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April 6, 2018     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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April 6, 2018

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PAGE 10A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 6, 2018 By Josefin Dolsten (JTA)--The editor in chief of National Geographic Maga- zine made waves when she admitted that the magazine's past coverage was tinged with racism. "For decades, our coverage was racist. To rise above our past, we must acknowledge it," Susan Goldberg wrote in a letter for the magazine's April issue, which marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Lu- ther King, Jr.'s assassination. The letter forced readers and staff to grapple with the legacy of the magazine, which has been reporting on the world's far-flung peoples and places since 1888 and has re- flected-and been a reflection of--all the cultural changes, and prejudices, since then. But Goldberg also made waves in 2014 when she be- came the first woman--and, incidentally, the first Jew--to serve as editor in chief of a magazine that has often stumbled in reporting on women and Jews. "It was a place with a lot of white men," she told JTA, referring to the magazine's beginnings as the journal of the National Geographic Society, an elite club of academics, philanthropists and adventurers interested in travel and exploration. Even an otherwise sympa- thetic article on the Jews in the July 1919 issue suggested Susan Goldberg is Nation- al Geographic Magazine's first female and Jewish editor-in-chief. that their persecution by Christians "increased their intense activity, their cunning in business, in order that they might live at all against such opposition, and it produced in them the traits that are now made the basis for denounc- ing them." In her letter, Goldberg details how she enlisted John Edwin Mason, a scholar of Af- rican history and the history of photography at the Univer- sity of Virginia, to critically examine the magazine's past. He found that the publica- tion largely ignored the lives of African Americans in the United States until the 1970s, while also covering people of color outside the country in a way that perpetuated stereo- types. Natives were pictured "as exotics, famously and frequently unclothed, happy hunters, noble savages--ev- ery type of clichg," Goldberg wrote. In a phone interview with JTA earlier this week Gold- berg, 58, said she was not surprised by Mason's con- clusions, pointing out that racism in the magazine had been written about previously, including in a book by Robert Poole. Some of Mason's most egregious findings did shock her, like a 1916 article on Aboriginal Australians that called them "savages" who "rank lowest in intelligence of all human beings." "It's very difficult to read something like that," she said. Goldberg said the issue of race is especially important in light of recent events, such as the white supremacist and neo-Nazi rally in Charlottes- ville, Virginia, last year. "After Charlottesville, if it wasn't already clear, it became even more clear that we have a very fraught situation going on in the United States with regard to any kind of discus- sion around race," she said. The April issue launches a series of articles on race, which will continue through the end of the year, but Gold- berg felt it important that the magazine first look inward. "I just really didn't see a way to do an entire issue on race, and then spend the year covering race if we didn't look into our history as well," she said. "I just didn't think we would be credible." Goldberg, who identifies as a Reform Jew, grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the grand- daughter of immigrants from Eastern Europe who came to the country in the beginning of the 20th century and settled in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods in Detroit. "These neighborhoods were really so ghettoized that my mother, who was born in the United States, in Detroit in 1927, went to kindergarten when she was five years old [and] she didn't speak Eng- lish, she only spoke Yiddish," Goldberg said. Growing up, her family celebrated Jewish holidays but was "probably more cultur- ally Jewish than religiously Jewish," she said. She was involved in the Habonim La- bour Zionist youth movement, and at the age of 17 she lived for six months on a kibbutz in southern Israel. Though she describes the experience at Kibbutz Grofit as "a fantastic thing to do as a very young woman," she said it made her realize that she did not want to immigrate to the Jewish state. "The lives of the women on the kibbutz were to my way of thinking kind of constrained. You didn't have a world of choice. This was a small kibbutz in the middle of the desert, right on the border of a bunch of other countries, and it just made me realize that it wasn't going to be the lifestyle for me," she recalled. Instead, she set her sights on pursuing a journalism career in the U.S. She enrolled at Michigan State University but dropped out to accept a job as a full time reporter at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. She later returned to Michigan State to pursue a bachelor's degree in journalism. Throughout her career, she has been the first woman in many of her positions, including as managing edi- tor of the San Jose Mercury News, editor-in-chief of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and executive editor of Bloomberg News' Washington bureau. She joined National Geo- graphic as executive editor in January 2014, and succeeded Chris Johns as editor in chief a few months later. Goldberg's letter drew both praise, from those who lauded her for looking critically at the magazine's coverage of race, and criticism, from others who wondered why it took the magazine so long to do so and said the letter did not go far enough in addressing the issue. "I can't explain why other editors haven't done this directly. I'm not criticizing them in any way. What I will say is we're in a moment of reckoning as a society, as a country, where people are will- ing to look back at actions of themselves or their organiza- tions and lay out maybe a lot of really great history but [also] some things that weren't so good," she said. The magazine also plans to focus on Muslims, Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans. Though the mag- azine examines racism and other forms of bigotry there are no plans at the moment to look into anti-Semitism, she said. "That's not to say in the future that we wouldn't, but we don't have anything that we've planned right now," she said. Goldberg, who lives in Washington, D.C with her husband Geoffrey Etnire, a real estate lawyer, said that since starting her position, her "biggest push" has been to increase gender, ethnic and racial diversity on the staff. Currently about a quarter of the staff are people of color. "I just don't think that you are going to end up with authentic stories if you've only got an all-white staff, and a majority male staff, and that is what it was," she said. "We've been working very hard to change it. We're not there yet, but we've been making a lot of progress." nlJt)T Anne Herzberg, the legal counsel for NGO Monitor, was censured by the biased anti-Israel UN body for calling out its anti-Semitic language. By Steve Leibowitz World Israel News In response to her criticiz- ing the apparent use of anti- Semitic propaganda by a UN official, NGO Monitor Legal Advisor Anne Herzberg was called to order for violating the "sense of respect" during Friday's 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council, held in Geneva. Herzberg was addressing language in a report by "UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967" Michael Lynk, which characterized Israel as greedy. Lynk re- ferred to Israel and its role in the Arab-Israeli conflict as "avaricious," "rapacious," and "pathological"--un- precedented language that is well beyond standard UN condemnations of Israel. NGO Monitor will be filing a formal complaint against Lynk for the exceptional language in his report. In addition to an oral statement before the Coun- cil, NGO Monitor published a report describing Lynk as unqualified for his position as Special Rapporteur. Ac- cording to NGO Monitor, Lynk has a history of working with terror-linked and virulently anti-Israel non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in violation of his mandate. The Canadian labor law professor also admitted that he lacks experience in international law, and his 2016 appointment was protested by the Canadian government. "Special Rapporteur Lynk's latest rhetoric is a stark re- minder that he is unqualified for his role," stated Herzberg. "It is completely inappropri- ate for a UN official charged with assessing human rights to behave in such a partisan manner and to use this kind of inflammatory language. We will continue to monitor and expose the use of anti-Semitic language in UN reports as well as Lynk's close partnerships with and reliance on radical anti-Israel groups that dis- credit his work. As long as he continues in his position, he compromises the legitimacy of the entire UN." Inaccurate, unverified, and false reporting Herzberg told World Israel News, "There must be a basic change in the UNHRC char- ter, which mandates them to single out Israel for con- demnation. It brings shame and embarrassment to the UN. They produce about a dozen anti-Israel reports annually, all flawed by inac- curate, unverified and false reporting." Herzberg also points out the UNHRC's lack of transpar- ency. March is the "bash Israel session," said Herzberg adding, "Their 'shtik' this time was the inclusion of anti-Semitic language. I pointed it out and they chastised m e for 'being disrespectful.' I consider their criticism to be a badge of honor. My criticism hit home." Turning to the adoption of five new anti-Israel resolu- tions, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley slammed the Human Rights Council. "They are foolish. When the Human Rights Council treats Israel worse than North Ko- rea, Iran, and Syria, it is the Council itself that is foolish and unworthy of its name," Haley said in the statement, continuing, "It is time for the countries who know better to demand changes. Many countries agree that the Council's agenda is grossly biased against Israel, but too few are willing to fight it." When the focus is on Israel, Haley continued, "the Coun- cil fails to fulfill its duty to uphold human rights around the world." Haley also warned that the US is still weighing whether it plans to remain on the council, adding that Friday's resolutions were another blow to the institution's credibility. "The United States continues to evaluate our membership in the Human Rights Council. Our patience is not unlimited. Today's actions make clear that the organization lacks the credibility needed to be a true advocate for human rights," Haley added. An Israeli arms em- bargo? The most serious of the anti-Israel resolutions was one which called for ending all arms sales to Israel, which passed in a 27 to 4 vote, with 15 states abstaining. International law expert Alan Baker told WIN, "Israel has not been a member of the UNHRC for a number of years. We should now stop all contactwith them. Their reso- lutions have no significance whatsoever and are just non- binding recommendations. The Human Rights Council lost all credibility as a viable organization because of its absolute bias against Israel, while largely ignoring the world's most pressing issues of human rights." Baker's advice is to not get excited. "The media and the political leaders get upset by these resolutions, but they get little publicity outside of Israel. There is no reason for panic, for which I blame on the hysteria led by reporting in the Jerusalem Post," he said. Herzog does not favor the US pulling out of the UNHRC altogether. She toldWIN,"The US has been very supportive in exposing the anti-Israel bias and they are threatening to leave the council. I believe they can have more impact if they remain in the organiza- tion and use their funding as leverage and place conditions on the aide money. European democracies have shown a profound lack of courage. The US should be encouraging other democracies to take the high ground regarding real human rights issues." She expressed no room for compromise when it comes to Michael Lynk. She calls him, "an anti-Israel demagogue" who can have no role in a human rights organization. Custom Printing ~ ~ ~ Imitations & Announcements Digital & Of~ Printing ~ Brochures & Booklets Direct Mail Services Forms & Letterheads Envelopes Business Cards 2o5 North Street Longwood, FL3275o Bring in this ad and receive 18% Discount