The problems with this book begin with the title as the book is not at all about "the Arab public sphere." It is a superficial review of the differences between the Hebrew and Arabic media operating in Israel, one overflowing with bias and anti-Israeli

The problems with this book begin with the title as the book is not at all about "the Arab public sphere." It is a superficial review of the differences between the Hebrew and Arabic media operating in Israel, one overflowing with bias and anti-Israeli bile.

Jamal, an Israeli Druze from the Galilee area, is one of a minority of Druze intellectuals who identify themselves as Palestinian Arabs. Thus his aim throughout is to twist things to conform to his conspiracist take on Israeli society, in which Tel Aviv plots to manipulate the minds of its Arab citizens and subjugate them by means of media control.

Relying on two unscientific surveys, Jamal essentially shows that Arabs read and listen to the Hebrew media less than do Jews, who in turn listen to and follow the Arabic media less than do Arabs. This conclusion is not only trivial but self-evident. But Jamal is not content with printing a few tables and statistics taken from surveys.

His agenda is apparent everywhere in the book in his choice of rhetoric:

He uses the term "hegemonial" with regularity while Israel has a "ferocious military government" engaged in "cultural imperialism" via its "media policy" against its "Palestinian" minority. Pity the poor reader who does not realize that the Israeli government does not control any of the country's Arabic media. With no sense of his own self-contradiction, he insists that Jerusalem is obsessed with the control and surveillance of the Arab media, but at the same time, faults it for ignoring Arab opinion and the Arabic media altogether.

The book is most notable for what it attempts to hide: Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Arabs enjoy a free press, so free it is often openly seditious. The Israeli media, for the most part, are owned by the private sector, which is predominantly leftist. Besides, the explosion of Internet technology and countless Arab and Arabic blogs from inside and outside Israel, make his claims about "control of the media" and "mind control through the media" simply laughable.

Jamal's book is an ideological assault against Israel disguised as an academic exploration that ill-serves his readers and mocks his academic pretensions.