ADL Backgrounder: The Zayed Center
Updated: September 15, 2003
Update: The government of the United Arab Emirates announced the closure of the Zayed Center in August 2003. The closure followed increased attention by the international community to the extremist speakers featured at the Zayed Center podium. In a statement issued August 18, the Anti-Defamation League welcomed the UAE government's decision and called on the Arab League not to resuscitate the discredited think-tank.
The Zayed Center for Coordination and Follow Up, based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, was established in 1999 as the official think-tank of the League of Arab States, an association of 22 Arab nations. The founding chairman of the Center is H.H. Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, who continues in this role. Sheikh Sultan is the son of UAE President Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Though the Zayed Center hosts lectures by Western heads of state and diplomats - its roster of past speakers includes former President Jimmy Carter, former Vice President Al Gore and former Secretary of State James Baker - the center also provides a platform for extremist speakers to promote virulently anti-Jewish and anti-Israel views.
The Center regularly publishes anti-Semitic and conspiracy theory literature and promulgates anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism through its speakers and official publications. The center promotes an extreme, anti-Israel agenda, including efforts to delegitimize the Jewish State with speeches and literature seeking to deny Jewish religious and historical ties to Israel and Jerusalem.
The Center has provided a platform to speakers who promote the view that the war in Iraq was merely a "strategic" step in a U.S. conspiracy whose goal is the "domination of the Middle East and [the] world." The Center's Web site claims that the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. were actually orchestrated by the U.S. military in an effort to blame the attacks on the Muslim world.
The Zayed Center's poisonous proclamations on Jews and Israel have continued to increase in intensity. Recent speakers have described Jews as "enemies of all nations" and "cheaters whose greed knows no bounds." The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an infamous anti-Semitic forgery created in the 19th Century to vilify and persecute Jews, has been held up as a factual account of a Jewish plan to "control the world," and speakers have accused Israel of trying to sterilize Palestinian children by lacing the water "used by some Palestinian schools" with chemicals.
Some Zayed speakers have engaged in attempts to deny the Holocaust, though all references to Holocaust denial on the English pages of the Center's Web site were removed in 2002.
As part of its virulently anti-Semitic agenda, the Zayed Center has reached out to American extremists and anti-Semites.
In March 2003, for example, the Center provided a platform to Michael Collins Piper, an American extremist and writer for the American Free Press, a conspiracy-oriented, anti-Semitic publication. Piper's speech was laced with references to "Jewish control" of the U.S. government and media and bizarre conspiracy theories, such as the theory that Israel and the Mossad were behind President John F. Kennedy's assassination and the Watergate scandal.
Recent Zayed Center activities described on its Web site include:
May 20, 2003
Mr. Rami Tahbob, advisor to Al Quds' File on Arab Affairs, falsely claimed that Israel was trying to control the Palestinian population through the use of "chemical drugs." According to the Zayed Center Web site, Tahbob said that "Israel police not only use [chemical] drugs for getting information, but also for changing social structures in Palestinian society," and claimed that "some sterilizing drugs were found in water reservoirs used by some Palestinian schools."
May 1, 2003
Dr. Yussuf Abdallah Al Zamel, a "Saudi Economic Expert," blamed the war in Iraq on "radical Zionist and right-wing Christian" influence. He said that America's war against Iraq "aims at achieving visions and comprehensive plans in the area according to the objectives of certain radical Zionist and right wing Christian powers planning behind the scenes to push the American government towards destructive wars."
April 13, 2003
Dr. Shawqi Shaath, an "Archaeology and Heritage Expert" for the Arab League, alleged that Israel is currently engaged in a campaign to "wipe out Palestinian, Arab and Islamic archaeological and historical landmarks" in its own territory in order to "confer [historical] legitimacy on the Zionist Entity." He added that Israel intends to destroy such sites in "Syria, Lebanon and Iraq." He claimed that Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, which was destroyed by the ancient Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BCE, had never been built, and called into question the Jewish historical connection to the land of Israel. "On the contrary," he said, "scientific findings prove that Palestine and its people are Arabs who have been living in it since thousands of years."
April 6, 2003
Saleh Al Qallab, former Jordanian Information Minister, claimed that influential "rabbis" in the Washington administration were seeking to "reshape the world" through U.S. military intervention, and urged that the political leadership in Washington should be "removed."
April 5, 2003
Dr. Gad Taha, Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at Ain Sham University, asserted that agents of "international Zionism" have implanted themselves throughout the world, and claimed that "in every Western country" there is a "minister working in a shadow government" whose job is to "impose support for Israel and raise funds and aid for it."
March 11, 2003
According to the Zayed Center Web Site, the American anti-Semite Michael Collins Piper presented a lecture in which he claimed that the Jewish conspiracies for world domination described in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the infamous anti-Semitic forgery, are "not a theory but a real fact." He described President Bush's policies as deriving from his "Christian fundamentalism" and the President himself as a "classic fanatic Zionist." He also claimed that Israel is developing an "ethnic bomb" that will "eliminate the whole Arab race." Piper elaborated on the classic canard of Jewish/Zionist control of the American media and government, and claimed that Israel and the Mossad were responsible for the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Watergate scandal, and the Monica Lewinsky affair.
The Zayed Center also published a number of tracts that repeated anti-Semitic and anti-American themes:
- In American Media and the Arab Israeli Conflict (4/14/03), the Zayed Center gives anti-Semite Michael Collins Piper a platform from which to espouse his conspiracy theories regarding Jewish/Zionist domination of the U.S.
- Among its other inflammatory, anti-American claims, the Zayed Center alleges in Oil in the American Foreign Policy: Oil Calculations in the War on Iraq (3/26/03) that the goal of the United States is "domination of the world" - and that the US launched a war in Iraq in order to seize its oil resources to aid in this goal.
- In Policy of Domination and Contemporary World Tensions (3/24/03), the Zayed Center alleges that Israel is an agent of "forces of world hegemony" and rehashes the canard that the Jewish state has imperialist designs on other Arab lands. The publication further alleges that the United States and Israel are both pursuing aggressive strategies to "re-shape the Middle East" in conformation with Israeli "expansionist ambitions" and American dreams of "hegemony." It describes Israel as "diabolical."
- Even after it was revealed and confirmed by a number of investigations that reports of a "massacre" of Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp by Israelis in April 2002 had been fabricated by Palestinian activists, the Zayed Center continued to disseminate the myth that Israel had deliberately exterminated hundreds of innocent civilians. Jenin: Massacre against Humanity (1/21/03) published in Arabic and Spanish, claims that, "Hundreds of Palestinians civilians were killed, many crushed as their homes were demolished while they were still inside. Israel Defence Force removed bodies in trucks, buried them in mass graves and many remained under the piles of debris. News reporters, aid workers and other outsiders were prevented from entering the camp over a 14-day period. What happened in Jenin, exceeded all norms. Even in the worst wars and military confrontations, massacres of this scale hadn't taken place."
Publications and Symposia Deny the Holocaust
- On August 28th, 2002, the Zayed Center hosted a symposium on "Semitism," which included Holocaust denial. The press release announcing the event noted that this symposium would "counter the historical and political fallacies propagated by Israel." In particular, the Center noted Israel was "spreading lies and exaggerations about holocaust [sic] in order to squeeze out huge sums of money from European countries through worst [sic] forms of blackmail." The conference labeled the Holocaust a "false fable" perpetuated by Israel.
- The Zionist Movement and its Animosity to Jews, a report published in October 2001 claimed that "the Zionists," not the Nazis, "were the people who killed the Jews in Europe." According to the report, the Zionists murdered fellow Jews and sent them to die in "Nazi concentration camps" so other Jews would be terrorized into migrating to Israel. The report maintains that the Nazis cooperated with the Zionists by supplying weapons to "the Zionist army in Palestine" and helping to force "scores of Jews to immigrate to Palestine."
- In Those Who Challenged Israel (February 2001), the Center denied the destruction of European Jewry during World War II, lauding such Holocaust deniers as the French radical Roger Garoudy and disgraced British historian David Irving.
Speakers Support Terrorism
- In a June 19, 2002 presentation sponsored by the Center, Archimandrite Father Atallah Hanna of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem praised Palestinian "martyrdom" attacks. He stated that he supports "martyrdom or suicide bombing" because it serves "the continued Intifada for freedom." According to Hanna, "the Israeli Zionist regime" is "committing genocide in Palestine" and the Palestinians have the right "to defend themselves from the Israeli barbarism and atrocities." Father Hanna also stated that "the conduct of the Zionist movement is characterized by its racist nature, and that it is completely in contradiction with the Moslem and Christian values." The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate later issued an official statement condemning Father Hanna's remarks, and removed him from his post. Hanna was questioned by the police in Jerusalem about his statements made at the Zayed Center.
- In a March 2, 2002 speech at the Center, religious scholar Dr. Mohamed Saeed Al Bouti, Islamic Studies Professor at Damascus University, stressed that "all military operations done by Palestinian militants" should be "classified as martyr operations and not suicidal operations." He explained that those militants are "sacrificing their lives to defend their families, land and brothers, and are considered as martyrs."
Promoting September 11 Conspiracy Theories
- A June 2002 Zayed Center conference, titled "The Middle East as a Strategic Crossroad," featured presentations by government ministers from Middle Eastern nations and a speech from the notorious American anti-Semite Lyndon LaRouche. In the question-and-answer session after his speech, LaRouche detailed his paranoid beliefs about the September 11 attacks and the Jews he claims are controlling American foreign policy. According to LaRouche, Osama bin Laden "could never have" orchestrated the September 11 attacks, which he believes "could not have happened without the connivance of something inside, very high level, inside the United States military command." LaRouche pointed to the "Zionist lobby," "Jewish gangsters," and "Christian Zionists" as forces that have sought to control U.S. policies towards Israel and have been "bought by money, the so-called Zionist money, and the mega crowd in New York."
- In April 2002, the Zayed Center hosted a talk by Theirry Meyssan, author of a book that claims the U.S. military was responsible for the September 11th attacks. Meyssan claims that the Pentagon was damaged by a missile launched by the U.S. military, not a hijacked airplane. In addition to hosting Meyssan as a speaker, the Zayed Center translated his book, The Appalling Fraud, into Arabic in July 2002.
Speakers, Publications Dispute Existence of Second Temple
Zayed Center publications and lectures have consistently denied the historical existence of the Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, site of the current-day Al-Aqsa Mosque.
- Chasing History: Israel and Palestinian Antiquities (August 2002) accuses Israel of plotting to demolish the Al Aqsa Mosque "to build their so-called Solomon Temple."
- In January 2002, Dr. Hassan Ali Khater, a Palestinian researcher and editor of the Al Quds Al-Sharif Encyclopedia, questioned whether the Temple of Solomon actually existed and claimed that the Al-Aqsa Mosque may collapse due to Israeli archeological excavations. Khater claimed that "Israelis are falsifying history" by carving "Jewish inscriptions on rocks" and then "calling international experts to rediscover" the rocks "as Jewish monuments."
- Al Buraq Wall Not Wailing Wall (December 2001) calls "simply baseless" the "Zionist alleged rights to the [Western] Wall" that was in fact part of the Jewish Temple site, adding for good measure that the Al Aqsa Mosque was built "more than a thousand years before [King] Solomon."
Claims of 'Jewish Control' of America
Zayed Center publications perpetuate the myth of a "Jewish conspiracy" manipulating American foreign policy.
- In Role of the Jews In Distorting Arab Image in the Western Culture (July 2002) the Center asserts that Zionists control 70% of the print media and 80% of the electronic media in the United States and claims that they use this control to distort Americans' image of Arabs. The "study" blames "Zionists" for using words and phrases in the media that lead Americans to feel "hostility towards Arabs and Muslims." The report also attacks the respected scholar, Bernard Lewis, for allegedly depicting Islam as the successor to Communism as the primary "evil" endangering America in a "clash of cultures."
- The Battle of Armageddon and the End of the Arab-Israel Conflict as Viewed by Some American Circles (July 2002) claims that Zionists believe in an impending nuclear apocalypse that will be followed by a world Jewish theocracy, and that they have encouraged this belief among Western Christians as well. Bemoaning the "alarming influence of Zionism on the United States of America," the document argues that "a number of American presidents like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Reagan were greatly influenced by the Zionist thought and believed that everything is ready for 'Armageddon.'"
- Does Israel Rule the World? (August 2001) explains that "the Jewish lobby" in the United States is responsible for Israel's successes because "this lobby controls the media, the Congress and monopolies."