Yona Shifmiler 2Click for full article.


Recently, Israelis have witnessed the exchange of ever more serious accusations between left wing and right wing NGOs (non-governmental organizations). This mutual name-calling has poisoned public discourse in Israel by diverting public discussion away from reasoned analysis of key issues and by transforming it into shallow and hostile ad hominem attacks. The hysteria that has gripped Israel only strengthens political polarization therein, without contributing constructively to a conversation about core challenges: freedom of speech and sovereignty, which are so critical to the future and vibrancy of Israeli democracy.

[The] antagonistic, over-generalized discourse, promoted on the Left by NIF and on the Right by Im Tirzu, might strengthen the resolve of activists on both sides of the political divide. However, these glaring faults guarantee that this propaganda will be incapable of creating real change in Israeli society.

Improving the public discourse in Israel and protecting free speech are essential for the health of Israeli democracy. But these vital goals cannot be achieved by smearing critics and tarring all of the supporters of a political camp.

During these last few weeks, public debate in Israel has been led by the extreme ends of the spectrum, at the expense of moderate, professional voices. Bringing this phenomenon to a halt should be the chief interest of all those who cherish democratic society.