Indonesia visit ends badly


A meeting between the U.S. State Department envoy on anti-Semitism and an Indonesian Muslim body reportedly was unsuccessful.

Sabili, a magazine cited as anti-Semitic in a State Department’s report earlier this year, editorialized in a recent issue about Gregg Rickman’s meeting in July with the Indonesia Ulama Council. Ulama are panels of Muslim scholars.

Rickman could not be reached, but in an email to Jewish leaders obtained by JTA, Rickman agreed with the assessment that the meeting went poorly, saying the Ulama representatives made anti-Semitic statements.

“His visit was surreptitious, and there was no publication,” Sabili said. “He came to give information as well as learn how far the ulamas and the Muslim society in Indonesia hate Jews. The meeting reportedly concluded unfavorably. The special envoy went home feeling downhearted.”

The State Department report, Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism, authored by Rickman, described Sabili as publishing “articles with anti-Semitic statements and themes, suggesting, for example, the existence of conspiratorial ‘Zionist’ activities in Indonesia.”

Sabili rejected the assertion, saying: “Muslims all over the world, including in Indonesia, even Sabili, never hate Jews as a human race. But we are very much against oppression, violence and terrorism committed by Israeli Zionists in an independent Palestinian land. We hate the conspiracy of those that seek to control the world by any means.”


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