Kendall Wigoda

Israel wants to be more like Canada? And people are protesting?

Who would have imagined the day that 50 percent of the Israeli public would be holding mass protests and issuing very angry public statements so that Israel would give up its plan to be more like Canada?

The answer is no one, nowhere, not ever.

Yet here half of us are… and that half is being cheered on by many first-world countries and a few antisemitic opportunists.

In an online debate with legal scholar Eugene Kontorovich, leading US attorney and left-leaning  professor, Alan Dershowitz, said “even if all of these reforms were to be enacted, it would turn Israel, God forbid, into Canada, New Zealand, or Australia, or many European countries.”

To be clear, Israel does not want to be more polite or shovel more snow. It doesn’t want to negotiate endless softwood lumber deals with its bullying neighbours next door. It definitely doesn’t want to listen to Quebec threaten to leave the confederation and join the US. What Israel wants — at least the government does — is a judicial system more like Canada’s.

Hilarious; and half the country is tearing its kishkas out to make sure that doesn’t happen.

According to a Canadian government website: “The federal government appoints and pays judges for the superior courts in each province, as well as judges at the federal level.” And on another Canadian government site is says that “judicial independence is a core principle of Canadian democracy and is critical to a well-functioning justice system.”

Well, what democracy wouldn’t want that? You never hear Canadians going out to protest the independence of their courts. Of course, that might simply be because it is too cold for six months of the year for all those polite people to go outside for any reason. Democracy be damned. And once the good weather returns they have lists of things they have to get done before the cold and the snow return.

Canadian judges are selected by an eight-member Judicial Appointment Committee. They are chosen based on their merit and the specific needs of whatever court is seeking new members. That means women, people of colour, indigenous people — and skilled tax practitioners for the Federal Tax Court.

It’s difficult to imagine why people are protesting against this. The few knowledge-based protestors — because most of the protestors could not clearly explain what their precise concern is — argue that it isn’t just the political selection; it is the Notwithstanding Clause that is the problem. They believe that Israeli politicians should not have the ability to override the Supreme Court.

For anyone who is still interested, the Notwithstanding Clause in Canada allows the government to temporarily override certain decisions made by the courts. And it is such a big deal that the Canadians have only used it three times since it was created in 1988. It’s not a blanket rejection of things that the government doesn’t like or works against it.  It’s not clear how the Israeli government will use it but if they really want to be like Canada then this is how it works there.

Of course, the government isn’t helping itself by charging forward without commandeering the television for one hour and explaining what it is doing and why.  Bibi, you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar (Canadians say things like that all the time).

In reality, this is about Bibi and the formation of the most right-leaning Israeli government of all time. It has very little to do with changes to the judicial system. Unfortunately, it also gives every antisemite from here to Timbuktu the opportunity to blast Israel in a seemingly legitimate forum.

Canadians would never do that.  It’s not nice.

About the Author
I spent 15 years as a Public Relations and Marketing Communications professional in Canada before making Aliyah in 2002. Since then I have written freelance articles for Israeli newspapers, written lots of marketing communication pieces and taught a lot of English. Sometimes life here is funny and sometimes it is sad, but mostly there's a lot of weird and wonderful moments.
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