newspaper stand
newspaper standReuters

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on the Michigan State University School of Journalism to reconsider the induction of the editor of an Arab American community newspaper into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, saying his newspaper’s repeated publication of anti-Semitic diatribes and rhetoric “tarnishes the integrity” of the institution.

Osama Siblani, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Arab American News, a weekly newspaper published in Dearborn, Michigan, “consistently allows his publication to be a forum for hate,” the League said in an April 12 letter to Lucinda Davenport, Director of the School of Journalism at MSU, which administers the Hall of Fame program.

“The fact that Osama Siblani consistently allows his publication to be a forum for hate should call into question his fitness for the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  “The Arab American News has repeatedly published anti-Semitic diatribes and rhetoric and Mr. Siblani has publicly stated support and sympathy for terrorist organizations, including Hamas and Hizbullah.”

Siblani is one of five inductees scheduled to be honored on April 21 at the Hall of Fame Banquet at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center on the MSU campus in East Lansing.  The League has yet to receive a response from Davenport or the MSU School of Journalism.

According to ADL research, the English-language section of the weekly Arab American News frequently provides a forum for known anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers and anti-Semitic 9/11 conspiracy theorists such as Jeff Gates, an anti-Semitic author who propagates theories of Jewish control over the U.S., and Paul Craig Roberts, a syndicated columnist and Holocaust denier.

In addition, on multiple occasions Siblani has referred to Hizbullah, a U.S. State Department-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, as “freedom fighters” engaged in “resistance against Israeli occupation.”  In 2006, Siblani told The Chicago Tribune that “if the FBI wants to come after those who support the resistance done by Hizbullah, then they better bring a fleet of buses. I for one would be willing to go to jail.”

Also known as “Sada Al Watan” (Arabic for “Echo of the homeland”), the Arab American News is a dual language Arabic-English newspaper published weekly in Dearborn.  Established in 1984, the newspaper has been described as the largest Arab community newspaper in the U.S. 

According to its web site, the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame annually recognizes reporters, editors, publishers, owners, photographers, broadcasters, educators and others who have made lasting contributions to the profession. 

The sponsors of this year’s Journalism Hall of Fame banquet include Ford Motor Co. Public Relations, Toyota and Truscott Rossman.