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Journalist or Arab Propagandist?

8 Jun

bari-atwanMedia monitors have long decried how some Western “journalists” sound more like political activists working for the al-Qaeda PR department.

Take the case of Abdul Bari Atwan, a popular foreign affairs analyst who seems quite moderate when appearing on BBC and CNN. Yet in his day job as editor of the Arabic daily, Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Bari Atwan reveals a decidedly different slant. When a Palestinian terrorist killed eight teenagers in a Jerusalem school, Bari Atwan called the attack “justified” and described the celebrations in Gaza that followed the massacre as symbolizing the “courage of the Palestinian nation.”[1]

When presented with this information, Adrian Wells, head of foreign news at Sky-TV where Bari Atwan is a frequent analyst, said dryly: “It is not our policy to comment on what contributors may or may not say on other channels.” A BBC spokesman similarly brushed off Bari Atwan’s anti-Israel oratory by saying that “BBC is required to explore a range of views, so that no significant strand of thought is knowingly unreflected or underrepresented.”[2]

It is impossible to imagine BBC being so cavalier had the shoe been on the other foot – if one of its Jewish correspondents had come out in favor of massacring Palestinians.

Bari Atwan was at it again last week, coming out in favor of Palestinians abducting Israeli soldiers.[3]

Meanwhile, Bari Atwan continues to be a guest commentator for the mainstream Western media, where his anti-Israel and anti-Western ideology gains a “legitimate” platform.

This is the same Bari Atwan who was welcomed by Osama Bin Laden into his secret Afghanistan cave for an exclusive interview.[4]

The same Bari Atwan who was paid thousands of dollars every month by Libya’s Gaddafi.[5]

The same Bari Atwan who expressed the hope that Palestinian violence would “mark the countdown to Israel’s destruction.”[6]

On the Iranian nuclear issue, Bari Atwan told a Lebanese TV station: “If the Iranian missiles strike Israel, by Allah, I will go to [London’s] Trafalgar Square and dance with delight.”[7]

Now in June 2013, Bari Atwan has stooped to a new low. Questioned on Egyptian TV whether he considers Osama bin Laden a “terrorist, Bari Atwan replied:

“Whoever fights the American enterprise in this region… is not considered a terrorist by me.”[8]

Keep this all in mind the next time you see Bari Atwan offering one of his “expert commentaries” in the mainstream Western media.


[1] Jonny Paul, “London Arabic Daily Editor: Mercaz Harav Attack was ‘Justified,’” Jerusalem Post, March 16, 2008.

[2] Jonny Paul, “London Editor Prays for Nuclear Attack on Israel,” Jerusalem Post, August 28, 2007; Tom Gross, “BBC and Sky News Analyst Praises Jerusalem Yeshiva Massacre,” Tomgrossmedia.com, March 20, 2008.

[3] “Abbas and the New Betrayal: ‘economic Peace’,” bariatwan.com.

[4] Abdul Bari Atwan, “Inside Osama’s Mountain Lair,” The Guardian (UK), November 12, 2001.

[5] “Secret Documents from Libyan Intelligence Reveal Abdel Bari Atwan Received Money from Gaddafi,” Palestine Press News Agency, September 15, 2011.

[6] Paul, “London Arabic Daily Editor: Mercaz Harav Attack was ‘Justified.’”

[7] ANB-TV (Lebanon), June 27, 2007; cited in “Abd Al-Bari Atwan, Editor-in-Chief of Al-Quds Al-Arabi: If Iranian Missiles Hit Israel, I Will Dance in Trafalgar Square,” Memritv.org.

[8] “Abd Al-Bari Atwan: Bin Laden Was Only Half a Terrorist,” Memritv.org, June 6, 2013.

Hispanic Journalists in Jerusalem

18 Jan

Had an incredible evening in Jerusalem with a group of America’s leading Hispanic journalists, including Ruben Navarette, commentator for CNN, USA Today, NPR, and nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group; Ruben Keoseyan, Executive Editor of La Opinion in Los Angeles, the largest Spanish newspaper in the U.S. with a circulation higher than most major American dailies; and other print and broadcast journalists.

We talked about the roots of media bias in the Israeli-Arab conflict, and about how Israel’s unique immigrant-based culture provides lessons for the American-Hispanic community, which now numbers 50 million (comprising, for example, one-third the population of Texas and California) and accounting for 25% of Americans under age 10.

The group was visiting as part of the “American Voices in Israel” program.