Huffpost WorldPost
Ami Kaufman Headshot

I Can't Tell You What This Post is About

Posted: Updated:

I can't tell you what this post is about.

If I do, I might get arrested.

No, I don't live in Iran. I don't live in Myanmar. I don't live in China.

I live in "the only democracy in the Middle East".

What I CAN do is share with you the following three conversations I had with fellow journalists via e-mail and phone:

Conversation #1

Ami: Hi A. Listen, I've got a question for you. If I write about this story in The Huffington Post - am I breaking the law? I mean, The Huff is a foreign media body, therefore not binded by Israeli law, right? The JTA published a piece on it - so why can't I?

A: I haven't seen any relevant documents, but I'm pretty sure you'd be breaking the law. I don't know if they'd send you to jail - but they could take your journalist card.

Conversation #2

Ami: Hi B. Listen, I just talked to a friend of mine about the story, and I wanted your input on it too. Would I be breaking the law if I wrote about it for the Huff?

B: Yes, definitely. Not only that - but representatives of foreign media organizations in Israel - the New York Times, for example - are also forbidden to publish the story.

A few hours later, B gets back to me and sends me this link.

Ami: B, so did this reporter break the law? The dateline is Jerusalem.

B: From what I understand, he broke the law, and he may be subject to punitive measures. Just as an example, during the first Gulf War, Newsweek published a photo of the landing site of a Scud missile, which enabled the identification of the landing area, their reporter was expelled from the country because of this. But that example is breaking the military censorship law, while here we're talking about the judiciary. It'll be interesting to see what happens...

Conversation #3

Ami: Hi C, what's up?

C: Hi Ami. I wanted your advice. I'm thinking of writing about the story for this international website I work for. What do you think?

Ami: Funny you should ask, C.

I tell C of my latest conversations.

Ami: I think you should be careful.

C: Yeah, my wife thinks I should be careful, too.

Ami: Yup.

C: Ami, can you believe the conversation we're having here? It's sounds like we're living in some dark totalitarian regime.

Ami: Maybe we are, maybe we are.

So, I can't write about it.

Here's what Yoav Karni from the Israeli financial magazine Globes thinks:

A democratic society can not ostracize a journalist, put them in house arrest, disconnect their phone, forbid their colleagues from even mentioning them, or even from reporting on their ostracism. If a society does so, it is relinquishing some of its democratic values.

Still, I can't write about it.

And I can't write about this. Or this, either.

But you can.

And you can pass it around, too.