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January 31, 2014

Newseum & Smithsonian Select Anti-Semitic Paper For Upcoming Media Exhibit


Cartoon published in Arab American News in March 2010

The Newseum and the Smithsonian Institute have chosen the Arab American News¸ an Arabic-English language weekly newspaper based in Dearborn, Michigan, with a long history of publishing anti-Semitic articles, for an exhibit showcasing media from various ethnic communities the U.S.

The May 2014 exhibit,One Nation With News for All,“will tell the story of how immigrants and minorities used the power of the press to fight for their rights and change American history,” according the Newseum website. 

The stated purpose of the exhibit to celebrate the rich cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds of hundreds of communities that have made the U.S. their home, is laudable. The selection of the Arab American News to represent the Arabic-speaking community is a particularly poor choice to represent the positive message of the exhibit.

The newspaper has a long history of publishing articles that propagate theories of Jewish control over the U.S. government and foreign policy. The English-language section of the newspaper has provided a platform for known anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers and 9/11 conspiracy theorists, such as Jeff Gates, Paul Craig Roberts and Alan Sabrosky. Its Editor-in-Chief Osama Siblani has expressed public support for terrorist organizations. 

Examples of the anti-Semitic and conspiratorial articles in the Arab American News can be found in ADL’s Profile: Osama Siblani & The Arab American News

The Newseum stirred controversy in May 2013 when it included the names of two journalists from Hamas’s Al Aqsa TV as part of its ongoing memorial to journalists who lost their lives in the line of duty. Although the Newseum had indicated that it would “reevaluate” the inclusion of the journalists, the museum ultimately decided to include the names in the memorial.

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May 17, 2013

Cigarette Smuggling Case Linked To Hamas


New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announcing the indictment

Earlier this week, authorities in New York announced the indictment of 16 men accused of smuggling more than $55 million worth of cigarettes from Virginia to New York.  Fifteen of the men are in custody while one is at large, believed to be in Jordan.  One of the accused is also believed to have sold the gun used in the 1994 murder of Ari Halberstam in Brooklyn.

Several of the men in the smuggling ring are reportedly suspected of having ties to Hamas and other militant groups.  Although authorities do not yet know where the revenue was directed, they noted that, in the past such operations have been used to finance Hamas and Hezbollah.

While fundraising for terrorist organizations is not limited to cigarette smuggling, there have been several cases within the United States in recent years, including:

  • A group of approximately 20 men ran a criminal enterprise in Dearborn, Michigan, trafficking in contraband cigarettes, cigarette papers and Viagra, as well as stolen infant formula and toilet paper.  Prosecutors contend that the ring diverted some of the funds to Hezbollah.  Naturalized U.S. citizen Karim Hassan Nasser pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in September 2006, as did Theodore Schenk of Miami Beach, Florida and Imad Hamadeh of Dearborn Heights.
  • Dearborn resident Elias Mohamad Akhdar was sentenced in January 2004 to nearly six years in prison for his role in a cigarette-smuggling ring designed to finance Hezbollah. Another Dearborn resident, Hassan M. Makki, received a sentence of nearly five years in prison in connection with the scheme.
  • Carole Gordon and her granddaughter Brandy Jo Bowman were among eleven people charged in January 2003 for their involvement in a cigarette smuggling ring that funneled its proceeds to Hezbollah.   Both Gordon and Bowman pleaded guilty to racketeering charges.
  • Mohamad Hammoud was charged in March 2001 for raising funds and conspiring to provide “a variety of items that Hizballah [sic] would use to engage in violent attacks and to film such attacks for use in Hizballah [sic] propaganda efforts,” according to court documents.  Hammoud allegedly procured dual-use technologies for Hezbollah, including goggles, global positioning systems, stun guns, naval equipment, nitrogen cutters and laser range finders.  Hammoud and his brother, Chawki, were convicted the following year of providing material support to Hezbollah through their cigarette-smuggling ring that knowingly directed money to the terrorist organization.
  • At least three naturalized U.S. citizens – Said Mohamad Harb, Bassem Youssef Hammoud and Hussein Chahrour – and U.S. citizen Angela Georgia Tsioumas are among a group of nine individuals who bought cigarettes in North Carolina, shipped them to Michigan and sold them at a price lower than the tax-inflated Michigan price.  From 1995 to 2000, the scheme generated over $7 million used to procure dual-use technologies for Hezbollah.  Items were reportedly purchased for Hezbollah in both the U.S. and Canada, including goggles, global positioning systems, stun guns, naval equipment, nitrogen cutters and laser range finders.  Harb pleaded guilty to providing material support for terrorists and racketeering charges.  Tisoumas  pleaded guilty to racketeering and money laundering charges.   Chahrour pleaded guilty to racketeering charges.  Bassam Youssef Hammoud pleaded guilty to trafficking in contraband cigarettes.

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