Printed from America's Survival, Inc. - http://www.usasurival.org/
A statement of observations concerning Al Jazeera
By Judea Pearl, Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
(Made available to Cliff Kincaid of America’s Survival, Inc., on February 23, 2011).
One should not be surprised at the news that Al Jazeera tried to cover up the sexual assault on CBS News reporter Lara Logan, last week.
In the past four years I have been watching Al Jazeera carefully, through direct translation from their Arabic station, and I am sorry to state that the network hasbeen shifting steadily from a posture of moderation and coexistence to a total and open alignment with the most extreme elements of the Arab world, including Hamas and Hezbollah.
If Egyptians resent the U.S. for befriending Mubarak, Al Jazeera hates Mubarak for befriending America.
On Jan 17, 2007, I wrote the following in the New York Times: "Al Jazeera's editors choreograph a worldview in which an irreconcilable struggle rages between an evil-meaning Western oppressor and its helpless, righteous Arab victims. Most worrisome, perhaps, it often reports on supposed Western conspiracies behind most Arab hardships or failings, thus fueling the sense of helplessness, humiliation and anger among Muslim youths and helping turn them into potential recruits for terrorist organizations."
This observation has only been reinforced in the past four years.
Regarding the prospect of allowing Al Jazeera English channel to broadcast in the U.S., I wrote: "with the growing number of social misfits in society, and the growing confusion between ‘information’ and deception in the news media, the danger of fueling combustible anger in some viewers cannot be ignored, especially when pumped subliminally by well-respected Western anchors."
Considering our current concern over the increase of home-grown terrorism incidents, this danger is not to be taken lightly.
Even if Al Jazeera English waters down its sister network's alarmist content, it should still be seen as a potential threat: it will bestow respectability upon the practices of its Arabic language network in Qatar, which continues, among other things, to broadcast Sheik Qaradawi's teachings, frequently, consistently and prominently.
Sheik Qaradawi, as we recall, was the religious leader who authorized suicide bombings against Israeli civilians and American personnel in Iraq, whom Germany's Der Spiegel last week called the Muslim Brotherhood's "father figure", and who called protesters in Cairo on Friday to prepare for the conquest of Jerusalem..
"Oh Allah" he preached in January 2009 to millions of Al Jazeera listeners "count their numbers [the Jews], and kill them down to the very last one".
In 2007 I was still hoping that Al Jazeera will become a force for good. "As Al Jazeera on the whole feels the heat of world media attention," I wrote "we can hope that it will learn to harness its popularity in the service of humanity, progress and moderation."
Unfortunately, the opposite has happened. Al Jazeera's popularity and general acceptance in the West has emboldened its management to take an even harder anti-Western stance. Their glorification of child-killer Samir Kuntar (WSJ, August 16, 2008), and their leaking of the so called Al Jazeera Palestine Papers in January of 2011,
aimed to destroy the credibility of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and to end all hopes for negotiated Mideast settlement are two of many steps attesting their aims and tactics.
Their unconditional support of Hamas's terror in Gaza, the Hezbollah takeover in Lebanon, and the Syrian and Iranian regimes betrays any illusion that democracy and human rights are on Al Jazeera's agenda -- weakening the West is their first priority.
Al Jazeera is an anti-Western propaganda machine that also engages in news services for profit and status.
I am deeply concerned about the consequences of further empowering Al Jazeera's management with acceptance, which would reinforce their illusion that we are blind to their aims and tactics.