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News ::
Selective Memri
13 Aug 2002
Modified: 15 Aug 2002
Israel's selective memri
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In response to "selective memri"
15 Aug 2002
This week, the Guardian's Middle East editor, Brian Whitaker,authored a piece entitled "Selective Memri" (August 12). The article is an attack on Memri, the Middle East Media Research Institute (, which provides translations of articles and speeches from various Arabic sources.

In his attack, Whitaker acknowledges that "nobody, so far as I know, disputes the general accuracy of Memri's translations."

So what's the problem?

For starters, Whitaker quotes Ibraham Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who complains that Memri depicts the Muslim world in a bad light. Hardly a valid criticism, considering that Memri merely translates the Arabic media!

Whitaker also denounces Memri for employing three former members of Israeli intelligence. What Whitaker doesn't tell us is that Memri's founder, Colonel Yigal Carmon, and most of his young staff, are on the left wing of the Israeli political spectrum. Carmon was an advisor to the late Yitzhak Rabin and is a supporter of territorial compromise.

Whitaker scoffs at the fact that the names of Memri's staff and office address were removed from their website due to concern of attack by Arab extremists. Whitaker calls this an "over-the-top precaution." One wonders if the Guardian would consider itself "over-the-top" for taking such precautions to protect its own staff from violence.

Read the article at:,7792,77325


Most surprising of all is that while Whitaker spends 1,700 words attacking Memri as a "mysterious organization" and its "air of secrecy,"he has forgotten to tell Guardian readers of his own secrets. For in addition to his work as Middle East editor of The Guardian, Whitaker also runs the
anti-Israel, website Arab Gateway (

Arab Gateway lists viciously anti-Israel "associate sites," such as that of the spuriously-named "Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding"

Whitaker's site has pages about non-Arab minorities in the Middle East, such as Berbers and Kurds -- but no page on Jews. The site's section on "maps" lists a "country map of Palestine" (we didn't know Palestine was a country), but upon clicking the link it takes you to a file at the Univ. of Texas archives with a slightly different name: "israel_map.jpg".

See a beaming photo of Whitaker on the "about" page of Arab Gateway at

Sound to us like a conflict of interest.