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Are you sorry, or what?

Was there an apology or not? A news release issued by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee says Detroit News honchos apologized for insensitive editorial page coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Editorial page editor Nolan Finley referred that question to News Publisher Mark Silverman, who didn’t return numerous calls. The ADC release quotes Silverman as saying a meeting with Arab community leaders “increased our understanding of how articles can be hurtful by commission and omission.” Imad Hamad, regional director for the ADC, says in addition to apologizing, Silverman agreed to sensitivity training for News staff and a “town hall” discussion between staffers and local Arab-Americans. The confab helped establish “a mutual trust,”says Hamad. The powwow ensued after Hamad and others expressed outrage over an editorial cartoon portraying a Saudi leader as aiding terrorism, in addition to the overall edit-page views. Hamad says Finley, who was present at the meeting, feels as passionately about the Israeli cause as the Arab community feels about the Palestinian side. But often, Hamad says, the Arab community feels its side gets omitted or stereotyped. “We don’t see him as an enemy, but as a bigot, and I don’t think that has changed,” says Hamad of Finley. “I commend him for having the courage and respect to come to these meetings where his editorials were the center and prime focus of the meeting. He listened and was very candid. He respectfully disagreed. He is very arrogant but I see him as someone who feels strong about his views, and I admire that. I just have a problem with how he portrays his views.” Finley says that while he disagrees with the Arab community leaders on issues of foreign policy, the meeting helped establish a line of communication. “We don’t come lightly to our editorial positions and won’t change that easily,” says Finley. “We are always willing to listen to the other side.” Now, if only Israel and the Palestinians could do the same.

Lisa M. Collins and Ann Mullen are Metro Times staff writers. Send comments to newshits@metrotimes.com

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