Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Journalism which Cultivates Hatred of Israel and Israelis

Hatred -- of any group -- does not drop out of the sky like rain. It is cultivated. Sadly, it has become necessary to ask the JTA (the news agency which supplies most American Jewish newspapers) not to inadvertently cultivate hate -- in particular, not to falsely accuse Israeli settlers of criminal deeds. This is important because unfounded hatred of settlers causes much of the unfounded hatred of Israel. Here's an example letter that you can send (or write your own...):

Dear Jewish Telegraph Agency, Your website states that the JTA strives to be "the definitive, trusted global source of ...current events". But this past year you printed a series of 3 one-sidedly derogatory articles against settlers which does not fit this description.

It is my understanding that an Israeli grassroots organization, Mattot Arim, has approached you several times regarding the most distasteful "fact" presented in your series: "[R]adical settlers ...have ...thrown acid at Israeli soldiers" I understand that Mattot Arim told you they have carefully looked into this matter with settler leaders such as the spokesperson of the Jewish Community of Hebron, where the event allegly occurred, the Shomron Council spokesperson, Women in Green founder Nadia Matar, Gush Katif spokesperson and others and all believe that the allegation you published is not factual, i.e. not a single settler is known to have thrown acid at even a single soldier.

I also understand that you (the JTA) have claimed that an un-named Israel Police spokesperson made this allegation to you and you merely reported it. Could you, the JTA, take responsibility for your story and write to the Israel Police, inform them that the information they gave you has been challenged by concerned readers such as myself and ask them to corroborate their allegation by providing the JTA in writing some elementary details regarding their allegation (copy of the chemical analysis performed if any, who (names, dates) purportedly witnessed these events, were any soldiers purportedly injured and if so where are the medical reports, etc.). I would be pleased to receive a copy of the Israel Police spokesperson's response to you in due course.

Or, since we are in Yom Kippur season -- the traditional Jewish apology season -- could you simply publish a correction and apology indicating that (1) your acid story was challenged; (2) you have not found any facts to support it and (3) your acid story is therefore retracted until further notice. I look forward to hearing from you, sincerely, (NAME)."

Please email the above (or write your own!) to, to, and to Gary Rosenblatt who is on the JTA's board of directors. If you know anyone else on the board,, please cc them. And please cc so that the necessary parliamentary action in Israel can be arranged regarding the partial role of an Israeli Police spokesperson alleged by the JTA. Finally, if you get a response from the JTA, please fw it to immediately. Thank you very much.

Please pass this on, particularly to Jewish leaders and Jewish (or pro-Israel) news media so that the JTA does not, in future, poison attitudes toward Israel and its citizens by careless journalism. Please note: No libel suit can be filed because the JTA article merely accused un-named "settlers" of throwing the acid at the soldiers. The JTA has avoided mentioning the name of any settler hence it cannot be prosecuted. However, the JTA very much cares about its reputation (even more than it cares about a legal proceeding) in the eyes of the public, so please -- contact them, explain that you are not happy, and ask your friends to do likewise. Thanks for helping Israel.


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