Semitic is a Language Group, Not a Race or Ethnic Group

by JASON LEOPOLD

While the Bush administration is beset by questions about the accuracy of intelligence information the President cited in building a case for war against Iraq, the White House hawks have still not fully explained how Iraq became a target of the administration shortly after the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

The administration has maintained that Iraq had ties to Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist organization and that the country posed an imminent threat to the United States because of its enormous stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, which was used as the reasons to justify the war. But the Iraq/al-Qaeda link has been disputed due to a lack of evidence and the weapons of mass destruction have yet to be found.

The hawks continuously point to 9-11 when discussing the war, however, Bush and his cronies, such as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz were already engaged in an eight month long mini-war with Iraq prior to 9-11, while Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist network was putting the finishing touches on its plan to attack the U.S.

When terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon, the Bush administration quickly set its sights on dismantling al-Qaeda and the Taliban government in Afghanistan that protected them. But the administration also targeted Iraq and the public is still wondering why.

A look back at the first 240 days of Bush’s presidency will answer that question and show that the hawks in the administration had begun to lay the groundwork for what would become "Operation Iraqi Freedom" long before weapons of mass destruction became the excuse for waging a war.

As Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said in a recent interview with Vanity Fair magazine, the administration’s claims that Iraq possessed WMD and posed an imminent threat to the U.S. was used simply to justify a preemptive strike and build public support for war. Iraq was not an immediate threat to the U.S., Wolfowitz said.

Indeed, months before 9-11, Wolfowitz said in an interview with CNN that "wars might happen tomorrow in North Korea and Iraq," but Wolfowitz made it clear that North Korea was more of a threat to the U.S. than Iraq given the U.S. defeat of Iraq in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

"We face enormous conventional threats from North Korea," Wolfowitz said during the July 28, 2001 CNN interview.

A week before Wolfowitz’s interview with CNN, Bush said Saddam Hussein remained a menace and a threat to U.S. and international security a decade after the Gulf War. National Security Adviser Rice, in an interview with CNN’s "Late Edition" July 29, 2001, said Bush "has reserved the right to respond when that threat becomes one that he wishes no longer to tolerate."

"I can be certain of this and the world can be certain of this: Saddam Hussein is on the radar screen for the administration." The administration will look into using "military force (against Iraq) in a more resolute manner and not just a manner of tit-for-tat with them every day," she said.

During Bush’s presidential campaign he promised he would take a tougher stance against Saddam Hussein than his predecessor President Clinton did.

Bush made good on his promise hours after he was sworn into office in January 2001. Before 9-11, U.S. and British aircraft would regularly patrol southern and northern Iraq to prevent Iraqi forces from attacking Kurds in the north and Shiites in the south and to provide early warning of Iraqi troop movements toward Kuwait. Iraq considered the no-fly zones illegal and vowed to shoot down any American or British pilot caught patrolling the airspace, which Iraqi military forces attempted to do on several occasions. U.S. and British military aircraft would respond by dropping bombs over northern Iraq, killing dozens of civilians.

From Bush’s first hours as President in January 2001 up until September of that year, the administration stepped up its bombing campaigns in Iraq and increased the rhetoric that Iraq’s former President, Saddam Hussein, grip on power would soon come to an end.

But it wouldn’t be an easy task for the administration. Intelligence agencies said they lacked firm evidence that Iraq was rebuilding its chemical and biological weapons arsenal.

"It’s the lack of knowledge," Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. Craig Quigley said during a Defense Department briefing on Jan. 23, 2001. "I don’t think our knowledge of the activities inside those facilities is any greater than it was before" United Nations weapons inspectors were kicked out of Iraq in 1998. "We don’t know what’s going on in those facilities.”

But despite Quigley’s Pentagon briefing saying there was no evidence to support claims Iraq had WMD, the Bush administration said Iraq had rebuilt a series of factories suspected of producing chemical and biological weapons and that military force would be used, if necessary, to disarm Iraq. The administration offered no evidence to back up its allegations, but it would mark the first time the administration laid the groundwork for what would eventually turn into a war.

On Jan. 24, 2001, the International Atomic Energy Agency contradicted claims by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld that Iraq may be pursuing a banned weapons program.

The IAEA praised Iraq for cooperating with a January 2001 inspection just as Iraq prepared to sit down with the U.N. to determine whether broader monitoring of its nuclear and other weapons programs could resume, and as the Bush administration made clear it will take a hard line on Iraq.

China, France and Russia, pressed for sanctions against Iraq to be suspended. But days before the <U.N.-Iraq> meeting in February 2001, U.S. and British military aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones over Iraq bombed some sites near Baghdad putting the talks in jeopardy.

China, Russia and France sharply criticized the U.S. and British patrols of the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq and bitterly condemned the bombings, saying it was done deliberately to endanger the talks between Iraq and the U.N. to lift sanctions.

The sanctions were never eased and for the next seven months, the U.S. and the British intensified the bombing campaigns over Iraq, targeting the country’s air defense systems. On Aug. 25, 2001, U.S. and British warplanes attacked a mobile-radar in southern Iraq, and on Aug. 28, 2001 they hit an Iraqi aircraft command and control facility.

The last assault, prior to "Operation Iraqi Freedom," by U.S. and British military was Sept. 4, 2001, a week before terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon. Immediately after the terrorist attacks, Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz suggested that the U.S. launch a preemptive strike against Iraq. Two years later, the Bush administration is being accused of cooking intelligence information to justify the war.

JASON LEOPOLD can be reached at: jasonleopold@hotmail.com

Semitic is a Language Group, Not a Race or Ethnic Group

by SAM HAMOD

One of the myths that has been perpetrated on the world is that only Jews are semites. This is totally inaccurate. Unfortunately, the ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) has made a fortune in donations and has conned most media networks and most people in the world into believing this untruth.

If one looks into the history of the word, "semite", it has to do with a language group and no more. The semitic languages are, at least according to most linguistic experts, Amharic (spoken in Ethiopia and Eritrea, the lands once known as Abyssinia), Arabic (spoken in all the Arab countries and in many Muslim countries because it is the language of the Qur’an), Hebrew (spoken in Israel and by some Jews and others outside of Israel), Aramaic (spoken primarily by the Chaldeans of Iraq and by some Catholic and Maronite Christians in the world, at least in their church services if not in their homes or business) and Syriac (spoken by a few in various parts of Syria and in the Middle East). Incidentally, according to most linguists, Abraham, the father of the Jews and Arabs, spoke Aramaic, that was the language of the land at the time, not Hebrew.

To get back to facts about semites, Jews, language and genetics, let me go futher. The actual genetic Jews were born in the Middle East and are known as Sephardic Jews. These Jews did speak a semitic language, Hebrew , from their earliest incarnation, but also, some at the time of Christ, also spoke Aramaic, Arabic and Amharic because of their location in Jerusalem and other Middle Eastern cities such as what isnow Addis Abbabba, Cairo, Baghdad and Damascus. One rarely hears a Sephardic Jew yelling, "anti-semite" because the know better and because he is aware of his own history within semitic language speaking lands.

Let me be clear about another important matter; I am not touting for people who are anti-Jewish or anti-Arab, or anti-any ethnic or racial group; those people who stereotype or attack others based on their race or ethnicity are dead wrong and should be condemned_so too should those who abuse labels and use them wrongly to stop others from being justifiably critical should also be condemned (and in this case, I am referring to the ADL and other groups of that sort who label people with impunity and carelessness, sometimes wrecking their careers, their reputations, their businesses and their lives!)

Thus, when a person from the ADL calls someone who is critical of Israel, Zionists or Zionism, an "anti-semite", this is pure nonsense. The person speaking is simply critical of Israel or Zionism. Also, if a person speaks against an Arab, and as I pointed out, Arabs speak a semitic language, he may be anti-Arab, but he is not "anti-semitic.". In both cases, the person may be anti-zionist or may be a racist and be anti-Jewish or anti-Arab, but the person is SIMPLY NOT ANTI-SEMITIC.

This abuse of the term and our language reached new heights recently when some of the Zionists in the American media began saying that Robert Novak, himself a Jew, was "anti-semitic." First of all, most of those Ashkenazim Jews who were born and raised in America, such as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Feith, are not even Jews genetically because they are descended from Slavic tribes known as the Khazars who converted to Judaism and whose native language was Slavic and whose first language in America has been English, as was the case of Robert Novak. I am not saying all Ashkenazim are not Jews, but the way some of them behave is certainly not in the way Moses brought Judaism from God through the Torah. One has but to look at the haters and war-mongers in the Bush circle of influence and this is evident; no God would want them to be associated with his name. Thus, as a friend of mine, Rabbi Shmuel Handelman put it, "They may call themsevles Jews, but I doubt very much if I’d them that, and if I did, I’d say they were the worst of what any person might be. I’d rather not be associated with them."

However, Novak is intelligent and educated enough to know the difference between a Jew, a Zionist and what semitic actually is! An excellent and accurate source for this history is Arthur Koestler (himself an Ashkenazi), THE THIRTEENTH TRIBE. The ADL and others have attacked, and continue attacking this book, but scholars know of its truth. The book is difficult to find, but one may find it with tenacity. This is not a condemnation of Ashkenazis and their intent to convert to Judaism, but it does mean they have enough genetic DNA in them not to have the same feelings about Judaism and life in the Middle East as do the Sephardic genetic Jews.

Unfortunately, the misuse of the label, "anti-semitic" and its consequences have been so bad that even presidents, senators, congresspeople, media giants and all others in the world cringe at being labeled, "anti-semitic" by some Zionist, Israeli or ignorant religious, media or social group. Little do they know they are being victimized by charlatans of the language who have found a label that they throw around with impunity and for which there has been little or no come-back. Those who read this article and do further research may now correct those who speak this nonsense_they can throw this nonsense back in the faces of the ignorant or the charlatans.

It is time our media people and non-linguistically literate "scholars", politicians, religious leaders and others became educated about the truths about "semitic" and its misuse (intentional or unintentional).. If not, we’ll keep allowing charlatans to abuse our language and to continue their name-calling, abusing others, including Jews, Arabs, Americans, Brits and others case, I am referring those individuals and groups who label people with impunity and carelessness, sometimes wrecking their careers, their reputations, their businesses and their lives!) by calling them "anti-semites" if they speak against Israel ( which is not a semitic state) or Zionists (a political group, not exclusively Jewish and which has nothing to do with semitic).

Until we clean up our language and stop this incorrect name-calling at the whim of a few politically ambitious and unscrupulous people, we shall remain victims of a misuse of a legitimate language categorization that has been abused for the benefit of a few.

SAM HAMOD is an expert in world affairs, especially the Arab and Muslim worlds. He is also the former Director of The National Islamic Center in Washington, DC and editor of Third World News. He publishes often in CounterPunch and todaysalternativenews.com;he may be reached at shamod@cox.net

Copyright, SAM HAMOD, 2003.

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