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breaking the silence

  • Why the Israeli debate on the occupation misses the point

    In the eyes of most Israelis, democracy consists of two Jews arguing over the fate of the Palestinian. Natan Sharansky, the Chairman of the Jewish Agency, used his experiences as a prisoner of conscience in the Soviet Union in a recent op-ed in order to attack the activists of Israeli anti-occupation organization, Breaking the Silence, who do not shy from criticizing Israel's policies in the occupied territories outside the country. Let me be clear: there are no similarities between what Jewish political activists in Israel go through and the persecution of dissidents in the USSR, and Sharansky's contributions to human rights must…

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  • When homophobia becomes a tool for political persecution

    The campaign against the Left in Israel reaches a new low: a planned protest at the wedding of an anti-occupation group's director and her wife-to-be. It shows that when dissent is characterized as treason, there is no area of one's life that is off-limits. It's a clear sign of the times when protesting at someone's wedding is considered a legitimate form of political activism. It's an even clearer sign when such a suggestion barely raises an eyebrow and when someone responsible for educating young people actually gets on board with the idea. [tmwinpost] But this is exactly what happened in Israel…

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  • It's open season on anyone opposing the occupation

    There is a campaign being carried out against anyone actively opposing the occupation in Israel, and it doesn’t matter if you’re an activist in the field, a human rights attorney or a former soldier talking about what you were ordered to do. "Activists from the shady organization, "Ta'ayush," who we tracked from within and outside, behind closed doors and during clashes on Saturdays, are going to fall one by one. Don't worry friends. We will finish off Ezra Nawi and move on to Guy Butavia… and many others." That message was published and quickly spread on Facebook following the arrest…

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  • The Israeli Left's challenge: Defeating ideology with facts

    Left-wing and anti-occupation groups in Israel are finally hitting back, but the task seems Sisyphean: how do you win over people who don't even acknowledge the same sets of facts. Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem published a cynical ad in Haaretz Tuesday, in which the veteran watchdog group invited right-wingers on a tour of the West Bank's South Hebron Hills. Right-wing groups have published a number of hidden-camera reports in recent weeks in which their "moles" infiltrate left-wing groups in hopes of catching left-wingers saying and doing embarrassing ,and possibly illegal, things. Thus far, the undercover "sting operations" appear to have netted…

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  • Israel's volunteer thought-police

    Right-wing activists have been infiltrating human rights and anti-occupation organizations. The spies did do serious damage, but to a much bigger target than they intended: Israeli society. Two weeks ago I wrote about a right-wing group trying to recruit people to a “top secret” mission: spying on left-wing organizations in Israel. The outfit was largely a one-man show. I thought it was a colorful but probably not very serious example of the latest “hasbara” antics – propaganda or public diplomacy – gone too far. [tmwinpost] I was naïve. Two weeks later, we learned that right-wing impostors have been infiltrating, befriending and…

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  • Time to break the silence: An open letter to American Jews

    The American Jewish establishment, from the Federations to synagogues, must take a look in the mirror and decide whether this is the Israel it identifies with. If it isn't, it should speak up. Urgently.  Dear American Jewish community, I should start off with a full disclosure: I am only tangentially a part of you. I have been living in Israel for the past five years, and before that I was an Israeli-American living in the Bay Area (with a brief stint in Los Angeles), where us Israelis viewed ourselves as a semi-autonomous cultural group. For the most part, we were not…

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  • When every fire is a potential arson attack

    As incitement against the Israeli Left grows, it is no surprise so many people believed right-wing arsonists were behind the fire at the offices of Israel's oldest human rights organization. Preliminary investigations by Israeli Police and Israel Fire and Rescue Services indicated that the fire that erupted Sunday night in the Jerusalem offices of Israeli human rights group B'Tselem was not the result of arson. The police and fire department published detailed explanations on their findings, according to which the fire was a result of a short circuit in the office's acoustic ceiling. The fire reportedly burned the entire ceiling…

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  • +972's Story of the Year: The Right has officially taken over

    Save for the brief episodes of the Rabin and Barak governments, the Israeli Right has been in power since 1977, on its own or in partnership with Labor. In the 70s and 80s the right- and left-wing blocs were relatively balanced, but over the past 15 years the Likud, along with all its various off-shoot parties, has been the unchallenged, dominant force in the Israeli political system. In this process, 2015 will probably be remembered as a key year. The Right is in the driver’s seat, alone. [tmwinpost] Twelve months ago some people believed the tide had turned. The Gaza…

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  • There's no such thing as a moral army

    The furor surrounding Breaking the Silence and the reflexive defense of the IDF both miss the fundamental point that any institution with violence at its core is inherently ethically compromised, and ultimately, an army is trained to fight. A raw nerve has been touched in Israel over the last few weeks. Far right-wing group Im Tirzu publicly accused Breaking the Silence members of being foreign "implants," and public outrage was directed against President Rivlin for appearing at the same conference as the anti-occupation group of IDF veterans. The result is that Breaking the Silence is being portrayed as an enemy…

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  • When Israel tortures Jewish terror suspects

    The Right is furious over the alleged use of torture against the suspects in the murder of a Palestinian family. But is it any surprise that the tools used against Palestinians would eventually be used against Jews too? "Torture in Israel? The Shin Bet's actions in the Duma case may turn out to be the secret service's new 'Bus 300 Affair,' wrote Yehuda Yifrach, the legal expert for the right-wing newspaper Makor Rishon and the NRG news site, on his personal Facebook page. Well, of course there is torture in Israel — it has been used here on a regular…

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  • It's time to challenge Israeli militarism from within

    The Left must fight the urge to exclude those who haven't served in combat roles from voicing their opinion on the occupation. By Michal Rotem Several weeks ago, Israeli Police prevented Israeli human rights group Breaking the Silence from organizing a talk in a pub in Be'er Sheva. After a court backed the decision to bar the event, the organizers decided to move the talk to two different apartments in the city. I came to show my support, but ended up staying outside with some Breaking the Silence activists. [tmwinpost] A few days later I recalled to a friend how…

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  • Hundreds march in Tel Aviv against growing right-wing incitement

    Demonstrators took the streets of central Tel Aviv to show their support for Israeli human rights organizations under attack by right-wing incitement over the past weeks. Breaking the Silence executive director: 'We were born into the occupation, we can be the ones to end it.' Photos by Oren Ziv / Activestills.org Over a thousand Israelis marched Saturday night in Tel Aviv to demonstrate against incitement and occupation, and in support of Israeli human rights organizations, peace, equality, and social justice. The protest was organized by the group "Omdim Beyachad" (Standing Together) in response to the recent incitement by far-right group…

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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