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Google’s Terrorist News Source By: Daveed Gartenstein-Ross
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, April 14, 2006

Al-Manar Television has served as the terrorist group Hizballah’s official mouthpiece for the past fifteen years. Its mission is to spread Hizballah’s revolutionary ideology and engage in “effective psychological warfare” against Israel; along the way, al-Manar also took the time to incite its viewers to violence against U.S. troops in Iraq. For its efforts, the U.S. Department of the Treasury listed al-Manar as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity. So why is al-Manar a featured source on Google News?

The definitive study on al-Manar, Beacon of Hatred: Inside Hizballah’s al-Manar Television, was written by Avi Jorisch and published by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in 2004. The research performed for the monograph was impeccable. Washington Institute staff recorded and analyzed hundreds of hours of primetime al-Manar programming, and Jorisch conducted a number of interviews at al-Manar’s headquarters in Lebanon, as well as at the offices of other Lebanese TV stations and al-Jazeera’s headquarters in Qatar.

Even a cursory look at Jorisch’s study makes clear why it is so disturbing that Google has selected al-Manar as one of its news sources. Al-Manar has a history of propagandizing for Hizballah and promoting violence against the United States and Israel. Hizballah has openly called for violence against American forces in Iraq, and al-Manar’s programming has accordingly incited violence and hatred toward Americans. Jorisch provides many examples of this, but most striking is a music video that has been broadcast over al-Manar:

Al-Manar has also broadcast explicit calls for acts of resistance against U.S. forces in Iraq. One video lambastes U.S. troops in Iraq with the following lyrics: “Down with the mother of terrorism! America threatens in vain, an occupying army of invaders. Nothing remains but rifles and suicide bombers.” The video ends with an image of a suicide bomber’s belt detonating.

Al-Manar also calls for the destruction of Israel. One video featuring Hizballah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah makes this desire crystal clear:

In it, he challenges fellow Arabs to account for what they have personally done to liberate Palestine and Jerusalem. Population figures for each Arab country are listed, and the video ends with big letters that read, “Population of the Arab world: 300 million Arabs. Occupied Palestine: 5 million Jews. What are you waiting for?” The clear message to viewers is that the Arab world should encounter no difficulty in destroying Israel through sheer numbers alone.

Consistent with its desire to see Israel destroyed, al-Manar openly supports acts of terror against Israelis. The programming frequently praises suicide bombers, and indeed, Jorisch writes that “station officials maintain that one of al-Manar’s aims is to promote suicide missions. The station also strives to ensure that the families of suicide bombers know that they will be compensated for their loss.”

Nor is this advocacy of violence limited to Israelis: Many al-Manar guests portray all Jews as part of a sinister conspiracy to dominate the world. As Sheikh Taha al-Sabounji, the head mufti of northern Lebanon, said on al-Manar: “Judaism is a project against all humanity. It is about time the world understands this. Those who are fighting Israel are not just defending themselves; they are defending the whole world. They are protecting all the future generations of humanity. If they don't believe this, then they should read in the Jewish books what is written about Islam, Christianity, about Jesus and Muhammad. It’s our job as Muslims to call upon the Christian world to rise up and become aware of what the Jews are doing. . . . There is no such thing as Zionism . . . . There is only Judaism.” And Nasrallah stated on a different show, “If they [Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”

It isn’t as though Google News lacks criteria for source selection. In fact, their exclusion of certain sources has been cause for controversy in the past. For example, Michelle Malkin noted in February 2005 that the exclusion of her blog and Little Green Footballs from Google News seemed hypocritical in light of Google News’s inclusion of Democratic Underground and the truly malicious uruknet.info. (The Google team allegedly decided not to include Malkin’s blog because it was “written and maintained by a single individual,” while rejecting Little Green Footballs as purely a news aggregator.)

But most noteworthy among the sites turned down for inclusion in Google News is Alain’s Newsletter, a rather obscure right-wing website. While the decision to exclude Alain’s Newsletter from Google News is warranted for quality reasons alone, the explanation that the Google team provided is quite telling: “We’ve reviewed your site and cannot include it in Google News at this time. While we make an effort to provide a well-rounded perspective on controversial topics by including sites that represent contrasting points of view, we do not include sites that contain hate speech.” But if Hizballah’s al-Manar isn’t hate speech, then surely nothing is.

Reasonable minds can differ about the relative merits of MichelleMalkin.com, Little Green Footballs and Democratic Underground for inclusion in Google News. But the inclusion of al-Manar – itself a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity, and an unrelenting supporter of attacks against Americans and Israelis – is indefensible.

The bottom line, though, is that Google is a publicly traded company and thus susceptible to public pressure. Readers who wish to take concrete action should send a polite but firm e-mail to source-suggestions@google.com encouraging al-Manar’s removal as a Google News source.

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