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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 19, 2004 / 4 Mar-Cheshvan, 5765

Doubts about ‘Palestinian’ credibility ought to sound alarm for journalists

By Jonathan Tobin


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Pressies must be more diligent in fact checking their sources



http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Every once in a great while, a journalist can stumble upon something so important that even they themselves don't understand how crucial it is.


Philadelphia Inquirer staffer Michael Matza seems to have reached just such a point in a dispatch datelined from the Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. In an Oct. 6 story titled "In desperation, Palestinians spin tales to rally support," Matza took on a disturbing angle on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians that is rarely reported in the mainstream press: The Palestinians lie.


In his piece, Matza described an incident in which official and unofficial Palestinian sources claimed to have killed 47 Israeli soldiers in fighting inside Gaza that occurred in the aftermath of Palestinian missile attacks on Israeli territory.


"The rumor spread like wildfire through this war-ravaged refugee camp. Mosque-mounted loudspeakers fanned the flames ... They passed out candy on debris-strewn streets to celebrate," wrote Matza. Then, he added, "In truth, no Israelis died."


Why did the Arabs make such a false claim? According to the Inquirer correspondent, "The rumor that 47 soldiers were killed was a 'lie' some Palestinians propagated to soothe the psychological suffering of their people against a vastly superior foe."


As one of his Palestinian sources conceded to him, "Many Palestinians succumb to wishful thinking."


Though he bends over backward in the piece to rationalize the liars' behavior, Matza deserves credit for taking on one of the most underreported aspects of this complex and often perplexing war.



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If, as California Sen. Hiram Johnson famously said in 1918, "The first casualty when war comes is truth," the Palestinians have been slaying it nonstop. Indeed, they have been doing so for a while; history tells us of similar "rumors" spread from mosques that led to bloody Arab pogroms against Jews in Jerusalem in 1920 and in Hebron in 1929.


Of course, lies can be spread on mediums other than loudspeakers. Those listening to Arab radio stations during the wars of 1948, 1956 and 1967 were under the impression that Tel Aviv was in flames, and that Arab forces were triumphing over a vanquished Israel.


But contrary to Matza's sympathetic explanation, the lies told by the Palestinians have purposes other than to boost the morale of the depressed residents of Gaza. They also serve to delegitimize their Israeli opponents and influence world opinion against the Jewish state.


The best example of this occurred two years ago in the aftermath of a wave of Palestinian terrorist suicide bombings.

A ‘MASSACRE’ IT WAS NOT
When Israeli forces counterattacked against the terrorist base in Jenin, in the West Bank, official Palestinian spokespersons claimed a vast "massacre" of civilians was taking place. Though this lie was repeated by credulous foreign correspondents, the facts of that case were soon uncovered not only by Israeli sources, but even by a U.N. investigation that showed that few Palestinians were killed in the fighting, and that the majority of them were armed combatants.


Which brings us back to the work of the intrepid Michael Matza. As much as Matza deserves applause for publicizing the truth about Arab lies, this topic deserves more than a single dispatch out of the many stories he has filed. Indeed, it throws into question not only his own work covering the Palestinians, but of that compiled by many other correspondents as well.


If, as he now acknowledges, the Palestinians in Gaza have been lying about the number of Israelis they have killed, it also cannot be denied that they have also been guilty of exaggerating their own casualties, and even the manner in which many of them have been killed.


Journalists like Matza have often been quick to accept the findings of the Palestinian Red Crescent or alleged Palestinian eye-witnesses to Israeli killings of civilians, sometimes giving these accounts less scrutiny than reports issued from official Israeli sources. Sometimes, the exaggerations are subsequently corrected, but the problem with lies is that once spread, they're awfully hard to kill.

HOW DID THEY DIE?
And were we to examine Matza's own recent work, we find that he is not following up as closely on his Palestinian sources as he should. The week after his "Palestinian spin tales" piece, Matza made the cover of the Inquirer on Oct. 11 with an article about the plight of Arab children: "Growing up in Gaza's war zone." In it, he rightly points out the manipulation of these children, but only makes a passing allusion to the fact that in most incidents where Palestinian kids are wounded or killed by Israeli fire, the circumstances are not, as is often portrayed, brutal Israelis firing indiscriminately on civilians.


Talk to any Israeli soldier who has been confronted by crowds of stone-throwing Palestinian adolescents and preteens, and they will tell you that right behind the younger kids with rocks are older teenagers with firebombs. And behind them are Palestinian adults from the terrorist groups such as Hamas and the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade that Matza styles "militias," who are firing assault weapons at the Israelis.


We have a right to ask why Matza, who has already proven to us that he knows his Palestinian sources have a predilection toward mendacity, doesn't go out into the field with either the soldiers or the stone-throwers to see exactly what happens. Instead, he gives us secondhand reports from untrustworthy sources and throws in a few quotes from a local Arab psychologist who blames the deaths of Palestinian kids on traumas inflicted by the Israelis. Though there's nothing wrong with citing this study, it ought to have been balanced by other resources at Matza's disposal, such as those that cite the hatred for Jews taught in Palestinian schools and on official Palestinian Authority television.


These stories show us how important it is for reporters to think seriously about the credibility of their sources and the context of their reporting. Investing in the reliability of liars is a fatal trap for a reporter. Unfortunately, it is a mistake that is made all too often by those covering the Palestinians.

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JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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© 2004, Jonathan Tobin