On its website, Al Jazeera America writes that it aims to “maintain credibility through impartial, accurate and comprehensive representation of the story” while a promotional video says “Al Jazeera’s journalistic integrity knows no borders.”
Considering those claims, it’s notable that the first guest Al Jazeera America chose to interview on its launch day was a notorious Israel-bashing Harvard professor, Stephen Walt.
“Al Jazeera America dashed the hopes of journalism-hungry Americans in only the first hours of its existence Tuesday, airing an interview with disgraced conspiracy theorist Stephen Walt on the crisis in Egypt,” writes The Washington Free Beacon which first pointed out the controversial guest booking.
Walt is best known for co-authoring with John Mearsheimer the book "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" which suggests that the so-called “Israel lobby” - supported by American Jews and Christian Zionists - has undue influence on American foreign policy. Critics of the book say it promotes anti-Semitism as it is perceived to suggest that American Jews harbor questionable loyalty to the United States.
In the interview with Al Jazeera America, Walt compared the events in Egypt to the American and French revolutions, saying “processes like this take a long time to work themselves out.”
Asked about the relationship between Egypt and Israel, he said that the U.S. gives Egypt aid to maintain the Camp David Peace Accords signed in 1979.
“It seems to me this is one of those moments where we have to recognize that we don’t have much leverage in what happens in Egypt and also what happens there is not likely to affect American strategic interests in any fundamental way,” Walt said.
“President Mubarak was, I think, ill-informed and stupid in how he handled the initial protests. Then the Muslim Brotherhood was quite stupid in how they handled the opportunity that had to try to build an inclusive democratic order in Egypt. And now I fear the Egyptian military is being stupid in trying to eliminate the Muslim Brotherhood and essentially turn the clock back to a military regime that wasn’t working particularly well before it was initially overthrown,” Walt told Al Jazeera.
Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz has called Walt and Mearsheimer’s paper upon which their book was later based a “hate-filled screed against Jewish participation in American politics.” He also wrote a 44-page catalogue of errors in the paper.
As the Free Beacon pointed out, Al Jazeera America head Ehab Al Shihabi, told the New York Times earlier this week, “Al Jazeera America will air fact-based, unbiased and in-depth news.”
Here is the clip of the interview: