Why is Likud boycotting Asaf Liberman?
Not every journalist who conducts television or radio interviews with individuals important to the state of our nation show tenacity in face of interviewee attempts to slip away from directly answering difficult questions.Asaf Liberman is one of those journalists.
He is an impressive professional. Among other influential productions, he is half of the Kalman Liberman radio program on Kan radio that reaches about half a million listeners. He presents an investigative programme on Kan Television and a weekly political programme. Now a lecturer in journalism at Ariel University, he is famous for hosting politicians, economists, security officials and more on his programmes.
He recently wrote a Facebook post in which he describes a disturbing experience with the Likud. The original post in Hebrew is below my English translation:
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This morning, we were supposed to interview MK Amichai Shikli, who was recently given a safe seat on Likud’s elections candidate list, but at the last minute we were informed by someone connected with the Knesset member that the Likud forbids him to be interviewed by us.
When we contacted the Likud to check what happened, they explained to us that not only Shikli will not be interviewed by us, but no Likud member is allowed to talk to us.
In other words: a boycott.
Likud – a not unimportant party, which supposes it will soon return to being a ruling party – announces a boycott of a not unimportant current affairs programmme, with half a million listeners daily.
I know cases where political figures take such a drastic step and it usually happens because of the violation of pre-agreed upon conditions. A politician tells a journalist something “off the record” and the journalist violates the agreement and publishes it anyway. It is an ugly event and it may lead to an ugly measure, such as a boycott.
But us? what did we do?
Well, the reason why Likud is angry with us, to the point of boycotting us, is an interview we conducted about a month ago with the new party member, [former journalist] Boaz Bismuth. At a time when it is customary to argue against the media, saying that it is ‘yellow journalism,’ deals with gossip, with yes-Bibi-no-Bibi, who will sit with whom, etc., we asked Bismuth what the Likud’s plans are regarding the judicial system.
After all, Netanyahu and his fellow MKs talk so much about the changes required in the judicial system, so we told ourselves that it would be worthwhile to check with one of the party’s candidates for the Knesset what changes the party is proposing.
We insisted on receiving concrete ideas and you are invited to judge the answer for yourself (I am attaching a link in the comments to a section of the interview in question).
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Since the interview in the link is in Hebrew, I will digress from Liberman’s Facebook post for a moment and give you the gist of the interview: Liberman and Kalman ask Bismuth to describe the Likud’s plans for changes to the judicial system so that voters know what to expect. Bismuth responds that the changes will be made according to the law and for the good of the country. The interviewers do not accept that answer and press for a description of specific plans. After some meaningless exchanges seeming to go nowhere, it finally seems like Bismuth is going to answer so Asaf says, “Here it comes….what is the plan?” Bismuth: “I didn’t come here to outline the details of the plan.” After some attempts to swerve the discussion to economics, Kalman says that the Likud talks a lot about problems with the judicial system and that listeners would like to know if they have an organized plan to deal with it. Bismuth again tries to drive the conversation to other topics and when Kalman insists he talk about the judicial system, Bismuth says, “About the judicial system, wait. when we get to it, you’ll see the corrections that we will make.” And when Asaf says he didn’t answer the question, telling Bismuth that he is not saying anything about changing the judicial system except for the word, to correct. After another attempt to get him to get specific, Bismuth ends the interview with: “I am not going into that now in the morning, talk about the justice system, by shooting from the hip.”
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In any case, the Likud exploded over this and that is why they are boycotting us. A party that pretends to lead the country boycotts a press outlet because of the insistence of the presenters to get an answer about its plans for the future.
A scandal in my eyes.
We will continue to fight this decision, you are welcome to share this and help us.
Feature Image Credit: Screenshot from Tweeted video of the interview with Boaz Bismuth.