Israeli-Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh is in town, with both the Sydney Morning Herald (toda Miranda) and The Australian (toda Rebecca) sufficiently impressed to serve up his "insights." Here's Abu T's bio in both papers:
"An Israeli citizen and Arab Muslim, one of 1.4 million Arabs in Israel, Toameh first worked for the PLO newspaper Al-Fajr, where he said editors waited for instructions from Yasser Arafat about how big his picture should be and what should be on the front page. Wanting to be a 'real journalist', he went on to work for foreign news organisations, such as BBC and CNN, where his high-level contacts on both sides and courageous independendence provided invaluable insight." (Why 'balance of terror' feels safer than the peace process, Miranda Devine, SMH, 13/5/10)
"Toameh started his career in journalism at the Palestinian newspaper Al-Fajr, but he left because it was not about journalism but propaganda. He says, 'It's ironic that people like me have to go and work in the Israeli media to be able to practice genuine journalism'." (Journalist says only truth will set Palestine free, Rebecca Weisser, The Australian, 15/5/10)
Abu T now writes for a real newspaper, Israel's Jerusalem Post. In fact, the Post is so real (even surreal) it runs t-shirt ads under the heading Don't Mess With Us! Show Off Your Mossad & Israeli Pride, offering shirts bearing such warm and fuzzy messages as: Don't mess with Mossad; Mossad; Mossad's Dubai Operation; and We are watching - Mossad.*
And if that's not real enough for you, there's its editor-in-chief, David Horowitz, the author of such standards of genuine journalism as Still Life with Bombers: Israel in the Age of Terror; A Little Too Close to God: The Thrills & Panic of a Life in Israel; and Shalom, Friend: The Life & Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin.
Abu T's bona fides as a real journalist don't just come from the paper he works for, however. Just look who's sponsoring his visit. None other than those well-known afficianados of genuine journalism, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the United Israel Appeal. I cannot for the life of me, therefore, understand why Amanda and Rebecca, both real, nay surreal journalists, omitted to mention just who was paying Abu T's way.
But the sine qua non of a real journalist is surely the quality of his insights, and my fave Abu T insight, faithfully recorded by Rebecca, is: "If Palestinians are allowed to get on with their lives, things will continue to slowly get better."
[*Jerusalem Post: Profiting from Mossad murder, richardsilverstein.com, 2/3/10]