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Palestinian nonprofit belatedly apologizes for blood libel article

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(JTA) — A Palestinian nonprofit organization removed an article from its website that accused Jews of using “the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover” and apologized.

Miftah, which was founded by Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi and is funded by European and Western governments, in its apology issued Monday expressed its “sincerest regret.” The apology was first reported by the Washington Free Beacon.

“It has become clear to us after investigating this incident that the article was accidentally and incorrectly published by a junior staff member,” the apology said. “The said staffer has been reprimanded and all our staff has been informed as to the disgusting and repulsive phenomena of blood libel or accusation, including its use against Jews.

The apology also said that Ashrawi “has nothing to do with the day to day management at MIFTAH and was in no way involved in this incident.”

Two days before its apology, Miftah had defended the publishing of the article in a statement on its website, calling it a “smear campaign.” The group also condemned the Jewish bloggers who publicized the article.

The original article in Arabic by Nawaf Al Zaru was first exposed by the Elder of Ziyon blog. It criticized President Obama for his tribute to Passover by holding a seder in the White House.

“Does Obama in fact know the relationship, for example, between ‘Passover’ and ‘Christian blood’..?! Or ‘Passover’ and ‘Jewish blood rituals?!’ ” read the article posted March 27. “Much of the chatter and gossip about historical Jewish blood rituals in Europe are real and not fake as they claim; the Jews used the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover.”

Miftah receives government funding from countries including Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Germany, Ireland and Norway, and from U.S.-funded nongovernmental organizations that receive government funding, NGO Monitor reported.

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