CAMERA Panel on UK Media, European Antisemitism

With antisemitic violence on the rise in Europe, CAMERA convened a panel discussion in Jerusalem on March 1 entitled “Framing Israel: Framing Jews: Examining the effects of UK media coverage of Israel on EuropeanEvent 1 3 15 antisemitism.” In light of recent polling which indicates that over 80 percent of British Jews believe that biased coverage of Israel incites antisemitism, the panelists explored how UK media coverage of Israel influences attitudes towards Jews in Europe and fuels extremism.

Speakers on the panel included Professor Robert S. Wistrich, Neuberger Chair of Modern European and Jewish History at the Hebrew University Jerusalem, Head of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism and author of A Lethal Obsession: Antisemitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (2010); Lucille Cohen, former President of the Zionist Central Council and the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester and representative to the Board of Deputies of British Jews; Adam Levick, managing editor of UK Media Watch(formerly CiF Watch), a CAMERA affiliate and Hadar Sela, managing editor of BBC Watch, a CAMERA affiliate.

Readers can watch the video of the event here.

Media and Israel: Friday night long reads and listens

Adam Levick – managing editor of our sister site UK Media Watch (formerly CiF Watch) – recently spoke with Judy Lash Balint on her Voice of Israel radio show. Readers can listen to the interview here.Adam on VoI

Those interested in joining us in Jerusalem this coming Sunday for our event titled ‘Framing Israel, Framing Jews’ can still register here.

On a related note, writers Ben Judah and Josh Glancy have an interesting interview in Tablet with novelist Howard Jacobson.

“Jewish north London starts just three miles up the road, but conceptually you could not be further from its prim suburbs. Jacobson doesn’t belong there. In that world, the rise of anti-Semitism is the talk of the Shabbat dinner table. People mutter that since the Gaza war last summer there has been “something in the air.” They check property prices in Herzliya with increasing regularity, just in case they need a bolt-hole. […]

“Israel has become the pretext [for anti-Semitism] not because I choose it to be, but because they have,” he says in his gruff but melodious north Manchester accent, still with him despite decades of living in London. “All the unsayable things, all the things they know they can’t say about Jews in a post-Holocaust liberal society, they can say again now. Israel has desacralized the subject. It’s a space in which everything is allowed again.”

The difficulty all British Jews face with growing anti-Zionism is how to interpret it. What is legitimate criticism and what is something else? Sometimes it is clear when the line has been crossed, such as when swastikas and the Magen David start appearing on placards together. But other times it is far less clear, woven into a complex mix of genuine and excessive outrage. Jacobson’s strength on this issue is his ability to sort the anti-Semitic wheat from the anti-Israel chaff. Like many secular Jews he is clearly uncomfortable with the Bennettist millenarian nationalism that has grown in influence there. But he thinks “everyone’s always banging on about that.” Instead the war he chooses to wage is against anti-Zionism; the language, the sophistries, and the double standards. In recent years he has become England’s anti-Zionism code-reader-in-chief.”

Read the whole article here.

 

BBC contributors on the ‘flood libel’ bandwagon

Readers who follow our colleagues at CAMERA will know that they recently exposed a fabricated story by AFP’s Yahia (or Yahya) Hassouna in which it was claimed that Israel had deliberately flooded areas of the Gaza Strip by opening dams. The same fictitious story was also promoted by Al Jazeera, the Daily Mail and Russia Today, among others.

“In the video, Ead Zino, a resident of Al-Maghraqa, accuses Israel: “Every four years there is a war but here in Maghraqa every year there is a flood. This water comes from Israel. This is political. All Israel wants is to destroy us.”

 In addition, AFP’s caption at the beginning of the video is “Gaza village flooded as Israel opens dam gates.”

AFP did not include any Israeli voice to refute the false charge.

 Regarding the claim that Israel opened dams, thereby flooding Gaza, a spokesman for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) told CAMERA:

‘The claim is entirely false, and southern Israel does not have any dams. Due to the recent rain, streams were flooded throughout the region with no connection to actions taken by the State of Israel.

Prior to the storm, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories allowed the transfer of four water pumps belonging to the Palestinian Water Authority from Israel into Gaza to supplement the 13 pumps already in the Gaza Strip in dealing with any potential flooding throughout the area.’ “

That same malicious ‘flood libelwas also promoted on social media.

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Readers may recall that Dr Bassel Abu Warda of Shifa hospital was one of numerous Gaza Strip-based doctors given BBC airtime and column space last summer – ostensibly in order to provide audiences with a supposedly authoritative and objective view of the conflict between Hamas and Israel.

Another person who promoted the false flooding story on Twitter was Human Rights Watch’s MENA director Sarah Leah Whitson.

Whitson tweet

As regular readers know, Human Rights Watch is one of the NGOs most promoted and quoted by the BBC – including on the topic of the Gaza Strip.

It is always worth bearing in mind that – as cases like this one show – people from whom the BBC sources content may have an underlying political agenda.  That, of course, is why the BBC has editorial guidelines which instruct its staff that “we may need to make it clear to the audience when contributors are associated with a particular viewpoint”. Unfortunately, adherence to that guideline is highly selective

CAMERA director interviewed on Voice of Israel

Readers can listen to a recent interview on the Voice of Israel radio station with the executive director of CAMERA Andrea Levin here.VoI

“Listen to Andrea Levin, executive director of the renowned media watchdog CAMERA (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), talk to VOI’s Daniel Seaman and Daniela Traub in-studio about her organization’s activities across America, and how the public can be mobilized to ensure fair and professional coverage of the Middle East.”

An upcoming event for BBC Watchers

Recent polling indicates that over 80 percent of British Jews believe that biased coverage of Israel incites antisemitism.

Is UK media coverage of Israel influencing attitudes towards Jews in Europe and fueling extremism? What should major news outlets like the BBC and The Guardian do to avoid sensational and inaccurate reports?

Join us in Jerusalem on March 1st for a discussion of these questions with a focus on how we can promote responsible media coverage.

Advance registration required – details here.

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A Jerusalem event for BBC watchers

Readers in Israel are invited to the following event:Event Jlem Nov 9

Join CAMERA in Jerusalem on November 9th for a panel discussion on Israel, Hamas, and media coverage of Gaza this summer.

Hamas boasts it won the media war that raged on alongside the military battle. Did major foreign media outlets echo the Hamas storyline? Were journalists intimidated? Were the New York Times and the BBC impartial? How does the Israeli media affect international coverage?

Join us for a discussion of these urgent questions and what we can do to promote responsible and accurate coverage.

Details concerning venue and registration can be found here.

Hoping to see you there! 

Congratulations! CAMERA wins Hasby Award

Over at the Elder of Ziyon blogspot it is Hasby Awards season and the results of the winners of various categories are being announced this week.

BBC Watch is very proud to have been nominated in the “Best Mainstream Media Watchdog” category – especially as the ‘youngest’ of all the nominees – and thanks all those who nominated and cast votes. Hasby

The category was won by our colleagues at CAMERA.

“Besides having a stellar year with dozens of articles showing bias in the New York Times alone (and forcing many corrections), CAMERA also freely released its monograph on that paper detailing its bias during 2011. They were in the forefront of identifying systemic Christian anti-Zionist trends. And they also oversee their fellow nominees, the excellent CiFWatch and BBCWatch, as well as Presspectiva and a couple of other specific sites for Spanish speakers and college students.”

Congratulations to all at CAMERA on a very well-deserved win. 

New CAMERA office in Jerusalem

Mazal Tov to our colleagues at CAMERA, CiF Watch and Presspectiva who have moved into a new office in Jerusalem. door photo smaller

“CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, announced the expansion of its Israel operations with the opening of its Jerusalem office this week. The new facility will serve as the center for CAMERA’s presence in Israel and will enable increased activity in promoting accurate coverage of Israel and the Middle East in the North American, European and Israeli media.

Strategically located at a prestigious technology park which houses several major international media outlets as well as Israel’s Government Press Office, the new office is home to two CAMERA affiliates. Presspectiva, CAMERA’s popular Hebrew-language website launched in 2010, will share space with the influential CiF Watch, which monitors the Guardian and other British media outlets.

 BBC Watch, CiF Watch’s sister site, will continue to operate from its branch in northern Israel.”

Read more about it here.