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The Only Democracy? » Human Rights Activists in the Crosshairs » Ha’aretz calls protest crackdown “unacceptable,” will US Media follow suit?

Ha’aretz calls protest crackdown “unacceptable,” will US Media follow suit?

Ha’aretz’s editorial  gives a good summary of the recent Israeli crackdown on dissent, citing many examples covered on this blog.

“According to data provided by the activists, since December, Israeli forces have undertaken more than 20 nighttime raids on the villages of Na’alin and Bil’in and have arrested more than 30 people. They are all suspected of taking part in protests against the separation fence, which invades these villages and very severely harms the inhabitants’ welfare. None of them were charged with involvement in terror operations or criminal activities to justify persecuting, arresting and deporting them.

At the same time, the Israel Police used force to suppress protests identifying with the Palestinians in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood; these Palestinians had been forced to vacate their homes. Dozens of protesters are arrested every week and brought to court. All these steps were taken to deter human rights activists from implementing their right to free speech – the life’s breath of a democratic society.

It could be expected that a country that has ruled another nation for many years would show tolerance toward manifestations of unarmed protest against the occupation and its ills. The state should also respect the right of other countries’ citizens to show solidarity with the local people and join protests alongside Israeli and Palestinian activists.

The harassment of individuals who do not toe the line and posters in the streets that incite against human rights groups should arouse concern in the heart of every Israeli. The suppression of public protest under the transparent guise of protecting state security does not augment Israel’s international standing. Such a policy gives a bad name to “the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Could not have said it better ourselves! Now, will the US Media follow suit in covering (and condeming)) this crackdown on nonviolent dissent? Will Americans who care about Israel raises their voices like the Ha’aretz editors?

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JESSE BACON (Philadelphia) is a freelance activist and father. He has a Masters in teaching from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is an observant progressive Jew, and is trying to be a good ally for Palestinians and all dispossessed peoples, while staying true to the best traditions in Judaism. He visited Israel and Palestine in 1996, 2001, and 2002. He served for three years on the local steering committee of Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago, and one year on the board of Pursue the Peace in Seattle. Read his posts here.

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