Following are excerpts
from a TV debate on the recent US bill against incitement in the Middle
East media, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on February 23, 2010.
month, the US State Department criticized the Al-Jazeera English-language
TV channel for its coverage of the US role in Haiti, following the earthquake,
saying that the coverage distorted the nature of the American role.
Al-Jazeera TV denied the American allegation, emphasizing that its coverage
was balanced and fair.
Regardless of who is
right and who is wrong – what some US circles view as a call to act
responsibly when expressing opinions, other circles view as a violation
of freedom of speech, which all the US administrations have claimed
to encourage worldwide, especially in the Arab and Islamic regions.
Excerpt from MEMRI
TV clip, showing Ahmad Khatami, member of the Iranian Assembly of Experts,
delivering a speech
What emerges from the catastrophe that hit Haiti is its inhumane exploitation
by the US. Under the pretext of humanitarian aid to the people of Haiti,
the US deployed 18,000 troops there, and occupied the island.
Reporter in clip:
Until last night, the US had prevented the arrival of relief planes,
which were carrying dozens of tons of food and medicine, as well as
medical personnel, who were trying to provide relief. It did not permit
the arrival of urgent aid. If the US had allowed the planes to land,
so many people under the rubble could have been rescued.
is an excerpt from Iranian TV, which we took from the website of MEMRI,
which monitors what is said in the Middle Eastern media.
political scientist As'ad Abukhalil: First of all, I consider it
shameful that Al-Jazeera TV has used a clip from a rude, propaganda-spreading
organization like MEMRI, which was established by a former Israeli intelligence
official, as he himself admits.
We realize that the US,
whether under Bush or Obama – there's no difference – wants to limit
freedom of speech here in the US – and we all know the domestic context
of this law. Due to his internal difficulties, Obama has given free
rein to the Zionist lobby to do whatever it likes, both in terms of
foreign policy and domestic policy.
There is a lot of incitement
against the Jews in the Saudi media. Why were these media outlets left
out [of the bill]? The answer is that the Saudi regime is allied today
with Israel. Therefore, the criterion is Israel's propaganda interests,
and not really the war on terror.
After 9/11, there was
an opportunity for a worldwide effort to fight Al-Qaeda and all the
manifestations of terror. But this deliberate politicization, on the
part of the Zionists... Whether in the Congressional Research Services,
in Congress, in MEMRI, or in any other organization - this politicization
is aimed at weakening the efforts to win Arab public opinion against
Let me make another comment.
The Saudi regime maintains contacts with the Taliban, a terrorist organization.
Why do we keep silent about this?
Khairi Abaza, Senior
Fellow in the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies: Arab organizations,
or Arabs working in American organizations, must inform the US, Saudi,
or Israeli media about these problems. The law must apply to all –
whether the Arab, Israeli, or American media.
It is necessary for the
Arabs to invest a greater effort. The Arabs complain, but do not do
anything in Congress in order to inform... We were talking about MEMRI.
Where is the Arab MEMRI? I'd like to see an Arab MEMRI. that would help
to apply the law to all.
though Prof. Abukhalil rebuked Al-Jazeera TV for using a MEMRI clip,
MEMRI constitutes an essential component of this story. So let's see
a MEMRI excerpt from Al-Aqsa TV.
Excerpt from MEMRI
TV clip of animated film
Father: Son, the
five most delicious things in the world are three...
Settler and his father:
Father: Go, son.
Drink their blood, and come back safely.
Settler: I will
do it for you, father.
Father: This is
a map of Hebron. Take it. You may need it.
Settler: I will
not need it, because I am not Gilad [Shalit], and the West Bank is not
Gaza. Calm down. Shalom, father.
Abaza, how do you define incitement?
Incitement is... Inciting to violence against civilians, distorting
the image of a specific religion or race... That is incitement against
a specific group.
excerpt we just saw from Al-Aqsa TV, which belongs to Hamas in Gaza
– do you consider this to be an example of incitement?
There are other, more obvious examples of incitement to violence against
civilians on Al-Aqsa TV. Even in France, the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel
issued a warning to Al-Aqsa TV because of its incitement to violence.
With regard to the video-clip
in question, it is relatively mild, compared to other incitement.
I don't think Al-Jazeera TV, for example – which the Zionist media
focuses on – broadcasts any form of hatred, whereas the Saudi media
constantly pumps hatred of Jews, and we do not hear any objection to
this. Why not? Because Saudi Arabia serves the Israeli plan in the region
politically. Thus, the criterion is political, not moral.
Based on this, this Zionist
effort must be opposed – by peaceful means, of course – I order
to strengthen freedom of speech, both in the Arab world and in the US.
The Zionists want to muzzle us, so that we won't oppose the wars, violence,
or hatred of Israel.
The talk about establishing
an Arab MEMRI is meaningless. If a former Arab intelligence official
– like the former Israeli official – established such an institute
in Washington, he would be deported with a smack to the back of his