Richard Behar, the Editor of Mideast Dig, has received more than 20 major journalism awards. He was called “one of the most dogged of our watchdogs” by the late Jack Anderson — a founding father of modern investigative reporting.
From 1982-2004, Mr. Behar worked on the staffs of Forbes, Time and Fortune magazines. He has done assignments for the BBC, CNN, FoxNews.com, PBS and other outlets. In 2005, he launched Project Klebnikov, a global media alliance committed to shedding light on the Moscow murder of Forbes editor Paul Klebnikov and his groundbreaking investigative work in Russia. (Members of “Project K” include Bloomberg, the Economist, Forbes and Vanity Fair.) In 2012, Behar returned to Forbes magazine as its Contributing Editor for Investigations, and is at work on a book about Bernard Madoff — to be published by Simon & Schuster.
Awards include the Gerald Loeb, George Polk (twice), National Magazine, Overseas Press Club (twice), Daniel Pearl, and Worth Bingham Prize, among other honors — on subjects ranging from terror financing in Karachi to counterfeiting in Beijing; from corporate wrongdoing on Wall Street to the Russian mob in Siberia. Behar was included among the 100 top business journalists of the 20th century by The Journalist and Financial Reporter. He received the rarely bestowed Conscience-in-Media Award for “singular commitment to the highest principles of journalism at notable personal cost” from the American Society of Journalists and Authors — for a Time cover story on the Church of Scientology.
In 2002, as part of CNN’s Investigation Team, he received the National Headliner Award for ‘‘outstanding continuing coverage of attacks on America and their aftermath.” Behar’s “The Karachi Connection,” reported from Pakistan in October 2001, broke ground by exposing a logistics leader of the 9-11 attacks — including his secret travels near the Afghanistan border just days before the terror attacks. In 2013, Behar was a finalist for a second Loeb — the most prestigious honor in business journalism.
His August 2013 Forbes magazine cover story on high-tech ventures between Israelis and Palestinians received widespread attention, as did his exposés on how every big Western media outlet ignored the labeling of Jews as “apes and pigs” by Egypt’s president. In 2014, he laid bare the academic leaders of the Israel boycott movement. In March of 2015, he co-wrote a cover in the New York Observer (later reprinted in Maariv, Israel’s second-largest Hebrew-language newspaper) about how the Associated Press botched its “investigation” of civilian deaths in the 2014 Israel-Hamas war. AP did it with posed photos, intentional miscategorizations, buried corrections and one-sided sourcing.
Washington-based journalist James Kirchick has reported from Africa, Asia, the Caucusus, Europe and the Middle East. He is a correspondent for The Daily Beast, writes the “Continental Drift” column on Europe for Tablet, is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow with the Foreign Policy Initiative.
From 2006-2010, Mr. Kirchick worked at The New Republic, covering politics, lobbying, intelligence, and U.S. foreign policy. He then moved to Prague to become writer-at-large for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, where he wrote about the politics and cultures of the 21 countries in RFE/RL’s broadcast region. Among the stories he covered were the fraudulent 2010 presidential election in Belarus, ethnic cleansing in Kyrgyzstan, and the Libyan Civil War.
Mr. Kirchick previously worked for the New York Sun, New York Daily News, and The Hill. His writing has appeared in numerous publications – from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post; to Foreign Policy, Newsweek and Time; to Britain’s Prospect and Spectator, Canada’s National Post, and Israel’s Haaretz. A graduate of Yale College, he is a leading voice on international gay rights and a frequent TV and radio commentator.
Ben-Dror Yemini is one of Israel’s leading journalists. Born in Tel Aviv to a Yemenite family, he began his career as a lawyer, and was an advisor and spokesperson at the Israeli Ministry of Immigration Absorption. He started his journalism career in 1984, and in 1986 he published the book “Political Punch,” a critique of politics and society in Israel. Between 2003 and 2014, he served as opinion page editor of Maariv – Israel’s second-biggest daily newspaper – and currently writes for the largest daily, Yedioth Ahronoth.
In 2014, Mr. Yemini published his second book, “The Industry of Lies: Myths and Facts About the Arab-Israeli Conflict,” which exposes the defaming of Israel by media outlets — or what he calls “the unbearable lightness of turning Israel into a monster.” The book, which will soon be published in English, breaks ground on the symbiotic relationships between journalists, human rights NGOs, and radical Palestinian organizations. Mr. Yemini is one of Israel’s most-translated journalists, and he lectures often in the Western world. He describes himself as scrupulously non-partisan, which means he is attacked in Israel by the right and the left.
Millie Dent covers business news, personal finance and international affairs (from Afghanistan to ISIS) as a writer/reporter at the The Fiscal Times. She previously worked as a contributing writer for Forbes, and as an intern at the Urban Institute think tank and the Washington Literacy Center. Ms. Dent received a bachelors degree in government in 2015 and a writing certificate from Wesleyan University.
In addition to the project’s Editor, Richard Behar, our corporate board of directors includes Maer Roshan, a distinguished magazine editor and entrepreneur. The board is in formation.
Mr. Behar and Mr. Roshan will be joined by other leading figures from the media, business and nonprofit world — on both the corporate board and a board of advisors also in formation — in recognition of the importance of scrupulous corporate governance, consistent with established journalism ethics and standards, and the principle of editorial independence.
We are honored that Floyd Abrams; Susan Brownmiller; Jim Campbell; Bassem Eid; Gene Foreman; Tom Gross; Lawrence J. Haas; Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser; Diana Jean Schemo; Lilac Sigan; and Dumisani Washington have joined our Board of Advisors.
Maer Roshan is an editor, entrepreneur and media executive with a long record of creating and growing successful media businesses. As Deputy Editor of New York magazine, features editor of Interview, and Editorial Director of Talk, he developed a wide network of editorial talent and produced hundreds of high-profile articles about politics, pop culture, fashion and business, many of which were optioned for film and TV. More recently, he launched a series of acclaimed websites and magazines — Radar, Radaronline.com, Punch!, and TheFix.com — that have attracted millions of readers and won numerous journalism awards.
In 2011, Mr. Roshan started Awesome Projects, a consultancy that helps start-ups, advertisers and established media clients produce original content and native advertising across multiple platforms. He is currently a Contributing Editor at the Hollywood Reporter and Editorial Director of Tina Brown’s Women in the World, a digital and events venture produced in association with the New York Times. He has written for New York, the New York Times, the New Republic, Salon, the Advocate, Huffington Post, Details, the Daily Beast and Harper’s Bazaar, among other publications. Born in Teheran, Iran, he moved with his family to the United States following the Iranian revolution.
Board of Advisors
Floyd Abrams, a partner with Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, was described by the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan as “the leading First Amendment advocate of our age.” His reputation was firmly established by the time he successfully represented the New York Times before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Pentagon Papers case in 1971.
Mr. Abrams’ clients have included ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, BusinessWeek, Hearst, the Nation, Reader’s Digest, and Time magazine, among others. He has won numerous awards from, among others, the American Bar Association, the New York and Philadelphia chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists, the New York Civil Liberties Union, the American Jewish Committee, and Catholic University. In 2005, he wrote “Speaking Freely: Trials of the First Amendment,” a personal account of eight cases that were central to his legal career and to the evolution and interpretation of free speech in America (Viking Press.) In 2011, the Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression was founded at Yale University.
Susan Brownmiller is an author, activist, and one of the leading feminist voices of our generation. She is the author of the groundbreaking 1975 book “Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape” — listed in 1995 by the New York Public Library as one of the 100 most influential books of the 20th Century (Simon & Schuster). It fundamentally changed public perceptions of rape and sexual violence.
Ms. Brownmiller was a civil rights activist in the 1960s, and was one of the founders of the Women’s Liberation Movement. She has worked as a researcher, writer or editor for numerous media outlets (including ABC, The Nation, Newsweek, New York Times, and Village Voice), and is the recipient of an Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship. In addition to “Against Our Will,” she is the author of five books, including a biography of Shirley Chisholm and “In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution,” published by Dial Press.
Jim Campbell has been the host, since 2008, of “Business Talk with Jim Campbell,” which is syndicated to over 350 radio stations in the U.S. The show features challenging, in-depth interviews and “deep dives” on matters of global importance “from the ‘Radical Center” — as Mr. Campbell tells his listeners — “tackling big issues without the extremist distortions of today’s talk radio….We present the facts, not right- or left-wing propaganda.” His subjects have ranged from crime on Wall Street to Kremlin intrigues in Russia, from religion in Saudi Arabia to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. Campbell is also a news director at a Connecticut radio station, as well as managing director of Greenwich Learning Systems, an online tutoring service for colleges, high schools, and families. Previously, he was a national director with the KPMG consulting firm; an officer and market analyst at Dean Witter Financial Serices; and an analyst at IBM, where he did strategic budgeting for 18 countries. He has a bachelors degree from Tufts University, and an MBA from Dartmouth College.
Bassem Eid is a Palestinian human rights activist, political analyst and expert commentator. He was born in Jordan-occupied East Jerusalem and lived in a refugee camp until age 33. After studying journalism while attending Hebrew University for two years, he worked as a freelance journalist for Palestinian and Israeli newspapers. In 1988, he became a fieldworker at B’Tselem, an organization that protects Palestinians from human rights violations. Following the group’s refusal to probe abuses committed by Palestinian officials, he quit in 1996 to found an organization that would: The Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, which operated for 15 years.
Mr. Eid, who was once jailed by Palestinian Authority founder Yasir Arafat, maintains that the PA today runs a corrupt, internationally-funded dictatorship in the West Bank, where he currently lives. He is a leading voice for peace with Israel, and a harsh critic of the boycott-Israel [BDS] movement, which he maintains would primarily hurt Palestinians. He also accuses major Western media outlets of helping fuel the recent wave of violence against Israelis. Mr. Eid lectures extensively around the world, and has spoken before students on dozens of U.S. campuses since 2015.
Gene Foreman joined the faculty of Penn State University’s College of Communications in 1998 after retiring from the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he managed newsroom operations for more than 25 years under various titles — Managing Editor, Executive Editor and Deputy Editor. During his tenure, the Inquirer won 18 Pulitzer Prizes.
Mr. Foreman’s 41 years in newspaper journalism also included serving as Managing Editor of the Pine Bluff (Ark.) Commercial and the Arkansas Democrat in Little Rock. He also worked as a reporter and assigning editor at the Arkansas Gazette, as a copy editor at the New York Times, and as the senior editor in charge of news and copy desks at Newsday. He was president of the Associated Press Managing Editors in 1990 and was a board member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors from 1995 to 1998. He is the author of “The Ethical Journalist: Making Responsible Decisions in the Pursuit of News,” a 2009 textbook that has been described as “a GPS for sound decision-making.” A second edition was published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2015.
Tom Gross is a preeminent journalist and Middle East media analyst, born and raised in London. He served as the Middle East correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph and the [New York] Daily News, and has written features and editorials for a broad range of outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Guardian, Financial Times, National Post and the Australian.
In recent years, Mr. Gross has worked as a political commentator and analyst, and he serves as an advisor to both Radio Farda — the leading pro-democracy station broadcasting into Iran—and NGO Monitor, and as a human rights advocate on behalf of Roma, Domari, Kurdish, Yazidi and other minorities. He has lectured on the Middle East and counter-terrorism strategies at Harvard, Yale, Tel Aviv University and IDC Herzliya. Mr. Gross was educated at Oxford University.
Lawrence J. Haas, a former White House official and award-winning journalist, is Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council. He writes widely on foreign affairs (including a regular column for U.S. News & World Report), appears frequently on TV and radio, and has testified before Congress on Iran and on radical Islam. His op-eds have appeared in scores of newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and USA Today. He’s the author of five books, including most recently “Harry and Arthur: Truman, Vandenberg, and the Partnership That Created the Free World” [April, 2016] and “Sound the Trumpet: The United States and Human Rights Promotion” .
At the White House, Mr. Haas was Communications Director for Vice President Al Gore and, before that, for the Office of Management and Budget. In 2009, he led the effort to secure Senate confirmation for President Obama’s OMB nominees. After the White House, Mr. Haas served for two years as Director of Public Affairs and Special Assistant to the President at Yale University, where he was a senior policy advisor, led Yale’s communications efforts, and served as its principal spokesman. He is today an independent public affairs and strategic communications consultant.
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a practicing internist and nuclear cardiologist, is a leading figure in the fight within Islam for reform against Islamism, radicalism, and terrorism. He is founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a nonprofit organization based in Phoenix, Arizona, dedicated to separating mosque and state and opposing the root causes of Islamist militancy. In March 2012, Dr. Jasser was appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. He has testified before Congress on multiple occasions, has made frequent guest appearances on TV news shows, and has written articles for numerous publications. He is the author of the 2013 book, “A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith” (Simon & Schuster).
In December of 2015, Dr. Jasser and a group of like-minded, distinguished Muslim leaders launched the Muslim Reform Movement. Their Declaration calls for protection of people of all faiths from Islamist extremists; freedom of speech, including the right to publicly express criticism of Islam; the rejection of institutionalized Sharia law; equal rights in Muslim societies for people of all ethnicities, genders, religions, beliefs and sexual orientations; and many additional universal principles of human rights.
Diana Jean Schemo is executive editor and co-founder of 100Reporters — the award-winning nonprofit investigative news website that has reached more than 29 million readers and viewers through partnerships with commercial news organizations. She is also founder and co-director of Double Exposure: The Investigative Film Festival and Symposium. A veteran national and foreign correspondent, Ms. Schemo spent more than 25 years on the staffs of the New York Times — where she was nominated by the newspaper for a Pulitzer Prize — and the Baltimore Sun, where she became the first woman assigned overseas (where she ran its Paris and Berlin bureaus).
Ms. Schemo has reported from more than 30 countries and regions — from Somalia to Israel, Iraq to the Amazon. As the Times’ bureau chief in Brazil, she wrote of modern-day slavery and of a previously uncontacted native tribe. She tracked the drug war in Colombia, and that country’s brutal conflict between leftist rebels and right-wing paramilitaries. She is the author of the 2010 book “Skies to Conquer: A Year Inside the Air Force Academy” (Wiley); a three-time winner of the New York Times Publisher’s Award; and shared an award from the National Association of Black Journalists for an investigation of Baltimore’s Urban Services Agency.
Lilac Sigan is a Jerusalem-born Israeli author and journalist. After receiving an MBA and having a successful career in the business sector, she became a journalist in the mid-1990s for Haaretz — Israel’s oldest daily newspaper. She subsequently became the deputy editor and one of the leading columnists at Globes, Israel’s leading business newspaper. She also served as a vice president for Israel’s Channel 2 (Reshet), the country’s largest TV news network.
Ms. Sigan is today a contributing op-ed columnist for Maariv, Israel’s second-biggest newspaper, and a writer for the Huffington Post. She covers politics and Israeli society, while working on her fourth book, which is due to be published in late 2016. She’s been a guest commentator on numerous TV shows and also hosted two shows of her own. Her passion in recent years has become clarifying the truth about current events in the region, in light of extensive anti-Israel bias in the media and public opinion. She believes the bias is disastrous for those who strive for peace and a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians.
Dumisani Washington is a pastor, author, lecturer and music educator in Northern California. He has worked tirelessly to strengthen solidarity with Israel among Black Americans and other communities of color. Pastor Washington formed the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel (IBSI) in 2013. IBSI is dedicated to strengthening the relationship between Israelis and people of African descent through education and advocacy, and defending Israel’s right to live in peace with its Arab neighbors. The organization condemns the “Zionism is racism” ideology, and seeks to help cultivate a mutually beneficial Israel-Africa alliance.
In 2014, while continuing his work at IBSI, Pastor Washington became National Diversity Outreach Coordinator at Christians United for Israel (CUFI). He is a blogger for the Times of Israel, and is author of a new book titled “Zionism and the Black Church.” A major focus of his efforts is spent speaking to college students.
Rhonda Barad runs BARAD Unlimited, an international consultancy specializing in development strategy and coaching to nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations. For three decades, she served as Eastern Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international human rights organization, where she established and expanded its presence on the East Coast of the U.S. Her work for SWC culminated in the creation of a multipurpose, multimillion-dollar headquarters in Manhattan. She was instrumental in the 1994 formation of Moriah Films, which has produced ten movies, including two Academy Award winners.
Ms. Barad serves on the boards of Project Innocent Heart, a community-based initiative to keep children safe from abuse, as well as the Brain Tumor Foundation, a nonprofit that guides and supports patients, families and caregivers affected by brain tumors. She was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, and has degrees from Yeshiva University and New York University.
William Skody is The Mideast Dig’s accountant. He has thirty years of experience as a certified public accountant for nonprofit organizations, and currently works directly with over 350 organizations. Mr. Skody’s Manhattan-based firm — Skody Scot & Company, CPAs PC — is a full-service public accounting firm which specializes in servicing economic development organizations and nonprofits throughout the country. Its clients range in revenues from $5,000 to $325 million, and include organizations of all kinds, from the arts and social service groups to private foundations. His firm was chosen by New York University to provide continuing education for the revised Form 990, the annual IRS filing by nonprofit organizations.
Ishan Sharma is a web developer who has been working as an independent consultant since 2009. He started experimenting with web technologies during his schooling at Sharda University in India. Today Mr. Sharma is a software engineer for two web-technology firms, where he has worked on the websites for several leading brands such as Lenovo and Phillips.