Ma'an News Agency (MNA) / Ma'an Network
|In their own words||“An integral part of Ma'an Network, a non-profit media organization founded in 2002 to strengthen professional independent media in Palestine, build links between local, regional and international media, and consolidate freedom of expression and media pluralism as keys to promoting democracy and human rights.”|
- In 2014, total revenue was $2.3 million; total expenses were $3.2 million (accessed August 6, 2017).
- According to its website, “MNA was launched with generous funding from the Danish Representative Office to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Netherlands Representative Office to the PA.”
- According to its 2014 financial statement, received funding from Denmark, Sweden, United States, Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children, and others.
- Ma’an’s previous donors have included: the Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States, UNESCO, UNDP, and the Arab Human Rights Fund.
- Ma’an participates in “CRG-Palestine,” a project (2015-2018) funded by Norway (NOK 4.5 million) implemented along with six other partners including Al-Mezan and Defense for Children International-Palestine.
- In 2016, Ma’an Television Network received €427,200 from the European Union for “Leveraging Media Initiatives to Promote Participatory Engagement in the Peace Process.”
- Received a 2014 project grant of $56,000 from the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, and the Netherlands) to “establish a Palestinian culture that demands government accountability for and protection from human rights abuses.”
- Ma’an Network received £730,000 (2015-2017) from the United Kingdom as part of a “multimedia project to raise awareness of, and seek to prevent, violence against women and girls.”
- Ma’an was granted $71,970 (2012-2013) from the United States (Middle East Partnership Initiative) for the project “Combating Gender Based Violence in the Palestinian Territories.”
- Publishes articles in Arabic and English.
- Claims to “scrupulously maintain its editorial independence and aims to promote access to information, freedom of expression, press freedom, and media pluralism in Palestine.”
- According to its website, “MNA strives to convey a multi-dimensional picture of life in Palestine to a global audience, and to provide a forum for Palestinians to address the international community.”
- Acts as a platform for tendentious anti-Israel statements, regularly presenting an entirely biased and distorted view of the conflict based on the Palestinian narrative of victimization and sole Israeli aggression, while also publicizing material from radical NGOs.
- Features analyses and commentary, accusing Israel of “apartheid,” “war crimes,” “genocide,” “massacres,” “human rights violations,” acting with “impunity” and maintaining a “system of segregation and apartheid”; refers to terrorism as “resistance.”
- On August 1, 2017, Ma’an published an article and a video titled “Song in Hebrew in Defense of Al Aqsa Mosque,” which featured footage of terrorist attacks against Israelis, accompanied by a song in Hebrew with the lyrics “I will clean my country of every Jew / I will strive for it with all my being” (NGO Monitor translation). The article reported that it “promises to clean Palestine of Jews, and protests against Israeli security measures,” with Ma’an adding commentary that “Israel deteriorated the situation in Al Aqsa mosque when it installed metal detectors in the entrance to Al Aqsa compound” (NGO Monitor translation).
- Ma’an subsequently published an article claiming that “Ma’an did not produce the video, but had only written about its existence,” and accusing “Israel supporters” of “showing the video out of context and claiming that it was created and condoned by Ma’an.”
- Ma’an additionally stated that “Both the article and the video have since been removed from Ma’an online platforms.”
- Publicized a September 13, 2015 analysis, “Burned alive by Israelis,” which claims that “While Holocaust deniers are jailed in Europe, in Israel Jewish proponents of ‘new shoah’… roam free.”
- Publicized a September 18, 2015 analysis (“In Jerusalem, ‘religious war’ is used to cloak colonialism”), written by Nur Arafeh of Al Shabaka, who claims that “Palestinian clashes with Israeli Jews should be seen as acts of resistance and desperation within the larger historical struggle of Palestinians against occupation, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, land theft, dispossession, forced displacement, and economic marginalization.” Arafeh continues to claim that “Judaization has been accompanied by ‘de-Palestinianization’ to eradicate the Palestinian identity in Jerusalem.” He urges that the boycott of Israeli goods is “a moral duty for every Palestinian” and that the BDS movement and “the pressure this imposes on Israel worldwide should be maintained and intensified.”
- Following the 2014 Gaza war, produced a highly emotive propaganda video, funded by the IHL Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands). While the project funding was intended to generally promote “reform of government institutions abusing human rights,” Ma’an instead used it for one-sided political warfare attacks against Israel. The video portrays Israel as the sole perpetrator of violent attacks, while omitting the numerous Hamas war crimes against Israeli civilians and intra-Palestinian human rights violations.
- Published an April 7, 2014 interview conducted by Frank Barat, one of the former coordinators of the Russel Tribunal on Palestine, with Leila Khaled, a PFLP terrorist and airline hijacker. In the interview, Khaled advocates for “all kinds of resistance. Nonviolent and violent… I am OK with using all means of resistance. We cannot say that non-violent resistance alone will achieve our rights.” Khaled goes on to claim: “We are facing an apartheid State, Zionism as a movement, the Americans, and in general, the West, which supports Israel. When the balance of forces changes, then we can start thinking about negotiating… The struggle is about ending Israel’s settler colonial project.”
- Published a February 9, 2014 analysis, “US BDS activism reaches the third rail,” claiming that “Israel is often called the third rail of US politics. This means both that support for Israel powers US politics and also that anyone who dares to question it will pay the price.” The article goes on to allege that the “Israel lobby” and “shared US-Israeli imperial foreign policy agenda” are the reasons why the BDS movement has “lagged behind that of many European countries.”
- Published an article commemorating the Palestinian “Nakba” [Arabic for “catastrophe,” referring to the establishment of the state of Israel], claiming that the “combination of Israeli state practices, laws, and policies seeks to achieve the displacement and dispossession of the indigenous Palestinian population, exerting complete control through a system of apartheid and occupation.” The article goes on to accuse Israel of conducting an “international crime against humanity,” and calls on the international community to take action in order to bring Israel’s “impunity for these crimes  to an end.”
- Published an October 10, 2015 article (“Stop talking about an intifada: Israel’s occupation must end”), by Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who alleged that the recent wave of terror attacks “are symptoms of this reality of occupation, colonization and Apartheid that Israel has imposed over Palestine.”
Parliamentary Questions Regarding EU Funding
- Members of the European Parliament have alerted the European Commission to its funding of Ma’an Network, highlighting instances of glorification of terrorism and Holocaust denial. In all replies, the Commission stated that “The EU does not provide global funding to NGOs but provides grants supporting specific actions under programmes with clearly-defined objectives.”
- In 2016, seven MEPs questioned the European Parliament regarding Ma’an News’ use of “material that glorifies terrorism and violence, as well as virulent anti-Semitic canards, including Holocaust denial and affirming the existence of the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’.” The question specifically refers to a 2015 story broadcast on Ma’an TV “glorifying convicted terrorist Abdallah Barghouti.”
- The Commission replied, “The EU rejects violence and incitement to violence. As regards funding of Palestinian organisations, the EU provides support as part of its commitment to Palestine state-building and promotion of democratic values, the rule of law and human rights. All EU-funded projects include respect for these fundamental principles and core values and go through systematic monitoring and evaluation, in full compliance with EU rules and procedures in the management of activities.”
- In 2015, MEP Raymond Finch (EFDD) inquired whether “the Commission financed the Ma’an News Agency in Palestine?”
- The Commission replied with details regarding its past funding to Ma’an.
- In 2013, MEP Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR) questioned the European Parliament regarding a Ma’an article denying the Holocaust.
- The Commission replied, “The EU is respectful of freedom of expression as a key feature of a democratic society. At the same time, the EU is firmly committed to the fight against incitement to hatred between ethnic or religious groups as well as to the expressions of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, anti-Semitism or Islamophobia, and will continue fighting these deplorable phenomena.”
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