Jewish Journal


April 10, 2012

Mike Wallace’s reflections on being an American Jewish reporter in the Middle East



Mike Wallace in New York, Nov 21, 2006. Photo by REUTERS/Chip East/Files

Mike Wallace was a legendary journalist. Somehow, though, I missed that he was also Jewish.

Wallace died over the weekend at 93. And in response to his death, The Jewish Journal republished an excerpt of the essay that Wallace wrote for “I Am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl,” in which he discussed his memories of reporting on the Middle East, starting in the 1950s, and being called a “self-hating Jew” for not just giving Israel a free pass:

My eyes had first been opened to Israeli/Palestinian realities by two pioneering figures from that part of the world. Back in the ’50s, Reuven Dafne, a Romanian Israeli, and Fayez Sayegh, a Palestinian Christian, two friends of mine, gave me a primer course on the complicated subject, for which I remain grateful.

I have long admired the courage and determination of the Israelis and sympathized with their yearning for a secure state. I have similar feelings about the Palestinians. But I’m an American reporter, a Jew who believes in going after facts on the ground, as Daniel Pearl did, and reporting them accurately, let the chips fall where they may.

Read the rest here.

The overwhelming majority of reporters would agree with that perspective. I suspect that’s true even among the different Israeli newspapers—it’s just that they have a different view of the conflict.

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