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Civil & Human Rights

News and activities concerning loss of civil liberties, human rights violations, Constitutional violations, etc.

Israel's New Loyalty Oath

 Israel's New Loyalty Oath - by Stephen Lendman


Since inception, Israel's democracy was illusory, but of late it's further eroded. The Cabinet's October 10 adopted Law of Citizenship amendment requires all non-Jews wanting it to pledge loyalty to "the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state," its latest anti-democratic measure.


Voting 22 - 8, it evoked protests from Israeli artists, writers and intellectuals in front of Tel Aviv's Independence Hall against "the continuous erosion of Israeli democracy." Actress Hana Maron quoted Israel's Declaration of Independence saying:


"I will read this again: '(the state of Israel) will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.' This makes me want to cry. What has become of us?"


Author Sefi Rachlevsky said:


"a country that invades the sacred space of the citizen's conscience, and punishes him for opinions and beliefs that are not in line with the authorities ceases to be a democracy and becomes a fascist state."


Defying the Cabinet's edict, Rachlevsky read excepts from a document titled "the declaration of independence from fascism," stating:


"We, citizens of Israel....have gathered here to announce that we shall not be citizens of the country purporting to be the state of Israel."


Professor Gavriel Solomon compared today's Israel to 1935 Germany, saying:


"the idea of Judenrein (Jew free zone) or Arabrein is not new....Some might say 'how can you compare us to Nazis?' I am not talking about the death camps, but about the year 1935. There were no camps yet but there were racist laws. And we are heading forward toward these kinds of laws. The government is clearly declaring our incapacity for democracy."


Solomon referred to the Nuremberg Laws, explained in a previous article, accessed through the following link:




Among other provisions, they:


-- protected "German Blood and German Honour;"


-- prevented marriage or sexual relations between Jews and Aryans;


-- denied rights and citizenship to anyone with Jewish blood;


-- banned Jews from holding professional jobs to exclude them from education, politics and industry;


-- segregated Jews from Aryans; and


-- effectively denied Jews all rights, in what became a prelude to genocide, what Palestinians (and to a lesser degree Israeli Arabs) have incrementally endured for decades by racist laws, persecution, land theft, dispossession, exclusion, isolation, mass imprisonment, torture, targeted assassinations, violence, and slaughter.


Israel's direction mirror's 1930s Germany, especially under a Netanyahu/Lieberman/Shas coalition and most extremist ever Knesset, flouting democratic freedoms one law or edict at a time. Lieberman and other extremists called the new measure a first step to loyalty legislation they want enacted as well as other anti-democratic laws to be considered in the Knesset's winter session. A forthcoming article addresses them.


On October 11, Haaretz writer Carlo Strenger headlined, "Stranger than Fiction/Loyalty oath is not about Arabs, it's about hatred of liberal values," calling the measure "bad, harmful and useless," Labor Party Minister Isaac Herzog warning that it moves incrementally toward fascism.


Legal expert Mordechai Kremnitzer said it accomplishes nothing except to make Israeli Arabs feel unwanted. Others stressed Israel's deteriorating image in world opinion. Supporters, however, see the measure as a step "toward ensuring loyalty to the state by legislation," singling out Arab citizens "whom Avigdor Lieberman is alienating and insulting almost every day, and Palestinians who want to gain Israeli citizenship."


Others (including MKs Benny Begin and Dan Meridor) noted the "strange alliance" between Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is our home) secular ultranationalists and Shas, the major ultra-Orthodox party. Why are they cooperating and allied with other hard right parties? Perhaps it's less fear of Israel's enemies and more about: 


"a visceral hatred for the Western values and the liberal ethos. They all hate freedom; they all hate the idea of critical, open discourse, in which ideas are discussed according to their merit. They keep criticizing what they see as the liberal bias of the media and academia, and they have sustained attempts to curtail freedom at the universities."


Lieberman is a notorious racist, representing Israel's most extreme hard right, a man critics denounce as espousing hatred for Arabs, democracy, and the rule of law. A previous article on him can be accessed through the following link:




For decades, Shas only pretended to support democracy, believing, in fact, that citizens have no right to think freely and critically. "(T)hey believe that only their spiritual leader, Ivadia Yossef, must determine what is right and what is wrong."


Moreover, secular and religious extremists want Israeli Arabs and Palestinians denied all rights; that is, what few remain, most others aren't allowed by a nation affording them solely to Jews.


As a result, Strenger says Minister Herzog is wrong believing "fascism lurks at the fringes of Israeli society. It is now in the mainstream. After all, even the majority of Likud ministers" backed the outrageous amendment.


"Israel is now facing a fateful question: will it remain a liberal democracy, or is it on the way to becoming a totalitarian ethnocracy?"


In fact, Israel was never a democracy, granting rights solely to Jews. A more accurate consideration is whether Israeli extremists will erode all freedoms, demand universal unquestioned loyalty, ban free expression and dissent, suppress all civil liberties by edict, and perhaps usurp dictatorial powers with no elections except the kinds despotic states hold.


Strenger is right, however, saying "Israel has embarked on a slippery slope; and we cannot know where it will end....It is a truly terrible tragedy" that enlightenment ideals and liberal values are being "gradually erase(d).." Growing fascism is "burying" what remains of Israeli democracy, so flawed it may easily be toppled.


Discussing the Citizen Law amendment, a Haaretz October 10 editorial sharply criticized Labor chairman Ehud Barak, saying he's turned the party into a "weak, crumbling entity devoid of any of its own staked-out positions....It has become nothing more than a tool of the extreme right" and is now irrelevant.


A same day Gideon Levy article headlined, "The Jewish Republic of Israel," saying the Cabinet measure risks it becoming a "theocracy like Saudi Arabia....Remember this day. It's the day Israel change(d) its character." It may also change its name, affecting all Israeli citizens.


"From now on, we will (openly) be living in a new, officially approved, ethnocratic, theocratic, nationalistic and racist country." Calling Labor a "doormat" and Netanyahu Yisrael Beinteinu's leader, a virtual Lieberman stooge, today's loyalty oath will be tomorrow's law, "threatening to drown the remnants of democracy" for a new Israel "no one really understands, but it certainly won't be a democracy."


The Netanyahu/Lieberman/Shas cabal deplores it. But who can explain "the complacency of the masses," minority protests notwithstanding. In contrast, public opinion shows "almost no one....feel(s) affected."


Real democracies don't demand loyalty oaths. "Only Israel. And it is being done either to provoke the Arab minority more and push them (toward less) loyalty so one day (it will be easier to) get rid of them," as well as scuttle any chance for peace, though practically none exists anyway. One way or other, Israel's current direction endangers everyone, including Jews who'll end up losers like Arabs.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to 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.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.Israel on a fast track to despotism

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  ההתנחלות בסילואן היא אחד ממוקדי החיכוך והעימות היומיומיים במזרח ירושלים, בין מתנחלים ותושבים פלסטינים. המשטרה וכוחות מג"ב פועלים באזור באינטנסיביות, וזוכים לביקורת קשה על כך שפעולתם נתפסת כפעילות בשירות המתנחלים, נגד התושבים הפלסטינים.

ב-20.9.2010 קיים מג"ב-ירושלים, טכס-מסיבת פרידה מכמה קציני מג"ב, דווקא בתוך מתחם ההתנחלות היהודית, בלב השכונה הפלסטינית ואדי חילווה שבסילוואן. עבור התושבים במקום היתה זו עוד הוכחה לסימביוזה בין המשטרה והמתנחלים.


שאלות וברורים: amosg@shefayim.org.il

חשוב לקרוא

מזה מספר שנים אנו עדים למפלצת טרוריסטית ההולכת ותופחת בחצרותינו האחוריות. התופעה החלה כקוריוז והפכה לאיום אסטרטגי על מדינת ישראל.
המדובר הוא בקבוצות שמאלניות ישראליות ובינלאומיות.
הסיבות לאימפוטנטיות הביטחונית הישראלית הן מגוונות אך בבסיסן עומדת האמונה כי ארגוני האנרכיסטים הישראלים יונקים שורשיהם מן השמאל הישראלי ומכאן (כמובן ואיך לא) שזכאים להגנת האקדמיה, המדיה ומערכת המשפט הישראלית.
הללו מהווים קבוצה קטנה ביחס. של השמאל הקיצוני הפשיסטי אשר חרט על דיגלו את חיסול מדינת ישראל היהודית ואכן גישה זו מתאימה ככפפה ליד לאותם שמאלנים-אנרכיסטים ישראלים.

Meet Avi Yakobov הכר את אבי יעקובוב

AFP Identifies Palestinian Abuse Victim in YouTube Video, Twitter Does the Rest


Israel's Persecution of Ameer Makhoul

 Israel's Persecution of Ameer Makhoul - by Stephen Lendman


At any time, from 7,000 - 12,000 or more Palestinians are politically persecuted and imprisoned, including young children. The Addameer Prisoners' Support and Human Rights Association explains that for over 43 years under military occupation, over 650,000 Palestinians have been illegally detained for wanting freedom on their own land in their own country, what Israel won't tolerate, nor have its leaders ever wanted peace. Saying so is a lie.


What Avi Shlaim once said about Ariel Sharon, applies to virtually all other Israeli leaders, past and present; namely, that "Bargaining, accommodation, and compromise (were) alien to his whole way of thinking." 


Sharon earlier, and Netanyahu today, share like-minded views; namely, that "relations with the Palestinians (are) a zero-sum game" in which Israel intends to gain at their expense, including its own Arab citizens. Both leaders spurn concessions, Sharon once saying, "This is our land, and we'll settle it and build on it in order to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. We'll never give up this area." As a result, Palestinians have been ruthlessly persecuted, imprisoned, or slaughtered in gross violation of international laws.


Ameer Makoul is one of many victims, a previous article about him accessed through the following link:




An Israeli citizen, human rights activist, and head of the internationally recognized Ittijah NGO for Palestinian empowerment, he also chairs the Public Committee for the Defence of Political Prisoners within the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee in Israel. Besides championing human rights, he also supports the global BDS movement, what many believe is perhaps the most effective nonviolent tactic against Israeli lawlessness, and another reason for his targeting. 


An earlier article on Palestinian Political Prisoners can be accessed through the link below:




Makhoul's Ordeal


In May, Makhoul was arrested on spurious charges of spying for Hezbollah, Israel's way to silence a respected Palestinian. At the time, attorney Hussein Abu Hasin said accusations were so vague and wide-ranging that emails, Internet chats or phone conversations with anyone about anything could be used as a pretext to prosecute for communicating with a "state enemy," whether or not true and regardless of the right to speak freely with anyone. 


At the time, Mohammed Zeidan, head of the Human Rights Association of Nazareth said:


"We are used to our political leaders being persecuted, but now Shin Bet is turning its sights on the leaders of Palestinian civil society in Israel, and that's a dangerous development." Based on suspicions, circumstantial evidence, or none at all, Shin Bet's likely to target anyone "unwittingly....meet(ing) a relative of a relative of someone in Hezbollah, (Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Islamic Jihad, or the Iranian government as) grounds to arrest you." Activist leaders are notably threatened, especially Israeli Arabs seen by hard liners as a fifth column existential threat essential to crush.


Zeidan believes that persecution of Israeli Arab society is the best way to expose Israeli racism and discrimination against anyone not Jewish. "Markhoul's arrest should be understood in that light."


On May 6, his ordeal began when about 20 Israeli police and security forces arrested him at 3:10AM, ransacked his apartment, confiscated his computers, cell phones, various documents, maps, and other possessions. At the same time, his Haifa office was also raided for other potentially "incriminating" evidence, a Shin Bet warrant saying only that "secret information" justified it for "security reasons," when, in fact, none whatsoever existed.


On May 9, Ynetnews.com writer Sharon Roffe-Ofir headlined, "Security scandal angers Arab sector," saying:


Despite a gag order, aroused Israeli Arabs freely discussed Israeli "police persecution of (the) Arab community....In Facebook, a protest group has already been set up, and (days earlier) an emergency conference was held by the Mossawa Center and the Adalah Center, both of which are among the most prominent organizations working for Arab rights," along with many others expressing concern. Wide distribution of information followed through newspapers, blogs, and word of mouth.


Mossawa's director, Jafar Farah, called "the steps taken by (Israel's) security establishment....an extreme right wing policy. In democratic countries," this type lawlessness is prohibited. The Popular Committee for the Defense of Freedoms said Israel's attack on freedom "is at its height." MK Masud Ganaim (of United Arab List-Ta'al) sent thousands of emails calling the affair:


"police terror and silencing. What is happening is clear proof of racism. Whoever claims Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East gets new evidence to the contrary every day, in the steps taken by the government and its institutions against citizens, parties and organizations of the Arab sector."


Makhoul was detained incommunicado at Petah Tikva for interrogation. Under gag order (now lifted), the Israeli media couldn't write or discuss anything about his case. 


He endured 12 days of brutal interrogation, including torture and sleep deprivation. After three weeks, he was charged with espionage, helping an enemy (Hezbollah) in time of war, contact with a foreign agent, and other spurious charges, all of which he denied.


On June 14, prosecutors claimed "secret evidence" against him, withheld from his lawyers for "security reasons." In addition, all attorney conversations were wiretapped, and despite requesting medical help from the Association of Physicians for Human Rights, it was repeatedly denied.


He remains imprisoned, a Committee for the Defense of Ameer Makhoul established on September 8 to defend him. Comprised of dozens of Jewish and Arab figures, it took collective responsibility because:


-- his arrest signifies what he represents, not just himself, and it was done to warn other activist Israeli Arabs; and


-- charges against him are entirely unfounded and spurious, his targeting to silence a respected, powerful, effective political voice for all Arab Israeli citizens.


He's represented them globally as an internationally recognized human rights advocate, and as a member of world and regional coalitions and networks. Speaking publicly or in any other way to anyone is protected speech, yet accusations against him violate his legitimate right to communicate freely with Arab colleagues.


On September 16, he was charged in Haifa District Court, even though Israeli prosecutors said his home and office computers, cell phones, other possessions, and transcripts of about 30,000 wiretapped phone conversations revealed no evidence of espionage.


On September 14, his lawyers got the Nazareth District Court to uphold his right to direct and confidential counsel access, what he previously was denied in violation of Israeli and international law. Earlier in 2009, Shin Bet said they'd "tailor a file for this disappearance and prolonged separation from his family" unless he softened his outspoken activism, including his denunciation of Cast Lead war crimes.


Human rights groups, including Amnesty International have been outspoken for him, AI signaling it may declare him a "prisoner of conscience" because his arrest "smacks of pure harassment, designed to hinder his human rights work."


Ahead, the Committee for the Defense of Ameer Makhoul needs help to raise funds, mobilize international legal and medical help as well as observers for his trial. Some tactical victories have been won, however, including disseminating information globally on his case and defeating Israel's gag order. Remaining tasks include building a solid defense team, challenging prosecutorial use of "secret evidence" unavailable to counsel, as well as bogusly incriminating anyone for using protected speech to communicate freely with anyone.


A Final Comment


Ahmad Sa'adat is another prominent Israeli political prisoner, an earlier article on him accessed through the following link:




He's the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), sentenced in 2002 to 30 years imprisonment for supporting Palestinian liberation heroically.


On October 4, an International Campaign for the Release of Kidnapped Palestinian Legislators press release said he's spent over "500 days in solitary confinement under the most inhumane conditions....to break (his) will and steadfastness."


Brutal torture, abuse and humiliation are longstanding Israeli longstanding practices, including against children. In mid-October, Sa'adat will challenge his isolation in court, as well as his overall inhumane treatment, denying his basic rights, including:


-- virtually no family and legal visits;


-- isolation from other prisoners;


-- only 30 minute daily prison yard access, in painful handcuffs and ankle shackles; 


-- little reading material and no personal books;


-- brutal interrogations, including physical and psychological torture;


-- no canteen purchases; and


-- like other political prisoners, no proper food, medical care, proper ventilation and sanitation, adequate clothing, or virtually all other basic necessities for health and well-being, in violation of fundamental international laws, including Geneva's Common Article 3 requiring:


"humane treatment for all persons in enemy hands, specifically prohibit(ing) murder, mutilation, torture, cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment (and) unfair trial(s).


Israel, like America, flouts the rule of law. As a result, Palestinians have been victimized for over six decades, denied any measure of justice and freedom. Makhoul and Sa'adat are two of thousands enduring Israeli savagery, its longstanding practice against Muslim Arabs.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to 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.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.a prominent Israeli political prisoner

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 מסיק הזיתים החל...

   ביום שלישי, ה-28.9.2010, ראו תושבים מהכפר עוורתא מתנחלים, המוסקים זיתים בשדה השייך לכפר. הם פנו לצבא בבקשה שיסלק את הפולשים מאדמותיהם, אך לא נענו. רק לאחר שפעילי זכויות אדם ישראליים פנו לצבא, לאחר כחמש שעות של "עבודת המתנחלים", הגיעו חיילים וסילקו את השודדים, אף אחד מהשודדים לא נעצר, והזיתים לא הוחזרו לבעליהם הפלסטינים.

   כעבור שלושה ימים, ביום שישי, ה-1.10.2010, שרפו מתנחלים שהגיעו מאיתמר כ-40 עצי זית של הכפר עוורתא. לפי עדויות, השורפים הגיעו ברכב השייך לרכז הביטחון של איתמר.




ביום שני, ה-4.10.2010, באו נציגי המדינה לכפר הבדואי בנגב, חשם זאנה, והרסו שלושה בתים.



שאלות וברורים: amosg@shefayim.org.il



עצומה: הכללת האשפוז הסיעודי בסל הבריאות

בעת חקיקת חוק ביטוח בריאות ממלכתי התחייבה הממשלה להכליל בתוך שנה את האשפוז הסיעודי בסל הבריאות.למרות ההתחייבות דבר לא נעשה עד היום. אין כל הצדקה לכך שהאשפוז הסיעודי לא ינתן כמו כל טיפול רפואי אחר. קואליצית הארגונים להכנסת האשפוז הסיעודי לסל הבריאות שמה לה למטרה להביא להכללת האשפוז הסיעודי בסל בריאות.  

המצב השורר היום:

Demonstrations Met with Live Ammunition Across the West Bank

September 24, 2010  


A Palestinian protester was struck in the calf with a live bullet shot by a sniper in Bil'in. Live ammunition was also used in Ni'ilin and Nabi Saleh.

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ביום שני, ה-13.9.2010, הרסו נציגי הממשלה מלווים בכוחות משטרה את אל-עראקיב בפעם החמישית.

   ביום רביעי, ה-15.9.2010, נציגי הממשלה מלווים בשוטרים, הרסו בתים במספר כפרים בדואים בנגב: 3 בתים באום-בטין שליד צומת שוקת,;  2 בתים באל-פורעה, בית אחד בסעווה, בית אחד אצל אל-עוקבי, ליד חורה;  בית בעוואג'אן, חנות באל-גריין.

   שתי התראות להריסת בתים באבו-תלול ניתנו יום קודם.

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