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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Manfred Gerstenfeld’

The Future Of Young Israelis

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

When Israelis say, “I worry about my grandchildren’s future,” it has a radically different dimension than similar concerns expressed in many other countries.

Europeans’ current anxiety about the future derives mainly from darkening social and economic prospects. A number of Europeans and Americans are also apprehensive about climate change.

For Israelis, physical survival is a prime matter, often over and above their many other concerns.

Israeli society faces mortal risks from parts of the Muslim world where extreme anti-Semitic hatemongering is massive. Israel is threatened with a second Holocaust, for which the ideological basis is being laid today. The Islamic world has substantial components – such as Iran’s leaders and Hamas – that promote the genocide of Israel and Jews.

In the future, significant threats may also come from others – for example, if and when atomic bombs or fissile material fall into the hands of terrorists.

Palestinian society is permeated with sympathy for the most criminal major Muslim movement, al Qaeda. Those who see a “peace agreement” as an interim stage toward the annihilation of Israel are unreliable partners and not exactly the kind of people to whom concessions can be made.

In view of possible, albeit presently unforeseeable, radical changes in the Middle East, true peace is not a totally impossible dream. Yet this can be the case only after many other problematic developments are dealt with.

Meanwhile, Israelis for generations to come will serve in the army and risk their lives. Once one’s life is at stake, everything else becomes secondary.

As a result of their experiences, Israelis live in a reality that is unique among democratic nations and have worldviews that differ significantly from people who live in other societies.

Serving in the army means Israelis cannot live a life as fully defined by individualism as their counterparts do in Europe and the U.S. One can understand this from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s words on Yom HaZikaron – Israel’s Memorial Day – earlier this year.

“When you hear the siren tonight, we will turn into one family and the citizens of Israel will be united in our remembrance,” Netanyahu told his countrymen.

Western Europeans rarely turn into one family, though it may happen occasionally to some extent in the face of a natural or terrorist catastrophe or upon winning a soccer championship.

In Israel, due to the ups and downs of the economy and the political situation generally, few people outside government services assume that their employment will be uninterrupted and lifelong. This reality has helped cultivate a more flexible mindset among Israelis than is the case among Europeans or Americans.

Contrary to the typical Westerner, many Israeli youngsters realize they owe much to society and that what Israeli society owes them has its limits. At the same time, Israel’s unity is threatened in very different ways by major segments of two growing parts of the population – Israeli Arabs and haredim – as well by much smaller but far more vociferous groups of extreme leftists.

The threat of seeing one’s country destroyed is far from theoretical in Israel. Given this type of reality, Israeli youngsters must continue informal learning throughout their active lifetimes. In other words, invest in one’s brain as much as possible because that will be the main portable source of one’s knowledge in crisis situations.

Israelis should learn as many skills as possible – preferably those that can be used abroad as well as in Israel. Further, it is necessary to learn to speak proper English, which will remain the lingua franca of this century. Spending a few years abroad in one’s youth can be extremely useful for one’s future, wherever that may be.

In an uncertain Israeli environment, the important skill of improvisation will frequently be required; further development of it will, therefore, be more than merely useful.

Murphy’s Law is not necessarily valid: Not everything that can go wrong will go wrong, and if Israel continues to flourish in the remarkable way it has, the same skills will come in very handy in finding a place in Israeli society.

In Israel as elsewhere, there will be a small number of people who are extraordinarily talented. If they have reasonable emotional intelligence, they will enjoy unprecedented opportunities in a complex society.

Learning From The 1930s

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Several factors in the delegitimization of Israel by European agitators call to mind what Jews experienced in the late 1930s. To study this thoroughly would require a huge effort. Formulating a few key ideas, however, could easily come from reading a single book on that period.

One example is Duff Cooper’s autobiography Old Men Forget. The author, a former British Conservative minister, served as first lord of the Admiralty at the time of the Munich agreements. On September 29, 1938, England and France abandoned Czechoslovakia to Hitler by agreeing it had to give up part of its territory to Germany. This led to the German occupation of the entire country six months later.

Shortly before Munich, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain spoke on the radio. Cooper writes that he had no words of sympathy for Czechoslovakia, only for Hitler.

Cooper resigned from the cabinet immediately after Munich. This act required great courage. Chamberlain was at the height of his popularity, as the agreement he signed promised long-term peace. Less than a year later, of course, war broke out after the German invasion of Poland.

In a diary entry dated May 22 1938, a time of continuous vicious German verbal attacks on Czechoslovakia, Cooper wrote about a cabinet meeting where “The general feeling seemed to be that great, brutal Czechoslovakia was bullying poor, peaceful little Germany…. It was decided to send off a telegram to tell the French to go carefully and not to rely too much on us, and another to urge the Czechs to make large concessions.”

This resembles the European Union’s ongoing criticism of Israel and its tiptoeing around the “peaceful Arab world” where many thousands have been slaughtered by their own countrymen.

In September 1938, another cabinet member, Viscount Hailsham, said to Cooper: “It all depends on whether we can trust Hitler.” Cooper asked, “Trust him for what? He has got everything he wants for the present and he has given no promises for the future.”

Can one trust Arab states or the Palestinians today? The great majority of Egyptians want to abolish the Camp David peace treaty in which their country got back Sinai without fighting. The Palestinian Authority glorifies murderers of Israeli civilians and names youth camps, streets and schools after them. Hamas has the genocide of the Jews written in its charter.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, many in Britain took the attitude that Poland was lost anyhow, so why should Britain continue to fight against Germany?

While the Germans were spending huge amounts of money on propaganda, the British were allocating none. Shortly after the outbreak of war, Cooper took off for the United States on a lecture tour. Before he left, Chamberlain sent a high-ranking official to request that Cooper abstain from saying anything that might sound like British propaganda.

“A former cabinet minister arrives from England and his country has just entered on a great war and he is advertised to lecture all over the United States on topics of current interest,” Cooper wrote. “What will his audiences expect of him except information about this war, the causes and the prospects of it? How can an Englishman give such information without presenting and defending the cause of his country? And what better form of propaganda could there be?”

Since Oslo we have had some Israeli governments emulate Chamberlain’s foolish position. While the current government has not done so, there certainly is vast room for improvement in the presentation of Israel’s case to the world.


The Netherlands: The Holocaust As Memory Battlefield

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

There are few societies where the contradiction between Holocaust distortion and Holocaust commemoration is as pronounced as it is in the Netherlands. This phenomenon came to the fore earlier this month on National Memorial Day, May 4, designated to commemorate the many victims of the German occupier. One hundred thousand Dutch Jews – more than 70 percent of the country’s pre-war community – were by far the largest group of victims.

The small town of Vorden decided that those participating in the ceremony for Dutch victims could also jointly visit the graves of German soldiers who are buried there. Originally it was intended that the local choir would sing a German song at the graves. That part of the program was soon scrapped. A Jewish organization went to court and obtained an injunction which forbade the mayor – who is a main proponent of whitewashing the war past – to participate in the visit to the German graves. A number of Jews hired a small plane that flew over the town with a banner reading: “Vorden Went Wrong.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced the Vorden authorities: “By honoring the German soldiers who occupied the Netherlands on behalf of the most murderous regime in human history…the local authorities of Vorden have basically rewritten the history of the war, erasing the critical distinction between victims and perpetrators. Such a decision is apparently based on the erroneous assumption that forgiveness automatically leads to reconciliation, ignores the horrific nature of the Nazi regime and is an insult to its victims.”

The Vorden incident did not stand alone. The National Committee for Commemoration chose a 15-year-old boy to read his poem at the National Ceremony in Amsterdam. It commemorated his uncle, after whom he was named, who had joined the Waffen SS. After protests, the reading was cancelled.

Dutch whitewashers and distorters of the Holocaust and the Second World War come from different backgrounds. A number of them are family members of those Dutch who collaborated with Nazi Germany. The Netherlands had 25,000 Waffen SS volunteers, the largest contingent in Western Europe. And there were many other collaborators not limited to members of the Dutch Nazi party.

Related phenomena are the defacing of Holocaust memorials and Jewish sites, swastikas painted on buildings, and anti-Semitic and Holocaust denial postings on Dutch Internet sites Dutch Prime Minister Marc Rutte, who was educated as a historian, said, while he was the parliamentary leader of the liberal faction, that Holocaust denial should not be punished.

On the other hand, it is difficult to find another country where so much attention is given to commemorating its destroyed Jewish communities. Many municipalities clean and maintain Jewish cemeteries on a regular basis. Some organizations and individuals even re-erect fallen gravestones and repaint the lettering.

Not only are there monuments for the murdered Jews in many towns, there are even plans for new ones. Memorial “stumbling” stones embedded in pavements in front of homes where Jews lived before their deaths have been placed in tens of towns and more are planned for the future.

Jewish monuments are “adopted” and cleaned by schoolchildren in some towns. Many synagogues that were no longer in use after the Second World War have been restored in past decades and serve as cultural centers and the like. A few even host Jewish services. There are many other annual memorial activities.

Prime Minister Rutte best embodies the ignorance and ambiguity of many authorities. At the beginning of this year the continued lack of an apology for the Dutch wartime government’s almost total disinterest in the fate of the Dutch Jews became a public issue. Two Freedom Party parliamentarians, Geert Wilders and Raymond de Roon, submitted questions on this matter to the prime minister. Rutte refused to apologize. The reasons he gave were entirely irrelevant to the questions he was asked.

Thus the Netherlands, in its refusal to acknowledge the wartime misconduct of its authorities, remains far behind all other Western European governments.

Much of what has been described above exists in other countries as well, but nowhere is the dichotomy between commemoration and denial as clearly visible as in the Netherlands.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He has authored or edited 20 books, several of which address anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism.

The Palestinian Super Victims

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Last month the IDF responded to rockets being launched from Gaza into southern Israel by bombing Gazan targets. It took little time for some media outlets to equate the Palestinian aggressor with the Israeli aggressed. It took only slightly longer for many other media outlets to highlight Israel’s actions while shoving continued Palestinian aggression into the background.

Such distortions of the truth have to be seen in a much wider context. The overall propaganda war against Israel includes frequent falsifying of facts and many fallacious arguments. Among the latter are the use of double standards, moral equivalence, distorted analogies, and appeals to pity and poverty and so on.

Turning the Palestinian aggressor into the aggressed is a prime example of how emotional appeals triumph over facts. Such appeals have a prominent place in contemporary society. The poor are considered victims, even if they are criminals. In the case of the Palestinians, there is sympathy for them in many circles as underdogs. This is not undone even by the fact that Hamas, the largest political party they voted in, has genocidal intentions. Its leaders declare this openly.

The Palestinians have understood for many years how to use sentimental appeals as part of their overall propaganda strategy. In this way, they mask the profound criminal ideologies that have long permeated their society. Since one has to pose as a victim to benefit from sentimental appeals to the world, the Palestinians have aimed to become super victims. And if the Palestinians are super victims, then Israelis can be presented as quintessentially evil.

The Palestinians’ sentimental appeals are not incidental but systematic. Their greatest success was at the beginning of the second intifada. The killing of Muhammad al Dura in 2000 was perceived internationally as an Israeli crime. It is now known that the boy was almost certainly killed by Palestinian fire.

There are many other examples of similar sentimental appeals. Israel has constructed a fence, which at some points is a wall, to protect itself against Palestinian suicide terrorists. The Palestinians’ friends abroad present this as a case of poor, oppressed Palestinians being shut out by Israel arbitrarily. Pro-Palestinian politicians, academics and media commentators calling for removal of “the wall” present themselves as humanitarians. Yet in fact they are facilitators of the future murder of Israeli civilians.

Israeli checkpoints are also in place to prevent murderous attacks by Palestinians. But in the Palestinian propaganda machine they are just another subject for sentimental appeals, hyped up further by the emotional emphasis placed on the fact that even pregnant women are subjected to checkpoints. As if Palestinian terrorists would hesitate to dress up as pregnant women or even smuggle a bomb into Israel via an expectant mother.

For years now the success of the Al Dura fallacy has seemed unbeatable as the Palestinian sentimental appeal par excellence. (To make matters worse, in an act of major stupidity the IDF apologized incorrectly for killing Mohammed Al Dura before the facts were in.)

Coming close in terms of effectiveness was the fraudulent Gaza flotilla, presented as a humanitarian aid effort. However, the Mavi Marmara, the flotilla’s largest ship, carried no humanitarian aid. Neither did two others. Some goods transported were for military purposes. Other items included pharmaceuticals that had already expired. Seven of the nine people killed on the Mavi Marmara had declared their desire to die as martyrs before setting sail.

None of this was relevant for Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s high representative for foreign policy and security affairs, or the European and German parliaments, as well as many others who condemned Israel. This despite the fact that Israel had the legal right to uphold a blockade on Gaza and thus stop the ships. The international reactions to the flotilla were a great victory of sentimental Palestinian appeals over the legal rights of Israel.

The recurrent success of Palestinian propaganda should have alerted the Israeli government long ago to the fact that such lies and distortions are an integral and systematic part of Palestinian strategy in the war against Israel. Israel should have analyzed many years ago the impact of these appeals and formulated an effective approach to counteract them.

Unfortunately, the precise nature of this process has escaped the Israeli authorities. Some senior people in the government have even told me that nothing can be done about the defamation of Israel.

The issue here is not that the Palestinians have won the propaganda war and Israel has lost it. The problem is that the winner of the propaganda war may ultimately defeat the winner of the physical war.

The fight against Palestinian disinformation is painstaking. It cannot be resolved by isolated actions. It is a complex process that requires money, time, multi-disciplinary teamwork, systematic application of methodological analysis and management skills. It is a hard road, but the horrible alternative is almost certain defeat.

Santorum, Dutch Euthanasia And Goldstone

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum stated recently that ten percent of those who die in the Netherlands are killed by euthanasia. He added that half of these cases were involuntary.

Since 136,000 people died in the Netherlands in 2010, Santorum was essentially claiming that Dutch doctors kill close to 7,000 mainly elderly people per year without their permission. Over the course of a few years, this would make the Dutch medical profession a far bigger murderer of civilians than Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

There were many loud protests from the Netherlands stating that Santorum’s claims were false, as euthanasia is applied on 2.5 percent of all dying people per year. There are also no exact data on how many people were killed without their permission. A contributor to Forbes, however, pointed out that when applying certain calculations, Santorum’s claims may not have been so far off.

Whatever the exact figure, there are hundreds of cases every year of euthanasia in the Netherlands in which the patient is not asked his or her permission.

Let us now employ a bit of fantasy and assume that Muslim states were intent on assailing the Netherlands. They would claim in the United Nations Human Rights Council that such killings are a severe breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These states could easily muster a majority to have the UNHRC appoint a commission of inquiry into this matter.

Who would be better qualified to head such a committee than the Grand Master of Flawed UNHRC Reporting, Judge Richard Goldstone? As his report on Israel was a classic exercise in distorted methodology, its model would be followed. His committee of inquiry would include one member who had already condemned the Netherlands on euthanasia and another who was generally hostile to the country.

Goldstone and his associates would set out with their proven procedural methods. The commission would reach its conclusion on the basis of what it “saw, heard and read.”

The commission had accepted hearsay in the Gaza war investigation; it would thus do the same in the Dutch situation.

As there are many medical doctors in the Netherlands who consider euthanasia immoral, a number of them would likely testify and present the “facts” about its abuse. (The refusal of these doctors to commit euthanasia has already led to another contested initiative – a system of mobile euthanasia units that will travel around the Netherlands to respond to the wishes of sick people who want to end their lives.)

Some individuals appearing before the Goldstone commission would tell of how family members had asked for involuntary euthanasia to be carried out on a patient in order to lay their hands on his inheritance.

As hearsay is accepted as evidence, I could also appear before the commission. I have a Dutch acquaintance who told me how hospital doctors exercised extreme pressure on her to authorize euthanasia on her mortally ill husband. She stated it was only because she has a son who is a doctor and another who is a lawyer that she had resisted their coercion.

As tens of babies born with an open back have been killed by Dutch doctors in recent years, there would likely be other doctors who would testify to the Goldstone commission that children born with that affliction have been unjustifiably characterized in Dutch society as “misfits.” Others who might appear before the commission would be from Helping Hands, a Christian organization that works for better protection for the handicapped.

Due to the commission inquiry, the international public argument on euthanasia would be widened. There would be articles stating that there have been quite a few doctors in history who were also mass murderers. They would then refer to Josef Mengele of Auschwitz infamy. This theme of doctors who murder could be extended to the late Haitian dictator Papa Doc François Duvalier and Bashar al Assad, as well as many other lesser known figures.

If Goldstone were consistent, the report would be damning. After some time had passed and major damage to The Netherlands was done, he would write an article recanting part of his report, just as he did concerning Israel.

All of this of course, is purely a thought experiment. Deeply flawed UNHRC reports only focus on the one country it condemns consistently – Israel. All other countries, including the Netherlands, needn’t worry.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Time For The Dutch To Finally ‘Fess Up

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

A new poll finds that two-thirds of the Dutch people are opposed to their prime minister apologizing to the Jewish community for the misconduct of the wartime government in exile in London.

Only 27 percent of those polled were in favor of such apologies.

Dutch governments have consistently ignored requests to fully admit the extent of the involvement of the Dutch in the persecution of Jews during the Second World War.

Even in the past several days some Dutch historians tried to inflate beyond proportion the importance of a few general remarks on this issue by the current Dutch Queen Beatrix in March 1995 in the Knesset.

She said there were many Dutch who had resisted the Germans, but they were the exceptions and that “the people of the Netherlands could not prevent the destruction of their Jewish fellow citizens.”

Later that year on National Memorial Day, she said that “Thinking about the Holocaust should fill us with shame.”

This pales next to what French President Jacques Chirac said a few months later: “France committed the irremediable. It broke its word and delivered those it protected to their executioners. We maintain toward them an unforgiveable debt.”

Two years later, Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin was even more explicit, saying, “Not even one German soldier was necessary to carry out this disgrace.”

When then-Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende came to Israel in 2005 for a ceremony at Yad Vashem, I raised the issue of apologies in a short conversation. Balkenende asked me for a letter on this issue. I only received a formal acknowledgement from his staff for it.

Meanwhile, at the same event, Belgium Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt repeated his apologies for the collaboration of Belgians with the German occupiers – apologies he had already expressed in 2002.

On that occasion, Balkenende merely said that “the deportation of most of Dutch Jewry was a pitch-black chapter in Dutch history and that coldness and indifference toward the Jews had been dominant.” A month later, he admitted that Dutch authorities had collaborated with the occupiers. The emphasis of his words was more on those who took risks for other people than on the many Dutch traitors.

Several Dutch historians claim that wartime history is primarily an issue for historians. None of them explained why they haven’t asked for government apologies to the Jewish community for 65 years. The Dutch apologies issue has been raised publicly again due to statements by former deputy prime ministers Els Borst and Gerrit Zalm in my recent book Judging the Netherlands: The Holocaust Restitution Process 1997-2000 ( Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2011).

After the Dutch daily DePers published their quotes on January 4, Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party, requested Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologize to the Jewish community. This news went global, carried by hundreds of media outlets including most major American ones and the official Chinese press agency.

What happens if the Dutch government follows majority opinion and doesn’t apologize? Most likely this will lead to more international exposure of Dutch misconduct in many areas.

Included will be how the Dutch government in London took a year and a half to inquire about the fate of deported Dutch Jews from the Polish government, which resided in the same building. Or how in 1944 Henri Dentz, a Dutch official in London, could not find anyone in the government or even at the Red Cross to read his report which revealed that 90 percent of deported Dutch Jews had been murdered.

Much attention will also be focused on Dutch Queen Wilhelmina, who regularly spoke to the Dutch people from London via radio for four years. Only three times during that period did she devote attention to the Jews: in total, 5 sentences. Before the war, she opposed the establishment of a center for German Jewish refugees in a location she considered too close to her palace. The distance was twelve kilometers.

Another issue to mention again is Dutch postwar misconduct during the postwar restitution process. Prime Minister Kok, under pressure, apologized for this in 2000 but added that except for one case, the wrongdoing was not intentional. There are, however, many more examples of postwar bad intentions toward the Jews.

A very different type of potential exposure concerns the never-properly-investigated Dutch war crimes during “police actions” in Indonesia in the late 1940s. More than 100,000 people were killed. The Dutch government has recently apologized to the inhabitants of one village, Rawagede, where all native males were executed without a trial. There are several similar cases about which little is known, such as the mass murders in South-Sulawesi.

Prime Minister Rutte would be well advised to consider all of this when he decides whether or not to apologize to the Jewish community.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld has published 20 books. Several of these address anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism.

Treat News Manipulators As Journalists?

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Should Israel treat pro-Palestinian news manipulators as if they were serious journalists? Should they be given privileges because they belong to supposedly reputable media outlets? Why accommodate the allies of your enemies?

Such questions arise anew after a recent study of anti-Israel bias on the part of Reuters by Henry Silverman of Chicago’s Roosevelt University.

Professor Silverman investigated fifty news-oriented articles by Reuters on the Middle East. His findings about this “objective” news agency were damning. Silverman concluded that coverage of the Middle East conflict “is systematically tainted by propaganda and influences readers to side with the Palestinian and Arab states against the Israelis.”

Silverman analyzed these articles for reporting and ethical failures, such as propaganda devices and logical fallacies. As Reuters has a handbook of rules its reporters are supposed to follow, he also checked the articles against its requirements. Silverman found more than 1,100 instances of reporting failures in these articles. On the average, this amounts to 22 failures per (relatively short) article. Silverman then submitted the articles to students who were neutral about the Middle East conflict. After they had read the biased articles, their views shifted to pro-Palestinian.

Trevor Asserson, a British litigation lawyer now living in Israel, applied a somewhat different methodology to the BBC several years ago. This media outlet is heavily subsidized by the British government and enjoys an important monopoly position. It operates under a government charter which defines 15 legal obligations including fairness, respect for truth, due accuracy, attachment to fundamental democratic principles, not broadcasting opinions on current affairs or public policy, insuring that opposing views are not misrepresented and not letting the audience gauge the reporter’s personal views.

Asserson checked various BBC TV programs on the Middle East against its commitments under the charter. He analyzed all documentaries on the Middle East shown on BBC 1 and 2 from late June 2002 to 2004. Afterward, Asserson said the BBC was conducting “what amounts to something equivalent to a campaign to vilify Israel, broadcasting a documentary critical of Israel every two to three months…. 88% of documentaries on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict paint either a negative impression of Israel or (in two cases) a positive image of Palestinians.” He also found that “there is a systemic problem with the BBC complaints system.”

Asserson concluded: “BBC’s news reports concerning Israel are distorted by omission, by inclusion, by only giving partial facts, by who is interviewed, and by the background information provided, or lack of it. The only way to establish this factually was to do a proper forensic analysis. I prepared my reports in the way in which a judge would expect the evidence to be presented in a court of law.”

Another form of news manipulation is selective publishing of biased op-eds. Recently, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu “respectfully declined” to write an op-ed for The New York Times. His senior adviser Ron Dermer wrote a reply to the newspaper in which he quoted the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynahan’s admonition that “everyone is entitled to [his] own opinion, but no one is entitled to [his] own facts.”

Dermer pointed out that the Times had published an article by Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas containing false historical “facts,” which it could and should have verified quite easily. Dermer also checked op-eds about Israel published within the last three months in The New York Times and in the (Times-owned) International Herald Tribune. Nineteen out of those twenty op-ed pieces were negative.

If such manipulation or propaganda is practiced by three media outlets counted among the profession’s elite, what can one possibly expect from others? To get an idea of how low some have stooped – and not related to Israel – one should follow the inquiry in the United Kingdom carried out by Lord Justice Leveson about the multiple infringements of privacy by the tabloid press.

The now defunct News of the World hacked the voice mails of many individuals. It hired detectives to place people under surveillance and planted a Trojan virus to hack into one target’s computer. It also employed a convicted criminal because of his good relationship with the police.

Other tabloids fabricated stories about people. A particularly disturbing case was that of the Daily Express, which invented defamatory information about the parents of the McCann family whose daughter had disappeared. A former reporter at the Daily Mirror testified that phone hacking was rampant at the paper in the late ‘90s.

There is a pressing need for a major study on the extremely doubtful ethics of present-day journalism. Using Israel as a test case would be a helpful way to accomplish this.

In the meantime, Israel must act. It is time to form a Knesset caucus on media that should tackle this complex issue and hold the government accountable when it accommodates manipulators among the journalists. Freedom of the press is one thing. Being assisted by the government to help the enemy is something radically different. Ministers should be asked why certain journalists (read: Palestinian and Arab propagandists) enjoy privileges. Let them fend for themselves without the rights and privileges press cards offer.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/treat-news-manipulators-as-journalists/2012/01/04/

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