Role of the Media

The BBC and Israel's plan for a military strike on Iran

The Middle East, and possibly the world, stands on the brink of a terrible conflagration as Israel and the United States prepare to deal with Iran’s alleged ambition to acquire nuclear weapons. Israel, it becomes clearer by the day, wants to use its air force to deliver a knock-out blow against Tehran. It is not known whether it will use conventional weapons or a nuclear warhead in such a strike. At this potentially cataclysmic moment in global politics, it is good to see that one of the world’s leading broadcasters, the BBC, decided this week to air a documentary entitled “Will Israel bomb Iran?”. It is the question on everyone’s lips and doubtless, with the imprimatur of the BBC, the programme will sell around the world. 

Pro-Israeli editors seek to influence Al-Jazeera International English Satellite TV

When the Qatar-based pan-Arab Al-Jazeera Satellite Television announced two years ago plans to launch Al-Jazeera International (AJI), many people around the world hoped the new satellite channel would provide a genuine alternative to the notoriously biased western media, which often operates under Zionist influence. The new channel, the launching of which has been postponed several times, will provide both regional and global perspective to a potential audience of hundreds of millions of English speakers. AJI has already attracted a number of luminaries in the world of TV broadcasting. 

"The world just sat by": Interview with Dahr Jamail

Dahr Jamail is an award-winning, independent journalist who reported live from Baghdad for eight months in 2003. He is considered one of the best sources on the war in Iraq. Recently, he returned to to the Middle East, traveling to Syria. While in Damascus, the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah began. Jamail left immediately for Beirut and sent daily dispatches from his Iraq-dispatches website. Christopher Brown received the chance to speak to Jamail about what he saw during this 34-day conflict in the Middle East. 

Notes from northern Israel: In the line of media fire

Nazareth hit the international headlines for the first time in this vicious war being waged by Israel mostly on Lebanese civilians. Reporter Matthew Price, corsetted in a blue flak jacket in Haifa, told BBC viewers that for the first time Hizbullah had targetted Nazareth late on Sunday. “Nazareth is a mostly Christian town”, he added. Before the strike close to Nazareth late on Sunday night, several Arab villages in the north had been hit by Hizbullah rockets trying to reach these factories. The BBC saw the need to mention these attacks nor the fact that “mostly Muslim” villages had been hit. So why did the strike against Nazareth — and its mistaken Christian status — became part of the story for the BBC

Open Letter to the Capitol Steps

I have for years loved your clever musical routines. I first enjoyed you on NPR. My fiancé, shortly after we first began dating gave me a bunch of your CDs and actually took me to a New Year’s Eve performance in Rochester, NY, where I first saw you live. In more recent years, I have begun to wince whenever you refer to people of Middle Eastern origins, but since these slurs usually only appeared once in half hour radio shows, I let them slide. I left the theater that evening feeling deep grieved and angry. 

'TV on demand' all the rage in West Bank

The Abu Kmail family sat in their modest living room in the heart of Hebron city watching their favourite local TV station - their only pastime on a quiet evening, free of Israeli raids. The documentary being shown did not quite appeal to the taste of the two teenage sons, who wanted to watch an action movie instead. The father, municipal health inspector Awni Abu Kmail, quickly dialed a number and spoke briefly on the phone. Suddenly, the documentary was interrupted and an action movie began instead. 

Politics, Language and the Palestinians

After Hamas’ election victory, the organization’s exiled leader Khaled Meshal wrote an article that was printed in several western newspapers. EI contributor Saree Makdisi says “what was refreshing about Meshal’s piece was his use of a defiant language of struggle—one appropriate to their desperate circumstances—rather than the meaningless, empty, bankrupt language all but handed to current and previous Palestinian leaders by a team of American and Israeli script-writers.” Makdisi writes that whether one disagrees with Hamas or not, the article reminds us of the importance of redefining the Palestinian struggle and the language used to shape it. 

Alternative News Briefing

A booklet explaining key terms in Palestinian history from 1948 onwards is being distributed among Arab schoolchildren in Israel for the first time. “We are trying to break the stranglehold of the Education Ministry on the information given to our children, which is always presented from a Zionist perspective,” said Asad Ghanem, head of political science at Haifa University and one of several academics behind the initiative. Called “Belonging and Identity”, the booklet includes entries on 99 major personalities, places and landmarks in the Palestinian story, as well as explanations of the most important concepts employed in political debates about the region’s future. 

Help EI Make Intelligent Noise

For four years, The Electronic Intifada has, with your support, worked to bring light to this darkness through award-winning original investigative reporting, sound analysis and features. At a time when the mainstream media’s attention is increasingly dominated by repetition of cliches and conventional wisdom, EI remains committed to making intelligent noise. In 2005, the Electronic Intifada saw over two million visitor sessions and the original material we produce continues to be picked up and used by journalists, activists and educators all over the world. runs ad discouraging Jewish abortions as "only solution" to Arab population growth

In an incredible example of how acceptable even the most extreme manifestations of anti-Arab racism have become in Israel, the website of the leading English/Hebrew daily, Ha’aretz today ran a front page advertisement that warned: “If the Arab population in Israel will reach 40% the Jewish State will be nullified. For the only solution press here.” The link lead to the website of an Israeli group that campaigns against abortion and offers material and emotional support to pregnant mothers before and after their babies are born.