Middle East Media Research Institute

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Group.png Middle East Media Research Institute   Powerbase Sourcewatch WebsiteRdf-icon.png
Middle East Media Research Institute.gif
Abbreviation MEMRI
Formation 1998
Founder • Meyrav Wurmser
• Yigal Carmon
Type 501(c)(3) non-profit
Slogan Bridging the language gap between the Middle East and the West

The Organisation

The organisation was founded in 1998 by Meyrav Wurmser and Colonel Yigal Carmon, formerly of Israeli military intelligence. Both are right-wing zionists and opposers of the Oslo peace accords. Wurmser's position has been replaced by Steven Stalinsky following her departure in 2002. Oliver Revell also contributes to the board of directors.

According to Jim Lobe, MEMRI specializes in translating and distributing 'particularly virulent anti-U.S. and anti-Israel articles appearing in the Arab press to key U.S. media and policymakers' [1].

Having begun as one office in Washington, MEMRI has now expanded with branches in Berlin, London, Tokyo and Jerusalem.

Principals

Initially there were only six members of staff working for MEMRI, however as a result of expansion, that number is now in the region of 30-40.

NB: several of MEMRI's agents change names — while wearing a MEMRI hat some have a German or English name, but later reappear with their Israeli names elsewhere.[2]

Funding

the funding of MEMRI is under scrutinty at this time due to questions and comments raised by professor *Juan Cole. Although MEMRI claim to have funds under $2 million, Cole, insists that the organisation recieves in the region of $60 million per annum for its operations. *[3]

it has been reported that many of the funds recieved by MEMRI are either not accounted for or only the American profits are disclosed. MEMRI is of course a multinational organisation with office across the world. It is these offices which Juan Cole maintains the estimate of $60 million is acculmulated. [4]

MEMRI maintains that all of it's funding comes directly from around 250 private donations and that it does not recieve any government funding. Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation, a right wing organisation, donated $100,000 between '92 and 2000. Ronald & Mary Ann Lachman Foundation is another of the private donors.

Controversy

MEMRI has faced numerous allegations of bias and unprofesionalism with regard to its presentation of the Middle East news. Critcs of the organisation have said that MEMRI is selective inthe content it translates and that in doing so, it portrays an anti-Arab view.

MEMRI has altered it's homepage on the internet following the terroist attacks on September 11th 2001. Prior to the attacks, the 'About us' section had clearly stated the foolowing quote as part of their mission statement: 'In its research, the institute puts emphasis on the continuing relevance of Zionism to the Jewish people and to the state of Israel.'

Furthermore, the profiles of MEMRI staff were also deleted along with any information of funding.

The following is a list of critics and their personal views on MEMRI:

Dr. Juan Cole: accused the organisation of slectivity in their translation process in that they "cherry-pick" the press for particularly extreme cases rather than providing an overview. *[3][4], cited 23rd April 2006.

Brian Whitaker: Maintains that MEMRI articles follow a distinct pattern of 'reflecting badly on the character of Arabs or they in some way further the political agenda of Israel.' *[5][6], cited 23rd April 2006.

Ibrahim Hooper: In an interview with the Washington Post claimed; 'Memri's intent is to find the worst possible quotes from the Muslim world and disseminate them as widely as possible.' *[7][8], cited 23rd April 2006.

Marc Lynch: also in agreament that MEMRI offers a biased source of Middle East publications and says that MEMRI 'routinely selects articles which show the worst of Arab discource.'

William Rugh: states that MEMRI portrays Arabs as hating Jews and refusing any peaceful settlement of Palestine issues.

MEMRI's Response

in light of the article 'Osama Threatening Red States?' by Juan Cole,*[9][10] MEMRI's co-founder, Yigal Carmon, wrote a response to Dr. Cole. the email can be accessed through this link *[11][12] and it clearly identifies some threat of legal action aginst Dr. Cole on accounts of libel and slander. MEMRI claim to be offering translations of current affairs and topical issues on the Middle Easter and international agendas form a non-partisan, non-profit view point. However, MEMRI fail to provide any contact details through their website which would allow the general public to assess the situation for themselves.

Users of MEMRI materials (alpha order)

"On the other hand, few challenge the accuracy of Memri's translations: unpalatable though they are, the texts Memri finds are all too real."[13]
"The role that MEMRI is playing in bringing the voices of the Arab and Muslim Reform – from Arabic into English, to the world – has been absolutely invaluable for everyone who cares about this process and wants to follow it."
- Thomas Friedman, May 6, 2003 [14]
  • Kevin Myers – writes for the Irish Times and The Telegraph. He writes:
"I receive an invaluable service from the Middle East Media Research Institute, which translates material from the region. What is impossible to appreciate without such translations is the sheer scale of genocidal anti-Semitism which infuses Palestinian Authority propaganda.[15]
"In the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where the ultraextreme sect of Wahhabism is the state religion, various sermons and other declamations were heard, alleging that Allah punished the Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, and non-Wahhabi Muslims of the South Asian countries for their failure to accept Islam, above all in its Saudi form (as recorded and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute).[16]
"Numerous articles and commentary in the Saudi press are openly anti-Jewish, offensive, and discriminatory: the "Zionist movement" is labeled as evil; blood libel accusations are made; hatred toward Jews is encouraged; Jews are said to be trying to take over the world; and the existence of the Holocaust is denied.[60]
[60]See multiple translated articles with anti-Semitic and discriminatory language from the Saudi press at the Middle East Media Research Institute ( MEMRI ) Web site: [followed by four links]
  • Elie Wiesel – Professional Holocaust survivor (as Uri Avnery refers to him), member of the Irgun Zvei Leumi [17], and professional moralist.
"I hope you receive MEMRI's publications. I do. I find its material – translations and analyses of poisonous articles, hate-filled statements and slanderous accusations – vitally needed for the fight against antisemitism in the Arab world. Policy makers, legislators, teachers, and news commentators greatly benefit from its efforts to use truth in the service of peace."
- Elie Wiesel, May 22, 2003[18]
"… the excellent Middle East Media Research Institute"
-Former CIA director James Woolsey, June 10, 2002 [19]

Contact, References and Resources

Contact

The only address provided is one to send donations to and is as follows:

MEMRI
P.O. Box 27837
Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: (202) 955-9070
Fax: (202) 955-9077
Website: www.memri.org/, (Accessed 25t April 2006)

Resources

 

A document sourced from Middle East Media Research Institute

TitleTypeSubject(s)Publication dateAuthor(s)
Document:Iran - This Is How We'll Close The Strait of HormuzwebpageThe Strait of Hormuz28 December 2011MEMRI editorial staff


References

  1. Profile of Meyrav Wurmser Right Web , cited 19 April 2006
  2. Profile of Meyrav Wurmser Right Web , cited 19 April 2006
  3. [1], cited 20th April 2006
  4. [2], cited 21st April 2006