Does my BUT look big in this? This week: Bibi’s Al-Jazeera censorship

Does my BUT look big in this? This week: Bibi’s Al-Jazeera censorship

One big issue, two opposite opinions... In this edition we look at Israeli attempts to remove the Qatar-based network from Jerusalem

Al Jazeera English's news desk
Al Jazeera English's news desk

Kick Al-Jazeera off the Israeli airwaves – the sooner the better. Good on Benjamin Netanyahu for lancing the boil. Sure, he’ll be criticised, but this is a national security issue.

The Qatar-based network has been stirring things up when it comes to Temple Mount. It lights fires in other people’s back yard, but this particular fire is in one of the world’s most hotly-contested sites, sacred to millions, cause of thousands of deaths over the years. We don’t want thousands more. We don’t need the drip-feed anti-Israel poison that Al-Jazeera spews.

To hear it, you’d think Israel had just declared holy war on Islam. It’s incitement, pure and simple, and you deal with that by banning it. And let’s not forget who we’re banning, here. Al-Jazeera fanned the flames of the Arab Spring. Ask the Syrians how that turned out. Moreover, the network is owned by the Qatari royal family, who host Hamas and who cosy up to Iran and Turkish president Erdogan, the man who thinks security cameras are an act of war. Objective, it is not.

So if this network wants to push the line that Jews are seeking to take over Islam’s second holiest site, then this network cannot expect to operate inside Israel, where tension between Jews and Muslims is never far away at the best of times. Get rid, Bibi, and leave a note reading: “So long and thanks for all the fish.”


That’s exactly the sort of thing you’d expect from Turkey and Iran – banning news outlets who cover things you don’t want covered. That’s censorship. That’s authoritarianism. And if Israel apes them, it would be an attack on free speech by a known defender of free speech.

Israel’s supporters in the Diaspora consistently say she is the region’s only true, functioning liberal democracy. But there is nothing liberal or democratic about banning a news organisation that puts a less-than-positive spin on things. Incitement? Please. It reports what’s happening. If Muslims around the world go mad at the installation of cameras and metal detectors, it’s not incitement to show them going mad. If Turkey’s president says that Israel is starting a holy war, it’s not incitement to show him saying that.

If aggrieved Muslims want to write an opinion piece venting their anger at the situation, it’s not incitement to let them, just as it’s not incitement for Jewish News to cover the frustrations and aggravations of Jews, angry at what’s going on.

You can’t dress this up. Israel is proposing to shoot the messenger because she doesn’t like the message. History shows this rarely works, and even if it does, only ever in the short-term.

The repercussions always come back to bite.

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