By Ira Stoll
The State Department is using American taxpayer dollars to finance Palestinian Arabs celebrating violent attacks on Israelis and advocating a boycott of Israel and the division of its capital city.
Where’s the outrage?
Not in the New York Times, which treats the topic as subject for a light-toned feature article about what it describes as a Palestinian “reality television show.”
The show features contestants who “run” for the job of Palestinian president. The Times article reports that “the three finalists all had similar platforms: Boycott Israel. Designate East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.”
Later, the Times reports, almost in passing, that the television program “broadcast on the Maan satellite network to large audiences in Gaza, the West Bank and elsewhere in the Arab world — was funded mostly by a State Department grant.”
The dollar amount of the grant is unreported by the Times. Also unreported by the Times is what the members of Congress who hold the spending power under the Constitution think about the idea of having taxpayer money used to broadcast, across the Middle East, calls to boycott Israel.
An NBC news article on the program quoted one of the contestants celebrating the role of women in the “revolution and resistance — they were throwing stones.” The NBC article also included a contestant’s call for a “’right of return,’ or the right for Arabs driven from their communities in 1948 when the State of Israel was established to go back.” Never mind that some of those Arabs left of their own free will or at the urging of neighboring Arab states, or that their “return” would, as a practical matter, be a way of destroying the Jewish state.
The Algemeiner did what the New York Times did not do, which is contact a major American Jewish organization for its view on the wisdom of spending taxpayer dollars to spread this message.
The president of the Zionist Organization of America, Morton Klein, told The Algemeiner that he found the State Department funding for the television program “astonishing,” and “shocking.” He said that if the State Department were found to be funding an Israeli television program advocating extremist views, there would be an uproar. In this case, however, “not a peep — the only peep is from Ira Stoll.”
“Where is the media and Congress screaming about this?” Mr. Klein asked.
It’s a good question, and one in which the Times shows a disappointing lack of interest in answering, or even in asking.
(c) 2016 The Algemeiner Journal