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Media Analyses





C-SPAN Teams Up With Muslim Council To Defame America and Israel


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C-SPAN's (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network) habit of presenting events that condemn Israel and America was demonstrated in a December 18, 2017 one-hour broadcast of a Muslim Public Affairs Council “discussion” (repeated the next day) mainly intended for C-SPAN's millions of viewers (the size of MPAC's in-house audience seemed to be no more than four or five).

Anti-Israel propaganda events are routinely broadcast by C-SPAN without providing adequate, if any, context. The network never even bothers to issue a standard broadcast disclaimer such as: "Points of view expressed in this program are not necessarily those of this network."

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The discussion, Role of Muslims in Combating Terrorism, panelists were Hoda Hawa, MPAC's director of policy and advocacy (the discussion moderator), Salam Al-Marayati, MPAC's president; and Hady Amr and Shadi Hamid – of the Brookings Institution think tank – seated at either end of the panel – both of whom were moderate compared to Hawa and Al-Marayati – while not voicing any disagreement with them.
 
Hoda Hawa propagandistically charges anti-Muslim, white-nationalist policies
 
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Recently, we've seen a number of policies and announcements with regards to both domestic and international issues: Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, several iterations of a Muslim ban, a national security announcement to be announced later today, and the shift from countering violent extremism that focuses on all forms of violent extremism to strictly focusing on Islamic extremism, just to name a few. We are also seeing, in my opinion, the implementation of a white nationalist agenda. This seems like it is a movement to address 2040, when white Americans will no longer be the majority in America… [He is a] President who uses the power off his digital bully pulpit to bully minority communities, including American Muslim communities almost daily.

[...]
 
I do want to focus on one point which takes us back to the theme of today's panel and that is that this President continues to perpetuate the myth that Islam and the West are incompatible. And yet in choosing to address his first international audience, he traveled all the way to Saudi Arabia and overlooked talking directly with American Muslims here at home. So, how does this lie work with the President's constant contradictions that impact Muslim communities?

Salam Al-Marayati falsely accuses the U.S. government of warring against Islam
 
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Prefacing his remarks with the traditional Islamic benediction: “Bissmillallah Rahmanir Raheemin” which he translated from the Arabic as “In the name of god [Allah], the gracious, the most merciful,” Al-Marayati echoed Hawa's false characterization of U.S. policy:

… The question to the Trump administration is – does it continue with that [Obama administration] policy because the rhetoric and the policy are saying exactly the opposite – that the United States is not just at war with violent extremist groups, but it is at war with Islam… which way is our country going as it relates to Islam or any religion for that matter? … there is a sense that this administration wants to go on the warpath against Islam not just against extremist groups. Let me explain that in more detail. I believe Hoda is right when she said that we are witnessing the rise of a white nationalist agenda in U.S. policy. It is a policy based on ideology, not based on values. It is a policy based on fear that a group of Americans are going to lose power and instead of sharing power with other Americans, they are building walls, they are calling for travel bans and they are fomenting war abroad. That does not bode well for our national security. And the reality is, in my opinion, that religious nationalism is an international problem.

False equation
 
Al-Marayati falsely equates Muslim/Jewish/Christian violence in a century in which religiously motivated Muslims have killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims and non-Muslims, while religiously motivated violence by Christians has been rare, limited and overlaid with politics, nationalism and other issues. Meanwhile, religiously-motivated violence by Jews anywhere in the world against other Jews or non-Jews has been extremely rare and, in the few cases where it has occurred, condemned by the Jewish majority, in contrast to widespread celebration of violence against non-Muslims, and often other Muslims, in Arab-Islamic lands:

While we are witnessing white religious [Christian] nationalism in America, we are also witnessing Muslim religious nationalism abroad. We are witnessing Jewish religious nationalism in Israel and what is happening then is that the extremists are dictating the direction of our future, not the mainstream. If this administration, and future administrations, do not figure out a way to bring back mainstream conversation about religion, as opposed to only extremist conversation, then I fear that religious nationalism will take a stronger foothold in America, as well as what we are witnessing abroad.

Al-Marayati’s scare tactics about free speech restrictions

He warns that America will use laws to “intimidate and silence and arrest innocent people. People who are political dissidents will be intimidated and silenced through various means.”

We are under the threat of eroding American values as it relates to a number of policy issues. The first and foremost is the American value of equality under the law. If we lose equality under the law, while we are talking about the rule of law, then people will look at the rule of law as an instrument of oppression and that is happening actually abroad. This is what we are in danger of entering in our country -- that people in power will talk about the rule of law but that will be a way to intimidate and silence and arrest innocent people. People who are political dissidents will be intimidated and silenced through various means.

For example, in the United States, there is something called the “anti-BDS movement” -- the boycott, divestment and sanctions – that protest the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. Because the powers that be now have created legislative means of anti-BDS, those who are expressing their right to protest U.S. and Israeli policy of the treatment of Palestinians are going to be intimidated and silenced and arrested if they engage in boycott, divestment and sanctions.

Occupation myth

First, the term “Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory” is grossly misleading. Communities of Jews have continuously lived in their ancestral home in the Holy Land including the entirety of Jerusalem and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). Furthermore, scholars (Joan Peters in “From Time Immemorial,” among others) have shown that most of those who today identify as “Palestinians” descend from relatively recent migrations from surrounding territories. In fact, it's likely that the Arab population began to blossom only well after the beginning of substantial Jewish immigration in the 19th century.

In 1948, the Jewish nation of Israel, as authorized by the United Nations in 1947 and by previous international rulings, was re-established with the capacity of caring for Jewish refugees form Nazi horrors. Israel had sought to accommodate the Arabs but was immediately rebuffed by Arab Armies that attempted to annihilate the Jewish state. And thereafter Arab forces attacked, or gathered to attack, Israel several times in order to destroy it.

The West Bank is disputed land. Israel is the obligatory and legal military authority of the West Bank, having taken the territory from Jordanian occupation in self-defense in the 1967 Six-Day War. The land is not "Palestinian." It is disputed. Hence the need for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations according to U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian interim agreement.

Bogus charge against anti-BDS legislation

Al-Marayati falsifies the facts concerning the “anti-BDS movement” in citing it as his prime example of “a way to intimidate and silence and arrest innocent people.”

The BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) started in 2005 as a nonviolent protest about the predicament of the Palestinians. It evolved into demands to halt business with Israeli companies and the government of Israel, and ultimately to destroy the Jewish state. The movement has links to individuals and organizations that have been tied to Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist rulers of Gaza, dedicated to the destruction of Israel. What BDS actually advocates for is the end to Israel.

Omar Barghouti, a founder of BDS, has explained that the ultimate goal is a state where "by definition, Jews will be a minority." Other BDS activists have expressed similar sentiments. BDS participants focus none of their attention on major human rights violators and oppressive governments such as the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which has killed tens of thousands of its own citizens in recent years. BDS is not a human rights movement. Furthermore, the BDS movement potentially jeopardizes the existence of thousands of jobs in businesses employing West Bank Arabs. It is ironic that while Arabs in Israel have more legal rights and exercise them with more assurance than Arabs in any other country in the Middle East, Israelis are the only target of BDS activists.

Al-Marayati's scare tactic about the ramifications of the “legislative means of anti-BDS” is bogus. The legislation in various states does not restrict constitutionally-protected free speech or limit criticism of Israel or its policies. What it does is narrowly target commercial activity. The legislation does not create potential criminal or civil liability for BDS actions. Individuals who actively avoid purchasing goods and services because of their own political viewpoint would not be punished. The anti-BDS legislation is typified by the Texas version signed into law. The statute “prohibits all state agencies from contracting with, and certain public funds from investing in, companies that boycott Israel,” The governor stated that “We will not tolerate such actions against an important ally.” Likewise, in compliance with its anti-BDS law, New Jersey recently divested from Denmark's largest bank for boycotting Israeli companies.

Al-Marayati’s scare tactics regarding surveillance

If we don't have communities involved, we will have more surveillance, more arrests and people feeling less and less secure. There needs to be a means of having communities involved. For example, the State of New York has announced a counterterrorism mission. We have a number of law enforcement groups involved. That leads to another point that is troubling and that is the administration is killing partnership between law enforcement communities throughout the country. What we have worked on is eroding. There's less public trust. That does not bode well for a serious or effective policy.

This is exaggeration. He apparently refers to a planning paper, New York State's “Homeland Security Goals and Objectives: 2017 to 2020” intended “to measure our progress … in counter-Terrorism and law enforcement capabilities.”

Surveillance of particular ethnic or religious communities thought to contain terrorists has at times been considered to be necessary and efficacious. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, British authorities surveilled communities thought to harbor (Catholic) Irish Republican Army (IRA) terrorists, who were carrying out a deadly campaign of bombing in Britain. U.S. security services presumably cooperated with British security services. In this century at one point, police cataloged every mosque and Muslim-owned business in Newark, New Jersey as part of a response to Muslim terrorist incidents and threats. Then, in 2012, Muslim groups brought a lawsuit targeting the police for discriminatory spying on Newark Muslims. The lawsuit failed since the only specific injury that could be claimed was an alleged “chilling affect on speech" which was insufficient to obtain a court injunction.

This somewhat ludicrous Al-Marayati remark seems to indicate anti-U.S. bias: “When the Afghani people sacrificed one million lives to defeat the Soviet Union that led to the United States victory in the Cold War, did we [United States] show any gratitude? No.”

MPAC’s history of vilifying America and Israel

MPAC under the leadership of Al-Marayati, has a lengthy record of propagandizing against Israel and the United States. For example, a few hours after the horrific Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on America, without offering any evidence, Al-Marayati asserted that Israel should be suspected as having committed the attacks that were actually committed by Islamist terrorists mainly from Saudi Arabia:

If we're going to look at suspects, we should look to the groups that benefit the most from these kinds of incidents, and I think we should put the state of Israel on the suspect list because I think this diverts attention from what's happening in the Palestinian territories so that they can go on with their aggression and occupation and apartheid policies. (New York Times, October 22, 2001).

Al-Marayati excused Hezbollah's terrorism while responding to the question, “You mentioned Hezbollah, do you consider it to be more of a national liberation movement or a terrorist group?” Al-Marayati replied, “I don't think any group should be judged 100 percent on this or that. I think every group is going to have its claim of liberation and resistance …” (at the University of Pennsylvania, November 1997).

He falsely justified Hezbollah's 1983 bombing of the American Marine barracks in Beirut as a “military operation” rather than a terrorist attack: “Hezbollah organized the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in October 1983 killing 241 marines, the largest number of American troops killed in a single operation since the end of the Vietnam war. Yet this attack, for all the pain it caused, was not in a strict sense, a terrorist operation. It was a military operation, producing no civilian casualties — exactly the kind of attack that Americans might have lauded had it been directed against Washington's enemies” (MPAC, “A Position Paper on U.S. Counterterrorism Policy,” June 1999).

MPAC issued an alert in 1997 advocating renewal of the pernicious Arab economic boycott of Israel. A Sept. 1999 CAMERA report showed that Al-Marayati has “repeatedly falsely compared Jihad, or holy war, to the American struggle for independence and has likened today's terrorists to Americans fighting in the Revolutionary War. He has written that, ‘When Patrick Henry said, ‘Give me liberty or give me death,' that statement epitomized Jihad.' And he has argued that, ‘American freedom fighters hundreds of years ago were also regarded as terrorists by the British.' Unlike modern terrorists, of course, American colonists fighting the British did not kidnap, hijack and blow up English civilians. Warfare was directed at military targets. But such bogus comparisons are aimed at deflecting attention from the true nature of terrorism today.”
 
C-SPAN’s journalistic malpractice

As a guest on C-SPAN's daily call-in show Washington Journal, Sept. 29, 2014, Al-Marayati replied to a caller's criticism, "There's something within the teaching of the [Muslim] faith that's allowing the clerics to spread propaganda all the time," with an apologia for Islamism that included blaming Israel. He responded to the question, "What are the common grievances that draw people towards joining radical groups?" by citing “violation of the rights of Palestinians.” What anti-Israel propagandists mean by this is that Israel has no right to inconvenience any Palestinian Arabs as it tries to thwart the actions of murderous terrorists from within the Palestinian community. Typically, the C-SPAN host accepted Al-Marayati's anti-Israel propaganda without comment.

Israel is the only foreign nation subjected to consistently biased treatment by C-SPAN. This journalistic malpractice undermines its public affairs broadcasting mission which involves special privileges granted to it by Congress. This mode of operation continues apace (as documented by CAMERA) and continues to be ignored by Congress, the news media and C-SPAN's major patrons including Comcast, Verizon and DirecTV.


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