Khalil Jahshan on Israel, Palestine and Objective Reporting in US Media

Published May 27th, 2019 - 09:21 GMT
Khalil Jahshan is founder of the Arab Center in Washington DC
Khalil Jahshan is founder of the Arab Center in Washington DC

"Western media is quite open and is influenced by involvement with regards to the source of the information. Thus, if the Arab side, in any conflict [including the Arab-Israeli conflict], is truly proactive and is really circulating their version of the story and actually reaching out to the media, then their input gets reflected... Here."


On May 5th, amidst the continuous unfair crossfire between Gaza and Israel, FOX News reported that "four Israeli civilians were killed" while "23 Palestinians died," including "two pregnant women, a 12-year-old boy and two infants." In the past, western media would not have even acknowledge the fact that Palestinians even existed, let alone acknowledge the inhumanity that was being forced upon them which begs a question.

Since when have western media, particularly outlets that continuously report from a biased standpoint, become so transparent that they themselves identify their own ally as the oppressor? Khalil Jahshan, founder of the Arab Center in Washington, D.C., had a rather optimistic view on the situation, peering at it from an extremely progressive point of view.

"Frankly, media coverage of events in Palestine, particularly when it pertains to military clashes between Israelis and Palestinians, has never really been objective and has not yet reached a level of total objectivity," Jahshan stated. "Occasionally, we do see individual reports that tend to be more objective than others but that tends to be more in the news coverage than in the editorial."

"Frankly, media coverage of events in Palestine, particularly when it pertains to military clashes between Israelis and Palestinians, has never really been objective and has not yet reached a level of total objectivity," Jahshan stated. "Occasionally, we do see individual reports that tend to be more objective than others but that tends to be more in the news coverage than in the editorial."

Which was exactly the scenario in this situation. Sadly, all this does is baffle the public and perplex them with further questions: Should they believe what they hear or should they believe what they've been taught, expected, and brainwashed to believe?

"This is why we, as Arabs, have had difficulty over the years matching the Israeli side… They are very sophisticated in terms of their media coverage. Unfortunately for them, they're also lazy in the sense that they automatically assume that western media will 'always' be biased towards them. It's the 21st century... The media is no longer as biased as it used to be and so the Israelis have to work harder for it. To our dismay, they're still working harder than us."

As a long-time observer of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, Jahshan has witnessed the long and gradual progress that western media outlets have undergone to reach this point and sees it for what it really is:

"Western media is lazy; it basically takes the perspective of the active parties. Hence, if there are two fighting parties and one is active while the other is passive, the active party is the only one that gets its point of view across."

"Western media is lazy; it basically takes the perspective of the active parties. Hence, if there are two fighting parties and one is active while the other is passive, the active party is the only one that gets its point of view across."

"The objectivity of the media is in the eye of the beholder, and if you're an older beholder like myself, you see the progress. If you've only been observing the media for less than a decade, then you don't really see the graph as fluctuating; going up and down."

With these words, Jahshan is simply highlighting the truth of the matter: many Arabs take for granted just how unbiased western media can be due to the coverage that these certain Arab individuals decide on focusing on. Instead, they should acknowledge how far western media has progressed.

“Facts are facts. Today, we get better coverage because no one can distort the facts anymore. The people can no longer be deceived by a ‘fact’ sheet that’s being distributed by a singular side by some ministry in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem or receive their dictate from the Israeli embassy in Washington or the consulate in New York.”

However, this may still be the case…

During an ‘unofficial’ meeting at the United Nations on May 9, Security Council members Indonesia, South Africa, and Kuwait requested Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki’s presence, along with other critics of Israel, to speak on behalf of the Palestinians.

Unsurprisingly, U.S. President Donald Trump’s envoy for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, made a surprise cameo and referred to the assignation as “baffling and disappointing.” Jahshan responded to Greenblatt’s comments by focusing on the U.S. official’s puppet masters.

“This administration feels that the UN is biased against Israel; that everything that's conducted in the UN, pertaining to the Arab-Israeli conflict, is against Israel. Greenblatt, on behalf of the U.S., seems to be confused as to whether they are representing the interest of their country or the interest of Israel,” Jahshan noted. “Sadly, this isn’t new… Many administrations before have successively portrayed that type of attitude but much less than this administration, which has basically made an art form of its bias towards Israel.”

... Many administrations before have successively portrayed that type of attitude but much less than this administration, which has basically made an art form of its bias towards Israel.”

Hopefully though, readers and viewers, along with journalists alike, can now begin fixing their sights on western outlets that concentrate on the truth which is staring everyone in the face.

“Seeing is believing… That's the reflection that we are seeing in [some of] the coverage and that is what is making us notice that western media coverage is getting better because there are journalists in the U.S. that actually report what they see. Hence, it's the truth that is being reflected rather than the quality of the coverage,” Jahshan humbly concluded.


Khalil Jahshan is founder of the Arab Center in Washington DC. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Al Bawaba News.


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