The Silence of the Lambs

Since Tuesday (22nd) there have been reports that King Abdullah II has warned Israel that Syria and Hizbollah are dangerous to Israel and the region’s stability. Allow me to quote from the article that started this week-long controversy:”WASHINGTON – Jordan’s King Abdullah warned yesterday that Syria and Hezbollah are encouraging Palestinian activists to carry out terror attacks against Israel, trying to divert attention from the situation in Lebanon and Syria.

In a meeting with representatives of leading Jewish organizations, Abdullah also said Iran, Syria and Hezbollah are the greatest threats to stability in the Middle East.

Abdullah said he recently told Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that in case of a terrorist attack Sharon should check carefully who is behind it to avoid an Israeli retaliation against the wrong target. Abdullah was implying that, should a terror attack occur, Sharon would find that Hezbollah was responsible.” [more]

Other Arab papers carried this story very willingly and proudly avoiding all fact checking of course because…well…it’s Jordan…it’s King Abdullah…who cares?

I doubted this story right from the start because it just didn’t add up. It was just so illogical to assume the King of Jordan would actually say something like this that is so outrageously out of his political paradigm, so “out there”, that the consequences would be the obvious geo-political isolation and/or snub by fellow Arabs (such as what followed the first Gulf War). It made no sense. I originally read the story, like many Arabs did, in Arabic first before finding out it was originally reported by the Israeli Haaretz.

I tried long and hard these past days to convince a few friends and Arab acquaintances on this side of the world that this kind of report should be suspect, yet their refusal to grant even the benefit of the doubt surprised me and conjured up memories with the accusations of years before that HM King Hussein, God rest his soul, had done something similar by paying a visit to the Israeli Prime Minister, before the 6 day war to inform him of an attack. Another one of those reports you only hear people telling their children in Jordan and the middle east, one of those reports which I have yet to see any official documentation on despite the insistence of some that they exist.

Now these latest mud-slinging reports have been corrected by both official Jordanian government response and international news sources with the help of what little journalistic integrity that remains in this world:

“What was reported out of the meeting that was held between King Abdullah II and a delegation of leaders of American Jewish Organizations is not accurate,” said James Tisch.

Tisch, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, was part of a delegation that met with the king in Washington.

The monarch “briefed the delegation on the peace process and the need to support Abu Mazen and the peace process,” he said in reference to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

According to Tisch, Abdullah “said should any violence occur, (Israeli) Premier Ariel Sharon should not be quick to blame the Palestinian leadership.”

Asma Khodr, a Jordanian government spokeswoman, confirmed the version given by Tisch and said Abdullah’s “words were twisted” by the Israeli media.

“On the contrary, King Abdullah stressed the brotherly ties that Jordan has with both Syria and Lebanon and Hizbullah’s role on the Lebanese political scene,” she said – By Agence France Presse (AFP) [more]What got to me most was the willingness for Arabs to reject any news reported by Zionist media, yet their eagerness to accept it as if it were ‘gospel’ as long as it has something to do with Jordan or the King. I cannot mentally comprehend this behavior as of yet, and it haunts me still. The governments in the Arab world have always been completely separated from the Arab streets, and that is even more obvious in a country like Jordan. The kingdom has a “peace treaty” with Israel, so technically (by government standards) we are not “at war with them” nor are they our “enemies”. Though if we factor in the equation of Arab Government versus Arab Street, then the opposite should be true. To the citizens there is no “peace”, and we are “at war” and they are our “enemy”. If this notion is true, then why is the believability of such scandalous news from Israeli sources so accepted when it comes to this particular subject?

Not just the people, but the Arab media. Not one media source in the entire Arab world questioned the reports. At least none that I read. It took an outside agency to break it even before the Jordanian Government released an official denial. The silence is so defening sometimes in the Arab world. You would think that all logic would lead you to the assumption that in the event of such an obviously false report, the Arab people and particularly it’s media, would be scrambling to tare it to pieces and prove its falsehood based merely on the ground that it has a zionist source. Sadly, as the recent Arab Summit has proven once again, ‘round here we talk like lions, but we sacrafice like lambs’.

This is a sad condition we live in.

To quote a great man:

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
– Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

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