New Profile: Repression and Resistance
Last week, seven activists (five of them from New Profile), were surprised in their homes by Israeli policeman, brought in for interrogation and their computers confiscated. New Profile is being investigated for allegedly "inciting to evade military service." The charges are bizarre, since New Profile, which works against militarism in Israeli society, has always operated openly and publicly. The only conclusion is that this is a politically inspired witchhunt. This raid seems to be an escalation by the Israeli government in its attempt to intimidate and harass political activists.
Twenty three feminist organizations sent a letter in solidarity with New Profile to the Ministry of Justice protesting the police's action.
On Thursday there was a demonstration in front of a Tel Aviv police station in solidarity with New Profile's arrestees. The items below explain what happened: a crowd of over 100 people, mostly women, some elderly, gathered chanting and holding signs in protest. Without warning, police waded in very violently, arresting 8 people and beating and pushing several others:
1) video of the demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXT08cISAMI, about halfway through the police attack
2) photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/activestills/
3) article on Ynet in English, "Police Station Protest Turns Ugly":
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3708977,00.html (text also below).
(Note that while the article says New Profile's "offices" were raided, New Profile in fact has no office, and the raid was of private homes).
4) Action in support, if you haven't already: Jewish Voice for Peace has set up an easy way to send a letter of protest to the Israeli Attorney General, which at last count has already generated almost 5,000 letters: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/301/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=27127
The persecution of New Profile and blatant violation of free speech rights in a supposed democracy is extremely alarming.
Police detain eight people protesting against arrests of activists involved in promoting draft-dodging
Police made eight arrests Thursday during a protest at a Tel Aviv police station. Demonstrators were protesting a police raid on two websites that promote draft-dodging in Israel and the simultaneous arrests of several activists involved in their activity.
About 50 protestors arrived at the Dizengoff St. Police Station; six women and two men were detained by Police Special Forces.
Ayelet Maoz, an activist with the Coalition of Women for Peace and one of the organizers of the protest, said the police had been excessively violent with the demonstrators.
"They were pushing people into the street without stopping the traffic. There are a few people here who nearly got run over. These are women over 80 years of age," she said. "This is not how the police are supposed to behave in Israel. We plan to file a complaint."
She said the law did not require them to file for a permit to stage the protest because it was merely an act of maintaining a quiet presence there throughout the day.
A police statement said the demonstrators had been offered a meeting with the station chief but had refused.
"This was an illegal protest staged by feminists and anarchists. The women besieged the station and would not allow anyone to enter or exit," the statement said, adding that attempts were made to move the protestors across the street before eight were detained for "rioting and failure to obey police orders."
Earlier this week police raided the offices of New Profile and Target 21, two websites that promote the dodging of the IDF's mandatory draft. [this is interesting, since NP has no office! Dorothy]
A total of 23 feminist organizations were angered by the move, and an enraged letter on the matter was sent to the Interior Ministry.
Dorit Abramowitz, an activist for the organizations, explained that the large-scale feminist uprising was due to a violation of freedom of speech laws.
"In any democracy there must be an opposition, but as we understand it, once an organization says something that differs from the government's opinion they start to probe their files. We see this as a dictatorial move," she said.
Jewish Peace News editors:
Sarah Anne Minkin
Jewish Peace News archive and blog: http://jewishpeacenews.blogspot.com
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