It’s not often that the story of Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation gets told in a fair way to American consumers of media, but today on MSNBC‘s “Morning Joe” that’s exactly what happened. Queen Noor of Jordan was a guest on the show, promoting the powerful documentary “Budrus,” which tells the story of how the West Bank village of Budrus successfully beat back Israeli attempts to confiscate Palestinian land as part of the Israeli effort to build a “separation barrier,” which was ruled to be illegal by the International Court of Justice in a 2004 advisory opinion.
Noor gets these often-squelched messages out on MSNBC: that Israel confiscates Palestinian land; that Israelis, Palestinians and internationals can work together in a common pursuit of justice; that Israel has imprisoned the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza; and that Israel is cracking down on the growing nonviolent resistance movement against the wall. After discussing the growing crackdown on Palestinian dissent, Noor asks, “are [Israelis] trying to reach a peaceful settlement? Because these are their partners.” These messages are not something you often hear voiced on corporate television.
Unfotunately, after Noor asks that question, host Joe Scarborough launches into tired cliches about Hamas, asking how Israel is expected to make peace when “next door” is a movement that “doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist” and whose “stated goal is to drive them into the sea.”
Scarborough has some problems with the facts about Hamas. As I wrote in the July 2010 issue of Extra!, the magazine of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting:
The truth about Hamas is much more nuanced than what corporate media repeat. While it is true that the 1988 founding charter of Hamas includes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and calls for the establishment of an Islamic state in all of historic Palestine, Hamas’ leadership has largely abandoned that rhetoric. In the run-up to the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, Hamas dropped its call for the destruction of Israel from its manifesto (Guardian, 1/12/06).
In recent years, leaders of the Islamist movement have stated that Hamas is ready to make peace with Israel as long as a settlement is based on full sovereignty in the 1967 borders, East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital and the right of return for Palestinian refugees—positions that have their basis in international law and United Nations resolutions. Israeli daily Ha’aretz (11/9/08) reported that “the Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, said…his government was willing to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.” And Khaled Meshal, the head of Hamas’ political wing, recently said (Charlie Rose Show, 5/28/10) that “Hamas accepts a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967 with its capital Jerusalem and with the right of return.”
Still, regardless of Scarborough’s inaccurate questions, it’s important that Noor was on MSNBC getting out those vitally important messages.
And go see Budrus. It’s really excellent.