from Pressure Points and Middle East Program

Tunisia’s Shame

August 18, 2012

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The existence of "World Jerusalem Day" is itself a source of shame to all its "celebrants", for it has now become a day when orgies of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric are produced.  In Iran this past week, the day was "celebrated" by President Ahmadinejad with his usual vicious speech about Israel. While the crowd shouted "Death to Israel," Ahmadinejad called Israel among other things a "cancerous tumor."

But Iran’s "celebration" had nothing on Tunisia. There, in the city of Bizerte on Thursday, the day was marked by the presence of a guest of honor: Samir Kuntar. Kuntar was referred to as the "Dean of the Lebanese Prisoners." In fact he is a child-murderer. In a terrorist attack in Nahariya, Israel in 1979 he killed a four year old child--after murdering her father in front of her--by smashing her head in with his rifle butt. He spent nearly thirty years in an Israeli prison (because Israel does not have the death penalty, except for Nazi war criminals) and was liberated in an exchange with Hezbollah in 2008 for the bodies of the kidnaped Israeli soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.

So that is the man who was the honoree and center of attention in Bizerte. Here the story moves from the despicable to the absurd. Kuntar, a Hezbollah terrorist through and through, defended the Assad regime in Syria, which has now killed over 20,000 Sunnis. Accordingly, Salafi gangs using sticks and knives attacked the closing ceremony of the anti-Israel rally, shouting slogans that in essence accused Kuntar and the organizers of being pro-Shia. Several people were wounded badly enough to be hospitalized. The brave Kuntar fled out the back door of the hall.

There is so much dishonor to go around here that there is no point attempting to distribute it fairly; the conduct of every single party is shameful. But it would be nice to hear a word from the ruling party in Tunisia, the Ennadha Party, or from its newly elected government, about the idea that the murderer of children is a fit guest of honor in the new, democratic, humanistic Tunisia.

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