Al-Jazeera Opens Doors to Hamas and CAIR
by CLIFF KINCAID
March 16, 2011
With much of the world in shock over the brutal Palestinian murders of five members of an Israeli family, the Al-Jazeera Forum in Doha, Qatar, featured Osama Hamdan, a top member of the political bureau of Hamas, a group that considers Israeli settlers and civilians legitimate military targets.
Americans attending this event included Steve Clemons of the George Soros-funded New America Foundation. An openly gay figure in the U.S. foreign policy community, he has been a cheerleader for Al-Jazeera and his blog features a “Watch Al-Jazeera Now” ad. He reports that he was at the Al-Jazeera Forum as a “guest” of Al-Jazeera, apparently meaning that the terror channel paid his way and accommodations.
The U.S. State Department designates Hamas as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” and states that it “was formed in late 1987 as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.” Hamdan was on a panel with former Obama adviser Robert Malley of the George Soros-funded International Crisis Group. The title of the panel was, “Palestinian national strategy in the new Middle East.”
Another American participant in the Al-Jazeera Forum was Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago Office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood spin-off. He reported on his Facebook page that his presentation went well and that he was “Getting ready for a guided tour of Al Jazeera headquarters.”
A report on the event noted that several speakers declared that “the fall of dictatorial regimes that were allies of the US and Israel could motivate the Arab streets to strengthen calls for liberation of Palestine…” The phrase, “liberation of Palestine,” is a euphemism for the destruction of the state of Israel.
A keynote speaker was Lula da Silva, the former president of Brazil and close friend of the Castro brothers in Cuba and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. He declared, “…it is a great pleasure for me to be here in this event that is being promoted by Al Jazeera, a very important broadcasting company not only for the Arab countries, but also for the rest of the world, for which I have given nothing less than four interviews as president of Brazil.”
While da Silva has been a guest on several occasions on Al-Jazeera, this is also not the first time that the channel has given Hamdan a platform. Al-Jazeera’s Andrew Wander interviewed the Hamas leader at a previous Al-Jazeera Forum so that he could define Palestinian “resistance.” He described how civilians, in addition to Israeli soldiers, become terrorist targets. He expressed no regret over this.
“They are not supposed to be there,” he said, referring to the civilians. He went on to say that Israeli settlers “are not considered civilians,” implying they are legitimate military targets. Indeed, in the past, Hamas has taken responsibility for killing Israeli settlers.
The Hamdan comment takes on more significance in view of the brutal murder of five members of the Fogel family in the Israeli West Bank settlement of Itamar. The victims were two parents and three of their children. However, Hamas has denied responsibility for these murders.
Asked in the Al-Jazeera interview what it means to “liberate” Palestine, Hamdan quoted from a letter of President Obama and declared that “all Palestine belongs to the Palestinians.” On the other hand, he said, the Jews in Israel trace their homeland to places like Poland, Russia, and Eastern Europe.
A photo from the 2010 Al-Jazeera Forum shows Hamdan on a panel with Steve Clemons and U.S. Foreign Service officer Rachel Schneller.
While Clemons reports that he was at this year’s event as a “guest” of Al-Jazeera, his group has substantial resources of its own and includes Fareed Zakaria of CNN on its board. The funders of the New America Foundation include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (over $1 million) and the Open Society Institute of George Soros (in the category of $250,000-$999,999.)
The New America Foundation’s personnel, in turn, have been linked to the J Street organization, described by Moshe Phillips as “the controversial George Soros-funded Jewish pressure group that was created to lobby for a Palestinian state.”
Ironically, in a blog post on the five members of the Fogel family murdered in their home in the Itamar settlement, Clemons commented, “We are watching the fast decline of moderates in Palestine—seeing that those who have been the most pro-American leaders and pro-peace deal who have favored negotiations over violence are seeing their legitimacy collapse.” What he failed to point out is the role of Al-Jazeera in promoting the terrorist Hamas as the representative of the Palestinians.
Al-Jazeera’s strong identification with this terrorist group is not something that gets a lot of media attention at a time when the channel is striving to get more carriage by U.S. cable and satellite systems.
But two years ago the network published an interview with the author of several books on Hamas who said “the Islamic movement will come out victorious” in its war with Israel.
Dr. Judea Pearl, father of slain journalist Daniel Pearl, told me,
“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 has been 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.”
His son’s murderer, 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, boasted of his murder, saying that he
“decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi, Pakistan. For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head.”
“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, 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 [a] negotiated Mideast settlement are two of many steps attesting [to] their aims and tactics.”
Al-Jazeera not only covered but helped sponsor the August 2008 birthday of Samir Kuntar, a released terrorist who had smashed the head of a four-year-old girl with his rifle butt in 1979 after killing her father before her eyes. Kuntar had been released by Israel in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers, who were kidnapped by Hezbollah in 2006.
Pearl went on,
“Their [Al-Jazeera’s] 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.”
A search of the Al-Jazeera website finds no story about the massacre of the Fogel family in Israel or photographs of the carnage. Israeli officials released the photographs of the victims in an effort to demonstrate the brutality of the terrorists waging war on Israel.
Al-Jazeera isn’t interested, however, in portraying Israelis as victims of terrorism.
On the other hand, Steve Clemons reports that Al-Jazeera Director General Wadah Khanfar left a private dinner during the Al-Jazeera Forum and broke down in tears when informed that one of his employees had been ambushed and executed, apparently by the forces of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, while covering the civil war in Libya. Clemons failed to note that one factor in the murder may have been the fact that the Al-Jazeera television personality, the Muslim cleric Yusuf Qaradawi, had himself issued a fatwa calling for Gaddafi’s murder.
In effect, Qaradawi made employees of his own network into military targets.