David Bar-Illan, 1930-2003


Dear HonestReporting Subscriber,  

David Bar-Illan, whose pioneering Jerusalem Post “Eye on the Media” column inspired the establishment of HonestReporting, passed away in Jerusalem on November 5.

David Bar Illan, 1930-2003

A renown concert pianist, journalist and editor who served as chief spokesman for the Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bar-Illan’s incisive weekly critiques of Mideast media coverage created broad awareness of the severity and deleterious effects of anti-Israel bias.  More than any other, Bar-Illan demonstrated that an intelligent and sober comparison of news articles with the actual facts reveals an widespread pattern of media bias against the policies and actions of the State of Israel.

“Most foreign journalists in Israel during the past decade are not just charter-members of the ‘blame Israel first’ crowd; they are spiritual heirs to Walter Duranty, the first New York Times Pulitzer Prize winner,” Bar-Illan wrote in the foreword to his Eye on the Media book, a compilation of his columns. “One of the most distinguished journalists of his time… [Duranty’s] stories were monstrous lies and deceptive half-truths, whose full extent was discovered only with the fall of the Soviet empire. I should like to hope that it will not take the world over half a century to recognize the equally harmful deceptions perpetrated by foreign correspondents in Israel.” [For an updated version of Bar-Illan’s Duranty-Israel comparison, see HonestReporting’s new weblog.]

“David Bar-Illan was an Israeli Zionist patriot in his whole being,” said Netanyahu on hearing of his death. “He was an outstanding artist who sacrificed years of wonderful musical creativity to engage in journalistic and public activity to help his land and his people. He was a Renaissance man with an international education and an amazing writer whose power was in his deep faith in the righteousness of our people.”

“Media activists who participate in campaigns such as HonestReporting’s extend the legacy of the great David Bar-Illan,” said the Director of Israel’s Government Press Office, Danny Seaman.

May David Bar-Illan’s memory inspire ongoing commitment to ensuring Israel receives fair and accurate coverage in the world media.