Israel’s new Justice Minister has introduced a package of “reforms” which, like reforms introduced in all fascist states from Nazi Germany to Orban’s Hungary, will eviscerate the foundations of democracy and rule of law. Primary among the destructive proposals is the “override clause,” which permits the Knesset by majority vote to override any Supreme Court decision. Meaning that any law disqualified by the Court could be reinstated by the legislature. It turns the Court into a body left to enforce traffic tickets.
This is a key element of the fascist agenda of the new government. Hitler passed legislation shortly after the Reichstag Fire granting him sweeping powers to override both the judiciary and the legislature. It entitled him to rule by decree. The new Israeli proposals don’t go that far. But they don’t need to. The far-right has dominant control in the Knesset. Any bill Bibi wants passed will be passed.
There are only two forces he must fear: outside pressure by the US and other states against these draconian proposals; or a mass uprising in the streets. Though both are slowly mounting, neither has enough power to counter the New Fascism. One Israeli columnist I read said that another force for restraint might be the Israeli oligarchs who own 60% of the country’s capital and dominate wide swaths of the economy. But they have never stood in Bibi’s way before. As long as the economy keeps rolling and the profits continue to pour into their coffers, I doubt they will rock the boat.
Another proposal affects the attorney general. She has the power to review proposed legislation and determine its compatibility with Israeli law. She can disqualify any bill impending before the Knesset. The proposal by the new government would only permit her to review legislation. But her recommendation could be ignored by the government.
Also, legal advisors for all ministries are currently appointed independently of the ministers. The former review proposed regulations and determine whether they are permitted. The lawyer may disqualify a proposed regulation. The reform proposal would give ministers power to appoint their own advisors and to ignore any legal finding offered.
— the little prince (@thelitt80824365) January 13, 2023
Now, in the category of Oldies but Goodies, listen (video above) to Bibi “Pinocchio” Netanyahu from a past Knesset TV interview on the importance of an independent judiciary:
There were proposals to expand or reduce the power of the Supreme Court, one of the cornerstones of our democracy. I stopped them! ALL of them! I simply upheld the independence of the Supreme Court. I made a decision. One that is clear: I am a great believer in checks and balances. In restraint on authority. The Supreme Court and the judicial system is one of the three crowns of democracy, of a healthy democratic system. And I will not permit anyone to harm it.
Jewish Taliban: ‘we have only just begun’
Haaretz profiles MK Avi Maoz, founder of the homophobic Jewish Taliban Party, Noam, on his plans for a Judeo-theocratic state:
“Our flag is a single-minded war on Progress. We must change the status quo and ensure that Judaism will fill every corner of the State. Israel will be a state which observes Shabbat in public. LGBTQ families will not be recognized. Women will not serve in the army. Their contribution will be via marriage and raising children. We will not be like other nations who are for all their citizens, God forbid. The values of Judaism are superior to the rights of the individual.
Look, I now have the tools and [government] funding. I came to work. We will clean up public institutions. Trust me, we have patience. This is just the beginning.
This is a frightening version of the old Carpenters lyric: “we have only just begun.” Except that Maoz is not making a promise. And he’s not talking about love as Karen Carpenter was. He’s making a threat and a deadly one.
Be very clear: this is not a drill. This is the real thing. When Hitler stood on the stage at Nuremberg, the world trembled. Though Israel is not Nazi Germany and the Knesset is not Nuremberg, these new proposals are no less significant in Israeli terms than what Hitler proposed there.
They will turn Israel into a Jewish version of Afghanistan. I don’t like using the word “Jewish” because Avi Maoz does not represent Judaism. He represents Talibanism, a fundamentalist creed that is hateful and redolent of oppression. Morality police. Throwing women not only to the back of the bus, but off it entirely. Gays denied medical treatment. Pride Parades declared illegal. Almost all Jews in the Diaspora and most Israeli Jews reject this as any reasonable facsimile of Judaism as they know it.
But these are the new Sheriffs in Town. They make the rules. They pass the laws. As of now, no one stands in their way. They have a clear road to fascism. Will the Israeli people and the world let them take it?