A “pretty strong degree of anti-Semitism” in Europe is at the root of the hostile coverage Israel receives in parts of the European media, media mogul Rupert Murdoch has charged. And as someone who has been a correspondent for a major European newspaper and written for several others, I am inclined to agree with him.
Murdoch, owner of broadcasting and print media throughout the world, made the comments in an interview with the Jerusalem Post while he was in Israel last week as part of the state’s 60th-birthday celebrations.
Murdoch (pictured above) added: “If you go to the BBC, the French press, places like that — they start as hostile, and it’s very difficult to overcome. But you’ve just got to press on and do what you can.”
Almost the only prominent media in the world that give Israel a fair hearing (apart from the National Review of course) are those belonging to Murdoch: Fox TV, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, the British tabloid the Sun. Even Murdoch, however, has at times had to struggle to keep some blatantly anti-Israel coverage, occasionally bordering on the anti-Semitic, out of his European media, which includes the Sky News network and the Times of London.
And even the Fox News ticker tape refers to Palestinian terrorists who bomb Israeli towns as “militants,” while terrorists elsewhere in the world are referred to by it as terrorists.
RUPERT, BUT NOT JAMES, MURDOCH: LIFELONG FRIEND OF ISRAEL
Murdoch has been a lifelong friend of Israel (see, for example, the introduction here.) Less pro-Israel is his son and presumptive heir James Murdoch (pictured below with his father in the background). This may have been an isolated incident, but James Murdoch once referred to the “f–king Israelis” in a meeting with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The revelation was made last year in book published by Blair’s top aide, Alastair Campbell, who was in the room with Blair and the Murdochs when the exchange took place.
The prime minister’s aide said James Murdoch’s outburst drew a rebuke from his father, who said “he didn’t think he should talk like that in the prime minister’s house.”
“James got very apologetic with [Blair], who said not to worry, I hear far worse [about Israel] all the time,” Campbell wrote.
James Murdoch heads News Corp.’s BSkyB satellite broadcasting division.
Note — Last time I praised Rupert Murdoch, I received several anti-Semitic e-mails attacking him, also charging that he “is of Jewish descent.” For the record, he is not. As a young man in Australia he also went out of his way to help aboriginal victims of injustice long before it became fashionable to do so.