Media briefs

Dec 20, 2016

Loewenstein could lose Israeli press accreditation

Antony Lowenstein could lose his Israeli press credentials after asking a loaded question about settlements.

Myriam Robin — Media Reporter

Myriam Robin

Media Reporter

Australian journalist Antony Loewenstein could be kicked out of Israel after asking a critical question of an Israeli politician at a press conference. Loewenstein, a Jewish Australian critic of Israel's policies towards Palestinians who works in Israel as a freelance journalist under a press card issued by the Government Press Office, asked the chairman of the secular centrist party Yesh Atid, Yair Lapid, how he reconciled his democratic ideals with the treatment of Palestinians: "There are now 600,000 to 800,000 settlers, all of whom are regarded by international law as illegal, including your good friends in Amona apparently," Loewenstein is reported to have said. “Is there not a deluded idea here that many Israeli politicians, including yourself, continue to believe that one can talk to the world about democracy, freedom and human rights while denying that to millions of Palestinians, and will there not come a time soon, in a year, five years, 10 years, where you and other politicians will be treated like South African politicians during Apartheid?" Lapid responded, according to the Jerusalem Post, by saying Lowenstein's question was full of bad assumptions an example of "post-truth and post-facts". The question triggered an investigation into Loewenstein by Honest Reporting, which has the tagline, "Defending Israel from media bias". The investigation "exposed" Loewenstein as a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. The movement, which many supporters of Israel say is anti-Semetic, urges consumers and governments to avoid Israeli products in protest of its treatment of Palestinians. Overnight, the Jerusalem Post carried a report that said the Government Press Office' director was "leaning against" renewing Loewenstein's press card. Without it, the report states, he would not be able to remain in Israel. “We are leaning toward recommending that his work permit not be renewed due to suspected BDS activity,” GPO director Nitzan Chen told the paper. “We are checking the incident because unfortunately, the journalist did not give enough information to our staff. We will learn to check better so there won’t be such incidents in the future." Loewenstein responded to the report on his website, saying that "truly free nations respect and encourage free speech. They welcome it." Contacted by Crikey this morning, he added that he'd been in touch with the Australian embassy in Tel Aviv, who were rather unhelpful, telling him the Australian embassy couldn't intervene in internal Israeli matters. Tony Abbott, Bill Shorten, and a host of other Australian politicians are currently in Israel. -- Myriam Robin

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7 thoughts on “Loewenstein could lose Israeli press accreditation

  1. Draco Houston

    Well, I guess he got the answer to his question.

  2. klewso

    The Israelis seem as sensitive to critiquing as our own Limited News Party and their caravan?

  3. MikeR

    I think Anthony should find refuge in all those other Middle East bastions of democracies where freedom of the press is unquestionable (say Turkey, Syria, Iraq,Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait ….).

    1. AR

      …see, the fing with “whataboutism” is that it is really only effective in kindie – in the real world one is expected to deal with… what’s the word… reality.

      1. MikeR

        AR .This could be just a ‘sliding door moment’ which might open up more opportunities for  Anthony. An occasional change in locale can give you a  fresh perspective.  Reporting from Gaza could also be an option.

  4. AR

    Does being anti-Semetic mean never having to feel nauseated?
    AL had better watch out those ‘targetted assassinations’ which apparently are far worse than untargetted ones like, oh I dunno, that rusky bloke in in Turkey tuther day.
    (Myriam, 3rd article today – is someone at least sliding food under the locked door occasionally?)

  5. Paddlefoot

    So there’s the link between Russia, Turkey , Iran and Israel. Free speech ‘discouraged’.

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