Israel Doesn’t Need External Pressure to Maintain Its Democratic and Moral Values

Nov. 10 2021

Dan Schueftan recently received a challenge from a fellow Israeli liberal. “Imagine,” his interlocutor said, “how Israel would behave if human-rights organizations did not exist, or if international groups turned a blind eye,” his implication being that whatever these organizations’ flaws and excesses, they provide an important check on the Jewish state. Nonsense, says Schueftan, and not only because of the moral bankruptcy of such groups as the once-noble Human Rights Watch or the always-corrupt UN Human Rights Council:

An unbiased examination of some of Israel’s most serious human-rights groups indicates that these organizations have not contributed in any major way to addressing human-rights issues. In 1956, after the Kafr Kassem massacre [of Arab villagers unwittingly violating a curfew, by Israeli police who assumed they were doing so intentionally], the shame felt by Israel and the condemnation issued by the government did not come about through local or foreign rights groups or international pressure.

Then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon was ousted in 1983 regardless of external pressure after he failed to prevent the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre, in which Christian Lebanese forces slaughtered hundreds of Palestinians. The Shin Bet dismissed its heads in 1984 after two Palestinian bus hijackers were executed by its members. This, too, was not the result of outside pressure.

In these and other crucial moments, Israel’s democracy operated through public opinion, the legislature, the media, and the Knesset, within the framework of checks and balances. None of these prevented—and based on human experience, could not prevent—serious deviations from the conduct demanded of a multicultural society. But they did prove that lessons can be learned, culprits punished, and wrongdoing condemned.

The U.S. general Norman Schwarzkopf was asked during the 1991 Gulf War how he would conduct the war without France. “Going to war without France is like going hunting without an accordion,” he said. The same is true of Israel and the human-rights organization we know today.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Human Rights, Israeli democracy, Israeli politics, UN h

 

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship