The Project’s outrageous anti-Israeli conspiracy mongering
Charles Pier, The Spectator Australia 6 August 2020
Waleed Aly and his pals at The Project have reached a new low, last night broadcasting a segment blaming the Beruit blast on Israel. Beirut-based photographer João Sousa was asked by Aly if the Lebanese government’s explanation the explosion was caused by ammonium nitrate was “widely accepted by people there”.
His response was pure conspiracy theorising: “Ninety-nine per cent of the people I’ve spoken with …feel that that’s not necessarily the correct explanation. People are more likely to believe that this was an attack, a military attack, possibly by Israel than an accident.”
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The Project allows ‘ugly knee-jerk anti-Israel blame game’ in response to Beirut blast
Sky News host Chris Kenny says a divisive, conspiratorial “knee-jerk anti-Israel blame game” was allowed to air unchallenged on Channel Ten’s The Project in the aftermath of the Beirut explosion. The death toll in Beirut has now risen to at least 175 people, with 5,000 or more injured after scores of ammonium nitrate exploded in a warehouse after a fire in the port capital of Lebanon. In its coverage of the disaster, The Project invited on a guest who insinuated the explosion may have been an attack emanating from Israel. “No evidence proffered, no qualification or distancing by The Project hosts, just a divisive, baseless, anti-Israel conspiracy theory floated,” Mr Kenny said. “Not on the dark web, not through some extreme-Right or extreme-Left anti-Israel group, but by a mainstream commercial television program. “This is the ugly sort of blame-shifting that fuels anti-semitism and fuels hatred in the Middle East. Television hosts and producers, if they are going to cover serious issues really ought to do better than this.” Mr Kenny spoke with former Labor MP Michael Danby on the issue.- More: https://bit.ly/30xPTcr
Sousa continued in this vein, alleging a “historical aspect here that cannot be ignored … Lebanon and Israel are never on good terms, so there’s always this tension going on, and people are always expecting something like this to happen.”
Video of the segment was posted to Facebook last night by the Australian Jewish News, which has reported today:
On Thursday morning, The Project deleted the segment from their social media channels, but stopped short of an apology.
In a statement, a spokesperson from The Project said, “The Project rejects the suggestion there is any evidence the explosion in Beirut was a military attack.
“As our report last night clearly stated, this is a tragic accident resulting from the mishandling of dangerous chemicals.”
The AJN says Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich has spoken with The Project’s co-executive producer, Chris Bendall, to express his concerns over the segment:
“I communicated my profound concerns and disappointment that the photojournalist interviewed yesterday was given a free ride by Waleed Aly to claim, without a shred of evidence, sources, facts or confirmation that Israel might have been responsible for the explosion and the heartbreaking loss of life,” Abramovich told The AJN.
“Allowing such wild and unfounded accusations that defame Israel to go unchallenged by the interviewer, and then to post it online was highly irresponsible.”
He added, “Such false charges should have never been given a platform on a mainstream current affairs show, and should have been rejected and refuted immediately.
“And while I welcome the removal of the video, I urge the senior management at The Project to apologise for this lapse in judgement.”