Everyone has the right to a voice, even a voice so gratingly infuriating you want to still it forever with your bare hands. Say, for instance, Israel’s Independent News Center (Indy News Israel), “an English-language democratic and non-commercial collective of independent media makers that serves as the local voice of resistance against neo-imperialism in the Middle East.” Top of its mission list: “To provide an English-language voice to resistance groups within Israel who struggle for justice and peace against the efforts of foreign powers and their agendas for our region.”
Fine. In a free society like Israel’s, even communism can live and kick. If you’re suffering a little nostalgie de la 1968, you’ll want to read the website’s fantastically idiotic About page in its entirety. But here’s a little taste:
Indy News Israel participants shall not act in a manner that endangers, intimidates or physically harms any member of the group, including by sexual harassment or acts of violence. Indy News Israel members shall strive to act in a respectful manner to other members of the collective as well as the public.
It’s nice for us “members of the public” that the collective pledges to respect us and keep us safe from any nasty impulse that might be caught floating within the hive by some freak accident. The nasty impulse to rip off the work of others, though, doesn’t make the list. Today’s Indy News has a piece by someone called Mahmoud Abu Ghosh detailing the Palestinian Authority’s detention of a dissident professor at Nablus’s An-Najah University (really? The PA opposed to dissent? Can it be?). The trouble is, it’s a direct, no-attribution, cut-and-paste theft of an article by Khaled Abu Toameh that ran in yesterday’s Jerusalem Post.
In the struggle for justice and peace and resistance against neo-imperialism, plagiarism is apparently no crime. For the rest of us, though, it’s stealing, and Mr. Toameh would be well within his rights to join the struggle, resist “agendas,” and sue the neo-imperialism out of Indy News.