Board member of MEMRI– beneficiary of State Department grant– seems to approve racist claptrap

Israel/Palestine
on 20 Comments

Many of you have checked out the GangreenTV videos of Israeli government ministers saying things that– if they were American public officials saying this stuff, they would be out of office tomorrow. In the second video, the Israeli Justice Minister Ya’akov Ne’eman says that African immigrants converting to Judaism are the great threat to Israel, whereas in the U.S. it’s all the Jews marrying non-Jews that’s the threat– “accomplish [ing] what the accursed Hitler did not.”

Well Natan Sharansky shares a stage with both ministers making these repellent remarks, and in the second instance, he appears to approve the message, clapping Ne’eman on the back at the end of his statement against Africans (4:06).

Sharansky is on the board of advisers of MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, which got a $200,000 grant from the State Department last week, from State’s Office of International Religious Freedom. Gosh, are these really the ideas that the State Department wants to be associated with?

[Update: Got Sharansky's first name wrong when I posted this last night.]

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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20 Responses

  1. RoHa
    August 15, 2011, 9:46 pm

    “African immigrants converting to Judaism are the great threat to Israel”

    How are they a threat? More Jews in, more to keep the dreaded Arabs out.

  2. biorabbi
    August 15, 2011, 10:30 pm

    Phil, those MEMRI videos are found throughout the net/you tube.

    1. Are the translations bad?

    2. If the translations are not bad, those associated with it must be discredited?

    I’ve heard much criticism about the zionist MEMRI’s associations over the years. I’ve never heard a single question regarding the veracity of the translations. Why is that?

    • Chaos4700
      August 16, 2011, 2:09 am

      I’ve never heard a single question regarding the veracity of the translations.

      Asks the deaf man.

      link to arbeiterfotografie.com

      • DICKERSON3870
        August 16, 2011, 4:19 pm

        RE: “I’ve never heard a single question…Asks the deaf man.” ~ Chaos4700

        MY REPLY: That’s not fair, Chaos4700!
        HASBARA 101: The biorabbi said he had never heard a single question…. He did not claim to have never heard multiple questions…!
        “Sticks and stones may break our bones, but facts will never sway us.” ~ HASBARA CREED

    • eGuard
      August 16, 2011, 4:28 am

      I’ve never heard a single question regarding the veracity of the translations.
      Bias is a deafening sound too.

    • MRW
      August 16, 2011, 5:51 am

      I’ve never heard a single question regarding the veracity of the translations.

      You’re kidding us, right? Then you must have been under a rock. How about the mistranslated statement that Ahmadinejad wanted to wipe Israel off the map?
      link to informationclearinghouse.info

      Scroll down to see the MEMRI translation.

    • justicewillprevail
      August 16, 2011, 7:37 am

      1. The ‘translations’ are Israeli propaganda. Simples.

    • DICKERSON3870
      August 16, 2011, 8:39 am

      RE: “I’ve never heard a single question regarding the veracity of the translations.” ~ biorabbi

      FROM WIKIPEDIA:

      (excerpts) The Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI for short, is a Middle Eastern press monitoring organization with headquarters located in Washington, DC….
      Translation inaccuracy
      The accuracy of MEMRI’s translations are often disputed,[32] as in the case of MEMRI’s translation of a 2004 Osama bin Laden video, which MEMRI defended.[3][30][33][34][35] Norman Finkelstein, in an interview with the newspaper In Focus compared MEMRI to the “propaganda techniques” of the Nazis.[36]
      Following the 7 July 2005 London bombings, Al Jazeera invited Hani al-Sebai, an Islamist living in Britain, to take part in a discussion on the event. At one point al-Sebai stated in regard to the victims:
      there is no term in Islamic jurisprudence called civilians. Dr Karmi is here sitting with us, and he’s very familiar with the jurisprudence. There are fighters and non-fighters. Islam is against the killing of innocents. The innocent man cannot be killed according to Islam.
      Memri was critisized for translating this sentence as:
      the term civilians does not exist in Islamic religious law. Dr Karmi is sitting here, and I am sitting here, and I’m familiar with religious law. There is no such term as civilians in the modern western sense. People are either of dar al-harb [at war] or not.
      By leaving out the condemnation of the “killing of innocents” entirely, this translation left the implication that civilians (the innocent) are considered a legitimate target.[29]
      Halim Barakat described MEMRI as a “a propaganda organization dedicated to representing Arabs and Muslims as anti-semites.” Barakat claims an essay he wrote for the Al-Hayat Daily of London titled The Wild Beast that Zionism Created: Self-Destruction, was mistranslated by MEMRI and retitled as Jews Have Lost Their Humanity. Barakat further stated “Every time I wrote Zionism, MEMRI replaced the word by Jew or Judaism. They want to give the impression that I’m not criticizing Israeli policy, but that what I’m saying is anti-Semitic”.[36][37][38] According to Barakat, he was subject to widespread condemnation from faculty and his office was “flooded with hatemail.”[39][40] Fellow Georgetown faculty member Aviel Roshwald accused Barakat in an article he published of promoting a “demonization of Israel and of Jews”.[41] Supported by Georgetown colleagues, Barakat denied the claim[42] which Roshwald had based on MEMRI’s translation of Barakat’s essay.[41]
      In 2007, CNN correspondent Atika Shubert and Arabic translators accused MEMRI of mistranslating portions of a Palestinian children’s television programme.
      “Media watchdog MEMRI translates one caller as saying – quote – ‘We will annihilate the Jews,”‘ said Shubert. “But, according to several Arabic speakers used by CNN, the caller actually says ‘The Jews are killing us.”‘[43][44]
      CNN’s Glenn Beck later invited Yigal Carmon onto his program to comment on the mistranslation. Carmon criticized CNN’s translators understanding of Arabic stating: “Even someone who doesn’t know Arabic would listen to the tape and would hear the word ‘Jews’ is at the end, and also it means it is something to be done to the Jews, not by the Jews. And she (Octavia Nasr) insisted, no the word is in the beginning. I said: ‘Octavia, you just don’t get it. It is at the end’”. Brian Whitaker, the Middle East editor for the Guardian newspaper (UK) later pointed out that the word order in Arabic is not the same as in English: “the verb comes first and so a sentence in Arabic which literally says ‘Are shooting at us the Jews’ means ‘The Jews are shooting at us’”.[32]
      Brian Whitaker wrote in a blog for the Guardian newspaper that in the translation of the video, showing Farfour eliciting political comments from a young girl named Sanabel, the MEMRI transcript misrepresents the segment. Farfour asks Sanabel what she will do and, after a pause says “I’ll shoot”, MEMRI attributed the phrase said by Farfour, (“I’ll shoot”), as the girl’s reply while ignoring her actual reply (“I’m going to draw a picture”).[45] Whitaker and others commented that a statement uttered by the same child, (“We’re going to [or want to] resist”), had been given an unduly aggressive interpretation by MEMRI as (“We want to fight”). Also, where MEMRI translated the girl as saying the highly controversial remark (“We will annihilate the Jews”), Whitaker and others, including Arabic speakers used by CNN, insist that based on careful listening to the low quality video clip, the girl is saying “Bitokhoona al-yahood”, variously interpreted as, “The Jews [will] shoot us”[45] or “The Jews are killing us.”[46]
      MEMRI defends their translation of the show, saying: “Yes, we stand by the translation by the very words, by the context, by the syntax, and every measure of the translation.”[46]
      In response to accusations of inaccuracies and distortion, Yigal Carmon, said:
      As an institute of research, we want MEMRI to present translations to people who wish to be informed on the ideas circulating in the Middle East. We aim to reflect reality. If knowledge of this reality should benefit one side or another, then so be it.
      In an e-mail debate with Carmon, Whitaker asked about MEMRI’s November 2000 translation of an interview given by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem to al-Ahram al-Arabi. One question asked by the interviewer was: “How do you deal with the Jews who are besieging al-Aqsa and are scattered around it?” which was translated as: “How do you feel about the Jews?”. MEMRI cut out the first part of the reply and combined it with the answer to the next question which. Carmon admitted this was an error in translation but defended combining the two replies as both questions referred to the same subject. Carmon rejected other claims of distortion by Whitaker, saying: “it is perhaps reassuring that you had to go back so far to find a mistake … You accused us of distortion by omission but when asked to provide examples of trends and views we have missed, you have failed to answer.” Carmon also accused Whitaker of “using insults rather than evidence” in his criticism of MEMRI.[3]
      Whitaker claims that although Memri’s translations are usually accurate, they are selective and often out of context. He stated: “When errors do occur, it’s difficult to attribute them to incompetence or accidental lapses … there appears to be a political motive.”[32]…

      SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

      • DICKERSON3870
        August 16, 2011, 8:46 am

        P.S. References
        3. ^ a b c d e f g h Email debate: Yigal Carmon and Brian Whitaker at Guardian Unlimited, January 28, 2003
        30. ^ a b Mayor of London Press Release
        31. ^ Rima Barakat, “MEMRI’s systematic distortions,” Rocky Mountain News (27 March 2006) p. 35A.
        32. ^ a b c Whitaker, Brian (15 May 2007). “Arabic under fire”. The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-05-16.
        33. ^ Yigal Carmon Osama Bin Laden Tape Threatens U.S. States memri.org, 1 November 2004
        34. ^ Ramona Smith, “Did Osama send election threat?,” Philadelphia Daily News (2 November 2004).
        35. ^ TBS 13
        36. ^ a b Lawrence Swaim, MEMRI is ‘propaganda machine’ expert says, InFocus, June 7, 2007
        37. ^ Meyrav Wurmser: The Neocons’ Den Mother Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
        38. ^ Désinformation à l’israélienne Le Monde diplomatique
        39. ^ Institute for Policy Studies
        40. ^ Halim Barakat The story of an article
        41. ^ a b Bigotry, Hate Speech from Scholars Must Be Exposed and Condemned Aviel Roshwald April 26, 2002
        42. ^ Majd Yaser Al-Mallah, Coeli Fitzpatrick Twentieth-century Arab writers Gale Cengage Learning, 2008 Pg 39 ISBN 0787681644
        43. ^ POLITICS-US: Pro-Israel Group’s Money Trail Veers Hard Right (IPS, 21.10.2009)
        44. ^ Rosemary Church, Jim Clancy, Atika Shubert, Ben Wedeman, Neil Connery, John Vause, Eunice Yoon, Becky Anderson, Jill Dougherty, “Recruiting Next Generation of Militants: Mickey Mouse-Like Character Reaches Out to Palestinian Children,” Your World Today (CNN Transcripts) aired 9 May 2007.
        45. ^ a b “Arabic under fire” by Brian Whitaker, Guardian.co.uk, 2007-05-15
        46. ^ a b “Paula Zahn Now” TV show transcript, CNN transcripts, aired 2007-05-08

    • annie
      August 16, 2011, 9:50 am

      the most famous case was when they mistranslated micky mouse.

    • jewishgoyim
      August 16, 2011, 3:36 pm

      Biorabbi: stop trolling…

  3. radii
    August 15, 2011, 11:56 pm

    from what I’ve read and heard from those who’ve spent time there, the Near East Division at the U.S. State Dept. is like an israeli outpost here in America – not a Palestinian in sight, very few Arabs, but zionist and dual-citizen jews everywhere with pictures of israel and the israeli flag displayed prominently

    • MRW
      August 16, 2011, 6:09 am

      And I remember May 2006 when Latinos demonstrated (in reaction to Lou Dobbs anti-immigration campaign and in support of Bush’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act) on May Day waving Mexican flags and hanging signs off the freeway overpasses saying We wash your underwear, but we’re not good enough to live here?

      Right-wing Jewish groups got their panties in a knot over the fact that Latinos were waving foreign flags, which proved they didn’t deserve to be here. It provoked Stephen Steinlight’s piece, within weeks, in The Forward called “Open Borders Threaten Jewish Clout.” (Steinlight was Lou Dobbs’ go-to guy at the Center for Immigration Studies. Haim Saban bought up a Latino network within four months.)
      link to forward.com

      Steinlight wrote:

      All senators who voted for the bill ignored broader ethical, social and environmental concerns, and most ominously the law of unintended consequences. Their caricature immigration reform is pure special-interest politics, denying the very idea of a national interest. Not so incidentally, it also threatens Jewish allegiances, interests and dishonors Jewish values.

      And

      Closer to home, massive immigration will obliterate Jewish power by shrinking our percentage of the population — to a fraction of 1% in 20 years. Jews possess political clout despite tiny numbers because we are concentrated in large electoral vote states, have legendary voting rates, donate significantly to both parties and dominant culture. We will retain residual influence due to campaign contributions, membership in institutional establishments and the endurance of our alliances, but the Latino vote will eventually overwhelm us.

      And

      And except for the evangelical part of the community, Latinos do not share any particularly strong bond to Israel.

    • Woody Tanaka
      August 16, 2011, 9:59 am

      “from what I’ve read and heard from those who’ve spent time there, the Near East Division at the U.S. State Dept. is like an israeli outpost here in America – not a Palestinian in sight, very few Arabs, but zionist and dual-citizen jews everywhere with pictures of israel and the israeli flag displayed prominently”

      This is disgusting. If someone isn’t willing to be a citizen of the US — and ONLY the US — and willing to be loyal to the US — and only the US — they have no business holding any government office. (I don’t think they should be permitted to retain US citizenship if they aren’t willing to be loyal and solely a citizen of the US, but that’s besides the point…)

  4. chayma100
    August 16, 2011, 4:07 am

    @Biorabbi

    I’ve heard much criticism about the zionist MEMRI’s associations over the years. I’ve never heard a single question regarding the veracity of the translations. Why is that?

    Maybe you havn’t searched properly? There is plenty of material showing how MEMRI mistranslates. Brian Whitaker from the Guardian, exposed MEMRI for their deliberate mistranslations and he tackled MEMRI’s founder about them, see below.

    US think tanks give lessons in foreign policy
    Monday 19 August 2002
    Brian Whitaker reports on the network of research institutes whose views and TV appearances are supplanting all other experts on Middle Eastern issues
    link to guardian.co.uk
    Mr Perle’s close friend and political ally at AEI is David Wurmser, head of its Middle East studies department. Mr Perle helpfully wrote the introduction to Mr Wurmser’s book, Tyranny’s Ally: America’s Failure to Defeat Saddam Hussein.

    Mr Wurmser’s wife, Meyrav, is co-founder, along with Colonel Yigal Carmon, formerly of Israeli military intelligence – of the Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri), which specialises in translating and distributing articles that show Arabs in a bad light.

    She also holds strong views on leftwing Israeli intellectuals, whom she regards as a threat to Israel (see “Selective Memri”, Guardian Unlimited, August 12, 2002).

    *

    Selective Memri
    Brian Whitaker – 12 August 2002

    Brian Whitaker investigates whether the ‘independent’ media institute that translates the Arabic newspapers is quite what it seems
    link to guardian.co.uk
    Earlier this year, Memri scored two significant propaganda successes against Saudi Arabia. The first was its translation of an article from al-Riyadh newspaper in which a columnist wrote that Jews use the blood of Christian or Muslim children in pastries for the Purim religious festival.

    The writer, a university teacher, was apparently relying on an anti-semitic myth that dates back to the middle ages. What this demonstrated, more than anything, was the ignorance of many Arabs – even those highly educated – about Judaism and Israel, and their readiness to believe such ridiculous stories.

    But Memri claimed al-Riyadh was a Saudi “government newspaper” – in fact it’s privately owned – implying that the article had some form of official approval.

    Al-Riyadh’s editor said he had not seen the article before publication because he had been abroad. He apologised without hesitation and sacked his columnist, but by then the damage had been done.

    Memri’s next success came a month later when Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to London wrote a poem entitled The Martyrs – about a young woman suicide bomber – which was published in al-Hayat newspaper.

    Memri sent out translated extracts from the poem, which it described as “praising suicide bombers”. Whether that was the poem’s real message is a matter of interpretation. It could, perhaps more plausibly, be read as condemning the political ineffectiveness of Arab leaders, but Memri’s interpretation was reported, almost without question, by the western media.

    These incidents involving Saudi Arabia should not be viewed in isolation. They are part of building a case against the kingdom and persuading the United States to treat it as an enemy, rather than an ally.

    It’s a campaign that the Israeli government and American neo-conservatives have been pushing since early this year – one aspect of which was the bizarre anti-Saudi briefing at the Pentagon, hosted last month by Richard Perle.

    *

    Email debate: Yigal Carmon and Brian Whitaker
    Tuesday 28 January 2003
    An article on Guardian Unlimited last year by Middle East editor Brian Whitaker questioned the impartiality of Memri, an organisation that translates articles from the Middle Eastern media. We subsequently published a response by Memri’s president Yigal Carmon, in which he vigorously defended his organisation. What follows is the text of a debate between the two men conducted subsequently by email. At the end of this exchange you will find links to the original articles that gave rise to the debate.
    link to guardian.co.uk

    Having misrepresented the original question, you then had to misrepresent the mufti’s answer. There is no excuse for this sort of textual manipulation, and I can only surmise it was done for political reasons – to make his remarks look more anti-semitic than they actually were.

    More recently, in Special Dispatch 407, you translated a poem from the Arab-American weekly, al-Watan, likening President Bush to an ape. Anyone reading your introduction could reasonably assume the poet was an Arab-American, when in fact the poet is a Palestinian.

    The Arabic version made clear he was writing from the West Bank and included his location – “Ramallah” – immediately after his name. Memri cut the word “Ramallah” from its translation, enhancing the impression that the author was Arab-American.

    Annoying, dishonest little tweaks like this seem to crop up quite a lot in Memri’s work. Again, the only reason I can see for it is a political one – in this case to further denigrate Arab-Americans in the eyes of their fellow citizens.

  5. DICKERSON3870
    August 16, 2011, 7:42 am

    RE: “Gosh, are these really the ideas that the State Department wants to be associated with?” ~ Weiss

    MY SNARK: Hell yeah! After all, Obama has a campaign to finance! He needs to raise a billion dollars or so. That means he needs to go after the really deep pockets like those of Haim Saban-Clinton.

  6. William Burns
    August 16, 2011, 8:36 am

    This idea that Hitler was some big fan of Jewish intermarriage is beyond bizarre–if the highest purpose of Jews today was posthumously annoying Hitler, they should all marry Germans.

  7. Woody Tanaka
    August 16, 2011, 10:03 am

    “Well Natan Sharansky shares a stage with both ministers making these repellent remarks, and in the second instance, he appears to approve the message, clapping Ne’eman on the back at the end of his statement against Africans (4:06).”

    Is anyone surprised? Anatoly Sharansky is a fraud. He’s beneficiary of the notion that anyone who opposed the USSR was automatically a “good guy.”

  8. Les
    August 16, 2011, 10:22 am

    Who would possibly believe their Representative or Senator was a crook.

  9. DICKERSON3870
    August 16, 2011, 3:52 pm

    RE: “Natan Sharansky…appears to approve the message, clapping Ne’eman on the back at the end of his statement against Africans” ~ Weiss

    BY STEPHEN LENDMAN, OpEd News, 07/27/06:

    (excerpts) On July 26 [2006], Aljazeerah reported a story headlined – “Israeli invasion of Lebanon planned by neocons in June (2006).” It was done at a June 17 and 18 meeting at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) conference in Beaver Creek, Colorado at which former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Likud Knesset member Natan Sharansky met with US Vice President Dick Cheney. The purpose was to discuss the planned and impending Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) invasions of Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. Cheney was thoroughly briefed and approved the coming assaults – before Hamas’ capture of an IDF soldier on June 25 or Hezbollah’s capturing of two others in an exchange first reported as occurring in Israel and now believed to have happened inside Lebanon after IDF forces illegally entered the country.
    Following the Colorado meeting, Netanyahu returned to Israel for a special “Ex-Prime Ministers” meeting in which he conveyed the message of US support…
    …Aljazeerah also reported that after the Colorado AEI conference Natan Sharansky met with the right wing Heritage Foundation in Washington and then attended a June 29 seminar at Haverford College in suburban Philadelphia sponsored by the Middle East Forum led by US Israeli hawk Daniel Pipes. Sharansky appeared there with Republican Senator Rick Santorum who on July 20 was hawkishly advocating war against Syria, Iran, and “Islamo-fascism” in an inflamatory speech at the National Press Club attended by a cheering section of supporters composed of members of the neocon Israel Project, on whose Board Santorum serves along with Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss

    SOURCE – link to opednews.com

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