Film directors Uri Barabash, Amos Giati, Artist Tamar Geter, Novelists David Grosman, Dorit Rabinyan, Ilan Sheinfeld, Maya Arad, Tsvika Nir, Chairman of the Israeli Writers association, Editorial Director Ornit Cohen Barak, Translator Hannah Amit Cochavi, Men and Women of letters Prof. Vered Lev Kenaan, Prof Michal Ben-Naftali, Prof. Haggai Ram, Prof. Avraham Oz, Dr. Ronit Peleg, Dr. Raphael Zagury-Orly, are among the 1323 Representatives of Israel’s Culture, Arts, Literature, law and Academia, who signed an Emergency Appeal by to All of the Forces of Democracy in Britain
The State of Israel is now undergoing the most severe political crisis since its establishment, as well as an accelerated and dangerous process of transformation from an economically sound democracy to a poor and afflicted dictatorship.
This destructive move is being led by the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, who stands accused of bribery, fraud and breach of the public trust. In order to wriggle out of the grasp of the law, Netanyahu has entered into a conspiracy with nationalist and religious fundamentalist elements, who are promoting anti-democratic, messianic, racist and homophobic agendas, as well as with convicted Jewish terrorists, against the State of Israel and against all of its citizens residing in Israel and in other countries.
Together with these elements, Israel’s Prime Minister is attempting to promote, with unprecedented rapidity, legislative processes that undermine the foundations of the democratic regime in the State of Israel. He is supporting the promotion of an amendment to the Police Law, which will transform the Israel Police into a political police serving the Government and not the law; he is promoting the Override Clause, a legislative measure designed to eliminate the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review; and he is taking steps to change the status of the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, and to promote a series of laws intended to deal a mortal blow to human and individual rights in Israel, weakened population groups, and minorities.
This series of moves eliminates the separation of branches of government, which is the very soul of any liberal democratic regime, and aims to give Netanyahu’s government unlimited power, with no checks and no restraints. Notwithstanding the huge demonstrations being launched each week throughout the entire State of Israel against these moves, Netanyahu and his extremist collaborators are rushing forward, in an effort to complete Israel’s transformation into a dark and dangerous dictatorship, even before the end of the Knesset’s winter session, within only 10 days from the date of this letter!
In this hazardous race to destroy Israeli democracy, Netanyahu is ignoring the unprecedentedly grave warnings voiced this week by the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Isaac Herzog, and rejecting the President’s outline for stopping the dangerous process, which, according to President Herzog, could lead to a bloody civil war. Netanyahu is also ignoring appeals from prominent academics throughout the world, Nobel Prize winners, world-renowned economists, senior figures in Israel’s defense and security establishment, former heads of the Israel Defense Forces, the Israel Security Agency, the Mossad and the Israel Police, leaders of Israel’s economy and banking system, all of whom are demanding that he stop the destructive legislation, in light of the acute implications of this judicial coup for Israel’s cohesiveness, its international standing, its relationships with Jewish communities across the globe, and the fate of its citizens.
In this state of emergency, which is ripping the Israel Defense Forces, the Israel Police and Israel’s civil society to shreds, Netanyahu is attempting to meet with Western leaders, in order to create a representation of international legitimacy for his administration. At the press conferences that he conducts all over the world, he declares to the heads of the states with whom he meets that Israel will continue to be a liberal democracy.
Yet, at the very same time, his government is taking measures toward a rapid takeover of Israel’s foci of power, including the Central Bureau of Statistics, the National Planning Committees, the National Library, the media, and the cultural and academic institutions. This combination–on the one hand, undermining the foundations of democratic government in Israel; and, on the other, taking over Israel’s foci of cultural, planning and academic power – is the direct route to destruction, not only of democracy in Israel, but even of the State of Israel itself. We therefore call upon all British democrats with an appeal to publicly support the fateful struggle of democratic Israel. We ask you to exert pressure upon your Government not to cooperate with the Prime Minister of Israel, and to refuse to give international legitimation to his leadership.