One of the regular columns designed to fill the need for NIA material is called the Quiz. It is written by a member of an Israel-hating group called Jewish Voice for Peace (remember Muzzlewatch?), who takes every opportunity to present a biased view of Israel.
Would an innocent-looking weekly syndicated children’s quiz column – often found in the comics section – be used to inculcate anti-Israel views?
Yes – when it’s ‘The Quiz’ produced by Judith Laitman, whose public utterances (see below) habitually condemn Israel for alleged mistreatment of the Palestinians, whom she holds blameless. Ms. Laitman is owner and president of ‘Knowledge Unlimited Inc’ which distributes ‘The Quiz’ weekly to newspapers across the U.S., including the Dallas Morning News and the Daily Hampshire Gazette. The Quiz is also frequently distributed free to schools by the schools’ local newspapers.
Nearly every reference in ‘The Quiz’ to Palestinians is benign or supportive, while nearly every mention of Israel is very negative:
In the March 3, 2008 Quiz column , the Newsname section asks the child to name the man pictured who is ‘president of the Palestinian National Authority…[and who is] often seen as the Palestinian voice of moderation by Israel and the West.’ While failing to mention the daily Palestinian firing of barrages of rockets from Gaza at civilians in the Israeli cities of Sderot and Ashkelon precipitating Israeli actions, the Newsname text goes on to say, ‘In the past few days, Israeli attacks on Gaza killed more than 110 Palestinians, including 22 children.’
This assertion regarding casualties disregarded Israel’s side of the story. It also misleads, in that a 17-year-old Palestinian combatant launching rockets at Israel may be listed as a ‘child’ by some. The more sober New York Times description said,
‘At least 10 Palestinians were killed on Sunday by Israeli fire, local hospital officials said, bringing the number of Palestinians killed since Wednesday, when the latest surge in hostilities began, to more than 100. Israel says that most of those killed were armed militants, but Palestinian officials say that more than half were civilians, including several children.’ (March 3 by Kershner, Erlanger and El-Khodary).
Another report – a syndicated article by Middle East correspondent Gwynne Dyer – said:
‘Israel says 90 per cent of the Palestinian casualties were fighters; Palestinian sources say half were civilians, including 22 children. Given the crowded living conditions of the Gaza Strip, the latter estimate is more plausible, although it would make no sense for Israeli forces to target civilians deliberately.’
A fill-in-the-blank question in the February 25, 2008 Quiz Worldscope section, ‘Thousands of Palestinians have formed a ‘human chain’ in _____ in protest at Israel’s blockade of the territory,’ omitted any mention that it was a partial blockade of non-essentials and was in response to daily rocket attacks against Israeli civilians from ‘the territory’ (Gaza).
An October 15, 2007 Quiz Worldscope question asks ‘Visiting the Middle East in advance of an upcoming peace conference, who [Condoleeza Rice] said that ‘it’s time for the establishment of a Palestinian state?”
What Rice actually said, according to the State Department transcript, was: ‘frankly it’s time for the establishment of a Palestinian state and it’s time for Israel to live in the security that is going to come with a peaceful and democratic neighbor.’
A January 29, 2007 Quiz Worldscope question refers to the president of Israel who faces ‘charges of rape and other crimes.’ However, no Quiz column contains mention of any Palestinian leader as having been accused of any crime, even though many are responsible for indiscriminate terror and violence against Israeli civilians, which is a war crime.
The January 1, 2007 Quiz Newsplace section – providing an unlabeled map with a question mark pointing to Israel – asks for the name of the Middle East nation that ‘has drawn international criticism for plans to build a new settlement in the West Bank,’ in violation of the ‘roadmap to peace’ agreement. Naturally, insufficient context is provided, such as the violations of the ‘roadmap’ by the Palestinians which have been much more numerous and serious, and which preceded the announcement of the settlement.
Another distortion included at the end: ‘This country also said it will resume bombing raids in the Gaza Strip to retaliate for rocket attacks.’ While it’s notable that rocket attacks against Israel were finally mentioned, no explanation is given that Palestinian rockets are aimed at Israeli civilians (which is a war crime), or that Israeli bombing raids target Palestinian terrorists and their infrastructure – not civilians.
The December 4, 2006 Quiz Newsname section asks for the name of the smiling man pictured, ‘the 39th president of the U.S.’, who has written a new book ‘harshly critical of Israel’s policies towards Palestinians, saying ‘Israel’s control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace in the Holy Land.” While noting that he has been ‘stirring controversy with [his] new book’, the Quiz column makes no mention of any point of view criticizing the accuracy and fairness of the smiling man’s words, and certainly doesn’t mention the Arab terror war or incitement against Jews as being ‘primary obstacles’.
[CAMERA details Carter's errors here , as does CAMERA's book, 'Bearing False Witness' (paperback), available at Amazon Books. ]
A November 13, 2006 Quiz Worldscope question asked which country ‘was heavily criticized for killing 18 civilians, mostly women and children, in a bombing attack in Gaza.’ No mention is made that Israel is responding in self-defense after daily rocket attacks from Gaza against Israeli civilians, or that the target of Israeli attacks are Palestinian terrorists who callously often use Palestinian civilians as human shields.
In the same Quiz, in the Newsplace section, is this distorted description of the Hezbollah-Israel War: ‘Last summer, Israel bombed this nation after the militant group Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers.’ Vital information missing is that Hezbollah began the war by lobbing Katyusha missiles into several communities in northern Israel. Shortly after the missile attacks, a Hezbollah squad infiltrated Israel, killed 3 Israeli soldiers and abducted Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, who are still in captivity.
Ms. Laitman’s lack of objectivity about Israel has been demonstrated in her writings in the Capital Times newspaper (Madison, Wisconsin), including:
*A 300 word letter-to-the-Editor, March 6, 2008, in which Ms. Laitman, identifying herself ‘As a Jew and a member of the Madison chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace,’ praised the Rachel Corrie Play and assailed Israel ‘for the atrocities being perpetrated under the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories.’ Laitman unashamedly likened Corrie to the famous 1940s Holocaust victim, Anne Frank, and ignored the other side of the Corrie story. It should be remembered that Jewish Voice for Peace supports what the group terms ‘divestment from the Israeli occupation’ and it supports those mainline Christian groups pushing such campaigns.
*An April 28, 2007 guest commentary column that provided a litany of inaccurate statistics regarding Israel’s history and Palestinian land claims. It also stated: ‘Sadly for the Israelis, they have now become the oppressors. And the policies of their government have become the greatest obstacle to the peace.’
*A December 25, 2006 letter in which Laitman praised Jimmy Carter and his book while condemning Israel on many counts. She also expressed her frustration with a press that she sees as ‘largely silent about these outrages’:
‘Over the years, the Palestinian people have suffered from a long list of depredations and violations at the hands of their Israeli occupiers…Human rights simply don’t exist for Palestinians in the occupied territories. Not only has the press been largely silent about these outrages, but our politicians, in their fear of criticizing Israel and their eagerness to vilify anyone who does, have been complicit in the unnecessary and tragic suffering of the Palestinians….In his book, Mr. Carter strives for balance. We should be thanking Mr. Carter, not criticizing him…’
(Hat tip: C. Gelfand)
*Contact the Dallas Morning News, Daily Hampshire Gazette and/or any other newspapers you know of that carry ‘The Quiz’ column. Point out the inappropriateness of publishing a column for impressionable children that frequently includes biased, inaccurate, distorted references to Israel, including encouraging children to view Israel as an aggressor pariah nation and Palestinians as moderate blameless victims. Use the material presented in this Alert to make your case.
Managing Editor: Walt Stallings wstallings@dallasnews,com 214-977-8973
The Dallas Morning News
508 Young St., Dallas, TX 75202 P.O Box 655237, Dallas, TX 75265
Main ph #: 214-977-8222
Editor: Robert W. Mong, Jr. 214-977-6828
* Editor: Jim Foudy firstname.lastname@example.org
Daily Hampshire Gazette
115 Conz Street, Northampton, MA 01060 413-584-5000, 413-665-5000, 413-585-5309
* Please let CAMERA know if you wrote a letter or made a phonecall. Send blind copies of your letter(s) to: email@example.com