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Ignoring Al Jazeera

CAIRO, Egypt – It appears that Israel is taking a page from the George W. Bush book of public diplomacy: attempting to influence coverage by Arab media by boycotting the most influential television station in the Arab world.

In the latest news from Jerusalem, it seems the Ehud Olmert government has decided Al Jazeera favors Hamas over Israel in the Gaza conflict and will now refuse to deal with its reporters.

You have to admit, Israel and Al Jazeera were unlikely bedfellows. But the fact that we are even discussing banning Al Jazeera reporters from the Knesset speaks volumes about what had previously been a very pragmatic relationship.

Israelis understood from the start what the Bush administration has only lately come to realize – that it was better for Israeli officials to use Al Jazeera to explain the country’s policies in their own words to the Arab world than to demonize the station and let its presenters put their own spin on Israeli policy. Not only does Al Jazeera have a bureau in Israel, but Israelis can watch both the Arabic channel and Al Jazeera English, neither of which are readily accessible in the United States.

It’s not that Israelis are naive. They know the Qatar-based channel’s policy of presenting “the opinion, and the other opinion,” does not change the fact that it is – according to its own mission statement – an “Arab media service.” And that means it reports events in the Occupied Territories through an Arab camera lens, just as it reported the Afghan and Iraq invasions from an Arab perspective, incensing the Bush administration.

Even so, successive Israeli governments have continued a policy of engagement with Al Jazeera because it made good, strategic sense. The new boycott was apparently sparked by the fact that, in the latest round of Israeli attacks on Hamas in Gaza, Al Jazeera focused heavily on Palestinian casualties – zooming in on the dead and wounded for close-ups, a practice Israeli TV has stopped doing with Israeli victims to avoid exacerbating trauma and desire for revenge.

But should anyone be surprised? According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, “Three Israelis and more than 120 Palestinians were killed, including dozens of civilians, before the fighting subsided earlier this month.”

All this naturally raises the question, “What is balance?”

Various studies have found that U.S. media gives substantially more coverage to Israeli deaths than those of Palestinians, even though the Palestinian death rates are much higher. That’s true in spades for Israeli television. Shouldn’t we then expect that Arab journalists, reporting for an Arab audience, are going to focus on Arab casualties?

As Ahmed Mansour, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in the Iraqi city of Fallujah during the U.S. siege, once told me, “When I was in Fallujah, every girl I saw reminded me of my daughter. When I tried to [separate myself from what was happening], sometimes I could not. I saw a child injured or dead, and I’d remember my son. They are Arab like you, Muslim like you.”

Granted, Al Jazeera is far from perfect. It can be sensational, opinionated and irresponsible. But, the same can be said about many Western channels.

Lately, many observers – even inside Al Jazeera – say there has been a decided tilt in favor of Hamas over the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority. But Al Jazeera, like the Arab world, is no monolith. Its newsroom is divided between pro-Hamas supporters of political Islam and Arab nationalists, who tend to favor the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority. At the moment, the pro-Hamas faction has the upper hand.

The claim that Al-Jazeera’s coverage of events in Gaza builds support for Hamas is essentially true. But any time people see their own dying, it tarnishes the attacker and helps whatever army happens to be defending the attacked. We saw this most recently during the 2006 Israel-Hizbullah war in which Lebanese – and Arabs – of all political stripes rallied to Hizbullah’s cause.

The irony of this tempest is that Israel’s ally in its attempt to control Al Jazeera’s message is no other than the Arab League. Arab information ministers recently adopted a new Arab Satellite Charter that gives them the right to pull the plug on channels that “jeopardize social peace, national unity, public order and general propriety,” and those “broadcasting any materials that would incite violence and terrorism [or] imply that [a] crime or its predators are heroes or justify their motives.”

The Qatari government, which funds Al Jazeera, abstained from the vote. It knows the channel is about as popular in the palaces of the Arab world as in the halls of the Knesset. Which is precisely why it is so influential among the Arab public, and why non-Arab governments seeking to influence Arabs – whether Israeli or American – ignore the channel at their own peril.

Lawrence Pintak is director of the Kamal Adham Center for Journalism Training and Research at The American University in Cairo, publisher/co-editor of the online journal Arab Media & Society, and author of Reflections in a Bloodshot Lens: America, Islam & the War of Ideas. This article was written for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews).

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Comments (51)

my 2 cents:

I felt I should add, Al-jazeera is not, as some claimed, Anti-American nor Anti-Western, and it definitely isn't anti-semitic.

1. Not Anti-American nor Anti-Western

In many programs broadcasted on Al-Jazeera, especially those that touch on issues putting Arab regimes or governments "under the microscope", one often hears - from reporters themselves - the day-and-night-like differences between them and the other progressive ones in the West.

One program I have recently made sure to watch was an interview by Ahmad Mansour (who's mentioned in the article above) with Ahmad Okasha, a renowned Psychoanalyst, discusses a lot of such issues. Both the reporter (Mansour) and Dr Okasha discuss several of their positive experiences in the West and how many of us feel sorry for not taking that as an example. A few examples include credibility and accountability by the government(s), and how public opinion in the west has an influence on public diplomacy, how organized demonstrations can bring about change and reform, and how one can work and honest to earn what they deserve, whether a certain career or position, a lot of which lacks in the Arab world due to corruption and abuses of power.

Why doesn't Al Jazeera criticize the very country where it's based; Qatar?
Simply because it's the only country in the region which allowed for this level of freedom of expression to come about, besides its reporters being of all different kinds of nationalities.
If Al Jazeera was to criticize Qatar, then the first issue to be raised would be the US military presence there, but I doubt it will remain existent after that ;)
It's like asking why doesn't CNN or Fox criticize Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp practices in Cuba.

2. Not Anti-Semitic

While Al Jazeera often chooses quite a critical rhetoric of Israel - usually called the "Occupying Forces" - it is by no means a channel for "Jew-haters". Calling Al Jazeera anti-semitic is just preposterous and absurd.

In my previous post, I've mentioned the citing of the Tel-Aviv based human rights group report cited by them. Also, I've seen documentaries detailing the atrocities committed by Israel in the Occupied land in which the eye witnesses and narrators were none but Jewish and Israeli citizens who do not condone some of the inhumane practices done by their own - specifically the IDF.

In one documentary, an older Jewish Israeli citizen narrates her story (with a archived video) from one checkpoint - where she worked as a supervisor. She tells how she witnessed a group of Palestinian students being harassed and not being allowed to go through and back to their homes without any reasonable excuse. After more than half a day goes by, an Israeli Soldier asks of the Palestinian student, who carries a violin, to play some music to entertain them "if they wanted to eventually get through the checkpoint". The woman says she saw him playing his violin, in a desperate attempt to appease the soldiers, for more than two hours, as she cries. She explains how this reminded her exactly of how the Nazis treated in the Jews. Surely, no one knows how slavery feels like unless they (or their immediate relatives such as parents) lived it.

Would you call that Jewish lady Anti-Semitic as well for criticizing the Israeli soldiers and comparing them to the Nazis??? Of course you wouldn't..

my 2 cents:

In response to the following argument made earlier: "Easy solution to stop the 120:3 ratio of Palestinian deaths to Israeli deaths: Palestinians, stop attacking Israel."

It's not all black & white as some Western media makes of it - and maybe even some Arab media. Those media outlets that portray this opinion as the solution fail to cover all angles of the story. Which is where - in my humble opinion - Al Jazeera has more of an upper hand. For example, you never get to see such footage on CNN or Fox of IDF bulldozing Palestinian homes in an effort to make way for broadening or building new Jewish settlements, where typically fundamentalist Jews will choose to live. There is a Israeli Institution devoted to rebuilding Palestinian homes that have been proven to being demolished illegally, but of course the burden of proof often makes the situation in favor of the Jewish settlers, and so we see some of those same Palestinian homes rebuilt by the Israeli entity being bulldozed once again. The days of paper & ink are no longer substantial proof against power.

Also, despite efforts by the US such the Annapolis Resolution and calls for seizing building of new Jewish settlements in Palestinian lands by Rice, Israel recently announces - literally - it will build a hundred new settlements. But, to cover (sugar-coat) this, it also claims to have begun removal of a few of the heaps of checkpoints that make many Palestinians day-to-day living very difficult.

On Al Jazeera, I also get to see how some fundamentalist Jewish settlers attack their helpless Palestinian neighbors' house (mother and kids) while the Israeli soldiers stand and watch to make sure they don't come outside "for their own safety", while they are entertained by seeing them humiliated and spit at and rained with rocks from the Jewish kids and the few adults that lead them.

A recent report by a Israeli-based human rights group in Tel-Aviv states that over 55% of Israeli Jews want all Arabs out, including those who hold Israeli citizenship. It's only time before they also become majority in the Knesset.

Yes, Al Jazeera is biased, but it shows the "other opinion" which most Western Media choose to neglect. I still watch some Western media, mainly because I like to hear the other biased opinion from the "other" side itself. I don't always agree with either, but it helps me understand matters better and form my own biased or unbiased opinion.

I also watch Al-Arabiyya, which is a bit more westernized, but still offers several such documentaries covering some of Israel's many provocations not covered by their western peers.

Israel, having the upper hand in Western media coverage, has the propaganda advantage in the west. How many Media outlets does Rupert Murdoch own? Yeah, lots :-)

So the bottom line remains, when Momma America can control Israel and force abstaining of provocations, maybe then can Palestinian authority rally public opposition to Hamas' policy.
Yet, it is also argued that Hamas has long been infiltrated by the Mossad which gives it reasonable causes for invading more, destroying more Palestinian Authority Infrastructure, paving way to building more settlements and gaining more strategical grounds by widening their borders.

Israel follows the same policy towards Hizbolla, by trespassing Lebanese borders and randomly killing a few, egging them to try and revenge.
Same happens occasionally along the Egyptian-Israeli border, as we often hear of a Egyptian border-patrol officer getting killed by random Israeli sniper fire, but Egyptian government is smarter than to fall for the trap.

Victor:

i have watched Al Jazeera and one thing i find it interesting is the way the story is told, on both sides, what is happening and where is the matter going
The only difference betwen covering the deaths in Israel and in Palestine is that, on the Israeli side, only 3 people die, but in Palestine it is hundreds. Surely the Israeli public can understand the amount of coverage and time needed for 100 deaths?
Banning Al jazeera is wrong, at the time tensions are high in the region, whats needed is for understanding and all sides to tell their stories. and thats what Al Jazeer does better than CNN or FOX! sorry, Fake Channel

khaled zikry:

to OY!:
I live in egypt and i get over 500 european, american AND Israeli channels at home so before commenting try to research first!!!

Oy!:

Freedom of press? Freedom of expression?
Which of the Arab/Islamic countries is allowing Israeli, American, or European news channels to air in their countries?

Ibrahim Mahfouz:

Buchanan:

To Buchanan:
You keep insisting on egging Israel to be adamant about meeting the Arabs halfway. Fortunately for them they know much more than you or anyone else how close they got to being wiped out in the 1973 War. Read history before being issuing irresponsible macabre claims. Read about Dayan’s public sobbing and Golda Meir’s desperate calls to Nixon. So desperate their situation were that Nixon had to air transport tanks to the entity so “as not go down the tube” as he explained. The Arabs punished the whole world with their oil embargo then and is punishing me every time I go to the pump. We have the likes of you to thank.

Naveed:

What happened to freedom of speach?

Mason:

This is too much ado about nothing. Even outside of this al-Jazeera riff, politicians/actors/celebs often only talk to the journalists that will portray them in the most positive light. That's why liberals tend to pass on appearing on conservative shows, and conservatives pass on appearing on liberal ones.

Keith:

The whole world is being swept up in a hypocresey.
Religion blurred into this role of power plays by groups of people based on beliefs, disguised by the money and power you have by controlling the masses and letting them to succumb to the needs and desires of tribal beliefs and superstitions, lets just put all this crap aside and play in the sandbox called reality of life.

Kamdog:

Easy solution to stop the 120:3 ratio of Palestinian deaths to Israeli deaths: Palestinians, stop attacking Israel.

If you stop attacking them, they won't reply by attacking you. Simple as that. You don't see Israel randomly firing rockets into Syria. Why not? Syria is not firing rockets into Israel. Same thing everywhere.

When you attack Israel, Israel responds, and more of your people die than of Israels people.

Stop attacking Israel, make peace, and nobody dies.

Is this so hard?

Michael O.:

Justin:

Sorry, you’re the one who made a bunch of wild and hairy claims without bothering to support a single one of them, and being that you are the one who made them, I believe the onus should be on you to substantiate them, not on me to refute them. I’d be happy to link you to the text of 242, but this website would not let me post links. If you truly believe what you say, you can easily google UN resolution 242 and point out to me where does it say anything about occupation, illegal or otherwise. And having failed to do that, you can move on to the “Creation by Western powers”, the “imposition on Arabs and Jews alike”, and the rest of the myths, and try to substantiate them all.

Justin:

Michael, interesting argument but not backed in facts. Apparently you are on one side of the issue and either can't or don't want to understand both sides of the conflict. And I understand history quite well. As to clarification on the 67 war and UN 242, look it up on the web or any history book. I think you'll find you are quite wrong unless you believe in revisionist history.

Michael O.:

Justin:

Unfortunately you are the one who is in dire need of some refresher course in history. The 1967 war was very much a defensive war. "Defensive" and "Preemptive" are not mutually exclusive terms. UN resolution 242 did not declare the occupation illegal (Even assuming you accept UN resolutions as "law"). Nice of you to recognize the historical rights of the Jews over Israel (and BTW, who are those "many others" in whose name you claim those rights?). The State of Israel was most definitely not created by "Western Powers", and if you care about your personal safety I strongly recommend that you don't try to sell your theory about it being "imposed on Jews and Arabs alike" among Palestinians, either inside or outside of Israel.

The massive efforts of the Arab world to re-write history, for which al-Jazeera is a major conduit, are very well represented in your view of historical reality.

Yasir:

The forum moderators in most major media outlets seem to adhere to misopedia.

Justin:

Buchanan, it appears you need a history lesson or two. The war of 67 was not a defensive war, it was a premptive war on Israel's part. A UN resolution that same year declared their occupation illegal and they are still occupying those lands. And while the Jewish community has historical rights the the land (as do many others), the state of Israel was essentially created by Western powers and imposed on the people of Palestine, Jews and Arabs alike.

Concerning the weapons the Israeli army uses. Many have come from the US as you stated. But of course you left out the billions of dollars of military aid and the free military equipment they receive. And how about the illegal nuclear weapons that Israel has?

Anonymous:

to buchanan:
it's good to check the facts before making such a strong statements.
west bank and gaza strip are occupied since an israeli offensive war of 1967.

Anonymous:

"This tiny Jewish entity surrounded by a sea of Arabs cannot afford to live in a state of siege indefinitely."

As we have seen in Iraq, Egypt, Jordan and in every other war they've fought against Isreal or the US, Arabs make horrible soldiers. No honor, no integrity, they do a lot better as throat slitters answering the call of their mullahs in a dark alley. In a stand up fight, they look a lot like the Eqyptians did when they turned tail and ran home to mama across the Suez, or the Iraqi army in 1992 when Schwartzkopf chased them practically to the Iranian border. Technology, training, and support makes a universe of difference in the outcome of a conflict. Isreal gets the best of the West, Arab nations tend to field leftovers and knock offs. It ain't pretty for the Arabs, unless you like eating your dignity for breakfast.

Isreal understands this, which is why the Palestinians have been slowly ground into hamburger since Arafat stabbed them in the back. Arab militaries are only threatening to other Arab militaries, and Arab militaries are barely more than common militia when it comes time for the big show.

You're right, they can't afford to live under the current seige indefinitely. The day is coming when they decide enough is enough, and they cross the border. Then the eight war with Isreal will see the Star of David flying over the ruins of Mecca.

deegee:

Wars, by their nature, are won by the side that kills more of the enemy than the enemy kills of them. From a military perspective, the greater the disproportion the better.

The war in Gaza by its asymmetrical nature creates civilian casualties. To an extent, Hamas even encourages the situation by involving 'civilians' in military activities e.g encouraging women and children to act as human shields, using homes for weapon manufacture and storage. Israel because of bomb shelters, early warning and distancing civilians from the military effort can be expected to suffer less civilian casualties than the Gazans both proportionately and absolutely. No Israeli government could change that although the IDF takes more care to avoid civilian casualties than any military I have ever heard of.

The question should be what agreements can the Israeli government make with Al Jazeera to avoid deliberate and misleading propaganda? Participating in staged 'photo-opportunities' is clearly unacceptable. The 'fauxtography' episode clearly embarrassed Reuters more effectively than a ban. Pointing out on Al Jazeera TV, using Al Jazeera material, that the candles were no more than a stunt may similarly embarrass the network into more reasonable reporting.

A government spokesman making a statement on Al Jazeera that Israel avoids showing inflammatory material to reduce calls for revenge and requesting Arab TV to do the same may be surprisingly effective. To admit otherwise is to give Israel the moral high ground on Arab TV.

Ibrahim Mahfouz:

James Buchanan says:
“Before you can make the case for having the Palestinian viewpoint heard, you've got to convince me that its worth considering in the first place.”
I am assuming you think of yourself as a friend of Israel, and friends do not egg on their friends to jump off a cliff. This tiny Jewish entity surrounded by a sea of Arabs cannot afford to live in a state of siege indefinitely. Their first President often reminded his people that their adversaries can afford to lose a war after war and replace their armies within a relatively short time, yet the Israelis cannot afford to lose a single war. Is this what you want to see happen? Or maybe have “your friends” come to term with their neighbors and live and let live? There is a lot of truth in the saying that a stupid "friend" is much more dangerous than a smart enemy.

T Boyer:

Israel needs to deal with the Arab world with a greater sophistication than Olmert seems capable of.

But who cares about Al-Jazeera. Al-Jazeera is one Qatari Sheik's propaganda arm, a little like Murdoch's Fox News or Iranian TV. AJ officials have spun themselves as "western-style" news network exercising "freedom of speech," and a lot of real western news organizations have fallen for it. Reporters from the West were also impressed by Hitler in the 20s and Stalin in the 30s.

If people in the West harbor any hopes of Al-Jazeera being a legitimate news organization, they should make at least a feeble attempt to hold the network to basic standards of accuracy and balance.

Whether Israeli policy is immoral and/or stupid does not need to be part of that discussion. If one wants to expose the immorality/stupidity of Israeli policy, fair and objective news coverage is the most powerful medicine out there. Al-Jazeera unfortunately is not that.

Arabs know Al-Jazeera is one-sided and they can decide for themselves -- like they do for Iranian TV -- how many grains of salt to take it with. Outside the Arab world, Al-Jazeera has little influence except among Jew-haters and people who like to watch snuff video.

James Buchanan:

The Palestinian viewpoint is irrelevent to me as an American.

1) Isrealis are our allies, the Palestinians are a constant pain in the neck.

2) They're living in territory occupied as a result of defensive actions taken when ISREAL WAS INVADED. Next time, don't lose the war.

3) Isreal has been invaded seven times since it was founded. If they feel that playing hardnosed with their previous abusers works in their best interests, who are we to argue with them? Lets face it, they've thrashed militaries several times larger than their own. They know what they're doing, they don't need our advice (Yes, they use US military hardware. So what? The check cleared and they're no threat to us, happy blasting!)


Before you can make the case for having the Palestinian viewpoint heard, you've got to convince me that its worth considering in the first place. They're a defeated people with no prospects for a rebound, nor are they likely to do us any favors if they gain the upper hand. Isreal is free to drive them into extinction, for all I care.

Jack J:

I am an American and I am so proud of how unbiased the media in my country is. In terms of the 120:3 ratio of Palestinians to Israeli fatalities in the most recent conflict, I was able to view the anguish of the 3 Israeli fatalities from all angles and left to imagine for myself about the suffering of the 120 Palestinian fatalities.

In terms of any Palestinian causing hardship to Israeli, I wil find it in large block letters on the front page. As for the reverse scenario, even though it is much more common with Israel being an apartheid society, I wil find such infractions in a few lines' small prin report at the end of section 2 , if it is mentioned at all.

Yes sir, I am so proud of the democracy we live in that I want to jump and shout and export it everywhere else in the world

objective news:

Is Newsmax objective? Is Townhall objective? Is the National Review objective? Why should any news outlet or magazine pretend to be objective? In fact it is much easier to read news when one knows it's point of view. Americans expect their news to be "objective" but there is no such thing. In Europe people subscribe to the paper that reflects their point of view and they are free to buy any other news they want. That way no one needs to pretend to be objective. When the Bush-appointed ambassador in a small European country wrote a letter to the local Socialist newspaper complaining that it was not "objective", her letter, as well as all responses, were published on the front page. That was the end of her complaining.

hamid:

aljazeera is no doubt the most influential news channel in the arab, and perhaps the world at large. this is no conicidence.aljazeera is not perfect but itis perfect but it is profetional. personally i am surprised to hear that aljazeera is not available in the US, which is described as the oldest democray. in morocco, which can be described as a nondemocratic country,you can watch every channel you like.

Karl:

I love how so many posts praising Al-Jazeera are the same people posting under different names.

Mike:

Whew, thank god we finally got an anti-American voice posted ;)

Seriously folks, enough of the America-bashers. Give us a break one in a while.

Observer:


I have no respect whatsoever for nonobjective news reporting. That is why I have not watched Fox TV once in the past year. That and also because it is not included in my package. I get Al Jazeera here in Kansas and for a while I was impressed by its straightforwardness. I could not believe it when this network broadcast a debate with Wafa Sultan, the outspoken Syrian psychologist. I am not used to hearing open and frank discussion about matters of religious ideology and practices on an Arab TV.
Wafa Sultan was on AlJazeera again last month, yet after the first airing of her debate with another Muslim cleric, the network announced its cancelling the repeat airings “because of viewers complaints”. Now I know what I have suspected; it is not as objective and courageous as I would have liked.

Harkadahl:

Did i understand this correctly? You cant get Al-Jazeera in the US? Why not? Its just a news outlet. Thats called political censorship. Thats what tinpot dictatorships do with a frightened and pliable population. oh sorry...i forgot...

Hello Fox News?:

I don't see Al Jazeera as being any worse than Fox News. They are both equally notorious for reporting news through a tinted lense of their choice. Fox News will give you an unbalanced view, favoring conservative republicans most of the time. Al Jazeera will give you an unbalanced view that favors Arabs, specifically Palestinians and Iraqis.

Furthermore, America has a financial share in Al Jazeera too. And when I say America, I mean specific American media outlets. Do some research on this and you will be surprised. I bet many people didn't know that. So who do we crack down on first, Fox News or Al Jazeera?!

Garak:

Al Jazeera is far more "fair and balanced" than Fox Propaganda. Olmert's approval numbers in Israel make W look like a combination of George Washington and Abe Lincoln. No wonder he's trying to scapegoat the media.

American Abroad:

I'm also an American abroad and I watch Al Jazeera whenever I have a chance.

The most surprising thing about Al Jazeera is not how it is anti-American or anti-Israel, but how very progressive, liberal, and pro-Western values it is. Is it anti-American? No. It simply isn't American. That's all. Maybe the U.S. government doesn't want people to see how reasonable and non-fanatic people can be in the Arab world.

TruthHurts:

The difference between Aljazeera and "Free american media" is this:
American media show missiles being launched. Aljazeera shows the same missiles landing on top of civilian homes causing pain and terror.

Benny:

As a Westerner I watch al Jazeera news reports as the channel of choice. When it comes to balance and self-examination of possible prejudices, Al Jazeera leave the likes of the plastic and US-centric CNN/Fox etc far behind. If I want to get some insight into what is really going on in the Middle East al Jazeera, with its strong presence on the ground, is unbeatable. The bxxlshxt always starts with some US envoy or member of Bush Administration being interviewed. Often, they're laughably out of touch and incoherent. I imagine there's not much tolerance for truth in Israel - how could there be?

Kanoongoo Admi:

This is just a ploy to improve Al Jazeera credibility, Al Jazeera is basically an American/Jewish funded operation located alongside American Central Command Headquarters in Qatar. Qatar is place were every flying bird is observed by Americans. It is some how Al Jazeera which produces Al Qaeda tapes regularly and at an importunate moment, the fakeness of the tape can be seen by the fact that in some Osama Bin Ladin is shown wearing a ring. Even an uneducated Muslim knows that Wahhabi's abhors any jewellery on men.

alexander katz:

The writer of this article is either ignorant of the facts or he is disingenuous.
That el-Gizeera is biased in the Israeli/Palestinian divide is a given. The reason the Israeli Gov. chose to sever its ties with el-Jezeera, is that el-Jezeera crossed a red line between reporting the news and staging the news. The Gazen protest over the lack of electricity was coordinated between Hamas and el-Jezeera. It was timed to get maximum exposure for Hamas with el-Jezeera cameras in the ready.
If one looks at video broadcast by el-Jessera, one sees the staging of this “news event”. The first example is children seating in a room with candles lit because of no electricity. However, upon closer examination one sees daylight around the black out window-nothing to do with electricity……..
The second example is of children marching with candles in a presumed dark-out Gaza streets. Poor Palestinian children, cruel Israeli authority are the message. Unfortunately, upon a close examination one sees, low and behold, that street lights and shop lights are ON. Where is the Tragedy???????????
When a ‘news agency’ stages a so called News Event and broadcast it as News, it looses all rights to call itself a News Organization. This is why the Israeli Gov. cut el-Jezeera news credentials. Bleeding Hearts analysis of engaging the enemy does not make a falsehood become the ‘truth’. Nor can the bias of the writer be rapped around a falsehood and make it True. A lei is a lie!

Asim MA, San Antonio:

Algazzera has to cover a situation with two faces:(1)that of a racist apartheid militaristic jewish occupying theocray that has ethnically cleanesed 70% of the Palestinian people from their homeland, all of historic Palestine,in 1947/8 and invaded and occupied the rest of Palestine in 1967;the apartheid jewish entity has been tormenting Palestinians for sixty years and turned the west bank and especially Gaza into a nazi like concenteration camp with permenant collective punishment as a matter policy. All financed by US taxpayers money and a never ending flow of American generousity of state of art weaponary arsenal murdering PAlestinians evry minute.Why:because the PAlestinians resist israeli brutal occupation and will never accept it.

(2)And a whole oppressed people knukling under a sixty year old military occupation-the longest in modern history-murderd,beaten,incarcerated,tortured,starved, besiged and collectively punished on its own homeland,while the whole world looks on and busy itself with talking about democracy and human rights.

Its two occupying israeli soldiers vs 123 one hundred and twent three PAlestinian civilians mostly women and children-Gaza has no standing army but a handeful of freedom fighters resisting a horrendous and a brutal occupation.

If the misguided western media is grossly biased to the occupier and the tormentor of an occupied people on theri homeland, why can not Algazeera cover the tragedy and the plight of the tormented and occupied??

WORLD GUARDIAN:

How Can Israel IMPROVE its IMAGE PROBLEMS? - That is what EVERY Israeli wants to know.

The recipe is simple, if you follow the rules:

[1] No Israeli "MASTER of HASBARA" can achieve that in a few film-seconds on You Tube.

[2] There is a cheaper way to repair Israel's IMAGE.
It can even bring down a sky-high "DEFENSE BUDGET".

- STOP THE KILLING - MAKE PEACE

[P.S. that recipe works elsewhere too. May I suggest to any State, World Power, Neocon or Tribal Leader to try it].

PS:

As an American who has lived outside the US for more than 10 years, I am thrilled to have access to Al-Jazeera on TV and internet. Perhaps those of you in the US without access to foreign media don't know what you're missing, and don't realize how painfully biased US media are, including CNN "International"! It's time Americans see the world through different lenses. Of all the international media to which I have access, Al-Jazeera and BBC are the two I rely on simultaneously. In fact, I sometimes feel Al Jazeera is too Western in it's perspective. Having visited the Occupied Palestinian Territories as well as Israel, it's about time someone showed the world what everyone else has been hiding. Thanks for the tip on how to get access to AJ in the US - I'll definitely subscribe when I go back!

WORLD GUARDIAN:

The image of a state is only partly a product of an advertising agency, or a media. But if a State behaves well towards its neighbors, it naturally gets a POSITIVE image.

Israel's "Image Problems" are rooted in its VIOLENT OCCUPATION, which HUMILIATES the Occupied Palestinians. It must be told that no regime can improve its image without improving its behavior.


Yesterday Haaretz brought proof that Israel believes in the symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived.

The Israeli Government Propaganda or HASBARA machinery started to spread its messages thru YOU TUBE. Instead of changing its REIGN of TERROR towards the Palestinians and the Lebanese, those in charge of the Israeli propaganda effort assume that by spreading bloody video-shots of its own victims [of Palestinian revenge actions] they can turn the balance.

3 short advertising-spot-like films spread Jewish blood on You Tube screens. The longest film was a minute long. The titles screamed: "Act NOW: Stop The Bloodshed - Stop the Terror".

Did the Zionist stop for a minute to think that the Palestinian TERROR is a meagre response to Israel's continued
STATE TERROR.

So the real title should be:
"Act NOW: Stop The Israeli Army's Bloodshed - Stop STATE Terror", if you want to stop Palestinian revenge.

Today's Haaretz editorial is correctly titled:
DO NOT IGNITE THE FLAME

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/969443.html

The You Tube story:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/969094.html

Christopher:

As an American living in France, I find it odd that Al Jazeera English is readily available here with most cable packages, but it hard to get in the US (yet one can easily get espn 1 to espn 400). Al Jazeera English is an excellent news source and, like the BBC, it makes one wonder how American news channels are even allowed to all themselves such. If you'd rather watch Britney Spear's latest implosion than find out what is going on in South Africa, Vietnam or the situation in Kosova, turn to CNN or another labotomized "news source."

LW:

Also, I remember when the AlJazeera English channel first started a year and a half ago - One of their features in that first month focused on the "Save a Child's Heart" program at an Israeli hospital. Anyone who thinks the channel is biased really should just watch it.

LW:

As an American living in Israel, I think AlJazeera English is fantastic. They do try to cover the different sides of every issue, and not just in the Arab world but in Africa, Asia, and Latin America as well. They go to places where CNN or FOX would not get access. They interview the real experts on the history and background behind the headlines. The names of their shows reflect their journalistic intent to cover the most profound stories - "Witness," "Every Woman," "People and Power"... So, really, when I go back home I'm a bit shocked by the way the American cable news actually presents opinion as news, invites 'commentators' with no legitimate background, and most importantly doesn't take a critical look at the history behind the headlines. To anyone in the US without access to AlJazeera English, you can get an online subscription for $6/month.

truth-serum:

The difference between Aljazeera and "american free media" is this: american media shows missiles being launched from ships and planes. Aljazeera shows missiles landing casuing mass destruction and terror.

center:


the sniping between some al jazeerah reporters and some members of Israeli Knesset is expected.

the fact that Israeli point of view is presented by Israelis using 'trusted' Arab medium is the big but hidden advantage Israel has gained from al jazeera. it seems that the reason al jazeera is 'trusted' by most of the Arab public appears to be due the relentless efforts by al jazeera reporters by putting arab officials under the microscope of accountability-----excluding Qatari officials who fund the station.

I read somewhere that the 'permits' for al jazeera transmission (not sure of the technical terms) is part of a corporation that is registered in israel, if not owned by israelis. .

s. vitt:

how many of the wise people who have placed a comment here jave ever seen aljazeera crappy news reports? First watch - then comment . Their channels, coming from a place where the word "democracy" and "free speech" have never been heard or allowed makes this channels' pretensions pathetic and the same goes for most of its ( very very biased) reporters.

brian mcc, the arctic:

As a writer, nearly 3 years ago, I posted in a forum on the Arab website. The allotted 1000 words were used. The caution notices were ignored...this will be published.

I connected to the internet the next day.
My modem was electronically rendered useless.
Someone read and did not approve of my post.

The hit was from monitors who were non-Arab...

Anonymous:

Everyone who complains about corporate-controlled media in the US, you're best way to get an honest view of the world: watch Fox News then watch Al-Jazeera. Both are biased on two different levels, there you have a balance.

Honestly, banning and ignoring Al-Jazeera truly does no good to anyone. This is the reason the US can't find a way co-exist, help or work with the Arab/Muslim Middle-east in it's entirety: We don't listen to what they say and thus can't know what they think.

It's like when Ahmedinejad came to NY, instead of taking it seriously and actually trying to get into the mind of this man all the journalists who reported on it treated it like a joke.

Reading all the independant western journalists in the world won't get you any closer to understand what Arabs and other Muslims are thinking and want than watching Fox News. As a society we (the US) are truly as ignorant about the Arab world as we think we are learned. As an American who now lives in a non-Western country, what the US hears on the news and what the rest of the world hears are two different things.

You guys really want to solve the Israel-Palestine conflict? Then start listening to what they're actually saying.

V Racer:

For the preservation of civilization as we know it, crush the Palestinians and their puppet news agency.

SAS:

The Israeli government obviously does not want the truth about its brutal crackdown against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories to be released, either by the Arab or international media. The fact that al Jazeera is daring enough to speak the truth to power about the massive human rights abuses and war crimes of the IDF shows that it is doing its job well.

JRLR:

Some people believe everything would be “just fine”, if only Al Jazeera were to disappear. They are the people who will generally keep suspiciously silent whenever Al Jazeera stations are bombed, Al Jazeera journalists are shot and killed in front of the camera, etc. Those are superstitious people: by choosing to ignore Al Jazeera, they get the heartening feeling that by disappearing from their view, Al Jazeera is already in the process of disappearing from this world…

It is, incidentally, the same people who wish we were not given the opportunity to hear President Ahmadinejad’s views; better, that the man were not even allowed to speak to an American public.

Those people often complain vociferously, and lobby successfully, so that leading national newspapers (see the “Toronto Globe and Mail”, for instance) invite not their readers to comment publicly on most news concerning Israel: “Comments Closed” (readers were in fact never invited to comment…); hence, “Share article”, “Write to the Editor”, but you may not comment publicly.

The very same people, after having declared the community of nations “irrelevant”, have repeatedly let it be known that everything would be “just fine” if only the United Nations were to be “disbanded”.

Now let me conclude on a positive note. Most regimes which, in the twentieth century, were led and defended by the likes of the people I have just described, are known to have become extinct. Most of them are no more. No wonder Al Jazeera personnel in Qatar is rejoicing so much, tonight, after hearing “the latest news from Jerusalem”.

http://english.aljazeera.net

Michael O.:

The writer does a good job of defeating his own argument. He readily admits that "successive Israeli governments have continued a policy of engagement with Al Jazeera". He also readily admits that al-Jazeera's reporting is heavily biased against Israel. In other words, all those years of Israel's cooperating with al-Jazeera have done nothing to change the network's anti-Israel bias. So what is the benefit to Israel in continuing this relationship? The writer has no answer to that.

His attempts to portray al-Jazeera as no different from Western media is also phony, to put it mildly. "Sensational and opinionated" does not really describe al-Jazeera. It is a regular outlet to the most hair-raising conspiracy theories, anti-semitic propaganda and terror advocacy you can find anywhere in the Arab world. It is also not the free press it pretends to be. Any Western media outlet regards criticism of its own government as an integral part of it journalistic responsibility. Al-Jazeera is an arm of the Qatari government. It never has and never will say a bad word about Qatar or its royal family. Criticizing others takes very little courage.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.