Journalist May Lose Work Permit Over BDS Allegations

YERUSHALAYIM -

The Israeli Government Press Office may allow the work permit of a foreign journalist accused of BDS activities to lapse, according to The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

The journalist in question, Antony Loewenstein, a freelance who writes for The Guardian and other publications, would have to leave the country if he cannot obtain a new permit.

“We are leaning toward recommending that his work permit not be renewed due to suspected BDS activity,” said GPO director Nitzan Chen. “We are checking the incident because, unfortunately, the journalist did not give enough information to our staff. We will learn to check better so there won’t be such incidents in the future.”

Loewenstein is “a prominent anti-Israel activist in his native Australia and a public supporter of the BDS movement,” according to media watchdog Honest Reporting.

On his own web site, he posted a statement he made at a BDS event in Sydney in 2014: “BDS is growing and I’m proud to be part of a global movement that’s led by the Palestinians most directly affected.”

In response to Chen, he said: “I didn’t hide anything, and to suggest the card was obtained in any other way is simply untrue. There was nothing hidden, and the GPO knows that.”

Meanwhile, The Guardian was keeping a low profile in the affair. Its head of international news, Jamie Wilson, said Loewenstein was contracted to write comment pieces for Guardian Australia and remains an occasional comment contributor but he “is not a news correspondent for The Guardian in Israel.”

Honest Reporting said that Loewenstein was told not to reference The Guardian at future press conferences unless he is working on a direct commission.