Just Journalism

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Just Journalism was a UK-based research organisation and pressure group,[1] which commented on Israel and the Middle East. Its stated goals were to focus "on how Israel and Middle East issues are reported in the UK media."[2] The organisation published online analyses in response to news stories, reported on "long-term trends", and opinion pieces for external publications.

It was established in the spring of 2008[1] with Michael Weiss as executive director. Just Journalism was closely associated with the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), sharing an office with it.[citation needed]

When Just Journalism was closed, in September 2011, citing "lack of funds" as the reason, Robin Shepherd, international affairs director of the Henry Jackson Society and a member of Just Journalism's advisory board, said: "This is a great pity and the cause of Israel in Britain will be the poorer for it."[3]


Just Journalism analysed the British media’s coverage of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, as well as related Middle East topics, such as the Iranian nuclear programme,[4] the status of human rights in Arab states,[5] and the conditions of Palestinian refugees outside of the West Bank and Gaza.[6]

The organisation also engaged in "events and activities" about "journalistic accountability",[2] such as the December 2010 conference, titled "Squaring the Circle? Britain and the De-legitimisation of Israel" and organised jointly with the Henry Jackson Society, which took place in London.[7] The event, co-sponsored by Bank Hapoalim and The Jewish Chronicle, featured as panelists academic, lawyer and bioethicist Ruth Deech; Observer columnist Nick Cohen; Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom Ron Prosor; Times editor Daniel Finkelstein; and Friends of Israel Initiative Executive Director Rafael Bardají.[8] It was chaired by Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard.[7]

Media coverage[edit]

Just Journalism’s work has been mentioned in British, American and Israeli publications such as The Jewish Chronicle,[9] The New Republic[10] and The Jerusalem Post.[11] It has also had opinion pieces published in Haaretz,[12] the Weekly Standard,[13] Standpoint,[14] and The Guardian ’s Comment is free website.[15]


Prize-winning British journalist Melanie Phillips called Just Journalism "a very welcome and desperately-needed initiative", and stated: "This is the first organisation in Britain set up to monitor and analyse media coverage of the Middle East on a systematic, forensic and objective basis. Its notable characteristic is the transparency of its methodology, so that everyone can judge both the material under scrutiny and the way JJ is conducting that scrutiny."[16]

Sharif Nashashibi, founder of Arab Media Watch, has criticized the organisation in The Guardian, following an analysis[17] of British media coverage of the 2009 Israeli election by Just Journalism's chief executive Elizabeth Jay. Nashashibi said that Jay had failed to meet the organisation's declared aims of promoting accurate reporting by "cherry picking quotes" and highlighting "only those alleged omissions and misrepresentations that negatively impact on Israel".[18]

In 2008, Just Journalism's Director Adel Darwish and board member Nick Cohen resigned from their positions, citing disagreements with the organisation's chair and founder[who?], on the issue of neutrality.[19] Just Journalism's media analyst, Chris Lawes, an Oxford University graduate, is now Campaigns Officer for the Zionist Federation in London.[20]


Advisory Board[edit]

Among the members of the group's Advisory Board, according to its website, have been:[21]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Pressure group must keep up pressure", Jewish Chronicle, 9 July 2009
  2. ^ a b Mission Statement Just Journalism website
  3. ^ "Just Journalism forced to close", Jewish Chronicle, 22 September 2011
  4. ^ "BBC News Online continues to downplay Iranian threats" Just Journalism, 3 December 2009
  5. ^ "The Guardian marks ten years of Bashar al-Assad’s regime" Just Journalism, 16 July 2009
  6. ^ "New bill highlights plight of Palestinians in Lebanon" Just Journalism, 18 August 2010
  7. ^ a b Event announcement Just Journalism website
  8. ^ "Herzliya Conference" Event announcement, Friends of Israel Initiative
  9. ^ "Media Monitor says FT blames Israel" The Jewish Chronicle, 4 February 2010
  10. ^ "Obama's Turkish Ally: Denying The Armenian Massacre, Now Threatening an Armenian Deportation" The New Republic, 22 March 2010
  11. ^ "FT sees Israel as main cause of ME problems" The Jerusalem Post, 2 March 2010
  12. ^ "Afghan war logs, ‘war crimes’ and media hypocrisy", Haaretz, 30 July 2010
  13. ^ "What David Cameron Doesn't Know About Turkey", Weekly Standard, 29 July 2010
  14. ^ "Refugees ad infinitum" Standpoint, July–August 2010
  15. ^ Broch, Rafael (2009-08-06). "Erasing facts from Israel eviction story". The Guardian. London. 
  16. ^ Just Journalism, Spectator 31-03-2008
  17. ^ "Taking exception to making exceptions" Elizabeth Jay, The Guardian, 1 March 2009
  18. ^ Nashashibi, Sharif (2009-03-06). "Just Journalism? It's anything but". London: guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  19. ^ "Neutrality was very much at the heart of the dispute between myself and the chairwoman of the board (the lady who founded the organisation) as I insisted on neutrality from the start. I wanted the organisation to develop [and] deal with news coverage of the Middle East in general, and become a source of information and a think tank for the media dealing with the Middle East. Therefore when the lady holding the purse of the organisation and I had different agenda and different aims, I resigned as from 31 December 2008. Also, for the same reason, respected columnist Nick Cohen, whom I [had] persuaded to join the Advisory Board, has also resigned, along with Dr Tarek Heggy, a very prominent Egyptian born international thinker." AdelDarwish.com, 10 March 2009
  20. ^ [1]
  21. ^ Advisory Board, Just Journalism website 2010

External links[edit]