Criticism is being leveled at CNN International following a feature it ran Thursday that whitewashed the terrorist activities of a Palestinian Arab soccer player.
The sympathetic profile downplayed Mahmoud Sarsak’s ties to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, critics say.
“The reporter makes a romantic figure out of someone with ties to Islamic Jihad and shows zero skepticism about Sarsak’s rendition of events,” Andrea Levin, director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) told the Washington Free Beacon. “CNN shouldn’t be in the business of whitewashing. Viewers need the whole story.”
The story about Sarsak and his efforts to boycott the UEFA Under-21 tournament currently taking place in Israel was prominently featured on the front page of CNN’s international website.
Sarsak became a cause celebre last year after his release from an Israeli detention facility, where he had been held for three years as a result of his connections to the PIJ.
While Israel has celebrated its diplomatic victory in being awarded the tournament, many of its foes have come out in protest.
“It’s a very, very big deal,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a human rights group which combats anti-Semitism, told The Washington Free Beacon. “Israel’s enemies correctly understand this is a historic event, a huge achievement for Israel because it normalizes her relationship with her neighbors.”