In an amazing 1970 Life magazine interview with the PFLP’s George Habash by Oriana Fallaci, Habash admits explicitly that he is targeting Jews, not Israelis or Zionists.
Here is how he justified airplane hijackings in Europe:
Countries like Germany, Italy, France and Switzerland, with many Jews among their population, allow their territory to be used as a base for the Jews to fight the Arabs. If Italy, for instance, is a base against the Arabs, the Arabs have a right to use Italy as a base against the Jews.
Fallaci, a real reporter, responded back with, “No, Dr. Habash, Italy is not used as a Jewish base, nor is Germany, France or Switzerland. “
Habash later on was even more explicit about the PFLP’s targets:
The attacks of the Popular Front are based on quality, not quantity. We believe that to kill a Jew far from the battleground has more of an effect than killing 100 of them in battle; it attracts more attention. And when we set fire to a store in London, those few flames are worth the burning down of two kibbutzim.
In 1991, Jamal Nassar—currently a professor of political science, and dean emeritus, at Cal State-San Bernardino – wrote a book about the PLO where he changed the above quote to “To kill a Zionist far from the battleground has more of an effect than killing 100 of them in battle. “
Steven Lubet, a professor of law at Northwestern University, noticed this discrepancy and wrote to Nassar asking him why he changed the quote. His absurd answer:
I remember specifically discussing this issue with the late Professor Ibrahim Abu-Lughod who was a renowned expert on Palestinian affairs, a member of the Palestine National Council and former Chair of Political Science at Northwestern University. He told me that he posed the same question to Dr. George Habash who responded that everyone knows what he means, that is his use of the word Jews in that context refers to the Zionists who colonized the Palestinian homeland and those zionists (sic) in the Western World who finance and support that colonization. As such, the change of the word in the quotation was grounded in the intent of Dr. Habash. However, you are correct to point out such a change. I should have included an explanation in the reference.
An academic knowingly changed an explicitly antisemitic quote by a terrorist pioneer to make it appear only “anti-Zionist.” But he didn’t mention in his book that he modified the direct quote, and he lamely says that he should have explained his whitewashing in the book – which he never would have done in reality because it would have only called attention to his fabrication.
In other words, Nassar knew quite well that he was modifying a quote but he felt that it was all for the greater good and that he “knew” that when Habash said he wanted to target Jews in Europe he really was going to research his victims ahead of time to ensure that they support Israel.
His assertion that “everyone knows” Habash was not antisemitic is a lie as well. Even the Electronic Intifada admits in a glowing obituary that Habash bombed a synagogue when he was younger and says he was originally “anti-Jewish” although it claims, without proof, that his attitude towards Jews changed later.
Interestingly, the PFLP protested Fallaci’s quote of Habash’s antisemitism at the time, claiming that she fabricated it and he really said “Zionists.” She responded sarcastically that “the so-called Department of Information ignores the existence of a machine known as a tape recorder” where she recorded the entire interview proving that Habash knew quite well that he was speaking about Jews into a microphone.
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