The tyranny of the majority threatens to emerge in Israel

The tyranny of the majority threatens to emerge in Israel


Protesters fear that the reforms the cabinet wants to implement will damage democracy and harm the public right-wing extremist It makes it easier for the government to implement controversial plans. How justified are these concerns?

Supreme Court infiltration

The most criticized reform concerns the rule of law. A majority of Parliament should soon be able to pass laws that the Supreme Court will rule as inconsistent with the Constitution. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says reform is necessary to “restore the balance of power”. According to some Israelis, the court will interfere a lot in decision-making in recent decades.

But experts are skeptical. Erwin van Veen, a Middle East scholar at the Clingendael Institute, says reform makes possible “the tyranny of the majority.” “If the Supreme Court vetoes a law or a decision, Parliament can say, ‘We’ll do it anyway. Then the judiciary will be replaced by legislation.'”

Worrying, Dutch-Israeli (UvA) anthropologist Irella Graciani agrees. “Half plus one will soon be able to make decisions that directly contradict the basic rights of minorities.”

Thousands of people are demonstrating in Tel Aviv against the new government

It is not farfetched to think that the new government intends to do so. Although Netanyahu says his government exists for all citizens, Palestinians and LGBT people in particular often suffer deeply from his Haredi coalition partners. “The Lhbti people have always had the support of the more liberal parts of politics, but now they hardly have a voice in government,” says Graciani.

“The Netherlands didn’t do anything about the violations”

Graciani, who is one of the founders of a platform for Israelis in the Netherlands who oppose the occupation of Palestinian lands, looks on with regret. “For the average Palestinian in Israel, the current government is, above all, another step in the wrong direction, the next stop in a decades-old corridor.”

A two-state solution, in which Israel and the Palestinians live side by side peacefully in their own state, seems more distant than ever. Van Veen believes that other countries should recognize this reality and act accordingly. “The Netherlands is still focused on the two-state solution, but Israel put that idea aside much earlier. It has not given Israel the experience of having Palestine prove itself as a functioning state a serious chance.”

Israel has a long time Record Of violations of international law and the rights of Israeli Arabs and the rights of Palestinians. But the Netherlands rarely attaches tangible consequences to this.

So far, he and Grasciani predict, the Netherlands will not take a stand “not even with more abuse”. The Netherlands is not a big international player, Graciani says, but minorities in Israel shouldn’t expect pressure from other countries either.

“suppress not objection”

Another question is how the Muslim countries neighboring Israel will behave. With a number of countries in the region, Israel has had a good turn over the past few years Better (business) relationships. Van Veen expects normalization to stop “if the Israeli government makes life more difficult for the Palestinians than it already is.”

Graciani thinks otherwise. “The relations were established at a time when there was already severe oppression of the Palestinians. It was not an objection then and it will not be now.”

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