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.
My latest Mint Press piece on this case contains this chilling quotation from a Ynet profile explaining the strategy he’s adopting in taking down social media on behalf of Israeli censorship:
…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.
Richard, to be fair, didn’t you provide in the tweets a familial relationship that would allow the alleged victim to be identified? Just like arutz-7 provided everything needed to reverse engineer the identity of the new commander…..
I will note that these identities while protected, are really fairly well known – it is not a huge deal.
The IDF should perhaps consider assigning a non de guerre to all enlisted men and officers that will be use instead of their civilian name – this might avoid some trouble.
Also, in your view, are all or most IDF units complicit in war crimes (for instance the crime of “settlement”?)? What makes Shaytet-13 so special in this regard? The Maramara incident is old news – relevant to the previous command, not the current, no?
Richard Silverstein says
@ lepxii: Look, this is the last comment I’m making on this. I’ve told others (perhaps you as well) that if you go there again, you’ll move from merely moderated to banned outright. This seems to be a strategy of harping on this one issue, which I’ve explained at least five times here is not an issue. If you or anyone else brings it up again you’re history.
It’s not at all the same as the case of Politis. He didn’t rape anyone nor was he the victim of rape. He’s an IDF commander whose identity deserves to be known since he’s a major figure in the Israeli army. Further, his identity has been exposed in the media & everywhere else. Becker’s daughter is not a public figure, has no media presence I know of & does not deserve to be known. If you don’t understand the difference then you’re even denser & crueler & stupider than I thought.
Stop asking me questions which are meant as Gotchas. I don’t like it. You think because a war crime is six years old it stops being important or a war crime? Tell it to the families of the victims. You haven’t been a victim like that, have you? Or a member of a family of a victim? Didn’t think so. If someone killed a loved one of yours would the crime be less important or less a crime six years later?
You are on very thin ice, I warn you. My trigger finger is getting very itchy.
״ 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 ״ – This is a VERY biased saying to put at the head of this article.
To be clear, Shavetet forces were sent to impose Israel’s law in its territorial water against a ship that sailed to Gaza with unknown cargo.
Dozens of “activists” attached the handful of IDF soldiers with knives and metal rods. As their lives were at risk, the soldiers had to take measures in order to prevent the “activists” from butchering them.
The 10 mercenaries who died had large amounts of cash on them, meant to compensate them for their terrorist actions.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Tom: No Tommy boy, the Israeli commandos attacked the Marmara in international waters where international law prevails. NOT Israeli territorial waters. The “cargo” of the Marmara was people & medical supplies. The IHH made that perfectly clear to the Israelis before sailing, as have all boats attempting to break the illegal siege.
Actually, we don’t know what happened on board the boat. But even if the passengers used violence, they were armed with metal bars while the commandos were armed with light & heavy weapons. Further, those massacred were shot at point blank range, indicating they were executed.
As for “cash,” the only cash found was stolen by Israeli authorities after they commandeered the boat and captured the passengers. Several million dollars worth of personal belongings & medical supplied were stolen by Israel & never returned.
All of this is a crime. Further, this argument has been hashed out here dozens of times before. If you continue this argument you will be moderated. Read the comment rules & respect them. Before you published your comment there was a clear message above the comment box directing you to read the comment rules BEFORE publishing. Do so now.