What? Haven’t you heard? Israel has turned into a police state. Censorship all over the place and people are afraid of talking about “the affair” lest they get thrown in jail. “The authorities” were considering renting out a Gulag in Siberia for offenders, but it’s almost summer here and spending July in a cooler place may be considered a reward by some.
Oh wait, it’s not everyone. The regular people don’t really know about it. It’s a conspiracy after all. So it’s only journalists, torn by their inner need to tell the truth and their fear of the Shin Bet’s infamous dungeons.
Give me a break.
Look, the court order to prevent publishing anything about this affair is probably not very smart. You can’t prevent anything from leaking out this time and age. We have the Internet and all that, ya know. More importantly, this is Israel. Everyone talks and everyone knows everyone else. Can anyone really think it’s possible to hide anything here for more than a few days at most?
And note I didn’t use the term “gag order”. I don’t know what the official term for it is in English, but here it’s simply about not publishing content. Nobody is being physically gagged, ball stuffed into their mouth as their bulging eyes try to convey the horrible truth.
As for our poor frightened journalists. Journalists who write about defense issues are usually very well connected. I don’t know about Mr Blau himself, but I can assure you the ones writing about the topic and grunting about the “gag order” are not afraid of the IDF or Shin Bet. After all, they are probably well acquainted with top officials in both organizations.
This isn’t to say they will not be interrogated if they defy the order, but it will probably be a routine police investigation. No Gulags or even jail cells. I suspect the only thing they may potentially stand to lose is personal connections (and I’m doubtful about that even).
As for the “journalist-in-exile” Mr Blau. It’s not like the poor guy has been turned into a fugitive for reporting something. As far as I can see, he’s chosen to avoid showing up for a perfectly legitimate investigation concerning the alleged leakage of classified documents from the IDF GHQ.
As it happens, I was once personally involved in a similar investigation concerning the “Shtauber document”. Yes, I had to go through a lie detector test and it wasn’t exactly fun per se. It wasn’t torture either and as far as I recall – the investigators were polite and professional. Unless Mr Blau actually did knowingly break the law by being involved in stealing classified documents, I really don’t know what he’s running away from.
And I won’t even mention the female journalist involved by name. Not because of any court order, but because the lady in question has been sending out messages to bloggers and journalists in Israel to stay off her case. I’ll respect that – just wanted to clarify that AFAIK this is the reason why posts about the topic have been disappearing (I know Shin Bet hackers would have been a more fun explanation).
So, with all due respect. One so-called “gag order” is not a reason to paint Israel as this fanatic police state where brave journalists fear for their life or freedom. It’s great to point out just how misguided and essentially ineffective the order is this day and age, but no need to turn what is a smelly little molehill into this a huge mountain.