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Monday, April 01, 2013
This Blood Libel Brought to You by the West
apologizes for anti-Semitic blood libel
Fishermen stand at the
Gaza seaport, in Gaza City / AP
Following a rash of criticism
from U.S. Jewish groups, a Palestinian nonprofit funded by Western
governments has apologized for accusing Jewish people of using
“Christian blood” during the Passover holiday.
Palestinian nonprofit group founded by Hanan Ashrawi, a
Palestinian lawmaker, said Monday it regrets publishing an article
on its website accusing “the Jews [of using] the blood of
Christians in the Jewish Passover.”
Miftah had refused to apologize
for the article last week, insteadlashing outat pro-Israel
bloggers who highlighted the offensive article.
The article, which has since been
removed from Miftah’s website, sparkedoutrageamong Jewish leaders and
others who condemned the Western-backed nonprofit for perpetuating
an anti-Semitic blood libel.
Miftah has largely received its
funding from Western organizations and governments, including U.S.
taxpayer-backed National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the Ford
Foundation, the United Nations, and several European governments.
The original article had
criticized President Barack Obama for praising the Jewish holiday
of Passover, which marks the Jewish people’s freedom from slavery
“Does Obama in fact know the
relationship, for example, between ‘Passover’ and ‘Christian
said the article, which was firstfound and publicizedby the pro-Israel
Elder of Ziyon blog.“Or ‘Passover’ and ‘Jewish
“Much of the chatter and gossip
about historical Jewish blood rituals in Europe are real and not
fake as they claim; the Jews used the blood of Christians in the
Jewish Passover,” the article continued.
Miftah at first defended its
right to post the article in a statementtitled, “MIFTAH denounces
smear campaign against it.”
“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
The article was about promoting
dialogue, Miftah maintained.
“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,’ ” the statement
Jewish groups, including the
Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Simon Wiesenthal Center,
quickly denounced Miftah’s anti-Semitic post and its subsequent
“The MIFTAH statement defending
the decision to post the blatantly anti-Semitic article by
al-Zaru on its Arabic language website and claiming it is being
‘smeared’ is outrageous,” the ADLtoldAlgemeiner
in a statement.“They made a bad mistake
and they should have offered a full-throated and sincere apology.”
Miftah on Monday recalibrated its
position, issuing a fullapologyand blaming a
low-level staffer for the situation.
“It has become clear to us after
investigating this incident that the article was accidentally and
incorrectly published by a junior staff member,” the apology
stated.“The said staffer has been
reprimanded and all our staff has been informed as to the
disgusting and repulsive phenomena of blood libel or accusation,
including its use against Jews.”
“Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, as founder,
has nothing to do with the day to day management at MIFTAH and was
no way involved in this incident,” the apology maintained.
Miftah, which has been criticized
in the past forglorifying terrorismand advocating in
favor of boycotting Israel, received support from the
taxpayer-funded NED until 2010.
A NED spokesperson confirmed to
Beaconthat it no
longer funds the organization but would not provide the reason why.