Hagai El-Ad, an Israeli human rights activist and executive director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), writes in Foreign Policy (under the headline: To Be Or Not To Be A Pariah State) that the Jewish nation has a choice and it seems to have made it already:
[Benjamin] Netanyahu confuses (perhaps intentionally) the legitimacy of his government’s particular policies with the very legitimacy of Israel’s existence — but the two are not equivalent. Criticizing specific government policies that violate human rights and civil liberties is a far cry from questioning a country’s core legitimacy; secondly, instead of addressing the real policy issues that are the basis for his loss of legitimacy, he is treating the matter as a PR problem, to be solved by going after those who dare point out his government’s shortcomings.
Netanyahu cannot secure international acceptance for his policies. This is unsurprising given the measures that his government is taking to further sustain the 43-year-old occupation — one that Netanyahu shows no signs of ending — and given that he came into office following the erosion of Israeli adherence to international law and norms witnessed during Operation Cast Lead. True, the current government did not create the occupation nor was it in power during OperationCast Lead; yet, it is under thisa credible independent Israeli investigation into Operation Cast Lead — something previous Israeli governments did after past military operations; the ongoing blockade on Gaza, collectively punishing a million and a half human beings and depriving them of basic needs; the arrests of leaders of the emerging nonviolent Palestinian campaign against the occupation; the removal of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem; segregated roads (pdf) and separate legal systems for Palestinians and settlers in the occupied West Bank multiply; and the abysmal record for holding settlers accountable for acts of violence. government’s watch that the following policies have been enacted or perpetuated: the insistence on not undertaking
The list could go on and on with examples of policies and actions that are indeed incompatible with democratic practices. Such actions are expressions of self-evident injustice, violate international human rights standards, and in many cases also defy Israel’s own laws. They also cause great suffering to many. ACRI and other human rights actors are clear in their commitment to speak out against these injustices and to continue stating the obvious: without an end to the occupation there will not be respect for humanrights.