An Arab nonprofit organization has removed an article from its website that accused Jews of using “the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover” following a wave of criticism.
The MIFTAH organization, founded by Palestinian Authority lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi, reportedly apologized for publishing the article, after initially refusing to do so, reported Adam Kredo of The Washington Free Beacon.
The article, which has since been removed from MIFTAH’s website, sparked outrage among Jewish leaders and others who condemned the Western-backed nonprofit for perpetuating an anti-Semitic blood libel.
The original article had criticized President Barack Obama for his Passover greetings.
“Does Obama in fact know the relationship, for example, between ‘Passover’ and ‘Christian blood’..?!” said the article, which was first publicized by the pro-Israel Elder of Ziyon blog. “Or ‘Passover’ and ‘Jewish blood rituals?!’”
“Much of the chatter and gossip about historical Jewish blood rituals in Europe are real and not fake as they claim; the Jews used the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover,” the article continued.
MIFTAH has largely received its funding from Western organizations and governments, including U.S. taxpayer-backed National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the Ford Foundation, the United Nations, and several European governments, according to the article in the Free Beacon. The Ford Foundation has written to Arutz Sheva denying its support of MIFTAH.
MIFTAH originally defended its right to post the article, announcing that the organizationa “denounces smear campaign against it.”
“The obscure pro-Israeli website ‘The Elder of Ziyon’ has wrongly accused MIFTAH and Dr. Ashrawi of promoting Jewish blood libel during Passover through its publication of an Arabic-language article that briefly addressed the subject,” the defense stated, according to the report.
The article was about promoting dialogue, MIFTAH maintained.
“The disclaimer at the opening of the ‘News and Analysis’ section clearly states that, ‘The views represented in [News and Analysis] are solely those of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of MIFTAH but rather fulfill its mandate for open dialogue,’ ” the statement continued.
Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, immediately denounced Miftah’s anti-Semitic post and its subsequent defense.
The organization on Monday changed its position, issuing an apology and blaming a low-level staffer for the situation.
“It has become clear to us after investigating this incident that the article was accidentally and incorrectly published by a junior staff member,” the apology stated. “The said staffer has been reprimanded and all our staff has been informed as to the disgusting and repulsive phenomena of blood libel or accusation, including its use against Jews.”
“Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, as founder, has nothing to do with the day to day management at MIFTAH and was no way involved in this incident,” the apology maintained.
Miftah, which has been criticized in the past for glorifying terrorism and advocating in favor of boycotting Israel, received support from the taxpayer-funded NED until 2010.
A NED spokesperson confirmed to the Free Beacon that it no longer funds the organization but would not elaborate on the rationale behind the decision to cease support.
Funding to the group has also been provided by Italy, Ireland, Norway, the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and a handful of Western nonprofits, according to the NGO Monitor.