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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Why can't Hanan Ashrawi's Miftah apologize for publishing antisemitism?

Last week I exposed a truly vile anti-semitic article on the website of the Miftah NGO founded by Hanan Ashrawi, claiming that Jews drink Christian blood on Passover.

Yesterday, instead of apologizing for the offensive article and condemning the anti-semitism that they legitimized, Miftah attacked me for publicizing it and asking for their funders to ask questions about where their money is going. They wrote that I "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" - yet I showed this is exactly what they did by any definition!


Indeed, Miftah's reaction tells us more about the organization than the original, offensive article did. They said they removed the article not because it was a sickening piece of antisemitic trash, but because it might invite "further misunderstanding." Even their pathetic denial that they promoted the Jewish blood libel is belied by the fact that they consciously chose to publish an article, during Passover, that did precisely that.

The clear message that Miftah is giving its audience is that they believe that the classic anti-Jewish blood libel is acceptable discourse in Palestinian Arab society, and merely part of (as they call it) a fulfillment of "mandate for open dialogue."

If I was a funding NGO, I would be far more concerned over Miftah's defense of its publishing the article than the article itself. After all, they had time to craft an appropriate apology to Jews worldwide, and a condemnation of the article and of its author - and they refused to do so.

Any Western newspaper, organization or major website would have not only fallen over themselves to distance themselves from the Jew-hatred exhibited in Miftah, but they would have fired the writer and the editor on the spot.

Why didn't Miftah?

The only possible explanation is that Miftah does not truly consider this article to be offensive. They think that those pesky Jews are making a big deal out of nothing. They believe that Jews are bloodthirsty anyway (at least the Zionist variety) and to Miftah it is not a great leap to say that Jews must have been that way forever. The site has literally hundreds of articles accusing Israeli Jews of "ethnic cleansing" of Arabs, to give only a tiny example of lies that Miftah accepts and promotes as fact. A previous Miftah article states that  "there are documented reports from Haiti that organs are being stolen by Israelis without international justice intervening to put an end to such criminal practices against innocent vulnerable people." When the editors of Miftah believe such things already, how much of a stretch is it to believe that Jews ritually murder non-Jews to drink their blood?

Miftah's response was that "its work speaks for itself." I hope every funder of Miftah takes that statement very, very seriously when deciding whether to continue to send money to an organization that is utterly unrepentant about publishing pure hate.

And if Miftah belatedly issues a vague statement condemning antisemitism (probably together with one condemning Israel), we now know that it is only doing it to protect its funding and not because it actually considers antisemitism to be abhorrent.

That train has already left the station.

Here again is the contact information of some of the NGOs that financially support Miftah:

Representative Office of Norway repram@mfa.no TWITTER @NorwayMFA
The Anna Lindh Foundation info@euromedalex.org Facebook  TWITTER - @AnnaLindh
Oxfam UK enquiries@oxfam.org.uk Facebook TWITTER - @OXFAM
National Endownment for Democracy info@ned.org Facebook  TWITTER - @NEDemocracy
Secretariat for Consulate of Italy in Jerusalem segreteria.gerusalemme@esteri.it  
@FarnesinaPress
Heinrich Böll Foundation info@boell.de Facebook Arab Middle East FB TWITTER - @boell_stiftung
Austrian Development Agency oeza.info@ada.gv.at
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ireland contact page  List of Twitter contacts TWITTER - @dfatirl
Konrad Adenauer Foundation - Palestinian Territories Info.Ramallah@kas.de TWITTER - @KASOnline
International Republican Institute webpage contact TWITTER - IRIGlobal
UNESCO - English media editor  r.amelan@unesco.org TWITTER - @UNESCO