U.S. cable companies aren’t budging on Al Jazeera

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At a recent event on the Middle East at Harvard, Ayman Mohyeldin, an Al Jazeera journalist, responded to a question about Al Jazeera on US cable systems. He said that the cable companies were out of arguments against carrying AJ, but still wouldn’t budge. From company gossip about the negotiations, which he doesn’t attend, he said that the cable companies say “there is no market”. But the negotiators then show that AJ viewership in the US, online and on community access cable, has grown 25-fold in recent months. So there is a market, alongside the cooking channels. The cable companies then say that AJ is “too controversial.”  The AJ negotiators then show video of Hilary Clinton praising AJ. Still the cable companies won’t budge. Something is keeping them from embracing AJ.

I spoke privately with an academic critic of the US-Israel relationship who was in the room. I asked if he had thought of organizing a symposium on the US-Israel relationship. He immediately dismissed it, saying: “There would be so much institutional pressure; the Israeli consul general would have to be invited; there would be three guys from Washington; it would be impossible and we couldn’t say anything. I’ll just work individually.”  Pretty much those words.

A while back another scholar spoke at MIT on the US-Israel relationship on whether US and Isaeli interests were “converging or diverging.”  The talk was something of a damp squib. He spoke in generalities about what the US and Israel want, and avoided a question about Israel’s liability or damage to US interests; of the UN Security Council resolution against settlements, just vetoed by the US, he opined that it would reassure Israel and lead to concessions.

Zionism is active cultural wallpaper, floats off the walls and wraps and smothers us, prevents us from knowing what we do abroad, leaves us no reason to change, only to continue killing and destroying.

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