Israel's Image Not So Terrible

(Ynet News) Eytan Schwartz - The heroes of these stories are not polished diplomats or experienced spokesmen, but just plain old good middle Americans, lovers of Zion who encountered anti-Israel sentiment and decided to fight it. I meet people like this almost every day - ordinary folks who love Israel and who fight to defend its honor. Syracuse University, in upstate New York, suspended its Israel program, apparently simply to be on the safe side. But one especially stubborn undergraduate, Carly Mangel, decided to fight it. Together with friends, Carly wrote to the university administration, sent emotional letters from students who wanted to study in Israel, and kept an entire file of documents, reports, and recommendations from various people who called upon the university to change its policy. Three weeks ago, Syracuse decided that it isn't actually so dangerous to study in Israel, and its students could once again study there. Several years ago in Florida, members of a small but active Jewish community noticed that the local paper's coverage of Israel had a decidedly pro-Palestinian slant. They began to clip articles, count news reports, assess headlines, and check photos: for every pro-Israel article, the paper had 4-5 that showed Israel in a negative light. Israelis were always the aggressors, Palestinians always the victims. Community members met with the editors, presented the articles that had appeared, and asked for fairer coverage. They showed the editors statistics about terrorism, presented the Israeli point of view, and tried to explain the complexity of the situation. Wonder of wonders, not only did the editors promise to be more careful, but in fact, gradually, over the course of months, community members began to see a change. The writer is the winner of the Israeli reality TV show "The Ambassador."

2005-12-09 00:00:00

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