Supporters of the State of Israel will soon learn the answer to
one of the most vexing questions that have been plaguing them since
the beginning of the Palestinian intifada in September, 2000. The
question is: Why does the international media continue to misrepresent
Israel and demonize it for a harsh military occupation that
is violating the human rights of the Palestinian people and establishing
illegal Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian lands.
In contrast, there is an outpouring of sympathy for the poor,
oppressed, disenfranchised Palestinians who are struggling for liberation
from the lengthy Israeli occupation. The stories on the Arab-Israeli
conflict in the international media have more spin on them than
a Chanukah dreidl. The reasons for this will soon become evident
at the upcoming conference of the Arab Thought Foundation in Dubai,
UAE, on December 5, 2005 (www.arabandworldmedia.org). The conference
will take place near the new, high-tech Dubai Media City (www.dubaimediacity.com).
What is Dubai?
Dubai is a coastal area on the Persian Gulf. It is one of the
seven emirates that comprise the United Arab Emirates, which is
located on the Gulf, between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The UAE is among
the smaller Arab states. With an area of 83,000 sq. km, it is slightly
smaller than the State of Maine but almost four times the size of
the State of Israel. Its population is only about 2.5 million,
of which more than half are non-nationals. Three of the September
11 hijackers came from the UAE.
Though relatively small in size, the UAE is one of the wealthiest
of the 22 Arab states. On February 7, 2005, FDI magazine, a publication
of Financial Times in London, named Dubai the Middle Eastern
City of the Future. The magazine noted that, Major achievements
include the creation of the largest man-made harbour in the world,
a huge industrial complex, and the creation of a major air travel
hub and financial services center for the entire region. The
article then went on to list more than a dozen big investment
projects scheduled for completion before 2010, representing investment
of significantly more than $12 billion.
In a lengthy article in its travel section on May 8, 2005, The
New York Times called Dubai, The Oz of the Middle East.
The article observed that Dubais Emirates Office Tower is
the tallest building in the Middle East, about 25 meters shorter
than the Empire State Building. Dubai is currently building what
will be the worlds tallest building, the Burj Dubai. At close
to 800 meters, the Burj Dubai will be more than twice the size of
the Empire State Building. It will even dwarf the Petronas Towers
in Malaysia and Taipei 101 in Taiwan.
What is the Arab Thought Foundation Conference?
According to its website, www.arabandworldmedia.org, Top
journalists and media executives from around the world will join
their Arab colleagues at the invitational gathering in Dubai on
the 5th and 6th of December 2005. Delegates will discuss changes
in the Arab world, build relationships, validate assumptions, develop
a deeper understanding of the region, and make sure they are Getting
it Right (sic). The format will be highly interactive, led by provocative
moderators, who will elicit candor, and manage debate about complex
There is a long list of speakers for the conference. The first
of the Key Speakers is HRH Alwaleed bin Talal, who is described
as a tycoon prince for his very successful investment ventures.
His portfolio is strong in media and entertainment companies, and
he will share his insights on the best media investments today.
The website for the Conference also acknowledged the assistance
of the Arab Advisors Group, www.arabadvisors.com. This group contains
a number of highly educated and experienced people in the area of
Information Services. The president is Jawad Jalal Albassi, a telecommunications
expert who was trained in Boston, Mass.
What is Dubai Media City?
According to its website, www.7days.ae, reported the Iranian presidents
call for the destruction of Israel. One of the readers commented,
As 7 days frequently claims to report facts objectively, it
seems like a glaring omission not to have mentioned the wholesale
condemnation of Ahmadinejads proclamation. It is not only
the Americans and the Israelis who have spoken out against him,
but also many other countries and the Secretary General of the UN,
but probably most significantly, the Palestinians themselves. Your
objectivity is drawn into question by the facts you choose not to
On November 4, 2005, email@example.com
(c) 2005, I. Zwick, NYC
Israel Zwick is a commentator on the Middle East based in New York.