Monday, June 21, 2010

AP produces misleading text. Local papers reprint it.

1. The Associated Press (AP) puts online a video clip in which an al-Qaida spokesman issues 6 demands, the first two of which are:

"First, you must pull every last one of your soldiers, spies, security advisers...... and all other American personnel, ships and aircraft out of every Muslim land from Afghanistan to Zanzibar," the spokesman, Adam Gadahn, said.

"Second, you must end all support, both moral and material for Israel." 

2.  The AP  reports the above as follows:    Adam Gadahn set out al-Qaida's conditions for peace with the U.S., including cutting support for Israel and withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

 So, the AP cuts the 6 demands to two.  It places, first, the demand that the U.S.. cut support for Israel -- boosting its relative importance -- and reduces al-qaida's demand that the U.S. remove all personnel from every Muslim land to the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.    This is bad and manipulative reporting.

3.  The local newspapers, such as ours in Des Moines, reprint the AP report, including the news that 
"Adam Gadahn set out al-Qaida's conditions for peace with the U.S., including cutting support for Israel and withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan." 

Is it true that al-Qaida's conditions for peace with the U.S. included cutting support for Israel?  Yes.          Was it the most important item listed by the al-Qaida spokesman?   No.

What impact is made on readers when they see that demand listed first?

Who bears primary responsibility for the inaccurate report?  The AP
The local newspapers that reprint the AP report depend on the AP for accurate reporting.  The local papers are not going to take responsibility for the content of the AP.  Yet the local newspapers are complicit in publishing inaccurate and damaging material, when they publish such demonstrably inaccurate work by the AP as exemplified here.

//Mark Finkelstein  

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

USCJ Passes Resolution in Advance of Presbyterian Church Vote on MidEast Study Committee Report

United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Resolution on the Presbyterian Church USA Middle East Study Committee Report

Approved at June 6, 2010 General Assembly

Whereas Jews and Presbyterians in the United States have cooperated in joint advocacy on many social issues and we wish to further that productive relationship; and

Whereas the Presbyterian Church USA at its General Assembly in July 2010 will consider a report of its Middle East Study Committee (MESC) which if adopted would damage the relationship between our communities; and

Whereas the report is distinctly one-sided, traffics in troubling theology, distorts history; and

Whereas we determine that the report specifically:

(1)  misrepresents Jewish history when it indicates that there is no scientific evidence that contemporary Jews are linked to their ancestral home in Palestine;

(2)  describes Israel as the occupying army and the major impediment to peace without acknowledging that the Israeli government has the ethical imperative to defend its citizens from terrorist infiltration;

(3)  considers the settlements as the obstacle to peace without recognizing that there has been longstanding hostility to Israel predating the defensive 1967 War;

(4)  and praises the Kairos Palestinian document, ignoring its virulently anti-Israel content. The Kairos document employs retrograde theology that has been rejected by most Christians as supercessionist.  It refers to Palestinian terror as “legal resistance,” and calls for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel; and

Whereas we believe that the Middle East conflict can be resolved with the kind of two-state solution that is promoted by moderates in Israel and among the Palestinian leadership and has been endorsed by most world leaders and the United Nations; and

Whereas we further affirm that it is important for both sides of the conflict to recall that the United Nations recognized the State of Israel in 1948 and the government of Israel has recognized the rights of Palestinians to a state of their own.  Israel will defend its citizens against terrorist attacks and provide for their security. It is a tragic consequence of this conflict that innocent people on both sides continue to suffer; and

Whereas our friends and colleagues in the Presbyterian Church should understand that slander of the State of Israel will be felt deeply in the American Jewish community;

Therefore be it resolved that the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism urge our rabbis and congregational leaders to familiarize themselves with the content of the MESC report. They should approach their Presbyterian colleagues and specifically delegates to the July General Assembly and advocate for the defeat of that report.  Towards that end, the USCJ will provide our regional leadership with names and contact information for local delegates.

For additional information, contact: Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications. Jason Edelstein