Imagine two boxers at the boxing ring; one is equipped with two boxing gloves, while the other arrives with a glove on one hand and a knife in the other hand. What would you do? I would think that the immediate reaction of any person with some common sense would be to enter the ring and remove the man with the knife, because he is no boxer, but rather, a knifeman. The fact that he is wearing a glove on one of his hands will not convince anyone to allow him to stay in the ring. He cannot participate in the game without adhering to all the rules, and his only intention is to physically harm the other boxer, who does adheres to the rules, and perhaps even kill him.
Western media rules, which we try to adhere to, aim to ensure that news consumers views reality and understand it the way it really is via media outlets. The agenda or ideology of a media outlet is not supposed to affect the credibility of reports and facts. A media outlet is not supposed to take sides, and if one interviewee expresses certain views, it is expected that another guest with different views be given a platform for the sake of balance and fairness. The Western media world, which Israel is a part of, is not ideal or perfect in this respect.
However, the al-Jazeera network is something else entirely. It is a player that does not adhere to all the media rules, and uses the medium similarly to that knife in the boxing ring – in order to eliminate Israel. This is prominent on normal days, and is even more conspicuous at this time of confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians. The news stories aired by the network constitute blatant incitement with no regard for the truth. Al-Jazeera features no balance, as for every minute of airtime featuring an Israeli spokesperson presenting Israel’s positions, the network airs long hours of horrific sights from the Palestinian side, including close-ups of the dead and wounded, and of crying and suffering Palestinians. Meanwhile, reports of attacks on Israel are normally covered briefly and in a sterile manner, with no proportion to the descriptions of what is happening in Gaza.
In addition, clips aired between programs constitute genuine incitement, while interviews and discussions aired at this time are completely one-sided and anti-Israel.
The situation on the ground is directly affected by the nature of al-Jazeera reports. The protests against Israel, the condemnations, the actions, and the positions adopted against it in the Arab world and elsewhere are a direct result of the one-sided coverage of this channel - based in Qatar and allowed to operate in Israel freely.
There are several theories regarding al-Jazeera’s motivation: The Islamist tendencies of the Muslim Brothers movement, who took over the channel; rating considerations; the Qatari leader’s desire to assume a senior status in the Arab world (which is in fact happening); the deliberate intention of Gulf billionaires to deflect Arab attention from the corrupt wealth in the Gulf to other avenues such as Israel and the US, and other reasons, all of which may be true.
However, this is of no significance. What matters is that this is not a media channel, but rather, a jihadist terrorist channel that aims to eliminate the State of Israel. It is for good reason that Osama Bin Laden hands over his audiotapes to this channel, which cooperates with him fully.
Israeli citizens are paying with their blood for the media freedom enjoyed by al-Jazeera.
There is only one conclusion here: We must immediately shut down al-Jazeera’s Israel offices and prevent its employees from working for it. Once Israel does it, many other countries will follow suit, particularly in the Middle East, for their own reasons. They are waiting for Israel to put an end to the recklessness of this non-media channel.
Al-Jazeera invites me for interviews on occasion, in order to use me as a punching bag. Even though this bag punches back on occasion, I still contend firmly that until al-Jazeera changes its attitude to Israel, we must not allow it to use a knife in the media arena. Too much Israeli blood is dripping from this knife. Just watch the channel for a few minutes; there is no need for translation, the images make it perfectly clear.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University’s department of Arabic