I recall the glorious days in the 1940s when American Jews welcomed the arrival of the state of Israel which had become the only democratic society in the Middle East. At age 80, I now face the prospect that democracy will soon vanish from the state of Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended a new law which makes it a crime to support boycotts against Israel or settlers on the West Bank. Listen to his words: “Don’t get confused. I approved the law, and if I hadn’t approved it it wouldn’t have passed. I am against boycotts targeting Israel.” He fears “savage and irresponsible attacks on a democracy.” The law allows one to sue those advocating a boycott even if not damaged by such actions. The European Union issued a statement that recognized the right of Israel to pass its own laws, but expressed dismay at restrictions on freedom of speech.
We Jews have come along way from being advocates of freedom of speech, freedom of religion,and equal rights for all. Today, thousands of Jews support restrictions of free speech and discrimination against Muslim residents in Israel. We Jews once stood tall for the right to speak your ideas. Today, we have met the enemy of freedom, and we is he!