20140701063932Last month, CAMERA’s Fellow at SUNY Buffalo, Logan Woodard, worked with his board to craft a letter to The Spectrum, SUNY Buffalo’s student paper.

The pro-Israel group at the university, Students for Israel, worked with StandWithUs to host an event on campus, which was to be covered by The Spectrum.

The resulting story was less than accurate in its depiction of the event, its organizers, and its reaction. UBI, of which our Fellow is Vice President, sat down together to tackle the mendacity head on.  Their letter to the editor, published here in The Spectrum, is reproduced in full below.

Dear Editor,

We really believed you and the Spectrum when you assured us that no other unbalanced story would be published. Unfortunately, that trust was breached with your recent coverage of theStandWithUs event put on by UB for Israel. The story was filled with multiple misquotes and fallacies, and was blatantly biased.

The list is fairly long, but we will mention a few key points:

Firstly, of people in attendance, your journalist quoted two pro-Israel students, and FIVE anti-Israel attendees, including a professor. Not even including the misquotes of the pro-Israel students, the Spectrum once again underrepresented the pro-Israel community.

Several UBI club and board members even witnessed your journalist interview an Israeli faculty member, who served in the Israel Defense Forces, and she chose to leave out his account. She also chose to ignore that Jim Holstun, an English professor, swore loudly at the Israeli.

Second, the journalist failed to mention that the anti-Israel students and faculty member continuously interrupted Charlotte during her talk and question and answer session. One anti-Israel student is quoted as saying “I thought it was also very unfair due to the fact that I raised my hand multiple times and for long periods of time yet I was not called on once.” Conveniently, it was not mentioned that within the 45 minute question and answer session, Charlotte only took three questions from pro-Israel/apathetic students and spent the rest answering anti-Israel questions.

Most upsetting are the misquotes. The published article contains a summation of a true story told by Charlotte about a boy named Danny. Emma wrote that Danny was a four year old Palestinian child living under the “reality of terror” as a result of the Israeli government, who practically lived in a bomb shelter. That is false. First, Charlotte specifically told that story to give the perspective of living as an Israeli under attack by Hamas. Danny was a four year old Israeli who was living in a bomb shelter because of the rockets that Hamas continuously fire at Israel. Emma completely changed the story- that far surpasses biased journalism, almost into the realm of bigoted journalism. Second, anybody can see right through the false reporting as there are no civilian bomb shelters in Gaza since Hamas would rather use their citizens as human shields for their weapons.

Both instances our president, Benjamin Balderman, was quoted in the article are incorrect. He specifically explained to your journalist that Palestinian textbooks in both the West Bank and Gaza state that the Jews are devils and should be exterminated. We told her that if the Palestinian children were taught peace instead of hate, as Israeli school children are taught, then this conflict would be over.

Further, we are indeed UB for Israel. We have no idea why the Spectrum decided to write otherwise. That topic never even came up during any of our interviews.

It should be noted that referring to the anti-Israel attendees as “pro-Palestinian” is a false label. Those students and faculty should be deemed “anti-Israel”, which is a distinction between those who truly desire peace and those who wish for the destruction of the one and only Jewish, democratic state in the world.

Last time you and our board spoke, you expressed your gratitude that UB for Israel was still willing to deal with the Spectrum because we understand that mistakes happen. You and the Spectrum apparently were not sincere in your stated goal of fixing your unbalanced and false reporting. This second occurrence is unacceptable.

With this opportunity, we would like to encourage all of your readers to like “UB for Israel – UBI” on facebook.

Shana Tova– Happy New Year,

UB for Israel Board:

Benjamin Balderman, President

Logan Woodard, Vice President

Yulia Shtork, Treasurer

David Perl, Secretary

Emily Hill, Communications

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