C-SPAN November – December 2009

• December 31, 2009 – 7:38 AM


Guest: BLAKE HOUNSHELL, Foreign Policy magazine managing editor.

Caller: Tim from Wilson, North Carolina.

Caller: “Good morning. Thanks for taking my call. I think we – in this century – need to learn more on how to get along together. I think too many emphases is put on clearing people out. I think it’s impossible to do what we’re trying to do now. I think that we had an opportunity in the beginning when George Bush was in when we had the world behind us to take care of this thing in Afghanistan. But now it’s gone too far. Also, as one of your callers said earlier, about the media, the way they allow Rupert Murdoch who – I don’t have nothing against Jewish people – I know you guys usually cut people off when they say anything about Jews – but – Jewish people are great – but It’s just a few rich Jews like Rupert Murdoch and those guys that controls our country. And that’s the reason we are going into a lot of these wars. But Obama could be great. I think he got a Nobel Peace prize. I think there was a reason. I think the reason was that they wanted him to earn it. The way America is going today, the way we are responding to this terrorism thing is really ridiculous. We are looking at the small things that we can’t control. And as far as terrorism, there’s no way we are going to be able to control that.”

NOTE: Both host and guest ignore the basic anti-Semitic canard – rich Jews control the country – contained in the caller’s unintelligent utterances which included an attack on Rupert Murdoch, whom the caller mistakenly believes to be Jewish. The guest agrees that there has been “too much emphasis on terrorism.”

• December 29, 2009 – 9:16 AM


Guests: WILLIAM MILAM , former Ambassador to Pakistan and RONALD NEUMANN, former Ambassador to Afghanistan.

Topic: “U.S., Afghanistan and Pakistan War on Terror Strategy”

Caller: Richard from Hagerstown, Maryland.

Caller: “Hello. Nice to see you on C-SPAN. I think we ought to do something smart, why don’t we take the troops from Afghanistan and the troops from Iraq and put them in Israel and force them back to the ’67 borders. That would do more to end global terrorism than anything else and it would be the morally right thing to do for the Palestinians. Thank you.”

NOTE: The caller’s anti-Israel recommendation is rejected, although without comment, by Ambassadors Neumann and Milam. Both ambassadors urge a much stronger diplomatic effort to bring about a peace between the Arabs and the Israelis.

• December 29, 2009 – 9:30 AM


Guests: WILLIAM MILAM , former Ambassador to Pakistan and RONALD NEUMANN, former Ambassador to Afghanistan.

Topic: “U.S., Afghanistan and Pakistan War on Terror Strategy”

Caller: Derrick from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Caller: “Hello nice lady. Gentlemen, do you realize that in 1967 with Israel and Moshe Dayan – they went and took the West Bank and the Gaza Strip from those people. They took their land. When you do that, people are not going to lay down. So what they’re doing is what you see is happening. And the United States backs Israel, and that’s why we’re having those problems. Give those people back their land and then they can rest again. Until then, there will always be this problem that you’re seeing. Thank you.”

CASEY: “Ambassador Neumann, we have had a couple of callers mention Israel and the situation there. Give us a sense – and I think we all recognize that – as both of you alluded to earlier – you mentioned that we do see more tensions mount because of what’s happened in Israel, but give us a sense of how information is spread in a country like Afghanistan when it comes to Israel and the conflict there.”

NOTE: The caller recited the familiar, false anti-Israel narrative about the 1967 Six-Day War, ignoring that it was one of self-defense in the face of threatening, large-scale mobilizations by Egypt, Syria and Jordan and threats from other Arab states to join in the destruction of Israel. The caller’s false narrative also ignores the fact that Israel did not take any land legitimately held by Arabs. Jordan illegally occupied the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem as a result of aggression in 1948-1949, and Egypt likewise occupied the Gaza Strip. Ambassador Neumann did point out that Jordan would have remained in control of the West Bank if it had not joined the war against Israel. No mention is made here that Israel and the United States in 2000 and 2001 offered Palestinian Arabs the West Bank and Gaza Strip in exchange for peace, only to be met with the terror war of the “al-Aqsa intifada” in response. The host, Ms. Casey, uses the caller’s rhetoric to suggest that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict causes the United States significant problems in Afghanistan (and Pakistan). However, Ambassador Neumann responded to this notion by pointing out that “Palestinian issues have an enormous attraction in the greater Muslim world and in producing financial support for al-Qaeda and in producing foreign recruits… But Palestinian issues have almost no traction within Afghanistan itself.” Ambassador Milam responding in terms of Pakistan, asserted that it’s only the minority intelligentsia that, through influence of the communications media, is sensitive to Palestinian issues.

• December 25, 2009 – 9:50 AM


Topic: “Your favorite book of 2009”

Caller: James from Lynchburg, Virginia.

Caller: “I am reading a book right now; it’s a book called The Invention of the Jewish People by Shlomo Sand. And the book — it kind of goes back to the myth of a monolithic group of people who were removed from their homeland and are just now returning. Where, he points out that most Jews are actually converts to Judaism. The book was 19 weeks on the best-seller list in Israel.”
SCANLAN: “Where in Israel? What best-seller list was this on?”

Caller: “It was on, I think, Haaretz or the Jerusalem Post. I found out about it about a year and a half ago. And it did not come out in print in the United States until October of this year. So I’m still reading it. And I think it has strong implications on what – how we allow one group of non-Christians to treat another group of non-Christians based on some type of mythology.”
NOTE: The C-SPAN host’s feckless response leaves viewers misinformed since Mr. Scanlan fails to note the historical claims in The Invention of the Jewish People or the fringe nature of its author’s views. The caller’s tendentious anti-Israel, anti-Jewish points are invested tacitly with respectability because viewers are not informed that Professor Sand’s central allegations have been debunked by a number of respected writers. For example, Hillel Halkin (The New Republic, “Indecent Proposal,” Dec. 30) rebuts Sand’s thesis. Halkin also points out that these arguments have been “a staple of Arab and anti-Zionist propaganda.” Sand denigrates accepted scientific studies that contradict him. Countering Sand, Halkin writes, “But in fact we can go far back in time, with the he lp of historical DNA studies … in which he (Sand) displays an ignorant disdain …” Whether uninformed or unwilling to challenge, the host fails to question the caller’s inflammatory “we allow” rhetoric which seems to demand that “we” should prevent Israel’s legitimate defense of its own citizens from Arab terror attacks. Additionally, the viewers might have been informed that Israel, a Western-style democracy, in contrast to neighboring Arab countries, tolerates fringe ideas like those of Sand, no matter how erroneous or even hostile to the social-cultural consensus. 

• December 20, 2009 – 9:09 AM


Guest: ILAN BERMAN, American Foreign Policy Council on Iran – Vice President.

Caller: Doug from Boston.

Caller: “Hi. Yeah. I think all we need to know about your guest is that he was once a research associate for JINSA, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and today he hangs out with the rest of those neoconservative lunatics over at the Committee on the Present Danger. The man is a Zionist Jew; nothing wrong in that but I think that C-SPAN should let us know that. Two quick questions: (indistinct) is saying that he’s not going to let any sanctions against Iran (indistinct) and what’s gonna happen if Iran pulls out of NPT?”

BERMAN: “First, on the comment – quite a comment – you’re absolutely right; I did work for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and I am a current member of the Committee on the Present Danger – proudly so because I believe that the threat posed by both rogue regimes and terrorist groups is profound …”

NOTE: In the context of these comments, i.e., “the rest of these neoconservative lunatics …”, the caller obviously uses “Zionist Jew” as an epithet. His saying that there is “nothing wrong in that” is a transparent attempt to have it both ways, uttering a slander while pretending civility. One of several Journal callers who call only to defame Jews or Israel, Doug from Boston, previously called on Sept. 29, 2009 (8:20 AM, host: Brawner) and Sept. 20, 2009 (7:18 AM, host: Orgel). This host, Ms. Casey, is silent as the guest is attacked as a “Zionist Jew.”

• December 20, 2009 – 9:24 AM


Guest: ILAN BERMAN, American Foreign Policy Council on Iran – Vice President.

Caller: Sandy from North Carolina.

Caller: “Good morning. Thank you for taking my call and kudos to the last independent caller. You know, I see a pattern here – what’s going on – and the people in this country really need to wake up. First of all, I’ve noticed that this country never invades another country that has nuclear weapons. The countries they do invade do not have nuclear weapons and what ends up happening is this country steals their natural resources. I am sick to death to hear this propaganda. I know what’s going on over there. We were lied (to) going into Iraq. It ended up – it was to steal their oil and we are in Afghanistan building a pipeline just the other side of Iran’s border. And I know what’s going to happen, in the next months Israel and the United States are going to go in there and invade Iran and steal their natural resources and take control of the Strait of Hormuz so Israel will have all the oil that they want. And I’m just tired of all of these lies. There are people in this country who are wondering about what’s going on. And I just wonder, who are the real terrorists? How do you expect a country — tell them that they cannot defend themselves when you know countries like this one go in and invade them and steal their natural resources? Can you please answer that for me?”

NOTE: The host allows the caller an extended rant, repeating anti-American and anti-Israel boilerplate. The guest, limits his response to the caller to warning of the dangers posed by Iran and recommending caution as to a military option. The host does not attempt an obvious journalistic follow-up – asking the caller to support the allegation that the United States has invaded countries for their natural resources. As the guest replied elsewhere to the conspiracy charge that the United States invaded Iraq for its oil, most of Iraq’s oil contracts have been awarded to Russian, Chinese, and European companies.

• December 20, 2009 – 9:37 AM


Guest: ILAN BERMAN, American Foreign Policy Council on Iran – Vice President.

Caller: Anthony from Los Angeles.

Caller: “Good morning. Mr. Berman: Some of us clearly understand the implications that the Mossad is really a team that has been in Iraq and now in Pakistan. It’s working with the CIA, with Fatah against Hamas. I mean the list goes on and it’s almost all over the Internet that Israel and the AIPAC – America Israel Public Affairs Committee – is in fact targeting Iran and trying to do what we did to Iraq. So this is – and the Mossad – the Israeli Mossad is also pointed to what some of us believe – it’s on the Internet – that they were involved with 9/11 as well. So, it’s continually our tax dollars paying for Israel’s existence over us.”

NOTE: The guest points out that mainstream opinion, not to mention several congressional and independent investigations, do not hold that Israel’s external intelligence agency, the Mossad or the American CIA was involved in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that murdered nearly 3,000 Americans. The guest also points out the danger posed bya nuclear-armed Iran. The guest seems to dismiss the caller’s allegations by citing general apprehension about the future in terms of actions that might be taken with respect to Iran. Again, the host sits mute in the face of confronting the caller’s wild conspiracy theories. She lets stand unchallenged the caller’s meaningless corroborations, “it’s almost all over the Internet” and “it’s on the Internet.”

• December 18, 2009 – 7:09 AM


Topic: “How important do you think this climate change conference is?”

Caller: Asar from Baltimore, Maryland.

Caller: “Yes. I wanted to quote Adolph Hitler this morning, because this climate change thing reminds me of what he once said where he said when you want to lie, you lie big, because even if the lie can be refuted by a child, a big lie is hard to challenge in total. And so if you look at the climate issue and the scientists that were manipulating the facts, that’s exactly what they had in mind. Now the U.S. is in a paying position – and I’m going to link it to health care – is in the same position that Stalinist Russia was in1960 where you could not mention your master’s name. In Stalinist Russia and before that also with the Bolsheviks, you could not mention his name – you could not say Stalin is my oppressor. In America – and humans kind of tend to change roles from nation to nation as to who is the oppressor – and this is our nature – but in today’s America, The Jews run the central banks, the health care industry and all of them – and Lieberman and all …”

SLEN (impatiently): “So what does this have to do with climate change? All right, we’re just going to move on.”

NOTE: The host finally gets impatient with the off-topic rambling, b ut he does not contradict the bigoted charge that “the Jews run the central banks, the health care industry and all of them – and Lieberman and all.” The Washington Journal recently has aired several callers angry at U.S. Senator Lieberman, an American Jew, blaming him alone for objecting to parts of the Obama administration’s health care legislation. These callers aim their malice only at a prominent Jewish member of Congress while ignoring non-Jewish congressional critics who also vigorously oppose key features of the bills. C-SPAN airs no calls that cast ethnic or religious aspersions at the other (non-Jewish) politicians who are in the forefront of opposing the health bill. This implicit acceptance of an invidious double standard apparently encourages the anti-Jewish, anti-Israel bigots who frequently get through as callers to C-SPAN’s Washington Journal.

• December 14, 2009 – 7:05 AM


Caller: Mike from Londonderry, Ohio.

Caller: “Well, you know, I think he’s a flip-flopper. Hello? Okay, I think he’s a flip-flopper and…”

SCANLAN: “What do you mean by that, Mike?”

Caller: “Well, he seems to back the corporate weasels that have hijacked this country and he supports corporate, international fascism. And I think he should just maybe move back to Israel.”

NOTE: The host is silent regarding the caller’s radical generalizations about unidentified “corporate weasels” and “corporate international fascism” and regarding an obvious anti-Jewish reference. Ostensibly angry at Sen. Lieberman’s position on health care legislation, the caller feels free to give vent to his prejudice against Jews and Israel. An alert, objective host would have questioned the demand that a U.S. senator – a native-born American Jew – “move back to Israel” where he’s never lived. C-SPAN viewers know it is highly unlikely that any Washington Journal host would remain silent, for example, if a caller defamed, as a member of a world-wide conspiracy, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a black, American-born convert to Islam, who has always lived in America, and demanded that he “move back to Africa.” Furthermore, this is yet another instance of allowing a caller to violate its 30-day rule. This caller, Mike from Ohio, was previously aired on Dec. 5, 2009 (at 8:11 AM) disparaging Israel.

• December 14, 2009 – 9:21 AM


Guest: MATTHEW LEVITT, counter-terrorism director, Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Caller: Ron from Hudson, Florida.

Caller: “Good morning. The real terrorists in this world are the United States and Israel. You know, when you remove a democratically elected government and install a dictator and support that dictator with money and weapons, and people fight back against that, you call that terrorism. I have known people that have been to Gaza that have seen firsthand the oppression. Israelis won’t even let them have enough food. They have to smuggle food in to feed people. If people fight against that, you call that terrorism. Israel has over 250 nuclear- weapons.”

Host (to guest): “Ron, Thanks for the input. You mentioned earlier that issues like Guantanamo are not necessarily the driving force behind radicalization of American Muslims.”

Guest: “What I said was that they are not the only thing and that people will plug in some local grievance into this larger global grievance. Not to say that people aren’t motivated by the plight of Palestinians or – by the way – that we shouldn’t resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the right reasons. But I couldn’t disagree with the caller, Ron, more. The United States and Israel are not the reasons for this [Islamic terrorism]. Again, these terrorist groups – whether it’s Hamas – that the caller was referring to – or Al Qaeda – were attacking us before all these things we’re talking about. Hamas was blowing up civilians in Israel when Israel and the Palestinian Authority were about to sign a peace deal giving the Palestinians a state they so rightly deserve. What Hamas wants is not a state, what Hamas wants is to destroy all of Israel. This is not something we can negotiate over. Al Qaeda was targeting us long before we went into Afghanistan or Iraq. Those are issues we need to be aware of. In terms of the phraseology of Bible and guns, I don’ t think that is particularly useful, and using words like “crusade” clearly feeds into our adversaries’ conception of who we are. We need to be careful with what I describe as the lexicon of terrorism, because we can feed into our adversaries, ideological propaganda if we’ re not careful. The real terrorists are the people who want to kill civilians for purposes of politics or ideology. The United States tries to minimize civilian deaths in war; Israel tries to minimize civilian deaths in war. They both makes mistakes, but they are sovereign countries and and they’re protecting their people. The people I’m referring to as terrorists are going into the Israeli heartland, the American heartland, elsewhere, and are blowing up civilians for political purposes and that’s terrorism.”

NOTE: The guest gave a concise specific account of recent Arab-Israeli developments, providing pertinent information rarely heard in a Washington Journal response to anti-Israeli callers. But the guest failed to respond to the caller’s false charge that the Israelis oppress the Gazans, who elected and are ruled by Hamas, designated a terrorist group by the United States, Israel and the European Union, and “won’t even let them have enough food.” Meanwhile, the host neglected to determine who the caller was referring to as a “dictator” the United States and Israel allegedly “install[ed].”

• December 13, 2009 – 8:30 AM


Guests: NORMAN SOLOMAN, MARK TAPSCOTT. Mr. Solomon is Executive Director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. Mr. Tapscott is Editorial Page Editor of the Washington Examiner newspaper.

Caller: Tim from Austin Texas (frequent caller).

Caller: “Thank you for the UK audience about the excellent article from the UK Independent about the Iraq war inquiry and the Transparent Cabal book about how the neoconservatives took us into the Iraq war for Israel – and want to go to war with Iran next for Israel. And apparently Obama is following the will of the Israel lobby. Mr. Solomon has written an excellent piece that he composed a couple of years ago about the Israel lobby book by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. And that’s also mentioned in this article.”

SOLOMON: “Well, I think that a single standard of human rights helps people avoid getting lost. It’s a reliable compass. Whereas, otherwise, people get sort of jerked around and drawn into various eddies and hurricanes of ideologies and nationalism and theology. And so, if you look at the question of human rights, Palestinians have lived in their land occupied now for more than forty years in Gaza and the West Bank; a virtual siege on Gaza, withholding of basic health care and other resources. If we use a single yardstick of human rights than I think we should be critical of the Israeli government particularly because taxpayers are helping to subsidize it.”

NOTE: The host allowed this formulaic anti-Israel diatribe until finally seeming to terminate the call. Nevertheless, “Tim from Austin,” was allowed to violate C-SPAN’s self-proclaimed 30-day policy; he previously had called as “Jamie from Los Angeles” on December 2 at 8:13 a.m. The guest uses the caller’s rant to misrepresent the conflict between Israel and Palestinian Arabs and indict Israel falsely as a human rights abuser. Mr. Scully’s passivity in the face of anti-Israel, anti-Jewish conspiracy theories is typical of C-SPAN hosts. A knowledgeable, journalistically balanced moderator would have noted, among other things, that Israel ended its occupation of the Gaza Strip in 2005, but Palestinian terrorism subsequently intensified; the Israeli-Egyptian restrictions on travel to and from Gaza are the consequences of continued attempts by Hamas and other terrorists to smuggle arms and stage attacks; that basic health care was not and is not withheld by Israel and thousands of Gaza Arabs are treated in Israeli hospitals annually; and that the Palestinian Authority leadership has repeatedly rejected Israeli-U.S. offers of a two-state solution in exchange for peace, including earlier this year. Tapscott, the other guest, partially rebutted Solomon, condemning the Palestine Liberation Organization for its history of terrorism. The PLO, as the PA, administers the West Bank.

• December 12, 2009 – 8:28 AM


Guest: TRITA PARSI, National Iranian American Council (NIAC) President and author of Treacherous Alliance – The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the US.

NOTE: NIAC’s Web site, niacouncil.org, clearly indicates that NIAC is antagonistic toward Israel.

CALLER: Rick from Yardley, Pennsylvania..

Caller: “Thanks for taking my call. I would just like to clarify, you know, the American media does a lot of deception, a lot of half truth. Ahmadinejad – I watched his interview. He didn’t call the Holocaust a myth. He didn’t deny the Holocaust. What he denied was the rationale for the right for the creation of Israel in 1947. Israel claims the Holocaust gives them a right to go in and brutally remove a half a million Palestinians on to a reservation into a ghetto we call the Gaza Strip, the West Bank. But he — the Holocaust didn’t give them the right to do that to the Palestinians. Maybe in Germany. And that was discussed, to carve out a piece of Germany, that might have been fair. But they had no right. The Holocaust did not give them the right to do that to the Palestinians. That’s what Ahmadinejad was saying. And the other thing for their right to exist is – God gave them the promised land. And that’s where Ahmadinejad says their right to exist is based on mythology and he denies the Holocaust – as it — he doesn’t deny the Holocaust happened. He knows 4 million Jews were killed. He know’s 60 million innocent people were killed. If you watch the interview, you saw, I cannot believe how poorly the American media reports. They do their job very bad. I say C-SPAN does it probably well. I love C-SPAN. Thank you for being there.”

Host: “Final thoughts.”

PARSI: “Well, actually the caller points to something that is important. At times the president of Iran, Ahmadinejad, actually had, during the previous mandate period, called the Holocaust a myth. At other times in interviews he has gone into the reasoning of saying, ‘Where did it actually happen?’ If it happened in Germany, why should the Palestinians be the sufferers of it? The purpose of entering into that conversation is to essentially bring Israel on the defensive and have Israel once again address issues that Israel thought they had already settled – its right to exist; things of that nature. And it goes back to the strategic rivalry that exists between Iran and Israel in which they are viewing each other as rivals in the region and any advancement of Iran is seen negatively in Israel and vice versa. And in the midst of all of this, of course the United States is an actor and is in many ways stuck. And, I think, one of the critical things that we have to think going forward is — unless we actually address the Israeli-Iranian rivalry – the tensions there – and ways to resolve it, because it’s actually a strategic conflict – it’s not an ideologically driven conflict. Unless that is addressed, I think we’re going to have a very, very difficult time being able to bring peace and stability to the region.”

NOTE: The host, Echevarria, allowed the caller’s lengthy, erroneous tirade against the Jewish state. The guest, Parsi, NIAC’s president, rationalized the Iranian government’s anti-Israel rhetoric and conflict with Israel – claiming it is driven by strategic rivalry rather than ideology. In reality, Israel an Iran were de facto allies for years; this relationship became impossible only when Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah and led Iran’s Islamic revolutionary government. This Shi’ite Muslim fundamentalist regime saw the United States as “the great Satan” and Israel as “the little Satan.”

Guest and host failed to mention President Ahmadinejad’s apocalyptic belief in the imminent return of “the 12th [or hidden] imam,” a messianic figure. The hidden imam’s return is to be hastened by a select few, of whom Ahmadinejad includes himself. Iran’s foreign and military policies cannot be analyzed without reference to this mentality, in which the destruction of Israel and the West would speed the arrival of a messianic era.

Neither guest nor host refutes the caller’s false claim that Israel “brutally remove[d] half a million Palestinians.” They remain silent over rejection by the Arab states and Palestinian Arab leadership of the 1947 U.N. partition plan for a Jewish state and a new Arab state in British Mandatory Palestine; over Arab aggression in 1948 to destroy Israel – in the process approximately 500,000 Arabs became refugees, most of them fleeing the fighting; over historical falsification – Jews, a pre-Arab, pre-Muslim people, had begun returning in numbers to their ancient homeland in the 1880’s, not just after the Holocaust. And neither guest nor host rebuts the caller’s Holocaust revisionism – not four million, but six million European Jews were murdered in the Nazis “final solution.” The 55 million (not 60 million) total victims of World War II included many soldiers who died in battle and many other civilians who, unlike the Jews, were not part of a group specifically targeted for total elimination. Neither guest nor host pointed out that, rather than being “victimized because of the Holocaust,” Palestinian Arabs, by anti-Jewish riots and massacres in the 1920’s and ‘30’s, led the British virtually to close Jewish immigration to the League of Nations’ mandated “national home” in Palestine. This resulted in more Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

• December 5, 2009 – 8:11 AM


Guest: NICHOLAS BURNS Former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs.

Topic: Iran

Caller: Mike from Ohio.

Caller: “Good day Pedro, how you doin? Hey, as you know, back in the 80′ s during the Iran-Contra scandal, there was a Israeli CIA spy named Audrey Chanes (ph). Remember him?Yeah, Audrey Chanes the Israeli CIA spy who stole our nuclear secrets and then, I believe, he sold them to other countries. As far as sanctions go, maybe the sanctions should be put on the U.S. because of our 200 and some year history of slavery and terrorism. And just go to some of the Indian reservations and ask some of those chiefs about terrorism and our history of strong arm and robbery.”

NOTE: Neither guest nor host challenges the caller’s accusation concerning an “Israeli CIA spy” who “stole our nuclear secrets.” There was no suc h case. Mr. Burns responds tepidly to the caller’s anti-U.S., irrelevant tirade, merely contrasting the behavior of “dictatorships like Iran” with the way”We have dealt with the civil rights struggle; we were able to resolve some of the historical problems that confronted us.” Host Echevarria says nothing at all.

• December 5, 2009 – 8:13 AM


Guest: NICHOLAS BURNS Former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs.

Topic: Iran

Caller: Darrell from St. Louis, Missouri.

Caller: “I respectfully disagree with your guest. If anybody needs to be disarmed in the Middle East, I’m sorry, it would have to be Israel. They have lied about everything concerning their nuclear weapons program and nobody says anything. Who have the Iranians attacked in the last 200 years? Israel is building a wall with my tax dollars; they’re committing genocide on the Palestinian people, and I don’t blame the Iranians. If the Israelis attacked the Iranians, I’m sorry, I have to back the Iranians. I don’t understand the people here – the hypocrisy when it comes to Israel.”

ECHEVARRIA: “So, they lied about the nuclear program.”

NOTE: Burns explained why the United States supports Israel and why Iran’s government should be condemned. But he failed to respond to the charges that Israel lied about its alleged nuclear program or the false accusation of genocide. The difference between counter-terrorism conducted by Western democracies like Israel and the United States and genocide by dictatorships is self-evident in nature and scope. And Echevarria’s response, “So, they lied about the nuclear program,” reinforced the caller’s implicit comparison of the Jewish state with the Nazis – and Palestinian Arabs with the Third Reich’s Jewish victims. Journalistically, a knowledgeable, objective host should have recognized and pointed out for viewers this repugnant, though common, anti-Israel propaganda ploy. In addition, Echevarria misses the point regarding Israel’s purported nuclear program. In keeping with an understanding reached with the Nixon administration, Israel has held that it “will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons” into the Middle East. Unlike Iran, it has not threatened nuclear genocide against another country, as the Islamic extremists in power in Tehran have threatened against Israel.

• December 2, 2009 – 8:13 AM


Guest: Rep. RAUL GRIJALVA (D-Arizona).

Caller: Jamie from Los Angeles, California (frequent caller).

Caller: “Yeah, I was vehemently opposed [to Afghanistan troop buildup]. Why don’t we address the root motivation for what’s happening in Afghanistan and why we got attacked on 9/11 – and that is support for Israel? It’s just incredible how we don’t address that. You go to America-hijacked dot com – you can see a piece by John Mearsheimer. He talks about the Afghan quagmire. And if we don’t address U.S. support for Israel’s brutal oppression of the Palestinian people, we won’t get to the heart of the matter – why we were attacked on 9/11.”

NOTE: The guest, Rep. Grijalva, affirmed Israel’s legitimacy and the importance of U.S. support for Israeli sovereignty. But neither the guest nor host Robb Harleston challenged this frequent caller’s familiar, formulaic anti-Israel diatribe. C-SPAN has aired it repeatedly, including on October 6 (see below). Caller almost invariably repeats the false claim that al Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States were due to American support for Israel. He does so regardless of Osama bin Laden’s history of inveighing against the presence of U.S. and other “Crusader” forces on the sacred Islamic soil of Saudi Arabia and of calling for restoration of the supranational Sunni caliphate. Contrary to the caller, bin Laden’s emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is secondary, a post-9/11 self-justification.

• November 29, 2009 – 7:16 AM


Caller: Zar from Phoenix, Arizona.

Caller: “Sir, thank you for taking the call. I kind of have the same comment as an earlier caller where the debate is being set as a lose-lose situation for the president. Either he is an idiot or he’s not doing his job. So, I don’t agree with the premise of the question. But, what I’d like to point your viewers out is how there’s a blitzkrieg against every president that opposes the Israeli agenda. When George Bush in 2006 opposed the Israeli agenda of bombing the hell out of Iran, there was a blitzkrieg against him in the media, which is used to blackmail all American politicians. And he went out as the most hated president. And now there’s a blitzkrieg against Obama because he doesn’t want to bow down to the Jewish masters that print the dollars – that own AIG – that own Goldman-Sachs and that, basically, are inflating the Americans by keeping them in war – in a budget deficit – and taxing them to death.”

NOTE: The host fails to interrupt, challenge or even scrutinize the caller’s antisemitic, anti-Israel diatribe. There was no “blitzkrieg against him [President George W. Bush] in the media, which is used to blackmail all American politicians” for opposing in 2006 an alleged “Israeli agenda of bombing the hell out of Iran.” The host allows a formulaic attack charging Jewish conspiratorial control over America’s financial affairs. C-SPAN hosts almost invariably fail to rebut callers who use the network as a megaphone to spin anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish conspiracy theories.For example: In a Dec. 6, 2009 “Washington Journal” discussion about Afghanistan, at 8:59 a.m., host Steve Scully rejected vigorously a caller’s claim that C-SPAN is “all controlled by the CIA.” Scully cut off the caller and explained that the network is funded by the cable TV industry. “We are controlled by nobody … so, your comment about the CIA reference is completely out of bounds.” But similar slanders about Jews and Israel allegedly controlling Congress, American finances, or the United States itself for their own and/or Israel’s advantage, apparently are “in bounds.”

• November 29, 2009 – 9:15 AM


Guest: JEREMY BEN-AMI, Executive Director of J Street

Caller: James from Corpus Christi, Texas.

Caller: “Yes. Please give me enough time to express this question. I saw Osama bin Laden’s last release and he said that as long as America supports Israel and has troops on Muslim land, the war of attrition must continue. So, this just illustrates the cost to American taxpayers of our support of Israel. I’m sympathetic to the situation of the Jews. I’m old enough to remember the displaced persons after World War II and the Holocaust and I understand the situation. But my question to you is, do you think it’s fair to ask the American taxpayers to continue to support Israel and incur the wrath of the Muslim world and therefore lead us into expensive wars and endanger our population by terrorist attacks. Are you being fair to the American taxpayer?”

NOTE: The guest, Ben-Ami, pointed out correctly that bin Laden didn’t care about Israel and didn’t “care about the Palestinian people until he found out they could be used as a tool.” This occurred well after Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda attack on American soil on Sept. 11, 2001 and the guest appropriately pointed out that bin Laden now uses the “Palestinian people … as a political tool” (am ong others). It’s also necessary to point out (as Ben-Ami has done elsewhere in this calling segment) that Israel receives no economic aid, being rather one of many nations receiving military aid from the United States, with nearly all of the money going back into the American economy as payment for defense materials.

• November 29, 2009 – 9:19 AM


Guest: JEREMY BEN-AMI, Executive Director of J Street

Caller: Nina from Rockville, Maryland

Caller: “Yes. I was calling to ask the gentleman – first of all, the settlements issue is the only one that is – that comes between peace between the Palestinians and Israelis – and yet the Netanyahu government is hell-bent on refusing to do that. And also, what gives Israel the right to go into Gaza and destroy homes – just bulldozing them – killing 1300 Israelis (sic) and at the same time, having only ten people killed on the Israeli side. That doesn’t make any sense. I mean, America gives weapons to Israel and is this what you do with them?”

NOTE: The caller simplistically if not mendaciously portrays the “settlements issue” as the “only one” obstacle to peace between Palestinian Arabs and Israeli. Ben-Ami points out that the Palestinian side maintains other priorities as well, including demands for (at least) eastern Jerusalem and the “right of return” of Arab refugees to pre-1948 homes in Israel proper. However, both Ben-Ami and Echevarria fail to inform viewers that Arab, including Palestinian Arab, hostility to a Jewish state pre-dates not only construction of post-1967 settlements but also the establishment of Israel in 1948, and for many, including the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip, that hostility to a Jewish state in any form continues. On the “right of return,” both host and guest are silent on the fact that the Arab side opposed all the U.N. resolutions in the late 1940s and early ‘50s that dealt with potential repatriation, compensation and/or resettlement elsewhere in part because they included no “right of return,” only conditional recommendations.

Ben-Ami notes that Israel had the right to respond to “bombing” (rocket attacks) from the Gaza Strip, although he says the response may have been “militarily harsh and disproportionate.” Neither he nor Echevarria specify what would have been “proportionate” – replying to the Palestinian terrorists’ 8,000 indiscriminately targeted rockets and mortars with a similar years’-long barrage? Militarily, as then U.S. Chief of Staff Colin Powell argued before the 1991 Persian Gulf War, a disproportionately large response, targeting the enemy’s military forces, not civilian populations, tends to limit a war’s duration and total casualties. Neither host nor guest responds to the caller by noting that a number of post-war reports found physical destruction in the Strip generally restricted to the limited areas in which the fighting took place.

• November 29, 2009 – 9:23 AM


Guest: JEREMY BEN-AMI, Executive Director of J Street

Caller: Cynthia from Houston, Texas.

Caller: “Thank you. When George Washington left office in his Farewell address he referred to the neutrality proclamation. Our founders started our country as a neutral country. We should have never involved ourselves in supporting Israel unilaterally and providing all the weapons and all that financial support over there. We just bought a lot of enemies and our government was bought off by the Jewish lobby. I’m sorry, but that’s why we’ve been throwing all the money and all the weapons at Israel and I’m against it – I’m for neutrality. Our security interest has not been served. Now we have the Muslim world mad at us. Solzhenitsyn has written a book called, The Hundred Years Together. It’s been suppressed in the United States. It’s not published. It’s about the Jewish influence in their society and all the influence peddling that effected their culture and their way of life. I wish we would mind our own business and I wish Israel would mind their own business and stay out of our government. Thank you.”

NOTE: Mr. Ben-Ami comments on the general misunderstanding “about how lobbying works.” He explains that criticism of pro-Israel lobbying on policy grounds is legitimate, but adds that much of this criticism has crossed into anti-Semitism. But both guest and host ignore that this call is one such example. The caller refers to Solzhenitsyn’s Two Hundred Years Together. A review in The Guardian (UK, Jan. 25, 2003), for example, noted that the book claimed the role of Jews in the Bolshevik Revolution and subsequent Soviet purges was “as much perpetrators of the repression as its victims.” Jewish leaders and some historians rejected the book’s contentions and questioned Solzhenitsyn’s motives in writing it. While some individuals of Jewish background were influential in the Bolshevik revolution and early Soviet hierarchy, Jews as a group suffered under Soviet anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist oppression as they had under the antisemitism of the czars. And there’s nothing to support the caller’s allegation that Solzhenitsyn’s book has been “suppressed in the United States.” Host and guest are silent on all this.

• November 29, 2009 – 9:26 AM


Guest: JEREMY BEN-AMI, Executive Director of J Street

Caller: ( No name given) from Wellington, Florida.

Caller: “Good morning. Yes. I’m so glad you brought up lobbying. AIPAC is the number one lobbying group. They have the most control of our Congress and if anybody wants to look it up – it’s A-I-P-A-C and, you know, nobody wants to about the fact there has been cases of – spying – Israel spying on America and there have been ties to AIPAC with that. I was sympathetic to the, you know, Israel cause and finding a homeland but the more that we have entangling alliances, the more that money is running out, the more I’ve gone to research it and I, like the other caller, I don’t agree that this is in the United State’s best interest to continue to send millions of U.S. tax dollars a day to a small country the size of Rhode Island. I mean, each citizen should be a millionaire by now. So, that doesn’t help us. So, again, I’m against entangling alliances. Also, talking about the UN proliferation treaty, Iran has complied; they have notified the United Nations of making nuclear power and it wasn’t like we discovered it. However, again, nobody wants to talk about the fact that it’s a big secret but it’s not really that Israel does have undeclared nuclear weapons and my fear is that they are going to have some “false flag” and use that to strike Iran – and, again, there’s a lot of misconception out there – the leader of Iran, when you look at the translation he didn’t say that he wants to wipe Israel off the map. He said he wants to end the Zionist rule. There’s a big difference.”

NOTE: Neither host nor guest replies that AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the registered U.S. pro-Israel lobby, is by no means “the number one lobbying group.” Business, labor, senior citizen and other lobbies are larger. Neither host nor guest points out that even these groups do not exercise “control of our Congress” when Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate and House do not always “control” their own caucuses. Nor does Echevarria or Ben-Ami remind viewers that the one case alleging passing of confidential information to a friendly government involving two AIPAC employees wa s eventually dropped by the Department of Justice, in response to adverse rulings by a federal judge.

Neither Echevarria nor Ben-Ami point out the caller’s falsification of threats by numerous Iranian leaders including the current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, not only to destroy the Jewish state but also to “imagine a world without America.” The caller’s ridiculous claim that Iran has complied with international nuclear non-proliferations treaties when it maintained a secret program apparently aimed at weapons acquisition for years, and continues to attempt to hide important parts of it, (recurrently reported by major news media) goes unremarked by the host and guest. And neither mentions the potential of nuclear weapons controlled by leaders such as Ahmadinejad, who has said he believes the return of Shi’ite Muslim messiah, the vanished 12th imam, is imminent, and that he is one of the select tasked with hastening this “end days” world-wide Islamic triumph.

• November 29, 2009 – 9:29 AM


Guest: JEREMY BEN-AMI, Executive Director of J Street

Tweet (on Twitter.com) from AVRWC.

The Tweet: “Mr. Ben-Ami, isn’t the issue, from our point of view, us giving billions to Israel and Israel using our aid to kill Arabs and Muslims.”

NOTE: Neither Echevarria nor Ben-Ami stresses that Israel uses American military aid to help defend its citizens and foreign visitors — Jews, Muslims, Christians and others — from attack by Palestinian terrorists and deter when possible, overcome if necessary, aggression by Arab or Islamic states. Viewers are not reminded that such attacks and aggression have been constant threats and realities since long before the United States became a significant supplier of aid to Israel in the mid-1960s. Nor are they told that aid has been reciprocal, including Israeli military and civilian assistance to the United States including technology for improved unmanned aircraft, anti-missile defenses, and battlefield medical techniques to high level intelligence on first the Soviet bloc and more recently anti-U.S. as well as anti-Israeli Arab and Islamic radicals. Such significant assistance has been noted by active and retired American military leaders.

• November 23, 2009 – 7:54 AM


Guest: WALTER PINCUS, Washington Post national security correspondent.

Caller: Don from Charleston, South Carolina.

Caller: “Good morning Sir. I have really talked a good bit about – read a good bit – about the buildup to Iraq and I just wanted to ask your opinion. During the buildup to the Iraqi war, there was a lot of influence from the Israeli lobby and a lot of Jewish journalists such as Bill Kristol, Podhoretz, right on down the line who were very influential in pushing this country into war. I see the same thing happening now with Iran being demonized and the false reports coming out of Israel that they are a threat to the United States, etcetera. My question to you is: Do you see that happening again? And what is your input on the Israeli lobby as far as us going to war – and being prodded into war?”

PINCUS: “Well, I am Jewish and I wrote about the danger of going into war. I don’ t think it is a universal aim. So, I think you can take that one off the table and I think that Israel, however, does have a strong interest and a strong fear of Iran. And I think it’s made known and there is an Israeli lobby and it has a big effect in this country. But we also write about it. So people know it’s there and it’s part of democracy. There are lobbies for all sorts of things, some more powerful than others. And really it’s up to us to try to inform the public about what’s going on and expect our government to deal – not with what lobbies say – but with the facts are.”

NOTE: Both host and guest failed to ask the caller for evidence as to the unfounded allegation that Israel and the Jews exercised “a lot of influence” pushing for the invasion of Iraq. Viewers would have been better served if the caller was challenged to at least minimally substantiate the claim of the “false reports that they [Iran] are a threat” – and the implication that Jewish journalists (and the “Israeli lobby”) are behind these alleged “false reports.” Likewise, Scanlan and Pincus failed to ask the caller why he seems unconcerned about the danger to the world represented by a nuclear-armed Iran controlled by jihadists.

• November 21, 2009 – 9:56 AM


Guest: HALEH ESFANDIARI, Iranian-American director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Middle East Program.

Caller: Michael from Sterling Heights, Michigan.

Caller: “Yes. I’m a Vietnam veteran and I’m not opposed to war. But I do have a big stipulation and that is: I do believe the United States, and particularly the American people, are being manipulated once again into another war. This war, I think will lead to World War Three because Russia and China are going to take full of advantage of our military cutbacks done by this administration and the last one. Once we are goaded into a war by the State of Israel, the United States will then be subject to a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union and China. And I think this will help establish their one world government – and my question is to you, the guest, how can you – somebody who is supposedly knowledgeable on the Middle East – fail to mention how Israel is trying to get rid of all – destabilize all the countries in the Middle East that they perceive as a threat to Israel. Why haven’t you commented on that?”

Guest: “We didn’t get a chance to talk about Israel’s relations with Iran. But my take is – Israel would rather live in a peaceful Middle East than to be surrounded by enemies. I don’t see any sign – I am not an expert on military issues – but I don’t see any sign that at this stage the United States is interested in waging war against Iran. On the contrary, I think the United States has been trying to reach out to Iran and encourage them to come and sit at the negotiating table.”

NOTE: The guest’s response was appropriate. But viewers would have been better served if the host, rather than remaining silent, had asked the caller the obvious questions: What his evidence is for casting Israel as the world’s main villain and why the caller does not seem concerned about the danger to the United States and its allies represented by a nuclear-armed Iran controlled by Islamists.

• November 18, 2009 – 9:22 AM


Topic: “Who is the most effect Senator, past or present?”

Between calls, host abruptly displays a copy of the November 18 issue of The Financial Times (London), and reads the first two paragraphs of an article headlined “Israel defies US to back plan for new settlements” by Tobias Buck in Jerusalem, Daniel Dombey in Washington.

ECHEVARRIA: “Tobias Buck out of Jerusalem and Dan Dombey in Washington, write for The Financial Times, saying that: Israel yesterday defied US pressure when it gave preliminary approval to a plan to construct 900 new housing units in a suburb of Jerusalem built on occupied Palestinian land in a move that coul d stoke regional tensions. Washington said it was quote ‘dismayed’ by the plan to build the units south of Jerusalem. At a time when we are working to relaunch negotiations, these action make it more difficult for our efforts to succeed. That’s the President’s spokesman, Robert Gibbs.”

NOTE: Echevarria abruptly interjects information extraneous to the topic at hand. He chooses an article both factually inaccurate – the area in question was not a suburb but a neighborhood of Jerusalem, and not “built on occupied Palestinian land” but on previously undeveloped, Jewish-owned property – and the article is biased, having been written from a pro-Arab slant. Co-author Tobias Buck frequently has filed unbalanced, anti-Israel reports. Echevarria had this material ready and shoe-horned it into the program, even though immediately proceeding (and, as it happened, following) callers addressed only the ostensible topic of discussion, “Who is the most effect Senator, past or present?”

• November 10, 2009 – 7:16 AM


Host asks viewers in this open-phones segment for comments on reports that President Obama is leaning toward sending more troops to Afghanistan.
Caller: Cain from Kentucky.

Caller: “Good morning. I just wanted to offer my humble opinion about how this war got started in the first place. In that area of the world, those mountains separate the east and west. Not since the days of Genghis Khan has any conqueror ever conquered that part of the land. The Zionists – uh – the wars got started basically because of the Palestinian questions and Palestine, and these brothers of Afghanistan and in Iran and Iraq, they are all related and they are all part of a family that takes blood very seriously.” (The caller’s rambling monologue continued for three more minutes).

NOTE: Host neither interrupted nor commented on this open phone segment’s largely nonsensical ramble that included the blatantly false allegation that the wars (Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran) started because of the “Palestinian questions.”

• November 10, 2009 – 9:14 AM


Guest: BRIAN ROSS, ABC News correspondent.

Topic: “Fort Hood Shooting Investigation (shooter suspect is Major Hasan)”

Caller: Jimbo from Union Grove, Alabama.

Caller: “Hi. I’d like to make a comment to the gentleman. One of the major reasons, I think, is the Palestine issue. If we settle the Palestine issue, I believe the hatred against Americans will diminish. I believe everyone agrees with that. And I think Senator Lieberman is a Zionist. And I think that we have to settle our problems. The reason for the hatred – and I think that will help in our wars everywhere.”

ROSS: “I think you’re right about that. Certainly every administration has sought to settle that issue. Because with the feeling that if that could be settled, that seems to be sort of the major obstacle to a lessening of the tensions between many countries and the U.S. but it’s far from settled despite the best efforts of successive administrations.”

NOTE: Neither host nor guest challenge the caller’s absurdity that Israeli action caused the Ft. Hood massacre allegedly staged by Maj. Nidal Hasan. Neither Casey nor Ross question what the caller images “I think Senator Lieberman is a Zionist” proves. That being a Zionist is inimical to being a senator? On what grounds? Incredibly, Ross agrees with that settling “the Palestine issue …. will help in our wars everywhere” and diminish anti-American hatred. Neither he nor Casey point out the obvious: there have been scores of inter-Arab and inter-Muslim wars since the creation of Israel – including the biggest conventional war since World War II, the 1980 – 1988 Iraq-Iran war – that have resulted in millions of deaths, that had nothing to do with Israel. Neither host nor guest reminds viewers of other relevant facts, including that U.S. efforts to mediate the Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts have failed because the Arab sides have rejected repeatedly U.S.-Israeli peace offers. That includes the 2000 and 2001 proposal of a West Bank and Gaza Strip Palestinian state, with eastern Jerusalem as its capital, in exchange for peace with Israel as a Jewish state, and that the Palestinian side refused. It includes the more recent rejection by Arab states like Saudi Arabia of the Obama administration’s request for confidence-building measures to promote Israeli concessions.

And neither host nor guest recall that anti-Americanism, a staple of the Soviet bloc and “non-Aligned Movement” in Cold War days, had little or nothing to do with Israel. Likewise, today’s anti-Americanism among “post-national, post-Christian” Europeans and Islamists influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in the 1920s and by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, hate the “Crusader” West, especially the United States, is a reaction to what America is – the biggest obstacle to their expanded influence.

• November 5, 2009 – 9:49 AM


Caller: Mary from Long Beach, California (frequent anti-Israel caller)

Caller: “Yes. Hi. Thank you for taking my call. First, I want to thank the 33 members of Congress who are bold enough to vote to oppose HR 867 because they read the bill and they put human rights before their career. Since AIPAC has such a stranglehold on our Congress – and, you know, HR 867 which has not been covered on C- SPAN – is a bill that has to do with the Goldstone report to investigate the crimes committed by Israelis against Gaza. So, you know, they have such a stranglehold on our Congress and you only get in these high positions that these two gentlemen were on – the Armed Forces Committee – if you abide by them. I’ m a Republican but I agree with Representative Massa about what’s going on in Afghanistan.”

Host: “Thank you, Mary.”

NOTE: This caller violates the 30-day rule again, having called in on October 12 (as Deloris from Houston, Texas) as well as on November 5 (as Mary from Long Beach, California). Not a word from the host questioning the propagandistic canards repeated every time by this frequent caller.

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