Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Good Media, Bad Media, and Media In Between

The past several days we've seen great coverage, some pretty good coverage, and some downright awful coverage of Israel/Palestine in national media outlets. All three of these give supporters of a just U.S. foreign policy the chance to respond. Good stuff first. The most recent edition of The Nation carries a cover page with the headline, "American Jews Rethink Israel." The issue features an article by journalists and Mondoweiss bloggers Philip Weiss and US Campaign Steering Committee member Adam Horowitz, which you can read here (read Mondo's coverage of the article here). Also featured is an article by Helena Cobban of Just World News entitled "Confessions of an AIPAC Veteran," which you can read here. Kudos (and supportive letters to the editor) to The Nation for their coverage of alternative voices on Israel, Palestine, and U.S. policy in the Middle East. Today, the Washington Post carried an article by Howard Schneider entitled "The West Bank's Gold," which shed important light on the role that fair trade co-ops have had in creating more sustainable livelihood for Palestinian farmers. The article even mentions Canaan Fair Trade, the US Campaign's olive oil of choice! What it leaves out, though, is important. The expropriation of Palestinian land for settlements, military bases, and the Apartheid Wall, destruction of thousands of olive trees, restrictions on access to land for Palestinian farmers, and constant settler harassment that are facts of life for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation are absent from Schneider's account. Write a letter to the editor to let the Post know that in order to there to be a sustainable Palestinian economy, the Israeli occupation--and U.S. support for that occupation--has to end. Check out our tips for writing letters to the editor by clicking here. You can read the full article here. Finally, there's the bad news...or bad op/ed, in this case. Check out this October 19 New York Times piece by Robert Bernstein bashing Human Rights Watch for being willing to criticize Israeli human rights violations. After claiming that HRW couldn't criticize the Israeli army for their conduct during Operation Cast Lead because they weren't present during the assaults, Bernstein puts odd stock in a quote from Col. Richard Kemp, a commander of British forces in Afghanistan and "expert on warfare," who was apparently able to judge that the Israeli army “did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.” Guess he was there? Again, letters to the editor are called for. Let the New York Times know that we're tired of hearing bogus excuses for Israeli war crimes--and that we're tired of paying for said crimes with our tax dollars. You can use our talking points on Israel's siege of the Gaza Strip as a basis for your response, and check out our media action page for tips on getting your letter published. You can also read Mondoweiss' coverage of Bernstein's op-ed here. The Nation's coverage marks a major shift in the discourse. We've helped create that. Let's not stop now!