Posts Tagged ‘Criticism of the Israeli government’

Europe’s Sakharov Prize in trouble with regard to Arab nominees

October 11, 2014

Under provocative title “Can Arabs be Human Rights Defenders?”  the on-line newspapers Mada Masr and Jadaliyya published a piece setting out how 3 Arab nominees were suddenly dropped by their nominators in the European Parliament  over a few Israeli-bashing tweets that were indeed on the verge of acceptability (even in the context of rough twitter talk) especially when calling for or condoning killing of Zionist civilians.

I referred to the nominations in my post: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/nominees-for-sakharov-prize-2014-announced/.

I consider the post’s title  provocative (or perhaps ironic) as even a cursory glance of human rights documentation – including this blog – shows that there are hundreds of human rights defenders in the Arab world whose credentials are not disputed or totally defensible.

Please read the whole piece for yourself as this is both a complicated and sensitive matter.

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Palestinian HRD Nariman Tamimi speaks out on repression of peaceful protest in AI video

November 5, 2012

In Greece there is a frequently heard ‘complaint’ that international human rights groups – in particular AI – have the same agenda as the USA. At a recent meeting with friends in Chania, AI’s position on Pussy Riot was quoted as evidence.

I countered by pointing out that AI on many occasions has taken a stand that seems to go against US policy, from the death penalty to Guantanamo Bay and the Israeli occupied territories. A recent video referred to here makes that clear again in the case of Israel. Perhaps even more shocking are some of the comments that seems to confirm the existence of an orchestrated response [by whom?] to equal any criticism of Israel to anti-Semitism.

Every Friday since December 2009 residents of al-Nabi Saleh and solidarity activists gather around noon in the village centre and march peacefully towards the spring. They have been met repeatedly with unnecessary and excessive force by the Israeli army including the use of stun grenades, pepper spray, batons and guns. Demonstrations are dispersed as soon as they begin and are usually not allowed to reach the spring. The Israeli army raids the village regularly, usually during the night, and conducts house searches and arrests, including the arrest of children under the age of 15.

Israeli military laws in place in the West Bank impose sweeping and arbitrary restrictions on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, requiring people to obtain advance permission from the Israeli military for any proposed gathering of 10 or more persons “for a political purpose of for a matter that could be interpreted as political”.  Nariman Tamimi told Amnesty International that in al-Nabi Saleh and all areas where there is popular resistance, police use extreme violence, noting that “there is nothing [to the protests] except that you chant and express your opinion.” As one of the organizers of the al-Nabi Salneh protests and a coordinator of the village’s popular committee, Bassem Tamimi and his family have been the target of harsh treatment by the Israeli army.  For more see the excellent film:

AI video on Palestinian protest