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Saturday, January 24, 2015

'Palestinians' protest Charlie Hebdo, Steimatsky's to sell it in Israel but backed off special event

'Thousands' of 'Palestinians' turned out at protests in Judea and Samaria today. This time, they're protesting the selling of the Mohammed satirizing French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Thousands of Palestinians rallied in the occupied West Bank on Saturday to protest against the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad in French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
Simultaneous demonstrations were held in the cities of Ramallah and Hebron less than three weeks after Islamist gunmen shot dead 12 people in the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo, which has repeatedly featured cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

"France is the mother of terrorism. America is the mother of terrorism," the protesters chanted. They carried black-and-white banners which read "There is only one God and Mohammad is his messenger."
The protests were called by the Islamist Tahrir Party, which advocates the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate in Muslim countries. 
"We have taken to the streets in order to demand Muslim armies act the way France and the West deserve in response to the repeated offences against the Prophet, peace be upon him," said Baher Saleh, a member of the party.

Steimatsky's, the largest bookstore chain in Israel, has sold Charlie Hebdo for years, and says that they will continue to do so. But after 'warnings' from an 'Israeli Arab' Knesset member, they have canceled a special event that was planned to promote the current issue, and say that they will sell it online instead.

Following the threats and warnings, the book seller backtracked on its decision to hold the launch event at its flagship store. "Steimatzky decisively supports in freedom of expression. The company has sold the magazine for years and will continue to do so. However, the firm has decided the sale of the specific issue will not occur at a special event in our store, but be held online starting Monday at 5 pm."

In a letter to the prime minister, [MK Masoud] Ganaim said, "Steimatzky intends to distribute images which hurt the Prophet Mohammed. This is a very serious, dangerous, and stupid step. This is not freedom of expression but a hard hit on the holiest of holies to Muslims, which will bring about unrest and anger among the Arabs and Muslims in the country… and no one can predict the results."

The Arab legislator urged the rightwing leader to stop the distribution of offending magazine. "I hereby appeal to your sense of honor; please personally intervene to prevent Steimatzky from distribution the magazine and the damaging images of the Prophet Mohammed, lest the Israeli government and Steimatzky be responsible for every consequence."
It will be interesting to see whether the Arabs will try to build on their 'success' to bar the sale of Charlie Hebdo altogether. 

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