Jewish Journal

Media bias and the future of Israel

by Brad A. Greenberg

July 13, 2008 | 5:40 pm

On this panel at the Aspen Ideas Festival about reporting on Israel, Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic and Ari Shavit of Ha’aretz discuss “Israel’s media, Olmert’s intentions, and the future state of Middle East diplomacy.”

The latter point was something Goldberg addressed at length in a May cover story, an article attacked by one of Israel’s leading columnists, Nahum Barnea, as overly critical and missing the point of Israeli life. Atlantic editor James Bennet, quite humorously because he is sitting next to Goldberg, asks Shavit, “Do you agree that Jeff doesn’t get it?”

He did not: “I think what probably troubled Nahum, troubles some Israelis, is the need, so to speak, to justify Israel’s existence. ... Israel is the most fascinating place I can think of. It is energetic; it is full of life; it is exciting. But it is always a place where you live dangerously. And in a place like that, you need faith, you need belief, you need ideas. The fact that many leading Israelis have stopped asking the questions is a problem. It doesn’t make us stronger. It makes us weaker.”

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