Monday, July 15, 2019

Surprised by NY Times’ Partisan Reporting on J Street's Birthright Alternative Tour? - by Emanuel Miller

J Street’s tours may or may not be worthy of coverage, but in publishing a piece devoid of context and piercing questions, the New York Times is acting as a shill for those who spend their time highlighting Israel’s every flaw.

Emanuel Miller..
Honest Reporting..
14 July '19..

Ever wondered how fringe organizations like IfNotNow and Breaking the Silence wield so much influence on the public discourse on Israel?

It’s not because these organizations are well-financed or organized, although that certainly helps. It’s because these organizations are set up primarily to create catchy, often-sensationalized media narratives about injustices which are packaged neatly for enthusiastic and ignorant journalists to write about. Oppression, segregation, colonialism, and collective punishment are the name of their game.

For the unacquainted, Birthright is a free trip to Israel sponsored in part by the Israeli government, and in part by private donors, to young men and women of Jewish heritage. The trip is largely apolitical, and endeavors to provide Jewish youth with an opportunity to connect with their roots, learn about the Jewish people, and visit a country with undeniable ties to their Judaism. Despite being as mainstream and apolitical as could be, the organization has come under fire from some who demand that it tackle Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians in greater detail, with the two aforementioned organizations hijacking multiple Birthright tours to score political points and make headlines in 2018.

One year later, another American Jewish organization catering to a left-leaning audience, the self-described “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace” J Street, has launched its own version of the famous free trip to Israel. In keeping with J Street’s political agenda, this tour puts Israel’s actions vis-a-vis the Palestinians under the spotlight.

J Street has every right to its own tour of Israel, even if the move is provocative. New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger, however, owes the public a better account of the tour than the one made in the July 10 edition the New York Times, entitled “Absorbing a Different Slice of a Jewish Birthright – An Unflinching View Of Israeli Occupation.”

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