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Voice of America, 02-03-25

Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Voice of America <gopher://>

SLUG: 0-09783 Editorial - Saudi Disavows Anti-Semitic Libel DATE: NOTE NUMBER:




    Anncr: Next, an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government: Voice: In the midst of the worst Arab-Israeli violence in years, there is at least some encouraging news from the Middle East. The editor-in-chief of a major newspaper in Saudi Arabia has disavowed two articles designed to incite hatred of Jews. The anti-Semitic articles were published on March 10th and 12th in the daily Al-Riyadh. They repeated the malicious lie that Jews kill Christian and Muslim children and use their blood to make holiday pastries. This preposterous story has been a favorite of anti-Semites for centuries and is known as the "blood libel." The Al-Riyadh editor is Turki Al-Sudairi [TUR-key ahl-soo-DARE-ree]. Like all major newspaper editors in Saudi Arabia, he was appointed by the government. Mr. Al-Sudairi said the anti-Semitic articles should not have been published. He said the material in them "is not based on any historical or scientific fact but is against every religious ritual in the world." He also said that Al-Riyadh does not plan to use any more articles by the writer, Umayma Ahmad Al-Jalahma [oo-MY-mah AHKH-mahd ahl-jah-LAH-mah]. Al-Riyadh is well rid of Ms. Al-Jalahma and her hateful lies. Earlier this month, she wrote an article that was deeply insulting to both Jews and Americans. In a pathetic attempt to show that America's founders shared her own anti-Semitism, she claimed that two of the drafters of the U.S. Constitution, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, had said that Jews were harmful to America and should either be killed or expelled. Of course, neither man ever said any such thing. Indeed, in a well-known letter to a Jewish congregation in the state of Rhode Island, George Washington, then serving as America's first President, said the U.S. gives to religious "bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance." America was founded on such ideals. And over the years, the U.S. has made much progress in living up to them. Nor are Americans alone in this respect. As Vice President Dick Cheney said with regard to the now-disavowed Saudi newspaper articles, "Obviously, those kinds of anti-Semitic comments are strongly opposed and disagreed with by, I think, all proper thinking people, whether they're American or in the Middle East." Clearly, it is time for all newspapers and broadcasters in the Middle East to stop inciting violence with hateful lies. That is the first step toward peace. Anncr: That was an editorial expressing the policies of the United States Government. If you have a comment, please write to Editorials, V-O-A, Washington, D-C, 20237, U-S-A. You may also comment at www-dot-ibb-dot-gov-slash-editorials, or fax us at (202) 619-1043. SLUG: 2-287965 Turkey/Afghanistan (L) DATE: NOTE NUMBER:



    INTRO: Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said Monday that all the conditions have not yet been met for Turkey to assume command of the international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan. For over a month, Turkish, British and U-S officials have been attempting to work out an agreement, under which Turkey would take over leadership of the mission from Britain. Amberin Zaman has more on the story from Ankara.

    TEXT: Prime Minister Ecevit told reporters that talks about the peacekeeping force were continuing, and that there had been no negative developments so far. But Mr. Ecevit also indicated that not all the conditions Turkey has laid down for undertaking a highly risky mission have been met. Turkish officials are pressing for guarantees of sufficient manpower and equipment from other nations, particularly fellow NATO members, to ensure the success of the mission. Britain, which currently leads the peace-keeping contingent known as the International Security Assistance Force, is eager to hand over command to Turkey when its term expires in April. Turkey is also demanding that foreign governments help with the estimated 60-million-dollars it will cost to maintain its troops in Afghanistan for one year. The Bush Administration has said it will seek Congressional approval for 28-million-dollars of financial assistance to help Turkey meet the cost of the mission. Prime Minister Ecevit's remarks came ahead of a planned visit to Ankara by Afghanistan's interim leader, Hamid Karzai, on Wednesday. In his two days of talks, Mr. Karzai is expected to press Turkey to take command of the force. In February, Turkey became the first Muslim majority country to join the 45-hundred-strong force, when it sent 267 troops for security patrols and humanitarian aid. The number of Turkish troops in Afghanistan will need to be expanded to one-thousand, if Turkey agrees to lead the force. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/KL/TW SLUG: 6-125616 Monday's Editorial Digest DATE: NOTE NUMBER:



    INTRO: Topics that dominated the editorial columns of the American press last week continue to draw attention this Monday. Top among them are the changes in the proposed military tribunals for Afghan fighters imprisoned in Cuba. Other security issues command a presence on the editorial pages; as does the president's trip to Mexico for the economic development conference. The Middle East comes in for its share of commentary; with a bit more about Pakistan's internal affairs; Zimbabwe's future; and developments in Latin America and Cuba. Now, here with a closer look and some quotes is ________________ and today's U-S Editorial Digest.

    TEXT: The Bush administration has announced liberalized rules for the military tribunals that may be used to try some of the prisoners from the Afghan conflict now at the Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba. Today's Washington Post asks if they are "fair?" And attempts to answer its own question.

    VOICE: In important respects, the refinements constitute a significant improvement. conviction will require proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and death sentences will require unanimity among the commissioners. Defendants will have a right to counsel of their choice. And while secret evidence may be used, a lawyer for the accused - - if not the defendant himself - - will be able to see and challenge all evidence against him. [However] The rules are still a far cry from civilian justice.

    TEXT: An even stronger criticism comes from Newsday on New York's Long Island which says the new rules are still flawed "in two critical ways:"

    VOICE: The absence of any meaningful avenue of appeal and the assertion by administration officials that those found not guilty won't necessarily go free make a mockery of assurances that such trials will be fair. There is a legitimate role for military tribunals in time of war. But trials with [these rules] would be a sham.

    TEXT: A much more supportive view comes from Cleveland's [Ohio] Plain Dealer, which says:

    VOICE: When President George W. Bush signed the tribunal order in November, its lack of specificity raised valid concerns. But details of such procedures, released last week should put to rest many of those worries.

    TEXT: Boston's Christian Science Monitor says while there is "still room for criticism" of the rules, nevertheless, they "bring needed elements of fairness" to the proposed procedures. Papers also continue to criticize the Immigration and Naturalization Service for a recent bureaucratic mistake. The [Minneapolis, Minnesota] Star Tribune is one of them.

    VOICE: Americans were understandably outraged earlier this month when visa approvals for two dead September eleventh terrorists arrived at a Florida flight school - - six months after the men plowed [Editors: "crashed"] into the World Trade Center. Authorities identified them days after the attack; what kind of incompetent federal agency could let paperwork bearing hijackers' names languish in the system for months? Turns out that kind of delay is pretty typical for the U-S Immigration and Naturalization Service...

    TEXT: The Tribune says Congress needs to split the I-N-S agency into at least two parts and increase its funding for better efficiency. On the same topic, today's Washington State Seattle Post-Intelligencer says the people responsible should be fired. In Louisiana, today's Times-Picayune in New Orleans says that a new federal order removing lots of government information from public records, and the Internet, and similar moves by some states, may be misused to block public access to appropriate information. Internationally, The Hartford [Connecticut] Courant is pleased that President George W. Bush is proposing to increase U-S economic aid to poor nations by nearly 50 percent over the next three years. It was announced at the Monterrey, Mexico development summit. A pleased Courant notes:

    VOICE: He is the first president in recent memory to push for such a substantial rise in foreign assistance. U-S aid is at its lowest level since the end of World War Two and has been shrinking since the end of the Cold War.

    TEXT: Today's Saint Louis Post-Dispatch however is upset that "family planning and reproductive health were not high on the agenda at last week's U-N conference in Mexico. Yet when it comes to fighting poverty and fostering development, these issues are critical." Georgia's Atlanta Journal-Constitution, concerned about the estimated eight million undocumented aliens in this country, more than half from Mexico, is pleased that President Bush and Vicente Fox of Mexico have agreed on a plan to "reduce illegal immigration and improve border security." But the Georgia paper notes that won't help the problem of illegal aliens already here. Turning to the Middle East, today's [New York] Daily News, suspicious of the Saudi Arabian peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians to be unveiled at the Arab League summit in Beirut, attacks another anti-Jewish myth it says is kept alive by the Arab press.

    VOICE: The blood libel states that Jews use the blood of Gentiles (usually children) for ritual purposes (usually the baking of Passover matzos). it is a blatant lie, but the bigots keep it going.

    TEXT: The Boston Globe is focused on Iraq's dictator Saddam Hussein and newly reported charges of his using chemical warfare on his own Kurdish population in the late 1980s. The Globe says:

    VOICE: Forty thousand Kurdish villages were bulldozed and wiped off the map. Estimates of how many Kurds were killed vary from 50-thousand to 180-thousand. Since genocide cannot be over-reported, The New Yorker [magazine] deserves praise for an article by Jeff Goldberg, who recounts the horrors of Saddam's chemical attacks and the massacres If the Arab leaders who gather Thursday for a summit meeting in Beirut keep their shameful silence about Saddam's genocidal regime, they will be serving as his collaborators.

    TEXT: Moving on to Pakistan, today's New York Times credits President Pervez Musharraf for his recent efforts to fight terrorism, but warns:

    VOICE: [His] plan to try to legitimize his military rule with a referendum this year is unacceptable and should be discouraged by Washington. He needs to hold free and fair elections.

    TEXT: With respect to Africa and the future of Zimbabwe, after the badly flawed presidential election keeping autocratic president Robert Mugabe in power, California's Fresno Bee writes:

    VOICE: If Robert Mugabe ever retires he could write a textbook on how to hold power indefinitely while maintaining the pretense of democracy. Until then, the impact of his crude manipulation will fall most heavily on his own people. The world once hoped that Zimbabwe would be a model for Africa's future. Those hopes today seem nothing more than a cruel joke.

    TEXT: Focusing on yet another African strongman, this time the recently-deceased, veteran guerrilla leader Jonas Savimbi of Angola, The Washington Times holds out hope for that mineral-rich nation's future. It suggests: "After decades of war over diamonds, oil and ideology (or its pretexts), Angola seems to be poised for peace." Taking a look at Latin America, in Florida, The Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale supports the new Under Secretary of State for Latin America, Otto Reich, who says this country should deny visas to corrupt officials from the region. Says the Sun-Sentinel: "On this score, [Secretary] Reich is dead right." And Jacksonville's Florida Times-Union is heartened by a growing political reform movement in Cuba gathering signatures on a human rights petition to give the National Assembly. And on that optimistic note, we conclude this editorial sampling from Monday's U-S press.

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