Self censorship in Israel

A sensible analysis of censorship in Israel:

However, of far greater concern is the less formal punishment which results from stating opinions as innocent as a parity of value between the lives of Jews and Palestinians; or using the word "apartheid" in relation to the occupied Palestinian territories; or suggesting the Israeli army might have committed war crimes in Lebanon or in Gaza.

There is no law against saying these things but there is certainly a price for saying them. Being identified with such opinions might cost one the recommendation of an already wavering superior. It might undermine a shaky friendship. It has even cost me romantic attachments, at their early stages...
...As the political establishment moves to the right the concern is that what are now informal marks of disapproval of leftist views will be legislated into law. The first attempts have already been made, with Yisrael Beiteinu, the far-right party in the ruling coalition, sponsoring laws like a prohibition of marking the day of the Palestinian nakba. The law failed to pass, but a democracy is about more than its laws.

Even if there is no law to curtail freedom of speech, if we are effectively discouraged from speaking through informal means, then this freedom has no real substance. From there it is only a matter of time before this freedom is gone from the law books, as well as from the talk shows, the water-coolers and the living rooms of the country.

No comments:

Since March 29th 2006