Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, the nation of Israel was a shining example of democracy in a region where openly expressing ideas could lead to prison or death. Alas, right wing religious fundamentalists have increased their power in the Knesset and are determined to make Israel into a shining example of silence about government policies. A bill proposed by the party of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman which threatened free speech passed by a vote of 47 to 16. It establishes a commission whose task is to check on activities of human right groups which identify issues of concern in the occupied West Bank that endanger free speech and press. Hagai el-Ad, director of the Association of Civil Rights in Israel(ACRI) commented: “the goal is eventually to weaken human rights groups and make them less effective in exposing, questioning, and affecting government policies.” Naturally, proponents claim anyone who questions what happens in the West Bank is part of an international conspiracy that seeks to delegitimise the nation of Israel.
Actually, the current government does a wonderful job of making Israel disliked throughout the world for its policies of denying basic freedom to those who question the government. The enemy threatening the existence of Israel is not out there– it is in here.