Fair Lawn Administrators to Be Cheered for Anti-Free Speech Action Against Bethany Koval

Bethany Koval, a brave young activist and canary in the coal mine. Image Credit: Benny's Twitter page.

Bethany Koval, a brave young activist and canary in the coal mine. Image Credit: Benny’s Twitter page.

BBSNews 2016-01-09 — By Michael Hess. A rally to support the anti-free speech actions against Fair Lawn High School student Bethany Koval has been announced after a highly doubtable violation of New Jersey’s strict anti-bullying law that went viral on Twitter over the last few days and under the hashtag #IStandWithBenny.

The rally is scheduled for 2:00 pm Sunday at the borough high school. The incident hinges on a Tweet where Miss Koval “unfriended” another student for being pro-Israel but did not use her name publicly. NewJersey.com reported on the rally’s purpose:

“Organizer Adi Vaxman, a Fair Lawn resident, said the issue was not about taking sides over Israel or free speech.

‘The rally is not about supporting any side of the political debate and not about supporting Israel. It’s about one thing and one thing only – supporting the administration in the actions they took to prevent bullying in the school,’ Vaxman posted on Facebook. ‘All parents should be able to feel their children are safe and protected from cyber bullying.'”

The debate about Israel’s policies have increased against pro-Palestinian supporters for quite some time with some of the most strident commentators calling for outright bans of the nonviolent movement to boycott, divest and sanction (BDS) Israel for its illegal policies against Palestinians including a California bill put forth by Republican Travis Allen.

It will be interesting to see the turnout for this rally. But it is dubious to claim that it will be about bullying, there obviously was no bullying, it will much more likely that it will be pro-Israel parents coming out against this young courageous woman.

Sadly, it won’t be because of the free speech issues involved with a student in America who is taking an active human rights interest in Israeli policy towards the Palestinians, but because of reflexive support for Israel even though its policies are Apartheid and increasingly fascist.

Israeli Settlers Vote in Israeli Elections but not Million of Palestinians in Occupied Palestine

It is painful to hold this realization. It is not the promise of a free and democratic Israel to be an illegal occupier state having over decades illegally transferred hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens into another country, Palestine, and then let those colonists vote. But the nearly four million in the West Bank do not get a vote.

Certainly no other Palestinians outside of Israel in Gaza gets the vote. In International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, Orna Ben-Naftali [Oxford University Press 2011] wrote about the Israeli Election law from 1969 as amended:

“Its effect is [to] allow Israeli settlers in the [Occupied Palestinian Territories] to take part in choosing the government which rules these territories as an occupying power, whereas the Palestinian residents of the very same territories, who are also subject to the actions of the very same government, do not partake in choosing it.”

Two Systems of Law for Two Peoples in the Same Territory

The well-documented two systems of law, one for Palestinians and one for Israeli Jews is also a travesty of justice under international law. B’Tselem summarizes the dual laws applied differently in the following way:

“Being subject to the Israeli judicial system, settlers enjoy liberties and legal guarantees that are denied Palestinian defendants in the Occupied Territories charged with the same offense. The authority to arrest an individual, the maximum period of detention before being brought before a judge, the right to meet with an attorney, the protections available to defendants at trial, the maximum punishment allowed by law, and the release of prisoners before completion of their sentence – all of these differ greatly in the two systems of law, with the Israeli system providing the suspect and defendant with many more protections.

Thus, different legal systems are applied to two populations residing in the same area, and the nationality of the individual determines the system and court in which he or she is tried. This situation violates the principle of equality before the law, especially given the disparity between the two systems. It also violates the principle of territoriality, conventional in modern legal approaches, according to which a single system of law must apply to all persons living in the same territory.”

The Increasing Conflict Within Israeli Society Itself and Apartheid

This has gone on for nearly fifty years and it is tearing Israel apart, Haaretz’ Rogel Alpher reported in a story headlined today “Israel is in the midst of a cold war.” A cold war against “Arabs, leftists, secular people” within the state, and a much hotter war just across the illegal barrier known as the Apartheid Wall and in Gaza.

The Times of Israel reported on a new documentary called Rabin: In His Own Words in September of last year:

“In a previously unpublicized recording of a 1976 interview, Israel’s fifth prime minister Yitzhak Rabin can be heard calling the still-nascent West Bank settlement movement “comparable to a cancer,” and warning that Israel risked becoming an “apartheid” state if it annexed and absorbed the West Bank’s Arab population…

The candid recordings of Rabin were preserved thanks to Dan Patir, press secretary in Rabin’s first 1974-1977 premiership, who diligently recorded all of the prime minister’s interviews with journalists. The recordings include Rabin’s “off-the-record” comments to his interviewers, comments the journalists never published and which are coming to light for the first time.”

This brave young lady Miss Koval is not telling us anything that we did not already know and have known for decades. Certainly nothing that Israelis do not already know. What is happening in Israel is in the news each and every day in graphic detail all over the world because of the occupation and the violence associated with it that extends well outside of Israel.

The question is, how will the world, particularly the United States view Israel after it fully slips into institutionalized Apartheid? In fact, this rally is a likely hotbed of fiery criticism against Benny. For tomorrow’s rally, you will likely not find one truly Pro-Israel* supporter who understands the depth and breadth of the problem, it’s already too late and how is America going to deal with that?


[*Editor’s Note. Yes, I mean true pro-Israel supporters do not support an Apartheid Israel. To do so is not only antisemitic to believe that all Jews on the planet support Apartheid, but it is the most certain way to the destruction of the promise of Israel.

Only international intervention and the rule of law can save her now from herself if it’s not already too late. Thanks to Likud, Benjamin Netanyahu, and those who wish to use military force to illegally expand the borders of Israel which under those circumstances, could never be recognized by the international community because of the bedrock international legal principle of ‘territory acquired by war is inadmissible.’]

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Michael Hess

Michael Hess

I started writing and editing BBSNews in 1990. Before the 'web, back in the Bulletin Board System (BBS) days. My pursuit of factual and reality based information informs my worldview. The ever evolving BBSNews contains New Mexico news, South Florida news and features, national and international news, politics, space, foreign policy and in particular; news and facts about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I have a long background in technical engineering, I hold several patents including on Disaster Recovery based on work after Hurricane Katrina and I am dedicated to finally seeing the rule of law properly and across the board evenly applied and enforced in the Middle East, particularly with respect to the state of Palestine. See our About Us page for more details.