Has Saudi Arabia blocked the Jerusalem Post?

A lecturer from Saudi Arabia has claimed that the country is blocking access to the Jerusalem Post website

by Ahmed Abdel-Raheem on 20 May 2013 14:30

Over the past week I have tried to access the website of the newspaper the Jerusalem Post, but every time I click the link of the paper, I have received the message ''Sorry, the requested page is unavailable".

Thinking that there would be a problem with my network or laptop, I tried to surf the news outlet from other networks and laptops, but there was no hope. In the end, I became very sure that the website had been blocked.

Blocking an online newspaper would be considered by many as a restraint on freedom of expression; but the question here is, what has pushed Saudi Arabia to take such a move against one of Israel's most prestigious papers? In other words, is there a problem with the Israeli newspaper or with Israel, the country, itself?

There are perhaps, many answers.

One side of the answer is that Israel, from the Saudi perspective, is an enemy of Saudi Arabia, and of Arab countries in general. This has been illustrated in a cartoon by the Saudi newspaper El-Iqtisadiah, in which the Israeli flagpole is on the corpse of an Arabian sinking in his blood. This metaphor highlights that the Jewish state is an enemy that must be demolished, if Arabs want to live. 

This view has been stressed by another El-Iqtisadiah cartoon depicting the Arab world as a person boiling in a pot while an Israeli soldier feeds the fire with American wood. In cognitive science, metaphors and frames constrain and direct our policies. As such, Israel, from the Saudi point of view, should be avoided and muted. In other words, Israel's newspapers must be blocked.

Another answer may lie in the fact that unlike other Israeli newspapers, the Jerusalem Post is an English newspaper. That is, the paper is issued in the most dominant language in the world.


More clearly, the Saudi Ministry of Communication might have noticed that the website of the paper is accessed by a large number of people living in Saudi Arabia and thusly decided to block it.

Controlling access to the news is one kind of power abuse. Importantly, the elites worldwide used to control public discourse by closing the door on any criticism. Here, in the case of the Jerusalem Post, there is always a presupposition that the news and op-ed pages of the paper, for example, work against the Arab world.

As such, denying access to such pages, from the Saudi perspective, is in the interest of Saudi Arabia, and of Arab countries.

The writer is an Egyptian artist and a PhD student. Currently, he works as a lecturer at Al-Lith College for Girls, Um Al-Qura University, Saudi Arabia

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