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freedom of speech

  • 'Criticizing the government nowadays makes you a traitor'

    Avi Katz, the cartoonist let go by 'The Jerusalem Report' over a caricature depicting Netanyahu and Likud lawmakers as characters from 'Animal Farm,' talks about what happened behind the scenes, why accusations of anti-Semitism are so off-base, and what the saga says about freedom of expression in Israel today. By Oren Persico Avi Katz wasn’t even in Israel when the cartoon was published. He was in the United States, where he was born, visiting his children. A few days earlier, he had realized his deadline was approaching for the weekly cartoon he publishes in The Jerusalem Report, called “Sketchbook,” and…

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  • New anti-Semitism definition denies Palestinians’ right to challenge oppression

    Those attacking the UK Labour party for its newly adopted definition of anti-Semitism are contributing to the silencing of Palestinian voices, the potential criminalization of their struggle against racist Israeli policies, and the negation of their demands for freedom and equality. By Laila Naheel and Hussein Samih A furor over a newly adopted definition of anti-Semitism has erupted within the British Labour Party and UK media in recent weeks, with Jewish groups alleging that the definition does not go far enough because it omits certain criticisms of Israel as constituting examples of anti-Semitism. Absent from these discussions, however, is a…

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  • Palestinian poet convicted of inciting terror in Facebook poem

    Dareen Tatour was arrested in 2015 and held in house arrest for nearly three years for publishing a poem on Facebook. On Thursday morning, an Israeli court convicted her of incitement to violence and support for a terrorist organization. By +972 Magazine Staff An Israeli court convicted poet Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, of incitement to violence and support for terrorism on Thursday. The conviction comes nearly three years after she was first arrested for publishing her poetry on social media. [tmwinpost] Tatour, 36, hails from the village of Reineh near Nazareth. She was arrested on October 15,…

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  • We cannot let France silence its humanist Jews

    Jewish anti-occupation activist Olivia Zemor faces a lawsuit from a pro-Israel group after calling for celebrities to boycott Israel. Here's why I'm going to France to testify on her behalf.  By Udi Aloni This week I am traveling to Paris to serve as an expert witness in court. In an unprecedented move, the French government has allied with a right-wing, pro-Israeli group to file a SLAPP lawsuit against the nonviolent struggle for justice in Palestine, and specifically against Olivia Zemor, a Jewish activist from the left-wing NGO Europalestine. [tmwinpost] The story began seven years ago when French activist and chairwoman…

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  • 'I was arrested for asking the PA to stop intimidating journalists'

    Amro, a Palestinian activist known for opposing settlements in the West Bank city of Hebron, was arrested by the Palestinian Authority for criticizing its recent arrests of journalists. Upon his release, Amro called on Mahmoud Abbas to revoke or revise a new law that's been used to target journalists and activists. By Oren Ziv/Activestills.org A Palestinian Authority court on Sunday released prominent activist Issa Amro on bail following his arrest last week for criticizing the PA's detention and intimidation of journalists. A host of international organizations and lawmakers had condemned the Palestinian Authority for arresting Amro and called for his…

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  • PA security forces arrest prominent human rights activist Issa Amro

    Palestinian authorities reportedly arrested Amro, an activist with Youth Against Settlements, for criticizing the PA in a Facebook post. Amro, who is also facing charges in Israeli military court for his political activism, has been recognized by the EU and UN as a human rights defender. Palestinian security forces arrested human rights defender and well-known Palestinian activist Issa Amro in the West Bank city of Hebron on Monday. The arrest was reportedly related to a Facebook post published by Amro, in which he criticized the Palestinian Authority for arresting a journalist a day earlier. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently…

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  • Hebrew U. cancels conference on Palestinian prisoners, following pressure

    Hebrew University canceled the conference after a student group associated with Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home party penned an open letter to the university president. 'The very existence of this conference lends legitimacy to terror.' By Eli Bitan Hebrew University announced it is canceling an academic conference on the topic of Palestinian prisoners, which was slated to take place this Tuesday. The conference, which was organized by the The Harry S. Truman Research Institute, was to feature a study by Dr. Maya Rosenfeld on Palestinians in Israeli prisons. [tmwinpost] Despite the timing of the conference, which would have taken place as over 1,600 Palestinian prisoners…

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  • Former IDF ethicist tapped to censor 'political speech' in Israeli universities

    Professor Asa Kasher, whose code of ethics for the IDF found expression in the devastation of the 2014 Gaza war, is set to decide what lecturers at Israel's universities and colleges can and can't say. Education Minister Naftali Bennett intends to lay down new “ethical rules” for what lecturers at Israel's centers of higher learning can and can’t say regarding politics, Haaretz reported on Thursday. The move is the latest in a long line of Bennett initiatives aimed at making Israel's academic institutions more right-wing, more Zionist and more — as he would see it — loyal to the state. Israeli lecturers, spooked by the prospect of…

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  • How Im Tirtzu dominates Israel's public debate

    While its campaign of intimidation against supposed left-wing Israeli artists seems to have backfired, Im Tirtzu's role in Israel's current political climate cannot be overstated. The political climate in Israel has become so draconian and repressive lately that it was slightly surprising how quickly everyone rushed to denounce Im Tirtzu's latest campaign against mainstream artists and celebrities who sit or have sat on the boards of human rights organizations. Leaders across the political spectrum condemned the campaign, including Netanyahu, who has previously sung Im Tirtzu's praises on camera.  Following the backlash, the group told the Israeli press they had made a…

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  • When filming a protest ‘endangers state security’

    Anti-occupation activists say that two soldiers threatened them, and when they called police, the cops detained them instead — on suspicion of endangering state security. By Michael Salisbury-Corech Like every week the past 26 years, a group called “Women in Black” held a demonstration against the occupation in Jerusalem’s Paris Square last Friday. Across the street, around five people held a counter protest, which two Israeli soldiers eventually joined. At some point, the soldiers decided to cross the street, and according to Women in Black activists threatened them and demanded that they stop filming — because they are soldiers. Feeling threatened,…

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  • New anti-boycott law to ban foreign BDS supporters from entering Israel

    A new Israeli law would ban BDS activists from entering Israel and 'regions under its control.' Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org Earlier this week, while most international coverage was focused on the escalating violence in the region, Israeli lawmakers were addressing another threat — as they see it — to Israeli security: nonviolent grassroots activism. A new law proposed by MK Yinon Magal of right-wing Jewish Home party would ban entry to foreigners who promote the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement that aims to pressure Israel to comply with international law and respect Palestinian rights. “Anyone who…

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  • Are Israelis too scared to have opinions anymore?

    A law barring public broadcasters from expressing opinions is just the latest in a long line of legislative and regulatory attempts to limit speech in Israel. At 3:24 a.m. on September 3rd, Israeli parliamentarians passed a controversial law to revamp the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA), the body responsible for public radio and television. At the last minute, right-wing members of Knesset from ultra-Orthodox party United Torah Judaism and Likud snuck in an article stating that public news broadcasters must “avoid one-sidedness, prejudice, expressing personal opinions, giving grades and affixing labels, ignoring facts or selectively emphasizing them not according to their…

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  • For Palestinian artists, freedom of speech is anything but guaranteed

    By forcing Arab actors to perform in West Bank settlements and closing down Arab theaters, the government is proving once more that freedom of speech is solely reserved for Israel's ruling class. By Hasan Masri As an artist, I write these words with great trepidation that I may be judged based on my background, religion, skin color or political beliefs. I want to express myself — I want to write, perform, sing, and dance however I see fit. I love my job, I love the world I live in, I am opposed to all injustice or forms of oppression. Until when…

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