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Netanyahu's boycott - of the Israeli media

By Tal Schneider

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not given a single interview to the Israeli press since January 19, 2013. Not one question answered at a press conference, not a single one-on-one, and forget about a roundtable.

In a democracy, this is incomprehensible.

Amit Segal’s Channel 2 story on the matter (‘A year since the elections – the prime minister refuses to be interviews’, [Heb]) says it all. Nothing happened even after that.

Netanyahu grants numerous interviews in many languages to the foreign press — but not in Hebrew to Israeli reporters.

As a political blogger, I don’t even dream that I’d get a sit-down with Netanyahu but I would certainly try to ask the prime minister questions at press conferences — if only he would hold them.

So, I’m launching the Plog’s “Netanyahu Stop-Watch.”

I would like to call the attention of foreign press to the fact that in the “only democracy in the Middle East,” as Netanyahu described Israel again recently, the prime minister holds no press conferences and grants no interviews to the local media.

Perhaps my foreign colleagues, then, will ask him what he’s afraid of?

Tal Schneider is a political reporter. A version of this post first appeared on Tal’s blog, the Plog, and republished here with the her permission.

Related:
Most Israeli media publish press releases as straight news
Newscaster resigns on air over apology to Netanyahu patron

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    COMMENTS

    1. noam

      Kudos to +972 for importing pieces by Tal Schneider. I glad that when someone like Paula Schmitt came on board, you have the common snese to balance her with some professionalism.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Rehmat

      Bibi has realized that very few Israelis still believe in his hasbara rants. On the otherhand, Westerners are fully brainwashed by the Zionist control of the mainstream media – and are ready to consume most of Bibi’s lies especially if they’re coated with antisemitism or holocaust.

      Don’t forget, even Bibi’s close allies like Nicolas Sarkozi and Barack Obama don’t believe in him any more.

      http://rehmat1.com/2011/11/09/adl-slams-obama-and-sarkozy-for-insulting-bibi/

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        >Bibi has realized that very few Israelis still believe in his hasbara rants.

        Dude, you are speaking purest nonsense.

        Maybe, pick an issue you have more knowledge on?

        Reply to Comment
    3. Kolumn9

      To be fair, he did have an appearance on Eretz Nehederet last April. Kitzis did the interview. It wasn’t serious, but Kitzis did ask all the questions that any other interviewer would have and that place is hostile territory as far as Bibi is concerned.

      Reply to Comment
    4. The Trespasser

      “In a democracy, this is incomprehensible.”

      Could not blame Netaniyahu for that tho.

      Israeli media is well known for their tendency to form public opinion, and not merely inform and entertain.

      Hardly there is a good reason, other than some vague “democratic values”, to feed trolls who don’t seem to be entirely upholding this very values.

      Reply to Comment
      • Peter

        “Israeli media is well known for their tendency to form public opinion, and not merely inform and entertain.”

        Yah. That’s UNIQUE to Israel. LOL.

        Reply to Comment
      • Average American

        Yeah, who needs all that “democratic values” crap when you’re The Jewish State?

        Reply to Comment
    5. Ran

      This is completely normal for the Anglosphere West which Bibi wants Israel to be a part of. For example, his best buddy Canadian Prime Minister Harper is notorious for not talking to Canadian journalists and forbidding his ministers to do so without oversight from his office.

      Reply to Comment
    6. benjamin

      well, this is exactly by this kind of behaviour that you’re not gonna get the guy come and talk to the press.

      Now let me ask a question : democracy, what does it mean ? Is there a law somewhere that forces prime minister, ministers, or just public figures in general, to come in front of the press ?

      Press is not a power, not an institution. They have absolutly no fonction in a country public sane fonctionnement.
      They dont own any right or mandatory privilege that makes people FORCED to come and talk to them.

      I think nowadays there is a total misguidance about the role of press in our modern western countries society.

      I think the way this article is written shows it clearly : the indignation of the writter, like if netanyahu owe you something lmfao..
      “I’m launching a netanyahu clock watch”…..but who the f*** are you ?

      With all my respect, time of bright grand journalism kinda disapear in general in the world, when it never existed in Israel.
      Amateurism and total partiality/subjectivity coupled with a franc agresivity (from right like left sides) is what caracteristic press in israel.

      This all society is giving way too much power and importance to a bunch of guys that the only job is to tell other people story, most of the time in a remixed way or serving their purpose..

      for exemple, the episode with his son and his gf, as small as it can look, is def not the kind of episode that would give me, as a prime minister, the will to give a single minute of my time to ppl that need me to make a living…

      Well, eat it up guys, nobody owe you anythg, if you had made your job properly..

      Reply to Comment
      • SH

        Now let me ask a question : democracy, what does it mean ? Is there a law somewhere that forces prime minister, ministers, or just public figures in general, to come in front of the press ?… the indignation of the writter, like if netanyahu owe you something lmfao..

        I wouldn’t be ‘laughing my f***ing ass off’ if I were you. You may not like this particular journalist or the publication he works for but don’t forget in a democracy the politicians work for you, the people. And yes, our politicians do owe us something, accountability.

        I would agree that the media has lost it’s way and can focus on very stupid issues sometimes, but it’s not as if individual citizens can hold press conferences with politicians to hold them to account for their actions so we have to rely on the media to do so. Better that then not asking politicans any questions at all and letting them sail freely for over a year. I wouldn’t be so flippant about it if I were you.

        Reply to Comment
        • Average American

          I agree with you mostly, but a critical point is The People are supposed to be informed by Congress DIRECTLY, NOT through The Press. Elected officials at least in USA are supposed to inform ME of what they’re doing directly. THAT’S what’s wrong with USA. Let the press report on a fire at Old MacDonald’s Farm. And by the way if anyone didn’t notice, the USA is NOT a Democracy, it’s a Republic, a very different thing, and in a Republic, there is a clear line of responsibility from Elected to Electors. But like anything else involving big contributors and big egos, our USA government has become a Mafia. Or a Whorehouse. I can’t tell anymore.

          Reply to Comment
    7. Piotr Berman

      “Israeli media is well known for their tendency to form public opinion, and not merely inform and entertain.”

      I guess in Europe a lot of media have some political line and attempt to form the public opinion accordingly. A prime minister or Die Kanzlerin (pardon my German) may give an interview to friendly media or show his or her mettle by answering “difficult questions”. Putin is actually pretty good at it.

      However, Netanyahu is in a rather difficult situation. I recall many years ago a Canadian prime minister answering a number of questions with (quoted from memory) “One can be content with just continuing the past, or one can boldly go for the future. We [progressive conservatives] go for the future”. In many places it is fair enough, who does not want the future?

      But in Israel this would be instantly attacked. Isn’t the goal of the State of Israel to recreate the past? Starting from resurrecting a dead language, revisiting history 3000 years past and progressing (regressing?) toward 4000 year ago? 3500 years ago seems to be a consensus target date.

      Reply to Comment
    8. The Trespasser

      >I guess in Europe a lot of media have some political line and attempt to form the public opinion accordingly.

      In Israel it is a whole magnitude or two worse. Basically, TV has more real power than government, parliament or even police.

      >… Putin is actually pretty good at it.

      You can’t really compare.
      Putin is a KGB agent and as such underwent special training on interrogations etc. Besides, each and every journalist knows perfectly well that people who ask too many questions on Putins’ rule do not end well.

      >… We [progressive conservatives] go for the future” … But in Israel this would be instantly attacked.

      (facepalm)

      >Isn’t the goal of the State of Israel to recreate the past?

      No.

      >Starting from resurrecting a dead language

      (facepalm)

      “The process began as Jews started arriving in Palestine in the first half of the nineteenth century and used Hebrew as a lingua franca.”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revival_of_the_Hebrew_language

      >revisiting history 3000 years past and progressing (regressing?) toward 4000 year ago? 3500 years ago seems to be a consensus target date.

      wtf are you talking about?

      Reply to Comment
    9. Danny

      Who in his/her right mind wants to hear what this man has to say? His relevant views are well-known, and his actions speak far louder than his words ever could.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Rehmat

      Tal Schneider needs to study some objective sources before calling Israel a “democracy”. I can quote atleast three Jewish scholars, Gideon Levy, IIan Pappe and Marianne Williamson who have said that Israel being a democracy is a big hoax.

      http://rehmat1.com/2014/02/10/netanyahu-boycotts-israeli-press/

      Reply to Comment
    11. Steve

      Why would Netanyahu talk to fringe, hateful, extreme-left blogs that are trying to destroy the world’s only Jewish homeland and replace it with another Arab state?

      Reply to Comment
    12. Steve

      It seems Netanyahu is helping keep Israel safe.

      Very few Israelis die anymore. That’s a good thing, right?

      Is it better for Jews to die? Would that make people happy? I don’t get it.

      Reply to Comment