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May 4, 2016 / 26 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘freedom of speech’

Three Cops Visit, Warn Man Who Protested Duma Detainees’ Incarceration on Facebook

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

(JNi.media) The protest over the torture of detainees in the Duma village arson case is probably getting to the security forces, who on Tuesday sent three officers to visit the director of the Gush Katif Museum in Jerusalem, Shlomo Bashan. Bashan is married to musician / journalist Karni Eldad, daughter of former MK Aryeh Eldad and granddaughter of the late philosopher and Likud leader Israel Eldad (whose 20th yahrzeit is coming up January 2016). The three cops came down to Bashan’s home in Tekoa, Gush Etzion, to warn him about his recent post on Facebook:

“I will not let this story go under my radar,” Bashan wrote last week. “This coming Saturday (if the boys are not released by then) I will go to Petakh Tikva, to the Shabak facility’s interrogation cellars where the child is imprisoned… I will stand in front of the Shabak building and will try to break in physically, perhaps even by force, to free that child from the hands of his tormentors. That’s what I would do if it was my child. I assume I would be arrested, but I would be doing my duty. If thousands join me, it could strengthen the struggle, at least the struggle over awareness.”

Bashan’s previous encounter with the Shabak was in 2007, two years after the evacuation of Gush Katif, where he lived. After being removed from Gush Katif, he worked as an armed security guard in Jerusalem and spoke strongly against the Prime Minister. After the evacuation, Bashan’s father suffered two heart attacks, and Bashan was heard to say, according to a report on Channel 10 News, “If my dad had not survive the heart attack I was going to take revenge. I was going to kill everyone who uprooted him.” Bashan suffered serious emotional issues at the time and at some point even left his associates a letter titled “I’m going to die, bye.” He later overcame his anger and published a book of poetry about his experiences. Bashan was interrogated by the Shabak back in 2007 as part of the preparation for the Annapolis conference, when security around Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was tightened, for fear that extremists would try to assassinate him.

Bashan wrote Tuesday night on Facebook: “Today three plainclothes policemen came to my home to warn me about a post I wrote on Facebook. I thanked them respectfully for their contribution, expressed my support for their activities on behalf of the security of Israel and condemned all forms of terrorism, and then warned them in return. You don’t torture children to get them to confess in an interrogation. You don’t come to my house to scare me because I cried out in pain and called for protest. Not in a democratic country.”

Bashan continued: “Knowledgeable sources familiar with the judiciary system believe that I was not the only one who received a warning today. Bennett also received a warning call from the prime minister, and immediately issued a post supporting the Shabak.”

“I guess the torture of the children is about to fade from the media coverage. The Shabak was startled by the protest but did not give in, and very soon one of the kids will confess to some murder, no matter what, and a well publicized indictment will be issued against him. Likud and NRP (the precursor to Bayit Yehudi) have turned their backs on the tortured children, most of whom will be released in the coming days,” Bashan wrote.

JNi.Media

Crowd Assaults Anti-Islamist for Tearing Pages out of Koran [video]

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

A “professional” protester yelled at a Ohio university that the Koran is evil and ripped out some pages. A crowd assaulted him. Whether it was a “vile and disgusting” action or “freedom of speech, or both, an anti-Islamist activist got his point across through social media that has posted a video of his ripping pages out of the “evil” Koran.

The man, identified as John Williams, showed up on Ohio’s Wright State University and ranted against the Islamic holy book while surrounded by a crowd that included Muslims who did not take kindly to the sermon.

When Williams started ripping out pages from the book, he was assaulted, and police intervened to protect him.

Wright State Police Chief David Finnie said:

Our role here was simple. First of all, we support people expressing their First Amendment rights. There’s no better place than an academic setting.

University President David Hopkins expressed his own personal opinions of Williams’ performance:

An individual not associated with our university ventured onto our campus and expressed himself in ways that many found disrespectful to various groups because of their religion, sexual orientation, gender, or status as a victim of sexual assault. His actions, in my opinion, were vile and disgusting.

We all understand that public universities are places where a free exchange of ideas promotes the intellectual development of students and informs civic activity and policy beyond campus.

Williams said he is a member of “Quad Gods,” a group that criss-crosses the United States with religious protests.

He told the crowd, “God is love.”

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Leftist Actor Calls Likud ‘Herd of Cud-Munching Cattle’

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Freedom of speech does not mean having to say whatever comes to mind, a lesson that leftist artists and right-wing Culture Minister Miri Regev should be learning this week.

Regev, who once was the chief Spokesperson for the IDF, has a short fuse that enables her to contribute material for headline writers while making herself look like a jerk.

Ever since taking office, she has endured the wrath of the left by threatening to cut off funds for theatres and artists whose messages are anti-Israel, such as promoting BDS. Regev also threatened to cut funds from an Arab theatre whose founder refused to perform in the Jordan Valley because it is part of the “occupied territories.”

Leftists, of course, are champions of freedom of speech, unless it is a settler calling for the transfer of Arabs to Jordan or a Prime Minister who calls on Jews to vote in order to prevent leftist from forming as government with Arab support.

The latest brouhaha arose when Regev got wind of a film documentary that shows the “soft” side of Yigal Amir, who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. She said she might cut support for the International Film Festival in Jerusalem next month if it thinks that a film of the “soft” side of Amir is culture.

Suddenly, the leftists did not protest for freedom of speech. Leaders from the left and right condemned the film, but there was not a demand from the left that Regev express her disgust in some other way rather than using her power as Minister of Culture to oppose the film.

On the contrary, Zionist Union Knesset Member Itzik Shmuli called on Regev to remove funding for the film. So much for freedom in the arts.

It all depends on whose ox is being gored. The leftists screamed bloody murder when Naftali Bennett, Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) and Minister of Education Arab, cut off funding to a theatre that staged a play showing the “human” side of a terrorist who killed an Israeli soldier.

The terrorist can be portrayed as a good human, but Amir cannot? A plague on both of them, but that begs the question.

The issue of “freedom of speech” when it presents a threat to national security is thorny in every democratic country, and all the more so in Israel.

These questions got lost in the rhetoric, mostly by the left, which handed over an untold number of votes to the right-wing in March when Israeli artist Yair Garbuz ridiculed “thieves and bribe-takers….who kiss the ‘lucky charms’ and bow down at the graves of the dead,” referring to the Jewish tradition of kissing a mezuzah and the custom of many Jews to visit the graves of Torah sages.

The latest leftist to make “freedom of speech” a vehicle to prove his ignorance is actor Oded Kotler, who said Sunday:

Imagine your world is quiet — without books, without music, without poems, a world where no one disturbs you and no one stops the nation from celebrating the 30 [Likud] seats which are followed by a herd of straw and cud-munching cattle.

Even Labor party chairman Yitzchak Herzog criticized Kotler for his uncultured remark, and said:

Artists also need to know that in a difficult and justified argument, we have to be civil and respectful of anyone who thinks differently.

Herzog must be given credit for his comment, which will cost him support from the far left that, like Regev, want to decide what is accepted culture.

For example, how did the bleeding heart liberals react on Sunday when more than 300 artists and actors met under the slogan “The Blacklist” and drafted a petition protesting “anti-democratic” measures” by Regev and others who are allegedly trying to make government policy party of “culture”?

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

US Supreme Court Rules on ‘Free Speech’ in Social Media

Monday, June 1st, 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today (Monday, June 1) to affirm protection for “free speech” on social media and the internet – even if that speech is threatening or provocative.

The decision was handed down in the case of Anthony D. Elonis V. United States of America, affirming that threats made over the internet are protected, unless they are malevolent or reckless.

The case relates to Facebook posts by Elonis, who was convicted for making unlawful threats as he expressed anger about events in his life, basing the posts on rap lyrics of various artists.

In an amicus curiae brief (friend of the Court), The Rutherford Institute had argued the First Amendment protects even inflammatory statements that might give offense or cause concern to others unless the statements were a credible threat to engage in violence against another, and made by the defendant with the intent to cause fear in the alleged victim.

The decision is also particularly relevant to the brouhaha over the “Jihad Watch Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest” held in Garland, Texas a few weeks ago. Sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) run by Pam Geller, the event attracted an attempted attack by two terrorists, who opened fire on a security guard but were both shot and killed by police.

The event was organized in response to the radical Islamist attack on the Paris offices of the “Charlie Hebdo” French satiric magazine in January of this year, Geller said. “We decided to have a cartoon contest to show we would not kowtow to violent intimidation and allow the freedom of speech to be overwhelmed by thugs and bullies,” she told The Washington Post in an email statement.

Hana Levi Julian

Helsinki Environmental ‘World Village’ Bans Jewish National Fund

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

The Finnish “World Village festival emphasizing the environment has banned the participation of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), the largest environmental organization in Israel. The Finnish government feigned it was powerless to interfere in the boycott and told the Israeli Ambassador to Helsinki that it has no say in the matter because the “Maailma Kylässä” festival is a “private event.”

Dan Ashbel, the Israeli ambassador to Finland, said:

I wonder how this scandalous decision is consistent with values such as eco-friendliness, fairness, tolerance, and the desire for peace. I wonder if the rest of the organizations in the festival are required to stand up to the same criteria.”

However, the Finnish government’s security forces were able to convince the World Village to ban the Freedom of Speech village, warning that an exhibition supporting the freedom of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine to publish cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed might cause violence.

The JNF has planted 240 million trees since 1901, and Israel is one of only two countries in the world that registered a net increase in the number of trees at the beginning of the 21st century.

It can be assumed that the organizers do the World Village were celebrating Boycott Israel when deciding to ban the JNF, which also has donated 3,000 trees to the Palestinian Authority for its new city of Rawabi north of Ramallah.

The World Village organizers figure that the environment is better off without a pro-environment organization, which is Jewish, and without a free speech environment that might upset Muslims.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Canada May Propose Defining Boycott of Israel a ‘Hate Crime’

Monday, May 11th, 2015

The pro-Israel Canadian government may be planning to include boycotts of Israel as a hate crime, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported Monday.

It said that such a move would target organizations such as the United Church of Canada, Canadian Quakers, campus protest groups and labor unions. It also would raise legal questions under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Canadian Prime Stephen Harper is unarguably the most pro-Israel head of any government in the world. He sounded like an echo of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his visit to Israel last year.

Recently-retired Foreign Minister John Baird in January signed an agreement with Israel to fight the Boycott Israel movement, and government ministers have said they will show “zero tolerable” towards groups that are part of Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS). He described the Boycott Israel movement as “the new face of anti-Semitism.”

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney recently said that boycotts of Israel cannot be separated from anti-Semitic hate speech and the recent terrorist attacks against Jews in France.

CBC asked the government to explain the meaning of “zero tolerance,” and Blaney replied that Canada has “one of the most comprehensive sets of [hate] laws anywhere in the world.”

Last year, Canada changed its definition of hate speech to include statements made against “national origin” and not just race and religion.

That has raised fears among civil libertarians that anti-Israel remarks could be classified as statements against Jews.

The concept of associating Israel with Jews goes at the very heart of the liberal Jewish community, as well as Jews who have no interest in Judaism in Israel. Whether they like it or not, hatred of Israel and Jews increasingly makes them identified with Israel by the fact that they are Jews.

They can like it or not, but inevitably, “Jew” cannot be separated from “Israel.” They can like it not, but the “People of Israel” means Jews – everywhere.

The question is whether that definition has a legal standing.

CBC reported that the Canadian Quakers wrote a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson in March “expressing concern” about describing boycotts as acts of anti-Semitism.

Blaney’s office did not specifically say that would be the case but noted that it is illegal to promote hatred against an “identifiable group.”

However, BDS protests in other parts of the world have been anything but violent, with frequent clashes with police such as in France.

In Israel, it is against the law to boycott the country

In France, hate speech as a crime includes statements aimed at people’s “national origin,” and BDS activists sometimes have been charged with violating the law.

Belgium is considering a similar law.

On paper, it would seem that prohibiting a group from promoting a boycott of a country – and Israel is the only nation that is targeted – because of its political polices is a violation of freedom of speech.

In reality, such protests are often like the Palestinian Authority term “resistance,” a code word to encourage terrorists to kill Jews.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

The Nazis Are Coming, The Nazis Are Coming

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Published on Jewish Business News

Would I be shocked if some day an investigating committee discovered it was a secret agent of the internal security service who posted those pictures of Israeli politicians in Nazi uniforms? Honestly, I wouldn’t be. It’s what Israel’s internal security does—cast blame on the right.

Back in 1996, the Shamgar committee investigating the Rabin murder ruled “without any doubt” that it was Avishai Raviv, an agent provocateur of the Jewish Department of the internal security police, who created and disseminated a poster of Rabin in Nazi uniform. Agent Raviv did a lot of bad things, according to the committee, including inventing the idea that the prime minister had the status of “rodef,” one who is about to commit murder and so must be killed first.

And he created the Nazi Rabin poster, with government funds, to cast false blame on the right.

Lest I be misunderstood, I join all the voices in Israel who, over the past week or so, have expressed various levels of disagreement, even shock, at the images of several key Israeli politicians dressed in Nazi uniforms, courtesy of Photoshop and Facebook.

I happen to believe that the first party to mention the Holocaust in a debate loses. Comparing any post-Holocaust event, including some holocausts, to the Holocaust belies a deep misunderstanding of the scope and monstrosity of the European Holocaust. Certainly comparing the quality of service at some roadside motel to Auschwitz would betray a deep ignorance of the suffering of Humanity in general and the Jewish people in particular.

In Israel, the images of leading politicians, such as Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Judiciary Minister Tzipi Livni in Nazi uniforms have created a stormy news cycle complete with police investigation, the closing down of the Facebook page that featured those images, and a vehement condemnation by the outgoing Chief Justice of Israel’s Supreme Court, the final arbiter of democratic values.

To an American who enjoys the luxuries of a well honed First Amendment to the Constitution, this must seem very strange. Why would a fairly amateurish artistic effort to dress up some politicians in Nazi uniforms be perceived as a danger to the rule of law and democracy? Isn’t democracy a place where one can express oneself offensively as long as they like, provided they don’t yell fire in a crowded theater?

But the Israeli media response to the Nazi posters is a masterpiece of propaganda, borrowing heavily from the father of modern communications, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, who wrote: “The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”

In Israel, anyone would tell you that the 1995 murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in a main square in Tel Aviv began with posters that depicted Rabin in a Nazi uniform. Surely, goes the argument, if the public is drenched once again with these offensive images, we’ll end up with yet another political murder.

You see, the average Israeli is remarkably stupid and thick-headed when it comes to the sanctity of freedom of speech. They simply don’t remember it was their government which paid for and delivered the Rabin Nazi poster, they only remember the poster, with horror, because after the poster some nut job killed Rabin.

And so, with zero regard to the value of free speech in a democracy, Israeli police is pursuing the new Nazi poster offenders indefatigably.

But even if the anonymous person calling himself or herself Natan Zuabi (an inside joke at the expense of an Arab MK and an Israeli radio broadcaster) is not a police agent—the pursuit of those images constitutes the suppression of free speech. And a supreme court justice who can’t recall it was the government who invented those Nazi posters is asleep at the wheel of democracy.

Alas, the only democracy in the Middle East just got a little less democratic. And it could get worse.

Nazi Montage on Facebook

Tibbi Singer

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-nazis-are-coming-the-nazis-are-coming/2014/12/02/

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