The Committee to Protect Journalists has published its annual ranking of nations who imprison journalists. Israel has the dubious distinction of coming in second in the competition behind Eritrea, one of the most closed societies in the world. Per capita Israel has imprisoned more journalists than Iran.
One aspect of this survey that really bugs me is that they excluded Anat Kamm from the list, possibly because she was serving as an IDF soldier when she committed the “crime” than got her sent to prison (but wasn’t then a working journalist). But Kamm was a journalist and took the documents she did because she recognized their news value and because she knew they proved a crime had likely been committed. She knew these things because she was a journalist. In addition, Uri Blau still faces very serious legal jeopardy because he received and published the Kamm documents. His case has hung over his head for years with no decision in sight.
The other seven journalists in Israeli prisons are Palestinian. Which is why Jodi Rudoren, the NY Times’ newly designated Israel correspondent initially tweeted Israel’s ranking and then apologized after she realized the jailed were “only” Palestinians. In other words, in the mind of a liberal Zionist like Rudoren, Palestinian journalists are unfortunate casualties of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and can’t be seen as actual indicators of the degradation of Israeli press freedom. If I were tweeting now I’d use the hashtag #epicfail.
This article appeared at Tikun Olam
About the author: Richard Silverstein
Richard Silverstein is an author, journalist and blogger, with articles appearing in Haaretz, the Jewish Forward, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Al Jazeera English, and Alternet. His work has also been in the Seattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine, where he is on the advisory board. Check out Silverstein's blog at Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, which he has maintained since February, 2003.