Israeli Communications Minister Moves to Ban al-Jazeera, and Its Journalists

Legal Path to Outright Ban May Be Difficult

Israeli Communications minister Ayoub Kara has announced his intention to see a total ban of the al-Jazeera news network within Israel, including the revocation of all affiliated journalists’ credentials. He said the move was based of moves against Qatar-based al-Jazeera by the blockading Sunni states.

Kara said he expects Israel’s parliament to move quickly on such a ban, and called on the Press Office to work quickly with him to impose the ban “as quickly as possible.” Analysts, however, say it’s not likely to be so easy.

That’s because as a practical matter, neither the Communications Ministry nor the Press Office can simply ban the outlet outright, even if the currently rather right-wing parliament supports the move. Revocation of credentials alone would require Israel’s security services to say the individual journalists each threaten “national security.”

On top of that, “banning” the channel from being viewed within Israel is 100% impossible, as most of the viewership gets the channel through foreign satellite transmissions, over which Israel has no control at all.

As with efforts to move against al-Jazeera in the past, Kara’s effort seems destined to stop well short of anything practical, and instead will be an opportunity for a handful of politicians to ban about having done something.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.