Free Speech In Israel Under Attack

The current group of right wing extremists who control the government of Israel make the era of Senator Joseph McCarthy in America resemble a time of freedom of speech rather than the hysteria which led to innocent people–many of whom were Jews–to lose jobs or wind up in jail on charges of being–“un-American.” A new Israel law would limit the rights of Israel citizens to participate in boycotts targeting either Israel or its illegal occupation of the West Bank. Israel civil rights leader, Hagai El Ad, accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “shameful acts” which threaten the foundation of a democratic society. “The boycott law will lead to unprecedented harm to freedom of expression in israel and will bring justified criticism against Israel from abroad.” The law allows any settler on the West Bank to sue for damages against anyone who calls for a boycott against Israel or goods produced in the settlements. The law revokes tax exemptions to any academic, cultural or scientific institution receiving state support which engages in boycott activities.

For decades Israel has boasted it was the only “democracy” in the Middle East. So much for such rhetoric. Israel has taken the first step on the road to totalitarian rule. Whenever right wing religious fanatics gain power, democracy loses power. The tragedy is why do Israelis who believe in democracy allow these right wing fanatics to wield such power?