Israeli Ambassador to Paris Aliza Bin-Noun, demanded that French television channel France 2 reconsider airing a news report about Palestinians who were wounded by the IDF, calling it "unbalanced" and asserting that it will cause incitement against Jews in the country.
The French media was outraged at Bin-Noun’s request and protested it via various media channels. It was seen as an Israeli attempt to censor and undermine freedom of speech.
The report titled: "Gaza's disabled teens," was aired on an investigating television show on the prestigious France 2 channel.
It discussed the stories of several young Palestinians who had lost their legs after being shot by IDF snipers and who spoke of their broken dreams. One of the teens said his dream was to become a cyclist.
Footages from the March of Return were combined with the teens stories of hardship.
Directly after the article promo was aired, protest stirred among French Jewry.
Bin-Noun immediately sent a letter to the France 2 management and demanded the item be cancelled, saying it is unbalanced, portrays Israel in a negative light and claiming it will cause incitement and physical harm against the French Jewish community.
However, this was written before the ambassador, or anyone from her staff, had seen the actual article in full.
After the full show, Bin-Noun Twitted her letter to France 2 and added: “I am very disappointed that France 2 did not respond to our demand to reconsider broadcasting the report "Gaza, a Wounded Youth," which vilifies Israel and does not allow it to respond—to restore a semblance of truth and balance."
Très déçue que notre demande à @France2tv de reconsidérer la diffusion du reportage “Gaza, une jeunesse blessée” à charge contre Israël n’ait été entendue, de même que notre volonté d’y réagir pour rétablir un semblant de vérité et de mesure. pic.twitter.com/MVmuwlE9Ux— Aliza Bin Noun (@AlizaBinNoun) 11 באוקטובר 2018
However, the Tweet and the letter turned out to be an own goal. It stirred a lot of interest in the article, which was aired after 10pm and became the talk of the town.
The Israeli attempt to prevent the article from being aired raised harsh criticism, saying that not only does Israel hurt the Palestinians, it is also trying to censor and harm the highly valued Republic’s freedom of speech.
The French media prominently reported how Israel boldly tried to intervene with content it does not approve of, and how France 2 is concerned with a foreign country’s attempt to influence its content.
The Le Monde newspaper highlighted that no one in the embassy even watched the report before protesting against it, and ignored the fact that the IDF spokesman in French was interviewed, and described the terror coming out of Gaza.
A union of pro-Palestinian journalists published an official statement protesting against the Israeli attempt at censorship.
The embassy in Paris responded to these allegations: “The promo was more than enough to understand the content, it caused outrage among a great number of people. It represented the full program and justified our demand not to air it”.
“The next day, after the program was aired, it was indeed obvious that it was one sided,” the embassy added.