National Public Radio Promotes Palestinian “Right of Return”

In yet another case of its promoting extreme anti-Israel views, America’s most influential public radio network gave a platform to Allegra Pacheco on Weekend Edition Sunday (October 29). In an uninterrupted monologue, Pacheco denounced Israel as an apartheid, Jim Crow nation because it contemplates a separation plan that would establish firm, rather than porous borders between itself and the Palestinians. Pacheco excoriated Israel for policies that are routine in virtually every country in the world.

NPR host Liane Hansen deceptively introduced Pacheco as simply a defender of Palestinian human rights, failing to tell listeners that the guest actively campaigns for the dissolution of the Jewish state as it exists today and for the “right of return” into Israel for millions of Palestinians claiming to be refugees, or descendants of refugees, from the 1947-48 war. Nor did Hansen mention that Pacheco is published and quoted in one of the most virulently anti-Israel publications in America, the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. The magazine carries Holocaust-denial advertising and calls supporters of Israel “viruses,” “bacteria,” and “cancer.”

Pacheco denounces Israel because for:

the last seven years of the Oslo process, 99 percent of all three million Palestinians living under Israeli military rule have been effectively segregated from Israelis and Jewish settlers.

Apart from the factual error in this statement – hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have worked and traveled in Israel in the last seven years – Pacheco’s demands are outrageous. She calls for Palestinians to have unfettered, free access to Israel, even though every other nation controls the passage of people and goods across its borders, monitoring and usually limiting access for security as well as economic reasons. Some nations negotiate more relaxed arrangements for each others’ citizens, such as the countries of the European Union, but this is more the exception than the rule in the world.

Israel had hoped to establish relatively open borders with the nascent Palestinian state that was being negotiated under the Oslo agreements. However, the recent violence and the calls in Palestinian media and mosques to kill Israelis have led Israel to think increasingly in terms of a more rigorous separation between Israel and Palestinian territories, separation of the type that prevails between most countries.

For its policies of border control, Pacheco labels Israel an apartheid state, compares its steps toward separation to Jim Crow laws, and even invokes against Israel the American Supreme Court rejection of old segregationist separate-but-equal policies, as though Israel were directing its separation plans toward some group of its own citizens rather than the citizens of a neighboring, and apparently hostile, sovereignty.

• Pacheco heatedly deplores “closures” by Israel that prevent Palestinian Arabs from moving freely into Israel, but makes no reference at all to the terrorist attacks and other violence by Palestinians that prompt the action.

• Pacheco is against a two-state plan, such as that which underlies Oslo and which, in 1947, was the solution endorsed by the U.N. She believes there ought not be two states, and more particularly she believes a Jewish state ought not to exist. In a speech to a September “right of return” rally in Washington DC she declared: “I have come here today with another, broader message for all of us. I am here to say that there is a solution to the refugee issue. And it isn’t Oslo. And it isn’t an international fund or family reunification of 50,000 out of five million refugees. And it isn’t return to today’s ghetto of Gaza or to a West Bank bantustan. The solution is Awda, complete and unrestricted return to Palestine, all of it, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea… My friends, I am talking about the call for the establishment of a democratic secular republic in all of historical Palestine…”

• Inclusion of speakers as extreme and one-sided as Pacheco is journalistically defensible only if there is balance provided by another speaker or if the program host challenges the assertions made. But there was no other speaker in the October 29 segment and no objections were raised.

Such severely biased and politically extreme programming is commonplace on National Public Radio even though Federal Statute requires tax dollars be dispensed by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) only to networks providing “strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature.” NPR receives tax support both directly from CPB and indirectly via grants given to local affiliate stations which, in turn, purchase NPR programs such as “Weekend Edition Sunday,” “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”


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