Adam Levick
Managing Editor, CAMERA's UK Media Watch

Does the UK media fuel antisemitism?

The latest annual report by the CST (the charity tasked with protecting British Jews) demonstrating record levels of antisemitism in the UK during 2014 was widely reported throughout the media. However, there was one related poll which received far less attention. According to a YouGov survey, 82% of British Jews believe that media bias against Israel fuels antisemitism, findings which should resonate with anyone familiar with the UK media’s coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict.

Indeed, if the UK media’s narrative is to be believed, Israel not only intentionally targeted Palestinian civilians during the summer war, but disproportionately killed innocent children. News articles, headlines and images which depicted or focused upon dead Palestinian children were sensationally presented and often devoid of important context, such as Hamas’s widespread use of human shields.

Guardian lead in their July 31st print edition literally accused Israel of killing “sleeping children”.  The very same explicit accusation – that Israel murdered children while they slept – was included in a Telegraph lead on July 30th. The Independent published a cartoon on July 10th which (evoking the verse from Leviticus: ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’) all but accused Israel of ethnically cleansing Palestinians. A July 17th op-ed in the same paper was even more explicit, accusing Israel of engaging in genocide. And an Aug. 1 Indy op-ed likened the Jewish state to a “child murdering community”.

You don’t need to be an expert on Islamist extremist ideology to see a connection between the imputation of such unimaginable malevolence to the Jewish state and jihadists’ targeting of Jews in Europe “to avenge” the murder of Palestinian kids.

CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, will be hosting a March 1st panel discussion in Jerusalem, entitled “Framing Israel, Framing Jews,” to examine this disturbing phenomenon.

The event, which will also mark the launch of UK Media Watch, formerly known as CiF Watch, will examine these pressing questions:

  • Is UK media coverage of Israel influencing attitudes towards Jews in Europe and fueling extremism?
  • Do UK media reports and commentaries about Israel evoke classic antisemitic tropes and motifs?
  • What should major news outlets like the BBC and The Guardian do to avoid sensational, inaccurate and incendiary reports?

To those genuinely concerned about antisemitism and the future of Jews in Europe, such questions must be thoroughly examined – critically, seriously and honestly.

About the Author
Adam Levick serves as Managing Editor of CAMERA's UK Media Watch. He has published reports on antisemitism at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and op-eds at publications such as The Guardian, The Independent, The Irish Examiner, The Algemeiner, JNS and The Jewish Chronicle. Adam made Aliyah from Philadelphia in 2009.