September 19, 2002
To the Leaders of Saudi Arabia
We want to address the issues raised by the recent failure of Saudi Arabia's multi-million dollar public relations campaign to improve your country's image among Americans.
As long-time and astute observers of this country, we are sure that you were not surprised at these results. You understand better than most that Americans, when presented with claims patently at odds with the facts, tend to see right through them, however sophisticated the packaging.
As you well know, the truth is that the September 11 terrorist attacks made many Americans more aware of the widespread anti-Western and anti-American intolerance in Saudi culture and the Saudi educational system, as well as what appears to be systemic, officially sanctioned intolerance, in the form of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel incitement, that is increasingly rampant in the Saudi media.
These are issues of great concern to Americans and that is why, as they become increasingly disturbed at the institutional role of the Saudi government in continuing to promote the kind of vicious hate whose results were so horrifically apparent in the attacks of a year ago, they question the value of our bilateral relationship
A whole range of anti-Jewish commentary and depictions in the Saudi media - the blood libel accusation, denial of the Holocaust, and Jewish control over the media and American policy - have gone unanswered by Saudi religious, political and community leaders. As in the past, criticism of Israeli policy is infused with comparisons between Israelis and Nazis and blatant anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitic propaganda from western racist extremists, such as David Duke and Mark Weber, has also been reprinted in a number of Saudi newspapers.
As the Saudi leadership invests time and money in addressing their image in the U.S., they cannot leave these manifestations of anti-Semitism unanswered. Religious and political leaders in Saudi Arabia must speak out and address these hateful sentiments within their society.
Indeed, the solution to your problem lies within Saudi Arabia, not in US public relations -- because Americans are looking for actions, not words.
Start now to take the actions necessary to end the virulent campaign of anti-Semitism and anti-Western hate that runs through your educational system and government-controlled media. More than ever, Americans understand the stakes and as they have demonstrated, they will not look the other way while you allow this appalling and dangerous poison to spread across your country, the region and the rest of the world