How Boris, Bibi and Trump Are Learning the Limits of Their Populist Power

The Knesset and the House of Commons have almost nothing in common. But in recent weeks, a strange “Israelization” seems to have been creeping into Westminster.

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Echoes of the toxic Israeli political discourse could be heard on the green benches. They were there two weeks after Britain’s Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue Parliament had been unlawful and after Attorney General Geoffrey Cox (in Britain this is a political appointment, equivalent to Israel’s justice minister) threatened that in the future the politicians might appoint the judges and the powers of the Supreme Court would be curtailed.

– Haaretz Weekly Ep. 43

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 43Haaretz

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Next, it was Johnson’s turn to accuse the opposition of voting for a “surrender act” when a majority in Parliament passed a law preventing Britain from leaving the European Union without a deal on October 31. When lawmakers accused him of inciting violence against them, he retorted: “I’ve never heard such humbug in all my life.” Johnson — whose political survival depends on his ability to deliver Brexit by the end of the month, with or without a deal — is leading an assault on British law and parliamentary procedure. He has so far refused even to publicly commit to abiding by the law passed last month to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

What Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been doing in his attempt to avoid justice in his three corruption cases — trying to cobble together a majority in the Knesset that would support granting him immunity from prosecution, and a law bypassing the High Court of Justice’s power to quash that immunity — are disconcertingly similar.