Understanding the Israeli media, and comprehending the world bias against Israel, are two daunting tasks. But both can be made easier by reading these two new, fascinating books.
Pressing Israel is a handbook. The authors proceed alphabetically, listing the media biases on subject after subject; then they refute the media’s errors. They offer good responses to the usually nefarious and repugnant assertions that all too oft en go unchallenged in the mainstream media in the United States.
They bring forth documents and offer background and in-depth, historical explanations for their responses.
God, Jews and the Media attacks the problem from a completely different perspective. This book was published as part of a Jewish Studies series. Cohen researches and explains the role of the secular press and the Jewish press. He traces the rise of both the modern Zionist press and the ultra-Orthodox press and shows the tensions that emerge when religious Jews actually play a role in the secular press.
This is no easy topic. There is tremendous tension in Israel between religious and secular communities and between Zionist and non-Zionist and anti ‑Zionist communities. Understanding how each community sees the other is an important tool in furthering better understanding among the communities.
Unfortunately, the book proves a sorry truism: Jews are their own worst enemies. And in Israel, the media is oft en responsible for spreading the ugliest invective. The various community-driven media, whether it be print, radio, or television, all promulgate and perpetuate terrible stereotypes of the others.
Cohen’s groundbreaking book brings this understanding and insight to the open forum for dialogue. And Cohen, himself, is an equal opportunity critic.
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Micah D. Halpern is a columnist and a social and political commentator. He is the author of What You Need To Know About: Terror, and maintains The Micah Report at www.micahhalpern.com.