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Who cares if Murdoch is pro-Israel?

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JTA’s Ron Kampeas filed a story earlier this week about some Jewish organizational leaders being concerned that one byproduct of a News Corp. meltdown could be the muting of the company’s staunchly pro-Israel line:

Pro-Israel leaders in the United States, Britain and Australia are warily watching the unfolding of the phone-hacking scandal that is threatening to engulf the media empire of Rupert Murdoch, founder of News Corp….

“His publications and media have proven to be fairer on the issue of Israel than the rest of the media,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice-chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “I hope that won’t be impacted.”

The Forward’s editor, Jane Eisner, responded with her own blog post, titled "Is Murdoch’s Mess Bad for the Jews?", arguing that such talk misses the bigger picture:

Well, I hope [the pro-Israel bent of News Corp. properties won't change], I guess. But that is hardly what should be on our minds as Jews and as citizens as we watch the media magnate testify before Parliament by dancing around any genuine personal responsibility for the despicable journalism practiced by one of his flagship newspapers. And as we read stories of government corruption in Britain reaching to the highest levels of law enforcement and into the storied halls of 10 Downing Street. And as we hear of real people, ordinary people, harmed by a corporate culture that privileged power and aggression over respect for privacy and common decency.

Britain is Israel’s ally, too, and its current government is being rocked to the core by this scandal. Is that good for the Jews?

In his day, Murdoch was celebrated by some of the big names in the Jewish communal world: American Jewish Congress, Anti-Defamation League. There may have been legitimate institutional reasons to honor him (and his money) but it is becoming clear that his News Corporation has had a deleterious effect on journalism and government in Britain, and perhaps, beyond. We can’t possibly view this ongoing meltdown strictly through the prism of Israel.

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