“If you are not for the government, you are anti-Israel, scum, a mole, an outsider who should be made not a citizen”
On another front, Culture Minister Miri Regev has been working for several years to curtail political dissent in the arts. Last month Regev sent questionnaires to artists asking them whether they perform in West Bank settlements, the first step in cutting funding on the basis of political conscious. A year earlier she warned, “institutions that delegitimize the State of Israel will not receive funding.”Combined with a range of other pieces of legislation, policies and actions by government officials and extra-parliamentary groups, the cumulative effect of the NGO Law is to portray those working to end the occupation, fighting for equality and liberal democratic values as dissidents subverting the State of Israel itself.Speaking at the Herzliya Conference last month, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced a new legislative initiative to install legal — perhaps criminal — sanctions against Israelis who actively oppose government policy vis-à-vis the Palestinians.“There’s no real price for somebody or an organization working against his country in order to isolate it in the world,” explained Erdan, whose ministerial responsibilities include Israel’s law enforcement agencies. “I’ve already established a legal team together with the Justice Ministry to create government-sponsored legislation in that context.”“We understand that there is a need to draw a line between freedom of expression and democratic values, in which we believe and want to safeguard,” Erdan continued, “but if we want to convince the world that delegitimzation is unacceptable and for which a price must be paid, then it needs to start here in Israel.”In the same speech, Erdan discussed the need to use Israel’s intelligence capabilities against individuals and organizations working to end the occupation, drawing direct parallels to the methods Israel has used to fight terrorism, including searching for tangential and indirect ties to terrorist organizations, finding financial improprieties, smearing individuals, and shutting down bank accounts.