How Al Jazeera Dresses Up Its Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism for an English-Speaking Audience

Jan. 24 2019

Sponsored by the government of Qatar, and sharing the emirate’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Jazeera has succeeded in gaining not only immense popularity among Arabic speakers but also respectability for its somewhat newer English-language television channel and website. To these, it has more recently added AJ+, a web-only news platform directed at younger audiences. Samantha Rose Mandeles explains how the naked anti-Semitism of the network’s Arabic-language channel is put into polite form for Anglophone audiences:

[Since] Qatar and Al Jazeera have long portrayed themselves as defenders of the Palestinian cause, much of Al Jazeera English’s anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism is disguised as anti-Zionism or anti-imperialism. . . . For example, Al Jazeera English mostly avoids its Arabic counterpart’s fascination with “Jewish power,” preferring to discuss “Zionist influence” instead. One recent Al Jazeera English article argues that “every American administration over the past three or four decades was subject to major Zionist influence.” . . .

AJ+, [by contrast], takes the most care of all Al Jazeera sectors to spread anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism with an “anti-racist” slant; one AJ+ video in this vein is called “Why White Feminism Is Racist.” In the clip, a pink-haired journalist named Zab Mustefa claims that the racism of “white feminism” is exemplified by [the] Israeli actress Gal Gadot. Mustefa contends that Gadot’s feminism—and indeed, Gadot herself—is racist because she “supports the Israeli army, which oppresses Palestinian women on a daily basis.” . . . [T]he clip then launches into an interview with the Women’s March coordinator Tamika Mallory, whose association with the notoriously bigoted Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has recently made headlines.

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More about: Al Jazeera, Anti-Semitism, Media, Politics & Current Affairs, Qatar

A Better Syria Strategy Can Help Achieve the U.S. Goal of Countering Iran

While the Trump administration has reversed much of its predecessor’s effort to realign Washington with Tehran, and has effectively used sanctions to exert economic pressure on the Islamic Republic, Omar Hassino argues that these measures might not be enough:

Iran and its militias control more territory and natural resources in Syria and Iraq than before President Trump took office. . . . The U.S. should back the low-cost insurgency approach that has already shown potential in southwest Syria to bleed the Iranian forces and increase the costs of their expansion and [of Tehran’s] support for the Assad regime. It makes no sense that Iran can fund low-cost insurgencies to bleed American allies in the region, but the United States cannot counter with the same. The administration should also consider expanding support to the proxy forces that it currently works with—such as the Revolution Commandos near the [U.S.] al-Tanf garrison in southwest Syria—for the purpose of fighting and eliminating Iranian-backed militias. This limited escalation can curb Iranian expansion and put pressure on the Assad regime in the long term.

Furthermore, in this vein, the U.S. should empower peaceful Syrian civil-society groups and local councils operating outside Assad-regime control. Last year, the Trump administration eliminated assistance for stabilization in Syria, including funding going to secular anti-Assad civil-society groups that were also combating al-Qaeda’s ideology, as well as the Syrian [medical and civil-defense group known as] the White Helmets, before quickly [restoring] some of this funding. Yet the funding has still not completely been resumed, and if this administration takes an approach similar to its predecessor’s in relying on regional powers such as Turkey, these powers will instead fund groups aligned ideologically with Muslim Brotherhood. This is already happening in Idlib.

The United States must [also] jettison the Obama-era [strategy of establishing] “de-escalation zones.” These zones were from the start largely a Russian ruse to help the Assad regime conquer opposition areas, and they succeeded. Now that the regime controls most of Syria and Iranian proxies are dominant within the regime side, support for de-escalation is tantamount to support for Iranian expansion. The United States must [instead] prevent further expansion by the Assad regime and Iran in parts of the country that they still do not control.

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More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy