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November 28, 2015 / 16 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘bias’

Guardian Newspaper Bans Pro-Israel Watchdog from Site

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

The British newspaper The Guardian has banned Adam Levick, the managing editor, of the pro-Israel media watchdog, CiFWatch, from its website, deleting all prior comments on Guardian articles and disabling his ability to contribute opinion pieces to the site and further comments.

CiFWatch monitors the Guardian’s coverage of Israel and is affiliated with the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. “CiF” stands for “Comment is Free” the opinion section of the Guardian where anti-Israel articles often appear.

In a posting on the CiFWatch website, Levick said that he had been a contributor to the Comment is Free section of the Guardian’s website for years and that his user account, and all prior comments on Guardian articles – many of which pointed out anti-Israel bias –  was terminated without any explanation.

Levick’s work at CiFWatch has led in the past to corrections of many Guardian articles.

Levick noted that “occasionally I sensed that I may have annoyed the CiF moderators by violating the Guardian Prime Directive: Thou shall not write the name ‘CiF Watch’ or link to it in any way…”

The Day After Tomorrow

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

I had a much better day today at the President’s conference than I did yesterday. The reason is actually quite simple. I stayed away from the political panels, and instead met with interesting people one-on-one.

Who needs or wants to hear Dennis Ross’s tired proposal of paying Settlers to leave the West Bank for Peace? Maybe, if he had instead said that someone should pay the Arabs to leave Judea and Samaria for Peace he could have been interesting.

And not surprisingly, there were plenty of other people at the conference who had the same idea. They were turned off by the overt left-wing bias of many of the panels and panelists and decided to instead congregate in the various meeting lounges for healthier debates.

During the day I bumped into Stanley Fischer, and thanked him for his contribution to our stable economy. Raanan Gissin and I schmoozed about Social Media and Revolution. Though I admit I found myself surprised when he mentioned Stalin and Marx and wondered what they could have done if they had had Twitter. I told Raanan they did enough damage without it.

I spent part of the afternoon with many of the well-known bloggers and twitterers I’ve met over the years.

But the highlight of my day was the time I spent with Irwin Cotler. We spoke on record for an hour, and talked more after that. And we’re far from done talking.

I found in Cotler an unparalleled advocate for Israel. A man who can argue and put Israel’s position into perspective with incredible clarity, backed up not only by his intellect and knowledge, but also his record and actions.

He was like a voice in the wilderness.

We covered subjects from Human Rights organizations, the new anti-Semitism, the UN, Apartheid, and the Infiltrators. We talked about his family in Israel, and if he would make Aliyah. The stimulating two-way conversation will be getting its own well-deserved, stand-alone article.

The President’s conference does have what to offer, but it comes from the people you’ll meet in the many lounges and hallways, not from the slanted content you’ll to hear on many of the panels.

And if I might add, the food is excellent in the VIP lounge – if you can get in there.

Can You Cry ‘Hitler’ in a Crowded University? Rutgers Investigating

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

Rutgers University is investigating a student-run satirical newspaper for publishing an article that praises Hitler and attributing it to a Jewish student.

The Daily Medium, which receives university funding, published the false column “What About the Good Things Hitler Did?” in its April 4 edition and attributed it to Aaron Marcus.

The university is investigating the incident as a bias incident under the university’s anti-bias policies, Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick said in a statement issued April 6.

Marcus has said in interviews that he did not write the article and called it “painful” since some of his relatives are Holocaust survivors.

Marcus has spoken out in the past about an anti-Semitic atmosphere at the university.

“Federal courts extend broad protection to student media. However, a recent article in the Medium, purporting to be written by student Aaron Marcus and using Mr. Marcus’ photograph, is extremely offensive and repugnant. No individual student should be subject to such a vicious, provocative, and hurtful piece, regardless of whether First Amendment protections apply to such expression. The Medium’s article was particularly despicable in light of Mr. Marcus’ Jewish faith,” McCormick’s statement to the university said.

“I couldn’t help but think that history has given the Third Reich and its leaders a bad rap,” the column read, in part. It also praised Hitler for bringing about the creation of Israel. Marcus has a regular column in the mainstream student publication The Daily Targum.

In 2004 The Daily Medium printed a front-page cartoon that belittled victims of the Holocaust.

Dead Beat Parents

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Certainly most of us have heard the term “deadbeat-dad” used in relation to fathers who fail to be financially responsible for their children. There is also another type of “deadbeat- parent” (I prefer to use the word parent in an effort to avoid gender bias and with the understanding that this phenomenon can occur with mothers as well), and the phrase is used to depict parents who are emotionally unavailable or inattentive to their children’s emotional needs after the breakdown of their marriage.

A “deadbeat” is defined as someone who does not pay his or her debt – a loafer or lazy person; in general someone who does not meet their responsibilities. Now, responsibilities come in many forms. Raising children is a costly endeavor and being financially dependable is one of the main concerns we parents have. So many hours are dedicated to securing the fiscal needs of our families. After a divorce when financial burdens are increased, and there are additional debts from attorney and court fees, as well as the cost of dividing up a household and starting over, making ends meet can be overwhelming. Today, our court system views a large part of parental responsibility as being financially accountable to your children and providing for their basic needs – food and shelter, education and healthcare. If a parent falls behind in his or her child support obligations there are consequences, and if a parent fulfills his/her monetary requirements they are praised for being “responsible” and “caring” parents.

Well, what about those parents who meet their legally set forth financial obligations but not the emotional needs of their children; parents who do not go the extra mile necessary to ensure their child’s wellbeing, both physically and emotionally? According to the “law” these people are defined as good and responsible parents simply because they have found a way to support their children’s basic humanistic needs.  However, we cannot overlook the harm being caused their children – harm which is not only damaging but long-lasting.

As Torah-observant Jews we must keep in mind that the Torah way of parenting is not to think of our children as possessions that we own and are free to do with as we please. They are special gifts on loan to us from Hashem, from G-d, and we are responsible to raise and care for them, with His help. This means that children cannot be divided up like other assets during a divorce. They cannot be sold like a house or traded in like a car. We are responsible for them from the moment they arrive and, hopefully, throughout the rest of our lives.

Being parents of a blended family my husband and I have had “real life” experience with my children from my first marriage and his children from his first marriage. I have seen parents struggle and fight to stay connected and involved in their children’s lives and succeed in maintaining the loving, warm relationship that should exist between parent and child. I have also seen parents who unfortunately do not take their responsibilities and obligations to their children seriously. Parents who caused more harm than good in their too few, half-hearted attempts to stay connected, parents who continue to put their own needs above those of their children.

Divorce can add an almost insurmountable challenge for the non-custodial parent trying to stay involved in raising his/her children. If you and your ex-spouse had differing parenting styles when you were married, chances are you are not going to agree on how to raise your children post-divorce either. When there is a lack of good communication with the custodial parent, the non-custodial parent can feel out of sync with their children, making involvement that much harder. For some, the challenge may seem so great that the non-custodial parent will simply give up and move on with their lives.  They would rather leave their children behind instead of patiently staying the course until emotions settle and new norms emerge which would allow them a greater ability to play some role in their children’s lives. Often standing back and taking on a lesser position is the answer rather than putting the children in the middle of a chaotic situation.

Ultimately there are consequences for the emotionally deadbeat parent just as there are for financially deadbeat parent.  In fact the consequences are often greater and more life altering.  I know that my children from my first marriage unfortunately have had a roller coaster relationship with their father since our divorce. Years of disillusionment, broken promises, undelivered gifts, missed visits and false hopes of a true relationship have taken their toll. I wonder after each disappointment how long it will be before my children begin to believe again that next time will be different; that next time he will actually come through. We all would like to trust that his intentions are good, but there is never any follow through on his part; he is just not able to give them what should be their birthright. Fortunately, they have grown from the process of learning how to deal with their father and maybe those lessons are the best gift he has been able to give them.

In my humble opinion, if you cannot be a positive force and partner in raising your children, at the very least pledge that you will not cause any additional harm to them. Be true and honest regarding your limitations. Do not make promises you cannot keep and do not string the children along on false hopes. If you are unable to participate in raising your children, support those that are; that may prove to be the best contribution you are able to make for the welfare and wellbeing of your children.

At the end of the day the children will come to understand that each of the adults in their life was acting responsibly and participated to the best of their ability out of the deep love they felt for them. Choosing to play a less active role does not necessarily equal a less meaningful one; remember sometimes it is the small supportive characters that receive the greatest applause.


Yehudit welcomes and encourages input and feedback on issues relating to the Blended Family and can be reached at blendedfamily@aol.com 

Move Along, No Bias Here

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
            The Media Research Center is out with its annual compilation of the year’s Best Notable Quotables (December 2009 through November 2010) – a collection of dozens of examples of media liberal bias and idiocy that is as dispiriting as it is (unintentionally) humorous.
            One can’t help but marvel while reading the choices:These are the representatives of our elite news outlets? Can their sycophantismtoward liberal politicians be more nauseating, their championing of liberal policies more transparent, their utter disdain for conservatives more apparent?
            A few of the Monitor’s favorites follow. For the complete selection and to find out where all the quotes ranked in terms of ignominy as determined by a panel of judges, go to www.mrc.org.
Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, talking about radical Muslims: “Somehow, the idea got into their minds that to kill other people is a great thing to do and that they would be rewarded in the hereafter.”
            Host Tavis Smiley: “But Christians do that every single day in this country.”
            Ali: “Do they blow people up every day?”

            Smiley: “Yes. Oh, Christians, every day, people walk into post offices, they walk into schools, that’s what Columbine is – I could do this all day long…. There are folk in the Tea Party, for example, every day who are being recently arrested for making threats against elected officials, for calling people ‘nigger’ as they walk into Capitol Hill, for spitting on people. That’s within the political – that’s within the body politic of this country.”

Exchange on PBS’s “Tavis Smiley,” May 25.


“The oil spill is the perfect metaphor for Obama’s presidency so far. It’s been cleaning up a lot of the messes left to him by his predecessors, whether it was bank bailouts, auto bailouts, Afghanistan – which turned out to be a much bigger mess than anybody anticipated – preventing a depression that, you know, began to happen on George Bush’s watch. So this is more of the same.”

Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter on MSNBC’s

 “The Daily Rundown,” June 10.


“No one has a quicker mind or tongue than [Al] Sharpton. His political instincts are unmatched, and his personal charisma has been undimmed since high school…. He is out there all alone, still standing on the same principle he first enunciated in his housing project in Brooklyn: poor people have the same rights as rich ones, to justice in the streets and in the courts. If he didn’t exist, we might, in fact, need to invent him.”

Newsweek’s Allison Samuels and Jerry Adler
in their August 2 cover profile of Sharpton.


“The moment was vintage Obama – emphasizing his zest for inquiry, his personal involvement, his willingness to make the tough call, his search for middle ground. If an Obama brand exists, it is his image as a probing, cerebral president conducting an exhaustive analysis of the issues so that the best ideas can emerge, and triumph.”

Washington Post writers Michael Leahy and
Juliet Eilperin in an October 12 story about the
president’s pre-oil spill endorsement of offshore drilling.


“It might be Islamophobia, Obamaphobia, or both, but when loud speakers are blaring ‘Born in the USA’ and signs say ‘No Clubhouse for Terrorists,’ it’s clear we aren’t just talking about a mosque anymore. There is a debate to be had about the sensitivity of building this center so close to Ground Zero. But we can not let fear and rage tear down the towers of our core American values.”

“Evening News” anchor Katie Couric
in her “Katie Couric’s Notebook” posted
at CBSNews.com, August 23.


“I think it’s probably a lesson for the American people of the power Palin has to incite hatred and her willingness and readiness to do it. She has pushed a button and unleashed the Hounds of Hell, and now that they’re out there slavering and barking and growling. And that’s the same kind of tactic – and I’m not calling her a Nazi – but that’s the same kind of tactic that the Nazi troopers used in Germany in the ’30s. And I don’t think there is any place for it in America.”

Author Joe McGinniss talking about
the reaction to his renting the house next door
to Sarah Palin while he works on a book about
the former Alaska governor, NBC’s “Today,” June 1.


Does [Palin] know anything? . Have you ever been an eyewitness to her actually reading something? Have you seen her – no, I’m dead serious about this. Have you ever seen her reading words on a piece of paper? A newspaper, magazine, anything? Have you ever seen her read something?”

Chris Matthews to Alaska’s Democratic Senator
Mark Begich during MSNBC’s election
night coverage, November 2.


Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Anti-Israel Bias Not A New Phenomenon

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

With the proliferation over the past several years of websites and blogs spotlighting anti-Israel media bias, it’s not surprising that some of the Monitor’s younger readers harbor the misimpression that the bias is only as old as the Internet age itself – that prior to, say, 1995 or 1996 Israel received favorable, or at least fair, press coverage.

The reality, of course, is that the anti-Israel bias we know so well has been around for some time now – at least 30 years, and a reasonable case can be made for closer to 40.

Starting shortly after the Six-Day War of 1967 – and intensifying through the Yom Kippur War, the election of Menachem Begin, the invasions of Lebanon in 1978 and 1982, the first intifada in 1987, the Rabin assassination in 1995, the second intifada in 2000, Israel’s anti-terror operations on the West Bank in 2002, the building of the security wall, the Second Lebanon War of 2006 and Operation Cast Lead earlier this year – coverage of Israel in the nation’s newspapers and on its TV screens has ranged from skeptical to skewed, with little wiggle room in between.

It wasn’t always this way, though with the passing of time it becomes increasingly difficult to recall just how drastically things have changed since 1967.

To say that Israel in the first two decades after its establishment had the sympathy and support of the mainstream American media would be to actually understate the case; the new country was constantly praised, fawned over and celebrated to an extent very nearly unimaginable from our present vantage point.

It was a time when lingering shock and guilt over the Holocaust tended to mute anti-Jewish sentiment, and when Israel’s decisive military victories contrasted so startlingly with the American stalemates or worse in Korea and Vietnam.

The golden age reached its zenith with the Six-Day War as editors, reporters and columnists unashamedly cheered on the Israel Defense Forces. Newspaper coverage was exuberantly pro-Israel, cover stories in Life, Look and the newsmagazines were ecstatic, and most reporters dispensed with even the slightest pretense at objectivity. The opinion shapers, from William F. Buckley on the right to Mary McGrory on the left, marched in lockstep on this one issue.

There were, to be sure, a few contrarian media voices, but they were barely heard above the loud swell of accolades for Israel.

But by the late 1960s, liberals were quickly losing faith in all the old verities and transferring their sympathies from their own country and its allies to any Third World country or movement claiming oppression at the hands of America or any nation identified with the West.

Increasingly, Israel came to be seen by many liberals as a bullying Western Goliath, the Arabs as an outmatched Third-World David.

This was all happening, it needs to be emphasized, while Israel was still firmly under the governance of the Labor party of Golda Meir and Yigal Allon and Yitzhak Rabin – the very figures who now inspire such nostalgic revisionism among those inclined to blame Menachem Begin or Ariel Sharon or Benjamin Netanyahu for Israel’s near pariah-like status in many parts of the world.

If Israel’s image was growing progressively worse under Labor, it nosedived with the election of Begin in 1977. Decades of vilification, mainly from fellow Israelis and prominent Jews abroad, had taken a toll on the reputation of the Likud leader.

Media regard for Israel sank even further with the invasion of Lebanon in the spring and summer of 1982, as American and European journalists openly compared Israelis to Nazis and parroted PLO casualty figures and related propaganda.

(For a detailed analysis of the coverage of the Lebanon War, see Zev Chafetz’s invaluable book Double Vision and Edward Alexander’s damning essay “NBC’s War in Lebanon: The Distorting Mirror,” which has been included in a number of anthologies including Alexander’s own collection, The Jewish Idea and Its Enemies.)

With Lebanon the floodgates were opened, and they haven’t closed since.

Just a partial list of prominent media personalities – news anchors, correspondents, columnists and television talking-heads – who at one time or another over the past three and a half decades have exhibited either a bias against Israel or one in favor of the Palestinians would include such prominent names as Mike Wallace, the late Peter Jennings, Seymour Hersh, the late Robert Novak, Georgie Anne Geyer, Anthony Lewis, Nicholas von Hoffman, Lou Dobbs, Deborah Sontag, Joshua Hammer, Roger Cohen, Eleanor Clift, the late John Chancellor, John McLaughlin, the late I.F. Stone, Christiane Amanpour, the late Mike Royko, and Helen Thomas.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

‘Killer’ Shidduchim

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

         Most of us have heard the Talmudic assertion that “He who saves a life, saves a world,” and conversely, “He who kills a life, kills a world.”


         Lately I have been wondering if “killing a world” can extend to someone who undermines a potential shidduch and delays or prevents the subsequent creation of children. Should a person who gives misleading information – either by withholding pertinent facts, or allowing a personal bias to negatively label a boy/girl being redd, be viewed as having “destroyed worlds?”


         Case in point: “Suri” liked to dabble in shidduchim and acted as a go-between to facilitate the gathering of information. One day she bumped into an acquaintance, Mrs. X. at a simchah. Mrs. X. had given Suri a parve recommendation about a boy who she was acquainted with. This boy had been suggested to Suri’s friend’s daughter. Suri commiserated with Mrs. X. as to how the couple met, dated and  married, but got divorced weeks later.


         “I’m not surprised,” Mrs. X stated. When a speechless Suri regained her composure, she exclaimed in shock, “You aren’t surprised? You mean you knew there was something wrong with this boy and you said nothing??” “Well,” Mrs. X. harrumphed, I didn’t want to fahshter a shidduch. Sometimes marriage can straighten people out and they change for the better.”


         In the meantime, this hapless girl in her early 20s is a divorcee, who is having a much harder time getting married, despite her numerous qualities and fine character. Her classmates and friends are building their families – but the building of hers has been severely compromised – and delayed – for who knows how long.  Is this not destroying a world?


         Recently there was a letter in Rebbetzin Jungreis’ column from a woman who, B’H, had married off over a dozen children, mostly girls. The letter-writer shared that when her youngest daughter inquired about a bachur, who had been suggested to her, she was told by a friend that her sister had gone out with him and felt, “he lacked middos.” What was the “bad” behavior that brought her to this conclusion? He did not walk her to the door.


         Despite this negative report, her daughter felt there must have been good things about this boy if her friend’s parents had agreed to the shidduch in the first place. She decided to give the young man the benefit of the doubt, saying perhaps he was too inexperienced to know better. She dated him and found him to be a wonderful, young man with great middos and is now very happily married to him.


         This young man was lucky. Because of an unwarranted slur on his character, his chances of getting a normal shidduch would have been out the window. The parents of the pool of girls he would be dating – those sharing his hashkafos and goals – would have heard through the “grapevine”- as did the letter-writer’s daughter – that “he lacked middos” and would have turned him down. He would have gotten one “No” after another, without ever knowing why.


         A thoughtless young girl, with no inkling of the importance of her words, casually give an ehrlich young man a negative label with the very real possibility of harming his chances for a shidduch, essentially delaying, at best, and preventing, at worst, the birth of his children. Killing worlds, so to speak. As I said, fortunately for him, another young lady decided to give him a chance.


         How unfair that a personal bias could have caused a young man to be mislabeled, ruining his name, his future, and possibly even his physical and emotional well-being.


         As do the biases of people, who unfortunately, have a very strong influence on those in the shidduch parshah.


         I personally know of rabbanim who have told girls not to date fine young men “because they are not frum enough.” On what are these rabbanim basing their assessment of these yeshiva graduates from heimeshe families, who eat mehadrin, glatt, chalav Yisroel, are Shomrei Shabbos, ba’alei chesed and tzedakah, who are kovea itim, learn with chavrusahs and have good middos?  On the fact that these boys, who these rabbanim never met,  went to college – or did not go to beis medrash “long enough.”


         Never mind that some of these fine young men felt that kibud av v’eim meant becoming earners so they could spare their hard-working, middle-aged mothers and fathers – or future in-laws – from supporting them – and having to work even harder. Never mind that by being self-supporting their fathers would have more time for their own learning.


         And because of that misguided attitude, wonderful bachurim are having a difficult time getting married. Because of this censor-like attitude, boys who are not cut out for serious learning, who really do not have the kop or the “zitzfleish” to truly learn – are warming up benches in the beis medrash – just so they can get a “good” shidduch.


         How ironic that girls are being influenced to turn down “earners”- many of whom who are machmir in learning in their spare time – just to marry boys who may or may not be the genuine article. Much to their deep dismay, some end up with husbands who aren’t learning – and lacking an education or skills – aren’t working either. That state of affairs is not conducive to shalom bayis.


         In another situation that I know of, a rav advised a young man in his mid 30s not to marry the young woman he was seeing – because she was a few years older. She eventually married years later, but was unable to have children. He is still single.


         In another case, a ba’alas teshuvah in her late 20s, from a divorced home, who unfortunately was not getting too many shidduchim offers due to her background, was told by her rav not to get engaged to the “kippah serugah” who she had met at a lecture and was dating. Each was what the other was looking for in hashkafos  and personality. The devastated young man insisted that he meet with her rav, who impressed by his ehrlichkeit and knowledge and practice of Yiddishkeit, grudgingly gave his “permission.”


         What would have happened if the young man hadn’t been so persistent?


         Many people have shared similar stories of how wrong information resulted in ill-fated marriages – and divorces – and likewise prevented a well-matched pair from even meeting.


         Those who are in the position to influence a shidduch should take heed of what they do or do not say – and be very mindful of the impact the words that come out of their mouths can have. To do otherwise is to risk having to explain on Yom HaDin – why they destroyed worlds.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/killer-shidduchim/2007/07/18/

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