The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) is an anti-democratic extremist group that does not endorse free speech.
Prof. Steven PlautSteven Plaut teaches at the University of Haifa and is author of "The Scout" (available from Gefen Publishing House). More of his writings can be seen on the New Plaut Blog, as well as in numerous electronic and print newspapers.
ACRI, like B'tselem, Physicians for Human Rights and many other assorted splinter far-left, anti-Israel, pro-PLO groups in Israel, pretends it is nothing more than a neutral human rights watchdog. This is an Orwellian lie. ACRI is an extremist anti-Israel group that only cares about "human rights" when "defending them" is part of delegitimizing Israel (such as in this case). It has never heard of a human right for Jews it wishes to defend, such as their right not to be murdered by terrorists.
Think I am exaggerating?
A few months back, I approached ACRI and offered them an opportunity to defend free speech in Israel and prove they support human rights for all, even for those who might disagree with their leftist extremist ideology. As you know, I am being sued in a harassment SLAPP* "libel suit" by a leftist extremist lecturer at Ben-Gurion University because I dared to criticize his political opinions and his public political behavior. The lecturer in question served, for example, as a human shield for Yasser Arafat while Arafat was hiding in his offices the murderers of an Israeli cabinet minister and other terrorists, all this to illegally interfere with an Israeli military operation. The suit is clearly nothing more than an anti-democratic assault on free speech by a leftist extremist who thinks it is a crime to criticize him.
So, I contacted ACRI and asked them to take up my case and denounce the Ben-Gurion extremists' tactic of trying to use SLAPP litigation as a bludgeon to suppress free speech for non-leftists. There can be no clearer opportunity for those who value free speech as a human right to denounce such misuse of the courts as this case. I invited ACRI to help defeat this cynical move by the leftist extremist in question, Neve Gordon of the political science department at Ben-Gurion University.
In response, I got a peremptory refusal from a spokesperson for ACRI.
So when exactly does ACRI protect free speech?
Well, I will tell you when.
This past November saw a quiet but significant victory in Israel over the treasonous far-left. Some Israeli extremists were operating an Israeli branch of the "Indymedia" web network, which is a network of dozens of Marxist-anarchist web sites all over the world who devote their days to the singing of praises for communism, terrorism, the International Solidarity Movement, violence and anti-Semitism. The one operating out of Israel was famous for its posting messages praising suicide bombers, denying the Holocaust, posting messages mocking Judaism and the Bible and otherwise anti-Semitic harangues, not mere anti-Israel pieces. Its managers claimed they did not pick the pieces and that it is open web publishing where anyone can post trash; but the fact of the matter is that they regularly censored anything on the site that was pro-Israel and deleted it, leaving up the Nazi screeds (at www.indymedia.org.il).
In November they ran, alongside their other filth, a cartoon showing Ariel Sharon French-kissing Hitler. Some people were outraged and filed a petition with the Attorney General to shut the site down. It has been successfully shut down ever since, evidently thanks to a court order; although recently, a new substitute site just opened at israel.indymedia.org (you might want to stop in to post some pro-Israel material there to annoy them).
For months, ever since the original Israel Indymedia web site was shut down, its URL carried a message in English and Hebrew from this same ACRI protesting the shutting down of this suicide-bombing-cheerleader web site.
I guess ACRI supports free speech only for leftist traitors...
* SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. SLAPP suits are anti-democratic libel suits designed to suppress the free speech of one's critics.