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September 8, 2022 10:54 am

Dutch Public Broadcaster Appoints Israel Correspondent Who Worked for Terror-Glorifying Palestinian NGO

avatar by Akiva Van Koningsveld


Paleis Het Loo in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands. Photo: YouTube screenshot.

A recent survey in The Netherlands showed that news consumers consider the NOS public broadcaster to be the country’s most reliable media brand.

According to the Oxford-based Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, 77 percent of the Dutch trust NOS News, with only 7% saying they are skeptical of its reporting. By comparison, the same June 2022 study found that over 40% of Americans distrust CNN.

Yet, when it comes to its coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict, this trust in the NOS is unwarranted. The outlet has repeatedly been forced to apologize for spreading gross inaccuracies about the Jewish state, and was even accused of disseminating Nazi-like antisemitic propaganda.

Indeed, the NOS’ track record on Israel has led some Jewish leaders to suggest that the taxpayer-funded broadcaster is systematically slanted in favor of the Palestinian narrative.

And last week, NOS appointed as its correspondent in Israel a reporter who has been criticized for her alleged bias against the Jewish state.

Following the resignation of Ties Brock, the NOS announced its new Jerusalem correspondent. In the August 29 press release, outgoing editor-in-chief Marcel Gelauff described Nasrah Habiballah as an “experienced multimedia journalist with a great drive,” who would bring “new, fresh perspectives” to the NOS’ coverage of the decades-old conflict.

Meanwhile, Habiballah said her “personal connection with the region” and “extensive network in Israel and the Palestinian Territories” would allow the NOS to present to the Dutch public “different opinions and unique stories.”

But this is precisely what worries some critics in The Netherlands.

Prior to her employment at the broadcaster, Habiballah — whose family comes from the area of Nazareth in northern Israel — studied Arabic for six months at the West Bank’s Birzeit University.

The Hamas-controlled university has honored Black September member Kamal Nasser with a hall dedicated to the terrorist on campus. Also, the university has named a basketball championship after Marwan Barghouti, the Palestinian viewed by many as the mastermind behind the Second Intifada.

During a 2016 Fatah rally at Nasrah Habiballah’s alma mater, students called for the murder of Jews. Last year, students associated with EU-designated terrorist organizations organized military parades, complete with mock rockets and explosive belts.

Habiballah’s LinkedIn profile furthermore notes that, between August 2008 and January 2009, she worked as a news editor for PYALARA, the Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation, in Al-Bireh. NGO watchdog groups have regularly criticized the organization for justifying suicide bombings against Israeli civilians (see here and here).

For instance, during the Second Intifada (2000-2005), PYALARA wrote on its website:

The world talks a lot about the young Palestinians who have willingly sacrificed their lives in the name of their homeland and condemns their actions, but one has to remember that we are talking here about a new generation whose innocence was taken from them the minute they were born.

This justification and glorification of terrorism continued throughout Habiballah’s tenure at the Palestinian organization.

HonestReporting discovered that The Youth Times, PYALARA’s newspaper that is distributed throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip, between August 2008 and January 2009 ran multiple articles praising terrorists and “martyrs” (see, for example, herehere, and here).

In addition, The Youth Times promotes anti-Israel blood libels (see here and here).

Making clear its opposition to Jewish sovereignty, the November 2008 issue of the paper described the 1917 Balfour Declaration — which called for the establishment of “a national home for the Jewish people” in the Land of Israel — as a “catastrophe.”

Following a short stint with the New Israel Fund in the northern Israeli city of Haifa, Habiballah in August 2014 returned to The Netherlands to work for the NOS.

Then, on July 21, 2017, amid a deadly wave of Palestinian stabbings, shootings, and car rammings, she re-posted a video on Twitter of Palestinians chanting, in Arabic: “With spirit and blood we will redeem you, oh Al-Aqsa.”

As HonestReporting previously outlined, this slogan is nothing less than an incitement to war against the Jewish people.

Moreover, the source of the video retweeted by Habiballah was Middle East Eye, a website believed to have links to Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas (see here and here).

After HonestReporting highlighted the tweet on August 30, 2022, the NOS journalist immediately moved to delete large parts of her social media history. Habiballah’s Twitter account disappeared in its entirety, while her Facebook profile has been cleansed of all posts.

Responding to previous objections about its Israel coverage, the NOS in 2016 asserted that it “has no interest in one-sided reporting about Israel or the Palestinians.”

“On the contrary,” the blog post read, “Our interest is to do justice to the news as it comes to us, while providing analyses and background information.”

Yet one has to wonder, based on her previous comments and associations, if the NOS’ newest correspondent is up to the task of supplying NOS readers with fact-based analysis and agenda-free context.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

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