Friday, September 21

Commissar of Culture and Sport on a Witch Hunt

Another stab in the back of Israel’s culture by the Commissar of Culture and Sport, Miri Regev 1.  She has been working on the Minister of Finance, Moshe Kahlon, who has the power to withhold budgets for cultural projects.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) and Culture Minister Riri Regev (Likud) presented an amendment to the current Culture and Art Law bill that would prevent extremists who oppose the State of Israel from receiving government funding for cultural projects 2 Miri Regev does not possess this power. Kahlon succumbed to Regev’s wishes and has given her all the support she needs to curtail cultural projects deemed, in her whims and fancies, not to conform to her agenda.
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, attends a Culture, Sports and Education Committee meeting at the Knesset, on July 2, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel said: "Instead of threatening the cultural world with draconian laws and budget cuts, whose sole aim is political spin, Minister Regev is invited to buy tickets to these films and in this way lend her support for local cinema." 3

She is a racist megalomaniac and an intolerant paragon of Israel’s culture. She views herself as the patriotic censor and watchdog of culture. God forbid, a talented artist, playwright or actor steps out of Regev’s “patriotic” line, the project will be penalized by having state funds withheld. These artists will be accused of “contravening the principles of the State” or the Cultural and Arts Law to be amended in October 2018  that would give the culture minister the authority to retroactively suspend funding for cultural activities that “contravene the principles of the state,” similar to the authority already granted to the finance minister 4.

The principles are such that it will be interpreted according to Regev’s agenda:
  1. Denying the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state;
  2. Incitement to racism, violence and terrorism;
  3. Supporting an armed struggle or an act of terrorism, an enemy state or a terrorist organization, against the State of Israel;
  4. Marking Independence Day or the day of the establishment of the state as a day of mourning;
  5. An act of vandalism or desecration that violates the honour of the flag of the state or its emblem.

If according to Commissar Regev’s view, any of these principles are contravened, the die is cast - no funding.

We are now being told what we may view as art and culture and what we may not. Our freedom to judge is being usurped. It is Commissar Miri who has the final say. If we do not agree with Miri's taste in culture and do not wish censorship of culture to be imposed, we are a danger to the State of Israel and who knows what the next step will be apart from defunding cultural activities that she deems anti-Israel.

Commissar Miri promotes artists, whose origins are from North Africa. Most of them adore her as she promotes them and makes no bones about their superiority over western culture of which she herself is ignorant. Israel's people is a kaleidoscope of cultures, but her preference is Moroccan Jewish culture as she wishes to live up to her parents' standards in the culture, which is what her parents expect of her. Those, who are not from her origins are viewed as inferior. It is a throw back from the times in Israel's history when Jews from North Africahad been viewed as as inferior. It is the extension of a historical inferiority complex from those early days in Israel's history.This is not very inclusive of all Israel’s people 5.

In practice, any of these principles will be sufficient to withhold funds. Commissar Regev is no democrat. Democracy in her view is her right to clamp mouths of political opponents and to suppress cultural activity that does not conform to her agenda that is part of the Netanyahu Coalition Government. Cultural activity in Israel will not be free but be controlled according to her agenda. If a cultural activity is satirical and delivers a message criticising the government even in a subtle way, it will be deemed treasonable and Commissar Miri’s principles will be applied with great hubris and fanfare accompanying calls to her faithful supporters. Those, who do not tow her line or that of her party are ostracised and viewed as traitors, who wish to destroy Israel and sell Israel to the Palestinians. This has become so ingrained in the right-wing Israeli electorate mind through paranoiac Netanyahu tactics that those, who are left of centre, are fearful of violence against them.

It is indeed a sad day as Israel’s once vibrant democracy is now going through very turbulent times. There are danger signals of the beginnings of Israel becoming a theocracy and that is in itself a further danger to democracy. Israel’s present leadership are waltzing with right-wing regimes such as Hungary, whose leader Viktor Orban, is an anti-Semite and had recently received red carpet treatment on a state visit to Israel. The upcoming general elections will not even be a surprise as the right-wing under Netanyahu will form the next coalition and thus be given the green light to move towards fascism. Commissar Miri Regev 6 will be waiting in the shadows to receive a very senior ministerial portfolio that will give her even more power. Much depends of course on whether PM Netanyahu will be indicted before that.

  1. "Miri Regev - Wikipedia." Accessed 21 Sep. 2018.
  2. 21 Sep. 2018, Accessed 21 Sep. 2018.
  3. 17 Sep. 2018, Accessed 21 Sep. 2018.
  4.  "Israel's nationalistic 'loyalty in culture' bill passes the legal test - Israel ...." 25 Feb. 2016, Accessed 21 Sep. 2018.
  5. "Meet Miri Regev, Israel's Trump in high heels - Israel News - Haaretz ...." Accessed 21 Sep. 2018.
  6. "Miri Regev - The Atlantic." Accessed 21 Sep. 2018.

Saturday, September 8

Rosh Hashana - What of the Future?

On the eve of Rosh Hashana many of us - probably not all, reflect on the events of the past year and certainly, from a political standpoint, we in Israel have very little if anything of which to be proud.  From a personal and moral point of view, each to his own conscience. When it comes to human dignity, we have the Nation-State Law 1 that is an affront and an insult to Israel’s non-Jewish minorities, the Regulation Law 2 - (passed on 6th February 2017) legalization of land grabs for religious Zionist settlers in territories occupied during the June 1967 Six Day War.

Stealing land “in good faith” is now legal. How on earth can stealing land from its owners, whether Palestinian or others, ever be considered legal if carried out in “good faith” whatever the hell that means?  The trend in Israel is a swing towards an extreme right-wing regime that is a threat to Israel’s once vibrant democracy and a move towards a totalitarian ideology. Israel’s democracy can best be described today as an “eroded democracy”.

Today Israeli citizens, who oppose the present Israeli Government, are viewed as traitors and are ostracised and are even told to leave Israel as their ilk is not welcome in Israel by many right-wing supporters. Those who do not agree with the Likud-Bayit Ha Yehudi with the ultra-Orthodox non-Zionist "coalition tag-along's" agenda are viewed as enemies of Israel. There is no limitation to the number of terms a serving prime minister can be re-elected. PM Netanyahu, who is suspected of criminal activity and under police investigation in at least three cases, is still in office and his wife Sarah is on the road to being charged with fraud. The majority of the Israeli public still supports Netanyahu. They view these cases against Netanyahu as trumped up and a conspiracy by Israel’s enemies to bring down Netanyahu. Even in the US, Donald Trump cannot serve more than two terms as president. The US has hope that Trump will not remain president indefinitely. Why cannot Israel’s prime ministerial term not be limited to a maximum of two terms (eight years) as in the US?

The Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked 3, is doing all she can to weaken Israel’s Court system and making it conform with her party agenda. Judges appointed to the High Court of Appeal must be conservative and not conflict with her Jewish Home Party 4 (Bayit Ha Yehudi) agenda. She even stated that her efforts to introduce more conservative figures to the Supreme Court have made it more representative of the Israeli public as a whole rather than “a branch of Meretz” — the dovish left-wing political party. This, of course, is absolute nonsense. It is as if she has appointed herself to be the "supreme" Chief Justice and decide what is legal and what is not according to her boss, Naftali Bennett and his sidekick, MK Bezalel Smotrich, a right-wing extremist and dyed-in-the-wool Kahanist. These are the MKs that Netanyahu tries not to upset. Even senior members of the legal committee, past and present, who are certainly not identified with Meretz or any other political party, take strong exception to Ayelet Shaked’s statements. It appears that in Shaked’s view, true justice can only be achieved by Israel’s Law Courts if it complies with the agenda of her judge appointees according to her party agenda. Ayelet Shaked has hopes of running for prime minister in the future 5.

The list of intimidation of private citizens who are suspects of being anti-Israel (that means opposition to the present Israeli Government) continues to grow. There have been interrogations and harassment of returning Israeli Citizens at  Ben Gurion Airport.

For those who are interested in the erosion of the law system in Israel can consult the website of the Association of Civil Rights in Israel. Check out the summary of the present summer Knesset session on this link.

It is really sad that Israel’s electorate is moving in a dangerous, uncompromising right-wing direction and there is no doubt that at this rate, the chances of Israel moving towards fascism and a clamping of mouths direction in the coming New Year is not as remote as one would like to believe.

Despite my Pessimistic Prediction (I hope that I am proved wrong) I wish my readers a Happy New Year - a year of Peace between all our peoples and neighbours, Health and Happiness in the coming year.

  1. "Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People - Wikipedia." Accessed 7 Sep. 2018.
  2. "Regulation Law - Wikipedia." Accessed 7 Sep. 2018.
  3. "Ayelet Shaked - Wikipedia." Accessed 7 Sep. 2018.
  4. "The Jewish Home - Wikipedia." Accessed 7 Sep. 2018.
  5. "Ayelet Shaked: I may run for prime minister eventually - Israel News ...." 18 Jul. 2018, Accessed 7 Sep. 2018.