05 February 2010

Jerusalem Post Fires Naomi Chazan

Wow. This situation with the campaign of hatred against advocates for an Israeli civil society takes a really weird turn with Jerusalem Post editor David Horovitz's decision to fire Naomi Chazan, who has been writing a column in the Post for quite some time.

Here is coverage from Ha'aretz.

The first shot across the bow in the diaspora world is reported here, where the Melbourne Jewish community decided to cancel a talk by Chazan
, presumably at the urging of right wing activists. It's really shocking.

Despite the Post's rightward turn in the last twenty years, to their credit they still printed columns from the left, a strong indication that debate and the value of opposing views was strong.

But joining the campaign to de-legitimate the work of the New Israel Fund is simply something that I'd imagine Horovitz will have to answer in his community in Jerusalem, where a number of people will be stopping him on the street asking the simple question: "What are you thinking?"

David spoke at the Bronfman Center when I was director there from 1998-2004 and his appearance came in the midst of some of the worst bombings of the Second Intifada. Like many writers and thinkers, he was questioning assumptions on Palestinian leaders' true desire for peace, a totally fair and warranted exercise. But this move strikes me as deeply irrational and like many people, I await an explanation.

In the meantime, one must conclude that the silencing of voices in an essential debate about Israeli society is not good for Israeli democracy and is certainly contrary to the Zionist values that built the state.


Anonymous said...

Horovitz made it clear, she was not fired for her views but because she threatened legal action against the paper for publishing an advert against NIF and her. WHo was tryin to censor who?

Andy Bachman said...

Anonymous: I believe you have your legal processes all mixed up. Threatening a lawsuit for printing a defamatory ad is not censorship. Firing someone for her editorial views, which presumably why Chazan was hired in the first place, comes closer to the definition.