ADL concerned over ‘anti-Semitic’ newspaper

Michigan State University says selection panel reviewing accusations against ‘Arab American News’ Osama Siblani.

Osama Siblani 370 (photo credit: Reuters )
Osama Siblani 370
(photo credit: Reuters )
The ADL called on Michigan State University to reconsider the induction of Osama Siblani, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Arab American News, to the university-run Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame due to “his newspaper’s repeated publication of anti-Semitic diatribes and rhetoric.”
Siblani is also the chairman of the Congress of Arab American Organizations, a major voice in the Arab-American community.
According to its website: “The Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame recognizes reporters, editors, publishers, owners, photographers, broadcasters, educators, and others who have made outstanding contributions to the profession.”
The Anti-Defamation League accused Siblani’s newspaper, published in both English and Arabic, of being a “forum for hate” in an April 12 letter to Lucinda Davenport, the head of MSU’s journalism hall of fame. The ADL stated on Tuesday that it has not yet received an answer from Davenport.
“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 ADL director Abe Foxman. “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 Hezbollah.”
According to an online fact-sheet published by the ADL, Siblani expressed support for the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah on multiple occasions, telling the Chicago Tribune in 2006 that “if the FBI wants to come after those who support the resistance done by Hezbollah, then they better bring a fleet of buses. I for one would be willing to go to jail.”
In a 2008 rally against Israel’s Cast Lead offensive in Gaza, according to the ADL, Siblani addressed Gazans saying that “we know that you are being subjected, as we speak, to the biggest campaign of killing by this military killing machine that is called Israel, that was made by the United States of America.”
In response to a query from The Jerusalem Post, Kent Cassella, a spokesman for the university, acknowledged receipt of the ADL letter on Monday and said that “nominations were reviewed by a selection committee composed of 14 representatives from journalism organizations across the state. The concerns raised by the ADL are carefully being reviewed by the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.”
Deborah Lauter, ADL’s director of civil rights, responded positively to Casella’s statement, saying that her organization is “glad to see that they are carefully reviewing” Siblani’s induction and that “we believe that when they see [his] record that they will take appropriate steps.”
Siblani did not immediately respond to an email sent by the Post to the Arab American News. However, he told The Detroit News on Monday: “I stand by everything I say and everything I have written. My newspaper is open to everyone, including the Jewish community.
“I’m very surprised and shocked that the ADL is trying to defame me in this way. It’s a shame that they have resorted to this sort of tactic,” he said.