Thursday, June 22, 2006
From Alabama to Nazareth - bigoted courts suppressing freedom of speech
1. The following is an English translation of an article by Jonathan
Rosenblum that appeared in hebrew today in Maariv, June 22, 06
Free speech for some
At the height of the American civil rights movement, Southern strategists
hit on a novel strategy to bankrupt civil rights organizations and their
leaders: libel suits to be tried before local juries in states like
Alabama. The U.S. Supreme Court put an end to that strategy in 1964 by
making it almost impossible for a public figure to sue for libel absent a
showing of knowing falsehood or reckless disregard for the truth. (That
matters of opinion were beyond the reach of libel law did not even need
Protection of free speech in Israel lags far behind the America,
especially when it comes to libel suits. Last year Tommy Lapid was smacked
with a 50,000 shekel libel judgment for calling an astrologer a
.charlatan. on TV. Lapid was not making a comment on the professional
skill of the astrologer in question, but rather expressing his opinion
that astrology is hokum. He may have been impolite, but he is entitled to
Recently inveterate Israel-basher Niv Gordon succeeded in turning Nazareth
Magistrate.s Court into Israel.s Alabama when he successfully sued Haifa
University economics professor Steven Plaut for libel. Gordon.s choice of
venue was hardly accidental. He lives in Jerusalem and Plaut in Haifa; he
sought a venue with a strong likelihood of a judge who would share his
Gordon exercises his free speech rights to the fullest. His attacks on
Israel.s .fascism. and .state terror,. as well as praise for Norman
Finkelstein, who has been dubbed the Jewish David Irving, feature on
various neo-Nazi, Islamist, and anti-Semitic websites. He once wrote a
letter to Ha.aretz justifying Palestinian violence as the only language
then Prime Minister Ehud Barak understands. Gordon has labeled Gaza
Brigade Commander Gen. Aviv Kochavi a .war criminal,. as a result of which
Kochavi was advised not to take up advanced studies in Britain for fear of
war crimes prosecution.
Gordon can dish it out, but he cannot take it. And in Judge Reem Nadaff he
found an unwitting accomplice in suppressing the speech of those
contemptuous of his antics. Naddaf found Prof. Plaut.s forwarding (not
writing) of a satiric E-mail of condolence to Gordon upon the targeted
killing of Hamas bomb-maker Mohammed Def. She also found to be libelous
Plaut.s description of Gordon.s academic publications to be paltry, even
though it was true at the time of publication, because he had not removed
those articles from various websites.
Most of Judge Nadaff.s opinion was taken up by discussion of the headlines
of two pieces by Plaut . one entitled .Haaretz supports Jews for Hitler;.
the other .Judenrat for Peace.. In the first article Plaut attacked
Ha.aretz for picking Gordon to review Norman Finkelstein.s The Holocaust
Industry and then printing his laudatory review. Finkelstein claims that
the number of those killed in the Holocaust is "grossly exaggerated," as
part of a systematic manipulation by world Jewry to deflect criticism of
Israel.s .racist. and .Nazi. treatment of Palestinians.
Plaut claimed that the headline in question was tacked on by an editor,
and in, any event, the title does not mention Gordon. The .Jews for
Hitler. of the title most plausibly referred to Finkelstein, as head of a
metaphorical club of Jewish supporters of Hitler.
The second article savaged Gordon for violating army orders by entering
Yasir Arafat.s Ramallah compound, along with 250 members of International
Solidarity Movement to serve as human shields for Arafat. Gordon was
photographed holding hands with Arafat, and quoted as dismissing charges
that Arafat ordered and financed terror attacks on Israel.
Again, the Judenrat title did not mention Gordon by name. Nor could the
article be plausibly read as an assertion that Gordon was an ally of
Hitler in his plans to destroy the Jewish people, as Judge Naddaf seemed
to. Rather Plaut was engaging in a Holocaust metaphor: Just as during the
Holocaust the Judenrat assisted in the killing of their fellow Jews, so do
Gordon and his ilk today.
That is no more or less legitimate an opinion than those that Gordon spews
around the world. And the attempt to suppress it reflects the way that
free speech in Israel often applies to only one side of the political
2. The Scarecrow of Oz is back:
'In some respects, this reflects a situation Amos Oz prophesied. "People
like you," he said to me almost 30 years ago, "who want Israel to go on
behaving like a European society, are heading for disappointment. Israel
is becoming a Middle Eastern country. In future, I hope that it will not
behave worse than other Middle Eastern countries, but I doubt that it will
behave any better."'
3. It is now pretty much official. Israel did not fire the shell that
blew that family to pieces on the Gaza beach. How do we know? Well,
Maariv this morning reports that the little girl who was injured in the
blast has now testified that just before it, her father was poking into
th esand on the beach with a pole. That means it is just about certain
that it was a MINE!
The Hamas and friends like to plant mines in places where they
think Israeli troops might launch incursions. The beach in question has
been under Palestinian control for ages. The Palestinians use explosives
to make mines that they take from other mines they dig up from mine fields
or shells that do not explode. In any case, th eshell fragments taken
from a boy injured in the beach blast were clearly NOT from an Israeli or
US made shell.
See also http://israelnn.com/news.php3?id=105806
4. Maariv this morning also reports that the Judge Ayala Procaccia, who
was the subject of the Caroline Glick article I posted yesterday
her politicized verdict against the free speech of protesters who opposed
the Gush Katif capitulation, has been receiving death threats.
Procacia had jailed teenage girl protesters for weeks until their
hearing came up in court.
Let me emphasize that I am strongly opposed to violence or threats
against any Israeli judge or against any other public figure, even
against leftist politicized judges, even against a judge who
would rule that treason is protected speech while criticism of treason is
Having said that, let me also add that there is a serious problem in
Israel. When judges issue biased, one-sided, politicized rulings that
suppress freedom of speech, they violate the social contract of democracy.
They may drive certain hot heads to conclude that since courts are
unwilling to defend democracy, the rules of the democratic game are off.
In other words, anti-democratic rulings by politicized biased judges can
produce violence! And the judges themselves must bear part of the
responsibility for that.
5. All the Israeli papers are reporting that at long last there is a
government decision to deport from the country the various foreign
"anarcho-fascists" and pro-terror leftists who enter Israel and then
violently assault police and soldiers to show their solidarity with the
suicide bombers and Kassam rocket shooters. It is all much too little and
much too late, but I suppose better late than never. These are people who
vandalize the security fence to make it easier for suicide bombers to
conduct mass murders of Israeli children. They include the pro-terror
moonbats from the
ISM = International Solidarity Movement (but whose real name is "I Support
Murderers!"). Henceforth, the overseas pro-terror pogromchiki are
prohibited from entering the West Bank and will be summarily deported if
caught there. See this: http://israelnn.com/article.php3?id=6321
Now what is needed is a change in the law so that various
anti-Semites and pro-terror moonbats carrying Israeli citizenship,
including some tenured extremists from Israeli universitieswe can think
of, are stripped of their citizenship and deported to Syria.
Oh, and instead of deporting the ISM "anarcho-fascists", I suggest
simply chaining them to lamp-posts in Sderot where they can serve as human
6. June 22, 2006
June 22, 2006; Page A16
Wall Street Journal
The Pentagon yesterday announced the names of seven Marines and a Navy
corpsman charged with the April 26 kidnapping and murder of a 52-year-old
Iraqi man in the town of Hamdania. The accusations are grave and, if
proved, will almost certainly lead to severe sentences. We suspect no
parallel process is taking place among Iraqi insurgents for the weekend
murders near Yusufiya of U.S. soldiers Thomas L. Tucker and Kristian
That's a distinction worth pondering the next time you hear Iraq war
critics carp at the U.S. refusal to apply Geneva Convention privileges to
enemy combatants. The Convention extends those privileges to combatants
who abide by the laws it sets for war, including the treatment of
Combatants who fail to obey those laws -- by not wearing distinctive
military insignia or targeting civilians -- are not entitled to its
privileges. If they were, the very purpose of the Convention would be
rendered a nonsense. And this is why the U.S. has refused Geneva
privileges to the enemy combatants at Guantanamo, which we hope is an
argument heeded by the Supreme Court as it decides the Hamdan case.
Especially so given the kinds of combatants the U.S. and the rest of the
civilized world now face in Iraq. Privates Tucker and Menchaca were not
simply ambushed, taken prisoner and killed. "The torture was something
unnatural," said Major General Abdul Azziz Mohammed Jassim of Iraq's
Defense Ministry, hinting at the state of the soldiers' remains. The
corpses were so mutilated that they could only be positively identified
through DNA testing.
Here, then, is the enemy we face in Iraq: Not nationalists or extremists
or even fanatics, but something like a band of real-life Hannibal Lecters
for whom human slaughter is both business and religious fulfillment.
Following the killing, an Internet statement said to be from the
Mujahadeen Shura Council praised Abu Hamza al-Muhajir -- who is Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi's successor as head of Al Qaeda in Iraq -- with "the
implementation of the sentence." Note the legalistic pretensions: This is
the kind of "justice" Iraqis could expect should the insurgents come to
power. And it is the enemy that might well come to power if the U.S. left
Iraq prematurely, as many Senate Democrats urged yesterday.
No wonder so many Iraqis are risking their lives by joining the military
and the police force to defend themselves against their would-be masters,
a point that's too often forgotten by critics of the war. Thus, following
the slaughter of Tucker and Menchaca, Representative John Murtha issued a
statement, notably short on grief, insinuating that Iraqis are a nation of
"I continue to be concerned with the fact that our military men and women
fighting in Iraq often tell me they do not know who the enemy is," said
the Pennsylvania Democrat, who favors immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
"They do not know whom they can trust. . . . One day the Iraqis are
smiling and waving at them on the streets; the next day the same people
are throwing grenades at them."
Mr. Murtha might have checked his facts before issuing this generalized
slur. According to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count Web site
(http://icasualties.org/oif/1), in 2005 there were 3,510 Iraqi military
and police fatalities, almost all at the hands of terrorists. That's four
times the number of U.S. servicemen killed that year, and it gives the lie
to the notion that Iraqis are doing little in their own defense while
Coalition forces do all the heavy lifting.
Meantime, the U.S. military continues to examine allegations that Marines
killed 24 civilians in the town of Haditha last November. Pentagon
investigators have also uncovered evidence of detainee abuse by U.S.
Special Forces in early 2004 -- just as the Army was the first to disclose
the prison abuses at Abu Ghraib.
For some, all this is just more evidence of inveterate U.S. barbarity or
the criminal abuses made possible by Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales. In
fact, it testifies to a U.S. military and executive branch willing to
investigate, disclose and prosecute errant military behavior, whatever the
military or political price. That's something Mr. Murtha and his
fellow-travelers in Congress and the media might not recognize. But a
majority of Iraqis do, which is why, in the battle against the killers of
Privates Tucker and Menchaca, they line up to fight on our side.
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7. I have a foreign moonbat candidate to be deported from Israel for his
anti-Israel pro-terror agitation:
8. Speaking of Pink Floyd, we don't want no edyuckation:
You know what they do with graffiti nuts in Singapore these days?
9. The next judicial assault on free speech:
10. Isi Leiler hits the nail on the head at
11. Saint Ann:
12. Marx was a racist: