"We insist that any discussion of Israel’s 'democracy' must come with a qualification that it is not extended to everyone under Israeli rule, and should note the findings of apartheid from the human rights sector. We expect that this critical aspect of Israel’s judicial reforms, and the broader impact on Palestinians generally, will be touched on in future reporting."
February 15, 2023
Josef Federman, News Director, The Associated Press
Dear Mr. Federman,
I’m writing on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) regarding issues with your recent article on judicial reform in Israel, published on February 13, 2023, which we read in Canada’s “Globe and Mail.”
Before anything else, we want to thank you for committing significant coverage to this important issue. The future of Israel’s judicial institutions should be of interest to all concerned about human rights. However, some critical context is absent.
Above all, it is highly problematic that this article on the erosion of Israel’s democratic institutions fails to mention the Palestinians, who are under Israeli control yet largely excluded from its democracy. Of the 6.8 million Palestinians under Israeli rule, only a small minority of them (1.6 million) hold Israeli citizenship and have the right to vote in national elections (albeit with a second-class status and significant restrictions). The remaining 5.2 million Palestinians under Israeli military occupation in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza, have no right to vote for the government that rules them. In fact, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, UN experts, and Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups like B’Tselem, have argued that is Israel is not a democracy, but should properly be defined as a regime of apartheid.
We insist that any discussion of Israel’s “democracy” must come with a qualification that it is not extended to everyone under Israeli rule, and should note the findings of apartheid from the human rights sector.
The absence of Palestinians from this article is also unacceptable due to the impact that Israel’s judicial reforms could have on its control over the occupied Palestinian territories, including the threats of settlement expansion and annexation. In fact, it is a widely held view that annexation and judicial reform are inextricably bound. Despite the fact that Israel’s Supreme Court is widely seen by Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups as a whitewashing mechanism for Israel’s crimes against Palestinians, it has nonetheless provided some limited restraints on Israel’s settlement enterprise, as recently reported by the New York Times. The engineer of the current reforms, Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin, has publicly supported reforming the courts in order to expand annexation efforts.
We expect that this critical aspect of Israel’s judicial reforms, and the broader impact on Palestinians generally, will be touched on in future reporting.
I ask that you please address these concerns in future reporting.
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
 Human Rights Watch, “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and persecution,” April 27, 2021, https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid- and-persecution
 Amnesty International, “Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel system of domination and crime against humanity,” February 1, 2022, https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde15/5141/2022/en/; Human Rights Watch, “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and persecution,” April 27, 2021, https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid- and-persecution; B’Tselem, “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid,” January 12, 2021, https://www.btselem.org/publications/fulltext/202101_this_is_apartheid; United Nations Human Rights Office, “Israel’s 55-year occupation of Palestinian Territory is apartheid – UN human rights expert,” March 25, 2022, https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/03/israels-55-year-occupation-palestinian-territory-apartheid-un-human-rights
 B’Tselem, “The Supreme Court of the Occupation,” February 25, 2020, https://www.btselem.org/supreme_court_of_occupation
 Kingsley, P., & Kershner, I. (2023, February 13). Netanyahu's judicial overhaul sparks huge protests in Israel. The New York Times. Retrieved February 14, 2023, from https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/13/world/middleeast/israel-judicial-protests-netanyahu.html
 Omer-Man, M. (2023, February 13). Why Israel's 'democratic' opposition is doomed. DAWN. Retrieved February 14, 2023, from https://dawnmena.org/why-israels-democratic-opposition-is-doomed/