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.”
“They have compounded the offense, by now asserting they are the injured party,” the ADL told The Algemeiner.
“The MIFTAH statement defending the decision to post the blatantly anti-Semitic article by al-Zaru on its Arabic language Web site and claiming it is being “smeared” is outrageous. They made a bad mistake and they should have offered a full-throated and sincere apology,” added the 100 year old NGO.
“In defending its publication of an article on the Miftah website which hatefully invoked the oldest anti-Jewish canard of all, the Blood Libel to slander the Jewish nation during Passover, the Palestinian NGO cites its commitment to “open dialogue”. With whom? Genocidal Jew-haters?” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Algemeiner in an email.
“Tragically, the publication of this Arabic language article is in keeping with the ongoing campaign to demonize the nation of Israel, Jews, and Judaism, once assumed to be the domain only of Hamas, The Muslim Brotherhood and Iran but that today taints the PA and some of its supporters,” he added.
Cooper also said that the publication of accusations such as this one hurt the cause of Peace. “It is not lost that the editorial decision by Miftah to provide a platform for this canard took place in wake of President Obama’s trip to the Holy Land where he tried to re-instill hopes for peace and reconciliation. Every anti-Semitic slander in the theological, academic and media domains further erode such hopes,” he said.
“Perhaps the editors of Ms Ashrawi’s Miftah should do exit interviews with Arabs, including those from Gaza, whose lives have been saved through blood transfusions at Icholov, Rambam, Shaare Tzedeck and Hadassah hospitals in Israel,” concluded Cooper
The ADL called out Ashrawi by name saying, “Hanan Ashrawi certainly knows better and so should those responsible for posting the highly offensive article.”
The organization also provided a list of complaints against the actions of MIFTAH highlighting multiple offenses. “There are several things wrong here” wrote the ADL, “first, an irresponsible editorial decision to post the article containing the classical anti-Semitic blood libel charge – second, the article only appeared on the Arabic language site, makes clear it was intended primarily for an Arabic speaking audience – third, the completely unacceptable defense of the posting.”
MIFTAH’s office in Ramallah could not immediately be reached by The Algemeiner for comment.
MIFTAH receives funding from several international donors including Oxfam UK, UNESCO and until recently, the United States Government.