Media monitors have long decried how some Western “journalists” sound more like political activists working for the al-Qaeda PR department.
Take the case of Abdul Bari Atwan, a popular foreign affairs analyst who seems quite moderate when appearing on BBC and CNN. Yet in his day job as editor of the Arabic daily, Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Bari Atwan reveals a decidedly different slant. When a Palestinian terrorist killed eight teenagers in a Jerusalem school, Bari Atwan called the attack “justified” and described the celebrations in Gaza that followed the massacre as symbolizing the “courage of the Palestinian nation.”1
BBC brushed off Bari Atwan’s anti-Israel oratory.
When presented with this information, Adrian Wells, head of foreign news at Sky-TV where Bari Atwan is a frequent analyst, said dryly: “It is not our policy to comment on what contributors may or may not say on other channels.” A BBC spokesman similarly brushed off Bari Atwan’s anti-Israel oratory by saying that “BBC is required to explore a range of views, so that no significant strand of thought is knowingly unreflected or underrepresented.”2
It is impossible to imagine BBC being so cavalier had the shoe been on the other foot – if one of its Jewish correspondents had come out in favor of massacring Palestinians.
Bari Atwan was at it again last week, coming out in favor of Palestinians abducting Israeli soldiers.3
Meanwhile, Bari Atwan continues to be a guest commentator for the mainstream Western media, where his anti-Israel and anti-Western ideology gains a “legitimate” platform.
This is the same Bari Atwan who was welcomed by Osama Bin Laden into his secret Afghanistan cave for an exclusive interview.4
The same Bari Atwan who was paid thousands of dollars every month by Libya’s Gaddafi.5
The same Bari Atwan who expressed the hope that Palestinian violence would “mark the countdown to Israel’s destruction.”6
On the Iranian nuclear issue, Bari Atwan told a Lebanese TV station: “If the Iranian missiles strike Israel, by Allah, I will go to [London’s] Trafalgar Square and dance with delight.”7
Now in June 2013, Bari Atwan has stooped to a new low. Questioned on Egyptian TV whether he considers Osama bin Laden a “terrorist, Bari Atwan replied:
"Whoever fights the American enterprise in this region... is not considered a terrorist by me."8
Keep this all in mind the next time you see Bari Atwan offering one of his “expert commentaries” in the mainstream Western media.
- 1 Jonny Paul, “London Arabic Daily Editor: Mercaz Harav Attack was ‘Justified,’” Jerusalem Post, March 16, 2008.
- Jonny Paul, “London Editor Prays for Nuclear Attack on Israel,” Jerusalem Post, August 28, 2007; Tom Gross, “BBC and Sky News Analyst Praises Jerusalem Yeshiva Massacre,” Tomgrossmedia.com, March 20, 2008.
- "Abbas and the New Betrayal: ‘economic Peace’," bariatwan.com.
- Abdul Bari Atwan, “Inside Osama’s Mountain Lair,” The Guardian (UK), November 12, 2001.
- "Secret Documents from Libyan Intelligence Reveal Abdel Bari Atwan Received Money from Gaddafi," Palestine Press News Agency, September 15, 2011.
- Paul, “London Arabic Daily Editor: Mercaz Harav Attack was ‘Justified.’”
- ANB-TV (Lebanon), June 27, 2007; cited in “Abd Al-Bari Atwan, Editor-in-Chief of Al-Quds Al-Arabi: If Iranian Missiles Hit Israel, I Will Dance in Trafalgar Square,” Memritv.org.
- "Abd Al-Bari Atwan: Bin Laden Was Only Half a Terrorist," Memritv.org, June 6, 2013.