The Middle East Media Research Institute, a right-wing organisation headed by a former colonel in Israeli intelligence, has become notorious for its distorted coverage of Middle East politics. Its speciality is to provide partial translations of articles and broadcasts from the Arab media in order to present Muslims in general, and opponents of the Israeli government in particular, in the worst possible light.
Yusuf al-Qaradawi has been a notable victim of MEMRI’s propaganda operation. In July 2004, at the time of Dr al-Qaradawi’s visit to London, MEMRI published a Special Report accusing him of acting as “a spiritual guide for many … Islamist organizations across the world, including supporters of Islamist terrorist organizations such as Al-Qa’ida”.
That same month, MEMRI approvingly quoted the article ‘Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi: Liberal or Extremist?’ by pro-US Arab journalist Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, which falsely accused Qaradawi of rejecting all dialogue with Jews.
However, a recent dispatch by MEMRI struggled hard to maintain the fiction that Qaradawi is a hate-filled anti-semite. Even MEMRI’s selective extracts from Qaradawi’s Al-Jazeera programme could not obscure the truth about his firm rejection of anti-semitism.
Perhaps Peter Tatchell, who in the November 2004 issue of Labour Left Briefing summarised Dr al-Qaradawi’s philosophy as “destroy the Jews – all of them”, will now be writing to the Sheikh to apologise?