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Posted in: Culture Wars & Censorship, Israel

Published on Jun 28, 2019 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Phyllis Chesler

The Media and Israel: Is it Fair?



Summertime and the livin’ is easy....

Last night, a friend invited me to the Marlene Mayerson Jewish Community Center to hear journalist/authors Matti Friedman (Spies Like Us), Ethan Bronner (Battle for Justice: How the Bork Nomination Shook America), and Susie Linfield (The Lion’s Den: Zionism and the Left from Hannah Arendt to Noam Chomsky) discuss Israel and the Media—a subject much discussed in certain circles and one on which I have also held forth. I am glad that talented, younger others have joined the cognitive war games. I sometimes fear that I have overdosed on the subject.

And there they sat, the fierce, beautiful, sexy, well dressed, well educated, Jewish women of the upper west side, voracious in their desire for more information, more social connectedness, eager, simply, for More of Everything—and there they sat: the speakers, one in a button-down shirt, one wearing a tie, and one wearing high heeled shoes.

Friedman’s most important point: Israel is not only overly and obsessively covered and subjected to a much higher standard than any other country; the context, the reality, history, and nature of the larger Arab and Muslim neighborhood is ignored and the Israel/Palestine “matzav” is put under a microscope as if it exists in a vacuum.

Bronner’s most important point: Journalism was never objective or fair, it was always biased and uncivil. He agreed with Friedman that historically, 50-60 journalists covering all of the Middle East were always based in Jerusalem and not in Cairo, Amman, Damascus, Baghdad, or Istanbul.

Linfield’s most important point: Americans and Europeans do not really care about sub-Saharan Africa and know very little about Arab Muslim countries. For some reason, they care passionately about tiny Israel, whether or not their passion is negative or positive.

No one dared attack the New York Times. Everyone was proud to have been published there.


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