Tamar Sternthal credits a 1994 internship at the Jewish Exponent with instilling in her a love of journalism, a knack for gathering and checking facts, and a desire to pursue larger truths.
Now, the 37-year-old graduate of the Friends Select School is heading up the newly opened Jerusalem office of the media watchdog group, CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. And she’s joined in the office of five by another Philly native, 46-year-old Adam Levick. Both Sternthal and Levick live in the city of Modi’in.
“This is part of our growth and expansion,” said Sternthal, a Lower Merion native and mother of three who has lived in Israel since 2004.
CAMERA was founded in 1982 to combat anti-Israel bias in the media and promote fair and accurate coverage of the Israeli-Arab conflict. The group has succeeded in pressuring a number of major media outlets to issue corrections and retractions.
Critics have accused CAMERA of attempting to impose a particular pro-Israel viewpoint on the media.
The group currently has 32 employees around the globe and, in addition to Jerusalem, has offices in Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles.
In 2010 CAMERA launched a Hebrew-language website, presspectiva.org.il, that focuses on the Israeli and global media. Sternthal has worked for CAMERA since 1999 and has specialized, among other things, in following the coverage of the Los Angeles Times and wire services.
Sternthal, a graduate of McGill University in Montreal, said that one upside of having an office is that she’ll now have room for interns. She said her time at the Exponent, where she wrote obituaries and some feature stories, was “a really positive experience for me.”
Levick, who grew up in Northeast Philadelphia, had worked at the Anti-Defamation League’s local office before moving to Israel in 2009. It was a big leap, he said, for someone who spent almost all his life in one city. But since arriving in Israel, he’s learned the language, gotten married and started a new career as part of a media watchdog group.
In 2010, the Temple University graduate was hired to be managing editor of CiF Watch, a website monitoring The Guardian. The United Kingdom’s most influential newspaper has long been accused of providing slanted coverage and opinion of the Jewish state, he said.
In 2012, CiF Watch merged with the larger and better-funded CAMERA. Now, said Levick, CiF Watch is an independent project under the auspices of CAMERA.
He noted that his blog postings haven’t turned The Guardian upside down, but he thinks being called out on gross factual errors has made the reporters and editors there more circumspect about the paper’s Israel coverage.
“There is still a huge problem,” Levick said, “but there definitely has been a noticeable improvement.”