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breaking the silence

  • In the crosshairs: Israel's war of attrition on political dissent

    The attempt to outlaw Israeli human rights organizations means the Jewish state may soon be forced to shed its image of a liberal democratic state. Are Israelis ready for that? The war of attrition against Israel’s human rights community took a dark turn last week. Hardly anyone noticed. [tmwinpost] According to reports, Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin is currently working on a new bill that would outlaw Israeli anti-occupation NGO Breaking the Silence, along with any other organization that harms IDF soldiers or promotes boycotts of the Jewish state. The bill reportedly has the full backing of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who will review it for…

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  • Israel's top court rules human rights aren't 'controversial.' What about the occupation?

    As the pro-peace camp has shrunk into oblivion, human rights groups have become the only real anti-occupation force in Israel today. That has made them uncomfortably political. Israel’s High Court of Justice on Wednesday ruled that equality and human rights are not, or should not be, controversial in Israel. “[It is difficult to accept] the idea that a commercial promoting human rights could be socially or politically controversial,” wrote Justice Anat Baron. “The recognition of and commitment to human rights are intrinsically linked to the very existence of a democratic society.” [tmwinpost] The honorable justice must have missed Israeli Justice…

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  • The Israeli media has kept us in the dark for 50 years

    Since 1967, the Israeli media has hid the ugly, everyday reality in the occupied territories. But even if they really knew, would Israelis still choose to end 50 years of military rule over the Palestinians? By Yizhar Be'er According to the democratic-liberal-utopian model, let us assume for a moment that every citizens has access to all the information about the reality that surrounds us. In this world, Israelis would know everything about what is being done in their names in the territories occupied in 1967. And what would happen then? [tmwinpost] Over the past few months I have been producing a radiophonic project…

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  • Dismantling the occupation — brick by brick, book by book

    Like the children of countless American Jewish families, throughout her childhood Ayelet Waldman was told that trees were being planted in her name across Israel, something very few people questioned back then. “This is the first time I have ever planted a tree for Palestinians,” she says as she looks out at the West Bank village of Susya on a balmy day in the middle of June. “My grandmother would donate money to the Jewish National Fund, which would then plant trees in my name. She had no idea that the money she was giving would go toward the settlement…

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  • Former soldiers to Israeli gov't: Investigate us for occupation abuses

    Israel's justice minister demanded an investigation of an anti-occupation activist after he admitted to beating a Palestinian during his army service. Now other former soldiers are stepping up to show solidarity.  By Yael Marom Dozens of Israelis demonstrated outside Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked's home in north Tel Aviv Sunday night, after she called to investigate the spokesperson of anti-occupation group Breaking the Silence. [tmwinpost] Breaking the Silence Spokesperson Dean Issacharof was summoned for interrogation last week by Israeli police at the behest of Shaked, over a testimony he gave to the organization in which he admitted to beating a Palestinian man during his…

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  • This summer's wave of protests gives us reason to be optimistic

    From asylum seekers demanding their wages to protests against the Gaza blackout to raising awareness over disappeared Yemenite babies, this summer's protests give us every reason to stay optimistic about this place. It's hot outside. The Israeli summer often brings with it a new wave of social and political protests, and yet it looks like summer 2017 will be a special one. [tmwinpost] Since the social justice protest of 2011 — and its successors in the following years — there has been a sense that Israeli citizens have lost faith in their ability to influence, change, protest, and get results. Meanwhile, the strengthening of…

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  • Justice minister's attacks on Breaking the Silence may just backfire

    Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked's latest crusade has led to a Breaking the Silence spokesperson being questioned under caution. But if she's so concerned about army abuses against Palestinians, why isn't she ordering an investigation into the string of unlawful killings carried out by soldiers? In Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s latest stunt, Breaking the Silence spokesperson Dean Issacharoff has been questioned under caution after he testified on a group tour that he had assaulted a Palestinian during his army service. There’s no point trying to spin this: that is what members of Breaking the Silence do. They testify in front of…

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  • Creeping censorship in a southern Israeli town

    Verbal attacks by right-wing groups and politicians in Be'er Sheva are threatening both NGOs and the local university. By Daniel Beller Over the past year various entities, including right-wing movements, have been trying to close down a joint Jewish-Arab cultural institution in the southern Israeli town of Be’er Sheva. The Multaqa-Mifgash Center, founded by the Negev Coexistence Forum (NCF), operates out of a municipal bomb shelter and stages activities and events focused on coexistence. It’s a unique institution in Be’er Sheva, and — aside from Ben-Gurion University — is the only place in the city that holds discussions on fundamental, sensitive…

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  • Civil society groups join forces to protect freedom of speech

    Dozens of civil society, feminist, and anti-occupation groups form the 'Council for the Protection of Freedoms' to fight back against the government's and public's attacks against freedom of expression. Representatives from over 30 civil society organizations gathered on Friday in Nazareth for the founding conference of the "Council for the Protection of Freedoms." The council was established to fight back against the feeling among various organizations that their activities and freedom of expression are at risk. The goal will be to protect these freedoms from both the government as well as various tendencies among both Jewish and Arab society. [tmwinpost] The…

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  • Netanyahu looks like a bully, but he doesn't care

    Any blowback Netanyahu receives after snubbing the German foreign minister will be short-lived: his base is behind him, he has the patronage of the U.S., and the status quo will remain exactly as it is. This week Netanyahu gave the world another lesson in how authoritarianism disguised as democracy works. Upon learning that the visiting German foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, refused to accede to his demand that he cancel his meetings with two NGOs that document human rights violations in territories controlled by Israel, the Israeli prime minister went ahead and canceled their own scheduled meeting as a punitive measure. Haaretz, Israel's lone liberal…

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  • Germany's foreign minister calls Netanyahu's bluff — and rightly so

    German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel will learn far more from his meetings with B'Tselem and Breaking the Silence. Given an ultimatum of meeting with Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem or meeting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel very simply made the right choice to forego Netanyahu. And not in order to “defy” Netanyahu, as per a breathless Bloomberg headline, or to give any message at all. [tmwinpost] He was right simply because what would he have actually learned from Netanyahu? Those organizations will give Gabriel concrete information: B'Tselem will update him on developments regarding the 50-year-old occupation and…

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  • By nixing German FM meet, Netanyahu ups Israel's tyranny a notch

    While Netanyahu's move appears to be extreme, it actually fits coherently with his government's orchestrated campaign against Israeli human rights organizations. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled his meeting on Tuesday with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel just one hour before it was slated to begin, after the latter refused to cancel scheduled meetings with anti-occupation organizations B'Tselem and Breaking the Silence. Both organizations refused to comment on the matter, but confirmed their meeting is taking place as planned Tuesday evening. [tmwinpost] It is important to note that Netanyahu himself has not publicly stated his ultimatum or the cancellation at any point, with the messages…

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  • Marking the festival of liberation as the occupation hits 50

    As we celebrate Passover this year, we will also be marking the 50th year of the occupation. It's time to reflect on what liberation really means when you're holding another people captive. By Frima (Murphie) Bubis This year, as we celebrate the holiday of Passover, commemorating the Jewish people's release from the shackles of slavery, we will also mark 50 years of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories, and the people living there. [tmwinpost] Not much will be different from all the other nights. While we sit around the holiday table with our glasses full and quibble over the story of the exodus…

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