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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Civil Rights’

Pro-PA Groups Blame Israeli Counter-Terror Training for US Anti-Cop Protests

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Leaders of the “Black Lives Matter” grassroots organization in the United States are teaming up with pro-Palestinian Authority groups to blame Israel for perceived racial issues in the country.

The trend dates back in part to a simple statement made by Reverend Graylan Scott Hagler, senior minister of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington DC, at a Students for Justice in Palestine gathering last November (2015) at the University of Maryland college campus in Baltimore, Maryland.

“The systems of oppression, they’re always very similar to each other,” he said. “They may be tweaked, they may be changed just a little bit, but we find out that the paradign is the same, it looks the same, it feels the same, it is the same.”

Hagler based his point on the concept of intersectionality; the ways various systems intersect and overlap. For his purposes, he described how various systems of oppression folded in various forms of discrimination interwoven between each other.

“We need to respect and honor the dignity of all people,” he told the gathering that day, according to an article by Anna Isaacs published in the March-April 2016 issue of Moment Magazine.

“Sisters and brothers, black lives matter. Palestinian lives matter.”

Pro-Palestinian Authority groups have increasingly been taking advantage of anti-police protests, especial those that turn into violent disturbances, as they sweep across the United States.

This week, they are claiming that “genocide” of African Americans is taking place as the result of the “inhuman treatment and genocide of Palestinians” by Israeli-trained American cops.

The NYU Students for Justice in Palestine organization this week posted an accusation linking Israeli counter-terror training of American police officers with the “genocide of black people in America.” The group said the Israelis are training U.S. police to use “the same murderous and racist tactics used by Israelis against Palestinians,” warning that American cops were being taught by their Israeli counterparts to “oppress” Black Americans.

In a subsequent statement on its Facebook page, the group issued a statement of clarification which, if anything, further reinforced the point.

The statement said, in part:

The IDF assists the NYPD and other American police departments in their oppression and murder of black people. These groups share a common logic that manifests in several types of oppression, white supremacist racism among them. If we in SJP and in the Palestine solidarity movement more generally are serious about ending Israeli oppression then we must stand with black americans. We need to be in the streets with them and we need to organize against police brutality. The Black struggle and the Palestinian struggle are not the same. Still, Palestinian liberation and Black liberation are linked. That is why Palestinians must be there for Black people, and Black People must be there for Palestinians. (sic) This sense of mutual responsibility has been present in our movements.

A group called the ‘Dream Defenders’ meanwhile is among the pro-Arab groups also heavily involved in trying to entangle America’s racial issues with the unrelated chaos in the Middle East. The group, associated with the grassroots Black Lives Matter organization, was founded by three young men.

One of the founders is Ahmad Abuznaid, described by CounterPunch.org by “born in East Jerusalem, Palestine” and who defines himself as a “Palestinian American social justice lawyer.”

Abuznaid, who says he is “all about justice,” moved to the U.S. when he was a year old with his parents, who both received their U.S. citizenship. The family lived in the country until Abuznaid was age seven; at that point they returned to the Palestinian Authority territories for a five-year stint.

Hana Levi Julian

The Slippery Slope of the Duma Case

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

Eight months ago, when I was in court for the trial of one of my clients, I ran into the murderer of the late Shalom Sharki, who was all smiles, conferring with his attorney. It was very shortly after the murder, and when I asked police why they were so quick to allow the meeting between the terrorist and his lawyer—who advised him to claim that he committed the crime was by accident—the police responded, “What can you do, we live in a democracy.”

I recalled that event in recent days, while running from one judge to another, demanding to meet with my client, a young man who had been kept in the Shabak’s cellars for many days—and who, according to his wife, was injured during his arrest. The courts cooperated with the Shabak, extending my client’s detention and, time and again, imposing the ban on letting him meet an attorney. No one mentioned the word Democracy.

Each week when we deal with Arab terrorism and the conflict of security needs versus civil rights, we inevitably hear the media, human rights organizations and “sensitive” politicians protesting that a youth who chased Jews with a knife didn’t get a decent meal; or demand that a policeman who made a racist remark while guarding a terrorist be prosecuted, and if he isn’t, they demand to know why.

The same standards aren’t being applied in the Duma investigation.

Over the past weeks we have not heard even one politician crying out in protest against the violations of the suspects’ human rights, and no right wing organization, other than the legal aid society Honenu, has gone public with a demand to stop the abuse.

Despite the fact that investigation of the arson in Duma is important, I believe the interrogators have crossed boundaries and red lines. Unfortunately, I can’t expand on this issue because of the gag order imposed on the case—in the future we will reveal the truth about these dark days for civil rights in Israel.

The problem is not only the severe harm to the detainees’ civil rights, but most importantly it is the fact that any such interrogations are contrary to the purpose of finding the truth, and may cause a terrible miscarriage of justice. When interrogators abuse, threaten and harass a suspect—all for the sake of forcing him to admit his guilt—it is possible that an innocent person would confess to crimes he did not commit. Such things have happened.

In dozens of decisions on Arab terrorist cases, former Chief Justice Aharon Barak ruled that while investigations of security issues are important, at the same time there is a duty to set limits the actions of Shabak interrogators: “This is the plight of a democracy, that not all the means are acceptable in it, and not all the practices which are employed by its enemies are available to it. A democracy must sometimes fight with one hand tied behind its back,” Barak stressed. But regarding the hilltop youths, it appears that those statements of the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court have been forgotten by today’s Israeli judges.

Another problem, perhaps the central one here, concerns the conduct of our own camp: rabbis, municipal heads and public leaders in the settlements do not go out of their way to help the incarcerated hilltop youths.

It’s easy to understand the settlement leaders’ behavior: why should they go out of their way to help those kids who often come across as insolent, anti-Zionist and rebellious.

But such a view is fundamentally mistaken. Even those who disagree with the hilltop youths, should learn from our experience that the persecution of the hilltop youths will then continue on to the physical abuse of settlers in Amona and Efrat, and eventually reach even to the “good children” of Givat Shmuel and Ra’anana; the abuse of a 16-year-old boy with giant side curls will soon spread to impact the settlement’s rabbi and the settlement’s security chief, and so on.

This slippery slope is visible before our eyes: the Jewish Department of the Shabak, the police nationalistic crime unit in the Judea and Samaria district, and elements in the prosecutor’s office see the hilltop youths as “the enemy, terrorists, attackers,” the way Shabak agents have put it. If the hilltop youths are the enemy, then their parents from the previous generation of settlers are “parents of terrorists,” their neighbors from the community are “supporters of terrorism” (“If you give them water, it means you support terrorism” goes the Shabak’s rationale), and we’ll all soon discover that the boundary line between terrorists and supporters of terrorism is very thin.

Make no mistake about it: despite the fact that the heads of major security forces—Roni Alsheikh, Yoram Cohen and Yossi Cohen—are observant Jews, or perhaps because of it, many in their organizations view all settlers as the enemy.

Itamar Ben-Gvir

Parents of Duma Arson American Suspect Appeal for US Intervention

Saturday, December 5th, 2015

(JNi.media) The US Consulate in Jerusalem announced that it plans to intervene in order to protect the legal rights of an American citizen who is among the suspects in the torching of the house in Duma village. Several Arab family members were killed in the July 30 arson. According to Walla, the consulate wrote the suspect’s parents: “We will contact the Israeli authorities to arrange a visit by the consul. We have noted his medical condition and his need for medication for his allergy problems, and will talk about it with the Israeli authorities.” The letter concluded with, “Thank you for updating us on the condition of the detainee.”

The suspect’s parents appealed to the US consulate in Israel as well as to US Senators, demanding their intervention in the case in light of the fact that he is an American citizen. In their letter, the parents noted that their son was prevented from seeing his lawyer, that he is being held in an unknown location, and that his medical condition—he suffers from allergies and ADHD—has deteriorated during his interrogation period. “The suspect, a US citizen, should receive protection for his rights,” the letter pleaded.

According to attorneys Hai Haber and Adi Keidar, who represent some of the suspects in the arson murder case for the Honenu legal aid society, the Shin Bet has been acting with brutal forcefulness. “There’s been a violent and brutal investigation that included disappearing people without bringing them to trial, and without allowing their families or attornies to see them, just to force confessions from the suspects,” they said. “Something alarming has happened in Israel, and once the protocols will be published the citizens of Israel will be horrified and won’t even remember the arson event in light of the conduct of this investigation.”

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel also criticized the policy regarding the detainees. “Using these tools is unacceptable and prevents a suspect from obtaining legal advice maintaining contact with the world outside the interrogation room. The Association objects to it,” attorney Roni Pelli told Walla.

“Of course we have to solve this murder, we but have to use legal interrogation methods to prosecute the culprits. If you want to get to the truth it is certainly not through a course that leads to a false confession because of the pressure applied to the detainees and the violation of their rights,” said Pelli.

The Shin Bet said in response to the claims made by the family: “The Shin Bet is a national organization and all its activities are performed in accordance with the law. Shin Bet interrogations are conducted in accordance with the law and court rulings, and are overseen by the Attorney General, the State Attorney’s Office and the courts.”

JNi.Media

‘Stop and Frisk’ Law Wins Cabinet Approval

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

The controversial “stop and frisk” law which will allow police to conduct a physical search of someone without a court order was approved Sunday by the government.

The bill, advanced by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, enables security officials to frisk anyone and search their belongings in public without probable cause.

Five years ago, this law was recommended, but the proposal never got off the ground.  Now it’s moving with a vengeance.

The law will skip the two-week appeal period, go to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation very shortly and straight to the Knesset for its first reading.

In other words, this law is taking the express route to a vote on the plenum floor due to the current security situation. Or not. At least one civil rights NGO contends its passage has nothing to do with the wave of terror.

Up to this point, police could only search a person if there were a reasonable suspicion that person was armed (illegally) — referred to abroad as “probable cause.” That will change if the law is passed by the Knesset however.

The bill was roundly criticized by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which claimed its resurgence had nothing to do with the current wave of terror.

“The legislation is a cynical exploitation of the security situation. The Public Security Ministry has tried to push forward the legislation for the last five years, and it has nothing to do with the current security situation,” said Avner Pinchuk, head of the association’s department of information and privacy.

Erdan contends, however, the opposite is true.

“Due to recent attacks, an urgent need has emerged to grant police the ability to conduct bodily searches in order to better deal with knife wielding terrorists,” Erdan told reporters.

Pinchuk said the police already have a wide authority to search, and the proposed bill would legitimize a practice by police which has already been rejected by the courts.

“Past experience says that the law is selectively enforced against minorities including Arabs or dark skinned men,” he noted.

Hana Levi Julian

Arkansas Shooting Range Declares Itself ‘Muslim-Free Zone’

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

The woman owner of the Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range in Hot Springs, Arkansas has declared her territory a “Muslim-free zone” because of domestic terror by Muslims.

Jan Morgan posted on her website 10 reasons to support her new policy, which is certain to be challenged in the courts.

Lawyers are going to make a lot of money over this.

One of her arguments is that the United States refused to classify several murders as acts of terrorism, particularly last week’s beheading by a Muslim convert in Oklahoma, the attack by a Muslim on Fort Hood and the Boston Marathon bombing carried out two years ago by two Muslims.

Morgan also wrote that two Muslim men, speaking in broken English, came to her range recently and asked to rent and practice with semi-automatic rifles and ammunition but could not provide identification other than a California’s driver’s license.

She agreed to rent one weapon but removed all other customers from the range while the two men shot.

Morgan is preparing for lawsuits charging her with discrimination.

Following are her 10 reasons for a “Muslim-free zone,” complete with her spelling of “Muslim” with a small ”m.”

1) The Koran, which I have read and studied thoroughly and (which all muslims align themselves with), contains 109 verses commanding hate, murder and terror against all human beings who refuse to submit or convert to Islam….

2) My life has been threatened repeatedly by muslims who are angry that I have studied their koran and have, over the past two years, been exposing the vileness of the Koran and its murderous directives.

3) The barbaric act of beheading an innocent American in Oklahoma by a muslim;

* the Boston bombings(by muslims)

* the Fort Hood mass shooting (by a muslim) that killed 13 people and injured over 30 people

* and the murder of 3000 innocent people (by muslims) on 9/11

This is more than enough loss of life on my home soil at the hands of muslims to substantiate my position that muslims can and will follow the directives in their Koran and kill here at home.

4) Because the nature of my business involves firearms and shooting firearms in an enclosed environment, my patrons are not comfortable being around muslims who align themselves with a religion that clearly commands hate, murder, and violence against all non muslims…..

5) My range rents and sells guns to my patrons. Why would I want to rent or sell a gun and hand ammunition to someone who aligns himself with a religion that commands him to kill me?

6) * Muslims, who belong to and, or, support ISIS, are threatening to kill innocent Americans.

* Muslims, who belong to or support AL Qaeda, are threatening to kill innocent Americans.

* Muslims who belong to or support HAMAS are threatening to kill innocent Americans….

7) I not only have the right to refuse service but a RESPONSIBILITY to provide a safe environment for people to shoot and train on firearms. I can and have turned people away if I sense they are under the influence of alcohol or mind altering drugs. I have a federal firearms license…

The ATF informed us when we received the license that if we feel any reason for concern about selling someone a firearm, even sense that something is not right about an individual, or we are concerned about that persons mental state, even if they pass a background check, we do not have to sell that person a gun.

In other words, a federal agency has given us this kind of discretion for service based on the nature of the business. I can and have turned people away if I sense an issue with their mental state. So… it’s difficult to imagine how the DOJ could have issues with this when ATF gave us this discretion.

8) I have no way of looking at Islam other than as a theocracy, not a religion. Islam is undoubtedly the union of political, legal, and religious ideologies. In other words law, religion and state are forged together to form what Muslims refer to as “The Nation of Islam.” Once again it is given the sovereign qualities of a nation with clerics in the governing body and Sharia law all in one. This is a Theocracy, not a religion.

The US Constitution does not protect a theocracy. The 1st Amendment is very specific about protecting the rights of individuals from the government, as it concerns the practice of religions, not theocracies. It clearly differentiates between government and religion. Again protecting the individual’s religious beliefs and practices from (the state) government. In Islam religion and state are one.

We are a Nation governed by laws, or the law of the land the U.S. Constitution. We are not a Nation that is governed by religion, politicians or clerics.

How then, can anyone say that, the practice of Islam is protected by the U.S. Constitution?

The muslim brotherhood has a documented plan for the destruction of America from within, discovered by our own government during a raid of MB operatives in America. In addition, I am very cognizant of the civilization jihad under way in my country by American muslims. In a number of states Muslims, through our legal system, are trying to force us to accept Sharia Law over Constitutional law. I do not wish to do business with people who stand against the Constitution and are fighting to replace it.

9) Islam allows Muslims to kill their own children, (honor killing) if the behavior of those children embarrasses or dishonors the family name. ( did you know that dating outside of the faith is justification for murdering their daughters and this has already occurred on American soil?) Why would I want people (who believe it’s okay to murder their own children), be in the presence of other children? My patrons often bring their kids to the range to teach them to shoot. I am responsible for providing a safe environment for those children to learn gun safety and shooting sports.

10) In the 14 hundred year history of Islam, muslims have murdered over 270 million people. Not all muslims are terrorists, but almost all terrorists in the world right now are muslim. Since you can’t determine by visual assessment, which ones will kill you and which ones will not, I am going to go with the line of thought that ANY HUMAN BEING who would either knowingly or unknowingly support a “religion” that commands the murder of all people who refuse to submit or convert to that religion, is not someone I want to know or do business with. I hold adults accountable for the religion they align themselves with.

In summary, I not only have the right, but a responsibility to provide a safe environment for my customers. I do not believe my decision is religious discrimination because I do not classify islam as a religion.. It is a theocracy/terrorist organization that hides behind the mask of religion in order to achieve its mission of world domination.

People who shoot at my range come from all religious backgrounds… some are atheists… I do not care about their religious beliefs. I care about the safety of my customers who come to shoot here….

I will do whatever is necessary to provide a safe environment for my customers, even at the cost of the increased threats and legal problems this decision will likely provoke.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Religious Groups Move to Protect Prisoner Rights

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

A coalition of Orthodox Jewish groups filed friend of the court briefs in two high-profile cases involving religious practice in prisons.

On May 28 the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs  filed a brief in the Atlanta-based federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in the matter of access to kosher meals in the Florida prison system and on May 29 in the U.S. Supreme Court which in its session beginning in October will consider the case of a Muslim prisoner in Arkansas who wants to grow his beard longer than the state’s regulation one-quarter inch.

The Florida case dates to 2010 when a Jewish prisoner serving life for the 1995 murder of his parents, Bruce Rich, said the state’s refusal to provide him with a kosher meal violated his rights under federal law.

The Obama administration joined the case in support of Rich in 2012 and last December a federal court ruled that the Florida Department of Corrections had until July 1 to begin distributing kosher meals.

The state at first agreed, but then recently launched an appeal, saying it was swamped with requests for kosher meals and that acceding to the demand would be prohibitive.

Many of the prisoners requesting kosher meals are believed to be feigning adherence to observant Judaism, and assessing who is genuine and who is not is seen as constitutionally perilous for a government authority.

Prisoners prefer the meals because they are sealed and are seen as better quality. Feeding a prisoner costs $1.52 a day with regular meals and over $4 a day with kosher meals.

Prison officials said they had expected about 300 requests and instead got over 4,400 and expected the number to balloon after the meals start being distributed.

In the Commission on Law’s brief, attorney Nathan Lewin said that it would be unjust to deny truly observant prisoners kosher meals because of the fraudulent claims of others.

In the Arkansas case, the coalition was filing in support of Gregory Holt, a Muslim who says his observance requires him to grow out his beard.

In the brief, Lewin notes that 39 other jurisdictions permit beards of any length, which he says is constitutionally protected.

Lewin, a member of the Supreme Court bar, in the brief cites the precedent of observant Jews in the military who successfully sued to keep their beards.

In a release, Lewin’s office noted that his briefs “cited and discussed traditional Jewish sources such as Maimonides, the Chofetz Chaim, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe.”

Among the groups making up the coalition are Agudath Israel of America, the Orthodox Union, the National Council of Young Israel and the Rabbinical Council of America.

JTA

A Jewish State Can Be Democratic and Moral

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Joseph Levine is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and he has published an essay in (where else?) the New York Times, in which he argues that the proposition ‘Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state’ is false.

There are many things in the article to complain about, but I am going to content myself with pointing out the single massive howler by which his argument collapses.

He makes the distinction between “a people in the ethnic sense” and in the “civic sense,” which means either residents of a geographical area or citizens of a state. He generously grants that there is a Jewish people in the ethnic sense who live in Israel, but only an ‘Israeli people,’ which includes Arabs, in the civic sense. Then he tells us,

…insofar as the principle that all peoples have the right to self-determination entails the right to a state of their own, it can apply to peoples only in the civic sense…

But if the people who “own” the state in question are an ethnic sub-group of the citizenry, even if the vast majority, it constitutes a serious problem indeed, and this is precisely the situation of Israel as the Jewish state. Far from being a natural expression of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, it is in fact a violation of the right to self-determination of its non-Jewish (mainly Palestinian) citizens. It is a violation of a people’s right to self-determination to exclude them — whether by virtue of their ethnic membership, or for any other reason — from full political participation in the state under whose sovereignty they fall…

“Any state that ‘belongs’ to one ethnic group within it violates the core democratic principle of equality, and the self-determination rights of the non-members of that group” [my emphasis].

His exposition is much more lengthy and you should read it. But I think I have extracted the gist of it.

Interestingly, while he explains what he means by ‘a people’ and draws a distinction between two senses of the expression, he does not even hint about his understanding of the concept of ‘democracy’ and especially “the core democratic principle of equality,” the violation of which he believes disqualifies Israel from continued existence as a Jewish state.

Levine explains how Israel violates these principles:

The distinctive position of [a favored ethnic people] would be manifested in a number of ways, from the largely symbolic to the more substantive: for example, it would be reflected in the name of the state, the nature of its flag and other symbols, its national holidays, its education system, its immigration rules, the extent to which membership in the people in question is a factor in official planning, how resources are distributed, etc.

Actually, concerning the “more substantive” things, Arab citizens of Israel are doing quite well: they have the right to vote, to hold political office, and a large degree of control of their educational system; there are rules against discrimination in housing and employment (with exceptions related to national security), etc. In other words, they have full civil rights.

Naturally there are differences in the treatment of Jews and Arabs. Some are due to cultural differences — Arab towns are governed by Arabs and distribute resources differently — some are related to security, and some to anti-Arab prejudice. But the degree of prejudice in Israeli society is not particularly great compared to other advanced nations like the U.S., and nobody is suggesting that the U.S. does not have a “right to exist” unless all discrimination can be eliminated.

In any event, discrimination in what he calls “substantive” ways are not essential to the definition of Israel as a Jewish state, and there is a general consensus that such discrimination is wrong and should be eliminated.

Israel’s immigration rules are certainly unequal. But immigration rules by definition do not apply to citizens; and few — if any — of the world’s nations permit free immigration.

Levine also does not consider security issues at all. If Israel ignored them it would cease to exist without philosophical arguments. This would be bad both for the Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel (just ask any of them if they would prefer to be citizens of Israel or the Palestinian Authority).

Vic Rosenthal

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fresno-zionism/a-jewish-state-can-be-democratic-and-moral/2013/03/12/

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