Israeli Government Denies Press Credential for Rolling Stone Reporter: ‘Not a News Organization’

“We are not dealing with this gentleman, thank you,” Prime Minister Netanyahu’s foreign press director says

A man with gray hair adjusts the straps behind his head of a bullet proof vest that says "Press" on it.
Canadian journalist Jesse Rosenfeld was the subject of the 2016 documentary, "Freelancer on the Front Lines."

The Israeli government denied a press credential to veteran journalist Jesse Rosenfeld, who has written critically about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration and about the impact of the war with Hamas on civilians for Rolling Stone magazine.

“Rolling Stone is not a news organization and we are not dealing with this gentleman, thank you,” Ron Paz, Israel’s director of foreign press, told the iconic music and culture publication on Monday. Paz then hung up on the call aimed at securing a press credential for Rosenfeld, who is a contributing writer, Rolling Stone said in a report.

In fact, through always centered around music, Rolling Stone has a long history of provocative journalism dating to its founding in San Francisco in 1967, weven adopting the slogan, “All the news that fits,” in a riff of the The New York Times, “All the news that’s fit to print.”

Most notably, the publication featured the work of “gonzo journalist” Hunter S. Thompson writing on politics, including “Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72.” Among the legendary writer’s later efforts for the magazine was reporting from the campaign trail of Bill Clinton in 1992.

It’s been embroiled in several journalistic controversies over the years as well, including publishing one of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s earliest anti-vaccine pieces in 2005 and the retraction of a 2014 story that purported to describe a rape on the campus of the University of Virginia but was later found to be based on a lie.

Penske Media bought the magazine in 2017 from founder Jan Wenner, who last month was kicked off the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame board after making contentious comments about Black and female musicians.

The denial of credentials came just says after the Israeli Defense Forces told Reuters and the AFP that it “cannot guarantee” their journalists’ safety in Gaza. At least 31 journalists have died covering the conflict since the Hamas terror attacks on Israeli homes and gatherings on Oct. 7, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Rosenfeld has been writing about the current conflict for Rolling Stone since the Hamas attacks.

Among his reports were interviews with families of people whose loved ones were killed and kidnapped from an all-night rave near the Gaza border. At least one of the people he interviewed blamed Netanyahu for failing to prevent the brutal attacks.

He’s also written multiple stories about about the struggles of ordinary Palestinians to survive the conflict — as the Israeli ground invasion loomed.

He previously wrote about the massive protests in Israel over the summer as Netanyahu worked to realign the nation’s judiciary.

Rosenfeld, the subject of a 2016 Canadian documentary called “Freelancer on the Front Lines,” has covered Israeli and Palestinian society and the broader Middle East for Vice, The Daily Beast, The Intercept, The Nation, and other publications for more than a decade. “I try and tell stories that encapsulate and demonstrate the human impact of what’s going on,” Rosenfeld said in the doc.


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