September 29, 2005

Thanks for the MEMRI

Here's an article about Middle Eastern translation services by Brian Whitaker in the Guardian. It was published yesterday and I'm guessing it didn't make it to the print edition but I don't know. In the article Whitaker admits to the primacy of the zionist website, MEMRI.org.
The pioneer in this field was the Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri), which has been circulating translated snippets from the Arabic press since 1998. It has become influential in the US among politicians and journalists, and was once described by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman as "absolutely invaluable".

Though Memri claims to be "independent", its founders were Yigal Carmon, a former colonel in Israeli military intelligence - who is currently its director - and Meyrav Wurmser, an ardent Zionist who helped to draft the now-famous 1996 Clean Break document proposing the overthrow of Saddam Hussein as a step towards reshaping Israel's strategic environment.

"This service does not present a balanced or complete picture of the Arab print media," Rugh said. "Its owners are pro-Israeli and anti-Arab. Quotes are selected to portray Arabs as preaching hatred against Jews and westerners, praising violence and refusing any peaceful settlement of the Palestinian issue."

Having written about Memri at length before, I don't propose to do so again here. Readers unfamiliar with the organisation and the controversy surrounding it can refer to Wikipedia, where there's a page with background information, links to the relevant articles and discussion of the pros and cons. Since I first wrote about Memri, however, several other English language sources have come along, and they are worth a look.

The rest of the article provides some useful links and you'll find links within the links so please read on..

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