February 28, 2023


Israel's Liberal Democracy Risks Becoming a Casualty of the Palestinian Conflict: The new hard right seems determined to crush institutions and organizations that interfere with its designs for Jewish supremacy (Mairav Zonszein, 2/28/23, The UnPopulist)

There has always been a tension between Israel's ability to uphold liberal democratic norms while crafting and maintaining a Jewish ethnonational majority to ensure Jews a safe homeland. Many with a strong interest in the success of the Jewish state have believed Israel would be able to handle that tension. But at this point, the Israeli government no longer seems concerned with balancing those goals; rather, it is elevating ethnonationalism and security while relinquishing key norms and institutions of liberal democracy. Now, it seems hard to escape the conclusion that the Israeli government's anti-democratic initiatives are rooted in Israel's control over, and dispossession of, Palestinians, and in its perennial military rule and de facto annexation of occupied land. [...]

The government also intends to weaken the legal standing of Israel's Basic Law on Humanity Dignity and Liberty, which is the closest thing to a constitution that Israel has, having served over the last 30 years as the basis for several High Court rulings that protected minorities, though only in certain cases and in highly limited ways. The court has, for example, invoked the law to protect gay pride parades and to prevent the expulsion of asylum seekers.

The new government's judicial proposals, which would effectively politicize the legal system, have drawn condemnations from senior Israeli judges and legal experts, who warn that Israel would cease to be a liberal democracy; Israel's Attorney General even said it would make Israel a "democracy in name only." The new laws would allow a tyranny of the majority, removing all checks and balances on government actions, and thereby ending the minimal liberal protections of fundamental minority and human rights currently in place.

Posted by at February 28, 2023 6:39 PM