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07.20 Until Emissions Drop, Nothing Has Been Accomplished: The Climate Resistance Handbook Is Here. [Trump can't be bothered as the world turns into a large cinder. His laser focus is on personal greed.]

07.20 Babies Born Near Oil and Gas Wells Are Up to 70% More Likely to Have Congenital Heart Defects, New Study Shows

07.20 Giving 'Upper Hand to Corporate Polluters,' EPA Drops Surprise Inspections

07.20 With Petition to Congress, 100,000+ People Demand Green New Deal 'That Fixes Our Food System' [Realtime proactive response to reality—now and threatening—doesn't get attention in this greed focused administration]

07.19 Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage [There is no truth to the persistent rumor that chlorpyrifos pesticide was heavily used at Trump's childhood home in Queens]

07.19 'Unprecedented' Decline of Plants and Animals as Global 'Red List' Reveals Nearly One-Third of Assessed Species Under Threat

07.17 ‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades

07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]

07.17 Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]

07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

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07.18 In Sinclair's New 'Must-Run' Segment, Former Trump Adviser Tries to Defend Racist Attacks on 'the Squad'

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07.20 Puerto Rico: top US politicians join chorus calling for governor's resignation

07.20 Fact check: Trump says Puerto Rico got $92 billion. They've seen only a fraction [If he opens his mouth, Trump's lying.]

07.20 "Trump Says Go Home, Ilhan's Community Says Welcome Home": Rep. Omar Greeted With Cheers of Love and Support in Return to Minnesota

07.20 WATCH: Amid Extreme Anti-Refugee Push, Trump Displays Neither Interest Nor Knowledge of Asylum Seekers' Plight in Oval Office Meeting

07.20 Trump Denies Being at North Carolina Rally [Not sure if Trump supporters 'get' satire, but here goes....]

07.19 Are progressives working on a climate plan for 2021? You bet.

07.19 House Democrats demand Hope Hicks clarify testimony after Cohen document dump

07.19 The 51 most outrageous lines from Donald Trump's repugnant North Carolina rally

07.19 The Real Meaning of ‘Send Her Back!’

07.18 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Breaking up Homeland Security

07.18 Deadly Delays in Jail Construction Cost Lives and Dollars Across California

07.18 Inside Trump's DC hotel, where allies and lobbyists flock to peddle their interests [Also, too much ignored by media, the $millions "donated" corrupting moderate Democrats and Republicans every election cycle must stop]

07.18 This Republican's Case for Medicare for All [A well-informed Republican is rare, so let's hold him in the light so others may learn]

07.18 Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar [1:03 video shows Trump pandering to his ignorant idolaters, and together they're making America a greater shit-hole country]

07.18 "Can't Change a Corrupt System by Taking Its Money": Sanders Urges All 2020 Democrats to Reject Insurance, Big Pharma Cash [49:02 video w/ lousy sound]

Justice Matters

07.19 UN urged to act over 'purge' of Turkey's lawyers by Erdogan

07.19 DOJ Releases Strong Evidence of Trump’s Campaign Finance Violations But No Explanation of No Charges [The statement]

High Crimes vs. Human Rights

07.19 Conscientious objectors of first world war – their untold tales [The record proves they were morally right by avoiding violent early deaths of their cousins and themselves]

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

07.18 Corporate tax cuts blocked at least 15,000 affordable homes in California. Here’s how

07.15 China’s Economic Growth Hits 27-Year Low as Trade War Stings

International & Futurism

07.20 US to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia in face of 'credible' regional threats [Working with Osama bin Laden's godfathers, Trump wants to profit like Erik Prince (for-profit education secretary Betsy DeVos' brother) of Blackwater infamy (hurriedly renamed ‘Academi’), the U.S. taxpayer to pay inflated costs while Trump siphons off long-term emolument largesse]

07.20 Iran on 'dangerous path' with seizure of Stena Impero, says UK [Which is this, a tit or a tat?]

07.20 'Dark satanic mills': Tony Abbott continues his crusade against wind turbines [Too much CO2 air pollution makes you stupid, and turns your country into an “Idiocracy” (1:36 video clip)]

07.20 Bolsonaro declares 'the Amazon is ours' and calls deforestation data 'lies' [Lazy and willfully stupid whenever it serves his purpose, just like Trump. “And the rest of you can all go to hell.” Again, just like Trump. Has your country turned into an “Idiocracy”? (1:36 video clip)]

07.19 U.N.'s Bachelet says Congresswomen opposing Trump are 'fantastic'

07.19 Iran makes 'substantial' nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions [Was barbaric Saudi Arabia—whose citizens were more involved in the 9-11 attacks—the wrong ally all along?]

07.19 “The Task Ahead Is Enormous, and There Is Not Much Time” [Read this and learn. Or read Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) | Twitter and/or President Trump (@POTUS) | Twitter. Are you serious? Or are you in hideously criminal denial?]

07.18 Foreign purchases of American homes plunge 36% as Chinese buyers flee the market

07.18 There are 16 million slaves around the world making our stuff

07.18 ‘No rioters, only a tyrannical regime’: Thousands of Hong Kong seniors march in support of young extradition law protesters [Most people around the world have more in common with these Hong Kong Chinese protestors than with the ignorant people at Trump rallies]

07.18 Dozens Arrested as Over 1,000 Jewish Activists and Allies Shut Down Entrances to ICE Headquarters Demanding Closure of Trump Detention Camps [Obviously these are not the immoral and less educated right-wing jews who support Netanyahu, Trump and ICE, and who slowly exterminate Palestinians when no one is looking]

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  Israeli Prohibitions Against Free Expression and "Enemy Alien" Contacts

COMMENTARY:

Israeli Prohibitions Against Free Expression and "Enemy Alien" Contacts

by Stephen Lendman
Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Wherever peaceful protests occurred, Israeli authorities reacted harshly with violence and arrests to keep nonviolent resistance from spreading.

Adalah is the legal center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel advocating on their behalf in a nation affording rights only to Jews. In September 2009, its report titled "Prohibited Protest" exposed how Israel's law enforcement authorities restricted free expression protests against Operation Cast Lead.

It shows how police, the State Prosecutor's Office, General Security Services (GSS or Shabak), the courts, and even academic institutions used or supported arrests and imprisonments to stop Israeli Arabs and supportive Jews from protesting against the war.

Researchers collected data from the police spokesman, political and social activist testimonies, Adalah legal complaints during and after the war, an analysis of court decisions on detainee arrests, and general information reported by the media and various other Israeli human rights organizations.

Israel's law enforcement apparatus acted repressively, "far beyond any reasonable criterion." For example, on December 30, 2008, after 200 Arab demonstrator arrests, the commanding officer of the Northern District of the Police, Maj. Gen. Shimon Koren, declared that while protests could take place, police would show zero tolerance for law breakers.

Yet wherever peaceful ones occurred, authorities reacted harshly with violence and arrests to keep nonviolent resistance from spreading. This time against war. Earlier against both Intifadas, and always on Nakba Day, Land Day, against the Separation Wall and home demolitions, and other legitimate demonstrations of dissent.

The toll during and after Operation Cast Lead was high, disturbing, and disproportionate:

  • 832 detentions;
  • one-third of them minors under 18;
  • 80% kept in custody until after their proceedings were completed, including for 54% of minors;
  • 73% of indicted adults were held until completion of their proceedings, including for 86% of indicted minors;
  • all Northern District detainees were kept in custody through the completion of their proceedings;
  • 94% of Jerusalem district detainees were treated the same way;
  • not one Jewish Tel Aviv district detainee was held through completion of their proceedings; and
  • most indictments were for participating in prohibited gatherings, disturbing the peace and attacking a police officer; a few others were for risking human life on a traffic route. In all cases, charges were bogus.
The Right of Free Expression

Free expression in all forms is a fundamental democratic freedom without which all others are at risk. It includes free speech, a free press, freedom of thought, culture, and intellectual inquiry, and the right to challenge government authority peacefully, especially in times of war and cases of injustice, lawlessness, official incompetence, and abusive government behavior.

Israel has no constitution and no specific laws guaranteeing equality or free expression. Yet its Basic Laws protect human dignity and liberty as fundamental values in "a Jewish and democratic state" and more, including:

  • "no violation of the life, body or dignity of any person;"
  • their property;
  • no restricting their liberty by imprisonment, arrest, extradition or otherwise;
  • the right to privacy; and
  • much more, including a traditionally mostly free and open media within limits.

For the most part, they're free to report accurately on events and provide a broad range of views, independent of official policies. Haaretz writers Amira Hass and Gideon Levy do it gallantly. Some others occasionally, and overall the paper, and some others, deliver content never found in the mainstream US press or sources like the BBC, notorious for its pro-Israeli bias and sweeping pseudo-journalism in service to the UK government that owns it.

However, openness has limits, and Israel always had state censorship laws blocking national security related information from being publicly aired. Pre-1948 under British Mandate law, all publications needed military censor clearance to print. Thereafter under an IDF-press agreement, censorship applied only to security-related issues.

In 1989, Israel's High Court imposed limits by restricting censorship to circumstances under which "there is near certainty of actual harm to security (and no) other alternative means (exists) to prevent the risk without avoiding damaging freedom of expression," according to Justice Aharon Barak. He also wrote that "it is appropriate to open the door to an open exchange of views on security matters (so the press can) be free to serve as a forum for the exchange of views and criticism regarding essential issues for society in general and for the individual."

Israel often falls short, especially in times of conflict, and egregiously during Operation Cast Lead and its aftermath. So flagrantly that it got the pro-Zionist, pro-corporate, pro-imperial Freedom House initially to drop the country from Free to Partly Free status in its 2009 global rankings, stating:

"Restrictions on journalists and official attempts to influence coverage during the Gaza conflict led to Israel's Partly Free status."

Afterwards, it quietly and dishonestly reversed it to Free, apparently thinking no one would notice, but they did in reports by Agence France Presse, Foreign Policy magazine, the Jerusalem Post and elsewhere.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) also dropped Israel to 93rd out of 175 countries in its 2009 international press freedom index behind Kuwait, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. On November 9, 2009, Haaretz duly noticed by headlining, "Israel ranks low for freedom of press, after Gaza media ban" in reporting RSF's 47 spot downgrade from the previous year.

Israeli Media Coverage of Operation Cast Lead

As a conduit for government propaganda, Israeli media glorified the conflict, dehumanized Palestinians, downplayed their suffering, ignored the overwhelming carnage and devastation, and the IDF's crimes of war and against humanity. At the same time, they highlighted the few Israeli casualties and portrayed Arab Israelis as a fifth column security threat over their opposition to the war.

According to I'lam: Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel:

The Israeli media focused "on military prowess, military successes and the uncritical self satisfaction at having conducted a 'surprise' attack on the Hamas enemy. Rather than covering the human cost of war or questioning the legitimacy of striking densely populated civilian areas, (they) chose to praise the military's operations and its stated objectives were taken as fact. (They violated their) role as the fourth estate, that of keeping government power in check and reinforcing ethical and humanistic values in (their) work."

Journalists who reported accurately, or tried to, were intimidated, denied free access, and in some cases attacked and arrested. I'lam reported that on December 29, 2008, Israeli police assaulted and arrested two Palestinian journalists:

  • Jamal Amara, Editor of the online news website Radar; and
  • Raed Dellasheh, reporter for the Fasl al-Maqal newspaper and the online news site arabs48 - in his case so severely he was hospitalized.

They were both accosted while covering an anti-war demonstration in Kufr Kanna, an Arab Israeli town, then forced to sign a document stating they wouldn't return there for the rest of the war.

Also on December 29, photojournalist Saja Kilani was filming an anti-war demonstration at Jerusalem's Hebrew University when a settler approached, tried but failed to seize her camera, while police stood aside and did nothing. Three days later she was arrested on bogus charges of attacking a settler.

Israel's award-winning journalist, Amira Hass, was also arrested earlier on returning to Gaza where she lived and reported. On December 12, 2008, Haaretz reported that "Sderot police (arrested her) last night for having entered the Gaza Strip (by sea) without a permit. By order of the army, Israeli journalists have been barred from entering Gaza" since mid-2006.

In May 2009, Hass was again arrested after leaving Gaza on charges of residing in an enemy state. She was released on bail after promising not to return for the next 30 days. She's the only Israeli journalist who's been there since the 2006 ban and one of the few reporting accurately in defiance of media censorship.

On January 6, 2009, Addameer, a Palestinian prisoner advocacy group, announced two other arrests for "infringing new legal measures" restricting reporting on the war:

  • Khader Shahin in Jerusalem, Palestinian correspondent for Al Alam TV, on charges of spreading "state secrets" and "breaching the media code of ethics;" and
  • Mohammad Sarhan, a Jerusalem-based student studying law at Ramat Gan College; he was accused of reporting on Israel's ground assault before the IDF released the news, breaching the same "code of ethics" by telling uncomfortable truths Israel wanted suppressed.

Foreign journalists were also denied access to Gaza after the Defense Ministry closed the Strip entirely to the press, then compromised when the Foreign Press Association petitioned the High Court of Justice to intervene. According to Haaretz:

"the parties agreed that a limited team of eight journalists would be allowed into Gaza when the Erez crossing opened....to send in humanitarian aid. However, sources in the Foreign Press Association say that since the decision, the crossing has not opened," so Israel's obstructionism continued hoping it could complete its ritual slaughter unobserved by the outside world. It didn't as later investigative reports revealed the truth, followed by world outrage demanding accountability, not so far gotten.

The Israeli Prosecutor's Office and the Police

Both bodies called all protest actions an existential state security threat, cracking down accordingly and prevailing in all cases not to release those detained. In addition, new grounds for arrests were given, including disturbing the peace and saying "the protests (were) detrimental to public morale."

The courts acted complicitly by abandoning the principle of individual examination, agreeing to the wholesale arrest of suspects, and claiming these were "offenses specific to the times." In addition, minors were treated the same as adults, and some judges openly supported the war.

For example, in the Nazareth Magistrates Court, two decisions affecting four suspects were completely identical, word for word, showing justice there was a travesty.

Demonstrators Attest to Police Violence

Despite protesting peacefully, they were arrested solely because of their presence to create panic and deter others from similar efforts.

Wherever protests were held, police dispersed them forcefully, on the pretext that they were participating in a forbidden gathering. In fact, none of them required a permit because they're not required under Israeli law. Police nonetheless demanded them, then assaulted demonstrators on grounds of "rioting and disturbing the peace." Arrests and injuries resulted. Instead of maintaining order and ensuring free expression, police used force and violence to silence protests and keep them from inspiring others.

Shabak Harassment and Surveillance

Israel's internal security service (also known as Shin Bet) participated by investigating dozens of political activists who participated. They were interrogated and threatened with prosecution if they didn't cease and desist. The Attorney General backed the action, saying it was necessary to calm the situation because Israel was at war.

Academic Support for the War and Repressing Free Expression

Most academics supported the war while others were silent. Disgracefully, institutions like Haifa University installed signs above buildings and advertised in the press, expressing pride in the military operation. School authorities also let police on campus to violently disperse Arab student protests, make arrests, stay silent throughout the whole process, then discipline students for their unseemly conduct and participation in unapproved public activity.

Violating the Right of Free Expression

Free expression and the right to peacefully assemble and protest aren't just fundamental human rights. They're essential in times of war to dissent against lawlessness as a way to curtail it. For political activists, silence is unconscionable and a profound violation of their principled support for justice - something Israeli authorities don't allow Palestinians, Israeli Arabs or even dissenting Jews.

Prohibiting Israeli Arabs from "Enemy Alien" Contacts

Israeli authorities restrict social and cultural contacts its Arab citizens have with much of the Arab world, designated "enemy aliens."

Kol Bo Books owner Saleh Abbasi is an Israeli citizen and one of the largest book importers in Israel's Arab community for the past 30 years. Importing books from Egypt and Jordan, two Israeli allies, they cover children's literature, classical and modern Arab literature, translated world literature, professional works, dictionaries, encyclopedias and other works.

Most come from Lebanon and Syria and are required by Israeli Arabs. Yet, in August 2008, Abbasi received a letter from Israel's Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor saying his license to import books from both countries would be terminated because it constitutes "trading with the enemy" under the 1939 Trade with the Enemy Ordinance.

Adalah petitioned the Israeli High Court on his behalf to declare this ordinance invalid for these type books. State prosecutors claimed otherwise, then announced an exception for Kol Bo Books subject to annual renewals. Petitioners argued that the ordinance constitutes an extreme, sweeping and severe measure, threatening Israeli Arabs with criminal sanctions for importing, using, or conducting commerce in basic items like textbooks and educational ones from Arab countries.

On October 1, 2009, the Court ruled that granting Kol Bo Books an import license mooted the petition, saying it found no reason to address its questions and that petitioners could again request legal redress if the need arose.

This is another example of how Israel denies its Arab citizens the right to develop ties with other regional states, to conduct legal commerce, and to maintain contact with friends and family abroad, many of whom are refugees unable to return home.

In addition, Palestinian writers and academics want to compete in literary competitions in cultural capitals like Beirut, Damascus and elsewhere. Religious and political officials visit these states, and Israeli Arabs and Jews want to import a range of goods exclusively produced there.

Israeli prohibitions are harsh, illegitimate, and applied only to harass. The best known is the 2003 Citizenship and Entry to Israel Law (Emergency Order), prohibiting citizens from marrying and living with their spouses in Israel if they reside in an "enemy state."

During both world wars, similar measures were used as a defense against security threats. Since 1962, America used it against Cuba, embargoing country for half a century. Until 1998, it included all types of goods, including books, films and music. Following years of complaints, permission was granted to import them.

Few countries now embargo Cuba, except for limited applications related to security issues. In addition, international law lets national minorities maintain contact with their own people in other countries.

Most importantly, under Article 2(5) of the 1992 UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, persons belonging to minorities are entitled to maintain contact with members of their group abroad without discrimination.

Israel violated the Declaration by bogusly declaring Arab nations "enemy states," a label applied solely to them. Yet until 1948, they comprised an "integral part of the national, social, political, cultural, religious, historical and linguistic experience of the Palestinians," who under Israeli rule became a discriminated minority, even though they're citizens entitled to equal rights. They're not and can't have legitimate relations with others outside Israel or in the Territories.

Israel claims it's "to prevent direct or indirect economic assistance to the enemy by an enemy state," ignoring the grave injustice to a sizable minority because of their religion and ethnicity.

No legal or ethical basis justifies this action. It's collective punishment and a violation of Israeli Arab legal and collective rights. It's also another example of Israel's ongoing discrimination against its own citizens, a policy no democratic state should tolerate. But believing Israel is a democracy is illusory, a topic a forthcoming article addresses.


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on January 13, 2010.
 



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