Job-Hunting Journalists

This just in from AP:

In other developments, Palestinian gunmen in black ski masks burst into a Gaza office of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corp. on Saturday and demanded work, a day after the mayor of the West Bank’s largest city resigned to protest Yasser Arafat’s failure to stop such violence.

But did they bring references?

February 29, 2004 12:01 By Category : Backspin

Europe Funds Palestinian Propaganda

IMRA notes that the salaries of the top two lawyers directing Palestinian propaganda effort in The Hague are funded by British and Swedish taxpayers.

The European Institute for Research on the Middle East has completed a study of the Palestinian Negotiations Support Unit, created in 1998 and funded by British and other governments, for technical assistance in its preparations for permanent status talks. The NSU is officially part of the PLO and therefore under the direct control of Arafat. After the collapse of the Oslo framework and negotiations, the NSU has continued to operate, primarily as an information and propaganda arm of the Palestinian Authority.

One of the lawyers, Diane Butto, told the Christian Science Monitor that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “a battle over language sometimes more than over anything else.” True enough, but should European taxpayers have to continue funding the Palestinian battle?

February 25, 2004 8:20 By Category : Backspin

Al-Jazeera Expands

Al-Jazeera, long criticized by the US government and the subject of a recent HonestReporting critique, is expanding to offer English language broadcasts, among other new services. Last year, efforts to bring the the Qatar-based news service to Canada met stiff resistance. The English language broadcasts begin in May. No word yet if any Western cable or satellite TV companies have expressed interest.

February 24, 2004 16:23 By Category : Backspin

Noam Chomsky in NY Times

The New York Times today grants MIT radical Noam Chomsky op-ed space for a characteristic screed against Israel and the security fence.

The heart of Chomsky’s attack is a comparison to apartheid South Africa. The security fence, he claims, will

turn Palestinian communities into dungeons, next to which the bantustans of South Africa look like symbols of freedom, sovereignty and self-determination.

For a rejoinder to this outrageous claim, see the HonestReporting communique: Not an ‘Apartheid Wall’

And see Mortimer Zuckerman‘s fine column today:

The Palestinians and their leaders in the Arab world–who created the whole tragedy by waging a war of extermination in the first place, second place, and third place–have shown no willingness to accept Israel, no matter what concessions are offered. The vast majority of Israelis, and now their leaders, find the moral, financial, and political burden bearable no longer. Conflict management, not conflict resolution, is the only real option. The security fence is intended to provide a defensible and stable border.


February 23, 2004 14:15 By Category : Backspin

Wash Post Ombud on Jerusalem Article

Last week the Washington Post published a very long and extensively-illustrated article criticizing Israeli policy on Jerusalem: “Israel Hems in a Sacred City”.

The Wash Post ombudsman responds to criticism of the article today:

[Local Jewish leader David] Bernstein says, among other points, that the article “makes scant reference to the suicide terrorism that has shaken Israeli society to its core and necessitated the building of the fence.”

Foreign Editor David Hoffman, in his written answers to Bernstein about this and other points, says that The Post has devoted many stories to the toll taken by violence and that this story is not only about the security fence but about the ring of settlements, roads and walls surrounding Jerusalem that stretch back decades. To me, that, indeed, is the value of this story.

But my own view is that an article of this length and effort should have reminded readers that 23 suicide bombings in Jerusalem in the past three years have killed at least 163 people, not including the bombers, and wounded 1,200 others, as Anderson himself reported on Jan. 30.


February 23, 2004 0:04 By Category : Backspin

New communique

We’ve just released a new communique on the media’s tendency to downplay the close relationship between Fatah and the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade. View it here.

To receive HonestReporting communiques the moment they’re released, sign up above.

February 22, 2004 23:50 By Category : Backspin

‘Perspective’ at Chicago Tribune

This morning’s horrific suicide bombing on a Jerusalem bus certainly lends credence to the Israeli government’s case that the security fence is valid and necessary.

But readers of the Chicago Tribune don’t even hear that case. The Tribune has not one, but three different columns arguing against the fence, available to see now online:

Gary Fields calls the fence illegal and strongly implies that Israelis always intended to control the Palestinians however they could.

Marda Dunsky, a journalism professor, argues that Israeli occupation has converted Palestinian towns into prisons and turned Israeli public places into “cantons of fear.”

– And this one was written by the mayor of Qalqilyah.

Where are all of these columns located in the Tribune? The Perspectives section, of course.

Unfortunately, only one perspective is actually made available to Chicago Tribune readers.

Comments to:

February 22, 2004 14:41 By Category : Backspin

HR Canada on Globe & Mail

HonestReporting Canada has a new article on the (Toronto) Globe & Mail, taking a close look at the recent, skewed poll on the Globe & Mail website, and the paper’s record on accuracy in terminology when covering the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Subscribe to HR Canada media alerts at

February 20, 2004 12:18 By Category : Backspin

Jenny Tonge’s debate with Hadassah Doc

The BBC’s Radio 4 has available on their site a very powerful 30-minute debate between British MP Jenny Tonge (see this entry for more on Tonge) and a doctor at Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital.

The discussion gets to the heart of the matter of why Israelis — and most of the world — are so utterly appalled by Palestinian suicide bombings. Tonge’s position, well, hear it for yourself.

Click here, then go to the section on the right side “The extended interview with Dr David Sangan, from the Hadassah Hospital.”

Thoughts? Leave a comment, below.

February 19, 2004 14:16 By Category : Backspin

Israel’s Story in Maps

The Israeli Foreign Ministry seems to have invested in improving the quality of their online material. Wise move.

They have a very good site on the security fence, and now there’s a Flash feature called Israel’s Story in Maps. Check it out.

February 19, 2004 14:07 By Category : Backspin