Peter Slyomovics

Plea For Tolerance And Humanity.

I would like to confess that I support the government in its desire to reform the judiciary. There I said it. No turning back. I would, however, greatly appreciate not being demonized and my views totally distorted. It is completely astonishing that in a debate so crucial for the future of Israel, I have not heard anybody, in any way, properly describe my views. For those who believe in judicial reform, demonization, distortion and outright lying of their position is astounding!

I would like to begin by clearly explaining what my views are NOT. I am referring to claims alleged and repeated too many times. I am not making anything up. Let us begin then with an enumeration of some of the most slanderous accusations being made.

I categorically deny that I am a fascist. I believe in democracy. I love democracy. In Canada, where I lived for the first 20 years of my life, I voted in every election, usually for middle of the road candidates, sometimes right of center, at times left of center. The same is true of Israel. I feel silly pointing this out, but I’ve always supported democracy and am totally against dictatorship. Please stop calling me a supporter of dictatorship.

I repeat, I am not a fascist. I do not believe in absolute government power! On the contrary, I believe in a government where each branch plays its role. Yes, that includes the judiciary. If any branch of government oversteps its boundaries it must be reined in. That includes the government and the judiciary.

In fact, in order to attain this fundamentally crucial balance, I would be willing to give up the current government reform program which I support. But only on one condition. That we adopt the model of any government in the English-speaking countries or in Western Europe. I am willing to accept any Western democracy’s relationship with its judiciary if it would lead to peace within our beloved country.

I’ve been living in Israel for approximately 50 years, arriving here as a youth. Does the present discourse (or lack of discourse more appropriately) represent a departure from previous historical debates? Absolutely not! I regret to say that the current discourse has been very typical of the way debates have been handled in Israel forever. Even threatening to leave the country or not serve in its Armed Forces threatening its very existence, has been employed in the past; in the first Lebanon war. The tactics of demonization and distortion have always been utilized from the very beginning of Israel’s history. And where there is demonization and distortion no debate can exist. When no debate exists, only one recourse is left-a power struggle.

And that’s what’s happening today: the government is using power; the opposition is using power. This is true of both sides of debate. The government forces its laws down the throat of the Knesset. The opposition makes insane threats to destroy us. In an ideal world, I would advocate waiting until things were calmer and have a real discussion of the issues. Unfortunately, that’s not the way of Israeli politics. Threats and power are what dominate. And the dance continues.

About the Author
Born 1948, Dr. Peter Slyomovics lived in Montreal Canada and made aliya to Jerusalem in 1971. He earned his BA from McGill University, his MA Doctorate at Hebrew University, and is a retired lecturer in Hebrew and English at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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