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World Link TV is a new news, information, and world music network with a left-wing political agenda that is available on the Web and over some satellite services. An effort is currently underway to add its material called "Mosaic: World News from the Middle East" to the cable and/or public-access packages in several parts of the country.
Mosaic is produced in San Francisco by a staff headed by Palestinian Jamal Dajani. In the recent Mosaic special on the Road Map, Dajani stated that he advocated the elimination of the State of Israel to be replaced by a single state with an unlimited "right of return" for Palestinians. (Since Palestinians have had, since 1948, the highest birthrate in the world, this would result in a majority Muslim State. Dajani's program, although couched in obfuscating language, is to drive the Jews into the sea, completing the Muslim goal of making the entire Middle East Judenrein.)
The World Link agenda is unabashedly political. Even those who disagree with the station's politics will agree that many of the topics covered -- for example, use of sweat-shop labor in the Far East by American companies and ecological devastation -- have a place in the news programming offered to Americans. Objections to the station relate to its rebroadcasts of material from stations in the Middle East that present anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda in the guise of news and documentary programming.
World Link claims that "Some of the broadcasters are state controlled and others are private networks, often affiliated with political factions." In fact, no broadcaster in the Middle East is "private" in the American sense. At best, stations such as Abu Dhabi TV and Egypt's Nile TV are for-profit entities operated by government ministries. The reference to Mosaic networks "affiliated with political factions" is to Lebanon's Al-Manar TV, the network operated by Hezbollah, one of the world's most vicious terrorist organizations. To broadcast these stations is effectively to play Iranian, Egyptian, and Hezbollah propaganda over American airwaves.
Advocates of adding World Link to local television argue that it will give Americans access to the news as seen in the Arab and Persian worlds. However, several stations chosen for rebroadcast by Mosaic -- including Nile TV, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB 2), and Syrian satellite TV -- are not the stations broadcast to the citizens of these nations. They are propaganda networks created by the national broadcast authorities with the purpose of disseminating government views to the world. Mosaic, in other worlds, is tailored to broadcast propaganda to western viewers. Americans with a serious interest in seeing what is broadcast in the Arab and Persian worlds will have to seek elsewhere.
The twelve stations rebroadcast by Mosaic are based in a part of the world where the brutal oppression of minority groups (such at the Coptic Christians) is routine, where women are regarded as the property of their male relatives, where measures of health, education, and economic well-being have been dropping steadily, where regard for human rights is among the lowest in the world, and where democracy barely exists. One of the countries whose national television station is streamed over Mosiac, Syria, has illegally and brutally occupied its neighbor, Lebanon. Another of the networks is actually operated by a terrorist group, Hezbollah. Yet all of these stations are dedicated to the proposition that the existence of the State of Israel is, in the words of Nihal Saad, Nile TV correspondent, "the mother of all problems."
Mosaic exists to persuade Americans of the view, common in the Arab world, that the greatest problem that the Middle East faces is not poverty, ignorance, or the existence of brutal dictatorships, but the fact that a Jewish State exists.
Much of the material broadcast as "news" by these stations consists of wild conspiracy theories, such as the canard that either the Mossad or the CIA was actually responsible for 9/11. The Lebanese station in the Mosaic package, Al Manar, initiated a notroious canard alleging that the "fact" that 4,000 Jews absented themselves from the World Trade Center on September 11 "proved" that the attack was perpetrated by Jews.
All of these stations broadcast lurid and wildly fictitious reports about the purported "massacre" in Jenin, an event that never occurred. Not only did none of the stations in the Mosaic package correct their news broadcasts with the truth, which turned out to be that the Israeli Army bent over backwards to prevent civilian casualties at a high cost in the lives of Israeli soldiers, several of them condemned the reports of the United Nations and other organizations that investigated and concluded that no massacre had taken place. (See 1 and 2.)
These stations also specialize in rerunning footage of casualties among Palestinian civilians in an orchestrated attempt to magnify the impression of casualties, making the violence appear to be taking place on a vastly larger scale than actually occurs. To this end, they frequently rebroadcast old footage to give the impression of continual death and devastation even during periods of calm. They also frequently broadcast a macabre genre of music video, in which evil-looking Israeli soldiers shoot small Palestinian children over and over again as the music plays. Whether or not such music videos are broadcast over Mosaic's North American feed, they reveal the goals of the people who run these networks, which is not to relate the news but to portray Israel and Jews as evil. (See 3 and 4.)
These stations take a through-the-looking-glass perspective on the morality of terror attacks on a civilian population and the responsibility of a nation to defend its citizens. In the eyes of this group of stations, Palestinian suicide bombers who blow up Israeli cafes and buses are not terrorists, and the deliberate crashing of civilian airliners into the World Trade Center was the moral equivalent of Israeli air raids targeting Hamas command posts and suicide bomb factories.
In this December 5, 2001, segment from "Mornings with Paula Zahn," CNN's James Martone reports on how (Israeli anti-terrorist) strikes are being reported on Arab TV.
JAMES MARTONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight's top story in Egypt and across most of the Arab world is Israel's quote "savage, uncivilized, and continued attacks on the Palestinian territories."
MARTONE: News operations say they are unbiased. They covered the suicide bombs against Israelis, but the bombers are not terrorists.
TAGHREED HUSSEIN, NILE TV: They are resistance fighters because they are, I don't think that this is terrorism.(sic)
MARTONE: The Arab world's television stations are government-controlled, and most of the news follows the government line.
In a September 13, 2001, interview with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher, broadcast on Nile TV -- an interview, in other words, conducted for the purpose of conveying the position of the Egyptian government to westerners -- Foreign Minister Maher expressed the opinion that the attack on the World Trade Center was morally equivalent to Israeli air raids targeting Hamas command posts and suicide bomb factories.
We are very much alarmed by the fact that aeroplanes are used against civilians. This is not the first time. We have seen it in our part of the world, how F-16s have been used by the Israelis against the Palestinian civilian population.
On the first anniversary of 9/11 -- according to Jamal Dajani, producer of Mosaic -- Jordanian television, one of the stations in the Mosaic package,
...chose to cover a story about the conspiracy issue. There is a circulating story about the Arabs did not cause this or it's not Bin Laden -- it's more sophisticated for any one individual to, to pull, so it must have been the work of the CIA or the Mossad. So -- they had an Algerian-French writer that wrote a book questioning whether a plane has struck the Pentagon or was it a, a missile. This is a big hit. I mean they are looking also for ratings like everyone else.
While from Nile Television we had a story -- actually it was a live interview with Dr. Zaglula Nadjar [sp?] -- and he was questioning the reasons for the attack. And he said:
Listen, how could you indict Bin Laden? How could you come up with just a straightforward accusation? After all, JFK has been dead for so many years, and still Americans are questioning who committed that crime. So how could we just so quickly say well, it is Bin Laden?
The Egyptian Ministry of Information packages its propaganda according to audience. While its outlet aimed at western audiences, Nile TV, maintains that 9/11 was morally the same as a targeted Israeli strike aimed at a Hamas command unit, the television station aimed at Egyptians, produced and broadcast a vicious 41-part anti-Semitic canard entitled "Horseman Without a Horse." The Egyptian-produced anti-Semitic program, with high production values, was rebroadcast throughout the Middle East, over the very stations included in the Mosaic broadcast package.
The following year, Syrian Television, the same state authority that controls the Syrian channel being broadcast over Mosaic, produced a similar series, entitled "The Diaspora." Both series were Ramadan holiday specials, broadcast throughout the Middle East. The Syrian series featured a blood libel: purported footage of Jews murdering Christian children and catching the blood in mixing bowls to make Passover matzo. Both documentaries were based on the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," an anti-Semitic canard written by Tzarist police officers as a pretext for the persecution of Jews. The government broadcasting authorities in both Syria and Egypt, the same authorities that control the stations in the Mosaic package, not only produced and broadcast these inflammatory anti-Semitic programs, they defended them as historically accurate and based on reliable sources.
Mosaic defended the viciously anti-Semitic program "Horseman without a Horse," on the grounds that "the Arabs are also Semitic, which makes it impossible for them to be anti-Semitic."
The Iranian station in the package, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, or IRIB2, is the propaganda version of IRIB1 aimed at foreign audiences. Inside Iran, IRIB is responsible for a steady diet of anti-Semitic programming. (See 5 and 6.)
The Yemeni station in the package, Yemen TV, regularly broadcasts anti-Semitic sermons like this one by Shaykh Akram Ahmad Abd-al-Razzaq al-Ruqayhi, delivered at the Grand Mosque in Saana and broadcast on 19 July 2002:
O God, deal with the enemies of religion. O God, deal with Jews and their supporters and Christians and their supporters. Shake the land under their feet. Instill fear in their hearts, and freeze the blood in their veins. O God, scatter their ranks, make fate turn against them, and continue pressure on them.
But the real problem with Yemen TV is that, like most Arab media, it is preoccupied with Israel. The network's general manager, Ahmad Taher al-Sheiani, likes to congratulate himself that "our TV is more concerned about the Palestinian cause than Palestinian TV itself." This preoccupation is, of course, fostered by repressive governments of the region who find it useful to blame all ills on Israel.
On March 29, 2002, Yemen TV broadcast a mass demonstration in solidarity with the Palestinian people at which demonstraters chanted slogans "condemning the Israeli troops' criminal actions against the defenseless Palestinian Arab people," while speakers condemned Israel as a terrorist nation and "called on Arab leaders to open the doors of jihad," before burning Israeli and U.S. flags. The program concluded with a statement "condemning the sinful aggression waged by the Zionist war machine against the Palestinian people with the aim of undermining their dignity and right to live in peace." (See 7.)
Abu Dhabi TV, another station in the package, aired an anti-Semitic skit in which a character meant to be Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was shown drinking the blood of Arab children, as a grotesque-looking haredi Jew looks on. (See 8 and 9.)
The director of Abu Dhabi TV, Ismail Abdullah, dismissed criticism, saying Mr. Peres had lost his sense of humour. "Instead of getting angry at the media, Israel should take a close look at its policies and stop shooting Palestinians," Mr. Abdullah told the United Arab Emirates news agency. (See 10.)
The stations in the Mosaic package make anti-Semitic and anti-Israel propaganda a regular part of their news programming. These are not merely stations that broadcast the news from an Arab perspective. These are stations that deliberately twist the news and broadcast patently false information and viciously anti-Semitic canards with the intention of inciting hatred of Israel and of Jews.
One of the proposed television networks, Al-Manar TV, is the official voice of the Shiite fundamentalist movement Hezbollah, Party of God. That is to say that what is being proposed here is the broadcast of the voice of one of the world's most vicious terrorist organizations, Hezbollah, into American homes.
According to the Al-Manar mission statement, "Most important is the struggle with the Zionist enemy... Al-Manar is the first Arab establishment to stage an effective psychological warfare against the Zionist enemy." This is an extraordinary mission for a news network.
Ibrahim Mussawi, the urbane and scholarly director of English-language news at Al-Manar, calls Jews "a lesion on the forehead of history."
Jeffrey Goldberg writes in The New Yorker that "Hizballah is, at its core, a jihadist organization, and its leaders have never tried to disguise their ultimate goal: building an Islamic republic in Lebanon and liberating Jerusalem from the Jews." He quotes a Hizballah spokesman as saying: "Our goal is to liberate the 1948 borders of Palestine." Any Jews who might survive "can go back to Germany, or wherever they came from."
Nor does Hisballah confine its activities to Lebanon, this is the terrorist organization that bombed a Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires in 1994, killing and maiming hundreds of innocent people.
Goldberg quotes former counterterrorism official Larry Johnson as saying "There's a fundamental view here of the Jew as subhuman. Hizballah (Al Manar TV) is the direct ideological heir of the Nazis." ["Hizballah" by Jeffrey Goldberg in the October 14 and 28, 2002 New Yorker]
We do not feel that the American cable providers should facilitate the broadcasting of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda over the public airwaves. Nor do we feel that they should aid the cause of terrorist organizations.
To the extent that it is useful for research purposes, the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel propaganda broadcast over World Link TV can be accessed on the Web.
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