Thursday, June 30, 2011

Priority Post

What are the primary issues surrounding Israel these days?

  • Flotilla on the way (with chemical weapons onboard?)

  • Suspected IDF sabotage of Flotilla ships?

  • Egypt is being taken over by Islamists

  • Iran is getting nuclear weapons

  • PA is inciting to kill Israelis and seeking to get a state in September

  • BDS boycotts against Israel

  • Successful Counter-Boycott of Scotch Whisky in WDC.

  • Arrest of R' Dov Lior for writing a letter of approval for the book, "Torat HaMelech"

  • Cottage Cheese and dairy product consumer boycott in Israel

  • Female Religious Cadet continues IAF fighter pilot's course (link)

  • PM: Anti Missile Systems Crucial for Peace with Palestinians (link) HUH? (maybe reread that a few times till it makes sense...I still don't get it...silly me, I thought Peace means no missiles....terrorism....incitement....

  • ALIYAH -- Is it so much better in the USA?
So much to little time...pick a topic and I'll blog it today.

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LI Reader said...

"ALIYAH -- Is it so much better in the USA?"

Good question. Do you have good answers? Thanks.

Yochanan said...

How are things coming along with the new season of Srugim?

Mark said...

"ALIYAH -- Is it so much better in the USA?"

Some things better, some things worse. Like everything else in the world.

Amerikan said...

R' Lior wasn't arrested for his haskama - he was arrested for refusing to submit to questioning about his haskama. There's a difference.

With all due respect, who does he think he is? There is a rule of law in Israel, and it's vital that everyone obey it.

It's not like the police request was unreasonable. Incitement is a very real thing in Israel, and some of the stuff in the book happens to be really objectionable.

Who's the fascist? said...

Your right. They want to investigate him because he wrote an introduction to a book they didn't like.

And he refused to show up for an investigation about his admittedly and openly writing an introduction to a book they didn't like.

Your explanation makes the police sound so much better.

(But what exactly happened to freedom of speech along the way?)

Amerikan said...

Freedom of speech isn't a license to say whatever you want whenever you want.

To paraphrase a US Supreme Court justice, you don't have a right to shout "fire" in a crowded theater.

Holocaust denial is a crime in many European countries. Do you think that's a bad thing?

There's a good, logical reason why the police "didn't like" the book. It promotes the killing of Arabs! There's a possibility that people will act based upon what's written in the book. The police are trying to prevent incitement to violence.

Who's the fascist? said...

"Holocaust denial is a crime in many European countries. Do you think that's a bad thing?"

Very bad.

Because they can just as easily legislate against other forms of speech - such as alleged incitement, or even against reciting the Haggadah on Pesach because it says "Shfoch Chamatcha Al haGoyim".

Don't you think that would be a bad thing?

As for the "fire in the crowded theatre" example, Holmes opined as he it did because he believed at the time that the danger of expressing an opinion against the government would be a "clear and present danger" to the war effort, but Holmes changed his mind at a later date that this would not apply to someone passing out flyers which attacked the government war efforts.

Are you saying you agree with Holmes' original position that one is forbidden to verbalize an opinion against the government if you believe they are doing something wrong?

Furthermore, the Supreme Court later limited the ruling only to speech that would directly and likely incite *imminent* lawless action.

Since this book has been in the public hands for quite a while, and we have not seen any direct and imminent lawless action from reading it, your "fire in the theatre" example is completely irrelevant.

Let me explain the concept of Free Speech to you. The concept is simple, I can express any idea I want no matter how distasteful someone else might think it to be, and I can try to convince others that I am right by speaking freely.

And you have the right to freely argue with or ignore my ideas.

And whichever idea wins in the free marketplace of ideas, wonderful.

That's what free speech is about.

Amerikan said...

I can't believe I'm attacking free speech - I'm supposed to be the liberal one in my family. See what happens when you argue on the internet?

The issue with R' Lior is NOT about how to define free speech or its limits; it's about respecting the rule of law in a democracy. Free speech has limits in Israel - if you don't like it, petition your local MK to change the law (that currently isn't entirely unreasonable. You have to understand where the police are coming from here.)

As a friend on mine put it, he's teaching future generations of the dati le'umi community to hate the Israeli government.

Who's the fascist? said...

Do you mean the selective and subjective application of the rule of law?

Over the past 2 years, various radical-left Israeli professors have openly called for violence and even murder of those on the right and of settlers. A far more real and imminent threat than a formerly obscure academic book. Yet not one professor was called in for an investigation - despite publicized written and video evidence of their remarks and intentions. (And despite the intentional targeting of settlers and settler property by those on the Left and Arabs - perceivably as a direct response to those calls for violence).

The rule of law only has meaning and deserves respect when it is fairly applied without bias, and that has not happened here.

Unlike direct calls for violence such as the "breaking of necks" and "targeting settlers", any alleged incitement here on the part of Rav Lior is extremely subjective.

In fact, it is clear that Rav Lior did not incite or try to incite, *except* in the eyes of those who oppose his political worldview.

A police investigation of an introduction of a book?! This is political persecution - McCarthyism - in all its glory.

One rule of law, or no rule of law.

You can't have it both ways.

And not to pigeonhole you, but "Liberals" today are not the biggest defenders of "liberal" values when it comes to political opponents and issues they disagree with.

This is why you think it is OK for there to be laws against Holocaust Denial, despite that opening the door to legislation against anything else that is subjectively considered bad.

The solution is education not legislation. That is why America does not have or need laws against Holocaust Denial.

Anonymous said...

But why didn't Rav Lior make a statement about interviewing those who incite Arabs? Instead he leaves the whole situation like there are only 2 sides: some Jews vs. the State.

Amerikan said...

I'm sorry, but two wrongs don't make a right.

Israel isn't some apartheid South Africa-like nation where the entire justice system is based upon injustice. In my limited experience, for the most part, rule of law is applied equally to all parties. The answer is to illuminate and eliminate the incitement of the Left as well, not add incitement on the Right.

Unlike the (unfortunately) well-publicized cases of mosque arson, I don't know any examples of left-wing violence or incitement to kill. I'm not claiming that there aren't, just that the police have to make a judgement call as to what's a credible threat and what isn't. And I don't think the situation in Israel has devolved to the point where you can't trust the police.

The book is far from obscure - granted, that's due to the controversy its contents generated. But it's publicized all the same.

Who's the fascist? said...

Now I know you're a Liberal with that argument.

You clearly assume that writing an introduction to an academic treatise (by someone on the political right) is incitement and thus deserves investigation, rather than full protection under the concept of free speech.

I don't mean this with any disrespect, but your knowledge of well-discussed events in Israel appears to be far too limited to participate in this argument from an informed position.

Consider Dr. Eyal Nir of Ben-Gurion University, from just a month ago:

"I call on the world to come and help break these scoundrels' necks... the rightists are gangs of bandits swarming in our country"

This is his most recent and well-publicized call for violence against the right, and it has been widely discussed in all the Israeli media outlets.

There have been numerous demands by the public calling on the police to investigate this professor for this and his other statements openly inciting to violence against the Right.

Your answer that the decision by the police to select which "incitement" to investigate indicates a subjective choice on their part, and as it happens the subjects tend to usually only be those on the Right.

Let's consider another well-known example:

Israel Prize recipient Professor Zeev Sternhall called upon the Arab to stop targeting Jews on his side of the Green line, and concentrate only on bombing those Jews who live on the other side.

Now, to my ears, as someone living on the other side of the Green Line, I hear incitement. I heard someone, considered highly respected in Leftwing circles, openly offering advice to terrorists to target me and my family for maximum political benefit.

That's called incitement.

The list is quite long of professors who openly incite against Israel, settlers, right-wingers, etc.

Either all "incitement" is investigated equally, or none are.

Or alternatively, just admit that Israeli incitement laws are selective, politically motivated tools used to shut down the opinions of those you disagree with.

And if you were a true Liberal in the classic definition of the term (think Dershowitz), you would be protesting these attacks against freedom of speech.

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