Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Milestone Report from the Coalition of Women for Peace

The Coalition of Women for Peace, one of the leading groups currently active in resisting Israel's entrenched occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as well as its internal oppression of marginalized groups, has just issued a milestone report. The report provides an insightful, highly instructive and carefully researched analysis of the accelerated anti-democratic thrust of Israel's current regime, shored up by its civil society henchmen. It presents detailed documentation of the various strands of this process, while enabling an understanding of their overall cohesion in an unprecedented assault on the vestiges of democracy in Israel.

A must read, in my view, for anyone who cares about either democracy or Palestine/Israel.

Rela Mazali


CWP Update: New Report "All-Out War: Israel Against Democracy"

1. Comprehensive Report on Intensifying Political Persecution in Israel

CWP published a new report today, titled "All-Out War: Israel Against Democracy." This comprehensive report documents the increasing political persecution of peace and human rights organizations and activists, and describes the connections between the assaults led by Israeli government officials, security forces, courts, journalists, and extreme-right organizations in this well-orchestrated offensive on democracy.

The report was published in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, and English.
To download the full report (in English):

"In the past two years, CWP has witnessed a growing wave of assaults on Israeli peace and human rights NGOs, and delegitimization and persecution of Jewish and Palestinian human rights defenders," states the report. "According to our research and analysis, the assault on Gaza between December 2008 and January 2009, and the subsequent Goldstone Report, increased and accelerated international pressure on Israel to end the occupation. Thus, voices of resistance within Israel, and the support and information they provide to international bodies and to the global peace movement, have become a strategic threat to the continued enforcement of the occupation. Silencing them has therefore become a primary goal for the Israeli government and Knesset and for right-wing movements within Israel."

But the report ends with the somewhat optimistic conclusion that: "The rise of such a coordinated offensive against the forces fighting the occupation, specifically at this moment in time, indicates the success of the local and global movements against the occupation [...] This means that Israel will sooner or later have to address the criticism it attempts to suppress today." The report marks the launch of a new CWP campaign responding to this political persecution.

2. Petition to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression

CWP's new report on the growing political persecution in Israel, and specific cases of violations of freedom of expression of human rights NGOs, peace activists, academics, and Arab Members of Knesset, were sent today to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion, Frank La Rue. The report was sent following a request from La Rue for information on violations of freedom of expression, for his upcoming visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in January.

Among the examples of violations of freedom of expression and opinion documented in the report: anti-democratic bills proposed in the Knesset, such as the Nakba Bill, a proposed bill to dismantle NGOs that aid in the prosecution of Israeli officials abroad, and the Prohibition on Instituting a Boycott Bill; the recurring assaults on Arab Members of Knesset; police brutality against protesters in solidarity vigils in Sheikh Jarrah and in peace demonstration during the assault on Gaza; and the attacks on leftist Israeli academics, led by the Minister of Education, Gideon Saar, and by the extreme right-wing movement Im Tirtzu.

"The circumstances and cases described raise concerns regarding an orchestrated and widespread assault on the freedom of expression and opinion of Israeli human rights and peace organizations and Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders," concludes the letter sent to the UN Special Rapporteur. "Based on the documents we have enclosed, we respectfully request that you investigate these matters and communicate your concerns to the government of Israel and to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights."

In solidarity,

The Coalition of Women for Peace

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Joel Beinin
Racheli Gai
Rela Mazali
Sarah Anne Minkin
Lincoln Z. Shlensky
Rebecca Vilkomerson
Alistair Welchman
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