In one of the worst assaults on democracy the Israeli Knesset yesterday approved in the “first vote” (a bill must pass three votes to become law) a Soviet-era-style censorship law that seeks to shut down the most popular Hebrew daily newspaper in the country, Israel Hayom. This assault on freedom of the press is the brainchild of Labor Party Knesset Member Eitan Cabel. Its purpose is to erase and suppress journalist freedom in Israel, preserving it for the forces of darkness associated with the Israeli Left. It seeks to eliminate the popular conservative pro-Netanyahu daily Israel Hayom in order to preserve the hegemony over Israeli printed media by the two Far-Leftist Israeli dailies, Haaretz and Yediot Ahronot. (The other Hebrew daily Maariv is semi-bankrupt and is not even distributed outside the Tel Aviv area.)
Komrad Cabel was joined in this Stalin-era-like vote against the press by most of the Knesset Members from the Labor Party, Tzipi Livni’s party, the members of Avigdor Lieberman’s party, Yair Lapid’s party, and the anti-Israel Arab fascist parties. It was opposed by most Knesset Members from the Likud and – interestingly – by one member of Meretz (although another Meretz member voted in favor). While some flunkies from Naftali Bennett’s party had been among the early supporters of this bill, to the party’s credit all those Knesset Members present at the vote opposed the bill (although others chose not to be present).
The ostensible basis for the banning of Israel Hayom is that it is distributed for free. Just why that should be grounds for banning a newspaper is never explained by the wannabe censors. Why not have the courage of your convictions? If it is illegitimate for a newspaper to be distributed for free, then why do you not also come out against free news broadcasting and distribution by radio and TV stations and by the internet? By all means, Komrad Cabel, end those outrageous free distributions of news that harm the public! Ban the internet! In the name of freedom!
Of course what really has Komrad Cavel and his wannabe Kremlin friends upset is that Israel Hayom is owned by Sheldon Adelson, who supports Netanyahu. Why Adelson is any less entitled to operate his own newspaper than, say, German ex-Nazis like the co-owners of Haaretz is not explained by anyone. This is the same Knesset that the country now depends upon to rein in the anti-democratic excesses of the Israeli Supreme Court, now leading the jihad against journalistic freedom!
Should this atrocity ever pass the final vote and become law, I would like to propose to Sheldon Adelson and to the management of Israel Hayom how to respond. The law seeks to prohibit any newspaper that is distributed for free 6 days a week in Israel. So what I propose is that Israel Hayom be distributed for free 5 days a week and on Tuesdays it be distributed for 10 agorot (two and a half cents). Individual vendors can be instructed to use their own individual judgment as to whether to assist people coming up to them on Tuesdays and saying that they really would like to read the paper that day but do not have a 10 agorot coin handy.
Meanwhile I also think that Israel needs a national campaign of pie throwing into the faces of politicians who oppose freedom of speech and freedom of the press.