Israeli police have just succeeding in murdering peace (Hebrew)–or at least the voice of peace that Israelis and Palestinians can hear on the radio. Police summoned the Radio Kol HaShalom (“All for Peace” Radio, which is a play on Kol HaShalom, Abie Natan’s radio station which was called “Voice of Peace”) station director to a three-hour interrogation under warning (anything he said could be used to build a criminal case against him), during which they demanded that he sign a statement agreeing to cease broadcasts to Israel (not I presume to Palestinians, though it would be hard to beam a signal that reached one but not the other). They also demanded that he call the station and direct the radio engineer to take the station off the air. If he refused, he was told that police would raid the station and do it themselves. Presumably, they’d confiscate the radio equipment which had taken months and months to arrive from abroad due to delays imposed by, you guessed it, the Israeli police, who didn’t want the station to go on air to begin with.
The blog post I linked to notes that staff of the station met a number of times during the seven years it was on air with officials of the ministry of communication, including the minister Eli Attias. Not once did any civilian official complain about the station or threaten to take it off the air. Now, all of a sudden, the ministry has decided that the “law” must be upheld. It should be noted that the station has sought a license from Israel for years to broadcast and the government has never approved one. This conveniently has allowed the authorities to do precisely what they did. This is freedom of expression and a free press, Israel-style.
The station has been off-air since November 17th. It had broadcast a mix of talk shows, interviews, and pop music. I’ve listened to and been interviewed by the station and it wasn’t incendiary or politically radical at all. It had a feel-good self-help orientation and attempted to promote fairly innocuous values of brotherhood and tolerance without engaging in political advocacy. It did, however, explicitly endorse a two-state solution. Apparently, that isn’t a political program endorsed by the Israeli police.
The station also endorsed freedom of speech and democratic values for both societies. Apparently free speech and democracy are also threatening to the government censors otherwise known as the police.
Among the issues the station addressed was women’s rights and sexual violence, a criticism the pro-Israel crowd loves to point up as a “deficiency” of “Arab culture.” The police never stopped to think that All for Peace might actually encourage Palestinians to believe that Israelis want peace. Or perhaps that’s what threatened them because the police don’t believe in peace, but rather prefer constant tension and conflict. After all, this would mean a career of full employment and high budgets for them.
In Palestine, All for Peace broadcasts legally and the PA has never had a problem with its programming. One can presume though that if an East Jerusalem kindergarten can be shuttered by the police because its founders are alleged terrorists, that pop music that could be heard by both Israelis and Palestinians would be considered equally subversive.
The Israeli blog reporting this story closed with this passage:
It seems that during these days in which the Israeli Knesset is beset by a wave of anti-democratic legislation, the authorities saw fit to stop the broadcast of the sole station which enabled, in an open studio, deliberations on behalf of democracy.
All for Peace Radio was a small media fry in the Israeli pond. It was no Channel 10 or Haaretz. But it was the canary in the coal mine. As went All for Peace so will go Channel 10. Bibi Netanyahu prefers to control the media to the extent he can. That is why all he may need to do is silence these media outlets for the others to get the message if they cross they line they’ll be punished as well.
The station will continue to fight for its right to broadcast and appeal the decision. The next time you hear Abe Foxman and Alan Dershowitz crowing about Israeli democracy, remember posts like this. On a related matter, I’m also tickled by Gershon Gorenberg’s new book which also touts Israeli democracy, according to this Amazon blurb:
Refuting…strident attacks [against Israel], Gorenberg shows that the Jewish state is, in fact, unique among countries born in the postcolonial era: It began as a parliamentary democracy and has remained one. An activist judiciary has established civil rights. Despite discrimination against its Arab minority, Israel has given a political voice to everyone within its borders.
To be fair, something Gorenberg wasn’t to me when he lied in calling me an anti-Zionist, Gorenberg does criticize Israel and its democracy. But clearly he’s a liberal throwing a sop to all those classical Zionists who can’t bear the thought that they’ve lost the cherished Zionist dream of an exclusivist Jewish state. He allows liberal Zionists to clear their conscience by conceding there are things wrong with Israel, while desperately clinging to the concept that Israel, as expressed in contemporary terms, remains fundamentally sound.
For those in the hasbara crowd who go through this blog with a fine tooth, these comments are not meant to be construed as a denunciation of Israel as a nation, but rather a criticism of the current undemocratic ways in which it is governed. Contrary to Gorenberg (at least as represented in this blurb), Israel does not give a political voice to “everyone” within its borders. It gives full voice to Jewish citizens and a muffled voice at best to Palestinian citizens. That is why Gorenberg, Ethan Bronner, and the liberal Zionists do such a disservice to Israeli political reality and their readers beyond its borders.
- Gorenberg says a one-state solution would produce another Lebanon (mondoweiss.net)
- Gorenberg Refuses to Correct ‘Anti-Zionist’ Smear (richardsilverstein.com)
Richard, do you still stand by your view that the attack on the Habad house in Mumbai, in which an non-Zionist Rabbi and his wife (not to mention their baby smothered by the nanny) was not antisemitic but rather anti-Zionist?
I think we should be told.
Richard Silverstein says
Not only have you erred in portraying my views which are public record if you’d bother to read them, you have erred in describing the Chabad movement’s stance toward Israel. More importantly, this is off topic. If you stray off topic again thereby breaking the comment rules, you will be moderated. If you want to act like a troll I’ll treat you like one.
Closing down media is just another indication that you arent free to say what you want in Israel. It follows attacks on Peace activists in Israel and its follow the draconian bills in knesset trying to make the life of peace-engaging NGOs hard.
Speaking on democracy, it could be worth noting that the israeli population arent democratic, rather they favor a ethnocratic society (in the same way Saudi Arabia favor a religious society) as soon as you privilege and try to “purify” a state you have no democracy, if Israel want to be a ethnocratic state go ahead but dont try to call yourself a democratic nation. The subject is interesting and a bit hilarious and ironic since we constantly hear that it is the “only democracy” in the middle east.
“Israel Democracy Institute poll shows only 51% think Arabs, Jews deserve equal rights; Israel ranked least-stable democracy in the world.”
It could also be a reminder for people to look into how Likud view the palestinians and peace process, one word: rejectionism:
And people complain on the palestinians? Likud outright say they refuse to stop settlements, refuse to stop annexing Jerusalem, refuse to give palestinian a state (even refuse soverign rule).
Everything evovles around israeli interest and palestinians arent that much worth according to Likud, which proves an underlying despicable attitude towards “the others” – palestinians.
Why arent this published in the mainstream media? Palestinians have been scrutinized for years, have been sanctioned et.c. its about time, long overdue that Israel gets exposed for a broader audience.
I think Richard may be’ a little too quick on the draw’. (No violence intended Richard).
The “law” in question has not been passed, and is nothing more than a bill. And, as made plainly clear on Ha’aretz’s very own home page Prime Minister Netanyahu has now indefinitely frozen the law, I mean bill. Oops.
h/t to CAMERA
Richard Silverstein says
Bibi didn’t freeze the bill because all of a sudden he’s become a liberal democrat. That Haaretz article you mentioned & didn’t seem to read noted that a torrent of criticism has inundated Bibi fr the EU to U.S. decrying the anti-democratic nature of the bills & the opprobrium which Israel would suffer should it enact them. Had there been no such outcry the bills would already be law.
I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t even know of the existance of this radio station, and I see myself as a relatively “aware” person.
But there is still hope as they can continue as do as Arutz 7 do and “broadcast” from the internet site from some place outside of Israeli jurisdiction. Arutz 7 was also banned from broadcasting for similar reasons from the “other” side of the political spectrum, that they were not willing to subject their content to government regulation. (Another form of State censorship!)
Instead we now have “Galei Yisrael” which serves as the mouthpiece of the right, and also “Reshet Moreshet” which actually is part of the official Reshut Hashidur. Both are exclusively pro right of Bibi. (But sometimes have good music!)
And the right claims that the media is left wing…
The station wasn’t closed. it can still broadcast on the internet.
“Among the issues the station addressed was women’s rights and sexual violence, a criticism the pro-Israel crowd loves to point up as a “deficiency” of “Arab culture.””
I don’t understand this sentence. since when women’s rights are part of the Arab culture?
The non-issuance of a permit is a long-standing Israeli tactic, usually used to prevent Palestinians from building houses (i.e., without a permit). Nothing special, nothing of note in this story. NO PERMIT? RAUS!!
No, the real question is why Israel arrogates to itself the right to create a regime of permits and then denies a permit without a suitable reason. Israel says: We are a democracy! anyone with a permit can operate a radio station and say what they want (within reason). Did (this) Kol Hashalom not have a permit? Then it must close! All very democratic. But why no permit? NOT DISCUSSED, NOT A MATTER OF DEMOCRACY AT ALL. Probably no bribe paid or the like ??!!
Everybody knows that Israel is the only western democracy in the region except those who actually know better. Israel is engaging more and more with state control of media don behalf of a privileged ethnocracy. Israel copes with inconvenient ideas and debate is by underhanded and indirect methods, informed by unstated principles, and overstated simplifications, that is, through distortions and indirection. Israel seems to me pretty sleazy in this regard, doing things underhandedly.. I mean to say that the “permit” business is sleazy but characteristic, which is sort of what Richard is saying as well. I would have more tolerance, at least, for straight “strongman” anti-democratic dictatorship than with these indirect, disingenuous, distorted bag of tricks used daily by the power elite to stifle debate particularly debate about Israel’s policy of destroying every trace of Palestinian life now just as in 1948. Police harassment is another ugly face of the state, as are Bibi’s threatened reprisals for the reporting of his many ethical transgressions. The blockade of Gaza, for another example, is ostensibly for “security” purposes, but then why seize and hold a boat carrying letters? Or consider the “peace process” that never was. It is this endless stream of lies, half-truths, false rules, contradictory self-justifications and excuses, endless accusations of world anti-semitism, etc. that is so overwhelming and disturbing to me. . I think this particular mix of anti-democratic methods is also all the more indecent for its very indirection. Some light unto the nations.
No censorship hey?
Democracy is that people can speak out, can say their opinions, can speak their mind, and are able WITHOUT restrictions and or limitations by authorities to tell others what they think!
Israel has become the 4th Reich (following the principles of adolf hitler and his scum and butchers!)!
Why does someone like Adrian always have to take things to extremes?
So Israel is not “the only democracy” and there is censorship of the media, a bad state that needs urgent and drastic change – but the f**k does Hitler and the “fourth Reich” have to do with it?
Israel is not totalitarian, still actually has democratic elections, and has never banned foreign internet sites or other media from being available in Israel. The don’t jam radio and don’t close or hack servers.
Calm down Adrian!
Because Jews have been targeted by the Third Reich, some people take a perverse pleasure in comparing Israel exactly with that. (Such as calling Israel the Fourth Reich.) What can I say? It is a sick urge.
So what should you do, ignore it? That would probably be best, but hard because it is so hurtful.
Israel (and my country and other countries too) should be judged for what they are (as far as this can be objectively determined). Comparisons with this and that are appealing because they are easy, but they only muddle things.
I agree that Adrian goes too far. Israel disappoints me tremendously and there are unsavory analogies with repressive regimes throughout history. I would regard “4th Reich” as a shorthand for frustration with the state of Israel. It was, no doubt, intended to hurt and give someone pause to reconsider Israel’s repressions and it may actually work in this regard. Still, it is overdone and artless.
Dear Elisabeth, I thank so you for labeling my opinion as sick, and hurtful.
I do thank you because I indeed think that what the state of Israel is doing is sick, and worse then what happened and was done in and during the reign of adolf hitler! Israel claims to be a free country, but meanwhile limits the democratic freedoms of its citizens, in ways and manners that no democratic country would ever accept or condone!
Israel needs to be judged for what they are, do and lack doing, indeed! I think that what the state of Israel is doing is wrong, sick and foul, and deserves only deep and utter contempt, by and through what the state of Israel has been doing, and is doing, to its own citizens and the people it occupies, it shows contempt for every democratic freedom and democratic right! I am fully in favor that every state should be judged for what it does, and fails to do….. BUT… then judge it for what it actually does, and fails to do, and not for what it claims to be……
I have no sick urges about Israel, I did compare the present state of what is happening within the state of Israel to something that happened to the ancestors of the present rulers of Israel….. And that comparison is present… look at facts…
Richard Silverstein says
This is a completely unacceptable comment here. You have not read the comment rules, clearly, as you should have. Usually I give violators a 2nd chance, but yr violation is so egregious that you are gone.
Steve McNally says
Sorry Richard – but how is this post against your rules?
I’m new to it, and I respect your rules, but this seems to me an opinion post.
Steve McNally says
(Can I just add that the best mentor I had in my life was a Jewish gent – I love Jewish people – bloody marvellous folks I find)
I’m just dismayed by the lack of progress in the ongoing mess. Likud, Hamas, the PLO – all bear some responsiblity.
Israel must row back on settlement borders. Anything else is so much talk.
Well, IF the state if Israel is NOT totalitarian… why then is there the military censor, who cenosrs the opinions of people?
IF there are democratic elections, why then are people not free to speak their opinions?
I like to point out that were it concerns foreign opinions on for instance the occupation of the Gaza strip the newspapers are censored in publishing these opinions… I think that is blocking foreign opinions from reaching Israelies inside the state of Israel……
As to calming down… you haven’t seen me being agitated! (grins)
As to the reference to nazi-germany… you may recall the history of the state of Israel, and what happened with and to people with the jewish faith then and there…. they were murdered, excluded from certain jobs, were denied the right to speak their opinions, and were murdered for it…. The reign of adolf hitler was referred to as Third Reich, and as, in my opinion the state of Israel is at this moment doing exactly what the nazis did then, they can be referred to as the Fourth Reich, at least acting upon the principles of oppression and suppression of all kinds of democratic rights!
Anyway, my opinion(s) may be more harsher then those of others, they are mine.. and I have the right to ouser them… right?
Richard Silverstein says
I banned him. Let me know if you think I overreacted, Shmuel. His nonsense is just so over the top & foolish.
I don’t think you over reacted.
I personally find all holocaust comparisons to be based on ignorance as to the pure evil of nazism, and to the lack of depth of understanding of the compared subject.
Richard Silverstein says
Right, I agree. Anyone who can claim that Israel is worse than Hitler is full of hot air, to say the least (& I mean THE LEAST).
If you want to compare Israel with other countries there are many countries to choose from. If people chose Nazi Germany I think this is often because of what the Nazi’s did to the Jews, not because Israel can be compared to Nazi Germany in any reasonable way.
The idea is probably that if you throw a people their greatest trauma in their faces, they will listen to you. Well, it does not work that way. And secondly the comparison is unreasonable and hurtful in itself.
The station managers plan to turn to the courts in the days to come in order to overturn the decision of the Communications Ministry. I hope the station succeeds.
Mary Hughes-Thompson says
I’m surprised this group didn’t appear to know that the single word that is most frightening to Israel’s leaders is “Peace.” We who have suffered through hours of interrogation at Ben Gurion Airport or one of the bridges crossing Palestinian territory from Jordan have long known that whatever we say our reasons for visiting Palestine are, we must not ever use this word which would guarantee we are denied entry.
War has allowed Israel to expand in territory. Peace is undesirable given Zionist ambitions.
RE: “Gorenberg does criticize Israel and its democracy. But clearly he’s a liberal throwing a sop to all those classical Zionists who can’t bear the thought that they’ve lost the cherished Zionist dream…” ~ R.S.
Sonny Clark: Deep In A Dream [1961, no vocal] (VIDEO, 06:47) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPKRQvmLlq0
The Artie Shaw Orchestra with Helen Forrest: Deep In a Dream  (VIDEO, 03:53) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jO9gP_eF8H4