The MasterBlog
Subscribe to The MasterBlog in a Reader Subscribe to The MasterBlog by Email

MasterBlogs Headlines

24 Hour Spot Gold & Silver 3-Day Overlay

GOLD 24 Hour Spot SILVER 24 Hour Spot

24 Hour Spot Gold 3-Day Overlay 24 Hour Spot Silver 3-Day Overlay

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Matti Friedman Responds to Critics of His Essay on #Israel #Media Coverage @TabletMag

"colleagues thought practicing journalism on journalists was a kind of betrayal"

Ongoing Controversy Around 'The Most Important Story on Earth'

Israeli armored personnel carrier seen moving along the border with Gaza on July 10, 2014 on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip. (Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)

My essay "An Insider's Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth" touched a nerve far beyond my expectations—I didn't think that in our times a 4,000-word essay would be shared 750 times on Facebook, let alone 75,000. A second essay will appear here soon.

The article drew a series of interesting responses. Richard Miron, a veteran of both the BBC and the United Nations, published a reflection on his own similar experiences. In Jerusalem the Israeli historian Gershom Gorenberg, from the left side of the local political spectrum, called it a "must-read, must think about," and Rick Santorum endorsed it on Twitter from Pennsylvania. Some accused me of being an apologist for the Israeli right, and worse. A few former colleagues thought practicing journalism on journalists was a kind of betrayal; others were discreetly thrilled. I have made friends and enemies I'm not sure I need.

There has been no serious public response to the piece, however, from inside the system I'm criticizing—no denials of the examples I gave, no explanations for the numbers I cite, no alternative reasons for the problems I describe. This uncomfortable silence is an admission.

Here I would like to reply briefly to the closest thing to an official explanation that has emerged so far. This is a short essay published by Steven Gutkin, the AP's former bureau chief in Jerusalem, in the paper he currently runs in Goa, India, and highlighted here at Tablet last week. The article is important for reasons I believe its author did not intend.

Steve, who chose to identify himself as one of the editors who appeared anonymously in my account, responds to my concrete examples with generalities, musings about the human condition, anecdotes, and much discussion of his own Judaism. He seems to believe this is about character—he is an experienced journalist, he writes, and is a Jew, albeit one who believes most in "humanity" (as opposed to the ones who, you know, don't). We should thus believe him when he says my essay is "hogwash," even if he can't be bothered to actually disprove anything. I was a junior member of the staff, we are to understand, and spent less time in the international press corps than he, and I am Israeli. Of course all of this is true. But so what? I'm making a case about the coverage. Anyone hoping to dispute what I wrote has to provide, as I do, concrete information about the coverage. 

What I want, he thinks, is for Israel to be "left alone," which is the usual response from people called out for their Israel obsessions. But of course I want no such thing: I want Israel to be covered, as I wrote, "as critically as any other place, and understood in context and in proportion." Steve wants to believe that my argument is that the press corps is "teeming with anti-Semites," because that makes me easier to dismiss. In no way is that my argument. What I believe, and wrote, is that old thought patterns centered on Jews are reasserting themselves in the West. I do not think anyone sensitive to events this summer, particularly in Europe, can believe otherwise. I think the press is central in all of this, consciously or subconsciously, and I show how this works using examples.  

Steve would like readers to think that my criticism of the media's failures has something to do with being "blind" to the Palestinians, and wrote (incorrectly) that I had not once referred to the occupation of the West Bank in my article. In fact I had (he later corrected that detail), and I also wrote that the settlements are "destructive" and a "serious moral and strategic error on Israel's part," which doesn't leave much room to err about my politics. The reason I don't dwell on the occupation is not because I'm unaware of it, but because my essay is about the media, not the occupation. It's also worth pointing out here that the only serious settlement-related investigation published by the AP's Jerusalem bureau during Steve's tenure, an article very critical of Israeli actions, was written by me. I'm proud of it.

Most strikingly, Steve is happy not only to confirm the media's obsession with Jews but to endorse it. If he thinks there's any journalistic problem in a news organization covering Israel more than China or the Congo, he doesn't say so. He thinks, in fact, that Jews—the "people of the Bible," or perhaps the "persecuted who became persecutors"—are really, really interesting. His piece is, in other words, a confirmation of my argument mistaking itself for a rebuttal. 

As for two of the most serious incidents I mentioned, a careful reader will note that Steve concedes them. Both have ramifications beyond the specifics of this story. 

1. To the best of my knowledge, no major news organization has publicly admitted censoring its own coverage under pressure from Hamas. A New York Times correspondent recently said this idea was "nonsense." Responding to an Israeli reporter asking about my essay, the AP said my "assertions challenging the independence of AP's Mideast news report in recent years are without merit." But the AP's former Jerusalem bureau chief just explicitly admitted it. He confirms my report of a key detail removed from a story during the 2008-2009 fighting—that Hamas men were indistinguishable from civilians—because of a threat to our reporter, a Gaza Palestinian. 

He goes even further than I did, saying printing the reporter's original information would have meant "jeopardizing his life." The censored information in this case is no minor matter, but the explanation behind many of the civilian fatalities for which much of the world (including the AP) blamed Israel. Steve writes that such incidents actually happened "two or three times" during his tenure. It should be clear to a reader that even once is quite enough in order for a reporter living under Hamas rule to fall permanently in line. This means that AP's Gaza coverage is shaped in large part by Hamas, which is something important that insiders know but readers don't. 

I'm not saying the decision to strike the information was wrong—no information is worth the life of a reporter. But I am saying that the failure to get it out some other way, or to warn readers that their news is being dictated by Hamas, is a major ethical shortcoming with obvious ramifications for the credibility of everyone involved. The AP should address this publicly, and all news organizations working here need to be open about this now.

2. I wrote that in early 2009 the bureau wouldn't touch an important news story, a report of a peace proposal from the Israeli prime minister to the Palestinian president. This decision was indefensible on journalistic grounds. A careful reader will notice that Steve does not deny this. He can't, because too many people saw it happen, and a journalist as experienced as Steve might assume, correctly, that at least some of them vetted my account before it was published. He merely quibbles with a marginal detail—the nature of a map that one of the reporters saw. I repeat what I wrote: Two experienced AP reporters had information adding up to a major news story, one with the power to throw the Israeli-Palestinian relationship into a different light. Israelis confirmed it, and Palestinians confirmed it. The information was solid, and indeed later appeared in Newsweek and elsewhere. The AP did not touch this story, and others, in order to maintain its narrative of Israeli extremism and Palestinian moderation.

Failing to report bad things that Hamas does, and good things that Israel does, which is what these examples show, creates the villainous "Israel" of the international press. That these failures mislead news consumers is clear. But they also have a role in generating recent events like a mob attack on a Paris synagogue, for example, or the current 30-year-high in anti-Jewish incidents in Britain. There are several causes behind such phenomena, and editorial decisions like these are among them. But this is one subject about which the AP bureau chief, for all of his Jewish ruminations, has nothing to say. The press corps is obviously not "teeming with anti-Semitism." But neither is it teeming with responsibility or introspection, and the kind of thinking that has taken hold there should have all of us deeply concerned.

See the article online here: http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/184707/ongoing-controversy-around-the-most-important-story-on-earth

See the original story 'The Most Important Story on Earth' here: : An Insider's Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth

Related: Former AP Bureau Chief Responds to Article About Israel Coverage


Matti Friedman Responds to Critics of His Essay on #Israel #Media Coverage @TabletMag

"colleagues thought practicing journalism on journalists was a kind of betrayal"

Ongoing Controversy Around 'The Most Important Story on Earth'

Israeli armored personnel carrier seen moving along the border with Gaza on July 10, 2014 on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip. (Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)

My essay "An Insider's Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth" touched a nerve far beyond my expectations—I didn't think that in our times a 4,000-word essay would be shared 750 times on Facebook, let alone 75,000. A second essay will appear here soon.

The article drew a series of interesting responses. Richard Miron, a veteran of both the BBC and the United Nations, published a reflection on his own similar experiences. In Jerusalem the Israeli historian Gershom Gorenberg, from the left side of the local political spectrum, called it a "must-read, must think about," and Rick Santorum endorsed it on Twitter from Pennsylvania. Some accused me of being an apologist for the Israeli right, and worse. A few former colleagues thought practicing journalism on journalists was a kind of betrayal; others were discreetly thrilled. I have made friends and enemies I'm not sure I need.

There has been no serious public response to the piece, however, from inside the system I'm criticizing—no denials of the examples I gave, no explanations for the numbers I cite, no alternative reasons for the problems I describe. This uncomfortable silence is an admission.

Here I would like to reply briefly to the closest thing to an official explanation that has emerged so far. This is a short essay published by Steven Gutkin, the AP's former bureau chief in Jerusalem, in the paper he currently runs in Goa, India, and highlighted here at Tablet last week. The article is important for reasons I believe its author did not intend.

Steve, who chose to identify himself as one of the editors who appeared anonymously in my account, responds to my concrete examples with generalities, musings about the human condition, anecdotes, and much discussion of his own Judaism. He seems to believe this is about character—he is an experienced journalist, he writes, and is a Jew, albeit one who believes most in "humanity" (as opposed to the ones who, you know, don't). We should thus believe him when he says my essay is "hogwash," even if he can't be bothered to actually disprove anything. I was a junior member of the staff, we are to understand, and spent less time in the international press corps than he, and I am Israeli. Of course all of this is true. But so what? I'm making a case about the coverage. Anyone hoping to dispute what I wrote has to provide, as I do, concrete information about the coverage. 

What I want, he thinks, is for Israel to be "left alone," which is the usual response from people called out for their Israel obsessions. But of course I want no such thing: I want Israel to be covered, as I wrote, "as critically as any other place, and understood in context and in proportion." Steve wants to believe that my argument is that the press corps is "teeming with anti-Semites," because that makes me easier to dismiss. In no way is that my argument. What I believe, and wrote, is that old thought patterns centered on Jews are reasserting themselves in the West. I do not think anyone sensitive to events this summer, particularly in Europe, can believe otherwise. I think the press is central in all of this, consciously or subconsciously, and I show how this works using examples.  

Steve would like readers to think that my criticism of the media's failures has something to do with being "blind" to the Palestinians, and wrote (incorrectly) that I had not once referred to the occupation of the West Bank in my article. In fact I had (he later corrected that detail), and I also wrote that the settlements are "destructive" and a "serious moral and strategic error on Israel's part," which doesn't leave much room to err about my politics. The reason I don't dwell on the occupation is not because I'm unaware of it, but because my essay is about the media, not the occupation. It's also worth pointing out here that the only serious settlement-related investigation published by the AP's Jerusalem bureau during Steve's tenure, an article very critical of Israeli actions, was written by me. I'm proud of it.

Most strikingly, Steve is happy not only to confirm the media's obsession with Jews but to endorse it. If he thinks there's any journalistic problem in a news organization covering Israel more than China or the Congo, he doesn't say so. He thinks, in fact, that Jews—the "people of the Bible," or perhaps the "persecuted who became persecutors"—are really, really interesting. His piece is, in other words, a confirmation of my argument mistaking itself for a rebuttal. 

As for two of the most serious incidents I mentioned, a careful reader will note that Steve concedes them. Both have ramifications beyond the specifics of this story. 

1. To the best of my knowledge, no major news organization has publicly admitted censoring its own coverage under pressure from Hamas. A New York Times correspondent recently said this idea was "nonsense." Responding to an Israeli reporter asking about my essay, the AP said my "assertions challenging the independence of AP's Mideast news report in recent years are without merit." But the AP's former Jerusalem bureau chief just explicitly admitted it. He confirms my report of a key detail removed from a story during the 2008-2009 fighting—that Hamas men were indistinguishable from civilians—because of a threat to our reporter, a Gaza Palestinian. 

He goes even further than I did, saying printing the reporter's original information would have meant "jeopardizing his life." The censored information in this case is no minor matter, but the explanation behind many of the civilian fatalities for which much of the world (including the AP) blamed Israel. Steve writes that such incidents actually happened "two or three times" during his tenure. It should be clear to a reader that even once is quite enough in order for a reporter living under Hamas rule to fall permanently in line. This means that AP's Gaza coverage is shaped in large part by Hamas, which is something important that insiders know but readers don't. 

I'm not saying the decision to strike the information was wrong—no information is worth the life of a reporter. But I am saying that the failure to get it out some other way, or to warn readers that their news is being dictated by Hamas, is a major ethical shortcoming with obvious ramifications for the credibility of everyone involved. The AP should address this publicly, and all news organizations working here need to be open about this now.

2. I wrote that in early 2009 the bureau wouldn't touch an important news story, a report of a peace proposal from the Israeli prime minister to the Palestinian president. This decision was indefensible on journalistic grounds. A careful reader will notice that Steve does not deny this. He can't, because too many people saw it happen, and a journalist as experienced as Steve might assume, correctly, that at least some of them vetted my account before it was published. He merely quibbles with a marginal detail—the nature of a map that one of the reporters saw. I repeat what I wrote: Two experienced AP reporters had information adding up to a major news story, one with the power to throw the Israeli-Palestinian relationship into a different light. Israelis confirmed it, and Palestinians confirmed it. The information was solid, and indeed later appeared in Newsweek and elsewhere. The AP did not touch this story, and others, in order to maintain its narrative of Israeli extremism and Palestinian moderation.

Failing to report bad things that Hamas does, and good things that Israel does, which is what these examples show, creates the villainous "Israel" of the international press. That these failures mislead news consumers is clear. But they also have a role in generating recent events like a mob attack on a Paris synagogue, for example, or the current 30-year-high in anti-Jewish incidents in Britain. There are several causes behind such phenomena, and editorial decisions like these are among them. But this is one subject about which the AP bureau chief, for all of his Jewish ruminations, has nothing to say. The press corps is obviously not "teeming with anti-Semitism." But neither is it teeming with responsibility or introspection, and the kind of thinking that has taken hold there should have all of us deeply concerned.

See the article online here: http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/184707/ongoing-controversy-around-the-most-important-story-on-earth

See the original story 'The Most Important Story on Earth' here: : An Insider's Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth

Related: Former AP Bureau Chief Responds to Article About Israel Coverage


Monday, September 15, 2014

In the Southern #Philippines, the Peace Process Stumbles Forward @Stratfor

Peace is not imminent in the predominantly Muslim areas of the southern Philippines, but government efforts to stabilize the archipelagic region took a major step forward this week. On Sept. 10, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III submitted to Congress a draft law creating a new autonomous government for the southern region, to be known as Bangsamoro, ending a tense three-month period of deliberations with rebel negotiators over the law's finer details. The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law is the product of nearly two decades of violence-marred negotiations between the government and Moro rebels. It aims to address some of the underlying drivers of the violence by giving the region a greater share of resource and tax revenues, in addition to a largely independent parliament, police force and civil judiciary.

The draft still faces steep legislative and political hurdles, as well as lingering questions about its compliance with the Philippine Constitution. Even if fully implemented, the law wouldn't completely pacify the restive region, which is home to numerous other militant groups, clan-based blood feuds and entrenched criminal networks that will continue to deter the development of the region's vast economic potential. Nonetheless, mounting economic and political incentives, a decline in militant capabilities, and Manila's fundamental geopolitical imperatives will continue to generate momentum for a solution.


See the whole analysis online here: Stratfor


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Children from mixed marriages look for answers in complex #Israeli reality - Haaretz

Children from mixed marriages look for answers in complex Israeli reality

At the start of the last school year, 10-year-old Nour Aghbariya stood in front of her class in Umm al-Fahm and declared, “I’m half-Jewish, half-Arab, and I’m not ashamed of it.” Nour is the daughter of Hagar, a Jewish woman who grew up on Kibbutz Yagur in northern Israel, and Ala, a Muslim man from Umm al-Fahm. “She wanted to take preventive action,” says her father, “so she came right out and said it.” In the course of a month devoted to learning about differences, Nour told her classmates how she was different. “The children were shocked,” she recalls. “They asked me why I was telling them this, and what I meant by saying that my mother is Jewish.”
Children in thousands of families across Israel have to contend with similar and even more complex questions, in cases where two parents are of different religions. In the wake of the commotion around the mixed wedding earlier this month of Mahmoud Mansour and Morel Malka, with the latter converting to Islam from Judaism, Haaretz talked to several such families, trying to gauge the complexities of their children’s identities within Israel’s reality. The interviews revealed that the forging of an identity is a prolonged process of searching, with questions of belonging often plaguing them for life.
“It starts early,” says Fanya Intayeb, from the northern Arab town of Tira and mother to 5-year-old Anwar. She grew up Jewish and converted to Islam when she married her Muslim husband, Misbah Mohammed. Their son speaks Hebrew, Arabic and Russian, but is being raised as a Muslim.
“He has already taken sides, as one has to at his age, where everything is divided into good or evil,” says Fanya. “He lives in Tira where they talk about Jews constantly, often not favorably. However, he has Jewish uncles and a grandmother whom he visits every week, so he doesn’t understand. He knows I used to be Jewish, but he doesn’t like that, since Jews are perceived as ‘bad.’ That bothers me, and I constantly try to straighten things out.”
When they visit his father’s family in the West Bank, Anwar sees Israeli soldiers at checkpoints. Once he saw them aiming their weapons at someone who didn’t produce any ID and Anwar got scared. Fanya told him that their job was to keep guard, but she adds, “I have to keep repeating this so he won’t think that Jews are bad.”
After she heard that the children of Jewish friends who had married Muslim men had been subject to racism, Fanya decided to go to Australia with her family. “We want quiet, not racism,” she explains. “I made my choices and I’m comfortable with them, but the children don’t have to pay the price.”
Unlike Anwar, Nour has lived in Arab and Jewish communities. “I felt at home everywhere,” she says. She was born in Yagur, where her family encountered some difficulties related to her mother. They moved to Umm al-Fahm and then to Katzir. They returned to Umm al-Fahm for financial reasons, but Ala isn’t sure this is the final move. “I’d like to send Nour away for junior high school,” he says. “She likes freedom and I don’t want the mentality that prevails here to restrict her. I think she will be able to better fulfill her potential in a Jewish environment, one in which there are more opportunities.”
Nour would prefer to live on a kibbutz. “Not because of religion or language,” she says, “but because of the space and quiet.” Like other girls her age, she wants room to ride her bike. “Girls don’t do that here,” says her father. “It’s because of the roads,” explains Nour, but Ala adds that it’s also because of the social reality. Nour has started to dress more modestly for school, and wonders at what age she will start covering her head. Her father would prefer that she never does.
Nour speaks Hebrew with her mother and Arabic with her father; her parents converse in Hebrew. Nour asks her mother not to talk to her in Hebrew in public. “I don’t want to attract attention,” Nour says, embarrassed.
Her classmates often gossip about her, thinking that she can’t adapt to Islam because of her mother, but she says she is more familiar with Islam than Judaism. “I sometimes feel strange – I’d prefer to leave my parents the way they are, but it’s easier for friends when parents have the same religion.”
They observe the holidays of both religions except Yom Kippur, Holocaust Remembrance Day and Independence Day. Nour doesn’t want to serve in the army, but would rather contribute someplace and “not do any harm.”
“I’m sure she’s conflicted,” admits Ala, “but she has coping mechanisms.” He says that the Arab-Jewish conflict is not determining her personality. “She copes by saying that she has two cultures, and each one is glorious.”
Like Nour, 19-year-old Maya Akkad from Tel Aviv grew up believing she had benefitted from both worlds. Daughter to a Jewish writer and a Muslim biologist, her relations with both families were good, and her family celebrated the holidays of both religions. “I went to summer camp in the Arab village of Jatt and felt I could celebrate it all, living an interesting life.” She attended a democratic school during the second intifada, but became embarrassed of her identity when terror attacks occurred. Later, in high school, politics became her main concern.
“I started learning history to try and understand and formulate an opinion, seeing how complex things were. Jewish education points us in one direction. I started questioning things, and how everything is somehow tied into the Holocaust.”
While her friends prepared for the army, she knew she wouldn’t enlist, volunteering instead for work in a Jewish-Arab youth movement. She still doesn’t feel she belongs clearly to any side. She felt out of place at youth meetings she attended with either Jews or Arabs. She is about to start studying at Bezalel – Academy of Arts and Design, but is worried about living in Jerusalem, with all its tensions.
Advocate Irit Rosenblum, who helps mixed couples deal with their legal status, says that these children live in great ambivalence. “They decide who they identify with when they grow up, and this sometimes leads to a break with one parent.”
“They live in the shadow of the bigger conflict, and often decide during adolescence. Some live happy lives, content with both cultures. It’s a burden for parents having to deal with the cultural diversity and with societal attitudes. Generally, these children are more open to dialogue and cultural receptivity, and they can more easily cross cultural divides.”

Tags, Categories

news United States Venezuela Finance Money Latin America Oil Current Affairs Commodities Middle East Capitalism Chavez International Relations Israel Gold NT Democracy Economics China Politics Credit Hedge Funds Banks Europe Metals Asia Palestinians Miscellaneous Stocks Dollar Mining ForEx obama UK Corruption Iran Terrorism Demographics Africa Government UN Living Bailout Military Debt Tech Russia Switzerland Islam Philosophy Science Housing Judaica PDVSA Revolution War petroleo Scams USA articles Education Fed Canada France Security Travel central_banks OPEC Castro Nuclear freedom Colombia EU Energy Mining Stocks Diplomacy India bonds drugs populism Anti-Semitism Brazil Environment Irak Saudi Arabia elections Arabs Art Cuba Food Goldman Sachs Afghanistan Hamas Lebanon Silver copper Egypt Madoff Ponzi Trade Warren Buffett press Aviation BP Euro FARC Gaza Hizbollah Honduras Japan Music SEC Smuggling Syria humor socialism trading Anti-Israel Che Guevara Freddie Mac Geneve IMF currencies violence wikileaks Agriculture Bolívar ETF Restaurants Satire Spain communism computers derivatives Al-Qaida Bubble FT Greece NY PIIGS Republicans Sarkozy Space Sports Turkey BRIC CITGO DRC Flotilla Germany Globovision Google Health Inflation Law Libya Muslim Brotherhood Nazis Pensions Peru Uranium cnbc crime cyberattack fannieMae pakistan Apollo 11 Autos BBC Bernanke CIA Chile Climate change Congo Democrats EIA Haiti Holocaust Jordan Labor M+A Mexico New York OAS Philanthropy Shell South Africa Tufts Ukraine carbon earthquake facebook stratfor twitter Atom BHP Beijing CERN CVG CapitalMarkets Congress Curaçao ECB EPA ETA Ecuador Entebbe Florida Gulf oil spill Harvard Hezbollah ICC Kenya L'Oréal Large Hadron Collider MasterBlog Morocco Nobel Panama Paulson RIO SWF Shiites Stats Sunnis Sweden TARP Tunisia Uganda VC Water Yen apple berksire hathaway blogs bush elderly hft iPad nationalization psycology racism sex spy taxes yuan ALCASA ANC Airbus Amazon Ariel Sharon Australia Batista Bettencourt Big Bang Big Mac Bill Gates Bin Laden Blackstone Blogger Boeing Business COMEX Capriles Clinton Cocoa DSK Durban EADS Ecopetrol Elkann Entrepreneur FIAT FTSE Fannie Freddie Funds GE Hayek Helicopters Higgs Boson Hitler Human Rights Huntsman Ice Cream Intel Izarra KKR Keynes Khodorskovsky Krugman LBO LSE Lex Mac Malawi Maps MasterCharts MasterFeeds MasterLiving MasterMetals MasterTech Microsoft Miliband Monarchy Moon Mossad Mugabe NYSE Namibia Nestle OWS OccupyWallStreet Oman PPP Pemex Perry Philippines Post Office Private Equity Property Putin Rio de Janeiro Rwanda Shimon Peres Stuxnet TMX Tennis UAV VALE Volcker WTC WWII Wimbledon World Bank World Cup Zapatero airlines babies citibank ethics foreclosures happiness history iPhone infrastructure internet jobs journalism kissinger lahde laptops lawyers lithium markets mavi marmara miami microfinance pharmaceuticals real estate religion startup stock exchanges strippers subprime taliban temasek ubs weddimg zerohedge

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

AddThis

MasterStats