Dorothy Online Newsletter


Dear Friends,


I don’t know whether the situation here or in Egypt or in Syria or in the US aggravates me more.  It just seems as though the world is in a shambles.  Justice and right and peace seem to have no place among the world ’s leaders.  Nothing is certain any more, except death.  No one lives forever.  But too many young innocent people are dying around the world.


The collection below mirrors my feelings—pretty black today.  The first 3 reflect the present (and in the foreseeable future) situation in Israel .  The 4th is about police brutality against the Occupy movement in the US .  And the 5th and last is a link to the Mondoweiss collections.


In the first item, “Netanyahu defends libel law amendment,” Netanyahu claims that he will defend and has always defended democracy and freedom of speech.  Unfortunately, his statement and his support of the new bill don’t jive.  But that’s nothing new with Netanyahu.  A truth-sayer, he is not.  But the report below omits another statement that he made with respect to this.  I had the pleasure of hearing him (while driving) make the statements below.  I usually turn the radio off or switch stations when he comes on, but hearing him defend democracy was incredible, so I listened.  Towards the end of his statement he made clear his real purpose: now the side that had been muzzled or had kept its mouth shut (i.e., the right wing) would also be able to express itself feely.  I admittedly paraphrase his words rather freely, but this is essentially what he said. 


Item 2 says the same.  But its author goes further: he will shut the mouths of the left.  Item 2 is an awful piece.  Normally I would not have included it in anything that I send you.  But that was before, when there was still some sense of normalcy (if ever there was such a thing here).   I usually send you items that either inform you of events here, or commentary that I think might be useful.  But in the present atmosphere, I would be amiss to let you believe that all is well in this country.  And this item is, I believe, an accurate reflection of much of the present sentiment here.  Sad.  The author is decidedly wrong about one thing—but people being what they are, those who read Yediot Ahronot are likely to swallow it.  He claims in defense of the bill that cuts funding of human rights organizations and other NGOs that foreign governments that fund these do so to help denigrate Israel .  Nonsense.  No foreign government in the Western world has yet done anything stronger than at times shake its little finger at Israel for being a naughty child.

What could have more proved the attitude of the leading Western powers towards Israel than the statement of 9 of them after the Gaza escapade (Molten lead): “ Israel has a right to defend itself.”  That statement still rings in my ears.  The more than 1000 Palestinians killed during that horrible military assault had, according to that statement, no right to defend themselves.   Anyhow, how could they?  With what?


Item 3 is a report by the Rabbis for Human Rights, in which they, with the help of MK Dov Hanin discover what happened to certain missing funds, a hefty amount that could have been used to provide shelter to the needy, but instead went to the Jewish National Fund.  That’s the way it is here.  That’s the kind of thing that happened to German reparations that were intended for Holocaust survivors.  Those funds too disappeared into other channels, leaving the survivors with naught.


Item 4 relates to a probe by the National Lawyers Guild (USA) into federal backing or planning in the brutality that police are using on the Occupy uprisings.  I wish the NLG luck, but am not overly optimistic.  The degree of brutality that the police are using on protesters seems almost as if they have learned techniques from the Israeli border police and military.


The 5th item, the link to Mondoweiss, leads you to a number of items to select from.


I frankly have no idea of what tomorrow will bring.  But I can say this : the situation here and elsewhere is very unsettling.  We nevertheless continue to work for the best, and to hope.  Things will change, eventually.  Of that I am sure. The question only is how much blood will spill before that happens.




1.  Jerusalem Post Monday, November 21, 2011


Netanyahu defends libel law amendment; Sheetrit to oppose unless changed; opposition calls legislation “anti-democratic.”


  Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday defended a controversial amendment to the libel law that would raise the court imposed penalty on libel, saying “no one will tell the media what to write and what to investigate.”


“I was raised on the values of [former prime minister Menachem] Begin and [Ze’ev] Jabotinsky… Israel will continue to be a strong democracy,” Netanyahu said during the weekly Likud faction meeting in Jerusalem , adding, “Freedom of expression will exist in all parts of society.”



Responding to criticism from the opposition that called recent legislation anti-democratic, the prime minister said he will ensure that Israel remains democratic.


“As long as I’m in power, Israel will continue to be a democracy,” Army Radio quoted Netanyahu as saying.


The prime minister added that he will vote in favor of an amendment to the libel law that is up for a vote Monday night.


“When I thought there were laws that harm democracy, I didn’t hesitate to come out against them,” he said, announcing his support for the amendment.



Kadima said Monday it would oppose the amendment after voting to do so. Kadima said it would, however, allow MK Meir Sheetrit to vote for the amendment because he proposed it. Most of the opposition opposes the change to the law.


But Sheetrit said that if fundamental changes are not made in preparation for the second and third readings of the law amendment, he too would oppose it.


There will be coalition discipline in the vote set to take place Monday night, but MKs from Habayit Hayehudi and – most likely from – Independence will abstain.


The bill has fired up Israeli journalists over fears that the government is seeking to limit freedom of press.


On Sunday a large group of veteran and amateur journalists gathered in Tel Aviv’s Cinematheque to protest the amendment to the libel law, which would increase the fine for libel from NIS 50,000 to NIS 300,000.   [The greatly increased sum is not the only negative factor.  According to the bill, a libel suit will not have to prove that the litigant incurred damage from the supposed libel . Dorothy ]


2.  Ynet Monday, November 21, 2011

18:16 , 11.21.11


New Era


 Knesset Photo : Noam Moskowitz


    Leftist party is over

Op-ed: Leftist monopoly on deciding State of Israel’s direction is finally coming to an end,7340,L-4151052,00.html


Yoel Meltzer


As Solomon the wisest of men once said “there is nothing new under the sun.” With this in mind it should come as no surprise that the recently proposed “rightist” bills have elicited the usual responses: Plenty of Bibi-bashing coupled with accusations that Israel ‘s democracy is under attack and that freedom of speech is being stymied.


Thus, rather than seriously addressing the issues and arguing over substance, the supposed guardians of democracy simply rattle off sound bites that are designed to vilify and scare anyone who dares to see things differently. It’s a common tactic and one that is expected, especially from those who feel their power slipping away.


However, times are changing and the public is finally waking up. They know that the Israeli Supreme Court is one of the most activist supreme courts in the world with a disproportionate amount influence, driven by a worldview that represents a very small percentage of the Israeli population. Moreover, people understand that changing the longstanding policy whereby the court largely chooses its own judges in order to perpetuate its ideological stranglehold will only strengthen, and not curtail, Israeli democracy.


Similarly, most Israelis understand that the funding of Israeli organizations by foreign governments as a way to enable these governments to advance their agenda of delegitimizing Israel , especially in light of the current international campaign against Israel , is obviously problematic. Thus, labeling any attempt to deal with this complex issue as a sign of a right-wing crackdown or a restriction of human rights is nonsense.


Indeed, this is very serious issue that must be addressed regardless of one’s ideological position.


Public fed up

More importantly, the days where the powerful left-wing establishment manages to silence its critics every time it feels a threat to its well-entrenched hold on power are coming to an end. As much as they try to portray themselves as innocent by wrapping themselves in pure white cloaks of freedom and democracy, this small yet powerful ideological group can no longer hide its hypocrisy.


The same voices that sanctimoniously claim that Netanyahu’s and Lieberman’ s Israel is turning ugly and fascist, for years labeled all opponents of the disastrous Oslo process as enemies of peace in order to stifle any real discussion.


Likewise, prominent voices in the mainly left-wing media who disingenuously claim that the current government is overstepping its boundaries in order to impose its agenda, only a few short years rallied round the call by one of their colleagues that Ariel Sharon had to be “protected like an etrog” in order to help the government implement the controversial Gaza Disengagement.


Unfortunately, rather than understanding that the public is simply fed up with a situation whereby a small group with an exorbitant amount of power and influence largely determines what is best for the rest of the country, the predominantly left-wing establishment continues to view alternative voices as a threat.


This is certainly a shame as the truth of the matter is that a change in direction based upon a more balanced approach will not only be more in line with the mindset of the average Israeli, but will also help secure the country’s long-term survival.


Whether or not the Left finally internalizes this and stops attacking is irrelevant. Either way, the party is over as the leftist monopoly on being the sole decider on the direction of the country is finally coming to an end.


Yoel Meltzer is a freelance writer living in Jerusalem . His personal blog is



3.  A new Post “Prazot and the Stolen Treasure” was written on the November 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm on “Rabbis for Human Rights”.


! MK Dov Hanin !



*Information that we gave MK Dov Hanin caused the Finance Ministry to demand to pay back 1.8 billion  NIS for public housing*


The information that was given to MK Dov Hanin firstly concerned of lot of money that Prazot – a housing company, that is responsible for public housing in Jerusalem, has in its funds, but which are frozen due to a long and clumsy bureaucratic procedure needed to dismantle it. The staff of Rabbis for Human Rights dealing with the housing issue has also raised the question: what has happened to the money that the Finance Ministry received from selling public housing apartments?


The turning to MK Hanin came after an analysis of the October report of the Knesset’s Center of Research and Information in which was written that the center did not succeed receiving an answer about what happened to these funds. Based on the absence of this very important information, RHR decided to draw MK Hanin’s attention to the “black hole” which leaves many of the poor people in Israel without a home.

MK Hanin immediately submitted two parliamentary questions that dealt with the case of Prazon and also with the principle question – one to the Minister of Building and Housing and also to the Finance Minister.


As a result of the Ministers’ reply, in a follow up question, (when it became clear that much of the money was used to pay debts to the Jewish Agency) MK Hanin asked why the State returned a significant percentage of the money it received from selling the apartments to the Jewish Agency – instead of return the money for housing purposes as it should have been done and as the government decided?


More details on the replies in Dov Hanin’s blog [1].


It should be noted that there was no reply to the question of what happened to the money which was transferred to the Finance Ministry – 16% of the money received from selling public housing apartments – 438 billion NIS .



4. National Lawyers Guild Files FOIA Requests Seeking Evidence of Federal Role in Occupy Crackdown


By Dave Lindorff


With Congress no longer performing its sworn role of defending the US Constitution, the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee and the Partnership for Civil Justice today filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) asking the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the CIA and the National Parks Service to release “all their information on the planning of the coordinated law enforcement crackdown on Occupy protest encampments in multiple cities over the course of recent days and weeks.”


According to a statement by the NLG, each of the FOIA requests states, “This request specifically encompasses disclosure of any documents or information pertaining to federal coordination of, or advice or consultation regarding, the police response to the Occupy movement, protests or encampments.”


National Lawyers Guild leaders, including Executive Director Heidi Beghosian and NLG Mass Defense Committee co-chair and PCJ Executive Director Mara Veheyden-Hilliard both told TCBH! earlier this week that the rapid-fire assaults on occupation encampments in cities from Oakland to New York and Portland, Seattle and Atlanta, all within days of each other, the similar approach taken by police, which included overwhelming force in night-time attacks, mass arrests, use of such weaponry as pepper spray, sound cannons, tear gas, clubs and in some cases “non-lethal” projectiles like bean bags and rubber bullets, the removal and even arrest of reporters and camera-persons, and the justifications offered by municipal officials, who all cited “health” and “safety” concerns, all pointed to central direction and guidance.


As we reported, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan admitted publicly in an interview on a San Francisco radio program earlier this week that prior to her first order to police to clear Oscar Grant Plaza of occupiers on Oct. 25, she had participated in a “conference call” with 17 other urban mayors to discuss strategy for dealing with the movement. At the time of that call, her mayor’s office legal advisor, who subsequently resigned over the harsh police tactics used against demonstrators, says Quan was, significantly, in Washington , DC .


The NLG says the Occupy Movement, which is now in over 170 cities around the U.S. , “has been confronted by a nearly simultaneous effort by local governments and local police agencies to evict and break up encampments in cities and towns throughout the country.”


Veheyden-Hilliard says, “The severe crackdown on the occupation movement appears to be part of a national strategy,” which she said is designed to “crush the movement ,” an action she describes as “supremely political.”


She adds, “The Occupy demonstrations are not criminal activities and police should not be treating them as such.”


The police conducting these coordinated raids look more like Imperial Storm Troopers than cops in their riot gear get-ups. The attacks show how the nation’s local police are becoming more of a national paramilitary force, curiously akin to the widely despised and feared Armed Police or Wu Jing who do the heavy riot-control and repression duty in China . Equipped with federally-supplied body armor and military-style weapons like stun grenades, sound canons and of course assault rifles, domestic US police forces responding to even garden variety, peaceful protest actions often look more like an occupying army than police. Meanwhile their actions have even been condemned by the Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans who are increasingly coming to and supporting the occupation movement. These vets say the police are employing tactics that they themselves were not even permitted to use in dealing with unrest in occupied or war-torn lands.


The Guild and other observers strongly suspect that the 72 so-called Fusion Centers created buy the Homeland Security Department around the country, and the many Joint Terror Task Forces operated by the FBI in conjunction with local police in many cities, are serving as coordination points for the increasingly systematic attacks on the Occupy Movement.


It will be instructive to see how the Obama administration and the targeted agencies respond to the Guild’s FOIA requests, and even more interesting to see what kinds of documents–if any–are forthcoming.


“We’re calling for expedited processing, because this is an urgent effort, and if we don’t get that, we can go to court over that issue,” says Verheyden-Hilliard. “Government delays in responding defeat the purpose of an open government law, with people in the streets and under attack by police now.” Normally, she says, government agencies have 20 days to respond to a FOIA request, but with an expedited request the agencies should have to respond even faster.


National Security and privacy are the only grounds for federal agencies to withhold information sought in a FOIA request, and clearly there is no national security issue involved in this protest movement, at least not in a strictly legal sense of the term. The Occupy Movement is protesting economic inequality, and the political corruption that allows the wealthiest people who run the nation’s biggest banks and companies to run the country in their own interest and to run rough-shod over the broader public interest. Of course, from the perspective of the ruling elite, and from the perspective of their political lackeys in the White House and Congress, any protest movement calling for a reordering of the political system to make it more responsive to the public interest would be seen as a national security threat.


Meanwhile, the Occupy Movement is continuing to grow.


Ousted from their base in Zuccotti Park , where a New York state court judge has ruled that they can stay, but cannot sleep or bring in sleeping gear or protection from the weather, movement activists are switching to a decentralized strategy. Some 30,000 people rallied around New York City on Thursday (the two-month anniversary of the start of the Zuccotti occupation), to protest the police action two days earlier. Some hardy souls still keep Zuccotti occupied round the clock, and a General Assembly has been held there several times despite police efforts to limit access. Rallies in support of and solidarity with the New York Occupy Movement were held simultaneously in 30 other cities yesterday.


Kenny Clark, 32, dressed in military fatigues he said dated from his Army service (he was stationed in Korea ) stood in Zuccotti Park in the pouring rain on Wednesday, more than a day after police had cleared away the tarps, the 5500-book library, and the free kitchen, and said, with a determined smile, “We’re not going away!” A meat counter worker at A&P, where he has worked for 20 years, Clark said he and his co-workers were being asked to take a 20-percent pay cut by the firm, which is using a bankruptcy filing to try and break out of its union contracts. “We’ll vote down their offer, and then we’ll strike, and then they’ll probably fire our asses,” he laughed, “but with help from all these occupiers, we’ll be marching in front of their stores and organizing a boycott like they’ve never seen! Nobody’s going to shop there!”


Clark noted that the Occupy Movement is developing plans for a national occupation of the National Mall , the big park that runs between the Capitol and the Lincoln Monument that has been the scene of many historic rallies and occupations in decades past. A national General Assembly is being planned for April 1, which will focus on ” the failure of the Democrats and Republicans in Congress to represent the views of the majority of people, the Supreme Court for allowing the Constitution to be perverted and for ignoring the rule of law and the Chamber of Commerce and lobbyists on K St for dominating the political process in favor of the 1% at the expense of the 99%.”


This thing ain’t over. It’s just getting going.


This article was published at NationofChange at:


5.  Mondoweiss


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