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Opinion
Noah Feldman

Israel’s High Court Won’t Stand for Jewish Supremacism

The ruling banning a far-right candidate from April’s election comes at a crucial moment for this democracy.

Election day is coming soon.

Election day is coming soon.

Photographer: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

With elections looming, Israel is locked in a constitutional struggle for its democratic soul. The latest development: Israel’s high court, in a decision reversing the nation’s elections commission, has banned the leader of a Jewish-supremacist far-right party for running for Knesset while allowing a left-wing Arab party that calls for Palestinian equality and challenges the Jewish nature of the state.

The decision matters because of a change to Israel’s unwritten constitution. In 2018, the Knesset enacted a controversial new “basic law” — the closest thing to a constitutional amendment the country has — on the topic of Israel as a nation-state. The basic law declared self-determination to be the right of Israel’s Jews, but not of other Israelis.