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Friday, February 13, 2004

NPR'S ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS

by Daniel Doron, Jerusalem Post
... IT IS to undermine this moral status of Israel, indeed its very legitimacy, that its enemies in America are striving. Leading the onslaught is National Public Radio, the BBC's ideological partner.

For a decade, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) has been meticulously documenting its charge of "false and inflammatory reporting on Israel" by NPR. CAMERA has exposed many instances of bias, fabrications, and lies employed by NPR and its correspondents.

A recent example of NPR's bias is its seven-part report on the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict "The Mideast: A Century of Conflict." This report pretends to represent a pluralistic viewpoint, a narrative woven around the views of experts. But these "experts" are anything but impartial. They were carefully selected and deployed to back up NPR's biased narrative. They include eight harsh critics of Israel – four Arab radicals, such as the late Edward Said and an unofficial spokesperson of the PLO (a fact NPR hides) Phillip Mattar, plus four extreme left-wing Israelis who want to see Israel denuded of its Jewish nature.

To create an appearance of even-handedness, the panel also includes one American, a former pro-Arab official from the State Department , and three Jews sympathetic to Israel. The researcher and moderator of the series is Mike Shuster, known for his anti-Israel reporting.

The experts' views are cleverly manipulated to fit NPR's historical viewpoint that reflects the Arab propaganda line.

Zionism is condemned as a mere by-product of European imperialist nationalism. NPR takes great pains to establish this false claim by asserting that the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, was an utterly secular Jew disinterested in Judaism and in its abiding and deep historical roots in the Holy Land. This despite many explicit statements by Herzl to the contrary, especially after he had evolved from an assimilationist to a nationalist and a man of faith.

NPR insinuates that Zionism lacked any valid historical claim to the Holy Land. It portrays the Zionist settlement effort as an imperialist-sponsored land grab that violated its native population's basic rights. NPR hides the fact that the Balfour Declaration guaranteed precisely such rights.

The program also hides the fact that not only the Jewish national home was sanctioned by the League of Nations but that every Arab state came into being the same way... As usual, NPR omits and twists facts to build a case against Israel's legitimacy and to promote the position of the Palestinians.
The writer is president of The Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress, an independent pro-market policy think tank.