Friday, October 07, 2005

Advertising for Terror

In an October 4 Wall Street Journal piece, reproduced by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Mark Dobowitz and Roberta Bonazzi point out that certain corporations continue to purchase advertising on a Middle Eastern satellite TV channel called al-Manar. The problem with this is that the al-Manar network is run by a charming Lebanon-based organization called Hezbollah:

Al-Manar routinely runs videos encouraging children to become suicide bombers, calls for terrorists to attack coalition soldiers in Iraq, and promises that "martyrs" will be rewarded in the afterlife.

Hezbollah established al-Manar in 1991 as an operational weapon to incite hatred and violence and recruit children and adults as terrorists. According to al-Manar officials interviewed by Hezbollah expert Avi Jorisch for his book "Beacon of Hatred," the station's programming is meant to "help people on the way to committing what you call in the West a suicide mission." Viewers are told: "The path to becoming a priest in Islam is through jihad," as Hezbollah's Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech on March 23, 2002. Every day al-Manar reaches millions of Arabic speakers in the Middle East, Europe and North Africa.

While most corporations withdrew their advertising from al-Manar several years ago, a few western companies still choose to subsidize the network:

Within the past few months, al-Manar broadcast ads for products from the following companies: Nissan, the Japanese car manufacturer; LG, the Korean electronics maker; Tefal, a producer of home cooking products and subsidiary of France-based Groupe SEB; Jovial, a manufacturer of Swiss watches; and Cellis-Alpha, a cellular SIM card provider owned by Fal Dete Telecommunications, a Saudi-German consortium majority-owned by Detecon, which in turn is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom.

We contacted the companies but their explanations were not very satisfactory. A spokesman for Tefal denied that its products were ever advertised on al-Manar. A spokesman for Nissan said the company was unaware that its ads were running on al-Manar; after investigating the matter he said the spots were placed by a local dealer, and that the ads would stop at year's end. The head of the LG liaison office in Lebanon said the ads were placed by a local agent and only during the recent Lebanese elections because al-Manar attracted a particularly large number of viewers during that time. He said he favored not advertising on al-Manar again but said that he had to first discuss it with LG's regional headquarters in Dubai. A spokesman for Jovial was not able to comment and did not provide further details on the company's position. Fal-Dete-Telecommunications also said they were not aware of the situation and that they are taking the matter seriously. They are currently inquiring with their partners in Lebanon. They also pointed out that they are not the owner of the Alfa network but they are managing it on behalf of the Republic of Lebanon for a period of four years.

It is disgraceful that any western company would choose to support Hezbollah and its anti-Semitic, pro-terror propaganda. Sadly, as also happened during the Cold War, some corporations are willing to put short-term profits ahead of their country's long-range interests.


Anonymous Ed Merwin, Jr. said...

To paraphrase Comrade Lenin: we will give the capalists enough rope to hang themselves.

9:53 AM  

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