Societies involved in intractable conflicts develop cultures of conflict because of experiences that have lasting effects on every aspect of collective life. One product of these cultures is conflict-supporting narratives that provide illumination, justification, and explanation of the conflict reality. These narratives are selective, biased, and distortive, but play an important role in satisfying the basic sociopsychological needs of the society members involved. In these societies, journalists often serve as agents in the formulation and dissemination of these conflict-supporting narratives. The present study analyzes the presentations of narratives of the culture of conflict among Jewish Israeli journalists during Israeli wars in Lebanon. It elucidates the dominant themes of the narratives by content analysis of the news published in newspapers and broadcast on television. In addition, in order to reveal the practices used by journalists in obtaining, selecting, and publishing the news, in-depth interviews with journalists and politicians have been conducted.
The 2014 Israel–Gaza war was the third of a string of conflicts to erupt between the State of Israel and Hamas in neighbouring Gaza and quickly became the deadliest for both sides. Even with the extensive media attention this crisis received, calls for more objective reporting were widespread, as locating sources that were not clearly influenced or reflective of political biases seemed near impossible. This paper seeks to explore the role “cultural proximity” plays in informing casualty count reporting in times of conflict. Qualitative content analysis is conducted on news coverage of the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict in the American daily newspaper, The New York Times, and the Israeli daily newspaper, Haaretz, to assess whether significant differences exist in the way casualty figures are addressed across varying degrees of political and cultural involvement. This research reveals that variations in casualty count reporting do indeed exist across cultural and national contexts, and deems this subject worthy of further research.
Bishara, Amahl. “The Geopolitics of Press Freedoms in the Israeli-Palestinian Context.” In The Media and Political Contestation in the Contemporary Arab World: A Decade of Change (ed. Lena Jayyusi and Anne Sofie Roald; Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016): 161-86.
Surely, a desire to restrict coverage was part of the Israeli authorities’ intentions in limiting journalists’ access to Gaza. However, it is also possible that Israel restricted foreign journalists’ presence not only in order to constrain coverage, but also in order to make it easier for the Israeli military to carry out operations without killing non-Palestinian civilians and thereby provoking international outcry.
While a patriotic tendency in traditional journalism has been intensively investigated, there is much less evidence and fewer analyses of the phenomenon regarding online journalism. In this research, three main indicators of patriotic journalism are addressed: adopting governmental framing, expressing solidarity with the community, and ignoring the enemy’s narratives and positions. These indicators are investigated while analyzing online coverage of a confrontation between Israel and Hamas. A total of 192 online news items on three Israeli news websites were analyzed, in addition to 8344 user comments. The findings reveal that journalists behaved in a patriotic manner like their counterparts from the traditional media. However, users thought it was not patriotic enough. The authors argue that while patriotic behavior in traditional journalism has been often considered as deviant from the traditional objective model of journalism, in the online interactive environment, patriotic coverage of national conflicts might be seen as a natural part of the journalistic work.
This article engages with several pressing issues revolving around ‘citizen witnessing’, with specific reference to the human rights advocacy group, WITNESS. In the course of tracing WITNESS’ development over the past two decades, it offers an evaluative assessment of the challenges its members have faced in promoting a grassroots, citizen-centred approach to video reportage. More specifically, this advocacy is informed by an ethical commitment to advancing human rights causes by equipping citizens in crisis situations with cameras, and the training to use them, so that they might bear witness to the plight of others. In so doing, this article argues, WITNESS offers a tactical reformulation of the guiding tenets of peace journalism, one with considerable potential for recasting anew its strategic priorities.
Tenenboim-Weinblatt, Keren, Thomas Hanitzsch, and Rotem Nagar. “Beyond Peace Journalism. Reclassifying Conflict Narratives in the Israeli News Media.” Journal of Peace Research (early view; online first).
This article presents a general framework for deconstructing and classifying conflict news narratives. This framework, based on a nuanced and contextual approach to analyzing media representations of conflict actors and events, addresses some of the weaknesses of existing classification schemes, focusing in particular on the dualistic approach of the peace journalism model. Using quantitative content analysis, the proposed framework is then applied to the journalistic coverage in the Israeli media of three Middle-Eastern conflicts: the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the conflict surrounding Iran’s nuclear program, and the Syrian civil war. The coverage is examined in three leading news outlets – Haaretz, Israel Hayom, and Ynet – over a six-month period. Based on hierarchical cluster analysis, the article identifies four characteristic types of narratives in the examined coverage. These include two journalistic narratives of violence: one inward-looking, ethnocentric narrative, and one outward-looking narrative focusing on outgroup actors and victims; and two political-diplomatic narratives: one interactional, and one outward-looking. In addition to highlighting different constellations of points of view and conflict measures in news stories, the identified clusters also challenge several assumptions underlying existing models, such as the postulated alignment between elite/official actors and violence frames.
This article presents and discusses the results of an experiment in which television viewers were exposed to either a war journalism (WJ) or a peace journalism (PJ) version of two news stories, on Australian government policies towards asylum seekers and US-sponsored ‘peace talks’ between Israel and the Palestinians, respectively. Before and after viewing, they completed a cognitive questionnaire and two tests designed to disclose changes in their emotional state. During the viewing, they also underwent measurement of blood volume pulse, from which their heart rate variability (HRV) was calculated. HRV measures effects on the autonomic nervous system caused by changes in breathing patterns as subjects respond to stimuli with empathic concern. Since these patterns are regulated by the vagal nerve, HRV readings can therefore be interpreted as an indicator of vagal tone, which Porges et al. propose as an ‘autonomic correlate of emotion’. In this study, vagal tone decreased from baseline through both WJ stories, but showed a slightly smaller decrease during the PJ asylum story and then a significant increase during the PJ Israel–Palestine story. These readings correlated with questionnaire results showing greater hope and empathy among PJ viewers and increased anger and distress among WJ viewers, of the Israel–Palestine story.
Rodgers, James. Headlines from the Holy Land: Reporting the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
Tied by history, politics, and faith to all corners of the globe, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict fascinates and infuriates people across the world. Based on new archive research and original interviews with leading correspondents and diplomats, Headlines from the Holy Land explains why this fiercely contested region exerts such a pull over reporters: those who bring the story to the world. Despite decades of diplomacy, a just and lasting end to the conflict remains as difficult as ever to achieve. Inspired by the author’s own experience as the BBC’s correspondent in Gaza from 2002-2004, and subsequent research, this book draws on the insight of those who have spent years observing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Starting from a historical perspective, it identifies the challenges the conflict presents for contemporary journalism and diplomacy, and suggests new ways of approaching them.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Rosemary Hollis
1 Reporting from the Ruins: The End of the British Mandate and the Creation of the State of Israel