National Jewish Democratic Council charged today (Feb. 22) that an anti-terrorist conference in Saudi Arabia to which the
White House dispatched homeland security advisor Frances Fragos Townsend earlier this month proved to be a forum for such anti-Semitic, anti-American, and anti-Christian candards as Osama bin-Laden "was sent by the Jews," that Sept. 11th was an "American terror attack" and "Jews and Christians are Allah's enemies."
The various statements were made in Arabic during the conference, according to translations made by
the Middle East Media Research Institute, NJDC Executive Director Ira Forman
Forman noted that U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg
(D-N.J) in a Feb. 4 letter to President Bush had urged the White House not to participate in the conference.
"The conference aims to 'confront and uproot terrorism, prevent its growth, and stop its funding sources.' However, among the participants are three countries
— Iran, Syria, and
Sudan — that remain on the Department of State's (DOS) list of state sponsors of terrorism," Lautenberg wrote to the President. "These countries currently support terrorist groups by providing funding, arms, or other material support; or by providing training, logistical support, sanctuary, or diplomatic facilities.
"Having members of the Bush administration actually sit down and discuss counter terrorism with the very countries that support terrorists is absurd," Lautenberg had added. "The President should spend his time going after the terrorists rather than sharing sensitive counter terrorism information with countries that sponsor terrorism."
After Townsend nevertheless participated in the conference and returned home, Bush had a conversation with Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah Feb. 14 in which he complimented him on "last weeks successful counter-terrorism conference in Saudi Arabia," the NJDC quoted White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan as reporting.
"Now that we have translations of statements made in Arabic before and during the conference— statements that are clearly government-sanctioned, and made in the presence of top Saudi leaders
— the time has come for President Bush to condemn these disgraceful comments," Forman said.
"In his direct conversations with Saudi leaders, President Bush should not be 'complimenting' them for such anti-Jewish, anti-Christian and anti-American attitudes
— as he did on February 14th," the NJDC leader said. "President Bush should instead be challenging them to change their culture of hate, and to clearly criticize such sentiments in Arabic."