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Media Analyses





C-SPAN July – August 2011


August 31, 2011 – 8:56 AM

Host: GRETA BRAWNER.

Guest: DAN GLICKMAN, Chairman, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (former Congressman from Kansas, former United States Secretary of Agriculture).

Topic: Foreign aid funds.

Caller: Bernie from Columbus, Ohio.

Caller: "Hello Sir. This is just another global, corporate plot that sends our money overseas and we send all our jobs overseas. Also, we give so much money to Israel and to Egypt, both of which have caused more problems in the area. And because Israel won't make peace, we continue to spend billions of dollars in wars in the Middle East which aren't necessary."

Host: "Alright."
 
Guest: “Okay. First of all, I would take issue. I don't think it's a global plot. We may disagree with the policy. But I want to give you just a couple of statistics. Thanks to American development assistance, the number of children dying before their fifth birthday in the world has been cut in half. Polio cases in Africa have been reduced by over 90 percent in 20 years. More than three quarters of African youngsters are now enrolled in primary school up from 58 percent in 1999. Thanks to President Bush and President Clinton and President Obama who have kept our AIDS relief plan, over 2.5 million people have received life-saving, anti-retro-viral drugs and we've made significant progress in the fight against AIDS all over the world.”
 
“Hundreds of millions of people have been helped through U.S. assistance – food assistance, natural disasters assistance – and many of the U.S. AID recipients – small finance projects not corporate projects around the world – have become self-sustaining business owners, and many of those are now importing products from the United States. So, yes, I understand the concern there. I am not necessarily saying that I agree with all U.S. policies over the years in terms of the allocation of resources between big corporations and smaller businesses. But most of this development assistance goes to help people who are hurting around the world and that's always been in the United States interest.”
 
Host: "And that is the definition of foreign aid verses military aid."
 
Guest: “That's right. Military aid is of course – military aid is to Israel, Egypt, Pakistan. United States has found that it is in its political and military interest to deal with those issues. But largely what I am talking about today is development assistance.”

Host (reading from a chart): “Who receives foreign aid in 2009: Afghanistan tops the list at $3 billion, followed by Iraq at $2.2 billion, Pakistan about $1.3 billion, the Sudan $1.1 billion, and then the West Bank/Gaza about $1 billion.”

Guest: "And that's economic – by and large – economic assistance numbers not the military assistance numbers that the gentleman [caller] was talking about."

NOTE: The guest's lengthy response was uncharacteristically detailed and informative for Washington Journal in response to a misinformed caller. However, it omitted a direct reply to the caller's contention that “[W]e give so much money to Israel and to Egypt, both of which have caused more problems in the area. And because Israel won't make peace, we continue to spend billions of dollars in wars in the Middle East which aren't necessary.” U.S. aid to Israel is a minor part of the foreign aid budget and minuscule portion of the federal budget. For fiscal 2010, the total U.S. 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, in economic and military aid combined, received several times the $2.4 billion the United States gave to Israel. Nearly all U.S. aid to Israel was military aid, constituting much less than one percent of total U.S. military spending; 75 percent of this aid is spent in the United States.

American aid to Egypt and Israel has been a major factor since 1977 in the absence of a state of war between the two former enemies and originally helped moved the Egyptians from their Cold War relationship with the Soviet Union.

The caller's false charge that “Israel won't make peace” is contradicted by the facts. The Israelis repeatedly have proposed a "two-state solution" involving a new West Bank and Gaza Strip state for Palestinian Arabs in exchange for peace, only to be rebuffed repeatedly. But, again, this kind of basic information is virtually never mentioned on Washington Journal in the face of anti-Israel calls.

August 28, 2011 – 8:19 AM
 
Host: PAUL ORGEL.
 
Guest: DAMON WILSON, Executive Vice President, Atlantic Council of the U.S. (The aim of this organization is to encourage the continuation of cooperation between North America and Europe).

Topic: Future of NATO after Libya.

Caller: Theresa from Bolingbrook, Illinois.

Caller: "Mr. Wilson, with all due respect, you're spewing propaganda just like the rest of the U.S. media. There is a reason why the West went into Libya. It has to do with oil, but more so with currency. It's the same reason that the U.S. invaded Iraq. It had more to do with currency. There's something else to it. The U.S. has a history – it's colonialism. The British and the Americans have a history of colonialism and taking what doesn't belong to them. This is just more of the same. You look at what's happening over in Somalia. The Arabs are starving black Africans there. No one is doing anything about it, but you're going to invade Libya? It's about oil. If it has nothing to do with oil, the U.S. Is not interested. And as far as Israel is concerned, Israel has been oppressing the Palestinians. It's time for them to share that land. That land does not only belong to them. This has nothing to do with biblical. This has everything to do with money and power."

Host: "All about oil in Libya, she says."
 
NOTE: Prompted by Washington Journal host Paul Orgel ("All about oil in Libya, she says."), the guest's lengthy response disputing the anti-Israel, conspiracy-obsessed caller omits any reply to her anti-Israel accusations. C-SPAN's Washington Journal, by tolerating anti-Israel, often anti-Jewish callers – many worse than this viewer – consistently attracts them.

As to the specific charge of Israel failing to "share that land," the Jews accepted the creation on three-fourths of Mandatory Palestine of the Arab state of Transjordan (Jordan) in the 1920. The Israelis repeatedly have proposed a "two-state solution" involving a new West Bank and Gaza Strip state for Palestinian Arabs in exchange for peace, only to be rebuffed repeatedly. But this kind of basic information is virtually never mentioned by Washington Journal hosts in the face of anti-Israel calls.

August 25, 2011 – 9:10 AM

Host: PAUL ORGEL.

Guest: MARC GINSBERG, Middle East advisor to President Carter (1979-81) and former ambassador to Morocco (1994-98).

Topic: Libya and U.S. foreign policy.

Caller: Derek from Washington, D.C.

Caller: “I' m calling in regards to a statement Mr. Ginsberg made earlier about having gone to the United Nations to get resolutions passed to even invade Libya. It seems as though every time that situations like this come up, you go to the U.N. which I guess is the right thing to do. My question is why don't the same policies apply to Israel?”

Guest: “Insofar as the fact that United States and other countries receive authorization to, in effect, go into Libya under U.N. Security Council resolution 1973, which authorized merely the use of force to protect civilians in which, shall we say, mission creep crept into that resolution that in effect transformed it from a resolution supporting civilian protection to a resolution that was interpreted by NATO as permitting regime change. And I presume your question is why isn't United States and other countries using the Security Council and other resolutions to go into Israel. Well, I am not sure I see the correlation. The fact is that The United Nations and the Security Council have passed many a resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. Indeed there's going to be a major confrontation, a diplomatic confrontation, in the U.N. in September. The Palestinians are seeking a U.N. General Assembly resolution recognizing the Palestinian state. I think that these battles, these political battles, play out on world stages in the Arab-Israeli conflict consistently. The United Nations has certainly been a forum for many of these resolutions.”

NOTE: <Pending>

August 25, 2011 – 9:13 AM

Host: PAUL ORGEL.

Guest: MARC GINSBERG, Middle East advisor to President Carter (1979-81) and former ambassador to Morocco (1994-98).

Topic: Libya and U.S. foreign policy.

Caller: Justin from Little Rock, Arkansas.

Caller: “I have a statement and then I have a question. As I heard Mr. Ginsberg speaking about earlier, the oil is one huge reason I feel, and many Americans feel, we are in Libya. Recently, Gaddafi decided he wanted to change the way the oil would be purchased from using the United States dollar and going to the gold standard. Then now we find ourselves invading his place because, as everyone knows who can basically do math, if America would be forced to buy oil from Libya in gold, we would almost nationally go broke at the same time. Another statement – in Syria, they are out there having a genocide, basically, against the African people living there. And in Gaza, the Israeli people have always, for a number of years now, slain countless civilians and innocents.”

Guest: “Well, let me take issue with your points sir. First of all, on the oil question, I know that there is a lot of conjecture out there but I will give you the facts. The United States does not import directly any oil from Libya. Almost all of that oil is imported by several countries in western Europe – Germany, France, Great Britain – and while a certain amount of that oil on the global market helps the United States keep the price of oil – and the price of gasoline will go down when it returns to the market. We do not import directly, so, that's point one. Point two, with respect to Syria, look, I believe that the Syrian people surely deserve more international support. Should the United States be directly involved militarily in Syria? Absolutely not. By the way, other than providing logistical support on the ground, civilian advisers, perhaps some drone support to NATO, to say the United States invaded Libya is a gross overstatement. I don't think that this administration or anyone would agree that it constituted an invasion of Libya. If there ever was two countries that were deeply involved in providing support though NATO, it was France and Great Britain – and the two Arab states – that I mentioned – Qatar and thy United Arab emirates. Finally, with respect to Gaza, look, Hamas is a terrorist organization. It has lobbed rockets into Israel, killing civilians. There had been a war there in 2009 and in ‘8. Clearly, the Israelis have significant security concerns with the terrorist organization running Gaza. This has inflicted and caught civilians – innocent civilians – in the crossfire on both sides. Obviously all of us want to see the civilian casualties come to an end.”

NOTE: <Pending>

August 22, 2011 – 7:12 AM

Host: LIBBY CASEY.

Topic: Libyan rebels reach Tripoli.

Caller: Renee from Mississippi.

Caller: "This is a horrible new occupation by NATO and the United States. This is another corrupt occupation that is about to cause more dead American soldiers, billions more dollars – wasted dollars – to fund an occupation that will have us be more basically established nonsensically in another foreign nation, benefit Israel. Now Obama is calling for the Syrian president, Assad, to step down. This is all for more money, more bases, and for Israel. No doubt about it. And The media is always lying. They have not told the truth about how those rebels got into Tripoli. NATO and the United States – they have troops on the ground. I' m telling you they have troops on the ground. In the coming days, you will see, you will hear exactly what they have done to put these rebels – so-called al-Qaeda rebels – in Tripoli. Thank you very much. Goodbye."
 
NOTE: Another C-SPAN Washington Journal segment on news from the Middle East and another host is silent when confronted with a caller's unhinged views on U.S. and NATO policy toward Libya and Syria, which includes nonsensical allegations that the response in Libya is intended "to benefit Israel" and that calls for the Syrian president, [Bashar al-]Assad, to step down "is all for more money, more bases, and for Israel." At a minimum, a competent host could have noted the improbability that U.S. and NATO responses regarding the Libyan and Syrian popular uprisings have had anything to do with the Jewish state, let alone the fact that anti-regime forces in Libya and Syria have not, themselves, made any such connection.

August 22, 2011 – 7:41 AM

Host: LIBBY CASEY.

Topic: Libyan rebels reach Tripoli.

Caller: Max from Arizona.

Caller: "I would like to say first of all, I agree with some of the commenters [callers] who say that it is big oil in the Middle East, but I also believe that it is also a relationship with big oil oligarches, as well as the military industrial complex, which has become a military industria l machine. I also believe that it has something to do with Israel because Israel in the Middle East is a key figure and I believe they do conduct operations behind the scenes – the Mossad, for example. And so, my final point on Libya – I just want to say – it' s really none of our business. I think it's a false assumption that democracy has to be implanted in other parts of the world. Democracy is only one form of government and it's not necessarily the only form for every country in the world for the U.S. to impose. Thank you."
 
NOTE: Host Casey's silence, as with the previous caller's similar comments, constitutes a tacit acceptance of the caller's conspiracy theory including the claim that the turmoil in the Middle East "has something to do with Israel because Israel ... conduct[s] operations behind the scenes – the Mossad, for example." But as is the norm for Washington Journal, a caller's unfounded, conspiracy theory-style "blame it on the Jews/Israel" accusation is not refuted or even scrutinized, let alone simply cut off. C-SPAN's Washington Journal has one permissible, pinata-like target for bigoted callers obsessed with a religious and national minority, the Jews and their state, Israel.
 
August 20, 2011 – 9:17 AM

Host: PEDRO ECHEVARRIA.

Guest: DANIEL SERWER, Johns Hopkins professor and scholar at the Middle East Institute.

Topic: U.S. calls for removal of Syrian president.

Caller: Carl from Buffalo, New York.

Caller: “I don't know where to begin but let me start and let me be brief if I could. President Assad and his father before him had a target on their chest for many years in terms of American foreign policy because of their refusal to sign a peace treaty with Israel and the fact of their concern for the plight of the Palestinians. That put a target on their chests and now is the opportunity – the first opportunity – as I can see – that our State Department now is still sticking their noses in saying, ‘please resign.'”

SERWER: “I think the administration actually hesitated for a long time to try to push Bashar al-Assad aside. If anything, it can be accused of having been too hopeful that he would make peace with Israel and that removing him would make the Syrian-Israeli peace more difficult. They have now come to the other conclusion, that getting rid of him is a necessity. But I do not think it has much to do with the Israel-Syria issues. It has to do with the crackdown and the fact that Bashar al-Assad has delegitimized himself.”
 
NOTE: Guest Serwer, a scholar with the Middle East Institute, a think tank hardly considered pro-Israel, offers no credence to the caller's assertion that for the sake of Israel, American foreign policy for years has aimed to undermine Syria's leadership. MEI  is "a quasi-academic, pro-Arab group heavily drawn from State Department retirees and former oil-company executives." Yet Washington Journal's habitual hospitality to anti-Israel callers continues to draw phone comments that turn Middle East reality upside down with knee-jerk "blame Israel" theories.

August 20, 2011 – 9:49 AM

Host: PEDRO ECHEVARRIA.

Guest: SAM DILLON, New York Times education correspondent.

Topic: States apply for “No Child Left Behind [Act of 2001]” waivers [for federal math & reading proficiency requirements].

Caller: Tony from Ohio. This anti-Israel frequent caller, aka Mary/ Kathleen/Patricia/Jackie/Ann/Kay/Kate, is yet again aired here in violation of C-SPAN's ostensible “one-call-per-30-days” policy. She previously called Aug. 18, 2011 (7:27 AM) as “Mary from Riverside, Ohio.”

Caller: “No one has suggested that in Ohio, it's been determined by our state supreme court that in Ohio, the way we distribute funds for education is unconstitutional. For example, I live in Appalachia where a kid can have $8,000 spent on him but in the rich suburbs of Columbus or Cincinnati or Cleveland, those kids are having $12,000 or $13,000 spent on them. Basically when it comes to core issues like education, health care, and a living wage, if you start with a solid foundation for any individual – and you start with education and the rest is up to the kid. But given whatever chances …could you address the Ohio constitution in regard to the supreme court decision in Ohio as to the way the funds are distributed in Ohio?"
 
"And I also wanted to ask the host to have Flynt Leverett [critic of Israeli policies] on from the Website … because like earlier in the earlier segment, Mr. Serwer said the situation in Syria has nothing to do with Israel and that is a complete myth. So, please put Flynt Leverett on, who was a Bush administration official, his Website is …"

(Host failed to address the off-topic claim or even abort the off-topic, anti-Israel charge).

NOTE: The anti-Israel, frequent caller's monologue ended with an off-topic, conspiracy theory claim implying that Israel was stirring up trouble in the current upheaval in Syria. Host Echevarria failed either to abort the call as completely off-topic or to rebut the caller's nonsensical claim that Syria's five months of nationwide protests against a 40-year dictatorship, a brutal regime also chronically and determinedly anti-Israel, has had anything to do with the Jewish state.But as is the norm for Washington Journal, a caller's "blame it on the Jews/Israel" accusation is not refuted or even scrutinized.

August 14, 2011 – 9:48 AM

Host: STEVE SCULLY

Guest: ANGELA STENT, Georgetown University professor.

Topic: 50th anniversary of Berlin Wall

Caller: Alan from Houston, Texas.

Caller: “It is difficult to go back and look at the history of the wall, the Berlin Wall, when we have a wall that exists today and continues to be built today. It is funded in part by the United States. That wall is in occupied Palestine. The purpose of that wall is not to keep people trapped inside the country but to drive them outside of their country. And then the Israelis will say that it is to prevent terrorism but if that was the case, they would have built on their border and prevent people from coming into their country. Instead, they built it and continue to build through Palestinian land on Palestinian land. There is tremendous suffering. There are even towns in Palestine that are completely encircled. People have one access gate with a soldier standing there. That is their only means of getting into and out of their town to go to school, hospitals, farm, work and so on.”

SCULLY: “To Alan's point, is there a parallel?”

Guest: “I don't think so. I do not think that's true.”
 
NOTE: Yet again, a Washington Journal host indulges an off-topic, anti-Israel caller. Guest Stent appropriately refutes (albeit tepidly) any parallel between the Berlin Wall and Israel's security barrier (incorrectly referred to here by the caller as a "wall" since less than 5 percent of the barrier can be considered a "wall." The caller's claim that the security barrier is "funded in part by the United States" also is untrue. The caller's falsehoods about the barrier's location and purpose, typical of accusations uttered by anti-Israel polemicists, were refuted in a CAMERA letter  to The Baltimore Sun, debunking similar allegations by a Towson University professor:

Originally planned to encompass approximately 12 percent of the territory, it has been re-routed by the Israeli military in response to Israeli Supreme Court decisions in cases brought by Palestinian Arabs to include less than eight percent of the West Bank on the Israeli side of the barrier. As for 'self-described' security fence, [anti-Israel Professor Kimberly] Katz omits basic historical cause-and-effect: The barrier was constructed in response to the ‘al-Aqsa intifada,' the 2000 - 2004 Palestinian terror war in which more than 1,000 Israelis – Jewish and Arabs, more than three-fourths of them non-combatants – and foreign visitors were murdered, most by Palestinian terrorists crossing unimpeded from the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). Neither does she acknowledge that the barrier's partial completion has contributed significantly to the roughly 95 percent decrease in lethal attacks from the area.

Even if a Washington Journal host could not be expected to know specifics about the security barrier, he or she certainly should have known and pointed out in response to the caller's false assertions that a) there is no "occupied Palestine," there is disputed territory awaiting final status determination through Arab-Israeli negotiations as called for by U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the 1993 Oslo accords and related agreements and the 2003 international "road map; b) in addition to blocking terrorists attacks, the barrier was constructed not to "drive Palestinians out of their country [Sic.], but to end illegal Palestinian, Jordanian and other Arab immigration into Israel, which had grown to more than 200,000 in the years immediately prior to the start of its construction and c) rather than "tremendous suffering" in the West Bank due to the security barrier, the local economy has improved significantly after its construction and increased cooperation between Palestinian Authority police and Israeli security forces. But when C-SPAN tolerates and encourages obscene comparisons between the Berlin Wall, built by East Germany's communist government to imprison its own people and Israel's security barrier, constructed to prevent Palestinian terrorists from murdering Jews, facts disappear.

August 14, 2011 – 9:52 AM

Host: STEVE SCULLY

Guest: ANGELA STENT, Georgetown University professor.

Topic: 50th anniversary of Berlin Wall.

Caller: Anna from Massillon, Ohio.

Caller: “I wanted to make two points. And if I may, Steve, I would like to make a comment on Mr. Sweet's discussion [Chad Sweet, formerly of the CIA, a previous Washington Journal guest on this day on a different topic, discussing the al Qaeda Islamic terrorists, claimed the need for an outreach to the “Muslim-American community”]. But first, on the current topic, I completely endorse what I believe [caller] Alan said about the wall that Israel erected to keep Palestinians in an open air prison. This is an absolute comparison. It is astonishing that the professor can't see that. It is as plain as barbed wire walls in front of your face. Israel has killed far more people than Germany did.”

SCULLY: “Let us talk to that point. We'll get a response to that and we'll come back to you with a follow-up.”

Guest: “To say Israel has killed far more people than Germany – what are we talking about – Germany in World War II. The Israelis built the wall because they were subject constantly to terrorist attacks and people lobbing weapons and terrorist attacks from the [Palestinian Arab] population and since they had suicide bombers in Israel. Since they built the wall, the numbers have gone down. So, they did it for their own national security.”

SCULLY (to caller) : “Anna, do you want to follow up?”
 
Caller: "Absolutely. I dispute the assertion that Israel is building this as a defensive measure. Israel is building Jewish settlements in occupied territory which is a violation of international law which Israel knows very well. Gershom Gorenberg [American-born Israeli writer] has explained and has demonstrated the documents that Israel received in 1967 telling them that it is against the law to build in occupied territory but they disregard international law."
 
SCULLY: “Anna's comment from Massillon, Ohio.”
 
NOTE: Yet again, a Washington Journal host indulges an off-topic, anti-Jewish, anti-Israel polemicist – even implicitly accepting the caller's obscene falsehood that "Israel has killed far more people than [Nazi] Germany did." Guest Stent appropriately refutes the claim that host Scully entertained. The obvious, proper response to factual and moral inversions alleging that Israel keeps Palestinian Arabs in "an open air prison" when thousands regularly cross into Israel for work, medical care and other services and tens of thousands enter Jordan as a destination or transit point for work or pleasure, let alone to the anti-Zionist, anti-Jewish smear that "Israel has killed for more people than Germany did" is to note, on air, that the caller is a bigoted crank and cut her off. Instead, Host Scully agrees to "talk to that point" as if it were not delusional and even to promise the caller a follow-up comment or question. Only regarding Jews and the Jewish state does C-SPAN tolerate such prejudice, and it does so repeatedly.

Given that host Scully granted the caller a follow-up, scrutiny of the Gershom Gorenberg reference was required. Gorenberg's one-sided claims on the subject were exposed in a 2008 CAMERA report:

Gorenberg wrote The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlement, 1967-1977, and in this latest Post column refers to himself as "a historian of settlements." But as his "current events" regarding Ma'ale Adumim are misleading, his basic history is wrong too. Gorenberg claims that the suburb violates international law since "under the 1907 Hague Convention, an occupying power may expropriate land only for the public use of the occupied population. Taking private West Bank land for Israeli use is therefore barred."

A historian of Arab-Israeli matters and the status of West Bank land knows that Israel is the legitimate military occupational authority, pending final status negotiations according to U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). But the West Bank is not occupied land belonging to any other sovereign country. Israel gained the territory, occupied by Jordan from 1948 to 1967 as a result of aggression, in a successful war of self-defense. Hence Resolution 242's call on Israel to withdraw, in the context of peace, militarily from "territories" but not from "all the territories."

Further, a historian of Arab-Israeli matters and the status of the disputed territories knows that international law enshrines a Jewish right to settle there. The League of Nations' Mandate originally envisioned Jewish settlement in all of post-Ottoman Palestine, which initially included what become Jordan. When Great Britain, the mandatory power, unilaterally created that Arab state, it "suspended" Jewish settlement there "until practicable." But the right of "close Jewish settlement"on the remaining mandatory lands (what became Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip) was affirmed. The United Nations Charter adopted the League's provisions and so reaffirmed that recognition. Jordan's occupation did not and non-sovereign Palestinian Arab objection does not make Jewish settlement illegal.

August 14, 2011 – 9:56 AM

Host: STEVE SCULLY

Guest: ANGELA STENT, Georgetown University professor.

Topic: 50th anniversary of Berlin Wall.

Caller: Rick from Yardley, Pennsylvania.

Caller: “Roger Waters [English rock musician] has a great interview on Youtube about walls. As far as the wall being a rationale for having a wall in Palestine, that they were attacked and borders (indistinct) in Israel, because who attacked who first? Well, Israel, Europeans attacked Palestine first. What matters – as far as right or wrong – we attacked Palestine first.”
 
NOTE: The caller's claim that "Israel, Europeans attacked Palestine first ... we attacked Palestine first" is irrational. Israel and Europeans could hardly attack what did not exist. In 1917, as part of World War I, Great Britain conquered that part of Ottoman Turkish territory that became the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. Turkey had joined the Central Powers, Germany and Austria-Hungary, in the war. The Mandate included Britain's 1917 Balfour Declaration, promising British assistance in reconstituting the Jewish national home in Mandatory Palestine. Arabs of the area generally regarded themselves as residents of greater Syria, not as Palestinians, and some of their leaders and spokesmen objected to the designations "Palestine" and "Palestinian." Arabs had been attacking peaceful Jewish settlers – whose development of the area attracted large number of Arab immigrants – periodically since the 1880s. But instead of refuting the caller's anti-Israel rant, the C-SPAN host indulges it. In the vicious circle that has become the network norm, C-SPAN viewers see and hear respectful treatment of yet more anti-Israeli bigotry in yet another Washington Journal call. Because this bigotry typically goes unrefuted, as in this case, the network keeps attracting such calls.

August 14, 2011 – 9:57 AM

Host: STEVE SCULLY

Guest: ANGELA STENT, Georgetown University professor.

Topic: 50th anniversary of Berlin Wall.

Caller: Drew from Panama City, Florida.

Caller: “I wanted to say first that I wish people would not go off-topic and talk about the Israeli matter. They are supposed to be talking about the wall in Germany. But that being said, I wanted to ask – what do the callers think – I have read that many Germans in the west think differently than the Germans on the opposite side etc.”
 
NOTE: The caller's appropriate comment about the desirability to cease the off-topic intrusions relating to Israel, although meriting an endorsement by host Scully, is met only with silence.
 
August 8, 2011 – 8:58 AM

Host: LIBBY CASEY.

Guest: Robin Wright, author and journalist.

Topic: Ms. Wright's book on the recent Middle East uprisings, Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World.

Caller: Harvey from Connecticut.
 
Caller: “Robin, I'm a retired Foreign Service officer. I spent years 1972 to 1975 in Beirut [Lebanon] and ‘78 to ‘80 in Johannesburg [South Africa] where you and I met briefly at a party in Holger Jensen's [international editor of Denver's Rocky Mountain News; he resigned in 2002] house. Back to the Middle East. You can't talk about the Middle East without mentioning Israel. I haven't heard everything you've said but I don't think Israel has come up yet. So, my question is: What role if any does Israel have in the current Middle East unrest? – and I'll hangup and listen.”

CASEY: "We have not talked about that yet, Harvey but thanks for asking."

WRIGHT: "It's really interesting that – as volatile – the most volatile region in the world has witnessed the civil disobedience. Israel has not become an issue. Now, it may down the road when it gets to parties having developed platforms primarily dealing with domestic issues but they'll also have to address what their positions are on the Arab-Israeli conflict as well as Israel itself. The Egyptian military now says that it's going to honor every treaty. But of course, the interesting thing in Cairo today is that you have a rivalry or split between protesters and the military. They were acting as one in pushing President Mubarak out of power. I think, the Israelis as a matter of fact are missing an opportunity. This is the time to be seen pushing forward the peace process. So that Israel and its role and survival in the Middle East are not issues. But it's a very interesting point. So far, so good, but it may come up very soon."
 
CASEY: “News out of Israel in The Washington Post. Massive economic protests staged in Israeli cities. Thousands of people gathered in the streets. Joel Greenberg reports from Jerusalem: ‘More than a quarter of a million Israelis poured into the streets of cities across Israel, Saturday, to protest rising living costs and social inequities in a snowballing movement that has posed a serious challenge to Prime Minister Netanyahu.' What do you make of this? Could this be a shift to the left? How do you perceive this as having larger political implications?”
WRIGHT: "I think that one of the fascinating things about it is that Israelis are beginning to adopt the tactics of the Arabs in popular uprisings challenging not with political leaders or op-eds or whatever. They are acting on the streets . I have a very good Israeli friend who said, ‘Thank God for the Arab uprisings. Maybe we will get something out of this on the domestic front as well.'"
 
NOTE: As the guest initially and correctly responded to the caller, Israel has been largely absent as an issue motivating anti-regime rebellions in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and elsewhere lumped together as "the Arab spring." But as is not uncommon with C-SPAN's Washington Journal hosts, Ms. Casey abruptly reads a few lines from a news article ostensibly to justify an Israel angle to the conversation where none existed. Contrary to the retired Foreign Service officer's orthodoxy, one can talk about the Middle East without mentioning Israel, from the Iraq-Iran war and Algeria's suppression of an Islamist insurrection to Turkey's Islamist tilt away from the West to the "Arab spring," Israel's not even a secondary factor in many major Middle East events. But C-SPAN hosts virtually are never up to pointing this out.

Mass Israel demonstrations this summer against high consumer prices and housing shortages are, if anything, the opposite of those in Arab countries; Israeli citizens peacefully exercise their democratic rights; Arabs are arrested, tortured and, not uncommonly, shot by dictatorial regimes attempting to deny such rights.

Yet the guest, Robin Wright, takes the bait and quotes "a very good Israeli friend" who would seem to confirm similarities among the protests. It should be pointed out, as CAMERA's Israel office, among others, have, that those propounding such linkage tend to come from a minority on Israel's far left, and that the caller noted he met Wright years ago at the home of Denver's Rocky Mountain News' Holger Jensen. Jensen was a knee-jerk Israel-basher with little regard to facts in Arab-Israeli matters as was pointed out in a CAMERA 2004 article: “… Jensen was forced to recant, admitting he had ‘made a grievous error in not verifying the authenticity of 20-year-old quotes attributed to Ariel Sharon.' And shortly after that, Jensen ‘resigned [in May 2002 from Denver's Rocky Mountain News] to pursue other interests.'”

August 7, 2011 – 8:21 AM

Host: STEVE SCULLY

Guest: JEANNINE AVERSA, Bloomberg News Federal Reserve and economics reporter.

Topic: Impact of Standard & Poor's downgrade of the U.S. Credit rating from AAA to AA plus.

Caller: Bill from Wilmington, North Carolina.

Caller: “I think Standard & Poor's was short-sighted and I want to tell you why. The reason is because the military-industrial complex is going to change direction. I think the President has a vets bill that's going to give an incentive to have jobs at home and this creates spending domestically. The reason that our economy has been drained is clearly because we've spent money abroad with the Zionist agenda with our military and now that has changed. President Obama has made actually some wise moves in spending money. It looks like he's going to direct more of our nation's funds to be spent at home instead of an agenda that seemed directed to spend it elsewhere and when money leaves our shores that hurts our economy, and the United States now needs money spent at home more and maybe making some products that other people wanted to buy overseas. While (indistinct) and Standard & Poor's didn't take a moment to look at the military-industrial complex and the changes that the Commander in Chief is making there. And as a Republican I want to say that he's wise to tell the Jews to return to their 1967 borders. That ought to help stop a bit of fighting.”

SCULLY (stammering): “I – I – I – I – I don't draw the connection between foreign aid and your point about Standard & Poor's.”

Caller: “Well, first of all, if you look at how much we spent on the last two wars…”

SCULLY (interrupting): “The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are separate from foreign aid which accounts for one percent or less of the overall budget.”

Caller: “It's still an overall agenda – the way our military-industrial complex is directed as well. This is corrected as it is particularly with the new vets bill you see the direction the President wanting to employ these vets at home working in civilian jobs instead of fighting Israel's wars.”

SCULLY: “But our topic is not really what we're really focusing on and we're going to move on.”
 
NOTE: Another anti-Israel, antisemitic caller's assertions go unchallenged by a C-SPAN Washington Journal host. What is the "Zionist agenda?" Host Scully doesn't ask. What does this alleged agenda have anything to do with America foreign and military policy in Afghanistan or Iraq, let alone U.S. economic difficulties? Host Scully doesn't ask and doesn't recognize or deal with the remark as flagging antisemitic conspiracy theories. He should have cut off the caller then, instead of passively letting him ramble on to his heart's content including uttering the anti-Israel, Judeophobic, bigoted and completely off-topic "Tell the Jews to return to their 1967 borders." The C-SPAN host compounds his embarrassing ineffectuality by engaging the bigoted caller in discussion before belatedly, weakly terminating the conversation only at the caller's third, completely predictable anti-Jewish charge, "fighting Israel's wars." C-SPAN viewers are accustomed to such anti-Jewish, anti-Israeli bigotry in many Washington Journal calls, and because this bigotry typically goes unrefuted, as in this case, the network keeps attracting such calls.
 
July 26, 2011 – 7:37 AM

Host: GRETA BRAWNER

TOPIC: Where to compromise on debt plans submitted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner?

Caller: Thomas from Annapolis, Maryland.

Caller: "I want to say that the Republicans are going to destroy this country if they get control over the presidency next year. But Obama to me is a naive fool. He's now talking tax-reform and he's going to negotiate with the Republicans and the greedy, greedy rich over the tax reform. Does he really believe that they will agree to any new tax laws that will make pay them $1 more in taxes? What kind of a fool is he? He has no background. He should have stopped the extension of the Bush tax cuts last year. They have been in effect now for six years, I think, and they haven't created one single job that I know of. We are in the toilet in economics because of those tax cuts. I also would like to hear some prominent Jews come out and say 'do not send any money to Israel for a couple of years until we get our economy straightened out' but they will not do that."
 
NOTE: Host Brawner fails to respond to caller's monologue including the antisemitic non-sequitur "some prominent Jews" and aid to Israel. Does the host not recognize that the caller's extraneous insertion of Jews and Israel into the conclusion of a rant about the "greedy, greedy, rich," tax cuts and economic woes is classic antisemitism? Does she not realize she could challenge the caller by pointing out that U.S. aid to Israel is a minor part of the foreign aid budget and minuscule portion of the federal budget.

Why didn't the host challenge the caller for failing to mention, for example, much larger federal expenditures for farm subsidies or entitlement payments to the middle class and affluent? But C-SPAN viewers are accustomed to such anti-Jewish, anti-Israeli bigotry in many Washington Journal calls, and because such calls typically go unrefuted, as in this case, the network keeps attracting them.

July 10, 2011 – 7:22 AM

Host: LIBBY CASEY

Caller Charlie from Fort Wayne, Indiana, responding to the Washington Journal topic, “Speaker [of the U.S. House of Representatives] Boehner scales back scope of deficit talks,“ remarked that he and his 12-year-old daughter were viewing C-SPAN recently, when they watched [Vice-President] ] Joe Biden say, “'We've got to keep spending to keep from going bankrupt' and my daughter looked at me and asked if he [Biden] was retarded.”

CASEY: “Well, I'm going to say, Charlie, please be careful when you use that word [“retarded”] we don't want to insult any of our viewers when we talk about this by saying things that might be considered to be insulting.”

NOTE: Host Casey, in admonishing the caller for his remark, is solicitous of the sensibilities of people with mental retardation and their families and friends to the point of vaguely and generally policing a word that in specific contexts is appropriate and accurate. Yet C-SPAN hosts virtually never reprimand anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish callers to Washington Journal for language that not only is insulting but, more importantly, unsubstantiated and tending to incite prejudice.

July 3, 2011 – 7:31 AM

Host: PAUL ORGEL.

Topic: 112th Congress: one of “least productive.”

Caller: Ted from Manistee, Michigan.

Caller: “I agree with the previous caller that said that that campaign contributions are nothing but legal bribery. The people that bundle these huge sums of money – they have all the power. Our jobs are in China – that's the reason why. You don't hear anything about Rachel Corrie who was murdered by the Israelis or – we hear nothing about the USS Liberty. And when [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu comes to town, the whole Congress stands up and applauds. It is nothing but money and influence pedaling and these guys care only about their own jobs, otherwise something would get done in Congress.”
 
NOTE: In a segment devoted to discussion of the productivity of the current Congress the caller, indulged by host Orgel, jumps off-topic to make anti-Israel allegations and to vent anger at Congress for warmly receiving the leader of a close ally, Israel. Mr. Orgel, typifying Washington Journal hosts is apparently unable or unwilling to (coherently) comment on anti-Israel rants. The accidental nature of anti-Israel college student Rachel Corrie's death, as she attempted to obstruct Israel counter-terrorism operations in the Gaza Strip, has been noted here and in recent court testimony by senior Israeli military officials.

Likewise, regarding the USS Liberty incident, used by propagandists to defame Israel, a well-informed host would have noted that the Israeli attack on the out-of-position, misidentified USS Liberty during the 1967 Six-Day War has been determined by the U.S. government in six separate inquiries to have been a "fog of war" mistake.These conclusions were reaffirmed after exhaustive review by a former U.S. naval aviator, Judge A. Jay Cristol, in his 2002 book, The Liberty Incident. But on C-SPAN's Washington Journal, Israel and the Jews, unlike any other country or people, are virtually always acceptable targets.

July 3, 2011 – 8:50 AM

Host: PAUL ORGEL

Guest: SAMER SHEHATA, Georgetown University assistant professor of Arab politics.

Topic: Egypt and impact of the “Arab spring.”

Caller: Douglas from St. Charles, Missouri.

Caller: “Good morning. I am sorry – what's your question again?”

ORGEL: “No; no question. We have a guest here and we're talking about Egypt. We're getting an update and wanting to know if you have a question or comment.”

Caller: “Yes, I do. My question is – you sound like – a little different sound – but in any event, my question is this: If there was a poll taken in Egypt and Jordan today – a poll for all the Jordanians and Egyptians about the question – ‘should we tear up the peace treaty with Israel?' – what does this gentleman think the poll would reflect?”

SHEHATA: “There have been polls taken in Egypt, at least, over the last four or five months, and there have also been statements made by many of the leading political figures. First, with regard to the political figures, one of the first things that happened after the revolution is that everyone who is important in Egypt, the supreme council of the armed forces, Amr Moussa, the former head of the Arab League, the leading contender, another contender for the presidency, the former director of the International Atomic Agency, the Muslim Brotherhood – they all say that the peace with Israel should be maintained. It's an international obligation and that Egypt will not change that.
 
Much of the polling shows that Egyptians have very mixed feelings about this. They are very critical of course about Israeli policy in Gaza and the West Bank – the continuing occupation, the siege of Gaza – and so on – the colonization of the West Bank with settlements, and yet most Egyptians do not want to go to war with Israel, obviously, and are in no position to do so. A number of polls have shown different things – Some have said that the majority of Egyptians want to abrogate the peace treaty. Others polls have said that no – the majority of Egyptians – not by much – want to maintain the peace treaty. The reality of the situation, however, is that the peace treaty is not going anywhere. The peace treaty is going to be maintained. The nature of the relationship between Egypt and Israel is likely to change. Mr. Mubarak was seen as an ally of Israel, so much so that the Palestinians suffered as a result of his relationship with Israel. He was called a “treasure” by, I think, Mr. Netanyahu. That, I think, is going to change. Peace will be maintained but relations are going to be much more matter of fact. I think the Egyptian government will not be afraid of raising its voice and criticizing Israeli actions in the West Bank and Gaza and elsewhere."

ORGEL: “What can you tell us of the Israeli view right now?”

SHEHATA “There is a great deal of anxiety and concern in Israel about the situation for a number of reasons. As we know, one of the things that ingratiated Mr. Mubarak with the Israelis was his animosity toward Hamas in Gaza and his cooperation in the siege or the blockade of Gaza. Egypt was essentially a party to that blockade. After the revolution, the foreign ministry in Egypt – the government – they have not lifted but eased significantly that blockade. The Gaza border is now open to hundreds of civilians to cross, five days a week. The restrictions are significantly reduced. So, Israel is concerned about that border, certainly concerned about what occurred in Cairo several months ago – the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas to form a unity government, even though it has some problems over the last several weeks, the specificity of that. So there is a great deal of concern that a very pro-Israeli and very much allied to the United States Egyptian government has fallen. And any Egyptian government that comes to power that is much more representative of the wishes of the Egyptian people will have a much more critical position vis-a-vis Israel. I think that's the concern in Tel Aviv.”

July 2, 2011 – 9:17 AM

Host: PEDRO ECHEVARRIA.

Guest: EKUL HAKIMI, Afghanistan's ambassador to the United States.

Topic: U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

Caller: James from Los Angeles, California (frequent caller James Morris – aka Jim/Tim/Ron/Tyrone – habitual anti-Israel, "blame-the-Jews" caller. Morris is cited by the Iranian propaganda outlet Press TV).

Caller James Morris: "You can go to antiwar dot com and look up ‘Will Israel kill Americans again?' by Ray McGovern [prominent left-wing, anti-Israel, anti-war activist] who is currently on the (indistinct) flotilla boat to Gaza…"

ECHEVARRIA (interrupting): "Caller, we are on Afghanistan this morning...(indistinct)"

Caller James Morris (interrupting): "Yes, I am. I'm going to transition to Afghanistan."

ECHEVARRIA: "Go ahead."

Caller James Morris: "The root cause of our terrorism problem, as General [David H.] Petraeus [previously commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan] told Congress last year, was U.S. support for Israel. That was not covered in our media. The bottom line is that you will never solve the root cause of our terrorism problem if you don't take into consideration what General Petraeus told the Congress."

ECHEVARRIA (to the guest): "You can respond, if you wish."

Guest: "I fully agree that the root cause of terrorism is something that we should focus on more in order to get rid of these terrorist activities. The main problem is poverty. Poverty is something that we should deal with in a very systematic manner to create jobs, to invest more in infrastructure projects, to create an environment where people could see their benefits, they could see their children's lives in it. The more educational opportunities we give to them, the more support for basic health we provide for them, the more enabling environment we create for them -- that will contribute to our fight against terror, and I am glad that with our partners we are going in that direction that not only we should focus on military operations but we should focus also on good governance, on development, and also on active diplomacy to bring those people on board and give them opportunity to be active elements in the society. "
 
NOTE: Host Echevarria, omitting scrutiny, allows caller to promote a fringe Web site and article by a left-wing, anti-Israel, anti-war agitator. Likewise, caller's misrepresentation, "The root cause of our terrorism problem [is]… U.S. support for Israel," of Gen. Petraeus' position goes unchallenged. In fact, the officer, addressing the distortions of his position purveyed by Israel-haters (like caller James Morris), explained that the quote that bloggers attributed to his Senate testimony was actually plucked out of context from a report that Central Command had sent the Armed Services committee:

"There's a 56-page document that we submitted that has a statement in it that describes various factors that influence the strategic context in which we operate and among those we listed the Mideast peace process," he said. "We noted in there that there was a perception at times that America sides with Israel and so forth. And I mean, that is a perception. It is there. I don't think that's disputable. But I think people inferred from what that said and then repeated it a couple of times and bloggers picked it up and spun it. And I think that has been unhelpful, frankly." He also noted that there were plenty of other important factors that were mentioned in the report, including "a whole bunch of extremist organizations, some of which by the way deny Israel's right to exist. There's a country that has a nuclear program who denies that the Holocaust took place." Petraeus continued, "So we have all the factors in there, but this is just one, and it was pulled out of this 56-page document, which was not what I read to the Senate at all."

James Morris' recent Washington Journal calls include: May 25, 2011 – 8:51 AM (James from Los Angeles) and May 2, 2011 – 9:48 AM (James from Los Angeles).


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