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24 Apr, 2012

Israeli Ambassador Tries to Censor U.S. Media Report on Plight of Palestinian Christians

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

Washington DC, (23 April 2012) -The following statement was issued today by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the largest grassroots Arab-American civil rights and civil liberties organization in the United States:

Last night, 60 Minutes aired a segment entitled “Christians of the Holy Land” that offered American viewers an unprecedented look into the lives and circumstances of Palestinian Christians and warned about the potential effects of, among other things, Israel’s occupation, wall and policies toward Palestinians on the continued presence of Christians in the Holy Land.

It alerted viewers to the fact that, if continued, these policies will likely lead to the end of a Christian presence in the birthplace of Christianity itself. The segment, which can be seen here, was undoubtedly eye-opening to many Americans who have, for too long, remained unaware of the conditions suffered by Palestinian Christians, the self-described “living stones” of the Holy Land.

The segment was also notable in that the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, called the Chairman of CBS News and the Executive Producer of 60 Minutes to protest the reporting of the piece, before it was even aired, a fact that veteran 60 Minutes correspondent, Bob Simon, noted in the segment and about which he confronted Ambassador Oren on air, saying that he had never received such a call in his many years as a journalist. The disclosure of the Israeli Ambassador’s attempt to prevent the segment from even airing offered Americans a revelaing look into the kind of censorship and behind-the-scenes efforts to stifle public discourse about Israeli occupation and discrimination that the Israeli government and its American supporters have practiced for many decades.

In response to the segment, ADC President Warren David stated, “60 Minutes’ segment was an important contribution to our nation’s understanding of the appalling conditions of the Palestinian people in general and the tragic plight of Palestinian Christians in particular. While there were some aspects of the story that we would have liked to have seen emphasized more or less, overall, we found the segment to be a balanced, responsible and informative treatment of a very important subject to Americans, Christians and people the world over who wish to see a Holy Land that is not limited to people of one or another faith, but that instead reflects, celebrates and perpetuates the vibrancy and splendor of religious diversity.”

ADC urges you to contact 60 Minutes to thank them for their courageous and important segment on Palestinian Christians by emailing them at 60m@cbsnews.com.


BACKGROUND: The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which is non-profit, non-sectarian and non-partisan, is the largest grassroots Arab-American civil rights and civil liberties organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980 by former Senator James Abourezk. ADC has a national network of chapters and members in all 50 states.