Abby Martin, host of teleSUR’s “The Empire Files,” has been accused by the head of Israel’s foreign press office, Ron Paz, of not being a journalist because of her her pro-Palestinian views.
“We took a look on your Twitter account too, just to get a sense of it,” Paz told Martin in an email Wednesday. “What we found can easily be labeled as pure Palestinian advocacy, and sure not journalism.”
Paz provided three examples of tweets by Martin, which are clearly critical of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
“Our squad, from all different backgrounds, in solidarity with #Palestine’s resistance — One day this wall will fall!” reads one tweet that was reshared by Martin and used by Paz in his email to point to her pro-Palestinian “bias.”
Requesting an explanation, Paz said: “Please explain if this is the correct professional approach of a team of journalists arriving to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Isn’t supporting ‘Palestine’s resistance’ already taking side(s) in the most biased way can be (sic) imagined?”
“US issues biggest military aid package ever to Israel, $38 billion to ensure apartheid & brutal occupation continues,” reads the second tweet shared by Paz in his email. “Please explain if this too falls under professional, unbiased journalism, or is it pro-Palestinian activism,” the Israeli foreign press chief asks.
Last week Paz told Martin that her press pass to enter the Palestinian Gaza Strip was put on hold pending an investigation by his department about teleSUR cooperating with Iran’s state-run media outlet, HispanTV, a country branded an “enemy state” by Israel.
In his latest email, the senior Israeli official said the investigation has confirmed the allegations, and requested both Martin and teleSUR address the issue.
This comes despite teleSUR English issuing a formal letter to Israeli authorities highlighting the fact the channel is not associated with any other government in a manner that goes beyond the types of relations typical of other press outlets.
Martin arrived in Israel in late August, spending time in the occupied West Bank. She was planning on travelling to Gaza in order to continue work for an upcoming episode of The Empire Files.
“I believe this is part of a larger effort by the Israeli state to hide the grim reality of their illegal occupation and expansion,” she told teleSUR English, commenting on the earlier email exchange.
Gaza has been under an Israeli blockade since 2008 and has witnessed three major escalations with Israeli occupation forces that have claimed the lives of thousands of Palestinian civilians.
While some media outlets have been able to access the strip, Israel has been known to place restrictions on representatives from critical media organizations wishing to enter Gaza to report on the hardships faced by the 1.5 million Gazans as a result of the Israeli air, land and sea blockade.