May 11, 2009, - 5:21 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
**** SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE ****
While I’m glad the Pope finally walked out AFTER–and NOT during (as he should have done)–the anti-Semitic diatribe of Sheikh Taysir Al-Tamimi (also spelled, “Tayseer Tamimi”) at an interfaith “dialogue” session in Israel, today, pardon me if I don’t buy the Vatican’s claim they didn’t know Tamimi would be part of the agenda. And pardon me if I think it’s nauseating that the Pope chose to sit by as this occurred, without walking out on this while it was occurring. And pardon me if I think it’s disgusting he shook the guy’s hand on the way out–the hand of a well-known anti-Semite and pan-terrorist inciter.
What good does it do that he walked out after? Big deal.
And excuse me, if I don’t believe Tamimi’s presence onstage with the Pope at this event was a surprise to anyone. The fact is that Tamimi, about whom I’ve written plenty over the years, is a well-known anti-Semite and HAMAS supporter. He got his job as chief Islamic judge when his buddy, Yasser Arafat, appointed him. He openly urged Palestinians and Christians to become homicide bombers against Jews. Shame not only on the Vatican for allowing this, but on Haifa Chief Rabbi Shaar Yashuv Cohen, who also sat onstage with this scumbag. He should have his smichah [rabbinical certification] yanked for that.
From my January 2005 column on Al-Tamimi:
“Palestine’s” Islamo-Fascist Enforcer
There’s Al-Tamimi, the Palestinian Authority’s Chief of Judges and chairman of its Islamic law high council.
He uttered these words: “Islam is escalating and cannot be resisted. I pray that Allah may tear apart America just as the Soviet Union was torn apart.”
As the chief Palestinian judge and Muslim cleric, Al-Tamimi frequently appears on Palestinian Authority Television praising homicide bombers and spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and fatwas.
In 1994, Al-Tamimi said, “The Jews are destined to be persecuted, humiliated, and tortured forever, and it is a Muslim duty to see to it that they reap their due. No petty arguments must be allowed to divide us. Where Hitler failed, we must succeed.”
In August 2003, Al-Tamimi, a personal friend of Yasser Arafat (who appointed him Chief Islamic Judge), was arrested for inciting terrorism. Al-Tamimi’s extremist sermons are well-known for urging attacks on Israel and calling upon Arab nations to wage war. In March 2000, Al-Tamimi delivered a hate speech during the Pope’s visit to Jerusalem, accusing Israel of “genocide” and “strangling Jerusalem.” He called on Christians to join Muslims in a jihad to oust Jews from all of Israel.
In a recent Palestinian Authority appearance, Al-Tamimi defamed late Israeli Prime Minster Golda Meir, claiming she and the Israelis conspired to burn down the Al-Aqsa Mosque [which Muslims built on top of the Jewish Temple]. He decreed Jews have no right to pray at the “Cave of the Patriarchs,” (where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are buried), one of the holiest of Jewish sites, which Al-Tamimi claims is a mosque. “Jews have no right to claim any bond or connection . . . . Jews are foreign interlopers.”
As we all know, the Vatican security–especially after an attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II–is extremely tight. Not just anyone can walk up to a podium at an event at which the Pope is speaking, must less be in the auditorium. But Tamimi was sitting just a seat away from the Pope on-stage, tonight. That didn’t happen by accident . . . nor was it a surprise, despite what organizers of this event are claiming. Do you think you or I could jump onstage, sit a seat away from the Pope and give a fiery speech onstage while the Pope listened, had we not been welcomed, pre-arranged guests and participants? Think again.
Organizers and the Vatican never said they didn’t invite Tamimi to sit onstage near the Pope. They only said he was not on the list of scheduled speakers. And that’s disgusting enough. They knew what Tamimi is about. It’s not a secret. Yet, they didn’t object to his presence onstage with the Pontiff.
Here’s what probably happened. The Vatican–which is extremely open about its support for a Palestinian nation and quick to condemn Israel at every instance (though it was remarkably silent about the Jews during the Holocaust)–agreed to the Tamimi appearance, knowing full well of his well-known background. But the Vatican probably assumed or had an agreement that Tamimi wouldn’t engage in his usual vitriol. Sadly, old habits die hard. And they knew better.
Sorry, but there’s no way I believe that an open HAMAS supporter–who has consistently sermonized from the Islamic pulpit calling on both Muslims and Christians to engage in homicide bombings against Jews–just suddenly ended up on stage a seat away from the Pope, without anyone from the Vatican knowing about it and endorsing the idea, and just suddenly ended up speaking from the podium without interruption while the Pope sat by and said nothing, nor did his Vatican minions. They’re just not that lax with Vatican security or public relations that this happened with any degree of serendipity.
This was planned. And predictable.
And that the Vatican allowed the Pope to even sit on stage with this man is beyond sickening. Shame on them.
Also while in Israel, the Pope vowed to fight anti-Semitism. But that’s all lip service when he sits quietly, politely onstage with one of the world’s most vocal, vicious anti-Semites and passively listen to his anti-Semitic utterances.
**** UPDATE: Carl in Jerusalem has extensive coverage of the Pope’s disappointing speech at “Yad VaShem,” the Israeli Holocaust Museum.