Theses Master's

Silencing “Breaking the Silence”: The Israeli government’s agenda respecting human rights NGOs activism since 2009

Dembin, Ido

This research examines a key aspect in the deterioration of Israeli democracy between 2009-2018. Mainly, it looks at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Right-wing governments utilization of legislative procedure to limit the right to free speech. The aspects of the right to free speech discussed here pertain to dissenting and critical activism against these government’s policies. The suppression of said right is manifested in the marginalization, delegitimization and ultimately silencing of its expression in Human Rights NGOs activism. To demonstrate this, the research presents a case study of one such NGO –“Breaking the Silence”–and the legal and political actions designed to cause its eventual ousting from mainstream Israeli discourse. The research focuses on the importance and uniqueness of this NGO, as well as the ways in which the government perceives and acts against it. First, it analyzes the NGO’s history, modus operandi and goals, emphasizing the uniqueness that makes it a particularly fascinating case. Then, it researches the government’s specific interest in crippling and limiting its influence. Finally, it highlights the government’s toolbox and utilization thereof against it. By shining a light on this case, the research seeks to show the process of watering down of a fundamental right within Israeli democracy –which is instrumental to understanding the state’s risk of decline towards illiberal democracy.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Cohen, Yinon
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
November 2, 2018