Wednesday, April 03, 2013

First Hanan Ashrawi Defends Passover Blood Libel, Then Blames Junior Staff Member

The mainstream media has chosen to ignore Hanan Ashrawi and her group MIFTAH which last week openly promoted the libel that Jews use the blood of Christian children to make matzahs for Passover.

Hanan Ashrawi
Hanan Ashrawi first staunchly defends post
promoting Passover Blood Libel, now blames
 it all on a junior staff member Credit: Wiki Commons

Bloggers did not, however -- especially the blogger Elder of Ziyon who first uncovered the MIFTAH article.

The original reaction of Ashrawi's group was to defend themselves and claim the article -- which only appeared in Arabic -- was intended to create open discussion, as if there was actually something about the vicious canard that was worth talking about.

But while the media has ignored the story, other groups spoke out. The Algemeiner, which reported early on about the article in MIFTAH, reports that ADL, Wiesenthal Center Slam MIFTAH for Defending Publication of Passover Blood Libel Article
Two prominent Jewish civil rights groups have slammed a Palestinian NGO for opting not to apologize for publishing an article which promoted the classic anti-Semitic Passover blood libel accusation on its website. Both the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center have voiced their dismay that MIFTAH, which is chaired by Hanan Ashrawi, a well known media personality in the West and which posted the article that claimed “Jews used the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover,” has not apologized, and in fact asserts the publication of the blood libel was in keeping with its policy of “open dialogue.”
But while the media was content to stand on the sidelines, others -- such as CiF Watch -- challenged the organizations funding MIFTAH on whether they supported their antisemitic rant.

The Washington Free Beacon reported Monday on the source of MIFTAH's funding in the West:
Miftah, which has been criticized in the past for glorifying terrorism and advocating in favor of boycotting Israel, received support from the taxpayer-funded NED until 2010.

A NED spokesperson confirmed to the Free Beacon that it no longer funds the organization but would not provide the reason why.

Funding to the group has also been provided by Italy, Ireland, Norway, the U.N.  Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and a handful of Western nonprofits, according to NGO Monitor, a watchdog group.
That same day, Ashrawi's MIFTAH issued an apology, blaming a junior staff member for the article that just a few days earlier they had defended and claiming that
all our staff has been informed as to the disgusting and repulsive phenomena of blood libel or accusation, including its use against Jew
That still leaves the question as whether their apology -- which only appeared in English -- is any more sincere than their original claim to be trying to foster open discussion with their blood libel article which was published only in Arabic.

In any case, by Tuesday, the Washington Free Beacon reported that MIFTAH was publicly rebuked by UNESCO:
The U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which has partnered with Miftah on various projects, rebuked the group Tuesday.

“UNESCO condemns all forms of hate literature, including anti-Semitic articles such as the one Miftah published and later apologized for,” UNESCO spokesman Roni Ameland told the Free Beacon over email.

“UNESCO does not fund Miftah nor does it have any formal relations with it,” Ameland said. “UNESCO did support several gender-focused workshops and activities organized by Miftah in the past but its collaboration with the organization ended in 2011.”

UNESCO did not fund Miftah directly, Ameland said. “It just paid for specific contracts concerning specific projects.”
That same article makes clear the popularity of MIFTAH in the West:
Funding to Miftah has been provided by the governments of Italy, Ireland, and Norway, as well as by handful of Western nonprofits, including the Ford Foundation, according to NGO Monitor, a watchdog group.
The question that remains is whether the organizations funding MIFTAH will now consider the issue closed, without having to offer either comment or condemnation.

One cannot help but wonder what the uproar would have been and the media that would result if a Jewish leader had made a similar disparaging comment about Muslims.

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