Tags: abbas | palestinian | antisemitism | hospital | cartoon

Palestinian Leader Abbas Embraces Anti-Semitism in Hospital

Palestinian Leader Abbas Embraces Anti-Semitism in Hospital
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas gestures as he chairs a Palestinian National Council meeting in Ramallah on April 30, 2018. (Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images)

Thursday, 24 May 2018 11:54 AM Current | Bio | Archive

To paraphrase Machiavelli, politics is all about power — and power is all about messaging and messaging is all about who controls the message. What was true 500 years ago still rings true and clear today.

The mediums have changed, but not the messaging.

Take, for example, the anti-Semitic canard first spread in Europe in the Middle Ages known as the Blood Libel. The story, more a hoax than an actual story, which was spread by Christians, went this way: Jews murdered Christian children and exacted their blood in order to bake matzah.

This ugly myth rears its head every so often, usually — but not exclusively — in Europe. It has a strong presence in the Middle East, as well. The most famous variation of the story is the Damascus Blood Libel of 1840. In this version, thirteen prominent members of the Jewish community of Damascus were accused of killing a monk for ritualistic purposes. The thirteen men were imprisoned and tortured by the Ottomans and a Jewish synagogue was pillaged and plundered.

Fast forward to May 2018.

The Palestinian press has released new photos of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In one picture he is seen walking around and appearing well and fit. In another Abbas is relaxing and reading a newspaper, the Palestinian daily al Hayat as Jadida.

The photos were released in order to assuage the Palestinian public and assure them that their president, who had been hospitalized three times in the past week, was well and still strong enough to govern.

Abbas underwent minor ear surgery on Tuesday, May 15. The Palestinian president went back into al-Istishari Hospital in Ramallah overnight on Saturday, was released early on Sunday and then rushed back later that day for what doctors described only as "medical tests." He was then re-admitted with what was described as complications, especially a fever.

The Palestinian president is 82 years old, has been a chain smoker for decades and is overweight. The message that was being spun not only for local Palestinians and the greater Arab world but also for the West is that all is okay. These were just routine tests and there is no reason to fear instability. Look at these photos and see for yourselves how fit and fine our leader looks.

Palestinians continued on with their consistent message. Dr Ahmed Tibi, a close friend and advisor to Abbas, reported that the Palestinian president was diagnosed with pneumonia and was responding well to the medication. Saeb Erekat, Chief Palestinian negotiator, said he spent an hour with Abbas on Monday and told Israeli news sources that Palestinian President Abbas was "doing very well" and that he, "is in good health. He's recovering."

But upon a closer look the photo of Abaas sitting in his chair and calmly reading the newspaper they saw another picture entirely.

In the newspaper the Palestinian leader is so nonchalantly reading one can clearly see a cartoon of an Israeli soldier force feeding a baby bottle filled with poison to a Palestinian baby after swapping out the real baby bottle filled with milk. The cartoon is titled Lila Randur.

Lila Randur is the name of the eight month old baby that Palestinians claimed died of tear gas poisoning.

The Gazan medical examiner declared that the reasons for her death were unclear. In general, even little babies do not die from exposure to tear gas. This blood libel circa 2018 is one of the evil canards that Palestinians continue to disseminate against Israel — that Israel murders babies, specifically Palestinian babies.

Was this a deliberate act intended to simultaneously snub and attack Israel while subliminally and overtly showing Abbas to be strong and healthy — or was it an inadvertent mistake? The same question was asked when Suha Arafat, wife of Yasser Arafat, the first Palestinian leader and Abbas' predecessor proclaimed to Hillary Clinton that Israel is poisoning the water and killing Palestinian children.

At this point, there should be no doubt about either. Just as Suha knew exactly what she was saying, the release of that particular photo with that particular cartoon was planned and deliberate.

The message is so powerfully anti-Israel. It reeks of spin and manipulation. While recuperating in his chair Abbas reads the local paper. The pose and the cartoon reestablish his position as leader of the Palestinians people and reminds them that he, like all Palestinians, is enraged by the death of Lila Randur, another symbol of Israeli occupation.

Without a doubt, that photo invokes the blood libels of old.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. To read more of this reports — Click Here Now.

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The Palestinian press has released new photos of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In one picture he is seen walking around and appearing well and fit. In another Abbas is relaxing and reading a newspaper, the Palestinian daily al Hayat as Jadida.
abbas, palestinian, antisemitism, hospital, cartoon
Thursday, 24 May 2018 11:54 AM
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