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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘freedom of expression’

The West Ignores Abbas, Hamas Silencing of Critics

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

In another story the Western media apparently refuses to cover, any Palestinian who dares to criticize Hamas or the Palestinian Authority risks being arrested or summoned for interrogation.

Palestinian journalists are now hoping to bring this to the attention of President Barack Obama when he meets with President Mahmoud Abbas next month.

The journalists say they want United States and the rest of the world to know that the crackdown on freedom of expression in both West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and Gaza Strip is designed to hide the fact that Palestinians are governed by two repressive regimes that have no respect for human rights and democracy.

Over the past few weeks, several Palestinian journalists have been arrested in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for reportedly criticizing the policies and leaders of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

But this most recent assault on freedom of expression does not seem to bother the Western countries that fund the Palestinian Authority or Hamas supporters from all around the world.

As far as many Western governments and journalists are concerned, physical assaults on Palestinian reporters in the Gaza Strip are fine as long as they are not perpetrated by Israel.

The Palestinian Authority crackdown on Palestinian journalists in the West Bank is also fine as long as Israel is not involved.

Most of the assaults against journalists took place in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas continues to display zero tolerance towards critics or anyone who dares to say something “controversial.”

In the past few weeks, at least 16 journalists from the Gaza Strip were arrested or summoned for interrogation by Hamas authorities in the context of a campaign aimed at intimidating the local media.

Some of the journalists were released only after Hamas forced them to sign a document stating that they would refrain from attending press conferences or covering various activities unless they obtained permission in advance.

The Hamas authorities have also raided the homes of several journalists, confiscating their computers and notebooks.

In some instances, Hamas’s security forces have forced journalists to provide them with their passwords and usernames in order to check their emails.

Following is a list of the names of journalists from the Gaza Strip who have been arrested or interrogated by Hamas in recent weeks: Ashraf Abu Khwaisan, Ala Dawaheed, Amru Dawaheed, Munir al-Munairawi, Mustafa Migdad, Majdi Islim, Juma’ah Abu Shomar, Hisham al-Ju’ub, Muayad Assali, Shadi Shaheen, Muhanad al-Kahlout, Esam Madi, Hussein Abdel Jawwad, Abdel Karim Hijji and Yusef Hammad.

Three other journalists, Khaled Thabet, Mohamed Za’anin and Muthana al-Najjar, were beaten by Hamas policemen and thugs while covering various activities in the Gaza Strip.

In the West Bank, the situation has not been any better for Palestinian journalists and political activists.

Just last week, a Palestinian Authority court sentenced 26-year-old Anas Said Awwad to one year in prison for “insulting” President Mahmoud Abbas on Facebook.

Awwad was found guilty of depicting Abbas as a member of the Real Madrid soccer team.

The man was convicted on the basis of a 50-year-old Jordanian law that bans “extending one’s tongue” against the Jordanian monarch.

The Palestinian Authority often uses this law to punish anyone who posts comments against Abbas or other leaders in Ramallah.

This was not the first time that the Palestinian Authority goes after Palestinians who use Facebook to express their views.

At least three other Palestinians, Nizar Banat, Mamdouh Hamamreh and Jihad Harb have been targeted by Abbas’s security forces for posting critical comments on Facebook.

Over the past week, Palestinian Authority security forces also arrested two journalists, Ala al-Titi and Mohamed Awad.

Safad Nazzal, a Palestinian female activist who criticized the Palestinian Authority for failing to pay more attention to the case of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, has also been arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank.

It now remains to be seen whether Obama and other Western leaders and government officials, as well as human rights groups, will pay attention to the ongoing attempt to silence Palestinian journalists and political activists. Failure to do so will only encourage Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to continue their assaults on freedom of expression.‭‮

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

What Leftists Mean: Support the Savage

Friday, September 28th, 2012

As a looney lefitist in the NY vandalizes approved ads in the subway, under the guise of  “freedom of expression” (while not allowing others to freely express themselves), her message is very clear.

She sides with the savages.  She finds it offensive that Jihad is considered “savage.”  Savages are those who murder in the name of Jihad; those that murdered the U.S. Ambassador to Libya are savages, those that attacked the World Trade Center are savages, those that stab to death Israeli infants and blow up buses are savages.  That’s Jihad.

See the Jihad Supporter here:

CNN and MSNBC Pundit Mona Eltahawy is a supporter of Savage Jihad.  Her billboard could be easily summed up as follows:

Make sure you know which side you’re on.

When Does Free Speech Become Sedition?

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

http://fresnozionism.org/2012/06/when-does-free-speech-become-sedition/

In a democratic state where freedom of expression is cherished, can we place limits on expression when the very foundation of that state is attacked? Is there a point at which the state can say “if that’s how you feel, go live somewhere else?”

News item:

Three members of the radical ultra-Orthodox sect Neturei Karta were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion that they had vandalized a Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial earlier this month as well as several additional sites commemorating fallen IDF soldiers in the Jordan Valley.

“Hitler, thank you for the wonderful Holocaust” was one of the slogans spray painted some two weeks ago on the open campus of Yad Vashem, Israel’s main Holocaust memorial site…

Judea and Samaria District Police found spray cans in the suspects’ homes as well as posters inciting against the state and PLO flags, Army Radio reported Tuesday…

The three, aged 18, 26 and 27, call themselves the “Palestine Jews.” They confessed to the crimes and remarked that they had committed the act out of hatred toward the Zionist entity and the state.

There is no doubt that if they are convicted of the crime of vandalism they should be punished. But is the state required to tolerate residents who express hatred of “the Zionist entity” in any form?

In the US, almost all such expression is permitted (there are exceptions). But the population here is almost 312 million people, and only a tiny proportion of those want to overthrow the Constitution. Israel has about 7.6 million, and when you include fanatics like the “Palestine Jews,” Arab nationalists, Islamists, and extreme leftists or anarchists, it becomes a significant proportion of the population.

Consider the extreme academic Left, which literally dominates academic departments in some Israeli universities. They regularly call for a binational state, support boycott-divestment-sanctions, compare Israel to Nazi Germany, sign petitions favoring a right of return for Arab refugees, etc. (details are here).

Another example is the Israeli Arab (oops, ‘Palestinian resident of Israel’) organization Adalah. Supported by the US-based New Israel Fund, Adalah is openly anti-Zionist, advocating for a right of return, for Israel to admit its guilt and compensate Arabs for the nakba [disaster] that was the founding of the state, change its flag and national anthem, and give Arabs a veto power over all decisions of the Knesset.

Then there is the Islamic Movement in Israel. The leader of its Northern Branch, Ra’ed Saleh, openly supports Hamas and has incited riots in Jerusalem several times with claims that Israel is trying to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque.

The vandals of Neturei Karta have been around for years, appearing at anti-Israel demonstrations around the world. They were paid by Yasser Arafat and even visited Tehran where they embraced Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. There are other Hareidi extremists that are less well-known, but also oppose the Jewish state, while accepting its charity and protection.

When does this become too much for a small state which does not lack for external threats?

There is a word for the behavior of the groups described here — sedition — and a surprising number of liberal democracies have laws against it. Perhaps Israel should as well?

U.S. Leading Effort to Criminalize Free Speech?

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

The Human Rights Council concluded its nineteenth session on March 23, 2012 and adopted, without a vote, yet another resolution aimed at restricting freedom of speech throughout the world. While its title[1], as usual, suggests it is about combating intolerance based on religion, its plain language shows that, once again, speech is the real target.

One of its sponsors, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (formerly the Organization of the Islamic Conference or “OIC” ), has, for over a decade, introduced speech-restrictive resolutions at the United Nations. In the past, these resolutions contained explicit language about “defamation of religions.” Last year, however, when the OIC introduced Resolution 16/18 without the term “defamation of religions,” the West’s resistance to the OIC’s efforts faltered (discussed here). The “defamation of religions” concept had been easy for Western countries to rally against, in part, because it seemed to attach rights to a concept (here, religion) rather than to individuals. But, dropping that term was little more than a cosmetic change leaving speech-targeting language behind and the OIC’s speech-restrictive agenda intact.

Resolution 19/25, like 16/18, specifically “condemns” certain types of speech and “urges States to take effective measures as set forth in the present resolution, consistent with their obligations under international human rights law, to address and combat such incidents” (emphasis added). In short, it is an explicit call to action for states to curtail certain types of speech.

The “advocacy” (read: speech) that the resolution “condemns” and calls on states to limit is “any advocacy of religious hatred against individuals that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence” using “print, audio-visual or electronic media or any other means.” This language almost directly parallels International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights Article 20(2), which reads: “Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.”

At the time Article 20 was being debated, there was little doubt that it was about limiting speech; and indeed, concerns were raised about the potential for abuse of the provision to limit an essential right. Further, when the United States finally ratified the ICCPR in 1992, it did so with an explicit reservation to Article 20, reading: “That Article 20 does not authorize or require legislation or other action by the United States that would restrict the right of free speech and association protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

The language of ICCPR Article 20 and Resolutions 16/18 and 19/25 bears a striking resemblance to the “hate speech” provisions that have proliferated throughout Europe and that are already being used to silence speech (as the trials of Geert WildersLars Hedegaard, and others demonstrate).

Further, conceptually, “defamation of religions” and “hate speech” were already linked in prior resolutions. It is puzzling, therefore, that the West was so easily duped into believing that dropping the “defamation of religions” language was any kind of substantive victory. Although the most recent resolutions stop short of Article 20′s language, leaving out “shall be prohibited by law,” it hardly matters. The OIC’s agenda can simply be pushed instead through “hate speech” laws that already exist. (By its own statements, the OIC has not changed its goals, nor has it abandoned the concept.) The shift in wording has simply lost us allies in resisiting it.

That a resolution without an explicit reference to “defamation of religions” but that retained “hate speech” language would be more appealing to European allies is not surprising. Most European countries have already adopted some form of “hate speech” laws — but to terrible effect — on freedom of speech. With regard to this issue, the United States had stood alone—”hate speech” is currently not proscribed here, although we appear headed in that direction: since the United States supported the resolution, how could we expect our Western allies to resist?

Our Secretary of State applauded the OIC and described efforts leading to Resolution 16/18 as beginning “to overcome the false divide that pits religious sensitivities against freedom of expression.” Far from demanding a “reservations clause” of any kind, the United States, instead, sponsored a three-day, closed-door meeting in Washington, DC last December on implementing 16/18 —a meeting in a series called the “Istanbul Process.” Taking its lead from the US, the European Union then offered to host the next session, an initiative the OIC hailedas a “a qualitative shift in action against the phenomenon of Islamophobia.”

German Cartoon Riots: Clubs, Bottles, and Stones

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

In an explosion of violence that reflects the growing assertiveness of Salafists in Germany, on May 5th more than 500 radical Muslims attacked German police with bottles clubs, stones and other weapons in the city of Bonn, to protest cartoons they said were “offensive.”

Rather than cracking down on the Muslim extremists, however, German authorities have sought to silence the peaceful critics of multicultural policies that allow the Salafists — who say they are committed to imposing Islamic Sharia law throughout Europe — openly to preach violence and hate.

The clashes erupted when around 30 supporters of a conservative political party, PRO NRW, which is opposed to the further spread of Islam in Germany, participated in a campaign rally ahead of regional elections in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). Some of those participating in the rally, which was held near the Saudi-run King Fahd Academy in the Mehlem district of Bonn, the former capital of West Germany, had been waving banners depicting the Islamic Prophet Mohammad (see photo here), to protest the Islamization of Germany.

The rally swiftly disintegrated into violence (photos here and here) when hundreds of angry Salafists, who are opposed to any depiction of their prophet, began attacking the police, whose job it was to keep the two groups apart.

In the final tally of the melee, 29 police officers were injured, two with serious stab wounds, and more than 100 Salafists were arrested, although most were later released. A 25-year-old German protester of Turkish origin, suspected of having stabbed the two police officers, remained in custody on suspicion of attempted homicide.

According to Bonn’s police chief, Ursula Brohl-Sowa, “This was an explosion of violence such as we have not witnessed in a long time.”

Germany’s intelligence and security agencies say they are closely monitoring the Salafists, who are increasingly viewed as posing a threat to German security.

Salafism, a branch of radical Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia, seeks to establish an Islamic empire (Caliphate) across the Middle East, North Africa, Europe — and eventually the entire world. The Caliphate would be governed exclusively by Islamic Sharia law, which would apply both to Muslims and to non-Muslims. Salafists also believe, among other disconcerting doctrines, that democracies — governments made by men as opposed to theirs, which was made by the almighty — legitimately deserve to be destroyed.

According to German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, “Salafism is currently the most dynamic Islamist movement in Germany as well as internationally. Its fanatic followers represent a particular danger for Germany’s security. The Salafists provide the ideological foundation for those who then turn violent.”

The interior minister of the German state of Lower Saxony, Uwe Schünemann, said, “The violence of the Salafists in Bonn has once again shown what is behind the mask of supposed religiosity: nothing but brute force.” He also said that the violence was “a direct challenge to liberal democracy as a whole.”

The interior minister of Bavaria, Joachim Hermann, said that: “We cannot tolerate violent retribution and revenge. We apply the rule of law, not Islamic vigilante justice.” He added that Salafists should be “brought to justice and severely punished,” and that “We have to monitor the Salafist scene even more. And we have to be more diligent in cracking down on hate and violence. We cannot allow that terrorists and violent criminals are free to operate under our noses. We need to take action against Salafism and its intolerant, fanatical ideology with all legal means.”

Despite these and many other pronouncements, Salafists still have free reign in Germany: Salafist preachers are known regularly to preach hatred against the West in the mosques and prayer centers that are proliferating across the country.

In recent weeks, Salafists have been engaged in an unprecedented nationwide campaign to distribute 25 million copies of the Koran, translated into the German language, with the goal of placing one Koran in every home in Germany, free of charge.

The mass proselytization campaign — called Project “READ!” — is being organized by dozens of Islamic Salafist groups located in cities and towns throughout Germany, as well as in Austria and Switzerland.

According to the German newspaper Die Welt, the Salafists have launched a “frontal assault” against people of other faiths and “unbelievers.” Die Welt has reported that German authorities view the Koran project, which fundamentalists are using a recruiting tool, as a “most worrisome” campaign for radical Islam. Security analysts say the campaign is also a public-relations gimmick intended to persuade Germans that the Salafists are transparent and “citizen friendly.”

A spokesperson for the Berlin branch of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV) told Die Welt that “the objective of this campaign is to help bring those who are interested into contact with the Salafist scene to influence them in the context of extremist political ideologies.”

State to Israeli High Court: Boycott Law Constitutional

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Deputy Attorney-General Uri Keydar, representing the State on the issue of the constitutionality of the recently-passed Boycott Law, wrote that the law is constitutional even though it limited freedom of expression because it was narrowly tailored to specific calls for boycotts.

The state set out its position before the High Court of Justice Tuesday in response to three petitions asking the court to revoke the legislation.

The law, which was passed in July 2011, grants Israeli targets of public boycotts the right to seek financial redress for damages in court. The law also empowers the finance minister to prohibit entities supporting boycotts from participating in state tenders.

The petitioners claim that the law is unconstitutional because it violates the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty by stifling freedom of expression, with specific concern for criticism of government policies and actions in Judea and Samaria.

“The law does not prevent anyone from publishing a public call for the government to alter its policies in regard to Judea and Samaria as part of any opposition to government policy in that region,” Keydar wrote in response.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/state-to-israeli-high-court-boycott-law-constitutional/2012/01/18/

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