'60 Minutes' Chides Israeli Envoy for Interfering in Segment

Sunday's segment discussed exodus of Palestinian Christians from Jerusalem and West Bank; veteran reporter Bob Simon tells Israel's Washington envoy that he had never received a reaction to a story that hadn't been broadcast yet.

Natasha Mozgovaya
Natasha Mozgovaya
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Natasha Mozgovaya
Natasha Mozgovaya

WASHINGTON - A correspondent on U.S. news program "60 Minutes" has scolded Israel's ambassador on air for trying to influence a segment by phoning the show's executive producer while reporting was still underway.

Sunday's segment discussed the exodus of Palestinian Christians from Jerusalem and West Bank cities such as Bethlehem. Veteran reporter Bob Simon tells Israel's ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren, that he had never received a reaction to a story that hadn't been broadcast yet.

Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren. Credit: AFP

"There's a first time for everything, Bob," Oren said, adding that "I do that very, very infrequently as ambassador."

Oren said it seemed to him "outrageous, completely incomprehensible" that the network, CBS, was airing its story at a time when "Christian communities throughout the Middle East are being oppressed and massacred .... You got me a little bit mystified."

A senior Israeli diplomat told Haaretz that "the relationship between Israel and the Christian world is our strategic interest, and when we received several months ago information about this report and that it was planned for broadcast without any reaction by Israeli officials, Ambassador Oren did what a diplomat is supposed to do to prevent serious damage."

According to the diplomat, "The final result was simply a biased report touching on several familiar issues that should be resolved between Israel and the Palestinians."

Reactions over the blogosphere varied widely - from praises that Simon "exposed the way the Israeli government tries to silence everybody," to complaints that the story was biased as Israel said it was.



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott