Arab-Israeli journalist speaks at Newhouse

Commentary: Khaled Abu Toameh spoke with grace and honesty about the Arab-Israeli conflict that affects people worldwide.

Khaled Abu Toameh spoke in the Hegenhan Auditorium in Newhouse III on Monday afternoon, drawing about 75 enthusiastic listeners. 

It was refreshing to hear a presentation about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that seemed honest. Khaled Abu Toameh had a journalistic feel to the way that he spoke – he did not try to solve the problem of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and admitted when he didn’t know the answer. In essence, he was a reporter on and off paper.

“A state is something earned.”
- Khaled Abu Toameh

Toameh grew up in Jerusalem in the same house his grandfather lived in and is now an Israeli-Arab-Palestinian-Muslim, as he describes it. He has been journalist for 27 years, started out working for the PLO news, and then decided to write for the Jerusalem Post. When Israeli reporters stopped traveling to the West Bank because of violence, JPost asked Toameh to join their editorial team – he gladly accepted.

Even today, Toameh says that there is no free media under Palestinian rule, while Israeli media embodies freedom of the press. In response to people calling him a traitor, Toameh thinks that the best way to convey a message to the Israeli public is through their own media. More messages of the Palestinian people and struggle got to the Israeli people more effectively through their own news.

From Toameh’s experiences writing about the conflict, he says that the major obstacle is that Israel has no partner for peace with the Palestinians. They are divided between Hamas in Gaza and Fatah (the American and Israeli puppet) in the West Bank. “A state is something earned,” says Toameh. Before they can reconcile with Israel, they have to work out differences between their own populations and prove that they can successfully build a state. 

Not only did he provide the audience with a first-hand view of the problems in Israel, but he also inspired potential journalists to strive for neutral reporting. Toameh tells the truth and reports the facts in the free media in Israel, even though he is not Jewish – a type of achievement that every journalist should aim for.

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