PBS Broadcasts Phony, Offensive ‘Both-Sides’ Narrative in Special Report from Israel

October 15th, 2023 10:44 PM

After perhaps 48 hours of sympathy for Israel after the anti-Jewish pogrom by Hamas, the pivot in the mainstream, pro-Palestinian press is afoot. The PBS NewsHour team demonstrated offensive moral equivalency in a special one-hour report titled "War in the Holy Land" on Friday, with host Amna Nawaz in Tel Aviv.

According to the opening narration, October 7 is a day of horror for Palestinians as well as Israelis, even though it was Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that runs the Gaza Strip, that invaded Israel that day.

FEMALE NARRATOR: October 7, a day now seared into the memories of Israelis and Palestinians, by air, land and sea, a surprise terrorist attack, a swift Israeli declaration of war, and a relentless campaign, thousands of Israelis and Palestinians, men, women, and children, killed, continuing attacks from Hamas, and Gaza under near-constant bombing….

PBS NewsHour host Geoff Bennett at least worked in the word “terrorist” in his introduction, but co-host Amna Nawaz made a fetish of even-handedness.

Nawaz: Geoff, one week after those brutal Hamas attacks, there is a sense of shock, grief, and uncertainty here in Israel. Just an hour south, in Gaza, there's desperation amid cuts to power and fuel and a sense of fear under a night sky lit only by relentless Israeli airstrikes. So far, at least 1,300 Israelis and 1,800 Palestinians have been killed in the past week, one week alone. We've been speaking with Israelis and Palestinians in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza in recent days, trying to understand the human impact of this latest war.

She talked to the daughter of Israeli hostage Noam Peri, then pivoted to sympathy for residents of the Gaza Strip, where the rapes and murders were celebrated.

Nawaz: An estimated 150 hostages were taken. More than 1,200 Israelis were killed. In the following days, Gaza has been under near-constant bombardment. The Israeli military has leveled entire neighborhoods. Inside Gaza, Israeli cuts mean supplies are dwindling, no water, no fuel, and food is running low. Israeli officials are blocking aid until the hostages are released. Now Israel has told more than a million Gazans to move to Southern Gaza to escape an expected ground invasion. In less than a week, the brutality of the Hamas attacks and the ferocity of the Israeli military response have already reshaped everyday life here and could reshape the region.

Nawaz continued: Life for Gaza's two million-plus residents under blockade for 16 years was already dire before this war. A U.N. official once described it as Hell on Earth. Now a punishing Israeli military bombing campaign has displaced hundreds of thousands in a matter of days.

PBS has relied on reporter Leila Molana-Allen for its war reporting, and she joined Nawaz for an extended rant about the plight of the Palestinians under Israeli counterattack, calling it “really an impossible situation and an absolute humanitarian disaster.” Remember that residents of the Gaza Strip voted Hamas into office in 2006.

Nawaz: ….There have been so many people over the years who've sat at negotiating tables and tried to work toward peaceful solutions, only to find them repeatedly dashed….I spoke to two such people today, Ehud Barak, former prime minister of Israel, and Hanan Ashrawi, a longtime Palestinian leader and adviser in the West Bank….

Ashrawi is sufficiently radical to have quit the PLO for resuming coordination with Israel and later led an anti-Semitic organization, Miftah. The show’s producers even benightedly ran an archive photo of her chatting with terrorist leader Yassir Arafat. This is PBS’s voice of reason?

Ashrawi: This is mass expulsion. This is clearly ethnic cleansing. This is a continuation of the Nakba. What they're trying to do is get rid of the Palestinians in Gaza.

Nawaz explained: The Nakba, or Catastrophe in Arabic, is the 1948 displacement of Palestinians from their homes after the founding of Israel….

The incident pro-Palestinian sources call “Nakba” was the fault of the Arab states that attacked Israel upon its founding, trying to murder the new state in the crib.

John Yang: ….In 1948, Israel declared independence, which was followed by the first of what would be many wars between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs were evicted, an event known in the Arab world as the Nakba, the Catastrophe. More than a half-million fled to refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria….

Nawaz concluded the report with more offensive even-handedness: "The week ends with death tolls mounting, violence spreading and tensions rising here in the Middle East. War moves in one direction, until leaders dare to wage peace. The question now is, will they?"

A full transcript is available here.