July 09, 2002
An Invitation to the United Arab Emirates

I received an invitation for an all-expense paid trip to give a talk in the United Arab Emirates.

Well, I only received the invitation, I wasn't the one invited. The intended recipient was Juergen W. Moellemann, the German politician whose bizarre story I've been tracking on my website dedicated to him, www.moellemann.com (Among other things, Moellemann has gone out of his way to accuse German Jewish community leaders of fueling anti-Semitism). The invitation says this:

Dear Mr. Mollemann,
We, at Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-up, Abu Dhabi, UAE highly appreciate your impressive stances regarding the Jewish anti-Semitism claims. We also underscore your sincere efforts in promoting ties between the Arabs and Germans in your capacity as the President of German-Arab Society. Thus we seek to get closer to your thoughts and ideas and acquaint our audience with them.

Accordingly, we have the pleasure to invite your to give a lecture at Zayed Centre on one of the topics related to the controversy on Semitism, preferably during the month of October, 2002. The Centre will bear all expenses related to ticket and accommodation.

the complete PDF of the invitation is here. I guess they sent it to me at the moellemann.com contact email because they thought that the site belongs to Moellemann, even though the site's commentary is less than favorable to him, and even though there is a clear disclaimer that the site is in no way connected to Moellemann.

The Zayed Centre is a fascinating organization. Their mission, according to their About Us page is:

In cognizance of the principles and objectives of the League of Arab States, in response to the invitation of H.H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan President of the United Arab Emirates, in implementation of the “Final Communiqué and Declaration of Abu Dhabi” emanating from the Abu Dhabi Symposium organized on 2-4/11/1997 on the “Future of the Arab Nation and the Role of the League of Arab States” under the auspices of H.H. Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, what the Symposium confirmed about the importance of establishing a working regional mechanism (An Office for Coordination and Follow-Up) which would endeavor to highlight the concept of Arab Solidarity in the political, economic, cultural, social and inter-Arab relations, and to contribute to the activation of institutions and organizations for joint Arab Action with a national character such as the League of Arab States and other regional groupings.
[Now that's what I call a run-on sentence!]
They publish issue papers with titles like "Central Asia between International Competition and Israeli Interpenetration", " Israeli Penetration in Africa" and Al Buraq Wall not Wailing Wall (proves that the Wailing Wall is part of the Al Aqsa Mosque, which was built more than a thousand years before Solomon built his temple)

The Zayed Centre also invites distinguished lecturers, such as drooling crackpot Lyndon LaRouche, who they describe as a "famous American economist and candidate for Presidential election." and raving lunatic 9/11 conspiracy theory hucksterThierry Meyssan

So Juergen Moellemann would be a stellar addition to their lecture series. The only question for me is: what do I do with this invitation?
1. Send it back, explain their mistake
2. Send it on to Juergen Moellemann
3. Accept the invitation in Moellemann's name, and show up at the Zayed Centre pretending to be him
4. Decline the invitation in Moellemann's name, enclosing outrageous insults toward the Emir of Abu Dhabi
5. Explain that I am not Moellemann, but would be honored to give a lecture to them anyway, as long as they fly me to Abu Dhabi and guarantee my safe return home.
6. If the above, do I, or do I not, disclose that I am a Jew with Zionist sympathies? If so, do I make this disclosure before I go, or after I get there?
7. Forward the letter to some German journalists and let them have fun with it.
8. Post the letter on the web and see what happens.

I welcome your suggestions

UPDATE: Charles Johnson, who has a radar for such things, wrote this entry about the Zayed Centre and their lunatic conferences a few weeks ago

UPDATE (7/25): Die Zeit published an item about this episode

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at July 09, 2002 07:01 AM

Tell them in arcane and academic words: Go fuck yourselves.

Posted by: fred lapides on July 9, 2002 10:18 AM

dear, i vote for 4 & 7
and..my suggested insult for 4 would be "oil soaked bloated tick"

Posted by: Nikita on July 9, 2002 11:29 AM

I vote for plan #3. If you carried it off, you'd be a hero. And it would make one hell of a blog entry.

Posted by: Charles Johnson on July 9, 2002 11:35 AM

I'd vote for #8, but only to accomplish #4, while also doing #7.

A neat trick would be to structure it to basically convey Mr. Lapides suggested response, but have it initially appear to an indiscriminant non-native english speaker to be a gushing acceptance of some sort.

Posted by: Wind Rider on July 9, 2002 12:13 PM

4 and 7! I think that you have already done number 8. How stupid are these people?

Posted by: Eric the CR on July 9, 2002 12:14 PM

1 would be most honest.

3, however, would be by far the most fun, except for the small problem of making sure you were able to get out alive. Imagine the pictures and commentary you could bring back! Imagine the speech you could give! Imagine the reactions...well, that last might be a problem, depending on whether you went with the "Tell them what I really think" tack or the safer "Pretend to be the raving lunatic they think they invited and see just how far I can push it before they catch on" maneuver. (That would be pretty far, for people who think Lyndon Larouche is a respected economist.)

Extra points if the actual Moellemann shows up and you fight it out in surreal fashion over who the real Moellemann is.

5 might be amusing as well, if they would accept a non-Moellemann and don't investigate your views first. (Which presumably they would not, if they're sloppy enough to send you the invitation in the first place.)

6: too dangerous.

Also, there is a 9: ignore it completely and see whether they follow up.

Posted by: jeanne a e devoto on July 9, 2002 12:21 PM

#4 would let you have fun.

#7 would let the Germans have fun.

#8 would let the rest of us have fun.

Posted by: AG in Houston on July 9, 2002 12:33 PM


I would never have the cojones to do it, but if you did that would be real damn cool.

Posted by: James on July 9, 2002 12:42 PM

A safer (and more practical) way to do something fun like #3 and #6 would be to say that you can't travel at the moment, and ask for a live teleconference instead. Local facilities on your end shouldn't be too difficult to come by. Then you can make your speech to the intended audience, and not have to worry about winding up in a UAE jail cell.

No doubt this will cause a great amount of outrage on the part of both Mr. Moellemann and the "Centre," and probably a decent amount of publicity, which you can use to ask just why Mr. Moellemann would be of so much interest to friends of LaRouche and Thierry.

Otherwise, I think you'll have to shell out for your own tickets, or else produce a fake passport in Mr. Moellemann's name. The latter might result in a visit to a German jail cell.

Posted by: E. Nough on July 9, 2002 12:47 PM

Why not ask them for a copy of their report about "Gimmy Carter"?

Posted by: Damian Penny on July 9, 2002 01:03 PM

Before I do anything, I'd make sure you weren't being set up and that this letter is real.

Posted by: Roger Dodger on July 9, 2002 01:14 PM

I think E. Nough is right: a teleconference strikes a balance between playing a practical joke and personal safety. If I could offer a suggestion, contact a German magazine that is into publicity stunts--Stern would do it, maybe Der Spiegel?--and talk to them, seeing if they've got any ideas. Maybe the Zayed people would be willing to meet in a third country (Germany?) and you'd get a free vacation out of this whole thing.

Posted by: Glenn Kinen on July 9, 2002 01:23 PM

Think big!

Tell them it's OK - you're coming - but that other senior FDP (Moellemann's party) members want to speak and attend too (it's such an important venue after all). Then launch a "Best speech" contest right here on your blog. All the best entries win and their authors constitute the "senior FDP members". Fly over there, have the time of your life and let us know what happened. Fly back. See the UAE collapse after taking off. Have it all leaked to mainstream media: "How the UAE were brought down".

Posted by: Chris K on July 12, 2002 06:17 AM

I guess he couldn't hack it, and jumped.... Too bad, so sad.

Posted by: hi on June 5, 2003 08:05 AM

I really love this wonderfull siote

Posted by: dr.hiram on August 23, 2003 12:15 PM
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