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|Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 12:05 pm Post subject: Media - L.A. Times violates journalistic ethics in Anaheim C
|Media - L.A. Times violates journalistic ethics in Anaheim City
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Fri Oct 27, 2006 6:33 am (PST)
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L.A. Times violates journalistic ethics in Anaheim
City Council election coverage
By Steven Emerson
Los Angeles Jewish Journal
Normally, a race for a seat on Anaheim's City Council
garners little attention beyond Anaheim. But this
year, one candidate is drawing some outside attention.
Bill Dalati, a Syrian-born insurance agent, is running
for a spot on Anaheim's City Council. His candidacy
has come under scrutiny because of his association
with a controversial organization with known links to
the Hamas terror group and his participation at a
virulently anti-Israel rally this past summer.
But the Los Angeles Times has been singularly trying
to portray the criticism of Dalati, made by Republican
Shawn Steel, as racist and unsubstantiated.
On July 29 of this year, during the war between Israel
and Hezbollah, which was set off by Hezbollah's July
12 cross-border raid and kidnapping of Israeli
soldiers, Dalati attended an anti-Israel rally in
Anaheim. In its coverage of the City Council race, the
Associated Press reported that Dalati referred to the
event merely as an "anti-war rally." And the L.A.
Times reported on Oct. 9 that Dalati "defended his
association with the rally protesting the
Israel-Lebanon conflict," quoting him as saying, "I'm
not against Jews or Christians ... I don't support
Hezbollah. I just don't believe wars solve any issues;
But the situation is not nearly as innocuous as the
L.A. Times and Associated Press would have one
believe. The Anaheim protest was about anything but
"love." The rally was not merely "anti-war" and the
attendees were not merely "protesting the
Israel-Lebanon conflict." The event in question was
billed by the American Arab Anti-Discrimination
Committee, one of the sponsors of the demonstration,
as a "Rally Against U.S.-Israeli Terror in Palestine &
Lebanon," hardly a neutral, let alone credible
Although the rally drew little mainstream media
attention, what little coverage there was whitewashed
the content of the demonstration, giving cover for the
AP, the L.A. Times and Dalati himself to downplay the
nature of the event.
Fortunately, a participant at the rally created a
slideshow of the demonstration, posted on YouTube,
which shows various demonstrators carrying such signs
as "Israel Likes Killing Kids," "Killing Kids Is Not
Self Defense" and "End the U.S.-Israeli War," as well
as the more typical signs seen at various anti-Israel
protests, such as "Stop Israeli War Crimes" and "$134
Billion US Taxes To Israel -- Enough."
Whatever one thinks of American foreign policy and
support for Israel, the July rally cannot be fairly
described either as simply "anti-war" or just
"protesting the Israel-Lebanon conflict."
There were no signs indicating any disapproval of
Hezbollah's actions -- the capture of Israeli soldiers
-- which started the war, nor were there any signs
indicating any disapproval of Hezbollah's
indiscriminate shelling of Israeli towns with Katusha
rockets (packed with scrap metal and ball bearings to
cause as much damage to humans as possible), nor any
condemnation of Hezbollah's use of civilians as human
shields in Lebanon. There were no signs indicating any
disapproval of the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad
Shalit by Palestinian militants and no calls for Hamas
-- now the majority in the Palestinian government --
to moderate its stance rejecting the existence of
Israel to help pave the way for peace.
Yet, the L.A. Times again came to the defense of
Dalati on Oct. 13, in falsely describing this rally in
evenhanded terms as a "rally protesting the
In the original story on Dalati, the L.A. Times also
refers to Dalati's support of and association with the
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR),
describing the organization as it often describes
itself: "the largest Muslim civil rights group in the
country" and stating uncritically that CAIR is
"largely viewed as a mainstream organization." In the
second L.A. Times story, the newspaper drops any
pretension of reportorial objectivity in its embrace
of CAIR: "The largest Muslim civil rights group in the
country, CAIR is widely viewed as mainstream and helps
the FBI in combating terrorism."
While CAIR may call itself the "largest Muslim civil
rights group" in America, the Times completely ignores
CAIR's well-documented history of extremism,
anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism, as well as its
origins in a now-defunct group, the Islamic
Association for Palestine (IAP), an organization that
was a losing defendant in a $156 million civil
judgment related to the Hamas murder of an American
citizen. In the case, the judge noted that there is
"evidence that IAP provided material support to
Similarly, during a 1994 speech at Florida's Barry
University, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad stated,
"I am in support of the Hamas movement." Awad was the
public relations director of IAP before founding CAIR.
And this is what Awad said six years later, on Oct.
28, 2000, in a Washington, D.C., anti-Israeli rally:
"Brothers and sisters, we are at least 8 million
people, but there are 265 million people in this
country who have been deceived, who have been
misinformed, who have been intimidated by a small
group of people who have been hijacking the political
Additionally, several CAIR officials have been
convicted on terrorist-related charges. One of them,
Randall "Ismail" Royer, CAIR's former communications
specialist, trained to fight with Lashkar-e-Taiba, a
designated foreign terrorist organization, against
Indian forces in the disputed territory of Kashmir.
Royer pled guilty to weapons and explosives charges
and was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the
notorious "Virginia jihad" case.
A founding board member of CAIR-Texas, Ghassan Elashi,
is in even greater legal trouble than Royer. Elashi
was convicted on a variety of charges in July 2004,
including violating the Libyan Sanctions Regulations,
and he was found guilty in April 2005 of a
Hamas-related money laundering conspiracy, handling
money of top Hamas official, the Damascus-based Musa
Abu Marzook. Elashi is awaiting his sentencing for
both convictions (Elashi's brother, Bayan, was
sentenced to seven years in prison on Oct. 11, 2006,
for his role in laundering money for Hamas). And
Ghassan Elashi is still awaiting another trial, slated
to begin in 2007, for his leadership role in the
Hamas-linked "charity," the Holy Land Foundation for
Relief and Development, a Texas-based organization
shut down in 2001 for allegedly funneling millions of
dollars to Hamas.
CAIR has defended Marzook, participating in his legal
defense fund when he was arrested in the United
States, as well as including his arrest in its annual
catalog of hate crimes against Muslims. CAIR's defense
of, and links to, anti-Semitic individuals is also
unfortunate and extensive.
CAIR officials have defended radical Egyptian cleric
Wagdy Ghoneim, who at a May 24, 1998, CAIR
co-sponsored rally at Brooklyn College in New York,
led the audience in a song with the lyrics: "No to the
Jews, descendants of the apes."
Ghoneim gave numerous speeches in the United States
calling for suicide bombings. Hussam Ayloush, CAIR's
Southern California director quoted in the L.A. Times
article, was one of Ghoneim's staunchest defenders,
calling Ghoneim's decision to forgo fighting
deportation proceedings for overstaying his visa and
voluntarily leave the United States "a dent in our
civil rights struggle," and "[t]he whole Muslim
community today is under a microscope of scrutiny.
Committing a mistake that would invite a slap on the
wrist for anyone else could lead to prison or
deportation for a Muslim."
At the time, Ghoneim had already been denied entry
into Canada because of his links to Hamas and the
Muslim Brotherhood. Similarly, CAIR officials have
also vigorously defended Palestinian Islamic Jihad
operative Sami al-Arian, who has referred to Jews as
"monkeys and pigs."
As for CAIR helping the FBI in counterterrorism,
consider this exchange in Los Angeles on Sept. 7,
2006, in a press conference featuring various Islamic
groups, including CAIR, and a representative of the
FBI, Warren Bamford. A reporter asked Bamford whether
the dialogue with the Islamic groups helped in the
investigations the FBI was conducting. "At this time,
I don't have any specific recollection of any times
that it has helped our investigations." In point of
fact, CAIR actively obstructs FBI investigations by
issuing warnings against talking to the FBI and
portraying the war on terrorism as a "war against
Dalati was also criticized by a rival candidate for
endorsing former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.).
McKinney espoused virulent anti-American and
anti-Israeli conspiracy theories, so much so that even
fellow Democrats repudiated her. But the L.A. Times
simply referred to McKinney as "a liberal Democrat who
has been critical of President Bush and the Iraq War."
This makes McKinney sound mainstream, the equivalent
of describing David Duke as "critical of U.S. foreign
Dalati may understandably want to whitewash CAIR's
extremism, the rally in which he participated and
Cynthia McKinney's record. But given the ability to
check the veracity of such claims, the L.A. Times'
embrace of this revisionist history is a violation of
all journalistic ethics. The L.A. Times has the
resources to research the organization but instead
choose just to parrot its propaganda.
Dalati's characterization of the July 26 Anaheim rally
as merely "anti-war," however, is cause for concern,
and his candidacy is rightly drawing a higher level of
scrutiny and attention than the average race for a
seat on Anaheim's City Council.
JUDEA & SAMARIA are clear and unquestionably JEWISH!
MiddleEast Political Expressions