To David Horovitz [Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief]:
I am disappointed that you have chosen not to respond to my query below, regarding the Jerusalem Post's censorship of Edwin Bennatan's blog article.
Today, I found a new notice* posted on this same blog, which surprisingly acknowledged that "the Jerusalem Post found nothing improper in Mr. Bennatan's article itself". In spite of this, the notice says, the article "was removed from this site last week in resolution of a legal dispute concerning 'talkback' comments posted in response to his article".
If there were indeed defamatory or libelous talkback comments, then I can certainly understand why the Post would remove them. I can even understand why the Post might pay Mr. Freedman damages for libel. But what legitimate explanation can there possibly be for removing the article itself, which, according to Post's own statement, contained "nothing improper"?
It is painfully clear what happened here: Mr. Freedman obviously threatened legal action, and blackmailed the Post. Removal of the offending talkbacks along with an apology was not enough for him, and neither was an offer of a cash payment. No, Freedman wanted more, didn't he? He wanted the Post to censor an article that contained embarrassing criticism of his political opinions. And the Post cravenly complied.
The Post's capitulation to extortion raises serious questions about your paper's commitment to fundamental journalistic ethics: If a little-known two-bit extremist blogger is somehow capable of forcing the Post to completely censor an opinion piece that politely criticizes his opinions, then who is to say that powerful political figures cannot – and do not – force the Post to do the same thing, or worse? What reason is there to assume that the Post is not refraining from publication of criticism, or embarrassing information, regarding individuals far more important and powerful than Seth Freedman – people who might blackmail the Post into hiding things they don’t want the public to see, just as Freedman has?
If you have a legitimate explanation for your paper’s behavior in this matter, I’d certainly be interesting in hearing it.
In a related matter, I ask you once again: To which "charity", exactly, has the Jerusalem Post contributed money at Mr. Freedman's behest?
UPDATE: This morning, the notice was at the top of this page. But apparently, the Post had second thoughts, and removed the notice a few hours later. However, they seem to have forgotten to remove it from this other page containing the same blog article. I changed the link above to use the page that still contains the notice. And I've saved a copy, of course, in case the Post removes the notice from the second page as well.