Opinion. Israel now driving on the road to hell with new gov’t

Sursa: Pixabay

The delicate edifice of Israel’s Jewish democratic state is about to be torched to the ground, and the pushback will be furious.

In Israel, raging opposition to the government has been a thing of the Right. Even when the Left held mass protests and were very cross indeed, they remained relatively well-behaved. This may be about to change, because the incoming government seems set to cross a very dangerous line.

It is not that previous Likud-led governments did not do horrible damage. Menachem Begin, for example, brought 400 percent inflation and a pointless occupation of Lebanon which gave birth to Hezbollah (but also peace with Egypt). Yitzhak Shamir scuttled a mature effort to hand the West Bank problem to Jordan, leading to the first Intifada. Benjamin Netanyahu, with the generous help of Palestinian terrorists, helped ruin the Oslo Accords. But still, the basic compact enabling a diverse nation to somehow coexist was sufficiently preserved.

I urge those inclined to dismiss such warnings as hysteria or bad sportsmanship to calmly read on, and to put aside the knee-jerk talking points. And you will need some patience too, for the pending crimes against democracy and Zionism are broad and deep.

The override clause will make Israel a fake democracy

To begin with, the incoming coalition appears determined to enact something called an “override clause,” which would enable any Knesset majority of 61 out of 120 to cancel rulings of the Supreme Court. The hare-brained argument for this rests on the notion that the majority must be allowed to govern – as if no limits whatsoever should ever be set on Knesset coalitions.

It is no coincidence that almost no democracies on earth have any such thing (Canada is the sole exception, under circumstances that do not apply here): it neuters the judicial branch and means the citizens have no rights. The obvious first victims will be the Palestinians, who depend on the court for the tiny protections they still enjoy. In reality, however, no group in the country will be safe from oppression – not just by the ruling party, but from any small coalition partner that party needs to satisfy at any given moment.

he “override clause” alone would suffice for Israel to apply to join the ranks of fake democracies. And more is planned, thus ensuring its acceptance as a leader in that club. The new coalition wants to give politicians total control over the choice of judges at all levels, which in reality would make them puppets. No other democracy gives politicians control like this – with the exception of the United States – which ought not to be used as a role model today. Every other democracy in the world has attempted to devise better ways to maintain a professional, independent judiciary responsible to the public and the law, and not to political overlords.

Redefining key civil service positions

To complete the picture, the incoming coalition also wants to redefine key civil service positions – the “legal advisers” that exist in ministries and at the cabinet level – into political appointees who serve at the pleasure of elected officials. This would upend a status quo in which civil servants have been critical to reining in the excesses of politicians, and providing them with sound, independent legal advice.

Dan Perry is managing partner on the US-based global communications advisory Thunder11. He served as the Middle East chief of the Associated Press news agency, based in Cairo, and previously led AP in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. During the Second Intifada Dan was AP’s bureau chief in Jerusalem and also served as the chairman of the Foreign Press Association. He has been a regular delegate at the World Economic Forum in Davos and other leadership conferences.
He hails from a Jewish Romanian family that moved to the United States and was Romania correspondent for AP in the years after the 1989 revolution. Follow him on Twitter @perry_dan.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here