Friday, July 10, 2009

Media Coverage? Israeli Policy? You be the Judge

By Barry Rubin

Uzi Arad, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's national security advisor, gave a fascinating, broad, and detailed interview to one of Israel's top reporters. Arad explained why he didn't believe there was any real Palestinian partner for peace, discussed the tremendous importance of the Iranian nuclear issue, and said a number of important things--many of them for the first time--explaining the regional situation and Israel's policy.

So how did the Associated Press, the world's biggest provider of news to the media, cover it? Almost every word was devoted to saying that Israel wasn't planning to withdraw from the entire Golan Heights to give it to Syria. The headline by the way, is "No Golan Pullout for Peace," implying that Israel wouldn't give up the land even in exchange for peace, while Arad's clear point is that Israel doesn't believe it would get peace even if it gave up the whole Golan Heights, a rather crucial difference!

And how did Reuters cover it? Just as narrowly but choosing a different, equivalent, angle, that Israel threatened to hit Iran with nuclear weapons if Iran attacked Israel using them. What did this leave out? A whole discussion of the threat from the Iranian regime to destroy Israel and how it might be countered in a variety of ways.

I've been talking for years about how much of the media--and especially the wire services--never really report Israel's positions, analyses, and explanations for its behavior. Now here is a superb example.

Compare the two and see. And if you want to understand Israeli policy, read the Arad interview. 

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