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Bias and Distorted Media Coverage

Memo to Jon Stewart:
Glad You’re Against Torture, So Why’d You Give Israel a Pass?

Alison Weir is the founder and Executive Director of If Americans Knew.

Alison Weir
CounterPunch
November 9, 2005

Dear Jon,

I’ve just phoned The Daily Show at 212.767.8600 and left you a message; I also faxed you at 212.468.1890. I hope other people will also!

I’m sure glad you’re against torture. I just wish you were also against torture by Israel. I was pretty astounded to hear you chatting with John McCain last night, nodding along as AIPAC-buddy McCain explained that the US should emulate Israel, “which doesn’t torture people.”

Whew!

Jon, you’re a really smart guy. Is it possible that you don’t know that there are 8,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons right now, and that many of them have been tortured, some of them at this very minute? (Addameer)

Is it possible that you didn’t read about Mustafa Dirani testifying in an Israeli court a few years ago for ten hours about his gruesome torture by Israeli interrogators? (Philly Burbs)

Is it possible you’ve never ever talked to Palestinians, even Palestinian-Americans, and heard their graphic descriptions of the Israeli prison experience? (Special Report: Israel’s Treatment of Americans)

Jon, I know you’re not dumb, and I’d like to think you’re not hypocritical, so maybe you just really have missed the boat on this one. Therefore, in thanks for all the great laughs you’ve given us, I’d like to invite you to join us on our next trip to the West Bank and Gaza. That way you can learn about things. The trip’s on us, and the hummus is great.

Sure, Israeli forces may kill or injure us, like they did Rachel Corrie, James Miller, Tom Hurndall, Brian Avery, and thousands upon thousands of Palestinian men, women, and children – but, hey, they probably won’t.

Cordially,
Alison Weir

P.S. You especially might want to read the excellent article on CounterPunch: “Setting the Record Straight: McCain, Israel and Torture,” by DAVID BLOOM

Following are excerpts from a news story on Dirani.

Militant Says He Was Abused by Israel
PETER ENAV
Associated Press

TEL AVIV, Israel – A Lebanese guerrilla leader about to be freed in a prisoner swap testified Tuesday that Israeli interrogators raped him, sodomized him with a club and kept him naked for weeks in a round-the-clock effort to extract information on a missing Israeli aviator...

Human rights groups have accused Israel of routinely mistreating Arab prisoners, but rarely to the extremes Dirani alleged to a Tel Aviv court in his $1.3 million lawsuit against the Israeli government...

On Tuesday, Dirani testified that interrogators kept him naked and shackled in a secret facility for a month as six men tortured him, splashing him with hot and freezing water, shaking him until he fainted and sexually assaulting him as they demanded information about missing airman Ron Arad...

Dirani, 53, limped badly and walked with a cane when he entered the courtroom. He had to be coaxed into giving details.

Dirani said he was interrogated around the clock for a month by six people, including a man known only as George, who threatened him, cursed him and repeatedly squeezed his testicles “until I felt I would die,” Dirani said.

One day a uniformed soldier nicknamed “Kojak” came into the room and dropped his pants, and George told Dirani the soldier would sodomize him if he did not talk, Dirani said.

Days later, Dirani was shackled and pushed down onto a bench, he said. “I couldn’t see or resist ... I was raped by the soldier. He said he would rape me, and he did,” he told the court.

“Two or three days later they started raping me with a police baton,” he said. “It’s impossible to describe the pain. I yelled to high heaven.”

The interrogators took him to a doctor to stop the bleeding, he said. They also forced him to drink castor oil, which made him incontinent, and gave him large diapers as his only clothing.

Israel’s Channel Two TV broadcast an interview with a person, his face in shadows, identified as the interrogator named George. He denied abusing Dirani, but said interrogation is a competition between questioners and detainees.

“You must be innovative,” he said, “and you can’t always run and get permission in advance...”

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Resources

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