Sunday, April 08, 2007
A Strange Free Speech Victory in Israel
It sounds like one of the silliest court cases in Israel but it actually
is an important one. A Tel Aviv magistrate's court in Israel actually
just defended freedom of speech. And it is a court decision that carries
implications for other cases.
The court case was a libel suit filed by municipal veterinarian of Raanana
and Kfar Sava, Dr. Israel Glass, against another veterinarian and animal
rights activist, Dr. Yuval Samuel, because the latter had written in an
internet forum and elsewhere had accused the former of being a Gestapo
member and operating concentration camps. It all had to do with animal
rights. You see, in 2004 there were some outbreaks of rabies in Israel
and the Raanana vet ordered stray cats killed. The animal rights nuts got
their knickers in a twist about that and attacked him. Glass filed a
libel suit against Samuel (for details, Hebrew only, see
http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/846575.html ). Glass is himself
son of Holocaust survivors.
The judge in the case, Avigail Cohen, tossed the suit out. It was
protected speech, she insisted, whether or not one agrees with the claims
or the style of speech of the animal nuts. It is legitimate debate about
public matters and issues.
Now I mention all of this because of how dramatically it illustrates how
selective free speech is being protected in Israel and how outrageous and
anti-democratic was the court ruling of the Arab woman judge Reem Naddaf
in the Gordon-Plaut case, a case that bears some distant resemblance to
the above suit.
While calling a private citizen (a veterinarian) a member of the Gestapo
is protected speech in Israel, criticizing the political opinions of an
anti-Semitic extremist academic and a public figure who writes columns for
neo-Nazis and anti-Semites all over the world is libelous, ruled Judge
Naddaf of Nazareth magistrate court last year. When Neve Gordon, an
anti-Israel extremist from Ben Gurion University, and his destroy-Israel
anarchist friends illegally entered Ramallah to interfere with Israeli
anti-terror military operations and to prevent the arrest of wanted
Palestinian murderers, he was denounced by me as belonging to a group of
"Judenrat wannabes". I also denounced him for his long campaign to
promote and endorse Holocaust Denier Norman Finkelstein, who evidently is
being fired this month from DePaul University for HIS Neo-Nazi activities.
Gordon filed a malicious frivolous "libel" suit against me in Nazareth
court hoping to get a radical anti-Israel Arab judge. He got Judge
Nadaff, who ruled that calling practitioners of such illegal anti-Semitic
pro-terror behavior "Judenrat wannabes" is libelous. In her verdict the
judge also justified and legitimized Holocaust revisionism. Prof. Alan
Dershowitz denounced the judge and described Gordon thus: "It is my
opinion that Neve Gordon has gotten into bed with neo-Nazis, Holocaust
justice deniers, and anti-Semites. He is a despicable example of a
self-hating Jew and a self-hating Israeli."
Naddaf wants to create a
system in which animal rights nuts can say whatever they want as protected
speech, but Zionists criticizing the criminal behavior of anti-Semites and
traitors may not. Her verdict will soon be reversed on appeal.
For more details on that Gordon-Plaut court case see:
Two Kinds of Refugees
April 05, 2007
The plan put forward by Saudi Arabia for Middle East peace has received
backing from the Arab world and tacit encouragement from Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice. It sounds good in some respects -- in that it
actually does call for the Arab world to recognize Israel. But the devil
in this scheme is, as it has always been since the Saudis unveiled it in
2002, in the details.
One key sticking point, though hardly the only one, is demanding that
Israel allow all descendants of Palestinian refugees from the War of
Independence the right to "return" to pre-1967 Israel. That is an obvious
tactic that would mean the end of Israel demographically as a Jewish
state. So, although he has been careful to say that the plan is worth
discussing, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has made clear there will
be no Palestinian "return."
The United States needs to back him on this. But the reason for doing so
isn't simply because of a numbers game; it's because the question of
refugees is a doubled-edged sword of justice.
Along those lines, several hundred thousand Jewish refugees from that same
era are also part of this equation. These people, however, have been
forgotten by most of the world and literally ignored by the United
Nations, which devotes an entire agency and untold billions to prevent
Palestinian refugees from being absorbed elsewhere.
Jews from Arab countries were expelled or forced to flee their homes and
property in the wake of Israel's creation. But unlike the Arabs, the
Jewish people did not keep their refugees in camps as political props for
nearly 60 years. Rather, with the help of the Diaspora, Israel took them
Of all the tens of millions of refugees that were created by World War II
and the wars that soon followed, only the Palestinians have been kept from
finding permanent homes.
No discourse on the plight of stateless Palestinians should be heard
without a similar mention of Jewish refugees. While there's no denying the
suffering of large numbers of Palestinian refugees, their descendants
cannot be allowed to stand as an obstacle to peace. Nor should the world
allow them to continue to be used as a weapon in a war whose only purpose
is Israel's destruction.
3. Lying about Deir Yassin:
4. Bias on Campuses: