Just Journalism?

I have been receiving emails from an organisation called Just Journalism for about six months now. They describe themselves as “an independent research organisation focused on how Israel and Middle East issues are reported in the UK media.” What they essentially do is campaign and pressure the BBC and the Guardian to (further?) bias their coverage in favour of Israel. Their latest piece, by Carmel Gould, asks the BBC why they haven’t given prominence to the testimony of an IDF soldier injured and alleged stabbed during the assault. This is a short response.
 
Dear Carmel,
 
I’ve just finished reading your latest piece, which seems to be, let’s say, slightly disingenuous in its handling of the facts. Your appeal to the BBC to further bias their coverage in favour of the Israel propaganda narrative is based entirely on the carefully managed leak of information and disinformation from the IDF. A narrative they have had complete control over since the incident, by virtue of the fact they held and continue to hold many of the activists captive.
 
You ask readers to imagine a scenario where Palestinians shoot Israelis dead after being attacked by them with sticks. No doubt it would be roundly condemned, just as Israel’s actions have been. However, in contrast to the international response to Israel’s killing of international aid workers, where the strongest criticism has been to call for a lifting of the illegal blockade and the setting up of a formal inquiry, Israel would likely use a similar attack, with the roles reversed, as a pretence to invade Palestine, to punish the entire population, to destroy essential infrastructure and to further expand Israel’s territory (again). Do you think that’s about right?
 
Imagine a different scenario where Palestinian gunmen boarded a civilian Israeli vessel in international waters, having met some resistance (although, some sources say they may have initiated the violence, Palestinian officials have only released selective parts of video footage), they open fire, killing up to 19 people and injuring possibly 60 more. The gunmen then commandeer the vessel, taking the passengers captive. You also have to try and imagine this scenario taking place in a wider context where Palestine has been subjecting Israeli citizens to a prison blockade, restricting their access to food, medicine and basic individual freedoms. Imagine then a sympathetic pressure group, perhaps called Just Journalism, campaigning for news organisations to promote the Palestinian military narrative at the expense of those testimonies provided by civilians and international aid workers.
 
I look forward to your response.
 
Regards,
 
David
 
Carmel responded just this second:
 
Dear David
 
Many people will not agree with the opinion piece I wrote and they are free to promote their own opposing views. I acknowledged in my article that many questions remain to be answered including about the morality of the blockade. However, my focus is on the media depiction of events on the boat.
 
Kind regards
Carmel
My response:
Dear Carmel,
 
Thanks for the reply.
 
 I’m afraid I find it very difficult to believe your statement that you are simply interested in “media depiction of events on the boat.” Have you called for the IDF to release the video footage of the shooting (and the events leading up to the soldiers boarding the vessel), where an as yet unconfirmed number of people were killed and scores injured?
 
I acknowledge that I am free to “promote my views”, but democracy is not just about advocacy, it is about dialogue and I am taking this opportunity to challenge your views, as you campaign to influence reporting of a state funded news organisation.
 
Regards,
 
David
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