Danish journalists to Israel: Don't close Al-Jazeera

Danish Union of Journalists says it is not in Israel's interest to close Jerusalem office of Al-Jazeera.

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Ben Ariel,

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The Danish Union of Journalists on Wednesday urged Israel not to close the Jerusalem office of the Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera network, The Associated Press reports.

The union appealed to Israel's ambassador to Denmark asking him "to do whatever is in your power to keep open the lines from Al-Jazeera to Israel."

Lars Werge, head of the union, said in the letter to Ambassador Baruk Binah that "it is not in the interests of your fellow Israeli citizens to reduce the freedom of the press."

Communications Minister Ayoob Kara (Likud) announced this week that, while his ministry would work to protect freedom of the press, it would not permit media outlets to threaten Israel’s security. He noted Al-Jazeera’s role in promoting incitement against Israel following the July 14 terror attack on the Temple Mount which left two Israeli officers dead.

Kara’s announcement came after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pledged last week to work to remove the Qatari network from Israel due to incitement.

The move drew criticism from Al-Jazeera, which took the opportunity to launch a scathing attack on Israeli democracy, referring to the Jewish state as “a country that claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East.”

The leftist organization the Association for Civil Rights in Israel denounced the move as well, accusing Israel of declaring war against freedom of expression by banning Al-Jazeera.

While Al-Jazeera’s coverage of events in Israel has drawn accusations of anti-Semitism and pro-Islamist incitement, even Arab states hostile to Israel have slammed the Qatari-controlled network and its reporting.

Saudi Arabia and Jordan have shut the network's offices, and its websites and channels were also blocked in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.