Forward Thinking

The Israel Factor — Minus the Women

By Jane Eisner

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Let me begin by saying that I have great respect for The Jewish Journal, a smart Los Angeles-based newspaper and website. The Forward is part of the Journal’s new iPad app, the first in the Jewish world. And nobody covers Jewish Hollywood better.

So I’ve been following the work of Shmuel Rosner, a well-known Israeli journalist who is now writing for the Journal. Just today, Rosner announced that his signature feature, The Israel Factor will also migrate to his new professional home. The Israel Factor is a panel of “Israel experts” created by Rosner to comment on and rank American politicians and political candidates.

I’ll put aside for a moment my serious concerns about whether and how American voters should consider the views of non-Americans in choosing a candidate. There’s an even more fundamental problem with this panel.

It’s made up of only men.

Yep. Rosner even made a fuss about the fact that he added another person to the panel, raising the number from eight to nine. But he added another man! Are there really no women in the entire state of Israel who might be able to comment on American politics? Do women there have no opinions at all?

“As regular readers of the Factor should know by now, our panel is not necessarily representative of the Israeli public’s point of view,” Rosner writes. How true. While he says that’s because the panel is mostly “centrist”, I’d say it was for another reason: It’s missing the voices of roughly half the population.

Perhaps this is just an innocent oversight and doesn’t represent a deliberate attempt to shut out differing views. I’m willing to give Rosner the benefit of the doubt. But he owes his readers, or at least this reader, a response.


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