Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Censored by Facebook, Arab-Israeli Journalist Continues to Expose PA Corruption

February 1, 2013 12:01 am 0 comments

Khaled Abu Toameh. Photo: Courtesy Khaled Abu Toameh.

In an environment where criticism of Israel is not only common, but encouraged, Arab-Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh is a lonely voice of dissent on issues relating to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

“I believe that a journalist should be loyal to the truth, as opposed to a president or a prime minister,” Abu Toameh said in an interview with “I do not wish to be a mouthpiece for any leader, an organ of any structure, or a cover-up agent for anybody. A journalist should be free to criticize anyone as long as he is telling the truth.”

Abu Toameh’s unique role in the media world was perhaps no more apparent than when Facebook recently removed his profile following complaints about his posts, which are highly critical of the PA and the Kingdom of Jordan.

Though his page was quickly restored after a backlash of complaints, the attempt to silence Abu Toameh’s online presence is the latest in a campaign to censor any perceived anti-Arab sentiment.

In an op-ed challenging the Facebook incident, Abu Toameh commented, “During the past year alone, a number of Palestinian journalists and bloggers were arrested by Western-funded Palestinian Authority security services in the West Bank for criticizing the PA leadership on their Facebook pages.”

“It is the duty of Facebook and Western societies to side with those seeking freedom, and not to be complicit in suppressing their voices,” he wrote.

President Barack Obama meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (left) in the Oval Office. The man sitting between them is an interpreter. Photo: Pete Souza.

The award-winning journalist, who writes for the Jerusalem Post, reports for NBC News as well as several European media outlets, and posts often-stinging opinion pieces for the Gatestone Institute, does that which most Arab journalists would never dare: he attempts to hold Palestinian and Arab leadership accountable for their actions.

“The prevailing concept in the Arab world is that if you are not with us, you are against us,” Abu Toameh told In other words, he said, a Palestinian journalist “is expected to be loyal to the cause of Palestinian nationalism.”

Abu Toameh got his start more than 30 years ago working with Palestinian media but left because of the limitations placed on his work. Today journalists face similar restrictions.

“Media in the West Bank is controlled by Fatah,” Abu Toameh said. “Media in Gaza is controlled by Hamas. A journalist in those areas is not free to report as he sees fit.”

Members of the Palestinian delegation at the United Nations General Assembly, including Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, celebrate Nov. 29 upon the vote to upgrade Palestinian status to a non-member observer state at the UN. Arab-Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh has been critical of Abbas and the PA, unlike his fellow Arab journalists. Photo: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas.

One of the first Israeli papers Abu Toameh wrote for was a Hebrew publication called Yerushalayim (or Jerusalem). “At that time, I wrote articles criticizing Israel, and the IDF in particular, for various human rights violations, and I won several awards. Of course now that I am criticizing the Palestinian Authority, I am roundly condemned,” he said.

Abu Toameh is not only condemned but is often threatened. “Today, I am getting more threats from the US, Canada, Europe and the UK than I am from within the Palestinian Authority,” Abu Toameh said.

“But what is unique, is that those that threaten me roundly acknowledge that I am telling the truth,” he said. “They don’t question my reporting. They just want me to shut up. I’d be much more afraid of what could happen to me if I were lying,” Abu Toameh stated.

It is Abu Toameh’s reputation for reporting honestly that keeps his sources coming back. “I speak to members of Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Palestinian officials, residents and terrorists,” he said.

“They want to communicate to the international community, and I provide them with an outlet,” Abu Toameh added.

Today, Abu Toameh’s articles can be found in the Jerusalem Post, but he rejects the notion that he is writing for a Jewish or pro-Israel newspaper.

“I am an Israeli citizen, and I write for an Israeli paper. I will write for any paper that gives me a free platform,” Abu Toameh said.

Steve Linde, Editor-in-Chief of the Jerusalem Post, contends that Abu Toameh’s reporting is extraordinarily important. “Khaled is a real hero,” Linde told “He exposes corruption within the Palestinian administration without fear or hesitation.”

“I think just about everybody respects his integrity and credibility as a journalist. He has a strong international reputation for being a top Palestinian journalist,” Linde said.

Abu Toameh has no fears of reporting oftentimes-harsh truths. When it comes to peace between Israel and Palestinians, according to Abu Toameh, the chances are not good.

“In my opinion, it is nearly impossible to fit another state between Israel and Jordan. We also need to ask what kind of state would that be? Would it be a terror state like in Gaza, or a secular dictatorship like we see throughout the Arab World,” he said.

With regard to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Abu Toameh is not certain that he has the ability to make peace with Israel. “Shimon Peres might think Abbas can make peace, but Abbas has no mandate from his people,” he said. “Abbas might be serious and he might be sincere, but that is not the issue. Much more important is whether he can deliver. And right now, the answer is no, he cannot deliver.”

Abu Toameh is not sure that Jordan is the answer for Palestinian self-determination either, even though a majority of that country is Palestinian. “I don’t see how you can dismantle Jordan and make it a Palestinian state,” he said. “In that case, you might end up with three separate Palestinian states: one in Jordan, one in Gaza and one in the West Bank. You have to be careful what you wish for.”

In the meantime, Jordan’s King Abdullah has managed to stave off protests of the Arab Spring like those in Egypt or Syria. “So far he has managed, but I don’t think he sleeps that well at night,” Abu Toameh said.

“The key is what winds up happening in Syria,” Abu Toameh contended. “Many of the Islamists fighting in Syria come from Jordan. Once fighting in Syria comes to end, they may come back to start fighting in Jordan.”

What that leaves is an unstable situation, one that could bring even more violence to the region, and particularly to Israel.

“Within Israel’s borders, there is growing tensions, and daily confrontations between Israelis—the IDF as well as settlers—and Palestinians,” Abu Toameh added. “On the ground there is already a ‘popular resistance’ underway. We’ve seen skirmishes, clashes, stonings, Molotov cocktails and more.”

“I believe the third intifada has already begun, albeit on a low flame.”

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Features Opinion Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Late Friday night, on November 13, I was headed for bed when an ominous news bulletin flashed across my computer screen – something about a shooting in Paris. It wasn’t long before the “small number” of shootings and casualties began to double and triple and quadruple. The locations of attacks seemed crazily disorganized, and the tweets and videos became more and more horrifying. It was a long night for many stunned observers. We tried to understand what was happening, and […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Theater BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    In an interview with the Israeli site nrg on Wednesday, Belgian-Jewish stage actress Noemi Schlosser recounted immigrating to Israel after her career in Europe was destroyed by BDS. Schlosser said she had enjoyed success in Belgium and international acclaim until she was targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for her pro-Israel stance during Operation Protective Edge — last summer’s war against Hamas in Gaza. She described watching the theaters where she performed go from packed to nearly empty over a short period of […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    The manager of the Chelsea Football Club said on Monday that he is looking forward to playing in Israel this week against Maccabi Tel Aviv, in spite of the security situation, Israeli news site nrg reported. Jose Murinho, who is already in Israel with his team to compete against Maccabi in the Champions League soccer match, was  asked whether he was worried about the current wave of Palestinian violence sweeping the country. “I have no worries at all regarding the security situation, and neither do […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Opinion In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    Blaming the West has become the most pervasive method of teaching for many Middle East studies departments, which are becoming the heart of pop-culture academia. Efraim Karsh, a distinguished professor of Middle Eastern studies at Bar-Ilan University and professor emeritus at King’s College London, in his latest book The Tail Wags the Dog: International Politics and the Middle East, dispels this myth. “Britain’s ‘original sin,’ if such was indeed committed, lay not in the breaking up of Middle Eastern unity but […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About

    With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About – The Mensch on a Bench is so much happier now than he was a year ago. Look carefully and you will notice that, whereas the previous Mensch had a decidedly worried look, this latest version of the popular Hanukkah toy is flashing an exuberant grin. Is the erstwhile Mensch smiling because he expects to be in some 100,000 homes by year’s end? In truth, the change in visage was suggested last year by the “sharks” on ABC’s Shark Tank […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Actor Adam Sandler unveiled a new version of his famous “Chanukah Song” on Saturday, adding a slew of Jewish celebrities to the ditty’s updated lyrics. The comedian — who released the original song about being Jewish during Christmas in 1996 — performed the latest version of the comedic track during the New York Comedy Festival at Carnegie Hall. Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee, actor Jake Gyllenhaal and “the two guys who founded Google” are among the famous Jewish celebrities now in the line up. Sandler also included lyrics about Star Wars‘ Princess […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

    Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom – Famed Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman will be among the 17 recipients of America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom next week. He is the fourth Israeli to receive the highest civilian honor in the US. “A native of Israel, he came to the United States at a young age and was introduced to Americans broadly when he appeared on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ in 1958. Mr. Perlman made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1963 when he was 18,” a White House […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots

    Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots – While Israel is a common destination for cultural and religious pilgrimages, travelers seeking the best hotels, fine dining, and upscale relaxation less often find themselves in the Holy Land. Yet in recent years, the country’s burgeoning tech scene has attracted a business crowd accustomed to ritzy accommodation. Besides, the permanent summer of Tel Aviv and Eilat makes them prime destinations for European vacationers. Israel’s populace managed to tame the swamps and irrigate the desert — so going luxury should […]

    Read more →