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Posts Tagged ‘incitement’
July 11, 2016

Violent East Jerusalem Graffiti Suggests Incitement Seeping Into Palestinian Daily Life

Graffiti recently on view in East Jerusalem, including on Salah El-Din street (the area’s main business district), highlights the incitement to violence seeping into the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living in that area. It serves as a reminder of the fragility of the relative calm Jerusalem has enjoyed in recent weeks, having previously been a focal point in the wave of Palestinian terror which began in September of 2015, often referred to as the “Knives Intifada” because of the frequent stabbing attacks. Examples of this hateful graffiti include an image of a hand holding a knife with the Arabic captions “stab”  and “The Jerusalem Intifada,” and an icon of a Palestinian hurling a Molotov cocktail with the caption “resist.”

Other examples include a map of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza with the caption “From the river to the sea”, suggesting that the Palestinian state should stretch from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, thereby eliminating the State of Israel. Also spray painted are slogans calling for additional acts of Palestinian terror, with graffiti reading “The armed struggle till the liberation/long live the Intifada” and “The Intifada continues till the liberation of the land and the people.”

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December 22, 2015

Israel’s Choice: Incitement or Civility

By Jonathan Green­blatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared in the Times of Israel.

As we see in America these days, when people are feeling vulnerable and insecure, politicians and demagogues play on those fears to offer solutions that are often anti-democratic and that will ultimately weaken, rather than strengthen society.

 So it is in Israel. The country faces continual terrorist violence against its citizens — more frightening in some ways than intifadas because of the random and intimate nature of the attacks. And as hostile anti-Israel campaigns grow around the world, some Israelis turn to simplistic solutions. Those include blaming terror on those who disagree with them politically and engaging in behavior that verges into incitement. Such trends risk stifling the culture of free expression that Israel can be so proud of.

In recent days, this phenomenon has manifested itself in the continued attacks on President Reuven Rivlin for his insistence on speaking to all segments of Israel’s diverse society. It has shown up in an ugly video created by Im Tirtzu, a right-wing advocacy group, to name and delegitimize left-wing Israeli activists as “foreign agents” in what can only be considered an act of hateful incitement. It also appears in a broader Knesset bill that would bar nongovernmental organizations funded by foreign governments from any contact with government and military authorities.

All of these together represent a serious threat to Israel’s robust democratic tradition.

Let’s be clear: when a group like Breaking the Silence airs alleged atrocities committed by Israeli soldiers abroad — instead of through the established legal channels for dealing with such allegations — it understandably raises the ire of Israelis who are proud of the Israel Defense Forces, the force that stands in the way of Israel’s destruction at the hands of its enemies. And it is fair to raise questions about whether such groups play a constructive role or contribute to Israel’s isolation in the world.

There is, however, a line that should not be crossed. And of late, there are too many crossings of that line.

President Rivlin has been a particular target of these attacks. Already during last summer, when Rivlin harshly condemned the arson attack in Duma, he was widely condemned on social media for speaking out. This included the posting of pictures of him wearing a keffiyeh and a Nazi uniform. Incitement of this nature is reminiscent of the attacks against former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that preceded his assassination 20 years ago.

 More recently, when the Israeli president spoke before the Haaretz conference in New York, which also featured a panel discussion with Breaking the Silence, Israel’s Channel 20 harshly criticized him on their Facebook page saying the president “mustn’t spit in the face of the soldiers,” and that his participation in the same conference with Breaking the Silence is “contempt of the presidency.”

The president used his podium to highlight the importance of speaking with groups with whom he strenuously disagreed, a principled example of the type of pluralism that define open societies. Indeed, he specifically called out his complaints against groups such as Breaking the Silence, as did former Minister of Justice and Knesset lawmaker Tzipi Livni.

 A troubling incident in the effort to delegitimize and stifle left-wing criticism of Israel was the egregious video produced by Im Tirtzu painting left wing activists as complicit in Palestinian stabbings.

 An organization has every right to be critical of political activities it deems harmful to the nation. But this kind of fear tactic — of blaming left-wing groups for the ongoing wave of Palestinian terrorism in order to delegitimize them — is a form of incitement that crosses over into hate speech. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the work of the nongovernmental organizations mentioned — and ADL strongly disagrees with groups like Breaking the Silence, which refuse to contextualize Israeli military actions and to consider the hostile climate to which they contribute — accusing them of supporting Palestinian terror is potentially libelous, and certainly undemocratic and dangerous.

This kind of incitement against President Rivlin or against left-wing organizations and activists should be rejected and condemned. Israel has tragically experienced what such incitement can lead to. Luckily, many have spoken up.

At the same time, responsibility for how one deals with delicate issues, particularly at a time of great vulnerability in society, falls on all sectors of society. Those on the left who are critical of Israeli policies have a right to offer those criticisms. But they also should be mindful of the impact of those criticisms on the average Israeli and on emboldening forces around the world who are hostile to Israel.

For civil society to work in a democratic country, civil liberties must be protected. The right to voice one’s views must be guaranteed, and one’s security in doing so must be reassured.

If civil liberties are diminished in Israel, Israel will be diminished.

But outside of Israel, it is essential to recognize that, in any society, if a citizenry’s sense of vulnerability and insecurity reaches a breaking point, public support for civil liberties diminishes accordingly, while calls for security increase. In fact, it is worth reflecting on the remarkable resilience of Israeli democracy in the face of the unrelenting external threats that it has faced since its establishment.

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January 30, 2014

The Media’s Coverage of Palestinian Incitement Towards Israel

Recently, the New York Times ran an informative piece on the proliferation of Hamas training camps in Gaza, where impressionable Palestinian teens are taught to hate Israel through participation in military-style boot camps, where they are trained to fire guns and build bombs in order to attack the Jewish State.

While the article itself was interesting, the timing seemed to suggest that Palestinian incitement was something of a new phenomenon. The reality is that this type of violent indoctrination equipping children with the skills and motivation to kill Israelis, as well as other forms of Palestinian incitement, are nothing new.

A recent Israeli government report highlights how Palestinian government officials, media outlets and educational institutions are engaged in an ongoing incitement campaign towards Israel. Hitler is quoted on school Facebook pages, Jews are described on TV as “barbaric monkeys” and the “murders of Mohammed,” and Palestinian President Abbas has repeatedly embraced released Palestinian terrorists as “heroes.”

Perhaps one of the most infamous instances of Palestinian incitement occurred in 2007 with Mickey Mouse “Farfour” episode, where Mickey was shown on Hamas TV being beaten to death by an actor posing as an Israeli agent trying to buy land. Young viewers of the TV program were than told that “Farfour was martyred while defending his land” and was killed “by the killers of children.” The Hamas TV episode was so horrific it even merited a spot on The Daily Show.

With Israel and the Palestinians currently engaged in an intense and protracted period of negotiations over the potential for a future Palestinian state, the need to highlight and counteract the dangers of incitement is even more pressing. The issue has been repeatedly raised in recent weeks by Israeli political leaders in meetings with international leaders, public speeches and other forums, but hasn’t received as much international media attention as it should.

In order for peace to be achieved, the Palestinian Authority must end the incitement campaign against Israel. It is the task of responsible media outlets to continue to draw attention to the issue, and not allow incitement to continue existing under the surface.


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