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More arrests. Campaigns of vilification ending in people losing their jobs. The trend in Israel, "the only democracy in the Middle East" continues.

"A fascist state under the cover of Zionism" Update: that was the original headline in Haaretz, now :
"Im Tirtzu hides behind respectable mask of 'Zionism'"

Binyamin Ze'ev is turning in his grave once again: A McCarthyite movement has taken his best-known slogan for its name. Im Tirtzu, which deceptively calls itself a "moderate, centrist movement," gives a bad name to Herzl, a democrat and liberal, who coined the phrase "Im tirtzu, ain zo agada" (If you will it, it is no dream). The group's latest trick: a dirty war against the New Israel Fund for its funding of 16 organizations that provided documentation used in the Goldstone report.

Oy, gevalt! There are nongovernmental organizations that want Israel to be a better, more just state, and that the New Israel Fund dares to underwrite. Cities were plastered with posters featuring a caricature of NIF president Naomi Chazan wearing a horn - that's the level that the "movement" behind the campaign sinks to. -- Gideon Levy

There's no lack of fascist movements in Israel and the wider world, nationalist, militarist and racist organizations that don't pretend to be anything but. Im Tirtzu hides behind the respectable mask of "Zionism." Under this camouflage people hunt down all signs of democracy and critical thought. Quiet, we're shooting, all the time. That is their "second Zionist revolution," an Israel without the High Court of Justice and without B'Tselem, militarist with neither criticism nor supervision. If that is Zionism, then it's better to be anti-Zionist.

Im Tirtzu's founder and chairman, Ronen Shoval, is their handsome patriot - blue-eyed and from the solidly bourgeois suburb of Ramat Hasharon, north of Tel Aviv. He's not some bearded settler nutcase who burns Palestinian fields. First, he tried his luck with the fight of the reserve duty soldiers after the Second Lebanon War. Then it was permissible to criticize a war, because Israelis died in it. Operation Cast Lead must not be criticized because nearly all those who died in it were Palestinians - and there were a lot of Palestinian deaths. After that struggle died out, this ridiculous Zionist turned to pursuing all demonstrations of criticism of Israel. Gideon Levy

now to Glick @ Jerusalem Post. This is what vilification sounds like.

Since the Palestinians began their terror war against Israel in September 2000, NIF-sponsored groups have worked steadily to intimidate political leaders, law enforcement officials and military commanders to toe their anti-Zionist line. In the wake of the PLO-incited riots in the Israeli Arab sector in October 2000, the overtly anti-Zionist NIF-funded Adalah group agitated for the formation of the Orr Commission. Charged with investigating the police who quelled the rioting rather than the rioters whose violence forced the prolonged closure of major highways to Jewish traffic throughout the country, the Orr Commission had a devastating impact on the police’s morale and organizational culture.

It is not just in Israel itself where this campaign of intimidation is taking place.

Britain:

I was fortunate to attend the packed meeting on "Never Again: For Anyone" at Parliament in Portcullis House on 27 Jan 10, on Holocaust Memorial Day. This was one of the best meetings I have ever attended in nearly 40 years of being an activist. I was inspired by the courage and resolve of 85 year old Holocaust survivor, Dr Hajo Meyer.
....

This event was by no means the only one on Holocaust Memorial Day, yet it attracted Zionist lead figures, among them: Louise Ellman MP [Vice Chair of Labour Friends of Israel], Jerry Lewis [Vice President, Board of Deputies] and Jonathan Hoffman [Co-Vice Chair of the Zionist Federation]. Even Christian Friends of Israel came to the event organised by IJAN [International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network]. The presence of these Zionists was a confirmation of the significance they attributed to this event.

The conduct of many of the Zionists in attendance showed their purpose was not to learn from it, especially not from Holocaust survivor, Dr Meyer. Was it fear from his words that drew them into the Boothroyd Room?

...

It was a personal reminder of an attack on my father, who, like Dr Meyer, grew up in Nazi Germany. My father, Michael Kahn, escaped Nazi Germany in 1937. In 1988 my father joined us at a weekly protest at Dizengoff Circle [in Tel Aviv] against Israeli attacks on Palestinians. He was singled out by Zionist Israelis, who told him in Hebrew: "shame the Nazis didn’t finish you off".
Yael Kahn

It has come to scenes like this?

Now the latest. The Israeli military has reportedly arrested 3 members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) Media group in Ramallah, West Bank. They do media reports of the nonviolent protests taking place in Occupied Palestine. (i can say without hesitation that these people are known to have possession of or access to ... video cameras and cell phones, which they use to report human rights abuses to the outside world, if that is the charge the Israeli military is bringing against them, then they are guilty, guilty, guilty) These protests have gained worldwide attention. Weekly protests against the Apartheid Wall in Bil'in have been seen around the world because of the work of the International Solidarity Movement and their presence with those Palestinians who are resisting nonviolently the occupation and the forced dispossession of their land and homes. People like Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter have lent their support for this struggle.

From here:

Israeli soldiers raided a Ramallah apartment around 3AM to arrest a Spanish and an Australian activist over expired visas in direct violation of the Oslo Accords.

At three in the morning, the Israeli army forcefully entered an apartment in the Area A city of Ramallah and arrested two activists from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) on suspicion of overstaying their visas. The two, Ariadna Jove Marti, a Spanish journalist, and Bridgette Chappell, an Australian student in the Beir Zeit university, were then taken to the Ofer military prison located inside the Occupied Territories, where they were handed over to the Israeli immigration police unit "Oz".

The raid and detention of the two is in direct violation of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which clearly forbids any Israeli incursion into Area A for reasons not directly and urgently related to security. Even the conduct of "hot pursuit" is disallowed in non-security related matters, which overstayed visas are.

The arrests tonight follow the unlawful detention and deportation of Czech citizen Eva Nováková under similar circumstances last month. Her arrest stirred controversy over the misuse of the "Oz" unit inside the Occupied Territories, despite them having no authority in the area.

According to Ryan Olander, an American solidarity activist who was at the scene during the raid, around ten soldiers forcefully entered the apartment and demanded to see the passports of everyone who was present and informed the two of their detention on the grounds of overstayed visas. The soldiers confiscated cameras, a computer, pro-Palestinian banners and ISM volunteers’ registration forms.

Following the arrests Olander said that, "This raid is a continuation of Israel’s attempts to quash the grassroots movement against the Occupation. This is a cynical and unjust attempt to hide the reality of the Occupation and further bar access to information from the international community".

Israeli attempts to deport foreigners involved with Palestinian solidarity work are part of a recent campaign to end Palestinian grassroots demonstrations, which involves mass arrests of Palestinian protesters and organizers. Over the last ten months, the "Oz" immigration unit illegally arrested and attempted to deport four other international activists.

Eva Nováková, a Czech national and former ISM media coordinator, was arrested in Ramallah on January 11th, 2010, and deported the next day, before the deportation could be appealed. Nováková’s lawyer is currently in the process of preparing an appeal to the Israeli High Court to challenge the legality of her arrest.

Additionally, American solidarity activist, Ryan Olander, was twice arrested illegally by the "Oz" Immigration unit, but his deportation was prevented after a judge ruled his detention illegal. Similar appeals to the court have also annulled the deportations of other American and British activists in recent months.

Let's tell the Israeli regime  and the rightists that we will not be intimidated. We will tell the world. Send a donation today. ISM can always use more funds to pay for the cell phones and cameras. The world needs to know. These desperate acts of repression will not be successful.

The Whole World is Watching.

Originally posted to Tom J on Sat Feb 06, 2010 at 10:21 PM PST.

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