WASHINGTON DC — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) expresses deep concerned by the alarming hostility expressed by media commentators towards the Palestinian people in the wake of the death of Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat.
These comments, with exceptions, contain a surprising array of dehumanizing and overtly racist comments against the Palestinian people. Comments such as the ones listed below can only be regarded as an incitement to ethnic hatred of the Palestinians. Surely the denigration of an ethnic group, a people who have been living under an ongoing 37-year Israeli military occupation, constitutes a violation of any system of journalistic standards.
For good reason US media commentators have expressed deep concern at the negative effects of hateful rhetoric directed against the United States in some elements of the Arab press. But we must also be keenly aware of the damaging and irrational rhetoric against Arabs, Islam, and in particular Palestinians expressed by commentators in the US media.
We should be seeking and working towards a just and lasting peace for the Israelis and the Palestinians instead of engaging in hateful rhetoric which dehumanizes a people and affects perception of television viewers. We call on all members of the media to be objective in their reporting and commentary.
An outrageous and repeat offender of what can only be described as hate speech, is “Imus in the Morning,” shown weekends on MSNBC. During the funeral proceedings in Ramallah, the show host Don Imus, described Arafat as “stinky,” a “rat,” with “beady eyes.” He also added statements claiming that “all Palestinians look like him.” Additionally, one guest described the crowds of Palestinians attending the funeral as “animals” and joked about their hygiene. ”They’re dropping soap from the helicopters,” the guest laughed.
Also on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough, host of “Scarborough Country,” began his program by declaring “Some are calling Yasser Arafat’s passing a tragedy. The ‘Real Deal?’ He’s actually the father of modern terrorism. Good riddance.” He later added, “This was, after all, the man who invented modern terrorism in the Middle East and by extension was the godfather of September 11.” Among the guests on the show was the Palestinian Authority Representative to the United States Hasan Abdul Rahman, who while attempting to express his view, was interrupted by shouts of “where’s the money?” by Scarborough in reference to international aid.
Such outwardly one-sided comments were also prevalent in many other news channels during coverage of the funeral. ”Plans call currently for Yasser Arafat to be buried in his compound in Ramallah, which will eventually be turned into some kind of shrine. Maybe they’ll put a sign out front for the Palestinian people, that read ‘here lies the body of the thief who robbed you blind,” said Jack Cafferty on CNN’s “American Morning.” It should be noted that Jack Cafferty has a history of making racist comments directed not only at Arabs, Muslims, Arab Americans, but also Asians.
1. ADC encourages you to contact the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at: http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/complain.html
Please note that the FCC website has been down but should be up and running soon, use the link above to express your concern.
2. Contact the above mentioned shows.
3. If you have seen similar hatred expressed in your local media and to also contact all national media outlets use ADC’s website, at: http://capwiz.com/adc/dbq/media
4. Please send copies of your correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org.