Just Journalism

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Just Journalism (JJ - Company Number: 06345885) was a pro-Israel media flak group which claimed to 'promote accurate and responsible reporting about Israel in the British media.' It was a partner organisation of the neoconservative Henry Jackson Society. [1]

It closed down in September 2011, reportedly due to a lack of funds.[2]

Background

According to an 11 January 2008 report in the Jewish Chronicle: 'A new London-based organisation dedicated to monitoring and analysing press coverage of Israel is to be launched shortly with a full-time staff. A spokesperson said that staff were being recruited and the aim was to ensure a “professional, dedicated effort” to examine whether Israel receives fair coverage in the media. The organisation, which is yet to be named, was in the “early stages of development”, she added. It would not compete with other Israeli lobbying groups such as Bicom, the Britain-Israel Communications and Research Centre, which seeks to present Israel’s case to journalists. It would be keen to co-operate with communal organisations.'[3]

Despite the suggestion that the organisation was 'yet to be named' in January 2008, the domain name for Just Journalism was registered on 26 July 2007 by Debra Wise[4] and a holding page was in existence between at least 12 December 2007 and 15 March 2008. The website went live on 27 March 2008.[5][6][7] According to the Jewish Chronicle, other than Adel Darwish, the organization's professional team included Israeli lawyer Elisheva Mironi and two researchers.[5]

On 27 March 2008 the organization got a plug from the Jewish Chronicle and the Jerusalem Post.[5][8] On 31 March 2008 the organization was promoted by Melanie Phillips on her Spectator blog.[9] All played the Egyptian origins of the JJ director. Its first reports on news items were on 'Channel 4, March 7 2008 by Jonathan Rugman', 'Tensions that set off a rebellion The Times, March 8 2008' and 'Hamas's battle for hearts and minds The Economist, March 27 2008'. It had posted 8 reports of alleged anti-Israel bias by 18 April 2008.[7]

Activities

JJ published daily commentary on the media coverage of Israel and produced longer reports on particular themes, e.g., the coverage of Israel at 60, the assault on Gaza, and the Freedom Flotilla massacre. JJ's main pressure tactic was to accuse media institutions of a lack of 'balance,' demanding that more Israelis be given a chance to voice their opinions. JJ's reports were mainly carried by the Jewish and Israeli press, and by pro-Israel bloggers like Melanie Phillips and Harry's Place.

A McCarthyist witch-hunt

In March 2009, Adel Darwish announced on his blog that he had resigned from JJ in December 2008. He warned that the overzealousness of the organization's principals risked turning it into 'a Maccarthist which-hunt'[sic] of fellow journalists'. He also noted:

One significant handicap from which the project suffered from the start was the absence of any analyst or researcher with journalistic experience. Although they were excellent researchers of good academic minds (one was a lawyer), dedicated and enthusiast about the work; they lacked the experience of being reporters on the ground and were never exposed to newsroom culture. This resulted, sometimes in researchers being overzealous or under the illusion that unless they find reports and media news item that breached the code of good journalism it means they were non productive...
As weeks and months passed, it was obvious that within Just Journalism, there was two irreconcilable views of media reporting on Israel. Mine, seen from a standpoint of a long experience in journalism; and that of the chairwoman, with her commercial background and experience in corporate management who wanted ‘value for money’ which had only one translation ‘as many items on the site as possible’ – obviously items of analysis of unbalanced or biased against Israel, and how many journalists per week were ticked off or contacted to be told that their work did not meet the criteria.[10]

Darwish went on to write that 'It was inevitable that I had to resign since the person who signs the cheques calls the tune. In fact the chairwoman called the tune by instructing staff, who were young, impressionable and also zealous, to place analysis on the website without referring to me as a director.'[10]

According to Darwish these concerns also prompted the resignations of Nick Cohen and Tarek Heggy.[10] Cohen's name is no longer listed on JJ's advisory board. However, Cohen's name was listed as a panelist for an event scheduled for 13 December 2010, jointly organized by the Henry Jackson Society, the Jewish Chronicle, and the Israeli embassy.[11]

Targets

London Review of Books

In November 2010, Just Journalism published a 'study' which purported to expose 'an entirely one-sided, fringe narrative, paid for by British taxpayers’ money via Arts Council funding.' The report adds: 'Despite Britain’s alliance with Israel, public money has been used to pay extreme opponents of Israel to pen articles demonising the Jewish state.'[12] Daniel Johnson, the editor of Standpoint magazine who earlier wrote an attack on London Review editor Mary-Kay Wilmers, is (as of 2010) a member of JJ's advisory board.[13] The story was picked up by the ADL, which released and distributed the report on 22 November 2010.[14] It was also reproduced in the Jewish and Israeli press, and by bloggers like Melanie Phillips. [15][16][17] Outside the Jewish and Israeli media the report didn't received much coverage. It received a disparaging mention from Matthew Bell of the Independent on Sunday who noted:

It’s not the most objective report, and one can’t help feeling that they’re over-egging things by claiming that the LRB is propped up by the state: the grants were over 30 years, amounting to around £26,000 a year. And everyone knows the LRB survives only thanks to the deep pockets of its editor, Mary-Kay Wilmers, an American heiress who, besides, is herself Jewish. The timing is telling, though, as the Arts Council must make cuts of 30 per cent. No prizes for guessing where Just Journalism thinks they should start.[18]

Publications & Coverage

Publications

Coverage

Just Journalism reports were by and large ignored by the mainstream press. Other than Melanie Phillips, Alex Brummer of the Daily Mail appears to be the only journalist from the mainstream who uses them, albeit writing in the Jewish press.[19]

People

Staff

Former Staff

Elizabeth Jay - Chief executive circa 2009 | Adel Darwish - Director March-December 2008[20] | Elisheva Mironi

Advisory Board

2008

2010

Company Directors

Affiliations

Contact, References and Resources

Contact

Website registration 2007

Registrant: Debra Wise
xx xxxxxxxx xxxx
Watford, Herts HA3 4AP GB[4]

2010

Email: contact@justjournalism.com – for all general enquiries
Phone : 020 7837 5960 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              020 7837 5960      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Address: PO BOX 57779, London, NW11 1GS, UK
Website: www.justjournalism.com

Resources

Notes

  1. Henry Jackson Society, 'HJS PARTNER JUST JOURNALISM PRODUCES ORIGINAL QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS OF UK MEDIA'S MIDDLE EAST COVERAGE IN 2010', 19 May 2011.
  2. Simon Rocker, Just Journalism forced to close, 22 September 2011, Jewish Chronicle, accessed 3 July 2012
  3. Bernard Josephs, New Israel lobby ‘not taking on Bicom’ Jewish Chronicle 11 January 2008
  4. 4.0 4.1 Domaintools justjournalism.com, accessed 21 November 2010
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Simon Rocker, New body to monitor media coverage of Israel, The Jewish Chronicle, 27 March 2008
  6. Just Journalism You have reached the future home of Just Journalism, Retrieved from the Internet Archive of 15 March 2008, accessed 21 November 2010
  7. 7.0 7.1 Just Journalism Welcome to Just Journalism, Retrieved from the Internet Archive of 18 April 2008, accessed 21 November 2010
  8. Jonny Paul, UK group tackles anti-Israel media bias, Jerusalem Post, 27 March 2008
  9. Melanie Phillips, Just Journalism, The Spectator (blog), 31 March 2008
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Adel Darwish, Adel Darwish resigned from Just Journalism 3 Months Ago, UK -Politics & World Current Affairs, 10 March 2009
  11. Event: Squaring the Circle? Britain and the De-legitimisation of Israel, scheduled for 13 December 2010
  12. Chris Dyszynski, London Review of Books: Ten years of anti-Israel Prejudice, Just Journalism, November 2010
  13. Daniel Johnson, Mary-Kay Wilmers, Standpoint, January/February 2010
  14. Report: London Review Of Books Has 'Distinct Anti-Israel Bias,' Gives Platform To Israel Bashers, ADL, 22 November 2010
  15. Yaniv Halily, Prestigious magazine fights Israel, YNet, 16 November 2010
  16. Jonny Paul, Literary magazine ‘using public money to demonize Israel’, Jerusalem Post, 18 November 2010
  17. Melanie Phillips, The London Review of Bigotry, The Spectator, 18 November 2010
  18. Matthew Bell, The IoS Diary (28/11/10): Still talking turkey, Independent on Sunday, 28 November 2010
  19. *Alex Brummer, Now proof that the Nakba narrative rules, Jewish Chronicle, 11 July 2008
  20. Adel Darwish, Adel Darwish resigned from Just Journalism 3 Months Ago, UK -Politics & World Current Affairs, 10 March 2009
  21. Just Journalism Advisory board, retrieved from the Internet Archive of 15 April 2008 (Accessed: 20 November 2010)
  22. Just Journalism Advisory board, Accessed: 20 November 2010
  23. Companies House, 288a Appointment of director or secretary, Just Journalism, 16 March 2009
  24. Companies House, 288b Terminating appointment as director or secretary, Just Journalism, 8 May 2009
  25. Companies House, 288a Appointment of director or secretary, Just Journalism, 7 February 2008
  26. Companies House, 288b Terminating appointment as director or secretary, Just Journalism, 1 March 2009
  27. Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens & Michael Weiss, Terrorism and the British Academy, Just Journalism, 22 October 2010