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March 31, 2013 12:19 pm

Hanan Ashrawi’s NGO MIFTAH Asserts Publication of Passover Blood Libel is Part of “Open Dialogue”

avatar by Zach Pontz

Hanan Ashrawi. Photo: Wikipedia.

The  Palestinian NGO MIFTAH has decided to double-down on a blood libel it published to its website last week by claiming it was an attempt to “fulfill its mandate for open dialogue” and that it was only removed from the website “to avoid further misunderstanding.” MIFTAH also attempted to avoid responsibility for the blood libel by pointing to a disclaimer on its site that reads in part: “The views represented in [News and Analysis] are solely those of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of MIFTAH.”

MIFTAH, which claims on its website it  “seeks to promote the principles of democracy and good governance within various components of Palestinian society,” is chaired by Hanan Ashrawi, a well known media personality in the West. On Friday anonymous blogger Elder of Ziyon discovered the blood libel in an article on the NGO’s website that claimed “Jews used the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover,” citing a source that was later proven to be false.

Shortly after Elder of Ziyon published the article on the blood libel The Algemeiner reached out to MIFTAH for comment. Having been denied one, the article was shortly thereafter removed from the NGO’s website.

In the response posted to its website, MIFTAH also attacked Elder of Ziyon, calling it an “obscure pro-Israeli website.” Elder of Ziyon responded in two separate blog posts, writing in one posted to his blog Sunday Morning (bolds and italics his own): “The only possible explanation is that Miftah does not truly consider an (sic) 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.”

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MIFTAH receives funding from several international donors including Oxfam UK and UNESCO. In an attempt to hold its funders accountable, Elder of Ziyon posted their names and email addresses to his blog. In response MIFTAH asserted that attempts at “sabotaging MIFTAH’s reputation with its international partners is nothing short of abhorrent.”

MIFTAH concluded its response to the controversy by stating that “its work speaks for itself ,” to which Elder of Ziyon responded (bold his own): “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.”

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