Ever since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his intention to “reform” Israel’s Supreme Court (reform as in strip it of power) there have been widespread and large protests.  For a while it seemed to have worked as he “suspended” his plans, but more recently he decided he was moving ahead.  The protests have grown, and not just from people in the streets.

Recently over a thousand reservists in the Israeli Air Force signed a letter stating they would not serve a dictatorship and would refuse call ups to duty.

Since then over 10,000 reservists in the Israeli Defense Force have signed a similar letter.

The protests in the streets have grown to the point where the govt. is resorting to water cannons to disperse them.

And most recently over a thousand doctors walked off the job.

UPDATE: Measurable damage is taking place with Israel’s economy, which you can read about in this linked LA Times article.

I find the part about their military particularly instructive.  Look, part of the reason I hesitated to tackle this subject at all is a personal thing and it would take too long to get into it here.  But let’s just say as a Marine and of 1980s vintage the interactions with the “vaunted” Israeli forces and my Marine Corps were shall we say “testy” at best.  Still, even if they can’t project power even fifty miles outside their own border Israeli troops have proven, as have troops in so many other places in so many wars proven formidable indeed when defending their home soil.  This growing revolt with the reserves is showing signs of spreading, and not just with reservists.  It poses very real concerns about that country’s defense posture.  That’s one BFD.

Add in the other things, and the prospect of a public union strike being talked about and it’s clear.  Israel is in the midst of a growing crisis.  There has been fierce resistance to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempt to strip power from the Israeli Supreme Court – and it’s growing.  Because many believe it puts them on a path to dictatorship.  Add in that “Bibi” has long face corruption charges but managed to hang on to power, some eerie parallels can be drawn between him and Trump.  As in a politician who needs to be the top official with all the protections of that office to shield himself from investigation and even (if it comes to that) prosecution.

Am I the only one who sees David Frum’s grim prediction that if the GOP can’t win at the ballot box they won’t abandon their overly conservative ideals but will instead abandon Democracy being played out in Israel?  Am I the only one who sees a striking similarity to the corrupt Trump and GOP that believes by god even if the people at-large don’t agree THEY should rule, and the corrupt Netanyahu and Likud Party that believes the same thing?

During the past week here in the U.S. we’ve learned of Trump’s plan to take over all three branches of our government, effectively making himself a dictator.  Some argue that by stripping the Israeli courts of power and allowing the Knesset to set aside any of their rulings by a simple majority vote Netanyahu is aiming for the same end.  There’s also something else that one needs to take into consideration:

Israel doesn’t have a Constitution!

You read that right.  Here’s a fair summary from Wikipedia.  In particular there is this passage from the entry:

“According to Israel’s Declaration of Independence of 14 May 1948, a constituent assembly should have prepared a constitution by 1 October 1948. The delay and the eventual decision on 13 June 1950 to legislate a constitution chapter by chapter, resulted primarily from the inability of different groups in Israeli society to agree on the purpose of the state, on the state’s identity, and on a long-term vision. Another factor was the opposition of David Ben-Gurion (Prime Minister 1958-1954 and 1955-1963), who thought that a formal written constitution would allow the Israeli Supreme Court to overrule his socialist policies.”

So in effect, Israel never followed it’s own founding principle regarding the governance of the new country.  Over time thirteen Basic Laws would become an informal Constitution, but pushes for a formal one in the past have fallen short.  However, in Israel as in other representative democracies an independent judicial system has been the bulwark against overreach by the rest of the government.  History teaches us that when democracies lose an independent judiciary it’s game over.  And that is what Netanyahu and his far right Likud Party intend to do.

He/they had a helluva time forming a working government to begin with.  Our system is messy but so are Parliamentary ones.  In my view, since the Party that puts together the government after elections chooses the Prime Minister who will run things it makes an independent judiciary and especially Supreme Court all the more crucial.   But again, some serious negotiating with other Parties was necessary for Netanyahu and the Likud Party to put together their coalition.  For the life of me I can’t understand why those other Parties have delivered enough votes to pass this first step of stripping their Supreme Court of power.

Netanyahu is a zealot, and possessed of a self-righteousness that will cause him to turn around and screw every other Party the same way Trump will throw anyone under the bus to acquire and hold on to power!

So Israel is in chaos.  Which is getting worse by the day.  If you haven’t been keeping an eye on this you should.  At the risk of sticking my head into the lion’s mouth and opening myself to charges of anti-Semitism state that the U.S. in particular has had a complicated relationship with Israel from the time of their announcement of the State of Israel.  And that Israel has taken many actions that have made our own position in the world more complicated than it should be because we have to back their actions no matter what.

So often the argument stopper is that they’re the only democratic country in the region.  What if they do slide into dictatorship?  What then?  We used to think it was impossible it could happen in THIS country.  Yet we learned that despite a strong Constitution and system of checks and balances we are more vulnerable than most of us ever believed possible.  Israel doesn’t have anywhere near the institutional stability we have so often had so don’t think they too aren’t vulnerable to a takeover by a hard right-wing dictator.  And should it happen the consequences could be explosive in world politics.

If you haven’t been keeping an eye on this you should start.  Trust me when I say it’s going to become a huge political issue in this country and soon.  I for one fear what that will mean.

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  1. I agree with everything you said. I am hoping that besides the military and general public, there are powerful people working behind the scenes to sort this out.

  2. Was watching firstpost on YouTube (sometimes like a different take on things) and that the tech startups founders (some or most) are planning to leave. And taking their $ with them. And investors will follow. Of course, all bibi needs is a short victorious war. 🤦🏻‍♂️

  3. As a methodist Taoist Jew…I’ve lost close friends due to their unconditional acceptance that anything the Israeli government does is sanctioned by God. A bigger pile of horsesh*t can only be found here in the good old USA. One would think, after thousands of years of warfare, the Holocaust, and all that entails, the Jews would not run an apartheid since 1948, including the murder of thousands of Palestinian children by Israeli military, who faced no credible risk. Evil. Anytime Jews get on their high horse about the hypocrisy of people claiming to follow Jesus, I remind them, THEY DO NOT FOLLOW THE TEN COMMANDMENTS handed down, according to THEM by GOD…THOU SHALL NOT KILL! So phuck you to all of you who claim religious faith when you don’t even HONOR YOUR sacred commandments. Liars and hypocrites…a group that knows no truth and does the work of evil darkness. FACT.

      • When it comes to Israel and even Jews in general, NEVER trust anything the Guardian puts out. It is as anti-semitic a paper as the NY Times. If you really want to know different viewpoints, read the english versions of Haaretz and Jpost.com. THOSE are two legitimate and opposing viewpoints. Guardian and NY Times are intentional BS. Meant to grow hatred of Israel and Jews, because both come from a place of deep Jew-hate.

        • I knew it wouldn’t take long for someone in favor of the Jewish Supremacist Apartheid State to come in with their ‘what-aboutist’ distractions and obfuscations. The chief one, of course being, ‘if you’re anti Israel you must be anti-semitic’ , followed closely by ‘what about all these other countries doing bad things’, and at some stage reminding us that ‘Jews were the victims of the Nazi holocaust’.

          To which, many people will reply that the Netanyahu regime seems to have learnt well the lessons imparted by their former oppressors. And why is it that non-Jewish Israelis have become second class citizens in their own land?

          • I hesitated to write anything at all because I’ve got some strong views about what the Israeli government has sometimes done. For that matter what they’re currently doing in both Gaza and the West Bank. As you say, any criticism tends to get one branded as anti-Semitic. And, as I said being a jarhead who served back in the 1980s and all to aware of the contemptuous attitude routinely experssed by IDF types at the airport when WE were there to bail THEM out of THEIR mess it’s deeply personal for me. Having said that, as I reached adulthood and had a grasp of the mess over in that region I developed a belief that I still hold. There should be a Jewish State AND a Palestinian one. Yes, deciding who would get what part of the “Holy Land” and how to share control of parts that are hugely important to both Judaism and Islam (Christianity’s claims toss another wrinkle into things) has made it a tough task to be sure. But there are those on both sides who at times have decided that without the conflict they wouldn’t be important anymore. We saw the same thing with “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland but when it comes to the land we know now as Israel it’s been going on much, much longer.

            Anway, there was a moment when it looked like a true path to peace that would be hard to derail was all set and Arafat balked at the last minute. No doubt he was threatened with meeting the same fate as Egypt’s Anwar Sadat. Now, it’s been Netanyahu who’s been the problem. Backed by his Party and religious zealots he wants all of Israel to be Jews and only Jews. No, I don’t think he’s ever entertained anything along the lines of what Hitler did BUT if he could round up every Palestinian and dump them in surrounding countries he’d do it in a heartbeat. And have strict laws to prevent any Palestinian or someone who practiced Islam from establishing residence in Israel. If he could he’d militarily create a “buffer zone” around his country, but as I noted for all it’s reputation the Israeli armed forces can’t project and sustain power even fifty miles (not even that really) outside it’s own borders.

            It’s one giant mess, and gets worse all the time. Trump of course made it far more so, with the backing of “Christian” conservatives here n the U.S. who support Bibi/the Likud Party much more so than Jewish people here in the U.S. do.

    • Well, there is debate over the actual verb used in the Commandments whether the translation is “thou shalt not kill” or “thou shalt not murder.”
      But, considering the fact that God Himself directs the Hebrews to engage in mass slaughter of the Canaanites living in the “promised land,” even that debate can be a bit moot (especially since the verb used doesn’t suggest any exceptions even of the “unless I command otherwise”)

    • Whoa, Scott. So much to unpack with what you’ve said but I will aim for the Reader’s Digest version.
      1) What the hell is a Methodist Taoist Jew? In my books that means “NOT a Jew”.
      2) First thing I always say to my christian friends who try to “school” me: There are NOT 10 Commandments. There are 613. You can see how we Jews might get lost in some of them.
      3) Lastly, and most critically, please stop telling us how we are sinning by killing Palestinians. I’ll make you a deal: Tell THEM not to kill US! If they stop, we will too! The problem is the “Palestinians” have BS’d the world into thinking that the Levant is THEIR historical homeland and not ours, notwithstanding the fact that the entire bible (Old Testament, as you call the Tanakh, AND new Testament) talks about the Hebrews in their land. And it all hinges on one word: Nakba. Tragedy. If instead of calling 1948 a tragedy they had called it “a change” instead of a tragedy, then the past 48 years would have seen the Palestinians grow absolutely rich and successful working in tandem with their Jewish neighbours. But playing nice in the Sandbox with others is not something arabs in general do well. Heard lately about all the good will between Sunni’s and Shia? Between either of them and Suffi’s or Bahai??
      Not now, Not ever. Maybe if Robert Fulghum had been the prophet instead of Muhammed, the world would be a VERY different place.
      There are tens of countries that are truly vile to their citizens, citizens who are NOT trying to kill their fellow citizens every single damn day! And yet not a peep from anyone on this planet: you, Amnesty International, the UN? NO ONE! Only when Jews protect themselves from being killed from those with a homicidal pathological hatred of them does the world go “Stop killing those poor sweet beautiful Palestinians who are sitting around campfires singing kumbaya while you horrble evil Jews slaughter them for no reason whatsoever other than you’re evil.” To which I answer “Fuck off you ignorant Jew-hating hypocrite”. You cannot ACTUALLY care about human rights and ignore horrific acts by governments all over the planet every single day (Russia? N korea, Burma, China — the Uighurs, etc, and on and on) but only get “vexxed” when a Jew kills a “Palestinian” who was trying to knife him to death, or kill the children in his school (Ma Alot) or go to the Olympics to kill their and only their athletes. It’s not “social justice”. It’s Jew Hate. Period.
      190 countries on earth but the ONLY one that’s always bad is the only one where Jews are the majority?! Some coincidence, don’t you think?????
      Oh, and the reason I say “Palestinians”?
      Because “Palestinians” was the contemptuous, hate filled term the Romans used for Jews 2k years ago by calling us by the name of our historical biblical enemy the Philistines, who incidentally, were NOT Levantine either. Best guesses today is they came from the central Mediterannean, like Crete or that kind of area.

    • Like I said Scott, Just convince them to stop killing us, and then we can stop killing them. And please tell me you’re not part of the large and growing crowd that screams all over the world ” it’s fair for Palestinians to kill Jews all over the world. It’s all legitimate protest” By that logic, because I don’t like Xi, it’s fair for me to kill Chinese people all over the world. I hate Putin. Can I kill Russians anywhere on earth? Like I said earlier, these insane arguments are ONLY applied to Israel and Jews. Not to any other country or any other people. PURE fucking Jew-hate! https://worldisraelnews.com/over-3600-palestinian-terror-attacks-in-first-half-of-2023/?utm_source=MadMimi&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Israeli+Child+Denied+Critical+Surgery%2C+Victim+of+Political+Protest%3B+Will+AG+Remove+Netanyahu+from+Office%3F+Israeli+Minister+Firmly+Tells+CNN+Why+Judicial+Reform+is+Needed&utm_campaign=20230726_m174887000_Israeli+Child+Denied+Critical+Surgery%2C+Victim+of+Political+Protest%3B+Will+AG+Remove+Netanyahu+from+Office%3F+Israeli+Minister+Firmly+Tells+CNN+Why+Judicial+Reform+is+Needed&utm_term=_0D_0A_09_09_09_09_09_09_09_09_09_09Read+Now_0D_0A_09_09_09_09_09_09_09_09_09

  4. Great rationalizations for not following the Torah. Get the facts…a child, who lives in imprisonment, gets shot by a military weapon, while carrying a rock. Hundreds of them killed. That’s murder…so when the Jews claim self defense…it’s horseshit. It carries as much hypocrisy as the ‘christians’ who pretend black folks benefitted from slavery or feel fine, as the descendants of immigrants, about what was done to thousands of families at the border by Trump and Miller. Also claiming you have the right to displace people based on an ancient document was malarkey to begin with. We did the same to native Americans with the doctrine of manifest destiny. Justifying evil is an ugly excuse for real faith. Of course, Moses reportedly smashed the original tablets when he came down from the mountain and found the Hebrews worshipping gold. Nothing has changed. Now every religion is full of liars that worship gold while claiming to worship ‘God’. LIARS. Cue up the excuses!

    • So if I claimed your house was mine, and I felt entitled to stab you, you would just sit there and take it?
      Your argument is utterly fallacious and non-sensical.
      NOWHERE in the Tanakh does it say that a “good” Jew is one who would let himself be killed to be nice to someone else. Self-preservation even comes before protecting your children. Your ignorance is on several levels. You still don’t get the role of the Palestinians in this.

    • Until you fully “get” that Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in living in peace with Jews, and their only intent and interest is in destroying our State, you simply cannot comprehend the scope of the problem. Palestinians do NOT want a State of their own. If they had, they would have had it in 1996. What they want is to deny us the right to ours. And THAT is the problem. Without FULLY UNDERSTANDING that, and understanding that we Jews have seen THAT movie before, you simply CANNOT judge us.

  5. If Bwolofsky would care to fig a bit deeper he’d find that the Habiru did NOT come from what is now Israel but originated in southern Mesopotamia (now part of Iraq) and moved, via Egypt to Canaan, where they wiped out the Canaanites and Amorites and claimed the land as ‘theirs’.

    • No argument, but THOSE were not Palestinians of today. Those people are LONG gone. And at no time did I say Jews are angels. I simply said what’s going on today is pure BS hypocrisy. Israel is NOT the world’s worst country by a LONG shot! But it gets ALL the opprobrium!
      ANd the fact you have to go back 3800 years or so to criticize my arguments does nothing but reinforce them.

  6. Uh… Moses did not come down from meeting with ‘I am who I am’ with 613 commandments…the Jews created that boondoggle. The original ten commandments, in the sacred Torah are clear about murder/killing. It’s not my judgement…I’m just pointing out the glass house jews live in, which is why the screeds I see here about Christian hypocrites ring hollow. Funny how the ‘chosen people’ don’t follow their own sacred commandments any better than the believers in Jesus don’t follow his commandments.

  7. Ben Gvir, a far right activist, and someone attached to terrorism in the past, is IN CHARGE of the Israeli police force. He just deliberately went to a site to inflame the Muslims, and, of course, a 14 year old with a rock, gets shot by the Israeli military. Geez Blo…when you put a terrorist in charge, please explain how the Israeli government is interested in justice. You are in danger of being a cult member. Oh, and no matter what you think, I spent 4 years studying the ancient world, the Old and New testament at UNC-CH, not a Bible College. I also have a fancy certificate testifying to me being a Jew for over 40 years. Probably longer than you’ve been around.

    • I’m a senior citizen myself. I’ve mentioned before my oldest sister’s best friend was Jewish and her family lived a half-block away. There’s no telling how many hours I spent out in their backyard because they had a pretty good basketball goal. Many, many times than the sons in that family combined. I didn’t know it when I was young but they were widely knowns and respected throughout southern Illinois and in particular with Jewish people there. The Torah in the temple just outside a neighboring town (where I did my higher education) was smuggled out of Russia by Mimi’s grandmother when the family was forced out by a round of pograms. It was Mimi who, as I was growing up in the 1960s who with what I’d come to realize was an incredible amount of patience answered one (usually stupid) question after another about Judaism, differences between it and Christianity (the faith I was raised in) and even some of the issues going on with Israel. Including the attack on The Liberty which was controversial from the start. We didn’t learn much from the news back then and a lot of effort was put into trying to sweep the whole thing under the rug.

      What I remember on that was that she was pretty upset about the matter. Troubled that Israel had attacked a U.S. ship and I’d come to realize that while she didn’t think it was her place to tell me what to think that she thought the whole “It was an accident – we didn’t know it was a U.S. vessel was utter bullsh*t. That was instructive for me, and largely responsible for my attempting to keep an open mind when it comes to actions the govt. of Israel has taken, or in some cases not as in sharing intelligence. (Of course, after Trump’s stunt blowing a highly placed source of theirs so early in his term one might argue they had reason to have sharing be mostly a one-way street headed their direction) And, as I’ve said there’s the whole mess they created in Lebanon. And I will NEVER forgive their comments/actions and outright taunts at the airport. THOSE sonsabitches questioning MY Marine Corps’ (and the Navy too – not all of them were out their on the New Jersey and other ships shelling the Chouf) courage and ability? We and other international forces followed our orders. It’s not that we didn’t want to head up into the Chouf and take out the gomers up close and personal. I’ll believe to my dying day that Reagan’s listening to McCain (a top WHY military aid by then) and others to NOT take the fight directly to the gomers led to all the terrorism that came afterwards. And the whole thing was because Israel wasn’t nearly so formidable as everyone thought (and still does) they were. Sure, they are incredible defending their own homes and soil, but that’s hardly unusual in world history and let’s face it – thanks mostly to us they’ve been better equipped and trained than most countries that have had to do so.

      I get accused of being anti-Semitic when I start talking like this. Probably will again. But for me, I look at the whole mess and do try to make a distinction between Israelis who aren’t hard core right wingers who want to shove every Palestinian out of that country and their government. Especially when their government is hard right. What we are seeing now is that there’s a large chunk of Israelis who’ve had more than enough of “Bibi” and his corruption, as well as his Party and their policies. Like those of us here who are sick and effing tired of Trump getting away with his sh*t I think the majority of Israelis feel the same way about Netanyahu. Like Trump he damn well knows where he stands with the public and has used his Party leadership with great effect to keep his a$$ out of jail.

      I’ll say it again. I believe both the Jewish people and the Palestinians should have their own lands/countries. And figure out how to share sites that have particular meaning for both Judaism and Islam – and BOTH need to in turn figure out how to work with Christianity regarding spots that are significant to Christians. A lot of people a lot smarter than me have tried to help make that happen. Sadly, as I noted when some meaningful progress gets made or is about to someone on one side or the other (if not both) who won’t be really poweerful if a peace deal gets going go and blow the whole thing up!


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