CNN Sanitizes Mahmoud Abbas’ Speech, Expunges Antisemitic Statements

CNN’s account of Mahmoud Abbas’ dramatic speech Sunday (Jan. 14) was a blatant whitewash, completely skipping over the Palestinian Authority President’s hateful and false statements about Jews as well as his call to arms. Among the Palestinian leader’s falsehoods was his denial of any connection between Judaism and the Holy Land, the assertion that Jews preferred to be murdered in the Holocaust rather than come to pre-state Israel, and the charge that Israel is sending drugs to Palestinian youth (“Abbas slams US, others in defiant speech,” Jan. 15).
As The New York Times, but not CNN, reported, the Palestinian leader said, referring to the State of Israel:

“This is a colonial enterprise that has nothing to do with Jewishness,” Mr. Abbas said. “The Jews were used as a tool under the concept of the promised land — call it whatever you want. Everything has been made up.”

The Times of Israel, but not CNN, reported (“Rewriting history, Abbas calls Israel a ‘colonial project’ unrelated to Judaism“) that Abbas stated:
“The Jews did not want to emigrate even with murder and slaughter. Even during the Holocaust, they did not emigrate. By 1948, Jews in Palestine were no more than 640,000, most of them from Europe,” he said.
In fact, from 1939 to 1945, the British mandatory authorities prevented almost all Jewish immigration to Palestine, at the behest of the Arab states.
Moreover, as the Associated Press reported, Abbas accused Israel of drugging Palestinian youth, a variation on an old antisemitic canard accusing Jews of poisoning non-Jewish children. This, too, CNN failed to report.
Covering Up Abbas’ Call to Arms
Also newsworthy, but omitted by the CNN piece, was what former U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro called Abbas’ “ardent defense of the payments made to Palestinian terrorists in prison [which] tells Israelis, Palestinians, and the U.S. Congress that he will not educate Palestinians to give up violence directed at civilians in their struggle for independence.”
Indeed, while ignoring Abbas’ defense of payment to Palestinian terrorists, CNN’s Andrew Carey and Abeer Salman maintained that Abbas “also said he advocated only ‘peaceful popular resistance.”
Though Abbas did say at one point in his long speech “I support only peaceful popular resistance,” he also explicitly contradicted himself, giving his clear blessing to the use of violence. Per MEMRI’s, Abbas stated:

We always and forever adhere to negotiations as the path to reach a political settlement with Israel. We don’t want war. We will not call for a military war with Israel. Whoever has [weapons] – go ahead and do it. I say this out in the open. If you have weapons, go ahead. I’m with you, and I will help you. Anyone who has weapons can go ahead. I don’t have weapons. I want the peaceful political path to reach a settlement. I see that there are only a few supporters of peace here. All the others are into war. The Americans are always telling us that we must stop paying salaries to the families of the martyrs and the prisoners. We categorically reject this demand. Under no circumstances will we allow the families of the martyrs, the wounded, and the prisoners to be harmed. These are our children, our families. We are proud of them, and we will pay them before we pay the living.

Nowhere do the CNN authors note Abbas’ urging “if you have weapons, go ahead. I’m with you, and I will help you.”
Towards the end of the article, Andrew Carey and Abeer Salman note that former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni branded “Abbas’ address an ‘extremist speech.'” Given that CNN cut out Abbas’ extremist statements regarding Israel and Jews, and his call for violence, readers would understandably have difficulty understanding Livni’s comment.
Double Standard: What’s Newsworthy?
CNN’s blatant omissions of anti-Jewish statements by the Palestinian president is all the more striking in light of CNN’s recent detailed report on the unflattering behavior and statements of the Israeli Prime Minister’s son (“Netanyahu’s son discusses gas deal, prostitutes in strip club recording“). By what news judgment or logic does CNN skip over the abhorrent anti-Jewish statements of the Palestinian President during an important official policy speech while at the same time opting to cover in great detail the secretly recorded abhorrent sexist remarks to friends by the Israeli Prime Minister’s inebriated son?

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