Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.
As for the other two complaints against Israel, they are easily dismissed. One concerns the indictment of Haaretz’s Uri Blau for possession of state secrets. It may be unusual for governments in free countries to prosecute journalists who obtain classified documents in addition to the leakers. But it should be remembered that Israel remains a nation at war, besieged by real enemies who shoot rockets and launch terrorist attacks against it as well as threatening it with extinction. That military censorship of security-related stories still exists is regrettable but necessary. When one considers that the documents Blau received dealt with actual operational details of the Israeli military rather than outdated items that didn’t deserve a classified rating, the seriousness of the crime can’t be underestimated.
As it happens, Blau got off rather lightly for trafficking in stolen top-secret documents when he received four months of community service for an offense with troubling implications for the country’s ability to defend itself. Suffice it to say that if any American journalist had behaved similarly during a war when our own survival was at stake, as in World War II, they would not have received such merciful treatment.
The third black mark against Israel concerned the licensing of Channel 10, an independent television channel that had broadcast highly critical reports about Netanyahu. Its license was held up leading to charges that the Likud had retaliated against Channel 10. But even the Freedom House report admits that the real problem with the network is that it was deeply in debt and couldn’t pay its bills. But rather than suppressing a hostile news outlet, the government actually stepped in and helped the channel repay its debts over an extended period, allowing it to keep its license. Any idea that this represents the heavy hand of government repression is simply contradicted by the facts.
As muddled as Freedom House’s views on the Blau and Channel 10 cases might be, their arguments are within the bounds of reasonable opinion. But for the group to treat the success of a news organization that has actually made the mainstream press in Israel more diverse as a blow to freedom is not reasonable. In fact, it betrays an ideological bias that undermines the credibility of its report.
The focus of any attempt to defend freedom of the press ought to be on the efforts of governments throughout the globe to repress dissent and to threaten and imprison journalists, not to defend the hegemony of liberals in democracies. Israel remains a bulwark of liberty in a region where despotism is the rule, including a nation like Egypt which recently replaced an authoritarian dictator with a theocratic tyranny.
Freedom House ought to be ashamed of tarnishing its impressive brand in this manner. It needs to retract the attack on Israel Hayom and restore Israel’s rating to “free.”
About the Author: Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com, where this first appeared. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
The White House wanted to defame Netanyahu, undermine his reputation, impugn him & his policies
Palestinian anti-Semitism in 2014 is more extreme and mainstream than German A/S in the 1930s.
Woven deeply through it all is the Jewish obligation to fight injustice.
Many poskim were and are adamant about the responsibility of every individual to vote.
Individuals who may have been abused are the “clients” in need and receiving care and protection.
An accomplished Torah scholar and ardent adherent of Bobov chassidus, he was renowned for his self-effacing dedication and skills as an international lawyer and law professor
The fact that the United States government after World War II sought to take advantage of the expertise of German scientists, even those known to have contributed to the Nazi war effort, is well known and largely accepted as having been necessary for America’s national defense. (Wernher von Braun is perhaps the most famous and […]
The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.
Rabinovich is the author of several popular books on Israel’s wars, including The Battle for Jerusalem, The Yom Kippur War, and The Boats of Cherbourg.
To say he was beloved because of the way he loved his students does not sufficiently capture the reality.
The birth I speak about is to give birth to ourselves, to our full potential.
Anti-Semitism has returned to the mainstream of European society and Israel has become its focus.
But I have a question for the Palestinians and their foreign cheerleaders. What if, instead of devoting all of their resources and cash to an effort to turn Gaza into an armed fortress, bristling with thousands of rockets and honeycombed with tunnels and shelters where only Hamas members and their dangerous toys are allowed, the […]
How will all this end? Hamas seems to think it will be Netanyahu who will blink first.
Nothing short of a stroke that will decapitate the leadership of this group will convince the Arabs that Hamas has made a mistake.
Z STREET will have the ability to compel IRS officials to testify as to their practices and produce all records.
“Death of Klinghoffer” opera frames the issue as Israel’s existence being the real crime.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/freedom-houses-inexcusable-smear-of-israel/2013/05/14/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: