Civil activism

Recently i blogged about the pending law for internet censorship in Israel. Gladly, I am not alone arguing against it. There is a lot of buzz in the blogosphere against this law proposal. You can the see many banners (like those i am using here) and numerous blog posts calling to reject it. I personally joined the protest and contact all the MKs who supported the law in preliminary reading.

Here are their names (in HE alphabetical order :) :

  • David Azoulay (Shas)
  • Itshac Galantee (Gil Pensioners Party)
  • Majalli Whbee (Kadima)
  • Sofa Landver (Israel Beitenu)
  • Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor-Meimad)
  • Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) – future pretended for the Prime Minister Office
  • Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas)
  • Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism)
  • Colette Avital (Labor-Meimad) – former candidate for Presidency
  • Uri Yehuda Ariel (Ichud Leumi – Mafdal)
  • Gideon Sa`ar (Likud)
  • Yuval Steinitz (Likud)
  • Yitzhak Levy (Ichud Leumi – Mafdal)
  • Moshe Kahlon (Likud)
  • Robert Ilatov (Israel Beitenu)
  • I sent an email to each one of them arguing against the absurd of this proposal. It is particularly disappointing to see names of people who can be potential Prime Minister and who ran for Presidency of the State, supporting this law. If people holding views that support total censorship of the internet and monitoring of the citizens are running for those high positions with actual chances to win, i am worried about the future of Israel.

    So far (it’s been over 2 weeks since i sent the emails), I got two responses. The first one was from MK Gidon Saar. He wrote that he does not intend to support the law in its current form in the future and that he continues studying the topic. I would like to hope that it is a positive sign, even though Saar’s reply leaves him all the room in the world to change his opinion and remain apparently consistent. We’ll see. The fact that Saar personally responded already speaks in my eyes in his favor.

    The other response was sad and funny at the same time. It came from an assistant of MK Galantee. She wrote that she is surprised to hear that the MK supported that law because he is actually against the censorship of internet. But it didn’t stop there. She tried to explain the inconsistency by suggesting that there might have been a technical malfunction in the Knesset, or (I hope you are sitting) the MK made a mistake while voting(!!!). Telling the truth, after a reply like that I am actually more worried for i was convinced that voting is a heavy enough responsibility for MKs actually to pay attention to what they are voting for.

    Ironically, it seems like the only thing left in this situation is to pray :) To pray for MKs being more responsible and to study the subject before they are making a decision. But on a bit more serious note, i would like to urge you to discuss the topic, blog about it, email the MKs, etc. I am worried that the web-monitoring law proposal and the recent law (EN1, EN2) proposals against gay parades are two sides of the same coin. I will probably continue blogging about it.

    Comments and reflections are more than welcome :)

    Go identify yourself!

    Originally from:


    4 Responses to “Civil activism”

    1. Nadya Says:

      Since I don’t know much about technology, I’m wondering how it’s possible to techically implement interent censorship?

    2. Leonid Says:

      Technically, it’s very simple. A government keeps a huge database of everything allowed (North Korea) or everything prohibited(China, Iran) and mandate all the ISPs to check against it upon every connect. Technical details vary, but the idea is this. Same idea applies to the recent law of “mass-media certification” at Russia, but there the ISPs are required to install some piece of hardware.
      About the law itself — in my opinion, the general idea of the law is relatively acceptable. What makes me angry is the vagueness of the definition of “offensive” sites. State-operated filter against child pornography, as in Norway (Denmark?), is OK. Criteria are well-defined: you host child pornography, you are filtered out. Here, it is not. What do you mean by “sites about violence”? Yad-Vashem site (Holocaust victims lists) is all about violence, filter it out. Who will be in charge of preparing the list? MK Cohen? Or maybe MK Galantee, who is almost savvy enough to distinguish a “Yes” button from a “No” button? (Btw, forward the mail to “Yedioth”, they will love it)
      Ah, one more thing. A couple of years ago I read that there is a very similar scheme in some surprisingly sane state. I fail to find it now, but I think it was Brazil or India. There you need to provide a physical ID before you enter an internet cafe and a cafe is required to keep a printout(!) of all the sites you visited for something like 3 years (!!!).

    3. Dima Says:

      As to the law, i think Leonichka you are right on spot. But there is also an amplifying factor, unique to Israeli legal system and that is the lack of constitution. You can try censoring “sites about sex” and work out the definitions when you have some benchmarks… some red lines that the lawmaker can’t cross. I think that constitution is exactly the kind of mechanism that provides such red lines. In Israel, we don’t have a constitution, thus accepting a vogue definition is both dangerous and opens up another venue for political blackmailing.

      As to the ID case you are talking about, i wonder what was the logic behind it? How did the country explain the step? Security? Fighting pedophiles? What was the story? Thanks!

    4. A very dark day for Israel « ::: Think Macro ::: Says:

      […] half a year ago I blogged about the pending law for internet censorship in Israel and about emails I sent to members of the Knesset advocating against it. What happened today is extremely sad – the law was […]

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