Qatari-funded Al Jazeera Arabic channel suspends journalists over ‘Holocaust denial’ video
Qatari state-funded broadcaster Al Jazeera suspended two journalists on Sunday over a video they produced claiming the extent of the Holocaust was being misrepresented by Jews.
The clip, posted by Al Jazeera’s online AJ+ Arabic service, claimed “the narrative” that the Nazis killed six million Jews was “adopted by the Zionist movement”.
Images of the persecution of European Jews living under Nazi rule, as well as photographs of those killed, were overlayed with narration asking “why is there a focus only on them?”
The video said that “along with others, the Jews faced a policy of systematic persecution which culminated in the Final Solution”.
But the clip went on to suggest that because of the Jewish community’s access to “financial resources (and) media institutions”, it was able to “put a special spotlight” on the suffering of the Jews.
A tweet promoting the video that was sent out to AJ+ Arabic service’s millions of followers read: “Gas ovens killed millions of Jews, or that’s how the story goes. What is the truth of the Holocaust and how did the Zionist movement benefit?”
Al Jazeera English employees were quick to distance themselves from the content on the sister website.
“As someone who has spent my life slamming antisemitic Holocaust denialism, especially in Muslim communities, glad to see Al Jazeera bosses taking disciplinary action against two of their journos for a ridiculously offensive and dumb video – and disowning it, too,” Mehdi Hasan, a popular host, tweeted.
The content of Al Jazeera’s English site differs, at times radically, from that of the Arabic version.
While Al Jazeera’s English version attempts to appeal to audiences with Western sensitbilities, its Arabic channel regularly hosts speakers such as Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Muslim Brotherhood preacher known for his virulent anti-American and anti-Semitic diatribes.
Editorial disparities between the two came to a head in 2014, when AJA’s website published a report that ridiculed Islamic State’s execution of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff as a “Hollywood” fabrication.
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“The video content and accompanying posts were swiftly deleted by AJ+ senior management from all AJ+ pages and accounts on social media, as it contravened the network’s editorial standards,” the Al Jazeera Media Network said in a statement.
“Al Jazeera completely disowns the offensive content in question and reiterated that Al Jazeera would not tolerate such material,” added Yaser Bishr, the executive director of the digital division.
Mr Bishr also called for “mandatory bias training”, according to the statement.
The clip and social media posts, first published on May 18, were “swiftly deleted” by management, it added.