The Qatari state-sponsored network employs anti-Israel innuendo to promote its new “undercover” documentary about Israel’s “lobbying” efforts in the US.
Not long after Al-Jazeera was accused of severe journalistic ethics breaches in connection with its reporters’ activities in Israel, the Qatari state-funded media outlet announced it will air a documentary to allegedly expose “Israeli influence” in the United States. The network claims to have placed an “undercover operative” in a pro-Israel organization in Washington, DC to “reveal how the Israel lobby in America works,” reported The Intercept, quoting Al-Jazeera‘s director of investigative journalism Clayton Swisher.
Conspiracy theories regarding Israeli plots to control Western governments remain a popular theme in Arab media and culture. Such theories frequently appear to be little more than repackaged versions of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an early 20th century anti-Semitic forgery that purported to describe a Jewish master-plan for global domination. While the hateful tract was debunked over a century ago, it remains tremendously popular in the Arab world, where leaders such as Egyptian presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat and King Faisal of Saudi Arabia endorse the work as authentic.
Al-Jazeera is no stranger to accusations of anti-Semitism. During the time period in which Al-Jazeera‘s failed American broadcasting operation collapsed, the network was slammed with a lawsuit charging the organization with sexism, discrimination, and anti-Semitism. A top official from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also recently accused Al-Jazeera of engaging in anti-Semitism, discrimination and incitement to religious hatred.
As its name implies, Al-Jazeera‘s new documentary, called “The Lobby, will take aim at the Israel advocacy community in the US, a popular boogeyman for disparate groups, from Islamic radicals to neo-Nazis. Al-Jazeera‘s Swisher was quoted in The Intercept as saying, “I hear the US is having problems with foreign interference these days, so I see no reason why the US Establishment won’t take our findings in America as seriously as the British did, unless of course Israel is somehow off limits from that debate.”
It remains to be seen whether Al Jazeera‘s documentary will provide a balanced view of lobbying efforts, or will simply peddle well-worn stereotypes related to “dual loyalties” and influence over American policy.