Palestine/Israel News and Information

JPN: Important new poll, Bush and Sharon, Israeli TV bias

April 13, 2005

here to let your friends know about JPN.

In recent speeches, President Bush has talked about the need for territorial contiguity for the Palestinians, and for the need for Israel to freeze all settlement activity. In today’s JPN, you’ll see how crucial it is for us to make sure our government works with actions, not just words, to hold Israel to its commitments.

You’ll also see just how many Jews agree that Israel must sacrifice for peace, and that the US must push Israel into those necessary sacrifices. It is simply not true that we represent the minority view.

We are hard at work expanding our reach, creating JVP chapters around the country, escalating our educational and media services, pushing forward with our Caterpillar Campaign. Just today, we re-introduced a shareholder resolution that would help move CAT toward ceasing its sales of special builldozers designed specifically for home demolition. Stay tuned for more news about the shareholder meeting today.

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The views expressed here are those of the editors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Jewish Voice for Peace.

Today’s Contents:

<>Poll Reflects Progressive American Jewish Beliefs (Ameinu) New poll shows American Jews want US to pressure Israel

<>Bush-Sharon Press Conference (White House Press Release) Dangerous statements from Bush hidden in rhetoric

<>Bias in Israeli TV? (YNet) Israeli TV has bias toward white males

<>More Important Articles Links to other important news articles for today

[JPN Commentary: More and more polls are showing that a great many American Jews subscribe to the sort of views that Jewish Voice for Peace and similar groups espouse. We have to credit groups that support the opposition, because they have, until now, been effective in painting pro-peace groups as being “anti-Israel”, and in some cases, even anti-Semitic.

JVP has made great strides in getting a more accurate representation of our positions out there. We, and many groups like us, have a very simple agenda: we believe that peace involves compromise. We believe that Israel needs to abandon its efforts to keep its settlements, because keeping those settlements means sacrificing peace. We believe that Israelis and Palestinians have equal rights, and that the needs and rights of one group cannot be more important than the other. We believe that the United States’ policy has, for years, been an impediment, rather than a boon, to a just resolution to this bitter conflict. And we believe that only when the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands ends can progress be made toward a just and sustainable peace.

Polls like the one reported on below show that we represent many American Jews. 41% of those polled said that Israel should withdraw from most settlements for peace. They were not asked about all settlements, but the fact that only 27% opposed the “most settlements” idea is indicative of the low value American Jews place on the settlements.

And it is important to note that these responses are given in the context of an enormous dearth of accurate information about Israel, the Palestinians, and the history of the conflict. Nothing in the mainstream or most Jewish media, for example, has addressed the misinformation given to American Jews about how the current intifada started, and about how much less than a “generous offer” was given to the Palestinians at Camp David in 2000. Coverage of Palestinian violence continues to be exponentially greater than coverage of Israeli violence, by both soldiers and settlers.

Yet despite this disinformation, a quarter of American Jews believe that Palestinians are willing to live in peace with Israel, while only 35% disagree with that claim. Again, the poor information is surely responsible for the fact that 41% are unsure or undecided.

Perhaps most important, 47% of those surveyed want the US to push Israel to be more conciliatory, while only 20% oppose this. 40% believe the US should be more even-handed than it is.

This is precisely what JVP calls for. We do not call for blind support of one side or the other. We want the US to adopt a policy that pushes both sides into the compromises necessary for peace. It is simply a lie that we represent the views of a small or fringe minority. As the polls reported on in the Ameinu survey below, and another poll released yesterday by the ADL, indicate, we represent as significant a Jewish voice, and as true a Jewish voice, as the myopically pro-Israel groups like the Conference of Presidents, the AJC and the World Zionist Organization. In the case of the latter, the polls demonstrate quite clearly that JVP is in line with mainstream Jewish thought, while the WZO is massively out of step with it.

The next time you hear that Jewish peace groups, like Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews Against the Occupation, Brit Tzedek V’Shalom, Tikkun, Not In My Name and others, are not representing true Jewish opinions, look back at the polls. Then look at what we say and what the pro-occupation groups say. The data is clear as to which of us more closely represents mainstream Jewish opinion. — MP]


Poll: U.S. Jews Overwhelmingly Support Israeli Gaza/West Bank Disengagement, Say Israel Should Depart Most Settlements to Secure Peace

NEW YORK, April 11, 2005? American Jews, by a nearly three to one margin (62% to 23%) support Israel?s disengagement plan to leave Gaza and some West Bank settlements, according to a new survey released today.

In addition, a large plurality of American Jews believe that in the context of a peace agreement Israel should be willing to withdraw from most Jewish settlements in the West Bank (41% vs. 27%).

These results emerge from a national telephone survey last week of 501 American Jews, directed by Prof. Steven M. Cohen, sociologist at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem for Ameinu, an American Zionist organization, which for 70 years has trained future leaders for the Israeli and American Jewish communities.

The survey comes as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is scheduled to meet Monday with President Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

When asked how far Israel should go in the context of negotiating “a peace treaty where each side promises to end the conflict, once and for all,” the vast majority of American Jews — 70% to 10% — also believe Israel should be willing to accept the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

“At this moment of renewed hope, American Jews stand squarely with Israel as it prepares to take great risks for peace,” said Kenneth Bob, president of Ameinu.

“Like the vast majority of Israelis, American Jews overwhelmingly support disengagement from Gaza and part of the West Bank and see this as the first of many steps toward a lasting peace with two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side,” he said.

At the same time, American Jews are not at all convinced that even with “a signed peace agreement, the great majority of Palestinians are prepared to live in peace with the Israelis.” Only 24% of American Jews hold this view, more (35%) disagree, and the rest (41%) are mixed or not sure. When asked about how the United States should relate to the conflict, an overwhelming majority (75% to 10%) endorsed the view that, “The U.S. should push both sides toward a peace agreement, even in the face of objections from Israelis or Palestinians.”

Interested media are respectfully requested to attribute data to the Ameinu survey.

The respondents were largely unsure (62%) about whether the plan will make Israel safer, and only a small plurality of 22% versus 16% could see the disengagement making Israel more safe rather than less safe. At the same time, a 55% to 21% majority did agree that the plan will help both sides move closer to a peace agreement.

In the context of such an agreement a large plurality of American Jews believe that Israel should allow the return of a token number of Palestinian refugees to those parts of Israel they or their families left (41% to 30%).

The skeptical but mixed views of Palestinian intentions emerged in responses to several related questions. On the one hand, a plurality believe, “The current leaders of the Palestinian Authority are ready to hold serious negotiations with Israel toward a peaceful resolution of their conflict” (40% agreed, 15% disagreed). At the same time, American Jews are deeply skeptical about the chances of entirely ending terrorist attacks on Israel. By a majority of 70% to 9%, they agree, “Even with a signed agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, a large number of Palestinians will continue to use terrorism against Israel.” On these matters, as contrasted with others, Orthodox Jews were opposed to the disengagement and more deeply skeptical of Palestinian intentions.

“As they have in the past, American Jews’ attitudes toward the conflict remarkably resemble those of the Israeli public, with, in fact, the same Orthodox / non-Orthodox split as in Israel,” Cohen said.

“Like Israelis today, American Jews strongly support the disengagement plan out of the hope that it might produce a lasting peace. At the same time, they harbor no illusions about a portion of the Palestinians, believing that they are committed to pursuing terrorism, even with the disengagement and even with a signed peace agreement with the PA,” he said.

How the United States should relate to the conflict contain a number of seeming contradictions. A strong majority (67% to 9%) wants the United States to “push Palestinian leaders to be more conciliatory toward the Israelis,” while a plurality (47% to 20%) believe likewise regarding pushing “Israeli leaders to be more conciliatory toward the Palestinians.” Further signs of complexity emerge in the responses to two seemingly opposed ideas. By a 48% to 14% plurality, they agree, “In all or almost all instances, the United States should support the positions of the Israeli government in its dealings with the Palestinians.” At the same time, a plurality of 40% to 31% also agrees that, “Rather than almost always taking Israel’s side as it does now, the United States should be more even-handed in its approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, sometimes supporting the Israelis, and sometimes the Palestinians.”

“Clearly, the complexity of the conflict is mirrored in the complexity of the views on the conflict, be they among American Jews or their Israeli counterparts,” Cohen added.

The Washington office of Synovate, Inc., a major international marketing research company, conducted the fieldwork last week, calling a sample of 501 respondents from eligible Jewish households across the United States, all of whom are 25 or over and identified as Jewish by religion. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 5%.

[JPN Commentary: On Monday April 11, US President George Bush and Israeli President Ariel Sharon met at Bush’s ranch in Texas. Excerpts of the press conference after their meeting are below. Click here for the full transcript.

Through all of the usual posturing, some very key points emerged from this meeting. Of primary importance in the discussions between Bush and Sharon was the recent Israeli announcement that they intended to commence work on a plan that has been in the air for many years to fill the E-1 Corridor, which connects Jerusalem to the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim with 3,500 new housing units. While not mentioning the plan directly, Bush did make it clear that the US was opposed to such construction, and Sharon hinted that Israel would not follow through with the building plans at this time. Sounds like good news, right?

Unfortunately, as is often the case in Middle East politics, things are not what they seem. The E-1 construction announcement seems now to have been a red herring, giving the Americans the opportunity to “pressure Israel” while Israel’s real goal, a public declaration of their intention to hold on to Ma’ale Adumim in any final agreement with the Palestinians went unchallenged by Bush. While Bush did not overtly support Sharon’s declaration that Israel would keep Ma’ale Adumim, he did not indicate that he would oppose it either.

Bush reiterated that he expected Israel to take down the settlement “outposts” that went up since 2001.
The recent report on these outposts, which exposed the enormous complicity in their construction on the part of the Israeli government and global organizations like the World Zionist Organization will help Sharon to comply with this demand. Bush also stood firm in his statements that there should be no expansion of settlements. But the other shoe, which is for a much bigger foot than it seemed from this press conference, was that Bush reiterated that Israel would never be expected to go back to the unofficial borders it had before the 1967 war. Bush initially made this commitment to Sharon a year ago.

Many analysts, across a wide spectrum of views, have bemoaned Bush’s commitment to allow Israel to expand. It is not that people did not believe this would eventually happen, but by giving Israeli expansion an American endorsement, the Palestinians will find it much harder, perhaps impossible, to negotiate any compensation for Israel’s keeping parts of the West Bank. Most observers believed Bush had no idea how serious the implications of his promise to Sharon were. Again, yesterday, Bush showed his lack of depth on the issue. By reiterating his commitment at the same conference where Sharon stated that Ma’ale Adumim would be kept, and by standing by the reasoning which seemed to at least tacitly agree with Sharon’s argument that Israel would keep those areas that are “Israeli population centers”, Bush has essentially contradicted his promise of a contiguous Palestinian state.

Ma’ale Adumim, established in 1975, is very close to the Jordan River. If Israel keeps it, whether or not the proposed construction actually happens, it will effectively bisect the West Bank. Since some connection would have to be created between Ma’ale Adumim and Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem would be separated; for a Palestinian state or entity to have any kind of economic viability, Ramallah and Bethlehem would have to be within easy reach of each other. Any connection of Jerusalem to Ma’ale Adumim precludes this possibility.

Does Bush understand what it means to leave open the possibility that Israel will be allowed to keep Ma’ale Adumim in a final agreement with the Palestinians? Who can say? But Bush’s promise that Israel can keep those settlements it has expanded sufficiently establishes some difficult premises. First it shows that if Israel builds illegally on a grand enough scale, it will be able to retain that territory. In essence, Bush is saying that if Israel brings more people and builds larger settlements, those will remain, while smaller ones will go. Second, and perhaps most important, it shows the Palestinians that, whatever Bush promises, if it comes to a choice between one of the more difficult settlements for Israel to surrender (and Ma’ale Adumim would probably be the most controversial of all of them, if the possibility of withdrawing from it ever discussed) and even a semblance of territorial contiguity for the Palestinians, Palestinian concerns fall by the wayside.

This is why proponents of any peace that can possibly last absolutely must insist on Israeli withdrawal from all of its illegal settlements. Land swaps, if they could be fair, might sound nice. But in the final analysis, most of the settlements that matter have been intentionally placed in areas that will block territorial contiguity for the Palestinians. Ma’ale Adumim and another large settlement, Ariel, cannot be kept in Israeli hands without disrupting the viability of a Palestinian state. It simply cannot work because of their locations. Now more than ever, it is crucial that Americans of conscience force our government to acknowledge this basic reality on the ground. If they do not, the future for Israelis as well as Palestinians is bereft of hope. — MP]

President and Prime Minister Sharon Discuss Economy, Middle East

Prairie Chapel Ranch, Crawford, Texas

PRESIDENT BUSH: ?The United States and the state of Israel have a deep and lasting friendship based on our shared values and aspirations for a peaceful world. The United States is committed to Israel’s security and well being as a Jewish state, including secure and defensible borders. We’re committed to preserving and strengthening Israel’s capability to deter its enemies and to defend itself.

Prime Minister Sharon is showing strong visionary leadership by taking difficult steps to improve the lives of people across the Middle East — and I want to thank you for your leadership. I strongly support his courageous initiative to disengage from Gaza and part of the West Bank. The Prime Minister is willing to coordinate the implementation of the disengagement plan with the Palestinians. I urge the Palestinian leadership to accept his offer. By working together, Israelis and Palestinians can lay the groundwork for a peaceful transition.

I reiterated that the United States supports the establishment of a Palestinian state that is viable, contiguous, sovereign and independent. The United States will continue working with the international community to help Palestinians develop democratic political institutions, build security institutions dedicated to maintaining law and order, and dismantling terrorist organizations, reconstruct civic institutions, and promote a free and prosperous economy.

I remain strongly committed to the vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. The Prime Minister and I reaffirmed our commitment to that vision and to the road map as the only way forward to realize it. The road map has been accepted and endorsed by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, along with virtually the entire international community. The Prime Minister and I share a desire to see the disengagement from Gaza and part of the West Bank serve to re-energize progress along the road map.

The United States is working with Palestinians and Israelis to improve security on the ground. We are cooperating with the Palestinians to help them fulfill all their obligations under the road map, especially sustained, effective operations to stop terrorism and dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. Building true security for Israelis and Palestinians demands an immediate, strong and sustained effort to combat terrorism in all its forms.

I told the Prime Minister of my concern that Israel not undertake any activity that contravenes road map obligations or prejudice final status negotiations. Therefore, Israel should remove unauthorized outposts and meet its road map obligations regarding settlements in the West Bank.

As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders. These should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. As I said last April, new realities on the ground make it unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will be achieved only on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities. That’s the American view. While the United States will not prejudice the outcome of final status negotiations, those changes on the ground, including existing major Israeli population centers, must be taken into account in any final status negotiations.

I’m grateful to the Prime Minister for his friendship; I’m impressed by his leadership. I want to thank you for coming, sir, and I look forward to working with you in the years ahead.

PRIME MINISTER SHARON: The people of Israel dream of a peaceful life for themselves and for all the peoples of the Middle East. We are encouraged by many of the positive changes that we see taking place in our region. We call upon our Palestinian neighbors to choose the path of democracy and law and order, so that they can establish an independent and viable state.

This is an opportunity for us to break from the continuous past of violence and bloodshed, which has been forced upon us, particularly, over the past four-and-a-half years. I told the Palestinian Authority Chairman, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, that this is the year of great opportunity to start building a better future for our children and grandchildren and that both our peoples must make sure that this opportunity is not missed. But we must act now. The ongoing violence and terror must not prevail. We should make all a commitment not to accept any temporary solutions regarding terror, but to act decisively to dismantle terrorist infrastructure and to eliminate terrorism once and for all.

Defeating terror is the only way to build peace. The Israeli people have no intention of missing this opportunity. That is why we are acting quickly and with determination to improve the conditions for the Palestinian population. We have released hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, we are preparing to release more as the security situation allows. We have removed many roadblocks in the West Bank to allow greater mobility for the Palestinians. We have conferred the cities of Jericho and Tulkarm to the security control of the Palestinian Authority. And we will confer more in the coming period as the security situation allows.

Mr. President, as I said in Aqaba two years ago, it is not in our interest to govern over the Palestinians. We would like the Palestinians to govern themselves in their own state, a democratic state with territorial contiguity in Judea and Samaria, living side by side with Israel in peace and security. We seek to rebuild trust and respect, the dignity and human rights of all people.

Regarding the unauthorized outposts, I wish to reiterate that Israel is a society governed by the rule of law. As such, I will fulfill my commitment to you, Mr. President, to remove unauthorized outposts. As for settlements, Israel will also meet all its obligations under the road map, as I said also in Aqaba. We accept the principle that no unilateral actions by any party can prejudge the outcome of bilateral negotiations between us and the Palestinians.

The position of Israel is that in any final status agreement the major Israeli population centers in Judea and Samaria will be part of the state of the Israel. We seek a genuine and honest dialogue with the Palestinians so that we can transform these initial steps into a sound basis for our relations with them in the future.

In light of the changes in the Palestinian Authority, what began as a unilateral initiative does not have to remain so. I call upon the Palestinians to work together with us and to coordinate the implementation of the disengagement plan.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, given the continuing settlement activity on the West Bank, are you satisfied that Israel will do enough, once they pull out of Gaza, to meet the terms of the road map and put it back on track?

PRESIDENT BUSH: If he listens to what I say, he won’t hear anything contradictory. I’ve been very clear about Israel has an obligation under the road map. That’s no expansion of settlements. I look forward to continuing to work and dialogue with Israel on this subject.

Q Thank you. Regarding your quid pro quo letter to Prime Minister Sharon and the statement you just stated now, do you see Ariel and Ma’aleh Adumim as part of the major population centers — and I want to emphasize, as they are now, as they exist now, without any extensions—or do you see them as an obstacle to the contiguity of a future Palestinian state? And for Prime Minister Sharon, please (asked in Hebrew.) Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER SHARON: Thank you. I would like, first, to answer about construction in the major blocs. It is the Israeli position that the major Israeli population centers will remain in Israel’s hands under any future final status agreement with all related consequences.

Now, about the other question that you had, you asked what would be the day after — that was your question. So the road map is the only plan which sets the political agenda between us and the Palestinians. Only after the Palestinians fulfill their obligations, primarily a real fight against terrorism and the dismantling of its infrastructure, can we proceed toward negotiations based on the road map.

I hope that this phase will arrive soon. Implementation of the disengagement plan has the potential of paving the way toward the road map.

Now I have to do something for all the Israelis at home. (Speaks in Hebrew.)

PRIME MINISTER SHARON: (As translated.) The position of Israel is that the construction of the blocs of settlements will remain with Israel, and in all agreement with what will happen the day after the disengagement. The road map is the only plan between us and the Palestinians.

After the — we will continue to fight the terror, and after the continued commitment to fight terror, we will continue with the negotiations — only after the Palestinians agree to stop the terror. I hope that this stage will happen and that we will only move to the road map after this intervention by the Palestinians against terror.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Israel has obligations under the road map. The road map clearly says no expansion of settlements. And we’ll continue to work with Israel on their obligations, and the Palestinians have got obligations. And it seems like an important role for the United States is to remind people of the obligations, and to work with people — continue to work with people so that we can achieve the peace.

Q Thank you. Prime Minister, considering recent Palestinian mortar fire at Jewish settlements, and what Israel sees as a lack of cooperation on Gaza, is Israel considering taking military action against militants if President Abbas doesn’t act?

And, Mr. President, do you see a lack of progress by Abbas? Do you expect more before you meet with him at the White House?

PRESIDENT BUSH: This is a very complicated, difficult part of the world. And I believe President Abbas wants there to be a state that will live in peace with Israel. Remember, we met with him in Aqaba, Jordan, and he had a very strong statement. I tend to take people for their word, Adam, just like I trust the Prime Minister in his word. He’s a man of his word.

And the Prime Minister of — President Abbas is, I’m told, in touch with the Prime Minister; that’s positive. I appreciate the fact that they’ve taken some action on security. We want to continue to work with them on consolidating security forces. That’s why we sent a general to the region to work with the Palestinians. I hope that he — “he,” the President, responds to the Prime Minister’s offer to coordinate the withdrawal from Gaza. To me, that’s where the attention of the world ought to be, on Gaza.

This is the opportunity for the world to help the Palestinians stand up a peaceful society and a hopeful society. The Prime Minister has said, I’m withdrawing. He said that, I want to coordinate the withdrawal with the Palestinians. But he’s going to withdraw — coordination or no coordination. And I believe it’s incumbent upon the world which is desirous of peace to then step up and say to the Palestinians, we want to help you. I think President Abbas wants that help. I know he needs that help. He needs the help to not only help coordinate security forces and train security forces, but the help necessary to put to infrastructure in place so a peaceful democracy can grow, and that there can be an economy which provides hope for the Palestinian people.

PRIME MINISTER SHARON: Thank you. The Palestinian Chairman, Abu Mazen, started by taking some steps against terror. By now, those steps — and we can see, as you mentioned in your questions, that terror still continues. And, therefore, I believe that in order to move forward, in order to be able later to move to the road map, the Palestinians must take more steps, because it should be completely quiet. The situation — in order to move forward, must be full cessation of terror, hostilities and incitement.

So some initial steps were taken. More steps should be taken. And I hope that Abu Mazen wants peace, and the only thing I expect now that he will take the right steps in order to bring the situation that might enable us to move forward to the next step.

Q Mr. President, do you support the Prime Minister position as he stated now that after the disengagement, there will be no — any other political steps until a final and complete dismantling of terror organization, and only then we can proceed on the political track?

And, Mr. Prime Minister, do you really fear a civil war in Israel over the disengagement, as you stated in NBC interview? What are you going to do to prevent it? And are you disappointed with the President’s declaration regarding the expansion of settlements?

PRESIDENT BUSH: I think what is necessary to achieve the vision of two states living side by side in peace is for there to be progress. Look, there’s a lack of confidence in the region. I can understand that. There’s been a lot of deaths; a lot of innocent people have lost their lives. And there’s just not a lot of confidence in either side.

And I think we have a chance to build confidence. The Prime Minister is taking a bold step and a courageous step, and basically he’s saying that, you know, until he sees more progress, he doesn’t have confidence. And I suspect if we were to have a frank discussion about it, the Palestinians would say, well, we don’t have confidence in Israel.

So what’s needed is confidence. And I’m convinced the place to earn — to gain that confidence is to succeed in the Gaza…

Q I asked if, are you disappointed with the President’s position regarding expansion of settlements, specifically about the Jewish population center in Ma’aleh Adumim ?

PRIME MINISTER SHARON: No, I’m not disappointed. We think both of us are committed to the road map, and the road map says — and elaborates on this issue.

It’s about Ma’aleh Adumim. Ma’aleh Adumim is one of the blocs of Jewish population, and our position is that they should be part of Israel — I think I mentioned it before — it will be part of Israel. And of course, we are very much interested that it will be contiguity between Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem, but I think altogether, we are too early because everything happens there really altogether might take many years, and I believe that we will have enough opportunities to come and continue our talks with the United States.

[JPN Commentary: The news below probably doesn’t come to many of us as a surprise. It remains to be seen whether the results of a study commissioned by Israel’s Second Broadcasting Authority, and published in Yediot Aharonot – Israel’s largest daily newspaper – will bring about changes in the right direction. — RG]

Bias on (Israeli) TV?

Study of prime-time TV programming reveals secular, veteran Israeli men of European descent rule the screen

By Raz Shechnik,7340,L-3057058,00.html

TEL AVIV – Israel is home to multiple ethnicities and religions, but you would never know it by watching local television shows. A recent study paints a bleak picture of deep-seated bias in the depiction of minorities on the small screen.

Jewish, secular men of Ashkenazi (European) descent dominate prime-time programming, according to the study. Meanwhile, Jews of Middle Eastern origin are likelier to be associated with crime, violence, and poverty than Ashkenazi Jews.

Professors Eli Avraham of University of Haifa and Anat First of Netanya College analyzed various programs, including newscasts, talk shows, game shows and dramas for about a year for the study, commissioned by Israel?s Second Broadcasting Authority.

Israeli actors – Do white men dominate?

Their conclusion is that Israel?s minority groups, namely Arabs, Ultra-Orthodox, and new immigrants, have become virtually extinct when it comes to TV appearances.

Women mostly appear in cooking, lifestyle shows

Meanwhile, women and Israelis of Middle Eastern origin did appear on television occasionally, but to a much lesser extent than their percentage in the population warrants.

On another front, women tended to be featured in cooking, fashion and lifestyle shows. Settlers were also largely absent from the local television scene, with the exception of news programs. The study found new immigrants played a central role in only 21 news
items during the year, while 1,626 items focused on veteran Israelis. Ethiopian immigrants fared particularly poorly, with only three items focused on them.

This trend was also seen on talk shows, with guests likely to be veteran, secular Israeli Jews, mostly of European descent. The same pattern held true for game show participants.

When it came to dramas, 99 percent of characters were Jewish. The only non-Jew to make an appearance on one of the shows was a foreign worker.

Meanwhile, 20 percent of the Arabs appearing on news shows were presented as holding provocative views, compared to only 5 percent of the Jews. Moreover, while most newscasters and hosts tended to be Ashkenazi males, minority group members were often cast in the role of ?the man on the street.?

“Things would have to change”

Second Broadcasting Authority Director-General Moti Sklar said he does not intend to ignore the study?s findings. He likened the situation to an owner of a major road who decides to only allow brand new vehicles to travel on it. Sklar said the study confirmed an already present gut feeling. “Television stations only give expression to a very particular segment within Israeli society,” he said, and added things would have to change. “You cannot create a democracy, particularly in a country with so many schisms, when principal groups are not part of the discourse,” he said.

More important news articles:

Israel say it will leave settlement homes if PA helps coordinate withdrawal from Gaza Israel, Iran and Nuclear Weapons Programs Jeff Halper: A Palestinian Prison State?
Abbas Blasts Sharon for Denigrating Remarks in USA

Jewish Peace News Editors:
Judith Norman
Alistair Welchman
Mitchell Plitnick
Lincoln Shlensky
Ami Kronfeld
Rela Mazali
Sarah Anne Minkin
Joel Beinin
Racheli Gai

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