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November 15, 2002

Speaker at Fortune Conference Insists Zionists Are ‘Subhuman’

When Saudi speech writers use boilerplates for their bosses you get same old nonsense

WASHINGTON - A speaker at a meeting co-hosted by Fortune magazine and a Saudi-backed foundation yesterday defended his newspaper’s description of the pro-Israel lobby as “subhuman.”
Fortune, a New York-based magazine that is a subsidiary of AOL Time Warner, sponsored the symposium with the Arab Thought Foundation, a group funded with at least $17 million from Saudi royalty and prominent Arab businessmen, including $1.5 million from Bakr bin Laden, the estranged brother of Osama bin Laden. Yesterday’s Arab symposium is part of the larger Fortune Global Forum, an annual business meeting taking place this week in Washington.

The Arab Thought Foundation’s stated purpose is to promote “open dialogue among Arabs, and between Arabs and the West on pressing cultural, educational, economic, scientific and political issues.” But for an organization purporting to promote dialogue, yesterday’s conference appeared to be a continuation of the past, with plenty of criticism of Israel and American policy. Critics have argued that the Arab Thought Foundation is part of Saudi Arabia’s attempt to rehabilitate its image in the wake of September 11 without carrying out genuine reforms. The kingdom has embarked on a multimillion-dollar public relations campaign in America.[....]