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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Bridges TV succumb s to pressure and censors Palestinian TV Program

First nationwide Pro-Palestinian Television Program in the US is the latest victim of attack on Free Press.

Press Release
Media Contacts:
Hesham Tillawi
Mark Glenn

It is just another example of the fact that in America freedom of speech has its limits, and particularly when the topic of discussion happens to be Israel. Fall on the ‘wrong side’ of the truth, and a person can lose his job or his platform for speaking his mind.

It seemed as if nothing could stop it. It went from having 2 viewers a week to hundreds and then thousands and then hundreds of thousands and then, once it gained syndication on an American cable and a Satellite channel called Bridges TV, millions. It was being aired 5 times a week for 5 months on Bridges TV with nothing but praise from both executives and viewers alike, and then, out of the blue came a call from Bridges informing the show’s producer that they were coming under pressure from "Jewish Cable Operators". Bridges’ Programs Director and the show’s producer set up a system of rating for each program to inform Bridges if the content of the show has ‘Jewish’ material or not. Apparently though, this was not enough, as two weeks later the show was removed from the Bridges TV line-up.

The program in question is called “Current Issues with Hesham Tillawi” and runs Live every Thursday evening from 8-10 PM Central Time in the US from Lafayette Louisiana. Besides running on cable, the program is also streamed live and archived on the Internet where at present it is watched in more than 63 countries around the world at Tillawi, a Palestinian-American citizen is the host of the show and has been making some impressive waves in the last year with some of the guests he has interviewed, including members of the US Congress, high ranking officials within the US military establishment, international figures such as ex-Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu and many others.

More importantly though {and most likely the reason why the heat came down from on high} is the fact that it is a program where there is no such thing as political correctness when it comes to discussing the goings on in the Middle East, and in particular how these items relate to the state of Israel.

Late in 2005 Bridges showed interest in broadcasting Current Issues on their network that spans the US. Bridges TV is a Muslim--owned channel whose theme is dedicated to the issue of Islam and to the current goings on in the Middle East. In December 2005 Bridges agreed to start airing Current Issues and by the end of May the following year, Current Issues was playing 5 times a week and getting rave reviews by Bridges viewers. Then, in May 2006 Aasiya Zubair, Director of Programming at Bridges TV informed Dr. Hesham Tillawi that some of the “Jewish cable operators" located in areas of the country where Bridges TV is broadcast had complained to them about the Current Issues program. She also informed him that Bridges TV had fired one of their editors for not editing some of Current Issues programs by taking out materials that in their opinion was “offensive to Jews”. Two weeks later Bridges TV made the decision to stop airing the show and in a letter to Dr. Hesham Tillawi Mrs. Zubair wrote the following notice:

"Dear Hesham, I would like to inform you that we will no longer be airing Current issues anymore. I have been getting a lot of complaints from our viewers," and in a follow-up letter Mrs. Zubair wrote:

"Dear Hesham, It is not about the cable operator, it is about the customers too who by majority are Muslim and who have complained about the show. For now I would suggest it is best to part ways."

Tillawi response was "How could the majority of "Muslim customers" change their mind overnight regarding a show that is presenting current events from an Arab and a Muslim point of view?"

Tillawi asked Bridges TV to produce those so-called complaints from viewers. As he tells, it, they were unable to produce even one negative comment. In prior conversations with Ms Zubair she stated that they were getting many emails in support of the show.

“This is censorship, plain and simple” claims Tillawi. “Its a shame that a channel claiming to be friendly to Muslims would remove the only show being broadcast nationwide that tells the truth about Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Islam, etc. In its promotional material, it claims to be a channel dedicated to “building bridges,” but we say bridges can only be built with the truth, as ugly as it may be.”

When asked if he was surprised at this latest development, Tillawi’s answer was “No…I knew that this would happen eventually, I just did not know that it would happen this quickly. Unfortunately you cannot tell the truth about Israel indefinitely in the United States, supposedly the freest country of the world.” He continued his thoughts on the matter with “We feel this shameful decision by Bridges TV management will go down in infamy because now Muslims are censoring other Muslims from telling the truth to the world about the thousands of Palestinian, Iraqi, and Afghani children who are being killed by the Israeli-American War machine.”

The rest of us have to wonder what the reason was for this censure? Was it the programs dealing with the use of Depleted Uranium in Iraq and Afghanistan? Was it the interview with His Excellency Afif Safieh, the Palestinian Ambassador to Washington telling the truth concerning the Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians? Was it the interview with the Syrian Ambassador revealing what America's intentions were in the Middle East? Was it the interview with Dr Norman Finkelstein exposing Zionism and what it is? Was it the interview with Congressman Paul Findley exposing AIPAC and the Jewish control of congress? Was it the interview with Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear scientist who exposed the Israeli Nuclear capacity? Was it the interview with Israel Shamir who exposed the racist policies of his country, Israel? Was it the interview with Dr. Steven Sniegoski who stated that the war against Iraq was for Israel? Or could it be the interview with Alison Weir exposing the reality of the Palestinian-Israeli issue? Maybe it was the interview with Lt Col Karen Kwiatkowski, who worked at the Pentagon and exposed the influence of the Neocons and the Israelis at the Defense Department? The list goes on and on with interviews that the Main Stream Media would not even touch due to the Jewish influence over the media.

Tillawi added that “We always spoke out against this influence over the media and now we ourselves have become victims of this influence. One thing that hurts like hell is the fact that it was a Muslim who pulled the plug to stop the show from reaching a nationwide audience.”

It is interesting but probably not coincidental to note that a short time before Bridges TV ended its association with Current Issues, the ADL, domestic branch of Israeli Intelligence operating in the United States, added Dr Hesham Tillawi to its list of most ”notorious anti-Zionist,anti-Semites”. Those who are familiar with the tactics of the ADL know that the typical way that they do business is to threaten and intimidate anyone who is involved with the business of exposing the truth as it pertains to Israel and the way that the Jewish agenda works in the United States. Therefore it is not unreasonable to expect that in some fashion Bridges TV was contacted by a representative of the ADL and told to cease broadcasting episodes of Current Issues or face the consequences.

When asked whether this latest setback would affect the way that he and the producers of Current Issues do business, he said. “Absolutely it will…Now the gloves are coming off and we are not going to worry about whose toes get stepped on when it comes to discussing the truth. There is a great lesson here about appeasement and giving into the demands of a bully. Bullies never get enough, and even when you give them everything they want they still aren't satisfied.”

This is not the end, but the beginning. Current Issues will continue broadcast on Cox Cable, Amazonas Satellite and the Internet, until we find a brave man or a brave woman who will put us back on nationwide syndication.

Hesham Tillawi, PhD International Relations is a Palestinian American writer, Political Analyst and a TV show host. His program Current issues with Hesham Tillawi can be viewed Live every Thursday evening between 9-11 PM Central Standard Time on Cox Cable system Channel 5 in Louisiana, Nationwide on Bridges TV, and Worldwide on Amazonas Satellite, as well as Live on the Internet at and can be contacted at Interviews then archived for on demand viewing at

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