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Media Analyses

C-SPAN January – February 2011

February 28, 2011 – 8:58 AM


Guest: BOBBY GHOSH, Time magazine Deputy International Editor.

Topic: Upheaval in the Arab world.

Caller: Tom from Birmingham, Michigan

Caller: "Good morning. Thank you for taking my call. Thank you Mr. Ghosh. As a previous caller proposed (indistinct), I have (indistinct) some of this so-called hate of the U.S. on the so-called Arab street, due to the perceived bias of the support of Israel by the United States in its foreign policy. The question is about Syria and the demographics of the Middle East as it applies to Egypt and others. It seems – I think it is similar to Syria, but in Syria the son of the former ruler and a dictator made it to power. He is a young Western-wise physician, speaks English and so forth. What do you see as the possible evolution of how this might apply to Syria?"

GHOSH: "Tom, you are correct. Syria has the same youth bulge. More than half its population is less than 30 years old. I am sure that young Syrians feel the same kinds of frustrations and disappointments with their governments that others do. Syria has had a certain amount of economic success in recent years is one difference. The proportions of people who are unemployed may be slightly smaller than in Egypt [etc.]"

NOTE: <Pending>

February 28, 2011 – 9:15 AM


Guest: BOBBY GHOSH, Time magazine Deputy International Editor.

Topic: Upheaval in the Arab world.

Caller: Ron from Springfield, Massachusetts.

Caller: "Yes. Hello Bobby. I wanted to make a comment on one of your prior comments. You have mentioned that a lot of the uprising in the Middle East is due to the governments there, you know, a lot of corruption and the wealth being concentrated and a small amount of people at the top and high unemployment with the youth and the government aid going to the military instead of the people. What you have said sounds an awful lot like the United States. We have the banks and Wall Street and government corruption going on, wealth is at the top two percent or three percent. We have unemployment in the youth that is very, very high and our government is subsidizing our military. Should we be in revolt also?"

GHOSH: "There are obviously big differences, Ron. In the United States, we always have the opportunity every couple of years to kick the bums out when we are not happy with them. In the United States you can call up C-SPAN and express your opinion as freely as you just did. In the Arab world that opportunity has never really existed [etc.]."

HARLESTON: "Bobby Ghosh, it seems that anger at Israel and the U.S. has been fairly muted over the last two months with regards to these uprisings. Is this a situation that we should continue to see happening or as the situations in these various Arab countries start to settle down and the new governments or the new administrations move in that there will be a renewed tension between them and their Israeli neighbors?"

GHOSH: "That is certainly possible and that is certainly plausible. Right now, the people have bigger problems than Israel and the (indistinct). One of the great myths about the Arab world has been that Israel and Palestine – that one issue – is at the top of everybody's mind and that the people may be starving, but their hatred for Israel is so great that they will throw themselves against Israeli guns. What we have learned in the past two months is that this is completely and utterly untrue. People want the same things that we do every where around the world and they want them with the same spirit and same desire that we do. In all of the Arab world, people are sympathetic toward the Palestinians. People obviously disagree with Israel, and sometimes quite violently so and they are not going to be automatically – just as Hosni Mubarak was – they are not going to automatically support everything Israel that does. God forbid, if there is renewed violence in Gaza, if Israel military were to launch another attack on Hamas in Gaza, that would not go down well in the Arab world. And Israel can no longer count on Egypt to reflexively follow Israel's lead in all of these things. For Israel and for the United States, this presents new challenges. This means they will have to deal with new representative, democratic governments and come to relationships based on something more than just one man or one general's ability to rule his country. It is not going to be easy. It is going to be difficult and diplomats in that part of the world will have their work cut out for them. But I submit that this is a more natural process. If Israel can create a relationship with Egypt, as one democracy to the other, that is much more natural, that is much more stable and has a greater chance in the long term of actually succeeding than Israel working with Hosni Mubarak."

NOTE: <Pending>

February 27, 2011 – 7:32 AM


Topic: President Obama: One person to advise him.

Tweet selected by host Scully:

SCULLY: "One of our new Twitter followers (Vulcan Warrior) has this: 'President Obama should meet with Desmond TuTu of South Africa. Reverend Desmond TuTu can help Obama recognize the apartheid that is taking place in Israel.'"

NOTE: <Pending>

February 27, 2011 – 7:38 AM


Topic: President Obama: One person to advise him.

Caller: Betty from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Caller: "Good morning Steve. It's always a pleasure to hear and see you as a moderator on C-SPAN. My suggestion is former President Jimmy Carter. President Jimmy Carter has evolved in my estimation into the finest humanitarian, a former president of our time. He was truly a visionary for years ago on o put solar panels on the roof of the White House only to have President Reagan tear them down. He also is a visionary regarding the political strife in Israel. He wrote a book about this and was vilified by a number of people for it, and yet, he and [South African Bishop] Desmond TuTu, somebody else who is in fairly perfect alignment in their vision about Israel. I would like to pare that suggestion and make it a dual suggestion in terms of progressive, I think Tom Hartman [radio/TV talk-show host], in conjunction with former president Jimmy Carter, would be able to advise the President very, very well. When I talk about President Carter, too, I think that he could give some much insight to this present president. I would love to see President Barack Obama truly worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize he has already accepted. I think by talking to these two people, it would be greatly helpful for his future endeavors."

NOTE: <Pending>

February 27, 2011 – 8:16 AM


Guest: KARA ROWLAND, "Washington Times" reporter.

Guest: FELICIA SONMEZ, "Washington Post" reporter.

Topic: Budget showdown between Congress and the White House.

Caller: Loraine from Edinburgh, Scotland.

Caller: "Hi. Thanks for taking my call. I've been over here 15 years, I was a teacher in California for many years, came over here, two kids in college, no hope of any decent pension over in the States, so I came over here and started teaching and retired here. I just wanted to say two things. The U.N. veto was the first time that I noticed any of my neighbors or friends even noticing a U.S. veto in the U.N. Security council. And that was with – and nobody was mad about it. Everybody took it to be very hopeful in that it was very noticeable. That (indistinct) words were used. I don't know if you got that in the press over there but it was his words that were used in the draft of this amendment. And still, he vetoed it. But the idea that with all these revolutions in North Africa, it's going to be very difficult for America to take that unilateral stance against Israel for – and all the – we get a selection of Press over here. We get al-Jazeera and BBC and Russia TV and Sky [TV]. So, and there was a consensus of opinion even mostly Americans interviewed for this, that this was a domestic decision on Obama's part that, as your guests have said, this was a Congressional consideration and a reelection one. And in the States you couldn't possibly not veto this and get away with it. So to the people over here, it was a question of how noticeable is this? And there's no way that that's going to be – go unnoticed any more – the very, very staunch Zionist backing of America. Especially considering it was against what Obama had said he was in favor of, especially using his own words. That's the first point. Second thing, we're not paying too much attention or worried too much about Obama not stepping in, though Hillary does wave her finger a lot. But because Cameron over here is taking – I don't know if you've noticed but he, for example, just is doing a lot of walk about and he just took an enormous trade mission over to Kuwait to sell them more arms, and over here the guns that are being used in Libya are recently sold to him in 2003 by Blair. So over here everybody is pretty annoyed with Cameron saying he's all against pro-democracy and everything and – but against violence when even on his recent walk about he's taking this troop of arms dealers."

ROWLAND: "I believe the caller was referencing the U.S. exercise of its veto power on a U.N. Resolution that would have condemned certain Israeli settlements as illegal. I don't want to tread too far. I'm pretty sure that's what the caller was mentioning. And, of course, that has put the administration in a tough position in the past where they have criticized those settlements as possibly undermining the peace process. But at the same time, you know, as I believe the caller also alluded, there's a lot of support for Israel on both sides of Capitol Hill and so that's always something you've got to tread very carefully on. So I do believe that the U.S., our U.N. Folks up in New York believe this particular resolution was too strong. I want to say that it would have declared those settlements illegal and even for us that was going too far."

NOTE: <Pending>

February 27, 2011 – 9:34 AM


Guest: ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE, Center for Strategic & International Affairs, former journalist.

Topic: Libya and Middle East unrest.

Caller: Theresa from Middletown, Connecticut.

Caller: "President Obama has foreign policy advisers, but he needs all the help he can get regarding the chaos in the Middle East and Africa. I would like to see President Carter's former security advisor, [Zbigniew] Brzezinski, as another Obama adviser.

Brzezinski is very honest and very knowledgeable regarding foreign affairs. I am very concerned for President Obama. I am also very suspicious about how suddenly all of these uprisings began. Strategically and diplomatically, President Obama is between a rock and a hard place. There are still powerful people in our CIA and Pentagon left over from the Bush administration who are not friends of Obama. He needs someone he can trust and the neocons and Israel would like nothing better than to put our President in an untenable position that can end up weakening his presidency."

Guest: "Well, I can tell you madam that Dr. Brzezinski has the ear of the President when it is necessary. Dr. Brzezinski has been a friend of mine since 1954 in Paris when I was running the "Newsweek" bureau there. I heard him the other day forecasting that this century would probably be bloodier than the last century. Both of us were alive for three fourths of it. I think what you're saying is absolutely true about Gaddafi and I think the President is getting everything that the CIA knows. I do not think it is because the CIA is dis-informing him that you have not seen the results you seem to hope for."

NOTE: <Pending>

February 27, 2011 – 9:43 AM


Guest: ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE, Center for Strategic & International Affairs, former journalist.

Topic: Libya and Middle East unrest.

Caller: Tony from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Caller: "Good morning. Your last comment about the hostages in Iran. I was personally involved on the USS Nimitz on the fuel team. We trained for the situation that the oil fields would be shut down. But the whole objective is -- all this is going to go back to Israel. I talked to the Jewish rabbis down here in South Florida, and ‘As far as [Bible] Scripture,' I said, ‘Are you ready for Ezekiel [chapters] 38 and 39 meaning your enemies are preparing to surround you right now and the wealth of the world is worried about making money in their pocketbook.' But everybody is going to get involved in this one. There is no way out of this one."

Guest: "I would agree with you, sir, that this has made things immeasurably more dangerous for Israel and that's why I do not see a settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians as far as I can see into the future. There is a hardening of attitudes in Israel and it is quite understandable when they see their self-avowed enemies of their country now moving all the way from Tunisia all the way down to Bahrain."

NOTE: <Pending>

February 27, 2011 – 9:48 AM


Guest: ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE, Center for Strategic & International Affairs, former journalist.

Topic: Libya and Middle East unrest.

Caller: Cherique from Hartford, Connecticut.

Caller: "Hi, good morning. This is my second time today. Thank you very much. Maybe I am the only one with some sympathy for Mr. Gaddafi and his family. I suggest he has deep connection in Africa and some delegations from African States (indistinct). They should go to Libya, try to convince him to get out of there so they can avoid bloodshed. How about that idea? I hope people are listening and get him and his family out of their or something – give him some amnesty or political asylum."

SCULLY: "I saw the other day that he [Gaddafi] does have Jewish roots. Technically he could go to Israel because of his – either grandmother or …"

Guest: "Yes. Grandmother. Technically."

Host: "Not going to happen though."

Guest: "Not going to happen."

Host: "But an interesting sidebar to the story."

Guest: "But the suggestion that several African heads of state go and see Gaddafi and convince him to resign – that's not good enough – the United Nations has decided that he's a war criminal etc."

NOTE: <Pending>
February 26, 2011 – 7:05 AM


Topic: U.S. imposes sanctions on Libya: How effective?

Caller: Janet from New York, New York.

Caller: “Yes. Good morning. I hope you'll allow me. I'm nervous. I'm a first-time caller. Now, it does not take a very smart person to understand what is happening in Libya. We did the same thing in Iraq where we got in to change regimes there. We demonized Saddam. We made him the most evil person in the world. The same thing is happening in Libya. The same thing we tried to do and we're still trying to do in Iran. It is time that America stop allowing the dog – the tail to wag the dog and listen to reason. Gadhafi has been mistreated by America – like when we didn't allow him to stay in his place – and he had to move from place to place. We bombed his palace, killed his son. We have done everything to that man to make him hate America. We're doing the same thing in Iran. We know who is behind these things and I don't know – I know the person that knows – because (indistinct) who is behind these things – the power here in this country that is behind – why isn't somebody leaning on Israel about human treatment.”

NOTE: <Pending>

February 26, 2011 – 7:16 AM


Topic: U.S. imposes sanctions on Libya: How effective?

Caller: Bill from St. Louis, Missouri (anti-Israel frequent caller violating C-SPAN's 30-day rule).

Caller: “Yes. Good morning. I think they'll (the U.S. sanctions against Libya) be about as effective as the sanctions we have against Israel for murdering Palestinians or for that matter, the sanctions we have against the United States for murdering Iraqis.”

HARLESTON: “I don't believe we have those kind of sanctions, Bill.”

NOTE: <Pending>

February 26, 2011 – 9:11 AM


Guest: JAMES GLASSMAN, Executive Director of George W. Bush Institute.

Topic: U.S. Diplomacy & Mideast unrest.

Caller: Jerome from Orange County, California.

Caller: “Yes, Hi. I'm a (indistinct) of the (indistinct) and what I'd like to say is we depend on oil like (indistinct) weed and oxycontin. How do we check into an oil anonymous clinic? And the other thing I want to say is -- why are we so biased against the Palestinian people? (indistinct).”

GLASSMAN: “I do not think we're biased against the Palestinian people. I spent a lot of time living on the West Bank when I was in the State Department. President Bush and President Obama both said that our policy in the United States is two nations living side by side in peace and security and that is not a bias. Also, today there has been a lot of comment today about financial aid and we have put a good deal of financial aid into the West Bank [billions of dollars] and helping the Palestinians. I think that financial aid has been very well placed. The point of it has been to build up civil society institutions, democratic institutions, and also help get their economy going. That is working. That is a foreign-policy success. Even though there's not been a resolution in the dispute between the Palestinians and Israelis, I think it's actually more important to build up the economy and governance among Palestinians than the details of any agreement. That may come later; it could come tomorrow. But you want a sound government and a sound economy.”

NOTE: <Pending>

February 26, 2011 – 9:13 AM


Guest: JAMES GLASSMAN, Executive Director of George W. Bush Institute.

Topic: U.S. Diplomacy & Mideast unrest.

Caller: (anonymous) from Alexandria, Virginia (caller speaks with Arab accent).

Caller: “Yes, Hi. First of all, I needed to speak about the Libyan problem. But listening to Mr. Glassman now talking about the Palestinian issue, I would like to also interject here a point that Mr. Glassman and alike, people like him from the neocons, they need to understand that the American people are much more aware now and much more educated about the affairs of the world. Mr. Glassman, like the neocons, is trying to divert the conversation about the Palestinians to become an issue of economic problems and aid when it is an issue of human rights, freedom, democracy, occupation that has been very brutal against the Palestinians and the execution of the U.N. resolution that Israel is not submitting themselves to.”

GLASSMAN: “I don't think there's anyone – I take a backseat to no one in my support for freedom for all people. It actually was the very first thing that I said when this program began. That freedom is universal and Muslims around the world deserve and desire freedom as much as anyone else. I must say that I dispute what your saying. Freedom is absolutely important but you cannot have freedom in a vacuum. You need the kinds of civil society institutions and political institutions that make sustainable freedom possible. That is an important thing here. One of the things the President Mubarak and other autocrats have done in the region is they have suppressed the development of civil society institutions. But at the State Department, we try to help build those institutions and a lot more work needs to be done. Democracy in a vacuum generally does not work for very long. It doesn't work without the institutions. So, that's what I am saying is going about with the Palestinians.”

NOTE: <Pending>

February 22, 2011 – 8:45 AM


Guest: BILL GERTZ, Washington Times geopolitics editor.

Topic: Unrest in the Middle East.

Caller: Kiana from Sandusky, Ohio.

Caller: “Bill, I have a question – do you believe that the United States soft and hard political power is undermined when there is talk of the European Union taking a stronger stance than the U.S. – a more vocal stance – concerning the violence between Israel and Palestine [sic]?”

GERTZ: “The issue of soft and hard power – that's a question. The Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has made soft power one of the more central focuses of this administration' s policies. It is not exactly clear to me how that is to be implemented. Hard power, obviously we see in Iraq and Afghanistan – we're clearly running out of money to wage those expensive conflicts. Certainly, they are needed to wage the war against terrorism. One of the things I have not seen on the soft power side is any kind of ideological counter to radical political Islam. This is what is really needed, and is ultimately the real long-term solution. I would like to see our government try to do more things – organize moderate Muslims, and get into the weeds of the issue of radical Islamic extremism from an ideological perspective, as we did in the cold war, and eventually we were able to prevail in that.”

NOTE: <Pending>

February 22, 2011 – 8:46 AM


Guest: BILL GERTZ, Washington Times geopolitics editor.

Topic: Unrest in the Middle East.

Caller: Maive from Dayton, Ohio.

Caller: “Hello. Yes, Greta, I'd like to have ask him answer a question for the people. My question is: What if they – the young people over in Israel – overthrow [Prime Minister] Netanyahu and for Palestine[sic] to get what they're supposed to have and stop all this holding back and not doing what needs to be done?”

GERTZ: “Well, the Israel/Palestine issue – which was also part of the last [prior caller's] question. It's just one of those very difficult problems. I've been in Washington a long time; I've seen administrations come and go. All of them have tried to come to terms with dealing peace in Israel between the Israelis and the Palestinians. It's a very, very difficult problem. I don't claim to have an answer for it.”

NOTE: <Pending>

February 21, 2011 – 8:02 AM


Guest: GEORGE COLING, National Fuel Funds Network Executive Director.

Topic: Proposed cuts to Home Heating Assistance Program.

Caller: Rebecca from Miami, Florida.

Caller: "My comment is a comment not a question. I have advice to our President and our inept politicians. It is common sense. You are giving $3 billion a year to Israel, who does not need the money, yet you are going to cut off heating fuel to people in this country who cannot afford to heat their homes. It's just ridiculous that you continue to give money away to other people who don't need it. But I guess the Israeli lobby groups will bring you more votes than the poor people who can't afford heat."

NOTE: Neither host nor guest interrupts or comments on this rant invidiously juxtaposing aid to Israel with assistance for home heating in the United States. A host moderating serious discussion of the topic would have asked the caller why she focuses on aid to Israel, a stable ally in an unstable part of the world, and not bigger federal budget items including, for example, farm subsidies or loan guarantees for substandard mortgages, let alone explosive growth in Medicare spending? The call and Washington Journal's non-response indicate once again how C-SPAN permits its frequent anti-Israel callers to seize any opportunity to vilify the Jewish state and its supporters.

February 19, 2011 – 8:45 AM


Guest: AMY GOODMAN, host of “Democracy Now” television/radio program.

Topic: Democracy & the Middle East.

Caller: Doug from Boston, Massachusetts (anti-Israel, repeat caller).

Caller: “Well, hi. Yesterday Obama came under Israeli lobby pressure and folded like a cheap suitcase and vetoed the Palestinian resolution. The only country on the Security Council to do so. What is your opinion? Thanks.”

GOODMAN: “The Israeli/Palestinian conflict must be resolved. It is not good for the Israelis. It is not good for the Palestinians. It is not good for peace in the Middle East. It is not good for the United States. It must be resolved. The Palestinians, like the Israelis, deserve a state. We cannot go on supporting the repression of Palestinians in Gaza or in the West Bank. There are many Israelis in the peace movement who feel exactly the same way. Israel cannot depend on Arab despots around them like Mubarak in Egypt to continue the policy that they have been foisting on the Palestinians. It is absolutely critical for peace for all of us.”

NOTE:"Doug from Boston" is a repeat, anti-Israel caller who apparently finds C-SPAN's Washington Journal a convenient forum in which to attack the Jewish state and American support for it. The guest, Amy Goodman, host of the far-left radio program "Democracy Now," has a history of sympathetically interviewing critics – Israelis, Arabs and others – of Israeli government policies, while giving less air time and more dismissive treatment to government representatives and supporters of those policies. Although Hamas represses the Palestinian Arabs of the Gaza Strip and Palestinian human rights groups have charged the Palestinian Authority governing the West Bank with a variety of rights violations, Washington Journal host Echeverria sits mute rather than challenge the caller or question the guest's mantra of Israeli repression. A more informed commentary on the U.S. veto of the anti-Israel resolution of the U.N.'s Security Council on February 18 was made the same day by syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer and is provided here to indicate the kind of informed opinion virtually always absent from Washington Journal discussions about Israel:

Unwise is the wrong word – and then she [U.N. Ambassador Rice] said with what regret she cast the veto. Look, what she should have said is "It's not [merely] unwise, it's hypocritical, it's scandalous and it's something we reject with relish – it's one-sided." If it had been coupled with, for example, denunciation of the Palestinians for their rejection of the peace offer at Camp David in 2000, a second offer the same year at Taba [actually in January of 2001], a third offer two [three] years ago by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, every offer of peace and partition since 1947 – well, perhaps I would have agreed with it. But to apologize for a one-sided resolution. Let me add one fact. The state introducing this resolution was Lebanon. During these troubles nobody has really noticed it but Hezbollah took it over in a coup about a month ago. Think about this – Hezbollah, a terror organization, genocidal and anti-Semitic and terrorist, has a seat at the Security Council, the premier entity that's supposed to guarantee peace in the world. Think of the immoral inversion of the universe when that is the case as it is today.

Asserting that "the Palestinians, like the Israelis, deserve a state," Goodman neglects to mention that Jordan comprises more than three-fourths of the territory originally intended for the League of Nations' Palestine Mandate, in which the Jewish national home was to be re-established and that Jordan long has had a majority Palestinian Arab population. A West Bank and Gaza Strip state, as envisioned in a possible "two-state solution," would in fact be a second Palestinian Arab country.

Guest Goodman places the onus for lack of Palestinian-Israeli peace on Israel without mentioning, as Krauthammer referred to, Palestinian leadership's rejection of Israel-U.S. offers of a West Bank and Gaza Strip state in exchange for peace with Israel in 2000 and 2001, and an Israeli offer of such a solution in 2008. Similarly, Goodman ignores incessant anti-Israel Palestinian terrorism, including an escalation, not decrease or end, of Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip after Israel withdrew from the area in 2005.

Here, Ms. Goodman misleads just as she does later (8:53 AM) in the broadcast when she promotes the Arab cable television news network al Jazeera ("For so many hundreds of millions of people around the world, al Jazeera has been the major source of getting information in this rolling rebellion in the Middle East … We need to have that [al Jazeera] in the United States") and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood ("In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood long ago renounced violence"). But Goodman's views are, to put it mildly, not reliable. Al Jazeera's spin and distortions are documented here, here and here. The Muslim Brotherhood's continued advocacy of hate and violence is documented here, here and here.

February 17, 2011 – 8:54 AM


Guest: Congressman MAC THORNBERRY, R-Texas.

Topic: Defense spending & the federal budget.

Caller: Charlene from Winter Haven, Florida.

Caller: “Hi. My name is Charlene. About defense spending and the federal budget – Years and years ago, they started loaning money to other countries. They would announce it on the news – well, we loaned Israel $50,000 or we loaned that country $100,000. All this money was loaned to them. What I want to know is why can't we bring that money loaned to them by us back to the federal budget, back to defense spending, so that it can be put into the budget.”

Guest: “There are some loans that we give to countries so they can buy military weapons and equipment from us, helping to create U.S. jobs when they are putting our stuff. There is also just money that we give to other countries so they can buy things for their military. The theory is that – that is in our best interest. One great example is Egypt. We've given them a lot of military assistance over the years. We have close relations with their military. A lot of people believe that is part of the reason the Egyptian military has been restrained in dealing with that situation. I guess the bigger point is we do not want to go do everything ourselves. So, if we can help improve the quality of the militaries in other countries, whether it is Egypt or Iraq or other places are on the world, we do not have to be there ourselves and that helps accomplish our goals for stability in the world.”

NOTE: <Pending>

February 16, 2011 – 7:31 AM


Topic: House GOP 2011 spending proposal.

Caller: Marie from Coatesville, Pennsylvania.

Caller: “Good morning, America, how are you? What we need to do is to cut welfare for the wealthy and corporations who pay – two-thirds of corporations pay zero taxes. We need to cut defense. We are spending more on defense than the rest of the world combined. We also need to cut the illegal, immoral war machine. It's a waste in human lives and money. We are only creating blow back. Talking about blowback – we need to cut the aid to Israel, which is creating more blowback because of the apartheid. Free Palestine! Don't balance the budget on the back of the elderly and the poor.”

NOTE: <Pending>
February 13, 2011 – 9:39 AM


Guest: SAMER SHEHATA, Assistant Professor of Arab Politics at Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.).

Topic: The Muslim Brotherhood.

Caller: John from Southampton, Pennsylvania.

Caller: “Yes, good morning. Thanks for C-SPAN. Thanks for taking my call – and it's certainly a very impressive accomplishment, the non-violence of the Egyptian people. The outcome remains to be seen, so to speak, but I would like to address myself, as far as I'm concerned, to the absolute failure of the American foreign policy in the last forty years in the Middle East. It's just so Israel-centric. We have given – what - $70 billion to Egypt to prop up Mubarak so he will maintain the peace agreement with Egypt [sic] [Israel]. We have given—what – tens of billions of dollars to Jordan for the same reason. We have given Israel – what – $120 billion in direct cash and military aid – much of it off-budget. We don't even know exactly how much that is. Most people do not even know that Israel bonds are tax-free.”

Guest: “Well, the caller is certainly correct that the United States has a history, unfortunately, of supporting authoritarian regimes. The old thinking, to state it politely, is ‘he may be an autocrat, but he is our autocrat.' There is a slow realization that it is a failed policy, one not in the interests of the United States, and a policy that does not provide any stability. When we have seen in Egypt and Tunisia is not really stability – it's a kind of illusory stability. These are durable regimes that use coercion and other methods to stay in power, but stability is only really achieved through representative institutions, free and fair elections and so-on. There was a brief moment in the Bush administration, a very brief moment between 2003 and 2005, during the freedom agenda when the Bush administration was interested in promoting democracy and so on. Unfortunately promoting democracy by military means, which is a complete failure in Iraq – bad idea – but also putting pressure on autocrats with Mubarak. Unfortunately, the administration did not like the outcomes of elections in Egypt in 2005 – the Muslim brotherhood did fairly well – and the following month on January 26, 2006, Hamas won legislative elections and the U.S. Really wanted democracy only if the people we wanted to win when the elections and of course that's not what democracy is all about and it came to a screeching halt at that time.”

NOTE: <Pending>

February 13, 2011 – 9:43 AM


Guest: SAMER SHEHATA, Assistant Professor of Arab Politics at Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.).

Topic: The Muslim Brotherhood.

Caller: Howard from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Caller: “Good morning. Samer, you kind of already answered my question that I have for you. You stated that the idea is to have civil – not an Islamic nation but a civil nation. I want to say something about that previous caller. The peace agreement that Jimmy Carter had with Sadat and, goodness, I forgot the gentleman ... In that agreement, Mubarak was put in as the new leader. That was the agreement back then to keep peace – and they kept peace for a long time. I have to say that Israel asked for one thing – they asked for the right to exist. I just feel that if the other Arab countries would give Israel right to exist – anyone in the world would ask for the right to exist. What is wrong with that? I do not understand why this cannot be resolved.”

SCULLY: “Thanks, Howard. It's the Begin-Sadat agreement, of course, signed in 1979.”

Guest: “Right. Yes. Exactly. I think, in regard to what the caller's question – you know, the Arab states, quite importantly, I think it was in 2002 at the Arab league meeting in Beirut – it was called the Abdallah proposal at the time. Thomas Friedman wrote about this intelligently – which is not always the case for his writings - they put forward the idea that of the Arab states would recognize Israel and would normalize relations with Israel if Israel would give up occupied Palestinian land and go to the 1967 borders. That was really a historic, historic move. At the time we were talking about Khaddafi of Libya supported it, Saddam Hussein, who was still in control of Iraq, agreed to it, this would be all of the Arab states recognizing Israel, there would be the end of the state of war, normalizing relations economically and otherwise if Israel would simply agree to uphold international law and end the occupation of the West Bank and – really – end the occupation of Gaza. Because, Gaza is still technically occupied according to international law. Because Israel controls access to Gaza – the border as well as the air above and so on. This idea of recognizing the state of Israel and allowing them to exist is something that has been put on the table for quite some time and even before that in terms of the United Nations Resolution 242 in 1967, the land for peace idea, which had universal acceptance. So, It's somewhat more complicated than if only the Arabs would recognize Israel. The primary impediment is the illegal occupation of the Palestinian lands and the subsequent building of settlements, annexation of land, the occupation and so on.”

NOTE: <Pending>

February 12, 2011 – 7:20 AM


Topic: Revolution in Egypt: Effect in Arab world?

Caller: Anonymous from Scottsboro, Alabama.

Caller: “I think this is great for the Middle East. Democracy is great and I think it goes a long way to pushing the Israelis to making better choices in the Gaza Strip. I hope it will open some eyes in that area, and also lead to the downfall of a lot of the other countries that the U.S. Has propped up over the years and bring about the relinquishment of settlements that the Israelis are building on land that is not theirs.”

NOTE: <Pending>

February 11, 2011 – 7:16 AM


Topic: What's next for Egypt?

Caller: Mike from New Haven, Ohio.

Caller: “Good morning, Susan.This is democracy at its best. The people are fed up with their dictator or czars as we would call them. How many czars do we have that are over us? The only reason we're over there is because of corporate America and Israel. Israel, Israel, Israel. Everybody should help Israel. What about America? Last week I saw a crisis financial report and I just cannot comprehend why we Americans are not out in the streets too. Corporate America robbed us blind. Everybody knew what was going on. Nobody did nothing [sic] and everybody turned a blind eye to it and of course the American people bailed out the corporations. How long are we going to stand for this? Mubarak or whatever his name is – is not going to step out of power. Hillary Clinton and everybody – Israel is so important that we have to try to figure out how to fix Egypt.”

NOTE: <Pending>

February 6, 2011 – 8:02 AM


Guest: NATHAN BROWN, Director of Middle East Studies at George Washington University.

Topic: Political unrest in Egypt.

Caller: Joe from Manchester, New Hampshire.

Caller: “Hi. Thank you very much. Nathan, I appreciate your perspective. What I'm concerned about is that after 9/11, Osama bin Laden gave his six reasons for the attacks. One of the key ones was the U.S. propping up support for corrupt governments and as I hear these responses to the coverage on CNN, MSNBC, certainly Fox News – Mike Huckabee in particular – that seems to be very, very true that our interest is solely in finding a partner in supporting Israel and the regime in Israel and that to me is absolutely frightening. We've held 80 million people hostage to the implementation of Zionism and Israel and all that they (Egyptians) really want is democracy. And my question to you is – I've been to Egypt quite a few times on business – and my question to you is, isn't it apparent that the values of the people in Egypt are far closer aligned to the values of Americans in terms of the desire for pluralistic, color-blind, free and democratic society than – aren't we more like Egypt than we are to Israel?“

SCULLY: “Thank you Joe.”
BROWN: "There's no question – I mean – I wouldn't put it in comparative terms. I think that Israel, as well, is relevant – it's a very vibrant democratic society and I think that we're very comfortable dealing with the democratic process there. I think that what has happened really – this is not the Obama administration, this is not the Bush administration – it's basically – since the mid 70s the United States has based an awful lot of its regional policy on a very close working relationship with Egypt ... "

(Remainder of Mr. Brown's lengthy response consists of general commentary on the U.S. relationship with Egypt.)

NOTE: The guest pointed out that the U.S. is "comfortable dealing with the democratic process there [in Israel]. " But he did not deal with the thrust of the caller's comments. These are the bizarre claims that U.S. policy toward Egypt is "hostage to the implementation of Zionism and Israel" and that Egypt is a more pluralistic, free and democratic society than Israel. In Egypt, Coptic Christians are suppressed, often violently, by the Muslim majority; the public has never known democracy, and post-Mubarak, remains under military rule; Egyptians face growing influence of Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi extremists; and even "liberal" secular parties deal in antisemitism. The contrast with Israel – which has rescued black Jews from Ethiopia; where Israeli Arabs exercise the same civil rights as Jews, serve in parliament, sit on the Supreme Court, and serve as diplomats and military officers, and the press is free and women, religious and other minorities enjoy equality – is overwhelming. But, this being C-SPAN, broadcasting's must indulgent platform for anti-Jewish, anti-Israeli hatred, pointing out the unarguable differences between democratic Israel and its neighbors by a Washington Journal host is not done.

February 4, 2011 – 7:14 AM


Guest: HISHAM MELHEM, Al Arabiya News Channel Washington bureau chief.

Topic: Egypt's protestors set Friday deadline.

Caller: Stone from Rockville, Maryland.

Excerpt from Stone's call: “So, the bottom line is, let these people (Egyptians) take care of their own problems and Israel has to step in and make sure that they can draw the line on this because most of the hatred is due in part to the meddling of Israel and the compromise of ...”

(The caller was belatedly cut-off after a lengthy, mostly repetitive monologue).
NOTE: The caller's monologue concerning the turmoil in Egypt ended with the remark shown above which defamed Israel ("… most of the hatred is due in part to the meddling of Israel …"). C-SPAN host Swain failed to ask the caller to clarify his unsubstantiated claim of "meddling of Israel" (in Egyptian affairs). When and where did it take place? Swain did not raise such obvious questions.

Mr. Melhem may be more of an Arab apologist than an objective journalist. At 7:52 AM in this broadcast he minimized the potential danger from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood (al Qaeda and Hamas are among its Sunni extremist derivatives) by equating the Brotherhood in terms of the danger it poses, with America's Christian fundamentalists. Washington Journal's Swain failed to challenge this false equation: "Yes, they (religious fundamentalists) are in Egypt, just as we have here (in the United States) where we have extreme people on the right or people who are driven by Christian values. It doesn't mean that this revolution or uprising is going to be hijacked by Islamists. Islamists, in fact, were not even leaders of this movement. It was a spontaneous movement by university students, members of the middle-class, by professionals, and Islamists came along after."

Mr. Melhem, in a Dec. 30, 2008 appearance on Washington Journal refused to comment on a caller's 7:53 AM antisemitic rant with Jews as "scum" and "children" of the devil. The rant: "Okay. Listen, I feel we need to come to the problem – to the root of the problem – and I think the Jews that's actually there in Palestine - they are pretended Jews. It's just like white folks from South Africa [indistinct] but they went over and took the people's land, language and their culture and then called themselves South Africans. There was Jews already over there in that land. They were darkey Jews. These European Jews – they are pretended Jews. They are the scum of the planet Earth and they are just like their father, the Devil." Washington Journal's host that day, Robb Harleston, failed to recognize and abort this repetition of Aryan Nation and Nation of Islam "theology." Such negligence virtually never occurs on C-SPAN when other minorities, national or ethnic groups are targeted by callers.

February 3, 2011 – 7:26 AM


Topic: Is President Mubarak a good U.S. ally?

Caller: Joy from Kansas City, Missouri.

Caller: “I think it's irrelevant that he's been a good ally. What I think is important is that we don't repeat what we did in the 60's in the Middle East and that is to play an uneven-handed approach between Arab countries – that we stand for democracy but only if it's for Israel and the support of (indistinct). I think it's time that we play an even-handed approach. Because what has happened in the 60's was that we turned countries away that were moving towards Westernization, including Iran, by being so protective of Israel that we turned our backs on the Arab countries. And as a result of that, we ended up with a lot of reactionary responses from the Middle East, which is what we're getting now.”

NOTE: Mr. Slen has no comment. Not even when major news media, including Qatar-based Al Jazeera, hardly sympathetic to Israel, has reported on demonstrators throughout the Arab world demanding jobs, an end to government repression and corruption, and leadership by small, self-perpetuating elites. News from Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere makes clear the tangential relationship, at most, of Israeli-Palestinian matters to regional developments. The host doesn't challenge the caller's obvious fallacies that Arab countries were moving toward Westernization in the '60s – many were dictatorships moving toward Soviet influence – or that the United States was "so protective of Israel” that it turned its back on Arab countries. In fact, in 1967, Israel – without American support – fought a successful war of self-defense against Egypt, Syria and Jordan while after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, close ties between Washington and countries like Saudi Arabia developed regardless of U.S.-Israel relations. Rather than actually "moderating" the program, Mr. Slen passively airs yet another gratuitous anti-Israel call on Washington Journal.

February 3, 2011 – 8:04 AM


Guest: JAMES KITFIELD, National Journal senior correspondent.

Topic: Egypt's military.

Caller: Mahmoud from Brooklyn, New York

Caller: “I just would like your guest to explain to me – he started his talk by saying that Egypt initiated the (1967) war against Israel. When a country has its air force destroyed (1967), all of the fighter jets destroyed on the ground, I do not call that initiating a war. That happened in 1967 to the Egyptian air force. In 1973, yes, Egypt initiated the war. That is the only question or point I would like the guest to explain.”

(Host continues to converse with the caller determining that the caller, originally from Egypt, had supported President Mubarak (“a hero in 1973” when he acquitted himself well against Israel in the 1973 war) but Mubarak gradually became a dictator etc.)

Guest: “It's widely accepted that Egypt was leading a coalition that was going to attack Israel and Israel preempted that attack. I have never really heard it disputed they (the Egyptians) were building up to a war with Israel. Israel did a pre-emptive strike. However you want to come down on that; it is kind of accepted history. I take his point that Sadat was a hero in the Middle East. He did reorient Egypt much more toward the West and toward peace after these two (wars) – really – and ‘73 (war) was a very near thing for Israel. Egypt took a lot of prestige from that because they fought a very close war that required the United States, for instance, at the height of the Cold War, to really deplete all our arsenal of tanks to keep feeding the Israeli army – to try to ensure the survival of Israel. So, that was a very near thing, Sadat was a hero of his day and Mubarak has been a good ally. Mubarak has been a good ally but he's gotten old and he's gotten very resistant to the idea of political liberalization and reform in the Middle East and what we're seeing now in this age of social media and Twitter where people can see how other people live etc. ”

NOTE: Caller's false characterization of Israel as a war-maker – “When a country (Egypt) has its air force destroyed, all of the fighter jets destroyed on the ground, I do not call that (Egypt) initiating a war. That happened in 1967 to the air force” – is appropriately refuted by the guest. A knowledgeable host might have added that before Israel destroyed Egypt's air force, the Egypt had expelled U.N. observers and moved more than 80,000 troops and nearly 1,000 tanks near Israel's western border, while Syrian mobilization on its northern border meant Israeli ground forces were outnumbered. Instead, Mr. Slen plays "where-are-you-from" with the caller.

February 3, 2011 – 8:24 AM


Guest: JAMES KITFIELD, National Journal senior correspondent.

Caller: Virginia from Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Caller: “I would like to ask a question here regarding the Egyptians and the Israeli situation. Now, we are all in favor of the Egyptian people having their freedom and we certainly are behind them. But across the way is Israel and the Palestinian people. Why do we not stand as strong for them as we are for Israel? I will take my answer off the air. Thank you.”

Guest: “I think she raises the issue about the Palestinians and why aren't we standing behind them. Truth be told, we have been working through Democratic and Republican regimes trying to enhance the peace process. It is stalled. This will stall if further. The peace process is off the table for a while because when Israel feels insecure, it will not make a any compromises required for a real peace deal. I would argue – I covered this closely during the Bush administration, the Clinton administration and now the Obama administration, have all done whatever they could to promote the peace process. But you cannot want it more than the two parties involved. We have never found the correct alignment of the balance of power and interest to get the Palestinians and the Israelis to that. This does not help the peace process. The Palestinians are not going to be helped because it was already stalled. Israel will not make any compromises if it thinks its southern border is now suddenly less secure than it was before. They think that now because Mubarak ... he was solid. Whatever is happening in Egypt now is not solid from the viewpoint of the Israelis.”

NOTE: The caller questions if the U.S. “stands as strong for them (Palestinians) as we are for Israel.” The question, left largely unanswered by Mr. Kitfield, could be responded to by an engaged host who pointed out that the U.S. stands for the Palestinian Arabs by providing billions of dollars in aid through the U.N. and numerous charitable organizations, pressured Israel to permit the elections that brought Hamas to power in 2006, has supported Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salim Fayyad in the West Bank, trained PA security forces and often overlooked incitement to anti-Israel, anti-Jewish hatred and violence through Palestinian media, schools and mosques in violation of previous Palestinian-Israeli agreements. But again, Mr. Slen abdicates.

February 3, 2011 – 8:32 AM


Guest: JAMES KITFIELD, National Journal senior correspondent.

Caller: Todd from Albuquerque, New Mexico (Egyptian American).

Caller: “When the questions keep coming up about – let me say a couple of points here -- the U.S. is not viewed as an honest broker there, especially when it comes to the Palestinian issue. That issue will come up sooner or later. But the (indistinct) issue going on right now is jobs, and other things – the corruption. But my fear is that this will go on and on and on. And the other groups – there are so many groups. This could become another Iraq. Some Egyptian neighbors view Egypt just like Mexico – as the U.S. views Mexico – poor, large population, no respect for the borders. With regard to Elbaradei, (indistinct) I would say the better candidate would be Boustros Gali (indistinct). That's my thought basically. This could go on. With regard to the military, I believe it's over a million – I have been here (in U.S.) since the 70' s. A lot of this aid – this so-called aid – does not go to the military. It goes to building mansions and palaces for Mr. Mubarak.”

Host: “Do you think if Mr. Mubarak steps down or manages to stay on through September, that he should be able to stay in Egypt?”

Caller: “He should actually resign and stay in the country. Leaving the country would make more chaos. I believe he has done enough damage and he should have been gone a long time ago. Now, what disturbs me is the ones causing the trouble, his thugs. But, let's not paint the protesters as peaceful, wonderful people. They destroyed businesses, government properties. That really disturbs me. I am angry about that.”

Host: “Todd, Thank you so much. James Kitfield?”

Guest: “He raises a couple of really good points, one of which is we are worried that this unrest, this instability gets prolonged. Because, what happens in revolutions like this – and we have not seen one like this in the Middle East since 1979 in Iran, are inherently unpredictable etc.”
February 2, 2011 – 7:25 AM


Topic: Is Egypt heading towards democracy?

Caller: Jim from Bristol, Pennsylvania.

Caller: "Thank you for taking my call. I am not really sure they are headed toward democracy. One thing that I'm not hearing being discussed is the natural gas line deal that happened – I believe it was 2005 – But the Bush administration and what they did was they forced Egypt to sell Israel natural gas under market value to the tune of something like $2 billion. What happened was, in 2010, Egypt started to have a shortage in a (natural gas) reserve so then they were forced to buy back natural gas from Egypt – excuse me, from Israel – who now sold it back to them above market value to the tune of, I believe it was $12 billion. So, when the citizens of Egypt heard about this, they became enraged. This was back in August of 2010 when they were forced to buy back the natural gas from Israel. I don't hear anybody in the media talking about this – because this is what enraged the people. They started marching way back then. But the media is constantly – keep Israel out of it as if this is just a march against the – I forget the guy's name – Morbarak – or whatever his name is [Mubarak] – but it is actually a protest against their president, Israel, and the United States for brokering that deal back in 2005 under the Bush administration."

CASEY: "Let's take a look at a comment from Twitter."

NOTE: Washington Journal host Ms. Casey apparently sees no reason to question the caller's bizarre claim that "It [the current protest in Egypt] is actually a protest against their president, Israel, and the United States for brokering that [natural gas] deal back in 2005 under the Bush administration." According to some reports, the Egyptian government in 2010 was seeking to re-purchase from Israel, 1.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas which had been sold to Israel in an agreement signed in July 2005. The agreement was in conformance with the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty. As part of the peace treaty, Israel had returned to Egypt the entire Sinai Peninsula, containing valuable mineral reserves including rich oil and natural gas deposits, captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and developed by Israel. As a partial recompense, Egypt had agreed to sell natural gas to Israel, thus the 2005 agreement. The 2010 sale to Egypt was apparently to be at the 2010 market price of natural gas which was considerably higher than the 2005 sales price and this had apparently caused anger in Egypt.

But to claim that the January-February 2011 anti-government protests in Egypt are in response to natural gas deals when demonstrators, inspired by similar, successful protests in Tunisia, were demanding an end to 30 years of state of emergency rule, police brutality, official corruption and economic stagnation including high unemployment – is mind boggling. A conscientious moderator should have challenged the caller regarding the sources of his information and apparent anti-Israel bias in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary regarding the demonstrations.

February 2, 2011 – 7:32 AM


Topic: Is Egypt heading towards democracy?

Caller: Aaron from Landover, Maryland.

Caller: "I am a little confused but I am not trying to be disrespectful. This so-called Egyptian American [a previous caller] – either you are American or not. However, if they are such a great group – well educated, very wealthy – now you have the opportunity to go back to Egypt and take control of your own country. Israel is in complicit in this, the United States and its serious debacles of foreign policy. This is the greatest challenge to the Obama administration since its inception and I guarantee you anarchy will continue. This is 2011. Not 1011. These so-called monarchies are things of the stone age. King Abdullah and Queen Noor – they need to abdicate and they need to open the way to get something going. Hopefully, the rest of this will go down to the central and southern part of Africa and we can get all the other tyrants and gangsters out of office."

NOTE: Host has no response to the caller's errant claim that Israel and the U.S. are complicit in creating or maintaining conditions spotlighted by Egyptian protesters. As noted by, among other sources, the annual U.N. Arab Human Development reports, Arab states have suffered internal "deficits" of democracy, minority and women's rights, education, religious freedom, free markets and an absence of corruption, scientific and technological development, and so on. The frequency of dictatorial and/or police state rule in the Middle East and Africa the caller referred to stems primarily from internal circumstances, not U.S. let alone Israel complicity. An attentive host might have pointed out that, contrary to the caller, Queen Rania, not Noor, has been the reigning queen of Jordan for many years.

February 2, 2011 – 8:16 AM


Guest: STEVEN COOK, senior fellow at Council on Foreign Relations.

Caller: Khalid from Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Caller: "Mr. Cook, you just mentioned that our (indistinct). It's funny how America tries to pretend as though we are a just and fair nation. You're talking about Egyptian policy, but for the past 50 years, the Palestinians have been suffering. Recently, the WikiLeaks leak to the Palestinian papers came out and they showed how complicit Mahmoud Abbas and the Egyptians and the Saudis and the Jordanians have been in terms of repressing the Palestinian people. This is the same situation here in Gaza. It's set forth that the Palestinians been doing it for a long time. They're trying to get democracy too. Hamas went in as the leading political party (indistinct) and we don't even hear anything about them any more because of the fact that Israel, the Zionist movement, is the core of these problems over there in the Middle East and in Africa."

Guest: "Well, I think the caller is expressing a sentiment that's held by many in the Middle East that the core of the problem in the region is the Palestinian issue and that the occupation and dispossession of the Palestinians came with the establishment of the state of Israel as the font of all the ills in the region. There certainly is a symbolic level. The Palestinians are a powerful, powerful issue. But as we can see from problems in Tunisia, the current uprising in Egypt, problems in Iraq – none of these things are directly related to Israel or the Palestinian problem. In Egypt, people are angry about the peace treaty. They see it as a separate peace. They see it as Egypt not living up to – as a leading Arab country – its commitment to the Palestinian people. But ultimately, what this boils down to is not Israel and not the peace treaty, but the authoritarian political system etc."

NOTE: The guest's response is muddled. He does note that the current discontent in Arab countries is actually due to authoritarian rule and repression. However, neither the guest nor host points out the obvious: the caller is reflecting a hostility toward Israel long encouraged by Arab and Islamic regimes seeking to legitimize their authoritarian rule and excuse economic and social stagnation at home. The guest gives too much credence to the caller's allegation that Israel and "Palestinian suffering" are the core of Middle East problems before pointing out that upheaval in Egypt and Tunisia "boils down to their authoritarian political systems." Neither host nor guest reminds the caller and viewers that Palestinian Arab suffering mostly has been self-inflicted, including notably the refusal of Palestinian leaders to accept Israeli-U.S. offers of a two-state solution in 2000, 2001 and 2008 or that continued Palestinian aggression, including the thousands of mortars and rockets fired into Israel after its 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip provoked Israeli counter-attacks such as "Operation Cast Lead" in 2008-2009. Neither guest nor host stresses that the sentiment the caller expressed and is allegedly held by many in the Middle East amounts to blame-shifting for the fundamental causes of stagnation in Arab countries and perpetuation of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

February 2, 2011 – 8:18 AM


Guest: STEVEN COOK, senior fellow at Council on Foreign Relations.

Caller: Suzanne from Maryland.

Caller: "Mr. Cook made a comment earlier that the U.S. policy – or that the world is actually a messy place and that the United States always has to look out for their own interests. You know, the question or the concern that I have is, the U.S. policy contributes quite a bit to that mess and that what I think politicians should really take a look at. I sincerely hope that in Egypt it turns around in a peaceful way so that there will be a democratic government in all of that. But one of the things that I have to say – I'm very critical of – is the U.S. meddling around in other countries affairs. Now, they have restrained themselves in this case but when you look at history, everybody's talking about Iran and what happened to Iran when they had their revolution. What they don't tell you on the news is that Iran did actually have a perfectly legal democratic elected government in the 1960s that the United States did not like and they sent in the CIA and they took out the government (etc.). Palestine would be another example, we talk about democracy and yet when we have elections and Hamas gets elected legally, we don't accept the results. I think it is a schizophrenic policy to say the least – and I really think – there's a few politicians in Washington that are starting to look at that or have pause about this for the last few years. One of them, America in my opinion messes around a lot and really create more problems [etc.]."

NOTE: The guest reviewed the reasons for America's engagement in the Middle East – starting with "legitimate Cold War considerations" and then "helping the cause of peace between Arabs and Israelis." "But now, years later, these reasons are not as important now as they once were [etc.]." Neither guest nor host points out that elections – "one person, one vote, one time" – alone are not democracy. By such means, the Nazis in Germany, Hamas in the Gaza Strip and numerous other dictators or totalitarian movements have taken power. Neither corrects the caller than the British-instigated, CIA-supported ouster of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, who had nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co., took place in 1953, not "the 1960s".

Neither stresses that actual democracies, like the United States and Israel, with free press, independent judiciaries, individual rights and minority equality, free markets and private property and the rule of law are not obligated to recognize anti-democratic movements, like Hamas, that win an election and then oppress opponents. Neither host nor guest rebuts the caller's "blame America" for creating international problems when U.S. involvement from World War II on, including the Marshall Plan and NATO, containment of Soviet communism and opposition to Islamic fundamentalism has helped expand democratic governance world-wide. Once more, Washington Journal call-in segments are used as a platform for implicit and explicit anti-Israel comments un-refuted by C-SPAN hosts.

February 1, 2011 – 7:14 AM


Topic: Obama administration approach to Egypt.

Caller: Joe from New York City, New York.

Caller: “Yeah, good morning. My comment would be: I would recommend that all these analysts that are Jewish are misleading the American people. So, please make sure that you bring honest analysts to analyze the situation. Thank you.”

ORGEL: “Let's move onto Detroit Michigan now, Clyde.
NOTE: Incredible. C-SPAN's host fails to challenge the caller's anti-Semitic accusation that "all these analysts that are Jewish are misleading the American people" and implication that Jewish analysts can't be honest. No such accusations are heard on C-SPAN regarding analysts who are African-American or Arab or Muslim or are members of any other ethnic, religious or national minority. But Washington Journal incessantly tolerates overt and covert anti-Jewish, anti-Israel slanders.

February 1, 2011 – 7:16 AM


Topic: Obama administration approach to Egypt.

Caller: Ingrid from Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

Caller: “Yes, good morning. Thank you for taking my call.”

ORGEL: “Sure, what do you make of the administration's approach to Egypt thus far?”

Caller: “I disagree. There are underlying reasons. When the peace accord with Mr. Sadat – they (Israel) got the Golan Heights and the Palestinians got nothing. He (Sadat) got $1.5 billion from this country. That was a false peace. That's underlining reason – and the Palestinians never got one inch of their own land back.”

ORGEL: “Caller, take us back to the specific issue at hand regarding the administration's current approach to Egypt – what have they been doing and saying in these recent days.”

Caller: “I think Mubarak is a coward. He should step down. He's not a nice leader; He's never been a nice person.”

ORGEL: “Alright, that was Ingrid from Kentucky.”
NOTE: C-SPAN's host, Paul Orgel, characteristically tolerates a caller who has nothing to offer except errant bias against U.S. policy and Israel. The host fails to point out there was no link between the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty and the Golan Heights, that the treaty included provisions for Palestinian autonomy – the first potential self-rule in Palestinian Arab history – which Yasser Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization rejected, and that, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, being disputed territory previously occupied by Jordan and Egypt and subject to negotiations according to U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the Palestinians had no sovereign land of their own "to get back." Instead, having heard the caller's misrepresentations, Orgel fecklessly invites her to continue, leading to the illuminating remarks that Mubarak is "not a nice leader" and has "never been a nice person."

February 1, 2011 – 7:22 AM


Topic: Obama administration approach to Egypt

Caller: Darrell from St. Charles, Missouri (anti-Israel frequent caller).

Caller: “I' m wondering what the terrorists in Israel are going to do now that this flunky (Mubarak) is out. Are we going to continue to give money to them (Israel) or will we cut them off like we're going to cut the Egyptians off? What you think about that?”

Host: “What do you think?”

Caller: “I wish we would cut off all the money to the Middle East, especially to Israel. This was never a real peace plan, anyway. We just went in there and bought off these people off.”

ORGEL: “Alright Darrell. Let's here from John now.”
NOTE: "Darrell" aka "Bill" has called Washington Journal numerous times, each time defaming Israel or the Jewish people with anti-Semitic canards. Host Orgel responds with silence here just as he did when this caller, identifying himself as Darrell/St. Louis (Aug. 16, 2010 – 7:09 AM), said: "The war (in Afghanistan) is un-winnable. It's un-winnable because the Afghanistan people have nothing to do with 9/11. If you want to bomb somebody for 9/11 then you need to go to Israel. They were the ones that were behind 9/11." Darrell/Defiance, Missouri (Dec. 21, 2010 – 7:46 AM), said (unchallenged): "I have no faith at all in our Senate. I think there's only three things that they're good at doing and that's stuffing cash in their pockets, selling the American people out and kissing Israel's ass."

Here is a partial list of calls to the "Washington Journal" by this individual: Bill/St. Louis (May 14, 2010 – 8:21 AM); Darrell/St. Charles (April 19, 2010 -- 7:08 AM); Bill/St. Louis (April 17, 2010 – 7:46 AM); Bill/St. Charles (April 12, 2010 – 7:54 AM); Bill/Paris Missouri (April 5, 2010 –8:00 AM); Darrell/St. Louis (Feb. 12, 2010 – 8:14 AM); Darrell/St. Louis (Dec. 5, 2009 – 8:13 AM); Darrell/St. Louis (Sept. 30, 2009 – 8:21 AM).

Evidence enough that this caller, for whom C-SPAN repeatedly puts out the welcome mat, has an "obsessive-compulsive disorder" (OCD) with regard to Israel and Jews. Evidence enough that C-SPAN's tolerance for such hatred encourages the dissemination of more via Washington Journal.

February 1, 2011 – 7:25 AM


Topic: Obama administration approach to Egypt.

Caller: Mahmoud from Brooklyn, New York

Caller: "I would also like to talk about that and I'd like to talk little bit about the history of Hosni Mubarak and what got him thus far. The administration cannot hide its head in the sand. When the revolution happened in Georgia and the Ukraine, the United States came out clearly and said, ‘we are with the people.' So, if you do not want to say that, just stay out of it. This is my opinion. The history of Mubarak – Mubarak was the air force commander in 1973 [when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel]. He was a hero. When [Egyptian President] Sadat died [assassinated by Muslim terrorists], the people loved him. And then came some kind of unrest in upper Egypt [anti-Christian and Islamic radicalism] and then he started to police the country to control it. Now we call him an ally. The money that you are paying him does not go to the people. It goes to – I'm an Egyptian American. I know Egyptians are very proud people.

When you constantly tell them you are beggars, we're giving you money – it is a bribe, like the gentleman before me said. Israel, we give them over $10 billion per year, plus anything they say. When Mubarak started to please the United States – here's where the dictatorship started to grow, little by little, little by little. Then comes the first Iraq war and then comes the second Iraq war. He had to tighten up the grips to so he can please the United States. So, we have to look at the – these are people, 84 million people. What are we afraid of? What are we afraid of? Don't cut me off!"

Host: "That was Mahmoud on the line. Sorry to cut you off. We want to get some other people on."

NOTE: Host Orgel finally terminates the caller's lengthy ramble. Typically uninformed, Mr. Orgel apparently has no concept of U.S. aid amounts especially as it pertains to Israel since he tacitly accepts the caller's false claim, "Israel, we give them over $10 billion per year, plus anything they say." The current annual aid is approximately $3 billion per year used to acquire military materials, most of which are purchased in the United States. American aid to Israel is a small percentage of the foreign aid budget. In addition, no mention is made of the reciprocal advantages to the United States from aid to Israel. This matter is discussed at length in the C-SPAN Watch entry for March 4, 2010 (7:04 AM).

February 1, 2011 – 9:58 AM


Topic: Open phones.

Caller: Len from Wisconsin.

Caller: “Good Morning, good morning. Thank you so much for C-SPAN. There are just so many things, the economy, what is going on in Egypt. What Senator Paul said last week is very interesting and I wish that C-SPAN – this is a very sensitive subject, and how to put this in a way that comes off properly, the huge amount of money that is given both to Egypt, $2 billion per year, Israel more money. The problems there are huge and substantial. I think if we had some really, really smart people that could come in on C-SPAN on an open forum and discuss a wide-range of problems of the amount of money that is going to Israel since 1948, the huge amount of problems with the Palestinians, what is going on there, I do not want to say anything that would make my comments anything but the facts on the table. The huge amount of trouble and in light of the economic struggles that we're going through, can we continuously afford to drop this kind of money into foreign countries? One thing that comes to mind – when George Washington says we should not, to paraphrase, we go to bed with foreign countries. The other thing that [President] Eisenhower said with the industrial military complex, the monies that is going into Egypt is for armament – the same thing with Israel, and we are just fueling the fires. It seems that that is one huge economical hole. It seems like if we could make peace over there – it is just frightening to think what we could do with that money here in the United States that is going abroad to buy armaments.”

NOTE: An informed host would have pointed out that, contrary to the caller's assertion, virtually no U.S. aid went to Israel starting in 1948. Not until after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when the United States decide in its own national interest, in the context of the Cold War versus the Soviet Union, and in supporting the only Western-style democracy in the Middle East, did significant amounts of U.S. aid begin going to Israel annually. That increased, and included Egypt, after the 1978 Egyptian-Israeli Camp David Accords, also to support American national interests in a strategically vital area. Meanwhile, the U.S. since the mid-1980s has been trying to entice the Palestinian leadership into "land-for-peace" and "two-state solution" deals with Israel, deals the Palestinian leaders have rejected. This too the host fails to note in response to the caller's remark about U.S. peace-making. When it comes to Israel, and U.S.-Israel relations, Washington Journal hosts appear chronically uninformed, and tolerant of anti-Israel bias.

January 31, 2011 – 7:40 AM


Topic: What's next in Egypt for U.S.?

Caller: Jay from Florida.

Caller: “Good morning. I always try to stay America they should stay out of this. Can you hear me? “

Host: “We can.”

Caller: “America should stay out of this.”

Host: “Why caller?”

Caller: “Can you hear me?”

Host: “We are listening. Go ahead.”

Caller: “Because of the problems between Gaza and Israel. The people of Egypt will decide their future, like the Americans do.”
NOTE: Host Brawner ignores the caller's non sequitur, one that a capable host would have refuted or at least questioned that "the problems between Gaza and Israel" have anything to do with economic and political progress for Egyptians.
January 31, 2011 – 7:46 AM


Topic: What's next in Egypt for U.S.?

Caller: Rashid from Saudi Arabia.

Caller: “I think that President Obama should stand up and say what it is that Mubarak is. He is a dictator who has been in power for far too long. Instead of trying to straddle the fence, he must call it like it is. We cannot put policy over principles. Either we believe in democracy and we want to see it for the rest of the world, or we want to maintain our policies, and the hell with everything else.”

Host: “Are you an American living in Saudi Arabia?”

Caller: “I work at one of the universities. I am an American living in Saudi Arabia.

Host: “What is happening there?”

Caller: “It is very quiet, which tends to be the case in the kingdom. Things are very quiet here. What I want to get back to – do you have another question for me?”

Host: “I am sorry. I cut you off before. I should have let you finish. Go ahead.”

Caller: “The people in this part of the world are looking for leadership from the U.S. based upon our articulated principles. When we start vacillating about those principles, they are confused. People here love the U.S. If you walk down the street, anywhere you go – like I said, I work at one of the universities. The people love the U.S. They're looking for principled leadership. It seems like everything that happens is based upon what is best for Israel. They are saying, ‘we understand your special relationship with them, but be fair.' That is all they're looking for.”

NOTE: The caller, Rashid, [self-identified as an American] living in Saudi Arabia, claims to reflect the perceptions of the Saudi populace that everything that the United States does in the Middle East "is based upon what is best for Israel." Is the claim true? Is it justified? A competent host would have pursued the matter, asking "What makes you say that? The Obama administration opposes Israeli settlements, hasn't pressured the Palestinians over anti-Jewish incitement and has proposed a record-breaking arms sale to the kingdom. Don't the Saudis recognize that?" But when it comes to putting Arab-Israeli matters into perspective, C-SPAN hosts fail repeatedly to say something like, "Specifically, what is it that leads people to believe this?" And "What were the circumstances that led the U.S. to involve itself in that area in the 1950s?"

January 31, 2011 – 8:45 AM


Guest: STEVE HEYDEMANN, Vice President of the United States Institute of Peace.

Topic: Unrest in Egypt.

Caller: Cyrus from Atlanta, Georgia.

Caller: “They need to work within themselves and try somehow to manage to move the United States and Israeli people out of the picture. The United States did not try to bring democracy in (indistinct). The revolution was one of them. The question Iranians will ask is that they did not like bringing the communist or socialist party with the help of the Soviet Union. They did not like the democratic movement. The question is, what do they want from us? The question is honestly as Americans, which I love this country so much, is that America is an imperial government. Wherever they go, they look at their interest.”
Host: "We will leave it there."

Guest: "What is so interesting about the developments in Egypt is the U.S. has not played a self-interest role either in sparking the protests that have forced the government to think very carefully about its future and whether in fact it has a future, but in addition, the U.S. government has been very cautious about identifying a very particular outcome as its preferred direction of change for Egypt. The government, Secretary Clinton, has never indicated anything in particular about the future of .... The U.S. government has not expressed a view about the kind of outcome it would prefer in this case. It seems to me that it is trying to step back from inserting itself into this process, into this very messy process of popular protest in a way that might create opportunities for Egypt since to view of the U.S. as seeking to directly influence the course of events. You might in fact say that one of the lessons that the U.S. learned from earlier experience in the Middle East, including perhaps in Iran, is that sometimes we perhaps insert more influence when we do not take a position. It is one that at the end of the day that we are not able to control."

NOTE: In response to the caller's condemnation of the U.S. as "imperial" and "look[ing] at their interest," mention is not made that naturally any nation acts out of at least enlightened self-interest which is what U.S. policy aims at (or should aim at). This being said, the U.S. back in the 1950s entered the area mainly to thwart the imperialist ambitions of the Soviet Union. Israel is again singled out for animus by a Journal caller in vague, rambling remarks, this time as if Israel has the power or motivation to thwart aspirations for a better life for Egypt's populace. Neither host nor guest rebuts this or the "imperial America" allegation.

January 31, 2011 – 8:52 AM


Guest: STEVE HEYDEMANN, Vice President of the United States Institute of Peace.

Topic: Unrest in Egypt.

Caller: Anthony from Miami, Florida.

Host: “Anthony, another Egyptian American in Miami, Florida. When did you leave Egypt and why?”

Caller: “25 years ago. I left for business reasons. My comment is, Egypt is a very poor country. The only interest we (the U.S.) have is two things, oil and Israel. Nothing else. Before we implement changes, we have to be very careful.”

Guest: “I think it is true, no one knows where this is going to lead. That is one of the challenges that the administration and Washington has been wrestling with. This is a very-fast- fast-moving situation on the ground. We do not know what is good to happen. That uncertainty is deeply unsettling for any government that once predictability in its relationships in a region that it views as strategically very important."
"I have to say I think that U.S. interests in the Arab world go beyond oil and Israel. During the Cold War we recognized that networks of alliances were important in maintaining a balance of power in the international system and in checking the influence of the Soviet Union. I think subsequently in the struggle against Islamist extremism we have recognized that the U.S. interest in maintaining relationships and parts of the world where those kinds of trends have been an exceptionally powerful force, and in addition, I think if we take a slightly less cynical view there are interests of the United States in economic and social development that will elevate the living standards of citizens of countries in the Arab world and provide them with opportunities for a future that we hope would equip them to participate as active citizens in democratic politics in ways that they have not had the opportunity over the past several decades. While I agree that oil and Israel do tend to be prominent priorities of the U.S. in the region, I'd be reluctant to define them as our only priorities.”

NOTE: Again, a Journal caller registering animosity toward Israel castigates U.S. foreign policy. The guest responds appropriately while the host sits mute.

January 31, 2011 – 9:16 AM


Guest: STEVE HEYDEMANN, Vice President of the United States Institute of Peace.

Topic: Unrest in Egypt.

Caller: Mike from Roseburg, Oregon.

Caller: “Good morning. I certainly appreciate your expertise on this matter. I have a comment and question. Hello?”

Host: “Yes, we're listening, Mike. Go ahead.”

Caller: “My comment is – really, the whole thing, in my opinion, in why Israel is so concerned is because it's universally understood that it's really fundamentally wrong when you deny a person's right to subsist. My question is my concern really over the King of Jordan. I find this man to be extremely honorable and I agree with just about everything I've have heard the man say.”

Host: “Well, Mike we'll get to Jordan in a minute. But first let me read the front-page story from “USA Today”: “Egypt has been an ally of the U.S. for decades … Its 1979 peace treaty with Israel ended attempts by Arab regimes to topple the Jewish state by force. It is one of the largest recipients of U.S. aid at about 1.5 billion dollars a year …”

Host: “Steve Heydemann, do you want to talk about Jordan?

Guest: “I think the context in Jordan is quite different than what we have seen in Tunisia and now in Egypt. It is true that Jordan shares many of these general attributes that are driving protests across the Arab world. Large numbers of unemployed youth, increasing levels of inequality, rising commodity prices, the kinds of conditions that are just ripe for these sorts of protest to develop. But at the same time, the system of governance is quite different. It is a monarchy. Society is split between Palestinians and Jordanians of East Bank origin. There is a long history of East Bank dominance in the political system and the military. Protests we have seen in Jordan have tended to focus very heavily on social and economic issues and the king is responding to those concerns. It is not clear whether the kinds of changes he has been proposing in economic policy and social policy are going to be sufficient, but he is making a concerted effort both in responsiveness on the one hand, and to cast these protests in Jordan as anchored in a set of economic grievances that the regime can address without necessarily engaging the bigger political questions that we've seen emerge in Egypt and in Tunisia and in Yemen and perhaps in some other settings as well – Algeria.”

NOTE: Instead of challenging the caller's falsehood that Israel denies "a person's right to subsist," the Washington Journal host abruptly reads a newspaper article not directly related to either the caller's comment or question. The host fails to provide viewers with pertinent information, including that Israeli Arabs have higher living standards and more freedoms than most Arabs, that West Bank Palestinians are now experiencing economic expansion, and Gazans, ruled by the terrorist organization Hamas, face no shortage of either humanitarian aid or consumer goods.

January 30, 2011 – 7:03 AM


Topic: What is Egypt's political future?

Caller: Ethel from New York City.

Caller: “Yes, I have been watching the situation there in Egypt. And I was very pleased that the demonstrators were not violent. I was pleased when the President spoke about keep it nonviolent and keep it calm. But all a sudden, it turned violent. And then all of a sudden, all the stations, especially CNN, started saying the President should do more, and some group of people – I think it is between Israel and the United States – are trying to drag our country into this conflict, especially our President. They tried to get him into Iran. Now there will try to make him come out and take sides. He is doing exactly what he is supposed to do.”

Host: “Ethel, thanks for the call.”
NOTE: Host Scully is characteristically silent as to the caller's baseless allegation that Israel is involved in "trying to drag our country into this conflict (Egypt turmoil) … (like) they tried to get him (the President) into Iran." Defaming Israel and rarely being interrupted by the host, is routine on C-SPAN's Washington Journal, and has been documented extensively by CAMERA's C-SPAN Watch.

January 30, 2011 – 7:15 AM


Topic: What is Egypt's political future?

Caller: James from Indianapolis, Indiana.

Caller: “I am a recovering black Republican who chose to be an independent cause I do talk radio here locally. After receiving some of the talking points, I think that there are elements within that party that would like to do what those people are doing over there. And it made me think after listening to all these people talking about the money that we send them. What if the money that we borrowed from China came with any stipulations that we do what they tell us to do? Since Egypt is not being attacked by any other country, and it's internal within Egypt, it is the best place for Barack Obama and the United States to stay out of that, because when these people have democratic elections, if they elect someone we do not like it, we will ignore them like we are doing over with the people who are in a “democracy” in Israel, which is very much close to being apartheid if you are Palestinian. If the Palestinian people have elections and if we do not like the people that win, we do not acknowledge them. So, we cannot try to preach democracy if we don't respect democracy. We cannot put any strings with our money that we give these countries. As long as China is not dictating policy, all we hear is that China is paying for our tax breaks and for all our wars.”
NOTE: Embedded in the caller's diatribe against U.S. foreign policy is the "apartheid Israel" a central – if obviously false, given the civic equality of Israel's black Jewish, Muslim, Christian and other minorities – indictment in the international campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state. "Apartheid" refers to the system of racial separation and discrimination created by white South Africans in which "non-white" residents were denied citizenship and basic civil rights.

In fact, "apartheid" more accurately describes the systems of Muslim majority oppression of non-Muslim or Muslim minority sects operating in Saudi Arabia, Iran and elsewhere in the larger Middle East.Yet the anti-Israel lie is met by characteristic silence by a Washington Journal host. Why not point out the obvious: that, as ranked by Freedom House, U.S. State Department Country Reports and others, Israel is the most democratic and egalitarian country in the region? When it comes to repeated slanders against the Jewish state and against Jews, C-SPAN typically makes no objection.

January 30, 2011 – 7:46 AM


Topic: What is Egypt's political future?

Caller: Tom from Baltimore, Maryland.

Caller: “Good morning. I do not know what the future for Egypt is, but I do know that it will cost the United States a hell of a lot of money, because Israel will demand more money – they will come up with some reason. And the oil companies – the greedy, greedy oil companies – will raise the prices on oil, and we will pay for that. And Obama, he doesn't have the courage of a [bleep].”

(Host bleeped out the caller, presumably insulting President Obama, and cut him off at that point).
NOTE: This is yet another instance of a C-SPAN caller singling out Israel for condemnation. Host Scully neglects to mention that Israel does not "demand more money" from the U.S. A competent host would question this point, noting that aid to Israel, less than 1 percent of the U.S. foreign aid budget, consists of dollars mostly spent in the United States to purchase military equipment. A competent host could ask on air why it is that such callers target only Israel from among the numerous nations receiving U.S. assistance.

January 30, 2011 – 8:17 AM

Guest: CRAIG CRAWFORD, Congressional Quarterly-Roll Call columnist.
Topic: Situation in Egypt; U.S. economy.

Caller: David from Biloxi, Mississippi.

Caller: “Good morning.”

Host: “Is Haley Barbour going to run for president? Is your governor, Haley Barbour going to run for president?”

Caller: “Well, he may. I don't see it, but he may. But I've got a comment here –everybody ought to get on the love train in Egypt too, you know. That's an old song, you know, but one of the comments that might sound kind of derogative but I don't mean it to sound like it's derogative thought – but the Federal Reserve, you know, the Jewish people have a jubilee; it's a 50 year jubilee. Why don't the Jewish people that run the Federal Reserve go ahead and give us a 50-year jubilee on the debt? And I know it sounds kind of corny but that is a lot of money and I don't ever see it being paid off. So, maybe they could do that for us. Thanks y'all.”

Host: “Thank you.”

Host (to guest): “Did you want to address that point?”

Guest: “Not really.”
NOTE: This application of a vicious anti-Semitic canard – money, the Federal Reserve, Jewish control – is met not just with typical silent acceptance by a C-SPAN host, but an invitation to the guest to discuss it seriously. This could leave na´ve persons among those in the Journal audience to ponder, as if it were substantive, the absurd, inflammatory notion that the Jewish people control the U.S. debt . The host's feckless "thank you" in response to such bigoted drivel typifies C-SPAN tolerance of ethnic/religious/national slurs aimed only at Jews and Israel.

January 30, 2011 – 8:25 AM


Guest: CRAIG CRAWFORD, Congressional Quarterly-Roll Call columnist.

Topic: Situation in Egypt; U.S. economy.

Caller: Joe Briggs of Manchester, New Hampshire (e-mail).

SCULLY: “We are moving back and forth from media to domestic issues and this is a comment from Joe Briggs of Manchester, New Hampshire (Scully reads from the e-mail while the entire e-mail is displayed on television screen): The reason there are protests in Egypt today is because U.S. tax dollars have been used to support a corrupt dictator.”

Entire e-mail as displayed on screen: “All I hear is Israel, Israel, Israel. The reason there are protests in Egypt today is because U.S. tax dollars have been used to support a corrupt dictator who agreed to be a partner and support Israel apartheid. Support of Israel is the problem because it requires we give up our constitutional values.”

Guest: “I don't know that's the reason that that is a fact. We have spent billions in military supplies and goods especially to support this regime because it serves our interests …”
NOTE: Host Scully read out of context from the e-mail message, leaving out the substance of the caller's anti-Israel rant, the entirety of which could easily be read by the viewers. Characteristically, C-SPAN failed to rebut the caller's anti-Israel falsehood that "support of Israel is the problem because it requires we give up our constitutional values" apparently referring to "apartheid." [Regarding the "apartheid Israel" charge, see NOTE on second January 30 call, above]. Virtually all news reports at the time cited Egyptian protesters angry at police oppression, official corruption, rule by a small, self-enriching elite, high unemployment and so on. Hostility to the United States or Israel was largely absent from the early mass demonstrations. But host Scully fails to point out the obvious.
January 29, 2011 – 7:21 AM


Topic: What role should the U.S. play in Egypt's future?

Caller: Ann from Ohio (frequent anti-Israel caller).

Caller: “First, we just all hope that the protests are peaceful in regards to the military and those in the streets. But I mean, the role in regard to the U.S., I mean, we've had our fingers in that part of the world too much, too long. And let's just hope the U.S. supports Mohamed ElBaradei who was the the head of the IAEA for so long and that they really support him to be the leader in that transition. And, you know, but the only thing about Mohamed ElBaradei, he'll have forces against him in the U.S. because he has been pushing for a long time that Israel open up to inspections as well as India and Pakistan. So, he wants that to be a level playing field as far as nuclear weapons inspections. But I found it kind of fascinating, who like who they – say Rachel Maddow (MSNBC) – who they will cover in regard to the protests in that part of the world. They will not cover that – they'll cover that protest; they'll cover the protest in Iran but they won't cover the Palestinians who have been protesting for years peacefully.”

NOTE: This chronic anti-Israel caller typically is permitted to grab at any opening to disparage Israel. Host Harleston tacitly accepts the caller's false claims that Palestinian Arab "protests" like the 2000 - 2004 "al-Aqsa intifada" terrorist war have been peaceful and that Western news media have not covered the conflict heavily. “Washington Journal” hosts often permit callers violating C-SPAN's ostensible one-call-per-30-days rule. This caller, “Ann from Ohio,” is identical to “Patricia from Dayton, Ohio” who also complained (May 10, 2010, 7:32 AM) on “Washington Journal” about an alleged lack of media coverage of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Likewise, this deceptive caller, passing herself off as “Kate from Chopwood, Ohio” (Aug. 26, 2010, 7:20 AM) complained, “We have had decades of black outs with the news about the harsh realities for the Palestinians for what's really going on there.”

January 29, 2011 – 7:42 AM

Guest: TOM GARRETT, International Republican Institute (created by U.S. Congress in 2005 to work to support democracy movements worldwide).

Topic: Unrest in Egypt

Host: Jimmy from Columbia, South Carolina.

Caller: “Good morning. We have enslaved the entire Arab world. Just in Egypt alone, 80 million people, so that a handful of Jews – five to six million Jews – can maintain their occupation of Palestinian lands. I am elated this morning because this is the first step towards the destruction of Israel.” Maybe the Jews should be …”

HARLESTON (cuts off the caller): “Jimmy, I don't see any connection between Israel and what's going on in Egypt. Can you make that call for me? Make that connection.”

Caller: “Yes, sir. The $2 to $3 million given to Egypt every year was for their peace. Well, that's just [indistinct] for peace with Israel. Mubarak has denied the Palestinians food coming from Egypt because of the Israelis.”

Host: “We'll leave it there. Tom.”

Guest: “Well, let's just say that in Washington I think a lot of important policies are being considered now as regards to Egypt. But if you look at the people in Egypt right now, they're not speaking about the Israeli-Arab peace process. They're not speaking about Islamists coming to office. They're speaking about they don't have food, they don't have freedom. They're beaten in the streets by the police with impunity and this is not about those greater geopolitical issues.”

NOTE: Neither host Harleston nor guest Garrett seem concerned by the caller's elation at what he perceives as the impending “destruction of Israel.” Do they, does C-SPAN, consider the prospective destruction of the Jewish state and attendant mass murder of Jews a topic of indifference? The guest properly challenges the caller, noting that the protestors are “not speaking about the Israeli-Arab peace process,” but the guest is silent as to the caller's characterization of “occupation.” Neither host nor guest points out that "five or six million Jews" in Israel are not occupying "Palestinian lands" but, as called for by the League of Nations Palestine Mandate and reaffirmed by the United Nations, have reestablished the ancient Jewish state on a portion of its territory. The host and guest also fail to stress that the West Bank and Gaza Strip are not "Palestinian lands" but disputed territory whose final status remains subject to a negotiated compromise according to U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and subsequent international initiatives based on them. As for the claim that the United States has "enslaved the entire Arab world," U.S. sacrifices to free Kuwait from Iraqi occupation and to overthrow Saddam Hussein and attempt to install democracy in Iraq go unmentioned as obvious contradictions. Likewise, there is failure here to refute the false claim of denying food to the Palestinians (Gazans). The availability of food is documented here, here, and here (“Journal” call of August 30, 2010, 7:56 AM). This essentially anti-Semitic call should have been cut off immediately. Once again, C-SPAN tolerates another anti-Jewish, anti-Zionist rant.

January 29, 2011 – 7:46 AM

Guest: TOM GARRETT, International Republican Institute (created by U.S. Congress to work to support democracy movements worldwide).

Topic: Unrest in Egypt

Caller: Tracy from Minnesota.

Caller: “I think we're kind of kidding ourselves. We're having a conversation about who we should stand with and what should we do. I mean, it should be – it's going to end up being who – what do they want. I mean, we're kidding ourselves that a part of – they're seeing images of innocent Iraqis dead and Pakistanis at our hands, and some of the double standards with Israel. I think that this is going to cause us to get pulled in even further. We've got a neo- conservative foreign policy that I think they're going to attempt to figure out a way to get us even more involved in these areas when we should be trying to figure out a way to get out.”

Guest: “Well, this is an Egyptian moment. This is for the Egyptian people and they're taking the reins of power in their country. What happened on January 14 in Tunisia was a Tunisian moment that occurred because the people of Tunisia decided enough is enough. But what is important now is that they do look in these countries to the United States for either signals of friendship and support for democracy or they look to see us support out of touch, autocratic dictators. So it is a choice for the United States to make as well.”

NOTE: The phrase "neo-conservative" as used in this call commonly functions as a euphemism for Jewish or pro-Israel. Callers using this phrase recognize they have a platform in C-SPAN's "Washington Journal." This is a typical “Journal” caller with a compulsion to attack U.S. foreign policy including support of Israel (“double standards with Israel”) and who is characteristically unchallenged by the program host.

January 28, 2011 – 7:03 AM


Topic: Arab protests: What should U.S. do?

Caller: Ron from Miami, Israel.
Caller: “Yes, thank you very much. The problem with all of these Arab countries surrounding Israel is that we set up these puppet governments and what they have done is they've gone in the interests of Israel and not the interests of the people.”

Host (interrupting): “What do you see as the interests of the people?”

Caller: “The interests of the people is they want a democratic society. And all of these regimes that the United States and Israel support is there to only protect Israel. Please, watch Democracy Now, Amy Goodman and please watch Mosaic news from the Middle East, Linktv. Because that's where you get the real news.”

(Host Swain, without comment, goes to the next caller).

NOTE: Out of approximately 15 calls in this segment, Ron's call was the only one that contained non-trivial mention of Israel. Characteristically, host Susan Swain (President and co-CEO of C-SPAN) tacitly accepted caller Ron's absurd assertion that U.S. support of Israel is responsible (or primarily responsible) for the current Arab turmoil. Instead of pointing out that most news coverage of unrest in Egypt, Tunisia and other Arab states has focused on domestic issues including unemployment, corruption, police repression, absence of fair elections, rising prices and so on, Ms. Swain tolerated a plug for a fringe television program and network, characterized by its nearly total opposition to U.S. foreign policy, especially support of Israel. Interestingly, Swain explicitly invited “Arab-American viewers“ to call but no Journal host has ever explicitly invited Jewish-American viewers to call.

Callers repeatedly accused the U.S. of “propping” up the Mubarak regime and other dictatorships in the Arab world that oppose the interests of the people. Ms. Swain did not point out the obvious: Rather than “propping” up dictatorships in the Arab world, Washington has often supported whatever government was put forward by the military in countries in which the military was the only element capable of achieving stability. The United States has attempted to secure its national interests, including free flow of oil from the region; suppression and defeat of Islamic radicals including Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, and support for Israel, the Middle East's only Western-style democracy. The Brotherhood has been anti-American, anti-Western and anti-Jewish since its founding in 1928. It has spun off Sunni extremist movements including al Qaeda and Hamas. American policy has attempted to walk a tightrope between promotion of democracy and support of U.S.-oriented Arab regimes.

January 20, 2011 – 7:09 AM

Topic: U.S. Senator [Joe] Lieberman [I-Conn.] to retire.

Caller: Randall from Fort Worth, Texas.

Caller: “Good morning. This is one person I don't care to hear say, 'share our dreams, our aspirations' – Joe Lieberman.”

Host: “Why is that?”

Caller: “You have to remember, here is a guy that's walking down the worst period of Iraq and our war history at this time and he has seen a few satellite dishes that have no plumbing, electricity, backed-up drugs and he's coming back saying things look good. What I would do with Joe Lieberman, just like Lyndon Johnson did to Sargent Shriver. He said to Sargent Shriver, ‘Sarg, I've got this Peace Corps' and Sargent Shriver hollered back, ‘We just volunteered for the President to take over the Peace Corps.' I'd take Joe Lieberman to the President; I'd make him volunteer –become a Palestinian. I'd shave aid and give him half the budget he gave to Israel. I'd take brick and mortar over there and I'd build for those people what has been built in Israel.”

SWAIN: “Randall, thanks, from Fort Worth, Texas. There are some suggestions floating around the Internet. Huffington Post reported yesterday that in an interview that Senator John McCain talked about him [Lieberman] as a possibility as a new secretary of defense when the current secretary retires later this year.”

NOTE: Host Swain does not cut-off but rather tolerates this absurd anti-Semitic call and characteristically fails to question or challenge the caller in any way. Washington Journal discussions relating to Senator Joseph Lieberman invariably draw calls from obsessive anti-Jewish callers like this and subsequent (7:18 AM) caller “ Ralph from Washington.” As CAMERA has pointed out repeatedly, this kind of Washington Journal phenomenon pertains only to Jews and Israel. No other ethnic, religious or national group is allowed to be regularly demonized on the program.

January 20, 2011 – 7:18 AM


Topic: U.S. Senator [Joe] Lieberman [I-Conn.] to retire.

Caller: Ralph from Washington, D.C.

Caller: “Good morning. I don't like Lieberman, and I'll tell you why, because I would listen to C-SPAN in the morning and many times I would hear, ‘Well, well, this is a potential terrorist attack. We've got to take away this right in your Bill of Rights. This is another potential terrorist attack. We've got to take away another right in the Bill of Rights.' I mean, this man did more to shred the Bill of Rights than any other person I've ever seen. I mean, I just want this man to go away and fade away in history because he doesn't seem to represent the United States. Maybe he represents Israel. He's the official Israel delegate. But with his actions toward the Bill of Rights, he's bordering on treason. I'm so glad that man's gone. Maybe he's done his job – he's done his damage – he figures he has to leave anyway. Thank you.”

NOTE: Host Swain, C-SPAN's President and Co-Chief Operating Officer, either does not recognize the classic antisemitic canard of dual loyalty thrown at Senator Lieberman, or recognizes and allows it unchallenged. In either case, her reaction is unprofessional and intolerable. After allowing the caller's complete anti-Jewish rant, Swain follows it with characteristic silence. An answering machine for a bigot, she acquiesced in the broadcast of bigotry.

January 17, 2011 – 7:45 AM


Topic: Which of today's leaders embodies the MLK (Martin Luther King) legacy?

Caller: Adolfo from Orlando, Florida.

Caller: “Yes, good morning Robb. I think that Barry Soetoro, a.k.a. Barack Obama reminds me of Martin Luther King. Both of their histories have been sealed – you cannot find out anything about them and I think it's time for the white people to get together and take this country back from the Jews and the Neg...”

HARLESTON (cutting off the caller). We will leave it there.
NOTE: Host Robb Harleston cut off the caller at the beginning of the utterance of the word "Negro" and left it there with no comment. The cut-off of this biased caller was appropriate albeit belated since it would have been better had it taken place at the phrase "white people," after the innuendo about the "sealed histories" of President Obama and Martin Luther King Jr. But when callers exhibit similar bias toward Jews alone, Washington Journal hosts typically are slower to recognize it and less likely to cut off the offender.

January 15, 2011 – 9:03 AM


Guest: DAVID KRAMER, executive director of Freedom House.

Topic: Report: World freedom in decline.

Caller: Ty from Washington, D.C.

Caller: “Yes sir. First I'd like to point out, as the last caller (indistinct) that you failed to mention the coup d'état that took place in Honduras as well as one of the worst violators of human rights on the planet, Saudi Arabia. I would like to take onus with what you said at the very beginning of your statement about a democracy called Israel. Now, Human Rights Watch came out with their internationally respected report that called separate but unequal, Israel's discriminatory treatment of Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory. Also, I'd like to point out that they said that Palestinians face systematic discrimination merely because of their race, ethnicity, and national origin depriving them of electricity, water, schools, access to roads while nearby Jewish settlers enjoyed all of these state- provided benefits. While Israeli settlements flourish, Palestinians, under Israeli control, live in a time warp. Not just separate, not just unequal, but sometimes even pushed off their lands and out of their homes.”

Host: “Caller, what is the question for the guest?”

Caller: “The question is, how can you keep Israel and Saudi Arabia – and I also say the 30-year dictatorship in Egypt – off his radar and call Israel a democracy when there are hundreds of thousands of Israeli-Palestinians who live inside '48 Israel that are still equally denied democracy as well as the glaring injustice of the occupied territories. Thanks.”

KRAMER: “On Egypt and Saudi Arabia, just in the interest of time I haven't mentioned that neither country is free. They are listed as not free. Egypt has had terrible parliamentary elections that were much worse than those in 2005. I think we see continued disregard by the Egyptian government for the will of the Egyptian people. We also now see growing tensions between Christians and Muslims in Egypt including a terrible terrorist attack on New Year's eve of a Christian church. Egypt is, I think, a real concern for many who are trying to see Egypt move in a more democratic direction. Saudi Arabia also is among the worst in terms of human rights abuses and repression. So, there's no question about this here. I think the caller and I would agree on Israel. Certainly there are problems in Israel. I don't mean to suggest that Israel is a flawless democracy at all. It does have a system in place where the leaders are elected by a population where there is a lively debate in Israel, where there is a lively parliament in Israel. Those things are also very important for looking at the situation. I take the caller's point that the situation for Palestinians living in Israel is not good at all. That is something we do also try to weigh when we do the assessment.”

NOTE: It's obvious that the caller's aim, his preliminary remarks not withstanding, was to assail Israel. Add him to the sizable list of Washington Journal callers disparaging and defaming Jews and Israel. This caller refers to a Human Rights Watch report condemning Israel for “discriminatory treatment of Palestinians” and makes other charges. The Washington Journal host seems unaware of news coverage of Human Rights Watch's attempt to raise funds in Saudi Arabia on the back of its chronic anti-Israel reporting. Rather than a "respected" source on Israel, as the caller asserts, HRW's credibility is dubious, as noted by NGO-Monitor  and one of HRW's own founders (see below). Washington Journal also fails when the host does not challenge the guest over his false characterization of the status of Israeli Arabs, whom he misleadingly refers to as "Palestinians living in Israel." Here is background information on HRW's unreliability regarding Israel. HRW has become more famous for its obsessive attempts to delegitimize Israel than for its stated mission to promote global human rights, is becoming less and less credible. Now, even its founder and former chairman, Robert Bernstein, has publicly dissociated himself from that NGO's agenda. Regarding the caller's false anti-Israel claims about treatment of Palestinian Arabs:

[O]ver 95 percent of West Bank Palestinians live in Area A, in other words, under their own government. They are not ruled by Israelis in matters concerning fuel, education, healthcare, transportation, infrastructure, and social service. As for the small minority of West Bank Palestinians living in Area C, (under Israeli control,) recent reports show that in comparison to Israelis living in these very same areas, they are treated favorably when it comes to the demolition of illegal construction.

Israeli Arabs, contrary to the guest's implication, enjoy citizenship rights and privileges equal to non-Arab Israelis as is shown here and here. Washington Journal again fails to provide viewers with accurate, informed programming about Israel but instead again facilitates the unchallenged defamation of the Jewish state.

January 10, 2011 – 8:59 AM


Guest: JEFFREY ROSEN, Professor, George Washington University Law School.

Topic: Supreme Court reform.

Caller: Chris from Atlanta, Georgia.

Caller: “I have two questions and a comment. My first question is – this is not anything personal – this is just to get it out to the public. First question, Jeffrey Rosen, are you Jewish?”

Guest: “I certainly am. I'm proud of it.”

ORGEL: “Why does that matter, caller?”

Caller: “I am not against Jews. I was friends with Jews. I am still friendly with Jews.”

ORGEL: “Caller, why do you bring it up?”

Caller: “Here's my point. In my opinion, Europe, Russia, the entire world is concerned with the occupation of Palestine by Israeli Jews.”

ORGEL: “I am not sure of the point that he's trying to make and where he is going with this discussion. Let' s just move on to ....”
NOTE: Host Orgel should have immediately cut off the caller at the moment that it became obvious that the caller was not only completely off-topic but also obsessed with Jews. That moment was at "Jeffrey Rosen, are you Jewish?" CAMERA's C-SPAN Watch has documented that Washington Journal is a mecca for callers obsessed with condemning Jews and Israel. At least in this case the host, uncharacteristically for C-SPAN, challenged an anti-Jewish caller.
January 4, 2011 – 7:21 AM


Topic: State Budgets: Solutions for cutting the debt.

Caller: Tom from Baltimore, Maryland.

Caller: "Good morning. How are you? I think we should cut out – a lot of people don' t know this but every State in this country gives money to Israel. It is time we cut back on that money. That would help many States to do that. We are in the worst financial condition here in this country since the 1930' s. I'd like to hear some Jewish people coming out publicly and request Israel to forgo any welfare from the States or the United States."

Host: "But you know, that's just a very small percentage of the federal budget."

Caller: "I don' t care. I want it done anyway."

NOTE: The subject is state budget deficits. Once again, an anti-Israel caller hijacks Washington Journal's phone-in segment, and draws a weak response from the host, in this case Steve Scully. Mr. Scully's reply started in the right direction, but barely. He should have pointed out the obvious: contrary to the caller, no state gives money to Israel or any other country.

As for ending aid to Israel supplied by the federal government , that would have a minuscule effect, at best, on state budgets, assuming funds saved were not allocated to other federal budget categories from aid to Afghanistan and Iraq to Social Security and Medicare. For fiscal 2010, the total federal budget was $3.5 trillion. Of that, $16.8 billion or 4.8 percent was spent on foreign economic and military aid, with Afghanistan and Iraq the two largest recipients. Each received several times the $2.4 billion the United States gave to Israel. That was 14.3 percent of the foreign aid budget, and – nearly all military aid, not "welfare" – about three-quarters was or will be spent in the United States.

The caller seems intent on expressing hostility to the Jewish state and Jewish people. When the host notes the small percentage U.S. aid to Israel represents of the whole federal budget he replies "I don't care – I want it done anyway." As a rhetorical device, he calls for Jews to join him: "I'd like to hear some Jewish people coming out publicly and request Israel to forgo any welfare from the States or the United States." At the least – given U.S. aid to other countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, El Salvador and many others – C-SPAN's host should have challenged the caller for singling out Israel and Jews. He did not and, once again, Israel and Jews were subjected to prejudicial comments C-SPAN allows for no other ethnic or ethnic group or country.
January 4, 2011 – 7:45 AM


Topic: State Budgets: Solutions for cutting the debt.

Caller: Pat from Jacksonville, Florida.

Caller: “I have to say that the conversation about Michael Steele was just riveting and I support Michael Steele and I think the tea party does and I think he has heavy support on talk radio so the fight is not over yet. But I'll tell you this, a gentleman called in and mentioned foreign aid to a particular country (Israel) and he said that it adds up. You said it is not a big item. I think the point he was trying to make is that Congress sets up programs – foreign aid, Department of Education, an executive order, and it sounds wonderful and then nobody ever tracks it. For example in Florida, as was mentioned, it has a billion dollar budget deficit this year. And our school classes as a result of one executive order by Bill Clinton, we have to teach Spanish, have to have textbooks and classes in that, we have Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Arabic, Somalian. We have to get text books, translators for every student who speaks both. In Duval County, the budget last year was $1.3 Billion. This is one county. $110 million went to teach children who do not speak English. You multiply that, every county in Florida, every county in the United States and pretty soon you are talking about real money.”

“The gentleman (Tom from Baltimore) mentioned money to Israel. We give Israel $15 million a day. Israel could buy and sell us. We gave Pakistan $100 billion. We don't even know what happened. Congress, they create, they do not go back and check. They did not sit down and have a committee and actually make a list. I think this is what has happened. I enjoy your program so much. I really do. Thank you.”

Host: “Pat, thank you for the call. Here are headlines from the Detroit Free Press..."
NOTE: Pat picked up where caller Tom left off. Like Tom, hostile to Israel, although Pat did mention Pakistan as well. But the peculiar anti-Israel fixation of such typical Washington Journal callers comes through – Pat's claim that "we give Israel $15 million a day" nearly doubles the actual aid level, all of it military and most of it spent in the United States. Host Scully responds neither to the error or the omissions, and is also silent on the charge that "we gave Pakistan $100 billion." Annual U.S. military aid to Pakistan is a little less than the $3 billion allocated to Israel. But the C-SPAN host is a "no show" when it comes to informing viewers about these realities, instead, with "here are the headlines from The Detroit Free Press," he provides an irrelevant non-sequitur.
January 3, 2011 – 8:11 AM


Guest: GLENN THRUSH, Politico White House correspondent.

Guest: LISA MASCARO, Tribune Newspapers Congressional correspondent.

Topic: Opening of 112th Congress.

Caller: Michael from New York City.

Caller: “Yes. Good morning. I just want to ask – what's happening with our country and this President's policies with Israel because I don't hear a lot of stuff going on about that – all I hear is him talking about the war in Afghanistan. But I don't hear anything as far as what's going on with the Palestine people and Israel.”

BRAWNER: “Glenn Thrush – peace talks?”

THRUSH: “Well, we just had in the last couple of days, Benjamin Netanyahu propose around the clock talks with the Palestinian authority and Mahmoud Abbas. Look, the President has had all of the parties convened in the White House twice in the past year. This has really ground down to the issue of the West Bank settlements that the Israelis insist on proceeding with. There is a level of frustration in the White House with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister. For the first time, really, in quite some time, the ball is very much in the Israeli and Palestinian's courts and the Obama administration is really waiting and watching to see what the Israelis do. This has not been, as it has for some presidents, the crowning central foreign policy issue, particularly with these two wars.”

NOTE: Regardless of whether Obama administration policies toward Israel fit Washington Journal's announced topic, "Opening of the 112th Congress," C-SPAN moderator Brawner accepts the caller's linkage. Guest Lisa Mascaro's writings do not indicate an unbalanced attitude regarding Israel but host Brawner invites only a response from Glenn Thrush. His writings, here, do reflect unbalanced reporting and commentary regarding Israel. Thrush's one-sided reply to the caller's points mistakenly reduces the problem of resuming Israeli-Palestinian talks to one of only “West Bank settlements that the Israelis insist on proceeding with.” Renewed building inside existing Jewish communities in the disputed territories after expiration of a 10-month moratorium – nine months of which the Palestinian side ignored and refused to re-enter negotiations – happens to be the issue that Palestinian Arab leadership is emphasizing at this particular time. But Thrush's faulty analysis, which negatively characterizes Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu while offering no criticism of Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas, ignores realities including continued Palestinian anti-Israel incitement and refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state as is shown here.

Guest Thrush's description of the Israeli-Palestinian matter as "the crowning, central foreign policy issue" for some presidents may suggest his own misperception but no U.S. chief executive has seen it that way. The U.S.-Soviet cold war including the Cuban missile crisis, nuclear proliferation, the Korean and Vietnamese wars and more recent North Korea threats, Arab oil embargoes, the rise of China, and the overthrow of the Shah of Iran and spread of Islamic extremism are among the "crowning, central foreign policy issues" faced by post-World War II presidents. Israeli-Palestinian relations remain a second-tier item. C-SPAN host Brawner fails to point out this basic reality. Once again, Washington Journal viewers are left with the implication, planted by a caller, echoed by a guest, un-refuted by the host, that Israel is more a problem than part of a solution.
January 1, 2011 – 8:10 AM


Guest: TOBY HARNDEN, Daily Telegraph U.S. Editor.

Guest: ABDERRAHIM FOUKARA, Al Jazeera Arabic Washington Bureau Chief.

Topic: International challenges facing the United States in 2011.

Caller: Ken from Boca Raton, Florida.

Caller: "Good morning, gentlemen. I would like to draw the journalists' attention, Mr. Foukara and Mr. Harnden, just moments ago Mr. Harnden made a comment that I would like to focus on where he indicated that one of the concerns of course is the possibility that Israel may attack Iran, and then went on to say that, well, Israel is saber rattling. Now, remember Mr. Harnden that Iran and Mr. Ahmadinejad attempted to – well, actually did -- threaten the existence of a member state of the U.N. and Israel in self-defense and by the by, if I may make another comment, the recent WikiLeaks that showed that most of the Sunni nations surrounding the Shiite nation of Iran, are attempting to ask the United States to take out these nuclear facilities that the Iranians have been building subrosa. I would also like to draw your attention, If I may, gentlemen, to this double speak. This is possibly Orwelian. The IHH [Turkish based non-governmental organization – opposed by the previous Turkish government – thought to have terror ties], the Turkish terrorist group during the Gaza flotilla brouhaha goes to Israel – five boats are peacefully brought to Israeli ports. Another boat with terrorists aboard – beating up Israeli commandos – who are in illegal quarantine of Gaza because of military material that might be brought in – remember the Karine A (boat) that the Iranians attempted to bring in with all their bombs and rockets and whatever, and even the previous Turkish government attempted to restrain the IHH, and the world goes into this incredible disapprobation of Israel. Oh, my God, these nine terrorists are humanitarians."

NOTE: A pro-Israel, well-informed caller is allowed to make his points at some length (this is unusual for C-SPAN Washington Journal). Responding to the caller's concerns, Guest Harnden appropriately points out that "I think certainly Iran has got the capability and has expressed the intention of being a very grave and possibly existential threat to Israel and I don't think anybody would argue it's wrong for Israel to take that seriously and for the United States to take that seriously." Guest Foukara opines on the international political fallout from the Iran-Israel situation.

C-SPAN provided an unbalanced panel for this segment. Guest Toby Harnden is more or less neutral but guest Abderrahim Foukara generally provides the slanted political narrative (see the next three call entries below) that can be expected from an Al Jazeera representative. Al Jazeera's anti-Israel, anti-U.S. Middle East policy positions are documented here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
• January 1, 2011 – 8:20 AM


Guest: TOBY HARNDEN, Daily Telegraph U.S. Editor.

Guest: ABDERRAHIM FOUKARA, Al Jazeera Arabic Washington Bureau Chief.

Topic: International challenges facing the United States in 2011.

Caller: Joe from Houston, Texas.

Caller: "Yes. Good morning. I read recently that [Russian President Vladimir] ] Putin in November was in Germany and got a very favorable response to his proposal that the European community, with the Euro, expands all the way through Russia and the satellites of Russia. And a stronger Euro with the entire European community would of course degrade the U.S. dollar even further than it has been. I'd like to get your opinion on that. And the second thing I'd like to say is that the comments we heard before about Israel – lack truth – Iran hasn't attacked anybody in 250 years. The people of the Middle East countries have all said that their biggest enemy is number one, Israel, number two, the U.S. So because the dictator says the opposite, he accepts the answer. Thank you."

HARLESTON: "We'll leave it there. [This was not a cut-off]. Toby Harnden, why don't you address the first half of the caller's statement."

HARNDEN: "Very interesting. I haven't heard that. Not too many people wanting to join the Euro. People wondering whether they should still be in it. I mean, in recent years we've seen Russia being very, very wary of their former satellite states in the Soviet Union era joining the European Union and indeed joining NATO as well. So it would be quite an about face if Russia wanted to get involved. I think we're going to see a period of European Union sort of turning in on itself and trying to sort out its own problems, and I think the major sort of global realignments like Russia getting involved in it – is way off from happening."

HARLESTON: "Mr. Foukara, would you address the second half of that gentleman's statement?"

FOUKARA: "I mean the issue of Iran – look, the 2003 invasion of Iraq has done one big favor for Iran. And it has given them wider regional leverage by getting rid of Saddam Hussein who was the arch foe of the Iranians. He had gone to war against them. So there's no doubt that the Iranians wield wider influence in the Middle East at the present time.

Now, WikiLeaks have come out and said that many Sunni leaders, the king of Saudi Arabia, for example, calling for the United States to take military action to cut off the ‘snake's head' as he called it. But it's interesting to point out that there's a big divide in the Middle East between what governments, what Sunni governments, want and what their populations want. While the Sunni governments may be rattled by Iranian influence, especially when it comes to the issue of the Iran's nuclear program, the people, at least the majority of the people in these Sunni countries actually do not object to Iran acquiring military nuclear capability. They say if the Israelis have it, why can't the Iranians have it? So in a way that's what one of the interesting things about WikiLeaks is that it has focused attention on Iranian influence and Iranian meddling in many Middle Eastern countries, particularly Iraq, but it has also drawn attention to that gulf between what Sunni governments in the region want and what their populations want in terms of Iran's nuclear capability."

NOTE: Without citing any sources, Foukara claims that the reported fears of Sunni Arab leaders over a nuclear-armed Iran contrasts with alleged acceptance by Sunni Muslim populations. Neither guest Harnden nor host Harleston challenges this sweeping generalization.

Likewise, neither guests nor host challenge the caller's characterization of Iran as peaceful ("hasn't attacked anybody in 250 years") or the purported view of Sunni Arab publics of Israel and the United States as their top two enemies. In fact, authorities in Arab states of the Persian Gulf have broken up what they claimed were Iranian-inspired subversive plots. Iran's Islamic Revolutionary regime founded, trained and financed Lebanon's Hezbollah, which until the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks had killed more Americans than any other Middle Eastern terrorist group and murdered scores of others in the Middle East and Latin America. It's on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism for many valid reasons. Further, Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces have been implicated in supplying improvised explosive devices that have killed many American and allied troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and in terrorism against non-Shi'ite Muslims in both countries. Under the Shah and its clerical leaders as well, Iran has attempted to extend Shi'ite hegemony over many neighboring states. Allied with Syria, it has worked to thwart U.S. mediated Arab-Israeli diplomacy. Iran supports Hamas, which has murdered hundreds of Israelis, including Arabs as well as Jews, and numerous foreign visitors and guests. Tehran's long and continuing covert attempt to gain nuclear weapons is recognized by many countries, Muslim and non-Muslim, as a potential danger. Typically for a C-SPAN Washington Journal host, Mr. Harleston fails to scrutinize guests' responses or challenge a caller's broad, superficial anti-Israel indictment with information an informed moderator should have at hand.

January 1, 2011 – 8:25 AM


Guest: TOBY HARNDEN, Daily Telegraph U.S. Editor.

Guest: ABDERRAHIM FOUKARA, Al Jazeera Arabic Washington Bureau Chief.

Topic: International challenges facing the United States in 2011.

Caller: Don from Charleston, South Carolina.

Caller: "Hi. Good morning and happy New Year to everybody. I think it's a very interesting conversation and I appreciate C-SPAN so much. Just a quick comment about the gentleman from Boca [Raton] I think that was talking about the terrorists' aid ships. Only a Zionist could say that someone carrying aid to a group in the Gaza that are being starved to death by the Israelis would be a terrorist activity. But that said, I'm also interested in the demonization of Iran in the press. We lived through the Bush administration where Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and we were going to se e the mushroom cloud, etcetera. We've been through that and here we are again with the same old, same old of Iran is threat to us. I don't see any evidence – and I understand that the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) has not produced any evidence where Iran is making a nuclear bomb, that they are doing this for nuclear power.

So that being said, also I ask Mr. – the gentleman from – Bourukah [Mr. Foukara] – I think his name is – why are we in Afghanistan? Why is the U.S.? I'd like to know your opinion. Why are we in Afghanistan? I hear this – you know you ask a politician and they say "we're there to send a message" or "we're there to send a signal." The Taliban has done nothing to us. Al Qaeda is not there. Could it be that we're just waiting our troops in place until the attack on Iran does take place and then our troops are staged on their border to go in?"

FOUKARA: "The issue of Afghanistan, I find it interesting that when President Barack Obama was running his campaign to become president, he obviously made the determination that the war in Iraq was a war of choice, the war in Afghanistan was the war of necessity. So after many years of the U.S. focusing on Iraq he suddenly wanted to go back to Afghanistan. It is understood that it's a war that he inherited from the Bush administration and the Bush administration would argue that they invaded Afghanistan in response to what happened on 9/11 and then the people who carried out 9/11 would argue they did it because of U.S. policy in the Middle East. So, it's a never ending chain of going back to why we are in Afghanistan. The situation is that the United States is in Afghanistan today. It has committed thousands – more than a 100,000 troops -- and there's no way that the Obama administration or any future president, knowing how U.S. public opinion is constructed around the issue of Afghanistan and 9/11, there's no way that President Obama or any future president would just cut loose and leave Afghanistan whether the United States originally went into Afghanistan for the right reasons or the wrong reasons. The situation is it is now in Afghanistan and the prestige and the power of the United States globally rides on what happens on the outcome of U.S. involvement in that part of the world."

HARLESTON: "Toby Harnden, the caller also mentioned what he called the demonization in the media of countries like Iran and on the front cover of the Christian Science Monitor's edition from December 13, they've got the headline, "The challenge of rogue nations: How the world can respond to Iran, North Korea and other rising threats." In your mind, is this headline a demonization or how do you see headlines like this? And how does it make – how does it affect diplomatic relations between the United States and countries like Iran and North Korea?"

HARNDEN: "Yeah. It's an interesting headline because "rogue states" – it seems like kind of old speak. It's the kind of stuff you used to hear a lot pre-2003, I guess, from the Clinton administration as well. And then the "axis of evil." The Obama administration's language has certainly cooled things down a lot. I'm not sure it makes that much difference what you call it, whether you call it the global war on terror or whatever the sort of certain (indistinct) the Obama administration uses. I think in terms of Iran, you only have to listen to what [Iran's] President Ahmadinejad says to believe that certainly there's is an intention there to do serious damage to Israel which would could cause a regional conflagration and destabilize the Middle East and therefore the world. Iran is not going to be attacking the U.S. mainland but certainly Iran has been helping people fighting against U.S. [t]roops in Iraq and in Afghanistan as well. And certainly I think that there's a general consensus that whether, if you – certain people would say in the Middle East, Israel – as Abderrahim [Foukara] said – he cited public opinion in the Middle East – saying the Israelis have nuclear weapons, why shouldn't the Iranians. But I think there are relatively few people that would say it's [Iran's nuclear program] all for peaceful purposes and Iran has no intention of getting the bomb."

NOTE: The caller's false assertion that there is no evidence of Iran working on the development of nuclear weaponry is contradicted here. The caller's absurd statement, among many, "The Taliban has done nothing to us" is contradicted by the general knowledge that Taliban hosted the leadership of Al Qaeda providing them with the means to organize and plan the 9/11 attacks on America. The caller's polemic denying that the 2010 Gaza ship flotilla involved a terrorist activity is completely contradicted here. His ridiculous assertion of "starvation" in the Gaza Strip is not challenged by guest or host. In fact, Israel has permitted delivery of adequate food, medicine and other humanitarian goods through its legal weapons and dual-use items blockade and by last summer major news media were reporting well-stocked stores and more recently the re-exportation of smuggled consumer goods from Gaza to Egypt where they command higher prices. This is documented here and here.

Foukara, consistent with Al Jazeera's biased political narrative (see the NOTE section for the 8:10 AM call entry above), questions the premises of American foreign policy even so far as to give respectability to the outrageous justification for the 9/11 attacks on America ("[T]he people who carried out 9/11 would argue they did it because of U.S. policy in the Middle East.")

Yet again, a "Journal" host lost an opportunity to challenge if not contradict a propagandist caller's information source.

January 1, 2011 – 8:32 AM


Guest: TOBY HARNDEN, Daily Telegraph U.S. Editor.

Guest: ABDERRAHIM FOUKARA, Al Jazeera Arabic Washington Bureau Chief.

Topic: International challenges facing the United States in 2011.

Caller: Labon from Ashburn, Virginia.

Caller: "Good morning. I just want to wish you all a happy new year. I have got two points and one question. Concerning Iran being a rogue nation or a rogue by definition being an old term at this point. Iran by definition is a rogue nation. I mean, I don't even believe the government currently that exists in Iran is legitimate. Secondly, there is no question, I don't know if the gentleman [Ken] from South Carolina has been around for the past four or five years but the Iranian president has been questioning the existence of a (U.N.) member state (Israel). So I don't know if we here in the United States would accept our legitimacy being questioned. And we would fight vigorously to defend ourselves. So that's what the Israelis are doing.

The second point I wanted to share is that of the WikiLeaks, a lot of people are saying that it was a major fallout. But I don't see anything new that has come out. I mean, if you have been around and if you have been watching the news, they haven't shared anything new or major information. Everybody knew that the Afghani government is corrupt and everybody knew that the Arab governments are extremely concerned about the Iranian nuclear power. So I don't know if there was any kind of new information that really questioned the secrecy or the system that we have in the State Department."

HARLESTON: "Labon from Ashburn, thanks for your call. Mr. Foukara, talk to us about the caller's concerns regarding Iran."

FOUKARA: "Well, the issue he raised about President Ahmadinejad, and as Toby pointed out earlier, he has made no secret of his opposition to Israeli policy in the Middle East. He's denied the Holocaust. And that has actually given the critics – of not just Iran but the critics of the Muslim world as a whole in the West – ammunition to say the Muslims deny the Holocaust when in fact it's only Ahmadinejad and a few other circles like that who are so focused on this area, the issue of denying the Holocaust is not a major debate in the Muslim world, by the way.

But it's interesting what he says about the illegitimacy of the Iranian government and I think that seen by Western standards, it certainly is an illegitimate government which is securing its lifeline, if you will, by violence. But if you compare it with other governments in the region, these Sunni governments that we were talking about, these Sunni governments are certainly not more legitimate than the government of Iran. In fact, it could even be argued – and we hear this a lot in the Middle East – we hear that even as an undemocratic government – I'm talking about Iran – they say, it is still much more democratic than the governments in Yemen or Saudi Arabia or Egypt. Incidentally, talking of the challenges that the Obama administration could face, the issue of succession in many of these crucial Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt – they have very old leaders – President Mubarak, King Abdullah – what happens after they go, could be a big headache for the United States. But the issue of WikiLeaks, I agree with him (the caller), WikiLeaks did not bring anything new. If anything – and this is a point of contention, at least in the Arab world – many people in that part of the world are saying the Wikileaks didn't really tell us anything new about what our governments are saying or not saying but Wikileaks have not told us anything about the Israelis. That's interesting."

(Guest Toby Harnden provided no response here).

NOTE: Mr. Foukara's at time apologetic narrative is in evidence here in his claim that Holocaust denial is not a common phenomenon in the Muslim world, "in fact it's only Ahmadinejad and a few other circles like that who are so focused on this area, the issue of denying the Holocaust is not a major debate in the Muslim world." But the facts say otherwise. Holocaust denial is not limited to Ahmadinejad and his followers but is a staple of much of Muslim Arab society as is documented at the following links, among numerous other sources, here, here, here, here, here and here. Even Israel's "peace" partner, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, wrote a book two decades ago calling the "Nazi Holocaust of six million Jews an illusion." (as was noted in a New York Times editorial, "A New Start for Mideast Peace," May 5, 2003). A knowledgeable, engaged host would have questioned his guest on this point.

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