We welcome the US State Department’s reminder this week that civil society groups have an important place in democracies.
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to cancel a meeting with the German Foreign Minister over the latter’s meeting with anti-occupation watchdogs Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem was just the latest effort by the Israeli government to demonize civil society groups that dissent from their policies in the West Bank. We applaud the State Department for stating when asked about this issue that “we would regard it as important that any functioning civil society has these types of groups and the diverse viewpoints. That’s a vital part of any functioning democracy.”
Demagogic attacks on civil society groups undermine the basic values on which democracies are based. The State Department’s statement is a clear and necessary recognition of that fact.