Jewish Diaspora Resists Far-Right Drift In Israel

Beyond Israeli borders, the protest against the Netanyahu government’s judicial reform project extends to the Jewish diaspora, which is mobilizing to “save democracy”.

Israeli society is no longer alone in mobilizing against Binyamin Netanyahu’s far-right coalition. The Jewish diaspora, which generally avoids commenting on Israeli politics, is beginning to get agitated in Europe and the United States, worried about the drift of a state that it has until then considered an ironclad democracy. JCall, the European Jewish network for Israel and for peace, and the CCLJ, the Jewish secular community center, will thus launch this Monday evening at the European Parliament, in Brussels, an appeal to “save Israeli democracy”.

“In 2010, we launched an ‘Appointment to reason’ to express our concern about the stalling of the ‘peace process’ and the threats it posed to the very survival of Israel as a Jewish state and democracy, explain the two organizations in a press release. Thirteen years later, our worst predictions are materializing before our eyes and concern has turned into anguish. The far-right coalition that emerged from the elections of November 1 is demolishing not only any chance of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the very foundations of the Israeli rule of law. What the saboteurs did not foresee was the strength of the civil society reaction. This powerful movement of civic resistance, we must support it with all our might.”

To support this appeal, personalities such as philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, MEP Bernard Guetta, historian Elie Barnavi, journalist Anne Sinclair and, by video, the former French Minister of Justice and former President of the Constitutional Council Robert Badinter, the President of the Supervisory Board of Publicis Maurice Lévy, the former Israeli Minister of Justice and Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni and the former member of the Constitutional Council in France Dominique Schnapper.

“We are mobilizing for the Ukrainians or American democracy and we would be silent in the face of this reform project of the Netanyahu government which is a downfall of the judicial system in Israel? declared Anne Sinclair to Liberation on Sunday. We cannot stand idly by in front of what is happening in Israel. Look at these women who demonstrated dressed as scarlet servants, they fear the advent of a Judaism that would distort Judaism itself. When in Israel we hear about pogroms, it is a real slap in the face to Jews all over the world and to Judaism itself. Salvation will come from the mobilization of Israeli civil society, but we must be there to support them.”

Proof that the situation is serious, the new president of Crif himself, Yonathan Arfi, in admittedly very polite remarks, did not hesitate recently to sound the alarm on the fragility of democracy in Israel. “It weakens when the rule of law is overwhelmed by a minority during the unacceptable violence in Huwara in revenge for the attack committed a few hours earlier. It also weakens when populist, stigmatizing and hateful speeches appear in the Israeli public debate, even in the words of certain ministers in office. They are not acceptable in any democracy.” As Ilan Rozenkier, member of Peace Now sums it up, “an illiberal Israel, a banana state promoting personal laws favoring politicians and their cronies, is not, is no longer the Israel we knew.”

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