Friday, 11 May 2018

Even poets are a threat to Israel's Jewish Supremacist State

What Kind of State Gaols and Prosecutes a Poet for Incitement?  A Police State

The myth of Israel as a democratic state is widespread.  In the words of Emily Thornberry, Labour’s racist Shadow Foreign Secretary, Modern Israel is a beacon of freedom, equality and democracy.”
Dareen Tatour
Labour's racist Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry
As Ahmed Tibi quipped, Israel is a democratic state for Jews and a Jewish state for Arabs. 
In practice even for Jews, Israel is becoming less and less democratic.  The term ‘leftist’ is today a term of abuse in Israel. Israeli human rights NGO’s – even liberal Zionist ones like B’tselem and Breaking the Silence - are under increasing pressure from legislation such as the NGO Law that forced them to highlight their funding prominently when over half of it comes from overseas whereas right-wing NGO’s, which typically receive their money from private individuals are exempt.  The idea being to portray them as in hock to foreign interests and therefore traitors.

After having been gaoled and held under house arrested for 2½ years, this month Palestinian Israeli poet Dareen Tatour was, predictably, convicted by an Israeli magistrate of incitement to violence and support for terrorism.  As Jonathan Cook observed, Dareen had endured two and a half years of jail and harsh house arrest – denied access to computers and phones. Now she is at risk of a sentence of up to eight additional years in prison.
Emily Thornberry - Labour's Racist  Shadow Foreign Secretary
Poetry invariably exploits complexities of language and ambiguities of meaning but over the protests of scholars of the Arabic language, the court relied on translations of Tatour’s poetry by an Israeli policeman who translated the Arabic word “shaheed”, which for Palestinians refers to any victim of Israeli oppression, to “terrorist”.
 It is not a trial, it is a theatrical play,” Tatour said of the legal proceedings.
A handful of Israeli literary figures, including the author A B Yehoshua, protested at the unprecedented move to jail a poet, something they noted that even the most repressive regimes usually avoid doing.

Israeli Jewish incitement against Arabs never merits any attention from the State

A Hebrew literature professor, Nissim Calderon, warned: “What begins by undermining the freedom of a Palestinian poet will surely continue by undermining the freedom of Israeli poets.”
Yet the real incitement is against Israel’s Arab citizens. The lie about Palestinians being ‘incited’ to oppose the Israeli occupation (because they would otherwise love it!) hides the fact that there is an ongoing campaign of harassment and threats from Israeli posters to social media.  Without exception Israeli incitement against Palestinians goes unpunished.  But if a poet makes a reference to resistance then the full force of the law descends on her.

Israeli Jewish incitement against Arabs never merits attention from the State
However in the two years, between November 2015 and October 2017 some 280 Palestinians were arrested for posts on Facebook.
A Report from 7amleh, the Arab Centre for the Advancement of Social Media shows what the reality of incitement on social media really consists of.
·         Every 71 seconds there is an inciting post uploaded against Palestinians
·         A total of 445,000 calls for violence, hate speech posts and curses against Palestinians
·         One out of nine posts about Palestinians contains a call for violence or a curse
·         50,000 Israeli social media users wrote at least one inciting post against Palestinians

May 4, 2018 By Richard Silverstein
Dareen Tatour, the poet as terrorist-criminal
Young Palestinian poet, Dareen Tatour, wrote a poem in the midst of the Knife Intifada three years ago. Entitled, Resist, the poem called for resistance against Israeli Occupation, and steadfastness in the face of oppression. Standard poetic themes in the face of injustice. There are literally thousands of similar poems, including memorable ones written by Israel’s first national poet, Haim Nachman Bialik.
But in Israel, writing such a poem and using Facebook and YouTube to disseminate it will get you branded a terrorist. Dareen was arrested three years ago. Her trial was postponed for that entire period and she was placed under strict house arrest. She was only permitted to leave her home once per weekend, and then only with police minders.
Israeli Jewish incitement against Arabs never merits any attention from the State
Yesterday, the court finally made a decision in her case: guilty. No surprise since Israeli courts convict 98% of Palestinian security defendants of their “crimes.” Dareen was found guilty of “incitement” and belonging to a terror group. It makes no difference that she doesn’t belong to any terrorist group. Expressing sympathy with the goals of the Palestinian national movement is enough to be deemed a terrorist.
Here is an eyewitness account of the shameful spectacle presided over by Judge Adi Bambilia, a judge so ashamed of her verdict that she mumbled her way through it so it would be that much harder for the assembled world media to know the result and report it:
The judge came in only after the media was allowed to take pictures in the courtroom. She sat on her high bench, said that the verdict is long, and that she would read only some of it. She read in a low voice and people complained that they can’t hear. She usually uses a mike – but not today. The guards wanted to throw out of the court the people that complained – but the judge requested them not to do it.
It all took hardly a few minutes, The only sentence that could be heard clearly was when the judge cited some old court ruling about the importance of the freedom of expression. Soon she concluded: “I decided to convict…” Then she went on in a very low voice to name the articles of conviction by their technical numbers, without any explanation, and soon disappeared through the back-door to her chamber.
Just one item indicating the ludicrousness of the Israeli State’s case against Dareen. It presented as an expert witness, a “translator” who grievously mistranslated her poem to claim it called for violence. The prosecution called the witness an “expert” in both spoken and literary Arabic, when he couldn’t even translate her poem properly. You remember Bibi’s dog and pony show headlined by the charge: “Iran Lied.” Well, forget that. Israel lied, “big time,” as both Trump and Netanyahu would say.
Dareen’s plight might have amounted to little amidst the sea of suffering and injustice perpetrated on Palestinians regularly by the Israeli military-intelligence apparatus, but her cause was taken up by an international human rights campaign supported by, among others, the literary freedom NGO, PEN. Its director visited Dareen under house arrest and took a picture with her to show the international artistic world’s solidarity.
While Israel may deem a terrorist, I honor her here by publishing her original video including her poem and its Hebrew and English translations. Keep in mind that Israel considers all of us accessories to terrorism by merely reading this. By the way, YouTube has restricted the video warning viewers that it contains inappropriate content. You have to click through the warning before you can view it. Thanks YouTube for standing for artistic freedom in the face of Israeli censoriousness!
Here is a statement Dareen’s lawyer, Gaby Lasky, published on Facebook yesterday. I’ve translated it:
English translation:
Resist, My People, Resist Them
In Jerusalem, I dressed my wounds and breathed my sorrows
And carried the soul in my palm
For an Arab Palestine.
I will not succumb to the “peaceful solution,”
Never lower my flags
Until I evict them from my land.
I cast them aside for a coming time.
Resist, my people, resist them.
Resist the settler’s robbery
And follow the caravan of martyrs.
Shred the disgraceful constitution
Which imposed degradation and humiliation
And deterred us from restoring justice.
They burned blameless children;
As for Hadil, the sniper shot her in public,
Killed her in broad daylight.
Resist, my people, resist them.
Resist the colonialist’s onslaught.
Pay no mind to his agents among us
Who chain us with the peaceful illusion.
Do not fear doubtful tongues;
The truth in your heart is stronger,
As long as you resist in a land
That has lived through raids and victory.
So Ali called from his grave:
Resist, my rebellious people.
Write me as prose on the agarwood;
My remains have you as a response.
Resist, my people, resist them.
Hebrew translation (actually done by Israelis who know Arabic!):
'What’s more surprising is that there are still people in Israel who expect a fair trial for Palestinians ... as if Israel were still a democracy'
 May 06, 2018 9:15 PM

Poet Dareen Tatour at the Nazareth Magistrate's Court on May 3, 2018 Credit Gil Eliahu
Israeli literary figures lambasted Thursday’s conviction of Arab poet Dareen Tatour on charges of incitement to violence and support for a terrorist organization.
The Nazareth Magistrate’s Court convicted Tatour, 36, on account of three posts published on social media, including a poem titled, “Resist, my people, resist them.” According to a translation of the Arabic-language poem that appeared in the indictment, it included the lines, “I won’t agree to a peaceful solution / I’ll never lower my flag / until I remove them from my homeland.”
Tatour, an Israeli Arab who lives in Reineh, near Nazareth in the country’s north, said after the verdict that she didn’t regret anything and planned to appeal the ruling.
“I wasn’t surprised by the verdict, given everything that’s been happening here,” said Ilana Hammerman, an editor, translator and writer. “The Israeli justice system has been taking this attitude for many years already. What’s more surprising is that there are still people in Israel who expect a fair trial for Palestinians and opponents of Israeli policy ... as if Israel were still a democracy. Anyone who’s surprised is someone who’s sitting with his eyes closed. This is the general direction in which Israel is heading.”
Bottom of Form
It’s impossible to know whether this government attributes such importance to poetic imagery that it pounces like this on a Palestinian poet, or whether its compete lack of understanding of poetry causes it to treat every word like a drawn knife,” said author A.B. Yehoshua, an Israel Prize laureate. “The time has come for judges to read more Hebrew poetry throughout the generations and see the imagery and language it contains.”
Nissim Calderon, a Hebrew literature professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev who served as a witness in the trial, said, “The verdict is a blow to one of the deepest traditions of Hebrew poetry – the poet’s freedom from being put on trial over his words. This was upheld under British rule toward Hebrew poets who called for the use of violence, and it’s of value to Israelis themselves even before being an obligation toward the occupied Palestinians. What begins by undermining the freedom of a Palestinian poet will surely continue by undermining the freedom of Israeli poets.”
Navit Barel, a poet and editor, said, “This isn’t an issue related to literary taste or editorial choice. It’s an issue of freedom and justice. This is a sad and frightening day for Israeli democracy. The court was asked to rule on the interpretation of a poem in a language the judge doesn’t read, and it decided this poem was dangerous.”
Barel noted that she has heard demonstrators at a protest shouting, “Rabin is looking for a friend” – a reference to assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin – at the army’s chief of staff. “Which of them was sentenced as an inciter?” she asked, adding, “I’ve heard a Hebrew refrain on the radio in which a singer sang that leftists are killing their brothers, handing them over to foreigners. The law clearly laid down rules on the question of what constitutes incitement. Would an Israeli Jew who said or wrote much worse things than the poem in question be brought to trial?”
Tatour was arrested in October 2015, when Palestinians were carrying out stabbing attacks against Jews almost daily. The indictment accused her of publishing posts on Facebook and YouTube “which contained calls to commit acts of violence or terror and for praising and identifying with acts of violence or terrorism.”
One video clip she posted showed masked men throwing stones and firebombs at Israeli security forces with a voiceover of her reading her poem. By the time the indictment was filed, the prosecution said, the clip had been watched more than 200 times and received several favorable responses.
“The content, its exposure and the circumstances of its publication created a real possibility that acts of violence or terrorism will be committed,” the indictment said.
Aside from the “Resist” poem, Tatour was charged over two other posts. In one, she wrote, “Allah Akbar and praise God, Islamic Jihad has decreed a continuation of the intifada throughout the West Bank and its expansion to all of Palestine. We must begin within the Green Line,” meaning inside Israel. That post received 35 likes.
The second post contained a picture of Asra’a Abed, a Nazareth resident who was shot and wounded after pulling out a knife in Afula’s central bus station, along with the caption “I’m the next martyr.”

See Sharing Rhymes, Hundreds Support Arrested Palestinian Poet Dareen Tatour in Jaffa

'People shouldn’t go to jail in Israel because of poetry' says one attendee of a Jaffa event rallying for poet who has been under house arrest since October 2015
Janan Bsoul
Aug 31, 2017 6:03 PM
Full house for the solidarity event supporting Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour in Jaffa, August 30, 2017. Daniel Tchetchik

There was only room to stand in the Arab-Hebrew Theater of Jaffa on Wednesday night as hundreds showed their support for Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour, who was arrested in October 2015 after posting a poem on YouTube and Facebook.
Tatour, who was charged with incitement, has now been under house arrest in her parents’ home in the Galilee village of Reineh, near Nazareth, for almost two years.
The auditorium was so full that organizers had to place additional seats in the foyer for attendees.
“She’s been under arrest for two years because of a poem denouncing the murderers of Mohammed Abu Khdeir and the Dawabsheh family,” said Tatour’s father, Tawfik, who opened the event. He was referring to the July 2014 killing of a East Jerusalem teenager and the deaths of three members of a Palestinian family during an arson attack in the West Bank the following year.

“Despite the great injustice that was done to Dareen, we can and must live together in peace,” her father stated. “Regrettably, the ministers and prime minister use every chance they get to incite – not only against Arabs but against anyone who doesn’t agree with them; against anyone who wants to live in a world without occupation and racism,” he added.
Actors Leora Rivlin and Doron Tavori reading transcripts from Dareen Tatour's trial, August 30, 2017. Daniel Tchetchik

“In October 2015, the police stormed the house of poet Dareen Tatour,” said journalist Orly Noy, hosting the evening. “Only during the third time they interrogated her did they show her the poem for which they arrested her, and for which she has been under arrest for two years."
There’s a tendency to persecute Arab Israelis who see themselves as Palestinians, express their opinion on the occupation and object to Israel’s policy,” Noy added. “Today, we cry out: ‘Dareen Tatour is not alone!’”
“Dareen is undergoing a Kafkaesque trial,” said Tatour’s lawyer, Gaby Lasky. “The indictment says ‘The State of Israel against Dareen Tatour.’ It should be Dareen’s indictment against Israeli society, which reads poetry by a poet who says ‘I’m the next victim’ and then persecutes her. This is a society that accuses the victim. A poet must be protected. People shouldn’t go to jail in Israel because of poetry.”
Palestinian rap artist Tamer Nafar performed “Spoken Word,” while poets Tal Nitzan and Mahmoud Abu Arisha recited some of their poems. Actors Doron Tavori and Leora Rivlin read some of Tatour’s trial transcripts. Writer Sheikha Haliwa and poet Rachel Peretz read poems penned by Tatour. Haliwa read them in Arabic and Peretz read their Hebrew translation.
“Tatour may not be a great poet,” said one of the audience members, “but arresting her is a stupid, dangerous act. People’s freedom of expression must not be limited, regardless of their work’s quality or disagreements about it.”
Attendees at the evening in support of poet Dareen Tatour in Jaffa, August 30, 2017. Daniel Tchetchik
A short film was screened in which Tatour read one of her poems, “Resist, My People, Resist Them,” accompanied by dramatic music and images of riots between soldiers and Palestinians. The audience applauded.
7amleh Centre recently conducted a research to measure the extent of Israeli incitement against Palestinians on social media for the year 2017, which has been published today. The main key findings were as follows:
·         Every 71 seconds there is an inciting post uploaded against Palestinians
·         A total of 445,000 calls for violence, hate speech posts and curses against Palestinians
·         One out of nine posts about Palestinians contains a call for violence or a curse
·         50,000 Israeli social media users wrote at least one inciting post against Palestinians

Whilst Facebook intensifies its efforts to suspend, delete and ban Palestinian accounts and pages under the pretext of “incitement”, the social media giant expanded its platform for Israeli incitement, 82% of which takes place on Facebook, according to a recent study conducted by 7amleh. 2017 witnessed a rapid upsurge of right wing Israeli Facebook groups and pages that incite against Palestinians, some of which include The Shadow (an extreme right-wing Israeli singer), Roaring for the Right, Against Extreme Leftist Media, Reclaiming Jewish Nationality, Fighting for the Land of Israel and The Lies of the Leftists (all translated from Hebrew) in addition to the rising incitement perpetrated on Facebook pages of mainstream Israeli media.
This index was developed by monitoring violent and inciting rhetoric according to a list of 100 keywords of expressions, names and personalities in Hebrew with the aim of measuring the level of violent rhetoric and hate speech at the hands of Israeli social media users. Interestingly, the results indicate that the level of Israeli violence on social media has decreased from 2016 but increased from 2015.
Jerusalem was the main focal point for online violence against Palestinians and the research illustrates that 50,000 inciting posts against Arabs were uploaded in July 2017 alone in light of the events at Al Aqsa mosque and Israel’s attempt to install electronic gates. This online violence was mainly directed towards Palestinian politicians, such as Ahmad Tibi and Haneen Zoabi.
Nadim Nashif, the Executive Director of 7amleh has expressed grave concern at the results of the research, which exposes Facebook’s complicity in perpetuating the double standards of the Israeli government of silencing and shutting down Palestinian content whilst allowing for the spread of Israeli incitement. Furthermore, the Israeli government fails to hold any Israeli accountable for online violence while at the same time it jails hundreds of Palestinians based on this unfounded claim of incitement.
7amleh is the only Palestinian non-governmental organization dedicated to utilizing online resources to empower marginalized Palestinian communities and enhance their capacities in advocacy and raising social awareness. Our values are based on the unwavering belief of freedom of speech, we work to protect the digital rights and freedom of speech for Palestinians. 7amleh, through its dynamic and community-based approach, works in response to the subjugation of Palestinian voices and aims to build a Palestinian society that is able to breach geo-political boundaries and use digital platforms en masse to advance the community’s rights and well-being, 7amleh conducted this research in cooperation with Vigo Social Intelligence and Berl Katznelson Foundation.

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