Journalists confab in Spain looks at Mideast in the media

MADRID (JTA) — An international gathering of journalists sponsored by the Spanish government looked at the media’s treatment of the Middle East.

Last week’s two-day conference, “International Encounter of Journalists: Media Treatment of the Middle East,” was organized to “create a space for reflection and meaningful dialogue about media treatment of the Middle East and its influence on Spanish public opinion.”

Some 50 journalists — mostly from Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Spain — discussed topics ranging from the results of a recent Casa Sefarad-Israel survey on anti-Semitism in Spain and the results of a study on the image of Arabs and Muslims in the Spanish press, to the border between criticism of Israel in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and anti-Zionism and/or anti-Semitism, as well as images and stereotypes in the Middle East conflict.

Two Spanish public diplomacy institutions, Casa Mediterraneo and Casa Sefarad-Israel, organized the meeting in Alicante.

The conference comes following disagreement over various studies on anti-Semitism in Spain, the latest which was carried out by Casa Sefarad-Israel. The Spanish media’s influence on negative attitudes towards Jews in Spain was a prominent theme throughout the conference.

According to the study, 34.6 percent of Spanish people view Jews unfavorably, a 12 percent drop from a 2008 Pew Research Center study. However, the Casa Sefarad study also shows that 53.6 percent of the Spanish having an unfavorable view of Muslims, 35.4 percent of Protestants and 20.7 percent of Catholics.

Casa Sefarad-Israel “aims to foster greater understanding of Jewish culture and to advance the development of ties of friendship and co-operation between Spanish society and Israeli society.”


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