Gershon Baskin

The darkness of our times


Gershon Baskin. Photo: Otmar Steinbicker

An ill wind is blowing in this country.

The democratic, open and pluralistic space is shrinking rapidly. The legitimacy of opinions differing from those of the current government is disappearing by the day. Hatred has been let loose and violence against fellow citizens is on the verge of moving from verbal to physical expression. Today politicians, soldiers and civilians say things out loud that in the past were unimaginable. The legitimacy of the Left, of human rights and peace organizations has been reduced to frighteningly low levels. Names such as anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic, self-hating Jew and even traitor are thrown not only at me, and not only by readers of this column – they have also been hurled at the defense minister, the chief of staff, leaders of the Zionist Union Party and certainly members of Meretz.

Today public calls for the death of Arabs are commonplace.

The political campaign against the Supreme Court is now supported by the loudest voices in the governing coalition.

More anti-democratic legislation is on the way. The massive public support behind the soldier who killed a wounded terrorist is more than alarming. The killing of the wounded terrorist cannot be excused – certainly not by anyone who considers the IDF to be the most moral army in the world. The killing has done enormous damage to the State of Israel. The public support for the killing has done even more – the killing was the crime of an individual; the massive public support for it is a crime by our whole society.

Of course we have the right and the obligation to defend ourselves against the terrorists who try to kill us, but when the terrorist is down and no longer poses a threat is not self-defense, it is an inexcusable crime. This is against Jewish values and it is against the rules of engagement of the IDF itself. Public defense of the soldier’s actions are despicable and frightening.

I watch the Knesset channel on television. I sometimes sit in committee meetings and the plenary sessions of the Knesset. I am sickened at the hatred coming from the Right against the opposition. The hatred coming from a large number of right-wing members of Knesset toward left-wing members and especially toward Arab members is terrifying. I am appalled at the ways some of the members of the government twist democracy in order to destroy it. Our prime minister had enough respect for the Supreme Court to appear before the justices to try and justify the creation of a monopoly over Israel’s natural gas reserves, against the interests of the people, yet when the Supreme Court ruled against the monopoly deal the court is seen as interfering in our democracy.

Those same members of Knesset who spew hatred also besmirch the legitimacy and the importance of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court protects our democracy from those who choose to forget that the sovereign is not the government, not the Knesset but the people. The heart of democracy is not “majority rules,” the heart of democracy is the rights of the minorities – the human and civil rights of all citizens against the majority’s ability to pass laws that infringe on those rights.

This government believes that because it has a majority – even a majority of one – it has the right to stomp on the rights of minorities. This government has demonstrated too clearly its lack of respect for those of us concerned with the human and political rights of the minority. This government works to pass laws that are aimed at shutting down the voices of opposition, dispelling elected MKs who represent voters; this is not democracy. This is the abuse of democracy and it is dangerous to us all – even to those who can’t recognize it yet.

The biggest crime of this government is the fostering of hatred between citizens of this country. There has never been so much venom spread by a government in Israel as by the present government, and the chief culprit is the prime minister himself. Never before has a prime minister of Israel hated so many of his own citizens. Never before has a prime minister of Israel gone to the lengths Netanyahu has gone to cast groups of citizens against each other and to have whole segments of the population labeled traitors. Netanyahu has proven how dangerous he is to the State of Israel. The longer he stays on as Israel’s leader the more broken this society becomes. For the sake of Israel, Netanyahu must be sent home.

He has twisted and destroyed the dream and the vision of Israel so brilliantly stated in our Declaration of Independence. This vision and dream will not exist as long as Netanyahu is leading Israel.

“The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

Gershon Baskin ist Autor des Aachener Friedensmagazins Seine Beiträge finden Sie hier

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Beiträge von Gershon Baskin

De-risking peace - Part I

The Left is right

The French connection

The United Nations and Israel’s legitimacy

A moment of opportunity

The darkness of our times

Addressing the core

The worst negotiations, the best negotiations

Palestinian turmoil and Israeli interests

This one is for you - the Palestinians

Palestinian suffering makes no sense for Israel

Creating a compelling vision for peace

It is also in our hands

Sooner or later

There is no partner

There is no partner


Yes, it is difficult to make peace

What does he really want?

To those who oppose Israeli-Palestinian peace

Israel – my sad home

Have I got news for you

It is still not too late for peace

Netanyahu, tell us what you really think!

The partnership challenge

The binational reality that we are experiencing

Abbas is still the leader who can make peace

A new intifada?

After Abbas

The distance between here and peace and security

Doing the wrong thing at that wrong time

The one and only solution!

Yeshayahu Leibowitz was right!

The disengagement – 10 years on: What we choose to forget

Needed - a new approach to Gaza

A bad agreement is better than no agreement

Obviously no peace now, so what then?

Ramadan Kareem!

Israel’s strategic choices regarding Gaza

Anti-normalization hypocrites

FIFA, soccer and the Palestinians

Both sides now

It’s time for Palestine

The citizens’ challenge – from despair to hope

We have the chance to do the right thing in Yarmouks

The world is not against us

This is what you voted for, and this is what you will get

The no decision elections

A cautious peace, but peace nevertheless

For the sake of Israel, Netanyahu must be sent home

Going ballistic even prior to an agreement

To the new IDF chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot

The Peace Bridge

The choices we must make

Israeli elections – It’s not about the economy

Threats and security


Returning to negotiations

Our most important elections

The missed opportunities

We want peace, but they don't

Our future is in our hands

Defining who we are

Unlike religious wars, political wars have solutions

Today and tomorrow

If we had a real leader

Jerusalem of peace, Jerusalem of war

No tango going on at all

The Gaza challenge

Is Hamas prepared to end this war with a long-term ceasefire?

The end of the ceasefire, the renewal of war and the end game

The aftermath

Some thoughts this morning

Regional forum for security and stability – Gaza first

After a long phone conversation with a Hamas leader in Gaza

Don’t destroy Gaza, build it!

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace (part 3 of 3)

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace (part 2 of 3)

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace

Palestinian refugees in Syria

Annexing the West Bank – a catastrophic plan for the Jewish people

Mutual and reciprocal recognition

Our Palestinians, their Jews

A very personal statement on peace


Contextual reciprocity

Negotiating atmospherics

My Conversation With Hamas

Ramadan Kareem

Wahrheit, Lügen und Rechtmäßigkeit

Kauft palästinensisch!

Rat für den Präsidenten

Keine Fortsetzung des Unilateralismus!

Diesen Weg müssen wir einschlagen!

Die Kluft im Umgang mit den israelischen Arabern schließen


Eine Ein-Staat-Realität ist nicht durchführbar

Strategische Fehler und Herausforderungen

Mord an der Chance für Ruhe

Das Ende des Raketenbeschusses aus Gaza

Die Aufgabe eines Staatsmannes

Es gibt einen Ausweg

Atomwaffen raus aus dem Arsenal

Was Abbas Israel sagen sollte

Obama, gestatte es uns nicht!

Ist mein zionistischer Traum gestorben?