Wednesday, 12 December 2012

MEMRI TV


MEMRI TV appears to be a genuine organization simply translating and monitoring the media in the Middle East. In fact it's an Israeli friendly purveyor of disinformation and on occasions has actually created apparent news items by the use of actors  

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Middle_East_Media_Research_Institute


Middle East Media Research Institute

(MEMRI) is a Israeli propaganda organization that selectively translates materials from the Arab/Muslim/Iranian press purportedly demonstrating hostility against Israel/Jews. According to the MEMRI web site: "MEMRI emphasizes the continuing relevance of Zionism to the Jewish people and to the state of Israel."[1] It "explores the Middle East through the region's media. MEMRI bridges the language gap which exists between the West and the Middle East, providing timely translations of Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew media, as well as original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural, and religious trends in the Middle East."[2]
MEMRI has several offices around the world. Americans work in D.C.; British, Spaniards, Italians, Germans, and Norwegians work in the European Union; Israelis in Israel; Japanese in Japan; Arabs also make up some of the people who work for MEMRI.
The MEMRI Web site also says, "selected subtitled clips from mainly arabic and Iranian television have been published since 2004."

History

According to its website, founded in February 1998 by former/current Israeli intelligence officers "to inform the debate over U.S. policy in the Middle East, MEMRI is an independent. MEMRI's headquarters is located in Washington, DC with branch offices in Berlin, London, and Jerusalem, where MEMRI also maintains its Media Center. MEMRI research is translated to English, German, Hebrew, Italian, French, Spanish, Turkish, and Russian."

MEMRI's stance is that it is opposed to Islamic fundamentalism, not Islam itself, although the integrity of this position may be questioned because of links on MEMRI's website to certain evangelical Christian organizations who take a harder line on Islam. Yigal Carmon, MEMRI's founder, is a former advisor on terrorism to the Israeli Prime Ministers, Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin, so he actually worked for both Labor and Likud governments.

MEMRI has gained currency with most pro-Israel writers, as well as right-wing publications. For example, New York Times writer Thomas Friedman, an influential foreign affairs columnist, has used MEMRI translations a number of times in his columns. MEMRI is cited in several publications, such as The Times, The Washington Times, The Weekly Standard, The Jerusalem Post, The National Review, The Toronto Sun, Wall Street Journal, Libertad, FrontPageMagazine, Columbia Journalism Review, Associated Press, etc. [4]

Threatening Critics

In November 2004, MEMRI threatened Middle East scholar Juan Cole (Univ. of Michigan) with a SLAPP lawsuit unless he retracted some of his claims.[5]
Nature of the charges pace Cole:
"Colonel Carmon's letter makes three charges: 1) that I alleged that MEMRI receives $60 million a year for its operations. 2) That I alleged that MEMRI cherry-picks the vast Arab press for articles that make the Arabs look bad. 3) That I said that MEMRI was affiliated with the Likud Party."
Cole replies:
  1. I think he would find that in democratic countries, in any case, a dispute over an organization's level of funding would be laughed out of court as a basis for a libel action. In fact, I am giggling as I write this.
  2. "I continue to maintain that MEMRI is selective and biased against the Arab press, and that it highlights pieces that cast Arabs, especially committed Muslims, in a negative light."
  3. "I did not allege that MEMRI or Colonel Carmon are "affiliated" with the Likud Party. What I said was that MEMRI functions as a PR campaign for Likud Party goals."

Issues of reliability and veracity

MEMRI is operated by a group closely associated with the Israeli intelligence organizations. Now, in an article in Haaretz, we find that the Israeli Army has sought to plant stories about "terrorism" in the press, and
"Psychological warfare officers were in touch with Israeli journalists covering the Arab world, gave them translated articles from Arab papers (which were planted by the [Israel Defense Forces] IDF) and pressed the Israeli reporters to publish the same news here." --Amos Harel, IDF reviving psychological warfare unit, Haaretz, January 25, 2005.
This should raise a question or two about the reliability and veracity of the stories peddled by MEMRI.
This is what Prof. Juan Cole had to say about this:
"So is MEMRI, which translates articles from the Arabic press into English for thousands of US subscribers, in any way involved in all this? Its director formerly served in… Israeli military intelligence. How much of what we "know" from "Arab sources" about "Hizbullah terrorism" was simply made up by this fantasy factory in Tel Aviv?
As someone who reads the Arabic press quite a lot, this sort of revelation is extremely disturbing.
I also saw an allegation that British military intelligence had planted stories in the US press about
Saddam's Iraq.
You begin to wonder how much of what you think you know is just
propaganda manufactured by some bored colonel. No wonder post-Baath Iraq looks nothing like what we were led to to expect by the press, including the Arab press!" [6]
Another assessment:
If you rely on MEMRI for your knowledge of Arab discourse, you are really not informed. Arab public opinion, based on MEMRI's releases, is reduced or caricatured to either Bin Laden fans or Bush fans, while Arab public opinion is mosty a fan of neither people. --As'ad AbuKhalil[7]
Although widely used in the mainstream media as a source of information on the Arab world, it is as trustworthy as Julius Streicher's Der Sturmer was on the Jewish world. --Norman Finkelstein [8]

Funding
According to the National Review, 250 donors—foundations and individuals—fund MEMRI's activities. Among these private donors is the right-wing Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation , which gave MEMRI $100,000 from 1999 to 2000. In 2001, the Randolph Foundation gave MEMRI $100,000, and in 2004 the John M. Olin Foundation gave $5,000, according to Media Transparency .

Founders

MEMRI was co-founded by Meyrav Wurmser and Colonel Yigal Carmon, formerly of Israeli military intelligence, "both of whom were early critics of the Oslo accords." [11]

Principals and Staff: 2012

Board of Directors: 2012
Oliver "Buck" Revell ChairmanElliott AbramsSteve Emerson
Jeffrey KaufmanRobert Reilly
Board of Advisors: 2012
Bernard LewisElie WieselGen. Michael V. Hayden
Jose Maria AznarStephen J. TrachtenbergDonald Rumsfeld
James WoolseyJohn BoltonJohn Ashcroft
Ehud BarakIrwin CotlerMort Zuckerman
Chin Ho LeeMichael MukaseyDeborah Lipstadt
Norman PodhoretzWilliam BennettChristopher DeMuth
Paul BremerGeorge WeidenfeldYehuda Bauer
Alfred MosesHerb LondonStuart Eizenstat
Josef JoffeNatan SharanskyJames Q. Wilson
Edgar BronfmanMax KampelmanJana Hybaskova
Alan DershowitzYohanan FriedmannKhaled Fouad Allam
Lafif LakhdarShaker Al-NabulsiMagdi Khalil
Faraj Sarkouhi
In Memoriam:
Richard HolbrookeJack KempJeane Kirkpatrick
Irving Kristol
Staff
Yigal Carmon
President and founder
Steven Stalinsky
Executive Director
Menahem Milson
chairman of Board of Advisors
Tufail Ahmad
Director of South Asia Studies Project
Nimrod Raphaeli
Senior Analyst
Mansour Al-Hadj
director of the Reform in The Arab and Muslim World project

 
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