Although the full-time news network is denying charges that this latest move reflects a pro-Arab stance – claiming instead that the firings were simply due to budgetary concerns – two of its producers in Jerusalem confirmed that four employees who were let go were all Jewish. Denying that any ethnic targeting was involved, a CNN spokesman stated, “We strongly reject any suggestion that the reorganization in the Jerusalem bureau is in any way based on the small number of contract employees concerned being Israeli, particularly given CNN’s long-time history of working with locals in the region.”
The four fired employees are Moshe Cohen, an editor who spent ten years at CNN; Izi Landberg, a producer who worked at the network for approximately twenty-five years; Avi Kaner, a cameraman who worked there for ten years; and Michal Zippori, a desk producer.
While a number of media outlets have likewise reported that CNN had terminated the employment of Jewish staffers, some of the sources attributed the action to more of a specifically pro-Arab sentiment rather than to an anti-Jewish one. “They are moving more and more of their activities to the Gulf,” said an ex-CNN correspondent, referring to the network’s establishment of a headquarters in Abu Dhabi, the capital of United Arab Emirates, in 2009.
An individual who was directly connected to the firings, however, contradicted this notion in comments to the Algemeiner Journal. “The fact is, just Jewish Israelis were fired from CNN,” the anonymous source insisted. “It’s true that the network kept on two Jewish Israeli journalists, but here’s the catch, they’re each working one shift a week for eight hours.”
According to the source, CNN reasoned that since Jewish Israelis would not be given access to the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the region’s Arab countries, it made practical sense to terminate their employment, and to replace them with journalists located in those countries. “I understand they are planning on changing their coverage,” the source elaborated. “It might be that the staff won’t be based in Israel even, and if a story happens in Israel, they will take the first flight and cover it, and so an Israeli is a pain in the neck for them.”