C-SPAN May – June 2011

June 24, 2011 – 8:47 AM


Guest: Rep. TOM COLE (Republican-Oklahoma, fourth congressional district).

Topic: Afghanistan and Libya war policy.

Caller: Louise from Savanna, Missouri.

Caller: “I am very concerned about my country. All I see is a president who continues play-making end-runs around Congress. I do not appreciate the fact that he has drug us into Libya without the consent of Congress. I do not know if you are aware of it, sir, but Samantha Power, one of President Obama’s national security advisors, has made tough comments about using NATO forces to go in against Israel in defense of the Palestinians. If you guys are not going to hold President Obama accountable for dragging us into a war [with Libya] without consent, what will you do if he does this in September and uses NATO forces to go into Israel?”

Guest: “Well, first of all, I agree very much with your comments about Libya. I think Congress has been remiss here. We have allowed the President to wage an unauthorized war. There’s not a line-item in the defense budget about this. We are robbing Peter to pay Paul. No cost estimates, no congressional action and we are allowing the President to continue. That is why I do not intend to support any of these resolutions today. In terms of the President using NATO forces in Israel, I am not aware of the comments that you refer to. But I would oppose that and I think it is unlikely that that would happen. I do not think NATO has much of an appetite to do it. Frankly, NATO is having a pretty big problem dealing with a country of 6.5 Million that has no where near the capabilities of Israel. So, I do not think that would occur. I certainly would oppose it if it did.”

NOTE: Either host or guest should have noted that NATO couldn’t possibly have a legitimate reason for attacking Israel. The alliance attacked Libya to prevent that regime’s slaughter of its own citizens. The Israeli government threatens neither its own Jewish majority nor Arab minority. And Israeli reprisals against Palestinian Arab terrorism have been as or more restrained than U.S. and allied attacks against al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan and elsewhere, as former British commander in Afganistan Col. Richard Kemp has argued.

June 22, 2011 – 7:07 AM


Topic: When should U.S. engage in war?

Caller: Ron from Miami, Florida (anti-Israel repeat caller).

Caller: “Yes. Thank you. I have a problem with all these wars going on. We have to realize that we can’t just keep going in and fighting these wars. We have to understand that Israel has a lot to do with it. If we solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, we could solve the war on terrorism and that’s really what it comes down to.”

NOTE: Previous guest by phone (from 7:02 to 7:05 AM), Frank Oliveri, Congressional Quarterly’s defense and foreign policy reporter, discussed congressional deliberations regarding war policy, particularly as it relates to drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan. The broadcast’s first caller, “Ron from Miami,” asserted that the cause of “these wars” is the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Every “Ron from Miami” call targets mainly or only Israel for blame – examples: May 7, 2011 (7:11 AM), March 27, 2011 (8:00 AM) and Jan. 28, 2011 (7:03 AM).

As usual for a number of Washington Journal callers like Ron, indulged by Journal hosts, mindlessly blaming Israel is accepted by C-SPAN. A competent host would have pointed out the obvious: the U.S. conflict with Afghanistan’s Taliban and al Qaeda, America’s military involvement in the turmoil in Libya, or the 2003 invasion of Iraq and continued troop presence there have had no direct connection to the Palestinian conflict with Israel. Neither would a resolution of that conflict have affected American involvement in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, prevented the 1980 – 1988 Iraq-Iran war, or blocked the upheavals that have shaken numerous Arab countries this year. But on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal broadcasts, tolerance regularly is extended for chronic, biased attacks on only one nation – Israel.

June 19, 2011 – 7:29 AM


Topic: Candidate [for President]? Enthusiasm level?

Caller: Jack from Baltimore, Maryland.

Caller: “I’m going to vote for Barack Obama. But I’m not really highly enthusiastic about him. I’m more enthusiastic about making sure the Republicans don’t get the Presidency. They will destroy this country with their financial agenda which will go – everything will go to the rich as we all know. They’re thinking about putting the Social Security into the stock market. That’s just insanity. But Obama has shown me some good things about him. He stood up to Israel and we need more politicians to do that. We can’t let Israel decide our foreign policy. Thank you.”
NOTE: Another anti-Israel caller goes unchallenged by a C-SPAN Washington Journal host. How does “Israel decide our foreign policy”? The host doesn’t ask. Many in Congress and the news media doubt the legality of President Obama’s commitment of U.S. forces to hostilities in Libya. Pakistan sheltered Osama bin Laden, perhaps with the knowledge of some in that country’s U.S.-supported military. Iran accelerates its drive for nuclear weapons. China stages cyber attacks on U.S. military and corporate networks. Yet the caller wants politicians who “stand up to Israel.” The host doesn’t question his perspective or note the continuing strong support for Israel in Congress and public opinion polls. On Washington Journal, when it comes to Israel, rarely is heard an encouraging word.
June 16, 2011 – 7:07 AM


Topic: U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates: “Most countries lie to each other.”

Caller: Behar from Bethesda, Maryland.

Caller: “I say, yes, governments do lie to one another. I know that we have lied to several governments. We lied to the government of Chile when we overthrew them in the ‘70s and also I know that Israel, one of our present allies, has spied on us. I don’t know how many Israeli spies are in American prisons right now. I am not condoning what has happened in Pakistan. I think it is awful. I think we have to do whatever we can to help those guys [Pakistan] because they helped us. But that is the way the world is.”
NOTE: Unchallenged by host Slen, Ms. Behar, the second caller to the broadcast, condemns Israel while mostly sparing Pakistan, whose duplicitous behavior regarding the search for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the joint U.S.-Pakistani effort against Islamic extremists, occasioned the Washington Journal discussion topic. The caller’s phrasing (“I don’t know how many…”) implies there are many imprisoned Israeli spies. Since the caller focused on Israel, host Slen should have reiterated what most Washington-based journalists know, that there are not “many” but only two people imprisoned by the United States for spying on behalf of Israel, and that most countries, including allies, do indeed spy on each other. Cases of Americans spying on Israel include at least two Israelis.
June 16, 2011 – 7:09 AM


Topic: U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates: “Most countries lie to each other.”

Caller: Joyce from Memphis, Tennessee.

Caller: “[Defense Secretary] Gates is refreshingly honest. The Israelis not only spied on us, they killed our men in 1965 on the USS Liberty and never stood trial for it.“

Note: Joyce, the fourth caller to the broadcast, focusing her anger on Israel, makes serious false allegations unchallenged by host Slen. An informed host could have noted that the Israeli attack on the out-of-position, misidentified USS Liberty during the 1967 Six-Day War (not in 1965) has been determined to have been accidental by the U.S. government in six separate inquiries. All concluded the Israeli attack on a U.S. Navy vessel was 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.

Recent events strongly suggest that Pakistan, at the highest levels of government evidently deceived the United States on critically important matters including Pakistani-Taliban cooperation and joint U.S.-Pakistani anti-terrorism efforts for a long time. That the second and fourth callers focused their anger on Israel rather than Pakistan, is indicative of the obsessive determination of anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish callers to Washington Journal, who rarely hear a discouraging word from C-SPAN hosts.

June 16, 2011 – 7:20 AM


Topic: U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates: “Most countries lie to each other.”

Caller: Jack from Queens, New York City.

SLEN: “Jack, what do you think about Secretary Gates’ statement?”

Caller: “There is no treaty of alliance with Israel. Israel wanted a treaty of alliance back early in the 1950s …”

SLEN (interrupting): “Jack, what does this have to do with our question?”

Caller: “Yes. Pakistan is an ally of the United States under SEATO, the South East Asian Treaty Organization since 1954.”

SLEN: “So, what do you think about …”

Caller (interrupting): The point is, every time an American politician says Israel is an ally, they are lying.”

NOTE: Host Slen failed to call attention to the caller’s out-of-date premise with regard to the SEATO treaty which has not been in effect since 1977 when it was dissolved. Slen interrupted the caller for going off-topic but subsequently indulged the caller whose rank generalization, “every time an American politician says Israel is an ally, they are lying” makes clear his morbid bias. There is no U.S.-Israeli joint defense treaty, as there is between the United States and South Korea, for example, in part because Israel long has insisted it did not want any American troops put in harm’s way to defend it. Nevertheless, Israel is linked to the United States by several military memoranda of understanding and cooperation. It also has official major, non-NATO ally status with the United States. Its history of military and intelligence aid to America goes back more than 50 years and includes, among many other items, supplying Washington with Khrushchev’s “secret speech” denouncing Stalinist policies, providing Cold War intelligence on captured Soviet weapons systems, technology transfers aiding American development of unmanned aerial vehicles and anti-ballistic missile advances. The host’s silence in the face of the caller’s anti-Israel broadside – completely biased and completely erroneous – is journalistically unacceptable.

June 15, 2011 – 7:25 AM


Topic: What should President Obama do to win in 2012?

Caller: Jack from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Host: “What does President Obama need to do to win in 2012?”

Caller: “I think he’s doing a reasonably good job. He did not create the financial distress that we are under right now and I think he’s doing okay.”

BRAWNER: “Jack, he did not create it according to you and other Democrats but has he done enough to turn it around?”

Caller: “I think he’s done as much as he can. It is a very, very difficult is situation. Look at who is responsible for it, Republicans and big businesses sending our jobs over the seas. Any middle-class person who votes for Republicans is out of their mind – is committing suicide.”

BRAWNER: “Jack, let’ s stay on Democrats and the President. What are your legislative priorities – besides the economy – and has he met those?”

Caller: “I would like to see him get out of the wars that we are in. That would be good. And maybe some of the rich Jews could finance the wars, they are the ones who pushed us into most of it.”

Host: “All right. This [holding up a newspaper page] is …”
NOTE: Host Brawner responds “All right,” to a stereotypical antisemitic smear, that rich Jews push countries, in this case the United States, into wars. She moves to another topic as if she does not comprehend what she’s just heard, or does not believe it calls for rebuttal. This caller’s Judeophobic, conspiracy-obsessed rant (“We should get the rich Jews to pay for the wars, they are the ones that got us into them”) is unfortunately not atypical of C-SPAN hosts.

June 15, 2011 – 7:33 AM


Topic: What should President Obama do to win in 2012?

Caller: Alice from Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Caller: “Good morning Libby [caller, confusing host Greta Brawner with host Libby Casey, is not corrected]. It is nice to talk with you this morning. I have five quick points that I would like to make. 1) I would like [President] Barack Obama to publicly reconcile with Rev. Jeremiah Wright [President Obama’s pastor for 20 years until 2008. Wright has had a long history of inflammatory rhetoric including the assertion that the United States brought on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks with its own ‘terrorism’]. 2) I would like Obama to demand that lobbyists for Israel register as foreign agents. 3) I would like him to fire Dennis Ross [chief Middle East peace negotiator under Presidents Ge orge H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and currently Special Advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton] and hire Charles Freeman [former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia who was nominated in 2009 to be chairman of the National Intelligence Council only to withdraw shortly thereafter when his professional relationships with Saudi Arabia and China and unhinged attacks on Israel and its supporters became widely known] to work in the White House.”
BRAWNER: “All right, we’re going to leave it there, Alice.”
NOTE: Typically for Washington Journal, a caller’s Israel-phobia and Judeophobia are left unchallenged. Viewers could have been informed that the caller’s reference to “lobbyists for Israel” refers not to foreign agents working for Israel, but to Americans registered to lobby in supporting of strong U.S.-Israel ties. A knowledgeable host would have noted that Rev. Wright has charged that the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorism attacks were “America’s chickens coming home to roost,” that the government developed the AIDS virus to suppress minority populations and that “Zionists” (Jews) manipulate U.S. society. Likewise, the call required a sentence or two on Amb. Freeman’s well-publicized extremist views. Brawner does not recognize or avoids the obvious: that the caller seems to share Wright and Freeman’s hostility to Jews.
June 13, 2011 – 9:29 AM


Guest: ROBERT DALLEK, presidential historian and author.

Topic: Declassified Pentagon Papers released today.

Caller: Alonzo from Greenville, South, Carolina.

Caller: “You said that [President Lyndon] Johnson was just basically following what he thought [President John] Kennedy would do. But how much does the military-industrial complex in terms of escalating the war have to do with it? And the other thing I want to say is – Kennedy – when he was assassinated – I thought he was (indistinct) that might have caused it was with the Federal Reserve [Bank] – Executive Order number 11110 – and also the fact that he wanted an Israeli lobbying group to register as a foreign agent – or something like that – what do you think about those things coming out in the Pentagon Papers, maybe?”
Guest: “I have never heard that Kennedy was assassinated because of anything to do with Israel or the Federal Reserve, so that’s news to me and I don’t know that that the Pentagon Papers demonstrate anything there.”

“As far as the military and Vietnam goes, they were advocates of the idea that Johnson was continuing and expanding upon what Kennedy wanted to do. Kennedy did make a number of statements in which he said, in essence, we are not going to lose Vietnam, but there is an awful lot of information in which he was talking about not getting too deep into Vietnam, because he was very skeptical of this sort of war in the jungles of southeast Asia. I think Kennedy would have acted differently – I do not know what he would have done. Nobody will ever know exactly what he would have done. I do not know that he knew exactly what he was going to do because he was sort of playing things by ear, but he was very skeptical of putting in massive numbers of land troops. It would have been different, I think, from Johnson. That I’m confident of.”

NOTE: Guest responds appropriately to yet another Washington Journal conspiracy-obsessed caller whose rambling question includes Israelphobic and/or Judeophobic conspiracy theories.

June 13, 2011 – 9:57 AM


Guest: ROBERT DALLEK, presidential historian and author.

Topic: Declassified Pentagon Papers released today.

Caller: Jay from Houston, Texas.
Caller: “Good morning Mr. Dallek. I’m calling – and I don’t know why – it seems that you are a historian – I have a question – why are we calling Iraq a war? If I lied to murder and kill somebody, that would be murder. Why are you, a historian, calling Iraq a war when it seems more like a war crime? And then I’d like to also ask – I went to high school when they taught about the Declaration of Balfour – the Balfour Declaration [Britain’s 1917 commitment to support a national home for the Jewish people in their ancient homeland] and I’ve read Benjamin Freedman [an anti-Zionist, Jewish-born author who had repudiated his Judaism] and – World War II was not the last good war. In fact, for most Americans, World War I is the same. Most Americans were against that. We had the Balfour Declaration – we had what some people allege was a blackmail of [President] Woodrow Wilson by [Louis] Brandeis [U.S. Supreme Court Justice 1916 to 1939, appointed by Wilson and the first Jew on the High Court] to get the Federal Reserve and get us into World War I and that set up the whole war banking system. World War II was the same way. Americans did not want to get into that war and this is a question of terrorism and …”

Host (cuts off caller): “We already put out a lot there. Let our guest respond.”

Guest: “I have questions about Woodrow Wilson’s involvement in World War I, but I do not think it had anything to do with the influence of a Jewish lobby or Louis Brandeis. I think World War II was a necessary war – Nazism, fascism, Japanese militarism. They were really a major national security threat to the long run well-being of this country and to any hopes of democracy around the globe. I think that [President] Franklin Roosevelt was very wise in supporting Britain – France and Britain at first, then, of course, Britain – and then the Soviet Union when it was attacked by the Nazis in June, 1941. So, that was a necessary war, But it’s been a struggle ever since. As I said, I thought Harry Truman did the right thing entering into Korea and combating the North Korean assault. But I would share the skepticism of those who said it was a mistake to have crossed the 38th parallel [the dividing line between post-World War II North and South Korea]. I think that was a mistake on his part.”

NOTE: Yet again, a C-SPAN host allows a caller to ramble on with classic, antisemitic conspiracy theories – Jews drag host countries into wars, Jews were behind creation of the Federal Reserve and manipulate international banking, etc. before finally terminating him. Guest responds appropriately to the lunatic fringe theories.

June 5, 2011 – 9:05 AM


Guest: SHIBLEY TELHAMI, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, University of Maryland.

Topic: What’s next for the Middle East?

Caller: Jeff from Boca Raton, Florida.
Caller: “Mr. Telhami, you and I spoke on Washington Journal some years ago at which point I stated my concerns about Egypt abrogating their treaty with Israel – the treaty obligations. You assured me that this was a political thing – [not related to] that the Muslim Brotherhood and the various codes which are Koranic and the tribe of Quraish, which Yasser Arafat referred to constantly – which basically says, ‘no [permanent] treaty with the nonbeliever’ and once you’re strong enough you go out and destroy them.”

“By the same token, when Israel left southern Lebanon, they got Hezbollah, when they left Gaza, they got Hamas. Now we are supposed to define some borders with the Palestinian state – with [Palestinian Authority President] Abbas who wants to retire and the Hamas movement that will probably move in as an Iranian proxy which they already have now. Also – by the way – the score in Hama [Syria] was more like 25,000 Muslim Brotherhood members [family and neighbors] killed [by the forces of President Hafez al-Assad] in 3 days [in 1982], if I’m not mistaken – and of course, [King] Hussein [of Jordan], the elder, killed 10,000 [Palestine Liberation Organization members, their families and civilians] and sent them [remaining PLO members] to Lebanon where they destroyed the Lebanese democracy.”

“What my concern, Sir, is that we see [Iranian] gunboats flowing through the Suez Canal to Syria. We see the border opening up and Hamas getting more military hardware than they already have through their tunnels. My suggestion is that with regard to the earlier individual who called, this is international. The Iranians boast that they have rockets that will reach Europe. Indeed, they have rockets that might indeed reach Washington, D.C. – and they are not above – I think the calculus is – I think it was [former Iranian President Hashemi] Rafsanjani – who said, if they destroy the United States and Israel, there will be [X] amount of people that survive – the retaliatory attack could kill 10 to 20 million Iranians, but it will be well worth it, because there are more Muslims than there are anywhere else and if you could address that…”

SCULLY (cuts off caller): “Thank you Jeff, I’ll stop you there and we’ll get a response.”

TELHAMI: “Just a couple of points. The first point on sort of the risk Israel would take if it were to withdraw. It is obvious that Israel is not in a position right now where peace is around. Obviously, it is stable for now. Everybody understands that the storm is around the corner. If you’re looking at it in terms of the future, it is impossible to envision a peaceful settlement between the Israel and Arabs that will not be based on the two-state solution. If you don’t have that – you’ll have a period of trouble. If that is what you want and you want to take that risk, Israel will have to make that choice, but that is my own assessment.”

“On the Egyptian side, I think you’re correct to place the emphasis on Egypt. I think Egypt has been a very critical player, particularly for the Israelis. It took them three decades, from 1948 until the Camp David accords in 1978, for Israel, essentially, to make this peace with Egypt, which had been the most powerful Arab state. Therefore, to take it out of it – to reduce the prospect of a major war in the Middle East – the Israelis are worried that it might be challenged. For now, the Egyptian military, which remains the anchor of the transitional government, most certainly is not interested in abrogating that treaty. They do not want war. They want stability. They’re coordinating with the Israelis, as we speak, on the same level if not more than prior to the revolution.”

“How this would unfold in the political process is another story. My own worry is that, absent an Israeli-Palestinian credible peace process, which people can have confidence in, this issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will resurface as one of the major issues in the Egyptian internal debate leading to the elections. Then, it will put strain on the relationship between Egypt and Israel, not on the peace treaty necessarily in the short term, but on the cooperative relationship it already has, such as the Egyptian opening to Gaza, which had taken place recently, allowing people free movement into Egypt. So, I think Egypt is an anchor but the answer to this is to address the Israeli-Palestinian issue. If you do not, it will ignite the debate in every single one of the countries country where this has not been a central issue. It’ll make it a central issue. It will test the relationship and create a strategic environment that will not be comfortable.”

NOTE: While Mr. Telhami comments at length on the potential danger to Israel of failing to complete a peace treaty with the Palestinian Arabs, he ignores the caller’s main point regarding a risk to non-Muslim nations of making peace treaties with Muslim entities as is indicated by Koranic teachings. Specifically cited by the late Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat and by Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip, among others, has been the prophet Muhammad’s Quraysh/Hudna model. Muhammad had struck a hudna (truce) with the non-Muslim Quraysh tribe that controlled Mecca in the seventh century but as soon as his followers were strong enough they broke the treaty and attacked and defeated the non-Muslim tribe. Host Scully fails to return the discussion to this central question.

• June 4, 2011 – 8:30 AM


Guest: KEVIN HALL, McClatchy Newspapers economics correspondent.

Topic: Unemployment at 9.1 percent, 54K jobs added.

Caller: Kathleen from Boulder, Colorado (anti-Israel, frequent caller using different names: Kathleen/Patricia/Jackie/Ann/Kay/Kate).
Caller: “Hi, Kevin. First, I wanted to say thanks for C-SPAN. You guys are the best – Washington Journal in particular. Kevin, can you tell us whether the banking institutions that borrowed billons of taxpayers dollars, via the Fed [Federal Reserve Bank], have they paid those loans back and can you explain, I mean, other than fat cats having control of some of our Congress folks – is why there was little or no interest? Can you explain that on those loans and whether they paid them back? And then I wanted to ask Washington Journal if you folks could have some more programs where you help the American public get some real facts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in particular the illegal settlements that keep impeding any kind of real negotiations or progress?”
June 3, 2011 – 8:12 AM

Host: SUSAN SWAIN, President of C-SPAN.

Guest: Congressman RANDY FORBES, Republican-Virginia.

Topic: Lawmakers take up the U.S. role in Libya.

Caller: Abdullah (or Abdeen) from Fairfax, Virginia.

Caller: “Yes, good morning, Susan. About Libya, I think the President has shown some restraint in terms of what the United States is doing in that Libya. I do not think the President is violating his duty. There was a gentle man who was calling about is impeaching President. What is more disturbing is the action taken by the Speaker by inviting [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu to come to the United States deliberately to challenge the President. What the Speaker is doing really is he is playing the role – he is usurping the power of the President in terms of foreign policy. Congress, by inviting Benjamin Netanyahu to humiliate the President of the United States, lecturing him at the White House, insulting him. Congress is absolutely running this country into a dangerous territory. You should be ashamed of yourself. The President is the sole representative, the total authority of the U.S. government for foreign policy.”

Congressman FORBES: [Explains at length the Constitutional mandate and prerogatives of the Congress – in the Libya situation – as provided by the U.S. system of government – and then replies to the caller’s ire concerning the Netanyahu visit:] “As far as the Speaker inviting Benjamin Netanyahu is concerned, I am glad he invited him. I think we need to have more people give their impressions. He was warmly received by both parties in Congress.”

June 3, 2011 – 8:17AM

Host: SUSAN SWAIN, President of C-SPAN.

Guest: Congressman RANDY FORBES, Republican-Virginia.

Topic: Lawmakers take up the U.S. role in Libya.

Caller: Harry from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Caller: “I agree with the [8:12 AM] caller from Virginia. He is right about this thing with [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu. I don’t think our Speaker invited Netanyahu, I think the Jewish lobby told our Speaker to invite him. I am appalled when – our Congressmen – we talk about the Afghanistan government being corrupt. I feel that all of our Congressmen, Senators – they’re all taking lobbyist money from the 800 pound gorilla on foreign policy. They were responsible for the invasion of Iraq. The neocons sold that to [President] Bush. It was all about Saddam Hussein – killing even his two boys – for what happened with the buses in Tel Aviv in the 90’s. I do not believe for one second that the attack was done on Libya without getting approval from Tel Aviv. The one thing I cannot understand is why they did it. I’d love to hear your response. Why does Israel want it – is it the Lockerbie thing [bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland by Libyan operatives] or is it the banking system — the independent monetary system? “

Guest: “Well Harry, I have to start with your basic premise. Your basic premise is this – I remember years ago when I played on a Little League and I remember when I coached my children, in Little League, sometimes you lost the ball game or didn’t come out like you wanted it to – you’d always hear a few people saying, the umpires were bought off and it wasn’t fair. Certainly when we see people not liking decisions that Congress makes – the easy thing to say is that they are all corrupt, they are all bought off by lobbyists. The reality is – that’s hard for you and others to appreciate – that there are a great many of individuals in Congress who fully believe that Israel has been one of the strongest allies for the United States and democracies in the Middle East and they have been a huge ally for us in terms of intelligence, weapons systems, being there consistently for us as an ally. I think many of them were concerned when the President started dictating to Israelis that they needed to move back to the lines in 1967, lines that would put every man, woman and child in Israel within 60 seconds of a missile attack. We would never have accepted that here in the United States. I think when you are talking about the [Israeli] prime minister coming to the United States to speak, I don’t think that was bought off by lobbyists. I think it was it was a great many people in Congress who believe very strongly that Israel is a strong ally of the United States and are committed to that. I know personally I believe that and that was before I met lobbyists. It began when I was in college and writing my thesis on the Mideast crisis, and that was the conclusion that I came to long before I met the first lobbyist.”

June 3, 2011 – 8:23 AM

Host: SUSAN SWAIN, President of C-SPAN.

Guest: Congressman RANDY FORBES, Republican-Virginia.

Topic: Lawmakers take up the U.S. role in Libya.

Caller: Mike from Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Caller: “Good morning. Good morning Congressman. I find it troubling when people are appalled by the prime minister from the only democratic country [Israel] in the Middle East coming over to speak to us while other dictators over there seem to get a free ride like Syria, Iran. About Libya, did the Administration ever come to Congress yet to get approval for the actions?”

NOTE: The caller’s Libya question elicited a reply by the guest but both guest and host were silent to the caller’s comment criticizing those who object to the visit of the prime minister of Israel.

May 28, 2011 – 8:45 AM


Guest: RICHARD GOWAN, Associate Director of New York University’s Center for International Cooperation.

Topic: World’s leaders convene at G8 [Group of Eight Nations] summit.

Caller: Ken from Boca Raton, Florida.
Caller: “I want to ask Mr. Gowan, we know that there is a difference between structural and functional democracy. My concern, of course, about this so-called “Arab spring” and so-called “Arab democracy” as we’ve noted with apprehension that Egypt opened the Suez Canal to Iranian gunboats. They’ve decided to open the Gaza border, cozying up to Hamas [designated as a terrorist organization by the United States]. I think [Frank] Gaffney [president of the Center for Security Policy think tank] said months ago, on Washington Journal, Egypt possesses one of the largest military and economic aid [packages] from the United States. We are about to see this so-called, and I use the term advisably, “democracy” turned over to individuals that with every speech and past remarks have been violently anti-West, anti-American, anti-Israeli. What are we doing in supporting Egypt with more money, when they are destroying their own Coptic Christian individuals and … of course, I think it was Yousuf Al-Qaradawi [“spiritual guide” of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood] was in the democratic protests in the square and indicated that 2 million Moslems wish to pray in the al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem …”

(Host terminated the call).

Guest: “Well, let me be very clear. The G8 leaders and Barack Obama know they are riding a tiger in the Middle East. No one is confident as maybe we were a few months ago about the fact that democracy is going to be won for everyone. We understand it is complex. What the leaders have been trying to do this week is making a big open gesture of support to the new democrats in Egypt and Tunisia, showing they are willing to reach out and help those very fragile economies where you have a really huge unemployment problem with debt relief. The hope is that whoever comes to power eventually in Cairo and Tunis, that gesture will have a lasting beneficial political effect. On Egypt, about that they might turn into a military opponent with Israel again – I think we should be cautious and realistic. The Egyptian military, which ultimately was a decisive force, remains close to Washington. While you may get a lot of political rhetoric – and understandably so – it is not going to translate into a repeat of the 1973 War next month or next year.”

NOTE: Ken from Boca Raton is a rare C-SPAN caller who realistically notes potentially anti-American, anti-Israeli problems with Egypt’s “Arab spring.” Host Casey fails to tell the audience that Yousef al-Qaradawi, whom the caller mentioned, is th e “spiritual guide” of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Qaradawi calls for conversion of the West to Islam and envisions a genocide of the Jews by Muslims.

May 26, 2011 – 9:15 AM


Guest: Congressman ALLEN WEST (R-Florida), Armed Services Committee member.

Topic: News review with Rep. Allen West.

Caller: Rene from King George, Virginia.

Caller: “My husband is a retired Naval officer with 22 years of service.”

Guest: “I thank you for this service, madam.”

Caller: “We thank you. As a result we know about service and sacrifice. Sir, the 1968 or 1966 borders [of Israel], whichever they are, have been the starting point in negotiations since the 1990’s. That starting point is nothing new. So, either you are ignorant of that fact or intellectually dishonest. In addition, it’s disgraceful for a military officer and Congressperson not to criticize a leader who comes on U.S. soil and talks to and about our President the way that [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu did. Whichever side of the aisle you are on, and as a military figure, you should know that and using the term ‘nefarious’ when talking about our President is disrespectful, sir.”

Guest: “Well, I do not think it is disrespectful. I think it is a very careful assessment. Because when I look at the fact – why didn’t the President share the fact that he was going to say that [the requirement to revert back to the 1967 borders] with the Prime Minister? Why did he not show him that respect? We’re talking about our most valued and trusted ally [Israel]. Look, let us understand something very simple. Every time that Israel has traded land, they have gotten more rockets, they have gotten more mortars, more attacks. You want to look at what happened with the Fogel family just recently [Israeli family in their home massacred by Palestinians] – I tell you that’s some of the things that I do not want to see happen in the state of Israel. No president has ever talked about going to the 1967 border. That may have been a starting point, but no president has ever said we need to revert back to that point while we see this country [Israel] nearly cut in half when people are saying right now that they continue to support terrorist activities. So, until we can negotiate from a position of power and position of strength, I do not think we should be supporting the peace process until we have a willful peace partner [in the Palestinians]. I understand that maybe you are upset, but the thing I will always do is criticize policy. Once again, why do we allow a person such as [Iranian] President Ahmadinejad to come to our country when we know that this gentleman is doing the things that are promoting the death of our soldiers? So, I would like to see you being just as upset with Ahmadinejad as you seem to be upset about Netanyahu.”

Host: “Congressman West sits on the Armed Services Committee and the Small Business Committee. Thank you for being with us.”

May 25, 2011 – 8:51 AM


Guest: Representative John Garamendi (D-CA).

Topic: Defense spending and war powers.

Caller: James from Los Angeles (anti-Israel frequent caller using different names including: James/Jim/Jamie/Tim/Ron/Tyrone).

Caller: “What about what General Petraeus had said about U.S. support for Israel against the Palestinians being a threat to American troops in theater? Yesterday, we saw Benjamin Netanyahu getting more standing ovations than President Obama did at the State of the Union [speech]. It’s outrageous. You can go to america-hijacked dot com. Our support for Israel is what got us attacked on 9/11. You can read page 147 of the …”

BRAWNER (cutting off caller): “Alright James, we got your point.”

Guest: “I do not buy any of that. We got attacked because bin Laden and al Qaeda came after us. They had a lot of different reasons for doing so. None of them valid. And our support for Israel is essential and necessary. As to troops, that’s not – as far as I know – ever been a question. I just think you [the caller] are wrong.”

BRAWNER: “After the [Israeli] prime minister’s speech yesterday, and what President Obama had to say the day before, where are we in resolving peace between Israel and Palestine?”

Guest: “The President is quite correct, it’s something that will have to be decided between Israel and Palestine. Obviously, the United States and other countries have a significant interest in seeing that it gets done. The President was pushing the envelope. That is okay. Let him push the envelope. Somebody is going to have to push it. But let’s get on with the peace settlement. Benjamin Netanyahu was quite correct about negotiating with terrorists. That is not going to work. He is going to have to have a secure government to negotiate with and it’s up to the Palestinians to put that together.”
NOTE: This obsessive anti-Israel caller, a frequent violator of Washington Journal’s announced one-call-per-30-days-rule, is belatedly cut-off, but not before he gets in a plug for his anti-Israel, conspiracy-theory Web site.

The topic is “defense spending and war powers,” but host Brawner takes the caller’s bait and goes off it to discuss Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. She also uses the caller’s premature and tendentious reference to “Palestine,” which the congressman then adopts. A new Arab state of “Palestine” may come into existence as a result of Arab-Israeli negotiations according to U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and diplomatic initiatives based on them. But no such country exists now or has existed.

May 23, 2011 – 7:25 AM


Topic: How does the world view America?

Caller: David from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Caller: “I think, as far as the Mideast is concerned, that the Mideast foreign policy there is biased. I think it presents a lot of problems there. We are heavily favoring Israel. The culture, the religious culture there, and us injecting our self militarily. It does not sit well with any of the people there. That is a source of tension, too.”

Host: “Thank you for the call, David.”

NOTE: Host Scully typically fails to challenge a caller’s blame-Israel monologue. A competent host could have asked the caller to specify how the United States “heavily favors” Israel when the Palestinian Authority adopted U.S. positions on a settlement construction freeze – including Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem – before resuming direct negotiations with Israel; when Washington proposes a $100 billion-plus arms deal to Saudi Arabia; has acted militarily against Libya for attacking its own citizens but not against Syria, a leader of anti-Israel efforts, for larger-scale repression of Syrian citizens; and, among other things, provides hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority so far without tying aid to Palestinian good-faith negotiations.

May 23, 2011 – 8:29 AM


Guest: ANDY SULLIVAN, Reuters Congressional correspondent.

Topic: Debt and the federal budget.
[Discussion dwelling on matters such as Medicare costs and Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan – with no mention of Israel.]
SCULLY: “And a lot of attention on U.S.-Israeli relations including a speech by the Israeli prime minister tomorrow here in Washington.”

SCULLY (reading the Tweet): “Israel has long been the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, especially military aid.”

SCULLY: “We are talking with Andy Sullivan on the U.S. budget agreement.”
NOTE: Host Scully’s fixation on Israel apparently leads him to select and read a Tweet from an anonymous Tweeter (htttp://bit.ly.k4.lzzy) that singles out Israel for no apparent objective reason during a segment dealing with “Debt and the federal budget.” The guest, presumably recognizing that the Tweet is off-topic, makes no comment. Washington Journal hosts, seldom factual where Israel is concerned, need a facts briefing: 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 received several times the $2.4 billion the United States gave to Israel. Nearly all of this 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. A recent previous example of Scully’s problematic handling of Israelphobic/Judeophobic callers, Tweeters or E-mailers: On Feb. 27, 2011 At 7:32 AM , Scully selected and read, without comment, a Tweet that defamed Israel. At 9:58 AM, Scully engaged in unjournalistic, unsubstantiated rumor-mongering relating to the embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, alleging he has Jewish ancestry: “I saw the other day that he [Gaddafi] does have Jewish roots. Technically he could go to Israel because of his – either grandmother or …”
May 21, 2011 – 7:04 AM


Topic: Is college worth it [tuition cost]?

Caller: Mike from Baltimore, Maryland.

Caller: “I wanted to say, I don’t really think college is worth it these days because for the simple fact – let me give you an example. Some – let’s just say black people – if you were with black people, they would teach you how to fish – but universities – it seems like they give you a book on how to fish and then give you some answers that they (indistinct). You didn’t get it right so give me your money now and that’s it. Now, on Youtube, young people – these young generations – you can learn math on Youtube by watching videos and other things like that …(etc.) and I just want to make one last point before you hang up on me. We’ve been talking about the Middle East thing, now the truth of the matter about the Middle East thing – the 12 tribes of Israel – there were black Haitians, Dominicans and Indians, there were 12 of us. So, with all of us – 12 of us tribes – if we would go back to Israel, it would stop the Middle East peace and then the Jews could come over here.”

Host: “We want to move on to this topic at hand. At 7:45 A.M. today, Josh Rogin will be here from Foreign Policy [magazine] The question right now, is college worth it?”

NOTE: A bit of unintentional humor is supplied by a delusional caller with a weird idea about the 12 tribes of Israel and a solution for the “Middle East thing.” The typically slow-to-react Washington Journal host indulges the caller as he moves to the off-topic material before finally terminating him. Mr. Orgel, given his reference to a scheduled guest and foreign policy topics, apparently believes that the caller’s irrational information might properly be part of that discussion. A professional response would have been to terminate the call with an “Unbelievable!” no later than “now on YouTube…”

May 21, 2011 – 8:25 AM


Guest: JOSH ROGIN of Foreign Policy magazine.

Topic: President Obama and Middle East policy.

Caller: John from Frisco, Texas.
Caller: “I want to go back to talking about the Israeli- Palestinian conflict and President Obama’s comment about that yesterday with the joint conference with the Israeli prime minister. Essentially, what we saw yesterday was three stunning developments in the American foreign policy establishment as it’s outlined by President Obama. First we saw that President Obama has completely discarded assurances previously given to the state of Israel that we would not in any way make or force pre-1967 borders on the Israelis. That is number one. Number two, what we saw was President Obama essentially advocating the destruction of Israel. Because if the Israeli prime minister says that the borders on which the President offers are indefensible, what the President has offered is essentially the destruction of Israel. The third thing the President Obama did was implicitly recognize what is essentially a terrorist state. It is no different than the Afghan government under the former leadership of the Taliban and al Qaeda. So, in spite of efforts by this administration to portray their policy as merely a continuation of understood ideas, it is a radical departure and I think it is important to understand that the continued support of President Obama in the Jewish community is essentially supporting the destruction of Israel.”
Guest: “Okay, well, thank you for your points. Let me tackle them one by one. Broadly I would say, the sentiment you are expressing is shared by several GOP presidential candidates and many in Congress. Some, but definitely not all Jewish community organization leaders. Some were decidedly split on the President’s announcement. A lot of them praised it and a lot criticized it. Take your points:
Completely discarded assurances made by previous presidents. Well, he did not change the policy. He moved it incrementally, I would not say radically. That is the prerogative of the president of the United States. He gets to make foreign policy and assurances made by President Clinton can be changed by President Obama. Likewise, an assurance made by Ehud Barak can be changed by Benjamin Netanyahu. Them’s the breaks.
Advocating the destruction of Israel – that’s going a little bit too far. Netanyahu’s position is that the 1967 borders are indefensible but no one is proposing that we go with the 1967 borders themselves. President Obama has acknowledged that there have been changes on the ground that will need to be recognized. But what Netanyahu is saying, why would we start negotiating from that position when only a couple of months ago we negot iated from this position. It’s really a bad idea for Israel to negotiate from a worse position. And, by the way, President Obama, could you stop negotiating against us? Destruction of Israel is extreme and harsh.
And implicitly recognizing a terrorist state that’s no different from al Qaeda. That very closely tracks with what Netanyahu said. He compared Hamas to al Qaeda. This is an open problem. I wouldn’t say that President Obama is saying that we should recognize the Palestinian unity government that included Hamas. What he’s saying is that the Palestinians have to come up with an answer on how we can recognize them. They have to explain why this unity government won’t seek the destruction of Israel and should be a partner. It is an open question but that explanation has yet to come.”
May 21, 2011 – 8:28 AM


Guest: JOSH ROGIN of Foreign Policy magazine.

Topic: President Obama and Middle East policy.

Caller: Henry from Port Huron, Michigan.

Caller: “First of all, let’s get something clear. President Obama merely said that these 1967 borders with land swaps is a starting point. The problem is that Bibi Netanyahu is Israel’s version of Dick Cheney. He is attempting to control our electoral process here in the United States. He wants President Obama out of office, because there is a conservative bent now in Israel that is equal to the Rupert Murdoch conservative bent here.”
NOTE: No response is provided to caller’s anti-Israel editorializing. A competent host would have pointed out that Palestinian Authority negotiators changed their position on continued Israeli construction within existing settlements to demand a complete halt only after President Obama termed such building “illegitimate.” It now seems unlikely to expect them to negotiate a new boundary between Israel and the West Bank in place of the pre-’67 armistice lines as an end-point after the president publicly describes the old lines as the basis for discussing a “secure and recognized” demarcation with “land swaps” the Palestinian side has rejected.
May 21, 2011 – 8:35 AM


Guest: JOSH ROGIN of Foreign Policy magazine.

Topic: President Obama and Middle East policy.

Caller: Joe from Atlantic Beach, New York.
Caller: “I was like, how could Obama make such a move. The ‘67 borders – that is so far out of the question. Is he setting himself up like Jimmy Carter to be devoured and shredded? How could he say something so stupid? It is political suicide. I think Obama and Netanyahu are up for Academy Awards. This is theater, this is great performance. This is a subterfuge. The Palestinians have gone to the United Nations and asked for statehood. If they are granted statehood, they no longer can be locked up behind barbed wire. They no longer could be denied food, water, and medical care. They can’t be shot down in the streets. They would have to be treated like human beings. Israel does not want them to be granted statehood so they are proposing this phony deal, 1967 borders. What a lie, what a lie, what a lie.”
Guest: “There is a lot theater-going on all sides. Everyone knows that President Obama’ s announcement will not change the facts on the ground. It was politically risky for him to do it and he’s about to pay the political price for that. Again, we need to think about this in the context of a region that is going through amazing changes, and an administration trying to craft individual approaches to each country and claim that this is all part of one strategy.
In Egypt and Tunisia, we see a push for aid. We’re going to support these new democracies, showing the Arab world that if you choose democracy, that the U.S. will support you. In Yemen, we’re going to push for change and say we support the president’s stepping down, but then it is up to you. In Syria, we do not support the president’s stepping down but we would like him to step down if … and then we will go to a country like Jordan and say, you are fine. And Bahrain, which is also killing people on the street, do not worry. We have got your back because you are a client state of Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia is an ally of the U.S. So, these are totally different, a wide range of reactions to what are totally different situations. The Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton describes it as the Goldilocks doctrine. Not too hot, not too cold, just right. But calculating what just right is and then explaining what just right is and then implementing what just right is – is a gargantuan task for this administration that they’re clearly struggling with.”
NOTE: Typically for Washington Journal, the caller’s anti-Israel propaganda goes unanswered. False allegations that the Palestinians are “locked up behind barbed wire” and “denied food, water, and medical care” are allowed to go unrebutted. In fact, Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank, even with corruption and oppression by the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, have experienced greater material well-being and personal freedom than citizens of many Arab countries. Hence the regional uprisings. Palestinian Arabs in the Gaza Strip are under the strict control of the Islamic fundamentalists of Hamas, whom they voted for. Caller should have been asked if he has witnessed any of the things he alleges and if not then asked for his information sources. An informed host could have introduced some balance by questioning whether Israel’s pre-’67 armistice lines, which were not international recognized borders, could be made “secure and recognized,” as called for by U.N. Security Council Resolution 242. But C-SPAN hosts, by their silence, routinely accommodate anti-Israeli callers spreading what amounts to propaganda.
May 20, 2011 – 7:40 AM


Topic: Would you reelect President Obama?

Caller: Joe from New York.

Caller: “Good morning. Being anti-Zionist is not, according to Helen Thomas, not being anti-Jewish. I agree with her. Barack Obama’s gotten up very bravely and described that we recognize the pre-1967 borders before the settlers had gone out. Very few American politicians dare to speak out against Israel’ s negative things because they’ re afraid of not being reelected, being sidelined, being marginalized in newspapers and stuff like that.”
NOTE: Typically for a Washington Journal host, Echevarria is silent regarding the caller’s misinformation and citing of discredited Helen Thomas as an authority. Among the many observers who believe that anti-Zionism (or anti-Zionist) is a code word for anti-Semitism is German author and journalist Henryk Broder. Speaking at a public hearing on anti-Semitism before the Budestag’s Domestic Affairs Committee in 2008, he stated: “Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are two sides of the same coin.” Yet C-SPAN’s host offers none of the required context, letting the caller’s self-serving assertion stand uncontested.

May 20, 2011 – 8:07 AM


Guest: AKBAR AHMED, Chair of American University Islamic Studies Department.

Guest: AARON DAVID MILLER, Scholar at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, former consultant to State Department.

Topic: Middle East roundtable.

Caller: Bobby from Washington, D.C.

Caller: “I have just two quick questions: 1) Why does the U.S. spend so much energy trying to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? 2) Why do we almost always wholeheartedly support Israel? Is it because of money or political reasons?”

MILLER : “It’s a very good question. The Israeli politicians and the conflict is not the central issue confronting America and the Middle East but it’s a very resonant one. In a divided and somewhat dysfunctional Arab world, it carries more emotional, ideological and religious power than perhaps any other issue. So, if you want to protect and promote american interests and enhance American credibility, seeking a solution to the problem is important.”
“As far as Israel is concerned, and I think this is not easily understood, we have a special relationship with Israel and it has nothing to do with the peace process, it has nothing to do with their function as a strategic ally. It has to do with the issue of value affinity. Whatever you think of Israel’s policies on the West Bank and Gaza – and I am not endorsing them – curfews, closures, settlement activity – I’m not endorsing any of that – there is the essence of a relationship between two societies that share common values. That is the bond that drives the relationship. So, it gives it a certain exceptional quality. When we use the special relationship wisely – Kissinger, Carter and [Secretary of State James] Baker – the three Americans who have succeeded in Israeli peace-making using honey and vinegar, we could actually succeed. When we allow the relationship to become what I would call exclusive, when in fact we do not protect American interests and we don’t talk openly and honestly with the Israelis, we do not succeed. So, the question is not abandoning the Israelis – for reasons of value affinity, domestic politics, numerous other factors – we are simply not going to do that. It is calibrating the relationship to use it appropriately so it can be reciprocal in nature.”
Host: “What’s the honey and what’s the vinegar? ”

MILLER: “The honey and vinegar have to be applied at a moment at which there is a real opportunity in order to succeed. The honey is both toughness and reassurance. There will be a cost to the U.S.-Israeli relationship if under certain circumstances the Israelis do not grab the moment, but those circumstances have yet to be created. There is no deal on the table. This is where I feel very strongly. Fighting with Israel on the peace process is a necessary, obligatory function of any serious peacemaker, but the fight with the Israelis has to be worthwhile. It has to produce a result that benefits not only the United States but the Israelis and the Arabs as well. That is something the Obama administration has not yet figured out.”

NOTE: C-SPAN’s host fails to follow-up the guest’s point that “there is no deal on the table” and “those circumstances have yet to be created”. That is, Palestinian representatives are not negotiating or have even concurred with starting points for talks.

May 20, 2011 – 8:14 AM


Guest: AKBAR AHMED, Chair of American University Islamic Studies Department.

Guest: AARON DAVID MILLER, Scholar at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, former consultant to State Department.

Topic: Middle East roundtable.

Caller: John from Venice, Florida.

Caller: “Thank you for this topic. I support Barack Obama 100 percent. I am a member of [unintelligible]. Last week, he gave a one hour of the Holocaust last week. We’ve been doing it for about ten years.”

Host: “Caller, what is the question?”

Caller: “I hope that Israel and the Arabs who have to have one state – and they both will have to stop killing each other.”
NOTE: The somewhat incoherent call yields no comment from guests or host. A pertinent response would have been to point out that the caller advocates a single state for Jews and Palestinian Arabs when there are already 21 Arab countries. A knowledgeable host could ask why should there not be one Jewish country like Israel – modern, democratic, economically successful, unlike most Arab nations. Israel has been repeatedly attacked in past decades in wars of aggression waged by its Arab neighbors and has been the victim of numerous terrorist attacks such as the recent massacre of an Israeli family by Palestinian Arabs. An informed host usefully would have noted here the caller’s false equation of Arab attacks and Israeli counter-attacks as “killing each other.” In the Middle East, for more than a century – long before Israel’s establishment in 1948 – Arabs have been killing or trying to kill Jews, and Jews have been defending themselves. Without a state of their own, it would be much more difficult, if not impossible, for them to do so.

May 20, 2011 – 8:15 AM


Guest: AKBAR AHMED, Chair of American University Islamic Studies Department.

Guest: AARON DAVID MILLER, Scholar at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, former consultant to State Department.

Topic: Middle East roundtable.

Caller: James from Brooklyn, New York.

Caller: “I have a question. Mr. Miller, regarding President Obama’ s policy, I think that is a little bit disingenuous and not true. President Bush in Iraq never wanted to leave – he was forced to leave. Whereas before that, President Obama – Senator Obama at the time [unintelligible] also in Afghanistan, Obama has been saying for we should be in Afghanistan. My question regarding Israel is this. Wasn’t it President Truman who said [unintelligible] but Jews are so… we should support Israel in that regard?”

Miller: “A lot there. I still defend my proposition on Obama’ s war. On Guantanamo. He did not have to add 30,000 additional forces etc. If Obama found the strategy and the moment and believed the Arab- Israeli issue needed to be resolved, and the parties were willing to help him, he would trump political interest, too.”

AHMED: “Well, I think we have to put this in the context of the second presidential cycle. We need to put this in context because President Obama will be taking all of these calculations on board to say on the threshold of the cycle. In that sense, I think much of what the speech will be overtaken by the events as we go into the cycle and maybe then there will be new developments like we had with the killing of Osama bin Laden which completely re-scrambled as it were, the board. I think that we are going to be seeing a lot of changes in the next couple of months. The Arab revolution is going to play out. The consequences of Osama bin Laden’ s death is going to be making an impact in the Islamic world, therefore relations with the U.S. will be impacted.”
NOTE: Typically for Washington Journal, a caller’s somewhat unintelligible but apparent Israelphobia and Judeophobia are left unchallenged. The moderator failed to respond to the caller’s Truman reference by noting President Truman’s determined support for the new Jewish state.

May 20, 2011 – 8:18 AM


Guest: AKBAR AHMED, Chair of American University Islamic Studies Department.

Guest: AARON DAVID MILLER, Scholar at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, former consultant to State Department.

Topic: Middle East roundtable.

Caller: Gregory from New York City, New York.

Caller: “Good morning. Good morning guests and good morning America. Hopefully I will be able to finish what I am going to say. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is similar to America’ s conflict when it has to do with race. Mr. Miller, you mentioned Bush, Nixon, and Carter. The difference between those three and President Obama is skin tone. So, President Obama’s hands are tied a lot tighter. During his speech, he talked about the need to stop the lie. The lie is we can’t call C-SPAN and say anything about Israel without getting a dial tone – that’s number one. Number two is, the Israeli connection to America is our media.”

Host: “Caller, you made your point.”

MILLER: “First of all, this is not about race. We did something in November 2008 which was truly extraordinary. No other democratic country in the world – not the British, not the French, not the Israelis, not the Australians – noone could have elected a man of color whose wife is a direct descendant of slaves and made the person the most important man on this planet. Only America could do that because of the nature of our system and the fact that we believe in the primacy of the individual. This is not about race.”
“As far as the media and the support for Israel, again, I come back to the basic reality. We have a democratic system. A foreign policy cannot be sustained without the support of the vast majority of the American people. Relations with Israel, however problematic the relationship is , have been sustained and maintained over and over and over again with successive administrations not because of the media, not because of the Jewish lobby but because a built-in predilection on the part of most Americans – according to every poll – including millions of evangelical Christians as well as a very small Jewish community – about 5.5 million – that this deserves our support. Not our unadulterated support, but a wise judicious American policy and I think history speaks for itself in this regard.”
NOTE: Atypically, a Washington Journal host stops an anti-Israel caller from turning a short rant into a long one. More importantly, the guest makes what is for C-SPAN a rare, direct refutation of the canard frequently heard on the program that the United States supports Israel because of Jewish influence. Instead, he notes, American support for Israel is broad and long-standing.

May 20, 2011 – 8:21 AM


Guest: AKBAR AHMED, Chair of American University Islamic Studies Department.

Guest: AARON DAVID MILLER, Scholar at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, former consultant to State Department.

Topic: Middle East roundtable.

Caller: Steve from Bakersfield, California.

Caller: “Mr. Miller, you said we should not abandon Israel because of the things we have in common with them. I heard two things in that [Obama] speech yesterday to tell me that – that’s exactly what Obama is doing. 1) To think that Israel would cede land to Hamas that is sworn to destroy them – the land that was used to attack them in ‘67 is a suicide pact. 2) He said when it comes to security, Israel has a right to defend itself by itself. What they’re going to hear, Ahmedinejad, Hamas, Hizbullah, Islamists that are taking over Egypt, if they want to take Israel out, go for it. We are not going to interfere. They are on their own.”

MILLER: “First of all, no American administration is going to force the Israelis to make existential decisions when it comes to their own security. No administration is going to force the Israelis back to any variation of the June 1967 borders without their being on the other side one gun, one authority, one negotiating position – not just willing to live with that position but able to deliver those commitments in a negotiation. I think the notion that the United States is just waiting opportunity for an to sacrifice Israel on the altar of its own expedient self interests in the Middle East is wrong. Do I think Barack Obama has the same passion for the state of Israel that George W. Bush had or that Bill Clinton had? No, I don’ t. He is a product of a different kind of environment. He is much more detached, but he is certainly not an enemy of the state of Israel. He is a friend and he’s not going to abandon Israel.”

AHMED: “I feel that in America, and perhaps only in America, we can help by creating and sustaining a vigorous Jewish-Muslim dialogue which will then have an impact over there. I have been very much involved – Tonight, I am speaking at the Washington Hebrew Congregation to celebrate Rabbi’s Lustig’s 25th year as the rabbi. And we are launching at American University the first ever E-learning course on Judaism and Islam simultaneously along with Cambridge University. These initiatives I believe will help promote better understanding, better friendship, better relationships, and that will cause a better understanding over there. Ultimately, Jews and Muslims who have so much in common can begin to see each other not through the prism of enemies and antagonists, but as neighbors and friends and hopefully kinfolk which ultimately history will confirm”.

May 20, 2011 – 8:26 AM


Guest: AKBAR AHMED, Chair of American University Islamic Studies Department.

Guest: AARON DAVID MILLER, Scholar at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, former consultant to State Department.

Topic: Middle East roundtable.

Caller: Nick from Decatur, Alabama.

Caller: “I just wanted to speak about a few of the problems for achieving peace over there. On the Palestinian side, the failure to recognize Israel is the chief point but if somebody came over here and took half of our land, I understand what it would be angry. As far as Israel goes, the economic situation, after the dot com bubble, they shifted their economy from the Internet-based economy to a more security-based economy. That seems to be controlling their country. Doesn’t it make up over 50 percent of their GDP? Thank you very much. “

MILLER “I mean, I think that is not a fair characterization of Israel’s economic reality. The fact is they s urvived the dot com bubble and the 2008 crash much better than we did it. The economy is growing and high tech is fundamentally important. You’ve got a 100 Israeli companies on the new York Stock Exchange. They certainly have a vibrant economy. In terms of real dollars, the percentage of money that Israel spends on defense is very high and will remain high. We have zeroed out our economic aid. We provide mostly military assistance right now.”
NOTE: The guest makes an important and factual rebuttal of the caller’s implicit charge regarding Israel’s economy. However, he failed to contradict the claim Jews “came over” and “took half” of the Palestinian Arabs’ land. Therefore, the host should have pointed out basic history: The League of Nations awarded its Palestine Mandate to Great Britain largely because of the latter’s promise in the 1917 Balfour Declaration to oversee re-establishment of the Jewish national home on its ancient soil. Nevertheless, Britain banned Jewish settlement east of the Jordan River and, on three-fourths of the mandate, created the Arab state of Jordan. The United Nations continued the British Mandate for Palestine, with its requirement (Article 6) of “close Jewish settlement on the land” west of the Jordan. Israel, not including the West Bank and Gaza Strip, accounts for 17.5 percent of Mandatory Palestine, not “half.”

May 20, 2011 – 8:30 AM


Guest: AKBAR AHMED, Chair of American University Islamic Studies Department.

Guest: AARON DAVID MILLER, Scholar at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, former consultant to State Department.

Topic: Middle East roundtable.

Caller: Cheryl from Venice, Ohio.

Caller: “One thing that President Obama said I haven’t heard discussed very much – is that we need to be talking to that part of the world, especially the youth. One thing I heard over and over in the comments was that we did not perceive the Arab spring coming. Why did we not understand that? Why did we not feel it? Was the intelligence bad? So, my point is this – and what plays into the feeling you get from your aspects of your community – the C-SPAN community – is sometimes, the media does not let through what we need to hear. Right now, we have two distinguished guests on this program. Yet I have not heard anything about the fact that two there have been two ships going toward Gaza in the last year with the name Rachel Corrie on them. There is a trial going on in Israel as we speak where the Rachel Corrie family is suing the state of Israel at the encouragement of the United States State Department because Israel — because she was killed at the hands of a Caterpillar bulldozer, American-funded and ….”

Host (belatedly cuts-off the anti-Israel propagandist): “We will leave it there…”

AHMED: “What struck me – and I have been watching the revolution from close quarters – my daughter was in Cairo – and just arrived when the revolution began. These movements are being led by young people. Young people wearing jeans, on Twitter and Facebook. It is a new kind of awakening in the Arab world. It’s never happened before. Therefore I am hopeful because they are bringing a lot of idealism and optimism and courage. They are taking on the pharaohs which my generation would not dream of doing and those pharaohs are often supported by Washington. That encouraged me. At the same time, you do not know how these revolutions are going to end. Russia … China … you saw what happened in Iran. That revolution led to more violence. Revolutions by definition are uncontrolled monsters. We hope, we pray that these revolutions succeed in bringing democracy and enlightenment to the region. At the same time, they need all the support and help that they can get.”

MILLER: “I think that is right. Once the flush of victory in these uprisings begins to fade, you end up with a grimmer reality on the ground, which is a negotiation for power. What we see now in Egypt in particular is the military and the Muslim Brotherhood, who are the two best organized forces in this country, essentially trying to contract space for the liberal democrats, the so-called Google generation and this is a concern unless there is a greater sense of organization, and young secular nationalists can organize. It’s hard to see how they can carve up for themselves this kind of role. Once the uprising ends, it is all a question of transaction, trying to negotiate the best deal that you can get and that’s where Egypt is right now.”

NOTE: Typically, Host Echevarria was late in cutting off the anti-Israel caller. No response was forthcoming about mention of the ships headed toward Gaza Strip. This voyage is only for propaganda purposes since the Egyptian border is open to all sorts of materials, apparently including weaponry. As widely reported, there is and has been no humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, so there was no need for last year’s “aid flotilla,” led by the Hamas-linked Turkish IHH Islamic charity, and none for this year’s ships. Also, the Rachel Corrie reference was left unrebutted. Corrie’s death, used by propagandists to defame Israel, was unnecessary and would have been avoided if she had not put herself in harm’s way as part of a self-described anti-Israel organization, the International Solidarity Movement whose interactions with Palestinian terrorists have been well-documented.
May 19, 2011 – 7:11 AM


Topic: President Obama’s Middle East speech.

Caller: Todd from Crystal River, Florida.

Caller: “I really hope – I like the last article saying that he wants to end some ties – well be stricter with Israel because Israel is really one of the big problems over there. Syria needs to be fixed as well. Thank you.”

NOTE: The caller equates Israel, the one Western-style democracy in the Middle East, with Syria, an Iranian-supported police state that had murdered more than 1,000 protesters in the three months prior to this Washington Journal segment, as “one of the big problems over there.” The host’s silence in the face of such errant bias likely helps account for the fact that C-SPAN attracts so many such calls.

May 19, 2011 – 7:16 AM


Topic: President Obama’s Middle East speech.

Caller: Darrell  from St. Louis, Missouri (frequent Israelphobe caller uses three different names: Darrell, Bill, Bob).

Caller: “How are you doing this morning? I would like to see my President stand up to Israel. I would like to see my President make Israel stop the illegal settlements or we will discontinue foreign aid which we should do anyway. We have been funding Israel for 50 years. When are they going to get up and have their own economy? I am sick and tired of giving Israel $3 billion a year and we have people unemployed in this country.”

Host: “Darrell, Can I ask you a question? It has been previewed that the President will forgive $1 billion in loans to Egypt and offer another billion dollars in aid. What do you think about that?”

Caller: “I think the same thing. This is crazy. We are broke in this country and especially what is happening with Israel – it’s just atrocious. How they can come in this country and dictate our foreign policy because they own all of our congressmen and senators, I think it is crazy. We need to stand up to Israel and what they’re doing in Palestine is genocide.”

NOTE: As usual, a C-SPAN host is silent as he was in response to a similar anti-Israel propaganda rant above. This caller violated Washington Journal’s 30-day rule regarding repeat phone-ins, having called on May 2 (9:18 AM) as “Bill” from Defiance, Ohio.

May 19, 2011 – 7:22 AM


Topic: President Obama’s Middle East speech.

Caller: Alice in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Caller: “I have four points that I will make quickly and succinctly. 1) I would like to hear Mr. Obama say he is firing Dennis Ross [special advisor to the secretary of state for the Gulf and Southwest Asia.] and replacing him with Charles Freeman [former State Department diplomat who withdrew from consideration to head the Obama administration’s National Intelligence Council after criticism of views considered sympathetic to China’s Communist rulers and to Saudi Arabia but hostile to Israel and its supporters] that he is replacing Hillary Clinton with (indistinct). 2) I would like to see him close the Holocaust Museum in Washington until such time as Israel stops killing peaceful protesters, Palestinians. 3) I would like him to arrest [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu when he enters American airspace for the murder of Rachel Corrie, a peaceful activist in Israel.”

NOTE: C-SPAN host Mr. Slen does not cut off an anti-Jewish bigot. Obvious questions – including “Why hold the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum hostage to Israeli actions?”, “Israel constantly defends itself from attacks by Palestinian terrorist organizations like Hamas – what ‘peace protesters’ do you refer to?”, Wasn’t Rachel Corrie working with International Solidarity Movement, an anti-Israel organization supportive of violence it calls ‘Palestinian resistance’ and obstructing troops in a closed military area when she was killed accidentally?'” – go unasked. For more on the Rachel Corrie myth, see CAMERA report.

May 19, 2011 – 7:28 AM


Topic: President Obama’s Middle East speech.

Caller: Mark from Mankato, Minnesota.

Caller: “It seems to me our President is a little bit late as usual. I agree with the earlier caller about Syria. Over 1000 dead and the Secretary of State is saying that Bashar al-Assad is a reformer. It does not make sense to me.”

SLEN: “That said, what would you see in U.S. policy?”

Caller: “I would like the U.S. Policy to stand for the people. In 2009 he did not stand with the green revolution in Iran. He missed the boat on Tunisia, Egypt – he threw Mubarak under the bus and in Libya we still have no coherent strategy there. I would like to see him support Israel. He has never liked Netanyahu. It is just chaotic. There is no cohesion. There is nothing that makes sense. He’s dropping the ball right now about the Osama killing …”

SLEN (terminating the caller): “Let’s leave it there.”
NOTE: The host terminates a caller who appears to be going on too long and is pro-Israel and critical of the Obama administration, in contrast to his repeated indulgence of anti-Israel, anti-Jewish callers.

May 19, 2011 – 7:33 AM


Topic: President Obama’s Middle East speech.

Caller: Terry from Cedar Springs, Michigan.

Caller: “Thank you. The thing I want Mr. Obama to remember as a Christian is what God says about Israel and how he warned anybody that takes a stand against her, he will curse but he will bless those that bless her. Thank you.”

May 19, 2011 – 7:39 AM


Topic: President Obama’s Middle East speech.

Caller: Sherry from Buford, Georgia.

Caller: “Good morning. I just wanted to make a couple of quick points. I think that America should stand with Israel. I think as a Judeo-Christian country we are clearly getting on the wrong side. I think people should read their Bibles. I think that we should remember the Holocaust and remember how the whole world stood by as an entire race was brought toward extinction. I say no to a Muslim caliphate and no to the socialist one-world policies of this administration. I think we are Americans and we need to wake up and stand up and stand with our friends. Thank you.”

May 19, 2011 – 7:43 AM


Topic: President Obama’s Middle East speech.

Caller: Laurie from Largo, Florida.

Caller: “I just have three quick points to make about Israel. I am an American Jew and most of the Jews I know are not for Israel just willy-nilly making settlements everywhere because the people who think that the Bible says you should stand by Israel, by them making settlements, you’re going to end with an apartheid status instead of the two-state solution, which Jews like myself seem to be for because then it would be the destruction of Israel if they do not do that. The second quick point I want to make is (indistinct) even in Syria, or even in the Palestine they have this show about, it has to do with the blood libel, the Nazis showed it, it has to do with like rabbis taking gentiles or Muslim blood and putting it into the matzah [unleavened bread]. So, they do, and I’m not for Netanyahu, but anyway …”

SLEN (interrupting): “Laurie, we’re running out of time. Tie this into what you’d like to see the President say today in his Middle East speech?”

Caller: “Well, unfortunately when discussions are held today about the status of Palestinian refugees, the larger number of Jewish refugees forced out of the Arab countries are invariably ignored and few people even think of them as refugees because unlike the Arab world (indistinct) not always successful, efforts to end the refugee status …”

SLEN (interrupting): “So, what would you like to hear the President say?”

Caller: “I hope he says something about a two-state solution because that is really what we need …”

May 19, 2011 – 8:30 PM


Guest: Former Representative Tom Davis (R-VA).

Topic: Republican Party and 2012 elections.

Caller: James from Bloomington, Indiana.

Caller: “I got a question. You guys talk about entitlements and Social Security as an entitlement. Social Security had a lot of money until guys like you starting giving IOUs for Social Security and now that’s the problem with Social Security. And there are entitlements, I think, in foreign aid. As an example, we take every year and borrow $6 billion. We pay interest on that $6 billion. We give that money to Israel. They bring it back and buy Treasury notes and we pay them interest on that. That is absolutely ludicrous. Their income is $2,000 more a year than Spain. They have free health insurance. Why don’t we wise up? Nobody has the nerve to stand up to them.”

DAVIS: “Foreign aid in general is less than 1 percent of the pie. So, you could cut foreign aid for Israel and everybody else – it’s not going to solve the deficit problem. You can make an argument that we are spending money abroad that we should not be doing. I think that as part of any global agreement, everything, as I said, takes a hair cut including foreign aid. I support a lock box on Social Security. Look, what was happening was that you were generating more revenue through the FICA taxes than you were paying out in benefits. What do you do with that money? Do you put it in a shoebox? So, what happened was the government ended up borrowing that that with treasuries. So, the IOUs – technically etc.”
NOTE: The caller’s Israelphobic focus, including financial assertions having no relationship to reality, is left unaddressed. Since the guest did not respond directly to these points, the host – if well-informed – should have noted that the United States gives Israel $3 billion annually, not $6 billion; that the money is military aid only; and that most of it is spent in the United States with American companies. Absent such a journalistically necessary reply, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal again serves as a magnet for and fountain of unsubstantiated anti-Israel bigotry.
May 11, 2011 – 7:15 AM


Topic: Is it time to leave Afghanistan?

Caller: Tom from Michigan.

Previously, host Casey read Senator Kerry’s May 10 statement: “I do think that we ought to be working towards achieving the smallest footprint possible in Afghanistan that is deemed necessary, a presence that leaves Afghans in charge, pressing them to step up to that task. At the same time as it secures our interests and accomplishes our mission, which has not changed even with the death of Osama bin Laden, and that is destroying al Qaeda and preventing Afghanistan from again becoming a terrorist sanctuary.” The caller referred to this statement.

Caller: “Good morning. I think the last statement that you just read is correct. And they can be made compatible to Senator Kerry’s statement. We need to use this death of bin Laden to honor the Afghanistan effort. If we use this as an opportunity to generate a smaller footprint, and engender a better feeling among the moderate Muslims, we need them on our side eventually. There has to be a way to attack the extremists from the inside out, we can’t just be dealing with it from the outside.
We also need to take a look at the upcoming likely September unilateral declaration of independence of a Palestinian state in which another major player, Osama bin Laden, claimed as one of the biggest reasons for 9/11, the Palestinian cause, hijacking a legitimate cause for a terrorist opportunity, and both of these issues we may begin to get some honor back into the conversation between us and moderate Muslims and have a partner from within the Islamic community to deal with the extremists.”
NOTE: The caller’s mention of the Palestinian issue greatly overstates it as a reason for al Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001 destruction of New York City’s World Trade Center and strike at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The official] 9/11 commission report shows that Osama bin Laden’s hostility to the United States and West was mainly driven by Islamic extremism, his obsession with ousting “un-Islamic” regimes in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, desire to re-establish an international Sunni Islamic caliphate, and, in essence, bin Laden’s Islamic superiority complex. Host Casey, typically silent, seems either uninformed or unwilling to inform viewers of the relevant facts.

As to the caller’s point concerning a strategy toward “moderate Muslims,” informed observers question the notion. For example, in]a May 7 Wall Street Journal article, Irshad Manji, New York University professor and former Canadian parliamentarian, says:

Today, what Islam needs is not more ‘moderates’ but more self-conscious ‘reformists.’ It is reformists who will bring to my faith the debate, dissent and reinterpretation that have carried Judaism and Christianity into the modern world. How can we reinterpret the Quranic passage that allows Muslims to kill ‘as punishment for murder or other villainy in the land’? For starters, we must stress that more Muslims are being slaughtered by other Muslims than by anyone else. To fight ‘villainy in the land,’ then, we have to repel the violent ideology of some of our fellow Muslims. Drawing attention to Muslim-on-Muslim violence is essential to deflating the grandstanding of bin Laden’s sympathizers. This counter-narrative deals in reality while doing justice to a loving God. Muslims need to share it with the young people in our communities. And other Americans, including U.S. presidents, should expect us to share it.

May 11, 2011 – 7:23 AM


Topic: Is it time to leave Afghanistan?

Caller: Aziz from Cleveland, Ohio (speaking with Arab accent).
Caller: “Thank you for taking my call. I have a couple of remarks. Number one, terrorism amongst Muslims is a symptom of a disease. I am an actor, by the way. If you really want to see someone coughing, maybe (indistinct) someone has cancer of the lung. Terrorism is a symptom due to suppression in the Arab world and big-time mistakes in our foreign policy. The reason bin Laden came to power was due to the Palestinian issue. No one talks about the Palestinian issue. We just celebrated killing bin Laden. The next bin laden could be way worse. So, my comment is, number one, get out of Afghanistan. We always said to the Taliban, surrender (indistinct) bin Laden will surrender power. Bin laden is gone. We have to get out of there. Number two, we have to recruit moderate Muslims even within the United States to find out the solution to win the hearts and minds of Moslems. We will never do that by debating about releasing the bin Laden pictures or not. Thank you very much for taking my call.”
NOTE: Host Casey, in typical Washington Journal fas hion, tacitly accepts the caller’s threadbare claim that “The reason bin Laden came to power was the Palestinian issue. No one talks about the Palestinian issue.” If anything, the “Palestinian issue” is exaggeratedly covered by the news media. As New York Times’ columnist Thomas Friedman wrote years ago, the Palestinian Arabs are fortunate in their choice of an enemy, because “Jews are news.” In size, history, and substance, the Palestinian issue pales compared that of the stateless Kurds, the Pakistani-Indian conflict over Kashmir, China’s suppression of Tibet, Muslim Egyptians’ repression of Egypt’s Coptic Christians, among others. And in the case of the Palestinian Arabs, many of their grievances have been self-inflicted when not perpetuated by other Arabs. Except for its use as a distraction by Arab and other Islamic regimes from domestic problems and by anti-Zionists and antisemites as a club with which to beat Israel, the “Palestinian issue” would receive much less media attention.

Secondly, as noted above, Osama bin Laden’s hostility to the United States and the West was mainly driven by Islamic extremism and his Islamic superiority complex. He wanted to overthrow what he thought were the corrupt, impious, religiously impure regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and elsewhere and reestablish the caliphate. He could not abide the presence of Western “infidel,” “Crusader” forces on Muslim soil, particularly U.S. forces in the Saudi holyland. Repeated failure of C-SPAN hosts to point this out in response to chronic anti-Israel callers constitutes a basic journalistic failure. The Note in the previous (7:15 AM) entry contains a counterpoint to the caller’s questionable notion that a strategy to “recruit moderate Muslims” will provide a solution to Islamist terrorism. A more competent host might have explored the possibility that the caller was opining his own “moderate Muslim” perspectives here. Rather than remain silent, the host could have even pursued the caller’s “I am an actor, by the way.”

May 9, 2011 – 7:43 AM


Topic: Future of U.S.-Pakistan relations.

Caller: Jack from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Caller: “As far as the Pakistan/U.S. relationship goes, I think it’s going to continue just the way it is. Obama put it pretty clearly there in that [CBS] 60 minutes piece that you showed a little while ago. They are not going to do everything that we want, we are not going to everything that they want, that’s the way life is.”

HARLESTON: “So, how do we co-exist moving forward, Jack?”

Caller: “The same way – very carefully, just watching what they do and watching what they said. Now, if I was going to look at a relationship with any country that I mistrust – it would be with Israel. Israel has spied on us, they killed our sailors on the USS Liberty and when we asked them to stop building those settlements, they told us, you know, go to wherever they want us – Hades.”

HARLESTON: “Jack, we’re going to leave it there.”

NOTE: In typical Washington Journal fashion when it comes to Israel, the host first allows the caller to change the topic and make false or out-of-context charges and then fails to challenge them. Israel’s attack on the American Navy spy ship the USS Liberty in the Mediterranean Sea near Egypt during the 1967 Six-Day War, determined by several official U.S. and Israeli investigations to have been the result of war-time confusion, is an obsession with Israelphobes, who misrepresent it as an informed, intentional Israeli strike against the United States. The C-SPAN host similarly fails to point out that spying is done even among friendly countries, and there are several well-known cases of U.S. espionage directed against Israel. Instead, he allows the anti-Israel caller to single out Israel for condemnation.

Likewise, the host lets the caller’s aspersion regarding Israeli settlements to go unrebutted, failing to note, among other things, that complete Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank is not required under U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, the cornerstone of U.S.-mediated Arab-Israeli diplomacy; that the legal status of the territory in question is disputed, to be resolved through direct Arab-Israeli negotiations the Palestinian leadership continues to avoid; and that still-operative international law, the 1920s Palestine Mandate, Article 6, calls for “close Jewish settlement” on the land.” Given repeated such failures by its hosts in the face of incessant anti-Israel, anti-Jewish callers, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal continues to be a font of misinformation and bigotry.

May 8, 2011 – 9:47 AM


Guest: JAMES ZOGBY Arab American Institute founder and president.

Topic: Reaction in the Arab American community to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Caller: Marion from North Carolina.

Caller: “I am so pleased that this man is on. I am going to the library tomorrow to get his book.”

ZOGBY (interrupting, laughing): “No, go to the bookstore and buy the book.”

Caller: “The library is good. I have been wondering for years now, finally I found linktv dot org and I do get information from the Middle East. Now, you take like [CNN’s] Wolf Blitzer, as an example, It’s the Palestinians murder one Israeli – my god – (indistinct) but there were 1400 Palestinians murdered in Gaza and the Israelis bombed schools and hospitals, water supplies, electricity and no one did anything. There were no (indistinct) to throw them (indistinct). You are the best person I can ask this question of. When there are things that blow up in the Middle East like in Cairo, we see these young people. They are intelligent. They do not look ferocious. They are reasonable. They just want what we all want. Why is it that we get Zionists on these programs to comment about what is going on in Cairo or any other Arab nation? Why aren’t people like you that are reasonable, nice people, not coming on? Are you asked to come on? Do you ask them can you come on?”

ZOGBY: It is a growing frustration although I would say that Wolf just had me on about a month ago and we had a delightful conversation about my book and what was going on in Libya. I have been on this program before. You are right, not enough. There are not enough Arab American voices or people of Arab descent or scholars in the Middle East talking about issues that affect the Middle East. The result is that there is a sense that the perspective we look at it is not as sensitive to the issues of the region.
The point you make about the violence question, the life of anyone lost in an act of terror is wrong. It is one we should condemn in every instance. But the lack of sensitivity to their suffering is a real problem in the media. The excessive coverage of Arab violence is also a problem. I tell a story about a neighbor of mine when I was living in south central Pennsylvania.

He knew that I have lived in Philadelphia. He asked if I was afraid to live there because people are getting murdered there every day. He read the newspapers in Harrisburg. There was a report every day of someone ge tting murdered in Philadelphia. I lived there for eight years. I tried to talk to him about south Philadelphia and the Italian market, the Quaker community, Lincoln Drive – he’d have none of it. All he saw was the Philadelphia he saw reported in the Harrisburg news. That is the Arab world we see. We only see the violence, anger, and terrorism. What we do not know is about a doctor who delivers babies and goes home to his wife and kids. Hopefully with the Arab spring, we may see more of that etc.

SCULLY: “[Israeli] Prime Minister Netanyahu derided the [Hamas-Fatah] agreement and said the Palestinians have a choice of either peace with Israel or peace with Hamas.”

ZOGBY: “It absolutely needs to be supported. Problems will be in the implementation of the agreement. There needs to be a unified Palestinian policy. Our hope is that by coming together, Hamas will come to agree to restrain itself and function in the context of a unified political program. You cannot have peace if Palestine is physically and politically and ideologically divided. The head of the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] continues to be in charge of negotiations. They need to have no one from any faction or government in it. Then you have this political merger of the two entities working out a common program. They will work out a common program.”

SCULLY: “What is the position of Hamas on Israel?

ZOGBY: “They have said they’re willing to settle for a two-state agreement. My hope is that they can be tamed and restrained into increasing that as a permanent part of their agenda. You have people in the government of Israel now who do not accept the right of Palestinians to be there. You have religious movements that continue to call Palestinians strangers as in the terms of the Torah, and be expelled from the land. You have the movements on the West Bank. We know as Americans who cannot make peace just between friends. You have to make peace between enemies. Palestinians understand they have to have all parts of Israel agreeing to a peace agreement. Israel has to understand it has to have an agreement with all factions of Palestinians. You cannot just pick the ones you like and talk to them. Just as Palestinians do not like Netanyahu and did not like Sharon, they knew at the end of the day you have to talk to them to make an agreement. Hopefully under the leadership, they will be in a position for America to foster negotiations between a Palestinian group that is united with extremists and moderates under one umbrella and an Israeli negotiating team unified under Netanyahu with extremists and moderates … Adult supervision is needed. America has to play the adult world role.”

SCULLY: “Some would argue that the Palestinian government, the Israeli government and Hamas which many have called a terrorist group [is a problem].”

ZOGBY: “It is a terrorist group, but they are agreeing to restrain themselves and join in a political effort to create a unified Palestinian position. Thus far, they have restrained themselves from violent acts. Should they commit themselves to their own government to stop using terrorism? Obviously I believe they should. It [Hamas terrorism] has not just been immoral behavior, it has also been politically counterproductive. Palestinians have suffered as a result. Israelis have suffered. It has served no purpose …”
NOTE: Guest Zogby stated just prior to Marion’s call: “We have created a deeper division between us and Muslims based largely on myths and stereotypes. We have created the impression in the world that Americans are intolerant people. We have to be careful. We should not go down that road. It is a bad one. We need real information and not myth.” Zogby’s stereotyping about supposed American myths and other self-serving assertions of his are debunked in a CAMERA review of his book Arab Voices.

In the book, Zogby persists – using anecdotes and dubious assertions, as he does in this interview – in the myth that Americans are kept ignorant about the true nature of the Arab/Muslim world. If anything, the Washington Journal host helps perpetuate that ignorance. He fails to challenge the caller’s slander that Israel “murdered” 1,400 Arabs in the December 2008 – January 2009 war against Hamas and other terrorists in the Gaza Strip. A majority of the approximately 1,200 fatalities were combatants, as Hamas itself ultimately acknowledged, and many others were civilians caught in populated areas used illegally by Palestinian terrorists for operations and concealment. This has been documented in a CAMERA report.

Likewise, the host fails to question Zogby on his support for a Hamas-Palestinian Authority agreement and unity government prior to Hamas meeting the requirements of “the quartet” of Arab-Israeli peace-makers (the United States, Russia, United Nations, and European Union). These are an end to terrorism against Israel, recognition of Israel’s legitimacy, and consenting to uphold previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements. As a result, viewers easily could form false impressions of the nature of Israeli-Palestinian inter-actions.

To whitewash Palestinian aggression, Zogby knowingly ignores the Hamas charter, the main aim of which is the destruction of Israel. His claim that Hamas is ready to accept a “two-state solution” is false. The group had, within days of his appearance, shown that it had no intention to “moderate.” Ismael Haniya, Hamas Gaza Strip prime minister, said in reply to America’s May 1 killing of the notorious terrorist leader Osama bin Laden: “We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior … We regard this as a continuation of American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood.”

But Zogby needn’t concern himself with such an inconvenient fact. Zogby disingenuously equates Palestinian extremists with Israeli “extremists” when such Palestinian radicals, like Hamas, win elections but Israeli extremists are marginalized, largely rejected by the electorate and society in general. Zogby’s obviously false equation virtually invites a challenge from the host along the lines of, “Who is slaughtering innocents – Palestinian extremists or Israeli extremists, which society, Palestinian or Israeli, celebrates the murders of civilians, and which people tell pollsters they are ready to accept a two-state solution as the end of the conflict between them, not merely the next stage in continued warfare?” Zogby falsely and manipulatively implies that a fringe view in Israel, that Palestinian Arabs are aliens with no legitimate claims, is a significant if not mainstream belief, but is silent over the fact that the “moderate” Palestinian Authority, let alone Hamas, teaches its children, asserts in its sermons and disseminates through its communications media the lies that the Jews are not a people and have no historic roots in the land. C-SPAN’s host asks no hard, necessary questions but asks innocuous questions that permit Zogby to continue what basically is a dishonest monologue.

May 7, 2011 – 7:11 AM


Topic: Global terrorism post-bin Laden.

Caller: Ron from Miami, Florida (anti-Israel repeat caller).

Caller: “Yes. Thank you for C-SPAN. Right after 9/11, there was only one ad in the New York Times and they ran it in the Miami Herald and I have it at home. Bin Laden said two reasons why he attacked the World Trade Center. The first reason was occupation of Saudi Arabia and the second reason was our support of how Israel is hurting the Palestinians. As long as there is occupation – as long as any country occupies another country, there will always be terrorism.”

ECHEVARRIA: “So, as far as U.S. efforts to combat terrorism, what should be done about that?”

Caller: “Well, first, we have to find out why these people hate us and as long as we go ahead and we kill these people and imprison them and don’t allow them to have any kind of open court to say exactly why – what reason why they want to attack us – and I know why it is – because of our support for Israel. So, it’s like we are hiding our heads in the sand and we’ll never solve terrorism unless everything comes out in the open. Why we killed bin Laden is because he was (indistinct) against Israel – in other words, everything has to come out.”

NOTE: Host Echevarria accepted and even facilitated the Israelphobic caller’s familiar diatribe. Such callers are drawn to Washington Journal by the program’s indulgence of them. On-line searching has not verified the caller’s newspaper advertisement reference. News coverage of the killing of bin Laden by U.S. forces highlighted the al Qaeda leader’s motivations for attacking the United States. These were, first and foremost, to drive U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia, the Islamic heartland, and then from the Arab world to facilitate the overthrow of the Saudi ruling family, other “un-Islamic” regimes in Egypt and elsewhere, and restoration of the Sunni Muslim caliphate as last embodied in the Ottoman Empire. In addition to his hostility toward Israel as a Jewish state reestablished on land once conquered by Muslims, bin Laden despised Israel as an extension of the “Crusader” West. At various times his indictment of America and other Western countries included, in addition to their predominantly Christian cultural basis – he called on Americans to convert to Islam – condemned capitalism, “imperialism,” and “degeneracy” including women’s rights and even alleged environmental crimes. Absent U.S.-Israel ties, bin Laden would still have attacked the United States. These motivations were largely the same as those reported by the 9/11 Commission shortly after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. But rather than challenge the caller on his obvious agenda – blaming Israel for anti-American Islamic terrorism – host Echevarria facilitated the smear.

The most recent previous Journal air times for Ron/Miami demonstrate his Israelphobia: A March 27, 2011 (8:00 AM) call documented here and a January 28, 2011 (7:03 AM) call documented here.

May 2, 2011 – 8:52 AM


Guest: MICHAEL SCHEUER, former CIA bin Laden unit chief.

Topic: Osama bin Laden killed.

Caller: Don from Maui, Hawaii.

Caller: “I am finding the [bin Laden] burial at sea a bit questionable and it falls in line. I never did believe that an airplane could knock a building much less two airplanes knock down three buildings. What I am really concerned about and I’m wondering, Michael, if you can help me is – are you aware to the degree of which our government has been saturated with dual national Israelis and Jewish people and …?”

BRAWNER (interrupting): “We’re going to leave it there, Don.”

BRAWNER (addressing guest): “I don’t know if you want to answer that question”

SCHEUER: “He didn’t get to a question there.”

BRAWNER: “Let’s talk about the evidence … we have heard from callers about the government being involved in the September 11 attacks. What evidence points to the airplane going into that building …?”

NOTE: In typical Washington Journal style, neither host Brawner nor guest Scheuer identified the caller’s anti-government paranoia regarding the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks as “Truther” lunacy. Host Brawner appropriately cut off the caller, but then acted as advocate for his line of conspiracy theory allegations, asking the guest “What evidence points to the airplane going into that building?” C-SPAN’s general tolerance of such calls, and repeated hosting of Mr. Scheuer, perhaps led this caller to expect the guest, source of numerous obsessive and bigoted attacks on Israel and its supporters, to underscore caller’s own Judeophobic, Israelphobic remarks. Mr. Scheuer did respond to the caller’s 9/11 conspiracy claim by asserting that the evidence is overwhelming, including television footage showing the plane “going into that building” and that Arabs associated with al Qaeda perpetrated the 9/11 attacks.

May 2, 2011 – 9:18 AM


Topic: Osama bin Laden killed.

Caller: Bill from Defiance, Ohio (Israelphobic frequent caller).

Caller: “Yes. How’re you doing this morning? I’m glad they got him [bin Laden]. We only slaughtered a million people and now maybe we can go after the real perpetrators of 9/11. What do you think about that? “

BRAWNER: “What do you think, Bill?”

Caller: “I think we’ll never go after the real people that did 9/11 cause then we’d have to got to Tel Aviv [Israel]. Don’t you think? “

BRAWNER. “Alright.”

NOTE: Instead of responding professionally by immediately terminating the conspiracy Truther, Israelphobic, anti-U.S. foreign policy polemicist, host Brawner plays straight man (“What do you think, Bill?”) to the chronic Washington Journal caller who uses different names/locations: As Bob from St. Louis, Missouri (March 18, 2011 – 7:30 AM) during a “no fly zone for Libya ” segment (“How about a no-fly zone for Israel – or are you people allowed to say anything about Israel without us getting hung up on?”). As Bill from St. Louis, Missouri (Feb. 26, 2011 – 7:16 AM) during a “U.S. imposes sanctions on Libya” segment (“I think they’ll 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.” As Darrell from St. Charles, Missouri (Feb. 1, 2011 – 7:22 AM) during a “Obama administration approach to Egypt” segment (“I’m wondering what the terrorists in Israel are going to do now that this flunky [Mubarak] is out.” The script for Bill/Darrell (etc.) remains consistent from call to c all and C-SPAN indulges him each time, even in violation of the network’s ostensible “one-call-per-30-days” rule. Many additional Bill/Darrell instances are documented in C-SPAN Watch.

May 2, 2011 – 9:48 AM


Topic: Osama bin Laden killed.

Caller: James from Los Angeles, California (obsessive Israelphobic, formerly frequent caller).

Caller: “Thanks for taking my call. You have to realize I am glad that Osama bin Laden is dead , but also have to realize the motivation for why we were attacked on 9/11 and that’s U.S. support for Israel. When we listen to neocon Republicans like [California Congressman, House Homeland Security Committee Member] Dan Lungren [who called in previously on the show], I am so glad that Ron Paul is running. We don’t need the Patriot Act. We don’t need to have our civil liberties infringed on. We need to address our foreign policy in the Middle East – support for Israel and its brutal oppression of the Palestinian people …”

BRAWNER (interrupting): “That’s James’ opinion.”
NOTE: Host Brawner fails to challenge the caller’s anti-Israel obsession by pointing out the well-documented, frequently reported (especially in the wake of the killing of bin Laden by U.S. forces) actual motivation for the 9/11 attacks. The evidence, including the 9/11 Commission report, shows that Osama bin Laden’s hostility to the U.S. and West was primarily driven by Islamic extremism and his Islamic superiority complex. Primarily, he wanted to overthrow what he thought were the corrupt, impious, religiously impure regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and elsewhere and reestablish the Sunni Muslim (Ottoman) caliphate. He could not abide the presence of Western “infidel,” “Crusader” forces on Muslim soil, particularly U.S. forces in the Saudi holyland. Secondarily, he tried to show Israel as a Western imposition into that Muslim world. But bin Laden said he’d wage war on America [Israel or no Israel] until America converted to Islam and ceased its degenerate ways (women’s rights, secularism, religious tolerances, etc.). Repeated failure of C-SPAN hosts to point this out in response to chronic anti-Israel callers is a basic journalistic failure. Washington Journal is a public affairs program not dealing in the facts of the issue at hand. A long list of calls (going back years) from this individual is available in a CAMERA report.

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