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Enemies List 2001 (Part II)


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Last week’s listing of Israel’s worst media enemies, as determined by readers of the Monitor, generated the kind of pro-and-con response such lists usually do. This week we’re featuring some of the nominations that failed to garner enough mentions to make the list, but which are interesting (and in most cases valid) in their own right.R. Feinstein of Brooklyn nominates, along with several names that appeared on last week’s championship-tier list, the longtime leftist pro-Palestinian columnist Alexander Cockburn; the David Susskind wannabe Charlie Rose (“when he interviews Edward Said or Hosni Mubarak he’s deferential…when he interviews Israelis he’s contentious”); and Prof. Noam Chomsky, who, though not a journalist, is something of a media creation – and one who certainly belongs on any list of anti-Israel personalities.

J.P. Badarau of Fair Lawn, N.J., condemns Time magazine “for general biased reporting” and the (Hackensack) Record for its running theme of “poor Palestinians and bad Israelis.”

Sylvia Black’s e-mailed list of villains includes Don Hewitt (“as the creator and driving force of ’60 Minutes,’ he’s ultimately responsible for that program’s thirty-plus years of Israel-bashing”); and syndicated columnist Georgie Anne Geyer (“who writes of Arabs as though they were dashing figures on horseback while reserving an icy tone for anything Israeli”).

ABC News anchor Peter Jennings may have topped last week’s list, but several readers also nominated NBC’s Tom Brokaw and CBS’s Dan Rather. Frankly, the Monitor doesn’t see it. Other than a documentary he narrated many years ago that some viewers perceived as anti-Israel, nothing in Brokaw’s record suggests an anti-Israel bias, and Rather (with whom the Monitor has problems on other issues) actually comes across as sympathetic to Israel.

A few readers found fault with the columnist Richard Cohen, but here again the Monitor has to come to the defense of someone generally not worth defending. Certainly Cohen is terribly wishy-washy when it comes to Israel, but to classify him as anti-Israel – or worse, to contemplate putting him on a list with the likes of Deborah Sontag, Peter Jennings and Taki – is a stretch well beyond the Monitor’s usual dexterity.Reader Joel Arlen of Manhattan wonders whether Israeli journalists were fair game for the Enemies List. Great question, since some of the most outrageously anti-Israel reporting and commentary emanates from Israeli media outlets, most notably Ha’aretz (a newspaper one could easily mistake for Egyptian or Palestinian if one were to read its articles sans bylines).

Only a few readers took note of the British press, which, if anything, is considerably more hostile to Israel than what we have on this side of the Atlantic. Dr. L.B. Sokolic, a reader who describes himself as “an American long resident in London,” writes that “virtually every journalist operating in the UK is anti-Israel, if not worse.”

Dr. Sokolic, who informs us that in the 1980′s he “monitor[ed] the press for the Board of Deputies, and the situation is by far worse now than at that time,” says that “it is easier to say who is not anti – mainly the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday and Daily Mail.”

“Virtually everyone connected with BBC TV news is anti,” he writes, “with John Simpson (who also writes for the Sunday Telegraph) the worst.” Among newspapers, “the Guardian has always been anti-Israel. According toHugo Young, who writes for it and sits on its board, they used to take a vote as to how anti-Israel to be.”

Dr. Sokolic notes that the Guardian has a history of employing journalists steeped in anti-Israel bias, including the notoriously vicious David Hirst, whose book “The Gun and the Olive Branch” is a classic piece of distorted history. He describes the Guardian’s current Israel correspondent, Suzanne Goldberg, as “bad but mostly stupid.”

As for the Mideast writers on The Independent, Phil Reeves and Robert Fisk, they “should be on anyone’s list of enemies,” says Dr. Sokolic, who notes that one of the original moneymen behind the paper was the ardently Zionist Lord Sieff, of Marks and Spencer fame.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


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