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January 6, 2011
Beaky Buzzard, Zionist/Mossad Agent?
Tuesday (1/4/11) the Saudi Arabian newspaper Al-Weeam, claimed a vulture, "R65" tagged with the words, "Tel Aviv University," was detained as a Mossad spy. Donning a leg bracelet and transmitter, apparently placed by Israeli ornithologists evaluating bird migration patterns, the vulture was found in a rural area of The Kingdom. Seven vultures banded in Israel during the last few years are known to have reached Saudi Arabia. Transmissions from four of them have ceased and they are presumed dead. One vulture -- in addition to R65 -- apparently is still alive and "airborne" over Saudi Arabia, after wintering in The Sudan.
Notwithstanding these realities, the Al-Weeam report claimed the migratory tracking study was "a Zionist plot," which triggered a deluge of posts on Arabic websites, insisting that "Zionists" were training such birds for espionage.
A bird ecologist (and eminently rational human being) for the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority, Ohad Hatzofe, opined,
The Al-Weeam report, and those complementary posts it inspired, are pathognomonic of the delusive, conspiratorial Jew-hatred that has pervaded the Islamic Middle East since the advent of Islam -- centuries before the modern Zionist movement began in the late 19th century -- through the present.
The Muslim world's obsession with Jewish conspiracies against Islam date back to Islam's foundational texts, and history.
Koran 5:64, for example ("They [the Jews] hasten about the earth, to do corruption there") reads like an ancient antecedent to "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," and was cited in this context during a January 2007 speech by "moderate" Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
After Muhammad's conquest of the Jewish farming oasis at Khaybar, the hadith (words and deeds of Muhamamd as recorded by his pious Muslim companions) and sira (early pious Muslim biographies of Muhammad) refer to an event which updates with impeccable logic the Koranic curse upon the Jews (2:61 /3:112) for having wrongfully slain Allah's earlier prophets -- a Khaybar Jewess is accused of serving the Muslim prophet poisoned mutton (or goat), leading ultimately to his protracted and painful death. Ibn Sa‘d's sira (Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir) focuses on the Jewish conspiracy behind this alleged poisoning of Islam's prophet.
An additional profoundly anti-Jewish motif occurring after the events recorded in the hadith and sira, put forth in early Muslim historiography (for example, by the great Muslim historian Tabari), is found in the story of Abd Allah b. Saba. An alleged renegade Yemenite Jew, and founder of the heterodox Shi'ite sect, he is held responsible -- identified as a Jew -- for promoting the Shi'ite heresy and fomenting the rebellion and internal strife associated with this primary breach in Islam's "political innocence," culminating in the assassination of the third Rightly Guided Caliph Uthman, and the bitter, lasting legacy of Sunni-Shi'ite sectarian strife.
Not surprisingly then, conspiratorial accusations against Jews in late 13th century Baghdad included alleged plans to attack Mecca itself and convert the Kabaa (a black-gray, cube-like building located in the center of the mosque at Mecca which contains the black stone [the Hajaru 'l-Aswad], purportedly constructed in heaven itself some 2000 years before the world's creation) to a heathen temple! The brief 13th century rise and calamitous fall of Sa‘d ad-Daula, which mirrored the experience of his Jewish co-religionists, took place during this Mongol epoch. Sa‘d ad-Daula was a Jewish physician, who successfully reformed the Mongol revenue and taxation system for Iraq. In recognition of these services, he was appointed by the Mongol emperor Arghun (who reigned from 1284-1291) to the position of administrative Vizier (in 1289) over Arghun's Empire. Despite being a successful and responsible administrator (which even the Muslim sources confirm), the appointment of a Jew as the Vizier of a heathen ruler over a predominantly Muslim region, aroused the wrath, predictably, of the Muslim masses.
According to modern historian Walter Fischel, this reaction was expressed through (and exacerbated by) "...all kinds of [Muslim] diatribes, satirical poems, and libels." Ibn al-Fuwati (d. 1323), a contemporary Muslim historian from Baghdad, recorded this particularly revealing example which emphasized traditional anti-Jewish motifs from the Qur'an:
Another contemporary 13th century Muslim source, notes Fischel, the chronicler and poet Wassaf,
These accusations included the claims that Sa‘d had advised Arghun to cut down trees in Baghdad (dating from the days of the conquered Muslim Abbasid dynasty), and build a fleet to attack Mecca and convert the cuboidal Kabaa to a heathen temple. Wassaf's account also quotes satirical verses to demonstrate the extent of public dissatisfaction with what he terms "Jewish Domination."
Fast forward over 650 years later to John Foster Dulles testimony (see I L Kenen, Israel's Defense Line: Her Friends and Foes in Washington (Buffalo NY: Prometheus 1981), pp 127-128, cited here) before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in February 1956 discussing why (at that time) the United States was selling military aircraft to Saudi Arabia, but not Israel. Dulles also justified the US Army policy of not stationing Jewish soldiers in the US Armed Forces on bases in Saudi Arabia. Senators had criticized the fact that:
A longstanding Bugs Bunny enthusiast, I submit that Beaky Buzzard is the most plausible Zionist vulture mastermind, and the Saudis should use the Kingdom's vast financial resources, and unmatched wisdom, to capture Beaky, and dismantle yet another Jewish conspiracy against Islam!
Update -- Matthew Harrison writes:
Not only do the daft Arabs think the buzzard in question is a Mossad agent, but apparently the lefty anti-Semites right here at home do as well, which was evidenced here by one of HuffPo's "experts" on intel gathering and gadgets.