We have seen how the Israel lobby dominates the US government. The lobby is aided in this by the way that it can also intimidate journalists. Philip Weiss writes about how reporters from the major western press admit that they self-censor reports from Israel so as not to be ‘savagely targeted’ by both the Israeli government and the Israel lobby that exists not just in the US but in other countries like the UK and Australia a well.
In the U.S. the Israel lobby is rarely mentioned critically in the mainstream media. But check out this segment on the political show Drum on Australia’s ABC two days ago:veteran Middle East correspondents Antony Loewenstein and John Lyons describe the relentless pressures from Israel and its lobby on journalists who are critical of Israel.
The show’s host Ellen Fanning notes that in Lyons’s new book (Balcony Over Jerusalem: A Middle East Memoir) he recalls sitting with a leading correspondent from Agence France-Presse and asking him How many foreign correspondents censor themselves? Lyons:
He replied, “Everybody,” and he’s one of the toughest bureau chiefs around. As part of the book I interviewed The New York Times, the Economist, Reuters, AFP, and I found a common trait. Reuters even has their own special words that we’re allowed to use that won’t upset the Israelis. And I went there with the view that I’d been in Washington and New York, I would report it as I saw it. But every time I would write about settlements, something that’s factual, you get targeted, as a journalist.
If you write the truth of what you see in front of you in Israel and the West Bank, you will be savagely targeted.
Lyons is a veteran journalist. He served as six years as Jerusalem correspondent for The Australian, and is now the paper’s associate editor.
Another veteran Australian journalist Antony Loewenstein writes:
The way it often works is a journalist who is critical– Jewish, non-Jewish, Muslim, Palestinian, Christian, whatever– if you are critical of the settlements, if you are critical of the occupation, if you are critical of the Israeli government, if you are critical of the way the Israel lobby in Australian in my view perniciously and dishonestly pressures media organizations, ABC and others, and governments, you will be targeted privately or publicly.
The lobby has a right to exist. the point is that groups like AIJAC [Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council] are so belligerent and far right, they are supporting Israeli government policies that are pro settlement, pro occupation, anti-Arab and deeply racist.
But Weiss writes that despite the pressures, public opinion is slowly shifting to a more accurate view of Israel and its awful treatment of the Palestinians.