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September 23, 2009

Leading Her Quiz Column Readers To Dislike Israel

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Judith Laitman, president and founder of Knowledge Unlimited

Judith Laitman is creator and distributor of an illustrated weekly column, typically appearing under the title “News Currents – Current Events Quiz,” in several newspapers across the U.S. (including the Dallas Morning News and Patriot Ledger of Quincy, Mass.). It is also distributed to a number of schools. The column invariably presents Israel negatively, while, in contrast, Israel’s Arab neighbors are rarely, if ever, presented negatively.

Ms. Laitman’s fill-in-the-blanks and other types of “loaded bomb” questions – not requiring an interpretation of the facts - encourage a one-sided, inaccurate view by the reader. The “loaded bomb” type of question was in the news recently in Canada when the Canadian province of British Columbia, acknowledging faulty judgment in formulating a particular question encouraging anti-Zionism, removed the question, which was part of a practice history test, from its Web site.

Ms. Laitman is at it again after a relatively quiescent period following CAMERA’s 2008 report exposing Ms. Laitman’s problematic quiz columns from 2006 through 2008:

Sept. 7, 2009 #7: "The U.S. government is condemning Israel’s reported plans to build new settlement homes in the Palestinian territory of (CHOOSE ONE: Gaza, the West Bank)."

Aug. 31, 2009 #9: "Ehud Olmert, former prime minister of (fill in the blank), was indicted Sunday on corruption charges that led to his resignation last year." While the column is quick to provide a question related to an Israeli leader charged with illegal activities, no such question can be found related to any Palestinian leader in any quiz column.

June 15, 2009 Worldscope section: "Pressured by the U.S. government, Israeli Prime Minister (fill in the blank) called for the establishment of a Palestinian state, but attached numerous conditions that angered Palestinians." There is not even the briefest mention by Ms. Laitman that the conditions could be related to legitimate issues including security ones.

April 27, 2009 Worldscope section: “Palestinian President (fill in the blank) said that he would not resume peace talks with Israel unless Israel freezes settlement-building on Palestinian land.”

This section, whose answer is “Abbas,” typically fails to characterize Mr. Abbas negatively which is in contrast with the quiz column’s typical characterization of Israeli leaders. Ms. Laitman apparently believes it’s unnecessary to provide quiz questions that point out Mr. Abbas’ refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, or that the recent Sixth Fatah General Congress, presided over by President Abbas, glorified terrorists and terrorism against Israel, such as warmly hailing the Fatah terrorists who perpetrated the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre which killed 38 civilians. Likewise, where has Ms. Laitman used a question related to Mr. Abbas’s Ph.D. thesis (which he yet to repudiate) which promoted Holocaust denial? Likewise, where is there a quiz question pertaining to Mr. Abbas’ fund raising activities, as an ally of Yasir Arafat, for terrorist activities such as the Munich massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes?

February 16, 2009 Worldscope section:

Israel announced its plan to take control of more land in the Palestinian area called (fill in the blank) paving the way for 2500 settlement homes.

This question about the Jewish town of Efrat could have been much more accurately worded as:

The Palestinian Authority has raised objections to Israeli citizens building up to 2500 homes on empty, Jewish-owned land in the city of (fill in the blank) located in an Israeli-administered area of the West Bank. This city is expected to be incorporated into Israel after a peace agreement is signed.

Judith Laitman’s likely intention in the formulation of the quiz column’s “loaded bomb” questions about Israel, virtually all of which cast the country in a negative light, is to lead readers to have negative views about Israel. This is a logical conclusion given Ms. Laitman’s public record of condemnation of Israel (documented in CAMERA’s 2008 report).

Posted by MK at September 23, 2009 04:00 PM

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