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Intercultural Communication as a Clash of Civilizations

Al-Jazeera and Qatar’s Soft Power

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Tal Samuel-Azran

Intercultural Communication as a Clash of Civilizations argues that Al-Jazeera is not an agent of globalization, as is widely argued, but a tool used by the Qatari government to advance its political as well as Islamist goals. This book also maps the Western tendency to reject the network outright despite Al-Jazeera’s billion-dollar investments designed to gain entrance into Western markets; it shows empirically that this rejection is similarly rooted in religious, cultural and national motives. This book asserts that the main outcome of Al-Jazeera’s activities is the promotion of religious and cultural conflicts. The network persistently portrays global events through the prism of conflicting religious and cultural values – propelling a clash of civilizations as per Samuel P. Huntington’s well-known thesis.
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Chapter 7. Al-Jazeera’s Soft Power and Israel

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· 7 ·

AL-JAZEERA’S SOFT POWER AND ISRAEL

This chapter will examine Qatar’s soft power operations in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since one of Al-Jazeera’s goals is to enter the Israeli news market and affect public opinion in Israel, the chapter includes an original study that examines attitudes towards Al-Jazeera amongst Israelis and reveals the roots of Israelis’ rejection of Al-Jazeera.

Qatar-Israeli Relations

Between 1996 and 2008, relations between Israel and Qatar seemed promising as Qatar established trade relations with Israel, and Israel opened a bureau of commerce in Doha following a meeting between the emir and Shimon Peres during the 1996 Oslo Accords. Moreover, throughout this period, a number of prominent Israeli politicians met with Qatari officials, with several politicians flying out to Doha, including former president Peres and former foreign affairs minister Tzipi Livni. There are arguments that Israel paid Qatar for their friendship during the Second Palestinian Intifada by allowing Al-Jazeera to report without disturbance, in contrast to expelling other Arab networks such as Abu Dhabi channel. ← 99 | 100 →

In 2006, however, relations became strained after Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections, prompting the United States to cut its funding to the Palestinian Authority. In response, Qatar offered to provide Hamas with $50 million towards the creation of a Hamas government.1 After the 2008–2009 Israeli Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, Qatar announced a $400 million donation to repair Gaza, as well as...

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