OCTOBER 5, 2008 – This past week, CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America a media-monitoring, research and membership organization devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East, published a statement regarding the Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC) decision to be one of the co-sponsors of an interfaith dinner with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, (seen here on the left) that took place in New York City on Sept. 25, 2008. CAMERA states that MCC, “has issued a deceptive and naive statement in defense of its dealings with the Iranian President.”
The statement, written by Arli Klassen, the MCC’s executive director, and Daryl Byler, the organization’s representative for Jordan, Iran, Iraq and Palestine, exaggerates the impact of MCC-organized events on Ahmadinejad’s public speech about Israel. The statement also ignores Ahmadinejad’s hostility toward Jews and portrays the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state in the Middle East as a legitimate component of peacemaking efforts in the region.
Ahmadinejad has remained an inveterate anti-Semite despite his attendance at MCC-organized events. For example, in February 2007, the MCC organized a meeting with the Iranian President in Teheran. The delegation of Christian leaders who participated in the meeting with Ahmadinejad reportedly challenged him about his anti-Semitic statements, but their complaints had little effect.
Four days after the delegation’s meeting with Ahmadinejad, he appeared in Sudan, where, according to Islamic Republic News Agency (Iran‘s official news service), he said “Zionists are the true manifestation of Satan.”
On May 8, 2008, Ahmadinejad stated that “Those who think they can revive the stinking corpse of the usurping and fake Israeli regime by throwing a birthday party are seriously mistaken.” He also reported that Israel “is on its way to annihilation” and “has reached the end like a dead rat after being slapped by the Lebanese.”
And days before the MCC broke bread with the Iranian president on Sept. 25, 2008, he gave a speech to the UN’s General Assembly during which he complained about the Security Council being under the control of “Zionist murderers.”
MCC and Ahmadinejad Share Opposition to Jewish State
The MCC also exhibits an outrageous indifference to Jewish safety in conveying Ahmadinejad’s support for a “one-state” solution as if it were an acceptable alternative to a two-state solution. This should not come as a surprise, however. MCC’s activists and writers have long portrayed Jewish sovereignty as the primary source of suffering in the Middle East – even blaming the mistreatment of Christians in the region on Israel’s existence.”
The full text of CAMERAs rebuke can be read at: