Abdel Bari Atwan: Too Antisemitic For the BBC, Just Right For France24

Less than half a year after BBC reportedly terminated its relationship with British-Palestinian Abdel Bari Atwan, France24 Arabic warmly welcomed the rabid antisemite and staunch supporter of terrorism and ethnic cleansing.

Sources inside the BBC told the Jewish Chronicle late last year that the corporation is unlikely to ever again invite Atwan, once a frequent guest commentator on both English and Arabic-language broadcasts.

The apparent blacklisting has not at all had any moderating impact Atwan’s extremism. The fact that British citizens were the latest victims of deadly Palestinian terrorism likewise did not dampen his full-throttle enthusiasm for fatal attacks targeting unarmed innocent civilians. Indeed, he rejoiced in April 7’s dual brutalities, the cold-blooded murders of the British-Israeli Dee family along with the brutal murder of Italian tourist Alessandro Parini, tweeting:

In the morning an operation of self-redemption [Arabic: Fida’, can also be translated as ‘guerilla’] causing the death of three female settlers in the [Jordan] Valley and a second attack in the evening at the heart of Tel Aviv causing one dead and three injured, and a third and final calamity, shooting at a settlers’ car in Ramallah. It is indeed a people of giants and Netanyahu and his gang could never defeat it […]

He similarly celebrated the March murders of Israeli civilians Or Ashkar in Tel Aviv and brothers Hallel and Yagel Yaniv in Huwara, with a March 10 YouTube address enthusing that the shooting attack at the Tel Aviv bar

means that the Intifada turns into a revolution, an armed revolution. I believe that the Palestinian people now moves towards an unprecedented phase of resistance. […] I believe that next Ramadan will be full of many surprises, this month of sacrifice and redemption […]


Similarly, he tweeted March 9:

When the men of al-Qassam return to Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv and avenge the martyrs of Jenin refugee camp, this is a major security breach. Its significance is not in the number of dead and injured but rather in the psychological impart, courage and meticulous planning […]

Arguably the least professional of all Arabic-speaking channels funded by taxpayers in the West, France24 Arabic last week granted Atwan a platform to weigh in on the Sudan crisis. This was his first appearance at the network after a long hiatus. Host Rajaa Makki introduced him as the London-based “editor in chief of the electronic Rai al-Youm newspaper,” failing to disclose anything about Atwan’s radical, hate-filled record. Asked about the inability to reach a peaceful solution in the African country, Atwan placed blame on a lack of natural resources and the international community’s preoccupation with Taiwan and Ukraine. He also spoke ambiguously of “international forces” supporting the two sides involved, alongside “regional” ones.

However, if any of the millions of France24’s Arabic-speaking viewers were to check out Atwan’s Rai al-Youm editorials, they would discover the commentator’s hateful conspiracy theories. This piece, for instance, syndicated in English via Apple News just days before France24 hosted Atwan, carried the subheading, “Yet another calamity contrived by the US and Israel with the collusion of Arab regimes” (emphasis added). He wrote:

Sudan is the victim of a major conspiracy […] The military establishment is unquestionably responsible for playing the biggest role in causing this calamity. The power-struggles between its generals and commanders are driven by purely selfish motives […]. This is what comes of normalization, the big American con-trick that promised the Sudanese people prosperity and bounty if Burhan shakes hands with Benjamin Netanyahu, and Hemedti goes groveling to Tel Aviv [i.e., Israel] and turns to it as a friendly state that will solve all Sudan’s problems.

In short, we are looking at another major disaster contrived by the US and Israel with the collusion, witting or unwitting, of Arab regimes. (Emphases added.)

Similarly, in an Arabic-only editorial published a day after his France24 interview, Atwan opined:

The invitation extended by Israeli foreign minister to both sides of the “Generals War” in Sudan […] to meet in occupied Jerusalem […] tears the masks off [the faces of] both sides, being collaborators of America and the occupation state [i.e. Israel], associates of its [Israel’s] racist, colonialist and expansionist project, and hostile towards anything named Arab or Muslim. […] They […] were and still are part of the American-Israeli conspiracy, with the fragmentation of Arab states as one of its prominent goals. We do not rule out that the massacres that both of them carried out in Darfur may have been precalculated, under American-Israeli planning to weaken Sudan and divide it into several countries, […] exactly like what had happened in Iraq.

We admit that in this newspaper, Rai al-Youm, and before it in other newspapers we edited [i.e. antisemitic al-Quds al-Arabi], we had grave doubts on [whether or not] the […] Janjaweed forces […] committed massacres against Muslim Sudanese brethren. [This is because of] the dubious [tendency] of the West’s media and political [sphere] to exaggerate, aimed at inflating them. And here are the days which reveal to us the dual American-Israeli role that we have now become certain that was clandestinely supporting these massacres, in cooperation with the state of Chad which hastened […] to open an embassy in Tel Aviv.

We cast aspersions on many Arab governments due to their suspicious silence […]. The Arab and Muslim peoples […] shall defeat this joint American-Israeli scheme of [provoking] strife from within, and the indigenous people of Sudan […] shall eventually confront this conspiracy and defeat it, after its demonic goals were revealed – […] to subjugate it [Sudan] to the Israeli hegemony, just like its Syrian sister.

The bottom line is that France24’s “expert” commentator on Sudan alleges that nefarious Americans and Israelis engineered Sudanese strife to serve their own interest. His belief that the Darfur massacres had actually taken place is predicated on his anti-American and anti-Israel worldview. With the most cursory check, France24’s Arabic editors would have discovered their guest’s conspiracy theory. Had they neglected that basic act of due diligence, then they have failed to uphold their basic journalistic responsibilities of due diligence. And if they did indeed take that step as they should have, then they are at fault for hiding his true views from their audience.

What will it take for France24 Arabic and Apple News to comply with their own standards prohibiting bigotry and violence and deny a platform to this hate-mongering, antisemitic conspiracist?

All translations by CAMERA Arabic.

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