Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mendacious Journalists Cover for PLO Ambassador to United States

Challah Hu Akbar

On Tuesday September 13, 2011, the PLO Ambassador to the US Maen Areikat in a meeting with reporters refused to say whether homosexuals would be allowed in the State of Palestine. However, these words have been lost as a debate has developed over some of his other statements.

On September 14th, USA Today reported:

The Palestine Liberation Organization's ambassador to the United States said Tuesday that any future Palestinian state it seeks with help from the United Nations and the United States should be free of Jews.

Following this the PLO Ambassador denied the report in Foreign Policy, Politico and the Huffington Post. This PR effort was facilitated by Bell Pottinger, a PR firm that has done a lot of work for Yemen, Qatar and Bahran. Bell Pottinger has begun providing public relations counsel to the organization that represents the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the US.

According to documents filed earlier this month with the US Department of Justice, Bell Pottinger USA has been contracted to provide “advice on strategic communications, public relations, media relations and congressional affairs” to the General Delegation of the PLO to the United States.

The appointment of the agency comes ahead of a critical UN vote on Palestinian statehood next month. However, Bell Pottinger USA president David Sowells declined to comment on whether his agency’s work would involve this issue.

According to the DoJ filing, Bell Pottinger is reporting to Maen Rashid Areikat, chief representative of the PLO in the US. Areikat serves an ambassadorial function to the US, with a particular focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

J.J. Goldberg writing on the blog of The Forward wrote:

Every week seems to bring some new manufactured scandal that’s supposed to prove that the Palestinians aren’t really ready for peace. The latest is the phony blow-up over the statement by the Washington representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Maen Areikat, in which he’s supposed to have called for a “Jew-free” Palestinian state.

None of this stopped Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from mentioning Areikat’s statements in his UNGA speech.

The Jewish state of Israel will always protect the rights of all its minorities, including the more than 1 million Arab citizens of Israel. I wish I could say the same thing about a future Palestinian state, for as Palestinian officials made clear the other day -- in fact, I think they made it right here in New York -- they said the Palestinian state won't allow any Jews in it. They'll be Jew-free -- Judenrein. That's ethnic cleansing. There are laws today in Ramallah that make the selling of land to Jews punishable by death. That's racism. And you know which laws this evokes.

It was this paragraph that set off a set of tweets from Laura Rozen and Ron Kampeas.

Rozen, who writes for Yahoo News tweeted:

BN quoting USA Today false story on what Areikat did (not) say. Shameful

Kampeas who writes for JTA tweeted:

oof, areikat never said jew-free

I took issue with Kampeas tweet and responded:

@kampeas Are you kidding? Any Jew who is inside the borders of Palestine will have to leave? Absolutely.

After no response for a bit, I tweeted:

@kampeas Waiting for your response.... Or are you going to lie again....

Kampeas then responded, but failed to address my question:

@ChallahHuAkbar I'm sorry, what was that? I was kicking puppies.

I responded:

@kampeas Question: Any Jew who is inside the borders of Palestine will have to leave? Areikat: Absolutely. Jew-Free?

Kampeas never responded. Today, I sent him a new tweet:

.@Kampeas I'm still waiting... You still say Areikat didn't call for "Jew-Free Palestine"

Still waiting for his response...because it is 100% clear that Areikat call for a Judenrein State of Palestine.

In 2010, in an interview with Tablet Magazine the following interaction took place.

[TABLET]: When you imagine a future Palestinian state, do you imagine it being a place where Jews, if they wish to become Palestinian citizens, could own property, vote in elections, and practice their religion freely?

[AREIKAT]: I remember in the mid-’90s, the late [PLO official] Faisal Husseini said repeatedly “OK, if Israelis choose to stay in a future Palestinian state, they are more than welcome to do that. But under one condition: They have to respect and obey Palestinian laws, they cannot be living as Israelis. They have to respect Palestinian laws and abide by them.” When Faisal Husseini died, basically no Palestinian leader has publicly supported the notion that they can stay.

What we are saying is the following: We need to separate. We have to separate. We are in a forced marriage. We need to divorce. After we divorce, and everybody takes a period of time to recoup, rebound, whatever you want to call it, we may consider dating again.

[TABLET]: So, you think it would be necessary to first transfer and remove every Jew—

[AREIKAT]: Absolutely. No, I’m not saying to transfer every Jew, I’m saying transfer Jews who, after an agreement with Israel, fall under the jurisdiction of a Palestinian state.

[TABLET]: Any Jew who is inside the borders of Palestine will have to leave?

[AREIKAT]: Absolutely. I think this is a very necessary step, before we can allow the two states to somehow develop their separate national identities, and then maybe open up the doors for all kinds of cultural, social, political, economic exchanges, that freedom of movement of both citizens of Israelis and Palestinians from one area to another. You know you have to think of the day after.

It is explicit in this sequence of statements that Areikat was calling for a Jew-Free State of Palestine, but Kampeas and others refuse to accept the reality.

Here are the statements from September 14, 2011.

WEINSTEIN: What kind of state do you perceive the independent Palestinians to be? For instance, do you imagine that in an independent Palestinian state, a Jew could be elected mayor of Ramallah?

AREIKAT: I haven't seen the draft resolution but I can assure you the resolution will be calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital. And it will definitely include also that it will live side by side in peace and security with Israel...

WEINSTEIN: To my point, do you foresee in an independent Palestinian state, for instance, a member of the Jewish minority there, if they existed, being elected mayor of Ramallah

AREIKAT: Well, you know, I personally still believe as a first step we need to be totally separated and we can contemplate these issues in the future. But after the experience of the last 44 years of military occupation and all the conflict of friction, I think it would be in the best interests of the two peoples to be separated first.

Weinstein asked for clarification after the event and got the following response

WEINSTEIN: Could I get a quick clarification Mr. Ambassador? When I asked a question about whether a Jew could be elected mayor of Ramallah, you said there would be a period of separation. Does that mean that for a period there would be no Jews in the West Bank and Gaza?

AREIKAT: We have to be separated. We have to work on developing our own national identitities and then after that we have to cooperate together, we have to live together.

Ron Kampeas, Laura Rozen, JJ Goldberg and anyone else claiming that Areikat did not call for a Judenrein Palestine should be ashamed of themselves. It is time to stop pretending that Areikat did not call for a Jew-free Palestinian state, he did. Those who continue to cover for Areikat are simply being mendacious.

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