Anti-Israeli forces have been having a field-day with the suggestion that Israel's democracy is falling apart. Even normally Pro-Israeli forces from the left have been swept up in this accusation (although it is surely due to their hatred of the right wing rather than any anti-Israel sentiment.) Here, Barry Rubin questions the reality of the accusation.
"It is truly amazing how anti-Israel forces generate so many false stories every day. At a time when revolutionary Islamists are taking over most Middle Eastern countries and the democracy dream in the region is collapsing, one would think that the main threat and evil force in the region is Israel. After all, we live in a time when Thomas Friedman, court jester for Middle East issues, can openly write antisemitic canards in the New York Times (the Israel lobby bought a standing ovation for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Congress!).
What is even more remarkable is how new anti-Israel themes are generated without any evidence whatsoever.
The new one is the idea that Israel, and its democracy, are in danger (moderate version) due to internal extremism or are (radical version) falling apart altogether. At least two new commercially published books make this claim, as do scores of articles and even a speech by the secretary of state. The New York Times publishes an op-ed saying that gays are persecuted in Israel while, of course, they aren’t but are murdered in every other county in the region.
Yet what actual evidence can be accumulated for all of this campaign?
The Knesset had a bill to supervise foreign money received by non-government organizations, a law not so dissimilar from those in Western democracies. And? And? What else happened? Well, nothing at all.
Oh yes, a bus driver took it upon himself to tell a woman to sit in the back of a bus because her sitting elsewhere might disturb Haredi men. She took it to court and, of course, won. A Haredi man in a town spit at an eight-year-old girl, apparently he belongs to some extreme sect or is somewhat disturbed. Even the strictest reading of Jewish law does not justify such an action.
There were huge demonstrations against the actions of this one person or tiny sect. President Shimon Peres publicly called for protests and Jerusalem’s police chief asked rabbis to condemn such behavior. The state and the public is clearly against any violation of democratic norms......."