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.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.