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From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true. /FK (Contact: TBONotebooks at fastmail.fm. The Blue Octavo Notebooks welcomes mail, although we cannot guarantee a response. Your email may be posted in part on The Blue Octavo Notebooks unless otherwise requested.) Please enjoy the notebook entries, and thanks for reading.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

The local media is still pretty much ignoring last weekend's Palestine conference, sigh.

In a short article entitled “Jewish groups spar over Palestinians’ conference” on page 8 of the Columbus weekly The Other Paper, Kristen Convery notes, “Last weekend’s Palestine Solidarity conference at Ohio State played out just the way the Columbus Jewish community wanted it to—with minimal ink and air time.”

That sounds about right. As this article shows yet again, despite the conference organizers’ efforts to publicize their event, the local media didn’t take the bait. As noted below, the Columbus Dispatch featured just three stories on the conference, two of which were primarily about the pro-Israel demonstrations. This item from The Other Paper seems to be following the pattern of focusing on the pro-Israel demonstrations and only making passing reference to the PSM’s conference. The rest of the short article is about the Jewish community’s response to the conference, and how this response—that is, opting to ignore the conference so as not to afford the festivities any more publicity—didn’t sit well with some folks, including some of the people who came in from out of town.

The disagreement discussed in the article (sorry, it’s not online; so no link) was not about whether to oppose to conference, of course, but simply about how to oppose it. Thus, rather than demonstrating en masse at the Ohio Union, which would have been easy enough to do (and which a lot of folks in fact did), people in Columbus were encouraged to participate in events elsewhere. These events included a large and very well attended rally Sunday afternoon at the Columbus Jewish Community Center. Among other speakers, this rally featured the president of Ohio State’s Student Government, the chairman of the Conference of presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, and representatives from both the Columbus and Cincinnati Jewish Federations. This event drew people not only from across central Ohio but from Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Dayton, and the views expressed and loudly applauded at the rally were hardly substantively different in effect and intention from those expressed back on campus. And, as the article notes, a lot of folks showed up on campus to protest the conference as well.

As I mentioned once before, the PSM does such an effective job catalyzing and inspiring support for Israel—not to mention generating publicity for pro-Israel supporters and their demonstrations and activities—you’d almost think they were Zionists. Heck, maybe they are.

But you know your publicity stunt of a conference was a bust when people are more interested in hearing and reporting about the folks and events, both on and off-campus, local and non-local, that opposed it. Indeed, not only has the conference failed to generate much publicity for itself, but most of the publicity it has generated has been about the pro-Israel supporters at various events both on and off-campus. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

The OSU CJP will probably bray that Convery's article is just another example of “sloppy, lazy, and intentionally slanted journalism,” but it’s pretty obvious the gig is up. The Other Paper ran a story about the conference a few weeks ago, but their only post-conference story (barely) related to it hardly even mentions CJP’s weekend festivities and is almost entirely about pro-Israel events and actions. Perhaps The Other Paper considered running a separate story about the conference; if they did, and I really doubt it, they decided that Convery's story about public urination was the more important and interesting piece to publish (see page 14). Can't really blame them.

Oh, and something tells me that Convery, like the reporters from the Columbus Dispatch, didn’t waste her time attending the conference, much less registering for it. Ah, the nerve!

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