Azer Gasimov: Slanderous material about Azerbaijan published by Israeli Jerusalem Post and Haaretz newspapers is nothing but nonsense

- Mr. Gasimov, the Israeli press has recently published strongly biased anti-Azerbaijani articles. Just a couple of days ago Israeli Jerusalem Post and Haaretz newspapers published groundless, slanderous articles against Azerbaijan. Taking into consideration the relations between the government and the mass media in Israel, this can be treated as the execution of an official order. We would like to learn your opinion on this.

- Yes. As you mentioned such articles on Azerbaijan have been periodically published in the Israeli media recently. Indeed, taking into account government-media relations in Israel, one can see that it is no coincidence. In particularly, the fact that official bodies have not reacted to such articles gives grounds to say that it is an official order. Concerning the articles in Haaretz and Jerusalem Post newspapers I would like to say that they are strongly biased, far from journalistic ethics, slanderous, and are nothing but nonsense. Undoubtedly such articles were funded by the forces that have been carrying out an anti-Azerbaijani campaign recently, and it is an absolute order. Pretending to be defending the rights of Khadija Ismayilova, these articles, in reality, are nothing but defamation of general development processes in Azerbaijan. The authors of these articles would be better focusing their attention on violation of human rights, the freedom of speech and conscience, in general, democratic principles, and other negative cases in their own countries.

In fact, in Israel itself, the situation related to journalistic activity is deplorable. If we look at reports of international organizations, we can see that they regularly highlight cases of the Israeli security forces` violent treatment of journalists, including their arrests and beating. This year`s events are enough to prove this.

On March 7, 2014, a representative of Agence France-Presse was assaulted, while security forces stood by and just watched the incident. On March 11, 2014 the security forces prevented journalists from documenting a protest demonstration and fired at them. According to Associated Press, the same day two journalists who wanted to document protests in Al Quds were assaulted. Employees of Reuters and Associated Press were severely beaten.

Frequent imposition of censorship on the press in Israel, bans on free movement of journalists in Israel can be added here. Interestingly, in the World Press Freedom Index, Israel fell from 36th place in 2004 to 112th in 2013. There are regular reports of serious corruption in the highest government circles of the country. Deprivation of equal rights of citizens in Israel, including education opportunities, cases of social discrimination are the problems which seriously concern the society.

I think that the authors of these articles and those who are behind these writings, in fact, seriously defame Israel`s international image. Those who ordered these articles certainly set themselves a goal to spoil Israeli-Azerbaijani relations. These forces do not want to see Azerbaijan`s strengthening positions on the international scene, its great achievements in ensuring democracy, and traditions of tolerance and multiculturalism, which can be an example to many countries.

Azerbaijan is pursuing an independent foreign policy and builds its relations with all states, except for Armenia, based on the principles of mutual respect. This, for its part, seriously concerns the forces who are behind the aforementioned articles. They should know that such attempts are nothing but a chimera.

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