Israel and the Misrule of Law
As far as its minority Palestinian citizens are concerned, there is no rule of law in Israeli society. That’s why I use the term “misrule” in my post title. There is no democracy for them. As Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotsk used to say in a different context: “there is no justice and there is no law.”
Two shocking developments transpired today in the Knesset. A new bill passed its first reading, named for that despicable traitor (though neither charged nor convicted) Azmi Bishara which would strip a member of all pension, salary and other financial benefits if suspected or convicted of supporting terrorism. Let me single out the salient phrase: if suspected of supporting terror. How the hell do you strip an elected Knesset member of a benefit provided to them by Israeli law based on a suspicion? If this isn’t one of the more outrageous travesties to be discussed in that Hall of Jackals called the Knesset, I don’t know what is.
And the hate of Jewish members isn’t reserved for Bishara, who is erroneously described in this Ynet article as having “escaped” from Israel (he left with full knowledge of the Shabak). A Likud member cast derision on a sitting member, Haneen Zoabi and warned her ominously that she would be next:
MK Miri Regev (Likud) answered Zoabi in the same manner she used after the Gaza flotilla: “Go to Gaza you traitor”
…”Bishara is travelling on the axis of evil between Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, he gives them instructions on how to attack us with missiles – and we need to pay him money. There is no country in the world that pays traitors a salary. Our work will not be done until the traitor who took part in the Gaza flotilla isn’t here.”
Far be it from a Knesset member to express thoughts that have any basis in reality. At the time, there were vague claims in the Israeli media attributed to unnamed Shabak sources that Bishara had aided Hezbollah during the Lebanon war. One of the really clever inanities they suggest is that Bishara actually scouted out targets and coordinates for Hezbollah gunners. But there was never so much as an indictment brought against Bishara, let alone a conviction. He is uncharged and yet this idiot gets to scream utter rubbish from the most august hall in the nation. Of course, she can get away with this nonsense because she has parliamentary immunity, the very protection she wishes to strip from Bishara and Zoabi, and frankly all Palestinian legislators.
The bill’s sponsor even had the temerity to utter this outright lie in characterizing it:
Sanctions must be taken against every person, without religious racial and sexual or national discrimination who is suspected of breaking the law – and who does not present himself to law enforcement authorities.
What nonsense. Every Israeli knows for whom this law is intended. Indeed, Bishara’s name “graces” it. And we all know who and what he is: Arab.
Though I often find myself disagreeing with Meretz, its leader made a statement that contained what was missing in the entire Knesset debate, common sense:
Meretz party chairman Chaim Oron stood out for saying: “A rapist, a murderer of children and thieves don’t get their pensions taken away. Of all the injustices in the world, the harshest must be the one carried out by Azmi Bishara?
Note, the reporter’s comment that Oron “stood out” for having an ounce of common sense and decency. The Knesset, I’m afraid to say, has become a house of ill-repute, filled with hatred and racism. A place in which a majority bays for blood. Yes, I know a few readers will point out that this is just a first reading and the bill faces many obstacles before final passage. All I can is thank God for that. But why does it even have to come to this?
Sorry to say, I’m not done yet. Anyone here remember taking those Civics or American History classes in high school in which you learned the basics of the constitution? One of the fundamental rights was the right to an attorney, right? Not in Israel. If you’re a security suspect (that is, not even indicted, just jailed under suspicion), Shabak can routinely deprive you of the right to consult your attorney. Sure, the prohibition has a time limit. But it is routinely extended, unless lawyers make a big stink as they did in Ameer Makhoul‘s case, which led to him having the unusual privilege of actually meeting his attorney before his conviction.
Well, now there’s a new bill proposed by those wonderful inmates of the House of Misrule better known as the Knesset. Not content with the Shabak’s ability to run roughshod over the few rights a Palestinian Israeli has, they want to prevent a suspect from being denied access to an attorney for A YEAR! But it gets worse. The Public [In]Security minister in this wacky government actually believes that allowing a suspect to meet with his attorney will aid and abet further crimes:
The bill, introduced by Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, aims to keep lawyers from helping their clients “carry out offenses that endanger the security of the public or the state from within jail.”
In other words, the purpose of lawyers isn’t to fulfill the State’s obligation to protect the rights of the accused; rather, the purpose of lawyers is to promote criminality! I swear, sometimes I feel as if I’m looking over the railing at the inmates of an insane asylum as they throw food, chairs, whatever at each other. And I say this will great sorrow and no sense of glee whatsoever. Israel is a country that is near to my heart. But look what these imbeciles are doing to it. To paraphrase Jeremiah: how does the nation sit alone that was once welcome among the nations? A nation of such high hopes and dreams come crashing down amidst hate, fear and authoritarianism.
Remember that quaint concept: the rule of law? You can kiss it goodbye. Yoni, we hardly knew ye.
15 thoughts on “Israel and the Misrule of Law – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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As I understand the Bishara law, it only applies if a mk has left the country. Say what you may about the fairness of Israel’s court, simply not showing up for trial isn’t exactly fair play either.
That’s not what the article said. It applies to any MK who does not show up for a police interrogation. Not showing up for police questioning is not, as far as I know, a crime & certainly has to be proven as such before taking as serious an action as taking away State-approved benefits offered to all other MKs.
The fact that the current crop of lawmakers and legal experts inhabiting the Knesset think that defense attorneys help to facilitate criminality appears to be a classic example of psychological projection to me.
I would disagree that these are shocking developments. Israel has always refused to adopt constitutional protections or guarantees regarding equal rights for women or members of religious and minority groups, even though that was a standard requirement for the termination of a LoN mandate regime. The Council and Assembly of the League of Nations adopted resolutions in 1931 which included that stipulation. Accordingly, the UN partition plan contained an entire chapter devoted to the legal undertakings regarding a minority protection plan. During the UN hearings on Israel’s application for membership, Abba Eban falsely claimed that the minority rights stipulated in UN resolution 181(II) had been constitutionally embodied as the fundamental law of the State of Israel as required by the resolution. See the verbatim record, fifty-first meeting, held at Lake Success, New York, on Monday, 9 May 1949: Ad Hoc Political Committee, General Assembly, 3rd Session, A/AC.24/SR.51, 01/01/1949, page 7 of 21 (printed page 347) http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/AC.24/SR.51
Mr. Eban’s explanations and Israel’s acknowledgment of those undertakings were specifically noted in the text and footnotes of General Assembly Resolution 273 (III) “Admission of Israel to membership in the United Nations”, 11 May 1949.
Together with the “Status Quo Agreement” between the Jewish Agency and the World Agudat leadership, the Women’s Equal Rights Law of 1951 specifically excluded marriage and divorce laws from its guarantees of equality for women. That exclusion laid the parliamentary ground rules for the subsequent subordination of equality to religious values in the Israel legal system.
Comparisons between the State of Israel’s legal system and the Nuremburg race laws were published by Hannah Arendt in “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil”. She noted the ‘breathtaking naiveté’ with which the prosecutor claimed “We make no ethnic distinctions,” while he denounced the Nuremberg Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor of 1935 on the grounds that it had prohibited intermarriage and sexual relations between Jews and Germans. She felt it was rather ironic, since rabbinical law legally governed the personal status of Jewish citizens, so that no Jew could marry a non-Jew. She explained that it had nothing to do with respect for the faith, but rather that religious and non-religious Jews seemed to think it was desirable to have a law that prohibited intermarriage. She observed that children of mixed marriages were legally bastards, and that if a person didn’t have a Jewish mother he could neither be married nor buried. She said that government officials admitted to her privately that they were agreed upon the undesirability of a written constitution in which that sort of thing would have to be spelled out.
Today, the MKs in the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee openly admit that there can’t be any guarantee of equality for non-Jewish citizens in the future Constitution, unless it contains a clause stipulating that relevant High Court decisions can be overruled by parliamentary legislation. See for example the Haaretz article ‘MKs debate protection of ‘equality’ in future constitution”, http://www.haaretz.com/news/mks-debate-protection-of-equality-in-future-constitution-1.234565
That’s an entire legal tutorial in a few hundred words. I marvel at yr command of the history. Good stuff & thanks.
Yes, thank a lot. I didn’t know that Abba Eban deliberately lied. No wonder the Israelis don’t trust anybody. “It takes one to know one”.
ThankS a lot.
Abba Eban deliberately lied about a number of things. I heard some of those lies come out of his mouth with my own ears.
Why should we believe the Israeli government would accept the rule of law any more than their godfathers, the U.S. government, which has been subverting international law for years, including their own constitution. Both societies are becoming more and more totalitarian with each passing day.
This proposed law is yet another step in the process by which Israel is abandoning the pretense of internal democracy.
What happened with the charges laid against Bishara in 2001? I’m basing this question on the apparent fact stated in the Wikipedia site on A.B. (though I am aware that I/P topics are the site of constant struggle there, so open to the possibility that this is not actually correct): “Upon his return to Israel [from Syria in 2001], he was indicted and charged with incitement to violence and support for Terror Ordinance.”
The Wikipedia entry then moves to jBishara’s actions in 2007, without any reference to the results of the earlier charges. Were they dropped? Was there a trial, and if so with what result?
Sorry, I accidentally blitzed a portion of the Wikipedia excerpt, which should read:
:: Upon his return to Israel, he was indicted and charged with incitement to violence and support for a terrorist organization, as defined by Israel’s Prevention of Terror Ordinance. ::
Decided to google for an answer to my question:
After the Knesset stripped Bishara of his immunity (for speech, not any action) a trial resulted, which began in late February 2002, scheduled to continue in April 2002. On April 1, 2003, the Nazareth Magistrate Court dismissed the indictment filed against him.
I’d be grateful to anyone who could provide further details or context for the dismissal of the indictment.
It is routine for Israeli Palestinians Knesset members to be accused of, investigated for, & even indicted for various security related crimes. They are almost never convicted & rarely even are charges filed. It’s a regular pattern of secret police harassment.
Could you or anyone here who edits Wikipedia update the Bishara entry to reflect this information. Thanks.
Somewhat off-topic, or perhaps not: no comment on the GOI preventing Mordechai Vanunu from receiving an award from the ILHR?
RE: “A nation of such high hopes and dreams come crashing down amidst hate, fear and authoritarianism.” – R.S.
FLAUBERT: “Those who have, those who used to have, and those who are trying to have. But they are all united in their imbecile worship of Authority.” — Gustave Flaubert, Sentimental Education
So glad to learn that the new law explains in detail what “suspected” means. Otherwise, if an Arab suspected a Jew of terrorism, the Jew would lose all Knesset benefits — even if never found guilty of terrorism (or whatever). And that would be really, really bad. Whereas mere suspicion of an Arab by a Jew, well, that’s another matter entirely. And if the police or public prosecutor do the suspecting * * * (Kosher).