Friday, August 28, 2009

To the Media: Higher Standard for Israel? Then Higher Standard for Coverage of Israel

By Barry Rubin

A friend who deals professionally with the media says that when he complains about coverage of Israel in the media he is told: ""We expect more from the Jews and Israel."

I suggested he respond like this:

You are saying that because of historical factors you have higher expectations from Jews and Israel. Ok. But there are other historical factors to take into account: antisemitism, deliberate slander and honest misunderstanding of Jews, and deliberate slander and misunderstanding of Israel. You should also have higher standards on how Jews and Israel should be treated fairly.

For most of history people have held mistaken concepts--Jews killed the guy from Nazareth, Jews killed the guy from Mecca, Jews poisoned wells, Jews sought to destroy Christianity, Jews were behind capitalism and communism, Jews were disloyal citizens, and so on. Incidentally, these all are not only ideas common in the Muslim majority world today but are once again spreading quickly into the West, in part due to your coverage.

So if you say that you hold Jews and Israel to higher standards remember equally that they have been treated, misexplained, misunderstood and lied about to lower standards. That there are people--often the main supposed witnesses to the things you denounce Israel for--who have a vested interest in making Israel look bad and who are willing to lie, along with reporters and others who have an antagonism to Israel. What are you doing to correct that side of the balance?

I'm going to hold you to a higher standard in your coverage of Israel  and of Jews for the same reason.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books. To see or subscribe to his blog, Rubin Reports.

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