Big Brother is Watching YOU! A married couple, Peter and Melanie M., were prosecuted and convicted in July 2016 of creating a Facebook group that criticized the government’s migration policy. Also, in July 2016, 60 people suspected of writing “hate speech” online had their homes raided by German police.
Officials in Germany’s Interior Ministry are urging Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière to establish a “Defense Center against Disinformation” (Abwehrzentrum gegen Desinformation) to combat what they call “political disinformation,” a euphemism for “fake news.”
“The acceptance of a post-truth age would amount to political capitulation,” the officials told Maizière in a memo, which also disclosed that the bureaucrats at the Interior Ministry are eager to see “authentic political communication” remain “defining for the 21st century.”
One wonders whether by “authentic political communication,” the officials of the Interior Ministry are referring to the way German authorities scrambled to cover up the mass sexual attacks on women on New Year’s Eve a year ago in Cologne? At the time, German police first claimed, surreally, on the morning of January 1, 2016, that the situation on New Year’s Eve had been “relaxed.” Cologne Police Chief Wolfgang Albers later dryly admitted, “This initial statement was incorrect.” Alternatively, perhaps they are referring to the decision of Germany’s public broadcaster, ZDF, not to report on the attacks until four days after they had occurred? Even a former government official, Hans-Peter Friedrich, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Interior Minister from 2011 to 2013, accused the media at the time of imposing a “news blackout” and operating a “code of silence” over negative news about immigrants. How is that for “authentic political communication”?
“Considering the [upcoming] federal elections we must act very fast,” the officials urged in the memo, citing the need to combat “fake news.”
In other words, the Interior Ministry’s bureaucrats fear that Chancellor Angela Merkel will lose the elections in September 2017, and are willing to do whatever it takes to prevent that scenario, even if it means using (even more) federal authority to crack down on free speech by inventing an official state propaganda bureau. The current debate on “fake news” is a convenient excuse.
Germany has, of course, been cracking down on free speech for quite a while now. Already in September 2015, Merkel said, “When people stir up sedition on social networks using their real name, it is not only the state that has to act, but also Facebook as a company should do something against these statements”.
Under a government program, which has enlisted the help of the German non-governmental organization, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, led by Anetta Kahane (who has turned out, in a fine twist of irony, to be a former Stasi agent and informer) German authorities are monitoring how many supposedly “racist” posts reported by Facebook users are deleted within 24 hours. Justice Minister Heiko Maas has pledged to look at legislative measures if the results turn out to be “unsatisfactory”. The program is scheduled to run until March 2017.
A married couple, Peter and Melanie M., were prosecuted and convicted in July 2016 of creating a Facebook group that criticized the government’s migration policy. Their page stated, “The war and economic refugees are flooding our country. They bring terror, fear, sorrow. They rape our women and put our children at risk. Make this end!”
Also, in July 2016, 60 people suspected of writing “hate speech” online had their homes raided by German police.
None of the above seems to be enough, however, for the president of the Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, from Merkel’s CDU party, who believes that what Facebook is already doing against “hate speech” is not enough. According to Lammert, there is a need for more legislation. A law to bring social networks under penalty of fines if they fail to erase “hate messages” and “false news” has just been announced by Volker Kauder, leader of the parliamentary group in Merkel’s current Bundestag and CDU/CSU faction, and Thomas Oppermann, Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) parliamentary group.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has also recently called on companies such as Facebook to address “false announcements” on the Internet, saying he felt that the Europeans were increasingly becoming “sensitive to who is fluttering around them and who is telling them the truth.”
All of this, naturally, has Merkel’s strong support. She told the Bundestag in a speech on November 23:
“I support efforts by Justice Minister Heiko Maas and Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière to address hate speech, hate commentaries, devastating things that are incompatible with human dignity, and to do everything to prohibit it because it contradicts our values”.
Those “values” are clearly circumscribed: The German government’s view of what constitutes “hate speech” is highly selective, and appears limited to protecting the government’s own policies on immigration from legitimate criticism.
When massive antisemitism swept large German cities in the summer of 2014, for example, no such anti-racist zeal was manifest on the part of the German government. On the contrary, there were instances of authorities practically facilitating hate speech. In July 2014, Frankfurt police let mainly Muslim “protesters” use their van’s megaphone to belt out slogans of incitement in Arabic, including the repeated chanting of “Allahu Akbar” and that Jews are “child murderers”.
In another such instance, a German court found that the firebombing of a synagogue in Wuppertal by two German Arabs and a juvenile accomplice was not anti-Semitic, but rather “an act of protest” to “bring attention to the Gaza war.” The men were convicted of arson.
In Germany, it is criminal to bring attention to the problems that come with the government’s migration policies, or to criticize those policies, because this constitutes “hate speech.” Firebombing a synagogue, on the other hand, is simply an “act of protest.” Perhaps, once the “Defense Center against Disinformation” is set up, such “acts of protest” will be labeled, “Officially Approved Un-Fake Communication.”
Judith Bergman is a writer, columnist, lawyer and political analyst
Read more at:https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/9771/germany-censorship-propaganda
A Sa’ar 4.5-class Corvette of the Israeli Navy fires its canons during a naval exercise off the coast of Israel.
Israel’s Defense Ministry on Sunday announced a series of deals for the purchase of combat systems from local defense industries in the amount of $420 million by the end of this year. This is part of a project to acquire warships whose mission would to protect natural gas platforms within Israel’s “economic waters” in the Mediterranean against military threats.
An Israeli soldier training in Krav Maga.
Several dozen members of the Indian military are currently learning how to protect themselves using the Israeli martial art of Krav Maga, India Today reported this weekend.
“I brought Krav Maga to India in year 2002 after intensive training in Israel,” Vikram Kapoor — the head instructor at the International Krav Maga Federation — was quoted as saying. “This is the only self-defense technique that is being evolved every moment and that is why it is the best.”
Culminating a three-year process, delegates at the Mennonite Church USA assembly in Orlando on Thursday adopted a resolution titled “Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine,” with approximately 98 percent voting in favor. The resolution calls on members to “avoid purchase of products associated with the occupation or produced in settlements in occupied territories.” It also establishes a process for the church to review its investments “for the purpose of withdrawing investments from companies that are profiting from the occupation.”
Rabbi Steven Wernick says Netanyahu recruited progressive Jews to find a compromise for the holy site; now that the PM has reneged, world Jewry won’t be silent
The fight for pluralistic prayer at the Western Wall is a battle already won by Jewry’s Conservative movement. For some 20 years, Conservative Jews have inhabited a spiritual home at Jerusalem’s contentious holy site, which they won through a series of Supreme Court cases — in a section allocated to the Davidson Archaeological
Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. (Photo credit: hebron.com)
In a secret ballot held at the World Heritage Committee’s 41st annual summit in Krakow Poland, on Friday, UNESCO voted twelve to three in favor declaring the Holy City of Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs “Palestinian world heritage sites”.
The resolution described a Muslim history of the city while blatantly ignoring the Biblical narrative describing 3,000 years of Jewish connection to the site. Six countries abstained from the controversial vote which, at the request of Poland, Croatia, and Jamaica, was a secret ballot; a first for such a vote.
During last month’s 2017 Chicago Dyke March, the true face of “inclusion” among “progressives” finally surfaced. According to the Chicago based newspaper Windy City Times, the march proceeded calmly with people “of all races, genders and gender identities” attending, until “the Dyke March Collective ejected three people carrying Jewish Pride flags (a rainbow flag with a Star of David in the center).”
Something is terribly broken in the relationship between American and Israeli Jews. I say this as an American Jew who has lived in Israel for almost half a century. But if anyone thinks this started with Women of the Wall or PM Netanyahu’s recent – and I believe unfortunate – backtracking on the agreement over egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel, he is suffering from selective memory, if not total denial.
gentleman from times gone by. He was soft-spoken, courtly, and wore his pants hoisted high and held up by suspenders; clearly, a European who had personally endured horrors in the last century.
Indeed, he had personally survived the Holocaust in Poland. Therefore, I could not immediately understand why he now attends a very left-wing synagogue—but, totally incomprehensible, was his unexpected and rather passionate defense of Poland and of the Poles. He argued on their behalf as if his very life still depended upon it.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s decision to visit Jerusalem but not Ramallah has prompted much comment.
The expectation of equal treatment goes back to the Oslo Accords’ signing in Sep. 1993, when the prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, represented his government in the handshake with Yasir Arafat, the much-despised chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. No one found it strange or inappropriate at the time but things look differently nearly a quarter century later.
Matthew Healy at the Atlantic, one of the few remaining liberal anti-censorship magazines, offers a disingenuous counterpoint to the debate over political correctness.
The attempts to silence dissenting points of view are counter-speech, according to Healy. And counter-speech is an important form of free expression.