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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/13/10

Israeli Prohibitions Against Free Expression and "Enemy Alien" Contacts

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Most academics supported the war while others were silent. Disgracefully, institutions like Haifa University installed signs above buildings and advertised in the press, expressing pride in the military operation. School authorities also let police on campus to violently disperse Arab student protests, make arrests, stay silent throughout the whole process, then discipline students for their unseemly conduct and participation in unapproved public activity.

Violating the Right of Free Expression

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Free expression and the right to peacefully assemble and protest aren't just fundamental human rights. They're essential in times of war to dissent against lawlessness as a way to curtail it. For political activists, silence is unconscionable and a profound violation of their principled support for justice - something Israeli authorities don't allow Palestinians, Israeli Arabs or even dissenting Jews.

Prohibiting Israeli Arabs from "Enemy Alien" Contacts

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Israeli authorities restrict social and cultural contacts its Arab citizens have with much of the Arab world, designated "enemy aliens."

Kol Bo Books owner Saleh Abbasi is an Israeli citizen and one of the largest book importers in Israel's Arab community for the past 30 years. Importing books from Egypt and Jordan, two Israeli allies, they cover children's literature, classical and modern Arab literature, translated world literature, professional works, dictionaries, encyclopedias and other works.

Most come from Lebanon and Syria and are required by Israeli Arabs. Yet, in August 2008, Abbasi received a letter from Israel's Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor saying his license to import books from both countries would be terminated because it constitutes "trading with the enemy" under the 1939 Trade with the Enemy Ordinance.

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Adalah petitioned the Israeli High Court on his behalf to declare this ordinance invalid for these type books. State prosecutors claimed otherwise, then announced an exception for Kol Bo Books subject to annual renewals. Petitioners argued that the ordinance constitutes an extreme, sweeping and severe measure, threatening Israeli Arabs with criminal sanctions for importing, using, or conducting commerce in basic items like textbooks and educational ones from Arab countries.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.
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