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Red Rag column - contamination of Israel Prize
By: Gideon Spiro
20 March 2017 (English translation posted 1 April 2017)

The contamination of the Israel Prize

The awarding of the Israel Prize to the settler David Be’eri, a promoter of the transfer of Palestinians from the neighbourhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem, contaminates the Israel Prize with racism and apartheid, and as such is a faithful expression of 50 years of Occupation. The awarding of the Prize to Be’eri must not go unanswered by opponents of the Occupation. The ceremony, at the Jerusalem Theatre, will be the crowning event of the Independence Day festivities, and it would be appropriate for the reply to disrupt the award ceremony.

My advice: 20 protesters in formal wear should infiltrate into the auditorium and spread out among the audience, and when Be’eri’s name is read out, 20 protesters will rise and take off their dress shirts to reveal t-shirts emblazoned with slogans against the Occupation, while uttering loud whistles and taunts.

One way to enter the auditorium is with exact copies of official invitations – not hard to obtain in today’s digital world. An original invitation could be obtained, for example, through a sympathizer who works at the public-relations centre that organizes the event. Since the ceremony is broadcast live on television, with the participation of the leaders of the State, the protest will receive wide coverage in Israel and abroad. For my own part, I would participate in the protest personally if not for my advanced age and fragile health.

Militaristic feminism

A heated controversy is has arisen between the rabbis of the Occupied Territories and their supporters on the one hand and feminists of the liberal Zionist Left on the other over the issue of female soldiers serving in mixed combat units. Standing as one woman, the feminists are resolutely struggling for the right of girls to kill and be killed. The rabbis are defending the traditional role of girls as child-bearers and housekeepers who leave the work of killing exclusively to men.

As a left-wing feminist, I disagree with both sides. There is no doubt that women are able to commit war crimes just as much as men, as has been proven countless times in wars and oppressive regimes. As a feminist who loves peace and equality, I am against both women and men serving in the army of Occupation. For a left-wing feminist, gender equality means the application of humane principles to both sexes.

Lieberman is still Lieberman

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman has recently repeated his advice to end the conflict through an exchange of populations, whereby the settlers will be annexed to Israel and the Arabs of Israel will be transferred to the Palestinian Authority. Being the famous humanitarian he is, Lieberman proposes to expel the Arabs while leaving them in their places of residence, by withdrawing their citizenship and moving the border so that Wadi Ara will become part of a future Palestinian entity.

The desire to see an Israel clean of Arabs is shared by a broad segment of the Jewish public. To a democrat, Palestinian citizens of Israel are the most important ally in the struggle for a democratic Israel, and only one afflicted by blindness and a loathing of freedom and equality will pass them over.

The muezzin law

The “muezzin law” which recently passed first reading in the Knesset is another racist provocation from the production-line of the settlers and their friends. If the initiators of the law had really been interested in lowering the volume of the call to prayer that is broadcast from mosques, they would not have had to have recourse to a “muezzin law”, because there is already a law that deals with noise issues. And in any case, an agreement could have been reached through discussions and a little goodwill.

The racist nature of the law is brazenly expressed by its exclusion of the sirens that announce the arrival of the Sabbath. I hope this law gets buried in a Knesset committee, but if it gets through all the legislative stages, I will support violation of the law in a campaign of civil disobedience.

What to do with the money

The fantastical deal under which Intel has acquired the Israeli company Mobileye for 15 billion dollars presents the owners of the company with a dilemma about what to do with the money.
My modest suggestions:

After bonuses have been distributed to the employees, the owners will still be left with enough billions to ensure the welfare of their great-grandchildren and their great-great-grandchildren. And even then, there will still be a few billions left over. So I suggest that the owners of the company donate a million dollars to every human-rights organization in Israel and create a fund to finance the reconstruction of the homes that the Occupation has demolished in collective punishments of Palestinians, along with another fund to repair the damage caused in the Gaza Strip by Israel’s war crimes.


Congratulations to Hannah Barag, an activist with Machsom Watch, and Attorney Hassan Jabarin, the founder and director of Adalah, on winning Yesh Gvul’s Leibowitz Prize for 2017.


I extend my solidarity to the journalist Igal Sarna in his judicial battle with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and wish him success. [1] And should he lose the case and receive a financial penalty, I call on defenders of freedom of expression to donate generously to help Sarna defray the costs.

Translator’s note

1. Sarna, a journalist with the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, is being sued by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over a Facebook post in which Sarna claimed that Netanyahu’s wife Sara kicked the prime minister out of their car.

Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent

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