Israeli journalists pull out of IFJ

International Federation of Journalists condemned Israel's attacks on Al-Manar.

iaf hit al manar tv in l (photo credit: AP)
iaf hit al manar tv in l
(photo credit: AP)
The Israel Association of Journalists decided on Thursday to suspend its membership in the International Federation of Journalists to protest the association's condemnation of Israel's attacks on Hizbullah's Al-Manar television network. In a strongly worded letter, the Israeli journalists accused IFJ general secretary Aidan White of "cowardice" for not retracting the organization's condemnation of Israel and said White deserved a "badge of shame" for calling the Hizbullah propaganda tool "free press." "Al Manar gets its budget from the same people firing upon us," said the Israeli representative on the IFJ executive, Israel Radio broadcaster Yaron Enosh. "They are not journalists, they are terrorists and I won't be a member of the same organization as terrorists." Enosh told The Jerusalem Post that the IFJ's defense of Al-Manar was the straw that broke the camel's back after three years of repeated IFJ condemnations of Israel. He said the organization made no comment when five Israeli and foreign journalists were harmed by Hizbullah fire. The IFJ represents more than half a million journalists in some 110 countries. In a July 14 press release, the organization said that Israel's attack on Al-Manar's Beirut headquarters last week follows a pattern of media targeting that threatens the lives of media staff, violates international law and endorses the use of violence to stifle dissident media. "The bombing of Al-Manar is a clear demonstration that Israel has a policy of using violence to silence media it does not agree with," White said. "This action means media can become routine targets in every conflict. It is a strategy that spells catastrophe for press freedom and should never be endorsed by a government that calls itself democratic." When Israel asked for a retraction of the condemnation, White issued a new press release three days later that condemned Israel for other incidents and again made no mention of Hizbullah attacks on journalists in Israel. Hizbullah kidnapped a group of journalists on Thursday night and later released them. The European Union decided to ban Al-Manar from satellites in EU countries in 2000.