Tag Archives: Israel

SFSC Letter: Academic freedom at Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Gideon Sa’ar, Minister of Education, Government of Israel,
PO Box 292, Jerusalem, Israel 91911

To the Minister of Education:

The Seriously Free Speech Committee (Vancouver) is mandated to defend free speech in connection with the Israel-Palestine conflict, both on and off the university campus. We join many thousands of teachers, students and others internationally who have demanded respect for academic freedom at Ben Gurion University of the Negev.  Continue reading

Electronic Intifada: The full story behind the war against free speech in Israel’s universities

Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada – 22 October 2012

A sustained battle by the Israeli right to stifle academic freedom at the country’s universities is close to claiming its first major scalp.

In an unprecedented move last month, officials from Israel’s Council for Higher Education (CHE) — a government-appointed body overseeing universities and colleges — recommended the effective closure of the politics department of Ben Gurion University, based in the Negev/Naqab city of Beersheva.  Continue reading

Harvard Crimson: Israel vs. No. 2 Pencils

Harvard Crimson, By Lena K. Awwad and Shatha I. Hussein

As countless students around the world took the SAT a week ago, Palestinians from the West Bank could not join their ranks. The October SAT exam was cancelled for students in the West Bank: The Israeli authorities held the exams sent by the College Board for weeks, not releasing the tests to AMIDEAST’s office in Ramallah.  Continue reading

University World News: Official move to close Israeli politics department threatens academic freedom

By Helena Flusfeder, University World News Global Edition, Issue 242, 07 October 2012

“I thought academic freedom in Israel was very certain,” said Professor Rivka Carmi, president of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and chair of the Committee of University Heads. But Israel is treading a fine line on academic freedom following a controversial move by the Council for Higher Education to close the university’s politics and government department.

The council recently recommended that the department of politics and government at Ben-Gurion should not be allowed to register students for the 2013-14 academic year, a move that would virtually close the department, some of whose faculty have been accused of being left-wing.

Continue reading

Electronic Intifada: Censorship? Haaretz deletes Amira Hass article on surging settler violence

by Ali Abunimah, 07/20/2012 electronicintifada,net


As of July 21, 2012, the deleted article has been restored to the Haaretz website, at a new url: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/the-anti-semitism-that-goes-unreported-1.452594

Israel’s Haaretz  mysteriously deleted a powerful article by Amira Hass headlined “The anti-Semitism that goes unreported,” about an unchecked upsurge in violence against Palestinians by Israeli settlers.

This is at least the second notable act of apparent censorship by Haaretz in recent months. In December, as we reported, the newspaper expunged from its website an article by David Sheen on a horrifying anti-African rally in Tel Aviv.

Hass’ article, originally published on 18 July, likened the alarming increase in settler attacks to the period leading up to the 1994 settler massacre of Palestinians in Hebron: Continue reading

Haaretz: The anti-Semitism that goes unreported

By Amira Hass: Haaretz, 18 July 2012

Tens of thousands of people live in the shadow of terror

Here’s a statistic that you won’t see in research on anti-Semitism, no matter how meticulous the study is. In the first six months of the year, 154 anti-Semitic assaults have been recorded, 45 of them around one village alone. Some fear that last year’s record high of 411 attacks – significantly more than the 312 attacks in 2010 and 168 in 2009 – could be broken this year.

Fifty-eight incidents were recorded in June alone, including stone-throwing targeting farmers and shepherds, shattered windows, arson, damaged water pipes and water-storage facilities, uprooted fruit trees and one damaged house of worship. The assailants are sometimes masked, sometimes not; sometimes they attack surreptitiously, sometimes in the light of day.

There were two violent attacks a day, in separate venues, on July 13, 14 and 15. The words “death” and “revenge” have been scrawled in various areas; a more original message promises that “We will yet slaughter.” Continue reading

IMEMC: Israel To Indict Journalist Uri Blau

International Middle East Media Center,  May 30, 2012  by Circarre Parrhesia

Israeli journalist, Uri Blau, will be indicted for possession of classified Israeli military documents, by Israel’s Attorney General, Yahuda Weinstein, Haaretz reports. Blau, who reports for Israeli newspaper Haaretz, received the documents from Anat Kamm, who was convicted in February of passing the documents on without authorization.

The State Prosecutor’s office stated during the announcement that he intends to indict Blau, that there was no connection between Blau’s activity as a professional journalist and the possession of the classified documents and that “betrayed his duty – and later his commitment before the state – to cease possession of them.” Continue reading

SFSC: Letter to Ha’aretz re Censorship in Israel

To the editor of Ha’aretz:

We write on behalf of the Seriously Free Speech Committee (SFSC) to express our concern regarding the censorship regime currently in place in Israel. We have in mind the military censorship of all news coverage of the IDF; the Boycott Prohibition Bill of 2011, which has been challenged by legal organizations within Israel and even by the Knesset’s legal advisor; the 2011 laws aimed at suppressing commemoration of the nakba and criminalizing any denial of Israel’s character as a Jewish and democratic state; recent proposals by the Justice Ministry to broadly expand wiretap powers; military monitoring and censorship of the social media of journalists, bloggers and traditional news sites; the Israeli Broadcast Authority’s removal from a popular radio program of short personal-opinion spots; and the particularly obnoxious censorship of school textbooks both in public Palestinian schools in Jerusalem administered by the Jerusalem Educational Administration and in East Jerusalem private schools. Continue reading

Occupation Magazine: Judicial proceedings against Muhammad Bakri would be a severe Violation of the Freedom of Expression

Occupation Magazine, Vardit Shalfy and Rani Blair, May 14, 2012

Hundreds of Israeli cultural and intellectual personalities and concerned citizens wrote to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, calling upon him to reject the idea of prosecuting actor Muhammad Bakri over his film `Jenin, Jenin`.

Among those signing the petition: Anat Gov, Edna Mazya, Rennie Blair, Ohad Naharin, Orly Zilbershatz, Noa Dar, Shevi Gabison, Alon Ophir, Hillel Mittelpunkt, Savyon Liebrecht, Ofira Henig, David Ginton, Iris Le`al, Orly Lubin, Dina Riklis, Tzur Shezaf, Professor Avraham Oz, Tali Itzhaki, Ya`el Ronen and others. The signatories state that any such action – which the Attorney General is reported to be mulling – would constitute a severe and completely unwarranted violation of the Freedom of Expression in Israel. Continue reading

Mondoweiss: Israeli police to activist reciting names of destroyed Palestinian villages: If you keep reading you will be arrested

Leehee Rothschild, Mondoweiss, April 25, 2012

The first text message I received around 22:30 read “The cops have surrounded the building, It’s quite likely that everybody will be arrested once we try to get out of the door. Alert everybody.” The message was sent by a friend of mine, who along with 14 other activists came to the offices of Zochrot (remembering), an Israeli NGO that focuses on commemorating and raising awareness to the Palestinian Nakba, on the eve of the Israeli independence day. They were planning to go out to the street and remind the celebrators the horrible price that was paid and is still being paid by Palestinians for this so called independence.

The planned action was very simple. The activists carried small signs with names of Palestinian villages demolished during the Nakba, which they intended to take to Rabin Square, the main location of festivities in Tel Aviv. They planned to place those signs one by the other, on the floor, create a long line, and ask people to neither step on it, nor ignore it. As aforementioned, though, when they were about to leave the building, located in Ivn Gvirol st., in the centre of Tel Aviv, in order to preform this small protest action, they found themselves in an improvised iron-cage, made of the iron barriers prepared by the municipality to block the streets for the celebrations, surrounded by cops.  Continue reading