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Thursday, December 09, 2010

NAAJA condemns defamatory attacks by ADL head Abe Foxman, criticizes censorship at Huffington Post

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The National Arab American Journalists Association today condemned as defamatory a column authored by Abe Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, which condemns Helen Thomas and calls for schools and institutions across America to cancel all awards that have been issued in her name.

NAAJA has also denounced Arianna Huffington and the Huffington Post for its campaign of censorship against American Arabs, blocking and editing any comments they view that are too harsh against Israel.

"It's not a surprise that the Huffington Post is running the hateful call by Abe Foxman to destroy and intimidate Helen Thomas because she dared to challenge the influence of an political movement in America which champions the politics of a foreign nation," said NAAJA coordinator Ray Hanania.

Click HERE to read Foxman's diatribe against Thomas.

"The bullying and intimidation against Helen Thomas from Foxman and other extremist American activists supporting Israel is reaching new heights of bigotry and racism," Hanania said.

"The Anti-Defamation League has a history of defaming Arabs and Muslims and using turning every debate and point of contention into a crisis of vengeance and fear mongering. The ADL's call will be heeded by organizations and educational institutions across America not for the principles that the ADL distorts regarding Thomas' comments, which challenge Zionism, but because many organizations and educational institutions cower and fear int he face of ADL bullying."

Hanania said that rather than contributing to a debate about the remarks that Helen Thomas has made challenging Zionism and its influence in this country, the Huffington Post has decided to allow Foxman and others to fear monger, serving as a mountain top from which anti-Arab and anti-Muslim activists like Abe Foxman can scream their fear mongering across America.

"Foxman's hateful assault will have an impact of many educational institutions that honor courageous journalism with awards named for Helen Thomas, whose journalism career spanned the administration of every President from Eisenhower to Obama," Hanania said.

Hanania said the organization was issuing this statement on Helen Thomas and her remarks which were made first to a video blogger with a questionable reputation, and then at a workshop held in Dearborn Michigan last week:

Helen Thomas’ remarks were twisted to mean something other than what she means. She has the right to challenge an identifiable political constituency in America that advocates for a foreign country.

Helen Thomas NEVER used the word Jews or Jew in any of her remarks and focused specifically on the political aspects of a very complex issue. To have some extremists in the American supporters of Israel twist and distort her remarks is a tragedy that reflects the continuing deteriorating situation of those who support Middle East Peace.

From the Detroit Free Press:
At the end of her speech, Thomas spoke about bias against Arabs and then recalled the words of a rabbi at Martin Luther King's 1963 civil rights march on Washington D.C., when he made his, I have a dream speech. Thomas said that the rabbi, who survived Nazi concentration camps, told the crowd "the greatest sin of all in the Nazi era was silence."
Rather than respond with vicious accusations against Helen Thomas, Americans should be allowed to debate, discuss and argue without fear of defamation or retribution issues that are important to all of us as Americans.

America prides itself on free speech, tolerance, the First Amendment and those inherent qualities of Americanism should not be compromised to advance a foreign-driven agenda. It is important that every organization understand the issues Helen Thomas has raised without fear of being slandered or defamed.

You cannot have true diversity without free speech and a tolerance for opposing and divergent views, and you cannot have diversity when individuals resort to using bullying and intimidation as a part of that discussion.

-- Ray Hanania

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