The Guardian’s report on the IDF capture of an Iranian weapons ship contained the following paragraph:
The reference to a “powerful Jewish lobby” is insidious as well as inaccurate (AIPAC is not an exclusively Jewish organization). HonestReporting Managing Editor Simon Plosker tweeted the following to The Guardian’s Middle East Editor Ian Black:
CiF Watch also weighed in and some hours later, The Guardian amended its article to refer to AIPAC more accurately as the “powerful pro-Israel lobby.” Nonetheless, the initial “slip” on the part of The Guardian’s journalists gives us a very sorry but unsurprising insight into their prejudiced thinking.
The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is trying to undermine Israel’s legitimacy, but we can defeat the movement if we work together to subvert its message, HonestReporting CEO Joe Hyams told attendees of the AIPAC Policy Conference this week in Washington, DC.
Joe joined CAMERA’s CEO, Andrea Levin, and The Israel Project’s CEO, Josh Block on a panel discussing “Middle East Media: Covering a Region in Turmoil,” on the second day of the conference.
While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared to the AIPAC audience that the BDS would fail, Joe took up the challenge of showing the audience how.
“Unlike traditional forms of media bias from the mainstream press, which stand to lose credibility when they are shown to be violating principles of journalism, BDS thrives on media exposure,” Joe said.
“The only way to address it is to subvert its message. SodaStream is the most successful high profile example of this to date,” he continued. “They managed to appear more humanitarian than Oxfam, and created an alternative to the dogma that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is entirely bad for the Palestinians.”
Judging by the audience response, which included live tweets throughout the talk, Joe’s message clearly hit its target. Joe also talked about the elements of fair media coverage and what Israel’s advocates can reasonably expect from the media.
But the annual AIPAC Conference is more than just three days of speeches and panels on the biggest issues facing Israel. It’s also an opportunity to exchange ideas with the brightest stars in the world of Israel advocacy and create opportunities for collaboration that will benefit the Jewish world in numerous unexpected ways.
Joe met with a wide range of policy makers and opinion leaders throughout the conference, including current ministers in the Israeli government, leaders of local communities across the U.S., authors, journalists and activists.
As an invited speaker and not just a delegate attending the conference, Joe was in high demand, even when he attended sessions by other speakers. During a working dinner, Joe was addressed from the podium, with the speaker informing the audience that Joe was “a temporary Bostonian” and recommended him as a keynote speaker for upcoming events.
Joe’s appearance at AIPAC was an important gateway to bringing HonestReporting’s message to a wider audience. And it comes just as the wider Jewish world has come to see the depth of the media threat HonestReporting has been fighting for the past 13 years.
Now, more than ever, we need our supporters to join us as we set our sights on the most insidious media threat we’ve faced in a decade – one which seeks to undermine Israel’s very legitimacy. But together we can turn the tide against the BDS and bring Israel a bright new future.
It’s not unusual to find anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists lurking in the nether regions of the web who will always try to claim that Israel mounts “false flag operations” to discredit its enemies. In the case of the Iranian weapons ship seized by the IDF, this would entail Israel planting the missiles on board in order to serve its own nefarious propaganda.
While this sort of fringe lunacy can be readily dismissed, it isn’t helpful when a reputable media outlet makes an error that might assist in the construction of such a conspiracy theory.
Take Reuters, which initially reported:
Israeli television footage showed what appeared to be marines inspecting a rocket on the floor of a ship hold, with cement bags labeled “Made in Israel” in English next to it.
In fact, this is what Israeli television footage, courtesy of the IDF, actually showed:
The cement bags were clearly marked “Made in R. Iran” and not Israel.
While Reuters has since corrected its original report, the same cannot be said of other international media outlets that relied on the Reuters story for their own coverage, including the Sydney Morning Herald and Canada’s Globe and Mail.
This illustrates the added responsibility that the wire services have to get it right the first time and the dangers behind a simple typo.
If there was ever a headline that sums up the one-sided view that Israel and only Israel can and should make concessions in peace negotiations with the Palestinians, this is it in The Independent:
So, according to The Independent, simply recognizing the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state is “impossible” for Mahmoud Abbas. And what’s more, according to The Independent, Netanyahu is clearly the spoiler in the talks for making the demand.
But what about Palestinian demands to flood Israel with millions of “refugees” under the so-called Right of Return? Why is asking for the effective end of Israel as a Jewish state not considered an “impossible” demand on the part of the Palestinians?
Just another example of how media bias is allowed to present peace talks as a one-way street where Israel is the only driver. Palestinians are portrayed as powerless passengers on the journey with no responsibility for the bumps on the road.
How many times does the UK media need to be reminded that Tel Aviv is not the capital of Israel? A story in the Daily Telegraph on U.S. President Obama’s meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu contains the following paragraph:
Israel’s parliament, foreign ministry and most other organs of government are based in Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv. Would the Telegraph refer to “New York” or “Manchester” when talking about U.S. administration or UK government activities respectively? Of course not.
While the Telegraph may not want to go as far as to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s legitimate capital, it may wish to consider that the UK’s Press Complaints Commission has already ruled on this very issue after HonestReporting took action in 2012 against The Guardian for declaring Tel Aviv as the Israeli capital.
A complaint has been sent to the Telegraph reminding it of the PCC ruling. Watch this space.
The Daily Telegraph has updated its article, which now reads:
South Africa’s SABC Newsroom is the main morning TV weekday news program on South Africa’s public broadcaster. On the morning of March 4, SABC gave a platform to two activists promoting Israel Apartheid Week.
A professional and balanced presenter would have qualified his statements by acknowledging that Israeli “apartheid” is a perception rather than a fact. But not SABC Newsroom’s Eben Jansen who opens by referring to Israel Apartheid Week as “a series of events that raise awareness of Israel’s apartheid policies against Palestinians.”
Jansen then interviews the two anti-Israel activists giving them several minutes of carte blanche to promote Israel Apartheid Week and their anti-Israel agenda. When one interviewee explains that Israel fits the definition of an “apartheid state,” there is no followup or counter-argument. Instead it is treated as an accepted fact in the same way that the earth is considered to be round.
While the activists are given a free ride in what is effectively a powder-puff interview, their language betrays their real agenda:
Eben Jansen signs off by wishing the activists all the best for Apartheid Week. With that sort of soft interview, offering only one side of the story, SABC Newsroom has clearly done its best to assist Israel Apartheid Week.
In the interests of balance why did SABC Newsroom not invite someone with a pro-Israel counterpoint on the show? Or is the SABC acknowledging that professional journalism is secondary to promoting a biased and anti-Israel political agenda?
See HonestReporting’s Israel Apartheid State Libel page for more resources.
You can make your feelings known to SABC through its feedback form asking how such a one-sided and biased interview was allowed to be screened and demand that a guest be invited on air to state Israel’s case.
H/T: Uri Gobey aka Israel Muse
HonestReporting CEO Joe Hyams is due to appear at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual policy conference today in Washington D.C. He’ll be participating in a 12:30 p.m. panel discussion on “Middle East Media: Covering a Region in Turmoil.”
Also on the panel are CAMERA’s CEO, Andrea Levin, and The Israel Project’s CEO, Josh Block.
Here’s Joe backstage with Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz.
An opinion piece by Alan Elsner appeared on The Guardian’s website in advance of the upcoming AIPAC conference:
But a look at the article’s URL gives a clue as to the original headline:
Indeed, a bit of online digging and a look at some retweets on Twitter such as this below reveal that the original headline referenced “The American Jewish lobby“:
While The Guardian updated the headline a few hours later to its current version, it says much about that media outlet’s thinking that it would initially refer to the “American Jewish lobby,” a term that is more usually associated with anti-Semitic tropes.
Perhaps not so surprising coming from The Guardian.
This time around, cartoonist Burkhard Mohr, caricatured Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg as a long-nosed octopus controlling the world. Not smart. If you don’t get why, see the Daily Mail, which compared Mohr’s caricature to similar Nazi imagery.
Forced to explain himself, Mohr told the Jerusalem Post the cartoon was his take on Facebook acquiring WhatsApp. The caricature, he said, wasn’t intended to be viewed as an expression of anti-Semitism or as a personal attack on Zuckerberg, adding,
I am sorry that it led to this misunderstanding and hurt the feelings of some readers.
Mohr subsequently revised the cartoon.