Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s justice minister, posted this video for her New Right party in which she boasts of its fascism.
The ad is ostensibly ironic, mocking left-wing concerns about Shaked’s attack on whatever independence Israel’s judiciary still has.
The 44-second video presents Shaked as an elegant model in an ad for a fancy perfume called “Fascism.”
A voice intones, “A judicial revolution, reducing judicial activism, appointment of judges, governance, separation of powers, restraining the high court” – all policies supposedly championed by Shaked.
The voiceover then says, “Fascism….” and Shaked adds, “To me it smells like democracy,” as she sprays the perfume on herself.
Attack on judges
In reality, Shaked has been waging a systematic attack on Israel’s judiciary, especially the high court, habitually and falsely claiming that judges restrain the Israeli occupation army’s ability to kill Palestinians with impunity.
Following a shooting in the West Bank that left an Israeli soldier and settler dead on Sunday, Shaked claimed that “the legal constraints imposed on the Israel Defense Forces preclude effective deterrence,” and that soldiers are afraid to shoot Palestinians in Gaza launching incendiary balloons over the boundary fence.
In fact, Israeli forces operate with near total impunity, having killed nearly 200 unarmed protesters in Gaza over the last year and injured thousands more.
Israel has launched investigations into just 11 incidents over the last year, under a military investigation process the rights group B’Tselem has called an “organized whitewash.”
While Israel’s high court is often presented abroad as a standard-bearer of democratic values and liberalism, it has totally failed to check decades of Israeli occupation, regularly paving the way for human rights abuses and war crimes against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and it has given its blessing to dozens of racist laws and openly racist policies against Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Now Shaked is moving to clamp down even further on the supposed independence of the judiciary, promising a “revolution” against the judges.
In what The Times of Israel termed a “comprehensive and deep-cutting plan,” Shaked is now vowing to dismantle the high court’s judicial oversight over the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, and give lawmakers in the legislature – dominated by the far-right – full power to appoint judges.
One of her party’s election slogans is “Shaked will defeat the High Court of Justice.”
In 2014, Shaked gained international notoriety for posting on Facebook a genocidal call to slaughter Palestinians, including women who her post described as giving birth to “little snakes.”
Such language, comparing people to animals, is a hallmark of fascists and genocide practitioners everywhere.
Fig leaf for fascism
The court also reversed the election committee’s decision to ban the Balad-United Arab List party.
Israel’s attorney general had briefed the court that he was in favor of upholding the ban on Ben-Ari due, as the newspaper Haaretz put it, to his “incessant incitement against Arabs.”
Dispossession of Palestinians and racism against them has always been foundational to the Israeli state – with the court’s blessing.
The ban on Ben-Ari is a mere fig leaf as the court further legitimizes the ongoing far-right and openly racist – indeed fascist – drift in Israeli politics.
While barring Ben-Ari as an individual, the court allowed his ultra-racist Otzma Yehudit, or Jewish Power, party to remain on the ballot.
Among its candidates – and possible future ministers in coalition with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – are Baruch Marzel, a Hebron settler notorious for his violence against Palestinians. Marzel openly advocates the ethnic cleansing of millions of Palestinians.
“The only way to have peace is to get them out of Israel,” he claims.
Another candidate is Itamar Ben Gvir, a lawyer who openly celebrates Baruch Goldstein, the American settler who 25 years ago massacred 29 Palestinian men and boys while they were praying in Hebron’s Ibrahimi mosque.
That Israel’s high court gave its blessing to candidates like Marzel and Ben Gvir, and that Ayelet Shaked considers the court to be too liberal, sums up everything one needs to know about Israel’s current political scene and the health of its supposed democracy.