Wednesday, May 2, 2007

US Govt's Al-Hurra TV Promotes Anti-Israel Agenda

( According to a column by investigative writer Joel Mowbray in the Wall Street Journal's online Opinion section,, an Arabic-language satellite TV station operated by the United States government is promoting an anti-Israel agenda, including
Al-Hurra correspondents treated Ahmadinejad and the gathered Holocaust deniers "with unmistakable deference."
pandering to Neturei Karta, American racists, the Iranian dictatorship and Holocaust deniers.

Mowbray reports that the station, established to present the American perspective to the Arab world, has been broadcasting reports and feature pieces that seem to feed the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel attitudes and beliefs already conspicuous throughout the Middle East. Mowbray writes that the situation has escaped the oversight of the US administration due to lack of communication. Ironically, the OpinionJournal columnist notes, the anti-Western and anti-Israel bias situation at Al-Hurra was better controlled under the previous station director, a Muslim of Lebanese background.

As an example of the current bias at A-Hurra, Mowbray describes a feature story the station broadcast in January on the tiny fringe Jewish group Neturei Karta, some of whose members took part in a Holocaust denial conference hosted by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year. According to Mowbray:

"The Neturei Karta were presented as mainstream Orthodox Jews, and Al-Hurra claimed that they number more than one million. The story's angle is clear from the anchor's introduction: 'They always put Israeli officials in a bind, who can't seem to understand how Jews can oppose Zionism, or how a Jew can encourage Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his opposition to Israel.' Various Neturei Karta members uttered outrageous falsehoods about supposed 'Zionist' cruelty, including 'torture, detention, [and the] burning of their synagogues.' None of these libels were challenged, let alone debunked."

During a December report on the Iranian Holocaust denial conference, Mowbray writes, Al-Hurra correspondents treated Ahmadinejad and the gathered Holocaust deniers "with unmistakable deference." Among those attendees whose comments went out over the air unchallenged were the well-known American racist politician and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, and French Holocaust denier and anti-Semite Robert Faurisson. The former offered praise for the Iranian President and the latter told Al-Hurra viewers that the Holocaust "is completely untrue, and an historical lie."

Mowbray provides more details of the December 12th Al-Hurra report from Tehran's Holocaust denial conference: "The Al-Hurra reporter... referred to those who believe Hitler killed six million Jews as 'Holocaust supporters.' He took a swipe at the handful of conference attendees who didn't deny the Holocaust, by noting that they 'didn't enforce their statements with scientific evidence.' In closing the piece, he referred to Israel as 'the Jewish state on Palestinian lands.'"

It is not just denial of the Jewish past on Al-Hurra that strikes columnist Mowbray as troubling, but the platform given to Hizbullah terrorist leader Hassan Nasrallah for a full, one-hour-plus speech he delivered live on December 7, 2006. In the subsequent 13-minute phone interview with a member of Lebanon's government, Mowbray tells his readers, the Lebanese official "accused the Hezbollah leader of not being anti-U.S. and anti-Israel enough."
Al-Hurra receives an annual budget of over $70 million from the US government with almost no oversight.

The Wall Street Journal columnist goes on to note that Al-Hurra receives an annual budget of over $70 million from the US government with almost no oversight. As Mowbray reports:

"During the March 21 House Foreign Operations Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Rep. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) pressed [Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice on the wisdom of providing a platform to Islamic terrorists, citing Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah's Dec. 7 speech, which Al-Hurra aired live. The broadcast speech 'went on for 30 minutes,' she responded, 'followed by commentary, much of which was critical of Nasrallah.'"

Mowbray believes that Secretary Rice's reply indicates that she was herself misled by Al-Hurra executives as to the nature of the actual Nasrallah broadcast.

"[If] you can't get fired for using U.S. taxpayer dollars to provide a platform for Islamic terrorists and help further Holocaust denial, then wouldn't Congress and the Bush administration be communicating that pretty much anything goes?" Joel Mowbray asks in conclusion.

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