Israel Moves Crackdown On More Speech On Social Media

660px-flag_of_israelsvg1We have long discussed the rapid decline of free speech protections in the West. I have long argued that the West appears to have fallen out of love with free speech, which is more often viewed as a rising scourge rather than a defining value in some countries. That trend was reinforced by Israel this week, which became the latest country to criminalize some statements on social media. A new law would give the government the ability to move against any speech deemed as threatening or encouraging violence to be “removed immediately.” The law would cover the dangerously ambiguous category of language deemed “incitement.”

Despite an agreement by Facebook to work to create teams to identify such speech, the government insisted on expanding its authority over social media. We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have even seen comedians targets with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here).

Israeli civil libertarians have denounced the bill as an obvious rollback on free speech. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, head of the Israel Democracy Institute’s Center for Democratic Values and Institutions, called the bill “an assault on freedom of expression on an international scale.” Governments are moving aggressively to regulate social media and the Internet under varied rationales from hate speech to fake news. The result is an ominous threat to the Internet which remains the single greatest contribution to free speech in the history of the world. It is a threat to many governments and politicians who want to control powerful forums for free speech. That is not to say that there is not hateful speech on these sites. However, the threat of government censorship is far greater than the threat from open and free discourse.

36 thoughts on “Israel Moves Crackdown On More Speech On Social Media”

  1. This will be coming to a city near you. Are you prepared to have your right to free speech infringed to make your world safer? They will of course not allow you to have a weapon once you’ve “proven” yourself a danger or threat to others. How many of the grievances against the King (DoI) does our generation need to suffer before we put up the same fight?

    Long before the internet, pagers, phones, teletype or messages in a bottle, bad guys did bad things and they always found a way to communicate. Shutting down speech deemed to be “threatening or inciting violence” is the same type of argument the 2nd amendment folks use to limit gun ownership.

  2. Personally, I have always thought Travyon Martin’s father should have been arrested for inciting a riot. Maybe the whole family. I think we are too much of a wienie to use the law that much.
    Israel just had violent riots by Palestinians after the vote in the UN. Don’t you think they should react to them? They cannot hurt Obama, but they can hurt friends of Obama. Zuckerberg gets what he deserves.

    1. When did Tracy Martin ever incite anyone?

      Martin’s gross mistake was hiring Ben Crump and Ryan Julison. That pair turned the whole case into a fiasco with the generous assistance of Angela Corey, Bernardo de la Rionda our vile news media and rabble happy to be manipulated.

      Tracy Martin’s behavior when he discovered his son was missing and in the days after his son died indicate that he was perfectly aware his son was trouble and a good candidate for this sort of death-by-misadventure. Trayvon Martin’s mother knew this as well, having exasperatedly put her son on a bus to Orlando just days before.

      My mother used to say, ca. 1975, that we’d entered an era where its a general attitude that someone must pay when I’ve been injured, no matter what the circumstances and no matter the target’s actual culpability. She had in mind absurd tort suits she was reading about in the paper every day. The longer they thought about it, the more Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton defaulted to that general attitude (as a whole mess of people including and especially Crump and Julison running their grift urged them to do).

  3. given the hasbara boys and grlz are still paid by the word, maybe a ban would unclog the arteries?

  4. They cannot be bothered to print any of the text of the law. It looks like a variant of anti-sedition laws, which are quite unremarkable. New York’s Penal Law provides criminal penalties for ‘Incitement to Riot’. I think you have to be palpably present and making a hue and cry to be prosecuted, though. The question is whether making use of social media to generate a flash-mob riot is properly regarded as analogous.

  5. Squeeky

    Iran openly and boldly arrests and jails a group of individuals, foolish enough to participate in a a video featuring them singing and dancing to the song, HAPPY, yet Israel, in an attempt to curb violence, perpetrated against its citizenry and tourists, is the subject of JT’s criticism. Go figure. Gays are summarily executed in town squares in many parts of the Muslim world, with homosexuals being routinely catapulted from rooftops, as gay individuals openly march in parades through the streets of Jerusalem. Israel incurs a far different standard than the one imposed on other countries in the region. Given the neighborhood and the inbred and barbaric neighbors surrounding it, Israel continues to be a beacon of light and freedom in the world. JT should let us all know when one–just ONE–single, solitary Muslim country ever reaches the level of freedom and democracy found in Israel. The massive amounts of technological innovation and groundbreaking research, emanating from Israel, far surpass what occurs in most countries–especially ones with a majority Muslim inhabitants–primarily because of the abundance of freedom and opportunities present in Israel. Freedom and opportunities that are only a fleeting dream for those unfortunate enough to live in its neighboring societies.

  6. @bams

    Preach on Sister! That is what I was saying. You have to have IDF troops out in public to prevent terrorist attacks, and people are worried about whether or not some nutjob Muzzie can say whatever he wants to on the Internet???

    Israel has to deal with daily problems that will continue to keep them from being a free-wheeling, anything goes sort of place for the foreseeable future. Soon, we may have the same problem.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  7. Open and free discourse? Is that what worries you, JT? A lack of open and free discourse? Seriously? What planet do you inhabit? Climb out of that ivory tower, that you have, apparently, inhabited for far too long, and poke your head outside for a while. You need to get a jolt of reality. While you and your colleagues have been busily torturing your law students with the Socratic Method, the outside world has dramatically changed, and the internet has, unfortunately, despite its many qualities, been transformed into an often dangerous weapon, employed as a tool used to inflict great harm and destruction through its capability to act as a vehicle to incite the commission of atrocities. If you hadn’t noticed, the world has been turned on its head by those that are employing that simple and harmless, open and free discord that you seem to champion and relish. Individuals, around the globe, are being radicalized by your purported open and free discourse, causing those lone wolves–a term with which we have been inundated–to respond to a call to action. To bomb and kill innocents, wherever they are found. To plow trucks into pedestrians at open air malls. To attack churches and synagogues and to kill worshippers. To end civilization, as we know it. Is that the harmless, open and free discourse that you wish to protect and defend? Lofty ideals that don’t apply in instances where the safety and lives of a country’s citizenry are on the line. Yes, there are limitations. You, of all people, should acknowledge those limitations. God bless Israel for cracking down on this insanity and for drawing the line on speech that incites anarchy and widespread death and destruction. Wish that our leaders had the b@lls to do the same. Europe is beginning to get a taste of what its leniency, liberalism and kindness has wrought. Just beginning to get a taste. It will learn. In time. Daily, we witness the transformation, of European cities, before our eyes, as churches, synagogues and markets are now guarded by large contingents of heavily armed police. People, polls have indicated, are too terrified to attend religious services. Yes. That is what has resulted from the failure to curb the incitement. The provocation, allowed to stream, without any resistance. Europe and US, after enough carnage and after enough mayhem, will begin to learn what the Israelis have known for decades.

  8. Is it not still fairly common sense, that one is not free to yell fire in a crowded auditorium where there is no fire ?

  9. We must look down the road rather than just at recent events. Think of this as a chess match in which we are playing against an opponent that is setting up moves not for now but for a few years ahead.

    Now take that approach and apply it to these reports and then add in the consideration of Obama betraying us and handing over control of ICANN.

    the stage is being set for worldwide censorship within a few years. They are establishing the case for it now. Fake news, hate sppech, hacking….all are nothing more than cover for the goal of a NWO style global Censorship standard

    1. Good point, G Mason. It also brings to mind Hillary Clinton’s calls for anti-blasphemy laws. (Which, really, would ruin every stand up comic’s routine.)

      1. “Good point”? This is nothing more than the rantings of a conspiracy wacko who imagines bogeymen and monsters everywhere he looks.

  10. Israel is in error, in this case, IF the law is too broad and arbitrary. Here in the US, I believe any communication used to spread a terrorist threat or incite harm would be a crime. If it is specifically organizing a murder or terrorist attack, then it would not fall under the protection of free speech.

    I can understand, after the massive terrorist arson that swept through the country, that they are on edge. They need to effectively fight terrorism and break up the planning of an attack. We’ve seen how easy it is for flash mobs to proliferate via the Internet. I could not imagine the carnage if the intent was terrorism. Very difficult to stop.

    But they should keep their freedoms strong. They are the only county in the Middle East with the most Western values, and I grieve any loss of free speech or freedom of religion. They need to ensure that the law only applies to terrorist threats or similar specific threats of violence.

    1. “Terrorist arson”? Waiting for your source, karen.
      Fascinating that whatever Israel does is someone else’s fault!
      The only country in the region with the most western values? Also the only country in the region where non-jewish marriages aren’t recognized. Even Iran offers full citizenship to its non-Muslims!
      Also the only country in the region, and in the universe that practices apartheid.
      The only one.
      The only country that uses children as human shields.
      The only country that locks up children without representation.
      The only country in the whole globe built around the premise that some are more equal than others.

  11. Another anti-Israel propaganda piece of Leftist Fake News, courtesy of Jon Turley. Turley is in favor or all speech promoting and enabling Islamoterrorism, and to stop such speech is a violation of civil liberties according to Leftist Turley.

    Now for the reality that Turley, of course, does not want to discuss because it interferes with his Leftist pro-Islamoterrorist agenda.

    The law would give Israel the tools “to have content liable to lead to murder and terror removed immediately,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said via text message after an Israeli ministerial committee approved the bill Sunday. The law would specifically be directed at Islamoterrorist activists using the Internet to advance their cause. For example, lawyers filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Facebook in July 2016, alleging it allowed the Palestinian militant group Hamas to use its platform to plot attacks that killed four Americans. That same month, Erdan accused Facebook of complicity in Palestinian violence, saying the blood of a 13-year-old Israeli girl stabbed to death in her bed was “partially on Facebook’s hands.”

    In a civilized society, there cannot be unlimited free speech with no restrictions whatsoever. I’m sure that Turley would not be pressing for the “free speech” “right” of a band of terrorists using a Facebook page to pursue the recruitment of more terrorists in their plot to blow up Turley and his family. That would be “different,” of course. But Turley would be just fine with a Facebook page doing the same sort of thing if the planned victims were Israelis or Jews. That would just be fine with his Leftist agenda and he would cry out, “How dare they infringe on our civil liberties?”

    1. Excellent response, Ralph. I wonder if there were, instead, constant calls, on the internet, to recruit individuals to target law professors for death, whether JT would suddenly be singing a different tune? Suddenly demanding an end to that open and free discourse? That, after all, would be unacceptable, as it would, potentially, impact him, personally. Quite shortsighted for someone, so educated, not to perceive threats to society, as a whole, which are posed by the unbridled manner in which the internet may be used to caused grave harm.

  12. Worth noting, Michael, that whatever is the constitution, along with whatever is the in the magna carta, and is in the Geneva’s convention, the good parts I mean, was already in the Quran, which was already in the Bible, which was already in the Torah. So secularism has not invented anything new, everything it claims was already there.

    1. Evidence, references and citations please. I very much doubt the truth of this claim.

      1. Okay, ScientificSkeptic, give me something from any of those constitutions and I’ll give you the quranic quote. One caveat, I might have to use the hadith, the sayings of the Prophet to further prove my point.

  13. “A new law would give the government the ability to move against any speech deemed as threatening or encouraging violence to be “removed immediately.”

    I don’t have a problem with that part. In that part of the world, there has to be armed military around to protect the citizens from the muzzie nutjobs.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. Squeeky,
      You should have a problem with all of it. Because; “there has to be armed military around to protect the citizens from the muzzie nutjobs.”, could be deemed as threatening.

  14. Gosh, now Trump, most colorful example of free speech: lies, hypocrisy, bigotry, incitements to riot, just about any example of ‘free speech’, just appointed a rabid zionist as ambassador to Israel. Friedman is someone who funds settlements in the West Bank, advocates a one nation idea-Jewish, and openly states that the Palestinians will not have their own homeland in the ‘Holy Land’. This will be interesting.

    1. A “Palestinian” is a made up contortion. After the Six Day War they all called themselves Jordanians. It would not be provident to have Jordan back on the West Bank. Their wish is to wipe out and kill all Jews. Same thing about so called Palestinians.
      The One State Solution is to ship all the bad Jordanians across the river. There is plenty of room for them in Jordan.

  15. Much of the reason for these types of laws is to protect individual politicians from criticism or shortened tenure rather than accomodating the masses they claim to support.

    1. What? You mean it’s not for the chillun’? It’s not to spread democracy? That’s turrible!

      /sarc off

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