ISRAELI POLICE CRACK DOWN ON INTERNET PEACE ACTIVISTS

There ya’go….. ISRAEL IS NO LONGER THE ONLY DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST! As if we didn’t know. It is now forbidden to speak about peace on the internet.

This is quite a frightening development for those of us that use the internet to convey the message of Peace and the truth about what is going on in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Foxmans will rejoice at these new gestapo tactics of the Israeli Police, but I promise you, my readers, that their glee will be short lived.

THEY CAN SHUT US DOWN, BUT THEY CAN’T SHUT US UP! We will find ways and means to continue getting the truth out.

Below are reports on this new development, including ways that you can help….. WE SHALL OVERCOME!

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I have just learned that a number of Israeli peace activists have had their computers confiscated, have been called for interrogations, and have only been released upon signing agreements not to contact their political friends for 30 days. We are asking you to contact the Israeli Attorney General to demand an immediate stop to this harassment.

The activists targeted are members of New Profile, a group of feminist women and men daring to suggest that Israel need not be a militarized society. They are being wrongfully accused of inciting young people–like the shministim–not to enlist in the army. The charge is not true. While New Profile does not tell youngsters not to enlist, they certainly support those who do not: pacifists, those who oppose the occupation, and others. New Profile informs them of their rights and gives them legal support when necessary. But Israel is a country that does not acknowledge the basic human right to conscientious objection.


The government’s accusation against New Profile is not new. It has been out there for some time, as a source of harassment. Today’s police actions tighten the screws considerably. We’ve seen how international pressure has helped get many shministim out of jail. Now it’s time to put as much pressure so that Israeli peace activists can do their work free of intimidation.


I leave you with a note from New Profile: “These recent acts confirm what we have been contending for many years: the militarism of society in Israel harms the sacred principles of democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of political association. One who believed that until now criminal files were conjured up “only” for Arab citizens of Israel saw this morning that none of us can be certain that s/he can freely express an opinion concerning the failures of society and rule in Israel.”


The above is in part taken from the Jewish Voice for Peace.


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The following is a Press Release issued BY the group involved…

New Profile Movement: Harsh Police Attack on Freedom of Expression

The [Israeli] Police Detained Political Activists from Ramat Hasharon, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beer Sheva


“One who believed that criminal cases due to political activism are conjured up “only” for Arab citizens discovers that s/he is also liable to be detained due to the expression of opinions concerning the failures of the society and rule in Israel.”


Amongst the detainees – a 70 year old ceramic artist, the daughter of a family of “Righteous among the Nations” from Holland, a grandmother to six Israeli grandchildren .


This morning the Israeli police descended upon the homes of political activists, members of the feminist movement New Profile, which acts for the civil-ization of society in Israel and against the undue influence of the military on life in the country.


The police demanded that the activists turn over the computers located in their homes, and among other things took the computers of partners of the detainees and in one case also the computer of a fourth grade pupil, the daughter of one of those interrogated. The computers of family members were returned after the activists were released on bail.


Amongst those interrogated: Analeen Kish, aged 70, a ceramics artist, daughter of a family of the the “Righteous among the Nations” who converted to Judaism after her marriage to Holocaust survivor Dr. Eldad Kish, active in organizations of Dutch Holocaust survivors in Israel. The pair have six grandchildren; Miriam Hadar, age 51, an editor and translator, mother of two, married to professor of psychology Uri Hadar. The two women were born in Holland and continue to hold Dutch citizenship.


Additionally detained for interrogation were Amir Givol, a resident of Jerusalem, Sergei Sandler, a resident of Beer Sheva, and Roni Barkan, a resident of Tel Aviv. The computers of all those interrogated were taken by the police, who presented search warrants.


All five were interrogated in the Ramat Hachiyal station in the Yarkon Region of the police. At the conclusion of the interrogation they were released on bail and under limiting conditions, and all were told that during the next 30 days they are forbidden to contact other members of the movement.


The New Profile Movement expressed rage over the interrogation and the demand to not have contact with other members, which means a partial paralysis of the activities of this important organization in civil society in Israel.


Attorney Smadar Ben Nathan, who is representing New Profile, said that the investigation of the police is focusing on the website of New Profile, which has links to other sites on the internet. Ben Nathan added that the New Profile Movement is a recognized non-profit association which acts openly and publicly, in accordance with the law, and the use of a criminal investigation in this context is invalid and exaggerated, and stands in opposition to freedom of expression.


New Profile is a feminist movement established ten years ago. The movement has been warning for years of the exaggerated and destructive influence of Israeli militarism on civilian life, and provides legal aid and social support to young people desiring not to do military service, both for political and personal reasons.


The New Profile Movement noted today: “These recent acts confirm what we have been contending for many years: the militarism of society in Israel harms the sacred principles of democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of political association. One who believed that until now criminal files were conjured up “only” for Arab citizens of Israel saw this morning that none of us can be certain that s/he can freely express an opinion concerning the failures of society and rule in Israel.”


For interviews: Dr. Diana Dolev, telephone: 052 872 8300
Attorney Smadar Ben Nathan, telephone: 052 358 9775


For further details: Ofra Leith, telephone: 050 552 4372
Eilat Maoz, Coordinator of the Women’s Coalition for Peace, telephone: 050 857 5729

8 Comments

  1. mary said,

    April 27, 2009 at 07:52

    of course, I feel sorry for these people, but begging Israel to be nice is not something that ever gets any result. We’ve written to them during the war and did we get a single (even office?) reply? Nope.

    I got this message yesterday and many others talking about this. The lady in question seems to have a swimming pool she does 50 laps a day in, judging by the letter that came to ALEF. I am sorry, but these folks can’t ask Palestine defenders to run to their aid every time. I have asked them DOZENS of times to sign an appeal to get travel restrictions lifted for Khalid Amayreh, for instance. They came up with loads of excuses why they couldn’t.

    They are learning that they may get their computer taken which is very bad, but they should also realise others get their freedoms and lives taken and they don’t get that same response from activists. Anyone with a swimming pool in Palestine-Israel is on my enemy list anyway. There is no excuse for such disgusting waste of Palestinian resources for the pleasure of some.

    sorry.. this one i sit out and see how they handle without our help… just like they never give Palestinians help.

  2. mary said,

    April 27, 2009 at 07:55

    Here is the letter, by the way…

    Is the Police State here already?

    Part one.

    At seven in the morning loud knocks on our door. I was barely awake, but Annelien was already in the swimming pool doing her customary 50 laps. In my innocence I thought that this was the refrigerator repair man, a little early in the day, but one has to be grateful for small favors. Our climate is not ideal for keeping the food fresh without the benefit of this technology.

    Well, I was mistaken. Four strong policemen asked for Mrs Annelien Kisch. In all honesty I answered that she is not home. No explanation was forthcoming what they wanted of her. But they produced a warrant for a search in our house, in order to impound her computer, and mine too for good measure.

    They asked when Annelien will be home, I told them in an hour or so. After a search of the house, not very thorough, but still, they decided that they had waited enough, and left a summons for her to come to the police station. They took our two computers, after signing a receipt.

    In the meantime we heard that a friend of Annelien, a mother of two, was also rudely awakened at seven, all computers in the house were taken, including that of her 9 year old daughter. She was not allowed to take her child to school, but was directly put in the police van and taken to the police station; she was interrogated until 1 o?clock.

    Annelien, a law-abiding citizen came to the police station, after finishing some things at home. The lawyer of her organization, New Profile, had been alarmed and had rushed to the police station, but she was not allowed to be present at the interrogation. At around two I was called that I could take Annelien home after signing an agreement that she would not contact her political friends for 30 days. My computer was released. I have no way of knowing whether the contents were copied or the whole thing was a farce.

    Some explanations are called for. New Profile has been active in defending conscientious objectors to military service and in assisting soldiers refusing to serve in the occupied territories, legally and even paying for the upkeep of their families while they served time in jail. NP is not making any propaganda for doing these things, but will encourage youngsters to think for themselves, by pointing out what the occupation means on a day to day basis. This is not appreciated in all quarters.

    Why now? An investigation has been threatened over half a year ago. Now we have a new rightist government that must show that something is done to improve the morale of the army and that they will stand by idly while young men ?shirk their duty?. I can think of some religious boys who shirk their duty, but that is acceptable.

    Personally, I do not like being awakened at seven in the morning by four policemen. It makes me nervous. I feel very unhappy without my computer (not knowing that it would be returned so soon; but then I do not know very well were all the cables go to make the think work again).

    I write this in haste before anything else happens.

    In all honesty I must add that the policemen were polite, and the interrogation of Annelien was fair.

    Otherwise a great country.

    Eldad Kisch; April 26, 2009.

  3. desertpeace said,

    April 27, 2009 at 09:06

    Mary, let me start off by saying that anyone who knows you as I do would never question your dedication to the cause. But you must realise that the dedication of others comes in various degrees…. we are not all 24/7 activists.

    We are not in a position to pick and chose who we want involved in the struggle to gain Freedom and Justice for both Palestine and Israel….. we must work with anyone that in any way wants to help in that struggle.

    Obviously, the police went after the ‘weakest link’ on the Net…. can you imagine a Nelson Mandela signing an agreement promising not to “contact his political friends for 30 days” to gain release from prison? He would still be in that prison today if that was the ‘deal’….. but we are not all Mandelas’….

    Our movement must (and will) grow Mary, but so must our attitudes.

  4. mary said,

    April 27, 2009 at 09:35

    Ok, Steve, your point is taken. I think that however, they should always act according to reciprocity. If they were willing to put themselves on the line for Palestinians (I know Dorothy is, and she is part of the group) rather than make excuses like… it’s a Palestinian issue or… it won’t help… well, they can seek help from the people that make these distinctions. Years ago, I supported everyone who supported the cause. But I don’t go for tribalism and it’s not my doing that they think their cause is more worthy of support. They will find their supporters… I am sure of it. They don’t need me… or i could turn it around and say.. it won’t help.

  5. Fiona said,

    April 27, 2009 at 16:08

    Mary: You sound tired or perhaps completely disillusioned. I hope this isn’t an indication that you may eventually give up the struggle.

    Steve: As usual, you nailed it.

  6. April 27, 2009 at 20:13

    […] ISRAELI POLICE CRACK DOWN ON INTERNET PEACE ACTIVISTS « Desertpeace. April 27th, 2009 | Category: Israel, colonialism, militarism, persecution, social activism, social justice | Leave a comment | […]

  7. robertsgt40 said,

    April 27, 2009 at 21:50

    Sounds like the old USSR. Oops…I forgot, it’s the same tribe. My bad.

  8. mary said,

    April 29, 2009 at 19:33

    Yes Fiona.. I am tired. But I stand by what I wrote. Sorry. I would like the New Profile people to be TOTALLY in the struggle, ROR and so on…


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