Tuesday, December 22

Right Wing Attacks on Democracy in Israel

Over the years, Israel has been condemned unjustifiably in the UN and by the EU for violations of Palestinian rights. There are so many anti-Israel resolutions passed in the UN as well as the time allocated discussing Israel’s human rights infringements in the occupied territories. I have written many articles on this in my blog. There is no doubt that those, who support anti-Israel resolutions in the UN, have their own political agendas that are not human rights- oriented. The human rights infringements, cruel murders; torture in the name of so-called Islam is hardly an issue in this impotent world body. IS (Daesh) and the various terrorist movements responsible for the heinous acts of terror all over the world for spreading their cause of establishing an Islamist Caliphate, is not even discussed in this “prestigious”, impotent world body called the UN.
Having said that, we must also be introspective, examining ourselves in Israel and cease justifying attacks on those who think differently to the paranoid right wing extremists within our midst. The siege mentality is affecting many Israelis, who are now moving towards the right and extreme right. Israel is now “blessed” with the most right wing coalition in its history as a knee-jerk reaction.
Of course, the various Palestinian terrorist groups, the head of which is Hamas, followed by Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Brigades with their uncompromising attitude of not recognizing Israel’s right to exist, have closed the door to any form of negotiations for peace and a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. This uncompromising attitude by the Palestinians has been prevalent for many years.
Even under the Rabin Government there was no real progress towards peace. There is no denying that Hamas, which is the deciding factor on peace negotiations, and not President Mahmoud Abbas, who is weak and has no power base or Palestinian support. How can Israel conduct any form of negotiations with any Palestinian representative that does not recognize Israel’s right to exist? That is such a basic condition for any negotiations.
Israel’s strength is its democracy. At the same time, even in the tense situation that Israel finds itself, we must ensure that human rights abuse does not occur. Israel faces individual terrorist attacks almost every day. Lone Palestinian terrorists infiltrate into Israel armed with knives and cars. Stabbing of innocent Israelis or car ramming them is considered an honor and is encouraged by Hamas. Those Palestinian terrorists who commit these violent acts must be dealt with by the full arm of the law, even if it means killing them when caught stabbing innocent people.
Despite all these horrifying and tragic terror attacks that we as Israelis face every day and none of us is guaranteed immunity from these attacks. We must ensure that vigilante, extremist right wing groups do not take the law into their own hands and go on the rampage by killing innocent Palestinian citizens in revenge or carrying out acts of vandalism.  It is unacceptable!
We have to maintain our moral standards and find ways to prevent human rights abuse and violence against innocent Palestinian People committed by overzealous individuals in the security forces, whether they are soldiers or policemen. This has nothing to do with politics. It has plenty to do with human decency, irrespective of one’s political views. It is in this sphere that it is necessary that there are watchdogs that ensure that there are no incidents of human rights abuse of innocent people in the course of IDF and Police duty.
The NGOs such as Breaking the Silence, B'tzelem, New Israel Fund and Peace Now are active in this area. Their activities should be encouraged and not condemned. They do have a positive role to play. There is nothing treacherous or treasonable in what they do in ensuring that the IDF remains “the most moral army in the world”. There may be disagreements in their research methods of maintaining transparency, but this must always be open for inspection of validity and accountability.
Their findings are published and the right wing maintains that groups, such as BDS, the EU and countries hostile to Israel, use their findings to bash Israel. It is unfortunate that this does occur. These human rights Israeli NGOs are on record condemning BDS. Their published findings are on the web and open for all interested parties to read. We cannot choose those who read them and there will be those who will use these find
Meet Lehava, the Israeli Fascists Mounting a Vicious Crusade
 to Keep their Women Away from Arabs
ings to bash Israel. This does not make these NGOs treasonable if they publish the truth. They do not harm Israel’s security and they do have the support of many army and former combatants, who had played their part in defending Israel from its enemies in war. This includes former officers and Mossad heads. These people have played a greater part in defending Israel than Price Tag, Im Tirtzu and Lehava, who are stoking the flames of fascism against those who do not hold their world view. Im Tirtzu is a right wing organization that does have the support of Bayit Hayehudi (the party of Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked in the Government coalition).
Im Tirzu activists demonstrate during a rally
 marking the Nakba anniversary at the Tel Aviv University
The task of ensuring that innocent Palestinians are not abused by the IDF is a difficult challenge and the battle for maintaining Israel’s vibrant democracy goes hand in hand. The accusations of the right wing against the moderate left in Israel by accusing them of treason is not constructive and threatens Israel’s democracy.

An end to the occupation can only occur if there is a desire to end it on both sides. Non-recognition of Israel’s right to exist is a non-starter for any form of negotiations, irrespective of whichever government is in power.

No comments: