The evils of Al Jazeera

Israel must act swiftly to end the network’s broadcasts from Israel and the territories.

Published in The Jerusalem Post, February 16, 2024; and Israel Hayom, February 18, 2024. Print-friendly copy

The Qatar-based Al Jazeera television network is an evil empire. It glorifies Hamas, including its “heroic” massacres of October 7 and ongoing “resistance” against Israel, and all forms of Iranian proxy terrorism against Israel. It aids Hamas by reporting on IDF troop movements in Gaza and on IDF forces concentrated along the Gaza border. It is actively drumming-up Ramadan terrorism against Israelis too.

There are ways of blocking Al Jazeera’s broadcasts from Israel and the territories and its reception in Israel and the territories, but Israel needs to gum-up the gumption to do so despite Qatar’s protected status as a mediator between Israel and Hamas in the hostage matter.

Cutting Al Jazeera down to size on the international scene is long overdue too. The network hosts the most virile antisemitic, radical Islamic preachers who poison the minds of millions against Israel and the West.

CLOSING DOWN Al Jazeera’s operations in Israel by stripping its reporters of their press credentials has been on the agenda ever since then-Communications Minister Ayoob Kara raised the matter in 2017, after Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the UAE took steps to shutter Al Jazeera offices and block its websites.

(These countries are targets for Al Jazeera’s poisons because they are not in the pro-Iranian or radical Islamic camps. Al Jazeera supported Osama Bin Laden’s calls to overthrow the monarchy in Saudi Arabia, the Moslem Brotherhood overthrow of President Mubak in Egypt, the Houthi rebellion in Yemen, al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra’s campaign against President Assad in Syria, and more.)

The current Communications Minister Shlomo Karchi has made ending Al Jazeera’s incitement to terrorism a key goal from his first day in office. He worked hard to get Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, the General Security Services, the Mossad, and the ministries of justice and defense to sign on.

This week, the full Israeli cabinet actually voted in favor of regulations that would ban the “operations of a foreign broadcasting operation that harms the security of the state,” and certainly for the duration of the current war (– in which, again, Al Jazeera has broadcast sensitive information about IDF operations to Israel’s enemies, alongside its usual fare of agitation to violence).

The ban could and should be extended also to the Qatari-owned Al-Araby station and the Hezbollah-operated Al-Mayadeen outlet too.

But the security cabinet and inner war cabinet have not yet decided to carry-out the shutdown of Al Jazeera, even though all necessary security and legal consultations have been properly completed and the government voted in favor. Upsetting the key backer of Hamas, and the owner and funder of Al Jazeera – Sheikh Tamim ibn Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar – is apparently “problematic” when Israel is (mistakenly in my view) relying on the emir to deliver a hostage release deal.

YIGAL CARMON, the former counter-terrorism advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin, and founder of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), long has warned that Al Jazeera and Al-Araby are “Goebbels-like channels that function as megaphones for Iran’s and Hamas’s military, operational, and propaganda messages. Their impact on both the ideological and operational levels is enormous.”

In 2020, Carmon’s research center published an unassailable, massive study (with an index of over 700 video clips) that proves Al Jazeera’s evils over two decades of reporting on so many levels, showing it to be a strategic threat to the stability of the Middle East and in particular to Western interests. Al Jazeera was shown to be a platform for global jihad, for antisemitism and Holocaust denial, and for naked support of anti-Israel terrorism.

MEMRI also has tracked and exposed the reporting of Al Jazeera from both sides of the Gaza border in the current conflict, reporting which both endangers IDF forces and celebrates Hamas’ mega-terror attack.

On October 7, the day of the Hamas massacre, the Al Jazeera presenter Tamer Almisshal celebrated the events, writing: “Gaza manufactures victory and honor for its homeland and nation.” Al Jazeera anchor Ahmad Mansour circulated a video showing Hamas terrorists dragging two Israeli soldiers on the ground, and stated: “This historic picture is worth as much as the hundreds of billions of dollars that the world’s Zionists have invested in Israel in the last decades.”

In post in response to President Joe Biden’s comment that Hamas “does not represent the aspirations of the Palestinian people,” Al Jazeera presenter Ghada Oueiss wrote: “Seriously? Has brother [Biden] polled our opinion on this?”

Last month, the IDF revealed that two Al Jazeera “journalists” killed by the IDF in Gaza were members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. This week, Al Jazeera reporter Ismail Abu Omar who was wounded in an Israeli airstrike near Rafah, also was exposed as a Hamas commander – a deputy company commander in Hamas’s East Khan Younis Battalion. He even infiltrated into Israel from Gaza on October 7 and filmed from inside Kibbutz Nir Oz during Hamas’s onslaught. Another reporter named Muhammed Wishah was discovered to be, according to the IDF, “an Al Jazeera journalist by day, and a Hamas terrorist (in an anti-tank unit) by night.”

WHICH BRINGS us back to Israeli policy. Action against Al Jazeera is urgent because of the approaching Ramadan, which always serves as an excuse/opportunity for ramped-up terrorist activity against Israeli Jews in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and central Israel. Hamas is openly calling upon Palestinians in these areas to join its “Al Aqsa Flood” assault on Israel through terrorism, and Al Jazeera is echoing and amplifying this message.

Proponents of “free speech” and shills for the Palestinians argue that barring Al Jazeera journalists from operating in Israel is a slippery slope towards dictatorship (as if dictatorship in Gaza or Qatar ever bothered them), and that anyway such a move will be ineffective since Al Jazeera will continue to broadcast freely from Gaza.

Which is exactly why Israel should go further, by blocking internet access in Gaza, and hacking into and taking down Al Jazeera websites everywhere it can – at least freezing access to Al Jazeera Arabic sites in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza.

Yes, I know that Al Jazeera broadcasts its news programs into Palestinian homes over satellite and not only the internet, but I have to believe that the “Start-Up Nation,” super-hi-tech wizard Israel, knows how to jam satellite reception of Al Jazeera as well.

A determined Israeli takedown of Al Jazeera also should serve as a clarion call to leaders in Washington and elsewhere to finally act decisively in their domiciles against the dangerous network. If anti-terrorist and police forces in the US, Canada, and Europe were to look closely, I bet they would find that Al Jazeera is fanning flames of the hateful, aggressive anti-Israel and anti-Western demonstrations that are mushrooming in their major cities.

And all those in Israel and the West who dream of a “revitalized” Palestinian Authority forming a peaceful state alongside Israel one day into the distant future, surely must understand that acting now to curb the insidious influence of Al Jazeera, which genocidal towards Israel and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority alike, is imperative.

David M. Weinberg is a think tank director, columnist and lobbyist who is a sharp critic of Israel’s detractors and of post-Zionist trends in Israel. Read more »
A passionate speaker, David M. Weinberg lectures widely in Israel, the U.S. and Canada to Jewish and non-Jewish audiences. He speaks on international politics and Middle East strategic affairs, Israeli diplomacy and defense strategy, intelligence matters and more. Click here to book David Weinberg as a speaker

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