Several organizations and individuals, in Israel and abroad, monitor foreign media’s reporting on Israeli-related matters. Most pro-Israeli media watches are in English but there also some in other languages such as French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. There is evidence that pro-Israeli media watching does have an impact, both causing journalists to report more objectively and influencing policymakers.
Monitoring may make the media subject to certain checks and balances. As the criticism comes from many concerned people, it constitutes an important democratic process. Jewish organizations and individuals are among those in the forefront of the effort to make the media more accountable. Their actions have a social and political importance that goes far beyond public affairs aspects. As both the Middle East conflict and the disproportionate interest in it continue, media-watching activities are likely to grow further in the coming years.
Media watching can be defined as critically examining one or more media on a regular or recurrent basis. It usually results from a conviction that certain media are biased against a cause that the monitoring body or individual supports. Media-watching activities include collecting, analyzing, and publishing data.
Over the past decades, the media have made the most of a unique situation. Whereas they have the power to criticize others relentlessly and sometimes brutally, there are few ways to take them to task. The work of their staff is only subject to the specific media’s self-regulation. Except in extreme cases, journalists are not accountable to anybody outside their profession.
Reporters can choose the facts they will mention or omit, even if this leads to major distortions of their readers’ perceptions. Their means of slanting information, if they wish to do so, are almost unlimited. Media also rarely criticize each other, even though that would create much greater accountability among journalists.
Structurally Biased Reporting
In very rare cases, journalists admit that they have been reporting in a structurally biased way. In 1989, Thomas Friedman cited a major example of such reporting in his book From Beirut to Jerusalem: “it would be hard to find any hint in stories from foreign correspondents stationed in Beirut before 1982 about the well-known corruption in the PLO leadership, the misuse of funds, and the way in which the organization had become as much a corporation full of bureaucratic hacks as a guerilla outfit.”2
Friedman also noted that the Western correspondents judged the PLO in a much milder way than they did the Phalangists, Israelis, or Americans. One major reason was that they had to keep on good terms with the PLO because otherwise when their foreign editor arrived, he would not get the much-coveted interview with Yasser Arafat. It is hard to assume that the phenomenon exposed by Friedman no longer exists for many if not most foreign correspondents in the Arab world. Their need of favors from the authorities is so great that their criticism, if existing at all, must be muted.
One confirmation of that was given by the Dutch correspondent on the Middle East, Joris Luyendijk. “The Arab countries are often dictatorships that exist thanks to lack of transparency. Everything is based on appearances. Both parties, but in particular the Arabs, lie the whole day. You really have to check their statements there on the spot. Also, reliable figures are not available: the authorities lie flagrantly in all fields. All figures are adapted to what is politically desirable.”3
Promising Not to Tell the Truth
A more recent example of journalists explicitly confirming that they were hiding negative facts about the Palestinians was that of Riccardo Cristiano, the correspondent of the Italian state network, Rai, in the Palestinian territories. On 12 October 2000, two Israeli reserve soldiers were lynched by Palestinians in Ramallah. The Italian network Mediaset filmed the murder and smuggled the pictures out. These included, among other things, a picture of one of the killers who stood at a window with “his bloodied hands raised in triumph to signal to the crowd below that the soldiers had been killed.”
As it was not known which Italian network had taken the pictures, Cristiano wrote a letter that was published on 16 October in the Palestinian newspaper Al Hayat al Jedida. He disclosed that it had been Mediaset that had taken the pictures. As a result this media had to withdraw correspondents from the area back to Italy so as to avoid Palestinian revenge.
Cristiano also indicated that he would never have published the pictures had they been his own. In his open letter, he also offered “congratulations and dear blessings” to his dear friends in Palestine.4
The Palestinian Authority’s attitude toward journalists is only relatively different from other parts of the Arab world. In the 1980s, journalists who wrote critical articles from Saudi Arabia risked jail. Sandra Mackay spent four years there during that decade as an underground journalist for the Christian Science Monitor: “The only way I gained entrance into Saudi Arabia was as a dependent of my physician husband….Through it all I guarded my anonymity for one reason only: to stay out of jail…only a few trusted Western friends in Saudi Arabia knew that I was a writer. They took my rough drafts to the desert to burn, carried copy out of the country when they went on vacation, and stored my notes when I had reason to believe that the secret police might be closing in.”5
There are many ways in which media create false perceptions, as exposed by a large number of authors. Thus, as Alan Dershowitz points out, “At Israel’s fifty-fifth anniversary parade, the Neturei Karta, a small ultra-Orthodox group, held a counterdemonstration with banners saying ‘real Jews are anti-Zionists.’ The Boston Globe printed two pictures: one of pro-Israel groups carrying flags and the other of the anti-Israelis. This created the feeling that there were equal numbers of Neturei Karta and Zionists at the parade.”6 The impact of such isolated exposure of the media, however, is much smaller than of a systematic, ongoing approach.
Media bias expresses itself in many ways, and in favor of or against many countries, organizations, or people. In September 2004, terrorists attacked a school in Beslan, Russia leading to the death of about four hundred people, many of them children. Daniel Pipes pointed out that major media including National Public Radio, the Associated Press, Reuters, the BBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Economist, the Guardian, and so forth did not employ the word terrorist for the murderous attackers. Instead they used an array of euphemisms including “assailants,” “attackers,” “captors,” “extremists,” “hostage-takers,” “guerrillas,” “radicals,” “separatists,” “rebels,” “fighters,” and “commandos.”7
Computing Media Bias
Media bias has been the subject of lengthy discussions. Several authors have claimed that a right-of-center media bias prevails in the United States since the newspaper owners impose their outlook and, being wealthy people, are presumably on the Right. This view has been disproved by many authors.8
Tim Groseclose of UCLA and Jeff Milyo of the University of Chicago have developed a sophisticated method to compute the bias of American media. It is based on counting the times that a media outlet cites various think tanks. They compare this with the times that members of Congress cite the same think tanks in their speeches on the floor of the House and Senate. The researchers then compare citation patterns and, since the political identification of Congress members is known and measurable, they can establish where the media are positioned.
Their findings showed the existence of a significant liberal bias. All news outlets except Fox News’ Special Report received a score to the left of the average member of Congress. Groseclose and Milyo note, furthermore: “by one of our measures all but three of these media outlets (Special Report, the Drudge Report, and ABC’s World News Tonight) were closer to the average Democrat in Congress than to the median member of the House of Representatives.”9
Groseclose and Milyo also mention that various studies have found that the great majority of journalists are liberal. One study found that only 7 percent of all Washington correspondents voted for George Bush in 1992, compared to 37 percent of the American public. They conclude: “Statistics suggest that journalists, as a group, are more liberal than almost any congressional district in the country.”10
This phenomenon is even more extreme in Sweden. Former Deputy Prime Minister Per Ahlmark notes that in 1968 not more than 3 percent of Swedish journalists sympathized with the Communist Party. This figure was identical to the percentage the party obtained in that year’s election. By 1989, however, the number of pro-Communist journalists had increased to about 30 percent, whereas not more than 4-5 percent of the voters supported the party.11
Media bias manifests itself differently in various cultures. Former Israeli ambassador to Japan Yaacov Cohen relates how in 1985 then-Mayor Ed Koch of New York, in three different appearances in Japan, strongly condemned the Japanese surrender to the Arab boycott of Israel, adding that this cast doubt on Japanese adherence to free trade. Although hundreds of journalists heard him, not a single mention of these words appeared in any Japanese-language paper.12
Starting in the Seventies
Currently several organizations systematically monitor foreign media’s reporting on Israeli-related matters. Most pro-Israeli media watches are in English but there also some in other languages such as French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Since the second Palestinian uprising began in the fall of 2000, many consider that Israel is losing the media battle. The Israeli government is frequently blamed for not making its viewpoints known effectively. Pro-Israeli media watchers are an important source of information for their readers. But above all, they are private actors in the Arab-Israeli public relations war.
Pro-Israeli media monitoring – albeit in a more simplified form – goes back about three decades. The first watches were in written form. Former Israeli diplomat Lenny Ben-David relates that in the mid-1970s Si Kenen, editor of the AIPAC-affiliated, Washington-based Near East Report, initiated a media-monitoring column titled The Monitor. Its purpose was to clarify “controversial issues and to expose negative propaganda.”13
One of NER‘s prime targets was the team of Rowland Evans and Robert Novak, whose column was syndicated in about 250 American cities. When the columns contained errors about Israel, Kenen would send out telegrams to local activists who would then write critical letters to the papers that carried the columns. The climax of this campaign came after Evans falsely claimed that Israel had made a secret request of $4 billion per year for U.S. arms. Evans, who initially refused to retract, had to do so after several weeks. Under the ongoing pressure from letter writers, Evans and Novak stopped writing on the Middle East for several years.14
Some pro-Israeli media watches were initiated after the war in Lebanon. CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), was founded in 1982.15 At that time they published hard-copy articles about various media that distorted information concerning Israel.
Europe and Israel
Pro-Israeli individuals have also long been critical of European anti-Israeli coverage. Sergio Minerbi, former Israeli ambassador to the European Communities, Belgium, and Luxembourg, analyzed six documentaries focused on the Middle East of the French-speaking Belgian television station RTBF between 1979-1982. In 1985 his findings were published in a book.16
In 1987, Henry Weinberg devoted an entire chapter of his book The Myth of the Jew in France 1967-1982 to the anti-Israeli bias of the Paris daily Le Monde.17 Already in 1980 this leading French paper had published an article by the academic M. L. Snoussi, titled “Double Nationality, Double Allegiance,” which “openly leveled the charge of treason against French Jewry.” Weinberg remarked that the article “contained phrases which in other democratic countries would be considered as incitement to racial violence.”
After terrorists bombed a synagogue in the Paris Rue Copernic in October 1980, Le Monde had published another anti-Semitic article by Jean-Marie Paupert on its front page. Weinberg noted that it was full of anti-Semitic clichés. Le Monde already at that time used several of the techniques that have become so familiar today. Much of its coverage of the Middle East was assigned to pro-Arab Jewish journalists. Frequently when citing Israeli sources they quoted Israeli extremists such as Felicia Langer, Uri Avneri, and Matiyahu Peled without mentioning their remoteness from the Israeli mainstream.
Weinberg summed it up by saying that the paper expressed “consistently unfair and excessive criticism of the Jewish state and made for the acceptance of anti-Semitic expression as a legitimate means of public debate.”
Prominent among early pro-Israeli media watchers in Israel was the late David Bar-Illan, editor of the Jerusalem Post, who published a column called “Eye on the Media.” In 1993, a selection from it appeared in book form.18
In an interview in 1994, Bar-Illan said: “The assumption of most foreign media is that the Palestinian cause is a just one…. Here is a people seeking liberty, freedom, self-determination, which is as good as motherhood. Israel should give it to them. If it does not, it is in the wrong.”19
In this interview Bar-Illan gave the following story as one of the foremost examples of anti-Israeli bias:
The BBC is by far the worst offender when it comes to Israel…. I shall only give one example of its malice. A few years ago a coffeehouse collapsed in Arab East Jerusalem due to structural problems. The most striking thing about it was that Jews and Arabs worked together to save lives.
Even strong PLO activists like the deputy Mufti of Jerusalem were stunned by that cooperation. The BBC did not say one word about it. They only mentioned that Arabs suffered. They repeated the libel that a bomb had been put in there.
This was a totally distorted report, leaving out the one phenomenon that should have made news all over the world: the fact that Arabs and Jews worked together to save lives at a time when the Intifada was at its height.
Bar-Illan mentioned that the building collapse was not a politically significant event and added: “From the political sphere, there are hundreds of examples of BBC malice.”20
The Internet: A Major Impetus
Several developments have heavily influenced the substantial growth in pro-Israeli media watching in recent years. The explosive expansion of the Internet opened major new opportunities. Previously it was possible to follow media systematically, but getting one’s conclusions quickly to many readers entailed a sizable expense. Today media watchers can circulate their findings at little cost by email or by publishing them on websites.
Media monitors also have access to Internet search engines that can carry out the research that previously only expensive clipping services could perform. For instance, a media watcher can quickly determine in how many newspapers a biased syndicated columnist has appeared.
A third factor that has accelerated pro-Israeli media monitoring has been the increased foreign media attention to the Arab-Israeli conflict since the second Palestinian uprising erupted in 2000. This brought an influx of foreign correspondents into Israel and an abundance of biased and sometimes explicitly anti-Semitic reporting about Israel. In turn, pro-Israeli individuals reacted to this biased reporting, some of them creating organizations specifically to watch, analyze, and criticize these media.
Aims of the Media Watches
Currently several watch organizations regularly comment on various media in the world regarding their coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict. They differ in their aims, focus, and modus operandi; for some of them media watching is one of a wider range of activities.
Pro-Israeli media monitors typically have the following characteristics:
- They focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict.
- They supply otherwise inaccessible information – for instance, from Arabic sources – to policymakers and stimulate activists to react to the media concerned. Their ultimate aim is to remove the media bias.
- They have a website on which their material is published.
- They regularly publish their findings, often one or two times a week, either on their website or by sending emails to their subscribers.
- Sometimes media watchers will speak, without publicity, to a media organization that has published biased material and seek to reach an agreement.
- Several also lobby foreign governments and authorities.
The monitors have also become a counterweight to pro-Palestinian media watches, which claim that the media is biased against the Palestinians. These include Arab Media Watch, Palestine Media Watch, and Electronic Intifada.
The Main Media Watches
The main pro-Israeli media watches – some of which operate from abroad and others from Israel – in English are:
HonestReporting grew out of a private British initiative after the second Palestinian uprising began. In 2001, it became an independent foundation with its own board. It maintains an association with the Aish HaTorah educational movement. Its declared aim is to ensure “that Israel receives the fair media coverage that every nation deserves.”22
HonestReporting monitors mainly media in the United States, but also in other English-speaking countries. It has several affiliates that deal with foreign media. HonestReporting scrutinizes media for examples of anti-Israeli bias. It maintains a regular relationship with foreign reporters based in Israel and provides them with information. If media publish distorted facts and biased articles it informs subscribers of offending articles, asking them to respond directly to the media concerned. It is thus not only an information service but also an activist body. It has 100,000 members worldwide.
HonestReporting has defined seven categories of media bias, namely: Misleading Definitions and Terminology, Imbalanced Reporting, Opinions Disguised as News, Lack of Context, Selective Omission, Using True Facts to Draw Untrue Conclusions, and Distortion of Facts.
Examples of its recent work include “Sheikh Yassin’s Happiest Day,” which addressed some of the media myths that appeared after the terrorist cleric’s death.23 “BBC’s Selective Sensitivity”24 dealt with the double standards at the BBC after the sacking of Robert Kilroy-Silk. HonestReporting also makes an annual “Dishonest Reporting” award. In 2003 Reuters was chosen,25 in 2002 it was the British media in general, and in 2001 the BBC.
CAMERA covers a wide range of media in the United States and occasionally in the United Kingdom. It systematically monitors television, radio, and newspapers, and obtains part of its “media raw material” by subscribing to databases. CAMERA also places advertisements in newspapers such as the New York Times. It reports media bias and then asks its email list of five thousand activists to take subsequent action by sending letters and op-eds to the media concerned. Its material goes out to fifty thousand subscribers.
CAMERA’s director Andrea Levin stresses that as much as half the work is done behind the scenes by staff members who communicate with media outlets. When factual errors are identified, they contact editors and reporters to elicit corrections. In other cases they urge coverage of underreported stories.27
Some examples of CAMERA’s publications include “The New York Times Covers (and Covers Up for) Palestinian Child Bombers,”28 “The Washington Post: A Language of Its Own,”29 and “CAMERA Prompts Boston Globe Correction on Legality of Settlements.”30
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW)31
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), established in 1996, focuses on analyzing Palestinian society. It monitors the Palestinian Arabic-language media and schoolbooks. For its data gathering it records and analyzes all Palestinian television programs and newspapers. Itamar Marcus, its director, notes that since the Palestinian Authority (PA) tightly controls all Palestinian media, their analysis permits understanding what the PA’s true intentions are.32
Media watching is only part of PMW’s activities. It also scrutinizes the PA’s culture and society from numerous perspectives, including studies on summer camps, poetry, schoolbooks, religious ideology, crossword puzzles, and many more.
PMW has been playing an important role in documenting the contradictions between the image the Palestinians present to the world in English and the messages they give their own people in Arabic. Some subjects its reports have dealt with are “Encouraging Women Terrorists,”33 “War against the Jews and Israel in Palestinian Authority Religious Teaching,”34 and “Comparing the Palestinian Authority Opinions and School Textbooks with the Hamas Charter.”35
In June 2004, PMW presented to the U.S. Congress a special report titled “Four Loopholes in U.S. Anti-Terror Laws.”36 This document analyzed the use of U.S. money in Palestinian-controlled areas in support of anti-American activities and the promotion of terror. The PMW report recommended five amendments to U.S. law; all of them were written into the new Foreign Operations Bill passed by the House of Representatives in July 2004.
Marcus believes that PMW’s most important activity is to bring its material to the attention of foreign politicians and decisionmakers. He frequently presents his findings to parliamentarians and media abroad.37
Anti-Defamation League (ADL)38
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is first and foremost a Jewish defense organization. Its media-watch activities are a relatively minor part of its program and are published on its website. The ADL covers newspapers, television, the Internet, radio, and magazines incidentally, followed up by letter writing to whoever it has identified as being guilty of biased reporting. The organization attacks ethnic and religious defamation irrespective of who the victims are.
As an example of such a letter, on 8 September 2004 Abraham Foxman, national director of the ADL, wrote to the editor of Newsweek:
Joshua Hammer’s assertion that Ariel Sharon’s real goal in withdrawing from Gaza is “permanent occupation of most of the West Bank” is unsubstantiated. (“Once Drawn to Zion, Now Glad to Leave,” Sept. 6)
There is much to suggest that if the Palestinians finally stop terrorism, hatred and rejection of Israel, Mr. Sharon, or indeed any future Israeli Prime Minister, will be ready to make concessions for peace – concessions that will lead to a Palestinian state and security for the state of Israel.
Examples of ADL media-watch publications include: “Arab Journalist Tells CNN Jews Control the Media”39 and “Shocking Anti-Muslim Remarks Aired in Boston.”40
Honestly Concerned began its activities in May 2002, mainly as a private initiative of Sacha Stawski. It watches media reporting on two major issues, on anti-Semitism and Israel. It is staffed by both Christians and Jews, and much of their work is posted on their website. They have three mailing lists: the first is for frequent updates, the second is a weekly summary edition, and the third is occasional, informing those on the list of special events. The website and the mailing lists are predominantly in German but do include English.
This website is built on the premise that anyone can do something about biased reporting in all forms of media. The website provides advice on how to write effective letters to, among others, politicians, international organizations, television, and radio. The site states that it is operated by European and Israeli citizens.
As an example of their influence, the site mentions that they labeled The Guardian “Liar of the Month” in April 2004.43 The paper’s ombudsman, Ian Mayes, contacted Take-a-Pen and on 29 May published a correction on The Guardian‘s website.44 This media watch also criticizes the Israeli press, and the “Liar of the Month” for May 2004 was Haaretz. In July 2004, it was the Associated Press. The site provides addresses for all media that they watch.
EyeOnThePost.Org watches one paper only, the Washington Post. The catalyst for its establishment was the paper’s false reporting of an alleged massacre by the Israel Defense Forces in its Defensive Shield campaign in Jenin following the Passover bombings in March 2002. It gradually emerged that the IDF went out of its way to spare civilian lives at an additional loss of soldiers’ lives. The Washington Post never apologized on this issue, nor did it adequately report the measures taken by the IDF to avoid the loss of Palestinian civilian lives.
An example of an EyeOnThePost.Org publication is “The Post‘s Headline Says Israel Kills Six Palestinian Leaders.”46
Israel Media Watch47
Israel Media Watch (IMW) was founded around 1995 and focuses on bias in the Israeli media. Although its declared aim is to keep the media impartial, its approach is to identify left-wing bias. IMW has published a column in the Jerusalem Post for the past two years – a somewhat hybrid approach since it publishes in a media that should be included in its scrutiny.
Examples of IMW’s work are “A Little Media Unprofessionalism”48 and “Freedom of Speech in the Dock.”49
France, Italy, Spain, and Brazil
Proche-Orient.info50 and Crif51 – the political roof organization of French Jewry – are the leading pro-Israeli French media watches. They both publish daily overviews of articles appearing in the French press dealing with Israel and issues of interest to the French Jewish community. They also provide analysis, opinions, and debates. Their purview includes radio and television, as well as news from the international and Arab press. A third media watch, Guysen Israel News,52 provides daily news updates and in-depth specials.
Informazionecorretta.com53 is an Italian pro-Israeli media watch. It analyzes media appearing in Italy, mostly print media but also including television and radio. They suggest their readers contact the media and express their opinions on published articles. The website provides some advice about how to write letters to the media. Compared to other media watches, they give much attention to the use of photographs and cartoons against Israel.
Some of HonestReporting’s foreign affiliates follow the national press in the relevant language. Examples include their Spanish affiliate54 and their Brazilian one.55
Analysis of Recurring Phenomena
Several analyses have been done of recurring phenomena in media bias. In 2001, Jeff Helmreich analyzed various patterns of violation of the ethics codes of the American journalistic profession. He cited as one example that many major English-language media reported as direct quotes from Palestinian leaders texts that were substantially different from what they had said. Thus, when the Associated Press reported Arafat’s Al-Naqba (a Palestinian day of mourning over the establishment of Israel) speech on 15 May 2001, it excluded entire clauses, added moderating words, and cleaned out a slur about the United States.56
In September 2002 Alfred Donath, chairman of the Swiss Jewish community organization SIG, was invited to speak about journalistic ethics in the Middle East conflict on the occasion of the ceremony for the Jean Dumur Award for Ethics in Lausanne. Thirty years ago in the Geneva University Hospital, Donath had established the first Commission for Ethics in Medical Research in Switzerland.
Although Donath did not say so explicitly, he implied that by the standards of his profession, journalists are largely irresponsible operators. Referring to the Israeli military operation in Jenin, he noted:
In almost all media there was mention first of 6000, then of 3000, and later of 500 deaths. Where are all these hundreds of dead Palestinians? Where are the mass graves in which Israeli bulldozers have buried thousands of dead civilians and covered up with concrete to hide Israeli crimes? Who has stated on his word of honor the summary execution of half-naked Palestinian civilians shot in their heads? Who has smelled the rotting flesh of these people? Who has heard the cries of fear of the women raped by Israeli soldiers?
Donath also noted that the journalists had irresponsibly compared the Nazi extermination camps with Jenin. He concluded that: “all this is defamation but something always remains in memory.”57
Frequently Overlooked Issues
In an analysis of the major issues frequently overlooked by the international news media in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Dan Diker pointed to the neglect of Israel’s legal rights. For example, the media regularly refer to an Israeli legal obligation to withdraw to the pre-1967 borders, a request inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 242 and the Oslo accords. Diker also points out that Israel is under no legal obligation to refrain from constructing settlements under Resolution 242 or Oslo. Also typical are the media references to “occupied Arab East Jerusalem,” ignoring the fact that Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority as far back as the mid-19th century. And even though the United Nations has stated that Israel has implemented its commitment to withdraw from Southern Lebanon, news organizations still refer to the Shabaa Farms located on Israel’s side of the border as “disputed.”58
Some individuals publish professional media analysis as well. Among the best known is journalist Tom Gross, a former reporter for the Daily Telegraph, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications. He mails his findings only to a specific list of contacts including journalists, commentators, government officials, and Middle East specialists around the world. Gross reaches 2500 primary recipients located in over fifty countries, most of them non-Jewish.59 From time to time he also publishes articles in periodicals such as National Review Online. Among the best known is “Jeningrad,” a study of the press coverage of the nonmassacre in Jenin.60 Much of his analysis is not designed for the general public and there is no website where it can all be seen.
Trevor Asserson and the BBC’s Systematic Bias
Trevor Asserson, a leading British litigation lawyer, has in the past two years undertaken four well-documented studies detailing the BBC’s systematic bias against Israel.61 For the initial reports of his bbcwatch.com he recorded the BBC’s broadcasting on the Middle East over three periods of several weeks, the first one in late 2001.
Asserson’s analysis of the BBC is a prime example of how media monitoring has developed over the years. Whereas Bar-Illan, a decade earlier, provided qualitative examples of BBC bias, Asserson analyzes it from a legal point of view.62
The BBC’s monopoly derives from a legally binding contract with the British government. Asserson defined the BBC’s fifteen legal obligations under its charter, which include, among others: fairness, respect for truth, due accuracy, attachment to fundamental democratic principles, not broadcasting their own opinions on current affairs or public policy, ensuring opposing views are not misrepresented, and not letting the audience gauge reporters’ personal views. Asserson identified, however, many instances in which the BBC breached several of these guidelines, in some cases even most. He analyzed a selected number of BBC programs and websites in a way in which they could be used as evidence in legal proceedings.
In July 2004, Asserson released bbcwatch’s fourth report. In it he analyzed all documentaries on the subject of the Middle East shown on BBC 1 and 2 from late 2000 to June 2004. He asserted that “the BBC is running a campaign to vilify Israel, broadcasting a documentary critical of Israel every 2-3 months…88% of documentaries on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict paint either a negative impression of Israel or (in 2 cases) a positive image of Palestinians.” Asserson also concluded that “there is a systemic problem with the BBC complaints system.”63
The Israeli Government and the BBC
The BBC, considered by many observers to be structurally biased against Israel, has been the subject of several other studies and critical articles.64 Tom Gross points out that “the BBC’s double standards are clear to almost everyone except, it seems, the BBC itself and its sympathizers in the press.”65
In 2003, the Israeli government broke off relations with the BBC for several months. In 2004, in a rare reaction from Jerusalem, Minister Natan Sharansky wrote to the BBC that its reporter Orla Guerin had not only set a new standard for biased journalism but her reporting “has also raised concerns that it was tainted by anti-Semitism.” Sharansky referred to the case of a Palestinian youth who was set to explode as a human bomb. Whereas other major media, in reporting on this case, focused on the use of children by Palestinian terror groups, Guerin’s main item was that the Israelis had paraded a child in front of the international media. Sharansky also pointed out that he did not recall a single report in which the BBC noted “the ways and means in which the Palestinian authorities stage events for the media or direct the media to stories that serve Palestinian advocacy goals.”66
Israel – A Hated State
Despite the overwhelming evidence of the BBC’s pro-Arab inclinations, in June 2004 a former BBC correspondent named Tim Llewelyn accused British broadcasters, including his former employer, of “systematic bias against the Palestinians.”67 He based his criticism on a book by Greg Philo and Mike Berry called Bad News from Israel.68 Tom Gross pointed out, however, that BBC staff helped Philo with his study. According to the publicist for Philo’s book, “those helping and taking part also included: John Humphrys, Sue Inglish, Paul Adams, Nik Gowing, Sian Kevill, Alan Hayling, Evan Davis and Fran Unsworth from the BBC.”69
Asserson had earlier remarked that one BBC staffer, Ian Haddow, had expressed his anti-Israeli bias by signing an email petition against Israel, adding the words “save us from Israel” after his name. Asserson also said:
In private conversations with senior BBC journalists, we have been told that anti-Israel feeling is rife within the BBC. Israel is considered a hated state. Anybody who has a different view has great difficulty being heard or getting his story out. I would not be surprised if that stretches to the point where some people there think that Israel should not exist, because that is now the position Taken by some detractors of Israel.70
Shraga Simmons, member of the editorial board of HonestReporting, asserts that the BBC is the last holdout among major foreign media of structurally biased reporting. He believes that because they are publicly funded, this media’s bottom line is not sensitive to whether they are truthful or not.71
An analysis of the Australian daily The Age (Melbourne) employed a somewhat similar method to the one Asserson used. The “Age Newspaper Study” investigated the paper’s compliance with journalistic standards in its entire news output on the Arab-Israeli conflict over the eight-week period from 15 June to 15 August 2003. Conducted by a media study group of unaffiliated professionals, it was released on 5 November 2003.72
During the study period, 210 violations – an average of three per article – were recorded involving events that were not adequately and properly reported. Analysis of the violations revealed that the overwhelming majority of them were detrimental to the Israeli side. Several of the biased articles violated The Age‘s code of conduct.
The “Age Newspaper Study” rates journalists according to violations – a methodology that can be used elsewhere when monitoring the media.
The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Greater Philadelphia District of the Zionist Organization of America prepared a report titled “The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Anti-Israel Bias.” The study analyzed “news coverage, choice and placement of photographs, head-lines, editorials, op-eds, editorial cartoons, and letters to the editor concerning Israel and Palestinian Arabs that appeared in that paper from 9 May 2002 through 20 August 2002.”73
The study found “over-whelming evidence of a pattern of consistent bias against Israel, while in favor of the Palestinian-Arabs…. In short, the Inquirer is teaching the public that Israel is the villain in this war and by extension, unworthy of American support. That is not only unfair, but false.”74
Detailed studies like the ones investigating the BBC, The Age, and the Philadelphia Inquirer are particularly effective since it is rather difficult to argue with the broad scope of their findings.
L’Agence France Presse (AFP)
The anti-Israeli bias of the official French press agency L’Agence France Presse (AFP), though not systematically observed, has been the subject of various studies. AFP is the third largest worldwide news agency, and the main one reporting from the Arab world. It is an autonomous body established in accordance with legal norms, and is committed to research and broadcast “complete and objective information.” De facto, its chief executive’s appointment requires the agreement of the key players in French government.75
In 2002, journalist Clément Weill Raynal analyzed in detail several cases of AFP‘s Middle East reporting. The first concerned the incidents on the Temple Mount on 28 September 2000, which many considered the start of the second Palestinian uprising. Another case was the death of the child Mohammed Al Dura, which AFP attributed to bullets fired by Israeli soldiers, while other observers believe they were probably Palestinian ones. A third case concerned the AFP‘s silence about Palestinian Communication Minister Imad Faloudji’s declaration on 2 March 2001 that the Palestinian uprising had been planned for more than a year, and was not caused by Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount.76
A major step forward in media watching was the documentary Décryptage (Decoding). Its directors Jacques Tarnero and Philippe Bensoussan analyze AFP‘s reporting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through interviews and scenes from the media, enabling viewers to form their own opinion on the agency’s anti-Israeli bias.77
Much in-depth analysis of the French media’s attitude toward Israel has been undertaken by the Observatoire du monde juif, a research center on Jewish political life. Shmuel Trigano, its founder, says: “We showed that French correspondents in Israel rewrote Arafat’s speeches to avoid what seemed politically incorrect. When he attacked the Jews, they wrote Israelis. When Arafat said horrible things they put dots instead of quoting him. They did this to present him as a liberator and almost a secular saint.”78
The Observatoire‘s publications often cite extreme cases of media distortion. In one, Paris Match showed a photo of a Palestinian father embracing his dead two-year-old daughter for the last time. The man claimed she had been killed by Israelis, which the paper published without verifying. Later the father admitted that the child had been accidentally shot by him while he was handling a firearm.79
Trigano says that he slowly started to realize that the extreme power of the media poses a major danger to Western democracy. “Their attitude toward Israel and the Jews over the last few years has shown that they can pervert analysis, debate, and criticism. We are dependent on a class of journalists with consensus political views. They read and co-opt each other’s opinions, without accountability to anybody. Freedom and democracy, however, cannot coexist if truth and facts are obscured.”80
Film criticism of biased media reporting can be powerful as Décryptage has shown. Canadian reporter Martin Himel’s 2004 documentary Jenin: Massacring Truth proved this even more. He focused on the biased coverage of the non-existing massacre by the IDF in Jenin in April, 2002. The film powerfully illustrates the irresponsible and unsubstantiated reporting of United Nations officials, the BBC, the Times, the Guardian and many other European media. Himel interviews a number of the journalists who falsely reported on the events. Several refused however to meet him.81
Middle Eastern and Arab Media Watching
Media watching has not only been confined to pro-Israeli organizations that seek to criticize unfair coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from their perspective. Pro-Arab groups monitor the tilt in the international media as well. Websites such as al-bab.com analyze how the media treat both the issue of Iraq and the Palestinians. A similar service is provided by the Media Monitors Network.
Furthermore, some Arab and Muslim advocacy groups in the United States have special departments dealing with media monitoring. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee states that it seeks to eliminate “anti-Arab prejudice” in the media, though its press releases are mostly devoted to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has put out “Action Alerts” criticizing the radio shows of Paul Harvey, Jay Severin, Jackie Mason, and Dr. Laura Schlessinger for anti-Islamic slant.
Other organizations do not critique the media but only translate reports from Arabic or Persian that appear in the electronic or print media, thereby making Middle Eastern media accessible to the West. In this case, no advocacy is involved and often the translations just speak for themselves.
An important source of Middle East media watching and information is the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), founded in 1998. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., it maintains offices in Berlin, London, and Jerusalem. Its focus is global, not confined to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. MEMRI’s main task is to make media material from the Arab world – and occasionally from Iran – accessible to the Western world by translating it into English. Its publications have gained credibility and are frequently quoted by leading Western newspapers. Recently, MEMRI has begun to stream translated videos from its website.
Examples of subjects MEMRI dealt with in the first half of 2004 are: an analysis of the International Islamic Conference in Cairo in April 2004,83 excerpts from an interview that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad gave on Al Jazeera,84 a Palestinian human rights report on internal violence in the Palestinian Authority areas,85 and the statement by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abd Al-‘Aziz’ that Zionism is behind the terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia.86
MEMRI mentions that it was quoted in a bill proposed in late 2003 by Senator Arlen Specter and other Republicans, as well as Democrats, titled the Saudi Arabia Accountability Act. Its aim was “to halt Saudi support for institutions that fund, train, incite, encourage or in any other way aid and abet terrorism.”87 The bill’s text said that: “Many Saudi-funded religious institutions and the literature they distribute teach a message of hate and intolerance that provides an ideological basis for anti-Western terrorism.” The legislation also cites a study released by MEMRI in July 2003 estimating that $4 billion from Saudi-sponsored organizations has flowed to Palestinian Arab groups fighting Israel since the beginning of their offensive in September 2000.
How Effective are Media Watches?
When media watches wish to demonstrate their success, they mention that as a result of letter writing or critiques, newspapers or journalists have offered apologies or corrections. CAMERA, for instance, reported: “In the face of numerous CAMERA studies documenting bias in National Public Radio’s coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the network began in early 2003 to produce its own detailed self-analysis on the subject.”88 On another occasion it mentioned that CAMERA staff and members obtained a correction from the Wall Street Journal.89
Asserson writes that: “When a public issue recently arose concerning the BBC Middle East coverage one prominent member of the Anglo Jewish community said that some two thirds of the correspondence he received referred him to the work of bbcwatch. When the Israeli government decided to reduce its level of co-operation with the BBC in 2003 it referred to the work of bbcwatch to support its decision.”90
In his latest report Asserson notes: “At a private meeting with Richard Sambrook and Malcolm Balen [of the BBC] earlier this year Trevor Asserson was told that the bbcwatch reports had influenced the decision to appoint Malcolm Balen as arbiter of BBC balance on the Middle East.”91
Another measure of success is when the staff of media watches can present their findings to government officials, parliamentarians, and editorial boards of media. Several examples were mentioned previously.
Shraga Simmons believes that thanks to media watching, extreme anti-Israeli distortions of facts by foreign media have almost disappeared over the years. He cites CNN as an example of a media that, under a flood of emails from activists, has changed its approach.
Simmons relates: “In January 2001 a major peaceful demonstration took place in favor of a united Jerusalem near the Jaffa Gate. The CNN coverage of the event had quoted only one person speaking, an Arab who opposed it. No Jew was quoted. CNN even referred to the Jaffa Gate location by its Arabic name, which is never used in standard Western sources.” He says that nowadays such an aberration by CNN is unthinkable.92 Simmons adds that several journalists have told him that once they are watched, they are forced to ask themselves whether their reporting is fair and their facts are right.
Nevertheless, doubts have often been expressed about the effectiveness of media monitoring, particularly concerning charges that reporters are anti-Israeli and even anti-Semitic. Helmreich argued that the latter tactic is ill advised, mentioning, however, that reporters are apparently sensitive to criticism if it comes from their own milieu.
“There is nothing a journalist fears more than having a correction printed about his story,” said Serge Schmemann, deputy foreign editor of the New York Times and a former Israel correspondent, in an interview with the Jewish World. In this vein, Times Executive Editor Joseph Lelyveld addressed his employees in a speech with, among other complaints, the following castigation:
Three times in recent months we’ve had to run corrections on the actual provisions of UN Resolution 242, providing great cheer and sustenance to those readers who are convinced we are opinionated and not well informed on Middle East issues.93
Ben-David comments that newspapers’ ombudsmen – who supposedly address readers’ complaints – are often not helpful. “In most cases – the Washington Post, the Minneapolis Star and so forth – the ombudsmen ignore the complaints and side with the paper. In most cases the ombudsman himself is a former reporter.” He adds that the Washington Post‘s ombudsman Michael Getler has been belittling the media watchers recently.94
The usefulness of pro-Israeli media watching can also be demonstrated indirectly by studying countries where there is no systematic monitoring such as The Netherlands or Belgium. The Flemish daily De Morgen, on an almost ongoing basis, expresses bias against Israel. One typical example was when its commentator Frank Schlomer wrote after the military campaign in Rafah that there was doubt whether the smuggling tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Egypt existed. He did so after the tunnels had already been shown on the BBC and pictures were available on its website.95
A study by Louis Zweers of eight Dutch media, compared with five foreign media, showed that the Dutch media usually do not give the names of the photographers whose pictures they print. Zweers concludes that a large number of the pictures are made by Palestinian photographers who convey a particular view of the situation – trying, for instance, to include Israeli bulldozers in the picture.
Zweers adds: “In order to balance the image created somewhat, pictures could be used in which Israeli soldiers serve as humanitarian helpers. These photos were not made by Palestinian photographers, but by Western ones. In Dutch papers, these were not printed probably because the editors found them too propagandistic.”96
In mid-2004, the pro-Israeli media watches received major help from a rather unexpected direction. The American Journalism Review (AJR) published an article by Barbara Matusow indicating that pro-Israeli media watches have a substantial impact on journalists. Many journalists, the article revealed, have little stamina and the emails they receive from activists affect them. Matusow concluded that journalists have discovered that they “have been plunged into a kind of proxy war for the one raging between Israel and the Palestinians.”97 Her language showed pro-Palestinian bias in the following sentence: “Pro-Israeli sites have no monopoly on distortion or twisted logic.”
Matusow noted that National Public Radio (NPR) claims that it constantly subjects itself to rigorous self-examination. Yet she quoted Andrea Levin, executive director of CAMERA, saying that: “Just the ordinary terms of journalism, such as balance and equal opportunity to present opinions are lacking…. Unlike other outlets, NPR seems to consider itself above and beyond criticism.”
Levin, in fact, wrote to AJR‘s editor Rem Rieder pointing to factual errors in Matusow’s article, such as her claims that Israel controls most of the Gaza Strip’s water resources and that the settlers occupy 25 percent of the Strip’s land, while in reality the percentage is much lower. She also mentioned in the letter that she had told Matusow in a conversation that the media’s greatest failure is that it does not cover “the hate indoctrination by the Palestinian Authority that began when Yasir Arafat gained control of the means of communication starting in 1994 on his arrival in Gaza…. Ms. Matusow was notably uninterested in my comment at the time and it did not appear in the article.”98
A Healthy Process
The Matusow article is one more indicator that the media watching of the Middle East conflict may well be the forerunner of a much wider and healthier process. Media watching may finally make the media – sometimes called the fourth branch of government – subject to certain checks and balances such as those existing for the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches. Making media more accountable for what they write serves democracy well. As the criticism flows from many concerned people, media monitoring is becoming an important democratic process.
Because Israel and the Jews are defamed by so much of the media, Jewish organizations and individuals are among those in the forefront of this process. Their actions thus have a social and political importance that goes far beyond its current public affairs aspects.
Although pro-Israeli media watches reach large numbers of people, these authors have not been able to identify any prior substantial analysis of their activities. As both the Middle East conflict and the disproportionate interest in it continue, media-watching activities are likely to grow further in the coming years. They are also likely to become more efficient and focus increasingly on individual journalists who continuously provide false or biased information.
Greater discussion and more detailed analysis of how media monitoring functions, how effective is it, and how it can be improved would benefit many more than only the actors in the field.
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1. The authors thank Lenny Ben-David, Sharifin Dickie, Eva Gurfein, and Yonit Golub for their assistance.
2. Thomas L. Friedman, From Beirut to Jerusalem (Doubleday: Anchor Books, 1990), pp. 72-73.
3. Renske Prevo and Judith van de Hulsbeek, “Vertaler van een onoplosbaar conflict: Joris Luyendijk,” De Journalist, 10 April 2002 (Dutch).
4. Rory Carroll and Ian Black, “TV Row over Mob Footage ‘Betrayal’,” The Guardian, 20 October 2000.
5. Sandra Mackey, The Saudis (New York: Meridian, 1988), pp. 3-5.
6. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Alan Dershowitz, in American Jewry’s Challenge: Addressing the 21st Century (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming).
7. Daniel Pipes, “They’re Terrorists, Not Activists,” New York Sun, 7 September 2004.
8. Eli Lehrer, “Chomsky and the Media: A Kept Press and a Manipulated People,” in Peter Collier and David Horowitz, eds., The Anti-Chomsky Reader (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2004), pp. 67-84.
9. Tim Groseclose and Jeff Milyo, “A Measure of Media Bias,” September 2003.
10. Various studies quoted in ibid.
11. Per Ahlmark, “Det ar demokratin, dumbom!” Timbro, 2004, p. 314 (Swedish).
12. Yaacov Cohen, “Yisrael-Japan 50: Shnot Yahasin he’Avar v he’Atid,” in Moshe Yegar, Yosef Govrin, and Arye Oded, eds., Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The First Fifty Years (Jerusalem: Keter, 2002), p. 556 (Hebrew).
13. I. L. Kenen, Israel’s Defense Line (Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1981), p. 320.
14. Personal communication, Lenny Ben-David.
16. Sergio I. Minerbi, Mentir Avec Les Images (Brussels: Louis Musin, 1985) (French).
17. Henry H. Weinberg, The Myth of the Jew in France 1967-1982 (Mosaic Press, 1987).
18. David Bar-Illan, Eye on the Media (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Post, 1993).
19. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with David Bar-Illan, in Israel’s New Future: Interviews (Jerusalem: Rubin Mass, JCPA, 1994), p. 111.
20. Gerstenfeld, Israel’s New Future, p. 117.
27. Personal communication, Andrea Levin.
32. Personal communication, Itamar Marcus.
33. Itamar Marcus, “Encouraging Women Terrorists,” Report No. 39, 12 March 2002, www.pmw.org.il.
34. Itamar Marcus, “War against the Jews and Israel in Palestinian Authority,” Study No. 4, March 2002, www.pmw.org.il.
35. Itamar Marcus, “Comparing the Palestinian Authority Opinions and School Textbooks with the Hamas Charter,” Special Report No. 27, 1 December 1999, www.pmw.org.il.
36. Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, “Four Loopholes in US Anti-Terror Laws,” Special Report,16 June 2004, www.pmw.org.il.
37.Personal communication, Itamar Marcus.
46. www.eyeonthepost.org/may-june_2004.html, 27 June 2004.
48. www.imw.org.il/, Yisrael Medad and Eli Pollak 1 June 2003.
49. www.imw.org.il/, Yisrael Medad and Eli Pollak, 23 November 2003.
54. See: www.prensaveraz.com/Critiques/action_67.asp.
56. Jeff Helmreich, “Journalistic License: Professional Standards in the Print Media’s Coverage of Israel,” Jerusalem Viewpoints, No. 460, 15 August 2001.
57. Alfred Donath, “Ethik des Journalismus im Lichte des Nahost-Konfliktes,” lecture on the occasion of the awarding of the Jean Dumur Award for Ethics in Lausanne, 24 September 2002 (German).
58. Dan Diker, “Does the International News Media Overlook Israel’s Legal Rights in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict?” Jerusalem Viewpoints, No. 495, 1 April 2003.
59. Personal communication, Tom Gross.
62. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Trevor Asserson, “What Went Wrong at the BBC: A Public Monopoly Abusing Its Charter through Bias against Israel,”Jerusalem Viewpoints, No. 511,15 January 2004.
63. Press release, “The BBC and the Middle East: The Documentary Campaign 2000-2004,” bbcwatch.com, July 2004.
64. See, e.g., Daniel Doron, “Study of Media Accuracy: BBC,” 28 September-29 October 2000 (privately circulated); Daniel Doron, “The BBC Incites against Israel Again,” Jerusalem Post, 5 July 2001.
66. Letter from Natan Sharansky to Jonathan Baker, head of Foreign News, BBC, 30 March 2004.
67. Tim Llewelyn, “The Story TV News Won’t Tell,” The Observer, 20 June 2004.
68. Greg Philo and Mike Berry, Bad News from Israel (London, Pluto Books, 2004).
69. Personal communication, Tom Gross.
70. Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Trevor Asserson, “What Went Wrong at the BBC: A Public Monopoly Abusing Its Charter through Bias against Israel.”
71. Personal communication, Shraga Simmons.
75. “L’AFP, agence indépendante ou gouvernementale?” Observatoire du monde juif, No. 2, March 2002 (French).
76. Clément Weill Raynal, “L’Agence France Presse: le récit contre les faits,” Observatoire du monde juif, No. 2, March 2002 (French).
77. Décryptage, directed by Jacques Tarnero and Philippe Bensoussan, 2002.
78. Personal communication, Shmuel Trigano.
79. “Le conflit israélo-palestinien. Les média français sont-ils objectifs?” Observatoire du monde juif, p. 24 (French).
80 Personal communication, Shmuel Trigano.
81. Martin Himel, “Jenin: Massacring Truth,” An Elsash Production for Global Television Network 2004.
83. MEMRI, “International Islamic Conference: Genuine Call for Tolerance or Reiteration of Hollow Slogans?” 24 May 2004.
84. MEMRI, “Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on Al-Jazeera,” 14 May 2004.
85. MEMRI, “Palestinian Human Rights Group Report on Internal Violence in the Palestinian Authority Areas,” 9 May 2004.
86. MEMRI, “Saudi Crown Prince on Yunbu’ Attack: ‘Zionism Is behind Terrorist Actions in the Kingdom…I Am 95% Sure of That,'” 3 May 2004.
87. Eli Lake, “Senate Mulling Sanctions Plan for the Saudis,” New York Sun, 19 November 2003; see www.memri.org/bin/media.cgi?ID=66303.
88. Camera, “NPR Critiques Itself,” 11 June 2004.
89. Camera, “CAMERA Staff, Members Obtain Wall Street Journal Correction on U.N. Resolution 242,” 12 May 2004.
90. Press release, “The BBC and the Middle East: The Documentary Campaign 2000-2004,” bbcwatch.com, July 2004.
92. Personal communication, Shraga Simmons.
93. Helmreich, “Journalistic License.”
94. Personal communication, Lenny Ben-David.
95. Frank Schlomer, “Fenomeen De Palestijnse Tunnels – Te goed verborgen,” De Morgen, 22 May 2004 (Dutch).
96. Louis Zweers, “Palestijnse camera’s domineren beeld,” De journalist, 29 November 2002 (Dutch).
97. Barbara Matusow, “Caught in the Crossfire,” American Journalism Review, June/July 2004.
98. Letter to Rem Rieder, 24 June 2004; personal communication, Andrea Levin.
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DR. MANFRED GERSTENFELD is an international business strategist. He has been a consultant to governments, international agencies, and boards of some of the world’s largest corporations. He is chairman of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is also the author of seven books, among which is Europe’s Crumbling Myths: The Post-Holocaust Origins of Today’s Anti-Semitism (JCPA, Yad Vashem, World Jewish Congress, 2003). His forthcoming book is titled American Jewry’s Challenge: Conversations Confronting the Twenty-First Century (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield).
BEN GREEN is a research assistant at the Global Research for International Affairs (GLORIA) Center at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, Israel. His research for this essay was done at the JCPA in the first half of 2004.