You know a regime, an idea, is in trouble when silly bloggers like us are seen as threats to national security. What are you afraid of Israel? The whole truth about this monstrosity, this genocide, to come out? It does not matter how much you censor, the truth will always come out.
This also means that they are losing the battle for international public support.
The expansion of the IDF’s censorship scope was first revealed by one of the bloggers targeted, Yossi Gurvitz. He runs a Facebook page called “George’s Friends” – a title alluding to writer George Orwell – which has over 10,000 subscribers.
This week he tweeted that the IDF’s former spokesperson, who was appointed chief censor less than a year ago, has ordered that he submit his posts for prepublication review.
The message was sent from her private Facebook account, which has no status updates of its own, and Gutvitz initially thought it was a prank, he told the Calcalist business daily. He said he had no intention to obey the order and is reviewing his legal options.
Some 30 Israeli bloggers received similar notifications from the IDF, according to the Times of Israel. Many people online and some Israeli politicians have criticized the expansion of censorship.
“Under the cover of darkness, there is no limit to the expansion of Big Brother,” Ilan Gilon, a member of the Israeli parliament from the left-wing Meretz party, told Calcalist. “It recalls [the dystopian novel] ‘1984.’ I’ve asked for a debate to understand what the boundaries of censorship are and how far they can go. Am I also subject to censorship when I talk to you? This is totally unacceptable.”
The military censor is part of the IDF’s Directorate of Military Intelligence. It has the authority to prevent any information being published by the media and can even shut down outlets without any explanation – and has a record of doing so. This power can only be used during a state of emergency, but the Jewish state has been living under one since its establishment in 1948.
Previously censorship was applied only to established media outlets, book publishers and organizations such as emergency services and front-line community councils. Some blogger posts were subjected to military censorship in the past, but only after publication.
The move may be blowback from the greater recognition of blogging in Israel as a form of media. Since 2012, Israel’s Government Press Office has been issuing bloggers with press cards that give them the same kind of status as journalists employed by recognized media outlets.
“Now, after they managed to make one government office recognize them as journalists, they can only blame themselves when other officials accept them as such too. Journalists don’t only have rights, but also duties, and in Israel one of these duties is working with the censors,” a lawyer who specializes in media regulations told the Haaretz newspaper.
Many Israeli activists, however, see it as a sign of creeping assaults on civil liberties under the conservative cabinet of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Last month, a censorship scandal shook the country after the Education Ministry banned high schools from teaching an award-winning novel about a love affair between a Jewish woman and a Palestinian man.
The ministry explained that depiction of “intimate relations between Jews and non-Jews threaten the separate identity of each sector.” Education Minister Naftali Bennett defended the move, saying that exposing high school students to a book that “depicts IDF soldiers as sadistic war criminals” was not a national priority.
A video showing mixed Jewish-Arab couples kissing, which was posted online in a protest against the ban, mysteriously disappeared from Facebook after going viral.
Just to show that I can have an open mind, here is two of the UFO world most fascinating stories debunked by Papa Friedman.
Israel thinks it’s so clever. The sign above used to be freely available in Google search. No more. I had to look it up from one of my old posts. Israel, do you really think we are that stupid?
Boycott Israel until it learns how to spell human rights.
Relocate Israel to Florida!
Feb 2, 2016
Antonia Zerbisias is an award-winning Canadian journalist. She has been a reporter and TV host for the Toronto Star, the CBC, as well as the Montreal correspondent for Variety trade paper.
Those who grew up after World War II in North America’s Jewish neighbourhoods might be familiar with the expression, “But is it good for the Jews?”
That’s because, post Holocaust, post pogroms, post all the anti-Semitism that propelled Jewish migration to Manhattan, Montreal and Miami, just about any major event, political or otherwise, was being measured by its level of threat to Jews.
Today, despite the apparent rise in anti-Semitism in some corners of Europe, the Jewish people no longer face annihilation. And so the question has become ironic, sort of a joke, something to say, half in jest, when evaluating, say, a presidential candidate or political party leader
But, last week in Canada, as a series of events unfolded, the question was heard again.
It all began on Sunday, January 24, when Stephane Dion, the recently appointed foreign affairs minister, issued a terse statement expressing concern over “the continued violence in Israel and the West Bank”.
Reiterating Canada’s support for “a two-state solution”, he declared: “Unilateral actions, such as Palestinian initiatives towards statehood in international forums and continued Israeli settlements, are unhelpful and constitute serious obstacles to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.”
Israeli and Canadian Jewish media erupted. Bloggers accused Canada of abandoning Israel. Conservative Senator Linda Frum, sister of former George Bush Jr speechwriter David “Axis of Evil” Frum, even took to Twitter to complain of “moral equivalence“.
The next day, a Dion spokesperson walked the contentious statement back: “We’re steadfast allies and good friends, and good friends can occasionally deliver tough messages, but it’s by no means to suggest that we’re somehow retreating from any kind of support of Israel.”
|Canada’s Foreign Minister Stephane Dion [REUTERS] [Reuters]|
Not that the original was tough to begin with.
What really made the statement significant is that, 10 days earlier, the Canadian Press published a little-noticed report on a confidential briefing memo to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which stated, “a truce between Israel and Hamas would be in their respective interests”.
Meanwhile last Monday, at Toronto’s York University, Paul Bronfman, a member of one of Canada’s richest Jewish families, complained about a mural in the student centre. It depicts a young man in a keffiyeh emblazoned with a map of Palestine, holding rocks behind his back while watching a bulldozer bearing down on an olive tree and a building.
Denouncing the painting as “anti-Semitic”, Bronfman, whose cousin Paul serves as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief fundraiser, withdrew his financial support when the university refused to take it down.
|Denouncing the painting as ‘anti-Semitic’, Bronfman, whose cousin Paul serves as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief fundraiser, withdrew his financial support when the university refused to take it down.|
Then, on Tuesday, Dion announced that Canada would be lifting sanctions on Iran, a country that the former Stephen Harper Conservative government had designated as a “state sponsor of terrorism”. Calling Harper’s views on Iran “ideological and irrational”, Dion told reporters that not trading with Iran was bad for Canadian businesses such as Montreal’s Bombardier Inc, which last month lost an aerospace contract to its European rival, Airbus.
Finally, on January 27, which was International Holocaust Memorial Day, Trudeau commemorated the Nazi slaughter of 12 million – without ever mentioning Hitler’s efforts to wipe out Europe’s Jews.
So not a good week for Canada’s Jews.
For nearly a decade, former prime minister Stephen Harper was most decidedly “good for the Jews”. He stood foursquare – in his words, “through fire and water” – behind Israel and he marched in step with his counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu.
“You are a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people,” the Israeli prime minister declared in 2014 when Harper visited Israel, complete with an entourage of 208, including rabbis, Christian evangelical leaders, lobbyists for Israel and even a representative of the Jewish Defense League.
No wonder that, throughout the contentious 2015 federal election campaign that would end with Trudeau’s Liberals vanquishing Harper’s Conservatives, there was much hand-wringing in the Israeli and Canadian Jewish media over whether the change in government would be “good for the Jews“.
Well, for the first few months it seemed as if it might be. After all, Trudeau had baldly blasted the BDS -Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – movement. He had issued statements all but blaming the bombing of Gaza on the Gazans. And, throughout last year’s bitterly fought election campaign, he spoke at synagogues and Jewish community centres, saying his party “will have Israel’s back – not because it’s in our political interests to do so at home – but because it is the right thing to do”.
And so it came to pass.
Right after the election, Trudeau took a congratulatory call from Netanyahu.
In November, Canada voted against UN resolutions promoting “the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people”, including those expressing “grave concern about the extremely detrimental impact of Israeli settlement policies, decisions and activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, including on the contiguity, integrity and viability of the territory”.
|Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poses for selfies with workers before he greets refugees from Syria in Toronto [AP]|
But for a brief hiccup last autumn when Dion suggested that Canada would take a more even-handed approach in the Israel-Palestine conflict, acting in its former traditional role as, as one report put it, “honest broker” in the region, all seemed to be peaceful in the Canada-Israel valley.
Now, not so much.
Needless to say, the Conservatives who kept their seats in Canada’s parliament are furiously making the political most of last week’s events. One MP called Dion’s not-so “tough message” statement of last week, “outrageously vague“.
The cancellation of Bronfman’s financial support for York University has once again raised the issue of Jewish students feeling “unsafe” because of campus support for BDS and Israeli Apartheid Week activities.
As for Iran, Israel’s supporters criticise the lifting of sanctions as a sop to big business.
Last, but far from least, Trudeau’s not emphasising the Shoah in his statement commemorating the Holocaust … well, he quickly corrected the record, on Twitter and on the government’s website.
But, in the end, none of these events was particularly bad for Canada’s Jews.
They just weren’t particularly good for Israel.
Antonia Zerbisias is an award-winning Canadian journalist. She has been a reporter and TV host for the Toronto Star, the CBC, as well as the Montreal correspondent for Variety trade paper.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.
Source: Al Jazeera
Surprised? I was.
Feb 7, 2016
A police officer tries to rouse her, but there is no response. “I think she’s totally passed out,” says Officer Hazel Chang.
It is just one of many alcohol-fuelled incidents the police see during a typical night on the streets of Seoul, the South Korean capital, where people can be seen staggering about precariously and veering dangerously into traffic.
Here, alcohol is an essential part of daily life for many, with South Koreans drinking more hard liquor than anyone else in the world, according to the research firm Euromonitor.
It is cheap, considered a must if you want to get ahead in business and viewed as a way to relieve stress in a society with some of the world’s longest working hours.
But South Korea is also home to more alcoholics than any other country, and alcohol-related social costs amount to more than $20bn a year, Ministry of Health and Welfare estimates show.
Every few days, Suh Seung-Beom, a banker in Seoul, gets business contacts and friends together for drinking sessions.
Like most Koreans, their drink of choice is soju, a spirit made from rice.
On a recent night out, it was not long before Suh and his associates were feeling the effects of the potent liquor.
But he denies that getting drunk is the goal of these marathon drinking sessions. “It’s just a means to build bonds in business and with people. At work we can’t be so open. But here we can make memories,” he tells Al Jazeera.
One of Suh’s drinking partners, Brent Lee, who works for the Korea Federation of Banks, does not believe that he and his friends drink too much.
He says drinking alcohol is beneficial to society because it helps people relieve stress. The police officers who patrol Seoul’s busiest entertainment district disagree.
‘I think drinking is a problem’
Their beat is the busiest in the country, and almost every call they get involves someone who has drunk too much.
Officer Chang, a former schoolteacher, has been shocked by the level of drinking she has encountered since joining the force two months ago.
“I think drinking is a problem … a big problem,” she says.
|South Korean police carry an unconscious drinker out of a coffee shop in Seoul, South Korea. Managers of the shop say she came in drunk, and when she passed out, her friends left her [Steve Chao/Al Jazeera]|
Officer Chang’s partner, Choi Kyung-reol, says in recent years there has been an increase in the number of calls police receive involving people who have drunk too much.
“We’re especially seeing more women taking to the bottle heavily. It’s really heartbreaking,” says Officer Choi.
“I don’t see us making much difference out here. People are drinking and partying harder. And often in cases when we intervene to help, they get violent.”
Public health experts say part of the problem is that there are no laws restricting binge drinking.
On average, South Koreans consume 14 shots of hard liquor a week, while Americans drink about three and Russians about six, according to Euromonitor statistics.
“It leads to all kinds of illnesses including liver disease, yet there are no government guidelines to say how much is too much,” says Chun Sung-soo, from the Korea Public Health Association.
Chun says there is a lack of awareness about the health risks of drinking heavily.
|After public pressure, South Korea’s government is considering banning celebrities under the age of 24 from appearing in liquor ads [Steve Chao/Al Jazeera]|
He says the government invests only a small fraction of what it makes in taxes from the sale of alcohol in public awareness campaigns.
“For 20 years, we’ve been proposing policies that can drastically reduce alcohol consumption – like increasing the price, regulating how much is sold, limiting ads … but they never pass in the national assembly,” he says.
Chun believes politicians are under pressure from liquor companies not to take action. One man taking on the big liquor firms is Kim Jin.
Kim is the first in Korea to launch a class-action lawsuit against firms using celebrities in advertisements to promote alcohol.
“People obviously look at these advertisements and see celebrities downing liquor. Because they’re so famous, naturally this encourages consumers to drink more. It leads to overdrinking and people getting knocked out.”
‘A culture of drinking to excess’
|Ham Soonbok, aka the ‘Bomb Shot Aunty’, is known to hold legendary drinking parties at her restaurant. Many come from all over South Korea to try her various cocktails [Steve Chao/Al Jazeera]|
Kim knows better than most the consequences of drinking too much.
He has been an alcoholic for decades, spent all his earnings on liquor and lost his marriage. “Whenever I started drinking, I wouldn’t eat or drink anything else. I’d just keep downing liquor for 40 days straight. I often ended up in hospital and couldn’t work. In the end … I lost my wife,” he says.
He now suffers from cirrhosis of the liver, a chronic condition caused by overdrinking. But he admits that he is still drinking.
While Kim offers a cautionary tale, Korea’s younger generation shows no sign of letting go of the culture of drinking to excess.
Jiyeon Shin, a university student, says she usually goes out drinking five times a week with friends.
She often studies 18 hours a day and says stress is what drives her and her friends to drink.
“I think maybe now I’ve become a bit of an alcoholic,” she says. “It’s usually me who initiates the drinking and it often ends up with throwing up and hangovers.”
Asked whether she could ever imagine a day when South Koreans drink less, Jiyeon is adamant.
“Absolutely not. Liquor is something that’s naturally shared between friends and family. I think Korean drinking culture is very uplifting. So I don’t think the day we have less will ever come … nor should it.”
From the documentary “South Korea’s Hangover.” Watch the full film here
UK researchers from the University of Exeter have found that the Apis mellifera honeybee, native to Europe, is a transmitter of Deformed Wings Virus (DWV). The deadly infection, mostly carried by the Varroa Destructor mite, threatens the existence of bees worldwide.
“The deformed wing virus is a major threat to honeybee populations across the world and this epidemic has been driven by the trade and movement of honeybee colonies,” says the study, published in the Science magazine on Friday.
Varroa mites are parasites that feed on adult honeybees and also on their larvae, and endanger entire hives. The virus attacks a honeybee pupa, causing it to shrink and deform bees’ wings.
Researchers have studied genetic samples of mites and honeybees from over 17 countries. They discovered the virus originated in Europe and subsequently migrated to North America, Australia and New Zealand.
“This is the first study to conclude that Europe is the backbone of the global spread of the bee-killing combination of Deformed Wing Virus and Varroa,” said Dr Lena Wilfert, senior author of the study.
The report calls for immediate action to halt the spread of the virus and prevent it from entering regions where the infection is yet to manifest.
“We must now maintain strict limits on the movement of bees, whether they are known to carry Varroa or not. It’s also really important that beekeepers at all levels take steps to control Varroa in their hives, as this viral disease can also affect wild pollinators,” Wilfert said, advocating stricter approaches to the transportation of bees.
Though vet checks are being carried out at the border, they are clearly not sufficient to stop the bug. Infected bees continue to appear in other continents. In addition, there is also the potential threat that other infections could pass through borders as easily as DWV has.
If trade controls are not tightened, “the consequences can be devastating, both for domestic animals and for wildlife,” warn the authors in the introduction to the study.
Honeybees are widely used in agriculture as efficient pollinators, which is vital for producing fruit and nut crops. The shortage of the bees may threaten agriculture in the long run.
While the demand for pollination services increases, bee numbers have been decreasing since the onset of the so-called colony collapse disorder in 2006. This was marked by a drastic decrease in North America’s honeybee population, and also in some European countries.
12-Feb-1956–30-Jan-1957 – Element-Fire(+)
The MONKEY – Chinese name: HÓU
Ranking Order – Ninth
Hours ruled by the Monkey: 3pm to 5pm
Direction of this sign – West-Southwest
Season and principle month: Summer – August
Fixed Element: Metal
The Monkey is lively, likable and witty. Highly sociable, the Monkey is talkative and, as a fascinating conversationalist, he attracts a wide circle of friends. People born under this influence have an innately low boredom threshold. Inquisitive in the extreme and forever believing that the grass is greener elsewhere, they need to find continual stimulation to keep themselves interested and amused. However, often Monkeys are too clever for their own good and can be mettlesome, opportunistic, and unscrupulous to the point of being tricky and manipulative. This is because Monkey types possess acute psychological perspicacity which enables them to read people like books. In particular, women under the Monkey influence can play rather subtle games with members of the opposite sex. And although Monkeys give the impression of getting on fabulously with everybody, this great rapport is often nothing but a ruse — Monkeys are in fact egotistical and selfish. They tend to be lazy, concentrating on small matters while ignoring more important issues. They ignore obstacles, finding them beneath their consideration.
Playful, even obliging at times, the Monkey hides the poor opinion he has of others beneath his apparent friendliness. He distrusts people born under any other sign and considers himself to be superior to all of them. He has plenty of intelligence and a fantastic ability to pull the wool over people’s eyes. He is so artful that he can even fool the Dragon — who is strong, stubborn, and no fool himself — and resist the magnetism of the Tiger, whom he teases unmercifully.