IGF 2020 WS #196 Incomplete Democracy-Israeli Policy and Palestinian Minority

Thematic Track

Organizer 1: Kholod Abo Zraki , I'lam - Arab Center for Media Freedom Development and Research
Organizer 2: Deema Abo Elassal, I'lam - Arab Center for Media Freedom, Development and Research

Speaker 1: Kholod Abo Zraki , Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Deema Abo Elassal, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Luca Bekemeier, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Moderator

Deema Abo Elassal, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

Deema Abo Elassal, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Rapporteur

Deema Abo Elassal, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Format

Break-out Group Discussions - Flexible Seating - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

This motion refers to area number 4, especially Hate speech, freedom of expression, democracy, platforms and election interference. The relevant question is: How can a fair and equal treatment of socially critical expressions of different individuals on the Internet and social media be guaranteed by Internet governance? How can particularly resource-poor and oppressed minorities defend themselves against blockades and censorship?

The problem at hand, as mentioned above, includes the unequal treatment of socially critical publications on the Internet and social media. In a democratic state, freedom of opinion must be given, and fair and equal treatment of each individual must be guaranteed. It is not acceptable that certain minorities are treated more harshly and restricted in their social statements than other parts of society, which are equally critical of society. Criticism of the state must be guaranteed, since a good democratic state should be able to bear criticism and deal with it sensibly. The main challenge is how to acquire a minority the tools and the power to change the policies of the authorities in this regard. The minority has less resources and power to fight against the hegemonic society. An external help would contribute to the success of the project. Moreover, there is a subjective perspective on the problem, due to our involvement in this issue. Therefore, new impulses for thought from outside is very helpful. These two aspects are the main results to be achieved during the workshop.

SDGs

GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Description:

This workshop will highlight and address the problem of the unequal treatment of socially critical content on the Internet. The work of our organization and various researches prove that in Israel oppositions to the hegemonic discourse are suppressed. It is noticeable that radical opinions towards the Palestinian minority in Israel are not blocked, while critical opinions towards the state, especially those of the Arab minority, must undergo drastic interventions and censorship. I’lam center has been coordinating a monitoring project for 3 years that aims to monitor racist and incited speech in all Israeli media outlets including social media pages for leading Israeli politicians and journalists. According to our last inclusive research (January 2019 – December 2019), social media, especially Facebook, is the most popular platform for inciting against the Palestinian citizens of Israel and their political leadership (the Joint List). The inciting and racist speech against the Palestinian minority in Israel increases during elections time as part of the attempt to gain more votes from the right wing voters. The workshop will deal with the attempt to shape internet governance in such a way that everyone has the same chance to speak their mind and that there is equal treatment of individuals. This means that at the beginning of the workshop the workshop-leader will present the background and the problem. Afterwards, the individual participants will sit down in groups to discuss the topic and work out possible solutions. The participants should be as diverse as possible so that a lively and constructive discourse takes place. The discussions should be supported and additionally stimulated by the workshop-leader. At the end the work of each group will be presented and discussed again with the whole group.

Expected Outcomes

The main result is the critical examination of the problem at hand and the resulting awareness of the problematic situation that exists in Israel. Through the increased awareness, new recommendations for the solution of the problem should be created. In addition, the exchange of different perspectives on the subject is to be encouraged in order to broaden the perspective of each individual. Furthermore, the network to fight the present problem shall be strengthened and further sponsors for projects shall be found, as the necessity to make a difference in this field of topics cannot be denied. A decisive factor that has been fueling the long-standing conflict between the two communities must be eliminated with external help. This is exactly what the workshop aims to make the participants aware of in order to find solutions together. Our organization is already involved in the elimination of the problem through various projects and through cooperation with important stakeholders in the country. The workshop is intended to further promote and improve this in the long term, through the various expertise of the participants.

The facilitator will encourage participation and interaction by asking open questions and allowing discussions. Moreover, the chosen session format encourages interaction and participation.

Relevance to Internet Governance: This topic is particularly relevant to Internet Governance, as the unequal policies towards the different communities within Israel are a source of conflict. There must be equal treatment of critical reporting and expression on the Internet, rather than allowing one community to be critical and prohibiting the other community from expressing itself. The standards and rules that have been set should apply equally to everyone.

Relevance to Theme: The workshop refers to the topic of trust, as it does not allow for an equilibrium of information procurement of the population and as the absolute freedom of expression does not apply to all citizens equally regardless to their background differences. One-sided censorship is consuming the formation of public opinion. Mostly, Palestinian citizens have limited media platforms to publish critical articles against the government and/or the hegemonic society. There is no freedom of speech and hate preachers are additionally encouraged towards one side mainly by politicians as they use this discourse especially during elections time. Thus, an important tool of democracy is damaged, which in turn affects or manipulates the elections.

Online Participation

 

Usage of IGF Official Tool.