Pioneer in the Swim — “Necessary Stories” column from The Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman I am standing on the edge of the pool, in my Speedo swimsuit, feeling like a Second Aliya pioneer determined to speak only the language of their forefathers. It’s Sunday night, Masters Swim Group, Jerusalem Pool. I’m about to swim three kilometers. My swimming is as bad as the typical pioneer’s Hebrew was, … Read more Pioneer in the Swim — “Necessary Stories” column from The Jerusalem Report

The Secret of Low Expectations–“Necessary Stories” Column, The Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman I remember a high wind and driving rain. Night is darker here, I thought, as the bus’s engine expired in a series of knocks that sounded like the final beats of a broken heart. We pulled our duffel bags and backpacks from the luggage compartment and dragged them in the direction of the … Read more The Secret of Low Expectations–“Necessary Stories” Column, The Jerusalem Report

Blogging Ethics and Nefesh B’Nefesh–Does Business Class Corrupt?

Haim Watzman

Shouldn’t journalistic ethics apply to bloggers? Specifically, shouldn’t bloggers refuse to accept perks from companies, organizations, and power brokers they write about? I’m a newbie in the blogging world, but I believe that any blogger who seeks credibility and independence must accept this standard, even if you were to start a blog on WordPress and believe yourself to not rack up much traffic in the foreseeable future.

The issue came up specifically when I attended the First International Jewish Bloggers Convention last Wednesday here in Jerusalem. The convention was organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh, which promotes aliya from Western countries. I’m all in favor of aliya, and Nefesh B’Nefesh does fine work, even if its close association with Binyamin Netanyahu—the convention’s keynote speaker—and other figures on the Israeli right is not to my taste.

To kick off the convention, Nefesh B’Nefesh flew a number of Israel-based Jewish bloggers to the U.S. so that they could accompany a planeload of new immigrants on their move to their new country. At least some of the bloggers were given business class seats. They were also given complete freedom to write whatever they wished about what they saw and heard—it could hardly have been otherwise given the nature of the blog medium.

So what’s the problem? If Nefesh B’Nefesh is a laudable outfit, and if it gave the beneficiaries of its largesse complete freedom, what could be wrong?

Read moreBlogging Ethics and Nefesh B’Nefesh–Does Business Class Corrupt?