Henry Siegman, Senior Fellow and Director of the U.S./Middle East Project for the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and former director of the American Jewish Congress, is a longtime detractor of Israel and its leadership. The CFR describes him as the “foremost expert on the Middle East peace process and inter-religious relations, Arab-Israeli relations, and U.S. Middle East policy” but Siegman misrepresents the facts in order to support his political positions. (See CAMERA article “New York Review of Books Stonewalls on Correcting Errors.”)
While Siegman is often interviewed as a “representative of the American Jewish community,” his fault-finding with the Jewish state and ardent campaigning on behalf of the Palestinians are far afield from mainstream American Jewish views. In fact, his controversial writings and embrace of the Palestinian narrative have led many to speculate about Siegman’s true motives.
According to an August 23 editorial in the New York Sun, the mystery has now been solved. In “Mystery Solved,” the Sun – pointing out that Siegman’s “writings over the past few years are hard to distinguish from the hard-line propaganda of the Arab tyrannies”– informs readers that “it turns out that much of the funding for the Council’s “U.S./Middle East Project” comes from overseas, including the European Commission, the government of Norway, Kuwaiti and Saudi businessmen, a Lebanese politician, and, for one year, an official of the commercial arm of the Palestinian Authority, Munib Masri.
Siegman told the Sun that his project’s funding sources do not influence his opinions and spokeswoman for the Council insisted that there is no connection between funding sources and any scholar’s opinions. But as the Sun editorial indicates, neither the New York Review of Books and the New York Times-owned International Herald Tribune where Siegman publishes have shared with readers the fact that “that the man attacking Israel in their pages is being supported by European governments and non-American Arab businessmen.” While the Times policy is to require freelance contributors to “avoid conflicts of interest, real or apparent,” the Sun points to an op-ed piece by Mr. Siegman in 2002 which identified him only as “a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.”
The editorial concludes: “If the publications had made the disclosure, their readers could draw their own conclusions.”
Read the entire editorial.