CBS News anchor Dan Rather has written a conciliatory letter to the president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, who had criticized his presence at a Jerusalem Foundation fund-raiser in June, during which Rather moderated a panel discussion.
"When I accepted the invitation . . ," Rather wrote, in part, "I did not realize that the organization would be regarded as partisan. I saw it as a charitable enterprise that supported parks, sports facilities and other amenities that would be enjoyed by all the residents of the city and my participation was solely for charitable reasons.
"As a newsman with a 36-year record of reporting the news as objectively as I can, I had no intention of taking a position on the status of Jerusalem and some of my remarks, in fact, raised questions about the equity of the current situation there.
"Certainly, no offense was intended."
The letter followed a meeting of American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee President Albert Mokhiber and CBS News executives in New York Sept. 29. In early August, the committee had staged several protests in front of the CBS News bureau in Washington, demanding an apology from Rather, CBS Inc. board member Henry Kissinger and CBS News Middle East consultant Fouad Ajami, all of whom the committee claimed had made "racist comments" during the panel discussion on June 3. The Jerusalem Foundation dinner had raised funds for Israeli immigrants.
Mokhiber this week called the September meeting and the correspondence an "important step for Arab Americans and for CBS News journalism."