Guardian

“Freedom of speech is under attack!”, they whined. When vanity masquerades as principle.


Cartoon, below, courtesy of our friends at Fresno Zionism.

Increasingly common complaints that free speech is under attack in Israel (dutifully parroted by Guardian writers such as Harriet Sherwood and Mya Guarnieri)  is nothing short of absurd to anyone who lives, or has spent any time in the country – a point Ron Dermer recently made with impressive rhetorical precision.  More and more it seems like far left groups are conflating the mere criticism, and public scrutiny, of their views (and their funding) with censorship.

The hyperbolic and, at times, hysterical reactions to recent Knesset legislation to form a committee to investigate foreign funding of NGOs, which actively engage in the demonization and delegitimization of Israel, is a perfect illustration of this dynamic.

It’s almost comical the degree to which those who engage in the most inflammatory and incendiary rhetoric about Israel are, themselves, so thin-skinned when their groups are criticized and scrutinized.

As Ann Herzberg of NGO Monitor so aptly put it:

“The right of expression always comes with the potential for disapproval. It is strange that groups claiming to be so well-versed in human rights seem so unfamiliar with the concept of free speech.

10 replies »

  1. “it seems like far left groups are conflating the mere criticism, and public scrutiny, of their views (and their funding) with censorship”

    This isn’t a new tactic–it’s an exact parallel of the claim of “anti-Zionists” that pointing out the anti-Jewish bigotry inherent in the hysterical demonization of Israel is an attempt to interfere with their right of free speech.

    In the worldview of such people, supporters of Israel don’t have the same right of free speech that they claim for themselves. And yet they see no irony in that position.

  2. the last box in the cartoon perfectly illustrates what I learnt from this book talk

    in it Len Fisher emphasizes again and again that swarm intel vanishes into thin air the moment the individual looses his/her INDEPENDENT INDIVIDUAL look at things. He claims that it goes so far that a jury’s judgment harvested from the individuals BEFORE they have discussed it, is closer to truth than after they have assembled.

    http://www.sciencefriday.com/program/archives/201009107
    Len Fisher
    Author, “The Perfect Swarm: The Science of Complexity in Everyday Life” (Basic Books, 2009)

  3. And how silent they are when the views of people opposing them are suppressed. There was a fine example in The Telegraph this week. Archbishop Cranmer tells it best:

    “It is interesting to note that at 10.00pm on 19th January, James Kirkup posted his article on Baroness Warsi’s speech on the The Daily Telegraph site, and that by 8.00am on 20th January this article had recorded some 1500 posts, the overwhelming majority of which were not receptive to her argument. It is telling that the comments facility is now closed and cannot even be accessed to read.”

    On the BBC of course she was praised for saying the needed thing.

  4. Israel is getting so desperate that it now imprisons its own citizens because they demonstrate on bicycles.

    Never mind the savage punishment it hands out to non citizens – Syria and Saudi start to look quite good in comparison, Israel has lost its moral compass.

  5. William

    Israel has lost its moral compass.

    And she needs the help of William the Jewhater to get it back..

  6. William Smart

    Never mind the savage punishment it hands out to non citizens – Syria and Saudi start to look quite good in comparison

    You are either completely detached from reality, or a paid-up member of the Arab propaganda machine.