Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
Photo: AFP
Lieberman with Catherine Ashton
Photo: Gil Yohanan

European diplomats: Israeli democracy in danger

European diplomats tell Ynet they're concerned by what they see as troubling developments on Israel's political scene, inquiry into funding of leftist groups; democracy must be nurtured constantly, one official says

European countries are increasingly concerned by the latest developments in Israel, ranging from controversial Knesset legislation in the Knesset to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's statements.


European diplomats told Ynet on Wednesday that they are closely monitoring the developments and radicalization on Israel's political, and are fearful that the democratic character of the State is in danger.


A European diplomat express specific concerns about what he characterized as attempts to undermine freedom of expression in Israel. He said that Europeans continue to have faith in Israel's civil society in Israel, which has voiced its strong objection to such

moves before.


The official said that at this point it would be "too dramatic" to argue that the latest developments marked the end of Israeli democracy. However, he noted that the decision to launch an inquiry into the funding of leftist organizations "raised many questions."


All funds sent from Europe to these organizations are completely transparent and legal, he said. 


Another Western diplomat said that "while it's true that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, we see highly negative and troubling developments. They are not encouraging and we see them as a danger to Israel's democracy."


The diplomat added that its no longer just about one Knesset member voicing his extreme opinions, but rather, top leaders were now making such statements. "Democracy is like marriage, it must be constantly nurtured," he said.


The diplomat's embassy has passed along reports of intentions to undermine the democratic character of Israel. "The foreign diplomats stationed in Israel discuss the laws and follow them with concern," he said.


Western diplomats stressed that the demand to investigate leftist organizations is very disturbing. However, European countries plan to inform Israel that they will continue to fund such groups. One diplomat charged that establishing an an inquirty into the funding is an expression of distrust in European countries.


Another European diplomat said his country closely monitors media reports pertaining to Israel's political arena, stressing the country's system of checks and balances. "We trust the Supreme Court to prevent undemocratic legislation," he said.




פרסום ראשון: 01.12.11, 19:11
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