As Solomon the wisest of men once said “there is nothing new under the sun”. With this in mind it should come as no surprise that the recently proposed “rightist” bills have elicited the usual responses: lots and lots of Bibi-bashing together with accusations that Israel’s democracy is under attack and that freedom of speech is being stymied.
Thus, rather than seriously addressing the issues and arguing over substance, the supposed guardians of democracy simply rattle off sound bites that are designed to vilify and scare anyone who dares to see things differently. It’s a common tactic and one that is expected, especially from those who feel their power slipping away.
However, times are changing and the public is finally waking up. They know that the Israeli Supreme Court is one of the most activist supreme courts in the world with a disproportionate amount influence, driven by a worldview that represents a very small percentage of the Israeli population. Moreover, people understand that changing the longstanding policy whereby the court basically chooses its own judges in order to perpetuate its ideological stranglehold will only strengthen, and not curtail, Israeli democracy.
Similarly, most Israelis understand that the funding of Israeli organizations by foreign governments as a way to enable these governments to advance their agenda of delegitimizing Israel, especially in light of the current international campaign against Israel, is obviously problematic. Thus, labeling any attempt to deal with this complex issue as a sign of a right-wing crackdown or a restriction of human rights is nonsense. It’s a very serious issue that must be addressed regardless of one’s ideological position.
More importantly, the days are coming to an end whereby the powerful left-wing establishment manages to silence their critics every time they feel a threat to their well-entrenched hold on power. As much as they try to portray themselves as innocent by wrapping themselves in pure white cloaks of freedom and democracy, this small yet powerful ideological group can no longer hide their hypocrisy. The same voices which sanctimoniously claim that the Israel of Netanyahu and Lieberman is turning ugly and fascist, for years labeled all opponents of the disastrous Oslo process as enemies of peace in order to stifle any real discussion. Likewise, prominent voices in the mainly left-wing media who disingenuously claim that the current government is overstepping its boundaries in order to impose its agenda, only a few short years rallied round the call by one of their colleagues that Ariel Sharon had to be “protected like an etrog” in order to help the government implement the controversial Gaza Disengagement.
Unfortunately, rather than understanding that the public is simply fed up with a situation whereby a small group with an exorbitant amount of power and influence basically determines what is best for the rest of the country, the predominantly left-wing establishment continues to view alternative voices as a threat. This is truly a shame since the truth of the matter is that a change in direction based upon a more balanced approach will not only be more in line with the mindset of the average Israeli but it will also help secure the long-term survival of the country.
Whether or not the left finally internalizes this and stops attacking, is irrelevant. Either way, the party is over as their monopoly on being the sole deciders on the direction of the country is finally coming to an end.