- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 11, 2002

As President Bush was flying to Connecticut on Tuesday to give a speech touting "freedom of the press," his spokesman aboard Air Force One was saying Arab states should be "stopping the press."
That's because the White House draws a sharp line of distinction between American media outlets, which publish whatever they please, and government-controlled media outlets in the Arab world.
"The president has called on the Arab states to stop the hatred in the press against Israel or against Jews," White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said yesterday. "They need to stop the incitement and the hatred that can be found in the government press."
The White House believes that virulent anti-Jewish propaganda in the Arab press is partly to blame for the rash of Palestinian suicide bombings and recent anti-Israel and anti-American demonstrations in Arab capitals.
By branding Israel's incursions into Palestinian territories a "holocaust," the Arab press is undermining this week's Middle East peace mission by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.
Moreover, state-sponsored depictions of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a mass murderer are believed to be hampering U.S. efforts to turn Arab sentiment against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, a popular hero among Palestinians since his 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Publicly, White House officials are reluctant to single out Arab nations as anti-Semitic. But privately, officials note that some of the worst offenders are crucial U.S. allies. These include Egypt, which receives more U.S. aid than any state except Israel, and Saudi Arabia, which spawned 15 of the 19 hijackers in the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The official Saudi newspaper al-Riyadh last month asserted that Jews kill Muslim and Christian children and use their blood in holiday foods. It accused Jews of slaughtering children up to 10 years old for Passover and said that teen-agers are used for the Jewish holiday Purim.
"This holiday has some dangerous customs that will, no doubt, horrify you, and I apologize if any reader is harmed because of this," wrote Umayma Ahmad Jalahma of the government-run King Faisal University in Dammam.
"During this holiday, the Jew must prepare very special pastries, the filling of which is not only costly and rare it cannot be found at all on the local and international markets," he added.
Although the editor of the paper later apologized under intense international pressure, the "blood libel" has been published in many other Arab media outlets.
A month after the current Palestinian intifada against Israel began in September 2000, Egypt's primary daily newspaper, Al Ahram, published a similar article, saying Jews used the blood of Palestinian children to bake Passover matzo.
More recently, another government-controlled Egyptian newspaper, Al Akhbar, published an article headlined "Jewish Influence Dominates U.S. Society." The article blamed a Jewish conspiracy for the demise of former President Richard M. Nixon because he had complained about "Jewish domination in American society."
The anti-Israeli rhetoric is much stronger in the Palestinian media. For example, the official Palestinian Authority TV station has broadcast a live sermon inciting the murder of Jews in the current intifada.
"They must be butchered and killed, as Allah the Almighty said: 'Fight them: Allah will torture them at your hands,'" said commentator Ahmad Abu Halabiya, who was funded by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
"Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country," he exhorted Palestinians. "Fight them, wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them."
Although Arab leaders have publicly vowed to side with the United States in the war against terrorism, they often place anti-Israeli propaganda into their media to mollify hard-liners. Although it is intended primarily for domestic consumption, it has been given a broader audience through mass communications such as the Internet.
The Web site of the Saudi Embassy in Washington recently announced a $33 million "intifada fund distributed to deserving Palestinians." The money goes to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.
"The minister of interior expressed his appreciation to the Saudi people for their response supporting their Palestinian brothers," the Web site said.
On an appearance Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Mr. Powell said that "any time you incentivize in any way this kind of activity, you are contributing to the activity."
"Including Saudi Arabia?" asked host Tim Russert.
"Yes," Mr. Powell said.
The administration is doing its best to counter such anti-Jewish sentiments with pro-Israel messages of its own. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday decried the rising tide of anti-Semitism across the globe.
"Fanatical, unreasoning hatred has intruded upon our lives in ways that no one could have imagined months ago," she said at a Holocaust remembrance at the Capitol.
"From the Holy Land, we see daily images of carnage, and from Europe come images of synagogues and Torah scrolls burned," Miss Rice told the largely Jewish audience. "The world was sent obscene videotapes where evil leaders celebrate the slaughter, and yet another tape where a man is killed after being made to say the words, 'I am a Jew.'"
"This year, evil has spoken to all of us," she added. "And on this day we need no reminder to answer back, quietly but firmly: Never again."

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