GSS “Warning Talks” with Right Wing Activists Restrict Freedom of Expression

In response to reports that activists who attended classes on the writings of Rabbi Meir Kahana were summoned to “warning” talks with General Security Service (GSS) officers, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) reaffirms its opposition to the State’s use of such “talks.”
Attorney Lila Margalit, Director of ACRI’s Human Rights in the Criminal Process Program: “In a democratic country that upholds freedom of expression, people are not invited to ‘warning talks’ with intelligence officers because of the books they choose to read or the classes they choose to attend. Unfortunately, we are aware of a number of cases in which activists – from both the left and the right – have been summoned for ‘talks’ with the GSS, even though they were not suspected of breaking the law. This unacceptable practice dangerously restricts freedom of expression and is not appropriate in a free society. Despite our repeated attempts to raise this issue with the Attorney General, the practice continues.”
Last month, Mahmoud Qarae’en, an ACRI field worker in East Jerusalem, was summoned to the Shalem Police Station in Jerusalem without being told why. When he arrived, he was met by an intelligence officer who asked him about his work at ACRI, his personal life, and the personal lives of his brothers. Such intrusive and harassing conversations exemplify the severe harm to the rule of law and freedom of civil activity that arises from these practices.

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Categories: Anti-Democratic Initiatives, Democracy and Civil Liberties, Freedom of Expression

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