Hi Folks,

Here is a response I received from Ira Glass of "This American Life."  I
have also received a notice that the email sent to WYEP was forwarded to
the General Manager, Programming Director, and Development Director.

Our emails are effective.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 9 Mar 2003 19:17:54 -0600
From: Ira Glass <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: Jacques Katz <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: Re: Fwd: Withdrawal of support

Dear Jacque Katz,

Thanks for the email.  I could quibble over facts (my research shows
the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near
East put the number of deportees at 726,000; it was Israel which put
the number near 500,000; the British said 810,000 in 1949) but I
agree I should've mentioned the Jews who were expelled from Arab
countries as part of our story.  Also: although I tried to make clear
that Israel was being attacked by five countries that wanted to
destroy it, I could have emphasized that more forcefully.

The reason that I didn't mention the Jews expelled from Arab
countries is that in the four books I read and the dozen interviews I
conducted for the story, it never came up.  I didn't know about it.
Those books confined themselves strictly to the story of what
happened in Israel.  My Israeli interviewees -- all of them,
including the historians, fervently pro-Israel -- never mentioned it.
I agree it changes the moral equation and - more to the point -
explains why Israelis sort of shrug when asked about the expulsions
of Arabs.

Which is to say, we screwed up.  I'm going to fix this in the version
of the story on our website and for any future rebroadcasts.  The
upside to having non-experts take on subjects like this is that often
non-experts can get at the basic questions most people want to hear
about.  The downside is something like what happened here.  Though
dozens of hours were spent on this story, trying to get it right, it
wasn't quite right.

I don't have an anti-Israel bias.  If it sounds like I do, then
that's a failure of craft on my part as a writer and producer.  In
the story you heard, I was curious to hear what the history was, and
- more important - to hear what Israelis thought of these historians.
Clearly we mucked it up if it came off the way you heard it.  A few
months ago when we did an hour-long show from Israel, the mission was
the same: to get a sense of how Israelis (and Palestinians) were
viewing their situation these days.  Hopefully you think that in that
hour we handled it more cleanly.

Anyway, I respect your decision to withhold support or whatever you
choose to do next.  You should know that I agree with the criticism,
appreciate the time you took to write, and plan to patch it up as
well as can be at this point.

Best regards,

Ira Glass

>>X-Authentication-Warning: condor.cnbc.cmu.edu: jakatz owned process doing -bs
>>Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2003 14:35:07 -0500 (EST)
>>From: Jacques Katz <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
>>Subject: Withdrawal of support
>>Dear This American Life,
>>I have been a "This American Life" listener for many years now, and have
>>even purchased a portable radio to allow me to listen when I'm not at
>>home.  I believe that the This American Life has been an entertaining and
>>often insightful show.
>>Unfortunately, I wished to inform you that as of today, I have made the
>>decision to withdraw all monetary and other support from our local
>>stations carrying your show, and will encourage others to do so as well.
>>To make sure that there are no misunderstandings about this decision, let
>>me state it clearly:  This American Life, and Ira Glass in particular,
>>have shown an ever increasing anti-Israel bias.  The existence of the
>>State of Israel and her place in the world directly affect the quality of
>>my life.  I will not knowingly support, directly or indirectly, any
>>institution that seeks to undermine the State of Israel.
>>The most recent episode 232, "The 'Real' Story," was the final indignity.
>>In purporting to shed light on the definitive "real" story, This American
>>Life tells about the flight of ~700,000 Arabs from the land of Israel in
>>the war of Israeli Independence.  This historical fact is something with
>>which few would argue (though officially, the UN sets the number at
>>500,000, and the Arab League claims there were 650,000).  The problem is
>>that This American Life chooses to ignore other essential pieces of
>>history in favor of spinning an "interesting," and heavily biased piece.
>>- No mention is made of the ~700,000 Jews who were expelled from Arab
>>lands in the same time period (Al-Nahur (Beirut), May 15, 1975;  also,
>>United States Committee for Refugees, 1981 world refugee survey, p. 27).
>>- No mention is made that some ARAB leaders suggested even before the
>>conflict that this would be a fair population exchange (Mojli Amin, Arab
>>Defense Committe for Palestine, May 16, 1939).
>>- No mention was made that such population exchanges have a historical
>>preccedent, and have happened on a much larger scale, between Greece
>>(1,250,000 refugees) and Turkey (355,000 refugees) in 1923, and between
>>India (8,500,000 refugees) and Pakistan (6,500,000 refugees) in the 1950s
>>(US committee for Refugees, 1969 Report).
>>- No mention was made that the Arabs were in fact getting the better end
>>of the deal as the assets left behind by Jews in the Arab world were in
>>fact greater than those being left behind by Arabs leaving Israel (Maruice
>>Roumani, "The Case of the Jews from Arab Countries: A Neglected Issue",
>>1975, p. 82).
>>- No mention is made that of the tens of millions of refugees and dozens
>>of host countries worldwide, the only instance in which host countires
>>refused to asssist properly, or even to accept aid in the permanent
>>rehabiliation of their refugees, occurred in the Arab States (United
>>States Committee for Refugees, 1975-76 report).
>>These are neither small nor inconsequential facts.  They are readily
>>available to anyone willing to do a little bit of research.  I can only
>>conclude that the programming of This American Life is either biased or
>>uninformed, both of which constitute poor radio.
>>The decision then, is a simple one.  I have chosen not to support This
>>American Life because This American Life does not support me, or any Jew
>>in North America.  This is not however, an irreversible decision. To the
>>extent that This American Life eventually decides to work towards a
>>positive change in the their portrayal of Middle Eastern and Israeli
>>affairs, my support, monetary and otherwise, may again be directed towards
>>This American Life and those stations that carry it.  I would, if at all
>>possible, appreciate being informd as to any steps made in this regard.
>>Jacques Katz
>>Jacques Katz
>>Ph.D. Student
>>Department of Psychology &
>>Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition
>>Carnegie Mellon University
>>5000 Forbes Ave.
>>Baker Hall, 455d
>>Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
>>USA  15213
>>Tel. (412) 268-8115
>>Fax. (412) 268-2798

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