חשיפה: השב”כ עצר את פעיל הימין הקיצוני פיני שנדורפי, בן הרב הקיצוני יגאל שנדורפי
Yesterday, Israel’s digital media held an annual conference. One of the subjects was the press’ relationship to the ever-present Israeli military censor. As in the past, the current censor appeared on the panel. And as in the past, she was peppered by questions about the stupidity, irksomeness and ineffectuality of Israel’s censorship regime. She was asked about several major stories I broke including the Boris Krasny and Anat Kamm cases. As you might imagine (and again, as has happened in the past), this blog and I came up in the questions posed to her.
But unlike in the past, when Sima Vaknin-Gil was the censor and she attempted to minimize the importance of the role I play in reporting Israeli security stories, the new censor, Col. Ariella Ben Avraham, went to town on me. Ice reports this interchange:
“The name of the blogger, Richard Silverstein, came up more than once during the panel, regarding bloggers who don’t fall under jurisdiction of Israeli censorship, and publish information from their residences in the US about explosive Israeli security stories–among them, the story of Kam’s arrest. According to censor Ben Avraham, ‘relations between the censor and bloggers abroad is a big issue, where censorship is not the way you handle it. But if you’re going to do malicious damage, we’ll meet again [we will deal with him] in the future…’”
The level of coarseness and braggadocio is unprecedented compared to the relative humility of Vaknin Gil. That’s probably why Bogie Yaalon accepted the latter’s resignation and appointed the current attack dog, who has already expanded the censor’s reach into the entire realm of social media.
This threat comes in the form of an I-dare-you, I-double-dare-you scenario of children in the playground. Either she’s threatening that she will sic the dogs of the Israeli security apparatus on me here in Seattle; or she’s daring me to come to Israel where she and her security cronies can get their hands on me. Though I don’t relish putting myself in jeopardy for the sake of staring down an Israeli bully, it might be worth calling her bluff someday.
Who knows, if the Digital media conference invites me next year, I might come. That should set off fireworks. Either Ben Avraham arrests me at the airport and throws me in the Shin Bet dungeons; or they don’t and I get to face her at the conference. Though knowing how these apparatchiks work, she’ll refuse to give me the pleasure of showing up, thinking that this will somehow further validate my importance.
She behaved in a similar manner when I called her directly several weeks ago while I was reporting a story involving her office. I asked her a series of questions and every single one I asked she answered with the same few words: “I cannot talk to you. You will have to call the IDF spokesperson.” It got to be where I thought I was talking to an IDF robot.
Ben Avraham, in her remarks made one statement which hovers somewhere between a lie and a deliberate obfuscation. It concerns the case of Krasny, Israel premier corporate lobbyist who once was a double agent for the Mossad who betrayed Marcus Klingberg, the Soviet Union’s top spy in Israel. At a conference last autumn, an MK mentioned Krasny’s name to criticize the stifling impact that lobbying has in Israeli politics. The remarks were immediately censored, even though the MK didn’t mention Krasny’s past working for the Shabak.
In her comments Ben Avraham claimed that she had no interest in Krasny’s political activities and that reference to him was censored not because of his powerful lobbying interests, but solely because of his security record. This is disproven on its face by the fact that Miki Rosenthal, the MK who mentioned Krasny, never mentioned the latter’s job working for the Mossad. So in effect, the censor is protecting Krasny from facing any criticism for his current toxic impact on Israel’s political system.
While we’re at it, why don’t we tweak the censor once again by reporting yet another story that is under gag order. This one involves the arrest of Israeli Jewish settler, Pini Shandorfi age 22, who was detained by the Shin Bet for unspecified security offenses. As readers know, in the aftermath of the Hebron execution by IDF Sgt. Elor Azarya, Israel is in an uproar. The far right is furious that the army is prosecuting the killer at all, let alone on the reduced charge of manslaughter. No doubt, there are settlers like Shandorfi seeking to exploit this tumult to execute a flashy terror attack on a Palestinian target.
Shandorfi has a sordid past. In 2012, when the IDF was called upon to demolish an illegal outpost near the murderous settlement of Yizhar, he was among the troops called upon to execute the order. Instead, he stripped himself out of his uniform and joined the lawbreakers saying: “This is how I was educated at home.” In any other army in the world this would be mutiny. If it was a time of war you could be hanged. During peacetime, you could at least expect time in the brig. But not Israel, where they treat settlers with kid gloves. Shandorfi’s “punishment” was to be removed from combat duty to a cushy desk job.
Shandorfi’s father is an infamous racist settler rabbi who in 2009 called Barack Obama a “nigger” and “that Arab they call a president.” He has also been arrested for interfering with IDF clearing of other illegal outposts. Yet somehow he still remains an official Israeli state rabbi, paid by the taxpayers to insult the President of the United States and stick his finger in the eye of the IDF.