Nitzan Horowitz: Our Home is in Flames – The Assault on Israeli Democracy

Nitzan Horowitz: Our Home is in Flames – The Assault on Israeli Democracy

(a compilation of urgent messages issued this week by Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz)
Dear Friends,

Our home is in flames.

They won’t relent, and they won’t slow down.  They’re already preparing their next steps.  It’s only going to intensify.

The current Knesset is marked by a terrifying mix of religious coercion and nationalist extremism.

And the most frightening change is the complete loss of shame.

The members of this hardhearted coalition and their helpers are no longer even trying to cover their fist in a thin glove of decency – even if just for the sake of appearance.  They admit, and some even boast, that their legislation is discriminatory, seeping with racism, and inimical to the values of equality and social justice.

Last week was a nadir: The majority of the Knesset, aided by the disgraceful disappearance of a large portion of the so-called “opposition”, decided to create a committee to investigate the human rights organizations.  A few days later, and these same organizations were being labeled “terrorist collaborators” by the man who is Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of the State of Israel.

And they have more plans for the world of NGOs and non-profits:

  • They’re planning to abolish the tax-exempt status of the human rights organizations
  • They’re planning to cancel contracts that these NGOs have with government-related bodies (for example, cancelling the Association for Civil Rights in Israel lecture series with the Israel Police and the Prisons Service, and with schools)
  • They’re planning to eliminate the possibility of doing alternative national service (alternative to military conscription) with these organizations
  • They’re planning to limit access to the internet sites of these organizations in public buildings
  • They’re planning to prohibit representatives of these organizations from entering public schools

The trend is intensifying elsewhere:

  • New bills and regulations that would deny entry to Israel of anyone connected to leftist activity, without the possibility of court intervention
  • Eliminating State support for cultural institutions that perform leftist material
  • The revocation of Israeli citizenship from someone convicted of “breaching allegiance to the State”.
  • The revocation of rights from members of Knesset and a significant growth in the disqualification of parties seeking to run for Knesset
  • The granting of administrative authority in judicial proceedings in order to remove them from the hands of the courts

It’s sometimes hard to see the big picture.  Only a small portion reaches the newspapers.  The media doesn’t fully grasp the extent.

But we need to understand: This hasn’t come out of nowhere. The decision to investigate the human rights organizations is the pinnacle of a process that has marked this Knesset session since day one – bill after bill, law after law. Dozens of steps are being taken in every Knesset committee and government ministry.

This is an assault.

Dozens of Knesset members vie over who’ll submit the most anti-democratic legislation, and every bill of this ilk – no matter how crazy – is approved.

If it were not for Meretz in the Knesset, small though it is, much of this would get passed without so much as a reaction.  Because in some of these fights, in the Knesset plenum and committees, we’re virtually the only ones putting up opposition.

We cannot wait any longer for something to happen in the Knesset, and for this evil wind to stop.  It won’t stop.  It is already blowing in the streets.

So we can’t allow ourselves to wait any longer.

In the face of this dark wave, we are standing up for democracy.  At Saturday night’s rally we will say: No to intimidation.  No to political persecution.  We will not be silenced.

Democracy is in danger.  If we don’t defend it, no one else will.

By | 2011-01-14T23:24:55-05:00 January 14th, 2011|Blog, Civil Rights, Israeli Left|0 Comments

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