THUMBS UP to Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby for fearless, factual commentary on important topics ignored by many journalists, such as the dangerous phenomenon of Arab anti-Semitism. Jacoby observes that the lack of media focus on the issue “is perplexing” since the Arab-Israeli negotiations get covered in detail. “American and European journalists pay great attention to the Arab world’s diplomatic dealings with the Jewish state,” he writes. “How odd that they pay almost none to what Arabs and Muslims actually say about Jews.”
Jacoby does pay attention to what Arabs and Muslims say, reporting to readers the specific content of anti-Semitic canards spread in Arab media, schools and mosques.
Daring to question Muslim groups in America about their near total silence in the face of oppression by their co-religionists also places Jacoby in a minority of journalists prepared to buck popular fashion. In a June 24, 1999 column, he urged Muslim Americans to speak out for 13 Iranian Jews imprisoned in Iran, almost certainly on false charges.
Calls for release of the Jews … come from around the world. The governments of Argentina, Canada, Germany, Israel, Italy, Russia and the United States have expressed concern; so have the European Union, Amnesty International and the Dalai Lama.
But, he wrote, from America’s Muslim community, there has been “mostly — silence.” In contrast, Jacoby noted, Muslim groups are vocal in protesting unflattering media and Hollywood images of Muslims.
Jacoby revisited the subject in a January 6, 2000 column in which he singled out for praise little known Muslim moderates whose voices are drowned out by the extremists.
Jacoby’s unflinching columns often prompt sharp reaction, a measure of how unusual is the coverage of such key information.