Why would Israeli journalists who cover the disputed territories, especially the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, join together and denounce the Israeli government’s shutdown of an illegally operating television station, especially one that has aired some of the most reprehensible lies about the State of Israel?
It happened on Monday, June 9. More than a dozen Israeli journalists who cover Palestinian Arab Affairs publicly condemned Israeli authorities for raiding the office of an Arab “production company” in the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
FORUM OF PALESTINIAN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENTS
The Israeli journalists belong to something called the Forum of Palestinian Affairs Correspondents in Israel (FPAC). It is headed by Gal Berger, the “Palestinian Affairs” correspondent for the Israel Broadcasting Authority, Kol Israel Radio. That means he works for the Israeli government.
The FPAC condemned the jamming by Israel of the live broadcast of “Good Morning Jerusalem” of “Palestine TV production,” as well as the “detention of one crew member,” on Friday, June 6. The station is owned by PalMedia, with offices in Ramallah.
According to Al Quds newspaper, the 15 Israeli journalists denounced the activity of Israel, expressing their concern about Israeli steps “that would limit freedom of expression” and “instill fear in the hearts of journalists.”
FPAC members apparently explained that the castigation of Israel does not mean they wish to prevent the activity of law enforcement. However, the group went on to say that Friday’s activities by Israeli authorities is “part of a series” of events they find unsavory. The FPAC members acknowledged the ongoing tension in the region.
we are aware of the tension in the Palestinian-Israeli relations in recent months, [but we] demand that the Israeli authorities not run their political battle against the Palestinian Authority at the expense of journalists.
In addition to the statement issued by the 15 member FPAC, Berger posted on his Facebook page a request to send letters to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “condemning attacks on freedom of the press of Palestinian journalists” including halting the morning program” of a Palestinian Arab television news program.
Berger also retweeted a message by Palestinian Authority spokesperson Saeb Erekat, denouncing Israel for committing war crimes:
Why the Israeli journalists would issue such statements is worth investigating. Of course, it may be that these 15 journalists were simply disturbed by Israeli government actions taken against Arab colleagues. But it is worth noting that there was no context supplied by the public statement of the journalists.
For instance, there was no mention that the Arab television station was operating without a license.
Nor was there any mention that police suspected Palestine TV of broadcasting “incitements to violence,” as stated on Israeli radio, which YNET reported.
Or that, as revealed by Palestine Media Watch, in January the “Good Morning Jerusalem” show hosted Ola Awad, the President of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, who insinuated “there is an Israeli policy” to get local Arabs addicted to drugs. Awad also said “this policy is clear Judaization of Jerusalemites in a direct manner.”
Last October the “Good Morning Jerusalem” show featured Arab rappers, one of whom rapped on air, “I will die a martyr and the whole world will escort me (to my wedding to the virgins in heaven)…the most beautiful death is as a sacrifice.” This was also revealed by PMW.
So is it possible there was something else that pushed Israeli journalists to denounce Israeli authorities, without providing any context for their criticisms?
POSSIBLE MOTIVATIONS FOR ISRAELI JOURNALISTS TO ATTACK ISRAELI GOVERNMENT?
Perhaps it is because these Israeli journalists who cover the Palestinian Authority are attempting to prove their bona fides to their colleagues across the Green Line who have been campaigning to bar them from entering Ramallah and other PA cities.
That campaign reached a crescendo when an Israeli journalist was nearly lynched recently by Palestinian Arabs near Ramallah.
Fadi Arouri, a Ramallah journalist and activist (or is that activist journalist?) is a leader of this “anti-normalization” effort. It opposes any “normalization” of Israeli-Palestinian Arab relations, even ones that clearly benefit the lives of Palestinian Arabs.
Arouri and his fellow anti-normalization activists said they would target Israeli journalists unless those journalists denounce the Israeli government for its “practices” against Palestinian Arab media and reporters.
Is it possible that Berger and the FPAC reporters are, unintentionally or otherwise, seeking to satisfy Arouri and his gang’s blackmail? Or is it some version of what is known in regulatory law as “industry capture”? That’s when those who are supposed to be regulating an industry begin over-identifying with the industry and lose objectivity.
Maybe there are other explanations for the FPAC statement attacking Israeli government activity in a completely one-sided presentation of a specific news event. Maybe.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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