The fifty days of Operation Protective Edge in 2014 was a bad time for Jews. It was bad for Israelis for obvious reasons. But Jews in places as far apart as Britain and Australia were also under attack – from Israelophobes, anti-Semites and a hostile media as well as politicians. Jewish homes, business and places of worship were attacked. Individuals were physically assaulted. The international boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) movement was in full swing, calling for an end to arms exports to Israel and an economic and cultural blockade on all things Israeli (including Israeli people).
But despite the attacks and the abuse, Jews in Israel, Britain, Europe and from around the world, stood firm. Facebook and other forms of social media became essential tools in the fight against anti-Semitism. Many decided to take action by staging counter-demonstrations or setting up grassroots organisations. One such grassroots organisation to be established during the summer of 2014 was the Jewish Media Agency (JMA), founded by Lara Kroll.
JMA is a social media operation, an online hub if you like, set up to tackle and provide a voice against the media’s complicity in anti-Semitism. Israel is notoriously bad at defending its best interests in the face of a powerful propaganda machine run by the Palestinians and their supporters.
One of the aims of JMA is to provide a counterweight to the negative news coverage of Israel whilst also highlighting instances of anti-Semitism and Israelophobia in rival news organisations, as well as from politicians, governments, NGOs, charities, etc.
Lara Kroll, founder of JMA, comments:
“No one was collating the fast and furious news developments against Israel, against our race, our people. By harnessing social media, we could respond quickly to breaking news, developing news stories and also write our own opinion features. The team at JMA all share a vision and passion to promote global Jewish news, to advocate for Israel and to stand up to the bias of the global media giants such as BBC and CNN.”
Our team of pro-bono volunteers gathers and distributes opinion and news relating to Israel and Jewish issues. We are distinctive in the sense that we use Facebook and Twitter as our main medium, although we do have a website http://www.jewishmediaagency.com.
Relevant news stories from around the world are collected by our team of volunteers and published as rolling news on our Facebook site and tweeted out. We also produce original content in the form of op-eds and features. The writing team is diverse, with voluntary writers and reporters in Britain, Israel, Canada, Australia and South Africa.
We live in a world where The New York Times is seven times more likely to publish pieces that are primarily critical of Israel than those primarily critical of the Palestinians. CNN and the BBC do not report that Arab terrorists are stabbing and running over Israelis, only that Israelis are victims of knife attacks and rogue drivers. During Operation Protective Edge, broadcasters were unwilling to show images of rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. JMA refuses to let the media industry get away with such shocking lapses of judgement.
We are interested in one thing and one thing only: exposing those who undermine and demonise Israel and the Jewish people. This is not to say we are uncritical of Israel. As with any other country in the world, Israel has its faults and problems. No country is perfect. Not everyone at JMA is a supporter of Benjamin Netanyahu. The problem lies in the fact that Israel is held up to an impossibly high standard by a world that apparently wants the Jewish state to fail.
We are six months old, learning and growing. We don’t purport to be perfect and perhaps we have misjudged things on occasion. But we are doing our very utmost to rebalance the perspective on Israel and to act as an alternative source of news for those who have grown sick of a diet of lies and deceit.
So if you’re already a follower of JMA, then thank you. We appreciate your support. If you’re new to JMA, please join us. We’d love to have you on board.
Richard Mather, Editor-in-Chief,
Lara Tiger Kroll, Founder of JMA,
JMA team, UK, Israel, South Africa, France, Australia, USA