Press Release

Report: London Review Of Books Has 'Distinct Anti-Israel Bias,' Gives Platform To Israel Bashers

New York, NY, November 22, 2010 … The London Review of Books, a U.K.-based literary magazine that accepts taxpayer money, has for the past 10 years depicted Israel in a "uniformly negative light," according to a new report released in the U.K. last week by the watchdog group Just Journalism, which is being released in the United States in cooperation with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

The report, titled "London Review of Books: Ten Years of Anti-Israel Prejudice (PDF)," presents a comprehensive review of 92 articles appearing in the LRB and commissioned to external writers on the subject ofIsrael or the Palestinian territories between June 1, 2000 and May 31, 2010.

The contributors perhaps most associated with the London Review are Professors John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen M. Walt of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, co-authors of the 2006 essay, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," an anti-Jewish screed that posited that the U.S. government and Congress were beholden to the Israel lobby to the detriment of broader U.S. interests in the Middle East.

"This eye-opening report carefully analyzes how the London Review of Books is a propaganda vehicle for distinctly anti-Israel perspectives. Its damaging impact extends far beyond the borders of theU.K.," said Abraham H. Foxman,ADL National Director. "The London Review of Book's unvarnished bias and hostility toward the Jewish state has gone hand-in-hand with sympathetic portrayals of terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, while routinely giving a platform to notorious Israel bashers such as Mearsheimer and Walt and others."

In 2009 the LRB published "The Lobby Falters," another essay from Mearsheimer suggesting that the pro-Israel lobby was "…one opponent (President Obama) is not willing to challenge."

Among the other findings of the Just Journalism report:

  • The LRB consistently portrayed Israel as a bloodthirsty and genocidal regime out of all proportion to reality, while sympathetic portraits abounded of groups designated as terrorist organizations by theUnited Statesand British government, such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
  • While the Palestinian narrative was fully represented, Israel's narrative on its legitimate security concerns, Arab rejectionism and terrorism was nearly absent.
  • LRB has received more than 767,000 pounds in taxpayer funds from the Arts Council England.

According to Just Journalism Executive Director Michael Weiss, the report's findings reveal, "A stunning one-sidedness in the London Review of Books on a hugely complex issue. There is no effort to showcase a range of views on Israel-Palestine or to take Israel's legitimate security and political concerns seriously."

Added Benny Morris, professor of history at Ben Gurion University of the Negev: "Many contributions are no more than pro-Arab propaganda. On the face of things, it would appear that sending taxpayers' pounds their way is misguided if not downright hostile toward Israel – which is not British government policy."

Just Journalism is an independent research organization focused on how Israel and Middle East issues are reported in the U.K. media.