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February 14, 2018 10:12 pm

Foreign Ministry Offers Support to Moroccan Journalists Facing Criticism for Israel Visit

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

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Israel Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon. Photo: YouTube.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry celebrated on Sunday the arrival of a delegation of Moroccan journalists to Israel, even as they faced criticism for the trip in their home country.

“Nothing can stop the freedom of journalists to visit #Israel,” spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon tweeted. “The world is becoming increasingly free and open to all. Closing their eyes is no longer an option for those who seek the truth. We invite all journalists from the Arab world to visit us.”

According to Morocco World News (MWN), the Foreign Ministry said the purpose of the visit was to give Arab journalists “a closer look at Israel, its policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and coexistence among the various micro-components through meetings with leaders from various political circles in government departments and the Knesset.”

Journalist Boubker Outaadit told MWN, “Journalists are free to go to whatever country they want. The constitution guarantees us this right. It has nothing to do with one’s own beliefs or perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

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Activist Mounir Kejji also endorsed the visit, saying, “If the government wants to prevent people from flying to Israel, then why not put a travel ban on Afghanistan or Iran … countries that fund and support terrorist groups.”

The trip aroused considerable opposition in Morocco, however, a country that has generally been less hostile to Israel than other Arab nations, yet still contains many passionate advocates for the Palestinians.

The country’s National Syndicate of Journalists condemned the visit, stating, “Arab attitudes against the Israeli occupation are based on humanitarian and human rights principles, the most important of which are respect for human rights, freedom of expression and opinion. These are the principles advocated by most journalists throughout the world, which are constantly violated by the State of Israel.”

Mohamed Laaraj, Morocco’s Minister of Culture and Communication, also criticized the journalists, saying, “The ministry condemns actions of the five Moroccans who traveled to Israel. They have gone against the popular opinion in regard of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”

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