- On October 31, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel
(ACRI) expressed concern about "two contradictory main trends"
in Israel's Knesset winter session:
- following its previous one, enacting more anti-democratic
- counter-measures to promote laws promoting social and
economic rights, perhaps incentivized by summer social justice protests.
- Mostly, however, anti-democratic measures outnumber alternatives.
ACRI expressed alarm. On November 8, a brief report headlined, "Knesset
Continues Attempts to Silence Civil Society," saying:
- Last week, Israel's Knesset winter session began. So
far, proposed social justice bills lost out to anti-democratic ones. A
coalition defeated them. Expect an amendment severely curtailing free expression
- This weekend, the Ministerial Committee on Legislation
will vote on two bills. One aims to impede the work of civil society groups
by restricting their international funding.
- The proposed Associations Law wants strict monetary limits
placed on their ability to function. It stipulates that Israeli NGOs seeking
to influence state policy at most can receive $6,000 from foreign donors.
- Israel's civil society and human rights organizations
are at risk. Dark Knesset forces want them eliminated, perhaps by successive
- A similar bill seeks to amend the Income Tax Order to
make foreign state entity funding taxed at 45%. Passage will effectively
confiscate half their donations.
- Introduced in July, it was put on hold. Now it's back.
ACRI's Executive Director, Hagai El-Ad, said:
- "Once again, we see biased legislation, whose real
purpose is to harm Israeli organizations that are inconvenient to the current
- "However, in a democracy, freedom of expression,
protest, and assembly must be afforded to the entire spectrum of opinions
and positions, not only to those that are approved by the government."
- "Even more outrageous is the claim that donations
received from countries that have longstanding, deep relationships with
Israel, donations that are intended to promote democracy and human rights,
are illegitimate - while at the same time, many governmental and private
bodies receive much greater sums of international donations that are not
currently set to be restricted, simply because they serve the positions
of the current political majority."
- Gideon Levy's new Haaretz article addressed the above
issue. Headlined, "A new Israel in the making," he said:
- "The future is now. The revolution is in progress;
just wait for what's to come." A new Israel is being formed. It won't
resemble the old one, "which already has its share of flaws, distortions
- And when Israelis understand a new reality, "it
will be too late." The old Israel will be remembered as democratic
despite being far from it. New Knesset laws are shaping its Orwellian replacement.
- "Even this article won't be publishable." Only
government-approved opinions will be sanctioned. New laws and regulations
"will bar publication of anything that could, in the eyes of authorities,
harm the state."
- Increasingly, truth is endangered. New legislation will
prohibit defaming the state. Newspapers and other publications will differ
from now. So will television, radio, classroom education, and what's spoken
- Say, write, or broadcast something wrong, and risk arrest.
Police state laws will mandate it. "No media outlet will be able to
go beyond the bounds of the law due to the draconian penalties for running
afoul of them."
- "The word 'occupation' will be illegal, as will
the expression 'Palestinian state.' Treasonous journalists will be pilloried
or arrested, or at least fired. That day is not long coming."
- What's happening now incrementally and in Jerusalem will
infect all Israel. "Today Jerusalem, tomorrow the whole country."
- A Jewish state will symbolize tyranny. Judaism will be
debased. Rabbis will be complicit or defrocked.
- Cities will be forced shut on Shabbat. Nothing will open.
Non-kosher restaurants will be illegal. Unregistered couples will be barred
from living together. Mixed marriage partners will be deported. Public
displays of affection will be outlawed.
- Young men and women refusing military service will lose
citizenship rights and be deported. Jews only will hold public office and
others of importance. Arabs will be disqualified.
- MKs refusing to "sing the national anthem's words
about the 'yearning of the Jewish soul' will be permanently removed."
- Mostly without rights now, Israeli Arabs will be barred
from universities, except perhaps for token quotas too small to matter.
Renting to Arabs will be illegal. So will having them in Jewish communities
except as servants performing menial tasks.
- Speaking, writing, and publishing in Arabic will be prohibited.
"The poetry of Arab poet Mahmoud Darwish and his Jewish compatriots
Aharon Shabtai and Yitzhak Laor will be banned." So will other writers,
authors, academics, and scholars who don't conform to state diktats.
- Only declared Zionists will be published, allowed on
air, permitted to teach students at any level, or hold government positions.
- The West Bank and East Jerusalem will be annexed. Palestinians
will be dispossessed. Gaza will stay besieged. Militarized occupation will
continue. So will ongoing incursions and attacks, as well as middle-of-the-night
arrest raids and imprisonments.
- Jews stepping out of line won't be spared. Left-of-center
political parties and organizations will be prohibited, their leaders arrested
- Many others will be blacklisted, forbidden to speak publicly,
give interviews, or leave the country. Laws already discriminate unfairly
between Arabs and Jews. Ahead, they'll be much more extreme. "The
death penalty will apply only to Arabs." Perhaps attacking and shooting
them openly will be allowed. Stepped-up Kristallnacht attacks may become
- Settlers will be authorized to grab any land they wish.
Seizing it violently will be legal. "(M)ilitary censorship will ban
any news item that could 'harm the strength of the Israel Defense Forces.'
- Supreme Court judicial authority will be curtailed. Knesset
members will choose justices. Only settlers, rabbis, and ruling party members
will qualify. Religious justices only may become chief justice.
- A "Council of Torah Sages" will decide all
war and peace issues. Palestinian statehood won't be tolerated. Conflict
will persist over peace.
- "Actually, you don't need much imagination to come
up with all this. The future is now." It's unfolding in plain sight.
- Israel already isn't fit to live in. Imagine what's fast
approaching. No wonder many Jews are voting with their feet and leaving.
Maybe one day they all will!
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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