Im Tirtzu is about to publish a new 'report.' It’s already on the Internet, but they haven’t yet started publicizing it, so get ready to read about it here for the first time. Let’s start with the only new and refreshing aspect of this report. This is the first time that anyone has issued a report in the format of a children’s book. I want to congratulate Im Tirtzu for this stylistic breakthrough, and to congratulate them on their new graphic artist. However, other than this stylistic innovation, the report is regrettably a pack of lies and mostly a recycling…Read More... | 4 Comments
The former prime minister was sentenced to six years in prison. Olmert will appeal to the Supreme Court, but his return to power seems unlikely. Prior to the last elections, Ehud Olmert was still mulling his return to politics. The long deliberation ended with nothing, as the circumstances didn’t seem right: his trials were still under way, his protégé Yair Lapid entered the race, and most importantly – the polls weren’t kind to him. Without a team of strong centrist candidates around him, Olmert didn’t stand a chance. The public simply doesn't like Olmert. He has a small group of centrist followers…Read More...
Zionism has come to refer not to the many ways of building Israel, but to a litmus test. Any answer other than ‘I am a Zionist,’ is akin to being un-American in the 1950s. I didn’t join a Labor Zionist youth movement at 14 because I thought of myself as a Zionist. Actually I shied away from group identities, bouncing among social cliques at school and staying away from team sports. My parents just didn’t know what to do with me one summer and they heard about a nice Jewish camp, not too expensive. The Habonim-Dror camp turned out to…Read More... | 16 Comments
The spearhead of the battle against Israeli human rights organizations, NGO Monitor, is run by a man who, at least for a period of time since its founding, was closely affiliated with the Prime Minister’s Office. On another front, the government is now targeting human rights NGOs' tax status. By Yossi Gurvitz and Noam Rotem Hello, I have the honor of representing NGO Monitor, and I think that I will be the first speaker to talk from a point of view that is neither governmental nor quasi-governmental, but rather from, what is called: civil society. -- Gerald Steinberg speaking at…Read More... | 23 Comments
Just weeks after it was deemed to have 'fascist characteristics,' nationalist group Im Tirtzu tries to shut down Zochrot for allegedly 'rejecting the existence of the State of Israel.' Right-wing group Im Tirtzu is attempting to shut down Zochrot, a non-profit organization that dedicates itself to raising awareness of the Nakba in Israeli society, and working toward the return of Palestinian refugees who fled or were expelled by Israeli forces in 1948. According to the Israeli news site Kipa [Hebrew], Im Tirtzu leader Ronen Shoval sent a letter to the head of Israel's NGO registry, claiming that Zochrot's activity contradicts section 49…Read More... | 20 Comments
A verdict by the Jerusalem District Court finds that recognizing 'certain lines of resemblance' to fascism in the ideology or activities of the right-wing movement can be seen as 'truthful.' The verdict is a major blow to Im Tirtzu’s efforts to portray itself as a mainstream, grassroots movement. The extreme-right group Im Tirtzu lost a court case against a group of leftist activists who opened a Facebook page called “Im Tirtzu – A Fascist Movement.” Judge Raphael Ya'akobi of the Jerusalem District Court determined that some of Im Tirtzu’s attributes bear certain similarities to fascism – thus allowing the activists…Read More... | 18 Comments
Tel Aviv's Eretz Israel Museum has been under increasing pressure to cancel Zochrot’s second international conference. Recently, the museum presented new conditions to the organizers, including paying for increased security and changing the wording on the event invitation. An international conference by Zochrot, an Israeli NGO which focuses on the Nakba and the "right of return," is under threat, following pressure from right-wing organizations. The Eretz Israel Museum, where Zochrot decided to host the event, has recently informed organizers that due to the risk of demonstrations and public disorder, they will need to pay for increased, onsite security. The museum…Read More... | 9 Comments
Soldiers beat cameramen in Hebron after suspecting that they work for B'Tselem. Recent years have seen an organized campaign by mainstream Israeli journalists and politicians against human rights organizations in Israel and the West Bank. Reuters reported that two of its cameramen were abused by IDF soldiers in Hebron on Wednesday night. The men were stripped, beaten, and made to breathe tear gas at a very close range. The soldiers also took one of their cameras, which was later found unharmed nearby. The incident took place shortly after a local teenager was shot to death by a Border Police soldier at…Read More... | 11 Comments
The crackdown on Ben-Gurion University’s Department of Politics and Government may seem unprecedented, but a closer look reveals an ongoing campaign to challenge academic freedom in the university and beyond. By B.N.* While the attacks on the Department of Politics and Government of Ben-Gurion University are being viewed by many as an unprecedented measure, infringements of academic freedom in Israeli-controlled areas are common. They are often part of the regime of military occupation in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza. Today, such infringements in the occupied territories include limitations on students’ and faculty’s access to academic institutions through checkpoints and…Read More... | 14 Comments
In an unprecedented move, the Council for Higher Education will vote on shutting down the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University, which has been the target of right-wing propaganda for the last several years. A major political battle is taking place this autumn within Israeli academia: the Israeli Council for Higher Education (CHE), a government-appointed body charged with the supervision and financing of universities and colleges in Israel, is attempting to shut down the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University (BGU). In recent years, the Department of Politics and Governments has been labeled by right-wing organizations…Read More... | 29 Comments
By Naomi Paiss To some, the controversy over the firing of Adar Cohen, the Education Ministry bureaucrat in charge of civics education, may be no more than a footnote in the cultural and political wars roiling Israel. In my professional position, running communications for the New Israel Fund, I might agree. My job requires me to sort through the multiple threats to democracy, civil rights and pluralism in Israel. So if someone asked me to advocate for one man who lost his job, I’d be dubious. But a confluence of the professional and personal leads me to confront the issues…Read More... | 3 Comments
Right-wing NGO that went after progressive and human right groups is financed from abroad, including through large grants from undisclosed donors Last week, Haaretz's Uri Blau had a short expose – available only in the Hebrew edition – regarding the rightwing non-profit NGO Monitor. As some readers might remember, NGO Monitor recently attacked the German Heinrich Böll Foundation for a grant of 6,000 Euros it gave +972 Magazine in 2011. According to its website, "NGO Monitor's objective is to end the practice used by certain self-declared 'humanitarian NGOs' of exploiting the label 'universal human rights values' to promote politically and ideologically motivated…Read More... | 10 Comments
As Im Tirzu takes its opponents to court, a troubling picture of the inspiration of its leader emerges Yesterday, the defense in the trial of Im Tirzu vs. the Facebook group “Im Tirzu – a fascist movement” presented its depositions. The plaintiff is the infamous right-wing group, the defendants are a group of leftist activists, the issue is libel. It began in 2010 when Ronen Shoval, chairman of Im Tirzu, sent the following email to Roy Yellin, who started the group: Hello Roy, From perusal of the Facebook page “Im Tirzu – a Fascist movement” it seems you created it.…Read More... | 5 Comments
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