Secret Israeli committee uses US federal agents to hunt down down Israeli journalist and snuff out free speech
Freedom of speech is the new war in Israel. Lory Shem Tov, a prolific journalist and blogger, has written tirelessly about the human rights abuses of corrupt judges in the corrupt judicial system of Israel.
Shaming judges is not illegal in the UK or the USA. Not so in Israel. Ms Shem Tov has faced indictment after indictment, harassment, fines, community service orders, and was even sent to prison this month. Her “crime” is exposing the corruption of the Israeli judiciary, which she does to assist parents and children.
In January this year the Israeli Ministry of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy began targeting a number of WordPress sites, believing most to be Ms Shem Tov’s work. In April it extended the monitoring order, which gave it the right to take down websites and collect IP addresses.
Not content with throwing Ms Shem Tov into prison under the pretext that she might commit a crime, a secret Israeli state body, the Judicial Reputation Committee, has co-opted the United States Department of Justice into its efforts to quell freedom of speech.
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June 26, 2016
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of the Inspector-General
Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Complaints
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
RE: Federal agents harassing Israeli reporters
on behalf of the Israel government
This is a complaint about the conduct of federal agents at the DOJ – Israel 1
Desk who are harassing Israeli reporters and journalists on behalf of the
The Israeli Government has established a “Judicial Reputation
Committee”, and is actively monitoring the internet to remove any criticism
of Judges. Using Cooperation agreements with the USA, the Judicial
Reputation Committee is issuing to US-DOJ and to Interpol demands to
investigate as felonies, the identities of persons who criticize Israeli
judges, especially in the area of divorce, family law, juvenile courts, and
A “Judicial Reputation Committee” does not exist in any democratic
society, and persecuting people for criticizing judges, as felonies, in
unheard of, and definitely not compatible with US standards on the
freedom of speech.
See Letter of Richard Preston, Trial attorney, Us-DOJ- Criminal Division in DC, addressed to 1
automatic, Inc., dated April 18, 2016, Richard.Preston@usdoj.gov, (202) 353-7540. Letter was cites
Specialist Mindy Gee as also handling these matters. Mindy.Gee@usdoj.gov, (202) 514-0013.
See also letters of J. Robert Klotz, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Special agent, Homeland
security, Investigations C3, addressed to automatic, Inc., dated April 8, 2016,
Robert.Klotz@ice.dhs.gov, 9703) 344-0123.
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These federal agents receive from the Government of Israel false and
unsubstantiated requests to issue “Preservation Orders” and/or search
warrants to obtain electronic data from US website operators such as
Automattic, Inc. (“Wordpress”). The entire purpose of the Israeli
Government and the US federal agents who cooperate with them, is to
harass reporters and silence criticism against conduct of the Israeli
Judiciary, Israeli judges and social workers.
The federal agents target web sites used by Israeli reporters, who expose
corruption, abuse of power, violations of human rights by the Israeli
Judiciary, and Israel police, violations of fundamental freedoms and UN
Conventions for the protection of human rights.
The web sites contain information to the public, opinions and other proof of
corruption, capricious treatment of citizens and cover up of foul behavior.
These reports are at par with the US first amendment, and US freedom of
speech, freedom of opinion, and freedom of the press, the Israeli
government treats these reports as an insult felony of “Judge
scandalizing” (a/k/a “Judge Bashing”), and the Government of Israel is
usurping the trust that the American officials bestow on Israel, to seek the
exposure of identities, contents and IPs of reporters, who simply do their
The offense of Judge scandalizing has been abolished a long time ago in
the US. United States law traditionally regards freedom of speech, as
enshrined in the First Amendment, as the paramount right that prevails
over all others in case of conflict, unless there is a “clear and present
danger that [the words] will bring about the substantive evils that
Congress has a right to prevent. See, Schenck v United States (1919)
249 US 47, 51 to 52.
on a North American approach, the entire offence of scandalizing may well
be both unconstitutional and contrary to human rights, as it was held to be
in Garrison v Louisiana, (1964) 379 US 64,
To constitute contempt in the US, the conduct complained of must relate to
pending proceedings and even then there must be a clear and imminent
danger of prejudicing the proceedings. See Bridges v. California, where
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Justice Black dismissed the argument that the evil of endangering
disrespect for the judiciary could justify convictions for contempt of court
in these words: (L.Ed p. 207)
“The assumption that respect for the judiciary can be won by
shielding Judges from published criticism wrongly appraises
the character of American public opinion. For it is a prized
American privilege to speak one’s mind, although not always
with perfect good taste, on all public institutions. And an
enforced silence, however, limited, solely in the name of
preserving the dignity of the Bench, would probably engender
resentment, suspicion, and contempt much more than it would
Justice Frankfurter in the same case in tracing the history of the contempt
power said: (L Ed p. 216)
“As in the exercise of all power, it was abused. Some English
Judges extended their authority for checking interferences
with judicial business actually in hand, to ‘lay by the heel’
those responsible for ‘scandalizing the court’, that is, bringing
it into general disrepute. Such foolishness has long since
been disavowed in England and has never found
In the UK, there has not been a conviction since 1931, and on December
10, 2012 the House of Lords abolished the offense. One of the main
reasons cited was that it is counter-productive in that it conveys the
impression that the judges are protecting their own, and that it infringes on
the freedom of expression and criticism.
The fact that federal agents are issuing preservation orders on behalf of
the Government of Israel on grounds that would never merit a criminal
investigations in the US itself, may have a chilling effect, which will deter
people from making complaints which are possibly justified. Regarding
the “chilling effect” in connection with libel law, See City of Chicago v.
Tribune Co., (1923) 139 N.E. 87 (1923), and New York Times Co. v.
Sullivan, 376 US 254 (1964). In Canada, see Iorfida v MacIntyre (1994)
21 OR (3d) 186, 93 CCC (3d) 395 at  (Canada); and also, F. Schauer,
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“Fear, Risk and the First Amendment: Unravelling the ‘Chilling
Effect’”, (1978) 58 Boston University Law Review 685 (United States).
A society in which the expression of opinion is inhibited by fear is
unpleasant to live in and will experience an accumulation of resentment,
leading to instability in the long term. See, J. Spigelman, “The Forgotten
Freedom: Freedom from Fear”, 59 International and Comparative Law
Quarterly 543 (2010).
It is therefore clear that the federal agents issuing Preservation orders and
warrants, are enforcing on behalf of the Government of Israel, what they
will never enforce on behalf of the Government of the USA.
The fact that the Government of Israel and its Judiciary liberally issue gag
orders on anything which the Government wants to keep secret from the
public’ does not mean that US federal agents have to respect Israel’s gag
orders, and hunt the violators as potential felons. In all the stories which
the federal agents seek to expose on behalf of Israel, no USA Court would
ever issue a gag order, as the USA adheres to the axiom that the people
have a right to know how the Government is working for them.
For example, in the USA proceedings in family courts are widely published
in full names, cameras are sometimes placed in some of the courts, and
news channels report directly from the inside of family courts. The USA
treats this as an inherent right of the public to know what goes on in the
Courts. By contrast, in Israel, all Family Court and Juvenile Court cases
are subject to an automatic gag order, and parents are not even allowed to
post pictures of their own children, or write about their feelings, or even tell
their experiences before a particular Judge. Once a parent in Israel writes
about a Judge on Facebook, he is very likely to be called to the police and
be interrogated, let alone intimidated.
Another example is the fact that in the USA a woman who makes false
complaints in the Courts, (especially of rapes and sexual offense or
violence that never happened), are exposed and reported to the public in
full name. In Israel, these woman remain anonymous, and are immune
from prosecution for false complaints, or damages. Exposing such liars is
not considered a felony in the USA, and therefore federal agents should
This is unheard of in any democratic state. The secret committee is comprised of senior members of the police, the prosecution authority, judges, including Supreme Court judges, and the attorney-general. Its purpose is to look for ways to silence criticism of the corrupt judicial system in Israel, especially judges of the family and children’s court, and employees of social services.
Today Ms Shem Tov has written a comprehensive critique.
What is at stake could be life and death. In view of the closed courts, the increasing number of people committing suicide, the number of children being seized by the Ministry of Welfare and Social Services – seizures that are rubber stamped by the judges – it is critical that reporters are able to inform the public. Given the current gag orders, many Israelis are unaware of the true face of the welfare authorities, the courts and the police. Only when they fall victims to the system do they realise there is in fact smoke without fire.
Israel is enlisting US federal agents and organisations in the attempt to make Lory Shem Tov and others felons. The activities which they are accused are completely legal in the US; therefore Israel’s enlisting of US federal agents against Ms Shem Tov is an abuse of the trust and of the special friendship between Israel and the United States.
Israel’s actions in this regard are known to only a few people in the country, mainly insiders. It is time to reveal that the Israeli authorities are doing all they can to subvert democracy and keep the image of Israel as a haven for free speech, and to continue the propaganda to the world that Israel is a country full of contentment.
The Israeli people who know the truth are fighting hard to change and reform the system to safeguard human rights. They are still waiting for the world to believe them.
Never has the divide between the Israeli people and Jews in the diaspora been so wide.