Tel Aviv Municipality Censors Speech by Arab City Council Member

Councilor's speech, in which he proposed adding Arabic to the city's logo, disappeared from a video recording posted on city hall's official YouTube channel.

Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior
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Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior

A speech by Tel Aviv-Jaffa city council member Ahmed Mashharawi, in which he proposed that the city add an Arabic inscription to its official logo, was edited out of a recording of a recent city council meeting.

The video was posted to city hall's official YouTube page, where it regularly posts recordings of city council meetings. However, around 33 minutes into the video, after Mashharawi is called to the podium to give his speech, the recording abruptly skips to Mayor Ron Huldai's response to his motion.

In a comment he wrote on Facebook, Mashharawi, of the Meretz party, wrote that he "couldn't believe" someone would censor his comments out of the recording. "It began with closing [city council] meetings to the public and now they are censoring parts," he wrote, adding, "Shame on you."

In recent weeks, the municipality has moved its meetings from an open auditorium to a small meeting room and has kept the general public from attending them.

Fellow Meretz city council member Tamar Zandberg added, "If indeed the segment was cut out, this is extremely serious. I don't want to believe that this was done, but unfortunately I find it hard to see any other option. As a resident of the city who uses the municipality's [Youtube] channel, I would like to know that if it says 'city council meeting,' it is actually a council meeting as it happened in reality, and not tendentious editing done out of political, not to mention racist, motives."

The city council rejected Mashrawi's motion to add Arabic to the city's logo by a vote of 14-10, with members of Huldai's coalition opposed and members of the opposition in favor.

The city's logo features its name in Hebrew and in English. Until three years ago, only Hebrew appeared. However, a new logo was introduced ahead of the city's centennial celebrations in 2009.

The Tel Aviv municipality said in response: "There was a mistake in the editing of the video, done innocently, and it will be fixed immediately on Sunday morning. The Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality will continue to upload to the municipal YouTube channel the city council's meetings in full, as it does after every council [meeting]."

The video was removed from city hall's YouTube account immediately following Haaretz's inquiry.

Read this article in Hebrew

Tel Aviv municipality's logo. Hebrew and English, but no Arabic.

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