US Radio Host Larson: Israel - a Beacon of Freedom in the Region
Well-known U.S. radio personality Lars Larson spoke on Tuesday in a special session of the Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee which dealt with the challenges Israel faces in terms of public relations in the international media.
“There are a lot of misconceptions in my country, among average folks, about what’s really happening [in Israel],” Larson, who is hosting his show from Israel during his trip, told the committee. “I find those nearly every day when people ask questions about what I’ve learned on these trips.”
Larson emphasized that he is “an unabashed friend” of Israel and will be a defender of Israel, but said that it is good to have people who think the opposite on the program because, as he put it, “they will question what it is that’s happening here and I’m happy to do that, because I think that the best arguments in the world are ones that can be tested by having tough questions asked and having real answers given. When you do that, you clear the air of those misconceptions.”
Larson addressed President Barack Obama’s attitude and policy regarding Israel and said, “I don’t think he’s done your country a lot of favors. In fact, the phrase that we’ve use most commonly is that sometimes he’s 'thrown you under the bus', and I will say that I have said that myself and I believe it’s true.”
“I think the United States should be a great friend of Israel and it’s a very important subject back at home,” he added, noting that the issue of Israel-U.S. relations is a big part of the 2012 election campaign.
“You are a democracy, you’re a beacon of freedom in this region, and you do things in this region that no other country does,” Larson said. “You treat your Arab citizens better than they would be treated in an Arab country and that is one of the great ironies that sometimes doesn’t come home to people until they hear somebody like me come over, see it and then say it on the radio.”
He said that it is important to use a radio talk show like his because people like him have three hours every day “to really unravel a very complicated situation and allow a full explanation of it to people. I just can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to be able to be in your country again. I will bring my radio show back here again and again.”