Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia – Hands Off AlJazeera!

By Adam Smith & Boris Hammerschlag

The Internationalist Socialist League


Last week, it has been announced by Israel’s Minister of Communications, Ayoub Kara, that a legal process has begun to shut down the Qatari-based media outlet’s offices in Jerusalem, following similar measures taken by other reactionary regimes in the region, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Kara, a known puppet minister of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, could not have carried out this crackdown on his own. Netanyahu began his latest term forming an unprecedented ultra-right wing government with him concentrating direct control over 5 ministries, including Foreign Affairs, and of course, Communications. He also forced all of the coalition parties to sign a ‘non-intervention’ clause regarding any decision he might make in the future concerning communications and media.

An appeal, by Zionist opposition parties, against this unprecedented concentration of power has been handed to the Israeli Supreme Court, which in turn forced Netanyahu to relinquish control over the Ministry of Communications in favor of a minister of his own choosing.

This brings to mind the shortcomings of bourgeois perverse judicial system where the letter of the law takes precedence over justice in practice. A good example of this could be demonstrated by Putin who placed his lap-dog, Dmitry Medvedev, as Russian president when Russian law, designed to prevent over-concentration of power, would not have allowed Putin to run for presidency once again.

Such practices are exactly the direction the Israeli government, under Netanyahu’s leadership, is pushing towards – one-man Bonapartism, similar to Putin’s Russia, Erdogan’s Turkey, a-Sisi’s Egypt, etc. Whatever has remained of the formal democratic facade of the Israeli Apartheid regime, is being gradually but rapidly gnawed at for the past decade – the attempts to shut down alJazeera being yet another step.

AlJazeera had been accused of incitement against Israel, recently during the alAqsa clashes, as well as support for terrorism. However, Israel already has laws against both incitement and support for terrorism. What could have prevented simply sending the police in to arrest and prosecute any alJazeera lawbreakers? The answer is easy – the Israeli court system, that’s what – the only authority left to keep Israel in the ultra-hypocritical club of the so called western “free world”.

Knowing it would be nearly impossible to prove any incitement or open support for terrorism on alJazeera platforms has ever taken place, Kara has instead begun to pressure the Israeli Satellite and Cable companies (YES and HOT respectively) to remove alJazeera from their available channel list. It should be noted that Kara has the power to introduce or prevent the introduction of new competitor companies into an extremely monopolistic market of TV content of a relatively small nation.

Kara also approached Lieberman, the Minister of Security, who has formal authority over the 67 occupied territories, to crackdown alJazeera activity under his jurisdiction. However, Israel has been placing Palestinian journalists under administrative arrests (without trial) long before this specific targeting of alJazeera.

Bypassing the Israeli justice system has become the modus operandi of Zionist Bonapartism and right-wing populism. Such was case of the shutting down of the Islamic Movement – Northern Branch. Knowing that incitement and support for terrorism would be impossible to prove in court, Erdan, the Minister of Internal Affairs chose to invoke the “Emergency Statutes” – leftovers from the British Mandate rule over Palestine.

It should be noted at this point, that by no means would we wish to absolve the racist Zionist courts from their role as a central element of the Apartheid and occupation apparatus as a whole. However, understanding this trend of treating it as excess baggage, is crucial in shaping any future anti-Zionist uprising.

The Zionist left, ideologically bankrupt with its dead-end “two state solution”, demoralized by its inability to defeat Netanyahu, now places its hopes in him being thrown in jail or at least deposed over one or more of his several corruption scandals, being investigated by the police.

However, the shrewd politician that is Netanyahu, he has a keen understanding of the mechanisms of Israeli media and is consistently able to divert its attention by throwing yet another right-wing populist jab at the expense of the Palestinians and their supporters, whenever it manages to pick up on any accusations over his corruption. With the lack of any charismatic alternative, such allegations only serve to further rally support behind him (both willful and through intimidation), demonize the media and centralize even more power.

So far, Netanyahu has shown extreme skill, treading carefully, pushing the boundaries just enough to create the desired public effect, but not too much as to accidentally start a 3rd Intifada. Such things, however, are of an extremely volatile and unpredictable nature – all the while, the policy of slowly-creeping settler-colonialism and careful preparations for a full annexation – i.e. open apartheid, continues – relying on Islamophobia to keep the rest of the world paralyzed.

Another accusation made against alJazeera revolves around its alleged hypocrisy – being a relatively progressive media outlet with favorable coverage of environmental, LGBT and women’s liberation issues, the Palestinian liberation struggle, the Arab Spring, the Syrian Revolution etc. (I personally witnessed an alJazeera reporter being physically attacked by several supporters of the Stalinist Communist Party of Israel during a Nakbah Day rally a few years back for their favorable coverage of the uprising against Assad in Syria – B.H.) all the while having its headquarters in Qatar, that has a reactionary Islamist monarchy for a regime – which it is careful to never criticize.

To that we say that it is indeed a sad reality that regimes like the one in Qatar still exist. What we fail to understand is how banning somewhat progressive outlets would hasten the regime demise? The way we see it, any reactionary regime toppled over by the masses, whether it butchers and oppresses its own people like Assad’s regime in Syria or a-Sisi’s regime in Egypt, or is does so to other nations like the Zionist, US and EU regimes, is a positive development. It doesn’t really matter if being exposed by alJazeera led to this or something else.

Any victory by the masses emboldens and gives hope to all of the oppressed and exploited people around the world, that ultimately – all oppressors and exploiters, no matter how strong, could be defeated, including their own. If by backing alJazeera, the Qatari regime thinks it could escape such fate – then history has taught it nothing.

If alJazeera is acting hypocritically by not biting the hand that feeds it, then a much greater hypocrisy lies with those who had zero concern over the rights of Qatari women, LGBT or the fate of those who struggle for democracy anywhere in the Arab world, until it was the repressive regime they support which was next in line to be exposed by alJazeera.

Those who support genuine freedom and social justice for our region, would join us in our call:

For the Victory of the Arab Revolution and a Socialist Federation of the Middle East

We believe this is the only solution!

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