Young Israeli lawmakers are arriving in parliament after an entire life in which Israel’s control over Palestinians is the natural state of the world. No fewer than 49 new members of Knesset took their oath of office on Tuesday, in large part thanks to the dizzying success of the stand-for-nothing Blue and White party. The new Knesset boasts way fewer women and many more young members: 26 of the freshman class of parliamentarians are in their 30s. The youngest among them, Yorai Lahav Harzano of the Blue and White party, is 30. [tmwinpost] In a normal world, perhaps that would…Read More... | 10 Comments
A new law formalizes the outsourcing of rural settlement activity in the West Bank. A boon to the settlements, a blow to democracy — and the taxpayer. While Israeli society has been busy with incitement against human rights workers, a baby-killing celebration, and legislation attacking civil society, the Knesset quietly approved a new law last week formalizing the status of the notorious Settlement Division of World Zionist Organization (WZO). The law authorizes the Israeli government to delegate its policies in the settlements to this outside, private body. Despite an opposition filibuster, the law for legalized policy outsourcing passed in the…Read More... | 24 Comments
High Court rejects petition against the law, gives grounds to allows individuals who want to sue anyone calling for a boycott of Israel, or 'areas under its control.' The High Court rejected a petition by human rights organizations, upholding the controversial "boycott law" on Wednesday. The law give grounds for individuals to sue anyone who calls for a boycott of Israel, or areas under its control. The court struck down only one section of the law, which establishes that one may seek punitive damages for a deliberate call to boycott without needing to prove actual damages. It appears that one…Read More... | 59 Comments
As Arabs across the region struggle for freedom and democracy, Israeli law seems to be headed in the opposite direction. By Neve Gordon "Bad laws," Edmund Burke once said, "are the worst sort of tyranny." The millions of people who have been protesting - from Tunis, Egypt and Libya, to Bahrain, Yemen and Syria - appear to have recognised this truism and are demanding the end of emergency law and the drafting of new constitutions that will guarantee the separation of powers, free, fair and regular elections, and basic political, social and economic rights for all citizens. To put it succinctly,…Read More... | 12 Comments
The fierce backlash against attacks on Israeli human rights NGOs has pushed to the front an old argument against foreign funding for these groups. Various right wing columnists and politicians have been parroting it, but now you hear it from Netanyahu's office as well: As for questioning the legitimacy of foreign government funding of Israeli NGOs, mentioning America's Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) may have presented a more balanced picture… It is hard to imagine any democratic country accepting foreign governments intervening in its domestic affairs by funding domestic groups engaged not merely in criticism of a particular government's policy but…Read More... | 1 Comment
Some members of the hard right have harshly criticized the Knesset inquiry into human rights NGOs. They seem to believe that Israel can continue to rule the Palestinians while respecting their rights. This contradiction is enabled through sophisticated mechanisms of privatization, which may be a greater danger for Israel than fascism Benny Begin, the son of late Likud Prime Minister Menachem Begin, is a minister without portfolio in Netanyahu's government. He is a member in good standing of Israel's hard right, and has spent the last two decades strongly opposing any concession to the Palestinians. Remarkably, he is also one of the…Read More...
The Knesset's decision to investigate organizations that criticize the government's policy on the Palestinian issue is yet another demonstration of the fear that grips Israeli elites. Their true concern is about Israel's internal strength, rather than its standing abroad. The Knesset's decision to investigate organizations that criticize the government's policy on the Palestinian issue may or may not prove to be a watershed for Israeli democracy. Either way, it is yet another demonstration of the fear that grips Israeli elites. This fear is supposedly directed at Israel's deligitimization abroad. The most frequently cited concern is the prosecution of IDF officers…Read More... | 12 Comments
The Knesset yesterday passed a bill through its first stage of legislation [Heb], and if eventually approved will impose a fine of 10 shekels on patients who fail to show up to appointments they made with their doctor. But +972 magazine has gained access to other clauses of the bill, which the mainstream media seems to have glanced over but are sure to cause an uproar, particularly within the already struggling middle class: 1. 20 shekels fine for not attending a Facebook event you said you would. If “maybe” was pressed, it’s only 5 shekels. 2. If you’re asked to RSVP…Read More... | 3 Comments
The Israeli Knesset is debating a bill proposed by David Rotem of the extreme right Yisrael Beiteinu party that would require all Israeli citizens to swear loyalty to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state.” This bill is targeted at increasing pressure on the 20 percent of Israelis who are Palestinian citizens, while forcing the ultra-Orthodox Jewish minority who reject the legitimacy of any state not based on Jewish biblical law to accept Zionism. If passed in its proposed form, citizens unwilling to take the loyalty oath would be at risk of losing citizenship. Israeli leaders committed to a classic…Read More...
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