The annual media brouhaha is here already. Next Tuesday will mark 13 years (according to the Gregorian calendar) since Rabin’s death. In the beginning, this date was marked by many events geared towards healing rifts between the Right and Left in Israel (both political and religious). In Novembers, however, Yigal Amir has been in the headlines more than national healing sessions.
Amir is a controversial figure in Israel, to say the least. There are groups of people who want to pardon him. There are groups of people who want him to rot in jail. There are those probably who don’t even care, but express the prevalent opinion (that would be the latter) for social reasons. There was the issue of whether or not the courts should allow his marriage to Larisa Trembovler. Obviously, the question of children then came up because obviously a politically unpopular criminal should be denied the basic rights afforded to other criminals.
This year, slightly less explosive then the ridiculous issues I mentioned, Yigal Amir was interviewed by Channel 10 in which he said, among other things that will surely get much more coverage than deserved, that he could have killed Rabin earlier than November of 1995, and that “all the military experts said that the Oslo Accord was a disaster.”
Of course, Peace Now (an organization that does not promote peace, not now and not later) had to get involved and, in typical fashion, is trying to quash viewpoints they view as “unacceptable.” Yariv Oppenheimer, Secretary-General of Peace Now, called on the media not to publish the interview (sorry, Hebrew. Why do the news sites not translate these things?) because “the murderer and his followers are attempting to control the public discourse and relay unacceptable message. The media must…not provide them with a outlet.”
First, Oppenheimer is trying to block someone else from expressing himself, regardless of what he actually wants to say. Free speech is clearly not an ideal he values. Second, the media’s responsibility is to report on what is newsworthy. Newsworthiness is not decided by NGOs, but by the public’s interest. Unfortunately, the public has deemed this issue newsworthy.
Not only are they against free speech, they are not even consistent on whether or not murderers should allow themselves to avail themselves of this right. When is the last time Peace Now protested a media outlet interviewing somone like, say, Jibril Rajoub?