“I wish all Arab media were like Al-Jazeera,” – Gideon Ezra, former Israeli cabinet minister told daily Jerusalem Post.
“Al-Manar’s message especially against Israel that assures its continued freedom to broadcast….. Al-Manar thus represents the darker side of media revolution in the Arab world…..,” Avi Jorisch in Israeli think tank Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2004.
“Regarding Al-Manar, it’s personal for Israel. The reason is that Al-Manar did to Israeli government propaganda machine (Hasbara) during and following July 2006 war what Hezbollah fighters did to Israeli troops. Al-Manar kicked butt. That station must be made to disappear. The plan is to stop 15-20 million daily viewers of Al-Manar from receiving its transmission and well as to intimidate all the other Middle East TV channels that are suspected of moving toward the growing “Culture of Resistance” spreading in the Middle East from Lebanon,” A Washington DC observer of how Israel controls the US Congress 12/9/09.
Franklin P. Lamb PhD in his latest article Targeting Lebanon\’s Al-Manar, wrote:
“Lebanon is a small country, approximately 0.7% the size of Connecticut with a population a bit more than 1% of America’s. But according to the four public US ‘Terrorist’ and Watch lists and at least seven supposedly secret US ‘T lists’ there are more Lebanese ‘terrorists’ and ‘inciters’ on the loose per square meter of planet Earth than any other nationality. Way more than say Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan or Pakistan could reasonably hope to muster. Increasingly these ‘terrorists and inciters’ work is claimed by some in the US Congress to be done via satellite TV channels. Such is the thesis of Congressman Gus Bilirakis, the ‘author’ of the 122nd US Congressional anti-Arab, anti-Muslim initiative in the past decade now known as the “Terrorist TV” Bill which passed the House on 12/08/09 and is now before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee…..
The ‘TV Terrorist” bill passed on a House roll call vote, while, as is the norm, an eager AIPAC staffer in the front row of the House Visitor’s Gallery with clip board and pen in hand, peered down on the Floor keeping tabs on how the Members voted. As is the Congressional practice with ‘Israel Bills’ or Psych-War Resolutions Israel wants passed, the vote on H.R. 2278 was held under a suspension of the rules to cut debate short and pass it quickly with the needed two-thirds majority. This fast track is normally used for relatively minor items like honoring “butterfly watchers day”, “national be kind to fat stray cats day” etc. The totals were 395 Ayes, 3 Nays, 36 Present/Not Voting- a slightly above average tally when AIPAC sends a legislative request ‘up the Hill.’
More than 600 Middle East TV channels risk being closed down among the 19 target Countries listed in H.R. 2278. Some of the most strident criticism of America comes from Israeli colonists and extremist Rabbi’s in occupied Palestine.
One Congressional staffer who recently retired after 28 years working on the hill, noted on 12/13/09:
“It used to be that Congressional staffers actually did research and wrote recommendations for their bosses around here. Those days are long gone when it comes to Middle East issues. The Israel lobby handles all that now. If staffers want to be heard on Middle East issues from Iran to Palestine, they are discouraged. If they persist they run the risk of being targeted for unemployment by AIPAC and their bosses may cut them loose rather than confront the Lobby. In essence Israel is saying to Congressional staffers, “Listen up! We know best and will handle Congressional Middle East legislation. Just get out of the kitchen, leave this to us and busy yourselves elsewhere.”
Those who demonstrated to Congress the urgent need for a “TV Terrorism” law included the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
This was confirmed by the office of Congressman Gus Bilirakis and indeed the Congressman himself noted that ‘research’ provided by MEMRI helped to establish the need for the new legislation.
MEMRI supplied the video excepted from Al Manar and cited by the sponsors as ‘evidence’ of incitement against Americans by the station and its satellite provider because it broadcasts the speeches of Hezbollah leaders on special occasions, as does virtually every other TV news channel in the Middle East that transmit at least portions of the speeches which are popular across the region. In fact all the video shows in spliced together excerpts from two speeches Hassan Nasrallah gave and two by his deputy Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Naim Qassim. They contain no incitement against Americans but rather criticism of Israel and of US support for Israel that can be heard any day of the week in all 50 States in the US……….”
On December 17, 2004 – US State Department put Al-Manar on its list of terrorist organizations. Richard Boucher announced that anyone with links with Al-Manar would be refused a visa to enter United States. French authorities took a similar action based on Al-Manar’s so-called “anti-Semite” (exposing Israeli Hasbara lies) broadcasting. Former Lyon University lecturer Robert Faurisson says France and the US to ban Al-Manar TV station because of the power of pro-Israel Jewish lobbies in both countries. The general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Aidan white says: “Censorship just add to intolerance and breeds further resentment and incomprehension. If a broadcaster was turned off every time someone made offensive and unacceptable remarks, there would be precious little television in the world.”
Picture of Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah above is by Latuff2