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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/18/18

From Lara Al Qasem to Lorde - Israel asserts universal jurisdiction over speech, which irritates the regime

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It is unlikely that attempts to suppress critics would be successful. It only highlights the falsehood of Israeli Hasbara - "the only democracy in the Middle East". Attempts to criminalize speech also stand contrary to the leniency in cases of "extra-judicial execution" of Palestinians, if they are prosecuted at all. No PR expert in the world would be able to save the Israeli government from its own transgressions and follies.

Video: Israeli Hagai El-Ad's address at the United Nations Security Council, 18 Oct. 2018

Tel-Aviv, October 18 - Today's Supreme Court ruling in the Lara Al Qasem case, and UN Security Council appearance by Israeli Hagai El-Ad, arguing against Human Rights violations and the Israeli occupation of Palestine, highlight a new wave of actions by the Israeli authorities in an attempt to suppress critics of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Lara Al Qasem released after a 16-day detention and multiple court actions

(Image by Noa Landau/Twitter)   Details   DMCA

Today, the Israeli Supreme Court overturned decision of the Israeli District Court, which upheld appeal from ruling of the Administrative Court that Lara Al Qasem should be deported. The reason for the deportation was Al Qasem's past conduct, which poses "danger" to the State of Israel. The "danger" was related to actions in Florida, centering on boycotting a local Israeli humus vendor. As is common today in the Israeli courts, the "evidence" included Facebook posts and Google search. And the level of "danger", or "harm" was assessed by the number of "Likes" and "Shares", generated by various posts...

Al Qasem traveled to Israel on a student visa, issued by the Israeli Consulate in Florida, after enrolling and receiving a scholarship for a master's degree in Human Rights in Hebrew University Law School. She declared in court that her decision to travel to Israel indicated that she abandoned support of BDS. She also declared in court her commitment not to engage in any actions that could be perceived as hostile to the Israeli government, and not to enter the Palestinian territories during her stay in Israel. Such declarations didn't work in the first two instances. Finally, the Supreme Court today decided that the decision to deport Al Qasem, "exceeded the range of reasonableness". [1]

B'tselem's CEO appears in the UN Security Council

(Image by Yaron Avraham/Twitter)   Details   DMCA

Also today, Hagai El-Ad, CEO of Israeli NGO B'tselem, appeared in the UN Security Council, denouncing the conduct of the State of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories - serious violations of human rights. [2] The ruling right-wing coalition denounced his appearance as straightforward treason. The "left-wing" opposition only denounced it as a disgrace...
A proposed bill would criminalize such speech as well...

Bill criminalizing speech, which harms Israeli foreign relationships

Also today, the Israeli government again discussed a new bill (4774/20), which would criminalize "any action that harms the interests of the State of Israel, the relationship between the State of Israel and any other state, organization, or institution... or any matter, where the State of Israel has interests, penalty - 7-year imprisonment. If perpetrated with the intent to harm, penalty - 10-year imprisonment." Under certain circumstances the proposed bill would permit penalty of life imprisonment.

Gaza fishermen's detention - and a "dangerous" interview with Al-Jazeera

(Image by Al Jazeera News/Twitter)   Details   DMCA

Earlier this week, a District Court judge decided to release a Gaza fisherman Haled Hassi (24), who had been held by the Israeli authorities, after participating in a flotilla of sick and wounded Gazans, which attempted to break the naval blockade of Gaza.

The prosecution claimed that Hassi operated a boat, which carried 9 Gaza residents, all wounded or handicapped in the Gaza protests of recent months, as well as 2 journalists.

Of special interest were the arguments, related to the "danger" posed by Hassi. The prosecution claimed that prior to boarding the boast, Hassi provided, in Gaza, an interview to Al-Jazeera. The judge ruled that such interview couldn't be considered dangerous enough to to justify the ongoing detention, since Hassi was merely "a simple fisherman from Gaza, and the vast influence on world public opinion, and expectations of tectonic chain reactions, which are claimed by the prosecution, are unfounded and appear exaggerated". [3]

Ruling in absentia against 2 New-Zealand BDS activists, opposing Lorde's concert in Israel

(Image by MyAmigo/Twitter)   Details   DMCA

Last Friday, the Jerusalem court ruled that two New-Zealand BDS activists, Jewish Justine Sachs and Muslim Nadia Abu-Shanab, pay NIS 45,000 (over USD 10,000) to three Israeli teens over the cancellation of Lorde's June 2018 concert in Israel. The BDS activists wrote a letter to Lorde, and published it in Facebook. The Israeli teens claimed "emotional distress", resulting from the cancellation.

There is no chance that such ruling would be enforced, and the New Zealand activists stated in response that they intended to raise a similar sum in donations for the people of Gaza. On the other hand, the court ruling resulted in unfavorable media reports in Rolling Stone, The Guardian, and more. [4]

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Dr Zernik's core research pertains to e-government and its significance for Human Rights and Civil Society.

His work won appreciation in Israel and abroad: * Prof Uzzi Ornan - "All power to you! I hope that you see your tremendous efforts (more...)
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