If the reports -- and unraveling details -- about Ben Zygier's work with the Mossad are true, Israel has every reason to try and keep his existence and identity a secret, however superflous those efforts may be. As details about the life, work and untimely demise of ‘Prisoner X’ unravel, the most intriguing unanswered questions remain: why did Israel secretly imprison him and why he is dead? But the details of the story appear to be making one thing clear; Israel’s security services likely had every reason in the world to (try to) keep the affair and Ben Zygier’s identity…Read More... | 8 Comments
UPDATE, Wednesday 9.00 AM: The censorship ban on the ABC report regarding the arrest and death of Australian born Ben Zygier was lifted, and this morning the Israeli media is publishing the details in Hebrew. Here is the ABC report: In June 2010 Ynet, Israel’s largest online news site, posted a story on an unknown prisoner held in confinement in Ayalon Prison. The story was then removed from the site, but the account is still available in the Israeli blogosphere. In December 2010 American blogger Richard Silverstein claimed that the prisoner was an Iranian general named Ali-Reza Asgari, supposedly abducted by the Mossad. A…Read More... | 30 Comments
Demolitions and arrests in the West Bank, solidarity with Rachel Corrie's family, preparing for war, and more. Activestills images tell the stories of the week. Activestills is a collective of Israeli, international and Palestinian photographers, united by a conviction that photography is a vehicle for political and social change. To stay updated on our latest images, like Activestills on Facebook or follow @activestills on Twitter. You can also visit our flickr photostream.Read More... | 1 Comment
The comic artist Mysh is one of my favorites in Israel. His work is not only conscious and critical, but also brilliantly drawn and at times, extremely funny. Last year I posted here his "Israeli Machine" video, which captured the hope I saw in the J14 movement more than any 1000-word essay I have written on this issue. Mysh's drawings have since turned more critical and dark, reflecting the change in the national mood as the summer of hope turned into an Israeli winter. Yet some of those recent works have been incredibly popular on Facebook, shared and liked by…Read More... | 26 Comments
NGO Monitor tries to silence us by going after our donors. Supporting +972 is the best response! By Noam Sheizaf Dear Readers, +972 Magazine is at the center of a negative piece published today in the Jerusalem Post. According to the piece, a right-wing watchdog group called NGO Monitor has launched a public attack on the German Heinrich Böll Foundation for supporting the site with a grant of 6,000 euros, received last year. In recent years, NGO Monitor has systematically targeted human right organizations, academics and progressive groups in Israel. A recent piece in Haaretz reported that right-wing groups…Read More... | 35 Comments
Activists and journalists are up at arms about a Knesset attempt to outlaw comparisons to Nazism. The law is an atrocious attack on freedom of speech, but Nazi comparisons in any political debate are both counterproductive and morally flawed. Maybe with one exception. The Knesset, in a preposterously self-conscious move (one hopes), is planning to ban all comparisons of contemporary individuals and policies to Nazism. Beyond the fact even Hipster Hitler could not have planned it better, our lawmakers charitably provide us with an opportunity to reflect on how useful the comparison in the first place. Make no mistake -…Read More... | 12 Comments
Im Tirtzu - the movement behind the ongoing intimidation of progressive lecturers in Israel provided us this week with a textbook example of political bullying, after taking offence at disparaging comments made in their address by Tel Aviv University's Yehouda Shenhav. It should be noted the comments were made in the classroom and the video clip referred to in the letter is password-protected; someone in the class must've snitched to the bully squad. The letter is a document of its time - Israel, 2012. But the self-righteous violence, indolence and pig-headed dogmatism make it sound like a memento from the…Read More... | 6 Comments
The simple answer is that we don't have one. The website is a collective of authors, each of whom have their own opinions about BDS. Some oppose it, some support it; some, like yours truly, support the D but are not particularly fond of the BS. But unfortunately, our ability to freely discuss this key aspect of the fight against the occupation has been severely and deliberately crippled by recent legislation. We may still carry opinions on BDS; but outright calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions hold far too great a risk for our site - a risk we are…Read More... | 16 Comments
Defence Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of Staff Benny Gantz shared a joke about female soldiers participating in a military exercise "to sing during break time," with Barak tipping Gantz about a ministry employee who can "sing without her uniform". The IDF then tried to block reports of the joke. Censorship and limitations on freedom of speech have spiked in Israel over the past year, but this appears to be a new record: The Defence Ministry and IDF Spokesman intervened to censor reports of a sexist joke shard by Defence Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of Staff Benny Gantz. The…Read More... | 4 Comments
The Knesset yesterday passed in first reading a bill which has been described by most of the Israeli media as "The silencing law". Under the bill, which is an amendment to the existing defamation law, the maximum compensation in a libel suit will increase exponentially from NIS 50,000 (~$13,000) to NIS 300,000, a whopping $80,000. Most journalists I know in Israel make between $2,000 and $3,000 a month, tops. But the bill's real traps isn't the sum of the fine. It carries a clause that says such lawsuits might be won without proof of damages; and another clause that stipulates…Read More... | 19 Comments
Israeli authorities are attempting to impose new censored textbooks in Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem. Jalal Abukhater provides a sample of the changes and argues that censorship of Palestinian heritage and history is illegal, ineffective and dangerous. Students and parents are mounting protests. By Jalal Abukhater While the mainstream media has been dominated by big stories, others are not getting enough attention. For example, Israel’s Jerusalem Education Administration (JEA) recently decided to enforce the use of new, censored textbooks in all private schools in East Jerusalem. The JEA is a joint body of the Jerusalem municipality and the Israeli Ministry…Read More... | 83 Comments
The Jerusalem Post fired its last prominent progressive columnist over a controversial blog post, without even offering him the possibility to apologise; meanwhile, its ultra-right writers enjoy complete unaccountability. This is a watershed moment for the once-respectable publication. News came in earlier today that the Jerusalem Post fired Larry Derfner, its last remaining prominent progressive columnist, over a post Larry wrote on his private blog, Israel Reconsidered (proper disclosure: I joined him as a co-author on the blog a few months ago). In the post, Larry expressed the not uncommon observation that the root cause of Palestinian political violence was…Read More... | 79 Comments
On Saturday night, veteran broadcaster Yoram Arbel (one of Israel top sports show hosts and longtime host of Who Wants to be a Millionaire) made the following remark during an Israel-Latvia game. "An Israeli girl who's done something horrible, even worse than that, has been sitting locked up at home for a year, under an order, of course. How does she pass her time? She loves watching football. So we'll dedicate a part of this broadcast to her, because if someone loves football, they deserve this much. " Arbel was referring, of course, to Anat Kamm - the young journalist…Read More... | 4 Comments
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WATCH: Activists interrupt Bennett at Diaspora event, denounce occupation http://t.co/tmVLxXg5zI
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Israeli man kills four at bank, reportedly after being denied credit http://t.co/EH6gIG7WUW
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WATCH: Supporters stage prison vigil for conscientious objector Natan Blanc http://t.co/yrn6csEID9 @IsraelSocialTV