Watching Israel’s Courts

What is Settler Colonialism?

It is evident that the reason that Israel has the support of countries like the US, Canada, and Australia, is that all of these countries are, like Israel, settler-colonies. To be a settler colony means that settlers have, through state violence and control, claimed land that was previously inhabited by people Indigenous to that land, and then sought to exterminate and erase the original inhabitants of the land they’ve laid claim to. Further, Israel has the support of countries like the UK, France, and Belgium because these countries are legacy colonial powers; their core identities – like Israel – are that of ethnic-colonizer states.

Is Israel a Democracy?

It is critical to understand that democracy is impossible in an apartheid, authoritarian state like Israel. And as we know all too well in the United States, an extremist government does not represent the will of its people. As an organization focused on judicial accountability, we’re painfully aware of Israeli government policies in place that weaken Israeli courts’ ability to check their current, extremest government. Israel has, chillingly, packed the courts with ideologues, has no constitution, no federal system, and no separation between executive and legislative powers. This is not the framework of a democracy.

Watching Israel’s Courts

The courts were the only check on the Israeli governance system, and they are now a very weak check because of new policies Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, and his regime have passed, and the new right wing judicial officers the regime has installed. Further, the Israeli right have placed devout allegiance to Netanyahu that has trumped accountability for his corruption charges, and taken precedent over the protection of state institutions and democratic practices.

All of these moves towards fascism leave Israel more and more closely resembling an authoritarian military state. These autocratic moves enable the ongoing and systematic dispossession of the people of Palestine.

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La Defensa is part of a broad anti-racist, feminist, and anti-capitalist movement led by the people most impacted by criminalization, economic injustice, and other forms of state control in LA County. As organizers working to decarcerate the largest jail population in the world, we must critique apartheid, occupation, and the indiscriminate killing of civilians, drawing connections between the role of America’s military industrial complex abroad and the prison industrial complex we are fighting locally. Many police departments in the U.S., for example, participate in joint training exercises with Israeli police forces related to crowd control, use of force, and surveillance. From the local to the federal budgets, La Defensa is dedicated to investing in life affirming alternatives to policies that wreak death and destruction at home and abroad.

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