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Yosef Gotlieb

The Democracy Movement: Restoring Israel’s Standing

The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Dr.  Volker Türk, has made a significant statement (July 27) concerning recent events in Israel.

Türk states that “[F]or several months, people from across [Israeli] society have been demonstrating peacefully, building alliances for the defense of democracy and fundamental freedoms.” He adds that, “[t]his broad-based social movement has grown over the months to stand up for human rights and preserve the democratic space and constitutional balance so painstakingly built in Israel over many decades.”

In light of recent legislation, he urges “those in power to heed the calls of the people in this movement — people who have put their trust in the enduring value of an independent judiciary to effectively hold the other branches of Government to fundamental legal standards and – ultimately — protect the rights of all people.”

Dr. Turk’s comments are noteworthy and welcomed.  His statements adds to the groundswell of support being proffered by the international community, world Jewry and other voices calling for maintaining democratic and fundamental freedoms in the country as the Coalition pursues increasingly authoritarian policies.

This recognition from abroad, coupled with the resolve of the Israeli democratic movement to reset the national agenda so that it is firmly anchored in democracy and equal rights, marks a watershed moment in Israel’s national history.

By defending democracy and equality before the law, the protest movement is restoring Israel’s global standing even as the Coalition seems be doing everything it can to erode it.

About the Author
Dr. Yosef Gotlieb is a specialist in sustainable development and global change adaptation in the Middle East and Latin America. His books include Self-Determination in the Middle East, Development, Environment and Global Dysfunction and Rise, A Novel of Contemporary Israel.
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