A logical outcome of the Knesset’s attempt to censor the Internet.
According to a recent report in “The Times of Israel”, filed by Stuart Winer, a female member of the Israel Beitenu faction – a Ms Lia Shemtov- wants the Knesset to pass a law that would block access to all pornographic and violent websites to Israeli’s. (1)
Of course , she can count on full support from all the religious parties, and from some others, who believe that they know, better than we do, what’s good for us.
Frankly, I am outraged than anyone would dare to try to determine what I, as an adult, can or cannot watch. Naturally, the fig leaf for the proposed legislation is “the protection of the young and innocent”. Apart from the fact that the young are no longer as innocent as their parents would wish to believe, the question arises as to whether adults are obliged to stop developing at age 12.
I assume that the lawmakers, that support this proposal, would prefer that the default setting for internet entertainment be the Disney Channel, or its equivalent.
The fact is that parental censorship is already available. Programmes exist which can filter out, so called, “adult content”and parents can choose to activate them.
That’s the whole point.
It’s the parents that make the decision, not some government created quango comprising of people with a different world view from mine – or, indeed, that of the parents
What the new law is supposed to do is to reverse the default setting of your Internet access. In other words, ALL sites – deemed by this group of censors to be “adult” would be available on special request only. The question of the extra costs involved in such an arrangement does not concern our MK’s.
And then there is the age old question: “what is pornography?” Is it still the standard defined by Justice Potter Stewart in 1964 in America: “I can’t define pornography, but I know it when I see it”? (2)
I think the world has moved on over the past 50 years.
There are countless scenes of sex and violence in “mainstream movies” which would have been unthinkable just a generation ago. Famous film stars engage in the most extreme simulated erotica, which many argue is even more arousing than standard “pumping in and out” porn. And if we’re talking about children’s awareness of these scenes, they don’t have to go to the cinema; they just need to scan the TV movie channels!
So, will the censorship also be extended to TV ? Illogical if it isn’t!
When I made my views known on some web forums, I was accused of “encouraging paedophillia”.
There is absolutely no concrete evidence that viewing acts on TV or the Internet has a direct connection to the implementation of similar acts against third parties.(3)
Indeed, there are some that claim that the tiny fraction of viewers – or should that be “voyeurs” – who are psychologically unbalanced in relation to their sexual proclivities, can actually live out their fantasies through these media, and thus have no absolute need to manifest those desires physically. I think that is especially true for paedophiles.
A May 8 ruling by the New York Court of Appeals held that viewing child pornography on the Internet without taking further action such as printing or saving files does not necessarily constitute possession (of pornographic paedophillic imagery) (4)
So, what does all this have to do with Israel? Well, for a country that prides itself on its openness and liberalism, to talk about censorship restrictions on anything, is to place it squarely in the same category as its neighbours in the region, whose relative lack of freedoms it never ceases to criticise.
This proposed censorship is but the thin end of a very dangerous wedge. How Israel Beitenu managed to get into bed with Shas (so to speak) is incomprehensible. What will be next? After the banning of porn and violence, will the Haredi dress code for women be mandatory for all productions – no visible skin, apart from the face – under a wig, or headscarf, of course.
Censorship is a slippery slope. Everyone knows where it starts. No one knows where it ends!
And if there will be porno sites available on request – will the male performers need to be circumcised?
Andyboy – Telling it as it is!
I, myself was accused (together with 1199 other Israelis) of engaging in a sexual orgy of sin and debauchery -reminiscent of the worst excesses of Sodom and Gomorrah – when I participated, last September, in the famous (or is that infamous) event known as “Naked Dead Sea”.
This, you may recall, was the brainchild of the well known American artist, Spencer Tunick, in which 1200 Israelis volunteered to pose completely naked for a serious of photographs, in order to promote the Dead Sea in its bid to be classified as one of the seven wonders of the modern world.
I can honestly state that it was a truly amazing experience, but if anyone believes that 1200 naked, perspiring Israelis in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, with an an equally wide variety of dangling bits, had any connection to sex, then they are in need of serious help! (5)
- Google rejects porn block rules (bbc.co.uk)
- Internet porn for all the family: Alain de Botton’s latest ambition (theweek.co.uk)