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'Cut the bullshit,' Israel's culture minister tells liberals

'Cut the bullshit,' Israel's culture minister tells liberals

Reuters | The Jerusalem Post

Israel's culture minister had a blunt message on Sunday for liberals worried about what they consider efforts by the government to stifle dissent in the arts: "Cut the bullshit."

Free-speech debate in Israel has grown fierce under conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Non-governmental organizations and artists that document or dramatize conditions for Palestinians complain about legislation scrutinizing their funding.

Culture Minister Miri Regev, a former army spokeswoman and censor who is among the rising stars of Netanyahu's Likud party, has been a focus of criticism. Appearing at an arts and culture conference hosted by the liberal newspaper Haaretz, she was greeted by protesters who booed or stood with mouths gagged.

"I was always told to start a speech with a quote. It makes for a cultured impression. So here goes," she said, taking the podium. "As the famed Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu once put it," she continued, switching to English: "Cut the bullshit! Cut the bullshit!"

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