Right-wing protests prove judicial reforms are not synonymous with dictatorship

Opinion: The ongoing pro-judicial reform demonstrations reveal that the conflict reflects long-standing political divisions and puts to rest the misleading notion that the battle is not a matter of right versus left, but rather a struggle for democracy
Naveh Dromi|
The right-wing protests have yielded many positive outcomes. They have spared us of more national "days of disruption," "paralysis," and "resistance"; the women dressed as characters from the Netflix show "The Handmaid's Tale" have given us a short breather from their hysteria; right-wing elected officials now understand that they are obligated to pass the reforms, and not let it fall between the cracks; and maybe the most important outcome of all - we can finally rebut the demagogic, childish, and manipulative claim that the ongoing affairs are "not a matter of left or right."
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What a tiresome manipulation that is. Claiming that a certain protest is not rooted in a political stance implies that said stance is inherently superior, apolitical, and indisputably true.
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הפגנה בעד המהפכה המשפטית בתל אביב
הפגנה בעד המהפכה המשפטית בתל אביב
Pro-government demonstrators march in support of the judicial overhaul in Tel Aviv on Thursday
(Photo: Yuval Chen)
This attitude of viewing any resistance to judicial reforms in Israel as a necessary act to prevent dictatorship creates a dangerous consensus.
Those who propagate this narrative often perceive themselves as altruistic champions of society's interests rather than as individuals associated with a specific political faction or ideology.
This narrative further suggests that supporters of the judicial reforms are automatically excluded from the group claiming to be the selfless saviors of the State of Israel, fighting against Justice Minister Yariv Levin's dictatorship.
The claim that this is "not a matter of left or right" has been frequently made, but has lost its meaning. Protests have been promoted through various channels, and even kids' carpool WhatsApp groups have been hijacked to send invitations to participate. Anyone calling for those platforms to remain apolitical is immediately dismissed, with the response being "it's not about left or right, it's about democracy."
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מפגינים בעד ההפיכה המשפטית בירושלים
מפגינים בעד ההפיכה המשפטית בירושלים
Pro-judicial reform protesters rally in front of the Supreme Court in Jerusalem
(Photo: Shalev Shalom)
On the contrary, those with knowledge of Israeli politics recognize that judicial system reforms have been a focal point of the right-wing bloc's agenda for several years.
During Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz's joint tenure, Yariv Levin declined to assume the role of justice minister, given his limited ability to advance such reforms. Levin and Simcha Rothman may now have the opportunity to make progress on this front, but numerous academics, experts and wise individuals from across the political spectrum had previously advocated for reforms of the judiciary system.
Perhaps, if the Israeli left had paid more attention to the right in the past, they would not have been caught off guard by the current agenda being put forth.
Therefore, the claim that "it's not a matter of left or right" emanates from the left. Any right-wing individual who is familiar with the judicial system's impact on the right would not oppose reforms in this regard.
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הפרות סדר באיילון
הפרות סדר באיילון
Protests in Tel Aviv
(Photo: Tal Shachar)
However, it is possible that a right-wing individual may disagree with how the reforms are being promoted, given the lack of a clear public explanation of the expected changes. Nonetheless, such individuals recognize that Israeli democracy cannot become more inclusive and ideal without these reforms.
A recent poll conducted by research and strategy firm Direct Polls, aimed to shed light on the driving force behind the ongoing protests in Israel, revealed that 88% of the respondents who support the coalition (right-wing bloc) stated that the protest movement's goal was to topple the current right-wing government.
For those familiar with opposition members, this outcome is not at all surprising. Those who are taken aback may belong to the group that views the protests as a unanimous public struggle for democracy, independent of left or right leanings.
The political divide between Israel's right-wing and left-wing blocs has long been evident in their respective stances on issues such as the Palestinians, foreign policy, security agenda, and the judicial system.
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