Why is Israel REALLY Acting This Way?
I have just finished reading an article by Thomas L. Friedman in the New York Times. He was commenting on the war that Israel is currently fighting, from many perspectives, it is an existential war and politics have been suspended by many for the time being.
In his analysis, titled “Why is Israel Acting this way?” Friedman writes “what makes this war different for me from any war before is Israel’s internal politics,” and he goes on to talk about the “kidnapping of democracy in plain sight.”
Yes, there has been a serious division politically in Israel, and yes, these divisions most likely did embolden Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, but in Israel, nothing is simple. Friedman, in typical “mainstream media” fashion, then goes on to put the cart before the horse, saying that the political right “tried to take over Israel’s judiciary and other key institutions by eliminating the power of Israel’s Supreme Court to exercise judicial review.”
One of the first things that needs to be said here, is that the term Judicial review and what it entails, is very much dependent upon the existence of a written constitution. Such a document does not exist in Israel and using such a term is misleading, since the majority of his readers are likely American.
I stand to be corrected; I believe that in America, the judiciary has the power (is obliged?) to review any law passed by the houses and to overturn it if they deem it to be “unconstitutional.” If the law is not unconstitutional, then it is incumbent for the judiciary to interpret the law within the bounds of the constitution.
As stated, judicial review is conducted with the framework of the constitution and the interpretation thereof…..but the buck stops there. Even the judiciary is bound by the constitution – there is a limit to how much it can be “stretched,” for want of a better word.
This, in my opinion, is judicial review and it happens there all the time, but again, I stand to be corrected.
A judiciary system, without checks and balances is, well, er…….a law unto themselves.
This is the situation that exists in Israel, the buck has nowhere to stop.
In Israel, a law passed by the Knesset, after all the various reviews and corrections, can be struck down by the judiciary for whatever reason. I have even heard the word “unconstitutional” used within the context of debate on Israeli law. In Israel, the judiciary can make it’s own laws, many believe it has done so, and the elected government is powerless to stop it.
I personally believe, that Israel’s recent intelligence failure is a direct consequence of judicial intervention into military matters. Judea and Sumeria have been under military rule for many years, and for almost as long, the Israeli judiciary for whatever reason, (there are many possibilities) have been insinuating themselves and their power, into these areas.
As a result and for many years now, the military has not been able to respond as the military should, at those times when they should have done so. The military, in a sense, lost faith in itself and despite basking in it’s own “best army in the world” glow, I think that the pervasive attitude was “what the hell are we doing this for?”
Everybody needs direction, even an army needs direction.
For many years now Israel has sacrificed it’s citizens, sacrificed them on the altar of public opinion, in an effort to appease the West and their beloved “Two state solution,” which in itself, is a horse flayed beyond recognition.
In 2005, the sacrifice began in earnest, with the withdrawal from Gaza – I will not go into the ramifications of Oslo here.
Whole families were uprooted with some having to be dragged out by force, things not really seen since the withdrawal from Yamit in 1982. Israeli agricultural and industrial infrastructures were left in situ for the Gazans to use, they (infrastructures) were either destroyed, or used to manufacture weapons to kill Jews.
I am very specific about nomenclature, I mean “killing Jews” because that is what Hamas stands for it is their raison d’etre as stated in their founding literature.
Things went well(?) for two years, until Hamas won the elections and went on a rampage, then the rockets started, and in 2007, Israel imposed it’s much maligned but entirely legal blockade.
Since then, Israelis living in border areas particularly along the border with Gaza, have been subjected to rocket fire from time to time, as well as various incursions of terrorists, and violent attacks on citizens in the street in many other areas in Israel.
Israeli citizens in border regions have suffered in silence, for years being under threat of lethal rocket attacks that the Israeli government called “drizzle.” Few people in the world actually have any idea what it is like to live under such threat, when the time from air raid siren – to potential impact, is 15 whole seconds. Talk about living life on the edge!
Think about that for a few seconds…. too long, <<<<<<BANG>>>>>> you’re dead! Need to get to that shelter quicker.
Israel has showed much restraint over the years in an effort to show the world how humane and magnanimous she is. In the Middle East, this is considered a weakness, but this is a concept the West cannot understand.
Israel has played along, and the judiciary has gotten in the way of reprisals and plans as much as possible.
So, in order to correct Mr Friedman’s misconception, many on the right actually campaigned for judicial reform. As a consequence of what I stated above, judicial reform, is the only real way to rein in a rampant judiciary and many in Israel believe this to be the case.
After campaigning on a platform for judicial reforms and managing to get a relatively strong coalition on that basis, I believe that the only “kidnapping of democracy” is being done by those who are trying to stop the democratic process, namely said “Judicial Reforms” from happening.
I understand that Mr Friedman is likely still looking through the “two state” lens and that he may wish to lay blame for Israel’s behaviour at the feet of the “Israeli far-right and ultra-Orthodox politicians led by Netanyahu,” but this is just his own conflation, since the two have little to do with one another.
Israel is behaving like this, because Israelis understand that this is a existential war. We have lived with the idea of “deterence” that Friedman so glibly mentions, for years, – and look where that has gotten us! We are behaving like this, because Hamas’ actions, ones that they initially boasted about but are now trying to explain away, have shown that they are no better than the Nazis. They need to be treated as such, both by Israel, and by the world.
We know, that the only way to deal with Hamas is the same way that the world dealt with Hitler after their game of “deterence” with him didn’t work either…
Mr Friedman doesn’t live in Israel, but I wonder how he’d feel if he knew that Charles Manson was his neighbour. Would he strive then, for deterence, in the hope of peaceful coexistence?
I doubt it.
Mr. Friedman, your opinion piece is a cheap political shot – an attempt at fanning a political divide that you do not really understand.
Just an afterthought.
Israel’s legal system is a complex one, to my understanding, there are still elements of Turkish law (pre 1917/18) and most definitely British law, a heritage from previous occupiers of a land that was once ruled by Torah Law.
The world has forgotten this.