I know several people who subsribe to an email listserv run by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). Every few weeks, one of them forwards me the latest outrage perpetrated by such anti-Israel mouthpieces as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the like.
It is bellyaching of the absolute worst sort, charging that absolutely every criticism of Israel amounts to stunning anti-Israel bias. The messages provide subscribers with talking points that should be sent to each week’s offending member of the lamestream media:
- The Times' constant criticism of Israel is unwarranted and unprofessional.
- The news pages, most especially page one, should be reserved for actual news.
- The New York Times' code of ethics requires impartiality; readers demand and deserve it.
- Israeli leaders have repeatedly offered peace but Palestinian leaders have repeatedly rejected even negotiations.
- Stone throwing attacks can and have injured or killed many Israeli civilians and servicemembers.
- Barbaric acts of terrorism targeting civilians must not be equated with the legitimate rights of a democratic nation state to defend its citizens from such attacks.
There are even suggested tweets:
- Hey @nytimes, quit picking on #Israel. #NYTimesSmearsIsrael @CAMERAorg
- #Israel deplores violence, #Palestinian leaders foment it. Cover that @nytimes! #NYTimesSmearsIsrael @CAMERAorg
- Why do Israeli apts get page 1 coverage, @nytimes, but not Arab apts? #NYTimesSmearsIsrael @CAMERAorg #Israel
- Hey @nytimes, why humanize terrorists but not their victims? #NYTimesSmearsIsrael @CAMERAorg #Israel
The biases and inaccuracies that CAMERA routinely point out revolve around things like, “The reporter didn’t talk to enough pro-Israel people”; “This person, who wasn’t consulted, would have said something different”; “The op-ed author supports divestment”; “This author has said negative things about Zionism”; “The Palestinians did something bad thing, but it wasn’t covered in this article”; and, of course, “Readers of this piece who don’t know better would think that this is the complete picture of the Arab/Israeli conflict but it isn’t.”
The problem is almost never something like, “This information is blatantly false; Israel did not do the bad thing that is reported here.”
As a result, whenever I receive these email updates about the nefarious reporting in such pro-Palestinian rags as the New York Times, the effect is actually to make me less sympathetic to the concerns of CAMERA and the Israeli government (on whose behalf this “media watchdog” is constantly yapping).
As I told an audience of middle age and elderly Jewish men at what has got to be my least popular lecture ever — part of a local B’nai B’rith group’s luncheon series — the best way to determine if criticism of Israel stems from bias or anti-Semitism would be for Israel to immediately freeze settlement construction, stop violating international humanitarian law, and agree to Palestinian statehood.
If there are still a bunch of complaints about Israel after that, then I’ll subsribe to CAMERA’s email listserv and shout about bias too.