By Ronald Eissens, 29-7-2016
“Hezbollah hero ‘Abou Jahjah, it is quite a stayer. First he came out of nowhere in 2000 with the Arab European League (AEL), which’ core business was engaging in antisemitic and anti-Zionist rants. Well, actually the AEL was really intended as a categorical organization, loosely for Arabs in Europe, mostly Moroccans who considered themselves as such. Moroccan Berbers in the Netherlands were not all that happy with the “Arab” in the name. The AEL furthermore declared itself pro-Islam and in favor of spreading the Islamic faith, and, of course all for the dismantling of the Zionist entity! ” I have to disappoint those who think this some kind of exotic animal. With this the AEL means the state of Israel.
The AEL blew over from Belgium and soon after Jahjah and his merry friends made themselves heard at parties and gatherings of politicians or anti-racists, and at serious meetings by serious people in the metropolitan debate centers. It was not a nice sound though. The AEL expressed its support for the attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11 and screamed that everything was the fault of Israel and the West. People who were critical of JahJah & Co., like the columnist Ebru Umar, were subtly and less subtly intmidated (already then).
In 2002 Jahjah incited Moroccan youth in Antwerp, which resulted in demonstrations with antiemetic slogans. For this, the AEL Belgium got slapped with a racism complaint by the official Belgian Centre against Discrimination.
In 2004 JahJah, in an interview with the Flemish newspaper ‘The Latest News’ said about Western troops in Iraq: “Every dead American, British or Dutch soldier I consider a victory”
In the meantime the situation of the Dutch AEL chapter had become somewhat tricky. The brand new chapter had elected as chairman one Nabil Marmouch. Nabil, using the online name MokroMike, was an active poster on the Moroccan web forums, where he, among other things, advocated the death penalty for gays and spouted all kinds of antisemitic language. This attracted the attention of the Discrimination Bureau for the Internet (MDI), which followed the trail to the private website of Marmouch, where unlock codes for stolen laptops were openly traded. The MDI informed the Public Prosecutors’ office and not much later Nabil and his brother were arrested. A quick demise for the new adjutant of Abou Jahjah. From that point on, the Dutch AEL Chapter had to make do with the less colorful Mohammed Cheppi.
Back to JahJah. In 2005, he cited the genocidal call of the Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to wipe Israel from the map “the only morally defensible attitude ‘
In 2006 JahJah posted antisemitic cartoons on the AEL website, cartoons in which the Holocaust was denied and ridiculed. CIDI filed a report with the prosecutor (A conviction followed only on appeal in 2010).
In July 2006 JahJah returned back to Lebanon in great haste, ostensibly to fight on the side of Hezbollah in the Israeli-Lebanese war. This seemed quite curious, as he had stated on his original application for asylum in Belgium to have a conflict with both Hezbollah and the leadership of the Ba’ath Party.
However, after 4 weeks Abou JahJah already was back in Belgium, tail between the legs. When asked, his parents explained later that he never fought with Hezbollah but had simply stayed with them in their home. ‘Posing with a Kalashnikov is of course nice, hate speech too, but hey, I’m not crazy huh’ Abou must have thought.
A month later JahJah said he would definitely go back to Lebanon in 2007. In April 2007, he hooted this again, but in late December of that year he was hanging around in Antwerp again.
It seemed that the slick fake-Hezbollah fighter had passed his peak. In the following years he was mainly in Lebanon and we heard little from him, except in 2009, when it became known that he would speak at a Stop the War Coalition meeting in England, and to the establishment of the British branch of the International Union of Parliamentarians for Palestine (IUPFP) at the House of Commons, at the invitation of Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn. This meeting was also attended by Hussein Hajj Hassan, a Lebanese MP for Hezbollah. After Abou Jahjahs visit to the United Kingdom he was barred in April 2009 from entering the country again, because of his extreme positions.
In 2013 JahJah announced that he would again move back to Belgium. Amazingly, he became a columnist for the Flemish paper ‘De Standaard’. Abou Jahjah had become mainstream and started a new organization (Movement X). Mainstream? In 2014 Jahjah sent a Tweet to Antwerp Mayor Bart De Wever, whom he called a “a sucker of Zionist-dick’, because of the strengthened security for the Jewish community De Wever brought into place after the May 24, 2014 terrorist attack in Brussels.
JahJah has now written a book which, just by reading the title, you know it is trouble; ”Plea for radicalization.” Publisher De Bezige Bij will publish it this year and was, soon after the news broke, faced with the departure of some of its top authors. Leon de Winter, Jessica Durlacher and Marcel Möring did not want to come under one roof with JahJah.
And now JahJah will be a guest in the thee-hour long TV show Zomergasten (Summer guests). That JahJah with all his despicable hatred is considered as ‘normal’, as mainstream, says a lot about the current situation in the Netherlands and in Europe. Ten years ago no one would have dared to give JahJah a stage like that, and now he is touted as having “interesting views’. The 2.0 editors of the VPRO, a formerly left-wing broadcaster of quality TV are happy. Well, you know the type, Hipster left, headaches if they have to read more than one paragraph, form their opinions based on tweets, think that Hezbollah is a charitable organization, believe that Tel Aviv is built on the remains of ethnically cleansed Arab villages, believe that Jews still do have a lot of money and influence….they of course find all of it lovely. Ratings! Controversy! Score! Cool, dude!
Criticism JahJah will not really get this Sunday. Funnyface Thomas Erdbrink, cultural relativist and since 2002 uncritical correspondent in Iran (Cozy daily Iran! No place for ugly images of Iran hanging gays! Holocaust denial? Ah well. Iran is FUN!) will be host. Him and Abou JahJah, using appropriate YouTube videos, will effortlessly make a nice evening out of it. ‘ Look, Thomas, these are images of genocide committed by Israel!’ ‘Yes, Abou, terrible!’.
In 2003, in the RTL4 TV program ‘Krachtstroom’, TV personality Jort Kelder wiped the floor with Abou JahJah, washed his ears with green soap and a wire brush and told him, years before the Rotterdam Mayor Aboutaleb, that if he disliked Europe so much he should just pack his bags. Unfortunately, the Dutch media put a stop to the production of Jort Kelders. The model simply showed too strong opinions.
Our Prime minister, who will appear in a few weeks from now as the last guest in this series of ‘Summer guests’, is well-positioned to lead by example and distance himself from the show, and withdraw his participation in a program that lets Abou JahJah sparkle and shine. Mark Rutte, father of our Country, he will probably do this, right?
Wrong. Mark Rutte does what Dutch always do when they find something morally complicated (read: anything that may cause financial or electoral damage). He will look away. A good old Dutch habit, very popular before, during and after the war.