The return of the Israeli Military Censor
By GARY ZATZMAN
HALIFAX (25 July 2006) - Mark MacKinnon is The Globe and Mail correspondent in Israel. In an article under his byline published at page A10 of today's national edition of "Canada's national newspaper", entitled "Capturing Hezbollah stronghold perilous", we read that there was a statement from Hezbollah about a recent brief bout of combat with Israeli forces that "...claimed [sic] that four Israeli tanks had been damaged by Hezbollah fire and were 'totally burnt while their crews were killed or wounded.' Israel said one of its tanks had been hit." 
The implication, probably intentional, is that Hezbollah is inflating its victories to boost morale, whereas in reality Israel is evidently taking some hits -- perhaps someone got video footage out there that's hard to deny. According to the logic of the notorious anti-Arab racism of the Israeli authorities, with which they taint everything and anything about their neighbours, the consequences and scale of the military prowess of such "cowardly" Untermenschen are -- and indeed must be -- less, perhaps far less, than the "dirty, lying media spin" pumped out by such "a bunch of evildoing Islamic Arab terrorists."
Meanwhile, however, it turns out that there is an official notification that the Israeli military censor has been and will continue to suppress publication of information it considers not appropriate to relay to the *Israeli* public at this time.
Until now, the Israeli Military Censor had been trotted out, especially during the first Intifadah, to keep the *foreign* press from reporting struggles waged or victories won by Palestinian military forces against regular Israeli military forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Israeli press, expected to self-censor anything sensitive for their troops, otherwise paid the censorship little or no heed.
However, the latest notification from the Israeli Military Censor on the 16th of July, as leaked by international journalists, shows the target of the censorship this time is indeed primarily the Israeli public, not the foreign press. It reads as follows:
"Censorship Policy Regarding Fighting in the North
1. As of now, over 1,200 rockets have been fired at Israel; it is expected that this will continue.
2. Therefore, following are the Military Censor's relevant guidelines:
a. The Military Censor will not approve reports regarding visits of Israeli Government and IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] officials in the north of Israel until the visits are over due to the clear connection between officials' visits and missile attacks on the area in question.3. Real-time reporting on the exact location of rocket hits must be strictly avoided!"
According to sources following this development, since the issuance of the censorship document, news crews reporting in the area have not reported the location of Hezbollah strikes into Israel. Each news crew is accompanied by an Israeli police officer, who strictly monitors what it is broadcasting.
Now, either Mark MacKinnon knows nothing about this notice, or indeed knows about but decided not to let anyone else know, or his editors know all about and decided not to tell him, or they both know and agreed not to tell their readers in Canada.
So far, The Globe and Mail has not resumed what used to be standard practice, back in the days reporters were trying to report Palestinian military resistance encounters with the Israeli military during the first intifadah, of informing readers that their report had passed the Israeli Military Censor. But, thanks to the disclosure of the censor's return to ensure that it will now be Israelis first and foremost who are not to see full truth, hear full truth or speak full truth, the actual state of affairs becomes clear. Regardless of the request placed by a foreign journalist reporting outside that country, the news that "Israel said one of its tanks had been hit" could not have been released from the Israeli side to see the light of day and the ink-stained authority of print publication without first passing the censor.
Mark MacKinnon's little report seems to have given the game away. In this connection, however, it is worth pointing out that this is not the first time, and won't be the last time, that reporters or commentators from what is really Canada's notional "newspaper" embarrass the Zionist hierarchs to whom they so obsequiously truckle and toady.
For example, back in December 2001, editorial page director and commentator Marcus Gee published an op-ed screed under the headline "Anti-semitism, anti-Americanism, blood brothers in hatred", which ludicrously lumped Canadians disagreeing with the foreign policy of the United States and those disagreeing with the policies of the State of Israel together as one vast, anti-Semitic, hate crime operation. In the hands of their man in Tel-Aviv, this Hezbollah report reaching the pages and readers of The Globe and Mail may have unintentionally exposed the motive and means of the Israeli censor -- knowing the foreign press is always looking for official confirmations -- in contradicting and substituting a lower damage report: if the other side says four, we can tell you: it was just one. Trust us -- or lose your press pass and reporting privileges.
The return of military censorship in Israel would thus appear to have freed the hand of Western reporters within Israel to produce advanced works of fiction disguised as war reporting, while their colleagues within Lebanon such as the CNN's Anderson Cooper scream about Hezbollah's "çensored" guided tours of the devastated neighbourhoods of southern Beirut inhibiting the "free press."
1 "Capturing Hezbollah stronghold perilous", Mark MacKinnon, Globe and Mail, 25 July 2006, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20060725.MIDEASTATTACK25/TPStory/?query=%22MARK+MacKinnon%22
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