Gov't protects the people, not the other way around
In a democracy, restrictions must be imposed on legislation, because the purpose of a liberal democratic regime is to protect human and civil rights and ensure equality. When the legislature ignores these basic duties, it undermines the very reason for democracy's existence.
The campaign of intimidation being waged by the right against left-wing organizations - which ranges from arbitrarily arresting activists and throwing them in prison, as in the case of Jonathan Pollak, to establishing parliamentary committees of inquiry - has one clear objective: to identify opposition to the government and its policies with rejecting the legitimacy of the state. The right is trying with all its might to inculcate the public consciousness with the idea that the government is the state and the government's interests are identical to the aims of Zionism.
It is a national duty to denounce this crude lie, both in Israel and abroad. It is a national duty to recite and teach that not every Knesset decision is legitimate. In a democracy, restrictions must be imposed on legislation, because the purpose of a liberal democratic regime is to protect human and civil rights and ensure equality.
When the legislature ignores these basic duties, it undermines the very reason for democracy's existence. Since the 17th century, liberal thought has recognized the right to oppose a government that infringes on fundamental rights, and this is a basic tenet of any free regime.
Similarly, it is a duty to resist legislation that would prevent non-Jewish Israeli citizens from living in Jewish communities. Now the old slogan "Yesha ze kan" [the West Bank and Gaza are here] is coming true: The settlements are taking over Israel. After all, for a regime of ethnic and religious separation to be established within the Green Line would be just a natural continuation of the apartheid regime that has been in effect in the territories for more than 40 years. Once that happens, it will be a mockery to continue to speak of Israeli democracy in the present tense.
Therefore, those who collaborate with this creeping Lieberman-ism, whether actively or passively, will bear responsibility for the real delegitimization of Israel worldwide. And we should not be surprised, or complain of anti-Semitism, when the European Parliament proposes drastic changes in Europe's relations with Israel. In these difficult times, it is only the human rights organizations that are saving Israel's honor.
One immediate conclusion is that when a parliamentary committee of inquiry whose only purpose is to intimidate the left is set up, it would be best to ignore its existence and refuse to appear before it. This committee has neither the moral nor the legal authority to force any citizen to attend its sessions.
If the committee wants to keep up an appearance of objectivity, it will have to open probes into all foreign sources of funding for all Israeli political bodies, including the sources that fund the Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu election campaigns. An investigation of left-wing bodies only, due to both its discriminatory, violent nature and the cheap demagoguery that will accompany it, does not deserve any kind of attention.
Finally, since there has been a great deal of talk recently about the analogy to McCarthyism, it is worth stressing that the situation here is worse than it was in the United States in the 1950s. On one hand, the Israeli Supreme Court lacks an entrenched constitutional status and contempt for it is only growing, while in the United States, it was the Supreme Court that eventually put a stop to this phenomenon. On the other hand, unlike McCarthy, Avigdor Lieberman is one of the pillars of the government, and McCarthyism has gained control of the political establishment itself.
Just as was true in Europe in the past, Lieberman-ism will most likely gradually destroy the last vestiges of the liberal right. And Israeli society will pay a heavy price for a political elite that has lost its way.
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