JVP Petition Thanking 60 Minutes for Report on Palestinian Christians Hits 35,000
Jewish Voice for Peace MEDIA STATEMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Petition Thanking 60 Minutes for Report on Palestinian Christians Hits 35,000
Growing Reaction Against Intimidation of Reporters Who Are Critical of Israeli Policies
[New York, April 30, 2012] In a sign that news consumers are growing tired of campaigns to intimidate media figures who engage in critical reporting about Israeli policy, a fast-growing petition in support of 60 Minutes’ April 22 segment on the disappearing Palestinian Christians of the Holy Land reached 35,000 signers in 5 days.
The text reads:
Thank you, Bob Simon and 60 Minutes, for your segment on the Palestinian Christian exodus from Israel-controlled territory. Journalists who tell the painfully honest truth about Palestinian life under occupation deserve our thanks, not political attacks.
The petition, www.ThankYou60Minutes.org, was created by the group Jewish Voice for Peace in response to a large-scale campaign, led in part by the Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren, to oppose 60 Minutes’ coverage of the impact of Israel’s nearly 45-year-long illegal occupation.
Cecilie Surasky, Deputy Director Jewish Voice for Peace: “It’s absolutely critical that CBS news not back down to pressure on this. We want them to know that when it comes to the Middle East, both Jewish and non-Jewish viewers want the fair and in-depth reporting that has made 60 Minutes a national treasure. There should be no exceptions for Israel, or any country that violates human rights.”
60 Minutes reporter Bob Simon included in his segment an interview with Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren who acknowledged attempting to shut down independent reporting of the segment before it even aired.
Other groups that followed suit included Christians United for Israel, which generated 29,000 letters, and the Jewish Federations of America. Sadly, incidents like these are not uncommon for a far-right government and its supporters who think Israel’s growing global isolation is mostly a PR problem:
- Earlier this year, neocon Dan Kristol’s Emergency Committee on Israel took out a full-page ad in theNew York Times falsely accusing Middle East beat writers for Media Matters and the Center for American Progress (CAP) of anti-Semitism. The ad included phone numbers of CAP funders and shortly after, former AIPAC staffer-turned critic, and Israel policy expert MJ Rosenberg left Media Matters/CAP.
- Last week, the David Horowitz Freedom Center took out an ad in the New York Times accusing hundreds of professors who support the Palestinian nonviolent movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions of supporting a “new Holocaust” against Jews. He also named names.
- Other targets of intimidation campaigns by groups like the Anti-Defamation League include Bill Moyers, Jon Stewart, and Tom Friedman, all of whom have spoken critically about Israeli policy.
Last week New York Times columnist Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman spoke for an untold number of journalists, academics and public figures when he said:
It seems obvious from here that the narrow-minded policies of the current [Israeli] government are basically a gradual, long-run form of national suicide -- and that's bad for Jews everywhere, not to mention the world. But I have other battles to fight, and to say anything to that effect is to bring yourself under intense attack from organized groups that try to make any criticism of Israeli policies tantamount to anti-Semitism.
The practice of intimidating thinkers and media figures keeps US voters in the dark about policies that harm all people everywhere, and it cheapens the charges of anti-Semitism. 35,000 people—and counting— are saying enough is enough!
Jewish Voice for Peace is a national grassroots peace organization dedicated to promoting a US foreign policy in the Middle East based on peace, democracy, human rights and respect for international law.
With over 100,000 supporters, 35 chapters, a Rabbi's Council and active youth wing (Young Jewish and Proud), JVP’s board of advisors includes Tony Kushner, Ed Asner, Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, Eve Ensler and others.