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In his weekly column for the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s aide Bassam Abu Sharif charged Jews with “nailing Jesus to the cross.”

Accusing Israel of shooting at the statue of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem, Abu Sharif wrote: “This, of course, was a failed attempt to murder peace, love and tolerance, just as their forefathers tried to murder the prophetic message when they hammered their nails and iron stakes through the body of Jesus into the wooden cross. …”

The Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI, an independent, nonprofit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East, translated the column into English.

Nazi propaganda

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat also published an article recently entitled “The Prophecy of a Philosopher” by columnist Abdallah Bajbir. The piece cited excerpts from an infamous Nazi propaganda book.

“If you have a hundred-dollar bill, look at the face on it,” Bajbir wrote, according to MEMRI’s translation. “This is the face of the American intellectual Benjamin Franklin. Two-hundred and fifteen years ago, this man warned the American people about the Jews, at the Constitutional Convention of 1778 [sic]. Of everything I have read about the Jews to date, I have found no attitude more accurate and to the point regarding [the Jews] than that of Franklin – an attitude with which General Washington, who later became the president of the republic, concurred.

“Franklin said: ‘I agree completely with Gen. Washington that we must protect this young country from the Jews’ influence. In every country in which the Jews settled, they enfeebled morality, struck at [its] commercial status, isolated themselves, rejected all attempts to absorb them and mocked the values of our Christian religion, upon which this nation was founded. They have tried to destroy the country by objecting to its borders and establishing a state within a state. They have tried to economically strangle any country that tried to resist them, as did Spain and Portugal. If you do not expel them today, they will come in vast numbers like locusts, and will take over our country – or completely consume it and change the system of government for which we, the Americans, have sacrificed our blood and our lives.’”

The statements supposedly were made by Franklin during a recess at the convention and recorded by Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, the delegate from South Carolina, in his diary. The statements appeared in “A Handbook on the Jewish Question,” a book of anti-Semitic propaganda published in 1935 by Nazi Germany.

Bajbir continued, “In his historic statement, Franklin went on to say: ‘I warn you, gentlemen: If you do not expel them, your sons will curse you in your graves. Even if they live among us for ten generations, they will not change, as it is said, the leopard cannot change his [spots]. They will endanger this land if we permit them to enter. They should be expelled by this constitutional convention.’

“What this preeminent man said, and what America did not heed, came true there, to the last detail, and then came true again in Palestine. The Jewish gangs took over the sacred land. Palestine is only the beginning. The [Jewish] locusts will spread throughout the Arab world. …”

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