Tzipi Livni: Treat international media as ‘hostile arena’

(JTA) – The chair of a Knesset subcommittee said, “We must treat the international media arena as a hostile arena.”

Tzipi Livni of the Zionist Union party made the remark at a session Tuesday convened by the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s subcommittee on legal warfare to discuss bias against Israel in the foreign media. A controversial headline published last week by CBS spurred the session.

Among those on hand were the director of Israel’s Government Press Office, Knesset members from multiple parties, and Luke Baker, Reuters’ Israel bureau chief and the head of the Foreign Press Association in Israel.

The CBS headline in question, which was changed soon after its Feb. 3 publication, read, “Three Palestinians killed as violence grinds on.” The article referred to the killing of an Israeli policewoman by three Palestinians who were then killed by Israeli forces. The headline was edited to “Palestinians kill Israeli officer, wound another before being killed.”

Along with her comments about the foreign press being a hostile arena, Livni said, according to a government news release, “I do not think the State of Israel should not be criticized; that is the media’s job. The problem lies in those cases where Israelis and Palestinians who are killed in the same incident are placed in one package.”

Baker disavowed any bias and defended the work of foreign journalists in Israel. He said articles go through a “rigorous process” before publication.

“I clearly don’t think the foreign press is biased,” Baker said, according to the news release. ”I don’t think anyone is denying there have been errors, problems from time to time. Sometimes it’s been harder to correct them than others. I fail to see the media has something to answer in terms of systemic bias.”

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