It is routinely hailed as Israel’s last line of defence against ultra-nationalist legislation. But does the country’s Supreme Court deserve its reputation as an upholder of liberal values?
Recent cases have illustrated how the court, rather than undermining the systematic rights abuses experienced by Palestinians, in fact oils the machine of occupation. Read more
The Israeli Supreme Court has been accused of redefining torture so as to permit it after a major new ruling was greeted with dismay by local and international human rights groups.
Last week the court – sitting as the High Court of Justice – denied a petition brought by The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) on behalf of Palestinian prisoner Asad Abu Ghosh. Read more
On 18 August, a group of Israeli NGOs petitioned the country’s Supreme Court over the role of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in government decision-making regarding land usage.
The JNF was established in 1901 to obtain land in Palestine for Jewish settlement. Subsequently, the JNF was incorporated into the Israeli state’s land administration bureaucracy, while still remaining a private organisation. It holds some 13 percent of the land inside Israel’s pre-1967 lines. Read more
Israel’s Supreme Court has long been held up as a resolute defender of liberal values. Recent decisions handed down by its judges, however, provide an important opportunity to revisit this claim, and to interrogate its past and present validity.
According to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Supreme Court “upholds the rule of law and strengthens human rights.” (A note on terminology. Israel’s Supreme Court also sits as the High Court of Justice (HCJ) for constitutional matters and citizens’ petitions against government entities.)
This narrative is often reproduced by Israel’s defenders. In March 2012, for example, Time magazine’s Joe Klein hailed the Court as “one of the world’s great bastions of civilized legal contemplation” and “a precious monument to the rule of law.” Read more