Israel Bans Free Expression
by Stephen Lendman
Israel heads perilously closer to becoming a full-blown police state – for Jews as well as Arabs.
It’s been one for Palestinians since its 1948 War of Aggression, mischaracterized as an independence war, displacing or murdering 800,000 indigenous residents, then occupation in June 1967 of the remaining land not initially stolen.
Palestinians have no free expression or assembly rights. Protests and demonstrations are strictly forbidden – as well as public ruling authority criticism – in flagrant violation of international human rights laws.
Israel calls public demonstrations of any kind “illegal assemblies,” subject to brutal military and police responses, including live fire, extrajudicial killings, mass arrests, imprisonments and torture.
Military Order 101 bans assemblies, vigils, processions and publications relating to “a political matter or one liable to be interpreted as political.”
Violators face sweeping, no-holds-barred police state crackdowns. No amount of force is too much. Prison sentences up to 10 years are imposed – even when demonstrations are peaceful, threatening no one.
Palestinians are ruled by military law, denied civil protections afforded Jews. They face merciless Israeli persecution. Their only solution is nonviolent revolution – sustained for the long haul.
In September, Israel’s Knesset passed an amended Public Broadcast Law – a new Israel Broadcasting Authority replacing the current Israel Broadcasting Authority, effective March 2016.
The new measure prohibits journalists from freely expressing their views on public broadcasting. It states journalists should “avoid one-sidedness, prejudice, expressing personal opinions, giving grades and affixing labels.”
In other words, legitimate regime criticism is forbidden, free speech gravely compromised. Israeli journalists expressed outrage. Channel 1 anchor Beula Even-Sa’ar quoted John Stuart Mill, saying:
“The time, it is to be hoped, is gone by, when any defense would be necessary of the ‘liberty of the press’ as one of the securities against corrupt or tyrannical government.”
“No argument, we may suppose, can now be needed, against permitting a legislature or an executive, not identified in interest with the people, to prescribe opinions to them, and determine what doctrines or what arguments they shall be allowed to hear.”
Israel Radio host Esty Perez twittered: “A democratic state (sic) that prohibits by law journalists in public broadcasting to express their opinions is showing weakness and panic that is characteristic of a weak dictatorship. Put me in handcuffs; I expressed an opinion.”
Other Israeli journalists expressed similar criticisms. New legislation calls for prohibiting non-citizens and permanent residents calling for or encouraging boycotts of Israel from entering the country – including anyone belonging to organizations supporting this advocacy.
On Monday, the measure proposed by MK Yinon Magal received Ministerial Committee approval. It defines boycotts as follows:
“Deliberate avoidance of economic, social or academic ties or ties to a person or other body just because of his connection to the State of Israel, its institutions or regions under its control, in order to harm it economically, social or academically.”
Boycotts represent “a new front in the war against Israel, for which the state, thus far, has avoided properly preparing. This bill is meant to prevent people or representatives of companies and organizations that call to boycott Israel to act within our territory to promote their ideas.”
Police states operate this way, flagrantly violating fundamental international law. Palestinians have no rights whatever. Jews increasingly are losing theirs.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.