Responding to Bias - Fight or Flight?

(Jerusalem Post) Andrea Levin - * Look at how much Israel gives to mankind: medical advances, agricultural invention, high-tech brilliance. Look at the value added to world culture and comfort by resourceful Israelis. But denigration and defamation are likely to nullify any positive images of Jewish generosity, creativity, and good works if misinformation is left unchallenged. * When Chris Hedges wrote in Harper's in the fall of 2001 that Israeli soldiers in Gaza "entice [Palestinian] children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport," would those who read or heard Hedges' false charges be persuaded to like the Jewish state on the basis of learning that it leads in nanotechnology? * When basic facts such as the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 242 are misreported to claim that Israel is required to cede the entire West Bank and Gaza, what are news consumers to think but that Israel is obstructing peace? When the terms of the so-called "road map" are continually misrepresented to cast Israel as a violator and the Palestinians as the aggrieved, what is the cumulative effect on readers? * When Hamas and Islamic Jihad are depicted as seeking an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza rather than working to extinguish Israel, Israeli measures in self-defense appear excessive. * There are lessons to be learned from the world of public relations, but they come from such instructive examples as the "war room" of former president Bill Clinton's election campaign. There, media coverage was monitored intensively, and every news account deemed incorrect, distorted, or incomplete was swiftly challenged. * No less an effort is necessary in defending the facts about Israel. Just as all that is required for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing, so too, distortions and lies about Israel triumph when they go unchallenged. The writer is executive director of CAMERA, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

2005-07-07 00:00:00

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