Second ‘Defend Israeli democracy’ demo to take place in London

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Second ‘Defend Israeli democracy’ demo to take place in London

A second London protest, led by Israeli expats, against sweeping changes to the Israeli legislative and judicial system proposed by the Netanyahu coalition government, is now planned for Sunday March 12th.

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Defend Israeli Democracy protests in London, close to Israel's embassy
Defend Israeli Democracy protests in London, close to Israel's embassy

A second demonstration opposing the Israeli government’s proposed sweeping changes to the country’s legislative and judicial system is being planned to take place in London later this month.

The protest, under the banner of “Defend Israel’s Democracy”, aim to mirror the protests that have taken place in Israel itself, and amongst smaller expat communities across the globe.

It follows the success of a first protest in London last month, which saw around 300 secular Israeli expats stage a demonstration close to the UK’s Israeli embassy in west London.

The second demo, on March 12th, takes place on a Sunday, and organisers hope that this will encourage a larger turn-out, as the previous one took place near the end of Shabbat in the UK to coincide with protests taking place in Tel Aviv and elsewhere in Israel.

2MY69E7 London, UK. Feb 4 2023. Kids For Democracy. A crowd protested loudly by the private street leading to the Israeli Embassy as a part of a worldwide fight by Israelis to preserve democracy in Israel and oppose the inclusion in the government of criminals and religious bigots which they say is unacceptable. Many brought their children with them to show their love for Israel. Peter Marshall/Alamy Live News

Organisers of UK protests stress the demos open to all “local Israelis and all supporters of Israel and democracy.”

They say the protest will be held under the banners of ‘Defend Israeli Democracy’, ‘Keep the Supreme Court Independent’, and ‘Criminals should sit in prison, not in Government’.

The location for the March 12th demo is yet to be confirmed.

Dr Sharon Shochat, a government specialist and business development expert, one of the protest’s organisers, said:” ‘’What’s going on in Israel since this government took office in December is unprecedented. We are about to witness the country’s institutions disintegrate by an indicted Prime Minister, who joined hands with extremists and fanatics
intoxicated with power, aiming to erode the democratic and liberal values upon which the country was founded.

” If this coup succeeds, it will destroy Israel as we know it.

“Even though we choose to reside outside of Israel, we stand in solidarity with our families and friends in Israel, and in fervent opposition to the most horrendous government in Israel’s history.”

Another person supporting the demos is academic Reuven Ziegler, an associate professor at the University of Reading School of Law.

He said: ‘‘The Israeli government states that it seeks to ‘reform’ Israel’s legal system. In reality, the legal changes it seeks to implement will significantly weaken constitutional review of human rights violations, leaving Israel’s already vulnerable minorities subject to the exercise of untrammelled power by its majority.”

He said the changes would also “undermine the independence of the judiciary by altering a long-standing balanced Judicial Appointment Committee, handing over absolute power to the government of the day.”

Ziegler added:”Given the severity of the threat to Israel’s democratic character, it is vital to speak out against these dangerous proposals.’’

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