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On the morning following the putsch

The Knesset’s decision to investigate NGOs demonstrates the “end of the (democracy) party”

The decision taken by the Knesset plenum yesterday, to create a parliamentary investigative committee for “the phenomenon of de-legitimization of the IDF in the world on the part of Israeli organization”, has nothing whatsoever to do with an investigation. Israel has investigative procedures: if there’s a suspicion of a crime, either the police or the GSS investigate it, and transfer the information they gather to the prosecution, which then decides if an indictment is in order; then the courts have their say – admittedly, all too often sounding suspiciously like the prosecution.

What the Knesset did yesterday was de-legitimizing of a political camp; an accusation of treason by one camp of another, masquerading as an investigation. The process was amazing: a few days ago, Faina Kirshenbaum, an MK of Yisrael Beitenu, tabled her motion, and it reached the plenum with lightning speed. The person responding to Kirshenbaum’s motion on behalf of the government was Danny “The Chair” Ayalon, the deputy Foreign Minister and a member of Kirshenbaum’s party, who, displaying a rare height of cynicism, accused the left organizations of “trying to undermine Israeli democracy”. There was just one minor problem with Ayalon’s speech: As Minister Michael Eithan noted in shock and disgust (Hebrew), Ayalon had no business representing the government since it did not debate the issue and made no decision about it. But Eithan’s legalistic nitpicking belongs to a bygone era, the one before the “Second Zionist Revolution”, led by Avigdor Lieberman and his pawns.

The Speaker of the Knesset, Ruby Rivlin, one of the last, few pillars of democracy in the current Knesset, savaged (Hebrew) the decision – supported by the right wing parties, but also by three Kadima MKs – and called it a show trial. And which voice is missing? Which dog did not bark? The voice of Binyamin Netanyahu, whose government did not debate Kirshenbaum’s decision yet supported it, and that of the Nobel Peace Prize winner and president, Shimon Peres. Apparently they had nothing to say.

What we saw last night was a final breaking of the rules of the games, the use of an investigation for the persecution of political rivals, the Israeli equivalent of the burning of the Reichstag. That, as may be recalled, was not just the torching of a physical building, but the excuse used by the revolutionary right to politically persecute their rivals, including elected deputies of the left parties (and, a few weeks later, also of the more moderate right wing parties). The taunting of the brownshirts of their rivals was reflected in MK Danny Danon’s victory chant yesterday: “You, my colleagues on the left, should hear today the words of the song: ‘sometimes the party is over’”. (Inarticulateness in the original).

And, yes: the democracy party in Israel is over. People who still mistakenly think Israel is the “only democracy in the Middle East” should be informed this title is no longer relevant. One doubts whether Ayalon, Kirshenbaum, Danon and the rest understand just how much aid they provide to the de-legitimization of Israel, but the process ought to be completed: finish off the legitimacy of the Zionist regime and the Liberman-Ayalon government. No loyalty must be shown to such a regime, if we hope to salvage something of what used to be Israel. If Israel is to live, the Zionist regime must pass away. This must be said everywhere, but particularly outside of Israel. As a long series of fascist regimes – from Italy through Germany to the Serbia of Milosevic – the people living under such regimes cannot save themselves, cannot wake out of the nightmare on their own, but require a strong external intervention. Since most Israelis love hating leftists, but love their vacations in Europe and their consumerism even more, let’s hope some heavy duty economical sanctions will do the job.

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      Reply to Comment
    2. Henry Lowi

      Yossi is right to distinguish between “the Zionist regime” that has to go, and the “Israeli people” who, of course, can stay. Actually, the only way the Israeli people (and the Palestinian people) can have peace, security, and prosperity, is if the Zionist regime is undermined, overthrown, and replaced by a democratic regime that respects human rights. “Regime change” must become the central watchword of all political activity. Including, and especially, political activity in defense of civil liberties and against the McCarthyist witchhumt.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Robert


      I will copy you on an idea that I sent to Noam Sheizaf. There is a report on Apartheid and Colonialism in the OPT from South Africa, by John Dugard.

      Here is the report:


      You have a legal mind, from your writings. Could you make it a project to read the Dugard report and blog on it, perhaps with Noam. The idea here is to blow away any wiggle room for Occupation versus Apartheid and Colonialism. Apartheid is still called an “analogy” and the charge has not fully entered the discourse. This report helps to remove any doubt. As I mentioned to Noam, this report should be as famous as the Goldstone report. Apartheid has a 100% record of political change in the country which practices it.


      Reply to Comment