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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘democratic’

Israel’s Dictatorship Of The Judiciary

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Much of the Israeli Left – including cultural and political leaders, journalists and academics – has in recent months engaged in hyperbolic, defamatory claims that the government of Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to destroy Israel’s democracy through proposed legislation such as that aimed at modifying how Israeli Supreme Court justices are selected.

In fact, those arguments set truth on its head. Israel’s Supreme Court, and its judiciary more broadly, are the most anti-democratic elements of Israel’s governing bodies and perhaps the most anti-democratic court system in the Western democracies.

It was not some right-wing extremist who wrote in 2000, “I think that [then] Supreme Court President Aharon Barak has not, and does not, accept the rightful place that the court should have among the various authorities in our regime.… [Instead, he is seeking] to interject [into all areas of Israeli life] certain moral values as he deems appropriate. And this amounts to a kind of judicial dictatorship that I find completely inappropriate.” The words were those of former Supreme Court president Moshe Landau.

Barak’s appropriating to himself and his court extraordinary powers unique within Western democracies is illustrated by, for example, his declaring in 1992 that the new Basic Law established that same year conferred upon the Supreme Court the right to strike down any legislation it considers “unconstitutional.”

Israel has no formal constitution, meaning that Barak was essentially claiming for the Supreme Court the right to nullify any law it deems in violation of its own concept – more particularly, his own concept – of a proper Israeli constitution.

Barak proceeded to legislate from the bench under this appropriated power, and did so with a distinct leftist bias, very much in the post-Zionist mold then becoming the dominant fashion on Israel’s Left.

One illustration of this was his instructing Israeli jurists, in his Interpretation in Law (1994), that when confronted by what seems to them a conflict between “democratic” and particularist Jewish values, the judge “should act as the enlightened community would.” Barak then explains: “The metaphor of the ‘enlightened community’ focuses one’s attention on a part of the public. One’s attention is turned…to the educated and progressive part within it. What distinguished the enlightened community from the rest of the public?.… The enlightened community represents that community whose values are universalistic, and which is part of the family of enlightened nations.”

In effect – even putting aside the boldly elitist, anti-democratic thrust of the assertion that the views of only a particular segment of the population should shape legal interpretations – Barak is instructing jurists to be guided in their rulings by those Israelis who embrace the post-Zionist agenda and are eager to strip the nation and its institutions of all Jewish particularist meaning and content.

It is because of this leftist bias that any challenging of the Supreme Court’s abuse of democratic norms has outraged the Left and elicited twisted assertions of being an assault on democracy rather than an effort to rein in the judiciary’s overreaching.

Of course, whatever had been the Barak court’s particular political predilections, its arrogation of extraordinary powers to itself would have been equally anti-democratic, reprehensible and dangerous.

* * * * *

Barak’s successor, Dorit Beinisch, who just stepped down as Supreme Court president, shared Barak’s political views and his vision of the special powers of the Supreme Court. This is illustrated by, for example, her rulings last year relating to Peace Now activities in the West Bank.

Peace Now emerged in the late 1970s promoting the delusional claim that peace could be attained by Israel’s withdrawing, for all intents and purposes, to the pre-1967 armistice lines. Over the next decade and a half the organization drew many adherents among Israelis eager for peace and willing to embrace the fantasy that the source of the ongoing conflict with the Arab world was Israel’s presence in the territories. Peace Now and its followers provided the primary impetus to the Oslo debacle.

Even the unprecedented spike in terror that accompanied the initial years of the Oslo process did not awaken from its wishful reveries that half of Israel that supported Oslo. However, the terror war launched by Arafat in 2000, which claimed about 1,000 Israeli lives over the ensuing few years and horribly maimed thousands more, did rouse many from their delusions. Still others were led to rethink their fantasies by the rocket, mortar and missile assaults that have followed on the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza.

The great majority of Israelis now agree with the necessity of the nation’s retaining defensible borders and are supportive of settlements in strategically vital areas, and Peace Now’s following has dramatically diminished. One response by the true believers in the peace camp has been to shift their attack on the settlements from emphasis on their being obstacles to peace to claims of their having been built largely on privately owned Palestinian land – rather than exclusively on public, or state, land or Jewish-owned tracts – and are therefore illegal.

MK Tibi Rebuked by Knesset for Praising Terrorism

Monday, March 19th, 2012

A speech MK Tibi gave in Ramallah during the “Shahid Day” cost him a severe rebuke by the Knesset Ethics committee, which did not hold back in criticizing him. One of Tibi’s statements was: “Blessings to the thousands of Shahidim in the homeland and abroad; blessings to ours and yours Shahidim inside the Green Line – those who the occupier wanted to brand as terrorists, while we say that there is no one loftier then those who have died for the homeland”.

The committee stated that, “His words constitute an insult to the Knesset’s honor and the public trust in it,” thus accepting the Forum’s stance. The committee decided to penalize Tibi with a severe rebuke.

In his response to the committee, MK Tibi explained that the meaning of the words to a Jewish ear is not the same meaning to which he intended in his speech in front of a Palestinian crowd. Even so, the committee pointed out, his words are understood in their literal terms by the majority of Israeli citizens. His words constitute support by an MK for people who were killed while killing others in terrorist acts.

In its decision the committee stated that it goes to great lengths to safeguard the political right of expression of the MKs, even when it involves difficult and extreme statements, although the committee differentiated between “political statements and statements which are comprised of support and encouragement of violence.”

The committee chose to point out to MK Tibi that, “We will not accept in the future, as a justification of extreme and violent expressions, a claim of misunderstanding and double meaning. MK Tibi, as all other members of Knesset, must weigh his words and their understanding by the broad public, and decide if they constitute an insult to the Knesset and the breach of the ethical guidelines of the MKs.”

The Legal Forum lauded this decision. Hila Cohen, the Forum’s representative, stated that the severe rebuke is a worthy punishment, even though some may claim that it is a light punishment for such harsh words. “The fact that MK Tibi participated in such a heinous event is in itself a testimony to the fact the Tibi’s objective is the destruction of the State of Israel.”

This recent success of the Legal Forum is the result of four years of intensive work tracking statements by MKs who speak against the State of Israel as the Jewish People’s state. Similarly, the Forum has lodged a complaint with the Ethics Committee and the Attorney General against MK Hanin Zoabi’s participation in the Gaza Flotilla, a complaint against Arab MKs who traveled to Libya, MKs who participated in demonstrations against the Israeli state and more.

“An MK cannot take advantage of his status and fool u,s” stated Nachi Eyal, director of the Forum. “The Forum’s objective in its continued activities against these MKs, is to restore the democratic values to their proper place, together with the Jewish Zionist values on which the State of Israel was founded. In a democratic state, the democratic values do not tread upon the foundations of state itself, but rather walk hand in hand with them. This is the status the Forum is trying to achieve, and the Ethics committee’s latest decision proves that we are in the correct direction. This decision together with the previous ones has an accumulating affect.”

Cyber Warfront: Hacker Group Warns Israel of ‘Reign of Terror’

Friday, February 10th, 2012

The hacker group Anonymous released a video today warning Israel of an impending “reign of terror” for alleged “crimes against humanity”.

The group, who was responsible for exposing an email exchange in which Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad was coached on how to conduct himself in an interview, has decided to set its sights on the Jewish state.

“For too long, we have tolerated your crimes against humanity and allowed your sins to go unpunished,” their message said. “You claim to be democratic, yet in reality, this is far from the truth. In fact, your only goal is to better the lives of a select few while carelessly trampling the liberties of the masses.”

 

Central Elections Committee to Discuss Disqualifying Tibi From Next Knesset Election

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

The Central Elections Committee chairwoman and Supreme Court judge Miriam Naor said the Central Elections Committee is likely to discuss the possibility of disqualifying Raam-Ta’al MK Ahmed Tibi from running for re-election to the Knesset, due to an inflammatory speech he made praising martyrdom.

According to Basic Law: The Knesset, a candidate or party running for Knesset membership may be disqualified if it promotes “(1) negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people; (2) negation of the democratic character of the State; (3) incitement to racism.”

 

Human Rights Watch Urges West to Accepts Islamists’ Political Gains; Condemns Israel

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in its annual report that Western governments must accept the new reality that Islamists have emerged as a political force in the Arab world.

Being that Islamist parties are “genuinely popular” said HRW’s executive director, Kenneth Roth, “ignoring that popularity would violate democratic principles.”

In another section of the report, HRW accuses Israel of “serious human rights violations” in using “unnecessary lethal force” and “hindering the rebuilding of Gaza’s devastated economy.”

El Baradei Bows Out of Egyptian Presidential Race

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Mohamed ElBaradei, citing a lack of democratic mechanisms in his country, has withdrawn from Egypt’s presidential race.

The former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement that “the previous regime” was still running the country, and that the lack of a real democratic system was the reason for his withdrawal. Some political commentators have speculated that the withdrawal had more to do with a lack of real popular support. Either way, ElBaradei’s decision is sure to shake up the political scene in Egypt.

 

Nine Dead, Hundreds Wounded in Egyptian Protests

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

At least nine people have been killed and over 300 wounded in two days of violent clashes between Egyptian security forces and protestors.

Hundreds of Egyptian soldiers taking orders from the incumbent Egyptian military council, beat and electric-shocked protestors to the ground on Saturday. They also burned down a protestors’ field hospital and erected a wall of concrete blocks to divide Tahrir Square from the area of the parliament and cabinet buildings. The clashes began late Thursday, after anti-military protestors demanding an end to military rule and the transfer of power to civilian authority were ousted from their camp near Tahrir square, with one protestor being beaten by military police.

Tahrir had once been the backdrop of an 18-day protest leading to the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak.  At that time, the military was seen as a partner in the revolution and a protector of the people.

The new protests against the military council and the council’s subsequent crackdown took place after the first rounds of democratic parliamentary elections saw large turnouts, particularly in favor of the militant Muslim Brotherhood and the fundamentalist Salafi/Wahhabi parties.

In November, over 40 people were killed in six days of crackdowns on demonstrators.

Kamal el-Ganzouri, who was appointed interim prime minister following the unseating of Mubarak by the military, addressed the nation on Monday, denying that forces had shot anyone or used violence, and accusing some protestors of having less-than-pure intentions in their activism.

In the meantime, protestors contended that soldiers were indeed firing on them, as well as confiscating cameras and other journalistic equipment, and videos being released showed military police pointing guns and protestors and hitting them.  The military council on Friday issued a statement claiming soldiers were acting self-defense against lawless insurgents armed with Molotov cocktails and rocks.

The Muslim Brotherhood condemned the crackdown, saying the military council had betrayed the Egyptian people’s trust, disrupting the democratic process, instigating unrest, and destabilizing the handover of power.

Egyptian Elections Draw Crowds, Support for Islamist Parties

Monday, November 28th, 2011

The first day of a historic democratic election in Egypt has come to a close, with a higher than expected turnout and a strong showing for Islamist parties.

 

Egypt’s first election day since the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak saw overwhelming public participation, with polling stations being asked to stay open an additional 2 hours to accommodate the large number of voters.  Parliamentary elections will continue until early January.

 

Electoral overseers received hundreds of complaints of voting violations, including vote buying and the abuse of a law forbidding campaigning on election day.  Delays in the delivery of ballot slips to polling stations and the late arrival of ballot supervisors were included in the list of grievances.

 

On Sunday, Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the interim President and head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, urged Egyptian citizens to participate in elections, even as citizens called for the army to cede power.  Also on Sunday, protestors in Cairo demonstrated against Tantawi, demanding that he and his fellow generals immediately resign.

 

Protests against Tantawi’s government have continued throughout the country, with particular gusto in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.  Yet some protests have focused on hate for Israel, including a special Muslim Brotherhood rally in Cairo on Friday entitled “Kill The Jews.”  Since Saturday, more than 42 people have been killed and 2,000 injured.

 

The Muslim Brotherhood, a radical pro-Jihadist organization poised to win the first stage of elections, will likely use their victory to enforce anti-Israel policies in Egypt and garner support for the Palestinian Authority (PA).  Their credo states “God is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.”  The state of Israel is the number one threat to Egyptian security, according to the body, making Jews “the most serious problem in terms of Egypt’s national security.”

 

On Monday, the gas pipeline between Egyypt and Israel was targeted again, with masked gunmen exploding the line near El-Arish in the northern Sinai.  The line has been attacked 8 times this year.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/egyptian-elections-draw-crowds-support-for-islamist-parties/2011/11/28/

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