Leaked Documentary Shows israel (apartheid state) Lobby Used Fake Sexual Assault Claims Against BDS Activists

Leaked Documentary Shows Israel Lobby Used Fake Sexual Assault Claims Against BDS Activists

Source: Mint Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A leaked Al Jazeera documentary detailing the tactics of the Israeli lobby in the United States and elsewhere has revealed that pro-Israel groups regularly invented smears, including false accusations of sexual assault, to discredit professors and students on U.S. university campuses that support equal rights for Palestinians and the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS is a non-violent movement that seeks to use economic pressure on Israel’s government so that it complies with international law, ends the military occupation of the West Bank, and halts the decades-long blockade of the Gaza Strip.

In the third episode of the Al Jazeera documentary “The Lobby”, which was leaked online by the website Electronic Intifada, focus is given to the efforts of pro-Israel advocacy groups on U.S. universities, particularly the efforts of these groups to use aggressive information warfare tactics to discredit and smear activists. The documentary further reveals that these smear campaigns are incredibly well-funded – to the tune of millions of dollars – and involve coordination with the Israeli government’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

In one instance, Bill Mullen – a professor of American Studies at Purdue University and a well-known supporter of Palestinian rights and BDS – was accused of sexual harassment, supporting terrorism and other misdeeds by nearly two dozen anonymous web pages purporting to have been created by Mullen’s former students in 2016.

Mullen told Al Jazeera that within 48 hours of learning of the smear sites, he discovered that they had been created within moments of each other and appeared to be operated by the same individual or group. After the websites used the name of his daughter and were anonymously sent to his wife, Mullen told Al Jazeera that “these people will do anything, they’re capable of doing anything” to discredit pro-Palestinian solidarity activists.

The documentary further revealed that this tactic is promoted by pro-Israel campus organizations including the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC). For instance, ICC executive director Jacob Baime discussed how “the anti-Israel people” are targeted by groups like the ICC who put “up some anonymous websites” and targeted Facebook ads that make false sexual harassment claims and other personal attacks as part of an effort to discredit them and their activism.

Baime then stated that this tactic is a form of “psychological warfare” that was “modeled on General Stanley McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq” and that those tactics have “been working really well for us.” Baime appears to have misspoken, given that McChrystal’s strategy emphasizing “offensive information operations” was focused on Afghanistan, not Iraq.

However, Baime recounted that these efforts are often very successful, from his perspective, telling Al Jazeera’s undercover reporter that the activists targeted by smears “either shut down or they spend time responding to it and investigating it, which is time they can’t spend attacking Israel.”

Baime went on to state that ICC, which works closely with other pro-Israel university groups like StandWithUs, has a budget of $2 million for “research” used in such smear campaigns. He further admitted that his group and its affiliates coordinate with Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, which employs a large number of former agents of the Mossad.

The recently leaked episode of “The Lobby” documentary shows that some pro-Israel activists have twisted efforts to give sexual assault survivors stronger voices by using fake harassment claims as ammo for their “psychological warfare” tactics against Palestine solidarity activists.

This use of fabricated sexual harassment smears to target pro-BDS activists threatens the recent high-profile efforts of the #MeToo movement and other related activist groups who seek to help promote an environment where the experiences of sexual assault survivors are more readily accepted.

 

Defamation and libel as a propaganda ploy

In addition to the use of falsification and smears against BDS supporters, the documentary showed evidence that employees and volunteer pro-Israel campus groups were instructed to call BDS a “racist hate group” and were asked to produce multimedia content such as memes that even their own employees considered to be dishonest and “bigoted.”

An employee of the Israel Project who was featured in the documentary, Amanda Botfeld, told Al Jazeera’s undercover reporter that much of the pro-Israel advocacy work she had been asked to do made her feel “uneasy” and “uncomfortable” because it smeared Palestinian rights activists as “anti-Semites” and “racists” for criticizing Israeli government policy.

Another practice that made Botfeld feel uncomfortable was the creation of multimedia content for StandWithUs that featured “pictures of Palestinian kids with a knife” and other images that were used to paint young Palestinians that had been killed by Israeli police and soldiers as “terrorists”. Botfeld opined that the content she was asked to make while working with the Israel project was “bigoted” and she “was embarrassed to be associated with it.” Botfeld also said that one of her supervisors told her to insert the word “racist” in reference to BDS activism as often as possible.

The fact that even the employees of these pro-Israel groups are so acutely aware of the biased, bigoted nature of their response to the growth of the BDS movement underscores how these tactics are used to discourage and chill the atmosphere of debate by maligning and defaming activists and their message.

Top Photo | Protesters hold a sign supporting the BDS movement at a 2014 ‘Block the Boat’ march in Oakland, California. Alex Chis | Flickr

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

MintPress News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
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Not just Canary Mission: SF Jewish Federation bankrolls these hate groups

Source

The Federation’s tax filings reveal a litany of radical-right and anti-Muslim groups that have received its support for years. The Federation says its review process has recently been strengthened but refuses to account for its funding of notorious Islamophobic hate groups.

File photo of an advertisement on a San Francisco public bus accusing the city of enforcing Sharia law, paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which received funding from the SF Jewish Federation. (Steve Rhodes/CC 2.0)

File photo of an advertisement on a San Francisco public bus accusing the city of enforcing Sharia law, paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which received funding from the SF Jewish Federation. (Steve Rhodes/CC 2.0)

 

Following the revelation last week in The Forward that the San Francisco Jewish Federation gave $100,000 to Canary Mission, the shadowy website that blacklists and intimidates students and professors who criticize Israel, the Federation assured its constituents that it was a “one-time grant” that would never happen again. But Canary Mission is just the tip of the iceberg.

An extensive review by +972 of the Federation’s tax filings shows that the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco and the Helen Diller Family Foundation, which the former controls and which it used to fund Canary Mission, have bankrolled an extensive list of extremist, far-right, anti-Muslim organizations in recent years.

The systematic pattern of financially supporting hate groups appears to also violate the SF Federation’s own guidelines, which specify that it will not fund organizations that “endorse or promote anti-Semitism, other forms of bigotry, violence or other extremist views.”

Among the extremist, radical right-wing, and anti-Muslim groups that received funds from the SF Federation, both directly and through the Diller Foundation, and some of which have received substantial and repeated grants over the years, include: Project Veritas, The AMCHA Initiative, The American Freedom Law Center, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, The David Horowitz Freedom Center, and the work of Islamophobic Dutch politician Geert Wilders (through the International Freedom Alliance Foundation). Others include the Clarion Fund, the Center for Security Policy (Frank Gaffney), the Middle East Forum (Daniel Pipes), the Tea Party Patriots Foundation, and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Project Veritas, which the Federation gave $100,000 in 2016, is responsible for falsifying sexual misconduct allegations against Roy Moore last year to The Washington Post in hopes of entrapping the liberal mainstream media

The AMCHA Initiative, which received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the SF Federation and the Diller Foundation in recent years, operates similarly to Canary Mission, except that it primarily goes after faculty, not students.

The David Horowitz Freedom Center, which has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years, has been condemned by the Southern Poverty Law Center as promoting anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant attitudes.

The American Freedom Law Center and Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative both target Islam as a threat to Western civilization. The former advances “anti-Sharia” legislation and filed an amicus brief in support of Trump’s Muslim ban. The latter, which has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-Muslim hate group, was responsible for Islamophobic bus campaigns in several cities, and has been represented by the American Freedom Law Center.

+972 Magazine asked the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation about these grants and others that appear to violate its own guidelines against promoting bigotry, violence, and extremist views. The SF Federation’s senior director of communications, Kerry Philp, responded by email:

 

We review each grant recommendation at the time that it is submitted to the Federation, to determine if the organization adheres to the Federation’s granting guidelines. This applies to organizations across the political spectrum. We aim to make the best decisions with the information that we have at the time. Because organizations are dynamic, an organization that previously received a grant from the Federation may not be in compliance with the Federation’s grantmaking guidelines today, and vice versa. Also, per our statement, we strengthened the implementation of our review process in 2017 and continue to be committed to executing our grant review with a standard of care in regard to our guidelines.

Philp added that the Federation does indeed deny grants when they violate its guidelines but would not address any of the grants to the organizations listed in this article or why they were approved.

The San Francisco Jewish Community Federation is one of the largest Jewish charities in the United States with a budget of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars. Furthermore, it is located in, and presumably represents, one of the most progressive cities and communities in the United States. Whether the SF Federation’s financial support of radical, right-wing, Islamophobic, bigoted, and McCarthyite groups aligns with that community’s values is ultimately up to its members.

From Turquzabad to Dimona (and a little fun on the way!)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Prime walks with his stage props to the podium at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters in New York, the United States, on September 27, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Prime walks with his stage props to the podium at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters in New York, the United States, on September 27, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

By Hossein Jelveh

(Hossein Jelveh is an independent Iranian journalist based in Tehran. He has graduated with a master’s degree from the Faculty of World Studiesat the University of Tehran. You can follow him on Twitter @hossein_jelveh)

 

Let’s be fair. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asks for it.

He has been exposed to the Iranian people’s unrelenting mockery of his foolishness before. So when he took his stage props up to the podium at the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2018, showing the picture and map coordinates of what he said is a “secret atomic warehouse” in a suburb of Tehran called “Turquzabad,” Mr. Netanyahu must have known that there would be verbally barbed consequences.

In the speech, Mr. Netanyahu claimed he was “disclosing” the site “for the first time,” and said Iran was keeping “massive amounts of equipment and material” there for future use in its “nuclear weapons program.” He said the site was just 100 meters from “the Kalishoi” — which by the way sounded like a Japanese martial art the way he said it — as if that style of direction-giving would be more accurate than longitudes and latitudes.

At one instant, he pointed to the picture of the building and said, “How about inspections right here, right now?” At another, with a triumphal look about him, he said,“[L]adies and gentlemen, rest assured […] what Iran hides, Israel will find.”

The Iranian people wouldn’t let that circus come and go without adequately making fun of Mr. Netanyahu. And they were sure up to the task. Naturally, tongue-in-cheek stuff flooded the social media.

Let me just quickly offer here my picks of the top two jokes and move on (and please excuse the colorful language — Mr. Netanyahu brought it upon himself):

“Yesterday, we had lentil stew for lunch and red kidney bean side dishes for dinner [both of them highly intestinal gas-inducing food]. Today, we warmed the leftovers [from both] and had them for lunch. I’m thinking Netanyahu will find our house and ask for ‘inspections right here, right now!’”

And second place goes to:

“Dude! That’s where we throw [off-the-radar] parties. Good luck screwing that with those map coordinates!”

*

The word “Turquzabad” itself, while referring to a real place, has somewhat humorous, local connotations for Iranians. In Persian, it is something like “John Doe,” except that is used to refer to places, not people.

Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister and a former nuclear negotiator, repeatedly attempted not to chuckle when he spoke about it following Mr. Netanyahu’s remarks.

“Seriously, seriously, I think someone is sending Netanyahu on a wild-goose chase. This time, they have referred him to Turquzabad!” Mr. Araqchi said, with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif — also laughing and visibly speechless with amusement — next to him.

Mr. Netanyahu can speak about Iran all he wants. But wouldn’t he be better off running things by somebody before he speaks them? Seriously.

‘What a showman!’

It was not the first time Mr. Netanyahu was staging a show. His past performances include

(1) an appearance, also at the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, during which he famously held up a cartoon bomb that looked pretty much like the ones in Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner and that the White House later trolled;

(2) a speech at the US Congress in March 2015, which served well to deepen a schism between him and then-President Barack Obama; and

(3) a closed-door meeting with 22 US lawmakers in August 2015, after which one stunned lawmaker said of Mr. Netanyahu, “What a showman!”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepares to display a photograph as he addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters, in New York, the United States, on September 27, 2018. (Photo by AP)

And then there was his appearance on early-morning live TV beaming into President Donald Trump’s bedroom in April 2018, revealing what Mr. Netanyahu claimed was nuclear-related material from an Iranian “atomic archive.”

But Mr. Netanyahu’s showing at the General Assembly on September 27 this year was certainly the first time he was drawing the most embarrassing rebuttal of his oft-repeated anti-Iran allegations.

“I have a message to the head of the IAEA, Mr. Yukiya Amano. I believe he’s a good man. […] Well, Mr. Amano […] Go inspect this atomic warehouse, immediately, before the Iranians finish clearing it out,”

the Israeli prime minister said, at least implying that he thinks the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency “goes inspecting” sites himself.

Anyway, Mr. Amano must have been watching the speech over pizza because it didn’t take him long to show up to, essentially, demolish Mr. Netanyahu.

In an October 2 statement that read like an adult’s solemn reminder to a child yet to fully develop his cognitive capabilities, the IAEA chief said,

“It should be noted that under the existing verification framework the Agency sends inspectors to sites and locations only when needed. […] The Agency […] has conducted complementary accesses under the Additional Protocol to all the sites and locations in Iran which it needed to visit.”

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano (C) is flanked by Secretary General of the European Union External Action Service (EEAS) Helga Schmid (to his left) and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi during a special meeting of the parties to the Iran nuclear deal at Coburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, on May 25, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

When Iran and originally six world powers plus the European Union (EU) struck a nuclear deal in 2015 — the very deal that all of Mr. Netanyahu’s theatrical gimmicks have been aimed at derailing — they agreed to put the organization under Mr. Amano’s watch in official charge of monitoring the implementation of the technical aspects of the deal.

The IAEA’s October 2 statement was a clear sign that, for all of their drama, Mr. Netanyahu’s attempts are falling flat.

But, in the futile Israeli attempt to dramatize the Iranian nuclear program, there is not just absurdity. There is also irony:

Iran is a member of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Israel is not.

Iran has no military nuclear program. Israel does.

Iran has, under the nuclear deal, allowed enhanced monitoring by the IAEA of all of its nuclear activities. Israel has allowed no inspections at all of its covert nuclear program.

Still, there is more Israeli behavior that flies in the face of the international world.

For one thing, Mr. Netanyahu on August 29, 2018 issued a threat of a nuclear attack against Iran from inside an Israeli nuclear facility in the Negev Desert — formerly known as Dimona.

This file photo, taken on March 8, 2014, shows a partial view of a nuclear facility, formerly known as Dimona, in the southern Israeli Negev Desert. (By AFP)

Israel is believed to have at least 200 nuclear warheads in a military nuclear program active since decades ago. According to The Washington Post, the United States initially opposed and worked to stop that program.

‘Quite simply, they were lying’

“So the Israelis turned to France, which […] in 1957 secretly agreed to help install a plutonium-based facility in the small Israeli city of Dimona. Why France did this is not settled history. French foreign policy at the time was assiduously independent from, and standoffish toward, the United States and United Kingdom,” according to the 2013 article on The Washington Post.

While working together, Israel and France kept everything secret from the US.

“When U.S. intelligence did finally discover Israel’s nuclear facility, in 1960, Israeli leaders insisted that it was for peaceful purposes and that they were not interested in acquiring a nuclear weapon. Quite simply, they were lying, and for years resisted and stalled U.S.-backed nuclear inspectors sent to the facility,” the article reads.

Ultimately, however, Washington made some sort of an unspoken deal with Tel Aviv, agreeing to an Israeli nuclear program over the pretext that Israel lacked conventional means for protection at the time.

That happened during a September 1969 White House meeting between US President Richard Nixon and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.

According to The Washington Post, which cited the Nixon administration’s “meticulous records,” the bargain was that Israel would “make no visible introduction of nuclear weapons or undertake a nuclear test program” in return for the US keeping mum.

But since, the Israeli regime’s conventional military power has increased. And “[s]ome scholars are beginning to ask whether the old deal is outdated,” according to the Post.

Speculation came up (unnecessarily) when US National Security Adviser John Bolton met with Israeli nuclear officials in August. Mr. Bolton, who likes to present himself as a wild pro-Israeli hawk, dismissed all such speculation.

“‘I don’t think there is anything out of the ordinary or unexpected,’ Bolton said of the meeting. Asked to elaborate, he added only: ‘No change in policy,’” Reuters reported later in August.

When Mr. Netanyahu less-than-tacitly brandished nuclear weapons against Iran at the Israeli facility in Negev in late August, he basically violated even that purported agreement with the US.

Israel’s Sorek nuclear reactor center is seen near the central town of Yavne, on July 5, 2004. (File photo by AP)

Bahram Qassemi, spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said on Monday that international inspections of the Israeli nuclear program had to be put on the global agenda and that the current inaction on the matter was not sustainable.

There is no questioning of the fact that that should happen.

But at one point or another, Israel’s shameless even if laughable attempts to derail the Iranian nuclear accord with the remaining five parties will have to be addressed, too.

All the derision that the Turquzabad remarks sparked, and the fact that Israeli accusations against Iran are being taken increasingly less seriously, in no way remove the need to confront Israeli cheekiness against the greater part of the world that is both law-abiding and civilized.

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Article Explaining Why israel (apartheid state) is a Racist State Embarrasses Labour Party

Article Explaining Why Israel is a Racist State Embarrasses Labour Party

Moshé Machover authored an article proving that the Labour acceptance of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism cannot coexist with free speech on Israel.  This scholar and Israeli veteran linked the racist nature of the Israeli state to its colonialist roots

What a load of horse manure: US Ambassador: Jerusalem Made israel’s (apartheid state) Capital ‘Under God’s Direction’ 3,000 Years Ago

US Ambassador: Jerusalem Made Israel’s Capital ‘Under God’s Direction’ 3,000 Years Ago

By Middle East Monitor

US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has praised President Donald Trump’s administration for putting US-Israeli relations on “more solid [ground] than ever before”, reported the Jerusalem Post.

Speaking at a pre-Rosh Hashanah reception in his Herzliya residence, Friedman singled out for praise the US decision to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem.

“Now, the United States did not make Jerusalem the capital of Israel. That was done by King David some 3,000 years ago under God’s direction,” Friedman declared.

But, he added,

“it feels awfully good” that “the most powerful and moral nation on earth has made this important recognition of the primacy of Jerusalem to the State of Israel and the Jewish People.”

Friedman also said that the Trump administration has “slayed the sacred cow of the calcified thinking that has held back progress on the Palestinian front”.

“Since 1994, the United States has thrown more than $10 billion in humanitarian aid to Palestinians,” he said, adding: “we found that these expenditures were bringing the region no closer to peace or stability, not even by a millimetre.”

“To spend hard-earned taxpayer dollars to fund stipends to terrorists and their families, to expend funds to perpetuate rather than mitigate refugee status, and to finance hate-filled textbooks – I ask you, how does that provide value to the United States or the region?”

The US, Friedman stated, is “not in the business of, as they say, throwing good money after bad”.

*

Featured image is from Flickr.

israel, Land Of (fake) Miracles

By Gideon Levy

The days of kites abound with miracles here. The fact that more Israelis were scratched while shaving in recent months than from kite fires is attributed entirely to miracles

A great miracle occurred on Moshav Tkuma. A cinder carried by a paper kite from Gaza landed in a kindergarten yard. The kindergarten teacher called what she saw in the sky a finger-size glowing ember. She was the first to detect it and rushed to get all the children into the protected area. A small boy wearing a large kippa said a miracle had happened.

The reporter of Kan 11 TV in the south, Itzik Zoaretz, did not miss the opportunity to explain the proportions of the averted disaster: The cinder landed a few meters away from a jute roof in the yard. Jute is flammable material. If the jute had caught fire, all the kindergarten children would have burned to death. Maybe the fire would have spread, destroying all the moshav’s homes. Maybe it would have consumed the entire south, and from there the way to destroying the country would have been very short. Almost-Treblinka in Tkuma, and it was all prevented thanks to the miracle.

The tiny stain in the sand, slightly abashed, seemingly caused by a thrown match, was somewhat contradictory to the reporter’s apocalyptic description, which was a war correspondent’s dramatization in a kindergarten sandbox, but that’s how it is with miracles and wonders.

The days of kites abound with miracles. The fact that more people were scratched while shaving in recent months than from kite fires is attributed entirely to miracles. Not a day goes by without an emotional report by one of the indistinguishable reporters in the field about a disaster that was miraculously avoided. The Qassam rocket that fell nearby, the kite that went out at the last moment – that’s how to conduct the well-timed campaign when you need to finally start the war we crave so much. Meanwhile, a state that describes its establishment as a miraculous event continues to live on its miracles, even when it’s a regional power.

The miracles intensify the danger. That’s good for everyone. If a cinder that hasn’t hit anyone is a flying miracle, then it’s clear that if not for the miracle, a disaster would have occurred. Clearly the cinder has the power to sow death, so we must wage war on it. But the fact is that no kite or balloon, not even a “helium balloon,” the latest advance by Gaza’s military industries, has harmed anyone. The chance of this happening is negligible. The kites harm the environment and agriculture – it’s a huge hazard and distress, but not a cause for war. Ever. There has never been a just war that was started over a kite.

The reports of miracles are meant to change this. Don’t think of that flying cinder as a cinder. It might as well be a cruise missile. Only by miracle is it not a cruise missile. That’s why we have to bludgeon Gaza.

The culture of miracles takes us back to the divine promise, the rock of our existence here, and don’t belittle it. Miracles don’t happen in Gaza. Over there our snipers, pilots, drones, bombs and shells strike and kill, with no miracle discounts for the targets. Miracles are only for the chosen people.

The miracles also take us back to the lie of the make-believe war between the almost equal sides, Gaza and Israel. If not for a miracle, Hamas might have destroyed us already.

Under cover of the lie of the almost equal sides, we can bomb and shell them without restraint and say that that’s war. But the IDF’s assaults on Gaza were never a war, because nothing close to an army has ever faced them. It wasn’t miracles that prevented disaster for Israel, only the pitiful destitution of the other side. Gaza has no army, no weapons, certainly not the kind that can threaten the IDF in any way, not in the wildest imagination.

The fires in the south are distressing. Life in the south is hard. No military strike can solve life’s hardships on either side of the fence, and no miracle can extract Israel from the need to change direction dramatically, to move from arrogance and aggression to humanity and compassion. That is something Israel has no intention of doing. Until then we’ll live from miracle to miracle, from attack to attack on bleeding, beaten Gaza, where miracles like ours never happen, only death and destruction.

This article was originally published by “Haaretz

#israel– In the “only democracy” in the Middle East, military censors are working overtime to control the content of reporting and hide facts from the public

Report: IDF Censorship of Israeli Press Averages One Redaction Every Four Hours

A recent report found that over the course of the past year, 271 articles were prohibited by Israel’s military censor and an additional 2,358 were partially or fully redacted.

TEL AVIV – In the “only democracy” in the Middle East, military censors are working overtime to control the content of reporting and keep certain stories hidden from the public. According to a recent report by Israeli journalist Haggai Matar for online magazine +972, Israel’s military censor has notably increased the percentage of articles it partially or fully redacted in the Israeli press over the past year, a trend unlikely to decline as Israel prepares for potential war with Gaza, Lebanon and Syria.The report, which used government figures obtained via freedom of information request, found that over the course of the past year 271 articles were prohibited by the military censor and an additional 2,358 were partially or fully redacted. On average, Israel’s military censor made a redaction in a story once every four hours and completely censored a story an average of five times a week.

Despite promoting its media environment as “lively, pluralistic and generally respectful of press freedom,” the censorship of Israeli press – long a reality in the country – has been steadily growing worse.

Thanks to a permanent state of emergency in effect since Israel’s founding in 1948, newspapers and other traditional news outlets in Israel have long been required to submit all articles which relate to national security and/or foreign relations to the censor of the Israel Defense Forces for review prior to publication. As +972 noted, “Israel is the only [democracy] where journalists and publications are legally required to submit their reporting for review prior to publication, and the only one where censorship can be criminally enforced.” The Israel Defense Forces also have the authority to censor books and other print publications.

In recent years, the censor has sought to bring online publications under its control but has not been entirely successful in doing so. The proliferation of online news in Israel, and internationally, may be in part responsible for another surprising finding of the report, which noted that the number of articles submitted to the censor for review dropped to a seven-year-low in 2017.

The decline in submitted articles is likely due in part to the close relationship between the IDF and Israeli publishers. Indeed, Chief IDF Censor Brig. Gen. Ariela Ben Avraham noted that the military rarely pursues violations of the censorship laws as news publishers in Israel “[show] responsibility when addressing matters of national security.” Such an atmosphere likely leads to self-censorship as publishers and journalists are less likely to write stories that they know will be outright rejected by the military censor.

An uptick in Israeli press censorship is common preceding and during times of war.  Instances of censorship jumped noticeably during Israel’s 2014 war against the Gaza strip.  Given the high probability of another Israel-Gaza war later this year and Israel’s violent response to Palestinian unrest as it moves to formally annex the West Bank, censorship in the name of Israel’s ‘national security’ is likely to increase even more over the course of 2018.

Top Photo | Israeli troops arrest Associated Press photographer Nasser Shiyoukhi while he was covering a protest in Palestinian West Bank town of Yatta. AP Photo

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

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