01 February '11
What a newspaper does not report can be just as revealing as what it does.
Back in May 2010 CiF rushed to report the arrest of two Arab Israelis suspected of espionage, allowing Ben White to make wild claims that “Israel seeks to silence dissent” and “repressive practices long used in the West Bank and Gaza are now being used to limit civil liberties within Israel”.
White claimed that:
“Several examples now point to an uncomfortable reality for the self-proclaimed “only democracy in the Middle East”: practices that have long been routine in the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza are being used in Israel to suppress dissent and limit civil liberties.” (my emphasis)
He attempted to paint a terrifying picture of Soviet-style assaults on the civil liberties of Israel’s Arab citizens:
“So why is this happening now? First, it is the latest manifestation of a deteriorating atmosphere in Israel, with political dissent and human rights groups under attack…..
….Second, there is also a specific focus on Israel’s Palestinian minority…..
…..Hussein Abu Hussein, the lawyer for both Makhoul and Said, stressed the role of someone like Makhoul in being a prominent advocate internationally for “the need for accountability” – in other words, “the state has enough reasons to stop this voice”. Mohammad Zeidan, of the Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA), says that the arrests are “clearly political”. He believes that for some in Israel, the work being done by NGOs and Arab parties on the international level is “crossing a red line” – “they want to remind us that this is not a democracy”. “
Ten days after White’s article, CiF published a piece by Yousef Munayyer in which he too took up the theme of Israel’s supposed ‘intimidation’ of Ameer Makhoul.
(Read full "Guardian columnists’ continued dehumanisation of Israelis")
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