PBS Suspends Worker for Calling Terrorist a ‘Martyr,’ But Palestinians Who Do So Are Fine
In 2003, PBS aired a TV series called “Avoiding Armageddon,” which quoted a Palestinian expert who considered Palestinian suicide terrorism “sad” but understandable given Israel’s actions:
Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj is the founder and director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP). He is also the Commissioner-General of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens’ Rights. He currently lives in Gaza and is an expert on the mental impact that the violence in the area has on children growing up in Gaza. He has also written extensively on the subject, in English as well as in Arabic.
“A 17-year-old boy in Gaza today is somebody who thinks of life as in a prison. He’s not allowed to leave Gaza. He’s not allowed sometimes even to cross between cities within the Gaza strip, because the Israelis most of the time now block the way for people to move within [the] Gaza strip itself.
Related coverageSeptember 19, 2016 6:32 am
“He’s somebody who has seen so much of bombing, of killing, of murder, of blood, of humiliation. And he doesn’t think that he has a future as a scientist, as a doctor, as an engineer. Sadly and tragically, many of them think that the best thing to do is to be a martyr – which tells you about the psychology of these people – that this has become an equivalent to life.
“You see, I look at this as a product of the environment. People are not born to become martyrs. People are not born to become heroes. People are the product of the environment. You bring an environment of hopelessness and despair, you have a martyr, somebody who thinks death is the beginning of life.”
El-Sarraj is justifying terrorism against Jews even though, as a “moderate,” he doesn’t support it. In no way does PBS condemn his statement or even imply that his analysis is a justification for the more heinous crimes. There is no moral judgment of Dr. El Sarraj; indeed, he is a respected expert.
This attitude of coddling Palestinian terrorism is so widespread in the media that it is barely noticeable any more.
But compare that with how this PBS station responded to a prominent on-air personality doing the exact same thing in a different context:
Kalyn Chapman James, the first black Miss Alabama, has been placed on administrative leave by South Florida PBS station WPBT2 after calling Dallas sniper Micah Xavier Johnson a “martyr” for killing five cops. The comments were made Sunday on Facebook Live.
“I’m dealing with a bit of guilt, because I don’t feel sad for the officers that lost their lives — and I know that that’s really not my heart,” James began. “I value human life and I want to feel sad for them, but I can’t help but feeling like the shooter was a martyr — and I know it’s not the right way to feel because nobody deserves to lose their lives, and I know that those police officers had families and people who loved them.”
“I’m so torn up in my heart about seeing these … black men being gunned down in my community that I can’t help but feel like I wasn’t surprised what the shooter did to those cops,” she added. “And I think a lot of us feel the same way.”
She appeared to have deleted the video on Tuesday. James is an independent contractor for the local TV station.
Here’s WPBT2’s official statement, in which they do not mention her by name: