C-SPAN Provided Iran’s Press TV With an American Platform to Defame Israel

Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network (C-SPAN), which bills itself as an American “public service” network, offers its millions of viewers anti-Israel propaganda from Iran. It is just one example of the network’s chronic journalistic malpractice regarding Jews and Israel.

In a broadcast that aired twice on May 15, 2018 and again on the following day, CSPAN aired an unfiltered, 41-minute anti-Israel broadcast by Press TV, Iran’s state-funded and controlled English-language news channel. Press TV regularly reports that Jews are behind all that is wrong with the world. But the TV channel’s reputation as mouthpiece for Iran’s anti-Semitic Islamist leaders hasn’t deterred C-SPAN from including at least 24 Press TV videos in its video library, with no mention of the Iranian government-run TV channel’s pre-existing bias and lack of reliability.

The first half of the broadcast featured an interview conducted by Press TV’s Ramallah correspondent, Mona Kandil, with two Palestinian men, Saeed Nimer and Salah Khawaja. Saeed Nimer is a professor of political science at Birzeit University near Ramallah, the capital of the Palestinian Authority and Salah Khawaja is alternately described as a “Palestinian human rights defender” and “activist.”

Among the defamatory charges against Israel and its supporters was a false assertion by Professor Nimer as part of his analysis of the current American political scene:

To be elected as a Congress person, you have to have a bridge to Israel and to commit to Israel and to the movement of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem …

With the deceitful suggestion that allegiance to Israel is a requirement for election to the U.S. Congress, Nimer  brings to mind the classic  “Protocols of the Elders of Ziyon” canard accusing Jews of global domination and control of world governments.

Interviewer  Mona Kandil’s mention of the Palestinian protests at the Gaza Border and in Jerusalem, prompted an inflammatory false accusation by Khawaja: “The people want to be free … all of Palestine is under siege … he [Prime Minister Netanyahu] wants to kill a lot of people …” This was followed by the interviewer’s incendiary question, “Will there be another massacre of Palestinians in the West Bank?” which prompted the following response by Khawajah:

Each and every occupation around the world, the first thing they do is demonize the occupied so they can feel good about themselves, ‘we are not killing a person, we are killing an animal.’ The second is to make the occupied feel inferior regarding the superiority of the occupiers. This is kind of a model in all occupations. They are playing it to the letter. They are demonizing the Palestinians, not only for colonial, but sometimes for religious reasons, or the idea of superiority. This is racist … the total support of America … make Israelis feel all the time they are above the law and can do what they like… this sick, racist mentality, which would allow them to demonize Palestinians and kill them, without any regrets.

Khawajah reverses the facts.  It is not the Israelis who demonize the Palestinians but just the opposite: The Palestinian leadership and media routinely demonize the Jewish people.  This has been extensively documented at both Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) and Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), not to mention Hamas’ governing charter which invokes this hadith (report of statements or actions of the prophet Muhammad): “The Prophet, Allah’s prayer and peace be upon him, says: ‘The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him…’” (Hamas governing charter, article seven).

The remainder of the broadcast consisted of Press TV announcer Ashraf Shanimon’s voiceover of video clips purportedly showing peaceful protestors met by deadly force. But according to a May 15 report, 83 percent of the Palestinian casualties were affiliated with terror organizations (Meir Amit Intelligence Center).

The fact that C-SPAN would broadcast Press TV’s analysis of the U.S. embassy opening in Jerusalem and coverage of the protests in Gaza raises the question of why the network would turn to a biased Iranian analysis for a topic unrelated to that country. Yet, this sort of behavior is consistent with C-SPAN’s chronic journalistically irresponsible conduct which continues to be overlooked by its patrons – the cable/satellite TV provider industry – and the U.S. Congress which grants special access privileges to C-SPAN. Unfortunately, barring a huge public outcry, there’s no reason to expect any change.