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‘This is Israel’s culture war’

“Top Story” with Jonathan Tobin and guest Ruthie Blum, Ep. 89

Those who get their news about Israel from corporate liberal media outlets or even most Jewish publications are getting a distorted view of the debate about judicial reform roiling Israel, says JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin. Their framing of the issue from the perspective of the opponents of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu falsely validates the claims that the struggle is one pitting would-be authoritarians against those defending “democracy.”

Tobin is joined by JNS columnist Ruthie Blum, who says those claiming that putting limits on the currently untrammeled power of the Israeli Supreme Court will lead to the abolition of rights for women or gays and the transformation of the country into a theocratic fascist state are being irrational. The point of the pushback against the reforms, she says, isn’t just to topple Netanyahu but also to attack his voters.

She also notes that the majority of Israelis aren’t taking part in and aren’t interested in the protests, which she likened to America’s “Woodstock” in 1969.

“This is not a debate. This is a culture war. This is a class war,” the goal of which is to topple a democratically elected government as well as to ensure that Israel’s working class and religious voters are shut out of power indefinitely, she says.

But Blum insists that “the good news is that “they are in a minority, whatever they say, despite having almost all the media in their corner, despite having all the academics in their corner, and all the ‘good, beautiful people’ in their corner, and the actors and singers—they’re still in the minority. And we proved that on election day.”

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