The following letter was sent to the newspaper, The Irish News, the leading Nationalist publication in both the Occupied Six Counties and the northern half of Ireland. The paper has on occasion published reports with a decidedly pro-Israeli bent. It is also a fiercely Catholic paper.We try to hold it to account.

‘It was with interest that I read the Irish News article (Sept. 22nd 2016), titled ‘’Obama and Netanyahu in ‘last’ meeting’’. Although the piece in general was somewhat bland, I noted that the manner in which the article ended could be easily described as subtly, but emphatically, pro-Israeli. As writers will know, the ending is the part that lodges most readily in the reader’s mind, and said article concluded with a decidedly pro-Israeli bent.

It can also be seen that the last line, a quote from Netanyahu which read, ‘… and I know you’ll continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself and its right to thrive as a Jewish state’, is not only colouring the reader’s perception with emotive terminology, it is also unintentionally and clearly demonstrating that the Israeli government views Israel as a state for Jews, i.e. sectarian, and so it has been.

As for Josh Lederman, the author of the article, it can be said that he is from the US, worked in the Jerusalem bureau of Associated Press before moving to become AP’s White House correspondent, and is a Hebrew-speaking, Jewish Zionist.

Lederman is a member of an organization called Taglit-Birthright Israel Experience, which provides paid trips to Israel for 18-26 year old north American Jews so that they might, ostensibly, further embrace their Jewish identity. However, this group has been criticised for promoting a Zionist agenda, with pro-Palestinian Jews being blocked from availing of the opportunities given to others of Jewish identity.

During the tours to Israel, participants take part in a 5-10 day mifgash (encounter) with their Israeli peers, usually members of the Israeli Defence Forces. Funding comes from various groups and private donors, as well as from the Israeli government, and can be rightly regarded as a cynical PR exercise for north American Jewry.

When reading articles penned by Josh Lederman regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, it should be remembered that Lederman is not neutral. Journalistic pieces quite often need to be viewed in their proper context to be truly understood. Perhaps in future the Irish News could try to provide impartial reports on said conflict or, failing that, perhaps they could provide greater transparency regarding the author’s agenda which, in the case of Josh Lederman, is most assuredly Zionist.’

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