Comparing Jews to Nazis Meets NPR's 'Editorial Standards and Practices'

NPR's mindset has not changed since they blacklisted terrorism expert Steven Emerson in response to a complaint from a Hamas supporter...whom they invited to be a commentator.

"[Juan Williams'] remarks were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR."
- Statement issued by NPR

Remember what National Public Radio did to its foreign editor Loren Jenkins last year after he said, "Israel has used Gaza as a bombing target practice"?

They did nothing to him, for he was simply espousing the reckless anti-Israel hyperbole that is business-as-usual for NPR. Addressing an audience at an Aspen public radio event, Jenkins also said that Israel "created the biggest ghetto we've ever known" and is therefore responsible for the likelihood that Gazans "are all going to be turned into Palestinian terrorists because they have nothing else to do."

Andrea Levin of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), who reported on Jenkins' inflammatory falsehoods, also recounted his history of equating Jews with Nazis and softening the image of Palestinian terrorists:

How extreme are the NPR official's views? In the past, Jenkins has depicted Israelis as imperialists and interlopers in the Middle East and even linked Jews to Nazis in his writing. In a 1983 Rolling Stone article entitled "Palestine, Exiled" he wrote, for example, that an Israeli-administered south Lebanon prison was, in the words of a nameless Red Cross official, "a concentration camp. There is nothing else to call it." PLO leaders, in contrast, were characterized admiringly as freedom-fighters, as "modest" people, speaking in "soft and warm" voices. Of Yasir Arafat he said: "it is his liquid brown eyes that impress one the most..."

That Jenkins, who clearly harbors prejudicial views about Israel, remains ensconced at NPR with influence over what is broadcast about the Middle East should be a worry to those who care about decent and factual coverage of the region.

An earlier CAMERA study of NPR bias found its editors and reporters working on behalf of organizations that vilify the Jewish state:

... Significantly, Jenkins has regularly appeared at events sponsored by the stridently anti-Israel American-Arab Anti- Discrimination Committee (ADC), and [reporter] Kate Seelye was for a number of years beginning in the late 1980's the ADC's Manager of Media Relations.

In recent years Seelye has written for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, in one article accusing Israel of engaging in state-sponsored terrorism. The Washington Report is an extremist magazine which has referred to Jewish supporters of Israel as a "cancer" and as "Israel-firsters," and has carried ads for Roger Garaudy's notorious book, The Founding Myths of Israeli Policy, which denies the Holocaust. That NPR would hire a contributor to such a magazine, that it would welcome such extreme partisans, is testament to the network's own highly partisan agenda.

Not surprisingly, the report found, "[e]ntirely one-sided programs were commonplace, whether devoted to assailing Ariel Sharon as a 'war criminal,' to characterizing Israel as a 'Jim Crow' nation which should be done away with in its 'apartheid' form, or to blaming Israel for excessive violence, anti-American riots in Arab capitals and erosion of a supposed Arab commitment to peace."

NPR's blame-Israel mentality extends as far as blaming victims of terrorist atrocities for their own deaths. On May 2, 2004, Tali Hatuel was driving with her daughters -- Hila, 11, Hadar, 9, Roni, 7, and Merav, 2 -- when Palestinian terrorists opened fire and forced the car off the road. The gunmen then approached the vehicle, shot the eight-months-pregnant mother in the stomach, and shot the screaming girls repeatedly in the head. NPR's Julie McCarthy portrayed the mass murder as "ample evidence ... to show that [Jews'] continued presence in Gaza is provoking bloodshed." (It's astonishing what NPR's white reporters can get away with without worrying about losing their job.)

As Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe wrote, "In NPR's warped moral calculus, Tali Hatuel and her children are in early graves not because Palestinian culture celebrates the mass-murder of Jews, but because Jews have no business living among Arabs. If McCarthy had been reporting from Birmingham in September 1963, would she have blamed the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on the provocative ‘presence' of the four black girls who died in the explosion?"

Perhaps nothing reveals NPR's true colors more dramatically than their hiring of Hamas enthusiast Ali Abunimah (perhaps best-known as an early ally of President Obama on Mideast issues) as a commentator -- and their promise in 1998 to blacklist terrorism expert Steven Emerson when Abunimah demanded it. The Institute for Middle East Understanding, an organization that shares Abunimah's views, notes that in 1996, he

... began writing Chicago's NPR station about their lack of objective coverage. Months later, NPR asked him to appear on one of their shows to comment on Clinton's bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan. Since then, Abunimah has steadily become a common voice as an expert commentator and debater offering insight into a range of topics regarding the Middle East. He has appeared on CNN, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, C-SPAN, Democracy Now!, and numerous NPR stations ...

Jeff Jacoby noted that Steven Emerson had achieved the status of "the nation's foremost expert on Islamic terrorism" when Abunimah set out to have him silenced. Abunimah first demanded an apology from NPR for having interviewed Emerson, complaining that "Mr. Emerson is a well-documented anti-Arab, anti-Muslim racist." Producer Ellen Silva humbly apologized for having allowed Emerson to speak, but that was not enough. Abunimah also wanted Emerson permanently banned. Silva replied, "You have my promise he won't be used again. It is NPR policy."

Abunimah's views provide revealing insight into the nature of commentary that meets NPR's standards. Echoing NPR foreign editor Loren Jenkins' likening of Jews to Nazis, he has denounced Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority as "quislings" who run a "Vichy-style" government, terminology that casts Israel as the Third Reich and Hamas terrorists as the heroic Resistance. He divides Palestinians into "the minority who have cast their lot in with the enemy as collaborators on the one hand, and those who uphold the right and duty to resist on the other."

On PBS' Newshour, Abuminah told interviewer Gwen Ifill that Israel's government includes "people that called for the annihilation of the Palestinian people." On the "progressive" radio show Democracy Now!, broadcast on NPR, he emphasized that "we have to recognize and celebrate the [Hamas] resistance" and claimed that "what Israel is trying to do is a massive experiment in ethnic cleansing to get rid of a million-and-a-half people who do not fit its demographic desires." (Host Amy Goodman's response to the genocide claim was simply to go on to the next question.)

The mainstreaming of Islamic extremism is also increasingly evident in the major television networks. It was truly Orwellian and surreal to see ABC World News invite Nihad Awad, Executive Director of CAIR, to sit in judgment of Juan Williams. ABC falsely identified CAIR as a civil rights organization, when in reality it has been exposed as a Hamas front group, and neglected to mention that Awad has declared, "I am a supporter of the Hamas movement."

In vivid contrast to ABC's deference toward Awad and NPR's red-carpet treatment of terror apologists, Williams has been stigmatized, demeaned, and defamed as bigoted and crazy, proving that even a soft-spoken liberal will be subjected to the Palin/O'Donnell treatment if he strays slightly from the party line. Williams sounded surprised as he described being the target of a level of intolerance -- in this case, tax-subsidized -- he did not realize existed. The one silver lining to this story is that it might cause others to awaken as he has.

Edward Olshaker is a longtime journalist whose work has appeared in The Jewish Press, History News Network, FrontPage Magazine, and other publications.

See also: How Public Is NPR's Funding?
                Will Republicans Fight to Defund 'Public Broadcasting'?
If you experience technical problems, please write to