Syria slams campaign against Mary Robinson

Bouthaina Shaaban blasts "Zionist policies," Arab media's inability to counter Israeli propaganda.

mary robinson 248 88 (photo credit: )
mary robinson 248 88
(photo credit: )
Israel has carried out an "crazy campaign" against former Irish president Mary Robinson and all others who have "brought fairness" to the Palestinian issue, an adviser to Syrian President Bashar Assad declared in an editorial published Monday in Saudi Arabia's Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. In the editorial, Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban blasted Israel's policy and influence over the world media, and lamented the Arab media's inability to address these issues properly. She criticized Defense Minister Ehud Barak for stating that Israel would not allow weapons to break the balance in Lebanon, and also slammed Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's recent South American tour and his claims that Hizbullah was active in Venezuela. Shaaban stated that Israel singled out and accused "notable world figures who criticized its actions, such as Robinson. Israel fears people such as Robinson because they are holding up torches to the truth of the Israeli-Palestinian issue and saying that the conflict must become an international matter." Israel continued to Judaicize Jerusalem, she added, and claimed that Israel's actions were part of a "Zionist strategy aimed at intimidating moderates and instilling fear in Arabs of Israel's power." She accused Israel of carrying out an "international campaign to incite world opinion against the Arabs." In the editorial, she denounced Israel for allocating Hebrew names to locations throughout Israel and wrote that Israel purposely characterized the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as religious instead of political. Near the end, Shaaban addressed the recent Human Rights Watch report, which she claimed revealed that Israeli soldiers had killed and expelled women and children from their homes, in addition to using white phosphorus, during Operation Cast Lead. In response, a spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry told The Jerusalem Post, "We have no intention of commenting on an editorial that we have no intention of reading." A former professor of English literature at Damascus University, Shaaban is an outspoken critic of the United States and Israel, and has published a number of pieces sharply critical of Israeli and American actions. Her Web site has published a number of her editorial pieces and lectures. In one piece written in April, she denounced The Economist magazine for discussing the genocide in Rwanda that took place 15 years ago, but not mentioning the "no less terrible genocide in Palestine." In a lecture at Sapienza University in Rome in 2007, she accused the US of conducting an illegal war in Iraq and Israel an illegal occupation of Palestine. She also claimed that it had not been proven that Arab terrorists committed the September 11 attacks. "Nobody truly investigated 9/11. We don't have results about what happened, what truly happened in 9/11. But whoever masterminded it, whoever did it, the results of 9/11 are the creation of the feeling in the Western world against Muslims and Arabs, the distortion of Arab civilization, of Arab culture, of Arab life, of Arab humanity even, in the minds of the West," said Shaaban. "If you ask my opinion there's a big attack on Arab identity, on Arab civilization, on Arab culture. The objective is not only the Iraqis, the Palestinians or the Lebanese, it is the Arab culture."