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August 03, 2013

CNN’s Zakaria Predictably Promotes Palestinian Journalist’s Propaganda

Fareed Zakaria and Daoud Kuttab

Palestinian Journalist Daoud Kuttab, who uses reasonable sounding language to promote an erroneous Palestinian line (see, e.g., here and here), appeared on the July 28, 2013 edition of CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS�? to discuss the latest negotiations between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs. Zakaria, who had interviewed Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States earlier in the program, enabled Kuttab's anti-Israel propaganda as he has done previously (see, e.g, here and here).

At the outset, Kuttab, replying to Zakaria, opined that the factors prompting the Palestinian Authority to participate in a new round of negotiations with the Israelis were mainly the persistence of Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama – but also the fact that the European Union declared the “settlements not part of Israel.�? But the E.U. anti-settlement position is political rather than legal since international law supports the legitimacy of settlements, anti-Israeli propaganda and the latest European Union sanctions against them notwithstanding.

Characteristically, Zakaria prompts but does not scrutinize any of Kuttab’s questionable assertions, including:

KUTTAB: The Palestinian citizens of Israel are not Jewish and so by declaring Israel a Jewish state, I think it's a slap to fellow Palestinians who are living in Nazareth or in Haifa or in the Negev. So, it's an emotional issue and actually – the feeling is that it would add to the discrimination against citizens of Israel who are not Jewish.


The Jewish people are respected by the Palestinians, by the Islamic faith. There's no problem with the Jewish people. The question is whether the state of Israel is a state for its citizens or a particular religious group and I think this is where the problem is.


The [Palestinian Arab] right of return, I think, has to be divided into two parts. The recognition that there is a historical and moral right for Palestinians to return and Israel needs to accept responsibility for the creation of the refugee problem.


ZAKARIA: What about the question of Hamas? Here you have still Hamas ruling the Gaza Strip. They do not recognize Israel's right to exist … Isn't that a problem?

KUTTAB: I don't believe the Hamas issue is a problem. Hamas has already agreed with the PLO that the PLO should represent the Palestinians in negotiations. They've also agreed with the PLO that there should be some kind of a referendum where all Palestinians vote on the package deal that will be agreed upon between Israel and the PLO…. On the Hamas side, they might say a few things against it, but at the end of the day most Palestinians, by polls, have shown that they are in support of a two-state solution.

Refuting Kuttab’s distortions and falsehoods:

• The assertion that Israel's insistence on declaring itself as a Jewish state is a "slap to Palestinians living in Nazareth or in Haifa or in the Negev" is ironic on at least two levels. First, there are dozens of countries in the world that have declared themselves Islamic states despite the presence of sizable non-Muslim minorities. Christians in Egypt or Iraq for example, who have been fleeing their ancient homelands, might envy the rights and opportunities accorded to Arabs in Israel. It is also ironic that Kuttab, himself a professed Christian, is a proponent of the creation of a state whose 2003 draft constitution, declares "Islam is the official religion of Palestine" and that "Shari'a shall be the main source of legislation." It seems likely that Kuttab’s complaints about Israel's status as a Jewish state is not rooted in human rights, but opposition to Jewish sovereignty. It should be noted also that Kuttab is semantically conscripting Israeli Arabs as "Palestinians." There appears to be little or no sentiment among Israeli Arabs to divest themselves of Israeli citizenship and relocate to a West Bank and Gaza Strip "Palestine," if one is established.

• The assertion, “The Jewish people are respected by the Palestinians, by the Islamic faith...,�? is dubious. For example, in the face of archeological and historical evidence to the contrary, plus biblical references, Palestinian Arabs often deny the Jewish connection to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, or in fact, to the land of Israel at all. Furthermore, hatred of Jews is fueled by a steady stream of antisemitic, anti-Israel incitement from Palestinian media, mosques and schools in violation of Article 26 (2) of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as in violation of Israeli-Palestinian agreements. Article 26 (2) implicitly condemns incitement to hatred/violence against other ethnic/religious groups in textbooks but Palestinian textbooks inculcate such hostility against Jews and Israel. The U.N. Commission on Human Rights resolution 2003/37 (No. 4) "Condemns incitement of ethnic hatred, violence and terrorism." Regardless, the P.A. continues its hate-indoctrination. And, in general, Jews (and Christians) as "dhimmis" are second-class people under Islamic law, tolerated as "people of the Book" so long as they accept their subordinate status to Muslims.

• The assertion of the Palestinian refugees' “right of return�? is an Orwellian inversion of reality. The Arab states that rejected the U.N.'s 1947 partition plan and the five Arab armies plus Palestinian "irregulars" who invaded Israeli in 1948 bear primary responsibility for creating the Arab refugee problem. The Arab states and Palestinian leadership that prevented resettlement and compensation for those refugees perpetuated the problem. As for an Arab "right of return to what become Israel," no such "right" exists – which is one reason all Arab countries at the United Nations voted against General Assembly Resolution 194 in 1948, against resolutions 393 and 394 in 1950, and 513 in 1952. These called for either peaceful return when practicable or compensation, resettlement of the refugees in the neighboring Arab countries and their integration into the local societies and economies. The comprehensive CAMERA article, Palestinian Arab and Jewish Refugees, describes the fate of refugees in the wake of Israel's War of Independence in 1948.

• The claim about Hamas (“I don't believe the Hamas issue is a problem ...�?), in connection with genuine support of a two-state solution, is contradicted by reality. Hamas’ existence is based on hatred of Jews, Christians and Israel. The Hamas charter includes the following wording: “They [Jews and Christians] incurred upon themselves Allah's wrath, and wretchedness is their lot, because they denied Allah's signs and wrongfully killed the prophets, and because they disobeyed and transgressed." (Koran, 3:110-112). "Israel will exist, and will continue to exist, until Islam abolishes it, as it abolished that which was before it. [From the words of] The martyr, Imam Hasan al-Banna', Allah's mercy be upon him." Hasan al-Banna' founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 1928 to restore the Sunni Muslim caliphate abolished by the newly-secularized Turkey and to "purify" Egypt of Western – especially British and American – influences. Al-Banna' was anti-Christian and anti-Jewish as part of his general hostility to Europe and North America, hostilities Hamas perpetuates. Zakaria's failure to press Kuttab on any of this is glaring.

Posted by MK at August 3, 2013 12:52 PM


Journalists today are always going to toady to their sources. Insult the preferred Arab narrative and you don't get invited back to their homes; your life may even be at risk if you visit the Middle East outside of Israel. And the Middle East outside of Israel is a very big place. A reporter severely limits his career prospects - and maybe the success of his employer - by taking a pro-Israel stand. If they have moral problems with that they find justifications, even facetious ones, for their behavior.

The best approach may be to teach people that it's unreasonable to expect large news organizations to act fairly towards Israel for these reasons.

Posted by: Solomon2 at August 4, 2013 04:10 PM

OREN: ...... unlike Great Britain that has a national church, we don't have an official religion.

Posted by: M McL at August 22, 2013 10:34 AM

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