On 6 August, Israel confirmed its intentions to shut down Al Jazeera’s bureau in Jerusalem. The Israeli Communications Minister explained that the decision was “based . . . on the move by Sunni Arab states to close Al Jazeera offices and prohibit their work.”
To be sure, there’s no better way to market oneself as the only democracy in the Middle East than to follow the example of regimes that jail and whip pro-democracy writers.
But the move against Al Jazeera is simply the latest episode in an ongoing war on press freedom and freedom of speech in Israel — a war that itself merely assists Israel’s more physical war on Palestinians, African refugees, and others.
And while Al Jazeera may have temporarily seized the spotlight, we mustn’t forget the lower-profile cases of journalists fighting to speak truth to power.
Take independent Israeli-Canadian journalist David Sheen, for example, who reports regularly on Israeli racism against Africans and other injustices. Sheen is currently being sued for defamation — to the tune of 750,000 shekels (more than $200,000) — by Israel Ziv, former head of the operations directorate of the Israeli army and founder of Global CST, a security consulting firm involved in projects from Latin America to Africa. According to a 2001 article in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, one of Ziv’s nicknames during his army days was “Reich Commander.”
The lawsuit is the result of a January 2017 dispatch by Sheen for Electronic Intifada, in which Ziv appears as one of the top ten “ringleaders in Israel’s war on Africans.” READ MORE AT JACOBIN.