WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump’s advisers criticized a Palestinian newspaper on Sunday for publishing an op-ed in which Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s envoy to the Middle East, was described as “retarded” and a “mongoloid.”
The article, written by columnist Omar Hilmi al-Ghoul, appeared in the Palestinian Authority’s official daily Al-Hayat al-Jadida, which is published in Ramallah. The newspaper has a circulation of a few thousand copies, and is the least popular of the Palestinian dailies.
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In response, Greenblatt said: “The comments of Omar Hilmi al-Ghoul are disgusting and demonstrate a complete disregard for the dignity of every human life. Terms like ‘mongoloid’ and ‘retarded’ have no place in a civilized world. Persons with Downs Syndrome deserve our utmost respect & love. Shame on you Omar!"
AIPAC, the leading pro-Israel lobbying group, called the article “an outrageous personal attack on a distinguished U.S. official and an insult to basic human dignity.” David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, also denounced the op-ed.
Ori Nir, communications director at Americans for Peace Now, a group that is critical of the Trump administration’s Israel policy, also condemned the article. “I just read Omar al-Goul’s [sic] original Aarbic article in al-Hayyat al-Jadeeda, the Palestinian daily, in which the writer speculates that Jason Greenblatt has Down's syndrome and repeatedly refers to him as ‘mongoloid.’ The article is vile and reprehensible,” Nir wrote.
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He added that “Greenblatt should be criticized on the merits of his poor performance,” but that this specific op-ed is “disgusting, reprehensible, damaging.”