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Security scandal angers Arab sector

Anat Kam II? Another affair freely discussed in blogs, websites around world, but in Israel press is muzzled. Arab rights groups: Gag order further evidence of police persecution of Arab community

Sharon Roffe-Ofir
Published: 05.09.10, 17:22 / Israel News

Again the whole world knows – but nobody tells us: A new security affair, currently being investigated, has caused a storm in the Arab community of Israel. And just like in the Anat Kam case, in this case too the press is muzzled – even as the case gets extensive mention in blogs and website around the world.

 

Blogger Richard Silverstein in the website "Tikun Olam", one of the first to write about the Anat Kam case, has already noted this new affair. In Facebook a protest group has already been set up, and last Thursday an emergency conference was held by the Mossawa Center and the Adalah Center, both of which are among the most prominent organizations working for Arab rights, with the participation of many other organizations.

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During the conference it was decided to fight against the gag order which, according to conference participants, is reminiscent of totalitarian regimes.

 

Among international organizations, European Parliament members and dozens of foreign ministries around the world, details have already been distributed. The network of European and Middle Eastern NGOs also distributed a notice in three languages – English, French and Arabic. Palestinian organizations in the West Bank and Gaza did the same. Newspapers and blogs in the Arab world have also written about the case.

 

'Police terror'

Despite the gag order, the affair spread by word of mouth into the Arab sector in Israel. Following the emergency conference, the heads of Arab organizations said to Ynet that what is currently taking place is reminiscent of Tunis or Argentina, and is not worthy of a state that aspires to democracy and human rights.

 

"We see the steps taken by the security establishment as part of an extreme rightwing policy," said Mossawa Director Jafar Farah. "In democratic countries, publication of information is not forbidden the way it is in Israel. This enables the security establishment to do as it likes, and then sell lies to the general public. There seems to be a division of labor between the rightwing organizations and government ministries. We saw this in the attacks against Jewish organizations like Breaking the Silence, the Association for Civil Rights and the New Israel Fund."

 

The Popular Committee for the Defense of Freedoms, which operates under the auspices of the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, also issued a notice about the affair, saying that the attack on freedoms in Israel is at its height.

 

MK Masud Ganaim (United Arab List-Ta'al) distributed a notice via email to thousands of addresses in Israel and abroad in which he calls the affair "police terror and silencing".

 

"What is happening is clear proof of racism," he wrote. "Whoever claims Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East gets new evidence to the contrary every day, in the steps taken by the government and its institutions against citizens, parties and organizations of the Arab sector."

 

Demonstrations are expected to be held on Monday in various locations around the country to protest the affair, and on Thursday the Higher Monitoring Committee will hold another meeting to discuss the issue.

 

"We won't be silent," they say in Adalah and Mossawa. "We will continue to struggle against the gag order and against the 'legal' persecution by the Israeli government against the Arab sector in general and against its leaders in particular."

 

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