- Journalist, novelist, & television commentator
- Views American media as “disgustingly biased” in favor of Israel
- Accuses Israel of committing human-rights violations against the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank
- Depicts the terrorism of ISIS as an understandable reaction to U.S. atrocities
Rula Jebreal was born on April 24, 1973 in Haifa, Israel, and grew up in Jerusalem. Her Nigerian-born father was the imam and groundskeeper at a local mosque. After her mother committed suicide in 1978, the girl spent the rest of her childhood in an orphanage. In the 1990s Jebreal earned a degree in physiotherapy from the University of Bologna (Italy) and subsequently worked in that field for some time. She then went on to obtain a master's degree in journalism and political science, and spent twelve years as a journalist in Italy before becoming a contributor/commentator for MSNBC television, a position she held until June 2014. A follower of the Muslim faith, she is well known for her anti-Israel, pro-Hamas worldview.
For example, when Israel in July 2014 initiated “Operation Protective Edge”—a military incursion designed to dismantle Hamas's Gaza-based stockpiles of armaments and its vast network of secret subterranean tunnels—Jebreal complained that the American media's coverage of the conflict was “disgustingly biased” in favor of the Jewish state.
As a consequence of this one-sidedness, said Jebreal, American public opinion was “99 percent pro-Israeli.” “Most Americans think,” she elaborated, “okay, Israelis are minding their own business and Palestians woke up one day in Gaza and decide, okay, let me fire missiles”—a reference to the fact that the Israeli invasion was precipitated by a massive barrage of Hamas rockets launched from Gaza into Israel. “This is not what's happening. They [Americans] don't know anything about the siege, the 1.8 million Palestinians [living] under siege in extreme poverty with 90 percent with untapped access even to water, even the military operation in the West Bank.”
In an August 2014 interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo, Jebreal revisited the theme of the media's alleged pro-Israel orientation. “I think in America we are by far, much more constrained in challenging policy—the Israeli policy and talking point[s]—than the Israeli press itself, which is really strange,” she said. Jebreal further complained that the American press had neglected to ask Israeli officials to take responsibility for the many “civilian casualties” allegedly caused by their country's “blockade” and “occupation” of Palestinian land.
When Cuomo reminded Jebreal that the Hamas-led government of Gaza believed “that Israel should not exist,” she objected: “Listen, the Palestinian story starts many years earlier. You cannot take the context of the conflict today and separate this from 45 years of military occupation of the West Bank, where you have leadership that renounced violence, recognized the state of Israel and gets nothing.” Jebreal then suggested that the aforementioned Hamas rocket attacks against Israel in 2014 were actually acts of desperation born of the fact that on prior occasions, whenever “Hamas [had] used violence” of a similar type, Israel invariably “negotiated with them”—albeit after a period of armed conflict. “What I'm saying is what was sent [by Israel] was a perverse message to the Palestinian public opinion, if you use violence, sooner or later we negotiate with you and we concede. And if you believe in peace, we don't concede.”
In October 2014, left-wing television host Bill Maher stated that radical Islam is “the only religion that acts like the mafia, that will fu**ing kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book.” Approximately a month later, Jebreal was a guest on Maher's program, Real Time, where she told the host: “When you talk about Islam in a certain way, I have to tell you, it’s offensive sometimes, and some people feel threatened.” Moreover, Jebreal accused Maher of depicting Muslims as being “all jihadists,” and of “blaming the majority for the criminal act of a minority.” On a later occasion, Jebreal asserted that Maher's comments were reminiscent of “what was done in the '20s and the '30s in Europe against Jews”—i.e., “normalizing a collective, negative image” of an entire people. “But he gets away with it,” she said, “because now the [accepted] thing is to be anti-Muslim.”
In a November 2014 interview with Salon.com, Jebreal said it was “simply wrong” to conclude “that the rise of ISIS”—the barbaric Islamic terror organization that had recently overrun vast swaths of Iraq and Syria in an effort to establish a caliphate—“is Islamic.” The group's growing power, she said, was “a by-product of the Iraq War”—most notably “the way we [Americans] invaded Iraq,” “the way we acted inside prisons like Camp Bucca or Guantánamo,” and “the sectarian policies of [Nouri al-] Maliki,” who became Iraq's prime minister after the toppling of Saddam Hussein. By Jebreal's reckoning, the growth of ISIS was in large measure a response to the fact that “jihadists have been tortured and imprisoned [by the United States] and have been bombarded or lived under occupation.” “[W]hen we talk about the rise of extremists … how can we not examine our [own] policies?” she asked. “We can’t ignore that what we’ve done in Iraq and in the Middle East. Backing Israel, backing dictators, [and] the dysfunctional administration of Iraq after the war absolutely brought us to ISIS.... But we don’t look at that. Because it’s hard to hold up a mirror to yourself and reflect on your own responsibilities. It’s easier to point a finger at the others.”
For additional information on Rula Jebreal, click here.