Monday, November 14, 2011

Israeli Anti-Democratic Legislation

Anti-Democratic Israeli Legislation - by Stephen Lendman


On October 31, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) expressed concern about "two contradictory main trends" in Israel's Knesset winter session:


  • following its previous one, enacting more anti-democratic laws; and


  • counter-measures to promote laws promoting social and economic rights, perhaps incentivized by summer social justice protests.


Mostly, however, anti-democratic measures outnumber alternatives. ACRI expressed alarm. On November 8, a brief report headlined, "Knesset Continues Attempts to Silence Civil Society," saying:


Last week, Israel's Knesset winter session began. So far, proposed social justice bills lost out to anti-democratic ones. A coalition defeated them. Expect an amendment severely curtailing free expression to pass.


This weekend, the Ministerial Committee on Legislation will vote on two bills. One aims to impede the work of civil society groups by restricting their international funding.


The proposed Associations Law wants strict monetary limits placed on their ability to function. It stipulates that Israeli NGOs seeking to influence state policy at most can receive $6,000 from foreign donors.


Israel's civil society and human rights organizations are at risk. Dark Knesset forces want them eliminated, perhaps by successive legislative measures.


A similar bill seeks to amend the Income Tax Order to make foreign state entity funding taxed at 45%. Passage will effectively confiscate half their donations.


Introduced in July, it was put on hold. Now it's back. ACRI's Executive Director, Hagai El-Ad, said:


"Once again, we see biased legislation, whose real purpose is to harm Israeli organizations that are inconvenient to the current government."


"However, in a democracy, freedom of expression, protest, and assembly must be afforded to the entire spectrum of opinions and positions, not only to those that are approved by the government."


"Even more outrageous is the claim that donations received from countries that have longstanding, deep relationships with Israel, donations that are intended to promote democracy and human rights, are illegitimate - while at the same time, many governmental and private bodies receive much greater sums of international donations that are not currently set to be restricted, simply because they serve the positions of the current political majority."


Gideon Levy's new Haaretz article addressed the above issue. Headlined, "A new Israel in the making,” he said:


"The future is now. The revolution is in progress; just wait for what's to come." A new Israel is being formed. It won't resemble the old one, "which already has its share of flaws, distortions and ills."


And when Israelis understand a new reality, "it will be too late." The old Israel will be remembered as democratic despite being far from it. New Knesset laws are shaping its Orwellian replacement.


"Even this article won't be publishable." Only government-approved opinions will be sanctioned. New laws and regulations "will bar publication of anything that could, in the eyes of authorities, harm the state."


Increasingly, truth is endangered. New legislation will prohibit defaming the state. Newspapers and other publications will differ from now. So will television, radio, classroom education, and what's spoken publicly.


Say, write, or broadcast something wrong, and risk arrest. Police state laws will mandate it. "No media outlet will be able to go beyond the bounds of the law due to the draconian penalties for running afoul of them."


"The word 'occupation' will be illegal, as will the expression 'Palestinian state.' Treasonous journalists will be pilloried or arrested, or at least fired. That day is not long coming."


What's happening now incrementally and in Jerusalem will infect all Israel. "Today Jerusalem, tomorrow the whole country."


A Jewish state will symbolize tyranny. Judaism will be debased. Rabbis will be complicit or defrocked.


Cities will be forced shut on Shabbat. Nothing will open. Non-kosher restaurants will be illegal. Unregistered couples will be barred from living together. Mixed marriage partners will be deported. Public displays of affection will be outlawed.


Young men and women refusing military service will lose citizenship rights and be deported. Jews only will hold public office and others of importance. Arabs will be disqualified.


MKs refusing to "sing the national anthem's words about the 'yearning of the Jewish soul' will be permanently removed."


Mostly without rights now, Israeli Arabs will be barred from universities, except perhaps for token quotas too small to matter. Renting to Arabs will be illegal. So will having them in Jewish communities except as servants performing menial tasks.


Speaking, writing, and publishing in Arabic will be prohibited. "The poetry of Arab poet Mahmoud Darwish and his Jewish compatriots Aharon Shabtai and Yitzhak Laor will be banned." So will other writers, authors, academics, and scholars who don't conform to state diktats.


Only declared Zionists will be published, allowed on air, permitted to teach students at any level, or hold government positions.


The West Bank and East Jerusalem will be annexed. Palestinians will be dispossessed. Gaza will stay besieged. Militarized occupation will continue. So will ongoing incursions and attacks, as well as middle-of-the-night arrest raids and imprisonments.


Jews stepping out of line won't be spared. Left-of-center political parties and organizations will be prohibited, their leaders arrested and imprisoned.


Many others will be blacklisted, forbidden to speak publicly, give interviews, or leave the country. Laws already discriminate unfairly between Arabs and Jews. Ahead, they'll be much more extreme. "The death penalty will apply only to Arabs." Perhaps attacking and shooting them openly will be allowed. Stepped-up Kristallnacht attacks may become common.


Settlers will be authorized to grab any land they wish. Seizing it violently will be legal. "(M)ilitary censorship will ban any news item that could 'harm the strength of the Israel Defense Forces.' "


Supreme Court judicial authority will be curtailed. Knesset members will choose justices. Only settlers, rabbis, and ruling party members will qualify. Religious justices only may become chief justice.


A "Council of Torah Sages" will decide all war and peace issues. Palestinian statehood won’t be tolerated. Conflict will persist over peace.


"Actually, you don't need much imagination to come up with all this. The future is now." It's unfolding in plain sight.


Israel already isn't fit to live in. Imagine what's fast approaching. No wonder many Jews are voting with their feet and leaving. Maybe one day they all will!


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.


Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.