December 17, 2018

Press Freedom

Israel

Letter to Israel March 28, 2012

H.E. Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
3 Kaplan Street
P.O.B. 187
Kiryat Ben-Gurion
91919  Jerusalem
State of Israel
Fax: (011.972.2) 651.2361

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

The Overseas Press Club of America completely endorses the unanimous vote of the International Press Institute board in support of the Israeli journalist, Uri Blau, who faces a possible sentence of seven years in prison for violating the espionage section of the Israeli Penal Code.

From what we can learn, he revealed no secrets that might endanger the state.  Rather, he published information embarrassing to the Israeli Army, an act that fits the classic function of a journalist: to reveal the facts about the government’s behavior, both good and bad.  The Israeli government has reacted in the classic manner of the authoritarian state: punishing the journalist for exposing the truth, rather than correcting the underlying problem.

We are not defending the accuracy of what Uri Blau wrote, since we are not in position to know, but rather, his right to use leaked documents to publish what would appear to be an important story – that Israeli soldiers had defied a Supreme Court order that they should not kill Palestinian Jihadists if instead they could be arrested safely.  Nor are we defending the action of Anat Kamm for leaking documents she acquired when she was serving in the Army.

The use of leaked documents, or other confidential information, is a vital and well-established means for the press to keep the public informed about its government – embarrassing as it may be to the government concerned.  Therefore, we believe that Uri Blau should not be sent to jail.  As an independent organization that has defended press freedom around the world for more than 70 years, we urge you to declare that principle and to require your officials to abide by it.

Respectfully yours,
Jeremy Main
Larry Martz
Freedom of the Press Committee

cc:

H.E. Avigdor Liberman
Foreign Minister
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
9 Yitzhak Rabin Boulevard
Kiryat Ben-Gurion
91950  Jerusalem
State of Israel

Professor Yakov Neeman
Minister of Justice
pniot@justice.gov.il

Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz
Chief of Staff
Israeli Defense Force
pniot@mod.gov.il

H.E. Michael B. Oren
Ambassador of Israel to the U.S.A.
Embassy of the State of Israel
3514 International Drive, NW
Washington, DC  20008
Fax: (202) 364.5423

Ambassador Ron Prosor
Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the State of Israel to the United Nations
800 Second Avenue
New York, NY  10017
Fax: (212) 499.5515

Hon. David B. Shapiro
United States Ambassador to Israel
http://israel.usembassy.gov/ambpage.html

Maria Otero
Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC   20520