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by Rhonda Spivak, December 4, 2011

The op-ed Abe Foxman, Anti-Defamation League chairman has written this week  in  the  the Huffington Post  entitled "The Assault on Israel's Vibrant Democracy" is worth a read.

There are many reasons why the recent spate of domestic legislation in Israel -- regarding non-governmental organizations, the media, Israel as a Jewish State, the Supreme Court -- is disturbing," Foxman writes in the op-ed.

Foxman  notes in his op-ed that some of the issues underlining the proposals brought  in the Knesset were indeed in need of debate. He cites for example the foreign governments and groups that fund certain Israeli human rights organizations, the perception that Israeli media is "tilted to the left" and the fear that the Israeli Supreme Court may be "hastily" asserting power in the political system.

"All of these matters are legitimate subjects for public debate," says Foxman, but he  also cautions that such debate must not come at the expense of "democratic values".

"This is bad for Israel internally," Foxman, writes,pointed out that the majority of these proposals had been submitted by Yisrael Beiteinu.. "The modern state of Israel was founded on the principles of democracy and pluralism. Moreover, on a practical level, democracy has been the glue holding together a disparate community."

"And it will hurt Israel externally, particularly at a time when delegitimization campaigns are rampant and when so much of the international community sees Israel as blocking peace efforts," he adds.

Foxman concludes. "What really ought to happen, however, is that more leaders from Israel rightist camps should be standing up against efforts to undermine Israel's judicial, press and speech freedoms."

"They must assert that not only is democracy an essential component of Israel's very being and a potent constructive force throughout Israel's history, but that the defense of Israel's vibrant democratic traditions are a core value for those on the political right."


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.