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Anti-Israel Reporters Revealed

Reader comment on item: Where the Nazi "Big Lie" Endures

Submitted by Anonymous (United States), May 3, 2007 at 22:09

With more and more Muslims entering the field of journalism, there should be concern about how Israel will be portrayed in the not-so-distant future.

Case in point: the Times Herald-Record of Middletown, New York, employs two Muslims who've written anti-Israel, and what could be considered to be anti-U.S. sentiments.

In November of 2005, Raja Abdulrahim, a young reporter from Florida, wrote a puff piece about traveling on pilgrimage to Mecca, "Mecca's Lesson: A smile is charity and so is patience." Four years earlier, in 2001, she was a student at the University of Florida. She began writing letters to the campus newspaper, the Independent Florida Alligator. On September 26, 2001, when most people had their minds on mass murder by Islamists, she instead wrote a letter to the editor about the way Palestinian land was "pilfered" in the same way American Indian land was.

In that letter she started out saying, "Ever since its occupation in 1948, Israel has killed innocent Palestinians, demolished their homes, overrun their businesses and destroyed their farm fields."

She explained, "I decided to respond to Guy Golan's letter (‘Jews must help all Arab people') from Monday's Alligator because he erroneously refers to Hamas and Hizbollah as ‘fundamentalist' and ‘terror organizations' that have ‘murdered innocent Israeli civilians.'"

And she wrote, "It is time we see this conflict for what it really is — present day Imperialism. These Palestinians are not ‘terrorizing' Israelis, they are just defending their land and lives…Do any of us blame the Indians for fighting back?"

The next month, as the world awaited the U.S. response to the savagery of 9/11, she wrote a guest column in the same paper. Whatever the actions of the U.S., she hoped it would, "… punish only those responsible for this attack and will not launch a full-blown assault on anyone who looks Arab or is Muslim as Israel does in the Middle East." Countering another published opinion, she wrote, "Israel does target innocent civilians" and, "Israel targets children directly, which is why so many of them are killed."

In February of 2002, Abdulrahim turned her attention to the U.S., apparently calling President Bush a "dictator-like ruler." "The swiftness with which citizens' rights have been taken away and handed over to a dictator-like ruler is astonishing. No, I'm not talking about Iraq, I'm talking about America."

And in March came her next attack, now back to Israel. Addressing a writer who criticized Palestinians for their refusal to accept Israel's offers in the Camp David Accord, she said, "But this offer was as big of a sham as the state of Israel itself." Abdulrahim stated that Israelis, "point to the despotic rulers in Arab regimes whenever someone questions their apartheid tactics."

"Sharon has probably killed more civilians than all the suicide bombers combined. By continuing his oppression of the Palestinian people, Sharon himself (and others like him) create these suicide bombers who feel they have nothing else they can do to defend their land and people." "The Palestinians are not the enemy here, but continued oppression of them is."

There were some who responded to her angry rhetoric, including one who wrote, "Raja Abdulrahim's comments in her letter that ran in Tuesday's Alligator, ‘Palestinians only fight back,' were equivalent to support of terrorism."

A July of 2002 letter said, "Editor: It is always enlightening to hear from Raja Abdulrahim who in her guest column on June 20, ‘Palestinians driven to bombing,' said no ‘Islamic militant group' is responsible for suicide bombers, but rather it is Israel and Israeli Defense Forces who are wholly to blame."

Another Muslim reporter at the Times Herald-Record apparently has similar sentiments, yet not expressed with the same anger. A reporter named Ramsey Al-Rikabi responded to an April, 2002 article by Brendan Miniter about a New York anti-Israel Muslim protest march "a few minutes from Ground Zero." Al-Rikabi expressed anti-Israel rhetoric in OpinionJournal - The Western Front Responses. He was at the protest and defended it saying, "It was a call against the Israeli occupation and an end to U.S. tax-funded aid to Israel." Al-Rikabi called for "Israeli withdrawal."

Al-Rikabi is also a former reporter and editor for Al-Ahram Weekly, based in Egypt. And he spent nine months working for an organization called Africa and Middle East Refugee Assistance (AMERA).

He now usually writes police stories for the Times Herald-Record, although he gets in some feature stories on Islam as well, such as a piece about traveling to Jordan and writing in August, 2005 about a groundbreaking for a mosque expansion in Newburgh, New York. In that article and another earlier that year in January, about the Eid (Feast of the Sacrifice) celebration, Al-Rikabi included the phrase "Allah Akbar" – (God is great) – in both stories.

Abdulrahim is a general assignment reporter, yet is permitted unusual freedoms for a reporter, such as writing first person accounts of her pilgrimage to Mecca. The Mecca puff series included such statements as, "In my other hand, I hold a prayer book; several pages of prayers written more eloquently than anything I could say in my own words." And she wrote a story in September 2006 story about Ramadan.

There's nothing wrong with learning about other cultures, broadening one's horizons. But there's another side that hasn't been revealed in those feature stories. And the bigger issue is – what will be the result when those reporters climb the ranks to become editors, when they can permit the emergence of their smoldering opinions, such as their apparent hatred of Israel?

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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