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February 10, 2006

No Challenge to Rami Khouri

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Rami G. Khouri (May 28, 2005) in Ramallah at Best Eastern Hotel

Rami Khouri, editor-at-large of Lebanon’s Daily Star (Beirut) and a frequent NPR guest for several years, behaves more like a polemicist than journalist when on-air. He rarely misses an opportunity to bash Israel and the U.S. Yet, his hosts and co-panelists continue to shy away from challenging the Jordanian-Palestinian despite his distortions and simplisms. For example:

WBUR/NPR’s Here and Now, 2/14/06 (commenting on the Hamas election victory):

The majority of Palestinians want to negotiate peace and co-exist with Israel.

This Khouri distortion ignored the fact that the Hamas victory is consistent with what we have been seeing in a number of Palestinian opinion polls in recent years. Majorities have repeatedly indicated their support for violence while a marginal majority supports peaceful coexistence with Israel in their own independent state only when all their demands have been met. For example, the Boston Globe, 1/17/06, reported that according to the polling of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research: “86 percent [of Palestinians] said armed struggle brought Palestinians their greatest recent gains in the conflict.” USA Today, 9/29/04, reported: “One poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research and Hebrew University in June, found that 69% of Palestinians believe armed attacks against Israelis have helped achieve their national goals. Fifty-nine percent said they support suicide bombings in Israel.”

NPR’s Talk of the Nation, 2/9/06:

The question is what the Palestinians want not what Hamas wants. Israel has responsibility also – no occupation, no settlements, no assassinations. The reason for the conflict is failure to deal with the Palestinian refugee problem.

This is yet another example of Khouri’s disengenuousness. It is counter-intuitive to assume there is a dichotomy between Hamas and the majority of Palestinians. As to occupation, recall that the Oslo process led to a nearly complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank but this had to be reversed as a result of the enormous ratcheting up of terrorism by the Palestinians upon Israelis. Targeted assassinations were carried out as preventive measures upon organizers of the terror activities and perpetrators about to carry out murders of Israeli civilians.

Khouri’s reason for the conflict ignores reality. First, the Palestinians have several intractable requirements including control of Jerusalem as well as their solution to the Palestinian refugee issue which would lead to a population engulfment of Israel causing the demise of Israel as a Jewish State.

WBUR/NPR’s On Point, 1/6/06:

Peace can only come if there is a stop to the occupying and assassinating. Sharon’s policies shattered the peace process.

The public is not informed by Khouri’s attempt to demonize a particular Israeli leader who represents the majority of Israelis. As recent history shows, protecting the Israeli population from large scale terrorism is the sole reason for targeted assassinations and the presence of Israeli troops in the West Bank. When Palestinian terrorism is no longer a problem, these policies will change.

WBUR/NPR’s The Connection, 5/14/03:

In May 2003, shortly after bombings killed and wounded scores of Saudis and foreigners in Saudi Arabia, Khouri claimed that there was a linkage between the bombings (attributed to Al-Qaeda by Saudi and U.S. officials) and Israeli policies. Khouri claimed there is a “linear process” that leads “ordinary people” to become terrorists when they are “angry” and “humiliated.” The host failed to challenge Khouri by asking why the millions of other angry, humiliated people around the globe have not turned to terrorism.

Additional articles discussing Khouri can be found on the CAMERA Web site.

Posted by MK at February 10, 2006 05:15 PM

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