Netanyahu Should Focus on Strengthening Israel’s Democracy

Caroline Glick argues that, in his next term, Benjamin Netanyahu should work to curb anti-democratic forces in Israel. A beginning move would expand freedom of the press by striking back against a recent attempt by left-leaning legislators to outlaw the right-leaning newspaper Israel Hayom:

The government should act as quickly as possible to open the television and radio waves to market forces. Everyone with the financial wherewithal should have the right to buy and operate a radio or television station. To achieve this, the government needs to take two steps.

First, it needs to end all restrictions on content in television and radio broadcasting aside from provisions barring the airing of pornography and other social ills. Second, it needs to make media licensing conditional on the licensee’s prior agreement to broadcast IDF messages during states of emergency. . . .

The Israel Hayom draft law was a threat to Israeli democracy. And the threat would have been carried out if the election results had been different. To ensure that we don’t face a similar threat in the future, we need a media market full of different voices saying different things, competing for our attention. As long as Israel Hayom remains the only mass-media organ with a unique voice, it will remain under threat from the forces that prefer unanimity to variety in our public discourse.

Next, writes Glick, for practical reasons the prime minister should reconsider the bill declaring Israel “the nation-state of the Jewish people,” and instead focus on procedural reforms that will more effectively solve the problems the bill was intended to address:

Although the next Knesset will have the votes to pass the nation-state bill, there is no pressing need to do so. . . . The reason it doesn’t matter one way or another is that he legislation is redundant. Its central components, those that define Israel as the Jewish state, are already anchored in standing law. . . .

The left opposed the [nation-state bill] because its leaders feared the law would weaken the Supreme Court. . . . The problem with this view—shared by the bill’s right-wing proponents and its left-wing opponents—is that . . . Supreme Court justices have no compunction about ignoring the explicit language of standing laws, including Basic Laws with quasi-constitutional weight. . . .

It is impossible to reform the legal system by passing laws that justices and governmental legal advisers will ignore. The only way to reform the legal system and so strengthen Israeli democracy is to take direct steps to curb the anti-democratic powers that the legal fraternity, led by the court, has arrogated.

Read more at Caroline Glick

More about: Basic Law, Benjamin Netanyahu, Freedom of Speech, Israel & Zionism, Israeli politics, Supreme Court of Israel


Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security