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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.

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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