New York — The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is appalled that U.S. taxpayer-financed al-Hurra television — created to showcase the American political process and draw attention to needed reforms in the Arab world — is serving as a forum for terrorists and their sympathizers to espouse violence and hatred of America and Israel. In an exposÃ© in the Wall Street Journal on March 12, 2007, Joel Mowbray explained how al-Hurra’s new director, Larry Register, who once served as a CNN International editor in Jerusalem, one month into his tenure at al-Hurra, reversed a ban on terrorists as guests. The Journal reports that, according to one al-Hurra staffer, Register aims to “pander to Arab sympathies” to win viewers and compete with the widely-popular al-Jazeera.
- On November 26, 2006, al-Hurra aired an interview with a self-professed al-Qaeda operative who praised Osama bin Laden and said that the 9/11 attacks had brought him joy because they rubbed “America’s nose in the dust.”
- On December 7, 2006, al-Hurra aired 45 minutes of a live speech by Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah, whose group is responsible for the murder of hundreds of Americans and Israelis. Nasrallah told his audience to aim their bullets at the “chests of their enemies…the Israelis.” Speeches by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah have also aired.
- On February 9, 2007, al-Hurra carried two hours’ coverage of Arab protests of Israeli construction near Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque, forty minutes more air-time than al-Jazeera. On-air guests vilified Israel and falsely charged it with “plans” to destroy the Mosque. A UN agency, on March 14, said the ongoing construction poses no threat.
- This year, the Department of State’s annual human rights report received scant attention on al-Hurra, even though it had been treated as major news in years past.
ZOA President Morton A. Klein said: “The Broadcasting Board of Governors, the Congressionally-created panel charged with overseeing al-Hurra, must not allow its new manager, Mr. Register, to have this sort of pro-terror, anti-U.S., anti-Israel programming. This type of programming will only encourage terrorism, prolong the U.S. war against Islamic radicalism, and increase the likelihood that the Arabs will continue to refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist. The New York Times reported, on March 15, 2007, that al-Hurra “‘has not been a success'” We urge Congress to hold hearings to expose al-Hurra’s disturbing agenda and to demand adherence to its founding mission. It must ensure that the network serves its intended purpose, to showcase the benefits of democracy and need for reform in the Arab world.”