State Department awards $200,000 to Elliott-Abrams-led thinktank repeatedly cited by mass murderer Breivik

Israel/Palestine
on 70 Comments

Jim Lobe asks, How many times did mass murderer Anders Breivik refer to the Middle East Media Research Institute in his Islamophobic manifesto?

Well I just went to Breivik’s manifesto and I counted, 23 references to MEMRI or MEMRITV.

MEMRI is an Israel lobby shop. Its directors include Elliott Abrams. Its advisers include a lot of Bush-era neocons, Bernard Lewis, Norman Podhoretz, John Bolton, not to mention Mort Zuckerman, Ehud Barak (the former Israeli P.M.) and Edgar Bronfman.

Why are we asking about MEMRI? Look at this at the State Department–they’re giving em money!

You connect the dots. I’m too tired! From State’s “International Religious Freedom” office:


Office of International Religious Freedom Funds Middle East Media Research Institute Project

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 11, 2011

The Department of States Office of International Religious Freedom in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor awarded a $200,000 grant to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) to conduct a project that documents anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and Holocaust glorification in the Middle East. This grant will enable MEMRI to expand its efforts to monitor the media, translate materials into ten languages, analyze trends in anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial and glorification, and increase distribution of materials through its website and other outlets.

Through translations and research, MEMRI aims to inform and educate journalists, government leaders, academia, and the general public about trends in anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in the Middle East and South Asia, thus generating awareness and response to these issues. MEMRI is a non-governmental organization based in Washington, DC, whose research is translated into ten languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Hebrew.

The Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism (SEAS) advocates U.S. policy on anti-Semitism both in the U.S. and internationally, developing and implementing policies and projects to support efforts to combat anti-Semitism. The Special Envoy was created by the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004, and is a part of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

70 Responses

  1. DICKERSON3870
    August 11, 2011, 5:05 pm

    I no longer support ANY funding for the U.S. State Department! Not that I have any “say so” in our system of inverted totalitarianism.

  2. lysias
    August 11, 2011, 5:11 pm

    There’s a long section in the Wikipedia entry on MEMRI on accusations against it of being selective in what it translates and of inaccuracy in translation.

  3. Paul Mutter
    August 11, 2011, 5:12 pm

    The State Department PR reminds of how the GOP House leadership rose to defend the American Family Association (which compares the “homosexual agenda” to the “Nazi agenda” and just played a big role in Texas governor Rick Perry’s “Prayer-Ganza”) when Southern Poverty Law Center and Human Rights Campaign called it a hate group. This was the response from the GOP:

    “This is intolerance, pure and simple. Elements of the radical Left are trying to shut down informed discussion of policy issues that are being considered by Congress, legislatures, and the courts. Tell the radical Left it is time to stop spreading hateful rhetoric attacking individuals and organizations merely for expressing ideas with which they disagree. Our debates can and must remain civil – but they must never be suppressed through personal assaults that aim only to malign an opponent’s character.”

    link to motherjones.com

    • jayn0t
      August 11, 2011, 10:55 pm

      I don’t understand Paul Mutter’s point in quoting the SPLC. This organization, like the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, and much of the left, has no problem with the State Department’s ‘Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism’. The international conference on ‘Hate Studies’ in Spokane WA in April invited Hannah Rosenthal, the Special Envoy herself, to speak about anti-semitism, along with fellow Zionist Ken Stern of the AJC. The SPLC is on the same side as MEMRI – the Zionist left and the Zionist right have different tasks, that’s all.

  4. muzz al atesta
    August 11, 2011, 6:13 pm

    how low does a long standing member of the american establishment have to go for him/her to face permanent nonlethal consequences?

    Elliott “El Mozote” Abrams has been publicly cheerleading fascism for decades and your supposedly either left-of-centre (ha) or “islamonegrobolshie” administration seeks this man as an ally…

    christ

  5. Charon
    August 11, 2011, 6:35 pm

    Does that $200k come from taxpayers? I mean no offense in saying this, but that’s a waste of money. Who cares if anybody in the ME is anitsemitic or denies the holocaust? The vast majority of Jewish people live in the USA and Israel and population wise are .2% of the world’s population. 99.8% of the world isn’t Jewish.

    There wouldn’t be any antisemitism in the ME if the Zionist occupation never existed. I’m not saying that Muslims and Jews got along perfectly, but they got along better than they did with Christians. There were more Jews is those Muslim majority nations until Zionist colonists made them guilty by association. Jews and Muslims fought against the Crusaders. Jews and Muslims migrated together across North Africa and into the Iberian Peninsula until they were expelled in the Inquisition.

    We know that Ahmadinejad is a holocaust denier and started a mini-campaign about it. But he isn’t an anti-semite. Iran has a small Jewish population and Judaism is one of the official recognized minority religions with a seat on parliament. Other government officials do not share Ahmadinejad’s opinion and think it is hurtful. It would never have been brought up if Israel wasn’t so brutal about threatening to attack Iran and killing their scientists.

    $200k …. sheesh what a waste.

    • Jeff Klein
      August 11, 2011, 9:59 pm

      Tribute. . .

    • davidsc
      August 11, 2011, 11:12 pm

      “There wouldn’t be any antisemitism in the ME if the Zionist occupation never existed” – utter rubbish. Antisemitism goes back to the time of Muhammed (link to en.wikipedia.org)

      • Saleema
        August 12, 2011, 2:21 am

        So does Islamphobia. AND attempted assassination of Muhammad (S) by a local Jew. He thought the Arabs weren’t good enough to be sent a prophet by God, as they were not the chosen ones.

      • annie
        August 12, 2011, 2:32 am

        sweeeet

      • Chaos4700
        August 12, 2011, 8:53 am

        You know, before Germany targeted Jews, Bismark and his government targeted Catholics. That’s why my German ancestors are in the US now.

        Everybody is a target for somebody, and everybody has their turn. You keep acting like Jewish suffering is privileged over the rest of us. It isn’t.

      • lysias
        August 12, 2011, 4:06 pm

        I’ve just read histories of the Dönme and of Jews in Turkey. Tens of thousands of Jews who were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula in the 1490’s were received with open arms by the Ottoman Empire, an Islamic state whose emperor was about to become Caliph of all of Islam.

    • Hamishe_Sabz
      August 11, 2011, 11:33 pm

      برو بینیم بابا!

      • chayma100
        August 12, 2011, 3:04 am

        Saleema,

        That was not the reason, nor were they required to convert. They sided with the Qureysh when their own wealth and power was threatened. by the growing faith.

        davidsc
        “ Antisemitism goes back to the time of Muhammed (link to en.wikipedia.org

        Get your facts straight.

        Islamic Antisemitism And Its Nazi RootsBy Matthias Küntzel
        link to matthiaskuentzel.de

        Daniel Pipes who is an Islamophobe concludes:

        The Politics of Muslim Anti-Semitism
        link to danielpipes.org
        The Nazis also did much to familiarize Muslims with anti-Semitism. Exploiting Middle Eastern resentment against the Allied government in the 1930s and 1940s, they established close bonds with leading political elements in Egypt, Palestine, Iraq, Iran, and elsewhere. Nazi sponsorship of anti-Semitism made it a live ideology in the Arab world; ex-Nazis then held important positions in ‘Abd an-Nasir’s government during the 1950s.

        To a large degree anti-Semitism followed political hostilities with Israel – it did not cause them. This is an important distinction: while it was anti-Zionism (that is to say, a horror of Jewish sovereignty over lands once belonging to Muslims) which impelled the Arab states to fight Israel originally, anti-Zionism alone cannot account for the extraordinary role played by Israel in Arab political life since then. Credit for that must go to anti-Semitism. The Arab obsession with Israel during the past thirty years depends for its sustenance on the fund of anti-Semitic ideas imported from Christian Europe. Without this ideology, the Arabs could not have sustained their opposition at such fever pitch. (Even at the height of the Algerian war, Arabs did not vilify the French people as they do the Jews, though that was a far more protracted and brutal conflict against a much more powerful enemy.) While hostility to Israel has indigenous roots, its transformation into the single overriding Arab cause has depended on the availability of an anti-Semitic ideology. Having no such ideology of their own, the Muslims borrowed the one invented by Christians.

      • andrew r
        August 12, 2011, 4:15 am

        “(Even at the height of the Algerian war, Arabs did not vilify the French people as they do the Jews, though that was a far more protracted and brutal conflict against a much more powerful enemy.) ”

        Did Pipes conduct a survey of Arabic media from that period or is there a survey he can cite? There’s more than one way to express hatred and the notion above at a glance is unprovable. It would be more concrete to say, “Arabic Anti-French media didn’t recycle popular European stereotypes of the French” and I think that’s what Pipes would have said if he really knew what he was talking about.

        I’m not Angry Arab but he’d probably tell you what sustained Arab opposition to Israel are the invasions, bombings, massacres, and so on.

      • Woody Tanaka
        August 12, 2011, 10:34 am

        “Did Pipes conduct a survey of Arabic media from that period or is there a survey he can cite?”

        He pulled it out of his ass, just like all black-hat/white-hat shallow thinkers do.

        And this trend by the various Zionists, their apologists, Israel-Firsters, etc. — to portray Arab self-defense and assertions of their rights against the onslaught of the Zionists as being a continuation of the acts of the Nazis — is one of the most reprehensible, ahistoric, immoral things I’ve come across.

        While it’s intent is to give the thumbs-up to all kinds of Zionist depravities (because who could be opposed to ANYTHING done to Nazis), it actually makes me despise Israel, its ideology, and its promoters more.

      • General Choomin
        August 12, 2011, 1:34 pm

        Are you citing Daniel Pipes, known bigot and anti-college advocate?

      • annie
        August 12, 2011, 1:54 pm

        why are you citing known islamophobes? Matthias Küntzel is a frantic nutcase as is pipes. this is the same ilk that inspired the norway slaughter guy. this filth is jihad watch material. yuk.

        i can’t believe this made it thru moderation.

      • Walid
        August 12, 2011, 7:12 am

        “برو بینیم بابا!”

        Hi Hamishe_Sabz, what’s that about?

  6. James
    August 11, 2011, 6:55 pm

    shocking… i think this kind of stuff goes on regularly though…. i doubt the mainstream press would ever touch this type of story… it is why internet sites like mondoweiss are really worth visiting and why it would benefit from greater exposure…

  7. chayma100
    August 11, 2011, 7:23 pm

    Phil, could you include email contact details on posts like this, so that we can write and make our objections known. How about campaign type posts where readers can fill in their emails and send them immediately, you know the types I mean?

    To everyone else, I’d advise sending a firm but polite email, to the State Dept. voicing your objections.

    Brian Whitaker from the Guardian, wrote a series of exclusives exposing MEMRI for their deliberate mistranslations. The State Dept need to see the below:

    US thinktanks 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

    Selective Memri
    Brian Whitaker – 12 August 2002
    link to guardian.co.uk
    Brian Whitaker investigates whether the ‘independent’ media institute that translates the Arabic newspapers is quite what it seems

    Email debate: Yigal Carmon and Brian Whitaker
    Tuesday 28 January 2003
    link to guardian.co.uk
    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.

  8. chayma100
    August 11, 2011, 7:25 pm

    oops, I omitted the first link above, here it is:

    link to guardian.co.uk
    US thinktanks give lessons in foreign policy

  9. thetumta
    August 11, 2011, 8:31 pm

    So what’s to be done about the 200K? Just asking. The problem is here.

  10. Debonnaire
    August 11, 2011, 8:31 pm

    This is obscene. When is Obama going to throw a State Dinner for Leatherface (Geller) and Spencer?

  11. Brewer
    August 11, 2011, 8:38 pm

    I love this title:

    Public Serpent.

    “”This snake is hard to kill,”
    said Adm. William Crowe Jr., referring to Abrams.”

    link to inthesetimes.com

    Seriously, my American friends, why isn’t this guy running a Bait n Tackle shop somewhere in Booneysville?
    Something is broken.

  12. hughsansom
    August 11, 2011, 9:26 pm

    Given Obama administration standards for prosecuting groups for “material support” to terrorism, the obvious question is why MEMRI isn’t being prosecuted.

  13. hughsansom
    August 11, 2011, 9:29 pm

    Tweet queries regarding why MEMRI is not being prosecuted under Obama admin standards of “material support to terrorism” can be directed to Hannah Rosenthal – @HannahAtState

  14. American
    August 11, 2011, 10:33 pm

    This funding going to those like Abrams is just the tip of the iceberg…there is much,much,much more out there.
    But like Phil I am too tired to go into it now.

    These are all symptoms, symptoms, symptoms of the disease.

    How do we get rid of the disease?
    I keep asking and no one can tell me.

    • Charon
      August 11, 2011, 11:42 pm

      It’s a virus. There is no cure, only treatment. Treatment with a very low success rate and a virus that is spreading too rapidly. In very rare cases it goes away on it’s own. Unfortunately it’s everywhere.

      I’m not eluding to genocide or extremism in case somebody actually reads my comment and comes to that conclusion. Influencing the masses would help. That’s where the Internet comes in. I’m still finding more and more uncomfortable layers to the problem all the time. The information is there but only if you go looking for it and for that you need to have a reason.

      If Hollywood and the MSM could somehow be hijacked to tell the truth it would help out immensely.

      If this money actually goes toward the ‘study’ of antisemitism and holocaust denial in the ME, those are both code words for ‘anti-Israel’ and ‘anti-Zionism’. In the USA any criticism of Israel is still equated as antisemitism by a LOT of people and all of the MSM. It’s the most powerful smear word in existence

    • Graber
      August 12, 2011, 12:21 am

      Boycott.

    • Keith
      August 13, 2011, 12:20 pm

      AMERICAN- “How do we get rid of the disease?”

      By getting rid of the Fat Cats, the new royalty.

  15. yourstruly
    August 11, 2011, 11:47 pm

    state department awards $200,000 U..S. to MEMRI?

    despite anders breivik’s having referenced said organization 23 times in his islamophobic manifesto?

    the state department in cahoots with an organization that foments terrorism?

    except the stated purpose of the office of the special envoy to monitor & combat antisemistism isn’t to investigate & combat the terror brought on by islamophobia, but to advocate u.s. policy on antisemistism, both at home & abroad

    why then isn’t SEAS awarding taxpayer’s money to organizations that will get to the real cause of today’s antisemistism?

    this being the zionist entity israel, its racist actions & those of its islamophobic appendages such as MEMRI and the state department?

    because israel’s u.s.-backed theft of palestine together with its claim that it speaks for all jews is what stokes the otherwise ebbing flames of antisemitism

    but with justice for palestine?

    antisemitism shrinks to a size that can be contained in a thimble

  16. CTuttle
    August 12, 2011, 12:38 am

    Aloha, Ya’ll… Anybody catch the Steny Hoyer Dog and Pony show in Ramallah today…? ;-)

    • Walid
      August 12, 2011, 4:42 am

      Other than for it’s alleged claim that it does not accept funding from any government to maintain its neutrality, what’s the fuss here about MEMRI getting funding from the State Dept? On its website, MEMRI describes how it handles daily requests for services from various US government agencies and military in the ongoing war on terrorism; in MEMRI’s own words:

      “MEMRI’s work directly supports fighting the U.S. War on Terror. Highly trained staff thoroughly translate and analyze open-source materials that include television programming, radio, newspapers, textbooks, and websites.

      Every single day, MEMRI receives requests from members of the U.S. government, military, and legislature. Since September 11, 2001, the demand for this material has significantly increased – providing thousands of pages of translated documents of Arab, Iranian, Urdu, Pashtu, Hindi, Dari, and Turkish print media, terrorist websites, school books, and tens of thousands of hours of translated footage from Arab and Iranian television.

      This video takes you from the halls of government to the briefing rooms of the U.S. military to the frontlines of counter-terrorism efforts, and demonstrates just how MEMRI has become – A Vital Component in the U.S. War on Terror.”

      For MEMRI’s video outlining the various services it provides to US agencies:
      link to memri.org

      $200M to an Israeli agency in Washington is peanuts when compared to the billions Israel gets annually from the US. I was more offended to discover that one of MEMRI’s anti-Arabs/Muslims offices is located in Baghdad. That along with the hundreds of Israeli companies working there must be one of the costs that had to be paid to get that valuable American-styled democracy into Iraq.

      • chayma100
        August 12, 2011, 6:51 am

        Walid I don’t know what kind of perverse logic you are propogating here.

        The fact that the USA does not currently regard MEMRI as a dubious outfit, doesn’t mean that we cannot present the facts to those in a position to review.

        The billions in aid given to Israel is not connected to this, nor was it the issue here. If the USA want’s to give funds to a source, it should be a source that doens’t alter translations for an agenda.

      • Chaos4700
        August 12, 2011, 9:00 am

        If the USA want’s to give funds to a source, it should be a source that doens’t alter translations for an agenda.

        …so definitely not MEMRI?

      • American
        August 12, 2011, 1:04 pm

        “what’s the fuss here about MEMRI getting funding from the State Dept? ”

        How would you feel about the State Dept funding Stormfront or the KKK?

      • Walid
        August 12, 2011, 3:21 pm

        “what’s the fuss here about MEMRI getting funding from the State Dept? ”

        American, you misunderstood; it stinks to learn that this scum outfit is getting funded by the State Dept but it still remains a minor issue when you compare the $200M to the billions Israel gets every year.

      • American
        August 12, 2011, 11:14 pm

        I’m not misunderstanding…..I was pointing out that meri as a Isr propaganda and hate on Arabs machine is no different than Stormfront and the KKK. ….doesn’t matter how much or little it is…..the point being taxpayers are funding an Israeli propaganda organ.

        Trust me …I know all about the billions Isr gets from us every year.

  17. davidsc
    August 12, 2011, 4:17 am

    Just because Breivik happens to have mentioned the names of people and organizations does not taint them. There were many great minds he drew mental sustenance from, but that doesn’t mean we have to burn all the books of John Stuart Mill. This is the kind of perverse stupid thinking that takes us nowhere.

    • Walid
      August 12, 2011, 6:13 am

      MEMRI was tainted long before Breivik came along because like most Israeli lobbies it consistently lies and it has been repeatedly caught twisting the truth. The only perverse thing here is the existence of an Israeli lobby masquerading as an American research group.

      • chayma100
        August 12, 2011, 6:53 am

        Lobby groups are not illegal in the USA.

        Why is this sort of nonsense tolerated here?

        Phil? You were questioning why Daily Kos banned linking and commenting? I suggest you do a comment review. Many of your commentators do nothing for the credibility of your site.

      • Taxi
        August 12, 2011, 8:29 am

        Chayma100,

        I suggest you stop being snooty and re-read Walid’s post again just in case you missed the crucial word he used: “masquerading”.

        And if you’re so charmed by the Daily Kos’ ‘editorial method’ then why don’t you buzz off back there.

      • Chaos4700
        August 12, 2011, 8:58 am

        Um, when a lobby group gets PAID by the government directly, to do its lobbying activities, it ceases to be a lobby group and transcends into the realm of fascism. It ceases to be an “outside” lobby group and becomes a propaganda outlet for the regime.

      • annie
        August 12, 2011, 2:04 pm

        chayma, didn’t you just publish the islamophobes daniel pipes and Matthias Küntzel on another thread? and now you’re bitching about the credibility of the site?

        argh!

      • lysias
        August 12, 2011, 3:55 pm

        Lobby groups are not illegal in the USA.

        How many lobby groups for foreign governments does the U.S. government fund? Is it legal for the U.S. government to fund them — even if they do not register as agents of a foreign government, as U.S. law requires?

    • Chaos4700
      August 12, 2011, 8:59 am

      How about the fact that MEMRI has been caught in several Islamophobic lies? Does that taint MEMRI or do you not carry about trifling things like facts?

    • lysias
      August 12, 2011, 4:02 pm

      I fail to see how John Stuart Mill had much influence on Breivik. In his opus, I find one quote from Mill that he cites twice. He also claims Mill’s On Liberty is one of his favorite books. But I do not see how it had any influence on him. By Mill’s reasoning in On Liberty, espousal of Islam should be permitted, and Mill would rely on rational argument to defeat it, if it is wrong.

  18. Richard Witty
    August 12, 2011, 6:51 am

    Memri is like any other media source, informative and at the same time inevitably containing bias.

    Noam Chomsky stated that he got his most reliable information from the Wall Street Journal, not the New York Times and not the left press.

    • Walid
      August 12, 2011, 8:42 am

      It’s not about the bias but about the lies that MEMRI tells. Nobody complained about its existence, only about its lies and phony front for the Israeli government and now it’s been made worse by the discovery that the State Department is funding it. Then again, this shouldn’t have come as a surprise since the State Dept maintains and funds a section devoted strictly to policing anti-Semitism worldwide. It doesn’t have one for any other other ethnic group, but only one to look out supposedly for the Jews but in actuality it’s to look out for Israel. Then you wonder why everyone keeps pointing the finger.

    • James North
      August 12, 2011, 8:45 am

      Richard Witty said, ‘Der Sturmer, the Nazi newspaper, was “like any other media source, informative and at the same time inevitably containing bias.”‘

    • Chaos4700
      August 12, 2011, 8:56 am

      And does the US State Department award $200,000 gift baskets to Democracy Now, Witty? How about al-Jazeera, how much money do they get from the State Department? What does the State Department pay MSNBC? Tax breaks and subsidies to General Electric don’t count for that one, by the way.

      • Walid
        August 12, 2011, 10:01 am

        Chaos, al-Jazeera got its payback that was due to it 5 months before I predicted it would. For its indefatigable reporting on Libya and Syria as well as its non-reporting on Bahrain, it was taken out of the US doghouse and permitted to go on the air in NYC on Time-Warner’s RISE channel on August 1st. I had predicted that this would happen by the end of the year; I must be slipping. This is much better than a cheque for $200M.

      • Chaos4700
        August 12, 2011, 7:38 pm

        Ha! They would be better of with the cash. Watch how quickly al-Jazeera will have its plug pulled if they speak a word about the next Israeli slaughter of Palestinians to come.

        At least the cash would be in their hands. Media access in the US could be pulled at any time and with no warnings, and the US Justice Department couldn’t care less about enforcing any contracts that might have been signed. Sell-outs always get shafted.

    • American
      August 12, 2011, 1:23 pm

      MEMRI is not like any other media source witty.
      It’s FOREIGN propaganda operation for Israel. Period.

      I thought I remembered years ago finding that it was started by a Mossad of IDF figure. So I went to check:

      “It was founded in 1998 by Yigal Carmon, a former colonel in the Israel Defense Forces (Intelligence Branch) from 1968 until 1988, acting head of civil administration in the West Bank from 1977 to 1982; and Israeli-born Meyrav Wurmser, an extreme rightwing neoconservative now affiliated with the Hudson Institute.

      Meyrav is married to David Wurmser, at one time an American Enterprise Institute “scholar” and then a State Department apparatchik under John Bolton.

      Both participated in the collective writing of “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” a seminal 1996 neocon document that advocated an end to negotiations with the Palestinians and permanent war against the Arab world.

      They also worked with Douglas Feith, Elliot Abrams, Richard Perle and other rightwing ideologues who promoted and embellished the fiction that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.

      MEMRI has offices in Jerusalem, Berlin, London, Washington and Tokyo, and in a 2006 Jerusalem Post interview, Carmon claimed to have one in Iraq.

      It translates film and print into English, German, Hebrew, Italian, French, Spanish and Japanese.

      Tax returns for 2004 indicate American funding of between two to three million dollars, much of it from conservative donors and foundations – but those who have followed its far-flung operations suspect much higher expenditures.

      Besides Carmon, several MEMRI staffers are former Israeli intelligence specialists. Especially troubling are suspected links between MEMRI and the current Israeli intelligence establishment.

      According to a 2005 article in Israel’s Ha’aretz, the Israeli Defense Forces plants fake stories in the Arab media, which it then translates and tries to retail to Israeli journalists. How much of MEMRI is simply an extension of such IDF operations?

      The questions raised by the Ha’aretz story caused Proffesor Juan Cole to write, “How much of what we ‘know’ from ‘Arab sources’ about ‘Hizbullah terrorism’ was simply made up by this fantasy factory in Tel Aviv?”

      British journalist Brian Whitaker, Middle East editor of the Guardian, dismisses MEMRI as “basically a propaganda machine.”

      Ken Livingstone, mayor of London, accuses them of “outright distortion,” and former CIA case officer Vince Cannistraro has written that “they (MEMRI) are selective and act as propagandists for their political point of view, which is the extreme-right of Likud.”

      With characteristic bluntness. Norman Finkelstein has written: “MEMRI is a main arm of Israeli propaganda. Although widely used in the mainstream media as a source of information on the Arab world, it is as trustworthy as Julius Streicher’s Der Sturmer was on the Jewish world.” (Der Sturmer was a rabidly anti-Semitic newspaper, and Streicher a notoriously cruel Nazi.) “

      • James North
        August 12, 2011, 1:54 pm

        Richard Witty said, ‘American: Don’t waste any time waiting for me to respond to your informative comment about Memri. Unlike you and others, I don’t take the time to do any research; my aim is not the truth, but to troll and confuse. How do you think I got to 10,200 comments so far, an average of nearly 14 a day?’

      • lysias
        August 12, 2011, 3:50 pm

        Although widely used in the mainstream media as a source of information on the Arab world, it is as trustworthy as Julius Streicher’s Der Sturmer was on the Jewish world.” (Der Sturmer was a rabidly anti-Semitic newspaper, and Streicher a notoriously cruel Nazi.) “

        These MEMRI folks better watch out. Streicher ended up being hanged at Nuremberg. For crimes against humanity, no less.

    • Shmuel
      August 12, 2011, 2:10 pm

      Memri is like any other media source, informative and at the same time inevitably containing bias.

      And an AIPAC junket is just anther opportunity for congresspeople to see things for themselves and ask questions.

      • Richard Witty
        August 12, 2011, 3:13 pm

        It depends on them Shmuel.

        If the individuals desire to be spoon fed, then I’m sure they’ll find a source. If they desire to inquire independently, then they have the opportunity, regardless of who paid for the trip.

        Most on the left utterly disregard Memri. I tend to. I don’t even know how to find their presentations.

        Its important to gain full understanding of issues, for the content itself, and even to understand the perspective of those one is trying to argue against.

        This site is a similar broadcast medium, periodically presenting misrepresentative information, but still important to exist for those that desire to understand fully.

      • Woody Tanaka
        August 12, 2011, 3:55 pm

        “If they desire to inquire independently, then they have the opportunity, regardless of who paid for the trip.”

        Oh, please. If you don’t think that AIPAC doesn’t have this entire trip planned so that only the Jewish side of the question will be shown to these people, and if you think that they put any free time in the schedule to even permit one of these people to do any “independent inquiry”, you’re crazy.

      • Shmuel
        August 12, 2011, 4:25 pm

        You are playing innocent again, Richard.

        Even if the AIPAC trips were not specially designed to present a distorted, one-sided picture, and even if the 81 congresspeople were all individuals of exceptional intelligence and impeccable honesty (giggle break), such a trip would inevitably undermine their judgement. It’s human nature. See Exodus 23:8.

        As for this site, it doesn’t pretend to be a “research institute” and it hasn’t received a $200,000 grant from the State Department yet (unless Phil and Adam are hiding something from us). When it does either of these things, your comparison may have some validity.

      • Walid
        August 13, 2011, 2:26 am

        “Most on the left utterly disregard Memri. I tend to. I don’t even know how to find their presentations.”

        Richard, you don’t find MEMRI presentations, they are subliminal and they find you. They are all over the Western press and lately some of the pro-US Arab press has been taking lessons. Just listen to some one-sided “Arab-sourced” newscast coming out of Libya or Syria and you’d feel its influence and swear it it has a direct hand in formulating them.

    • lysias
      August 12, 2011, 3:53 pm

      Noam Chomsky stated that he got his most reliable information from the Wall Street Journal, not the New York Times and not the left press.

      That would have been the pre-Rupert Murdoch Wall Street Journal, whose news section was indeed very informative.

      Nowadays, to get that kind of coverage, you have to go to the Financial Times.

  19. CigarGod
    August 12, 2011, 9:36 am

    Most of these groups/institutions have long since abandoned the admirable mission of combating real anti-semitism and instead are now focused on combating any criticism of Israeli policies and the actions of those who support distastful Israeli policies. That the people who support these policies are largely Jews, is beside the point.

    • Walid
      August 12, 2011, 4:03 pm

      “…That the people who support these policies are largely Jews, is beside the point.”

      CigarGod, it’s not just the Jews; Christians, especially Christian -Zios are there at the front of the line carrying the banner. An example is Joe “I’m a Zionist” Biden who is a Roman Catholic. Another Israel flag-waver is Stephen Harper, a born-again C & MA Evangelist. Bush Jr, John Howard and Jose Maria Aznar (now a MEMRI advisor) are Christians and not Jews. You can’t tell them apart anymore.

  20. Kathleen
    August 12, 2011, 10:04 am

    Dots connected.

    folks the national new round up hour on the Diane Rehm show is underway est. Please try to get this issue on the air. 81 congresspeople off to Israel for recess. Thought it was illegal for this to take place.

    Please get this question on air in the next hour.
    1-800- 433-8850 Be polite with screener. You may have to spin this question softly so the filter person allows you to get on the program.

    Go for it. Email, Call, twitter, facebook. Millions listen to this program in the next two hours with this issue
    link to wamu.org

  21. Kathleen
    August 12, 2011, 11:07 am

    Check this out.

    Iran names street after Rachel Corrie

    Tehran pays tribute to US activist crushed to death by bulldozer while trying stop the demolition of Palestinian homes

    link to guardian.co.uk

  22. General Choomin
    August 12, 2011, 1:42 pm

    I know memri from digging through israeli propaganda. The thing was founded by a neocon who helped write “the clean break” and an ex-mossad agent. This shit makes me sick. That the US government is paying a known propaganda outlet to lie to it’s own citizens for the benefit of another nation to justify their ethnic cleansing.

    • Walid
      August 12, 2011, 3:27 pm

      “… the US government is paying a known propaganda outlet to lie to it’s own citizens for the benefit of another nation to justify their ethnic cleansing.”

      General Choomin, those few words said it all.

  23. lysias
    August 12, 2011, 4:42 pm

    NYT: U.S. Threatens to Halt Gaza Aid Over Hamas Audits:

    JERUSALEM — The State Department sent a message to Gaza’s Hamas leaders on Thursday that it would withdraw some $100 million it is spending in Gaza on health care, agriculture and water infrastructure if they did not back off a demand to audit the books of American-financed charities operating there.

    . . .

    Although those requests were resisted, most groups ultimately agreed to them, officials at charities based in Gaza said. But in June, when Hamas demanded that the groups permit its officials to audit their books, the objections grew. Though Hamas did not explain the reason for its demand, many governments are suspicious of foreign financing of charities, fearing that money can be diverted for political or intelligence-gathering uses.

    For American organizations, United States policy forbids direct contact with Hamas, labeled a terrorist group by the State Department. As a result, on-site audits by Hamas officials would lead to suspension of aid, American officials said. The United States accounts for a large share of the money that foreign governments spend on humanitarian assistance in Gaza.

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