The 1983 attack on American Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 was Hezbollah's coming-out party. To this day, the attack is lauded on its TV channel Al-Manar. A Hezbollah "poet," Atef Moussa, appeared on May 22, 2005, and said,"Who says we are afraid of war? ... Who can compare to the men of Hezbollah? ... These enemies [the American military] turned out to be as light as cardboard. Bush knows it. Beirut remains dangerous for the Marines. Our proof is here, they left in shame. Our people sail the seas of martyrdom."
In an anti-American speech mocking the American military on March 8, 2005, Hezbollah's leader, Sheik Nasrallah, also referred to the attack: "I address the following to America ... to President Bush ... to Condoleezza Rice ... and to American-Lebanese field commander Satterfield ... Lebanon will not ... throw its heart to your soldiers' dogs so they will eat it ... You can make yourself heard by the commander of the American forces in the region, who is of Lebanese origin, John Abizaid ... Are you Lebanese afraid of the American naval fleets? These naval fleets have come in the past, and were defeated, and if they come again, they will be defeated again..."
Since Hezbollah's founding, its leadership has threatened America openly. In a March 1985 Newsweek article about Hezbollah, an Islamic teacher at the Bir Al-Abed Mosque in Beirut, Alia Hamden, promised a future attack by the terror organization within America. Similarly, in a July 2003 interview with the Christian Science Monitor, Shiek Nasrallah said that if America tried to dismantle his organization, American interests throughout the world will be at risk, "through any means and at any time and any place."
Al-Manar is Hezbollah's main vehicle for spreading its anti-American ideology. Such messages surface in news programs, music videos, and even game shows. For example, the question "What structure built of gray sandstone in 1792 became the source of all oppressive decisions the world over?" was asked on Al-Manar's version of "Jeopardy," "The Mission." The answer: "the White House." "The Mission" quizzes contestants from throughout the Middle East about Islamic history, geography, and arts. A spokesman for the channel, Ibrahim Musawi, explained the show's appeal "is not in an ideological way, but in an entertaining way."
On February 12, 2005, Sheik Na'im Qassem of Hezbollah appeared on Al-Manar to discuss his hatred of President Bush: "He considers himself the god of the world. This perversion is evident in his personality ... His is patronizing and everyone abhors him ... he is a liar who tried to impose heresy on Islam." In a crowd of thousands screaming "Death to America," Sheik Nasrallah appeared to send in May 2004 "a symbolic message that tells the Americans that we are a people that does settle for words, but is prepared for martyrdom," saying "let Bush, Powell, Rumsfeld, and all those tyrants in Washington hear ... there will only be room for great sacrifice for the call to martyrdom."
Influential Arab figures also regularly appear on Al-Manar to express anti-American sentiments. One among countless examples is the editor of the Egyptian weekly Al-Arabi, who said in an April appearance, "Anti-Americanism is like music" to his ears, calling America "the plague" and "an ongoing crime." The head of the Sunni religious courts in Lebanon, Shiek Muhammad Kan'an, called America "the garbage of all nations" in a sermon broadcast live last year.
A professor of political science at Notre Dame University in Lebanon, Dr. George Hajjar who identified himself as "coming from Columbia University" appeared on July 13, 2005, saying, "America is the New Nazism." Discussing terrorism in the West he said, "[The Americans] should be treated reciprocally. They reap what they sow." He added, "I hope that every patriotic and Islamic Arab will participate in this war, and will shift the war not only to America, but to call corners ... wherever America may be."
Anis al-Naqqash, who was involved in major terrorist attacks in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s and was released early from a French prison, appeared on Al-Manar on August 3, 2005: "The U.S. is the enemy of Arabs and Muslims ... every person must resist it ... if he can resist with weapons, it is his duty, mandated by the Koran." He also said, "Any cleric with knowledge of Islam, must ... declare Jihad against the U.S., England, and their allies."
Al-Manar's jihad is not limited to Western countries. Much of the channel's programming is devoted to anti-Semitic themes against the Jews, who are describes as "apes and pigs." Next week's column will be devoted to this subject.
Mr. Stalinsky is the executive director of The Middle East Media Research Institute.