The alleged Ouze Merham interview of Ariel Sharon
is a paragraph alleged to come from a 1956 interview of the former Prime Minister of Israel Ariel Sharon
, made by an Israeli general named Ouze Merham, when Sharon was a major
in the Israel Defense Forces
. The paragraph advocates burning Palestinian children and raping Palestinian women and Arab girls. The interview, the paragraph, and Ouze Merham himself have been denounced as fabrications.
The disputed quotation was published by a number of media outlets and websites in the Muslim world and elsewhere in conjunction with anti-Israel commentary, including on IslamOnline
; the English-language Pakistani newspaper, The Nation;
and the London-based Arabic newspaper, Al-Hayat,
which published the quote in a July 11
, opinion article. As'ad Abdul Rahman, chairman of the Palestinian Encyclopedia,
used the quote as his lede
for an opinion piece about his perception of alleged Jewish control of the world media
in the Gulf News
of December 4
A student columnist used the quote in her December 11, 2003 Daily Illini column, but later admitted the quote was false and apologized. The incident was still being discussed as late as 2007.
Called a hoax
According to the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America
(CAMERA), there is no record of any Israeli general named "Ouze Merham" existing, nor any record of Sharon giving such an interview in 1956
. It is also unclear why an Israeli general would interview Sharon (who, at the time, was only a major), and then publish the interview. CAMERA has also stated that the quote cannot be found in any text book, news article, or published record.
The quotation was reportedly put on the website of MIFTAH, a Palestinian organization founded by Hanan Ashrawi, who is on the executive committee of the group's governing board. MIFTAH has been accused by the Israeli group NGO Monitor of fabricating the quotation.
Islamic Human Rights Commission award
Based on the reported Ouze Merham interview, the Islamic Human Rights Commission
announced Sharon as the winner of the "Most Islamophobic International Politician of the Year" award at the 2003 Annual Islamophobia Awards ceremony. The host told the recipient, described as a "Palestinian freedom fighter," to personally deliver the award to Sharon.
In a June 9, 2004 interview on Australian Broadcasting Corporation's The Religion Report, interviewer Stephen Crittenden challenged Arzu Merali, the organizer of the Islamophobia awards, on the Sharon presentation. Crittenden pointed out that the IHRC's own website stated that the alleged interview could not be corroborated. Merali replied "Well you know, I can take that further with the people who researched that, but pretty much everything that went out last year was well researched. If you want, I’ll go out and dig up the verification for you. I’m happy to do it."
The IHRC website continues to state that the veracity of the quote has not been confirmed:
Whilst this quotation can be found on several reputable sites, we could not independently verify its authenticity. If you know the source please do let us know. It is interesting that those that have questioned its authenticity have not pointed to Sharons genocidal words, which have been verified by his own actions, but rather his use of the term 'Palestinian' in 1956 and the lack of further information on General Ouze Merham.
Other media usage
A columnist for The Hoya, the student newspaper of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., used the quotation on March 19, 2002, introducing it with "Then again, we shouldn't be surprised about Sharon's feelings toward Palestinians; in 1956 when talking with Israeli General Ouze Merham, he said […]
The Daily Star English-language newspaper in Bangladesh published the quotation on January 31, 2005 in a commentary article by retired Brigidier General M. Abdul Hafiz, who introduced the quotation with "Back in 1956 in an interview with general Ouze Merham, Sharon, a remorseless butcher of Sabra and Shatilla, said […]