Australia not a united country, Yolngu leader tells Garma festival

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It’s high time the country has a prime minister who can find a way towards reconciliation, Djawa Yunupingu says

“Let there be a prime minister” who can find a way towards recognition of Australia’s first people, a Yolngu leader has told the Garma festival.

Djawa Yunupingu, a senior Gumatj leader and deputy chair of the Yothu Yindi Foundation, said Australia was not a united country, and its non-Indigenous people enjoyed a stolen sovereignty.

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Why the Israeli Left can’t reconcile with the most Zionist law

For seven decades, those on the Zionist Left have been reluctant to grapple with Israel’s history of discrimination against its Palestinian minority. With the Jewish Nation-State Law, they have no choice — and that’s what really hurts.

By Meron Rapoport

Palestinian and Israeli peace activists march in central Jerusalem on October 17, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Palestinian and Israeli peace activists march in central Jerusalem on October 17, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

It is difficult, if not impossible, to find Palestinians who support Israel’s new Jewish Nation-State Law. It is just as impossible to find Palestinians who are surprised by the law, which, in truth, does not tell Palestinians anything they did not know before: that the State of Israel is the state of the Jews, and the Arabs who live here are second-class citizens at best.

Among Jewish Israelis the response has been, well, different. According to a poll published by Walla! News, a majority of Jewish Israelis support the law. Frankly, it would be surprising if the poll found anything else. After all, the law only repeats what every student in the Israeli education system learns from day one: Israel is a “Jewish state” and Jewish settlement of the land is a near-holy act. Why should anyone think differently?

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Perhaps that is why it is surprising that the vast majority of Labor and Meretz voters (left-wing but still Zionist parties) oppose the law, and that opinions are split (with a slight majority in favor of the law) even in centrist parties such as Yesh Atid and Kulanu.

The emotional response of much of the Jewish Left is not self-evident. MK Michal Rozin (Meretz), for example, wrote on her Facebook page that a “black flag” flies above the Jewish Nation-State Law, as it constitutes a “vote of no confidence in the Declaration of Independence upon which the State of Israel was founded and is based.”

Meretz parliament member Michal Rozin (L) attends a Knesset Committee meeting discussing the allegations against Joint Arab List member Basel Ghattas, on September 20, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Meretz parliament member Michal Rozin (L) attends a Knesset Committee meeting discussing the allegations against Joint Arab List member Basel Ghattas, on September 20, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The thousands of Jewish Israelis who crowded Tel Aviv’s Habima Square on Monday for the “world’s largest Arabic lesson” were there to express just how morally reprehensible they found the law — which strips Arabic of its status as one of Israel’s official languages — to be.

Perhaps the clearest expression of the Left’s revulsion, however, came from famed Hebrew University Law Professor Mordechai Kremnitzer, when he spoke to former member of Knesset and journalist Yinon Magal on the latter’s radio show: “This is a humiliating, shocking, and stupid law that every person with a conscience must oppose,” Kremnitzer said as his voice broke, “I am ashamed that this is how they define my country.”

Palestinian leaders, too, were furious about the law, yet none of them came close to breaking down in tears. Perhaps because none of them ever had any expectations. Perhaps because none of them ever saw Israel as “their state.”

It isn’t difficult to view the responses by Rozin and Kremnitzer with a modicum of cynicism. The same Israel that promised to “be devoted to the development of the land for the benefit of all its inhabitants” was built on the ruins of the Palestinian people, half of whom fled or were expelled in 1948 and were forbidden from returning. After the war, Israel built hundreds of exclusively Jewish communities on land belonging to those Palestinians. And that’s without mentioning the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza.

Palestinians participate in the March of Return, Galilee, May 2, 2017. (Maria Zreik/Activestills)

Palestinians participate in the March of Return, Galilee, May 2, 2017. (Maria Zreik/Activestills)

Yet there is a difference between the vagueness of the Declaration of Independence and the discriminatory practices of the last 70 years on the one hand, and on the other, the Jewish Nation-State Law, which codifies that only one nation has the right to self-determination in this land, that one language is supreme above all others, and that Jewish settlement takes precedence over anyone else’s.

But it would be a mistake to say that those left-wing Zionists who now oppose the Jewish Nation-State Law are turning a blind eye to the injustices of the past. Kremnitzer and others are well aware of the problematic sides of Zionism’s past — ideologies, leaders, and groups which never really believed in equal rights for the Palestinians who live in this land.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, would have supported the law ignores the fact that 70 years have come and gone since Ben-Gurion oversaw the establishment of Israel. The Arabs are not the same Arabs, and the Jews are not the same Jews.

“The State of Israel is the realization of the most justified dream,” Kremnitzer said in his radio interview, but he cannot accept that Israel should discriminate against non-Jews in the name of that “Jewish state.” He is not alone. I believe that many in the Jewish center-left, whether or not they actively define themselves as Zionists, are in the same position.

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In their view, Israel is actually “the Israeli state,” as opposed to the Jewish state, meaning it belongs to all its citizens — Jews and Arabs alike. They may be reluctant to look back and admit to the various forms of systemic discrimination Israel implemented against the Palestinian minority over seven decades years, but that’s in the past — they want to look to the future.

The moral revulsion of those on the Zionist Left today is a result of moving away from the ideology of their parents and grandparents. Even if they continue to see Israel as a Jewish state, or at the very least the Jewish national home, they first and foremost view Israel as a democratic state. The Jewish Nation-State Law is a direct attack on that view of their country, and in a sense, on the way they view themselves. Some say it is an illusion. But even if it is, it is a very unpleasant illusion to be woken from.

Meron Rapoport is an editor at Local Call, where a version of this article first appeared in Hebrew. Read it here.

Trump’s Attacks on Media Violate Basic Norms of Press Freedom, Human Rights Experts say

David Kaye is the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression for the United Nations and Edison Lanza is Special Rapporteur for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

By David Kaye and Edison Lanza
GENEVA / WASHINGTON, Aug 3 2018 (IPS)

U.S. President Donald Trump’s repeated attacks on the free press are strategic, designed to undermine confidence in reporting and raise doubts about verifiable facts.

The President has labelled the media as being the “enemy of the American people” “very dishonest” or “fake news,” and accused the press of “distorting democracy” or spreading “conspiracy theories and blind hatred”.

Journalists wait for the arrival of official delegations at the Geneva II Conference on Syria, in Montreux, Switzerland. Credit: UN Photo/Violaine Martin

These attacks run counter to the country’s obligations to respect press freedom and international human rights law. We are especially concerned that these attacks increase the risk of journalists being targeted with violence.

Over the course of his presidency, Mr. Trump and others within his administration, have sought to undermine reporting that had uncovered waste, fraud, abuse, potential illegal conduct, and disinformation.

Each time the President calls the media ‘the enemy of the people’ or fails to allow questions from reporters from disfavoured outlets, he suggests nefarious motivations or animus. But he has failed to show even once that specific reporting has been driven by any untoward motivations.

It is critical that the U.S. administration promote the role of a vibrant press and counter rampant disinformation. To this end, we urge President Trump not only to stop using his platform to denigrate the media but to condemn these attacks, including threats directed at the press at his own rallies.

The attack on the media goes beyond President Trump’s language. We also urge his entire administration, including the Department of Justice, to avoid pursuing legal cases against journalists in an effort to identify confidential sources, an effort that undermines the independence of the media and the ability of the public to have access to information.

We urge the Government to stop pursuing whistle-blowers through the tool of the Espionage Act, which provides no basis for a person to make an argument about the public interest of such information.

We stand with the independent media in the United States, a community of journalists and publishers and broadcasters long among the strongest examples of professional journalism worldwide. We especially urge the press to continue, where it does so, its efforts to hold all public officials accountable.

We encourage all media to act in solidarity against the efforts of President Trump to favour some outlets over others.

Two years of attacks on the press could have long term negative implications for the public’s trust in media and public institutions. Two years is two years too much, and we strongly urge that President Trump and his administration and his supporters end these attacks.

The post Trump’s Attacks on Media Violate Basic Norms of Press Freedom, Human Rights Experts say appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Excerpt:

David Kaye is the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression for the United Nations and Edison Lanza is Special Rapporteur for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The post Trump’s Attacks on Media Violate Basic Norms of Press Freedom, Human Rights Experts say appeared first on Inter Press Service.