As a liberal democracy, Israel is rightly held, and holds itself, to a higher standard in warfare than its adversaries; too bad the other democracies don’t do likewise.
For a Single Double Standard
An Irrational Attack on Israel’s Free Press
In its recently released ranking of press freedom in various countries, Freedom House downgraded the Jewish state from “free” to “partly free.” Why? Because Israel has a successful right-wing daily, Israel Hayom, and efforts last year in the Knesset to ban it failed. Jonathan Tobin writes:
Israel, which has far more active newspapers per capita than most democracies, remains a country where critics of the government and of the country have no trouble being heard on radio and television or finding space in general-circulation publications. Indeed, it is often far more difficult to find those who back Israel’s government or its current prime minister than it is to encounter their opponents in the media. In that respect, the Israeli press tilts even farther to the left than that in the United States.
What possible reason then can there be for downgrading Israel’s ranking? The answer is simple. The group considers “the growing impact of Israel Hayom” to be a problem. According to Freedom House, that newspaper’s “owner-subsidized business model endangered the stability of other media outlets.” . . . In a country that has overwhelming rejected the politics of the left in three consecutive elections, [there are] few media outlets not at odds with the views of the majority of voters. Israel Hayom filled that void and, not unsurprisingly, has been rewarded with a greater readership than those publications that tilt to the left. . . .
One needn’t be a fan of Netanyahu or [Israel Hayom’s owner, Sheldon] Adelson, to understand the insidious nature of [Freedom House’s] argument. To support efforts to suppress a publication that has provided much-needed diversity to the Israeli press is a betrayal of Freedom House’s mandate. To attack Israel . . . in this manner demonstrates that, as with so many other groups that pose as defenders of liberty, freedom in the Jewish state or the right of its people to defend themselves is not something [Freedom House] cares much about.