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Jun-28-2011 06:47printcomments

Israel Terminates Democratic Right of Free Speech

Israel violates basic understandings of what it means to be part of an open, free society

Israeli Knesset
Photo of Israeli Knesset by Photo CC by Joshua Paquin

(TEL AVIV ACRI) - It is not a good day for freedom of speech in Israel.

As you may have heard, yesterday the director of the Israeli Government Press Office (IGPO) announced that foreign journalists on the Gaza-bound flotilla will be viewed as violating Israeli law. Correspondents aboard the flotilla risk prohibition of entry to Israel for up to ten years and confiscation of their equipment.

As ACRI Attorney Oded Feller argued in a letter demanding that the IGPO withdraw their statement, there is no legal basis for such a threat. It violates basic understandings of what it means to be part of an open, free society. To read more about this and the full letter, click here.

Just a few minutes ago, the Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved a more extended and harmful version of the Boycott Bill, preparing it for a final vote in the plenum.

This bill includes a list of sanctions that may harm NGOs and public companies, including the loss of tax exemptions and the loss of eligibility for benefits afforded by various laws.

Executive-Director of ACRI Hagai Elad calls this bill "politically motivated" and asks "why should Israeli citizens be allowed to boycott Israeli cottage cheese, as we have heard and seen in recent weeks, but be barred from boycotting the occupation?"

Moreover, it forms part of a troubling trend of limiting free speech in Israel. Less than two weeks ago, Israeli Channel 2 news reported that Ben-Gurion University's security division personnel harassed students who were distributing left-wing leaflets at the gates of the university. Right-wing students were allowed to hand out political materials in the exact same place and under the exact same circumstances. To read more, click here.

We have appealed to the President of Ben-Gurion University demanding protection of all student activists, and have likewise appealed to the director of the Israeli Government Press Office urging that his statements be retracted. We are also continuing to do all that is in our power to block harmful legislation in the Knesset.

ACRI will continue to strive for the right to freedom of speech in Israel. We appreciate your support in this pursuit.


Libby Lenkinski is the Director of International Relations- The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Alberto June 28, 2011 6:22 pm (Pacific time)

Stephen I just reviewed my previous post, could you point out what I wrote that was incorrect and not a factual observation? There was some opinion made but then that's how things go here, right? PPlease just read what I wrote and maybe you'll see you lost focus as per my comments. Thanks Stephen.

Stephen June 28, 2011 4:40 pm (Pacific time) is a proven factthat israel killed an american citizen on international waters. THey DONT have law on international waters. What israel did, was show they dont need to obey any laws, so dont give me this laws crud ok? And please, giv me credible info on how many jews get killed. The fireworks that israel probably attacs its own people? how about how the zionists, worked with hitler, while killing the jews, was ok, as long as he helped the zionists cpture the palestinian country, where jews, muslims etc, were living in peace? Until the zionists (khazars) moved in... move over, your lies have been exposed by the entire world.

Alberto June 28, 2011 1:47 pm (Pacific time)

Israel can let in anyone they want or kick out anyone they want. We have the same laws, as does most every country on the planet. Considering that terrorists have been killing Jews since even long before the 1972 Olympics, who can blame them for being high security minded. Hey when was the last time you boarded a flight here? My guess is that when the flotilla gets to Israeli waters, those on the ships better have a back-up plan because they are not going to land their crafts. Most Americans have bigger fish to fry considering Obama's failed economic policies and lack of protecting our own borders, so where a tiny few of you, relatively speaking, are concerned about Gaza dynamics, it simply does not make a ripple for the super majority of Americans. If it did, then Israel would be accomodating, they are not, and there will be an unpleasant incident.

Anonymous June 28, 2011 1:24 pm (Pacific time)

More dirty tricks andlies by israel..."israeli video blog exposed as hoax" written in the new york times...

Editor: Thanks for that.

Anonymous June 28, 2011 12:36 pm (Pacific time)

One last comment..I feel its as important as the flotilla. And that is Libya. We all know israel controls the UN and the U.S. So, when attacking Libya, and killing countless civilians, its obviously backed by israel. And, since we know israel controls the media, well, I spent an hour searching about the Libya government shooting protestors..I found nothing credible, just one clip showed on countless websites of a few people protesting and one guy bleeding,but alive. And the viagra story? give me a israel lies. Also, Libya has many different denomination churches, high tech hospitals and universities, and all free to each and every citizen. I would rather live in Libya than in israel. And I am a white christian guy. There was peace between all religious views in israel until the zionists moved in..

Anonymous June 28, 2011 12:19 pm (Pacific time)

The Israeli Lobby owns the Congress, media, Hollywood, Wall Street, both political parties, and the White House. This kind of talk will get people fired by this lobby, as we have seen recently with White House correspondent Helen Thomas and CNN anchor Rick Sanchez. However, many Americans are growing tired of the arrogance of the Israel Lobby and their bigoted attitudes toward anyone who challenges their influence-peddling and their ridiculous insistence that Israel must be supported because of some ancient fairy tales involving some tribes who wandered the deserts of the Middle East and saw and heard non-existent things because of sun stroke, drinking bad water, and smoking local hallucinogenic plants." - Wayne Madsen

Anonymous June 28, 2011 12:16 pm (Pacific time)

To posters of previous posts. Its difficult to take anything you write seriously anymore, now that it has been proven that israel has hired an army of bloggers to cometo websites such as salem-news and spew forth propoganda. And with the economy in such bad shape, it probably quite easy to recruit that army. The dirty tricks by israel seem to be endless. As a side note, any threat to deny needed support as a means to coerce a political choice is defined as an act of terror under the USA PATRIOT act.

proisrael June 28, 2011 10:49 am (Pacific time)

wow - how anti-semitic and untrue can this article be? its called fact checking! Israel is and will always be the society with the most freedoms in the entire middle east.

Editor: Do you just hate Christians, Muslims and non-Zionist Jews?

Luke Easter June 28, 2011 10:33 am (Pacific time)

They need the U.S. Surpreme Court on their side because nothing stops free enterprise oops, I meam free speech in this Capitalistic country.

Anonymous June 28, 2011 10:09 am (Pacific time)

Good, kick them out. If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything. These reporters will not report anything nice and sure don't report the truth. I'm sure if there is a reporter who will honestly tell what's going on, they are more than welcome in Israel. Good for you, Israel. You have the right to not let reporters in to your State. Maybe the US should consider that for some people like terrorists, illegal aliens and on and on.

Editor: Israel practices state terrorism,  It brings on its own problems, and there doesn't seem to be any change of course, so it will likely be terrible before it is over and the people of Israel suffer over it too.  Let the damned ships dock and give the people of Gaza a break, what an idea!

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