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MSNBC anchors lecture Americans and Israel on human rights while downplaying Qatar abuses

While discussing the 2022 FIFA World Cup, MSNBC hosts Mehdi Hasan and Ayman Mohyeldin used the discussion to lecture Americans about the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, while downplaying the Qatar’s history of human rights abuses.

On Sunday, Mohyeldin attempted to equate the United States with Qatar, wondering if people would boycott the upcoming World Cup in the United States due to perceived human rights abuses. He said that while no one is saying Qatar is perfect, he urged people not to repeat “eastern tropes” about the Middle Eastern country.

Then Mohyeldin seemed to suggest that the criticism of Qatar stemmed from European racism, rather than genuine concern for human rights.


“I wonder if this debate is really about migrant workers’ rights and human rights or are the European countries that see themselves as guardians of world football for their own selfish economic ends not able to bear the idea that an Arab country in the Middle East will host this venerable global gathering,” he said.

Mohyeldin turned to the United States and wondered if ‘high profile’ pundits would call for America to be stripped of its ability to host the 2026 World Cup for the way elected leaders have ‘cancelled reproductive rights” or “try to ban the word gay” in public schools.

Europe was also criticized by Mohyeldin, with the host criticizing countries in the region for their own treatment of migrants from Africa. He also called it “dubious and dishonest” to put Qatar in the same category as Russia and China when it comes to human rights abuses.


Hasan, another MSNBC host, also made a similar point while discussing the controversy surrounding Qatar, noting that it’s possible to appreciate the World Cup being held in a Muslim-majority country in the Middle East. for the first time, while also acknowledging the human rights abuses associated with the tournament in Qatar.

However, Hasan also expressed frustration with “the hypocrisy of people”, such as the French, who banned fan zones and outdoor screens in protest against Qatar. The MSNBC host’s allegation of hypocrisy stems from French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to attend the World Cup final in Russia in 2018, and the country appears indifferent that the Qataris own the club Paris Saint Germain football club.

“Also, if Trump comes back in 24, will people boycott the next World Cup in 26 in the United States? Should the United States be boycotted anyway because of *our* rights abuses? rights (Guantanamo is still open! Invasion of Iraq! Support for the bombing of Yemen! Etc etc etc)? Who decides who is boycotted?” Hasan added.

The tournament – which kicked off on November 20 – has faced backlash from human rights groups over allegations of Qatar’s exploitation of migrant workers while building stadium infrastructure . The Muslim nation has also faced significant criticism for criminalizing the LGBTQ+ community, its anti-Israel sentiments and its treatment of women.

Hasan and Mohyeldin’s rejection of Qatar’s abuses is a far cry from their stances on Israel, as both presenters have regularly used their platforms to perpetuate accusations of human rights abuses and have repeatedly voiced support for the boycott of the Jewish state for its treatment of Palestinians.

In a 2018 video for The Intercept, Hasan took it upon himself to ‘bust the myths’ in an attempt to convince critics to embrace anti-Israel BDS [The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] movement that seeks to boycott products made in Israel. Hasan said the movement began as a response to “human rights violations and its illegal occupation of Palestinian territories”. by Israel.

This is not “about the Jews, or even the Jewish state,” he said at the time. “It’s all about human rights. Maybe human rights you don’t like, but human rights anyway.”


More recently, Hasan used Russia’s war in Ukraine to attack Israel when he compared the invasion to past Israeli military operations against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

“I wonder what the people of Gaza think of the escalating debate over no-fly zones in Western capitals right now,” Hasan wrote on Twitter, including a link to an ABC News article. from 2021 and a 2014 article written by Amnesty International referring to Israeli strikes on Hamas, the terrorist group that controls Gaza, as “possible war crimes”.

The British-American journalist came under fire in October after hosting ‘Squad’ member Ilhan Omar on her show for responding to comments made about American Jews, while glossing over her own history of anti-Semitic slurs.

Earlier this year, Hasan apparently took issue with foreign nationalism and peaceful exchanges in Middle East when he criticized Israel’s national anthem, Hatikvah, played as Israeli President Isaac Herzog was greeted by Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed at the UAE Presidential Palace. The host of “The Mehdi Hasan Show” claimed that the warm reception indicated that foreign dictators were “joining” the Israeli occupation amid the Palestinian conflict.

A month later, while responding to an Amnesty International report, Hasan claimed there were “many similarities” between apartheid South Africa and Israel, adding that to suggest so many should not be taken as “anti-Semite”.

MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan.
(Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

“You don’t have to believe that Israel is committing apartheid…what you can’t do is just shout all the references to apartheid as being anti-Semitic…you have to engage with the evidence… you have to talk to the Palestinians,” he told viewers.

Mohyeldin also has a long history of anti-Israel stances, some of which have gotten him into hot water in recent years.

In 2019, Mohyeldin claimed that supporters of the BDS movement are in fact peace seekers who have rallied around a new strategy to achieve stability between Israelis and Palestinians.

“The peace process hasn’t worked since 1993. We’re not there yet. So let’s try something new,” he said.


Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have publicly condemned the BDS movement as an attempt to delegitimize and target Israel, including the Sens. Chuck Schumer, Mitch McConnell. In May 2021, Mohyeldin arranged a one-on-one interview with BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti, giving him a platform to plead the cause of those who criticize the movement.

“They’re not supporting yet, but they’re on their way. Now they realize that Israel is an apartheid state,” Barghouti said of US political leaders. The BDS co-founder later praised progressive lawmakers who called for cutting military aid to Israel altogether.


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