The Israeli naval commando unit, Shayetet 13, stormed the Mavi Marmara in 2010 and executed 10 Turkish activists who were hoping to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza. Israel has since apologized publicly to the Turkish government for the attack and agreed to pay $20-million in compensation to victims and their families. Pres. Erdogan, in a betrayal of the victims and Gazans has agreed to foreclose any other claims against Israel, including pursuit of criminal charges before the ICC.
Appointment of IDF commanders is a secret undertaking. The Israeli media may not report the names of promoted officers aside from the chief of staff. But I did report the last officer promoted to command Shayetet 13. He was Gur Schreibman. Now he is taking a new role and being replaced by Tal Politis, age 40, according to the settler publication, Srugim. Srugim’s report has been censored to remove material that permitted him to be identified. But another settler publication has apparently not been notified by the thought police of their obligations. Politis was the 1994 Israeli Bible Quiz winner. He lived in the Gaza settlement of Neve Dekalim before it was evacuated by Ariel Sharon.
Human rights campaigners should prepare their case files accordingly for possible future referrals to the ICC.
On a related censorship matter, Israeli cyber crimes boss, Haim Vismonsky, has filed a new notice with Twitter reporting more of my tweets identifying Judge Shamai Becker, as a suspect in the rape of his daughter. Twitter’s notices to me are full of inaccurate information showing that they don’t read Hebrew or much care what Israel says. They claim that Vismonsky sent them a legal notice concerning my account. He sent them the original gag order in Becker’s case which forbade Israeli media from jeopardizing the privacy of the victim (who no one, including me has ever identified). The original gag order does not mention me or Twitter. The notice Vismonsky sent to me doesn’t even request that Twitter take any specific action against my tweets. In other words, Twitter is pre-emptively censoring itself to satisfy a demand it never actually received.
Ironically, Twitter’s redacted (ie.censored) version of the original notice censors Vismonsky’s name. This despite the fact that he is a public official who has been profiled in Israeli media.
…The [cyber crime] unit removes forbidden content from the web. For this purpose, the department has developed a new approach to enforcement. “The basic idea is that the ability to enforce [the law] online is limited. Therefore, the classic method of enforcement–of complaint, investigation and filing an indictment–must focus on the effort to deal with the the crime and not the criminal; the publication and not the publisher; damage and not the perpetrator. In the past, you couldn’t get to the perpetrator [of the offense] since he was abroad or anonymous. This caused the authorities to raise their hands in despair. The alternative to the classic model says that in the event you cannot reach the individual who committed the crime–you must act to limit the damage of the crime.”
On the basis of this approach, the cyber crime division has developed personal ties with internet service providers like Google, Facebook, YouTube and others–in order to get forbidden content taken down, to close pages which support terror, and to shut down their users…
We’ve been here on the job for about a year and till now have acted to take down 1,000 items, which could mean a post or an entire web page. Half the cases dealt with content that incited to violence or terror. The other half dealt with publication which damaged government officials: extreme libelous behavior, invasion of privacy, sexual harassment, threats, etc. In our eyes, taking down such content contributes directly to a cooling down effect on the violent discourse found on social media.
…One of the groups which suffers the most from damaging material online is public officials. “In this matter you must balance the right to criticize the agency with the fear that extreme language against public official can prevent them from fulfilling their roles”…The department also deals with damaging content against judges…
Though some coverage of my case noted that Twitter may be doing this because of business or financial considerations, Twitter has no office in Israel that I know of and very little business there, since Facebook, which hasn’t censored my posts, is far more popular with Israelis. I suppose once the thought police take down Twitter they’ll go after Facebook.
Vismonsky and Twitter have triggered the Streisand Effect, a phenomenon in effect when official efforts to censor information lead to far more interest in the original information than otherwise would have been generated. Articles on Twitter’s censorship of my content have been published at Vocativ, 972 Magazine, Calcalist, Sicha Mekomit, Middle East Eye, RT and Mint Press News. There is one at the Forward in the works.