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Is Israel really a safe haven for journalists?

Image of Israeli soldiers violently arresting Palestinian soldiers [file photo]
Image of Israeli soldiers violently arresting Palestinian journalists [file photo]

Iranian journalist and blogger Neda Amin, 32, who fled her country to Turkey in 2014 over a series of articles critical of the government, arrived “safely in Israel” yesterday morning according to Times of Israel. Amin lived with a refugee status in Turkey until 5 July when Ankara told her that she had 30 days to leave the country.

Amin regularly wrote a Persian blog for the Times of Israel and so she contacted the website’s Editor David Horovitz who exerted his efforts with the related Israeli departments and facilitated travel to Israel. “As soon as we brought Neda’s case to the attention of the Israeli authorities, everybody was helpful and professional,” Horovitz said.

Upon her arrival at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airpor, she hailed the atmosphere of freedom in Israel. She said: “I am proud to live in a country that responded so instinctively to help somebody who was in danger.”

Read: Israel is squeezing press freedoms, like Arab dictators do

Times of Israel blogger Neda Amin who has faced forced deportation from Iran arrived in Israel on 10 August 2017.

Israeli Interior Minister Arie Deri, who issued the visa for the Iranian journalist’s entry into Israel, welcomed her to the hub of freedom. He tweeted on Thursday: “Welcome to Israel!”

But it seems that Deri, who hailed the safety and freedom granted to the Iranian journalist who paid a price for free speech, did not hear about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criticism of the Israeli media, accusing it of being used as a tool by the left-wing to bring him and his party down.

We know that the left and the media — and we know that it’s the same thing — is on an obsessive witch hunt against me and my family with the goal of achieving a coup against the government

he said, stressing to his supporters that the “police and the media work full-time to set the agenda, and woe to anyone who veers away from it.”

The Israeli government, which granted asylum for the Iranian journalist, practices the worst crackdown on free speech in the occupied Palestinian territories. The Israeli occupation government arrested and indicted hundreds of the Palestinians just for posting a single word or phrase on social media platforms. Between January and September 2016, Israel charged 145 Palestinians for posts they made on Facebook.

Several reports monitored the Israeli occupation deliberately targeting journalists – beating them, arresting them and indicting them. The reports also counted Palestinian journalists being shot dead or wounded by the Israeli occupation. In a report issued in June, Human Rights Watch counted at least five major Israeli violations of international humanitarian law regarding Palestinians, including the Israeli violations against Palestinian journalists.

Read more: Why does Israel believe the world would be better without Al Jazeera?

Freedom of speech is deliberately targeted in Israel in particular after the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved in the beginning of July a bill giving the police power to block websites under claims they publish “criminal” or “offensive” content. The leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz warned that the law lacked “transparency” as it allows the government to close a website using secret evidence.

The latest, but not the last of the Israeli violations against freedom of expression and free speech is the order of the Israeli Communications Minister Ayoub Kara to revoke press credentials of Al Jazeera’s journalists in Israel and to order cable and satellite providers to shut off its broadcasts.

It is easy for the Israeli official to invent a false pretext for any of his dishonest actions. Despite the wide spread respect and the international fame which Al Jazeera enjoys, Kara claimed that it does not serve free speech. “We have identified media outlets that do not serve freedom of speech, but endanger the security of Israel’s citizens, and the main instrument has been Al Jazeera,” he told a news conference.

It is not the first time Israel has targeted Al Jazeera, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said Al Jazeera “is a propaganda outfit in the style of the Soviets or Nazi Germany”.

All this because Al Jazeera discloses the occupation’s crimes against Palestinians and doesn’t allow them to pass quietly.

By receiving the Iranian blogger and giving her an opportunity to apply for asylum, Israel is not proving that it is a hub for free speech, no matter how hard it tries to masquerade the events as being so. Tel Aviv welcomed Amin because she is critical of a regime which Israel condemns and it wanted to send a message to those who criticise and are hostile to Iran that they have a safe haven in Israel.

This is nothing to do with free speech and expression.

ArticleEurope & RussiaIranIsraelMiddle EastOpinionPalestineTurkey
  • Michael Abramov

    This article is an example of how to turn a positive in to a negative.

    Neda Amin had to flee her own country because she supported another country which had democracy and pluralism. Although Turkey was her safety net, it appears that Turkey is no better and since the ascent of Erdogan, anti-government media have been shut down at a remarkably rapid rate.

    However, Mr. Dalloul completely bypasses Turkey and instead condemns Israel’s crack down on a small percentage of anti-Israel press. May I stress, that Haaretz has all the freedom of any newspaper to write articles of condemnation about Israel without the risk of being shut down, arrested or being imprisoned. Haaretz is a left-wing paper.

    As for the efforts to shut down anti-Israel blogs and newspapers such as Al-Jazeera, let’s be frank. I have NEVER read a good word about Israel written by an Al-Jazeera journalist/blogger with the exception of a few more balanced articles. If Al-Jazeera made an effort to be more ‘balanced’, Israel would not be so determined to close Al-Jazeera. Agreed?

    • I think it is a very thin line we have to walk here, for any modern democracy. Look at RussiaToday, they publish scathing and frankly very confrontational pieces regarding the United States and its allies every week.

      Does this mean that the U.S. should permanently ban RT and all other anti-American news sources from the country?

      • Michael Abramov

        My friend, I am all for the freedom of the press. The issue here is the gullible reader. ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’. Many readers will want to believe an article if it suits their own stance.

  • Helen4Yemen

    The woman said she is Jewish – period!

    Here are some excerpts from the Times of Israel
    Neda speaks a little English. It was enough for her to say to me, on the phone, “Mr. Horovitz, please save me.”

    She said she has Jewish heritage — that her late father’s mother was Jewish. I don’t know if that was a factor in the Israeli response

    “I am very happy. Israel is my country,” she said in broken English,

    Amin said her late father’s mother was Jewish and that she always felt sympathetic toward Israel and the Jewish religion.

    “According to Jewish law, my father is considered Jewish, but according to Muslim law, my father is considered a Muslim. But my father didn’t really believe in Islam, so he also learned about Judaism,” she said.

    “My roots are somewhat connected to Judaism. I loved Israel since my youth; I never accepted all the regime’s anti-Israel slogans. I always dreamed that I will somehow get to Israel.”

    Amin said she would love to learn Hebrew, “because I believe that I have some sort of connection with Judaism and Israel.”

    “The only country that really acted rapidly was Israel,” she said. “As opposed to all the things that are being said, especially in Iran, about Israel, that it violates human rights, I saw that Israel took steps to keep human rights, to save the life of a human being.”

    “Most of my family broke off contact of me because of my connection to Israel,” she said.

    This is her picture now, she looks at least 200 llbs – she looks nothing like the picture of her here.


    replace * with .

    • Michael Abramov


      This is why Israel exists. To provide asylum for any Jew, from any part of the world.

      Let me remind you, she fled Iran penniless. Any Jew can leave Iran, but the regime steals everything they have except their pocket money. This is just what the Iraqis did in the 1950s against the Jews leaving for Israel….or escaping to Israel.

      • Helen4Yemen

        “Israel” can exist on the ancestral land of the Ashkenazi
        who now makes up 95% of world Jewry. Palestine is not
        his grandmother’s land, POLAND is.

        Rabbi Hammerman
        99.9% European
        0% Middle Eastern

        Repalce * with .

        • What about the Mizrahi Jews though? The Jews from Iraq, or Morocco, or Yemen? Where can they go? They cannot return to their grandparents’ homes either.

          • Helen4Yemen

            The “International community” who created the mess need to figure that out.
            But the Lithuanian, Canadian, American, Russian … Jews have no problem going home.

        • Michael Abramov


      • Helen4Yemen

        Question: Is world Jewry composed of snow-white European Ashkenazi at 95%?

        If so, please tel me what connects the European Jewry to Palestine? Did his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother ever live there? No, the Ashkenazi never set foot on that land until he came to colonize the land in 1881. YES OR NO?

        • Michael Abramov

          I am afraid your lack of spirituality would not make my reply any sense to you. When you transcend from judging people by their colour and instead judge them by their love of mankind and blindness to skin colour,,I will then address this point

          • Helen4Yemen

            Mileikowsky aka Natanyahu:

            “I feel deeply honored and privileged to stand here
            before you today representing the citizens of the state
            of Israel. We are an ancient people. We date back nearly
            4,000 years to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We have
            journeyed through time. We’ve overcome the greatest
            of adversities. And we re-established our sovereign state
            in our ancestral homeland, the land of Israel. Now, the
            Jewish people’s odyssey through time has taught us two
            things: Never give up hope, always remain vigilant.
            Hope charts the future. Vigilance protects it.”

            Was the Lithuanian faking it? How is it possible for this
            Lithuanian to be related to Abraham-Isaac-Jacob is he
            has no trace of Middle East ancestry? The Ashkenazi
            grabbed Palestine with the fake claim of ancestry, did he

          • Michael Abramov

            A few weeks ago, I met a Greek Cypriot lady with blue eyes. How is this possible? She was dark skinned with dark hair and Eastern looking. Is it possible that with the sheer volume of invaders from the Romans to the Crusaders to the Turks/Anatolians, that there was some ‘inter-marriages’, rapes, enslavments from the fair-headed Christians. Or, was it that the Jews were originally, European looking anyway. Was it that the Arabs were converts to Islam and came down from the Arabian Gulf as an alien tribe to Palestine?

            Were the Arabs not the original invaders from 620 ACE but had never been the original inhabitants. Who cares!

            What matters is ridding the world or racist, bigoted people like you.

          • Helen4Yemen

            DNA is very precise and DNA says that the
            Ashkenazi is almost purebred Ashkenazi at
            99.9% European. How much purer European
            does it get than 99.9%?

            Name………………………. European DNA……. Middle Eastern DNA

            1) Alex Feinberg…………… 99.8% …………… 0%

            2) Dershowitz DNA………. 99.9% …………….0%

            3) Rabbi Hammerman…,,, 99.9% …………… 0%

            4) Tony Kushner…………… 99.9% …………….0%

            5) Joseph Cohen………….. 99.8% …………… 0%

            6) Bill Maher…………………..99.9% ……………..0%

            7) Neil Gaiman……………… 99.9% …………… .0%

            8) Jill Sobule………….. …….99.9% ……………..0%

            9) Alisa R Doctoroff…….. ..98.0% …………….. 0%

            10) A.J. Jacobs………………99.9% ……………. 0%


            replace + with .

          • Michael Abramov

            Brilliant – you have listed Jews who have, from immigrant backgrounds, achieved greatness and fame. I don’t see many Arab names in that list.

          • Helen4Yemen

            Small Brain: The Arabs cannot be on that list because their DNA is 90% Middle Eastern vs. ZERO % Middle Eastern for lily-white Ashkenazi.

          • Michael Abramov

            You are a silly girl, aren’t you. Who cares about DNA. If I met an Arab girl that I fell in love with, would I be asking for a DNA test?

          • Helen4Yemen

            What was the reason the Jews asked for Palestine?

            Herzl – Jewish State – 1896

            “Shall we choose Palestine or Argentine? We shall take what is given us, and what is selected by Jewish public opinion. The Society will determine both these points.”
            The Hungarian Jew did not ask for England or Germany or Poland but for a land inhabited by dark skinned folks. How does European Jewry belong in Argentina or Palestine? It was because Argentina and Palestine were much easier to seize and conquer than Germany or Lithuania, right?

          • Michael Abramov

            As usual, you are not able to answer a simple question.

          • Helen4Yemen

            We are not talking about individuals but a whole bunch of white Europeans who believe they are descended from Abraham.

            Are they?

            Take a look! http://i+imgur+com/q5hFV5R+png

            replace + with .

  • Bishadi

    Israel harasses Palestinian journalists covering Al-Aqsa protests
    Israel continued targeting Palestinian journalists and media outlets who were covering mass protests around Al-Aqsa Mosque last week
    Print, israel the apartheid, and see how friendly the monsters are