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breaking the silence

  • 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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  • 'The occupation will collapse. And then we'll build a moral society here'

    On Saturday night, thousands of Palestinians and Jews gathered in Jerusalem for an anti-occupation protest marking 50 years since the occupation began. Breaking the Silence head Yuli Novak spoke to demonstrators about the importance of solidarity and resistance to the violence and racism of the Israeli government. Below is a transcript of the speech, translated from Hebrew. By Yuli Novak These are dark, somber days. Our country is dominated by occupation, messianism, racism, ignorance, callousness, and violence. Blaming the right-wing government won't help. Nor will sitting in our living rooms fantasizing about the day they'll be replaced. And please, enough with the…

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  • 50 reasons to resist the occupation in its 50th year

    Fifty reasons to join a growing coalition united in creating a more just future in the region, in order to make the 50th year of the occupation its last. By Talia Krevsky and Isaac Kates Rose 1. January 1: The onset of the 50th year of violating the Fourth Geneva Convention through Israel’s military occupation over Palestinian territories, would have been enough. [tmwinpost] 2. January 3: Demolition of 49 structures by the IDF’s Civil Administration on land belonging to the village of Khirbet Tana, would have been enough. 3. January 3: Withholding 20 percent of asylum seekers’ salaries until they leave…

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  • Richard Gere on segregation in Hebron: It's exactly like the Old South

    'It’s exactly what the Old South was in America. Blacks knew where they could go: they could drink from that fountain, they couldn’t go over there, they couldn’t eat in that place,' the American actor tells an Israeli TV station during a tour of the segregated West Bank city. Richard Gere visited the West Bank city of Hebron this week, guided by the Israeli anti-occupation group Breaking the Silence. Gere was in Israel to promote his new film "Norman," and was accompanied to Hebron by director Joseph Cedar, an Israeli, along with a crew from Channel 2 News. [tmwinpost] In…

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  • 'The settlers love us when we shoot Arabs'

    Elor Azaria's trial exposed just how influential the actions and ideas of radical settlers are on the conduct of Israeli soldiers in the West Bank. By Dean Issacharoff Two years before Elor Azaria fired one bullet into the head of Abed al Fatah a-Sharif in Tel Rumeida, Hebron before shaking the hand of Israeli settler Baruch Marzel, I stood in an IDF uniform in the same exact place. As video footage of the incident went public, and especially during the testimony phase of the trial, the public became exposed to the extent to which settlers in Hebron influence IDF soldiers’ conduct in violent and destructive…

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  • Can America avoid falling into the Israel trap?

    If Israel can teach American liberals anything, it’s that they cannot afford to rest on their laurels. The case of Israel demonstrates that fear-mongering and tribalism can easily prop up an oppressive and racist regime for decades. It is not uncommon for Israeli authorities to detain, interrogate and deport tourists of Arab or Palestinian descent, and those arriving through Israel to do Palestinian solidarity work. Jewish Americans, however, especially those engaged with mainstream community institutions, rarely face the types of humiliating treatment for which Israeli airport security has become notorious. [tmwinpost] So it raised a small storm on Wednesday when…

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  • Education Ministry still blaming Arab citizens for 'arson intifada'

    By now it is clear to all that the fires that erupted in Israel late last year were not the result of nationalistic arson. So why does the Education Ministry claim otherwise? By John Brown* This past November, Israel's Education Ministry published a booklet on the fires that erupted in Israel late last year. The booklet, issue 143 of the Al Seder Hayom (Hebrew for "The Daily Agenda") magazine, claimed that the fires "began as a result of negligence, and spread to many areas as a result of nationalistically-motivated arson […] the deliberate arsons once again raise issues surrounding the maintaining the delicate relations…

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  • In Israel's education system, 'democracy' is a dirty word

    The Education Ministry seems to be doing all it can to give teachers the feeling that deep, honest conversations about democracy and equality are not welcome in school. By Gil Gertel The director-general of the Education Ministry published an amendment to its "Educational Discourse on Controversial Issues" guidelines last week. The reason? To impose restrictions on guest lecturers who come and speak to students. The amendment does not propose any tools for selecting lectures, instead it creates ambiguity intended to frighten principals and teachers. Two studies published over the last few weeks confirm the trend: fear has spread on all levels, from teachers to heads of local authorities, over dealing…

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