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November 16, 1984 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-11-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

18 Friday, November 16, 1984 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

NEWS

GULAG RECORD

The years go 13- y slowly for GRIGORY
ROZENSHTEIN and his family who first
gpplied to emigrate to Israel in 1973. The
Rozenshteins are Orthodox Jews who live with
daily harassment. Their son is ridiculed for ob-
serving the Shabbat.

Natalia Rozenshtein has issued this appeal:

. . It is important for us, for our children, to be brought
up in our homeland, studying the language, . . . and
culture of our people . • . I appeal to . . . all those bring-
ing up children, and those who understand suffering
and pain . ."

PROVIDE A LIFELINE TO SOVIET JEWS

send cables to:

Butlerova 2-1-69
Moscow 117485
RSFSR, USSR

protest to:

.

Grigory Ruzenshtein

Ambassador Anatoly F. Dobrynin

1125 16th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036

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Ex-Detroiter's book examines
news media bias against Israel

BY ABRAHAM H. FOXMAN
Special to The Jewish News

Most Americans tend to believe
what they read in the newspapers,
hear on radio or see and hear on
television.
According to Double Vision, a
significant new book by Ze'ev
Chafets, a native of Michigan who
served for five years — 1977-1982
— as the director of the Israeli
Press Office, that trust was sadly
misplaced during Israel's incur-
sion into Lebanon.
Chafets discussed his book
Wednesday at the annual Jewish
- a u- biit 0-e wisn- uommu
nity Center. Chafets indicts the
American media, particularly its
elite — major circulation news-
papers, the top news magazines,
the electronic networks and lead-
ing journalists and commentators
— for distorting America's view
about what happened in the Mid-
dle East.
In clear, concise prose, in pages
replete with anecdotes, personal
experiences and observations,
Chafets traces the development
over what he calls "a decade of
hostility" of a double repertorial
standard which tended to under-
mine the favorable attitude to Is-
rael of the overwhelming majority
of Americans and cast the Arab
nations and the Palestine Libera-
tion Organization in a more
favorable light.
Exposing ignorance, incompe-
tence and bias among foreign
correspondents on Middle East
assignment, he dissects American
media coverage of the Lebanese
War to explain why it presented
so inaccurate and slanted a ver-
sion of what was actually taking
place. It is a dolorous tale of re-
porters infected with an animus
against the Jewish state, of in-
timidation by the PLO leading to
pro`-Arab stories and self-
censorship, and of the unquestion-
ing acceptance of PLO claims of
exaggerated war damage and
casualty reports.

amply
his
Inevitably,
documented accusations and re-
velations raise critical questions
about the role and responsibility
of the press and its obligations to
its readers and the country. After
all, the ability of news gatherers
and purveyors to go after the facts
and print the news without fear or
favor is the grand divide between
a press that is free and one that is
shackled by totalitarian or
authoritarian governments.
While Chafets levels no charges
of corruption or venality, he
makes it clear that, far froam dis-
tinguishing itself, America's and
the free world's media failed by
far to live up to the ideals and
ethics and principles of jour-
nalism.
Part of the problem, he con-
cedes, may have been due to some
initial errors by the Israel De-
fense Forces — inappropriate cen-
sorship, keeping correspondents
away from some of the action —
but these were soon corrected. Nor
did Israel's acts of commission or
omission explain the wildly in-

Abraham. Foxman is associate
national director of the
Anti-Defamation League of B nai
B'rith.

-

Ze'ev Chafets puts the spotlight
on media bias.

accurate reports of carnage sup-
posedly inflicted by Israel which
were given front-page coverage
despite their PLO origin and ob-
vious political motivation.
Chafets called this "the major fac-
tual lapse of the war."
Nor did Israel's mistakes in
press relations explain a forgery
by photograph, a picture dissemi-
nated by UPI which purportedly
depicted a girl with her arms
blown off and her body severely
damaged and burned as a result of
a bombardment by Israel's- Air
Force. Traced, the photograph
turned out to be that of a boy, not a
girl, in possession of both arms;
one broken but not as a result of
the conflict. When the facts were
brought to the wire service's at-
tention, Chafets writes, "UPI,
after some initial dithering, pub-
lished a correction." It was much
too late of course to catch up with
the initial propaganda impact.
What Chafets found most vile,
reprehensible and almost sadistic
in the coverage of the Lebanese
war was the comparison of the
Jewish state with Hitler's Reich.
This anti-Semitic analogy, which
until the war had been exploited
solely by the Soviet Union, some
Arab dictators and Jew baiters on
the lunatic fringe, was adopted by
such columnists and reporters as
Nicholas Van Hoffman, Georgie
Ann Geyer, Carl Rowan, Pete
Hamill, Vernon Jarret and Loren
Jenkins, all bylined in reputable,
large-circulation newspapers.
NBC's John Chancellor made a
similar comparison, commenting
that Israel air forays reminded
him of the bombing of Madrid dur-
ing the Spanish Civil War. The
comparisons showed most vici-
ously in cartoons by such artists
as Steve . Benson, Tony Auth and
Bill Shorr which compared Sha-
ron to Klaus Barbie, Beirut to a
death camp and falsely quoted
Begin as saying, "For every prob-
lem there is a final solution."
Chafets also says that an "anti-
Israel fever" existed in the press
which contributed to the "lack of
proportion" in the reporting that
emanated from the Lebanon
front. Among those particularly
infected with the anti-Israel
virus, he says, were correspon-
dents based in Lebanon. He calls
them the "Commodore Battalion"

Continued on Page 26

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