Friday, July 04, 2008

Libel update

I have been reminded of my manners by a post at the Ministry of Truth. When a blogger is faced with a vexatious and manipulative threat of libel action, the polite thing to do is to reproduce their remarks as widely as possible:

Here’s Mohammad Sawalha, President of the British Muslim Initiative, speaking to Al Jazeera in Arabic about his demonstration against last Sunday’s celebration of the foundation of the State of Israel:

The President of the British Muslim Initiative - Mohammad Sawalha - said in a speech to Al Jazeera:

“We, the Arab and Islamic community, gather here today to express our resentment at the celebrations by the Jewish community and the [evil Jew/Jewish evil] in Britain”

[والوبيل اليهودي في بريطانيا]

Translation by DaveM
David T has since summed up the issues in a new post here:
Al Jazeera initially reported the phrase in question as containing the word “وبيل”. That word translates as “evil” or “baneful”, or some variant thereon. The next word was “يهودي “, which means “Jew” or “Jewish”. We translated the phrase, as it appeared, as “evil Jew” or “Jewish evil”.

Some time later, the word “وبيل” was removed from the Al Jazeera report. It was replaced with the word “اللوبي ”, “lobby”.

The British Muslim Initiative then issued a bombastic “press release”...
I can form no conclusion on what precisely Mr Sawalha said at Sunday’s demonstration. The meaning of the words “وبيل” and “يهودي ” have been extensively discussed in the comments of the thread below. Initially, defenders of Mr Sawalha claimed that in Arabic, “Jew” meant “Zionist”. When that argument fell apart, there was some debate as to whether the word “يهودي ” means “Jew” or “Jewish”. The defenders of Mr Sawalha insisted that the word could not be used to mean “Jew”. However, the leading dictionaries suggest that it can be used in this manner. There was also some disagreement as to how likely it was that a careless journalist would have mistyped the word “evil, “وبيل” when intending to type the word “اللوبي ”, “lobby”.

It is possible that Mr Sawalha railled against the “evil Jewish Lobby”, rather than the “evil Jew”. What I find astonishing, is that the British Muslim Initiative thinks that it is somehow better to be caught out inveighing against - not the policies of the Israeli Government, not the “Israel Lobby”, not even against the “Zionists” - but against the “Jewish community” and the “Jewish Lobby”. It is clear from their letter that they see no problem with saying any of that.
Out of interest, Google Translate makes the Arabic phrase first quoted above "The dreaded Jew in Britain", which confirms the translation by DaveM at the start of this farce.

No comments: