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AT&T Distances itself from IDF

American Muslims for Jerusalem
December 8, 2000

AT&T Distances itself from IDF

Washington, DC (December 8, 2000)-American Muslims for Jerusalem and The Palestine Right to Return Coalition (known in Arabic as Al-Awda) announced today that a high-level AT&T executive distanced his company from reports linking it to the Israeli military's (IDF) website. According to AMJ and Al-Awda, the AT&T executive insisted that his company has no agreement with the IDF. Further investigation by AMJ and Al-Awda also finds no verifiable relationship between AT&T and the IDF web site at present.

On October 26, the Israeli army spokesperson announced that a contract had been arranged whereby AT&T would provide back-up hosting for the IDF website. This alleged arrangement came after hackers shut down the IDF website. Both Al-Awda and AMJ assert that the site is used to propagate justifications for the mass killings and repression of Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories.

Following the announcement, Al-Awda initiated a boycott of AT&T, sending a clear message of widespread grassroots opposition to any relationship the company would have with the IDF.

At the same time, American Muslims for Jerusalem contacted AT&T and expressed concern over the website arrangement. After outlining the IDF's human rights abuses, AMJ executive director Khalid Turaani wrote, "I am certain that your company would not knowingly support an entity that is involved in committing such severe human rights violations." AT&T also responded to these initial contacts with a form response.

In spite of many requests for clarification from AT&T concerning its arrangement with the IDF, for weeks, the company declined to distance itself and instead provided a form response.

A second letter sent from AMJ on November 10 criticized AT&T's apparent lack of concern for the issue. In the second letter Turaani wrote, "I am seeking clarification of AT&T's position on knowingly providing service to groups involved in multiple violations of international human rights laws."

Following the second letter, and a widening boycott by Al-Awda, a senior AT&T executive discussed the issue with Turaani. The executive distanced AT&T from the news reports and insisted that the company had no agreement with the IDF. A trace of servers affiliated with the IDF site produced no matches to AT&T. According to this investigation the IDF site was still hosted by NetVision, an Israeli provider. Inquiries to reporters who covered the story also produced no confirmation of an agreement between AT&T and the IDF other than the Israeli military spokesperson's comments.

AMJ and Al-Awda thank members and supporters who took part in this effort. The groups will continue monitoring AT&T for any association it may develop with the IDF website and will take action accordingly.


However this does not excuse AT&T for their investment in Israel, as indicated below::

US Companies with Investments in Israel
( )

AT&T Communications: Inc JV with Barak for internet hookups, several million dollars (8/98)

AT&T Investment Mgt Corp: Invested $15m in Kardan Technology Ventures(8/97)