News Agencies Terminate Journalists For Supporting Palestine

Saturday 17 July 202112:43 pm
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Palestinian journalist Tala Halawa announced that she was fired from her position in BBC, due to an anti-Israel tweet she had published during the 2014 aggression on Gaza, three years before she joined the news network.

The BBC had terminated the services of Tala Halawa, a digital journalist specializing in monitoring Palestinian affairs, two months after she was suspended from work last May and was subjected to an interrogation that lasted for three weeks.

A senior BBC spokesperson told the Jewish Chronicle of London last week that “after the investigations had concluded, this individual no longer works for the BBC.”

The Story of Her Dismissal

In July 2014, during the seven-week war on Gaza, in which the Israeli occupation committed war crimes that — according to figures by the United Nations — claimed the lives of 2,189 Palestinians at the very least, including more than 1,486 civilians.

Halawa — at the time — wrote on her Twitter account: “Israel is more Nazi than Hitler! #IDF go to hell,” using the hashtag that was trending at the time, “#HitlerWasRight”, in addition to the hashtag “#PrayForGaza”.

Halawa accused the BBC of “choosing to prosecute her through social media”, and deemed the news network was “capitulating to pressure from pro-Israel interest groups” who launched a campaign against her

The tweet that Tala had published seven years ago was in reference to the Israeli attack against the Shujaiyya neighborhood, which had resulted in the death of 55 Palestinian civilians, including 19 children and 14 women, in just 48 hours. It also came just a few days after Israeli settlers kidnapped young Palestinian minor Mohammed Abu Khdeir and burned him alive.

In a statement she posted to announce the news of her dismissal and address the issue, Halawa said: “As a young Palestinian woman, social media was the only means available to me amidst the horrific realities and undeserved deaths of innocent Palestinians that I was witness to amid international and media silence.”

However, Halawa expressed her regrets and apologies for posting the tweet, saying: “I made a mistake when I tweeted in the heat of the moment and used a popular hashtag at the time without thinking or any awareness under the pressure of those difficult times.”

She went on to add: “The offensive words I posted at the time do not reflect me or my political views then, as much as they do not today, or at any time in the future, and I did not hesitate to apologize for them and to all the victims they offended. I hope that those who were hurt by them will accept my heartfelt apology for posting without thinking.

In the latest spate of attacks in occupied Palestinian territories last May, Emily Wilder, a young American journalist and news editor at the Associated Press, announced she was fired because of her support of the Palestinian cause in her university days“ The trend of bad-faith intimidation of reporters from the region by hostile actors and organized public flogging are aimed at setting the parameters of acceptable journalism to suit Israel, and policing international media to maintain institutional pro-Israel bias

The Israeli Lobby

Halawa accused the BBC of “choosing to prosecute her through social media (trial with social media)” and deemed that the British news network was “capitulating to pressure from external pro-Israel interest groups” who launched a campaign against her.

According to Halawa, the campaign against her began — or as she put it, “pro-Israel groups had their eyes on me” — after she prepared and appeared in a video report for the BBC talking about the price that celebrities around the world pay when they support the Palestinian cause. She says: “As soon as the report was published, extremist groups supporting Israel began digging into my Twitter account and promoting the offensive tweet.

She added: “I take pride in the fact that during my four years at BBC, I was always known for my impartiality and professional journalism, even during the most difficult times.

Inspection Committees

The dismissal of journalists based on their stances regarding the Palestinian cause is not just limited to the BBC. “But I am not alone,” Halawa had stated, “This pro-Israel censorship campaign is industrial in scale and international in its reach.

In the latest spate of attacks in the occupied Palestinian territories last May, Emily Wilder, a young American journalist and news editor at the Associated Press, announced that she was fired because of her activeness and work in support of the Palestinian cause while studying at university

Wilder, a Jewish American, had taken up a job at The Associated Press around two weeks before the outbreak of the latest Israeli assaults on the Palestinian territories. She said in statements to the British Guardian newspaper, that the American agency (AP) had dismissed her for allegedly violating the agency’s social networking policy, which requires the commitment of editors to refrain from expressing their personal opinions on incidents and events as long as they work with the agency. This took place despite the fact that her tweets and articles in support of Palestinian rights were published years before she even began her work at the agency.

The trend of bad-faith intimidation of reporters from the region by hostile actors and organized public flogging are aimed at setting the parameters of acceptable journalism to suit Israel, and policing international media to maintain institutional pro-Israel bias

In addition, American academic, author, activist, and journalist Marc Lamont Hill was dismissed from CNN after he called for the liberation of “Palestine from the river to the sea” in a speech at the United Nations.

According to Halawa, even though “the trend of bad-faith intimidation of reporters from the region by hostile actors and organized public flogging are aimed at setting the parameters of acceptable journalism to suit Israel, and policing international media to maintain institutional pro-Israel bias… I will continue to believe and fight for honest and brave journalism regardless of these menial attempts at character assassination.”

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