Israel does not always reveal the limitations it places on the liberty and scope of political activity of Palestinians in Israel. At times, limitations are concealed in universal wording ostensibly covering the entire population. Whether the target group of many of these bills, some enacted into law, is made clear, or when they are given a pretense of universality, Israeli society as a whole suffers. It increasingly becomes a closed society, intolerant to democratic and equal rights discourse. Political Scientist Amal Jamal contends the political system in Israel is characterized by a quasi-democratic dynamism that in fact strangles the state's democratic potential.1 Indeed, Knesset bills restricting democratic activity now benefit from the support of a guaranteed majority of Knesset members.

This situation severely harms the rights and political and legal status of the Palestinians in Israel; it will also eventually diminish the scope of Israel’s formal democracy. For example, human rights organizations, university departments, and individual academics are under attack for being “leftist” or anti-Israel. Some observers view these attacks as steps along the path towards a fascist regime. Professor of Political Science Naomi Chazan notes: “One can indeed say there is a worrisome fascist trend in Israel. People talk only about who is, and is not, a patriot. This trend is a slippery slope. This country is undergoing a process of great change, and nobody has noticed it, because it is creeping. The slope becomes steeper, and when things worsen, nobody will be able to stop it"…

This issue covers:

  •     Harbingers of facism
  •     Undermining civil society
  •     Jewish towns acting to prevent Arab residents

Access the document here.

Also available in Hebrew here (PDF).

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