Israel, Justice, Mishegas

Newest in Israeli Justice – Arresting Foreign Journalists

I got this e-mail from a good fried of mine this morning. Tyson Herberger is a well-travelled, multilingual, Orthodox Jew. He’s married, lives in Jerusalem, and is pretty hard to pin down politically. You must read

Some of you may already now from reading the morning papers, but I am under house arrest for being a journalist.
Earlier this week Israel’s communications ministry and israeli police raided the Jerusalem studios of the radio station I work at. They seized all of the equipment in the studio itself, though left the rest of the offices intact. Everyone present at the time of the raid was taken into police custody for questioning. They released the secreatary after about 7 or 8 hours, and took the other 7 of us to
jail for the night as we were being detained.

The next day we went to court and were given a week of house arrest and are not allowed to speak to anyone from the station or its parent companies for 15 days. As far as I know the station is completely legal, the Israeli government has given us work visas and press accreditation to work at
the station. Israeli government officials and politicians routinely give us interviews both on the phone and in person – including their visiting our studios (Palestinians do as well, though that doesn’t do much to prove our Israeli legitimacy).
. . .
google search it if you want more – its been all over Israeli and world media, so I’m sure you’ll find something. Feel free to pass it on to any one you think may want to hear – including media. (Perhaps particularly in michigan as a UM graduate, Traverse City native is involved in the story – just make sure they spell my name correctly and not as its spelled below. I’m also happy to provide other sources for anyone doing the story.)

19 thoughts on “Newest in Israeli Justice – Arresting Foreign Journalists

  1. Apparently the station was operating under a Palestinian Authority license and thought that the PA cleared the license with the ISraeli authorities. The Israelis say they didn’t authorize it and that the station’s broadcast signal is interfering with other transmissions. Sounds like something that could have been dealt with with an investigation and questioning, rather than a seizure? I think there’s a lot of bad history in this area of illegal spectrum use in Israel.

  2. the sexy spin on this is “Peace radio shuttered by Israeli authorities” or whatever, but in reality it seems like a pretty clear case of a pirate radio station getting taken down.
    that said I am not mad at pirate radio. and chances are the authorities moved a little quicker on this particular station for political reasons.
    guess these dudes will have to buy a boat and broadcast from international waters.

  3. not sure. there was a haaretz english edition article about it. not sure about the hebrew edition. however it’s no longer on the front page of the haaretz english edition and good luck with the search function. anyone else ever notice how terrible the haaretz english edition search engine is? go ahead and pick a headline off the current front page and search one of the words. less than 50/50 odds it shows up.

  4. here’s the link to the JPost article at bottom
    from my understandings, from my conversations with my friend (one of those on house arrest) who has been a serious senior journalist with RAM FM Peace Radio Jerusalem, the radio station has been a mainstream force playing very cheesy American pop and soft-rock music oldies and covering real news in English in East Jerusalem and PA areas…
    given that the station has regular interviews with top level Israeli ministers and other authorities and is licensed under the PA this seems a very strange situation and I doubt the claims that this is a regular raid on a ‘pirate radio’ station…especially because the staff is on house arrest

  5. Amit– I believe it’s 93.6 FM. You could always ask Tyson– if you don;t know him personally, you aren’t many degrees of separation apart. And I suspect he’s kinda bored.

  6. This is beyond absurd. The radio station was illegal. Not because of content – but it lacked a license. Not just anyone can open a radio station (or a broadcast point) without an OK. This is true in the States too.
    I am glad these people were arrested. These broadcasts interfere with air traffic and with legit stations.
    I did Google this. I looked up the list of licensed stations – this was not one of them.I like when they bust the Haredi stations too (there are dozens of them). You break the law (in this case a fair and reasonable law)- You pay the price.
    Israel gets enough bad press – but this has almost nothing to to with free speech. Too bad Israel was blamed for this too.
    Too bad Jewschool bought into this and allowed the story to run.
    Yes-Jewschool supports freedom of expression – but can anyone suggest anything about Israel and have it published with guilt assumed?
    If someone suggest a blood libel (L’Havdil) will Jewchool publish it?

  7. Meir Einayim– sure illegal stations get busted, but it is normal for everyone to be arrested, and then put under house arrest for a week? especially when the Israeli gov’t had clearly been well aware of the station for a while?
    Yeah, that would be why people are suspecting this is politically motivated. Which in turn is why it’s good for the story to be out, so people can find out if it was.

  8. I am all in favor of “finding out” and investigated.
    But good journalism investigates and then reports. There is zero evidence here of political motivation.
    Now, don not get me wrong. It may exist. But Josh Frankel put this out on a major blog (Jewschool) before any investigation.
    Nobody can accuse the Israeli media of rolling over and playing dead when politically motivated arrests occur of their own guild. Yet, this was hardly given a mention.
    Do we have anything other than “I got this e-mail from a good fried of mine this morning”as proof that the incident occurred as described?
    If it did occur as described, then may it be that there is much more than meets the eye?
    Mud has been thrown at Israel here with exactly zero proof. I will be among the first to criticize Israel for failures. But what proof is there?
    Some obscure journalist makes a claim in an email that gets passes around. On what basis is it given credibility?
    If Josh,or anyone, had a tad more information-OK.
    This is such a sloppy claim of injustice that the real investiagtion ought to be what sort of unsubstantiated claims Jewschool will publish and what sort cross the line and so they refrain.

  9. Meir Einayim
    You should know that, regardless of the validity of this particular story, Jewschool will publish unsubstantiated claims/innacurate facts, so long as they fit the “progressive” line.

  10. Rebecca,
    Do you not want objective reporting? We all may allow for spin of the facts. But do we not want the facts first?
    I said: Nobody can accuse the Israeli media of rolling over and playing dead when politically motivated arrests occur of their own guild. Yet, this was hardly given a mention.
    I stand by this statement. Yes, it was given a brief mention in 2 papers. That was it. Even the report you site does not imply wrong doing. It reports all sides. Reporters in Israel do not sit still for abuse of other legitimate reporters by the government (I would say that some El Jeziara coverage certainly crossed the line. As a result they were dissed by the Israeli government. But no arrests because they did not break the law).
    The big question here is not what happened. We do not know. Josh , who reported this has no more information than you or I do. We have a second, or third, hand email from some obscure journalist with an ax to grind (he was shut down for involvement in an illegal act. There is no disputing that the station did not have an Israeli license. If it had a permit to broadcast from Palestine, that does not extend to transmitting from Israel).
    Yes, they claim to have a permit. One can claim anything s/he wishes. I would say-show me the permit.
    Israeli courts are usually activist and liberal with regard to the press. If there had been a permit why was it not produced in court? Why would the judges not have just tossed the matter. Is there a giant conspiracy of the government, Communications Ministry, police, court, and media, to do in this reporter and his station. I guess anything is possible.
    Police have shut down radio stations broadcasting from international waters when the transmission came from inside Israel. That is what happens to illegal broadcasts.
    I just don’t get it.
    Maybe I am dumb and maybe naive. But I would think that fair reporting should investigate the veracity of a report before (yes, before) publishing it and before slinging mud.
    Can there be any question but that the Jewschool report implies wrong doing?
    If Israel overstepped its authority and acted wrongly – I want to know about it.
    When a journalist (of little renown) makes a claim that can damage (in this case)Israel’s reputation – I, for one, want some backup evidence to take it seriously. Or, I would report all sides as best as possible. I would not report a possibly reckless and damaging email sent to a friend and then passed on to Josh.
    There can be little doubt that the Jewschool readership is more liberal than the general public (I base this on the type of reports and the nature of the comments). But this does not mean we throw objectivity out the window when it comes to criticism of Israel.
    If our criticism is to be taken seriously – we need to report facts and not make feckless charges.
    Jewschool may traffic in controversial stories – but controversy has two sides. Here only one was suggested.

  11. However, this “obscure journalist” from whom the above is a “second, or third, hand email” is a close friend of a number of the posters to this forum, who have been in touch with him personally over the past few days. Yes, he may “an ax to grind,” but discrediting information a number of us have received from him personally just because you don’t know of him is not exactly fair, either.

  12. To Barfefoot,
    Nobody has discredited anything he has said. I have asked for a bit of proof that this arrest is politically motivated as implied. I have asked for things basic to journalism.
    The station was illegal. Its own web site states it does not have a permit to broadcast from withing Israel. Close friend or not -facts, proof,material uncovered after investigation, documents – these are what are needed if one wants to make charges of impropriety.
    You make a huge mistake. I discredit nothing because “I do not know him personally.” This is irrelevant. What is relevant is that he has smeared Israel without providing any facts or any evidence to uphold his view.
    And I hope that because someone is “a friend” will allow you to suspend disbelief and ignore the need for objectivity.

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