Hebrew Voices #34 – Apartheid in Palestinian Jordan (Rebroadcast)

Apartheid JordanIn this episode of Hebrew VoicesApartheid in Palestinian Jordan, Nehemia Gordon speaks with Mudar Zahran, Secretary General of the Jordanian Opposition Coalition and an orthodox Muslim who advocates for separation of mosque and state. According to Zahran, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is really a Palestinian State in which the vast majority of the population are treated like second-class citizens in the country where they were born. The Jordanian-born Zahran currently lives in exile in London—facing a life sentence in prison in Jordan because of his outspoken opposition to the apartheid regime that rules the country.

Zahran begins by explaining the Turkish, Ottoman and British occupations of Jordan and the Hashemites who currently rule there. This group of 87 Bedouins rules over eight million people (primarily Palestinians) without granting rights or representation. Zahran translates a popular proverb among Palestinians in Jordan, “Israel is more merciful.”

Explaining that US policy makers will only speak with the Hashemites and the Muslim Brotherhood, Zahran calls on US listeners to contact their congressional representatives and urge them to have communications with the Jordanian Opposition Coalition. Zahran is straightforward that his coalition seeks power in Jordan—power to honor and expand the peace agreement with Israel, to shut down Islamist groups in Jordan, and to expand the war on terror.

Download Apartheid in Palestinian Jordan


Hebrew Voices #34 - Apartheid in Palestinian Jordan

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Benjamin Netanyahu: Le ma’an Zion lo ekhesheh, u’l’ma’an Yerushalayim lo eshkot. (For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest. Isaiah 62:1)

Nehemia: Shalom, this is Nehemia Gordon with Hebrew Voices, and I am here today with Mudar Zahran. He is the Secretary General of the Jordanian Opposition Coalition. He was born in Amman, Jordan. He's US educated and he has a PhD in Middle Eastern Banking from the United Kingdom. And today, he's living in exile in London as a political refugee. Shalom, or Salaam, Mudar.

Mudar: As-Salaamu alaykum, Shalom and peace.

Nehemia: Amen. I love that we started this talking about peace. And what inspired me to contact you was a video that someone had sent me. You were born in Amman, but you're a Palestinian Jordanian, would you say that's a correct description?

Mudar: Well, if you want to choose the term, I understand that you are an Israeli. And if you want to get to the nitty gritty of it, you, too are Palestinian. There was a country, a piece of land, that included today's Israel and today's Jordan in one single country that was under the Turkish, or Ottoman, occupation. Then came the British occupation and called the country “Palestine.” The Jews in that country were called “Palestinians” and the Arabs in that country were called “Palestinians.” There was an oppressed Jewish minority and a strong Arab majority.

And there has been, unfortunately, very sad massacres against the Jews in the 1930s when they were trying to establish a national home, or basically seeking independence. So, the Britons decided to divide the country and give the Jews a homeland which actually included all of today's Jordan, and all of today's Israel. So, in theory, according to international agreement, Israel should extend from the Mediterranean all the way to the Iraqi borders.

That did not happen, because there were a lot of Arabs there, and there had to be some sort of agreement. In 1919, the Arabs, including the ancestors of today's Jordan's King, met with the Jewish community and decided to agree, through an internationally binding agreement, to divide the country. The Arabs took 78 percent of the land because they were the majority, and the Jews took 22 percent of the land. Palestine was divided, 78 percent became today's Jordan, and 22 percent was today's Israel.

Then the Arabs, basically, the Hashemite rulers of Jordan, they are called the “Hashemite clan,” to whom today's Jordan’s King belongs, refused to honor the agreement. First thing they did, the Arabs who moved during the war, which is the majority of the Arabs who moved during the war, left the West Bank, the west bank of the river, which is Israel, left it into the East Bank of the river, which is Jordan. Until today, after 70 years, the Jordanian King still recognizes them as refugees who should “someday return home to Palestine.” Everything you see, Nehemia, on television today, what they watch on Fox News or CNN, is the outcome of the Jordanian King refusing to recognize or honor the agreement. If they said from day one, “Those are not refugees, this is their country,” we wouldn't have the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today.

Nehemia: You mentioned in the video, and I think you just described - correct me if I'm wrong - the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement. And it's interesting, I grew up in a Zionist family in Chicago. And when I was 12 years old, I knew what the Balfour Declaration was. I don't know that I could quote it, but I knew the Balfour Declaration. I knew it was from 1917. I knew it promised the Jews a homeland in Israel issued by the British. I had never heard of the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement, even though Weizmann eventually became Israel's first President, and incidentally, he was a distant cousin of mine.

So, you're saying there's an internationally binding agreement like the British issuing the Balfour Declaration, they're an imperialist power. But you're saying the Arabs actually signed an agreement giving what today is Israel, Hamas's Gaza and the Palestinian Authority's West Bank. Meaning, there are three political entities in today that should be, according to the Faisal-Weizmann agreement, Israel, or the Jewish state, anyway. Is that accurate?

Mudar: Actually, it's a very accurate description.

Nehemia: So, who are these Hashemites? A lot of my listeners are thinking this has something to do with the Hebrew word Hashem. Nothing to do with it?

Mudar: No, no.

Nehemia: So, who are Hashemites?

Mudar: Okay, the Hashemite Kings of Jordan came to Jordan, or actually then what's called Palestine, they came from Saudi Arabia. They are a clan of 87 individuals as they stand today. They are ruling up to eight million people.

Nehemia: Wow.

Mudar: Those eight million people, of which 88 percent are of Palestinian heritage, they have no rights. They are not entitled to any of the basic things an illegal alien in Texas could have access to. No health care, no school education, not entitled for a driver's license except under certain circumstances and conditions. No government representation, not even local city hall. They're not allowed to vote in City Hall elections.

Nehemia: Let me just be clear. So, 88 percent of the population of the Kingdom of Jordan today don't have the basic rights that an illegal alien in New Mexico or Texas would have. And people who were born there, you're talking about, right?

Mudar: Not only born there, until the Hashemites came, this was their native country.

Nehemia: Wow.

Mudar: Imagine if, for example, someone came to Texas from Canada and takes over Texas.

Nehemia: Can I give an example my listeners will understand better?

Mudar: Yeah.

Nehemia: If someone were to come from Beijing, China, and...87 people, you said? How many are the Hashemite clan?

Mudar: Today, they are 87 individuals, including the children.

Nehemia: So, 87 individuals would come from Beijing, China, and they would extend their rule over the United States. And if you were a native-born US person, you could be of Mexican heritage, you could be of Jewish heritage, you could be of any heritage. But because you weren't from Beijing, China, you would be a second-class citizen. Wow, I mean, that's mind-boggling. How is this possible that no one knows about this? I'd never heard this, I'll be honest with you. I've lived here in Israel for 23 years, and I never heard anything about this. And you described Jordan as an apartheid state.

Mudar: Jordan is absolutely the last remaining apartheid state. There are very oppressive states out there, for example, North Korea. But none of them does actually… I'll give you an example. Jordanians of Palestinian heritage, they have a label put on their passports that starts with the letter P.

Nehemia: Wow.

Mudar: So, this is absolute apartheid that’s very similar in ways to the way that the Nazis used to label Jews with the Star of David and the word “Jude.” It's not the same. We can never compare our suffering to that of the Jewish nation, but it's very similar in concept.

Nehemia: And you were telling me that if you're not part of these Bedouin Hashemites, then you can't serve in the army in any kind of high rank. You pay higher taxes, in practice.

Mudar: You pay full taxes, get zero representation and zero benefits from the state. We pay incredible taxes. For example, a Toyota Camry that costs $20,000 in Texas costs us up to $80,000 in Amman.

Nehemia: And that's because of taxes, a lot of that.

Mudar: Yeah, taxes to cover the expenses and the lavish lifestyle of the royal family.

Nehemia: And do the Hashemites pay those taxes?

Mudar: Absolutely not. The 12 percent non-Palestinians pay less taxes.

Nehemia: Oh, so it's the Hashemites and other local people who are allies of them.

Mudar: Yeah, they used to be. Now, the situation has changed a lot. But basically, bottom line is we are talking about a crude apartheid that's not present in any country I know of, except maybe for ISIS, where ISIS labels non-Muslims as Dhimmis and other names. But why is this not in the media? Why do we see people protest an Israeli Prime Minister, an elected official, a democratically elected official. They protest his presence in the Congress. They protest his presence in European capitals, while on the other hand, nobody says a word about Jordan's King who is an oppressor, who is a King, non-democratic. They welcome him and welcome his wife all over the media, Oprah Winfrey, you name it. Any of those media celebrities are good friends with Jordan's King.

This, to me, is evidence of how, unfortunately, anti-Semitic and unfair and biased the media in the US is. I'm not claiming that it’s generally anti-Semitic, but there are seriously anti-Semitic elements. I'll give you just a very quick example. My wife's cousin, a 15-year-old, was shot five times and made to bleed to death by the Jordanian Police because he failed to show an ID a year ago. He failed to show an ID in front of the courthouse, and he was shot five times and made to bleed to death, and nothing happened to the Police Officer. Nothing happened to him, and this was never news.

If this was in Israel, we see some of my people stabbing Police Officers and get shot after that, which is very heartbreaking for me. But on the other hand, they were stabbing people, and its news. And you would see it on Fox News, CNN, CBS News, “Oh, a 15-year-old Palestinian shot.” This is not good. This is not fair. This is not good for the interest of the United States, because as much as I disagree with Israel, the only stable and reliable ally the United States has in our region now is Israel.

So, there must be a change of heart. There must be a change and more education in the process to bring about some change that's good for all of us, the American interests, the Israelis, and the Palestinians and Jordanians.

Nehemia: Am I correct in understanding that you say Jordan should be a Palestinian state? Maybe not the only one, but a Palestinian state?

Mudar: Jordan should be ruled by the majority's vote. And the majority of the Jordanian people are Palestinians.

Nehemia: So, why does the US and Western countries, Oprah Winfrey, why do they support this apartheid regime of the Hashemites in keeping 88 percent of the population? And you know what struck me? My grandmother came as an immigrant to the United States and she settled in Chicago. And I was struck by the thought, “So, if I went to get a driver's license in Illinois, and they said to me, ‘Oh, no, your grandmother was from Eastern Europe.’” And it's hard to say which country, Lithuania, at one time it was Russia. “Your grandmother is from Lithuania. You can't have a driver's license here.” And I thought, “How is that a way to live?” And you're telling me 88 percent of the Jordanian population, that's how they're living.

And let me share another story. I was driving a few years back through the arava valley, and I stopped at this kind of like a gas station where they have a restaurant, it's a famous one called "101.” And they had a picture there of the King of Jordan, of King Hussein, the previous King. This was while he was still King, it was a while back. And I asked them, “Why do you have a picture of the King of Jordan?” And look, they're on the border with Jordan and they say, “This has been a peaceful border for our entire lives. And we look to the King of Jordan as our King, even though he's a foreign King. We don't have a King in Israel, so we kind of look to him as our King, and we have his picture in our restaurant.” And you're telling me the King of Jordan, or at least the current one, is anti-Semitic. So, what are we missing? In America and in Israel we're missing part of the story, so help us understand this.

Mudar: Okay, the reason you're missing part of the story is the way the King handles the media. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, I'm just mentioning facts. Every single celebrity on US television, except for a few decent ones, every single one of them has actually dined and wined with Jordan's King. You can see it on their Facebook sites. Be it Jennifer Lopez, Oprah Winfrey, the list goes on and on and on. So, they literally kill those media people with kindness and I'm afraid to say, shower them with a good time.

And this is what Israel cannot afford to do, because Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, has people to account for the money he's going to spend. That's why he doesn't travel first class, like the King on six private jets with his small family of five people.

So, that said, the main concept here is the fact that, who is this current King of Jordan? The average American, the average Israeli lives on the legacy of King Hussein. King Hussein was not a peaceful man. King Hussein knew his limits. He knew he could not defeat Israel, he tried twice. So, he came back to his senses and he decided to make peace, which is not a voluntary peace. We need to be honest. He could not defeat Israel. The only reason he did not fight Israel is because he no longer was able to fight Israel. He tried twice. He occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank when he should have not done so, for 19 years. Even 1973, there was a big war, for the listeners who are probably not aware about it. And he joined when he thought the Israelis were losing. But he knew his limits, he was logical. This young man, let's start at where he is today.

Nehemia: And this is King Abdullah.

Mudar: This is King Abdullah of Jordan, who is married to the beautiful Queen Rania, who is also a Palestinian, by the way. So, lately we have seen the stabbing things, terrorist crimes in Israel. This is what Israel said, “Jordan is a major contributor to the unrest in Jerusalem through exaggeration of events in both action and propaganda.” The Israeli Embassy in Amman protested twice that Jordan's state media - I'm not talking about state-controlled media, I'm talking official state media - is calling for the stabbing of the Jews, “the expansion of stabbing operations, which is a model that should be expanded and tolerated.” Imagine.

Nehemia: Let me just repeat that. So, the state media in Jordan is calling for stabbing of Jews and terrorist attacks.

Mudar: Not even indicating, calling literally for stabbing Jews.

Nehemia: And I want to bring something controversial up. So, there was a 13-year-old Palestinian boy who stabbed another 13-year-old Jewish boy who was riding a bicycle. And then, the Palestinian President said that he was shot dead. It wasn't true, he actually survived and is been prosecuted. You're saying that the Kingdom of Jordan bears some responsibility for inciting that little 13-year-old boy, who probably doesn't know any better. But he's hearing this from his own people, he's hearing this from the King of Jordan that they should go out and stab Jews. Is that what you're saying?

Mudar: Yes, absolutely that, and the evidence is there. And the King is obviously anti-Israel. He has worked openly against Israel's interest. His statements were clear. The last statement was, “We would fight to prevent Israel from provoking people in Jerusalem through both Christian and Muslim sites.” Which is not true. Israel has never attacked Christian or Muslim sites.

And on top of that, there was never an Israeli soldier inside the church. They go through the mosque, through some unfortunate events, for certain reasons, but these statements are uncalled for. The King obviously has an anti-Israeli agenda. This might not be statesmanlike to say, but I know someone who is now a very successful businessman in the United States, very respected in New York, who went to school with Jordan's King when he was a teenager in Massachusetts. And he told me - and that person knows the king, and I'm still in touch with him today – he told me how anti-Semitic the King was as a teenager. He told me he used the word "terrorist" to describe Israel.

Nehemia: So, he's not just anti-Israel, you're saying King Abdullah is anti-Semitic, a Jew hater.

Mudar: I have no doubt about that, because one of his family, his sister-in-law, during the last Gaza war, posted a video on Twitter, and this is a public person. Imagine if President Obama's sister in law posted something on Twitter. She posted a video for a crazy man called Brother Nathanael.

Nehemia: I've heard of him, he's a vicious anti-Semite.

Mudar: Yeah, he's an openly anti-Semitic person.

Nehemia: And, by the way, if President Obama's sister did it, it would be different, because America really is a democracy and he has no control over his sister. But things aren't really like that in Jordan, are they? Meaning, if the King's sister did something that he didn't like, she might find herself in all kinds of trouble.

Mudar: In jail, literally in jail, if not killed if necessary.

Nehemia: So, there's at least a tacit approval of the King.

Mudar: Oh no, open approval.

Nehemia: Open approval, okay.

Mudar: Listen to what the King says and does, not only what he does. The King is openly anti-Semitic, always calling for trouble against Israel, always bashing Israel in the United Nations, even bashing Israel inside the US Congress. And this needs possibly another two episodes of your show to explain what's really happening in the Congress.

Nehemia: So, the King of Jordan is an anti-Semite, and he's anti-Israel. And look, he's looking out for the interests of his country, I guess you could say his apartheid country. What's your solution? You're the head of the Jordanian Opposition Coalition. What is your solution? What do you want to see happen?

Mudar: Okay, listen, we need to be realistic. Jordan is a strategic partner to the US. Very few of you realize there's thousands and again, I say thousands of US soldiers stationed in Jordan.

Nehemia: Wait a second, there are thousands of US combat troops in the Kingdom of Jordan?

Mudar: Combat troops in the Kingdom of Jordan.

Nehemia: I don't think anybody...Well, I'm sure, obviously, some people know about that. But I'm pretty sure most people in my audience have never heard about that.

Mudar: 12,500.

Nehemia: 12,000 US soldiers. And so, look, the average person, maybe, who's listening to this, who knows a little bit about it, is thinking, “Well, okay, so he's an anti-Semite.” This is what the Israelis are for sure thinking, “He's an anti-Semite. But what do you want, to bring in the Muslim Brotherhood or ISIS? Isn't that our alternative?”

Mudar: No, absolutely not. Let's be clear here, it's better to keep Jordan safe and stable. But we need to know that there are intelligence reports that the King may not hold on to power for too long. First of all, many of your audience may like or not like Hillary Clinton. But Hilary Clinton, she said something we know is true. She said that, “We should not be pushing the peace process on the Israelis and the Palestinians, because Jordan's future is not clear, and we don't know if Jordan will remain stable.” She was, according to the Washington Post, the first American former US official who would openly reckon that Jordan's King may not actually last.

The Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence, is one of the most effective intelligence institutions in the galaxy. And there was a leak a year ago, that they thought that Jordan's King will be Jordan's last King. So, the question is, what will happen once this King leaves? t's not about, he's a bad guy, we should get rid of him. It's about, this guy may not make it. What are our other options?

Nehemia: And let me read a quote from one of your articles. You wrote, “The King's minister of political reform said on Al Jazeera…” and now this is a quote from King Abdullah's minister of political reform, “The Muslim Brotherhood is a part of the Hashemite regime.” What?

Mudar: Yes, yes, and the King himself said that in another interview with the Atlantic Magazine, and you can look that up. It's called, “The Modern King in the Arab Spring.”

Nehemia: We'll post the link to that.

Mudar: Okay. He said that the margin of distrust between him and the Muslim Brotherhood is only 10 percent. So, he basically trusts the Muslim Brotherhood by 90 percent.

Nehemia: While he, at the same time, persecutes... Like you're an Orthodox Muslim who wants a secular government.

Mudar: I am a secularist leader who wants separation of church and state, or mosque and state, in Jordan.

Nehemia: Even though you are an Orthodox Muslim, right?

Mudar: Yeah, yeah, I keep my religion at home. I want a secular state that's not an Islamic State.

Nehemia: The Islamists, the Muslim Brotherhood, they're encouraged by the King Abdullah of Jordan. At the same time, he persecutes people who want a secular government, is that right?

Mudar: I was sentenced to life in prison for “trying to change the political system of the country, and having a foul month against the King.”

Nehemia: I love that they said in the thing I read that you had long tongue. That must be some Arab expression?

Mudar: Yes.

Nehemia: Because that's not an expression in Hebrew or English that I'm familiar with, but it means a foul mouth, I guess. Basically, you insulted the King of Jordan, the way they see it. And more importantly, you said he shouldn't be ruling, there should be democracy. And for that you were sentenced to life imprisonment while you're living in exile in London.

Mudar: Yeah, while on the other hand, the Muslim Brotherhood, they march against America and against Israel all day in Jordan, under the supervision and guidance of the Police. This is not a theory. This is not just something I'm saying. I've documented this. There is enough documentation of the connection between the King and the Muslim Brotherhood. They are a part of the regime.

I'll give you just one quick example. In 2012, I singlehandedly launched a million-man revolution in Jordan, a population of barely eight million. That revolution was countered and attacked by the Muslim Brotherhood figures. So, we have, basically, an anti-Semitic King who is not even shy about that, and a King who is openly pro Muslim Brotherhood.

He was asked by TV interviewer Charlie Rose, I think a few months ago, about the Muslim Brotherhood, and his answer was, “Well, they are a legitimate entity.” So, the only country in the world now that allows the Muslim Brotherhood, the only country in this planet that allows them is Jordan and Sudan, which is an Islamic State.

Nehemia: Wow. So, in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood is illegal, am I right?

Mudar: In Saudi Arabia they put them in jail.

Nehemia: In Saudi Arabia they put them in jail?

Mudar: Imagine, Saudi puts them in jail, and the King allows them to have…

Nehemia: The King of Jordan.

Mudar: The King of Jordan, he allows them to have TVs, radios. He allows them to have their own TV, their own radio, and their own trust fund which is worth $3 billion.

Nehemia: Wow, so they're actually a registered charity in Jordan. And they're amassing this war chest that, you know, they're not going to use it for hospitals, probably, most of it.

Mudar: Yeah.

Nehemia: Because this is the way I think a lot of the people in the world see it, certainly in Israel, it's, “Well, we could have the King Abdullah, who maybe hates us. He's probably like his father. Or we could have the Muslim Brotherhood or ISIS.” And you're saying that's a false dilemma. That really, if you have the King of Jordan, you really do have the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mudar: Yeah, you already have the Muslim Brotherhood. First of all, there was a claim that he was launching a war against ISIS. Just check the facts, you don't have to believe me. Only six Jordanian jets were involved against ISIS. And after that, the six Jordanian jets stopped flying against ISIS. They operated for only 60 days and he stopped flying against ISIS after that.

Nehemia: One of them was shot down, right? That was the guy who was burned. That's horrible.

Mudar: Poor kid. Yes, I know his cousin and I know the details, that's a different story. Anyways, on top of that, there was a claim that the King himself was flying jets. The King doesn't fly jets.

Nehemia: His father did.

Mudar: His father did, but he doesn't. There was also the claim that the King is protecting the borders. How could the King explain that 3,500… that 10 percent of ISIS fighters came from Jordan?

Nehemia: Wow.

Mudar: And so, it's basically an average of four ISIS fighters crossed the border from Jordan into ISIS land every day, under the King's nose. Even if he has good intentions, this is doing a very bad job. Now, what are the other options? I need to warn people, we believe the King is gonna fall. The Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence, believes the King is gonna fall. Hillary Clinton, who obviously has advisors and she has heard it somewhere where she can trust it to bring it on television, that he also is gonna fall. So, it's either that you support us, the secularists, the Jordanian Opposition Coalition, either you support us and help us come to power, or that the Muslim Brotherhood are going to fill the gap and we're going to end up with another Islamic State, which is a disaster for everyone, including Israel.

What's the problem? So, we are powerful, we are influential. We have documented our influence that the Jordanian streets listen to us and they like us, and that most of them are not pro Muslim Brotherhood. Unlike the situation, for example, inside Israel. The Palestinians inside Israel, they are very Islamized, very pro-Hamas, very pro-ISIS in most cases.

Now, how can he support us? Some might ask, “If you are so popular, why are you worried? You're going to win the election.” It's not as simple as that. The CIA and the US Department of State are not talking to us at all. The US Department of State in Jordan, the embassy in Amman, is talking only to the Muslim Brotherhood, and this is documented. Again, everything I say today is documented. Your audience could come back to you and say, “We need evidence for XYZ, whatever he said,” and I'm willing to provide it.

The US Department of State is not talking to us. They don't recognize we exist. The CIA doesn't talk to us at all. We need you to write to your Congress, if you want to bring peace, if you want Jordan to remain stable.

Nehemia: Guys, pay attention. This is a call to action. This is something that you can actually do. You've now been educated on some of the issues. And look, when King Abdullah goes, if he goes, which is a strong possibility, you could end up with ISIS, you could end up with the Muslim Brotherhood. And here's the third option. All right, now Mudar, tell them what they can do.

Mudar: The third option is us, the Jordanian Opposition Coalition. We want you to contact your Congress member. We want you to tell him and her, “These people, Mudar Zahran…” and you can Google my name. “Why is the US government refusing to talk to him? Why are they ignoring him? Why are they not even giving him a hearing? Why are they tolerating and talking only to the Muslim Brotherhood? Do they want Jordan to become another ISIS?” Please write to your congressman to save the day, and you're not asking for too much. You're telling him, “The guy says that he and his groups are seculars. Why are you refusing to even listen to them?” So, this is what we need from you, and this is what you can do for us and for peace, and for Israel and the United States. Now, Nehemia, let me be clear.

Nehemia: Please.

Mudar: When we come to power, what we want to do is two things. First, we want to honor the peace agreement with Israel and expand it, and stop the terrorist incitement which is ongoing for years now under this King. Second, we want to expand our cooperation with the United States, especially in the war on terror, which the King is not doing. And third, we want to ban all Islamist groups in Jordan. We want to shut down Hamas offices. We want to shut down the Muslim Brotherhood. And, by the way, for those who didn't know, the central command of the Muslim Brotherhood for the world, at least the Middle East, is in Jordan.

Nehemia: Really?

Mudar: So, we want to get rid of all of those together. That's our promise, and that's what we're seeking to do.

Nehemia: Wow, and it's located in Amman, a few blocks away from the palace of King Abdullah.

Mudar: It’s four miles away from the King's palace, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Nehemia: And this isn't a secret, like everybody knows where this is. It's an officially recognized institution that's apparently part of the Hashemite regime, the Hashemite government.

Mudar: Yeah, exactly. How could the King be fighting ISIS when the headquarters of the universal Muslim Brotherhood is four miles away from his bedroom?

Nehemia: Now, you wrote something in your articles, I want to get back to a little bit of detail here. This was really a surprise to me, because I think some who do know more about the situation will say, “Well, wait a minute. Al Zarqawi, who is one of the top people in Al Qaeda, he was from Jordan. And all these other figures, the guy who killed all those CIA people in Afghanistan, he was from Jordan.” And one of the things you mentioned in the article is that those terrorists actually came from the 12 percent of the population that's Bedouin. Is that right?

Mudar: That's absolutely true. I represent my people. I don't make a difference between them based on their heritage. I see them all as Jordanians. But on the other hand, the terrorist you mentioned, to be honest, all of them came from Bedouin backgrounds. Mr. Al-Balawi, who killed seven CIA officers, including one whom I've worked with in Jordan, he was a Bedouin and he was hired by the King's intelligence. The other guy, Mr. Zarqawi, was also released by a royal pardon by the King. So, we're looking at recklessness here from the King's government.

Now, where do most of my people stand? Most of my people do not like Israel, but most of my people do not want an Islamic State. Why am I saying that with confidence? You walk down Amman or go to the beach in Jordan, and you will see the way people dress, the way women dress, the way people act. The way people celebrate and behave is very secular. In many places, my American friends in Amman, they told me, many of them, that they don't actually feel the difference, as if it's a western country. So, you're talking about the population that hates Israel but is not willing to go to war with Israel. And trust me, I know a lot of countries that do not necessarily like Jews, but they're not willing to accept an Islamist rule. So, that's the difference.

Nehemia: And here's a quote from one of your articles. You wrote, “We would never agree to our Palestinian brothers being deported from Ramallah to Amman. Nonetheless, they should become Jordanian citizens residing in Israel, not citizens of a Jewish Israel.” In other words, you see Jordan as representing the Palestinian people, is that right? ‘Cause it's 88 percent Palestinian already.

Mudar: It's not only that. Okay, what most of you do not realize, every single Palestinian on the planet holds a Jordanian passport.

Nehemia: Really?

Mudar: Including the Palestinians in Jerusalem, including the Palestinians in the West Bank, including the Palestinians in Gaza. In other words, I've never heard of people who have a country holding its passport, who are still being called refugees, and still being discussed as a bargaining chip by the King and Abbas. And allow me to mention, the Palestinian President, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, holds a Jordanian passport.

Nehemia: Really? Can we talk for a minute about the refugees? So, the whole world right now is hearing about how hundreds of thousands of Syrians and Afghanis are walking to Germany. And I was listening to some of these testimonies about how they were in these camps for a few weeks, and sometimes months. And then, within a relatively short period of time, these refugees, who are legitimately refugees fleeing horrible war conditions, they will then get a German citizenship.

And what you're telling me is, you had all these Palestinians who left Palestine during Israel's… What we call the War of Independence, I guess Palestinians will call it the Nakba, during that event. And they're now third, maybe fourth generation in Jordan, being treated as second-class citizens. I mean, why is it that they can walk out of Syria and get citizenship within a year, or something like that, and now you're a third or fourth generation?

Mudar: You're making it a little complicated, let's make it simpler. An illegal alien crossing the borders to El Paso, Texas, she could deliver a baby half-an-hour after she crossed the borders and that baby is an American. In our case, we've spent 70 years holding Jordanian passports. That's seven generations that my great-grandfather is holding a Jordanian passport, and Jordan's King is still, according to latest Wikileaks cables, negotiating with the Americans that he should be getting “$55 billion for ‘hosting the Palestinian refugees.’” This is ridiculous.

Nehemia: The ones born in his country?

Mudar: Yes.

Nehemia: Wait, so does that include his wife?

Mudar: Yeah, yeah. That's an excellent question.

Nehemia: That's ridiculous.

Mudar: This is all ridiculous. People are not educated about the issue. But to make a long story short, he is always selling a propaganda that's not true. This is my very simple message. You will wake up tomorrow, watching TV, listening to the King declaring that he is stepping down. And Jordan's going to fill into a vacuum. And then there's going to be the Muslim Brotherhood jumping in, because your government is not talking to Jordan's secular. It does not even recognize they exist, unless you act today, unless you help us.

Nehemia: Okay, so how can they act? What can they do? And it's got to be simple. You know, I've got people right now who are listening to this on the treadmill at the gym. They're not going to go write a long letter. What can they do that's really simple?

Mudar: It's simple. Write to your congressmen just three lines. “Mr. or Mrs. Congressman or Congresswoman, I've heard about this guy called Mudar Zahran. He is the leader of seculars in Jordan. Our government is not talking to him and ignoring him. We understand that Jordan could be subject to change like other Arab countries. Why are you not talking to him? Could you please, Mr. or Mrs. Congressman Congresswoman, write to the CIA or the Department of State, telling them you have to talk to this guy.”

Nehemia: Okay, and I'm going to post this on my website with a link, where as soon as you get off the treadmill, as soon as you finish with your walk in the park, go to nehemiaswall.com, and there'll be a link on the webpage for this interview. And you can take action, you can do something.

And if you don't, we might end up with the Muslim Brotherhood over here across the river in Jordan. We might end up with ISIS or Al Nusra, we might end up with all three of them fighting. That's probably what will happen, we'll end up with all three of them fighting each other, along with maybe some Hezbollah people, and who knows what else is going to… Can you just say, really briefly, really quickly a couple of words about what's going on in Syria? I mean, is this a struggle between the Iranians and the Sunnis? Do you have any thoughts on that, what's going on in Syria?

Mudar: Well, it's basically a struggle between Iran versus the semi-powers inside Syria, Assad, Hezbollah. And believe it or not, and this is documented, for the last two years, Jordan's King has been in line with Assad, helping him. Yeah, yeah, this is documented, this is not a theory. He's helping him, because he's afraid that if Assad falls, he's going to be next.

So, this is documented, that intelligence-wise he's been cooperating with Assad. Now, on the other hand, there is Saudi Arabia spearheading the fight, and there's also the radical groups caught in the middle. What's the outcome? The outcome is that the war is going to remain consistent, in my opinion, for another 5 to 10 years. But now we have Syria as the Ivy League of terrorist education. Most of those, there's up to 20,000 Western passport holders, including Americans fighting in Syria. And those are going to return home eventually, and you’re going to hear about their operations in Texas and elsewhere.

So, in my opinion, there should be a clear ban on all Western citizens from even visiting Syria. If you could make a ban on visiting Cuba, you should make it clear that any American, even Muslim or non-Muslim, visiting Syria is actually going to face prosecution. To conclude, I can imagine major terrorist operations carried out by American and European citizens, actually Muslims, who are returning from Syria.

Nehemia: Wow.

Mudar: I can see that happen in the very foreseen future. Also, let's just remember, this is the first militia war in history in which the militias operate fighter jets.

Nehemia: Wow. Welcome to the 21st century, this is scary. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me, and I hope my listeners will hear about this. And look, why is this important for me? Because I live in Israel, and I've been duped to think that the Kingdom of Jordan is our friend. And what you're telling me is that they're in league with the Muslim Brotherhood, inciting people against Israel, to keep themselves in power and at the head of this apartheid regime where they keep 88 percent of their population as second-class citizens.

And all you're saying is, look, let's at least explore the option of a secular government. And so, this is important for me over here. We don't want war, we want peace, ultimately. And it's really refreshing to hear somebody from the Arab-Palestinian-Jordanian side who is talking about peace in some kind of realistic way, instead of maintaining a perpetual state of war.

And one last quote from you, a really powerful quote. You said, “We Arabs have given our dictators carte blanche to impoverish, terrorize, oppress and destroy us all in the name of the great Arab struggle to end the Zionist entity.” In other words, what these dictators in Arab countries have done, if I'm understanding correctly, is they've used the great Zionist, meaning Israeli, boogeyman, to keep their people in this. It's almost Orwellian, like in 1984 where we've got this external enemy. So, even though we're persecuting our people and we're keeping them in this state of oppression, you need us because we're defending you against the external enemy.

Wow. I mean, this is a very different way of looking at the situation, and it's not even presented this way in the Israeli left-wing media. And so, I think this is an important perspective to be aware of.

Mudar: Nehemia, as we speak, just two minutes ago, breaking news from Jordan. Shooting in downtown Amman, which is allegedly a very safe city, and two American citizens killed. Also, just the other day, two American women were thrown off a building in Amman.

Nehemia: Were thrown off a building?

Mudar: Yes, a very horrifying death. So, four Americans killed in Jordan in less than 72 hours.

Nehemia: And who's doing this? Who do you think is doing the killing?

Mudar: It's not clear, but basically, the country is no longer safe. Basically, the country is now in turmoil, and the worst is to come. Allow me just to mention to your audience that a year ago, when I was saying Jordan is not safe and not stable, I was ridiculed by everyone who actually has a connection to Jordan. And now, two Americans shot point blank in Amman, less than half-an-hour ago.

Nehemia: Wow. Well, again, I'm gonna end this program with thanking you for taking the time. I mean, I'm really honored that I got to speak to the head of the Jordanian Opposition Coalition. It's really an honor. I really want to end with a prayer for peace. I think the Palestinian people, they deserve to be treated as human beings and not live in third generation, fourth generation for 70 years in Jordan as second-class citizens.

And look, we've got issues on this side of the river, I'm not going to pretend we don't. But to find out that's going on over there and the Palestinians are suffering that, that breaks my heart. They should be treated like human beings.

Mudar: In my opinion, 90 percent of what you see on television regarding the Palestinian and Israeli conflict is exaggerated, unfair, biased, and to a great extent, anti-Semitic. Thank you very much for having me today. Peace, Shalom. As-Salaamu alaykum and God bless your listeners.

Nehemia: Okay, thank you, Mudar. Shalom and Salaam.

Mudar: Salaamu aleykum.

Nehemia: This episode of Hebrew Voices was sponsored by listeners in Alberta, Canada. Thank you. Toda.

You have been listening to Hebrew Voices with Nehemia Gordon. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon’s Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at NehemiasWall.com.

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Bio: Mudar Zahran is a Jordanian Palestinian writer and the secretary general of the Jordanian Opposition Coalition. He was born in Amman, Jordan. He has two master's degrees from Southern New Hampshire University and a PhD in Middle Eastern banking in the UK. Before seeking asylum in the UK, Zahran was serving as Economic Specialist and Assistant Policy Coordinator at the US Embassy in Amman, serving also the US Embassy in Baghdad. During his work at the US Embassy, Zahran covered critical and sensitive matters regarding Jordan, reporting to two US ambassadors, with his reports being forwarded to the US Department of State, the US Department of Treasury, the CIA, the US Department of Homeland Security and, occasionally, the FBI.

Mudar Zahran, Jordanian Opposition Coalition:
"Write to your congressman just three lines:

Mr. or Mrs. Congressman/ Congresswoman, I've heard about Mudar Zahran of the Jordanian Opposition Coalition. He is the leader of seculars in Jordan. Our government is not talking to him and ignoring him. We understand that Jordan could be subject to change like other Arab countries. Could you please, Mr. or Mrs. Congressman or Congresswoman, write to the CIA or the Department of State and tell them, 'You have to talk to this person.'"


1920 CE- Original Jewish State

1922 CE- Final Territory Assigned to the Jewish State

  • Chris says:

    Brother Nathaniel, whom you mentioned, is anti-Zionist, but he is also a Jew so how can he be anti-Semitic? haha

  • Brian says:

    I would have hoped you would stay away from the political side Nehemia. Now that you have opened this up maybe you should now do some research on the Palestinian Christians that Israel is determined to eradicate from Bethlehem and the other side of the checkpoint. Many of these Christians can trace their existence to the same spot and house

    • Geoff Robinson says:


      I presume you are talking about the Bethlehem Bible College group and their Christ at the Checkpoint conference. They are a very small minority group of Palestinian Christians who side politically with Palestinian National Authority. They side with many progressive liberal Christians in blessing the PNA and promote the destruction of Israel. Yes, they are persecuted, but not by Israel. Nobody in that group criticizes the PNA for obvious reasons. Israel gave the lands controlled by the PNA, including the community of Bethlehem, autonomy or self rule in about 1995 or 1996. The Checkpoint into Jerusalem is not there to persecute the Bethlehem Christians, but rather to protect against PNA terrorists. Oddly, several of the Bethlehem Bible College instructors live in Nazereth, Israel, have Israeli citizenship and pass through the checkpoint on a daily basis when they teach. Instead of encouraging their students, staff and supporters to open a dialog about peace for everyone, they blame Israel and look to international law to drive the Jews into the sea.

      I suspect Nehemia is aware of this group and can correct my comments if I have miss represented them.



      FYI – I have a friend from Wheaton that actively promotes the CATC conferences. I have listened to every YouTube presentation they publish. Gary Burge is a liberal christian seminary professor that drives much of their theology. They are a very anti-Israel group. They promote replacement theology claiming Christianity replaces the Jewish people and the World replaces the land of Israel.

      • verdiblue says:

        hi Geoff – no I was not referring to this group. no I do not support their pro Palestinian stance and by that I mean the plo not the local population. there were many Christians in Bethlehem some years ago but their number is dwindling. and in answer to sarah id say that tho there may be some truth in what you say it doesn’t absolve Israel from the damage that has been done there. actually its probably the only place in Israel that one could mention the name of jesus without being spit on. yes ive been there. I can remember well the group of Christians I met in tel aviv where they were having a get together in a park but had to temper their words in the CHRISTIAN songs they were singing. freedom indeed. you might want to check the rosy relationship Israel had with iran as well. where did iran get their missile technology from? Israel.

        • Neville Newman says:

          Verdiblue , please provide *primary* sources for that last claim (re. missles).

        • Neville Newman says:

          You wrote:
          “probably the only place in Israel that one could mention the name of jesus without being spit on”

          In my experience there over several visits, this is definitely not accurate.

    • Sarah says:

      I am sorry to inform you that you are very misinformed about the situation of Christians in Beit Lechem (aka as Bethlehem). Prior to the Oslo Agreement whereby this area was transferred from Israeli control to FULL “Palestinian” Authority control, Christians thrived and lived peacefully and safely there. It was the Arab Muslim takeover and its attack on Christians that pushed them out. NOT the Jews of Israel. ALL Christian sites within pre-67 Israel are fully protected as are its Christians. And had it not been for Arab snipers shooting at cars driving on the by-pass road and suicide bombers coming from Bethlehem and attacking Jews in Jerusalem, the “Protection Wall” would never have been built. I was personally held up for an hour at the entrance to Bethlehem while the Israeli ambulance crew checked a Arab woman who claimed to be in labor and wanted to be taken to a hospital in Israel. Upon examination it was discovered that her BUMP was in fact a bomb belt. PLEASE become more educated as to the facts before you make conclusions. And YES, as the other commenter states, Christian Arabs are JUST AS ANTI-SEMITIC and anti-Israel as their Muslim brothers. They simply cannot accept or tell the truth (that their own people cause them misery) and so the party that gets blamed is ALWAYS the Jews and Israel. Is truly sad because the Christians in Israel have more freedom and a better life than Christians anywhere else in the Middle East.

    • Miri says:

      What a lie! The moslems have driven them out, molested their daughters, stolen property, intimidated shop owners, on & on. The Israelis GAVE Bethlechem to the pa. What? You arabs don’t like your fellow arab moslems taking it from you?

  • Walter Schwenk says:

    No matter how good a game he talks, how sincere or honest, we need to be realistic. After regime changes in Iran (1953), Afghanistan, Iraq, libya, egypt, syria, etc, etc, most orchestrated or aided by the cia and other us interests, what do we have to show for it but a 20 trillion $ national debt, millions of corpses, failed states, millions of refugees, 9-11, etc, etc. I say “just leave well enough alone, mind our relationship with yhwh, humbly seek justice and kindness… IN OUR OWN BACK YARD FIRST”.

    • Walter Schwenk says:

      Support the opposition…. “Oh.. You mean just like we did in Syria?”

      • Walter Schwenk says:

        Sorry, more holes in this story than a ton of swiss cheese. First, if secular Arab gov’ts are so great, why did we “have to” get rid of Mubarrak, Kaddaffi, and Saddam? If Muslim democracy is so great, why did we have to get rid of the president of Iran in the 1953 operation ajax? And second, the cia that Mr Zahran wants us to have recognize him is aka “regime change by any means R us”. No thanks.

  • Craig Pinsker says:

    Something is wrong with his statements. They are internally inconsistent. How can some 20 people be 20% of a population 5-6 million? Wikipedia has an article about the man. I was touring Jordan 5 years ago. I was told that the King’s people were about 2 million of the citizens with 3 million citizens identifying as Palestinians. In addition there are about one million “Palestinian Refugees” who are non citizens. From a distance we could see tents as we drove near a camp. I see a mixture of true and false statements by Zahran. When I see this about the information that I know, I question the truth of the rest, and can’t support him.

  • mark says:

    shalom nehemiah. In the interview your guest mentioned that every plaestinian carries a Jordanian passport, correct me if I am wrong, is it possible that I could see for myself an actual picture of such a passport owned by an palestinian.

  • Mark says:

    Surprising that this historical information isn’t more widely known. It’s the first I’ve heard of this earlier “Two State” treaty. I see the benefits of supporting a ‘potentially’ moderate secular democratic government as opposed to the known anti Israel muslim brotherhood taking control of Jordan.

    However, I see this subject a different way. I cannot put my support to any version of a “Two State Solution” including this one. Because, I think it opposes the will of the God of Abraham in that it trades land for peace. The Creator of the universe promised to give ALL of the land from the Nile to the Euphrates to the Son’s of Israel. Look at a map.

    Great podcast but, I won’t be writing my representatives.

    • Walter Schwenk says:

      Mark, not from the “nile”, but from the “brook of egypt” (wadi el-arish), the recognized border of ancient, and sort of modern egypt.

      • Neville Newman says:

        Definitely one possibility, but definitely not one with universal agreement..

        • Walter Schwenk says:

          Very little in the bible gets “universal agreement”, but it is good enough for me…

          Israel’s borders could have expanded, I expect, for a long time, but it would have depended on their national faithfulness.

          The promise however, was “from the brook (not river) of egypt to the river parath. This was achieved in the time of david and solomon. (from bible)

          • Neville Newman says:

            I certainly agree about the reach of Israel being at or at least very near the promised boundaries during the reign of David and Solomon.

            My reading and study indicates to me that the Nile (rather than the wadi) was the more likely western border. It could possibly be the wadi, I will grant. Joshua appears to have conquered all the way back down to the Nile delta, however. I do not believe the reference to him conquering all the way to Goshen is referring to a little hamlet in the Judean hills. I believe it more likely refers to the land where Jacob’s family lived for generations and had purchased land, prior to Joseph’s dying and falling out of favor (not necessarily in that order).

  • Neville says:

    Nehemia, I am sure that in the interest of time and other considerations, portions of your interviews end up “on the cutting room floor.”

    Did you discuss with Mr. Zahran his retraction/apology several years ago of his op-ed calling Jordan an apartheid state? That incident seems very odd, given that Zahran even published a letter from his father (who was still in Jordan) in which the elder Zahran lays out what he said were the many ways that “Palestinians” were being given special *favorable* treatment by the Jordanian government.

    Somebody there is either confused or bowing to pressure and propaganda. Both can’t be right. Zahran has now gone back on his promise, so the obvious question is: Why?

    • Neville says:

      Just to be clear, I think it is quite possible that he meant everything he said about Jordan in 2010, apologized because he didn’t want to bring trouble on his family, but then over the last several years decided that he could no longer be quiet about the situation.

      I think that Israel is entitled to far more land than it has today, and far more than the 1922 “postponed” mandate or even the 1920 originally proposed mandate (which included all of what ultimately became Jordan). My reading and understanding of scripture is that Yehovah promised Israel a big chunk of what is presently Saudi Arabia and western coastal Egypt as well.

      But… there is so much more complexity to last 100 years of the situation over there that I’d like to hear about!

  • sandra iventosch says:

    Thank you Nehemiah for the incredible insight. I have written my congressman, our state’s senators and our new President. Now I will contact the real leader daily, through unrelenting prayer!

  • Martin says:

    Shalom,Shalom may YHVH bless your hands in all that your doing to get this information out to all persons who follow the TRUTH thank you.

  • Miri~ says:

    Finally! A voice of reason! My heart was racing, hearing this stunning interview with the truth, so encouraging, I listened 3x. I had no idea such a man/movement was out there! This is an “untouchable” subject: Jordan was always/is the Falestinian state!
    Put him on Breitbart Jerusalem and get him more exposure!
    I pray that Zahran gets the exposure he needs and deserves, and Trump and Kushner will receive him and what he stands for!
    You are entering a new level of journalism, going into orbit!

  • prayunceasing says:

    Done have written my Congressman. I would encourage others to do so also.

  • Aron Brackeen says:

    My, oh my Nehemia…I’m so glad you are not sitting around waiting for the next New Moon. Your willingness to find and interview Mudar Zahran elevates you into the real school of journalism. The discussion was frighteningly fascinating; history, current events, future implications. Thanks for the script for U.S. action per Mudar’s instruction. Oh…and now that you have given voice to Mudar’s “long tongue”, consider wearing a kevlar vest. Thank you very much for bringing this perspective to us.