Pakistani Foreign Minister Claims Israel ‘Controls Media’ During Live CNN Interview With Jewish Journalist
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Israel has “deep pockets” and “controls media” during a live CNN interview on Thursday with Jewish journalist Bianna Golodryga.
Golodryga said she had planned to speak with the foreign minister about forming peaceful resolutions between Israel and Hamas but “instead, he began the interview by invoking an antisemitic slur.”
Their conversation started with Qureshi saying “Israel is losing the media war, despite their connections. The tide is turning.” When Golodryga probed her guest to explain what he meant by “connections,” Qureshi laughed before saying, “deep pockets. They are very influential people. They control [the] media.”
Keeping her composure, Golodryga responded by telling Qureshi he had just made an antisemitic remark. The Pakistani politician did not deny Golodryga’s claim and instead replied, “The point is, they have a lot of influence and get a lot of coverage.”
The CNN host again pushed back, telling Qureshi that she was offended by his use of an antisemitic trope, and asking whether calls for “peace and equal human rights” on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict shouldn’t “without antisemitic talk and rhetoric?” She then highlighted the rise in antisemitism around the world following the start of violence in the Middle East and asked, “shouldn’t you be condemning that? What about Hamas’ role in stopping the rockets?” The foreign minister answered by accusing Israel of occupation, genocide, war crimes and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.
Golodryga later urged Qureshi to avoid using antisemitic tropes, to which he responded, “I have never been antisemitic and I never will be.”
Later, after Twitter users took to Golodryga’s page in defense of Qureshi’s comments, the anchor tweeted, “I can’t believe I have to say this, but there should be zero point zero doubt that accusing Israel of ‘controlling the media’ and having ‘deep pockets’ is antisemitic. This website can be both constructive and depressing. My Twitter feed is currently the latter.”
Qureshi addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York earlier on Thursday, during which he accused Israel of engaging in “relentless onslaught” of the Palestinians. He called for an end to “Israeli aggression” and said Israel is solely responsible “for restoring peace” in the region.
“This is a war between a military occupier and an occupied people. It is a war between an illegal occupation and a legitimate struggle for self-determination,” he added, stressing that Israel’s “crimes against humanity should not escape accountability.”