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Thursday, July 5, 2007

America Magazine unfair to Israel, says church group

Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East has released the following statement regarding coverage of the Middle East in America Magazine:

Fair Witness Is Troubled By America Magazine's Coverage of The Middle East

Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East is troubled by America Magazine's continuing application of a double standard to the violence in the Middle East.  In its most recent issue, printed just three weeks after the outbreak of bloody Hamas/Fatah infighting in Gaza which left hundreds of Palestinians dead and injured, America's editors chose to run two full articles focused on Palestinian suffering supposedly caused by Israeli policies.  The Palestinian-on- Palestinian violence in Gaza, on the other hand, received only a passing mention in this same edition.

The first article levels the by now familiar indictment of the Israeli "occupation" and the security barrier. "Any responsible coverage of the difficulties posed by the security barrier should include the fact that Palestinian leadership turned down their best chance of ending the Israeli presence in the West Bank entirely," comments Rev. Dr. Archer Summers, Senior Minister in the First United Methodist Church in Palo Alto, California, and Fair Witness Executive Committee member.  "In 2000 the Palestinians were offered Gaza, 97 percent of contiguous territory on the West Bank, East Jerusalem for a capital, three quarters of the Old City and a 30 billion dollar fund to compensate refugees in exchange for peace with Israel.  They turned it down and opted instead for the bloody reign of terror against Israelis called the Second Intifada.  There is no integrity in complaining about Israel's security barrier without even mentioning this shameful action on the part of the Palestinians."

"One has to admire Rabbi Ascherman, the subject of the second article, whose efforts on behalf of human rights for Palestinians underscores the self-critical and self-correcting nature of Israeli society," adds Sr. Ruth Lautt, Fair Witness National Director.  "However, we question America's failure to discuss the role that the Palestinians and their leadership have played in causing their own suffering."

"A fuller and more comprehensive understanding of the issues surrounding the sad need for a security barrier and the Arab/Israeli conflict in general is necessary for promoting a peaceful solution," adds Fr. James Loughran, S.A., Director of the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute.  "America's publication of these articles, however, can only foment anti-Israeli sentiment among American Christians.  It is neither fair, just nor helpful."

Sr. Ruth Lautt, OP, Esq.
National Director
Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East
475 Riverside Drive, Ste 1960
New York, NY 10115
(212) 870-2320


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