What are we afraid of?

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This morning I saw a political scientist on the news. I think it was the French station. Most mornings I flip through the stations, to hear a different side of each important story. So this guy says that Israel and the Saudis talked privately, and it was Israel’s idea to put Al Jazeera on the list of demands against Qatar. Now it all starts to make sense.

News in Israel

When I’m watching the Yes cable news, I see:
* CNN – way too much air time trashing Trump (fun for a few innings but I’m over it)
* Fox – even more time to trashing anyone trashing Trump
* UK’s Sky News – which somehow panders to both the high class and the sensation-seekers
* Bloomberg – well, actually I can’t stomach this channel so I don’t watch it
* France 24 (French-PoV in English) – which is too slow (my mouse-button finger twitches, trying to change the speed settings)
and then Al Jazeera.

Why I Watch Al Jazeera

The USA-based stations are mud-slinging with panels of talking heads. Sky is going on and on about local UK politics and sports. Sometimes it pulls publicity stunts, like talking about how good looking OJ is, or getting shot in Caracas because…because …. we wouldn’t know how vio…. I give up. There was no reason for the press to be on the streets in the path of bullets. When I want to hear real news about the Middle East and Africa, Al Jazeera is the only station actually providing new information that I find relevant.
When they show old videos of Gaza, I use my privilege as a citizen of a free and advanced country, to change the channel. Access to different points of view is a privilege. I used to think it was a right. But with the government now saying they will shut down Al Jazeera, I know it’s a privilege.

Is There a Question of Freedom of Speech versus Security?

This morning, the Minister of Communication said Israel will revoke Al Jazeera’s broadcasting rights. He says it supports terrorism. I’ve actually watched a few episodes of Al Jazeera’s morning show. Granted, I changed the channel when it talked about Gaza once this summer. But seriously, I don’t see the stories that support terrorism. Is the Israeli government saying it has proof that Al Jazeera supports terror financially? I didn’t catch that one. Wouldn’t that be the only justification for blocking Israeli citizens from choosing to hear another point of view?

In the end, I think this decision makes our government look petty. If there are real issues on the table for Qatar to make changes for the security of innocents all over the world, let those issues be heard and implemented. Putting a news channel on the list demeans the call for change.

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4 Comments

  1. Welcome to Israel Blogger! I have to admit that I don’t completely agree with you. I’ve listened and read Al Jazeera, though I try not to make a habit of it because frankly, it causes me indigestion.

    I was asked to be interviewed once and agreed…shortly before the scheduled conversation, they called and said they couldn’t do it live and wanted to tape me. I politely said, “No, thank you.” The impolite response would have been, “are you kidding me? No way would I trust you to accurately share what I said.”

    I don’t like censorship – and for that reason, I would be against banning Al Jazeera. That being said, I would severely limit access to Al Jazeera “reporters”. I would not give them “face” time with Israeli leaders; I would not offer any financial support or benefits. I would not give their reporters passes into closed military zones, etc.

    As for the stories that support terrorism – what about it’s coverage of Samir Kuntar? Even Al Jazeera admitted they were wrong there (eventually). They called him a hero!

    What about how they treat Ahlam Tamimi? She helped coordinate and carry out the Sbarro terror attack in Jerusalem and Al Jazeera writes about how the US is disrupting her quiet life in Jordan by asking to extradite her for trial. Her defense…she didn’t know Americans were among the ones she helped murder.

    Further, search Honest Reporting’s site for references to Al Jazeera – including this article about an Al Jazeera reporter who admitted to being a Hamas operative:

    http://honestreporting.com/al-jazeera-journo-admits-being-hamas-operative/

    And another about an Al Jazeera employee who aided terrorists: http://honestreporting.com/al_jazeera_repo/

    Is Al Jazeera the worst of the media? Absolutely not.

    Should it be banned from Israel? I don’t know. I do know that it has not been banned yet and from its offices in Jerusalem it is incorrectly reporting that Israel has placed a ban on them. That’s not true. Israel is contemplating it but no formal action has been taken.

    1. blank Rochelle Fisher

      I’m only looking at what I’ve seen myself, and I only started watching news on TV a few months ago. So if the reasons for banning Al Jazeera are from long ago, it should have been done at the time. To do it now, when it’s not doing anything wrong is what looks so petty. I also wouldn’t say that a state or organization supports all the things that all its individuals support.

  2. First of all, let me welcome you to the ranks of Israelblogger.

    I actually agree with you in general. It is hard to claim to be a democracy on one hand, and on the other hand ban a news network.

    That being said, I understand why the government wants to ban Al-Jazeera; the fact that they provide enemy countries information that they obtain in Israel. The fact that the same information can be obtained by CNN, BBC or any other network seems to be immaterial.

    There may be other reasons for the ban that are not being discussed right now.

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