NEW YORK (Aug. 21)
The French government has facilitated a French university’s review of a doctoral dissertation by Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlas because Tlas is a key figure in negotiations to release French hostages in Lebanon, according to a report from Paris Thursday.
The report, which could not be confirmed, indicated that the French government asked the university, Paris Eleven, to assign a professor to supervise Tlas’s dissertation. Tlas recently published a book entitled “The Matzah of Zion,” which revives the anti-Semitic blood libel.
Paris Eleven assigned a professor from the faculty of Law to supervise Tlas’s dissertation in April, according to the report.
Jewish and civil rights groups in the U.S. and Paris have sent protests to the French government urging the university system not to give legitimacy to Tlas’s intellectual endeavors in light of the intellectually dishonest “Matzah of Zion.”
But French and Western authorities see Tlas as a power broker in Syrian-orchestrated releases of western hostages in Lebanon.
The first indication that Tlas would receive a doctorate from a French university came in an interview with the popular French journalist, Katherine Nay, published in the French magazine, “Jour de France.”
Nay interviewed the General in his home in Syria, where he told her he was looking forward to visiting France in November to defend his dissertation at the Sorbonne. The latest report though indicated that Paris Eleven, not the Sorbonne, has received the Tlas dissertation for consideration.
According to Nay’s article, Tlas said he wrote his dissertation on the strategy of the celebrated Soviet World War II Red Army Marshal Zhukov.
At the time the French government made the reported arrangements, it had no knowledge of Tlas’s “Matzah of Zion” in which he tried to present “documentation” that the Jews once used Christian blood to make matzah for Passover.
The French, American, British and Canadian governments have all received letters protesting “The Matzah of Zion.” All the governments, with the exception of France, responded by condemning the work and promised to look into the matter further.