Tuesday, February 9, 2010

HRW Attacks Israel (Gasp)

A commenter linked to Noah Pollak's post yesterday, wherein Human Rights Watch castigates Israel for being mean to the NIF. You should read Noah's post, which is short but entertaining; if you're in that sort of mood, you can also read the HRW press release.
"What we're seeing in Israel is a greater official intolerance of dissent," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "One of Israel's outstanding strengths has been its vibrant civil society and its flourishing public debate, so these developments are particularly worrying."
This is, how to put it, cattle secretion. Note how Whitson suddenly compliments us for having had such spirited public debate... now that it's slipping away. No indication that perhaps what's happening is precisely what she admits is positive about Israel: that we're engaging in a public debate. In Whitson's book, public debate means law professors and 20-something self described anarchists castigating Israeli policies and actions. Bus drivers, bank clerks or students kvetching about the law professors and anarchists: that's proof of Israel's disappearing democracy and freedom.

Why is it the business of HRW to have an opinion on the matter at all, I cannot tell you. Even more mystifying, they've gone to the effort of posting a Hebrew language version of their press release. Bets, anyone, on who did the translation for them?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yaacov,
The problem isn't spirited debate. The problem is peaceful demonstrators being arrested; Knesset subcommittees (The Knesset Un-Israeli Affairs Committee???) being established to "investigate" political activities of dissenters; laws being passed to grant automatic legal immunity to individuals who have been prosecuted for crimes committed on a political basis - as long they are right wingers (see the law pardoning opponents of the disengagement plan), and the list goes on. If Im Tirtzu had simply embarked on their ugly smear campaign, and if some journalists had merely swallowed their bologna, that would be spirited debate, freedom of expression and all that. The problem is when politicians start sticking their noses in, calling for "parliamentary committees of inquiry" of people they disagree with. Read Miki Eitan's eloquent words in the Knesset explaining why democracy is endangered when a political majority uses its power to investigate the political activities of the minority and to place them on the "defendent's bench". There gotta be some basic principles we can all agree on here!!!!

Anonymous said...

here is some hyperbole from the NIF
(they are linking to a JP article dated 02/02 for those who want to get the story)
no wonder Ben Murane stays mum on a blog where hyperbole is frowned upon
- to use the language they do they must deem their monopoly to pontificating from a pedestal and thus their access to the media and consequently the donations in danger. First Abu Ghraib, then Water Boarding and now Rabin assassination - what a limited arsenal of outrage triggers they operate with.
Silke

"The ugly language and personal threats against NIF and our President are all too reminiscent of the atmosphere of incitement and hatred that preceded the Rabin assassination."

http://www.nif.org/media-center/nif-under-attack.html

Alex Stein said...

Yaacov doesn't relate to the substance (gasp)

"Other developments that reflect increasing official hostility to critical NGOs include the arrest on January 15 of 16 activists in Jerusalem protesting the take-over by settlers of Arab homes in East Jerusalem; the arrest and harassment last year of hundreds of Arab Israeli demonstrators protesting the Gaza operation; the barring of human rights organizations from Gaza; a new 2009 policy denying work permits to foreign nationals working for scores of humanitarian organizations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories; and many statements by top Israeli officials characterizing critical NGOs as threats to national security."

Anonymous said...

here's the most recent item Google is offering as News - as a foreigner that's the tone I like to be informed in, one objection though: IDF's Daniel Sokatch is quoted with something far too sober sounding compared to his piece on the NIF-site linked to above.
Also this doesn't read like vigorous debate is hampered in any way - just the opposite, if they would go about like that in my country we would see the state in danger of imminent collapse. And for what it's worth I agree with your prime minister.
Silke

http://jta.org/news/article/2010/02/08/1010529/fracas-over-nif-sets-off-fierce-debate

"The prime minister says he sees three existential threats: Iran; a Palestinian state without adequate security arrangements; and rampant Goldstonism."

Barry Meislin said...

"One of Israel's outstanding strengths has been its vibrant civil society and its flourishing public debate, so these developments are particularly worrying."

After smearing Israel for years with little regard to (admittedly bothersome) considerations such as "truth," "context" or "background" it is incredibly heart-warming to find these characters to be so concerned with the internal state country that, no thanks to them, still has an internal state about which to be, well, concerned.

As for "developments [that] are particularly worrying," one might start with HRW's perverse record of mendacity concerning the region. Except that for HRW and its legion of like-minded groups, such perversity (not to mention hypocrisy) is actually a virtue.

The "entertainment" continues.

Anonymous said...

Anon #1

It's not the committee to stop debate, it's the committee to stop the dissemination of lies.

If there is one thing Israel's (and the Jew's) enemies do well is lie and mold their own opinions into the facts as they believe things should be.

The NGOs who choose to spread libel and lies about Israel should be thrown out of the country.

Asaf

Anonymous said...

one Ben Murane is probably still reading this website because I just found that the link on "the Jew and the Carrot" http://jcarrot.org/author/ben under that name is no longer leading to Judaismwithoutborders.org alias Kung-Fu-Jews. That website is still operating.
Silke

Barry Meislin said...

Should be

"...with the internal state of a country that..."

Anonymous said...

Asaf -
Are you kidding? What democracy in the world "throws people out of the country" for exercising free speech, even if lots and lots of people are annoyed by what they say? If we allow our democracy to implode, all the security in world isn't going to help us much.

Anonymous said...

I do not care what anyone says as long as it is not lies.

Our democracy is quite strong.

Blatant agitation to raise the level of hatred against us should be construed as an act of war against the state in my opinion.

I know I sound extreme and my irritation with Jew haters and israel bashers is probably getting the best of me.

When an Israel basher asks (yells at) our amabassador if he has killed any Palestinian children today, he should show them a presentation of pictures of the Ma'alot tragedy and Sderot today.

Asaf

Yaacov said...

I've addressed the various matters at my next blog post.
http://yaacovlozowick.blogspot.com/2010/02/respnse-to-naomi-piass.html

Victor said...

Yaacov, your response to Naomi is exceptional. I want to link to it, but I'm concerned you're going to notice the spelling error ("Respnse" -> Response) and correct it, which might affect the URL later.

Please correct it soon. This is a great summation of how very many of us are thinking, and feeling.

Yaacov said...

Oops! Fixed. Thanks.