Bibi Netanyahu has just appointed hard right winger Ayelet Shaked to head Israel's Justice Ministry. Don't expect any Justice for Palestinians or African asylum seekers under the Shaked Justice Ministry--she has already demonstrated her contempt for Palestinian citizens of Israel. She let the cat out of the bag back in January 2014 when she responded to European countries that expressed their dismay at Israel's harsh treatment of Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers. Here is a report from settler-associated Arutz Sheva 7.
European countries are trying to strong-arm Israel into taking in more African illegal entrants, MK Ayelet Shaked has accused.
Shaked, who heads the Jewish Home party Knesset faction, explained that European countries heavily fund several of the NGOs in Israel that push for illegal entrants from Africa to be given legal status.
She spoke as thousands of illegal migrants, along with Israeli activists, held a protest in Tel Aviv.
"The 'aid groups' stir up the illegal entrants to get them to demand rights, and ultimately Israeli citizenship. That's how they 'aid' the state of Israel," she said.
"European countries are pouring millions of shekels into these groups," she continued. The European benefactors have two goals, she said: first of all, they want to see Israel become "a state of all its citizens" rather than a Jewish state. They also hope "to divert the wave of immigration from Africa from Europe to Israel," she charged. "That way they can kill two birds with one stone," she added. (Emphasis added).
There you have it. Shaked is shocked at the notion that Israel could be a state of all its citizens. She's dismayed at the possibility that all its citizens could one day be treated as equals. There would be mass protests--maybe even riots-- in the streets of the U.S. if such an openly racist person were appointed to head our Justice Department. And those protests would be justified. Someone as inflammatory as Shaked has no business being in any position of power in a real democracy, much less the head of the Justice Ministry.
Max Fisher recently wrote a very long, but extremely important article entitled "Israel's dark future". In it he argues that the settlements are like a bone lodged in Israel's throat. Israel's occupation isn't just bad for the Palestinians. The measures that Israel must take to maintain the occupation is corrupting Israeli as well. If Israel continues its occupation, Fisher argues, then its democracy is doomed. Shaked's appointment as Justice Minister provides a foreboding hint that Fisher is right.
Update 5/7/15 J.J. Goldberg makes some important observations about Bibi's new ultra-right government. You should read his entire column. Here is what he says about Ayelet Shaked:
Even more controversial is the designation of the party’s No. 3, secular-nationalist firebrand Ayelet Shaked, 39, as justice minister. Internationally she’s best known for her Facebook post during last summer’s Gaza war calling for the mass destruction of “the entire Palestinian people,” including “women and the elderly.” She later deleted the post. At home, though, she’s best known for her legislative campaigns against political dissent, human rights activists, minority rights and the independence of Israel’s vaunted Supreme Court. As justice minister she’ll be the chief policy maker and executive officer on all those issues. She’s also been given control of the committee that appoints judges.
Perhaps even more important, Shaked will head the secretive Ministerial Committee on Legislation, which decides which bills are allowed onto the Knesset floor, and when. The previous justice minister, Tzipi Livni, used the position during the last Knesset to bottle up some of the most inflammatory right-wing bills proposed by Shaked and her allies. Now the fox will be guarding the chicken-coop.
It should be noted that none of the Netanyahu-Bennett agreements have been put in writing yet, and that [militant settler Uri] Ariel is putting up a fight, demanding that he receive the justice ministry. Hard to tell where that will end up.
Update 5/10/15 A controversy arose over whether an article by Uri Elitzer Shaked posted on Facebook on July 1, 2014 was evidence that she supported genocide against the Palestinian people. Shaked deleted her post after the controversy erupted, but Ali Abumimah posted a screen capture of her post as well as a translation which he characterized as a call for genocide. Gideon Resnick used the Electronic Intifada article as well as an article in Haaretz to paint Shaked as an inflammatory racist. Resnick posted a follow-up article about a phone conversation that he had with Shaked and her spokesman which Resnick characterized as a "walking back" of Shaked's declaration of war against the Palestinian people. Shaked fired back, claiming that the the articles attacking her painted her in a false light by relying on a faulty translation taken out of context. She also dismissed Haaretz as an unreliable, far-left wing, little read newspaper.
I was hesitant to post about this controversy at first, because I didn't want to be seen as accusing her of calling for genocide. But there are plenty of websites out there that link to the Electronic Intifada article accusing her of being genocidal, and any Google search on her name is likely to turn up articles accusing her of advocating genocide. It is important for you to read both sides of the issue--I especially want you to read her rebuttal--and make up your own mind as to whether the accusations against her are unfair.
I will say this, even if she has been the victim of an unfair character assassination, many Palestinians and their supporters sincerely believe that she wants to see them destroyed. Her appointment as Justice Minister is only likely to flame fear amongst Palestinians and inflame tensions between the two peoples. Even if she is innocent of harboring any desire to see Palestinians exterminated--even if she has been the target of a vile and unwarranted character assassination, she did not use good judgment when posting the article by Uri Elitzer. The fact that she has deleted the Facebook post suggests that she herself realizes this. If she were proud of the post, if she really believed it was reasonable and could be defended against, then why remove it? She might not be a genocidal maniac-- if one wants to give her the benefit of the doubt, she might not even be a racist, but her lack of good judgment make her a less than ideal candidate to lead the Justice Ministry.