137 thoughts on “Israeli Activist Interrogated for ‘Hurting Shin Bet’s Feelings’ – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Hey, Richard. I’m not sure when the pendulum is going to swing back, but right now it’s out there on the repressive side here in the good ol USA and WA state. Take the quiz at this ACLU WA link and you’ll get lots of info on what is or isn’t being done to us by secretive and illegal surveillance http://aclu-wa.org/blog/are-you-suspicious-your-government-may-think-so

    Also: UW cops spy on peaceful coalition: http://aclu-wa.org/news/aclu-calls-university-washington-curb-campus-surveillance

  2. Adam Horowitz recently posted a video from a Texas woman who got a visit from FBI thought police for her Palestine solidarity activism. Also, check out this police riot against peaceful protesters at Pitt, and I’m just scratching the surface here.

    Richard, as much as I appreciate your great journalism in regard to Israel, I hope you might consider paying more attention to what is happening in our country. The notion of “checks and balances” is a myth told to children so they might sleep better at night.

  3. Richard, I agree with you about the sh**y crackdown on suspected dissidents in that wonderful “Jewish democratic” state in the Middle East, but I wouldn’t be in any hurry to make unfavorable comparisons with the U.S. All you have to do is look at the extension of the Patriot Act; legalized assassination, without trial of Americans suspected of dealing with terrorist groups, or the recent Supreme Court decision to prevent NGOs from having any such dealings, subject to 15 years imprisonment. I have a friend who runs an NGO which was nominated for a Nobel Peace prize for work on land mines, who hesitated to attend a round table conference in NYC, because she might be arrested on such grounds. Naziism is becoming rife in both countries.

    1. Gene, out of curiosity, have you ever visited the concentration camps in Europe ?
      every second word coming out of your mouth is naziism this and naziism that (which in my opinion is a violation of comment rule #7 – but i am willing to bet you are not being moderated)
      i think you have no idea, what the nzziism was all about, and until you’ll see the pile of shoes, glasses, human hair etc, you wouldn’t really understand.
      nothing that is being done by both the US and the state of Israel even remotely resembles the behavior of the Nazi regime.
      Shame on you Richard for allowing such discussing comments on your blogs, maybe lack of understanding of the subject gets you to agree with Mr. Shapira despicable actions.
      if you wish i will let you talk to my grandmother who’s a survivor of the Warsa ghetto, maybe than you’ll realize what people who were there really think about his actions.

      1. every second word coming out of your mouth is naziism this and naziism that

        That’s a vast overstatement. Gene respects my rules far more than you & he knows when he’s overstepped the bounds because I told him so in words that he understands. I can’t seem to tell you anything along the same lines in words you understand.

        if you wish i will let you talk to my grandmother who’s a survivor of the Warsa ghetto, maybe than you’ll realize what people who were there really think about his actions.

        I know as many Holocaust survivors as you & neither you nor yr grandmother is going to teach me any lessons about the Holocaust that relate to contemporary Israeli politics.

      2. The word Naziism implies both more and less than holocaust. It’ a word that’s become – rightly or wrongly – synonymous with extreme police state that aims to cow their own citizens into acquiescence in brutal policies of oppression against a minority in the state. In that sense “naziism”, correctly used is distinct from, say, the Pinochet style police state which aimed to silence all the regime’s critics, not jut those of a particular group. Or Moussolini style fascism or Serbian extreme nationalism. One could find parallels in China, say against Tibetans, Uigyurs and other ethnic minorities as well as dissidents of all stripes.

        I believe that correct usage of the word “Naziism” a opposed to “Facsism” is also about intent and severity of repressive tactics. We happen to know – thanks to history – what naziism led to, and the record are there to indicate what the intent was – ridding germany at first – then all of Europe – of undesirable minorities, including, but not limited to people who are of jewish descent. Regarding Israel, we do not know – though we suspect – what the INTENT is, or at least what the desired intent is. What we know by Israel’s actions is that a policy is in place – and is garnering steam – that aims to cow Palestinians – both citizens within Israel and non-citizens in the occupied territories into accepting either discrimination inside – and/or outright persecution outside – the green line.

        What we don’t know yet is jut how far israel and israelis are willing to go to obtain their desired ethnically “pure” expanded state. Would they be willing to go as far a the Nazis did ultimately? we don’t know for sure, because the world outside exerts some pressure to keep the outrage of persecution within bounds. Either way, I ee no reason we cannot debate the real disturbing question – would Israel be content in becoming a militarized ethnic theocracy – Stalinesque in its instruments of repression, with internment camps like Gaza set up like Gulags all across the west bank – or will they slide into actual “naziism” including policies of deliberate ethnic cleansing, population transfer, extermination by creeping starvation, and physical persecution of their own dissidents?

        As an aside, just because one has a grandmother who was a victim of one group of people does not mean one cannot commit outrageous acts against another group. Israel is the proof positive of how an entire country was so dedicated to preserving the memory of their own holocaust that they failed to internalize its larger lessons. It certainly does not appear to have made the denizens of israel better people, just much angrier ones – capable of lashing out every which way.

      3. I thank both Richard and Dana, not necessarily for standing up for me, but more for explaining to Striker the various implications of my use of the word Naziism. I am very well educated on the Holocaust, by personal experience and study. I understand that equating Israeli (and US) policies with those of Germany in the thirties can be offensive to many. We may not be fully there yet, but the slope is getting very slippery.

        It is never my intent to offend, and if I have, apologies. But my opinions stand.

    2. “Nazism??” Let’s rein in the rhetoric, shall we? I’d rather describe what is actually happening & what is actually wrong than use shorthand slogans that mislead as much as they enlighten.

  4. 1. Nice use of quotation marks in the first line…they “invited” him to a “friendly” discussion with an agent….Were you quoting directly or expressing irony or insincerety or what? (Follow up from previous posting about book review)

    2. In the US the police can interview and/or question anyone they want without an attorney being present. It is your miranda rights, upon being arrested, that entitle you to an attorney and if you cannot afford one the state will appoint one for you. The statements made during those interviews can not be accepted into evidence however.

    3. You speak of the sanctions and divestment results in South Africa from a 30,000 ft view. From someone that was on the ground in SA in the 1980’s, yes, it di contribute in eventually dismantling the apartheid system in the early 90’s. However, what you did not see, or don’t care to remember, or are not anticipationg was that from 1982-1992, hundreds of thousands of people were put out of work when international organizations withdrew their operations from country. These hundreds of thoudands constituted mainly the exact people the sanctions were trying to help. As a result, violent crime sky-rocketted, child malnutrition and hunger was rampant, political violence escalated which in turn caused a crack down by the apartheid govenment to arrest, detain and brutalize thousands of people. A state of emergence and curfews were implemented and enforced further limiting and restricting the movement of blacks out of their townships. And like I said, this was not a qucik six month operation. This carried on for the better part of the 1980’s decade.
    Disinvestment, while it may be efective is a slow and extremely ardusous process in which the main body effected is not as much the government or ruling party by more so the man on the street, the little guy, whole families, that looses their source of income for long and extended periods of time. It gets a lot worse, a lot worse, before it even starts to get better. And by the way, if you visit South Africa today, you will see, in spite of the beauty shown on clips of the world cup TV spots, they are still a long way from full financial and economical recovery.
    Be careful what you wish for.

    4. I have noticed a lot of comments about nazism. I would suggest that those people that make these comments go back and review the nazi’s and what they did and how they came to power. The US and Israel are far from this. I can draw more comparisons to the Palestinian side and nazism than I can the Israeli, but that is me and this is not my blog. I would ask that the blog owner, who calls his blog Tikkun Olam, be balanced in his moderation practices and call out those that are attempting to sensationalize the issue in this manner.


        1. And here’s one for you.

          “It was a propaganda card Zionism would play, (despite its own then secret collaboration with the Nazis);…” From Alan Hart’s, “Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews”. The Stern Gang (Begin) were collaborators, and practiced the Nazi methods of ethnic cleansing against Palestinian Arabs, that the Nazis had used against the Jews. Deny it all you want, but facts are facts. Thank you.

          I could cite more.

          1. Ha Ha Ha…You are hilarious. You are talking about a small splinter faction vs. mainstream political thought.

            Please quote more. Your revisionist history is comical at best.

          2. and furthermore dear Gene
            in chapter six of his book (http://www.zionismbook.com/chapter-6.pdf) Mr. Hart claims that Ze’ev Jabotinsky is the founder of the hagana organization, (“In the beginning it was an underground military organisation formed and led initially by Jabotinsky himself—the Haganah”)
            if you would like to know anything about Jabotinsky or the state of israel or the zionist movment, i suggest you’ll find yourself more credible sources.
            Jabotinski was the spirit behind the establishment of the Zion Mule Corps, and the Jewish Legion (both military units who fought as part of the british army during WWI) and after the war was the founder of the Revisionist movement and the Irgun (National Military Organization in the Land of Israel”)
            may i suggest you’ll actually learn some real facts about the Arab-Israeli, Palestinian-Israeli conflict prior to forming an opinion, even Wikipedia would be a much more credibale source of information.

          3. This is Richard’s blog, not mine.

            Frankly, I don’t see any humor in my post. I feel sorry for anyone who does.

          4. P.S. Begin was a “small splinter faction”? He became prime minister and a part of mainstream political thought. That’s when the main problems began.

          5. There were Palestinians Jews & Arabs who collaborated. But I don’t think it’s useful to claim that the entirety of ea. national movement was Nazi because small elements within ea made such political calculations.

    1. A citizen always has the right to refuse to answer questions whether they have been given the Miranda warnings or not. And the police do not have the right to question anyone they want – there are guidelines such as “probable cause.” And any statement made either in the presence of an attorney or otherwise can be admitted into evidence. I spent ten years working in a felony court and so I know what I’m talking about. These rules are in place to protect us from becoming victims of police harassment and supposedly to protect the presumption of innocence.

    2. Not true, your implication that the police here “can interview and/or question anyone they want without an attorney being present” – insofar as you imply there is no absolute and unconditional right of simple refusal to talk with the police – period. Here, there is an absolute right to refuse to talk to the police/FBI (or whoever) without giving any reason at all. The right to refuse is not conditional on a Miranda warning. One only has to say “I don’t want to talk to you” and close the door. The only way in the uS one can be forced to “talk” is by subpoena + grant of immunity (usually before a grand jury).

      Also, pertinent to the main article, iin the US the government cannot “after the fact” criminalize behavior that when performed, was not illegal. The threat of ex post facto laws, as such “after the fact” statutes are called and as made by Rona, are a hallmark of government repression in historic totalitarian style.

    3. In the US the police can interview and/or question anyone they want without an attorney being present.

      ONly with the consent of the suspect. Without that, they can’t.

      Disinvestment, while it may be efective is a slow and extremely ardusous process in which the main body effected is not as much the government or ruling party by more so the man on the street, the little guy, whole families, that looses their source of income for long and extended periods of time. It gets a lot worse, a lot worse, before it even starts to get better.

      What was worse? Apartheid or the current democratic gov’t?? If the latter, then you should answer a further question: what could’ve generated the same result w. less suffering and in as short a time period? If you’ve got an answer then you’re a political genius who deserves the Nobel Peace Prize & pls enlighten us. If not, you’re engaging in sophistry.

      I agree w. you about misuse of Nazi referrences. They generally don’t help & don’t enlighten. And thank you for avoiding the typical tropes comparing Palestinians to Nazis. It’s tired, stupid & doesn’t help the debate at all. I call these people out every time they do so.

    4. I tend to agree about sanctions in South Africa hitting the people they were supposed to help. People are still suffering as a direct result, even today. You cannot undo the damage of sanctions when the regime changes.

      As for Israel and the USA not being like Nazi Germany: no, they are not. But Franco, Mussolini or Peron would feel at home and I suspect that J.W. Vorster would actually feel uneasy at how far some of it is going.

      Tony Blair is probably the only “English” leader since the English civil war who’d see either present day America or Israel as acceptably free.

      Executive murder of citizens without trial has been illegal in England since long before Magna Carta: see the 1100AD charter of Henry the First.
      (Essential translation: “we Normans did ourselves no favours by imposing our own laws on a much larger country than any Norman has ruled before, soddit, let’s go back to Saxon law instead.”)

      Blair is “English” in heavily inverted commas because he was actually born in Perth, but his parents, for reasons that have never been explained, gave false information to the Durham Registrar and got a birth certificate saying he was born in County Durham.

      His parents have never been prosecuted for a criminal offence for which there is no statute of limitations. And given the ID cards and databases he sought to impose on everyone else, it’s amazing that he campaigned for public office on an explicit lie about his origins. Yes, it’s off topic, slightly, but it’s impossible to discuss extreme authoritarian regimes in the modern world without the name of Blair raising its head, complete with faux sincerity and “trust me” hand-gestures.

    5. You don’t know what you are talking about. In the U.S. if the FBI or police wants to “interview” or “question” you, you have a right to have an attorney present, and the FBI or police cannot legally refuse that right. They must allow you to bring an attorney if that is your wish.

        1. He has an attorney. I presume in Israel either the Shabak doesn’t allow attorneys to such meetings (it supposedly wasn’t an interrogation after all) or there was some other reason he didn’t bring his. I strongly doubt the interrogation would’ve happened had he insisted on his attorney being present.

      1. Some of America’s constitutional rights aren’t exercised very effectively, very often.

        When it comes to freedom of speech, Watergate was the exception rather than the rule, and American papers frequently ignore things that Fleet Street would be stuffing down the relevant politician’s throat with grim determination. There are far more legal perils facing a British journalist publishing something which the government or big business wants to suppress, but they do it every day of the week, whereas when an American journalist actually does his job, it’s an historic moment and Hollywood goes on making films about it for the next forty years.

        The Obama administration is currently trying to pass a law which would effectively mean that ONLY professional journalists would be protected by the first amendment -and how is this status going to be defined and by whom? This legislation appears to be aimed, very firmly, at bloggers with unwelcome messages, such as Richard (bless him).

        French journalists appear to believe that it’s their role to protect the reputation of their country’s great men, hence the fact that most French voters believed that Francois Mitterand was a resistance fighter and not the Vichy minister who ordered French police to round out and deport Jews to the death camps in 1942.

        And, by the by, if you have a right to have an attorney present when the police of FBI question you, does this apply when the questioners work for the Department of Homeland Security -and how does this right help you if it’s legal for the president to order the intelligence services to murder you?

  5. re pt 3, Greg: why do you think Richard evades the consequences of the S.A. divestments in the years 1982-1992? A lot of people not in S.A. also saw the consequences you mention. For example, Margaret Thatcher saw them from way over 30.000 ft. Because she was so involved with those poor black fired workers, she even used it as an argument to stop and frustrate the BDS. Thereby prolonging the period of their misery into the ten years you mention.
    Anyway, since the S.A. BDS is dropped for 18 yrs now, and still there is poverty and violence as you mention, shouldn’t we conclude that BDS was not a cause at all for the poverty & violence then?

    1. My point with BDS is while it can be effective it is a slow, arduous and very damaging proposition both socially and economically. It effectively makes a situation SO bad that it forces change. The process is slow and dangerous. It is a miracle that South Africa came through unscathed and it really thanks to the courage and fore sight of Mandela and De Klerk in keeping a lid on the powder keg. A civill war was a real possibility and was a mere wrong look or wrong statement away, and I don’t even mean Black vs White. Mandela at one point called on his ANC youth league to abandon their weapons in the face of the Zulu Inkatha Party.

      If you want to take a lesson away from South Africa it is the concept of Indaba (truth and reconciliation) that we need to adopt. Unfortunately there is no one on either side that has the courage to step up to the plate to initiate the process. It is painful but it is necessary in order to stave off an even more massive economical and social crisis.

      1. Sorry Ex…to answer your original question…..
        Richard states the following…

        “The last I checked there was still a South Africa. The only thing that country lost was a racist, immoral political system that dispossessed its majority and favored its minority.”

        The country lost a lot more than that. For a very long time moral and economic depression, hunger, homelessness (sp?), violence, crime, harsher political violence, corruption, blackmarketeering were the rule of the land, and unfortunately some of these practices are yet to be erradicated inteh current state.

        So impose a BDS on Israel if you think it is the right thing to do, but like it or not the Israeli and Palestinian economies are tightly interwoven and dependant on each other in the past, now and will be in the future. Bringin down Israel’s economy to force the issue fo social change will have major future implications that I do not believe the author (Richard) understands and/or has concidered.

        1. What are you smokin’, Greg? The only economies intertwined with Israel’s is the US’ and So. Africa’s. Unless, of course, you are willing to admit that Palestine is really Israel. Occupied Palestine is completely dependent on those others, not the other way around.

          1. OK…Multiple choice
            Why are there checkpoints from the west bank and Gaza into Israel? Who is crossing those check points?
            A. Israeli holiday makers flocking to the beaches of Gaza?
            B. Israeli tourists going to the wineries and old sites in Judea and Samaria?
            C. Palestinians coming into Israel to work?

            Answer….C. Isrsael depends on the labor and Palestinians depend on the joobs at Israeli factories, farms etc.

            Intertwined indeed.

          2. Greg, enjoy your high, you’re about to come down a little.

            A large part of the work force in Israel proper used to be the Palestinians from Gaza, until the blockade. Now, Israel is importing foreign workers to fill the gap. There is less intertwining than you would like to believe, in that instance alone.

            Also, the Palestinians, for lack of gainful employment within the Occupied Territories (no small thanks to the occupation itself), are forced to work in Israel, especially in building the illegal settlements which are encroaching on Palestinian lands.

            Israel has seen to it that the Palestinians are dependent upon the occupation for survival.

        2. As another commenter said here–all those conditions currently exist in S. Africa. And it was the white government’s recalcitrance that made the situation as bad as it was. I’m sorry, but it isn’t the responsibility of the victims to make things easier for their perpetrators to continue their oppression. All the victims have to do is offer the perpetrators the opportunity to peaceably reform their system. If the latter refuses, then they have only themselves to blame.

          The form of BDS I support will penalize those companies which do business in the settlements & support Occupation. This will not harm Israelis at all, but it will make them sit up & take notice.

          If you think I haven’t considered the implications of BDS for Israel then you’re obtuse. And btw, there’s a simple way to avoid the consequences of BDS: reform the political system. Israel has it within its power to avoid the consequences of BDS. If it refuses it has only itself to blame.

          1. Richard, if BDS comes to a point where it “harms” Israelis, perhaps it will motivate them to push their government to end the occupation. Otherwise, they’ll sit with the status quo and cheer whenever Netanyahu decides to massacre more Palestinians (or peace activists).

      2. So tell me how divestment from the Israeli Occupation, which is the only aspect of BDS I currently support, will damage Israelis? And only answer the specific question I asked without introducing red herring issues not part of the issue.

        A civill war was a real possibility and was a mere wrong look or wrong statement away

        You mean something like the current situation facing the Israelis & Palestinians???

        it is the concept of Indaba (truth and reconciliation) that we need to adopt.

        Yes, after basic justice is done & the political system changes to incorporate national rights for both sides as happened in S. Africa. After that, then there can be truth & reconciliation. But to have T&R w/o basic political justice is empty & futile & simply will not work.

      3. In general: Greg on BDS reads like a warning, like “it could hurt the blacks/Palestinians more than the oppressor, let’s be careful”. But the true message is a different warning: like “when Israel is touched by BDS, it will make the Palestinians suffer”. A warning as in: “I warned you”.

        1. ex-ample – you got the point, I think. Israel will indeed exact a “price tag” from the palestinians – one that’ll become increasingly harsh, as BDS starts biting. Case in point si the legislation making it’s way through the knesset which seeks to punish any and all advocates of BDS. Though I’d expect even that to escalate. The government of SA exacted a price tag too, which did make the black population suffer disproportionately, because they were poorer. But would they have had it otherwise?

          That’s why it’s so important that the BDS movement was started and is spear-headed by Palestinians. They know all too well that they are the most exposed to whatever “price tag” is coming. And we are only at the beginning of the process. It’ll take, alas, enormous courage and a great deal of perseverance to continue the BDS campaign until the liberty and human rights can be won against a repressive, occupying state that’ll probably start snarling in earnest. Unfortunately, evil has many faces but there’s one commonality – it operate outside the bounds of common human decency. All the more reason to stay on the path of righteous action.

  6. “No more ghettos” ? Is that really what he sprayed? Today’s Ha’aretz disagrees.
    (couldn’t find it in English, sorry). The article says he sprayed “free the ghettos, free Palestine and Gaza”.

    Now, I think it’s obscene to compare Palestine and the Holocaust, bordering on holocaust denial. I think 6 million dead Jews would eagerly trade Auschwitz for Gaza. I’m not sure the reverse is true.

    Furthermore, using the holocaust card as a publicity stunt is outrageous in it’s own right.

    I think the Shin Bet shouldn’t involve itself with non-violent action of any kind and that it’s actions are worrisome. I also think somebody should file a complaint to the police about Shapira’s possible holocaust denial and let Israel deal with it in the open.

    1. “I think 6 million dead Jews would eagerly trade Auschwitz for Gaza. I’m not sure the reverse is true. ”

      That is just too obscene. The perpetual victim scenario combines with a “who suffered more” mentality is just plain disgusting. Anything less than holocaust-scale death and suffering is trivial?

      1. mary, where does this habit of putting words into one’s mouth come from ?

        I’ve said nothing to imply that the occupation is a trivial matter. It is not. I don’t dismiss the suffering of Palestinians or anyone, for that matter. However, the occupation is not anywhere near the holocaust. Not just in terms of suffering, but also in terms of the reasoning behind these events.

        what do you mean by “The perpetual victim scenario combines with a “who suffered more” mentality”

      2. No, its not less trivial, not at all, but maybe shouldn’t be compered to a time in history at which suffering was on a totally different level..and for totally different reasons.
        the people of Gaza elected Hamas, Hamas is firing rockets into the state of Israel, Israel retaliate and the people suffer out of their own decisions. horrible i agree. but War isn’t a pleasant thing.
        i don’t think the Jews in Germany were firing rockets into German cities.
        what i am trying to say, is that Jews were suffering for being Jews, the Gazan’s are suffering because of the action of their regime.
        do you see a base for comparison between the suffering of the Jews and the suffering of the Gazan’s ?
        of course your response would be that suffering is suffering is suffering and you are right, but we were all given the right to choose.
        Jews who left prior to WWII didn’t suffer as much. Palatinates in the west bank do not suffer as much. why ? because both groups made other choices.

        1. Hamas is firing rockets into the state of Israel,

          No, it’s not. Be accurate. Be precise in yr arguments. Be truthful & factual. If you aren’t you’re wasting your breath & our time.

          War isn’t a pleasant thing.

          That “argument” is a meaningless non sequitur that neither explains nor justifies what is indefensible.

          the Gazan’s are suffering because of the action of their regime.

          The collective punishment of all of Gaza has the same culpability as the similar punishment of Jews of Europe. This is a violation of international law. Not justifiable. Not defensible. A crime by international standards & yr gov’t & those who maintain this policy will be held accountable. Consider yrself warned about the consequences.

          1. Well, if you don’t think that hamas is firing rockets than you have a very skewed grip on reality.

          2. What are you smokin’??? Hamas firing rockets? When? Where’s the proof? Now you’re really trying my patience. You have no proof & you know you don’t. I wrote you several times earlier. I simply don’t allow lies nor unsupported claims like this. You’re teetering right on the edge.

          3. The Gazans are suffering because of Israel, not because of Hamas. Israel, and the US, have no right to torture the Palestinian people into submission, especially when it comes to their right to elect whomever they choose to represent them.

            I suggest you do a bit of googling and read what Hamas leaders are saying, and compare them to what Netanyahu, Lieberman and Peres are saying. You will read reasonable discourse and lunatic ravings, and guess who will come off looking like lunatics? You might be surprised.

        2. “the people of Gaza elected Hamas”. That is your problem with them, right? And that justifies anything.

          70% of them descend from people that were ethnically cleansed out of what is now Israel.

          (Yeah I know, Israeli’s like to say that the area being overcrowded is because these Arabs breed like rabbits, but if all of that population displacement had not happend there would only be 30% of the amount of people that are locked up in there now.)

          You cannot start your review of history only AFTER all these things were done to the inhabitants of the Gaza strip.

          The PLO recognition of Israel and willingness to negotiate left them emptyhanded. WHAT do you expect? Would you vote for that approach again if you were in their place?

          Can you honestly tell me that you do not understand or recognize their grievances? Be a mensch for God’s sake.

        3. The people of Gaza are suffering because they are Palestinians. Cast Lead was not the result of rockets being fired from Gaza; no rockets had been fired for many months until Israel broke the truce on November 4th (election day in the U.S.) to provoke a response that it could use as justification for attacking Gaza’s civilian population.

          Your post is just another example of blaming the victims for their victimhood. Just as Israel tried to blame the passengers murdered on board the Mavi Marmara.

          1. Mary
            You state “no rockets had been fired for many months until Israel broke the truce on November 4th ” and eventually israel provoked the situation, and that outcome was operation cast lead.
            so after reviewing the facts, in the year 2008 a total of 2048 rockets and about 1600 mortar shell’s were fired from the Gaza strip. from the time the “Hudna” was announced – June 19, 2008 – Until operation cast lead was carried – Dec 27,2008 – a total number of 361 rockets and 303 mortar shells were fired from the Gaza strip. the links were published above.

            as for your statment about the Mavi Marmara: below is my assumption on the course of events.
            The Mavi Marmara has 4 decks (http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://media.shipspotting.com/uploads/thumbs/rw/118060_800/Ship%2BPhoto%2BMAVI%2BMARMARA.jpg&imgrefurl=http://pilotsfor911truth.org/forum/index.php%3Fshowtopic%3D20148&usg=__eXjVAIr0xgYN1pdLTxNsq-1PTCU=&h=564&w=800&sz=47&hl=en&start=0&tbnid=CPRd6tSIIF2gyM:&tbnh=141&tbnw=212&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dmavi%2Bmarmara%2Bstructure%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26biw%3D1366%26bih%3D575%26tbs%3Disch:1&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=141&vpy=85&dur=492&hovh=188&hovw=267&tx=129&ty=104&ei=6bVHTJrXHISCsQOKwfWXCw&page=1&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0) upper deck was occupied by IHH activists, people that expressed their feelings of becoming “shaids” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mq-C6kBlro)
            when the soldiers Roped down they encountered heavy violent resistance and were bitten to almost death by these “peace activists” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYjkLUcbJWo&feature=related) few of them were taken hostage, upon that point the soldiers who were armed with paint ball guns as their primary weapon, reached their secondary handguns and selectively eliminated those who threaten their safety.

            you guys were probably in the second or third deck, and you really have no real first hand knowledge of the events.
            if i am wrong about my assumptions, please set the record straight.

          2. I am SO completely bored & uninterested in a debate involving the count of the number of rockets & mortar shells fired on Israel (or even Gaza for that matter). This is so ridiculous & such an utter waste of time.

            I also note that your reference for the numbers of rockets fired is the Shin Bet, which is a most interesting source to choose. Not exactly the most credible one I’d say.

            A much more accurate & meaningful way of measuring rocket fire is to count how many rockets were fired at Israel during a period of ceasefire. If you look at those figures you’ll find very few are fired. Cast Lead is not what has stopped the rockets. It is the fact that there is a mutually agreed upon ceasefire in place. Before Cast Lead when there was such a ceasefire there were almost no rockets fired. When Israel broke the ceasefire they began again.

            When the next war happens (& happen it will most assuredly) there will be thousands more rockets fired & the so called deterrence of Cast Lead will be forgotten even by propagandists like you.

            were bitten [sic] to almost death by these “peace activists”

            This is a lie. So here’s the deal. This blog has comment rules. Read them. Carefully. And then don’t break them. YOu don’t publish claims that are unsupported & you don’t publish anything that is false or a lie. And you don’t repeat yrself in comments. If you do, there are consequences for yr participation here.

            if i am wrong about my assumptions

            You ARE wrong. Entirely wrong.

          3. sorry for the typo should have been almost beaten to death. i think the video i provided show’s exactly that.
            you want to claim that is a lie ?
            3 soldiers were kidnapped and servilely wounded, they were able to escape after a search party was formed and pressed their captives. you weren’t there, hence your ability to state what is right and what is wrong is rather limited.

            as for your statement that i am wrong, in an educated debate saying someone is wrong without providing proof doesn’t count for much. please substantiate your statement.

            also you deleted a previous comment of mine, based on violation of your comment rule – for future references i would like to know which rule have i violated, so i would be able to avoid it in the future.

          4. should have been almost beaten to death

            No, they weren’t “almost” beaten to death. Not nearly. And what’s more–you have absolutely no proof to back up this false claim. They were attacked. They weren’t “nearly” beaten to death. I repeat & listen clearly: DO NOT make false claims here. Make claims that are precise and accurate.

            substantiate your statement

            No, that’s not how we work here. You make a claim, you support it. You make a false claim & don’t or can’t support it–you’re a liar. So I invite you once to very specifically & credibly support this claim.

            I told you very clearly when I deleted yr comment what rule you violated. You repeated yrself. You provided the same information in both comments. I don’t need or like repetition in comments.

          5. And furthermore
            you were looking for the number of rockets and mortars shells that were fired during the cease fire (“hudna”) i listed it “from the time the “Hudna” was announced – June 19, 2008 – Until operation cast lead was carried – Dec 27,2008 – a total number of 361 rockets and 303 mortar shells were fired from the Gaza strip.”

            so that means that during a period of 191 days, 1.8 rockets were fired daily and 1.5 mortar shells were fired daily.

          6. I should have stated that Hamas fired no rockets during the ceasefire beginning June 19, 2008 until it was broken by Israel on November 4th 2008 when it invaded Gaza and murdered six people it claimed were militants.

            Under the terms of the truce, by the way, Israel had agreed to permit humanitarian supplies to reach Gaza civilians. Israel defaulted on this commitment, as well as violating the truce shortly after it began by firing on unarmed fishermen, farmers and children in Gaza.

          7. Zvi, again you insinuate that Hamas continued to fire rockets during the ceasefire. I repeat there is no evidence Hamas fired any rockets until after Israel violated the ceasefire on November 4th, after which Hamas retaliated with rockets, most of which as usual caused little or no damage.

          8. Richard First.
            you deny the information coming out of a formal source of the state of Israel is a credible information ? i understand that in your blog you can run a smear campaign against anyone without substantiating your claims, supporting your claims or explaining them, but as an exception to the rule, could you please substantiate that specific claim of yours that the Shabak organization as a representative of the state of Israel isn’t a credible source of information ? i

            you claim that no rockets were fired during the “Hudna”, may i ask what is your source of information ? If you are admitting that rocket were fired but it wasn’t Hamas who fired them, Ok i will accept that claim of yours ( i will ask what is your source of information)

            as for your claim that Israel denied Humanitarian aid from the people of Gaza and defaulted her obligations, this is BS.
            Israel denied access to previous flotilla and to certain specific materials to the Gaza strip. but there is only one person in the entire Gaza strip who’s humanitarian rights are being revoked and that is Corporal Gilad Shalit, who’s held captive without seeing a representative of the red cross in violation of the international law.

            never once i heard you addressing that issue, and the flotilla you helped organizing, declined the request of his family to identify with your purpose in exchange for similarity.

          9. you deny the information coming out of a formal source of the state of Israel is a credible information ?

            No, I deny the credibility of any public statement made by the Shabak unless it can be verified by a credible source. Do not paraphrase what I say. I’m quite capable of saying what I mean & that is precisely what I wanted to say. The Shabak is a bunch of lying, cheating, amoral scoundrels. I trust nothing they say unless I can verify it independently. You’d be well advised to do the same.

            you claim that no rockets were fired during the “Hudna”

            This issue has been discussed here extensively and documentation of the claim provided. Very few rockets were fired & yes those that were weren’t fired by Hamas. I don’t think Mary said “none” & if she did that would prob. be an overstatement. But the truth is that Hamas honored the ceasefire & Israel didn’t. You’ll have to do a Google search of the site. As I wrote earlier, nothing could be more boring than an argument over how many missiles were fired & by whom & when.

            as for your claim that Israel denied Humanitarian aid from the people of Gaza and defaulted her obligations, this is BS.
            Israel denied access to previous flotilla and to certain specific materials to the Gaza strip. but there is only one person in the entire Gaza strip who’s humanitarian rights are being revoked and that is Corporal Gilad Shalit, who’s held captive without seeing a representative of the red cross in violation of the international law.

            This is so patently & egregiously & willfully stupid I can’t begin to say where you’ve gone wrong. Suffice to say that this is an absolute lie and political grandstanding of the worst sort. YOu’re rapidly wearing out yr welcome here. As I wrote in another comment, if that’s your purpose here you’re in the wrong place. I don’t truck with lies as legitimate political discourse. So if you want to stick your head up yr ass & pretend the sun’s shining there that’s your own problem. Just don’t do it here.

            Gilad Shalit’s family actually blames the correct person for their son’s continued imprisonment: Bibi Netanyahu. It is he who has refused to broker a prisoner swap which would free Shalit.

          10. Zvi, you must be high on something, so please just put down the bong and stop treating us to your delusions.

            The amount of “aid” flowing into Gaza during the ceasefire was actually reduced by the Israelis during the ceasefire, according to UNWRA, despite the fact that Hamas stopped firing rockets. Despite this betrayal of the terms of the ceasefire, Hamas held the ceasefire until Israel broke it on Nov. 4th.

            Interestingly, Israel has issued a report admitting to some of the major offenses it was accused of in the Goldstone Report, no doubt hoping to worm their way out of having to go before the UN Security Council. In September, the chairmanship of the Council will be assumed by Turkey, which is a nice bit of serendipity.

          11. Mary, i just read again your comments.
            so you admit that rockets were fired but it wasn’t Hamas who fired the rockets.
            this is the most juvenile argument i came around in a long time.
            the equivalence of that argument would be:
            imagine rockets are being fired from the USA to Cuba. upon hitting the target president Obama would appear on TV and would state that it wasn’t an act of the American Government but of the Republican minority. be honest, you will get a good chuckle out of such a comment and i’m sure you wouldn’t think highly of obama (or anyone else) for pulling such a stunt.
            a governing body has the responsibility to control the action preformed out of its territory. for example in the US if you own a house which you rent out, and your tenets are growing pot there, you may lose your house. same applies to the Gaza strip. enough hiding behind that ridiculous notion that it’s not Hamas. Hamas controls everything in the Gaza strip, from tunnels to demonstrations. from rocket fires by other organization to their re-supply via the tunnels.

          12. imagine rockets are being fired from the USA to Cuba. upon hitting the target president Obama would appear on TV and would state that it wasn’t an act of the American Government but of the Republican minority.

            And you called Mary’s argument “juvenile?” Yr hypothetical is nonsensical since this could & would never happen here. But even if it would, Hamas despite what you may think doesn’t have absolute control over all the territory of Gaza all the time. There are other militant groups which periodically succeed in firing missiles at Israel despite Hamas’ efforts to prevent this. Because of Israel’s homicidal opposition to Hamas ruling Gaza, your country has made it impossible for Hamas to rule this area in the way any normal political movement would rule. Hamas’ police have been routinely murdered (250 alone the first day of Cast Lead) & all the infrastructure of government have been destroyed by Israel. That makes it almost impossible for Hamas to rule in the sense that the U.S. federal gov’t governs this country.

          13. Mary
            i treat you with respect despite the difference of opinions.
            i expect the same.
            please do not accuse me for being high on something, or being delusional.
            either you can deal with my statements in a respectful and meaningful way or you can’t. there is no place in a civilized debate – may it be as harsh as one can be – for “argumentum ad hominem”

          14. Zvi, I had missed your comment about the supposed refusal by Free Gaza Movement to deliver a letter to the prisoner of war Gilad Shalit.

            In fact we responded to the request by offering to deliver such a letter to the UN representative in Gaza. We never received a response to our offer, which led us to conclude that the original request was not sincere but was most likely made so we could be accused of ignoring it.

    2. What’s obscene is that every time a reference to Nazi Germany is made Israel’s supporters scream oy gevalt, they’re comparing us to the Nazis. Aside from the semantic point that you first need to compare to find that two things are not equal, such an equation is not necessarily made. To say the OPT and especially Gaza are like ghettoes is not the same as “Israelis = Nazis”. Likewise the Polish ghettoes were not Auschwitz, even though we now, in hindsight, know they led there. Some of those dead Jews might have eagerly traded Auschwitz for Warsaw after all.

      Using the holocaust card as a publicity stunt – “there’s no business like shoah business” – has been an Israeli speciality for a long time, and yes, it’s outrageous indeed.

    3. You haven’t a clue what Holocaust denial is if you make such an empty claim. YOu may say that his claim is tasteless or offensive to the victims (though you aren’t one yrself). But to go even farther and claim Shapira is a Holocaust denier or anything close is a damn lie.

      Using the Holocaust card is a publicity stunt? What about Shimon Peres’ claim that Iranian nuclear weapons are a flying Holocaust? Did I hear you protest that or the hundreds of other similar references by Israeli political leaders attempting to use these publicity stunts for their own political purposes?

      At least we agree that the Shin Bet shouldn’t interfere w. legal political action & speech.

      1. Trust me, I do know what holocaust denial is. Here’s why I claim it borders on denial. In his message, Yonatan Shapira claims that the Warsaw ghetto (as an example) is somehow similar to today’s Gaza strip. From this similarity, I understand that I can learn more about the Warsaw ghetto by learning about what’s going on in Gaza.

        So here’s what I learn: the population density in Gaza is on the order of 4000 per square km. So, the density in the Warsaw ghetto must have been similar – around 4000 when in fact it was 120,000 per square km – 30 times bigger. And it’s just one way in which the two are different.

        It happens to be a common trick among holocaust deniers – they agree to the measurable facts, like the area of the Warsaw ghetto, and dispute the facts that are harder to prove – exactly how many people were in the Warsaw ghetto.

        So, you see, Yonatan Shapira is doing just that. By comparing the ghettos to today’s Gaza and Palestine, he diminishes the atrocities that were carried out during the Holocaust. That’s called denial.

        As for other uses of the Holocaust card, I’m not happy with those either. I think the “flying holocaust” idea is just as bad. I don’t agree with it or with other similar uses.

        1. So a ghetto is defined by it’s population density?
          You write: Trust me, I do know what holocaust denial is. — No I don’t. No you don’t. You don’t even know what a ghetto is.

          1. Apparently, You could improve your reading comprehension. Note: “And it’s just one way in which the two are different”. A ghetto is by no means defined by population density alone. However, it is one property of a ghetto – packing a lot of people into a small space against their will. Result: high population density.

        2. Trust me


          I do know what holocaust denial is.

          As another commenter said here, clearly you don’t. Yr comment is smoke & mirrors & sophistry. You know perfectly well what Shapira meant by “ghetto” & as an area w. one of the greatest population densities on earth, Gaza qualifies as a ghetto. You also know perfectly well that Gazans are suffering a seige like the Warsaw ghetto w. the main difference being that Israel is allowing international relief agencies to import food so their isn’t the same outright starvation & mortality as in the Warsaw ghetto.

          The only legitimate criticism of Shapira’s comparison is not that is diminishes the suffering of the Jews during WWII, but that it magnifies the suffering of the Gazans & puts it on a par with the Warsaw ghetto. That is an arguable claim on Shapira’s part. But he doesn’t at all diminish the atrocity of the Holocaust as you so vacuously claim.

        3. yakov, you are engaging in pure pilpul when it come to Gaza. As my comment above said (trying to clarify what naziissm might be a oppossed to, say, “mere” fascism), a ghetto, like persecution of minorities is also about INTENT. Let’s face it, we know what the german nazis “intended” for the residents of Warsaw because it happened. They would not have gotten away with carrying it out as compeletly as they did were modern communication mean in place then as they are now. Yet, it is that communication that keeps Israel in check IMO. You know very well what israelis would do to gaza and how they’d “rid” themselves of that “problem” if they only thought they could get away with it. I say you know, because I assume you hear israelis speak among themselves when the cameras and reporters are at bay. Please don’t insult us by pretending you don’t know.

          So in the end, it’ss only the world outside gaza, that knows about the gazans and see them as suffering human beings – that keep the reins on Israel, preventing it from succumbing to it’s worst instincts. yes, there are people like Jonathan – and praise be to them – and then some. And I believe him drawing the parallel he did is based not just on superficial similarity of circumstances of the jailed, but on inside knowledge of INTENT of his own people. That’s IMO is the main reason the analogy is apt, which goes beyond equating specific details of gaza and warsaw.

  7. For all the noise about Shapira’s civil liberties being gently tweaked, please remember that if he were an Arab he would have had the crap kicked out of him, and he would be sitting in an Israeli jail right now.

  8. @ Mary
    Sorry to disappoint. To early to start smoking yet.
    But I like your line of thinking. What you are saying is there was actually a point in time when Palestinians from the west bank and gaza were gainfully employed in Israeli industry. Granted the number was probably much higher than it is today but I would venture to say that it is probabkly still pretty high and that the number of foreign workers is still overshadowed by the Palestinian work force.
    I would also venture to say that during the time you are refering to there was also quite a bit of Palestinian industry and entrepeneurship in the West Bank. As people returned with money to buy goods and services at home. Keeping in mind all along that all this is happening “under the occupation” as you say.

    By the way…Israel is not “importing” foreign workers. What are they merchandise? These people are migrating to Israel, crossing vast expanses of desert, often passing up on the other super economies of ther region (Egypt etc) to come to Israel. Why? Because there is work in Israel. Work created by a spirit of innovation and ingenuity. Which, by the way, if you care to look past your revisionist nose, you will find that many of the Palestinians in the west bank and Gaza cam e to the region at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries following jobs and opportunities created by new jewish farms and settlements.

    Quite the vicicious circle….isn’t it?

    My point…the industrial machine in Israel is big enough to support the entire region in a positive growth pattern, should we all choose to live in peace and not rocket each other. Fighting over a few acres of land should become a mute point when the greater good prevails.

    I charge that the sooner both sides come to this realization the better all around. Seems like you, and your friends here would prefer to disengage completely and continue on the zero sum path of international welfare.

    Your turn to hit the hookah.

    1. Yup. Just like in an earlier post I wrote, the former slaves in the south migrated to the north, in America, looking for jobs. Some found those jobs, but at slave wages, had to live in ghettos, and had no rights to the same facilities as whites, nor the right to vote or participate in normal society. Just like in Israel today. Also, Israel is parceling jobs out to Asian migrant workers, at the expense of the indigenous peoples. Also, there would be no positive growth pattern if the industrial machine in Israel were not financed and supported by the U.S. Without its evil twin, Israel’s economy would collapse. Also, and also, and also, ad infinitum.

      I don’t need a hookah, thanks.

      1. Gene, I fail to see how the black history in America relates to this issue. Israel attracts unskilled labor in the region because it offers *higher* wages than otherwise available. As for participation in society, I assume you mean political participation – i don’t see why Israel should give citizenship to anyone who happen to enter Israel for whatever reason.

        “Also, there would be no positive growth pattern if the industrial machine in Israel were not financed and supported by the U.S”

        Please back this claim with facts. The US supports Israel with 3 billion dollars a year, all of which is spent in the US, on various over-priced weapons manufactured by the US. This is a mainly a defense contractor’s welfare program.

        1. Yakov, the day is coming when Israel will HAVE TO offer citizenship to Palestinians. Get used to it. The two-state solution is dead.

          On the other hand, perhaps the Palestinians will be offering citizenship to Israelis. It’s possible.

          1. I don’t think the two state solution is dead. I think that instead of evacuating some of the settlements, they should be given a Palestinian citizenship in a two state solution. It’s only fair and can actually help the two state solution work.

          2. Why should the Israelis be allowed to keep anything they stole, especially the land where they’ve built Jewish-only settlements? If there were a two state solution and the Jews were allowed to stay in the settlements, they would still be occupying 46 percent of the West Bank. So that’s a ridiculous idea, don’t you think?

          3. I think this is an empty claim on Yakov’s part. He knows that almost no Israeli settlers would remain if their choice was Palestinian citizenship or a return to within the Green Line. But I & the PA itself are more than willing to see settlers remain if they accept this obligation. Very few would, which is why it should not pose any danger to the Palestinian state that is established.

          4. A two state solution entails that the future Palestine be a client state controlled by Israel, which means that for all intents and purposes, it will not differ significantly from an occupation. There would still be economic dependence upon Israel, no Palestinian armed forces, and Israel would still control Palestine’s borders. These are only a few reasons why a two-state solution is untenable.

            We already know, from both Ariel Sharon and Netanyahu, that Israel has no intentions of vacating the settlements in the West Bank, and that they do not even recognize that they are merely occupiers of Jerusalem and that settlements built there are also illegal.

            The idea of a two-state solution is laughable considering these realities.

          5. Jerusalem is an occupied territory ? Since when ?
            until May 15 1948, Jerusalem was an under the ruling of the British empire.
            the population is Jerusalem was composed out of Jews and Arabs. the Jordanian legion who invaded Israel captured, Gush-Ezion, East Jerusalem and the west bank. the Jewish Quarters in the holly city was taken, many synagogues were destroyed, including the Hurva Synagogue (Wikipedia please) which was remodeled in early 2010 and caused a diplomatic crisis (it was originally built in 1700) . between 1948 – 1969 no Palestinian State was created, and no demand for such was ever made. in 1967 Israel liberated places that 19 years earlier were occupied by the Jordanian Legion.

          6. Tzvi, Jerusalem is occupied territory since the UN says it is…


            That’s “since when.”

            “Mr. Falk said the situation in Silwan warrants urgent action by the Israeli Government to prevent the occurrence of serious violations of international law, highlighting the fact that East Jerusalem is occupied territory under international law.”

            Last time I looked, East Jerusalem is part of….Jerusalem.

          7. Mary,
            the UN Human Rights Council isn’t a credible committee.
            east jerusalem is a part of the jerusalem municipality, they do not provide their own municipal services, from trash collecting, to water supply, most residents hold israeli ID cards, collect israel social security and other welfare services, and they are not ready to give it away and trade it for a PA one. as such every resident of the place should obey the law, you can’t build an extension to your house without approving it first, they have done so for years.
            as simple as that.

          8. You seem to be the only one who doesn’t understand that Jerusalem has been occupied since 1967. The UN is credible enough for everyone except Israel (since Israel doesn’t like all those resolutions against it), and the world community concurs in its belief that Jerusalem is occupied.

          9. The same world that denied access to Jews before and during WWII and after news of the massacre in Europe were brought out (including the US)
            the same world that still deals with Iran despite the constant violations of the UN charter by the Iranian president – that world ?
            and just for the record, the world deals with east Jerusalem as an occupied territory not with Jerusalem.

        2. Yakov: i don’t see why Israel should give citizenship to anyone who happen to enter Israel for whatever reason. Me neither. But they do, don’t they, to Jews.

    2. many of the Palestinians in the west bank and Gaza came to the region at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries following jobs and opportunities created by new jewish farms and settlements.

      Here are the productivity numbers of the main crops from a British survey as late as the mid-forties:
      If anything, the share of Jewish farms would have been lower half a century earlier.

  9. Mr. Silverstien
    in your article you state that Yonathan Shapira was a decorated IAF Pilot.
    could you please elaborate on the decoration part ?
    there is no argument that Yonathan was a pilot but he never received any decorations from the IAF.

  10. Greg,

    You’re slandering Palestinians based on a tiny faction who favored the Axis over the Alies in WWII, while disregarding mainstream political thought and military service:

    At the heart of these baseless and base allegations is the fact that the Palestinian Mufti of Jerusalem, Al-Hajj Amin al-Husayni, had close ties to the German leader Adolf Hitler, and even spent part of the war in Berlin. While this much is true, al-Husayni’s sentiments were not those of the overwhelming majority of the Palestinians, to say nothing of the rest of the world’s Muslims. To use al-Husayni’s ties to Hitler as a means to defame and discredit Islam and Muslims as fascists is misleading and has to be challenged.

    In fact, there were several Palestinian brigades and tens of thousands of Palestinians in the British Army who actively fought the spread of fascism. The existence of these Palestinian brigades was more indicative of the mood of the Arab and Muslim masses than al-Husayni’s misguided actions. Therefore, when al-Husayni issued his call for a Muslim jihad against the allied forces his plea was largely ignored. The fascist jihad never materialized. The reason for that is simple. It had no significant support from the masses of Muslims.

    Also, I strongly disagree with your suggestion that living under perpetual 1939 style ghettoization is preferable than being murdered under 1943 style genocide. The two are certainly different in many ways, but both are absolutely horrific.

    Finally, while I do agree with your suggestion that an effective BDS campaign will likely increase Palestinian suffering, I’m also aware of the fact that sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. I’m guessing this is the same reasoning Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu support the BDS movement. If anyone has a better method to persuade Israel to respect human rights and international law, I’m all ears. However, based on your lines of argumentation here, I’m left to figure you have no genuine concern for Palestinians at all.

  11. The issue I find disturbing is Shin Bet’s overt statement that they will interfere in lawful activity aimed at changing the structure of Israel (Jewish/democratic). Diskin was the first honest director to state that in writing and publictly, but it has been the situation from the very beginning. Not only Shin Bet but other defense bodies perceive themselves as “educating bodies”, in terms of ideologies, art, academic research. In some ways, the present situation is healthier than the past, when Shapiro would have been stealthly harassed, so that no Richard could be invoked to help him.
    these facts are known to Israelis (and involved jews) who are older than 40.

    The BDS issue is not different, in this respect, the last “boogie” was the campaign, drafted by Beshara “a state for all its citizens”, and look how it ended (for Beshara et al).

    MY only reservation here is that if you americans now wake up to see realities of Israel, what do u propose to israelis (who are not part of the system you monitor)

    1. You know, Shin Bet does have the legal right to interfere, since an activity to change the status of Israel as Jewish/democratic is itself illegal, under current law. Take for example the “Kach” party which was disbanded because it denounced the democracy.

      Other countries have such laws too. In Germany, it is illegal to be a Nazi or to belong to a Nazi party even if everything’s non-violent. I think the situation is similar in most of Western Europe. There’s something similar in s. Korea. It’s called a defensive democracy, and I, for one, think it’s a dangerous, but good idea.

      As for Beshara, I’m not convinced at all of your claim. Could you point me to some sources on this?

      1. YAKOV, you can find all the material you need via google. I dont want to get into an argument with you, we can do that in Hebrew here in israel. But one point…its one thing to ban a political party from elections, and a totally different thing to arrest people. The term “illegal” is used too freely in your comment. I cannot see how Kach is relevant to my point, and I find the comparisson boring.

      2. an activity to change the status of Israel as Jewish/democratic is itself illegal

        That’s utter bull. There is no law saying it is illegal to advocate that Israel not be a Jewish supremacist state & that it be truly democratic & a state of ALL its citizens. Show me the law.

        Kach denounced democracy. BDS does not denounce democracy. In fact it embraces it & only wishes ALL Israelis had equal democratic rights & Palestinians as well.

        In Germany, it is illegal to be a Nazi

        And you think BDS is equivalent to being a Nazi??

        I wrote 10 or more posts about the railroading of Azmi Bishara. Do a search within my site on his name.

        1. without getting into too much legal analysis here, the fact is that the entire issue IS murky in Israel, because, naturally a “Jewish and democractic state” in itself is a QOAN and not a proper constitutional framework.
          Legally, activity (which of course does not constitute in and of itself an offense, via violence etc.) that aims to undermine “democracy” is subject to legal sanctions of sorts. Similarly, recently, activity that is perceived to undermine the “jewish” part in the same idiom, is treated alike. that’s a slippery slope to use the cliche.
          My take on it, is that whoever coined “jewish and democratic” to begin with was a geniuis. its one of those statements that can distract whole generations, consume energy, allow for tyrrany, allow for “set offs” and dubious comparisons and mainly can medically inflict psychosis to entire groups.

        2. I think that the claim about activity to change the status of the Israeli state from jewish and democratic is a reference to the 1999 Basic Law which says

          ” not only upon a party of candidates list but also upon each individual, separately:

          “7A. A candidates list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset, and a person shall not be a candidate for election to the Knesset, if the goals or actions of the list or the actions of the person, expressly or by implication, include one of the following: (…) (1) negation of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state; (…)” [2]

          —Basic Law: The Knesset (1999)[2]

          Chief Justice Barak gave this interpretation of what a was meant by a jewish state

          “Concerning the minimal interpretation of “a Jewish State”, Justice Aharon Barak ruled that:

          “What, then are the ‘core’ characteristics shaping the minimum definition of the State of Israel as a Jewish State? These characteristics come from the aspects of both Zionism and heritage. At their center stands the right of every Jew to immigrate to the State of Israel, where the Jews will constitute a majority; Hebrew is the official and principal language of the State and most of its fests and symbols reflect the national revival of the Jewish People; The heritage of the Jewish People is a central component of its religious and cultural legacy”.

          —Aharon Barak 11280/02

          This is what is used periodically to try to ban the political parties of the Palestinian citizens of Israel. As I understand it, the activity itself isn’t illegal, it is only illegal to have a political party which advocates ending the jewish democratic state. It all seems quite unclear whether one can have a truly democratic state of all its citizens under this law. I got most of this from wikipedia, you can read it here at


          Sorry, my internet is quite slow, so hard to find the complete text of 1999 law, which I understand to be rewrite of a 1985 law…

          1. I completely disagree with Barak’s definition of what Israel should be. So how can I still be a Zionist? Perhaps there’s something lacking both in the Basic Law & in Barak’s narrow interpretation of what Israel should be? I choose democracy. Barak chooses something less than that.

          2. To be honest I’m not sure how you can still be a zionist. But then again I am relatively anti zionist. What does your zionism mean to you? How much of zionist thought (the wide stream) do you disagree with? How much of it do you find horrific? A question for you. What would have to happen in mainstream zionism for you to want to disassociate from it? It isn’t as if Justice Barak is an extremist, he is a quite middle of the road zionist.

    2. Iras,

      I recommend moving to the US and helping to promote the the BDS movement and such here. The Israeli establishment couldn’t get away with what they’re doing without the backing of the US establishment, and the US establishment can only get away with that as long as they keep the population in the dark about what is really going on. As so many of my fellow US citizens have been mislead to believe the conflict is rooted in Islamic based hatred, the more Israeli Jews who come here to speak the truth of the matter, the better.

      1. Kayleb, the name is Iris.
        Thanks for sincere and practical response. I agree that the center of influence/activity is the USA. You cannot seriously propose that all dissidents move to the USA, immediately and start to act there in this matter. Not only is it practically impossible (visa ? money?), but it is much more difficult for an Israeli (or former Israeli) to engage in this struggle.
        Since I have been in that situation during the second iraq war, and have experienced the pressures from my government and compatriots to stop involvement in the anti war activity, I can tell you that your suggestion is not serious, unless you people over there deliberate on how to assist Israelis in this matter, for the sake of this struggle. I think that would piss Shin Bet more than direct reproach.

        I have seen more political assistance extended to africans, arabs and eurasians in the USA (by Jewish liberals) than to israelis who blow the whistle on their gov, or oppose it in critical issues.
        Its one thing to blog vehemently against Shit Bet,(and imply that all Israelis are collaborators) from your couch in Vermont, then to realize what people are actually up against. That’s my constant comment, more or less in those discussions. i sometimes get the impressions that there is some mental objection to israelis who do not fit the desired model of a fascist racist soldier, because if we do exist, who are you going to whip, to differentiate yourself from “the shaddow” ?

        1. Iris,

          My misspelling of your name was a brainfart, and I apologise for that. I’m guessing your misspelling of my name wasn’t an accident, but it doesn’t really matter to me either way.

          As for my suggestion; sure it’s not any easy answer, but getting a visa and a source of income isn’t impossible either, and worrying about what pisses Shit Bet off only serves to let the warmongers win (and I’ll bet calling them “Shit Bet” pisses them off, but I like your play on words). As for not all Israelis being fascist bigots; I’m well aware of that fact, but I’m also aware of what a small minority the rest of you are, so I can’t rightly expect you to change things from inside such a state. That said, if you can suggest any means which I could help further political assistance to Israelis like yourself, I’d be happy to hear them.

          1. Ok, Kyleb we had our share of typos…:)

            Amen, I am going to be a willing participant in any discussion of the issue, as I see it as very important, and personal as well. I think this merits more than a sidetrack of this post, but yes, that’s better than nothing.

            I am glad you dont see my suggestion as irrelevant or annoying. I think if there was a directed effort, or intention, to propose assistance in such cases, it would make a great impact for the better. Some people need to relocate, some need “backing” (or monitoring, such as this blog affords) while in israel, some would rather not relocate to the USA where the situation could be worse for them. (see the Shamai Leibowitz fiasco) yet they could benefit from Jewish American assistance to relocate elsewhere on the globe.

            This requires sincerity on behalf of both groups, as to the real situation and the real obligations and responsibilities of american liberal Jews, to what evolved here and became a major risk factor and life threatening situation to some Israelis from their own gov/kin.

            If I prompted in some way a thought in that direction, on more general terms, i feel content.

          2. Iris,

            I didn’t mean to suggest that life would be better for you in the US, though I disagree with your suggestion that it would be worse. While our establishment is just as fascist as yours, our population is far too multicultural to descend to the same level of bigotry, and largely just lets our establishment get away with what they do out of naivety rather than conscious support.

            Anyway, what I was suggesting is that you could be more effective in promoting change here than in Israel, or anywhere else for that matter. That said, if you are just looking for an easy out, Argentina is very nice, I’d likely move there myself if I ever lost hope in reforming the US.

          3. Hwy Kyleb, i’m giong to buy tickets to buenos aires and polish my spanish (from watching Dora).;))

  12. Again, here is more evidence that when Netanyahu refers to “values” being shared by the U.S. and Israel, he is correct. http://alethonews.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/holy-land-5-case-reveals-double-standard-in-enforcement-of-us-law/

    Secret evidence from Israeli intelligence in an American court, has condemned the Holy Land 5 to, in one case, 65 years in jail.

    BDS against Israel, as Shir Hever, shows in this Real News video is a way to discipline both the U.S. and Israel by attacking them where they it hurts — in the economy.


  13. RE :”The difference between here and Israel is that we have a constitution and checks and balances…” – R.S.
    SEE: Israel Stops Listening to Its Judges – By Jonathan Cook, Counterpunch, 07/15/10

    (excerpts) The Israeli government is facing legal action for contempt over its refusal to implement a Supreme Court ruling that it end a policy of awarding preferential budgets to Jewish communities, including settlements, rather than much poorer Palestinian Arab towns and villages inside Israel…
    …Critics have accused the government of violating the rule of law and warned that the defiance has been possible chiefly because right-wing politicians and religious groups have severely eroded the Supreme Court’s authority over the past few years.
    Senior members of the current right-wing government of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, including the justice minister, Yaakov Neeman, have repeatedly criticized the court for what they call its “judicial activism”, or interference in matters they believe should be decided by the parliament alone.
    Legal experts, however, warn that, because Israel lacks a constitution, the court is the only bulwark against a tyrannical Jewish majority abusing the rights of the country’s 1.3 million Palestinian citizens, as well as 4 million Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza.
    Ilan Saban, a law professor at Haifa University, said: “Unlike most — if not all — other democracies, Israel lacks a political culture that respects limits on the power of the majority.”
    Even the protections offered by Israel’s basic laws, he said, were not deeply entrenched and could easily be re-legislated. The lack of both a formal constitution and a tradition of political tolerance, he added, was “a dangerous cocktail”.
    Israel’s liberal Haaretz newspaper went further, warning recently that, in “slandering the judiciary”, government officials had provoked a crisis that could “lead to the destruction of Israeli democracy”…

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.counterpunch.org/cook07162010.html

    1. P.S. FROM URI AVNERY, 07/20/10:

      …there is no brake. The production of irresponsible laws, most of them racist and anti-democratic, is booming. The more the government itself is turning into an assembly of political hacks, the more the likelihood of its preventing such legislation is diminishing. The present government, the largest, basest and most despised in Israel’s history, is cooperating with the Knesset members who submit such bills, and even initiating them itself.
      The only remaining obstacle to this recklessness is the Supreme Court. In the absence of a written constitution, it has taken upon itself the power to annul scandalous laws that violate democracy and human rights. But the Supreme Court itself is beleaguered by rightists who want to destroy it, and is moving with great caution. It intervenes only in the most extreme cases…

      SOURCE – http://www.counterpunch.org/avnery07202010.html

  14. @Richard
    Rare is teh occasion that we agree on most points throughout one of your 60+ comment threads. You see there is hope.
    I noted however, that you censored my link above due to its “propoganda” nature, yet you allowed every other link on here. I do not see how any other link up here can not be classified as propoganda and therefore should be removed as well.


    1. Show me a link you define as “propaganda” & I’ll explain why it isn’t. Read my comment rules about links. I don’t allow links to sites that are racist or which demonize a particular ethnic group or religion as the one you linked to did.

  15. not sure why the israeli government is concerned with the bds movement..it is an utter failure

    its now going on 10 years, and israel is one of the few countries who was not hard hit by the world wide economic collapse…mostly because its economy is based on exports…which are 50 percent of its gdp

    but ok…so they brought the guy in to harass him

    seems he has been brought in many times before…mostly for interfering with border police activities….so he should be pretty used to it.

    but to say this sort of thing never happens in america is to deny reality

    whitewater investigation….destroyed lives….when the fbi did their investigations, those who requested attys were threatened

    the entire patriot act allows the feds to go through your email and online activity…without a court order

    it is just a mistake to say that israel is worse than other democracies

    would be nice if they were better….but they definitely arent worse

    1. I can’t find a single accurate statement or claim in yr comment. The BDS movement is NOT 10 yrs old; neither is it a failure. I wouldn’t say it’s a success yet either. The jury is out on it.

      israel is one of the few countries who was not hard hit by the world wide economic collapse…mostly because its economy is based on exports

      Israel’s economy was affected by the collapse, but not the extent that other countries were. If it wasn’t affected it had to be due to another reason than exports since the collapse meant that affected nations could not afford to purchase Israeli products. Neither of us is an economist so I don’t want to make claims as blithely as you about this. But I strongly doubt you’re right about the reason Israel hasn’t been affected as much as others.

      so he should be pretty used to it.

      By that reasoning, after the first attempt to execute a convicted murderer fails they should try again since he should’ve been ‘pretty used’ to the execution the first time. The real question is why should Shapira be questioned at all, not that this should be pro forma for him.

      whitewater investigation….destroyed lives

      There was a genuine crime alleged in that case. There is NO crime alleged in Shapira’s case. You do understand the diff. don’t you?

      the entire patriot act allows the feds to go through your email and online activity…without a court order


      it is just a mistake to say that israel is worse than other democracies

      No, alas not a mistake. And Israel isn’t really a democracy. It fancies itself one. But it’s a lot more complicated than that I’m afraid.

  16. The title of your post is inaccurate. It was not about hurting Shin Beth feelings, it was about hurting many people’s feelings. I appreciate very much Jonathan Shapira, but this act for me was repulsive; moreover, it was not intelligent.
    The Palestinians’ situation is very bad. Still, there were some atrocities in world’s history, Shoah being one of them, which were much worse. What to do?
    We are not running a competition here whose disaster was worse. To compare the situation of the Palestinians to the Shoah is like to say that it is not bad if it is not AS bad, and nothing less than that deserves our compassion. Did the Shoah really desensitize us that much that nothing less than that matters?
    The Palestinians’ situation is very bad and the issue has to be solved; there is no need for such exagerated arguments to make this point. Their effect is just the opposite, undermining the credibility of those who use them.

    1. It was not about hurting Shin Beth feelings, it was about hurting many people’s feelings.

      So I see, because Shapira “hurt” your feelings & those of “many” other Israelis he deserved to be hauled in for questioning by the Shin Bet??? Do you really believe that?

      Personally, I was not at all offended by what Shapira did. And I say this as someone who as written about & studied the Holocaust & helped survivors write oral histories. I understand that there was an element of political theater in what Shapira did. YOu unfortunately did not live through the antics of Jerry Rubin & Abbie Hoffman and the Yippies who pulled pranks that were far more outrageous. The way you provoke thought & debate is sometimes by outrageous stunts that do just that. What Shapira did though was serious as a heart attack & I commend him for it, while also noting that the suffering of the Holocaust should not be made equal to the suffering of the Palestinians.

      1. I would be grateful if you did not put words into my mouth. As one can see in my reply, I said nothing about Shapira’s questioning by the Shin Bet or its justification.

        You were not offended and you “say this as someone who as written about & studied the Holocaust & helped survivors write oral histories”. I was offended and so were very many (without quotation mark) of my acquaintants, and I say it just as a private person, although I might add that most of my family perished during Shoah and four of them spent some time in Warshaw Ghetto. But I don’t link between the two, just as I don’t link it with other things I do. For me Shoah is not, or not mainly, a Jewish issue.

        As to the ways to provoke thought and debate – if one wants them to be serious, it should be done in a serious, truthful and reliable way; exagerations, at least inside Israel (where I live) do not impress anybody here, on the contrary. And certainly not by acts which alienate many (or “many”, if you wish) of the peace supporters.

  17. Advice to Palestinians: Convert to Judaism. You will then have the “right to return” as all other Jews have. Create one democratic state, with a constitution, that serves all citizens equally. Later on, after all is calm, you can practice any religion you wish. (I may have suggested this before.)

  18. With a smile, Yonatan should have cordially invited Rona and her security guard to join him at the next Bil’in protest.

  19. East Jerusalem is part of Jerusalem, is it not? I have seen in many middle eastern news media that it is referred to as “Occupied Jerusalem.”

    Picky, picky, picky, Zvi. Try again.

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