Based on the research of CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) (www.camera.org). For more information see "Quote Busters," CAMERA, October 1, 2004 and "Quote Busters II," CAMERA, October 4, 2004.

Dear Hanan Ashrawi,

As Miftah is associated with moderation and makes claims to integrity, I was astounded to find the quotes at http://www.miftah.org/QuotesList.cfm?&StartRow=1 which are almost all either fake or taken out of context. I believe these quotes are also scattered around various places at your Web site.

There are numerous quotes from a supposed interview that Ariel Sharon gave to a General Ouze Merham in 1956. They are all fake. There was never any Israeli general named "Ouze Merham" and Sharon didn't give any such interview in 1956. He never said any of the things attributed to him in those quotes. Why would Sharon have given an interview to a general, and why would the general conduct an interview?

Likewise, Sharon didn't give any interview to Amos Oz in 1982. Amos Oz wrote a book called "In the Land of Israel" that featured a fictional parody interview with an officer called "Z." During the Intifadah, someone - apparently an American journalist named Jensen, took the interview text from Oz's book, changed the "Z" into "Sharon" and claimed it was a real interview. You can easily find the book and check this for yourself.

All of those quotes are certainly fake.

The following is an invention - "Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that ... I want to tell you something very clear: Don't worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it." Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001, to Shimon Peres, as reported on Kol Yisrael radio.

Sharon never said it. The radio never reported it.

The following is an invention:

"We have to kill all the Palestinians unless they are resigned to live here as slaves."
Chairman Heilbrun of the Committee for the Re-election of General Shlomo Lahat, the mayor of Tel Aviv, October 1983.

There was nobody named Heilbrun in any committee to reelect Shlomo Lahat. Lahat is a moderate who supports the peace process. Neither Lahat nor anyone else in his campaign would have had any reason to make bellicose remarks about Palestinians.

As best as anyone can tell Rafael Eitan never said: "We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel... Force is all they do or ever will understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours."
Rafael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces - Gad Becker, Yediot Ahronot 13 April 1983, New York Times 14 April 1983."
The quote cannot be found in the NYT or anywhere else.

The Koenig memorandum was controversial, but it didn't contain any of the following text:
"We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population." Israel Koenig, "The Koenig Memorandum""

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Some of the other quotes are dubious or slightly out of context, but the above cases are clearly fraudulent or malicious distortion.

Even if all the quotes were true, they serve no constructive purpose. They don't advance anyone's understanding, and they don't promote dialog and coexistence.

Surely you know that it is possible to assemble very damaging quotes on any topic. Without context, such quotes are worse than meaningless. But these "quotes" that Miftah is promoting are not quotes at all - they are mostly the creations of hate mongers that have nothing to do with reality.

It is discouraging that the Web site of an organization that supposedly champions moderation is engaged in wholesale propagation of falsehoods and incitement, and even more discouraging that you are associated with that sort of cheap hate propaganda.

Sincerely,
Ami Isseroff, D.Sc.

Ami Isseroff is the director of MidEastWeb for Coexistence