They Say/We Say: "There is nothing anti-democratic about adopting a law that compels Israeli NGOs to be more transparent."
We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.
You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.
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They Say, We Say: Why should we be worried about Israeli democracy?
They Say: The Israeli Knesset was democratically elected. There is nothing anti-democratic about this body adopting a law that merely compels Israeli NGOs getting foreign government funds to be more transparent.
We Say: A key attribute of democracy is “rule of law”; a conspicuous feature of authoritarian societies is “rule by law” and “tyranny of the majority.” In the first case, laws apply equally for everyone and protect everyone’s rights equally, regardless of whether they support the government in power. In the second case, laws are manufactured to promote the interests and the views of those in power, at the expense of the rights of those who are not. The 2016 NGO law is a textbook example of the latter case, exemplifying an anti-democratic move – by a democratically-elected government – to pass laws designed to quash political dissent and opposition. It is part of a wave of efforts taking place under governments led by Benjamin Netanyahu to silence progressive Israeli organizations, to intimidate them, to demean and degrade them, and to diminish their influence. Clearly, the objective – of the 2016 NGO Transparency law and similar efforts – is to enhance the hegemony of the government’s narrative by silencing dissent – an objective that in its very essence is anti-democratic.