Israeli State Implicated in Criminal Acts Against Human Rights Lawyer
Back in 2010, Im Tirzu (Fascists) published the private legal work product of Israeli human rights attorney, Michael Sfard, regarding the human rights work of his NGO clients. At the time, Sfard believed that Im Tirzu itself had broken into his offices to pilfer the confidential documents. As one would expect, given the Israeli police record of defending the rights of left-wing NGOs, the police closed the case for “lack of evidence.”
These legal materials were published in Sheldon Adelson’s Yisrael HaYom, the newspaper founded by the billionaire to get Netanyahu into the prime minister’s office and keep him there. The article claimed that Yesh Din, one of Sfard’s clients sought to classify IDF military assaults against Gaza as war crimes. Im Tirzu believed that such exposure would shame the NGO in the eyes of the Israeli public and forever mark it as a traitor to the Israeli State.
Haaretz’s best investigative journalist, Uri Blau, who now lives in exile in the U.S. after being labelled a criminal for reporting IDF secrets, reported that the stolen documents were procured by another right-wing NGO, Regavim. This group’s mission is to prove that rather than Israelis violating international law by stealing Palestinian land, it is Palestinians who are violating Israeli law in the West Bank. It’s a warped and twisted view of reality, but that’s what characterizes latter-day Israel.
Regavim thrives in the Wild West atmosphere of Likudist Israel. Like Ad Kan, it’s a rough-and-tumble outfit that uses whatever means at its disposal, legal or illegal, to bolster the Occupation and settlement enterprise. In this case, Blau shows conclusively that Regavim hired a private detective to break into Sfard’s office and steal legal materials. This is of course a grave offense. Not that the police will actually arrest anyone for the crime. The goal of the scheme was to prove that Sfard was collaborating with Israeli enemies in the EU in support of the BDS movement.
Blau discovered that Regavim had paid the PI for his work and that, since over one-third of Regavim’s funding comes from governmental entities (like Settler Councils and the like) that it’s quite possible that the Israeli taxpayer paid for the break-in. The costs of the PI’s three-year surveillance of Sfard’s office could’ve have been as much as $250,000.
The PI defends his actions by claiming that he never broke into Sfard’s office. But rather that he sifted through the office trash and discovered all the documents there. I interviewed Sfard, who disputed this characterization. He notes that Im Tirzu released print-outs of e-mail and other electronic communication which would not have been in printed form in his office or in the trash. He also notes that the rightist NGO made public actual notebooks, which would never have been disposed of in the trash.
The final indignity of this scandal is that Regavim’s chief legal officer, and the employee who would likely have approved the hiring of the PI, was none other than Bezalel Smotrich. Though Smotrich coyly denies involvement, he is a devout Kahanist and Bayit Yehudi MK. He is infamous for calling himself a “proud homophobe” who hosted a “Day of the Beasts” to protest Israel’s Gay Pride Day. Which means that a sitting MK appears likely to have committed an act that in most other countries would be a felony. And that he likely used state funds to do it.
What all this means is that the Israeli State itself has become a partner in crime. There is a vast right-wing conspiracy to transform Israel into a settler state, in which the West Bank will become indivisible from Israel through annexation or another form. While I would welcome annexation because it would expose for the world the fraudulence of Israeli policy and force the former to act, admittedly this is a very dangerous option. If the world doesn’t stand up in full force to oppose annexation and impose a just solution, Israel will have gotten away with, literally, murder.
That being said, this doesn’t mean I back away from exposing the plans of the settler lobby. If their goal is to destroy the possibility of Palestine via annexation, I want to make their job as difficult as possible.
11 thoughts on “Israeli State Implicated in Criminal Acts Against Human Rights Lawyer – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Richard said: “As one would expect, given the Israeli police record of defending the rights of left-wing NGOs, the police closed the case for “lack of evidence.”
That’s not fair Richard.
Haaretz said that, ” In a years-long probe, police questioned several people under caution, including the founder of the right-wing movement Im Tirtzu, and found that between 2010 and 2013 Sfard and his office had been placed under the surveillance of a private detective.”
“However, the police did not find who had commissioned the probe, and around six months ago they closed the case.”
The police spent years investigating the alleged break-in and evenquestioned Im Tirtzu’s founder.
Factual correction, Blau is not in exile. He returned to Israel, signed a plea bargain, and performed 4 months of community service for his crime. He wrote about the experience here –
If he is in the states now (I don’t believe so – but I don’t keep tabs on him to that degree) it is not due to fleeing the Israeli Justice system.
Regarding Sfard, there is nothing wrong (other than the smell) in going through trash that is in the public domain (though it is interesting he is claiming non-trash info was recovered).
On should also note that there are some that see LAWFARE as a form of warfare. In accordance to this view people engaging in hostile lawfare would be equivalent to engaging in hostile warfare.
“Regarding Sfard, there is nothing wrong (other than the smell) in going through trash that is in the public domain (though it is interesting he is claiming non-trash info was recovered).
On should also note that there are some that see LAWFARE as a form of warfare. In accordance to this view people engaging in hostile lawfare would be equivalent to engaging in hostile warfare.”
Oh come on – going through trash and coming up with complete documents? Who do you expect to believe that.? “He (Sfard) notes that Im Tirzu released print-outs of e-mail and other electronic communication which would not have been in printed form in his office or in the trash. He also notes that the rightist NGO made public actual notebooks, which would never have been disposed of in the trash”.
Hostile lawfare/warfare? Hostile to whom? To war criminals and land thieves? Don’t you see that it is people like Sfard who belong to the “righteous Jews” who, when the final judgment of history is in, might be seen as the only ones who partly made up for their country’s crimes.
“Haaretz’s best investigative journalist, Uri Blau, who now lives in exile in the U.S. after leaving prison…” This statement is not true. Blau did not go to prison, he was sentence to four months of community service in a plea bargain: http://news.walla.co.il/item/2564052 (Hebrew).
@Truthseeker. Right. I confused his sentence with Anat Kamm’s. She did go to prison. But he was forced by the State to confess to a serious crime which in almost all other countries would be call “journalism.”
The old adage of people living in glass houses…..
Kamm leaked thousands of classified documents. Kamm was sentenced only to 3.5 years (after appeal, initially 4.5). Blau was sentenced to 4 months community service – and even that was after he didn’t return documents he was supposed to.
In contrast in the states we have of course the cases of Miller and Wolf, but the more obvious case is Manning (he is serving a 35 year sentence), Assange (who actually is living in exile, holed up in a small embassy, for fear of extradition to the US (via Sweden)), and Snowden (who is in exile, granted political asylum in Russia, and who will definitely be severely punished if he is captured).
And of course in the vein of glass houses, one should mention Silverstein and Leibowitz (who received a 20 month jail sentence).
And I won’t bring up the recent life sentence in Islamist Turkey for the two journalists.
Most countries, and even most democratic countries, don’t allow journalists to conduct espionage.
@ lepxii: You’re recycling tired, old hasbara pablum from years ago which were offered here by others. First, Anat Kamm, while a soldier, was also a journalist, as is Uri Blau. Certainly Blau should have the same protections offered to journalists is real democratic societies. The fact that he didn’t have those protections proves Israel is not a democracy and doesn’t honor freedom of the press. Second, Anat Kamm leaked documents which proved that the IDF not only violated Supreme Court rulings but committed war crimes. As such, she is a whistleblower. Israel claims to protect whistleblowers as most western demcoratic societies do. But it doesn’t. That’s another democratic strike against Israel.
Judith Miller’s case has nothing to do with the Kamm-Blau case.
If Bradley Manning had leaked his materials to an Israeli journalist, that journalist would be in prison. But the journalists to whom he did leak his materials are not in prison. Why? Because the UK and U.S. are democracies which honor freedom of the press.
Edward Snowden is another whistleblower and an American hero. Eventually, he will return to the U.S. & be vindicated. If Snowden was Israeli he would be abandoned and imprisoned for decades. No one would mourn him and honor him.
Shamai Leibowitz too was a whistleblower. But if he had leaked his documents to me in Israel & I was an Israeli citizen I would be in prison now. And Shamai’s sentence would have been decades and not 2 yrs. I was not imprisoned in a country that is a democracy which respects press freedom.
Utter nonsense, democratic countries do not imprison journalists, because they are practicing journalism. And journalism is NOT espionage. Not EVER. Uri Blau reported IDF war crimes. That’s it in a nutshell. In order to bury the charge of war crimes you bandy about lame references to espionage.
Certain forms of journalism (naturally, the best ones) are a crime in Israel. So do not boast here ever that your country is a democracy. It isn’t nor do you want it to be.
Why do you tag Smotrich as Kahanist? Or is it just another time when you loosely use an unrelated term to make a point?
You use the word settler for people who are settlers and the word murder when kill is x10 times more appropriate.
@ History: Once again commenters, read every link in the post before claiming errors in it. In your case, you would’ve seen that Smotrich published his view that Duma was not terrorism in none other than the leading Kahanist publication. Ergo, he is a Kahanist.
[comment deleted. WN.com is a propaganda site, not a serious online publication. Do NOT link to it here.]