In Focus is the Official Blog of the CAMERA on Campus website. We aim to bring to light inaccuracies spread about Israel on the campus and across the world.
Founded in 1982, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America is a media-monitoring, research and membership organization devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East. CAMERA fosters rigorous reporting, while educating news consumers about Middle East issues and the role of the media. Because public opinion ultimately shapes public policy, distorted news coverage that misleads the public can be detrimental to sound policymaking. A non-partisan organization, CAMERA takes no position with regard to American or Israeli political issues or with regard to ultimate solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
CAMERA on the College Campus
Increasingly, campuses have been the scene of propagandistic assaults on Israel. Distorted literature, extreme speakers and false, inflammatory images are all too common, creating harmful misperceptions of Israel. This hostile environment can be intimidating to students seeking fair and objective information on Middle East issues.
CAMERA provides assistance to students through the CAMERA Campus Activist Project Program and CAMERA Fellows Program. This includes assistance in finding speakers, planning and creating events, funding for student groups, and addressing Middle East distortions in campus publications, flyers, rallies and classroom teaching. Students are provided with the support for defending Israel against hostility on campus and distortions.
Inaccurate and distorted accounts of events in Israel and the Middle East are to be found everywhere from college radio stations to network television, from college newspapers to national magazines, and, of course, on the Internet. In recent years misinformation about the Middle East has also surfaced in fashion magazines, architectural publications, encyclopedias, professional reference works, textbooks, and travel guides. Frequently inaccurate and skewed characterizations of Israel and of events in the Middle East may fuel anti-Israel and anti-Jewish prejudice.
CAMERA’s Core Values:
1. An unshakeable belief in the causes of Zionism and Israel
CAMERA knows that strong Zionists do not have to be Jewish- that anyone, anywhere can help to strengthen the Zionist core. We understand, and communicate to our students, that knowledge of the facts and the truth can empower anyone, regardless of race, location, or ethnicity, to stand up for Israel, even in a sea of dissent or apathy.
2. The absolute necessity for truth telling regarding Israel and for confronting lies at every turn
CAMERA knows that training students to write effective articles, letters-to-the-editor, and op-eds is imperative in voicing an accurate, pro-Israel message. Our students’ writing has single-handedly promoted accurate, Zionist coverage of the situation in and around Israel on many campuses. Our students confront inaccuracy in the classroom, in the paper, and on the campus quad.
Our philosophy on speaking openly for Israel enables students to network with activists all over the country, and they recommend our programs to others.
3. The truth must be spoken publicly, with knowledge and confidence
CAMERA is determined to tell the truth of all aspects of the situation in Israel and the Middle East, whether or not they are pleasant for the audience to hear. CAMERA teaches our students that even little-known topics should be covered and understood by the public, especially by the newest generations of leaders- America’s college students. Our students are willing to stand up and educate others about difficult topics, because they are armed with the facts and can therefore not be intimidated into silence.
What people are saying about CAMERA
“We all know that CAMERA’s mission is important not only for the Jewish community, but also for the integrity and vitality of American democracy. It is not just on one occasion that I wished there were an Israeli branch of CAMERA.”
– Democracy activist and Knesset member Natan Sharansky
[Note: There now is an Israeli branch of CAMERA called Presspectiva]
“The answer to false speech is not censorship but more true speech. The answer to half-truth is full-truth. The only people who should and do fear CAMERA are those who should and do fear the truth. … [T]he First Amendment was not erected to help the media but to help the people.”
– Harvard law professor and civil libertarian Alan Dershowitz
“Media misrepresentation of events in the Middle East poses an immediate danger to Israel’s security … and the only way to curb such reporting abuses is to shine the spotlight of public attention on them. CAMERA has the courage to effectively challenge the media to step up to its responsibility to report fairly and accurately.”
– Congressman Tom Lantos
“There is … one source you can rely on when it comes to keeping track of news stories on the Middle East — CAMERA — Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.”
– Mayor Ed Koch