Thanks to Shmuel, a long-time Israeli reader who was visiting a Haredi community, Beitar, and tried unsuccessfully to access my blog. Using the ISP Etrog, he received the following message:
This site is blocked by Etrog Internet.
In the event that you think this is an error, click here…
Search Content Staff
Apparently, for Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community, Tikun Olam ranks up there with pornography and snuff films. This begins to remind me of Google’s troubles with the Chinese censors who banned websites sympathetic to such dissident movements as Falun Gong. So mazel tov, users of Etrog, your minder/censors have determined the ideas at this site are too threatening for you to be allowed to see.
If I wanted to be charitable I’d acknowledge there is a post featuring a picture of a scantily clad Israeli club DJ and one post that makes a reference to gay pornography (in a totally non-prurient manner, I swear). I suppose it’s possible that a Haredi search for such naughty words/images might’ve determined my site was treif. I’ve written to the ISP to determine the reason I’ve been banned.
If you’re a Hebrew reader you can also witness the deep suspicion in which the Haredi world holds the internet. In fact, in 2009 a rabbinic court ordered the two major ultra Orthodox websites to close down. So that would explain its current stringent standards of censorship, though not justify them.
To those who support the settler movement, you might want to give some thought to how they would structure their new Jewish state once the likes of Moshe Feiglin took control of government. Banning and internet censorship such as this would be pro forma, as it is in such hotbeds of democracy and religious freedom as Iran, North Korea and China.
Welcome to Israeli democracy!
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.