Journalist teaches students to join no party and sign no petitions for any cause — oh except one

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“My Family in Israel” is a piece in Forbes by Richard Behar, an investigative journalist, about his relatives living in Israel suffering from rocket attacks. The piece fully absorbs the Israeli national-security psychosis. “This behavior does not suit human beings,” a relative says, of Palestinians. Another justifies indifference to Palestinian rights by saying that they just want an Islamic fundamentalist state. (This is the same mindset that I encountered in interviews on the street in Jerusalem with Israelis who have forgotten about the two-state solution.)

The most interesting excerpt in Behar’s piece are the paragraphs below. (Thanks to Alex Kane.) They show how a commitment to Jewish history as Behar interprets it trumps his professional ethics. His greatest goal is to guarantee Jewish safety, and in that spirit he’s taken on the fears of the Israeli Jewish community, as his own concern:

These hits and near-hits inspired me to write this column, although the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is something that I’ve stayed away from in my 30 years as an investigative journalist for major media outlets. (My only exception: This expose last year on the deplorable interview of the just-released Shalit by Egyptian state TV.)

When I speak to investigative journalism classes, I advise students not to register with any political party, nor sign petitions for even saving the ice caps. They’re not needed for that. And yet, born a Jew, I’ve come to recognize that my first priority as an investigative reporter has to be to live safely – something 4,000 years of my ancestors’ history had rarely permitted them to do (anywhere in the world).

I’m not going to write a thesis about who started the conflict, or who is right or wrong. I do have strong pro-Zionist views that have evolved over many years and visits – as well as 60+ books on the topic, penned from all sides.

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