Like this Swedish tourist, “Flytilla” activists flying into Israel will be forced to sign a contract requiring them not to be affiliated in any way with “pro-Palestinian organizations”, “members”, or “activities”. Any breach of the contract will lead to instant deportation. Meanwhile, those deported will receive a letter from the Prime Minister’s office, urging activists to turn their attention to “other worthy choices”, like Syria, Iran, and Hamas. (The text for both documents can be found at the bottom.)
For a country that calls itself the “Middle East’s sole democracy”, political thought and expression means nothing unless it conforms exactly to the government’s idea of things. The contract, first published by +972 Magazine, is explicit in saying that pro-Palestinian sentiments are not welcome. In fact, they are cause for deportation.
What is worse, however, is Israel’s insistence that the public turn a blind eye to its human rights violations and focus on other avenues of concern. The letter given to deported activists urges them to “first solve the real problems of the region” before protesting Israel’s actions. It is as if six and a half decades worth of occupation, exploitation, and force-heavy discrimination does not qualify as a “real” problem.
Ultimately, Israel has criminalized being pro-Palestine by pressing “all possible legal actions” against those who are associated in some way with the movement against the occupation. This fringes on blatant censorship and political repression where even certain Israeli nationals are pressured into downplaying their dissent with the Israeli government.
But not only is dissent contractually forbidden, it is simply not morally righteous enough. So long as other humanitarian concerns exist, Israel demands a free pass. It is this flawed mentality, coupled with the ramifications of supporting Palestinian rights, that really forces one to question Israel’s idea of freedom and democracy.
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Text of the contract issued by Israel’s Ministry of the Interior
I ________ citizen of ________ and holder of passpott number ________ hereby declare the the following:
I undertake that I cant be a member of any pro Palestinian Organizations and not be in contact with any other Members of any pro Palestinian organizations , as well I will not participate in pro Palestinian activities. I understand that if I will get caught doing even one of those things ,all relevant legal actions will be taken against me Including deportation and refusal of entry into Israel. I undertake to leave the country on the nine tens of april 2012.
Name ________ signature ________ date ________
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Text of the letter issued by the Prime Minister’s office to activists being deported
We appreciate your choosing ot make Israel the object of your humanitarian concerns.
We know there were many other worthy choices.
You could have chosen to protest the Syrian regime’s daily savagery against its own people, which has claimed thousands of lives.
You could have chosen to protest the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown on dissent and support of terrorism throughout the world.
You could have chosen to protest Hamas rule in Gaza, where terror organizations commit a double war crime by firing rockets at civilians and hiding behind civilians.
But instead you chose to protest against Israel, the Middle East’s sole democracy, where women are equal, the press criticizes the government, human rights organizations can operate freely, religious freedom is protected for all and minorities do not live in fear.
We therefore suggest that you first solve the real problems of the region, and then come back and share with us your experience.
Have a nice flight.