The International Federation of Journalists – an international union compromised of national unions – has made the decision to expel Israel’s journalist union – National Federation of Israel Journalists – in an unanimous vote on July 7th.
The secretary general Aidan White stated that the decision was purely based on financial consideration, the Israeli union has not paid dues for four years. Israel’s union insists upon paying lower dues fee akin to those imposed on neighboring countries as opposed to the higher fee that European nations have to pay. But the union refuses to lower Israeli dues – Israel’s economy is, after all, closer to the size of European rather than Middle Eastern one – though as a compromise the IFJ did offer to absolve Israel of debts and slightly lower dues. When the Israelis refused this compromise, the union voted for the NFIJ’s ouster.
Although the matter appears to be solely about dues, many Israelis believe that politics was the underlining reason and dues simply the prima facie pretext.
The IFJ has recently condemned the Israeli government’s policy of preventing journalists from entering Gaza during Israel’s most recent offense; an assault that killed over 900 Palestinian civilians including over 400 children.
The IFJ criticized Israeli censorship and what the IFJ called endangering the lives of journalists.
The IFJ also criticized Israeli bombing of Al-Manar television, owned by Hezbollah, during Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon.
Israel’s union president Haim Shibi called the reports “unfair” attacks against the Israeli government and believes that politics was the reason for the expulsion. The IFJ denies this.
Shibi said his union will not appeal the decision and will accept the ouster.