Acts like this destroy democracy

By David Newman, January 13, 2011
Lieberman: those who oppose the probe are “traitors”

Lieberman: those who oppose the probe are “traitors”

The delegitimisation of Israel reached a new peak last week with continued attacks on its democracy. But this time the damage was not done by private groups or foreign governments and anti-Israel lobbies. This time the worsening of its reputation as a state which values democracy and freedom of speech was caused directly by members of the Knesset.

No, not by Arab MKs critical of the occupation, but by extreme right-wing MKs, self-proclaimed super-patriots who falsely portray themselves as its defenders.

Their most recent decision to probe NGOs which have different political opinions to their own and which promote human rights, Israeli-Palestinian dialogue and freedom of speech, has become the single most serious threat facing the country as a true member of the family of democratic nations.

It is all too easy to seek "enemies" among the radical left, fundamentalist Islam or the racists of the far right. The real damage is coming from those groups who falsely set themselves up as defenders of the Jewish state.

They no longer have the right to cast a stone in the direction of the Israel haters, because they are responsible for eroding the very values around which the state was created and has existed for the past 60 years.

The attempt to legislate against NGOs and free speech, and the desire to control the curriculum of schools and universities through some centrally imposed ideology is McCarthyism and is destroying Israel as a democracy.

David Newman is a professor of political geography at Ben-Gurion University. This is an abridged version of an article published by the Jerusalem Post

Last updated: 12:46pm, January 13 2011