In my 17/11/08 post Rambam Alert, I drew attention to the imminent rambamming of a group of 4 Australian journalists, including Paul Sheehan of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian's Janet Albrechtsen. Both Sheehan and Albrechtsen duly sang for their supper in their respective rags. (See my posts Janet's Dream, 28/11/08, & Oriana Fallaci Meets Israeli PR at the SMH, 13/1/09, & OFMIPR 2, 19/1/09)
I note, however, that in today's Australian Jewish News, there were actually 8 journalists on "the Jewish community study mission to Israel," 4 sponsored by the Jewish Board of Deputies (JBD), and 4 by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC). The JBD group, in addition to Sheehan and Albrechtsen, also included Peter Charley, EP of SBS TV's Dateline and Jacinta Tynan of Sky News. The AIJAC group was made up of Margaret Easterbrook (The Age), Alan Kirk (foreign editor, The West Australian), John Roskam (ED Institute of Public Affairs Australia), and Rebecca Weisser (The Australian).
Sheehan is quoted as reporting back to a JBD plenum on 17/2/09: "The highlight of the trip 'was the quality and lucidity of so many of the experts. You simply can't replicate this intensity of experience second hand'." So intense were they that, as the AJN informs us, "Sheehan later wrote in one of his... columns that Israel has a 'plethora of warrior-scholars', people who were once in elite military units and are now members of elite academic institutions." (Journalists delve deeper into Israel on study tour)
Planet Janet confided at same that she was hot to trot for more: "[T]he trip had left her 'brimming with ideas and a deeper understanding of the problems facing Israelis, Palestinians and the complicated patchwork of conflicts that is mistakenly - and with a degree of laziness - described as the Arab-Israeli conflict. As soon as I left, I wanted to return to learn more'."
AIJAC ED Colin Rubenstein told the AJN: "[T]he group 'saw the geographical and strategic dimensions of the country and we exposed them to as many people as we could. You try to convey the reality and the complexity of the situation and they draw their own conclusions."
Pull the other!