Since announcing its boycott of Now 14, the company has received thousands of cancellations of its Tami 4 water bar from angry channel 14 viewers.
Strauss Group and other powerful Israeli corporations are trying to censor and economically choke channel 14, Israel’s ‘Fox News’ and only conservative television network. Here is what happened.
1. Strauss announces boycott of Channel 14
A week ago, major food and beverage company Strauss announced an advertising boycott of channel 14 (known as ‘Now 14’). The reason: they claimed a panel member on its flagship show “The Patriots” said that Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin’s assassin should be released. This was false.
Panel member and attorney Ari Shammai commented on a case decided by the high court claiming that “personal legislation” was a problem. Shammai opined that if legislation which targets a certain person is problematic, then Rabin’s assassin Yigal Amir should be released from prison, as he was targeted retroactively by personal legislation.
Offensive? Maybe. Unpleasant to hear? Possibly. But far from being illegitimate.
Nonetheless, the network apologized for Shammai’s comments and announced he would not be invited again to be a guest on the network.
If Strauss’s boycott was really connected to Shammai’s comments, it would have reinstated its advertising once the network reacted as it did. It didn’t. Additionally, much worse things have been said on other networks without any response from Strauss; ironically, Shammai himself said similar things on progressive networks, without any action taken by advertisers.
2. Channel 14 is a threat to Israel’s mainstream media
Channel 14 is Israel’s Fox News. It is a force in Israeli media which can no longer be ignored. Less than a decade old, it has become a home for Israel’s conservatives, who for years had to suffer from Israel’s left wing mainstream media channels 11, 12 and 13.
As its influence has widened, the Left and its affiliates are trying to crush it. Labor Party Chairwoman, MK Meirav Michaeli, said that channel 14 should be shut down and Yair Lapid’s party appealed unsuccessfully to Israel’s high court to have the channel shutdown.
Similar situations have played out with Fox News. Major media networks loathe Fox News. The Washington Post said the network plays a “unique, damaging role” in American media. The Intercept said “Fox News has done more to incite domestic political violence than Donald Trump”, saying the network “pressures the corporate media to give credibility to its lurid fairy tales.” And major corporations have boycotted some of the network’s shows.
A few days ago, Delek Motors joined the advertising boycott of channel 14 saying that the network is “deepening the rifts in [Israeli] society” at such a sensitive time. A value based decision? Bologne! Its channel 14’s support for the current government and judicial reform which bothers them. They were either pressured by friends to cut advertising, or had wanted to do it anyway. They were waiting for the right moment.
3. The hypocrisy of Strauss Group
Here are some of the offensive and nasty comments mentioned on other networks with no response from politicians or corporate sponsors. Channel 12 anchor Galit Gutman said the ultra orthodox community in Israel was sucking everyone’s blood (another way of saying they are parasites).
Israel’s extreme left wing newspaper Ha’aretz published an editorial calling for terrorist Walid Daka, who murdered an IDF soldier to be released from prison early. Journalist Kalman Liebskind points out that Ha’aretz also compared Benjamin Netanyahu to Hitler and his Likud Party to the Nazi Party.
No righteous indignation from politicians or calls from companies to stop advertising on any of these media outlets. Hypocrisy.
4. Strauss is paying a price for its boycott
Strauss Group is a major food and drink company which includes dairy products, chocolates, coffee, salads, water and more. The company also sells a subscription based water bar line called Tami 4 which costs between $25-$50 a month. Unlike its food and drink products, each consumer of this product can be worth thousands of dollars over a life cycle.
Since announcing its boycott of Now 14, the company has received thousands of cancellations of its Tami 4 water bar from angry channel 14 viewers. The website Disconnect me reported that by the third day of the protest more than 5,300 people had requested to cancel their subscription to the product and the backlash to Strauss’s boycott is unparalleled.