Aj Congress Survey Finds Most Black Press Favorable to Israel

A survey of leading Black newspapers across the country indicates that the overwhelming majority were either favorable to Israel or evenhanded in the news reports and editorials they published on the Yom Kippur War, the American Jewish Congress reported at a meeting of its national governing council. A sampling of the Black press for a seven-week period beginning with the outbreak of the war on Oct. 6 showed only one of 15 Black newspapers’ studied to be opposed to Israel.

Commenting on the findings, Naomi Levine, executive director of the AJ Congress, declared: “The results of this study challenge the frequently-expressed view that the Black community is at best indifferent to Israel and at worst hostile to the Jewish state. At the same time, however, the survey demonstrates that there remains much work to be done by Jewish organizations in pointing out to the Black community that Israel is a democratic movement of national liberation and that the United States has a compelling interest in her survival.”

According to the survey of newspapers (circulation included), those favorable to Israel were: Atlanta Inquirer, 32,000; Chicago Daily Defender, 22,102; Los Angeles Sentinel, 47,084; Minneapolis Spokesman, 13,000; and the St. Louis Argus, 25,000. Those that were “neutral” or “mixed” in their coverage were: Atlanta Daily World, 22,500; Baltimore Afro-American, 34,174 New York Amsterdam News, 75,198; Norfolk Journal and Guide, 23,000; and the Philadelphia Tribune, 38,909.

Showing no significant coverage of the war were: Cleveland Call and Post, 22,020; Detroit Michigan Chronicle, 51,222; Durham Times, 6000; and the Kansas City Call, 13,960. The Los Angeles Herald-Dispatch (34,500) was described in the survey as anti-Israel.

Two newspapers–Muhammed Speaks, published in Chicago by the Black Muslim movement, and the Oakland (Cal.) Black Panther–were not included in the survey because they are regarded as ideological journals, published by organizations, rather than newspapers. Both were “strongly anti-Israel” according to the survey which was conducted by Martin Hochbaum of the AJ Congress Commission on Law, Social Action and Urban Affairs.

The survey examined news coverage, editorials and columns of opinion in assessing the newspapers’ attitude toward Israel. By and large, the study showed, news coverage of the war tended to be straightforward. In the “favorable to Israel” newspapers, both editorials and columnists supported Israel’s cause. In the “mixed” publications, editorials and columnists were frequently on opposite sides of the issue. The anti-Israel newspaper carried feature articles and news that were also vehemently opposed to American foreign policy. The Chicago Defender, which appears five times weekly, published comprehensive news items of the war and had the most favorable editorial comments according to the study.

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