web analytics
February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


When Israeli Journalists Cross The Line

Freund-Michael

Over the course of the past week, the Israeli media have been consumed by reports of an impending decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to launch a military strike against Iranian nuclear installations.

The hullabaloo began last Friday with a screaming headline in Yediot Aharonot, the country’s most widely read newspaper, which declared that “Netanyahu and Barak want to attack Iran in the autumn.” The article was penned by Nahum Barnea and Shimon Shiffer, two veteran political reporters and commentators.

Not content with revealing the possible timing of a raid on Israel’s enemies, the story went further and sought to undermine the legitimacy of such an operation by insisting that the move is not supported by senior Israeli security officials.

Let’s stop for a moment and consider the ramifications of this report. Assuming it is true, Yediot Aharonot just gave a heads-up to Iran to bolster its defenses and be prepared for an attack within the next two to three months, something for which the ayatollahs are most certainly grateful.

After all, why should Tehran go to the trouble of investing in intelligence-gathering operations against the Jewish state when journalists at Yediot will do the work for them?

Just in case this was insufficiently damaging to Israel, Yediot’s intrepid duo decided to toss still more gasoline on the flames by intimating that Netanyahu and Barak would like to carry out the attack prior to the U.S. election in order to help Republican candidate Mitt Romney in the race for the White House.

What Yediot Aharonot did was nothing less than scurrilous and shameful. Indeed, it boggles the mind that even as Israel faces an existential threat, and a fateful decision over how to confront it, Israeli journalists would throw caution to the wind and undermine the Jewish state’s national security in such an audacious and carefree manner.

Needless to say, the Yediot report naturally compelled other journalists to focus their attention on the story and see what they could dig up as well.

Not to be outdone, Israel’s Channel 2 television decided to devote most of its Friday night news program to the issue of Iran, informing viewers that the premier has “almost finally” decided to launch a military strike in the autumn against Iran. The final decision, it declared, would be taken soon.

Don’t be surprised if in the coming weeks there are more revelations to come, as journalists work their sources and seek to squeeze out still more scoops and headlines on what promises to be a big story.

To be sure, the reporters at Yediot and Channel 2 would argue that they were just doing their jobs, gathering information and keeping the public informed about a major development.

Is an impending Israeli attack on Iran a good story? For sure. Is it relevant to public debate? Absolutely.

But that does not mean it is right or responsible to report it.

As the old saying in boxing has it, “Never telegraph your punches.” You don’t indicate to your opponent what you are planning to do or when, for the simple reason that he can then take the requisite countermeasures to undermine the effectiveness of your plans.

This is so obvious that it should not even need to be said.

And yet this basic, simple truth does not seem to have mattered all that much to some of Israel’s leading journalists.

If I were a pilot in the Israeli air force, or a soldier in the special forces, I would be scratching my head and wondering why the media would choose to endanger us all by letting Iran know when to expect an attack.

This is the kind of reckless reporting that not only affects people’s lives but could very well endanger them. It is possible that Israel’s young men and women in uniform will soon be asked to risk life and limb to take out Iran’s nuclear program. Was there really a need to let the Iranians know when to be ready?

Don’t get me wrong. I am all in favor of a vibrant and free press, one which challenges governments and serves as a watchdog for protecting democracy and civil liberties.

But there is a fine line between responsible reporting and undermining the national interest.

About the Author: Michael Freund is the Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post, Israel’s leading English-language daily, and he previously served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Prime Minister’s Office under Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “When Israeli Journalists Cross The Line”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Islamic State flag displayed from Arab residence in Israel.
Cleared for Publication: Another Israeli-Arab ISIS Recruit from Nazareth
Latest Indepth Stories
Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

Eller-013015

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

IRAN-US-POLITICS-MILITARY

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.

Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

More Articles from Michael Freund
Michael Freund

Speaking in his native German, Schulz used the opportunity to blast Israel.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeieris is browbeating Israel in public.

Ever since he vanished, the American government had repeatedly asserted that Levinson was a private businessman — his own safety.

For the second time in the past three months, Israel on Sunday declared its intention to build over 1,000 housing units in areas beyond the 1967 lines.

Nearly seven decades since the end of World War II, Poland is once again turning on its Jews.

In a stunning move last week, the lower house of the Polish parliament rejected a bill that would have restored the legality of shechita, or kosher slaughter, by a vote of 222 to 178.

Last Friday, the Western Wall underwent an unwelcome transformation from sacred site to media circus as the group known as the Women of the Wall sought to hold a decidedly non-traditional prayer service.

The state of Israel this week turned 65, defying history and the odds to celebrate its continued existence in a very dangerous part of the world.

As I write these words, a Jewish toddler injured in a Palestinian terror attack is lying in a hospital bed struggling for her life.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/fundamentally-freund/when-israeli-journalists-cross-the-line/2012/08/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: