First They Came After the Israeli Bloggers…

…Only it’s the Israeli government that’s doing it. This is really depressing.

According to Israel Matzav:

A bill introduced in the Israeli Knesset would make bloggers responsible for all content on their sites, including the comments:

Web site owners or editors will be legally responsible for any content on their site, including comments made in talkbacks and message boards, a bill passed on Sunday by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation states.

According to the bill, which was drafted by MK Israel Hasson (Israel Beiteinu) web sites could be absolved of liability if they agree to reveal the details of posters.

While the bill still needs to be approved in three readings in the Knesset plenum, receiving the support of the Ministerial Committee on Legislation gives it a much higher chance of passing into law.

Y’all better behave yourselves here in our comments…

[Nothing follows]

15 thoughts on “First They Came After the Israeli Bloggers…

  1. Paranoid Schizophrenia ……

    Brought on by the inability to resolve real world issues in a rational manner.

    By rational I would suggest pretty much anything other than caving in to pressure over the arab menace.

  2. According to the bill, which was drafted by MK Israel Hasson (Israel Beiteinu) web sites could be absolved of liability if they agree to reveal the details of posters.

    This is nothing but blackmail. “You may operate your website only on condition of prior surrender of your legal rights to the authorities.”

    One would think that Israel might demonstrate a wee bit more sensibility regarding repression and overbearing government. Unimaginable as it seems, can it be that they too have somehow forgotten the indelible lessons of World War II?

    It is as if they are attempting to short-circuit their own defense mechanisms against Islamic predation. This reeks of preemptive dhimmitude for fear of being perceived as being Islamophobic. If there is one nation on earth entitled to a national sense of Islamophobia, it would be Israel. I swear, it is as if they have lost their will to survive.

  3. It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a significant amount of EU pressure behind this. They like to get their bordering nations to “harmonise” with them – they were recently putting pressure on Switzerland to alter its tax regimes in order to make them “fairer” when compared to EU taxes. All sorts of threats were leveled against the swiss government if they didn’t comply, but they fortunately had the balls to tell the EU to bugger off.

    In this case there’s the added problem of the EU’s funding of Hamas and Fatah, and other arab states. A similar scenario to the above might see th EU pressuring Israel to implement similar legislation to various EU irectives on monitoring web traffic and more “pragmatic” privacy laws. In exchange the EU might decide to be a bit more diligent in monitoring what it exports to the palestinians, and might not increase its funding of them quite so fast.

    Paranoia? Possibly. But given the way the EU throws its weight around these days it’s not as unlikely as you’d think. The whole fiasco with tainted Chinese products is down to the way the EU implemented its CE quality mark system. Look it up and see how much reach this organisation has.

  4. I would be quick to point out that the Israeli government, far from being a clone of the U.S. system of government, is far more in line with those of Europe than that in the U.S.

    For instance, on the issue of corporal punishment, the right of parents to physically discipline their children, it is illegal in Israel, as well as much of Europe.

    There are a great many other issues in which you will find a European-style government instead of a U.S.-style government.

    That of course does not mean I don’t support the Israeli government, but such events as these really should not surprise.

    – Sodra

  5. Israel Beyteinu is a hawkish party, considered by many to be right-wing and even “fascist”. Its leader, Lieberman, threatened to bomb Egypt and is supposed to be strong. And on the other hand, the same party wants to prohibit free speach, which is the only means against corruption. On the other hand, USA- the champion of free speach, supported Afghan Mojaheads against USSR, supported Albanians against Serbs, Supported Pakistan, Turkey, Somali etc. etc. I am really confused. Why those who are tough against muslims also tough against free speach? And why those who support free speach also support muslims? And who is right and who is wrong?

  6. Would this, and the situation with Lionheart, be occurring if their blogs were hosted in the US? Are these cases due to the location of the host or the citizenship of the blogger? Seems to me a US hosted blogger can say whatever he/she feels.

  7. I am going to try to clear up a little of the smoke surrounding Israeli politics. First Israel is not a Democracy, the last free election was 24 years ago. When it looked like the Kach party would become the third strongest party in the Knesset and evenrually take power, elections were restricted. At least on the Nationalist end to participate you cant disagree too strongly with the ruling order. Gradually restrictions on free speech were implemented.

    In Israel the Left refers to everyone who isnt an active traitor as a Fascist, so Yisrael Beitanu being called that means nothing. Furthermore, the party is pure phony right wing, they talk a big game but their actual policies are extreme left.

  8. Charlemagne,

    My blog is hosted in the US as are many Israeli blogs. If you go back and read the post to which the Baron linked, you will find that it links to a post I did two months ago about Google agreeing to disclose the identity of an Israeli blogger who was being accused of ‘slandering’ a local politician (a member of the local council in one of the villages in the center of the country). I cannot think of much else that could have more of a chilling effect on free speech than disclosing the identity of someone who may have ‘slandered’ a public figure.

    Kahane Loyalist,

    I would only add to what you said that it is only Jewish parties who have been excluded under the election laws. The irredentist Arab parties continue to be allowed to run although no one has yet had the gall to take them into a coalition.

    Suffice it to say that Israel’s democracy is far different from what Americans would call a democracy. Going after bloggers is just one aspect of what the Olmert-Barak-Livni junta is doing to keep itself in power.

  9. Where a blog is hosted is not necessarily more important than where it’s “published”, and a lot of lawyers and legislatures have successfully argued that internet material is “published” in the place where it’s read: your computer. There are some EU directives concerning this that the UK has implemented, so no matter where you’re hosted, if someone in the UK reads your blog it’s “published” there and you’re liable under UK law. I am not certain about Israel but I suspect they have something similar going. A lot of countries do.

    This is still a fragile situation, of course. A good defence lawyer and a sympathetic judge might be able to get the laws in question struck down.

  10. I don’t think we should exagerate the importance of this piece of legislation. The intentio with it must be to give the security services an additional tool to use against the groving radicalisation among veleducated israeli arabs.
    Of course it COULD be used agaist others,like my self, but so could a lot of other tools that the security sevices routinely use.
    The Israeli security services are NOT a tool in the hands of corrupt politicians.
    Israel migt be understood as ” an army that has a state”

  11. ‘Either we fear the government or the reverse’

    It seems that blogs have struck at the heart of that fear.

    I have never believed in moderating comments, but clearly under such a law, any agent provocateur from an opposite position would be able to instigate any legal action needed to silence anyone, and the state could then strip you of freedom or property (defense is $$$)

    Why don’t we just go straight to Sulla?

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