Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Michael Sfard

Michael Sfard, an Israeli human rights lawyer, is the author of The Wall and the Gate: Israel, Palestine, and the Legal Battle for Human Rights.

From his Q&A with Slate's Isaac Chotiner:

Do you think this Israeli government is particularly dismissive of human rights concerns compared to its predecessors?

There is no question about it, yes. The current Israeli government, given the uncritical backing of the American administration, feels that it can do anything. The prime minister can oversee the killing of [58] people and still call it a good day for peace, as he did at the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem. The current government is the most right-wing, nationalistic government Israel has ever had in 70 years of its existence. Some of its coalition members hold views, a worldview that I would even call racist and definitely undemocratic and illiberal, and I don’t think there has been any other government in the past that was as dismissive of the human rights of Palestinians and of dissenting voices in Israeli society as this government.

In this government, the process of peeling off democratic principles has accelerated to the degree that it is difficult to say today that Israel is an open and democratic society.

Such as? What principles?

Such as official incitement, governmental incitement against individuals and NGOs who are critical of governmental policy; legislation that is meant to curb political freedom of speech and impose sanctions on political rivals; the attempt to shut down the ability of dissenting elements to find funding; and most viciously, the incitement against the Arab minority in Israel, which was not something done by some peripheral member of Parliament, but by the prime minister himself and the minister of defense, who are both engaging in...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue