Tuesday, January 17, 2006

When "right" becomes wrong...

I was talking with a friend of mine who works in the Israeli media earlier today, and among the things that I asked this person was how I could begin having my writing featured in more mainstream publications in order to get my ideas out to a wider range of people.

The rest of the conversation went something like this:

Journalist friend: In your writing you (Ze'ev) need to learn how to separate between being pro-right and being pro-Israel.

Ze'ev: What exactly does that mean?

Journalist friend: If you (Ze'ev) want to be able to write for more mainstream publications and organizations, then you need to focus more on the consensus issues.

Ze'ev: Can you give me an example of a consensus issue?

Journalist friend: The right of the State of Israel to exist.

Ze'ev: We must really be going for the lowest common denominator here. I remember when the idea of Jerusalem being the undivided capitol of the Jewish State of Israel was also a consensus issue.

Journalist friend: Not a good idea.

Ze'ev: What's not?

Journalist friend: If you want to write for more mainstream publications, those are the types of things you shouldn't be saying.

I came to the realization that were I to focus my writing on being pro-Israel, as opposed to being pro-right (as my journalist friend defined it), then there would be no real point of my writing anymore. I recognize that my views are not mainstream, but I write from the heart, and I try to bring awareness to the challenges facing the Jewish People and State and what we can being doing to overcome them.

I write about the subjects and ideas that I do, not to win any popularity contests, but because I believe them to be true, and I believe that they present a vision that will lead to the strengthening of the Jewish People and State; a vision which will enable us to fulfill our collective mission and unique destiny in this world.

It is my hope, that in doing so, some people out there just might be inspired by these ideas; inspired or intrigued enough to give these ideas some thought and even spread them around to others; perhaps there may even be a few of you out there who will be so inspired or convinced by some of what I have to say that you just might be willing to help take some of these ideas and help bring them to fruition.

I'm an idealist - I think big and have high hopes, what can I say.

For the time being, any dreams that I may have of making a career in writing are on hold, but at least I still have this blog, along with a few other venues, which enables me to express my ideas to a rather broad audience, and most importantly, if you're reading this, I still have you.

So, whoever you are, and for whatever reason you might happen to be here, thanks for reading, and I'll try to keep things interesting enough to keep you coming back for more.

And if any of you happen to know of anyone who might be interested in hiring a non-mainstream or non-consensus writer (when it comes to issues relating to Israel and the Jewish People), drop me a line.


I know the feeling. I've been in your shoes before (outside of the anonymous bloggers world).

It's hard to find a real job in journalism unless you want to compromise what comes from inside. i can't compromise that, and therefore, my writing is not in demand :-)

but as us your readers, we are glad you keep it coming from the heart... we wouldn't want it any other way.

By Blogger Tovya @ Zion Report, at Wed Jan 18, 02:45:00 AM GMT+2  

One more thing for you to think about also... what you write already makes a huge difference in things that actually count for something (like in the world to come)

I have only been blogging since late July, and I have already convinced two people to make aliyah, and have encouraged dozens of other Jews to become more observant. What possibly could be better than that?

And I KNOW that you have a much greater influence than me, and you have done the same for countless people.

Remember, in the end, all that matters is that we make good on our bargain with Hashem... I'll throw all the Earthly rewards away for His rewards any day.

Be blessed.

By Blogger Tovya @ Zion Report, at Wed Jan 18, 02:52:00 AM GMT+2  

journalism is, practiced in its ideal form, absent of feeling in its attempt to capture feeling. there is no soul in journalism.
there are only attempts at moral equivalency between terrorist and counter-terrorist measures.
you should hold on to your ideals and write for arutz sheva.

By Blogger Pinchas Floyd, at Wed Jan 18, 05:11:00 AM GMT+2  

as an unsuccessful writer, i urge you to continue writing from the heart. otherwise, you risk losing the very reason for what you are writing. unless you are only looking to get paid for what you write, then don't give up the ship. there is always a forum for your words, even if you have to create that forum yourself.

and thanks for the email!

By Blogger bec, at Wed Jan 18, 05:16:00 AM GMT+2  


I think you just made a strong case for Arutz Sheva not being considered journalism.

I totally agree.

Ze'ev - you are a great writer, but not a great journalist. As Phish pointed out, News journalism is not about getting over your point of view, but about telling people what's happening.

As long as this blog continues, I will be here reading.


By Anonymous H, at Wed Jan 18, 07:46:00 AM GMT+2  

Zion, thanks for the nice thoughts. I am not surprised that your blog has inspired others to connect to Israel, decide to make Aliyah, and to Hashem, keep up the good work.

(Personally, I am not aware of any specific sucess stories from my blog, but perhaps there are some out there).

Phish (and Haim), I agree with your point on jounalism and how it is meant to be "objective" and removed from the writiers personal feelings (although in Israel this is almost never the case). It is for that reason that I did not apply for two job openings in the Jerusalem Post that were recently advertised, as I did not feel that iwould be able to fill that role.

I am not looking to be a journalist per se, just ot be in a venue where I can share my writing and ideas relating ot Israel and the jewish People with a wider audeince (and if I can make a living out of doing it as well, mah tov).

Bec, I have vevery intention of continuing to write from theh eart, it's the only way I know how.

Haim, it's nice to know that you're among my most faithful...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Wed Jan 18, 09:34:00 AM GMT+2  

I've begun to think news journalism is dead... Writers writing what they believe is great. It belongs in op-eds. Editors editing news towards their beliefs naturally always happens to some degree, but it used to be something fought against, not for. If mainstream news editors can admit that they are skewing news reports towards whatever their priorities are with pride, well, we've got a bigger problem than free press, we've got an issue of the growing impossibility of a roundly informed populace made up of a self determined informed and thoughtful right, left, and center.

By Blogger Alie, at Wed Jan 18, 11:05:00 AM GMT+2  

Israel is a completely results oriented ideological country - principles to the left here are irrelevant - the idea is to get one's ideas put in practice, let teh facts, elections, morality, etc be damned.
the right must return to being the movement of ideas which will win it elections, then let the 'mainstream' be damned.

By Blogger Out of Step in Kfar Saba, at Wed Jan 18, 11:17:00 AM GMT+2  

Out of Step - my question is, how can one with right-leaning Jewish / nationalistic ideas bring these ideas to the masses and create a movement to bring them to reality?

Having only people who read Arutz-7 exposed to them is not enough.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Wed Jan 18, 11:25:00 AM GMT+2  

I'm not going anywhere either.

But maybe you need to deal with the question of why nobody aside from A7 wants to be exposed to such ideas, before you start planning the revolution...

By Blogger tafka PP, at Wed Jan 18, 11:44:00 AM GMT+2  

PP, 1st, it's not just A-7 that's interested i nthese ideas, they just are the most recognized name.

The simple answer is that the Israeli media, as well as most organizations that speak out on behalf of Israel (The Israel Project...) are run by leftists who are not interested in presenting this worldview or opinions...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Wed Jan 18, 11:51:00 AM GMT+2  

Or that could be the simplistic answer, as opposed to the real reason...

By Anonymous PP, at Wed Jan 18, 01:37:00 PM GMT+2  

I want to go with PP on this one, but I want to take it a step further. You already know what you want to sell, you want to sell an ideal. But the question with sales is not what you sell but who you want to sell it to. So the majority of media is a bunch of leftists, we'll even take that as a bottom line. What does that mean? What do they want to hear? What does it bother them to hear? And how can you repackage your product to sound apealing to that audience. Maybe you still won't sell it all, but you'll at least come closer.

By Blogger Alie, at Wed Jan 18, 02:14:00 PM GMT+2  


I too am a frustrated writer. I have my little niche in the blogosphere. But my influence is limited there. I have a regular writing gig in my community, but no one bigger has had much interest in giving me a bigger (and more lucrative) platform.

What you write is important. You write fine well reasoned essays. You should get a lot of pride that Mere Rhetoric recommended you despite the fact that he clearly disagrees with you on a number of issues. But he sees quality and recognizes it and asks his readers to do the same.

Building an audience is a time consuming and often frustrating enterprise. I've been doing this longer than you have been and I'm not always guaranteed 100 hits a day.

So keep it up. Don't be impatient.


By Blogger Soccer Dad, at Wed Jan 18, 07:04:00 PM GMT+2  

PP - and what might the "real" reason be?

Alie - I think you are making a good point and would be interested in hearing how you think these ideas could be packagedd in a way that would make people who otherwise might not have an interest in these ideas be more receptive to them...

Part of m feels that these ideas are naturally strong and hard to swallow, and that no sugar coating is go to change that - but maybe I am wrong - and I hope that I am.

David, thanks for your comments, as always. I noticed the other day that I was getting some hits from MR... nice to know why.

I know what you mean about trying to build an audience, I'm also floating at the 100 or so hits a day mark - if I had more time to devote otthe blog (and more acuratley, other peoples blogs, I am sure I could increase traffic, but there are only so many hours in the day...)

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Wed Jan 18, 08:05:00 PM GMT+2  

Ideas always have elements, parts that people need to accept piece by piece in order to accept the whole. I think the problem of the right is that there is a lack of ability to disect our own arguments, until what we say to the left has a tendency of coming out more like "you dummy, you think what?" rather than there is value to judaism and value in our land and here's not why but that I care enough to share this with you even if you don't accept it all because that's what judaism is. It's about remembering that there is amount of logic on the side of the right at the moment in that there are left of center intellectuals who think that giving away land for nothing is strategic suiced - we need to be not afraid to site these people clearly and not mix it up with religious reasons that some people will not accept as persuasive, certainly not when they are only experienced as political and forced down one's throats. And - I truely believe this - its about speaking from the heart and with humility, because if that is not what comes first in our relation to our own brethren then we have already failed.

By Blogger Alie, at Thu Jan 19, 12:32:00 AM GMT+2  


You speak about humility, and yet in the same breath you assume that anyone who cares about Judaism and the land would be right wing. Because obviously the only true interpretation of Torah is to be right wing.

Not only is your assumption offensive, it is far from humble.

By Anonymous H, at Thu Jan 19, 10:10:00 PM GMT+2  

No offense, but I'm not seeing where I said that in any breath. I state clearly that a right wing policy and explanation need to be based in the caring about Israel and the land, and that the right wing claim of that needs to be lived and aparent rather than assumed w/out basis. I DO NoT say (please point it out if you disagree) that the left wing is are bunch of soul-less idiots who do not believe in Judaism and think we should jump in a lake, nor do i believe that. To be really fair, I do not even say that the Right has any claim to absolute truth in its interpretations. I do say simply where that interpretation is to be based if we are to have any level of intellectual honesty and validity. If what you find offensive is your assumptions about my unwritten assumptions, please try reading again. "Assumptions" do not come in "breaths." Communication lies in hearing what someone says, not what you assume they think.

By Blogger Alie, at Fri Jan 20, 10:27:00 AM GMT+2  


You said, that the right wing's message should be:

"there is value to judaism and value in our land and here's not why but that I care enough to share this with you even if you don't accept it all because that's what judaism is."

By that, I can only infer that the left, to whom you are talking do not know that there is a value to judaism and our land. I realise that the punctuation is so bad it is hard to understand fully, but I think the inferrence is correct.

Now I DID NOT SAY any of the things you seem to have said that I said (shall we carry on this stupid who said what argument forever?)

By Anonymous H, at Sun Jan 22, 06:55:00 AM GMT+2  

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