Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Appreciation Wednesday

I want to express appreciation to all those English-language writers who helped in Israel's "PR War" during the recent Gaza campaign: the bloggers and letter-writers and op-ed writers, etc. etc. Many, many people did excellent work, and despite the tragedy which is CNN, I do think your work paid off, perhaps more than you know.

I know many of you have stopped reading The New York Times because of its bias (real or perceived) against Israel. But I read the New York Times every day. I read every single article, op-ed, and letter about Israel. When an article has invited comments, I read the comments.

And I can tell you that the coverage this time around was very fair. This does not mean that everything they reported cast Israel in a glowing light. Part of their job, as a strong newspaper, was to tell us what was happening on the ground in Gaza, and it was ugly. But they did a better job in the last few weeks of providing context than I've seen in years. The message of why Israel was doing this, Israel's goals and its attempts to minimize civilian casualties, came through clearly.

That message also came through, clearly and intelligently, in readers' comments and in the Letters section.

The New York Times isn't much of a barometer, but I've seen lots of great articles being sent around the internet from smaller papers around America, and the number of CAMERA complaints has been relatively low, given how much publicity this war receives. Overall, I think as a group we writers and media-watchers who want the world to truly understand what happens on our side of the Erez crossing were more successful in this war than we've been for ages.

There are still a lot of Israel-haters out there, and the PR side of Israel's struggles is a continuing challenge. But I do think it's important to step back and acknowledge when one's efforts have made a difference.

Kudos to all those who made their voices heard.

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