Columbia Journalism Prof Promotes Article Calling Israel an ‘Open-air Prison’ for Palestinians

Shihab-Eldin calls anti-Israeli propaganda piece ‘powerful.’

A professor at one of the most prestigious U.S. journalism schools promoted an article calling Israel an “open-air prison” for Palestinians.

HuffPost Live host Shihab-Eldin, a Columbia Journalism School professor and former Al Jazeera English staffer, Tweeted 10 times on Feb. 12 to promote an article bashing Israel. He also retweeted someone else’s promotion of the article once.

“For the love of god, justice, peace, dignity and humanity...please read this powerful post by @stopbeingfamous.” Shihab-Eldin tweeted.

The article, entitled “I traveled to Palestine-Israel And Discovered That There is no ‘Palestinian-Israeli Conflict’,” was posted on the Huffington Post website on Feb. 10. The article itself is filled with inflammatory comments and accusations against Israel. Author Ferrari Sheppard was so extreme that he staunchly refused to call the region “Israel.”

“Contrary to what’s been reported in the news for yeas, there’s no Israeli-Palestinian conflict. None, zero, zilch, diddly squat,” Sheppard wrote. “Currently, there is no ‘conflict,’ only the omnipresent power of the Israeli government and those who resist it. This is important to understand.”

The article painted a picture of a struggling Palestinian people, with spiteful, Israeli soldiers refusing to let them live in peace. “Since returning from Palestine 36 hours ago, I find myself confronted with feelings of detachment and minimization of what I encountered. My subconscious has decided the horrors I witnessed in the ‘Holy Land’ were nothing serious – horrors which include a 26-foot-tall concrete wall enclosing the Palestinian inhabitants of the West Bank, and the sniper towers seemingly on every other corner of this open-air prison.”

According to Sheppard, the Palestinians aren’t part of the problem at all. “The Common thought is that if the ‘savage’ Palestinians stop resisting, stop shooting rockets, stop fighting Israel’s inevitable domination, there can be peace. I find this peculiar because during my visit, I felt no danger from Palestinians, only from Israeli soldiers. Perhaps it’s because I’m accustomed to being hunted in America. There is no Palestinian-Israeli conflict; there is only oppression.”

Shihab-Eldin tweeted out quotes from the article, including “‘For colonialism & occupation to be successful, previous inhabitants of a region must be dehumanized’ #Israel

A Columbia Journalism School adjunct professor, Shihab-Eldin created, produced and cohosted Al Jazeera English’s show “The Stream.” He is also a Columbia alumnus and hosts “HuffPost Live,” where he often pushes an anti-Israeli agenda, including accusing Israel of “terrorizing” Gaza.

— Mike Ciandella is Research Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Mike Ciandella on Twitter.