To tthe editor:
We are writing to respond to your May 20 editorial: “An airstrike on journalism.” We wholly agree with the column’s assertion that the situation is fraught and complex and therefore: “In no other place is the work of journalists more essential.”
The government of Israel is responsible for providing evidence of why this building was bombed. It cannot stand behind the shield of a secret intelligence reporting to avoid accounting for the military need for this attack. And, since “In no other place is the work of journalists more essential,” press freedom, or the lack of it, in Gaza is also part of the story. According to Amnesty International’s 2020 report on Palestine: “The Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and the Hamas de facto administration in the Gaza Strip continued to crack down on dissent, including by stifling freedoms of expression and assembly, attacking journalists and detaining opponents. ... Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees were committed with impunity.” As relates to the press, the report continues: “The Palestinian Centre for Development and Media Freedoms recorded 97 incidents of attacks against journalists, including arbitrary arrests, ill-treatment during interrogation, confiscation of equipment, physical assaults and bans on reporting: 36 in the West Bank and 61 in Gaza.”
Indeed this is a complex, fraught and heartbreaking situation that requires robust, free and fair attention from the press.
Rabbi Steven Lewis
Rabbi Alison Adler