Al Jazeera’s Israeli fan club

by Michael Petrou

Gideon Levy, a prominent journalist at the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, has been criticized and praised in his home country for writing a column in which he describes Al Jazeera English’s correspondent in Gaza, Ayman Mohyeldin, as his “war hero.”

“Whoever recoils from the grotesque coverage by Channel 2′s Roni Daniel is invited to tune in to this wise and considered broadcaster,” Levy writes in a column this week. “Whoever recoils from our heroic tales, bias, whitewashed words, Rorschach images of bombing, IDF Spokesman-distributed photographs, propagandists’ excuses, self-satisfied generals and half-truths is invited to tune in. Whoever wants to know what is really happening, not only of a postponed wedding in Sderot and a cat forgotten in Ashkelon. Watching is sometimes hard, bloodcurdlingly hard, but reality is no less hard right now.”

Readers can judge the quality of Mohyeldin’s reportage themselves by watching his clips on You Tube or on Al Jazeera’s English website. I personally find him much more credible than some of their other correspondents – Avi Lewis comes to mind. But you won’t be able to watch anyone from Al Jazeera on Canadian television. The thought police at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission have ruled that any cable or satellite company that broadcasts Al Jazeera must prevent the broadcast of any “abusive comment.” No company can afford the time, or the risk, this task would require, so none is carrying the channel.

This raises an interesting and obvious question: If Al Jazeera is widely available, and watched, in Israel, if a writer at Israel’s most important newspaper can praise Al Jazeera while Israel is at war with an Arab Islamist movement, why have lobby groups such as the Canadian Jewish Congress and B’nai Brith sought to prevent its distribution in Canada? And why do Canadians accept that the bureaucrats at the CRTC should decide how much abusive commentary we can handle?   




Browse

Al Jazeera’s Israeli fan club

  1. And why do Canadians accept that the bureaucrats at the CRTC should decide how much abusive commentary we can handle?

    What makes you think they do?

    Maybe if Macleans had been vocal at the time the decision was brought down regarding Al-Jazeera, there might have been more public discussion about this. But as I recall at the time, the mag seemed more interested in publishing the hectoring rants of Mark Steyn.

    I personally don’t care, since I don’t watch television news. It is the worst medium for transmitting complex information accurately.

  2. Israel has a much more diverse coverage and commentary on Israel than is seen in either Canadian or US media. We certainly don’t see any coverage like Haaretz in Canada. With the web, no interested person has to be cut off from such commentary.

    I don’t watch television, but I support freedom of speech and don’t think CRTC should be trying to maintain a certain viewpoint on any issue. What do the detractors, such as CJC, specifically argue?

  3. I’ve got another question.

    Why ban Al Jazeera when we have protesters here in Canada chanting “Palestine belongs to us and the Jews are our dogs” or “Jewish child, you are gonna f*ckin die” and the police are out in mass protecting the anti-semites who are chanting things that go well and beyond anything Steyn or Levant have written.

    • You really need to get some perspective.

      • What ‘perspective’ would that be?

        • You’re establishing equivalences between events that are not on the same scale. Some nobody caught on video saying something intemperate/vile is in no way comparable to public figures appearing in the mass media before large audiences to vilify entire groups of people.

          It’s really not that difficult a principle to grasp and ignoring it is what makes these discussions irritating and dreary and just encourages tit for tat.:

          “But hatred was plentiful at the rally Paterson addressed. Right in front of the stage, a man held a banner reading, “Islam Is A Death Cult.” Rally attendees described the people of Gaza to me as a “cancer,” called for Israel to “wipe them all out,” insisting, “They are forcing us to kill their children in order to defend our own children.” A young woman told me, “Those who die are suffering God’s wrath.” “They are not distinguishing between civilians and military, so why should we?” said a member of the group of messianic Orthodox Jewish Chabad-Lubavitch group that flocked to the rally.”

          • Since we are talking about Canada, not sure what protests in US have to do with anything.

            In ‘tolerant’ Canada, we know see that:

            Chant “Palestine belongs to us and the Jews are our dogs” and you get police protection.

            Write about Islam and its more extreme elements and the State charges you with hate crimes.

    • Are you suggesting we should allow Al Jazeera, or that we should ban the protests, or that we should restrict the speech of protesters?

      • I am for free speech, don’t want to ban anything/anyone.

        Just seems a bit absurd to me to be worrying about what people will see on Al Jazeera while the State is protecting people chanting/saying ‘Jewish child, you are gonna f*ckin die’ or that Hitler didn’t go far enough during Holocaust.

        • I quite agree with you on that, but you seem to have missed T-G’s point:

          “Some nobody caught on video saying something intemperate/vile is in no way comparable to public figures appearing in the mass media before large audiences to vilify entire groups of people.”

          You do see the difference, I hope.

          • I can see the difference but I don’t know what the point is. You can say whatever you want as long as less than 1000 people hear you but you are going to be prosecuted if more than 1000 hear you?

            The thousands of ‘nobodies’ caught on video were chanting vile things in downtown Toronto, Montreal and other major Canadian cities. It’s not like it was three guys and their dogs chanting in Apsley.

          • You do see the difference, I hope.

            No, he really doesn’t.

  4. If anyone is interested in Al-Jazeera English, they can watch it live, in High Resolution, online, completely legally. LiveStation, a software developed my Microsoft, allows people around the world to watch Al-Jazeera (English and/or Arabic), BBC, etc, live.

    • Canada is becoming a “politically correct” police state. Sadly it seems.

  5. Al Jazeera is allowed to Canada. But the Cable companies want to make big bucks without assuming responsibility. Keeping foreign stations to the same standards that Canadian stations are kept is not a thought police.

  6. Greivence of a Jewish Mind: [Death Wish]

    Because I am Jew,
    I apologize to you

    I killed a lot of men
    I orphaned many children
    I widowed a crowd of women

    I destroyed many houses
    I have stolen your very lands
    I have burnt your growing plants
    I have left nothing, but sand…
    I can no longer… be glad…
    I am so… sad…

    The country is Palestine
    A national home is not mine
    I know Israel is a lie!
    And zionists say; there is no tie!

    I feel so shy
    If ever I wish to die;
    Will I die?
    I must… at least try…

    From the west, I fled
    In Europe; I was killed
    In Russia; I got burned
    To the middle east; I turned…

    For revenge, I aimed
    And with guilt; I am most drained…

    Agony is high
    Wounds do cry!
    My life, goodbye…

    Because I am Jew
    I apologize to you

    If it makes you any happy
    Here is a resigintion from my lobby
    And to help you in any way
    I wish, this would be… my last day
    Life is so gloomy, that I have gone astray.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *