Why Jerusalem Post sacked columnist Naomi Chazan

February 11, 2010

The Jerusalem Post fired columnist Naomi Chazan after the organisation of which she is president, the New Israel Fund, threatened to sue the paper.

The Post, along with several other Israeli newspapers, published an advert by student organisation Im Tirzu, featuring a caricature of Ms Chazan with horns and the letters “NIF” on her forehead.

As we reported last week, the group said NIF should take responsibility for the Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead in Gaza last year because human rights groups it funds supplied the Goldstone Commission with much of the information regarding alleged war crimes by the IDF.

An analysis by Im Tirzu claimed that of the 207 “negative” references to the army and Israeli government in the final report, 191 came from groups receiving NIF money.

According to a Jerusalem Post statement, the paper’s management decided to cancel the bi-weekly column written by Ms Chazan “after a legal threat was received at the paper from the NIF and Chazan’s lawyers”.

Ms Chazan, a former Meretz MK, is one of several left-wing voices on the opinion pages of the Jerusalem Post, which is generally regarded as right-leaning.

The heads of the NIF said that continuing Ms Chazan’s column was an issue of freedom of speech. They did not deny that groups they fund supplied Judge Goldstone with the information, but said that the attack was part of “a planned attempt to delegitimise civil society in Israel, to suppress the human right community which enjoys wide international support and to weaken Israeli democracy in favour of an extreme ideology.”

Last updated: 4:47pm, February 11 2010