MEDIA MONITORING by Harry Lesser
The Christian Media
Frank Baigel has continued to monitor the Church of England and the Irish newspapers, while I have continued to read the Tablet weekly and report on matters of Jewish interest. From this activity, three things of importance emerge. The first is that, at the official level, there is a growing sympathy for Judaism, with a condemnation of anti-Semitism, respect for Jewish values and a wish to increase dialogue. This is especially evident in the Catholic Church since the appointment of Pope Francis. Secondly, again at the official level, articles on the Middle East, including Israel/Palestine, are on the whole accurate and fair. Thirdly, in contrast to this, there are all in all the Church groups claiming commitment to the Palestinian cause (though what they advocate is often to the disadvantage of the Palestinians) whose criticism of Israel is biased and frequently untrue: they write letters, sometimes contribute articles, and work generally to have their views officially adopted. So our job is, by every appropriate means, to support the first two developments and resist the third.
Again, there are two pieces of good news and one of bad news. The first good news is that in Manchester, unlike some other campuses, anti-Semitism is currently not a problem, though people must always be vigilant. The second is that the Centre for Jewish Studies continues to be very active in teaching, research and seminars: for details, go to its website. The sad news is the death of Leon Yudkin, who retired some years ago from the Department of Middle Eastern Studies. We have lost a first-class scholar, particularly in the field of modern Hebrew literature.