Al-Jazeera May Not Be TV Bogeyman

Analysts See Little To Fear in Arab Channel's Arrival in U.S.

From Doha to D.C.: Al Jazeera may be coming to your living room soon. And some say that might not be such a bad thing.
getty images
From Doha to D.C.: Al Jazeera may be coming to your living room soon. And some say that might not be such a bad thing.

By M. Berger

Published January 09, 2013, issue of January 18, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 4)

Some of the network’s record cited by concerned Jewish groups appears well-supported. In 2008, for example, the Arabic channel’s Beirut bureau chief held a party to welcome back Samir Kuntar, a convicted terrorist released by Israel in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers. In his broadcast, Ghassan bin Jiddo, the Al-Jazeera Arabic bureau chief, hailed Kuntar, who was found guilty of murdering four Israelis, including two children, as a “pan-Arab hero.” Under pressure from Israel, the channel later apologized for the episode in writing.

But some of the criticism from Jewish groups may be misleading. On its website, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting, a prominent pro-Israel media watchdog, cites the case of David Marash, a former ABC reporter for “Nightline,” who left Al-Jazeera English in 2008 after two years for what he then called its “reflexive adversarial editorial stance” against Americans.

But in an interview with the Forward via email, Marash retracted this statement.

“Actually, the anti-American bias I felt was more personal than editorial,” he said. “I have come to regret using the word.”

Marash explained that he saw the perspective aired on both Al-Jazeera’s English and Arabic channels as “definitely post-colonial, and largely anti-colonial.”

“This predisposition frequently makes them hyper-critical of America,” he said in his January 7 email, but he added, “That is not the same as being anti-American.”

Marash said that Al-Jazeera English works hard at journalistic professionalism in its Israel coverage “That they are offended by Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, and by the contemptuous dismissal of both Palestinian leaders and the prospects for peace by the Netanyahu government should neither surprise, nor outrage, anyone.

“As I said at the time, and still believe now, for all its flaws, Al-Jazeera English still rates as the best of the world’s English language news channels.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.