Israeli journalists union kicked out of international federation

According to a report in The Journalist, the magazine of the National Union of Journalists in the UK , the Israeli journalists union has been expelled from the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) following a unanimous vote by the IFJ executive.

The reasons for the expulsion seem to be a failure to reach agreement on affiliation fees – but there is clearly a political element as well.

According to The Journalist, “the decision was taken after failed attempts to resolve disputes over the IFJ’s repeated condemnations of Israeli attacks on the media … The NFIJ [National Federation of Israeli Journalists] criticised the failure [by the IFJ] to consult it over an IFJ fact-finding mission to Gaza.  It said it was willing to develop regional structures ‘in which we and our Palestinian co-workers can exchange views and find ways to end mutual demonising in the press. We are proud of the role that our free press plays in the turmoil in the region.  This was not only about money.  It was about full and equal membership.'”

In March, agreement had been reached to wipe out the NFIJ’s €30,000 dues arrears, but negotiations broke down over future payments with the NFIJ asking to pay the same rates as the Palestinian and Jordanian journalists while the IFJ was insisting it could pay more.

In a statement issued in February, the IFJ defended its decision to send a mission to Gaza without consulting with their Israeli affiliate.  The IFJ, they wrote, “has reaffirmed its commitment to defend the interests of journalists in Palestine and Israel in response to concerns expressed by its affiliate the National Federation of Israeli Journalists  (NFIJ) that recent actions in carrying out a mission to Gaza and IFJ statements over the crisis have not adequately taken account of the views of journalists in Israel. The IFJ says that the emergency mission to Gaza was primarily focused on the conditions and circumstances of Palestinian journalists and media and was not designed or intended to examine the situation in Israeli journalism.  The IFJ recognises that Israeli journalists have sought to report the crisis fairly under difficult conditions – they, too, were victims of the media blockade imposed by Israel which restricted foreign media access to Gaza during the conflict.”

The NFIJ is no longer listed as a member on the IFJ website, but there is also no mention there of its expulsion from the federation.