Ross Kemp is an actor and investigative journalist who host’s Ross Kemp Extreme World on Sky 1, a show which investigates “important issues around the world, telling the powerful and dramatic stories of people experiencing war, poverty, crime and violence”.
The latest episode focused on drug addiction among Palestinians living in the West Bank.
Though the show – highlighting efforts by both Israeli and Palestinian police to address the problem – was largely fair, one interview conducted by Kemp during the show caught our attention. The man interviewed was identified as Issam, characterised as a former drug user and the “first person to conduct a comprehensive study of drug addiction on the West Bank”.
However, it turns out that he’s also evidently a bit of an anti-Israel conspiracy theorist See this video and pay attention to the English subtitles, especially at the one minute mark):
Note how Kemp just sits there and doesn’t challenge the bizarre claim that “the occupation is using drugs to control the youth”.
Issam’s full name is Issam Jwehan, director of Al-Maqdese for Society Development, a European government-funded NGO which claims to “raise awareness among Palestinians in Jerusalem of their rights and international humanitarian law,” and “disclose, document, and publish Israeli violations.”
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Jwehan has made such a claim. In January, 2017, he was quoted thusly by Palestine Monitor – in an article about fighting drug addiction in east Jerusalem.
Isam believes that political reasons and Israeli policy are to blame for the high number of drug abusers in East Jerusalem. “You can see that dealers feel free here,” he said. “Drugs are a weapon to continue the occupation. [Israel] knows that those using drugs will not resist the occupation.”
A few years back, Jwehan offered a variation of the same charge on Palestinian Authority TV:
Kemp’s failure, on Sky 1, to challenge Jwehan’s absurd causation for drug addiction in the West Bank represents another example of the media’s role in legitimising anti-Israel conspiracy theories – fantasies which prevent Palestinians from engaging in genuine self-reflection over their own role in perpetuating very real social, economic and political problems.