Jewish Journalist Colleagues: Stop the Self-Censorship

The new film UNWRA Goes to War is a must screen for the forthcoming session of the American Jewish Press Association.

David Bedein,

David Bedein
David Bedein
credit David Michael Cohen

For the better part of 21 years, ever since the launch of negotiations between Israel and the PLO, the Jewish media, as a matter of policy which is actually negligent reporting, have played down what the PLO, the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA communicate in the Arabic language to the Palestinian people.

The following link reflects some of the pieces that our agency has produced over the past 11 years: click here.

http://www.cfnepr.com/205640/Articles%2Dand%2Dessays

Finding out what the other side conveys to their people is not a rocket science. There are daily memos that emanate from all PA offices. There are three PA controlled newspapers. And the PA runs the PBC TV and radio stations, 24/7.

Most importantly, there are tens of diligent Palestinian journalists who can be retained, full time, or part time, to provide the news media with clear, honest reports from the scene of the action. The courage of Palestinian reporters who stand up against the authoritarian rule of the PA and Hamas remains an unwritten story.

However, the Jewish media prefers to cover the story without hiring Palestinian reporters and without following their news outlets, allowing news stories to be filtered through editors who want to report to their readers that some kind of peace process is ensuing.

Our news operation acts differently. We work with Palestinian reporters and with Israeli journalists who know Arabic on a Ph.D. level.

Over the past six years, we have been filming Palestinian education in the UNRWA camps that serve the descendants of Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war. We have also acquired and commissioned translations of the new Palestinian school books published by the PA with funding from the US and other nations, and we have provided our coverage for media outlets in all nations that currently fund the PA and UNRWA.

In that context, our agency has just released a new film, UNRWA GOES TO WAR, shot on location in UNRWA facilities near Gaza, Ramallah and Jenín, filmed by Palestinian TV crews who literally took their lives in their hands.


This open letter represents a formal appeal to fellow members of the American Jewish Press Association to reconsider that AJPA restriction and to lend the floor of the conference to another form of news coverage.
This film will be screened at the US Congress and for 12 other legislative bodies that fund UNRWA in the near future.

We have asked to screen 15 minutes of “UNRWA GOES TO WAR” at the forthcoming session of the American Jewish Press Association annual conference that will take place in Maryland, at the session designed for Jewish journalists to share their special projects.

Yet AJPA has so far said no to the screening. We appeal that decision.

To agree to such a decision would be to accept the unstated policy of the Jewish media refusing to hear and see what Palestinians and their allies in UNRWA openly communicate.

This open letter represents a formal appeal to fellow members of the American Jewish Press Association to reconsider that AJPA restriction and to lend the floor of the conference to another form of news coverage.

BACKGROUND

*David Bedein

David Bedein (born August 31, 1950) is an MSW, a community organizer by profession, a writer, and an investigative journalist. In 1987 he established the Israel Resource News Agency, with offices at the BeitAgron in Jerusalem. He serves as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.

Mr. Bedein has also reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor RishonPhiladelphia Inquirer, & Jerusalem PostFor four years, Bedein was the Middle East correspondent for the Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010.

Bedein has covered controversial Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Mr. Bedein is the author of Where Has All the Flour Gone? The Whims and Waste of UN Palestinian Refugee Policy. The book documents Bedein’s years of investigative journalism focusing on the activities of UN agencies in Israel and the Middle East.

The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, in commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2010, the agency decided to focus on producing short movies, instead of monographs, and to film each aspect of the UNRWA investigations in a clear and cogent fashion. In that context, Bedein produced two documentary films on UNRWA: Inside the UNRWA Classroom and CampJihad in 2013

Bedein was active in the Israeli peace movement for over for 17 years.

In the 1980s, Bedein went to Ethiopia as part of a delegation to investigate the impact of the famine on the Ethiopian Jewish community.

Most recently, David Bedein’s organization has developed Btselem Watch, with its own website whose purpose is to introduce professional criticism and feedback to leading organizations which are described as human rights groups that operate in the political domain.

David has developed a speaker’s bureau which is offering speeches and presentations, live or via Skype.

Mr. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, the New Israel Fund, and United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Mr. Bedein has also reported on all of these events and organizations at www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com.

Under the Direction of David Bedein The Center for Near East Policy Research and www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com have produced a number of investigative video productions. In July 2013 they released the film titled “Camp Jihad” allegedly showing activities and interviews in which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in its ‘summer camps’. This was not the first time he dealt with this topic. UNRWA released an official rejection of these claims, claiming the summer camp shown, and the people involved are not affiliated with UNRWA. In a November 2013 meeting between US Secretary of State, John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, parts of this film were shown.

A review of Bedein’s new book, Roadblock to Peace How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict: UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, can be found at:

http://israelbehindthenews.com/roadblock-to-peace-by-david-bedein-a-text-for-the-jewish-council-for-public-affairs-jcrcs-and-israel-advocacy-organizations/10971/

Bedein has been involved in UNRWA Reform Initiative, which involves requests of donor nations to make reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein’s legal counsel articulated these requested reforms in a letter to the British government Agency which helps UNRWA. http://israelbehindthenews.com/letter-incitement-against-israel-and-encouragement-to-take-violent-means-against-israel-in-the-textbooks-of-the-schools-in-the-refugee-camps-in-eastern-jerusalem-schools-which-are-supported-by-unr/9938/

In March 2014, Bedein participated in an informal panel at the British House of Commons with experts on UNRWA education.

Since the publication of Bedein’s book, Bedein has discovered several new findings concerning UNRWA, Islamic groups that fund UNRWA and the use of school books which teach Palestinians that the Jews killed Christ…in the Palestinian Authority Christian Education Texts used in the UNRWA Schools.








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