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January 02, 2003

MEMRI has a multipart analysis of Arab reaction to Horeseman Without A Horse on their website. (I link to part three, parts one and two are accessable from the main page.) Some authors criticize it, others praise it, and yet others are intent on proving the validity of the Protocols. From an aimless, longwinded editorial by Syrian ambassador to Oman Dr. Riyadh Na'san Agha:
"The Americans were interested in the Protocols. It reminded them of the speech to Congress by their president, Benjamin Franklin, in which he said: "Gentlemen, a great danger threatens the United States. This danger is the Jews. Everywhere they act to bring down morality. Throughout their long history, they have remained isolated, cut off from the nations among which they lived. They have not integrated into the cultures, but acted always to incite financial crises and strangle the economies [of these nations], as happened in Portugal and Spain. If they are not expelled from the U.S. in accordance with the constitution, within a hundred years they will come to this land in great numbers, and will take us over and destroy us."
Trying to pull himself out of a trap, Dr. Agha falls into two others. The first problem should be glaringly obvious: Benjamin Franklin was never POTUS. Secondly, he never said that.

Ahmad Dahbour, director of the Palestinian Information Ministry, takes an even harder stance than Agha. For him, the Protocol aren't damning enough (or maybe he's pissed that they're not damning at all, being a forgery):
"…The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are a stupid pamphlet full of nonsense, that depicts an international conference of the [forces of] evil, led by yellow-faced people capable of grasping the world in their hands… like a boiled egg and squashing it. The conflict with the Zionist enterprise is graver and more dangerous than these nonsensical words. If we do not present Zionism as it is - a nationalistic, racist European movement that emerged at the periphery of the old colonialism and imperialism - we will make ourselves easy prey…"
Ouch. Reform the PA, please.

One of the more interesting views comes from Saudi writer Daoud Shirian. His argument attacks those who use freedom of expression to defend Horeseman:
…Our position as Egyptians and Arabs, in defense of the series, appears weak, because it is based on the right of [freedom of] expression.  In Egypt itself, a [government] warning was sent yesterday to the Dream satellite channel [which is broadcasting the series], in the matter of a political program [in which veteran journalist Hasanayn Heikal discussed the question of who President Mubarak's successor will be]. In many Arab countries, newspapers, offices of satellite channels, and news agencies are being shut down.  Therefore, basing our [arguments] on the principles of freedom of expression... does not serve our interests… As long as the Arab media remain 'official,' America and other [nations] will continue to interfere in its affairs and violate their sovereignty.
He's writing for a London-based newspaper, of course.

(Crossposted here.)