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August 22, 2013 3:01 pm

Al Jazeera America’s First Interview: Anti-Israel Author Stephen Walt

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John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. Photo: Maarten Derkse.

JNS.org The newly launched television news network Al-Jazeera America , which has stated that it aims to present more objective coverage than its Middle Eastern counterpart, featured noted anti-Israel author Stephen Walt as its first guest.

Walt, a professor of international affairs at Harvard University, gained notoriety for co-authoring the controversial book “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” which uses long-held anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of Jewish manipulation to allege that pro-Israel Americans manipulate U.S. policy to serve Israel’s selfish interests.

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In his interview on Al-Jazeera America posted on YouTube by the Washington Free Beacon, Walt was critical of Egypt’s past and current rulers—Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian military—calling them all “stupid.” He concluded his interview by noting that the U.S. provides military aid to Egypt mainly to protect Israel.

Al-Jazeera America is a new venture by the Qatar-based television network Al-Jazeera. In January, Al-Jazeera announced it had purchased former Vice President Al Gore’s strugglingCurrent TV to serve as a distribution network for its foray into the American media.

But some have been openly critical of the new network’s ties to the government of Qatar.

“To Americans, Al-Jazeera purports to be the equivalent of CNN or Fox or MSNBC—an independent purveyor of news. Yes, Americans know that most media leans left and a little bit of it leans right, but the networks themselves are generally free of government manipulation. Al-Jazeera, however, is a wholly owned arm of the Government of Qatar,” Shoshana Bryen, a Middle East analyst for the Jewish Policy Center, wrote for the Gatestone Institute.

While Qatar is officially a U.S. ally, its ruling royal family has forged close ties with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Last month, nearly two-dozen Al-Jazeera staffers quit over what they called pro-Muslim Brotherhood bias in its coverage of events in Egypt.

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  • Stephen Jacobs

    My view is for everyone in the Middle East to drop their religions and to get along. I would like to see an interstate freeway built between Cairo and Yerulesam to attract tourists. The interstate freeway could continue on to Amman, Jordan. And the freeway could continue to Tel Aviv and southward to Saudi Arabia…. The highway would attract tourists for camel petting and things of that nature and not necessarily totally for religion.

    I believe a Middle East peace is easily achievable once we all junk the religions, or put religions into a proper perspective.

    When I was at the Univ. of Cal. in Berkeley, as I Jew at the International House I was friends with the Saudis there. We had a proper perspective of our faiths. And the university insisted upon the dialogue between faiths at that univ and at the International House. In fact, no covered heads nor fundamentalist preaching was even allowed beyond the univ. gate. Everything was an exchange of knowledge and sharing. And that is how Yeruselum should be.

    I see Isreal’s future as the state of Isreal and Palestine. Nothing wrong in a name change if it makes everyone happy. I am an atheist.

    I see from Al Jazeera America that anti-semitism is starting all over again in Europe. This is very troubling to me, especially after what happened in WWII and what happened to some of our own family in Poland.

    Anyway shalom,

    Steve Jacobs

  • Fab

    It is well known that our broadcasting stations tell us the news about the middle east as they want us to know them. It is also known that Egypt receives aide to keep the security of Israel more protected. Why are you so worried about Al-Jazeera? This is a democratic country. If AIPAC can speak so can Al-Jazeera.

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