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When the Media Battlefield and the Homefront Collide

Simon Plosker is the Editorial Director of HonestReporting, a media monitoring watchdog non-profit working to expose anti-Israel bias in traditional and social media. Simon has a BSoc.Sc in International Studies and Political Science from the University of Birmingham and an MSc in History of International Relations from the London School of Economics. A graduate of FZY Yearcourse 1994-95, he made Aliyah in 2001 from London and lives in Modi’in with his wife and two sons.



I’ve worked professionally in what could be variously described as Israel advocacy or public diplomacy for over two decades, a significant part spent at HonestReporting, a media watchdog organization defending Israel from bias in the foreign press. I’ve worked through far too many crises, including several major IDF military operations, appalling terror attacks, and numerous incidents that made the front pages of every international newspaper around the globe.


In this line of business, you have to mentally come to terms with knowing that you will have to constantly fight, and you may win some important battles. But you will likely never win the war – a war beyond the military battlefield; one that is being fought for Israel’s very legitimacy and its right to be treated as just another state in the family of nations.


The past nine months have been some of the hardest I’ve ever experienced and it’s not only because of the daily assaults in the international media against Israel’s right to defend itself from the Hamas terrorists who perpetrated the greatest crime against the Jewish people since the Holocaust. It’s not even the horrific abuse and blatant antisemitism that’s rife on social media that I force myself to look at and respond to.


It’s the impossibility of drawing any borders between my work and the everyday reality that Israelis are living through. Because I’m one of those Israelis. In a country this small, it’s become a cliché that everyone is somehow connected to someone directly impacted by the situation. But it’s true.


I live in Modi’in, a city of 100,000 halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It is proud of its status as the city with the highest percentage of 18-year-olds answering the mandatory IDF call to serve.


Tragically, in the days following October 7, it became clear that several of those young soldiers had been butchered inside their bases that day, including a number from my own neighbourhood. I’ve lived in the same house for the past 14 years. I had never in that time met the neighbours who live only two doors away until attending the shiva for their teenage granddaughter who fell on October 7. Other times, the residents of the neighbourhood would line the streets silently standing with Israeli flags as a convoy of vehicles carried the families of the fallen to the final resting place of their loved ones in the local cemetery, a scene repeated across the country.


In my late 40s, I’m also of an age where the soldiers on the frontline are both my contemporaries and the children of many friends and acquaintances. Due to my job, I receive constant notifications from various governmental and non-governmental organizations, including the IDF, police, and Magen David Adom emergency responders. Far too many mornings, I’d wake up to an IDF announcement of the latest casualties. You might recognize a name and pray that it wasn’t the child of a friend or colleague. Tragically, it sometimes was.

The husband of a former colleague, and the son of a family friend both killed in Gaza. The cousin of one of my own extended family stabbed to death while working as a Border Policewoman in Jerusalem’s Old City. The pain and grief are unimaginable.


My own organization is a microcosm of the country in general. One colleague has been on army reserve duty for nearly the entirety of the war, leaving his wife and two small children to cope without him as well as HonestReporting without a valued member of staff. Another colleague’s husband has spent many days in uniform leaving her with their baby. Everyone is impacted in some way.


I will always consider it a privilege to have a level of insider access that most Israelis don’t have. At the end of November, I was invited to attend a breakfast at the Czech ambassador’s residence along with colleagues from other organizations and some family members of the hostages.


We listened as we heard the stories of some of those who were kidnapped and still held in Gaza. One of my colleagues started to weep. She apologized, asking how she could be the one publicly crying when there were people present whose own brothers and sisters were being held by Hamas and were able to keep their composure while advocating for their release.


There was nothing to be ashamed of. It’s hard for those in other countries to understand the bonds that unite both Israelis and the wider global Jewish community and the simple fact that the catastrophe that we are living through impacts nearly every single one of us in some way.

In the weeks following October 7, I had the opportunity to visit Sderot and some of the kibbutzim near Gaza. It was like stepping into an enormous crime scene, barely untouched since that horrific day. I and some colleagues were there to bear witness so we could adequately convey to the world the barbarity of what had happened.


As the world initially absorbed the enormity of Hamas’ rampage, I believed Israel had perhaps three or four days before the narrative would turn against the country. I’m not even sure we had that much grace time.


Today, I continue to fight for Israel’s image because it’s not only a job. It’s not only a career. It’s my responsibility as a proud Zionist and Israeli and I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to serve my country and my people in the best way I can.


By Simon Plosker

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