There Is a Coordinated Campaign to Suppress Criticism of Israel

Shahshahani, Azadeh

Publisher:  In The Times
Date Written:  13/08/2018
Year Published:  2018  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX22937

Israel's human rights violations are accompanied by U.S. efforts to stifle dissent.



A new law introduced in the U.S. Congress seeks to clamp down on criticism of Israel at the expense of First Amendment rights. The unconstitutional bill, titled the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2018, conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

This U.S. legislation coincides with Israel's own efforts to crack down on its critics. As Israel continues to engage in gross human rights violations against Palestinians, Israel and its allies in U.S. Congress are trying to prevent Americans from traveling to Palestine to see the situation with their own eyes--and from speaking out about it. As activists, we cannot sit back quietly and allow this to happen.

One of the latest targets of Israel's attempt to prevent further exposure of its systematic human rights abuses was Omar Shakir, the director of Human Rights Watch in Israel-Palestine, who came close to being deported by Israel on May 24, in a blatant attempt to clamp down on criticism of its human rights record. While his deportation has temporarily been halted by an Israeli court, its prospect is still very much looming and is meant to silence human rights activists.

Several other human rights leaders were previously banned or deported. On April 29, Vincent Warren, the executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and Katherine Franke, the Chair of CCR and Professor of Law at Columbia, were denied entry to Israel. They were detained for 14 hours at the Ben Gurion International Airport and interrogated about their affiliation with human rights organizations that have criticized Israel for its treatment of Palestinians.

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