Two quick updates to the Jared Malsin story:
Israeli officials are saying that Malsin left Israel voluntarily; however Malsin retorts that his departure from Israel was not voluntary and holds his view that he was deported for political reasons surrounding his work as a journalist.
The presidents of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers and the World Editors Forum have written a letter to PM Netanyahu protesting the deportation of Malsin. I will reproduce the letter at the end of this post.
In my view, this deportation seems like an overreaction by Israeli officials. It is true that Malsin reported events that colored Israel in a poor light (certainly a reflection of Israeli actions and not of Malsin) – Malsin did not shy away from reporting abuses by Israel in the occupied territories. By to deport him seems like a serious overreaction, like deciding to shoot a mosquito on your arm with a number of American made precision weapons. Deporting Malsin was effective (although another mosquito will certainly continue to report on Israeli behavior), however, like a highly advanced weapon (donated by the US because a mutual understanding of and dedication to basic human rights….ahem…free speech) being shot at your arm, there is going to be some serious self-inflicted wounds.
Israel’s actions concerning Malsin reminds me of Israel’s mini feud with Turkey. A Turkish TV show had Israelis as antagonists so Israel humiliated the Turkish ambassador, almost leading to the withdrawal of ambassador from Tel Aviv and a serious freeze in diplomatic relations between the two countries. The two incidents are similar because they demonstrated a serious dearth of logic. Both these events have the potential to do serious harm to Israel and were both instigated by Israel.
Anyway, here is the letter to Netanyahu:
An open letter to Benjamin Netanyahu – from the papers
The Right Honourable Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister of Israel
Dear Prime Minister,
We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to express our serious concern at the detention and proposed deportation of journalist Jared Malsin.
According to reports, Mr Malsin, editor-in-chief of the English-language section of the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency and a US citizen, was returning to Israel from a trip to the Czech Republic when he was stopped by security services at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on 12 January. Mr Malsin was detained for “security reasons” and remains in custody pending a deportation hearing. The reasons cited for denying entry were “refusing to cooperate” and violating visa terms, although court documents showed that security services had compiled a dossier on his journalism “criticizing the State of Israel” and reports written “inside the [Palestinian] territories.”
Mr Malsin’s lawyer obtained an injunction preventing his planned expulsion on 14 January, and a hearing that was scheduled for 17 January was postponed.
We respectfully remind you that detaining and deporting Mr Malsin for carrying out his professional duties would constitute a clear breach of his right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by numerous international conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the Declaration states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers.”
We respectfully call on you to ensure that Mr Malsin is immediately released and allowed to carry out his professional duties free from interference. We also urge you to take all necessary steps to ensure that in future your country fully respects international standards of free expression.
We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers
World Editors Forum
WAN-IFRA is the global organization for the world’s newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The organization represents 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.
Photo from Pap Blog