Israeli Reporters May Sever Ties With Int’l Federation of Journalists Again

The National Federation of Israeli Journalists is mulling breaking ties with the International Federation of Journalists over the umbrella organization singling out Israel for criticism. The Jerusalem Post explains:

The impetus for the break comes following a communiqué sent by the IFJ to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in November citing Israel as one of six countries where “women journalists face threats, political pressure, violence, rape and abuse either due to their gender or simply for doing their jobs.”

Danny Zaken, chairman of the Journalists Association in Jerusalem, responded in a letter sent Sunday: “I demand answers for the outrageous false paper the IFJ issued about violence toward women journalists in Israel.

“It looks like there are no answers and the IFJ is going back to the bad old days of working with twisted politics instead of with professionalism,” he wrote, adding, “We cannot take part in a show like that.” . . .

Contacted on Monday, Boumelha declined to comment on the Israeli federations’ threats to leave the organization. He also turned down requests to furnish further information on Israel’s alleged mistreatment of female journalists.

The latest dispute between the federation and the international body was sparked when the IFJ compared Israel to countries such as Mexico, the Philippines, Somalia, Russia and Nepal, where over the past few years women journalists have been murdered or faced violent sexual assaults while doing their jobs.

While there were several recent reports of Israeli authorities harassing female journalists and even arrests of Palestinian female journalists in the past, there have been no known cases of extreme violence or deaths as a result of mistreatment.

The IFJ has a history of rocky relations with the Israeli community of journos.

During the 2006 Lebanon War, the IFJ condemned Israel for attacking Al-Manar transmission stations, prompting some Israeli journalists to renounce their membership. By 2009, the Israeli chapter had stopped paying dues and was expelled from the IFJ, though it was readmitted by the end of the year.

Here we go again . . .