If David Duke ruled his own kingdom, would President Bush invite him and his envoys to socialize at his ranch, praise them publicly and permit his advisers to do so? Not likely.
And yet one would have to be a Duke-style neo-Nazi (or the genuine, German article) to spew the anti-Semitic venom that routinely simmers within Saudi institutions.
Even if 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were not Saudis, and even if Riyadh did not finance madrassahs that teach anti-Americanism, Saudi Arabia's flamboyant anti-Semitism alone should dislodge it from its place at America's table and banish it to Uncle Sam's dog house.
As a new study from the Saudi Institute and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies states, "Saudi officials disseminate hate literature openly in the United States." The Riyadh-funded Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America published Abdulla Al-Tarekee's "A Muslim's Relations with Non-Muslims — Enmity or Friendship."
"The unbelievers, idolaters, and others like them must be hated and despised," Al-Tarekee writes. "We must stay away from them and create barriers between us and them." He adds: "Qur'an forbade taking Jews and Christians as friends, and that applies to every Jew and
Christian, with no consideration as to whether they are at war with Islam or not."
Consider several other examples of Riyadh's public Jew bashing:
While Mideast governments outside Israel often disparage Jews, Saudi Arabia's anti-Semitic rage is unsurpassed. Iran, for instance, has a Jewish community of 11,500, according to the 2001 American Jewish Year Book. Though sometimes hassled by Tehran, Iran's Jews may practice Judaism. Even Iraq has some 100 or so elderly Jews who pray at Baghdad's synagogue. While these two members of the Axis of Evil permit Jewish worship, America's "moderate ally" forbids non-Islamic devotion and is basically Jew-free. As a Saudi embassy spokesman told me:
"100 percent of Saudi Arabia's citizens are Muslim."
Despite all this, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer practically delivered a singing telegram to the Saudi ambassador when he visited Bush's ranch on August 27. Prince Bandar is "a very seasoned diplomat," Fleischer crooned. "He's a very affable fellow, very good humor, speaks English better than most Americans."
For his part, President Bush drove Prince Bandar around in his pickup truck and praised "the eternal friendship" between America and the arid tyranny.
There are two apparent explanations for Team Bush's embarrassing public displays of affection for this grotesque regime.
First: The administration — consistent with previous Republican and Democratic governments — offers the royal family military protection and diplomatic prestige in exchange for stability. Presumably, if the House of Saud fell, it would be replaced by a fundamentalist Islamic government that sponsored terrorists and targeted Jews, America and Western civilization...just as the House of Saud does today.
Let's hope David Duke never strikes oil.
Mr. Murdock is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service.