Wiesenthal Center Proposed Code of Ethics for Journalists on "Anti-Semitism in the Media"

June 21, 2011

Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Center's Director for International Relations (pictured), presented the following draft Code of Ethics for Journalists to the conference of the European Jewish Press on "Antisemitism and the Media" in Brussels:

—The State of Israel has the right to be judged by the same criteria as all other States.

Disputes about Israeli polices are legitimate on a par with criticism of domestic or foreign policy of all other States.

Israelis and the Jewish diaspora must enjoy individual and group rights and obligations equal to those of all other ethnic, faith and national identities.

Criticism of Israel and of diaspora Jewish communities must consciously exclude invidious Holocaust parallels and stereotypical anti-Semitic tropes and slurs e.g. deicide, blood libels, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, world domination, conspiracy theories, Shylock-style money-grubbing imagery etc.

Media endorsement of the boycott of Israel constitutes discrimination and exclusion, also contravening freedom of commerce.

Media serving the cause of anti-Semitism sets a threshold for bigotry against all national, ethnic, faith and gender communities on the principle that all hate, no matter whom it targets, is indivisible.

The Jew is a tactical target for the hate monger, whose stategic goal is the dismantling of democracy, thereby also threatening media freedoms.
As the late Simon Wiesenthal stressed: "What begins with the Jews never ends with them"

The journalist is responsible for his stories. Thus incitement to hate and violence must be viewed as complicity in the consequences and not as freedom of expression.

Propagators of deliberate slurs against the State of Israel (e.g. the harvesting of body organs) and, by association world Jewry, must realize that they may incur a penalty, such as ad hominem defamation and group libel suits.

Internet empowers and magnifies the impact of slander in time and space, creating eternal reference-points in cyberspace for infinite global regurgitation. This sad archive must serve to educate the journalist to the dangers, resonance and ramifications of anti-Semitic discourse.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

For further information, please contact Dr. Shimon Samuels at +336 09770158, join the Center on Facebook,
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