Israeli activists running with ‘panic playbook’
There have been letters and articles in the Chronicle recently on the current judicial reform issue in Israel that shout out that Israel will no longer be a democracy. How is the current Supreme Court, which is not answerable to anyone but itself, selects its own members and decides what is and what is not a reasonable law, with no checks and balances, a democratic function? The judges are not accountable to the public. This is a very complicated problem and the structure of the Israeli Supreme Court is not like ours or any other Western democracy.
Is there a true democratic crisis or are these just scare tactics and rants from one group threatened by their loss of power in the left-leaning courts due to a new right-leaning government?
In the United States we have a similar situation with the all-too-often, end-of-democracy outcry from the extremes of our political spectrum. Israeli activists are running with that panic playbook.
Response to ‘Have you seen enough?’
If those who signed the “Have you seen enough?” letter (March 10) would open their eyes — and minds — they might observe the following:
In democratic countries, the judiciary deals only with interpretation of the law, and laws are created only by the legislature. Voters can replace legislators, but voters cannot replace judges, who are appointed for life. Because Israel’s Supreme Court has actually arrogated into itself the right to set moral norms such as “reasonableness,” the Court severely curtails the autonomy of elected officials and thereby undermines Israel’s democracy. Israel’s Supreme Court is “recklessly co-opting the judicial system.”
Historically, Judea and Samaria, also called the West Bank by some, belongs to the Jewish people. There was never a Palestinian state there nor any political entity that belonged to people who call themselves Palestinians. The area can be said to be disputed, but it is not “occupied.” The writers do not offer any evidence for their dangerous claim that Israel is “denying civil rights to Israeli Arabs.”
The writers apparently have not seen facts actually relevant to current events in Israel and are therefore not in a position to enlighten us regarding same.