As a “regular Jew,” there are several things you can do to defend against misleading media bias against Israel.
First, it is important to keep well informed of the actual facts. I would suggest reading the Israeli press regularly – many Israeli daily newspapers have websites in Israel. There is also the official information put out by the Israeli government and organizations in Israel.
Second, you can use social media tools and your networks of friends, family, and acquaintances to spread facts and another side of the story.
Third, when the media has it blatantly wrong, write a letter to insist on a correction.
Finally, there are many organizations that exist to promote Israel’s point of view as well as monitoring Israel’s bias. Find ones that speak to you and support them in any way you can.
Thank you for the question – Israel needs concerned advocates like yourself!
What can a “regular Jew” do to defend misleading media bias against Israel?
There are many opportunities for a “regular Jew” to defend Israel and the Jewish people from misleading articles and reports in the media. However, the most effective way to do this, I believe, is probably to be involved with organizations that you trust, which are dedicated to exactly this. For example, CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), http://www.camera.org/ is always looking for people to report inaccuracies, to write letters to the editor, and to inform others about the biases that exist in the media. On their website they have a “What You Can Do” section (http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=22&x_article=387) that is very helpful and that can also give you further resources. Some people also like MEMRI, HonestReporting.com, their local JCRC, AJC and many other organizations that do good work in this field. The key, though, is to remain educated and up-to-date on the issues, understand the Israeli position on them, and make sure to inform those in your circle of influence about how you feel about these issues and the way in which the media portrays them. Further, public relations work can also be done by drawing to attention to a myriad of wonderful things that Israel is doing in the world so that the picture of Israel to the general public is more nuanced and less politically focused. Thanks for doing this important work!
By “regular Jew,” I presume you mean a member of the Jewish community not necessarily connected to or representing a national Jewish organization, but someone who wishes to defend Israel to friends, local media, or something like that.
Education and information are the first requirements for you to undertake for yourself. This means keeping current on events happening in Israel, within the American Jewish community, and the relationship between the two. Read the print or online versions of the New York Times, the Jerusalem Post, and the English version of Ha’artez newspaper. Look also at the websites of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Americans for Peace Now, AIPAC, JStreet, and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These would give you a broad and fair vision of what’s really happening, but not with a heavy ideological bent.
Explaining Israel to non-Jewish audiences is very tricky but very important. Look for opportunities to educate: Listen to radio talk shows and call in, or write to “letters to the editor” columns, or create an op-ed piece for yourself bringing new information. Above all, be polite, select one and one issue alone that you can bring truth to, and then just make your assertion.
Know that you don’t need to explain Israel’s actions to anyone but that you want to correct information that someone either reported or wrote about inaccurately. You will be challenged, so expect it. That’s why accuracy is very important, as well as up-to-date information. Also know that people come to these discussions with biases that will not be swayed by the truth, so don’t be discouraged by someone refusing to listen or acknowledge your truths. Some people you just can’t get to.
Know also that Israel’s actions may not always be right, and you need to know when NOT to respond to someone’s potentially valid criticism. If you encounter this, you may need to acknowledge that Israel’s actions may not have been the best, that mistakes might have been made, and the like. But understand and be prepared to explain Israel’s overall motivations as you see them; that’s why the breadth of ideological viewpoints is very crucial, so that you an answer for Israel’s overall goals, and not from a defensive standpoint.
I wish you success in achieving your goal of eliminating the bias that comes through the media.
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