Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri Uses Antisemitic Slur In Meeting With Eliot Engel

Lebanon’s Parliament speaker Nabih Berri (not to be confused with Halle) has reportedly confirmed what we knew along: this is a territorial dispute and has nothing to do with the religion.

Just kidding.

The Lebanese Parliament speaker Nabih Berri apparently had no qualms about using an antisemitic slur in a meeting with Jewish American politician Eliot L. Engel.

The Lebanese daily Al-Jumhouriyya quoted Berri as saying during his meeting Engel, “How to Recognize a Jew? If you see a pregnant woman, get close to her and toss a piece of gold near her or at her feet. If the fetus jumps out from his mother’s womb and grabs the gold, you know he is a Jew.”

The meeting, which took place several days ago, was meant to focus on negotiations between Israel and Lebanon on demarcating the maritime border between the two countries, which would impact oil and gas drilling rights in the Mediterranean.

Al-Jumhouriyya reported in its article on May 29 that Berri made the comment when he as asked what he thinks is motivating Israel to soften its position and agree to demarcate the land and maritime borders simultaneously.

“The Israelis want the oil [in the Mediterranean] and want to produce the oil and gas found in the Palestinian waters,” Berri continued. “If they had companies capable of drilling and producing [the gas and oil themselves], they would have acted immediately, without delay. But they need [the help of] international companies, and the latter are apprehensive.

The fact a Lebanese politician used an antisemitic slur not the only interesting aspect of this report. I’d like to draw your attention to a few other things:

  1. Berri made the comment when asked his thoughts on why Israel compromised. So much for showing good faith. But that’s the thing many Westerners do not understand – in this neighborhood, the Arabs and Muslims see compromise as a weakness, which is usually just encouragement for continuing to do whatever it was that brought it on. It is a reason palestinian terrorism has escalated since Oslo, not to mention after we withdrew from Gaza.
  2. Berri made the comment to Eliot Engel, a Jew. You can imagine what they say about us when we are not in the room.
  3. I have not seen any statement on this from Eliot Engel. If the report is true, I find the lack of a response to be almost as disturbing as the comment itself. Even more so now that the comment has made it into the public sphere.

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