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'Blacklisted' human rights groups sing a defiant tune

Amid an unprecedented wave of delegitimization and attacks on human rights groups in Israel, dozens of organizations throw a mini-festival in Tel Aviv, sending a message that they will not be deterred.

Journalist and musician Dror Feuer performs at the ‘Blacklisted’ event at the Tel Aviv port, February 5, 2016.

Journalist and musician Dror Feuer performs at the ‘Blacklisted’ event at the Tel Aviv port, February 5, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Over a thousand people joined dozens of human rights organizations in Tel Aviv’s port Friday afternoon in order to send a message that silencing, shaming and blacklisting Israelis who oppose — and speak out against — the occupation of the Palestinian territories will not work.

The event, titled “Blacklist,” was as a direct response to a right-wing campaign claiming to “expose” Israeli artists and cultural figures who are involved with or support human rights and anti-occupation organizations. Just a few weeks earlier, another high profile right-wing campaign portrayed human rights activists as “moles,” or agents, of foreign powers.

“Blacklist” was billed as a combination of a show of resilience and solidarity among the organizations threatened by the right-wing campaigns, as well as a celebration of what they do. Among the performers were Mira Awad, Dror Feuer, Leora Rivlin, Rebecca Michaeli, Za’aluk, and dozens of others.

A performer at the ‘Blacklist’ show of human rights and anti-occupation groups, Tel Aviv Port, February 5, 2016.

A performer at the ‘Blacklist’ show of human rights and anti-occupation groups, Tel Aviv Port, February 5, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

But before the fun started, the heads of five leading human rights groups in Israel-Palestine spoke about efforts to silence and delegitimize them and their organizations, and the Israeli government’s increasing reliance on legal measures to undermine human rights groups and activists.

The steps being taken against anti-occupation groups “[are] the result of the Israeli government’s inability to offer a political solution to the security situation, the economic recession, and the growing international criticism of the occupation,” explained Yuli Novak, director of anti-occupation group Breaking the Silence, which collects testimonies from soldiers who have served in the occupied territories.

The right-wing campaign calling human rights groups “moles” was timed to coincide with government-sponsored legislation targeting the funding of human rights groups under the guise of transparency.

“The concept of transparency is being misused in order to undermine our work,” said Tania Hary, executive director of Gisha, an organization that promotes freedom of movement for Palestinians, primarily in Gaza.

Ironically, Hary noted, senior Israeli security officials are in agreement with human rights groups that improving human rights conditions for Palestinians is a matter of Israeli security. “So the fact that we’re being labeled somehow as ‘foreign agents’ is very misleading.”

Jafar Farah, executive director of Mossawa — The Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel, noted that Israeli authorities have taken even harsher steps against Palestinian civil society organizations for decades, but particularly in recent months when they outlawed the Islamic Movement.

“What was done to the Islamic Movement is the future of our organizations,” he said. Building coalitions with Jewish partners, he added, “[is] important for the liberation of the Jewish population from the occupation and for the liberation of Palestinians from the occupation.”

Meanwhile, outside, a single counter-protester greeted attendees filtering into the event, holding a placard with the words “moles” and “traitors” above a list of the human rights and anti-occupation organizations hosting the event.

The winking irony of the event’s title, “Blacklist,” seemed to have been lost on her.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Ginger Eis

      Oh no, Ms. Roth, and I am truly sorry to bother you again, but “human rights groups”? What “human rights groups”, Ms. Roth? The Left should, instead of be doubling down on insanity and “singing defiant tunes”, rend its cloths, spring dust on its head and roll in ashes weeping and wailing and doing bitter soul searching.

      Here is why:

      Op-Ed: Over the past few years, some left-wing activists have been going down a dangerous path. They’re not against the occupation, they’re against Israel. They don’t deal with criticism, but in demonization. They’re not against the settlements, but against a Jewish and democratic state. It’s time for self-criticism”.
      http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4753465,00.html

      Smh….. Cause célèbre, Ms. Roth? IMO, the Israeli Left should despise itself and repent of its sins against the People of Israel, no?

      Reply to Comment
      • SkyHawk

        Attorney Shoula Romano Horing shines the light on “Liberals’ Hypocrisy over Palestinian Intolerance

        Gays and Lesbians, as well as religious minorities, are being persecuted by the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank just as they are being persecuted in other Arab and Muslim countries. Absurdly, it is Israel that is consistently being singled out for condemnations and boycotts by human-rights groups, academic associations, the Europeans, and the liberal media. World liberals and politically correct leftists have been outraged, and rightly so, by Russian anti-gay laws and social maltreatment in that country but seem to be silent and without outrage regarding the existence of such laws and attitudes in the Palestinians territories. Even though Israel is the only oasis for gays and lesbians and religious minorities in the intolerant Middle East, it is the nation being portrayed as a “racist apartheid” state for building Jewish settlements including schools, kindergartens, and synagogues in the hills of Judea and Samaria in the West Bank, the cradle of Jewish history. These human rights activists and the liberal media must face their own hypocrisy and double moral standards and must ask themselves where are the protests and the boycotts against the Palestinians?”

        http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2014/02/liberals_hypocrisy_over_palestinian_intolerance.html

        Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        This is satire, right Eis? I finally understand you. You’re an undercover leftist writing satirical pieces mocking the right. It’s brilliant. I wouldn’t be surprised if Miri Regev and Ayalet Shaked start trying to censor you. I not only defend your right to free speech, Eis, I applaud it.

        Reply to Comment
    2. olava bidtne

      Is this democracy? Sad.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Whonoze

      “Jafar Farah, executive director of Mossawa — The Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel, noted that Israeli authorities have taken even harsher steps against Palestinian civil society organizations for decades, but particularly in recent months when they outlawed the Islamic movement”.

      Does the Islamic movement accept and support ‘equality of man and woman’? No.
      Does the Islamic movement accept and support LGBT rights? No.
      Does the Islamic movement accept and support ‘equality of Muslims and non-Muslims’? No.
      Does the Islamic movement accept and support Democratic and Liberal Western Principles and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights? No.
      Does the Islamic movement support and incite violence and terrorism against innocent Israeli civilians who are supposed to be their fellow citizens, and wanton destruction of public property and infrastructure? Yes.

      Is the Islamic movement a human rights group? YES. Absolutely!

      Reply to Comment
      • Robb wexler

        Your such a kook aid swallowing troll! Fellow citizens? People have to be granted the same rights to be considered fellow citizens

        Reply to Comment
        • Whonoze

          Well then, let’s see who is the “troll”. Try rebutting anything I said. Or, better still, start naming which “rights” that are not “granted equally” to Israelis. Or, perhaps you are angry and not intelligent enough to express your thoughts in words – as is usually the case with jihadis incl. the ones who can’t get enough of using Jewish sounding names as moniker (jihadis are very funny creatures, ROFLMAO…)?

          Reply to Comment
        • Whonoze

          Well then, let’s see who is the “troll”, shall we? Now, start by refuting any of the points I made. Or better yet, tell us which “rights” that are not “granted equally” to Israelis. You are intelligent enough to do that, aren’t you?

          Reply to Comment
    4. carmen

      The Islamic Movement doesn’t represent any majority, but was brought up to illustrate what happened to them will happen to any other Palestinian group. The point being to silence any and all opposition to the zionist state. Making a comparison between ‘israeli democracy’ and the Islamic Movement, ISIL, Saudi Arabia, etc., doesn’t make you look good. But that, like so much else, seems to be beyond the grasp of the bottom feeders here. There is a great danger that the slime of this silencing of opposition will spill over onto you.

      ‘First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a Socialist.

      Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

      Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a Jew.

      Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.’
      Martin Niemöller

      Reply to Comment
    5. Sharon Pinsley

      Democratically elected government?! What about a kidnapped government?! Even those voting for Bibi didn’t contemplate the extreme right-wing one set in place to guarantee the Likud remain in power!

      Reply to Comment