Letter: A dangerous double standard

Megan Fountain and Saqib Bhatti’s assertion (“Our friend, detained,” Jan. 21) that Israel censors its press is laughable. The vigorous Israeli press has brought down presidents, prime ministers and generals and never shies from passionately defending the rights of Palestinians or criticizing Israeli authorities. The press is beholden to no one. Suggesting that the immigration control issues faced by Jared Malsin ’07 were connected to his journalism wrongly assaults a country which has gone to unprecedented lengths to protect liberty in the midst of armed conflict.

Although yesterday’s column quoted selectively from transcripts, the record of the Malsin detention is clear. Malsin and his girlfriend had been staying in Israel illegally and working on a tourist visa. When questioned, Malsin lied to immigration officials and said he intended to become an Israeli citizen. It was only then that officials asked about the articles he had written, highly critical of Israel, trying to determine whether he in fact had any intention of becoming a citizen. Malsin admitted that he had no desire to become a citizen and stopped cooperating with immigration officials. Malsin’s articles weren’t the reason for his deportation, they were the source of legitimate questions about his supposed desire to adopt Israeli citizenship.

Malsin’s behavior would get him stopped by immigration in any country. Last year, an international student returning from South America on a service trip was detained and eventually flown back because her papers weren’t in order. Only with Israel is a routine immigration proceeding, where the traveler is caught lying and traveling illegally, misconstrued as a case of press censorship — just another example of the double-standard Israel is often subject to.

Yishai Schwartz

Jan. 21

The writer is a freshman in Branford College.


  • R. Friedman

    If what you say is true about press freedom in Israel, why isn’t Maan News Agency recognized as an official news outlet? And will American Jews now welcome Jared Malsin to freely tell his side of the story about his experiences in the West Bank to media outlets and colleges here?

  • This letter shouldn’t have been necessary

    I agree 100% with the author of this letter, yet this letter should never have been necessary since the YDN Opinion Editor should stop letting complete garbage like “Our friend, detained” onto the opinion page.

  • Well Said

    Nice job, Yishai!

  • Yup

    Of course. Well put — I’m thrilled someone said it!

  • y11

    Amen. All there is to it. That letter was embarrassing.

  • stei7141

    Malsin is fortunate that he is merely an enemy of Israel, rather than an enemy of the Palestinian government. They deal with trouble-makers by handcuffing them and throwing them off buildings to their deaths. Perhaps “human rights lawyers” like Itamar Mann should look into that….