Why Does the Shin Bet Hate and Fear Ameer Makhoul?
To my great delight, Israeli bloggers, unlike their journalistic counterparts, are defying the Shin Bet’s gag order on reporting the secret arrest of Ameer Makhoul, director of the Israeli Palestinian human rights NGO, Ittijah. Kol hakavod to friends and allies Uri Breitman, Yossi Gurvitz, Idan Landau for their bravery in the face of the machinery of the secret police. Now, if only the Israeli mainstream media would follow suit. But it will be just like Anat Kamm. It will take days for the satirists will begin whispering word of the event with oblique jokes and derision directed at the Shin Bet for prohibiting Israelis from knowing what half the rest of the world already knows.
I particularly liked Uri’s blog post which satirically claims that the Shin Bet’s is Google’s best friend since whenever it bans someone as it did Kamm and Makhoul, it sends every Israeli to Google to find out what’s going on. Breitman, with savage wit, predicts that in time there will no longer be any need for Israeli newspapers or TV news at all, since Israelis will turn en masse to Google to find out what’s going on inside their country, whether the news be secret or otherwise. I await an attempt by the security apparatus to do a China and begin censoring Google results from Israeli searches. Could it come to that?
Gurvitz speculates why Makhoul may’ve run afoul of the security services. This past Wednesday, Makhoul announced his support for the campaign to boycott Israeli products from the settlements. He notes that former IDF spokesperson and current Knesset member Nachman Shai claims that such support for boycott coming from Israeli Palestinians raises doubts about their loyalty to the State. If true, what this means is that the Israeli secret police have decided that even legal means of democratic protest should be criminalized. There is not yet a law in Israel forbidding citizens from boycotting settler products. Yet it appears the Shin Bet is establishing such a ruling for Palestinian citizens of the State. Which means that the agency is in effect creating pro forma laws for Arabs and thereby bypassing the Knesset.
And as it did with the Anat Kamm story, Israel Broadcasting Authority’s Arabic service is first among mainstream media to break the gag and report the story (in Arabic). The Shin Bet seems much less threatened by reporting in Arabic or English than it is by reporting in Hebrew.
One effective way of fighting the Kamm gag was through Facebook, since so many Israelis use it to communicate with each other in normal circumstances. That’s why I’ve created a Free Ameer Makhoul Facebook group (there is also a separate Arabic-language group). Please consider joining and tell those you know about it.
And tell the foreign press in Israel to get off their tushes and do their job. Yes, their licenses may be placed in jeopardy. But do you want to continue being scooped by bloggers on stories like this? Do you want to acquiesce in the security services running roughshod over not just Israeli citizens but the foreign press and its right to report the news?
12 thoughts on “Why Does the Shin Bet Hate and Fear Ameer Makhoul? – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.
The Arabic report on the IBA site mentions a statement of concern with Israel’s treatment of Makhoul issued by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, and does not mention the putative gag order imposed on the details of the arrest. The latter detail differs from IBA’s Arabic publication on the arrest of Kamm, where the gag order was mentioned — but of course, in that case they could do it because they cited JTA.
In all sincerety, I strongly doubt that the gag order was not brought to the attention of IBA’s Arabic branch. And I also hold it higlhy plausible (not to say obvious) that the SAVAK (my pet name for Shin-Bet) has a hand in running IBA’s Arabic branch, just at it has a hand in almost every contact of the Israeli state institutions with the Arab population. So, I suspect that the publication in this case, as well as in Kamm’s case, is a means of intimidating the Arab population, in Israel and beyond. Perhaps the SAVAK would be more glad if Makhoul’s arrest remained unknown in the Arab world, but since it is well-known already, they appear to be trying to use the case to foster the image of their omnipotence.
I know for a fact that the IBA Arabic service believes there is a gag, but hasn’t received formal notice of one. That’s prob. why it didn’t make explicit reference to the fact. They have more leeway than the rest of the Israeli MSM, but only so much & have to be careful.
It is important to note that the Shin Bet (headed by Diskin) has already declared that it would forestall anything it sees as subversive activity, even if the activity is legal. And there is no definition of “subversive” nor any recourse in case of misconduct by the Shin Bet.
Although not related to this thread, this article about the US plans to liquidate a radical Muslim cleric is interesting. Considering your the agitation you felt when Israel was accused of eradicating a HAMAS man in Dubai, I wonder how you feel about your country using the same tactics:
I’ve already written about this very subject, probably in reply to you. So since you have a feeble memory go back & find the comment I wrote to you which answers your question. And follow the comment rules & do not comment off topic. There is a reason for the rules & you’ve pointed out why here.
You cannot possibly believe that Makhoul has been arrested under the veil of secrecy simply because of a legitimate protest. Thousands of others have done the same. They have been doing it for years; they are doing it now, and they will be doing it in the future.
Calling out for his freedom is juvenile and naive. You make so many comparisons to the Anat Kamm case – was her arrest also unneccesary? Perhaps this man is indeed posing a great security threat. I do not know (yet), and neither do you.
I suggest, that in the meantime, we simply wait (although I do agree that the shroud of secrecy is unsettling).
It is easy to condemn acts that aren’t democratic, but the unfortunate reality is such that these actions will (hopefully) turn out to be neccessary.
That’s the very bit amount of trust I put into my country’s democracy. I sure do hope I am not wrong, but if you are – would you take responsibility for the yet-unknown consequences?
Ah, but I do based on a little concept known as past performance (of the Shin Bet). I know how this will end.
This is precisely why Israel is in such deep s(&t because of temporizing nonsense like this. You’re unsettled, but prepared to wait until those who know better tell you what to think.
No, it isn’t democracy in which you’re putting yr trust. It’s the Shin Bet. Those are 2 entirely diff. things.
I am not wrong. They are not spies.
How do you know for sure they are not spied ?
Are they your family member or something?
So from what I gather, pretty much everything you write and all of your opinions are derived from your assumption – yes, assumption – that the Shin Bet is making a mistake and that you know better.
Notice that I never said they were spies. I said I didn’t know, and that neither did you. But apparently you seem to be convinced that you know better than everyone else.
What is it exactly that has you convinced you are absolutely 100% right? Intuition? Past experience? Ideology? Nothing I can think of justifies it.
You say that you _know_ how this will end, based on a concept known as past performance?
Don’t you find it ironic that in the very same way that I decide to put my trust in the Shin Bet, you choose to do exactly the opposite? We may both be wrong, but at least I admit it.
As for Kamm’s arrest, “probably” is apparently enough for you to go on and on about how the performance of security bodies. How the heck was her arrest unneccesary??
You’re seriously delusional if you believe any of that nonsense you wrote regarding the cause of arrest. Didn’t Kamm’s stroy teach you not to jump ahead with that propaganda?
Do the US’s (or any other country’s) authorities publish the arrest of any suspected murderer/terrorist immediatly and before looking for accomplices?
I guess you’re the kind of a guy that just hates facts – that’s why you love rushing in with the fairy tales.
Actually, they do. You ought to take an elementary course on the U.S. constitution and how our system works.
Actually they don’t. See guantamno prison for example.