Opinion |

Israel’s Supreme Court Must Keep Going, the Right Is Afraid

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
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Esther Hayut. Nearly always, it was Hayut who headed the judicial panels that took up the most incendiary issues.
High Court President Esther Hayut.Credit: Ilan Assayag
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

The heroes of the newest generation of people who don’t want to make waves are aware of their ideological defilement, so they don’t change their behavior even after the fascists have seized power, lest they lose the last vestige of the public’s trust.

Consequently, they admit that they oppose the coup against our system of government, but they also, with heartwarming empathy, cast doubt on the ability of the coup’s opponents to defeat the new rulers. As a result – and this actually works to the opponents’ benefit – they beg us not to annoy the menacing justice minister, Yariv Levin.

People who don’t want to make waves expected the Supreme Court to be “smarter” than to rule against the ministerial appointment of Arye Dery, who was convicted of corruption. They believe the court should have ruled differently, as if there were “a middle ground between heaven and hell,” to quote the Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani. And you can’t help wondering, what kind of compromise are these people urging? If you search for some kind of nice middle ground, it quickly becomes clear that aside from complete capitulation to the fascists, there is no middle ground.

The High Court’s courageous ruling shook the foundations of the self-confidence hitherto displayed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his gang. And then, along come those people who don’t want to make waves and raise an outcry against the court, as if it had brought disaster upon itself and opponents of the coup.

Anyone watching this drama would think the honored justices had released hundreds of murderers who are now walking freely among us. In our insane reality, even the most basic things are classified as “sins.”

Tens of thousands of protesters in one of two anti-government rallies in central Tel Aviv, Saturday.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

These people who just want to go with the flow are seeking to change the laws of nature. After all, what’s not clear about the fact that someone convicted of crimes cannot be a minister? Is there anything more natural than that? Perhaps tomorrow, if you say the sun rises in the east and not from the balcony of Netanyahu’s house, this will also be seen as a revolt against the will of the people?

“When men of truth kept silent about the lie, the men of lies thought they were right,” Caliph Ali ibn Ali Talib once said. That’s our situation today. Yet there are still people who keep flirting with the reign of falsehood.

As a result, at this particular moment, we need to show support for the High Court, despite all the harsh criticism I and many others have leveled at it because it has approved almost every injustice done to the Palestinians on both sides of the border.

Yes, we need to show support for the High Court, which acted at this decisive junction like a citadel that respects its role as a citadel. And the High Court’s strong stance might yet tie the hands of the new government’s leaders, embarrass them and make them think a thousand times before taking any Draconian steps.

Yet in addition to praising High Court President Esther Hayut, we should also whisper in her ears that had she taken this same decisive approach three years ago on the petitions seeking to bar Netanyahu from forming a government on the grounds that he is a criminal defendant, the public would have been spared many moral and governmental outrages. The court’s miserable statement that no citadel has yet fallen gave a tailwind to the fascist campaign, and today, we are reaping its rotten fruit.

But better late than never. It’s good that Hayut woke up at the last moment, because if she had continued refusing to make waves even now, there might have been no chance to repel this evil.

It’s necessary to learn from history, and also from other people’s courageous fighters. In Israel’s early years, faced with the military government’s campaign of intimidation, poet Tawfiq Zayyad wrote, “The government of intimidation is like a barking dog. If you run away from it, it will continue chasing you, but if you stand up to it, it will flee.”

There’s only one possible path – a forward march against the evildoers, those of yore and those of today. Any order for retreat against the advancing forces of darkness actually means taking another step toward darkness. There is no middle ground.

The High Court’s ruling gave a shot in the arm to tens of thousands of people who are mounting the barricades to defend our (partial) democracy and our (crippled) justice system. As they say in Arabic, “The spirit of good people resuscitates other good people.”

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