David Frost’s seven minute interview with Israeli historian Benny Morris – on July 3rd, concerning the prospects for two-state solution – is quite revealing as regards the sclerotic mindset of many when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
Briefly, Frost was a daytime TV game-show host early in his career but is best known for his years conducting serious interviews with various political figures - the most notable being Richard Nixon in 1977. Since 2006, he has been working for AlJazeera, and is also said to be among the wealthiest journalists in the UK, worth up to £200 million.
In a few brief questions posed to Morris, Frost reveals a hardened and fixed position about Israeli culpability which simply cannot wrap its mind around the fact that Palestinian Arab malevolence towards Israel – and a refusal to accept the legitimacy of a Jewish state – represents a profound obstacle to achieving genuine peace.
While watching the interview, you will observe Frost dismiss (as a minor “academic detail”) Morris’ concern that PA leaders (and the broader Arab world) have never recognized the legitimacy of a Jewish state in the region. You will also see the veteran British journalist suggest that Palestinian/Arab intransigence and rejectionism pale in comparison to the real problem preventing peace – the settlements.
While it would have been helpful had Morris raised the issues of Palestinian antisemitism and the glorification of terrorism, my guess is that Frost would not have been moved by even the most egregious examples of these phenomena.
Frost’s March 26, 2012, interview with Suha Arafat and the producers of a documentary about Yasser Arafat’s life, titled “The Price of Kings“, presents quite a contrast. During the interview, Suha – who once publicly accused Israel of contaminating Palestinian cities with poison gas – accused the Mossad of spreading false rumors of about her and characterized Yasser Arafat as a “great” selfless, tolerant man, full of “humanity”, who championed peace and co-existence.
This narrative of the terrorist leader - similarly parroted by the film makers – went unchallenged by Frost, who failed to ask one difficult question of Mrs. Arafat and made no attempt to hide his affection for her. (You can see the interview here.)
The contrast in Frosts’s tone when interviewing Morris and Arafat is a perfect illustration of the British media elite’s institutional bias when covering the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – representing a political dogma impervious to facts challenging the meme that Jewish homes in the disputed territories represent a far greater threat to peace than terrorism and incitement.