foreign press 248.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
LONDON – A host of
eminent journalists, media commentators, scholars and parliamentarians
from Israel and the UK discussed issues and concerns pertaining to media
coverage of Israel at a special conference in London on Tuesday.
150 people participated in the Anglo-Israel Association’s Second
Ambassadors Roundtable conference at the Foreign Office in central
The one-day conference looked at media bias and
objectivity and issues relating to media coverage of Israel, the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict and wider Middle East.
One of the
morning sessions included an in-depth look at media bias, the threshold
between what pro- Israel observers see as media bias against Israel and
critics of Israel see at biased in favor of Israel.
afternoon, there was an insightful and frank discussion on the fine line
between the legitimate criticism of Israeli policy and what is
considered the delegitimization of Israel.
Among the British participants were John Lloyd, contributing editor of the Financial Times; Jon Williams, BBC’s world news editor and Ian Black, Middle East Editor of the Guardian.
Israeli participants included the veteran Middle East commentator Ehud Ya’ari; MK Nachman Shai (Kadima); Aluf Benn, editor-at-large of Haaretz; Nahum Barnea, political columnist for Yediot Aharonot; Ben-Dror Yemini, opinion editor at Ma’ariv, Dana Weiss from Channel 2 news and Eran Shayshon from the Tel Aviv-based think-tank Reut.
year’s Ambassadors’ Roundtable brought together some distinguished and
deeply experienced journalists and media commentators from both
countries to look at ways of overcoming the stereotyping of both Israel
and the Arab-Israel dispute,” said Sir Andrew Burns, chair of the
Anglo-Israel Association, adding that the purpose of the AIA is to
generate a wider, more positive and informed understanding of Israel.
about the stereotypes in the media, Burns said: “This was seen to be
leading to a demonization and threatening delegitimization of Israel in
intellectual and cultural circles in the UK and in the minds of many
young and politically active parts of the British population.
were particularly worried about developing attitudes in student and
academic life, and within the voluntary and NGO sectors, where knowledge
of the issues can be rather thin and lacking in an historical
perspective. In a very candid and lively discussion a wide range of
concerns were addressed and a much deeper understanding reached of how
the practice of objective impartial journalism is affected by the twin
pressures of finance and global competition in the age of the Internet,”
“The conference was very important and focused on a very critical issue,
how the media deals with the Israeli- Palestinian conflict and the way
Israel is portrayed by the liberal press in Britain,” said Shai.
have a lot of questions on how the British media treats Israel and why
Israel is treated differently. The conference delved into these issues
and provided an excellent insight into these concerns.”
Founded in 1949, the Anglo-Israel Association is a London-based charity
supported by people from different faiths across the political spectrum.
It aims to support educational programs and exchanges to enable the
people of both countries to deepen their links and understanding of each