They Say, We Say: "Israel is a healthy, vibrant democracy…"

They Say We Say 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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But Israel is a democracy...

They Say:

Israel is a healthy, vibrant democracy - the only democracy in the Middle East. All the gloom and doom about the health of Israeli democracy - isn't this really about the Left looking for another excuse to criticize Israel and complain about policies that were democratically adopted?

We Say:

By many measures Israel is indeed thriving. However, nobody who truly cares about Israel can dismiss the very troubling trends inside Israel today and what these trends mean for Israel's future.

These trends included a sustained, broad, and well-documented campaign of attacks from the Knesset on progressive Israeli non-governmental organizations (including Peace Now). It also includes other Knesset initiatives unabashedly designed to quash dissent and the kind of free speech and protest that are the cornerstones of a healthy democracy.

This assault also includes repeated efforts to pass legislation designed to stop funding for non-governments organizations working on peace, civil rights, and human rights; the passage of an openly un-democratic law passed by the Knesset in 2011 targeting boycotts of settlements; and legislation seeking to undermine the authority of Israel's High Court of Justice. Taken together, these efforts seek to replace democratic "rule of law," which protects all citizens, including those in the political, social, ethnic, religious, or demographic minority, with "rule by law," which ensures the tyranny of the majority.

This assault is not coming only from cranks and Knesset outliers. It includes efforts supported and even initiated by the Israeli government, some of which have become law. This assault is evident to those who care about Israel from across the political spectrum, including people like the Anti-Defamation League's Abraham Foxman, who in November 2011 published an op-ed entitled, "The Assault on Israel's Vibrant Democracy."