Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Juan Cole's libels against Israel continue

Juan Cole, on his blog, the humorously misnamed Informed Comment, has baselessly claimed that Israel has suspended the right to free speech.  He writes here of what he calls "(d)raconian, almost martial-law repressive measures taken by the Israeli state to curb freedom of speech at this moment".  Would someone tell me exactly what free speech restrictions Israelis allegedly suffer under?   Israelis are free to debate, protest, publish opposing viewpoints and exercise all the freedoms any resident of a democracy should expect to have. They exercise these rights all the time, as anyone with any knowledge of the situation knows.  Why does Cole feel the need to invent this sort of charge?

And where is Cole's outrage over the lack of free speech under Hamas?  Does he believe that Gazans have been free to exercise free speech under Hamas, or does he simply not care about their rights?  Was he outraged when Hamas assassinated those who expressed support for Fatah?  Why did that merit not a single mention on "Informed Comment"?

Where was Cole's outrage over Hamas' summary expulsion of Amira Hass, a pro-Palestinian Israel journalist who had been reporting from Gaza (albeit under Hamas censorship and with 24-hour-a-day Hamas handlers overseeing her activities and restricting her access to interview Palestinians)?  (Read here and here.)  Hass had been in Gaza for only two weeks operating under truly draconian, martial-law restrictions before mildly critical articles (read an example here) led Hamas to kick her out.  Please note that Hamas was upset with Hass precisely because she reported on their violations against Palestinians' basic human rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Cole would rather invent charges about Israel's violations of civil rights than report the real offenses committed by Hamas.  Cole apparently does not consider those offenses noteworthy.

The funny part is, after making his absurd charge concerning Israel's "draconian martial-law" crackdown, Cole goes on to site several examples of anti-war demonstrations in Israel, including demonstrations by Muslims and Druze.  Now that he has informed us of these exceptions to the alleged rule, can he site a single example of a Israeli demonstration that was prevented?  Can Cole cite a single Israeli anti-war column that was censored? He seems to have a much easier time finding examples of exceptions than evidence of the rule. 

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