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anti-democratic legislation

  • The oldest trick in the book, and we're still falling for it

    While Netanyahu distracts the Left with attacks on the media, his right-wing coalition partners are taking far more dangerous steps. By Ilan Manor Like many on the Israeli left, my Facebook feed last week was swarming with images of veteran journalist Ilana Dayan trouncing Prime Minister Netanyahu. Friends from all over country felt certain that Netanyahu's long, violent, personal, and erratic public rebuke of Dayan would be his undoing, that the prime minister had finally gone too far in his war on the media. Soon, journalists joined the choir berating Netanyahu for labelling Dayan a left-wing saboteur and propagandist. [tmwinpost]…

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  • New Israeli law seeks to expel ‘misbehaved’ Arab parliamentarians

    Plenty of democratic countries have mechanisms for de-seating elected representatives, but those countries don't have rich histories of trying to ban politicians of one ethnic group. And their laws weren't designed to target specific unpopular politicians. On the face of it, there is nothing wrong with the “Expulsion Law” passed by Israel's Knesset early Wednesday morning. Lots of other parliaments have mechanisms for expelling elected representatives. In the U.S. Congress, all you need is a two-thirds majority vote determining that a member is guilty of “disorderly behavior.” What is wrong with Israel’s new law is that it targets one particular parliamentarian and her…

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  • Want to be a judge in Israel? Get in line and sing the national anthem

    The Israeli national anthem, a Zionist hymn that excludes Israel's Palestinian population, could soon become part of the job requirement for  judges.  Do you want to be a judge in Israel? Then according to Yisrael Beiteinu MK Robert Ilatov, you must sing Hatikva, the Israeli national anthem. [tmwinpost] Although Ilatov was only elected to the judicial appointment committee early Thursday morning, it did not take him very long to voice his thoughts on the job requirements. In an interview for Army Radio, Ilatov stated that potential judges should display the appropriate devotion to the State of Israel. "In my view, a…

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  • The real reason Netanyahu has the High Court in his crosshairs

    The government's plan to curb the High Court’s authority distracts from the fact that on most of Israel’s discriminatory and anti-democratic laws and policies, the two institutions see eye to eye. In recent weeks, the Israeli media has reported on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s plan to propose new legislation that would grant the government more authority over the selection of High Court justices, as well as limit the court's judicial review power. The plan has been blocked by center-right Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon as a condition for joining the new coalition, but Likud and its far-right partners have not ruled out…

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  • WATCH: The Knesset's all-out war against the Left

    Earlier this month, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved the preparation of and support for a new ‘NGO law.’ The law would impose a 45 percent tax on donations to NGOs calling for a boycott of Israel, the prosecution IDF soldiers, that deny Israel’s state symbols. The NGO law is the latest of some 30 anti-democratic laws that have been put forth under Netanyahu’s last two terms. http://youtu.be/0AHhnIwyfA0 Related: Right-wing parties revive attack on left-wing NGOs Foreign influence, transparency problems of NGO Monitor

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  • Jerusalem bill: A return to anti-democratic legislation?

    By a 5-4 majority, a ministerial committee on Sunday approved a bill that proposes to require 80 Knesset members to approve any negotiations about the future of Jerusalem before the issue can even be discussed in peace talks, as reported by Israeli press. It sounds like a technicality: the bill is far from passing as law, as it still requires a Knesset vote. Although members of the prime minister’s Likud-Beitenu party and Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home party drove support in the committee, Netanyahu himself opposes the bill, reports Times of Israel. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who has emerged as the…

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  • Silence is no longer an option: A call to action from Israel

    It is imperative that Jews around the world who cherish humanistic values publicly express their concern about the current situation in Israel, and call for the government to return to peaceful, moral, democratic, and humanistic values. By Daniel Bar-Tal Israel is a prosperous and well developed state with remarkable achievements in technological, educational, cultural, scientific and agricultural spheres by every account. These achievements are a source of pride to Israelis as well as to Jews around the world. But beside these undeniable successes, a considerable segment of the Jews in Israel, who love their country and care about its future,…

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  • New bill would let the Knesset crush the Court

    Haaretz reports that a new bill for a Basic Law currently being debated would allow the Knesset to override Supreme Court rulings that a law is unconstitutional, by a 65-member Knesset vote, neatly killing off one of the last traces of checks and balances in Israel. It is particularly disturbing that Reuven Rivlin, Speaker of the Knesset, supports the bill, which as a Basic Law would have constitution-like status. Rivlin up until now has been one of a small group of Likud parliamentarians who could actually be counted on to preserve at least the structures of democracy, and has repeatedly…

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  • Leaked BGU report: Part of broader assault on academic freedom

    Read excerpts from the report obtained by +972 Magazine. The leaked report of a committee appointed by Israel’s Council for Higher Education (CHE), assessing Ben Gurion University’s Department of Politics and Government, is an anomaly compared to other reports, if not an outright, government-sponsored politicized mission against an academic department that has no precedent. I repeat my full disclosure that I teach as an adjunct lecturer at this department. Although the process of evaluation is an established routine (which I explain below), this report must be seen in a dire context of academic persecution that has been led largely by two…

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  • Threats to Israeli democracy, tolerance gather momentum

    If the threat against Israeli democracy is not recognized and opposed, it will gather momentum until inevitably, one of democracy’s vital organs – tolerance, enshrined in law, for minority groups and minority opinions – will cease to function. By Rachel Liel One thing on which virtually all Israelis, from right to left, can agree is that the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, whose 16th anniversary was marked this past Saturday night with the traditional annual rally, proved that something had indeed gone horribly wrong in this country’s democracy. The chants of “Rabin is a traitor,” the oft-seen posters of him wearing…

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  • Israel's social protests: the key to changing everything?

    For the first few weeks of the housing-cum-social protests in Israel, nothing else seemed to matter. For at least a week or two after the “J14” protests began (on July 14, in Tel Aviv), the press happily let it muscle out everything else – Palestinians, Iran, September, democracy barely reached back pages of the papers. The boycott bill (remember the boycott bill?) was quickly overshadowed. A new bill to cement Israel’s Jewish identity in a Basic Law – perhaps the most vicious attack yet against the 20% Arab minority – hardly made the same waves. Everything seemed drowned out by…

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  • Israeli society mounts resistance to assault on democracy (updated)

    This post has been updated, 21 July, 2011 When we look back on this period in Israeli history, I don't want to wonder: "why didn't Israelis fight for their democracy? Why did they stand by and let themselves be taken over by sham leaders representing repressions that belonged to the dark days of the last century? What was the birth of our state worth if it failed to guarantee us a democracy? I learned the Israeli national anthem as a child, and when I was very young, I used to choke up at the part that says "l'hiyot am hofshi…

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  • What is the anti-boycott law? Who does it affect?

    Israel's parliament, the Knesset, is set to pass (after some convoluted last minute wrangling) today one of the most anti-democratic measures in the country's history, the so-called "Anti-Boycott Law." A link to the full text's translation can be found here. Simply put, the law seeks to penalize those who call for boycotting Israel, the settlements, or anyone related to the occupation. If a person, for example, calls for a boycott of academic institutions that participate in the occupation, he could be sued in civil court, and ordered to pay compensation. If a company agrees not to purchase products manufactured in…

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