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Pressure & Censorship

Al-Jazeera and the Truth

Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.

Charley Reese
AntiWar.com
November 18, 2006

Al-Jazeera, the Arab television network that the Bush administration hates so passionately, has launched its English-language service but is, of course, having trouble finding an American cable or satellite system willing to carry it.

The British Broadcasting Corp. had a man watch the first day's broadcast (it's being distributed in Europe) and gave it a rave review: accurate, but grim.

Since American politicians have involved us so deeply in the Middle East, the American public is entitled to see the truth of what's going on over there. The public can't get that from American television, which sanitizes its reports. Al-Jazeera shows you the grim reality. When the Israelis kill children, they show you the bodies and the weeping mothers. They show you all the ugly truth about Israeli and American policies and actions in the Middle East. They show you what war looks like.

So you don't need an electronic bug in the offices of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee to know that AIPAC and the Bush administration are putting pressure on the distributors to shun al-Jazeera. Denying Americans their First Amendment right to the truth, in regard to Israel, is always Job One with AIPAC. That is necessary because the truth about Israel's actions toward the Palestinians and other Arab countries puts the lie to all of the Zionist propaganda.

Even before the recent massacre of an extended family asleep in its home by Israeli tank fire, the Israelis had killed 57 unarmed children in their current Gaza attacks. That number comes from Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper that publishes an English-language edition on the Internet. I heartily recommend it, because Israeli newspapers, unlike American newspapers, are not afraid to criticize the Israeli government.

Israel is, after all, a country like any other, and its population consists of decent people and indecent people, as does the population of every other country in the world. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is the core problem in the Middle East. It drives everything else, and until that problem is resolved in a just manner, there will be no peace or stability in that region.

Recently, the U.S. again vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the murder of the extended family, using the same worn-out excuse that it was unbalanced. OK, the resolution could have said it condemned the sporadic firing of homemade rockets, which have killed one person in recent weeks, and the deaths of 18 innocent people, the latest of more than 150 who have been killed by the Israeli army. Even if it had said that, we still would have vetoed it. The Israelis – who, by the way, have the most high-tech military equipment in the region – said the deaths were a mistake. Yes, the death rate of Palestinians due to Israeli mistakes is very, very high.

The rest of the world is getting sick of watching us kowtow to the Israeli government. The U.S. is losing friends like a sycamore tree loses leaves in the cold blast of a November storm.

You should call your cable or satellite provider and request the English-language service of al-Jazeera. In addition to Haaretz, you should also check out the Angry Arab News Service, a Web site of an American college professor who isn't afraid of the truth.

I wish American politicians had never gotten us involved in the Middle East, but since they have, you deserve to know the naked truth of what's going on over there. Al-Jazeera will tell you. Fox News, whose employees act as if they are on Karl Rove's payroll, won't.

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