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  • Noa Sattath

Anti-Democratic Legislation And The Judicial Overhaul In 2023

Trying to summarize this past year is an almost impossible task. The tumultuous roller coaster ride resisting the anti-democratic revolution was terrifying and unprecedented. The tragedy of October 7th, and the still unfolding tragedy in Gaza are historic disasters for both the Jewish and Palestinian people. Both tragedies will have long-lasting impacts on the struggle for democracy and human rights; in these trying times we are here for you. I want to thank you for standing with ACRI. Your support gives us the strength to keep promoting human rights in the face of growing resistance.  

Even before the Hamas massacre on October 7 and the subsequent war, Israeli democracy was facing severe threats. The government’s agenda has not changed, and in certain regards, the war has given the government more power to promote its initiatives. Disasters or emergencies can serve as fertile ground for pursuing anti-democratic measures, violating human rights and questioning their underlying ideals, inciting against minorities, and using silencing and intimidation tactics. Measures instituted during emergencies normalize human rights violations and can cause long-term damage to democracy. 

The Judicial Overhaul and the war combine to create a perfect storm under cover of which extremely worrying trends in Israel gain traction. The specific attacks on the Judicial System, designed to curtail the Judicial System’s independence, have persisted throughout this state of emergency. ACRI has worked tirelessly to map all attacks on Israel’s democracy: Notably, a law designed to take over the Judicial Appointment Committee promoted by Minister of Justice Yariv Levin is still pending before the Knesset, ready to quickly pass second and third readings.  Following the outbreak of the war, the Minister of Justice declared a Special State of Emergency within the court system, halting operations with the exception of urgent hearings. Moreover, Populist discourse against the Judicial System continues during the state of emergency, including misrepresentation of judgments and judicial decisions. The Minister’s denigration of the judges, who he called “enemies from within,” is extremely grave, ostensibly constitutes a criminal offense and impedes the judges’ ability to carry out their work as the law requires, free of intimidation. For ACRI’s latest full document highlighting the continual violation of human rights and the Judicial Overhaul in the shadow of the war click here.

In time of great uncertainty, we are tenacious in our mission to safeguard human rights. ACRI continues to see the fruits of our work after difficult months when securing a permit to allow demonstrations after numerous attempts by the police to prohibit demonstrations against government policy during the war and the re-opening of checkpoints that infringe upon Palestinian’s right to freedom of movement. This would not have been possible without your unwavering support. 

Our boat to protect human rights in times of grave emergency is still shaking; we need all of you on board. When the tides are high, and the route ahead is unclear, human rights are the only compass we have to rebuild our collective future. Your partnership and generosity will steer us in our work to defend democracy, protect human rights, and advance equality for all. Give now and together we will find the route ahead. Will you stand with us in 2024? 


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