ACRI Wonders: What Kind of Democracy Has Israel Become?

In recent days we have witnessed unprecedented attacks on those who dare criticize policies of the right-wing government and on those whose opinions are not acceptable to the political majority of the right in the Knesset. These attacks are part of a trend which has progressed over the years, a trend to silence criticism and generate fear. According to ACRI (Association for Civil Rights in Israel): “Apart from harming the basic principles of democracy – the freedom of expression and the right of individuals and organizations to operate in the political and public arena – this trend diverts the public discourse away from the country’s pressing problems: The wave of violence, social inequalities, violations of the human rights of Palestinians and the growing divisions in society.”


The freedom of expression is one of the most basic of human rights and the ACRI has been working to promote this freedom for more than 40 years. “We are now concerned that this basic right is being eroded away. Since the founding of the state, the public in Israel has been accustomed not to criticize the government or the army in times of crisis; it is now becoming normal not to criticize them at all. As we published in our Human Rights Report just last week – silencing people is a slippery slope. We have already started to slide down this gradient and this trend must be stopped immediately.”

“Today, human rights organizations and individuals who express criticism of IDF operations are denounced as enemies of the state. Tomorrow will it still be permitted to complain about exorbitant food prices or crowding on buses? Will anyone who criticizes the government be considered a traitor? What kind of democracy is this? We call upon the Israeli public not to be swept away by hatred and intimidation. Every person and organization has the right to express his or her opinion, even if it is controversial. We call upon the government to intervene in order to calm the situation and strongly condemn this political persecution. Silence will only fuel more attacks.”