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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Miftah attacks me, refuses to condemn its blood libel

Miftah has responded to my exposé of their anti-semitic article last week:
The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy, MIFTAH strongly denounces the smear campaign being carried out against it and, by association, its founder Dr. Hanan Ashrawi. The obscure pro-Israeli website “The Elder of Ziyon” has wrongly accused MIFTAH and Dr. Ashrawi of promoting Jewish blood libel during Passover through its publication of an Arabic-language article that briefly addressed the subject.

The disclaimer at the opening of the “News and Analysis” section clearly states that, “The views represented in [News and Analysis] are solely those of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of MIFTAH, but rather fulfill its mandate for open dialogue.” For the record, to avoid further misunderstanding, Al Zaru’s article has been taken down from MIFTAH’s website.

MIFTAH has and always will promote the principles of democracy and a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Articles published in its name on both its Arabic and English websites are proof of this philosophy. Neither MIFTAH nor Dr. Ashrawi has ever been associated with anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic campaigns due to their philosophy of promoting accurate and credible information. MIFTAH has always been focused on the promotion of the Palestinian narrative in the service of achieving a free, democratic Palestine, part of which is honoring freedom of speech.

It is in this spirit that MIFTAH is deeply disturbed by this recent slander campaign against it. Not only is the premise of their argument erroneous in characterizing MIFTAH and Dr. Ashrawi, but the underlying purpose of sabotaging MIFTAH’s reputation with its international partners is nothing short of abhorrent.

MIFTAH has been in existence for well over decade and has published countless articles on Palestine, which show its true colors. It is fair to say that its work speaks for itself.
This is truly amazing.

The reason they took the article down wasn't because of its pure hate, its slander against an entire people, its invocation of the worst of all historic anti-semitic canards. The reason is "to avoid further misunderstanding."

Let's be clear: An editor at Miftah, an NGO dedicated supposedly to principles of democracy and peace,  saw this article and decided - according to Miftah's own words here - that  the classic blood libel against Jews is a legitimate part of "its mandate for open dialogue."

Fully half of the article talks about the blood libel. It didn't "briefly address the subject," as Miftah's ridiculous attack on me suggests - it was the linchpin of the entire article, asking how President Obama could possibly support Israel and have a Passover Seder at the White House in light of the "fact' that Jews drink Christian blood on Passover. In no way was it only "briefly mentioned." In no possible way was this an oversight.

And yet, even after publishing this, Miftah claims that "Neither MIFTAH nor Dr. Ashrawi has ever been associated with anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic campaigns due to their philosophy of promoting accurate and credible information."

In other words - Miftah does not denounce the article, and does not even say that it is inaccurate today! Miftah refuses to condemn it, it will not call it anti-semitic, it indignantly will not apologize for publishing it, it will not denounce the prominent Jordanian author of the piece, it will not say that it will change its policies on accepting articles - but instead it accuses me of "slander"!

A supposedly liberal Palestinian Arab NGO refuses to condemn the ugliest Jew-hatred published in its name by its own editors, and instead claims that it is part of "open dialogue" and implies that it is "accurate and credible information." But keeping it up on their site might promote 'misunderstanding."

Please. They took it down because it embarrassed them, not because they found it offensive. 

As far as their claim that they only published it because of their commitment to "open dialogue" - how many pro-Israel articles can one find in their website? Yup, that's right.

As I wrote on Friday, Miftah also published an article romanticizing female suicide bombers who targeted innocent civilians. That article was written by a Miftah employee, their main editorial writer named Joharah Baker.

Indeed, Miftah's work does speak for itself.

If Miftah is so convinced that it has nothing to hide and it is so proud of its work, then it should welcome people emailing to the EU and US NGOs that fund it to question its editorial policies. It should not be running scared about the possibility of losing funding, rather it should be confident that it acted appropriately when it published the article by Nawaf al-Zaru, whose anti-semitism has been on display for at least four years. It should be proud of its adamant refusal to apologize for publishing pure Jew-hatred. Isn't that how a liberal, pro-democratic organization should act?

And I feel free in asking my readers again to email to these same NGOs and ask them if they want to be associated with an organization that cannot force itself to squeeze out even a half-hearted apology for publishing, promoting and promulgating this sickening filth.