Reading the Other Side

Is it a good idea to read anti-Jewish or anti-Israel propaganda?

Comments (39)

(34) JRG, June 26, 2011 4:33 AM

What about our children?

Children, especially teens, have wide access to the internet and may come across revisionist, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic writings. I think we need to make a point of reading a few of these things with our older children and making sure they understand that the truth is being distorted - and why. In this way, they might not be so vulnerable to all the garbage floating around college campuses in classes, open forums, and extra-curricular clubs.

Anonymous, July 4, 2011 2:07 PM


Our children are faced daily with this anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiment. Whatever opportunity we have to counter that with our children may change their life and their views. It begins with the knowledge of knowing what falacies people are exposed to then put their faith in. We must then create the opportunities to discuss the issues with our children in a way they will understand.

(33) Chana, June 25, 2011 5:45 PM


I believe we should definitely be aware, read and keep informed of what is said about us and I totally agree with what Gavriel said in his opinion! I survived the Holocaust with my parents and siblings and my family made sure to always be aware of what plots were hatched up against us and what was said and publicized to make us jewish people look bad. To this day I make it a point to read it all, however hurtful it may be. I want to know what is being said about us, always, so I can be prepared and prepare my defense!

(32) Anonymous, June 25, 2011 4:21 PM

Yes, it is necessary to know what your enemies are thinking.

My first Rabbi always said," Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." How can we combat propaganda if we don't even know what is being said?

(31) ruth white, June 23, 2011 10:14 PM

yes, we should read anti- Jewish comments. in order to be knowagable, and to know what the enemy is thinking or planing.if you stick your head in the sand, by the time you pull it out , it may be to late !

(30) Beverly Kurtin, June 23, 2011 8:08 PM


I said "yes" because it depends on who the person reading it is and how mature they are and how comfortable they are in reading hateful material. Me? Yes, if we don't know what others are lying about, how can we, as another person said, refute them? I go so far as to comment on their sites in order to see the truth once in awhile. Then, again, although I cannot go to Israel, I can at least DEFEND her through my comments. There are many great Jewish sites, Aish is certainly one of my top sites, that I can go to and pick up gems with which to tweak Jew hater's noses with. I wonder how many readers know that Israel had a week long civil defense exercise this week or why they did it. With the so-called Arab Spring, things are changing for the worst in the Middle East and Israel is preparing to protect her citizens from a possible regional war that will echo the 1967 and Yom Kippur wars. Pray that it doesn't happen, but if it does, we have to be ready to pour any and all resources to Israel. Hashem knows what is going on and I have full confidence that any Arab attacks will be thwarted as they have in the past. This is a scary time for all Jews. If we don't know what the propagandists are saying, if we don't keep on top of the gathering storm clouds, we will get caught with our collective pants down. It still bothers me that even Israel calls the area's Arabs Palestinians. Egyptian born Arafat was the person who slapped that label on them so that the world would believe that they are an ancient people who had their land "occupied" by the "Zionist Entity." Why do we go along with their hate filled propaganda like that? Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Allen Katz, July 4, 2011 2:03 PM


Beverly, I like your conditional comment that it may not always be the right time to read anti-Jewish propaganda.

(29) Gavriel, June 22, 2011 2:44 PM

"Hold your friends close - and your enemies yet closer!"

I prefer to know what arguments are used against us, than sticking my head into the sand becoming oblivious to these yet "little" threats. Otherwise how can I argue and show up on these "pseudological-fantastic" stories? NB. If you believe an ostrich will stick its head into the sand, just try agitating one (then run, run if you can!) ["Pseudological Fantastic" a mental illness description of a person telling an obvious lie AND personally believing the lie to be true.]

(28) AL Resnick, June 22, 2011 1:24 PM

If anti-Israel and antisemetic propogands is not read and answered,the world would never hear the real truths.

(27) Howard, June 22, 2011 3:55 AM

See what the other side says.

See what the other side says in order to know how to refute them.

(26) Linda Gershater, June 22, 2011 3:48 AM

Reading anti Jewish propaganda

While I don't read it all, I agree with you that we need to be informed about what our opposition is writing/saying about us. Thanks for a great articles.

(25) Michael, June 22, 2011 1:05 AM


i think it is a good idea to "keep an eye" on adversaries and those who would destroy Israel if they could. By reading their hate spawned articles we can get idea of what they are cooking up next..........

(24) David S. Levine, June 22, 2011 12:35 AM

Depends on Who & the Purpose

When Rabbi Solomon reads what's on the anti-Semitic web sites it's one thing--when someone with less knowledge does it it's something else. This conservative has his radio dial on NPR because I want to hear what the lies the other side is telling about the Republican Party (and Israel). So, I think there's nothing wrong with it and if you go to the web sites and see whose advertising there you will know the products and services to stay away from.

(23) Rick, June 22, 2011 12:27 AM

Not only proper,but necessary

How better to defend yourself then to know where the other side is"comming from" the best defence is to be able to mount an effective offence, this enables you to do so . Another effect this action may have is it can,in some cases , even streghten you conviction in you own possition and make you a stronger person

(22) Anonymous, June 21, 2011 10:56 PM

In certain cases and contexts sure!

I'm not Jewish, but the joke was funny :-) LOL. I think if the intention is to empower a person to react better, then it is an okay idea. If reading about someone hating you is going to make you depressed, then definitely don't! However, from personal experience, I've been thrown off in the past by opposing views simply because I didn't stop to see it their way first. Even if a person doesn't end up agreeing with the other side, most times, it's a good idea to know where they are coming from so you can respond appropriately and not take it personally. Or protect yourself. Whichever. I read somewhere, Jewish article I think (Hillel?), where the group that was most objective was the one who took the other's perspective into consideration first and then stated their opposing side. So, there's got to be some merit to considering others views, before responding with your own even if you will not be agreeing with them. Just my opinion though.

(21) Antonio Perez, June 21, 2011 9:32 PM

Reading the Other Side

Thank you Rabbi Saloman, your comments are always helpful and informative. Myself, I wouldn't be caught dead reading the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. Anti-Israel, anti-Jewish propaganda only serves to poison the mind and foment bitterness. On the other hand, "To be forewarned is to be forearmed." Thank you very much again Rabbi for your insight.

(20) Anonymous, June 21, 2011 5:55 PM

Know Your Enemy!

Tu., 06/21/11 common era For about the past 26 years, I have been monitoring certain radio and t.v. programs for their anti-Jewish content. I was raised in the Reform movement, but listening and watching our enemies caused me to buy and put onTefillin, tzit-tzit ,stop eating pork and shellfish, and stop driving on Shabbas and Yom Tovim. Amalek is alive and well. . . .

Sarah Dinah, June 27, 2011 4:35 AM

Tends to have the same effect on me

When I hear or see anti-Semitic propaganda, I tend to do the same thing. I tend to want to take on more Jewishly.

(19) Ed Halpaus, June 21, 2011 5:11 PM

I agree

Reading and hearing what critics and enemies say helps one to be aware, and aids in preparation to respond to false charges.

(18) Jennifer, June 21, 2011 4:10 PM

Absolutely necessary

How can we argue effectively for Israel if we don't know the arguments against Israel? And that's why, quite frankly, we're generally smarter than those whose only desire is to demonize Israel. When I see an article about some "horrible" crime that Israel has committed, it forces me to dig deeper and find out the facts, which I can then use to present when someone speaks about that "crime." Even the ridiculous stuff -- blood libel and such -- needs to be read and researched so we understand and can educate others about why the canards began. So, why were so many Jews spared during the Black Death and other epidemics? (Many believe Jews were somehow the cause, while they themselves were spared) Ritual handwashing before meals. The discovery of transmittance of bacteria is shockingly relatively recent in history (fewer than 200 years ago).

(17) Rachel, June 21, 2011 3:32 PM

Read all you can

One of the reasons for the U.S. First Amendment is so that ALL ideas can be communicated and others will have the opportunity to analyze them. It is important to know what our enemies are saying/planning so we can defend ourselves. And it is equally important to know what neutral parties say because sometimes they have legitimate ideas and criticisms. I long ago stopped arguing about the suffering of average Palestinians because, frankly, they are suffering. It is far better to shed light on the issue -- for example, the numerous attacks on Israel coming from Gaza, requiring Israel to respond in defense of its citizens. If one's only position is blind hatred for those on the other side, that is not helpful and not in keeping with our heritage. As for anti-Jewish propaganda, that's just nonsense -- and exposing it as such requires knowing what it says. By the way, as a convert, I find it very irritating when Jews claim "they hate us because they say we killed their god" -- this has been repudiated by the Roman Catholic Church since the early 1960's.

(16) Corinne Robbins, June 21, 2011 3:20 PM

I agree that you should read anti-jewish/Israel comments

One must know one's enemies. By reading these, you can refute the comments to others. It's part of being a well-informed person..on all subjects and points of view.

(15) R.Eluchans, June 21, 2011 3:13 PM

good to know other's point of view...

It may be painful sometimes when one feels the hate directed to you, or just the ignorance about us, or ill intentions of others for their personal benefits. Nevertheless, I think it is good to know and learn from others'views. It enrichs our analytical capacity and enable us to repond more effectively to threat. It also give us an opportunity to educate others.

(14) Charles Stern, June 21, 2011 2:33 PM

Secular stuff? Absolutely

It's absolutely appropriate to read what our secular enemies have to say about us, if for no other reason that we have to understand where and how they're attacking us. Admittedly, there's nothing new under the sun regarding anti-Semitism especially, but who is saying it changes. As for other religious points of view, is there not a prohibition against studying them?

(13) Frank Stein, June 21, 2011 2:18 PM

Be critical

Yes it is important to know how the enemy thinks. However it is also important to read the primary source and not to be taken in by commentators who re-interpret the news. We need to be critical of what we read and to be able to separate out fact from opinion.

(12) Anonymous, June 21, 2011 1:34 PM

stay informed

I think it is better to stay informed. I always read the opposing point of view on any topic to try to understand their rationale. I wouldn't read it to the point that it made me depressed or upset because there is a lot of trash out there. I would read it just to have an understanding of what is being said and what contempory culture is teaching. I would use my real energy and focus to pursue higher things because all this folly will pass but truth is eternal and our time here is valuable.

(11) Sheila Deutsch, June 21, 2011 1:25 PM

depends on who

If someone can learn and or combat these negative writings yes. If however he or she is someone who may be influenced by them absolutely not. SD

(10) David, June 21, 2011 12:18 PM

Reading the publications of people outside of your circle is extremely important, be they enemies, political opponents, or fellow travelers of a different stripe. First, you need to understand what they say about themselves. Second, you need to know what they say about you. Third, you need to examine your own positions from time to time to validate them and verify that they are still appropriate. Closing your mind to the voices of others is surely a path of fear and ignorance. You can certainly reject the positions of others, but reject them out of knowledge, not naiveté.

(9) Frank Adam, June 21, 2011 12:09 PM

Time spent on intelligence is seldom wasted

When I was an OTC cadet one ot the chapters of the platoon handbook was subtitled with the quote I used as my own short title. With the caveat that one should first learn one's own case it makes sense to keep an eye on the anti- lot in the press and elsewhere because enemy forms of words are seldom as straight as in a schoolbook and often come within inferences and backhanded statements. As in any real human activity it is not only knowing the bones of the argument that matters but how to recognise it under a multitude of various disguises and camouflage outfits.

(8) gary katz, June 21, 2011 12:08 PM

Insight into what they're really thinking and saying

I definitely would want to know the bad stuff being said by governments of countries to whom we give foreign aid and who we consider "allies."

(7) reuven Ofir, June 21, 2011 12:06 PM

Reading anti senitic blogs, etc. is a waste of time, ignorance, and hate permeates those people and we are never going to change their mind.

While it is always good to be informed, and "know Thine Enemy" is prudent" A short foray into the blogs , etc. of anti semites quickly informs one as to the waste of time point of view. Anti Israel is more insidous in it's attempt to invalidate the very existence of the Jewish state (and destroy its people) The sheer amount of hate, distortions, and outright lies need to be exposed and fought against - because much of it is planned and organized. Hence we should be informed/prepared .

(6) mark, June 21, 2011 11:51 AM

know your enemy

know your enemy;a thousand battles, a thousand victories...says the Chinese writer./emporer. Some people have worldly savvy.; they want to know their enemy.... My uncle Kurt and his family smelled a rotten egg being cooked up in Germany. They took off for Palestine in 1933. You know the rest. Know your enemy. As the ad said: if someone says he's gonna kill you, take it seriously. This IS the way things are on the physical plane. Wise up now.

David, June 22, 2011 6:52 AM

Right on!! Mark;

Who said,"keep your friends close and your enemies closer"?....worked for me and mine,for most of my life,(I intend to be around,for a little longer,please G-d!!), if your Jewish,it's a rule of thumb!!

(5) Sarah Dinah, June 21, 2011 4:13 AM

Sometimes I do

I sometimes read articles from the other perspective. I think it's a good idea to see what others think on an issue. Thing is, I don't read blatantly anti-Semitic pieces, however. They are just too disturbing. But articles questioning Israel's position on certain issues, those help me to see the other side's perspective and help prevent me from demonizing them. I wish that they would do the same - try to understand Israel's position - and one can only hope that some will do so.

(4) SusanE, June 20, 2011 4:40 PM

Learn All You Can Learn

If our Schools would teach American History as told by the Europeans, our students would get a well rounded view or our place in society. We were taught about WWII from our own history books. Let our children learn about all our wars from Europes books. I don't read spewed hatred articles, but I listen and learn from other peoples' views and articles and books. When you are integrated into one group, most never seek the world outside that group. Organized religion is always that way. Read this...Not that. Think this way. ~~~~~~~~~~ Most people get their view of the political world from the evening news. One channel one view. I don't know if I would read anti- material about anyone but I would read others views on issues. Read. Travel. Talk to people who are different than you.

(3) JL, June 20, 2011 4:58 AM

It is important to see both sides of the story

I think if we ignore the "other side" we risk falling into the trap of assuming that the perspective we have been given is the "right" perspective to the exclusion of all others. Jewish news publications are in a very challenging situation. They are looking (hopefully) to give over facts while also avoiding Lashon Hora. In many cases I am not sure that this is possible and I think the result is a very slanted perspective where the efforts to avoid Lashon Hora force the publication to avoid any indictment of Jews or the Jewish community at large. While there are often times where the blame lies outside of Klal Yisrael, and the negative comments are due to bias, it seems hard to imagine that there is not at least some blame that can be placed on the Jewish community (or Jewish individuals) because if we were doing everything right, Moshiach would have shown up by now. Considering that the wrong that the Goyim do is pretty much out of our reach, and what we are doing wrong is something that we can work to fix, I think there is value in reading to simply stop and consider whether we can change our actions remembering that we are both naturally blind to our own flaws, and also often unaware how our actions can be perceived and received. Even assuming we have done nothing that is inherently "wrong."

(2) Lisa, June 20, 2011 2:47 AM

A mind is a terrible thing to on!

Knowledge is power....!!!!

(1) Rosen, June 19, 2011 2:12 PM

conflicting info

There's a lot of conflicting info out there on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. One source will say that the Palestinians are blockaded off and are starving in places like Gaza and another source will argue that there really is no humanitarian crisis there and that Palestinians are taking advantage of what Israel has to offer such as Israeli universal health care, amusement parks, and markets where Palestinians and Israelis shop regularly. So, it seems like someone is not telling the truth about what goes on in Israel when it comes to whether the Palestinians are really suffering and starving or that they enjoy Israel's overall welcoming religious and cultural diversity.

Sharon, June 20, 2011 9:18 PM

confusion between Israeli Arabs and Palestinians

You have confused two different issues. Israeli Arabs enjoy rights as Israeli citizens including health care and many Arabs enjoy university education and prestigious careers as doctors and politicians etc. The Palestinian Arabs of Gaza do not reside alongside Israelis. Israel does supply them with water and electricity, but they are not under Israeli rule. They have been the recipients of so much aid but their leaders are not interested in building an infrastructure to better their lives, only in destroying Israel. Apparently they do have shopping malls and amusement parks so they are obviously not all starving either.


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