The battle for the character, status and composition of the Supreme Court is for connoisseurs, and is much less important than is generally thought. It’s like the battle over the character of the military court at Ofer Prison, or the composition of the IDF Orchestra. One can argue about them, write hard-hitting opinion pieces, make fiery speeches and even take to the streets, but the military court in Ofer will remain the military court in Ofer, and the IDF Orchestra will play the same marches. Even if Lahav Shani, the music director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, were to conduct the IDF Orchestra, and the famed civil and human rights lawyer Avigdor Feldman were to serve as president of the military court, it wouldn’t make them a real orchestra or a real court.

The same is true, believe it or not, of the Supreme Court, called the High Court of Justice when it sits as a constitutional court. It is handcuffed to the national narrative, which in its eyes, believe it or not, trumps any other principle. The court in Ofer and the court in Jerusalem are subordinate to the same principles and to the same defense establishment nearly to the same extent; both are contractors for it. Passionate struggles are waged over the composition of the Supreme Court, over the number of liberal justices versus conservative ones – on the core issues, the result is the same. A single, united voice, even in the court.

In this respect, the court is an amazing reflection of Israeli society: In the Supreme Court, as in politics, the differences between the individuals are much, much smaller than they are generally made out to be. When it comes to fundamental values, there are no differences. Maintaining Jewish supremacy above any other value; placing security considerations above all others; completely disregarding international law, as if it didn’t exist; and blind, automatic and unconditional obedience to the defense establishment’s games of power and control – and the Supreme Court surrenders without any shame.

When there is a battle over the composition of the Supreme Court of the United States, it is clear to all that it is a battle that will shape the face of society for years to come, from abortion to gun laws. In the U.S., you know that a liberal justice will be liberal and a conservative one will be conservative. In Israel, they will all toe the same line, all nestle in the warm bosom of the military consensus, and none of the justices, not even the last of the liberals, will dare take a different stance.

Last week the court demonstrated, in such typical fashion, its ingratiating attitude to the defense establishment, but this time its conduct took on grotesque proportions. It’s hard to think of anything more ludicrous than the way the highest court in the land shuts its eyes, hardens its heart and utters a submissive “yes” to the whims of the Shin Bet security service, and the way the Shin Bet mocks it. The Shin Bet disrespected, ridiculed and humiliated the court, and the court once again believed it when the agency spat in its face and said it was raining. There is no entity in the country besides the defense establishment and the settlers – go to Homesh and see how the settlers make a mockery of rulings, with the support of the military – that can make a laughingstock of the court.

The High Court denied the petition for the release of administrative detainee Khalil Awawdeh, who has been on hunger strike for six months, on the grounds that his condition has not changed and that his detention without charges is justified. The next day, the Shin Bet announced his release, spitting in the face of the justices. Suddenly, it turns out that the cruel Shin Bet is more human than the High Court. It was the agency’s way of punishing the court and the “liberal” justices who also denied the petition, Justices Anat Baron and Khaled Kabub. Suddenly, it became clear that there’s no difference between them and Justice Alex Stein, and between all of them and Justice Noam Sohlberg, a settler.

The war for the character of the Supreme Court was settled long ago. The next Judicial Appointments Committee can choose justices by flipping a coin. It doesn’t matter who forms the next government. As long as the situation continues in which the government supports perpetuating the apartheid, one thing is certain: Whatever the composition of the Supreme Court, it will support it and sanction all its crimes. Apartheid has collaborators in Jerusalem.

QOSHE - When the Shin Bet Is Kinder Than the Supreme Court - Gideon Levy
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When the Shin Bet Is Kinder Than the Supreme Court

20 16 18
05.09.2022

The battle for the character, status and composition of the Supreme Court is for connoisseurs, and is much less important than is generally thought. It’s like the battle over the character of the military court at Ofer Prison, or the composition of the IDF Orchestra. One can argue about them, write hard-hitting opinion pieces, make fiery speeches and even take to the streets, but the military court in Ofer will remain the military court in Ofer, and the IDF Orchestra will play the same marches. Even if Lahav Shani, the music director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, were to conduct the IDF Orchestra, and the famed civil and human rights lawyer Avigdor Feldman were to serve as president of the military court, it wouldn’t make them a real orchestra or a real court.

The same is true, believe it or not, of the Supreme Court, called the High Court of Justice when it sits as a constitutional court. It is handcuffed to the national narrative, which in its eyes, believe it or not, trumps any other principle. The court in Ofer and the court in Jerusalem are subordinate to the same principles and to the same........

© Haaretz


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