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Thread: Zionuts

  1. #601
    SEŃOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Very distressing. That's where I live and one of my friends is a very active member of the local Jewish community. Umeĺ has traditionally been a very welcoming and inclusive city but the rising trend of racism and xenophobia in general and outright neo-Nazism in particular in this region seems to be impossible to buck, in the near term.

    Of course this could also be a false flag operation carried out by tall blonde crew-cut blue-eyed muscular leftist Palestinian Arabs
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
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  2. #602
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39478339

    I'm guessing this story won't be reported on the Breitbarts of the world.
    Maybe not, but remember this is the same place that had that whole brouhaha about forgetting to include Jews in a Kristallnacht commemoration. It's not just nutjobs; there are also some real institutional problems, clearly. (In this case from a leftist political party that, well, probably likes their Jews as historical victims more than real-life people some of whom might be - *gasp* - Zionists.)

    Most of them are probably also getting Israeli citizenship in the process, right?

    I wonder how many UK residents have been in the armies of India, Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Russia...
    All are eligible for citizenship; my understanding is that half of them typically accept citizenship, mostly likely in order to stay there indefinitely.

    I think the better question is how many UK citizens serve in foreign armed forces while they are UK citizens. I don't know if there's any data on it, but my guess is that the number of UK volunteers for Machal in any given year is on the order of a dozen. There are probably quite a lot more UK citizens who are drafted into Israeli military service as dual citizens, but my understanding is that countries tend to view compulsory service in a somewhat more lenient light than voluntary service.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  3. #603
    SEŃOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Not surprised to see Wiggin taken in by Breitbartian fake news. In reality, the year that story made the rounds all over the Internet, two attempts were made to invite representatives of the local Jewish community to the manifestation, and both were rebuffed, perhaps due to misunderstanding or miscommunication or simply due to personal differences. The next year, they participated. Since then the Jewish community in Umeĺ has become an important player in the informal work against racism in schools. The much-reviled leftist who found himself in the spotlight in 2015 was on record pointing out the problem of anti-semitism among many leftists and clearly stating that it needs to be addressed. But don't let that stop you from sharing your insightful analysis.
    Last edited by Aimless; 04-03-2017 at 04:41 PM.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
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  4. #604
    SEŃOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  5. #605
    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    Am I the only one finding it difficult to get outraged over the latest Spicer fiasco?
    Hope is the denial of reality

  6. #606
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    Am I the only one finding it difficult to get outraged over the latest Spicer fiasco?
    There are so many things to be outraged about that I have outrage fatigue. I can even see where Spicer was coming from - there obviously is a qualitative difference between using chemical weapons as a weapon of war and using them as a method of genocide (though it's hard to understand the point behind making such a distinction in this case other than pulling a Godwin). One could further argue that the Nazis certainly had the means and the inclination to use chemical weapons in war, but were deterred from doing so. But I digress. Obviously it was one more frustrating, blindingly stupid thing to add to a veritable potpourri of idiocy that this administration has served up. Another own goal, but in the grand scheme of things not really worth wasting our time on.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  7. #607
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    Am I the only one finding it difficult to get outraged over the latest Spicer fiasco?
    I had to LOL at Scott Adam's response:

    "The day President Trump's spokesperson made the opposition media argue that Hitler analogies are ridiculous." :0

  8. #608
    SEŃOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    That's not exactly what happened.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
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  9. #609
    Local talking head LittleFuzzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    Am I the only one finding it difficult to get outraged over the latest Spicer fiasco?
    I didn't find it worthy of outrage, myself. Exasperated and mildly depressed, yes. But that's not unusual, it's often an easier bar to make you think you should be outraged than it is for me.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  10. #610
    SEŃOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Happy independence day aka. tricksy statistics day
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
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  11. #611
    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2017/05/02...51058-a1556898

    So the Dutch government is concerned about Israeli freedman of press.
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

  12. #612
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    Netanyahu is slowly but surely following in Putin's footsteps when it comes to civil society.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  13. #613
    Quote Originally Posted by Flixy View Post
    https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2017/05/02...51058-a1556898

    So the Dutch government is concerned about Israeli freedman of press.
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    Netanyahu is slowly but surely following in Putin's footsteps when it comes to civil society.
    Certainly this seems troubling. My only quibble about the narrative is that there are so many critical voices in the press, both domestic and foreign, that it's hard to see a pattern over one case. I'm more inclined to believe this is a result of incompetence at the GPO - they were handed a reason to refuse a visa to a critical reporter and jumped at it without doing any due diligence; the subsequent handling seems like a typical bureaucratic mess rather than a concerted effort to silence critics.

    If, however, this kind of behavior become the norm for critical reporters, my concern would be dramatically heightened.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  14. #614
    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    We both know this isn't one case, wig. A Russian-style NGO law. Attempts to keep people with anti-Israeli views out of the country. Ignoring the rule of law when Netanyahu can get away with it. Attempts to smear the press. This is all Putin circa 2004.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  15. #615
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    We both know this isn't one case, wig. A Russian-style NGO law. Attempts to keep people with anti-Israeli views out of the country. Ignoring the rule of law when Netanyahu can get away with it. Attempts to smear the press. This is all Putin circa 2004.
    The issue is that it's far too haphazard to be effective. Just how many journalists do you think are heavily critical of Israel and currently have visas? Have NGOs had their activities particularly hurt by the disclosure requirements? How many leftist activists have actually been barred from the country (we're specifically talking about BDS leadership here, not your typical critical voice)?

    My point isn't that these aren't concerning; obviously they are. My point is that there is a huge difference between the kind of pervasive restrictions on speech and the media in Putin's Russia compared to the open and raucous discourse that is the norm in Israel. I am no fan of Netanyahu (though I do recognize the dilemma faced by your typical Israeli voter), and I think he has made a lot of missteps. But even if he wanted to enact Putin-style control over the media and civil society, Israel's institutions and citizens wouldn't let him. Netanyahu can get away with stuff on the margins, yes, but anything substantial is met with real opposition.

    By far the most concerning action by Netanyahu IMO is the alleged 'Case 2000' affair currently under government investigation. Here, he is seen as directly influencing media coverage by reducing circulation of a right wing mouthpiece in return for more favorable coverage at Israel's main daily. This is indeed a huge issue (and seems to be true), and he's under criminal investigation for the allegations. Secondly, he has similarly gotten into trouble over his attempt to revamp the public broadcaster; his attempts to gain a measure of editorial control over the new broadcaster led to a major coalition crisis and street protests (can you imagine new elections and street protests over funding and management of NPR or the BBC?).

    The Israeli government provides funding for a wide variety of cultural and media outlets that have virulently anti-Israel messages: Palestinian rappers that compare Israelis to Nazis and rapists, films about the Nakba, plays glorifying terrorists, and deeply critical journalists. This funding is controversial, yes, and at times they have tried to exercise some level of control over the messages disseminated (or cut their funding) - but these efforts have been largely stymied by a combination of public outrage and the courts. This is hardly symptomatic of the kind of stifled civil society you see in places like Russia.

    I have no doubt that Netanyahu wants greater control over media coverage, especially domestic; this has always been of particular importance to him. But I don't think he has the power to actually achieve he kind of control he would like, mostly because Israel has robust institutions and a deep democratic tradition that is anathema to these kinds of attempts.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  16. #616
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    The issue is that it's far too haphazard to be effective. Just how many journalists do you think are heavily critical of Israel and currently have visas? Have NGOs had their activities particularly hurt by the disclosure requirements? How many leftist activists have actually been barred from the country (we're specifically talking about BDS leadership here, not your typical critical voice)?
    The goal is self-censorship. You create an ambiguous red line about what journalists can cover, punish the occasional journalist, and most others don't dare come close to the line, let alone cross it.

    My point isn't that these aren't concerning; obviously they are. My point is that there is a huge difference between the kind of pervasive restrictions on speech and the media in Putin's Russia compared to the open and raucous discourse that is the norm in Israel. I am no fan of Netanyahu (though I do recognize the dilemma faced by your typical Israeli voter), and I think he has made a lot of missteps. But even if he wanted to enact Putin-style control over the media and civil society, Israel's institutions and citizens wouldn't let him. Netanyahu can get away with stuff on the margins, yes, but anything substantial is met with real opposition.
    I disagree. You're comparing Putin after 17 years of creating authoritarian rule to Netanyahu, who started only recently, and who works under much stronger constitutional and public constraints. And how do you not find troubling an NGO law that is explicitly modeled on its Russian equivalent?

    http://www.rferl.org/a/israel-foreig.../27862224.html

    Netanyahu and the Israeli Zionist right have spent the last few years attempting to close public spaces and paint even legitimate opposition to their actions as being driven by hatred of Israel. They've gone after Israeli NGOs, after left-wing Jews, and against Arabs. It is undeniable that the backlash one faces over criticizing Israeli policy from inside Israel is far harsher than it was in the past. There's less interest in the rule of law, as evidenced by constant attempts to railroad investigations against Israeli soldiers and settlers who clearly broke the law. Israel is moving step after step into the direction of illiberal rule. They're not there yet, but that's clearly where Netanyahu is heading and the Israeli public is mostly allowing it to take place (and occasionally encouraging it). In Russia, the public ultimately succumbed to Putin's charms because of the desire for stability; in Israel, the public is doing the same for reasons of safety.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  17. #617
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    The goal is self-censorship. You create an ambiguous red line about what journalists can cover, punish the occasional journalist, and most others don't dare come close to the line, let alone cross it.
    If Netanyahu (or you) think that any of this is going to cause critical news outlets to moderate their tone, he's dreaming. Have you actually read Ha'aretz lately? If anything, they've gotten far more critical in recent years. Also, it's obvious that Netanyahu's real issue is with domestic press, not foreign press - and actions like this (refusing a visa for a journalist) are utterly irrelevant from the domestic angle.

    I disagree. You're comparing Putin after 17 years of creating authoritarian rule to Netanyahu, who started only recently, and who works under much stronger constitutional and public constraints. And how do you not find troubling an NGO law that is explicitly modeled on its Russian equivalent?

    http://www.rferl.org/a/israel-foreig.../27862224.html
    Your source specifically argues that the NGO law was in the works before the Russian law came out - notably, said Russian law came out less than 5 years ago. Your source also quotes a civil society source in Israel as arguing it is 'problematic' but not disastrous. Also, Netanyahu has had a stranglehold on Israeli politics for 8 years; he's hardly only started recently.

    My point isn't that Netanyahu and his coalition haven't shown some authoritarian tendencies; they absolutely have, and all things being equal I would prefer if most of the things you're concerned about had not been implemented. My point is precisely what you say: Netanyahu works under much stronger constitutional and public constraints. He simply can't move towards Putin's Russia (even if he wanted to) because he doesn't have the power to do so. He is opposed by civil society, the judiciary, a robust and free press, and even his own coalition (which has repeatedly forced him to water down various contentious laws to make them more symbolic than meaningful). Russia is not Israel, and while I am certainly never one to say 'it can never happen here' about anything, it's far more challenging than it was in a post-Soviet kleptocracy with no democratic tradition.

    Netanyahu and the Israeli Zionist right have spent the last few years attempting to close public spaces and paint even legitimate opposition to their actions as being driven by hatred of Israel. They've gone after Israeli NGOs, after left-wing Jews, and against Arabs. It is undeniable that the backlash one faces over criticizing Israeli policy from inside Israel is far harsher than it was in the past. There's less interest in the rule of law, as evidenced by constant attempts to railroad investigations against Israeli soldiers and settlers who clearly broke the law. Israel is moving step after step into the direction of illiberal rule. They're not there yet, but that's clearly where Netanyahu is heading and the Israeli public is mostly allowing it to take place (and occasionally encouraging it). In Russia, the public ultimately succumbed to Putin's charms because of the desire for stability; in Israel, the public is doing the same for reasons of safety.
    I strongly disagree with a bunch of these statements, notably that the backlash you get for domestic criticism of Israeli government policy is far harsher than in the past. Compared to the past, the criticism today is far louder and more pointed, and very little is seen as beyond the pale. There is certainly a robust debate, often an acrimonious one. But it's hardly more acrimonious than, for example, the debate over the Oslo accords in the mid-90s.

    Then your statement that there is 'less interest' in the rule of law. First off, I'm willing to bet that prosecutions against Israeli soldiers have gotten better, not worse, as the military advocate general has been more professionalized and pervasive monitoring of IDF activity (both internal and external) have been stepped up. Secondly, there has always been an issue with Israeli courts throwing the book at either settlers or soldiers; this is not a new phenomenon, and to suggest it's a sudden epidemic brought on by Netanyahu's government is to show a deep ignorance of Israeli history. In fact, in the broader sense I'd say the rule of law is stronger - the judiciary's decisions, though fought tooth and nail at time, are eventually implemented (e.g. the Amona evacuation), the highest ranks of Israel's government have been investigated, tried, and jailed (including both Presidents and Prime Ministers), and even IDF tactical doctrine has been changed in response to supreme court decisions.

    I've said it before, but it bears repeating: I don't think Netanyahu and his coalition colleagues won their majority because Israelis are afraid. Let's be honest, the Israeli security situation has rarely (if ever) been better. Despite missile threats from Gaza and Hezbollah and the omnipresent threat of terrorism from the West Bank, Israel's strategic position is currently unchallenged and day-to-day life is largely unaffected by the ongoing stalemate with the Palestinians. Netanyahu gets votes for two reasons: first, he rejects his leftist opponents' arguments in favor of aggressive negotiations with Palestinians. Israelis by and large aren't buying what the left is selling anymore on an extension of the Oslo process, and the left has yet to come up with something else. Second, Netanyahu has made a decent case the he has a stronger economic case than the left, and top on Israelis mind (other than security) is the cost of living and housing shortage. Meanwhile, his opponents have been in disarray for years, not able to coalesce around a strong candidate and even less able to articulate a coherent message that is convincing to your average Israeli. The strongest newcomers, like Kahlon and Lapid, are quickly coopted by Netanyahu and neutralized as political threats. This isn't to say that there aren't ideological voters who are convinced Netanyahu is the other leader who will provide them the safety they need: these are the types who typically vote for Yisrael Beiteinu or Bennett. But Likud's power base is a lot broader than that. As an imperfect comparison, the reason why Theresa May is quite likely to win in the upcoming UK elections has less to do with xenophobia or euroskepticism and a lot more to do with the utter incompetence of Labour.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  18. #618
    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    If Netanyahu (or you) think that any of this is going to cause critical news outlets to moderate their tone, he's dreaming. Have you actually read Ha'aretz lately? If anything, they've gotten far more critical in recent years. Also, it's obvious that Netanyahu's real issue is with domestic press, not foreign press - and actions like this (refusing a visa for a journalist) are utterly irrelevant from the domestic angle.
    I really don't think you understand how illiberal rule works. Look at Hungary, which still has left-wing publications, Turkey, which still has Hurriyet, or Russia, which still has the Dozhd TV channel. But how many people get their news from those sources, especially when the rest paint a united front with the government? The point is to prod most publications in the government's direction through the use of carrots and sticks. The handful that remain can easily be painted as out of touch or reflecting the views of elites who don't have the country's interests at heart. We have explicit evidence that this Dutch journalist was punished for their views, and you don't think this was an attempt to undermine press freedom?


    Your source specifically argues that the NGO law was in the works before the Russian law came out - notably, said Russian law came out less than 5 years ago. Your source also quotes a civil society source in Israel as arguing it is 'problematic' but not disastrous. Also, Netanyahu has had a stranglehold on Israeli politics for 8 years; he's hardly only started recently.

    My point isn't that Netanyahu and his coalition haven't shown some authoritarian tendencies; they absolutely have, and all things being equal I would prefer if most of the things you're concerned about had not been implemented. My point is precisely what you say: Netanyahu works under much stronger constitutional and public constraints. He simply can't move towards Putin's Russia (even if he wanted to) because he doesn't have the power to do so. He is opposed by civil society, the judiciary, a robust and free press, and even his own coalition (which has repeatedly forced him to water down various contentious laws to make them more symbolic than meaningful). Russia is not Israel, and while I am certainly never one to say 'it can never happen here' about anything, it's far more challenging than it was in a post-Soviet kleptocracy with no democratic tradition.
    A) No it doesn't.
    B) You're only going to cite the one person who said something remotely in your direction? Are you turning into Rand here?
    C) Russia doesn't ban NGOs either.
    D) I'm not saying Israel is anywhere near Russia today, merely that Netanyahu desires the same end goal and is slowly but surely moving in that direction. The fact that we can talk about one recent Israeli policy after another that does just that is telling. At some point, you stop writing them off as isolated incidents.

    I strongly disagree with a bunch of these statements, notably that the backlash you get for domestic criticism of Israeli government policy is far harsher than in the past. Compared to the past, the criticism today is far louder and more pointed, and very little is seen as beyond the pale. There is certainly a robust debate, often an acrimonious one. But it's hardly more acrimonious than, for example, the debate over the Oslo accords in the mid-90s.
    "half of Israeli Jews (48%) say Arabs should be transferred or expelled from Israel while a similar share (46%) disagree with this"

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank...litics-israel/

    "Shapiro was also publicly lambasted on Israeli television on Tuesday by a former aide to Netanyahu who used the deeply offensive Hebrew word “yehudon” – which translates as “little Jew boy” – to disparage the ambassador"

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...escalating-row

    "MKs Shuli Moalem-Refaeli and Betzalel Smotrich from the Jewish Home party, along with Kulanu’s Meirav Ben-Ari, Shas’s Yaakov Margi and Oded Forer of Yisrael Beytenu presented a bill Wednesday evening that aims to ban the group, calling it a “subversive organization” aimed at damaging the country. “The NGO takes takes our ‘dirty laundry’ abroad and gives information that is either false or doesn’t give an accurate picture of Israel’s policy,” the explanation reads.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/legisla...eterans-group/

    A majority of Israeli Jews support the killing of Palestinian terrorists "on the spot," while 58 percent were against Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount during times of heightened tensions, a survey conducted by The Peace Index in October revealed.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7...722628,00.html
    Last edited by Loki; 05-10-2017 at 02:08 PM.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  19. #619
    SEŃOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    I believe this is what they call LaHeadashot:

    http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1...523BAF23D147BC
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
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  20. #620
    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    Nothing to see here. Definitely not taking a page out of Putin's playbook.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  21. #621
    SEŃOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    Nothing to see here. Definitely not taking a page out of Putin's playbook.
    You should know by now that there's always an innocuous and rational explanation.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  22. #622
    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    If wig is upset with the Russia comparison, Netanyahu is currently at the same stage of illiberalism as Poland.
    Hope is the denial of reality

  23. #623
    Loki, I apologize for not replying until now. I've been busy and your post touches on some important issues that required a thoughtful response.

    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    I really don't think you understand how illiberal rule works. Look at Hungary, which still has left-wing publications, Turkey, which still has Hurriyet, or Russia, which still has the Dozhd TV channel. But how many people get their news from those sources, especially when the rest paint a united front with the government? The point is to prod most publications in the government's direction through the use of carrots and sticks. The handful that remain can easily be painted as out of touch or reflecting the views of elites who don't have the country's interests at heart. We have explicit evidence that this Dutch journalist was punished for their views, and you don't think this was an attempt to undermine press freedom?
    I think it's telling that there's only one daily in Israel that has a pro-Bibi line (Yisrael Hayom, which is given away for free and widely derided as propaganda). There's only one daily that's virulently opposed to Bibi, of course (Ha'aretz), and though they are paid attention to by the elites are not a high circulation publication. Most of the print outlets, though, have a mix of criticism and praise, with the sharpest criticism aimed at his controversial moves you have highlighted and praise reserved for his handling of security and economic issues (sometimes).

    Broadcast news, similarly, goes from ambivalent to critical but little in the way of the propaganda mouthpieces you see in truly illiberal states. There are always going to be your local equivalent of Fox News, but they are not the major voice in Israeli media.

    I agree with you that it appears that this Dutch journalist was punished for his critical reporting, but I have no doubt that you could find hundreds of other reporters in Israel, both foreign and domestic, who have just as critical views and haven't had a similar experience. I would be shocked if any of these journalists thought for a moment about softening their editorial line out of fear something similar would happen to them. I'm friendly with a number of current and former reporters covering Israel (most of them deeply critical of Netanyahu in particular and the ongoing occupation of the WB in general); I think most of them are quite comfortable with the level of press freedom in Israel and are not likely to be intimidated by what happened to this guy. If it starts to become a pattern of harassment of critical reporters, I think their tune would change. Until them, I'm less than concerned about the chilling effect this might have on reporting. It's kinda like the argument that Israel is committing genocide - if they were really trying to intimidate the press, they're doing an awful job of it.

    I do want to highlight, however, that the two moves of Netanyahu I am (by far) the most concerned about are not do with his NGO bill, or BDS bill, or outpost bill, or Jewish state bill. Rather they have to do with press freedom - first an ongoing criminal investigation into an attempt to influence coverage by Israel's main print daily, and second a mostly failed attempt to gain political control over the new state broadcaster's editorial line. While it appears that the courts, Knesset, and civil society have largely been successful in containing Netanyahu's ambitions in these cases, I am concerned about his attempt and think continued vigilance on these matters is critical.

    A) No it doesn't.
    B) You're only going to cite the one person who said something remotely in your direction? Are you turning into Rand here?
    C) Russia doesn't ban NGOs either.
    D) I'm not saying Israel is anywhere near Russia today, merely that Netanyahu desires the same end goal and is slowly but surely moving in that direction. The fact that we can talk about one recent Israeli policy after another that does just that is telling. At some point, you stop writing them off as isolated incidents.
    Fair enough, I was being lazy in my response to your link. A more detailed response would be thus: Israel's law is indeed problematic but is not disastrous. It differs from the first Russian law (and the subsequent, much more draconian undesirable agents law that does ban selected NGOs) in critical areas that were softened because of Knesset opposition. The Russian bill does things like subjecting NGOs to frequent and punishing audits, strips tax-exempt status, etc. The Israeli bill is essentially a reporting requirement, albeit an odious one. I don't like it, I think the optics of it are bad, and I think it does very little good, but its initial provisions to require e.g. 'foreign agent' nametags for NGO members lobbying the Knesset or to strip tax-exempt status from them (which would have had much more concrete effects) were stripped from the bill after opposition from within the coalition. I find this encouraging - Netanyahu, even with the so-called 'most right wing coalition of all time' (which is itself a bit of hyperbole) can't get the aspects of his controversial bills that actually do any damage passed. The only law that has been passed that will be disastrous for Israeli democracy IMO was the outpost bill, and my understanding is that the only reason it was passed by the coalition is because no one believes the Supreme Court will uphold it. It's a stupid, shortsighted, shitty way to govern, but it suggests that even Netanyahu's most illiberal impulses have been thwarted time and again.

    You note his string of almost-successes and see creeping illiberalism. I see them and am encouraged by the resiliency of Israel's democratic institutions and civil society, even when faced with a largely unchallenged political leader in a toxic political environment with a security-conscious electorate.

    "half of Israeli Jews (48%) say Arabs should be transferred or expelled from Israel while a similar share (46%) disagree with this"

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank...litics-israel/

    "Shapiro was also publicly lambasted on Israeli television on Tuesday by a former aide to Netanyahu who used the deeply offensive Hebrew word “yehudon” – which translates as “little Jew boy” – to disparage the ambassador"

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...escalating-row

    "MKs Shuli Moalem-Refaeli and Betzalel Smotrich from the Jewish Home party, along with Kulanu’s Meirav Ben-Ari, Shas’s Yaakov Margi and Oded Forer of Yisrael Beytenu presented a bill Wednesday evening that aims to ban the group, calling it a “subversive organization” aimed at damaging the country. “The NGO takes takes our ‘dirty laundry’ abroad and gives information that is either false or doesn’t give an accurate picture of Israel’s policy,” the explanation reads.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/legisla...eterans-group/

    A majority of Israeli Jews support the killing of Palestinian terrorists "on the spot," while 58 percent were against Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount during times of heightened tensions, a survey conducted by The Peace Index in October revealed.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7...722628,00.html
    None of this is news to me, Loki, but you haven't proven anything. You've made a reasonable argument that the current political environment in Israel is toxic and political debate is acrimonious. I don't disagree. But I think it was just as bad, say, 20-25 years ago. Rabin was assassinated because of the pervasive and highly contentious attacks against his handling of the Oslo accords. And, for that matter, the critique goes both ways. Not a day goes by that Netanyahu (or Bennett, or Shaked, or Lieberman) isn't called a fascist or a murderer. Israeli civil society has gotten a lot more sophisticated and vocal about their opposition to right wing policies - gone are the days where organizations like Shalom Achshav were mostly there for show. Well-run and respected organizations like Yesh Din, B'tselem, or Adalah keep up a continuous drumbeat of coverage on the evils of occupation and Netanyahu, and take the state to court (often successfully) to enforce the law.

    I will be the first to acknowledge that Israeli public discourse is at times caustic. (For that matter, their private discourse is also pretty caustic; one of these days I'll have to share with you a story about when my then-girlfriend's family suggested my sister might be a right wing terrorist.) But that doesn't mean that certain opinions are now silenced in Israel. IMO they are louder than ever.

    I think the big issue with Israeli politics is that the Israeli left is in disarray and has been so for a long time. With a fractured and leaderless opposition, Netanyahu appears to be able to act with impunity, which raises reasonable concerns about parallels to, say, Turkey. But I think these concerns are overblown: first, because coalition politics and a strong court system mean that he has been largely unsuccessful in pushing for changes he'd like, and second because the left has fallen apart not due to Netanyahu's clever use of illiberal means but because they have a deep internal crisis that is largely divorced from the rest of Israeli politics. It's telling that even with a lackluster leader in Herzog and a completely aimless campaign, they still gave Netanyahu a run for his money in the latest elections. With competent leadership and a well designed platform, Netanyahu could easily be unseated. He's deeply unpopular, which is hardly the mark of a Putin or an Erdogan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    Nothing to see here. Definitely not taking a page out of Putin's playbook.
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    If wig is upset with the Russia comparison, Netanyahu is currently at the same stage of illiberalism as Poland.
    I have touched on the broadcaster issue before (as something I am explicitly concerned about), but the situation is actually way more complicated than most people realize. Netanyahu was a big proponent of shutting down the old public broadcaster, almost transparently because he didn't like their editorial slant (though dressed up in the - correct - claim that the broadcaster was a huge mess and desperately needed reform). However, he later decided he didn't like the makeup of the new broadcaster because, well, it looked like he wouldn't have the control he wanted (and he didn't like one of the anchors they hired since she's married to a rival of his). So he instead started trying to keep the old broadcaster, warts and all, and get rid of the new one. Then he got into a coalition crisis last years with Kahlon (this coalition's kingmaker) over precisely this issue, with Kahlon fighting to keep the editorial line of the new broadcaster independent. Throw in a big labor dispute with the employees of the old broadcaster (many of whom would be hired by the new broadcaster) and it got politically messy very quickly. Eventually a compromise was found where the old broadcaster would be shut down and replaced by two new entities - Kan, the original new broadcaster, which would have entertainment/etc. programming, and a separate news broadcaster. It was in this context that Mabat, and later Israel Radio, were shut down.

    It's not at all clear to me why they were shut down now, given that the new broadcasters are not in any shape to start yet, and Netanyahu appears to be blaming the communications ministry for the bungled mess. But it seems to be more on the 'stupid and incompetent' side of things than the 'Machiavellian power grab' angle; his ambitions to control the new broadcaster have been largely stymied, it appears.

    If this was before the mid-90s and the IBA was the only game in town for radio and TV in Israel, I'd have been more upset. As it was, most of the critique in Israel - including on the left - focused more on the workers of IBA and the manner of their termination than with an issue in the governance of the new broadcaster(s). Certainly there are some elements of the new structure that appear to be either poorly designed or designed to induce gridlock, but given the atrocious management at the IBA in recent years, it's not obvious to me that things will be any better or worse with Kan.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  24. #624
    Worthy of a double post because it's back to Zionuttery and not real news:

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/the-cur...sit-to-israel/
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  25. #625
    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    I'll respond tomorrow, but I thought you might find this interesting: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21591305
    Hope is the denial of reality

  26. #626
    Interesting article; currently working through it in depth. I haven't read it all, but so far I have some methodological quibbles; I question how generalizable these results are, and how well controlled this 'natural experiment' really was. Even so, it seems to broadly make sense inasmuch as a few decades of state policy can affect public opinions enough to change behavior in the immediate aftermath of said policy.

    My wife has family from Suceava and Transnistria that grew up there in the 20s and 30s; if I get a chance I'll speak to them and try to get a feel for whether the narrative presented here is representative of their experienced reality or not. Might be hard, though, the one person most likely to know doesn't like to talk about Romania very much (for fairly obvious reasons).
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  27. #627
    All Worship Ragnarök Loki's Avatar
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    There are no real "natural experiments", and ideally you'd want multiple studies on the same subject, but the methods are about as good as you can reasonably expect. Plus the explanation makes a lot of sense.
    Hope is the denial of reality

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