The Newest Charge of the Speech Brigade
By Stephen Plaut
The Likud government and its leftist Attorney General continue to jihad against freedom of speech in Israel. The Likud has always been devoted to defending freedom of speech for Arab fascists and for Jewish anti-Israel radical leftists, just not for anyone else. Under the Likud *much like under the Labor Party Mensheviks), the Kahanists were criminalized and denied freedom of speech. People making “insensitive” or “racist” comments or having insensitive bumper stickers or Tee shirts were arrested, but only if they were being insensitive towards Arabs. Likudian Israel still enforces Israel’s
ridiculous “anti-racism” laws that allow the police to arrest Jews making anti-Arab comments. All of Israel is subject to a “speech code.”
Let us be clear. In real democracies it is not a crime to make a racist or insensitive or bigoted comment. If it were, half the universities in the United States would be shut down for issuing anti-Semitic statements. If you make an intolerant racist comment in a real democracy, you might get punched in the nose but the police will not arrest you. Civilized people may repudiate you or mock you or dismiss you. But you will NOT be taken to jail.
Israel’s semi-democratic regime has a long track record of suppressing freedom of speech and arresting people for the “crime” of “racism.” Judges studiously refuse to defend freedom of speech. A rabbi who wrote a book deemed “racist” was harassed by the police, as were other rabbis who recommended that people read the book. People have been arrested for wearing “anti-Arab” tee shirts or having bumper stickers on their cars, where “anti-Arab” would include slogans like “Those who want rights must also fulfill obligations,” or “I like Rabbi Kahane.” A Jewish woman did hard jail time in prison for drawing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed as a pig. [Drawing Jews as long-nosed caricatures drinking the blood of Arab children is protected speech though.] You may regard such a cartoon as vulgar and offensive, but Israel is the only Western democracy where anti-Moslem cartoonists are jailed (unlike Holland and Denmark!). Salman Rushdie could be jailed under Israel’s speech code..
The criminalization of “bigotry” in Israel is entirely selective.
No Arabs or leftists are jailed or indicted for making anti-Jewish
comments or publishing anti-Semitic tracts or books (such as those by
Tel Aviv University professor Shlomo Sand, which are required reading
at TAU!). Arab students may chant openly on campus support for
suicide bombings against Jews and the campus authorities defend this
as academic freedom. But a Ben Gurion University professor who
expressed the opinion that it may not be healthy for children to be
raised by homosexual couples was fired by BGU president Rivka Carmi.
THAT, you see, was intolerable bigotry.
Arabs calling upon Iran to drop nuclear weapons on Tel Aviv is
protected speech in Netanyahu’s Israel. Calling upon Jews not to
lease apartments in Jewish neighborhoods to Arabs will get you
arrested, as will calling on Jewish women not to date Arabs. (Arab
women who date Jewish men of course are subject to honor killings.)
Even calling on men not to date other men might just get you into hot
water. The political establishment in Israel wants the entire country
to be subjected to a national speech code, one that prohibits making
“insensitive” comments, but only those about Arabs (and gays).
I have in the past on occasion commented about soccer hooliganism
in Israel. Like in most of the rest of the world, soccer fans in
Israel get rowdy and vulgar. Some of the soccer teams are those of
Arab towns, and, at matches between Jewish and Arab teams, the fans
tend to yell things at the other side such as “Kill all the Jews” or
“I hate Arabs.” I do not approve of such things, and in fact in the
past have proposed that the rest of society deal with the vulgarity by
requiring that all sports events reporting in the media be conducted
in Latin. But I also do not think that those making such catcalls are
breaking any law or deserve to be imprisoned. Washing their mouths
out with soap would be fine with me.
But the Likud regime disagrees. Making moronic “racist” catcalls
at soccer matches is a crime in Netanyahu’s Israel, and only when the
catcalls are anti-Arab.
Think I am exaggerating? Take a look at
As you see there, the police, no doubt at the orders of the leftist Attorney General, have started rounding up Jewish catcallers but not Arab catcallers. “Massacre the Jews” is protected speech in Israel. Saying “Muhammad was no prophet, just another Arab” however is hate speech. Two young Jews were arrested by the police for the “crime” of making this “anti-Arab” catcall at the soccer match.
Now just for the record, the number of “civil rights” groups and activists, the number of law professors terribly concerned about freedom of speech, and the number of Israeli Democracy Institute members who have spoken out against this arbitrary assault against freedom of speech for Jews is exactly zero!
Here is the INN news story:
Cops Charge Pair With ‘Racist Speech’ at Soccer Game
By David Lev, INN
Police moved swiftly Monday to indict two Jerusalem residents on charges of racism over catcalls they made Sunday night at a soccer game Sunday night between Beitar Jerusalem and the Bnei Sakhnin team.
Hundreds of police were present at the game in order to prevent racial tension, with fans of Beitar and visiting Arab teams often facing off with each other over insults and threats mounted by each side against the other.
Beitar fans have complained numerous times that Arab fans visiting the stadium incite to racism and hatred against Jews, calling for “death to Israel” and “death to the Jews,” and even waving PLO flags. The media has ignored those complaints, instead focusing on Arab complaints that Jewish fans call them names or make them feel unwelcome.
The two fans, 27 and 18 years of age, are accused of getting up and shouting that they “hate Arabs,” and that “Muhammad was no prophet, just another Arab.” Police arrested the two, and filed charges against them of making use of racist speech. A Jerusalem court released them until trial, but they were instructed to remain far away from Teddy Stadium, where Beitar plays its games.
In order to ensure that they follow the rules, the two have been instructed to report to their police stations during each half of a game played by Beitar Jerusalem at the stadium.