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Truth, Demonization and Reconciliation - Parents' Circle and Frontpage Magazine

06/15/2005

Sadly, truth and reconciliation are always victims of conflict. Even those who advertise themselves as advocates of nonviolence and reconciliation can, perhaps inadvertantly, become agents of demonization and polarization.

This story began on February 11, 1999, when Naela Kara'in, a distinguished and beloved Palestinian public health worker, was stabbed to death near #11 Elisha street in the Musrara neighborhood of West Jerusalem. According to Palestinian newspaper accounts, a Palestinian Arab, Mohamed Sha'alan, confessed to the crime, and was convicted. Sha'alan claimed he had mistaken Naela for a Jewish lady. This account of the story is also accepted by Naela's sister, Nadwa Sharandah, though Nadwa insists that Sha'alan may have been working for others. Sadly, today there are at least two different versions of this story in circulation, one is an vicious invention, and the other is not quite true. There is a third version that gets the facts of that story right, but gets almost everything else wrong. It is a small matter really, but it is hard to keep silent in the face of all the apparently deliberate distortions.

Version 1 of the story was produced when Naela's sister Nadwa went on tour in the United States with the Parents' Circle group. Parents' Circle, a group dedicated to reconciliation, was founded by Yitzhak Frankenthal after his son Arik, was killed by a Hamas terrorist while serving the Israeli army. Membership in Parents' Circle was originally confined to those who have lost family members in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The late Yeshushua Zamir, who was instrumental in founding MidEastWeb, was a founding member and close friend of Yitzhak Frankenthal. The words and presence of Parents' Circle members as they told about their loss and the urgency of reconciliation were powerful testimony for peace, in part because of the total credibility of each member as they tell about their simple tragedies.

Nadwa's tour of the US was promoted by Scott Kennedy of the Resource Center for Non-Violence in Santa Cruz California. Kennedy claims he got "background" for his press announcement from an article by Delinda C. Hanley that originally appeared in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA) at http://www.washington-report.org/archives/December_2004/0412059.html.

It is hard for anyone to believe that WRMEA is about truth or reconciliation. A WRMEA article by Richard Curtiss famously and fatuously asserted that the US gives Israel $9 billion a year in US foreign aid. WRMEA still features the same calculation (based on bogus calculations of interest) here -
http://www.washington-report.org/us_aid_to_israel/index.htm. WRMEA also features a notoriously one-sided article called "Zionism and its Impact" (www.wrmea.com/html/focus.htm) which tries to create the impression that Zionist settlement in Palestine lowered the standard of living of Palestinian Arabs, a proposition that is manifestly untrue.

Kennedy doesn't explain why he chose the WRMEA account rather than the accounts in Palestinian and Israeli sources readily available on the Internet, or Nadwa Sharanda's own testimony to PHRMG. According to the WRMEA story:


Nayla was stabbed to death, most likely by an Orthodox settler, on an East Jerusalem street.


WRMEA, ever reliable, had moved Musrara to East Jerusalem. This appeared in a 2003 account of a previous tour by Nadwa Sharanda for Parents' Circle. The account has a picture of Nadwa taken by the author of the article. It seems certain that at least some people in Parents' Circle knew about that story, but there is no record that Parents' Circle objected to it. Nadwa does not apparently explain in her talks that a Palestinian confessed to killing her sister, though she does not claim that Na'ela was killed by a settler.

There is no evidence anywhere that I have seen, or that anyone has offered, that involves any settler in the stabbing, nor is there any way to know the religious orientation of this hypothetical settler. If we do not believe Mohamed Sha'alan did the deed, then it is as likely that O.J. Simpson did it as it is that a "settler" did it.

Kennedy "improved" on the "most likely" fabrication in the WRMEA article and generated the following announcement, which is currently featured prominently in numerous Fellowship of Reconciliation Web sites, Indymedia and other news outlets:


Nadwa Saranda is a Palestinian woman from East Jerusalem who manages a large cement factory and is the mother of two adolescents. Nadwa’s sister, Naila, was a public health consultant who was stabbed to death on the streets of East Jerusalem.

These announcements appeared beginning on May 21. At the same time, news articles appeared in the Santa Cruz Sentinel and in two Missouri newspapers citing the false information. These articles were then disseminated to dozens of Internet Web sites. Nobody bothered to check and find the truth, which was was readily available on the Web. Parents' Circle did not object either. In fact, their Web site actually linked to two accounts. One false account repeated the story about the Israeli settler. The other account muddied the truth with a claim that the circumstances surrounding Naela's death were "suspicious."

Scott Kennedy made a half hearted attempt to correct the damage and got the Santa Cruz Sentinel to print this retraction on May 26:


....
Based on information provided by Scott Kennedy of the Resource Center for Nonviolence, the story reported that the sister of Palestinian Nadwa Sarandah was stabbed to death by a Jewish settler in Jerusalem. In fact, a Palestinian was charged by Israeli authorities for killing her sister.

"While Ms. Sarandah has raised serious questions about the adequacy of the police investigation and the identity of the person who murdered her sister, it is incorrect to state that a Jewish settler was responsible for the stabbing," Kennedy said in a statement.


"It is incorrect to state that a Jewish settler was responsible for the stabbing" is a masterpiece of understatement. It is like saying, "it is incorrect to state that a Palestinian was responsible for the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin."

Kennedy's original meeting announcement remained, and still remains, on numerous Web sites, stating that Naela's killer was a Jewish settler. Parents' Circle did not make any statement then, and did not make any attempt at all to have the meeting announcements removed, so far as is known. Many Web journals still have the original story as of June 16, despite promisses to issue a retraction.

Enter Lee Kaplan of FrontPage magazine, another publication of dubious dedication to truth or reconciliation. Kaplan apparently confronted Sharanda, Kennedy and Robi Kaplan in a Santa Cruz television show. In a June 10 article, Kaplan exposed the falsehood about the Jewish settler and Scott Kennedy's role in it (see http://www.frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=18304 ).
Kaplan went on, however, to make rather fantastic accusations about Parents' Circle and their members. She claimed for example, that Parent's Circle " pulls in a buck a minute for phone calls placed between Palestinians and Israelis who have suffered bereavements. Kaplan also attacked Robi Damelin, Sharandah's partner on the tour, claiming that Damelin is a "shill" for PLO and that Damelin ran a publicity agency for "radical" groups that want to destroy Israel. Following the link in Kaplan's article, it turns out that the main dangerous "radical" group Kaplan is exposing is Peace Child Israel (!) . Peace Child teaches coexistence to Arab and Israeli youth through drama projects, and has little or nothing to do with Palestinians outside of Israel. If they are subversive radicals, then the Boy Scouts are Bolsheviks.

The credibility of Kaplan's article is hardly increased by assertions such as the following:


Among other acts of anti-Israel agitation, Damelin has gone to Perugia, in Spain...


That would be quite a feat. Perugia is in Italy.

Lee Kaplan also claims that Yitzhak Frankenthal gets funding for Parents' Circle from the EU (apparently Kaplan considers the EU to be a sinister body). In fact, Frankenthal is no longer directly associated with Parents' Circle and has started a different foundation - Arik Peace.

Nonetheless, the only reports I have seen (other than the WRMEA article and those based on it) including those of Nadwa Sharanda, bear out Kaplan's contention that Mohamed Sha'alan confessed and was convicted of the slaying of Nadwa's sister.

The report of JMCC stated:


Dr. Na'ela Qara'een, 48, from the Ras al-Amoud neighborhood in Jerusalem was killed after being stabbed in the chest several times near the Jerusalem Municipality building in al-Musrara quarter. Qara'een, a public health spedeletedt in UNRWA, was killed by 23-year-old Mohammed Sha'lan from the village of Hizma who claims he thought Qara'een was an Israeli. After realizing she was Palestinian, Sha'alan turned himself into Israeli police, confessing his crime (al-Quds).


A 1999 report by Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group stated:


In fact, on the 18th of Nov. 1999 an Israeli Court in Jerusalem sentenced Mr. Sha’lan to life in prison for Dr. Kara’in’s murder. Another man, whose name is Mohammed Hassan, was also found to be an accomplice in the murder. He received a 3-year prison sentence.


Neither of these sources have any reason to generate "Zionist" propaganda, and both are quite clear about who was convicted.

In April 2005, National Catholic Reporter published an article that quotes Nadwa as stating about the murder:


"A single stab wound. Very professional. The killer was a Palestinian...."

Nadwa thus leaves little doubt about who did the killing, but Nadwa goes on to say "but Naila and I had been having a dispute with Jewish settlers. I suspected it was a contract killing." Of course, Nadwa presents no proof of her suspicions, and she never claimed that a settler did the killing, much less an orthodox settler.

When I attended a talk by Parents' Circle members many years ago, each speaker was very careful to explain the circumstances in which their loved one was killed. It is part of the poignancy and directness of their presentation. Apparently, Nadwa did not do so in her talks, though there is no evidence that she herself said that her sister was killed by a "Jewish settler" as Lee Kaplan implies.

After considerable cajoling, Parents' Circle has removed the links to the articles that claim Naela Kara'in was killed by a settler and issued an apology of sorts. Gon Kafri of Friends of Parents' Circle in New York assured me that they are working to get the incorrect meeting announcements off the Web. Meanwhile the announcements are still there, though the event they announced has come and gone, and Parents' Circle apology is less than satisfactory. It states:


Regarding Naela Karain Hamdan’s death, circumstances remain unclear to her family. There are reports that a Palestinian man confessed to the crime, and there are reports that the Israeli police never conducted a thorough investigation of the case.


Compare to the following:


Regarding Yitzhak Rabin's death, circumstances remain unclear to his family. There are reports that a Jewish right-wing radical confessed to the crime, and there are reports that the Israeli police never conducted a thorough investigation of the case.


It is absurd of course. Sha'alan confessed and was convicted, just as Yigal Amir confessed and was convicted for assassinating Rabin, That is a matter of public record. It is a gross distortion to equate known facts with "reports" and rumors. The wording is not accidental it seems, since Maribeth Kaptchuk of Parents' Circle wrote to me that any announcement would have to be approved by the Board of Parents' Circle.

Parents' Circle still refuses to write the simple facts that Mohamed Sha'alan confessed, was arrested and convicted. It is a fact, not just a report, though it seems that he also recanted his confession.

Parents' Circle may be refering to the 1999 report by Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG), which also included a bitter interview given by Nadwa herself, in which she implied various unspecified Israelis might be involved, without offering any proof. But neither PHRMG nor anyone else produced any evidence that settlers, religious or otherwise, were involved in the attack, and PHRMG affirms that Sha'alan was arrested and convicted.

After seeing a draft of this article, Gon Kafri of Parents' Circle informed me that their statement has been changed to read:


Regarding Naela Karain Hamdan’s death, circumstances remain unclear to her family. A Palestinian was arrested. The family though is still suspicious of the circumstances surrounding her death. No further evidence has been found by or presented to the Parents Circle, we regret any contrary implications.


But in fact, Parents' Circle know that a Palestinian was not only arrested, he confessed and was convicted. This "further evidence" was presented to them by yours truly, in this article, and the above is what they wrote in reply. They still aren't telling the truth.

Reconciliation cannot be accomplished through dissemination of falsehoods and demonization. These are the kindling wood of conflict, not the building blocks of peace. Peace must begin from simple truths. Each tragedy and each event must be seen for what it is, and each person and each group must assume responsibility for their part in spreading disinformation and hatred.

Please help to get the truth out. Please write to Gon Kafri gon@ parentscircle.org (take out the space after the "@") at Parents' Circle and ask them to state unequivocally that there is no evidence that a "Jewish settler" killed Nadwa's sister, and that it is a fact, not a "report," that a Palestinian confessed, was arrested and convicted of the crime. Please write to Fellowship of Recocililiation for@ forusa.org (take out the space after the "@") and others and ask them to remove the event announcements about the "Jewish settler" who stabbed Nadwa's sister.

And please - let me know if the notices come down and Parents' Circle corrects their "correction" so I can change this article and tell others as well.

Thank you.

Ami Isseroff


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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000358.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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Replies: 13 comments

Mr. Iserof:

I take exception to your comment about Front Page Magazine: "another publication of dubious dedication to truth or reconciliation." You seem to ascribe to the same mendacity and character assassination that was engaged in by the Parents Circle throughout the US againt Israel, particularly in US High Schools during school hours. I can tell you my article was well researched and contained numerous hyperlinks to prove my asssertions. Proof is in the pudding since the Parents Circle has refused to issue a press release seperating themselves from Scott Kennedy and the RCNV for "misrepresenting" things. You seem intent on misrepresenting my research and reporting as well. As for "reconciliation," that word was used to gain access to venues where Robi Damelin and Nadwa Saranda preached a message of Israel as an illegal "occupier" and oppressor of Arabs and where they were continually hosted by proPLO groups that insist a two state solution cannot happen, that it all must be a Palestinian state. I have on videotape in Santa Cruz
Nadwa Saranda reading a letter from Yitzhak Frankenthal accepting blame for "all real and imaginary atrocities committed against Palestinians by Israel" in which Saranda lies and says Frankenthal is an Orthodox Rabbi. Robi Damelin repeatedlly makes references to Israel as being like South Africa. parents Circle claimed they provided Kennedy with a press release for these two women, these phonies, that Kennedy changed. I rather think they knew what was going on all the long whcih is why they will not repudiate Kennedy's actions.

Mr. Isserof, you basically call me a liar or someone who stretches the truth or is against reconcilation-- accusations that have no foundation or truth beyond your own attempt to spin things for Parents Circle. In person, I'd punch you in the nose. The fact is, the information about Nadwa's sister was four years old and should have been known by Parents Circle. To use "reconcilation" as a theme to get Israel bashing events together in high schools and colleges (and even some synagogues, their event was rightfully cnaceled at UC Santa cruz Hillel after I exposed the truth) is a frequently used tactic of the PLO.Parents Circle has REFUSED to distance itself in writing from Scott Kennedy or his RCNV that already toured the US with this Blood Libel. In addition, Scott Kennedy's fake retraction says Naela's killer was only arrested, when he in fact was convicted. It still implies a coverup by Israel to kill her sister. The Blood Libel continues.

Your timeline is equally wrong. The lie ran since last January and was presented in schools, churches and synagogues all over the US, not for the first time on May 28th. Scott Kennedy did not discover the "mistake" until a colleague of mine prematurely outed him on Indymedia in Santa Cruz and then he scrambled (lied) to cover. Your reference to the Children's Music Group was not said to be one of the seditious "co-existence groups" mentioned in my article such as the Refuseniks. I've had spinmasters at Parents Cirlce say Damelinwas not involved inthe Refuseniks, yet she eeven recorded a record for them easily found on the Web.

Mr. Isserof, you engage in shooting the messenger. Perhaps you want "reconciliation" with the Arabs, but based on your attempted smear of Front Page and myself, I rather suspect "reconciliation" is merely a word and tactic you use to get an audience to once again attack and undermine domestic US support for Israel. nobody could possibly be as dumb as you and parents Circle staff pretend to be. As for the EU, it is common knowledge they funded the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades as "police." They have actively funded seditious groups inside Israel, and they fund the Parents Circle.

Please have your readers read the email between myself and the Parents Circle at the end of this commentary.

Lee Kaplan
Contributing Editor Front PAge Magazine

Ms. Kafri;

Subsequent to our conversation I did some more research about the calumny spread in Parents Circle's name by Nadwa Saranda. It seems to lie that her sister was knifed to death by a Jewish settler was exposed as a lie FOUR YEARS EARLIER. Please visit this link:

http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=8&x_nameinnews=99&x_article=262

Your lack of response to my suggestion that Parents Circle issue a press release condemning the actions of Scott Kennedy and the RCNV for using a Blood Libel story spread by a Saudi propaganda rag only reaffirms my view that Parents Circle only poses as a reconciliation movement in order to undermine

American support for Israel by attacking Israel as an "occupier" and abuser of Arabs and as an "apartheid

state." I intend to forward this information to the Israeli Foreign Ministry's website as well as you've even suckered them into advertising your movement.

For those receiving this broadcast wh unfamiliar with the subject, visit this article at Front Page Magazine:

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=18304

I gave the Parents Circle an opportunity to disassociate itself from this national campaign conducted by Scott Kennedy's Resource Center for Nonviolence in their name where Israel was repeatedly attacked

as an apartheid state and Nadwa Saranda and Robi Damelin were featured attractions for virulent anti-Israel groups under the guise of promoting peace and reconciliation by dismantling Israel. Nadwa Saranda on my television show even refused to condemn the murdering of Jews.

All recipients of this email are urged to broadcast this. Please note, even the "retraction" by Scott Kennedy

says Nadwa's sister was killed "under questionable circumstances" still implying a Jew committed the crime and a coverup by Israel.

-------------- Original message from "Gon Kafri" : --------------

Dear Mr. Kaplan,

Thank you for calling me today, it was important to me to hear your thoughts and comments, and I can only regret we were not in touch earlier.

I was deeply concerned hearing from you about the various publications and materials that were handed out at the various venues our members spoke at. We were aware only of the press release that was prepared and distributed by Scott Kennedy, which was not verified with us and published without our knowledge. As soon as we received information of it, we demanded its retraction, which we believed was executed. We are currently contacting all publications we are aware of that included the wrongful information, and hope they will all publish the required retraction.

I regret not being able to provide you the statement you asked for, but as I explained to you, and as you can surely understand, I do not represent myself alone. I have to acknowledge and consider the thoughts and positions of our members and board in Israel, as well as the board of the American Friends of the Parents Circle here in the US. I referred the information I received from you to all concerned, and we will investigate your claims thoroughly. This cannot be achieved in hours. As you are surely accustomed to in investigative journalism, one cannot, or should not, publish unverified information or base his opinion and position on such information. We will do our best to get to the bottom of this issue, including the nature of the materials distributed in the events we took part in and the hosts’ involvement in it.

In the meantime, we have published a statement, attached below, and are making all efforts to publish it in the various sites and newspapers that previously referred to the tour and our speakers. I truly hope you will be able to discern from it our position and the goal of our work. It would be highly appreciated if the statement would be published in FrontPage, as seems only appropriate following the previous publication. I will gladly answer any further questions you might have, to the best of my ability.

Best regards,

Gon Kafri

Director of Development

Parents Circle - Families Forum

Office (212) 509-2407

Mobile (646) 625-9589

gon@parentscircle.org

PO Box 321934, Fort Washington Station
New York, NY 10032
http://www.theparentscircle.com/

We regret recent erroneous press reports of a recent tour of Parents Circle—Families Forum speakers in the United States. The circumstances of Naela Karain’s death were wrongly described by Scott Kennedy, who organized the tour. Without our knowledge, he used this information for press releases, failing to first verify the facts with the Parents Circle. See his statement below.

We further regret linking the article with this mistaken information to our website. We failed to note this mistake when we received several articles all at once. We removed the article immediately once it was brought to our attention.

Regarding Naela Karain Hamdan’s death, circumstances remain unclear to her family. A Palestinian was arrested. The family however is still suspicious of the circumstances surrounding her death.

The work of the Parents Circle is the work of reconciliation; we have neither the resources nor the tools to investigate the circumstances of death. In their grief, the family of Naela Karain Hamdan is a family that seeks reconciliation, tolerance and peace and thus are full participants in the Parents Circle.

Naela’s sister Nadwa Sarandah speaks eloquently, about overcoming the distrust and hatred that prevents reconciliation. Her message has been about the rehabilitation of her own heart through dialogue with other bereaved Israelis and Palestinians and her hope for peace. This is the message that transcends an unfortunate mistake in reporting.

Betsy Kaptchuk
President, American Friends of Parents Circle

SCOTT KENNEDY'S REQUEST FOR RETRACTION

From: R Scott Kennedy
Date: May 24, 2005 3:55:40 PM PDT
To: Rosy Weiser
Subject: Request for correction

24 May 2005

TO: Rosy Weiser, Santa Cruz Sentinel Correspondent
FROM: Scott Kennedy
RE: Correction to Sunday May 22, 2005 article “Pair Talk Mid East
Harmony” (Santa Cruz Sentinel, p.A13)

I am writing to ask that a correction be published and to apologize for
an error that I passed to you that in turn appeared in the above
article.

Your article begins with this background statement: “Six years ago, a
Jewish settler in Jerusalem stabbed Palestinian Nadwa Sarandah’s sister
to death.” After reading the article yesterday, Ms.Sarandah informed
me this morning that, in fact, a Palestinian was charged by Israeli
authorities for killing her sister. While Ms. Sarandah has raised
serious questions about the adequacy of the police investigation and
the identity of the person who murdered her sister, it is incorrect to
state that a Jewish settler was responsible for the stabbing.

I have pasted in below testimony made July 15, 1999 and July 17, 1999,
before the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group
(http://www.phrmg.org/PHRMG%20Documents/Stabbing/testimony_of_ns.htm)
[see after the paper's retraction - Carol] in which Nadwa Sarandah describes her doubt about the police
investigation and the person charged with the stabbing. I have also
reviewed the materials that I researched on the internet while
preparing to write the press release about Nadwa Sarandah’s visit to
Santa Cruz. I have pasted in excerpts from these materials in below.
Rereading the background articles I note the absence of any
identification of the killer in several articles and then the assertion
that the killing was “most likely by an Orthodox Settler” in an
article from the “Washington Report on Middle East Affairs”
(http://www.washington-report.org/archives/December_2004/0412059.html)
In the course of several redrafts of the press release, this
speculation was reduced to an assertion of fact -- an assertion that is
incorrect.

I apologize for my part in forwarding this mistaken account to you. I
madet he same mistake in the fliers that we have distributed in advance
of the event. The fault is entirely my own. Ms. Sarandah was very
concerned that an unfair attribution of responsibility for her sister’s
death had appeared in the paper and that the Parents Circle organization
or she would be thought responsible for the mistake. I request that the
Sentinel issue a correction and acknowledge that the mistake was mine,
and not a mistake by Nadwa Sarandah, the Parents Circle organization,
or you as reporter.

Thanks for your consideration.

Scott Kennedy
404 King Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 457-8003
kenncruz@pacbell.net

*

RETRACTION PRINTED IN SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL

Santa Cruz Sentinel
May 26, 2005

For the record
A story on Page A9 Sunday about Israeli and Palestinian women working
for reconciliation in the Mideast who were speaking in Santa Cruz
incorrectly reported that a Jewish settler was responsible for the
stabbing death of a Palestinian woman.

Based on information provided by Scott Kennedy of the Resource Center
for Nonviolence, the story reported that the sister of Palestinian
Nadwa Sarandah was stabbed to death by a Jewish settler in Jerusalem.
In fact, a Palestinian was charged by Israeli authorities for killing
her sister.

"While Ms. Sarandah has raised serious questions about the adequacy of
the police investigation and the identity of the person who murdered
her sister, it is incorrect to state that a Jewish settler was
responsible for the stabbing," Kennedy said in a statement.

Print Article

You can find this story online at:
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2005/May/26/local/stories/
15local.htm
Copyright © Santa Cruz Sentinel. All rights reserved.

***

Posted by Lee Kaplan @ 06/17/2005 10:24 PM CST

Bravo, Mr. Kaplan,
[Post edited to eliminate false and libelous remarks]
Something else. The rpeceding article questioned if the Parents Circle gets a $1 a minute for phone calls between Israelis and Palestinians. I read that in several articles about the group.

[Post edited to eliminate false and libelous remarks]

Posted by Gadi Meyer @ 06/17/2005 10:36 PM CST

[Post edited to eliminate false and libelous remarks] I wrote a long letter addressing Isserof's asserions this morning and showing many were false and lo, behold, my letter is gone!!!
[Kaplan's post is exactly where Kaplan put it - which indicates the accuracy of information coming from that source.-- MEW]

The truth will out.

Lee Kaplan
Contributing Editor
Front Page Magazine

Posted by Lee Kaplan @ 06/18/2005 05:32 AM CST

Pardon my error. My letter was posted and I missed it. In any event, the article onthe Parents Circle still stands.

Posted by Lee Kaplan @ 06/18/2005 05:37 AM CST

Phonecalls a $1 a minute hawked by Ms. Damelin:

http://64.233.179.104/search?q=cache:dIOCvTGL4e0J:www.palestinemonitor.org/takpoints/Palestinian_israeli_hot_line.htm++Phone+calls+between+bereaved+Palestinians+and+ISraelis+%2B+%241+a+minute&hl=en

[Post edited to eliminate false and libelous remarks by Kaplan - MEW]

Posted by Lee Kaplan @ 06/18/2005 06:01 AM CST

Dear Mr. Kaplan and all,
Kaplan's long exchange above proves nothing more than I asserted in my article. IIndeed, the remarks by Parent's Circle were superceded by a later letter that I mentioned in the column.

Perugia is not in Spain, Mr. Kaplan, and it won't get there even if you punch me out, nor is Parents' Circle a "front for the PLO" as you asserted in your now censored remarks. Please do not put libelous statements at this Web site. You can write what you want to your Web site and Frontpage, and you and they should be held responsible for the legal consequences.

Kaplan wrote:
"Mr. Isserof, you basically call me a liar or someone who stretches the truth or is against reconcilation-- accusations that have no foundation or truth beyond your own attempt to spin things for Parents Circle. In person, I'd punch you in the nose."
***
A very civilized way of conducting dialogue and ascertaining facts.
You wrote:
"Your reference to the Children's Music Group was not said to be one of the seditious "co-existence groups" mentioned in my article such as the Refuseniks"
**
I never mentioned any Children's Music Group anywhere in my column. Show me where I mentioned a "Music Group." Your article links to a source that gives the groups that Damelin represented, including Peace Child Israel. That is presumably an example of the seditious and dangerous groups that Damelin represented according to you, since you link to that list. No Music Group was mentioned by anyone except you.

The timeline I gave was based on the materials I found on the Web. I didn't know there was an earlier announcement. I have since found another reference that seems to indicate that Nadwa gave another interview to Newsday in 2004, (appended below) in which she accused Israel of a coverup, so I must agree with you that the role of Scott Kennedy in this story is really minimal and incidental, and that Parents' Circle has a responsibility to undo the damage they have done.

Regarding the $1 a minute phonecalls, I don't think that money is collected for phonecalls made from Israel or Palestine. Obviously, they must have some way of defraying the cost of this service, and paying for it through the service in the USA is logical. People do not have to use the service of course.

Parents' Circle people have spoken at pro-Israel groups as well as anti-Israel groups, in synagogues and "Palestine Solidarity" functions. That is a unique and wonderful possibility that these people have. They each paid a terrible price for it. If Robi Damelin or anyone else made anti-Israel remarks as you allege, it is inappropriate. However, others who have heard them speak did not hear those remarks at Parents' Circle talks, so the burden of proof is on you.

You have a responsibility to undue the damage you have done, and are doing. You posted libel at this Web site. You threatened me with violence. You insisted that Parents' Circle is a front for the PLO, but you have no proof to offer, except for hearsay about questionable actions of individual members. If a rabbi is invited to speak to a Catholic group, it doesn't make him a Catholic, and if Parents' Circle is invited to speak to an anti-Israel group, it doesn't make them anti-Israel. On the contrary, these bereaved people are perhaps the only ones who can bring the message to both sides that both sides are human.

Article from Newsday is below.

Ami Isseroff
This apparently was published in Newsday, Nov 1, 2004:

Sarandah's sister, a Harvard-educated public health professional who
addressed the health needs of impoverished Palestinians, was knifed to
death in an East Jerusalem neighborhood where Jewish extremists have
sought to oust Palestinians.

Although Israeli authorities jailed a Palestinian for the crime,
Sarandah says he was wrongly accused. She says her sister may have been
the victim of a running feud with a group of Jewish settlers who
occupied a densely populated Arab district known as Ras al Amoud
adjacent to her family's tile factory.

http://www.adifferentfuture.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=29

Posted by Moderator @ 06/18/2005 03:50 PM CST

Mr. Isserof:

If Perugia not being in Spain is the best you can come up to refute my article, then you've failed; Ms. Damelin and Ms. Saranda met at a Palestinian woman's conference in Spain. The article I referenced gave the city as Perugia. Why don't you ask Ms. Damelin and Ms. Saranda if they met at a woman's conference in Spain?

As for accusations of libel: a pretty serious charge from some shmuck who excuses these people from going to high schools and colleges claiming to promote reconcilation when all they do isbash Israel and provide a front to pass out literature that Israel is a racist apartheid state and "occupier." The only libel is your accusations against me and Front Page since I ahve videotapes and eyewitnesses of their actions in Santa Cruz.

Perhaps you are jsut a useful idiot for the PLO and those who would dismantle Israel, but rather I think you are just a useless idiot.

My article stands and it should be noted Parents Circle has refused to distance itself from the likes of Scott Kennedy and the RCNV. Kennedy used to visit Arafat in Tunisia even before Oslo. Your defense of antisemites only shows just how stupid you really are.

Sincerely,

Lee Kaplan

-------------- Original message from MEW : --------------

>
> http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000358.htm#comments
> Dear Mr. Kaplan and all,
> Kaplan's long exchange above proves nothing more than I asserted in my
> article. IIndeed, the remarks by Parent's Circle were superceded by a later
> letter that I mentioned in the column.
>
> Perugia is not in Spain, Mr. Kaplan, and it won't get there even if you punch
> me out, nor is Parents' Circle a "front for the PLO" as you asserted in your
> now censored remarks. Please do not put libelous statements at this Web site.
> You can write what you want to your Web site and Frontpage, and you and they
> should be held responsible for the legal consequences.
>
> Kaplan wrote:
> "Mr. Isserof, you basically call me a liar or someone who stretches the truth
> or is against reconcilation-- accusations that have no foundation or truth
> beyond your own attempt to spin things for Parents Circle. In person, I'd
> punch you in the nose."
> ***
> A very civilized way of conducting dialogue and ascertaining facts.
> You wrote:
> "Your reference to the Children's Music Group was not said to be one of the
> seditious "co-existence groups" mentioned in my article such as the
> Refuseniks"
> **
> I never mentioned any Children's Music Group anywhere in my column. Show me
> where I mentioned a "Music Group." Your article links to a source that gives
> the groups that Damelin represented, including Peace Child Israel. That is
> presumably an example of the seditious and dangerous groups that Damelin
> represented according to you, since you link to that list. No Music Group was
> mentioned by anyone except you.
>
> The timeline I gave was based on the materials I found on the Web. I didn't
> know there was an earlier announcement. I have since found another reference
> that seems to indicate that Nadwa gave another interview to Newsday in 2004,
> (appended below) in which she accused Israel of a coverup, so I must agree
> with you that the role of Scott Kennedy in this story is really minimal and
> incidental, and that Parents' Circle has a responsibility to undo the damage
> they have done.
>
> Regarding the $1 a minute phonecalls, I don't think that money is collected
> for phone calls made from Israel or Palestine. Obviously, they must have some
> way of defraying the cost of this service, and paying for it through the
> service in the USA is logical. People do not have to use the service of
> course.
>
> Parents' Circle people have spoken at pro-Israel groups as well as anti-Israel
> groups, in synagogues and "Palestine Solidarity" functions. That is a unique
> and wonderful possibility that these people have. They each paid a terrible
> price for it. If Robi Damelin or anyone else made anti-Israel remarks as you
> allege, it is inappropriate. However, others who have heard them speak did not
> hear those remarks at Parents' Circle talks, so the burden of proof is on you.
>
> You have a responsibility to undue the damage you have done, and are doing.
> You posted libel at this Web site. You threatened me with violence. You
> insisted that Parents' Circle is a front for the PLO, but you have no proof to
> offer, except for hearsay about questionable actions of individual members. If
> a rabbi is invited to speak to a Catholic group, it doesn't make him a
> Catholic, and if Parents' Circle is invited to speak to an anti-Israel group,
> it doesn't make them anti-Israel. On the contrary, these bereaved people are
> perhaps the only ones who can bring the message to both sides that both sides
> are human.
>
> Article from Newsday is below.
>
> Ami Isseroff
> This apparently was published in Newsday, Nov 1, 2004:
>
> Sarandah's sister, a Harvard-educated public health professional who
> addressed the health needs of impoverished Palestinians, was knifed to
> death in an East Jerusalem neighborhood where Jewish extremists have
> sought to oust Palestinians.
>
>
> Although Israeli authorities jailed a Palestinian for the crime,
> Sarandah says he was wrongly accused. She says her sister may have been
> the victim of a running feud with a group of Jewish settlers who
> occupied a densely populated Arab district known as Ras al Amoud
> adjacent to her family's tile factory.
>
> http://www.adifferentfuture.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=29
>

Posted by Lee Kaplan @ 06/18/2005 06:06 PM CST

Mr. Isserof;

The reference to Perugia in Spain as the conference locale was on a PLO website. As mentioned, Damelin and Saranda met in Spain and came back to the Holy Land and started touring.

I ahve a videotape of Nadwa lying to an audience, saying Yitzhak Frankenthal is an Orthodox rabbi and reading a letter from him ascribing all the problems to the conflict to Israel and apologizing for it. Damelin fills out the card talking about the "occupation." Literature was passed out attacking Israel and proIsrael literature ws not permitted to be passed out in the room.

Your silly accusation that I am "against reconcilation" shows how ridiculous you are. I am for peace, yes,

but not as a tool to dismantle Israel in the PLO phased program. I suppose your feeble mind cannot grasp

the Saudis sending funding to the EU which gets passed through to groups like the NIF that hands out literature at trains stations encouraging Israeli soldiers to desert the army and pay them salaries more than they make in the Army on reserve duty while in jail. I guess someone jsut has t claim to be part of a "peace" group to be OK with you. Would you like to buy a bridge in Brooklyn?

Ask yourself, shmucko, why won't the Parents Circle isue a simple press release that they no longer wish to be associated with Scott Kennedy and his RCNV, one of the most antisemitic organizations in the country that passes itself off as a "peace and reconciliation gorup?"

Attacking me as a journalist will not change the facts about this group. That is, unless that is part of your job, to spin for them.

Lee Kaplan

-------------- Original message from MEW : --------------

Kaplan,
If someone wrote that they were in a conference in New York City in the UK, I think I would check the reference rather than quoting it.

Posted by Lee Kaplan @ 06/18/2005 06:39 PM CST

Kaplan wrote:
" Your silly accusation that I am "against reconcilation" shows how ridiculous you are."
***
Silly me, you wrote that you want to punch me, and I concluded that you are not for reconciliation. How could I mistake such a flower of nonviolence? "Schmucko" is certainly the sort of language used by highly intelligence and objective reporters who are working for peace.

Even if PC is backed by Al-Qaeda, Perugia is still not in Spain, and Kaplan should learn not to take geography lessons from the PLO.

Kaplan cannot even spell my name right.

Surely he is an excellent journalist.

Ami Isseroff

Posted by Moderator @ 06/18/2005 06:58 PM CST

You are obviously an apologist for groups like the Parents Circle that pose as peace and reconcilation

groups but work to undermine US support for Israel.

Yes, if we ever meet, I will punch you in the mouth. I've got this thing for Jews who pose as wanting to help the Jewish people in an effort to undermine and destroy Israel. Despite this, I am for a real peace in the Middle East.

I may have typos in spelling your name because I get paid for my writing and research so don't really care about things on yor silly, smarmy website; it's not worth my time.

Your letters attack me personally, harp on a geographical error of a city (has nothing to do witht he fact the two met in Spain as written) and divert from the Parents Circle refusual to distance itself from the antisemite

Scott Kennedy and his RCNV (after repeated offers).

Isserof, are you one of those Jews who secretly wants Israel dismantled to create a "secular" state dominated by Sharia law and Arab hegemony, or are you jsut a garden variety shmuck?

I believe it's the latter.

-------------- Original message from MEW : --------------

Kaplan,
On a PLO Web site, they can write that antarctica is at the equator, but you quoted it as a fact.
Of course you are for reconciliation. How can someone who offers to punch me be against reconciliation?
What a silly accusation. Silly me.
If you have tapes as you claim, digitize the highlights. I am sure people will be interested to see.
Attacking you as a journalist or not attacking you will not change the fact that you are foul mouthed, belligerent, apparently ignorant of geography and not careful of facts, even if PC is being run by Hamas. You cannot even spell my name correctly. Where is the Children's Music Group?

A.I.
----- Original Message -----
From: leekaplan@att.net
To: MEW
Sent: Saturday, June 18, 2005 5:40 PM
Subject: Re: Reply to remarks by Lee Kaplan at MEW

Mr. Isserof;

The reference to Perugia in Spain as the conference locale was on a PLO website. As mentioned, Damelin and Saranda met in Spain and came back to the Holy Land and started touring.

I ahve a videotape of Nadwa lying to an audience, saying Yitzhak Frankenthal is an Orthodox rabbi and reading a letter from him ascribing all the problems to the conflict to Israel and apologizing for it. Damelin fills out the card talking about the "occupation." Literature was passed out attacking Israel and proIsrael literature ws not permitted to be passed out in the room.

Your silly accusation that I am "against reconcilation" shows how ridiculous you are. I am for peace, yes,

but not as a tool to dismantle Israel in the PLO phased program. I suppose your feeble mind cannot grasp

the Saudis sending funding to the EU which gets passed through to groups like the NIF that hands out literature at trains stations encouraging Israeli soldiers to desert the army and pay them salaries more than they make in the Army on reserve duty while in jail. I guess someone jsut has t claim to be part of a "peace" group to be OK with you. Would you like to buy a bridge in Brooklyn?

Ask yourself, shmucko, why won't the Parents Circle isue a simple press release that they no longer wish to be associated with Scott Kennedy and his RCNV, one of the most antisemitic organizations in the country that passes itself off as a "peace and reconciliation gorup?"

Attacking me as a journalist will not change the facts about this group. That is, unless that is part of your job, to spin for them.

Lee Kaplan

-------------- Original message from MEW : --------------

Posted by Lee Kaplan @ 06/18/2005 07:15 PM CST

Well Ami, you sure stuck a stick in the hornet's nest with this one! It's time we saw some fire in the peace debate - it's been missing a long while.
Mr. Kaplan your comments and vitriol are not needed. Ami Isserof has for a long time put himself out to engage with all sides in this conflict, and has done an admirable job keeping this site going and thereby engendering rational debate.
However as to your "evidence" of EU funding the links I followed led to a confused diatribe written by soemone who clearly has no knowledge of the funding policies of the EU nor the EU Audit requirements for an "accounting body". It makes lurid references to vast sums of money but omits the source detail - "EU" is not enough, all EU funds are made available under distinct programmes. The author should also know that there is an EU Audit into the misuse of funds by the PNA currently underway, and MEP's have demanded that Israel's claims regarding this be answered.
Finally, over the years I have heard factions in various disputes exploding with rage and invective, demanding for themselves pious righteousness. Yet they never stop to think that their acts result in the deaths of countless young men and women. In NI I saw people killed and maimed by the weapons paid for by US organisations. I never once heard a US politician at the height of the violence ever call for the ending of funding for terrorism in the territory of it's primary NATO ally. Too busy supping Guinness and singing "The Wearing of the Green" to be concerned that they were funding terrorism, crime syndicates and ***** dealing. Funny that..... but not in a "ha ha ha" way.

Posted by Rod Davies @ 06/20/2005 09:58 PM CST

It seems that some doubts have arised about the exact location of Perugia. I want to clearly state that Perugia is not in Spain. It is dificult to me to understand why the PLO is spreading such intoxications and it is even more dificult to understand why other people takes PLO as a source for geographic knowledge. Perugia is half way between Firenze and Roma (basically and to make a long story short we can speak about it being in Italy). In October 2003 there was a meeting of one of the most succesful fronts of the PLO which is the Tavole per la Pace (table for peace) where the perfidous activists of Fatah in a notorious feat have enroled the Franciscans of the convent of San Francesco de Assisi, Pax Christi, Emmaus Italy, and a broad collection of Christians, volunteers movements and even environemental activists (remember that Francesco de Assis was the friend of animals). To this truly suspicious meeting assisted as PC´s representatives Ms. Robi Damelin and Dr. Adel Misk.

OTOH a certain Dr. Damelin who is a reputed expert in number theory, presented in the universtiy Carlos III of Madrid (basically Spain) in 1997 a paper entitled "Constrained Approximation and its applications''. This person went to Potenza (yes Italy again)university shortly after and presented a talk called "Orthogonal Polynomials on the real line". Mathematics are my knak and number theory is quite an interesting issue but I must conclude here since I am starting to ramble.

I hope this helps.

Note : I prefer to laugh than to cry when I have reasons for both.

Posted by Cantor @ 06/21/2005 12:47 AM CST

Kaplan - Where is Scott Kennedy's anti-semitism? Where is the RCNV's anti-semitism? Nowhere, that is the truth!
You, who claims to speak on behalf of Jews and Israel, use anti-semitism to attack those you disagree with politically.
You are of the sitra achra, the evil impulse (yetzer hara) that abuses the memory of those who have suffered and those that suffered more in survival, who demeans the suffering of those who experience actual anti-semitism and perverts the impressionable and ill-informed. Worst of all you provide a cover for and legitimacy for real anti-semites who are intent on hurting real Jews. You are an abomination!

Posted by Rod Davies @ 06/21/2005 10:04 PM CST


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