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For the Record

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For the Record

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For the Record
Israel and the Palestinians: What the Media Aren't Telling You
By Alan B. Katz
Devora Publishing (2008)
ISBN: 978-1-932687-73-6

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - February 12, 2009

When it comes to reporting on the Middle East, all too many media outlets have a decided anti-Israeli bias that is obvious not only in their news reports, but also in what they choose not to report on. From misleading headlines to erroneous pictures to outright lies, it is apparent that some media outlets feel that the Arabs and the Palestinians can do no wrong, and the Israelis can do nothing right. In For the Record Israel and the Palestinians: What the Media Aren't Telling You, Alan B. Katz has compiled a broad selection of letters-to-the-editor and essays that he has written over the years that outline how the media has skewed Israel's right to defend itself, and has set for Israel a moral standard that no other country in this world is held to or could hope to achieve. These letters also lay out steps that can be taken to help correct this media bias and to 'set the record' straight for those who have succumbed to the idea that all that is wrong with the world is the fault of Israel.

These letters are, poignant, heartfelt, and accurate. They clearly delineate the pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli bias that has permeated the media. One thing that should be mentioned about these letters - they were not written in response to valid criticism of Israel or in response to those who honestly disagree with Israeli politics or actions. Rather, Katz states that he is "... referring to people who hold Israel to a different standard of morality; people who stand mute when Palestinian terrorists murder Israeli children and then object when Israel destroys the house of the suicide bomber... I am speaking of the people who would deny Israel her natural right to self-defense." (Pg. xiii).

Katz has been a long-time advocate for Israel and a student of the Arab/Palestinian - Israeli conflict. He has been writing letters-to-the-editor in response to anti-Israeli biases and misrepresentations in the media for more than twenty-five years. He is also an active member of AIPAC - America's Pro-Israel Lobby, and his love and support for Israel is clearly depicted in these letters and essays.

These letters and essays serve to provide an objective look at the Palestinian - Israeli conflict, and to illustrate the pain and frustration felt by countless Israelis, and by Jews around the world, by this blatant media bias. They also help to tell the Israeli side of the story, and to remind people that just because something is published in a newspaper or reported on the evening news, does not mean that it is true or that you are getting the entire story. You must educate yourself about the situation, and to take everything you hear, see, or read with a grain of salt. Most important, this book is essential reading if you want to understand the Arab/Palestinian - Israeli conflict(s) and how they are reported, or misreported, in the media.

Is this unfair media bias correctable? It is, but it will take work. To learn more about this problem and how you can help to combat it and make the media accountable for any factual errors that appear in their reports, the author recommends (and I heartily second his recommendation) that you take a look at two internet sites that are devoted to combating this problem, HonestReporting, which monitors Mideast media anti-Israel bias, and CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

Please note: This book has previously been published under the title Fighting Back: Letters from the Diaspora.

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