You know, here in the U.S. they often talk about how much certain presidents detested the press and how the press office had a confrontational or hostile relationship with journalists. They’ve got nothing on Israel, where Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Shabak-appointed security detail routinely disrobes female journalists for doing little more than their jobs in covering his press events. In fact, I wrote a post about this months ago and apparently nothing’s changed.
The Foreign Press Association…sent a sharp letter to the Prime Minister’s Office…complaining of multiple humiliating incidents, which the organization claims both impedes foreign reporters’ work, as well as erodes their professional standing.
The FPA denounced what it called “the continued harassment” of foreign reporters…adding that unless policies change, they may stop covering the PMO altogether…
“In the past two days, three female reporters in separate incidents were forced to undress, remove their bras and have them placed through an X-ray machine in front of a group of colleagues. In addition, pocketbooks were emptied in public, with personal items also put on display and X-rayed for everyone to see.
“This type of treatment is unnecessary, humiliating and counterproductive. After repeated appeals and promises by security officials it appears that the Prime Minister’s Office does not have the desire to stop this happening and so the FPA will begin consulting its members over whether the foreign media should no longer cover events at the PM’s Office, as this is the only occasion where this type of incident occurs,” the letter concluded.
What’s laughable is the prime minister’s press flack’s consternation: how could this sort of thing possibly happen? We must stop this right now. You have my word we will. Either he’s playing that old kid’s trick of crossing his fingers behind his back as he promises, or he’s a very poor liar:
Government Press Office Director Oren Helman said that the incidents described in the letter were “disturbing and damaging to Israel’s image,” adding that “this was an embarrassing mishap, which we will try our best never to have happen again. We apologize for any anguish caused to the reporters. This is most certainly not our policy.”
Since taking office in September, Helman added, “The GPO has been taking a series of steps meant to improve the position of the foreign press in Israel. We are trying to implement that to the issue of security checks as well.”
Of course it’s YOUR policy. Who’s policy is it, if not yours? Unless you want to claim that the Shabak agents are acting independently of you. But then again, if that’s so, then who’s the Shabak’s boss? In my naiveté I thought Bibi was the boss and could command the security detail to perform according to his standards. But I guess maybe the Shabak is Bibi’s boss in this matter at least, if not others.
This is yet another indication that Israel does not honor either the press or freedom of the press. Journalists, especially the foreign press who are clearly up to no good and always trying to point out Israel faults (especially the Arab press), are a burden to be suffered. That’s the only way Bibi’s goons could get away with this. And the average Israeli could care less since they rarely read the foreign press except as refracted through an Israeli media source.
I’ve got one suggestion that could nip this problem in the bud. Force the Shabak agents to shed their clothing and empty their pockets before they enter the event itself. Out into the sunlight would come the girlie magazines, condoms, mash notes to their girl friends. That would stop this nonsense cold.