April 05, 2006

Israelis can't watch Machsom Watch

From Ha'aretz: An Israeli mayor has banned an exhibition by the Israeli human rights group, Machsom Watch. So the group took the mayor to the High Court. Of course this being the only democracy in the Middle East and a society ruled by law, the judge upheld the ban.
The High Court of Justice has decided not to interfere with Be'er Sheva Mayor Ya'akov Turner's decision last week to ban a Machsom Watch photo exhibit at the Teacher's Center in the city.

Machsom Watch is a women's group that monitors the behavior of soldiers toward Palestinians at checkpoints. The pictures in question depict interactions at the Qalandiyah and Hawara checkpoints in the West Bank.

Turner announced the ban last Thursday, claiming that the contents of the exhibit are harmful to the sensitivities of the public.
The Israeli public is well known for its sensitivity, sorry, sensitivities. Anyway,
The exhibit's organizers protested what they called, "The mayor's assault on freedom of expression and the use of his authority to prevent political activity that is not compatible with his own world view."

The organizers added that they are appalled by the notion that a mayor in a democratic state can prevent residents from seeing pictures of what goes on in the Palestinian territories.
How can a mayor in a democratic state do that?

UPDATE - I've been asked to point out that the mayor has only banned the exhibition from municipal buildings, not all buildings in the area.

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