Immigration Policy and the Rise of Anti-Democratic Liberalism—the Case of Israel

Immigration Policy and the Rise of Anti-Democratic Liberalism—the Case of Israel. By Gadi Taub.

Overnight our public sphere changed. The sense of security was gone, we shut ourselves indoors, the parks were overtaken day and night, and we forbade children to go there,” Shefi Paz, the leader of a grassroots movement against illegal immigration to Israel, explained in an interview with the daily Maariv a few weeks ago. Women were harassed on the street,” she said. “It was like an occupation by a foreign army. No law, no authorities would protect citizens.”

Paz is perhaps not the person you would expect to find at the front of such a protest movement. She is a 66-year-old lesbian, and a former left-leaning LGBT activist. She now sees herself as firmly on the right. For her, as for some in Israel, and for many in Europe and the US, the issue of immigration has changed the terms of the political debate, shedding new light on issues of justice and class. But above all the debate over immigration policy, it seems, is but a proxy for a far larger struggle over the future of democracy itself. ….

Israel has a problem with illegal African immigrants:

Illegals number about 34,000, not including some 8,000 more children born to immigrant parents in Israel. …

Drive down wages, drive up crime:

Most of these migrants have settled in the southern working-class neighborhoods of Tel Aviv, with its high demand for unskilled labor and easy access to public transportation and social services. Given the predominantly young and male demographic, it is perhaps not surprising that per capita crime rates within this group are three to four times the national average. Herein lies another parallel to the European situation: Israeli police have only recently released these statistics, after years of dodging requests out of fear they would end up encouraging biases.

In recent months, Tel Aviv’s southern neighborhoods have become recurrent scenes of street clashes between rival migrant gangs wielding cold weapons: knives, stones, rods and the like. Mainstream media is reluctant to report on such incidents …

Life has changed dramatically for residents of South Tel Aviv. …

As elsewhere in the West, democracy and sovereignty are at stake:

In many countries, immigration policy has turned into a litmus test for democratic sovereignty itself. It has become the arena where civil rights, anchored in the state, meet universal human rights, promoted by international institutions and supra-national political structures. These, in turn, compete with states for sovereignty.

All this has given rise to an ideological shift with far-reaching consequences: As liberal rights are detached from their base in the nation state, liberalism increasingly turns away from a commitment to the will of the citizens, as expressed through national democratic institutions. We are faced, then, with a non-democratic — and ultimately an anti-democratic — form of liberal ideology.

The left needs the votes of immigrants. Their tactics are obnoxious:

Apparently any objection to illegal immigration is now considered by major social platforms to be “hate speech,” and anyone who does not unequivocally support it is labeled a racist.

This way of framing the issue is, of course, a central feature of the debate in Israel, as it is in Europe and the US. It creates the false impression that the conflict over immigration stands between defenders of human rights on the one hand, and xenophobic nationalists on the other.

This conveniently marginalizes the all-important issues of democratic sovereignty. The common thread running through all the efforts to thwart the immigration policies of elected governments, is an attempt to bypass the democratic mechanism of decision making. There’s an overwhelmingly liberal press, which has been almost entirely uniform in towing the party line, and has the power to suppress truths and disseminate falsehoods.

George Soros is a key figure behind this

There are the NGOs funded by foreign governments and liberal foundations in Europe and North America influencing the public debate, as well as waging legal battles against the state. There are the academics who come from ultra-liberal institutions, dominated by identity politics, and connected to an international academic community, lending their moral support and their scholarly authority to the politically correct narrative about ”refugees.” And above all, there are the edicts of a decidedly liberal judiciary, which in Israel has vast powers over the other branches of government without reciprocal checks to balance it. The courts can therefore strike down at will every and all government action, whether legislative or administrative. The sweeping powers of the courts can be said to have turned liberal rights from checks on the democratic process into its replacement: liberal decrees are thus poised to replace–not just limit–legislative powers. Decision making — that is sovereignty itself — is essentially being relocated to the courts.

And the global elite control most courts, because judges and lawyers generally belong to the cosmopolitan elite.

It is a struggle between liberal elites, which attempt to impose their will from above, and the rest of the citizenry, which relies on representative party politics. It is a class struggle of sorts, with a clear economic side: weaker citizens pay the price of a policy that economically benefits elites, and these elites, in turn, use high-minded rhetoric to promote it. This, indeed, is a major part of what lies behind the rise of populism in many parts of the West. …

If there is one crucial lesson to be learned from the horrors of the 20th century, it is that the suppression of the right to self-determination — the source from which modern nationalism and modern democracy both emerge, reciprocally supporting each other — can push nationalism to erupt in violent, anti-democratic ways.

Israel has a wall, so the problem of illegal immigration is relatively minor, like in Australia. Yet still there is the push by the leftist elite to use immigration to impose their will on the country against the wishes — and at the expense — of the majority of the country.