. All these years I've just been buying my hamentaschen at the bakery and my matzah at the supermarket. I remember a Hebrew school trip to see how matzah is made. I don't remember the blood part but I was about eight and I probably wasn't paying attention.aaBecause I'm Jewish I would not be allowed to visit Saudi Arabia. Suits me fine.aaMy sole Texas experience is an hour changing planes at the Houston airport. On the other hand, I do know Jews from Texas who assure me that they openly practice Judaism--synagogues, bar mitzvahs, parties, the whole schmeer. They do get an occasional fundamentalist who tells them they're going to hell. On the other hand, as far as I know no fundamentalist has tried to advance te process.

Yossel Weinstein ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2002, 08:39 AM:

In reply to the article “The Jewish Holiday of Purim” written by DrUmayma Ahmad Al-Jalahma, and printed/posted in the Al-Riyadh (on or about 10 March 2002). aSee Web Address: HTTP:/www.memri.org/ aSpecial Dispatch 354 - Saudi Arabia/Arab Antisemitism 9March 13, 2002 aIt hurts me to have to respond to what should have been dead and buried with the middle ages.aaDr Umayma pours out anti-Semitism that could make Nazi propaganda look tame. With malice Dr Umayma (a Saudi Muslim) gives a further bizarre example of the anti-Semitism that is an integral part of the official, Arab government press. What is it with Saudi Muslims obsession of hate, rage, swords/knifes and blood? Is the Muslim religion so shallow that they must rely on publishing lies and the hurting of other Religions to survive? Why are these “blood libels” necessary, is it some misguided way to elevate their level? Does Islam really teach and promote all of that? Perhaps they are born with an intrinsic hatred and consequently use fraud and lies to justify this hate? (Under the circumstances can we believe the Saudi Kings “Peace” proposal and recognition of Israel?)aaMake up your own mind by reading the mischievous article by Dr Umayma. He purports to prove, perhaps towards the extreme and mostly uneducated audience, and most probably under instruction from the Saudi Royal family, that the consumption of blood, of a Muslim (or Christian) has some intrinsic spiritual value to a Jew. By writing the most horrific and appalling anti-Semitic lie: aa“…For this holiday, the Jewish people must obtain human blood so that their clerics can prepare the holiday pastries. In other words, the practice cannot be carried out as required if human blood is not spilled!!…." and “…Jews wear carnival-style masks and costumes and overindulge in drinking alcohol, prostitution, and adultery….” and “…for the Passover slaughtering, about which I intend to write one of these days, the blood of Christian and Muslim children under the age of 10 must be used….”aaWell I hate to disappoint the “good horse Dr.” and many of his fanatical followers by revealing that: the blood of a Pig could have more value than the blood of a Muslim. aaThe proof is simple: 1. Consumption of any blood is absolutely forbidden under Jewish Law; 2. Spilling of human blood or any consumption (of it) is absolutely forbidden under Jewish Law; Likewise consumption of Pig is absolutely forbidden under Jewish Law. However, when there is a danger to life, drinking of Pigs blood to save a life (the issue is Pikuach Nefesh) would be permitted, under this circumstance it has a value. On the other hand even under the threat of death the Jewish Law does NOT permit consumption of human blood, even to save ones life. Therefore it has NO value at any time. aaSo let us put the subject of “blood libel” to bed. The law that was give to 3 Million Jews some 3,300 years ago by the creator of all creatures, prohibits the consumption of blood. Draw your own conclusion; as to the true value of blood of a human (for any form of consumption) as against the blood of an animal. I think the “Doctor” overestimated his.aaHowever, don’t get insulted. Jews recognise that Muslims have the Koran and Jews have no need and do not create lies about its teaching. As a result I hope that the Muslims keep their Dietary Laws and similarly express no value or need in the spilling of Jewish Blood.aaYossel Weinstein aSydney Australiaa22 March 2002aaP.S.aWise advisors ought to know and advise the monarch of Saudi Arabia that this article is a lie. Consequently, by defaming the Jews with this fabrication, the article betrays Saudi Arabia, Islam and the King. The King and his people are being told lies. I do not know enough about the Saudi monarch King Fahd, however, I do not think that he is a fool.