One of my first media interviews as the new Executive Director of JINSA, was with Al-Jazeera English TV, (AJ), based in Washington, D.C.
It went fairly well, and is worth a moment of commentary.
AJ called our office and at first I was unsure about participating, because their editorial view and guests are not exactly strongly in support of American global leadership in a dangerous world, nor the U.S. – Israel strategic relationship.
In the pre-interview conversation, I had to correct a few misconceptions as they prepared for a long panel discussion about the Jewish vote and the 2012 election. One positive result of engaging was that they advertised the segment as a conversation about the Pro-Israel community, not just the Jewish community. I calmly made the point that millions of Christians stand by Israel and this formed the basis of my first answer to the question posed of me on air.
They would not reveal my fellow panelists until air time. I discovered one was a rather aggressive leftist who thinks the U.S. should deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The other panelist was none other than Professor John Mearsheimer, who wrote a widely discredited book full of conspiracy theories about the “Israel Lobby”.
Whoa. So now I am on Al-Jazeera, against 2 experienced anti-Israel advocates. A bit of a set-up?
No matter. I knew the huge audience for the show Inside Story was tens of millions of Muslims who probably are never given a thoughtful communication by a pro-Israel American patriot. They often hear from American leftists, panderers to Arab tyrants, and critics of all things U.S. military.
I focused on one point in particular during the discussion: Israel is 1/6th of 1 percent the land of the Middle East. So much for aggressive, expansionistic Israel.
I doubt most viewers ever hear that one simple fact. Or that some of the early American founders built our nation speaking Hebrew, and modeled upon the Exodus.
After the show, and once it was posted on various websites, the link to the interview attracted a range of bizarre and crazy anti-Israel comments.
That can only mean some are very upset that U.S. policy is strongly pro-Israel; the point of the segment, actually.
Al-Jazeera was pleasant to work with, and by having me on, gave the pro-America, pro-Israel voice a platform, even if outnumbered.
In return, I was patient and gracious in the face of some pretty ideological challenge to our mainstream worldview.
It is important to address this audience with facts and reason. I hope they have me back.