uploaded : Wednesday 20th Mar 2002 at 10:23
by : The Editors with Voice of America and MEMRI
Update 20 March 2002: Please go to http://www.latimes.com
to read an exclusive story confirming that the Saudi editor of the paper that ran the Blood Libel article has retracted the story.
An official US government editorial began broadcasting on Monday 18 March on the 'Voice of America' (VOA). The United States has asked the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to pay "attention to the need to do everything possible to help end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
"In the meantime, there is something that Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries, could do right now to ease tensions in the Middle East," the editorial said.
"They could stop newspapers and radio and television stations, especially those controlled by the state, from inciting hatred and violence against Jews."
"This is, of course, the infamous 'blood libel', a centuries-old anti-Semitic lie that has been used repeatedly to stir hatred against Jews," the editorial said, calling the columnist's accusations "preposterous."
"No one who is not blinded by hate for Jews could ever believe such nonsense," it said, adding that identifying the author as a doctor from a prominent Saudi university "helps to make her lies sound credible."
"Surely, this is not the way to promote peace between Arabs and Jews."
MEMRI has issued this worldwide advisory:
Press Release on Article in Saudi Government Daily:
Jews Use Teenagers' Blood for 'Purim' Pastries, 3/18/02
Following the publication of a two-part "Purim" blood libel in the Saudi government daily Al-Riyadh (Special Dispatch No. 354), MEMRI has received several emails from readers who could not locate the articles on Al -Riyadh's Web site. The following URL addresses link directly to the articles:
Purim blood libel part 1: ://writers.alriyadh.com.sa/kpage.asp?art=5230&am p;ka=200
Purim blood libel part 2: ://writers.alriyadh.com.sa/kpage.asp?art=5258&am p;ka=200
In the event that Al-Riyadh removes the articles from its Web site, MEMRI will provide a printed hard copy to any interested party.
Additionally, some readers forwarded MEMRI their correspondence with the Saudi embassy in the U.S. In its response to those who contacted the embassy regarding the articles, the Saudi embassy did not deny the appearance of the articles in Al-Riyadh, nor did it denounce their content. Rather, the embassy stated that Al-Riyadh "is not a Saudi government newspaper any more than The National Enquirer is a U.S. government newspaper," and that "Al-Riyadh is a small private newspaper."
In contrast to the Saudi embassy's response, some Muslim readers have contacted MEMRI to express their indignation at the content of the Al-Riyadh articles. One American Muslim published his denunciation on the Al-Riyadh Web site.
Al-Riyadh has been presented as a government-controlled or government-sponsored newspaper by leading international media outlets such as the BBC and AFP. In addition, some comments regarding the newspaper are warranted:
Firstly, the editor-in-chief of Al-Riyadh, Turki Al-Sudairi, is a member of the Al-Sudairi clan of the Saudi royal family.
Secondly, Al-Riyadh is a leading newspaper in Saudi Arabia. It is not a tabloid like the The National Enquirer.
Thirdly, the Web site of the Saudi monarch King Fahd includes a section in English (www .kingfahdbinabdulaziz.com/main/g310.htm) entitled "Role of Ministry of Information," which reads: "The Ministry of Information is responsible for all information services, including radio, television and publications." The "publications" link leads to a list of selected Saudi newspapers, including Al-Riyadh. A similar link may be found on the "links" section of the Web site of the Saudi embassy to the U.S. (http://www.saudiembassy. net)
Although blood libels do not appear often in the Arabic press, they have occasionally been published in leading newspapers throughout the Arab and Muslim world. As examples, see the Egyptian government dailies Al-Ahram (October 28, 2000) and Al-Akhbar (October 20, 2000 and March 25, 2001), in MEMRI's Special Dispatches 150 and 201.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: (202) 955-9070
Fax: (202) 955-9077