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Al Jazeera Later, Homeless Terrorist, Wine Country


Al Jazeera: Israel Seeks to Shut Offices and Take Network Off Air

BBC, August 6th 2017

Recap:

Israel intends to close Al Jazeera's office in Jerusalem and revoke its journalists’ media credentials.

The Context:

  • Al Jazeera launched in 1996 and made its name in Middle Eastern media by openly criticizing regional governments and rulers. The network is funded by the Qatari government and, in recent months, has become the target of Arab nations who seek to isolate Qatar over its alleged support for terrorism [1].

  • Saudi Arabia and Jordan shut their respective Al Jazeera bureaus while the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have blocked the channel and website. Egypt banned Al Jazeera following the ouster of the country’s Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi in 2013 [2].

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed to Al Jazeera’s reporting during the recent Temple Mount crisis as a catalyst for the violence that engulfed the country. Al Jazeera called Netanyahu’s statement “unsubstantiated” for not “referring to a single news bulletin or situation that proved Al Jazeera had not been professional nor objective during its coverage in Jerusalem [3]."

  • Al Jazeera reaffirmed their commitment to objectivity and vowed to “take the necessary legal measures towards reversing the decision [4]." Amnesty International considered the move “a brazen attack on media freedom [5].”

  • Israeli officials defended their decision to shutter Al Jazeera’s operations in Jerusalem by pointing to the regional consensus that "Al Jazeera supports terrorism [6]” and that “citizens’ security and welfare overcomes freedom of expression in times of terror, period [7].”

Conversation Points:

  • Why is Israel in the spotlight if it was Arab states that initiated the ban?

  • Should freedom of expression be reined in during “times of terror”?

  • Is Al Jazeera objective if it defines Israel as both Israel and Palestine on its website and in its reporting?

  • Are Arab countries incentivized to shut down Al Jazeera to quell its criticism of their governments?

  • Is Netanyahu using the Al Jazeera situation to deflect attention away from his alleged improprieties that are currently being investigated?

In First, Court Revokes Citizenship of Arab Israeli Car-Ramming Attacker Stuart Winer, The Times of Israel, August 6th 2017

Recap:

The Haifa Magistrate’s Court revoked the citizenship of an Arab Israeli man convicted of carrying out an attack that injured four Israelis in 2015. The ruling marks the first time Israel has stripped an Arab Israeli of citizenship over terror charges.

The Context:

  • Alaa Raed Ahmad Zayoud was convicted of four counts of attempted murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Zayoud admitted the attack was “nationalistically motivated” and his intention to "kill himself by killing Jews." Zayoud is a resident of Umm al-Fahm, an Arab-Israeli city in Haifa.

  • Interior Minister Aryeh Deri petitioned the court to revoke Ziwad’s citizenship [8] by applying a 2008 law that allows the ministry to deprive nationality from those involved in "terrorist activities [9].” Court official Avraham Elyakim said the measure was “suitable and proportional” since “whoever decides to [engage] in acts of terror removes himself from the general society of the country.”

  • The Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights intends to appeal the decision, which they consider “a dangerous precedent" and “no coincidence that the individual involved is an Arab citizen of Israel [10].”

  • In 1996, Israel’s top court rejected a request to revoke the citizenship of Israeli Jewish citizen Yigal Amir, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s murderer [11].

  • Deri is also pushing for Zayoud’s father, who is not an Israeli citizen, to be deported once his permit expires [12].

Conversation Points:

  • Should acts against the state be grounds for loss of citizenship? Who should determine what is considered an act against a state?

  • Is it hypocritical that Yigal Amir did not lose his citizenship while Zayoud did?

  • Should Zayoud’s father be affected by his son’s actions?

Jerusalem Wine Festival to Highlight 30 Years of Industry Growth

Zachary Kerman, Ynetnews, August 6th 2017

Recap:

The 14th Annual Jerusalem Wine Festival highlighted 30 years of growth and featured 50 Israeli wineries. “The wine industry, not only in terms of numbers, but in terms of quality, has expanded so dramatically that we’re winning awards at virtually every competition,” said Eli Poch, proprietor of the Kfar Hayayin Kosher Wine store at Kibbutz Kfar Etzion.

The Context:

  • Wine plays an integral role in Judaism and has been produced in the Judean region since the 8th century BCE. The industry waned following the Jewish exile in 70 CE but was revitalized when Baron Edmond Rothschild, a Zionist and owner of the Chateau Lafite Winery in Bordeaux, assisted in constructing Israel’s first winery in 1889.

  • Today, it is estimated that there are up to 400 wineries in Israel located in five distinct wine growing regions - the Galilee, Judean Hills, Samson region, Samaria region and Negev desert region. Israeli growers produce roughly 40 different wine grapes imported from 18 different countries around the world.

  • Last month, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) backtracked on a ruling that would have required all wines produced in the West Bank to have “Product of Israel” removed from its labeling following fierce backlash from Jewish advocacy groups [13].

Conversation Points:

  • Does the Israeli wine industry benefit most from the distinct regions within the small country, the ideal climate for growing and harvesting grapes or the culture of cooperation between winemakers?

Notes:

  1. Rights group condemns Israeli move to shutter Al Jazeera, Times of Israel, August 7th 2017

  2. EVERYONE SEEMS TO HATE AL JAZEERA AND THE QATARI TV CHANNEL IS FIGHTING BACK, Callum Paton, Newsweek, August 7th 2017

  3. Al Jazeera: ‘Legal Action Will be Taken Against Israel’, Al Bawaba, August 7th 2017

  4. Al Jazeera: ‘Legal Action Will be Taken Against Israel’, Al Bawaba, August 7th 2017

  5. Rights group condemns Israeli move to shutter Al Jazeera, Times of Israel, August 7th 2017

  6. Rights group condemns Israeli move to shutter Al Jazeera, Times of Israel, August 7th 2017

  7. NETANYAHU BACKS PUSH TO SHUT DOWN AL JAZEERA'S ISRAEL OFFICES Lahav Harkov, Jerusalem Post, August 6th 2017

  8. Setting Precedent, Israeli Court Approves Revoking Citizenship of Convicted Terrorist, Noa Shpigel, Haaretz, August 6th 2017

  9. Israel moves to strip Alaa Zayoud of citizenship, Al Jazeera, August 7th 2017

  10. Setting Precedent, Israeli Court Approves Revoking Citizenship of Convicted Terrorist, Noa Shpigel, Haaretz, August 6th 2017

  11. Israel moves to strip Alaa Zayoud of citizenship, Al Jazeera, August 7th 2017

  12. Israel has stripped citizenship from an Arab Israeli for the first time ever, The Independent, August 6th 2017

  13. CANADIAN AGENCY RETRACTS 'PRODUCTS OF ISRAEL' WINE BAN AFTER BACKLASH, Eytan Halon, Jerusalem Post, July 14th 2017


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