video - internet - January 11 2011
A screen grab from the Internet clip, showing Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan. The text reads: “This man should be killed – and soon. He is a traitor to the Jewish people and helps Arabs.” Photo by Internet
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Police and the Shin Bet security service are investigating an incendiary video clip disseminated yesterday over the Internet calling for the murder of Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan.

In the clip, sent via e-mail, Nitzan is accused in the video of "persecuting Jews, and defending and collaborating with Arabs."

The deputy state prosecutor is also accused of failing to investigate alleged cases of Arab incitement against Jews. The clip, which ends with a proclamation declaring "Kahane was right," was sent from a mailbox which bears the address of Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman's bureau.

Investigators believe the clip's producers sought to create the impression that the video was hatched and distributed from Neeman's office.

In the clip, Nitzan's image is juxtaposed with that of Arabs exhorting others to kill Jews. The video, whose existence was first reported yesterday by Israel Radio, includes red-letter captions which read: "Shai Nitzan, it behooves you to wake up fast! Take note, it is not the Jews, but the Arabs that are the enemies of the people of Israel."

The video's authors expressed outrage over Nitzan's recent decision to investigate possible instances of anti-Arab incitement on Facebook.

Yoav Segalovitz, who heads the police investigations and intelligence division, will personally oversee the probe into the video. The Shin Bet will also join in aspects of the investigation.

Law enforcement officials conducted searches of Neeman's computer, but it quickly became clear that the clip was not disseminated from the justice minister's bureau.

"The minister's bureau wishes to make unequivocally clear that it has never released a statement of this kind," a statement from the ministry read. "The statements contained in this message are the quite grave and we roundly condemn them. The justice minister's bureau transferred the material to the Justice Ministry's security department and a formal complaint has been submitted to the Israel Police and other law enforcement agencies."

Justice Ministry and police officials yesterday met to discuss the possibility of providing Nitzan with a security detail.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and State Prosecutor Moshe Lador condemned the clip yesterday in a joint statement. "Disseminating the clip represents a new low in the awful phenomenon known as incitement toward public officials who fulfill their duties in a professional, business-like manner," the statement read.

Last week, Nitzan ordered the police to launch an investigation against the members of two Facebook groups that allegedly incited against Israeli Arabs. One group was known as "Death to all Arabs," and the other group carried the name "Demonstration in Umm al-Fahm against the Islamic Movement."

Nitzan's directive came on the heels of a complaint lodged by Gush Shalom and the Coalition Against Racism in Israel.

"Death to the Arabs" numbers about 170 members. Its page features explicit calls for violent acts against Arabs. Nitzan sought an investigation against the group for possible violations including incitement to violence and publishing incitement to racism.

In contrast to the Facebook investigations, Nitzan rejected a request from a right-wing advocacy group, The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, to investigate the organizers of an art exhibition entitled "Yvette," the theme of which was Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The exhibit was staged last August in Tel Aviv.

Legal Forum members claimed that the exhibit depicted Lieberman in a harmful, unflattering light, which constitutes charges of insulting a public official and incitement to violence.

Nitzan rejected the claim, citing the exhibit's protection under freedom of speech laws. "I did not find that the contents of the exhibit crossed any red lines even though it is provocative and politically critical in nature," Nitzan said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the video clip. "Criticism is legitimate, but incitement and calling for the murder of [figures] in the justice system harm the values of democracy in the state of Israel," the premier said in a statement.