Tendency in the West, pointedly among liberals, to dismiss realities of Islamic world, Palestinians and direct focus solely on Israel.
There are two main reasons that many leftists who are viscerally supportive of Israel have difficulty understanding and defending the Jewish state today. First, the storyline about Israel is deeply distorted.
For instance, this week, Freedom House released its annual report on press freedom around the world. Israel’s ranking was reduced from “free” to “partly free.”
Freedom House gave three reasons for downgrading Israel’s status: the prosecution of Haaretz reporter Uri Blau for holding stolen top-secret documents; Channel 10’s difficulties getting its broadcast license renewed; and the success of the Israel Hayom newspaper. As Jonathan Tobin at Commentary noted Wednesday, all of these reasons are fraudulent.
Uri Blau received thousands of top secret documents from Anat Kamm, who stole them from the office of OC Central Command at the end of her military service. The documents were not mere intelligence analyses. They were operational plans, unit information and other highly sensitive information.
Blau lied to investigators who asked him about the documents. He fled to London for months rather than speak to investigators or return the documents.
Yet because Israel prosecuted Blau for these acts – which are felonies – Freedom House decided that Israel constrains press freedom.
Then there is Channel 10. Channel 10 is a poorly managed, unsuccessful company that has gone broke. It owes NIS 110 million which it cannot pay back, including NIS 60m. to the state.
Due to its nonpayment of its debt to the state, the Knesset was set to vote down the renewal of its broadcast license – again, in accordance with the law. To protect themselves from market forces – Channel 10’s failed management and staff used their bully pulpit to deflect attention away from their failure and incompetence. They accused the Knesset of trying to silence free speech. Channel 10’s allies in the media and the political Left joined their anti-government bandwagon. The Knesset folded.
Channel 10’s license was renewed. And its debt to taxpayers remains unpaid.
As for Israel Hayom, Freedom House alleged that the free paper’s success in gaining market shares at the expense of other tabloids is part of a nefarious plot by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his friend and Israel Hayom owner Sheldon Adelson to establish a quasi-state-controlled media. Israel Hayom is the first mass circulation Israeli newspaper not aligned with the political Left.
Freedom House’s allegations against Adelson and Netanyahu and its championing of bankrupt Channel 10 are based on two guiding notions. First, non-leftist entities – the Knesset, Israel Hayom’s editorial board – are inherently opposed to press freedom while the motives of leftist institutions like Haaretz and Channel 10 are as pure as the driven snow.
Second, they imply that media in Israel can only be free if not subjected to market forces or the rule of law.
Clearly both of these underlying assumptions are absurd. Yet they form the basis of Freedom House’s damaging allegations against the government.