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A Challenge to the British Journalists' Union
uploaded : Sunday 20th May 2007 at 05:25
by : Chas Newkey-Burden and Arlene Bridges-Samuels
We are grateful to Ted Belman of Israpundit and to Arlene Bridges-Samuels for permission to reprint here.
The Editors, Current Viewpoint/Jewish Comment
The NUJ boycott – Not In My Name
by Chas Newkey-Burden
The British public’s perception of journalists has sunk so low that when I am asked in social situations what my job is, I am sometimes tempted to pretend I am part of a more respected profession – like drug trafficking. I exaggerate, of course, but only a little. Most people view journalists as immoral liars who would sell our own grandmothers for a front-page scoop. I am an altogether softer writer, so when members of my profession publish sensationalist or intrusive stories, I don’t sit and flog myself on their behalf.
However, when the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) passed a motion at its annual meeting to boycott Israel, I hung my head in utter shame and despair - despite the fact that I am no longer an NUJ member. Those emotions of shame and despair were not joined by shock, though, because the British media has long been absorbed by a blind hatred of Israel.
Newspapers like The Independent and The Guardian print editorials that are so biased and distorted that Osama Bin Laden would probably blush at them. The BBC refuses to describe suicide bombers who blow up buses full of schoolchildren as "terrorists" and one of its correspondents told a Hamas rally that he and his colleagues were “waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder with the Palestinian people”.
I visited Israel for the first time last year to research some articles about tourism there. Within hours of my return I received a call from a journalist acquaintance who asked me with genuine shock: “What’s all this about you going to Israel?” He said that a mutual journalist acquaintance of ours was “absolutely disgusted” with me for going there and that he hoped I was “going to put the boot in” when I wrote my articles.
These were not close acquaintances, I hadn’t even spoken to one of them for nearly nine years and it must have taken them some digging around to find my telephone number. They obviously thought it was worth the trouble to have a dig at a writer who was friendly to Israel. Apparently the “absolutely disgusted” man – a weekly columnist on a high-profile magazine - has since tried to get an article published that claims that Tony Blair murdered Yasser Arafat.
The evening after my return from Israel, I met up with some journalists for some drinks in the West End of London. I was again abused for my trip. Their hatred of Israel was matched only by their adoration of the Palestinians. One of them gushed: “Boy, those suicide bombers have got guts. I wish more people in the world had their courage.” Another of them erupted when I told him that most people in Israel wanted a peaceful settlement to the conflict. “So why,” he asked, “did they murder their most peaceful Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?” Well, I guess if you’re going to get your facts wrong you might as well get them spectacularly wrong – I wonder if anyone else has ever got Netanyahu confused with Yitzhak Rabin?
I was also warned not to get any ideas about trying to get a positive account of my trip published. In the end I did manage just that but only after an unprecedented, almost sentence-by-sentence dissection of my article by the commissioning editor during the course of which I had to repeatedly remind him that there is such a thing as an Israeli Arab and that not everyone in Israel is an Orthodox Jew. Both facts seemed to come as huge shocks to him. I’ve no doubt that if I had written on "The Hidden Wonders of Tehran" or "The Joy Of Jeddah," I’d have had a much easier ride.
The editor of another magazine once told me I was not allowed to write that Yasser Arafat turned down Ehud Barak’s offer at Camp David in 2000. I asked why and he replied “because of a need for balance.” I pointed out that nobody, including Arafat, has ever disputed that he rejected Barak’s offer and the editor replied: “Well, I don’t know about that but you still can’t write it.” The article in question was an "opinion" piece, so taking sides was exactly the brief – as long as it was not Israel’s side, apparently.
The same magazine had happily published articles accusing Israel of “war crimes” and carried advertising accusing Israel of apartheid policies. The need for balance is relative, it seems.
There was certainly nothing balanced about the NUJ boycott motion. The factual errors in the motion’s wording are clear: For instance they seem not to have noticed that Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. It’s a contemptible motion. There’s a phrase that became popular in Britain before the run-up to the war in Iraq. I’ve never liked this phrase because to me it reflects the selfishness of the anti-war lobby. However, in the aftermath of the NUJ motion it sums up perfectly how I feel about the boycott: Not in my name.
This article first appeared on Ynetnews. Chas Newkey-Burden’s new book Great Email Disasters
A Challenge to National Union of Journalists in Great Britain
By Arlene Bridges-Samuels
Delegates at The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Great Britain have voted 66-54 for a “boycott of Israeli goods similar to those boycotts in the struggles against apartheid South Africa led by trade unions…” The 66 delegates who voted fo this misguided resolution did so while one of their own British journalists, Alan Johnston, is being held in the Palestinian Occupied Territory of Gaza (POTOG) kidnapped by Palestinian thugs.
The resolution also called for “the end of Israeli aggression in Gaza.” Where have these journalists been since Israel withdrew from Gaza in August 2005 and will they truly carry out their own boycott? And shockingly, why wasn’t their colleague’s kidnapping on their agenda? If they are true to their boycott, they must consider giving up the Israeli-developed technology they use daily to transmit their journalistic lies toward Israel. I am issuing a challenge to these British journalists to abandon the high tech tools they employ for their anti-Israel bias and return to the 1940’s when typewriters, teletype, and print media reigned supreme.
Here’s a partial list I propose to the NUJ that they must place on their boycott list:
These Israeli inventions are listed at
and directly enhance journalistic work worldwide: Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology; the cell phone developed in Israel by Motorola; most of the Windows NT operating system developed by Microsoft-Israel. The Pentium MMX Chip technology designed in Israel at Intel. Voice mail technology. The technology for AOL Instant Messenger developed by four young Israelis. The first PC anti-virus software. Israeli technology is behind the successful testing of in-flight cell phone use.
To their credit–- and I have blogged before about the lack of media freedom in the POTOG –- the Palestinian Syndicate of Journalists is actively calling for the BBC journalist to be released. The Palestinian journalists called for a boycott against their own government -– and I use the word “government” lightly since it is an anarchic dictatorship. I hope these brave Palestinian journalists won’t lose their own lives for expressing this level of freedom of speech. They have organized protests, sit-ins and strikes in the West Bank and the POTOG.
NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear stated, “Once again our Palestinian colleagues have taken up the call for Alan’s release. We are grateful for all their magnificent efforts and echo their demands that our member Alan be freed and that all journalists be allowed to work free from threats, harassment and kidnappings.” Jeremy Dear must not realize that freedom from threats and harrassment would be diminished if the British journalists and others in the world media laid the blame for anarchy at the feet of Palestinian terrorists rather than freedom- loving Israel. Anti-Israel journalists have been complicit in the anarchy that now reigns in the POTOG which fosters kidpappings and media reprisals because they ignore the terrorism, promote the terrorist propaganda, ignore the reprisal-laden exercise of free speech in the POTOG, and continue to lay the blame at Israel’s feet for all the POTOG’s woes.
I also challenge the NUJ to adhere to their own code of conduct in regard to accurate reporting on Israeli issues. These are listed at their web site www.NUJ.org. Here are the first three:
1. A journalist has a duty to maintain the highest professional and ethical standards.
2. A journalist shall at all times defend the principle of the freedom of the press and other media in relation to the collection of information and the expression of comment and criticism. He/she shall strive to eliminate distortion, news suppression and censorship.
3. A journalist shall strive to ensure that the information he/she disseminates is fair and accurate, avoid the expression of comment and conjecture as established fact and falsification by distortion, selection or misrepresentation.
And I want to close by posing this question to the NUJ: When was the last time a journalist was kidnapped in Israel? Hmmmmmmmmm.
Jeremiah 7: 28 “Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.”
Psalms 52:3 “You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth.”
Jeremiah 9:3 “They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies; it is not by truth that they triumph [ Or lies; / they are not valiant for truth ] in the land. They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me,” declares the LORD.”