How And Why Reporters Get Israel So Wrong, And Why It Matters

In 2014, former AP correspondent, Matti Friedman, wrote an essay on how and why reporters get Israel so wrong, and why it matters. Here are some excerpts:

The Israel story is framed in the same terms that have been in use since the early 1990s—the quest for a “two-state solution.” It is accepted that the conflict is “Israeli-Palestinian,” meaning that it is a conflict taking place on land that Israel controls—0.2 percent of the Arab world—in which Jews are a majority and Arabs a minority. The conflict is more accurately described as “Israel-Arab,” or “Jewish-Arab”—that is, a conflict between the 6 million Jews of Israel and 300 million Arabs in surrounding countries. (Perhaps “Israel-Muslim” would be more accurate, to take into account the enmity of non-Arab states like Iran and Turkey, and, more broadly, 1 billion Muslims worldwide.) This is the conflict that has been playing out in different forms for a century, before Israel existed, before Israel captured the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank, and before the term “Palestinian” was in use.

You don’t need to be a history professor, or a psychiatrist, to understand what’s going on. Having rehabilitated themselves against considerable odds in a minute corner of the earth, the descendants of powerless people who were pushed out of Europe and the Islamic Middle East have become what their grandparents were—the pool into which the world spits. The Jews of Israel are the screen onto which it has become socially acceptable to project the things you hate about yourself and your own country. The tool through which this psychological projection is executed is the international press.

Israel is not an idea, a symbol of good or evil, or a litmus test for liberal opinion at dinner parties. It is a small country in a scary part of the world that is getting scarier. It should be reported as critically as any other place, and understood in context and in proportion. Israel is not one of the most important stories in the world, or even in the Middle East; whatever the outcome in this region in the next decade, it will have as much to do with Israel as World War II had to do with Spain. Israel is a speck on the map—a sideshow that happens to carry an unusual emotional charge.


Many in the West clearly prefer the old comfort of parsing the moral failings of Jews, and the familiar feeling of superiority this brings them, to confronting an unhappy and confusing reality. They may convince themselves that all of this is the Jews’ problem, and indeed the Jews’ fault. But journalists engage in these fantasies at the cost of their credibility and that of their profession. And, as Orwell would tell us, the world entertains fantasies at its peril.

2 comments on “How And Why Reporters Get Israel So Wrong, And Why It Matters

  1. Israel is being buried-alive under an avalanche of media bias and false accusations.

    These web sites can help refute those biases and false accusations:

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    HELP DEFEND ISRAEL FROM UNFAIR MEDIA:
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    http://www.camera.org

    http://www.FactsAndLogic.org

    http://www.HonestReporting.com

    http://www.memri.org

    http://www.memriTV.org

    http://www.MideastReporter.com

    http://www.MythsAndFacts.org

    http://www.TheIsraelProject.org

    http://www.BBCwatch.org

    http://www.jhrw.com

    http://www.PalWatch.org

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    HELP SUE THE TERRORISTS:
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    http://www.IsraelLawCenter.org

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    HELP FIGHT ISRAEL-BASHING ON-CAMPUS:
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    http://www.CameraOnCampus.org

    http://www.DavidProject.org

    http://www.Israel-Academia-Monitor.com

    http://www.JewHatredOnCampus.org

    http://www.SSImovement.org

    http://www.TheIsraelGroup.org

    https://twitter.com/cmaccabees

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    HELP-ISRAEL ORGANIZATIONS TO JOIN:
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    http://www.afsi.org

    http://www.IronDomeAlliance.com

    http://www.IsraelBonds.com

    http://www.KeepJerusalem.org

    http://www.rza.org

    http://www.zoa.org

    http://5tjt.com/how-aipac-failed-us/

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    JEWISH VICTIMS OF ISLAMIC TERRORISTS:
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    http://www.Terror-Victims.org.il

    http://www.VictimsOfArabTerror.co [not com]

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