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…Read More... | 3 Comments
Moti Yogev's 'muezzin law' is yet another step toward creating a public atmosphere that could lead to expelling Arabs from Israel. By Abed Abu Shehadeh As it does every year, the sounds of the muezzin reached the Knesset this past week. Last time it was Yisrael Beiteinu's Anastasia Michaeli who brought the "muezzin law" before the Knesset; this time it was MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home). The dangerous bill, which was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, leaves little room for the imagination: "Houses of worship will be forbidden from using loudspeakers to call the worshippers to prayer or to transmit religious,…Read More... | 40 Comments
Activestills selects the most powerful, important and moving images of 2015 — in chronological order. Photos by: Oren Ziv, Ahmad al-Bazz, Yotam Ronen, Faiz Abu-Rmeleh, Keren Manor, Hosam Salem, Ezz Zanoun, Anne Paq, Shiraz Grinbaum Editing: Anka Mirkin, Merieke Lauken / Activestills.orgRead More...
A new law formalizes the outsourcing of rural settlement activity in the West Bank. A boon to the settlements, a blow to democracy — and the taxpayer. While Israeli society has been busy with incitement against human rights workers, a baby-killing celebration, and legislation attacking civil society, the Knesset quietly approved a new law last week formalizing the status of the notorious Settlement Division of World Zionist Organization (WZO). The law authorizes the Israeli government to delegate its policies in the settlements to this outside, private body. Despite an opposition filibuster, the law for legalized policy outsourcing passed in the…Read More... | 24 Comments
Proposed law would force human rights NGOs to sport special labels and badges indicating that they receive foreign funding. The bill still needs to go through committee, pass a full Knesset vote. The Israeli government on Sunday voted to support a law targeting human rights and left-wing organizations, which European countries and human rights activists have said resemble less-than-democratic regimes [tmwinpost] The bill, should it become law, would require NGOs that receive 50 percent or more of their funding from foreign governments to detail those sources of funding in any public reports or documents, meetings with state officials, and to…Read More... | 9 Comments
Israeli human rights leaders are now being portrayed as back-stabbing foreign implants. One minute and nine seconds. That's the length of the inciting video published this morning by right-wing activist Ronen Shoval. In less than a minute-and-a-half, Shoval manages to sum up all the reasons why an Israeli court deemed it okay to call "Im Tirzu" — an organization he founded — a "fascist" group. [tmwinpost] The video is part of a campaign by the group against foreign governments "planting" activists and groups belonging to Israeli civil society. It begins with a clip of a Palestinian man moving his knife…Read More...
'When you push an entire population up against the wall, when you demonize them and trample their rights, [the situation] will explode in the end,' the Israeli parliamentarian writes with no sense of irony. Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich, a member of Israel's ruling coalition, penned an oped on Wednesday arguing that Jews cannot be terrorists. The two labels are mutually exclusive, he argued. “Terrorism is only violence carried out by our enemies in the framework of a war against us,” Smotrich wrote in settler news outlet Arutz 7, "us" referring to Jews. (Hebrew) “Anything else is a serious crime,…Read More... | 1 Comment
Chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee says every piece of legislation should be 'compatible with Jewish law.' From the moment Israel's founding fathers declared the independence of their state, Israeli politicians have been unable to agree on a formal constitution. Although the Declaration of Independence stipulated that a constitution be written by October 1, 1948, the 1948 war—as well as the inability of different groups in Israeli society to agree on the purpose and identity of the state—prevented that from happening. Every so often the idea of a formal constitution is floated by politicians and civil society,…Read More... | 4 Comments
Junior MK Oren Hazan, who rose in the ranks at breathtaking speed to become the country's deputy speaker of the Knesset, is now being accused of running a gambling operation, procuring call girls and using crystal meth. Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Oren Hazan (Likud) was suspended from chairing parliamentary sessions Tuesday morning after a Channel 2 exposé alleged he was involved in running a gambling operation; procuring and paying for call girls for his clients; and even using crystal meth — all as recently as last summer. The suspension puts a looming question mark over the most rapid and…Read More... | 3 Comments
The bus segregation plan is but one policy in a massive system of occupation, which is growing not only geographically but also institutionally, politically and conceptually. On Tuesday night the plan to segregate Palestinians and Israelis on buses in the West Bank was put into effect, reported Haaretz. On Wednesday morning the Prime Minister decided to suspend the program, following criticism. [tmwinpost] When each development is more awful than the last, perhaps there are no more wise arguments to be made. Instead, I have documented the cycle of attitudes around this week’s example, which reflects, in broad strokes, the deadlocked mentality of…Read More... | 1 Comment
Bennett's party website lists promoting 'love for land and [Jewish] people' as a top priority; the Education Ministry already announced that fewer classroom hours will be devoted to core subjects like math, language and history. Along with the announcement that Netanyahu finally formed a governing coalition Wednesday night came the anticipated news that Israel's next education minister will be Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party. Bennett, who already had his eye on inculcating religious-Zionist values in the nation's youth, is expected to make changes to the state curriculum in order to bring it further in line with his party's…Read More... | 7 Comments
Legislative attacks on EU funding of human rights activities could backfire by forcing the Europeans to revisit the basis for its entire economic relationship with Israel — something that not even BDS has succeeded at accomplishing. The Israeli Right is once again seeking to introduce legislation that would limit the ability of human rights and anti-occupation organizations to seek funding abroad. As part of coalition negotiations with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home party is demanding that foreign-government funding of local institutions require approval by the Defense Ministry and the Knesset’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. The next…Read More... | 16 Comments
Netanyahu's crushing victory wasn't so much over the Left, which never stood much of a chance to begin with. His true and ruthless triumph was over the Right, and especially over one man — his closest ally, Naftali Bennett. It is difficult to describe Netanyahu’s victory in Tuesday’s elections as anything other than stunning. Stunning not so much for the fact that he had won — this much was reluctantly accepted among most observers throughout the election season. The true shock came as the sheer scope of Netanyahu’s victory was revealed - 30 seats to Herzog’s 24, dramatically strengthening the…Read More... | 6 Comments
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