Al Jazeera Deserves to Be Blocked

Israel’s parliament recently passed a law aiming to shut down Qatar’s quasi-state-run Al Jazeera Media Network.

The law that allows temporary shutdowns of foreign media that threaten national security was immediately met with White House criticism accusing Jerusalem of cracking down on freedom of the press. Spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre called the move “concerning,” while State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said even though the U.S. disagrees with much of Al Jazeera’s coverage, it respects its work.

But clamping down on the state-run media of an enemy autocracy is not a breach of freedom of the press. And when it comes to other allies, the Biden administration seems to understand this.

No U.S. official expressed concern when the European Union correctly opted to close Russia Today and other Russian state-owned media outlets following the invasion of Ukraine. Earlier this year, Peter Stano, a spokesperson for the EU‘s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, said:

“The Kremlin regime transformed state-controlled media into instruments of information manipulation and information warfare. That is why the European Union banned [a] number of them, including Russia Today and Sputnik from EU media space.”

The Qatari network is an information arm of the government—an autocratic regime that has been one of the largest political and financial backers of the terrorist group, Hamas. The Qatari government also blamed the Oct. 7 massacre on Israel on the same day, given refuge to Hamas leaders in luxurious conditions in Doha and has generously supported groups with Israeli and American blood on their hands such as the Islamic StateTaliban and Al Qaeda.

While Qatar acts as an honest broker trying to negotiate a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas, Al Jazeera is at the front of the information war against Israel. The Qatari network has glorified the Oct. 7 massacre as “heroic,” cut off Gazans on air when criticizing Hamas and engaged in blood libels against the Jewish state. In fact, at least one Al Jazeera reporter actively participated in the Oct. 7 massacre, filming the infiltration into Israel from the Israeli border kibbutz Nir Oz and praising the Hamas militants.

Read the rest at Newsweek.

Joseph Epstein is a Fellow at Yorktown Institute.

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