Honest Reporting links to JJ Goldberg’s article in Columbia Journalism Review where he analyses and compares coverage of the “debunked allegations” of IDF abuses in Gaza. (I use the quotes because I’m quoting.)
He is interested in how the story is framed, and notes differences in the way the American and British press present the subject.
JJ Goldberg acknowledges that the US ‘Jewish lobby’ is a factor that both affects and influences the American Press’s gentler treatment of Israel, but explains that this is understandable, no more sinister than any other pressure from any other organised interest group, and no bad thing. He is asking: What’s wrong with a Jewish lobby? Why shouldn’t Jews have an interest group? The Jews are good guys and valuable to America.
“It’s almost a cliché these days to suggest that the presence of a well-organized Jewish community in America has a lot to do with the way Israel is treated by government and the media. It’s a mistake, though, to note the community’s ability to threaten and overlook its role as a leavening force in the larger culture. Jewish sensibilities help shape America’s sense of humor, U.S. attitudes toward civil rights, and much more. It would be astonishing if American Jews didn’t also influence America’s view of Israel—much as Irish Americans have helped mold attitudes toward Ireland.”
The article shows how the BBC’s Paul Wood seems to represent the British attitude. His reports, in sharp contrast, are blatantly critical of Israel, with emotive images accompanying inflammatory voiceovers, openly disapproving and condemnatory.
It is a fascinating exercise. What particularly interested me was the conclusion that:
“That’s a key difference between American and British coverage of the Middle East. The British Jewish community is well rooted, but it’s smaller—barely one-tenth the size of, say, the British Muslim community.”
It sort of hints that the ‘Muslim lobby’ has been busy influencing and affecting things here. If so, are we to assume that it’s understandable, natural, and quite okay, and we must accept that in Britain we have a culture that regards the phrase “Jewish Lobby” as shorthand for sinister cabal with dastardly intent, and the word Zionist as the embodiment of evil.
In saying this, I could be letting the Beeb off the hook, saying they’re only reflecting our culture.
But are they reflecting, or creating?