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Foxman Blasts Anti-Democratic Laws in Israel

Anti-Defamation League chairman Abraham Foxman is urging right-wing Israeli legislators to come out against their colleagues who he believes are endangering Israel both “internally” and “externally” with their recent wave of anti-democratic proposals in Knesset.

“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 wrote in an op-ed on the Huffington Post published Wednesday, entitled The Assault on Israel’s Vibrant Democracy.

“In many of these cases, the Knesset is addressing real and challenging problems,” Foxman surmised. “But it is doing so in the wrong way.”

Foxman acknowledged in his op-ed that some of the issues underlining the proposals were indeed in need of debate, citing 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 Supreme Court may be “hastily” asserting power in the political system.

“All of these matters are legitimate subjects for public debate,” wrote Foxman, but he warned that such debate must not come at the expense of “democratic values”.

“When, however, laws are passed that stifle free expression, seek to undermine the independence of the judiciary and, in the name of defending a Jewish state, seek to undermine the rights of Arabs and other minorities, then the very democratic character of the state is being eroded,” wrote Foxman.

“This is bad for Israel internally,” wrote Foxman. “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.”

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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