NSWJBD/Honest Reporting Israel Mission Day 6

December 2, 2013 by  
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Day 6 of our Mission saw us off in the bus to Honest Reporting Headquarters – Jerusalem Israel, where Simon Plosker, Managing Editor, gave us a crash course in ‘Understanding Media Bias’.

From: Mission member Rachel Murphy

On the roof of Spoons

On the roof of Spoons

This NGO, started in 2000 seeded by Aish HaTorah but is today a wholly independent organisation and fully privately funded with no links to Aish. It issn apolitical NGO set up to counter the disproportionate amount of media attention this small country gets versus its neighbours.  Generally stories seem to be published on the following basis: “if it bleeds, it leads”. Palestinians, who have no freedom of the press themselves, have learnt quickly how to get coverage in the foreign press.  Stories of Israel’s humanitarian aid to Haiti, Philippines, Japan and other crisis centres, get far less coverage.

We then met Dr Harvey Belik, Director of Budo for Peace.

Very soon he was capably giving us an overview of “Israel’s Image Abroad – Humanitarian & Peace Work”, including the history of the region – particularly as it concerns Eritreans, Moslem and Christian refugees from Darfur & Sudan, and Ethiopian Jews. In many cases, persecution, kidnapping and torture seem to be the norm – to the Jihadi militias in Sudan and Sinai it’s a business. This was scary stuff.

Israel reaches out with humanitarian gestures to all victims of terror, as well as victims of natural disasters. Dr Belik recounted his personal experience as a doctor treating victims of the Haiti earthquake in field hospitals set up by the Israel Defence Force – real stories of crush injuries, fractures, infectious diseases, psychosocial trauma, and the methods used to treat them, including counselling and art therapy. Israel also set up a clinic and school there which are now permanent. We were moved and inspired by the selfless generosity and dedication displayed by this man, and so many other Israeli professionals who go to farflung corners of the world to help people in need – breaking down the barriers of hatred and the demonisation of Israel.

After lunch on the rooftop deck, we met with Nitsana Darshun-Leitner from Shurat Hadin (Israel Law Centre) whose very apt logo is “Bankrupting Terrorism, One Lawsuit at a Time”.

Australian ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma with Lynda Ben-Menashe

Australian ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma with Lynda Ben-Menashe

She opened dramatically reminding us that last week (while we were in Israel!) a 19-yr-old soldier sleeping on a bus was killed by a 16-yr-old Palestinian. Not long before that a baby in a crib was knifed to death and a two year old sustained head injuries from ‘stones’ thrown at a car.

The  Arab Bank is the biggest bank in the Arab world with US$30bn in assets, offering rewards to the families of suicide bombers – knowingly and intentionally. Shurat HaDin representing 50 families – victims of terror – has frozen $450M of assets in the US as a result of lawsuits against the Arab Bank. The lawsuit they filed for the families of the Sbarro Pizzeria massacre sent shock waves throughout the Arab world. No world bank funds terror any more as a result – and this causes the terrorists a lot of damage – they need the money to fund their activities, not least of which is paying the terrorists. As Nitsana said, “they are now learning there’s a price for Jewish blood”.

In a typically jampacked schedule, we then heard from Gerald Steinberg, President of NGO Monitor, on “NGO’s, Human Rights, and the Demonization of Israel”

NGO Monitor is apolitical, and monitors approximately 1500 NGO’s, many of which are actually funded by governments (ie, quasi NGO’s ) – some US$200m per year comes from governments hostile to Israel.  Oxfam receives $528M, Amnesty International $230M, Human Rights Watch $45M. Gerald Steinberg described the “halo effect” , eg, when Amnesty says “it” happened, it becomes truth – and gets reported on CNN, BBC, the New York Times.   For example, using the word “massacre” repeatedly to describe a conflict, results in UN condemnation, then progresses to urban myth. Once it gets to that stage, it’s almost impossible to counter.

Our last (formal) speaker for the day was Gil Hoffman, Political Editor of The Jerusalem Post, speaking directly from the Knesset on the political scene.

Trying to summarise the three A4 pages of notes I took on this subject has proven a nightmare. The first page of notes dealt almost entirely with Iran, the underlying message being that Israel has been betrayed by the world again but we do have a new ally from surprising quarters: Saudi Arabia. Netanyahu says it’s a bad deal. The rest we already know.

Gil Hoffman gave us an exhaustive summary of the positions of power in the Arab world and beyond … it doesn’t look much better than it ever did, but Israel sits quietly in the background while basically the Arab world is in turmoil. One thing is for sure: we have a better relationship now with Egypt than we have since the times of Moses!  The Moslem Brotherhood has done our job for us in destroying 100s of tunnels between Egypt and Gaza, thereby destroying 100s of millions of dollars in black market trade.

As always though, there will be more urgency for Israel to make concessions in the current peace talks. The question is, will we have to give up land and bring Iran closer to our borders? Israel has been taking a lot of steps in the past few months, to prevent war.

Gil closed with a summary of some of the social issues plaguing Israel back home. He really did cover an extraordinary number of issues in the hour allotted to him, and we left with a very full and detailed picture of life in a day at the Knesset!

After a short break to catch our breath, it was off to one of the most amazing dinners we’d had yet .. a night at Spoons in the artists quarter established by Moses Montefiore, just outside the walls of the Old City, where we were treated to a 5-course meal to tantalise the taste buds of the most diehard food critic.  Our guest was the Australian Ambassador to Israel, the very gracious David Sharma.  It was a venue, a meal, and an evening to remember for a long time to come!

Comments

5 Responses to “NSWJBD/Honest Reporting Israel Mission Day 6”
  1. Christopher says:

    HonestReporting is doing a great and vital job. It is changing media perceptions, but it is a tremendous battle. To the above HR critics there are hundreds of websites to which you should be championing Israel’s case.

  2. Eleonora says:

    Dear Simon Plosker,
    Whooops, gotta agree with Paul and it still evades me you went to Israel in regards to “Honest Reporting but what have you actually achieved? The world media hasn’t changed, we never hear any good being saidin regards to Israel just condemnation and Arab/Muslim issues are always glorified. When I first started reading the articles on Honest Reporting I was hoping that someone would have the guts to say something to the Media, TV Radio or News Papers. Call for a petition. Yet the Media is still printing and reporting lies. Again all I have seen is a bunch of so called reporters have gone on a wonderful holiday and achieved nothing what they supposedly set oout for. Wish I could have come with you I’d love such a wonderful holiday…. let me know if you need someone with some guts to stand up and be counted I think you’ll have quite a few volunteers.

  3. Paul Winter says:

    No Rachel, when it comes to Jews, what bleeds, does not lead. Jewish blood is ignored, especially those of “settlers”. How come the group was not informed of Pallywood and Arab lies and fabrictions that the press slavers over?

    With regard to Jewish humanitarianism, one can only say that it is well known among Arabs, but officially denied. And no-one can forget that Jewish help is often described perversely, like the accusations of organ harvesting in Haiti.

    The Quangos, the government funded NGOs are of course arms of hostile governments interfering in the internal affairs of Israel. And even Amnesty and Human Rights Watch use double standards where they magnify minor Jewish wrongs or fabricate major ones while ignoring atrocities by Israel’s enemies.

    With regard to Iran, Israel’s best course would be to act rather than brilliantly gasbagging. And none seem to point that out or to ask why. But a good dinner is so much easier to swallow.

    • Simon says:

      Dear Paul,

      Rachel was only able to give a brief summary of what was discussed during a very packed day of lectures. I can assure you that the group was very much informed of Pallywood and related fabrications as well as many other issues that Rachel hasn’t mentioned. You are most welcome to join the next HR Mission to hear for yourself instead of making such assumptions.

      Simon Plosker
      Managing Editor, HonestReporting

      • Otto Waldmann says:

        No, no, Simon, that’s most definitely NOT GOOD ENOUGH !!
        If I were you I’d try not to be smarter than Paul Winter. And here is the reason you offered why and howyou failed:
        As Managing Editor, no less of………what……”Honest reporting”, yourse guys or the ones you manage editorially, are expected to REPORT back to the less aware/travelled what the relevat realities IS.
        So, missing from the ostensive reporting is what you is telling us is, in fact (or fiction) contained very discretely in what the pederstrian Moishe should assume is there.So you guys are on a kinda “Assume Reporting” mission !!??
        Conclusively, you manage to report gurnischt about what Paul, quite evidently ellicited as very important, while Rachel’s presentation is anything but “brief”.
        So, the not all that smart exit cum redundant invitation falls on exasperated ears. For your info , from my info, Paul just visited Eretz Zion not so long ago and, luckily, he took along his own VERY perceptive mind. That’s how he has evinced facts worth reporting, the same ones you sadly missed reporting.
        But then, a Managing Eitor’s life and plate is so full………………