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When Mike Wallace questioned Israeli story of ’90 massacre, he got called into the owner’s office

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The late Mike Wallace was often called a “self-hating Jew,” and it seems clear from his obits that it didn’t really bother him. Community loyalty wasn’t big on his list.

In this book of Jewish proclamations inspired by the last words of Daniel Pearl, Wallace says he got along better with Gaddafi and Arafat than he did with Menachem Begin. It appears that at least three of his four wives were not Jewish, and in this obit at the Forward, Barry Lando shows how Mike Wallace seems to have agreed with anti-Zionist Rabbi Elmer Berger that Jewish nationalism imposed a dual loyalty claim on Jews. Lando excerpts a 1958 interview of Abba Eban:

Wallace: Now then, Mr. Eban, regarding the American Jew and the State of Israel, the anti-Zionist rabbi, Dr. Elmer Berger, has written, “The Zionist-Israeli axis imposes upon Jews outside of Israel, Americans of Jewish faith included, a status of double-nationality,” a status which he deplores…. Your own Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion wrote back in 1953, “When a Jew in America speaks of our government to his fellow Jews, he usually means the government of Israel, while the Jewish public in various countries view the Israeli ambassadors as their own representatives.”

Wallace: Would a Jew, in your estimation, be any less a Jew if he were opposed to Zionism and to Israel?

Eban: In my own personal interpretation, I would say that a man who opposed the State of Israel and the great movement which brought it about would be in revolt against the most constructive and creative events in the life of the Jewish people.

Wallace: But Judaism is a religion, sir.


I keep saying that I want to change American Jewish identity because we won’t change American policy without changing the Jews; Jews are just too powerful in American establishment. And my thesis is amply demonstrated by another anecdote in the Barry Lando obit, where he shows how prevalent Jews are in the media, emphasizing that CBS is owned by a Jew, that many of the network’s producers are Jewish, and that Wallace’s social circle was Jewish too.

Lando explores an episode Linda Lotz described the other day here: Mike Wallace’s role in exposing an Israeli massacre of Palestinians on the Haram al Sharif in 1990. Lando, himself Jewish, was a producer on the story: 

But the one piece involving Mike that sparked the widest outrage involved the deaths of 17 Palestinians, shot down by Israeli police on Jerusalem’s ultra-sensitive Temple Mount (called Haram al Sharif in Arabic) on October 8, 1990.

The immediate version of the bloody incident, as proclaimed by the Israeli government and accepted by almost all major media, was that the police had gunned down the Palestinians only after the Palestinians, egged on by their imams, began heaving rocks at Jews praying at the Western Wall, which lay below the confines of the Temple Mount.

Yet, as our “60 Minutes” piece showed — using footage actually shot at the time — the Palestinian charges were accurate: There were no Jews praying at the Wall when the rocks started sailing over…

The tsunami of protest hit us immediately…

Larry Tisch, a major American backer of Israel who also happened to own CBS, summoned Mike and “60 Minutes” Executive Producer Don Hewitt (also Jewish) to a fraught breakfast meeting to defend our report, fact by fact.

Mike and Don wound up in a shouting match at an A-list dinner party with real estate and publishing mogul Mort Zuckerman, literary agent Morton Janklow and Barbara Walters …

Several other Jewish producers at “60 Minutes” made clear their displeasure; even a cousin of mine, a leading American backer of Israel’s Likud party, wrote CBS and demanded that I be fired.

I’ve always wondered why Walt and Mearsheimer’s book never appeared on “60 Minutes.”….

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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18 Responses

  1. lysias on April 12, 2012, 10:40 am

    Eban’s reply to Wallace’s

    Wallace: But Judaism is a religion, sir.

    was a classic of diplomatic obfuscation:

    Eban: It is a religion, and it is a peoplehood, and it is a civilization, and it is a faith, and it is a memory; it is a world of thought and of spirit and of action, and it cannot be restrictively defined.

    • seafoid on April 12, 2012, 11:24 am

      It is also a bagel, a gefilte fisch and no good at soccer.

      • Dan Crowther on April 12, 2012, 12:01 pm

        Its ANYTHING you want it to be, Mikey – didnt you get the memo?!?!

    • RoHa on April 12, 2012, 7:46 pm

      In what sense is it a civilization?

  2. Kathleen on April 12, 2012, 10:48 am

    “I’ve always wondered why Walt and Mearsheimer’s book never appeared on “60 Minutes.”….”

    60 minutes has opened up a bit on the I/P issue the last five years but not much. And no matter how hard you try Wallace may have gone out on the edge of this issue once or twice. But he and 60 minutes towed the silence on this issue line for decades

    • LanceThruster on April 12, 2012, 11:14 am

      Too much of what passes for “journalism” these days seems more of a case of not biting the hand that feeds them. Imagine if MW (Mike Wallace, not Mondo Weiss) did one of his “gotcha” segements on how the media coddles Israel, and exposed their motivations.

      In the docudrama, “The Insider” (about the role of big tobacco killing a story about the manipulation of the addictive compounds in cigarettes), Mr. Wallace did not come off as a principled maverick (that was Pacino’s character), but as someone rationalizing how not running the truth was the right thing to do.

      MacReady: How you doin’, old boy?
      Dr. Blair: I don’t know who to trust.
      MacReady: [swallows, sighs] I know what you mean, Blair. Trust’s a tough thing to come by these days. Tell you what – Why don’t you just trust in the Lord?

      • LanceThruster on April 12, 2012, 11:45 am

        Trust quote above from John Carpenter’s “The Thing”

        Here’s a couple from “the Insider”

        Mike Wallace: Do me a favor, will you – spare me, for God’s sake, get in the real world, what do you think? I’m going to resign in protest? To force it on the air? The answer’s “no”. I don’t plan to spend the end of my days wandering in the wilderness of National Public Radio. That decision I’ve already made.


        Mike Wallace: In the real world, when you get to where I am, there are other considerations.
        Lowell Bergman: Like what? Corporate responsibility? What, are we talking celebrity here?
        Mike Wallace: I’m not talking celebrity, vanity, CBS. I’m talking about when you’re nearer the end of your life than the beginning. Now, what do you think you think about then? The future? In the future I’m going to do this? Become that? What future? No. What you think is “How will I be regarded in the end?” After I’m gone. Now, along the way I suppose I made some minor impact. I did Iran-Gate and the Ayatollah, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Saddam, Sadat, etcetera, etcetera. I showed them thieves in suits. I’ve spent a lifetime building all that. But history only remembers most what you did last. And should that be fronting a segment that allowed a tobacco giant to crash this network? Does it give someone at my time of life pause? Yeah.

    • Chu on April 12, 2012, 11:54 am

      “I’ve always wondered why Walt and Mearsheimer’s book never appeared on “60 Minutes.”….”

      may be b/c Les Mooves, CEO and President of CBS, has stake in Israel. Moonves is the great-nephew of David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel. I would think if the CEO has this bond to a developing country, he will put those in charge at CBS [especially 60 Minutes] to carefully watch that overtly harsh criticism of Israel is forbidden and filtered.

  3. BradAllen on April 12, 2012, 10:50 am

    As I mentioned in a previous post, journalism is rotting and journalists are now nothing more than “reporters” where the regugitate what their owners want them to say.

    I love that line, i also have used it many times, “But Judaism is a religion, sir”. Seems like many people seem to forget this fact. Especially when they say this is a war between arabs and jews, the irony that arabs can also be jews, becuase, … Judaism is a religion, sir.

    Mike will be missed, so will this brave lady after the lobby takes her apart. Seems like some politicians, women any way, have more “cohones” than most of those in the house.

  4. eljay on April 12, 2012, 11:38 am

    >> Wallace: But Judaism is a religion, sir.


  5. lysias on April 12, 2012, 11:39 am

    And now CBS has on a Ben Stein to deliver propaganda against Iran.

  6. andrew r on April 12, 2012, 1:01 pm

    I keep saying that I want to change American Jewish identity because we won’t change American policy without changing the Jews; Jews are just too powerful in American establishment.

    Just once I’d like remarks along this line to be accompanied by some comparative study: How powerful are Italians, Irish and other immigrant communities who at one point were not considered “white” for the purpose of immigration quotas? Last time I checked Rupert “Billionaire Tyrant” Murdoch (a US citizen since 1985) wasn’t Jewish. How many bad things about Israel can you say on his network?

    • ToivoS on April 12, 2012, 7:23 pm

      You want comparisons. Well there was a major immigration movement of Croatian and Ukrainian fascists into the US at the end of WWII that made a rational foreign policy with Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union difficult. Then there is the ongoing problem of the Cuban refugees who make it impossible to normalize relations with the current govenment of Cuba.

      The reason Israel has become a major issue is that now, the Zionist forces in this country have gained so much influence over media and government, they have the power to make us go to war with Israel’s perceived enemies. It was the Iraq war that truly exposed the danger of internal Zionist forces. Obviously today it is they that are pushing hardest for war against Iran. This is the problem. The Ukrainians, Croatians, and Cubans were a nuisance, the Zionist are a proven danger.

  7. Les on April 12, 2012, 2:00 pm

    Easily the most important Jewish institution in the US is our media, from CNN to the New York Times and NPR. Had there never been an Israel, our media would still be just as Jewish. The obvious problem is that its present day owners and managers support Israel’s occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. However well paid and however important in the public eye, Mike Wallace did not qualify as an owner or a manager. Since his family background was Iraqi, he likely brought a different perspective on the world than fellow Jews in the business.

    • Chu on April 12, 2012, 3:23 pm

      I believe he was Russian. Wallik was the surname.
      Myron Leon “Mike” Wallik

      • Les on April 12, 2012, 4:13 pm

        I read a long time ago that he had Iraqi roots. Whoever wrote that was wrong unless I confused Wallace with a someone else in the same business. In any case, I stand corrected. Thanks.

  8. Keith on April 12, 2012, 5:28 pm

    PHIL- “I keep saying that I want to change American Jewish identity because we won’t change American policy without changing the Jews; Jews are just too powerful in American establishment.”

    Don’t forget to mention how powerful American Zionist Jews are in shaping Israel’s society and policies, from funding settlements and birthright tours to political contributions to right-wing parties and politicians. Netanyahu was cheered at the AIPAC meeting because he said what they wanted to hear. Had he talked peace and accommodation, I suspect that he would have been booed. I hope Mondoweiss looks into this important aspect of the situation. I’ll end with a quote:

    “For Israel’s new American Jewish ‘supporter,’ however, such talk bordered on heresy: an independent Israel at peace with its neighbors was worthless; an Israel aligned with currents in the Arab world seeking independence from the United States was a disaster. Only an Israeli Sparta beholden to American power would do, because only then could US Jewish leaders act as spokesmen for American imperial ambitions.” (Norman Finkelstein)

  9. Theo on April 14, 2012, 11:20 am

    Above it is very well illustrated how much our media is controlled and owned by jews.
    Wallace, Lando, Tisch and all others at the breakfast were jews. Now anyone should tell me, how can we expect a balanced reporting on Israel from CBS or any other TV or newspaper.

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