web analytics
May 24, 2015 / 6 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘freedom of speech’

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

President Rivlin Bans Performance of Singer because of Anti-Arab Song

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

President Reuven Rivlin announced Tuesday he has cancelled the scheduled performance of musician-singer Amir Benayoun because of a song he wrote and released after last week’s Har Nof massacre and which is called “Ahmed Loves Jerusalem.”

Benayoun wrote the lyrics of a fictitious Arab who learns at a government-funded university and plans to kill Jews.

“Ahmed” sings, “I will send a Jew or two to Hell…. I am just an ungrateful piece of scum. The day will come when you turn your back on me and I will stick a sharp knife into it, I will shoot you in the back.”

That was too much for President Rivlin, whose office said he would not allow Benayoun to perform next Sunday at the Present’s residence at an event marking the exile and expulsion of Jews from Arab Lands and Iran.

“Against the background of the release of Amir Benayoun’s latest song yesterday, I wish to notify you that we will not be able to allow him to perform at the President’s Residence,” the office wrote in a letter that was distributed as a press release.

“Amir Benayoun is a renowned and exceptional artist, and his talent has greatly contributed to Israeli music” the statement continued. “However, his statements made at this time of conflict and tension, even if uttered out of frustration and pain, do not, to say the least, help bring calm to the streets, and are inconsistent with the responsibility required of the President’s Residence, and of all institutions with influence over the public discourse, to work to alleviate tensions, and promote cooperation rather than division in Israeli society.”

Liberals on the left have charged that Benayoun should be arrested for incitement.

Benayoun said he did not intend to promote violence, which he opposes.

One of his former compositions is “Jerusalem of Hussein,” which describes President Barack Obama’s policies.

Egypt Slaps White House, Jails Al Jazeera Journalists for 7 Years

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Journalists around the world are expressing outrage in the wake of an Egyptian court’s decision to sentence three Al Jazeera journalists to prison for seven years.

The three were taken from their hotel room in Cairo in December 2013 and charged with conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood to tarnish Egypt’s international reputation. Australian ex-BBC reporter Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian ex-CNN journalist Mohamed Fahmy, and local Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were among 20 accused in connection with the charges.

Al Jazeera has denied the accusations and journalists around the world have condemned Egypt for conducting what is seen as a direct campaign by Egypt’s new president to snuff out freedom of speech.

In the United States, the issue was also perceived as a diplomatic slap to the White House, which condemned the sentence. Secretary of State John Kerry phoned Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri to express his government’s “serious displeasure” over the matter.

The court decision had come just one day after Kerry’s unannounced visit to Cairo in which he announced that Washington had unfrozen billions of dollars in military aid to Egypt. He also vowed during his visit that the U.S. would deliver 10 Apache attack helicopters for use in the fight against terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula.

Newly-elected President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi refused to “interfere in the judicial verdict,” setting off an international firestorm.

“Egypt should review its unacceptable sentences against Egyptian and international journalists, and show commitment to freedom of the press,” said British Foreign Secretary William Hague, Al Jazeera reported.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott added that his government would work to get the imprisoned journalists out of the country “quickly.”

Leaders from various other international groups said that they, too, would work to free the journalists.

MKs and Ministers Trying to Kill the Free Press in Israel

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Israeli Ministers and Knesset members are coming out against the free market of ideas, and the free market as well, by proposing a bill that would potentially kill the popular and free Israeli daily print paper, Yisrael Hayom.

The paper is given out free in Israel, and has become the primary competitor to Arnon “Nuni” Moses’s Yediot Achronot, which leans more to the political left, though not as far left as Ha’aretz, which only has a minuscule market share in Israel.

Among those MKs proposing the bill that would try to shut down the paper are MKs Eitan Cabel (Labor), Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu), Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi), Elazar Stern (Hatnua), Ariel Attias (Shas) and Yoel Razbozov (Yesh Atid).

Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) said today on a Galei Tzahal interview, that Yisrael Hayom is “Pravda“, and serves the interest of one person [the Prime Minister].

It is not clear to us what is stopping Bennett from convincing one of his own supporters to print a daily paper that would be pro-Bennett, or even improving his relationship with the religious-Zionist paper Arutz-7, so they’d give him better coverage in their free weekend paper.

Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid chairman), whose party supports the bill, used to write a column for Yisrael Hayom’s main competitor, Yediot.

Yisrael Hayom is owned by Sheldon Adelson, and typically takes a position that is pro whatever position PM Netanyahu recently put forward, though not always a right-wing position. It also publishes articles from those on the left side of the political spectrum. There is no denying that it is agenda driven, but name one newspaper that isn’t.

As an aside, Sheldon Adelson, may soon be purchasing the religious-Zionist paper Makor Rishon, after Makor Rishon over-extended itself financially with its purchase of Ma’ariv.

Some in the Likud say that Moses and Yediot are the driving force behind this bill.

The “Yisrael Hayom” law, as it is being called because it specifically only targets Yisrael Hayom, would require that the top four daily print papers charge fees relative to what the other daily print papers are charging – or more accurately no less than 70% of whatever the second lowest priced paper is charging.

To us, it looks like a blatant attempt to suppress the voices of political opponents and suppress freedom of speech and press in Israel.

Yediot has the same opportunity to build a different business model, take a different political line that is more palatable to most Israelis, or even accept that it won’t be number one in the market anymore.

The free Arutz-7 Shabbat print paper and the fee-based Makor Rishon have coexisted quite nicely for over a decade serving the Religious-Zionist market, each one with their own business model and message – proving that it can be done.

It appears that this is really an attempt to block the basic right for anyone to put down their soap box in the city square and freely express their opinion – if certain people are worried that that opinion is becoming too popular.

Eitan Cabel (Labor), one of the proponents of the bill, played a central role in shutting down the very popular right-wing religious Arutz-7 radio station.

Naftalki Bennett and Bayit Yehudi should really consider who its allies are in this fight and what it could mean for them next.

It appears that in Israel, those on the political left can’t stand that those on the political right have a voice that is heard, and those on the right are too short-sighted to see that suppressing both the free market and the free market of ideas is dangerous for all of us, and that is the real problem.

Saudi Court Orders Lashes for Man for Posting Insults on Twitter

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a man to three months in jail, 800 lashes and slapped him with a $2,666 fine for using Twitter and Facebook to falsely accuse a Kuwaiti singer from the United Arab Emirates of immoral behavior. He also posted photos of the singer.

Arab News reported, “Many have welcomed the ruling, saying it protects Internet users from online predators,” and it quoted expatriates as saying court decision will make them more cautious when using social networking.

“It is advisable for us not to post any negative comments on issues that are not clear to us. Let us establish the authenticity of the information that has reached us before sharing it,” Rasol Abbas, a community leader from the Philippines, was quoted as saying.

Arab News, which is based in Saudi Arabia, also cited an expert to tell its readers that “new research that reveals how social media sites negatively affect our sense of connection, decrease productivity, breach our privacy and lead to cyber-bullying in some instances.”

It also quoted Twitter account Judicious Arab as stating, “I hope this will put an end to irresponsible tweets and posts accusing women of adultery over differences of opinions.”

It is no wonder that a recent Pew poll showed that of all allies to the United States, American have the lest favorable view of Saudi Arabia.

A New ‘Arab Spring’ in Egypt Aimed at Wiping out Radical Islam

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Egypt is implementing an unprecedented campaign to rid Muslim mosques of radical Muslim Brotherhood Islamists by prohibiting 55,000 unlicensed clerics from preaching in mosques, the pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsa reported.

Religious Endowments Minister Dr. Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa said, “The ministry is in the process of forming a committee to monitor what is happening in the larger mosques and ensure that da’wa [proselytizing] there does not transgress the boundaries into political or partisan work, with any official found guilty of this being immediately held to account.”

“Mosques are for da’wa, not politics,” he added.

He maintained that the move is not aimed against Al-Azhar, the highest Sunni religious institution in Egypt. “This decision is to stop non-Azhar graduates from preaching in government and civil mosques,” he explained. “The Ministry of Awqaf does not ban anybody based on their political identity . . . but we want mosques, da’wa, and worship to be based on the moderate ideology of Al-Azhar.”

In other words, the new Egyptian military regime is making a bold bid to expel incitement from mosques. Egypt, unlike Israel, has the privilege of protecting the country from those trying to overthrow the government because it does not have to be a slave to “freedom of speech” principles that has become more and more accepted in some Western countries as protecting the right to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre. U.S. Supreme Court Felix Frankfurter used that phrase in an opinion that drew the line between freedom of speech and a danger to the public.

Cairo also was forced to relent a bit, postponing its new policy until October 1 in thousands of small, one-room neighborhood mosques.

Since the military coup that ousted the Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohammed Morsi, the new regime has arrested more than 2,000 Islamist activists and has arrested most of the Muslim Brotherhood‘s senior leaders. Morsi has been jailed on charges of incitement and involvement with violence, and other leaders have been charged with murder and terrorism.

The similarities between events in the rebellion against Hosni Mubarak and the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood regime are chilling.

In both cases, police and security forces killed approximately 1,000 opponents.

In both cases, the Obama administration turned its back on Mubarak and Morsi, whom it had embraced after backing the ouster of Mubarak, a former ally.

The new regime essentially has done exactly what Mubarak did – outlawing the Muslim Brotherhood. Mubarak did so officially, although the party maintained a tiny faction of two dozen legislators in a 500-plus member parliament. The new regime has simply pulled the carpet under the feet of the leaders, and military authorizes are considering banning the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, the Jordan Times reported.

The Muslim Brotherhood is not giving up so easily. A suicide bomber last Thursday attacked a convoy of the Interior Ministry, killing himself, a bystander and wounding 20 others. However, Egyptians have grown tired of the instability and are suffering from a dismal economy, two factors that have lent more popular support to getting rid of radical Islamists.

The new Egyptian policy could be the beginning of a new Arab Spring movement for real democracy, but Amnesty International already is insisting that Egypt play by Western rules. It has called for an investigation into security forces’ violence and violations of free speech.

That is absolutely true, of course. So far, no Western country, with the questionable exception of the United States, has found a “democratic” way to deal with anti-democratic fundamentalists, as Europeans are discovering, possibly all too late to stem the riding radical Islamic influence in most of its countries.

A small but significant example of Europe’s inability to stop the rising tide of radical Islam is the furious debate over a Parliament member’s private bill to prohibit wearing “a garment or other object” intended primarily to obscure their face in public.

Britain hosts nearly 3 million Muslims, a sizeable and growing minority.

Muslim leaders are outraged at Birmingham Metropolitan College’s announcement last week that it will ban Islamic face-veil, or niqab, inside its campus,

“It upsets me that we are being discriminated against,” a 17-year-old Muslim student at who did not want to be named, told The London Telegraph. “It’s disgusting. It is a personal choice and I find it absolutely shocking that this has been brought in at a college in Birmingham city center when the city is so multicultural and so many of the students are Muslim.

Canada Forces Chabad to Ban Radical-Islam Critic Pamela Geller

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Toronto area police figuratively twisted the arm of a Chabad synagogue rabbi to cancel a scheduled appearance of radical Islam whistleblower Pamela Geller, who last month also was yanked from a speaking appearance  at a New York synagogue.

The latest politically correct censorship keeps Geller out of  the Chabad Thornhill synagogue in suburban Toronto, where she was due to speak next Monday.

Geller has campaigned against the Islamization of America, and she has been behind the anti-jihad signs that were posted in the New York’s subway system.

The salt in the wound inflicted by the Toronto police ban is that it was instituted by none other than the hate crimes unit of the police. Preaching against hate is grounds for a hate crime in the New Age New Speak.

And it just so happens that the Chabad synagogue Rabbi Mendel Kaplan is the same rabbi who serves as police chaplain.

Therefore, according to the York Regional Police Department’s logic, Geller’s appearance at the synagogue where he is rabbi “would place him in conflict with the values of our organization, which support a safe, welcoming and inclusive community for all.”

That is New Age talk for a “safe, welcoming and exclusive community for all” who are not included, such as Geller.

Police deny that they “threatened” to remove Rabbi Kaplan as police chaplain if he were to allow Geller to speak, but a York Regional Police spokesman told the Toronto Sun that if she spoke at the synagogue, “Then we’d have to reassess our relationship with [him].”

That is not a threat in New Speak. It is a “hint.”

The Jewish Defense League has rescheduled Geller to speak somewhere else in the city, but the police have not yet said she cannot appear.

The Canadians United against Terror group is launching an “anti-bullying” campaign and will picket York Regional Police headquarters Wednesday evening.

They have support from the capital’s newspaper, the Ottawa Citizen.

It wrote in an editorial last week, “The York Regional Police department should be ashamed. ….Insp. Ricky Veerappan, who heads up the force’s so-called Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Bureau, … told a reporter, “Some of the stuff that Ms. Geller speaks about runs contrary to the values of York Regional Police and the work we do in engaging our communities…..

“Veerappan’s conduct is appalling. Canadians expect police to respect Charter provisions protecting freedom of speech. They are not supposed to act as censors at the behest of a particular community.”

By the way, Veerappan is a member of  York Region’s Muslim community, which wanted to bar Geller from the country altogether, according to the Citizen.

Geller is familiar with censorship by those who not politically correct.

The Great Neck Synagogue in suburban New York last month canceled her appearance because of “security concerns.”

The synagogue explained to members on its website, “As the notoriety and media exposure of the planned program this Sunday have increased, so has the legal liability and potential security exposure of our institution and its member families.

“In an era of heightened security concerns, it is irresponsible to jeopardize the safety of those who call Great Neck Synagogue home, especially our children, even at the risk of diverting attention from a potentially important voice in the ongoing debate.”

Is there a concern for security stemming from the spreads of radical Islam in America?

Geller said in response to the ban at the Great Neck synagogue, “It is a very sad day for freedom-loving peoples when fascist tactics trump free speech.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/canada-forces-chabad-to-ban-radical-muslim-critic-pamela-geller/2013/05/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: