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February 03, 2008

New York's UpClose - Far From Balanced About Israel

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Bassam Aramin, Yonatan Shapira, Diana Williams

Viewers of the January 20 WABC (channel 7) UpClose Sunday weekly talk show (11AM - 11:30) - seen in New Jersey and Connecticut as well as New York – were subjected to a severely one-sided castigation of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians. Hosted by Diana Williams, the guests were Yonatan Shapira (former Israeli air force captain) and Bassam Aramin (former Fatah fighter) touring the U.S. on behalf of their group, “Combatants for Peace.”

Dog and pony show lacked scrutiny of controversial, questionable views:

Williams intoned, “Snapshots of life in a land torn apart by violence,” as lead-in video clips showed suffering on both sides. Williams said, “They (the Israeli military) credit the series of checkpoints in the West Bank (for reducing the number of suicide bombings).” However, this statement is countered by an “Arab professor” (Mustafah Barghouti), described as a “moderate Palestinian,” who says, "The checkpoints serve only one purpose, which is collective punishment.” The host fails to mention Barghouti’s role as a well-known Palestinian spokesman and propagandist.

Failing to provide an Israeli mainstream perspective, the program equated the violence to both sides, describing the conflict as a “circle of revenge” and omitting discussion of Islamic fanaticism while blaming the conflict mostly on settlements and occupation. Ignoring the Hamas - and other terrorists - aim to destroy Israel, Shapira answered the question - “What was the turning point for you?” - by describing the bombing by a fellow pilot of a Hamas leader’s home causing several collateral casualties.

Shapira's outrageous metaphor associates him with those Israelis having fringe views:

Shapira, urging “tough love” by the U.S., likens Israel to “your child [who is] drunk”: “You’re not going to give him the keys [to the car].”

A rush to judgement against Israel:

Introducing Bassam Aramin, Williams said he “lost his ten-year old daughter, Abir, who was shot by an Israeli soldier.” But Williams failed to mention that there is no official verdict in this case in the 2007 death. Pathologists at the Israeli Forensic Institute said the child’s autopsy was inconclusive but ruled out rubber bullets (as claimed by Bassam), saying the child was killed either by an (Israeli) stun grenade or by a (Palestinian) rock during an attack on Israeli soldiers.

UpClose is urged to balance this one-sided broadcast with a program that addresses such matters as: The non-existence of Palestinians speaking out against daily rocket attacks from Gaza upon Israeli civilians; The on-going incitement to violence against Jews in the Palestinian media, mosques and schools.

Posted by MK at February 3, 2008 11:08 AM

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