June 18, 2019

Al Jazeera Suspends Journalists Over Holocaust Video

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Al Jazeera announced on May 19 that they are suspending two journalists due to a since-deleted video posted to the network’s Arabic Twitter account stating that “Israel is the biggest winner from the Holocaust.”

The Al Jazeera AT + Arabic account reportedly tweeted out the video with the caption, “Gas ovens killed millions of Jews, that’s how the novel says. What is the truth of the #holocaust and how did the Zionist movement benefit from it?” The video, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, features host Muna Hawwa stating, “The narrative that six million Jews were killed by the Nazi movement was adopted by the Zionist movement, and it is being reiterated every year on the so-called ‘Holocaust Memorial Day.’”

She goes on to state that Jews weren’t the only victims of the Holocaust, but the focus is on the Jewish victims because “Jewish groups had financial resources, media institutions, research centers, and academic voices that managed to put a special spotlight on the Jewish victims of the Nazis. Nevertheless, the number of victims of the Holocaust remains one of the most prominent historical debates to this day.”

Hawwa then says that there are some “who accuse the Zionist movement of blowing [the Holocaust] out of proportion in the service of the plan to establish what would later be known as the ‘State of Israel.’” She concludes the video by saying that “Israel is the biggest winner from the Holocaust, and it uses the same Nazi justifications as a launching pad for the racial cleansing and annihilation of the Palestinians.”

According to The Wrap, Al Jazeera issued a press release May 19 stating two of their journalists had been suspended over the video and that the video was published due to a lack of “oversight”; the journalists were not identified and the duration of the suspensions was not specified.

“Al Jazeera completely disowns the offensive content in question,” Dr. Yaser Bishr, executive director of Al Jazeera’s digital division, said in a statement.

Mehdi Hasan, a presenter for Al Jazeera’s English network, tweeted, “As someone who has spent my life slamming antisemitic Holocaust denialism, esp in Muslim communities, glad to see Al Jazeera bosses taking disciplinary action against 2 of their journos for a ridiculously offensive and dumb video – and disowning it, too.”

However, others, such as writer Ariel Sobel, tweeted that “Al Jazeera has always been anti-Semitic.”

Seth Frantzman, the Jerusalem Post’s Op-ed editor, wrote in a May 20 piece that Twitter has disabled the video from all accounts that shared it, “claiming it infringes Al Jazeera’s copyright.”